The Millstone

The Millstone

Margaret Drabble

Language: English

Pages: 192

ISBN: 0156006197

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Margaret Drabble’s affecting novel, set in London during the 1960s, about a casual love affair, an unplanned pregnancy, and one young woman’s decision to become a mother.

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mothers with their Christopher Robin children, the men with umbrellas against the rain. Sitting in Harley Street, no doubt, just along the road. By the time my turn to see the doctor came, my complaint seemed so trivial in comparison with the ills of age and worry and penury that I had doubts about presenting it at all. Reason told me, however, that I must do so, and I did. The woman in white showed me into the surgery: Dr. Moffatt was a harassed, keen-looking young man, with pale ginger

particularly through the education agency that had sent them to me. Yet while I was expounding to them my theories, I was always overcome by a sense of inadequacy, for which I paid at a rate of seven and six an hour. I suppose I taught because of my social conscience. I was continually aware that my life was too pleasant by half, spent as it was in the gratification of my own curiosity and of my peculiar aesthetic appetite. I have nothing against original research into minor authors, but I am my

gathered enough strength to ask what I should do about her cold, and was not dismayed when he said nothing, nothing at all, except for a baby aspirin at night. When he had gone, I went back and picked Octavia up and sat her on my knee and gazed at her, possessed by the most fearful anguish, aware, as all must be on such occasions, that my state had changed in ten minutes from unknown bliss to known though undefined sorrow. I wept, naturally, for I weep daily for some cause or other, and Octavia

on smiling and reassuring me, and soon I believed her, for it became suddenly clear that it was quite out of the question that anything should have gone wrong, that of course we had been lucky, Octavia and I. When I got round to speaking, I asked if I could see her, and they said to come back in the morning, as she was still unconscious and not to be disturbed. Of course, I said humbly, and backed away, full of gratitude towards the lot of them: then I went and wept copiously in the cloakroom,

coughed again. It was so mild, so gentle a noise, so like a clearing of the throat, that I knew I should not take it seriously; I knew it was nothing. And yet responsibility lay so heavy on me that I could not take what I knew to be the truth. The thought of a long, doctorless Christmas, without penicillin, oppressed me beyond all reason; I could not bear the thought that any however trifling or permissible negligence of mine should ever cause her any possibility of harm. I would have to go for

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