The trials of a miner’s wife!

Morwena gathered up the utensils from their dinner,trying to put a brave face on her existence,her struggle,her futile miners wife life.Vernon had struggled back to work as they had run out of savings,and his pride had stopped him accepting help from the miners benevolent fund as he was a Penpraise and the Penpraise family never accepted charity.Morwena had been beside herself as the meagre savings that they had accumulated were all but depleted and she feared for her unborn child inside her and wondered what a world her child would be brought into,and especially if she gave birth to a girl.

All these thoughts spun around inside her head causing her to feel unable to just get on and do her chores.On the one hand,she wanted to keep a clean house,but on the other,she had a longing to escape the sheer grind of daily life in the mining community.Of late,Vernon had had a number of his men visiting the cottage to discuss “men’s matters”.As these things were discussed in private in the frontroom,she was excluded ,but her intuition was keen,and she knew what they were discussing,as it was always the same:Mine safety.She thought that if all the hours that had been spent actually making the mines safe instead of talking about it,then her father and the 34 others that day would still be here.She knew that the mine owners would scrimp on safety ,rub their hand together,and do absolutely nothing about it.

As she glanced at the clock,it was now 2 in the afternoon,and she was taken back in her mind to her art lessons,as they were always at 2 on a Tuesday afternoon.Those days were truly happy then for Morwena,and often she would be able to tell her dad about her Paintings.He would listen to her,and he would ask her about her drawings.Those were such good times for Morwena,and she welled up as she thought,and she just wept and wept.Sometimes,she wished that her mum would cry about her dad,but she never did,or,at least,Morwena never saw her.As she composed herself,she wondered if her favourite Robin might be singing in the garden,and the thought somehow distracted her from her emotional pain.From no where,Morwena flung her coat on and.just ran out of the house,up Pengelly Road,into Trevithick crescent towards the common.There,she escaped for just a little while the pointless existence of what she thought her life was.In the distance,she could see the mine,the dungeon of grind and danger for the men and their kind.Cornish people ,in Morwena’s mind,had always had it tough as the work for sparse,hard,and extremely dangerous.It was if there will be a disaster,it was when.She knew that Vernon was a good man,and one who always tried his best for her and his family and men.That knowledge ,that awareness of his mortality made her question things.You see Vernon had a strong faith in the LORD,underpinned with strong Methodist traditions.Mostly,Morwena accepted the role of the chapel in their lives,but since the death of her Pa,she had lost any real zeal to get involved .She went along with Vernon,but spent the whole of the service dreaming.She existed physically in the place,but her heart was just not in it.Vernon had,from what Morwena observed,a blind spot when it came to his faith.He believed what was said from the Pulpit,but Morwena just took it all with a pinch of salt.Oftentimes,she would think of what Miss Pankhurst,or Miss Daivison would say about women being almost slaves to their husbands.Sometimes,she felt that she was letting the woman’s suffrage movement down because she was so passive when confronted,and she would al oust scream at herself when Vernon’s mother called miss Pankhurst “That Whore”,but she never had the courage to confront her as she was Ma Penpraise and you couldn’t question her.She remarked within herself that for a woman who despised the woman’s movement ,she was quite a matriarch herself,and a Morwena thought very odd.

These thoughts danced around inside her mind,causing her to lose track of time,and she realised that she would have to return to the cottage to start Vernon’s tea.Just as she started to quicken her step,she felt a violent pain in her lower abdomen.It shot right through,causing her to be almost Polaxed.It was so bad,that she had real problems moving.For what seemed like an age,she leaned against the garden wall of the Polmounters.Eventually,when she couldn’t really move forward or backwards,and with the pain almost cause no her to pass out ,she let out a violent scream,followed by a single plea:”Help Me”.That plea was enough to alert Jane Polmounter who came out of her cottage and witnessed the horizontal ,almost lifeless body of   Morwena before her.


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