The Free Women 1
‘You’re so stupid about children, Richard. They don’t like being split,’ said Molly. ‘Look at the people he knows with me — artists, writers, actors and so on.’
‘And politicians. Don’t forget the comrades.’
‘Well, why not? He’ll grow up knowing something about the world he lives in, which is more than you can say about your three — Eton and Oxford, it’s going to be, for all of them. Tommy knows all kinds. He won’t see the world in terms of the little fishpond of the upper class.’
Anna said: ‘You’re not going to get anywhere if you two go on like this.’ She sounded angry; she tried to right it with a joke: ‘What it amounts to is, you two should never have married, but you did, or at least you shouldn’t have had a child, but you did —’ Her voice sounded angry again, and again she softened it, saying, ‘Do you realize you two have been saying the same things over and over for years? Why don’t you accept that you’ll never agree about anything and be done with it?’
‘How can we be done with it when there’s Tommy to consider?’ said Richard, irritably, very loud.
‘Do you have to shout?’ said Anna. ‘How do you know he hasn’t heard every word? That’s probably what’s wrong with him. He must feel such a bone of contention.’
Molly promptly went to the door, opened it, listened. ‘Nonsense, I can hear him typing upstairs.’ She came back saying, ‘Anna, you make me tired when you get English and tight-lipped.’
‘I hate loud voices.’
‘Well I’m Jewish and I like them.’
Richard again visibly suffered. ‘Yes — and you call yourself Miss Jacobs. Miss. In the interests of your right to independence and your own identity — whatever that might mean. But Tommy has Miss Jacobs for a mother.’
‘It’s not the miss you object to,’ said Molly cheerfully. ‘It’s the Jacobs. Yes it is. You always were anti-semitic.’
‘Oh hell,’ said Richard, impatient.