In Book 3, we learn more about Mrs. Ross as Findley tells the reader more about how her character came to be.
It is already known that the loss of her brother, Monty Miles, had a huge impact on Mrs. Ross. This event made her set up walls against her dear ones, keeping them at bay so that she wouldn't be devastated when their eventual loss came to be. The previous books have portrayed her as a person detached from her emotions. One wonders why Mr. Ross still loves her, even though she has alcoholic, depressive tendencies.
The section of the book that talks about Ross' and their relationships with each other, starts with "Mrs. Ross began to seek out storms. Whenever there was a torrent of nature, she had the urge to be in the midst of it, as it somehow soothed and calmed her. Each weather phenomenon mentioned in the pasage is symblic. Rain represents sadness, wind represents change and snow represents loneliness and despair. Each of these emotions are what Mrs. Ross is trying to avoid but she can only get comfort when she stands strong in the midst of it and faces it, letting it wash over her.
Keeping a respectable public appearance is very important to Mrs. Ross, as she "set her hats with long and vicious pins that sometimes pierced her scalp. She was willing to undergo pain and discomfort as long as society thought highly of her. Also, she kept a "desperate pace since she wanted to leave everything behind and have "no more midnight. . She felt that if she went through life as quick as possible, she might be able to avoid all kinds of heatache and loss, avoid the darkest hours of life. This is the same reason as to why she dreaded sleep; slumber brought memories and memories grief. Avoidance was her mantra for emotional survival.
When she was out walking, Robert's mother closed her eyes if she saw someone she knew. This again is her coping mechanism of avoida