AHA! So there’s the possibility that Dr John is not the hero of our story after all. I have to confess I was a bit confused with Lucy’s future voice, which hints he’s not her Prince Charming:
Dr. John, you pained me afterwards: forgiven be every ill–freely forgiven–for the sake of that one dear remembered good!
But it’s also at about this point that “past” Lucy starts finding cracks in the glowing image she’s create around Graham. There was for instance, the light-hearted way he judged Vashti’s performance (so different from the impact on Lucy), and how he acted during the episode of the lost letter:
Graham in mirthful mood must not be humoured too far. Just now there was a new sort of smile playing about his lips–very sweet, but it grieved me somehow–a new sort of light sparkling in his eyes: not hostile, but not reassuring.
And if during those two occasions Lucy seems only to become sad and disappointed, we also see he can out-right annoy her:
“Happiness is the cure–a cheerful mind the preventive: cultivate both.”
No mockery in this world ever sounds to me so hollow as that of being told to _cultivate_ happiness. What does such advice mean? Happiness is not a potato, to be planted in mould, and tilled with manure.
I also get easily annoyed with this self-help babble. Someone should print t-shirts saying “Happiness is not a potato.” – how cool would that be? I would buy one!
Apparently, Dr John is not the intellectual equal (who treats her like an equal) that Lucy needs. This has become more evident with the return of Polly. I’m still to decided what I find more annoying: Polly as child giving herself adult airs or Polly the adult acting like a child. Is she Bronte’s not-so-veiled sting at the infantilization of women?
Still, Lucy has proven to be an unreliable narrator before, so maybe I’ll have to swallow my words soon. Maybe these “disagreements” are just a sweet way that Lucy Breton has of saying to her husband “Do you remember how silly you were, you old dear?” But I hope not. I’d rather have a story in which Lucy grows to know more about who she is and what she wants than one in which Dr. John suddenly realizes he’s been blind all along.