Study Guide

Life After Life Chapter 21

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Chapter 21

A Lovely Day Tomorrow

2 September 1939

  • Pamela is pregnant (again, she already has three boys at this point); Maurice is married (poor woman); and Ursula is working for the Home Office (and having an affair with a married man).
  • Everyone wonders what they'll do when the new war finally comes to England.
  • Ursula and Crighton, her paramour, usually spend their nights at her apartment or take little holidays to Monkey Island.
  • He says that Ursula's "reputation for discretion precedes [her]" (21.65), and thinks she'd make a good spy.
  • After talking to Pamela about Maurice and war, Ursula "wish[es] now that she'd bought the yellow crepe de Chine" (21.116). We're not sure what that is (j/k—it's fabric), but we bet it would coordinate well with foreshadowing.

November 1940

  • Ursula is lying on her back in a pool of sewage and water and thinking about how she got there.
  • She's been living (but not for much longer, we fear) in an apartment across the hall from Mrs. Appleyard, a recently single mother of a young baby.
  • Crighton has ended things with Ursula (and later sent her a note asking for his gold cigarette case back, which she found under her bed and kept), and she's started seeing Ralph, a fellow student in her German course.
  • Dating during the Blitz is difficult work, and Ralph and Ursula start building their relationship as bombs fall.
  • He leaves her apartment one day before the bomb sirens go off and Ursula hides in the basement with the rest of the tenants: the dozens of Millers (including Renee Miller, the oldest daughter), Mrs. Appleyard, and the Misses Nesbit, elderly sisters who leave the shelter to retrieve their knitting.
  • Too bad they didn't knit a bomb-proof suit, since a bomb blows up their building, pretty much killing everyone.
  • Mrs. Appleyard, barely alive, crawls to Ursula, lying motionless at the bottom of the crater, and asks if she's seen her baby.
  • Ursula hasn't. But she does notice the "headless, legless body of Lavinia Nesbit" (21.238) hanging above her.
  • A rescue crew arrives and tries to get Ursula out of the rubble.
  • She can't talk, and the guy keeps calling her Susie.
  • "She didn't want to die as a Susie" (21.243), but she starts seeing the snow and the spinning of the silver hare ornament: "The darkness had fallen" (21.252).

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