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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

More on A Week at Waterloo

I have now finished reading A Week at Waterloo and cried buckets. It is the contrast between shadow and light. The sheer ordinariness admist the horror. The despair when she thinks he is dead, and her refusal to believe that he is alive.
When Lady De Lancey is going to her wounded husband, thinking that she would be happy if only she could see him for an hour, and then her grief at his death about a week later. How she waits in vain for a cross word because he has said that when he is getting better, he is a terrible patient, but he is always sweet to her.
To modern eyes, the sheer primitiveness of the medical treatment and the knowledge that now, he might have survived. Bleeding and leeches. But they thought they were doing the right thing. And it is possible that his lungs had been punctured. In any event, the doctors at the time did the best they could.
What sings above the horror is the love Lady De Lancey bore for her husband.
It should be read by more people. But have a box of tissues handy.

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