|Table of Contents|
and Lovers, by D. H. Lawrence
after Paul had been to the theatre with Clara, he was drinking in the Punch
Bowl with some friends of his when Dawes came in. Clara's husband was growing stout; his eyelids were getting
slack over his brown eyes; he was losing his healthy firmness of flesh.
He was very evidently on the downward track.
Having quarrelled with his sister, he had gone into cheap lodgings.
His mistress had left him for a man who would marry her.
He had been in prison one night for fighting when he was drunk, and
there was a shady betting episode in which he was concerned.
and he were confirmed enemies, and yet there was between them that peculiar
feeling of intimacy, as if they were secretly near to each other, which
sometimes exists between two people, although they never speak to one
another. Paul often thought of
Baxter Dawes, often wanted to get at him and be friends with him.
He knew that Dawes often thought about him, and that the man was
drawn to him by some bond or other. And
yet the two never looked at each other save in hostility.
he was a superior employee at Jordan's, it was the thing for Paul to offer
Dawes a drink.
you have?" he asked of him.
wi' a bleeder like you!" replied the man.
turned away with a slight disdainful movement of the shoulders, very
aristocracy," he continued, "is really a military institution.
Take Germany, now. She's got thousands of aristocrats whose only means of
existence is the army. They're
deadly poor, and life's deadly slow. So
they hope for a war. They look
for war as a chance of getting on. Till
there's a war they are idle good-for-nothings. When there's a war, they are
leaders and commanders. There
you are, then--they WANT war!"
was not a favourite debater in the public-house, being too quick and
overbearing. He irritated the
older men by his assertive manner, and his cocksureness.
They listened in silence, and were not sorry when he finished.
interrupted the young man's flow of eloquence by asking, in a loud sneer:
you learn all that at th' theatre th' other night?"
looked at him; their eyes met. Then
he knew Dawes had seen him coming out of the theatre with Clara.
what about th' theatre?" asked one of Paul's associates, glad to get a
dig at the young fellow, and sniffing something tasty.
him in a bob-tailed evening suit, on the lardy-da!" sneered Dawes,
jerking his head contemptuously at Paul.
comin' it strong," said the mutual friend. "Tart an' all?"
begod!" said Dawes.
on; let's have it!" cried the mutual friend.
got it," said Dawes, "an' I reckon Morelly had it an' all."
I'll be jiggered!" said the mutual friend. "An' was it a proper tart?"
do you know?"
said Dawes, "I reckon he spent th' night---"
was a good deal of laughter at Paul's expense.
who WAS she? D'you know
her?" asked the mutual friend.
should SHAY SHO," said Dawes.
brought another burst of laughter.
spit it out," said the mutual friend.
shook his head, and took a gulp of beer.
a wonder he hasn't let on himself," he said. "He'll be braggin' of it in a bit."
on, Paul," said the friend; "it's no good. You might just as well own up."
up what? That I happened to
take a friend to the theatre?"
well, if it was all right, tell us who she was, lad," said the friend.
WAS all right," said Dawes.
was furious. Dawes wiped his
golden moustache with his fingers, sneering.
me---! One o' that sort?"
said the mutual friend. "Paul,
boy, I'm surprised at you. And
do you know her, Baxter?"
a bit, like!"
winked at the other men.
well," said Paul, "I'll be going!"
mutual friend laid a detaining hand on his shoulder.
he said, "you don't get off as easy as that, my lad.
We've got to have a full account of this business."
get it from Dawes!" he said.
shouldn't funk your own deeds, man," remonstrated the friend.
Dawes made a remark which caused Paul to throw half a glass of beer in his
Mr. Morel!" cried the barmaid, and she rang the bell for the
spat and rushed for the young man. At
that minute a brawny fellow with his shirt-sleeves rolled up and his
trousers tight over his haunches intervened.
then!" he said, pushing his chest in front of Dawes.
out!" cried Dawes.
was leaning, white and quivering, against the brass rail of the bar.
He hated Dawes, wished something could exterminate him at that
minute; and at the same time, seeing the wet hair on the man's forehead, he
thought he looked pathetic. He did not move.
out, you ---," said Dawes.
enough, Dawes," cried the barmaid.
on," said the "chucker-out", with kindly insistence,
"you'd better be getting on."
by making Dawes edge away from his own close proximity, he worked him to the
the little sod as started it!" cried Dawes, half-cowed, pointing to
what a story, Mr. Dawes!" said the barmaid. "You know it was you all the time."
the "chucker-out" kept thrusting his chest forward at him, still
he kept edging back, until he was in the doorway and on the steps outside;
then he turned round.
right," he said, nodding straight at his rival.
had a curious sensation of pity, almost of affection, mingled with violent
hate, for the man. The coloured
door swung to; there was silence in the bar.
him, jolly well right!" said the barmaid.
it's a nasty thing to get a glass of beer in your eyes," said the
tell you I was glad he did," said the barmaid. "Will you have another, Mr. Morel?"
held up Paul's glass questioningly. He
a man as doesn't care for anything, is Baxter Dawes," said one.
is he?" said the barmaid. "He's
a loud-mouthed one, he is, and they're never much good.
Give me a pleasant-spoken chap, if you want a devil!"
Paul, my lad," said the friend, "you'll have to take care of
yourself now for a while."
won't have to give him a chance over you, that's all," said the
you box?" asked a friend.
a bit," he answered, still very white.
might give you a turn or two," said the friend.
I haven't time."
presently he took his departure.
along with him, Mr. Jenkinson," whispered the barmaid, tipping Mr.
Jenkinson the wink.
man nodded, took his hat, said: "Good-night
all!" very heartily, and followed Paul, calling:
a minute, old man. You an' me's
going the same road, I believe."
Morel doesn't like it," said the barmaid.
"You'll see, we shan't have him in much more.
I'm sorry; he's good company. And
Baxter Dawes wants locking up, that's what he wants."
would have died rather than his mother should get to know of this affair.
He suffered tortures of humiliation and self-consciousness.
There was now a good deal of his life of which necessarily he could
not speak to his mother. He had
a life apart from her--his sexual life.
The rest she still kept. But
he felt he had to conceal something from her, and it irked him.
There was a certain silence between them, and he felt he had, in that
silence, to defend himself against her; he felt condemned by her.
Then sometimes he hated her, and pulled at her bondage.
His life wanted to free itself of her.
It was like a circle where life turned back on itself, and got no
farther. She bore him, loved
him, kept him, and his love turned back into her, so that he could not be
free to go forward with his own life, really love another woman.
At this period, unknowingly, he resisted his mother's influence.
He did not tell her things; there was a distance between them.
was happy, almost sure of him. She
felt she had at last got him for herself; and then again came the
uncertainty. He told her
jestingly of the affair with her husband.
Her colour came up, her grey eyes flashed.
him to a 'T'," she cried--"like a navvy! He's not fit for mixing with decent folk."
you married him," he said.
made her furious that he reminded her.
did!" she cried. "But
how was I to know?"
think he might have been rather nice," he said.
think I made him what he is!" she exclaimed.
no! he made himself. But
there's something about him---"
looked at her lover closely. There
was something in him she hated, a sort of detached criticism of herself, a
coldness which made her woman's soul harden against him.
what are you going to do?" she asked.
nothing to do, is there?" he replied.
can fight him if you have to, I suppose?" she said.
I haven't the least sense of the 'fist'.
It's funny. With most
men there's the instinct to clench the fist and hit. It's not so with me. I
should want a knife or a pistol or something to fight with."
you'd better carry something," she said.
he laughed; "I'm not daggeroso."
he'll do something to you. You
don't know him."
right," he said, "we'll see."
"And you'll let him?"
if I can't help it."
if he kills you?" she said.
should be sorry, for his sake and mine."
was silent for a moment.
DO make me angry!" she exclaimed.
nothing afresh," he laughed.
why are you so silly? You don't
but you're not going to let a man do as he likes with you?"
must I do?" he replied, laughing.
should carry a revolver," she said.
"I'm sure he's dangerous."
might blow my fingers off," he said.
but won't you?" she pleaded.
you'll leave him to---?"
are a fool!"
set her teeth with anger.
could SHAKE you!" she cried, trembling with passion.
a man like HIM do as he likes with you."
can go back to him if he triumphs," he said.
you want me to hate you?" she asked.
I only tell you," he said.
YOU say you LOVE me!" she exclaimed, low and indignant.
I to slay him to please you?" he said.
"But if I did, see what a hold he'd have over me."
you think I'm a fool!" she exclaimed.
at all. But you don't
understand me, my dear."
was a pause between them.
you ought NOT to expose yourself," she pleaded.
shrugged his shoulders.
"'The man in righteousness arrayed,
The pure and blameless liver,
Needs not the keen Toledo blade,
Nor venom-freighted quiver,'"
looked at him searchingly.
wish I could understand you," she said.
simply nothing to understand," he laughed.
bowed her head, brooding.
did not see Dawes for several days; then one morning as he ran upstairs from
the Spiral room he almost collided with the burly metal-worker.
the---!" cried the smith.
said Paul, and passed on.
whistled lightly, "Put Me among the Girls".
stop your whistle, my jockey!" he said.
other took no notice.
goin' to answer for that job of the other night."
went to his desk in his corner, and turned over the leaves of the ledger.
and tell Fanny I want order 097, quick!" he said to his boy.
stood in the doorway, tall and threatening, looking at the top of the young
and five's eleven and seven's one-and-six," Paul added aloud.
you hear, do you!" said Dawes.
AND NINEPENCE!" He wrote a
that?" he said.
going to show you what it is," said the smith.
other went on adding the figures aloud.
crawlin' little ---, yer daresn't face me proper!"
quickly snatched the heavy ruler. Dawes
started. The young man ruled
some lines in his ledger. The
elder man was infuriated.
wait till I light on you, no matter where it is, I'll settle your hash for a
bit, yer little swine!"
right," said Paul.
that the smith started heavily from the doorway. Just then a whistle piped shrilly. Paul went to the speaking-tube.
he said, and he listened. "Er--yes!"
He listened, then he laughed. "I'll
come down directly. I've got a
visitor just now."
knew from his tone that he had been speaking to Clara.
He stepped forward.
little devil!" he said. "I'll
visitor you, inside of two minutes! Think
I'm goin' to have YOU whipperty-snappin' round?"
other clerks in the warehouse looked up.
Paul's office-boy appeared, holding some white article.
says you could have had it last night if you'd let her know," he said.
right," answered Paul, looking at the stocking. "Get it off."
Dawes stood frustrated, helpless with rage. Morel turned round.
me a minute," he said to Dawes, and he would have run downstairs.
God, I'll stop your gallop!" shouted the smith, seizing him by the arm.
He turned quickly.
Hey!" cried the office-boy, alarmed.
Jordan started out of his little glass office, and came running down the
a-matter, what's a-matter?" he said, in his old man's sharp voice.
just goin' ter settle this little ---, that's all," said Dawes
do you mean?" snapped Thomas Jordan.
I say," said Dawes, but he hung fire.
was leaning against the counter, ashamed, half-grinning.
it all about?" snapped Thomas Jordan.
say," said Paul, shaking his head and shrugging his shoulders.
yer, couldn't yer!" cried Dawes, thrusting forward his handsome,
furious face, and squaring his fist.
you finished?" cried the old man, strutting. "Get off about your business, and don't come here tipsy
in the morning."
turned his big frame slowly upon him.
he said. "Who's tipsy?
I'm no more tipsy than YOU are!"
heard that song before," snapped the old man. "Now you get off, and don't be long about it.
Comin' HERE with your rowdying."
smith looked down contemptuously on his employer. His hands, large, and grimy, and yet well shaped for his
labour, worked restlessly. Paul
remembered they were the hands of Clara's husband, and a flash of hate went
out before you're turned out!" snapped Thomas Jordan.
who'll turn me out?" said Dawes, beginning to sneer.
Jordan started, marched up to the smith, waving him off, thrusting his stout
little figure at the man, saying:
off my premises--get off!"
seized and twitched Dawes's arm.
off!" said the smith, and with a jerk of the elbow he sent the little
manufacturer staggering backwards.
anyone could help him, Thomas Jordan had collided with the flimsy
spring-door. It had given way,
and let him crash down the half-dozen steps into Fanny's room.
There was a second of amazement; then men and girls were running.
Dawes stood a moment looking bitterly on the scene, then he took his
Jordan was shaken and braised, not otherwise hurt. He was, however, beside himself with rage.
He dismissed Dawes from his employment, and summoned him for assault.
the trial Paul Morel had to give evidence.
Asked how the trouble began, he said:
took occasion to insult Mrs. Dawes and me because I accompanied her to the
theatre one evening; then I threw some beer at him, and he wanted his
la femme!" smiled the magistrate.
case was dismissed after the magistrate had told Dawes he thought him a
gave the case away," snapped Mr. Jordan to Paul.
don't think I did," replied the latter.
"Besides, you didn't really want a conviction, did you?"
do you think I took the case up for?"
said Paul, "I'm sorry if I said the wrong thing."
Clara was also very angry.
need MY name have been dragged in?" she said.
speak it openly than leave it to be whispered."
was no need for anything at all," she declared.
are none the poorer," he said indifferently.
may not be," she said.
you?" he asked.
need never have been mentioned."
sorry," he said; but he did not sound sorry.
told himself easily: "She
will come round." And she
told his mother about the fall of Mr. Jordan and the trial of Dawes.
Mrs. Morel watched him closely.
what do you think of it all?" she asked him.
think he's a fool," he said.
he was very uncomfortable, nevertheless.
you ever considered where it will end?" his mother said.
he answered; "things work out of themselves."
do, in a way one doesn't like, as a rule," said his mother.
then one has to put up with them," he said.
find you're not as good at 'putting up' as you imagine," she said.
went on working rapidly at his design.
you ever ask HER opinion?" she said at length.
you, and the whole thing."
don't care what her opinion of me is. She's
fearfully in love with me, but it's not very deep."
quite as deep as your feeling for her."
looked up at his mother curiously.
he said. "You know,
mother, I think there must be something the matter with me, that I CAN'T
love. When she's there, as a
rule, I DO love her. Sometimes,
when I see her just as THE WOMAN, I love her, mother; but then, when she
talks and criticises, I often don't listen to her."
she's as much sense as Miriam."
and I love her better than Miriam. But
WHY don't they hold me?"
last question was almost a lamentation.
His mother turned away her face, sat looking across the room, very
quiet, grave, with something of renunciation.
you wouldn't want to marry Clara?" she said.
at first perhaps I would. But
why--why don't I want to marry her or anybody?
I feel sometimes as if I wronged my women, mother."
wronged them, my son?"
went on painting rather despairingly; he had touched the quick of the
as for wanting to marry," said his mother, "there's plenty of time
no, mother. I even love Clara,
and I did Miriam; but to GIVE myself to them in marriage I couldn't.
I couldn't belong to them. They
seem to want ME, and I can't ever give it them."
haven't met the right woman."
I never shall meet the right woman while you live," he said.
was very quiet. Now she began
to feel again tired, as if she were done.
see, my son," she answered.
feeling that things were going in a circle made him mad.
was, indeed, passionately in love with him, and he with her, as far as
passion went. In the daytime he
forgot her a good deal. She was
working in the same building, but he was not aware of it.
He was busy, and her existence was of no matter to him.
But all the time she was in her Spiral room she had a sense that he
was upstairs, a physical sense of his person in the same building.
Every second she expected him to come through the door, and when he
came it was a shock to her. But
he was often short and offhand with her.
He gave her his directions in an official manner, keeping her at bay.
With what wits she had left she listened to him.
She dared not misunderstand or fail to remember, but it was a cruelty
to her. She wanted to touch his
chest. She knew exactly how his
breast was shapen under the waistcoat, and she wanted to touch it.
It maddened her to hear his mechanical voice giving orders about the
work. She wanted to break
through the sham of it, smash the trivial coating of business which covered
him with hardness, get at the man again; but she was afraid, and before she
could feel one touch of his warmth he was gone, and she ached again.
knew that she was dreary every evening she did not see him, so he gave her a
good deal of his time. The days
were often a misery to her, but the evenings and the nights were usually a
bliss to them both. Then they
were silent. For hours they sat
together, or walked together in the dark, and talked only a few, almost
meaningless words. But he had
her hand in his, and her bosom left its warmth in his chest, making him feel
evening they were walking down by the canal, and something was troubling
him. She knew she had not got
him. All the time he whistled
softly and persistently to himself. She
listened, feeling she could learn more from his whistling than from his
speech. It was a sad
dissatisfied tune--a tune that made her feel he would not stay with her.
She walked on in silence. When
they came to the swing bridge he sat down on the great pole, looking at the
stars in the water. He was a
long way from her. She
had been thinking.
you always stay at Jordan's?" she asked.
he answered without reflecting. "No;
I s'll leave Nottingham and go abroad--soon."
abroad! What for?"
dunno! I feel restless."
what shall you do?"
shall have to get some steady designing work, and some sort of sale for my
pictures first," he said. "I
am gradually making my way. I
know I am."
when do you think you'll go?"
don't know. I shall hardly go
for long, while there's my mother."
couldn't leave her?"
looked at the stars in the black water.
They lay very white and staring.
It was an agony to know he would leave her, but it was almost an
agony to have him near her.
if you made a nice lot of money, what would you do?" she asked.
somewhere in a pretty house near London with my mother."
was a long pause.
could still come and see you," he said.
"I don't know. Don't
ask me what I should do; I don't know."
was a silence. The stars
shuddered and broke upon the water. There
came a breath of wind. He went
suddenly to her, and put his hand on her shoulder.
ask me anything about the future," he said miserably.
"I don't know anything. Be
with me now, will you, no matter what it is?"
she took him in her arms. After
all, she was a married woman, and she had no right even to what he gave her.
He needed her badly. She
had him in her arms, and he was miserable.
With her warmth she folded him over, consoled him, loved him.
She would let the moment stand for itself.
a moment he lifted his head as if he wanted to speak.
he said, struggling.
caught him passionately to her, pressed his head down on her breast with her
hand. She could not bear the
suffering in his voice. She was
afraid in her soul. He might
have anything of her--anything; but she did not want to KNOW.
She felt she could not bear it.
She wanted him to be soothed upon her--soothed.
She stood clasping him and caressing him, and he was something
unknown to her--something almost uncanny.
She wanted to soothe him into forgetfulness.
soon the struggle went down in his soul, and he forgot.
But then Clara was not there for him, only a woman, warm, something
he loved and almost worshipped, there in the dark.
But it was not Clara, and she submitted to him.
The naked hunger and inevitability of his loving her, something
strong and blind and ruthless in its primitiveness, made the hour almost
terrible to her. She knew how stark and alone he was, and she felt it was
great that he came to her; and she took him simply because his need was
bigger either than her or him, and her soul was still within her.
She did this for him in his need, even if he left her, for she loved
the while the peewits were screaming in the field. When he came to, he wondered what was near his eyes, curving
and strong with life in the dark, and what voice it was speaking.
Then he realised it was the grass, and the peewit was calling.
The warmth was Clara's breathing heaving.
He lifted his head, and looked into her eyes.
They were dark and shining and strange, life wild at the source
staring into his life, stranger to him, yet meeting him; and he put his face
down on her throat, afraid. What
was she? A strong, strange,
wild life, that breathed with his in the darkness through this hour.
It was all so much bigger than themselves that he was hushed.
They had met, and included in their meeting the thrust of the
manifold grass stems, the cry of the peewit, the wheel of the stars.
they stood up they saw other lovers stealing down the opposite hedge.
It seemed natural they were there; the night contained them.
after such an evening they both were very still, having known the immensity
of passion. They felt small,
half-afraid, childish and wondering, like Adam and Eve when they lost their
innocence and realised the magnificence of the power which drove them out of
Paradise and across the great night and the great day of humanity. It was for each of them an initiation and a satisfaction. To
know their own nothingness, to know the tremendous living flood which
carried them always, gave them rest within themselves.
If so great a magnificent power could overwhelm them, identify them
altogether with itself, so that they knew they were only grains in the
tremendous heave that lifted every grass blade its little height, and every
tree, and living thing, then why fret about themselves?
They could let themselves be carried by life, and they felt a sort of
peace each in the other. There
was a verification which they had had together.
Nothing could nullify it, nothing could take it away; it was almost
their belief in life.
Clara was not satisfied. Something
great was there, she knew; something great enveloped her.
But it did not keep her. In
the morning it was not the same. They
had KNOWN, but she could not keep the moment.
She wanted it again; she wanted something permanent.
She had not realised fully. She
thought it was he whom she wanted. He
was not safe to her. This that
had been between them might never be again; he might leave her.
She had not got him; she was not satisfied. She had been there, but she had not gripped the--the
something--she knew not what--which she was mad to have.
the morning he had considerable peace, and was happy in himself.
It seemed almost as if he had known the baptism of fire in passion,
and it left him at rest. But it was not Clara. It
was something that happened because of her, but it was not her.
They were scarcely any nearer each other.
It was as if they had been blind agents of a great force.
she saw him that day at the factory her heart melted like a drop of fire.
It was his body, his brows. The
drop of fire grew more intense in her breast; she must hold him.
But he, very quiet, very subdued this morning, went on giving his
instruction. She followed him
into the dark, ugly basement, and lifted her arms to him.
He kissed her, and the intensity of passion began to burn him again.
Somebody was at the door. He
ran upstairs; she returned to her room, moving as if in a trance.
that the fire slowly went down. He
felt more and more that his experience had been impersonal, and not Clara.
He loved her. There was a big tenderness, as after a strong emotion they
had known together; but it was not she who could keep his soul steady.
He had wanted her to be something she could not be.
she was mad with desire of him. She
could not see him without touching him.
In the factory, as he talked to her about Spiral hose, she ran her
hand secretly along his side. She
followed him out into the basement for a quick kiss; her eyes, always mute
and yearning, full of unrestrained passion, she kept fixed on his. He was afraid of her, lest she should too flagrantly give
herself away before the other girls. She
invariably waited for him at dinnertime for him to embrace her before she
went. He felt as if she were
helpless, almost a burden to him, and it irritated him.
what do you always want to be kissing and embracing for?" he said.
"Surely there's a time for everything."
looked up at him, and the hate came into her eyes.
I always want to be kissing you?" she said.
even if I come to ask you about the work.
I don't want anything to do with love when I'm at work.
what is love?" she asked. "Has
it to have special hours?"
out of work hours."
you'll regulate it according to Mr. Jordan's closing time?"
and according to the freedom from business of any sort."
is only to exist in spare time?"
all, and not always then--not the kissing sort of love."
that's all you think of it?"
glad you think so."
she was cold to him for some time--she hated him; and while she was cold and
contemptuous, he was uneasy till she had forgiven him again.
But when they started afresh they were not any nearer.
He kept her because he never satisfied her.
the spring they went together to the seaside.
They had rooms at a little cottage near Theddlethorpe, and lived as
man and wife. Mrs. Radford
sometimes went with them.
was known in Nottingham that Paul Morel and Mrs. Dawes were going together,
but as nothing was very obvious, and Clara always a solitary person, and he
seemed so simple and innocent, it did not make much difference.
loved the Lincolnshire coast, and she loved the sea. In the early morning they often went out together to bathe.
The grey of the dawn, the far, desolate reaches of the fenland
smitten with winter, the sea-meadows rank with herbage, were stark enough to rejoice his soul.
As they stepped on to the highroad from
their plank bridge, and looked round at the endless monotony of
levels, the land a little
darker than the sky, the sea sounding small beyond
the sandhills, his heart filled strong with the sweeping
relentlessness of life.
She loved him then. He
was solitary and strong, and his eyes had
a beautiful light.
shuddered with cold; then he raced her down the road to the green turf
bridge. She could run well.
Her colour soon came, her throat was bare, her eyes shone.
He loved her for being so luxuriously heavy, and yet so quick.
Himself was light; she went with a beautiful rush.
They grew warm, and walked hand in hand.
flush came into the sky, the wan moon, half-way down the west, sank into
insignificance. On the shadowy
land things began to take life, plants with great leaves became distinct.
They came through a pass in the big, cold sandhills on to the beach.
The long waste of foreshore lay moaning under the dawn and the sea;
the ocean was a flat dark strip with a white edge.
Over the gloomy sea the sky grew red.
Quickly the fire spread among the clouds and scattered them. Crimson burned to orange, orange to dull gold, and in a
golden glitter the sun came up, dribbling fierily over the waves in little
splashes, as if someone had gone along and the light had spilled from her
pail as she walked.
breakers ran down the shore in long, hoarse strokes. Tiny seagulls, like specks of spray, wheeled above the line
of surf. Their crying seemed
larger than they. Far away the
coast reached out, and melted into the morning, the tussocky sandhills
seemed to sink to a level with the beach.
Mablethorpe was tiny on their right.
They had alone the space of all this level shore, the sea, and the
upcoming sun, the faint noise of the waters, the sharp crying of the gulls.
had a warm hollow in the sandhills where the wind did not come.
He stood looking out to sea.
very fine," he said.
don't get sentimental," she said.
irritated her to see him standing gazing at the sea, like a solitary and
poetic person. He laughed.
She quickly undressed.
are some fine waves this morning," she said triumphantly.
was a better swimmer than he; he stood idly watching her.
you coming?" she said.
a minute," he answered.
was white and velvet skinned, with heavy shoulders. A little wind, coming from the sea, blew across her body and
ruffled her hair.
morning was of a lovely limpid gold colour.
Veils of shadow seemed to be drifting away on the north and the
south. Clara stood shrinking
slightly from the touch of the wind, twisting her hair.
The sea-grass rose behind the white stripped woman.
She glanced at the sea, then looked at him.
He was watching her with dark eyes which she loved and could not
understand. She hugged her
breasts between her arms, cringing, laughing:
it will be so cold!" she said.
bent forward and kissed her, held her suddenly close, and kissed her again.
She stood waiting. He
looked into her eyes, then away at the pale sands.
then!" he said quietly.
flung her arms round his neck, drew him against her, kissed him
passionately, and went, saying:
you'll come in?"
went plodding heavily over the sand that was soft as velvet.
He, on the sandhills, watched the great pale coast envelop her.
She grew smaller, lost proportion, seemed only like a large white
bird toiling forward.
much more than a big white pebble on the beach, not much more than a clot of
foam being blown and rolled over the sand," he said to himself.
seemed to move very slowly across the vast sounding shore.
As he watched, he lost her. She
was dazzled out of sight by the sunshine.
Again he saw her, the merest white speck moving against the white,
how little she is!" he said to himself.
"She's lost like a grain of sand in the beach--just a
concentrated speck blown along, a tiny white foam-bubble, almost nothing
among the morning. Why does she
morning was altogether uninterrupted: she
was gone in the water. Far and
wide the beach, the sandhills with their blue marrain, the shining water,
glowed together in immense, unbroken solitude.
is she, after all?" he said to himself.
"Here's the seacoast morning, big and permanent and beautiful;
there is she, fretting, always unsatisfied, and temporary as a bubble of
foam. What does she mean to me,
after all? She represents
something, like a bubble of foam represents the sea.
But what is she? It's
not her I care for."
startled by his own unconscious thoughts, that seemed to speak so distinctly
that all the morning could hear, he undressed and ran quickly down the
sands. She was watching for
him. Her arm flashed up to him,
she heaved on a wave, subsided, her shoulders in a pool of liquid silver.
He jumped through the breakers, and in a moment her hand was on his
was a poor swimmer, and could not stay long in the water.
She played round him in triumph, sporting with her superiority, which
he begrudged her. The sunshine
stood deep and fine on the water. They laughed in the sea for a minute or two, then raced each
other back to the sandhills.
they were drying themselves, panting heavily, he watched her laughing,
breathless face, her bright shoulders, her breasts that swayed and made him
frightened as she rubbed them, and he thought again:
she is magnificent, and even bigger than the morning and the sea.
Is she---? Is she---"
seeing his dark eyes fixed on her, broke off from her drying with a laugh.
are you looking at?" she said.
he answered, laughing.
eyes met his, and in a moment he was kissing her white
"goose-fleshed" shoulder, and thinking:
is she? What is she?"
loved him in the morning. There
was something detached, hard, and elemental about his kisses then, as if he
were only conscious of his own will, not in the least of her and her wanting
in the day he went out sketching.
he said to her, "go with your mother to Sutton. I am so dull."
stood and looked at him. He
knew she wanted to come with him, but he preferred to be alone.
She made him feel imprisoned when she was there, as if he could not
get a free deep breath, as if there were something on top of him.
She felt his desire to be free of her.
the evening he came back to her. They
walked down the shore in the darkness, then sat for a while in the shelter
of the sandhills.
seems," she said, as they stared over the darkness of the sea, where no
light was to be seen--"it seemed as if you only loved me at night--as
if you didn't love me in the daytime."
ran the cold sand through his fingers, feeling guilty under the accusation.
night is free to you," he replied.
"In the daytime I want to be by myself."
why?" she said. "Why,
even now, when we are on this short holiday?"
don't know. Love-making stifles
me in the daytime."
it needn't be always love-making," she said.
always is," he answered, "when you and I are together."
sat feeling very bitter.
you ever want to marry me?" he asked curiously.
you me?" she replied.
yes; I should like us to have children," he answered slowly.
sat with her head bent, fingering the sand.
you don't really want a divorce from Baxter, do you?" he said.
was some minutes before she replied.
she said, very deliberately; "I don't think I do."
you feel as if you belonged to him?"
I don't think so."
think he belongs to me," she replied.
was silent for some minutes, listening to the wind blowing over the hoarse,
you never really intended to belong to ME?" he said.
I do belong to you," she answered.
he said; "because you don't want to be divorced."
was a knot they could not untie, so they left it, took what they could get,
and what they could not attain they ignored.
consider you treated Baxter rottenly," he said another time.
half-expected Clara to answer him, as his mother would:
"You consider your own affairs, and don't know so much about
other people's." But she
took him seriously, almost to his own surprise.
suppose you thought he was a lily of the valley, and so you put him in an
appropriate pot, and tended him according.
You made up your mind he was a lily of the valley and it was no good
his being a cow-parsnip. You
wouldn't have it."
certainly never imagined him a lily of the valley."
imagined him something he wasn't. That's
just what a woman is. She
thinks she knows what's good for a man, and she's going to see he gets it;
and no matter if he's starving, he may sit and whistle for what he needs,
while she's got him, and is giving him what's good for him."
what are you doing?" she asked.
thinking what tune I shall whistle," he laughed.
instead of boxing his ears, she considered him in earnest.
think I want to give you what's good for you?" she asked.
hope so; but love should give a sense of freedom, not of prison.
Miriam made me feel tied up like a donkey to a stake.
I must feed on her patch, and nowhere else.
would YOU let a WOMAN do as she likes?"
I'll see that she likes to love me. If
she doesn't--well, I don't hold her."
you were as wonderful as you say---," replied Clara.
should be the marvel I am," he laughed.
was a silence in which they hated each other, though they laughed.
a dog in a manger," he said.
which of us is the dog?" she asked.
well, you, of course."
there went on a battle between them. She
knew she never fully had him. Some
part, big and vital in him, she had no hold over; nor did she ever try to
get it, or even to realise what it was.
And he knew in some way that she held herself still as Mrs. Dawes.
She did not love Dawes, never had loved him; but she believed he
loved her, at least depended on her. She
felt a certain surety about him that she never felt with Paul Morel.
Her passion for the young man had filled her soul, given her a
certain satisfaction, eased her of her self-mistrust, her doubt.
Whatever else she was, she was inwardly assured.
It was almost as if she had gained HERSELF, and stood now distinct
and complete. She had received
her confirmation; but she never believed that her life belonged to Paul
Morel, nor his to her. They
would separate in the end, and the rest of her life would be an ache after
him. But at any rate, she knew
now, she was sure of herself. And
the same could almost be said of him. Together
they had received the baptism of life, each through the other; but now their
missions were separate. Where
he wanted to go she could not come with him.
They would have to part sooner or later.
Even if they married, and were faithful to each other, still he would
have to leave her, go on alone, and she would only have to attend to him
when he came home. But it was not possible.
Each wanted a mate to go side by side with.
had gone to live with her mother upon Mapperley Plains.
One evening, as Paul and she were walking along Woodborough Road,
they met Dawes. Morel knew
something about the bearing of the man approaching, but he was absorbed in
his thinking at the moment, so that only his artist's eye watched the form
of the stranger. Then he
suddenly turned to Clara with a laugh, and put his hand on her shoulder,
we walk side by side, and yet I'm in London arguing with an imaginary Orpen;
and where are you?"
that instant Dawes passed, almost touching Morel. The young man glanced, saw the dark brown eyes burning, full
of hate and yet tired.
was that?" he asked of Clara.
was Baxter," she replied.
took his hand from her shoulder and glanced round; then he saw again
distinctly the man's form as it approached him.
Dawes still walked erect, with his fine shoulders flung back, and his
face lifted; but there was a furtive look in his eyes that gave one the
impression he was trying to get unnoticed past every person he met, glancing
suspiciously to see what they thought of him.
And his hands seemed to be wanting to hide. He wore old clothes, the trousers were torn at the knee, and
the handkerchief tied round his throat was dirty; but his cap was still
defiantly over one eye. As she
saw him, Clara felt guilty. There
was a tiredness and despair on his face that made her hate him, because it
looks shady," said Paul.
the note of pity in his voice reproached her, and made her feel hard.
true commonness comes out," she answered.
you hate him?" he asked.
talk," she said, "about the cruelty of women; I wish you knew the
cruelty of men in their brute force. They
simply don't know that the woman exists."
I?" he said.
I know you exist?"
ME you know nothing," she said bitterly--"about ME!"
more than Baxter knew?" he asked.
not as much."
felt puzzled, and helpless, and angry.
There she walked unknown to him, though they had been through such
you know ME pretty well," he said.
did not answer.
you know Baxter as well as you know me?" he asked.
wouldn't let me," she said.
I have let you know me?"
what men WON'T let you do. They
won't let you get really near to them," she said.
haven't I let you?"
she answered slowly; "but you've never come near to me.
You can't come out of yourself, you can't.
Baxter could do that better than you."
walked on pondering. He was
angry with her for prefering Baxter to him.
begin to value Baxter now you've not got him," he said.
I can only see where he was different from you."
he felt she had a grudge against him.
evening, as they were coming home over the fields, she startled him by
you think it's worth it--the--the sex part?"
act of loving, itself?"
is it worth anything to you?"
how can you separate it?" he said.
"It's the culmination of everything. All our intimacy culminates then."
for me," she said.
was silent. A flash of hate for
her came up. After all, she was
dissatisfied with him, even there, where he thought they fulfilled each
other. But he believed her too
feel," she continued slowly, "as if I hadn't got you, as if all of
you weren't there, and as if it weren't ME you were taking---"
just for yourself. It has been
fine, so that I daren't think of it. But
is it ME you want, or is it IT?"
again felt guilty. Did he leave
Clara out of count, and take simply women?
But he thought that was splitting a hair.
I had Baxter, actually had him, then I DID feel as if I had all of
him," she said.
it was better?" he asked.
yes; it was more whole. I don't
say you haven't given me more than he ever gave me."
could give you."
perhaps; but you've never given me yourself."
knitted his brows angrily.
I start to make love to you," he said, "I just go like a leaf down
leave me out of count," she said.
then is it nothing to you?" he asked, almost rigid with chagrin.
something; and sometimes you have carried me away--right away--I
know--and--I reverence you for it--but---"
'but' me," he said, kissing her quickly, as a fire ran through him.
submitted, and was silent.
was true as he said. As a rule,
when he started love-making, the emotion was strong enough to carry with it
everything--reason, soul, blood--in a great sweep, like the Trent carries
bodily its back-swirls and intertwinings, noiselessly.
Gradually the little criticisms, the little sensations, were lost,
thought also went, everything borne along in one flood.
He became, not a man with a mind, but a great instinct.
His hands were like creatures, living; his limbs, his body, were all
life and consciousness, subject to no will of his, but living in themselves. Just as he was, so it seemed the vigorous, wintry stars were
strong also with life. He and
they struck with the same pulse of fire, and the same joy of strength which
held the bracken-frond stiff near his eyes held his own body firm.
It was as if he, and the stars, and the dark herbage, and Clara were
licked up in an immense tongue of flame, which tore onwards and upwards.
Everything rushed along in living beside him; everything was still,
perfect in itself, along with him. This
wonderful stillness in each thing in itself, while it was being borne along
in a very ecstasy of living, seemed the highest point of bliss.
Clara knew this held him to her, so she trusted altogether to the passion.
It, however, failed her very often.
They did not often reach again the height of that once when the
peewits had called. Gradually,
some mechanical effort spoilt their loving, or, when they had splendid
moments, they had them separately, and not so satisfactorily.
So often he seemed merely to be running on alone; often they realised
it had been a failure, not what they had wanted.
He left her, knowing THAT evening had only made a little split
between them. Their loving grew more mechanical, without the marvellous
glamour. Gradually they began
to introduce novelties, to get back some of the feeling of satisfaction.
They would be very near, almost dangerously near to the river, so
that the black water ran not far from his face, and it gave a little thrill;
or they loved sometimes in a little hollow below the fence of the path where
people were passing occasionally, on the edge of the town, and they heard
footsteps coming, almost felt the vibration of the tread, and they heard
what the passersby said--strange little things that were never intended to
be heard. And afterwards each
of them was rather ashamed, and these things caused a distance between the
two of them. He began to
despise her a little, as if she had merited it!
night he left her to go to Daybrook Station over the fields.
It was very dark, with an attempt at snow, although the spring was so
far advanced. Morel had not
much time; he plunged forward. The town ceases almost abruptly on the edge of a steep
hollow; there the houses with their yellow lights stand up against the
darkness. He went over the
stile, and dropped quickly into the hollow of the fields.
Under the orchard one warm window shone in Swineshead Farm. Paul glanced round. Behind,
the houses stood on the brim of the dip, black against the sky, like wild
beasts glaring curiously with yellow eyes down into the darkness.
It was the town that seemed savage and uncouth, glaring on the clouds
at the back of him. Some
creature stirred under the willows of the farm pond.
It was too dark to distinguish anything.
was close up to the next stile before he saw a dark shape leaning against
it. The man moved aside.
Morel answered, not noticing.
Morel?" said the man.
he knew it was Dawes. The man
stopped his way.
got yer, have I?" he said awkwardly.
shall miss my train," said Paul.
could see nothing of Dawes's face. The
man's teeth seemed to chatter as he talked.
going to get it from me now," said Dawes.
attempted to move forward; the other man stepped in front of him.
yer goin' to take that top-coat off," he said, "or are you goin'
to lie down to it?"
was afraid the man was mad.
he said, "I don't know how to fight."
right, then," answered Dawes, and before the younger man knew where he
was, he was staggering backwards from a blow across the face.
whole night went black. He tore
off his overcoat and coat, dodging a blow, and flung the garments over
Dawes. The latter swore
savagely. Morel, in his
shirt-sleeves, was now alert and furious.
He felt his whole body unsheath itself like a claw.
He could not fight, so he would use his wits.
The other man became more distinct to him; he could see particularly
the shirt-breast. Dawes stumbled over Paul's coats, then came rushing
forward. The young man's
mouth was bleeding. It was the
other man's mouth he was dying
to get at, and the desire was anguish in its strength.
He stepped quickly through the stile, and as Dawes was coming through
after him, like a flash he got a blow in over the other's mouth.
He shivered with pleasure. Dawes
advanced slowly, spitting. Paul
was afraid; he moved round to get to the stile again. Suddenly, from out of nowhere, came a great blow against his
ear, that sent him falling helpless backwards.
He heard Dawes's heavy panting, like a wild beast's, then came a kick
on the knee, giving him such agony that he got up and, quite blind, leapt
clean under his enemy's guard. He
felt blows and kicks, but they did not hurt.
He hung on to the bigger man like a wild cat, till at last Dawes fell
with a crash, losing his presence of mind.
Paul went down with him. Pure
instinct brought his hands to the man's neck, and before Dawes, in frenzy
and agony, could wrench him free, he had got his fists twisted in the scarf
and his knuckles dug in the throat of the other man.
He was a pure instinct, without reason or feeling. His body, hard and wonderful in itself, cleaved against the
struggling body of the other man; not a muscle in him relaxed.
He was quite unconscious, only his body had taken upon itself to kill
this other man. For himself, he
had neither feeling nor reason. He
lay pressed hard against his adversary, his body adjusting itself to its one
pure purpose of choking the other man, resisting exactly at the right
moment, with exactly the right amount of strength, the struggles of the
other, silent, intent, unchanging, gradually pressing its knuckles deeper,
feeling the struggles of the other body become wilder and more frenzied.
Tighter and tighter grew his body, like a screw that is gradually
increasing in pressure, till something breaks.
suddenly he relaxed, full of wonder and misgiving. Dawes had been yielding.
Morel felt his body flame with pain, as he realised what he was
doing; he was all bewildered. Dawes's
struggles suddenly renewed themselves in a furious spasm.
Paul's hands were wrenched, torn out of the scarf in which they were
knotted, and he was flung away, helpless.
He heard the horrid sound of the other's gasping, but he lay stunned;
then, still dazed, he felt the blows of the other's feet, and lost
grunting with pain like a beast, was kicking the prostrate body of his
rival. Suddenly the whistle of
the train shrieked two fields away. He
turned round and glared suspiciously. What
was coming? He saw the lights
of the train draw across his vision. It
seemed to him people were approaching. He made off across the field into Nottingham, and dimly in
his consciousness as he went, he felt on his foot the place where his boot
had knocked against one of the lad's bones.
The knock seemed to re-echo inside him; he hurried to get away from
gradually came to himself. He
knew where he was and what had happened, but he did not want to move.
He lay still, with tiny bits of snow tickling his face.
It was pleasant to lie quite, quite still.
The time passed. It was
the bits of snow that kept rousing him when he did not want to be roused. At last his will clicked into action.
mustn't lie here," he said; "it's silly."
still he did not move.
said I was going to get up," he repeated.
"Why don't I?"
still it was some time before he had sufficiently pulled himself together to
stir; then gradually he got up. Pain
made him sick and dazed, but his brain was clear. Reeling, he groped for his coats and got them on, buttoning
his overcoat up to his ears. It
was some time before he found his cap.
He did not know whether his face was still bleeding.
Walking blindly, every step making him sick with pain, he went back
to the pond and washed his face and hands.
The icy water hurt, but helped to bring him back to himself.
He crawled back up the hill to the tram.
He wanted to get to his mother--he must get to his mother--that was
his blind intention. He covered
his face as much as he could, and struggled sickly along.
Continually the ground seemed to fall away from him as he walked, and
he felt himself dropping with a sickening feeling into space; so, like a
nightmare, he got through with the journey home.
was in bed. He looked at
himself. His face was
discoloured and smeared with blood, almost like a dead man's face.
He washed it, and went to bed. The
night went by in delirium. In
the morning he found his mother looking at him.
Her blue eyes--they were all he wanted to see.
She was there; he was in her hands.
not much, mother," he said. "It
was Baxter Dawes."
me where it hurts you," she said quietly.
don't know--my shoulder. Say it
was a bicycle accident, mother."
could not move his arm. Presently
Minnie, the little servant, came upstairs with some tea.
mother's nearly frightened me out of my wits--fainted away," she said.
felt he could not bear it. His
mother nursed him; he told her about it.
now I should have done with them all," she said quietly.
covered him up.
don't think about it," she said--"only try to go to sleep.
The doctor won't be here till eleven."
had a dislocated shoulder, and the second day acute bronchitis set in.
His mother was pale as death now, and very thin.
She would sit and look at him, then away into space.
There was something between them that neither dared mention.
Clara came to see him. Afterwards
he said to his mother:
makes me tired, mother."
I wish she wouldn't come," Mrs. Morel replied.
day Miriam came, but she seemed almost like a stranger to him.
know, I don't care about them, mother," he said.
afraid you don't, my son," she replied sadly.
was given out everywhere that it was a bicycle accident.
Soon he was able to go to work again, but now there was a constant
sickness and gnawing at his heart. He
went to Clara, but there seemed, as it were, nobody there.
He could not work. He
and his mother seemed almost to avoid each other.
There was some secret between them which they could not bear.
He was not aware of it. He
only knew that his life seemed unbalanced, as if it were going to smash into
did not know what was the matter with him.
She realised that he seemed unaware of her. Even when he came to her he seemed unaware of her; always he
was somewhere else. She felt
she was clutching for him, and he was somewhere else.
It tortured her, and so she tortured him. For a month at a time she kept him at arm's length.
He almost hated her, and was driven to her in spite of himself.
He went mostly into the company of men, was always at the George or
the White Horse. His mother was
ill, distant, quiet, shadowy. He
was terrified of something; he dared not look at her.
Her eyes seemed to grow darker, her face more waxen; still she
dragged about at her work.
Whitsuntide he said he would go to Blackpool for four days with his friend
Newton. The latter was a big,
jolly fellow, with a touch of the bounder about him.
Paul said his mother must go to Sheffield to stay a week with Annie,
who lived there. Perhaps the
change would do her good. Mrs.
Morel was attending a woman's doctor in Nottingham.
He said her heart and her digestion were wrong.
She consented to go to Sheffield, though she did not want to; but now
she would do everything her son wished of her.
Paul said he would come for her on the fifth day, and stay also in
Sheffield till the holiday was up. It
two young men set off gaily for Blackpool.
Mrs. Morel was quite lively as Paul kissed her and left her.
Once at the station, he forgot everything.
Four days were clear--not an anxiety, not a thought.
The two young men simply enjoyed themselves.
Paul was like another man. None
of himself remained--no Clara, no Miriam, no mother that fretted him.
He wrote to them all, and long letters to his mother; but they were
jolly letters that made her laugh. He
was having a good time, as young fellows will in a place like Blackpool.
And underneath it all was a shadow for her.
was very gay, excited at the thought of staying with his mother in
Sheffield. Newton was to spend
the day with them. Their train
was late. Joking, laughing,
with their pipes between their teeth, the young men swung their bags on to
the tram-car. Paul had bought
his mother a little collar of real lace that he wanted to see her wear, so
that he could tease her about it.
lived in a nice house, and had a little maid.
Paul ran gaily up the steps. He
expected his mother laughing in the hall, but it was Annie who opened to
him. She seemed distant to him.
He stood a second in dismay. Annie
let him kiss her cheek.
my mother ill?" he said.
she's not very well. Don't
she in bed?"
then the queer feeling went over him, as if all the sunshine had gone out of
him, and it was all shadow. He
dropped the bag and ran upstairs. Hesitating,
he opened the door. His mother
sat up in bed, wearing a dressing-gown of old-rose colour. She looked at him almost as if she were ashamed of herself,
pleading to him, humble. He saw
the ashy look about her.
thought you were never coming," she answered gaily.
he only fell on his knees at the bedside, and buried his face in the
bedclothes, crying in agony, and saying:
stroked his hair slowly with her thin hand.
cry," she said. "Don't
he felt as if his blood was melting into tears, and he cried in terror and
cry," his mother faltered.
she stroked his hair. Shocked
out of himself, he cried, and the tears hurt in every fibre of his body.
Suddenly he stopped, but he dared not lift his face out of the
ARE late. Where have you
been?" his mother asked.
train was late," he replied, muffled in the sheet.
that miserable Central! Is
sure you must be hungry, and they've kept dinner waiting."
a wrench he looked up at her.
is it, mother?" he asked brutally.
averted her eyes as she answered:
a bit of a tumour, my boy. You
needn't trouble. It's been
there--the lump has--a long time."
came the tears again. His mind
was clear and hard, but his body was crying.
put her hand on her side.
But you know they can sweal a tumour away."
stood feeling dazed and helpless, like a child. He thought perhaps it was as she said. Yes; he reassured himself it was so. But all the while his blood and his body knew definitely what
it was. He sat down on the bed,
and took her hand. She had
never had but the one ring--her wedding-ring.
were you poorly?" he asked.
was yesterday it began," she answered submissively.
but not more than I've often had at home.
I believe Dr. Ansell is an alarmist."
ought not to have travelled alone," he said, to himself more than to
if that had anything to do with it!" she answered quickly.
were silent for a while.
go and have your dinner," she said.
"You MUST be hungry."
you had yours?"
a beautiful sole I had. Annie
IS good to me."
talked a little while, then he went downstairs. He was very white and strained.
Newton sat in miserable sympathy.
dinner he went into the scullery to help Annie to wash up.
The little maid had gone on an errand.
it really a tumour?" he asked.
began to cry again.
pain she had yesterday--I never saw anybody suffer like it!" she cried.
"Leonard ran like a madman for Dr. Ansell, and when she'd got to
bed she said to me: 'Annie,
look at this lump on my side. I
wonder what it is?' And there I
looked, and I thought I should have dropped.
Paul, as true as I'm here, it's a lump as big as my double fist.
I said: 'Good gracious,
mother, whenever did that come?' 'Why,
child,' she said, 'it's been there a long time.'
I thought I should have died, our Paul, I did.
She's been having these pains for months at home, and nobody looking
tears came to his eyes, then dried suddenly.
she's been attending the doctor in Nottingham--and she never told me,"
I'd have been at home," said Annie, "I should have seen for
felt like a man walking in unrealities.
In the afternoon he went to see the doctor. The latter was a shrewd, lovable man.
what is it?" he said.
doctor looked at the young man, then knitted his fingers.
may be a large tumour which has formed in the membrane," he said
slowly, "and which we MAY be able to make go away."
you operate?" asked Paul.
there," replied the doctor.
meditated a while.
you sure it's a tumour?" he asked.
"Why did Dr. Jameson in Nottingham never find out anything about
it? She's been going to him for
weeks, and he's treated her for heart and indigestion."
Morel never told Dr. Jameson about the lump," said the doctor.
do you KNOW it's a tumour?"
I am not sure."
else MIGHT it be? You asked my
sister if there was cancer in the family.
Might it be cancer?"
what shall you do?"
should like an examination, with Dr. Jameson."
must arrange about that. His
fee wouldn't be less than ten guineas to come here from Nottingham."
would you like him to come?"
will call in this evening, and we will talk it over."
went away, biting his lip.
mother could come downstairs for tea, the doctor said.
Her son went upstairs to help her.
She wore the old-rose dressing-gown that Leonard had given Annie,
and, with a little colour in her face, was quite young again.
you look quite pretty in that," he said.
they make me so fine, I hardly know myself," she answered.
when she stood up to walk, the colour went.
Paul helped her, half-carrying her.
At the top of the stairs she was gone.
He lifted her up and carried her quickly downstairs; laid her on the
couch. She was light and frail.
Her face looked as if she were dead, with blue lips shut tight.
Her eyes opened--her blue, unfailing eyes-- and she looked at him
pleadingly, almost wanting him to forgive her.
He held brandy to her lips, but her mouth would not open.
All the time she watched him lovingly.
She was only sorry for him. The
tears ran down his face without ceasing, but not a muscle moved. He was intent on getting a little brandy between her lips.
Soon she was able to swallow a teaspoonful.
She lay back, so tired. The
tears continued to run down his face.
she panted, "it'll go off. Don't
not doing," he said.
a while she was better again. He
was kneeling beside the couch. They
looked into each other's eyes.
don't want you to make a trouble of it," she said.
mother. You'll have to be quite
still, and then you'll get better soon."
he was white to the lips, and their eyes as they looked at each other
understood. Her eyes were so
blue--such a wonderful forget-me-not blue!
He felt if only they had been of a different colour he could have
borne it better. His heart
seemed to be ripping slowly in his breast.
He kneeled there, holding her hand, and neither said anything.
Then Annie came in.
you all right?" she murmured timidly to her mother.
course," said Mrs. Morel.
sat down and told her about Blackpool.
She was curious.
day or two after, he went to see Dr. Jameson in Nottingham, to arrange for a
consultation. Paul had
practically no money in the world. But
he could borrow.
mother had been used to go to the public consultation on Saturday morning,
when she could see the doctor for only a nominal sum. Her son went on the same day.
The waiting-room was full of poor women, who sat patiently on a bench
around the wall. Paul thought
of his mother, in her little black costume, sitting waiting likewise.
The doctor was late. The
women all looked rather frightened. Paul
asked the nurse in attendance if he could see the doctor immediately he
came. It was arranged so.
The women sitting patiently round the walls of the room eyed the
young man curiously.
last the doctor came. He was
about forty, good-looking, brown-skinned.
His wife had died, and he, who had loved her, had specialised on
women's ailments. Paul told his
name and his mother's. The
doctor did not remember.
forty-six M.," said the nurse; and the doctor looked up the case in his
is a big lump that may be a tumour," said Paul. "But Dr. Ansell was going to write you a letter."
yes!" replied the doctor, drawing the letter from his pocket.
He was very friendly, affable, busy, kind.
He would come to Sheffield the next day.
is your father?" he asked.
is a coal-miner," replied Paul.
very well off, I suppose?"
see after this," said Paul.
you?" smiled the doctor.
am a clerk in Jordan's Appliance Factory."
doctor smiled at him.
go to Sheffield!" he said, putting the tips of his fingers together,
and smiling with his eyes. "Eight
you!" said Paul, flushing and rising.
"And you'll come to-morrow?"
Yes! Can you tell me
about what time there is a train in the afternoon?"
is a Central gets in at four-fifteen."
will there be any way of getting up to the house? Shall I have to walk?"
The doctor smiled.
is the tram," said Paul; "the Western Park tram."
doctor made a note of it.
you!" he said, and shook hands.
Paul went on home to see his father, who was left in the charge of Minnie.
Walter Morel was getting very grey now.
Paul found him digging in the garden.
He had written him a letter. He
shook hands with his father.
son! Tha has landed,
then?" said the father.
replied the son. "But I'm
going back to-night."
ter, beguy!" exclaimed the collier.
"An' has ter eaten owt?"
just like thee," said Morel. "Come
thy ways in."
father was afraid of the mention of his wife.
The two went indoors. Paul
ate in silence; his father, with earthy hands, and sleeves rolled up, sat in
the arm-chair opposite and looked at him.
an' how is she?" asked the miner at length, in a little voice.
can sit up; she can be carried down for tea," said Paul.
a blessin'!" exclaimed Morel. "I
hope we s'll soon be havin' her whoam, then.
An' what's that Nottingham doctor say?"
going to-morrow to have an examination of her."
he beguy! That's a tidy penny,
guineas!" the miner spoke breathlessly.
"Well, we mun find it from somewhere."
can pay that," said Paul.
was silence between them for some time.
says she hopes you're getting on all right with Minnie," Paul said.
I'm all right, an' I wish as she was," answered Morel.
"But Minnie's a good little wench, bless 'er heart!"
He sat looking dismal.
s'll have to be going at half-past three," said Paul.
a trapse for thee, lad! Eight
guineas! An' when dost think
she'll be able to get as far as this?"
must see what the doctors say to-morrow," Paul said.
sighed deeply. The house seemed
strangely empty, and Paul thought his father looked lost, forlorn, and old.
have to go and see her next week, father," he said.
hope she'll be a-whoam by that time," said Morel.
she's not," said Paul, "then you must come."
dunno wheer I s'll find th' money," said Morel.
I'll write to you what the doctor says," said Paul.
tha writes i' such a fashion, I canna ma'e it out," said Morel.
I'll write plain."
was no good asking Morel to answer, for he could scarcely do more than write
his own name.
doctor came. Leonard felt it
his duty to meet him with a cab. The
examination did not take long. Annie,
Arthur, Paul, and Leonard were waiting in the parlour anxiously. The doctors came down. Paul
glanced at them. He had never
had any hope, except when he had deceived himself.
MAY be a tumour; we must wait and see," said Dr. Jameson.
if it is," said Annie, "can you sweal it away?"
said the doctor.
put eight sovereigns and half a sovereign on the table.
The doctor counted them, took a florin out of his purse, and put that
you!" he said. "I'm
sorry Mrs. Morel is so ill. But
we must see what we can do."
can't be an operation?" said Paul.
doctor shook his head.
he said; "and even if there could, her heart wouldn't stand it."
her heart risky?" asked Paul.
you must be careful with her."
no! Just take care."
the doctor was gone.
Paul carried his mother downstairs. She
lay simply, like a child. But
when he was on the stairs, she put her arms round his neck, clinging.
so frightened of these beastly stairs," she said.
he was frightened, too. He
would let Leonard do it another time. He
felt he could not carry her.
thinks it's only a tumour!" cried Annie to her mother.
"And he can sweal it away."
KNEW he could," protested Mrs. Morel scornfully.
pretended not to notice that Paul had gone out of the room.
He sat in the kitchen, smoking.
Then he tried to brush some grey ash off his coat.
He looked again. It was
one of his mother's grey hairs. It
was so long! He held it up, and it drifted into the chimney.
He let go. The long grey
hair floated and was gone in the blackness of the chimney.
next day he kissed her before going back to work. It was very early in the morning, and they were alone.
won't fret, my boy!" she said.
it would be silly. And take
care of yourself."
he answered. Then, after a
while: "And I shall come
next Saturday, and shall bring my father?"
suppose he wants to come," she replied.
"At any rate, if he does you'll have to let him."
kissed her again, and stroked the hair from her temples, gently, tenderly,
as if she were a lover.
you be late?" she murmured.
going," he said, very low.
he sat a few minutes, stroking the brown and grey hair from her temples.
you won't be any worse, mother?"
I won't be any worse."
kissed her, held her in his arms for a moment, and was gone.
In the early sunny morning he ran to the station, crying all the way;
he did not know what for. And
her blue eyes were wide and staring as she thought of him.
the afternoon he went a walk with Clara.
They sat in the little wood where bluebells were standing.
He took her hand.
see," he said to Clara, "she'll never be better."
you don't know!" replied the other.
do," he said.
caught him impulsively to her breast.
and forget it, dear," she said; "try and forget it."
will," he answered.
breast was there, warm for him; her hands were in his hair.
It was comforting, and he held his arms round her.
But he did not forget. He
only talked to Clara of something else.
And it was always so. When
she felt it coming, the agony, she cried to him:
think of it, Paul! Don't think
of it, my darling!"
she pressed him to her breast, rocked him, soothed him like a child.
So he put the trouble aside for her sake, to take it up again
immediately he was alone. All
the time, as he went about, he cried mechanically.
His mind and hands were busy. He
cried, he did not know why. It
was his blood weeping. He was
just as much alone whether he was with Clara or with the men in the White
Horse. Just himself and this
pressure inside him, that was all that existed.
He read sometimes. He
had to keep his mind occupied. And
Clara was a way of occupying his mind.
the Saturday Walter Morel went to Sheffield.
He was a forlorn figure, looking rather as if nobody owned him.
Paul ran upstairs.
father's come," he said, kissing his mother.
he?" she answered wearily.
old collier came rather frightened into the bedroom.
dun I find thee, lass?" he said, going forward and kissing her in a
hasty, timid fashion.
I'm middlin'," she replied.
see tha art," he said. He
stood looking down on her. Then
he wiped his eyes with his handkerchief.
Helpless, and as if nobody owned him, he looked.
you gone on all right?" asked the wife, rather wearily, as if it were
an effort to talk to him.
he answered. "'Er's a bit
behint-hand now and again, as yer might expect."
she have your dinner ready?" asked Mrs. Morel.
I've 'ad to shout at 'er once or twice," he said.
you MUST shout at her if she's not ready.
She WILL leave things to the last minute."
gave him a few instructions. He
sat looking at her as if she were almost a stranger to him, before whom he
was awkward and humble, and also as if he had lost his presence of mind, and
wanted to run. This feeling
that he wanted to run away, that he was on thorns to be gone from so trying
a situation, and yet must linger because it looked better, made his presence
so trying. He put up his
eyebrows for misery, and clenched his fists on his knees, feeling so awkward
in presence of big trouble.
Morel did not change much. She
stayed in Sheffield for two months. If
anything, at the end she was rather worse.
But she wanted to go home. Annie
had her children. Mrs. Morel
wanted to go home. So they got
a motor-car from Nottingham--for she was too ill to go by train--and she was
driven through the sunshine. It
was just August; everything was bright and warm.
Under the blue sky they could all see she was dying.
Yet she was jollier than she had been for weeks.
They all laughed and talked.
she exclaimed, "I saw a lizard dart on that rock!"
eyes were so quick; she was still so full of life.
knew she was coming. He had the
front door open. Everybody was
on tiptoe. Half the street
turned out. They heard the
sound of the great motor-car. Mrs.
Morel, smiling, drove home down the street.
just look at them all come out to see me!" she said.
"But there, I suppose I should have done the same.
How do you do, Mrs. Mathews? How
are you, Mrs. Harrison?"
none of them could hear, but they saw her smile and nod.
And they all saw death on her face, they said.
It was a great event in the street.
wanted to carry her indoors, but he was too old. Arthur took her as if she were a child. They had set her a big, deep chair by the hearth where her
rocking-chair used to stand. When
she was unwrapped and seated, and had drunk a little brandy, she looked
round the room.
think I don't like your house, Annie," she said; "but it's nice to
be in my own home again."
Morel answered huskily:
is, lass, it is."
Minnie, the little quaint maid, said:
we glad t' 'ave yer."
was a lovely yellow ravel of sunflowers in the garden.
She looked out of the window.
are my sunflowers!" she said.
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