but something ere the end,
Some work of noble note, may yet be done
Soon after my return from Macedonia we signed the documents which passed on half of Lakmahal to my niece. Although this was the legal position, I think my sister and her family had decided the space would in fact be used by my nephew, who had made it clear that he had very different ideas about what should be done. Earlier I had thought my sister sentimental about its structure, for she had accused me, when I put up two new bathrooms to replace those that had to be demolished, of destroying the structure of our parents’ house. I think nothing of the sort took place, and all the old habitues of the place thought my design had worked out particularly well. But I was glad that my sister, who had at the beginning said she was not sentimental, had evinced some feelings for the place.
I was reminded then of Mrs Wilcox in Howard’s End, and her passion for the house which bore that name. Reading the book in my younger days, I had not understood her feelings, and indeed I suggested in a critique that Forster could not have subscribed to them, because he would have thought attachments to people more important. But being older and wiser now, I realize that attachment to place is also a deeply human quality, because it carries with it too the spirit of the people who have lived their lives in a particular place and in a particular fashion. That understanding is what prompted me, when Lakmahal was 75 years old in 2012, to write about the place and those that had lived there. Continue reading