Welcome to our blog!

It's better than a bat in the eye with a burnt stick!

This blog makes liberal use of AB's journals, letters, travel notes, and other sources.

And make sure to visit The Arnold Bennett Society for expert information and comment on all aspects of the life and work of AB.

Sunday, 21 February 2016


February 2016
 Comarques, Thorpe-le-Soken.

Last month I published "These Twain" the last part of my Clayhanger trilogy. It is selling well both here and in the USA. Several people whose opinion I value have commented on the authenticity of the marital conflict between Edwin and Hilda. It is authentic because it reflects my own experience! I wonder now why I married, though it seemed a good idea at the time. There is the sexual side of things of course but the price for fleeting moments of sexual release seems inordinately high.

Perhaps Marguerite is a particularly difficult woman, certainly she is very temperamental, but I suspect that the struggle for power in a relationship goes on in most marriages, at least outside the labouring classes. There the issue would be resolved in favour of the man by means of a few sharp blows, or it would be surrendered. In the more 'enlightened' strata of society the war is prolonged and hard fought, subtly contested and rarely brought to a satisfactory conclusion. That is my experience.

Only a few days ago I was ambushed one night by Marguerite. She came into my room as I was preparing for bed (we have separate bedrooms)and I thought it was to say good night. I have an established ritual of getting ready for bed, of which she is perfectly aware - it is perhaps too poetic and artistic but easy to accommodate. She said: "Is it good night or .....? I said: "It is good night". Presumably this was an invitation to engage in sexual activity, but I was unwell and exhausted whereas she was evidently stimulated by amusements in London during the day. She became upset and tearful, which surprised me extremely and cost me a very bad night, the third, and I was in no way to blame. I have never been able to get the idea of jealousy out of her head so I no longer try, but I find it rather offensive. She seems to think, or at least she alleges, that her trips to London offend me but in fact they don't and often she returns in a 'frisky' mood which I enjoy if I am in good health. She is still an attractive woman and though I am now nearing 50 I can still 'keep my end up' as they say in the Five Towns!

Where will it all end? I intend to struggle on, and in fact, with all my war work, I have little time to think seriously about any alternative. Maybe we will find some sort of accommodation but I doubt it. Perhaps when the war is over there will be more opportunity for distraction and so less conflict, but I am not optimistic. Will the marriage between Edwin and Hilda survive? About as long as mine I should think!

No comments:

Post a Comment