Lady Chatterly's Lover D H Lawrence
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When Connie went up to her bedroom she' did what she' had not done for a
And she' thought, as she' had thought so often, what a frail, easily
She had been supposed to have rather a good figure, but now she' was out
Instead of ripening its firm, down~ running curves, her body was
Disappointed of its real womanhood, it had not succeeded in becoming
Her breasts were rather small, and dropping pear~ shaped. But they were
Her body was going meaningless, going dull and opaque, so much
She looked in the other mirror's reflection at her back, her waist, her
Still she' thought the most beautiful part of her was the long~ sloping
But the front of her body made her miserable. It was already beginning
She slipped into her nightdress, and went to bed, where she' sobbed
Unjust! Unjust! The sense of deep physical injustice burned to her very
But in the morning, all the same, she' was up at seven, and going
So she' hardly ever went away from Wragby, and never for more than a day
And yet, deep inside herself, a sense of injustice, of being defrauded,
And yet was he not in a way to blame? This lack of warmth, this lack of
But Clifford was not like that. His whole race was not like that. They
A sense of rebellion smouldered in Connie. What was the good of it all?
As between the two men, Michaelis really had far more use for her than
There were people staying in the house, among them Clifford's Aunt Eva,
She was kind to Connie, and tried to worm into her woman's soul with
'You're quite wonderful, in my opinion,' she' said to Connie. 'You've
'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 get
'Look at the way you are shut up here. I said to Clifford: If that
'But Clifford never denies me anything,' said Connie.
'Look here, my dear child'~ and Lady Bennerley laid her thin hand on
'But I do live my life, don't I?'
'Not in my idea! Clifford should bring you to London, and let you go
Her ladyship lapsed into contemplative silence, soothed by the brandy.
But Connie was not keen on going to London, and being steered into the
Tommy Dukes was at Wragby, and another man, Harry Winterslow, and Jack
Olive was reading a book about the future, when babies would be bred in
'Jolly good thing too!' she' said. 'Then a woman can live her own life.'
'How'd you like to be immunized?' Winterslow asked her, with an ugly
'I hope I am; naturally,' she' said. 'Anyhow the future's going to have
'Perhaps she''ll float off into space altogether,' said Dukes.
'I do think sufficient civilization ought to eliminate a lot of the
'No!' cried Olive. 'That might leave all the more room for fun.'
'I suppose,' said Lady Bennerley, contemplatively, 'if the
'The government releasing ether into the air on Saturdays, for a
'So long as you can forget your body you are happy,' said Lady
'Help us to get rid of our bodies altogether,' said Winterslow. 'It's
'Imagine if we floated like tobacco smoke,' said Connie.
'It won't happen,' said Dukes. 'Our old show will come flop; our
'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 the
'Connie says people like wisps of smoke, and Olive says immunized
'Oh, don't bother! let's get on with today,' said Olive. 'Only hurry up
'There might even be real men, in the next phase,' said Tommy. 'Real,
'Oh, when people begin to talk about real women, I give up,' said
'Certainly nothing but the spirit in us is worth having,' said
'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 a
Something echoed inside Connie: 'Give me the democracy of touch, the
Anyhow everything was terribly silly, and she' was exasperatedly bored
Then, when all the people went, it was no better. She continued
She needed help, and she' knew it: so she' wrote a little CRI DU COEUR to
Down posted Hilda from Scotland, where she' had taken up her abode. She
Connie had run out to the steps. Hilda pulled up her car, got out, and
'But Connie!' she' cried. 'Whatever is the matter?'
'Nothing!' said Connie, rather shamefacedly; but she' knew how she' had
'But you're ill, child!' said Hilda, in the soft, rather breathless
'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 and
'This wretched place!' she' said softly, looking at poor, old, lumbering
She went quietly in to Clifford. He thought how handsome she' looked,
He sat square and well~ groomed in his chair, his hair sleek and blond,
'Connie's looking awfully unwell,' she' said in her soft voice, fixing
'She's a little thinner,' he said.
'Haven't you done anything about it?'
'Do you think it necessary?' he asked, with his suavest English
Hilda only glowered at him without replying; repartee was not her
'I'll take her to a doctor,' said Hilda at length. 'Can you suggest a
'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 her
Clifford was yellow at the gills with anger, and at evening the whites
'You must have a nurse or somebody, to look after you personally. You
'You think so?' he said coldly.
'I'm sure! It's necessary. Either that, or Father and I must take
'What can't go on?'
'Haven't you looked at the child!' asked Hilda, gazing at him full
'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,
The two sisters drove off in the morning, Connie looking rather like an
The doctor examined Connie carefully, and asked her all about her life.
Hilda set her jaw, and that meant something.
Michaelis heard they were in town, and came running with roses. 'Why,
But Connie's heart simply stood still at the thought of abandoning
Michaelis was disgusted. Hilda didn't like Michaelis, but she' ALMOST
Hilda talked to Clifford, who still had yellow eyeballs when they got
'Here is the address of a good manservant, who was with an invalid
'But I'm NOT an invalid, and I will NOT have a manservant,' said
'And here are the addresses of two women; I saw one of them, she' would
Clifford only sulked, and would not answer.
'Very well, Clifford. If we don't settle something by to~ morrow, I
'Will Connie go?' asked Clifford.
'She doesn't want to, but she' knows she' must. Mother died of cancer,
So next day Clifford suggested Mrs Bolton, Tevershall parish nurse.
The two sisters at once called on Mrs Bolton, in a newish house in a
Mrs Bolton was most attentive and polite, seemed quite nice, spoke with
'Yes, Lady Chatterley's not looking at all well! Why, she' used to be
And Mrs Bolton would come to Wragby at once, if Dr Shardlow would let
Hilda posted off to Dr Shardlow, and on the following Sunday Mrs Bolton
Her husband, Ted Bolton, had been killed in the pit, twenty~ two years
Ted Bolton was twenty~ eight when he was killed in an explosion down
'Yes, the Company's been very good to ME, I always say it. But I should
It was a queer mixture of feelings the woman showed as she' talked. She
'Why, yes, of course, it would wear Lady Chatterley out! It's a mercy
This was a new voice in Wragby, very new for Connie to hear; it roused
For the first week or so, Mrs Bolton, however, was very quiet at
'She's a useful nonentity!' he said. Connie opened her eyes in wonder,
And he soon became rather superb, somewhat lordly with the nurse. She
She came very mute, with her long, handsome face, and downcast eyes, to
'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 was
Mrs Bolton helped Clifford to bed at night, and slept across the
Clifford, however, inside himself, never quite forgave Connie for
Now she' had more time to herself she' could softly play the piano, up in
It was as if thousands and thousands of little roots and threads of
But he still wanted the old intimate evenings of talk with Connie: talk
Mrs Bolton ate with Mrs Betts in the housekeeper's room, since they
And Connie felt herself released, in another world, she' felt she'
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Mrs Bolton also kept a cherishing eye on Connie, feeling she' must
It was a blowy day soon after Hilda had gone, that Mrs Bolton said:
Connie took it in good part, even daffs for daffodils. Wild daffodils!
And the keeper, his thin, white body, like a lonely pistil of an
She was stronger, she' could walk better, and in the wood the wind
Little gusts of sunshine blew, strangely bright, and lit up the
The roaring and swaying was overhead, only cold currents came down
Till she' came to the clearing, at the end of the wood, and saw the
She went quietly round to the back, where the bank rose up; she' had an
And they were there, the short~ stemmed flowers, rustling and fluttering
They shook their bright, sunny little rags in bouts of distress. But
Constance sat down with her back to a young pine~ tree, that swayed
The sunshine gave way to chill; the daffodils were in shadow, dipping
She rose, a little stiff, took a few daffodils, and went down. She
When she' got home Clifford asked her:
'Where did you go?'
'Right across the wood! Look, aren't the little daffodils adorable? To
'Just as much out of air and sunshine,' he said.
'But modelled in the earth,' she' retorted, with a prompt contradiction,
The next afternoon she' went to the wood again. She followed the broad
This place was a little sinister, cold, damp. Yet the well must have
She rose and went slowly towards home. As she' went she' heard a faint
She walked on, listening. And then she' noticed a narrow track between
She saw a secret little clearing, and a secret little hut made of
He straightened himself and saluted, watching her in silence, as she'
'I wondered what the hammering was,' she' said, feeling weak and
'Ah'm gettin' th' coops ready for th' young bods,' he said, in broad
She did not know what to say, and she' felt weak. 'I should like to sit
'Come and sit 'ere i' th' 'ut,' he said, going in front of her to the
'Am Ah t' light yer a little fire?' he asked, with the curious naiveté
'Oh, don't bother,' she' replied.
But he looked at her hands; they were rather blue. So he quickly took
'Sit 'ere then a bit, and warm yer,' he said.
She obeyed him. He had that curious kind of protective authority she'
The hut was quite cosy, panelled with unvarnished deal, having a little
She listened to the tapping of the man's hammer; it was not so happy.
Especially he did not want to come into contact with a woman again. He
Connie grew warm by the fire, which she' had made too big: then she' grew
Slender, quiet and quick, the man finished the coop he was making,
So Connie watched him fixedly. And the same solitary aloneness she' had
So she' sat in the doorway of the hut in a dream, utterly unaware of
Connie came to herself with sudden uneasiness. She rose. The afternoon
'It is so nice here, so restful,' she' said. 'I have never been here
'I think I shall come and sit here sometimes.
'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 here
'Not as Ah know on, ther' isna.'
He had lapsed into the vernacular. Connie hesitated; he was putting up
'Couldn't we get another key?' she' asked in her soft voice, that
'Another!' he said, glancing at her with a flash of anger, touched with
'Yes, a duplicate,' she' said, flush ing.
''Appen Sir Clifford 'ud know,' he said, putting her off.
'Yes!' she' said, 'he might have another. Otherwise we could have one
'Ah canna tell yer, m'Lady! Ah know nob'dy as ma'es keys round 'ere.'
Connie suddenly flush ed 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, and
But her heart sank, she' saw how utterly he disliked her, when she' went
'Afternoon, my Lady!' He saluted and turned abruptly away. She had
And she' was angry against the self~ willed male. A servant too! She
She found Mrs Bolton under the great beech~ tree on the knoll, looking
'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 Clifford
'I don't see why not,' said Connie.
She went indoors to Clifford's study, where the old brass kettle was
'Am I late, Clifford?' she' said, putting down the few flowers and
'I didn't think of it,' he said ironically. 'I don't quite see her
'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 still
She took off her scarf, but not her hat, and sat down to make tea. The
'They'll revive again!' she' said, putting them before him in their
'Sweeter than the lids of Juno's eyes,' he quoted.
'I don't see a bit of connexion with the actual violets,' she' said.
She poured him his tea.
'Do you think there is a second key to that little hut not far from
'There may be. Why?'
'I happened to find it today~ and I'd never seen it before. I think
'Was Mellors there?'
'Yes! That's how I found it: his hammering. He didn't seem to like my
'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 all
'Oh do!' she' said.
'So Mellors was almost rude?'
'Oh, nothing, really! But I don't think he wanted me to have the
'I don't suppose he did.'
'Still, I don't see why he should mind. It's not his home, after all!
'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 a
'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,
'Why didn't you tell me about him before?'
'Oh, I've no patience with these romances. They're the ruin of all
Connie was inclined to agree. What was the good of discontented people
In the spell of fine weather Clifford, too, decided to go to the wood.
'It's amazing,' said Connie, 'how different one feels when there's a
'Do you think people are doing it?' he asked.
'I do. The steam of so much boredom, and discontent and anger out of
'Perhaps some condition of the atmosphere lowers the vitality of the
'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,
He took them and looked at them curiously.
'Thou still unravished bride of quietness,' he quoted. 'It seems to fit
'Ravished is such a horrid word!' she' said. 'It's only people who
'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 were
The walk with Clifford was not quite a success. Between him and Connie
The weather came rainy again. But after a day or two she' went out in
She came to the clearing. No one there! The hut was locked. But she' sat
Some things can't be ravished. You can't ravish a tin of sardines. And
The rain was abating. It was hardly making darkness among the oaks any
Ravished! How ravished one could be without ever being touched.
A wet brown dog came running and did not bark, lifting a wet feather of
'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 quiet
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.
He watched her closely, as she' was moving away. Then he hitched up his
''Appen yer'd better 'ave this key, an' Ah min fend for t' bods some
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'
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
She became more angry.
'I didn't want your key,' she' said. 'I don't want you to clear anything
He looked at her again, with his wicked blue eyes.
'Why,' he began, in the broad slow dialect. 'Your Ladyship's as welcome
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 flush ed.
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 your
'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'
'But why?' she' said, angry. 'Aren't you a civilized human being? Do you
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,
'Nay, nay!' he said quickly. 'Dunna yer say that! Nay, nay! I niver
Connie went away completely bewildered. She was not sure whether she'
She went home in confusion, not knowing what she' thought or felt.
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Connie was surprised at her own feeling of aversion from Clifford. What
Now the mental excitement had worn itself out and collapsed, and she'
She felt weak and utterly forlorn. She wished some help would come from
And Clifford the same. All that talk! All that writing! All that wild
Connie felt washed~ out with fear. But at least, Clifford was shifting
Mrs Bolton was admirable in many ways. But she' had that queer sort of
Perhaps that had been his charm, too, for Connie.
'It's a lovely day, today!' Mrs Bolton would say in her caressive,
'Yes? Will you give me that book~ there, that yellow one. And I think
'Why they're so beautiful!' She pronounced it with the 'y' sound:
'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,
'Shall I shave you this morning, or would you rather do it yourself?'
'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,
When he rang, after a time, she' would appear at once. And then he would
'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. At
She was handsome too, pale, her face rather long and absolutely still,
She now did almost everything for him, and he felt more at home with
At first Mrs Bolton had thought there really was something different in
Connie was sometimes tempted to say to him:
'For God's sake, don't sink so horribly into the hands of that woman!'
It was still their habit to spend the evening together, till ten
For Connie had suggested to Mrs Bolton that she' should learn to use a
Now Connie would sometimes plead a headache as an excuse for going up
'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,
But no sooner had she' gone, than he rang for Mrs Bolton, and asked her
'You must say j'adoube!'
She looked up at him with bright, startled eyes, then murmured shyly,
Yes, he was educating her. And he enjoyed it, it gave him a sense of
To Connie, Clifford seemed to be coming out in his true colours: a
There was no mistake that the woman was in some way in love with him:
But no wonder Clifford was caught by the woman! She absolutely adored
Connie heard long conversations going on between the two. Or rather, it
Connie was fascinated, listening to her. But afterwards always a little
But the novel, like gossip, can also excite spurious sympathies and
For this reason, the gossip was humiliating. And for the same reason,
Nevertheless, one got a new vision of Tevershall village from Mrs
'I suppose you heard as Miss Allsopp was married last week! Would you
'Talk about morality! Nobody cares a thing. Folks does as they like,
'That's all they care about, clothes. They think nothing of giving
Clifford began to get a new idea of his own village. The place had
'Is there much Socialism, Bolshevism, among the people?' he asked.
'Oh!' said Mrs Bolton, 'you hear a few loud~ mouthed ones. But they're
'So you think there's no danger?'
'Oh no! Not if trade was good, there wouldn't be. But if things were
'But what do they do when they get there?'
'Oh, hang around~ and have tea in some fine tea~ place like the
'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 I
Connie thought, how extremely like all the rest of the classes the
Under Mrs Bolton's influence, Clifford began to take a new interest in
Tevershall pits were running thin. There were only two collieries:
'There's a lot of Tevershall men left and gone to Stacks Gate and
It was Mrs Bolton's talk that really put a new fight into Clifford. His
Now he realized the distinction between popular success and working
He realized now that the bitch~ goddess of Success had two main
Yes, there were two great groups of dogs wrangling for the
But under Mrs Bolton's influence, Clifford was tempted to enter this
In one way, Mrs Bolton made a man of him, as Connie never did. Connie
He even roused himself to go to the mines once more: and when he was
He began to read again his technical works on the coal~ mining industry,
But let that be. Let man slide down to general idiocy in the emotional
He went down to the pit day after day, he studied, he put the general
And he seemed verily to be re~ born. NOW life came into him! He had been
At first he thought the solution lay in electricity: convert the coal
The idea of a new concentrated fuel that burnt with a hard slowness at
And he felt triumphant. He had at last got out of himself. He had
He was not aware how much Mrs Bolton was behind him. He did not know
With Connie, he was a little stiff. He felt he owed her everything, and
Only when he was alone with Mrs Bolton did he really feel a lord and a
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Connie was a good deal alone now, fewer people came to Wragby. Clifford
And he would sit alone for hours listening to the loudspeaker bellowing
Was he really listening? Or was it a sort of soporific he took, whilst
But now that Clifford was drifting off to this other weirdness of
She was not even free, for Clifford must have her there. He seemed to
This amazing dependence Connie realized with a sort of horror. She
But this astute and practical man was almost an idiot when left alone
'Clifford,' she' said to him~ but this was after she' had the key to the
He looked at her with a furtive apprehension in his rather prominent
'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 affect
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 quite
Connie could only be silent in cold fear and contempt. Such talk was
'Oh, it wouldn't make any difference to my feeling for you,' she' said,
'There!' he said. 'That is the point! In that case I don't mind in the
Connie heard it all with deepening dismay and repulsion. It was one of
Moreover, in half an hour's time, Connie heard Clifford talking to Mrs
Connie really sometimes felt she' would die at this time. She felt she'
She fled as much as possible to the wood. One afternoon, as she' sat
'I got you a key made, my Lady!' he said, saluting, and he offered her
'Thank you so much!' she' said, startled.
'The hut's not very tidy, if you don't mind,' he said. 'I cleared it
'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. But
'But you wouldn't bother me,' she' pleaded. 'I'd rather not go to the
He looked at her with his keen blue eyes. He seemed kindly, but
'You have a cough,' she' said.
'Nothing~ a cold! The last pneumonia left me with a cough, but it's
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,
He had made the hut tidy, put the little table and chair near the
Then all the live coops were occupied by hens, three brown and a grey
Connie found corn in the corn~ bin in the hut. She offered it to the
Now she' came every day to the hens, they were the only things in the
Yet it was spring, and the bluebells were coming in the wood, and the
Then, one day, a lovely sunny day with great tufts of primroses under
Connie was fascinated. And at the same time, never had she' felt so
She had only one desire now, to go to the clearing in the wood. The
One evening, guests or no guests, she' escaped after tea. It was late,
She arrived at the clearing flush ed and semi~ conscious. The keeper was
'I had to come and see the chickens!' she' said, panting, glancing shyly
'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.
'I'd love to touch them,' she' said, putting her fingers gingerly
'How she' pecks at me! She hates me!' she' said in a wondering voice.
The man standing above her laughed, and crouched down beside her, knees
'There!' he said, holding out his hand to her. She took the little drab
The keeper, squatting beside her, was also watching with an amused face
And he stood up, and stood away, moving to the other coop. For suddenly
He turned again to look at her. She was kneeling and holding her two
Without knowing, he came quickly towards her and crouched beside her
He glanced apprehensively at her. Her face was averted, and she' was
'You shouldn't cry,' he said softly.
But then she' put her hands over her face and felt that really her heart
He laid his hand on her shoulder, and softly, gently, it began to
She had found her scrap of handkerchief and was blindly trying to dry
'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 led
His face was pale and without expression, like that of a man submitting
'You lie there,' he said softly, and he shut the door, so that it was
With a queer obedience, she' lay down on the blanket. Then she' felt the
She lay quite still, in a sort of sleep, in a sort of dream. Then she'
She lay still, in a kind of sleep, always in a kind of sleep. The
Then she' wondered, just dimly wondered, why? Why was this necessary?
Her tormented modern~ woman's brain still had no rest. Was it real? And
The man lay in a mysterious stillness. What was he feeling? What was he
She knew that, when at last he roused and drew away from her. It was
She saw a very brilliant little moon shining above the afterglow over
All the lower wood was in shadow, almost darkness. Yet the sky overhead
'Shall we go then?' he said.
'I'll go with you to the gate.'
He arranged things his own way. He locked the door of the hut and came
'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 the
'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 always
'And are you sorry?' she' said.
'In a way!' he replied, looking up at the sky. 'I thought I'd done with
'Life!' she' re~ echoed, with a queer thrill.
'It's life,' he said. 'There's no keeping clear. And if you do keep
She did not quite see it that way, but still 'It's just love,' she' said
'Whatever that may be,' he replied.
They went on through the darkening wood in silence, till they were
'But you don't hate me, do you?' she' said wistfully.
'Nay, nay,' he replied. And suddenly he held her fast against his
'Yes, for me too,' she' answered, a little untruthfully, for she' had not
He kissed her softly, softly, with the kisses of warmth.
'If only there weren't so many other people in the world,' he said
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 it
'Shall I come again?' she' asked wistfully.
She left him and went across the park.
He stood back and watched her going into the dark, against the pallor
He turned into the dark of the wood. All was still, the moon had set.
He went down again into the darkness and seclusion of the wood. But he
It was not woman's fault, nor even love's fault, nor the fault of sex.
He thought with infinite tenderness of the woman. Poor forlorn thing,
He went home with his gun and his dog, to the dark cottage, lit the
To tell the truth, he was sorry for what had happened, perhaps most for
The woman! If she' could be there with him, and there were nobody else
Stretching with the curious yawn of desire, for he had been alone and
Constance, for her part, had hurried across the park, home, almost
She was annoyed to find the doors fastened, however, so that she' had to
'Why there you are, your Ladyship! I was beginning to wonder if you'd
'It does rather,' said Connie.
'Shall I put dinner back a quarter of an hour? That would give you time
'Perhaps you'd better.'
Mr Linley was the general manager of the collieries, an elderly man
Linley stayed to dinner, and Connie was the hostess men liked so much,
She waited patiently till she' could go upstairs and think her own
Once in her room, however, she' felt still vague and confused. She
But perhaps that was better. And after all, he was kind to the female
She went to the wood next day. It was a grey, still afternoon, with the
She came to the clearing, but he was not there. She had only half
The time passed with dream~ like slowness, and he did not come. She had
As she' went home, a fine drizzle of rain fell.
'Is it raining again?' said Clifford, seeing her shake her hat.
She poured tea in silence, absorbed in a sort of obstinacy. She did
'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,' she'
'Just as you like. Not feeling really unwell, are you?'
'No! Only rather tired~ with the spring. Will you have Mrs Bolton to
'No! I think I'll listen in.'
She heard the curious satisfaction in his voice. She went upstairs to
The drizzle of rain was like a veil over the world, mysterious, hushed,
The wood was silent, still and secret in the evening drizzle of rain,
There was still no one at the clearing. The chicks had nearly all gone
So! He still had not been. He was staying away on purpose. Or perhaps
But she' was born to wait. She opened the hut with her key. It was all
She sat down on a stool in the doorway. How still everything was! The
Night was drawing near again; she' would have to go. He was avoiding
But suddenly he came striding into the clearing, in his black oilskin
At last he came slowly towards her. She still sat on her stool. He
'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?' he
'Why?' She looked up at him, at a loss. 'I said I'd come. Nobody
'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,' he
'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!
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'
'Well, I can go away.'
'Anywhere! I've got money of my own. My mother left me twenty thousand
'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, everybody
'I shouldn't. What do I care about my ladyship! I hate it really. I
For the first time he looked straight at her, and into her eyes. 'I
As he looked into her eyes she' saw his own eyes go dark, quite dark,
'Don't you care about a' the risk?' he asked in a husky voice. 'You
There was a curious warning pleading in his voice.
'But I've nothing to lose,' she' said fretfully. 'If you knew what it
'Ay!' he said briefly. 'I am. I'm afraid. I'm afraid. I'm afraid o'
'What things?' she' asked.
He gave a curious backward jerk of his head, indicating the outer
'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 if
'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 reached
'I brought another blanket,' he said, 'so we can put one over us if you
'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.
He put the blankets down carefully, one folded for her head. Then he
'Eh! what it is to touch thee!' he said, as his finger caressed the
And when he came into her, with an intensification of relief and
But she' lay still, without recoil. Even when he had finished, she' did
He lay still, too. But he held her close and tried to cover her poor
'Are yer cold?' he asked, in a soft, small voice, as if she' were close,
'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 of
'Tha mun come ter th' cottage one time,' he said, looking down at her
But she' lay there inert, and was gazing up at him thinking: Stranger!
He put on his coat and looked for his hat, which had fallen, then he
'Come then!' he said, looking down at her with those warm, peaceful
She rose slowly. She didn't want to go. She also rather resented
Then he opened the door. The outside was quite dark. The faithful dog
'Ah mun ta'e th' lantern,' he said. 'The'll be nob'dy.'
He walked just before her in the narrow path, swinging the hurricane
'Tha mun come to the cottage one time,' he said, 'shall ta? We might as
It puzzled her, his queer, persistent wanting her, when there was
'It's quarter past seven,' he said, 'you'll do it.' He had changed his
But it was difficult, the earth under their feet was a mystery, but he
It was true, there seemed a ghost~ glimmer of greyness in the open space
'I could die for the touch of a woman like thee,' he said in his
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:
He bent over her indistinguishable and kissed her on the left eye. She
'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' could
'Goodnight,' she' said.
'Goodnight, your Ladyship,' his voice.
She stopped and looked back into the wet dark. She could just see the
'Nay,' he replied. 'Goodnight then, run!'
She plunged on in the dark~ grey tangible night. She found the side~ door
The next day she' did not go to the wood. She went instead with Clifford
Connie wondered what he would say if he knew that Clifford's
But Connie was preoccupied with her affair with the keeper. After all,
She did not go to the wood that day nor the next, nor the day
'Bell!' she' said to the big white bull~ terrier. 'Bell! have you
Mrs Flint appeared. She was a woman of Constance's own age, had been a
'Why, it's Lady Chatterley! Why!' And Mrs Flint's eyes glowed again,
'She used to know me,' said Connie, shaking hands. The Flints were
'Of course she' knows your Ladyship! She's just showing off,' said Mrs
'Yes thanks, I'm all right.'
'We've hardly seen you all winter. Will you come in and look at the
'Well!' Connie hesitated. 'Just for a minute.'
Mrs Flint flew wildly in to tidy up, and Connie came slowly after her,
'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 rag
The baby was a perky little thing of about a year, with red hair like
'Why, what a dear she' is!' said Connie, 'and how she''s grown! A big
She had given it a shawl when it was born, and celluloid ducks for
'There, Josephine! Who's that come to see you? Who's this, Josephine?
The queer pert little mite gazed cheekily at Connie. Ladyships were
'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 and
'I was just having a rough cup of tea all by myself. Luke's gone to
Connie would, though she' didn't want to be reminded of what she' was
'If only you wouldn't take any trouble,' said Connie.
But if Mrs Flint took no trouble, where was the fun! So Connie played
She had a cup of tea, which was rather strong, and very good bread and
'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 be
'He'll never think you're here,' laughed Mrs Flint excitedly. 'He'll be
'Goodbye, Josephine,' said Connie, kissing the baby and ruffling its
Mrs Flint insisted on opening the locked and barred front door. Connie
'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 up
'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 in
'They're late, milking, tonight,' said Mrs Flint severely. 'They know
They came to the fence, beyond which the young fir~ wood bristled dense.
'There's the keeper's empty bottle for his milk,' explained Mrs Flint.
'When?' said Connie.
'Oh, any time he's around. Often in the morning. Well, goodbye Lady
Connie climbed the fence into the narrow path between the dense,
She started out of her muse, and gave a little cry of fear. A man was
It was the keeper. He stood in the path like Balaam's ass, barring her
'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 little
'And were you going to the hut now?' he asked rather sternly.
'No! I mustn't. I stayed at Marehay. No one knows where I am.
'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 arms
'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! I
He held her fast and she' felt his urgency. Her old instinct was to
He looked around.
'Come~ come here! Through here,' he said, looking penetratingly into
He looked back at her. She saw his eyes, tense and brilliant, fierce,
He led her through the wall of prickly trees, that were difficult to
He too had bared the front part of his body and she' felt his naked
But he drew away at last, and kissed her and covered her over, and
She turned and looked at him. 'We came off together that time,' he
She did not answer.
'It's good when it's like that. Most folks live their lives through and
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.' He
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.' He
'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 tell
He put on his waistcoat and his coat, and pushed a way through to the
The last level rays of the sun touched the wood. 'I won't come with
She looked at him wistfully before she' turned. His dog was waiting so
Connie went slowly home, realizing the depth of the other thing in her.
'If I had a child!' she' thought to herself; 'if I had him inside me as
It was not the passion that was new to her, it was the yearning
Ah yes, to be passionate sexy like a Bacchante, like a Bacchanal fleeing
So, in the flux of new awakening, the old hard passion flamed in her
It was so fathomless, so soft, so deep and so unknown. No, no, she'
'I walked over by Marehay, and I had tea with Mrs Flint,' she' said to
'Well, I wondered, but I guessed you had dropped in somewhere to tea,'
'I saw you go across the park to the iron gate, my Lady,' said Mrs
'I nearly did, then I turned towards Marehay instead.'
The eyes of the two women met: Mrs Bolton's grey and bright and
'Oh, it's so good for you, if you go out and see a bit of company
'Yes, I'm glad I went, and such a quaint dear cheeky baby, Clifford,'
'You're right, my Lady~ a regular little Flint. They were always a
'Wouldn't you like to see it, Clifford? I've asked them to tea for you
'Who?' he asked, looking at Connie in great uneasiness.
'Mrs Flint and the 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 with
'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 Flint
She was sure Connie had a lover, and something in her soul exulted. But
Connie would not take her bath this evening. The sense of his flesh
Clifford was very uneasy. He would not let her go after dinner, and she'
'Shall we play a game, or shall I read to you, or what shall it be?' he
'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 real
Inside herself she' could feel the humming of passion, like the
Clifford said something to her about the Racine. She caught the sense
'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 her
She was gone in her own soft rapture, like a forest soughing with the
'For hands she' hath none, nor eyes, nor feet, nor golden Treasure of
She was like a forest, like the dark interlacing of the oakwood,
But Clifford's voice went on, clapping and gurgling with unusual
The reading finished. She was startled. She looked up, and was more
'Thank you SO much! You do read Racine beautifully!' she' said softly.
'Almost as beautifully as you listen to him,' he said cruelly. 'What
'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 wants
She watched him with wide, vague, veiled eyes. 'Yes, I'm sure they
'The modern world has only vulgarized emotion by letting it loose. What
'Yes,' she' said slowly, thinking of him listening with vacant face to
'Exactly!' he said.
As a matter of fact, he was tired. This evening had tired him. He would
Mrs Bolton came in with two glasses of malted milk: for Clifford, to
Connie was glad to go, when she' had drunk her glass, and thankful she'
'Goodnight Clifford! DO sleep well! The Racine gets into one like a
She had drifted to the door. She was going without kissing him
And again the dread of the night came on him. He was a network of
Now it was a baby she' was obsessed by. Just so that it should be her
Clifford was so healthy, considering. He looked so well and ruddy in
So his rather prominent pale eyes had a queer look, furtive, and yet a
But his dread was the nights when he could not sleep. Then it was awful
But now he could ring for Mrs Bolton. And she' would always come. That
And this night she' was wondering who Lady Chatterley's lover was. And
In her half~ sleep, thoughts of her Ted and thoughts of Lady
When they played cards, they always gambled. It made him forget
Connie was in bed, and fast asleep all this time. But the keeper, too,
He thought of his boyhood in Tevershall, and of his five or six years
He thought of his life abroad, as a soldier. India, Egypt, then India
He was temporizing with life. He had thought he would be safe, at least
He did not know what to do with himself. Since he had been an officer
So, he had come back to his own class. To find there, what he had
And again, there was the wage~ squabble. Having lived among the owning
Yet, if you were poor and wretched you HAD to care. Anyhow, it was
And what then? What did life offer apart from the care of money?
Yet he could live alone, in the wan satisfaction of being alone, and
But why care, why bother? And he had not cared nor bothered till now,
And what then? What then? Must he start again, with nothing to start
But even if they got clear of Sir Clifford and of his own wife, even if
It was the insoluble. He could only think of going to America, to try a
He could not rest nor even go to bed. After sitting in a stupor of
'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,
But when he had done his slow, cautious beating of his bounds~ it was
It was cold, and he was coughing. A fine cold draught blew over the
He went to the hut, and wrapped himself in the blanket and lay on the
He got up again and went out, towards the park gates this time: then
Slowly, slowly the great house drew him, as a magnet. He wanted to be
He slowly, silently climbed the incline to the hall. Then he came round
There was the house, low and long and obscure, with one light burning
He went a little nearer, gun in hand, and stood motionless on the
He stood motionless, waiting, while the dawn faintly and imperceptibly
She stood blind with sleep at the window, waiting. And as she' stood,
The daylight began to rustle into the world, and the dark figure seemed
And what did the man want? Did he want to rouse the house? What was he
Goodness! The knowledge went through Mrs Bolton like a shot. He was
To think of it! Why, she', Ivy Bolton, had once been a tiny bit in love
But he'd been a nice lad, a nice lad, had helped her a lot, so clever
Till he'd gone and married that Bertha Coutts, as if to spite himself.
Well, well! So her ladyship had fallen for him! Well her ladyship
But he, the keeper, as the day grew, had realized: it's no good! It's
With a sudden snap the bleeding desire that had drawn him after her
He turned slowly, ponderingly, accepting again the isolation. He knew
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 the
And she' glanced triumphantly at the already sleeping Clifford, as she'
|Femme Classic Art||Femme Classic Art|
|Lady Chatterly's Lover D H Lawrence||
Connie was sorting out one of the Wragby lumber rooms. There were
So in the lumber room there were bad Sir Edwin Landseers and pathetic
Wrapped up carefully to preserve it from damage and dry~ rot was the old
'It's thousand pities it won't be called for,' sighed Mrs Bolton, who
'It might be called for. I might have a child,' said Connie casually,
'You mean if anything happened to Sir Clifford!' stammered Mrs Bolton.
'No! I mean as things are. It's only muscular paralysis with Sir
Clifford had put the idea into her head. He had said: 'Of course I may
He really felt, when he had his periods of energy and worked so hard at
Mrs Bolton was for a moment breathless, flabbergasted. Then she' didn't
'Well, my Lady, I only hope and pray you may. It would be lovely for
'Wouldn't it!' said Connie.
And she' chose three R. A. pictures of sixty years ago, to send to the
But oh my dear! Mrs Bolton was thinking to herself. Is it Oliver
Among other monstrosities in this lumber room was a largish
The thing was wonderfully made and contrived, excellent craftsmanship
Yet Mrs Bolton was thrilled.
'Look what beautiful brushes, so expensive, even the shaving brushes,
'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,
'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 her
Mr Betts drove her in the trap to her house in the village, with the
'Wonders'll never cease!' said Mrs Weedon.
But Mrs Bolton was CONVINCED, if it did come, it would be Sir
Not long after, the rector said gently to Clifford:
'And may we really hope for an heir to Wragby? Ah, that would be the
'Well! We may HOPE,' said Clifford, with a faint irony, and at the same
Then one afternoon came Leslie Winter, Squire Winter, as everybody
They discussed the collieries. Clifford's idea was, that his coal, even
'But where will you find the proper engines for burning your fuel?'
'I'll make them myself. And I'll use my fuel myself. And I'll sell
'If you can do it, then splendid, splendid, my dear boy. Haw! Splendid!
'Is there a rumour?' asked Clifford.
'Well, my dear boy, Marshall from Fillingwood asked me, that's all I
'Well, Sir,' said Clifford uneasily, but with strange bright eyes.
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 hear
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 are
Connie felt dim with terror, yet she' stood quite still, touching the
'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 know
'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 flowers
'Do you mind if I go?' she' said. 'You know it was promised, for this
'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 could
'I should want to come back,' she' said, with a quiet simplicity, heavy
Clifford felt her conviction, and somehow he believed her, he believed
'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 one
She said it sincerely. She would so love to make him happy, in these
'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 been
'We should need to take two men.'
'Oh no! We'd manage with Field. There would always be another man
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? She
It was already May, and in June they were supposed to start. Always
It was May, but cold and wet again. A cold wet May, good for corn and
In spite of May and a new greenness, the country was dismal. It was
The car ploughed uphill through the long squalid straggle of
A coal~ cart was coming downhill, clanking in the rain. Field started
The church was away to the left among black trees. The car slid on
Tevershall! That was Tevershall! Merrie England! Shakespeare's England!
She felt again in a wave of terror the grey, gritty hopelessness of it
Yet Mellors had come out of all this!~ Yes, but he was as apart from it
The car was rising towards Stacks Gate. The rain was holding off, and
As she' rose on to the high country, she' could see on her left, on a
A turn, and they ran on the high level to Stacks Gate. Stacks Gate, as
This was Stacks Gate, new on the face of the earth, since the war. But
But that didn't count any more. The vast plumes of smoke and vapour
Even since Connie's arrival at Wragby this new place had arisen on the
The car ran on along the uplands, seeing the rolling county spread out.
That was the past. The present lay below. God alone knows where the
The miners' cottages, blackened, stood flush on the pavement, with that
Yet again, once you had got right down and into the twisted and crooked
But at the corner a policeman held up his hand as three lorries loaded
So it was. Upon the old crooked burgess streets hordes of oldish
England, my England! But which is MY England? The stately homes of
'Now they are pulling down the stately homes, the Georgian halls are
This is history. One England blots out another. The mines had made the
Connie, belonging to the leisured classes, had clung to the remnants of
Connie called for a moment at Shipley. The park gates, at the back,
The car passed the ornamental ponds, in which the colliers threw their
Connie liked the interior much better than Wragby. It was much lighter,
But Leslie Winter was alone. He had adored his house. But his park was
But that was in the golden~ monetarily~ latter half of Queen Victoria's
Winter had made this speech, half apologetic, to his guest, the then
'You are quite right. If there were coal under Sandringham, I would
But then, the Prince had perhaps an exaggerated idea of the beauty of
However, the Prince had been a King, and the King had died, and now
And the good working men were somehow hemming Shipley in. New mining
Squire Winter, a soldier, had stood it out. But he no longer cared to
And somewhere, in his secret English heart, being a good deal of a
Except by death. Which came on him soon after Connie's call, suddenly.
The heirs at once gave out the order for the demolishing of Shipley. It
Within a year of Connie's last call, it had happened. There stood
But this is a later stage of King Edward's landscape gardening, the
One England blots out another. The England of the Squire Winters and
What would come after? Connie could not imagine. She could only see the
Connie always felt there was no next. She wanted to hide her head in
The world was so complicated and weird and gruesome! The common people
Children from such men! Oh God, oh God!
Yet Mellors had come from such a father. Not quite. Forty years had
Incarnate ugliness, and yet alive! What would become of them all?
Connie was glad to be home, to bury her head in the sand. She was glad
'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 a
'Did she' ask after me?' said Clifford.
'Of course!~ MAY I ask your Ladyship how Sir Clifford is!~ I believe
'And I suppose you said I was blooming.'
'Yes! And she' looked as rapt as if I had said the heavens had opened to
'Me! Whatever for! See me!'
'Why yes, Clifford. You can't be so adored without making some slight
'And do you think she''ll come?'
'Oh, she' blush ed! and looked quite beautiful for a moment, poor thing!
'The women start adoring too late. But did she' say she''d come?'
'Oh!' Connie imitated the breathless Miss Bentley, 'your Ladyship, if
'Dare to presume! how absurd! But I hope to God she' won't turn up. And
'Oh, Lipton's and VERY strong. But Clifford, do you realize you are the
'I'm not flattered, even then.'
'They treasure up every one of your pictures in the illustrated papers,
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 chain
He looked at her, annoyed.
'What I mean,' he said, 'is that if you go to Venice, you won't go in
'A love affair in Venice AU GRAND SERIEUX? No. I assure you! No, I'd
She spoke with a queer kind of contempt. He knitted his brows, looking
Coming downstairs in the morning, she' found the keeper's dog Flossie
'Why, Flossie!' she' said softly. 'What are you doing here?'
And she' quietly opened Clifford's door. Clifford was sitting up in bed,
'Oh, good morning, Clifford!' Connie said. 'I didn't know you were
'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 the
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 Mrs
'It is many years since you lost your husband?' she' said to Mrs Bolton
'Twenty~ three!' said Mrs Bolton, as she' carefully separated the young
Connie's heart gave a lurch, at the terrible finality of it. 'Brought
'Why did he get killed, do you think?' she' asked. 'He was happy with
It was a woman's question to a woman. Mrs Bolton put aside a strand of
'I don't know, my Lady! He sort of wouldn't give in to things: he
'Did he say he hated it?'
'Oh no! Never! He never said he hated anything. He just made a funny
'Did he mind so much?' said Connie in wonder.
'Yes, he sort of couldn't take it for natural, all that pain. And it
'Perhaps he was too sensitive,' said Connie.
'That's it! When you come to know men, that's how they are: too
She wept a few bitter tears, and Connie wept more. It was a warm spring
'It must have been terrible for you!' said Connie.
'Oh, my Lady! I never realized at first. I could only say: Oh my lad,
'But he DIDN'T want to leave you,' said Connie.
'Oh no, my Lady! That was only my silly cry. And I kept expecting him
'The touch of him,' said Connie.
'That's it, my Lady, the touch of him! I've never got over it to this
Connie glanced at the handsome, brooding face in fear. Another
'It's terrible, once you've got a man into your blood!' she' said. 'Oh,
'If they're physically together,' said Connie.
'That's right, my Lady! There's a lot of hard~ hearted folks in the
A queer hate flared in the woman.
'But can a touch last so long?' Connie asked suddenly. 'That you could
'Oh my Lady, what else is there to last? Children grows away from you.
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Connie went to the wood directly after lunch. It was really a lovely
The keeper was not at the hut. Everything was serene, brown chickens
The cottage stood in the sun, off the wood's edge. In the little garden
The wide~ open door! so he was at home. And the sunlight falling on the
He rose, and came to the door, wiping his mouth with a red handkerchief
'May I come in?' she' said.
The sun shone into the bare room, which still smelled of a mutton chop,
On the table was his plate, with potatoes and the remains of the chop;
'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 not
'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'
'If you'll let me make it myself,' she' said, rising. He seemed sad, and
'Well, tea~ pot's in there'~ he pointed to a little, drab corner
She got the black tea~ pot, and the tin of tea from the mantel~ shelf.
'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. How
'But it's lovely here,' she' said. 'Such a beautiful stillness,
He was eating again, rather slowly and unwillingly, and she' could feel
She set the two cups on the table; there were only two. 'Will you have
'If you like. Sugar's in th' cupboard, an' there's a little cream jug.
'Shall I take your plate away?' she' asked him. He looked up at her with
'Why.if you like,' he said, slowly eating bread and cheese. She went
'How do you get your milk?' she' asked him, when she' came back to the
'Flints! They leave me a bottle at the warren end. You know, where I
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 keenly
''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 the
'Flossie!' he said to the dog, who was lying on a little mat at the
He lifted his finger, and his 'hark!' was very vivid. The dog trotted
'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 I
He spoke cold, good English, and there was anger in his voice. 'Do you
'Being a game~ keeper, no! So long as I'm left alone. But when I have to
'Couldn't you be really independent?' she' asked.
'Me? I suppose I could, if you mean manage to exist on my pension. I
He laughed at her again, with mocking humour.
'But why are you in a bad temper?' she' asked. 'Do you mean you are
'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, and
'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 he
'Forget?' he said. 'You know nobody forgets. It's not a question of
She wanted to say: 'When then?' but she' didn't. Instead, she' said in a
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 be
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 you
'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,
'You've not taken any precautions against having a child then?' he
'No,' she' said faintly. 'I should hate that.'
He looked at her, then again with the peculiar subtle grin out of the
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 rather bitingly.
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 the
'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,
He looked at her with queer darkened eyes.
'Would you like to go upstairs now?' he asked her, in a strangled sort
'No, not here. Not now!' she' said heavily, though if he had used any
He turned his face away again, and seemed to forget her. 'I want to
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 without
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 said
'Thank you for the tea,' she' said.
'I haven't thanked your Ladyship for doing me the honours of my
She went down the path, and he stood in the doorway, faintly grinning.
She walked home very much downcast and annoyed. She didn't at all like
She passed a very uneasy and irritated tea~ time, and at once went up to
She slipped out of the side door, and took her way direct and a little
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 her
'Do you let the hens out now?' she' asked.
'Yes, they've sat themselves to skin and bone,' he said. 'An' now
The poor mother~ hens; such blind devotion! even to eggs not their own!
'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 shut
'Have you left your underthings off?' he asked her.
'Ay, well, then I'll take my things off too.'
He spread the blankets, putting one at the side for a coverlet. She
'Lie down then!' he said, when he stood in his shirt. She obeyed in
'There!' he said.
And he lifted her dress right back, till he came even to her breasts.
'Eh, but tha'rt nice, tha'rt nice!' he said, suddenly rubbing his face
And she' put her arms round him under his shirt, but she' was afraid,
And when he said, with a sort of little sigh: 'Eh, tha'rt nice!'
Cold and derisive her queer female mind stood apart, and though she' lay
And yet when he had finished, soon over, and lay very very still,
And in real grief, tormented by her own double consciousness and
'Ay!' he said. 'It was no good that time. You wasn't there.'~ So he
'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 heart
'Canna ter? Well, dunna fret! There's no law says as tha's got to. Ta'e
He still lay with his hand on her breast. But she' had drawn both her
His words were small comfort. She sobbed aloud.
'Nay, nay!' he said. 'Ta'e the thick wi' th' thin. This wor a bit o'
She wept bitterly, sobbing. 'But I want to love you, and I can't. It
He laughed a little, half bitter, half amused.
'It isna horrid,' he said, 'even if tha thinks it is. An' tha canna
He took his hand away from her breast, not touching her. And now she'
Yet, as he was drawing away, to rise silently and leave her, she' clung
'Don't! Don't go! Don't leave me! Don't be cross with me! Hold me! Hold
He took her in his arms again and drew her to him, and suddenly she'
She quivered again at the potent inexorable entry inside her, so
And it seemed she' was like the sea, nothing but dark waves rising and
Ah, too lovely, too lovely! In the ebbing she' realized all the
And only now she' became aware of the small, bud~ like reticence and
'It was so lovely!' she' moaned. 'It was so lovely!' But he said
And now in her heart the queer wonder of him was awakened.
A man! The strange potency of manhood upon her! Her hands strayed over
She clung to him, with a hiss of wonder that was almost awe, terror. He
And this time his being within her was all soft and iridescent, purely
When awareness of the outside began to come back, she' clung to his
But his silence was fathomless. His hands held her like flowers, so
'Where are you?' she' whispered to him. 'Where are you? Speak 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. In
'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. And
'You do love me!' she' whispered, assertive. And his hands stroked her
'Say you'll always love me!' she' pleaded.
'Ay!' he said, abstractedly. And she' felt her questions driving him
'Mustn't we get up?' he said at last.
'No!' she' said.
But she' could feel his consciousness straying, listening to the noises
'It'll be nearly dark,' he said. And she' heard the pressure of
He rose, and turned up the lantern, then began to pull on his clothes,
'I love thee that I can 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 tha
He bent down and kissed her soft flank, rubbed his cheek against it,
'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 who
'No, don't say those things!~ And you don't really think that I wanted
'To have a child~ ?'
'Now anybody can 'ave any childt i' th' world,' he said, as he sat down
'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, with
When he came back she' was still lying there, glowing like a gipsy. He
'Tha mun come one naight ter th' cottage, afore tha goos; sholl ter?'
'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.
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