So desperately hard to understand

  • Victoria K. Haskins


Two months after she had tried, unsuccessfully, to find Mary again, Ming advertised in the paper for a nursemaid. She had been unwell for some time; unbeknown to her, she had cervical cancer. Ordered by her doctor to go into hospital for another major operation, Ming needed someone to look after the children during her absence. The children were now aged twelve, ten and six years. This time the operation was a hysterectomy, a ‘very long and dreadfully agonising operation a most dangerous one also,’ as Ming described it; she suffered complications and was in hospital for eight weeks. Once again, Norman was away, and once again, Ming apparently had little idea of what the doctors were doing to her. Her doctor wrote to Norman — not to her — to explain what the operation entailed, assuring him that his wife would still be capable and interested in ‘conjugal relations’ — though she would, of course, be infertile.1


Cervical Cancer Bright Spot Domestic Service Conjugal Relation Good Girl 
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  1. 16.
    James Miller, Koori: A Will to Win (London: Angus & Robertson, 1985), 159, 162, 166, quoting Jean Begg (1983).Google Scholar

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© Victoria K. Haskins 2005

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  • Victoria K. Haskins

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