From Anita Brookner's novel Falling Slowly--
She herself had succumbed to more corrupt attractions which still aroused in her a mournful excitement. She was not good enough for Rivers, that was it. Sometimes she heard a wistful note in her voice when she was speaking to him, but only because her respect for him was so great.
If she were unavailable, and had made herself so, it was because she judged herself to be unsuitable. ...It was the natural expression of a profound remorse.
From Edmond and Jules de Goncourt's novel Germinie Lacerteux
She suffered as though her honor were being torn piece by piece from her in the kennel. But in proportion to her sufferings she pressed herself against her love and cleaved to it. She was not angry with it, she uttered no reproach against it. She clung to it by all the tears that it brought her pride to shed.
And, thrown back and riveted upon her shame, she might be seen in the street through which lately she had passed proudly and with head carried high, advancing furtively and fearfully, with bent back, an oblique glance, anxious to avoid recognition, and hastening her steps in front of the shops which swept out their slanders upon her heels.
Here's an excerpt from Purdy's short story, "Short Papa" (1976)
"I've always wanted to do what was best, Lester," Mama went on, "but parents too are only after all flesh and blood as someday you will find out for yourself."
An excerpt from Purdy's short story "Eventide" (1956), about a mother's lament for a son who left her.
"It ain't like there bein' no way out to your troubles: it's the way out that kills you," Mahalia said. "If it was goodbye for always like when someone dies, I think I could stand it better. But this kind of parting ain't like the Lord's way."
She walked over to the chair where Plumy was and laid her hand on her. Somehow the idea of George Watson's being dead so long and yet still being a baby a mother could love had a kind of perfect quality she liked. She thought then quietly and without shame how nice it would be if T-boy could also be perfect in death, so that he would belong to her in the same perfect way as George Watson belonged to Plumy. There was comfort in tending the grave of a dead son, whether he was killed in war or peace, and it was so difficult to tend the memory of a son who just went away and never came back. Yet somehow she knew as she looked at Plumy, somehow she would go on with the memory of T-boy Jordan even though he still lived in the world.
An excerpt from Purdy's short story "Sound of Talking" (1955)
She wanted him to want something so that she could want something, but she knew he would never want at all again. There would be suffering, the suffering that would make him swell in the chair until he looked like a god in ecstasy, but it would all be just a man practicing for death, and the suffering illusion.
And why should a man practicing for death take time out to teach a bird to talk?