7. CRIME AND PUNISHMENT:
My parents are immersed in their financial problems. Bills are pushed through the letter-box to lie uneasily on the mat; summonses, threats of disconnectioin... to pile up and up into a nightmare of demands. My father refuses to discuss the matter. There is nothing he can do. My mother robs Peter to pay Paul, borrows money from friends, runs to Court to plead tearfully for time to pay. But as my father’s meagre earnings from the shop fluctuate from week to week, my mother never knows how much there is to spend. My father has never discovered his average earnings for he keeps no account books, which at times brings him into conflict with the Inland Revenue. My mother remarks plaintively to an old friend, Mr. Grainger, following a brush by my father with the Income Tax Inspector, "Charles does keep books spasmodically." "Oh, well", grainger replies "why don’t you claim you’re following a new system - spasmodic book-keeping!" It is ironic that a tax office is to replace the shop at 68/69 Red Lion Street. Premises which maybe my father now haunts, waving before the frightened faces of the Inspectors and Clerks empty account books and theories of spasmodic book-keeping.
Micawberishly, my father goes from day to day convinced that something will turn up. My mother calls in the Relieving Officer. "Sell everything" he demands. The only furniture allowed is a table and a chair and bed each. My father shrugs. He does not need more than the minimum of furniture provided he is allowed to keep his books. My distraught mother looks about her house and sees it denuded of all that she has built up over the years and which exhibit her rise from a poor immigrant family. In her valued home all that would be left to denote her improved status is the Ideal boiler. A boiler which she polishes as if it were Aladdin’s Lamp, rubbing it down with emery paper until it shines, for to her it is magic, providing a warmth unknown to the cold rooms of her childhood, and the glory of running hot water. Deep in thought as to the future, she lifts the coal scuttle and feeds the boiler with shiny black coke. Coke which is delivered several hundredweight at a time and tipped out with a shush and a bang into the coal-shed outside the kitchen window, my mother watching and counting in the bags.
At last my mother makes a decision. No, she will not sell up her precious home, furniture over which when especially depressed she sings a hymn learned long ago at her Portsmouth Church School:-
When upon life’s billows you are tempest toss’d
When you are discouraged thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessing see what God hath done,
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.
As she sings, she counts out all that she values in the home, beginning, of course , with my sister and me, after which comes first the cherrywood Stromenger piano and after that the rest of the furniture.
My mother decides that because a reegular income is necessary the top flat of our small house must be let out. And so my mother relinquishes her dream house to two over-crowded flats. We occupying the downstairs flat into which all our furniture is pushed.
The Dawsons move in, father, mother and two boys. My sister and I statioin ourselves behind the living-room door and gaze through the glass panel, into the hall to watch the arrival of the unknown. The boys dressed in short trousers and trailing behind their luggage laden parents until they mount the stairs and are lost to view. We listen for their footsteps above our heads in the three rooms lost to us. Now we must settle into the front room which becomes our bedroom, the living-room and a scullery. Later, my father is to add a conservatory, or lean-to, a playground for us children and a placae to store bikes and garden tools. However, badly constructed by my father, it always leaks water and is too flimsy to be counted as an extra room.
There is, of course, the press room, empty by now of the press, but filled by books arranged on roughly built shelves on each wall and on and over the marble-type mantelpiece which eventually collapses under the weight, sending shock waves throughout the house. An overspill of books is set up in piles on the floor. This room is a dark place, the natural light coming only from French windows which open out to half a dozen concrete steps and overlook uneven asphalt, a drain and the old coke shed. For most of my childhood this room is kept locked and is, therefore, unfamiliar territory, so that even when quite big, I fear that some dark presence lurks behind the locked door. I stay close to my mother, of if I am alone in the house, I will not lstay there, but go out and visit a friend.
Now that the top half of the house is let, all four of us pile into the front room to sleep and every morning my father awakens us with the first lines of The Internationale - "Arise ye starvelings from your slumbers" - in memory of his carefree earlier days in the lodging house run by the first ‘Mrs.’ Lahr. Soon the books from the press room next door are to spill over to usurp our living space between a double and two single beds, a tallboy and a wardrobe.
Upstairs, the Dawsons settle into their new-found home. Two of their three rooms are used for sleeping, but intent upon maintaining a ‘parlour’, the boys sleep in extending chairs in the large front room, these ‘beds’ being closed away each morning. Our toilet is outside, but it it necessary for us to share with the Dawsons the upstairs bath and wash-basin.
Boys are an unknown quantify to my sister and me - for while the Convent takes boys up the the age of eight years, they sit separately from the girls and play together, our eyes following them admiringly from a distance. We see them as free spirits, fearless, asthletic, able to climb trees, to kick a ball and rush after it madly, play at fighting, get together in a scrum, form a unified lively and noisy group. All this acceptable because they are boys: "Boys will be boys." Certainly, they risk the cane, a punishment forbidden to us girls, but this makes them the more special in our eyes for they take it with a swagger and without a sound escaping through their clenched lips. Julian, kan active force who whirls past us in the playground, and is known to us girls as ‘the leader of the boys’ is the most often caned by an irate nun, and we admire him totally. The sisters shutting themselves away from close contact with the male sex, must have seen the punishment of these small boys as self-immolation.
Now, two of these magnificent creatures are to live close by us, but Alf and Fred attend the Council school and much to my mother’s chagrin say ‘me’ instead of ‘my’ and drop their aitches. My mother is drawn three ways, between her financial need, her nurture of the Dawsons as good tenants, considerate and never behind with the rent, and her fear that my sister and I will pick up the boys’ speaking hatits. She retaliates by taking extra pains to maintain and raise our cultural standards. "Where’s me ‘at" she mimics them to us, so as to point out the missing aspirates. ASt this I lead my sister into a search for fallen aitches, all through our part of the house. "I’ve found a dropped aitch!" I call out, pretending to pick up something from the floor. "So havae I!" says my sister gamely.
At that time standard English only is acdeptable in ‘educated’ circles and cockney is the most frowned upon of dialects. As can be noted from old black and white English films shown on TV, in those days they presented all their characters, whether from villages or towns both north and south, as speaking RADA standard English. In my mother, alongside the normal aspiratiions of the intelligentsia there operated the craving of the immigrant to make ‘good’ in a new land, this spiced with a love of learning. She had no wish tor my sister and me to be identified by our speech as working-class. She wanted her children to be accomplished and achieve and she longed for us to enter the professions or the arts. She saw the Convent curriculum, which included French, algebra and geometry, as offering so much more than her own schooling. Our opportunities and choices appeared to be wide open. It did not occur to my mother to question the calibre, or methods, of the teaching, or the rigours of the curriculum.
My mother determined to offer us an opportunity to excel in the arts, observes me with a gleam in her eye. She had read that Pavlova, a sickly child, had first been sent to ballet lessons to improve her health. I am knock-kneed from rickets, one foot turns inwards, I am round-shouldered and small for my age:
"Oonagh looks three times bigger in that photo" writes James Hanley to my mother "Oonagh seems to swamp Sheila."
In compensation, he dedicates his book "Sheila Moynihan" to me.
Therefore, I am enrolled to attend at Gabrielle Rowley’s Ballet School. My sister is enrolled to learn tap dancing. My mother does not view tap dancing as on the same cultural level as ballet, but perhaps she sees my prettier and sturdier sister as a future Ginger Rogers. And so she dreams Hollywood dreams.
At school we take piano lessons which are an extra and taught by an ice-maiden, Miss Batchelor. My sister is to continue with piano lessons into her teens, often perching a book on the music stand while practicing. "How’s your younger daughter?" asks a neighbour. "Playing Edgar Allen Poe on the piano!" quips my mother. By that time I have long dropped out of piano lessons, the teacher’s cold manner providing no encouragement. Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, F A C E: I saw no sense in such mouthings. Later, I am to learn the violin, kprogressing further than with the piano, but never very far.
However, in spite of these cultural advantages, Fred Dawson, three months younger than me, learns to read before I do so. My mother is mortified. Fred, a quiet, serious boy disciplined into quietness by home circumstances. He reads comicds to me while we sit together on our kitchen floor. My mother fuming because, on the one hand I am unable to read them for myself, and on the other hand because she despises comics. Paradoxically, she frequently speaks to us with affection for the popular children’s magazines of her youth, The Gem, The Magnet, Greyfriars, Bob Cherry, Billy Bunter..... These, of course, were presented in written language without pictures, except by way of illustration. In time, with Fred’s help, I learn to decipher the words bubbling out of the characters’ mouths and this is how I learn to read. The school method of a large calendar-type book hoisted over the blackboard, each page showing a colour picture and a sentence such as ‘Nat has a bat’ or ‘Dan has a pan’ failing to interest me into literacy.
My mother is never to overcome her prejudice against comics, although when she finds that my sister and I are buying them anyway with our daily halfpennies - my sister The Butterfly and me Jingles, hiding ourselves in the upstairs bathroom to read them, she agrees to my father buying them for us at trade prices. To these comics my father adds the Mickey Mouse Weekly.
Mr. Dawson works as a night telephonist for the Post Office (nowadays BT) earning some £3.00 per week, a good wagte in those days, but while in the house the boys’ lives are circumscribed by their father’s need to sleep during the day. As are our own lives once the Dawsons move into 9 Wilton Road. As there is more room to move about downstairs, which includes the garden, if we pass the boys in the hall, or they see my sister and I playing outside, they whisper, or signal "ask us down to play!" Once I have learned to read, the boys let down a message on a string from the bathroom window "Ask my mum if we can come out to play", to which I write a short reply "yes" and watch the string being pulled up into Alf’s hands. Then I climb the stairs to knock on the door of Mrs. Dawson’s small kitchen. Sometimes Mrs. Dawson regards my intrusion with discomfiture, but pulling herself together she usually agrees to my request. This give Alf, four years older than myself, an excuse to escape from parental supervision and creep out of the house to play with friends. But Fred is happy to be our companion, even though because of Mr. Dawson’s work we must play quietly. Years later, my mother is to remark how stressful she had found this situation, for she worried continually about the noise level, or if we were quiet, how long this comparative silence would last.
The Dawsons pay my mother fifteen shillings per week rent and, to supplemenmt the family income, Mrs. Dawson works as a cleaner for private households. At home, she bustles about endlessly pursuing household tasks and my mental picture of her is of a sturdy woman, brown hair pulled back neatly, dressed in overalls and sweeping down the stair carpet with a hard brush. When my sister and I pass through the hallway, dressed-up in our mother’s clothes with perhaps a net curtain over our heads, she turns to ask jokingly "Who are you, then? The Queen of Sheba?" It may well be that my sister still walks up those stairs carefully, flattening herself against the wall so as to avoid stepping on the kneeling, hard at work, Mrs. Dawson. At the top of the stairs my sister turns to answer the ever present questioin. "The Queen of Sheba? No. I don’t know who I am. I’m just dressed up."
For the next few years, we are to live in close proximity to this English working-class family, but while our families are on friendly terms, we are never close and the relationship lasts only while we share a house. My father plays darts each Sunday with Mr. Dawson, a board set up in the conservatory, hung on a nail hammered into the outside wall of the house. My mother chats to Mrs. Dawson and takes an interest in her relatives. We play with Fred and welcome Alf, but too much militates against a close friendship.
Neither of my parents’ cultural roots are with the English working-class, added to which we are landlords, they are tenants; we are ‘in business’, they are employees; we are at a private school, the boys are at a Council school. These attitudes enforced in me by attendance at a fee-paying school, for all such establishments are blanketed by an aura of snobbery which hangs like a pall to blinker parents and children alike.
My mother, despite her socialist convictions, grasps at these evidences of our superiority for she needs to maintain faith in our family’s cultural advancement so as to nourish her self-esteem. This because of our lack of material success declares us to the world to be of little worth - if you’re so smart, why ain’t you rich? And so, in this manner our house is divided, my sister and I are undergoing religious and social indoctrination and I am called to the barre. But there is worse to come.
The catastrophe comes about because my father cannot refuse to buy second-hand books offered him by customers, or visitors, to the shop. Books produced from battered suitcases, gladstone bags, cardboard boxes, orange boxes or coat pockets. My father, who shed blood whenever he sold a book, could not envisage anyone voluntarily selling their library unless ast starvation’s door, or on the point of eviction from hearth and home. Therefore, whether he wanted the books or not - and some weeks he must have bought more books than he sold - he made a fair offer.
At the same time, while my father dealt mainly in secondhand books, he obtained new books to order and somehow it came to the attention of publishers, and the larger booksellers, that he was selling these below the Net Book Agreement price. In fact, it was not until 1989 that the Net Book Agreement was challenged by the larger booksellers and suggestion made that it should come under scrutiny from proposed restrictive practices legislatiion. In the 30s it was the order of the day and rumblings against my father and his undercutting in his small bookshop were gaining momentum. And then suddently it comes to the attention of Foyles that some of their books had been stolen by ‘customers’ and sold to my father. At confirmation of this they pounce, intent upon killing two birds with one stone. My father is arrested and charged with receiving.
In a short story from Something Short and Sweet (published 1937) H.E. Bates describes the Court case. He calls my father ‘Oscar’ and begins:
"Oscar’s wife was Jewish. She was crying hard when I got to the Court...Oscar’s face was strange, very yellow. It was as though he knew he were doomed himself...’They’ll deport me’ he said...he was tied up in knots of fear, almost beside himself. ‘They’ll turn me over to the Nazis. I know they’ll deport me.’
‘Have you said anything?’ I said. ‘Have you signed anything?’ ‘I made a statement.’ He was done. I knew it. ‘Did they make you do that?’ I said. No. He went down voluntarily. He dictated it. He had to. He knew if he didn’t they’d send him back to Germany. To the Nazis. Now he’d put the statement in they’d give him a month and it would all be over.’
‘But you didn’t do it...lyou haven’t done anything. Just because somebody steals books and then brings them to you to sell doesn’t mean you’re a criminal. You didn’t do anything....’"
Bates continues that my father stood in the dock: "not only doomed, but already dead. His face had gone beyond yellow to dead shiteness, beyond fear of not knowing into the terror of knowledge."
He describes the Magistrate as resembling ‘a polished bladder of pink lard’ who insists on calling my father ‘Obermann’ and after several irrelevant and taunting remarks, this personage hands down to my father a sentence of six months.
There is no doubt that Bates reports sympathetically the shocked reactiion of my parents to this shattering of their lives, but he is obviously sceptical of my parents’ claims that my father is being persecuted for his politics. My parents insisted then, and always, that the detectives assigned to the case had threatened my father that if he did not plead guilty they would ask for his deportation to Germany. They would present him before the Court as a former member of the Communist Party and an associate of undesirables, such as socialists and anarchists. My father, terrified of a Nazi concentration camp, was prepared to make a deal with the devil himself.
As it happens, in spite of my father’s co-operation, the two detectives involved did apply for my father’s deportation to Germany, but here my father was saved by his principles of internationalism, his refusal to belong to any country. He wasw found to be stateless and, therefore, without a country to which he could be deported. If only he had understood this point before pleading Guilty!
In prison, my father’s humiliation, frustration and incarceratiion break out as a fierce, red rash which covers the whole of his body, itching and chafing against his rough clothing. Throwing them off he sits naked in his cell, covered in ointment provided as a balm. Born in his at this time are the anxieties which control him many years later when, at the age of eighty, and in a General Hospital, suffering from bronchial pneumonia, under the jurisdiction of others he is in panic. He will never get out, he will die here. He watches the door for my mother to come and take him by the hand. To lead him home. He knows she will never come. His eyes stare at the walls in fear, his shoulders erect, body stiff, face rigid. The lines ironed out by tension. He neither sees nor hears any of those around him.
Whether or not my mother visited my father in prison, I do not know. She did send him a bitter and accusing letter, although it was not only the events leading to his prison sentence which made her do this, but also details of his life which came to light once she had taken over management of the bookshop. In desperation she dips her pen in vitriol and watches as the marks she makes seep through the record of her anger and despair, searing past, present and future. The prison censor, opening her missive, finds his hands of fire and his eyes turned to water. Quickly pushing the letter away, he returns it to my mother as unfit for human consumption.
During my father’s absence, it is at first agreed that while my mother takes over the management of the bookshop, my sister and I will be cared for daily at 9 Wilton Road by a Mrs. Weekley. Mrs. Weekley is the caretaker of Alexandra Palace and an old friend of my father, for he had met her while he was interned there during the First World War. And, for some years, it was usual for my father to take me and my sister to visit her once a week on a Sunday morning. Up Colney Hatch Lane to Muswell Hill Broadway, a little way down the hill and left and left again into the Grove. Run quickly along the pathway, past all the trees, to find the one that is hollow. Climb in through its rotted doorway to become part of the bark, leaves and birds nesting above. Although, more usually we walk up Goodwyns Vale, into Grosvenor Road, across Alexandra Park Road and down Grove Avenue. In a garden stands the statue of an Indian lady dressed in painted sari and holding with one hand a dish above her head. Her smile, enigmatic. My sister and I rush up the driveway, take her free hand and then relinquishing it, run down again out into the street, before the householder can raise a hue and cry. This statue which is taller than me, but shrinks as I grow.
Next we walk through the solid aarcheway into the Palace, calling out ‘hall-oo’ and listening for the echo; across the tramlines and up the steps to the terrace to pat the stone lions. A long walk. "carry me Dad" and he gives us piggybacks, one at a time.
Mrs. Weekley’s sitting-room in the Palace is nothing extraordinary, except for the enormous circular window which dominates the cheap sticks of furniture, dull mats and lumpy sofa. Sometimes, Mrs. Weekley takes us up through the trapdoor and onto the glass roof. I look down under my feet and I am walking on air. In the distance the whole world lies about me and I know that I am the only girl at the Convent to reach these strange heights. But I must hug the knowledge to myself for I am low in the pecking-order and any experience outside those of my class-mates will be regarded with disbelief.
Treading carefully on the cool glass, I fail to see myself far away in the then distant July 1980 when watching from a kitchen window, across the housetops, I see the orange and scarlet flames leaping fifteen foot and more into the air. I can almost hear the roar and crackle and cracking and spitting and crashing of falling panes of glass. A blaze warms my childish feet and I am obscured in black, thick smoke. Then we climb down again, through the trapdoor into Mrs. Weekley’s drab living-room.
In the story by H.E. Bates called The Palace, in the book of short stories Something Short and Sweet, Mrs. Weekley is named ‘Mrs. Lemon’ and presented as a woman well into middle-age, desperate in her isolated situation during the war, for she is as much a prisoner as the internees:
"Cut-off by the 153 steps, half forgotten by the authorities". In her loneliness she becomes infatuaated with my father, whom Bates has made an Austrian. She offers herself, but is refused.
That is not how my mother told it!
My father’s relationship had begun with Mrs. Weekley at a time when he was locked away into all male company, a hardship for my father who appreciated the presence of woman-kind. Mrs. Weekley offered friendship and companionship, making him part of her family, for when all is said and done, he was a family man. Soon he had become the man of the house, putting up shelves, or taking them down, banging in nails or pulling them out, shifting furniture, repairing the broken, restoring the falltering and perfecting the imperfect. He took also an interest in Mrs. Weekley’s two young children, a boy and a girl, for she was some years younger than the 48 years given her by Bates. Soon my father becomes a substitute father to these children. At this time Mr. Weekley, whom Bates describes as "in uniform more rabbity than ever" was away in the army. And so my father spent whatever time he could afford away from his duties, in the flat under the glass domes. The light shining down upon his naked head, for claustrophobia had caused him to temporarily lose his hair.
The duties upon which my father was engaged took place in the office where he typed out lists of internees, many of whom were to be sent on to the Isle of Man. This gave my father considerable power: to send only those internees willing to go, or to ruthlessly decide who was to be exiled. Perhaps this dire responsibility raised my father’s stature in Mrs. Weekley’s eyes, but it caused my father many a heartache and headache for the Isle of Man camps were feared by all internees.
Peter and Leni Gillman in Collar the Lot: How Britain Interned and Expelled its War-time Refugees: Pubd. Quartet Books 1980 write that the campto be built at a hoped-for profit by the Isle of Man Government promised to take 5,000 internees. Therefore, the War Office began to ship internees to the island, but by the target date huts were ready for only 750 men. Over 1,300 were squeezed into this camp, while a further 900 were passed to Cunningham’s Camp (26) which had a theoretical capacity of 2,400 and now held 3,300. Internees at Cunninghamn’s Camp staged a protest demonstration against overcrowded conditions and the military guard - reservists from Lancashire and local volunteers - opened fire, killing five internees.
The Alexandra Palace internees sing:-
Jesus loves me yes I know
So does the ragtime cowboy Joe,
He will save me if he can,
From going to the Isle of Man!
At that time my father was the ragtime cowboy and I have a photograph of him before he temporarily lost his hair, sitting on the second of four long steps in front of three glass-panelled wooden doors leading into the Palace. He is dressed smartly in a dark suit and tie, his feet well shod, his shoes shined. His dark hair combed to the side, a white parting severing the planes of his head. On his left arm at the cuff he wears a wide band, no doubt denoting his rank. He sports a neat moustache and is frowning. Sitting on his left are two more internees and seated on the fourth seat four more, all similarly dressed. The internees are flanked by khaki-clad soldiers, their legs wound around by puttees. Behind the seated group stand the Officers, NCO’s and two civilians, one of the latter wearing a trilby hat and watch-chain.
On my father’s release, the love affair with Mrs. Weekley endedf, but either from gratitude, or guilt, my father continues to visit the family. He must atone for she is now alone for Mr. Weekley, getting wind of the affair, had abandoned his wife and children. The Weekley son blames my father for the loss of his father; an attitude my father finds hard to take, for hadn’t he taught the boy to read? To my father books were the reality. When I was a year or two old, he took me along as a chaperone on these visits. But some fear of hurting Mrs. Weekley prevented him from telling her of his marriage, and so I am presented as his niece, until I begin to talk and call his Daddy. Then, my father, shame-faced, admits his masquerade. However, Mrs. Weekley must have forgiven my father, or perhaps she was one of life’s natural victims and expected little for herself. Whatever - when the catastrophe struck she agreed to help out.
I remember Mrs. Weekley as a nervous, plain, dumpy figure, hair pulled back severely, clothes drab. Although she had two grown-up children of her own and was grandmother to a small blonde boy, she was always at a loss as to how to talk to both my sister and me. When we visited her at the Palace we were expected to sit quietly on the sofa while she and my father conversed, about what I do not know. Should we show signs of wanting to move about, or explore other rooms, usually the kitchen as the door was left open, she ceased her conversation, or listening, and hovered behind us anxiously and uselessly, until my father, at last noticing her distress, called us to come and sit down again.
On the face of it, the task of caring for my sister and me daily in our own home was not too onerous, for except for Saturday we would be at school all day and, of course, my mother took care of us on Sunday. But, my sister and I were not our normal selves - we were in shock. My father had spent long hours at the shop, but I had always felt that he was on the point of arriving home. Now this comfort was lost. No more Friday evenings, the one day when he made an effort to be home before we went to bed. Sitting in our nightclothes we wait in anticipation for him to come down the side entrance, wheeling his bicycle. He peers at us through the kitchen window and we scream in pleasure. We know that he will have for each of us a Woolworths 3d or 6d toy - a clockwork bird, animal, car, a top or a celluloid doll. Millions, billions, trillions of toys lying on the heap: broken springs, legless dolls, empty teddy bears, torn crayon books and broken crayons. Playthings for a dead people. Nor is my father there to rock us one at a time on his knee to recite:
Hoppe, hoppe Reiter,
Wenn er fällt, dann schreit er.
Fällt er in die Hecken,
Pressen ihn die Schnecken,
fällt er in den Klee,
schreit er gleich: O weh!....
At the words ‘fällt er in den Klee (shouldl he fall in the clover) my father pretended to let us fall, and we squealed in appreciation. We had known that it was all pretence and that he would never let us down. Now we were not so sure.
Mrs. Weekley waits upon my sister and me like a timorous ghost and each evening I watch for my mother in an agony of suspense, half believing that she too will be lost to us. I am fretful and uncommunicative and can set my mind to nothing until I hear her key in the door and see her enter.
One week of Mrs. Weekley doing all she can for us and both my sister and I are in bed with vomiting and diarrohea. Mrs. Weekley hovering over us and murmuring distractedly that the stew she had served us was good, there was nothing in it which could havae made us so sick. The responsibility weighed down upon her. She shrunk in upon herself, her head drooping into her neck, her shoulders bowing, her face fading into the bones of her skull, the bones still and brittle. It is all too much.
I am lying in a room darkened by curtains drawn-to. My sister in her bed, I in mine. At the open doorway my mother and Mrs. Weekley stand like sullen statues. We are submerged under my mother’s frustration and despair and Mrs. weekley’s impotence. As we watch, my mother looms larger and Mrs. Weekley shrinks away into the distance until she dwindles away out of our lives. It is at this point it is decided that we board weekly at the Convent.
There is no doubt that a child has much in common with a prisoner, for the infant is subject to the dictates and whims of others. And this lack of authority affects the manner in which time passes, the hours becoming days, the days weeks, the weeks months and the months years. Therefore, I do not know how long I was confined to the Convent, probably for no more than a year, but it was a year which affected all that went before, and after.
On to Detained
Get You Back Home