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A Blossoming Flower Desperately Seeking Romance (Ross and Demelza Poldark: The Love Story -Pt2)

Art of Vera Adexer (@veraAdxer_Art)

'Perhaps Ross would refuse to let her go. But there was no proper feeling for her on his part, not beyond a kindly interest.' 
Book One- Ross Poldark

As set out in the first part of the series of blogs looking at the Ross and Demelza love story (Falling in friendship), from their very first meeting in April 1784 they fell into a firm friendship with each other effortlessly. Over the course of three years Demelza, as narrated by Graham then became Ross's closest companion in Verity's absence. Despite as told to us in book twelve (Bella) having '..known long before she was seventeen whom she loved and would always love.', Demelza had never intended to do anything about this and certainly not to play the seductress with him. Not when knowing full well that he did not feel the same way. However with an author determined to bring them together, the next stage in their love story would mean that one or both of them would need to turn the tables on their companionship and bring about a romantic encounter. Also the lead up to this had to ensure that as well as there being some driving motive, regardless of Demelza's lack of confidence the success of such an encounter could be a possibility. Especially when looking back on their journey to piece together how this could have been possible. That person of the two would be Demelza and here we looked at what made her come to a point where she would take the gamble and suddenly feel a need to kick start what would become the beginning of the romantic part of her love story with Ross and also where it simultaneously became physical.

An eye for the blossoming of Demelza
Although Ross was not in love with Demelza it still needed to be plausible that he would even be tempted to sleep with her, let alone willing to do so in the end. After all if it was Prudie who came before him in a blue dress it just still would not have happened. There would surely be no temptation or will on Ross's part. The fact that his relationship with Demelza had moved on beyond friendship to companionship was already a significant foundation and starting point. So too was it that just beforehand Ross had begun to notice Demelza as a 'flowering maiden' rather than just a young girl who was formerly a street urchin. Not long after her arrival at Nampara three years before he had thought that 'She was not an ill-looking girl and had a good clear skin and a quick mobility of expression; her eyes were intelligent and very frank.' He had also thought that 'In another couple of years some young miner like Jim Carter would be courting her.' However three years forward he noted further changes.

Ross Poldark watching Demelza dance at a wedding in season 1
In fact in April 1787, a month or so before Demelza decided to seduce him, when he was hosting a business meeting to discuss the preliminary works on the Wheal Leisure mine, Ross had noticed the gentlemen noticing Demelza. In stealing a look himself Ross saw that Demelza was now 'A well grown and developing girl, barely recognizable as the scrawny half starved urchin he had swilled under the pump three years ago.' The change in Demelza's overall look is also confirmed by her father. Upon seeing her to ask her to return home he took ' the full change in her, the way she had advanced, matured, grown to a woman's shape.' Such was the change that his next thought was to ask if she was living in sin with Ross. Nevertheless despite this change it still did not occur to Ross to link himself with her romantically. Indeed the seduction of Ross by Demelza would quite literally turn everything on its head with regards to how he saw her. However it was a factor that before and within this seduction he had already begun not to see her as a street urchin but rather as a blossoming girl which he found to his surprise that he ultimately desired.

A desperate incentive (A home with some kindness)
Demelza Poldark arguing with her father Tom Carne near nampara cliffs season 1
There is no doubt that Demelza's father visiting her earlier in the day of 30th May 1787 and threatening to return in order to take her back with him was the trigger for her plan to seduce Ross later that day. The immediate effect on her of his suggestion was that 'As he spoke she had a feeling as if something was freezing inside her.' Before then the idea to seduce Ross had never occurred to her. With thoughts that the success of such an idea '..was as impossible as turning copper to gold.', it surely would have been a ludicrous idea. In fact she had considered that as a man Ross probably took his 'pleasures' on his visits to town and she felt sure that for such pleasures '....she would be the last person he would turn to.' She thought ',,,-but he would laugh and laugh. Ross Poldark lying with the child he had befriended and swilled under the pump and scolded and taught and upbraided and joked with over the pilchards in Sawle.' In addition to fearing his laugh, she feared his contempt and initially decided that 'The idea was bad. Put it away. Lose it. Bury it.' However the threat that Demelza's father posed without question instilled in her such a fear and a sense of such desperation and urgency that she was prepared to go down this 'impossible' route. It would later lead her to a moment facing Ross in a blue dress which for her '...In all her life this was the moment she most dreaded.'

Why was Demelza so desperate?
Demelza Poldark with her father Tom Carne arguing near nampara season 1
Of Ross and Nampara, Demelza thought 'She couldn't leave this. Not for anything.' And certainly not for '...a home where no kindness had ever been shown her.' Nampara was the opposite. She further thought that it was where her ties were and where '...she was free,....' It was where she worked with people 'she had grown to like and for a man she adored.' Apart from her belief that back in her father's home she would either be oppressed 'Whether the ruling force was the leather strap or religious zeal...' her preference for Nampara was about matters of the heart and not about material things. They were about her sense of belonging and personal growth as well as her love of Ross. Graham in the narrator's voice explained that Nampara had brought her '...happinesses in her life she had not understood until they were on her.' and it was there that 'Her soul had blossomed under them. The abilities to reason and think and talk were new to her -or they had grown in a way that amounted to newness..' She felt that if she returned to her father that 'All that would be stopped. All these new lights would go out,....' 

Primarily Demelza had wanted for Ross to be willing to object to her father taking her back. She knew that unlike three years before the case for this was stronger as her father was now apparently a reformed man who had remarried. However she thought Ross's objection was unlikely because '..there was no proper feeling for her on his part, not beyond a kindly interest.' She thought Ross would need to be more emotionally invested in her for him to want to put up any resistance against her father again. Ironically it was most likely this and her father's questions about rumours of her living in sin with Ross that inspired her to use that very concept and offer herself to Ross that evening.

Basic expectations
It is interesting that Demelza's expectations were low all round about the success of her planned seduction that day. As she thought that 'But tomorrow would come. Tomorrow offered nothing to hope for.', it is evident that this was a girl at the height of desolation, worry and desperation. To her the gamble was that 'There would be no loss if the idea failed. The loss would be that she would have to take his (Ross's) contempt with her.' Then on the other hand she thought that 'Even if she succeeded she might still earn his contempt. But she would not go.' So thinking that even if it worked Ross might still hold contempt for her Demelza certainly did not seem to be aspiring to become his mistress. As it happened, for Demelza the idea of the rumours that she was having a sexual relationship with Ross to her '...had a fascination about it; ..' but 'she had seldom before allowed herself to face it. Her mind explored it tentatively, timidly, tried to see it all the way round.' Demelza did think that if she had a sexual relationship with Ross that she would not have been living and breathing as a 'humble servant'. However in her further thoughts about this she did not consider this in material terms for instance that she would be his mistress or queen of Nampara. Rather she thought of it from the emotional perspective of feeling pride in this. She thought; 'Proud? Yes, she would be proud. There could be nothing but pride in knowing the attentions, however by-the-way like of a man such as Ross.' This insight reinforces that ultimately Demelza was in love with the man. Graham had already narrated that she adored him and later (as referred above) that in 'Bella Poldark' it had been by this age that she knew she loved him. The pride she felt she would feel was of a man that she held in high regard. It was also that the value she placed in having such a relationship with him was that she would have his attentions. This is what mattered to her most rather than her focus being on what he could provide her materially and how he could elevate her. Indeed her driving force was the man and the home of kindness that he provided to her and that she felt a sense of belonging to. This as well as growth and happiness from this home.
Ross and Demelza Poldark argue in the blue dress seduction scene season 1
Demelza in her thoughts did not seem to explore much further than the idea that being with Ross would give her the authority to tell her father 'Back? I'm not coming back. This is where I belong.' Though Demelza would be filled with pride to have Ross's attentions, she clearly did not have aspirations or any notion that he should be compelled to marry her if her seduction was successful. Even though it transpired that this was indeed the end result, Graham told the reader that 'If Ross had not wished to marry her she would not have fretted for something else...' Despite adoring and loving Ross a long time before Demelza did not seem to have delusions and a long term goals of grandeur. Her goal was simply to stay at Nampara with a man she adored and new friends she worked with. Ultimately, and happily, this and receiving Ross's attentions and his proposal of marriage was more than she had bargained for. 

The next blog in the Ross and Demelza love story series is (A seduction, blue dress and a spirit of love). This will look at Demelza's fate driven discovery of the almost spellbinding blue dress and the night that with this she and Ross would become lovers. But also in this the interweaving of a few ingredients that made it clear that the outcome of this night was not quite all in Demelza's hands and was potentially a foreboding of what was to be a special and binding relationship and love story to span a further eleven books. 

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