That was, at least, a job one could do. These family jobs—they still go on, they never cease, even when one is getting middle-aged and one’s brain has gone to pot. They remain, always, the jobs of the affections.
She would write to Nan to-night, and tell her she was starting for Rome in a few days, to have a respite from the London fogs.
But she did not start for Rome, or even write to Nan, for when she got home she went to bed with influenza.
The happiness Mrs. Hilary now enjoyed was of the religious type—a deep, warm glow, which did not lack excitement. She felt as those may be presumed to feel who have just been converted to some church—newly alive, and sunk in spiritual peace, and in profound harmony with life. Where were the old rubs, frets, jars and ennuis? Vanished, melted like yesterday’s snows in the sun of this new peace. It was as if she had cast her burden upon the Lord. That, said her psycho-analyst doctor, was quite in order; that was what it ought to be like. That was, in effect, what she had in point of fact done; only the place of the Lord was filled by himself. To put the matter briefly, transference of burden had been effected; Mrs. Hilary had laid all her cares, all her perplexities, all her grief, upon this quiet, acute-looking man, who sat with her twice a week for an hour, drawing her out, arranging her symptoms for her, penetrating the hidden places of her soul, looking like a cross between Sherlock Holmes and Mr. Henry Ainley. Her confidence in him was, he told her, the expression of the father-image, which surprised Mrs. Hilary a little, because he was twenty years her junior.
Mrs. Hilary felt that she was getting to know herself very well indeed. Seeing herself through Mr. Cradock’s mind, she felt that she was indeed a curious jumble of complexes, of strange, mysterious impulses, desires and fears. Alarming, even horrible in some ways; so that often she thought “Can he be right about me? Am I really like that? Do I really hope that Marjorie (Jim’s wife) will die, so that Jim and I may be all in all to each other again? Am I really so wicked?” But Mr. Cradock said that it was not at all wicked, perfectly natural and normal—the Unconscious was like that. And worse than that; how much worse he had to break to Mrs. Hilary, who was refined and easily shocked, by gentle hints and slow degrees, lest she should be shocked to death. Her dreams, which she had to recount to him at every sitting, bore such terrible significance—they grew worse and worse in proportion, as Mrs. Hilary could stand more.
“Ah well,” Mrs. Hilary sighed uneasily, after an interpretation into strange terms of a dream she had about bathing, “it’s very odd, when I’ve never even thought about things like that.”
“Your Unconscious,” said Mr. Cradock, firmly, “has thought the more. The more your Unconscious is obsessed by a thing, the less your conscious self thinks of it. It is shy of the subject, for that very reason.”