Don't read this post if you're 'saving up' book IV. It might give away some key plot ideas.
I've finally seen how to resolve a bit of the story surrounding Edward Strelley and Elizabeth. The regular reader might be conscious of the fact that I never had or have a specific plan for any of the plot points with These Matters, rather I try to let nature take its course as I write the various scenes. So I've figured out roughly what scenes I need, now, to bring the events of 1549 to a close as regards these two. Still some way off from doing the same for Longshawe, de Winter and Pike, but getting there gradually. With a view to testing the water, then, here's a bit from later on in the book where Strelley and Elizabeth finally meet again after their long separation. I'm not sure I've got it right, yet, but it might be some insight into the process of developing these scenes. I'm not good at romance - in a number of senses - but I've tried to capture the strength of these feelings in how they speak to each other.
“Elizabeth!” Strelley says. His eyes fill with tears.
She says nothing, but goes to him, and throws her arms around him. The embrace lasts for minutes, hours, days, forever.
She releases him, and they sit down opposite each other. Her hand stretches out. He takes it in his, and holds it, stroking his thumb across the back of it. Then he looks into her face. She too is weeping.
“I’m sorry,” he says. “I’m so, so sorry.”
“Do not be.” She puts her other hand on his shoulder. “You are here.”
“I should not be.”
“That is not how I feel. Not now. Not any more.”
“The risk…” Strelley begins, but he stops. Then, he says, “I thought of you. Always.”
“And I you. I never told you, Edward Strelley. I love you.”
At this, Strelley’s head drops. “I wish you did not. Then I could leave you. Forever. Bear the weight myself.”
“It is not yours alone. I too wanted this… whatever it is that I feel… I wanted to be free of it. But I am not, and I shall not be. So we must each learn to live with it.” She lifts his chin, drawing her hand from between his, then holds his face. She looks at him, her eyes darting back and forth, reading his thoughts in the gloom. Then, briefly, tenderly, through her tears, with shaking hands, she kisses him. “I love you, Edward. And that is all.”
When to the sessions of sweet silent thought