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Love To Cherish, Forgive And Forget (Ross and Demelza Poldark: The Love Story Pt 6)

Art work  of @vera adexer

"There is no love without forgiveness and there is no forgiveness without love."
Bryant H McGill 

There is no doubt that shortly after their marriage from August 1787 Ross and Demelza enjoyed a honeymoon period of newly wedded and mutual love. This went from the last fifth of the first book (Ross Poldark) towards the middle of the second book (Demelza) where Graham gradually started to seep aggravators and joy spoilers into their marriage which served to test their love. Ross and Demelza in their story did seem so obviously to demonstrate for each other a love that fits the essence of the key quotes highlighted in the blog 'Not Happy You Are Happy Ross' (which explored Elizabeth's love or lack of love for Ross). This includes the scholarly definitions that 'To Love is to will the good of another'. Also those sayings which emphasise that love requires a selflessness as it is selfishness rather than hate that is the opposite of love. However, whilst they were hero and heroine they were not flawless individuals and in the absence of their complete perfection of character they made mistakes which sometimes caused upset and hurt to the other. This is the sixth blog in the love story series of Ross and Demelza and looks at how they caused disappointment to each other but with a current of love charging their union at all times they were able to overcome them and always loved, cherished and more significantly forgave each other, and in a sense forgot or did not hang on to the other's wrongs. 

With Ross and Demelza Graham had established from an unexpected union a love that made them both happy. One that for Ross brought him a happiness which was the 'greatest of all', which he prayed to God to hold on to. One that for Demelza put a crown of happiness on her and caused her to blossom. In order for their disappointments in each other to be all the more disappointing and potentially threatening it was relevant and meaningful for Graham to first establish Ross and Demelza as this loving and happy couple beforehand. He wrote lovely scenes cataloguing their wedded bliss but also of the continuing shifts in their relationship which highlighted the true partnership that they were forming in the first couple of books. But also they highlighted a slightly different dependency that was emerging between them. 

Romancing Before The Storms

As Ross and Demelza 
bore the first fruit of their love with their child Julia in the second book (Demelza), there was much affection, loving and humorous dialogue between them. The scene of Ross slipping back home as Demelza played the spinet only for him to creep up on her like a 'tom cat' is one example. It is heart-warming romance as they then playfully wrestled over a ball invitation that in the excitement they eventually ripped in half before Ross '..gave up the struggle and caught her to him and kissed her.'  Ross making fun of her as they read each half of the torn invitation together, and then cross examining a guilty Demelza over Garrick's crockery breakages concluded in mutual laughter as they then '....sat down on the settle and giggled together.' Clearly this was quite the picture of marital bliss for the reader to swoon over. Ross was clearly a man in love and who was actually quite excited himself to take his wife to her first ball.
Ross and Demelza Poldark kiss in Nampara
He expressed his love further by going far out of his way to arrange surprises for her. Purchasing a very expensive dress and brooch for her to wear at the ball, and secretly arranging for her to receive these at short notice beforehand was probably one of the most premeditatedly romantic gestures that he made in their marriage. 
However it was the night of this ball that they had their 'first' notable argument.  The beauty still, was that it was one that still ended with quite an endearing and unifying scene of marital partnership. But this we would find was often the case after most of their fall outs.

Ingredients That Weather The Storms

1 Corithians 13: 4-5 bible passage about nature of love
Going through Ross and Demelza's disappointments it will be apparent that the well known saying (again taken from the bible) at 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 about the nature of true love, holds the secret to why we can be sure that Ross and Demelza's love was real and secondly how their love remained in tact 
right through to the end of the saga and over each scenario of disappointment. 
'Love is patient and Kind, Love is not jealous, it does not boast and it is not proud. Love is not rude, it is not self serving and it cannot be made angry easily. Love does not remember and store up wrongs done against it.' 

Demelza clearly demonstrated that her love for Ross was kind, patient and unselfish when having been so excited for her first ball Ross then cancelled their plans in light of his distress over Jim Carter's death. She uttered no word of protest even after tearing up when seeing Ross's surprise dress for her and how beautiful it was. Graham wrote that she did not press Ross on this matter 'For it did seem to her just a matter of loyalty. He must do as he chose and she, at whatever disappointment, must accept it.' (Demelza)  Then when explaining to Verity that they would not be going to the ball after all, she spoke on behalf of herself and Ross with one voice in saying "We-we have been a little upset. Verity. It is tragical about Jim is it not..."  In this early example Demelza was prepared to hide and sacrifice her own disappointment with no complaints in order to support Ross and to maintain a position of unity with him without any resentment.

A loving End To A Disappointing Beginning

Although following Verity's intervention Ross and Demelza did attend this ball after all, Ross's sour mood from Jim's death, the injustice that stemmed from this and his exposing of George's cousin 'Samson' as a gambling cheat that night only added more tension between them there. As Ross consoled himself with drink having not been sober in four days they argued on the ball room floor. Him accusing Demelza of flirting with other men and she accusing him of neglecting her. Of course on the whole this was more of a tiff than a very serious marital incident. But still it was an indication early in their marriage of their ability to manage their conflicts and for the reader to see the romance and their love for each other shine through even in their more angst interactions and in the midst of conflict. The night ended with a very significant and tender scene. Ross softened at the sight of Demelza when he joined her in their assigned bedroom. He apologised to her and confided in her about his feelings and how he realised he had let her down. He was physically nurturing as 'His hands went round the back of her neck and buried themselves in the mass of her hair...' and 'He pulled on it gently until she was again meeting his gaze.' Then, now on their bed, after he bemoaned the ways of the 'wry world' 
'She put her arms about him and drew his head on to her shoulder.' Graham closed the scene there but not before stating that 'It was the first time they had ever lain like this...' In doing so Graham emphasised this as a special and significant moment as it seemed to highlight a shift in the dynamics of their relationship.
Here Ross was the vulnerable one. It was a continuing of this idea that Ross was just as dependent on Demelza emotionally as she was on him. This time not in the way of her in her maidenhood bringing flowers into the room or doing or saying something that was unintentionally humorous, but maturely in the way and role of a loving wife. Though she had not yet known how to control his anger, she had responded to him in a way that was indeed lovingly sensitive. Rather than inflame his anger through criticism she was a slow and patient comfort to him. She showed him this kindness and patience intuitively and met his emotional needs. Thereby she stimulated a healthy conciliatory and healing response from him. Truly this was something she had done much earlier in the evening when she sat behind him and watched fearfully as he potentially 
gambled their assets away and she once intervened to offer and sacrifice the beautiful and expensive brooch he had given to her that same day.  

Love In The Face of Deception

A Help To Verity And A Long Lie To Ross 

It was not long in the same book two (Demelza) where Ross experienced his
 first marital disappointment in Demelza. This was significant as for him it was the realisation that she was not as perfect as he had thought. He had been furious at her following her revelation of her year long secrecy to help Verity reconnect with Captain Blamey behind his back. Francis wrongly assuming Ross had been responsible for this instead had lashed out in anger and revealed the names of the men funding the Carnemore Copper Company to George. Naturally George then used this information to bring on its collapse. Having believed that she was without a flaw, when Demelza made her confession Ross displayed a level of anger towards her that he had never ever before.
As a testament to his very high and glowing regard of her, in the first instance he had queried his belief of her as the 
'one constant' in his life that was 'The one thing that would be changeless and untouchable.....Demelza... true to the grain.' Still, after angrily going after her and roughly pulling her back into confrontation, in demonstrating that his love meant that he was not easily angered by her or in this case that any anger he had of her was not a lasting one, it indeed did not hold even to the end of this scene. Within moments, though still highly annoyed, Ross's reaction turned from anger to understanding. Even then it moved to a partial defence of her actions. Graham wrote that early on Ross's anger settled and 'found it's true level' and that his '...sense of fairness' concluded that it was '...not her blame. At least not the consequences.' Moving forward Ross's anger did not resurface on this towards her. He saw the good in Demelza's intention and in the end even suggested that maybe her intentions were the "common sense- view". 

Togetherness In The Fallout 

The fallout from Demelza's meddling for Verity became an episode and m
oments of imperfection and disappointment in the Ross and Demelza love story which actually ended up highlighting its strength and their unity. Graham enabled the reader to see here that this was a couple who loved enough to be able to work through their conflict, disappointment in each other and move on in forgiveness and love as Ross did do in this case. Neither were proud in their love (Love does not boast and it is not proud), neither sought to blame the other. Whilst Ross instead turned towards upset and blame of Francis, Demelza humbled herself and expressed a wish to make amends and rectify some of the fallout. So the episode was yet another demonstration of kindness, patience, and tolerance of their flaws. On this occasion it was from Ross to Demelza. Instead, as if to protect her from the anguish of overwhelming guilt, not only did Ross not judge Demelza harshly or store up this wrong against her but for her peace of mind he sought to downplay the enormity of the consequence on his business endeavours which in his thought he considered was due to some betrayal by Francis. There is also a lovely scene later where still riddled with guilt about the whole affair Demelza showed Ross a letter Verity had written to report and update on her happy progress following her elopement with Captain Blamey. In a show of loving support by Ross to Demelza Graham told that 'She put her hand on his shoulders, reading it again with him, and he put his fingers over hers.' A very subtle gesture but nonetheless one that stands out as kind and representative of his unity with her. So although the debacle was described by Graham as 'the first shadow on their relationship' and that their quarrel from it had not been forgotten but just ignored, Ross was clearly offering further reassurance and confirmation that he was not holding this against her. Instead he commended her saying "So your experiment prospers more than mine. Perhaps your instinct was the surer." 

A Case of Ross Secretly Patronising the Ex 

It was not just Demelza caught out for spousal deception. Ross was too when in the fourth book (Warleggan) he gave Elizabeth £600 from the sale of his mine shares and on that he thought himself that 'He had not told Demelza what he'd done, and he hoped it would be a long time before she found out.' With £600 being the equivalent of a decent two to three years income for a gentleperson, and with a value today of around £80-90k, this was not a trivial matter or a token sum of money. Especially because at that time they themselves were in financial dire straits for their own family. It was much needed for them. Yet remembering that this was 
before Ross had been thrown a financial life line due to the unexpected discovery of a profitable tin load in his mine and that much to his wife and child's benefit this is what later spared him from debtor's prison, Ross had therefore given what would have been life saving funds for his family to his ex lover. 
nbeknown to Ross, Demelza was made aware of Ross selling his shares by a third party. In this she showed a love that believed, trusted in Ross and was not easily or at all prone to anger against him (as most women would be finding out he had given this sum of money away and to their ex lover). In the first instance she did not even seek to question him about this and then when weeks later in response to her casual enquiry about it he begrudgingly confirmed that he had obtain this money from the sale of shares, she did not then ask what he did with it and why he had kept this secret. She simply stated "It is your money, Ross. You must do with it as you please." When he confessed that he had actually given the money to Elizabeth and asked Demelza if she blamed him, even with their own desperate circumstances her reply was "Of course not. Not for myself, I don't. I am not so sure for Jeremy. But then 'tis done, and no good will come now of talking of it." This incredibly fair response was again in keeping with a love that was not only selfless and not easily angered but also not at all judgmental or storing this up as one of his wrongs against her. Demelza never threw this deception back at him at any later date or showed any resentment towards him for this. 

Julia In Exchange For Geoffrey Charles 

The loss of Ross and Demelza's first child Julia was probably one of their most devastating experiences in their marriage. Though they both felt the loss badly, Ross managed his grief less well. Of course real life stories have often shown that the death of a child in a marriage can sometimes bring it to breaking point. Even more so when some blame can be pointed at one half of the couple for the death. The circumstances of Julia's death were such that there is a question mark over if Demelza bore some blame. Julia died of the putrid throat illness which in today's time we know to be diphtheria. There are some clues that Demelza may not have been infected at the time she called on the Trenwith household to help them in their sickness, but instead beforehand. 
This is explored in a post all about Julia's death called 'The Mystery of Blame' but for now the point is that Graham did not confirm either way but he instead wrote the story so that the characters would think transmission at Trenwith was the obvious and natural presumption. This is important because Ross's love and the nature of it for Demelza would of course be tested if he also presumed this too and if in his grief he therefore slipped into a blame game, bitterness towards Demelza or held inner resentments which served to poison their love and marriage. What is interesting is that not long after Julia's death and whilst Ross was fresh at the height of his grief and destructive anger, he did say to Dwight in that second book "Demelza saved Geoffrey Charles and gave Julia in his place." This of course is a profound statement which rightly or wrongly clearly laid blame on Demelza for Julia's death. However that is where it seemed to end in that this belief did not go any further to impact negatively on Ross's love for Demelza and how he exercised it.  When based on her own paranoia and in a drunken stupor in the tenth book (The Loving Cup) Demelza accused Ross of thinking her responsible for Julia's death, he referred to her rantings in general as "nonsense". 
As per the analogies in 1 Corinthians 13:4 about what love is, after that first comment by Ross to Dwight there was no where else in the remaining books that Ross thought further of this or demonstrated any ill thought and resentment towards Demelza for Julia's death based on the idea she was to blame. So it was like it was a quickly forgotten thought without any real condemnation. Graham instead wrote that Ross's bitterness in general was then directed more towards Francis and Elizabeth. 

In contrast to Ross potentially having feelings of bitterness to Demelza after Julia's death, instead her ability to manage her grief better than him was not something that he was sour, irritated or envious about in a negative way. But as with a love that seeks the good or has good will for the other Graham wrote of Ross that instead 'He thanked God for it.' At this stage in their marriage (in this second book), in their bereavement and going forward, this was a strong indicator of the real metal in this marriage on account of their bond and love for each other and the way they loved. Graham writing Ross as initially saying Demelza was to blame for Julia's death only emphasises this quality more than if the thought had not occurred to Ross at all. When looking at Ross's attitude with Demelza it really was as if his statement was said more as a statement of a fact without the emotion of blame or resentment towards her fuelling it. He still loved and was loving towards Demelza in a pure, untainted and unshakeable way that speaks to the beautiful quality of the love they had for each other. It was the kind that years later an adult Jeremy in the tenth book (The loving Cup) observed of his parents and spoke of as being a 'rare kind of union'. 

Forgiveness after Unfaithfulness

It is unfortunate that the unshakeable nature of Ross and Demelza's love is proven in their infidelities or that this should oddly be the silver lining that shone when the clouds cleared away each time in those marital crisis. 
A key question naturally is 'how could such a loving couple then be unfaithful in this way?' However it was so. This question will be the focus in the upcoming blog 'Surviving Romantic Temptations', which unearths one of the themes in the aftermath of their infidelities which was their forgiveness of each other and their ability to move on in love without holding the other's wrongs against them. In the fifth book (Black Moon) Graham referred the 'warmth' of Ross and Demelza's reconciliation after Ross's unfaithfulness with Elizabeth but highlighted that this was on the basis that they had '...all defences down.' Of course that signifies an opening up to each other which involved forgiveness, and a commitment to love in a way that was not proud but where they instead stripped themselves of this and again did not point score their wrongs. There was also a mature acceptance of past wrongs and a refusal to let that mar their love. In the seventh book (The Angry Tide), where Demelza questioned Ross's decision to look in on Trenwith after which he had a chance meeting with Elizabeth outside it, she asked him "Is it because I've failed you since then?" He replied that "Perhaps we've failed each other." When she asked him again he repeated this but Graham wrote that Ross '..replied, not lightly, but almost as it were in passing, as if it must be an observed and accepted fact between them.' 

Similarly in the eighth book (Stranger From The Sea), when Demelza asked Ross why he advised her to keep Hugh Armitage's ailing plant given to her by him as a gift, Ross explained that
" has become part of our lives." Graham's narrative continued 'A reminder of a past error, his as well as hers, but he did not say as much. It was implicit. And without rancour.' In 'The Angry Tide', after telling Ross that she had had to compete with the ideal of Elizabeth all her married life Demelza proposed that such a feeling he now felt a bit of too "..shouldn't be allowed to wreck all that we still have." And when speaking with Jeremy in the tenth book about her past marriage troubles and Ross's faults she told him that "There is a way that you come to love a person when blemishes are part of him and therefore don't count for much in the whole picture." She also spoke in the twelfth book (Bella Poldark) of her marriage saying "I have only one regret-and that is that time just goes too fast." All this from both of them demonstrated a mindset with a mature acceptance of their past wrongs at its core, as well as an equal blame sharing and accountability. By comparison this was something that was quite lacking in the marriage of Francis and Elizabeth. But more significantly Ross and Demelza demonstrated a commitment to just keep on loving each other.

A Divine Art of Forgiveness

Finally, and close to the end of the seventh book (The Angry Tide) Graham provides more story content which yet again demonstrates the truly rich and forgiving love between Ross and Demelza which therefore salvaged another tumultuous fall out between them. After Ross in his jealous anger killed Demelza's much unwanted and unromantic admirer Monk Adderley, she in her own anger and disappointment at Ross's behaviour left him in London and returned to Nampara without telling him. It was once said by the late English Poet Alexander Pope that
"To err is human, to forgive is divine." If so then so too is the dialogue between Ross and Demelza when he returned home from London to join her. Both of them volunteered that their behaviour was "not well done". Again sharing blame. But believing and referring to himself as the 'chief offender' Ross did ask what he should say to make things right. Acknowledging that they must be more tolerant of each other, when asked for the solution for a reconciliation Demelza actually highlighted what had in fact been the key to their success all along when she stated that "Perhaps we must just go on living-learning, Ross.", "And loving." Said Ross, to which Demelza replied "That most of all."  

It would be an incorrect romanticisation to suggest that Ross and Demelza got over all of these marital catastrophes with ease. That is not at all the case. 'Warleggan' documents a seven month face off between them after Ross's affair with Elizabeth and 'The Angry Tide' a two year period of Ross brooding about Demelza's affair with Hugh Armitage. There were periods of miscommunication, a lack of understanding, anger and stubborn but temporary stalemates. However, as Bryant H McGill spoke of there being no love without forgiveness and no forgiveness without love, Ross and Demelza's story is that ultimately their love was indeed always a current in the background which charged their never faltering attachment and commitment to work through their troubles, forgive and be together. Eventually it always brought them back to full reconciliation which was heartfelt and genuine rather than just for the sake of it. It is this that makes for a far more rewarding love story than one without any struggles at all. And in this last scene referred to, Ross did himself suggest something that Alexander Pope would much agree with when he said that "Perhaps in the end one measures the quality of one's forgiveness by the quality of one's love."  When asked if her love was lacking Demelza said "NO" but this was the case for both of them in all their disappointments with each other and why they overcame them. So if Alexander Pope was right about the capacity to forgive being divine, the love between Ross and Demelza really did then have a divine nature to it too. 

The upcoming blogs in this series will look at their love story moving forward from Julia's birth when circumstances forced their love to be challenged 'Love For Better or Worse' before even more challenges in the one that follows 'Surviving Romantic Temptations'.  

 A Blossoming flower desperately seeking romance (Ross and Demelza- The Love Story Pt3) 

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