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Cordelia, hearing Miles' narrative of his courtship, spots his desire for control straight off:

"So, let me get this straight," said the Countess slowly, studying him dispassionately. "You took this destitute widow, struggling to get on her own feet for the first time in her life, and dangled a golden career opportunity before her as bait, just to tie her to you and cut her off from other romantic possibilities."
That seemed an uncharitably bald way of putting it. "Not... not just," Miles choked. "I was trying to do her a good turn. I never imagined she'd quit-- the garden was everything to her." (196)

Cordelia then reminds Miles of something that was done to him as a child, then makes him see that that was tantamount to what Miles had just done to Ekaterin. Miles, though he finally "gets" part of it, doesn't get it all:

"Oh God. That's exactly what I did. She said it herself. She said the garden could have been her gift. And I'd taken it away from her. Too. Which made no sense, since it was she who'd just quit... I thought she was starting to argue with me. I was so pleased, because I thought, if only she would argue with me..."
"You could win?" the Count supplied dryly.
"Uh.... yeah."
"Oh, son." The Count shook his head. "Oh, poor son." Miles did not mistake this for an expression of sympathy. "The only way you win that war is to start with unconditional surrender." (197)

I find that the military metaphors, which imply a romance-inflected "war between the sexes," never do run dry in this book.

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