World of My Passion

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A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook Title: Lady Chatterley's LoverAuthor: D H LawrenceeBook No.: 0100181.txtEdition: 1Language: EnglishCharacter set encoding: ASCIIDate first posted: November 2001Date most recently updated: November 2001 This eBook was produced by: Col Choat colc@gutenberg.net.auProduction notes: Nil Project Gutenberg of Australia eBooks are created from printed editionswhich are in the public domain in Australia, unless a copyright noticeis included. We do NOT keep any eBooks in compliance with a particularpaper edition. Copyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check thecopyright laws for your country before downloading or redistributing thisor any other Project Gutenberg file. To contact Project Gutenberg of Australia go to http://gutenberg.net.auFurther information on contacting Project Gutenberg, the"legal small print" and other information about this eBook may be foundat the end of this file. ** Welcome To The World of Free Plain Vanilla Electronic Books **** eBooks Readable By Both Humans and By Computers, Since 1971 ******* These eBooks Are Prepared By Thousands of Volunteers! ***** ----------------------------------------------------------------- A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook Title: Lady Chatterley's LoverAuthor: D H Lawrence Chapter 1 Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically.The cataclysm has happened, we are among the ruins, we start to buildup new little habitats, to have new little hopes. It is rather hardwork: there is now no smooth road into the future: but we go round, orscramble over the obstacles. We've got to live, no matter how manyskies have fallen. This was more or less Constance Chatterley's position. The war hadbrought the roof down over her head. And she had realized that one mustlive and learn. She married Clifford Chatterley in 1917, when he was home for a monthon leave. They had a month's honeymoon. Then he went back to Flanders:to be shipped over to England again six months later, more or less inbits. Constance, his wife, was then twenty-three years old, and he wastwenty-nine. His hold on life was marvellous. He didn't die, and the bits seemed togrow together again. For two years he remained in the doctor's hands.Then he was pronounced a cure, and could return to life again, with thelower half of his body, from the hips down, paralysed for ever. This was in 1920. They returned, Clifford and Constance, to his home,Wragby Hall, the family 'seat'. His father had died, Clifford was now abaronet, Sir Clifford, and Constance was Lady Chatterley. They came tostart housekeeping and married life in the rather forlorn home of theChatterleys on a rather inadequate income. Clifford had a sister, butshe had departed. Otherwise there were no near relatives. The elderbrother was dead in the war. Crippled for ever, knowing he could neverhave any children, Clifford came home to the smoky Midlands to keep theChatterley name alive while he could. He was not really downcast. He could wheel himself about in a wheeledchair, and he had a bath-chair with a small motor attachment, so hecould drive himself slowly round the garden and into the linemelancholy park, of which he was really so proud, though he pretendedto be flippant about it. Having suffered so much, the capacity for suffering had to some extentleft him. He remained strange and bright and cheerful, almost, onemight say, chirpy, with his ruddy, healthy-looking face, arid hispale-blue, challenging bright eyes. His shoulders were broad andstrong, his hands were very strong. He was expensively dressed, andwore handsome neckties from Bond Street. Yet still in his face one sawthe watchful look, the slight vacancy of a cripple. He had so very nearly lost his life, that what remained was wonderfullyprecious to him. It was obvious in the anxious brightness of his eyes,how proud he was, after the great shock, of being alive. But he hadbeen so much hurt that something inside him had perished, some of hisfeelings had gone. There was a blank of insentience. Constance, his wife, was a ruddy, country-looking girl with soft brownhair and sturdy body, and slow movements, full of unusual energy. Shehad big, wondering eyes, and a soft mild voice, and seemed just to havecome from her native village. It was not so at all. Her father was theonce well-known R. A., old Sir Malcolm Reid. Her mother had been one ofthe cultivated Fabians in the palmy, rather pre-Raphaelite days.Between artists and cultured socialists, Constance and her sister Hildahad had what might be called an aesthetically unconventionalupbringing. They had been taken to Paris and Florence and Rome tobreathe in art, and they had been taken also in the other direction, tothe Hague and Berlin, to great Socialist conventions, where thespeakers spoke in every civilized tongue, and no one was abashed. The two girls, therefore, were from an early age not the least dauntedby either art or ideal politics. It was their natural atmosphere. Theywere at once cosmopolitan and provincial, with the cosmopolitanprovincialism of art that goes with pure social ideals. They had been sent to Dresden at the age of fifteen, for music amongother things. And they had had a good time there. They lived freelyamong the students, they argued with the men over philosophical,sociological and artistic matters, they were just as good as the menthemselves: only better, since they were women. And they tramped off tothe forests with sturdy youths bearing guitars, twang-twang! They sangthe Wandervogel songs, and they were free. Free! That was the greatword. Out in the open world, out in the forests of the morning, withlusty and splendid-throated young fellows, free to do as they liked,and--above all--to say what they liked. It was the talk that matteredsupremely: the impassioned interchange of talk. Love was only a minoraccompaniment. Both Hilda and Constance had had their tentative love-affairs by thetime they were eighteen. The young men with whom they talked sopassionately and sang so lustily and camped under the trees in suchfreedom wanted, of course, the love connexion. The girls were doubtful,but then the thing was so much talked about, it was supposed to be soimportant. And the men were so humble and craving. Why couldn't a girlbe queenly, and give the gift of herself? So they had given the gift of themselves, each to the youth with whomshe had the most subtle and intimate arguments. The arguments, thediscussions were the great thing: the love-making and connexion wereonly a sort of primitive reversion and a bit of an anti-climax. One wasless in love with the boy afterwards, and a little inclined to hatehim, as if he had trespassed on one's privacy and inner freedom. For,of course, being a girl, one's whole dignity and meaning in lifeconsisted in the achievement of an absolute, a perfect, a pure andnoble freedom. What else did a girl's life mean? To shake off the oldand sordid connexions and subjections. And however one might sentimentalize it, this sex business was one ofthe most ancient, sordid connexions and subjections. Poets whoglorified it were mostly men. Women had always known there wassomething better, something higher. And now they knew it moredefinitely than ever. The beautiful pure freedom of a woman wasinfinitely more wonderful than any sexual love. The only unfortunatething was that men lagged so far behind women in the matter. Theyinsisted on the sex thing like dogs. And a woman had to yield. A man was like a child with his appetites. Awoman had to yield him what he wanted, or like a child he wouldprobably turn nasty and flounce away and spoil what was a very pleasantconnexion. But a woman could yield to a man without yielding her inner,free self. That the poets and talkers about sex did not seem to havetaken sufficiently into account. A woman could take a man withoutreally giving herself away. Certainly she could take him without givingherself into his power. Rather she could use this sex thing to havepower over him. For she only had to hold herself back in sexualintercourse, and let him finish and expend himself without herselfcoming to the crisis: and then she could prolong the connexion andachieve her orgasm and her crisis while he was merely her tool. Both sisters had had their love experience by the time the war came,and they were hurried home. Neither was ever in love with a young manunless he and she were verbally very near: that is unless they wereprofoundly interested, TALKING to one another. The amazing, theprofound, the unbelievable thrill there was in passionately talking tosome really clever young man by the hour, resuming day after day formonths...this they had never realized till it happened! The paradisalpromise: Thou shalt have men to talk to!--had never been uttered. Itwas fulfilled before they knew what a promise it was. And if after the roused intimacy of these vivid and soul-enlighteneddiscussions the sex thing became more or less inevitable, then let it.It marked the end of a chapter. It had a thrill of its own too: a queervibrating thrill inside the body, a final spasm of self-assertion, likethe last word, exciting, and very like the row of asterisks that can beput to show the end of a paragraph, and a break in the theme. When the girls came home for the summer holidays of 1913, when Hildawas twenty and Connie eighteen, their father could see plainly thatthey had had the love experience. L'AMOUR AVAIT POSS PAR L·, as somebody puts it. But he was a man ofexperience himself, and let life take its course. As for the mot anervous invalid in the last few months of her life, she wanted hergirls to be 'free', and to 'fulfil themselves'. She herself had neverbeen able to be altogether herself: it had been denied her. Heavenknows why, for she was a woman who had her own income and her own way.She blamed her husband. But as a matter of fact, it was some oldimpression of authority on her own mind or soul that she could not getrid of. It had nothing to do with Sir Malcolm, who left his nervouslyhostile, high-spirited wife to rule her own roost, while he went hisown way. So the girls were 'free', and went back to Dresden, and their music,and the university and the young men. They loved their respective youngmen, and their respective young men loved them with all the passion ofmental attraction. All the wonderful things the young men thought andexpressed and wrote, they thought and expressed and wrote for the youngwomen. Connie's young man was musical, Hilda's was technical. But theysimply lived for their young women. In their minds and their mentalexcitements, that is. Somewhere else they were a little rebuffed,though they did not know it. It was obvious in them too that love had gone through them: that is,the physical experience. It is curious what a subtle but unmistakabletransmutation it makes, both in the body of men and women: the womanmore blooming, more subtly rounded, her young angularities softened,and her expression either anxious or triumphant: the man much quieter,more inward, the very shapes of his shoulders and his buttocks lessassertive, more hesitant. In the actual sex-thrill within the body, the sisters nearly succumbedto the strange male power. But quickly they recovered themselves, tookthe sex-thrill as a sensation, and remained free. Whereas the men, ingratitude to the woman for the sex experience, let their souls go outto her. And afterwards looked rather as if they had lost a shilling andfound sixpence. Connie's man could be a bit sulky, and Hilda's a bitjeering. But that is how men are! Ungrateful and never satisfied. Whenyou don't have them they hate you because you won't; and when you dohave them they hate you again, for some other reason. Or for no reasonat all, except that they are discontented children, and can't besatisfied whatever they get, let a woman do what she may. However, came the war, Hilda and Connie were rushed home again afterhaving been home already in May, to their mother's funeral. BeforeChristmas of 1914 both their German young men were dead: whereupon thesisters wept, and loved the young men passionately, but underneathforgot them. They didn't exist any more. Both sisters lived in their father's, really their mother's, Kensingtonhousemixed with the young Cambridge group, the group that stood for'freedom' and flannel trousers, and flannel shirts open at the neck,and a well-bred sort of emotional anarchy, and a whispering, murmuringsort of voice, and an ultra-sensitive sort of manner. Hilda, however,suddenly married a man ten years older than herself, an elder member ofthe same Cambridge group, a man with a fair amount of money, and acomfortable family job in the government: he also wrote philosophicalessays. She lived with him in a smallish house in Westminster, andmoved in that good sort of society of people in the government who arenot tip-toppers, but who are, or would be, the real intelligent powerin the nation: people who know what they're talking about, or talk asif they did. Connie did a mild form of war-work, and consorted with theflannel-trousers Cambridge intransigents, who gently mocked ateverything, so far. Her 'friend' was a Clifford Chatterley, a young manof twenty-two, who had hurried home from Bonn, where he was studyingthe technicalities of coal-mining. He had previously spent two years atCambridge. Now he had become a first lieutenant in a smart regiment, sohe could mock at everything more becomingly in uniform. Clifford Chatterley was more upper-class than Connie. Connie waswell-to-do intelligentsia, but he was aristocracy. Not the big sort,but still it. His father was a baronet, and his mother had been aviscount's daughter. But Clifford, while he was better bred than Connie, and more 'society',was in his own way more provincial and more timid. He was at his easein the narrow 'great world', that is, landed aristocracy society, buthe was shy and nervous of all that other big world which consists ofthe vast hordes of the middle and lower classes, and foreigners. If thetruth must be told, he was just a little bit frightened of middle-andlower-class humanity, and of foreigners not of his own class. He was,in some paralysing way, conscious of his own defencelessness, though hehad all the defence of privilege. Which is curious, but a phenomenon ofour day. Therefore the peculiar soft assurance of a girl like Constance Reidfascinated him. She was so much more mistress of herself in that outerworld of chaos than he was master of himself. Nevertheless he too was a rebel: rebelling even against his class. Orperhaps rebel is too strong a word; far too strong. He was only caughtin the general, popular recoil of the young against convention andagainst any sort of real authority. Fathers were ridiculous: his ownobstinate one supremely so. And governments were ridiculous: our ownwait-and-see sort especially so. And armies were ridiculous, and oldbuffers of generals altogether, the red-faced Kitchener supremely. Eventhe war was ridiculous, though it did kill rather a lot of people. In fact everything was a little ridiculous, or very ridiculous:certainly everything connected with authority, whether it were in thearmy or the government or the universities, was ridiculous to a degree.And as far as the governing class made any pretensions to govern, theywere ridiculous too. Sir Geoffrey, Clifford's father, was intenselyridiculous, chopping down his trees, and weeding men out of hiscolliery to shove them into the war; and himself being so safe andpatriotic; but, also, spending more money on his country than he'd got. When Miss Chatterley--Emma--came down to London from the Midlands to dosome nursing work, she was very witty in a quiet way about Sir Geoffreyand his determined patriotism. Herbert, the elder brother and heir,laughed outright, though it was his trees that were falling for trenchprops. But Clifford only smiled a little uneasily. Everything wasridiculous, quite true. But when it came too close and oneself becameridiculous too...? At least people of a different class, like Connie,were earnest about something. They believed in something. They were rather earnest about the Tommies, and the threat ofconscription, and the shortage of sugar and toffee for the children. Inall these things, of course, the authorities were ridiculously atfault. But Clifford could not take it to heart. To him the authoritieswere ridiculous AB OVO, not because of toffee or Tommies. And the authorities felt ridiculous, and behaved in a rather ridiculousfashion, and it was all a mad hatter's tea-party for a while. Tillthings developed over there, and Lloyd George came to save thesituation over here. And this surpassed even ridicule, the flippantyoung laughed no more. In 1916 Herbert Chatterley was killed, so Clifford became heir. He wasterrified even of this. His importance as son of Sir Geoffrey, andchild of Wragby, was so ingrained in him, he could never escape it. Andyet he knew that this too, in the eyes of the vast seething world, wasridiculous. Now he was heir and responsible for Wragby. Was that notterrible? and also splendid and at the same time, perhaps, purelyabsurd? Sir Geoffrey would have none of the absurdity. He was pale and tense,withdrawn into himself, and obstinately determined to save his countryand his own position, let it be Lloyd George or who it might. So cutoff he was, so divorced from the England that was really England, soutterly incapable, that he even thought well of Horatio Bottomley. SirGeoffrey stood for England and Lloyd George as his forebears had stoodfor England and St George: and he never knew there was a difference. SoSir Geoffrey felled timber and stood for Lloyd George and England,England and Lloyd George. And he wanted Clifford to marry and produce an heir. Clifford felt hisfather was a hopeless anachronism. But wherein was he himself anyfurther ahead, except in a wincing sense of the ridiculousness ofeverything, and the paramount ridiculousness of his own position? Forwilly-nilly he took his baronetcy and Wragby with the last seriousness. The gay excitement had gone out of the war...dead. Too much death andhorror. A man needed support arid comfort. A man needed to have ananchor in the safe world. A man needed a wife. The Chatterleys, two brothers and a sister, had lived curiouslyisolated, shut in with one another at Wragby, in spite of all theirconnexions. A sense of isolation intensified the family tie, a sense ofthe weakness of their position, a sense of defencelessness, in spiteof, or because of, the title and the land. They were cut off from thoseindustrial Midlands in which they passed their lives. And they were cutoff from their own class by the brooding, obstinate, shut-up nature ofSir Geoffrey, their father, whom they ridiculed, but whom they were sosensitive about. The three had said they would all live together always. But now Herbertwas dead, and Sir Geoffrey wanted Clifford to marry. Sir Geoffreybarely mentioned it: he spoke very little. But his silent, broodinginsistence that it should be so was hard for Clifford to bear upagainst. But Emma said No! She was ten years older than Clifford, and she felthis marrying would be a desertion and a betrayal of what the young onesof the family had stood for. Clifford married Connie, nevertheless, and had his month's honeymoonwith her. It was the terrible year 1917, and they were intimate as twopeople who stand together on a sinking ship. He had been virgin when hemarried: and the sex part did not mean much to him. They were so close,he and she, apart from that. And Connie exulted a little in thisintimacy which was beyond sex, and beyond a man's 'satisfaction'.Clifford anyhow was not just keen on his 'satisfaction', as so many menseemed to be. No, the intimacy was deeper, more personal than that. Andsex was merely an accident, or an adjunct, one of the curious obsolete,organic processes which persisted in its own clumsiness, but was notreally necessary. Though Connie did want children: if only to fortifyher against her sister-in-law Emma. But early in 1918 Clifford was shipped home smashed, and there was nochild. And Sir Geoffrey died of chagrin. Chapter 2 Connie and Clifford came home to Wragby in the autumn of 1920. MissChatterley, still disgusted at her brother's defection, had departedand was living in a little flat in London. Wragby was a long low old house in brown stone, begun about the middleof the eighteenth century, and added on to, till it was a warren of aplace without much distinction. It stood on an eminence in a ratherline old park of oak trees, but alas, one could see in the neardistance the chimney of Tevershall pit, with its clouds of steam andsmoke, and on the damp, hazy distance of the hill the raw straggle ofTevershall village, a village which began almost at the park gates, andtrailed in utter hopeless ugliness for a long and gruesome mile:houses, rows of wretched, small, begrimed, brick houses, with blackslate roofs for lids, sharp angles and wilful, blank dreariness. Connie was accustomed to Kensington or the Scotch hills or the Sussexdowns: that was her England. With the stoicism of the young she took inthe utter, soulless ugliness of the coal-and-iron Midlands at a glance,and left it at what it was: unbelievable and not to be thought about.From the rather dismal rooms at Wragby she heard the rattle-rattle ofthe screens at the pit, the puff of the winding-engine, the clink-clinkof shunting trucks, and the hoarse little whistle of the collierylocomotives. Tevershall pit-bank was burning, had been burning foryears, and it would cost thousands to put it out. So it had to burn.And when the wind was that way, which was often, the house was full ofthe stench of this sulphurous combustion of the earth's excrement. Buteven on windless days the air always smelt of something under-earth:sulphur, iron, coal, or acid. And even on the Christmas roses the smutssettled persistently, incredible, like black manna from the skies ofdoom. Well, there it was: fated like the rest of things! It was rather awful,but why kick? You couldn't kick it away. It just went on. Life, likeall the rest! On the low dark ceiling of cloud at night red blotchesburned and quavered, dappling and swelling and contracting, like burnsthat give pain. It was the furnaces. At first they fascinated Conniewith a sort of horror; she felt she was living underground. Then shegot used to them. And in the morning it rained. Clifford professed to like Wragby better than London. This country hada grim will of its own, and the people had guts. Connie wondered whatelse they had: certainly neither eyes nor minds. The people were ashaggard, shapeless, and dreary as the countryside, and as unfriendly.Only there was something in their deep-mouthed slurring of the dialect,and the thresh-thresh of their hob-nailed pit-boots as they trailedhome in gangs on the asphalt from work, that was terrible and a bitmysterious. There had been no welcome home for the young squire, no festivities, nodeputation, not even a single flower. Only a dank ride in a motor-carup a dark, damp drive, burrowing through gloomy trees, out to the slopeof the park where grey damp sheep were feeding, to the knoll where thehouse spread its dark brown facade, and the housekeeper and her husbandwere hovering, like unsure tenants on the face of the earth, ready tostammer a welcome. There was no communication between Wragby Hall and Tevershall village,none. No caps were touched, no curtseys bobbed. The colliers merelystared; the tradesmen lifted their caps to Connie as to anacquaintance, and nodded awkwardly to Clifford; that was all. Gulfimpassable, and a quiet sort of resentment on either side. At firstConnie suffered from the steady drizzle of resentment that came fromthe village. Then she hardened herself to it, and it became a sort oftonic, something to live up to. It was not that she and Clifford wereunpopular, they merely belonged to another species altogether from thecolliers. Gulf impassable, breach indescribable, such as is perhapsnonexistent south of the Trent. But in the Midlands and the industrialNorth gulf impassable, across which no communication could take place.You stick to your side, I'll stick to mine! A strange denial of thecommon pulse of humanity. Yet the village sympathized with Clifford and Connie in the abstract.In the flesh it was--You leave me alone!--on either side. The rector was a nice man of about sixty, full of his duty, andreduced, personally, almost to a nonentity by the silent--You leave mealone!--of the village. The miners' wives were nearly all Methodists.The miners were nothing. But even so much official uniform as theclergyman wore was enough to obscure entirely the fact that he was aman like any other man. No, he was Mester Ashby, a sort of automaticpreaching and praying concern. This stubborn, instinctive--We think ourselves as good as you, if youARE Lady Chatterley!--puzzled and baffled Connie at first extremely.The curious, suspicious, false amiability with which the miners' wivesmet her overtures; the curiously offensive tinge of--Oh dear me! I AMsomebody now, with Lady Chatterley talking to me! But she needn't thinkI'm not as good as her for all that!--which she always heard twangingin the women's half-fawning voices, was impossible. There was nogetting past it. It was hopelessly and offensively nonconformist. Clifford left them alone, and she learnt to do the same: she just wentby without looking at them, and they stared as if she were a walkingwax figure. When he had to deal with them, Clifford was rather haughtyand contemptuous; one could no longer afford to be friendly. In fact hewas altogether rather supercilious and contemptuous of anyone not inhis own class. He stood his ground, without any attempt atconciliation. And he was neither liked nor disliked by the people: hewas just part of things, like the pit-bank and Wragby itself. But Clifford was really extremely shy and self-conscious now he waslamed. He hated seeing anyone except just the personal servants. For hehad to sit in a wheeled chair or a sort of bath-chair. Nevertheless hewas just as carefully dressed as ever, by his expensive tailors, and hewore the careful Bond Street neckties just as before, and from the tophe looked just as smart and impressive as ever. He had never been oneof the modern ladylike young men: rather bucolic even, with his ruddyface and broad shoulders. But his very quiet, hesitating voice, and hiseyes, at the same time bold and frightened, assured and uncertain,revealed his nature. His manner was often offensively supercilious, andthen again modest and self-effacing, almost tremulous. Connie and he were attached to one another, in the aloof modern way. Hewas much too hurt in himself, the great shock of his maiming, to beeasy and flippant. He was a hurt thing. And as such Connie stuck to himpassionately. But she could not help feeling how little connexion he really had withpeople. The miners were, in a sense, his own men; but he saw them asobjects rather than men, parts of the pit rather than parts of life,crude raw phenomena rather than human beings along with him. He was insome way afraid of them, he could not bear to have them look at him nowhe was lame. And their queer, crude life seemed as unnatural as that ofhedgehogs. He was remotely interested; but like a man looking down a microscope,or up a telescope. He was not in touch. He was not in actual touch withanybody, save, traditionally, with Wragby, and, through the close bondof family defence, with Emma. Beyond this nothing really touched him.Connie felt that she herself didn't really, not really touch him;perhaps there was nothing to get at ultimately; just a negation ofhuman contact. Yet he was absolutely dependent on her, he needed her every moment. Bigand strong as he was, he was helpless. He could wheel himself about ina wheeled chair, and he had a sort of bath-chair with a motorattachment, in which he could puff slowly round the park. But alone hewas like a lost thing. He needed Connie to be there, to assure him heexisted at all. Still he was ambitious. He had taken to writing stories; curious, verypersonal stories about people he had known. Clever, rather spiteful,and yet, in some mysterious way, meaningless. The observation wasextraordinary and peculiar. But there was no touch, no actual contact.It was as if the whole thing took place in a vacuum. And since thefield of life is largely an artificially-lighted stage today, thestories were curiously true to modern life, to the modern psychology,that is. Clifford was almost morbidly sensitive about these stories. He wantedeveryone to think them good, of the best, NE PLUS ULTRA. They appearedin the most modern magazines, and were praised and blamed as usual. Butto Clifford the blame was torture, like knives goading him. It was asif the whole of his being were in his stories. Connie helped him as much as she could. At first she was thrilled. Hetalked everything over with her monotonously, insistently,persistently, and she had to respond with all her might. It was as ifher whole soul and body and sex had to rouse up and pass into themestories of his. This thrilled her and absorbed her. Of physical life they lived very little. She had to superintend thehouse. But the housekeeper had served Sir Geoffrey for many years, aridthe dried-up, elderly, superlatively correct female you could hardlycall her a parlour-maid, or even a woman...who waited at table, hadbeen in the house for forty years. Even the very housemaids were nolonger young. It was awful! What could you do with such a place, butleave it alone! All these endless rooms that nobody used, all theMidlands routine, the mechanical cleanliness and the mechanical order!Clifford had insisted on a new cook, an experienced woman who hadserved him in his rooms in London. For the rest the place seemed run bymechanical anarchy. Everything went on in pretty good order, strictcleanliness, and strict punctuality; even pretty strict honesty. Andyet, to Connie, it was a methodical anarchy. No warmth of feelingunited it organically. The house seemed as dreary as a disused street. What could she do but leave it alone? So she left it alone. MissChatterley came sometimes, with her aristocratic thin face, andtriumphed, finding nothing altered. She would never forgive Connie forousting her from her union in consciousness with her brother. It wasshe, Emma, who should be bringing forth the stories, these books, withhim; the Chatterley stories, something new in the world, that THEY, theChatterleys, had put there. There was no other standard. There was noorganic connexion with the thought and expression that had gone before.Only something new in the world: the Chatterley books, entirelypersonal. Connie's father, where he paid a flying visit to Wragby, and in privateto his daughter: As for Clifford's writing, it's smart, but there'sNOTHING IN IT. It won't last! Connie looked at the burly Scottishknight who had done himself well all his life, and her eyes, her big,still-wondering blue eyes became vague. Nothing in it! What did he meanby nothing in it? If the critics praised it, and Clifford's name wasalmost famous, and it even brought in money...what did her father meanby saying there was nothing in Clifford's writing? What else couldthere be? For Connie had adopted the standard of the young: what there was in themoment was everything. And moments followed one another withoutnecessarily belonging to one another. It was in her second winter at Wragby her father said to her: 'I hope,Connie, you won't let circumstances force you into being ademi-vierge.' 'A demi-vierge!' replied Connie vaguely. 'Why? Why not?' 'Unless you like it, of course!' said her father hastily. To Cliffordhe said the same, when the two men were alone: 'I'm afraid it doesn'tquite suit Connie to be a demi-vierge.' 'A half-virgin!' replied Clifford, translating the phrase to be sure of it. He thought for a moment, then flushed very red. He was angry andoffended. 'In what way doesn't it suit her?' he asked stiffly. 'She's getting thin...angular. It's not her style. She's not thepilchard sort of little slip of a girl, she's a bonny Scotch trout.' 'Without the spots, of course!' said Clifford. He wanted to say something later to Connie about the demi-viergebusiness...the half-virgin state of her affairs. But he could not bringhimself to do it. He was at once too intimate with her and not intimateenough. He was so very much at one with her, in his mind and hers, butbodily they were non-existent to one another, and neither could bear todrag in the corpus delicti. They were so intimate, and utterly out oftouch. Connie guessed, however, that her father had said something, and thatsomething was in Clifford's mind. She knew that he didn't mind whethershe were demi-vierge or demi-monde, so long as he didn't absolutelyknow, and wasn't made to see. What the eye doesn't see and the minddoesn't know, doesn't exist. Connie and Clifford had now been nearly two years at Wragby, livingtheir vague life of absorption in Clifford and his work. Theirinterests had never ceased to flow together over his work. They talkedand wrestled in the throes of composition, and felt as if somethingwere happening, really happening, really in the void. And thus far it was a life: in the void. For the rest it wasnon-existence. Wragby was there, the servants...but spectral, notreally existing. Connie went for walks in the park, and in the woodsthat joined the park, and enjoyed the solitude and the mystery, kickingthe brown leaves of autumn, and picking the primroses of spring. But itwas all a dream; or rather it was like the simulacrum of reality. Theoak-leaves were to her like oak-leaves seen ruffling in a mirror, sheherself was a figure somebody had read about, picking primroses thatwere only shadows or memories, or words. No substance to her oranything...no touch, no contact! Only this life with Clifford, thisendless spinning of webs of yarn, of the minutiae of consciousness,these stories Sir Malcolm said there was nothing in, and they wouldn'tlast. Why should there be anything in them, why should they last?Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. Sufficient unto the momentis the APPEARANCE of reality. Clifford had quite a number of friends, acquaintances really, and heinvited them to Wragby. He invited all sorts of people, critics andwriters, people who would help to praise his books. And they wereflattered at being asked to Wragby, and they praised. Connie understoodit all perfectly. But why not? This was one of the fleeting patterns inthe mirror. What was wrong with it? She was hostess to these people...mostly men. She was hostess also toClifford's occasional aristocratic relations. Being a soft, ruddy,country-looking girl, inclined to freckles, with big blue eyes, andcurling, brown hair, and a soft voice, and rather strong, female loinsshe was considered a little old-fashioned and 'womanly'. She was not a'little pilchard sort of fish', like a boy, with a boy's flat breastand little buttocks. She was too feminine to be quite smart. So the men, especially those no longer young, were very nice to herindeed. But, knowing what torture poor Clifford would feel at theslightest sign of flirting on her part, she gave them no encouragementat all. She was quiet and vague, she had no contact with them andintended to have none. Clifford was extraordinarily proud of himself. His relatives treated her quite kindly. She knew that the kindlinessindicated a lack of fear, and that these people had no respect for youunless you could frighten them a little. But again she had no contact.She let them be kindly and disdainful, she let them feel they had noneed to draw their steel in readiness. She had no real connexion withthem. Time went on. Whatever happened, nothing happened, because she was sobeautifully out of contact. She and Clifford lived in their ideas andhis books. She entertained...there were always people in the house.Time went on as the clock does, half past eight instead of half pastseven. Chapter 3 Connie was aware, however, of a growing restlessness. Out of herdisconnexion, a restlessness was taking possession of her like madness.It twitched her limbs when she didn't want to twitch them, it jerkedher spine when she didn't want to jerk upright but preferred to restcomfortably. It thrilled inside her body, in her womb, somewhere, tillshe felt she must jump into water and swim to get away from it; a madrestlessness. It made her heart beat violently for no reason. And shewas getting thinner. It was just restlessness. She would rush off across the park, abandonClifford, and lie prone in the bracken. To get away from thehouse...she must get away from the house and everybody. The work washer one refuge, her sanctuary. But it was not really a refuge, a sanctuary, because she had noconnexion with it. It was only a place where she could get away fromthe rest. She never really touched the spirit of the wood itself...ifit had any such nonsensical thing. Vaguely she knew herself that she was going to pieces in some way.Vaguely she knew she was out of connexion: she had lost touch with thesubstantial and vital world. Only Clifford and his books, which did notexist...which had nothing in them! Void to void. Vaguely she knew. Butit was like beating her head against a stone. Her father warned her again: 'Why don't you get yourself a beau,Connie? Do you all the good in the world.' That winter Michaelis came for a few days. He was a young Irishman whohad already made a large fortune by his plays in America. He had beentaken up quite enthusiastically for a time by smart society in London,for he wrote smart society plays. Then gradually smart society realizedthat it had been made ridiculous at the hands of a down-at-heel Dublinstreet-rat, and revulsion came. Michaelis was the last word in what wascaddish and bounderish. He was discovered to be anti-English, and tothe class that made this discovery this was worse than the dirtiestcrime. He was cut dead, and his corpse thrown into the refuse can. Nevertheless Michaelis had his apartment in Mayfair, and walked downBond Street the image of a gentleman, for you cannot get even the besttailors to cut their low-down customers, when the customers pay. Clifford was inviting the young man of thirty at an inauspicious momentin thyoung man's career. Yet Clifford did not hesitate. Michaelis hadthe ear of a few million people, probably; and, being a hopelessoutsider, he would no doubt be grateful to be asked down to Wragby atthis juncture, when the rest of the smart world was cutting him. Beinggrateful, he would no doubt do Clifford 'good' over there in America.Kudos! A man gets a lot of kudos, whatever that may be, by being talkedabout in the right way, especially 'over there'. Clifford was a comingman; and it was remarkable what a sound publicity instinct he had. Inthe end Michaelis did him most nobly in a play, and Clifford was a sortof popular hero. Till the reaction, when he found he had been maderidiculous. Connie wondered a little over Clifford's blind, imperious instinct tobecome known: known, that is, to the vast amorphous world he did nothimself know, and of which he was uneasily afraid; known as a writer,as a first-class modern writer. Connie was aware from successful, old,hearty, bluffing Sir Malcolm, that artists did advertise themselves,and exert themselves to put their goods over. But her father usedchannels ready-made, used by all the other R. A.s who sold theirpictures. Whereas Clifford discovered new channels of publicity, allkinds. He had all kinds of people at Wragby, without exactly loweringhimself. But, determined to build himself a monument of a reputationquickly, he used any handy rubble in the making. Michaelis arrived duly, in a very neat car, with a chauffeur and amanservant. He was absolutely Bond Street! But at right of himsomething in Clifford's county soul recoiled. He wasn't exactly... notexactly...in fact, he wasn't at all, well, what his appearance intendedto imply. To Clifford this was final and enough. Yet he was very politeto the man; to the amazing success in him. The bitch-goddess, as she iscalled, of Success, roamed, snarling and protective, round thehalf-humble, half-defiant Michaelis' heels, and intimidated Cliffordcompletely: for he wanted to prostitute himself to the bitch-goddess,Success also, if only she would have him. Michaelis obviously wasn't an Englishman, in spite of all the tailors,hatters, barbers, booters of the very best quarter of London. No, no,he obviously wasn't an Englishman: the wrong sort of flattish, paleface and bearing; and the wrong sort of grievance. He had a grudge anda grievance: that was obvious to any true-born English gentleman, whowould scorn to let such a thing appear blatant in his own demeanour.Poor Michaelis had been much kicked, so that he had a slightlytail-between-the-legs look even now. He had pushed his way by sheerinstinct and sheerer effrontery on to the stage and to the front of it,with his plays. He had caught the public. And he had thought thekicking days were over. Alas, they weren't... They never would be. Forhe, in a sense, asked to be kicked. He pined to be where he didn'tbelong...among the English upper classes. And how they enjoyed thevarious kicks they got at him! And how he hated them! Nevertheless he travelled with his manservant and his very neat car,this Dublin mongrel. There was something about him that Connie liked. He didn't put on airsto himself, he had no illusions about himself. He talked to Cliffordsensibly, briefly, practically, about all the things Clifford wanted toknow. He didn't expand or let himself go. He knew he had been askeddown to Wragby to be made use of, and like an old, shrewd, almostindifferent business man, or big-business man, he let himself be askedquestions, and he answered with as little waste of feeling as possible. 'Money!' he said. 'Money is a sort of instinct. It's a sort of propertyof nature in a man to make money. It's nothing you do. It's no trickyou play. It's a sort of permanent accident of your own nature; onceyou start, you make money, and you go on; up to a point, I suppose.' 'But you've got to begin,' said Clifford. 'Oh, quite! You've got to get IN. You can do nothing if you are keptoutside. You've got to beat your way in. Once you've done that, youcan't help it.' 'But could you have made money except by plays?' asked Clifford. 'Oh, probably not! I may be a good writer or I may be a bad one, but awriter and a writer of plays is what I am, and I've got to be. There'sno question of that.' 'And you think it's a writer of popular plays that you've got to be?'asked Connie. 'There, exactly!' he said, turning to her in a sudden flash. 'There'snothing in it! There's nothing in popularity. There's nothing in thepublic, if it comes to that. There's nothing really in my plays to makethem popular. It's not that. They just are like the weather...the sortthat will HAVE to be...for the time being.' He turned his slow, rather full eyes, that had been drowned in suchfathomless disillusion, on Connie, and she trembled a little. He seemedso old...endlessly old, built up of layers of disillusion, going downin him generation after generation, like geological strata; and at thesame time he was forlorn like a child. An outcast, in a certain sense;but with the desperate bravery of his rat-like existence. 'At least it's wonderful what you've done at your time of life,' saidClifford contemplatively. 'I'm thirty...yes, I'm thirty!' said Michaelis, sharply and suddenly,with a curious laugh; hollow, triumphant, and bitter. 'And are you alone?' asked Connie. 'How do you mean? Do I live alone? I've got my servant. He's a Greek,so he says, and quite incompetent. But I keep him. And I'm going tomarry. Oh, yes, I must marry.' 'It sounds like going to have your tonsils cut,' laughed Connie. 'Willit be an effort?' He looked at her admiringly. 'Well, Lady Chatterley, somehow it will! Ifind... excuse me... I find I can't marry an Englishwoman, not even anIrishwoman...' 'Try an American,' said Clifford. 'Oh, American!' He laughed a hollow laugh. 'No, I've asked my man if hewill find me a Turk or something...something nearer to the Oriental.' Connie really wondered at this queer, melancholy specimen ofextraordinary success; it was said he had an income of fifty thousanddollars from America alone. Sometimes he was handsome: sometimes as helooked sideways, downwards, and the light fell on him, he had thesilent, enduring beauty of a carved ivory Negro mask, with his ratherfull eyes, and the strong queerly-arched brows, the immobile,compressed mouth; that momentary but revealed immobility, animmobility, a timelessness which the Buddha aims at, and which Negroesexpress sometimes without ever aiming at it; something old, old, andacquiescent in the race! Aeons of acquiescence in race destiny, insteadof our individual resistance. And then a swimming through, like rats ina dark river. Connie felt a sudden, strange leap of sympathy for him, aleap mingled with compassion, and tinged with repulsion, amountingalmost to love. The outsider! The outsider! And they called him abounder! How much more bounderish and assertive Clifford looked! Howmuch stupider! Michaelis knew at once he had made an impression on her. He turned hisfull, hazel, slightly prominent eyes on her in a look of puredetachment. He was estimating her, and the extent of the impression hehad made. With the English nothing could save him from being theeternal outsider, not even love. Yet women sometimes fell forhim...Englishwomen too. He knew just where he was with Clifford. They were two alien dogs whichwould have liked to snarl at one another, but which smiled instead,perforce. But with the woman he was not quite so sure. Breakfast was served in the bedrooms; Clifford never appeared beforelunch, and the dining-room was a little dreary. After coffee Michaelis,restless and ill-sitting soul, wondered what he should do. It was afine November...day fine for Wragby. He looked over the melancholypark. My God! What a place! He sent a servant to ask, could he be of any service to LadyChatterley: he thought of driving into Sheffield. The answer came,would he care to go up to Lady Chatterley's sitting-room. Connie had a sitting-room on the third floor, the top floor of thecentral portion of the house. Clifford's rooms were on the groundfloor, of course. Michaelis was flattered by being asked up to LadyChatterley's own parlour. He followed blindly after the servant...henever noticed things, or had contact with Isis surroundings. In herroom he did glance vaguely round at the fine German reproductions ofRenoir and C‚zanne. 'It's very pleasant up here,' he said, with his queer smile, as if ithurt him to smile, showing his teeth. 'You are wise to get up to thetop.' 'Yes, I think so,' she said. Her room was the only gay, modern one in the house, the only spot inWragby where her personality was at all revealed. Clifford had neverseen it, and she asked very few people up. Now she and Michaelis sit on opposite sides of the fire and talked. Sheasked him about himself, his mother and father, his brothers...otherpeople were always something of a wonder to her, and when her sympathywas awakened she was quite devoid of class feeling. Michaelis talkedfrankly about himself, quite frankly, without affectation, simplyrevealing his bitter, indifferent, stray-dog's soul, then showing agleam of revengeful pride in his success. 'But why are you such a lonely bird?' Connie asked him; and again helooked at her, with his full, searching, hazel look. 'Some birds ARE that way,' he replied. Then, with a touch of familiarirony: 'but, look here, what about yourself? Aren't you by way of beinga lonely bird yourself?' Connie, a little startled, thought about itfor a few moments, and then she said: 'Only in a way! Not altogether,like you!' 'Am I altogether a lonely bird?' he asked, with his queer grin of asmile, as if he had toothache; it was so wry, and his eyes were soperfectly unchangingly melancholy, or stoical, or disillusioned orafraid. 'Why?' she said, a little breathless, as she looked at him. 'You are,aren't you?' She felt a terrible appeal coming to her from him, that made her almostlose her balance. 'Oh, you're quite right!' he said, turning his head away, and lookingsideways, downwards, with that strange immobility of an old race thatis hardly here in our present day. It was that that really made Connielose her power to see him detached from herself. He looked up at her with the full glance that saw everything,registered everything. At the same time, the infant crying in the nightwas crying out of his breast to her, in a way that affected her verywomb. 'It's awfully nice of you to think of me,' he said laconically. 'Why shouldn't I think of you?' she exclaimed, with hardly breath toutter it. He gave the wry, quick hiss of a laugh. 'Oh, in that way!...May I hold your hand for a minute?' he askedsuddenly, fixing his eyes on her with almost hypnotic power, andsending out an appeal that affected her direct in the womb. She stared at him, dazed and transfixed, and he went over and kneeledbeside her, and took her two feet close in his two hands, and buriedhis face in her lap, remaining motionless. She was perfectly dim anddazed, looking down in a sort of amazement at the rather tender nape ofhis neck, feeling his face pressing her thighs. In all her burningdismay, she could not help putting her hand, with tenderness andcompassion, on the defenceless nape of his neck, and he trembled, witha deep shudder. Then he looked up at her with that awful appeal in his full, glowingeyes. She was utterly incapable of resisting it. From her breast flowedthe answering, immense yearning over him; she must give him anything,anything. He was a curious and very gentle lover, very gentle with the woman,trembling uncontrollably, and yet at the same time detached, aware,aware of every sound outside. To her it meant nothing except that she gave herself to him. And atlength he ceased to quiver any more, and lay quite still, quite still.Then, with dim, compassionate fingers, she stroked his head, that layon her breast. When he rose, he kissed both her hands, then both her feet, in theirsuede slippers, and in silence went away to the end of the room, wherehe stood with his back to her. There was silence for some minutes. Thenhe turned and came to her again as she sat in her old place by thefire. 'And now, I suppose you'll hate me!' he said in a quiet, inevitableway. She looked up at him quickly. 'Why should I?' she asked. 'They mostly do,' he said; then he caught himself up. 'I mean...a womanis supposed to.' 'This is the last moment when I ought to hate you,' she saidresentfully. 'I know! I know! It should be so! You're FRIGHTFULLY good to me...' hecried miserably. She wondered why he should be miserable. 'Won't you sit down again?'she said. He glanced at the door. 'Sir Clifford!' he said, 'won't he...won't he be...?' She paused amoment to consider. 'Perhaps!' she said. And she looked up at him. 'Idon't want Clifford to know not even to suspect. It WOULD hurt him somuch. But I don't think it's wrong, do you?' 'Wrong! Good God, no! You're only too infinitely good to me...I canhardly bear it.' He turned aside, and she saw that in another moment he would besobbing. 'But we needn't let Clifford know, need we?' she pleaded. 'It wouldhurt him so. And if he never knows, never suspects, it hurts nobody.' 'Me!' he said, almost fiercely; 'he'll know nothing from me! You see ifhe does. Me give myself away! Ha! Ha!' he laughed hollowly, cynically,at such an idea. She watched him in wonder. He said to her: 'May I kissyour hand arid go? I'll run into Sheffield I think, and lunch there, ifI may, and be back to tea. May I do anything for you? May I be sure youdon't hate me?--and that you won't?'--he ended with a desperate note ofcynicism. 'No, I don't hate you,' she said. 'I think you're nice.' 'Ah!' he said to her fiercely, 'I'd rather you said that to me thansaid you love me! It means such a lot more...Till afternoon then. I'veplenty to think about till then.' He kissed her hands humbly and wasgone. 'I don't think I can stand that young man,' said Clifford at lunch. 'Why?' asked Connie. 'He's such a bounder underneath his veneer...just waiting to bounceus.' 'I think people have been so unkind to him,' said Connie. 'Do you wonder? And do you think he employs his shining hours doingdeeds of kindness?' 'I think he has a certain sort of generosity.' 'Towards whom?' 'I don't quite know.' 'Naturally you don't. I'm afraid you mistake unscrupulousness forgenerosity.' Connie paused. Did she? It was just possible. Yet the unscrupulousnessof Michaelis had a certain fascination for her. He went whole lengthswhere Clifford only crept a few timid paces. In his way he hadconquered the world, which was what Clifford wanted to do. Ways andmeans...? Were those of Michaelis more despicable than those ofClifford? Was the way the poor outsider had shoved and bounced himselfforward in person, and by the back doors, any worse than Clifford's wayof advertising himself into prominence? The bitch-goddess, Success, wastrailed by thousands of gasping, dogs with lolling tongues. The onethat got her first was the real dog among dogs, if you go by success!So Michaelis could keep his tail up. The queer thing was, he didn't. He came back towards tea-time with alarge handful of violets and lilies, and the same hang-dog expression.Connie wondered sometimes if it were a sort of mask to disarmopposition, because it was almost too fixed. Was he really such a saddog? His sad-dog sort of extinguished self persisted all the evening, thoughthrough it Clifford felt the inner effrontery. Connie didn't feel it,perhaps because it was not directed against women; only against men,and their presumptions and assumptions. That indestructible, inwardeffrontery in the meagre fellow was what made men so down on Michaelis.His very presence was an affront to a man of society, cloak it as hemight in an assumed good manner. Connie was in love with him, but she managed to sit with her embroideryand let the men talk, and not give herself away. As for Michaelis, hewas perfect; exactly the same melancholic, attentive, aloof youngfellow of the previous evening, millions of degrees remote from hishosts, but laconically playing up to them to the required amount, andnever coming forth to them for a moment. Connie felt he must haveforgotten the morning. He had not forgotten. But he knew where hewas...in the same old place outside, where the born outsiders are. Hedidn't take the love-making altogether personally. He knew it would notchange him from an ownerless dog, whom everybody begrudges its goldencollar, into a comfortable society dog. The final fact being that at the very bottom of his soul he WASanoutsider, and anti-social, and he accepted the fact inwardly, no matterhow Bond-Streety he was on the outside. His isolation was a necessityto him; just as the appearance of conformity and mixing-in with thesmart people was also a necessity. But occasional love, as a comfort arid soothing, was also a good thing,and he was not ungrateful. On the contrary, he was burningly,poignantly grateful for a piece of natural, spontaneous kindness:almost to tears. Beneath his pale, immobile, disillusioned face, hischild's soul was sobbing with gratitude to the woman, and burning tocome to her again; just as his outcast soul was knowing he would keepreally clear of her. He found an opportunity to say to her, as they were lighting thecandles in the hall: 'May I come?' 'I'll come to you,' she said. 'Oh, good!' He waited for her a long time...but she came. He was the trembling excited sort of lover, whose crisis soon came, andwas finished. There was something curiously childlike and defencelessabout his naked body: as children are naked. His defences were all inhis wits and cunning, his very instincts of cunning, and when thesewere in abeyance he seemed doubly naked and like a child, ofunfinished, tender flesh, and somehow struggling helplessly. He roused in the woman a wild sort of compassion and yearning, and awild, craving physical desire. The physical desire he did not satisfyin her; he was always come and finished so quickly, then shrinking downon her breast, and recovering somewhat his effrontery while she laydazed, disappointed, lost. But then she soon learnt to hold him, to keep him there inside her whenhis crisis was over. And there he was generous and curiously potent; hestayed firm inside her, giving to her, while she was active...wildly,passionately active, coming to her own crisis. And as he felt thefrenzy of her achieving her own orgasmic satisfaction from his hard,erect passivity, he had a curious sense of pride and satisfaction. 'Ah, how good!' she whispered tremulously, and she became quite still,clinging to him. And he lay there in his own isolation, but somehowproud. He stayed that time only the three days, and to Clifford was exactlythe same as on the first evening; to Connie also. There was no breakingdown his external man. He wrote to Connie with the same plaintive melancholy note as ever,sometimes witty, and touched with a queer, sexless affection. A kind ofhopeless affection he seemed to feel for her, and the essentialremoteness remained the same. He was hopeless at the very core of him,and he wanted to be hopeless. He rather hated hope. 'UNE IMMENSEESPRANCE A TRAVERS LA TERRE', he read somewhere, and his commentwas:'--and it's darned-well drowned everything worth having.' Connie never really understood him, but, in her way, she loved him. Andall the time she felt the reflection of his hopelessness in her. Shecouldn't quite, quite love in hopelessness. And he, being hopeless,couldn't ever quite love at all. So they went on for quite a time, writing, and meeting occasionally inLondon. She still wanted the physical, sexual thrill she could get withhim by her own activity, his little orgasm being over. And he stillwanted to give it her. Which was enough to keep them connected. And enough to give her a subtle sort of self-assurance, something blindand a little arrogant. It was an almost mechanical confidence in herown powers, and went with a great cheerfulness. She was terrifically cheerful at Wragby. And she used all her arousedcheerfulness and satisfaction to stimulate Clifford, so that he wrotehis best at this time, and was almost happy in his strange blind way.He really reaped the fruits of the sensual satisfaction she got out ofMichaelis' male passivity erect inside her. But of course he never knewit, and if he had, he wouldn't have said thank you! Yet when those days of her grand joyful cheerfulness and stimulus weregone, quite gone, and she was depressed and irritable, how Cliffordlonged for them again! Perhaps if he'd known he might even have wishedto get her and Michaelis together again. Chapter 4 Connie always had a foreboding of the hopelessness of her affair withMick, as people called him. Yet other men seemed to mean nothing toher. She was attached to Clifford. He wanted a good deal of her lifeand she gave it to him. But she wanted a good deal from the life of aman, and this Clifford did not give her; could not. There wereoccasional spasms of Michaelis. But, as she knew by foreboding, thatwould come to an end. Mick COULDN'T keep anything up. It was part ofhis very being that he must break off any connexion, and be loose,isolated, absolutely lone dog again. It was his major necessity, eventhough he always said: She turned me down! The world is supposed to be full of possibilities, but they narrow downto pretty few in most personal experience. There's lots of good fish inthe sea...maybe...but the vast masses seem to be mackerel or herring,and if you're not mackerel or herring yourself you are likely to findvery few good fish in the sea. Clifford was making strides into fame, and even money. People came tosee him. Connie nearly always had somebody at Wragby. But if theyweren't mackerel they were herring, with an occasional cat-fish, orconger-eel. There were a few regular men, constants; men who had been at Cambridgewith Clifford. There was Tommy Dukes, who had remained in the army, andwas a Brigadier-General. 'The army leaves me time to think, and savesme from having to face the battle of life,' he said. There was Charles May, an Irishman, who wrote scientifically aboutstars. There was Hammond, another writer. All were about the same ageas Clifford; the young intellectuals of the day. They all believed inthe life of the mind. What you did apart from that was your privateaffair, and didn't much matter. No one thinks of inquiring of anotherperson at what hour he retires to the privy. It isn't interesting toanyone but the person concerned. And so with most of the matters of ordinary life...how you make yourmoney, or whether you love your wife, or if you have 'affairs'. Allthese matters concern only the person concerned, and, like going to theprivy, have no interest for anyone else. 'The whole point about the sexual problem,' said Hammond, who was atall thin fellow with a wife and two children, but much more closelyconnected with a typewriter, 'is that there is no point to it. Strictlythere is no problem. We don't want to follow a man into the w.c., sowhy should we want to follow him into bed with a woman? And thereinliehe problem. If we took no more notice of the one thing than theother, there'd be no problem. It's all utterly senseless and pointless;a matter of misplaced curiosity.' 'Quite, Hammond, quite! But if someone starts making love to Julia, youbegin to simmer; and if he goes on, you are soon at boilingpoint.'...Julia was Hammond's wife. 'Why, exactly! So I should be if he began to urinate in a corner of mydrawing-room. There's a place for all these things.' 'You mean you wouldn't mind if he made love to Julia in some discreetalcove?' Charlie May was slightly satirical, for he had flirted a very littlewith Julia, and Hammond had cut up very roughly. 'Of course I should mind. Sex is a private thing between me and Julia;and of course I should mind anyone else trying to mix in.' 'As a matter of fact,' said the lean and freckled Tommy Dukes, wholooked much more Irish than May, who was pale and rather fat: 'As amatter of fact, Hammond, you have a strong property instinct, and astrong will to self-assertion, and you want success. Since I've been inthe army definitely, I've got out of the way of the world, and now Isee how inordinately strong the craving for self-assertion and successis in men. It is enormously overdeveloped. All our individuality hasrun that way. And of course men like you think you'll get throughbetter with a woman's backing. That's why you're so jealous. That'swhat sex is to you...a vital little dynamo between you and Julia, tobring success. If you began to be unsuccessful you'd begin to flirt,like Charlie, who isn't successful. Married people like you and Juliahave labels on you, like travellers' trunks. Julia is labelled MRSARNOLD B. HAMMOND--just like a trunk on the railway that belongs tosomebody. And you are labelled ARNOLD B. HAMMOND, C/O MRS ARNOLD B.HAMMOND. Oh, you're quite right, you're quite right! The life of themind needs a comfortable house and decent cooking. You're quite right.It even needs posterity. But it all hinges on the instinct for success.That is the pivot on which all things turn.' Hammond looked rather piqued. He was rather proud of the integrity ofhis mind, and of his NOT being a time-server. None the less, he didwant success. 'It's quite true, you can't live without cash,' said May. 'You've gotto have a certain amount of it to be able to live and get along...evento be free to THINK you must have a certain amount of money, or yourstomach stops you. But it seems to me you might leave the labels offsex. We're free to talk to anybody; so why shouldn't we be free to makelove to any woman who inclines us that way?' 'There speaks the lascivious Celt,' said Clifford. 'Lascivious! well, why not--? I can't see I do a woman any more harm bysleeping with her than by dancing with her...or even talking to herabout the weather. It's just an interchange of sensations instead ofideas, so why not?' 'Be as promiscuous as the rabbits!' said Hammond. 'Why not? What's wrong with rabbits? Are they any worse than aneurotic, revolutionary humanity, full of nervous hate?' 'But we're not rabbits, even so,' said Hammond. 'Precisely! I have my mind: I have certain calculations to make incertain astronomical matters that concern me almost more than life ordeath. Sometimes indigestion interferes with me. Hunger would interferewith me disastrously. In the same way starved sex interferes with me.What then?' 'I should have thought sexual indigestion from surfeit would haveinterfered with you more seriously,' said Hammond satirically. 'Not it! I don't over-eat myself and I don't over-fuck myself. One hasa choice about eating too much. But you would absolutely starve me.' 'Not at all! You can marry.' 'How do you know I can? It may not suit the process of my mind.Marriage might...and would...stultify my mental processes. I'm notproperly pivoted that way...and so must I be chained in a kennel like amonk? All rot and funk, my boy. I must live and do my calculations. Ineed women sometimes. I refuse to make a mountain of it, and I refuseanybody's moral condemnation or prohibition. I'd be ashamed to see awoman walking around with my name-label on her, address and railwaystation, like a wardrobe trunk.' These two men had not forgiven each other about the Julia flirtation. 'It's an amusing idea, Charlie,' said Dukes, 'that sex is just anotherform of talk, where you act the words instead of saying them. I supposeit's quite true. I suppose we might exchange as many sensations andemotions with women as we do ideas about the weather, and so on. Sexmight be a sort of normal physical conversation between a man and awoman. You don't talk to a woman unless you have ideas in common: thatis you don't talk with any interest. And in the same way, unless youhad some emotion or sympathy in common with a woman you wouldn't sleepwith her. But if you had...' 'If you HAVE the proper sort of emotion or sympathy with a woman, youOUGHT to sleep with her,' said May. 'It's the only decent thing, to goto bed with her. Just as, when you are interested talking to someone,the Only decent thing is to have the talk out. You don't prudishly putyour tongue between your teeth and bite it. You just say out your say.And the same the other way.' 'No,' said Hammond. 'It's wrong. You, for example, May, you squanderhalf your force with women. You'll never really do what you should do,with a fine mind such as yours. Too much of it goes the other way.' 'Maybe it does...and too little of you goes that way, Hammond, my boy,married or not. You can keep the purity and integrity of your mind, butit's going damned dry. Your pure mind is going as dry as fiddlesticks,from what I see of it. You're simply talking it down.' Tommy Dukes burst into a laugh. 'Go it, you two minds!' he said. 'Look at me...I don't do any high andpure mental work, nothing but jot down a few ideas. And yet I neithermarry nor run after women. I think Charlie's quite right; if he wantsto run after the women, he's quite free not to run too often. But Iwouldn't prohibit him from running. As for Hammond, he's got a propertyinstinct, so naturally the straight road and the narrow gate are rightfor him. You'll see he'll be an English Man of Letters before he'sdone. A.B.C. from top to toe. Then there's me. I'm nothing. Just asquib. And what about you, Clifford? Do you think sex is a dynamo tohelp a man on to success in the world?' Clifford rarely talked much at these times. He never held forth; hisideas were really not vital enough for it, he was too confused andemotional. Now he blushed and looked uncomfortable. 'Well!' he said, 'being myself HORS DE COMBAT, I don't see I'veanything to say on the matter.' 'Not at all,' said Dukes; 'the top of you's by no means HORS DE COMBAT.You've got the life of the mind sound and intact. So let us hear yourideas.' 'Well,' stammered Clifford, 'even then I don't suppose I have muchidea...I suppose marry-and-have-done-with-it would pretty well standfor what I think. Though of course between a man and woman who care forone another, it is a great thing.' 'What sort of great thing?' said Tommy. 'Oh...it perfects the intimacy,' said Clifford, uneasy as a woman insuch talk. 'Well, Charlie and I believe that sex is a sort of communication likespeech. Let any woman start a sex conversation with me, and it'snatural for me to go to bed with her to finish it, all in due season.Unfortunately no woman makes any particular start with me, so I go tobed by myself; and am none the worse for it...I hope so, anyway, forhow should I know? Anyhow I've no starry calculations to be interferedwith, and no immortal works to write. I'm merely a fellow skulking inthe army...' Silence fell. The four men smoked. And Connie sat there and put anotherstitch in her sewing...Yes, she sat there! She had to sit mum. She hadto be quiet as a mouse, not to interfere with the immensely importantspeculations of these highly-mental gentlemen. But she had to be there.They didn't get on so well without her; their ideas didn't flow sofreely. Clifford was much more hedgy and nervous, he got cold feet muchquicker in Connie's absence, and the talk didn't run. Tommy Dukes cameoff best; he was a little inspired by her presence. Hammond she didn'treally like; he seemed so selfish in a mental way. And Charles May,though she liked something about him, seemed a little distasteful andmessy, in spite of his stars. How many evenings had Connie sat and listened to the manifestations ofthese four men! these, and one or two others. That they never seemed toget anywhere didn't trouble her deeply. She liked to hear what they hadto say, especially when Tommy was there. It was fun. Instead of menkissing you, and touching you with their bodies, they revealed theirminds to you. It was great fun! But what cold minds! And also it was a little irritating. She had more respect forMichaelis, on whose name they all poured such withering contempt, as alittle mongrel arriviste, and uneducated bounder of the worst sort.Mongrel and bounder or not, he jumped to his own conclusions. He didn'tmerely walk round them with millions of words, in the parade of thelife of the mind. Connie quite liked the life of the mind, and got a great thrill out ofit. But she did think it overdid itself a little. She loved beingthere, amidst the tobacco smoke of those famous evenings of thecronies, as she called them privately to herself. She was infinitelyamused, and proud too, that even their talking they could not do,without her silent presence. She had an immense respect forthought...and these men, at least, tried to think honestly. But somehowthere was a cat, and it wouldn't jump. They all alike talked atsomething, though what it was, for the life of her she couldn't say. Itwas something that Mick didn't clear, either. But then Mick wasn't trying to do anything, but just get through hislife, and put as much across other people as they tried to put acrosshim. He was really anti-social, which was what Clifford and his cronieshad against him. Clifford and his cronies were not anti-social; theywere more or less bent on saving mankind, or on instructing it, to saythe least. There was a gorgeous talk on Sunday evening, when the conversationdrifted again to love. 'Blest be the tie that bindsOur hearts in kindred something-or-other'-- said Tommy Dukes. 'I'd like to know what the tie is...The tie thatbinds us just now is mental friction on one another. And, apart fromthat, there's damned little tie between us. We bust apart, and sayspiteful things about one another, like all the other damnedintellectuals in the world. Damned everybodies, as far as that goes,for they all do it. Else we bust apart, and cover up the spitefulthings we feel against one another by saying false sugaries. It's acurious thing that the mental life seems to flourish with its roots inspite, ineffable and fathomless spite. Always has been so! Look atSocrates, in Plato, and his bunch round him! The sheer spite of it all,just sheer joy in pulling somebody else to bits...Protagoras, orwhoever it was! And Alcibiades, and all the other little disciple dogsjoining in the fray! I must say it makes one prefer Buddha, quietlysitting under a bo-tree, or Jesus, telling his disciples little Sundaystories, peacefully, and without any mental fireworks. No, there'ssomething wrong with the mental life, radically. It's rooted in spiteand envy, envy and spite. Ye shall know the tree by its fruit.' 'I don't think we're altogether so spiteful,' protested Clifford. 'My dear Clifford, think of the way we talk each other over, all of us.I'm rather worse than anybody else, myself. Because I infinitely preferthe spontaneous spite to the concocted sugaries; now they ARE poison;when I begin saying what a fine fellow Clifford is, etc., etc., thenpoor Clifford is to be pitied. For God's sake, all of you, say spitefulthings about me, then I shall know I mean something to you. Don't saysugaries, or I'm done.' 'Oh, but I do think we honestly like one another,' said Hammond. 'I tell you we must...we say such spiteful things to one another, aboutone another, behind our backs! I'm the worst.' 'And I do think you confuse the mental life with the critical activity.I agree with you, Socrates gave the critical activity a grand start,but he did more than that,' said Charlie May, rather magisterially. Thecronies had such a curious pomposity under their assumed modesty. Itwas all so EX CATHEDRA, and it all pretended to be so humble. Dukes refused to be drawn about Socrates. 'That's quite true, criticism and knowledge are not the same thing,'said Hammond. 'They aren't, of course,' chimed in Berry, a brown, shy young man, whohad called to see Dukes, and was staying the night. They all looked at him as if the ass had spoken. 'I wasn't talking about knowledge...I was talking about the mentallife,' laughed Dukes. 'Real knowledge comes out of the whole corpus ofthe consciousness; out of your belly and your penis as much as out ofyour brain and mind. The mind can only analyse and rationalize. Set themind and the reason to cock it over the rest, and all they can do is tocriticize, and make a deadness. I say ALL they can do. It is vastlyimportant. My God, the world needs criticizing today...criticizing todeath. Therefore let's live the mental life, and glory in our spite,and strip the rotten old show. But, mind you, it's like this: while youLIVE your life, you are in some way an Organic whole with all life. Butonce you start the mental life you pluck the apple. You've severed theconnexion between, the apple and the tree: the organic connexion. Andif you've got nothing in your life BUT the mental life, then youyourself are a plucked apple...you've fallen off the tree. And then itis a logical necessity to be spiteful, just as it's a natural necessityfor a plucked apple to go bad.' Clifford made big eyes: it was all stuff to him. Connie secretlylaughed to herself. 'Well then we're all plucked apples,' said Hammond, rather acidly andpetulantly. 'So let's make cider of ourselves,' said Charlie. 'But what do you think of Bolshevism?' put in the brown Berry, as ifeverything had led up to it. 'Bravo!' roared Charlie. 'What do you think of Bolshevism?' 'Come on! Let's make hay of Bolshevism!' said Dukes. 'I'm afraid Bolshevism is a large question,' said Hammond, shaking hishead seriously. 'Bolshevism, it seems to me,' said Charlie, 'is just a superlativehatred of the thing they call the bourgeois; and what the bourgeois is,isn't quite defined. It is Capitalism, among other things. Feelings andemotions are also so decidedly bourgeois that you have to invent a manwithout them. 'Then the individual, especially the PERSONAL man, is bourgeois: so hemust be suppressed. You must submerge yourselves in the greater thing,the Soviet-social thing. Even an organism is bourgeois: so the idealmust be mechanical. The only thing that is a unit, non-organic,composed of many different, yet equally essential parts, is themachine. Each man a machine-part, and the driving power of the machine,hate...hate of the bourgeois. That, to me, is Bolshevism.' 'Absolutely!' said Tommy. 'But also, it seems to me a perfectdescription of the whole of the industrial ideal. It's thefactory-owner's ideal in a nut-shell; except that he would deny thatthe driving power was hate. Hate it is, all the same; hate of lifeitself. Just look at these Midlands, if it isn't plainly writtenup...but it's all part of the life of the mind, it's a logicaldevelopment.' 'I deny that Bolshevism is logical, it rejects the major part of thepremisses,' said Hammond. 'My dear man, it allows the material premiss; so does the puremind...exclusively.' 'At least Bolshevism has got down to rock bottom,' said Charlie. 'Rock bottom! The bottom that has no bottom! The Bolshevists will havethe finest army in the world in a very short time, with the finestmechanical equipment. 'But this thing can't go on...this hate business. There must be areaction...' said Hammond. 'Well, we've been waiting for years...we wait longer. Hate's a growingthing like anything else. It's the inevitable outcome of forcing ideason to life, of forcing one's deepest instincts; our deepest feelings weforce according to certain ideas. We drive ourselves with a formula,like a machine. The logical mind pretends to rule the roost, and theroost turns into pure hate. We're all Bolshevists, only we arehypocrites. The Russians are Bolshevists without hypocrisy.' 'But there are many other ways,' said Hammond, 'than the Soviet way.The Bolshevists aren't really intelligent.' 'Of course not. But sometimes it's intelligent to be half-witted: ifyou want to make your end. Personally, I consider Bolshevismhalf-witted; but so do I consider our social life in the westhalf-witted. So I even consider our far-famed mental life half-witted.We're all as cold as cretins, we're all as passionless as idiots. We'reall of us Bolshevists, only we give it another name. We think we'regods...men like gods! It's just the same as Bolshevism. One has to behuman, and have a heart and a penis if one is going to escape beingeither a god or a Bolshevist...for they are the same thing: they'reboth too good to be true.' Out of the disapproving silence came Berry's anxious question: 'You do believe in love then, Tommy, don't you?' 'You lovely lad!' said Tommy. 'No, my cherub, nine times out of ten,no! Love's another of those half-witted performances today. Fellowswith swaying waists fucking little jazz girls with small boy buttocks,like two collar studs! Do you mean that sort of love? Or thejoint-property, make-a-success-of-it, My-husband-my-wife sort of love?No, my fine fellow, I don't believe in it at all!' 'But you do believe in something?' 'Me? Oh, intellectually I believe in having a good heart, a chirpypenis, a lively intelligence, and the courage to say ''shit!'' in frontof a lady.' 'Well, you've got them all,' said Berry. Tommy Dukes roared with laughter. 'You angel boy! If only I had! Ifonly I had! No; my heart's as numb as a potato, my penis droops andnever lifts its head up, I dare rather cut him clean off than say''shit!'' in front of my mother or my aunt...they are real ladies, mindyou; and I'm not really intelligent, I'm only a ''mental-lifer''. Itwould be wonderful to be intelligent: then one would be alive in allthe parts mentioned and unmentionable. The penis rouses his head andsays: How do you do?--to any really intelligent person. Renoir said hepainted his pictures with his penis...he did too, lovely pictures! Iwish I did something with mine. God! when one can only talk! Anothertorture added to Hades! And Socrates started it.' 'There are nice women in the world,' said Connie, lifting her head upand speaking at last. The men resented it...she should have pretended to hear nothing. Theyhated her admitting she had attended so closely to such talk. 'My God! '' IF THEY BE NOT NICE TO ME WHAT CARE I HOW NICE THEY BE?'' 'No, it's hopeless! I just simply can't vibrate in unison with a woman.There's no woman I can really want when I'm faced with her, and I'm notgoing to start forcing myself to it...My God, no! I'll remain as I am,and lead the mental life. It's the only honest thing I can do. I can bequite happy TALKING to women; but it's all pure, hopelessly pure.Hopelessly pure! What do you say, Hildebrand, my chicken?' 'It's much less complicated if one stays pure,' said Berry. 'Yes, life is all too simple!' Chapter 5 On a frosty morning with a little February sun, Clifford and Conniewent for a walk across the park to the wood. That is, Clifford chuffedin his motor-chair, and Connie walked beside him. The hard air was still sulphurous, but they were both used to it. Roundthe near horizon went the haze, opalescent with frost and smoke, and onthe top lay the small blue sky; so that it was like being inside anenclosure, always inside. Life always a dream or a frenzy, inside anenclosure. The sheep coughed in the rough, sere grass of the park, where frost laybluish in the sockets of the tufts. Across the park ran a path to thewood-gate, a fine ribbon of pink. Clifford had had it newly gravelledwith sifted gravel from the pit-bank. When the rock and refuse of theunderworld had burned and given off its sulphur, it turned bright pink,shrimp-coloured on dry days, darker, crab-coloured on wet. Now it waspale shrimp-colour, with a bluish-white hoar of frost. It alwayspleased Connie, this underfoot of sifted, bright pink. It's an ill windthat brings nobody good. Clifford steered cautiously down the slope of the knoll from the hall,and Connie kept her hand on the chair. In front lay the wood, the hazelthicket nearest, the purplish density of oaks beyond. From the wood'sedge rabbits bobbed and nibbled. Rooks suddenly rose in a black train,and went trailing off over the little sky. Connie opened the wood-gate, and Clifford puffed slowly through intothe broad riding that ran up an incline between the clean-whippedthickets of the hazel. The wood was a remnant of the great forest whereRobin Hood hunted, and this riding was an old, old thoroughfare comingacross country. But now, of course, it was only a riding through theprivate wood. The road from Mansfield swerved round to the north. In the wood everything was motionless, the old leaves on the groundkeeping the frost on their underside. A jay called harshly, many littlebirds fluttered. But there was no game; no pheasants. They had beenkilled off during the war, and the wood had been left unprotected, tillnow Clifford had got his game-keeper again. Clifford loved the wood; he loved the old oak-trees. He felt they werehis own through generations. He wanted to protect them. He wanted thisplace inviolate, shut off from the world. The chair chuffed slowly up the incline, rocking and jolting on thefrozen clods. And suddenly, on the left, came a clearing where therewas nothing but a ravel of dead bracken, a thin and spindly saplingleaning here and there, big sawn stumps, showing their tops and theirgrasping roots, lifeless. And patches of blackness where the woodmenhad burned the brushwood and rubbish. This was one of the places that Sir Geoffrey had cut during the war fortrench timber. The whole knoll, which rose softly on the right of theriding, was denuded and strangely forlorn. On the crown of the knollwhere the oaks had stood, now was bareness; and from there you couldlook out over the trees to the colliery railway, and the new works atStacks Gate. Connie had stood and looked, it was a breach in the pureseclusion of the wood. It let in the world. But she didn't tellClifford. This denuded place always made Clifford curiously angry. He had beenthrough the war, had seen what it meant. But he didn't get really angrytill he saw this bare hill. He was having it replanted. But it made himhate Sir Geoffrey. Clifford sat with a fixed face as the chair slowly mounted. When theycame to the top of the rise he stopped; he would not risk the long andvery jolty down-slope. He sat looking at the greenish sweep of theriding downwards, a clear way through the bracken and oaks. It swervedat the bottom of the hill and disappeared; but it had such a lovelyeasy curve, of knights riding and ladies on palfreys. 'I consider this is really the heart of England,' said Clifford toConnie, as he sat there in the dim February sunshine. 'Do you?' she said, seating herself in her blue knitted dress, on astump by the path. 'I do! this is the old England, the heart of it; and I intend to keepit intact.' 'Oh yes!' said Connie. But, as she said it she heard the eleven-o'clockhooters at Stacks Gate colliery. Clifford was too used to the sound tonotice. 'I want this wood perfect...untouched. I want nobody to trespass init,' said Clifford. There was a certain pathos. The wood still had some of the mystery ofwild, old England; but Sir Geoffrey's cuttings during the war had givenit a blow. How still the trees were, with their crinkly, innumerabletwigs against the sky, and their grey, obstinate trunks rising from thebrown bracken! How safely the birds flitted among them! And once therehad been deer, and archers, and monks padding along on asses. The placeremembered, still remembered. Clifford sat in the pale sun, with the light on his smooth, ratherblond hair, his reddish full face inscrutable. 'I mind more, not having a son, when I come here, than any other time,'he said. 'But the wood is older than your family,' said Connie gently. 'Quite!' said Clifford. 'But we've preserved it. Except for us it wouldgo...it would be gone already, like the rest of the forest. One mustpreserve some of the old England!' 'Must one?' said Connie. 'If it has to be preserved, and preservedagainst the new England? It's sad, I know.' 'If some of the old England isn't preserved, there'll be no England atall,' said Clifford. 'And we who have this kind of property, and thefeeling for it, must preserve it.' There was a sad pause. 'Yes, for a little while,' said Connie. 'For a little while! It's all we can do. We can only do our bit. I feelevery man of my family has done his bit here, since we've had theplace. One may go against convention, but one must keep up tradition.'Again there was a pause. 'What tradition?' asked Connie. 'The tradition of England! of this!' 'Yes,' she said slowly. 'That's why having a son helps; one is only a link in a chain,' hesaid. Connie was not keen on chains, but she said nothing. She was thinkingof the curious impersonality of his desire for a son. 'I'm sorry we can't have a son,' she said. He looked at her steadily, with his full, pale-blue eyes. 'It would almost be a good thing if you had a child by another man, hesaid. 'If we brought it up at Wragby, it would belong to us and to theplace. I don't believe very intensely in fatherhood. If we had thechild to rear, it would be our own, and it would carry on. Don't youthink it's worth considering?' Connie looked up at him at last. The child, her child, was just an 'it'to him. It...it...it! 'But what about the other man?' she asked. 'Does it matter very much? Do these things really affect us verydeeply?...You had that lover in Germany...what is it now? Nothingalmost. It seems to me that it isn't these little acts and littleconnexions we make in our lives that matter so very much. They passaway, and where are they? Where...Where are the snows ofyesteryear?...It's what endures through one's life that matters; my ownlife matters to me, in its long continuance and development. But whatdo the occasional connexions matter? And the occasional sexualconnexions especially! If people don't exaggerate them ridiculously,they pass like the mating of birds. And so they should. What does itmatter? It's the life-long companionship that matters. It's the livingtogether from day to day, not the sleeping together once or twice. Youand I are married, no matter what happens to us. We have the habit ofeach other. And habit, to my thinking, is more vital than anyoccasional excitement. The long, slow, enduring thing...that's what welive by...not the occasional spasm of any sort. Little by little,living together, two people fall into a sort of unison, they vibrate sointricately to one another. That's the real secret of marriage, notsex; at least not the simple function of sex. You and I are interwovenin a marriage. If we stick to that we ought to be able to arrange thissex thing, as we arrange going to the dentist; since fate has given usa checkmate physically there.' Connie sat and listened in a sort of wonder, and a sort of fear. Shedid not know if he was right or not. There was Michaelis, whom sheloved; so she said to herself. But her love was somehow only anexcursion from her marriage with Clifford; the long, slow habit ofintimacy, formed through years of suffering and patience. Perhaps thehuman soul needs excursions, and must not be denied them. But the pointof an excursion is that you come home again. 'And wouldn't you mind WHAT man's child I had?' she asked. 'Why, Connie, I should trust your natural instinct of decency andselection. You just wouldn't let the wrong sort of fellow touch you.' She thought of Michaelis! He was absolutely Clifford's idea of thewrong sort of fellow. 'But men and women may have different feelings about the wrong sort offellow,' she said. 'No,' he replied. 'You care for me. I don't believe you would ever carefor a man who was purely antipathetic to me. Your rhythm wouldn't letyou.' She was silent. Logic might be unanswerable because it was soabsolutely wrong. 'And should you expect me to tell you?' she asked, glancing up at himalmost furtively. 'Not at all, I'd better not know...But you do agree with me, don't you,that the casual sex thing is nothing, compared to the long life livedtogether? Don't you think one can just subordinate the sex thing to thenecessities of a long life? Just use it, since that's what we're drivento? After all, do these temporary excitements matter? Isn't the wholeproblem of life the slow building up of an integral personality,through the years? living an integrated life? There's no point in adisintegrated life. If lack of sex is going to disintegrate you, thengo out and have a love-affair. If lack of a child is going todisintegrate you, then have a child if you possibly can. But only dothese things so that you have an integrated life, that makes a longharmonious thing. And you and I can do that together...don't youthink?...if we adapt ourselves to the necessities, and at the same timeweave the adaptation together into a piece with our steadily-livedlife. Don't you agree?' Connie was a little overwhelmed by his words. She knew he was righttheoretically. But when she actually touched her steadily-lived lifewith him she...hesitated. Was it actually her destiny to go on weavingherself into his life all the rest of her life? Nothing else? Was it just that? She was to be content to weave a steady life withhim, all one fabric, but perhaps brocaded with the occasional flower ofan adventure. But how could she know what she would feel next year? Howcould one ever know? How could one say Yes? for years and years? Thelittle yes, gone on a breath! Why should one be pinned down by thatbutterfly word? Of course it had to flutter away and be gone, to befollowed by other yes's and no's! Like the straying of butterflies. 'I think you're right, Clifford. And as far as I can see I agree withyou. Only life may turn quite a new face on it all.' 'But until life turns a new face on it all, you do agree?' 'Oh yes! I think I do, really.' She was watching a brown spaniel that had run out of a side-path, andwas looking towards them with lifted nose, making a soft, fluffy bark.A man with a gun strode swiftly, softly out after the dog, facing theirway as if about to attack them; then stopped instead, saluted, and wasturning downhill. It was only the new game-keeper, but he hadfrightened Connie, he seemed to emerge with such a swift menace. Thatwas how she had seen him, like the sudden rush of a threat out ofnowhere. He was a man in dark green velveteens and gaiters...the old style, witha red face and red moustache and distant eyes. He was going quicklydownhill. 'Mellors!' called Clifford. The man faced lightly round, and saluted with a quick little gesture, asoldier! 'Will you turn the chair round and get it started? That makes iteasier,' said Clifford. The man at once slung his gun over his shoulder, and came forward withthe same curious swift, yet soft movements, as if keeping invisible. Hewas moderately tall and lean, and was silent. He did not look at Connieat all, only at the chair. 'Connie, this is the new game-keeper, Mellors. You haven't spoken toher ladyship yet, Mellors?' 'No, Sir!' came the ready, neutral words. The man lifted his hat as he stood, showing his thick, almost fairhair. He stared straight into Connie's eyes, with a perfect, fearless,impersonal look, as if he wanted to see what she was like. He made herfeel shy. She bent her head to him shyly, and he changed his hat to hisleft hand and made her a slight bow, like a gentleman; but he saidnothing at all. He remained for a moment still, with his hat in hishand. 'But you've been here some time, haven't you?' Connie said to him. 'Eight months, Madam...your Ladyship!' he corrected himself calmly. 'And do you like it?' She looked him in the eyes. His eyes narrowed a little, with irony,perhaps with impudence. 'Why, yes, thank you, your Ladyship! I was reared here...' He gave another slight bow, turned, put his hat on, and strode to takehold of the chair. His voice on the last words had fallen into theheavy broad drag of the dialect...perhaps also in mockery, becausethere had been no trace of dialect before. He might almost be agentleman. Anyhow, he was a curious, quick, separate fellow, alone, butsure of himself. Clifford started the little engine, the man carefully turned the chair,and set it nose-forwards to the incline that curved gently to the darkhazel thicket. 'Is that all then, Sir Clifford?' asked the man. 'No, you'd better come along in case she sticks. The engine isn'treally strong enough for the uphill work.' The man glanced round forhis dog...a thoughtful glance. The spaniel looked at him and faintlymoved its tail. A little smile, mocking or teasing her, yet gentle,came into his eyes for a moment, then faded away, and his face wasexpressionless. They went fairly quickly down the slope, the man withhis hand on the rail of the chair, steadying it. He looked like a freesoldier rather than a servant. And something about him reminded Connieof Tommy Dukes. When they came to the hazel grove, Connie suddenly ran forward, andopened the gate into the park. As she stood holding it, the two menlooked at her in passing, Clifford critically, the other man with acurious, cool wonder; impersonally wanting to see what she looked like.And she saw in his blue, impersonal eyes a look of suffering anddetachment, yet a certain warmth. But why was he so aloof, apart? Clifford stopped the chair, once through the gate, and the man camequickly, courteously, to close it. 'Why did you run to open?' asked Clifford in his quiet, calm voice,that showed he was displeased. 'Mellors would have done it.' 'I thought you would go straight ahead,' said Connie. 'And leave you torun after us?' said Clifford. 'Oh, well, I like to run sometimes!' Mellors took the chair again, looking perfectly unheeding, yet Conniefelt he noted everything. As he pushed the chair up the steepish riseof the knoll in the park, he breathed rather quickly, through partedlips. He was rather frail really. Curiously full of vitality, but alittle frail and quenched. Her woman's instinct sensed it. Connie fell back, let the chair go on. The day had greyed over; thesmall blue sky that had poised low on its circular rims of haze wasclosed in again, the lid was down, there was a raw coldness. It wasgoing to snow. All grey, all grey! the world looked worn out. The chair waited at the top of the pink path. Clifford looked round forConnie. 'Not tired, are you?' he said. 'Oh, no!' she said. But she was. A strange, weary yearning, a dissatisfaction had startedin her. Clifford did not notice: those were not things he was aware of.But the stranger knew. To Connie, everything in her world and lifeseemed worn out, and her dissatisfaction was older than the hills. They came to the house, and around to the back, where there were nosteps. Clifford managed to swing himself over on to the low, wheeledhouse-chair; he was very strong and agile with his arms. Then Connielifted the burden of his dead legs after him. The keeper, waiting at attention to be dismissed, watched everythingnarrowly, missing nothing. He went pale, with a sort of fear, when hesaw Connie lifting the inert legs of the man in her arms, into theother chair, Clifford pivoting round as she did so. He was frightened. 'Thanks, then, for the help, Mellors,' said Clifford casually, as hebegan to wheel down the passage to the servants' quarters. 'Nothing else, Sir?' came the neutral voice, like one in a dream. 'Nothing, good morning!' 'Good morning, Sir.' 'Good morning! it was kind of you to push the chair up that hill...Ihope it wasn't heavy for you,' said Connie, looking back at the keeperoutside the door. His eyes came to hers in an instant, as if wakened up. He was aware ofher. 'Oh no, not heavy!' he said quickly. Then his voice dropped again intothe broad sound of the vernacular: 'Good mornin' to your Ladyship!' 'Who is your game-keeper?' Connie asked at lunch. 'Mellors! You saw him,' said Clifford. 'Yes, but where did he come from?' 'Nowhere! He was a Tevershall boy...son of a collier, I believe.' 'And was he a collier himself?' 'Blacksmith on the pit-bank, I believe: overhead smith. But he waskeeper here for two years before the war...before he joined up. Myfather always had a good Opinion of him, so when he came back, and wentto the pit for a blacksmith's job, I just took him back here as keeper.I was really very glad to get him...its almost impossible to find agood man round here for a gamekeeper...and it needs a man who knows thepeople.' 'And isn't he married?' 'He was. But his wife went off with...with various men...but finallywith a collier at Stacks Gate, and I believe she's living there still.' 'So this man is alone?' 'More or less! He has a mother in the village...and a child, Ibelieve.' Clifford looked at Connie, with his pale, slightly prominent blue eyes,in which a certain vagueness was coming. He seemed alert in theforeground, but the background was like the Midlands atmosphere, haze,smoky mist. And the haze seemed to be creeping forward. So when hestared at Connie in his peculiar way, giving her his peculiar, preciseinformation, she felt all the background of his mind filling up withmist, with nothingness. And it frightened her. It made him seemimpersonal, almost to idiocy. And dimly she realized one of the great laws of the human soul: thatwhen the emotional soul receives a wounding shock, which does not killthe body, the soul seems to recover as the body recovers. But this isonly appearance. It is really only the mechanism of the re-assumedhabit. Slowly, slowly the wound to the soul begins to make itself felt,like a bruise, which Only slowly deepens its terrible ache, till itfills all the psyche. And when we think we have recovered andforgotten, it is then that the terrible after-effects have to beencountered at their worst. So it was with Clifford. Once he was 'well', once he was back atWragby, and writing his stories, and feeling sure of life, in spite ofall, he seemed to forget, and to have recovered all his equanimity. Butnow, as the years went by, slowly, slowly, Connie felt the bruise offear and horror coming up, and spreading in him. For a time it had beenso deep as to be numb, as it were non-existent. Now slowly it began toassert itself in a spread of fear, almost paralysis. Mentally he stillwas alert. But the paralysis, the bruise of the too-great shock, wasgradually spreading in his affective self. And as it spread in him, Connie felt it spread in her. An inward dread,an emptiness, an indifference to everything gradually spread in hersoul. When Clifford was roused, he could still talk brilliantly and, asit were, command the future: as when, in the wood, he talked about herhaving a child, and giving an heir to Wragby. But the day after, allthe brilliant words seemed like dead leaves, crumpling up and turningto powder, meaning really nothing, blown away on any gust of wind. Theywere not the leafy words of an effective life, young with energy andbelonging to the tree. They were the hosts of fallen leaves of a lifethat is ineffectual. So it seemed to her everywhere. The colliers at Tevershall were talkingagain of a strike, and it seemed to Connie there again it was not amanifestation of energy, it was the bruise of the war that had been inabeyance, slowly rising to the surface and creating the great ache ofunrest, and stupor of discontent. The bruise was deep, deep, deep...thebruise of the false inhuman war. It would take many years for theliving blood of the generations to dissolve the vast black clot ofbruised blood, deep inside their souls and bodies. And it would need anew hope. Poor Connie! As the years drew on it was the fear of nothingness In herlife that affected her. Clifford's mental life and hers gradually beganto feel like nothingness. Their marriage, their integrated life basedon a habit of intimacy, that he talked about: there were days when itall became utterly blank and nothing. It was words, just so many words.The only reality was nothingness, and over it a hypocrisy of words. There was Clifford's success: the bitch-goddess! It was true he wasalmost famous, and his books brought him in a thousand pounds. Hisphotograph appeared everywhere. There was a bust of him in one of thegalleries, and a portrait of him in two galleries. He seemed the mostmodern of modern voices. With his uncanny lame instinct for publicity,he had become in four or five years one of the best known of the young'intellectuals'. Where the intellect came in, Connie did not quite see.Clifford was really clever at that slightly humorous analysis of peopleand motives which leaves everything in bits at the end. But it wasrather like puppies tearing the sofa cushions to bits; except that itwas not young and playful, but curiously old, and rather obstinatelyconceited. It was weird and it was nothing. This was the feeling thatechoed and re-echoed at the bottom of Connie's soul: it was all flag, awonderful display of nothingness; At the same time a display. Adisplay! a display! a display! Michaelis had seized upon Clifford as the central figure for a play;already he had sketched in the plot, and written the first act. ForMichaelis was even better than Clifford at making a display ofnothingness. It was the last bit of passion left in these men: thepassion for making a display. Sexually they were passionless, evendead. And now it was not money that Michaelis was after. Clifford hadnever been primarily out for money, though he made it where he could,for money is the seal and stamp of success. And success was what theywanted. They wanted, both of them, to make a real display...a man's ownvery display of himself that should capture for a time the vastpopulace. It was strange...the prostitution to the bitch-goddess. To Connie,since she was really outside of it, and since she had grown numb to thethrill of it, it was again nothingness. Even the prostitution to thebitch-goddess was nothingness, though the men prostituted themselvesinnumerable times. Nothingness even that. Michaelis wrote to Clifford about the play. Of course she knew about itlong ago. And Clifford was again thrilled. He was going to be displayedagain this time, somebody was going to display him, and to advantage.He invited Michaelis down to Wragby with Act I. Michaelis came: in summer, in a pale-coloured suit and white suedegloves, with mauve orchids for Connie, very lovely, and Act I was agreat success. Even Connie was thrilled...thrilled to what bit ofmarrow she had left. And Michaelis, thrilled by his power to thrill,was really wonderful...and quite beautiful, in Connie's eyes. She sawin him that ancient motionlessness of a race that can't bedisillusioned any more, an extreme, perhaps, of impurity that is pure.On the far side of his supreme prostitution to the bitch-goddess heseemed pure, pure as an African ivory mask that dreams impurity intopurity, in its ivory curves and planes. His moment of sheer thrill with the two Chatterleys, when he simplycarried Connie and Clifford away, was one of the supreme moments ofMichaelis' life. He had succeeded: he had carried them away. EvenClifford was temporarily in love with him...if that is the way one canput it. So next morning Mick was more uneasy than ever; restless, devoured,with his hands restless in his trousers pockets. Connie had not visitedhim in the night...and he had not known where to find her.Coquetry!...at his moment of triumph. He went up to her sitting-room in the morning. She knew he would come.And his restlessness was evident. He asked her about his play...did shethink it good? He had to hear it praised: that affected him with thelast thin thrill of passion beyond any sexual orgasm. And she praisedit rapturously. Yet all the while, at the bottom of her soul, she knewit was nothing. 'Look here!' he said suddenly at last. 'Why don't you and I make aclean thing of it? Why don't we marry?' 'But I am married,' she said, amazed, and yet feeling nothing. 'Oh that!...he'll divorce you all right...Why don't you and I marry? Iwant to marry. I know it would be the best thing for me...marry andlead a regular life. I lead the deuce of a life, simply tearing myselfto pieces. Look here, you and I, we're made for one another...hand andglove. Why don't we marry? Do you see any reason why we shouldn't?' Connie looked at him amazed: and yet she felt nothing. These men, theywere all alike, they left everything out. They just went off from thetop of their heads as if they were squibs, and expected you to becarried heavenwards along with their own thin sticks. 'But I am married already,' she said. 'I can't leave Clifford, youknow.' 'Why not? but why not?' he cried. 'He'll hardly know you've gone, aftersix months. He doesn't know that anybody exists, except himself. Whythe man has no use for you at all, as far as I can see; he's entirelywrapped up in himself.' Connie felt there was truth in this. But she also felt that Mick washardly making a display of selflessness. 'Aren't all men wrapped up in themselves?' she asked. 'Oh, more or less, I allow. A man's got to be, to get through. Butthat's not the point. The point is, what sort of a time can a man givea woman? Can he give her a damn good time, or can't he? If he can'the's no right to the woman...' He paused and gazed at her with hisfull, hazel eyes, almost hypnotic. 'Now I consider,' he added, 'I cangive a woman the darndest good time she can ask for. I think I canguarantee myself.' 'And what sort of a good time?' asked Connie, gazing on him still witha sort of amazement, that looked like thrill; and underneath feelingnothing at all. 'Every sort of a good time, damn it, every sort! Dress, jewels up to apoint, any nightclub you like, know anybody you want to know, live thepace...travel and be somebody wherever you go...Darn it, every sort ofgood time.' He spoke it almost in a brilliancy of triumph, and Connie looked at himas if dazzled, and really feeling nothing at all. Hardly even thesurface of her mind was tickled at the glowing prospects he offeredher. Hardly even her most outside self responded, that at any othertime would have been thrilled. She just got no feeling from it, shecouldn't 'go off'. She just sat and stared and looked dazzled, and feltnothing, only somewhere she smelt the extraordinarily unpleasant smellof the bitch-goddess. Mick sat on tenterhooks, leaning forward in his chair, glaring at heralmost hysterically: and whether he was more anxious out of vanity forher to say Yes! or whether he was more panic-stricken for fear sheSHOULD say Yes!--who can tell? 'I should have to think about it,' she said. 'I couldn't say now. Itmay seem to you Clifford doesn't count, but he does. When you think howdisabled he is...' 'Oh damn it all! If a fellow's going to trade on his disabilities, Imight begin to say how lonely I am, and always have been, and all therest of the my-eye-Betty-Martin sob-stuff! Damn it all, if a fellow'sgot nothing but disabilities to recommend him...' He turned aside, working his hands furiously in his trousers pockets.That evening he said to her: 'You're coming round to my room tonight, aren't you? I don't darn knowwhere your room is.' 'All right!' she said. He was a more excited lover that night, with his strange, small boy'sfrail nakedness. Connie found it impossible to come to her crisisbefore he had really finished his. And he roused a certain cravingpassion in her, with his little boy's nakedness and softness; she hadto go on after he had finished, in the wild tumult and heaving of herloins, while he heroically kept himself up, and present in her, withall his will and self-offering, till she brought about her own crisis,with weird little cries. When at last he drew away from her, he said, in a bitter, almostsneering little voice: 'You couldn't go off at the same time as a man, could you? You'd haveto bring yourself off! You'd have to run the show!' This little speech, at the moment, was one of the shocks of her life.Because that passive sort of giving himself was so obviously his onlyreal mode of intercourse. 'What do you mean?' she said. 'You know what I mean. You keep on for hours after I've gone off...andI have to hang on with my teeth till you bring yourself off by your ownexertions.' She was stunned by this unexpected piece of brutality, at the momentwhen she was glowing with a sort of pleasure beyond words, and a sortof love for him. Because, after all, like so many modern men, he wasfinished almost before he had begun. And that forced the woman to beactive. 'But you want me to go on, to get my own satisfaction?' she said. He laughed grimly: 'I want it!' he said. 'That's good! I want to hangon with my teeth clenched, while you go for me!' 'But don't you?' she insisted. He avoided the question. 'All the darned women are like that,' he said.'Either they don't go off at all, as if they were dead in there...orelse they wait till a chap's really done, and then they start in tobring themselves off, and a chap's got to hang on. I never had a womanyet who went off just at the same moment as I did.' Connie only half heard this piece of novel, masculine information. Shewas only stunned by his feeling against her...his incomprehensiblebrutality. She felt so innocent. 'But you want me to have my satisfaction too, don't you?' she repeated. 'Oh, all right! I'm quite willing. But I'm darned if hanging on waitingfor a woman to go off is much of a game for a man...' This speech was one of the crucial blows of Connie's life. It killedsomething in her. She had not been so very keen on Michaelis; till hestarted it, she did not want him. It was as if she never positivelywanted him. But once he had started her, it seemed only natural for herto come to her own crisis with him. Almost she had loved him forit...almost that night she loved him, and wanted to marry him. Perhaps instinctively he knew it, and that was why he had to bring downthe whole show with a smash; the house of cards. Her whole sexualfeeling for him, or for any man, collapsed that night. Her life fellapart from his as completely as if he had never existed. And she went through the days drearily. There was nothing now but thisempty treadmill of what Clifford called the integrated life, the longliving together of two people, who are in the habit of being in thesame house with one another. Nothingness! To accept the great nothingness of life seemed to be theone end of living. All the many busy and important little things thatmake up the grand sum-total of nothingness! Chapter 6 'Why don't men and women really like one another nowadays?' Connieasked Tommy Dukes, who was more or less her oracle. 'Oh, but they do! I don't think since the human species was invented,there has ever been a time when men and women have liked one another asmuch as they do today. Genuine liking! Take myself. I really like womenbetter than men; they are braver, one can be more frank with them.' Connie pondered this. 'Ah, yes, but you never have anything to do with them!' she said. 'I? What am I doing but talking perfectly sincerely to a woman at thismoment?' 'Yes, talking...' 'And what more could I do if you were a man, than talk perfectlysincerely to you?' 'Nothing perhaps. But a woman...' 'A woman wants you to like her and talk to her, and at the same timelove her and desire her; and it seems to me the two things are mutuallyexclusive.' 'But they shouldn't be!' 'No doubt water ought not to be so wet as it is; it overdoes it inwetness. But there it is! I like women and talk to them, and thereforeI don't love them and desire them. The two things don't happen at thesame time in me.' 'I think they ought to.' 'All right. The fact that things ought to be something else than whatthey are, is not my department. Connie considered this. 'It isn't true,' she said. 'Men can love womenand talk to them. I don't see how they can love them WITHOUT talking,and being friendly and intimate. How can they?' 'Well,' he said, 'I don't know. What's the use of my generalizing? Ionly know my own case. I like women, but I don't desire them. I liketalking to them; but talking to them, though it makes me intimate inone direction, sets me poles apart from them as far as kissing isconcerned. So there you are! But don't take me as a general example,probably I'm just a special case: one of the men who like women, butdon't love women, and even hate them if they force me into a pretenceof love, or an entangled appearance. 'But doesn't it make you sad?' 'Why should it? Not a bit! I look at Charlie May, and the rest of themen who have affairs...No, I don't envy them a bit! If fate sent me awoman I wanted, well and good. Since I don't know any woman I want, andnever see one...why, I presume I'm cold, and really LIKE some womenvery much.' 'Do you like me?' 'Very much! And you see there's no question of kissing between us, isthere?' 'None at all!' said Connie. 'But oughtn't there to be?' ' WHY, in God's name? I like Clifford, but what would you say if I wentand kissed him?' 'But isn't there a difference?' 'Where does it lie, as far as we're concerned? We're all intelligenthuman beings, and the male and female business is in abeyance. Just inabeyance. How would you like me to start acting up like a continentalmale at this moment, and parading the sex thing?' 'I should hate it.' 'Well then! I tell you, if I'm really a male thing at all, I never runacross the female of my species. And I don't miss her, I just likewomen. Who's going to force me into loving or pretending to love them,working up the sex game?' 'No, I'm not. But isn't something wrong?' 'You may feel it, I don't.' 'Yes, I feel something is wrong between men and women. A woman has noglamour for a man any more.' 'Has a man for a woman?' She pondered the other side of the question. 'Not much,' she said truthfully. 'Then let's leave it all alone, and just be decent and simple, likeproper human beings with one another. Be damned to the artificialsex-compulsion! I refuse it!' Connie knew he was right, really. Yet it left her feeling so forlorn,so forlorn and stray. Like a chip on a dreary pond, she felt. What wasthe point, of her or anything? It was her youth which rebelled. These men seemed so old and cold.Everything seemed old and cold. And Michaelis let one down so; he wasno good. The men didn't want one; they just didn't really want a woman,even Michaelis didn't. And the bounders who pretended they did, and started working the sexgame, they were worse than ever. It was just dismal, and one had to put up with it. It was quite true,men had no real glamour for a woman: if you could fool yourself intothinking they had, even as she had fooled herself over Michaelis, thatwas the best you could do. Meanwhile you just lived on and there wasnothing to it. She understood perfectly well why people had cocktailparties, and jazzed, and Charlestoned till they were ready to drop. Youhad to take it out some way or other, your youth, or it ate you up. Butwhat a ghastly thing, this youth! You felt as old as Methuselah, andyet the thing fizzed somehow, and didn't let you be comfortable. A meansort of life! And no prospect! She almost wished she had gone off withMick, and made her life one long cocktail party, and jazz evening.Anyhow that was better than just mooning yourself into the grave. On one of her bad days she went out alone to walk in the wood,ponderously, heeding nothing, not even noticing where she was. Thereport of a gun not far off startled and angered her. Then, as she went, she heard voices, and recoiled. People! She didn'twant people. But her quick ear caught another sound, and she roused; itwas a child sobbing. At once she attended; someone was ill-treating achild. She strode swinging down the wet drive, her sullen resentmentuppermost. She felt just prepared to make a scene. Turning the corner, she saw two figures in the drive beyond her: thekeeper, and a little girl in a purple coat and moleskin cap, crying. 'Ah, shut it up, tha false little bitch!' came the man's angry voice,and the child sobbed louder. Constance strode nearer, with blazing eyes. The man turned and lookedat her, saluting coolly, but he was pale with anger. 'What's the matter? Why is she crying?' demanded Constance, peremptorybut a little breathless. A faint smile like a sneer came on the man's face. 'Nay, yo mun ax'er,' he replied callously, in broad vernacular. Connie felt as if he had hit her in the face, and she changed colour.Then she gathered her defiance, and looked at him, her dark blue eyesblazing rather vaguely. 'I asked YOU,' she panted. He gave a queer little bow, lifting his hat. 'You did, your Ladyship,'he said; then, with a return to the vernacular: 'but I canna tell yer.'And he became a soldier, inscrutable, only pale with annoyance. Connie turned to the child, a ruddy, black-haired thing of nine or ten.'What is it, dear? Tell me why you're crying!' she said, with theconventionalized sweetness suitable. More violent sobs, self-conscious.Still more sweetness on Connie's part. 'There, there, don't you cry! Tell me what they've done to you!'...anintense tenderness of tone. At the same time she felt in the pocket ofher knitted jacket, and luckily found a sixpence. 'Don't you cry then!' she said, bending in front of the child. 'Seewhat I've got for you!' Sobs, snuffles, a fist taken from a blubbered face, and a black shrewdeye cast for a second on the sixpence. Then more sobs, but subduing.'There, tell me what's the matter, tell me!' said Connie, putting thecoin into the child's chubby hand, which closed over it. 'It's the...it's the...pussy!' Shudders of subsiding sobs. 'What pussy, dear?' After a silence the shy fist, clenching on sixpence, pointed into thebramble brake. 'There!' Connie looked, and there, sure enough, was a big black cat, stretchedout grimly, with a bit of blood on it. 'Oh!' she said in repulsion. 'A poacher, your Ladyship,' said the man satirically. She glanced at him angrily. 'No wonder the child cried,' she said, 'ifyou shot it when she was there. No wonder she cried!' He looked into Connie's eyes, laconic, contemptuous, not hiding hisfeelings. And again Connie flushed; she felt she had been making ascene, the man did not respect her. 'What is your name?' she said playfully to the child. 'Won't you tellme your name?' Sniffs; then very affectedly in a piping voice: 'Connie Mellors!' 'Connie Mellors! Well, that's a nice name! And did you come out withyour Daddy, and he shot a pussy? But it was a bad pussy!' The child looked at her, with bold, dark eyes of scrutiny, sizing herup, and her condolence. 'I wanted to stop with my Gran,' said the little girl. 'Did you? But where is your Gran?' The child lifted an arm, pointing down the drive. 'At th' cottidge.' 'At the cottage! And would you like to go back to her?' Sudden, shuddering quivers of reminiscent sobs. 'Yes!' 'Come then, shall I take you? Shall I take you to your Gran? Then yourDaddy can do what he has to do.' She turned to the man. 'It is yourlittle girl, isn't it?' He saluted, and made a slight movement of the head in affirmation. 'I suppose I can take her to the cottage?' asked Connie. 'If your Ladyship wishes.' Again he looked into her eyes, with that calm, searching detachedglance. A man very much alone, and on his own. 'Would you like to come with me to the cottage, to your Gran, dear?' The child peeped up again. 'Yes!' she simpered. Connie disliked her; the spoilt, false little female. Nevertheless shewiped her face and took her hand. The keeper saluted in silence. 'Good morning!' said Connie. It was nearly a mile to the cottage, and Connie senior was well red byConnie junior by the time the game-keeper's picturesque little home wasin sight. The child was already as full to the brim with tricks as alittle monkey, and so self-assured. At the cottage the door stood open, and there was a rattling heardinside. Connie lingered, the child slipped her hand, and ran indoors. 'Gran! Gran!' 'Why, are yer back a'ready!' The grandmother had been blackleading the stove, it was Saturdaymorning. She came to the door in her sacking apron, a blacklead-brushin her hand, and a black smudge on her nose. She was a little, ratherdry woman. 'Why, whatever?' she said, hastily wiping her arm across her face asshe saw Connie standing outside. 'Good morning!' said Connie. 'She was crying, so I just brought herhome.' The grandmother looked around swiftly at the child: 'Why, wheer was yer Dad?' The little girl clung to her grandmother's skirts and simpered. 'He was there,' said Connie, 'but he'd shot a poaching cat, and thechild was upset.' 'Oh, you'd no right t'ave bothered, Lady Chatterley, I'm sure! I'm sureit was very good of you, but you shouldn't 'ave bothered. Why, did everyou see!'--and the old woman turned to the child: 'Fancy LadyChatterley takin' all that trouble over yer! Why, she shouldn't 'avebothered!' 'It was no bother, just a walk,' said Connie smiling. 'Why, I'm sure 'twas very kind of you, I must say! So she was crying! Iknew there'd be something afore they got far. She's frightened of 'im,that's wheer it is. Seems 'e's almost a stranger to 'er, fair astranger, and I don't think they're two as'd hit it off very easy. He'sgot funny ways.' Connie didn't know what to say. 'Look, Gran!' simpered the child. The old woman looked down at the sixpence in the little girl's hand. 'An' sixpence an' all! Oh, your Ladyship, you shouldn't, you shouldn't.Why, isn't Lady Chatterley good to yer! My word, you're a lucky girlthis morning!' She pronounced the name, as all the people did: Chat'ley.--Isn't LadyChat'ley GOOD to you!'--Connie couldn't help looking at the old woman'snose, and the latter again vaguely wiped her face with the back of herwrist, but missed the smudge. Connie was moving away 'Well, thank you ever so much, Lady Chat'ley,I'm sure. Say thank you to Lady Chat'ley!'--this last to the child. 'Thank you,' piped the child. 'There's a dear!' laughed Connie, and she moved away, saying 'Goodmorning', heartily relieved to get away from the contact. Curious, she thought, that that thin, proud man should have thatlittle, sharp woman for a mother! And the old woman, as soon as Connie had gone, rushed to the bit ofmirror in the scullery, and looked at her face. Seeing it, she stampedher foot with impatience. 'Of COURSE she had to catch me in my coarseapron, and a dirty face! Nice idea she'd get of me!' Connie went slowly home to Wragby. 'Home!'...it was a warm word to usefor that great, weary warren. But then it was a word that had had itsday. It was somehow cancelled. All the great words, it seemed toConnie, were cancelled for her generation: love, joy, happiness, home,mother, father, husband, all these great, dynamic words were half deadnow, and dying from day to day. Home was a place you lived in, love wasa thing you didn't fool yourself about, joy was a word you applied to agood Charleston, happiness was a term of hypocrisy used to bluff otherpeople, a father was an individual who enjoyed his own existence, ahusband was a man you lived with and kept going in spirits. As for sex,the last of the great words, it was just a cocktail term for anexcitement that bucked you up for a while, then left you more raggythan ever. Frayed! It was as if the very material you were made of wascheap stuff, and was fraying out to nothing. All that really remained was a stubborn stoicism: and in that there wasa certain pleasure. In the very experience of the nothingness of life,phase after phase, TAPE after TAPE, there was a certain grislysatisfaction. So that's THAT! Always this was the last utterance: home,love, marriage, Michaelis: So that's THAT! And when one died, the lastwords to life would be: So that's THAT! Money? Perhaps one couldn't say the same there. Money one alwayswanted. Money, Success, the bitch-goddess, as Tommy Dukes persisted incalling it, after Henry James, that was a permanent necessity. Youcouldn't spend your last sou, and say finally: So that's THAT! No, ifyou lived even another ten minutes, you wanted a few more sous forsomething or other. Just to keep the business mechanically going, youneeded money. You had to have it. Money you HAVE to have. You needn'treally have anything else. So that's that! Since, of course, it's not your own fault you are alive. Once you arealive, money is a necessity, and the only absolute necessity. All therest you can get along without, at a pinch. But not money.Emphatically, that's THAT! She thought of Michaelis, and the money she might have had with him;and even that she didn't want. She preferred the lesser amount whichshe helped Clifford to make by his writing. That she actually helped tomake.--'Clifford and I together, we make twelve hundred a year out ofwriting'; so she put it to herself. Make money! Make it! Out ofnowhere. Wring it out of the thin air! The last feat to be humanlyproud of! The rest all-my-eye-Betty-Martin. So she plodded home to Clifford, to join forces with him again, to makeanother story out of nothingness: and a story meant money. Cliffordseemed to care very much whether his stories were consideredfirst-class literature or not. Strictly, she didn't care. Nothing init! said her father. Twelve hundred pounds last year! was the retortsimple and final. If you were young, you just set your teeth, and bit on and held on,till the money began to flow from the invisible; it was a question ofpower. It was a question of will; a subtle, subtle, powerful emanationof will out of yourself brought back to you the mysterious nothingnessof money a word on a bit of paper. It was a sort of magic, certainly itwas triumph. The bitch-goddess! Well, if one had to prostitute oneself,let it be to a bitch-goddess! One could always despise her even whileone prostituted oneself to her, which was good. Clifford, of course, had still many childish taboos and fetishes. Hewanted to be thought 'really good', which was all cock-a-hoopynonsense. What was really good was what actually caught on. It was nogood being really good and getting left with it. It seemed as if mostof the 'really good' men just missed the bus. After all you only livedone life, and if you missed the bus, you were just left on thepavement, along with the rest of the failures. Connie was contemplating a winter in London with Clifford, next winter.He and she had caught the bus all right, so they might as well ride ontop for a bit, and show it. The worst of it was, Clifford tended to become vague, absent, and tofall into fits of vacant depression. It was the wound to his psychecoming out. But it made Connie want to scream. Oh God, if the mechanismof the consciousness itself was going to go wrong, then what was one todo? Hang it all, one did one's bit! Was one to be let down ABSOLUTELY? Sometimes she wept bitterly, but even as she wept she was saying toherself: Silly fool, wetting hankies! As if that would get youanywhere! Since Michaelis, she had made up her mind she wanted nothing. Thatseemed the simplest solution of the otherwise insoluble. She wantednothing more than what she'd got; only she wanted to get ahead withwhat she'd got: Clifford, the stories, Wragby, the Lady-Chatterleybusiness, money and fame, such as it was...she wanted to go ahead withit all. Love, sex, all that sort of stuff, just water-ices! Lick it upand forget it. If you don't hang on to it in your mind, it's nothing.Sex especially...nothing! Make up your mind to it, and you've solvedthe problem. Sex and a cocktail: they both lasted about as long, hadthe same effect, and amounted to about the same thing. But a child, a baby! That was still one of the sensations. She wouldventure very gingerly on that experiment. There was the man toconsider, and it was curious, there wasn't a man in the world whosechildren you wanted. Mick's children! Repulsive thought! As lief have achild to a rabbit! Tommy Dukes? he was very nice, but somehow youcouldn't associate him with a baby, another generation. He ended inhimself. And out of all the rest of Clifford's pretty wideacquaintance, there was not a man who did not rouse her contempt, whenshe thought of having a child by him. There were several who would havebeen quite possible as lover, even Mick. But to let them breed a childon you! Ugh! Humiliation and abomination. So that was that! Nevertheless, Connie had the child at the back of her mind. Wait! wait!She would sift the generations of men through her sieve, and see if shecouldn't find one who would do.--'Go ye into the streets and by ways ofJerusalem, and see if you can find a MAN.' It had been impossible tofind a man in the Jerusalem of the prophet, though there were thousandsof male humans. But a MAN! C'EST UNE AUTRE CHOSE! She had an idea that he would have to be a foreigner: not anEnglishman, still less an Irishman. A real foreigner. But wait! wait! Next winter she would get Clifford to London; thefollowing winter she would get him abroad to the South of France,Italy. Wait! She was in no hurry about the child. That was her ownprivate affair, and the one point on which, in her own queer, femaleway, she was serious to the bottom of her soul. She was not going torisk any chance comer, not she! One might take a lover almost at anymoment, but a man who should beget a child on one...wait! wait! it's avery different matter.--'Go ye into the streets and byways ofJerusalem...' It was not a question of love; it was a question of aMAN. Why, one might even rather hate him, personally. Yet if he was theman, what would one's personal hate matter? This business concernedanother part of oneself. It had rained as usual, and the paths were too sodden for Clifford'schair, but Connie would go out. She went out alone every day now,mostly in the wood, where she was really alone. She saw nobody there. This day, however, Clifford wanted to send a message to the keeper, andas the boy was laid up with influenza, somebody always seemed to haveinfluenza at Wragby, Connie said she would call at the cottage. The air was soft and dead, as if all the world were slowly dying. Greyand clammy and silent, even from the shuffling of the collieries, forthe pits were working short time, and today they were stoppedaltogether. The end of all things! In the wood all was utterly inert and motionless, only great drops fellfrom the bare boughs, with a hollow little crash. For the rest, amongthe old trees was depth within depth of grey, hopeless inertia,silence, nothingness. Connie walked dimly on. From the old wood came an ancient melancholy,somehow soothing to her, better than the harsh insentience of the outerworld. She liked the INWARDNESS of the remnant of forest, theunspeaking reticence of the old trees. They seemed a very power ofsilence, and yet a vital presence. They, too, were waiting:obstinately, stoically waiting, and giving off a potency of silence.Perhaps they were only waiting for the end; to be cut down, clearedaway, the end of the forest, for them the end of all things. Butperhaps their strong and aristocratic silence, the silence of strongtrees, meant something else. As she came out of the wood on the north side, the keeper's cottage, arather dark, brown stone cottage, with gables and a handsome chimney,looked uninhabited, it was so silent and alone. But a thread of smokerose from the chimney, and the little railed-in garden in the front ofthe house was dug and kept very tidy. The door was shut. Now she was here she felt a little shy of the man, with his curiousfar-seeing eyes. She did not like bringing him orders, and felt likegoing away again. She knocked softly, no one came. She knocked again,but still not loudly. There was no answer. She peeped through thewindow, and saw the dark little room, with its almost sinister privacy,not wanting to be invaded. She stood and listened, and it seemed to her she heard sounds from theback of the cottage. Having failed to make herself heard, her mettlewas roused, she would not be defeated. So she went round the side of the house. At the back of the cottage theland rose steeply, so the back yard was sunken, and enclosed by a lowstone wall. She turned the corner of the house and stopped. In thelittle yard two paces beyond her, the man was washing himself, utterlyunaware. He was naked to the hips, his velveteen breeches slipping downover his slender loins. And his white slim back was curved over a bigbowl of soapy water, in which he ducked his head, shaking his head witha queer, quick little motion, lifting his slender white arms, andpressing the soapy water from his ears, quick, subtle as a weaselplaying with water, and utterly alone. Connie backed away round thecorner of the house, and hurried away to the wood. In spite of herself,she had had a shock. After all, merely a man washing himself,commonplace enough, Heaven knows! Yet in some curious way it was a visionary experience: it had hit herin the middle of the body. She saw the clumsy breeches slipping downover the pure, delicate, white loins, the bones showing a little, andthe sense of aloneness, of a creature purely alone, overwhelmed her.Perfect, white, solitary nudity of a creature that lives alone, andinwardly alone. And beyond that, a certain beauty of a pure creature.Not the stuff of beauty, not even the body of beauty, but a lambency,the warm, white flame of a single life, revealing itself in contoursthat one might touch: a body! Connie had received the shock of vision in her womb, and she knew it;it lay inside her. But with her mind she was inclined to ridicule. Aman washing himself in a back yard! No doubt with evil-smelling yellowsoap! She was rather annoyed; why should she be made to stumble onthese vulgar privacies? So she walked away from herself, but after a while she sat down on astump. She was too confused to think. But in the coil of her confusion,she was determined to deliver her message to the fellow. She would nothe balked. She must give him time to dress himself, but not time to goout. He was probably preparing to go out somewhere. So she sauntered slowly back, listening. As she came near, the cottagelooked just the same. A dog barked, and she knocked at the door, herheart beating in spite of herself. She heard the man coming lightly downstairs. He opened the doorquickly, and startled her. He looked uneasy himself, but instantly alaugh came on his face. 'Lady Chatterley!' he said. 'Will you come in?' His manner was so perfectly easy and good, she stepped over thethreshold into the rather dreary little room. 'I only called with a message from Sir Clifford,' she said in her soft,rather breathless voice. The man was looking at her with those blue, all-seeing eyes of his,which made her turn her face aside a little. He thought her comely,almost beautiful, in her shyness, and he took command of the situationhimself at once. 'Would you care to sit down?' he asked, presuming she would not. Thedoor stood open. 'No thanks! Sir Clifford wondered if you would and she delivered hermessage, looking unconsciously into his eyes again. And now his eyeslooked warm and kind, particularly to a woman, wonderfully warm, andkind, and at ease. 'Very good, your Ladyship. I will see to it at once.' Taking an order, his whole self had changed, glazed over with a sort ofhardness and distance. Connie hesitated, she ought to go. But shelooked round the clean, tidy, rather dreary little sitting-room withsomething like dismay. 'Do you live here quite alone?' she asked. 'Quite alone, your Ladyship.' 'But your mother...?' 'She lives in her own cottage in the village.' 'With the child?' asked Connie. 'With the child!' And his plain, rather worn face took on an indefinable look ofderision. It was a face that changed all the time, baking. 'No,' he said, seeing Connie stand at a loss, 'my mother comes andcleans up for me on Saturdays; I do the rest myself.' Again Connie looked at him. His eyes were smiling again, a littlemockingly, but warm and blue, and somehow kind. She wondered at him. Hewas in trousers and flannel shirt and a grey tie, his hair soft anddamp, his face rather pale and worn-looking. When the eyes ceased tolaugh they looked as if they had suffered a great deal, still withoutlosing their warmth. But a pallor of isolation came over him, she wasnot really there for him. She wanted to say so many things, and she said nothing. Only she lookedup at him again, and remarked: 'I hope I didn't disturb you?' The faint smile of mockery narrowed his eyes. 'Only combing my hair, if you don't mind. I'm sorry I hadn't a coat on,but then I had no idea who was knocking. Nobody knocks here, and theunexpected sounds ominous.' He went in front of her down the garden path to hold the gate. In hisshirt, without the clumsy velveteen coat, she saw again how slender hewas, thin, stooping a little. Yet, as she passed him, there wassomething young and bright in his fair hair, and his quick eyes. Hewould be a man about thirty-seven or eight. She plodded on into the wood, knowing he was looking after her; heupset her so much, in spite of herself. And he, as he went indoors, was thinking: 'She's nice, she's real!She's nicer than she knows.' She wondered very much about him; he seemed so unlike a game-keeper, sounlike a working-man anyhow; although he had something in common withthe local people. But also something very uncommon. 'The game-keeper, Mellors, is a curious kind of person,' she said toClifford; 'he might almost be a gentleman.' 'Might he?' said Clifford. 'I hadn't noticed.' 'But isn't there something special about him?' Connie insisted. 'I think he's quite a nice fellow, but I know very little about him. Heonly came out of the army last year, less than a year ago. From India,I rather think. He may have picked up certain tricks out there, perhapshe was an officer's servant, and improved on his position. Some of themen were like that. But it does them no good, they have to fall backinto their old places when they get home again.' Connie gazed at Clifford contemplatively. She saw in him the peculiartight rebuff against anyone of the lower classes who might be reallyclimbing up, which she knew was characteristic of his breed. 'But don't you think there is something special about him?' she asked. 'Frankly, no! Nothing I had noticed.' He looked at her curiously, uneasily, half-suspiciously. And she felthe wasn't telling her the real truth; he wasn't telling himself thereal truth, that was it. He disliked any suggestion of a reallyexceptional human being. People must be more or less at his level, orbelow it. Connie felt again the tightness, niggardliness of the men of hergeneration. They were so tight, so scared of life! Chapter 7 When Connie went up to her bedroom she did what she had not done for along time: took off all her clothes, and looked at herself naked in thehuge mirror. She did not know what she was looking for, or at, verydefinitely, yet she moved the lamp till it shone full on her. And she thought, as she had thought so often, what a frail, easilyhurt, rather pathetic thing a human body is, naked; somehow a littleunfinished, incomplete! She had been supposed to have rather a good figure, but now she was outof fashion: a little too female, not enough like an adolescent boy. Shewas not very tall, a bit Scottish and short; but she had a certainfluent, down-slipping grace that might have been beauty. Her skin wasfaintly tawny, her limbs had a certain stillness, her body should havehad a full, down-slipping richness; but it lacked something. Instead of ripening its firm, down-running curves, her body wasflattening and going a little harsh. It was as if it had not had enoughsun and warmth; it was a little greyish and sapless. Disappointed of its real womanhood, it had not succeeded in becomingboyish, and unsubstantial, and transparent; instead it had gone opaque. Her breasts were rather small, and dropping pear-shaped. But they wereunripe, a little bitter, without meaning hanging there. And her bellyhad lost the fresh, round gleam it had had when she was young, in thedays of her German boy, who really loved her physically. Then it wasyoung and expectant, with a real look of its own. Now it was goingslack, and a little flat, thinner, but with a slack thinness. Herthighs, too, they used to look so quick and glimpsy in their femaleroundness, somehow they too were going flat, slack, meaningless. Her body was going meaningless, going dull and opaque, so muchinsignificant substance. It made her feel immensely depressed andhopeless. What hope was there? She was old, old at twenty-seven, withno gleam and sparkle in the flesh. Old through neglect and denial, yes,denial. Fashionable women kept their bodies bright like delicateporcelain, by external attention. There was nothing inside theporcelain; but she was not even as bright as that. The mental life!Suddenly she hated it with a rushing fury, the swindle! She looked in the other mirror's reflection at her back, her waist, herloins. She was getting thinner, but to her it was not becoming. Thecrumple of her waist at the back, as she bent back to look, was alittle weary; and it used to be so gay-looking. And the longish slopeof her haunches and her buttocks had lost its gleam and its sense ofrichness. Gone! Only the German boy had loved it, and he was ten yearsdead, very nearly. How time went by! Ten years dead, and she was onlytwenty-seven. The healthy boy with his fresh, clumsy sensuality thatshe had then been so scornful of! Where would she find it now? It wasgone out of men. They had their pathetic, two-seconds spasms likeMichaelis; but no healthy human sensuality, that warms the blood andfreshens the whole being. Still she thought the most beautiful part of her was the long-slopingfall of the haunches from the socket of the back, and the slumberous,round stillness of the buttocks. Like hillocks of sand, the Arabs say,soft and downward-slipping with a long slope. Here the life stilllingered hoping. But here too she was thinner, and going unripe,astringent. But the front of her body made her miserable. It was already beginningto slacken, with a slack sort of thinness, almost withered, going oldbefore it had ever really lived. She thought of the child she mightsomehow bear. Was she fit, anyhow? She slipped into her nightdress, and went to bed, where she sobbedbitterly. And in her bitterness burned a cold indignation againstClifford, and his writings and his talk: against all the men of hissort who defrauded a woman even of her own body. Unjust! Unjust! The sense of deep physical injustice burned to her verysoul. But in the morning, all the same, she was up at seven, and goingdownstairs to Clifford. She had to help him in all the intimate things,for he had no man, and refused a woman-servant. The housekeeper'shusband, who had known him as a boy, helped him, and did any heavylifting; but Connie did the personal things, and she did themwillingly. It was a demand on her, but she had wanted to do what shecould. So she hardly ever went away from Wragby, and never for more than a dayor two; when Mrs Betts, the housekeeper, attended to Clifford. He, aswas inevitable in the course of time, took all the service for granted.It was natural he should. And yet, deep inside herself, a sense of injustice, of being defrauded,had begun to burn in Connie. The physical sense of injustice is adangerous feeling, once it is awakened. It must have outlet, or it eatsaway the one in whom it is aroused. Poor Clifford, he was not to blame.His was the greater misfortune. It was all part of the generalcatastrophe. And yet was he not in a way to blame? This lack of warmth, this lack ofthe simple, warm, physical contact, was he not to blame for that? Hewas never really warm, nor even kind, only thoughtful, considerate, ina well-bred, cold sort of way! But never warm as a man can be warm to awoman, as even Connie's father could be warm to her, with the warmth ofa man who did himself well, and intended to, but who still couldcomfort it woman with a bit of his masculine glow. But Clifford was not like that. His whole race was not like that. Theywere all inwardly hard and separate, and warmth to them was just badtaste. You had to get on without it, and hold your own; which was allvery well if you were of the same class and race. Then you could keepyourself cold and be very estimable, and hold your own, and enjoy thesatisfaction of holding it. But if you were of another class andanother race it wouldn't do; there was no fun merely holding your own,and feeling you belonged to the ruling class. What was the point, wheneven the smartest aristocrats had really nothing positive of their ownto hold, and their rule was really a farce, not rule at all? What wasthe point? It was all cold nonsense. A sense of rebellion smouldered in Connie. What was the good of it all?What was the good of her sacrifice, her devoting her life to Clifford?What was she serving, after all? A cold spirit of vanity, that had nowarm human contacts, and that was as corrupt as any low-born Jew, incraving for prostitution to the bitch-goddess, Success. Even Clifford'scool and contactless assurance that he belonged to the ruling classdidn't prevent his tongue lolling out of his mouth, as he panted afterthe bitch-goddess. After all, Michaelis was really more dignified inthe matter, and far, far more successful. Really, if you looked closelyat Clifford, he was a buffoon, and a buffoon is more humiliating than abounder. As between the two men, Michaelis really had far more use for her thanClifford had. He had even more need of her. Any good nurse can attendto crippled legs! And as for the heroic effort, Michaelis was a heroicrat, and Clifford was very much of a poodle showing off. There were people staying in the house, among them Clifford's Aunt Eva,Lady Bennerley. She was a thin woman of sixty, with a red nose, awidow, and still something of a grande DAME. She belonged to one of thebest families, and had the character to carry it off. Connie liked her,she was so perfectly simple and frank, as far as she intended to befrank, and superficially kind. Inside herself she was a past-mistressin holding her own, and holding other people a little lower. She wasnot at all a snob: far too sure of herself. She was perfect at thesocial sport of coolly holding her own, and making other people deferto her. She was kind to Connie, and tried to worm into her woman's soul withthe sharp gimlet of her well-born observations. 'You're quite wonderful, in my opinion,' she said to Connie. 'You'vedone wonders for Clifford. I never saw any budding genius myself, andthere he is, all the rage.' Aunt Eva was quite complacently proud ofClifford's success. Another feather in the family cap! She didn't carea straw about his books, but why should she? 'Oh, I don't think it's my doing,' said Connie. 'It must be! Can't be anybody else's. And it seems to me you don't getenough out of it.' 'How?' 'Look at the way you are shut up here. I said to Clifford: If thatchild rebels one day you'll have yourself to thank!' 'But Clifford never denies me anything,' said Connie. 'Look here, my dear child'--and Lady Bennerley laid her thin hand onConnie's arm. 'A woman has to live her life, or live to repent nothaving lived it. Believe me!' And she took another sip of brandy, whichmaybe was her form of repentance. 'But I do live my life, don't I?' 'Not in my idea! Clifford should bring you to London, and let you goabout. His sort of friends are all right for him, but what are they foryou? If I were you I should think it wasn't good enough. You'll letyour youth slip by, and you'll spend your old age, and your middle agetoo, repenting it.' Her ladyship lapsed into contemplative silence, soothed by the brandy. But Connie was not keen on going to London, and being steered into thesmart world by Lady Bennerley. She didn't feel really smart, it wasn'tinteresting. And she did feel the peculiar, withering coldness under itall; like the soil of Labrador, which his gay little flowers on itssurface, and a foot down is frozen. Tommy Dukes was at Wragby, and another man, Harry Winterslow, and JackStrangeways with his wife Olive. The talk was much more desultory thanwhen only the cronies were there, and everybody was a bit bored, forthe weather was bad, and there was only billiards, and the pianola todance to. Olive was reading a book about the future, when babies would be bred inbottles, and women would be 'immunized'. 'Jolly good thing too!' she said. 'Then a woman can live her own life.'Strangeways wanted children, and she didn't. 'How'd you like to be immunized?' Winterslow asked her, with an uglysmile. 'I hope I am; naturally,' she said. 'Anyhow the future's going to havemore sense, and a woman needn't be dragged down by her FUNCTIONS.' 'Perhaps she'll float off into space altogether,' said Dukes. 'I do think sufficient civilization ought to eliminate a lot of thephysical disabilities,' said Clifford. 'All the love-business forexample, it might just as well go. I suppose it would if we could breedbabies in bottles.' 'No!' cried Olive. 'That might leave all the more room for fun.' 'I suppose,' said Lady Bennerley, contemplatively, 'if thelove-business went, something else would take its place. Morphia,perhaps. A little morphine in all the air. It would be wonderfullyrefreshing for everybody.' 'The government releasing ether into the air on Saturdays, for acheerful weekend!' said Jack. 'Sounds all right, but where should we beby Wednesday?' 'So long as you can forget your body you are happy,' said LadyBennerley. 'And the moment you begin to be aware of your body, you arewretched. So, if civilization is any good, it has to help us to forgetour bodies, and then time passes happily without our knowing it.' 'Help us to get rid of our bodies altogether,' said Winterslow. 'It'squite time man began to improve on his own nature, especially thephysical side of it.' 'Imagine if we floated like tobacco smoke,' said Connie. 'It won't happen,' said Dukes. 'Our old show will come flop; ourcivilization is going to fall. It's going down the bottomless pit, downthe chasm. And believe me, the only bridge across the chasm will be thephallus!' 'Oh do! DO be impossible, General!' cried Olive. 'I believe our civilization is going to collapse,' said Aunt Eva. 'And what will come after it?' asked Clifford. 'I haven't the faintest idea, but something, I suppose,' said theelderly lady. 'Connie says people like wisps of smoke, and Olive says immunizedwomen, and babies in bottles, and Dukes says the phallus is the bridgeto what comes next. I wonder what it will really be?' said Clifford. 'Oh, don't bother! let's get on with today,' said Olive. 'Only hurry upwith the breeding bottle, and let us poor women off.' 'There might even be real men, in the next phase,' said Tommy. 'Real,intelligent, wholesome men, and wholesome nice women! Wouldn't that bea change, an enormous change from us? WE'RE not men, and the womenaren't women. We're only cerebrating make-shifts, mechanical andintellectual experiments. There may even come a civilization of genuinemen and women, instead of our little lot of clever-jacks, all at theintelligence-age of seven. It would be even more amazing than men ofsmoke or babies in bottles.' 'Oh, when people begin to talk about real women, I give up,' saidOlive. 'Certainly nothing but the spirit in us is worth having,' saidWinterslow. 'Spirits!' said Jack, drinking his whisky and soda. 'Think so? Give me the resurrection of the body!' said Dukes. 'But it'll come, in time, when we've shoved the cerebral stone away abit, the money and the rest. Then we'll get a democracy of touch,instead of a democracy of pocket.' Something echoed inside Connie: 'Give me the democracy of touch, theresurrection of the body!' She didn't at all know what it meant, but itcomforted her, as meaningless things may do. Anyhow everything was terribly silly, and she was exasperatedly boredby it all, by Clifford, by Aunt Eva, by Olive and Jack, and Winterslow,and even by Dukes. Talk, talk, talk! What hell it was, the continualrattle of it! Then, when all the people went, it was no better. She continuedplodding on, but exasperation and irritation had got hold of her lowerbody, she couldn't escape. The days seemed to grind by, with curiouspainfulness, yet nothing happened. Only she was getting thinner; eventhe housekeeper noticed it, and asked her about herself Even TommyDukes insisted she was not well, though she said she was all right.Only she began to be afraid of the ghastly white tombstones, thatpeculiar loathsome whiteness of Carrara marble, detestable as falseteeth, which stuck up on the hillside, under Tevershall church, andwhich she saw with such grim painfulness from the park. The bristlingof the hideous false teeth of tombstones on the hill affected her witha grisly kind of horror. She felt the time not far off when she wouldbe buried there, added to the ghastly host under the tombstones and themonuments, in these filthy Midlands. She needed help, and she knew it: so she wrote a little CRI DU COEUR toher sister, Hilda. 'I'm not well lately, and I don't know what's thematter with me.' Down posted Hilda from Scotland, where she had taken up her abode. Shecame in March, alone, driving herself in a nimble two-seater. Up thedrive she came, tooting up the incline, then sweeping round the oval ofgrass, where the two great wild beech-trees stood, on the flat in frontof the house. Connie had run out to the steps. Hilda pulled up her car, got out, andkissed her sister. 'But Connie!' she cried. 'Whatever is the matter?' 'Nothing!' said Connie, rather shamefacedly; but she knew how she hadsuffered in contrast to Hilda. Both sisters had the same rather golden,glowing skin, and soft brown hair, and naturally strong, warm physique.But now Connie was thin and earthy-looking, with a scraggy, yellowishneck, that stuck out of her jumper. 'But you're ill, child!' said Hilda, in the soft, rather breathlessvoice that both sisters had alike. Hilda was nearly, but not quite, twoyears older than Connie. 'No, not ill. Perhaps I'm bored,' said Connie a little pathetically. The light of battle glowed in Hilda's face; she was a woman, soft andstill as she seemed, of the old amazon sort, not made to fit with men. 'This wretched place!' she said softly, looking at poor, old, lumberingWragby with real hate. She looked soft and warm herself, as a ripepear, and she was an amazon of the real old breed. She went quietly in to Clifford. He thought how handsome she looked,but also he shrank from her. His wife's family did not have his sort ofmanners, or his sort of etiquette. He considered them rather outsiders,but once they got inside they made him jump through the hoop. He sat square and well-groomed in his chair, his hair sleek and blond,and his face fresh, his blue eyes pale, and a little prominent, hisexpression inscrutable, but well-bred. Hilda thought it sulky andstupid, and he waited. He had an air of aplomb, but Hilda didn't carewhat he had an air of; she was up in arms, and if he'd been Pope orEmperor it would have been just the same. 'Connie's looking awfully unwell,' she said in her soft voice, fixinghim with her beautiful, glowering grey eyes. She looked so maidenly, sodid Connie; but he well knew the tone of Scottish obstinacy underneath. 'She's a little thinner,' he said. 'Haven't you done anything about it?' 'Do you think it necessary?' he asked, with his suavest Englishstiffness, for the two things often go together. Hilda only glowered at him without replying; repartee was not herforte, nor Connie's; so she glowered, and he was much moreuncomfortable than if she had said things. 'I'll take her to a doctor,' said Hilda at length. 'Can you suggest agood one round here?' 'I'm afraid I can't.' 'Then I'll take her to London, where we have a doctor we trust.' Though boiling with rage, Clifford said nothing. 'I suppose I may as well stay the night,' said Hilda, pulling off hergloves, 'and I'll drive her to town tomorrow.' Clifford was yellow at the gills with anger, and at evening the whitesof his eyes were a little yellow too. He ran to liver. But Hilda wasconsistently modest and maidenly. 'You must have a nurse or somebody, to look after you personally. Youshould really have a manservant,' said Hilda as they sat, with apparentcalmness, at coffee after dinner. She spoke in her soft, seeminglygentle way, but Clifford felt she was hitting him on the head with abludgeon. 'You think so?' he said coldly. 'I'm sure! It's necessary. Either that, or Father and I must takeConnie away for some months. This can't go on.' 'What can't go on?' 'Haven't you looked at the child!' asked Hilda, gazing at him fullstare. He looked rather like a huge, boiled crayfish at the moment; orso she thought. 'Connie and I will discuss it,' he said. 'I've already discussed it with her,' said Hilda. Clifford had been long enough in the hands of nurses; he hated them,because they left him no real privacy. And a manservant!...he couldn'tstand a man hanging round him. Almost better any woman. But why notConnie? The two sisters drove off in the morning, Connie looking rather like anEaster lamb, rather small beside Hilda, who held the wheel. Sir Malcolmwas away, but the Kensington house was open. The doctor examined Connie carefully, and asked her all about her life.'I see your photograph, and Sir Clifford's, in the illustrated paperssometimes. Almost notorieties, aren't you? That's how the quiet littlegirls grow up, though you're only a quiet little girl even now, inspite of the illustrated papers. No, no! There's nothing organicallywrong, but it won't do! It won't do! Tell Sir Clifford he's got tobring you to town, or take you abroad, and amuse you. You've got to beamused, got to! Your vitality is much too low; no reserves, noreserves. The nerves of the heart a bit queer already: oh, yes! Nothingbut nerves; I'd put you right in a month at Cannes or Biarritz. But itmustn't go on, MUSTN'T, I tell you, or I won't be answerable forconsequences. You're spending your life without renewing it. You've gotto be amused, properly, healthily amused. You're spending your vitalitywithout making any. Can't go on, you know. Depression! Avoiddepression!' Hilda set her jaw, and that meant something. Michaelis heard they were in town, and came running with roses. 'Why,whatever's wrong?' he cried. 'You're a shadow of yourself. Why, I neversaw such a change! Why ever didn't you let me know? Come to Nice withme! Come down to Sicily! Go on, come to Sicily with me. It's lovelythere just now. You want sun! You want life! Why, you're wasting away!Come away with me! Come to Africa! Oh, hang Sir Clifford! Chuck him,and come along with me. I'll marry you the minute he divorces you. Comealong and try a life! God's love! That place Wragby would kill anybody.Beastly place! Foul place! Kill anybody! Come away with me into thesun! It's the sun you want, of course, and a bit of normal life.' But Connie's heart simply stood still at the thought of abandoningClifford there and then. She couldn't do it. No...no! She justcouldn't. She had to go back to Wragby. Michaelis was disgusted. Hilda didn't like Michaelis, but she ALMOSTpreferred him to Clifford. Back went the sisters to the Midlands. Hilda talked to Clifford, who still had yellow eyeballs when they gotback. He, too, in his way, was overwrought; but he had to listen to allHilda said, to all the doctor had said, not what Michaelis had said, ofcourse, and he sat mum through the ultimatum. 'Here is the address of a good manservant, who was with an invalidpatient of the doctor's till he died last month. He is really a goodman, and fairly sure to come.' 'But I'm NOT an invalid, and I will NOT have a manservant,' saidClifford, poor devil. 'And here are the addresses of two women; I saw one of them, she woulddo very well; a woman of about fifty, quiet, strong, kind, and in herway cultured...' Clifford only sulked, and would not answer. 'Very well, Clifford. If we don't settle something by to-morrow, Ishall telegraph to Father, and we shall take Connie away.' 'Will Connie go?' asked Clifford. 'She doesn't want to, but she knows she must. Mother died of cancer,brought on by fretting. We're not running any risks.' So next day Clifford suggested Mrs Bolton, Tevershall parish nurse.Apparently Mrs Betts had thought of her. Mrs Bolton was just retiringfrom her parish duties to take up private nursing jobs. Clifford had aqueer dread of delivering himself into the hands of a stranger, butthis Mrs Bolton had once nursed him through scarlet fever, and he knewher. The two sisters at once called on Mrs Bolton, in a newish house in arow, quite select for Tevershall. They found a rather good-lookingwoman of forty-odd, in a nurse's uniform, with a white collar andapron, just making herself tea in a small crowded sitting-room. Mrs Bolton was most attentive and polite, seemed quite nice, spoke witha bit of a broad slur, but in heavily correct English, and from havingbossed the sick colliers for a good many years, had a very good opinionof herself, and a fair amount of assurance. In short, in her tiny way,one of the governing class in the village, very much respected. 'Yes, Lady Chatterley's not looking at all well! Why, she used to bethat bonny, didn't she now? But she's been failing all winter! Oh, it'shard, it is. Poor Sir Clifford! Eh, that war, it's a lot to answerfor.' And Mrs Bolton would come to Wragby at once, if Dr Shardlow would lether off. She had another fortnight's parish nursing to do, by rights,but they might get a substitute, you know. Hilda posted off to Dr Shardlow, and on the following Sunday Mrs Boltondrove up in Leiver's cab to Wragby with two trunks. Hilda had talkswith her; Mrs Bolton was ready at any moment to talk. And she seemed soyoung! The way the passion would flush in her rather pale cheek. Shewas forty-seven. Her husband, Ted Bolton, had been killed in the pit, twenty-two yearsago, twenty-two years last Christmas, just at Christmas time, leavingher with two children, one a baby in arms. Oh, the baby was marriednow, Edith, to a young man in Boots Cash Chemists in Sheffield. Theother one was a schoolteacher in Chesterfield; she came home weekends,when she wasn't asked out somewhere. Young folks enjoyed themselvesnowadays, not like when she, Ivy Bolton, was young. Ted Bolton was twenty-eight when lie was killed in an explosion downth' pit. The butty in front shouted to them all to lie down quick,there were four of them. And they all lay down in time, only Ted, andit killed him. Then at the inquiry, on the masters' side they said Tedhad been frightened, and trying to run away, and not obeying orders, soit was like his fault really. So the compensation was only threehundred pounds, and they made out as if it was more of a gift thanlegal compensation, because it was really the man's own fault. And theywouldn't let her have the money down; she wanted to have a little shop.But they said she'd no doubt squander it, perhaps in drink! So she hadto draw it thirty shillings a week. Yes, she had to go every Mondaymorning down to the offices, and stand there a couple of hours waitingher turn; yes, for almost four years she went every Monday. And whatcould she do with two little children on her hands? But Ted's motherwas very good to her. When the baby could toddle she'd keep both thechildren for the day, while she, Ivy Bolton, went to Sheffield, andattended classes in ambulance, and then the fourth year she even took anursing course and got qualified. She was determined to be independentand keep her children. So she was assistant at Uthwaite hospital, justa little place, for a while. But when the Company, the TevershallColliery Company, really Sir Geoffrey, saw that she could get on byherself, they were very good to her, gave her the parish nursing, andstood by her, she would say that for them. And she'd done it eversince, till now it was getting a bit much for her; she needed somethinga bit lighter, there was such a lot of traipsing around if you were adistrict nurse. 'Yes, the Company's been very good to ME, I always say it. But I shouldnever forget what they said about Ted, for he was as steady andfearless a chap as ever set foot on the cage, and it was as good asbranding him a coward. But there, he was dead, and could say nothing tonone of 'em.' It was a queer mixture of feelings the woman showed as she talked. Sheliked the colliers, whom she had nursed for so long; but she felt verysuperior to them. She felt almost upper class; and at the same time aresentment against the ruling class smouldered in her. The masters! Ina dispute between masters and men, she was always for the men. But whenthere was no question of contest, she was pining to be superior, to beone of the upper class. The upper classes fascinated her, appealing toher peculiar English passion for superiority. She was thrilled to cometo Wragby; thrilled to talk to Lady Chatterley, my word, different fromthe common colliers' wives! She said so in so many words. Yet one couldsee a grudge against the Chatterleys peep out in her; the grudgeagainst the masters. 'Why, yes, of course, it would wear Lady Chatterley out! It's a mercyshe had a sister to come and help her. Men don't think, high andlow-alike, they take what a woman does for them for granted. Oh, I'vetold the colliers off about it many a time. But it's very hard for SirClifford, you know, crippled like that. They were always a haughtyfamily, standoffish in a way, as they've a right to be. But then to bebrought down like that! And it's very hard on Lady Chatterley, perhapsharder on her. What she misses! I only had Ted three years, but myword, while I had him I had a husband I could never forget. He was onein a thousand, and jolly as the day. Who'd ever have thought he'd getkilled? I don't believe it to this day somehow, I've never believed it,though I washed him with my own hands. But he was never dead for me, henever was. I never took it in.' This was a new voice in Wragby, very new for Connie to hear; it rouseda new ear in her. For the first week or so, Mrs Bolton, however, was very quiet atWragby, her assured, bossy manner left her, and she was nervous. WithClifford she was shy, almost frightened, and silent. He liked that, andsoon recovered his self-possession, letting her do things for himwithout even noticing her. 'She's a useful nonentity!' he said. Connie opened her eyes in wonder,but she did not contradict him. So different are impressions on twodifferent people! And he soon became rather superb, somewhat lordly with the nurse. Shehad rather expected it, and he played up without knowing. Sosusceptible we are to what is expected of us! The colliers had been solike children, talking to her, and telling her what hurt them, whileshe bandaged them, or nursed them. They had always made her feel sogrand, almost super-human in her administrations. Now Clifford made herfeel small, and like a servant, and she accepted it without a word,adjusting herself to the upper classes. She came very mute, with her long, handsome face, and downcast eyes, toadminister to him. And she said very humbly: 'Shall I do this now, SirClifford? Shall I do that?' 'No, leave it for a time. I'll have it done later.' 'Very well, Sir Clifford.' 'Come in again in half an hour.' 'Very well, Sir Clifford.' 'And just take those old papers out, will you?' 'Very well, Sir Clifford.' She went softly, and in half an hour she came softly again. She wasbullied, but she didn't mind. She was experiencing the upper classes.She neither resented nor disliked Clifford; he was just part of aphenomenon, the phenomenon of the high-class folks, so far unknown toher, but now to be known. She felt more at home with Lady Chatterley,and after all it's the mistress of the house matters most. Mrs Bolton helped Clifford to bed at night, and slept across thepassage from his room, and came if he rang for her in the night. Shealso helped him in the morning, and soon valeted him completely, evenshaving him, in her soft, tentative woman's way. She was very good andcompetent, and she soon knew how to have him in her power. He wasn't sovery different from the colliers after all, when you lathered his chin,and softly rubbed the bristles. The stand-offishness and the lack offrankness didn't bother her; she was having a new experience. Clifford, however, inside himself, never quite forgave Connie forgiving up her personal care of him to a strange hired woman. It killed,he said to himself, the real flower of the intimacy between him andher. But Connie didn't mind that. The fine flower of their intimacy wasto her rather like an orchid, a bulb stuck parasitic on her tree oflife, and producing, to her eyes, a rather shabby flower. Now she had more time to herself she could softly play the piano, up inher room, and sing: 'Touch not the nettle, for the bonds of love areill to loose.' She had not realized till lately how ill to loose theywere, these bonds of love. But thank Heaven she had loosened them! Shewas so glad to be alone, not always to have to talk to him. When he wasalone he tapped-tapped-tapped on a typewriter, to infinity. But when hewas not 'working', and she was there, he talked, always talked;infinite small analysis of people and motives, and results, charactersand personalities, till now she had had enough. For years she had lovedit, until she had enough, and then suddenly it was too much. She wasthankful to be alone. It was as if thousands and thousands of little roots and threads ofconsciousness in him and her had grown together into a tangled mass,till they could crowd no more, and the plant was dying. Now quietly,subtly, she was unravelling the tangle of his consciousness and hers,breaking the threads gently, one by one, with patience and impatienceto get clear. But the bonds of such love are more ill to loose eventhan most bonds; though Mrs Bolton's coming had been a great help. But he still wanted the old intimate evenings of talk with Connie: talkor reading aloud. But now she could arrange that Mrs Bolton should comeat ten to disturb them. At ten o'clock Connie could go upstairs and bealone. Clifford was in good hands with Mrs Bolton. Mrs Bolton ate with Mrs Betts in the housekeeper's room, since theywere all agreeable. And it was curious how much closer the servants'quarters seemed to have come; right up to the doors of Clifford'sstudy, when before they were so remote. For Mrs Betts would sometimessit in Mrs Bolton's room, and Connie heard their lowered voices, andfelt somehow the strong, other vibration of the working people almostinvading the sitting-room, when she and Clifford were alone. So changedwas Wragby merely by Mrs Bolton's coming. And Connie felt herself released, in another world, she felt shebreathed differently. But still she was afraid of how many of herroots, perhaps mortal ones, were tangled with Clifford's. Yet still,she breathed freer, a new phase was going to begin in her life. Chapter 8 Mrs Bolton also kept a cherishing eye on Connie, feeling she mustextend to her her female and professional protection. She was alwaysurging her ladyship to walk out, to drive to Uthwaite, to be in theair. For Connie had got into the habit of sitting still by the fire,pretending to read; or to sew feebly, and hardly going out at all. It was a blowy day soon after Hilda had gone, that Mrs Bolton said:'Now why don't you go for a walk through the wood, and look at thedaffs behind the keeper's cottage? They're the prettiest sight you'dsee in a day's march. And you could put some in your room; wild daffsare always so cheerful-looking, aren't they?' Connie took it in good part, even daffs for daffodils. Wild daffodils!After all, one could not stew in one's own juice. The spring cameback...'Seasons return, but not to me returns Day, or the sweetapproach of Ev'n or Morn.' And the keeper, his thin, white body, like a lonely pistil of aninvisible flower! She had forgotten him in her unspeakable depression.But now something roused...'Pale beyond porch and portal'...the thingto do was to pass the porches and the portals. She was stronger, she could walk better, and iii the wood the windwould not be so tiring as it was across the bark, flatten against her.She wanted to forget, to forget the world, and all the dreadful,carrion-bodied people. 'Ye must be born again! I believe in theresurrection of the body! Except a grain of wheat fall into the earthand die, it shall by no means bring forth. When the crocus cometh forthI too will emerge and see the sun!' In the wind of March endlessphrases swept through her consciousness. Little gusts of sunshine blew, strangely bright, and lit up thecelandines at the wood's edge, under the hazel-rods, they spangled outbright and yellow. And the wood was still, stiller, but yet gusty withcrossing sun. The first windflowers were out, and all the wood seemedpale with the pallor of endless little anemones, sprinkling the shakenfloor. 'The world has grown pale with thy breath.' But it was thebreath of Persephone, this time; she was out of hell on a cold morning.Cold breaths of wind came, and overhead there was an anger of entangledwind caught among the twigs. It, too, was caught and trying to tearitself free, the wind, like Absalom. How cold the anemones looked,bobbing their naked white shoulders over crinoline skirts of green. Butthey stood it. A few first bleached little primroses too, by the path,and yellow buds unfolding themselves. The roaring and swaying was overhead, only cold currents came downbelow. Connie was strangely excited in the wood, and the colour flew inher cheeks, and burned blue in her eyes. She walked ploddingly, pickinga few primroses and the first violets, that smelled sweet and cold,sweet and cold. And she drifted on without knowing where she was. Till she came to the clearing, at the end of the wood, and saw thegreen-stained stone cottage, looking almost rosy, like the fleshunderneath a mushroom, its stone warmed in a burst of sun. And therewas a sparkle of yellow jasmine by the door; the closed door. But nosound; no smoke from the chimney; no dog barking. She went quietly round to the back, where the bank rose up; she had anexcuse, to see the daffodils. And they were there, the short-stemmed flowers, rustling and flutteringand shivering, so bright and alive, but with nowhere to hide theirfaces, as they turned them away from the wind. They shook their bright, sunny little rags in bouts of distress. Butperhaps they liked it really; perhaps they really liked the tossing. Constance sat down with her back to a young pine-tree, that wayedagainst her with curious life, elastic, and powerful, rising up. Theerect, alive thing, with its top in the sun! And she watched thedaffodils turn golden, in a burst of sun that was warm on her hands andlap. Even she caught the faint, tarry scent of the flowers. And then,being so still and alone, she seemed to bet into the current of her ownproper destiny. She had been fastened by a rope, and jagging andsnarring like a boat at its moorings; now she was loose and adrift. The sunshine gave way to chill; the daffodils were in shadow, dippingsilently. So they would dip through the day and the long cold night. Sostrong in their frailty! She rose, a little stiff, took a few daffodils, and went down. Shehated breaking the flowers, but she wanted just one or two to go withher. She would have to go back to Wragby and its walls, and now shehated it, especially its thick walls. Walls! Always walls! Yet oneneeded them in this wind. When she got home Clifford asked her: 'Where did you go?' 'Right across the wood! Look, aren't the little daffodils adorable? Tothink they should come out of the earth!' 'Just as much out of air and sunshine,' he said. 'But modelled in the earth,' she retorted, with a prompt contradiction,that surprised her a little. The next afternoon she went to the wood again. She followed the broadriding that swerved round and up through the larches to a spring calledJohn's Well. It was cold on this hillside, and not a flower in thedarkness of larches. But the icy little spring softly pressed upwardsfrom its tiny well-bed of pure, reddish-white pebbles. How icy andclear it was! Brilliant! The new keeper had no doubt put in freshpebbles. She heard the faint tinkle of water, as the tiny overflowtrickled over and downhill. Even above the hissing boom of thelarchwood, that spread its bristling, leafless, wolfish darkness on thedown-slope, she heard the tinkle as of tiny water-bells. This place was a little sinister, cold, damp. Yet the well must havebeen a drinking-place for hundreds of years. Now no more. Its tinycleared space was lush and cold and dismal. She rose and went slowly towards home. As she went she heard a fainttapping away on the right, and stood still to listen. Was it hammering,or a woodpecker? It was surely hammering. She walked on, listening. And then she noticed a narrow track betweenyoung fir-trees, a track that seemed to lead nowhere. But she felt ithad been used. She turned down it adventurously, between the thickyoung firs, which gave way soon to the old oak wood. She followed thetrack, and the hammering grew nearer, in the silence of the windy wood,for trees make a silence even in their noise of wind. She saw a secret little clearing, and a secret little hot made ofrustic poles. And she had never been here before! She realized it wasthe quiet place where the growing pheasants were reared; the keeper inhis shirt-sleeves was kneeling, hammering. The dog trotted forward witha short, sharp bark, and the keeper lifted his face suddenly and sawher. He had a startled look in his eyes. He straightened himself and saluted, watching her in silence, as shecame forward with weakening limbs. He resented the intrusion; hecherished his solitude as his only and last freedom in life. 'I wondered what the hammering was,' she said, feeling weak andbreathless, and a little afraid of him, as he looked so straight ather. 'Ah'm gettin' th' coops ready for th' young bods,' he said, in broadvernacular. She did not know what to say, and she felt weak. 'I should like to sitdown a bit,' she said. 'Come and sit 'ere i' th' 'ut,' he said, going in front of her to thehut, pushing aside some timber and stuff, and drawing out a rusticchair, made of hazel sticks. 'Am Ah t' light yer a little fire?' he asked, with the curious na‹vet‚of the dialect. 'Oh, don't bother,' she replied. But he looked at her hands; they were rather blue. So he quickly tooksome larch twigs to the little brick fire-place in the corner, and in amoment the yellow flame was running up the chimney. He made a place bythe brick hearth. 'Sit 'ere then a bit, and warm yer,' he said. She obeyed him. He had that curious kind of protective authority sheobeyed at once. So she sat and warmed her hands at the blaze, anddropped logs on the fire, whilst outside he was hammering again. Shedid not really want to sit, poked in a corner by the fire; she wouldrather have watched from the door, but she was being looked after, soshe had to submit. The hut was quite cosy, panelled with unvarnished deal, having a littlerustic table and stool beside her chair, and a carpenter's bench, thena big box, tools, new boards, nails; and many things hung from pegs:axe, hatchet, traps, things in sacks, his coat. It had no window, thelight came in through the open door. It was a jumble, but also it was asort of little sanctuary. She listened to the tapping of the man's hammer; it was not so happy.He was oppressed. Here was a trespass on his privacy, and a dangerousone! A woman! He had reached the point where all he wanted on earth wasto be alone. And yet he was powerless to preserve his privacy; he was ahired man, and these people were his masters. Especially he did not want to come into contact with a woman again. Hefeared it; for he had a big wound from old contacts. He felt if hecould not be alone, and if he could not be left alone, he would die.His recoil away from the outer world was complete; his last refuge wasthis wood; to hide himself there! Connie grew warm by the fire, which she had made too big: then she grewhot. She went and sat on the stool in the doorway, watching the man atwork. He seemed not to notice her, but he knew. Yet he worked on, as ifabsorbedly, and his brown dog sat on her tail near him, and surveyedthe untrustworthy world. Slender, quiet and quick, the man finished the coop he was making,turned it over, tried the sliding door, then set it aside. Then herose, went for an old coop, and took it to the chopping log where hewas working. Crouching, he tried the bars; some broke in his hands; hebegan to draw the nails. Then he turned the coop over and deliberated,and he gave absolutely no sign of awareness of the woman's presence. So Connie watched him fixedly. And the same solitary aloneness she hadseen in him naked, she now saw in him clothed: solitary, and intent,like an animal that works alone, but also brooding, like a soul thatrecoils away, away from all human contact. Silently, patiently, he wasrecoiling away from her even now. It was the stillness, and thetimeless sort of patience, in a man impatient and passionate, thattouched Connie's womb. She saw it in his bent head, the quick quiethands, the crouching of his slender, sensitive loins; something patientand withdrawn. She felt his experience had been deeper and wider thanher own; much deeper and wider, and perhaps more deadly. And thisrelieved her of herself; she felt almost irresponsible. So she sat in the doorway of the hut in a dream, utterly unaware oftime and of particular circumstances. She was so drifted away that heglanced up at her quickly, and saw the utterly still, waiting look onher face. To him it was a look of waiting. And a little thin tongue offire suddenly flickered in his loins, at the root of his back, and hegroaned in spirit. He dreaded with a repulsion almost of death, anyfurther close human contact. He wished above all things she would goaway, and leave him to his own privacy. He dreaded her will, her femalewill, and her modern female insistency. And above all he dreaded hercool, upper-class impudence of having her own way. For after all he wasonly a hired man. He hated her presence there. Connie came to herself with sudden uneasiness. She rose. The afternoonwas turning to evening, yet she could not go away. She went over to theman, who stood up at attention, his worn face stiff and blank, his eyeswatching her. 'It is so nice here, so restful,' she said. 'I have never been herebefore.' 'No?' 'I think I shall come and sit here sometimes. 'Yes?' 'Do you lock the hut when you're not here?' 'Yes, your Ladyship.' 'Do you think I could have a key too, so that I could sit heresometimes? Are there two keys?' 'Not as Ah know on, ther' isna.' He had lapsed into the vernacular. Connie hesitated; he was putting upan opposition. Was it his hut, after all? 'Couldn't we get another key?' she asked in her soft voice, thatunderneath had the ring of a woman determined to get her way. 'Another!' he said, glancing at her with a flash of anger, touched withderision. 'Yes, a duplicate,' she said, flushing. ''Appen Sir Clifford 'ud know,' he said, putting her off. 'Yes!' she said, 'he might have another. Otherwise we could have onemade from the one you have. It would only take a day or so, I suppose.You could spare your key for so long.' 'Ah canna tell yer, m'Lady! Ah know nob'dy as ma'es keys round 'ere.' Connie suddenly flushed with anger. 'Very well!' she said. 'I'll see to it.' 'All right, your Ladyship.' Their eyes met. His had a cold, ugly look of dislike and contempt, andindifference to what would happen. Hers were hot with rebuff. But her heart sank, she saw how utterly he disliked her, when she wentagainst him. And she saw him in a sort of desperation. 'Good afternoon!' 'Afternoon, my Lady!' He saluted and turned abruptly away. She hadwakened the sleeping dogs of old voracious anger in him, anger againstthe self-willed female. And he was powerless, powerless. He knew it! And she was angry against the self-willed male. A servant too! Shewalked sullenly home. She found Mrs Bolton under the great beech-tree on the knoll, lookingfor her. 'I just wondered if you'd be coming, my Lady,' the woman said brightly. 'Am I late?' asked Connie. 'Oh only Sir Clifford was waiting for his tea.' 'Why didn't you make it then?' 'Oh, I don't think it's hardly my place. I don't think Sir Cliffordwould like it at all, my Lady.' 'I don't see why not,' said Connie. She went indoors to Clifford's study, where the old brass kettle wassimmering on the tray. 'Am I late, Clifford?' she said, putting down the few flowers andtaking up the tea-caddy, as she stood before the tray in her hat andscarf. 'I'm sorry! Why didn't you let Mrs Bolton make the tea?' 'I didn't think of it,' he said ironically. 'I don't quite see herpresiding at the tea-table.' 'Oh, there's nothing sacrosanct about a silver tea-pot,' said Connie. He glanced up at her curiously. 'What did you do all afternoon?' he said. 'Walked and sat in a sheltered place. Do you know there are stillberries on the big holly-tree?' She took off her scarf, but not her hat, and sat down to make tea. Thetoast would certainly be leathery. She put the tea-cosy over thetea-pot, and rose to get a little glass for her violets. The poorflowers hung over, limp on their stalks. 'They'll revive again!' she said, putting them before him in theirglass for him to smell. 'Sweeter than the lids of Juno's eyes,' he quoted. 'I don't see a bit of connexion with the actual violets,' she said.'The Elizabethans are rather upholstered.' She poured him his tea. 'Do you think there is a second key to that little hut not far fromJohn's Well, where the pheasants are reared?' she said. 'There may be. Why?' 'I happened to find it today--and I'd never seen it before. I thinkit's a darling place. I could sit there sometimes, couldn't I?' 'Was Mellors there?' 'Yes! That's how I found it: his hammering. He didn't seem to like myintruding at all. In fact he was almost rude when I asked about asecond key.' 'What did he say?' 'Oh, nothing: just his manner; and he said he knew nothing about keys.' 'There may be one in Father's study. Betts knows them all, they're allthere. I'll get him to look.' 'Oh do!' she said. 'So Mellors was almost rude?' 'Oh, nothing, really! But I don't think he wanted me to have thefreedom of the castle, quite.' 'I don't suppose he did.' 'Still, I don't see why he should mind. It's not his home, after all!It's not his private abode. I don't see why I shouldn't sit there if Iwant to.' 'Quite!' said Clifford. 'He thinks too much of himself, that man.' 'Do you think he does?' 'Oh, decidedly! He thinks he's something exceptional. You know he had awife he didn't get on with, so he joined up in 1915 and was sent toIndia, I believe. Anyhow he was blacksmith to the cavalry in Egypt fora time; always was connected with horses, a clever fellow that way.Then some Indian colonel took a fancy to him, and he was made alieutenant. Yes, they gave him a commission. I believe he went back toIndia with his colonel, and up to the north-west frontier. He was ill;he was a pension. He didn't come out of the army till last year, Ibelieve, and then, naturally, it isn't easy for a man like that to getback to his own level. He's bound to flounder. But he does his duty allright, as far as I'm concerned. Only I'm not having any of theLieutenant Mellors touch.' 'How could they make him an officer when he speaks broad Derbyshire?' 'He doesn't...except by fits and starts. He can speak perfectly well,for him. I suppose he has an idea if he's come down to the ranks again,he'd better speak as the ranks speak.' 'Why didn't you tell me about him before?' 'Oh, I've no patience with these romances. They're the ruin of allorder. It's a thousand pities they ever happened.' Connie was inclined to agree. What was the good of discontented peoplewho fitted in nowhere? In the spell of fine weather Clifford, too, decided to go to the wood.The wind was cold, but not so tiresome, and the sunshine was like lifeitself, warm and full. 'It's amazing,' said Connie, 'how different one feels when there's areally fresh fine day. Usually one feels the very air is half dead.People are killing the very air.' 'Do you think people are doing it?' he asked. 'I do. The steam of so much boredom, and discontent and anger out ofall the people, just kills the vitality in the air. I'm sure of it.' 'Perhaps some condition of the atmosphere lowers the vitality of thepeople?' he said. 'No, it's man that poisons the universe,' she asserted. 'Fouls his own nest,' remarked Clifford. The chair puffed on. In the hazel copse catkins were hanging pale gold,and in sunny places the wood-anemones were wide open, as if exclaimingwith the joy of life, just as good as in past days, when people couldexclaim along with them. They had a faint scent of apple-blossom.Connie gathered a few for Clifford. He took them and looked at them curiously. 'Thou still unravished bride of quietness,' he quoted. 'It seems to fitflowers so much better than Greek vases.' 'Ravished is such a horrid word!' she said. 'It's only people whoravish things.' 'Oh, I don't know...snails and things,' he said. 'Even snails only eat them, and bees don't ravish.' She was angry with him, turning everything into words. Violets wereJuno's eyelids, and windflowers were on ravished brides. How she hatedwords, always coming between her and life: they did the ravishing, ifanything did: ready-made words and phrases, sucking all the life-sapout of living things. The walk with Clifford was not quite a success. Between him and Conniethere was a tension that each pretended not to notice, but there itwas. Suddenly, with all the force of her female instinct, she wasshoving him off. She wanted to be clear of him, and especially of hisconsciousness, his words, his obsession with himself, his endlesstreadmill obsession with himself, and his own words. The weather came rainy again. But after a day or two she went out inthe rain, and she went to the wood. And once there, she went towardsthe hut. It was raining, but not so cold, and the wood felt so silentand remote, inaccessible in the dusk of rain. She came to the clearing. No one there! The hut was locked. But she saton the log doorstep, under the rustic porch, and snuggled into her ownwarmth. So she sat, looking at the rain, listening to the manynoiseless noises of it, and to the strange soughings of wind in upperbranches, when there seemed to be no wind. Old oak-trees stood around,grey, powerful trunks, rain-blackened, round and vital, throwing offreckless limbs. The ground was fairly free of undergrowth, the anemonessprinkled, there was a bush or two, elder, or guelder-rose, and apurplish tangle of bramble: the old russet of bracken almost vanishedunder green anemone ruffs. Perhaps this was one of the unravishedplaces. Unravished! The whole world was ravished. Some things can't be ravished. You can't ravish a tin of sardines. Andso many women are like that; and men. But the earth...! The rain was abating. It was hardly making darkness among the oaks anymore. Connie wanted to go; yet she sat on. But she was getting cold;yet the overwhelming inertia of her inner resentment kept her there asif paralysed. Ravished! How ravished one could be without ever being touched.Ravished by dead words become obscene, and dead ideas becomeobsessions. A wet brown dog came running and did not bark, lifting a wet feather ofa tail. The man followed in a wet black oilskin jacket, like achauffeur, and face flushed a little. She felt him recoil in his quickwalk, when he saw her. She stood up in the handbreadth of dryness underthe rustic porch. He saluted without speaking, coming slowly near. Shebegan to withdraw. 'I'm just going,' she said. 'Was yer waitin' to get in?' he asked, looking at the hut, not at her. 'No, I only sat a few minutes in the shelter,' she said, with quietdignity. He looked at her. She looked cold. 'Sir Clifford 'adn't got no other key then?' he asked. 'No, but it doesn't matter. I can sit perfectly dry under this porch.Good afternoon!' She hated the excess of vernacular in his speech. He watched her closely, as she was moving away. Then he hitched up hisjacket, and put his hand in his breeches pocket, taking out the key ofthe hut. ''Appen yer'd better 'ave this key, an' Ah min fend for t' bods someother road.' She looked at him. 'What do you mean?' she asked. 'I mean as 'appen Ah can find anuther pleece as'll du for rearin' th'pheasants. If yer want ter be 'ere, yo'll non want me messin' abaht a'th' time.' She looked at him, getting his meaning through the fog of the dialect. 'Why don't you speak ordinary English?' she said coldly. 'Me! AH thowt it WOR ordinary.' She was silent for a few moments in anger. 'So if yer want t' key, yer'd better tacit. Or 'appen Ah'd better gi'e't yer termorrer, an' clear all t' stuff aht fust. Would that du foryer?' She became more angry. 'I didn't want your key,' she said. 'I don't want you to clear anythingout at all. I don't in the least want to turn you out of your hut,thank you! I only wanted to be able to sit here sometimes, like today.But I can sit perfectly well under the porch, so please say no moreabout it.' He looked at her again, with his wicked blue eyes. 'Why,' he began, in the broad slow dialect. 'Your Ladyship's as welcomeas Christmas ter th' hut an' th' key an' iverythink as is. On'y thistime O' th' year ther's bods ter set, an' Ah've got ter be potterin'abaht a good bit, seein' after 'em, an' a'. Winter time Ah ned 'ardlycome nigh th' pleece. But what wi' spring, an' Sir Clifford wantin' terstart th' pheasants...An' your Ladyship'd non want me tinkerin' aroundan' about when she was 'ere, all the time.' She listened with a dim kind of amazement. 'Why should I mind your being here?' she asked. He looked at her curiously. 'T'nuisance on me!' he said briefly, but significantly. She flushed.'Very well!' she said finally. 'I won't trouble you. But I don't thinkI should have minded at all sitting and seeing you look after thebirds. I should have liked it. But since you think it interferes withyou, I won't disturb you, don't be afraid. You are Sir Clifford'skeeper, not mine.' The phrase sounded queer, she didn't know why. But she let it pass. 'Nay, your Ladyship. It's your Ladyship's own 'ut. It's as yourLadyship likes an' pleases, every time. Yer can turn me off at a wik'snotice. It wor only...' 'Only what?' she asked, baffled. He pushed back his hat in an odd comic way. 'On'y as 'appen yo'd like the place ter yersen, when yer did come, an'not me messin' abaht.' 'But why?' she said, angry. 'Aren't you a civilized human being? Do youthink I ought to be afraid of you? Why should I take any notice of youand your being here or not? Why is it important?' He looked at her, all his face glimmering with wicked laughter. 'It's not, your Ladyship. Not in the very least,' he said. 'Well, why then?' she asked. 'Shall I get your Ladyship another key then?' 'No thank you! I don't want it.' 'Ah'll get it anyhow. We'd best 'ave two keys ter th' place.' 'And I consider you are insolent,' said Connie, with her colour up,panting a little. 'Nay, nay!' he said quickly. 'Dunna yer say that! Nay, nay! I nivermeant nuthink. Ah on'y thought as if yo' come 'ere, Ah s'd ave terclear out, an' it'd mean a lot of work, settin' up somewheres else. Butif your Ladyship isn't going ter take no notice O' me, then...it's SirClifford's 'ut, an' everythink is as your Ladyship likes, everythink isas your Ladyship likes an' pleases, barrin' yer take no notice O' me,doin' th' bits of jobs as Ah've got ter do.' Connie went away completely bewildered. She was not sure whether shehad been insulted and mortally of fended, or not. Perhaps the manreally only meant what he said; that he thought she would expect him tokeep away. As if she would dream of it! And as if he could possibly beso important, he and his stupid presence. She went home in confusion, not knowing what she thought or felt. Chapter 9 Connie was surprised at her own feeling of aversion from Clifford. Whatis more, she felt she had always really disliked him. Not hate: therewas no passion in it. But a profound physical dislike. Almost, itseemed to her, she had married him because she disliked him, in asecret, physical sort of way. But of course, she had married him reallybecause in a mental way he attracted her and excited her. He hadseemed, in some way, her master, beyond her. Now the mental excitement had worn itself out and collapsed, and shewas aware only of the physical aversion. It rose up in her from herdepths: and she realized how it had been eating her life away. She felt weak and utterly forlorn. She wished some help would come fromoutside. But in the whole world there was no help. Society was terriblebecause it was insane. Civilized society is insane. Money and so-calledlove are its two great manias; money a long way first. The individualasserts himself in his disconnected insanity in these two modes: moneyand love. Look at Michaelis! His life and activity were just insanity.His love was a sort of insanity. And Clifford the same. All that talk! All that writing! All that wildstruggling to push himself forwards! It was just insanity. And it wasgetting worse, really maniacal. Connie felt washed-out with fear. But at least, Clifford was shiftinghis grip from her on to Mrs Bolton. He did not know it. Like manyinsane people, his insanity might be measured by the things he was NOTaware of the great desert tracts in his consciousness. Mrs Bolton was admirable in many ways. But she had that queer sort ofbossiness, endless assertion of her own will, which is one of the signsof insanity in modern woman. She THOUGHT she was utterly subservientand living for others. Clifford fascinated her because he always, or soof ten, frustrated her will, as if by a finer instinct. He had a finer,subtler will of self-assertion than herself. This was his charm forher. Perhaps that had been his charm, too, for Connie. 'It's a lovely day, today!' Mrs Bolton would say in her caressive,persuasive voice. 'I should think you'd enjoy a little run in yourchair today, the sun's just lovely.' 'Yes? Will you give me that book--there, that yellow one. And I thinkI'll have those hyacinths taken out.' 'Why they're so beautiful!' She pronounced it with the 'y' sound:be-yutiful! 'And the scent is simply gorgeous.' 'The scent is what I object to,' he said. 'It's a little funereal.' 'Do you think so!' she exclaimed in surprise, just a little offended,but impressed. And she carried the hyacinths out of the room, impressedby his higher fastidiousness. 'Shall I shave you this morning, or would you rather do it yourself?'Always the same soft, caressive, subservient, yet managing voice. 'I don't know. Do you mind waiting a while. I'll ring when I'm ready.' 'Very good, Sir Clifford!' she replied, so soft and submissive,withdrawing quietly. But every rebuff stored up new energy of will inher. When he rang, after a time, she would appear at once. And then he wouldsay: 'I think I'd rather you shaved me this morning.' Her heart gave a little thrill, and she replied with extra softness: 'Very good, Sir Clifford!' She was very deft, with a soft, lingering touch, a little slow. Atfirst he had resented the infinitely soft touch of her lingers on hisface. But now he liked it, with a growing voluptuousness. He let hershave him nearly every day: her face near his, her eyes so veryconcentrated, watching that she did it right. And gradually herfingertips knew his cheeks and lips, his jaw and chin and throatperfectly. He was well-fed and well-liking, his face and throat werehandsome enough and he was a gentleman. She was handsome too, pale, her face rather long and absolutely still,her eyes bright, but revealing nothing. Gradually, with infinitesoftness, almost with love, she was getting him by the throat, and hewas yielding to her. She now did almost everything for him, and he felt more at home withher, less ashamed of accepting her menial offices, than with Connie.She liked handling him. She loved having his body in her charge,absolutely, to the last menial offices. She said to Connie one day:'All men are babies, when you come to the bottom of them. Why, I'vehandled some of the toughest customers as ever went down Tevershallpit. But let anything ail them so that you have to do for them, andthey're babies, just big babies. Oh, there's not much difference inmen!' At first Mrs Bolton had thought there really was something different ina gentleman, a REAL gentleman, like Sir Clifford. So Clifford had got agood start of her. But gradually, as she came to the bottom of him, touse her own term, she found he was like the rest, a baby grown to man'sproportions: but a baby with a queer temper and a fine manner and powerin its control, and all sorts of odd knowledge that she had neverdreamed of, with which he could still bully her. Connie was sometimes tempted to say to him: 'For God's sake, don't sink so horribly into the hands of that woman!'But she found she didn't care for him enough to say it, in the longrun. It was still their habit to spend the evening together, till teno'clock. Then they would talk, or read together, or go over hismanuscript. But the thrill had gone out of it. She was bored by hismanuscripts. But she still dutifully typed them out for him. But intime Mrs Bolton would do even that. For Connie had suggested to Mrs Bolton that she should learn to use atypewriter. And Mrs Bolton, always ready, had begun at once, andpractised assiduously. So now Clifford would sometimes dictate a letterto her, and she would take it down rather slowly, but correctly. And hewas very patient, spelling for her the difficult words, or theoccasional phrases in French. She was so thrilled, it was almost apleasure to instruct her. Now Connie would sometimes plead a headache as an excuse for going upto her room after dinner. 'Perhaps Mrs Bolton will play piquet with you,' she said to Clifford. 'Oh, I shall be perfectly all right. You go to your own room and rest,darling.' But no sooner had she gone, than he rang for Mrs Bolton, and asked herto take a hand at piquet or bezique, or even chess. He had taught herall these games. And Connie found it curiously objectionable to see MrsBolton, flushed and tremulous like a little girl, touching her queen orher knight with uncertain fingers, then drawing away again. AndClifford, faintly smiling with a half-teasing superiority, saying toher: 'You must say j'adoube!' She looked up at him with bright, startled eyes, then murmured shyly,obediently: 'J'adoube!' Yes, he was educating her. And he enjoyed it, it gave him a sense ofpower. And she was thrilled. She was coming bit by bit into possessionof all that the gentry knew, all that made them upper class: apart fromthe money. That thrilled her. And at the same time, she was making himwant to have her there with him. It was a subtle deep flattery to him,her genuine thrill. To Connie, Clifford seemed to be coming out in his true colours: alittle vulgar, a little common, and uninspired; rather fat. IvyBolton's tricks and humble bossiness were also only too transparent.But Connie did wonder at the genuine thrill which the woman got out ofClifford. To say she was in love with him would be putting it wrongly.She was thrilled by her contact with a man of the upper class, thistitled gentleman, this author who could write books and poems, andwhose photograph appeared in the illustrated newspapers. She wasthrilled to a weird passion. And his 'educating' her roused in her apassion of excitement and response much deeper than any love affaircould have done. In truth, the very fact that there could BE no loveaffair left her free to thrill to her very marrow with this otherpassion, the peculiar passion of KNOWING, knowing as he knew. There was no mistake that the woman was in some way in love with him:whatever force we give to the word love. She looked so handsome and soyoung, and her grey eyes were sometimes marvellous. At the same time,there was a lurking soft satisfaction about her, even of triumph, andprivate satisfaction. Ugh, that private satisfaction. How Connieloathed it! But no wonder Clifford was caught by the woman! She absolutely adoredhim, in her persistent fashion, and put herself absolutely at hisservice, for him to use as he liked. No wonder he was flattered! Connie heard long conversations going on between the two. Or rather, itwas mostly Mrs Bolton talking. She had unloosed to him the stream ofgossip about Tevershall village. It was more than gossip. It was MrsGaskell and George Eliot and Miss Mitford all rolled in one, with agreat deal more, that these women left out.' Once started, Mrs Boltonwas better than any book, about the lives of the people. She knew themall so intimately, and had such a peculiar, flamey zest in all theiraffairs, it was wonderful, if just a TRIFLE humiliating to listen toher. At first she had not ventured to 'talk Tevershall', as she calledit, to Clifford. But once started, it went on. Clifford was listeningfor 'material', and he found it in plenty. Connie realized that hisso-called genius was just this: a perspicuous talent for personalgossip, clever and apparently detached. Mrs Bolton, of course, was verywarm when she 'talked Tevershall'. Carried away, in fact. And it wasmarvellous, the things that happened and that she knew about. She wouldhave run to dozens of volumes. Connie was fascinated, listening to her. But afterwards always a littleashamed. She ought not to listen with this queer rabid curiosity. Afterall, one may hear the most private affairs of other people, but only ina spirit of respect for the struggling, battered thing which any humansoul is, and in a spirit of fine, discriminative sympathy. For evensatire is a form of sympathy. It is the way our sympathy flows andrecoils that really determines our lives. And here lies the vastimportance of the novel, properly handled. It can inform and lead intonew places the flow of our sympathetic consciousness, and it can leadour sympathy away in recoil from things gone dead. Therefore, thenovel, properly handled, can reveal the most secret places of life: forit is in the PASSIONAL secret places of life, above all, that the tideof sensitive awareness needs to ebb and flow, cleansing and freshening. But the novel, like gossip, can also excite spurious sympathies andrecoils, mechanical and deadening to the psyche. The novel can glorifythe most corrupt feelings, so long as they are CONVENTIONALLY 'pure'.Then the novel, like gossip, becomes at last vicious, and, like gossip,all the more vicious because it is always ostensibly on the side of theangels. Mrs Bolton's gossip was always on the side of the angels. 'Andhe was such a BAD fellow, and she was such a NICE woman.' Whereas, asConnie could see even from Mrs Bolton's gossip, the woman had beenmerely a mealy-mouthed sort, and the man angrily honest. But angryhonesty made a 'bad man' of him, and mealy-mouthedness made a 'nicewoman' of her, in the vicious, conventional channelling of sympathy byMrs Bolton. For this reason, the gossip was humiliating. And for the same reason,most novels, especially popular ones, are humiliating too. The publicresponds now only to an appeal to its vices. Nevertheless, one got a new vision of Tevershall village from MrsBolton's talk. A terrible, seething welter of ugly life it seemed: notat all the flat drabness it looked from outside. Clifford of courseknew by sight most of the people mentioned, Connie knew only one ortwo. But it sounded really more like a Central African jungle than anEnglish village. 'I suppose you heard as Miss Allsopp was married last week! Would youever! Miss Allsopp, old James' daughter, the boot-and-shoe Allsopp. Youknow they built a house up at Pye Croft. The old man died last yearfrom a fall; eighty-three, he was, an' nimble as a lad. An' then heslipped on Bestwood Hill, on a slide as the lads 'ad made last winter,an' broke his thigh, and that finished him, poor old man, it did seem ashame. Well, he left all his money to Tattie: didn't leave the boys apenny. An' Tattie, I know, is five years--yes, she's fifty-three lastautumn. And you know they were such Chapel people, my word! She taughtSunday school for thirty years, till her father died. And then shestarted carrying on with a fellow from Kinbrook, I don't know if youknow him, an oldish fellow with a red nose, rather dandified, Willcock,as works in Harrison's woodyard. Well he's sixty-five, if he's a day,yet you'd have thought they were a pair of young turtle-doves, to seethem, arm in arm, and kissing at the gate: yes, an' she sitting on hisknee right in the bay window on Pye Croft Road, for anybody to see. Andhe's got sons over forty: only lost his wife two years ago. If oldJames Allsopp hasn't risen from his grave, it's because there is norising: for he kept her that strict! Now they're married and gone tolive down at Kinbrook, and they say she goes round in a dressing-gownfrom morning to night, a veritable sight. I'm sure it's awful, the waythe old ones go on! Why they're a lot worse than the young, and a sightmore disgusting. I lay it down to the pictures, myself. But you can'tkeep them away. I was always saying: go to a good instructive film, butdo for goodness sake keep away from these melodramas and love films.Anyhow keep the children away! But there you are, grown-ups are worsethan the children: and the old ones beat the band. Talk about morality!Nobody cares a thing. Folks does as they like, and much better off theyare for it, I must say. But they're having to draw their horns innowadays, now th' pits are working so bad, and they haven't got themoney. And the grumbling they do, it's awful, especially the women. Themen are so good and patient! What can they do, poor chaps! But thewomen, oh, they do carry on! They go and show off, giving contributionsfor a wedding present for Princess Mary, and then when they see all thegrand things that's been given, they simply rave: who's she, any betterthan anybody else! Why doesn't Swan & Edgar give me ONE fur coat,instead of giving her six. I wish I'd kept my ten shillings! What's shegoing to give me, I should like to know? Here I can't get a new springcoat, my dad's working that bad, and she gets van-loads. It's time aspoor folks had some money to spend, rich ones 'as 'ad it long enough. Iwant a new spring coat, I do, an' wheer am I going to get it? I say tothem, be thankful you're well fed and well clothed, without all the newfinery you want! And they fly back at me: ''Why isn't Princess Marythankful to go about in her old rags, then, an' have nothing! Folkslike HER get van-loads, an' I can't have a new spring coat. It's adamned shame. Princess! Bloomin' rot about Princess! It's munney asmatters, an' cos she's got lots, they give her more! Nobody's givin' meany, an' I've as much right as anybody else. Don't talk to me abouteducation. It's munney as matters. I want a new spring coat, I do, an'I shan't get it, cos there's no munney...'' That's all they care about,clothes. They think nothing of giving seven or eight guineas for awinter coat--colliers' daughters, mind you--and two guineas for achild's summer hat. And then they go to the Primitive Chapel in theirtwo-guinea hat, girls as would have been proud of a three-and-sixpennyone in my day. I heard that at the Primitive Methodist anniversary thisyear, when they have a built-up platform for the Sunday Schoolchildren, like a grandstand going almost up to th' ceiling, I heardMiss Thompson, who has the first class of girls in the Sunday School,say there'd be over a thousand pounds in newSunday clothes sitting on that platform! And times are what they are!But you can't stop them. They're mad for clothes. And boys the same.The lads spend every penny on themselves, clothes, smoking, drinking inthe Miners' Welfare, jaunting off to Sheffield two or three times aweek. Why, it's another world. And they fear nothing, and they respectnothing, the young don't. The older men are that patient and good,really, they let the women take everything. And this is what it leadsto. The women are positive demons. But the lads aren't like their dads.They're sacrificing nothing, they aren't: they're all for self. If youtell them they ought to be putting a bit by, for a home, they say:That'll keep, that will, I'm goin' t' enjoy myself while I can. Owtelse'll keep! Oh, they're rough an' selfish, if you like. Everythingfalls on the older men, an' it's a bad outlook all round.' Clifford began to get a new idea of his own village. The place hadalways frightened him, but he had thought it more or less stable.Now--? 'Is there much Socialism, Bolshevism, among the people?' he asked. 'Oh!' said Mrs Bolton, 'you hear a few loud-mouthed ones. But they'remostly women who've got into debt. The men take no notice. I don'tbelieve you'll ever turn our Tevershall men into reds. They're toodecent for that. But the young ones blether sometimes. Not that theycare for it really. They only want a bit of money in their pocket, tospend at the Welfare, or go gadding to Sheffield. That's all they care.When they've got no money, they'll listen to the reds spouting. Butnobody believes in it, really.' 'So you think there's no danger?' 'Oh no! Not if trade was good, there wouldn't be. But if things werebad for a long spell, the young ones might go funny. I tell you,they're a selfish, spoilt lot. But I don't see how they'd ever doanything. They aren't ever serious about anything, except showing offon motor-bikes and dancing at the Palais-de-danse in Sheffield. Youcan't MAKE them serious. The serious ones dress up in evening clothesand go off to the Pally to show off before a lot of girls and dancethese new Charlestons and what not. I'm sure sometimes the bus'll befull of young fellows in evening suits, collier lads, off to the Pally:let alone those that have gone with their girls in motors or onmotor-bikes. They don't give a serious thought to a thing--saveDoncaster races, and the Derby: for they all of them bet on every race.And football! But even football's not what it was, not by a long chalk.It's too much like hard work, they say. No, they'd rather be off onmotor-bikes to Sheffield or Nottingham, Saturday afternoons.' 'But what do they do when they get there?' 'Oh, hang around--and have tea in some fine tea-place like theMikado--and go to the Pally or the pictures or the Empire, with somegirl. The girls are as free as the lads. They do just what they like.' 'And what do they do when they haven't the money for these things?' 'They seem to get it, somehow. And they begin talking nasty then. But Idon't see how you're going to get bolshevism, when all the lads want isjust money to enjoy themselves, and the girls the same, with fineclothes: and they don't care about another thing. They haven't thebrains to be socialists. They haven't enough seriousness to takeanything really serious, and they never will have.' Connie thought, how extremely like all the rest of the classes thelower classes sounded. Just the same thing over again, Tevershall orMayfair or Kensington. There was only one class nowadays: moneyboys.The moneyboy and the moneygirl, the only difference was how much you'dgot, and how much you wanted. Under Mrs Bolton's influence, Clifford began to take a new interest inthe mines. He began to feel he belonged. A new sort of self-assertioncame into him. After all, he was the real boss in Tevershall, he wasreally the pits. It was a new sense of power, something he had till nowshrunk from with dread. Tevershall pits were running thin. There were only two collieries:Tevershall itself, and New London. Tevershall had once been a famousmine, and had made famous money. But its best days were over. NewLondon was never very rich, and in ordinary times just got alongdecently. But now times were bad, and it was pits like New London thatgot left. 'There's a lot of Tevershall men left and gone to Stacks Gate andWhiteover,' said Mrs Bolton. 'You've not seen the new works at StacksGate, opened after the war, have you, Sir Clifford? Oh, you must go oneday, they're something quite new: great big chemical works at thepit-head, doesn't look a bit like a colliery. They say they get moremoney out of the chemical by-products than out of the coal--I forgetwhat it is. And the grand new houses for the men, fair mansions! ofcourse it's brought a lot of riff-raff from all over the country. But alot of Tevershall men got on there, and doin' well, a lot better thanour own men. They say Tevershall's done, finished: only a question of afew more years, and it'll have to shut down. And New London'll gofirst. My word, won't it be funny when there's no Tevershall pitworking. It's bad enough during a strike, but my word, if it closes forgood, it'll be like the end of the world. Even when I was a girl it wasthe best pit in the country, and a man counted himself lucky if hecould on here. Oh, there's been some money made in Tevershall. And nowthe men say it's a sinking ship, and it's time they all got out.Doesn't it sound awful! But of course there's a lot as'll never go tillthey have to. They don't like these new fangled mines, such a depth,and all machinery to work them. Some of them simply dreads those ironmen, as they call them, those machines for hewing the coal, where menalways did it before. And they say it's wasteful as well. But what goesin waste is saved in wages, and a lot more. It seems soon there'll beno use for men on the face of the earth, it'll be all machines. Butthey say that's what folks said when they had to give up the oldstocking frames. I can remember one or two. But my word, the moremachines, the more people, that's what it looks like! They say youcan't get the same chemicals out of Tevershall coal as you can out ofStacks Gate, and that's funny, they're not three miles apart. But theysay so. But everybody says it's a shame something can't be started, tokeep the men going a bit better, and employ the girls. All the girlstraipsing off to Sheffield every day! My word, it would be something totalk about if Tevershall Collieries took a new lease of life, aftereverybody saying they're finished, and a sinking ship, and the menought to leave them like rats leave a sinking ship. But folks talk somuch, of course there was a boom during the war. When Sir Geoffrey madea trust of himself and got the money safe for ever, somehow. So theysay! But they say even the masters and the owners don't get much out ofit now. You can hardly believe it, can you! Why I always thought thepits would go on for ever and ever. Who'd have thought, when I was agirl! But New England's shut down, so is Colwick Wood: yes, it's fairhaunting to go through that coppy and see Colwick Wood standing theredeserted among the trees, and bushes growing up all over the pit-head,and the lines red rusty. It's like death itself, a dead colliery. Why,whatever should we do if Tevershall shut down--? It doesn't bearthinking of. Always that throng it's been, except at strikes, and eventhen the fan-wheels didn't stand, except when they fetched the poniesup. I'm sure it's a funny world, you don't know where you are from yearto year, you really don't.' It was Mrs Bolton's talk that really put a new fight into Clifford. Hisincome, as she pointed out to him, was secure, from his father's trust,even though it was not large. The pits did not really concern him. Itwas the other world he wanted to capture, the world of literature andfame; the popular world, not the working world. Now he realized the distinction between popular success and workingsuccess: the populace of pleasure and the populace of work. He, as aprivate individual, had been catering with his stories for the populaceof pleasure. And he had caught on. But beneath the populace of pleasurelay the populace of work, grim, grimy, and rather terrible. They toohad to have their providers. And it was a much grimmer business,providing for the populace of work, than for the populace of pleasure.While he was doing his stories, and 'getting on' in the world,Tevershall was going to the wall. He realized now that the bitch-goddess of Success had two mainappetites: one for flattery, adulation, stroking and tickling such aswriters and artists gave her; but the other a grimmer appetite for meatand bones. And the meat and bones for the bitch-goddess were providedby the men who made money in industry. Yes, there were two great groups of dogs wrangling for thebitch-goddess: the group of the flatterers, those who offered heramusement, stories, films, plays: and the other, much less showy, muchmore savage breed, those who gave her meat, the real substance ofmoney. The well-groomed showy dogs of amusement wrangled and snarledamong themselves for the favours of the bitch-goddess. But it wasnothing to the silent fight-to-the-death that went on among theindispensables, the bone-bringers. But under Mrs Bolton's influence, Clifford was tempted to enter thisother fight, to capture the bitch-goddess by brute means of industrialproduction. Somehow, he got his pecker up. In one way, Mrs Bolton made a man of him, as Connie never did. Conniekept him apart, and made him sensitive and conscious of himself and hisown states. Mrs Bolton made hint aware only of outside things. Inwardlyhe began to go soft as pulp. But outwardly he began to be effective. He even roused himself to go to the mines once more: and when he wasthere, he went down in a tub, and in a tub he was hauled out into theworkings. Things he had learned before the war, and seemed utterly tohave forgotten, now came back to him. He sat there, crippled, in a tub,with the underground manager showing him the seam with a powerfultorch. And he said little. But his mind began to work. He began to read again his technical works on the coal-mining industry,he studied the government reports, and he read with care the latestthings on mining and the chemistry of coal and of shale which werewritten in German. Of course the most valuable discoveries were keptsecret as far as possible. But once you started a sort of research inthe field of coal-mining, a study of methods and means, a study ofby-products and the chemical possibilities of coal, it was astoundingthe ingenuity and the almost uncanny cleverness of the modern technicalmind, as if really the devil himself had lent fiend's wits to thetechnical scientists of industry. It was far more interesting than art,than literature, poor emotional half-witted stuff, was this technicalscience of industry. In this field, men were like gods, or demons,inspired to discoveries, and fighting to carry them out. In thisactivity, men were beyond atty mental age calculable. But Clifford knewthat when it did come to the emotional and human life, these self-mademen were of a mental age of about thirteen, feeble boys. Thediscrepancy was enormous and appalling. But let that be. Let man slide down to general idiocy in the emotionaland 'human' mind, Clifford did not care. Let all that go hang. He wasinterested in the technicalities of modern coal-mining, and in pullingTevershall out of the hole. He went down to the pit day after day, he studied, he put the generalmanager, and the overhead manager, and the underground manager, and theengineers through a mill they had never dreamed of. Power! He felt anew sense of power flowing through him: power over all these men, overthe hundreds and hundreds of colliers. He was finding out: and he wasgetting things into his grip. And he seemed verily to be re-born. NOW life came into him! He had beengradually dying, with Connie, in the isolated private life of theartist and the conscious being. Now let all that go. Let it sleep. Hesimply felt life rush into him out of the coal, out of the pit. Thevery stale air of the colliery was better than oxygen to him. It gavehim a sense of power, power. He was doing something: and he was GOINGto do something. He was going to win, to win: not as he had won withhis stories, mere publicity, amid a whole sapping of energy and malice.But a man's victory. At first he thought the solution lay in electricity: convert the coalinto electric power. Then a new idea came. The Germans invented a newlocomotive engine with a self feeder, that did not need a fireman. Andit was to be fed with a new fuel, that burnt in small quantities at agreat heat, under peculiar conditions. The idea of a new concentrated fuel that burnt with a hard slowness ata fierce heat was what first attracted Clifford. There must be somesort of external stimulus of the burning of such fuel, not merely airsupply. He began to experiment, and got a clever young fellow, who hadproved brilliant in chemistry, to help him. And he felt triumphant. He had at last got out of himself. He hadfulfilled his life-long secret yearning to get out of himself. Art hadnot done it for him. Art had only made it worse. But now, now he haddone it. He was not aware how much Mrs Bolton was behind him. He did not knowhow much he depended on her. But for all that, it was evident that whenhe was with her his voice dropped to an easy rhythm of intimacy, almosta trifle vulgar. With Connie, he was a little stiff. He felt he owed her everything, andhe showed her the utmost respect and consideration, so long as she gavehim mere outward respect. But it was obvious he had a secret dread ofher. The new Achilles in hint had a heel, and in this heel the woman,the woman like Connie, his wife, could lame him fatally. He went in acertain half-subservient dread of her, and was extremely nice to her.But his voice was a little tense when he spoke to her, and he began tobe silent whenever she was present. Only when he was alone with Mrs Bolton did he really feel a lord and amaster, and his voice ran on with her almost as easily and garrulouslyas her own could run. And he let her shave him or sponge all his bodyas if he were a child, really as if he were a child. Chapter 10 Connie was a good deal alone now, fewer people came to Wragby. Cliffordno longer wanted them. He had turned against even the cronies. He wasqueer. He preferred the radio, which he had installed at some expense,with a good deal of success at last. He could sometimes get Madrid orFrankfurt, even there in the uneasy Midlands. And he would sit alone for hours listening to the loudspeaker bellowingforth. It amazed and stunned Connie. But there he would sit, with ablank entranced expression on his face, like a person losing his mind,and listen, or seem to listen, to the unspeakable thing. Was he really listening? Or was it a sort of soporific he took, whilstsomething else worked on underneath in him? Connie did now know. Shefled up to her room, or out of doors to the wood. A kind of terrorfilled her sometimes, a terror of the incipient insanity of the wholecivilized species. But now that Clifford was drifting off to this other weirdness ofindustrial activity, becoming almost a CREATURE, with a hard, efficientshell of an exterior and a pulpy interior, one of the amazing crabs andlobsters of the modern, industrial and financial world, invertebratesof the crustacean order, with shells of steel, like machines, and innerbodies of soft pulp, Connie herself was really completely stranded. She was not even free, for Clifford must have her there. He seemed tohave a nervous terror that she should leave him. The curious pulpy partof him, the emotional and humanly-individual part, depended on her withterror, like a child, almost like an idiot. She must be there, there atWragby, a Lady Chatterley, his wife. Otherwise he would be lost like anidiot on a moor. This amazing dependence Connie realized with a sort of horror. Sheheard him with his pit managers, with the members of his Board, withyoung scientists, and she was amazed at his shrewd insight into things,his power, his uncanny material power over what is called practicalmen. He had become a practical man himself and an amazingly astute andpowerful one, a master. Connie attributed it to Mrs Bolton's influenceupon him, just at the crisis in his life. But this astute and practical man was almost an idiot when left aloneto his own emotional life. He worshipped Connie. She was his wife, ahigher being, and he worshipped her with a queer, craven idolatry, likea savage, a worship based on enormous fear, and even hate of the powerof the idol, the dread idol. All he wanted was for Connie to swear, toswear not to leave him, not to give him away. 'Clifford,' she said to him--but this was after she had the key to thehut--'Would you really like me to have a child one day?' He looked at her with a furtive apprehension in his rather prominentpale eyes. 'I shouldn't mind, if it made no difference between us,' he said. 'No difference to what?' she asked. 'To you and me; to our love for one another. If it's going to affectthat, then I'm all against it. Why, I might even one day have a childof my own!' She looked at him in amazement. 'I mean, it might come back to me one of these days.' She still stared in amazement, and he was uncomfortable. 'So you would not like it if I had a child?' she said. 'I tell you,' he replied quickly, like a cornered dog, 'I am quitewilling, provided it doesn't touch your love for me. If it would touchthat, I am dead against it.' Connie could only be silent in cold fear and contempt. Such talk wasreally the gabbling of an idiot. He no longer knew what he was talkingabout. 'Oh, it wouldn't make any difference to my feeling for you,' she said,with a certain sarcasm. 'There!' he said. 'That is the point! In that case I don't mind in theleast. I mean it would be awfully nice to have a child running aboutthe house, and feel one was building up a future for it. I should havesomething to strive for then, and I should know it was your child,shouldn't I, dear? And it would seem just the same as my own. Becauseit is you who count in these matters. You know that, don't you, dear? Idon't enter, I am a cypher. You are the great I-am! as far as lifegoes. You know that, don't you? I mean, as far as I am concerned. Imean, but for you I am absolutely nothing. I live for your sake andyour future. I am nothing to myself' Connie heard it all with deepening dismay and repulsion. It was one ofthe ghastly half-truths that poison human existence. What man in hissenses would say such things to a woman! But men aren't in theirsenses. What man with a spark of honour would put this ghastly burdenof life-responsibility upon a woman, and leave her there, in the void? Moreover, in half an hour's time, Connie heard Clifford talking to MrsBolton, in a hot, impulsive voice, revealing himself in a sort ofpassionless passion to the woman, as if she were half mistress, halffoster-mother to him. And Mrs Bolton was carefully dressing him inevening clothes, for there were important business guests in the house. Connie really sometimes felt she would die at this time. She felt shewas being crushed to death by weird lies, and by the amazing cruelty ofidiocy. Clifford's strange business efficiency in a way over-awed her,and his declaration of private worship put her into a panic. There wasnothing between them. She never even touched him nowadays, and he nevertouched her. He never even took her hand and held it kindly. No, andbecause they were so utterly out of touch, he tortured her with hisdeclaration of idolatry. It was the cruelty of utter impotence. And shefelt her reason would give way, or she would die. She fled as much as possible to the wood. One afternoon, as she satbrooding, watching the water bubbling coldly in John's Well, the keeperhad strode up to her. 'I got you a key made, my Lady!' he said, saluting, and he offered herthe key. 'Thank you so much!' she said, startled. 'The hut's not very tidy, if you don't mind,' he said. 'I cleared itwhat I could.' 'But I didn't want you to trouble!' she said. 'Oh, it wasn't any trouble. I am setting the hens in about a week. Butthey won't be scared of you. I s'll have to see to them morning andnight, but I shan't bother you any more than I can help.' 'But you wouldn't bother me,' she pleaded. 'I'd rather not go to thehut at all, if I am going to be in the way.' He looked at her with his keen blue eyes. He seemed kindly, butdistant. But at least he was sane, and wholesome, if even he lookedthin and ill. A cough troubled him. 'You have a cough,' she said. 'Nothing--a cold! The last pneumonia left me with a cough, but it'snothing.' He kept distant from her, and would not come any nearer. She went fairly often to the hut, in the morning or in the afternoon,but he was never there. No doubt he avoided her on purpose. He wantedto keep his own privacy. He had made the hut tidy, put the little table and chair near thefireplace, left a little pile of kindling and small logs, and put thetools and traps away as far as possible, effacing himself. Outside, bythe clearing, he had built a low little roof of boughs and straw, ashelter for the birds, and under it stood the live coops. And, one daywhen she came, she found two brown hens sitting alert and fierce in thecoops, sitting on pheasants' eggs, and fluffed out so proud and deep inall the heat of the pondering female blood. This almost broke Connie'sheart. She, herself was so forlorn and unused, not a female at all,just a mere thing of terrors. Then all the live coops were occupied by hens, three brown and a greyand a black. All alike, they clustered themselves down on the eggs inthe soft nestling ponderosity of the female urge, the female nature,fluffing out their feathers. And with brilliant eyes they watchedConnie, as she crouched before them, and they gave short sharp clucksof anger and alarm, but chiefly of female anger at being approached. Connie found corn in the corn-bin in the hut. She offered it to thehens in her hand. They would not eat it. Only one hen pecked at herhand with a fierce little jab, so Connie was frightened. But she waspining to give them something, the brooding mothers who neither fedthemselves nor drank. She brought water in a little tin, and wasdelighted when one of the hens drank. Now she came every day to the hens, they were the only things in theworld that warmed her heart. Clifford's protestations made her go coldfrom head to foot. Mrs Bolton's voice made her go cold, and the soundof the business men who came. An occasional letter from Michaelisaffected her with the same sense of chill. She felt she would surelydie if it lasted much longer. Yet it was spring, and the bluebells were coming in the wood, and theleaf-buds on the hazels were opening like the spatter of green rain.How terrible it was that it should be spring, and everythingcold-hearted, cold-hearted. Only the hens, fluffed so wonderfully onthe eggs, were warm with their hot, brooding female bodies! Connie feltherself living on the brink of fainting all the time. Then, one day, a lovely sunny day with great tufts of primroses underthe hazels, and many violets dotting the paths, she came in theafternoon to the coops and there was one tiny, tiny perky chickentinily prancing round in front of a coop, and the mother hen cluckingin terror. The slim little chick was greyish brown with dark markings,and it was the most alive little spark of a creature in seven kingdomsat that moment. Connie crouched to watch in a sort of ecstasy. Life,life! pure, sparky, fearless new life! New life! So tiny and so utterlywithout fear! Even when it scampered a little, scrambling into the coopagain, and disappeared under the hen's feathers in answer to the motherhen's wild alarm-cries, it was not really frightened, it took it as agame, the game of living. For in a moment a tiny sharp head was pokingthrough the gold-brown feathers of the hen, and eyeing the Cosmos. Connie was fascinated. And at the same time, never had she felt soacutely the agony of her own female forlornness. It was becomingunbearable. She had only one desire now, to go to the clearing in the wood. Therest was a kind of painful dream. But sometimes she was kept all day atWragby, by her duties as hostess. And then she felt as if she too weregoing blank, just blank and insane. One evening, guests or no guests, she escaped after tea. It was late,and she fled across the park like one who fears to be called back. Thesun was setting rosy as she entered the wood, but she pressed on amongthe flowers. The light would last long overhead. She arrived at the clearing flushed and semi-conscious. The keeper wasthere, in his shirt-sleeves, just closing up the coops for the night,so the little occupants would be safe. But still one little trio waspattering about on tiny feet, alert drab mites, under the strawshelter, refusing to be called in by the anxious mother. 'I had to come and see the chickens!' she said, panting, glancing shylyat the keeper, almost unaware of him. 'Are there any more?' 'Thurty-six so far!' he said. 'Not bad!' He too took a curious pleasure in watching the young things come out. Connie crouched in front of the last coop. The three chicks had run in.But still their cheeky heads came poking sharply through the yellowfeathers, then withdrawing, then only one beady little head eyeingforth from the vast mother-body. 'I'd love to touch them,' she said, putting her lingers gingerlythrough the bars of the coop. But the mother-hen pecked at her handfiercely, and Connie drew back startled and frightened. 'How she pecks at me! She hates me!' she said in a wondering voice.'But I wouldn't hurt them!' The man standing above her laughed, and crouched down beside her, kneesapart, and put his hand with quiet confidence slowly into the coop. Theold hen pecked at him, but not so savagely. And slowly, softly, withsure gentle lingers, he felt among the old bird's feathers and drew outa faintly-peeping chick in his closed hand. 'There!' he said, holding out his hand to her. She took the little drabthing between her hands, and there it stood, on its impossible littlestalks of legs, its atom of balancing life trembling through its almostweightless feet into Connie's hands. But it lifted its handsome,clean-shaped little head boldly, and looked sharply round, and gave alittle 'peep'. 'So adorable! So cheeky!' she said softly. The keeper, squatting beside her, was also watching with an amused facethe bold little bird in her hands. Suddenly he saw a tear fall on toher wrist. And he stood up, and stood away, moving to the other coop. For suddenlyhe was aware of the old flame shooting and leaping up in his loins,that he had hoped was quiescent for ever. He fought against it, turninghis back to her. But it leapt, and leapt downwards, circling in hisknees. He turned again to look at her. She was kneeling and holding her twohands slowly forward, blindly, so that the chicken should run in to themother-hen again. And there was something so mute and forlorn in her,compassion flamed in his bowels for her. Without knowing, he came quickly towards her and crouched beside heragain, taking the chick from her hands, because she was afraid of thehen, and putting it back in the coop. At the back of his loins the liresuddenly darted stronger. He glanced apprehensively at her. Her face was averted, and she wascrying blindly, in all the anguish of her generation's forlornness. Hisheart melted suddenly, like a drop of fire, and he put out his hand andlaid his lingers on her knee. 'You shouldn't cry,' he said softly. But then she put her hands over her face and felt that really her heartwas broken and nothing mattered any more. He laid his hand on her shoulder, and softly, gently, it began totravel down the curve of her back, blindly, with a blind strokingmotion, to the curve of her crouching loins. And there his hand softly,softly, stroked the curve of her flank, in the blind instinctivecaress. She had found her scrap of handkerchief and was blindly trying to dryher face. 'Shall you come to the hut?' he said, in a quiet, neutral voice. And closing his hand softly on her upper arm, he drew her up and ledher slowly to the hut, not letting go of her till she was inside. Thenhe cleared aside the chair and table, and took a brown, soldier'sblanket from the tool chest, spreading it slowly. She glanced at hisface, as she stood motionless. His face was pale and without expression, like that of a man submittingto fate. 'You lie there,' he said softly, and he shut the door, so that it wasdark, quite dark. With a queer obedience, she lay down on the blanket. Then she felt thesoft, groping, helplessly desirous hand touching her body, feeling forher face. The hand stroked her face softly, softly, with infinitesoothing and assurance, and at last there was the soft touch of a kisson her cheek. She lay quite still, in a sort of sleep, in a sort of dream. Then shequivered as she felt his hand groping softly, yet with queer thwartedclumsiness, among her 'clothing. Yet the hand knew, too, how tounclothe her where it wanted. He drew down the thin silk sheath,slowly, carefully, right down and over her feet. Then with a quiver ofexquisite pleasure he touched the warm soft body, and touched her navelfor a moment in a kiss. And he had to come in to her at once, to enterthe peace on earth of her soft, quiescent body. It was the moment ofpure peace for him, the entry into the body of the woman. She lay still, in a kind of sleep, always in a kind of sleep. Theactivity, the orgasm was his, all his; she could strive for herself nomore. Even the tightness of his arms round her, even the intensemovement of his body, and the springing of his seed in her, was a kindof sleep, from which she did not begin to rouse till he had finishedand lay softly panting against her breast. Then she wondered, just dimly wondered, why? Why was this necessary?Why had it lifted a great cloud from her and given her peace? Was itreal? Was it real? Her tormented modern-woman's brain still had no rest. Was it real? Andshe knew, if she gave herself to the man, it was real. But if she keptherself for herself it was nothing. She was old; millions of years old,she felt. And at last, she could bear the burden of herself no more.She was to be had for the taking. To be had for the taking. The man lay in a mysterious stillness. What was he feeling? What was hethinking? She did not know. He was a strange man to her, she did notknow him. She must only wait, for she did not dare to break hismysterious stillness. He lay there with his arms round her, his body onhers, his wet body touching hers, so close. And completely unknown. Yetnot unpeaceful. His very stillness was peaceful. She knew that, when at last he roused and drew away from her. It waslike an abandonment. He drew her dress in the darkness down over herknees and stood a few moments, apparently adjusting his own clothing.Then he quietly opened the door and went out. She saw a very brilliant little moon shining above the afterglow overthe oaks. Quickly she got up and arranged herself she was tidy. Thenshe went to the door of the hut. All the lower wood was in shadow, almost darkness. Yet the sky overheadwas crystal. But it shed hardly any light. He came through the lowershadow towards her, his face lifted like a pale blotch. 'Shall we go then?' he said. 'Where?' 'I'll go with you to the gate.' He arranged things his own way. He locked the door of the hut and cameafter her. 'You aren't sorry, are you?' he asked, as he went at her side. 'No! No! Are you?' she said. 'For that! No!' he said. Then after a while he added: 'But there's therest of things.' 'What rest of things?' she said. 'Sir Clifford. Other folks. All the complications.' 'Why complications?' she said, disappointed. 'It's always so. For you as well as for me. There's alwayscomplications.' He walked on steadily in the dark. 'And are you sorry?' she said. 'In a way!' he replied, looking up at the sky. 'I thought I'd done withit all. Now I've begun again.' 'Begun what?' 'Life.' 'Life!' she re-echoed, with a queer thrill. 'It's life,' he said. 'There's no keeping clear. And if you do keepclear you might almost as well die. So if I've got to be broken openagain, I have.' She did not quite see it that way, but still 'It's just love,' she saidcheerfully. 'Whatever that may be,' he replied. They went on through the darkening wood in silence, till they werealmost at the gate. 'But you don't hate me, do you?' she said wistfully. 'Nay, nay,' he replied. And suddenly he held her fast against hisbreast again, with the old connecting passion. 'Nay, for me it wasgood, it was good. Was it for you?' 'Yes, for me too,' she answered, a little untruthfully, for she had notbeen conscious of much. He kissed her softly, softly, with the kisses of warmth. 'If only there weren't so many other people in the world,' he saidlugubriously. She laughed. They were at the gate to the park. He opened it for her. 'I won't come any further,' he said. 'No!' And she held out her hand, as if to shake hands. But he took itin both his. 'Shall I come again?' she asked wistfully. 'Yes! Yes!' She left him and went across the park. He stood back and watched her going into the dark, against the pallorof the horizon. Almost with bitterness he watched her go. She hadconnected him up again, when he had wanted to be alone. She had costhim that bitter privacy of a man who at last wants only to be alone. He turned into the dark of the wood. All was still, the moon had set.But he was aware of the noises of the night, the engines at StacksGate, the traffic on the main road. Slowly he climbed the denudedknoll. And from the top he could see the country, bright rows of lightsat Stacks Gate, smaller lights at Tevershall pit, the yellow lights ofTevershall and lights everywhere, here and there, on the dark country,with the distant blush of furnaces, faint and rosy, since the night wasclear, the rosiness of the outpouring of white-hot metal. Sharp, wickedelectric lights at Stacks Gate! An undefinable quick of evil in them!And all the unease, the ever-shifting dread of the industrial night inthe Midlands. He could hear the winding-engines at Stacks Gate turningdown the seven-o'clock miners. The pit worked three shifts. He went down again into the darkness and seclusion of the wood. But heknew that the seclusion of the wood was illusory. The industrial noisesbroke the solitude, the sharp lights, though unseen, mocked it. A mancould no longer be private and withdrawn. The world allows no hermits.And now he had taken the woman, and brought on himself a new cycle ofpain and doom. For he knew by experience what it meant. It was not woman's fault, nor even love's fault, nor the fault of sex.The fault lay there, out there, in those evil electric lights anddiabolical rattlings of engines. There, in the world of the mechanicalgreedy, greedy mechanism and mechanized greed, sparkling with lightsand gushing hot metal and roaring with traffic, there lay the vast evilthing, ready to destroy whatever did not conform. Soon it would destroythe wood, and the bluebells would spring no more. All vulnerable thingsmust perish under the rolling and running of iron. He thought with infinite tenderness of the woman. Poor forlorn thing,she was nicer than she knew, and oh! so much too nice for the tough lotshe was in contact with. Poor thing, she too had some of thevulnerability of the wild hyacinths, she wasn't all tough rubber-goodsand platinum, like the modern girl. And they would do her in! As sureas life, they would do her in, as they do in all naturally tender life.Tender! Somewhere she was tender, tender with a tenderness of thegrowing hyacinths, something that has gone out of the celluloid womenof today. But he would protect her with his heart for a little while.For a little while, before the insentient iron world and the Mammon ofmechanized greed did them both in, her as well as him. He went home with his gun and his dog, to the dark cottage, lit thelamp, started the fire, and ate his supper of bread and cheese, youngonions and beer. He was alone, in a silence he loved. His room wasclean and tidy, but rather stark. Yet the fire was bright, the hearthwhite, the petroleum lamp hung bright over the table, with its whiteoil-cloth. He tried to read a book about India, but tonight he couldnot read. He sat by the fire in his shirt-sleeves, not smoking, butwith a mug of beer in reach. And he thought about Connie. To tell the truth, he was sorry for what had happened, perhaps most forher sake. He had a sense of foreboding. No sense of wrong or sin; hewas troubled by no conscience in that respect. He knew that consciencewas chiefly tear of society, or fear of oneself. He was not afraid ofhimself. But he was quite consciously afraid of society, which he knewby instinct to be a malevolent, partly-insane beast. The woman! If she could be there with him, arid there were nobody elsein the world! The desire rose again, his penis began to stir like alive bird. At the same time an oppression, a dread of exposing himselfand her to that outside Thing that sparkled viciously in the electriclights, weighed down his shoulders. She, poor young thing, was just ayoung female creature to him; but a young female creature whom he hadgone into and whom he desired again. Stretching with the curious yawn of desire, for he had been alone andapart from man or woman for four years, he rose and took his coatagain, and his gun, lowered the lamp and went out into the starrynight, with the dog. Driven by desire and by dread of the malevolentThing outside, he made his round in the wood, slowly, softly. He lovedthe darkness arid folded himself into it. It fitted the turgidity ofhis desire which, in spite of all, was like a riches; the stirringrestlessness of his penis, the stirring fire in his loins! Oh, if onlythere were other men to be with, to fight that sparkling electric Thingoutside there, to preserve the tenderness of life, the tenderness ofwomen, and the natural riches of desire. If only there were men tofight side by side with! But the men were all outside there, gloryingin the Thing, triumphing or being trodden down in the rush ofmechanized greed or of greedy mechanism. Constance, for her part, had hurried across the park, home, almostwithout thinking. As yet she had no afterthought. She would be in timefor dinner. She was annoyed to find the doors fastened, however, so that she had toring. Mrs Bolton opened. 'Why there you are, your Ladyship! I was beginning to wonder if you'dgone lost!' she said a little roguishly. 'Sir Clifford hasn't asked foryou, though; he's got Mr Linley in with him, talking over something. Itlooks as if he'd stay to dinner, doesn't it, my Lady?' 'It does rather,' said Connie. 'Shall I put dinner back a quarter of an hour? That would give you timeto dress in comfort.' 'Perhaps you'd better.' Mr Linley was the general manager of the collieries, an elderly manfrom the north, with not quite enough punch to suit Clifford; not up topost-war conditions, nor post-war colliers either, with their 'ca'canny' creed. But Connie liked Mr Linley, though she was glad to bespared the toadying of his wife. Linley stayed to dinner, and Connie was the hostess men liked so much,so modest, yet so attentive and aware, with big, wide blue eyes arid asoft repose that sufficiently hid what she was really thinking. Conniehad played this woman so much, it was almost second nature to her; butstill, decidedly second. Yet it was curious how everything disappearedfrom her consciousness while she played it. She waited patiently till she could go upstairs and think her ownthoughts. She was always waiting, it seemed to be her FORTE. Once in her room, however, she felt still vague and confused. Shedidn't know what to think. What sort of a man was he, really? Did hereally like her? Not much, she felt. Yet he was kind. There wassomething, a sort of warm naive kindness, curious and sudden, thatalmost opened her womb to him. But she felt he might be kind like thatto any woman. Though even so, it was curiously soothing, comforting.And he was a passionate man, wholesome and passionate. But perhaps hewasn't quite individual enough; he might be the same with any woman ashe had been with her. It really wasn't personal. She was only really afemale to him. But perhaps that was better. And after all, he was kind to the femalein her, which no man had ever been. Men were very kind to the PERSONshewas, but rather cruel to the female, despising her or ignoring heraltogether. Men were awfully kind to Constance Reid or to LadyChatterley; but not to her womb they weren't kind. And he took nonotice of Constance or of Lady Chatterley; he just softly stroked herloins or her breasts. She went to the wood next day. It was a grey, still afternoon, with thedark-green dogs-mercury spreading under the hazel copse, and all thetrees making a silent effort to open their buds. Today she could almostfeel it in her own body, the huge heave of the sap in the massivetrees, upwards, up, up to the bud-a, there to push into little flameyoak-leaves, bronze as blood. It was like a ride running turgid upward,and spreading on the sky. She came to the clearing, but he was not there. She had only halfexpected him. The pheasant chicks were running lightly abroad, light asinsects, from the coops where the fellow hens clucked anxiously. Conniesat and watched them, and waited. She only waited. Even the chicks shehardly saw. She waited. The time passed with dream-like slowness, and he did not come. She hadonly half expected him. He never came in the afternoon. She must gohome to tea. But she had to force herself to leave. As she went home, a fine drizzle of rain fell. 'Is it raining again?' said Clifford, seeing her shake her hat. 'Just drizzle.' She poured tea in silence, absorbed in a sort of obstinacy. She didwant to see the keeper today, to see if it were really real. If it werereally real. 'Shall I read a little to you afterwards?' said Clifford. She looked at him. Had he sensed something? 'The spring makes me feel queer--I thought I might rest a little,' shesaid. 'Just as you like. Not feeling really unwell, are you?' 'No! Only rather tired--with the spring. Will you have Mrs Bolton toplay something with you?' 'No! I think I'll listen in.' She heard the curious satisfaction in his voice. She went upstairs toher bedroom. There she heard the loudspeaker begin to bellow, in anidiotically velveteen-genteel sort of voice, something about a seriesof street-cries, the very cream of genteel affectation imitating oldcriers. She pulled on her old violet coloured mackintosh, and slippedout of the house at the side door. The drizzle of rain was like a veil over the world, mysterious, hushed,not cold. She got very warm as she hurried across the park. She had toopen her light waterproof. The wood was silent, still and secret in the evening drizzle of rain,full of the mystery of eggs and half-open buds, half unsheathedflowers. In the dimness of it all trees glistened naked and dark as ifthey had unclothed themselves, and the green things on earth seemed tohum with greenness. There was still no one at the clearing. The chicks had nearly all goneunder the mother-hens, only one or two last adventurous ones stilldibbed about in the dryness under the straw roof shelter. And they weredoubtful of themselves. So! He still had not been. He was staying away on purpose. Or perhapssomething was wrong. Perhaps she should go to the cottage and see. But she was born to wait. She opened the hut with her key. It was alltidy, the corn put in the bin, the blankets folded on the shelf, thestraw neat in a corner; a new bundle of straw. The hurricane lamp hungon a nail. The table and chair had been put back where she had lain. She sat down on a stool in the doorway. How still everything was! Thefine rain blew very softly, filmily, but the wind made no noise.Nothing made any sound. The trees stood like powerful beings, dim,twilit, silent and alive. How alive everything was! Night was drawing near again; she would have to go. He was avoidingher. But suddenly he came striding into the clearing, in his black oilskinjacket like a chauffeur, shining with wet. He glanced quickly at thehut, half-saluted, then veered aside and went on to the coops. There hecrouched in silence, looking carefully at everything, then carefullyshutting the hens and chicks up safe against the night. At last he came slowly towards her. She still sat on her stool. Hestood before her under the porch. 'You come then,' he said, using the intonation of the dialect. 'Yes,' she said, looking up at him. 'You're late!' 'Ay!' he replied, looking away into the wood. She rose slowly, drawing aside her stool. 'Did you want to come in?' she asked. He looked down at her shrewdly. 'Won't folks be thinkin' somethink, you comin' here every night?' hesaid. 'Why?' She looked up at him, at a loss. 'I said I'd come. Nobodyknows.' 'They soon will, though,' he replied. 'An' what then?' She was at a loss for an answer. 'Why should they know?' she said. 'Folks always does,' he said fatally. Her lip quivered a little. 'Well I can't help it,' she faltered. 'Nay,' he said. 'You can help it by not comin'--if yer want to,' headded, in a lower tone. 'But I don't want to,' she murmured. He looked away into the wood, and was silent. 'But what when folks finds out?' he asked at last. 'Think about it!Think how lowered you'll feel, one of your husband's servants.' She looked up at his averted face. 'Is it,' she stammered, 'is it that you don't want me?' 'Think!' he said. 'Think what if folks find out Sir Clifford an'a'--an' everybody talkin'--' 'Well, I can go away.' 'Where to?' 'Anywhere! I've got money of my own. My mother left me twenty thousandpounds in trust, and I know Clifford can't touch it. I can go away.' 'But 'appen you don't want to go away.' 'Yes, yes! I don't care what happens to me.' 'Ay, you think that! But you'll care! You'll have to care, everybodyhas. You've got to remember your Ladyship is carrying on with agame-keeper. It's not as if I was a gentleman. Yes, you'd care. You'dcare.' 'I shouldn't. What do I care about my ladyship! I hate it really. Ifeel people are jeering every time they say it. And they are, they are!Even you jeer when you say it.' 'Me!' For the first time he looked straight at her, and into her eyes. 'Idon't jeer at you,' he said. As he looked into her eyes she saw his own eyes go dark, quite dark,the pupils dilating. 'Don't you care about a' the risk?' he asked in a husky voice. 'Youshould care. Don't care when it's too late!' There was a curious warning pleading in his voice. 'But I've nothing to lose,' she said fretfully. 'If you knew what itis, you'd think I'd be glad to lose it. But are you afraid foryourself?' 'Ay!' he said briefly. 'I am. I'm afraid. I'm afraid. I'm afraid O'things.' 'What things?' she asked. He gave a curious backward jerk of his head, indicating the outerworld. 'Things! Everybody! The lot of 'em.' Then he bent down and suddenly kissed her unhappy face. 'Nay, I don't care,' he said. 'Let's have it, an' damn the rest. But ifyou was to feel sorry you'd ever done it--!' 'Don't put me off,' she pleaded. He put his fingers to her cheek and kissed her again suddenly. 'Let me come in then,' he said softly. 'An' take off your mackintosh.' He hung up his gun, slipped out of his wet leather jacket, and reachedfor the blankets. 'I brought another blanket,' he said, 'so we can put one over us if youlike.' 'I can't stay long,' she said. 'Dinner is half-past seven.' He looked at her swiftly, then at his watch. 'All right,' he said. He shut the door, and lit a tiny light in the hanging hurricane lamp.'One time we'll have a long time,' he said. He put the blankets down carefully, one folded for her head. Then hesat down a moment on the stool, and drew her to him, holding her closewith one arm, feeling for her body with his free hand. She heard thecatch of his intaken breath as he found her. Under her frail petticoatshe was naked. 'Eh! what it is to touch thee!' he said, as his finger caressed thedelicate, warm, secret skin of her waist and hips. He put his face downand rubbed his cheek against her belly and against her thighs again andagain. And again she wondered a little over the sort of rapture it wasto him. She did not understand the beauty he found in her, throughtouch upon her living secret body, almost the ecstasy of beauty. Forpassion alone is awake to it. And when passion is dead, or absent, thenthe magnificent throb of beauty is incomprehensible and even a littledespicable; warm, live beauty of contact, so much deeper than thebeauty of vision. She felt the glide of his cheek on her thighs andbelly and buttocks, and the close brushing of his moustache and hissoft thick hair, and her knees began to quiver. Far down in her shefelt a new stirring, a new nakedness emerging. And she was half afraid.Half she wished he would not caress her so. He was encompassing hersomehow. Yet she was waiting, waiting. And when he came into her, with an intensification of relief andconsummation that was pure peace to him, still she was waiting. Shefelt herself a little left out. And she knew, partly it was her ownfault. She willed herself into this separateness. Now perhaps she wascondemned to it. She lay still, feeling his motion within her, hisdeep-sunk intentness, the sudden quiver of him at the springing of hisseed, then the slow-subsiding thrust. That thrust of the buttocks,surely it was a little ridiculous. If you were a woman, and a part inall the business, surely that thrusting of the man's buttocks wassupremely ridiculous. Surely the man was intensely ridiculous in thisposture and this act! But she lay still, without recoil. Even when he had finished, she didnot rouse herself to get a grip on her own satisfaction, as she haddone with Michaelis; she lay still, and the tears slowly filled and ranfrom her eyes. He lay still, too. But he held her close and tried to cover her poornaked legs with his legs, to keep them warm. He lay on her with aclose, undoubting warmth. 'Are yer cold?' he asked, in a soft, small voice, as if she were close,so close. Whereas she was left out, distant. 'No! But I must go,' she said gently. He sighed, held her closer, then relaxed to rest again. He had not guessed her tears. He thought she was there with him. 'I must go,' she repeated. He lifted himself kneeled beside her a moment, kissed the inner side ofher thighs, then drew down her skirts, buttoning his own clothesunthinking, not even turning aside, in the faint, faint light from thelantern. 'Tha mun come ter th' cottage one time,' he said, looking down at herwith a warm, sure, easy face. But she lay there inert, and was gazing up at him thinking: Stranger!Stranger! She even resented him a little. He put on his coat and looked for his hat, which had fallen, then heslung on his gun. 'Come then!' he said, looking down at her with those warm, peacefulsort of eyes. She rose slowly. She didn't want to go. She also rather resentedstaying. He helped her with her thin waterproof and saw she was tidy. Then he opened the door. The outside was quite dark. The faithful dogunder the porch stood up with pleasure seeing him. The drizzle of raindrifted greyly past upon the darkness. It was quite dark. 'Ah mun ta'e th' lantern,' he said. 'The'll be nob'dy.' He walked just before her in the narrow path, swinging the hurricanelamp low, revealing the wet grass, the black shiny tree-roots likesnakes, wan flowers. For the rest, all was grey rain-mist and completedarkness. 'Tha mun come to the cottage one time,' he said, 'shall ta? We might aswell be hung for a sheep as for a lamb.' It puzzled her, his queer, persistent wanting her, when there wasnothing between them, when he never really spoke to her, and in spiteof herself she resented the dialect. His 'tha mun come' seemed notaddressed to her, but some common woman. She recognized the foxgloveleaves of the riding and knew, more or less, where they were. 'It's quarter past seven,' he said, 'you'll do it.' He had changed hisvoice, seemed to feel her distance. As they turned the last bend in theriding towards the hazel wall and the gate, he blew out the light.'We'll see from here,' be said, taking her gently by the arm. But it was difficult, the earth under their feet was a mystery, but hefelt his way by tread: he was used to it. At the gate he gave her hiselectric torch. 'It's a bit lighter in the park,' he said; 'but take itfor fear you get off th' path.' It was true, there seemed a ghost-glimmer of greyness in the open spaceof the park. He suddenly drew her to him and whipped his hand under herdress again, feeling her warm body with his wet, chill hand. 'I could die for the touch of a woman like thee,' he said in histhroat. 'If tha' would stop another minute.' She felt the sudden force of his wanting her again. 'No, I must run,' she said, a little wildly. 'Ay,' he replied, suddenly changed, letting her go. She turned away, and on the instant she turned back to him saying:'Kiss me.' He bent over her indistinguishable and kissed her on the left eye. Sheheld her mouth and he softly kissed it, but at once drew away. He hatedmouth kisses. 'I'll come tomorrow,' she said, drawing away; 'if I can,' she added. 'Ay! not so late,' he replied out of the darkness. Already she couldnot see him at all. 'Goodnight,' she said. 'Goodnight, your Ladyship,' his voice. She stopped and looked back into the wet dark. She could just see thebulk of him. 'Why did you say that?' she said. 'Nay,' he replied. 'Goodnight then, run!' She plunged on in the dark-grey tangible night. She found the side-dooropen, and slipped into her room unseen. As she closed the door the gongsounded, but she would take her bath all the same--she must take herbath. 'But I won't be late any more,' she said to herself; 'it's tooannoying.' The next day she did not go to the wood. She went instead with Cliffordto Uthwaite. He could occasionally go out now in the car, and had got astrong young man as chauffeur, who could help him out of the car ifneed be. He particularly wanted to see his godfather, Leslie Winter,who lived at Shipley Hall, not far from Uthwaite. Winter was an elderlygentleman now, wealthy, one of the wealthy coal-owners who had hadtheir hey-day in King Edward's time. King Edward had stayed more thanonce at Shipley, for the shooting. It was a handsome old stucco hall,very elegantly appointed, for Winter was a bachelor and prided himselfon his style; but the place was beset by collieries. Leslie Winter wasattached to Clifford, but personally did not entertain a great respectfor him, because of the photographs in illustrated papers and theliterature. The old man was a buck of the King Edward school, whothought life was life and the scribbling fellows were something else.Towards Connie the Squire was always rather gallant; he thought her anattractive demure maiden and rather wasted on Clifford, and it was athousand pities she stood no chance of bringing forth an heir toWragby. He himself had no heir. Connie wondered what he would say if he knew that Clifford'sgame-keeper had been having intercourse with her, and saying to her'tha mun come to th' cottage one time.' He would detest and despiseher, for he had come almost to hate the shoving forward of the workingclasses. A man of her own class he would not mind, for Connie wasgifted from nature with this appearance of demure, submissivemaidenliness, and perhaps it was part of her nature. Winter called her'dear child' and gave her a rather lovely miniature of aneighteenth-century lady, rather against her will. But Connie was preoccupied with her affair with the keeper. After all,Mr Winter, who was really a gentleman and a man of the world, treatedher as a person and a discriminating individual; he did not lump hertogether with all the rest of his female womanhood in his 'thee' and'tha'. She did not go to the wood that day nor the next, nor the dayfollowing. She did not go so long as she felt, or imagined she felt,the man waiting for her, wanting her. But the fourth day she wasterribly unsettled and uneasy. She still refused to go to the wood andopen her thighs once more to the man. She thought of all the things shemight do--drive to Sheffield, pay visits, and the thought of all thesethings was repellent. At last she decided to take a walk, not towardsthe wood, but in the opposite direction; she would go to Marehay,through the little iron gate in the other side of the park fence. Itwas a quiet grey day of spring, almost warm. She walked on unheeding,absorbed in thoughts she was not even conscious of She was not reallyaware of anything outside her, till she was startled by the loudbarking of the dog at Marehay Farm. Marehay Farm! Its pastures ran upto Wragby park fence, so they were neighbours, but it was some timesince Connie had called. 'Bell!' she said to the big white bull-terrier. 'Bell! have youforgotten me? Don't you know me?' She was afraid of dogs, and Bellstood back and bellowed, and she wanted to pass through the farmyard onto the warren path. Mrs Flint appeared. She was a woman of Constance's own age, had been aschool-teacher, but Connie suspected her of being rather a false littlething. 'Why, it's Lady Chatterley! Why!' And Mrs Flint's eyes glowed again,and she flushed like a young girl. 'Bell, Bell. Why! barking at LadyChatterley! Bell! Be quiet!' She darted forward and slashed at the dogwith a white cloth she held in her hand, then came forward to Connie. 'She used to know me,' said Connie, shaking hands. The Flints wereChatterley tenants. 'Of course she knows your Ladyship! She's just showing off,' said MrsFlint, glowing and looking up with a sort of flushed confusion, 'butit's so long since she's seen you. I do hope you are better.' 'Yes thanks, I'm all right.' 'We've hardly seen you all winter. Will you come in and look at thebaby?' 'Well!' Connie hesitated. 'Just for a minute.' Mrs Flint flew wildly in to tidy up, and Connie came slowly after her,hesitating in the rather dark kitchen where the kettle was boiling bythe fire. Back came Mrs Flint. 'I do hope you'll excuse me,' she said. 'Will you come in here?' They went into the living-room, where a baby was sitting on the raghearth rug, and the table was roughly set for tea. A young servant-girlbacked down the passage, shy and awkward. The baby was a perky little thing of about a year, with red hair likeits father, and cheeky pale-blue eyes. It was a girl, and not to bedaunted. It sat among cushions and was surrounded with rag dolls andother toys in modern excess. 'Why, what a dear she is!' said Connie, 'and how she's grown! A biggirl! A big girl!' She had given it a shawl when it was born, and celluloid ducks forChristmas. 'There, Josephine! Who's that come to see you? Who's this, Josephine?Lady Chatterley--you know Lady Chatterley, don't you?' The queer pert little mite gazed cheekily at Connie. Ladyships werestill all the same to her. 'Come! Will you come to me?' said Connie to the baby. The baby didn't care one way or another, so Connie picked her up andheld her in her lap. How warm and lovely it was to hold a child inone's lap, and the soft little arms, the unconscious cheeky littlelegs. 'I was just having a rough cup of tea all by myself. Luke's gone tomarket, so I can have it when I like. Would you care for a cup, LadyChatterley? I don't suppose it's what you're used to, but if youwould...' Connie would, though she didn't want to be reminded of what she wasused to. There was a great relaying of the table, and the best cupsbrought and the best tea-pot. 'If only you wouldn't take any trouble,' said Connie. But if Mrs Flint took no trouble, where was the fun! So Connie playedwith the child and was amused by its little female dauntlessness, andgot a deep voluptuous pleasure out of its soft young warmth. Younglife! And so fearless! So fearless, because so defenceless. All theother people, so narrow with fear! She had a cup of tea, which was rather strong, and very good bread andbutter, and bottled damsons. Mrs Flint flushed and glowed and bridledwith excitement, as if Connie were some gallant knight. And they had areal female chat, and both of them enjoyed it. 'It's a poor little tea, though,' said Mrs Flint. 'It's much nicer than at home,' said Connie truthfully. 'Oh-h!' said Mrs Flint, not believing, of course. But at last Connie rose. 'I must go,' she said. 'My husband has no idea where I am. He'll bewondering all kinds of things.' 'He'll never think you're here,' laughed Mrs Flint excitedly. 'He'll besending the crier round.' 'Goodbye, Josephine,' said Connie, kissing the baby and ruffling itsred, wispy hair. Mrs Flint insisted on opening the locked and barred front door. Connieemerged in the farm's little front garden, shut in by a privet hedge.There were two rows of auriculas by the path, very velvety and rich. 'Lovely auriculas,' said Connie. 'Recklesses, as Luke calls them,' laughed Mrs Flint. 'Have some.' And eagerly she picked the velvet and primrose flowers. 'Enough! Enough!' said Connie. They came to the little garden gate. 'Which way were you going?' asked Mrs Flint. 'By the Warren.' 'Let me see! Oh yes, the cows are in the gin close. But they're not upyet. But the gate's locked, you'll have to climb.' 'I can climb,' said Connie. 'Perhaps I can just go down the close with you.' They went down the poor, rabbit-bitten pasture. Birds were whistling inwild evening triumph in the wood. A man was calling up the last cows,which trailed slowly over the path-worn pasture. 'They're late, milking, tonight,' said Mrs Flint severely. 'They knowLuke won't be back till after dark.' They came to the fence, beyond which the young fir-wood bristled dense.There was a little gate, but it was locked. In the grass on the insidestood a bottle, empty. 'There's the keeper's empty bottle for his milk,' explained Mrs Flint.'We bring it as far as here for him, and then he fetches it himself' 'When?' said Connie. 'Oh, any time he's around. Often in the morning. Well, goodbye LadyChatterley! And do come again. It was so lovely having you.' Connie climbed the fence into the narrow path between the dense,bristling young firs. Mrs Flint went running back across the pasture,in a sun-bonnet, because she was really a schoolteacher. Constancedidn't like this dense new part of the wood; it seemed gruesome andchoking. She hurried on with her head down, thinking of the Flints'baby. It was a dear little thing, but it would be a bit bow-legged likeits father. It showed already, but perhaps it would grow out of it. Howwarm and fulfilling somehow to have a baby, and how Mrs Flint hadshowed it off! She had something anyhow that Connie hadn't got, andapparently couldn't have. Yes, Mrs Flint had flaunted her motherhood.And Connie had been just a bit, just a little bit jealous. She couldn'thelp it. She started out of her muse, and gave a little cry of fear. A man wasthere. It was the keeper. He stood in the path like Balaam's ass, barring herway. 'How's this?' he said in surprise. 'How did you come?' she panted. 'How did you? Have you been to the hut?' 'No! No! I went to Marehay.' He looked at her curiously, searchingly, and she hung her head a littleguiltily. 'And were you going to the hut now?' he asked rather sternly. 'No! Imustn't. I stayed at Marehay. No one knows where I am. I'm late. I'vegot to run.' 'Giving me the slip, like?' he said, with a faint ironic smile. 'No!No. Not that. Only--' 'Why, what else?' he said. And he stepped up to her and put his armsaround her. She felt the front of his body terribly near to her, andalive. 'Oh, not now, not now,' she cried, trying to push him away. 'Why not? It's only six o'clock. You've got half an hour. Nay! Nay! Iwant you.' He held her fast and she felt his urgency. Her old instinct was tofight for her freedom. But something else in her was strange and inertand heavy. His body was urgent against her, and she hadn't the heartany more to fight. He looked around. 'Come--come here! Through here,' he said, looking penetratingly intothe dense fir-trees, that were young and not more than half-grown. He looked back at her. She saw his eyes, tense and brilliant, fierce,not loving. But her will had left her. A strange weight was on herlimbs. She was giving way. She was giving up. He led her through the wall of prickly trees, that were difficult tocome through, to a place where was a little space and a pile of deadboughs. He threw one or two dry ones down, put his coat and waistcoatover them, and she had to lie down there under the boughs of the tree,like an animal, while he waited, standing there in his shirt andbreeches, watching her with haunted eyes. But still he wasprovident--he made her lie properly, properly. Yet he broke the band ofher underclothes, for she did not help him, only lay inert. He too had bared the front part of his body and she felt his nakedflesh against her as he came into her. For a moment he was still insideher, turgid there and quivering. Then as he began to move, in thesudden helpless orgasm, there awoke in her new strange thrills ripplinginside her. Rippling, rippling, rippling, like a flapping overlappingof soft flames, soft as feathers, running to points of brilliance,exquisite, exquisite and melting her all molten inside. It was likebells rippling up and up to a culmination. She lay unconscious of thewild little cries she uttered at the last. But it was over too soon,too soon, and she could no longer force her own conclusion with her ownactivity. This was different, different. She could do nothing. Shecould no longer harden and grip for her own satisfaction upon him. Shecould only wait, wait and moan in spirit as she felt him withdrawing,withdrawing and contracting, coming to the terrible moment when hewould slip out of her and be gone. Whilst all her womb was open andsoft, and softly clamouring, like a sea-anemone under the tide,clamouring for him to come in again and make a fulfilment for her. Sheclung to him unconscious iii passion, and he never quite slipped fromher, and she felt the soft bud of him within her stirring, and strangerhythms flushing up into her with a strange rhythmic growing motion,swelling and swelling till it filled all her cleaving consciousness,and then began again the unspeakable motion that was not really motion,but pure deepening whirlpools of sensation swirling deeper and deeperthrough all her tissue and consciousness, till she was one perfectconcentric fluid of feeling, and she lay there crying in unconsciousinarticulate cries. The voice out of the uttermost night, the life! Theman heard it beneath him with a kind of awe, as his life sprang outinto her. And as it subsided, he subsided too and lay utterly still,unknowing, while her grip on him slowly relaxed, and she lay inert. Andthey lay and knew nothing, not even of each other, both lost. Till atlast he began to rouse and become aware of his defenceless nakedness,and she was aware that his body was loosening its clasp on her. He wascoming apart; but in her breast she felt she could not bear him toleave her uncovered. He must cover her now for ever. But he drew away at last, and kissed her and covered her over, andbegan to cover himself She lay looking up to the boughs of the tree,unable as yet to move. He stood and fastened up his breeches, lookinground. All was dense and silent, save for the awed dog that lay withits paws against its nose. He sat down again on the brushwood and tookConnie's hand in silence. She turned and looked at him. 'We came off together that time,' hesaid. She did not answer. 'It's good when it's like that. Most folks live their lives through andthey never know it,' he said, speaking rather dreamily. She looked into his brooding face. 'Do they?' she said. 'Are you glad?' He looked back into her eyes. 'Glad,' he said, 'Ay, but never mind.' Hedid not want her to talk. And he bent over her and kissed her, and shefelt, so he must kiss her for ever. At last she sat up. 'Don't people often come off together?' she asked with naive curiosity. 'A good many of them never. You can see by the raw look of them.' Hespoke unwittingly, regretting he had begun. 'Have you come off like that with other women?' He looked at her amused. 'I don't know,' he said, 'I don't know.' And she knew he would never tell her anything he didn't want to tellher. She watched his face, and the passion for him moved in her bowels.She resisted it as far as she could, for it was the loss of herself toherself. He put on his waistcoat and his coat, and pushed a way through to thepath again. The last level rays of the sun touched the wood. 'I won't come withyou,' he said; 'better not.' She looked at him wistfully before she turned. His dog was waiting soanxiously for him to go, and he seemed to have nothing whatever to say.Nothing left. Connie went slowly home, realizing the depth of the other thing in her.Another self was alive in her, burning molten and soft in her womb andbowels, and with this self she adored him. She adored him till herknees were weak as she walked. In her womb and bowels she was flowingand alive now and vulnerable, and helpless in adoration of him as themost naive woman. It feels like a child, she said to herself it feelslike a child in me. And so it did, as if her womb, that had always beenshut, had opened and filled with new life, almost a burden, yet lovely. 'If I had a child!' she thought to herself; 'if I had him inside me asa child!'--and her limbs turned molten at the thought, and she realizedthe immense difference between having a child to oneself and having achild to a man whom one's bowels yearned towards. The former seemed ina sense ordinary: but to have a child to a man whom one adored in one'sbowels and one's womb, it made her feel she was very different from herold self and as if she was sinking deep, deep to the centre of allwomanhood and the sleep of creation. It was not the passion that was new to her, it was the yearningadoration. She knew she had always feared it, for it left her helpless;she feared it still, lest if she adored him too much, then she wouldlose herself become effaced, and she did not want to be effaced, aslave, like a savage woman. She must not become a slave. She feared heradoration, yet she would not at once fight against it. She knew shecould fight it. She had a devil of self-will in her breast that couldhave fought the full soft heaving adoration of her womb and crushed it.She could even now do it, or she thought so, and she could then take upher passion with her own will. Ah yes, to be passionate like a Bacchante, like a Bacchanal fleeingthrough the woods, to call on Iacchos, the bright phallos that had noindependent personality behind it, but was pure god-servant to thewoman! The man, the individual, let him not dare intrude. He was but atemple-servant, the bearer and keeper of the bright phallos, her own. So, in the flux of new awakening, the old hard passion flamed in herfor a time, and the man dwindled to a contemptible object, the merephallos-bearer, to be torn to pieces when his service was performed.She felt the force of the Bacchae in her limbs and her body, the womangleaming and rapid, beating down the male; but while she felt this, herheart was heavy. She did not want it, it was known and barren,birthless; the adoration was her treasure. It was so fathomless, so soft, so deep and so unknown. No, no, shewould give up her hard bright female power; she was weary of it,stiffened with it; she would sink in the new bath of life, in thedepths of her womb and her bowels that sang the voiceless song ofadoration. It was early yet to begin to fear the man. 'I walked over by Marehay, and I had tea with Mrs Flint,' she said toClifford. 'I wanted to see the baby. It's so adorable, with hair likered cobwebs. Such a dear! Mr Flint had gone to market, so she and I andthe baby had tea together. Did you wonder where I was?' 'Well, I wondered, but I guessed you had dropped in somewhere to tea,'said Clifford jealously. With a sort of second sight he sensedsomething new in her, something to him quite incomprehensible, hut heascribed it to the baby. He thought that all that ailed Connie was thatshe did not have a baby, automatically bring one forth, so to speak. 'I saw you go across the park to the iron gate, my Lady,' said MrsBolton; 'so I thought perhaps you'd called at the Rectory.' 'I nearly did, then I turned towards Marehay instead.' The eyes of the two women met: Mrs Bolton's grey and bright andsearching; Connie's blue and veiled and strangely beautiful. Mrs Boltonwas almost sure she had a lover, yet how could it be, and who could itbe? Where was there a man? 'Oh, it's so good for you, if you go out and see a bit of companysometimes,' said Mrs Bolton. 'I was saying to Sir Clifford, it would doher ladyship a world of good if she'd go out among people more.' 'Yes, I'm glad I went, and such a quaint dear cheeky baby, Clifford,'said Connie. 'It's got hair just like spider-webs, and bright orange,and the oddest, cheekiest, pale-blue china eyes. Of course it's a girl,or it wouldn't be so bold, bolder than any little Sir Francis Drake.' 'You're right, my Lady--a regular little Flint. They were always aforward sandy-headed family,' said Mrs Bolton. 'Wouldn't you like to see it, Clifford? I've asked them to tea for youto see it.' 'Who?' he asked, looking at Connie in great uneasiness. 'Mrs Flint andthe baby, next Monday.' 'You can have them to tea up in your room,' he said. 'Why, don't you want to see the baby?' she cried. 'Oh, I'll see it, but I don't want to sit through a tea-time withthem.' 'Oh,' cried Connie, looking at him with wide veiled eyes. She did not really see him, he was somebody else. 'You can have a nice cosy tea up in your room, my Lady, and Mrs Flintwill be more comfortable than if Sir Clifford was there,' said MrsBolton. She was sure Connie had a lover, and something in her soul exulted. Butwho was he? Who was he? Perhaps Mrs Flint would provide a clue. Connie would not take her bath this evening. The sense of his fleshtouching her, his very stickiness upon her, was dear to her, and in asense holy. Clifford was very uneasy. He would not let her go after dinner, and shehad wanted so much to be alone. She looked at him, but was curiouslysubmissive. 'Shall we play a game, or shall I read to you, or what shall it be?' heasked uneasily. 'You read to me,' said Connie. 'What shall I read--verse or prose? Or drama?' 'Read Racine,' she said. It had been one of his stunts in the past, to read Racine in the realFrench grand manner, but he was rusty now, and a little self-conscious;he really preferred the loudspeaker. But Connie was sewing, sewing alittle frock silk of primrose silk, cut out of one of her dresses, forMrs Flint's baby. Between coming home and dinner she had cut it out,and she sat in the soft quiescent rapture of herself sewing, while thenoise of the reading went on. Inside herself she could feel the humming of passion, like theafter-humming of deep bells. Clifford said something to her about the Racine. She caught the senseafter the words had gone. 'Yes! Yes!' she said, looking up at him. 'It is splendid.' Again he was frightened at the deep blue blaze of her eyes, and of hersoft stillness, sitting there. She had never been so utterly soft andstill. She fascinated him helplessly, as if some perfume about herintoxicated him. So he went on helplessly with his reading, and thethroaty sound of the French was like the wind in the chimneys to her.Of the Racine she heard not one syllable. She was gone in her own soft rapture, like a forest soughing with thedim, glad moan of spring, moving into bud. She could feel in the sameworld with her the man, the nameless man, moving on beautiful feet,beautiful in the phallic mystery. And in herself in all her veins, shefelt him and his child. His child was in all her veins, like atwilight. 'For hands she hath none, nor eyes, nor feet, nor golden Treasure ofhair...' She was like a forest, like the dark interlacing of the oakwood,humming inaudibly with myriad unfolding buds. Meanwhile the birds ofdesire were asleep in the vast interlaced intricacy of her body. But Clifford's voice went on, clapping and gurgling with unusualsounds. How extraordinary it was! How extraordinary he was, bent thereover the book, queer and rapacious and civilized, with broad shouldersand no real legs! What a strange creature, with the sharp, coldinflexible will of some bird, and no warmth, no warmth at all! One ofthose creatures of the afterwards, that have no soul, but anextra-alert will, cold will. She shuddered a little, afraid of him. Butthen, the soft warm flame of life was stronger than he, and the realthings were hidden from him. The reading finished. She was startled. She looked up, and was morestartled still to see Clifford watching her with pale, uncanny eyes,like hate. 'Thank you SO much! You do read Racine beautifully!' she said softly. 'Almost as beautifully as you listen to him,' he said cruelly. 'Whatare you making?' he asked. 'I'm making a child's dress, for Mrs Flint's baby.' He turned away. A child! A child! That was all her obsession. 'After all,' he said in a declamatory voice, 'one gets all one wantsout of Racine. Emotions that are ordered and given shape are moreimportant than disorderly emotions. She watched him with wide, vague, veiled eyes. 'Yes, I'm sure theyare,' she said. 'The modern world has only vulgarized emotion by letting it loose. Whatwe need is classic control.' 'Yes,' she said slowly, thinking of him listening with vacant face tothe emotional idiocy of the radio. 'People pretend to have emotions,and they really feel nothing. I suppose that is being romantic.' 'Exactly!' he said. As a matter of fact, he was tired. This evening had tired him. He wouldrather have been with his technical books, or his pit-manager, orlistening-in to the radio. Mrs Bolton came in with two glasses of malted milk: for Clifford, tomake him sleep, and for Connie, to fatten her again. It was a regularnight-cap she had introduced. Connie was glad to go, when she had drunk her glass, and thankful sheneedn't help Clifford to bed. She took his glass and put it on thetray, then took the tray, to leave it outside. 'Goodnight Clifford! DO sleep well! The Racine gets into one like adream. Goodnight!' She had drifted to the door. She was going without kissing himgoodnight. He watched her with sharp, cold eyes. So! She did not evenkiss him goodnight, after he had spent an evening reading to her. Suchdepths of callousness in her! Even if the kiss was but a formality, itwas on such formalities that life depends. She was a Bolshevik, really.Her instincts were Bolshevistic! He gazed coldly and angrily at thedoor whence she had gone. Anger! And again the dread of the night came on him. He was a network ofnerves, anden he was not braced up to work, and so full of energy: orwhen he was not listening-in, and so utterly neuter: then he washaunted by anxiety and a sense of dangerous impending void. He wasafraid. And Connie could keep the fear off him, if she would. But itwas obvious she wouldn't, she wouldn't. She was callous, cold andcallous to all that he did for her. He gave up his life for her, andshe was callous to him. She only wanted her own way. 'The lady lovesher will.' Now it was a baby she was obsessed by. Just so that it should be herown, all her own, and not his! Clifford was so healthy, considering. He looked so well and ruddy inthe face, his shoulders were broad and strong, his chest deep, he hadput on flesh. And yet, at the same time, he was afraid of death. Aterrible hollow seemed to menace him somewhere, somehow, a void, andinto this void his energy would collapse. Energyless, he felt at timeshe was dead, really dead. So his rather prominent pale eyes had a queer look, furtive, and yet alittle cruel, so cold: and at the same time, almost impudent. It was avery odd look, this look of impudence: as if he were triumphing overlife in spite of life. 'Who knoweth the mysteries of the will--for itcan triumph even against the angels--' But his dread was the nights when he could not sleep. Then it was awfulindeed, when annihilation pressed in on him on every side. Then it wasghastly, to exist without having any life: lifeless, in the night, toexist. But now he could ring for Mrs Bolton. And she would always come. Thatwas a great comfort. She would come in her dressing gown, with her hairin a plait down her back, curiously girlish and dim, though the brownplait was streaked with grey. And she would make him coffee or camomiletea, and she would play chess or piquet with him. She had a woman'squeer faculty of playing even chess well enough, when she was threeparts asleep, well enough to make her worth beating. So, in the silentintimacy of the night, they sat, or she sat and he lay on the bed, withthe reading-lamp shedding its solitary light on them, she almost gonein sleep, he almost gone in a sort of fear, and they played, playedtogether--then they had a cup of coffee and a biscuit together, hardlyspeaking, in the silence of night, but being a reassurance to oneanother. And this night she was wondering who Lady Chatterley's lover was. Andshe was thinking of her own Ted, so long dead, yet for her never quitedead. And when she thought of him, the old, old grudge against theworld rose up, but especially against the masters, that they had killedhim. They had not really killed him. Yet, to her, emotionally, theyhad. And somewhere deep in herself because of it, she was a nihilist,and really anarchic. In her half-sleep, thoughts of her Ted and thoughts of LadyChatterley's unknown lover commingled, and then she felt she sharedwith the other woman a great grudge against Sir Clifford and all hestood for. At the same time she was playing piquet with him, and theywere gambling sixpences. And it was a source of satisfaction to beplaying piquet with a baronet, and even losing sixpences to him. When they played cards, they always gambled. It made him forgethimself. And he usually won. Tonight too he was winning. So he wouldnot go to sleep till the first dawn appeared. Luckily it began toappear at half past four or thereabouts. Connie was in bed, and fast asleep all this time. But the keeper, too,could not rest. He had closed the coops and made his round of the wood,then gone home and eaten supper. But he did not go to bed. Instead hesat by the fire and thought. He thought of his boyhood in Tevershall, and of his five or six yearsof married life. He thought of his wife, and always bitterly. She hadseemed so brutal. But he had not seen her now since 1915, in the springwhen he joined up. Yet there she was, not three miles away, and morebrutal than ever. He hoped never to see her again while he lived. He thought of his life abroad, as a soldier. India, Egypt, then Indiaagain: the blind, thoughtless life with the horses: the colonel who hadloved him and whom he had loved: the several years that he had been anofficer, a lieutenant with a very fair chance of being a captain. Thenthe death of the colonel from pneumonia, and his own narrow escape fromdeath: his damaged health: his deep restlessness: his leaving the armyand coming back to England to be a working man again. He was temporizing with life. He had thought he would be safe, at leastfor a time, in this wood. There was no shooting as yet: he had to rearthe pheasants. He would have no guns to serve. He would be alone, andapart from life, which was all he wanted. He had to have some sort of abackground. And this was his native place. There was even his mother,though she had never meant very much to him. And he could go on inlife, existing from day to day, without connexion and without hope. Forhe did not know what to do with himself. He did not know what to do with himself. Since he had been an officerfor some years, and had mixed among the other officers and civilservants, with their wives and families, he had lost all ambition to'get on'. There was a toughness, a curious rubbernecked toughness andunlivingness about the middle and upper classes, as he had known them,which just left him feeling cold and different from them. So, he had come back to his own class. To find there, what he hadforgotten during his absence of years, a pettiness and a vulgarity ofmanner extremely distasteful. He admitted now at last, how importantmanner was. He admitted, also, how important it was even TO PRETEND notto care about the halfpence and the small things of life. But among thecommon people there was no pretence. A penny more or less on the baconwas worse than a change in the Gospel. He could not stand it. And again, there was the wage-squabble. Having lived among the owningclasses, he knew the utter futility of expecting any solution of thewage-squabble. There was no solution, short of death. The only thingwas not to care, not to care about the wages. Yet, if you were poor and wretched you HAD to care. Anyhow, it wasbecoming the only thing they did care about. The CARE about money waslike a great cancer, eating away the individuals of all classes. Herefused to CARE about money. And what then? What did life offer apart from the care of money?Nothing. Yet he could live alone, in the wan satisfaction of being alone, andraise pheasants to be shot ultimately by fat men after breakfast. Itwas futility, futility to the NTH power. But why care, why bother? And he had not cared nor bothered till now,when this woman had come into his life. He was nearly ten years olderthan she. And he was a thousand years older in experience, startingfrom the bottom. The connexion between them was growing closer. Hecould see the day when it would clinch up and they would have to make alife together. 'For the bonds of love are ill to loose!' And what then? What then? Must he start again, with nothing to starton? Must he entangle this woman? Must he have the horrible broil withher lame husband? And also some sort of horrible broil with his ownbrutal wife, who hated him? Misery! Lots of misery! And he was nolonger young and merely buoyant. Neither was he the insouciant sort.Every bitterness and every ugliness would hurt him: and the woman! But even if they got clear of Sir Clifford and of his own wife, even ifthey got clear, what were they going to do? What was he, himself goingto do? What was he going to do with his life? For he must do something.He couldn't be a mere hanger-on, on her money and his own very smallpension. It was the insoluble. He could only think of going to America, to try anew air. He disbelieved in the dollar utterly. But perhaps, perhapsthere was something else. He could not rest nor even go to bed. After sitting in a stupor ofbitter thoughts until midnight, he got suddenly from his chair andreached for his coat and gun. 'Come on, lass,' he said to the dog. 'We're best outside.' It was a starry night, but moonless. He went on a slow, scrupulous,soft-stepping and stealthy round. The only thing he had to contend withwas the colliers setting snares for rabbits, particularly the StacksGate colliers, on the Marehay side. But it was breeding season, andeven colliers respected it a little. Nevertheless the stealthy beatingof the round in search of poachers soothed his nerves and took his mindoff his thoughts. But when he had done his slow, cautious beating of his bounds--it wasnearly a five-mile walk--he was tired. He went to the top of the knolland looked out. There was no sound save the noise, the faint shufflingnoise from Stacks Gate colliery, that never ceased working: and therewere hardly any lights, save the brilliant electric rows at the works.The world lay darkly and fumily sleeping. It was half past two. Buteven in its sleep it was an uneasy, cruel world, stirring with thenoise of a train or some great lorry on the road, and flashing withsome rosy lightning flash from the furnaces. It was a world of iron andcoal, the cruelty of iron and the smoke of coal, and the endless,endless greed that drove it all. Only greed, greed stirring in itssleep. It was cold, and he was coughing. A fine cold draught blew over theknoll. He thought of the woman. Now he would have given all he had orever might have to hold her warm in his arms, both of them wrapped inone blanket, and sleep. All hopes of eternity and all gain from thepast he would have given to have her there, to be wrapped warm with himin one blanket, and sleep, only sleep. It seemed the sleep with thewoman in his arms was the only necessity. He went to the hut, and wrapped himself in the blanket and lay on thefloor to sleep. But he could not, he was cold. And besides, he feltcruelly his own unfinished nature. He felt his own unfinished conditionof aloneness cruelly. He wanted her, to touch her, to hold her fastagainst him in one moment of completeness and sleep. He got up again and went out, towards the park gates this time: thenslowly along the path towards the house. It was nearly four o'clock,still clear and cold, but no sign of dawn. He was used to the dark, hecould see well. Slowly, slowly the great house drew him, as a magnet. He wanted to benear her. It was not desire, not that. It was the cruel sense ofunfinished aloneness, that needed a silent woman folded in his arms.Perhaps he could find her. Perhaps he could even call her out to him:or find some way in to her. For the need was imperious. He slowly, silently climbed the incline to the hall. Then he came roundthe great trees at the top of the knoll, on to the drive, which made agrand sweep round a lozenge of grass in front of the entrance. He couldalready see the two magnificent beeches which stood in this big levellozenge in front of the house, detaching themselves darkly in the darkair. There was the house, low and long and obscure, with one light burningdownstairs, in Sir Clifford's room. But which room she was in, thewoman who held the other end of the frail thread which drew him somercilessly, that he did not know. He went a little nearer, gun in hand, and stood motionless on thedrive, watching the house. Perhaps even now he could find her, come ather in some way. The house was not impregnable: he was as clever asburglars are. Why not come to her? He stood motionless, waiting, while the dawn faintly and imperceptiblypaled behind him. He saw the light in the house go out. But he did notsee Mrs Bolton come to the window and draw back the old curtain ofdark-blue silk, and stand herself in the dark room, looking out on thehalf-dark of the approaching day, looking for the longed-for dawn,waiting, waiting for Clifford to be really reassured that it wasdaybreak. For when he was sure of daybreak, he would sleep almost atonce. She stood blind with sleep at the window, waiting. And as she stood,she started, and almost cried out. For there was a man out there on thedrive, a black figure in the twilight. She woke up greyly, and watched,but without making a sound to disturb Sir Clifford. The daylight began to rustle into the world, and the dark figure seemedto go smaller and more defined. She made out the gun and gaiters andbaggy jacket--it would be Oliver Mellors, the keeper. 'Yes, for therewas the dog nosing around like a shadow, and waiting for him'! And what did the man want? Did he want to rouse the house? What was hestanding there for, transfixed, looking up at the house like alove-sick male dog outside the house where the bitch is? Goodness! The knowledge went through Mrs Bolton like a shot. He wasLady Chatterley's lover! He! He! To think of it! Why, she, Ivy Bolton, had once been a tiny bit in lovewith him herself. When he was a lad of sixteen and she a woman oftwenty-six. It was when she was studying, and he had helped her a lotwith the anatomy and things she had had to learn. He'd been a cleverboy, had a scholarship for Sheffield Grammar School, and learned Frenchand things: and then after all had become an overhead blacksmithshoeing horses, because he was fond of horses, he said: but reallybecause he was frightened to go out and face the world, only he'd neveradmit it. But he'd been a nice lad, a nice lad, had helped her a lot, so cleverat making things clear to you. He was quite as clever as Sir Clifford:and always one for the women. More with women than men, they said. Till he'd gone and married that Bertha Coutts, as if to spite himself.Some people do marry to spite themselves, because they're disappointedof something. And no wonder it had been a failure.--For years he wasgone, all the time of the war: and a lieutenant and all: quite thegentleman, really quite the gentleman!--Then to come back to Tevershalland go as a game-keeper! Really, some people can't take their chanceswhen they've got them! And talking broad Derbyshire again like theworst, when she, Ivy Bolton, knew he spoke like any gentleman, REALLY. Well, well! So her ladyship had fallen for him! Well her ladyshipwasn't the first: there was something about him. But fancy! ATevershall lad born and bred, and she her ladyship in Wragby Hall! Myword, that was a slap back at the high-and-mighty Chatterleys! But he, the keeper, as the day grew, had realized: it's no good! It'sno good trying to get rid of your own aloneness. You've got to stick toit all your life. Only at times, at times, the gap will be filled in.At times! But you have to wait for the times. Accept your own alonenessand stick to it, all your life. And then accept the times when the gapis filled in, when they come. But they've got to come. You can't forcethem. With a sudden snap the bleeding desire that had drawn him after herbroke. He had broken it, because it must be so. There must be a comingtogether on both sides. And if she wasn't coming to him, he wouldn'ttrack her down. He mustn't. He must go away, till she came. He turned slowly, ponderingly, accepting again the isolation. He knewit was better so. She must come to him: it was no use his trailingafter her. No use! Mrs Bolton saw him disappear, saw his dog run after him. 'Well, well!' she said. 'He's the one man I never thought of; and theone man I might have thought of. He was nice to me when he was a lad,after I lost Ted. Well, well! Whatever would he say if he knew!' And she glanced triumphantly at the already sleeping Clifford, as shestepped softly from the room. Chapter 11 Connie was sorting out one of the Wragby lumber rooms. There wereseveral: the house was a warren, and the family never sold anything.Sir Geoffery's father had liked pictures and Sir Geoffery's mother hadliked CINQUECENTO furniture. Sir Geoffery himself had liked old carvedoak chests, vestry chests. So it went on through the generations.Clifford collected very modern pictures, at very moderate prices. So in the lumber room there were bad Sir Edwin Landseers and patheticWilliam Henry Hunt birds' nests: and other Academy stuff, enough tofrighten the daughter of an R.A. She determined to look through it oneday, and clear it all. And the grotesque furniture interested her. Wrapped up carefully to preserve it from damage and dry-rot was the oldfamily cradle, of rosewood. She had to unwrap it, to look at it. It hada certain charm: she looked at it a longtime. 'It's thousand pities it won't be called for,' sighed Mrs Bolton, whowas helping. 'Though cradles like that are out of date nowadays.' 'It might be called for. I might have a child,' said Connie casually,as if saying she might have a new hat. 'You mean if anything happened to Sir Clifford!' stammered Mrs Bolton. 'No! I mean as things are. It's only muscular paralysis with SirClifford--it doesn't affect him,' said Connie, lying as naturally asbreathing. Clifford had put the idea into her head. He had said: 'Of course I mayhave a child yet. I'm not really mutilated at all. The potency mayeasily come back, even if the muscles of the hips and legs areparalysed. And then the seed may be transferred.' He really felt, when he had his periods of energy and worked so hard atthe question of the mines, as if his sexual potency were returning.Connie had looked at him in terror. But she was quite quick-wittedenough to use his suggestion for her own preservation. For she wouldhave a child if she could: but not his. Mrs Bolton was for a moment breathless, flabbergasted. Then she didn'tbelieve it: she saw in it a ruse. Yet doctors could do such thingsnowadays. They might sort of graft seed. 'Well, my Lady, I only hope and pray you may. It would be lovely foryou: and for everybody. My word, a child in Wragby, what a differenceit would make!' 'Wouldn't it!' said Connie. And she chose three R. A. pictures of sixty years ago, to send to theDuchess of Shortlands for that lady's next charitable bazaar. She wascalled 'the bazaar duchess', and she always asked all the county tosend things for her to sell. She would be delighted with three framedR. A.s. She might even call, on the strength of them. How furiousClifford was when she called! But oh my dear! Mrs Bolton was thinking to herself. Is it OliverMellors' child you're preparing us for? Oh my dear, that WOULD be aTevershall baby in the Wragby cradle, my word! Wouldn't shame it,neither! Among other monstrosities in this lumber room was a largishblackjapanned box, excellently and ingeniously made some sixty orseventy years ago, and fitted with every imaginable object. On top wasa concentrated toilet set: brushes, bottles, mirrors, combs, boxes,even three beautiful little razors in safety sheaths, shaving-bowl andall. Underneath came a sort of ESCRITOIRE outfit: blotters, pens,ink-bottles, paper, envelopes, memorandum books: and then a perfectsewing-outfit, with three different sized scissors, thimbles, needles,silks and cottons, darning egg, all of the very best quality andperfectly finished. Then there was a little medicine store, withbottles labelled Laudanum, Tincture of Myrrh, Ess. Cloves and so on:but empty. Everything was perfectly new, and the whole thing, when shutup, was as big as a small, but fat weekend bag. And inside, it fittedtogether like a puzzle. The bottles could not possibly have spilled:there wasn't room. The thing was wonderfully made and contrived, excellent craftsmanshipof the Victorian order. But somehow it was monstrous. Some Chatterleymust even have felt it, for the thing had never been used. It had apeculiar soullessness. Yet Mrs Bolton was thrilled. 'Look what beautiful brushes, so expensive, even the shaving brushes,three perfect ones! No! and those scissors! They're the best that moneycould buy. Oh, I call it lovely!' 'Do you?' said Connie. 'Then you have it.' 'Oh no, my Lady!' 'Of course! It will only lie here till Doomsday. If you won't have it,I'll send it to the Duchess as well as the pictures, and she doesn'tdeserve so much. Do have it!' 'Oh, your Ladyship! Why, I shall never be able to thank you.' 'You needn't try,' laughed Connie. And Mrs Bolton sailed down with the huge and very black box in herarms, flushing bright pink in her excitement. Mr Betts drove her in the trap to her house in the village, with thebox. And she HAD to have a few friends in, to show it: theschool-mistress, the chemist's wife, Mrs Weedon the undercashier'swife. They thought it marvellous. And then started the whisper of LadyChatterley's child. 'Wonders'll never cease!' said Mrs Weedon. But Mrs Bolton was CONVINCED, if it did come, it would be SirClifford's child. So there! Not long after, the rector said gently to Clifford: 'And may we really hope for an heir to Wragby? Ah, that would be thehand of God in mercy, indeed!' 'Well! We may HOPE,' said Clifford, with a faint irony, and at the sametime, a certain conviction. He had begun to believe it really possibleit might even be HIS child. Then one afternoon came Leslie Winter, Squire Winter, as everybodycalled him: lean, immaculate, and seventy: and every inch a gentleman,as Mrs Bolton said to Mrs Betts. Every millimetre indeed! And with hisold-fashioned, rather haw-haw! manner of speaking, he seemed more outof date than bag wigs. Time, in her flight, drops these fine oldfeathers. They discussed the collieries. Clifford's idea was, that his coal, eventhe poor sort, could be made into hard concentrated fuel that wouldburn at great heat if fed with certain damp, acidulated air at a fairlystrong pressure. It had long been observed that in a particularlystrong, wet wind the pit-bank burned very vivid, gave off hardly anyfumes, and left a fine powder of ash, instead of the slow pink gravel. 'But where will you find the proper engines for burning your fuel?'asked Winter. 'I'll make them myself. And I'll use my fuel myself. And I'll sellelectric power. I'm certain I could do it.' 'If you can do it, then splendid, splendid, my dear boy. Haw! Splendid!If I can be of any help, I shall be delighted. I'm afraid I am a littleout of date, and my collieries are like me. But who knows, when I'mgone, there may be men like you. Splendid! It will employ all the menagain, and you won't have to sell your coal, or fail to sell it. Asplendid idea, and I hope it will be a success. If I had sons of myown, no doubt they would have up-to-date ideas for Shipley: no doubt!By the way, dear boy, is there any foundation to the rumour that we mayentertain hopes of an heir to Wragby?' 'Is there a rumour?' asked Clifford. 'Well, my dear boy, Marshall from Fillingwood asked me, that's all Ican say about a rumour. Of course I wouldn't repeat it for the world,if there were no foundation.' 'Well, Sir,' said Clifford uneasily, but with strange bright eyes.'There is a hope. There is a hope.' Winter came across the room and wrung Clifford's hand. 'My dear boy, my dear lad, can you believe what it means to me, to hearthat! And to hear you are working in the hopes of a son: and that youmay again employ every man at Tevershall. Ah, my boy! to keep up thelevel of the race, and to have work waiting for any man who cares towork!--' The old man was really moved. Next day Connie was arranging tall yellow tulips in a glass vase. 'Connie,' said Clifford, 'did you know there was a rumour that you aregoing to supply Wragby with a son and heir?' Connie felt dim with terror, yet she stood quite still, touching theflowers. 'No!' she said. 'Is it a joke? Or malice?' He paused before he answered: 'Neither, I hope. I hope it may be a prophecy.' Connie went on with her flowers. 'I had a letter from Father this morning,' She said. 'He wants to knowif I am aware he has accepted Sir Alexander Cooper's Invitation for mefor July and August, to the Villa Esmeralda in Venice.' 'July AND August?' said Clifford. 'Oh, I wouldn't stay all that time. Are you sure you wouldn't come?' 'I won't travel abroad,' said Clifford promptly. She took her flowersto the window. 'Do you mind if I go?' she said. You know it was promised, for thissummer. 'For how long would you go?' 'Perhaps three weeks.' There was silence for a time. 'Well,' said Clifford slowly, and a little gloomily. 'I suppose I couldstand it for three weeks: if I were absolutely sure you'd want to comeback.' 'I should want to come back,' she said, with a quiet simplicity, heavywith conviction. She was thinking of the other man. Clifford felt her conviction, and somehow he believed her, he believedit was for him. He felt immensely relieved, joyful at once. 'In that case,' he said, 'I think it would be all right, don't you?' 'I think so,' she said. 'You'd enjoy the change?' She looked up at him with strange blue eyes. 'I should like to see Venice again,' she said, 'and to bathe from oneof the shingle islands across the lagoon. But you know I loathe theLido! And I don't fancy I shall like Sir Alexander Cooper and LadyCooper. But if Hilda is there, and we have a gondola of our own: yes,it will be rather lovely. I DO wish you'd come.' She said it sincerely. She would so love to make him happy, in theseways. 'Ah, but think of me, though, at the Gare du Nord: at Calais quay!' 'But why not? I see other men carried in litter-chairs, who have beenwounded in the war. Besides, we'd motor all the way.' 'We should need to take two men.' 'Oh no! We'd manage with Field. There would always be another manthere.' But Clifford shook his head. 'Not this year, dear! Not this year! Next year probably I'll try.' She went away gloomily. Next year! What would next year bring? Sheherself did not really want to go to Venice: not now, now there was theother man. But she was going as a sort of discipline: and also because,if she had a child, Clifford could think she had a lover in Venice. It was already May, and in June they were supposed to start. Alwaysthese arrangements! Always one's life arranged for one! Wheels thatworked one and drove one, and over which one had no real control! It was May, but cold and wet again. A cold wet May, good for corn andhay! Much the corn and hay matter nowadays! Connie had to go intoUthwaite, which was their little town, where the Chatterleys were stillTHEChatterleys. She went alone, Field driving her. In spite of May and a new greenness, the country was dismal. It wasrather chilly, and there was smoke on the rain, and a certain sense ofexhaust vapour in the air. One just had to live from one's resistance.No wonder these people were ugly and tough. The car ploughed uphill through the long squalid straggle ofTevershall, the blackened brick dwellings, the black slate roofsglistening their sharp edges, the mud black with coal-dust, thepavements wet and black. It was as if dismalness had soaked through andthrough everything. The utter negation of natural beauty, the utternegation of the gladness of life, the utter absence of the instinct forshapely beauty which every bird and beast has, the utter death of thehuman intuitive faculty was appalling. The stacks of soap in thegrocers' shops, the rhubarb and lemons in the greengrocers! the awfulhats in the milliners! all went by ugly, ugly, ugly, followed by theplaster-and-gilt horror of the cinema with its wet pictureannouncements, 'A Woman's Love!', and the new big Primitive chapel,primitive enough in its stark brick and big panes of greenish andraspberry glass in the windows. The Wesleyan chapel, higher up, was ofblackened brick and stood behind iron railings and blackened shrubs.The Congregational chapel, which thought itself superior, was built ofrusticated sandstone and had a steeple, but not a very high one. Justbeyond were the new school buildings, expensivink brick, and gravelledplayground inside iron railings, all very imposing, and fixing thesuggestion of a chapel and a prison. Standard Five girls were having asinging lesson, just finishing the la-me-doh-la exercises and beginninga 'sweet children's song'. Anything more unlike song, spontaneous song,would be impossible to imagine: a strange bawling yell that followedthe outlines of a tune. It was not like savages: savages have subtlerhythms. It was not like animals: animals MEAN something when theyyell. It was like nothing on earth, and it was called singing. Conniesat and listened with her heart in her boots, as Field was fillingpetrol. What could possibly become of such a people, a people in whomthe living intuitive faculty was dead as nails, and only queermechanical yells and uncanny will-power remained? A coal-cart was coming downhill, clanking in the rain. Field startedupwards, past the big but weary-looking drapers and clothing shops, thepost-office, into the little market-place of forlorn space, where SamBlack was peering out of the door of the Sun, that called itself aninn, not a pub, and where the commercial travellers stayed, and wasbowing to Lady Chatterley's car. The church was away to the left among black trees. The car slid ondownhill, past the Miners' Arms. It had already passed the Wellington,the Nelson, the Three Tuns, and the Sun, now it passed the Miners'Arms, then the Mechanics' Hall, then the new and almost gaudy Miners'Welfare and so, past a few new 'villas', out into the blackened roadbetween dark hedges and dark green fields, towards Stacks Gate. Tevershall! That was Tevershall! Merrie England! Shakespeare's England!No, but the England of today, as Connie had realized since she had cometo live in it. It was producing a new race of mankind, over-consciousin the money and social and political side, on the spontaneous,intuitive side dead, but dead. Half-corpses, all of them: but with aterrible insistent consciousness in the other half. There was somethinguncanny and underground about it all. It was an under-world. And quiteincalculable. How shall we understand the reactions in half-corpses?When Connie saw the great lorries full of steel-workers from Sheffield,weird, distorted smallish beings like men, off for an excursion toMatlock, her bowels fainted and she thought: Ah God, what has man doneto man? What have the leaders of men been doing to their fellow men?They have reduced them to less than humanness; and now there can be nofellowship any more! It is just a nightmare. She felt again in a wave of terror the grey, gritty hopelessness of itall. With such creatures for the industrial masses, and the upperclasses as she knew them, there was no hope, no hope any more. Yet shewas wanting a baby, and an heir to Wragby! An heir to Wragby! Sheshuddered with dread. Yet Mellors had come out of all this!--Yes, but he was as apart from itall as she was. Even in him there was no fellowship left. It was dead.The fellowship was dead. There was only apartness and hopelessness, asfar as all this was concerned. And this was England, the vast bulk ofEngland: as Connie knew, since she had motored from the centre of it. The car was rising towards Stacks Gate. The rain was holding off, andin the air came a queer pellucid gleam of May. The country rolled awayin long undulations, south towards the Peak, east towards Mansfield andNottingham. Connie was travelling South. As she rose on to the high country, she could see on her left, on aheight above the rolling land, the shadowy, powerful bulk of WarsopCastle, dark grey, with below it the reddish plastering of miners'dwellings, newish, and below those the plumes of dark smoke and whitesteam from the great colliery which put so many thousand pounds perannum into the pockets of the Duke and the other shareholders. Thepowerful old castle was a ruin, yet it hung its bulk on the lowsky-line, over the black plumes and the white that waved on the dampair below. A turn, and they ran on the high level to Stacks Gate. Stacks Gate, asseen from the highroad, was just a huge and gorgeous new hotel, theConingsby Arms, standing red and white and gilt in barbarous isolationoff the road. But if you looked, you saw on the left rows of handsome'modern' dwellings, set down like a game of dominoes, with spaces andgardens, a queer game of dominoes that some weird 'masters' wereplaying on the surprised earth. And beyond these blocks of dwellings,at the back, rose all the astonishing and frightening overheaderections of a really modern mine, chemical works and long galleries,enormous, and of shapes not before known to man. The head-stock andpit-bank of the mine itself were insignificant among the huge newinstallations. And in front of this, the game of dominoes stood foreverin a sort of surprise, waiting to be played. This was Stacks Gate, new on the face of the earth, since the war. Butas a matter of fact, though even Connie did not know it, downhill halfa mile below the 'hotel' was old Stacks Gate, with a little oldcolliery and blackish old brick dwellings, and a chapel or two and ashop or two and a little pub or two. But that didn't count any more. The vast plumes of smoke and vapourrose from the new works up above, and this was now Stacks Gate: nochapels, no pubs, even no shops. Only the great works', which are themodern Olympia with temples to all the gods; then the model dwellings:then the hotel. The hotel in actuality was nothing but a miners' pubthough it looked first-classy. Even since Connie's arrival at Wragby this new place had arisen on theface of the earth, and the model dwellings had filled with riff-raffdrifting in from anywhere, to poach Clifford's rabbits among otheroccupations. The car ran on along the uplands, seeing the rolling county spread out.The county! It had once been a proud and lordly county. In front,looming again and hanging on the brow of the sky-line, was the huge andsplendid bulk of Chadwick Hall, more window than wall, one of the mostfamous Elizabethan houses. Noble it stood alone above a great park, butout of date, passed over. It was still kept up, but as a show place.'Look how our ancestors lorded it!' That was the past. The present lay below. God alone knows where thefuture lies. The car was already turning, between little old blackenedminers' cottages, to descend to Uthwaite. And Uthwaite, on a damp day,was sending up a whole array of smoke plumes and steam, to whatevergods there be. Uthwaite down in the valley, with all the steel threadsof the railways to Sheffield drawn through it, and the coal-mines andthe steel-works sending up smoke and glare from long tubes, and thepathetic little corkscrew spire of the church, that is going to tumbledown, still pricking the fumes, always affected Connie strangely. Itwas an old market-town, centre of the dales. One of the chief inns wasthe Chatterley Arms. There, in Uthwaite, Wragby was known as Wragby, asif it were a whole place, not just a house, as it was to outsiders:Wragby Hall, near Tevershall: Wragby, a 'seat'. The miners' cottages, blackened, stood flush on the pavement, with thatintimacy and smallness of colliers' dwellings over a hundred years old.They lined all the way. The road had become a street, and as you sank,you forgot instantly the open, rolling country where the castles andbig houses still dominated, but like ghosts. Now you were just abovethe tangle of naked railway-lines, and foundries and other 'works' roseabout you, so big you were only aware of walls. And iron clanked with ahuge reverberating clank, and huge lorries shook the earth, andwhistles screamed. Yet again, once you had got right down and into the twisted and crookedheart of the town, behind the church, you were in the world of twocenturies ago, in the crooked streets where the Chatterley Arms stood,and the old pharmacy, streets which used to lead Out to the wild openworld of the castles and stately couchant houses. But at the corner a policeman held up his hand as three lorries loadedwith iron rolled past, shaking the poor old church. And not till thelorries were past could he salute her ladyship. So it was. Upon the old crooked burgess streets hordes of oldishblackened miners' dwellings crowded, lining the roads out. Andimmediately after these came the newer, pinker rows of rather largerhouses, plastering the valley: the homes of more modern workmen. Andbeyond that again, in the wide rolling regions of the castles, smokewaved against steam, and patch after patch of raw reddish brick showedthe newer mining settlements, sometimes in the hollows, sometimesgruesomely ugly along the sky-line of the slopes. And between, inbetween, were the tattered remnants of the old coaching and cottageEngland, even the England of Robin Hood, where the miners prowled withthe dismalness of suppressed sporting instincts, when they were not atwork. England, my England! But which is MY England? The stately homes ofEngland make good photographs, and create the illusion of a connexionwith the Elizabethans. The handsome old halls are there, from the daysof Good Queen Anne and Tom Jones. But smuts fall and blacken on thedrab stucco, that has long ceased to be golden. And one by one, likethe stately homes, they were abandoned. Now they are being pulled down.As for the cottages of England--there they are--great plasterings ofbrick dwellings on the hopeless countryside. 'Now they are pulling down the stately homes, the Georgian halls aregoing. Fritchley, a perfect old Georgian mansion, was even now, asConnie passed in the car, being demolished. It was in perfect repair:till the war the Weatherleys had lived in style there. But now it wastoo big, too expensive, and the country had become too uncongenial. Thegentry were departing to pleasanter places, where they could spendtheir money without having to see how it was made.' This is history. One England blots out another. The mines had made thehalls wealthy. Now they were blotting them out, as they had alreadyblotted out the cottages. The industrial England blots out theagricultural England. One meaning blots out another. The new Englandblots out the old England. And the continuity is not Organic, butmechanical. Connie, belonging to the leisured classes, had clung to the remnants ofthe old England. It had taken her years to realize that it was reallyblotted out by this terrifying new and gruesome England, and that theblotting out would go on till it was complete. Fritchley was gone,Eastwood was gone, Shipley was going: Squire Winter's beloved Shipley. Connie called for a moment at Shipley. The park gates, at the back,opened just near the level crossing of the colliery railway; theShipley colliery itself stood just beyond the trees. The gates stoodopen, because through the park was a right-of-way that the colliersused. They hung around the park. The car passed the ornamental ponds, in which the colliers threw theirnewspapers, and took the private drive to the house. It stood above,aside, a very pleasant stucco building from the middle of theeighteenth century. It had a beautiful alley of yew trees, that hadapproached an older house, and the hall stood serenely spread out,winking its Georgian panes as if cheerfully. Behind, there were reallybeautiful gardens. Connie liked the interior much better than Wragby. It was much lighter,more alive, shapen and elegant. The rooms were panelled with creamypainted panelling, the ceilings were touched with gilt, and everythingwas kept in exquisite order, all the appointments were perfect,regardless of expense. Even the corridors managed to be ample andlovely, softly curved and full of life. But Leslie Winter was alone. He had adored his house. But his park wasbordered by three of his own collieries. He had been a generous man inhis ideas. He had almost welcomed the colliers in his park. Had theminers not made him rich! So, when he saw the gangs of unshapely menlounging by his ornamental waters--not in the PRIVATE part of the park,no, he drew the line there--he would say: 'the miners are perhaps notso ornamental as deer, but they are far more profitable.' But that was in the golden--monetarily--latter half of Queen Victoria'sreign. Miners were then 'good working men'. Winter had made this speech, half apologetic, to his guest, the thenPrince of Wales. And the Prince had replied, in his rather gutturalEnglish: 'You are quite right. If there were coal under Sandringham, I wouldopen a mine on the lawns, and think it first-rate landscape gardening.Oh, I am quite willing to exchange roe-deer for colliers, at the price.Your men are good men too, I hear.' But then, the Prince had perhaps an exaggerated idea of the beauty ofmoney, and the blessings of industrialism. However, the Prince had been a King, and the King had died, and nowthere was another King, whose chief function seemed to be to opensoup-kitchens. And the good working men were somehow hemming Shipley in. New miningvillages crowded on the park, and the squire felt somehow that thepopulation was alien. He used to feel, in a good-natured but quitegrand way, lord of his own domain and of his own colliers. Now, by asubtle pervasion of the new spirit, he had somehow been pushed out. Itwas he who did not belong any more. There was no mistaking it. Themines, the industry, had a will of its own, and this will was againstthe gentleman-owner. All the colliers took part in the will, and it washard to live up against it. It either shoved you out of the place, orout of life altogether. Squire Winter, a soldier, had stood it out. But he no longer cared towalk in the park after dinner. He almost hid, indoors. Once he hadwalked, bare-headed, and in his patent-leather shoes and purple silksocks, with Connie down to the gate, talking to her in his well-bredrather haw-haw fashion. But when it came to passing the little gangs ofcolliers who stood and stared without either salute or anything else,Connie felt how the lean, well-bred old man winced, winced as anelegant antelope stag in a cage winces from the vulgar stare. Thecolliers were not PERSONALLY hostile: not at all. But their spirit wascold, and shoving him out. And, deep down, there was a profound grudge.They 'worked for him'. And in their ugliness, they resented hiselegant, well-groomed, well-bred existence. 'Who's he!' It was theDIFFERENCE they resented. And somewhere, in his secret English heart, being a good deal of asoldier, he believed they were right to resent the difference. He felthimself a little in the wrong, for having all the advantages.Nevertheless he represented a system, and he would not be shoved out. Except by death. Which came on him soon after Connie's call, suddenly.And he remembered Clifford handsomely in his will. The heirs at once gave out the order for the demolishing of Shipley. Itcost too much to keep up. No one would live there. So it was broken up.The avenue of yews was cut down. The park was denuded of its timber,and divided into lots. It was near enough to Uthwaite. In the strange,bald desert of this still-one-more no-man's-land, new little streets ofsemi-detacheds were run up, very desirable! The Shipley Hall Estate! Within a year of Connie's last call, it had happened. There stoodShipley Hall Estate, an array of red-brick semi-detached 'villas' innew streets. No one would have dreamed that the stucco hall had stoodthere twelve months before. But this is a later stage of King Edward's landscape gardening, thesort that has an ornamental coal-mine on the lawn. One England blots out another. The England of the Squire Winters andthe Wragby Halls was gone, dead. The blotting out was only not yetcomplete. What would come after? Connie could not imagine. She could only see thenew brick streets spreading into the fields, the new erections risingat the collieries, the new girls in their silk stockings, the newcollier lads lounging into the Pally or the Welfare. The youngergeneration were utterly unconscious of the old England. There was a gapin the continuity of consciousness, almost American: but industrialreally. What next? Connie always felt there was no next. She wanted to hide her head inthe sand: or, at least, in the bosom of a living man. The world was so complicated and weird and gruesome! The common peoplewere so many, and really so terrible. So she bought as she was goinghome, and saw the colliers trailing from the pits, grey-black,distorted, one shoulder higher than the other, slurring their heavyironshod boots. Underground grey faces, whites of eyes rolling, neckscringing from the pit roof, shoulders Out of shape. Men! Men! Alas, insome ways patient and good men. In other ways, non-existent. Somethingthat men SHOULD have was bred and killed out of them. Yet they weremen. They begot children. One might bear a child to them. Terrible,terrible thought! They were good and kindly. But they were only half,Only the grey half of a human being. As yet, they were 'good'. But eventhat was the goodness of their halfness. Supposing the dead in themever rose up! But no, it was too terrible to think of. Connie wasabsolutely afraid of the industrial masses. They seemed so WEIRD toher. A life with utterly no beauty in it, no intuition, always 'in thepit'. Children from such men! Oh God, oh God! Yet Mellors had come from such a father. Not quite. Forty years hadmade a difference, an appalling difference in manhood. The iron and thecoal had eaten deep into the bodies and souls of the men. Incarnate ugliness, and yet alive! What would become of them all?Perhaps with the passing of the coal they would disappear again, offthe face of the earth. They had appeared out of nowhere in theirthousands, when the coal had called for them. Perhaps they were onlyweird fauna of the coal-seams. Creatures of another reality, they wereelementals, serving the elements of coal, as the metal-workers wereelementals, serving the element of iron. Men not men, but animas ofcoal and iron and clay. Fauna of the elements, carbon, iron, silicon:elementals. They had perhaps some of the weird, inhuman beauty ofminerals, the lustre of coal, the weight and blueness and resistance ofiron, the transparency of glass. Elemental creatures, weird anddistorted, of the mineral world! They belonged to the coal, the iron,the clay, as fish belong to the sea and worms to dead wood. The animaof mineral disintegration! Connie was glad to be home, to bury her head in the sand. She was gladeven to babble to Clifford. For her fear of the mining and ironMidlands affected her with a queer feeling that went all over her, likeinfluenza. 'Of course I had to have tea in Miss Bentley's shop,' she said. 'Really! Winter would have given you tea.' 'Oh yes, but I daren't disappoint Miss Bentley.' Miss Bentley was ashallow old maid with a rather large nose and romantic disposition whoserved tea with a careful intensity worthy of a sacrament. 'Did she ask after me?' said Clifford. 'Of course!--. MAY I ask your Ladyship how Sir Clifford is!--I believeshe ranks you even higher than Nurse Cavell!' 'And I suppose you said I was blooming.' 'Yes! And she looked as rapt as if I had said the heavens had opened toyou. I said if she ever came to Tevershall she was to come to see you.' 'Me! Whatever for! See me!' 'Why yes, Clifford. You can't be so adored without making some slightreturn. Saint George of Cappadocia was nothing to you, in her eyes.' 'And do you think she'll come?' 'Oh, she blushed! and looked quite beautiful for a moment, poor thing!Why don't men marry the women who would really adore them?' 'The women start adoring too late. But did she say she'd come?' 'Oh!' Connie imitated the breathless Miss Bentley, 'your Ladyship, ifever I should dare to presume!' 'Dare to presume! how absurd! But I hope to God she won't turn up. Andhow was her tea?' 'Oh, Lipton's and VERY strong. But Clifford, do you realize you are theROMAN DE LA ROSE of Miss Bentley and lots like her?' 'I'm not flattered, even then.' 'They treasure up every one of your pictures in the illustrated papers,and probably pray for you every night. It's rather wonderful.' She went upstairs to change. That evening he said to her: 'You do think, don't you, that there is something eternal in marriage?' She looked at him. 'But Clifford, you make eternity sound like a lid or a long, long chainthat trailed after one, no matter how far one went.' He looked at her, annoyed. 'What I mean,' he said, 'is that if you go to Venice, you won't go inthe hopes of some love affair that you can take AU GRAND SRIEUX, willyou?' 'A love affair in Venice AU GRAND SRIEUX? No. I assure you! No, I'dnever take a love affair in Venice more than AU TRÔS PETIT SRIEUX.' She spoke with a queer kind of contempt. He knitted his brows, lookingat her. Coming downstairs in the morning, she found the keeper's dog Flossiesitting in the corridor outside Clifford's room, and whimpering veryfaintly. 'Why, Flossie!' she said softly. 'What are you doing here?' And she quietly opened Clifford's door. Clifford was sitting up in bed,with the bed-table and typewriter pushed aside, and the keeper wasstanding at attention at the foot of the bed. Flossie ran in. With afaint gesture of head and eyes, Mellors ordered her to the door again,and she slunk out. 'Oh, good morning, Clifford!' Connie said. 'I didn't know you werebusy.' Then she looked at the keeper, saying good morning to him. Hemurmured his reply, looking at her as if vaguely. But she felt a whiffof passion touch her, from his mere presence. 'Did I interrupt you, Clifford? I'm sorry.' 'No, it's nothing of any importance.' She slipped out of the room again, and up to the blue boudoir on thefirst floor. She sat in the window, and saw him go down the drive, withhis curious, silent motion, effaced. He had a natural sort of quietdistinction, an aloof pride, and also a certain look of frailty. Ahireling! One of Clifford's hirelings! 'The fault, dear Brutus, is notin our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.' Was he an underling? Was he? What did he think of HER? It was a sunny day, and Connie was working in the garden, and MrsBolton was helping her. For some reason, the two women had drawntogether, in one of the unaccountable flows and ebbs of sympathy thatexist between people. They were pegging down carnations, and putting insmall plants for the summer. It was work they both liked. Connieespecially felt a delight in putting the soft roots of young plantsinto a soft black puddle, and cradling them down. On this springmorning she felt a quiver in her womb too, as if the sunshine hadtouched it and made it happy. 'It is many years since you lost your husband?' she said to Mrs Boltonas she took up another little plant and laid it in its hole. 'Twenty-three!' said Mrs Bolton, as she carefully separated the youngcolumbines into single plants. 'Twenty-three years since they broughthim home.' Connie's heart gave a lurch, at the terrible finality of it. 'Broughthim home!' 'Why did he get killed, do you think?' she asked. 'He was happy withyou?' It was a woman's question to a woman. Mrs Bolton put aside a strand ofhair from her face, with the back of her hand. 'I don't know, my Lady! He sort of wouldn't give in to things: hewouldn't really go with the rest. And then he hated ducking his headfor anything on earth. A sort of obstinacy, that gets itself killed.You see he didn't really care. I lay it down to the pit. He ought neverto have been down pit. But his dad made him go down, as a lad; andthen, when you're over twenty, it's not very easy to come out.' 'Did he say he hated it?' 'Oh no! Never! He never said he hated anything. He just made a funnyface. He was one of those who wouldn't take care: like some of thefirst lads as went off so blithe to the war and got killed right away.He wasn't really wezzle-brained. But he wouldn't care. I used to say tohim: ''You care for nought nor nobody!'' But he did! The way he satwhen my first baby was born, motionless, and the sort of fatal eyes helooked at me with, when it was over! I had a bad time, but I had tocomfort HIM. ''It's all right, lad, it's all right!'' I said to him.And he gave me a look, and that funny sort of smile. He never saidanything. But I don't believe he had any right pleasure with me atnights after; he'd never really let himself go. I used to say to him:Oh, let thysen go, lad!--I'd talk broad to him sometimes. And he saidnothing. But he wouldn't let himself go, or he couldn't. He didn't wantme to have any more children. I always blamed his mother, for lettinghim in th' room. He'd no right t'ave been there. Men makes so much moreof things than they should, once they start brooding.' 'Did he mind so much?' said Connie in wonder. 'Yes, he sort of couldn't take it for natural, all that pain. And itspoilt his pleasure in his bit of married love. I said to him: If Idon't care, why should you? It's my look-out!--But all he'd ever saywas: It's not right!' 'Perhaps he was too sensitive,' said Connie. 'That's it! When you come to know men, that's how they are: toosensitive in the wrong place. And I believe, unbeknown to himself hehated the pit, just hated it. He looked so quiet when he was dead, asif he'd got free. He was such a nice-looking lad. It just broke myheart to see him, so still and pure looking, as if he'd WANTED to die.Oh, it broke my heart, that did. But it was the pit.' She wept a few bitter tears, and Connie wept more. It was a warm springday, with a perfume of earth and of yellow flowers, many things risingto bud, and the garden still with the very sap of sunshine. 'It must have been terrible for you!' said Connie. 'Oh, my Lady! I never realized at first. I could only say: Oh my lad,what did you want to leave me for!--That was all my cry. But somehow Ifelt he'd come back.' 'But he DIDN'T want to leave you,' said Connie. 'Oh no, my Lady! That was only my silly cry. And I kept expecting himback. Especially at nights. I kept waking up thinking: Why he's not inbed with me!--It was as if MY FEELINGS wouldn't believe he'd gone. Ijust felt he'd HAVE to come back and lie against me, so I could feelhim with me. That was all I wanted, to feel him there with me, warm.And it took me a thousand shocks before I knew he wouldn't come back,it took me years.' 'The touch of him,' said Connie. 'That's it, my Lady, the touch of him! I've never got over it to thisday, and never shall. And if there's a heaven above, he'll be there,and will lie up against me so I can sleep.' Connie glanced at the handsome, brooding face in fear. Anotherpassionate one out of Tevershall! The touch of him! For the bonds oflove are ill to loose! 'It's terrible, once you've got a man into your blood!' she said. 'Oh,my Lady! And that's what makes you feel so bitter. You feel folksWANTED him killed. You feel the pit fair WANTED to kill him. Oh, Ifelt, if it hadn't been for the pit, an' them as runs the pit, there'dhave been no leaving me. But they all WANT to separate a woman and aman, if they're together.' 'If they're physically together,' said Connie. 'That's right, my Lady! There's a lot of hard-hearted folks in theworld. And every morning when he got up and went to th' pit, I felt itwas wrong, wrong. But what else could he do? What can a man do?' A queer hate flared in the woman. 'But can a touch last so long?' Connie asked suddenly. 'That you couldfeel him so long?' 'Oh my Lady, what else is there to last? Children grows away from you.But the man, well! But even THAT they'd like to kill in you, the verythought of the touch of him. Even your own children! Ah well! We mighthave drifted apart, who knows. But the feeling's something different.It's 'appen better never to care. But there, when I look at women who'snever really been warmed through by a man, well, they seem to me poordoolowls after all, no matter how they may dress up and gad. No, I'llabide by my own. I've not much respect for people.' Chapter 12 Connie went to the wood directly after lunch. It was really a lovelyday, the first dandelions making suns, the first daisies so white. Thehazel thicket was a lace-work, of half-open leaves, and the last dustyperpendicular of the catkins. Yellow celandines now were in crowds,flat open, pressed back in urgency, and the yellow glitter ofthemselves. It was the yellow, the powerful yellow of early summer. Andprimroses were broad, and full of pale abandon, thick-clusteredprimroses no longer shy. The lush, dark green of hyacinths was a sea,with buds rising like pale corn, while in the riding the forget-me-notswere fluffing up, and columbines were unfolding their ink-purpleruches, and there were bits of blue bird's eggshell under a bush.Everywhere the bud-knots and the leap of life! The keeper was not at the hut. Everything was serene, brown chickensrunning lustily. Connie walked on towards the cottage, because shewanted to find him. The cottage stood in the sun, off the wood's edge. In the little gardenthe double daffodils rose in tufts, near the wide-open door, and reddouble daisies made a border to the path. There was the bark of a dog,and Flossie came running. The wide-open door! so he was at home. And the sunlight falling on thered-brick floor! As she went up the path, she saw him through thewindow, sitting at the table in his shirt-sleeves, eating. The dogwuffed softly, slowly wagging her tail. He rose, and came to the door, wiping his mouth with a red handkerchiefstill chewing. 'May I come in?' she said. 'Come in!' The sun shone into the bare room, which still smelled of a mutton chop,done in a dutch oven before the fire, because the dutch oven stillstood on the fender, with the black potato-saucepan on a piece ofpaper, beside it on the white hearth. The fire was red, rather low, thebar dropped, the kettle singing. On the table was his plate, with potatoes and the remains of the chop;also bread in a basket, salt, and a blue mug with beer. The table-clothwas white oil-cloth, he stood in the shade. 'You are very late,' she said. 'Do go on eating!' She sat down on a wooden chair, in the sunlight by the door. 'I had to go to Uthwaite,' he said, sitting down at the table but noteating. 'Do eat,' she said. But he did not touch the food. 'Shall y'ave something?' he asked her. 'Shall y'ave a cup of tea? t'kettle's on t' boil'--he half rose again from his chair. 'If you'll let me make it myself,' she said, rising. He seemed sad, andshe felt she was bothering him. 'Well, tea-pot's in there'--he pointed to a little, drab cornercupboard; 'an' cups. An' tea's on t' mantel ower yer 'ead,' She got the black tea-pot, and the tin of tea from the mantel-shelf.She rinsed the tea-pot with hot water, and stood a moment wonderingwhere to empty it. 'Throw it out,' he said, aware of her. 'It's clean.' She went to the door and threw the drop of water down the path. Howlovely it was here, so still, so really woodland. The oaks were puttingout ochre yellow leaves: in the garden the red daisies were like redplush buttons. She glanced at the big, hollow sandstone slab of thethreshold, now crossed by so few feet. 'But it's lovely here,' she said. 'Such a beautiful stillness,everything alive and still.' He was eating again, rather slowly and unwillingly, and she could feelhe was discouraged. She made the tea in silence, and set the tea-pot onthe hob, as she knew the people did. He pushed his plate aside and wentto the back place; she heard a latch click, then he came back withcheese on a plate, and butter. She set the two cups on the table; there were only two. 'Will you havea cup of tea?' she said. 'If you like. Sugar's in th' cupboard, an' there's a little cream jug.Milk's in a jug in th' pantry.' 'Shall I take your plate away?' she asked him. He looked up at her witha faint ironical smile. 'Why...if you like,' he said, slowly eating bread and cheese. She wentto the back, into the pent-house scullery, where the pump was. On theleft was a door, no doubt the pantry door. She unlatched it, and almostsmiled at the place he called a pantry; a long narrow white-washed slipof a cupboard. But it managed to contain a little barrel of beer, aswell as a few dishes and bits of food. She took a little milk from theyellow jug. 'How do you get your milk?' she asked him, when she came back to thetable. 'Flints! They leave me a bottle at the warren end. You know, where Imet you!' But he was discouraged. She poured out the tea, poising the cream-jug. 'No milk,' he said; then he seemed to hear a noise, and looked keenlythrough the doorway. ''Appen we'd better shut,' he said. 'It seems a pity,' she replied. 'Nobody will come, will they?' 'Not unless it's one time in a thousand, but you never know.' 'And even then it's no matter,' she said. 'It's only a cup of tea.' 'Where are the spoons?' He reached over, and pulled open the table drawer. Connie sat at thetable in the sunshine of the doorway. 'Flossie!' he said to the dog, who was lying on a little mat at thestair foot. 'Go an' hark, hark!' He lifted his finger, and his 'hark!' was very vivid. The dog trottedout to reconnoitre. 'Are you sad today?' she asked him. He turned his blue eyes quickly, and gazed direct on her. 'Sad! no, bored! I had to go getting summonses for two poachers Icaught, and, oh well, I don't like people.' He spoke cold, good English, and there was anger in his voice. 'Do youhate being a game-keeper?' she asked. 'Being a game-keeper, no! So long as I'm left alone. But when I have togo messing around at the police-station, and various other places, andwaiting for a lot of fools to attend to me...oh well, I get mad...' andhe smiled, with a certain faint humour. 'Couldn't you be really independent?' she asked. 'Me? I suppose I could, if you mean manage to exist on my pension. Icould! But I've got to work, or I should die. That is, I've got to havesomething that keeps me occupied. And I'm not in a good enough temperto work for myself. It's got to be a sort of job for somebody else, orI should throw it up in a month, out of bad temper. So altogether I'mvery well off here, especially lately...' He laughed at her again, with mocking humour. 'But why are you in a bad temper?' she asked. 'Do you mean you areALWAYS in a bad temper?' 'Pretty well,' he said, laughing. 'I don't quite digest my bile.' 'But what bile?' she said. 'Bile!' he said. 'Don't you know what that is?' She was silent, anddisappointed. He was taking no notice of her. 'I'm going away for a while next month,' she said. 'You are! Where to?' 'Venice! With Sir Clifford? For how long?' 'For a month or so,' she replied. 'Clifford won't go.' 'He'll stay here?' he asked. 'Yes! He hates to travel as he is.' 'Ay, poor devil!' he said, with sympathy. There was a pause. 'You won't forget me when I'm gone, will you?' she asked. Again helifted his eyes and looked full at her. 'Forget?' he said. 'You know nobody forgets. It's not a question ofmemory;' She wanted to say: 'When then?' but she didn't. Instead, she said in amute kind of voice: 'I told Clifford I might have a child.' Now he really looked at her, intense and searching. 'You did?' he said at last. 'And what did he say?' 'Oh, he wouldn't mind. He'd be glad, really, so long as it seemed to behis.' She dared not look up at him. He was silent a long time, then he gazed again on her face. 'No mention of ME, of course?' he said. 'No. No mention of you,' she said. 'No, he'd hardly swallow me as a substitute breeder. Then where are yousupposed to be getting the child?' 'I might have a love-affair in Venice,' she said. 'You might,' he replied slowly. 'So that's why you're going?' 'Not to have the love-affair,' she said, looking up at him, pleading. 'Just the appearance of one,' he said. There was silence. He sat staring out the window, with a faint grin,half mockery, half bitterness, on his face. She hated his grin. 'You've not taken any precautions against having a child then?' heasked her suddenly. 'Because I haven't.' 'No,' she said faintly. 'I should hate that.' He looked at her, then again with the peculiar subtle grin out of thewindow. There was a tense silence. At last he turned his head and said satirically: 'That was why you wanted me, then, to get a child?' She hung her head. 'No. Not really,' she said. 'What then, REALLY?' he asked ratherbitingly. She looked up at him reproachfully, saying: 'I don't know.' He broke into a laugh. 'Then I'm damned if I do,' he said. There was a long pause of silence, a cold silence. 'Well,' he said at last. 'It's as your Ladyship likes. If you get thebaby, Sir Clifford's welcome to it. I shan't have lost anything. On thecontrary, I've had a very nice experience, very nice indeed!'--and hestretched in a half-suppressed sort of yawn. 'If you've made use ofme,' he said, 'it's not the first time I've been made use of; and Idon't suppose it's ever been as pleasant as this time; though of courseone can't feel tremendously dignified about it.'--He stretched again,curiously, his muscles quivering, and his jaw oddly set. 'But I didn't make use of you,' she said, pleading. 'At your Ladyship's service,' he replied. 'No,' she said. 'I liked your body.' 'Did you?' he replied, and he laughed. 'Well, then, we're quits,because I liked yours.' He looked at her with queer darkened eyes. 'Would you like to go upstairs now?' he asked her, in a strangled sortof voice. 'No, not here. Not now!' she said heavily, though if he had used anypower over her, she would have gone, for she had no strength againsthim. He turned his face away again, and seemed to forget her. 'I want totouch you like you touch me,' she said. 'I've never really touched yourbody.' He looked at her, and smiled again. 'Now?' he said. 'No! No! Not here!At the hut. Would you mind?' 'How do I touch you?' he asked. 'When you feel me.' He looked at her, and met her heavy, anxious eyes. 'And do you like it when I feel you?' he asked, laughing at her still. 'Yes, do you?' she said. 'Oh, me!' Then he changed his tone. 'Yes,' he said. 'You know withoutasking.' Which was true. She rose and picked up her hat. 'I must go,' she said. 'Will you go?' he replied politely. She wanted him to touch her, to say something to her, but he saidnothing, only waited politely. 'Thank you for the tea,' she said. 'I haven't thanked your Ladyship for doing me the honours of mytea-pot,' he said. She went down the path, and he stood in the doorway, faintly grinning.Flossie came running with her tail lifted. And Connie had to ploddumbly across into the wood, knowing he was standing there watchingher, with that incomprehensible grin on his face. She walked home very much downcast and annoyed. She didn't at all likehis saying he had been made use of because, in a sense, it was true.But he oughtn't to have said it. Therefore, again, she was dividedbetween two feelings: resentment against him, and a desire to make itup with him. She passed a very uneasy and irritated tea-time, and at once went up toher room. But when she was there it was no good; she could neither sitnor stand. She would have to do something about it. She would have togo back to the hut; if he was not there, well and good. She slipped out of the side door, and took her way direct and a littlesullen. When she came to the clearing she was terribly uneasy. Butthere he was again, in his shirt-sleeves, stooping, letting the hensout of the coops, among the chicks that were now growing a littlegawky, but were much more trim than hen-chickens. She went straight across to him. 'You see I've come!' she said. 'Ay, I see it!' he said, straightening his back, and looking at herwith a faint amusement. 'Do you let the hens out now?' she asked. 'Yes, they've sat themselves to skin and bone,' he said. 'An' nowthey're not all that anxious to come out an' feed. There's no self in asitting hen; she's all in the eggs or the chicks.' The poor mother-hens; such blind devotion! even to eggs not their own!Connie looked at them in compassion. A helpless silence fell betweenthe man and the woman. 'Shall us go i' th' 'ut?' he asked. 'Do you want me?' she asked, in a sort of mistrust. 'Ay, if you want to come.' She was silent. 'Come then!' he said. And she went with him to the hut. It was quite dark when he had shutthe door, so he made a small light in the lantern, as before. 'Have you left your underthings off?' he asked her. 'Yes!' 'Ay, well, then I'll take my things off too.' He spread the blankets, putting one at the side for a coverlet. Shetook off her hat, and shook her hair. He sat down, taking off his shoesand gaiters, and undoing his cord breeches. 'Lie down then!' he said, when he stood in his shirt. She obeyed insilence, and he lay beside her, and pulled the blanket over them both. 'There!' he said. And he lifted her dress right back, till he came even to her breasts.He kissed them softly, taking the nipples in his lips in tiny caresses. 'Eh, but tha'rt nice, tha'rt nice!' he said, suddenly rubbing his facewith a snuggling movement against her warm belly. And she put her arms round him under his shirt, but she was afraid,afraid of his thin, smooth, naked body, that seemed so powerful, afraidof the violent muscles. She shrank, afraid. And when he said, with a sort of little sigh: 'Eh, tha'rt nice!'something in her quivered, and something in her spirit stiffened inresistance: stiffened from the terribly physical intimacy, and from thepeculiar haste of his possession. And this time the sharp ecstasy ofher own passion did not overcome her; she lay with her ends inert onhis striving body, and do what she might, her spirit seemed to look onfrom the top of her head, and the butting of his haunches seemedridiculous to her, and the sort of anxiety of his penis to come to itslittle evacuating crisis seemed farcical. Yes, this was love, thisridiculous bouncing of the buttocks, and the wilting of the poor,insignificant, moist little penis. This was the divine love! After all,the moderns were right when they felt contempt for the performance; forit was a performance. It was quite true, as some poets said, that theGod who created man must have had a sinister sense of humour, creatinghim a reasonable being, yet forcing him to take this ridiculousposture, and driving him with blind craving for this ridiculousperformance. Even a Maupassant found it a humiliating anti-climax. Mendespised the intercourse act, and yet did it. Cold and derisive her queer female mind stood apart, and though she layperfectly still, her impulse was to heave her loins, and throw the manout, escape his ugly grip, and the butting over-riding of his absurdhaunches. His body was a foolish, impudent, imperfect thing, a littledisgusting in its unfinished clumsiness. For surely a completeevolution would eliminate this performance, this 'function'. And yet when he had finished, soon over, and lay very very still,receding into silence, and a strange motionless distance, far, fartherthan the horizon of her awareness, her heart began to weep. She couldfeel him ebbing away, ebbing away, leaving her there like a stone on ashore. He was withdrawing, his spirit was leaving her. He knew. And in real grief, tormented by her own double consciousness andreaction, she began to weep. He took no notice, or did not even know.The storm of weeping swelled and shook her, and shook him. 'Ay!' he said. 'It was no good that time. You wasn't there.'--So heknew! Her sobs became violent. 'But what's amiss?' he said. 'It's once in a while that way.' 'I...I can't love you,' she sobbed, suddenly feeling her heartbreaking. 'Canna ter? Well, dunna fret! There's no law says as tha's got to. Ta'eit for what it is.' He still lay with his hand on her breast. But she had drawn both herhands from him. His words were small comfort. She sobbed aloud. 'Nay, nay!' he said. 'Ta'e the thick wi' th' thin. This wor a bit o'thin for once.' She wept bitterly, sobbing. 'But I want to love you, and I can't. Itonly seems horrid.' He laughed a little, half bitter, half amused. 'It isna horrid,' he said, 'even if tha thinks it is. An' tha cannama'e it horrid. Dunna fret thysen about lovin' me. Tha'lt niver forcethysen to 't. There's sure to be a bad nut in a basketful. Tha mun ta'eth' rough wi' th' smooth.' He took his hand away from her breast, not touching her. And now shewas untouched she took an almost perverse satisfaction in it. She hatedthe dialect: the THEE and the THA and the THYSEN. He could get up if heliked, and stand there, above her, buttoning down those absurd corduroybreeches, straight in front of her. After all, Michaelis had had thedecency to turn away. This man was so assured in himself he didn't knowwhat a clown other people found him, a half-bred fellow. Yet, as he was drawing away, to rise silently and leave her, she clungto him in terror. 'Don't! Don't go! Don't leave me! Don't be cross with me! Hold me! Holdme fast!' she whispered in blind frenzy, not even knowing what shesaid, and clinging to him with uncanny force. It was from herself shewanted to be saved, from her own inward anger and resistance. Yet howpowerful was that inward resistance that possessed her! He took her in his arms again and drew her to him, and suddenly shebecame small in his arms, small and nestling. It was gone, theresistance was gone, and she began to melt in a marvellous peace. Andas she melted small and wonderful in his arms, she became infinitelydesirable to him, all his blood-vessels seemed to scald with intenseyet tender desire, for her, for her softness, for the penetratingbeauty of her in his arms, passing into his blood. And softly, withthat marvellous swoon-like caress of his hand in pure soft desire,softly he stroked the silky slope of her loins, down, down between hersoft warm buttocks, coming nearer and nearer to the very quick of her.And she felt him like a flame of desire, yet tender, and she feltherself melting in the flame. She let herself go. She felt his penisrisen against her with silent amazing force and assertion and she letherself go to him She yielded with a quiver that was like death, shewent all open to him. And oh, if he were not tender to her now, howcruel, for she was all open to him and helpless! She quivered again at the potent inexorable entry inside her, sostrange and terrible. It might come with the thrust of a sword in hersoftly-opened body, and that would be death. She clung in a suddenanguish of terror. But it came with a strange slow thrust of peace, thedark thrust of peace and a ponderous, primordial tenderness, such asmade the world in the beginning. And her terror subsided in her breast,her breast dared to be gone in peace, she held nothing. She dared tolet go everything, all herself and be gone in the flood. And it seemed she was like the sea, nothing but dark waves rising andheaving, heaving with a great swell, so that slowly her whole darknesswas in motion, and she was Ocean rolling its dark, dumb mass. Oh, andfar down inside her the deeps parted and rolled asunder, in long,fair-travelling billows, and ever, at the quick of her, the depthsparted and rolled asunder, from the centre of soft plunging, as theplunger went deeper and deeper, touching lower, and she was deeper anddeeper and deeper disclosed, the heavier the billows of her rolled awayto some shore, uncovering her, and closer and closer plunged thepalpable unknown, and further and further rolled the waves of herselfaway from herself leaving her, till suddenly, in a soft, shudderingconvulsion, the quick of all her plasm was touched, she knew herselftouched, the consummation was upon her, and she was gone. She was gone,she was not, and she was born: a woman. Ah, too lovely, too lovely! In the ebbing she realized all theloveliness. Now all her body clung with tender love to the unknown man,and blindly to the wilting penis, as it so tenderly, frailly,unknowingly withdrew, after the fierce thrust of its potency. As itdrew out and left her body, the secret, sensitive thing, she gave anunconscious cry of pure loss, and she tried to put it back. It had beenso perfect! And she loved it so! And only now she became aware of the small, bud-like reticence andtenderness of the penis, and a little cry of wonder and poignancyescaped her again, her woman's heart crying out over the tender frailtyof that which had been the power. 'It was so lovely!' she moaned. 'It was so lovely!' But he saidnothing, only softly kissed her, lying still above her. And she moanedwith a sort Of bliss, as a sacrifice, and a newborn thing. And now in her heart the queer wonder of him was awakened. A man! The strange potency of manhood upon her! Her hands strayed overhim, still a little afraid. Afraid of that strange, hostile, slightlyrepulsive thing that he had been to her, a man. And now she touchedhim, and it was the sons of god with the daughters of men. Howbeautiful he felt, how pure in tissue! How lovely, how lovely, strong,and yet pure and delicate, such stillness of the sensitive body! Suchutter stillness of potency and delicate flesh. How beautiful! Howbeautiful! Her hands came timorously down his back, to the soft,smallish globes of the buttocks. Beauty! What beauty! a sudden littleflame of new awareness went through her. How was it possible, thisbeauty here, where she had previously only been repelled? Theunspeakable beauty to the touch of the warm, living buttocks! The lifewithin life, the sheer warm, potent loveliness. And the strange weightof the balls between his legs! What a mystery! What a strange heavyweight of mystery, that could lie soft and heavy in one's hand! Theroots, root of all that is lovely, the primeval root of all fullbeauty. She clung to him, with a hiss of wonder that was almost awe, terror. Heheld her close, but he said nothing. He would never say anything. Shecrept nearer to him, nearer, only to be near to the sensual wonder ofhim. And out of his utter, incomprehensible stillness, she felt againthe slow momentous, surging rise of the phallus again, the other power.And her heart melted out with a kind of awe. And this time his being within her was all soft and iridescent, purelysoft and iridescent, such as no consciousness could seize. Her wholeself quivered unconscious and alive, like plasm. She could not knowwhat it was. She could not remember what it had been. Only that it hadbeen more lovely than anything ever could be. Only that. And afterwardsshe was utterly still, utterly unknowing, she was not aware for howlong. And he was still with her, in an unfathomable silence along withher. And of this, they would never speak. When awareness of the outside began to come back, she clung to hisbreast, murmuring 'My love! My love!' And he held her silently. And shecurled on his breast, perfect. But his silence was fathomless. His hands held her like flowers, sostill aid strange. 'Where are you?' she whispered to him. 'Where are you? Speak to me! Say something to me!' He kissed her softly, murmuring: 'Ay, my lass!' But she did not know what he meant, she did not know where he was. Inhis silence he seemed lost to her. 'You love me, don't you?' she murmured. 'Ay, tha knows!' he said. 'But tell me!' she pleaded. 'Ay! Ay! 'asn't ter felt it?' he said dimly, but softly and surely. Andshe clung close to him, closer. He was so much more peaceful in lovethan she was, and she wanted him to reassure her. 'You do love me!' she whispered, assertive. And his hands stroked hersoftly, as if she were a flower, without the quiver of desire, but withdelicate nearness. And still there haunted her a restless necessity toget a grip on love. 'Say you'll always love me!' she pleaded. 'Ay!' he said, abstractedly. And she felt her questions driving himaway from her. 'Mustn't we get up?' he said at last. 'No!' she said. But she could feel his consciousness straying, listening to the noisesoutside. 'It'll be nearly dark,' he said. And she heard the pressure ofcircumstances in his voice. She kissed him, with a woman's grief atyielding up her hour. He rose, and turned up the lantern, then began to pull on his clothes,quickly disappearing inside them. Then he stood there, above her,fastening his breeches and looking down at her with dark, wide-eyes,his face a little flushed and his hair ruffled, curiously warm andstill and beautiful in the dim light of the lantern, so beautiful, shewould never tell him how beautiful. It made her want to cling fast tohim, to hold him, for there was a warm, half-sleepy remoteness in hisbeauty that made her want to cry out and clutch him, to have him. Shewould never have him. So she lay on the blanket with curved, soft nakedhaunches, and he had no idea what she was thinking, but to him too shewas beautiful, the soft, marvellous thing he could go into, beyondeverything. 'I love thee that I call go into thee,' he said. 'Do you like me?' she said, her heart beating. 'It heals it all up, that I can go into thee. I love thee that thaopened to me. I love thee that I came into thee like that.' He bent down and kissed her soft flank, rubbed his cheek against it,then covered it up. 'And will you never leave me?' she said. 'Dunna ask them things,' he said. 'But you do believe I love you?' she said. 'Tha loved me just now, wider than iver tha thout tha would. But whoknows what'll 'appen, once tha starts thinkin' about it!' 'No, don't say those things!--And you don't really think that I wantedto make use of you, do you?' 'How?' 'To have a child--?' 'Now anybody can 'ave any childt i' th' world,' he said, as he sat downfastening on his leggings. 'Ah no!' she cried. 'You don't mean it?' 'Eh well!' he said, looking at her under his brows. 'This wor t' best.' She lay still. He softly opened the door. The sky was dark blue, withcrystalline, turquoise rim. He went out, to shut up the hens, speakingsoftly to his dog. And she lay and wondered at the wonder of life, andof being. When he came back she was still lying there, glowing like a gipsy. Hesat on the stool by her. 'Tha mun come one naight ter th' cottage, afore tha goos; sholl ter?'he asked, lifting his eyebrows as he looked at her, his hands danglingbetween his knees. 'Sholl ter?' she echoed, teasing. He smiled. 'Ay, sholl ter?' he repeated. 'Ay!' she said, imitating the dialect sound. 'Yi!' he said. 'Yi!' she repeated. 'An' slaip wi' me,' he said. 'It needs that. When sholt come?' 'When sholl I?' she said. 'Nay,' he said, 'tha canna do't. When sholt come then?' ''Appen Sunday,' she said. ''Appen a' Sunday! Ay!' He laughed at her quickly. 'Nay, tha canna,' he protested. 'Why canna I?' she said. Chapter 13 On Sunday Clifford wanted to go into the wood. It was a lovely morning,the pear-blossom and plum had suddenly appeared in the world in awonder of white here and there. It was cruel for Clifford, while the world bloomed, to have to behelped from chair to bath-chair. But he had forgotten, and even seemedto have a certain conceit of himself in his lameness. Connie stillsuffered, having to lift his inert legs into place. Mrs Bolton did itnow, or Field. She waited for him at the top of the drive, at the edge of the screenof beeches. His chair came puffing along with a sort of valetudinarianslow importance. As he joined his wife he said: 'Sir Clifford on his roaming steed!' 'Snorting, at least!' she laughed. He stopped and looked round at the facade of the long, low old brownhouse. 'Wragby doesn't wink an eyelid!' he said. 'But then why should it! Iride upon the achievements of the mind of man, and that beats a horse.' 'I suppose it does. And the souls in Plato riding up to heaven in atwo-horse chariot would go in a Ford car now,' she said. 'Or a Rolls-Royce: Plato was an aristocrat!' 'Quite! No more black horse to thrash and maltreat. Plato never thoughtwe'd go one better than his black steed and his white steed, and haveno steeds at all, only an engine!' 'Only an engine and gas!' said Clifford. 'I hope I can have some repairs done to the old place next year. Ithink I shall have about a thousand to spare for that: but work costsso much!' he added. 'Oh, good!' said Connie. 'If only there aren't more strikes!' 'What would be the use of their striking again! Merely ruin theindustry, what's left of it: and surely the owls are beginning to seeit!' 'Perhaps they don't mind ruining the industry,' said Connie. 'Ah, don't talk like a woman! The industry fills their bellies, even ifit can't keep their pockets quite so flush,' he said, using turns ofspeech that oddly had a twang of Mrs Bolton. 'But didn't you say the other day that you were aconservative-anarchist,' she asked innocently. 'And did you understand what I meant?' he retorted. 'All I meant is,people can be what they like and feel what they like and do what theylike, strictly privately, so long as they keep the FORM of life intact,and the apparatus.' Connie walked on in silence a few paces. Then she said, obstinately: 'It sounds like saying an egg may go as addled as it likes, so long asit keeps its shell on whole. But addled eggs do break of themselves.' 'I don't think people are eggs,' he said. 'Not even angels' eggs, mydear little evangelist.' He was in rather high feather this bright morning. The larks weretrilling away over the park, the distant pit in the hollow was fumingsilent steam. It was almost like old days, before the war. Conniedidn't really want to argue. But then she did not really want to go tothe wood with Clifford either. So she walked beside his chair in acertain obstinacy of spirit. 'No,' he said. 'There will be no more strikes, it. The thing isproperly managed.' 'Why not?' 'Because strikes will be made as good as impossible.' 'But will the men let you?' she asked. 'We shan't ask them. We shall do it while they aren't looking: fortheir own good, to save the industry.' 'For your own good too,' she said. 'Naturally! For the good of everybody. But for their good even morethan mine. I can live without the pits. They can't. They'll starve ifthere are no pits. I've got other provision.' They looked up the shallow valley at the mine, and beyond it, at theblack-lidded houses of Tevershall crawling like some serpent up thehill. >From the old brown church the bells were ringing: Sunday,Sunday, Sunday! 'But will the men let you dictate terms?' she said. 'My dear, they willhave to: if one does it gently.' 'But mightn't there be a mutual understanding?' 'Absolutely: when they realize that the industry comes before theindividual.' 'But must you own the industry?' she said. 'I don't. But to the extent I do own it, yes, most decidedly. Theownership of property has now become a religious question: as it hasbeen since Jesus and St Francis. The point is NOT: take all thou hastand give to the poor, but use all thou hast to encourage the industryand give work to the poor. It's the only way to feed all the mouths andclothe all the bodies. Giving away all we have to the poor spellsstarvation for the poor just as much as for us. And universalstarvation is no high aim. Even general poverty is no lovely thing.Poverty is ugly.' 'But the disparity?' 'That is fate. Why is the star Jupiter bigger than the star Neptune?You can't start altering the make-up of things!' 'But when this envy and jealousy and discontent has once started,' shebegan. 'Do, your best to stop it. Somebody's GOT to be boss of the show.' 'But who is boss of the show?' she asked. 'The men who own and run the industries.' There was a long silence. 'It seems to me they're a bad boss,' she said. 'Then you suggest what they should do.' 'They don't take their boss-ship seriously enough,' she said. 'They take it far more seriously than you take your ladyship,' he said. 'That's thrust upon me. I don't really want it,' she blurted out. Hestopped the chair and looked at her. 'Who's shirking their responsibility now!' he said. 'Who is trying toget away NOW from the responsibility of their own boss-ship, as youcall it?' 'But I don't want any boss-ship,' she protested. 'Ah! But that is funk. You've got it: fated to it. And you should liveup to it. Who has given the colliers all they have that's worth having:all their political liberty, and their education, such as it is, theirsanitation, their health-conditions, their books, their music,everything. Who has given it them? Have colliers given it to colliers?No! All the Wragbys and Shipleys in England have given their part, andmust go on giving. There's your responsibility.' Connie listened, and flushed very red. 'I'd like to give something,' she said. 'But I'm not allowed.Everything is to be sold and paid for now; and all the things youmention now, Wragby and Shipley SELLS them to the people, at a goodprof it. Everything is sold. You don't give one heart-beat of realsympathy. And besides, who has taken away from the people their naturallife and manhood, and given them this industrial horror? Who has donethat?' 'And what must I do?' he asked, green. 'Ask them to come and pillageme?' 'Why is Tevershall so ugly, so hideous? Why are their lives sohopeless?' 'They built their own Tevershall, that's part of their display offreedom. They built themselves their pretty Tevershall, and they livetheir own pretty lives. I can't live their lives for them. Every beetlemust live its own life.' 'But you make them work for you. They live the life of your coal-mine.' 'Not at all. Every beetle finds its own food. Not one man is forced towork for me. 'Their lives are industrialized and hopeless, and so are ours,' shecried. 'I don't think they are. That's just a romantic figure of speech, arelic of the swooning and die-away romanticism. You don't look at all ahopeless figure standing there, Connie my dear.' Which was true. For her dark-blue eyes were flashing, her colour washot in her cheeks, she looked full of a rebellious passion far from thedejection of hopelessness. She noticed, ill the tussocky places of thegrass, cottony young cowslips standing up still bleared in their down.And she wondered with rage, why it was she felt Clifford was so WRONG,yet she couldn't say it to him, she could not say exactly WHERE he waswrong. 'No wonder the men hate you,' she said. 'They don't!' he replied. 'And don't fall into errors: in your sense ofthe word, they are NOT men. They are animals you don't understand, andnever could. Don't thrust your illusions on other people. The masseswere always the same, and will always be the same. Nero's slaves wereextremely little different from our colliers or the Ford motor-carworkmen. I mean Nero's mine slaves and his field slaves. It is themasses: they are the unchangeable. An individual may emerge from themasses. But the emergence doesn't alter the mass. The masses areunalterable. It is one of the most momentous facts of social science.PANEM ET CIRCENSES! Only today education is one of the bad substitutesfor a circus. What is wrong today is that we've made a profound hash ofthe circuses part of the programme, and poisoned our masses with alittle education.' When Clifford became really roused in his feelings about the commonpeople, Connie was frightened. There was something devastatingly truein what he said. But it was a truth that killed. Seeing her pale and silent, Clifford started the chair again, and nomore was said till he halted again at the wood gate, which she opened. 'And what we need to take up now,' he said, 'is whips, not swords. Themasses have been ruled since time began, and till time ends, ruled theywill have to be. It is sheer hypocrisy and farce to say they can rulethemselves.' 'But can you rule them?' she asked. 'I? Oh yes! Neither my mind nor my will is crippled, and I don't rulewith my legs. I can do my share of ruling: absolutely, my share; andgive me a son, and he will be able to rule his portion after me.' 'But he wouldn't be your own son, of your own ruling class; or perhapsnot,' she stammered. 'I don't care who his father may be, so long as he is a healthy man notbelow normal intelligence. Give me the child of any healthy, normallyintelligent man, and I will make a perfectly competent Chatterley ofhim. It is not who begets us, that matters, but where fate places us.Place any child among the ruling classes, and he will grow up, to hisown extent, a ruler. Put kings' and dukes' children among the masses,and they'll be little plebeians, mass products. It is the overwhelmingpressure of environment.' 'Then the common people aren't a race, and the aristocrats aren'tblood,' she said. 'No, my child! All that is romantic illusion. Aristocracy is afunction, a part of fate. And the masses are a functioning of anotherpart of fate. The individual hardly matters. It is a question of whichfunction you are brought up to and adapted to. It is not theindividuals that make an aristocracy: it is the functioning of thearistocratic whole. And it is the functioning of the whole mass thatmakes the common man what he is.' 'Then there is no common humanity between us all!' 'Just as you like. We all need to fill our bellies. But when it comesto expressive or executive functioning, I believe there is a gulf andan absolute one, between the ruling and the serving classes. The twofunctions are opposed. And the function determines the individual.' Connie looked at him with dazed eyes. 'Won't you come on?' she said. And he started his chair. He had said his say. Now he lapsed into hispeculiar and rather vacant apathy, that Connie found so trying. In thewood, anyhow, she was determined not to argue. In front of them ran the open cleft of the riding, between the hazelwalls and the gay grey trees. The chair puffed slowly on, slowlysurging into the forget-me-nots that rose up in the drive like milkfroth, beyond the hazel shadows. Clifford steered the middle course,where feet passing had kept a channel through the flowers. But Connie,walking behind, had watched the wheels jolt over the wood-ruff and thebugle, and squash the little yellow cups of the creeping-jenny. Nowthey made a wake through the forget-me-nots. All the flowers were there, the first bluebells in blue pools, likestanding water. 'You are quite right about its being beautiful,' said Clifford. 'It isso amazingly. What is QUITE so lovely as an English spring!' Connie thought it sounded as if even the spring bloomed by act ofParliament. An English spring! Why not an Irish one? or Jewish? Thechair moved slowly ahead, past tufts of sturdy bluebells that stood uplike wheat and over grey burdock leaves. When they came to the openplace where the trees had been felled, the light flooded in ratherstark. And the bluebells made sheets of bright blue colour, here andthere, sheering off into lilac and purple. And between, the bracken waslifting its brown curled heads, like legions of young snakes with a newsecret to whisper to Eve. Clifford kept the chair going till he came tothe brow of the hill; Connie followed slowly behind. The oak-buds wereopening soft and brown. Everything came tenderly out of the oldhardness. Even the snaggy craggy oak-trees put out the softest youngleaves, spreading thin, brown little wings like young bat-wings in thelight. Why had men never any newness in them, any freshness to comeforth with! Stale men! Clifford stopped the chair at the top of the rise and looked down. Thebluebells washed blue like flood-water over the broad riding, and litup the downhill with a warm blueness. 'It's a very fine colour in itself,' said Clifford, 'but useless formaking a painting.' 'Quite!' said Connie, completely uninterested. 'Shall I venture as far as the spring?' said Clifford. 'Will the chair get up again?' she said. 'We'll try; nothing venture, nothing win!' And the chair began to advance slowly, joltingly down the beautifulbroad riding washed over with blue encroaching hyacinths. O last of allships, through the hyacinthian shallows! O pinnace on the last wildwaters, sailing in the last voyage of our civilization! Whither, Oweird wheeled ship, your slow course steering. Quiet and complacent,Clifford sat at the wheel of adventure: in his old black hat and tweedjacket, motionless and cautious. O Captain, my Captain, our splendidtrip is done! Not yet though! Downhill, in the wake, came Constance inher grey dress, watching the chair jolt downwards. They passed the narrow track to the hut. Thank heaven it was not wideenough for the chair: hardly wide enough for one person. The chairreached the bottom of the slope, and swerved round, to disappear. AndConnie heard a low whistle behind her. She glanced sharply round: thekeeper was striding downhill towards her, his dog keeping behind him. 'Is Sir Clifford going to the cottage?' he asked, looking into hereyes. 'No, only to the well.' 'Ah! Good! Then I can keep out of sight. But I shall see you tonight. Ishall wait for you at the park-gate about ten.' He looked again direct into her eyes. 'Yes,' she faltered. They heard the Papp! Papp! of Clifford's horn, tooting for Connie. She'Coo-eed!' in reply. The keeper's face flickered with a little grimace,and with his hand he softly brushed her breast upwards, fromunderneath. She looked at him, frightened, and started running down thehill, calling Coo-ee! again to Clifford. The man above watched her,then turned, grinning faintly, back into his path. She found Clifford slowly mounting to the spring, which was halfway upthe slope of the dark larch-wood. He was there by the time she caughthim up. 'She did that all right,' he said, referring to the chair. Connie looked at the great grey leaves of burdock that grew out ghostlyfrom the edge of the larch-wood. The people call it Robin Hood'sRhubarb. How silent and gloomy it seemed by the well! Yet the waterbubbled so bright, wonderful! And there were bits of eye-bright andstrong blue bugle...And there, under the bank, the yellow earth wasmoving. A mole! It emerged, rowing its pink hands, and waving its blindgimlet of a face, with the tiny pink nose-tip uplifted. 'It seems to see with the end of its nose,' said Connie. 'Better than with its eyes!' he said. 'Will you drink?' 'Will you?' She took an enamel mug from a twig on a tree, and stooped to fill itfor him. He drank in sips. Then she stooped again, and drank a littleherself. 'So icy!' she said gasping. 'Good, isn't it! Did you wish?' 'Did you?' 'Yes, I wished. But I won't tell.' She was aware of the rapping of a woodpecker, then of the wind, softand eerie through the larches. She looked up. White clouds werecrossing the blue. 'Clouds!' she said. 'White lambs only,' he replied. A shadow crossed the little clearing. The mole had swum out on to thesoft yellow earth. 'Unpleasant little beast, we ought to kill him,' said Clifford. 'Look! he's like a parson in a pulpit,' she said. She gathered some sprigs of woodruff and brought them to him. 'New-mown hay!' he said. 'Doesn't it smell like the romantic ladies ofthe last century, who had their heads screwed on the right way afterall!' She was looking at the white clouds. 'I wonder if it will rain,' she said. 'Rain! Why! Do you want it to?' They started on the return journey, Clifford jolting cautiouslydownhill. They came to the dark bottom of the hollow, turned to theright, and after a hundred yards swerved up the foot of the long slope,where bluebells stood in the light. 'Now, old girl!' said Clifford, putting the chair to it. It was a steep and jolty climb. The chair pugged slowly, in astruggling unwilling fashion. Still, she nosed her way up unevenly,till she came to where the hyacinths were all around her, then shebalked, struggled, jerked a little way out of the flowers, then stopped 'We'd better sound the horn and see if the keeper will come,' saidConnie. 'He could push her a bit. For that matter, I will push. Ithelps.' 'We'll let her breathe,' said Clifford. 'Do you mind putting a scotchunder the wheel?' Connie found a stone, and they waited. After a while Clifford startedhis motor again, then set the chair in motion. It struggled andfaltered like a sick thing, with curious noises. 'Let me push!' said Connie, coming up behind. 'No! Don't push!' he said angrily. 'What's the good of the damnedthing, if it has to be pushed! Put the stone under!' There was another pause, then another start; but more ineffectual thanbefore. 'You MUST let me push,' said she. 'Or sound the horn for the keeper.' 'Wait!' She waited; and he had another try, doing more harm than good. 'Sound the horn then, if you won't let me push,' she said. 'Hell! Bequiet a moment!' She was quiet a moment: he made shattering efforts with the littlemotor. 'You'll only break the thing down altogether, Clifford,' sheremonstrated; 'besides wasting your nervous energy.' 'If I could only get out and look at the damned thing!' he said,exasperated. And he sounded the horn stridently. 'Perhaps Mellors cansee what's wrong.' They waited, among the mashed flowers under a sky softly curdling withcloud. In the silence a wood-pigeon began to coo roo-hoo hoo! roo-hoohoo! Clifford shut her up with a blast on the horn. The keeper appeared directly, striding inquiringly round the corner. Hesaluted. 'Do you know anything about motors?' asked Clifford sharply. 'I am afraid I don't. Has she gone wrong?' 'Apparently!' snapped Clifford. The man crouched solicitously by the wheel, and peered at the littleengine. 'I'm afraid I know nothing at all about these mechanical things, SirClifford,' he said calmly. 'If she has enough petrol and oil--' 'Just look carefully and see if you can see anything broken,' snappedClifford. The man laid his gun against a tree, took oil his coat, and threw itbeside it. The brown dog sat guard. Then he sat down on his heels andpeered under the chair, poking with his finger at the greasy littleengine, and resenting the grease-marks on his clean Sunday shirt. 'Doesn't seem anything broken,' he said. And he stood up, pushing backhis hat from his forehead, rubbing his brow and apparently studying. 'Have you looked at the rods underneath?' asked Clifford. 'See if theyare all right!' The man lay flat on his stomach on the floor, his neck pressed back,wriggling under the engine and poking with his finger. Connie thoughtwhat a pathetic sort of thing a man was, feeble and small-looking, whenhe was lying on his belly on the big earth. 'Seems all right as far as I can see,' came his muffled voice. 'I don't suppose you can do anything,' said Clifford. 'Seems as if I can't!' And he scrambled up and sat on his heels,collier fashion. 'There's certainly nothing obviously broken.' Clifford started his engine, then put her in gear. She would not move. 'Run her a bit hard, like,' suggested the keeper. Clifford resented the interference: but he made his engine buzz like ablue-bottle. Then she coughed and snarled and seemed to go better. 'Sounds as if she'd come clear,' said Mellors. But Clifford had already jerked her into gear. She gave a sick lurchand ebbed weakly forwards. 'If I give her a push, she'll do it,' said the keeper, going behind. 'Keep off!' snapped Clifford. 'She'll do it by herself.' 'But Clifford!' put in Connie from the bank, 'you know it's too muchfor her. Why are you so obstinate!' Clifford was pale with anger. He jabbed at his levers. The chair gave asort of scurry, reeled on a few more yards, and came to her end amid aparticularly promising patch of bluebells. 'She's done!' said the keeper. 'Not power enough.' 'She's been up here before,' said Clifford coldly. 'She won't do it this time,' said the keeper. Clifford did not reply. He began doing things with his engine, runningher fast and slow as if to get some sort of tune out of her. The woodre-echoed with weird noises. Then he put her in gear with a jerk,having jerked off his brake. 'You'll rip her inside out,' murmured the keeper. The chair charged in a sick lurch sideways at the ditch. 'Clifford!' cried Connie, rushing forward. But the keeper had got the chair by the rail. Clifford, however,putting on all his pressure, managed to steer into the riding, and witha strange noise the chair was fighting the hill. Mellors pushedsteadily behind, and up she went, as if to retrieve herself. 'You see, she's doing it!' said Clifford, victorious, glancing over hisshoulder. There he saw the keeper's face. 'Are you pushing her?' 'She won't do it without.' 'Leave her alone. I asked you not. 'She won't do it.' ' LET HER TRY!' snarled Clifford, with all his emphasis. The keeper stood back: then turned to fetch his coat and gun. The chairseemed to strange immediately. She stood inert. Clifford, seated aprisoner, was white with vexation. He jerked at the levers with hishand, his feet were no good. He got queer noises out of her. In savageimpatience he moved little handles and got more noises out of her. Butshe would not budge. No, she would not budge. He stopped the engine andsat rigid with anger. Constance sat on the bank arid looked at the wretched and trampledbluebells. 'Nothing quite so lovely as an English spring.' 'I can do myshare of ruling.' 'What we need to take up now is whips, not swords.''The ruling classes!' The keeper strode up with his coat and gun, Flossie cautiously at hisheels. Clifford asked the man to do something or other to the engine.Connie, who understood nothing at all of the technicalities of motors,and who had had experience of breakdowns, sat patiently on the bank asif she were a cipher. The keeper lay on his stomach again. The rulingclasses and the serving classes! He got to his feet and said patiently: 'Try her again, then.' He spoke in a quiet voice, almost as if to a child. Clifford tried her, and Mellors stepped quickly behind and began topush. She was going, the engine doing about half the work, the man therest. Clifford glanced round, yellow with anger. 'Will you get off there!' The keeper dropped his hold at once, and Clifford added: 'How shall Iknow what she is doing!' The man put his gun down and began to pull on his coat. He'd done. The chair began slowly to run backwards. 'Clifford, your brake!' cried Connie. She, Mellors, and Clifford moved at once, Connie and the keeperjostling lightly. The chair stood. There was a moment of dead silence. 'It's obvious I'm at everybody's mercy!' said Clifford. He was yellowwith anger. No one answered. Mellors was slinging his gun over his shoulder, hisface queer and expressionless, save for an abstracted look of patience.The dog Flossie, standing on guard almost between her master's legs,moved uneasily, eyeing the chair with great suspicion and dislike, andvery much perplexed between the three human beings. The TABLEAU VIVANTremained set among the squashed bluebells, nobody proffering a word. 'I expect she'll have to be pushed,' said Clifford at last, with anaffectation of SANG FROID. No answer. Mellors' abstracted face looked as if he had heard nothing.Connie glanced anxiously at him. Clifford too glanced round. 'Do you mind pushing her home, Mellors!' he said in a cool superiortone. 'I hope I have said nothing to offend you,' he added, in a toneof dislike. 'Nothing at all, Sir Clifford! Do you want me to push that chair?' 'If you please.' The man stepped up to it: but this time it was without effect. Thebrake was jammed. They poked and pulled, and the keeper took off hisgun and his coat once more. And now Clifford said never a word. At lastthe keeper heaved the back of the chair off the ground and, with aninstantaneous push of his foot, tried to loosen the wheels. He failed,the chair sank. Clifford was clutching the sides. The man gasped withthe weight. 'Don't do it!' cried Connie to him. 'If you'll pull the wheel that way, so!' he said to her, showing herhow. 'No! You mustn't lift it! You'll strain yourself,' she said, flushednow with anger. But he looked into her eyes and nodded. And she had to go and take holdof the wheel, ready. He heaved and she tugged, and the chair reeled. 'For God's sake!' cried Clifford in terror. But it was all right, and the brake was off. The keeper put a stoneunder the wheel, and went to sit on the bank, his heart beat and hisface white with the effort, semi-conscious. Connie looked at him, and almost cried with anger. There was a pauseand a dead silence. She saw his hands trembling on his thighs. 'Have you hurt yourself?' she asked, going to him. 'No. No!' He turned away almost angrily. There was dead silence. The back of Clifford's fair head did not move.Even the dog stood motionless. The sky had clouded over. At last he sighed, and blew his nose on his red handkerchief. 'That pneumonia took a lot out of me,' he said. No one answered. Connie calculated the amount of strength it must havetaken to heave up that chair and the bulky Clifford: too much, far toomuch! If it hadn't killed him! He rose, and again picked up his coat, slinging it through the handleof the chair. 'Are you ready, then, Sir Clifford?' 'When you are!' He stooped and took out the scotch, then put his weight against thechair. He was paler than Connie had ever seen him: and more absent.Clifford was a heavy man: and the hill was steep. Connie stepped to thekeeper's side. 'I'm going to push too!' she said. And she began to shove with a woman's turbulent energy of anger. Thechair went faster. Clifford looked round. 'Is that necessary?' he said. 'Very! Do you want to kill the man! If you'd let the motor work whileit would--' But she did not finish. She was already panting. She slackened off alittle, for it was surprisingly hard work. 'Ay! slower!' said the man at her side, with a faint smile of his eyes. 'Are you sure you've not hurt yourself?' she said fiercely. He shook his head. She looked at his smallish, short, alive hand,browned by the weather. It was the hand that caressed her. She hadnever even looked at it before. It seemed so still, like him, with acurious inward stillness that made her want to clutch it, as if shecould not reach it. All her soul suddenly swept towards him: he was sosilent, and out of reach! And he felt his limbs revive. Shoving withhis left hand, he laid his right on her round white wrist, softlyenfolding her wrist, with a caress. And the flame of strength went downhis back and his loins, reviving him. And she bent suddenly and kissedhis hand. Meanwhile the back of Clifford's head was held sleek andmotionless, just in front of them. At the top of the hill they rested, and Connie was glad to let go. Shehad had fugitive dreams of friendship between these two men: one herhusband, the other the father of her child. Now she saw the screamingabsurdity of her dreams. The two males were as hostile as fire andwater. They mutually exterminated one another. And she realized for thefirst time what a queer subtle thing hate is. For the first time, shehad consciously and definitely hated Clifford, with vivid hate: as ifhe ought to be obliterated from the face of the earth. And it wasstrange, how free and full of life it made her feel, to hate him and toadmit it fully to herself.--'Now I've hated him, I shall never be ableto go on living with him,' came the thought into her mind. On the level the keeper could push the chair alone. Clifford made alittle conversation with her, to show his complete composure: aboutAunt Eva, who was at Dieppe, and about Sir Malcolm, who had written toask would Connie drive with him in his small car, to Venice, or wouldshe and Hilda go by train. 'I'd much rather go by train,' said Connie. 'I don't like long motordrives, especially when there's dust. But I shall see what Hildawants.' 'She will want to drive her own car, and take you with her,' he said. 'Probably!--I must help up here. You've no idea how heavy this chairis.' She went to the back of the chair, and plodded side by side with thekeeper, shoving up the pink path. She did not care who saw. 'Why not let me wait, and fetch Field? He is strong enough for thejob,' said Clifford. 'It's so near,' she panted. But both she and Mellors wiped the sweat from their faces when theycame to the top. It was curious, but this bit of work together hadbrought them much closer than they had been before. 'Thanks so much, Mellors,' said Clifford, when they were at the housedoor. 'I must get a different sort of motor, that's all. Won't you goto the kitchen and have a meal? It must be about time.' 'Thank you, Sir Clifford. I was going to my mother for dinner today,Sunday.' 'As you like.' Mellors slung into his coat, looked at Connie, saluted, and was gone.Connie, furious, went upstairs. At lunch she could not contain her feeling. 'Why are you so abominably inconsiderate, Clifford?' she said to him. 'Of whom?' 'Of the keeper! If that is what you call ruling classes, I'm sorry foryou.' 'Why?' 'A man who's been ill, and isn't strong! My word, if I were the servingclasses, I'd let you wait for service. I'd let you whistle.' 'I quite believe it.' 'If he'd been sitting in a chair with paralysed legs, and behaved asyou behaved, what would you have done for HIM?' 'My dear evangelist, this confusing of persons and personalities is inbad taste.' 'And your nasty, sterile want of common sympathy is in the worst tasteimaginable. NOBLESSE OBLIGE! You and your ruling class!' 'And to what should it oblige me? To have a lot of unnecessary emotionsabout my game-keeper? I refuse. I leave it all to my evangelist.' 'As if he weren't a man as much as you are, my word!' 'My game-keeper to boot, and I pay him two pounds a week and give him ahouse.' 'Pay him! What do you think you pay for, with two pounds a week and ahouse?' 'His services.' 'Bah! I would tell you to keep your two pounds a week and your house.' 'Probably he would like to: but can't afford the luxury!' 'You, and RULE!' she said. 'You don't rule, don't flatter yourself. Youhave only got more than your share of the money, and make people workfor you for two pounds a week, or threaten them with starvation. Rule!What do you give forth of rule? Why, you re dried up! You only bullywith your money, like any Jew or any Schieber!' 'You are very elegant in your speech, Lady Chatterley!' 'I assure you, you were very elegant altogether out there in the wood.I was utterly ashamed of you. Why, my father is ten times the humanbeing you are: you GENTLEMAN!' He reached and rang the bell for Mrs Bolton. But he was yellow at thegills. She went up to her room, furious, saying to herself: 'Him and buyingpeople! Well, he doesn't buy me, and therefore there's no need for meto stay with him. Dead fish of a gentleman, with his celluloid soul!And how they take one in, with their manners and their mock wistfulnessand gentleness. They've got about as much feeling as celluloid has.' She made her plans for the night, and determined to get Clifford offher mind. She didn't want to hate him. She didn't want to be mixed upvery intimately with him in any sort of feeling. She wanted him not toknow anything at all about herself: and especially, not to knowanything about her feeling for the keeper. This squabble of herattitude to the servants was an old one. He found her too familiar, shefound him stupidly insentient, tough and indiarubbery where otherpeople were concerned. She went downstairs calmly, with her old demure bearing, atdinner-time. He was still yellow at the gills: in for one of his liverbouts, when he was really very queer.--He was reading a French book. 'Have you ever read Proust?' he asked her. 'I've tried, but he bores me.' 'He's really very extraordinary.' 'Possibly! But he bores me: all that sophistication! He doesn't havefeelings, he only has streams of words about feelings. I'm tired ofself-important mentalities.' 'Would you prefer self-important animalities?' 'Perhaps! But one might possibly get something that wasn'tself-important.' 'Well, I like Proust's subtlety and his well-bred anarchy.' 'It makes you very dead, really.' 'There speaks my evangelical little wife.' They were at it again, at it again! But she couldn't help fighting him.He seemed to sit there like a skeleton, sending out a skeleton's coldgrizzly WILL against her. Almost she could feel the skeleton clutchingher and pressing her to its cage of ribs. He too was really up in arms:and she was a little afraid of him. She went upstairs as soon as possible, and went to bed quite early. Butat half past nine she got up, and went outside to listen. There was nosound. She slipped on a dressing-gown and went downstairs. Clifford andMrs Bolton were playing cards, gambling. They would probably go onuntil midnight. Connie returned to her room, threw her pyjamas on the tossed bed, puton a thin tennis-dress and over that a woollen day-dress, put on rubbertennis-shoes, and then a light coat. And she was ready. If she metanybody, she was just going out for a few minutes. And in the morning,when she came in again, she would just have been for a little walk inthe dew, as she fairly often did before breakfast. For the rest, theonly danger was that someone should go into her room during the night.But that was most unlikely: not one chance in a hundred. Betts had not locked up. He fastened up the house at ten o'clock, andunfastened it again at seven in the morning. She slipped out silentlyand unseen. There was a half-moon shining, enough to make a littlelight in the world, not enough to show her up in her dark-grey coat.She walked quickly across the park, not really in the thrill of theassignation, but with a certain anger and rebellion burning in herheart. It was not the right sort of heart to take to a love-meeting.But · LA GUERRE COMME · LA GUERRE! Chapter 14 When she got near the park-gate, she heard the click of the latch. Hewas there, then, in the darkness of the wood, and had seen her! 'You are good and early,' he said out of the dark. 'Was everything allright?' 'Perfectly easy.' He shut the gate quietly after her, and made a spot of light on thedark ground, showing the pallid flowers still standing there open inthe night. They went on apart, in silence. 'Are you sure you didn't hurt yourself this morning with that chair?'she asked. 'No, no!' 'When you had that pneumonia, what did it do to you?' 'Oh nothing! it left my heart not so strong and the lungs not soelastic. But it always does that.' 'And you ought not to make violent physical efforts?' 'Not often.' She plodded on in an angry silence. 'Did you hate Clifford?' she said at last. 'Hate him, no! I've met too many like him to upset myself hating him. Iknow beforehand I don't care for his sort, and I let it go at that.' 'What is his sort?' 'Nay, you know better than I do. The sort of youngish gentleman a bitlike a lady, and no balls.' 'What balls?' 'Balls! A man's balls!' She pondered this. 'But is it a question of that?' she said, a little annoyed. 'You say a man's got no brain, when he's a fool: and no heart, whenhe's mean; and no stomach when he's a funker. And when he's got none ofthat spunky wild bit of a man in him, you say he's got no balls. Whenhe's a sort of tame.' She pondered this. 'And is Clifford tame?' she asked. 'Tame, and nasty with it: like most such fellows, when you come upagainst 'em.' 'And do you think you're not tame?' 'Maybe not quite!' At length she saw in the distance a yellow light. She stood still. 'There is a light!' she said. 'I always leave a light in the house,' he said. She went on again at his side, but not touching him, wondering why shewas going with him at all. He unlocked, and they went in, he bolting the door behind them. As ifit were a prison, she thought! The kettle was singing by the red fire,there were cups on the table. She sat in the wooden arm-chair by the fire. It was warm after thechill outside. 'I'll take off my shoes, they are wet,' she said. She sat with her stockinged feet on the bright steel fender. He went tothe pantry, bringing food: bread and butter and pressed tongue. She waswarm: she took off her coat. He hung it on the door. 'Shall you have cocoa or tea or coffee to drink?' he asked. 'I don't think I want anything,' she said, looking at the table. 'Butyou eat.' 'Nay, I don't care about it. I'll just feed the dog.' He tramped with a quiet inevitability over the brick floor, puttingfood for the dog in a brown bowl. The spaniel looked up at himanxiously. 'Ay, this is thy supper, tha nedna look as if tha wouldna get it!' hesaid. He set the bowl on the stairfoot mat, and sat himself on a chair by thewall, to take off his leggings and boots. The dog instead of eating,came to him again, and sat looking up at him, troubled. He slowly unbuckled his leggings. The dog edged a little nearer. 'What's amiss wi' thee then? Art upset because there's somebody elsehere? Tha'rt a female, tha art! Go an' eat thy supper.' He put his hand on her head, and the bitch leaned her head sidewaysagainst him. He slowly, softly pulled the long silky ear. 'There!' he said. 'There! Go an' eat thy supper! Go!' He tilted his chair towards the pot on the mat, and the dog meeklywent, and fell to eating. 'Do you like dogs?' Connie asked him. 'No, not really. They're too tame and clinging.' He had taken off his leggings and was unlacing his heavy boots. Conniehad turned from the fire. How bare the little room was! Yet over hishead on the wall hung a hideous enlarged photograph of a young marriedcouple, apparently him and a bold-faced young woman, no doubt his wife. 'Is that you?' Connie asked him. He twisted and looked at the enlargement above his head. 'Ay! Taken just afore we was married, when I was twenty-one.' He lookedat it impassively. 'Do you like it?' Connie asked him. 'Like it? No! I never liked the thing. But she fixed it all up to haveit done, like.' He returned to pulling off his boots. 'If you don't like it, why do you keep it hanging there? Perhaps yourwife would like to have it,' she said. He looked up at her with a sudden grin. 'She carted off iverything as was worth taking from th' 'ouse,' hesaid. 'But she left THAT!' 'Then why do you keep it? for sentimental reasons?' 'Nay, I niver look at it. I hardly knowed it wor theer. It's bin theersin' we come to this place.' 'Why don't you burn it?' she said. He twisted round again and looked at the enlarged photograph. It wasframed in a brown-and-gilt frame, hideous. It showed a clean-shaven,alert, very young-looking man in a rather high collar, and a somewhatplump, bold young woman with hair fluffed out and crimped, and wearinga dark satin blouse. 'It wouldn't be a bad idea, would it?' he said. He had pulled off his boots, and put on a pair of slippers. He stood upon the chair, and lifted down the photograph. It left a big pale placeon the greenish wall-paper. 'No use dusting it now,' he said, setting the thing against the wall. He went to the scullery, and returned with hammer and pincers. Sittingwhere he had sat before, he started to tear off the back-paper from thebig frame, and to pull out the sprigs that held the backboard inposition, working with the immediate quiet absorption that wascharacteristic of him. He soon had the nails out: then he pulled out the backboards, then theenlargement itself, in its solid white mount. He looked at thephotograph with amusement. 'Shows me for what I was, a young curate, and her for what she was, abully,' he said. 'The prig and the bully!' 'Let me look!' said Connie. He did look indeed very clean-shaven and very clean altogether, one ofthe clean young men of twenty years ago. But even in the photograph hiseyes were alert and dauntless. And the woman was not altogether abully, though her jowl was heavy. There was a touch of appeal in her. 'One never should keep these things,' said Connie. 'That one shouldn't!One should never have them made!' He broke the cardboard photograph and mount over his knee, and when itwas small enough, put it on the fire. 'It'll spoil the fire though,' he said. The glass and the backboard he carefully took upstairs. The frame he knocked asunder with a few blows of the hammer, making thestucco fly. Then he took the pieces into the scullery. 'We'll burn that tomorrow,' he said. 'There's too much plaster-mouldingon it.' Having cleared away, he sat down. 'Did you love your wife?' she asked him. 'Love?' he said. 'Did you love Sir Clifford?' But she was not going to be put off. 'But you cared for her?' she insisted. 'Cared?' He grinned. 'Perhaps you care for her now,' she said. 'Me!' His eyes widened. 'Ah no, I can't think of her,' he said quietly. 'Why?' But he shook his head. 'Then why don't you get a divorce? She'll come back to you one day,'said Connie. He looked up at her sharply. 'She wouldn't come within a mile of me. She hates me a lot worse than Ihate her.' 'You'll see she'll come back to you.' 'That she never will. That's done! It would make me sick to see her.' 'You will see her. And you're not even legally separated, are you?' 'No.' 'Ah well, then she'll come back, and you'll have to take her in.' He gazed at Connie fixedly. Then he gave the queer toss of his head. 'You might be right. I was a fool ever to come back here. But I feltstranded and had to go somewhere. A man's a poor bit of a wastrel blownabout. But you're right. I'll get a divorce and get clear. I hate thosethings like death, officials and courts and judges. But I've got to getthrough with it. I'll get a divorce.' And she saw his jaw set. Inwardly she exulted. 'I think I will have acup of tea now,' she said. He rose to make it. But his face was set. Asthey sat at table she asked him: 'Why did you marry her? She was commoner than yourself. Mrs Bolton toldme about her. She could never understand why you married her.' He looked at her fixedly. 'I'll tell you,' he said. 'The first girl I had, I began with when Iwas sixteen. She was a school-master's daughter over at Ollerton,pretty, beautiful really. I was supposed to be a clever sort of youngfellow from Sheffield Grammar School, with a bit of French and German,very much up aloft. She was the romantic sort that hated commonness.She egged me on to poetry and reading: in a way, she made a man of me.I read and I thought like a house on fire, for her. And I was a clerkin Butterley offices, thin, white-faced fellow fuming with all thethings I read. And about EVERYTHING I talked to her: but everything. Wetalked ourselves into Persepolis and Timbuctoo. We were the mostliterary-cultured couple in ten counties. I held forth with rapture toher, positively with rapture. I simply went up in smoke. And she adoredme. The serpent in the grass was sex. She somehow didn't have any; atleast, not where it's supposed to be. I got thinner and crazier. Then Isaid we'd got to be lovers. I talked her into it, as usual. So she letme. I was excited, and she never wanted it. She just didn't want it.She adored me, she loved me to talk to her and kiss her: in that wayshe had a passion for me. But the other, she just didn't want. Andthere are lots of women like her. And it was just the other that I didwant. So there we split. I was cruel, and left her. Then I took on withanother girl, a teacher, who had made a scandal by carrying on with amarried man and driving him nearly out of his mind. She was a soft,white-skinned, soft sort of a woman, older than me, and played thefiddle. And she was a demon. She loved everything about love, exceptthe sex. Clinging, caressing, creeping into you in every way: but ifyou forced her to the sex itself, she just ground her teeth and sentout hate. I forced her to it, and she could simply numb me with hatebecause of it. So I was balked again. I loathed all that. I wanted awoman who wanted me, and wanted IT. 'Then came Bertha Coutts. They'd lived next door to us when I was alittle lad, so I knew 'em all right. And they were common. Well, Berthawent away to some place or other in Birmingham; she said, as a lady'scompanion; everybody else said, as a waitress or something in a hotel.Anyhow just when I was more than fed up with that other girl, when Iwas twenty-one, back comes Bertha, with airs and graces and smartclothes and a sort of bloom on her: a sort of sensual bloom that you'dsee sometimes on a woman, or on a trolly. Well, I was in a state ofmurder. I chucked up my job at Butterley because I thought I was aweed, clerking there: and I got on as overhead blacksmith atTevershall: shoeing horses mostly. It had been my dad's job, and I'dalways been with him. It was a job I liked: handling horses: and itcame natural to me. So I stopped talking ''fine'', as they call it,talking proper English, and went back to talking broad. I still readbooks, at home: but I blacksmithed and had a pony-trap of my own, andwas My Lord Duckfoot. My dad left me three hundred pounds when he died.So I took on with Bertha, and I was glad she was common. I wanted herto be common. I wanted to be common myself. Well, I married her, andshe wasn't bad. Those other ''pure'' women had nearly taken all theballs out of me, but she was all right that way. She wanted me, andmade no bones about it. And I was as pleased as punch. That was what Iwanted: a woman who WANTED me to fuck her. So I fucked her like a goodun. And I think she despised me a bit, for being so pleased about it,and bringin' her her breakfast in bed sometimes. She sort of let thingsgo, didn't get me a proper dinner when I came home from work, and if Isaid anything, flew out at me. And I flew back, hammer and tongs. Sheflung a cup at me and I took her by the scruff of the neck and squeezedthe life out of her. That sort of thing! But she treated me withinsolence. And she got so's she'd never have me when I wanted her:never. Always put me off, brutal as you like. And then when she'd putme right off, and I didn't want her, she'd come all lovey-dovey, andget me. And I always went. But when I had her, she'd never come offwhen I did. Never! She'd just wait. If I kept back for half an hour,she'd keep back longer. And when I'd come and really finished, thenshe'd start on her own account, and I had to stop inside her till shebrought herself off, wriggling and shouting, she'd clutch clutch withherself down there, an' then she'd come off, fair in ecstasy. And thenshe'd say: That was lovely! Gradually I got sick of it: and she gotworse. She sort of got harder and harder to bring off, and she'd sortof tear at me down there, as if it was a beak tearing at me. By God,you think a woman's soft down there, like a fig. But I tell you the oldrampers have beaks between their legs, and they tear at you with ittill you're sick. Self! Self! Self! all self! tearing and shouting!They talk about men's selfishness, but I doubt if it can ever touch awoman's blind beakishness, once she's gone that way. Like an old trull!And she couldn't help it. I told her about it, I told her how I hatedit. And she'd even try. She'd try to lie still and let ME work thebusiness. She'd try. But it was no good. She got no feeling off it,from my working. She had to work the thing herself, grind her owncoffee. And it came back on her like a raving necessity, she had to letherself go, and tear, tear, tear, as if she had no sensation in herexcept in the top of her beak, the very outside top tip, that rubbedand tore. That's how old whores used to be, so men used to say. It wasa low kind of self-will in her, a raving sort of self-will: like in awoman who drinks. Well in the end I couldn't stand it. We slept apart.She herself had started it, in her bouts when she wanted to be clear ofme, when she said I bossed her. She had started having a room forherself. But the time came when I wouldn't have her coming to my room.I wouldn't. 'I hated it. And she hated me. My God, how she hated me before thatchild was born! I often think she conceived it out of hate. Anyhow,after the child was born I left her alone. And then came the war, and Ijoined up. And I didn't come back till I knew she was with that fellowat Stacks Gate. He broke off, pale in the face. 'And what is the man at Stacks Gate like?' asked Connie. 'A big baby sort of fellow, very low-mouthed. She bullies him, and theyboth drink.' 'My word, if she came back!' 'My God, yes! I should just go, disappear again.' There was a silence. The pasteboard in the fire had turned to grey ash. 'So when you did get a woman who wanted you,' said Connie, 'you got abit too much of a good thing.' 'Ay! Seems so! Yet even then I'd rather have her than the never-neverones: the white love of my youth, and that other poison-smelling lily,and the rest.' 'What about the rest?' said Connie. 'The rest? There is no rest. Only to my experience the mass of womenare like this: most of them want a man, but don't want the sex, butthey put up with it, as part of the bargain. The more old-fashionedsort just lie there like nothing and let you go ahead. They don't mindafterwards: then they like you. But the actual thing itself is nothingto them, a bit distasteful. Add most men like it that way. I hate it.But the sly sort of women who are like that pretend they're not. Theypretend they're passionate and have thrills. But it's all cockaloopy.They make it up. Then there's the ones that love everything, every kindof feeling and cuddling and going off, every kind except the naturalone. They always make you go off when you're NOTin the only place youshould be, when you go off.--Then there's the hard sort, that are thedevil to bring off at all, and bring themselves off, like my wife. Theywant to be the active party.--Then there's the sort that's just deadinside: but dead: and they know it. Then there's the sort that puts youout before you really ''come'', and go on writhing their loins tillthey bring themselves off against your thighs. But they're mostly theLesbian sort. It's astonishing how Lesbian women are, consciously orunconsciously. Seems to me they're nearly all Lesbian.' 'And do you mind?' asked Connie. 'I could kill them. When I'm with a woman who's really Lesbian, Ifairly howl in my soul, wanting to kill her.' 'And what do you do?' 'Just go away as fast as I can.' 'But do you think Lesbian women any worse than homosexual men?' ' I do! Because I've suffered more from them. In the abstract, I've noidea. When I get with a Lesbian woman, whether she knows she's one ornot, I see red. No, no! But I wanted to have nothing to do with anywoman any more. I wanted to keep to myself: keep my privacy and mydecency.' He looked pale, and his brows were sombre. 'And were you sorry when I came along?' she asked. 'I was sorry and I was glad.' 'And what are you now?' 'I'm sorry, from the outside: all the complications and the uglinessand recrimination that's bound to come, sooner or later. That's when myblood sinks, and I'm low. But when my blood comes up, I'm glad. I'meven triumphant. I was really getting bitter. I thought there was noreal sex left: never a woman who'd really ''come'' naturally with aman: except black women, and somehow, well, we're white men: andthey're a bit like mud.' 'And now, are you glad of me?' she asked. 'Yes! When I can forget the rest. When I can't forget the rest, I wantto get under the table and die.' 'Why under the table?' 'Why?' he laughed. 'Hide, I suppose. Baby!' 'You do seem to have had awful experiences of women,' she said. 'You see, I couldn't fool myself. That's where most men manage. Theytake an attitude, and accept a lie. I could never fool myself. I knewwhat I wanted with a woman, and I could never say I'd got it when Ihadn't.' 'But have you got it now?' 'Looks as if I might have.' 'Then why are you so pale and gloomy?' 'Bellyful of remembering: and perhaps afraid of myself.' She sat in silence. It was growing late. 'And do you think it's important, a man and a woman?' she asked him. 'For me it is. For me it's the core of my life: if I have a rightrelation with a woman.' 'And if you didn't get it?' 'Then I'd have to do without.' Again she pondered, before she asked: 'And do you think you've always been right with women?' 'God, no! I let my wife get to what she was: my fault a good deal. Ispoilt her. And I'm very mistrustful. You'll have to expect it. Ittakes a lot to make me trust anybody, inwardly. So perhaps I'm a fraudtoo. I mistrust. And tenderness is not to be mistaken.' She looked at him. 'You don't mistrust with your body, when your blood comes up,' shesaid. 'You don't mistrust then, do you?' 'No, alas! That's how I've got into all the trouble. And that's why mymind mistrusts so thoroughly.' 'Let your mind mistrust. What does it matter!' The dog sighed with discomfort on the mat. The ash-clogged fire sank. 'We ARE a couple of battered warriors,' said Connie. 'Are you battered too?' he laughed. 'And here we are returning to thefray!' 'Yes! I feel really frightened.' 'Ay!' He got up, and put her shoes to dry, and wiped his own and set themnear the fire. In the morning he would grease them. He poked the ash ofpasteboard as much as possible out of the fire. 'Even burnt, it'sfilthy,' he said. Then he brought sticks and put them on the hob forthe morning. Then he went out awhile with the dog. When he came back, Connie said: 'I want to go out too, for a minute.' She went alone into the darkness. There were stars overhead. She couldsmell flowers on the night air. And she could feel her wet shoesgetting wetter again. But she felt like going away, right away from himand everybody. It was chilly. She shuddered, and returned to the house. He was sittingin front of the low fire. 'Ugh! Cold!' she shuddered. He put the sticks on the fire, and fetched more, till they had a goodcrackling chimneyful of blaze. The rippling running yellow flame madethem both happy, warmed their faces and their souls. 'Never mind!' she said, taking his hand as he sat silent and remote.'One does one's best.' 'Ay!' He sighed, with a twist of a smile. She slipped over to him, and into his arms, as he sat there before thefire. 'Forget then!' she whispered. 'Forget!' He held her close, in the running warmth of the fire. The flame itselfwas like a forgetting. And her soft, warm, ripe weight! Slowly hisblood turned, and began to ebb back into strength and reckless vigouragain. 'And perhaps the women REALLY wanted to be there and love you properly,only perhaps they couldn't. Perhaps it wasn't all their fault,' shesaid. 'I know it. Do you think I don't know what a broken-backed snake that'sbeen trodden on I was myself!' She clung to him suddenly. She had not wanted to start all this again.Yet some perversity had made her. 'But you're not now,' she said. 'You're not that now: a broken-backedsnake that's been trodden on.' 'I don't know what I am. There's black days ahead.' 'No!' she protested, clinging to him. 'Why? Why?' 'There's black days coming for us all and for everybody,' he repeatedwith a prophetic gloom. 'No! You're not to say it!' He was silent. But she could feel the black void of despair inside him.That was the death of all desire, the death of all love: this despairthat was like the dark cave inside the men, in which their spirit waslost. 'And you talk so coldly about sex,' she said. 'You talk as if you hadonly wanted your own pleasure and satisfaction.' She was protesting nervously against him. 'Nay!' he said. 'I wanted to have my pleasure and satisfaction of awoman, and I never got it: because I could never get my pleasure andsatisfaction of HER unless she got hers of me at the same time. And itnever happened. It takes two.' 'But you never believed in your women. You don't even believe really inme,' she said. 'I don't know what believing in a woman means.' 'That's it, you see!' She still was curled on his lap. But his spirit was grey and absent, hewas not there for her. And everything she said drove him further. 'But what DO you believe in?' she insisted. 'I don't know.' 'Nothing, like all the men I've ever known,' she said. They were both silent. Then he roused himself and said: 'Yes, I do believe in something. I believe in being warmhearted. Ibelieve especially in being warm-hearted in love, in fucking with awarm heart. I believe if men could fuck with warm hearts, and the womentake it warm-heartedly, everything would come all right. It's all thiscold-hearted fucking that is death and idiocy.' 'But you don't fuck me cold-heartedly,' she protested. 'I don't want to fuck you at all. My heart's as cold as cold potatoesjust now.' 'Oh!' she said, kissing him mockingly. 'Let's have them SAUTES.' Helaughed, and sat erect. 'It's a fact!' he said. 'Anything for a bit of warm-heartedness. Butthe women don't like it. Even you don't really like it. You like good,sharp, piercing cold-hearted fucking, and then pretending it's allsugar. Where's your tenderness for me? You're as suspicious of me as acat is of a dog. I tell you it takes two even to be tender andwarm-hearted. You love fucking all right: but you want it to be calledsomething grand and mysterious, just to flatter your ownself-importance. Your own self-importance is more to you, fifty timesmore, than any man, or being together with a man.' 'But that's what I'd say of you. Your own self-importance is everythingto you.' 'Ay! Very well then!' he said, moving as if he wanted to rise. 'Let'skeep apart then. I'd rather die than do any more cold-hearted fucking.' She slid away from him, and he stood up. 'And do you think I want it?' she said. 'I hope you don't,' he replied. 'But anyhow, you go to bed an' I'llsleep down here.' She looked at him. He was pale, his brows were sullen, he was asdistant in recoil as the cold pole. Men were all alike. 'I can't go home till morning,' she said. 'No! Go to bed. It's a quarter to one.' 'I certainly won't,' she said. He went across and picked up his boots. 'Then I'll go out!' he said. He began to put on his boots. She stared at him. 'Wait!' she faltered. 'Wait! What's come between us?' He was bent over, lacing his boot, and did not reply. The momentspassed. A dimness came over her, like a swoon. All her consciousnessdied, and she stood there wide-eyed, looking at him from the unknown,knowing nothing any more. He looked up, because of the silence, and saw her wide-eyed and lost.And as if a wind tossed him he got up and hobbled over to her, one shoeoff and one shoe on, and took her in his arms, pressing her against hisbody, which somehow felt hurt right through. And there he held her, andthere she remained. Till his hands reached blindly down and felt for her, and felt underthe clothing to where she was smooth and warm. 'Ma lass!' he murmured. 'Ma little lass! Dunna let's light! Dunna let'sniver light! I love thee an' th' touch on thee. Dunna argue wi' me!Dunna! Dunna! Dunna! Let's be together.' She lifted her face and looked at him. 'Don't be upset,' she said steadily. 'It's no good being upset. Do youreally want to be together with me?' She looked with wide, steady eyes into his face. He stopped, and wentsuddenly still, turning his face aside. All his body went perfectlystill, but did not withdraw. Then he lifted his head and looked into her eyes, with his odd, faintlymocking grin, saying: 'Ay-ay! Let's be together on oath.' 'But really?' she said, her eyes filling with tears. 'Ay really! Heartan' belly an' cock.' He still smiled faintly down at her, with the flicker of irony in hiseyes, and a touch of bitterness. She was silently weeping, and he lay with her and went into her thereon the hearthrug, and so they gained a measure of equanimity. And thenthey went quickly to bed, for it was growing chill, and they had tiredeach other out. And she nestled up to him, feeling small and enfolded,and they both went to sleep at once, fast in one sleep. And so they layand never moved, till the sun rose over the wood and day was beginning. Then he woke up and looked at the light. The curtains were drawn. Helistened to the loud wild calling of blackbirds and thrushes in thewood. It would be a brilliant morning, about half past five, his hourfor rising. He had slept so fast! It was such a new day! The woman wasstill curled asleep and tender. His hand moved on her, and she openedher blue wondering eyes, smiling unconsciously into his face. 'Are you awake?' she said to him. He was looking into her eyes. He smiled, and kissed her. And suddenlyshe roused and sat up. 'Fancy that I am here!' she said. She looked round the whitewashed little bedroom with its slopingceiling and gable window where the white curtains were closed. The roomwas bare save for a little yellow-painted chest of drawers, and achair: and the smallish white bed in which she lay with him. 'Fancy that we are here!' she said, looking down at him. He was lyingwatching her, stroking her breasts with his fingers, under the thinnightdress. When he was warm and smoothed out, he looked young andhandsome. His eyes could look so warm. And she was fresh and young likea flower. 'I want to take this off!' she said, gathering the thin batistenightdress and pulling it over her head. She sat there with bareshoulders and longish breasts faintly golden. He loved to make herbreasts swing softly, like bells. 'You must take off your pyjamas too,' she said. 'Eh, nay!' 'Yes! Yes!' she commanded. And he took off his old cotton pyjama-jacket, and pushed down thetrousers. Save for his hands and wrists and face and neck he was whiteas milk, with fine slender muscular flesh. To Connie he was suddenlypiercingly beautiful again, as when she had seen him that afternoonwashing himself. Gold of sunshine touched the closed white curtain. She felt it wantedto come in. 'Oh, do let's draw the curtains! The birds are singing so! Do let thesun in,' she said. He slipped out of bed with his back to her, naked and white and thin,and went to the window, stooping a little, drawing the curtains andlooking out for a moment. The back was white and fine, the smallbuttocks beautiful with an exquisite, delicate manliness, the back ofthe neck ruddy and delicate and yet strong. There was an inward, not an outward strength in the delicate fine body. 'But you are beautiful!' she said. 'So pure and fine! Come!' She heldher arms out. He was ashamed to turn to her, because of his aroused nakedness. He caught his shirt off the floor, and held it to him, coming to her. 'No!' she said still holding out her beautiful slim arms from herdropping breasts. 'Let me see you!' He dropped the shirt and stood still looking towards her. The sunthrough the low window sent in a beam that lit up his thighs and slimbelly and the erect phallos rising darkish and hot-looking from thelittle cloud of vivid gold-red hair. She was startled and afraid. 'How strange!' she said slowly. 'How strange he stands there! So big!and so dark and cock-sure! Is he like that?' The man looked down the front of his slender white body, and laughed.Between the slim breasts the hair was dark, almost black. But at theroot of the belly, where the phallos rose thick and arching, it wasgold-red, vivid in a little cloud. 'So proud!' she murmured, uneasy. 'And so lordly! Now I know why menare so overbearing! But he's lovely, REALLY. Like another being! A bitterrifying! But lovely really! And he comes to ME!--' She caught herlower lip between her teeth, in fear and excitement. The man looked down in silence at the tense phallos, that did notchange.--'Ay!' he said at last, in a little voice. 'Ay ma lad! tha'retheer right enough. Yi, tha mun rear thy head! Theer on thy own, eh?an' ta'es no count O' nob'dy! Tha ma'es nowt O' me, John Thomas. Artboss? of me? Eh well, tha're more cocky than me, an' tha says less.John Thomas! Dost want HER? Dost want my lady Jane? Tha's dipped me inagain, tha hast. Ay, an' tha comes up smilin'.--Ax 'er then! Ax ladyJane! Say: Lift up your heads, O ye gates, that the king of glory maycome in. Ay, th' cheek on thee! Cunt, that's what tha're after. Telllady Jane tha wants cunt. John Thomas, an' th' cunt O' lady Jane!--' 'Oh, don't tease him,' said Connie, crawling on her knees on the bedtowards him and putting her arms round his white slender loins, anddrawing him to her so that her hanging, swinging breasts touched thetip of the stirring, erect phallos, and caught the drop of moisture.She held the man fast. 'Lie down!' he said. 'Lie down! Let me come!' He was in a hurry now. And afterwards, when they had been quite still, the woman had touncover the man again, to look at the mystery of the phallos. 'And now he's tiny, and soft like a little bud of life!' she said,taking the soft small penis in her hand. 'Isn't he somehow lovely! soon his own, so strange! And so innocent! And he comes so far into me!You must NEVER insult him, you know. He's mine too. He's not onlyyours. He's mine! And so lovely and innocent!' And she held the penissoft in her hand. He laughed. 'Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in kindred love,' he said. 'Of course!' she said. 'Even when he's soft and little I feel my heartsimply tied to him. And how lovely your hair is here! quite, quitedifferent!' 'That's John Thomas's hair, not mine!' he said. 'John Thomas! John Thomas!' and she quickly kissed the soft penis, thatwas beginning to stir again. 'Ay!' said the man, stretching his body almost painfully. 'He's got hisroot in my soul, has that gentleman! An' sometimes I don' know what terdo wi' him. Ay, he's got a will of his own, an' it's hard to suit him.Yet I wouldn't have him killed.' 'No wonder men have always been afraid of him!' she said. 'He's ratherterrible.' The quiver was going through the man's body, as the stream ofconsciousness again changed its direction, turning downwards. And hewas helpless, as the penis in slow soft undulations filled and surgedand rose up, and grew hard, standing there hard and overweening, in itscurious towering fashion. The woman too trembled a little as shewatched. 'There! Take him then! He's thine,' said the man. And she quivered, and her own mind melted out. Sharp soft waves ofunspeakable pleasure washed over her as he entered her, and started thecurious molten thrilling that spread and spread till she was carriedaway with the last, blind flush of extremity. He heard the distant hooters of Stacks Gate for seven o'clock. It wasMonday morning. He shivered a little, and with his face between herbreasts pressed her soft breasts up over his ears, to deafen him. She had not even heard the hooters. She lay perfectly still, her soulwashed transparent. 'You must get up, mustn't you?' he muttered. 'What time?' came her colourless voice. 'Seven-o'clock blowers a bit sin'.' 'I suppose I must.' She was resenting as she always did, the compulsion from outside. He sat up and looked blankly out of the window. 'You do love me, don'tyou?' she asked calmly. He looked down at her. 'Tha knows what tha knows. What dost ax for!' he said, a littlefretfully. 'I want you to keep me, not to let me go,' she said. His eyes seemed full of a warm, soft darkness that could not think. 'When? Now?' 'Now in your heart. Then I want to come and live with you, always,soon.' He sat naked on the bed, with his head dropped, unable to think. 'Don't you want it?' she asked. 'Ay!' he said. Then with the same eyes darkened with another flame of consciousness,almost like sleep, he looked at her. 'Dunna ax me nowt now,' he said. 'Let me be. I like thee. I luv theewhen tha lies theer. A woman's a lovely thing when 'er's deep ter fuck,and cunt's good. Ah luv thee, thy legs, an' th' shape on thee, an' th'womanness on thee. Ah luv th' womanness on thee. Ah luv thee wi' my basan' wi' my heart. But dunna ax me nowt. Dunna ma'e me say nowt. Let mestop as I am while I can. Tha can ax me iverything after. Now let mebe, let me be!' And softly, he laid his hand over her mound of Venus, on the soft brownmaiden-hair, and himself-sat still and naked on the bed, his facemotionless in physical abstraction, almost like the face of Buddha.Motionless, and in the invisible flame of another consciousness, he satwith his hand on her, and waited for the turn. After a while, he reached for his shirt and put it on, dressed himselfswiftly in silence, looked at her once as she still lay naked andfaintly golden like a Gloire de Dijon rose on the bed, and was gone.She heard him downstairs opening the door. And still she lay musing, musing. It was very hard to go: to go out ofhis arms. He called from the foot of the stairs: 'Half past seven!' Shesighed, and got out of bed. The bare little room! Nothing in it at allbut the small chest of drawers and the smallish bed. But the boardfloor was scrubbed clean. And in the corner by the window gable was ashelf with some books, and some from a circulating library. She looked.There were books about Bolshevist Russia, books of travel, a volumeabout the atom and the electron, another about the composition of theearth's core, and the causes of earthquakes: then a few novels: thenthree books on India. So! He was a reader after all. The sun fell on her naked limbs through the gable window. Outside shesaw the dog Flossie roaming round. The hazel-brake was misted withgreen, and dark-green dogs-mercury under. It was a clear clean morningwith birds flying and triumphantly singing. If only she could stay! Ifonly there weren't the other ghastly world of smoke and iron! If onlyHE would make her a world. She came downstairs, down the steep, narrow wooden stairs. Still shewould be content with this little house, if only it were in a world ofits own. He was washed and fresh, and the fire was burning. 'Will you eatanything?' he said. 'No! Only lend me a comb.' She followed him into the scullery, and combed her hair before thehandbreadth of mirror by the back door. Then she was ready to go. She stood in the little front garden, looking at the dewy flowers, thegrey bed of pinks in bud already. 'I would like to have all the rest of the world disappear,' she said,'and live with you here.' 'It won't disappear,' he said. They went almost in silence through the lovely dewy wood. But they weretogether in a world of their own. It was bitter to her to go on to Wragby. 'I want soon to come and live with you altogether,' she said as sheleft him. He smiled, unanswering. She got home quietly and unremarked, and went up to her room. Chapter 15 There was a letter from Hilda on the breakfast-tray. 'Father is goingto London this week, and I shall call for you on Thursday week, June17th. You must be ready so that we can go at once. I don't want towaste time at Wragby, it's an awful place. I shall probably stay thenight at Retford with the Colemans, so I should be with you for lunch,Thursday. Then we could start at teatime, and sleep perhaps inGrantham. It is no use our spending an evening with Clifford. If hehates your going, it would be no pleasure to him.' So! She was being pushed round on the chess-board again. Clifford hated her going, but it was only because he didn't feel SAFEin her absence. Her presence, for some reason, made him feel safe, andfree to do the things he was occupied with. He was a great deal at thepits, and wrestling in spirit with the almost hopeless problems ofgetting out his coal in the most economical fashion and then selling itwhen he'd got it out. He knew he ought to find some way of USING it, orconverting it, so that he needn't sell it, or needn't have the chagrinof failing to sell it. But if he made electric power, could he sellthat or use it? And to convert into oil was as yet too costly and tooelaborate. To keep industry alive there must be more industry, like amadness. It was a madness, and it required a madman to succeed in it. Well, hewas a little mad. Connie thought so. His very intensity and acumen inthe affairs of the pits seemed like a manifestation of madness to her,his very inspirations were the inspirations of insanity. He talked to her of all his serious schemes, and she listened in a kindof wonder, and let him talk. Then the flow ceased, and he turned on theloudspeaker, and became a blank, while apparently his schemes coiled oninside him like a kind of dream. And every night now he played pontoon, that game of the Tommies, withMrs Bolton, gambling with sixpences. And again, in the gambling he wasgone in a kind of unconsciousness, or blank intoxication, orintoxication of blankness, whatever it was. Connie could not bear tosee him. But when she had gone to bed, he and Mrs Bolton would gambleon till two and three in the morning, safely, and with strange lust.Mrs Bolton was caught in the lust as much as Clifford: the more so, asshe nearly always lost. She told Connie one day: 'I lost twenty-three shillings to Sir Cliffordlast night.' 'And did he take the money from you?' asked Connie aghast. 'Why of course, my Lady! Debt of honour!' Connie expostulated roundly, and was angry with both of them. Theupshot was, Sir Clifford raised Mrs Bolton's wages a hundred a year,and she could gamble on that. Meanwhile, it seemed to Connie, Cliffordwas really going deader. She told him at length she was leaving on the seventeenth. 'Seventeenth!' he said. 'And when will you be back?' 'By the twentieth of July at the latest.' 'Yes! the twentieth of July.' Strangely and blankly he looked at her, with the vagueness of a child,but with the queer blank cunning of an old man. 'You won't let me down, now, will you?' he said. 'How?' 'While you're away, I mean, you're sure to come back?' 'I'm as sure as I can be of anything, that I shall come back.' 'Yes! Well! Twentieth of July!' He looked at her so strangely. Yet he really wanted her to go. That was so curious. He wanted her togo, positively, to have her little adventures and perhaps come homepregnant, and all that. At the same time, he was afraid of her going. She was quivering, watching her real opportunity for leaving himaltogether, waiting till the time, herself himself should be ripe. She sat and talked to the keeper of her going abroad. 'And then when I come back,' she said, 'I can tell Clifford I mustleave him. And you and I can go away. They never need even know it isyou. We can go to another country, shall we? To Africa or Australia.Shall we?' She was quite thrilled by her plan. 'You've never been to the Colonies, have you?' he asked her. 'No! Have you?' 'I've been in India, and South Africa, and Egypt.' 'Why shouldn't we go to South Africa?' 'We might!' he said slowly. 'Or don't you want to?' she asked. 'I don't care. I don't much care what I do.' 'Doesn't it make you happy? Why not? We shan't be poor. I have aboutsix hundred a year, I wrote and asked. It's not much, but it's enough,isn't it?' 'It's riches to me.' 'Oh, how lovely it will be!' 'But I ought to get divorced, and so ought you, unless we're going tohave complications.' There was plenty to think about. Another day she asked him about himself. They were in the hut, andthere was a thunderstorm. 'And weren't you happy, when you were a lieutenant and an officer and agentleman?' 'Happy? All right. I liked my Colonel.' 'Did you love him?' 'Yes! I loved him.' 'And did he love you?' 'Yes! In a way, he loved me.' 'Tell me about him.' 'What is there to tell? He had risen from the ranks. He loved the army.And he had never married. He was twenty years older than me. He was avery intelligent man: and alone in the army, as such a man is: apassionate man in his way: and a very clever officer. I lived under hisspell while I was with him. I sort of let him run my life. And I neverregret it.' 'And did you mind very much when he died?' 'I was as near death myself. But when I came to, I knew another part ofme was finished. But then I had always known it would finish in death.All things do, as far as that goes.' She sat and ruminated. The thunder crashed outside. It was like beingin a little ark in the Flood. 'You seem to have such a lot BEHIND you,' she said. 'Do I? It seems to me I've died once or twice already. Yet here I am,pegging on, and in for more trouble.' She was thinking hard, yet listening to the storm. 'And weren't you happy as an officer and a gentleman, when your Colonelwas dead?' 'No! They were a mingy lot.' He laughed suddenly. 'The Colonel used tosay: Lad, the English middle classes have to chew every mouthful thirtytimes because their guts are so narrow, a bit as big as a pea wouldgive them a stoppage. They're the mingiest set of ladylike snipe everinvented: full of conceit of themselves, frightened even if theirboot-laces aren't correct, rotten as high game, and always in theright. That's what finishes me up. Kow-tow, kow-tow, arse-licking tilltheir tongues are tough: yet they're always in the right. Prigs on topof everything. Prigs! A generation of ladylike prigs with half a balleach--' Connie laughed. The rain was rushing down. 'He hated them!' 'No,' said he. 'He didn't bother. He just disliked them. There's adifference. Because, as he said, the Tommies are getting just aspriggish and half-balled and narrow-gutted. It's the fate of mankind,to go that way.' 'The common people too, the working people?' 'All the lot. Their spunk is gone dead. Motor-cars and cinemas andaeroplanes suck that last bit out of them. I tell you, every generationbreeds a more rabbity generation, with india rubber tubing for guts andtin legs and tin faces. Tin people! It's all a steady sort ofbolshevism just killing off the human thing, and worshipping themechanical thing. Money, money, money! All the modern lot get theirreal kick out of killing the old human feeling out of man, makingmincemeat of the old Adam and the old Eve. They're all alike. The worldis all alike: kill off the human reality, a quid for every foreskin,two quid for each pair of balls. What is cunt butmachine-fucking!--It's all alike. Pay 'em money to cut off the world'scock. Pay money, money, money to them that will take spunk out ofmankind, and leave 'em all little twiddling machines.' He sat there in the hut, his face pulled to mocking irony. Yet eventhen, he had one ear set backwards, listening to the storm over thewood. It made him feel so alone. 'But won't it ever come to an end?' she said. 'Ay, it will. It'll achieve its own salvation. When the last real manis killed, and they're ALL tame: white, black, yellow, all colours oftame ones: then they'll ALL be insane. Because the root of sanity is inthe balls. Then they'll all be INSANE, and they'll make their grand~auto da fe. You know AUTO DA FE means act of faith? Ay, well, they'llmake their own grand little act of faith. They'll offer one anotherup.' 'You mean kill one another?' 'I do, duckie! If we go on at our present rate then in a hundred years'time there won't be ten thousand people in this island: there may notbe ten. They'll have lovingly wiped each other out. The thunder wasrolling further away. 'How nice!' she said. 'Quite nice! To contemplate the extermination of the human species andthe long pause that follows before some other species crops up, itcalms you more than anything else. And if we go on in this way, witheverybody, intellectuals, artists, government, industrialists andworkers all frantically killing off the last human feeling, the lastbit of their intuition, the last healthy instinct; if it goes on inalgebraical progression, as it is going on: then ta-tah! to the humanspecies! Goodbye! darling! the serpent swallows itself and leaves avoid, considerably messed up, but not hopeless. Very nice! When savagewild dogs bark in Wragby, and savage wild pit-ponies stamp onTevershall pit-bank! TE DEUM LAUDAMUS!' Connie laughed, but not very happily. 'Then you ought to be pleased that they are all bolshevists,' she said.'You ought to be pleased that they hurry on towards the end.' 'So I am. I don't stop 'em. Because I couldn't if I would.' 'Then why are you so bitter?' 'I'm not! If my cock gives its last crow, I don't mind.' 'But if you have a child?' she said. He dropped his head. 'Why,' he said at last. 'It seems to me a wrong and bitter thing to do,to bring a child into this world.' 'No! Don't say it! Don't say it!' she pleaded. 'I think I'm going tohave one. Say you'll he pleased.' She laid her hand on his. 'I'm pleased for you to be pleased,' he said. 'But for me it seems aghastly treachery to the unborn creature. 'Ah no!' she said, shocked. 'Then you CAN'T ever really want me! YOUCAN'T want me, if you feel that!' Again he was silent, his face sullen. Outside there was only thethreshing of the rain. 'It's not quite true!' she whispered. 'It's not quite true! There'sanother truth.' She felt he was bitter now partly because she wasleaving him, deliberately going away to Venice. And this half pleasedher. She pulled open his clothing and uncovered his belly, and kissed hisnavel. Then she laid her cheek on his belly and pressed her arm roundhis warm, silent loins. They were alone in the flood. 'Tell me you want a child, in hope!' she murmured, pressing her faceagainst his belly. 'Tell me you do!' 'Why!' he said at last: and she felt the curious quiver of changingconsciousness and relaxation going through his body. 'Why I've thoughtsometimes if one but tried, here among th' colliers even! They'reworkin' bad now, an' not earnin' much. If a man could say to 'em: Dunnathink o' nowt but th' money. When it comes ter WANTS, we want butlittle. Let's not live for money--' She softly rubbed her cheek on his belly, and gathered his balls in herhand. The penis stirred softly, with strange life, but did not rise up.The rain beat bruisingly outside. 'Let's live for summat else. Let's not live ter make money, neither forus-selves nor for anybody else. Now we're forced to. We're forced tomake a bit for us-selves, an' a fair lot for th' bosses. Let's stop it!Bit by bit, let's stop it. We needn't rant an' rave. Bit by bit, let'sdrop the whole industrial life an' go back. The least little bit o'money'll do. For everybody, me an' you, bosses an' masters, even th'king. The least little bit o' money'll really do. Just make up yourmind to it, an' you've got out o' th' mess.' He paused, then went on: 'An' I'd tell 'em: Look! Look at Joe! He moves lovely! Look how hemoves, alive and aware. He's beautiful! An' look at Jonah! He's clumsy,he's ugly, because he's niver willin' to rouse himself I'd tell 'em:Look! look at yourselves! one shoulder higher than t'other, legstwisted, feet all lumps! What have yer done ter yerselves, wi' theblasted work? Spoilt yerselves. No need to work that much. Take yerclothes off an' look at yourselves. Yer ought ter be alive an'beautiful, an' yer ugly an' half dead. So I'd tell 'em. An' I'd get mymen to wear different clothes: appen close red trousers, bright red,an' little short white jackets. Why, if men had red, fine legs, thatalone would change them in a month. They'd begin to be men again, to bemen! An' the women could dress as they liked. Because if once the menwalked with legs close bright scarlet, and buttocks nice and showingscarlet under a little white jacket: then the women 'ud begin to bewomen. It's because th' men AREN'T men, that th' women have to be.--An'in time pull down Tevershall and build a few beautiful buildings, thatwould hold us all. An' clean the country up again. An' not have manychildren, because the world is overcrowded. 'But I wouldn't preach to the men: only strip 'em an' say: Look atyourselves! That's workin' for money!--Hark at yourselves! That'sworking for money. You've been working for money! Look at Tevershall!It's horrible. That's because it was built while you was working formoney. Look at your girls! They don't care about you, you don't careabout them. It's because you've spent your time working an' caring formoney. You can't talk nor move nor live, you can't properly be with awoman. You're not alive. Look at yourselves!' There fell a complete silence. Connie was half listening, and threadingin the hair at the root of his belly a few forget-me-nots that she hadgathered on the way to the hut. Outside, the world had gone still, anda little icy. 'You've got four kinds of hair,' she said to him. 'On your chest it'snearly black, and your hair isn't dark on your head: but your moustacheis hard and dark red, and your hair here, your love-hair, is like alittle brush of bright red-gold mistletoe. It's the loveliest of all!' He looked down and saw the milky bits of forget-me-nots in the hair onhis groin. 'Ay! That's where to put forget-me-nots, in the man-hair, or themaiden-hair. But don't you care about the future?' She looked up at him. 'Oh, I do, terribly!' she said. 'Because when I feel the human world is doomed, has doomed itself byits own mingy beastliness, then I feel the Colonies aren't far enough.The moon wouldn't be far enough, because even there you could look backand see the earth, dirty, beastly, unsavoury among all the stars: madefoul by men. Then I feel I've swallowed gall, and it's eating my insideout, and nowhere's far enough away to get away. But when I get a turn,I forget it all again. Though it's a shame, what's been done to peoplethese last hundred years: men turned into nothing but labour-insects,and all their manhood taken away, and all their real life. I'd wipe themachines off the face of the earth again, and end the industrial epochabsolutely, like a black mistake. But since I can't, an' nobody can,I'd better hold my peace, an' try an' live my own life: if I've got oneto live, which I rather doubt.' The thunder had ceased outside, but the rain which had abated, suddenlycame striking down, with a last blench of lightning and mutter ofdeparting storm. Connie was uneasy. He had talked so long now, and hewas really talking to himself not to her. Despair seemed to come downon him completely, and she was feeling happy, she hated despair. Sheknew her leaving him, which he had only just realized inside himselfhad plunged him back into this mood. And she triumphed a little. She opened the door and looked at the straight heavy rain, like a steelcurtain, and had a sudden desire to rush out into it, to rush away. Shegot up, and began swiftly pulling off her stockings, then her dress andunderclothing, and he held his breath. Her pointed keen animal breaststipped and stirred as she moved. She was ivory-coloured in the greenishlight. She slipped on her rubber shoes again and ran out with a wildlittle laugh, holding up her breasts to the heavy rain and spreadingher arms, and running blurred in the rain with the eurhythmic dancemovements she had learned so long ago in Dresden. It was a strangepallid figure lifting and falling, bending so the rain beat andglistened on the full haunches, swaying up again and comingbelly-forward through the rain, then stooping again so that only thefull loins and buttocks were offered in a kind of homage towards him,repeating a wild obeisance. He laughed wryly, and threw off his clothes. It was too much. He jumpedout, naked and white, with a little shiver, into the hard slantingrain. Flossie sprang before him with a frantic little bark. Connie, herhair all wet and sticking to her head, turned her hot face and saw him.Her blue eyes blazed with excitement as she turned and ran fast, with astrange charging movement, out of the clearing and down the path, thewet boughs whipping her. She ran, and he saw nothing but the round wethead, the wet back leaning forward in flight, the rounded buttockstwinkling: a wonderful cowering female nakedness in flight. She was nearly at the wide riding when he came up and flung his nakedarm round her soft, naked-wet middle. She gave a shriek andstraightened herself and the heap of her soft, chill flesh came upagainst his body. He pressed it all up against him, madly, the heap ofsoft, chilled female flesh that became quickly warm as flame, incontact. The rain streamed on them till they smoked. He gathered herlovely, heavy posteriors one in each hand and pressed them in towardshim in a frenzy, quivering motionless in the rain. Then suddenly hetipped her up and fell with her on the path, in the roaring silence ofthe rain, and short and sharp, he took her, short and sharp andfinished, like an animal. He got up in an instant, wiping the rain from his eyes. 'Come in,' he said, and they started running back to the hut. He ranstraight and swift: he didn't like the rain. But she came slower,gathering forget-me-nots and campion and bluebells, running a few stepsand watching him fleeing away from her. When she came with her flowers, panting to the hut, he had alreadystarted a fire, and the twigs were crackling. Her sharp breasts roseand fell, her hair was plastered down with rain, her face was flushedruddy and her body glistened and trickled. Wide-eyed and breathless,with a small wet head and full, trickling, na‹ve haunches, she lookedanother creature. He took the old sheet and rubbed her down, she standing like a child.Then he rubbed himself having shut the door of the hut. The fire wasblazing up. She ducked her head in the other end of the sheet, andrubbed her wet hair. 'We're drying ourselves together on the same towel, we shall quarrel!'he said. She looked up for a moment, her hair all odds and ends. 'No!' she said, her eyes wide. 'It's not a towel, it's a sheet.' Andshe went on busily rubbing her head, while he busily rubbed his. Still panting with their exertions, each wrapped in an army blanket,but the front of the body open to the fire, they sat on a log side byside before the blaze, to get quiet. Connie hated the feel of theblanket against her skin. But now the sheet was all wet. She dropped her blanket and kneeled on the clay hearth, holding herhead to the fire, and shaking her hair to dry it. He watched thebeautiful curving drop of her haunches. That fascinated him today. Howit sloped with a rich down-slope to the heavy roundness of herbuttocks! And in between, folded in the secret warmth, the secretentrances! He stroked her tail with his hand, long and subtly taking in the curvesand the globe-fullness. 'Tha's got such a nice tail on thee,' he said, in the throaty caressivedialect. 'Tha's got the nicest arse of anybody. It's the nicest, nicestwoman's arse as is! An' ivery bit of it is woman, woman sure as nuts.Tha'rt not one o' them button-arsed lasses as should be lads, are ter!Tha's got a real soft sloping bottom on thee, as a man loves in 'isguts. It's a bottom as could hold the world up, it is!' All the while he spoke he exquisitely stroked the rounded tail, till itseemed as if a slippery sort of fire came from it into his hands. Andhis finger-tips touched the two secret openings to her body, time aftertime, with a soft little brush of fire. 'An' if tha shits an' if tha pisses, I'm glad. I don't want a woman ascouldna shit nor piss.' Connie could not help a sudden snort of astonished laughter, but hewent on unmoved. 'Tha'rt real, tha art! Tha'art real, even a bit of a bitch. Here thashits an' here tha pisses: an' I lay my hand on 'em both an' like theefor it. I like thee for it. Tha's got a proper, woman's arse, proud ofitself. It's none ashamed of itself this isna.' He laid his hand close and firm over her secret places, in a kind ofclose greeting. 'I like it,' he said. 'I like it! An' if I only lived ten minutes, an'stroked thy arse an' got to know it, I should reckon I'd lived ONElife,see ter! Industrial system or not! Here's one o' my lifetimes.' She turned round and climbed into his lap, clinging to him. 'Kiss me!'she whispered. And she knew the thought of their separation was latent in both theirminds, and at last she was sad. She sat on his thighs, her head against his breast, and herivory-gleaming legs loosely apart, the fire glowing unequally uponthem. Sitting with his head dropped, he looked at the folds of her bodyin the fire-glow, and at the fleece of soft brown hair that hung downto a point between her open thighs. He reached to the table behind, andtook up her bunch of flowers, still so wet that drops of rain fell onto her. 'Flowers stops out of doors all weathers,' he said. 'They have nohouses.' 'Not even a hut!' she murmured. With quiet fingers he threaded a few forget-me-not flowers in the finebrown fleece of the mound of Venus. 'There!' he said. 'There's forget-me-nots in the right place!' She looked down at the milky odd little flowers among the brownmaiden-hair at the lower tip of her body. 'Doesn't it look pretty!' she said. 'Pretty as life,' he replied. And he stuck a pink campion-bud among the hair. 'There! That's me where you won't forget me! That's Moses in thebull-rushes.' 'You don't mind, do you, that I'm going away?' she asked wistfully,looking up into his face. But his face was inscrutable, under the heavy brows. He kept it quiteblank. 'You do as you wish,' he said. And he spoke in good English. 'But I won't go if you don't wish it,' she said, clinging to him. There was silence. He leaned and put another piece of wood on the fire.The flame glowed on his silent, abstracted face. She waited, but hesaid nothing. 'Only I thought it would be a good way to begin a break with Clifford.I do want a child. And it would give me a chance to, to--,' sheresumed. 'To let them think a few lies,' he said. 'Yes, that among other things. Do you want them to think the truth?' 'I don't care what they think.' 'I do! I don't want them handling me with their unpleasant cold minds,not while I'm still at Wragby. They can think what they like when I'mfinally gone.' He was silent. 'But Sir Clifford expects you to come back to him?' 'Oh, I must come back,' she said: and there was silence. 'And would you have a child in Wragby?' he asked. She closed her arm round his neck. 'If you wouldn't take me away, I should have to,' she said. 'Take you where to?' 'Anywhere! away! But right away from Wragby.' 'When?' 'Why, when I come back.' 'But what's the good of coming back, doing the thing twice, if you'reonce gone?' he said. 'Oh, I must come back. I've promised! I've promised so faithfully.Besides, I come back to you, really.' 'To your husband's game-keeper?' 'I don't see that that matters,' she said. 'No?' He mused a while. 'And when would you think of going away again,then; finally? When exactly?' 'Oh, I don't know. I'd come back from Venice. And then we'd prepareeverything.' 'How prepare?' 'Oh, I'd tell Clifford. I'd have to tell him.' 'Would you!' He remained silent. She put her arms round his neck. 'Don't make it difficult for me,' she pleaded. 'Make what difficult?' 'For me to go to Venice and arrange things.' A little smile, half a grin, flickered on his face. 'I don't make it difficult,' he said. 'I only want to find out justwhat you are after. But you don't really know yourself. You want totake time: get away and look at it. I don't blame you. I think you'rewise. You may prefer to stay mistress of Wragby. I don't blame you.I've no Wragbys to offer. In fact, you know what you'll get out of me.No, no, I think you're right! I really do! And I'm not keen on comingto live on you, being kept by you. There's that too.' She felt somehow as if he were giving her tit for tat. 'But you want me, don't you?' she asked. 'Do you want me?' 'You know I do. That's evident.' 'Quite! And WHEN do you want me?' 'You know we can arrange it all when I come back. Now I'm out of breathwith you. I must get calm and clear.' 'Quite! Get calm and clear!' She was a little offended. 'But you trust me, don't you?' she said. 'Oh, absolutely!' She heard the mockery in his tone. 'Tell me then,' she said flatly; 'do you think it would be better if IDON'T go to Venice?' 'I'm sure it's better if you do go to Venice,' he replied in the cool,slightly mocking voice. 'You know it's next Thursday?' she said. 'Yes!' She now began to muse. At last she said: 'And we SHALL know better where we are when I come back, shan't we?' 'Oh surely!' The curious gulf of silence between them! 'I've been to the lawyer about my divorce,' he said, a littleconstrainedly. She gave a slight shudder. 'Have you!' she said. 'And what did he say?' 'He said I ought to have done it before; that may be a difficulty. Butsince I was in the army, he thinks it will go through all right. Ifonly it doesn't bring HER down on my head!' 'Will she have to know?' 'Yes! she is served with a notice: so is the man she lives with, theco-respondent.' 'Isn't it hateful, all the performances! I suppose I'd have to gothrough it with Clifford.' There was a silence. 'And of course,' he said, 'I have to live an exemplary life for thenext six or eight months. So if you go to Venice, there's temptationremoved for a week or two, at least.' 'Am I temptation!' she said, stroking his face. 'I'm so glad I'mtemptation to you! Don't let's think about it! You frighten me when youstart thinking: you roll me out flat. Don't let's think about it. Wecan think so much when we are apart. That's the whole point! I've beenthinking, I must come to you for another night before I go. I MUST comeonce more to the cottage. Shall I come on Thursday night?' 'Isn't that when your sister will be there?' 'Yes! But she said we would start at tea-time. So we could start attea-time. But she could sleep somewhere else and I could sleep withyou. 'But then she'd have to know.' 'Oh, I shall tell her. I've more or less told her already. I must talkit all over with Hilda. She's a great help, so sensible.' He was thinking of her plan. 'So you'd start off from Wragby at tea-time, as if you were going toLondon? Which way were you going?' 'By Nottingham and Grantham.' 'And then your sister would drop you somewhere and you'd walk or driveback here? Sounds very risky, to me.' 'Does it? Well, then, Hilda could bring me back. She could sleep atMansfield, and bring me back here in the evening, and fetch me again inthe morning. It's quite easy.' 'And the people who see you?' 'I'll wear goggles and a veil.' He pondered for some time. 'Well,' he said. 'You please yourself as usual.' 'But wouldn't it please you?' 'Oh yes! It'd please me all right,' he said a little grimly. 'I mightas well smite while the iron's hot.' 'Do you know what I thought?' she said suddenly. 'It suddenly came tome. You are the ''Knight of the Burning Pestle''!' 'Ay! And you? Are you the Lady of the Red-Hot Mortar?' 'Yes!' she said. 'Yes! You're Sir Pestle and I'm Lady Mortar.' 'All right, then I'm knighted. John Thomas is Sir John, to your LadyJane.' 'Yes! John Thomas is knighted! I'm my-lady-maiden-hair, and you musthave flowers too. Yes!' She threaded two pink campions in the bush of red-gold hair above hispenis. 'There!' she said. 'Charming! Charming! Sir John!' And she pushed a bit of forget-me-not in the dark hair of his breast. 'And you won't forget me there, will you?' She kissed him on thebreast, and made two bits of forget-me-not lodge one over each nipple,kissing him again. 'Make a calendar of me!' he said. He laughed, and the flowers shookfrom his breast. 'Wait a bit!' he said. He rose, and opened the door of the hut. Flossie, lying in the porch,got up and looked at him. 'Ay, it's me!' he said. The rain had ceased. There was a wet, heavy, perfumed stillness.Evening was approaching. He went out and down the little path in the opposite direction from theriding. Connie watched his thin, white figure, and it looked to herlike a ghost, an apparition moving away from her. When she could see it no more, her heart sank. She stood in the door ofthe hut, with a blanket round her, looking into the drenched,motionless silence. But he was coming back, trotting strangely, and carrying flowers. Shewas a little afraid of him, as if he were not quite human. And when hecame near, his eyes looked into hers, but she could not understand themeaning. He had brought columbines and campions, and new-mown hay, and oak-tuftsand honeysuckle in small bud. He fastened fluffy young oak-sprays roundher breasts, sticking in tufts of bluebells and campion: and in hernavel he poised a pink campion flower, and in her maiden-hair wereforget-me-nots and woodruff. 'That's you in all your glory!' he said. 'Lady Jane, at her weddingwith John Thomas.' And he stuck flowers in the hair of his own body, and wound a bit ofcreeping-jenny round his penis, and stuck a single bell of a hyacinthin his navel. She watched him with amusement, his odd intentness. Andshe pushed a campion flower in his moustache, where it stuck, danglingunder his nose. 'This is John Thomas marryin' Lady Jane,' he said. 'An' we mun letConstance an' Oliver go their ways. Maybe--' He spread out his hand with a gesture, and then he sneezed, sneezingaway the flowers from his nose and his navel. He sneezed again. 'Maybe what?' she said, waiting for him to go on. He looked at her a little bewildered. 'Eh?' he said. 'Maybe what? Go on with what you were going to say,' she insisted. 'Ay, what WAS I going to say?' He had forgotten. And it was one of the disappointments of her life,that he never finished. A yellow ray of sun shone over the trees. 'Sun!' he said. 'And time you went. Time, my Lady, time! What's that asflies without wings, your Ladyship? Time! Time!' He reached for his shirt. 'Say goodnight! to John Thomas,' he said, looking down at his penis.'He's safe in the arms of creeping Jenny! Not much burning pestle abouthim just now.' And he put his flannel shirt over his head. 'A man's most dangerous moment,' he said, when his head had emerged,'is when he's getting into his shirt. Then he puts his head in a bag.That's why I prefer those American shirts, that you put on like ajacket.' She still stood watching him. He stepped into his shortdrawers, and buttoned them round the waist. 'Look at Jane!' he said. 'In all her blossoms! Who'll put blossoms onyou next year, Jinny? Me, or somebody else? ''Good-bye, my bluebell,farewell to you!'' I hate that song, it's early war days.' He then satdown, and was pulling on his stockings. She still stood unmoving. Helaid his hand on the slope of her buttocks. 'Pretty little Lady Jane!'he said. 'Perhaps in Venice you'll find a man who'll put jasmine inyour maiden-hair, and a pomegranate flower in your navel. Poor littlelady Jane!' 'Don't say those things!' she said. 'You only say them to hurt me.' He dropped his head. Then he said, in dialect: 'Ay, maybe I do, maybe I do! Well then, I'll say nowt, an' ha' donewi't. But tha mun dress thysen, all' go back to thy stately homes ofEngland, how beautiful they stand. Time's up! Time's up for Sir John,an' for little Lady Jane! Put thy shimmy on, Lady Chatterley! Tha mightbe anybody, standin' there be-out even a shimmy, an' a few rags o'flowers. There then, there then, I'll undress thee, tha bob-tailedyoung throstle.' And he took the leaves from her hair, kissing her damphair, and the flowers from her breasts, and kissed her breasts, andkissed her navel, and kissed her maiden-hair, where he left the flowersthreaded. 'They mun stop while they will,' he said. 'So! There tha'rtbare again, nowt but a bare-arsed lass an' a bit of a Lady Jane! Nowput thy shimmy on, for tha mun go, or else Lady Chatterley's goin' tobe late for dinner, an' where 'ave yer been to my pretty maid!' She never knew how to answer him when he was in this condition of thevernacular. So she dressed herself and prepared to go a littleignominiously home to Wragby. Or so she felt it: a little ignominiouslyhome. He would accompany her to the broad riding. His young pheasants wereall right under the shelter. When he and she came out on to the riding, there was Mrs Boltonfaltering palely towards them. 'Oh, my Lady, we wondered if anything had happened!' 'No! Nothing has happened.' Mrs Bolton looked into the man's face, that was smooth and new-lookingwith love. She met his half-laughing, half-mocking eyes. He alwayslaughed at mischance. But he looked at her kindly. 'Evening, Mrs Bolton! Your Ladyship will be all right now, so I canleave you. Good-night to your Ladyship! Good-night, Mrs Bolton!' He saluted and turned away. Chapter 16 Connie arrived home to an ordeal of cross-questioning. Clifford hadbeen out at tea-time, had come in just before the storm, and where washer ladyship? Nobody knew, only Mrs Bolton suggested she had gone for awalk into the wood. Into the wood, in such a storm! Clifford for oncelet himself get into a state of nervous frenzy. He started at everyflash of lightning, and blenched at every roll of thunder. He looked atthe icy thunder-rain as if it dare the end of the world. He got moreand more worked up. Mrs Bolton tried to soothe him. 'She'll be sheltering in the hut, till it's over. Don't worry, herLadyship is all right.' 'I don't like her being in the wood in a storm like this! I don't likeher being in the wood at all! She's been gone now more than two hours.When did she go out?' 'A little while before you came in.' 'I didn't see her in the park. God knows where she is and what hashappened to her.' 'Oh, nothing's happened to her. You'll see, she'll be home directlyafter the rain stops. It's just the rain that's keeping her.' But her ladyship did not come home directly the rain stopped. In facttime went by, the sun came out for his last yellow glimpse, and therestill was no sign of her. The sun was set, it was growing dark, and thefirst dinner-gong had rung. 'It's no good!' said Clifford in a frenzy. 'I'm going to send out Fieldand Betts to find her.' 'Oh don't do that!' cried Mrs Bolton. 'They'll think there's a suicideor something. Oh don't start a lot of talk going. Let me slip over tothe hut and see if she's not there. I'll find her all right.' So, after some persuasion, Clifford allowed her to go. And so Connie had come upon her in the drive, alone and palelyloitering. 'You mustn't mind me coming to look for you, my Lady! But Sir Cliffordworked himself up into such a state. He made sure you were struck bylightning, or killed by a falling tree. And he was determined to sendField and Betts to the wood to find the body. So I thought I'd bettercome, rather than set all the servants agog. She spoke nervously. She could still see on Connie's face thesmoothness and the half-dream of passion, and she could feel theirritation against herself. 'Quite!' said Connie. And she could say no more. The two women plodded on through the wet world, in silence, while greatdrops splashed like explosions in the wood. Ben they came to the park,Connie strode ahead, and Mrs Bolton panted a little. She was gettingplumper. 'How foolish of Clifford to make a fuss!' said Connie at length,angrily, really speaking to herself. 'Oh, you know what men are! They like working themselves up. But he'llbe all right as soon as he sees your Ladyship.' Connie was very angry that Mrs Bolton knew her secret: for certainlyshe knew it. Suddenly Constance stood still on the path. 'It's monstrous that I should have to be followed!' she said, her eyesflashing. 'Oh! your Ladyship, don't say that! He'd certainly have sent the twomen, and they'd have come straight to the hut. I didn't know where itwas, really.' Connie flushed darker with rage, at the suggestion. Yet, while herpassion was on her, she could not lie. She could not even pretend therewas nothing between herself and the keeper. She looked at the otherwoman, who stood so sly, with her head dropped: yet somehow, in herfemaleness, an ally. 'Oh well!' she said. 'I fit is so it is so. I don't mind!' 'Why, you're all right, my Lady! You've only been sheltering in thehut. It's absolutely nothing.' They went on to the house. Connie marched in to Clifford's room,furious with him, furious with his pale, over-wrought fee and prominenteyes. 'I must say, I don't think you need send the servants after me,' sheburst out. 'My God!' he exploded. 'Where have you been, woman, You've been gonehours, hours, and in a storm like this! What the hell do you go tothat-bloody wood for? What have you been up to? It's hours even sincethe rain stopped, hours! Do you know what time it is? You're enough todrive anybody mad. Where have you been? What in the name of hell haveyou been doing?' 'And what if I don't choose to tell you?' She pulled her hat from herhead and shook her hair. He lied at her with his eyes bulging, and yellow coming into thewhites. It was very bad for him to get into these rages: Mrs Bolton hada weary time with him, for days after. Connie felt a sudden qualm. But really!' she said, milder. 'Anyone would think I'd been I don'tknow where! I just sat in the hut during all the storm, and made myselfa little fire, and was happy.' She spoke now easily. After all, why work him up any more! He looked at her suspiciously. And look at your hair!' he said; 'look at yourself!' 'Yes!' she replied calmly. 'I ran out in the rain with no clothes on.' He stared at her speechless. 'You must be mad!' he said. 'Why? To like a shower bath from the rain?' 'And how did you dry yourself?' 'On an old towel and at the fire.' He still stared at her in a dumbfounded way. 'And supposing anybody came,' he said. 'Who would come?' 'Who? Why, anybody! And Mellors. Does he come? He must come in theevenings.' 'Yes, he came later, when it had cleared up, to feed the pheasants withcorn.' She spoke with amazing nonchalance. Mrs Bolton, who was listening inthe next room, heard in sheer admiration. To think a woman could carryit off so naturally! 'And suppose he'd come while you were running about in the rain withnothing on, like a maniac?' 'I suppose he'd have had the fright of his life, and cleared out asfast as he could.' Clifford still stared at her transfixed. What he thought in hisunder-consciousness he would never know. And he was too much takenaback to form one clear thought in his upper consciousness. He justsimply accepted what she said, in a sort of blank. And he admired her.He could not help admiring her. She looked so flushed and handsome andsmooth: love smooth. 'At least,' he said, subsiding, 'you'll be lucky if you've got offwithout a severe cold.' 'Oh, I haven't got a cold,' she replied. She was thinking to herself ofthe other man's words: Tha's got the nicest woman's arse of anybody!She wished, she dearly wished she could tell Clifford that this hadbeen said her, during the famous thunderstorm. However! She boreherself rather like an offended queen, and went upstairs to change. That evening, Clifford wanted to be nice to her. He was reading one ofthe latest scientific-religious books: he had a streak of a spurioussort of religion in him, and was egocentrically concerned with thefuture of his own ego. It was like his habit to make conversation toConnie about some book, since the conversation between them had to bemade, almost chemically. They had almost chemically to concoct it intheir heads. 'What do you think of this, by the way?' he said, reaching for hisbook. 'You'd have no need to cool your ardent body by running out inthe rain, if only we have a few more aeons of evolution behind us. Ah,here it is!--''The universe shows us two aspects: on one side it isphysically wasting, on the other it is spiritually ascending.''' Connie listened, expecting more. But Clifford was waiting. She lookedat him in surprise. 'And if it spiritually ascends,' she said, 'what does it leave downbelow, in the place where its tail used to be?' 'Ah!' he said. 'Take the man for what he means. ASCENDING is theopposite of his WASTING, I presume.' 'Spiritually blown out, so to speak!' 'No, but seriously, without joking: do you think there is anything init?' She looked at him again. 'Physically wasting?' she said. 'I see you getting fatter, and I'm sotwasting myself. Do you think the sun is smaller than he used to be?He's not to me. And I suppose the apple Adam offered Eve wasn't reallymuch bigger, if any, than one of our orange pippins. Do you think itwas?' 'Well, hear how he goes on: ''It is thus slowly passing, with aslowness inconceivable in our measures of time, to new creativeconditions, amid which the physical world, as we at present know it,will he represented by a ripple barely to be distinguished fromnonentity.''' She listened with a glisten of amusement. All sorts of improper thingssuggested themselves. But she only said: 'What silly hocus-pocus! As if his little conceited consciousness couldknow what was happening as slowly as all that! It only means HE'S aphysical failure on the earth, so he wants to make the whole universe aphysical failure. Priggish little impertinence!' 'Oh, but listen! Don't interrupt the great man's solemn words!--''Thepresent type of order in the world has risen from an unimaginable part,and will find its grave in an unimaginable future. There remains theinexhaustive realm of abstract forms, and creativity with its shiftingcharacter ever determined afresh by its own creatures, and God, uponwhose wisdom all forms of order depend.''--There, that's how he windsup!' Connie sat listening contemptuously. 'He's spiritually blown out,' she said. 'What a lot of stuff!Unnimaginables, and types of order in graves, and realms of abstractforms, and creativity with a shifty character, and God mixed up withforms of order! Why, it's idiotic!' 'I must say, it is a little vaguely conglomerate, a mixture of gases,so to speak,' said Clifford. 'Still, I think there is something in theidea that the universe is physically wasting and spirituallyascending.' 'Do you? Then let it ascend, so long as it leaves me safely and solidlyphysically here below.' 'Do you like your physique?' he asked. 'I love it!' And through her mind went the words: It's the nicest,nicest woman's arse as is! 'But that is really rather extraordinary, because there's no denyingit's an encumbrance. But then I suppose a woman doesn't take a supremepleasure in the life of the mind.' 'Supreme pleasure?' she said, looking up at him. 'Is that sort ofidiocy the supreme pleasure of the life of the mind? No thank you! Giveme the body. I believe the life of the body is a greater reality thanthe life of the mind: when the body is really wakened to life. But somany people, like your famous wind-machine, have only got minds tackedon to their physical corpses.' He looked at her in wonder. 'The life of the body,' he said, 'is just the life of the animals.' 'And that's better than the life of professional corpses. But it's nottrue! the human body is only just coming to real life. With the Greeksit gave a lovely flicker, then Plato and Aristotle killed it, and Jesusfinished it off. But now the body is coming really to life, it isreally rising from the tomb. And It will be a lovely, lovely life inthe lovely universe, the life of the human body.' 'My dear, you speak as if you were ushering it all in! True, you amgoing away on a holiday: but don't please be quite so indecently elatedabout it. Believe me, whatever God there is is slowly eliminating theguts and alimentary system from the human being, to evolve a higher,more spiritual being.' 'Why should I believe you, Clifford, when I feel that whatever Godthere is has at last wakened up in my guts, as you call them, and isrippling so happily there, like dawn. Why should I believe you, when Ifeel so very much the contrary?' 'Oh, exactly! And what has caused this extraordinary change in you?running out stark naked in the rain, and playing Bacchante? desire forsensation, or the anticipation of going to Venice?' 'Both! Do you think it is horrid of me to be so thrilled at going off?'she said. 'Rather horrid to show it so plainly.' 'Then I'll hide it.' 'Oh, don't trouble! You almost communicate a thrill to me. I almostfeel that it is I who am going off.' 'Well, why don't you come?' 'We've gone over all that. And as a matter of fact, I suppose yourgreatest thrill comes from being able to say a temporary farewell toall this. Nothing so thrilling, for the moment, asGood-bye-to-all!--But every parting means a meeting elsewhere. Andevery meeting is a new bondage.' 'I'm not going to enter any new bondages.' 'Don't boast, while the gods are listening,' he said. She pulled up short. 'No! I won't boast!' she said. But she was thrilled, none the less, to be going off: to feel bondssnap. She couldn't help it. Clifford, who couldn't sleep, gambled all night with Mrs Bolton, tillshe was too sleepy almost to live. And the day came round for Hilda to arrive. Connie had arranged withMellors that if everything promised well for their night together, shewould hang a green shawl out of the window. If there were frustration,a red one. Mrs Bolton helped Connie to pack. 'It will be so good for your Ladyship to have a change.' 'I think it will. You don't mind having Sir Clifford on your handsalone for a time, do you?' 'Oh no! I can manage him quite all right. I mean, I can do all he needsme to do. Don't you think he's better than he used to be?' 'Oh much! You do wonders with him.' 'Do I though! But men are all alike: just babies, and you have toflatter them and wheedle them and let them think they're having theirown way. Don't you find it so, my Lady?' 'I'm afraid I haven't much experience.' Connie paused in her occupation. 'Even your husband, did you have to manage him, and wheedle him like ababy?' she asked, looking at the other woman. Mrs Bolton paused too. 'Well!' she said. 'I had to do a good bit of coaxing, with him too. Buthe always knew what I was after, I must say that. But he generally gavein to me.' 'He was never the lord and master thing?' 'No! At least there'd be a look in his eyes sometimes, and then I knewI'D got to give in. But usually he gave in to me. No, he was never lordand master. But neither was I. I knew when I could go no further withhim, and then I gave in: though it cost me a good bit, sometimes.' 'And what if you had held out against him?' 'Oh, I don't know, I never did. Even when he was in the wrong, if hewas fixed, I gave in. You see, I never wanted to break what was betweenus. And if you really set your will against a man, that finishes it. Ifyou care for a man, you have to give in to him once he's reallydetermined; whether you're in the right or not, you have to give in.Else you break something. But I must say, Ted 'ud give in to mesometimes, when I was set on a thing, and in the wrong. So I suppose itcuts both ways.' 'And that's how you are with all your patients?' asked Connie. 'Oh, That's different. I don't care at all, in the same way. I knowwhat's good for them, or I try to, and then I just contrive to managethem for their own good. It's not like anybody as you're really fondof. It's quite different. Once you've been really fond of a man, youcan be affectionate to almost any man, if he needs you at all. But it'snot the same thing. You don't really CARE. I doubt, once you've REALLYcared, if you can ever really care again.' These words frightened Connie. 'Do you think one can only care once?' she asked. 'Or never. Most women never care, never begin to. They don't know whatit means. Nor men either. But when I see a woman as cares, my heartstands still for her.' 'And do you think men easily take offence?' 'Yes! If you wound them on their pride. But aren't women the same? Onlyour two prides are a bit different.' Connie pondered this. She began again to have some misgiving about hergag away. After all, was she not giving her man the go-by, if only fora short time? And he knew it. That's why he was so queer and sarcastic. Still! the human existence is a good deal controlled by the machine ofexternal circumstance. She was in the power of this machine. Shecouldn't extricate herself all in five minutes. She didn't even wantto. Hilda arrived in good time on Thursday morning, in a nimble two-seatercar, with her suit-case strapped firmly behind. She looked as demureand maidenly as ever, but she had the same will of her own. She had thevery hell of a will of her own, as her husband had found out. But thehusband was now divorcing her. Yes, she even made it easy for him to do that, though she had no lover.For the time being, she was 'off' men. She was very well content to bequite her own mistress: and mistress of her two children, whom she wasgoing to bring up 'properly', whatever that may mean. Connie was only allowed a suit-case, also. But she had sent on a trunkto her father, who was going by train. No use taking a car to Venice.And Italy much too hot to motor in, in July. He was going comfortablyby train. He had just come down from Scotland. So, like a demure arcadian field-marshal, Hilda arranged the materialpart of the journey. She and Connie sat in the upstairs room, chatting. 'But Hilda!' said Connie, a little frightened. 'I want to stay nearhere tonight. Not here: near here!' Hilda fixed her sister with grey, inscrutable eyes. She seemed so calm:and she was so often furious. 'Where, near here?' she asked softly. 'Well, you know I love somebody, don't you?' 'I gathered there was something.' 'Well he lives near here, and I want to spend this last night with himmust! I've promised.' Connie became insistent. Hilda bent her Minerva-like head in silence. Then she looked up. 'Do you want to tell me who he is?' she said. 'He's our game-keeper,' faltered Connie, and she flushed vividly, likea shamed child. 'Connie!' said Hilda, lifting her nose slightly with disgust: a she hadfrom her mother. 'I know: but he's lovely really. He really understands tenderness,'said Connie, trying to apologize for him. Hilda, like a ruddy, rich-coloured Athena, bowed her head and ponderedShe was really violently angry. But she dared not show it, becauseConnie, taking after her father, would straight away becomeobstreperous and unmanageable. It was true, Hilda did not like Clifford: his cool assurance that hewas somebody! She thought he made use of Connie shamefully andimpudently. She had hoped her sister WOULD leave him. But, being solidScotch middle class, she loathed any 'lowering' of oneself or thefamily. She looked up at last. 'You'll regret it,' she said, 'I shan't,' cried Connie, flushed red. 'He's quite the exception. IREALLY love him. He's lovely as a lover.' Hilda still pondered. 'You'll get over him quite soon,' she said, 'and live to be ashamed ofyourself because of him.' 'I shan't! I hope I'm going to have a child of his.' ' CONNIE!' said Hilda, hard as a hammer-stroke, and pale with anger. 'I shall if I possibly can. I should be fearfully proud if I had achild by him.' It was no use talking to her. Hilda pondered. 'And doesn't Clifford suspect?' she said. 'Oh no! Why should he?' 'I've no doubt you've given him plenty of occasion for suspicion,' saidHilda. 'Not it all.' 'And tonight's business seems quite gratuitous folly. Where does theman live?' 'In the cottage at the other end of the wood.' 'Is he a bachelor?' 'No! His wife left him.' 'How old?' 'I don't know. Older than me.' Hilda became more angry at every reply, angry as her mother used to be,in a kind of paroxysm. But still she hid it. 'I would give up tonight's escapade if I were you,' she advised calmly. 'I can't! I MUST stay with him tonight, or I can't go to Venice at all.I just can't.' Hilda heard her father over again, and she gave way, out of merediplomacy. And she consented to drive to Mansfield, both of them, todinner, to bring Connie back to the lane-end after dark, and to fetchher from the lane-end the next morning, herself sleeping in Mansfield,only half an hour away, good going. But she was furious. She stored it up against her sister, this balk inher plans. Connie flung an emerald-green shawl over her window-sill. On the strength of her anger, Hilda warmed toward Clifford. After all, he had a mind. And if he had no sex, functionally, all thebetter: so much the less to quarrel about! Hilda wanted no more of thatsex business, where men became nasty, selfish little horrors. Conniereally had less to put up with than many women if she did but know it. And Clifford decided that Hilda, after all, was a decidedly intelligentwoman, and would make a man a first-rate helpmate, if he were going infor politics for example. Yes, she had none of Connie's silliness,Connie was more a child: you had to make excuses for her, because shewas not altogether dependable. There was an early cup of tea in the hall, where doors were open to letin the sun. Everybody seemed to be panting a little. 'Good-bye, Connie girl! Come back to me safely.' 'Good-bye, Clifford! Yes, I shan't be long.' Connie was almost tender. 'Good-bye, Hilda! You will keep an eye on her, won't you?' 'I'll even keep two!' said Hilda. 'She shan't go very far astray.' 'It's a promise!' 'Good-bye, Mrs Bolton! I know you'll look after Sir Clifford nobly.' 'I'll do what I can, your Ladyship.' 'And write to me if there is any news, and tell me about Sir Clifford,how he is.' 'Very good, your Ladyship, I will. And have a good time, and come backand cheer us up.' Everybody waved. The car went off Connie looked back and saw Clifford,sitting at the top of the steps in his house-chair. After all, he washer husband: Wragby was her home: circumstance had done it. Mrs Chambers held the gate and wished her ladyship a happy holiday. Thecar slipped out of the dark spinney that masked the park, on to thehighroad where the colliers were trailing home. Hilda turned to theCrosshill Road, that was not a main road, but ran to Mansfield. Connieput on goggles. They ran beside the railway, which was in a cuttingbelow them. Then they crossed the cutting on a bridge. 'That's the lane to the cottage!' said Connie. Hilda glanced at it impatiently. 'It's a frightful pity we can't go straight off!' she said. We couldhave been in Pall Mall by nine o'clock.' 'I'm sorry for your sake,' said Connie, from behind her goggles. They were soon at Mansfield, that once-romantic, now utterlydisheartening colliery town. Hilda stopped at the hotel named in themotor-car book, and took a room. The whole thing was utterlyuninteresting, and she was almost too angry to talk. However, ConnieHAD to tell her something of the man's history. ' HE! HE! What name do you call him by? You only say HE,' said Hilda. 'I've never called him by any name: nor he me: which is curious, whenyou come to think of it. Unless we say Lady Jane and John Thomas. Buthis name is Oliver Mellors.' 'And how would you like to be Mrs Oliver Mellors, instead of LadyChatterley?' 'I'd love it.' There was nothing to be done with Connie. And anyhow, if the man hadbeen a lieutenant in the army in India for four or five years, he mustbe more or less presentable. Apparently he had character. Hilda beganto relent a little. 'But you'll be through with him in awhile,' she said, 'and then you'llbe ashamed of having been connected with him. One CAN'T mix up with theworking people.' 'But you are such a socialist! you're always on the side of the workingclasses.' 'I may be on their side in a political crisis, but being on their sidemakes me know how impossible it is to mix one's life with theirs. Notout of snobbery, but just because the whole rhythm is different.' Hilda had lived among the real political intellectuals, so she wasdisastrously unanswerable. The nondescript evening in the hotel dragged out, and at last they hada nondescript dinner. Then Connie slipped a few things into a littlesilk bag, and combed her hair once more. 'After all, Hilda,' she said, 'love can be wonderful: when you feel youLIVE, and are in the very middle of creation.' It was almost likebragging on her part. 'I suppose every mosquito feels the same,' said Hilda. 'Do you think itdoes? How nice for it!' The evening was wonderfully clear and long-lingering, even in the smalltown. It would be half-light all night. With a face like a mask, fromresentment, Hilda started her car again, and the two sped back on theirtraces, taking the other road, through Bolsover. Connie wore her goggles and disguising cap, and she sat in silence.Because of Hilda's Opposition, she was fiercely on the sidle of theman, she would stand by him through thick and thin. They had their head-lights on, by the time they passed Crosshill, andthe small lit-up train that chuffed past in the cutting made it seemlike real night. Hilda had calculated the turn into the lane at thebridge-end. She slowed up rather suddenly and swerved off the road, thelights glaring white into the grassy, overgrown lane. Connie lookedout. She saw a shadowy figure, and she opened the door. 'Here we are!' she said softly. But Hilda had switched off the lights, and was absorbed backing, makingthe turn. 'Nothing on the bridge?' she asked shortly. 'You're all right,' saidthe mall's voice. She backed on to the bridge, reversed, let the carrun forwards a few yards along the road, then backed into the lane,under a wych-elm tree, crushing the grass and bracken. Then all thelights went out. Connie stepped down. The man stood under the trees. 'Did you wait long?' Connie asked. 'Not so very,' he replied. They both waited for Hilda to get out. But Hilda shut the door of thecar and sat tight. 'This is my sister Hilda. Won't you come and speak to her? Hilda! Thisis Mr Mellors.' The keeper lifted his hat, but went no nearer. 'Do walk down to the cottage with us, Hilda,' Connie pleaded. 'It's notfar.' 'What about the car?' 'People do leave them on the lanes. You have the key.' Hilda was silent, deliberating. Then she looked backwards down thelane. 'Can I back round the bush?' she said. 'Oh yes!' said the keeper. She backed slowly round the curve, out of sight of the road, locked thecar, and got down. It was night, but luminous dark. The hedges rosehigh and wild, by the unused lane, and very dark seeming. There was afresh sweet scent on the air. The keeper went ahead, then came Connie,then Hilda, and in silence. He lit up the difficult places with aflash-light torch, and they went on again, while an owl softly hootedover the oaks, and Flossie padded silently around. Nobody could speak.There was nothing to say. At length Connie saw the yellow light of the house, and her heart beatfast. She was a little frightened. They trailed on, still in Indianfile. He unlocked the door and preceded them into the warm but bare littleroom. The fire burned low and red in the grate. The table was set withtwo plates and two glasses on a proper white table-cloth for Once.Hilda shook her hair and looked round the bare, cheerless room. Thenshe summoned her courage and looked at the man. He was moderately tall, and thin, and she thought him good-looking. Hekept a quiet distance of his own, and seemed absolutely unwilling tospeak. 'Do sit down, Hilda,' said Connie. 'Do!' he said. 'Can I make you tea or anything, or will you drink aglass of beer? It's moderately cool.' 'Beer!' said Connie. 'Beer for me, please!' said Hilda, with a mock sort of shyness. Helooked at her and blinked. He took a blue jug and tramped to the scullery. When he came back withthe beer, his face had changed again. Connie sat down by the door, and Hilda sat in his seat, with the backto the wall, against the window corner. 'That is his chair,' said Connie softly.' And Hilda rose as if it hadburnt her. 'Sit yer still, sit yer still! Ta'e ony cheer as yo'n a mind to, noneof us is th' big bear,' he said, with complete equanimity. And he brought Hilda a glass, and poured her beer first from the bluejug. 'As for cigarettes,' he said, 'I've got none, but 'appen you've gotyour own. I dunna smoke, mysen. Shall y' eat summat?' He turned directto Connie. 'Shall t'eat a smite o' summat, if I bring it thee? Tha canusually do wi' a bite.' He spoke the vernacular with a curious calmassurance, as if he were the landlord of the Inn. 'What is there?' asked Connie, flushing. 'Boiled ham, cheese, pickled wa'nuts, if yer like.--Nowt much.' 'Yes,' said Connie. 'Won't you, Hilda?' Hilda looked up at him. 'Why do you speak Yorkshire?' she said softly. 'That! That's non Yorkshire, that's Derby.' He looked back at her with that faint, distant grin. 'Derby, then! Why do you speak Derby? You spoke natural English atfirst.' 'Did Ah though? An' canna Ah change if Ah'm a mind to 't? Nay, nay, letme talk Derby if it suits me. If yo'n nowt against it.' 'It sounds a little affected,' said Hilda. 'Ay, 'appen so! An' up i' Tevershall yo'd sound affected.' He lookedagain at her, with a queer calculating distance, along his cheek-bone:as if to say: Yi, an' who are you? He tramped away to the pantry for the food. The sisters sat in silence. He brought another plate, and knife andfork. The he said: 'An' if it's the same to you, I s'll ta'e my coat off like I allersdo.' And he took off his coat, and hung it on the peg, then sat down totable in his shirt-sleeves: a shirt of thin, cream-coloured flannel. ''Elp yerselves!' he said. ''Elp yerselves! Dunna wait f'r axin'!' Hecut the bread, then sat motionless. Hilda felt, as Connie once used to,his power of silence and distance. She saw his smallish, sensitive,loose hand on the table. He was no simple working man, not he: he wasacting! acting! 'Still!' she said, as she took a little cheese. 'It would be morenatural if you spoke to us in normal English, not in vernacular.' He looked at her, feeling her devil of a will. 'Would it?' he said in the normal English. 'Would it? Would anythingthat was said between you and me be quite natural, unless you said youwished me to hell before your sister ever saw me again: and unless Isaid something almost as unpleasant back again? Would anything else benatural?' 'Oh yes!' said Hilda. 'Just good manners would be quite natural.' 'Second nature, so to speak!' he said: then he began to laugh. 'Nay,'he said. 'I'm weary o' manners. Let me be!' Hilda was frankly baffled and furiously annoyed. After all, he mightshow that he realized he was being honoured. Instead of which, with hisplay-acting and lordly airs, he seemed to think it was he who wasconferring the honour. Just impudence! Poor misguided Connie, in theman's clutches! The three ate in silence. Hilda looked to see what his table-mannerswere like. She could not help realizing that he was instinctively muchmore delicate and well-bred than herself. She had a certain Scottishclumsiness. And moreover, he had all the quiet self-contained assuranceof the English, no loose edges. It would be very difficult to get thebetter of him. But neither would he get the better of her. 'And do you really think,' she said, a little more humanly, 'it's worththe risk.' 'Is what worth what risk?' 'This escapade with my sister.' He flickered his irritating grin. 'Yo' maun ax 'er!' Then he looked at Connie. 'Tha comes o' thine own accord, lass, doesn't ter? It's non me asforces thee?' Connie looked at Hilda. 'I wish you wouldn't cavil, Hilda.' 'Naturally I don't want to. But someone has to think about things.You've got to have some sort of continuity in your life. You can't justgo making a mess.' There was a moment's pause. 'Eh, continuity!' he said. 'An' what by that? What continuity ave yergot i' YOUR life? I thought you was gettin' divorced. What continuity'sthat? Continuity o' yer own stubbornness. I can see that much. An' whatgood's it goin' to do yer? You'll be sick o' yer continuity afore yer afat sight older. A stubborn woman an er own self-will: ay, they make afast continuity, they do. Thank heaven, it isn't me as 'as got th''andlin' of yer!' 'What right have you to speak like that to me?' said Hilda. 'Right! What right ha' yo' ter start harnessin' other folks i' yourcontinuity? Leave folks to their own continuities.' 'My dear man, do you think I am concerned with you?' said Hilda softly. 'Ay,' he said. 'Yo' are. For it's a force-put. Yo' more or less mysister-in-law.' 'Still far from it, I assure you. 'Not a' that far, I assure YOU. I've got my own sort o' continuity,back your life! Good as yours, any day. An' if your sister there comester me for a bit o' cunt an' tenderness, she knows what she's after.She's been in my bed afore: which you 'aven't, thank the Lord, withyour continuity.' There was a dead pause, before he added: '--Eh, Idon't wear me breeches arse-forrards. An' if I get a windfall, I thankmy stars. A man gets a lot of enjoyment out o' that lass theer, whichis more than anybody gets out o' th' likes o' you. Which is a pity, foryou might appen a' bin a good apple, 'stead of a handsome crab. Womenlike you needs proper graftin'.' He was looking at her with an odd, flickering smile, faintly sensualand appreciative. 'And men like you,' she said, 'ought to be segregated: justifying theirown vulgarity and selfish lust.' 'Ay, ma'am! It's a mercy there's a few men left like me. But youdeserve what you get: to be left severely alone.' Hilda had risen and gone to the door. He rose and took his coat fromthe peg. 'I can find my way quite well alone,' she said. 'I doubt you can't,' he replied easily. They tramped in ridiculous file down the lane again, in silence. An owlstill hooted. He knew he ought to shoot it. The car stood untouched, a little dewy. Hilda got in and started theengine. The other two waited. 'All I mean,' she said from her entrenchment, 'is that I doubt ifyou'll find it's been worth it, either of you!' 'One man's meat is another man's poison,' he said, out of the darkness.'But it's meat an' drink to me. The lights flared out. 'Don't make me wait in the morning,' 'No, I won't. Goodnight!' The car rose slowly on to the highroad, then slid swiftly away, leavingthe night silent. Connie timidly took his arm, and they went down the lane. He did notspeak. At length she drew him to a standstill. 'Kiss me!' she murmured. 'Nay, wait a bit! Let me simmer down,' he said. That amused her. She still kept hold of his arm, and they went quicklydown the lane, in silence. She was so glad to be with him, just now.She shivered, knowing that Hilda might have snatched her away. He wasinscrutably silent. When they were in the cottage again, she almost jumped with pleasure,that she should be free of her sister. 'But you were horrid to Hilda,' she said to him. 'She should ha' been slapped in time.' 'But why? and she's SO nice.' He didn't answer, went round doing the evening chores, with a quiet,inevitable sort of motion. He was outwardly angry, but not with her. SoConnie felt. And his anger gave him a peculiar handsomeness, aninwardness and glisten that thrilled her and made her limbs go molten. Still he took no notice of her. Till he sat down and began to unlace his boots. Then he looked up ather from under his brows, on which the anger still sat firm. 'Shan't you go up?' he said. 'There's a candle!' He jerked his head swiftly to indicate the candle burning on the table.She took it obediently, and he watched the full curve of her hips asshe went up the first stairs. It was a night of sensual passion, in which she was a little startledand almost unwilling: yet pierced again with piercing thrills ofsensuality, different, sharper, more terrible than the thrills oftenderness, but, at the moment, more desirable. Though a littlefrightened, she let him have his way, and the reckless, shamelesssensuality shook her to her foundations, stripped her to the very last,and made a different woman of her. It was not really love. It was notvoluptuousness. It was sensuality sharp and searing as fire, burningthe soul to tinder. Burning out the shames, the deepest, oldest shames, in the most secretplaces. It cost her an effort to let him have his way and his will ofher. She had to be a passive, consenting thing, like a slave, aphysical slave. Yet the passion licked round her, consuming, and whenthe sensual flame of it pressed through her bowels and breast, shereally thought she was dying: yet a poignant, marvellous death. She had often wondered what Ab‚lard meant, when he said that in theiryear of love he and H‚lo‹se had passed through all the stages andrefinements of passion. The same thing, a thousand years ago: tenthousand years ago! The same on the Greek vases, everywhere! Therefinements of passion, the extravagances of sensuality! And necessary,forever necessary, to burn out false shames and smelt out the heaviestore of the body into purity. With the fire of sheer sensuality. In the short summer night she learnt so much. She would have thought awoman would have died of shame. Instead of which, the shame died.Shame, which is fear: the deep Organic shame, the old, old physicalfear which crouches in the bodily roots of us, and can only be chasedaway by the sensual fire, at last it was roused up and routed by thephallic hunt of the man, and she came to the very heart of the jungleof herself. She felt, now, she had come to the real bed-rock of hernature, and was essentially shameless. She was her sensual self, nakedand unashamed. She felt a triumph, almost a vainglory. So! That was howit was! That was life! That was how oneself really was! There wasnothing left to disguise or be ashamed of. She shared her ultimatenakedness with a man, another being. And what a reckless devil the man was! really like a devil! One had tobe strong to bear him. But it took some getting at, the core of thephysical jungle, the last and deepest recess of organic shame. Thephallos alone could explore it. And how he had pressed in on her! And how, in fear, she had hated it. But how she had really wanted it!She knew now. At the bottom of her soul, fundamentally, she had neededthis phallic hunting Out, she had secretly wanted it, and she hadbelieved that she would never get it. Now suddenly there it was, and aman was sharing her last and final nakedness, she was shameless. What liars poets and everybody were! They made one think one wantedsentiment. When what one supremely wanted was this piercing, consuming,rather awful sensuality. To find a man who dared do it, without shameor sin or final misgiving! If he had been ashamed afterwards, and madeone feel ashamed, how awful! What a pity most men are so doggy, a bitshameful, like Clifford! Like Michaelis even! Both sensually a bitdoggy and humiliating. The supreme pleasure of the mind! And what isthat to a woman? What is it, really, to the man either! He becomesmerely messy and doggy, even in his mind. It needs sheer sensualityeven to purify and quicken the mind. Sheer fiery sensuality, notmessiness. Ah, God, how rare a thing a man is! They are all dogs that trot andsniff and copulate. To have found a man who was not afraid and notashamed! She looked at him now, sleeping so like a wild animal asleep,gone, gone in the remoteness of it. She nestled down, not to be awayfrom him. Till his rousing waked her completely. He was sitting up in bed,looking down at her. She saw her own nakedness in his eyes, immediateknowledge of her. And the fluid, male knowledge of herself seemed toflow to her from his eyes and wrap her voluptuously. Oh, how voluptuousand lovely it was to have limbs and body half-asleep, heavy andsuffused with passion. 'Is it time to wake up?' she said. 'Half past six.' She had to be at the lane-end at eight. Always, always, always thiscompulsion on one! 'I might make the breakfast and bring it up here; should I?' he said. 'Oh yes!' Flossie whimpered gently below. He got up and threw off his pyjamas,and rubbed himself with a towel. When the human being is full ofcourage and full of life, how beautiful it is! So she thought, as shewatched him in silence. 'Draw the curtain, will you?' The sun was shining already on the tender green leaves of morning, andthe wood stood bluey-fresh, in the nearness. She sat up in bed, lookingdreamily out through the dormer window, her naked arms pushing hernaked breasts together. He was dressing himself. She was half-dreamingof life, a life together with him: just a life. He was going, fleeing from her dangerous, crouching nakedness. 'Have I lost my nightie altogether?' she said. He pushed his hand down in the bed, and pulled out the bit of flimsysilk. 'I knowed I felt silk at my ankles,' he said. But the night-dress was slit almost in two. 'Never mind!' she said. 'It belongs here, really. I'll leave it.' 'Ay, leave it, I can put it between my legs at night, for company.There's no name nor mark on it, is there?' She slipped on the torn thing, and sat dreamily looking out of thewindow. The window was Open, the air of morning drifted in, and thesound of birds. Birds flew continuously past. Then she saw Flossieroaming out. It was morning. Downstairs she heard him making the fire, pumping water, going out atthe back door. By and by came the smell of bacon, and at length he cameupstairs with a huge black tray that would only just go through thedoor. He set the tray on the bed, and poured out the tea. Conniesquatted in her torn nightdress, and fell on her food hungrily. He saton the one chair, with his plate on his knees. 'How good it is!' she said. 'How nice to have breakfast together.' He ate in silence, his mind on the time that was quickly passing. Thatmade her remember. 'Oh, how I wish I could stay here with you, and Wragby were a millionmiles away! It's Wragby I'm going away from really. You know that,don't you?' 'Ay!' 'And you promise we will live together and have a life together, youand me! You promise me, don't you?' 'Ay! When we can.' 'Yes! And we WILL! we WILL, won't we?' she leaned over, making the teaspill, catching his wrist. 'Ay!' he said, tidying up the tea. 'We can't possibly NOT live together now, can we?' she saidappealingly. He looked up at her with his flickering grin. 'No!' he said. 'Only you've got to start in twenty-five minutes.' 'Have I?' she cried. Suddenly he held up a warning finger, and rose tohis feet. Flossie had given a short bark, then three loud sharp yaps of warning. Silent, he put his plate on the tray and went downstairs. Constanceheard him go down the garden path. A bicycle bell tinkled outsidethere. 'Morning, Mr Mellors! Registered letter!' 'Oh ay! Got a pencil?' 'Here y'are!' There was a pause. 'Canada!' said the stranger's voice. 'Ay! That's a mate o' mine out there in British Columbia. Dunno whathe's got to register.' ''Appen sent y'a fortune, like.' 'More like wants summat.' Pause. 'Well! Lovely day again!' 'Ay!' 'Morning!' 'Morning!' After a time he came upstairs again, looking a little angry. 'Postman,' he said. 'Very early!' she replied. 'Rural round; he's mostly here by seven, when he does come. 'Did your mate send you a fortune?' 'No! Only some photographs and papers about a place out there inBritish Columbia.' 'Would you go there?' 'I thought perhaps we might.' 'Oh yes! I believe it's lovely!' But he was put out by the postman'scoming. 'Them damn bikes, they're on you afore you know where you are. I hopehe twigged nothing.' 'After all, what could he twig!' 'You must get up now, and get ready. I'm just goin' ter look roundoutside.' She saw him go reconnoitring into the lane, with dog and gun. She wentdownstairs and washed, and was ready by the time he came back, with thefew things in the little silk bag. He locked up, and they set off, but through the wood, not down thelane. He was being wary. 'Don't you think one lives for times like last night?' she said to him. 'Ay! But there's the rest o'times to think on,' he replied, rathershort. They plodded on down the overgrown path, he in front, in silence. 'And we WILL live together and make a life together, won't we?' shepleaded. 'Ay!' he replied, striding on without looking round. 'When t' timecomes! Just now you're off to Venice or somewhere.' She followed him dumbly, with sinking heart. Oh, now she was WAEto go! At last he stopped. 'I'll just strike across here,' he said, pointing to the right. But she flung her arms round his neck, and clung to him. 'But you'll keep the tenderness for me, won't you?' she whispered. 'Iloved last night. But you'll keep the tenderness for me, won't you?' He kissed her and held her close for a moment. Then he sighed, andkissed her again. 'I must go an' look if th' car's there.' He strode over the low brambles and bracken, leaving a trail throughthe fern. For a minute or two he was gone. Then he came striding back. 'Car's not there yet,' he said. 'But there's the baker's cart on t'road.' He seemed anxious and troubled. 'Hark!' They heard a car softly hoot as it came nearer. It slowed up on thebridge. She plunged with utter mournfulness in his track through the fern, andcame to a huge holly hedge. He was just behind her. 'Here! Go through there!' he said, pointing to a gap. 'I shan't comeout. She looked at him in despair. But he kissed her and made her go. Shecrept in sheer misery through the holly and through the wooden fence,stumbled down the little ditch and up into the lane, where Hilda wasjust getting out of the car in vexation. 'Why you're there!' said Hilda. 'Where's HE?' 'He's not coming.' Connie's face was running with tears as she got into the car with herlittle bag. Hilda snatched up the motoring helmet with the disfiguringgoggles. 'Put it on!' she said. And Connie pulled on the disguise, then the longmotoring coat, and she sat down, a goggling inhuman, unrecognizablecreature. Hilda started the car with a businesslike motion. They heavedout of the lane, and were away down the road. Connie had looked round,but there was no sight of him. Away! Away! She sat in bitter tears. Theparting had come so suddenly, so unexpectedly. It was like death. 'Thank goodness you'll be away from him for some time!' said Hilda,turning to avoid Crosshill village. Chapter 17 'You see, Hilda,' said Connie after lunch, when they were nearingLondon, 'you have never known either real tenderness or realsensuality: and if you do know them, with the same person, it makes agreat difference.' 'For mercy's sake don't brag about your experiences!' said Hilda. 'I'venever met the man yet who was capable of intimacy with a woman, givinghimself up to her. That was what I wanted. I'm not keen on theirself-satisfied tenderness, and their sensuality. I'm not content to beany man's little petsy-wetsy, nor his CHAIR · PLAISIR either. I wanteda complete intimacy, and I didn't get it. That's enough for me. Connie pondered this. Complete intimacy! She supposed that meantrevealing everything concerning yourself to the other person, and hisrevealing everything concerning himself. But that was a bore. And allthat weary self-consciousness between a man and a woman! a disease! 'I think you're too conscious of yourself all the time, witheverybody,' she said to her sister. 'I hope at least I haven't a slave nature,' said Hilda. 'But perhaps you have! Perhaps you are a slave to your own idea ofyourself.' Hilda drove in silence for some time after this piece of unheard ofinsolence from that chit Connie. 'At least I'm not a slave to somebody else's idea of me: and thesomebody else a servant of my husband's,' she retorted at last, incrude anger. 'You see, it's not so,' said Connie calmly. She had always let herself be dominated by her elder sister. Now,though somewhere inside herself she was weeping, she was free of thedominion of OTHER WOMEN. Ah! that in itself was a relief, like beinggiven another life: to be free of the strange dominion and obsession ofOTHER WOMEN. How awful they were, women! She was glad to be with her father, whose favourite she had alwaysbeen. She and Hilda stayed in a little hotel off Pall Mall, and SirMalcolm was in his club. But he took his daughters out in the evening,and they liked going with him. He was still handsome and robust, though just a little afraid of thenew world that had sprung up around him. He had got a second wife inScotland, younger than himself and richer. But he had as many holidaysaway from her as possible: just as with his first wife. Connie sat next to him at the opera. He was moderately stout, and hadstout thighs, but they were still strong and well-knit, the thighs of ahealthy man who had taken his pleasure in life. His good-humouredselfishness, his dogged sort of independence, his unrepentingsensuality, it seemed to Connie she could see them all in his well-knitstraight thighs. Just a man! And now becoming an old man, which is sad.Because in his strong, thick male legs there was none of the alertsensitiveness and power of tenderness which is the very essence ofyouth, that which never dies, once it is there. Connie woke up to the existence of legs. They became more important toher than faces, which are no longer very real. How few people had live,alert legs! She looked at the men in the stalls. Great puddingy thighsin black pudding-cloth, or lean wooden sticks in black funeral stuff,or well-shaped young legs without any meaning whatever, eithersensuality or tenderness or sensitiveness, just mere leggy ordinarinessthat pranced around. Not even any sensuality like her father's. Theywere all daunted, daunted out of existence. But the women were not daunted. The awful mill-posts of most females!really shocking, really enough to justify murder! Or the poor thinpegs! or the trim neat things in silk stockings, without the slightestlook of life! Awful, the millions of meaningless legs prancingmeaninglessly around! But she was not happy in London. The people seemed so spectral andblank. They had no alive happiness, no matter how brisk andgood-looking they were. It was all barren. And Connie had a woman'sblind craving for happiness, to be assured of happiness. In Paris at any rate she felt a bit of sensuality still. But what aweary, tired, worn-out sensuality. Worn-out for lack of tenderness. Oh!Paris was sad. One of the saddest towns: weary of its now-mechanicalsensuality, weary of the tension of money, money, money, weary even ofresentment and conceit, just weary to death, and still not sufficientlyAmericanized or Londonized to hide the weariness under a mechanicaljig-jig-jig! Ah, these manly he-men, these FL¶NEURS, the oglers, theseeaters of good dinners! How weary they were! weary, worn-out for lackof a little tenderness, given and taken. The efficient, sometimescharming women knew a thing or two about the sensual realities: theyhad that pull over their jigging English sisters. But they knew evenless of tenderness. Dry, with the endless dry tension of will, they toowere wearing out. The human world was just getting worn out. Perhaps itwould turn fiercely destructive. A sort of anarchy! Clifford and hisconservative anarchy! Perhaps it wouldn't be conservative much longer.Perhaps it would develop into a very radical anarchy. Connie found herself shrinking and afraid of the world. Sometimes shewas happy for a little while in the Boulevards or in the Bois or theLuxembourg Gardens. But already Paris was full of Americans andEnglish, strange Americans in the oddest uniforms, and the usual drearyEnglish that are so hopeless abroad. She was glad to drive on. It was suddenly hot weather, so Hilda wasgoing through Switzerland and over the Brenner, then through theDolomites down to Venice. Hilda loved all the managing and the drivingand being mistress of the show. Connie was quite content to keep quiet. And the trip was really quite nice. Only Connie kept saying to herself:Why don't I really care! Why am I never really thrilled? How awful,that I don't really care about the landscape any more! But I don't.It's rather awful. I'm like Saint Bernard, who could sail down the lakeof Lucerne without ever noticing that there were even mountain andgreen water. I just don't care for landscape any more. Why should onestare at it? Why should one? I refuse to. No, she found nothing vital in France or Switzerland or the Tyrol orItaly. She just was carted through it all. And it was all less realthan Wragby. Less real than the awful Wragby! She felt she didn't careif she never saw France or Switzerland or Italy again. They'd keep.Wragby was more real. As for people! people were all alike, with very little difference. Theyall wanted to get money out of you: or, if they were travellers, theywanted to get enjoyment, perforce, like squeezing blood out of a stone.Poor mountains! poor landscape! it all had to be squeezed and squeezedand squeezed again, to provide a thrill, to provide enjoyment. What didpeople mean, with their simply determined enjoying of themselves? No! said Connie to herself I'd rather be at Wragby, where I can goabout and be still, and not stare at anything or do any performing ofany sort. This tourist performance of enjoying oneself is toohopelessly humiliating: it's such a failure. She wanted to go back to Wragby, even to Clifford, even to poorcrippled Clifford. He wasn't such a fool as this swarming holidayinglot, anyhow. But in her inner consciousness she was keeping touch with the otherman. She mustn't let her connexion with him go: oh, she mustn't let itgo, or she was lost, lost utterly in this world of riff-raffy expensivepeople and joy-hogs. Oh, the joy-hogs! Oh 'enjoying oneself'! Anothermodern form of sickness. They left the car in Mestre, in a garage, and took the regular steamerover to Venice. It was a lovely summer afternoon, the shallow lagoonrippled, the full sunshine made Venice, turning its back to them acrossthe water, look dim. At the station quay they changed to a gondola, giving the man theaddress. He was a regular gondolier in a white-and-blue blouse, notvery good-looking, not at all impressive. 'Yes! The Villa Esmeralda! Yes! I know it! I have been the gondolierfor a gentleman there. But a fair distance out!' He seemed a rather childish, impetuous fellow. He rowed with a certainexaggerated impetuosity, through the dark side-canals with thehorrible, slimy green walls, the canals that go through the poorerquarters, where the washing hangs high up on ropes, and there is aslight, or strong, odour of sewage. But at last he came to one of the open canals with pavement on eitherside, and looping bridges, that run straight, at right-angles to theGrand Canal. The two women sat under the little awning, the man wasperched above, behind them. 'Are the signorine staying long at the Villa Esmeralda?' he asked,rowing easy, and 'wiping his perspiring face with a white-and-bluehandkerchief. 'Some twenty days: we are both married ladies,' said Hilda, in hercurious hushed voice, that made her Italian sound so foreign. 'Ah! Twenty days!' said the man. There was a pause. After which heasked: 'Do the signore want a gondolier for the twenty days or so thatthey will stay at the Villa Esmeralda? Or by the day, or by the week?' Connie and Hilda considered. In Venice, it is always preferable to haveone's own gondola, as it is preferable to have one's own car on land. 'What is there at the Villa? what boats?' 'There is a motor-launch, also a gondola. But--' The BUT meant: theywon't be your property. 'How much do you charge?' It was about thirty shillings a day, or ten pounds a week. 'Is that the regular price?' asked Hilda. 'Less, Signora, less. The regular price--' The sisters considered. 'Well,' said Hilda, 'come tomorrow morning, and we will arrange it.What is your name?' His name was Giovanni, and he wanted to know at what time he shouldcome, and then for whom should he say he was waiting. Hilda had nocard. Connie gave him one of hers. He glanced at it swiftly, with hishot, southern blue eyes, then glanced again. 'Ah!' he said, lighting up. 'Milady! Milady, isn't it?' 'Milady Costanza!' said Connie. He nodded, repeating: 'Milady Costanza!' and putting the card carefullyaway in his blouse. The Villa Esmeralda was quite a long way out, on the edge of the lagoonlooking towards Chioggia. It was not a very old house, and pleasant,with the terraces looking seawards, and below, quite a big garden withdark trees, walled in from the lagoon. Their host was a heavy, rather coarse Scotchman who had made a goodfortune in Italy before the war, and had been knighted for hisultrapatriotism during the war. His wife was a thin, pale, sharp kindof person with no fortune of her own, and the misfortune of having toregulate her husband's rather sordid amorous exploits. He was terriblytiresome with the servants. But having had a slight stroke during thewinter, he was now more manageable. The house was pretty full. Besides Sir Malcolm and his two daughters,there were seven more people, a Scotch couple, again with twodaughters; a young Italian Contessa, a widow; a young Georgian prince,and a youngish English clergyman who had had pneumonia and was beingchaplain to Sir Alexander for his health's sake. The prince waspenniless, good-looking, would make an excellent chauffeur, with thenecessary impudence, and basta! The Contessa was a quiet little pusswith a game on somewhere. The clergyman was a raw simple fellow from aBucks vicarage: luckily he had left his wife and two children at home.And the Guthries, the family of four, were good solid Edinburgh middleclass, enjoying everything in a solid fashion, and daring everythingwhile risking nothing. Connie and Hilda ruled out the prince at once. The Guthries were moreor less their own sort, substantial, hut boring: and the girls wantedhusbands. The chaplain was not a had fellow, but too deferential. SirAlexander, after his slight stroke, had a terrible heaviness hisjoviality, but he was still thrilled at the presence of so manyhandsome young women. Lady Cooper was a quiet, catty person who had athin time of it, poor thing, and who watched every other woman with acold watchfulness that had become her second nature, and who said cold,nasty little things which showed what an utterly low opinion she had ofall human nature. She was also quite venomously overbearing with theservants, Connie found: but in a quiet way. And she skilfully behavedso that Sir Alexander should think that HE was lord and monarch of thewhole caboosh, with his stout, would-be-genial paunch, and his utterlyboring jokes, his humourosity, as Hilda called it. Sir Malcolm was painting. Yes, he still would do a Venetianlagoonscape, now and then, in contrast to his Scottish landscapes. Soin the morning he was rowed off with a huge canvas, to his 'site'. Alittle later, Lady Cooper would he rowed off into the heart of thecity, with sketching-block and colours. She was an inveteratewatercolour painter, and the house was full of rose-coloured palaces,dark canals, swaying bridges, medieval facades, and so on. A littlelater the Guthries, the prince, the countess, Sir Alexander, andsometimes Mr Lind, the chaplain, would go off to the Lido, where theywould bathe; coming home to a late lunch at half past one. The house-party, as a house-party, was distinctly boring. But this didnot trouble the sisters. They were out all the time. Their father tookthem to the exhibition, miles and miles of weary paintings. He tookthem to all the cronies of his in the Villa Lucchese, he sat with themon warm evenings in the piazza, having got a table at Florian's: hetook them to the theatre, to the Goldoni plays. There were illuminatedwater-fˆtes, there were dances. This was a holiday-place of allholiday-places. The Lido, with its acres of sun-pinked or pyjamaedbodies, was like a strand with an endless heap of seals come up formating. Too many people in the piazza, too many limbs and trunks ofhumanity on the Lido, too many gondolas, too many motor-launches, toomany steamers, too many pigeons, too many ices, too many cocktails, toomany menservants wanting tips, too many languages rattling, too much,too much sun, too much smell of Venice, too many cargoes ofstrawberries, too many silk shawls, too many huge, raw-beef slices ofwatermelon on stalls: too much enjoyment, altogether far too muchenjoyment! Connie and Hilda went around in their sunny frocks. There were dozensof people they knew, dozens of people knew them. Michaelis turned uplike a bad penny. 'Hullo! Where you staying? Come and have an ice-creamor something! Come with me somewhere in my gondola.' Even Michaelisalmost sun-burned: though sun-cooked is more appropriate to the look ofthe mass of human flesh. It was pleasant in a way. It was ALMOST enjoyment. But anyhow, with allthe cocktails, all the lying in warmish water and sunbathing on hotsand in hot sun, jazzing with your stomach up against some fellow inthe warm nights, cooling off with ices, it was a complete narcotic. Andthat was what they all wanted, a drug: the slow water, a drug; the sun,a drug; jazz, a drug; cigarettes, cocktails, ices, vermouth. To bedrugged! Enjoyment! Enjoyment! Hilda half liked being drugged. She liked looking at all the women,speculating about them. The women were absorbingly interested in thewomen. How does she look! what man has she captured? what fun is shegetting out of it?--The men were like great dogs in white flanneltrousers, waiting to be patted, waiting to wallow, waiting to plastersome woman's stomach against their own, in jazz. Hilda liked jazz, because she could plaster her stomach against thestomach of some so-called man, and let him control her movement fromthe visceral centre, here and there across the floor, and then shecould break loose and ignore 'the creature'. He had been merely madeuse of. Poor Connie was rather unhappy. She wouldn't jazz, because shesimply couldn't plaster her stomach against some 'creature's' stomach.She hated the conglomerate mass of nearly nude flesh on the Lido: therewas hardly enough water to wet them all. She disliked Sir Alexander andLady Cooper. She did not want Michaelis or anybody else trailing her. The happiest times were when she got Hilda to go with her away acrossthe lagoon, far across to some lonely shingle-bank, where they couldbathe quite alone, the gondola remaining on the inner side of the reef. Then Giovanni got another gondolier to help him, because it was a longway and he sweated terrifically in the sun. Giovanni was very nice:affectionate, as the Italians are, and quite passionless. The Italiansare not passionate: passion has deep reserves. They are easily moved,and often affectionate, but they rarely have any abiding passion of anysort. So Giovanni was already devoted to his ladies, as he had been devotedto cargoes of ladies in the past. He was perfectly ready to prostitutehimself to them, if they wanted hint: he secretly hoped they would wanthim. They would give him a handsome present, and it would come in veryhandy, as he was just going to be married. He told them about hismarriage, and they were suitably interested. He thought this trip to some lonely bank across the lagoon probablymeant business: business being L'AMORE, love. So he got a mate to helphim, for it was a long way; and after all, they were two ladies. Twoladies, two mackerels! Good arithmetic! Beautiful ladies, too! He wasjustly proud of them. And though it was the Signora who paid him andgave him orders, he rather hoped it would be the young milady who wouldselect hint for L'AMORE. She would give more money too. The mate he brought was called Daniele. He was not a regular gondolier,so he had none of the cadger and prostitute about him. He was a sandolaman, a sandola being a big boat that brings in fruit and produce fromthe islands. Daniele was beautiful, tall and well-shapen, with a light round head oflittle, close, pale-blond curls, and a good-looking man's face, alittle like a lion, and long-distance blue eyes. He was not effusive,loquacious, and bibulous like Giovanni. He was silent and he rowed witha strength and ease as if he were alone on the water. The ladies wereladies, remote from him. He did not even look at them. He looked ahead. He was a real man, a little angry when Giovanni drank too much wine androwed awkwardly, with effusive shoves of the great oar. He was a man asMellors was a man, unprostituted. Connie pitied the wife of theeasily-overflowing Giovanni. But Daniele's wife would be one of thosesweet Venetian women of the people whom one still sees, modest andflower-like in the back of that labyrinth of a town. Ah, how sad that man first prostitutes woman, then woman prostitutesman. Giovanni was pining to prostitute himself, dribbling like a dog,wanting to give himself to a woman. And for money! Connie looked at Venice far off, low and rose-coloured upon the water.Built of money, blossomed of money, and dead with money. Themoney-deadness! Money, money, money, prostitution and deadness. Yet Daniele was still a man capable of a man's free allegiance. He didnot wear the gondolier's blouse: only the knitted blue jersey. He was alittle wild, uncouth and proud. So he was hireling to the rather doggyGiovanni who was hireling again to two women. So it is! When Jesusrefused the devil's money, he left the devil like a Jewish banker,master of the whole situation. Connie would come home from the blazing light of the lagoon in a kindof stupor, to lind letters from home. Clifford wrote regularly. Hewrote very good letters: they might all have been printed in a book.And for this reason Connie found them not very interesting. She lived in the stupor of the light of the lagoon, the lappingsaltiness of the water, the space, the emptiness, the nothingness: buthealth, health, complete stupor of health. It was gratifying, and shewas lulled away in it, not caring for anything. Besides, she waspregnant. She knew now. So the stupor of sunlight and lagoon salt andsea-bathing and lying on shingle and finding shells and drifting away,away in a gondola, was completed by the pregnancy inside her, anotherfullness of health, satisfying and stupefying. She had been at Venice a fortnight, and she was to stay another tendays or a fortnight. The sunshine blazed over any count of time, andthe fullness of physical health made forgetfulness complete. She was ina sort of stupor of well-being. From which a letter of Clifford roused her. We too have had our mild local excitement. It appears the truant wifeof Mellors, the keeper, turned up at the cottage and found herselfunwelcome. He packed her off, and locked the door. Report has it,however, that when he returned from the wood he found the no longerfair lady firmly established in his bed, in PURIS NATURALIBUS; or oneshould say, in IMPURIS NATURALIBUS. She had broken a window and got inthat way. Unable to evict the somewhat man-handled Venus from hiscouch, he beat a retreat and retired, it is said, to his mother's housein Tevershall. Meanwhile the Venus of Stacks Gate is established in thecottage, which she claims is her home, and Apollo, apparently, isdomiciled in Tevershall. I repeat this from hearsay, as Mellors has not come to me personally. Ihad this particular bit of local garbage from our garbage bird, ouribis, our scavenging turkey-buzzard, Mrs Bolton. I would not haverepeated it had she not exclaimed: her Ladyship will go no more to thewood if THATwoman's going to be about! I like your picture of Sir Malcolm striding into the sea with whitehair blowing and pink flesh glowing. I envy you that sun. Here itrains. But I don't envy Sir Malcolm his inveterate mortal carnality.However, it suits his age. Apparently one grows more carnal and moremortal as one grows older. Only youth has a taste of immortality-- This news affected Connie in her state of semi-stupefied ell being withvexation amounting to exasperation. Now she ad got to be bothered bythat beast of a woman! Now she must start and fret! She had no letterfrom Mellors. They had agreed not to write at all, but now she wantedto hear from him personally. After all, he was the father of the childthat was coming. Let him write! But how hateful! Now everything was messed up. How foul those lowpeople were! How nice it was here, in the sunshine and the indolence,compared to that dismal mess of that English Midlands! After all, aclear sky was almost the most important thing in life. She did not mention the fact of her pregnancy, even to Hilda. She wroteto Mrs Bolton for exact information. Duncan Forbes, an artist friend of theirs, had arrived at the VillaEsmeralda, coming north from Rome. Now he made a third in the gondola,and he bathed with them across the lagoon, and was their escort: aquiet, almost taciturn young man, very advanced in his art. She had a letter from Mrs Bolton: You will be pleased, I am sure, my Lady, when you see Sir Clifford.He's looking quite blooming and working very hard, and very hopeful. Ofcourse he is looking forward to seeing you among us again. It is a dullhouse without my Lady, and we shall all welcome her presence among usonce more. About Mr Mellors, I don't know how much Sir Clifford told you. It seemshis wife came back all of a sudden one afternoon, and he found hersitting on the doorstep when he came in from the wood. She said she wascome back to him and wanted to live with him again, as she was hislegal wife, and he wasn't going to divorce her. But he wouldn't haveanything to do with her, and wouldn't let her in the house, and did notgo in himself; he went back into the wood without ever opening thedoor. But when he came back after dark, he found the house broken into, so hewent upstairs to see what she'd done, and he found her in bed without arag on her. He offered her money, but she said she was his wife and hemust take her back. I don't know what sort of a scene they had. Hismother told me about it, she's terribly upset. Well, he told her he'ddie rather than ever live with her again, so he took his things andwent straight to his mother's on Tevershall hill. He stopped the nightand went to the wood next day through the park, never going near thecottage. It seems he never saw his wife that day. But the day after shewas at her brother Pan's at Beggarlee, swearing and carrying on, sayingshe was his legal wife, and that he'd beers having women at thecottage, because she'd found a scent-bottle in his drawer, andgold-tipped cigarette-ends on the ash-heap, and I don't know what all.Then it seems the postman Fred Kirk says he heard somebody talking inMr Mellors' bedroom early one morning, and a motor-car had been in thelane. Mr Mellors stayed on with his mother, and went to the wood through thepark, and it seems she stayed on at the cottage. Well, there was no endof talk. So at last Mr Mellors and Tom Phillips went to the cottage andfetched away most of the furniture and bedding, and unscrewed thehandle of the pump, so she was forced to go. But instead of going backto Stacks Gate she went and lodged with that Mrs Swain at Beggarlee,because her brother Dan's wife wouldn't have her. And she kept going toold Mrs Mellors' house, to catch him, and she began swearing he'd gotin bed with her in the cottage and she went to a lawyer to make him payher an allowance. She's grown heavy, and more common than ever, and asstrong as a bull. And she goes about saying the most awful things abouthim, how he has women at the cottage, and how he behaved to her whenthey were married, the low, beastly things he did to her, and I don'tknow what all. I'm sure it's awful, the mischief a woman can do, onceshe starts talking. And no matter how low she may be, there'll be someas will believe her, and some of the dirt will stick. I'm sure the wayshe makes out that Mr Mellors was one of those low, beastly men withwomen, is simply shocking. And people are only too ready to believethings against anybody, especially things like that. She declaredshe'll never leave him alone while he lives. Though what I say is, ifhe was so beastly to her, why is she so anxious to go back to him? Butof course she's coming near her change of life, for she's years olderthan he is. And these common, violent women always go partly insanewhets the change of life comes upon them-- This was a nasty blow to Connie. Here she was, sure as life, coming infor her share of the lowness and dirt. She felt angry with him for nothaving got clear of a Bertha Coutts: nay, for ever having married her.Perhaps he had a certain hankering after lowness. Connie remembered thelast night she had spent with him, and shivered. He had known all thatsensuality, even with a Bertha Coutts! It was really rather disgusting.It would be well to be rid of him, clear of him altogether. He wasperhaps really common, really low. She had a revulsion against the whole affair, and almost envied theGuthrie girls their gawky inexperience and crude maidenliness. And shenow dreaded the thought that anybody would know about herself and thekeeper. How unspeakably humiliating! She was weary, afraid, and felt acraving for utter respectability, even for the vulgar and deadeningrespectability of the Guthrie girls. If Clifford knew about her affair,how unspeakably humiliating! She was afraid, terrified of society andits unclean bite. She almost wished she could get rid of the childagain, and be quite clear. In short, she fell into a state of funk. As for the scent-bottle, that was her own folly. She had not been ableto refrain from perfuming his one or two handkerchiefs and his shirtsin the drawer, just out of childishness, and she had left a littlebottle of Coty's Wood-violet perfume, half empty, among his things. Shewanted him to remember her in the perfume. As for the cigarette-ends,they were Hilda's. She could not help confiding a little in Duncan Forbes. She didn't sayshe had been the keeper's lover, she only said she liked him, and toldForbes the history of the man. 'Oh,' said Forbes, 'you'll see, they'll never rest till they've pulledthe man down and done him its. If he has refused to creep up into themiddle classes, when he had a chance; and if he's a man who stands upfor his own sex, then they'll do him in. It's the one thing they won'tlet you be, straight and open in your sex. You can be as dirty as youlike. In fact the more dirt you do on sex the better they like it. Butif you believe in your own sex, and won't have it done dirt to: they'lldown you. It's the one insane taboo left: sex as a natural and vitalthing. They won't have it, and they'll kill you before they'll let youhave it. You'll see, they'll hound that man down. And what's he done,after all? If he's made love to his wife all ends on, hasn't he a rightto? She ought to be proud of it. But you see, even a low bitch likethat turns on him, and uses the hyena instinct of the mob against sex,to pull him down. You have a snivel and feel sinful or awful about yoursex, before you're allowed to have any. Oh, they'll hound the poordevil down.' Connie had a revulsion in the opposite direction now. What had he done,after all? what had he done to herself, Connie, but give her anexquisite pleasure and a sense of freedom and life? He had released herwarm, natural sexual flow. And for that they would hound him down. No no, it should not be. She saw the image of him, naked white withtanned face and hands, looking down and addressing his erect penis asif it were another being, the odd grin flickering on his face. And sheheard his voice again: Tha's got the nicest woman's arse of anybody!And she felt his hand warmly and softly closing over her tail again,over her secret places, like a benediction. And the warmth ran throughher womb, and the little flames flickered in her knees, and she said:Oh, no! I mustn't go back on it! I must not go back on him. I muststick to him and to what I had of him, through everything. I had nowarm, flamy life till he gave it me. And I won't go back on it. She did a rash thing. She sent a letter to Ivy Bolton, enclosing a noteto the keeper, and asking Mrs Bolton to give it him. And she wrote tohim: I am very much distressed to hear of all the trouble your wife ismaking for you, but don't mind it, it is only a sort of hysteria. Itwill all blow over as suddenly as it came. But I'm awfully sorry aboutit, and I do hope you are not minding very much. After all, it isn'tworth it. She is only a hysterical woman who wants to hurt you. I shallbe home in ten days' time, and I do hope everything will be all right. A few days later came a letter from Clifford. He was evidently upset. I am delighted to hear you are prepared to leave Venice on thesixteenth. But if you are enjoying it, don't hurry home. We miss you,Wragby misses you. But it is essential that you should get your fullamount of sunshine, sunshine and pyjamas, as the advertisements of theLido say. So please do stay on a little longer, if it is cheering youup and preparing you for our sufficiently awful winter. Even today, itrains. I am assiduously, admirably looked after by Mrs Bolton. She is a queerspecimen. The more I live, the more I realize what strange creatureshuman beings are. Some of them might Just as well have a hundred legs,like a centipede, or six, like a lobster. The human consistency anddignity one has been led to expect from one's fellow-men seem actuallynonexistent. One doubts if they exist to any startling degree even isoneself. The scandal of the keeper continues and gets bigger like a snowball.Mrs Bolton keeps me informed. She reminds me of a fish which, thoughdumb, seems to be breathing silent gossip through its gills, while everit lives. All goes through the sieve of her gills, and nothingsurprises her. It is as if the events of other people's lives were thenecessary oxygen of her own. She is preoccupied with tie Mellors scandal, and if I will let herbegin, she takes me down to the depths. Her great indignation, whicheven then is like the indignation of an actress playing a role, isagainst the wife of Mellors, whom she persists in calling BerthaCourts. I have been to the depths of the muddy lies of the BerthaCouttses of this world, and when, released from the current of gossip,I slowly rise to the surface again, I look at the daylight its wonderthat it ever should be. It seems to me absolutely true, that our world, which appears to us thesurface of all things, is really the BOTTOM of a deep ocean: all ourtrees are submarine growths, and we are weird, scaly-clad submarinefauna, feeding ourselves on offal like shrimps. Only occasionally thesoul rises gasping through the fathomless fathoms under which we live,far up to the surface of the ether, where there is true air. I amconvinced that the air we normally breathe is a kind of water, and menand women are a species of fish. But sometimes the soul does come up, shoots like a kittiwake into thelight, with ecstasy, after having preyed on the submarine depths. It isour mortal destiny, I suppose, to prey upon the ghastly subaqueous lifeof our fellow-men, in the submarine jungle of mankind. But our immortaldestiny is to escape, once we have swallowed our swimmy catch, up againinto the bright ether, bursting out from the surface of Old Ocean intoreal light. Then one realizes one's eternal nature. When I hear Mrs Bolton talk, I feel myself plunging down, down, to thedepths where the fish of human secrets wriggle and swim. Carnalappetite makes one seize a beakful of prey: then up, up again, out ofthe dense into the ethereal, from the wet into the dry. To you I cantell the whole process. But with Mrs Bolton I only feel the downwardplunge, down, horribly, among the sea-weeds and the pallid monsters ofthe very bottom. I am afraid we are going to lose our game-keeper. The scandal of thetruant wife, instead of dying down, has reverberated to greater andgreater dimensions. He is accused of all unspeakable things andcuriously enough, the woman has managed to get the bulk of thecolliers' wives behind her, gruesome fish, and the village isputrescent with talk. I hear this Bertha Coutts besieges Mellors in his mother's house,having ransacked the cottage and the hut. She seized one day upon herown daughter, as that chip of the female block was returning fromschool; but the little one, instead of kissing the loving mother'shand, bit it firmly, and so received from the other hand a smack in theface which sent her reeling into the gutter: whence she was rescued byan indignant and harassed grandmother. The woman has blown off an amazing quantity of poison-gas. She hasaired in detail all those incidents of her conjugal life which areusually buried down in the deepest grave of matrimonial silence,between married couples. Having chosen to exhume them, after ten yearsof burial, she has a weird array. I hear these details from Linley andthe doctor: the latter being amused. Of course there is really nothingin it. Humanity has always had a strange avidity for unusual sexualpostures, and if a man likes to use his wife, as Benvenuto Cellinisays, 'in the Italian way', well that is a matter of taste. But I hadhardly expected our game-keeper to be up to so many tricks. No doubtBertha Coutts herself first put him up to them. In any case, it is amatter of their own personal squalor, and nothing to do with anybodyelse. However, everybody listens: as I do myself. A dozen years ago, commondecency would have hushed the thing. But common decency no longerexists, and the colliers' wives are all up in arms and unabashed invoice. One would think every child in Tevershall, for the last fiftyyears, had been an immaculate conception, and every one of ournonconformist females was a shining Joan of Arc. That our estimablegame-keeper should have about him a touch of Rabelais seems to make himmore monstrous and shocking than a murderer like Crippen. Yet thesepeople in Tevershall are a loose lot, if one is to believe allaccounts. The trouble is, however, the execrable Bertha Coutts has not confinedherself to her own experiences and sufferings. She has discovered, atthe top of her voice, that her husband has been 'keeping' women down atthe cottage, and has made a few random shots at naming the women. Thishas brought a few decent names trailing through the mud, and the thinghas gone quite considerably too far. An injunction has been taken outagainst the woman. I have had to interview Mellors about the business, as it wasimpossible to keep the woman away from the wood. He goes about asusual, with his Miller-of-the-Dee air, I care for nobody, no not I, ifnobody care for me! Nevertheless, I shrewdly suspect he feels like adog with a tin can tied to its tail: though he makes a very good showof pretending the tin can isn't there. But I heard that in the villagethe women call away their children if he is passing, as if he were theMarquis de Sade in person. He goes on with a certain impudence, but Iam afraid the tin can is firmly tied to his tail, and that inwardly herepeats, like Don Rodrigo in the Spanish ballad: 'Ah, now it bites mewhere I most have sinned!' I asked him if he thought he would be able to attend to his duty in thewood, and he said he did not think he had neglected it. I told him itwas a nuisance to have the woman trespassing: to which he replied thathe had no power to arrest her. Then I hinted at the scandal and itsunpleasant course. 'Ay,' he said. 'folks should do their own fuckin',then they wouldn't want to listen to a lot of clatfart about anotherman's.' He said it with some bitterness, and no doubt it contains the real germof truth. The mode of putting it, however, is neither delicate norrespectful. I hinted as much, and then I heard the tin can rattleagain. 'It's not for a man the shape you're in, Sir Clifford, to twitme for havin' a cod atween my legs.' These things, said indiscriminately to all and sundry, of course do nothelp him at all, and the rector, and Finley, and Burroughs all think itwould be as well if the man left the place. I asked him fit was true that he entertained ladies down at thecottage, and all he said was: 'Why, what's that to you, Sir Clifford?'I told him I intended to have decency observed on my estate, to whichhe replied: 'Then you mun button the mouths o' a' th' women.'--When Ipressed him about his manner of life at the cottage, he said: 'Surelyyou might ma'e a scandal out o' me an' my bitch Flossie. You've missedsummat there.' As a matter of fact, for an example of impertinence he'dbe hard to beat. I asked him fit would be easy for him to find another job. He said: 'Ifyou're hintin' that you'd like to shunt me out of this job, it'd beeasy as wink.' So he made no trouble at all about leaving at the end ofnext week, and apparently is willing to initiate a young fellow, JoeChambers, into as many mysteries of the craft as possible. I told him Iwould give him a month's wages extra, when he left. He said he'd ratherI kept my money, as I'd no occasion to ease my conscience. I asked himwhat he meant, and he said: 'You don't owe me nothing extra, SirClifford, so don't pay me nothing extra. If you think you see my shirthanging out, just tell me.' Well, there is the end of it for the time being. The woman has goneaway: we don't know where to: but she is liable to arrest if she showsher face in Tevershall. And I heard she is mortally afraid of gaol,because she merits it so well. Mellors will depart on Saturday week,and the place will soon become normal again. Meanwhile, my dear Connie, if you would enjoy to stay in Venice or inSwitzerland till the beginning of August, I should be glad to think youwere out of all this buzz of nastiness, which will have died quite awayby the end of the month. So you see, we arc deep-sea monsters, and when the lobster walks onmud, he stirs it up for everybody. We must perforce take itphilosophically. The irritation, and the lack of any sympathy in any direction, ofClifford's letter, had a bad effect on Connie. But she understood itbetter when she received the following from Mellors: The cat is out of the bag, along with various other pussies. You haveheard that my wife Bertha came back to my unloving arms, and took upher abode in the cottage: where, to speak disrespectfully, she smelleda rat, in the shape of a little bottle of Coty. Other evidence she didnot find, at least for some days, when she began to howl about theburnt photograph. She noticed the glass and the back-board in thesquare bedroom. Unfortunately, on the back-board somebody had scribbledlittle sketches, and the initials, several times repeated: C. S. R.This, however, afforded no clue until she broke into the hut, and foundone of your books, an autobiography of the actress Judith, with yourname, Constance Stewart Reid, on the front page. After this, for somedays she went round loudly saying that my paramour was no less a personthan Lady Chatterley herself. The news came at last to the rector, MrBurroughs, and to Sir Clifford. They then proceeded to take legal stepsagainst my liege lady, who for her part disappeared, having always hada mortal fear of the police. Sir Clifford asked to see me, so I went to him. He talked around thingsand seemed annoyed with me. Then he asked if I knew that even herladyship's name had been mentioned. I said I never listened to scandal,and was surprised to hear this bit from Sir Clifford himself. He said,of course it was a great insult, and I told him there was Queen Mary ona calendar in the scullery, no doubt because Her Majesty formed part ofmy harem. But he didn't appreciate the sarcasm. He as good as told me Iwas a disreputable character also walked about with my breeches'buttons undone, and I as good as told him he'd nothing to unbuttonanyhow, so he gave me the sack, and I leave on Saturday week, and theplace thereof shall know me no more. I shall go to London, and my old landlady, Mrs Inger, 17 Coburg Square,will either give me a room or will find one for me. Be sure your sins will find you out, especially if you're married andher name's Bertha-- There was not a word about herself, or to her. Connie resented this. Hemight have said some few words of consolation or reassurance. But sheknew he was leaving her free, free to go back to Wragby and toClifford. She resented that too. He need riot be so falsely chivalrous.She wished he had said to Clifford: 'Yes, she is my lover and mymistress and I am proud of it!' But his courage wouldn't carry him sofar. So her name was coupled with his in Tevershall! It was a mess. But thatwould soon die down. She was angry, with the complicated and confused anger that made herinert. She did not know what to do nor what to say, so she said and didnothing. She went on at Venice just the same, rowing out in the gondolawith Duncan Forbes, bathing, letting the days slip by. Duncan, who hadbeen rather depressingly in love with her ten years ago, was in lovewith her again. But she said to him: 'I only want one thing of men, andthat is, that they should leave me alone.' So Duncan left her alone: really quite pleased to be able to. All thesame, he offered her a soft stream of a queer, inverted sort of love.He wanted to be WITH her. 'Have you ever thought,' he said to her one day, 'how very littlepeople are connected with one another. Look at Daniele! He is handsomeas a son of the sun. But see how alone he looks in his handsomeness.Yet I bet he has a wife and family, and couldn't possibly go away fromthem.' 'Ask him,' said Connie. Duncan did so. Daniele said he was married, and had two children, bothmale, aged seven and nine. But he betrayed no emotion over the fact. 'Perhaps only people who are capable of real togetherness have thatlook of being alone in the universe,' said Connie. 'The others have acertain stickiness, they stick to the mass, like Giovanni.' 'And,' shethought to herself, 'like you, Duncan.' Chapter 18 She had to make up her mind what to do. She would leave Venice on theSaturday that he was leaving Wragby: in six days' time. This wouldbring her to London on the Monday following, and she would then seehim. She wrote to him to the London address, asking him to send her aletter to Hartland's hotel, and to call for her on the Monday eveningat seven. Inside herself she was curiously and complicatedly angry, and all herresponses were numb. She refused to confide even in Hilda, and Hilda,offended by her steady silence, had become rather intimate with a Dutchwoman. Connie hated these rather stifling intimacies between women,intimacy into which Hilda always entered ponderously. Sir Malcolm decided to travel with Connie, and Duncan could come onwith Hilda. The old artist always did himself well: he took berths onthe Orient Express, in spite of Connie's dislike of TRAINS DE LUXE, theatmosphere of vulgar depravity there is aboard them nowadays. However,it would make the journey to Paris shorter. Sir Malcolm was always uneasy going back to his wife. It was habitcarried over from the first wife. But there would be a house-party forthe grouse, and he wanted to be well ahead. Connie, sunburnt andhandsome, sat in silence, forgetting all about the landscape. 'A little dull for you, going back to Wragby,' said her father,noticing her glumness. 'I'm not sure I shall go back to Wragby,' she said, with startlingabruptness, looking into his eyes with her big blue eyes. His big blueeyes took on the frightened look of a man whose social conscience isnot quite clear. 'You mean you'll stay on in Paris a while?' 'No! I mean never go back to Wragby.' He was bothered by his own little problems, and sincerely hoped he wasgetting none of hers to shoulder. 'How's that, all at once?' he asked. 'I'm going to have a child.' It was the first time she had uttered the words to any living soul, andit seemed to mark a cleavage in her life. 'How do you know?' said her father. She smiled. 'How SHOULD I know?' 'But not Clifford's child, of course?' 'No! Another man's.' She rather enjoyed tormenting him. 'Do I know the man?' asked Sir Malcolm. 'No! You've never seen him.' There was a long pause. 'And what are your plans?' 'I don't know. That's the point.' 'No patching it up with Clifford?' 'I suppose Clifford would take it,' said Connie. 'He told me, afterlast time you talked to him, he wouldn't mind if I had a child, so longas I went about it discreetly.' 'Only sensible thing he could say, under the circumstances. Then Isuppose it'll be all right.' 'In what way?' said Connie, looking into her father's eyes. They werebig blue eyes rather like her own, but with a certain uneasiness inthem, a look sometimes of an uneasy little boy, sometimes a look ofsullen selfishness, usually good-humoured and wary. 'You can present Clifford with an heir to all the Chatterleys, and putanother baronet in Wragby.' Sir Malcolm's face smiled with a half-sensual smile. 'But I don't think I want to,' she said. 'Why not? Feeling entangled with the other man? Well! If you want thetruth from me, my child, it's this. The world goes on. Wragby standsand will go on standing. The world is more or less a fixed thing and,externally, we have to adapt ourselves to it. Privately, in my privateopinion, we can please ourselves. Emotions change. You may like one manthis year and another next. But Wragby still stands. Stick by Wragby asfar as Wragby sticks by you. Then please yourself. But you'll get verylittle out of making a break. You can make a break if you wish. Youhave an independent income, the only thing that never lets you down.But you won't get much out of it. Put a little baronet in Wragby. It'san amusing thing to do.' And Sir Malcolm sat back and smiled again. Connie did not answer. 'I hope you had a real man at last,' he said to her after a while,sensually alert. 'I did. That's the trouble. There aren't many of them about,' she said. 'No, by God!' he mused. 'There aren't! Well, my dear, to look at you,he was a lucky man. Surely he wouldn't make trouble for you?' 'Oh no! He leaves me my own mistress entirely.' 'Quite! Quite! A genuine man would.' Sir Malcolm was pleased. Connie was his favourite daughter, he hadalways liked the female in her. Not so much of her mother in her as inHilda. And he had always disliked Clifford. So he was pleased, and verytender with his daughter, as if the unborn child were his child. He drove with her to Hartland's hotel, and saw her installed: then wentround to his club. She had refused his company for the evening. She found a letter from Mellors. I won't come round to your hotel, but I'll wait for you outside theGolden Cock in Adam Street at seven. There he stood, tall and slender, and so different, in a formal suit ofthin dark cloth. He had a natural distinction, but he had not thecut-to-pattern look of her class. Yet, she saw at once, he could goanywhere. He had a native breeding which was really much nicer than thecut-to-pattern class thing. 'Ah, there you are! How well you look!' 'Yes! But not you.' She looked in his face anxiously. It was thin, and the cheekbonesshowed. But his eyes smiled at her, and she felt at home with him.There it was: suddenly, the tension of keeping up her appearances fellfrom her. Something flowed out of him physically, that made her feelinwardly at ease and happy, at home. With a woman's now alert instinctfor happiness, she registered it at once. 'I'm happy when he's there!'Not all the sunshine of Venice had given her this inward expansion andwarmth. 'Was it horrid for you?' she asked as she sat opposite him at table. Hewas too thin; she saw it now. His hand lay as she knew it, with thecurious loose forgottenness of a sleeping animal. She wanted so much totake it and kiss it. But she did not quite dare. 'People are always horrid,' he said. 'And did you mind very much?' 'I minded, as I always shall mind. And I knew I was a fool to mind.' 'Did you feel like a dog with a tin can tied to its tail? Clifford saidyou felt like that.' He looked at her. It was cruel of her at that moment: for his pride hadsuffered bitterly. 'I suppose I did,' he said. She never knew the fierce bitterness with which he resented insult. There was a long pause. 'And did you miss me?' she asked. 'I was glad you were out of it.' Again there was a pause. 'But did people BELIEVE about you and me?' she asked. 'No! I don't think so for a moment.' 'Did Clifford?' 'I should say not. He put it off without thinking about it. Butnaturally it made him want to see the last of me.' 'I'm going to have a child.' The expression died utterly out of his face, out of his whole body. Helooked at her with darkened eyes, whose look she could not understandat all: like some dark-flamed spirit looking at her. 'Say you're glad!' she pleaded, groping for his hand. And she saw acertain exultance spring up in him. But it was netted down by thingsshe could not understand. 'It's the future,' he said. 'But aren't you glad?' she persisted. 'I have such a terrible mistrust of the future.' 'But you needn't be troubled by any responsibility. Clifford would haveit as his own, he'd be glad.' She saw him go pale, and recoil under this. He did not answer. 'Shall I go back to Clifford and put a little baronet into Wragby?' sheasked. He looked at her, pale and very remote. The ugly little grin flickeredon his face. 'You wouldn't have to tell him who the father was?' 'Oh!' she said; 'he'd take it even then, if I wanted him to.' He thought for a time. 'Ay!' he said at last, to himself. 'I suppose he would.' There was silence. A big gulf was between them. 'But you don't want me to go back to Clifford, do you?' she asked him. 'What do you want yourself?' he replied. 'I want to live with you,' she said simply. In spite of himself, little flames ran over his belly as he heard hersay it, and he dropped his head. Then he looked up at her again, withthose haunted eyes. 'If it's worth it to you,' he said. 'I've got nothing.' 'You've got more than most men. Come, you know it,' she said. 'In one way, I know it.' He was silent for a time, thinking. Then heresumed: 'They used to say I had too much of the woman in me. But it'snot that. I'm not a woman not because I don't want to shoot birds,neither because I don't want to make money, or get on. I could have goton in the army, easily, but I didn't like the army. Though I couldmanage the men all right: they liked me and they had a bit of a holyfear of me when I got mad. No, it was stupid, dead-handed higherauthority that made the army dead: absolutely fool-dead. I like men,and men like me. But I can't stand the twaddling bossy impudence of thepeople who run this world. That's why I can't get on. I hate theimpudence of money, and I hate the impudence of class. So in the worldas it is, what have I to offer a woman?' 'But why offer anything? It's not a bargain. It's just that we love oneanother,' she said. 'Nay, nay! It's more than that. Living is moving and moving on. My lifewon't go down the proper gutters, it just won't. So I'm a bit of awaste ticket by myself. And I've no business to take a woman into mylife, unless my life does something and gets somewhere, inwardly atleast, to keep us both fresh. A man must offer a woman some meaning inhis life, if it's going to be an isolated life, and if she's a genuinewoman. I can't be just your male concubine.' 'Why not?' she said. 'Why, because I can't. And you would soon hate it.' 'As if you couldn't trust me,' she said. The grin flickered on his face. 'The money is yours, the position is yours, the decisions will lie withyou. I'm not just my Lady's fucker, after all.' 'What else are you?' 'You may well ask. It no doubt is invisible. Yet I'm something tomyself at least. I can see the point of my own existence, though I canquite understand nobody else's seeing it.' 'And will your existence have less point, if you live with me?' He paused a long time before replying: 'It might.' She too stayed to think about it. 'And what is the point of your existence?' 'I tell you, it's invisible. I don't believe in the world, not inmoney, nor in advancement, nor in the future of our civilization. Ifthere's got to be a future for humanity, there'll have to be a very bigchange from what now is.' 'And what will the real future have to be like?' 'God knows! I can feel something inside me, all mixed up with a lot ofrage. But what it really amounts to, I don't know.' 'Shall I tell you?' she said, looking into his face. 'Shall I tell youwhat you have that other men don't have, and that will make the future?Shall I tell you?' 'Tell me then,' he replied. 'It's the courage of your own tenderness, that's what it is: like whenyou put your hand on my tail and say I've got a pretty tail.' The grin came flickering on his face. 'That!' he said. Then he sat thinking. 'Ay!' he said. 'You're right. It's that really. It's that all the waythrough. I knew it with the men. I had to be in touch with them,physically, and not go back on it. I had to be bodily aware of them anda bit tender to them, even if I put em through hell. It's a question ofawareness, as Buddha said. But even he fought shy of the bodilyawareness, and that natural physical tenderness, which is the best,even between men; in a proper manly way. Makes 'em really manly, not somonkeyish. Ay! it's tenderness, really; it's cunt-awareness. Sex isreally only touch, the closest of all touch. And it's touch we'reafraid of. We're only half-conscious, and half alive. We've got to comealive and aware. Especially the English have got to get into touch withone another, a bit delicate and a bit tender. It's our crying need.' She looked at him. 'Then why are you afraid of me?' she said. He looked at her a long time before he answered. 'It's the money, really, and the position. It's the world in you.' 'But isn't there tenderness in me?' she said wistfully. He looked down at her, with darkened, abstract eyes. 'Ay! It comes an' goes, like in me.' 'But can't you trust it between you and me?' she asked, gazinganxiously at him. She saw his face all softening down, losing its armour. 'Maybe!' hesaid. They were both silent. 'I want you to hold me in your arms,' she said. 'I want you to tell meyou are glad we are having a child.' She looked so lovely and warm and wistful, his bowels stirred towardsher. 'I suppose we can go to my room,' he said. 'Though it's scandalousagain.' But she saw the forgetfulness of the world coming over him again, hisface taking the soft, pure look of tender passion. They walked by the remoter streets to Coburg Square, where he had aroom at the top of the house, an attic room where he cooked for himselfon a gas ring. It was small, but decent and tidy. She took off her things, and made him do the same. She was lovely inthe soft first flush of her pregnancy. 'I ought to leave you alone,' he said. 'No!' she said. 'Love me! Love me, and say you'll keep me. Say you'llkeep me! Say you'll never let me go, to the world nor to anybody.' She crept close against him, clinging fast to his thin, strong nakedbody, the only home she had ever known. 'Then I'll keep thee,' he said. 'If tha wants it, then I'll keep thee.' He held her round and fast. 'And say you're glad about the child,' she repeated. 'Kiss it! Kiss my womb and say you're glad it's there.' But that was more difficult for him. 'I've a dread of puttin' children i' th' world,' he said. 'I've such adread o' th' future for 'em.' 'But you've put it into me. Be tender to it, and that will be itsfuture already. Kiss it!' He quivered, because it was true. 'Be tender to it, and that will beits future.'--At that moment he felt a sheer love for the woman. Hekissed her belly and her mound of Venus, to kiss close to the womb andthe foetus within the womb. 'Oh, you love me! You love me!' she said, in a little cry like one ofher blind, inarticulate love cries. And he went in to her softly,feeling the stream of tenderness flowing in release from his bowels tohers, the bowels of compassion kindled between them. And he realized as he went into her that this was the thing he had todo, to e into tender touch, without losing his pride or his dignity orhis integrity as a man. After all, if she had money and means, and hehad none, he should be too proud and honourable to hold back histenderness from her on that account. 'I stand for the touch of bodilyawareness between human beings,' he said to himself, 'and the touch oftenderness. And she is my mate. And it is a battle against the money,and the machine, and the insentient ideal monkeyishness of the world.And she will stand behind me there. Thank God I've got a woman! ThankGod I've got a woman who is with me, and tender and aware of me. ThankGod she's not a bully, nor a fool. Thank God she's a tender, awarewoman.' And as his seed sprang in her, his soul sprang towards her too,in the creative act that is far more than procreative. She was quite determined now that there should be no parting betweenhim and her. But the ways and means were still to settle. 'Did you hate Bertha Coutts?' she asked him. 'Don't talk to me about her.' 'Yes! You must let me. Because once you liked her. And once you were asintimate with her as you are with me. So you have to tell me. Isn't itrather terrible, when you've been intimate with her, to hate her so?Why is it?' 'I don't know. She sort of kept her will ready against me, always,always: her ghastly female will: her freedom! A woman's ghastly freedomthat ends in the most beastly bullying! Oh, she always kept her freedomagainst me, like vitriol in my face.' 'But she's not free of you even now. Does she still love you?' 'No, no! If she's not free of me, it's because she's got that mad rage,she must try to bully me.' 'But she must have loved you.' 'No! Well, in specks she did. She was drawn to me. And I think eventhat she hated. She loved me in moments. But she always took it back,and started bullying. Her deepest desire was to bully me, and there wasno altering her. Her will was wrong, from the first.' 'But perhaps she felt you didn't really love her, and she wanted tomake you.' 'My God, it was bloody making.' 'But you didn't really love her, did you? You did her that wrong.' 'How could I? I began to. I began to love her. But somehow, she alwaysripped me up. No, don't let's talk of it. It was a doom, that was. Andshe was a doomed woman. This last time, I'd have shot her like I shoota stoat, if I'd but been allowed: a raving, doomed thing in the shapeof a woman! If only I could have shot her, and ended the whole misery!It ought to be allowed. When a woman gets absolutely possessed by herown will, her own will set against everything, then it's fearful, andshe should be shot at last.' 'And shouldn't men be shot at last, if they get possessed by their ownwill?' 'Ay!--the same! But I must get free of her, or she'll be at me again. Iwanted to tell you. I must get a divorce if I possibly can. So we mustbe careful. We mustn't really be seen together, you and I. I never,NEVER could stand it if she came down on me and you.' Connie pondered this. 'Then we can't be together?' she said. 'Not for six months or so. But I think my divorce will go through inSeptember; then till March.' 'But the baby will probably be born at the end of February,' she said. He was silent. 'I could wish the Cliffords and Berthas all dead,' he said. 'It's not being very tender to them,' she said. 'Tender to them? Yea, even then the tenderest thing you could do forthem, perhaps, would be to give them death. They can't live! They onlyfrustrate life. Their souls are awful inside them. Death ought to besweet to them. And I ought to be allowed to shoot them.' 'But you wouldn't do it,' she said. 'I would though! and with less qualms than I shoot a weasel. It anyhowhas a prettiness and a loneliness. But they are legion. Oh, I'd shootthem.' 'Then perhaps it is just as well you daren't.' 'Well.' Connie had now plenty to think of. It was evident he wanted absolutelyto be free of Bertha Coutts. And she felt he was right. The last attackhad been too grim.--This meant her living alone, till spring. Perhapsshe could get divorced from Clifford. But how? If Mellors were named,then there was an end to his divorce. How loathsome! Couldn't one goright away, to the far ends of the earth, and be free from it all? One could not. The far ends of the world are not five minutes fromCharing Cross, nowadays. While the wireless is active, there are no farends of the earth. Kings of Dahomey and Lamas of Tibet listen in toLondon and New York. Patience! Patience! The world is a vast and ghastly intricacy ofmechanism, and one has to be very wary, not to get mangled by it. Connie confided in her father. 'You see, Father, he was Clifford's game-keeper: but he was an officerin the army in India. Only he is like Colonel C. E. Florence, whopreferred to become a private soldier again.' Sir Malcolm, however, had no sympathy with the unsatisfactory mysticismof the famous C. E. Florence. He saw too much advertisement behind allthe humility. It looked just like the sort of conceit the knight mostloathed, the conceit of self-abasement. 'Where did your game-keeper spring from?' asked Sir Malcolm irritably. 'He was a collier's son in Tevershall. But he's absolutelypresentable.' The knighted artist became more angry. 'Looks to me like a gold-digger,' he said. 'And you're a pretty easygold-mine, apparently.' 'No, Father, it's not like that. You'd know if you saw him. He's a man.Clifford always detested him for not being humble.' 'Apparently he had a good instinct, for once.' What Sir Malcolm could not bear was the scandal of his daughter'shaving an intrigue with a game-keeper. He did not mind the intrigue: heminded the scandal. 'I care nothing about the fellow. He's evidently been able to get roundyou all right. But, by God, think of all the talk. Think of yourstep-mother how she'll take it!' 'I know,' said Connie. 'Talk is beastly: especially if you live insociety. And he wants so much to get his own divorce. I thought wemight perhaps say it was another man's child, and not mention Mellors'name at all.' 'Another man's! What other man's?' 'Perhaps Duncan Forbes. He has been our friend all his life.' 'And he's a fairly well-known artist. And he's fond of me.' 'Well I'm damned! Poor Duncan! And what's he going to get out of it?' 'I don't know. But he might rather like it, even.' 'He might, might he? Well, he's a funny man if he does. Why, you'venever even had an affair with him, have you?' 'No! But he doesn't really want it. He only loves me to be near him,but not to touch him.' 'My God, what a generation!' 'He would like me most of all to be a model for him to paint from. OnlyI never wanted to.' 'God help him! But he looks down-trodden enough for anything.' 'Still, you wouldn't mind so much the talk about him?' 'My God, Connie, all the bloody contriving!' 'I know! It's sickening! But what can I do?' 'Contriving, conniving; conniving, contriving! Makes a man think he'slived too long.' 'Come, Father, if you haven't done a good deal of contriving andconniving in your time, you may talk.' 'But it was different, I assure you.' 'It's ALWAYS different.' Hilda arrived, also furious when she heard of the new developments. Andshe also simply could not stand the thought of a public scandal abouther sister and a game-keeper. Too, too humiliating! 'Why should we not just disappear, separately, to British Columbia, andhave no scandal?' said Connie. But that was no good. The scandal would come out just the same. And ifConnie was going with the man, she'd better be able to marry him. Thiswas Hilda's opinion. Sir Malcolm wasn't sure. The affair might stillblow over. 'But will you see him, Father?' Poor Sir Malcolm! he was by no means keen on it. And poor Mellors, hewas still less keen. Yet the meeting took place: a lunch in a privateroom at the club, the two men alone, looking one another up and down. Sir Malcolm drank a fair amount of whisky, Mellors also drank. And theytalked all the while about India, on which the young man was wellinformed. This lasted during the meal. Only when coffee was served, and thewaiter had gone, Sir Malcolm lit a cigar and said, heartily: 'Well, young man, and what about my daughter?' The grin flickered on Mellors' face. 'Well, Sir, and what about her?' 'You've got a baby in her all right.' 'I have that honour!' grinned Mellors. 'Honour, by God!' Sir Malcolm gave a little squirting laugh, and becameScotch and lewd. 'Honour! How was the going, eh? Good, my boy, what?' 'Good!' 'I'll bet it was! Ha-ha! My daughter, chip of the old block, what! Inever went back on a good bit of fucking, myself. Though her mother,oh, holy saints!' He rolled his eyes to heaven. 'But you warmed her up,oh, you warmed her up, I can see that. Ha-ha! My blood in her! You setfire to her haystack all right. Ha-ha-ha! I was jolly glad of it, I cantell you. She needed it. Oh, she's a nice girl, she's a nice girl, andI knew she'd be good going, if only some damned man would set her stackon fire! Ha-ha-ha! A game-keeper, eh, my boy! Bloody good poacher, ifyou ask me. Ha-ha! But now, look here, speaking seriously, what are wegoing to do about it? Speaking seriously, you know!' Speaking seriously, they didn't get very far. Mellors, though a littletipsy, was much the soberer of the two. He kept the conversation asintelligent as possible: which isn't saying much. 'So you're a game-keeper! Oh, you're quite right! That sort of game isworth a man's while, eh, what? The test of a woman is when you pinchher bottom. You can tell just by the feel of her bottom if she's goingto come up all right. Ha-ha! I envy you, my boy. How old are you?' 'Thirty-nine.' The knight lifted his eyebrows. 'As much as that! Well, you've another good twenty years, by the lookof you. Oh, game-keeper or not, you're a good cock. I can see that withone eye shut. Not like that blasted Clifford! A lily-livered hound withnever a fuck in him, never had. I like you, my boy, I'll bet you've agood cod on you; oh, you're a bantam, I can see that. You're a fighter.Game-keeper! Ha-ha, by crikey, I wouldn't trust my game to you! Butlook here, seriously, what are we going to do about it? The world'sfull of blasted old women.' Seriously, they didn't do anything about it, except establish the oldfree-masonry of male sensuality between them. 'And look here, my boy, if ever I can do anything for you, you can relyon me. Game-keeper! Christ, but it's rich! I like it! Oh, I like it!Shows the girl's got spunk. What? After all, you know, she has her ownincome, moderate, moderate, but above starvation. And I'll leave herwhat I've got. By God, I will. She deserves it for showing spunk, in aworld of old women. I've been struggling to get myself clear of theskirts of old women for seventy years, and haven't managed it yet. Butyou're the man, I can see that.' 'I'm glad you think so. They usually tell me, in a sideways fashion,that I'm the monkey.' 'Oh, they would! My dear fellow, what could you be but a monkey, to allthe old women?' They parted most genially, and Mellors laughed inwardly all the timefor the rest of the day. The following day he had lunch with Connie and Hilda, at some discreetplace. 'It's a very great pity it's such an ugly situation all round,' saidHilda. 'I had a lot o' fun out of it,' said he. 'I think you might have avoided putting children into the world untilyou were both free to marry and have children.' 'The Lord blew a bit too soon on the spark,' said he. 'I think the Lord had nothing to do with it. Of course, Connie hasenough money to keep you both, but the situation is unbearable.' 'But then you don't have to bear more than a small corner of it, doyou?' said he. 'If you'd been in her own class.' 'Or if I'd been in a cage at the Zoo.' There was silence. 'I think,' said Hilda, 'it will be best if she names quite another manas co-respondent and you stay out of it altogether.' 'But I thought I'd put my foot right in.' 'I mean in the divorce proceedings.' He gazed at her in wonder. Connie had not dared mention the Duncanscheme to him. 'I don't follow,' he said. 'We have a friend who would probably agree to be named asco-respondent, so that your name need not appear,' said Hilda. 'You mean a man?' 'Of course!' 'But she's got no other?' He looked in wonder at Connie. 'No, no!' she said hastily. 'Only that old friendship, quite simple, nolove.' 'Then why should the fellow take the blame? If he's had nothing out ofyou?' 'Some men are chivalrous and don't only count what they get out of awoman,' said Hilda. 'One for me, eh? But who's the johnny?' 'A friend whom we've known since we were children in Scotland, anartist.' 'Duncan Forbes!' he said at once, for Connie had talked to him. 'Andhow would you shift the blame on to him?' 'They could stay together in some hotel, or she could even stay in hisapartment.' 'Seems to me like a lot of fuss for nothing,' he said. 'What else do you suggest?' said Hilda. 'If your name appears, you willget no divorce from your wife, who is apparently quite an impossibleperson to be mixed up with.' 'All that!' he said grimly. There was a long silence. 'We could go right away,' he said. 'There is no right away for Connie,' said Hilda. 'Clifford is too wellknown.' Again the silence of pure frustration. 'The world is what it is. If you want to live together without beingpersecuted, you will have to marry. To marry, you both have to bedivorced. So how are you both going about it?' He was silent for a long time. 'How are you going about it for us?' he said. 'We will see if Duncan will consent to figure as co-respondent: then wemust get Clifford to divorce Connie: and you must go on with yourdivorce, and you must both keep apart till you are free.' 'Sounds like a lunatic asylum.' 'Possibly! And the world would look on you as lunatics: or worse. 'What is worse?' 'Criminals, I suppose.' 'Hope I can plunge in the dagger a few more times yet,' he said,grinning. Then he was silent, and angry. 'Well!' he said at last. 'I agree to anything. The world is a ravingidiot, and no man can kill it: though I'll do my best. But you reright. We must rescue ourselves as best we can.' He looked in humiliation, anger, weariness and misery at Connie. 'Ma lass!' he said. 'The world's goin' to put salt on thy tail.' 'Not if we don't let it,' she said. She minded this conniving against the world less than he did. Duncan, when approached, also insisted on seeing the delinquentgame-keeper, so there was a dinner, this time in his flat: the four ofthem. Duncan was a rather short, broad, dark-skinned, taciturn Hamletof a fellow with straight black hair and a weird Celtic conceit ofhimself. His art was all tubes and valves and spirals and strangecolours, ultra-modern, yet with a certain power, even a certain purityof form and tone: only Mellors thought it cruel and repellent. He didnot venture to say so, for Duncan was almost insane on the point of hisart: it was a personal cult, a personal religion with him. They were looking at the pictures in the studio, and Duncan kept hissmallish brown eyes on the other man. He wanted to hear what thegame-keeper would say. He knew already Connie's and Hilda's opinions. 'It is like a pure bit of murder,' said Mellors at last; a speechDuncan by no means expected from a game-keeper. 'And who is murdered?' asked Hilda, rather coldly and sneeringly. 'Me! It murders all the bowels of compassion in a man.' A wave of pure hate came out of the artist. He heard the note ofdislike in the other man's voice, and the note of contempt. And hehimself loathed the mention of bowels of compassion. Sickly sentiment! Mellors stood rather tall and thin, worn-looking, gazing withflickering detachment that was something like the dancing of a moth onthe wing, at the pictures. 'Perhaps stupidity is murdered; sentimental stupidity,' sneered theartist. 'Do you think so? I think all these tubes and corrugated vibrations arestupid enough for anything, and pretty sentimental. They show a lot ofself-pity and an awful lot of nervous self-opinion, seems to me.' In another wave of hate the artist's face looked yellow. But with asort of silent HAUTEUR he turned the pictures to the wall. 'I think we may go to the dining-room,' he said. And they trailed off,dismally. After coffee, Duncan said: 'I don't at all mind posing as the father of Connie's child. But onlyon the condition that she'll come and pose as a model for me. I'vewanted her for years, and she's always refused.' He uttered it with thedark finality of an inquisitor announcing an AUTO DA FE. 'Ah!' said Mellors. 'You only do it on condition, then?' 'Quite! I only do it on that condition.' The artist tried to put theutmost contempt of the other person into his speech. He put a littletoo much. 'Better have me as a model at the same time,' said Mellors. 'Better dous in a group, Vulcan and Venus under the net of art. I used to be ablacksmith, before I was a game-keeper.' 'Thank you,' said the artist. 'I don't think Vulcan has a figure thatinterests me.' 'Not even if it was tubified and titivated up?' There was no answer. The artist was too haughty for further words. It was a dismal party, in which the artist henceforth steadily ignoredthe presence of the other man, and talked only briefly, as if the wordswere wrung out of the depths of his gloomy portentousness, to thewomen. 'You didn't like him, but he's better than that, really. He's reallykind,' Connie explained as they left. 'He's a little black pup with a corrugated distemper,' said Mellors. 'No, he wasn't nice today.' 'And will you go and be a model to him?' 'Oh, I don't really mind any more. He won't touch me. And I don't mindanything, if it paves the way to a life together for you and me.' 'But he'll only shit on you on canvas.' 'I don't care. He'll only be painting his own feelings for me, and Idon't mind if he does that. I wouldn't have him touch me, not foranything. But if he thinks he can do anything with his owlish artystaring, let him stare. He can make as many empty tubes andcorrugations out of me as he likes. It's his funeral. He hated you forwhat you said: that his tubified art is sentimental and self-important.But of course it's true.' Chapter 19 Dear Clifford, I am afraid what you foresaw has happened. I am reallyin love with another man, and do hope you will divorce me. I am stayingat present with Duncan its his flat. I told you he was at Venice withus. I'm awfully unhappy for your sake: but do try to take it quietly.You don't really need me any more, and I can't bear to come back toWragby. I'm awfully sorry. But do try to forgive me, and divorce me andfind someone better. I'm not really the right person for you, I am tooimpatient and selfish, I suppose. But I can't ever come back to livewith you again. And I feel so frightfully sorry about it all, for yoursake. But if you don't let yourself get worked up, you'll see you won'tmind so frightfully. You didn't really care about me personally. So doforgive me and get rid of me. Clifford was not INWARDLY surprised to get this letter. Inwardly, hehad known for a long time she was leaving him. But he had absolutelyrefused any outward admission of it. Therefore, outwardly, it came asthe most terrible blow and shock to him, He had kept the surface of hisconfidence in her quite serene. And that is how we are, By strength of will we cut of four innerintuitive knowledge from admitted consciousness. This causes a state ofdread, or apprehension, which makes the blow ten times worse when itdoes fall. Clifford was like a hysterical child. He gave Mrs Bolton a terribleshock, sitting up in bed ghastly and blank. 'Why, Sir Clifford, whatever's the matter?' No answer! She was terrified lest he had had a stroke. She hurried andfelt his face, took his pulse. 'Is there a pain? Do try and tell me where it hurts you. Do tell me!' No answer! 'Oh dear, oh dear! Then I'll telephone to Sheffield for Dr Carrington,and Dr Lecky may as well run round straight away.' She was moving to the door, when he said in a hollow tone: 'No!' She stopped and gazed at him. His face was yellow, blank, and like theface of an idiot. 'Do you mean you'd rather I didn't fetch the doctor?' 'Yes! I don't want him,' came the sepulchral voice. 'Oh, but Sir Clifford, you're ill, and I daren't take theresponsibility. I MUST send for the doctor, or I shall be blamed.' A pause: then the hollow voice said: 'I'm not ill. My wife isn't coming back.'--It was as if an image spoke. 'Not coming back? you mean her ladyship?' Mrs Bolton moved a littlenearer to the bed. 'Oh, don't you believe it. You can trust herladyship to come back.' The image in the bed did not change, but it pushed a letter over thecounterpane. 'Read it!' said the sepulchral voice. 'Why, if it's a letter from her ladyship, I'm sure her ladyshipwouldn't want me to read her letter to you, Sir Clifford. You can tellme what she says, if you wish.' 'Read it!' repeated the voice. 'Why, if I must, I do it to obey you, Sir Clifford,' she said. And sheread the letter. 'Well, I AM surprised at her ladyship,' she said. 'She promised sofaithfully she'd come back!' The face in the bed seemed to deepen its expression of wild, butmotionless distraction. Mrs Bolton looked at it and was worried. Sheknew what she was up against: male hysteria. She had not nursedsoldiers without learning something about that very unpleasant disease. She was a little impatient of Sir Clifford. Any man in his senses musthave KNOWN his wife was in love with somebody else, and was going toleave him. Even, she was sure, Sir Clifford was inwardly absolutelyaware of it, only he wouldn't admit it to himself. If he would haveadmitted it, and prepared himself for it: or if he would have admittedit, and actively struggled with his wife against it: that would havebeen acting like a man. But no! he knew it, and all the time tried tokid himself it wasn't so. He felt the devil twisting his tail, andpretended it was the angels smiling on him. This state of falsity hadnow brought on that crisis of falsity and dislocation, hysteria, whichis a form of insanity. 'It comes', she thought to herself, hating him alittle, 'because he always thinks of himself. He's so wrapped up in hisown immortal self, that when he does get a shock he's like a mummytangled in its own bandages. Look at him!' But hysteria is dangerous: and she was a nurse, it was her duty to pullhim out. Any attempt to rouse his manhood and his pride would only makehim worse: for his manhood was dead, temporarily if not finally. Hewould only squirm softer and softer, like a worm, and become moredislocated. The only thing was to release his self-pity. Like the lady in Tennyson,he must weep or he must die. So Mrs Bolton began to weep first. She covered her face with her handand burst into little wild sobs. 'I would never have believed it of herladyship, I wouldn't!' she wept, suddenly summoning up all her oldgrief and sense of woe, and weeping the tears of her own bitterchagrin. Once she started, her weeping was genuine enough, for she hadhad something to weep for. Clifford thought of the way he had been betrayed by the woman Connie,and in a contagion of grief, tears filled his eyes and began to rundown his cheeks. He was weeping for himself. Mrs Bolton, as soon as shesaw the tears running over his blank face, hastily wiped her own wetcheeks on her little handkerchief, and leaned towards him. 'Now, don't you fret, Sir Clifford!' she said, in a luxury of emotion.'Now, don't you fret, don't, you'll only do yourself an injury!' His body shivered suddenly in an indrawn breath of silent sobbing, andthe tears ran quicker down his face. She laid her hand on his arm, andher own tears fell again. Again the shiver went through him, like aconvulsion, and she laid her arm round his shoulder. 'There, there!There, there! Don't you fret, then, don't you! Don't you fret!' shemoaned to him, while her own tears fell. And she drew him to her, andheld her arms round his great shoulders, while he laid his face on herbosom and sobbed, shaking and hulking his huge shoulders, whilst shesoftly stroked his dusky-blond hair and said: 'There! There! There!There then! There then! Never you mind! Never you mind, then!' And he put his arms round her and clung to her like a child, wettingthe bib of her starched white apron, and the bosom of her pale-bluecotton dress, with his tears. He had let himself go altogether, atlast. So at length she kissed him, and rocked him on her bosom, and in herheart she said to herself: 'Oh, Sir Clifford! Oh, high and mightyChatterleys! Is this what you've come down to!' And finally he evenwent to sleep, like a child. And she felt worn out, and went to her ownroom, where she laughed and cried at once, with a hysteria of her own.It was so ridiculous! It was so awful! Such a come-down! So shameful!And it WAS so upsetting as well. After this, Clifford became like a child with Mrs Bolton. He would holdher h, and rest his head on her breast, and when she once lightlykissed him, he said! 'Yes! Do kiss me! Do kiss me!' And when shesponged his great blond body, he would say the same! 'Do kiss me!' andshe would lightly kiss his body, anywhere, half in mockery. And he lay with a queer, blank face like a child, with a bit of thewonderment of a child. And he would gaze on her with wide, childisheyes, in a relaxation of madonna-worship. It was sheer relaxation onhis part, letting go all his manhood, and sinking back to a childishposition that was really perverse. And then he would put his hand intoher bosom and feel her breasts, and kiss them in exultation, theexultation of perversity, of being a child when he was a man. Mrs Bolton was both thrilled and ashamed, she both loved and hated it.Yet she never rebuffed nor rebuked him. And they drew into a closerphysical intimacy, an intimacy of perversity, when he was a childstricken with an apparent candour and an apparent wonderment, thatlooked almost like a religious exaltation: the perverse and literalrendering of: 'except ye become again as a little child'.--While shewas the Magna Mater, full of power and potency, having the great blondchild-man under her will and her stroke entirely. The curious thing was that when this child-man, which Clifford was nowand which he had been becoming for years, emerged into the world, itwas much sharper and keener than the real man he used to be. Thisperverted child-man was now a REAL business-man; when it was a questionof affairs, he was an absolute he-man, sharp as a needle, andimpervious as a bit of steel. When he was out among men, seeking hisown ends, and 'making good' his colliery workings, he had an almostuncanny shrewdness, hardness, and a straight sharp punch. It was as ifhis very passivity and prostitution to the Magna Mater gave him insightinto material business affairs, and lent him a certain remarkableinhuman force. The wallowing in private emotion, the utter abasement ofhis manly self, seemed to lend him a second nature, cold, almostvisionary, business-clever. In business he was quite inhuman. And in this Mrs Bolton triumphed. 'How he's getting on!' she would sayto herself in pride. 'And that's my doing! My word, he'd never have goton like this with Lady Chatterley. She was not the one to put a manforward. She wanted too much for herself.' At the same time, in some corner of her weird female soul, how shedespised him and hated him! He was to her the fallen beast, thesquirming monster. And while she aided and abetted him all she could,away in the remotest corner of her ancient healthy womanhood shedespised him with a savage contempt that knew no bounds. The meresttramp was better than he. His behaviour with regard to Connie was curious. He insisted on seeingher again. He insisted, moreover, on her coming to Wragby. On thispoint he was finally and absolutely fixed. Connie had promised to comeback to Wragby, faithfully. 'But is it any use?' said Mrs Bolton. 'Can't you let her go, and be ridof her?' 'No! She said she was coming back, and she's got to come.' Mrs Bolton opposed him no more. She knew what she was dealing with. I needn't tell you what effect your letter has had on me [he wrote toConnie to London]. Perhaps you can imagine it if you try, though nodoubt you won't trouble to use your imagination on my behalf. I can only say one thing in answer: I must see you personally, here atWragby, before I can do anything. You promised faithfully to come backto Wragby, and I hold you to the promise. I don't believe anything norunderstand anything until I see you personally, here under normalcircumstances. I needn't tell you that nobody here suspects anything,so your return would be quite normal. Then if you feel, after we havetalked things over, that you still remain in the same mind, no doubt wecan come to terms. Connie showed this letter to Mellors. 'He wants to begin his revenge on you,' he said, handing the letterback. Connie was silent. She was somewhat surprised to find that she wasafraid of Clifford. She was afraid to go near him. She was afraid ofhim as if he were evil and dangerous. 'What shall I do?' she said. 'Nothing, if you don't want to do anything.' She replied, trying to put Clifford off. He answered: If you don't come back to Wragby now, I shall consider that you arecoming back one day, and act accordingly. I shall just go on the same,and wait for you here, if I wait for fifty years. She was frightened. This was bullying of an insidious sort. She had nodoubt he meant what he said. He would not divorce her, and the childwould be his, unless she could find some means of establishing itsillegitimacy. After a time of worry and harassment, she decided to go to Wragby.Hilda would go with her. She wrote this to Clifford. He replied: I shall not welcome your sister, but I shall not deity her the door. Ihave no doubt she has connived at your desertion of your duties andresponsibilities, so do not expect me to show pleasure in seeing her. They went to Wragby. Clifford was away when they arrived. Mrs Boltonreceived them. 'Oh, your Ladyship, it isn't the happy home-coming we hoped for, isit!' she said. 'Isn't it?' said Connie. So this woman knew! How much did the rest of the servants know orsuspect? She entered the house, which now she hated with every fibre in herbody. The great, rambling mass of a place seemed evil to her, just amenace over her. She was no longer its mistress, she was its victim. 'I can't stay long here,' she whispered to Hilda, terrified. And she suffered going into her own bedroom, re-entering intopossession as if nothing had happened. She hated every minute insidethe Wragby walls. They did not meet Clifford till they went down to dinner. He wasdressed, and with a black tie: rather reserved, and very much thesuperior gentleman. He behaved perfectly politely during the meal andkept a polite sort of conversation going: but it seemed all touchedwith insanity. 'How much do the servants know?' asked Connie, when the woman was outof the room. 'Of your intentions? Nothing whatsoever.' 'Mrs Bolton knows.' He changed colour. 'Mrs Bolton is not exactly one of the servants,' he said. 'Oh, I don't mind.' There was tension till after coffee, when Hilda said she would go up toher room. Clifford and Connie sat in silence when she had gone. Neither wouldbegin to speak. Connie was so glad that he wasn't taking the patheticline, she kept him up to as much haughtiness as possible. She just satsilent and looked down at her hands. 'I suppose you don't at all mind having gone back on your word?' hesaid at last. 'I can't help it,' she murmured. 'But if you can't, who can?' 'I suppose nobody.' He looked at her with curious cold rage. He was used to her. She was asit were embedded in his will. How dared she now go back on him, anddestroy the fabric of his daily existence? How dared she try to causethis derangement of his personality? 'And for WHAT do you want to go back on everything?' he insisted. 'Love!' she said. It was best to be hackneyed. 'Love of Duncan Forbes? But you didn't think that worth having, whenyou met me. Do you mean to say you now love him better than anythingelse in life?' 'One changes,' she said. 'Possibly! Possibly you may have whims. But you still have to convinceme of the importance of the change. I merely don't believe in your loveof Duncan Forbes.' 'But why SHOULD you believe in it? You have only to divorce me, not tobelieve in my feelings.' 'And why should I divorce you?' 'Because I don't want to live here any more. And you really don't wantme.' 'Pardon me! I don't change. For my part, since you are my wife, Ishould prefer that you should stay under my roof in dignity and quiet.Leaving aside personal feelings, and I assure you, on my part it isleaving aside a great deal, it is bitter as death to me to have thisorder of life broken up, here in Wragby, and the decent round of dailylife smashed, just for some whim of yours.' After a time of silence she said: 'I can't help it. I've got to go. I expect I shall have a child.' He too was silent for a time. 'And is it for the child's sake you must go?' he asked at length. She nodded. 'And why? Is Duncan Forbes so keen on his spawn?' 'Surely keener than you would be,' she said. 'But really? I want my wife, and I see no reason for letting her go. Ifshe likes to bear a child under my roof, she is welcome, and the childis welcome: provided that the decency and order of life is preserved.Do you mean to tell me that Duncan Forbes has a greater hold over you?I don't believe it.' There was a pause. 'But don't you see,' said Connie. 'I MUST go away from you, and I mustlive with the man I love.' 'No, I don't see it! I don't give tuppence for your love, nor for theman you love. I don't believe in that sort of cant.' 'But you see, I do.' 'Do you? My dear Madam, you are too intelligent, I assure you, tobelieve in your own love for Duncan Forbes. Believe me, even now youreally care more for me. So why should I give in to such nonsense!' She felt he was right there. And she felt she could keep silent nolonger. 'Because it isn't Duncan that I DO love,' she said, looking up at him. 'We only said it was Duncan, to spare your feelings.' 'To spare my feelings?' 'Yes! Because who I really love, and it'll make you hate me, is MrMellors, who was our game-keeper here.' If he could have sprung out of his chair, he would have done so. Hisface went yellow, and his eyes bulged with disaster as he glared ather. Then he dropped back in the chair, gasping and looking up at theceiling. At length he sat up. 'Do you mean to say you re telling me the truth?' he asked, lookinggruesome. 'Yes! You know I am.' 'And when did you begin with him?' 'In the spring.' He was silent like some beast in a trap. 'And it WAS you, then, in the bedroom at the cottage?' So he had really inwardly known all the time. 'Yes!' He still leaned forward in his chair, gazing at her like a corneredbeast. 'My God, you ought to be wiped off the face of the earth!' 'Why?' she ejaculated faintly. But he seemed not to hear. 'That scum! That bumptious lout! That miserable cad! And carrying onwith him all the time, while you were here and he was one of myservants! My God, my God, is there any end to the beastly lowness ofwomen!' He was beside himself with rage, as she knew he would be. 'And you mean to say you want to have a child to a cad like that?' 'Yes! I'm going to.' 'You're going to! You mean you're sure! How long have you been sure?' 'Since June.' He was speechless, and the queer blank look of a child came over himagain. 'You'd wonder,' he said at last, 'that such beings were ever allowed tobe born.' 'What beings?' she asked. He looked at her weirdly, without an answer. It was obvious, hecouldn't even accept the fact of the existence of Mellors, in anyconnexion with his own life. It was sheer, unspeakable, impotent hate. 'And do you mean to say you'd marry him?--and bear his foul name?' heasked at length. 'Yes, that's what I want.' He was again as if dumbfounded. 'Yes!' he said at last. 'That proves that what I've always thoughtabout you is correct: you're not normal, you're not in your rightsenses. You're one of those half-insane, perverted women who must runafter depravity, the NOSTALGIE DE LA BOUE.' Suddenly he had become almost wistfully moral, seeing himself theincarnation of good, and people like Mellors and Connie the incarnationof mud, of evil. He seemed to be growing vague, inside a nimbus. 'So don't you think you'd better divorce me and have done with it?' shesaid. 'No! You can go where you like, but I shan't divorce you,' he saididiotically. 'Why not?' He was silent, in the silence of imbecile obstinacy. 'Would you even let the child be legally yours, and your heir?' shesaid. 'I care nothing about the child.' 'But if it's a boy it will be legally your son, and it will inherityour title, and have Wragby.' 'I care nothing about that,' he said. 'But you MUST! I shall prevent the child from being legally yours, if Ican. I'd so much rather it were illegitimate, and mine: if it can't beMellors'.' 'Do as you like about that.' He was immovable. 'And won't you divorce me?' she said. 'You can use Duncan as a pretext!There'd be no need to bring in the real name. Duncan doesn't mind.' ' I shall never divorce you,' he said, as if a nail had been driven in. 'But why? Because I want you to?' 'Because I follow my own inclination, and I'm not inclined to.' It was useless. She went upstairs and told Hilda the upshot. 'Better get away tomorrow,' said Hilda, 'and let him come to hissenses.' So Connie spent half the night packing her really private and personaleffects. In the morning she had her trunks sent to the station, withouttelling Clifford. She decided to see him only to say good-bye, beforelunch. But she spoke to Mrs Bolton. 'I must say good-bye to you, Mrs Bolton, you know why. But I can trustyou not to talk.' 'Oh, you can trust me, your Ladyship, though it's a sad blow for ushere, indeed. But I hope you'll be happy with the other gentleman.' 'The other gentleman! It's Mr Mellors, and I care for him. Sir Cliffordknobs. But don't say anything to anybody. And if one day you think SirClifford may be willing to divorce me, let me know, will you? I shouldlike to be properly married to the man I care for.' 'I'm sure you would, my Lady. Oh, you can trust me. I'll be faithful toSir Clifford, and I'll be faithful to you, for I can see you're bothright in your own ways.' 'Thank you! And look! I want to give you this--may I?' So Connie leftWragby once more, and went on with Hilda to Scotland. Mellors went intothe country and got work on a farm. The idea was, he should get hisdivorce, if possible, whether Connie got hers or not. And for sixmonths he should work at farming, so that eventually he and Conniecould have some small farm of their own, into which he could put hisenergy. For he would have to have some work, even hard work, to do, andhe would have to make his own living, even if her capital started him. So they would have to wait till spring was in, till the baby was born,till the early summer came round again. The Grange Farm Old Heanor 29 September I got on here with a bit of contriving, because I knew Richards, thecompany engineer, in the army. It is a farm belonging to Butler andSmitham Colliery Company, they use it for raising hay and oats for thepit-ponies; not a private concern. But they've got cows and pigs andall the rest of it, and I get thirty shillings a week as labourer.Rowley, the farmer, puts me on to as many jobs as he can, so that I canlearn as much as possible between now and next Easter. I've not heard athing about Bertha. I've no idea why she didn't show up at the divorce,nor where she is nor what she's up to. But if I keep quiet till March Isuppose I shall be free. And don't you bother about Sir Clifford. He'llwant to get rid of you one of these days. If he leaves you alone, it'sa lot. I've got lodging in a bit of an old cottage in Engine Row very decent.The man is engine-driver at High Park, tall, with a beard, and verychapel. The woman is a birdy bit of a thing who loves anythingsuperior. King's English and allow-me! all the time. But they losttheir only son in the war, and it's sort of knocked a hole in them.There's a long gawky lass of a daughter training for a school-teacher,and I help her with her lessons sometimes, so we're quite the family.But they're very decent people, and only too kind to me. I expect I'mmore coddled than you are. I like farming all right. It's not inspiring, but then I don't ask tobe inspired. I'm used to horses, and cows, though they are very female,have a soothing effect on me. When I sit with my head in her side,milking, I feel very solaced. They have six rather fine Herefords.Oat-harvest is just over and I enjoyed it, in spite of sore hands and alot of rain. I don't take much notice of people, but get on with themall right. Most things one just ignores. The pits are working badly; this is a colliery district likeTevershall. only prettier. I sometimes sit in the Wellington and talkto the men. They grumble a lot, but they're not going to alteranything. As everybody says, the Notts-Derby miners have got theirhearts in the right place. But the rest of their anatomy must be in thewrong place, in a world that has no use for them. I like them, but theydon't cheer me much: not enough of the old fighting-cock in them. Theytalk a lot about nationalization, nationalization of royalties,nationalization of the whole industry. But you can't nationalize coaland leave all the other industries as they are. They talk about puttingcoal to new uses, like Sir Clifford is trying to do. It may work hereand there, but not as a general thing. I doubt. Whatever you makeyou've got to sell it. The men are very apathetic. They feel the wholedamned thing is doomed, and I believe it is. And they are doomed alongwith it. Some of the young ones spout about a Soviet, but there's notmuch conviction in them. There's no sort of conviction about anything,except that it's all a muddle and a hole. Even under a Soviet you'vestill got to sell coal: and that's the difficulty. We've got this great industrial population, and they've got to be fed,so the damn show has to be kept going somehow. The women talk a lotmore than the men, nowadays, and they are a sight more cock-sure. Themen are limp, they feel a doom somewhere, and they go about as if therewas nothing to be done. Anyhow, nobody knows what should be done inspite of all the talk, the young ones get mad because they've no moneyto spend. Their whole life depends on spending money, and now they'vegot none to spend. That's our civilization and our education: bring upthe masses to depend entirely on spending money, and then the moneygives out. The pits are working two days, two and a half days a week,and there's no sign of betterment even for the winter. It means a manbringing up a family on twenty-five and thirty shillings. The women arethe maddest of all. But then they're the maddest for spending,nowadays. If you could only tell them that living and spending isn't the samething! But it's no good. If only they were educated to LIVE instead ofearn and spend, they could manage very happily on twenty-fiveshillings. If the men wore scarlet trousers as I said, they wouldn'tthink so much of money: if they could dance and hop and skip, and singand swagger and be handsome, they could do with very little cash. Andamuse the women themselves, and be amused by the women. They ought tolearn to be naked and handsome, and to sing in a mass and dance the oldgroup dances, and carve the stools they sit on, and embroider their ownemblems. Then they wouldn't need money. And that's the only way tosolve the industrial problem: train the people to be able to live andlive in handsomeness, without needing to spend. But you can't do it.They're all one-track minds nowadays. Whereas the mass of peopleoughtn't even to try to think, because they can't. They should be aliveand frisky, and acknowledge the great god Pan. He's the only god forthe masses, forever. The few can go in for higher cults if they like.But let the mass be forever pagan. But the colliers aren't pagan, far from it. They're a sad lot, adeadened lot of men: dead to their women, dead to life. The young onesscoot about on motor-bikes with girls, and jazz when they get a chance,But they're very dead. And it needs money. Money poisons you whenyou've got it, and starves you when you haven't. I'm sure you're sick of all this. But I don't want to harp on myself,and I've nothing happening to me. I don't like to think too much aboutyou, in my head, that only makes a mess of us both. But, of course,what I live for now is for you and me to live together. I'm frightened,really. I feel the devil in the air, and he'll try to get us. Or notthe devil, Mammon: which I think, after all, is only the mass-will ofpeople, wanting money and hating life. Anyhow, I feel great graspingwhite hands in the air, wanting to get hold of the throat of anybodywho tries to live, to live beyond money, and squeeze the life out.There's a bad time coming. There's a bad time coming, boys, there's abad time coming! If things go on as they are, there's nothing lies inthe future but death and destruction, for these industrial masses. Ifeel my inside turn to water sometimes, and there you are, going tohave a child by me. But never mind. All the bad times that ever havebeen, haven't been able to blow the crocus out: not even the love ofwomen. So they won't be able to blow out my wanting you, nor the littleglow there is between you and me. We'll be together next year. Andthough I'm frightened, I believe in your being with me. A man has tofend and fettle for the best, and then trust in something beyondhimself. You can't insure against the future, except by reallybelieving in the best bit of you, and in the power beyond it. So Ibelieve in the little flame between us. For me now, it's the only thingin the world. I've got no friends, not inward friends. Only you. Andnow the little flame is all I care about in my life. There's the baby,but that is a side issue. It's my Pentecost, the forked flame betweenme and you. The old Pentecost isn't quite right. Me and God is a bituppish, somehow. But the little forked flame between me and you: thereyou are! That's what I abide by, and will abide by, Cliffords andBerthas, colliery companies and governments and the money-mass ofpeople all notwithstanding. That's why I don't like to start thinking about you actually. It onlytortures me, and does you no good. I don't want you to be away from me.But if I start fretting it wastes something. Patience, always patience.This is my fortieth winter. And I can't help all the winters that havebeen. But this winter I'll stick to my little Pentecost flame, and havesome peace. And I won't let the breath of people blow it out. I believein a higher mystery, that doesn't let even the crocus be blown out. Andif you're in Scotland and I'm in the Midlands, and I can't put my armsround you, and wrap my legs round you, yet I've got something of you.My soul softly Naps in the little Pentecost flame with you, like thepeace of fucking. We fucked a flame into being. Even the flowers arefucked into being between the sun and the earth. But it's a delicatething, and takes patience and the long pause. So I love chastity now, because it is the peace that comes of fucking.I love being chaste now. I love it as snowdrops love the snow. I lovethis chastity, which is the pause of peace of our fucking, between usnow like a snowdrop of forked white fire. And when the real springcomes, when the drawing together comes, then we can fuck the littleflame brilliant and yellow, brilliant. But not now, not yet! Now is thetime to be chaste, it is so good to be chaste, like a river of coolwater in my soul. I love the chastity now that it flows between us. Itis like fresh water and rain. How can men want wearisomely tophilander. What a misery to be like Don Juan, and impotent ever to fuckoneself into peace, and the little flame alight, impotent and unable tobe chaste in the cool between-whiles, as by a river. Well, so many words, because I can't touch you. If I could sleep withmy arms round you, the ink could stay in the bottle. We could be chastetogether just as we can fuck together. But we have to be separate for awhile, and I suppose it is really the wiser way. If only one were sure. Never mind, never mind, we won't get worked up. We really trust in thelittle flame, and in the unnamed god that shields it from being blownout. There's so much of you here with me, really, that it's a pity youaren't all here. Never mind about Sir Clifford. If you don't hear anything from him,never mind. He can't really do anything to you. Wait, he will want toget rid of you at last, to cast you out. And if he doesn't, we'llmanage to keep clear of him. But he will. In the end he will want tospew you out as the abominable thing. Now I can't even leave off writing to you. But a great deal of us is together, and we can but abide by it, andsteer our courses to meet soon. John Thomas says good-night to LadyJane, a little droopingly, but with a hopeful heart. 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