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his estrangement from Maggie. Frantic to make a success of the
job, the memory of not having one still being a stark reality,
Holmes had driven himself hard and was rarely at home. Maggie
on the other hand disliked university life and the people around
her. Lonely and with too much time on her hands to think and
brood, she perhaps drove Arthur away, eventually to seek solace
with Doris. It was a vicious circle. Furthermore, probably
because he was away so much, Arthur never managed to estab-
lish quite the same bond with his son Geo¬rey as had developed
between father and son when Norman was born, so there was
even less to tie Arthur to the home. Geo¬rey had been born the
year that Holmes started at Durham.
But Arthur was fundamentally a kind man and terribly torn
between his love for Doris and concern for his wife and son. So
husband and wife persevered with keeping up appearances and
it seems highly unlikely that Arthur would ever have left his
family for Doris. So he continued his illicit relationship with her
for another five years, seeing her all day at work, sharing some
evenings, and once a year taking their students on a field trip to
Ireland together. It caused a great deal of gossip, but neither of
them seemed to care.
Maggie had never been in very good health, su¬ering from
asthma ever since she was a child, and always having a chesty
cough. But early in 1938 it became clear that she was seriously
ill. She became very thin and had di~culty in eating. Stomach
cancer was diagnosed. The doctors decided to operate but even
as she recuperated in a nursing home, Arthur and Doris were
seen going to the cinema together in Newcastle where they
thought they would escape prying eyes. Maggie returned home
and recovered for a short while, but over the following months
she grew weaker and weaker. Quietly, and perhaps one might
even say conveniently, in September 1938 Maggie Holmes died.
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