The Four Loves

Lewis, C. S.

Fontana, 1963

pp. 48 - 49

Lewis, for a celebrated academic and popular author, was remarkably astute about domestic matters, including domestic tyranny, in which a dominant figure could be “a good person in the worst sense of the term.”  So his account of “Mrs. Fidget,” who “very often said that she lived for her family.  And it was not untrue.  Everyone in the neighborhood 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 to do it.  But she didn’t.  There was always a hot lunch for anyone who was at home and always a hot meal at night (even in mid-summer).  They implored her not to provide this.  They protested almost with tears in their eyes (and with truth) that they liked cold meals.  It made no difference.  She was living for her family.  She always sat up to ‘welcome’ you 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.  She was always making things too; being in her own estimation an excellent amateur dressmaker and a great knitter.  And, of course, unless you were a heartless brute, you had to wear the things.”  When she died the Vicar said that Mrs. Fidget was “now at rest.  Let us hope she is.  What’s quite certain is that her family are.”