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Absence Of A Devastated Heart- Elizabeth Compared (Pt2 A Lacking Instinct Of Love For Ross Poldark)

The previous and part one of this post titled 'The Distant And Cheating Heart Of Elizabeth' covers Elizabeth's loving instinct when she was separated from Ross before the written story began. They were each other's first love and they had promised to marry when he returned to her from war. What was apparent was that during this separation from Ross, Elizabeth's loving instinct was lacking. Rather than absence making her heart grow fonder and her faithfully waiting for Ross, the opposite happened. Instead, she didn't wait for Ross and she formed a new attachment with his cousin, Francis Poldark. As narrated by Graham in the first edition of the first book, as well as Ross realising through her letters to him that Elizabeth had felt a 'slackening' interest in him while he was away, just as she later told him several times, their love to her was just a 'childish' thing and their romance had just been a 'boy and girl attachment'. This in a sense explains the lack of a loving impulse by her towards Ross at that point in the story, and most likely towards him thereafter. 

Theme of The Separated Lovers

What is also apparent is that the separated lover's theme was one that Graham replicated not just in Elizabeth and Ross's story but several times in his saga in the love stories of other characters. These were characters whose love for their suitor was written so that this love would never be in question to the reader. It so happened that in those stories there were elements of devastation that both of the lovers suffered as a result of their separation from each other. Another manifestation of the loving instinct for these couples was that during the separations they pined for each other, were concerned for the other and often even deteriorated in looks, health and mental well being until they were reunited with each other. It is clear to conclude that in this separated lover's theme and storyline Graham singled Elizabeth out as not suffering from a distraught and devastated heart in Ross's absence, and on his return. This supports the suspicion that equally, unlike the others where they loved and were moved by a feeling of love, Elizabeth did not truly love Ross in that way and therefore was not moved by this level of feeling either.

Elizabeth's Loving Instinct Compared. - A Different Mindset

Comparison can be a great teacher of a 'likely truth' as it is often the case that a significance can be found in commonality or differentiation. Therefore in this post, concepts and themes in Elizabeth's actions and thoughts on Ross (as set out in the previous post), will be set against those in the love stories of characters such as Verity, Caroline, Morwenna, Drake, Clowance and Jeremy. This is because they all had similar dilemmas to Elizabeth in their love stories but she acted differently to them. It's a fair consideration that she went against the grain because her feeling and the impulse this would stimulate was not the same as with the other characters and did not even compare really. 

Although comparisons with other characters might not be a perfect and definitive indication of a fact or this 'likely truth',  as referred above, it can certainly be a revealing and worthy consideration if the outcome consistently goes so far against the norm for how the loving instinct would normally manifest itself. The fact that in respect of Ross, Elizabeth consistently failed to act as if she followed the natural impulse of love or had thoughts akin to this, strongly suggests that this is because she had a completely different mindset and feeling from the other male and female characters that did truly love. 

Stories Elsewhere Of Irreplaceable Forever Love 


"We are people who love once, and if that love does not prosper we find nothing to take it's place." (Verity to Demelza 'Ross Poldark' Book 3-chpt4)  

Verity And Her Forbidden But Irreplaceable Love

If there was a real and true narrated story of a love prevented and forbidden by family, then Verity's one was a real one and was the first one told in the Poldark saga. After Verity's father and Francis forbid her from marrying Captain Blamey she was separated from him for four and half years until they eventually eloped. Throughout that time her love remained and never wavered. Even after three years when she and Demelza became acquainted for the first time, Demelza was able to feel very soon into their friendship when they were still near strangers, that Verity still loved and yearned for the Captain. When Ross had told Demelza that Verity had forgotten Captain Blamey Demelza argued "She hasn't forgotten nothing, Ross. She hasn't got over it. Tis there at the back just the same, like a sore place that won't heal." 

An Unhealed Wound

In direct contrast to Verity's sore place that would not heal, when Ross attended Geoffrey Charles's christening a year into her marriage with Francis, as he accused Elizabeth of lingering affection for Ross, Graham narrated that Francis '...was wrong in being jealous of Ross.' However as Elizabeth faced this accusation he also narrated that from Elizabeth's perspective 'Her quarrel with Ross had long since healed..She had seen nothing of him and was very sorry for him..' (First edition 'Ross Poldark') She had only ever 'idly' compared what she might have had with Ross. All of this narrative does not give the impression of her ever having a devastated heart at being separated from Ross and then a feeling of loss of a great love. Where Verity was still in pain with a wound that would not heal years later, Elizabeth was not and readers were told her issue with Ross had healed for her. 

As with her quote cited above, Verity herself had expressed to Demelza that after finding a real love nothing could ever take it's place afterwards. There surely would never have been 'idle' comparisons by Verity with the Captain against another and lesser replacement. Evidently this reflected her outlook which unlike Elizabeth was directed by a true loving instinct. Whereas Elizabeth on the other hand clearly had not felt the same about Ross while he was at war and at least for a long while after his return, if at all.  In contrast to Verity's statement Elizabeth had indeed allowed for her attachment with Francis to take the place of whatever she felt for and had with Ross. Supposing Verity's comment was true ("for people who love once"), then Elizabeth had not really loved Ross all that much and therefore this had been the very reason she had been able to replace Ross so seamlessly.

Verity And Her Devastated Heart 

Graham made it clear with Verity that he could truly convey the devastated heart of a woman who had lost her true love that could not be replaced. After Captain Blamey was sent off following his duel with Francis, and on the basis that he could never contact Verity again, Graham wrote that 'She entered her room and pushed the bolt across the door ...Her romance was over;...she felt faint and sick, and desperately tired of being alive. If death could come quietly and peacefully she would gladly accept it..' So whilst she was not suicidal Verity did not care to live and this feeling of emptiness persisted during her separation from Captain Blamey and all the while she was deprived of his love. 

Verity's Lost Spirit- Pining For The One True Love

Three years after Verity’s forced breakup with Captain Blamey, when Ross was then married to Demelza and explaining why he wanted Verity to stay with them, he gave Demelza the background of Verity's broken love story. There he told her that despite how long ago this love affair had been broken, this was what Verity's sickness was related to and that therefore this sickness was " of the spirit." Ross further explained that in light of Verity's depression "She has so little interest in life." However Demelza came to see this for herself. It compelled her to try to bring Verity and Captain Blamey together again. Supporting Graham's theme that a woman who truly loved and was separated from that love was visibly changed from this, Demelza told Captain Blamey that Verity now looked "...ten years older than her age." Later Demelza linked this with Verity's separation from him telling the Captain "...she's ill for pining of you!" So while Verity had regressed in the separation from her love, Elizabeth's experience in contrast to this had been the very opposite. Graham never took the opportunity to narrate that Elizabeth had pined over Ross and that her looks had deteriorated when deprived of his love. Based on what Graham wrote, the impression he gave was that Elizabeth had not seemed to have lost interest in life while Ross had been away. Instead Elizabeth had gone on living her life. As she did this she had been open to new courtship and had actually found a new love as a result. 


Caroline- A Beloved Not Playing While The Cat Was Away

There were also the stories of Caroline and Dwight, and Morwenna and Drake where each pair endured a long separation and like Elizabeth one of the halves even had options to replace their real and true love with another suitor. With Caroline she had separated from Dwight after their failed elopement in 'Warleggan'. She had imposed this separation herself in light of her upset at feeling that Dwight had not loved her enough to prioritise their elopement over saving Ross from being caught by the preventative men that night. However, unlike Elizabeth, Caroline could not move on from Dwight and therefore could not consider other suitors too. During her separation from Dwight she turned down a second marriage proposal from Unwin Trevaunance who she did not like anyway but Graham also wrote into her story that she had also received another proposal of marriage which was quite an appealing one from Lord Walter Coniston. Yet she also turned him down too.

During Caroline's separation from Dwight, Lord Coniston like Unwin had also asked her more than once to marry him. Although Graham did not write in the scenes with this character and therefore the  dialogues of his actual proposal to her, it was clear from the narration that he was a very distinguished man whose status would have uplifted her even higher in society. He was a catch for this reason and even Caroline whose standards were high on character said he was "...personable enough." In those days that was all most women would hope for. Love was just a bonus! So just like Francis was to Elizabeth at the time, Lord Coniston would have been a very ideal match for Caroline too. Still, despite that, just as Verity had spoken of her own love, as Caroline had once loved with Dwight, for her too there was nothing thereafter that could replace this. Caroline's heart was still entirely with Dwight and her love could not be derailed in the way that Elizabeth's was. It was for that reason that Caroline refused Lord Coniston twice!

A Steady Love And Devastated Heart For Caroline

During their first separation and after Caroline was cajoled by Ross into admitting (albeit with some protective sarcasm) that she still loved Dwight "Extravagantly!", they reconciled before he went to the Navy. On Dwight’s side his decision to sign up for the navy before this reconciliation had actually been an emotional reaction based on his own devastated heart as a result of their break up and their ongoing separation. But in the reconciliation they recommitted to each other and Graham created parallels here in Caroline's story as with Elizabeth's story. This was through Caroline having the same scenario of promising to marry Dwight on his return from war. (*Nb.The latest 2015 adaption revised this story so that in it Caroline secretly married Dwight before he went to the Navy).

Like Elizabeth, Caroline endured an additional and prolonged separation of over a year and half from Dwight as he was then captured by the French and made a prisoner of war. In total, apart from that brief Christmas reunion (courtesy of Ross's intervention which prompted their reconciliation), they had been separated for just short of two and half years. At two years and four months Elizabeth and Ross had been separated for a little less and had had more letter contact since Ross had not suffered the fate of being captured. But where Elizabeth had not kept the faith with Ross while he was serving at war, Caroline's loving urges compelled her to keep the faith with Dwight throughout. Even when Caroline had cause to fear that Dwight might be dead she did not give up on him or become distracted, such by the other offers of marriage or just living life. Instead her preoccupation and concern for Dwight was her sole distraction. 

A Love That Remembered, Cared And Fought For Love

"Not that I do not wake up in the nights and wonder about my erring fiancé, wonder what he sleeps on and if he has any comforts in his internment and if he ever thinks of me and if he will be released...." Caroline to Demelza and Ross ('The Black Moon' Book 2 Chpt 2)

Graham's narrative stressed how unsettled and anxious Caroline was about Dwight's well being while he was away. He covered just how this impacted her life over that year and half period. He wrote of her distress of the initial news suggesting Dwight's ship was involved in a battle and might be shipwrecked. He wrote of her rushing to see Verity who was a stranger to her at the time but who she still appealed to for help. He wrote of them making enquiries and Caroline doing the same on her own. Graham also wrote of Caroline writing twice to the admiralty for news, considering making the long journey to London to make further enquiries there and consulting with Ross about the matter and strategising with him. It was her need for comfort from Demelza that helped them solidify their friendship as in these moments she could express her worries and fears and receive Demelza's consolation and support. Had she not been discouraged Caroline also planned to offer a ransom for Dwight's return and Ross speculated that her decision to open up her home for French Emigres and her helping as he said " plan an uprising in Brittany, working to overthrow the revolutionaries, is (was) the best way of using up her energies and absorbing some of her anxiety." 

A Connection fueled by Love: Praying And Pining 

Apart from when her first child, Sarah died Caroline's time of separation from Dwight was her at her most vulnerable and a contrast to her usual witty, sharp and sarcastic self. Readers saw a different and distraught Caroline. The reader was invited to see how much she longed for and worried for Dwight as in the quote above where she spoke of waking up at night thinking about him and how he was. Graham took a number of opportunities in his saga to have Caroline say or show that she was anti religion but in this matter, and to show how affected she was he wrote her say that "Indeed, though not a praying woman, as you know, I may try to find words to say something special for one particular man...." Then there was the change in her when she knew he was alive but imprisoned. She explained that it meant she felt " longer alone in this world." This therefore highlighted not only her connection with him fuelled by love but just how unsettled, disturbed and lonely she felt without Dwight or when fearing him dead. As Elizabeth spoke of fearing Ross dead she never gave the impression she went near enough to this type of trauma. Yet he was supposed to be her first and greatest love.

Absence of a Testimony of Devastation

Again with Caroline, Graham clearly depicted the typical trauma of a woman who genuinely loved a man that she was parted from and whose life she was worried for. He did this in writing of her activity to get news on Dwight, to seek his return and in conveying her desolation. This devastation was something (as stated below) that in addition to Graham, other characters would also testify on and would later express to Dwight himself. On the other hand while Elizabeth may have been saddened by gossip that Ross was dead, Graham wrote no narrative to even hint that Elizabeth had experienced a similar trauma and devastation either before or after this in their separation. He had no other character make reference to this either. So with that, this concept and narrative is not part of the story he told for readers to consume. Should the reader choose to go over his head and presume this was the case this would still be inconsistent with what Graham did convey. This was Elizabeth continuing her life, not feeling alone like Caroline or thinking and stressing about Ross to any great and defining degree. Instead he conveyed Elizabeth's 'slackening interest', that she engaged in a new romance in Ross's absence and also the failure of Elizabeth to even suggest to Ross that she had experienced this level of anxiety. In fact when given the opportunity she told Ross "But you went away and I met Francis, and with Francis it was different. I loved him."

Verity would have been the character to have consoled Ross with a testimony of a distraught Elizabeth. Even if it was for a short period. However, as stated in the last post ('The Distant And Cheating Heart of Elizabeth') she did not give the impression that Elizabeth had struggled in his absence or that she had struggled in moving on with Francis. This is most likely because she could not. This means that together with Graham as narrator, there was no testimony from him in narration or from any character that Elizabeth had been greatly unsettled in Ross's absence and that she had been praying and pining for him. 

Of course, Elizabeth would be expected to try and soften Ross's upset and harsh judgment against her on his return to her as a girlfriend then engaged to Francis. For instance, one would expect that Elizabeth would have been eager to convey all the trauma she felt and any effort she had gone through to get news on him while he was away. However Elizabeth did not express and trauma faced by her to Ross and on the issue of his death she stopped at saying she had 'feared' he was dead without adding anything further about what she did in light of this. Elizabeth actually told Ross years later that she had not really believed he was dead. In some ways this is still a concern. It could suggest a dismissiveness or an absentmindedness by her about his fate either way. Naturally it is to be expected that a loving girlfriend would still have a troubling fear and be consumed with worry about 'what if' scenarios. Still, this admission does also highlight that Elizabeth had invested in another relationship knowing Ross was still alive. She therefore did not want or yearn for Ross.

So it is clear that despite the similar scenarios of Caroline and Elizabeth, whereby Ross and Dwight had gone to war and were later feared dead, the emotional commitment and investment of the two women for the lover they were parted from was very very different. In fact this was a world apart and perhaps the biggest indicator about the quality, nature and strength of their feeling for their respective suitors. 

The Agony of Caroline- A Wilting Flower

"..., I went through agonies waiting for you-and your return brought me new life." (Book six 'The Four Swans' Caroline to Dwight) 

On Dwight's return, Caroline showered the shabby and emaciated looking Dwight with kisses on his chapped lips and right then insisted on a date for their wedding. Here her unrelenting love was highlighted and she presented as a woman whose love had grown fonder and more ardent during their separation. Graham used the same theme here with Caroline as with Verity to demonstrate that when deprived of their true and real loves their spirits were lost. Also when their men returned to them, just as Caroline once told Dwight (as in her quote above), this brought them new life. 

Like Verity, Graham used a typical theme to highlight the real love that Caroline held for Dwight by way of this concept of her decline in health and also her well being while he was away. In fact even during Caroline and Dwight's first separation and when Ross had visited her in London to persuade her to reconcile with Dwight, Graham wrote of Ross's observation that 'He was shocked by the change in her. She had gone so much thinner and lost much of her beauty. She was a person whose looks would always be volatile, but just now they were at a low ebb.' Thinking back to Verity aging whilst deprived of her love (Captain Blamey), this surely was Graham's pattern and his way of depicting the sadness and deterioration of a woman genuinely in true love. Also when Caroline endured the second separation, whilst worried for Dwight's life at war and his eventual capture by the French, Ross told Dwight that Caroline was "Well enough since she heard you were alive. Before that she reminded me of a cut flower that has not been put in water."  

Elizabeth - A Blossoming not Wilting Flower

So in respect of Caroline too, readers were invited to see another woman in love but low in spirit and looks as she was deprived of her love. This was a theme that Graham did not write in retrospectively for Elizabeth at any point. Yet he did do this for Ross as he wrote Ross explaining to Elizabeth in a heartfelt and passionately upset manner upon his return from war that "Since I met you, I have had no eyes, no thought, no lips for any other woman. when I was away there was always one thought, one looking forward.... I thought that such feeling as mine must keep alive a feeling in return. There lay the error." Interestingly enough Elizabeth offered Ross no consolation to at least meet him half way and suggest that she had even for a period had a similar devotion to him. 

Overall there was no suggestion that Elizabeth had been so low in spirits and that she had wilted like a cut flower while Ross was away from her and then feared dead. This includes after her marriage to Francis where up until after a year into this and shortly after Geoffrey Charles was born Graham conveyed a 'no regrets' attitude of Elizabeth and wrote of her thinking of her marriage favourably and that 'life is good'. At that point, a year in to her marriage and continued separation from Ross because of this, Graham wrote that she was at the 'peak of her happiness' with Francis. Although this happiness did decline thereafter, that means that despite being separated from Ross by then for nearly three and a half years she had experienced a different journey from the other women. For her this was some brief romance with Ross before his deployment to war, then a 'slackening interest' in him (as eventually detected by him when reading back her letters), and then happiness in her courtship with Francis and their first year of marriage. That really does go against Graham's tried and tested depiction of a woman who truly loved someone they were separated from and whose felt deprived of that for so long and empty without it. Then instead of regrets later on for herself, Elizabeth on Geoffrey Charles's Christening day and party was feeling sorry for Ross because 'he' was sad and lonely. Not she! It is therefore hard to make the case that Ross was ever Elizabeth's great and undoubted love in the absence of a narrative which indicated a low, troubled and unhappy spirit in their separation. 

Drake And Morwenna- A Love Never Forgotten


'But deep under that,.....was a heart-lurching knowledge that only what happened between her and Drake was real. ..All else was vanity. .....So she slept and woke and slept and woke and performed her duties and lived her life;...'  ('Black Moon' -Narrative)

Just like Verity and Caroline, Morwenna so obviously suffered the affliction of a devastated heart when George and Elizabeth ended her love affair with Drake. Her heartbreak was well documented and it was clear that Drake represented her world. As with the others that truly loved the deprivation of Drake's love impacted on Morwenna's spirit even before she experienced the horrors of married life to Reverend Whitworth. As she reflected on her parting with Drake she thought back to him walking slowly away down the drive for what she thought was their last meeting and Graham narrated that 'So had gone her love and her life.' 

As with Graham's formula for his characters that truly loved, even though Morwenna felt she could not be with Drake and that this was an 'uneasy dream' because of family objections, she could not bring her self to think of being with another man. This was her frame of mind even when she attended George's party not knowing he had invited men to observe her as a marriage prospect and she was receiving much male attention there. As with the narrative above, Drake was the real thing. Her real love. And like the other female characters (except Elizabeth), nothing else compared or could replace this real love. So whilst Morwenna accepted dances and decided to try and 'live her life' a bit, for her this did not include courting another man. She intended to be polite to the men who approached her but had no interest in this and in courting any. Asking for 'more time' she tried to defer George and Elizabeth's marriage plans for her when she became aware of them. Privately she thought she needed years but she also queried whether she then even wanted to marry at all. As for the ongoing connection and pining for Drake this was well documented in the story and Graham wrote in scenes of Morwenna calling out Drake's name while in bed next to Reverend Whitworth after their marriage and declaring repeatedly "I still love Drake Carne."


"And if ever I'm to forget-or try to forget.....Though I doubt I ever can or shall. Tis like a far worse wound than this ball in my shoulder-and there's no healing of it." (Book five 'Black Moon' Drake to Ross on being deprived of Morwenna) 

Graham did not just reserved the theme of a devastated heart for the deprived lover to just the female characters in the saga. He did this for Dwight, Ross, Sam, Jeremy and others. Also Drake demonstrated an emotional commitment and dedication to his love Morwenna all the while that she was separated from him and married off to Reverend Whitworth. As Graham narrated Morwenna's bedtime declaration of love for Drake, Drake was feeling the same about her throughout their four and half year separation. In that time Drake's refusal to even look at or to court another girl was a concern to his brother Sam and sister Demelza. Emma Tregirls who initially took a liking to him before she did Sam was perturbed that unlike all other men he was totally uninterested in her. But Drake in his devastation just could not let go of his love for Morwenna. This was despite the fact that she was completely unavailable to him. Still tormented nearly a year and half after their separation he spoke of the loss of Morwenna and told Sam "I know I am not exercising faith in Jesus. I know I've lost the great salvation. But brother, what I've just lost on this earth seem to me more...I can't change what's in my very own heart." Graham was again able to depict that the loss of a true love created a void and emptiness in the deprived lover that truly loved. 

Rosina Hoblyn-A Replacement That Cannot Replace 

Although after three and half long years Drake was encouraged to court and then marry Rosina Hoblyn, and although she presented as a lovely girl, unlike Elizabeth there was reluctance and a lack of enthusiasm for this on Drake's part. Whereas Elizabeth had led Francis to believe that she loved him and actually did confirm to Ross and Morwenna that she had thought she loved Francis at time ( and 'better' than she had loved Ross), Drake was the opposite. Like Verity, Drake had found his love and this could not be replaced with anyone else. Drake was honest with Rosina about this. Telling Rosina that what he felt for her did not compare to his feeling for Morwenna he then continued " you know what I feel and what I don't feel ..maybe never shall feel-yet liking you and wanting your company ...a friend, a helpmeet, a wife, in due time perhaps a mother.." Drake exemplified a person who loved and held on to that undeniably. It was unshakeable. This was so much so that like the others mentioned above and below, he struggled to move on with anyone else. This fed his unwillingness to marry for so long and when he agreed it was reluctantly so. It was almost as if after nearly four years he had just given in, while still knowing and confessing that his love was still for someone else. 

Another contrast with Drake's loving impulse and Elizabeth's is that when Morwenna became available as known to him on his wedding day to Rosina, he could not go through with marrying someone else. When Ross returned and thus was technically 'available', even with a longer period of two weeks to stew over it, there was no thought of Elizabeth in the original story of the books that she might not go through with marrying Francis or she was rethinking this. Instead she told Francis to speak to Ross and make sure he attended the wedding. One could not imagine Morwenna insisting that Drake attend her wedding to the Reverend knowing that their mutual love for each other would make this painful for both and this was a pain that could be spared.  As she told years later, Elizabeth had wanted to marry Francis.

Jeremy And Clowance-Failure to Resist True Love


"What I have learned is that there is nobody who can take his place." (Book ten 'The Loving Cup' Clowance to Ross on Stephen Carrington)

Graham repeats similar themes of the one true love and the pain of separation for the deprived lover in the later books too. This is in the love stories of both Jeremy and Clowance. Echoing Verity's comment about the impossibility of replacing a true love, once Jeremy fell in love with Cuby Trevanion no one else would do. Graham wrote that 'In spite of his strong sexual feelings for Daisy Kellow, nothing really had moved the black ache from his heart.' This pertained to his infatuation with Cuby at an early stage. In respect of his later girlfriend Lisa Dupont, Graham wrote that when Jeremy learned Cuby would be marrying Valentine 'Affection for Lisa was no protection against the stab in the heart.' Neither of these girls could replace the love he felt for Cuby and he abandoned his relationship with Lisa once Cuby finally agreed to be his. In contrast to Elizabeth's complacency Jeremy's story was one of never forgetting, pining and fighting for his real love.


Clowance like Caroline separated from her love Stephen Carrington cutting their romance for different reasons but still yearned for him thereafter. Like Caroline and Elizabeth, Clowance was presented with very good alternatives during her separation with Stephen. This was in the form of Lord Edward Fitzmaurice and Tom Guildford who were presented as much more likeable and sensible options than Stephen. However she just could not court either of them and accept their marriage proposals because for her too, she had loved and that could not be replaced. Fortunately for her she had a similar storyline that Ross had. This was where the removal of the first love being Stephen by death (and for Ross-Elizabeth by her decision to marry someone else) meant that she went on to marry that second choice, Lord Fitzmaurice. As the saga ended shortly after this it still did look likely that just as it did for Ross with Demelza, that this would blossom into a love that went on to be a realer, truer and more special and stronger love. However, whilst Stephen was still available, unlike Elizabeth for Ross, Clowance's heart was still with him (Stephen) and she could not give herself to anyone else beforehand. 

Ross And His Four Year Depression 


Finally in contrast to Elizabeth, Ross remained devoted and committed to Elizabeth during their separation of two and more years when he was at war. His reaction to Elizabeth's betrayal and being deprived of her love thereafter must be noted in this post as he too was devastated. This fits perfectly within Graham's template of a person who had truly loved (or believed he was in love). He experienced a four year depression until as Graham speaking of his story in an interview said 'Into it had come the engaging and vital character of Demelza, who by now was intent on altering the shape of the story.'(Article 'How it all Happened' Woman magazine- 10 Dec 1977) But as to his depression before then, Ross had explained to Demelza "Before I found you, when I came home from America things looked black for me. ...I'd hoped to marry Elizabeth and returned to find her with other plans. That winter it was Verity alone who saved me..." Here we see the same theme of a long-term wallowing and a subdued spirit.  Ross had thrown himself into work but there was also an emptiness to his life and this blackness was echoed in Graham's narrative that typically 'Ross was at his usual occupation, reading and drinking himself to bed.'  

Whilst it is true that Elizabeth had moments of anguish and distress following Ross's return to Cornwall, this was momentary and really as a direct reaction to a confrontation with him. For Elizabeth in contrast to the other star-crossed lovers there was no story of long-term wallowing, heart break, anxiety, a feeling of emptiness and also of no one else mattering except for Ross. In the immediate aftermath and for up to a year afterwards Elizabeth's instinct did not manifest itself in a showing of love for Ross. This was neither by her actions or if not that then her thoughts and feelings. Instead Elizabeth's instinct was to stand her ground and to keep the faith with Francis and her love with him. This was until their marriage deteriorated as a consequence of her preoccupation with Geoffrey Charles and not Ross. However for a long while she showed no devastation but instead felt that her life was good. 

Elizabeth: An Impulse of Competition Not Love

For Elizabeth and her suitors, (Ross and then George), Graham focused more on developing a concept of Elizabeth seeking their admiration which he narrated she felt was her due and found hard to be without. He did this rather than to depict her as a romantic, warm blooded woman who loved, felt the pain of deprivation from it and demonstrated that she acted on an impulse motivated by love. As referenced in the post  'Elizabeth: A spirit Of Competition Against Demelza Poldark' often when Elizabeth acted in flirtation towards Ross it was instead stimulated by an instinct of competition. This was such as against Demelza but also Caroline when she perceived Ross had an interest in her too on her first meeting of her. 

Quite simply it is obvious that Graham worked hard to show characters distressed when separated from their love. The excuse that Elizabeth was poised, unromantic and conservative does not really apply as so too was Caroline and the loving instinct still cannot be denied for such as woman. Therefore Graham did not refrain from writing this in for Caroline. Also Graham did write multiple references in the saga to Elizabeth's impulse of love towards her children. Particularly of Geoffrey Charles. In fact on the issue of separation he wrote that both as a baby and when he was sent away to boarding school as a pre-teen she could hardly bear the separation. She was capable of this feeling then! So it is reasonable to assume that along with narrating that Elizabeth's feelings for Ross were 'never definable' to her, Graham purposefully did not narrate a loving impulse for Elizabeth her towards Ross because her feeling for him was not quite love. 

The follow up and upcoming post 'A Childish Promise To Marry' will look at how Elizabeth's thoughts around her promise to marry Ross continues to depict a woman who was not afflicted with a loving instinct and urge concerning Ross. 

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