Further Chronicles of Avonlea
X. The Son Of His Mother
Thyra Carewe was waiting for Chester to come home. She sat by the west window of
the kitchen, looking out into the gathering of the shadows with the expectant
immovability that characterized her. She never twitched or fidgeted. Into whatever she
did she put the whole force of her nature. If it was sitting still, she sat still.
"A stone image would be twitchedly beside Thyra," said Mrs. Cynthia White, her
neighbor across the lane. "It gets on my nerves, the way she sits at that window
sometimes, with no more motion than a statue and her great eyes burning down the
lane. When I read the commandment, 'Thou shalt have no other gods before me,' I
declare I always think of Thyra. She worships that son of hers far ahead of her Creator.
She'll be punished for it yet."
Mrs. White was watching Thyra now, knitting furiously, as she watched, in order to lose
no time. Thyra's hands were folded idly in her lap. She had not moved a muscle since
she sat down. Mrs. White complained it gave her the weeps.
"It doesn't seem natural to see a woman sit so still," she said. "Sometimes the thought
comes to me, 'what if she's had a stroke, like her old Uncle Horatio, and is sitting there
stone dead!' "
The evening was cold and autumnal. There was a fiery red spot out at sea, where the
sun had set, and, above it, over a chill, clear, saffron sky, were reefs of purple-black
clouds. The river, below the Carewe homestead, was livid. Beyond it, the sea was dark
and brooding. It was an evening to make most people shiver and forebode an early
winter; but Thyra loved it, as she loved all stern, harshly beautiful things. She would not
light a lamp because it would blot out the savage grandeur of sea and sky. It was better
to wait in the darkness until Chester came home.
He was late to-night. She thought he had been detained over-time at the harbor, but she
was not anxious. He would come straight home to her as soon as his business was
completed--of that she felt sure. Her thoughts went out along the bleak harbor road to
meet him. She could see him plainly, coming with his free stride through the sandy
hollows and over the windy hills, in the harsh, cold light of that forbidding sunset, strong
and handsome in his comely youth, with her own deeply cleft chin and his father's dark
gray, straightforward eyes. No other woman in Avonlea had a son like hers--her only
one. In his brief absences she yearned after him with a maternal passion that had in it
something of physical pain, so intense was it. She thought of Cynthia White, knitting
across the road, with contemptuous pity. That woman had no son--nothing but pale-
faced girls. Thyra had never wanted a daughter, but she pitied and despised all sonless