Elsie Moffat

In his manuscript, Gideon describes Elsie as being an affectionate, caring and kind woman. He has desired and been in love with her since they met and became friends at university in 1978.

He speaks of his disappointment at how Elsie slipped away from him and began a relationship with John Moffat instead.

Even when Gideon is married to Jenny he fantasises about being in a relationship with her - she is the woman that he truly wanted.

Affair

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This can never happen again

A few months after Jenny’s tragic death, Gideon and Elsie have a brief affair. When she insists that I don’t want it to change anything he is very disappointed. In the months and years following the affair, she seems able to move on completely and act as if nothing had happened.

By contrast, Gideon states that:

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the history between us…gnawed at me like a dog

His intense longing and desire for Elsie never goes away and he never gives up hope that he and Elsie could end up together. He even rejects the advances of other women, such as Nancy Croy, as it is Elsie that he wants and no-one else.

He is also convinced that Elsie loved me too, and that she hides her feelings as she is too scared to admit them.

Caithness’ interview

However, when Elsie is interviewed by Harry Caithness in 2005, she suggests that Gideon’s account of their relationship was not completely truthful and that he may have withheld or altered facts in order to protect her.

She claims that their passionate and intense and secret affair actually lasted for years and that Gideon is likely to be the real father of her daughter, Katie.

She reveals that she loved him but knew that the affair was always doomed as Gideon was a weak man and he wasn’t capable of loving anybody. She claims that the affair eventually dwindled to nothing. She thought John always suspected that there was something going on between them, even before Gideon admitted it publicly, and it blighted our marriage.

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I might have seen it. That's not enough. It's not real.

Elsie tells Caithness that she might have seen the standing stone, having followed Gideon to Keldo Woods. But while the stone consumes Gideon's thoughts, Elsie is much more pragmatic. Whether it is real or not doesn't matter to her. She seems uninterested in the idea of belief: It is how people live and what they do that counts:

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...we both want what's best for our children. That's the only reality that counts.