First, Crick briefly reads Mary's taking of the baby through the violent narrative of the French Revolution before adopting a biblical view of the incident: "So one day, after teaching the French Revolution, I come home to find that my wife's committed a revolutionary--a miraculous--act .
Thus, immediately after he tells this story, its horror is so strong that his narration quickly skips forward to the present, and Price helps the grown Crick home from the pub in chapter 43, "Not So Final.
Interrogated by the waiting policeman and policewoman, Crick finally admits their responsibility in inherently confessional language surrounded by the crowd of onlookers, a move designed to integrate them back into the community but also, and more important, to answer for the crimes of their past as well:
Crick is confessing responsibility, along with Mary, for Freddie's death; for the abortion of the fetus--"one of them was never born"; and for Dick's death, whose death he strangely is still not sure about--"who knows if it was really a death.
After this telling confession, Crick gives further evidence of his conviction that the abortion was wrong.
Dick's suicide clearly results from having received the forbidden knowledge that Henry Crick is not his father and that he is the product of an incestuous relationship between his mother and her father.
Recalling his father's death through drowning in the phlegm that collects in his lungs because of the broncho-pneumonia he contracts from a flood in the Fens, Crick finally states, "when you drown you see it all pass before you.
As Stan Booth, the owner of the dredger where Dick works, two American pilots, and Tom and Henry Crick go out in a boat to the dredger where Dick has taken refuge, Dick repeatedly gulps the remaining beer down.
Dick's "limbless" body recalls his constant associations with eels in the novel and to emphasize the point, Crick tells us that, "He's on his way.
Just as the narrator in "Cliffedge" constantly returns to the seaside village where his brother took his own life to look for him, the novel ends with Crick, his father, and Stan Booth repeatedly scouring the water for signs of Dick, suggesting Tom's unconscious guilt as a result of revealing the forbidden knowledge that has led Dick to take his own life.
Benyei argues that Crick believes the world he knew has already ended yet he is doomed to relive it repeatedly by hauntingly recalling the abortion and Dick's suicide:
Because Crick increasingly suggests that his personal story will free him from the sins of his past, his confession of the abortion and the murders requires a different sort of Bakhtinian analysis than the traditional dialogic reading.
Crick believes that Mary's Catholic sense of guilt over ending a life and her frustration at not being able to have children subsequently, may have contributed in some way to her irrational but firmly-held belief, in late middle age, that the baby is a gift from God.
6) Northrop Frye's description of ordinary time suggests that Crick is already attempting to face away from the past and its associated traumas and look toward the future, a process that is deleterious to any meaningful expiation of his guilt over the deaths in his past, and ultimately impossible because of the constant collapse of the present into the past and the resulting tension in our subsequent analeptic/proleptic expectations of the moment: