Bridget takes away Sylvie’s breakfast tray, but Sylvie asks her to leave the snowdrop. Sylvie cradles Ursula, thinking what kind of message she will send to Hugh: “Baby has arrived stop all well stop.” But she wonders if they are “all well,” as the baby had nearly died. She thinks that they have triumphed over death, but wonders when death will seek his revenge. In the calm of the morning, she meditates on how one could lose everything in the blink of an eye or “the slip of a foot.”
Flashing back to the scene of Ursula’s birth over and over again serves as a shorthand that allows Atkinson to signal to readers that she is “resetting” Ursula’s life, so to speak, and also provides opportunities for various characters to contemplate how life is both fragile and unpredictable. The reference to “the slip of a foot” is particularly relevant to Ursula’s previous death, in which her foot slips from the sand and she cannot find a foothold as she drowns in the ocean.