Just a couple of points I wanted to make from the previous thread before it moved here...
MrsMartin - Demelza never apologises for her actions - cavalier attitude -
To apologise for them would be to admit them, something that she never does either. Does Ross ever really know the extent of the involvement? I don't think he does, he can guess, but does he ever really know? Sometimes ignorance is bliss. D would have had to tell him all to apologise for all, is it really worth bringing it all up and having to face the music? To force themselves to maybe make a decision about their future? Reading The Four Swans, I feel that R copes with the whole Hugh thing very well, rather maturely actually. They speak about Hugh quite frankly and openly, R even warns D about her possible actions. Obviously, everyone has a limit, so R calls a time-out and heads off to London, probably a very sensible thing to do, really. The wounds are all re-opened in The Angry Tide with the whole Monk Adderley debacle.
Dark Mare - Ross upset at Demelza being unfaithful in spirit -
Attitudes between the sexes were much different then. Enlightened as Ross is, Demelza was still his wife, his possession, his property. He can do what he wants, including Elizabeth, and dress it up as something noble. When he returns from London in The Angry Tide, he tells Demelza of the beautiful women of London and how he invited them to his room on a number of occasions, three, I think. I've often wondered if this is true or if he's bluffing. Demelza takes it quite well, as though it's his right to do so, if he chooses. I feel that Ross and Elizabeth, and Ross in London, and Demelza and Hugh are all symptomatic of the context.
In the later books, Valentine is a very present reminder of Ross and Elizabeth's indiscretion. To the point where R and D are uncomfortable about Valentine and Clowance. Poor Demelza, constantly seeing a walking, talking symbol of unfaithfulness.
By the way, I don't condone either of them for their actions, but that's life. It keeps us turning the pages!
Then again, McNeil didn't tell her he was dying before he put the moves on her.
The interesting thing is the morning on the beach granted a wish that Demelza earlier had discussed with Ross, but it played out not the way she wanted it to but the way Ross predicted it would. (Be careful what you wish for ...)
"The Four Swans," Page 230
"Oh, Ross, I'm so sad."
"Well, I wish I were two people."
"One, your loving wife, that I always wish to be and always shall be. And mother. Content, content, content . . . But for a day . . ."
There was a long silence.
"For a day you'd like to be his lover."
"No. Not that. But I'd like to be another person, not Demelza Poldark, but someone new, who could respond to him and make him happy, just for a day . . . Someone who could laugh with him, talk with him, flirt with him maybe, go off with him, ride, swim, talk, without feeling I was being disloyal to the man I really and truly and absolutely love."
"And d'you think he'd be satisfied with that?"
She moved her head.
"I don't know. I suppose not."
"I suppose not neither. Are you sure you would?"
The candle had a thief in it, and the smoke it was sending up was as dark as from a mine chimney. But neither moved to snuff it.
Ross said: "It is not a unique occurrence."
"What you feel. How you feel. It occurs in life. Especially among those who have loved early and have loved long."
"Why among those?"
"Because others have supped at different tables first. And some others do not consider that loyalty and love must always go together. And then"
"But I do not want to be disloyal! I do not want to love elsewhere! That's not it at all. I want to give another man some sort of happiness, some of my happiness perhaps, and I cannot and it hurts . . ."
"Peace, my love. It hurts me too."
"Does it, Ross? I'm that sorry."
"Well, it's the first time I have ever seen you look at another man the way you look at me."
That was not to say that she had spent a happy two days since. At times the discomfort and apprehension she felt might well have been mistaken for bitter remorse for wrong-doing. Unfortunately the remorse was something of which she had to remind herself rather than a sensation welling up naturally from her conscience. The true discomfort grew out of something different. At the moment, what had happened on Tuesday was an event in isolation, unconnected with the past, unattached to the future. But if Ross knew of it, even got to suspect it, then the anonymity of the experience would be shattered, the isolation broken into, and her life with him might be laid waste
It was not an agreeable thought, and, standing at the window with little shivers going through her body in the warm night, she did not much like herself. It seemed to her that if she had committed adultery it was for the wrong reasons, and if she was sorry she had committed it, it was again for the wrong reasons.
I agree that Hugh's pursuit it quite despicable but it takes two to tango. Demelza allowed Hugh to make love to her, he didn't force her and it didn't happen so quickly that she couldn't have stopped it. She managed to stop Captain McNeil but she chose not to stop Hugh. I agree that Hugh knew that Demelza loved Ross, that he betrayed his friend, the man who saved his life, but it is Demelza, that owed Ross her faithfulness and loyalty, not Hugh. After Hugh dies Demelza says, that her tears are not tears of penitence and she doesn't ever seem to show any real penitence for what she had done.
I am not sure Demelza was at all guilt free. She berated herself for letting it happen because she knew that with the act the absolute trust she and Ross held in each other would be destroyed. Hugh was unreasonable, despicable and betrayed his friend - the person who had saved his life (most probably) and betrayed Demelza too. He knew she loved Ross, was happy in her marriage and sorry for him; alright she was attracted to Hugh, but there is no doubt in my mind that until they fell out of the boat onto that warm seductive sand, there was nothing in her mind but concern for Hugh and his failing eyesight. But something happened and so quickly she couldn't stop it.
She really wasn't proud of her 'adventure' and suffered for many months all kinds of agonies. I wonder when she finally destroyed those letters?
I have often thought when reading TFS how would I have reacted to Hugh's attentions. (in the 18th century)
It was not quite credible. Some years ago when Ross had gone to Elizabeth, had left her, and gone off to Elizabeth, she had herself ridden alone too a ball at, the Bodrugans determined to revenge herself in the only way open to her, and had thrown herself at a Scottish army officer called Malcolm McNeil. But when it came to the point, when she found herself alone in her room with a strange man who was trying affectionately to undress her, she had repelled him, actually with force, had bitten him like the brat she was and had made her escape. Whatever Ross did, she had found, almost to her own fury, that she was Ross's woman and wanted - indeed could accept no other man. Then when the motive was there, goading her on, with the absolute certain knowledge of Ross's unfaithfulness burning into her soul, she had been unable to be unfaithful in return.
Now, with no more than a suspicion that Ross was again meeting Elizabeth, on the quiet, she had allowed herself to slip gently into the infidelity she had thought impossible in herself.
But to be honest she could not allow herself even the luxury of blaming her lapse on Jud's tale-telling, on Ross's secret meetings. It had of course been in the back of her mind all these months, a little corrosive eating away at her normal contentment; and on the soft sand beside the Seal Hole, Cave, with the cliffs towering and a man kneeling in the sand watching her, the knowledge had come suddenly to the forefront and on the instant eroded her will. But it could only have done that if the impulses were already so strong within her that they seized on any excuse to have their way. It was an excuse, she knew that with certainty. A good one or a bad one, who knew? But an excuse for what was inexcusable.
There is no excuse for the inexcusable.
Demelza's behaviour was inexcusable. I am not a believer in two wrongs making a right or that past indiscretions of ones spouse, gives one the right to be indiscreet as well. I have tried to find some kind of reason for Demelza's encounter with Hugh and I have been unable to do so. I also find her lack of remorse for the pain that she has inflicted on Ross, very distressing, I expected better of her.
New topic opened, refer previous postings....
"Perfection is a full stop .... Ever the climbing but never the attaining Of the mountain top." W.G.