BIRTHS, DEATHS AND MARRIAGES :
She had finally put Charlotte in her cot, but she still hadn't left her, couldn't
leave her. She stood in the shaded nursery, her arms folded on the edge of
the cot, watching her sleep. She heard Lloyd's footsteps on the stairs, heard
the front door open, heard him come into the nursery, but she didn't look round;
she couldn't take her eyes off Charlotte. Lloyd came and stood beside her,
his arm round her shoulders, his head touching hers. He didn't speak, just
held her, and she felt safer with him there.
'Is this what maternal instinct feels like?' she asked, her voice hoarse.
'Sometimes, I suppose.'
'I don't like it.'
'Instinct's a very primitive thing,' he said. 'It frightens us.'
In that moment, as in many previous moments, she knew why she loved him. He
knew what was frightening her, better than she knew herself. That it wasn't
what had happened so much as her reaction to it, because it wasn't just disturbed,
sick, unbalanced people who reverted to the untamed state. Judy knew now that
she would kill to protect Charlotte, and that realisation of her own lack of
civilisation was what had frightened her so much. And it frightened her a little
less now that Lloyd had put into words what she had merely felt.