Part 64: Days as a Young Girl
"Sorry. She's been pretty grumpy since last night. Please don't hold it against her."
Rudolf and Hideyoshi went out onto the deck and took out some cigarettes. Eva had always hated the smell of cigarettes, but when she was in a bad mood, she got even more sensitive to them. When they decided to smoke casually until they reached the island, the two of them had gotten yelled at and chased out onto the deck.
Hideyoshi tried to use his lighter, but the strong winds gave him some trouble. Rudolf took out a Zippo with a smooth gesture and let Hideyoshi borrow the flame.
"When did you start smoking cigarettes, Hideyoshi nii-san?"
"Just after the war. In the beginnin', I was rollin' 'em. Then I started usin' what I sold. Wahahahahahahaha."
"So you were already smoking when you met Aneki. Bet she's always telling you to stop."
"I never listened to her, so she's already completely given up on that. Wahaha, men gotta be stubborn, times like these."
Hideyoshi laughed heartily, but Rudolf snickered. After being scolded by Eva, they'd escaped to the deck together with their tails between their legs. There was little doubt who had gotten her way in that exchange.
"...She isn't usually so short-tempered. In fact, she's usually a more gentle, quiet woman. Every year, she changes when this day comes."
"Is that so? To me, she looks just like the Aneki we've all known so long."
"...That's just it. She's back to bein' Eva of the Ushiromiya family. But that ain't the Eva I know."
"...Well, I know why she's grumpy. This family conference is gonna be a pain."
"...Got that right. There's that plan to threaten money out of Krauss nii-san... We may call it a family conference, but it's gonna be just a sibling fight at this rate."
They were all facing urgent situations and needed a lot of money fast. And the only one they could turn to was Krauss, who spoke for the Ushiromiya Head now that Kinzo spent his time shut up in his study. For a long time now, they'd vaguely sensed that Krauss was taking advantage of the fact that Kinzo had lost interest in his own wealth, and they suspected that he'd started embezzling that wealth to suit his own purposes. Despite being disgusted by this, they'd turned a blind eye to it while everything was still going smoothly for them... but now that they needed money, they really couldn't afford to let it slide.
Eva had asked Rudolf and Rosa to form an alliance, and they were now scheming to take that money away from Krauss.
"...Rudolf-kun, both you and I are company presidents. We're responsible for the livelihood of our employees."
"Rosa's a president too. Well, as a hobby."
"That's right, sorry. Basically, we've all got responsibilities."
"...Now that I've thrown down the gauntlet in front of the executive board, I've gotta bring in the money, even if it means getting down on my knees or drinking mud."
"Same here. I can't betray the employees who've trusted me and followed me for so long. That's why I need to get some money out of Krauss nii-san, even if I have to grab him by the neck."
"Aneki and Aniki have always been at each other's throats. And now she's gotta challenge Aniki head on. It's no wonder she's on edge."
"So, Eva really has had a bad relationship with Krauss nii-san since long ago...?"
"Hasn't she talked about it? They were always at each other's throats."
"She never talks about the past, even if I ask. She probably doesn't want to remember."
"...That fool... Why drive him into a corner so openly? I'd hardly call that shrewd."
"Hahaha, no kidding. Aneki... regretted being born a woman. So, she probably couldn't forgive Aniki, since he was chosen to succeed the Head just because he was a man. She'd always boast to Dad, letting him see that she was better at every little thing."
"Father really is an old-fashioned person. Gender discrimination was part of his system of values. I'll bet Eva's eagerness to prove herself made him dislike her a bit..."
BGM: Steady Pace
...Since you can still drink black tea without sugar, he was in effect saying that there was no need for women to study. Those infuriating words were what Nii-san hurled at me in my despair, when I asked to go to college only to be denied by Father. I protested that I needed to build up proper dignity and an education as the oldest daughter in the Ushiromiya family, making college an essential next step. But when it came down to it, Father's and Nii-san's answers were exactly the same.
'How conceited for a woman.'
I've never taken the Ushiromiya name lightly, not once since I was born into it. And I've been even more careful not to take my father's name, Ushiromiya Kinzo, lightly. Our family is an old one, with many traditions, but it lost its wealth and businesses in the Great Kanto Earthquake, pushing it to the brink at one point. That was when Father took control with his ingenious talent, reviving it to be even greater than it had been before. Not once did I forget that I was the daughter of that great Ushiromiya Kinzo. That's why I always made every effort to become worthy of that name.
I needed dignity worthy of the Ushiromiya family. Schooling. Manners. And leadership. Even if I couldn't quite reach Father's level, I deepened my knowledge in economics and finance, trying to improve myself so I could be of use to him at any time.
To Father, a woman was only meant to support a man, and nothing further than that was permissable. When was it that I came to understand that? It may have been as early as my childhood years. But, I was going to have to wait until I grew up before I could truly accept it.
Compared to me, you couldn't have said that Krauss, my older brother of two years, worked hard at all to become deserving of the Ushiromiya family name. He told me many times since my early childhood that he would naturally succeed Father, simply because he was born a man. He kept on repeating that, as though it formed an uncrossable gap between us. I couldn't stand it. Even though I always got better grades than Nii-san, even though I became class president when he never managed more than vice-president... even so, Nii-san was considered to be the appropriate successor to the Ushiromiya family just because he was a man.
Of course, you could find gender discrimination everywhere in those days. No, it was even considered a virtue in that era. During that despicable time, people said that when a woman is born, she obeys her parents, when she gets married, she obeys her husband, and when she gets old, she obeys her children. But that was exactly why I wanted to turn that on its head.
Innocently, I kept trying to prove that I was the most fit. However, I eventually realized that all of my efforts had been doomed from the beginning.
"Wouldn't you say schooling for women is like sugar in black tea? The taste is dull and flat without it, but too much ruins the whole thing."
"Just as there are roles that only men can fill, there are also roles that can only be filled by women, correct? I do believe giving birth to children, raising them, and supporting the master of the house are roles that can only be filled by women."
"Are you trying to say there's no need for a woman to work or study?"
"I wouldn't go that far. Talking to an unschooled woman is tiring and nothing more. However, women are even more tiring when they're too smart. I do believe that a woman as violently assertive as you would bring no end of hardship to her future husband."
"Are you trying to say that a woman has to marry and hide in the shadow of her husband? That's none of your business!"
"Though you're my younger sister, I can look up to you for the respect you hold for Father and your desire to become a daughter worthy of him. Even I am capable of feeling respect for such noble sentiments."
"That's just disgusting. What's this about 'noble sentiments'? I'd call that flowery prose, coming from you. Are you pretending to be the Head already?"
"The decision that I should succeed the Headship has been established from the very beginning. And yet, you seem to be laboring under the illusion that you might become the Head, hence the useless and reckless efforts you've expended thus far."
"Reckless efforts...?! Is it really that bizarre for me to say I want to go to college?!"
"Yes, it is bizarre. You undoubtably are the oldest daughter of the glorious Ushiromiya family. One day, you will support that family crest by being wed to the partner most valuable for Father. However, excessive learning is not what's being asked of you. What you need are gentle feelings that will allow you to care for your husband, the ability to handle housework, and a humble demeanor that will reflect well on the master of your household. These are all skills you lack utterly. In the end, can you really call yourself a suitable daughter of the Ushiromiya Family?"
"I have no intention of being some secluded lady! I just want to become the person most capable of assisting Father at his work!"
"Then shouldn't you do so in a manner befitting an Ushiromiya Family daughter...? What is it with you? You're still mannish even at your age, and you've never learned how to wear makeup in a way that will please men, much less how to cook and do housework. I hear you've even been learning how to brawl."
"Th-That's rude!! The martial arts aren't brawling, they're a perfect way to train and discipline the mind. And when it's needed, I take more than enough care to act as a woman should!! What are you trying to say? That women should be slaves who work for men, so I mustn't be so forward?!"
"It isn't elegant to say it out loud, but I think a few unpleasant words are necessary in order to correct your mistake. So let me say it plainly. Women exist to serve men. And men exist to provide for women. A woman's job is to protect a man's back, to protect his house and raise his children. Most women realize this without being told. They realize it on their own. But even after all these years, you still haven't realized that about yourself. So I've decided to clear away that misunderstanding for you before you leave this family. You ought to thank me."
"Th-This is an insult to all women...!! No, wait, ...I-I have never thought of myself as a woman, and I've never depended on anyone because I'm a woman!! How am I inferior to you, Nii-san?! In grades and accomplishments...in everything...I'm better, so how can you look down on me when you have nothing I lack, except the fact that you're a man?!!"
"It's about knowing one's place. Every day, I have been raised with the readiness of one who will be Head. In the future, that preparation will surely become essential. But you are different. Even though you will marry and lose the Ushiromiya family name, you're being trapped by this unnecessary illusion. What's so unsatisfying? Even if you had been born a man, the successor to the Headship still probably wouldn't have been you. Why are you so unsatisfied that you insist on attacking me even now?"
"What's so unsatisfying, you say?!?! Nii-san, you're always, always... always, always like that...! Looking down on me because you'll succeed the Head... even though... aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahh!!"
I've got a billion of them. Grudges, hard feelings, humiliations that I'll never forget kept floating through the back of my mind. They all built up at the same time, coming out of my throat as a shameful moan.
He'd probably overheard our sibling fight. Father entered with a clearly unhappy face.
"Krauss, are you fighting with your siblings again? Why don't you have the dignity to act as a leader for your brother and sisters? How shameful! I'm embarrassed to hear this from my eldest son!"
In a flash, he struck Krauss's face. I readied myself to be struck in the same way, but I wasn't hit.
"...M-My apologies, Father."
"Dignity isn't the only thing you lack. There's much more. You're immature in everything! And even so, you pretend like you're an adult! Realize that it's a hundred years too early for you to talk like that, and devote yourself to your studies! Don't make me lament my son's incompetence any more...!"
"Yes. I will continue to strive so that I can become a person worthy of succeeding you, Father..."
It was as if those words were directed at me. Even when he was being yelled at by Father, he was still bragging to me about how he was special, about how he was the successor. I just couldn't stand it... and finally spoke what was on my mind. Even though I realized that it would be improper for a member of the Ushiromiya family to do such a thing.
"Father...!! Please, tell me how I'm inferior to him!! I've tried so hard, studied so hard to become a person who won't bring shame to your name...! Please, tell me how I'm inferior...! How can I improve myself enough to earn your acknowledgement...?!!"
"What good are you as a woman?! Don't you realize that you're a daughter of the Ushiromiya family?!! And yet, you only want to learn things so that you can act like a man! Your duty is not to imitate Krauss!! Don't you even understand your own duty?!!"
"A-As a member the Ushiromiya family, I won't bring shame to your na-"
"That's it, that's where you're already wrong!! Your duty is to marry out of the family and bring me a man who is profitable to me! And then, you will devote yourself to your husband, give birth to children and multiply! Be a good wife who brings praise to your husband's family!! Just what is it that you can do to please a man? Do you think you can make tea? Do you have any talent in cooking? You have nothing!! All you've done is to try and mimic Krauss, haven't you?!! Krauss will succeed the Ushiromiya family! If you are unsatisfied with that, then you are disobeying me!!"
"Eva, leave this place. He doesn't mean what he says. I will calm him down."
"*cough*, *cough*cough*!! Disinherited... If you won't listen to me, you're disinherited!! *cough*cough*, uugghh, *cough*cough*!!"
Father was coughing pretty badly, and Nii-san patted his back. As if it was a duty that was naturally his. It was so vexing for me to let him take that duty all for himself right then. If I carelessly approached Father at that moment, then I would probably be the one to get hit next.
...However, I fearlessly tried to approach Father's back. Genji blocked me...
"...Eva-sama, perhaps it would be better if you stepped outside for now. The Master is not in a good mood today."
"*cough*cough*!! Why are my children so incompetent?! Krauss is lacking in dignity, Eva is always a stubborn tomboy!! I have no son who's like a man, and not even a daughter who's like a woman! Where did I go wrong raising them?! Why Genji, when and where did I go wrong?!!"
"...Master, you haven't done anything wrong. Krauss-sama has grown into a sturdy son, and Eva-sama into a lovely daughter. You haven't made any mistakes..."
"How can you say that?!! What's so lovely about her?!! Far from a lady, she's always acting like a man!! *cough*cough*cough*!! Disinherited, disinheriteeed!! *cough*cough*!!"
"Father, that's just what I'm always telling Eva. Eva has promised that she will have a change of heart and act like a lady. Couldn't you postpone that decision for just a little longer?"
"Who's a lady?!! *cough*cough*!! Disinherited, disinherited, *cough*cough, uu-, *cough*cough*!"
Go quickly and leave this to me. Krauss gave me a look telling me that...
True, I never studied how to be a lady. Everything I've learned was done in the hopes that I could help Father someday. But... is that really true? Haven't I always been trying to compete with Nii-san, with whom I've had a bad relationship since I was a young girl, because I wanted steal his position as successor and show him a thing or two?
Every chance he gets, Nii-san tells me that men should be manly and women should be womanly. I've been tormented by this unfair discrimination just because of my gender, something people are born with and can't do anything about. I resisted, endeavoring to this very day to study and prove that I'm not inferior, despite being a woman. But doesn't that mean my love of learning comes entirely from a stupid complex I've got against Nii-san? Father wanted me to become a lady with whom he could go out in public and not be embarrassed. Did I betray his hopes, earning good grades and threating Nii-san just to satisfy a childhood resentment...?
The one whispering to me... was the 'me' of my years as a young girl, born inside my heart on the day I made that oath.
That's right. 'She' was my only ally. When things got difficult, when I felt like I was about to get crushed by it all, she would always quietly appear and support me. When I ran into roadblocks and despaired, she would always appear and support me. When I grew up and the memories of my childhood years faded, I also started to forget my conversations with 'her'...
"...That's right, we promised. On that day, I promised that I would become the successor to the Ushiromiya Headship."
On that day, when I had been overcome with sadness, wondering why I was even alive, you appeared from inside me and lent me your strength.
"...Father didn't accept me. I wanted to teach Nii-san a lesson. I believed that doing this...would let me say goodbye to the wretched creature I once was."
For a time, I truly believed that my life had no purpose other than to be looked down upon by Nii-san. It's painful just remembering those days. They're a wound, a crack inside my heart... 'She' taught me how to sew up that wound...
I turned my anger into effort and improved myself, trying to become a person more worthy of the Headship than Krauss was, trying to triumph over him by making Father accept me. It was my perfect revenge. I was vaguely aware that a woman couldn't possibly become the Family Head. But I thought that maybe, if I could prove myself valuable enough to overturn that premise, then surely even Father would select me to be his successor. If that happened, then I'd be able to have the greatest and most perfect revenge against Nii-san, who always acted like his succession to the Headship was completely inevitable...
"And now you're saying you're gonna break that promise? Scum. Coward. Why not just give up and die forever...?"
Even though she looked like me as a kid, she was still another me. Her tongue was sharp because it was mine.
"...It makes me pretty mad hearing that, even from myself. You have no right to speak of me like that."
"Then let's use that anger to fuel our learning. Changing anger into power is my magic. I've saved you from a bunch of tight spots with that power, letting you to succeed when you shouldn't have. As long as you have my magic, there's nothing you can't do."
"...That's right. Anger has always been my driving force. I wonder when it was I forgot that..."
"Let's go to college, study more and more, get excellent grades, and drive Krauss into a corner."
"That guy acts like we're nothing, but I'm sure he feels pretty well cornered in the inside. If only he'd just learn his place and die. If he did, we could become the Head. Rudolf won't take the job. That kid can't go against us."
"...Stop that. No matter how much more I study, Father still won't accept me."
"Father told me to be womanly... Because I'm a woman, no matter how hard I tried, Father wouldn't have passed the Headship on to me, even if I had been born before Nii-san... No matter how much effort I put in, ...I can't become anything more than a woman. I won't be acknowledged. Nii-san doesn't try at all, but I can't surpass him. He'll look down on me forever..."
"...Father and Krauss are the worst kind of male supremacists. If only they'd just die."
Words that I couldn't say so easily... she said for me. Even though I understand that she's just another part of myself inside of me, I feel like she's the only ally I have who can sympathize with me.
However, while sympathy might do a lot to calm my heart, it won't do anything to improve my current situation. In the end, she can only console me for however long it takes me to be dejected by reality... before I finally accept it.
"You can't do that."
'She' rejected my timid thoughts. I understand. Because 'she' is me, I understand.
"All Father said was that he won't let a woman succeed the Headship 'now'. But even that's just a rule Father made up. Since he made it, he can get rid of it."
"...Human feelings can change far more often than the number of sand grains on a beach. Krauss is such a stupid man that Father's eventually gonna realize it, even if we don't prove it for him. When that happens, the wall that separates man from woman will be demolished by Father himself, who set it up in the first place. That day will surely come."
"...How can you be so sure?"
"Because that's my magic."
"If you just believe, this magic will surely summon a miracle. The basis of my magic is nothing more than your believing heart."
If I use this magic, then surely, I'll never have to doubt until the day I die...that I'll eventually become the Head. But I don't know if that's the right thing for Ushiromiya Eva... Maybe I should aim to become the kind of lady Father wants, someone who can proudly participate in high society. And if I'm reborn, maybe Father will change his opinion of me. Maybe I can find my own lifestyle, just as Nii-san has found his. And anyway, I just can't imagine my stubborn father choosing a woman like me as the Head, especially if it means skipping over Krauss.
"U-Um, I was just thinking. Maybe I can't succeed the Headship, but as a woman, I can have a child. And Nii-san still isn't engaged. If Nii-san isn't able to father a child, and I gave birth to one, then wouldn't that make my child the next Head after Nii-san? In other words, wouldn't that mean the same thing as stealing the Headship from Nii-san...?"
"...Are you serious?"
"...Y-Yes, I'm serious. True, it'll be very sad to abandon the resolve I've had since childhood. It pains my heart to betray you, my younger self. But this is my most realistic option...!"
"I'm not throwing anything away. I'm an adult, and the day has come for me to part ways with you."
"That's right. Eva's already become an adult. She's even forgotten how to use magic, and now she's the mother of a single child. She forgot all about how magic can grant one's own dreams, and now she's forcing those dreams onto her son."
"...Even though Father and Krauss ruined your life, you're trying to push your dreams onto your son, ruining his life. Is that what you call being an adult?"
"G-George is a son I'm proud of, one who won't embarrass himself no matter where he goes...! The dream I wasn't granted might come true for George...! Jessica's a delinquent in both her grades and her behavior. And she's a woman! If only Jessica would step down, George would become the heir...!"
Even saying it was painful. Am I just forcing my own regrets onto George? It's not like I have any right to look on Jessica with scorn. Wasn't I just horrible for hitting her with the same words that had caused me so much suffering...?
...I understand. I understand... The desire to triumph over my brother is part of my own personal revenge. I can't use George for that...
"...So I'll take revenge myself. I have a plan to cheat Nii-san out of some of his money, with Rudolf and Rosa as my allies. I'll surely be able to get back at him. In any case, I'm sure that Nii-san is embezzling Father's assets..."
"...What a boring plan. Why don't you just give up on that and cry yourself to sleep forever...?"
"...If I believe, I wonder if any power will dwell in that magic."
"It will. My magic can grant any wish with certainty."
"...I'll believe. I'll believe, so create a miracle with that magic... If you don't, the hole in my heart will never heal..."
"Okay. Then listen well. Listen to my magic words... And understand. If we can solve the riddle, we can become the Ushiromiya Family Head. So lend me your ears and listen carefully..."
When Kyrie shook her shoulders, Eva jumped and awoke from her doze.
"...! Ah, I'm sorry. I was half asleep."
"Sorry to scare you."
"Aunt Eva, you were out cold. Did you get up early this morning?"
"...Maybe. I let you all see something embarassing. I'm sorry."
"Well, I'd say it's pretty impressive you were relaxed enough to sleep. Battler kept yelling 'We're gonna faaall, we're gonna drooown!' Can't get bored with this guy around."
"Sh-Shut up! All humans have at least one thing they're weak against...!"
Battler and Jessica came in, messing around. Rudolf also made a face as if asking, 'Are you okay?'
"Get ahold of yourself. When you see Dad and the rest, all that sleepiness'll go right out the window. Let's all give it our best, okay?"
"...That's right. We have to keep it together, especially this year..."
"That's it. Let's all tighten our assholes and go."
Rudolf said these strict words in a small voice that only Eva could hear. Failure would not be tolerated in this year's family conference. All of their companies were hanging in the balance. Even Rudolf's face looked a little tense. Eva's expression probably looked tense as well.
"Mom, I have our luggage. Let's go up onto the deck."
"...Thank you. You really are considerate, George."
"Why are you thanking me so suddenly? It's not like you, Mother."
"Evaaa, Geooorge. We're there. Grab our luggage."
"Uu-! We're there, we're there! *giggle*!"
"Hey, Maria! Stop running or you'll trip!"
It seemed Maria was already getting excited. She ran circles around Hideyoshi, escaping from Rosa, who was trying to catch her.
"What is it, Mother? Do you feel sick...?"
"George, take our luggage and go on ahead. Your mother's probably feeling anemic, so I'll lend her a hand."
"Really...? Okay, I'll head out first."
Something odd in Eva's expression told Hideyoshi that it hadn't been a pleasant awakening, so he made George go on ahead. Rudolf's family and Rosa's family also went up onto the deck, leaving only Eva and Hideyoshi inside the boat. Eva had a vague expression on her face, as though she still hadn't been able to escape from her daydream.
"...What's wrong? Why the meek face?"
"That isn't true. George is our wonderful son, and he'll always perform admirably wherever he goes. Eva, even if you let your own hopes get in the way a bit, everythin' turned out okay in the end, hasn't it?! You haven't done anythin' wrong. In fact, George is grateful for the strict discipline you gave him, right?"
"...Really? Hey, really?! George doesn't think I'm a terrible mother, does he...?! Does he, does he, does he?!"
"He's never said anythin' like that, not even once. You're just worryin' too much."
"Hideyoshi-sama, everyone has left the boat... Oh, did you lose something? Do you need a hand?"
Kumasawa had come to check on them when they hadn't gone up to the deck. Hideyoshi hid Eva behind his back so that her expression wouldn't be seen.
"Yeah, sorry. My necktie pin just got a bit crooked! We're fine, and we'll be out in a sec. Wait outside for us!"
"Is that so? Hohohoh. Then I will wait outside..."
Even though she didn't really understand, Kumasawa realized that something had come up...and disappeared so that she didn't trouble them further. If they stayed here any longer, they would probably make everyone else worry too.
"...It's about time to go. We'll make George and the rest worry."
"...George... really doesn't despise me...?"
"Yeah. Nothin' of the sort. In fact, he's very grateful."
"...Did you have a nightmare? Again?"
And they always grew more marked on the days leading up to the family conference...
Hideyoshi knew that Eva's relationship with Krauss was still full of antagonism to the point of being traumatic... and that she still couldn't let go of the feelings she'd had as a child.
"That was a dream. I'm with you now. If I grasp your hand like this, that dream'll go away. Right? Look. I'm holdin' tight."
"...*giggle* That hurts... Thank you. I'm fine now... Let's get off the boat."
"Yeah. Let's get off the boat. Everyone's waitin' for us."
"...Umm, ...I'm sorry."
"...I'm sorry... that I yelled at you... about the smoke from your cigarettes just now..."
"Come on, you normally wouldn't apologize for that sort of thing. You're all frail after havin' that dream. Don't worry 'bout it. I was wrong for not realizin' that the smoke was affectin' you."
"...Have you... started to hate me...?"
"No way, no way. Wahahahahahaha. If I hated you after somethin' like that, we wouldn't have lasted three days. Come on, stand up, stand up. Let's get off the boat."
This time, it was Gohda. It looked like they'd kept everyone waiting too long after all. Even Eva had to stand up without grumbling now. She had to stop forcing her bad mood onto her husband and causing him any more trouble. Because that wasn't someting a 'good wife' would do.
"Is everything okay? If it's a matter concerning your health, shall I call Doctor Nanjo?"
"Thanks, but I'm just feeling a little anemic. I'm fine now."
"Just her hormones. Don't worry about it. Wahhahahahahaha."
"Come on... Don't say stuff like that in front of people, it's embarrassing."
"Oooh, sorry, sorry."
Eva elbowed Hideyoshi in the gut. By that time, her normal expression had returned, which allowed Hideyoshi to relax a little.
A small plank for getting off the boat was lowered, and Gohda was waiting there, smiling and ready to lend them a hand.
"Please, Eva-sama. Your hand."
"Welcome to Rokkenjima."
BGM: White Shadow
When she left the boat, it seemed to Eva as though she'd heard the voice of her young self. No, it hadn't seemed that way... Someone 'had told' her "Welcome back".
After becoming a shameless adult, the voice of her young self was distant.
Hideyoshi heard her talking to herself. When Hideyoshi held on tightly to Eva's shoulders, his firmness alone told her that there was no need to say any more...