Thursday, December 02, 2004

Mrs. Fidget

I am thinking of Mrs. Fidget, who died a few months ago. It is really astonishing how her family have brightened up. The drawn look has gone from her husband's face; he begins to be able to laugh. The younger boy, whom I had always thought an embittered, peevish little creature, turns out to be quite human. The elder, who was hardly ever at home except when he was in bed, is nearly always there now and has begun to reorganise the garden. The girl, who was always supposed to be "delicate" now has the riding lessons, dances all night, and plays any amount of tennis. Even the dog who was never allowed out except on a lead is now a well-known member of the Lamp-post Club in their road.

The Lamp Post Club
Mrs. Fidget very often said that she lived for her family. And it was not untrue. Everyone in the neighbourhood knew it. "She lives for her family," they said, "what a wife and mother!" She did all the washing; true, she did it badly, and they could have afforded to send it out to a laundry, and they frequently begged her not to do it. But she did. There was always a hot lunch for anyone who was at home and always a hot meal at night (even in midsummer). They implored her not to provide this. It made no difference. She was living for her family. She always sat up to "welcome" you home if you were out late at night; two or three in the morning, it made no odds; you would always find the frail, pale, weary face awaiting you, like a silent accusation. Which meant of course that you couldn't with any decency go out very often...

Mrs. Fidget, as she so often said, would "work her fingers to the bone" for her family. They couldn't stop her. Nor could they--being decent people--quite sit still and watch her do it. They had to help. Indeed they were always having to help. That is, they did things for her to help her to do things for them which they didn't want done...

The Vicar says Mrs. Fidget is now at rest. Let us hope she is. What's quite certain is that her family are.

~C.S Lewis, The Four Loves, "Affection" (1960)


On this day:

December 1932 Warren Lewis retires from the Royal Army Service Corps after an eighteen-year career and moves into The Kilns, Oxford.

2 Comment(s):

At Thu Dec 02, 08:01:00 AM EST, Blogger Roger R. said...

Just been listening to "The Four Loves" on audio cassette... recorded by Jack Lewis before the book was published. He goes at quite a rate, so a notebook is really needed, but it's wonderful stuff. Quite a lot different from the text in the final book.

He doesn't sound very Irish either... rather a lot like Michael Green. The Oxford effect I think! Look out soon for "Lewisgate" on my Inklings Blog....

At Thu Dec 02, 07:48:00 PM EST, Blogger Arevanye said...

Mrs. Fidget reminds me uncomfortably of my grandmother. I had to live with my grandmother and grandfather for a time in my teens, and I remember how Grandma would always put lunch on the table at precisely 12:00 noon, and supper at 6:00 p.m. sharp without fail, no matter how tired she was or how much she had done that day. She always said it was because Grandpa insisted on his meals at regular times, and I could never figure that out because Grandpa was such a good-natured, easygoing guy.

It wasn't until after Grandpa died and she kept insisting on eating at precisely those times that I realized it was her doing all along.


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