Origin: http://www.seductionpalace.com

     Ours  is essentially a tragic age, so  we refuse to take it tragically.
The cataclysm has happened, we are among the ruins, we start to build up new
little habitats, to have new little hopes. It is  rather hard work: there is
now no  smooth road into the future: but we go round,  or  scramble over the
obstacles. We've got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen.
     This  was more  or  less Constance  Chatterley's  position. The war had
brought the roof down over her head. And she had realized that one must live
and learn.
     She married Clifford Chatterley  in 1917, when he was home  for a month
on leave. They had a month's honeymoon. Then he went back to Flanders: to be
shipped over  to  England  again six  months later, more  or less  in  bits.
Constance,   his   wife,  was  then  twenty-three  years  old,  and  he  was
     His hold on life  was marvellous. He didn't die, and the bits seemed to
grow together again. For  two years he remained in  the doctor's hands. Then
he was pronounced  a cure, and could  return to life  again, with  the lower
half of his body, from the hips down, paralysed for ever.
     This was in  1920. They returned, Clifford and Constance, to  his home,
Wragby Hall, the  family `seat'. His  father  had died, Clifford  was now  a
baronet, Sir Clifford, and Constance was Lady Chatterley. They came to start
housekeeping and married life in the rather forlorn home  of the Chatterleys
on a rather inadequate income. Clifford had a  sister, but she had departed.
Otherwise there  were no near relatives.  The  elder brother was dead in the
war. Crippled for  ever, knowing he could never have  any children, Clifford
came home to the smoky Midlands to keep the Chatterley name alive  while  he
     He was not really downcast. He could  wheel himself about  in a wheeled
chair, and he had  a  bath-chair  with a small motor attachment, so he could
drive himself slowly round  the garden and into the line melancholy park, of
which he was really so proud, though he pretended to be flippant about it.
     Having suffered so much, the capacity for suffering had to some  extent
left him.  He  remained strange and  bright and cheerful, almost,  one might
say, chirpy,  with his  ruddy,  healthy-looking face,  arid  his  pale-blue,
challenging bright eyes. His shoulders were broad and strong, his hands were
very  strong.  He was expensively  dressed, and  wore handsome neckties from
Bond Street. Yet still in  his face one  saw  the  watchful look, the slight
vacancy of a cripple.
     He had so very nearly lost his life, that what remained was wonderfully
precious to him. It was obvious in the anxious  brightness  of his eyes, how
proud he was, after the great shock, of being alive. But he had been so much
hurt that something inside him had perished, some  of his feelings had gone.
There was a blank of insentience.
     Constance, his wife, was a ruddy,  country-looking girl with soft brown
hair  and sturdy body,  and slow movements, full of unusual energy. She  had
big, wondering eyes, and a  soft mild voice, and  seemed  just to  have come
from her  native  village. It was  not so at all.  Her  father was the  once
well-known R.  A., old  Sir Malcolm  Reid.  Her  mother had  been one of the
cultivated Fabians in the palmy, rather pre-Raphaelite days. Between artists
and cultured socialists, Constance and her sister Hilda had  had what  might
be called an aesthetically unconventional upbringing. They had been taken to
Paris and Florence and Rome to breathe in art,  and they had been taken also
in the  other  direction,  to  the  Hague and  Berlin,  to  great  Socialist
conventions, where the speakers  spoke in every civilized tongue, and no one
was abashed.
     The two girls, therefore, were from an early age not the least  daunted
by either art or  ideal politics. It was their natural atmosphere. They were
at once cosmopolitan and  provincial, with the cosmopolitan provincialism of
art that goes with pure social ideals.
     They had been sent to Dresden  at the age  of fifteen, for  music among
other things. And they  had  had a good time there.  They lived freely among
the students, they argued with the men over  philosophical, sociological and
artistic matters, they were just as good as the men themselves: only better,
since  they were women.  And  they tramped  off to the  forests with  sturdy
youths bearing guitars, twang-twang!  They sang the  Wandervogel  songs, and
they were free. Free! That was the great word. Out in the open world, out in
the forests of the morning, with  lusty and splendid-throated young fellows,
free  to do as they  liked, and---above all---to say what they liked. It was
the talk that mattered supremely: the  impassioned interchange of talk. Love
was only a minor accompaniment.
     Both Hilda and Constance had had their  tentative love-affairs  by  the
time they were eighteen. The young men with whom they talked so passionately
and sang so lustily and  camped under the trees  in  such freedom wanted, of
course,  the love connexion. The girls were doubtful, but then the thing was
so much talked about, it was supposed to be so important.  And the men  were
so humble  and craving. Why couldn't a girl be queenly, and give the gift of
     So they had given the gift of themselves, each to the  youth  with whom
she  had  the  most  subtle  and  intimate  arguments.  The  arguments,  the
discussions were the great thing: the love-making and  connexion were only a
sort of  primitive reversion and  a  bit of an anti-climax.  One was less in
love with the boy afterwards,  and a  little inclined  to hate him, as if he
had trespassed on one's privacy  and inner freedom. For, of  course, being a
girl, one's whole dignity and meaning  in life consisted in the  achievement
of an absolute, a perfect, a pure and  noble freedom. What else did a girl's
life mean? To shake off the old and sordid connexions and subjections.
     And however one might sentimentalize it, this sex business  was one  of
the most ancient, sordid connexions and subjections. Poets who glorified  it
were  mostly  men.  Women  had  always  known there  was  something  better,
something  higher.  And  now  they  knew  it  more definitely than ever. The
beautiful pure freedom  of a  woman was infinitely  more wonderful than  any
sexual love.  The only unfortunate thing  was that men lagged  so far behind
women in the matter. They insisted on the sex thing like dogs.
     And a woman had to yield. A man was like a child  with his appetites. A
woman had to yield  him what he wanted, or like a  child  he  would probably
turn nasty and  flounce  away and spoil what was a very pleasant  connexion.
But a woman could yield to a man without yielding her inner, free self. That
the poets and talkers about sex did not seem to have taken sufficiently into
account. A  woman could  take  a  man  without really  giving  herself away.
Certainly she could take him without  giving herself into his power.  Rather
she could  use this sex  thing to have power over him. For  she only had  to
hold  herself back  in sexual  intercourse,  and let him  finish and  expend
himself without herself coming to the crisis: and then she could prolong the
connexion and  achieve  her orgasm  and her crisis while he  was merely  her
     Both sisters had had  their love experience by the  time the  war came,
and they were hurried home. Neither was ever in love with a young man unless
he  and she  were verbally very  near:  that is  unless they were profoundly
interested,  TALKING  to   one  another.  The  amazing,  the  profound,  the
unbelievable thrill there was in passionately talking to some  really clever
young man by  the  hour, resuming day after  day for months...this they  had
never realized till it happened! The paradisal promise: Thou shalt  have men
to talk to!---had never been uttered. It was fulfilled before they knew what
a promise it was.
     And if after  the roused intimacy  of these  vivid and soul-enlightened
discussions the sex  thing became more  or  less inevitable, then let it. It
marked  the  end of a  chapter.  It  had  a thrill of its  own too:  a queer
vibrating thrill inside the body, a  final spasm of self-assertion, like the
last word, exciting, and very  like the row of asterisks that  can be put to
show the end of a paragraph, and a break in the theme.
     When the girls came home  for the summer holidays of  1913,  when Hilda
was twenty and Connie eighteen, their father could see plainly that they had
had the love experience.
     L'amour avait poss╔ par l└,  as somebody puts it. But he  was  a man of
experience himself,  and let life take its course. As for the  mot a nervous
invalid in  the  last few months of  her life,  she wanted her  girls to  be
`free', and to `fulfil themselves'. She  herself  had never been able  to be
altogether herself: it had been  denied her. Heaven knows why, for she was a
woman who had her own income and her own way. She blamed her husband. But as
a matter of fact, it was some old impression of authority on her own mind or
soul that she  could not get rid of. It  had nothing to do with Sir Malcolm,
who left his  nervously hostile, high-spirited wife to rule her  own  roost,
while he went his own way.
     So  the girls  were `free', and went back to  Dresden, and their music,
and the university and the young men. They loved their respective young men,
and their respective young  men  loved them with  all the passion of  mental
attraction. All the wonderful things the young men thought and expressed and
wrote,  they  thought and  expressed and wrote for the young women. Connie's
young man  was  musical, Hilda's was  technical. But they  simply lived  for
their  young women. In their minds and  their mental  excitements,  that is.
Somewhere else they were a little rebuffed, though they did not know it.
     It was obvious in  them too that love had  gone  through them: that is,
the  physical  experience.  It is curious what  a  subtle  but  unmistakable
transmutation  it makes, both in  the  body of men and women: the woman more
blooming,  more subtly  rounded,  her  young  angularities softened, and her
expression  either anxious or triumphant: the man much quieter, more inward,
the  very shapes  of his  shoulders and  his buttocks less  assertive,  more
     In the actual sex-thrill within the  body, the sisters nearly succumbed
to the strange male  power. But quickly  they recovered themselves, took the
sex-thrill  as a sensation, and remained free. Whereas the men, in gratitude
to the woman for the  sex experience, let  their souls  go out  to her.  And
afterwards looked rather as if they  had lost a shilling and found sixpence.
Connie's  man could be  a bit sulky, and Hilda's a bit jeering. But that  is
how men are! Ungrateful and never satisfied. When  you don't have  them they
hate you because you  won't; and when you do have them they  hate you again,
for  some  other reason. Or  for  no  reason at all, except  that  they  are
discontented children, and can't be satisfied whatever they get, let a woman
do what she may.
     However,  came the war, Hilda and Connie were  rushed home again  after
having been home already in May, to their mother's funeral. Before Christmas
of 1914 both their  German young men  were dead: whereupon the sisters wept,
and  loved the  young  men  passionately, but  underneath forgot  them. They
didn't exist any more.
     Both sisters lived in their father's, really their mother's, Kensington
housemixed  with  the  young  Cambridge  group,  the group  that  stood  for
`freedom'  and flannel trousers, and flannel shirts  open at the neck, and a
well-bred  sort of  emotional anarchy, and a whispering,  murmuring  sort of
voice,  and  an  ultra-sensitive  sort  of  manner. Hilda, however, suddenly
married a  man ten years older  than herself,  an  elder  member of the same
Cambridge group, a man with a fair amount of money, and a comfortable family
job in the  government: he  also wrote  philosophical essays. She lived with
him  in a smallish house  in Westminster,  and  moved in that  good sort  of
society of people in the government who are not tip-toppers, but who are, or
would  be, the real  intelligent power  in the nation: people who know  what
they're talking about, or talk as if they did.
     Connie   did  a  mild  form   of  war-work,   and  consorted  with  the
flannel-trousers  Cambridge intransigents, who  gently mocked at everything,
so far. Her `friend' was a Clifford Chatterley,  a  young man of twenty-two,
who had hurried  home from Bonn, where he was studying the technicalities of
coal-mining.  He had  previously spent two  years at Cambridge.  Now he  had
become  a first  lieutenant  in  a  smart  regiment,  so  he  could mock  at
everything more becomingly in uniform.
     Clifford  Chatterley was  more  upper-class  than  Connie.  Connie  was
well-to-do intelligentsia, but  he was  aristocracy.  Not the  big sort, but
still it. His  father was  a baronet, and his  mother had been  a viscount's
     But Clifford, while he was better bred than Connie, and more `society',
was in his own way more provincial and more timid. He was at his ease in the
narrow `great world', that  is, landed  aristocracy society,  but he was shy
and nervous of all that other big world which consists of the vast hordes of
the middle and lower  classes, and foreigners. If the truth must be told, he
was  just a little bit frightened of middle-and lower-class humanity, and of
foreigners not of his own class. He  was,  in some paralysing way, conscious
of  his  own  defencelessness, though  he had all the  defence of privilege.
Which is curious, but a phenomenon of our day.
     Therefore  the peculiar  soft  assurance of  a girl like Constance Reid
fascinated him. She was so much more mistress of herself in that outer world
of chaos than he was master of himself.
     Nevertheless he too was a rebel:  rebelling even against his class.  Or
perhaps  rebel is  too strong a word; far too  strong. He was only caught in
the general, popular recoil of the young against  convention and against any
sort  of  real authority. Fathers  were  ridiculous:  his  own obstinate one
supremely  so. And governments were  ridiculous:  our own  wait-and-see sort
especially  so. And  armies  were  ridiculous,  and old buffers  of generals
altogether, the  red-faced Kitchener supremely. Even the war was ridiculous,
though it did kill rather a lot of people.
     In  fact  everything  was  a  little  ridiculous,  or  very ridiculous:
certainly everything  connected with authority, whether it were in the  army
or the government  or the  universities, was ridiculous to a degree. And  as
far  as  the  governing  class  made any  pretensions  to govern,  they were
ridiculous too.  Sir  Geoffrey, Clifford's father, was intensely ridiculous,
chopping down his trees, and weeding men  out  of his colliery to shove them
into the war; and  himself being so  safe and patriotic; but, also, spending
more money on his country than he'd got.
     When Miss Chatterley---Emma---came down to London  from the Midlands to
do some nursing work, she  was very witty in a quiet way about  Sir Geoffrey
and his  determined patriotism. Herbert, the elder brother and heir, laughed
outright,  though it was his trees that were falling for  trench props.  But
Clifford  only  smiled a little  uneasily. Everything was  ridiculous, quite
true. But  when it came too close and oneself became  ridiculous too...?  At
least  people  of  a  different  class,  like  Connie,  were  earnest  about
something. They believed in something.
     They  were  rather  earnest  about  the  Tommies,  and  the  threat  of
conscription, and the shortage of sugar and  toffee for the children. In all
these  things, of  course,  the authorities were ridiculously at fault.  But
Clifford could not take it to heart. To him the authorities were  ridiculous
ab ovo, not because of toffee or Tommies.
     And the authorities felt ridiculous, and behaved in a rather ridiculous
fashion, and it  was all  a  mad hatter's tea-party for a while. Till things
developed over there, and Lloyd George came to save the situation over here.
And this surpassed even ridicule, the flippant young laughed no more.
     In 1916 Herbert  Chatterley was killed, so Clifford became heir. He was
terrified even of this. His importance as son of Sir Geoffrey,  and child of
Wragby,  was so ingrained in him, he could never  escape it. And yet he knew
that this too, in the eyes of the  vast seething world, was ridiculous.  Now
he  was heir and  responsible  for  Wragby.  Was that not terrible? and also
splendid and at the same time, perhaps, purely absurd?
     Sir Geoffrey  would have none  of the absurdity. He was pale and tense,
withdrawn  into himself, and obstinately determined to save his country  and
his own position, let it be Lloyd George or who it might. So cut off he was,
so divorced from the England that  was really England, so utterly incapable,
that he  even  thought  well  of Horatio Bottomley. Sir  Geoffrey  stood for
England and  Lloyd  George as  his forebears  had  stood  for England and St
George:  and he  never knew there was  a  difference. So Sir Geoffrey felled
timber and stood for Lloyd George and England, England and Lloyd George.
     And  he wanted Clifford to marry and produce an heir. Clifford felt his
father was a hopeless anachronism.  But wherein was  he himself  any further
ahead, except in a  wincing  sense of the ridiculousness  of everything, and
the paramount  ridiculousness of his own  position?  For willy-nilly he took
his baronetcy and Wragby with the last seriousness.
     The gay excitement had  gone out of the war...dead.  Too much death and
horror. A man needed support arid comfort. A man needed to have an anchor in
the safe world. A man needed a wife.
     The  Chatterleys,  two  brothers  and  a  sister,  had  lived curiously
isolated, shut  in  with  one another  at  Wragby,  in  spite of  all  their
connexions. A sense of  isolation intensified the family tie, a sense of the
weakness  of their position,  a  sense of defencelessness, in spite  of,  or
because of, the title and the land. They  were cut off from those industrial
Midlands in which they passed their lives. And  they were cut off from their
own class by the brooding, obstinate, shut-up nature of Sir Geoffrey,  their
father, whom they ridiculed, but whom they were so sensitive about.
     The three had said they would all live together always. But now Herbert
was dead,  and  Sir Geoffrey  wanted Clifford  to marry. Sir Geoffrey barely
mentioned it: he spoke very little. But his silent, brooding insistence that
it should be so was hard for Clifford to bear up against.
     But Emma said No! She was ten  years older  than Clifford, and she felt
his marrying would be  a desertion and a betrayal of  what the young ones of
the family had stood for.
     Clifford married Connie,  nevertheless, and  had  his month's honeymoon
with  her. It  was  the terrible  year  1917, and  they were intimate as two
people who  stand  together  on a sinking ship. He  had been virgin  when he
married: and the sex part did  not mean much to him.  They were so close, he
and she, apart from that. And Connie exulted a little in this intimacy which
was  beyond sex,  and beyond a man's `satisfaction`. Clifford anyhow was not
just  keen  on  his `satisfaction', as  so many  men seemed  to  be. No, the
intimacy was deeper,  more  personal  than  that.  And  sex  was  merely  an
accident,  or  an adjunct, one  of  the curious obsolete, organic  processes
which persisted in its own  clumsiness, but was not really necessary. Though
Connie  did want children: if  only to fortify her against her sister-in-law
     But  early in 1918 Clifford was shipped home smashed, and there  was no
child. And Sir Geoffrey died of chagrin.

     Connie and  Clifford came home to Wragby in  the autumn of  1920.  Miss
Chatterley, still disgusted at her brother's defection, had departed and was
living in a little flat in London.
     Wragby was  a long low old house in brown stone, begun about the middle
of the eighteenth century, and added on to, till it  was a warren of a place
without much distinction. It stood on an eminence in a rather line old  park
of  oak trees,  but alas, one could see in the near distance the  chimney of
Tevershall pit,  with its  clouds of steam and smoke, and on the  damp, hazy
distance of the hill the raw straggle of Tevershall village, a village which
began almost at the park gates, and trailed in utter hopeless ugliness for a
long  and gruesome  mile: houses,  rows of wretched, small,  begrimed, brick
houses, with  black slate  roofs for lids, sharp  angles and  wilful,  blank
     Connie was accustomed  to Kensington or the Scotch hills or  the Sussex
downs: that was her England. With the stoicism of the young she took  in the
utter, soulless ugliness of the coal-and-iron Midlands at a glance, and left
it at what it was: unbelievable and not to be thought about. From the rather
dismal  rooms at  Wragby she heard the rattle-rattle of the  screens  at the
pit, the puff of the winding-engine, the clink-clink of shunting trucks, and
the hoarse little whistle  of the  colliery locomotives. Tevershall pit-bank
was burning, had been burning for years,  and it would cost thousands to put
it out. So it had to burn. And when the wind was that way,  which was often,
the  house was full  of the  stench  of this  sulphurous  combustion  of the
earth's  excrement.  But  even  on windless  days  the  air always smelt  of
something  under-earth:  sulphur,  iron,  coal,  or acid. And  even  on  the
Christmas roses the smuts settled persistently, incredible, like black manna
from the skies of doom.
     Well, there it was: fated like the rest of things! It was rather awful,
but why kick? You couldn't kick it away. It just went on. Life, like all the
rest!  On the  low dark ceiling of cloud at night  red  blotches burned  and
quavered, dappling and swelling and contracting,  like burns that give pain.
It was the furnaces. At first they fascinated Connie with a sort of  horror;
she  felt  she was living underground. Then she got used to them. And in the
morning it rained.
     Clifford professed to like  Wragby better than London. This country had
a grim will of its  own, and the people had guts.  Connie wondered what else
they had: certainly  neither eyes  nor minds. The  people  were  as haggard,
shapeless, and dreary  as the countryside, and as unfriendly. Only there was
something   in   their  deep-mouthed  slurring  of   the  dialect,  and  the
thresh-thresh of their hob-nailed pit-boots as they trailed home in gangs on
the asphalt from work, that was terrible and a bit mysterious.
     There had been no welcome home for the young squire, no festivities, no
deputation, not even a single  flower. Only a dank ride in a motor-car  up a
dark, damp drive, burrowing through  gloomy trees, out  to the slope of  the
park where grey damp sheep were feeding, to the knoll where the house spread
its dark brown  facade, and  the housekeeper  and her husband were hovering,
like unsure tenants on the face of the earth, ready to stammer a welcome.
     There was no communication between Wragby Hall and Tevershall  village,
none. No caps were touched, no curtseys bobbed.  The colliers merely stared;
the tradesmen lifted their caps to  Connie as to an acquaintance, and nodded
awkwardly to Clifford; that  was all. Gulf  impassable, and a  quiet sort of
resentment on  either side. At first Connie suffered from the steady drizzle
of resentment that came from  the village. Then she hardened herself to  it,
and  it became a sort of tonic, something to live up to. It was not that she
and  Clifford were  unpopular,  they  merely  belonged  to  another  species
altogether from the colliers. Gulf impassable, breach indescribable, such as
is  perhaps  nonexistent south  of the  Trent. But  in the Midlands and  the
industrial  North gulf impassable, across which no communication  could take
place. You stick to your side, I'll stick to mine! A  strange  denial of the
common pulse of humanity.
     Yet the village sympathized with Clifford and  Connie in the  abstract.
In the flesh it was---You leave me alone!---on either side.
     The rector  was a  nice  man of  about sixty,  full  of  his duty,  and
reduced,  personally, almost  to a nonentity  by  the silent---You leave  me
alone!---of the  village.  The miners' wives were nearly all Methodists. The
miners were nothing. But even so much official uniform as the clergyman wore
was enough  to obscure entirely the  fact that he  was a man like any  other
man.  No, he  was  Mester Ashby, a  sort of automatic preaching and  praying
     This  stubborn, instinctive---We think ourselves as good as you, if you
are  Lady  Chatterley!---puzzled and baffled Connie  at first extremely. The
curious, suspicious, false amiability with which the  miners' wives  met her
overtures; the curiously offensive tinge of---Oh dear me! I am somebody now,
with Lady Chatterley talking to me! But she needn't think I'm not as good as
her  for  all  that!---which  she  always  heard  twanging  in  the  women's
half-fawning voices, was impossible. There was no  getting  past  it. It was
hopelessly and offensively nonconformist.
     Clifford left them alone, and she learnt to do the  same: she just went
by without looking at them,  and they  stared as if  she were  a walking wax
figure. When  he  had  to deal  with them, Clifford  was  rather haughty and
contemptuous;  one  could no  longer afford to be friendly.  In fact  he was
altogether rather supercilious  and contemptuous of anyone  not  in  his own
class. He stood his ground, without any attempt at conciliation. And  he was
neither  liked nor  disliked by the people: he was just part of things, like
the pit-bank and Wragby itself.
     But  Clifford was really  extremely shy  and self-conscious now  he was
lamed. He hated seeing anyone except just the personal servants. For  he had
to sit in a wheeled chair or a sort of bath-chair. Nevertheless  he was just
as  carefully dressed  as ever,  by his expensive tailors, and  he wore  the
careful Bond Street neckties just as before, and from the top he looked just
as smart  and impressive  as  ever.  He had never  been one  of  the  modern
ladylike  young  men:  rather bucolic  even, with his ruddy face  and  broad
shoulders. But his  very quiet, hesitating voice, and  his eyes, at the same
time  bold  and frightened, assured and uncertain,  revealed his nature. His
manner  was  often  offensively  supercilious,  and  then  again modest  and
self-effacing, almost tremulous.
     Connie and he were attached to one another, in the aloof modern way. He
was much too hurt in himself, the great shock of his maiming, to be easy and
flippant. He was a hurt thing. And as such Connie stuck to him passionately.
     But she could not help  feeling how little connexion he really had with
people. The miners were, in a sense, his own men; but he saw them as objects
rather than men,  parts  of the pit rather  than parts  of life,  crude  raw
phenomena rather than human beings along with him. He was in some way afraid
of  them, he could not bear to have  them look  at him now he was lame.  And
their queer, crude life seemed as unnatural as that of hedgehogs.
     He was remotely interested; but like a man  looking  down a microscope,
or  up a telescope.  He was not  in touch.  He was not in  actual touch with
anybody, save, traditionally, with Wragby, and,  through the close  bond  of
family  defence, with Emma. Beyond this  nothing really  touched him. Connie
felt that she herself didn't really, not really touch him; perhaps there was
nothing to get at ultimately; just a negation of human contact.
     Yet he was absolutely dependent on her, he needed her every moment. Big
and  strong as he was, he  was helpless. He could wheel  himself about  in a
wheeled chair, and he had a  sort of bath-chair with a  motor attachment, in
which he  could  puff slowly round the park. But  alone he was  like a  lost
thing. He needed Connie to be there, to assure him he existed at all.
     Still he was ambitious. He had taken to writing  stories; curious, very
personal  stories  about people he had known.  Clever, rather spiteful,  and
yet, in some mysterious way, meaningless. The observation  was extraordinary
and  peculiar.  But there was no touch, no actual  contact. It was as if the
whole thing took  place in  a vacuum. And since the field of life is largely
an  artificially-lighted stage today,  the  stories  were  curiously true to
modern life, to the modern psychology, that is.
     Clifford was almost  morbidly sensitive about  these stories. He wanted
everyone to think them  good,  of the best, ne  plus ultra. They appeared in
the  most modern  magazines,  and were  praised and blamed as  usual. But to
Clifford  the blame  was torture, like knives goading him. It was as if  the
whole of his being were in his stories.
     Connie helped him  as much as she could. At first she was  thrilled. He
talked everything over with her monotonously, insistently, persistently, and
she had to respond with all her might. It was  as if her whole soul and body
and sex had to rouse up and  pass into  theme stories of  his. This thrilled
her and absorbed her.
     Of  physical  life they lived very  little. She had to superintend  the
house. But the housekeeper had served Sir  Geoffrey for many years, arid the
dried-up, elderly, superlatively correct female  you could hardly call her a
parlour-maid, or even a woman...who waited  at table, had been  in the house
for forty  years.  Even the  very  housemaids were  no longer  young. It was
awful! What could you  do with such a place, but leave  it alone!  All these
endless rooms that nobody  used, all  the  Midlands  routine, the mechanical
cleanliness and the mechanical  order! Clifford had insisted on a  new cook,
an experienced woman who had served him in his rooms in London. For the rest
the place  seemed  run by mechanical anarchy. Everything  went  on in pretty
good order,  strict cleanliness, and  strict punctuality; even pretty strict
honesty.  And  yet, to  Connie,  it was a  methodical  anarchy. No warmth of
feeling united  it  organically.  The  house seemed as dreary as  a  disused
     What  could  she do but  leave  it alone? So  she  left it alone.  Miss
Chatterley came sometimes, with her aristocratic  thin  face, and triumphed,
finding nothing altered. She would never forgive Connie for ousting her from
her union in consciousness with her brother. It was she, Emma, who should be
bringing forth the stories,  these books,  with him; the Chatterley stories,
something new in the world, that they, the Chatterleys, had put there. There
was no other standard.  There was no organic connexion  with the thought and
expression that had gone  before.  Only  something  new in  the  world:  the
Chatterley books, entirely personal.
     Connie's father, where he paid a flying visit to Wragby, and in private
to his daughter: As for Clifford's writing, it's  smart, but there's nothing
in it. It won't last!  Connie  looked at the  burly Scottish knight who  had
done himself well all  his life, and her eyes, her big, still-wondering blue
eyes  became vague. Nothing in it! What did he mean by nothing in it? If the
critics  praised it,  and Clifford's  name was almost  famous, and  it  even
brought in money...what did her father mean  by  saying there was nothing in
Clifford's writing? What else could there be?
     For Connie had adopted the standard of the young: what there was in the
moment was everything.  And moments followed one another without necessarily
belonging to one another.
     It was in her second winter at Wragby her father said  to her: `I hope,
Connie, you won't let circumstances force you into being a demi-vierge.'
     `A demi-vierge!' replied Connie vaguely. `Why? Why not?'
     `Unless you like  it, of course!' said her  father hastily. To Clifford
he said  the same, when the two men were alone: `I'm afraid it doesn't quite
suit Connie to be a demi-vierge.'
     `A half-virgin!' replied Clifford, translating the phrase to be sure of
     He  thought for  a moment,  then  flushed  very red. He was  angry  and
     `In what way doesn't it suit her?' he asked stiffly.
     `She's  getting thin...angular.  It's  not  her  style.  She's not  the
pilchard sort of little slip of a girl, she's a bonny Scotch trout.'
     `Without the spots, of course!' said Clifford.
     He wanted to  say  something  later  to  Connie  about the  demi-vierge
business...the half-virgin  state of her  affairs.  But he could  not  bring
himself to do it.  He was at  once too  intimate with  her and not  intimate
enough.  He was so  very much at  one with  her,  in his  mind and hers, but
bodily they were non-existent to one another, and neither could bear to drag
in the corpus delicti. They were so intimate, and utterly out of touch.
     Connie guessed, however,  that her  father had said something, and that
something was in Clifford's mind. She  knew that he didn't mind whether  she
were  demi-vierge or demi-monde, so long as  he  didn't absolutely know, and
wasn't  made to see.  What the  eye  doesn't see and the mind  doesn't know,
doesn't exist.
     Connie  and Clifford had  now been nearly two years at  Wragby,  living
their vague life of absorption in Clifford and his work. Their interests had
never ceased to flow together over his work. They talked and wrestled in the
throes of  composition,  and felt  as  if something were  happening,  really
happening, really in the void.
     And  thus far  it  was  a  life: in  the void.  For  the  rest  it  was
non-existence. Wragby  was  there,  the  servants...but spectral, not really
existing.  Connie  went for walks  in the park, and in the woods that joined
the park, and enjoyed the solitude and the mystery, kicking the brown leaves
of  autumn, and picking  the primroses of spring. But it was all a dream; or
rather it was like the simulacrum of  reality. The  oak-leaves were  to  her
like oak-leaves seen ruffling in a mirror, she herself was a figure somebody
had read  about, picking primroses  that were  only shadows  or memories, or
words. No  substance  to her  or anything...no  touch, no contact! Only this
life with Clifford,  this endless spinning of webs of yarn, of  the minutiae
of  consciousness, these  stories Sir Malcolm said there was nothing in, and
they  wouldn't last.  Why should there be anything in them, why should  they
last? Sufficient unto  the day  is  the evil  thereof.  Sufficient unto  the
moment is the appearance of reality.
     Clifford  had quite a number of friends, acquaintances  really,  and he
invited them to Wragby. He invited all sorts of people, critics and writers,
people who would help to  praise his books. And they were flattered at being
asked to Wragby, and they praised. Connie  understood it all  perfectly. But
why not? This was one of the fleeting patterns in the mirror. What was wrong
with it?
     She was hostess to these people...mostly  men. She was hostess also  to
Clifford's  occasional  aristocratic  relations.   Being  a   soft,   ruddy,
country-looking girl, inclined to freckles, with big blue eyes, and curling,
brown hair,  and  a  soft  voice, and  rather strong, female  loins  she was
considered  a  little  old-fashioned and  `womanly'.  She was not a  `little
pilchard  sort of  fish', like a boy, with  a boy's  flat breast and  little
buttocks. She was too feminine to be quite smart.
     So the men, especially  those no longer young,  were very  nice  to her
indeed. But, knowing what torture poor Clifford  would feel at the slightest
sign of flirting on her part, she gave them no encouragement at all. She was
quiet  and vague,  she had no contact with  them and  intended to have none.
Clifford was extraordinarily proud of himself.
     His relatives treated  her quite kindly. She knew  that  the kindliness
indicated  a  lack  of  fear, and that  these people had no respect  for you
unless you could  frighten them a little.  But again she had no contact. She
let  them be kindly  and disdainful, she let them feel they  had  no need to
draw their steel in readiness. She had no real connexion with them.
     Time went on. Whatever happened, nothing  happened, because she was  so
beautifully out of contact.  She and Clifford lived  in their ideas  and his
books. She entertained...there were always people in the house. Time went on
as the clock does, half past eight instead of half past seven.

     Connie  was aware,  however, of  a  growing  restlessness.  Out of  her
disconnexion,  a restlessness was taking possession of her like  madness. It
twitched her limbs when she didn't want to twitch them, it jerked her  spine
when she didn't want  to jerk upright but  preferred to rest comfortably. It
thrilled inside  her body,  in  her womb, somewhere, till she  felt she must
jump into water and swim to get away  from  it;  a mad restlessness. It made
her heart beat violently for no reason. And she was getting thinner.
     It  was  just restlessness. She would rush off across the park, abandon
Clifford,  and lie  prone in the bracken. To get away  from the  house...she
must get away from the house and everybody. The work was her one refuge, her
     But  it was not  really a  refuge,  a  sanctuary,  because  she had  no
connexion with it.  It was  only  a place where she could  get away from the
rest. She never really touched the spirit of the wood itself...if it had any
such nonsensical thing.
     Vaguely  she knew  herself that  she was going  to pieces  in some way.
Vaguely  she knew  she was  out  of connexion: she had lost touch  with  the
substantial and  vital  world.  Only Clifford and his  books,  which did not
exist...which had nothing  in them! Void  to void. Vaguely she knew. But  it
was like beating her head against a stone.
     Her  father warned  her  again:  `Why  don't you  get  yourself a beau,
Connie? Do you all the good in the world.'
     That winter Michaelis came for a few days.  He was a young Irishman who
had already made a large fortune by  his plays in America. He had been taken
up quite  enthusiastically for a time  by  smart society  in London, for  he
wrote smart society plays. Then gradually smart society realized that it had
been made ridiculous at the  hands of a down-at-heel Dublin street-rat,  and
revulsion  came.  Michaelis  was  the  last  word  in what  was  caddish and
bounderish. He was discovered to be anti-English, and to the class that made
this discovery this was worse than the dirtiest crime.  He was cut dead, and
his corpse thrown into the refuse can.
     Nevertheless Michaelis had  his apartment  in Mayfair, and walked  down
Bond Street  the image  of  a gentleman, for you  cannot  get  even the best
tailors to cut their low-down customers, when the customers pay.
     Clifford was inviting the young man of thirty at an inauspicious moment
in thyoung man's career.  Yet  Clifford did not hesitate. Michaelis had  the
ear of a few million people,  probably;  and, being  a hopeless outsider, he
would no doubt be grateful to be asked down to Wragby at this juncture, when
the rest of the smart world was cutting  him.  Being grateful,  he  would no
doubt do Clifford `good' over there in America. Kudos!  A man  gets a lot of
kudos,  whatever  that  may be,  by  being talked  about  in the right  way,
especially `over there'. Clifford  was  a coming man; and it  was remarkable
what a sound publicity instinct  he had. In the  end Michaelis did him  most
nobly in a play, and Clifford was a sort of popular hero. Till the reaction,
when he found he had been made ridiculous.
     Connie wondered a little over Clifford's  blind, imperious instinct  to
become known: known, that is, to the vast amorphous world he did not himself
know,  and  of  which  he  was uneasily afraid;  known  as  a  writer, as  a
first-class  modern writer. Connie  was aware from successful, old,  hearty,
bluffing  Sir  Malcolm, that  artists  did advertise  themselves,  and exert
themselves to put their goods over. But her father used channels ready-made,
used  by all  the  other R.  A.s who  sold their pictures. Whereas  Clifford
discovered new channels of publicity, all kinds. He  had all kinds of people
at  Wragby, without  exactly lowering  himself.  But,  determined  to  build
himself a monument of a  reputation quickly, he used any handy rubble in the
     Michaelis  arrived duly, in a very  neat car,  with  a chauffeur  and a
manservant. He was absolutely Bond Street! But at right  of him something in
Clifford's county soul recoiled. He wasn't exactly... not exactly...in fact,
he wasn't at all, well,  what his appearance intended to imply. To  Clifford
this was final and enough. Yet he was very polite to the man; to the amazing
success  in him.  The  bitch-goddess, as she is  called, of Success, roamed,
snarling  and  protective,  round  the half-humble,  half-defiant Michaelis'
heels,  and intimidated  Clifford  completely:  for he wanted to  prostitute
himself to the bitch-goddess, Success also, if only she would have him.
     Michaelis obviously wasn't an Englishman,  in spite of all the tailors,
hatters,  barbers, booters of the very best quarter of London.  No,  no,  he
obviously  wasn't an Englishman: the wrong sort  of  flattish, pale face and
bearing; and the wrong  sort of grievance. He had a grudge and a  grievance:
that was obvious  to any true-born English gentleman, who would scorn to let
such a  thing  appear blatant in his own demeanour. Poor Michaelis  had been
much kicked, so that he had a slightly tail-between-the-legs look  even now.
He had pushed his  way by  sheer instinct and sheerer effrontery  on  to the
stage and to the front of it, with  his plays. He had caught the public. And
he had thought the kicking days were over. Alas,  they weren't... They never
would be. For he,  in a sense, asked to be kicked.  He pined  to be where he
didn't belong...among the English  upper classes. And how  they  enjoyed the
various kicks they got at him! And how he hated them!
     Nevertheless he  travelled with  his manservant and his very  neat car,
this Dublin mongrel.
     There was something about him that Connie  liked. He didn't put on airs
to  himself, he  had no  illusions  about  himself.  He talked  to  Clifford
sensibly, briefly,  practically,  about all the things  Clifford  wanted  to
know. He  didn't expand or let himself go. He knew he had been asked down to
Wragby to  be  made  use  of, and like an  old,  shrewd,  almost indifferent
business man, or big-business man, he let himself be asked questions, and he
answered with as little waste of feeling as possible.
     `Money!' he said. `Money is a sort of instinct. It's a sort of property
of  nature  in a  man to make money.  It's nothing you do. It's no trick you
play. It's a sort  of permanent accident of your own nature; once you start,
you make money, and you go on; up to a point, I suppose.'
     `But you've got to begin,' said Clifford.
     `Oh, quite! You've got  to  get in. You can do nothing if  you are kept
outside. You've got  to beat your way in. Once  you've  done that, you can't
help it.'
     `But could you have made money except by plays?' asked Clifford.
     `Oh, probably not! I may be a  good writer or I may be a bad one, but a
writer  and a writer of plays is what I am, and I've got to be.  There's  no
question of that.'
     `And you think it's  a writer of  popular plays that you've got to be?'
asked Connie.
     `There, exactly!' he said, turning  to her in  a sudden flash. `There's
nothing in it! There's nothing in popularity. There's nothing in the public,
if it  comes  to  that.  There's  nothing really  in my  plays  to make them
popular. It's not  that. They just are like the weather...the sort that will
have to be...for the time being.'
     He turned  his slow, rather  full eyes, that  had been drowned in  such
fathomless disillusion,  on Connie,  and she trembled a little. He seemed so
old...endlessly old, built up  of  layers of disillusion, going  down in him
generation after generation, like geological strata; and at the same time he
was forlorn like  a child. An  outcast, in a  certain  sense;  but with  the
desperate bravery of his rat-like existence.
     `At least it's wonderful what  you've done at your time of life,'  said
Clifford contemplatively.
     `I'm  thirty...yes,  I'm thirty!' said Michaelis, sharply and suddenly,
with a curious laugh; hollow, triumphant, and bitter.
     `And are you alone?' asked Connie.
     `How do you mean? Do  I live alone? I've got my  servant. He's a Greek,
so he says,  and quite  incompetent. But I keep him. And I'm going to marry.
Oh, yes, I must marry.'
     `It sounds like going  to have your tonsils cut,' laughed Connie. `Will
it be an effort?'
     He looked at her admiringly. `Well, Lady Chatterley, somehow it will! I
find... excuse me...  I  find  I  can't marry  an Englishwoman, not even  an
     `Try an American,' said Clifford.
     `Oh, American!' He laughed a hollow laugh. `No, I've asked my man if he
will find me a Turk or something...something nearer to the Oriental.'
     Connie   really   wondered  at   this  queer,  melancholy  specimen  of
extraordinary  success;  it was said  he  had an  income of  fifty  thousand
dollars from America  alone.  Sometimes he  was  handsome: sometimes  as  he
looked  sideways,  downwards, and the light fell on  him, he had the silent,
enduring beauty of a carved ivory Negro mask, with his rather full eyes, and
the  strong  queerly-arched  brows,  the  immobile,  compressed mouth;  that
momentary but revealed immobility, an immobility,  a timelessness which  the
Buddha aims at, and which  Negroes express sometimes  without ever aiming at
it; something old, old, and acquiescent  in the race! Aeons of  acquiescence
in race destiny,  instead of our individual resistance. And  then a swimming
through,  like  rats  in a dark river. Connie felt a sudden, strange leap of
sympathy for him, a leap mingled with compassion, and tinged with repulsion,
amounting almost to  love. The outsider! The outsider! And they called him a
bounder! How much  more bounderish and assertive Clifford  looked!  How much
     Michaelis knew at once he had made an  impression on her. He turned his
full, hazel, slightly prominent eyes on her in a look of pure detachment. He
was estimating her, and the extent of the impression  he had made.  With the
English nothing  could save him from being the eternal  outsider,  not  even
love. Yet women sometimes fell for him...Englishwomen too.
     He knew just where he was with Clifford. They were two alien dogs which
would  have liked  to  snarl  at  one another,  but  which  smiled  instead,
perforce. But with the woman he was not quite so sure.
     Breakfast  was served in the bedrooms;  Clifford  never appeared before
lunch,  and the  dining-room was a little  dreary. After  coffee  Michaelis,
restless and  ill-sitting soul, wondered what  he  should do. It was a  fine
November...day fine  for Wragby. He looked over the melancholy park. My God!
What a place!
     He sent  a  servant  to ask,  could  he  be  of  any  service  to  Lady
Chatterley: he thought of driving into Sheffield. The answer  came, would he
care to go up to Lady Chatterley's sitting-room.
     Connie  had a  sitting-room  on the third floor, the top  floor  of the
central portion of  the house. Clifford's rooms were on the ground floor, of
course. Michaelis was flattered by being  asked up to Lady Chatterley's  own
parlour. He followed blindly after the servant...he never noticed things, or
had contact  with Isis surroundings. In her room he did glance vaguely round
at the fine German reproductions of Renoir and C╔zanne.
     `It's very pleasant up here,'  he said, with his queer  smile, as if it
hurt him to smile, showing his teeth. `You are wise to get up to the top.'
     `Yes, I think so,' she said.
     Her room was the only  gay, modern one in  the  house, the only spot in
Wragby  where her personality  was  at all revealed. Clifford had never seen
it, and she asked very few people up.
     Now she and Michaelis sit on opposite sides of the fire and talked. She
asked him about himself,  his mother and father, his brothers...other people
were always something of a wonder to her, and when her sympathy was awakened
she  was quite  devoid of  class  feeling.  Michaelis  talked frankly  about
himself,  quite frankly, without  affectation,  simply revealing his bitter,
indifferent,  stray-dog's soul, then showing a gleam of revengeful pride  in
his success.
     `But why are you  such a lonely bird?' Connie  asked him; and  again he
looked at her, with his full, searching, hazel look.
     `Some birds are  that way,' he replied.  Then, with a touch of familiar
irony: `but, look here,  what about yourself? Aren't you  by way of being  a
lonely bird yourself?' Connie, a little startled, thought about it for a few
moments, and then she said: `Only in a way! Not altogether, like you!'
     `Am  I altogether  a lonely  bird?' he asked, with  his queer grin of a
smile, as if he had toothache; it was so wry, and his eyes were so perfectly
unchangingly melancholy, or stoical, or disillusioned or afraid.
     `Why?' she said, a little  breathless, as she looked at him. `You  are,
aren't you?'
     She felt a terrible appeal coming to her from him, that made her almost
lose her balance.
     `Oh, you're quite right!' he said, turning his  head  away, and looking
sideways, downwards,  with that strange immobility of an  old race  that  is
hardly here in our present day. It was that that really made Connie lose her
power to see him detached from herself.
     He  looked  up  at  her  with  the  full  glance  that saw  everything,
registered everything. At the same time, the  infant crying in the night was
crying out of his breast to her, in a way that affected her very womb.
     `It's awfully nice of you to think of me,' he said laconically.
     `Why shouldn't  I think of you?' she exclaimed,  with  hardly breath to
utter it.
     He gave the wry, quick hiss of a laugh.
     `Oh,  in that  way!...May I  hold  your hand  for  a  minute?' he asked
suddenly, fixing his eyes on her with almost hypnotic power, and sending out
an appeal that affected her direct in the womb.
     She stared at  him, dazed and transfixed, and he went over and  kneeled
beside her,  and took  her two  feet close in his two hands, and buried  his
face  in her lap,  remaining motionless. She  was  perfectly dim and  dazed,
looking  down in  a sort of amazement at the rather tender nape of his neck,
feeling his face  pressing  her thighs. In all her burning dismay, she could
not  help  putting  her   hand,  with  tenderness  and  compassion,  on  the
defenceless nape of his neck, and he trembled, with a deep shudder.
     Then he looked up at her with that awful  appeal  in his full,  glowing
eyes. She was  utterly incapable of resisting it. From her breast flowed the
answering, immense yearning over him; she must give him anything, anything.
     He  was a curious and  very gentle lover, very  gentle with  the woman,
trembling uncontrollably, and yet at the same time detached, aware, aware of
every sound outside.
     To her it  meant nothing  except  that she gave herself to  him. And at
length he ceased to quiver any more, and lay quite still, quite still. Then,
with dim, compassionate fingers,  she  stroked  his  head, that  lay  on her
     When he rose, he  kissed both her  hands, then both her feet, in  their
su╚de slippers, and  in  silence went  away to the end of the room, where he
stood  with  his back to  her.  There  was silence for some minutes. Then he
turned and came to her again as she sat in her old place by the fire.
     `And  now,  I suppose you'll hate  me!' he said in  a quiet, inevitable
way. She looked up at him quickly.
     `Why should I?' she asked.
     `They mostly do,' he said; then he caught himself up. `I mean...a woman
is supposed to.'
     `This  is  the  last  moment  when  I  ought  to  hate you,'  she  said
     `I know!  I know! It should be so! You're frightfully good to me...' he
cried miserably.
     She wondered  why  he should be miserable.  `Won't you sit down again?'
she said. He glanced at the door.
     `Sir Clifford!'  he  said,  `won't he...won't  he  be...?' She paused a
moment to  consider. `Perhaps!' she said. And she looked up at him. `I don't
want Clifford to know not even to suspect. It  would hurt him so much. But I
don't think it's wrong, do you?'
     `Wrong! Good God, no!  You're only  too  infinitely good  to me...I can
hardly bear it.'
     He  turned aside,  and she  saw  that  in  another moment  he  would be
     `But we  needn't let Clifford  know,  need we?'  she pleaded. `It would
hurt him so. And if he never knows, never suspects, it hurts nobody.'
     `Me!' he said, almost fiercely; `he'll know nothing from me! You see if
he does. Me  give myself away! Ha! Ha!' he  laughed  hollowly, cynically, at
such an  idea. She  watched him in wonder. He said  to her: `May I kiss your
hand arid go? I'll  run into  Sheffield I think, and  lunch there, if I may,
and be back to tea. May I do anything for you? May I be sure you  don't hate
me?---and that you won't?'---he ended with a desperate note of cynicism.
     `No, I don't hate you,' she said. `I think you're nice.'
     `Ah!' he said to her fiercely, `I'd  rather  you said  that to me  than
said you  love  me!  It means such  a lot more...Till  afternoon then.  I've
plenty to think about till then.' He kissed her hands humbly and was gone.
     `I don't think I can stand that young man,' said Clifford at lunch.
     `Why?' asked Connie.
     `He's  such a bounder  underneath  his veneer...just waiting to  bounce
     `I think people have been so unkind to him,' said Connie.
     `Do you  wonder?  And do you think he  employs his  shining hours doing
deeds of kindness?'
     `I think he has a certain sort of generosity.'
     `Towards whom?'
     `I don't quite know.'
     `Naturally  you  don't.  I'm  afraid  you mistake unscrupulousness  for
     Connie paused. Did she? It  was just possible. Yet the unscrupulousness
of Michaelis had  a certain fascination for her. He went whole lengths where
Clifford only  crept a  few timid paces. In  his way  he  had conquered  the
world, which  was what Clifford wanted to do. Ways  and means...? Were those
of Michaelis more  despicable than those of  Clifford? Was the way the  poor
outsider had shoved and bounced himself  forward in person,  and by the back
doors, any worse than Clifford's way of advertising himself into prominence?
The bitch-goddess, Success, was trailed by thousands of  gasping, dogs  with
lolling tongues. The one  that got her first was the real dog among dogs, if
you go by success! So Michaelis could keep his tail up.
     The  queer thing was, he didn't.  He came back  towards tea-time with a
large  handful  of  violets and lilies,  and  the same hang-dog  expression.
Connie wondered sometimes if  it  were a sort  of mask to disarm opposition,
because it was almost too fixed. Was he really such a sad dog?
     His sad-dog sort of extinguished self persisted all the evening, though
through  it  Clifford  felt the inner  effrontery. Connie  didn't  feel  it,
perhaps because  it was  not directed against women;  only  against men, and
their presumptions and  assumptions. That  indestructible, inward effrontery
in  the meagre fellow was what  made  men  so down on  Michaelis.  His  very
presence was an affront to  a man  of society,  cloak it as he might  in  an
assumed good manner.
     Connie was in love with him, but she managed to sit with her embroidery
and let the men talk, and not give herself away. As  for  Michaelis, he  was
perfect; exactly the same melancholic, attentive,  aloof young fellow of the
previous evening, millions of degrees remote from his hosts, but laconically
playing up to them  to the required  amount,  and never coming forth to them
for a moment. Connie felt he  must have forgotten  the  morning. He  had not
forgotten. But he knew where he was...in  the same old place  outside, where
the  born  outsiders  are.  He   didn't  take   the  love-making  altogether
personally. He knew  it  would not  change him  from an ownerless dog,  whom
everybody begrudges its golden collar, into a comfortable society dog.
     The  final fact being that  at  the  very bottom of his  soul he was an
outsider, and anti-social, and he accepted the fact  inwardly, no matter how
Bond-Streety he was  on the outside. His isolation was  a necessity to  him;
just as the appearance of conformity and mixing-in with the smart people was
also a necessity.
     But occasional love, as a comfort arid soothing, was also a good thing,
and he  was not ungrateful. On  the contrary, he  was  burningly, poignantly
grateful for  a piece  of natural,  spontaneous  kindness: almost to  tears.
Beneath his pale, immobile, disillusioned face, his child's soul was sobbing
with gratitude to the  woman, and burning  to come to her again; just as his
outcast soul was knowing he would keep really clear of her.
     He  found an opportunity to  say  to  her, as  they  were  lighting the
candles in the hall:
     `May I come?'
     `I'll come to you,' she said.
     `Oh, good!'
     He waited for her a long time...but she came.
     He was the trembling excited sort of lover, whose crisis soon came, and
was  finished. There was something curiously childlike and defenceless about
his naked body: as children are naked. His defences were all in his wits and
cunning, his very instincts of cunning, and when these were  in abeyance  he
seemed  doubly  naked and like  a  child, of  unfinished, tender flesh,  and
somehow struggling helplessly.
     He  roused in the woman a wild sort  of compassion and yearning,  and a
wild, craving physical desire.  The physical desire  he did not  satisfy  in
her; he was always come  and finished so quickly, then shrinking down on her
breast,  and  recovering  somewhat  his  effrontery  while  she  lay  dazed,
disappointed, lost.
     But then she soon learnt to hold him, to keep him there inside her when
his  crisis  was over.  And  there  he was generous and curiously potent; he
stayed  firm  inside  her, giving to  her,  while  she was  active...wildly,
passionately active, coming to  her own crisis. And as he felt the frenzy of
her achieving her  own orgasmic satisfaction from his hard, erect passivity,
he had a curious sense of pride and satisfaction.
     `Ah, how good!' she whispered tremulously, and  she became quite still,
clinging to him. And he lay there in his own isolation, but somehow proud.
     He  stayed that time  only the three  days, and to Clifford was exactly
the same as on the first evening; to Connie also. There was no breaking down
his external man.
     He wrote to  Connie with the  same plaintive melancholy note  as  ever,
sometimes witty,  and touched  with a  queer, sexless affection.  A  kind of
hopeless  affection he seemed to feel for her, and the  essential remoteness
remained the same. He was hopeless at the very core of him, and he wanted to
be hopeless. He rather hated  hope. `Une  immense  esp╔rance  a travers╔  la
terre', he read  somewhere, and  his  comment  was:`---and  it's darned-well
drowned everything worth having.'
     Connie never really understood him, but, in her way, she loved him. And
all  the  time  she  felt the reflection  of his  hopelessness in  her.  She
couldn't quite, quite love in hopelessness. And he, being hopeless, couldn't
ever quite love at all.
     So they went on for quite a time, writing,  and meeting occasionally in
London. She still wanted the physical, sexual thrill she  could get with him
by her  own  activity, his  little orgasm being over. And he still wanted to
give it her. Which was enough to keep them connected.
     And enough to give her a subtle sort of self-assurance, something blind
and a little  arrogant. It was  an  almost mechanical confidence in  her own
powers, and went with a great cheerfulness.
     She  was terrifically cheerful at Wragby. And she used  all her aroused
cheerfulness  and satisfaction to  stimulate Clifford,  so that he wrote his
best at this time, and was almost happy in his  strange blind way. He really
reaped the fruits of the sensual satisfaction she got out of Michaelis' male
passivity erect inside her. But of course he  never knew it, and if  he had,
he wouldn't have said thank you!
     Yet when those days of her grand joyful  cheerfulness and stimulus were
gone, quite gone, and  she was depressed and  irritable, how Clifford longed
for them again!  Perhaps if he'd known he might  even have wished to get her
and Michaelis together again.

     Connie  always had a foreboding of  the hopelessness of her affair with
Mick, as people called him. Yet other men seemed to mean nothing to her. She
was attached to Clifford. He  wanted a good deal of her life and she gave it
to him. But she wanted a good deal from the life of a man, and this Clifford
did not give her; could not. There were occasional spasms of Michaelis. But,
as she knew  by foreboding,  that would  come to an end. Mick couldn't  keep
anything  up. It was part  of  his very being that  he  must  break off  any
connexion, and  be  loose, isolated, absolutely lone dog again. It  was  his
major necessity, even though he always said: She turned me down!
     The world is supposed to be full of possibilities, but they narrow down
to pretty few in  most personal experience. There's lots of good fish in the
sea...maybe...but the  vast  masses seem to  be  mackerel or herring, and if
you're not mackerel or herring yourself you are likely to find very few good
fish in the sea.
     Clifford was making  strides into fame,  and even money. People came to
see  him. Connie  nearly always had somebody  at Wragby. But if they weren't
mackerel they were herring, with an occasional cat-fish, or conger-eel.
     There were a few regular men, constants;  men who had been at Cambridge
with Clifford. There was Tommy Dukes, who had  remained in the army, and was
a Brigadier-General. `The army leaves me  time  to think, and  saves me from
having to face the battle of life,' he said.
     There  was  Charles  May,  an Irishman, who  wrote scientifically about
stars.  There was Hammond,  another writer.  All were  about the same age as
Clifford;  the young intellectuals of the day. They all believed in the life
of the  mind. What you  did  apart from that  was your  private affair,  and
didn't much matter.  No one thinks  of  inquiring of another  person at what
hour he retires to the  privy. It isn't interesting to anyone but the person
     And so with  most  of the matters of ordinary life...how  you make your
money, or  whether  you love your wife, or  if you have `affairs'. All these
matters  concern only the person concerned, and,  like  going  to the privy,
have no interest for anyone else.
     `The whole  point about  the sexual problem,' said  Hammond, who was  a
tall  thin fellow with  a  wife  and two  children,  but  much  more closely
connected with  a typewriter, `is that  there  is no point  to  it. Strictly
there  is  no problem. We don't want  to follow a man into the w.c., so  why
should  we want to  follow  him into bed with  a  woman? And  therein  liehe
problem. If we took no more notice of the one  thing than the other, there'd
be  no  problem.  It's  all utterly senseless  and  pointless;  a  matter of
misplaced curiosity.'
     `Quite, Hammond, quite! But if someone starts making love to Julia, you
begin to simmer; and if he goes  on, you are soon at boiling point.'...Julia
was Hammond's wife.
     `Why, exactly! So I should be if he began to urinate in  a corner of my
drawing-room. There's a place for all these things.'
     `You mean  you wouldn't mind if he made love to Julia in some  discreet
     Charlie May was slightly  satirical,  for he had  flirted a very little
with Julia, and Hammond had cut up very roughly.
     `Of course I should  mind. Sex is a private thing between me and Julia;
and of course I should mind anyone else trying to mix in.'
     `As  a matter  of  fact,' said the lean  and freckled  Tommy Dukes, who
looked much more Irish than May,  who was pale and rather fat: `As  a matter
of fact, Hammond, you have a strong property instinct, and a strong will  to
self-assertion,   and  you  want  success.  Since  I've  been  in  the  army
definitely,  I've  got  out of the way  of  the  world,  and  now I  see how
inordinately strong the craving for self-assertion and success is in men. It
is enormously  overdeveloped. All our individuality has run that way. And of
course  men like you think you'll get through better with a woman's backing.
That's  why you're so  jealous. That's  what sex is to  you...a vital little
dynamo  between  you  and Julia,  to bring  success.  If  you  began  to  be
unsuccessful  you'd begin  to flirt,  like  Charlie,  who isn't  successful.
Married people  like  you and Julia  have labels on  you,  like  travellers'
trunks. Julia is labelled Mrs  Arnold B. Hammond---just like a trunk on  the
railway that belongs  to  somebody. And you are labelled Arnold B.  Hammond,
c/o Mrs Arnold B.  Hammond. Oh, you're quite right,  you're quite right! The
life of the mind  needs a comfortable house and decent cooking. You're quite
right.  It even  needs posterity. But it  all hinges  on  the  instinct  for
success. That is the pivot on which all things turn.'
     Hammond looked rather piqued.  He was rather proud  of the integrity of
his  mind, and of his  not being a  time-server.  None the less, he did want
     `It's  quite true,  you can't live without cash,' said May. `You've got
to have a certain amount of it to be able to live and get along...even to be
free to think you must have a certain amount of money, or your stomach stops
you. But it seems to  me you might  leave the labels  off sex. We're free to
talk  to  anybody; so why shouldn't we be free to make love to any woman who
inclines us that way?'
     `There speaks the lascivious Celt,' said Clifford.
     `Lascivious! well, why not---? I can't see I  do a  woman any more harm
by sleeping with her than by dancing with her...or even talking to her about
the weather. It's just an interchange of sensations instead of ideas, so why
     `Be as promiscuous as the rabbits!' said Hammond.
     `Why  not?  What's  wrong with  rabbits? Are  they  any  worse  than  a
neurotic, revolutionary humanity, full of nervous hate?'
     `But we're not rabbits, even so,' said Hammond.
     `Precisely!  I have  my mind:  I have certain calculations  to make  in
certain astronomical matters that concern me almost more than life or death.
Sometimes  indigestion interferes with me. Hunger would  interfere  with  me
disastrously. In the same way starved sex interferes with me. What then?'
     `I  should  have thought sexual  indigestion from  surfeit  would  have
interfered with you more seriously,' said Hammond satirically.
     `Not it! I don't over-eat myself and I don't  over-fuck myself. One has
a choice about eating too much. But you would absolutely starve me.'
     `Not at all! You can marry.'
     `How  do  you know I  can?  It  may  not suit the process  of my  mind.
Marriage might...and would...stultify my mental processes. I'm not  properly
pivoted that way...and so must I be chained in a kennel like a monk? All rot
and  funk, my  boy.  I  must live  and  do  my  calculations.  I  need women
sometimes.  I refuse to make a mountain of  it, and I refuse anybody's moral
condemnation or prohibition.  I'd be ashamed to see a  woman  walking around
with my  name-label  on her,  address  and  railway station, like a wardrobe
     These two men had not forgiven each other about the Julia flirtation.
     `It's an amusing idea, Charlie,' said Dukes,  `that sex is just another
form of talk, where you act the words instead of saying them. I suppose it's
quite true. I suppose we might exchange as many sensations and emotions with
women as we do ideas about the weather, and  so on. Sex might be  a sort  of
normal physical conversation  between a man and a woman. You don't talk to a
woman unless  you have  ideas  in common: that is you  don't talk  with  any
interest.  And  in the same way, unless you had  some emotion or sympathy in
common with a woman you wouldn't sleep with her. But if you had...'
     `If  you have the proper sort of  emotion or sympathy with a woman, you
ought to  sleep with her,' said  May. `It's the only decent thing, to go  to
bed with her. Just as, when  you are interested talking to someone, the Only
decent  thing is to have the  talk out.  You don't prudishly put your tongue
between your teeth and bite it. You just say out your say.  And the same the
other way.'
     `No,' said Hammond.  `It's wrong. You,  for example,  May, you squander
half your force with women. You'll never really do  what you should do, with
a fine mind such as yours. Too much of it goes the other way.'
     `Maybe it does...and too little of  you goes that way, Hammond, my boy,
married or not. You can keep the purity and integrity of your mind, but it's
going  damned dry. Your pure mind is going as dry as fiddlesticks, from what
I see of it. You're simply talking it down.'
     Tommy Dukes burst into a laugh.
     `Go it, you two minds!' he said. `Look at me...I  don't do any high and
pure mental work, nothing  but jot down a few ideas. And yet I neither marry
nor run after women. I think Charlie's quite right; if he wants to run after
the women, he's quite free not to run too often. But I wouldn't prohibit him
from running. As for Hammond, he's got a property instinct, so naturally the
straight road and the narrow  gate are right for him. You'll see he'll be an
English Man  of  Letters  before  he's  done.  A.B.C. from  top to toe. Then
there's me. I'm nothing. Just a squib. And what about you, Clifford?  Do you
think sex is a dynamo to help a man on to success in the world?'
     Clifford  rarely talked much at these times.  He  never held forth; his
ideas  were  really  not  vital  enough  for  it,  he was  too confused  and
emotional. Now he blushed and looked uncomfortable.
     `Well!' he  said,  `being  myself hors  de  combat,  I don't  see  I've
anything to say on the matter.'
     `Not at all,' said Dukes; `the top of you's by no means hors de combat.
You've got  the  life of  the  mind  sound and  intact. So let  us hear your
     `Well,'  stammered Clifford, `even  then  I  don't suppose  I have much
idea...I  suppose  marry-and-have-done-with-it would pretty  well stand  for
what I  think. Though of course between a  man  and  woman  who care for one
another, it is a great thing.'
     `What sort of great thing?' said Tommy.
     `Oh...it perfects the  intimacy,' said Clifford, uneasy as a  woman  in
such talk.
     `Well,  Charlie and I believe that  sex is a sort of communication like
speech. Let any woman start a sex conversation with me, and it's natural for
me to go to bed with her to finish it,  all in due season.  Unfortunately no
woman makes any particular start with me, so I go to bed by myself;  and  am
none the  worse for it...I hope so, anyway,  for how should  I know?  Anyhow
I've no starry calculations to be interfered with, and no immortal works  to
write. I'm merely a fellow skulking in the army...'
     Silence fell. The four men smoked. And Connie sat there and put another
stitch in her sewing...Yes, she sat there! She had to sit mum. She had to be
quiet as a mouse, not to interfere with the immensely important speculations
of these highly-mental gentlemen. But she  had to be there.  They didn't get
on so well without her; their ideas didn't flow so freely. Clifford was much
more hedgy  and nervous, he got cold feet much quicker  in Connie's absence,
and the talk didn't run. Tommy Dukes came off best; he was a little inspired
by her  presence. Hammond she didn't really like; he seemed so selfish  in a
mental way.  And Charles May, though she liked something about him, seemed a
little distasteful and messy, in spite of his stars.
     How many evenings had Connie  sat and listened to the manifestations of
these four men! these, and one or two others. That they  never seemed to get
anywhere didn't trouble her  deeply. She liked to hear what they had to say,
especially when Tommy was there. It was fun. Instead of men kissing you, and
touching you  with  their bodies, they revealed  their minds to you. It  was
great fun! But what cold minds!
     And  also  it  was  a  little  irritating.  She  had  more  respect for
Michaelis,  on  whose  name  they  all poured such withering  contempt, as a
little  mongrel arriviste, and uneducated bounder of the worst sort. Mongrel
and bounder or not,  he jumped to his own conclusions. He didn't merely walk
round them with millions of words, in the parade of the life of the mind.
     Connie quite  liked the life of the mind, and got a great thrill out of
it.  But she did  think it  overdid  itself a little. She loved being there,
amidst  the tobacco smoke of  those famous  evenings of  the cronies, as she
called them privately to herself.  She was infinitely amused, and proud too,
that even their talking they could  not do, without her silent presence. She
had an immense respect for thought...and these men, at least, tried to think
honestly. But somehow there was a cat, and it wouldn't  jump. They all alike
talked at something, though  what it  was, for the  life of her she couldn't
say. It was something that Mick didn't clear, either.
     But  then  Mick wasn't trying to do anything, but just get  through his
life, and put as much  across  other people as they tried to put across him.
He  was really  anti-social,  which was  what  Clifford and  his cronies had
against  him.  Clifford and his cronies were not anti-social; they were more
or less bent on saving mankind, or on instructing it, to say the least.
     There was a  gorgeous  talk on  Sunday  evening, when the  conversation
drifted again to love.
     `Blest be the tie that binds
     Our hearts in kindred something-or-other'---
     said  Tommy Dukes. `I'd  like to know what  the tie is...The  tie  that
binds us just now is mental friction  on one  another. And, apart from that,
there's damned little tie between us. We bust apart, and say spiteful things
about one another,  like all the other  damned  intellectuals in the  world.
Damned everybodies, as far as that goes, for they all  do it. Else  we  bust
apart,  and cover  up  the  spiteful things we feel against  one  another by
saying false sugaries. It's a  curious thing that the mental  life seems  to
flourish with its roots in spite, ineffable and fathomless spite. Always has
been so! Look at  Socrates,  in Plato,  and  his  bunch round him! The sheer
spite   of   it  all,  just   sheer  joy  in   pulling   somebody   else  to
bits...Protagoras, or whoever it  was!  And  Alcibiades, and  all  the other
little disciple dogs joining  in  the fray!  I  must say it makes one prefer
Buddha, quietly sitting  under  a bo-tree, or  Jesus,  telling his disciples
little Sunday  stories,  peacefully, and without any mental  fireworks.  No,
there's  something wrong  with the  mental life,  radically. It's rooted  in
spite and envy, envy and spite. Ye shall know the tree by its fruit.'
     `I don't think we're altogether so spiteful,' protested Clifford.
     `My dear Clifford, think of the way we talk each other over, all of us.
I'm rather worse than anybody else, myself. Because I  infinitely prefer the
spontaneous spite to the  concocted  sugaries;  now  they are poison; when I
begin saying what a fine fellow Clifford is, etc., etc., then  poor Clifford
is to be  pitied. For God's  sake, all of you, say spiteful things about me,
then I shall know I mean something to you. Don't say sugaries, or I'm done.'
     `Oh, but I do think we honestly like one another,' said Hammond.
     `I tell you we must...we say such spiteful things to one another, about
one another, behind our backs! I'm the worst.'
     `And I do think you confuse the mental life with the critical activity.
I agree with you, Socrates gave the critical activity  a grand start, but he
did more than that,' said Charlie May, rather magisterially. The cronies had
such  a curious pomposity under  their assumed modesty.  It  was  all so  ex
cathedra, and it all pretended to be so humble.
     Dukes refused to be drawn about Socrates.
     `That's quite true, criticism and  knowledge  are not the  same thing,'
said Hammond.
     `They aren't, of course,' chimed in Berry, a brown, shy young man,  who
had called to see Dukes, and was staying the night.
     They all looked at him as if the ass had spoken.
     `I wasn't talking  about knowledge...I was  talking  about  the  mental
life,'  laughed Dukes. `Real knowledge  comes out of the whole corpus of the
consciousness; out of your belly and your penis as much as out of your brain
and  mind. The mind can  only analyse  and rationalize. Set the mind and the
reason  to cock it over the rest, and all they can  do is to  criticize, and
make a deadness. I say all they can do. It is  vastly important. My God, the
world needs  criticizing  today...criticizing to death. Therefore let's live
the mental life, and glory in our spite, and strip the rotten old show. But,
mind you, it's like this: while  you live your life, you  are in some way an
Organic whole with all life.  But once you  start the mental  life you pluck
the apple. You've severed the connexion between, the apple and the tree: the
organic  connexion. And  if you've  got nothing in your life but the  mental
life,  then  you yourself are a plucked apple...you've  fallen off the tree.
And then  it is a logical necessity  to be spiteful, just as it's a  natural
necessity for a plucked apple to go bad.'
     Clifford  made  big  eyes: it was  all  stuff  to him. Connie  secretly
laughed to herself.
     `Well then we're  all plucked  apples,' said Hammond, rather acidly and
     `So let's make cider of ourselves,' said Charlie.
     `But what  do you think of Bolshevism?' put in  the brown Berry,  as if
everything had led up to it.
     `Bravo!' roared Charlie. `What do you think of Bolshevism?'
     `Come on! Let's make hay of Bolshevism!' said Dukes.
     `I'm afraid  Bolshevism is a large question,' said Hammond, shaking his
head seriously.
     `Bolshevism,  it  seems  to  me,' said Charlie, `is just a  superlative
hatred of  the  thing they call  the  bourgeois; and what the bourgeois  is,
isn't quite  defined.  It  is Capitalism,  among  other things. Feelings and
emotions  are also so decidedly  bourgeois that you  have to  invent  a  man
without them.
     `Then the individual, especially the personal man, is bourgeois: so  he
must  be suppressed. You must submerge yourselves in the greater thing,  the
Soviet-social thing.  Even an organism is bourgeois: so the  ideal  must  be
mechanical. The only thing that  is a  unit,  non-organic,  composed of many
different,  yet  equally  essential  parts,  is  the  machine.  Each  man  a
machine-part,  and  the driving  power  of the  machine,  hate...hate of the
bourgeois. That, to me, is Bolshevism.'
     `Absolutely!'  said  Tommy.  `But  also,  it  seems  to  me  a  perfect
description of the whole  of the industrial  ideal. It's the factory-owner's
ideal in a nut-shell; except that he would deny  that the driving power  was
hate. Hate it is,  all  the same; hate of  life itself. Just look  at  these
Midlands, if it isn't plainly written  up...but it's all part of the life of
the mind, it's a logical development.'
     `I  deny  that Bolshevism is logical, it rejects the  major part of the
premisses,' said Hammond.
     `My dear  man,  it  allows  the  material  premiss;  so  does the  pure
     `At least Bolshevism has got down to rock bottom,' said Charlie.
     `Rock bottom! The bottom  that has no bottom! The Bolshevists will have
the finest  army  in  the  world  in  a very  short time,  with  the  finest
mechanical equipment.
     `But  this thing  can't go  on...this  hate business. There  must be  a
reaction...' said Hammond.
     `Well, we've been waiting for years...we wait longer. Hate's  a growing
thing like anything else. It's the inevitable outcome of forcing ideas on to
life, of  forcing one's  deepest  instincts;  our deepest feelings we  force
according  to certain  ideas.  We  drive  ourselves with a formula,  like  a
machine.  The  logical mind  pretends to rule the roost, and the roost turns
into pure hate. We're  all Bolshevists, only we are hypocrites. The Russians
are Bolshevists without hypocrisy.'
     `But there are many  other ways,' said Hammond, `than the  Soviet  way.
The Bolshevists aren't really intelligent.'
     `Of  course not. But sometimes  it's intelligent to  be half-witted: if
you want to  make your end.  Personally, I  consider Bolshevism half-witted;
but  so  do  I consider our  social life in the west half-witted. So  I even
consider  our  far-famed  mental  life  half-witted.  We're  all as cold  as
cretins,  we're all as passionless as  idiots. We're all of  us Bolshevists,
only we give it another name. We think we're gods...men like gods! It's just
the same as Bolshevism. One has to be human, and have a heart and a penis if
one is going to escape being either a god or a Bolshevist...for they are the
same thing: they're both too good to be true.'
     Out of the disapproving silence came Berry's anxious question:
     `You do believe in love then, Tommy, don't you?'
     `You lovely lad!' said  Tommy.  `No, my cherub, nine times out  of ten,
no!  Love's  another of those half-witted  performances today.  Fellows with
swaying waists fucking little jazz girls with small  boy buttocks, like  two
collar  studs!  Do  you  mean  that  sort  of love? Or  the  joint-property,
make-a-success-of-it, My-husband-my-wife sort of love? No, my fine fellow, I
don't believe in it at all!'
     `But you do believe in something?'
     `Me? Oh, intellectually  I believe in having a  good  heart,  a  chirpy
penis, a lively  intelligence, and the courage to say  "shit!" in front of a
     `Well, you've got them all,' said Berry.
     Tommy Dukes  roared with laughter. `You  angel boy! If  only I  had! If
only I  had! No; my heart's as  numb as a  potato, my penis droops and never
lifts its head up, I dare rather cut him clean off than say "shit!" in front
of my mother or my aunt...they are real ladies, mind you; and I'm not really
intelligent,  I'm only  a  "mental-lifer".  It  would  be  wonderful  to  be
intelligent:  then  one would  be alive  in  all  the  parts  mentioned  and
unmentionable. The penis rouses his head and says: How do you  do?---to  any
really  intelligent  person.  Renoir  said  he painted his pictures with his
penis...he did too,  lovely pictures! I wish I did something with mine. God!
when one can only talk! Another torture added to Hades! And Socrates started
     `There are nice women in the world,' said Connie,  lifting  her head up
and speaking at last.
     The men resented  it...she should have pretended  to hear nothing. They
hated her admitting she had attended so closely to such talk.
     `My God! "If they be not nice to me What care I how nice they be?"
     `No, it's hopeless! I just simply can't vibrate in unison with a woman.
There's  no  woman I can really  want  when I'm faced with  her, and I'm not
going to  start forcing myself to  it...My God, no! I'll remain as I am, and
lead the mental life. It's the only honest thing I can  do. I  can  be quite
happy talking to women; but it's all pure, hopelessly pure. Hopelessly pure!
What do you say, Hildebrand, my chicken?'
     `It's much less complicated if one stays pure,' said Berry.
     `Yes, life is all too simple!'

     On  a frosty morning with  a little  February sun,  Clifford and Connie
went for  a walk across the park  to the  wood. That is, Clifford chuffed in
his motor-chair, and Connie walked beside him.
     The hard air was still sulphurous, but they were both used to it. Round
the near horizon went the haze,  opalescent with frost and smoke, and on the
top lay the small blue sky;  so that  it was like being inside an enclosure,
always inside. Life always a dream or a frenzy, inside an enclosure.
     The sheep coughed in the rough, sere grass of the park, where frost lay
bluish  in  the sockets  of  the tufts. Across the park ran  a  path  to the
wood-gate, a fine  ribbon  of pink. Clifford had had it newly gravelled with
sifted gravel from the pit-bank. When the rock  and refuse of the underworld
had burned and given off its sulphur, it turned bright pink, shrimp-coloured
on  dry days,  darker, crab-coloured on wet. Now  it was pale shrimp-colour,
with a bluish-white hoar of frost. It  always pleased Connie, this underfoot
of sifted, bright pink. It's an ill wind that brings nobody good.
     Clifford steered  cautiously down the slope of the knoll from the hall,
and Connie  kept  her hand on the chair. In front  lay the  wood, the  hazel
thicket nearest, the purplish  density  of oaks beyond. From the wood's edge
rabbits  bobbed and nibbled. Rooks suddenly rose in  a black train, and went
trailing off over the little sky.
     Connie opened the  wood-gate, and Clifford  puffed  slowly through into
the broad  riding that ran up an  incline between the clean-whipped thickets
of the  hazel. The wood was a  remnant of  the great forest where Robin Hood
hunted, and this riding was an  old, old thoroughfare coming across country.
But now, of course, it was  only a riding through the private wood. The road
from Mansfield swerved round to the north.
     In the wood  everything was  motionless,  the old leaves on the  ground
keeping  the frost on their  underside.  A jay called  harshly,  many little
birds fluttered. But there was no  game; no pheasants. They  had been killed
off  during  the  war,  and  the wood had  been left  unprotected, till  now
Clifford had got his game-keeper again.
     Clifford loved the wood;  he loved the old oak-trees. He felt they were
his own through generations. He wanted to protect them. He wanted this place
inviolate, shut off from the world.
     The chair  chuffed slowly up the  incline,  rocking and jolting  on the
frozen clods. And  suddenly, on the left, came  a  clearing where there  was
nothing but a ravel of dead bracken, a thin and spindly sapling leaning here
and  there, big sawn  stumps,  showing  their tops and their grasping roots,
lifeless.  And  patches  of  blackness  where  the woodmen  had  burned  the
brushwood and rubbish.
     This was one of the places that Sir Geoffrey had cut during the war for
trench timber. The  whole  knoll, which  rose  softly  on  the  right of the
riding, was denuded and strangely forlorn. On  the crown of the knoll  where
the oaks had stood, now was bareness; and from there you could look out over
the trees to the colliery railway, and the new works at  Stacks Gate. Connie
had stood and looked, it was a breach in the pure seclusion of the  wood. It
let in the world. But she didn't tell Clifford.
     This denuded place always made  Clifford  curiously angry. He had  been
through the war, had seen what it meant. But he didn't get really angry till
he saw this  bare hill. He was having it replanted. But it made him hate Sir
     Clifford sat with a fixed face as  the chair slowly  mounted. When they
came to the top of the rise he stopped;  he would not risk the long and very
jolty  down-slope.  He  sat looking  at  the  greenish  sweep of the  riding
downwards,  a  clear  way through the bracken and oaks.  It  swerved at  the
bottom  of the hill and disappeared; but it had such a lovely easy curve, of
knights riding and ladies on palfreys.
     `I  consider this is really the heart  of  England,'  said Clifford  to
Connie, as he sat there in the dim February sunshine.
     `Do you?'  she said, seating herself  in her blue  knitted dress, on  a
stump by the path.
     `I  do! this is  the old England, the heart of it; and I intend to keep
it intact.'
     `Oh yes!' said Connie. But, as she said it she heard the eleven-o'clock
hooters at Stacks Gate colliery.  Clifford was  too used  to  the  sound  to
     `I want this  wood perfect...untouched. I want  nobody  to trespass  in
it,' said Clifford.
     There was a certain  pathos. The wood still had some of the mystery  of
wild, old England; but Sir Geoffrey's cuttings during the war had given it a
blow. How  still the trees  were,  with  their  crinkly,  innumerable  twigs
against the sky, and their  grey, obstinate  trunks  rising  from the  brown
bracken! How  safely the birds flitted among  them!  And once there had been
deer, and archers, and  monks padding along  on asses. The place remembered,
still remembered.
     Clifford sat in the  pale sun, with  the  light  on  his smooth, rather
blond hair, his reddish full face inscrutable.
     `I mind more, not having a son, when I come here, than any other time,'
he said.
     `But the wood is older than your family,' said Connie gently.
     `Quite!' said Clifford. `But we've preserved it. Except for us it would
go...it  would  be  gone  already,  like  the rest of  the forest.  One must
preserve some of the old England!'
     `Must  one?' said Connie.  `If it  has to be preserved,  and  preserved
against the new England? It's sad, I know.'
     `If some of the old England isn't  preserved, there'll be no England at
all,' said Clifford. `And we who have this kind of property, and the feeling
for it, must preserve it.'
     There was a sad pause. `Yes, for a little while,' said Connie.
     `For a little while! It's all we can do. We can only do our bit. I feel
every man of my family has done his bit here, since we've had the place. One
may go against  convention, but one must keep up tradition.' Again there was
a pause.
     `What tradition?' asked Connie.
     `The tradition of England! of this!'
     `Yes,' she said slowly.
     `That's why having a  son helps;  one is only a link  in  a  chain,' he
     Connie was not keen on chains, but  she said nothing. She was  thinking
of the curious impersonality of his desire for a son.
     `I'm sorry we can't have a son,' she said.
     He looked at her steadily, with his full, pale-blue eyes.
     `It would almost be a  good thing if you had a child by another man, he
said. `If  we  brought it  up at  Wragby,  it would belong to us and to  the
place. I don't believe very intensely in fatherhood.  If we had the child to
rear, it would be our own, and it would carry on. Don't you think it's worth
     Connie looked up at him at last. The child, her child, was just an `it'
to him. It...it...it!
     `But what about the other man?' she asked.
     `Does it matter very  much?  Do  these  things  really  affect us  very
deeply?...You had that lover in Germany...what is it now? Nothing almost. It
seems to me that it isn't these little acts and little connexions we make in
our  lives that  matter  so very  much. They pass away, and  where are they?
Where...Where are the snows of yesteryear?...It's what endures through one's
life  that matters; my  own life matters  to me, in its long continuance and
development.  But  what  do  the   occasional  connexions  matter?  And  the
occasional sexual  connexions  especially! If people don't  exaggerate  them
ridiculously, they pass like  the mating of birds. And so they should.  What
does  it matter?  It's  the  life-long companionship  that matters. It's the
living together from day to day,  not  the sleeping together once  or twice.
You and  I are married, no matter what happens to us.  We have the habit  of
each  other.  And habit,  to  my thinking, is more vital than any occasional
excitement. The  long, slow, enduring thing...that's  what  we live by...not
the  occasional spasm of any sort.  Little  by little, living  together, two
people  fall  into  a  sort of unison,  they  vibrate  so intricately to one
another.  That's  the real secret of marriage, not  sex;  at  least  not the
simple function of sex. You  and I are interwoven in a marriage. If we stick
to that we ought to be able to  arrange this sex thing, as we arrange  going
to the dentist; since fate has given us a checkmate physically there.'
     Connie sat and  listened in a sort of wonder, and a  sort of  fear. She
did not know if he was right or not. There was Michaelis, whom she loved; so
she  said  to herself.  But her love was somehow only  an excursion from her
marriage with  Clifford; the  long, slow  habit of intimacy, formed  through
years of suffering and  patience.  Perhaps the human soul  needs excursions,
and must not be denied them. But the point of an excursion is  that you come
home again.
     `And wouldn't you mind what man's child I had?' she asked.
     `Why,  Connie, I should  trust  your  natural instinct  of decency  and
selection. You just wouldn't let the wrong sort of fellow touch you.'
     She  thought  of Michaelis!  He  was absolutely Clifford's idea of  the
wrong sort of fellow.
     `But men and women may have different feelings about the  wrong sort of
fellow,' she said.
     `No,' he replied. `You care for me. I don't believe you would ever care
for a man who was purely antipathetic to me. Your rhythm wouldn't let you.'
     She  was  silent.  Logic  might  be  unanswerable  because  it  was  so
absolutely wrong.
     `And should you expect me to tell you?' she  asked, glancing  up at him
almost furtively.
     `Not at all, I'd better not know...But you do agree with me, don't you,
that the  casual  sex thing  is nothing,  compared  to  the  long life lived
together?  Don't  you think  one can just subordinate the  sex thing  to the
necessities of a long life? Just use it, since that's what we're driven  to?
After all, do these temporary excitements matter? Isn't the whole problem of
life the slow building  up of  an  integral personality,  through the years?
living an integrated life? There's no point in a disintegrated life. If lack
of sex is going to disintegrate you, then go out and  have a love-affair. If
lack of  a child  is going to  disintegrate  you, then have a  child  if you
possibly can. But only do  these things so that you have an integrated life,
that  makes   a  long  harmonious  thing.  And  you   and   I  can  do  that
together...don't you think?...if we adapt ourselves to  the necessities, and
at  the  same  time  weave  the adaptation  together into a  piece with  our
steadily-lived life. Don't you agree?'
     Connie was a  little  overwhelmed  by his words. She knew he  was right
theoretically.  But when  she actually touched  her steadily-lived life with
him she...hesitated. Was  it actually her  destiny to go on weaving  herself
into his life all the rest of her life? Nothing else?
     Was  it just that? She  was to be  content to  weave a steady life with
him, all one  fabric, but perhaps brocaded  with the occasional flower of an
adventure. But how could she know what  she would  feel next year? How could
one ever know?  How could one say Yes? for years and years? The little  yes,
gone on a breath! Why should one  be pinned down by that  butterfly word? Of
course it had to flutter away and be gone, to be followed by other yes's and
no's! Like the straying of butterflies.
     `I think  you're right, Clifford. And as far as I can see I agree  with
you. Only life may turn quite a new face on it all.'
     `But until life turns a new face on it all, you do agree?'
     `Oh yes! I think I do, really.'
     She was watching a  brown spaniel  that had run out of a side-path, and
was looking towards them with lifted nose, making a soft, fluffy bark. A man
with a gun  strode swiftly, softly out after the dog, facing their way as if
about  to  attack them;  then  stopped  instead, saluted,  and  was  turning
downhill. It was only the new game-keeper, but he had  frightened Connie, he
seemed to emerge with such a  swift menace. That  was how she had seen  him,
like the sudden rush of a threat out of nowhere.
     He was a man in dark green velveteens and gaiters...the old style, with
a  red  face  and  red  moustache and  distant  eyes.  He was going  quickly
     `Mellors!' called Clifford.
     The man faced lightly round, and saluted with a quick little gesture, a
     `Will  you  turn  the  chair  round and get  it started? That makes  it
easier,' said Clifford.
     The man at once slung his gun over his shoulder, and came  forward with
the same curious swift, yet soft movements, as if keeping  invisible. He was
moderately tall and lean, and was silent. He did not look at Connie  at all,
only at the chair.
     `Connie, this  is  the new game-keeper, Mellors. You haven't spoken  to
her ladyship yet, Mellors?'
     `No, Sir!' came the ready, neutral words.
     The man  lifted his hat  as  he stood,  showing his thick,  almost fair
hair.  He stared straight  into  Connie's  eyes, with  a perfect,  fearless,
impersonal look, as if he wanted to see what she was like.  He made her feel
shy. She bent her head to him shyly, and he changed his hat to his left hand
and made her a slight  bow, like a gentleman; but he said nothing at all. He
remained for a moment still, with his hat in his hand.
     `But you've been here some time, haven't you?' Connie said to him.
     `Eight months, Madam...your Ladyship!' he corrected himself calmly.
     `And do you like it?'
     She looked him  in  the eyes. His eyes  narrowed a little,  with irony,
perhaps with impudence.
     `Why, yes, thank you, your Ladyship! I was reared here...'
     He gave another slight bow, turned, put his hat on, and strode to  take
hold  of  the chair. His voice  on the last words had fallen into the  heavy
broad drag of the dialect...perhaps also in  mockery, because there had been
no trace of dialect before. He might almost be a gentleman. Anyhow, he was a
curious, quick, separate fellow, alone, but sure of himself.
     Clifford started the little engine, the man carefully turned the chair,
and set it nose-forwards to the incline that curved gently to the dark hazel
     `Is that all then, Sir Clifford?' asked the man.
     `No, you'd better come along  in case  she  sticks.  The  engine  isn't
really strong  enough for  the uphill  work.' The man glanced round  for his
dog...a thoughtful glance. The  spaniel looked at him and faintly  moved its
tail. A little smile, mocking or teasing her, yet gentle, came into his eyes
for  a moment, then faded away, and his  face was  expressionless. They went
fairly  quickly down the  slope,  the man  with his hand on  the rail of the
chair,  steadying it. He looked like a free soldier rather than  a  servant.
And something about him reminded Connie of Tommy Dukes.
     When  they came  to the  hazel grove, Connie suddenly ran  forward, and
opened the  gate  into the park. As she stood holding it, the two men looked
at her  in passing, Clifford critically, the other man with a curious,  cool
wonder; impersonally wanting to see what she looked like. And she saw in his
blue, impersonal eyes  a look  of suffering and detachment,  yet  a  certain
warmth. But why was he so aloof, apart?
     Clifford stopped the chair, once through  the  gate, and the  man  came
quickly, courteously, to close it.
     `Why did you run to  open?' asked  Clifford in his  quiet,  calm voice,
that showed he was displeased. `Mellors would have done it.'
     `I thought you would go straight ahead,' said Connie. `And leave you to
run after us?' said Clifford.
     `Oh, well, I like to run sometimes!'
     Mellors  took  the chair again, looking perfectly unheeding, yet Connie
felt he noted everything. As he pushed the chair up the steepish rise of the
knoll in the park,  he breathed rather quickly,  through parted lips. He was
rather frail really. Curiously  full of  vitality,  but  a  little frail and
quenched. Her woman's instinct sensed it.
     Connie  fell back, let the chair  go on. The day had greyed  over;  the
small  blue sky that  had poised low on its circular rims of haze was closed
in again, the lid was down, there  was a raw coldness. It was going to snow.
All grey, all grey! the world looked worn out.
     The chair waited at the top of the pink path. Clifford looked round for
     `Not tired, are you?' he said.
     `Oh, no!' she said.
     But she was.  A strange, weary yearning,  a dissatisfaction had started
in her. Clifford did not notice: those were not things he was aware  of. But
the stranger knew. To Connie,  everything in  her world and life seemed worn
out, and her dissatisfaction was older than the hills.
     They  came to the house, and  around to  the back, where there  were no
steps.  Clifford managed  to  swing himself over  on  to  the  low,  wheeled
house-chair; he was very strong and agile with his arms.  Then Connie lifted
the burden of his dead legs after him.
     The  keeper,  waiting at attention to be dismissed,  watched everything
narrowly, missing nothing.  He went pale, with a sort  of  fear, when he saw
Connie lifting the  inert legs of the man in her arms, into the other chair,
Clifford pivoting round as she did so. He was frightened.
     `Thanks, then, for the help,  Mellors,'  said Clifford  casually, as he
began to wheel down the passage to the servants' quarters.
     `Nothing else, Sir?' came the neutral voice, like one in a dream.
     `Nothing, good morning!'
     `Good morning, Sir.'
     `Good  morning! it was kind of  you to  push the chair up that hill...I
hope  it wasn't heavy  for you,'  said Connie,  looking back  at  the keeper
outside the door.
     His eyes came to  hers in an instant, as if wakened up. He was aware of
     `Oh no, not heavy!'  he said quickly. Then his voice dropped again into
the broad sound of the vernacular: `Good mornin' to your Ladyship!'
     `Who is your game-keeper?' Connie asked at lunch.
     `Mellors! You saw him,' said Clifford.
     `Yes, but where did he come from?'
     `Nowhere! He was a Tevershall boy...son of a collier, I believe.'
     `And was he a collier himself?'
     `Blacksmith  on  the pit-bank,  I believe:  overhead smith. But he  was
keeper  here  for two years before the war...before  he joined up. My father
always had a good Opinion of him, so when he  came back, and went to the pit
for a blacksmith's job,  I just took him back here as  keeper.  I was really
very glad to  get him...its almost impossible to find a  good man round here
for a gamekeeper...and it needs a man who knows the people.'
     `And isn't he married?'
     `He was. But  his wife  went off with...with various  men...but finally
with a collier at Stacks Gate, and I believe she's living there still.'
     `So this man is alone?'
     `More  or  less!  He has  a  mother in  the  village...and  a child,  I
     Clifford looked at Connie, with his pale, slightly prominent blue eyes,
in which  a certain vagueness was coming. He seemed alert in the foreground,
but the  background was like the Midlands  atmosphere, haze, smoky mist. And
the haze seemed to be creeping forward. So when he  stared at Connie in  his
peculiar way, giving her his peculiar, precise information, she felt all the
background  of his  mind  filling up  with mist, with  nothingness.  And  it
frightened her. It made him seem impersonal, almost to idiocy.
     And dimly she  realized  one of  the great laws of the human soul: that
when the emotional soul  receives a  wounding shock, which does not kill the
body,  the soul seems to recover as  the  body  recovers.  But this  is only
appearance. It is really only the mechanism of the re-assumed habit. Slowly,
slowly  the wound to the soul  begins to make itself  felt,  like a  bruise,
which Only  slowly deepens its terrible ache, till  it fills all the psyche.
And  when we think we have  recovered and  forgotten, it  is  then  that the
terrible after-effects have to be encountered at their worst.
     So it was  with  Clifford.  Once he was  `well',  once  he was  back at
Wragby, and writing his stories, and  feeling sure of life, in spite of all,
he seemed to  forget, and  to have recovered all his equanimity. But now, as
the years went by, slowly, slowly, Connie felt the bruise of fear and horror
coming  up, and spreading in him.  For a time it had been so deep  as to  be
numb, as  it were non-existent. Now slowly it began  to assert itself  in  a
spread  of  fear,  almost  paralysis. Mentally  he still was  alert. But the
paralysis, the bruise of the too-great shock, was gradually spreading in his
affective self.
     And as it spread in him, Connie felt it spread in her. An inward dread,
an  emptiness, an indifference  to  everything gradually spread in her soul.
When Clifford was roused,  he could still talk  brilliantly and, as it were,
command  the  future: as when,  in the wood,  he  talked about  her having a
child, and  giving  an heir to Wragby. But the day after,  all the brilliant
words  seemed  like dead leaves, crumpling up and turning to powder, meaning
really  nothing,  blown away  on any gust  of wind.  They were not the leafy
words  of an effective  life,  young with  energy and belonging to the tree.
They were the hosts of fallen leaves of a life that is ineffectual.
     So it seemed to her everywhere. The colliers at Tevershall were talking
again of  a  strike, and  it  seemed  to  Connie  there  again it was not  a
manifestation  of energy, it  was the bruise of the  war  that  had  been in
abeyance,  slowly  rising  to  the surface and  creating  the great  ache of
unrest,  and stupor of discontent. The bruise  was  deep,  deep,  deep...the
bruise  of the false inhuman war. It  would take  many years for the  living
blood of the generations to  dissolve the vast black clot of  bruised blood,
deep inside their souls and bodies. And it would need a new hope.
     Poor Connie! As the years drew on it was the fear of nothingness In her
life  that affected her. Clifford's mental life  and hers gradually began to
feel like  nothingness. Their  marriage, their  integrated  life based on  a
habit  of intimacy, that he talked about: there were days when it all became
utterly  blank  and nothing. It  was  words,  just so  many  words. The only
reality was nothingness, and over it a hypocrisy of words.
     There  was Clifford's  success:  the  bitch-goddess! It was true he was
almost  famous,  and  his  books  brought  him  in a  thousand  pounds.  His
photograph  appeared  everywhere.  There was a  bust  of him in one  of  the
galleries, and a portrait of him in two galleries. He seemed the most modern
of  modern voices. With  his uncanny  lame  instinct  for publicity, he  had
become  in  four  or  five  years  one  of  the  best  known  of  the  young
`intellectuals'.  Where  the intellect came  in, Connie did  not  quite see.
Clifford was really  clever at that slightly humorous analysis of people and
motives which leaves everything in  bits at the end. But  it was rather like
puppies tearing  the sofa cushions to bits; except that it was not young and
playful, but  curiously old, and rather obstinately conceited. It  was weird
and it was nothing. This was the feeling  that echoed  and re-echoed  at the
bottom  of  Connie's  soul:  it  was   all  flag,  a  wonderful  display  of
nothingness; At the same time a display. A display! a display! a display!
     Michaelis  had  seized upon Clifford  as the central figure for a play;
already  he  had  sketched  in  the plot, and  written  the  first  act. For
Michaelis was even better than Clifford at  making a display of nothingness.
It was the last  bit of passion left in these men: the passion  for making a
display. Sexually they were passionless, even dead. And now it was not money
that Michaelis was after. Clifford had  never been  primarily out for money,
though he made  it where  he could,  for  money  is  the  seal and stamp  of
success. And  success was what  they wanted.  They wanted, both  of them, to
make a real  display...a  man's  own  very  display  of himself  that should
capture for a time the vast populace.
     It  was  strange...the  prostitution  to the  bitch-goddess. To Connie,
since she was really outside  of it,  and  since  she had grown  numb to the
thrill  of  it,  it was  again nothingness.  Even  the  prostitution  to the
bitch-goddess  was  nothingness,  though  the   men  prostituted  themselves
innumerable times. Nothingness even that.
     Michaelis wrote to Clifford about the play. Of course she knew about it
long ago. And Clifford  was  again thrilled.  He was going  to be  displayed
again  this time,  somebody was going  to  display him, and to advantage. He
invited Michaelis down to Wragby with Act I.
     Michaelis  came:  in summer, in a  pale-coloured  suit  and white suede
gloves,  with  mauve orchids for Connie, very lovely,  and Act I was a great
success. Even Connie  was thrilled...thrilled to  what bit of marrow she had
left.  And  Michaelis,   thrilled   by  his  power  to  thrill,  was  really
wonderful...and  quite beautiful,  in  Connie's eyes. She saw  in  him  that
ancient motionlessness of a race that can't  be  disillusioned any  more, an
extreme, perhaps, of impurity that is  pure. On the far side of  his supreme
prostitution to the  bitch-goddess he seemed pure, pure as an African  ivory
mask that dreams impurity into purity, in its ivory curves and planes.
     His moment of sheer  thrill  with the two  Chatterleys, when  he simply
carried  Connie  and Clifford  away,  was  one of  the  supreme  moments  of
Michaelis'  life. He had succeeded:  he had carried them away. Even Clifford
was temporarily in love with him...if that is the way one can put it.
     So next morning Mick  was more  uneasy  than ever;  restless, devoured,
with his hands restless in his trousers pockets. Connie  had not visited him
in the night...and he  had  not known where to find her.  Coquetry!...at his
moment of triumph.
     He went up to her sitting-room  in the morning. She knew he would come.
And his  restlessness  was evident.  He asked her about his  play...did  she
think  it good? He had to hear it  praised: that affected  him with the last
thin  thrill  of  passion  beyond  any  sexual orgasm. And  she  praised  it
rapturously. Yet all the while, at the  bottom of her soul, she knew it  was
     `Look here!'  he said suddenly at last.  `Why  don't you and I  make  a
clean thing of it? Why don't we marry?'
     `But I am married,' she said, amazed, and yet feeling nothing.
     `Oh that!...he'll  divorce you all right...Why don't you and I marry? I
want  to marry. I know it would be the best thing  for me...marry and lead a
regular life. I lead  the deuce of a life, simply tearing  myself to pieces.
Look here, you and I, we're made for one another...hand and glove. Why don't
we marry? Do you see any reason why we shouldn't?'
     Connie looked at him amazed: and yet she  felt nothing. These men, they
were all alike, they left everything out. They just went off from the top of
their  heads  as if  they  were  squibs,  and  expected you  to  be  carried
heavenwards along with their own thin sticks.
     `But  I  am  married already,'  she said. `I can't leave  Clifford, you
     `Why not? but why not?' he cried. `He'll hardly know you've gone, after
six months. He doesn't know that anybody exists, except himself. Why the man
has no use for you  at all, as far as I can see; he's entirely wrapped up in
     Connie felt there was truth  in this.  But she also  felt that Mick was
hardly making a display of selflessness.
     `Aren't all men wrapped up in themselves?' she asked.
     `Oh,  more  or  less, I allow. A man's got to be,  to  get through. But
that's not the  point. The point is, what sort  of a time  can a  man give a
woman? Can he give her a damn good time, or can't he?  If  he can't he's  no
right to the woman...' He paused and gazed at her with his full, hazel eyes,
almost hypnotic.  `Now  I  consider,'  he  added,  `I can give a  woman  the
darndest good time she can ask for. I think I can guarantee myself.'
     `And what sort of a good time?' asked Connie, gazing on  him still with
a sort of amazement, that looked like thrill; and underneath feeling nothing
at all.
     `Every sort of a good time,  damn it, every sort! Dress, jewels up to a
point,  any  nightclub you like,  know anybody  you  want to know, live  the
pace...travel and be somebody wherever you go...Darn  it, every sort of good
     He spoke it almost in a brilliancy of triumph, and Connie looked at him
as if dazzled, and really feeling nothing at all. Hardly even the surface of
her  mind was tickled at the  glowing prospects he offered  her. Hardly even
her  most outside self responded, that  at any  other  time would  have been
thrilled. She just got  no feeling from it, she  couldn't `go off'. She just
sat  and  stared and looked  dazzled, and  felt nothing, only  somewhere she
smelt the extraordinarily unpleasant smell of the bitch-goddess.
     Mick sat  on tenterhooks, leaning forward in his  chair, glaring at her
almost  hysterically: and whether he was more anxious out of vanity  for her
to say Yes!  or whether he was more panic-stricken for  fear she should  say
Yes!---who can tell?
     `I should have to  think about it,' she said.  `I couldn't  say now. It
may seem to  you Clifford doesn't count, but  he  does. When  you  think how
disabled he is...'
     `Oh damn it all! If a  fellow's going  to trade on his  disabilities, I
might begin to say  how lonely I am, and always have been, and  all the rest
of the my-eye-Betty-Martin sob-stuff! Damn it all, if a fellow's got nothing
but disabilities to recommend him...'
     He turned aside,  working his  hands furiously in his trousers pockets.
That evening he said to her:
     `You're coming round to my  room tonight, aren't you? I don't darn know
where your room is.'
     `All right!' she said.
     He was a more excited lover that night, with his  strange, small  boy's
frail nakedness. Connie found it impossible to come to her crisis  before he
had  really  finished his. And  he roused a certain craving passion  in her,
with his little boy's nakedness and softness; she had to go on after he  had
finished, in the  wild tumult and heaving of  her loins, while he heroically
kept himself  up, and present in her, with all  his  will and self-offering,
till she brought about her own crisis, with weird little cries.
     When at  last he  drew  away  from her, he  said, in  a  bitter, almost
sneering little voice:
     `You  couldn't go off at the same time as a man, could  you? You'd have
to bring yourself off! You'd have to run the show!'
     This little speech, at the moment, was one of the shocks  of  her life.
Because that passive  sort  of giving himself was so obviously his only real
mode of intercourse.
     `What do you mean?' she said.
     `You know  what I mean. You keep on for hours after I've gone off...and
I have  to hang  on with  my teeth till you bring yourself off  by your  own
     She  was stunned  by this unexpected  piece of brutality, at the moment
when she  was glowing with a  sort of pleasure  beyond words, and  a sort of
love for him. Because, after all, like so many modern  men, he  was finished
almost before he had begun. And that forced the woman to be active.
     `But you want me to go on, to get my own satisfaction?' she said.
     He laughed grimly: `I  want it!' he  said. `That's good! I want to hang
on with my teeth clenched, while you go for me!'
     `But don't you?' she insisted.
     He avoided the question. `All the darned women are like that,' he said.
`Either they don't go off at all, as if they  were dead  in there...or  else
they  wait  till a chap's  really  done, and  then  they  start in to  bring
themselves off, and a chap's got  to hang on.  I  never had a woman yet  who
went off just at the same moment as I did.'
     Connie only half heard this piece of novel, masculine  information. She
was   only  stunned   by  his  feeling  against  her...his  incomprehensible
brutality. She felt so innocent.
     `But you want me to have my satisfaction too, don't you?' she repeated.
     `Oh, all right! I'm quite willing. But I'm darned if hanging on waiting
for a woman to go off is much of a game for a man...'
     This speech was one  of the  crucial  blows of Connie's life. It killed
something in  her. She had  not  been so  very  keen on Michaelis;  till  he
started it, she did not  want him. It was as  if she never positively wanted
him. But once he had started her, it  seemed only natural for her to come to
her own crisis with him. Almost she had loved him for it...almost that night
she loved him, and wanted to marry him.
     Perhaps instinctively he knew it, and that was why he had to bring down
the  whole show with  a smash;  the house of cards. Her whole sexual feeling
for him, or for any man, collapsed that night. Her  life fell apart from his
as completely as if he had never existed.
     And she went through the days  drearily. There was nothing now but this
empty treadmill of what Clifford called the integrated life, the long living
together of two people, who are in the habit of being in the same house with
one another.
     Nothingness! To accept  the great nothingness of  life seemed to be the
one end of living. All the  many  busy and important little things that make
up the grand sum-total of nothingness!

     `Why don't  men and  women  really like  one  another nowadays?' Connie
asked Tommy Dukes, who was more or less her oracle.
     `Oh, but they do!  I don't think since the  human species was invented,
there has ever been a time when men and women have liked one another as much
as they  do today.  Genuine liking!  Take myself. I really like women better
than men; they are braver, one can be more frank with them.'
     Connie pondered this.
     `Ah, yes, but you never have anything to do with them!' she said.
     `I? What am I doing but talking perfectly sincerely to  a woman at this
     `Yes, talking...'
     `And what  more could  I  do if  you were  a  man, than  talk perfectly
sincerely to you?'
     `Nothing perhaps. But a woman...'
     `A  woman wants you to like her and  talk to her, and at  the same time
love  her and  desire  her; and it seems  to me the two things are  mutually
     `But they shouldn't be!'
     `No doubt water ought  not  to be so wet as  it  is; it overdoes  it in
wetness.  But there it is! I like women  and talk  to them, and therefore  I
don't love them  and desire  them. The  two things don't happen at the  same
time in me.'
     `I think they ought to.'
     `All right. The fact that  things  ought to be something else than what
they are, is not my department.
     Connie considered this. `It isn't  true,' she said. `Men can love women
and talk to them.  I don't see how they can love them  without talking,  and
being friendly and intimate. How can they?'
     `Well,' he said, `I don't know. What's the use  of  my  generalizing? I
only know my own case. I like women, but I don't desire them. I like talking
to them; but talking to them, though it makes me  intimate in one direction,
sets  me poles apart from them as far as  kissing is concerned. So there you
are!  But don't take me  as a general example, probably  I'm  just a special
case: one of the men who like  women,  but don't love  women, and even  hate
them if they force me into a pretence of love, or an entangled appearance.
     `But doesn't it make you sad?'
     `Why should  it? Not a bit! I look at  Charlie May, and the rest of the
men who  have affairs...No, I don't envy them a bit! If fate sent me a woman
I wanted, well and good. Since I don't know any  woman I want, and never see
one...why, I presume I'm cold, and really like some women very much.'
     `Do you like me?'
     `Very much! And you see  there's no question of kissing between us,  is
     `None at all!' said Connie. `But oughtn't there to be?'
     `Why, in God's name? I like Clifford,  but what would you say if I went
and kissed him?'
     `But isn't there a difference?'
     `Where  does it lie, as far  as we're concerned?  We're all intelligent
human  beings, and  the male and female business  is  in  abeyance.  Just in
abeyance. How  would you like me to start acting up like a  continental male
at this moment, and parading the sex thing?'
     `I should hate it.'
     `Well then!  I tell you, if I'm really a male thing at all, I never run
across the female of my species.  And I  don't  miss her, I just like women.
Who's  going to force me into loving or pretending to love them, working  up
the sex game?'
     `No, I'm not. But isn't something wrong?'
     `You may feel it, I don't.'
     `Yes, I  feel something is wrong  between men and women. A woman has no
glamour for a man any more.'
     `Has a man for a woman?'
     She pondered the other side of the question.
     `Not much,' she said truthfully.
     `Then let's leave  it all  alone, and just be  decent  and simple, like
proper  human  beings  with  one  another.  Be   damned  to  the  artificial
sex-compulsion! I refuse it!'
     Connie knew he was right, really.  Yet it left her  feeling so forlorn,
so forlorn  and stray. Like a  chip on a dreary pond, she felt. What was the
point, of her or anything?
     It was her  youth  which  rebelled.  These men seemed so old  and cold.
Everything  seemed old and cold. And Michaelis let one  down so; he  was  no
good. The  men  didn't want one; they just didn't really  want a woman, even
Michaelis didn't.
     And the  bounders who pretended they did,  and  started working the sex
game, they were worse than ever.
     It was just dismal, and one had to  put up with it. It was quite  true,
men  had  no  real glamour  for  a  woman: if  you  could fool yourself into
thinking they had, even  as she  had fooled herself over Michaelis, that was
the best you could do. Meanwhile you just lived on and there was  nothing to
it.  She understood  perfectly well  why  people had  cocktail  parties, and
jazzed,  and Charlestoned till they were ready to  drop. You had to  take it
out  some  way or  other, your youth,  or it ate you up. But what a  ghastly
thing,  this youth! You felt as old as Methuselah, and yet the  thing fizzed
somehow,  and  didn't  let you be comfortable. A mean  sort of life!  And no
prospect! She almost wished  she had gone off with Mick, and made  her  life
one long cocktail  party, and jazz evening. Anyhow that was better than just
mooning yourself into the grave.
     On one of  her  bad days  she  went out  alone  to  walk  in the  wood,
ponderously, heeding nothing, not even noticing where she was. The report of
a gun not far off startled and angered her.
     Then, as  she went, she heard voices, and recoiled.  People! She didn't
want people.  But her quick ear caught another sound, and she roused; it was
a child sobbing. At once she attended; someone was ill-treating a child. She
strode swinging down the  wet drive, her  sullen resentment  uppermost.  She
felt just prepared to make a scene.
     Turning the corner, she saw two  figures  in  the drive beyond her: the
keeper, and a little girl in a purple coat and moleskin cap, crying.
     `Ah,  shut it up, tha false little bitch!' came the  man's angry voice,
and the child sobbed louder.
     Constance  strode nearer, with blazing eyes. The man turned  and looked
at her, saluting coolly, but he was pale with anger.
     `What's the matter? Why is she crying?'  demanded Constance, peremptory
but a little breathless.
     A  faint smile like a sneer came on  the man's face.  `Nay,  yo mun  ax
'er,' he replied callously, in broad vernacular.
     Connie  felt as if he had hit her in the  face, and she changed colour.
Then  she  gathered  her defiance, and  looked at  him, her dark  blue  eyes
blazing rather vaguely.
     `I asked you,' she panted.
     He gave a queer  little bow, lifting his hat. `You did, your Ladyship,'
he said; then, with a  return to the vernacular: `but I canna tell yer.' And
he became a soldier, inscrutable, only pale with annoyance.
     Connie turned to the child, a ruddy, black-haired thing of nine or ten.
`What  is it,  dear?  Tell  me  why  you're  crying!'  she  said,  with  the
conventionalized  sweetness suitable.  More  violent  sobs,  self-conscious.
Still more sweetness on Connie's part.
     `There,  there, don't you cry! Tell me what  they've done to you!'...an
intense tenderness of tone. At the  same time she felt  in the pocket of her
knitted jacket, and luckily found a sixpence.
     `Don't you cry then!'  she said,  bending in front of the  child.  `See
what I've got for you!'
     Sobs, snuffles, a fist  taken from a blubbered face, and a black shrewd
eye cast for a second on the sixpence. Then more sobs, but subduing. `There,
tell me what's  the matter, tell me!' said Connie, putting the coin into the
child's chubby hand, which closed over it.
     `It's the...it's the...pussy!'
     Shudders of subsiding sobs.
     `What pussy, dear?'
     After a silence the shy fist, clenching on sixpence, pointed  into  the
bramble brake.
     Connie looked, and there, sure enough, was  a big black cat,  stretched
out grimly, with a bit of blood on it.
     `Oh!' she said in repulsion.
     `A poacher, your Ladyship,' said the man satirically.
     She glanced at him angrily. `No wonder the child  cried,' she said, `if
you shot it when she was there. No wonder she cried!'
     He looked  into Connie's  eyes, laconic,  contemptuous,  not hiding his
feelings. And again Connie flushed; she  felt she had been  making  a scene,
the man did not respect her.
     `What  is your name?' she said playfully to the child. `Won't you  tell
me your name?'
     Sniffs; then very affectedly in a piping voice: `Connie Mellors!'
     `Connie Mellors! Well, that's  a nice  name! And did you  come out with
your Daddy, and he shot a pussy? But it was a bad pussy!'
     The child looked at her, with bold, dark eyes of  scrutiny, sizing  her
up, and her condolence.
     `I wanted to stop with my Gran,' said the little girl.
     `Did you? But where is your Gran?'
     The child lifted an arm, pointing down the drive. `At th' cottidge.'
     `At the cottage! And would you like to go back to her?'
     Sudden, shuddering quivers of reminiscent sobs. `Yes!'
     `Come then, shall I take you? Shall I take  you to your Gran? Then your
Daddy can do what  he has to do.' She  turned to the man. `It is your little
girl, isn't it?'
     He saluted, and made a slight movement of the head in affirmation.
     `I suppose I can take her to the cottage?' asked Connie.
     `If your Ladyship wishes.'
     Again  he  looked into her  eyes,  with  that  calm, searching detached
glance. A man very much alone, and on his own.
     `Would you like to come with me to the cottage, to your Gran, dear?'
     The child peeped up again. `Yes!' she simpered.
     Connie disliked her; the spoilt, false little  female. Nevertheless she
wiped her face and took her hand. The keeper saluted in silence.
     `Good morning!' said Connie.
     It was nearly  a mile to the cottage, and Connie senior was well red by
Connie  junior by the  time the game-keeper's picturesque little home was in
sight.  The child  was already as  full to  the brim with tricks as a little
monkey, and so self-assured.
     At  the  cottage the  door stood open, and  there was a  rattling heard
inside. Connie lingered, the child slipped her hand, and ran indoors.
     `Gran! Gran!'
     `Why, are yer back a'ready!'
     The  grandmother  had  been  blackleading  the  stove, it was  Saturday
morning. She came to the door in her sacking apron, a blacklead-brush in her
hand, and a black smudge on her nose. She was a little, rather dry woman.
     `Why,  whatever?' she said, hastily wiping her  arm across  her face as
she saw Connie standing outside.
     `Good morning!'  said Connie.  `She  was crying, so I just  brought her
     The grandmother looked around swiftly at the child:
     `Why, wheer was yer Dad?'
     The little girl clung to her grandmother's skirts and simpered.
     `He  was there,' said Connie, `but  he'd  shot a  poaching cat, and the
child was upset.'
     `Oh, you'd no right t'ave bothered, Lady Chatterley, I'm sure! I'm sure
it  was very good of you, but you shouldn't 'ave bothered. Why, did ever you
see!'---and the old woman turned to the child: `Fancy Lady Chatterley takin'
all that trouble over yer! Why, she shouldn't 'ave bothered!'
     `It was no bother, just a walk,' said Connie smiling.
     `Why, I'm sure 'twas very kind of you, I must say! So she was crying! I
knew  there'd be  something  afore they got  far. She's  frightened of  'im,
that's wheer it is.  Seems  'e's almost a stranger to 'er,  fair a stranger,
and I don't think  they're  two as'd  hit  it  off very easy. He's got funny
     Connie didn't know what to say.
     `Look, Gran!' simpered the child.
     The old woman looked down at the sixpence in the little girl's hand.
     `An' sixpence an' all! Oh, your Ladyship, you shouldn't, you shouldn't.
Why, isn't  Lady Chatterley good to  yer! My word, you're  a lucky girl this
     She pronounced the name, as all the people  did: Chat'ley.---Isn't Lady
Chat'ley good to you!'---Connie  couldn't  help looking  at the old  woman's
nose,  and the  latter  again vaguely  wiped her face  with the back  of her
wrist, but missed the smudge.
     Connie was  moving away `Well, thank you  ever so much, Lady  Chat'ley,
I'm sure. Say thank you to Lady Chat'ley!'---this last to the child.
     `Thank you,' piped the child.
     `There's a  dear!' laughed Connie,  and she moved  away,  saying  `Good
morning', heartily relieved to get away from the contact.
     Curious,  she  thought, that  that  thin, proud man  should  have  that
little, sharp woman for a mother!
     And the old woman,  as soon  as Connie had gone,  rushed to the  bit of
mirror in  the scullery, and looked at her face. Seeing it, she stamped  her
foot with impatience. `Of course she had to catch me in my coarse apron, and
a dirty face! Nice idea she'd get of me!'
     Connie went slowly home to  Wragby. `Home!'...it was a warm word to use
for that great, weary  warren. But then it was a word that  had had its day.
It was  somehow cancelled. All  the  great words, it seemed to Connie,  were
cancelled  for her generation:  love,  joy, happiness, home, mother, father,
husband, all these great, dynamic words were  half dead now, and  dying from
day to day. Home was a place  you lived in, love was a thing you didn't fool
yourself about, joy was a  word  you applied to a good Charleston, happiness
was  a  term  of  hypocrisy  used to  bluff other  people,  a father was  an
individual who enjoyed his own existence, a husband was a man you lived with
and kept going  in spirits. As for sex, the last of the great words, it  was
just a cocktail term for an excitement that bucked you up for a  while, then
left you more raggy than ever. Frayed! It  was as  if the  very material you
were made of was cheap stuff, and was fraying out to nothing.
     All that really remained was a stubborn stoicism: and in that there was
a certain pleasure. In the very experience of the nothingness of life, phase
after phase, ╔tape after ╔tape, there was  a certain grisly satisfaction. So
that's  that! Always  this was  the  last  utterance: home,  love, marriage,
Michaelis: So that's that! And when one died, the last  words to life  would
be: So that's that!
     Money?  Perhaps  one  couldn't  say the same there.  Money  one  always
wanted.  Money,  Success,  the  bitch-goddess, as  Tommy  Dukes persisted in
calling it, after Henry James, that was  a permanent necessity. You couldn't
spend your last sou, and say finally: So that's that! No, if you lived  even
another ten minutes, you wanted a few more sous for something or other. Just
to keep the business mechanically going, you  needed money. You had to  have
it. Money you have to have. You needn't really have anything else. So that's
     Since, of course, it's  not  your own fault you are alive. Once you are
alive, money is a necessity, and the  only  absolute necessity. All the rest
you  can get along without, at a pinch. But not money.  Emphatically, that's
     She  thought of Michaelis, and the  money she might have had with  him;
and  even that she  didn't  want. She preferred the lesser  amount which she
helped  Clifford  to make  by  his  writing. That  she  actually  helped  to
make.---`Clifford and I  together,  we make twelve  hundred  a year  out  of
writing';  so she  put  it to herself. Make money! Make it!  Out of nowhere.
Wring it out of the thin air! The last feat to be humanly proud of! The rest
     So she plodded home to Clifford, to join forces with him again, to make
another story out of nothingness: and a  story meant  money. Clifford seemed
to care very much whether his stories were considered first-class literature
or not. Strictly, she didn't care. Nothing  in it! said  her  father. Twelve
hundred pounds last year! was the retort simple and final.
     If  you were young, you just set your  teeth,  and bit on and held  on,
till the money began to flow from the invisible; it was a question of power.
It was a question of will; a subtle, subtle,  powerful emanation of will out
of yourself brought back to you  the mysterious nothingness of money  a word
on a bit of paper. It was a sort of  magic, certainly  it  was triumph.  The
bitch-goddess!  Well,  if one  had  to prostitute oneself,  let it be  to  a
bitch-goddess!  One  could always  despise her  even while  one  prostituted
oneself to her, which was good.
     Clifford, of  course, had still many  childish taboos and fetishes.  He
wanted to be thought `really  good',  which was  all  cock-a-hoopy nonsense.
What was really  good was  what actually  caught  on. It was  no good  being
really  good and getting left with  it. It seemed as if most of the  `really
good' men just missed the bus. After all you only lived one life, and if you
missed  the bus, you were just  left on the pavement, along with the rest of
the failures.
     Connie was contemplating a winter in London with Clifford, next winter.
He  and she had caught the bus all right, so they might  as well ride on top
for a bit, and show it.
     The  worst of it was,  Clifford tended to become vague, absent, and  to
fall  into fits of vacant depression. It was the wound to his psyche  coming
out. But it  made  Connie want  to scream. Oh God, if  the mechanism  of the
consciousness itself was going to go wrong, then what was one to do? Hang it
all, one did one's bit! Was one to be let down absolutely?
     Sometimes she wept bitterly, but even  as  she wept she  was saying  to
herself: Silly fool, wetting hankies! As if that would get you anywhere!
     Since Michaelis,  she  had made up her mind  she  wanted nothing.  That
seemed the simplest solution of the otherwise insoluble. She wanted  nothing
more than what she'd got; only she wanted to  get ahead with what she'd got:
Clifford, the stories, Wragby, the Lady-Chatterley business, money and fame,
such  as  it  was...she wanted to go ahead with it  all. Love, sex, all that
sort of  stuff, just water-ices! Lick it up and forget it. If you don't hang
on to it in your mind, it's nothing. Sex especially...nothing!  Make up your
mind to  it,  and you've solved the problem.  Sex and a  cocktail: they both
lasted about as long,  had the  same effect, and amounted to about the  same
     But a child,  a baby! That was  still one of the sensations.  She would
venture very gingerly on that experiment. There was the man to consider, and
it was curious, there wasn't  a  man in the world whose children you wanted.
Mick's children! Repulsive thought! As lief have  a child to a rabbit! Tommy
Dukes? he was very nice, but somehow you couldn't associate him with a baby,
another  generation.  He ended  in  himself.  And out  of  all the  rest  of
Clifford's pretty wide acquaintance, there was  not a man who did not  rouse
her contempt,  when she thought of having a child by him. There were several
who would  have  been quite  possible as  lover, even Mick. But to let  them
breed a child on you! Ugh! Humiliation and abomination.
     So that was that!
     Nevertheless, Connie had the child at the back of her mind. Wait! wait!
She  would  sift the generations  of men through her sieve,  and  see if she
couldn't find one who  would do.---`Go ye into  the  streets and by  ways of
Jerusalem, and see if you can find  a man.' It had been impossible to find a
man in the  Jerusalem of the prophet, though  there  were thousands of  male
humans. But a man! C'est une autre chose!
     She  had  an  idea that  he  would  have  to  be a  foreigner:  not  an
Englishman, still less an Irishman. A real foreigner.
     But  wait! wait! Next  winter  she would  get Clifford to  London;  the
following  winter she would  get him abroad to the  South of  France, Italy.
Wait! She  was in no hurry about the child. That was her own private affair,
and the one point on which, in her own queer, female way, she was serious to
the bottom of her soul. She was not going to risk any chance comer, not she!
One might  take a lover almost  at any moment, but a man who  should beget a
child  on one...wait! wait! it's a  very different matter.---`Go ye into the
streets and byways of Jerusalem...' It was not a question of  love; it was a
question of  a man. Why,  one might even rather hate him, personally. Yet if
he  was  the  man,  what  would one's  personal hate  matter?  This business
concerned another part of oneself.
     It had  rained as  usual, and the paths  were too sodden for Clifford's
chair, but Connie would  go out. She went out alone every day now, mostly in
the wood, where she was really alone. She saw nobody there.
     This day, however, Clifford wanted to send a message to the keeper, and
as the boy  was  laid  up  with  influenza, somebody always seemed  to  have
influenza at Wragby, Connie said she would call at the cottage.
     The air was soft and dead, as if all the world were  slowly dying. Grey
and clammy  and silent,  even from the shuffling of the collieries,  for the
pits were  working  short  time, and today they were stopped altogether. The
end of all things!
     In the wood all was utterly inert and motionless, only great drops fell
from  the bare boughs, with  a hollow little crash. For the  rest, among the
old  trees was  depth  within  depth  of  grey, hopeless  inertia,  silence,
     Connie walked  dimly on. From the old wood came  an ancient melancholy,
somehow soothing  to  her,  better than the  harsh insentience of  the outer
world.  She  liked  the inwardness  of the remnant of forest, the unspeaking
reticence of the old trees. They seemed a  very power of silence, and  yet a
vital presence. They, too, were waiting: obstinately, stoically waiting, and
giving off a potency of silence. Perhaps they were only waiting for the end;
to be cut down, cleared away, the end of the forest, for them the end of all
things.  But  perhaps their strong and aristocratic silence,  the silence of
strong trees, meant something else.
     As she came out  of the wood on the north side, the keeper's cottage, a
rather dark, brown stone cottage, with gables and a handsome chimney, looked
uninhabited, it was so silent and alone. But a thread of smoke rose from the
chimney, and the little railed-in garden  in the front of the house  was dug
and kept very tidy. The door was shut.
     Now she was here she  felt  a little shy of  the man,  with his curious
far-seeing eyes.  She did not like bringing him orders,  and felt like going
away again. She knocked  softly, no one came.  She knocked again, but  still
not loudly. There was no answer. She peeped through the  window, and saw the
dark little  room,  with  its  almost sinister privacy,  not wanting  to  be
     She stood and listened, and it seemed to her she heard sounds from  the
back of the cottage.  Having  failed  to make  herself heard, her mettle was
roused, she would not be defeated.
     So she went round the side of the house. At the back of the cottage the
land rose steeply, so the back yard was sunken, and enclosed by  a low stone
wall. She turned the corner of the house and stopped. In the little yard two
paces beyond her, the man was washing himself, utterly unaware. He was naked
to the  hips, his velveteen breeches  slipping down  over his slender loins.
And his white slim back was curved over a big bowl  of soapy water, in which
he ducked his  head, shaking his  head with a  queer, quick  little  motion,
lifting his slender white arms, and pressing the soapy water  from his ears,
quick,  subtle as  a  weasel playing  with water, and  utterly alone. Connie
backed  away round the corner of the house, and hurried away to the wood. In
spite of  herself,  she had  had a shock.  After all,  merely  a man washing
himself, commonplace enough, Heaven knows!
     Yet in some curious way it was  a visionary experience: it had  hit her
in  the middle of the body.  She saw the clumsy breeches slipping down  over
the pure, delicate, white loins,  the bones showing a  little, and the sense
of aloneness, of a creature purely alone, overwhelmed  her. Perfect,  white,
solitary  nudity  of a  creature that lives alone, and  inwardly  alone. And
beyond that,  a certain beauty of a  pure creature. Not the stuff of beauty,
not even  the  body  of beauty, but  a lambency, the warm, white  flame of a
single life, revealing itself in contours that one might touch: a body!
     Connie had  received the  shock of vision in her womb, and she knew it;
it lay inside her.  But with her mind  she  was inclined  to ridicule. A man
washing himself in a back yard! No doubt with evil-smelling yellow soap! She
was  rather  annoyed;  why  should she be  made to stumble on  these  vulgar
     So she walked  away  from herself, but after  a while she sat down on a
stump. She was too confused to think.  But in the coil of her confusion, she
was  determined  to  deliver  her message to  the  fellow.  She would not he
balked. She must give him time to dress himself, but not  time to go out. He
was probably preparing to go out somewhere.
     So she sauntered slowly back, listening. As she came  near, the cottage
looked  just the same.  A dog barked, and she knocked at the door, her heart
beating in spite of herself.
     She  heard  the man  coming  lightly  downstairs.  He opened  the  door
quickly, and startled her.  He looked uneasy himself, but  instantly a laugh
came on his face.
     `Lady Chatterley!' he said. `Will you come in?'
     His  manner  was so perfectly  easy  and  good, she  stepped  over  the
threshold into the rather dreary little room.
     `I only called with a message from Sir Clifford,' she said in her soft,
rather breathless voice.
     The man was looking  at  her with those blue, all-seeing  eyes  of his,
which  made her turn her face aside a little. He thought  her comely, almost
beautiful,  in her  shyness, and he took command of the situation himself at
     `Would you  care to sit down?' he  asked, presuming she would not.  The
door stood open.
     `No  thanks!  Sir  Clifford wondered if you would and she delivered her
message, looking unconsciously  into his eyes again. And now his eyes looked
warm and kind, particularly to  a woman, wonderfully warm, and kind,  and at
     `Very good, your Ladyship. I will see to it at once.'
     Taking an order, his whole self had changed, glazed over with a sort of
hardness and distance. Connie hesitated, she  ought  to go. But  she  looked
round the clean, tidy, rather dreary little sitting-room with something like
     `Do you live here quite alone?' she asked.
     `Quite alone, your Ladyship.'
     `But your mother...?'
     `She lives in her own cottage in the village.'
     `With the child?' asked Connie.
     `With the child!'
     And  his  plain, rather  worn  face  took  on  an  indefinable  look of
derision. It was a face that changed all the time, baking.
     `No,'  he said,  seeing Connie  stand at  a loss, `my mother  comes and
cleans up for me on Saturdays; I do the rest myself.'
     Again  Connie looked at  him.  His eyes  were  smiling again,  a little
mockingly, but warm and blue, and somehow kind. She wondered  at him. He was
in trousers  and flannel shirt and a grey tie,  his  hair soft and damp, his
face rather pale and worn-looking. When the eyes ceased to laugh they looked
as if they had suffered a great deal, still without losing their warmth. But
a pallor of isolation came over him, she was not really there for him.
     She wanted to say so many things, and she said nothing. Only she looked
up at him again, and remarked:
     `I hope I didn't disturb you?'
     The faint smile of mockery narrowed his eyes.
     `Only combing my hair, if you don't mind. I'm sorry I hadn't a coat on,
but  then I  had no idea  who  was knocking.  Nobody  knocks here,  and  the
unexpected sounds ominous.'
     He  went in front of her down  the garden path to hold the gate. In his
shirt, without  the clumsy velveteen coat, she saw again how slender he was,
thin, stooping a little. Yet, as she passed  him, there was  something young
and bright in his fair hair, and his  quick eyes.  He would  be a man  about
thirty-seven or eight.
     She plodded on into the wood,  knowing  he  was  looking after her;  he
upset her so much, in spite of herself.
     And he, as he  went indoors,  was thinking:  `She's nice,  she's  real!
She's nicer than she knows.'
     She wondered very much about him; he seemed so unlike a game-keeper, so
unlike a working-man  anyhow; although  he had  something in common with the
local people. But also something very uncommon.
     `The game-keeper,  Mellors,  is a curious kind of person,'  she said to
Clifford; `he might almost be a gentleman.'
     `Might he?' said Clifford. `I hadn't noticed.'
     `But isn't there something special about him?' Connie insisted.
     `I think he's quite a nice fellow, but I know very little about him. He
only came out of the army  last year,  less than a year ago.  From  India, I
rather think. He may have picked up certain tricks out there, perhaps he was
an officer's servant,  and  improved on his position.  Some of  the men were
like that. But it  does them no good, they have to  fall back into their old
places when they get home again.'
     Connie gazed at Clifford contemplatively. She  saw in him the  peculiar
tight  rebuff  against anyone of  the  lower classes  who  might  be  really
climbing up, which she knew was characteristic of his breed.
     `But don't you think there is something special about him?' she asked.
     `Frankly, no! Nothing I had noticed.'
     He looked  at her curiously,  uneasily, half-suspiciously. And she felt
he wasn't  telling  her the real truth;  he wasn't  telling himself the real
truth, that was it. He disliked any suggestion of a really exceptional human
being. People must be more or less at his level, or below it.
     Connie  felt  again the  tightness,  niggardliness of  the  men  of her
generation. They were so tight, so scared of life!

     When Connie went up to  her bedroom she did what she had not done for a
long time: took off all her clothes, and looked at herself naked in the huge
mirror. She did  not know what she was looking for, or  at, very definitely,
yet she moved the lamp till it shone full on her.
     And she  thought,  as she had  thought  so often,  what a frail, easily
hurt,  rather  pathetic  thing  a  human body is, naked;  somehow  a  little
unfinished, incomplete!
     She had been supposed to have rather a good figure, but now she was out
of  fashion: a little too female, not enough like an adolescent boy. She was
not  very  tall,  a bit  Scottish  and  short; but she had a certain fluent,
down-slipping grace that might have been beauty. Her skin was faintly tawny,
her  limbs had a  certain  stillness, her  body  should  have  had  a  full,
down-slipping richness; but it lacked something.
     Instead  of  ripening  its  firm, down-running  curves,  her  body  was
flattening and going a little harsh.  It was as if it had not had enough sun
and warmth; it was a little greyish and sapless.
     Disappointed of its real womanhood,  it  had not succeeded in  becoming
boyish, and unsubstantial, and transparent; instead it had gone opaque.
     Her breasts  were rather small, and dropping pear-shaped. But they were
unripe, a little  bitter,  without meaning hanging there. And  her belly had
lost  the fresh,  round gleam it had  had when she was young, in the days of
her German  boy,  who  really  loved  her physically. Then  it was young and
expectant, with a real look of its own. Now it was going slack, and a little
flat, thinner, but with a slack thinness. Her thighs, too, they used to look
so quick and glimpsy in their female roundness, somehow they too  were going
flat, slack, meaningless.
     Her  body  was  going  meaningless,  going  dull  and opaque,  so  much
insignificant substance. It made her  feel immensely depressed and hopeless.
What hope was there? She was old,  old  at  twenty-seven, with  no gleam and
sparkle  in  the  flesh.  Old  through  neglect  and  denial,  yes,  denial.
Fashionable women kept  their  bodies  bright like  delicate  porcelain,  by
external attention. There  was nothing inside the porcelain; but she was not
even  as  bright  as that.  The mental  life! Suddenly  she hated  it with a
rushing fury, the swindle!
     She looked in the other mirror's reflection at her back, her waist, her
loins. She was getting thinner, but to  her it was not becoming. The crumple
of her waist at the  back, as she bent back to look, was a little weary; and
it used to be so  gay-looking. And the longish slope of her haunches and her
buttocks had lost its gleam and its sense of richness. Gone! Only the German
boy had loved it, and he was ten years dead, very  nearly. How time went by!
Ten years  dead, and she  was only twenty-seven.  The  healthy boy  with his
fresh, clumsy sensuality that she had  then been so scornful of! Where would
she  find  it  now?  It  was  gone  out of  men.  They had  their  pathetic,
two-seconds spasms  like  Michaelis; but  no healthy human  sensuality, that
warms the blood and freshens the whole being.
     Still she thought the  most beautiful  part of her was the long-sloping
fall of the haunches from the socket of the back, and  the slumberous, round
stillness of  the buttocks. Like hillocks of sand,  the Arabs say,  soft and
downward-slipping  with a long slope. Here the  life  still lingered hoping.
But here too she was thinner, and going unripe, astringent.
     But the front of her body made  her miserable. It was already beginning
to slacken, with a slack sort of thinness, almost withered, going old before
it had ever really lived.  She thought of  the child she might somehow bear.
Was she fit, anyhow?
     She  slipped into her nightdress,  and  went to bed, where  she  sobbed
bitterly. And in her bitterness burned a cold indignation  against Clifford,
and his writings and his talk: against all the men of his sort who defrauded
a woman even of her own body.
     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
downstairs to Clifford. She had  to help him in all the intimate things, for
he  had no man, and  refused a woman-servant. The housekeeper's husband, who
had  known him  as a boy, helped him, and did any  heavy lifting; but Connie
did the personal things, and she did them willingly. It was a demand on her,
but she had wanted to do what she could.
     So she hardly ever went away from Wragby, and never for more than a day
or two;  when  Mrs Betts, the housekeeper, attended to Clifford. He,  as was
inevitable in the course of time,  took all the service for granted.  It was
natural he should.
     And yet, deep inside herself, a sense of injustice, of being defrauded,
had begun to burn  in Connie. The physical sense of injustice is a dangerous
feeling,  once it  is awakened. It must have outlet, or it eats away the one
in  whom it  is  aroused.  Poor  Clifford, he was not to blame.  His was the
greater misfortune. It was all part of the general catastrophe.
     And yet was he not in a way to blame? This lack of warmth, this lack of
the  simple,  warm, physical  contact,  was he not to blame for that? He was
never  really warm,  nor  even  kind,  only thoughtful,  considerate,  in  a
well-bred, cold sort of way! But never warm as a man can be warm to a woman,
as  even  Connie's father could be warm to her, with the warmth of a man who
did himself well, and intended to, but who still could comfort it woman with
a bit of his masculine glow.
     But Clifford was  not like that. His whole race was not like that. They
were all inwardly hard and separate,  and warmth to them was just bad taste.
You had to  get on without it, and hold your own; which was all very well if
you were of the  same class and race. Then you could keep  yourself cold and
be very estimable, and  hold your own, and enjoy the satisfaction of holding
it. But if you were of another class and another race it  wouldn't do; there
was  no fun merely holding your own, and feeling you belonged  to the ruling
class.  What was the  point, when even  the smartest aristocrats  had really
nothing positive  of their own to hold, and  their rule was really  a farce,
not rule at all? What was the point? It was all cold nonsense.
     A sense of rebellion smouldered in Connie. What was the good of it all?
What was the good of her sacrifice, her devoting her life  to Clifford? What
was she serving, after  all? A cold spirit of vanity, that had no warm human
contacts,  and that was as  corrupt  as  any  low-born  Jew, in craving  for
prostitution  to  the  bitch-goddess,  Success.  Even  Clifford's  cool  and
contactless  assurance that he belonged  to the ruling class didn't  prevent
his tongue lolling out  of his mouth, as he panted  after the bitch-goddess.
After all, Michaelis was really  more  dignified in the matter, and far, far
more  successful.  Really,  if  you  looked  closely  at Clifford,  he was a
buffoon, and a buffoon is more humiliating than a bounder.
     As between the two men, Michaelis really had far more  use for her than
Clifford had.  He had  even more need of her.  Any good  nurse can attend to
crippled legs! And as for the heroic effort, Michaelis was a heroic rat, and
Clifford was very much of a poodle showing off.
     There were people staying in the house, among them Clifford's Aunt Eva,
Lady Bennerley. She was a thin woman of sixty, with a red nose, a widow, and
still something of a grande dame. She belonged to one  of the best families,
and  had  the  character  to  carry  it off.  Connie liked her, she  was  so
perfectly  simple  and [rank, as  far  as she  intended  to  be  frank,  and
superficially  kind. Inside herself she was  a  past-mistress in holding her
own, and holding other people a little lower. She was not at all a snob: far
too sure of herself. She  was perfect at the  social sport of coolly holding
her own, and making other people defer to her.
     She was kind to Connie, and  tried to worm into her  woman's soul  with
the sharp gimlet of her well-born observations.
     `You're quite  wonderful,  in my  opinion,' she said to Connie. `You've
done wonders for Clifford. I never  saw any budding genius myself, and there
he is, all the rage.'  Aunt Eva was quite  complacently proud  of Clifford's
success. Another feather in the family cap!  She didn't care  a straw  about
his books, but why should she?
     `Oh, I don't think it's my doing,' said Connie.
     `It must  be! Can't be anybody else's. And it seems to me you don't get
enough out of it.'
     `Look  at  the  way you are shut up here.  I said to Clifford: If  that
child rebels one day you'll have yourself to thank!'
     `But Clifford never denies me anything,' said Connie.
     `Look  here, my dear child'---and Lady Bennerley laid  her thin hand on
Connie's arm.  `A  woman has to live her  life, or live to repent not having
lived it. Believe  me!' And she  took another sip of brandy, which maybe was
her form of repentance.
     `But I do live my life, don't I?'
     `Not in my idea!  Clifford  should bring  you to London, and let you go
about. His sort of friends are all right for him, but what are they for you?
If I were you I should  think it wasn't good  enough. You'll  let your youth
slip by, and you'll spend your old age, and your  middle  age too, repenting
     Her ladyship lapsed into contemplative silence, soothed by the brandy.
     But Connie  was not keen on going to London, and being steered into the
smart  world by  Lady Bennerley.  She  didn't feel  really smart, it  wasn't
interesting. And she did feel the peculiar, withering coldness under it all;
like the soil of Labrador, which his gay little flowers on its  surface, and
a foot down is frozen.
     Tommy Dukes  was at Wragby, and another man, Harry Winterslow, and Jack
Strangeways with his wife Olive. The talk was much more desultory  than when
only the cronies were there, and everybody was a bit bored, for the  weather
was bad, and there was only billiards, and the pianola to dance to.
     Olive was reading a book about the future, when babies would be bred in
bottles, and women would be `immunized'.
     `Jolly good thing too!' she said. `Then a woman can live her own life.'
Strangeways wanted children, and she didn't.
     `How'd  you like  to be immunized?' Winterslow  asked her, with an ugly
     `I hope I am; naturally,' she said. `Anyhow the future's going  to have
more sense, and a woman needn't be dragged down by her functions.'
     `Perhaps she'll float off into space altogether,' said Dukes.
     `I  do  think sufficient civilization ought to eliminate a lot  of  the
physical disabilities,' said  Clifford. `All  the love-business for example,
it might just as well go.  I suppose it  would if  we could breed babies  in
     `No!' cried Olive. `That might leave all the more room for fun.'
     `I   suppose,'   said  Lady   Bennerley,   contemplatively,   `if   the
love-business went, something else would take its place. Morphia, perhaps. A
little morphine in  all the  air. It  would be  wonderfully  refreshing  for
     `The  government  releasing  ether into the  air  on  Saturdays, for  a
cheerful weekend!' said Jack. `Sounds all right, but  where should we be  by
     `So  long  as  you  can  forget your  body you  are  happy,' said  Lady
Bennerley.  `And  the  moment you begin to  be aware of  your body, you  are
wretched. So, if civilization  is  any good, it has to help us to forget our
bodies, and then time passes happily without our knowing it.'
     `Help us  to get rid of our bodies altogether,'  said Winterslow. `It's
quite time man began  to improve  on his own nature, especially the physical
side of it.'
     `Imagine if we floated like tobacco smoke,' said Connie.
     `It  won't happen,' said Dukes.  `Our old  show  will  come  flop;  our
civilization is going to  fall. It's going down the bottomless pit, down the
chasm.  And  believe me, the  only  bridge  across  the  chasm  will be  the
     `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
elderly lady.
     `Connie  says  people  like wisps of  smoke, and  Olive  says immunized
women, and  babies  in bottles, and Dukes says the phallus is  the bridge to
what comes next. I wonder what it will really be?' said Clifford.
     `Oh, don't bother! let's get on with today,' said Olive. `Only hurry up
with the breeding bottle, and let us poor women off.'
     `There might even be real  men, in the  next phase,' said Tommy. `Real,
intelligent,  wholesome men,  and  wholesome nice women! Wouldn't that be  a
change,  an enormous  change  from us? We're not men,  and the women  aren't
women.  We're  only  cerebrating  make-shifts,  mechanical and  intellectual
experiments. There may  even come  a civilization  of genuine men and women,
instead of our little  lot  of clever-jacks, all at the intelligence-age  of
seven. It would be  even  more  amazing  than  men of  smoke  or  babies  in
     `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
bit, the money and the rest. Then we'll get a democracy of touch, instead of
a democracy of pocket.'
     Something  echoed  inside  Connie: `Give me the democracy of touch, the
resurrection of  the  body!'  She didn't at  all know what it meant,  but it
comforted her, as meaningless things may do.
     Anyhow  everything was  terribly silly, and she was exasperatedly bored
by it all, by Clifford, by Aunt Eva,  by Olive and Jack, and Winterslow, and
even  by Dukes. Talk, talk, talk! What  hell it was, the continual rattle of
     Then,  when  all  the  people went, it  was  no  better.  She continued
plodding on, but exasperation and irritation had got hold of her lower body,
she couldn't escape. The days seemed to grind by,  with curious painfulness,
yet nothing happened.  Only she was getting  thinner;  even the  housekeeper
noticed it, and asked her  about herself Even Tommy Dukes  insisted she  was
not well, though she said she  was all right. Only she began to be afraid of
the ghastly white tombstones, that peculiar  loathsome whiteness of  Carrara
marble,  detestable as  false teeth, which stuck  up on the  hillside, under
Tevershall  church,  and  which she saw with such  grim painfulness from the
park. The  bristling of the  hideous false teeth  of tombstones  on the hill
affected her with  a  grisly kind of  horror. She felt the time not  far off
when  she  would  be buried  there,  added  to  the  ghastly  host under the
tombstones and the monuments, in these filthy Midlands.
     She needed help, and she knew it: so she wrote a little cri du coeur to
her sister, Hilda.  `I'm not well lately, and I don't know what's the matter
with me.'
     Down posted Hilda from Scotland, where she  had taken up her abode. She
came in March, alone, driving herself in a  nimble two-seater. Up the  drive
she came, tooting up the  incline, then sweeping round  the oval  of  grass,
where the two  great wild beech-trees stood,  on  the  flat in  front of the
     Connie had run out to the steps. Hilda  pulled up her car, got out, and
kissed her sister.
     `But Connie!' she cried. `Whatever is the matter?'
     `Nothing!' said Connie, rather  shamefacedly; but she knew  how she had
suffered in  contrast to Hilda.  Both  sisters had  the same rather  golden,
glowing skin, and soft brown hair, and naturally  strong, warm physique. But
now Connie was thin and earthy-looking, with a scraggy, yellowish neck, that
stuck out of her jumper.
     `But you're  ill, child!' said Hilda, in the  soft,  rather  breathless
voice that  both sisters had alike. Hilda  was  nearly, but not  quite,  two
years older than Connie.
     `No, not ill. Perhaps I'm bored,' said Connie a little pathetically.
     The light of battle glowed in Hilda's face; she was  a woman, soft  and
still as she seemed, of the old amazon sort, not made to fit with men.
     `This wretched place!' she said softly, looking at poor, old, lumbering
Wragby with real hate. She looked soft and warm herself, as a ripe pear, and
she was an amazon of the real old breed.
     She  went quietly in to Clifford. He thought how  handsome she  looked,
but  also  he shrank from her. His wife's family did not  have his  sort  of
manners, or his sort of etiquette. He considered them rather outsiders,  but
once they got inside they made him jump through the hoop.
     He sat square and well-groomed in  his chair, his hair sleek and blond,
and  his  face  fresh,  his  blue eyes pale,  and  a  little  prominent, his
expression inscrutable, but  well-bred. Hilda thought  it sulky  and stupid,
and he waited. He had an air of aplomb, but Hilda didn't care what he had an
air of; she  was up in arms, and if  he'd been Pope or Emperor it would have
been just the same.
     `Connie's looking awfully  unwell,' she said in her  soft voice, fixing
him with her beautiful, glowering grey eyes.  She looked so maidenly, so did
Connie; but he well knew the tone of Scottish obstinacy underneath.
     `She's a little thinner,' he said.
     `Haven't you done anything about it?'
     `Do  you  think it  necessary?' he  asked,  with  his  suavest  English
stiffness, for the two things often go together.
     Hilda only glowered  at  him without  replying;  repartee was  not  her
forte,  nor Connie's; so  she  glowered, and he was  much more uncomfortable
than if she had said things.
     `I'll take her to a doctor,' said Hilda at length. `Can  you  suggest a
good one round here?'
     `I'm afraid I can't.'
     `Then I'll take her to London, where we have a doctor we trust.'
     Though boiling with rage, Clifford said nothing.
     `I suppose  I may as well stay the night,'  said Hilda, pulling off her
gloves, `and I'll drive her to town tomorrow.'
     Clifford was yellow at the gills with anger, and  at evening the whites
of his eyes  were a  little  yellow too.  He ran  to  liver. But  Hilda  was
consistently modest and maidenly.
     `You  must have a nurse or somebody,  to look after you personally. You
should really have a manservant,'  said Hilda  as they  sat,  with  apparent
calmness,  at coffee after dinner. She  spoke  in her soft, seemingly gentle
way, but Clifford felt she was hitting him on the head with a bludgeon.
     `You think so?' he said coldly.
     `I'm  sure! It's  necessary.  Either  that, or  Father and I must  take
Connie away for some months. This can't go on.'
     `What can't go on?'
     `Haven't  you  looked  at  the child!' asked  Hilda, gazing at him full
stare. He looked rather  like  a huge, boiled  crayfish at the moment; or so
she thought.
     `Connie and I will discuss it,' he said.
     `I've already discussed it with her,' said Hilda.
     Clifford had been  long enough in the hands of nurses; he  hated  them,
because they left him no real privacy. And a manservant!...he couldn't stand
a man hanging round him. Almost better any woman. But why not Connie?
     The two sisters drove off in the morning, Connie looking rather like an
Easter lamb, rather small  beside Hilda, who held the wheel. Sir Malcolm was
away, but the Kensington house was open.
     The doctor examined Connie carefully, and asked her all about her life.
`I  see  your photograph,  and Sir  Clifford's,  in  the illustrated  papers
sometimes. Almost notorieties, aren't you? That's how the quiet little girls
grow  up, though you're only  a quiet little girl even now, in spite of  the
illustrated papers. No, no! There's nothing organically wrong,  but it won't
do! It won't do! Tell  Sir Clifford he's  got to bring you to  town, or take
you abroad, and amuse you. You've got to be amused, got to! Your vitality is
much too low; no reserves, no reserves. The nerves  of the heart a bit queer
already: oh, yes! Nothing but nerves; I'd put you right in a month at Cannes
or  Biarritz. But it  mustn't go  on, mustn't,  I  tell  you,  or I won't be
answerable for consequences. You're  spending your life without renewing it.
You've got to be  amused, properly,  healthily  amused. You're spending your
vitality  without  making  any.  Can't  go on, you  know. Depression!  Avoid
     Hilda set her jaw, and that meant something.
     Michaelis heard they were  in town, and came running with  roses. `Why,
whatever's wrong?' he cried. `You're a shadow of yourself. Why, I never  saw
such a change! Why ever didn't  you  let me know? Come to Nice with me! Come
down to Sicily! Go on, come to Sicily with me. It's  lovely  there just now.
You  want sun! You want life! Why, you're wasting away!  Come away  with me!
Come to Africa!  Oh, hang  Sir Clifford! Chuck him, and come along with  me.
I'll marry you the minute he divorces you. Come along and  try a life! God's
love! That place Wragby  would kill anybody. Beastly place! Foul place! Kill
anybody! Come away with me into the  sun! It's the sun you  want, of course,
and a bit of normal life.'
     But  Connie's heart simply  stood still  at  the thought  of abandoning
Clifford there and then. She couldn't do it. No...no! She just couldn't. She
had to go back to Wragby.
     Michaelis was disgusted.  Hilda didn't like Michaelis,  but  she almost
preferred him to Clifford. Back went the sisters to the Midlands.
     Hilda talked to  Clifford,  who still had yellow eyeballs when they got
back. He,  too, in  his way,  was overwrought;  but he had to  listen to all
Hilda  said, to all the doctor had  said, not  what Michaelis had  said,  of
course, and he sat mum through the ultimatum.
     `Here is the  address  of a good manservant,  who  was with  an invalid
patient of the doctor's till he died  last month. He is really  a  good man,
and fairly sure to come.'
     `But I'm not  an  invalid,  and  I will not  have  a  manservant,' said
Clifford, poor devil.
     `And here are  the addresses of two women; I saw one of them, she would
do very well; a woman of about fifty,  quiet,  strong, kind, and  in her way
     Clifford only sulked, and would not answer.
     `Very well,  Clifford.  If we  don't settle something  by  to-morrow, I
shall telegraph to Father, and we shall take Connie away.'
     `Will Connie go?' asked Clifford.
     `She doesn't want  to,  but she  knows she must. Mother died of cancer,
brought on by fretting. We're not running any risks.'
     So next day Clifford suggested Mrs  Bolton,  Tevershall  parish  nurse.
Apparently Mrs Betts  had thought of her. Mrs Bolton was  just retiring from
her parish  duties  to  take  up private nursing jobs.  Clifford had a queer
dread of  delivering himself into  the hands  of a  stranger,  but this  Mrs
Bolton had once nursed him through scarlet fever, and he knew her.
     The  two sisters at once called  on  Mrs Bolton, in a newish house in a
row, quite select for Tevershall. They found a rather good-looking  woman of
forty-odd, in a nurse's uniform, with a white collar  and apron, just making
herself tea in a small crowded sitting-room.
     Mrs Bolton was most attentive and polite, seemed quite nice, spoke with
a bit of a  broad  slur,  but in heavily  correct English, and  from  having
bossed  the  sick colliers for a good many years, had a very good opinion of
herself, and  a fair amount of assurance. In short, in her tiny way, one  of
the governing class in the village, very much respected.
     `Yes, Lady Chatterley's  not  looking at all well! Why, she used  to be
that bonny, didn't  she now? But  she's  been failing  all winter! Oh,  it's
hard, it is. Poor Sir Clifford! Eh, that war, it's a lot to answer for.'
     And Mrs Bolton  would come to Wragby at once,  if Dr Shardlow would let
her  off. She had another  fortnight's parish nursing to do, by rights,  but
they might get a substitute, you know.
     Hilda posted off to Dr Shardlow, and on the following Sunday Mrs Bolton
drove up in Leiver's  cab  to Wragby with two trunks. Hilda had  talks  with
her; Mrs Bolton was ready  at any moment  to talk.  And she seemed so young!
The  way  the  passion  would  flush  in  her  rather pale  cheek.  She  was
     Her husband,  Ted Bolton, had been killed in the  pit, twenty-two years
ago, twenty-two years last  Christmas, just  at Christmas  time, leaving her
with  two children, one a baby in arms. Oh, the baby was married now, Edith,
to a young  man in  Boots Cash Chemists in Sheffield. The  other  one  was a
schoolteacher in Chesterfield; she came home weekends, when she wasn't asked
out somewhere.  Young folks enjoyed themselves nowadays, not  like when she,
Ivy Bolton, was young.
     Ted Bolton  was  twenty-eight when lie was killed in  an explosion down
th' pit.  The butty  in  front  shouted to them all to lie down quick, there
were four of them. And they all lay down in  time,  only Ted, and it  killed
him. Then at  the inquiry,  on the  masters' side they  said  Ted  had  been
frightened, and trying to run  away, and not obeying orders, so  it was like
his fault really.  So  the  compensation was only  three hundred pounds, and
they made out as if it was more  of a gift than  legal compensation, because
it was really the man's  own fault. And they wouldn't let her have the money
down;  she wanted to have  a  little  shop.  But they  said  she'd  no doubt
squander it, perhaps  in drink!  So she had to  draw it  thirty shillings  a
week. Yes, she had to go every Monday morning down to the offices, and stand
there a couple  of hours  waiting her  turn;  yes, for almost four years she
went every  Monday. And what  could she do with  two little children  on her
hands?  But Ted's mother was very  good to her.  When the baby  could toddle
she'd  keep both  the children  for the day, while  she, Ivy Bolton, went to
Sheffield, and attended classes in ambulance, and  then the  fourth year she
even  took a  nursing course  and got  qualified.  She  was determined to be
independent  and  keep  her  children.  So  she  was  assistant  at Uthwaite
hospital,  just a little  place,  for a  while. But  when  the Company,  the
Tevershall Colliery Company, really Sir Geoffrey, saw that she  could get on
by herself, they were very good  to  her,  gave her the parish nursing,  and
stood by her, she  would  say that for  them. And she'd  done it ever since,
till now it  was getting a  bit much for  her;  she needed  something  a bit
lighter, there was such a lot  of traipsing around if  you  were a  district
     `Yes, the Company's been very good to me, I always say it. But I should
never  forget what they said about Ted,  for he was as steady and fearless a
chap  as ever set  foot  on the  cage, and it was as good  as branding him a
coward. But there, he was dead, and could say nothing to none of 'em.'
     It was  a queer mixture of feelings the woman showed as she talked. She
liked the  colliers, whom  she  had nursed for so  long; but she  felt  very
superior  to  them.  She felt  almost  upper class; and at the  same time  a
resentment against the ruling  class smouldered in her.  The masters!  In  a
dispute between  masters and men, she was always for the men. But when there
was no question of contest, she was pining  to be superior, to be one of the
upper class.  The upper classes  fascinated her, appealing  to  her peculiar
English  passion  for  superiority. She  was  thrilled  to  come to  Wragby;
thrilled to  talk to Lady Chatterley,  my  word,  different from  the common
colliers'  wives! She said so in so many words. Yet  one could  see a grudge
against the Chatterleys peep out in her; the grudge against the masters.
     `Why,  yes,  of course, it would wear Lady Chatterley out! It's a mercy
she had a sister to come and help her.  Men don't think, high and low-alike,
they take what a woman does for them for granted. Oh, I've told the colliers
off  about it many a time. But  it's  very hard for  Sir Clifford, you know,
crippled like that. They were always a haughty family, standoffish in a way,
as they've a right to be.  But then  to be brought down  like that! And it's
very hard on Lady Chatterley, perhaps harder on her. What she misses! I only
had  Ted three years, but  my word, while I had  him I had a husband I could
never forget. He  was one in  a thousand, and jolly as  the day. Who'd  ever
have thought he'd get killed?  I  don't believe it to this day somehow, I've
never  believed it, though I washed him  with my own hands. But he was never
dead for me, he never was. I never took it in.'
     This was a new voice in Wragby,  very new for Connie to hear; it roused
a new ear in her.
     For  the first week  or  so, Mrs Bolton,  however,  was very  quiet  at
Wragby,  her  assured,  bossy  manner  left her, and  she was nervous.  With
Clifford she was shy, almost frightened, and silent. He liked that, and soon
recovered his self-possession,  letting her do things  for him without  even
noticing her.
     `She's  a useful nonentity!' he said. Connie opened her eyes in wonder,
but she  did not  contradict  him.  So  different  are  impressions  on  two
different people!
     And he soon became rather superb, somewhat  lordly  with the nurse. She
had rather expected it, and he played up without  knowing. So susceptible we
are  to  what is  expected  of us! The colliers had been  so  like children,
talking to her, and telling her what hurt  them, while she bandaged them, or
nursed them. They had always made her feel so grand, almost  super-human  in
her administrations. Now  Clifford made her feel  small, and like a servant,
and she accepted it without a word, adjusting herself to the upper classes.
     She came very mute, with her long, handsome face, and downcast eyes, to
administer  to  him. And  she  said  very humbly: `Shall I do  this now, Sir
Clifford? Shall I do that?'
     `No, leave it for a time. I'll have it done later.'
     `Very well, Sir Clifford.'
     `Come in again in half an hour.'
     `Very well, Sir Clifford.'
     `And just take those old papers out, will you?'
     `Very well, Sir Clifford.'
     She  went softly, and in  half an hour she  came softly  again. She was
bullied, but she didn't mind. She  was experiencing the  upper  classes. She
neither resented nor  disliked  Clifford;  he was just part of a phenomenon,
the phenomenon of the high-class folks, so far unknown to her, but now to be
known.  She felt  more at home  with Lady Chatterley, and after all it's the
mistress of the house matters most.
     Mrs  Bolton  helped Clifford  to bed  at  night, and  slept  across the
passage from his  room, and came if  he rang  for her in the night. She also
helped  him in  the morning, and  soon valeted him  completely, even shaving
him, in her  soft, tentative woman's way. She  was  very good and competent,
and she soon knew how to have him in her power. He  wasn't so very different
from  the colliers after all, when you lathered  his chin, and softly rubbed
the  bristles. The stand-offishness  and the lack of frankness didn't bother
her; she was having a new experience.
     Clifford,  however,  inside  himself,  never  quite forgave  Connie for
giving up her personal care of him to a strange  hired woman. It killed,  he
said to himself, the real  flower of the intimacy  between  him and her. But
Connie didn't mind that. The fine flower of their intimacy was to her rather
like an orchid, a bulb stuck  parasitic on  her tree of life, and producing,
to her eyes, a rather shabby flower.
     Now she had more time to herself she could softly play the piano, up in
her room, and sing: `Touch not the nettle, for the bonds  of love are ill to
loose.' She had  not realized  till lately how ill to loose they were, these
bonds of love. But thank Heaven she had loosened them! She was so glad to be
alone,  not  always  to  have  to  talk  to  him.  When  he  was   alone  he
tapped-tapped-tapped  on  a  typewriter, to infinity.  But  when he was  not
`working',  and  she was  there, he talked, always  talked;  infinite  small
analysis of  people and motives, and results,  characters and personalities,
till now she had  had enough.  For years she  had loved  it,  until she  had
enough, and then suddenly it was too much. She was thankful to be alone.
     It  was as if thousands  and thousands of little roots and  threads  of
consciousness in  him  and her had grown  together into a tangled mass, till
they could crowd no more,  and the plant was dying. Now quietly, subtly, she
was  unravelling  the  tangle of  his consciousness and  hers, breaking  the
threads gently, one by one, with patience  and impatience to  get clear. But
the bonds of such love are more ill to loose  even than  most  bonds; though
Mrs Bolton's coming had been a great help.
     But he still wanted the old intimate evenings of talk with Connie: talk
or reading aloud. But now she could arrange that  Mrs  Bolton should come at
ten to disturb them. At  ten o'clock Connie could go upstairs  and be alone.
Clifford was in good hands with Mrs Bolton.
     Mrs  Bolton ate with Mrs Betts in the  housekeeper's  room,  since they
were  all  agreeable.  And it  was curious how  much  closer  the  servants'
quarters seemed  to  have come; right  up to the doors of Clifford's  study,
when before they  were  so remote. For Mrs Betts would sometimes sit in  Mrs
Bolton's room, and Connie heard their lowered voices, and felt  somehow  the
strong,  other  vibration   of  the  working   people  almost  invading  the
sitting-room, when she and Clifford were alone. So changed was Wragby merely
by Mrs Bolton's coming.
     And  Connie felt  herself  released, in  another world,  she  felt  she
breathed differently.  But still she was  afraid  of how many of her  roots,
perhaps mortal  ones, were tangled with Clifford's. Yet still,  she breathed
freer, a new phase was going to begin in her life.

     Mrs  Bolton also  kept  a  cherishing eye on  Connie, feeling she  must
extend to her her female and professional  protection. She was always urging
her ladyship to walk out, to drive to Uthwaite, to be in the air. For Connie
had  got into the habit of sitting still by the fire, pretending to read; or
to sew feebly, and hardly going out at all.
     It was a blowy day soon  after  Hilda had gone,  that Mrs Bolton  said:
`Now  why  don't you go for  a walk through the wood, and look at  the daffs
behind  the  keeper's cottage? They're the prettiest sight you'd  see  in  a
day's march. And you  could put  some in your room; wild daffs are always so
cheerful-looking, aren't they?'
     Connie  took it in good part, even daffs for daffodils. Wild daffodils!
After  all,  one  could  not  stew  in  one's  own juice.  The  spring  came
back...`Seasons return,  but not to me returns Day, or the sweet approach of
Ev'n or Morn.'
     And  the  keeper,  his thin, white  body, like a  lonely pistil  of  an
invisible flower! She had forgotten  him  in her unspeakable depression. But
now something roused...`Pale beyond porch and portal'...the thing  to do was
to pass the porches and the portals.
     She was  stronger,  she could  walk better,  and iii the  wood the wind
would not be so  tiring  as it was across the bark, flatten against her. She
wanted to forget, to forget the world, and all the dreadful,  carrion-bodied
people. `Ye must be  born again! I believe in the resurrection  of the body!
Except a grain of wheat fall  into  the earth and  die, it shall by no means
bring forth.  When the crocus cometh  forth I  too will emerge  and  see the
sun!' In the wind of March endless phrases swept through her consciousness.
     Little  gusts  of sunshine  blew,  strangely  bright, and  lit  up  the
celandines at  the  wood's  edge,  under  the hazel-rods, they  spangled out
bright and yellow.  And  the wood  was  still, stiller, but yet  gusty  with
crossing  sun. The first windflowers were out, and all the wood  seemed pale
with  the pallor of  endless  little  anemones, sprinkling the shaken floor.
`The  world  has grown  pale  with  thy breath.' But it was  the  breath  of
Persephone, this time; she was out  of hell on  a cold morning. Cold breaths
of wind came, and overhead there was an anger of entangled wind caught among
the twigs.  It,  too,  was caught and trying to  tear itself free, the wind,
like  Absalom. How  cold  the  anemones looked,  bobbing  their  naked white
shoulders over  crinoline  skirts of  green. But they stood  it. A few first
bleached little primroses too,  by  the  path,  and  yellow  buds  unfolding
     The  roaring  and swaying was  overhead,  only  cold currents came down
below. Connie was strangely excited in the wood,  and the colour flew in her
cheeks, and burned  blue in her eyes. She  walked  ploddingly, picking a few
primroses  and  the  first violets, that  smelled sweet  and cold, sweet and
cold. And she drifted on without knowing where she was.
     Till  she came  to the clearing, at the end of  the wood,  and  saw the
green-stained stone cottage, looking almost rosy,  like the flesh underneath
a mushroom, its stone warmed  in a burst of sun. And there was  a sparkle of
yellow jasmine by the door; the closed door. But no sound; no smoke from the
chimney; no dog barking.
     She went quietly round to the back, where the bank rose up;  she had an
excuse, to see the daffodils.
     And they were there, the short-stemmed flowers, rustling and fluttering
and shivering, so bright and alive, but with nowhere to hide their faces, as
they turned them away from the wind.
     They shook their  bright,  sunny little rags in bouts of distress.  But
perhaps they liked it really; perhaps they really liked the tossing.
     Constance  sat  down  with her  back to a  young  pine-tree, that wayed
against  her with curious life, elastic, and powerful, rising up. The erect,
alive thing, with  its  top in the  sun! And she watched the  daffodils turn
golden,  in  a burst of sun that was warm on  her  hands  and lap.  Even she
caught the faint, tarry scent of  the flowers. And then, being so  still and
alone, she seemed to bet into the current of her own proper destiny. She had
been  fastened  by a  rope,  and jagging  and snarring  like  a boat  at its
moorings; now she was loose and adrift.
     The sunshine  gave way to chill; the  daffodils were in shadow, dipping
silently. So they would dip through the  day  and  the long  cold night.  So
strong in their frailty!
     She rose, a  little  stiff, took  a  few  daffodils, and went down. She
hated breaking the flowers, but she wanted just one  or  two to go with her.
She would  have  to go back to Wragby and its walls, and now she  hated  it,
especially its thick walls. Walls! Always walls! Yet one needed them in this
     When she got home Clifford asked her:
     `Where did you go?'
     `Right across the wood! Look,  aren't the little daffodils adorable? To
think they should come out of the earth!'
     `Just as much out of air and sunshine,' he said.
     `But modelled in the earth,' she retorted, with a prompt contradiction,
that surprised her a little.
     The  next afternoon she went to the wood  again. She followed the broad
riding that  swerved round  and  up through the larches to a  spring  called
John's Well. It was cold on this hillside, and not a flower  in the darkness
of larches.  But the icy little spring softly  pressed upwards from its tiny
well-bed  of  pure,  reddish-white  pebbles.  How  icy  and  clear  it  was!
Brilliant! The new keeper had no doubt put in fresh pebbles.  She heard  the
faint tinkle of water, as the tiny overflow trickled over and downhill. Even
above  the  hissing  boom  of  the  larchwood,  that  spread its  bristling,
leafless, wolfish darkness  on the down-slope, she heard  the  tinkle as  of
tiny water-bells.
     This  place was a little sinister, cold, damp.  Yet  the well must have
been  a drinking-place for hundreds of years. Now no  more. Its tiny cleared
space was lush and cold and dismal.
     She rose and  went slowly towards home. As  she went  she heard a faint
tapping away on the right, and stood still to listen. Was it hammering, or a
woodpecker? It was surely hammering.
     She  walked on, listening. And then  she noticed a narrow track between
young fir-trees, a track that seemed to lead nowhere. But  she  felt  it had
been used.  She turned  down it adventurously, between the thick young firs,
which  gave way soon to  the old oak wood. She  followed the track, and  the
hammering grew nearer, in the silence of the  windy  wood, for trees make  a
silence even in their noise of wind.
     She saw  a secret  little clearing,  and  a secret little hot  made  of
rustic poles. And she had  never been here before!  She realized  it was the
quiet  place where  the growing  pheasants were reared; the  keeper  in  his
shirt-sleeves was kneeling, hammering. The dog trotted forward with a short,
sharp bark, and  the keeper lifted his face  suddenly  and saw her. He had a
startled look in his eyes.
     He  straightened himself and  saluted, watching  her in silence, as she
came forward with  weakening limbs. He resented the intrusion; he  cherished
his solitude as his only and last freedom in life.
     `I  wondered  what the  hammering  was,' she  said,  feeling  weak  and
breathless, and a little afraid of him, as he looked so straight at her.
     `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
down a bit,' she said.
     `Come  and sit 'ere i' th'  'ut,' he said, going in front of her to the
hut,  pushing aside  some  timber and stuff, and drawing out a rustic chair,
made of hazel sticks.
     `Am Ah t' light yer a little fire?' he asked,  with the curious na¤vet╔
of the dialect.
     `Oh, don't bother,' she replied.
     But he looked  at  her hands; they were rather blue. So he quickly took
some larch  twigs  to the  little brick fire-place in the corner, and  in  a
moment the yellow flame was  running up the  chimney. He made a place by the
brick hearth.
     `Sit 'ere then a bit, and warm yer,' he said.
     She obeyed him. He  had that  curious kind of protective  authority she
obeyed  at once.  So she sat and warmed her hands at the blaze,  and dropped
logs on the fire, whilst outside he  was hammering again. She did not really
want to sit,  poked in  a corner by the  fire; she would rather have watched
from the door, but she was being looked after, so she had to submit.
     The hut was quite cosy, panelled with unvarnished deal, having a little
rustic table and stool beside her chair, and a carpenter's bench, then a big
box, tools, new boards, nails; and many things hung from pegs: axe, hatchet,
traps,  things in  sacks,  his coat.  It had  no  window, the light  came in
through the  open  door. It was a jumble, but  also it was a sort  of little
     She listened  to  the tapping of the man's hammer; it was not so happy.
He was oppressed. Here was a trespass on his privacy, and a dangerous one! A
woman! He had  reached the point where all  he  wanted on  earth  was  to be
alone. And yet he was powerless to preserve his privacy; he was a hired man,
and these people were his masters.
     Especially  he did not want to come into contact with a woman again. He
feared it; for he had a big wound from old contacts. He felt if he could not
be alone, and if he could not be left alone, he  would  die. His recoil away
from the outer  world  was  complete; his last refuge was this wood; to hide
himself there!
     Connie grew warm by the fire, which she had made too big: then she grew
hot. She went and sat on the stool in the doorway, watching the man at work.
He  seemed  not  to  notice her,  but  he  knew. Yet  he  worked on,  as  if
absorbedly, and his brown  dog sat on  her tail near  him,  and surveyed the
untrustworthy world.
     Slender, quiet and  quick,  the  man finished  the coop he was  making,
turned it over, tried  the sliding door,  then set it aside.  Then he  rose,
went for an old coop, and took it to the chopping log where he was  working.
Crouching, he tried the bars; some broke  in his hands; he began to draw the
nails. Then he turned the coop over and deliberated, and  he gave absolutely
no sign of awareness of the woman's presence.
     So Connie watched him fixedly. And  the same solitary aloneness she had
seen in him naked, she now saw in him clothed: solitary, and intent, like an
animal that  works alone, but also brooding, like a soul that  recoils away,
away from all human contact. Silently, patiently, he was recoiling away from
her even now. It was the stillness, and the  timeless sort of patience, in a
man impatient and passionate,  that touched Connie's womb. She saw it in his
bent head,  the  quick quiet hands, the crouching of  his slender, sensitive
loins; something patient and withdrawn.  She felt  his  experience  had been
deeper and wider  than her  own; much  deeper  and wider, and  perhaps  more
deadly. And this relieved her of herself; she felt almost irresponsible.
     So she  sat in the doorway of  the hut  in  a dream, utterly unaware of
time and of particular  circumstances.  She  was  so drifted  away  that  he
glanced up at her  quickly,  and saw the utterly still, waiting look  on her
face.  To him it was a  look of waiting. And a  little thin  tongue  of fire
suddenly flickered in his loins, at the root of his back, and  he groaned in
spirit. He dreaded with a repulsion almost of death, any further close human
contact. He wished above all things she would go away, and  leave him to his
own  privacy. He dreaded her  will,  her female will,  and her modern female
insistency. And  above all  he dreaded  her  cool,  upper-class impudence of
having her own way.  For after  all he was only  a hired  man. He  hated her
presence there.
     Connie came to herself  with sudden uneasiness. She rose. The afternoon
was turning to evening, yet she could not go away. She went over to the man,
who stood up at attention, his worn face stiff and blank, his eyes  watching
     `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
sometimes? Are there two keys?'
     `Not as Ah know on, ther' isna.'
     He had lapsed into the vernacular. Connie hesitated;  he was putting up
an opposition. Was it his hut, after all?
     `Couldn't  we  get another  key?'  she  asked in  her  soft voice, that
underneath had the ring of a woman determined to get her way.
     `Another!' he said, glancing at her with a flash of anger, touched with
     `Yes, a duplicate,' she said, flushing.
     `'Appen Sir Clifford 'ud know,' he said, putting her off.
     `Yes!' she said,  `he might have another. Otherwise we  could  have one
made from the one you have. It  would only take a  day or so, I suppose. You
could spare your key for so long.'
     `Ah canna tell yer, m'Lady! Ah know nob'dy as ma'es keys round 'ere.'
     Connie suddenly flushed with anger.
     `Very well!' she said. `I'll see to it.'
     `All right, your Ladyship.'
     Their eyes met.  His had a cold, ugly look of dislike and contempt, and
indifference to what would happen. Hers were hot with rebuff.
     But her heart sank, she saw how utterly he  disliked her, when she went
against him. And she saw him in a sort of desperation.
     `Good afternoon!'
     `Afternoon,  my Lady!' He  saluted  and turned  abruptly  away. She had
wakened the sleeping  dogs  of old voracious anger in him, anger against the
self-willed female. And he was powerless, powerless. He knew it!
     And she was angry  against the self-willed  male. A  servant  too!  She
walked sullenly home.
     She found Mrs Bolton  under the  great beech-tree on the knoll, looking
for her.
     `I just wondered if you'd be coming, my Lady,' the woman said brightly.
     `Am I late?' asked Connie.
     `Oh only Sir Clifford was waiting for his tea.'
     `Why didn't you make it then?'
     `Oh, I  don't think  it's hardly my  place. I don't  think Sir Clifford
would like it at all, my Lady.'
     `I don't see why not,' said Connie.
     She  went indoors to Clifford's study, where  the  old brass kettle was
simmering on the tray.
     `Am I  late, Clifford?'  she  said, putting  down  the few  flowers and
taking up the  tea-caddy, as she stood before the tray in her hat and scarf.
`I'm sorry! Why didn't you let Mrs Bolton make the tea?'
     `I didn't think  of  it,' he  said ironically. `I don't  quite  see her
presiding at the tea-table.'
     `Oh, there's nothing sacrosanct about a silver tea-pot,' said Connie.
     He glanced up at her curiously.
     `What did you do all afternoon?' he said.
     `Walked and sat  in  a sheltered place.  Do  you  know  there are still
berries on the big holly-tree?'
     She took off her scarf, but  not her hat, and sat down to make tea. The
toast  would certainly be  leathery. She put the  tea-cosy over the tea-pot,
and rose  to get a little glass for her violets. The poor flowers hung over,
limp on their stalks.
     `They'll revive again!'  she said,  putting  them before him  in  their
glass for him to smell.
     `Sweeter than the lids of Juno's eyes,' he quoted.
     `I  don't see  a bit  of connexion with the  actual violets,' she said.
`The Elizabethans are rather upholstered.'
     She poured him his tea.
     `Do  you  think there is a second  key to that little hut not far  from
John's Well, where the pheasants are reared?' she said.
     `There may be. Why?'
     `I happened to find it  today---and I'd never seen it before.  I  think
it's a darling place. I could sit there sometimes, couldn't I?'
     `Was Mellors there?'
     `Yes! That's how I found it: his hammering. He didn't seem  to like  my
intruding at all. In fact he was  almost  rude when I  asked about a  second
     `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
there. I'll get him to look.'
     `Oh do!' she said.
     `So Mellors was almost rude?'
     `Oh,  nothing, really!  But  I don't  think he  wanted  me  to have the
freedom of the castle, quite.'
     `I don't suppose he did.'
     `Still, I don't see  why he should mind. It's not his home, after  all!
It's not his private abode. I don't see  why I shouldn't sit there if I want
     `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
wife he didn't get on with, so he joined up in 1915 and was sent to India, I
believe. Anyhow he was blacksmith to the cavalry in Egypt for a time; always
was  connected  with  horses, a clever  fellow that way.  Then  some  Indian
colonel took a  fancy to him, and he  was made a lieutenant. Yes,  they gave
him a commission. I believe  he  went back to India with his colonel, and up
to the north-west frontier. He was ill; he was a pension. He didn't come out
of the army till last  year,  I believe, and then, naturally, it  isn't easy
for a man  like that to get  back  to his own level. He's bound to flounder.
But he does his duty all right, as far as I'm concerned. Only I'm not having
any of the Lieutenant Mellors touch.'
     `How could they make him an officer when he speaks broad Derbyshire?'
     `He doesn't...except by fits  and starts. He can  speak perfectly well,
for him. I suppose he has an idea if he's come down to the ranks again, he'd
better speak as the ranks speak.'
     `Why didn't you tell me about him before?'
     `Oh, I've no  patience with these  romances. They're  the  ruin  of all
order. It's a thousand pities they ever happened.'
     Connie was  inclined to agree. What was the good of discontented people
who fitted in nowhere?
     In the spell of fine weather Clifford, too, decided to go to the  wood.
The wind was cold,  but  not so  tiresome, and  the  sunshine  was like life
itself, warm and full.
     `It's amazing,' said Connie, `how  different one feels  when there's  a
really  fresh  fine day. Usually one feels the very air is half dead. People
are killing the very air.'
     `Do you think people are doing it?' he asked.
     `I  do. The steam of so  much  boredom, and discontent and anger out of
all the people, just kills the vitality in the air. I'm sure of it.'
     `Perhaps some condition of the atmosphere  lowers the vitality  of  the
people?' he said.
     `No, it's man that poisons the universe,' she asserted.
     `Fouls his own nest,' remarked Clifford.
     The chair puffed on. In the hazel copse catkins were hanging pale gold,
and in  sunny places the wood-anemones were wide open, as if exclaiming with
the  joy of life,  just as good as  in past days, when people could  exclaim
along with them. They had a faint scent of apple-blossom. Connie  gathered a
few for Clifford.
     He took them and looked at them curiously.
     `Thou still unravished bride of quietness,' he quoted. `It seems to fit
flowers so much better than Greek vases.'
     `Ravished is  such  a  horrid word!' she  said. `It's only  people  who
ravish things.'
     `Oh, I don't know...snails and things,' he said.
     `Even snails only eat them, and bees don't ravish.'
     She was  angry  with him, turning  everything  into words. Violets were
Juno's  eyelids,  and windflowers were  on  ravished  brides. How  she hated
words,  always  coming  between  her  and life: they did  the ravishing,  if
anything did: ready-made words and phrases, sucking all the life-sap out  of
living things.
     The walk with Clifford was not quite a success.  Between him and Connie
there was a tension that each  pretended  not to notice, but  there  it was.
Suddenly, with all the force of  her  female instinct, she  was  shoving him
off. She wanted to be clear of him, and especially of his consciousness, his
words,  his  obsession  with himself,  his endless  treadmill obsession with
himself, and his own words.
     The weather came  rainy again. But after a  day or two she went  out in
the rain, and she went  to  the  wood. And  once there, she went towards the
hut. It was raining, but not so cold,  and  the  wood  felt  so  silent  and
remote, inaccessible in the dusk of rain.
     She came to the clearing. No one there! The hut was locked. But she sat
on  the  log doorstep,  under the rustic  porch,  and snuggled  into her own
warmth.  So she sat,  looking at the  rain, listening to the many  noiseless
noises of  it, and to the strange soughings of wind in upper branches,  when
there  seemed  to be  no  wind. Old oak-trees  stood around, grey,  powerful
trunks, rain-blackened, round and  vital, throwing off  reckless  limbs. The
ground was fairly free  of undergrowth,  the anemones sprinkled, there was a
bush or two, elder, or guelder-rose, and a  purplish tangle of  bramble: the
old  russet of  bracken almost vanished under green  anemone  ruffs. Perhaps
this was one  of  the  unravished places.  Unravished! The whole  world  was
     Some things can't be ravished. You can't ravish a tin of  sardines. And
so many women are like that; and men. But the earth...!
     The  rain was abating. It was hardly making darkness among the oaks any
more. Connie wanted to go; yet she sat on. But she was getting cold; yet the
overwhelming inertia of her inner resentment kept her there as if paralysed.
     Ravished!  How  ravished  one could  be  without  ever  being  touched.
Ravished by dead words become obscene, and dead ideas become obsessions.
     A wet brown dog came running and did not bark, lifting a wet feather of
a tail. The man followed  in a  wet black oilskin jacket,  like a chauffeur,
and face  flushed a little. She felt him  recoil in his quick  walk, when he
saw her. She stood up in the handbreadth of dryness under the  rustic porch.
He saluted without speaking, coming slowly near. She began to withdraw.
     `I'm just going,' she said.
     `Was yer waitin' to get in?' he asked, looking at the hut, not at her.
     `No,  I only sat  a  few  minutes in the shelter,' she said, with 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.
Good afternoon!' She hated the excess of vernacular in his speech.
     He watched her  closely, as she was moving away. Then he hitched up his
jacket, and put his  hand in his breeches pocket,  taking out the key of the
     `'Appen yer'd better 'ave this key, an' Ah  min fend  for t'  bods some
other road.'
     She looked at him.
     `What do you mean?' she asked.
     `I mean as 'appen  Ah can  find anuther pleece as'll du for rearin' th'
pheasants. If yer want ter be 'ere, yo'll  non want me messin' abaht a'  th'
     She looked at him, getting his meaning through the fog of the dialect.
     `Why don't you speak ordinary English?' she said coldly.
     `Me! Ah thowt it wor ordinary.'
     She was silent for a few moments in anger.
     `So if yer want t' key, yer'd  better tacit. Or 'appen Ah'd better gi'e
't yer termorrer, an' clear all t' stuff aht fust. Would that du for yer?'
     She became more angry.
     `I didn't want your key,' she said. `I don't want you to clear anything
out at  all. I  don't  in the least want to  turn you out of your hut, thank
you! I only wanted to be  able to sit here sometimes, like today. But I  can
sit perfectly well under the porch, so please say no more about it.'
     He looked at her again, with his wicked blue eyes.
     `Why,' he began, in the broad slow dialect. `Your Ladyship's as welcome
as Christmas ter th' hut an' th' key an' iverythink as is. On'y this time O'
th' year ther's bods ter set, an'  Ah've got  ter be potterin' abaht a  good
bit,  seein' after 'em,  an'  a'.  Winter  time Ah ned 'ardly come  nigh th'
pleece.  But what  wi'  spring,  an'  Sir  Clifford  wantin' ter  start  th'
pheasants...An'  your Ladyship'd non want me tinkerin' around an' about when
she was 'ere, all the time.'
     She listened with a dim kind of amazement.
     `Why should I mind your being here?' she asked.
     He looked at her curiously.
     `T'nuisance on me!'  he said  briefly, but  significantly. She flushed.
`Very well!' she said  finally.  `I won't trouble  you. But I don't  think I
should  have minded  at all sitting and seeing you  look after the  birds. I
should have liked it. But  since  you think it interferes with you, I  won't
disturb you, don't be afraid. You are Sir Clifford's keeper, not mine.'
     The phrase sounded queer, she didn't know why. But she let it pass.
     `Nay, your Ladyship.  It's  your  Ladyship's  own  'ut.  It's  as  your
Ladyship likes an' pleases,  every time.  Yer can turn  me  off at  a  wik's
notice. It wor only...'
     `Only what?' she asked, baffled.
     He pushed back his hat in an odd comic way.
     `On'y  as 'appen yo'd like the place ter yersen, when yer did come, an'
not me messin' abaht.'
     `But why?' she said, angry. `Aren't you a civilized human being? Do you
think I  ought to be afraid of you? Why should I take  any notice of you and
your being here or not? Why is it important?'
     He looked at her, all his face glimmering with wicked laughter.
     `It's not, your Ladyship. Not in the very least,' he said.
     `Well, why then?' she asked.
     `Shall I get your Ladyship another key then?'
     `No thank you! I don't want it.'
     `Ah'll get it anyhow. We'd best 'ave two keys ter th' place.'
     `And I consider you  are  insolent,' said  Connie,  with her colour up,
panting a little.
     `Nay,  nay!'  he said  quickly. `Dunna yer say that! Nay, nay!  I niver
meant  nuthink. Ah  on'y thought as if yo' come 'ere,  Ah  s'd ave ter clear
out, an' it'd mean a lot of  work,  settin' up somewheres else.  But if your
Ladyship isn't going ter  take no notice O' me,  then...it's  Sir Clifford's
'ut,  an'  everythink is  as your  Ladyship  likes,  everythink is  as  your
Ladyship likes an' pleases, barrin' yer take no notice O' me, doin' th' bits
of jobs as Ah've got ter do.'
     Connie went away completely  bewildered. She was not  sure whether  she
had  been insulted and mortally  of fended,  or not. Perhaps  the man really
only meant what he said; that he thought she would expect him to  keep away.
As if she would dream of it! And as if he could possibly be so important, he
and his stupid presence.
     She went home in confusion, not knowing what she thought or felt.
     Chapters 9
     Connie was surprised at her own feeling of aversion from Clifford. What
is more, she felt she had always really disliked him. Not hate: there was no
passion in  it. But a profound physical dislike.  Almost, it  seemed to her,
she had married  him because she disliked him, in a secret, physical sort of
way. But of course, she had  married him really  because in a mental  way he
attracted her and excited  her. He had seemed,  in  some  way,  her  master,
beyond her.
     Now the mental excitement  had  worn itself out and  collapsed, and she
was aware only of the physical aversion. It rose  up in her from her depths:
and she realized how it had been eating her life away.
     She felt weak and utterly forlorn. She wished some help would come from
outside. But in the  whole  world  there was no  help. Society was  terrible
because it was insane. Civilized society is insane. Money and so-called love
are its two  great  manias; money a  long  way first. The individual asserts
himself in  his disconnected insanity in these two  modes:  money  and love.
Look at Michaelis! His life and activity  were just insanity. His love was a
sort of insanity.
     And Clifford the same. All that talk!  All that writing! All that  wild
struggling to push  himself  forwards! It  was  just  insanity. And  it  was
getting worse, really maniacal.
     Connie felt  washed-out with fear.  But at least, Clifford was shifting
his grip from her on to  Mrs Bolton. He  did  not know it. Like  many insane
people, his insanity might be measured by the things he was not aware of the
great desert tracts in his consciousness.
     Mrs Bolton was admirable in many ways. But she  had that  queer sort of
bossiness, endless  assertion of her  own will, which is one of the signs of
insanity in modern woman. She thought she was utterly subservient and living
for others.  Clifford  fascinated  her  because  he  always, or  so of  ten,
frustrated her will, as if by a finer instinct. He had a finer, subtler will
of self-assertion than herself. This was his charm for her.
     Perhaps that had been his charm, too, for Connie.
     `It's a  lovely day, today!' Mrs  Bolton  would  say in her  caressive,
persuasive voice. `I should think you'd  enjoy a  little  run in your  chair
today, the sun's just lovely.'
     `Yes?  Will you give me that book---there, that yellow one. And I think
I'll have those hyacinths taken out.'
     `Why  they're  so beautiful!'  She  pronounced it  with  the `y' sound:
be-yutiful! `And the scent is simply gorgeous.'
     `The scent is what I object to,' he said. `It's a little funereal.'
     `Do you think so!' she  exclaimed in  surprise, just a little offended,
but impressed. And she  carried the hyacinths out of the room,  impressed by
his higher fastidiousness.
     `Shall I shave you this morning, or would you rather do  it  yourself?'
Always the same soft, caressive, subservient, yet managing voice.
     `I don't know. Do you mind waiting a while. I'll ring when I'm ready.'
     `Very good,  Sir  Clifford!'  she  replied,  so  soft  and  submissive,
withdrawing quietly. But every rebuff stored up new energy of will in her.
     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
first he had resented the infinitely soft touch  of her lingers on his face.
But now he liked  it, with a  growing  voluptuousness. He let her  shave him
nearly every day: her face near his, her eyes so very concentrated, watching
that she did  it  right. And  gradually  her fingertips  knew his cheeks and
lips,  his  jaw  and   chin  and  throat  perfectly.  He  was  well-fed  and
well-liking,  his  face and  throat  were  handsome  enough  and  he  was  a
     She was handsome too, pale,  her face rather long and absolutely still,
her eyes  bright, but revealing nothing. Gradually, with  infinite softness,
almost with love, she was getting him by the throat,  and he was yielding to
     She now  did almost  everything for him, and he  felt more at home with
her,  less ashamed of accepting her menial  offices, than  with Connie.  She
liked handling  him. She loved having his body in her charge, absolutely, to
the  last menial  offices. She said to Connie  one day: `All men are babies,
when  you come to the bottom of them. Why, I've handled some of the toughest
customers as  ever  went  down Tevershall pit. But let  anything ail them so
that you have to do  for  them,  and  they're babies, just  big  babies. Oh,
there's not much difference in men!'
     At first Mrs Bolton had thought there really was something different in
a gentleman, a real gentleman, like Sir Clifford. So Clifford had got a good
start  of her. But gradually, as she  came  to the bottom of him, to use her
own term, she found he was like the rest, a baby grown to man's proportions:
but a baby with a queer temper  and a fine manner and power in  its control,
and all sorts of odd  knowledge that she had never dreamed of, with which he
could still bully her.
     Connie was sometimes tempted to say to him:
     `For God's sake, don't sink so horribly into the  hands of that woman!'
But she found she didn't care for him enough to say it, in the long run.
     It  was  still  their habit  to  spend the evening  together, till  ten
o'clock. Then they would talk, or read together, or go over  his manuscript.
But the thrill had gone out of it. She was bored by his manuscripts. But she
still dutifully typed them out for him. But in time Mrs Bolton would do even
     For Connie had  suggested to Mrs Bolton that she should learn  to use a
typewriter.  And Mrs Bolton, always ready, had begun at once,  and practised
assiduously.  So now Clifford  would sometimes dictate a letter  to her, and
she  would  take  it  down  rather slowly, but correctly. And  he  was  very
patient, spelling for her the  difficult words, or the occasional phrases in
French. She was so thrilled, it was almost a pleasure to instruct her.
     Now Connie would sometimes  plead a headache as  an excuse for going up
to her room after dinner.
     `Perhaps Mrs Bolton will play piquet with you,' she said to Clifford.
     `Oh, I shall be perfectly all right. You go to  your own room and rest,
     But no sooner had she gone, than he rang for Mrs Bolton,  and asked her
to take a hand at piquet  or  bezique, or even chess. He had taught her  all
these games. And Connie found it curiously  objectionable to see Mrs Bolton,
flushed and tremulous like a little  girl, touching her queen or  her knight
with  uncertain  fingers, then  drawing  away again. And  Clifford,  faintly
smiling with a half-teasing superiority, saying to 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
power.  And she was thrilled. She  was coming bit by bit  into possession of
all  that  the gentry  knew, all that made them  upper class: apart from the
money.  That thrilled her. And at the same time, she was  making him want to
have her there with him. It was a  subtle deep flattery to  him, her genuine
     To Connie,  Clifford seemed to be coming out  in his  true  colours:  a
little  vulgar, a little  common, and uninspired; rather  fat.  Ivy Bolton's
tricks and humble  bossiness were also only too transparent. But  Connie did
wonder at the genuine thrill which the woman got out of Clifford. To say she
was in love  with him would be putting it wrongly.  She  was thrilled by her
contact with a man of  the upper class, this  titled gentleman,  this author
who  could  write books and  poems, and  whose  photograph  appeared  in the
illustrated  newspapers.  She  was  thrilled  to  a  weird  passion. And his
`educating' her  roused  in  her a passion  of excitement and response  much
deeper than any love affair  could have done.  In truth, the very  fact that
there could be no love  affair  left her free to  thrill to  her very marrow
with  this other passion,  the  peculiar  passion of knowing, knowing as  he
     There was no mistake that the woman  was in some way in love with  him:
whatever force  we  give  to the  word love. She  looked so handsome  and so
young, and her  grey eyes were sometimes marvellous. At the same time, there
was  a lurking  soft  satisfaction  about her, even of triumph, and  private
satisfaction. Ugh, that private satisfaction. How Connie loathed it!
     But  no wonder Clifford was  caught by the woman! She absolutely adored
him, in her  persistent fashion, and put herself  absolutely at his service,
for him to use as he liked. No wonder he was flattered!
     Connie heard long conversations going on between the two. Or rather, it
bas  mostly Mrs Bolton talking. She had unloosed to him the stream of gossip
about Tevershall village. It  was more than gossip. It was  Mrs  Gaskell and
George Eliot and Miss Mitford  all rolled in  one,  with a  great deal more,
that these women  left out.' Once started, Mrs  Bolton was  better  than any
book, about the  lives of the  people. She knew them  all so intimately, and
had such a peculiar, flamey zest in all their affairs, it  was wonderful, if
just a trifle humiliating to listen to her. At first she had not ventured to
`talk Tevershall', as she called it, to Clifford.  But once started, it went
on. Clifford was listening for `material', and he found it in plenty. Connie
realized that his  so-called genius was just this: a  perspicuous talent for
personal  gossip, clever and apparently detached. Mrs Bolton, of course, was
very warm  when  she `talked Tevershall'. Carried away,  in fact. And it was
marvellous, the things that happened and that she knew about. She would have
run to dozens of volumes.
     Connie was fascinated, listening to her. But afterwards always a little
ashamed. She ought not to listen with this queer rabid curiosity. After all,
one may hear the most private  affairs of other people, but only in a spirit
of respect for the  struggling, battered thing which any human soul is,  and
in a  spirit of fine, discriminative sympathy. For even satire is a form  of
sympathy.  It  is  the  way  our  sympathy  flows  and  recoils that  really
determines  our lives.  And  here  lies  the vast  importance of the  novel,
properly  handled. It  can inform and lead into new places the  flow  of our
sympathetic consciousness, and it  can lead our sympathy away in recoil from
things gone dead. Therefore,  the novel,  properly  handled,  can reveal the
most  secret places of life: for it is in the  passional  secret  places  of
life, above all, that the tide of sensitive awareness needs to ebb and flow,
cleansing and freshening.
     But the  novel, like  gossip, can also  excite spurious  sympathies and
recoils, mechanical and deadening to  the psyche. The novel can  glorify the
most corrupt feelings, so  long  as they are conventionally `pure'. Then the
novel, like gossip, becomes  at last vicious, and, like gossip, all the more
vicious  because it  is always  ostensibly  on  the side of the angels.  Mrs
Bolton's gossip was always on the side of the angels. `And he was such a bad
fellow, and she was  such a nice woman.' Whereas, as  Connie could  see even
from Mrs Bolton's gossip, the woman had  been  merely a  mealy-mouthed sort,
and the  man angrily honest. But angry honesty made  a `bad man' of him, and
mealy-mouthedness  made a `nice woman' of her,  in the vicious, conventional
channelling of sympathy by Mrs Bolton.
     For this reason, the gossip  was humiliating. And  for the same reason,
most  novels,  especially  popular  ones, are  humiliating  too.  The public
responds now only to an appeal to its vices.
     Nevertheless, one  got  a  new  vision  of Tevershall  village from Mrs
Bolton's  talk.  A terrible, seething welter of  ugly life it seemed: not at
all  the flat drabness it  looked from outside.  Clifford  of course knew by
sight  most  of  the  people mentioned, Connie knew only one or two. But  it
sounded really more like a Central African jungle than an English village.
     `I suppose you heard as  Miss Allsopp was married last week! Would  you
ever! Miss Allsopp, old James' daughter, the boot-and-shoe Allsopp. You know
they built a house up at  Pye Croft. The old man died last year from a fall;
eighty-three, he was,  an'  nimble as a lad. An' then he slipped on Bestwood
Hill, on a slide as the lads 'ad made last winter,  an' broke his thigh, and
that finished him, poor  old man, it did seem a shame. Well, he left all his
money to  Tattie: didn't leave the boys a penny. An' Tattie, I know, is five
years---yes, she's fifty-three last  autumn. And  you know  they  were  such
Chapel people, my word!  She taught Sunday school for thirty years, till her
father died. And then she started carrying on with a fellow from Kinbrook, I
don't  know  if you know  him,  an  oldish  fellow with a  red  nose, rather
dandified, Willcock, as works in Harrison's  woodyard. Well he's sixty-five,
if  he's  a  day,  yet  you'd  have  thought  they  were  a  pair  of  young
turtle-doves, to see them, arm in arm, and kissing at the gate: yes, an' she
sitting on his knee right in the bay  window on Pye Croft Road,  for anybody
to see. And  he's got sons over  forty: only lost his wife two years ago. If
old James Allsopp  hasn't  risen from  his grave, it's  because there is  no
rising: for  he  kept her that strict!  Now they're married and gone to live
down  at  Kinbrook, and  they say  she goes round in  a  dressing-gown  from
morning to  night, a veritable  sight. I'm sure it's awful, the way the  old
ones go  on!  Why  they're  a lot worse than the  young,  and  a sight  more
disgusting. I lay  it down  to the pictures, myself. But you can't keep them
away.  I  was always  saying: go  to a  good  instructive film,  but do  for
goodness sake keep away from  these melodramas and  love films. Anyhow  keep
the children away! But there you are, grown-ups are worse than the children:
and the old ones beat the  band. Talk about morality!  Nobody cares a thing.
Folks does  as they like, and much better off  they are for it, I must  say.
But they're having to draw their horns in nowadays, now th' pits are working
so bad,  and  they haven't  got the money.  And the grumbling  they do, it's
awful, especially the women. The men  are so good and patient! What can they
do, poor chaps! But the women,  oh, they do carry on! They go and  show off,
giving contributions for a wedding  present for Princess Mary, and then when
they see  all the grand things that's been  given, they  simply rave:  who's
she, any better than anybody else! Why doesn't Swan & Edgar  give me one fur
coat, instead of giving her  six.  I wish I'd  kept my ten shillings! What's
she going to give me, I should  like to know? Here I can't get a  new spring
coat, my dad's working that  bad, and she gets van-loads. It's time as  poor
folks  had some money to spend, rich ones 'as 'ad  it long enough. I  want a
new spring  coat, I do, an' wheer am I  going to get it? I  say  to them, be
thankful you're  well fed and  well clothed, without all the new  finery you
want! And they fly back at me: "Why isn't Princess Mary thankful to go about
in her old rags, then, an' have nothing! Folks like her get van-loads, an' I
can't have a new  spring coat.  It's a damned shame.  Princess! Bloomin' rot
about  Princess! It's  munney as matters,  an' cos she's got lots, they give
her more! Nobody's givin' me any, an' I've  as  much right as anybody  else.
Don't  talk  to  me about education. It's  munney as matters. I  want  a new
spring coat, I do, an' I shan't get it, cos there's no munney..." That's all
they care  about,  clothes.  They think nothing  of  giving  seven  or eight
guineas for a  winter coat---colliers' daughters, mind you---and two guineas
for  a child's summer hat. And then they go to the Primitive Chapel in their
two-guinea hat, girls as would have been proud  of a  three-and-sixpenny one
in my day. I  heard that at the  Primitive  Methodist anniversary this year,
when they have a built-up platform for the  Sunday  School children, like  a
grandstand going almost up  to th' ceiling, I heard Miss  Thompson,  who has
the  first class  of girls in  the Sunday  School,  say there'd  be  over  a
thousand pounds  in new Sunday clothes sitting  on that  platform! And times
are what they  are! But you can't  stop  them. They're  mad for clothes. And
boys  the same. The lads spend every penny  on themselves, clothes, smoking,
drinking  in the  Miners'  Welfare, jaunting off to Sheffield two  or  three
times a  week. Why,  it's  another world.  And  they fear nothing, and  they
respect nothing, the  young don't. The older men are  that patient and good,
really,  they  let the women take everything. And this  is what it leads to.
The women are positive demons. But the lads aren't  like their dads. They're
sacrificing nothing, they  aren't:  they're all  for self. If you tell  them
they ought to be putting a bit by, for a home,  they say: That'll keep, that
will, I'm  goin' t'  enjoy myself while I can. Owt else'll keep! Oh, they're
rough an' selfish, if you like. Everything falls on the older men, an'  it's
a bad outlook all round.'
     Clifford began  to  get a new idea of  his own  village.  The place had
always frightened him, but he had thought it more or less stable. Now---?
     `Is there much Socialism, Bolshevism, among the people?' he asked.
     `Oh!' said Mrs Bolton, `you  hear a few  loud-mouthed ones. But they're
mostly women who've got  into debt. The men take no notice.  I don't believe
you'll ever turn our Tevershall  men into reds. They're too decent for that.
But the young ones blether sometimes. Not that they care for it really. They
only want a  bit of  money  in their pocket,  to spend at the Welfare, or go
gadding  to  Sheffield.  That's  all they care. When they've got  no  money,
they'll listen to the reds spouting. But nobody believes in it, really.'
     `So you think there's no danger?'
     `Oh  no! Not if  trade was good, there wouldn't be.  But if things were
bad for a long spell, the young ones  might go funny. I  tell you, they're a
selfish,  spoilt  lot. But I  don't see how they'd ever  do  anything.  They
aren't ever serious about  anything,  except showing off on  motor-bikes and
dancing  at  the Palais-de-danse in  Sheffield. You can't make them serious.
The serious ones dress up in evening clothes and go off to the Pally to show
off before a lot of girls and dance these new Charlestons and  what not. I'm
sure sometimes the bus'll be full of young fellows in evening suits, collier
lads, off to the Pally: let alone  those  that have gone with their girls in
motors  or   on  motor-bikes.  They  don't  give  a  serious  thought  to  a
thing---save Doncaster  races, and  the  Derby: for they  all of them bet on
every race. And football! But even football's not what it was, not by a long
chalk. It's too much like hard work, they say. No, they'd  rather  be off on
motor-bikes to Sheffield or Nottingham, Saturday afternoons.'
     `But what do they do when they get there?'
     `Oh,  hang  around---and  have tea  in  some  fine tea-place  like  the
Mikado---and go to the Pally or the  pictures or the Empire, with some girl.
The girls are as free as the lads. They do just what they like.'
     `And what do they do when they haven't the money for these things?'
     `They seem to get it, somehow. And they begin talking nasty then. But I
don't see how you're going to get bolshevism, when all the lads want is just
money to enjoy themselves, and the  girls  the same, with fine clothes:  and
they  don't  care  about  another  thing.  They  haven't the  brains  to  be
socialists. They haven't enough seriousness to take anything really serious,
and they never will have.'
     Connie  thought,  how extremely  like  all the rest of the classes  the
lower classes sounded. Just the same thing over again, Tevershall or Mayfair
or  Kensington. There was only one class  nowadays:  moneyboys. The moneyboy
and the moneygirl, the only difference was how much  you'd got, and how much
you wanted.
     Under Mrs Bolton's influence, Clifford  began to take a new interest in
the mines. He  began to feel he  belonged. A new sort of self-assertion came
into him. After all,  he was the real boss in Tevershall,  he was really the
pits. It  was a new  sense of  power, something he had  till now shrunk from
with dread.
     Tevershall  pits  were  running  thin.  There were only two collieries:
Tevershall  itself,  and New London. Tevershall had once been a famous mine,
and had made famous money. But its best days were over. New London was never
very rich, and in ordinary times just got along decently. But now times were
bad, and it was pits like New London that got left.
     `There's a  lot  of  Tevershall  men left and gone to  Stacks Gate  and
Whiteover,' said Mrs Bolton. `You've not seen the new works at Stacks  Gate,
opened after the war,  have  you,  Sir  Clifford?  Oh, you must go  one day,
they're  something  quite new:  great big  chemical  works at the  pit-head,
doesn't look a bit like a  colliery. They say they get more money out of the
chemical by-products than  out of  the coal---I  forget what it  is. And the
grand new houses for the men, fair mansions! of course it's brought a lot of
riff-raff  from  all  over the country. But a  lot  of Tevershall men got on
there, and doin' well,  a lot better than our own men. They say Tevershall's
done, finished:  only a question of a few more years, and it'll have to shut
down. And New London'll go first. My word, won't it be funny when there's no
Tevershall pit working. It's  bad enough during a strike, but my word, if it
closes  for good, it'll be like the end of the world. Even when I was a girl
it was  the best pit  in the country, and  a man counted himself lucky if he
could  on here. Oh, there's been some money  made in Tevershall. And now the
men  say  it's a sinking ship, and it's  time they all got out.  Doesn't  it
sound awful! But of course there's  a lot as'll never go  till they have to.
They don't like these new fangled mines,  such a depth, and all machinery to
work them.  Some of them simply  dreads those iron  men, as  they call them,
those machines for hewing the coal, where men always did it before. And they
say it's wasteful  as well. But what goes in waste is saved  in wages, and a
lot more. It seems soon there'll be no use for men on the face of the earth,
it'll be all machines. But they say that's what folks said when they had  to
give up the old stocking frames. I can remember one or two. But my word, the
more machines, the  more people, that's  what  it  looks like! They say  you
can't get the same chemicals out of Tevershall coal as you can out of Stacks
Gate, and that's  funny, they're not three miles apart. But they say so. But
everybody says it's a  shame  something  can't  be  started, to keep the men
going a bit better,  and employ the girls.  All  the girls traipsing off  to
Sheffield every  day! My  word,  it  would be  something to  talk  about  if
Tevershall  Collieries took  a  new lease  of  life, after everybody  saying
they're  finished, and a sinking ship,  and the men ought to leave them like
rats leave  a sinking ship.  But folks talk so much,  of  course there was a
boom during the war. When Sir  Geoffrey made a trust of  himself and got the
money safe for ever, somehow. So they say! But they say even the masters and
the owners don't get much out of it now. You can hardly believe it, can you!
Why  I always thought the pits  would  go  on for  ever and ever. Who'd have
thought, when I was a girl! But New England's shut down, so is Colwick Wood:
yes, it's  fair haunting  to  go  through  that  coppy  and see Colwick Wood
standing  there deserted among the trees, and bushes growing up all over the
pit-head, and the  lines red rusty. It's like death itself, a dead colliery.
Why,  whatever  should we do if  Tevershall  shut down---? It  doesn't  bear
thinking of. Always that throng it's  been, except at strikes, and even then
the fan-wheels didn't stand,  except when they fetched  the  ponies up.  I'm
sure it's a funny world, you don't know where you are from year to year, you
really don't.'
     It was Mrs Bolton's talk that really put a new fight into Clifford. His
income, as she pointed out to him, was secure, from his father's trust, even
though  it  was not large. The pits did not  really concern him. It was  the
other  world he  wanted to capture, the world of  literature and  fame;  the
popular world, not the working world.
     Now  he  realized the distinction  between popular  success and working
success: the populace of pleasure and the populace of work. He, as a private
individual, had been catering with his stories for the populace of pleasure.
And he had caught on. But beneath the populace of pleasure lay the  populace
of work,  grim,  grimy,  and  rather terrible. They too  had to  have  their
providers. And it was a much grimmer business, providing for the populace of
work, than for the populace of pleasure. While he was doing his stories, and
`getting on' in the world, Tevershall was going to the wall.
     He  realized  now  that  the  bitch-goddess  of  Success  had  two main
appetites:  one  for  flattery,  adulation,  stroking  and tickling  such as
writers and artists gave her; but the other a grimmer appetite  for meat and
bones. And the meat and bones for the bitch-goddess were provided by the men
who made money in industry.
     Yes,   there  were  two  great  groups  of  dogs   wrangling  for   the
bitch-goddess: the group of the flatterers, those who offered her amusement,
stories, films,  plays: and  the other, much less  showy, much  more  savage
breed,   those  who  gave  her  meat,  the  real  substance  of  money.  The
well-groomed  showy dogs of amusement wrangled and  snarled among themselves
for  the  favours  of the  bitch-goddess. But  it was  nothing to the silent
fight-to-the-death that went on among the indispensables, the bone-bringers.
     But under Mrs Bolton's  influence,  Clifford was tempted to  enter this
other  fight, to  capture the  bitch-goddess  by  brute means  of industrial
production. Somehow, he got his pecker up.
     In one way, Mrs Bolton made a man of  him, as Connie  never did. Connie
kept him apart, and made him sensitive and  conscious of himself and his own
states. Mrs Bolton made hint aware only of outside things. Inwardly he began
to go soft as pulp. But outwardly he began to be effective.
     He even roused himself to go to the mines once more: and  when  he  was
there, he went  down in  a tub, and  in a  tub  he was  hauled out into  the
workings. Things he had learned before the war, and  seemed  utterly to have
forgotten, now came back  to him. He sat there, crippled, in a tub, with the
underground manager showing him the  seam with a powerful torch. And he said
little. But his mind began to work.
     He began to read again his technical works on the coal-mining industry,
he studied the government reports, and he  read with  care the latest things
on mining and  the chemistry  of coal and of  shale which  were  written  in
German. Of course the most  valuable discoveries were kept secret as far  as
possible.  But  once  you started  a  sort  of  research  in  the  field  of
coal-mining,  a study of  methods and means, a study  of by-products and the
chemical possibilities  of coal,  it  was astounding the  ingenuity and  the
almost  uncanny  cleverness of the modern  technical mind,  as if really the
devil himself had lent fiend's wits to the technical scientists of industry.
It  was  far more  interesting  than art,  than  literature,  poor emotional
half-witted stuff, was this  technical  science of industry. In  this field,
men were  like  gods, or demons,  inspired to discoveries,  and  fighting to
carry  them  out.  In  this  activity,  men  were  beyond  atty  mental  age
calculable.  But  Clifford  knew that when  it did come to the emotional and
human life,  these  self-made men were of a  mental age  of about  thirteen,
feeble boys. The discrepancy was enormous and appalling.
     But let that be. Let man slide down to  general idiocy in the emotional
and  `human'  mind, Clifford  did  not care. Let  all that go  hang.  He was
interested  in  the  technicalities of  modern coal-mining, and  in  pulling
Tevershall out of the hole.
     He went down to  the pit  day after day, he studied, he put the general
manager,  and the  overhead manager,  and the underground manager,  and  the
engineers  through a mill  they had never dreamed of. Power! He felt  a  new
sense of  power  flowing through  him: power  over all  these men, over  the
hundreds and hundreds of  colliers. He was finding  out: and he  was getting
things into his grip.
     And he seemed verily to be re-born. Now life came into him! He had been
gradually dying, with Connie, in the isolated private life of the artist and
the conscious being. Now let  all that go. Let it sleep. He simply felt life
rush into him out of  the coal,  out of the  pit. The very  stale air of the
colliery was better than oxygen to him. It gave him a sense of power, power.
He was doing something: and he was going to do  something. He  was going  to
win,  to win:  not as he had won  with his stories,  mere publicity,  amid a
whole sapping of energy and malice. But a man's victory.
     At first he thought the solution lay  in electricity: convert the  coal
into  electric power.  Then a  new idea  came.  The  Germans  invented a new
locomotive  engine with a  self feeder, that did not need a fireman. And  it
was to be fed  with a new  fuel, that  burnt in small quantities at a  great
heat, under peculiar conditions.
     The idea of a new concentrated fuel that burnt with a hard slowness  at
a fierce heat was  what first attracted Clifford. There must be some sort of
external stimulus of the burning  of  such fuel, not  merely air supply.  He
began to experiment, and got a clever young fellow, who had proved brilliant
in chemistry, to help him.
     And he felt  triumphant.  He had  at  last  got out of himself.  He had
fulfilled his life-long secret yearning to get out  of  himself. Art had not
done it for him. Art had only made it worse. But now, now he had done it.
     He was not  aware how much Mrs Bolton was  behind him.  He did not know
how much  he depended  on her. But for all that, it was evident that when he
was  with her his voice  dropped  to  an easy rhythm  of  intimacy, almost a
trifle vulgar.
     With Connie, he was a little stiff. He felt he owed her everything, and
he showed her the utmost respect and consideration, so long  as she gave him
mere  outward respect. But it was obvious he had  a secret dread of her. The
new Achilles in hint had a heel, and in this  heel the woman, the woman like
Connie,  his  wife,   could   lame  him  fatally.  He  went  in   a  certain
half-subservient dread of her, and was extremely nice to her.  But his voice
was a little tense when he spoke to her, and he  began to be silent whenever
she was present.
     Only when he was alone with  Mrs Bolton did he really feel a lord and a
master, and  his  voice ran on with  her almost as easily and garrulously as
her own could run. And he let her shave him or  sponge all his body as if he
were a child, really as if he were a child.

     Connie was a good deal alone now, fewer people came to Wragby. Clifford
no longer wanted them. He had turned against even the cronies. He was queer.
He preferred the radio, which he had installed at some expense,  with a good
deal  of success at  last. He could  sometimes get Madrid or Frankfurt, even
there in the uneasy Midlands.
     And he would sit alone for hours listening to the loudspeaker bellowing
forth. It  amazed and stunned  Connie. But there he would sit, with  a blank
entranced expression on his face, like a person losing his mind, and listen,
or seem to listen, to the unspeakable thing.
     Was he really listening?  Or was it a sort of soporific he took, whilst
something else worked on underneath in him? Connie did now know. She fled up
to  her room,  or out  of doors  to the wood.  A  kind of  terror filled her
sometimes,  a  terror  of  the  incipient insanity of  the  whole  civilized
     But now  that  Clifford was  drifting  off to this  other weirdness  of
industrial activity,  becoming  almost a creature,  with  a  hard, efficient
shell of an exterior and a pulpy  interior,  one  of  the  amazing crabs and
lobsters of the modern, industrial and financial world, invertebrates of the
crustacean order, with shells of steel, like machines, and  inner bodies  of
soft pulp, Connie herself was really completely stranded.
     She was not even free,  for Clifford must  have her there. He seemed to
have a nervous terror that she should leave  him. The  curious pulpy part of
him, the emotional and humanly-individual part, depended on her with terror,
like a  child, almost like  an idiot. She must be there,  there at Wragby, a
Lady  Chatterley,  his wife. Otherwise  he would be  lost like an idiot on a
     This  amazing  dependence  Connie realized  with a sort of horror.  She
heard him with his pit managers, with the members  of his Board,  with young
scientists, and she was amazed at his shrewd insight into things, his power,
his uncanny material power over what is called practical men.  He had become
a practical man himself and an  amazingly astute and powerful one, a master.
Connie attributed it to Mrs Bolton's influence upon him, just at  the crisis
in his life.
     But  this astute and practical man was almost an  idiot when left alone
to his own emotional life. He worshipped Connie. She was his wife,  a higher
being, and he worshipped her with a queer, craven idolatry, like a savage, a
worship based  on enormous fear, and even hate of the power of the idol, the
dread idol.  All he  wanted  was for Connie to swear, to swear  not to leave
him, not to give him away.
     `Clifford,' she said to him---but this was after she had the key to the
hut---`Would you really like me to have a child one day?'
     He looked  at  her with a furtive apprehension in his rather  prominent
pale eyes.
     `I shouldn't mind, if it made no difference between us,' he said.
     `No difference to what?' she asked.
     `To you and me;  to our love for  one another.  If it's going to affect
that,  then I'm all against it. Why, I might even one day have a child of my
     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
willing, provided it doesn't touch your love for me. If it would touch that,
I am dead against it.'
     Connie could only  be silent in  cold  fear and contempt. Such talk was
really the  gabbling of an  idiot.  He  no longer knew what  he  was talking
     `Oh, it wouldn't make any difference to my feeling for you,' she  said,
with a certain sarcasm.
     `There!' he said. `That is the point! In that case I don't mind  in the
least. I  mean it would  be  awfully nice to have a child running  about the
house, and feel one was building up a future for it. I should have something
to strive for then, and I should  know it was your child, shouldn't I, dear?
And it  would seem just the same  as my own. Because it is you who count  in
these matters. You know that, don't you, dear? I don't enter, I am a cypher.
You are  the great  I-am!  as far as life goes. You know that,  don't you? I
mean, as far as I am concerned. I mean, but for you I am absolutely nothing.
I live for your sake and your future. I am nothing to myself'
     Connie  heard it all with deepening dismay and repulsion. It was one of
the ghastly half-truths that poison human existence. What man in his  senses
would say such things to a woman! But men  aren't in their senses.  What man
with a spark of honour would put this ghastly  burden of life-responsibility
upon a woman, and leave her there, in the void?
     Moreover, in half an hour's time, Connie heard Clifford talking  to Mrs
Bolton,  in  a  hot,  impulsive  voice,  revealing  himself  in  a  sort  of
passionless passion  to  the  woman,  as  if she were  half  mistress,  half
foster-mother to  him. And  Mrs Bolton was carefully dressing him in evening
clothes, for there were important business guests in the house.
     Connie  really  sometimes felt she would die at this time. She felt she
was being crushed  to  death by  weird lies,  and  by the amazing cruelty of
idiocy. Clifford's strange business efficiency in  a way  over-awed her, and
his declaration  of private worship put her into  a panic. There was nothing
between them. She never even touched him nowadays, and he never touched her.
He never even took her hand and held it kindly. No, and because they were so
utterly out  of touch, he tortured her with his declaration of  idolatry. It
was the cruelty of utter impotence.  And she felt her reason would give way,
or she would die.
     She  fled as  much as  possible to the wood. One afternoon, as she  sat
brooding,  watching the water bubbling coldly in John's Well, the keeper had
strode up to her.
     `I got you a key made,  my Lady!' he said, saluting, and he offered her
the key.
     `Thank you so much!' she said, startled.
     `The  hut's not very  tidy, if you don't mind,'  he said. `I cleared it
what I could.'
     `But I didn't want you to trouble!' she said.
     `Oh, it wasn't any trouble. I am setting  the hens in about a week. But
they won't  be scared  of you. I s'll have to see to them morning and night,
but I shan't bother you any more than I can help.'
     `But you wouldn't bother  me,' she  pleaded. `I'd rather  not go to the
hut at all, if I am going to be in the way.'
     He looked at her  with  his  keen  blue  eyes.  He seemed  kindly,  but
distant. But at least he was sane, and wholesome, if even he looked thin and
ill. A cough troubled him.
     `You have a cough,' she said.
     `Nothing---a cold!  The last pneumonia left me  with a  cough, but it'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,
but he was never there.  No  doubt he  avoided  her on purpose. He wanted to
keep his own privacy.
     He had made the  hut  tidy,  put  the little table  and  chair near the
fireplace, left a little pile of kindling and small logs, and put the  tools
and  traps  away  as  far  as  possible, effacing himself. Outside,  by  the
clearing, he had built a low little roof of boughs and straw,  a shelter for
the birds, and  under it  stood the  live coops. And, one day when she came,
she  found two brown hens sitting alert  and fierce in the coops, sitting on
pheasants' eggs, and fluffed out so proud and deep in  all the heat  of  the
pondering female blood. This almost  broke Connie's heart.  She, herself was
so forlorn and unused, not a female at all, just a mere thing of terrors.
     Then all the live coops were occupied by  hens, three brown and a  grey
and a black.  All alike, they clustered themselves down on  the  eggs in the
soft nestling ponderosity of  the  female urge, the female nature,  fluffing
out  their feathers.  And with brilliant  eyes they watched  Connie,  as she
crouched  before them, and they gave short sharp clucks of anger  and alarm,
but chiefly of female anger at being approached.
     Connie found corn  in the corn-bin in  the  hut. She offered it to  the
hens in  her hand. They would not eat  it.  Only one  hen pecked at her hand
with  a fierce  little  jab, so Connie was frightened. But she was pining to
give  them  something,  the brooding mothers who neither fed themselves  nor
drank. She brought water in  a little tin, and was delighted when one of the
hens drank.
     Now she came every day  to the  hens, they were the only  things in the
world that warmed  her heart. Clifford's protestations made her go cold from
head  to foot.  Mrs Bolton's voice made her  go cold,  and the sound  of the
business men who came. An occasional letter from Michaelis affected her with
the  same  sense of chill. She felt she would  surely die if it lasted  much
     Yet it was spring, and the bluebells were  coming in the wood, and  the
leaf-buds on the  hazels were opening like  the  spatter of  green rain. How
terrible  it  was  that  it should be spring, and  everything  cold-hearted,
cold-hearted. Only  the hens, fluffed so wonderfully on  the eggs, were warm
with  their hot, brooding female bodies! Connie felt herself living  on  the
brink of fainting all the time.
     Then,  one day, a lovely sunny day with great tufts  of primroses under
the hazels, and many violets dotting the paths, she came in the afternoon to
the coops  and there was  one tiny, tiny perky chicken tinily prancing round
in front of a coop, and the mother  hen clucking in terror. The  slim little
chick was greyish brown with dark markings, and it was the most alive little
spark  of a creature  in seven kingdoms  at that  moment. Connie crouched to
watch in a sort of ecstasy. Life, life! pure, sparky, fearless new life! New
life! So tiny and so  utterly without fear! Even when it scampered a little,
scrambling into the coop again, and disappeared under  the hen's feathers in
answer to the mother hen's  wild  alarm-cries, it was not really frightened,
it took it as a game, the game of living. For in a moment a tiny  sharp head
was  poking through  the  gold-brown  feathers of  the hen,  and eyeing  the
     Connie  was fascinated. And at the  same time, never  had she  felt  so
acutely the agony of her own female forlornness. It was becoming unbearable.
     She had only  one desire now, to go  to  the clearing in the wood.  The
rest was a  kind  of  painful dream. But  sometimes she was kept all  day at
Wragby, by her duties as hostess. And then she felt as if she too were going
blank, just blank and insane.
     One evening,  guests or no guests, she escaped after tea.  It was late,
and she fled across the park like one who  fears to  be called back. The sun
was  setting  rosy as she  entered the wood, but she pressed  on  among  the
flowers. The light would last long overhead.
     She arrived  at the clearing flushed and semi-conscious. The keeper was
there, in his shirt-sleeves, just closing up the coops for the night, so the
little occupants would  be  safe.  But still one little  trio  was pattering
about on  tiny feet, alert drab  mites, under the straw shelter, refusing to
be called in by the anxious mother.
     `I had to come and see the chickens!' she said, panting, glancing shyly
at the keeper, almost unaware of him. `Are there any more?'
     `Thurty-six so far!' he said. `Not bad!'
     He too took a curious pleasure in watching the young things come out.
     Connie crouched in front of the last coop. The three chicks had run in.
But  still  their  cheeky  heads came  poking  sharply  through  the  yellow
feathers,  then  withdrawing,  then only one  beady little head eyeing forth
from the vast mother-body.
     `I'd  love  to  touch  them,' she said,  putting her  lingers  gingerly
through the  bars  of the  coop.  But  the  mother-hen  pecked  at her  hand
fiercely, and Connie drew back startled and frightened.
     `How she pecks  at me!  She hates me!'  she said in a  wondering voice.
`But I wouldn't hurt them!'
     The man standing above her laughed, and crouched down beside her, knees
apart, and put his hand with quiet  confidence slowly into the coop. The old
hen pecked at him, but not so savagely. And slowly, softly, with sure gentle
lingers,  he   felt  among   the   old   bird's  feathers  and  drew  out  a
faintly-peeping chick in his closed hand.
     `There!' he said, holding out his hand to her. She took the little drab
thing between her hands, and there it stood, on its impossible little stalks
of legs, its atom of balancing life trembling through  its almost weightless
feet  into Connie's hands. But  it lifted  its handsome, clean-shaped little
head  boldly,  and looked  sharply  round,  and  gave  a little  `peep'. `So
adorable! So cheeky!' she said softly.
     The keeper, squatting beside her, was also watching with an amused face
the bold little bird in her hands. Suddenly he saw  a  tear  fall  on to her
     And he stood up, and stood away, moving to the other coop. For suddenly
he was aware of the old flame shooting and  leaping up in his loins, that he
had hoped was quiescent  for ever. He fought against it, turning his back to
her. But it leapt, and leapt downwards, circling in his knees.
     He  turned  again to look at her. She was kneeling and  holding her two
hands slowly forward,  blindly,  so that  the chicken should run in  to  the
mother-hen  again. And  there  was  something so mute  and forlorn  in  her,
compassion flamed in his bowels for her.
     Without  knowing, he came quickly towards her  and  crouched beside her
again,  taking the chick from her hands, because she was  afraid of the hen,
and putting it back in the coop. At  the back of his loins the lire suddenly
darted stronger.
     He glanced  apprehensively  at her. Her  face  was averted, and she was
crying  blindly, in  all  the  anguish  of her generation's forlornness. His
heart melted suddenly, like a drop of fire, and he put out his hand and laid
his lingers on her knee.
     `You shouldn't cry,' he said softly.
     But then she put her hands over her face and felt that really her heart
was broken and nothing mattered any more.
     He laid his hand on  her  shoulder, and  softly,  gently, it  began  to
travel down the curve of her back, blindly, with a blind stroking motion, to
the curve of her crouching loins. And there his hand softly, softly, stroked
the curve of her flank, in the blind instinctive caress.
     She had found her  scrap of handkerchief and was blindly  trying to dry
her face.
     `Shall you come to the hut?' he said, in a quiet, neutral voice.
     And closing his hand softly  on her upper arm,  he  drew her up and led
her  slowly to the hut, not  letting go of her till she was  inside. Then he
cleared aside the chair and table, and took a brown, soldier's blanket  from
the tool chest, spreading it slowly.  She glanced  at his face, as she stood
     His face was pale and without expression, like that of a man submitting
to fate.
     `You lie there,'  he said softly,  and he shut the door, so that it was
dark, quite dark.
     With a queer obedience, she lay down on the  blanket. Then she felt the
soft,  groping, helplessly desirous hand touching her  body, feeling for her
face. The hand stroked her  face softly,  softly, with infinite soothing and
assurance, and at last there was the soft touch of a kiss on her cheek.
     She lay  quite still, in a sort of sleep, in a sort of dream.  Then she
quivered as she  felt his  hand  groping  softly,  yet with  queer  thwarted
clumsiness, among her `clothing. Yet the hand knew, too, how to unclothe her
where it wanted. He drew down the thin silk sheath, slowly, carefully, right
down and over her feet. Then with  a quiver of exquisite pleasure he touched
the warm soft body, and touched her navel for a moment in a kiss. And he had
to come  in to  her  at once,  to  enter  the  peace on earth  of her  soft,
quiescent body. It was the moment of pure peace for him, the entry  into the
body of the woman.
     She lay still,  in a  kind of sleep, always  in a kind  of  sleep.  The
activity, the orgasm was his, all his; she could strive for herself no more.
Even the  tightness of his arms round her, even the intense movement of  his
body, and the springing of his seed in her, was a kind of sleep, from  which
she did not begin  to  rouse  till he  had finished and  lay  softly panting
against her breast.
     Then she wondered, just  dimly  wondered, why? Why was  this necessary?
Why had it lifted a great cloud from  her and given her  peace? Was it real?
Was it real?
     Her tormented  modern-woman's brain still had no rest. Was it real? And
she knew, if she gave  herself  to  the man, it  was  real.  But if she kept
herself for herself it was nothing. She was  old; millions of years old, she
felt. And at last, she could bear  the burden of herself no more. She was to
be had for the taking. To be had for the taking.
     The man lay in a mysterious stillness. What was he feeling? What was he
thinking? She did not know.  He  was a strange man to her, she  did not know
him.  She  must  only  wait,  for she did not dare  to  break his mysterious
stillness. He  lay there with his arms round her, his  body on hers, his wet
body touching  hers, so close. And completely unknown. Yet  not  unpeaceful.
His very stillness was peaceful.
     She knew that, when at last he  roused and drew away  from her.  It was
like an abandonment. He drew  her dress  in the darkness down over her knees
and  stood a  few  moments, apparently  adjusting his own clothing.  Then he
quietly opened the door and went out.
     She saw a very brilliant little moon  shining above  the afterglow over
the oaks.  Quickly she  got up and arranged herself she was tidy.  Then  she
went to the door of the hut.
     All the lower wood was in shadow, almost darkness. Yet the sky overhead
was crystal. But  it shed hardly any light. He came through the lower shadow
towards her, his face lifted like a pale blotch.
     `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
after her.
     `You aren't sorry, are you?' he asked, as he went at her side.
     `No! No! Are you?' she said.
     `For that! No!'  he said. Then after a while he added: `But there's the
rest of things.'
     `What rest of things?' she said.
     `Sir Clifford. Other folks. All the complications.'
     `Why complications?' she said, disappointed.
     `It's  always  so.  For  you  as  well   as  for  me.   There's  always
complications.' He walked on steadily in the dark.
     `And are you sorry?' she said.
     `In a way!' he replied, looking up at the sky. `I thought I'd done with
it all. Now I've begun again.'
     `Begun what?'
     `Life!' she re-echoed, with a queer thrill.
     `It's life,'  he said. `There's  no keeping clear.  And  if you do keep
clear you might almost as well die.  So if I've got to be broken open again,
I have.'
     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
almost at the gate.
     `But you don't hate me, do you?' she said wistfully.
     `Nay, nay,'  he  replied.  And  suddenly  he held her fast  against his
breast again, with the old connecting passion.  `Nay, for me it was good, it
was good. Was it for you?'
     `Yes, for me too,' she answered, a little untruthfully, for she had not
been conscious of much.
     He kissed her softly, softly, with the kisses of warmth.
     `If only  there weren't  so many other people in the  world,'  he  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
in both his.
     `Shall I come again?' she asked wistfully.
     `Yes! Yes!'
     She left him and went across the park.
     He stood back and watched her going  into the dark, against the  pallor
of the horizon. Almost  with bitterness he watched her go. She had connected
him up  again, when he  had wanted to be alone. She had cost him that bitter
privacy of a man who at last wants only to be alone.
     He turned into the dark  of the wood. All was still, the moon had  set.
But he was aware of the noises of the night, the engines at Stacks Gate, the
traffic on the main road. Slowly he  climbed the denuded knoll. And from the
top he could see the country, bright rows of  lights at Stacks Gate, smaller
lights  at  Tevershall  pit,  the  yellow lights  of  Tevershall  and lights
everywhere, here and there, on the dark  country, with the  distant blush of
furnaces,  faint and  rosy,  since the night was  clear, the rosiness of the
outpouring of white-hot metal. Sharp, wicked electric lights at Stacks Gate!
An undefinable quick of evil  in them! And all the unease, the ever-shifting
dread  of  the  industrial   night  in  the  Midlands.  He  could  hear  the
winding-engines  at Stacks Gate  turning down the seven-o'clock miners.  The
pit worked three shifts.
     He went down again into the darkness and seclusion of the  wood. But he
knew  that the  seclusion of the  wood was illusory. The  industrial  noises
broke  the solitude, the sharp lights, though unseen, mocked it. A man could
no longer be private and withdrawn. The world  allows no hermits. And now he
had taken the woman, and brought on  himself a new cycle  of  pain and doom.
For he knew by experience what it meant.
     It was not woman's fault, nor  even love's fault, nor the fault of sex.
The fault lay there, out there, in those evil electric lights and diabolical
rattlings of  engines.  There, in the world of the mechanical greedy, greedy
mechanism  and mechanized greed, sparkling with lights and gushing hot metal
and roaring with traffic, there  lay the vast evil thing,  ready to  destroy
whatever did not conform. Soon it would destroy  the wood, and the bluebells
would spring no  more. All vulnerable things  must perish under  the rolling
and running of iron.
     He  thought  with infinite tenderness of the woman. Poor forlorn thing,
she  was nicer than she knew, and oh! so much too nice for the tough lot she
was  in contact with. Poor thing, she  too  had some of the vulnerability of
the wild hyacinths, she wasn't all tough rubber-goods and platinum, like the
modern girl. And they  would  do her in! As sure  as life, they would do her
in, as  they do  in all  naturally tender life.  Tender!  Somewhere she  was
tender, tender  with  a  tenderness of the growing hyacinths, something that
has gone out of the celluloid women of  today. But he would protect her with
his heart for a little while. For a little while, before the insentient iron
world  and the Mammon of mechanized greed did them  both in, her as well  as
     He went  home with his gun and his  dog,  to the dark cottage,  lit the
lamp, started the fire, and ate his supper of bread and cheese, young onions
and  beer. He was alone, in a silence he loved. His room was clean and tidy,
but  rather stark. Yet the  fire was bright, the hearth white, the petroleum
lamp  hung bright over the table, with its white oil-cloth. He tried to read
a book about India, but tonight he could not read. He sat by the fire in his
shirt-sleeves, not smoking, but with a mug of beer in reach.  And he thought
about Connie.
     To tell the truth, he was sorry for what had happened, perhaps most for
her sake. He had a sense of  foreboding. No  sense of wrong or  sin; he  was
troubled by  no conscience  in that  respect.  He knew  that  conscience was
chiefly tear of society,  or fear of oneself. He was not afraid of  himself.
But he was quite consciously afraid of society, which he knew by instinct to
be a malevolent, partly-insane beast.
     The woman! If she  could be there with him, arid there were nobody else
in  the world! The desire  rose again, his penis began  to  stir like a live
bird. At the same time an oppression, a dread of exposing himself and her to
that outside Thing that sparkled viciously  in the electric  lights, weighed
down his shoulders. She, poor young thing, was just  a young female creature
to  him; but a  young female  creature whom he had  gone  into  and whom  he
desired again.
     Stretching with the curious yawn of desire, for  he had been alone  and
apart from man or woman for four years, he rose and took his coat again, and
his gun, lowered the lamp and went out into the starry night, with the  dog.
Driven by desire  and by dread of  the malevolent Thing outside, he made his
round in the wood, slowly, softly. He loved the darkness arid folded himself
into it. It fitted the turgidity  of his desire  which, in spite of all, was
like a riches; the stirring restlessness of his  penis, the stirring fire in
his  loins! Oh, if  only  there were other men  to  be  with, to fight  that
sparkling electric Thing outside  there, to preserve the tenderness of life,
the  tenderness of women,  and the natural  riches of desire. If only  there
were  men to fight side  by side with! But the  men were  all outside there,
glorying in  the  Thing, triumphing  or  being trodden  down  in the rush of
mechanized greed or of greedy mechanism.
     Constance,  for her part,  had  hurried across the  park, home,  almost
without thinking. As  yet she had no afterthought.  She would be in time for
     She was annoyed to find the doors fastened, however, so that she had to
ring. Mrs Bolton opened.
     `Why  there you are, your Ladyship! I was beginning to wonder  if you'd
gone lost!' she said a little roguishly. `Sir Clifford hasn't asked for you,
though; he's got Mr Linley in with him, talking over something. It  looks as
if he'd stay to dinner, doesn't it, my Lady?'
     `It does rather,' said Connie.
     `Shall I put dinner back a quarter of an hour? That would give you time
to dress in comfort.'
     `Perhaps you'd better.'
     Mr Linley  was  the general  manager  of the collieries, an elderly man
from the north, with not  quite  enough punch  to suit  Clifford; not up  to
post-war conditions, nor post-war colliers  either,  with their  `ca' canny'
creed. But  Connie liked  Mr Linley, though  she was glad  to  be spared the
toadying of his wife.
     Linley stayed to dinner, and Connie was the hostess  men liked so much,
so modest, yet so attentive and aware, with  big, wide blue eyes arid a soft
repose that sufficiently hid what she was really thinking. Connie had played
this woman so much, it was almost second nature to her; but still, decidedly
second. Yet it was curious how everything disappeared from her consciousness
while she played it.
     She  waited  patiently  till  she could go  upstairs and think her  own
thoughts. She was always waiting, it seemed to be her forte.
     Once in  her room,  however,  she felt  still  vague and  confused. She
didn't know what  to think. What sort of a man was he, really? Did he really
like her? Not much, she felt. Yet  he was kind. There was something, a  sort
of warm naive kindness, curious and sudden,  that almost  opened her womb to
him. But she  felt he might be kind  like that to any woman. Though even so,
it  was  curiously  soothing,  comforting.  And  he  was  a passionate  man,
wholesome and passionate. But  perhaps he wasn't quite individual enough; he
might be the same with any woman as he had been  with her.  It really wasn't
personal. She was only really a female to him.
     But perhaps that  was better.  And after all, he was kind to the female
in  her, which  no man had ever been. Men were  very kind  to the person she
was,  but  rather  cruel  to  the  female,  despising  her  or ignoring  her
altogether. Men were awfully  kind  to Constance Reid or to Lady Chatterley;
but not to her womb they weren't kind. And he took no notice of Constance or
of Lady Chatterley; he just softly stroked her loins or her breasts.
     She went to the wood next day. It was a grey, still afternoon, with the
dark-green dogs-mercury  spreading  under the hazel copse, and all the trees
making a silent effort to open their buds. Today she could almost feel it in
her  own body, the  huge heave of the sap in the massive trees, upwards, up,
up to  the  bud-a, there to push into little flamey  oak-leaves,  bronze  as
blood. It was like a ride running turgid upward, and spreading on the sky.
     She  came to  the clearing, but  he was not  there. She  had only  half
expected  him.  The pheasant chicks  were  running lightly abroad, light  as
insects, from  the coops where the fellow hens clucked anxiously. Connie sat
and watched them,  and waited. She only waited.  Even the  chicks she hardly
saw. She waited.
     The time  passed with dream-like slowness, and he did not come. She had
only half expected him. He never came in  the afternoon. She must go home to
tea. But she had to force herself to leave.
     As she went home, a fine drizzle of rain fell.
     `Is it raining again?' said Clifford, seeing her shake her hat.
     `Just drizzle.'
     She poured tea  in  silence, absorbed in  a  sort of obstinacy. She did
want  to  see the keeper  today, to  see if it  were really real. If it were
really real.
     `Shall I read a little to you afterwards?' said Clifford.
     She looked at him. Had he sensed something?
     `The spring makes me feel queer---I thought I might rest a little,' she
     `Just as you like. Not feeling really unwell, are you?'
     `No! Only  rather tired---with the spring. Will you  have Mrs Bolton to
play something with you?'
     `No! I think I'll listen in.'
     She heard  the curious satisfaction in  his voice. She went upstairs to
her  bedroom.  There  she  heard  the  loudspeaker  begin to  bellow,  in an
idiotically velveteen-genteel  sort  of  voice, something about a series  of
street-cries,  the  very cream of  genteel affectation imitating old criers.
She pulled  on her  old  violet coloured mackintosh, and slipped out  of the
house at the side door.
     The drizzle of rain was like a veil over the world, mysterious, hushed,
not  cold. She got very warm as she hurried across the park. She had to open
her light waterproof.
     The  wood was silent, still and secret in  the evening drizzle of rain,
full of the mystery of eggs and half-open buds, half unsheathed flowers.  In
the dimness  of  it  all  trees glistened  naked  and  dark as  if they  had
unclothed  themselves,  and  the green things  on  earth  seemed to hum with
     There was still no one at the clearing. The chicks  had nearly all gone
under the  mother-hens, only  one or two  last adventurous ones still dibbed
about in the dryness under the straw roof shelter. And they were doubtful of
     So! He still had not been. He  was staying  away on purpose. Or perhaps
something was wrong. Perhaps she should go to the cottage and see.
     But she was born to wait. She opened the hut with her  key. It was  all
tidy, the  corn put in the bin, the blankets folded on  the shelf, the straw
neat in a  corner; a new bundle of straw. The hurricane lamp hung on a nail.
The table and chair had been put back where she had lain.
     She  sat down on  a stool in the doorway. How still everything was! The
fine rain  blew  very softly,  filmily, but the wind made no noise.  Nothing
made any sound. The trees  stood like powerful beings, dim,  twilit,  silent
and alive. How alive everything was!
     Night was  drawing  near again; she  would have to go. He  was avoiding
     But suddenly  he came striding into the clearing, in his  black oilskin
jacket  like a  chauffeur, shining with  wet. He glanced quickly at the hut,
half-saluted, then veered  aside and went on to the coops. There he crouched
in silence,  looking  carefully  at everything, then carefully shutting  the
hens and chicks up safe against the night.
     At  last  he  came  slowly towards her. She still sat on her  stool. He
stood before her under the porch.
     `You come then,' he said, using the intonation of the dialect.
     `Yes,' she said, looking up at him. `You're late!'
     `Ay!' he replied, looking away into the wood.
     She rose slowly, drawing aside her stool.
     `Did you want to come in?' she asked.
     He looked down at her shrewdly.
     `Won't folks be thinkin' somethink, you  comin'  here every night?'  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
added, in a lower tone.
     `But I don't want to,' she murmured.
     He looked away into the wood, and was silent.
     `But  what when  folks  finds out?' he asked at last. `Think  about it!
Think how lowered you'll feel, one of your husband's servants.'
     She looked up at his averted face.
     `Is it,' she stammered, `is it that you don't want me?'
     `Think!'  he  said.  `Think  what if folks find out  Sir  Clifford  an'
a'---an' everybody talkin'---'
     `Well, I can go away.'
     `Where to?'
     `Anywhere! I've got money of my own. My mother left me  twenty thousand
pounds in trust, and I know Clifford can't touch it. I can go away.'
     `But 'appen you don't want to go away.'
     `Yes, yes! I don't care what happens to me.'
     `Ay,  you  think that! But you'll care! You'll have  to care, everybody
has. You've got to remember your Ladyship is carrying on with a game-keeper.
It's not as if I was a gentleman. Yes, you'd care. You'd care.'
     `I shouldn't. What do I care about  my  ladyship!  I hate it  really. I
feel people are jeering every time they say it. And they are, they are! Even
you jeer when you say it.'
     For the first time he looked straight  at  her, and  into  her eyes. `I
don't jeer at you,' he said.
     As he  looked into her  eyes she saw his  own eyes go dark, quite dark,
the pupils dilating.
     `Don't you  care about a' the risk?' he asked  in a  husky voice.  `You
should care. Don't care when it's too late!'
     There was a curious warning pleading in his voice.
     `But I've nothing to lose,' she  said fretfully. `If  you  knew what it
is, you'd think I'd be glad to lose it. But are you afraid for yourself?'
     `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
you was to feel sorry you'd ever done it---!'
     `Don't put me off,' she pleaded.
     He put his fingers to her cheek and kissed her again suddenly.
     `Let me come in then,' he said softly. `An' take off your mackintosh.'
     He hung up his gun, slipped out of his wet leather jacket, and  reached
for the blankets.
     `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.
`One time we'll have a long time,' he said.
     He put the blankets  down carefully, one  folded  for her head. Then he
sat down a  moment on the stool, and drew her to him, holding her close with
one arm, feeling for her body with his free hand. She heard the catch of his
intaken breath as he found her. Under her frail petticoat she was naked.
     `Eh! what it is to  touch thee!'  he  said, as his  finger caressed the
delicate, warm, secret skin of her waist and  hips. He put his face down and
rubbed his  cheek against  her belly and against her thighs again and again.
And again  she wondered a little over the sort of rapture it was to him. She
did not understand the beauty he found in her, through touch upon her living
secret body, almost the ecstasy of beauty. For passion alone is awake to it.
And when passion is dead, or absent, then the magnificent throb of beauty is
incomprehensible and even a little despicable; warm, live beauty of contact,
so much deeper than the beauty of vision. She felt the glide of his cheek on
her thighs and belly and buttocks,  and the close  brushing of his moustache
and his soft thick hair, and her knees began to  quiver. Far down in her she
felt a new stirring, a new nakedness emerging. And she was half afraid. Half
she wished he would not caress her  so. He was encompassing her somehow. Yet
she was waiting, waiting.
     And when  he  came into  her,  with  an  intensification of  relief and
consummation that was pure peace  to him, still she  was  waiting. She  felt
herself a little  left out. And she knew, partly it  was her own fault.  She
willed  herself into this separateness. Now perhaps she was condemned to it.
She lay  still, feeling his motion within her, his deep-sunk intentness, the
sudden quiver of him at  the springing of his seed, then the  slow-subsiding
thrust. That thrust of the  buttocks, surely it  was a little ridiculous. If
you were  a woman, and a part in all the business, surely  that thrusting of
the  man's buttocks was  supremely ridiculous.  Surely the man was intensely
ridiculous in this posture and this act!
     But she lay still,  without recoil. Even when he had  finished, she did
not rouse herself to get a grip  on her  own satisfaction, as  she  had done
with Michaelis; she lay still, and the tears slowly filled and ran  from her
     He lay  still, too. But he held her  close and tried to cover  her poor
naked  legs  with his legs, to keep them  warm.  He lay on her with a close,
undoubting warmth.
     `Are yer cold?' he asked, in a soft, small voice, as if she were close,
so close. Whereas she was left out, distant.
     `No! But I must go,' she said gently.
     He sighed, held her closer, then relaxed to rest again.
     He had not guessed her tears. He thought she was there with him.
     `I must go,' she repeated.
     He lifted himself kneeled beside her a moment, kissed the inner side of
her thighs, then drew down her skirts, buttoning his own clothes unthinking,
not even turning aside, in the faint, faint light from the lantern.
     `Tha mun come  ter  th' cottage one time,' he said, looking down at her
with a warm, sure, easy face.
     But she  lay there inert, and was gazing up  at him thinking: Stranger!
Stranger! She even resented him a little.
     He  put  on his coat and looked for his  hat, which had fallen, then he
slung on his gun.
     `Come  then!' he said, looking  down  at  her with those warm, peaceful
sort of eyes.
     She rose slowly. She didn't  want  to  go.  She  also  rather  resented
staying. He helped her with her thin waterproof and saw she was tidy.
     Then he opened the door. The outside  was quite dark. The  faithful dog
under  the  porch stood  up  with  pleasure  seeing him. The drizzle of rain
drifted greyly past upon the darkness. It was quite dark.
     `Ah mun ta'e th' lantern,' he said. `The'll be nob'dy.'
     He walked just  before her  in the narrow  path, swinging the hurricane
lamp low, revealing  the wet grass, the  black shiny tree-roots like snakes,
wan flowers. For the rest, all was grey rain-mist and complete darkness.
     `Tha mun come to the cottage one time,' he said, `shall ta? We might as
well be hung for a sheep as for a lamb.'
     It  puzzled  her,  his queer,  persistent wanting  her,  when there was
nothing  between  them, when he never really  spoke to  her, and in spite of
herself she resented the dialect. His `tha mun come' seemed not addressed to
her, but some common woman. She recognized the foxglove leaves of the riding
and knew, more or less, where they were.
     `It's quarter past  seven,' he said, `you'll do it.' He had changed his
voice,  seemed to feel  her distance. As  they turned  the last bend  in the
riding towards the  hazel wall and the gate, he  blew out  the light. `We'll
see from here,' be said, taking her gently by the arm.
     But it was difficult, the earth under their feet was a mystery,  but he
felt  his  way by  tread: he was used to it. At  the gate he  gave  her  his
electric torch. `It's a bit lighter in the  park,' he said; `but take it for
fear you get off th' path.'
     It was true, there seemed a ghost-glimmer of greyness in the open space
of the park. He suddenly drew her  to  him and  whipped  his hand  under her
dress again, feeling her warm body with his wet, chill hand.
     `I  could die  for the  touch  of  a woman like thee,'  he said  in his
throat. `If tha' would stop another minute.'
     She felt the sudden force of his wanting her again.
     `No, I must run,' she said, a little wildly.
     `Ay,' he replied, suddenly changed, letting her go.
     She  turned  away, and on the instant she  turned  back  to him saying:
`Kiss me.'
     He bent over her indistinguishable and kissed her on the left eye.  She
held her mouth  and he softly  kissed it, but at  once drew  away.  He hated
mouth kisses.
     `I'll come tomorrow,' she said, drawing away; `if I can,' she added.
     `Ay! not so  late,' he replied  out  of the darkness. Already she could
not see him at all.
     `Goodnight,' she said.
     `Goodnight, your Ladyship,' his voice.
     She stopped and looked back into  the wet dark. She could just see  the
bulk of him. `Why did you say that?' she said.
     `Nay,' he replied. `Goodnight then, run!'
     She plunged on in the dark-grey tangible night. She found the side-door
open,  and slipped into her room  unseen.  As she closed the  door the  gong
sounded, but she would take her bath all the same---she must take her  bath.
`But I won't be late any more,' she said to herself; `it's too annoying.'
     The next day she did not go to the wood. She went instead with Clifford
to Uthwaite.  He could  occasionally go  out now in the car, and  had  got a
strong young man as chauffeur, who could help him out of the car if need be.
He particularly wanted  to see his godfather,  Leslie Winter,  who  lived at
Shipley Hall, not far  from  Uthwaite. Winter was an elderly  gentleman now,
wealthy, one of the  wealthy  coal-owners who had had their hey-day in  King
Edward's  time. King Edward had  stayed more  than  once at Shipley, for the
shooting. It was a handsome old stucco hall, very  elegantly appointed,  for
Winter was a bachelor  and prided  himself on his style;  but the place  was
beset  by collieries. Leslie Winter was attached to Clifford, but personally
did not  entertain a great  respect  for him, because of the photographs  in
illustrated papers and the  literature. The  old man was a buck of  the King
Edward school,  who thought life was life and  the  scribbling fellows  were
something  else. Towards  Connie  the Squire was always  rather gallant;  he
thought her an attractive  demure maiden and rather wasted on Clifford,  and
it  was a  thousand pities she stood no chance of bringing forth an  heir to
Wragby. He himself had no heir.
     Connie  wondered  what  he  would  say  if   he  knew  that  Clifford's
game-keeper had been having intercourse with her, and saying to her `tha mun
come to  th' cottage one  time.' He would detest and despise her, for he had
come almost to hate the shoving forward of the working classes. A man of her
own  class  he  would not mind, for Connie was gifted from nature with  this
appearance of demure, submissive maidenliness,  and  perhaps it was part  of
her nature. Winter  called her `dear child'  and  gave her  a rather  lovely
miniature of an eighteenth-century lady, rather against her will.
     But Connie was preoccupied with her affair with the keeper.  After all,
Mr Winter, who was really a gentleman and a man of the world, treated her as
a person  and a discriminating individual; he did not lump her together with
all the rest of his female womanhood in his `thee' and `tha'.
     She  did not go  to the  wood that  day  nor  the  next,  nor  the  day
following. She did not go so long as she felt, or imagined she felt, the man
waiting for her, wanting her. But the fourth day she was  terribly unsettled
and uneasy. She  still refused to go to the  wood  and open her  thighs once
more  to  the  man. She thought  of  all the things  she might do---drive to
Sheffield, pay visits, and the thought of all these things was repellent. At
last she decided to  take a  walk, not towards the wood, but in the opposite
direction; she would go to  Marehay, through  the little iron  gate  in  the
other side  of  the park  fence.  It was a quiet grey day of  spring, almost
warm. She  walked  on  unheeding,  absorbed in  thoughts  she was  not  even
conscious of  She was not really aware of anything outside her, till she was
startled by the loud barking  of the dog at Marehay Farm. Marehay  Farm! Its
pastures  ran up to Wragby park fence, so they were  neighbours, but it  was
some time since Connie had called.
     `Bell!'  she  said  to  the  big  white bull-terrier.  `Bell! have  you
forgotten me? Don't  you know  me?'  She was afraid  of dogs, and Bell stood
back  and bellowed, and  she wanted to pass through  the farmyard on  to the
warren path.
     Mrs Flint appeared. She  was a woman of Constance's own age, had been a
school-teacher, but  Connie  suspected her of  being rather  a false  little
     `Why,  it's  Lady Chatterley! Why!' And Mrs Flint's eyes glowed  again,
and she  flushed  like  a  young girl.  `Bell,  Bell. Why! barking  at  Lady
Chatterley! Bell! Be quiet!' She  darted forward and slashed at the dog with
a white cloth she held in her hand, then came forward to Connie.
     `She  used  to  know me,' said Connie, shaking hands.  The Flints  were
Chatterley tenants.
     `Of course she  knows your  Ladyship! She's just showing off,' said Mrs
Flint, glowing and looking up with a sort of flushed confusion, `but it's so
long since she's seen you. I do hope you are better.'
     `Yes thanks, I'm all right.'
     `We've  hardly  seen you all  winter. Will you come in and  look at the
     `Well!' Connie hesitated. `Just for a minute.'
     Mrs Flint flew wildly in  to tidy up, and Connie came slowly after her,
hesitating in  the rather dark kitchen where  the kettle was  boiling by the
fire. Back came Mrs Flint.
     `I do hope you'll excuse me,' she said. `Will you come in here?'
     They  went  into the living-room, where a  baby was sitting on the  rag
hearth  rug, and  the table was roughly set  for  tea. A young  servant-girl
backed down the passage, shy and awkward.
     The baby was  a perky little thing  of about a year, with red hair like
its father, and cheeky pale-blue eyes. It was a girl, and not to be daunted.
It  sat among cushions and was surrounded with rag  dolls  and other toys in
modern excess.
     `Why,  what  a dear she  is!' said Connie, `and how she's grown!  A big
girl! A big girl!'
     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?
Lady Chatterley---you know Lady Chatterley, don't you?'
     The queer  pert  little mite gazed cheekily  at Connie. Ladyships  were
still all the same to her.
     `Come! Will you come to me?' said Connie to the baby.
     The baby didn't care one way or another,  so  Connie picked  her up and
held her  in her lap.  How warm and lovely  it was to hold a child in  one's
lap, and the soft little arms, the unconscious cheeky little legs.
     `I  was just having a rough  cup  of tea all by myself.  Luke's gone to
market, so  I can  have  it when I  like.  Would you care  for  a  cup, Lady
Chatterley? I don't suppose it's what you're used to, but if you would...'
     Connie would, though  she didn't want to be  reminded  of  what she was
used to. There was a great relaying of the table, and  the best cups brought
and the best tea-pot.
     `If only you wouldn't take any trouble,' said Connie.
     But if Mrs Flint took no  trouble, where was the fun!  So Connie played
with the child and was amused by  its little female dauntlessness, and got a
deep  voluptuous pleasure out of  its soft  young warmth. Young life! And so
fearless! So  fearless,  because so defenceless. All  the other  people,  so
narrow with fear!
     She  had a cup of tea, which was rather strong, and very good bread and
butter, and bottled damsons. Mrs  Flint flushed and glowed  and bridled with
excitement, as  if Connie  were some gallant  knight.  And  they had a  real
female chat, and both of them enjoyed it.
     `It's a poor little tea, though,' said Mrs Flint.
     `It's much nicer than at home,' said Connie truthfully.
     `Oh-h!' said Mrs Flint, not believing, of course.
     But at last Connie rose.
     `I must  go,' she said. `My husband has  no  idea where I am.  He'll be
wondering all kinds of things.'
     `He'll never think you're here,' laughed Mrs Flint excitedly. `He'll be
sending the crier round.'
     `Goodbye,  Josephine,' said Connie, kissing the baby  and ruffling  its
red, wispy hair.
     Mrs Flint insisted on opening the locked  and barred front door. Connie
emerged in the farm's little front garden, shut  in by a privet hedge. There
were two rows of auriculas by the path, very velvety and rich.
     `Lovely auriculas,' said Connie.
     `Recklesses, as Luke calls them,' laughed Mrs Flint. `Have some.'
     And eagerly she picked the velvet and primrose flowers.
     `Enough! Enough!' said Connie.
     They came to the little garden gate.
     `Which way were you going?' asked Mrs Flint.
     `By the Warren.'
     `Let me see! Oh yes, the cows  are in the gin close. But they're not up
yet. But the gate's locked, you'll have to climb.'
     `I can climb,' said Connie.
     `Perhaps I can just go down the close with you.'
     They went down the poor, rabbit-bitten pasture. Birds were whistling in
wild evening triumph in the wood. A  man was calling up the last cows, which
trailed slowly over the path-worn pasture.
     `They're late, milking,  tonight,'  said Mrs Flint severely. `They know
Luke won't be back till after dark.'
     They came to the fence, beyond which the young fir-wood bristled dense.
There was a little gate, but it was locked. In the grass on the inside stood
a bottle, empty.
     `There's the keeper's empty bottle for his milk,'  explained Mrs Flint.
`We bring it as far as here for him, and then he fetches it himself'
     `When?' said Connie.
     `Oh, any time he's  around. Often in the  morning.  Well, goodbye  Lady
Chatterley! And do come again. It was so lovely having you.'
     Connie  climbed  the  fence into  the  narrow path  between  the dense,
bristling young firs.  Mrs Flint went  running back across the pasture, in a
sun-bonnet, because she was really  a  schoolteacher. Constance didn't  like
this dense new part of the wood; it seemed gruesome and choking. She hurried
on with her head down, thinking of the  Flints' baby.  It was a  dear little
thing, but it would be a bit  bow-legged like its father. It showed already,
but perhaps it would grow out of it. How warm and fulfilling somehow to have
a baby, and how Mrs Flint had showed it off!  She had something anyhow  that
Connie hadn't got, and apparently couldn't have. Yes, Mrs Flint had flaunted
her  motherhood. And Connie had been just a bit, just a  little bit jealous.
She couldn't help it.
     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. I'm late. I've got to
     `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
around her. She felt the front of his body terribly near to her, and alive.
     `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
want you.'
     He held  her  fast and she felt  his urgency. Her old instinct  was  to
fight  for her freedom. But something else in  her was strange and inert and
heavy. His body was urgent against her, and she hadn't the heart any more to
     He looked around.
     `Come---come here! Through here,'  he said,  looking penetratingly into
the dense fir-trees, that were young and not more than half-grown.
     He looked  back at her. She saw his eyes, tense  and brilliant, fierce,
not loving. But  her will had left her.  A strange weight was  on her limbs.
She was giving way. She was giving up.
     He led her through the wall  of prickly trees,  that were  difficult to
come through, to a place where was a little space and a pile of dead boughs.
He threw one or two dry ones down, put his coat and waistcoat over them, and
she  had to  lie down there  under the boughs of the tree, like  an  animal,
while he waited, standing there in his shirt and breeches, watching her with
haunted  eyes.  But  still  he was  provident---he  made her  lie  properly,
properly. Yet  he broke  the  band of her underclothes, for she did not help
him, only lay inert.
     He  too  had bared  the front part  of his body and she felt  his naked
flesh against her as he came into her. For a moment he was still inside her,
turgid there and quivering. Then as he began to move, in the sudden helpless
orgasm,  there  awoke  in  her  new  strange  thrills  rippling  inside her.
Rippling,  rippling,  rippling, like  a flapping overlapping of soft flames,
soft as feathers, running to points of brilliance,  exquisite, exquisite and
melting her  all  molten inside.  It was like bells rippling up  and up to a
culmination. She lay unconscious of the wild little cries she uttered at the
last. But it was over  too soon, too soon, and she could no longer force her
own conclusion  with her  own  activity. This was different,  different. She
could  do  nothing.  She  could  no  longer  harden  and  grip  for  her own
satisfaction  upon him. She could only wait,  wait and moan in spirit as she
felt him withdrawing, withdrawing and  contracting,  coming to the  terrible
moment when he would  slip out  of her and be gone. Whilst all her  womb was
open and  soft, and softly clamouring, like  a  sea-anemone under  the tide,
clamouring for him to come in again and make a fulfilment for her. She clung
to him unconscious iii passion, and he never quite slipped from her, and she
felt the  soft bud of  him within her stirring, and strange rhythms flushing
up into her with  a  strange rhythmic growing motion,  swelling and swelling
till it  filled  all  her cleaving consciousness,  and  then began again the
unspeakable motion that was not really motion, but pure deepening whirlpools
of  sensation  swirling  deeper  and  deeper  through  all  her  tissue  and
consciousness, till she was one perfect concentric fluid of feeling, and she
lay  there crying  in unconscious inarticulate cries. The voice  out  of the
uttermost night, the life! The man heard it beneath him with a kind of  awe,
as his life sprang out into her. And as it subsided, he subsided too and lay
utterly still, unknowing, while her grip on him slowly relaxed,  and she lay
inert. And they  lay  and knew nothing,  not even of each  other, both lost.
Till at  last  he  began  to  rouse  and  become aware  of  his  defenceless
nakedness, and she was aware that his  body was loosening its  clasp on her.
He was coming apart;  but in her breast she felt  she could not bear  him to
leave her uncovered. He must cover her now for ever.
     But he drew away  at  last, and kissed  her and  covered her over,  and
began to cover himself She lay looking  up to the boughs of the tree, unable
as yet to move. He stood and fastened  up  his breeches,  looking round. All
was dense and silent,  save for the awed dog that lay with its paws  against
its  nose. He sat  down again on the  brushwood and  took Connie's  hand  in
     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
they never know it,' he said, speaking rather dreamily.
     She looked into his brooding face.
     `Do they?' she said. `Are you glad?'
     He looked back into her eyes. `Glad,' he said, `Ay, but never mind.' He
did not want her to talk. And he bent over her and kissed her, and she felt,
so he must kiss her for ever.
     At last she sat up.
     `Don't people often come off together?' she asked with naive curiosity.
     `A good many of them  never.  You can see  by the raw look of them.' He
spoke unwittingly, regretting he had begun.
     `Have you come off like that with other women?'
     He looked at her amused.
     `I don't know,' he said, `I don't know.'
     And she knew he would never tell  her anything  he didn't want to  tell
her. She  watched his face, and the passion for him moved in her bowels. She
resisted it as far as she could, for it was the loss of herself to herself.
     He put on his waistcoat and his  coat, and pushed  a way through to the
path again.
     The last  level  rays of  the sun touched the wood.  `I won't come with
you,' he said; `better not.'
     She looked  at him wistfully  before she turned. His dog was waiting so
anxiously  for him  to go,  and he  seemed to have  nothing whatever to say.
Nothing left.
     Connie went slowly home, realizing the depth of the other thing in her.
Another self was  alive  in  her, burning  molten  and soft in  her womb and
bowels, and  with this self  she  adored  him. She adored him till her knees
were weak as she walked.  In her womb and  bowels she  was flowing and alive
now  and vulnerable,  and  helpless  in adoration of  him as  the most naive
woman. It feels  like a child, she said to herself it feels like a child  in
me. And so it did, as if her womb, that had always been shut, had opened and
filled with new life, almost a burden, yet lovely.
     `If I had  a child!' she thought to herself; `if I had him inside me as
a child!'---and her limbs turned molten at the thought, and she realized the
immense difference between having a child to oneself and having a child to a
man whom  one's  bowels  yearned  towards.  The  former  seemed  in a  sense
ordinary: but to have a child to  a man whom  one adored in one's bowels and
one's womb, it made her feel she was very different from her old self and as
if she was sinking deep, deep to the centre  of  all womanhood and the sleep
of creation.
     It  was  not the  passion that  was new  to her,  it was  the  yearning
adoration. She knew she had always  feared it, for it left her helpless; she
feared  it still,  lest  if she adored him  too  much, then  she  would lose
herself become effaced,  and she did not want to be effaced, a slave, like a
savage woman. She must not become a slave. She feared her adoration, yet she
would not at  once fight against it. She knew she  could fight it. She had a
devil  of self-will  in her  breast that  could  have  fought the full  soft
heaving adoration of her womb and crushed it. She could even  now do it,  or
she thought so, and she could then take up her passion with her own will.
     Ah yes, to  be passionate like a  Bacchante, like  a Bacchanal  fleeing
through  the woods, to call  on  Iacchos,  the  bright  phallos that had  no
independent  personality  behind it, but was pure god-servant to  the woman!
The  man,  the  individual,  let  him  not  dare  intrude.   He  was  but  a
temple-servant, the bearer and keeper of the bright phallos, her own.
     So,  in the flux of new awakening, the  old hard passion flamed in  her
for  a  time,  and  the  man dwindled  to  a  contemptible object,  the mere
phallos-bearer, to be torn  to pieces  when his service  was performed.  She
felt the force of  the Bacchae in her limbs and her body, the woman gleaming
and  rapid,  beating down the male;  but  while she felt this, her heart was
heavy.  She  did not  want  it,  it  was known  and barren,  birthless;  the
adoration was her treasure.
     It  was so  fathomless, so soft, so  deep and so unknown.  No, no,  she
would give up her hard  bright female  power; she was weary of it, stiffened
with it; she would  sink in the new bath of life, in the  depths of her womb
and  her bowels that sang  the voiceless song of adoration. It was early yet
to begin to fear the man.
     `I walked over by Marehay, and  I  had tea with Mrs Flint,' she said to
Clifford. `I wanted to see the  baby. It's  so  adorable, with hair like red
cobwebs. Such a dear! Mr Flint had gone to market, so she and I and the baby
had tea together. Did you wonder where I was?'
     `Well, I wondered,  but I guessed you had dropped in somewhere to tea,'
said Clifford jealously. With a sort of second sight he sensed something new
in her, something to  him quite incomprehensible, hut  he ascribed it to the
baby.  He thought that  all that ailed  Connie  was that  she did not have a
baby, automatically bring one forth, so to speak.
     `I saw you  go  across the park to the iron  gate,  my Lady,' said  Mrs
Bolton; `so I thought perhaps you'd called at the Rectory.'
     `I nearly did, then I turned towards Marehay instead.'
     The  eyes of  the  two  women  met:  Mrs  Bolton's  grey and bright and
searching; Connie's blue and veiled and strangely  beautiful. Mrs Bolton was
almost sure she had a lover, yet how could it be, and who could it be? Where
was there a man?
     `Oh,  it's  so  good  for you, if you  go out and  see a bit of company
sometimes,' said Mrs Bolton. `I was saying to Sir Clifford,  it would do her
ladyship a world of good if she'd go out among people more.'
     `Yes, I'm glad  I went, and such a quaint dear cheeky  baby, Clifford,'
said  Connie. `It's got hair just like spider-webs, and  bright  orange, and
the  oddest, cheekiest,  pale-blue china eyes.  Of course it's a girl, or it
wouldn't be so bold, bolder than any little Sir Francis Drake.'
     `You're right, my  Lady---a regular little Flint.  They were  always  a
forward sandy-headed family,' said Mrs Bolton.
     `Wouldn't you like  to see it, Clifford? I've asked them to tea for you
to see it.'
     `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
will be more comfortable than if Sir Clifford was there,' said Mrs Bolton.
     She was sure Connie had a lover, and something in her soul exulted. But
who was he? Who was he? Perhaps Mrs Flint would provide a clue.
     Connie would  not  take her bath this evening. The sense  of his  flesh
touching her, his very stickiness upon her, was dear to  her, and in a sense
     Clifford was very uneasy. He would not let her go after dinner, and she
had  wanted  so much to  be  alone. She  looked  at  him, but  was curiously
     `Shall we play a game, or shall I read to you, or what shall it be?' he
asked uneasily.
     `You read to me,' said Connie.
     `What shall I read---verse or prose? Or drama?'
     `Read Racine,' she said.
     It had been one of his  stunts in the past, to  read Racine in the real
French grand manner, but he  was rusty  now, and a little self-conscious; he
really  preferred  the  loudspeaker. But Connie  was sewing, sewing a little
frock silk of primrose silk, cut out of one of her dresses, for Mrs  Flint's
baby. Between coming home and dinner she had cut it out,  and she sat in the
soft quiescent  rapture of  herself sewing, while the  noise  of the reading
went on.
     Inside  herself  she  could  feel the  humming  of  passion,  like  the
after-humming of deep bells.
     Clifford said something to her about the Racine. She  caught  the sense
after the words had gone.
     `Yes! Yes!' she said, looking up at him. `It is splendid.'
     Again he was frightened at the deep blue blaze of  her eyes, and of her
soft stillness, sitting there. She had never been so utterly soft and still.
She fascinated him helplessly, as if some perfume about her intoxicated him.
So  he went  on  helplessly with his  reading, and the throaty sound of  the
French was like the wind in the chimneys to her. Of the Racine she heard not
one syllable.
     She  was gone in her own soft rapture, like a forest soughing  with the
dim, glad moan of  spring, moving into bud. She could feel in the same world
with her the man, the nameless man, moving on beautiful  feet, beautiful  in
the phallic mystery.  And in herself in all  her veins, she felt him and his
child. His child was in all her veins, like a twilight.
     `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,
humming inaudibly with myriad unfolding buds.  Meanwhile the birds of desire
were asleep in the vast interlaced intricacy of her body.
     But  Clifford's  voice went  on,  clapping  and  gurgling with  unusual
sounds. How  extraordinary it was! How extraordinary he was, bent there over
the book,  queer  and rapacious and civilized, with broad shoulders  and  no
real legs! What a strange creature, with the sharp, cold inflexible  will of
some bird,  and no warmth, no  warmth at all! One of those  creatures of the
afterwards,  that  have no soul, but  an extra-alert  will,  cold  will. She
shuddered a little, afraid of him. But then, the soft warm flame of life was
stronger than he, and the real things were hidden from him.
     The reading  finished. She  was startled.  She looked up, and was  more
startled still  to see Clifford  watching her with pale, uncanny eyes,  like
     `Thank you so much! You do read Racine beautifully!' she said softly.
     `Almost  as beautifully as you  listen  to him,' he said cruelly. `What
are you making?' he asked.
     `I'm making a child's dress, for Mrs Flint's baby.'
     He turned away. A child! A child! That was all her obsession.
     `After all,'  he said in a  declamatory voice, `one gets all one  wants
out of Racine. Emotions that are ordered and given shape  are more important
than disorderly emotions.
     She watched  him  with  wide, vague,  veiled eyes. `Yes, I'm sure  they
are,' she said.
     `The modern world has only vulgarized emotion by letting it loose. What
we need is classic control.'
     `Yes,' she said slowly,  thinking of him listening with vacant  face to
the  emotional idiocy of  the radio. `People  pretend to have emotions,  and
they really feel nothing. I suppose that is being romantic.'
     `Exactly!' he said.
     As a matter of fact, he was tired. This evening had tired him. He would
rather  have  been  with  his  technical  books,  or  his  pit-manager,   or
listening-in to the radio.
     Mrs Bolton came in with two glasses  of malted  milk: for Clifford,  to
make him  sleep, and for  Connie,  to  fatten her  again.  It was  a regular
night-cap she had introduced.
     Connie  was  glad to go, when she had drunk her glass, and thankful she
needn't  help Clifford to bed. She took  his glass and  put it on  the tray,
then took the tray, to leave it outside.
     `Goodnight Clifford!  Do sleep well!  The  Racine gets into one like  a
dream. Goodnight!'
     She had  drifted  to the  door.  She  was  going  without  kissing  him
goodnight.  He watched her with sharp, cold  eyes. So! She did not even kiss
him goodnight, after he had spent an evening  reading to her. Such depths of
callousness in  her! Even if the kiss  was but a  formality, it  was on such
formalities that life  depends. She  was a Bolshevik, really. Her  instincts
were Bolshevistic!  He gazed  coldly and angrily at the door  whence she had
gone. Anger!
     And again the  dread  of the  night came  on him.  He was a  network of
nerves,  anden he was not braced up  to work, and so full of energy: or when
he  was  not  listening-in,  and so utterly  neuter:  then he was haunted by
anxiety and a  sense of dangerous impending void. He was  afraid. And Connie
could keep the fear off him, if she would.  But it was obvious she wouldn't,
she wouldn't. She was  callous, cold and callous to all that he did for her.
He gave up his life for her, and she was callous to him. She only wanted her
own way. `The lady loves her will.'
     Now  it was  a baby she was obsessed by. Just so that it should be  her
own, all her own, and not his!
     Clifford was so healthy, considering. He looked  so well  and ruddy  in
the face, his shoulders were broad and strong, his chest deep, he had put on
flesh. And yet, at the same time,  he was afraid of death. A terrible hollow
seemed to menace him somewhere,  somehow,  a  void, and into  this void  his
energy would  collapse. Energyless, he felt at times  he  was  dead,  really
     So his rather prominent pale eyes had  a queer look, furtive, and yet a
little cruel, so cold: and at  the same time, almost impudent. It was a very
odd look,  this  look  of impudence:  as if he were  triumphing over life in
spite of life. `Who  knoweth the mysteries of  the will---for it can triumph
even against the angels---'
     But his dread was the nights when he could not sleep. Then it was awful
indeed,  when annihilation  pressed in  on him  on every side.  Then it  was
ghastly, to exist without having any life: lifeless, in the night, to exist.
     But now he could ring for Mrs Bolton. And  she would always come.  That
was a great comfort. She would come in her dressing gown, with her hair in a
plait down her back, curiously girlish and  dim, though the brown  plait was
streaked with grey. And she would make  him coffee or camomile tea,  and she
would play chess  or  piquet with him. She  had a  woman's  queer faculty of
playing even chess well enough, when she was three parts asleep, well enough
to make her worth beating.  So, in  the silent  intimacy of  the night, they
sat, or she sat and he lay on the  bed, with  the reading-lamp shedding  its
solitary light on  them, she almost gone in sleep, he almost gone in a  sort
of fear, and they  played, played together---then they  had a  cup of coffee
and a biscuit  together, hardly speaking, in the silence of night, but being
a reassurance to one another.
     And this night she  was wondering who Lady Chatterley's  lover was. And
she was thinking of her own Ted, so long dead, yet for her never quite dead.
And when she thought of him, the old, old grudge against the world  rose up,
but especially against the masters, that  they had killed him. They had  not
really killed him. Yet, to her, emotionally, they had. And somewhere deep in
herself because of it, she was a nihilist, and really anarchic.
     In   her  half-sleep,  thoughts  of   her  Ted  and  thoughts  of  Lady
Chatterley's unknown lover commingled, and then she felt she shared with the
other woman a great grudge against Sir Clifford and all he stood for. At the
same time she was playing piquet with him, and they were gambling sixpences.
And it was a source of satisfaction to be playing piquet with a baronet, and
even losing sixpences to him.
     When  they  played  cards, they  always  gambled.  It  made  him forget
himself. And  he usually won. Tonight too he was winning. So he would not go
to sleep till the first dawn  appeared. Luckily it began  to appear  at half
past four or thereabouts.
     Connie was in bed, and fast asleep all this time.  But the keeper, too,
could not rest. He had closed the coops and made his round of the wood, then
gone home and eaten supper. But he did not go to bed. Instead he sat by  the
fire and thought.
     He thought of his boyhood in  Tevershall, and of his five or six  years
of married life. He thought of his wife, and always bitterly. She had seemed
so brutal. But  he had not seen  her now since  1915, in the spring  when he
joined  up. Yet there she was,  not three miles away, and more  brutal  than
ever. He hoped never to see her again while he lived.
     He thought of his life abroad, as  a soldier. India, Egypt, then  India
again:  the blind, thoughtless  life  with the  horses: the colonel who  had
loved him and  whom  he had loved:  the several  years that he had  been  an
officer, a lieutenant with  a very fair chance of  being a captain. Then the
death of the colonel  from pneumonia,  and his own narrow escape from death:
his damaged  health: his deep restlessness: his leaving the  army and coming
back to England to be a working man again.
     He was temporizing with life. He had thought he would be safe, at least
for a  time, in this wood. There was no shooting as yet: he had  to rear the
pheasants. He would have no guns to serve. He would be alone, and apart from
life, which was all he wanted. He had to have some sort of a background. And
this was  his native place. There was even  his mother, though she had never
meant  very much to him. And he could  go on in life,  existing from day  to
day, without connexion and without hope. For he did not know what to do with
     He did not know what to do  with himself. Since he had been  an officer
for some  years, and had  mixed among the other officers and civil servants,
with their wives and families, he  had lost  all ambition to `get on'. There
was a toughness, a curious rubbernecked toughness and unlivingness about the
middle and  upper classes, as he had known them, which just left him feeling
cold and different from them.
     So,  he  had come  back  to his own class.  To find  there, what he had
forgotten during his absence of years, a pettiness and a vulgarity of manner
extremely distasteful. He admitted now at last, how important manner was. He
admitted, also, how important it was  even to  pretend not to care about the
halfpence  and the  small things of life. But among the  common people there
was no  pretence. A penny more or less on the bacon was  worse than a change
in the Gospel. He could not stand it.
     And again, there  was the wage-squabble. Having lived among  the owning
classes,  he  knew the  utter  futility  of expecting  any  solution of  the
wage-squabble. There was no solution, short of death. The only thing was not
to care, not to care about the wages.
     Yet, if  you were poor and wretched you  had to  care. Anyhow,  it  was
becoming the only thing they did care about. The care about money was like a
great cancer, eating away the individuals of all classes. He refused to care
about money.
     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
raise pheasants to  be shot ultimately  by fat  men after  breakfast. It was
futility, futility to the nth power.
     But why  care, why  bother? And he had not cared nor bothered till now,
when this woman had come into  his  life. He was nearly ten years older than
she. And he  was a thousand years older in  experience,  starting  from  the
bottom. The  connexion between them was growing closer. He could see the day
when it would clinch up and they would  have to make  a life together.  `For
the bonds of love are ill to loose!'
     And what then? What then? Must he start  again,  with nothing  to start
on? Must  he entangle  this woman? Must he have the horrible  broil with her
lame husband? And also some sort of horrible broil with his own brutal wife,
who hated him? Misery! Lots of misery! And he was no longer young and merely
buoyant. Neither  was he the  insouciant  sort.  Every  bitterness and every
ugliness would hurt him: and the woman!
     But even if they got clear of Sir Clifford and of his own wife, even if
they got clear, what were they going  to do? What was he,  himself  going to
do?  What was  he going to  do with his  life?  For he must do something. He
couldn't be a mere hanger-on, on her money and his own very small pension.
     It was the insoluble. He could only think of going to America, to try a
new air. He disbelieved in the dollar utterly. But  perhaps,  perhaps  there
was something else.
     He could not rest  nor even go  to bed. After  sitting in  a stupor  of
bitter thoughts until midnight, he got  suddenly from his chair and  reached
for his coat and gun.
     `Come on, lass,' he said to the dog. `We're best outside.'
     It  was a starry night, but  moonless.  He went on a  slow, scrupulous,
soft-stepping and stealthy round. The only thing  he had to contend with was
the  colliers  setting  snares for  rabbits,  particularly  the Stacks  Gate
colliers, on the Marehay side. But it was breeding season, and even colliers
respected it  a little. Nevertheless the stealthy  beating  of the round  in
search of poachers soothed his nerves and took his mind off his thoughts.
     But  when he had done his slow, cautious beating of his bounds---it was
nearly a five-mile walk---he was  tired. He went to the top of the knoll and
looked out.  There was no  sound  save the noise, the faint shuffling  noise
from Stacks Gate  colliery, that never ceased working: and there were hardly
any  lights, save the  brilliant electric rows at the works. The  world  lay
darkly and fumily sleeping. It was half past  two. But even in its  sleep it
was an uneasy, cruel world, stirring with the noise of a train or some great
lorry  on the road, and flashing with  some  rosy  lightning flash  from the
furnaces. It was a world of iron and coal, the cruelty of iron and the smoke
of coal, and the endless, endless greed that drove it all. Only greed, greed
stirring in its sleep.
     It was cold, and he was coughing. A  fine cold  draught  blew over  the
knoll. He thought of the woman. Now he  would have given all  he had or ever
might  have  to hold her warm in his  arms,  both  of  them  wrapped  in one
blanket, and  sleep. All hopes of eternity and  all gain  from the  past  he
would have  given  to have her there, to  be wrapped  warm with  him  in one
blanket, and  sleep, only sleep. It  seemed the sleep with  the woman in his
arms was the only necessity.
     He went  to the hut, and wrapped himself in  the blanket and lay on the
floor to sleep. But he  could not, he was cold. And besides, he felt cruelly
his own unfinished nature. He felt his own unfinished condition of aloneness
cruelly. He wanted  her, to touch her, to hold her fast  against  him in one
moment of completeness and sleep.
     He got up again and went out, towards  the park gates  this  time: then
slowly along the path towards the  house. It  was nearly four o'clock, still
clear and cold, but no sign of dawn. He was used  to the dark,  he could see
     Slowly, slowly the great house drew him,  as a  magnet. He wanted to be
near her. It was not desire, not that. It  was the cruel sense of unfinished
aloneness, that needed  a silent woman folded in his arms.  Perhaps he could
find her. Perhaps  he could even call her out to him: or find some way in to
her. For the need was imperious.
     He slowly, silently climbed the incline to the hall. Then he came round
the great trees at the top of the knoll, on to the drive, which made a grand
sweep  round a lozenge of grass in front of the  entrance.  He could already
see the  two magnificent beeches  which stood in  this big level lozenge  in
front of the house, detaching themselves darkly in the dark air.
     There was  the house,  low and long and obscure, with one light burning
downstairs, in Sir Clifford's room. But which room she was in, the woman who
held the other end of  the frail  thread which drew him so mercilessly, that
he did not know.
     He  went  a little nearer,  gun in hand, and  stood  motionless  on the
drive, watching the  house. Perhaps even now he  could find her, come at her
in  some  way. The house was not  impregnable: he was as clever  as burglars
are. Why not come to her?
     He stood motionless, waiting, while  the dawn faintly and imperceptibly
paled  behind him. He saw the light in the  house go out. But he did not see
Mrs Bolton come to  the window and draw back  the  old curtain  of dark-blue
silk, and stand  herself in the dark room, looking out on  the  half-dark of
the approaching day, looking for the longed-for  dawn, waiting, waiting  for
Clifford to be really reassured that it was daybreak.  For when  he was sure
of daybreak, he would sleep almost at once.
     She stood  blind with sleep  at the window, waiting.  And as she stood,
she started,  and almost cried out. For there  was  a man  out there  on the
drive, a black figure in the twilight.  She woke up greyly, and watched, but
without making a sound to disturb Sir Clifford.
     The daylight began to rustle into the world, and the dark figure seemed
to go  smaller and more defined. She made out the gun and gaiters and  baggy
jacket---it would be Oliver Mellors, the keeper. `Yes, for there was the dog
nosing around like a shadow, and waiting for him'!
     And what did the man want? Did  he want to rouse the house? What was he
standing there for, transfixed,  looking  up  at the house like  a love-sick
male dog outside the house where the bitch is?
     Goodness! The knowledge  went through Mrs Bolton like  a  shot.  He was
Lady Chatterley's lover! He! He!
     To think of it! Why, she, Ivy Bolton, had once been a  tiny bit in love
with  him herself.  When  he  was  a  lad  of  sixteen  and  she a  woman of
twenty-six. It was  when  she was studying, and he had helped her a lot with
the  anatomy  and things she had had to learn. He'd been a clever boy, had a
scholarship for Sheffield Grammar School, and learned French and things: and
then after all had become  an overhead blacksmith shoeing horses, because he
was fond of horses, he said: but really because he was  frightened to go out
and face the world, only he'd never admit it.
     But he'd been a  nice lad, a nice lad, had  helped her a lot, so clever
at making things clear to you. He was quite as  clever as  Sir Clifford: and
always one for the women. More with women than men, they said.
     Till he'd gone and married that Bertha Coutts,  as if to spite himself.
Some  people do  marry to spite themselves, because they're disappointed  of
something. And no wonder it had been a failure.---For years he was gone, all
the time of  the war: and a lieutenant  and all: quite the gentleman, really
quite  the  gentleman!---Then  to  come  back  to Tevershall  and  go  as  a
game-keeper! Really, some people  can't take  their chances when they've got
them! And  talking  broad Derbyshire  again like the  worst,  when she,  Ivy
Bolton, knew he spoke like any gentleman, really.
     Well,  well! So  her  ladyship had fallen for  him! Well  her  ladyship
wasn't the first: there was something about him. But fancy! A Tevershall lad
born and bred, and she her ladyship in Wragby Hall! My word, that was a slap
back at the high-and-mighty Chatterleys!
     But he,  the keeper, as the day grew,  had realized: it's no good! It's
no good trying  to get rid of your  own aloneness. You've got to stick to it
all your life. Only at times, at times, the gap will be filled in. At times!
But you  have to wait for the times. Accept your own aloneness  and stick to
it, all your life. And then accept the times when the gap is filled in, when
they come. But they've got to come. You can't force them.
     With a  sudden snap the  bleeding  desire that  had drawn him after her
broke. He had broken it, because  it  must be so.  There  must  be a  coming
together on  both sides.  And if she wasn't coming to him, he wouldn't track
her down. He mustn't. He must go away, till she came.
     He turned slowly,  ponderingly, accepting again the isolation.  He knew
it was  better so. She must come to him: it was  no  use his  trailing after
her. No use!
     Mrs Bolton saw him disappear, saw his dog run after him.
     `Well, well!' she said. `He's  the one man I never thought of; and  the
one man I might  have thought of. He was nice to me when he was a lad, after
I lost Ted. Well, well! Whatever would he say if he knew!'
     And she  glanced triumphantly  at the already sleeping Clifford, as she
stepped softly from the room.

     Connie  was sorting out  one  of  the Wragby  lumber rooms.  There were
several:  the  house was a warren, and the family  never sold anything.  Sir
Geoffery's father had  liked pictures and Sir  Geoffery's  mother  had liked
cinquecento furniture. Sir Geoffery himself had liked old carved oak chests,
vestry chests. So  it  went on through the  generations.  Clifford collected
very modern pictures, at very moderate prices.
     So  in the lumber room there were bad Sir  Edwin Landseers and pathetic
William Henry Hunt birds' nests: and other Academy stuff, enough to frighten
the daughter of an R.A. She determined to look through it one day, and clear
it all. And the grotesque furniture interested her.
     Wrapped up carefully to preserve it from damage and dry-rot was the old
family  cradle, of  rosewood. She had to unwrap it, to  look at it. It had a
certain charm: she looked at it a longtime.
     `It's thousand pities it  won't be  called for,' sighed Mrs Bolton, who
was helping. `Though cradles like that are out of date nowadays.'
     `It might be called for. I might  have a child,'  said Connie casually,
as if saying she might have a new hat.
     `You mean if anything happened to Sir Clifford!' stammered Mrs Bolton.
     `No! I  mean  as things  are.  It's  only  muscular  paralysis with Sir
Clifford---it  doesn't  affect  him,'  said  Connie, lying  as  naturally as
     Clifford had put the idea into her head. He had  said: `Of course I may
have a  child yet. I'm not  really mutilated  at all. The potency may easily
come back, even if the muscles of the hips and  legs are paralysed. And then
the seed may be transferred.'
     He really felt, when he had his periods of energy and worked so hard at
the  question of the mines,  as if his sexual potency were returning. Connie
had looked at him in  terror. But she was  quite  quick-witted enough to use
his suggestion for her own preservation.  For she would have a child if  she
could: but not his.
     Mrs Bolton was for a moment  breathless, flabbergasted. Then she didn't
believe it: she saw in it a ruse. Yet doctors could do such things nowadays.
They might sort of graft seed.
     `Well,  my Lady, I  only hope and pray you may. It  would be lovely for
you: and  for everybody. My  word, a child in Wragby,  what a difference  it
would make!'
     `Wouldn't it!' said Connie.
     And she chose three R. A.  pictures of sixty years ago,  to send to the
Duchess of Shortlands for that lady's next charitable bazaar. She was called
`the bazaar duchess', and she always asked all the county to send things for
her to sell. She would be delighted with three framed R. A.s. She might even
call, on the strength of them. How furious Clifford was when she called!
     But oh  my dear!  Mrs  Bolton  was  thinking  to herself. Is it  Oliver
Mellors'  child  you're preparing  us  for?  Oh  my  dear, that  would  be a
Tevershall baby in the Wragby cradle, my word! Wouldn't shame it, neither!
     Among   other  monstrosities   in  this  lumber  room  was   a  largish
blackjapanned  box, excellently and  ingeniously made some sixty  or seventy
years  ago,  and  fitted  with  every  imaginable  object.  On   top  was  a
concentrated toilet set: brushes, bottles, mirrors, combs, boxes, even three
beautiful little razors in  safety sheaths, shaving-bowl and all. Underneath
came  a sort  of  escritoire  outfit:  blotters, pens,  ink-bottles,  paper,
envelopes,  memorandum books: and then a  perfect sewing-outfit,  with three
different sized scissors, thimbles, needles, silks and cottons, darning egg,
all of the very best quality and perfectly finished. Then there was a little
medicine  store,  with bottles  labelled  Laudanum, Tincture  of Myrrh, Ess.
Cloves and so  on: but empty.  Everything was perfectly new, and  the  whole
thing, when shut up, was as big as a small, but fat weekend bag. And inside,
it  fitted together  like a  puzzle. The  bottles  could  not  possibly have
spilled: there wasn't room.
     The thing  was wonderfully  made and contrived, excellent craftsmanship
of the  Victorian order. But somehow it was monstrous. Some  Chatterley must
even  have  felt it,  for the thing  had never  been used. It had a peculiar
     Yet Mrs Bolton was thrilled.
     `Look what  beautiful  brushes, so expensive, even the shaving brushes,
three  perfect ones! No!  and those  scissors! They're  the best that  money
could buy. Oh, I call it lovely!'
     `Do you?' said Connie. `Then you have it.'
     `Oh no, my Lady!'
     `Of course! It  will only lie here till Doomsday. If you won't have it,
I'll send it to the Duchess as well as the pictures, and she doesn't deserve
so much. Do have it!'
     `Oh, your Ladyship! Why, I shall never be able to thank you.'
     `You needn't try,' laughed Connie.
     And Mrs Bolton sailed  down with  the huge and very black  box  in  her
arms, flushing bright pink in her excitement.
     Mr Betts drove her in the trap  to her house in the village,  with  the
box.  And she had to have a few friends in, to show it: the school-mistress,
the chemist's wife, Mrs  Weedon the  undercashier's  wife.  They thought  it
marvellous. And then started the whisper of Lady Chatterley's child.
     `Wonders'll never cease!' said Mrs Weedon.
     But  Mrs  Bolton  was  convinced,  if it  did  come,  it would  be  Sir
Clifford's child. So there!
     Not long after, the rector said gently to Clifford:
     `And may we really hope for an  heir to Wragby? Ah, that  would  be the
hand of God in mercy, indeed!'
     `Well! We may hope,' said Clifford, with a faint irony, and at the same
time, a  certain conviction.  He had begun to believe  it really possible it
might even be his child.
     Then  one afternoon came  Leslie  Winter, Squire  Winter, as  everybody
called  him: lean, immaculate, and seventy:  and every  inch a gentleman, as
Mrs  Bolton  said  to  Mrs  Betts. Every  millimetre indeed!  And  with  his
old-fashioned, rather haw-haw!  manner of speaking, he seemed  more  out  of
date than bag wigs. Time, in her flight, drops these fine old feathers.
     They discussed the collieries. Clifford's idea was, that his coal, even
the poor sort, could  be made into hard concentrated fuel that would burn at
great  heat if  fed  with certain  damp, acidulated  air at a fairly  strong
pressure. It had long been  observed that in a particularly strong, wet wind
the pit-bank burned  very vivid, gave off hardly any fumes, and left  a fine
powder of ash, instead of the slow pink gravel.
     `But where  will you  find the  proper engines for burning your  fuel?'
asked Winter.
     `I'll  make  them myself.  And I'll use my fuel  myself.  And I'll sell
electric power. I'm certain I could do it.'
     `If you can do it, then splendid, splendid, my dear boy. Haw! Splendid!
If I can be  of any help, I shall be delighted. I'm afraid I am a little out
of  date, and my collieries are like me. But who knows, when I'm gone, there
may be men like you.  Splendid! It  will employ  all the  men again, and you
won't  have  to sell your  coal, or fail to sell it. A splendid idea,  and I
hope it will be a success. If I had sons of my own, no doubt they would have
up-to-date  ideas for Shipley: no doubt! By the  way, dear boy, is there any
foundation to the rumour that we may entertain hopes of an heir to Wragby?'
     `Is there a rumour?' asked Clifford.
     `Well, my dear  boy, Marshall from Fillingwood asked me,  that's  all I
can say about a rumour.  Of course  I wouldn't repeat  it for the world,  if
there were no foundation.'
     `Well,  Sir,'  said Clifford  uneasily, but  with strange bright  eyes.
`There is a hope. There is a hope.'
     Winter came across the room and wrung Clifford's hand.
     `My dear boy, my dear lad, can you believe what it means to me, to hear
that!  And to hear you are working in the hopes  of a son: and  that you may
again employ every man at Tevershall. Ah, my boy!  to  keep up the level  of
the race, and to have work waiting for any man who cares to work!---'
     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
going to supply Wragby with a son and heir?'
     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
if I  am aware he has accepted Sir  Alexander Cooper's Invitation for me for
July and August, to the Villa Esmeralda in Venice.'
     `July and August?' said Clifford.
     `Oh, I wouldn't stay all that time. Are you sure you wouldn't come?'
     `I won't travel abroad,' said  Clifford promptly. She took  her flowers
to the window.
     `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
stand  it  for  three weeks: if  I were absolutely sure you'd  want  to come
     `I should want to come back,' she said, with a quiet  simplicity, heavy
with conviction. She was thinking of the other man.
     Clifford felt  her conviction, and somehow he believed her, he believed
it was for him. He felt immensely relieved, joyful at once.
     `In that case,' he said,
     `I think it would be all right, don't you?'
     `I think so,' she said.
     `You'd enjoy the change?' She looked up at him with strange blue eyes.
     `I should like to see  Venice again,' she said, `and to bathe from  one
of  the shingle islands across the  lagoon. But you know I  loathe the Lido!
And I don't fancy I shall like Sir Alexander Cooper and  Lady Cooper. But if
Hilda is there,  and  we have a gondola of our own:  yes, it  will be rather
lovely. I do wish you'd come.'
     She said  it sincerely. She would so love  to make him happy, in  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
wounded in the war. Besides, we'd motor all the way.'
     `We should need to take two men.'
     `Oh  no! We'd manage  with Field. There  would  always  be  another 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
herself did not really  want to  go  to Venice:  not now, now  there was the
other man. But she was going  as a sort of discipline:  and also because, if
she had a child, Clifford could think she had a lover in Venice.
     It  was already May, and in June they  were supposed  to  start. Always
these arrangements! Always  one's life arranged for one! Wheels that  worked
one and drove one, and over which one had no real control!
     It was May, but  cold and wet again. A cold wet May, good for  corn and
hay! Much the corn and hay matter nowadays! Connie  had to go into Uthwaite,
which  was  their  little  town,  where  the  Chatterleys  were   still  the
Chatterleys. She went alone, Field driving her.
     In  spite of May and a new  greenness, the country  was  dismal. It was
rather chilly, and there  was smoke on  the  rain,  and  a certain  sense of
exhaust vapour in  the air. One just had  to live from one's resistance.  No
wonder these people were ugly and tough.
     The   car  ploughed  uphill  through   the  long  squalid  straggle  of
Tevershall, the  blackened brick dwellings, the black slate roofs glistening
their sharp  edges,  the  mud  black  with coal-dust, the  pavements wet and
black. It was  as if dismalness had soaked through  and through  everything.
The utter negation of natural beauty,  the utter negation of the gladness of
life, the utter absence of the instinct for  shapely beauty which every bird
and beast has, the utter death of the human intuitive faculty was appalling.
The stacks  of soap in the  grocers'  shops, the rhubarb and lemons  in  the
greengrocers! the awful hats in the milliners! all went by ugly, ugly, ugly,
followed by  the plaster-and-gilt horror of the cinema with  its wet picture
announcements,  `A  Woman's  Love!',  and  the  new  big  Primitive  chapel,
primitive enough in its stark brick and big panes  of greenish and raspberry
glass in the windows. The Wesleyan chapel, higher up, was of blackened brick
and  stood  behind  iron railings and blackened shrubs.  The  Congregational
chapel, which thought itself superior, was built of rusticated sandstone and
had a steeple, but  not  a very  high one. Just beyond  were the  new school
buildings, expensivink brick, and gravelled playground inside iron railings,
all very  imposing, and  fixing the suggestion  of  a  chapel and  a prison.
Standard  Five  girls  were  having a  singing lesson,  just  finishing  the
la-me-doh-la  exercises and beginning  a  `sweet  children's song'. Anything
more  unlike  song, spontaneous  song, would  be impossible  to  imagine:  a
strange bawling  yell that followed the outlines of a tune.  It was not like
savages: savages have subtle rhythms. It was not like  animals: animals mean
something when  they  yell. It was like nothing on earth, and it  was called
singing.  Connie sat and listened with her heart in  her boots, as Field was
filling petrol.  What could possibly become  of such  a people, a people  in
whom  the  living  intuitive faculty  was  dead  as  nails,  and only  queer
mechanical yells and uncanny will-power remained?
     A  coal-cart  was coming downhill, clanking in  the rain. Field started
upwards,  past the big  but weary-looking  drapers and clothing  shops,  the
post-office, into the little market-place of forlorn space, where Sam  Black
was peering out of the door of the Sun,  that  called itself an  inn, not  a
pub, and where  the commercial  travellers stayed,  and was  bowing  to Lady
Chatterley's car.
     The church was away  to  the left among  black trees.  The car  slid on
downhill,  past the Miners' Arms. It had already passed  the Wellington, the
Nelson,  the Three Tuns,  and the Sun, now it passed the Miners'  Arms, then
the  Mechanics' Hall, then the new and almost gaudy Miners' Welfare and  so,
past a few new `villas', out into the blackened road between dark hedges and
dark green fields, towards Stacks Gate.
     Tevershall! That was Tevershall! Merrie England! Shakespeare's England!
No, but the England of today,  as Connie had realized since she  had come to
live in  it. It was  producing a new race of  mankind, over-conscious in the
money  and social and  political  side,  on the  spontaneous, intuitive side
dead,  but dead.  Half-corpses, all of  them: but with a terrible  insistent
consciousness in the other half. There was something uncanny and underground
about  it all. It was  an under-world. And quite  incalculable. How shall we
understand the reactions in half-corpses? When Connie saw  the great lorries
full  of steel-workers from Sheffield, weird, distorted smallish beings like
men, off for an excursion to Matlock, her bowels fainted and she thought: Ah
God,  what has man done  to man?  What have the leaders of men been doing to
their fellow men?  They have reduced  them to less  than humanness;  and now
there can be no fellowship any more! It is just a nightmare.
     She felt again in a wave of terror the grey,  gritty hopelessness of it
all. With such creatures for the industrial masses, and the upper classes as
she knew them, there was no  hope, no hope any  more. Yet  she was wanting a
baby, and an heir to Wragby! An heir to Wragby! She shuddered with dread.
     Yet Mellors had come out  of all this!---Yes, but he  was as apart from
it all as she was.  Even in him there was  no fellowship  left. It was dead.
The fellowship  was dead. There was only  apartness and hopelessness, as far
as all  this was concerned. And this was England, the vast  bulk of England:
as Connie knew, since she had motored from the centre of it.
     The  car was rising towards Stacks Gate. The rain was holding off,  and
in the air came a queer  pellucid gleam of May. The country rolled  away  in
long  undulations,  south  towards  the  Peak, east  towards  Mansfield  and
Nottingham. Connie was travelling South.
     As  she rose on to the high country, she could  see  on her  left, on a
height above the rolling land, the  shadowy, powerful bulk of Warsop Castle,
dark grey,  with below  it  the  reddish plastering  of  miners'  dwellings,
newish, and below those the plumes of dark smoke  and white  steam from  the
great colliery which put so many thousand pounds per annum  into the pockets
of the Duke and the other shareholders. The powerful old castle was a  ruin,
yet it  hung its bulk  on the low  sky-line, over  the black  plumes and the
white that waved on the damp air below.
     A turn, and they ran on the high level  to Stacks Gate. Stacks Gate, as
seen  from  the  highroad, was  just  a  huge and  gorgeous  new  hotel, the
Coningsby Arms, standing red and white and gilt in  barbarous  isolation off
the road. But  if you looked, you saw on  the left rows of handsome `modern'
dwellings,  set down like a  game of  dominoes, with spaces  and gardens,  a
queer  game  of dominoes  that  some  weird  `masters' were  playing on  the
surprised earth. And beyond these blocks of dwellings, at the back, rose all
the astonishing and frightening overhead erections of a really modern  mine,
chemical works and long  galleries, enormous, and of shapes not before known
to man.  The head-stock and  pit-bank of the  mine itself were insignificant
among the huge new installations. And in front of this, the game of dominoes
stood forever in a sort of surprise, waiting to be played.
     This was  Stacks Gate, new on the face of the earth, since the war. But
as a matter  of fact, though even  Connie did not know it, downhill  half  a
mile below the `hotel' was  old Stacks Gate, with a little  old colliery and
blackish old  brick dwellings,  and a chapel or two and a shop or  two and a
little pub or two.
     But that didn't count any more. The vast  plumes of  smoke  and  vapour
rose from the new works up above, and this was now  Stacks Gate: no chapels,
no pubs, even no shops. Only the great  works', which are the modern Olympia
with  temples to all the gods; then the model dwellings: then the hotel. The
hotel  in  actuality  was  nothing  but  a  miners'  pub  though  it  looked
     Even since Connie's arrival at Wragby this new place  had arisen on the
face  of  the  earth,  and the  model dwellings  had  filled  with riff-raff
drifting  in  from  anywhere,  to  poach   Clifford's  rabbits  among  other
     The car ran on along the uplands, seeing the rolling county spread out.
The county! It  had once  been a proud and lordly  county. In front, looming
again  and hanging on the brow  of the  sky-line, was the  huge and splendid
bulk of  Chadwick Hall,  more  window than  wall, one  of  the  most  famous
Elizabethan houses. Noble it stood  alone  above  a  great park,  but out of
date, passed over. It was still kept up, but as a  show place. `Look how our
ancestors lorded it!'
     That was the  past. The present  lay below.  God  alone knows where the
future lies.  The car  was already  turning, between  little  old  blackened
miners' cottages, to  descend to Uthwaite. And Uthwaite, on a damp day,  was
sending up a whole array of smoke plumes and steam,  to whatever gods  there
be. Uthwaite down  in the valley, with all the steel threads of the railways
to  Sheffield  drawn through  it,  and  the coal-mines and  the  steel-works
sending  up  smoke and  glare  from  long  tubes,  and the  pathetic  little
corkscrew spire  of the church, that is going to tumble down, still pricking
the  fumes,  always affected  Connie strangely. It  was  an old market-town,
centre of the dales. One of the  chief inns was the Chatterley Arms.  There,
in  Uthwaite, Wragby was known as Wragby, as if  it were a  whole place, not
just a house, as it  was to outsiders: Wragby Hall, near Tevershall: Wragby,
a `seat'.
     The miners' cottages, blackened, stood flush on the pavement, with that
intimacy and smallness of colliers' dwellings over a hundred years old. They
lined all the way. The road had become a street, and as you sank, you forgot
instantly the open, rolling  country  where the castles and big houses still
dominated,  but  like ghosts. Now  you were  just above the tangle of  naked
railway-lines, and foundries and other `works' rose  about  you, so big  you
were only aware of walls. And iron  clanked with a huge reverberating clank,
and huge lorries shook the earth, and whistles screamed.
     Yet again, once you had got right down and into the twisted and crooked
heart of the town, behind the church, you were in the world of two centuries
ago, in the crooked  streets where the Chatterley  Arms stood,  and the  old
pharmacy,  streets which  used to  lead Out to  the  wild  open world of the
castles and stately couchant houses.
     But  at the corner a policeman held up his hand as three lorries loaded
with iron rolled past, shaking the poor old church. And not till the lorries
were past could he salute her ladyship.
     So  it was.  Upon  the old crooked  burgess  streets  hordes  of oldish
blackened miners' dwellings crowded, lining  the  roads out. And immediately
after these  came the newer, pinker rows of rather larger houses, plastering
the valley: the homes of  more modern workmen. And beyond that again, in the
wide  rolling regions of the castles, smoke waved  against steam, and  patch
after  patch  of raw  reddish  brick  showed  the  newer mining settlements,
sometimes in the  hollows, sometimes gruesomely ugly along  the  sky-line of
the slopes.  And between, in between, were the tattered remnants of  the old
coaching  and  cottage England, even the  England of Robin  Hood,  where the
miners prowled with  the dismalness  of suppressed sporting  instincts, when
they were not at work.
     England,  my England! But which is my  England? The  stately  homes  of
England  make good photographs, and create  the illusion of a connexion with
the Elizabethans.  The handsome old  halls are there,  from the days of Good
Queen  Anne and Tom Jones. But smuts fall and blacken on  the  drab  stucco,
that has long ceased to be golden. And one by  one,  like the stately homes,
they were abandoned. Now they are being pulled down. As for  the cottages of
England---there  they  are---great  plasterings  of  brick dwellings  on the
hopeless countryside.
     `Now they  are pulling down  the stately homes,  the Georgian halls are
going.  Fritchley, a perfect old  Georgian mansion, was even now,  as Connie
passed in the car, being demolished. It was in perfect  repair: till the war
the  Weatherleys  had  lived in  style  there.  But now it was  too big, too
expensive,  and the country had  become  too  uncongenial. The  gentry  were
departing to pleasanter places, where they could  spend  their money without
having to see how it was made.'
     This is history.  One England blots out another. The mines had made the
halls wealthy. Now they were blotting them out, as they had already  blotted
out the cottages. The industrial England blots out the agricultural England.
One meaning blots out  another.  The new England  blots out the old England.
And the continuity is not Organic, but mechanical.
     Connie, belonging to the leisured classes, had clung to the remnants of
the old  England. It  had  taken  her years  to  realize that  it was really
blotted  out  by this terrifying new  and  gruesome  England,  and  that the
blotting out would  go on till it was complete. Fritchley was gone, Eastwood
was gone, Shipley was going: Squire Winter's beloved Shipley.
     Connie called for a  moment  at Shipley. The park gates,  at  the back,
opened  just near the level  crossing of the colliery  railway; the  Shipley
colliery itself stood just beyond the trees.  The gates stood  open, because
through the park was a right-of-way that the colliers used. They hung around
the park.
     The car passed the ornamental ponds,  in which the colliers threw their
newspapers,  and took the private drive to the house. It stood above, aside,
a very pleasant stucco building from  the  middle of the eighteenth century.
It had a beautiful  alley of yew trees, that had approached an  older house,
and  the hall stood serenely spread out, winking  its Georgian panes  as  if
cheerfully. Behind, there were really beautiful gardens.
     Connie liked the interior much better than Wragby. It was much lighter,
more alive, shapen and elegant. The rooms were panelled  with creamy painted
panelling, the  ceilings were touched with gilt, and everything was  kept in
exquisite  order, all the appointments were perfect, regardless of  expense.
Even the corridors managed to be ample and lovely, softly curved and full of
     But Leslie Winter  was alone. He had adored his house. But his park was
bordered by three of his own collieries.  He had been  a generous man in his
ideas.  He had almost  welcomed the colliers in his park. Had the miners not
made him rich! So, when  he saw  the gangs of unshapely men  lounging by his
ornamental  waters---not in the private part of the  park,  no,  he drew the
line  there---he would say:  `the miners are perhaps  not so  ornamental  as
deer, but they are far more profitable.'
     But   that  was  in  the  golden---monetarily---latter  half  of  Queen
Victoria's reign. Miners were then `good working men'.
     Winter had made  this speech, half apologetic,  to his  guest, the then
Prince of Wales. And the Prince had replied, in his rather guttural English:
     `You are quite right.  If there were  coal under  Sandringham,  I would
open a mine on the lawns, and think it first-rate landscape gardening. Oh, I
am quite willing to exchange roe-deer  for  colliers, at the price. Your men
are good men too, I hear.'
     But then, the Prince had perhaps an exaggerated idea of the  beauty  of
money, and the blessings of industrialism.
     However,  the  Prince had been a King,  and the King had  died, and now
there  was  another  King,  whose  chief  function  seemed  to  be  to  open
     And the good  working men  were somehow hemming Shipley in. New  mining
villages  crowded  on  the  park,  and  the  squire  felt  somehow  that the
population was  alien. He used  to feel, in a good-natured but  quite  grand
way,  lord  of his own  domain  and  of his own  colliers. Now, by a  subtle
pervasion of the new  spirit, he had somehow been pushed out.  It was he who
did not belong any more. There was no mistaking it. The mines, the industry,
had a will  of its own, and this will  was  against the gentleman-owner. All
the colliers took part in the will, and it was hard  to  live up against it.
It either shoved you out of the place, or out of life altogether.
     Squire Winter,  a soldier, had stood it out. But  he no longer cared to
walk in the  park after  dinner. He almost hid, indoors. Once he had walked,
bare-headed, and  in  his  patent-leather  shoes and purple silk socks, with
Connie down to the gate,  talking to  her in  his  well-bred rather  haw-haw
fashion. But when it came to passing  the little gangs of colliers who stood
and stared without either salute or anything else, Connie felt how the lean,
well-bred  old  man  winced,  winced as  an elegant antelope  stag in a cage
winces from the vulgar stare. The  colliers were not personally hostile: not
at all. But their spirit was cold,  and  shoving  him out.  And,  deep down,
there  was a  profound grudge. They `worked for him'. And in their ugliness,
they resented his elegant, well-groomed, well-bred existence. `Who's he!' It
was the difference they resented.
     And somewhere, in  his secret English heart, being  a  good  deal  of a
soldier,  he  believed they  were right  to  resent the  difference. He felt
himself a  little in the wrong, for  having all the advantages. Nevertheless
he represented a system, and he would not be shoved out.
     Except by death. Which came on him  soon after Connie's call, suddenly.
And he remembered Clifford handsomely in his will.
     The heirs at once gave out the order for the demolishing of Shipley. It
cost too much to keep up. No one would live there. So it  was broken up. The
avenue of yews was cut down. The park was denuded of its timber, and divided
into  lots.  It was  near enough to Uthwaite. In the strange, bald desert of
this still-one-more no-man's-land, new little streets of semi-detacheds were
run up, very desirable! The Shipley Hall Estate!
     Within  a year of Connie's  last  call, it  had  happened.  There stood
Shipley Hall  Estate,  an  array of red-brick semi-detached `villas' in  new
streets.  No one would  have dreamed that  the  stucco hall had  stood there
twelve months before.
     But this is a later  stage of King  Edward's  landscape gardening,  the
sort that has an ornamental coal-mine on the lawn.
     One  England blots out another. The  England  of the Squire Winters and
the Wragby Halls was gone, dead. The blotting out was only not yet complete.
     What would come after? Connie could not imagine. She could only see the
new brick streets spreading into the fields, the new erections rising at the
collieries,  the new  girls in their silk  stockings,  the new  collier lads
lounging into the Pally or the  Welfare. The younger generation were utterly
unconscious  of  the  old  England. There  was a  gap  in  the continuity of
consciousness, almost American: but industrial really. What next?
     Connie always felt there was no  next. She wanted  to  hide her head in
the sand: or, at least, in the bosom of a living man.
     The world was so complicated and weird and gruesome! The  common people
were so many, and  really  so terrible. So she bought as she was going home,
and  saw  the  colliers trailing  from the pits,  grey-black, distorted, one
shoulder  higher  than  the  other,  slurring their  heavy  ironshod  boots.
Underground grey faces, whites of eyes rolling, necks  cringing from the pit
roof, shoulders Out of shape. Men!  Men! Alas, in some ways patient and good
men. In  other ways,  non-existent. Something that men  should have was bred
and killed out of  them.  Yet they were men. They begot children. One  might
bear a child to them. Terrible, terrible thought! They were good and kindly.
But they were  only half, Only the grey half  of a human being. As yet, they
were `good'. But even that was the goodness of their halfness. Supposing the
dead in them ever rose up! But no, it  was too terrible to  think of. Connie
was absolutely afraid of the industrial masses. They seemed so weird to her.
A life with utterly no beauty in it, no intuition, always `in the pit'.
     Children from such men! Oh God, oh God!
     Yet  Mellors had come from such a father.  Not  quite. Forty  years had
made a difference, an appalling difference in manhood. The iron and the coal
had eaten deep into the bodies and souls of the men.
     Incarnate ugliness, and  yet  alive!  What  would become of  them  all?
Perhaps with  the passing  of  the coal they would disappear  again, off the
face of the earth. They had appeared out of nowhere in their thousands, when
the coal  had  called for them.  Perhaps  they were only weird fauna of  the
coal-seams. Creatures of another reality, they were  elementals, serving the
elements  of coal, as the metal-workers were elementals, serving the element
of iron.  Men not men,  but animas of coal and iron  and  clay. Fauna of the
elements, carbon, iron,  silicon: elementals. They had perhaps  some of  the
weird,  inhuman  beauty of minerals,  the  lustre of coal,  the  weight  and
blueness  and resistance  of  iron,  the  transparency of  glass.  Elemental
creatures, weird and distorted,  of the  mineral world! They belonged to the
coal,  the iron, the clay, as fish belong to the sea and worms to dead wood.
The anima of mineral disintegration!
     Connie was glad  to be home, to bury her head in the sand. She was glad
even  to babble to Clifford. For  her fear of the  mining and iron  Midlands
affected her with a queer feeling that went all over her, like influenza.
     `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
shallow  old  maid with a  rather large nose  and romantic  disposition  who
served tea with a careful intensity worthy of a sacrament.
     `Did she ask after me?' said Clifford.
     `Of  course!---.  May  I  ask  your  Ladyship how Sir Clifford  is!---I
believe she ranks you even higher than Nurse Cavell!'
     `And I suppose you said I was blooming.'
     `Yes! And she looked as rapt as if I had said the heavens had opened to
you. I said if she ever came to Tevershall she was to come to see you.'
     `Me! Whatever for! See me!'
     `Why  yes, Clifford. You can't  be so adored without making some slight
return. Saint George of Cappadocia was nothing to you, in her eyes.'
     `And do you think she'll come?'
     `Oh, she blushed! and looked quite beautiful for a moment, poor  thing!
Why don't men marry the women who would really adore them?'
     `The women start adoring too late. But did she say she'd come?'
     `Oh!' Connie imitated the  breathless  Miss Bentley, `your Ladyship, if
ever I should dare to presume!'
     `Dare to presume!  how absurd! But I hope to God she won't turn up. And
how was her tea?'
     `Oh, Lipton's and very strong. But Clifford, do you realize you are the
Roman de la rose of Miss Bentley and lots like her?'
     `I'm not flattered, even then.'
     `They treasure up every one of your pictures in the illustrated papers,
and probably pray for you every night. It's rather wonderful.'
     She went upstairs to change.
     That evening he said to her:
     `You do think, don't you, that there is something eternal in marriage?'
     She looked at him.
     `But Clifford, you make eternity sound like a lid or a long, long chain
that trailed after one, no matter how far one went.'
     He looked at her, annoyed.
     `What I mean,'  he said, `is that if you  go to Venice, you won't go in
the hopes of some love affair that you can take au grand s╔rieux, will you?'
     `A love affair in Venice au  grand s╔rieux? No. I assure  you!  No, I'd
never take a love affair in Venice more than au tr╚s petit s╔rieux.'
     She spoke with  a queer kind of contempt. He knitted his brows, looking
at her.
     Coming downstairs in the  morning, she found the keeper's  dog  Flossie
sitting  in  the  corridor  outside  Clifford's  room,  and whimpering  very
     `Why, Flossie!' she said softly. `What are you doing here?'
     And she quietly opened Clifford's door. Clifford was sitting up in bed,
with the bed-table and typewriter pushed aside, and  the keeper was standing
at attention at the foot of the bed. Flossie ran in. With a faint gesture of
head and eyes, Mellors ordered her to the door again, and she slunk out.
     `Oh,  good morning, Clifford!'  Connie said.  `I didn't know  you  were
busy.' Then  she looked  at  the keeper,  saying  good  morning  to him.  He
murmured his reply, looking  at  her as if vaguely. But she felt a  whiff of
passion touch her, from his mere presence.
     `Did I interrupt you, Clifford? I'm sorry.'
     `No, it's nothing of any importance.'
     She slipped out of the room  again,  and  up to the blue boudoir on the
first floor. She  sat in the window, and saw him go down the drive, with his
curious, silent motion, effaced. He had a natural sort of quiet distinction,
an  aloof  pride, and also a  certain  look  of frailty.  A hireling! One of
Clifford's  hirelings! `The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our  stars, but in
ourselves, that we are underlings.'
     Was he an underling? Was he? What did he think of her?
     It  was  a  sunny  day, and Connie was working  in the garden, and  Mrs
Bolton was helping her. For some reason,  the two women had drawn  together,
in one  of  the unaccountable flows  and ebbs of sympathy that exist between
people. They  were pegging down  carnations, and putting in small plants for
the summer. It was work they both liked. Connie especially felt a delight in
putting  the soft roots  of  young plants into  a  soft  black  puddle,  and
cradling  them down. On this spring morning  she felt  a quiver in  her womb
too, as if the sunshine had touched it and made it happy.
     `It is many years since you lost your  husband?' she said to Mrs Bolton
as she took up another little plant and laid it in its hole.
     `Twenty-three!' said Mrs  Bolton, as  she carefully separated the young
columbines  into single plants.  `Twenty-three  years since they brought him
     Connie's heart gave a lurch, at  the terrible finality of it.  `Brought
him home!'
     `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
hair from her face, with the back of her hand.
     `I  don't  know,  my Lady! He sort of wouldn't  give in to  things:  he
wouldn't  really go  with the rest.  And  then he hated ducking his head for
anything on earth. A sort of obstinacy, that  gets itself killed. You see he
didn't really care.  I lay it down  to the pit.  He ought never to have been
down pit. But his dad made him go down, as a lad; and then, when you're over
twenty, it's not very easy to come out.'
     `Did he say he hated it?'
     `Oh no! Never! He never said he hated  anything. He  just made a  funny
face. He was one of those  who  wouldn't  take care: like some of  the first
lads as went off so blithe to the  war and  got killed right away. He wasn't
really wezzle-brained. But he wouldn't care. I used to say to him: "You care
for nought nor nobody!"  But he did! The way he sat  when my first  baby was
born, motionless, and the sort of fatal eyes he looked at me  with,  when it
was over! I had a bad time, but I  had to comfort him. "It's all right, lad,
it's all right!" I said to him. And he gave me a  look, and that funny  sort
of  smile. He never  said anything. But  I  don't  believe he had any  right
pleasure with me  at nights  after; he'd never really let himself go. I used
to say to  him: Oh, let thysen go, lad!---I'd talk  broad to  him sometimes.
And he said nothing. But  he  wouldn't let himself go,  or he  couldn't.  He
didn't want me to have  any more children. I always blamed  his mother,  for
letting him in th' room. He'd  no right t'ave been there. Men  makes so much
more of things than they should, once they start brooding.'
     `Did he mind so much?' said Connie in wonder.
     `Yes, he sort of couldn't take it  for natural, all that  pain.  And it
spoilt his pleasure in his  bit of married love. I  said to him:  If I don't
care,  why should you? It's my look-out!---But  all he'd  ever say was: It's
not right!'
     `Perhaps he was too sensitive,' said Connie.
     `That's  it!  When  you come  to  know  men, that's how  they  are: too
sensitive in the wrong place. And I believe, unbeknown to himself  he  hated
the pit, just hated it. He looked so quiet when he  was dead, as if he'd got
free. He was such  a nice-looking lad. It just broke my heart to see him, so
still and  pure looking, as if  he'd  wanted to die. Oh, it  broke my heart,
that did. But it was the pit.'
     She wept a few bitter tears, and Connie wept more. It was a warm spring
day, with a perfume of earth and  of yellow flowers,  many things rising  to
bud, and the garden still with the very sap of sunshine.
     `It must have been terrible for you!' said Connie.
     `Oh, my  Lady! I never  realized at first. I could only say: Oh my lad,
what did you want to leave me for!---That was all my cry. But somehow I felt
he'd come back.'
     `But he didn't want to leave you,' said Connie.
     `Oh no,  my Lady! That was only my silly cry. And  I kept expecting him
back. Especially  at nights. I  kept waking up thinking: Why he's not in bed
with me!---It was as if  my feelings wouldn't believe he'd gone. I just felt
he'd have to come back and lie against me, so I could feel him with me. That
was all I wanted, to feel him there with me, warm. And it took me a thousand
shocks before I knew he wouldn't come back, it took me years.'
     `The touch of him,' said Connie.
     `That's it, my Lady, the  touch of him! I've never got over  it to this
day, and  never shall.  And if there's a heaven above,  he'll be  there, and
will lie up against me so I can sleep.'
     Connie  glanced  at  the  handsome,  brooding  face  in  fear.  Another
passionate one  out of Tevershall! The touch of  him! For the bonds of  love
are ill to loose!
     `It's terrible, once you've got  a man into your blood!' she said. `Oh,
my Lady! And that's what makes you feel so bitter. You feel folks wanted him
killed.  You feel  the pit fair wanted to kill him. Oh, I felt, if it hadn't
been for the pit, an' them as runs the pit, there'd have been no leaving me.
But they all want to separate a woman and a man, if they're together.'
     `If they're physically together,' said Connie.
     `That's  right, my Lady! There's  a  lot  of hard-hearted folks  in the
world. And every morning when he got  up and went to  th' pit, I felt it was
wrong, wrong. But what else could he do? What can a man do?'
     A queer hate flared in the woman.
     `But can a touch last so long?'  Connie asked suddenly. `That you could
feel him so long?'
     `Oh my Lady, what else is there  to last? Children grows away from you.
But  the man,  well! But  even  that they'd  like to kill in you,  the  very
thought of the touch of him. Even your  own children! Ah well! We might have
drifted apart, who knows. But the feeling's something different. It's 'appen
better never  to care.  But there,  when I look at  women who's never really
been warmed through by a man, well, they seem to me poor doolowls after all,
no matter how they may dress up and  gad. No, I'll abide by my own. I've not
much respect for people.'

     Connie went  to the wood  directly after lunch. It was  really a lovely
day, the first dandelions making suns, the first daisies so white. The hazel
thicket  was  a   lace-work,  of  half-open  leaves,  and   the  last  dusty
perpendicular  of  the catkins. Yellow celandines now were  in  crowds, flat
open, pressed  back in urgency, and the yellow glitter of themselves. It was
the yellow, the powerful yellow of early  summer. And primroses were  broad,
and full of pale abandon, thick-clustered primroses no longer shy. The lush,
dark green of hyacinths was a sea, with buds rising like pale corn, while in
the  riding  the  forget-me-nots  were  fluffing  up,  and  columbines  were
unfolding their  ink-purple  ruches,  and  there were  bits of  blue  bird's
eggshell under a bush. Everywhere the bud-knots and the leap of life!
     The  keeper  was not at the hut.  Everything was serene, brown chickens
running lustily. Connie walked on towards the cottage, because she wanted to
find him.
     The cottage stood in the sun, off the wood's edge. In the little garden
the  double daffodils rose in tufts, near the wide-open door, and red double
daisies made a border to the path. There was  the bark of a dog, and Flossie
came running.
     The wide-open door! so he was at home.  And the sunlight falling on the
red-brick  floor!  As she went up the path, she saw him  through the window,
sitting  at the table in his shirt-sleeves, eating.  The dog  wuffed softly,
slowly wagging her tail.
     He rose, and came to the door, wiping his mouth with a red handkerchief
still chewing.
     `May I come in?' she said.
     `Come in!'
     The sun shone into the bare room, which still smelled of a mutton chop,
done in  a dutch oven before the fire, because the dutch oven still stood on
the fender, with the black potato-saucepan on a piece of paper, beside it on
the white hearth. The  fire was red, rather low, the bar dropped, the kettle
     On the table  was his plate, with potatoes and the remains of the chop;
also bread in  a basket, salt, and a blue mug with beer. The table-cloth was
white oil-cloth, he stood in the shade.
     `You are very late,' she said. `Do go on eating!'
     She sat down on a wooden chair, in the sunlight by the door.
     `I had  to go to  Uthwaite,' he said, sitting down at the table but 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'
kettle's on t' boil'---he half rose again from his chair.
     `If you'll let me make it myself,' she said, rising. He seemed sad, and
she felt she was bothering him.
     `Well,  tea-pot's  in there'---he  pointed  to  a  little,  drab corner
cupboard; 'an' cups. An' tea's on t' mantel ower yer 'ead,'
     She got  the black  tea-pot, and the tin of tea  from the mantel-shelf.
She rinsed the tea-pot with hot water, and stood a moment wondering where to
empty it.
     `Throw it out,' he said, aware of her. `It's clean.'
     She went to the  door and threw the drop  of  water down  the path. How
lovely it  was here, so still, so really woodland. The oaks were putting out
ochre  yellow leaves: in  the garden  the red daisies were  like  red  plush
buttons. She glanced at the big, hollow sandstone slab of the threshold, now
crossed by so few feet.
     `But  it's  lovely  here,'  she  said.  `Such  a  beautiful  stillness,
everything alive and still.'
     He was eating again, rather slowly and unwillingly, and she  could feel
he was discouraged. She made the tea in  silence, and set the tea-pot on the
hob, as she knew the people did.  He pushed his  plate aside and went to the
back place; she heard a  latch click, then he came back  with  cheese  on  a
plate, and butter.
     She set the two cups on the table;  there were only two. `Will you have
a cup of tea?' she said.
     `If you like. Sugar's  in th' cupboard, an' there's a little cream jug.
Milk's in a jug in th' pantry.'
     `Shall I take your plate away?' she asked him. He looked up at her with
a faint ironical smile.
     `Why...if you like,' he said, slowly eating bread and cheese.  She went
to  the back, into the pent-house scullery, where the pump was.  On the left
was a door, no doubt the pantry door. She unlatched it, and almost smiled at
the place he called a pantry; a long narrow white-washed slip of a cupboard.
But it managed to  contain a little barrel of beer, as  well as a few dishes
and bits of food. She took a little milk from the yellow jug.
     `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
met you!'
     But he was discouraged. She poured out the tea, poising the cream-jug.
     `No milk,' he said;  then  he seemed to hear a noise, and looked keenly
through the doorway.
     `'Appen we'd better shut,' he said.
     `It seems a pity,' she replied. `Nobody will come, will they?'
     `Not unless it's one time in a thousand, but you never know.'
     `And even then it's no matter,' she said. `It's only a cup of tea.'
     `Where are the spoons?'
     He reached over, and pulled open  the table  drawer.  Connie sat at the
table in the sunshine of the doorway.
     `Flossie!'  he said to the dog,  who was  lying on a little mat  at the
stair foot. `Go an' hark, hark!'
     He lifted his finger, and his  `hark!' was very vivid. The  dog trotted
out to reconnoitre.
     `Are you sad today?' she asked him.
     He turned his blue eyes quickly, and gazed direct on her.
     `Sad! no, bored!  I  had to  go getting summonses  for  two poachers  I
caught, and, oh well, I don't like people.'
     He spoke cold, good English, and there was anger  in his voice. `Do you
hate being a game-keeper?' she asked.
     `Being a game-keeper, no! So long as I'm left alone. But when I have to
go  messing  around at the  police-station,  and  various other places,  and
waiting  for a lot of  fools to attend to me...oh well, I get mad...' and he
smiled, with a certain faint humour.
     `Couldn't you be really independent?' she asked.
     `Me? I suppose I  could, if you mean manage  to  exist on my pension. I
could!  But I've  got  to  work, or I should  die. That is, I've got to have
something that  keeps  me occupied.  And I'm not in a  good enough temper to
work for myself. It's got to be a sort of job for somebody else, or I should
throw it up in a month,  out of bad temper. So altogether I'm very  well off
here, especially lately...'
     He laughed at her again, with mocking humour.
     `But why are you in a  bad  temper?'  she asked. `Do you mean  you  are
always in a bad temper?'
     `Pretty well,' he said, laughing. `I don't quite digest my bile.'
     `But what bile?' she said.
     `Bile!'  he said. `Don't  you know what that is?' She  was silent,  and
disappointed. He was taking no notice of her.
     `I'm going away for a while next month,' she said.
     `You are! Where to?'
     `Venice! With Sir Clifford? For how long?'
     `For a month or so,' she replied. `Clifford won't go.'
     `He'll stay here?' he asked.
     `Yes! He hates to travel as he is.'
     `Ay, poor devil!' he said, with sympathy. There was a pause.
     `You  won't  forget me  when I'm gone,  will you?' she  asked. Again he
lifted his eyes and looked full at her.
     `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
mute kind of voice: `I told Clifford I might have a child.'
     Now he really looked at her, intense and searching.
     `You did?' he said at last. `And what did he say?'
     `Oh, he wouldn't mind. He'd be glad, really, so long as it seemed to be
his.' She dared not look up at him.
     He was silent a long time, then he gazed again on her face.
     `No mention of me, of course?' he said.
     `No. No mention of you,' she said.
     `No, he'd hardly swallow me as a substitute breeder. Then where are you
supposed to be getting the child?'
     `I might have a love-affair in Venice,' she said.
     `You might,' he replied slowly. `So that's why you're going?'
     `Not to have the love-affair,' she said, looking up at him, pleading.
     `Just the appearance of one,' he said.
     There was  silence. He sat  staring out the  window, with a faint grin,
half mockery, half bitterness, on his face. She hated his grin.
     `You've  not  taken any  precautions against having  a  child then?' he
asked her suddenly. `Because I haven't.'
     `No,' she said faintly. `I should hate that.'
     He looked at  her, then again with the peculiar subtle grin out of  the
window. There was a tense silence.
     At last he turned his head and said satirically:
     `That was why you wanted me, then, to get a child?'
     She hung her head.
     `No.  Not  really,'  she  said.  `What then, really?'  he  asked rather
     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
baby, Sir Clifford's  welcome to  it.  I shan't have  lost  anything. On the
contrary,  I've had  a  very nice  experience, very  nice indeed!'---and  he
stretched in a half-suppressed sort of  yawn. `If you've made use of me,' he
said, `it's not the first  time I've  been made use of; and I don't  suppose
it's ever  been as pleasant as this  time; though  of  course one can't feel
tremendously  dignified  about  it.'---He  stretched  again, curiously,  his
muscles quivering, and his jaw oddly set.
     `But I didn't make use of you,' she said, pleading.
     `At your Ladyship's service,' he replied.
     `No,' she said. `I liked your body.'
     `Did  you?' he  replied, and  he laughed.  `Well,  then,  we're  quits,
because I liked yours.'
     He looked at her with queer darkened eyes.
     `Would you like to go upstairs  now?' he asked her, in a strangled sort
of voice.
     `No, not here. Not  now!' she  said heavily, though  if he had used any
power over her, she would have gone, for she had no strength against him.
     He turned his face  away  again, and seemed to  forget  her. `I want to
touch you  like you touch  me,' she said.  `I've  never  really touched your
     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
asking.' Which was true.
     She rose and picked up her hat. `I must go,' she said.
     `Will you go?' he replied politely.
     She  wanted  him to touch her,  to say  something to  her, but he  said
nothing, only waited politely.
     `Thank you for the tea,' she said.
     `I  haven't thanked your  Ladyship for  doing  me  the  honours  of  my
tea-pot,' he said.
     She went down the path, and he stood in the doorway, faintly  grinning.
Flossie came running with  her tail  lifted.  And  Connie had to plod dumbly
across into the wood, knowing  he was standing there watching her, with that
incomprehensible grin on his face.
     She walked home very much downcast and  annoyed. She didn't at all like
his saying he had been made use of because, in a sense, it was  true. But he
oughtn't to  have  said it. Therefore,  again, she was divided  between  two
feelings: resentment against him, and a desire to make it up with him.
     She passed a very uneasy and irritated tea-time, and at once went up to
her room. But when she was there it was no  good; she could neither sit  nor
stand. She would have to do something about it. She would have to go back to
the hut; if he was not there, well and good.
     She slipped out  of the side door, and took her way direct and a little
sullen. When she came to the  clearing she was terribly uneasy. But there he
was  again, in  his  shirt-sleeves, stooping,  letting  the  hens out of the
coops, among the chicks that were now growing a little gawky, but were  much
more trim than hen-chickens.
     She went straight across to him. `You see I've come!' she said.
     `Ay, I  see it!' he  said, straightening his  back, and looking at  her
with a faint amusement.
     `Do you let the hens out now?' she asked.
     `Yes, they've  sat  themselves to skin  and  bone,' he said.  `An'  now
they're not all  that  anxious to  come out an' feed. There's  no self in  a
sitting hen; she's all in the eggs or the chicks.'
     The  poor mother-hens; such blind devotion! even to eggs not their own!
Connie looked at them in compassion. A helpless silence fell between the man
and the woman.
     `Shall us go i' th' 'ut?' he asked.
     `Do you want me?' she asked, in a sort of mistrust.
     `Ay, if you want to come.'
     She was silent.
     `Come then!' he said.
     And  she went with him to  the hut. It was quite dark when he had  shut
the door, so he made a small light in the lantern, as before.
     `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
took off her hat, and shook her hair. He sat down,  taking off his shoes and
gaiters, and undoing his cord breeches.
     `Lie down  then!' he said,  when he stood in his shirt.  She obeyed  in
silence, and he lay beside her, and pulled the blanket over them both.
     `There!' he said.
     And he lifted her dress right  back,  till he came even to her breasts.
He kissed them softly, taking the nipples in his lips in tiny caresses.
     `Eh, but tha'rt nice,  tha'rt nice!' he said, suddenly rubbing his face
with a snuggling movement against her warm belly.
     And  she put her  arms round him under his  shirt, but  she was afraid,
afraid of his thin,  smooth, naked body, that seemed so powerful, afraid  of
the violent muscles. She shrank, afraid.
     And  when  he  said, with  a  sort of little  sigh: `Eh,  tha'rt nice!'
something  in  her  quivered,  and  something  in her  spirit  stiffened  in
resistance:  stiffened  from  the terribly physical  intimacy, and  from the
peculiar haste of his possession. And this time the sharp ecstasy of her own
passion  did not overcome  her; she lay with her ends inert on his  striving
body, and do what  she might, her spirit seemed to  look on from the  top of
her head, and  the butting of his haunches seemed ridiculous to her, and the
sort of anxiety of his penis to come to its little  evacuating crisis seemed
farcical. Yes, this was love, this ridiculous bouncing of  the buttocks, and
the  wilting  of the poor, insignificant, moist little penis. This  was  the
divine love! After all, the  moderns were right when  they felt contempt for
the performance; for it was a performance. It was quite true, as some  poets
said, that the God who created man must have had a sinister sense of humour,
creating him  a reasonable  being, yet  forcing him to  take this ridiculous
posture, and driving him with blind craving for this ridiculous performance.
Even a Maupassant  found  it a  humiliating  anti-climax.  Men despised  the
intercourse act, and yet did it.
     Cold and derisive her queer female mind stood apart, and though she lay
perfectly still, her impulse was to  heave her loins, and throw the man out,
escape his  ugly grip,  and the butting over-riding  of his absurd haunches.
His body was a  foolish, impudent, imperfect thing,  a  little disgusting in
its unfinished clumsiness. For  surely a complete evolution  would eliminate
this performance, this `function'.
     And  yet  when  he had  finished,  soon over, and  lay very very still,
receding into silence, and a strange  motionless distance, far, farther than
the  horizon of her awareness, her heart began to  weep. She  could feel him
ebbing away, ebbing away, leaving her there like a  stone on a shore. He was
withdrawing, his spirit was leaving her. He knew.
     And in  real  grief,  tormented  by her  own  double  consciousness and
reaction, she  began  to weep. He  took no notice, or did not even know. The
storm of weeping swelled and shook her, and shook him.
     `Ay!'  he said. `It  was no good that time. You  wasn't there.'---So he
knew! Her sobs became violent.
     `But what's amiss?' he said. `It's once in a while that way.'
     `I...I  can't  love  you,'  she  sobbed,  suddenly  feeling  her  heart
     `Canna ter? Well, dunna fret! There's no law says as tha's got to. Ta'e
it for what it is.'
     He still lay with his hand on her breast. But  she had  drawn  both her
hands from him.
     His words were small comfort. She sobbed aloud.
     `Nay, nay!'  he  said.  `Ta'e the thick wi' th' thin. This wor a bit o'
thin for once.'
     She  wept bitterly,  sobbing. `But I want to love you, and I  can't. It
only seems horrid.'
     He laughed a little, half bitter, half amused.
     `It isna horrid,' he  said,  `even if  tha thinks it is. An'  tha canna
ma'e it horrid. Dunna fret thysen about lovin' me. Tha'lt niver force thysen
to `t. There's sure to  be a bad nut in a  basketful. Tha mun ta'e th' rough
wi' th' smooth.'
     He took his  hand away from her breast,  not touching her.  And now she
was untouched she took an almost  perverse satisfaction in it. She hated the
dialect: the thee and the  tha  and the thysen. He could get up if he liked,
and stand there,  above her, buttoning down those  absurd corduroy breeches,
straight in front of her. After  all, Michaelis had had the decency to  turn
away. This  man was so assured in himself he didn't know  what a clown other
people found him, a half-bred fellow.
     Yet, as he  was drawing away, to rise silently and leave her, she clung
to him in terror.
     `Don't! Don't go! Don't leave me! Don't be cross with me! Hold me! Hold
me fast!' she whispered in blind frenzy, not even knowing what she said, and
clinging to  him with uncanny force. It was from  herself she wanted  to  be
saved, from her  own inward anger  and resistance. Yet how powerful was that
inward resistance that possessed her!
     He took  her  in  his arms again  and drew her to him, and suddenly she
became small in  his arms,  small and nestling. It was gone, the  resistance
was gone,  and  she began  to melt in a marvellous peace. And as she  melted
small and wonderful in his arms, she became infinitely desirable to him, all
his blood-vessels seemed to scald with  intense yet tender desire, for  her,
for her  softness,  for  the penetrating beauty of her  in his arms, passing
into his blood.  And softly, with  that marvellous swoon-like caress of  his
hand  in pure soft desire, softly he  stroked  the silky slope of her loins,
down, down between her soft warm buttocks, coming nearer  and nearer  to the
very quick of her. And she felt him like a flame of desire, yet tender,  and
she felt herself  melting in the flame. She  let  herself go.  She felt  his
penis  risen against her with silent amazing force and assertion and she let
herself go to  him She yielded with a  quiver  that was like death, she went
all open to him. And oh, if he were not  tender to  her now,  how cruel, for
she was all open to him and helpless!
     She  quivered  again  at the  potent inexorable  entry  inside her,  so
strange  and terrible. It  might come  with  the thrust of a  sword  in  her
softly-opened body, and that would be  death. She clung in a sudden  anguish
of terror. But it came with a strange  slow thrust of peace, the dark thrust
of peace and a ponderous, primordial  tenderness, such  as made the world in
the beginning. And her terror subsided in her breast, her breast dared to be
gone in peace, she held nothing. She dared to let go everything, all herself
and be gone in the flood.
     And  it seemed she was  like the sea, nothing but dark waves rising and
heaving, heaving with a great swell, so  that slowly her  whole darkness was
in motion, and she was Ocean rolling its dark, dumb mass. Oh,  and far  down
inside her the  deeps parted and rolled asunder,  in  long,  fair-travelling
billows,  and  ever,  at  the quick  of her, the  depths  parted and  rolled
asunder, from the centre of  soft plunging,  as the plunger went deeper  and
deeper, touching lower, and she was deeper and deeper and  deeper disclosed,
the  heavier  the billows of  her rolled away to some shore, uncovering her,
and closer and closer plunged the palpable  unknown, and further and further
rolled the waves of herself away from herself leaving her, till suddenly, in
a soft, shuddering convulsion, the  quick of all her plasm  was touched, she
knew herself touched, the consummation was  upon  her, and she was gone. She
was gone, she was not, and she was born: a woman.
     Ah,  too  lovely, too  lovely! In  the  ebbing  she  realized  all  the
loveliness. Now all her body  clung with tender love to the unknown man, and
blindly to  the  wilting  penis,  as it  so  tenderly, frailly,  unknowingly
withdrew,  after the fierce thrust  of its potency. As it drew out and  left
her body, the secret, sensitive thing, she gave  an unconscious cry of  pure
loss, and she tried to put it back. It had been so perfect! And she loved it
     And  only  now  she became  aware of  the small, bud-like reticence and
tenderness  of the penis, and a little cry of wonder and  poignancy  escaped
her  again,  her woman's heart  crying  out over the tender  frailty of that
which had been the power.
     `It  was  so  lovely!' she  moaned. `It was  so  lovely!'  But he  said
nothing, only softly  kissed her, lying still above her. And she moaned with
a sort Of bliss, as a sacrifice, and a newborn thing.
     And now in her heart the queer wonder of him was awakened.
     A man! The  strange potency of manhood upon her! Her hands strayed over
him, still  a  little  afraid.  Afraid  of that strange,  hostile,  slightly
repulsive thing that he had been to her, a man. And now she touched him, and
it was the sons of god with the daughters of men. How beautiful he felt, how
pure in tissue! How lovely, how lovely, strong, and yet  pure  and delicate,
such  stillness of  the sensitive body! Such utter stillness of  potency and
delicate flesh. How beautiful! How beautiful! Her hands came timorously down
his back, to the soft, smallish globes of the buttocks. Beauty! What beauty!
a  sudden  little flame  of new awareness  went  through  her.  How  was  it
possible, this beauty here, where she had previously only been repelled? The
unspeakable  beauty  to  the touch  of the warm,  living buttocks!  The life
within life, the  sheer  warm, potent loveliness. And the  strange weight of
the balls  between his legs! What a mystery! What a strange  heavy weight of
mystery, that could lie soft and heavy in one's hand! The roots, root of all
that is lovely, the primeval root of all full beauty.
     She clung to him, with a hiss of wonder that was almost awe, terror. He
held her close, but he said nothing. He  would never say anything. She crept
nearer to him, nearer, only to be near to the sensual wonder of him. And out
of his utter, incomprehensible stillness, she felt again the slow momentous,
surging rise of the phallus again, the other power. And her heart melted out
with a kind of awe.
     And this time his being within  her was all soft and iridescent, purely
soft and iridescent, such as no consciousness  could  seize. Her whole  self
quivered unconscious and alive, like plasm. She could not  know what it was.
She could not remember what it had been. Only that it had  been  more lovely
than anything  ever could  be.  Only that. And afterwards  she  was  utterly
still, utterly unknowing, she was not aware for  how long. And he  was still
with her, in an unfathomable silence along with her. And of this, they would
never speak.
     When  awareness of the  outside began to  come back, she  clung to  his
breast, murmuring `My love!  My love!'  And he held  her silently.  And  she
curled on his breast, perfect.
     But his  silence  was  fathomless.  His hands held her like flowers, so
still aid strange. `Where are you?' she whispered to him.
     `Where are you? Speak to me! Say something to me!'
     He kissed her softly, murmuring: `Ay, my lass!'
     But she  did not know what he meant, she did not  know where he was. In
his silence he seemed lost to her.
     `You love me, don't you?' she murmured.
     `Ay, tha knows!' he said. `But tell me!' she pleaded.
     `Ay! Ay! 'asn't ter felt it?' he said dimly, but softly and surely. And
she clung close to him, closer. He was  so much  more  peaceful in love than
she was, and she wanted him to reassure her.
     `You do love me!' she whispered, assertive. And  his hands stroked  her
softly, as if  she were  a flower,  without  the  quiver of desire, but with
delicate nearness. And still there haunted her a restless necessity to get a
grip on love.
     `Say you'll always love me!' she pleaded.
     `Ay!' he  said, abstractedly. And she  felt her questions  driving  him
away from her.
     `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
circumstances in his voice. She kissed him, with a woman's grief at yielding
up her hour.
     He rose, and  turned up the lantern, then began to pull on his clothes,
quickly disappearing inside them. Then he  stood there, above her, fastening
his breeches and looking down at her with dark, wide-eyes, his face a little
flushed and his  hair ruffled, curiously warm and still and beautiful in the
dim  light  of the  lantern, so  beautiful,  she would  never  tell  him how
beautiful. It made her want to cling fast to him, to hold him, for there was
a warm, half-sleepy remoteness in his beauty  that made her want to  cry out
and clutch him,  to have him. She would never have him. So  she  lay  on the
blanket with curved, soft naked  haunches, and he had  no idea  what she was
thinking, but  to him too she was  beautiful, the soft,  marvellous thing he
could go into, beyond everything.
     `I love thee that I call go into thee,' he said.
     `Do you like me?' she said, her heart beating.
     `It heals it  all up, that I  can  go into thee. I  love thee  that tha
opened to me. I love thee that I came into thee like that.'
     He bent  down and  kissed  her soft flank, rubbed his cheek against it,
then covered it up.
     `And will you never leave me?' she said.
     `Dunna ask them things,' he said.
     `But you do believe I love you?' she said.
     `Tha loved  me just now, wider than iver tha  thout tha would.  But who
knows what'll 'appen, once tha starts thinkin' about it!'
     `No, don't say those things!---And you don't really think that I wanted
to make use of you, do you?'
     `To have a child---?'
     `Now anybody can 'ave any childt i' th' world,' he said, as he sat down
fastening on his leggings.
     `Ah no!' she cried. `You don't mean it?'
     `Eh well!' he said, looking at her under his brows. `This wor t' best.'
     She lay still. He  softly opened the door. The sky was dark  blue, with
crystalline,  turquoise rim. He  went  out, to  shut up  the  hens, speaking
softly to his dog. And she lay and wondered at  the  wonder of life,  and of
     When he came back she was still  lying there, glowing like  a gipsy. He
sat on the stool by her.
     `Tha mun come one naight ter  th' cottage, afore tha goos; sholl  ter?'
he asked,  lifting  his eyebrows  as  he looked at her,  his hands  dangling
between his knees.
     `Sholl ter?' she echoed, teasing.
     He smiled. `Ay, sholl ter?' he repeated.
     `Ay!' she said, imitating the dialect sound.
     `Yi!' he said.
     `Yi!' she repeated.
     `An' slaip wi' me,' he said. `It needs that. When sholt come?'
     `When sholl I?' she said.
     `Nay,' he said, `tha canna do't. When sholt come then?'
     `'Appen Sunday,' she said.
     `'Appen a' Sunday! Ay!'
     He laughed at her quickly.
     `Nay, tha canna,' he protested.

     On Sunday Clifford wanted to go into the wood. It was a lovely morning,
the pear-blossom and plum had  suddenly appeared in the world in a wonder of
white here and there.
     It  was cruel  for Clifford, while  the  world bloomed, to  have to  be
helped  from  chair to bath-chair.  But he had forgotten, and even seemed to
have a certain conceit of himself  in his lameness.  Connie still  suffered,
having to lift his inert legs into place. Mrs Bolton did it now, or Field.
     She waited for him at the  top of the drive, at the  edge of the screen
of beeches. His chair came puffing along  with a sort of valetudinarian slow
importance. As he joined his wife he said:
     `Sir Clifford on his roaming steed!'
     `Snorting, at least!' she laughed.
     He stopped and  looked round at the facade of the long,  low  old brown
     `Wragby doesn't wink an eyelid!'  he said.  `But then why should it!  I
ride upon the achievements of the mind of man, and that beats a horse.'
     `I suppose  it does. And  the souls in Plato riding up  to heaven  in a
two-horse chariot would go in a Ford car now,' she said.
     `Or a Rolls-Royce: Plato was an aristocrat!'
     `Quite! No more black horse to thrash and maltreat. Plato never thought
we'd go one better  than his black  steed and his white  steed, and have  no
steeds at all, only an engine!'
     `Only an engine and gas!' said Clifford.
     `I hope I  can  have some repairs done to the  old  place next  year. I
think I shall  have about a thousand to spare for  that:  but work costs  so
much!' he added.
     `Oh, good!' said Connie. `If only there aren't more strikes!'
     `What  would  be the  use  of  their striking  again!  Merely  ruin the
industry, what's left of it: and surely the owls are beginning to see it!'
     `Perhaps they don't mind ruining the industry,' said Connie.
     `Ah, don't talk like a woman! The industry fills their bellies, even if
it  can't keep their pockets quite so flush,' he said, using turns of speech
that oddly had a twang of Mrs Bolton.
     `But   didn't   you   say   the   other    day   that    you   were   a
conservative-anarchist,' she asked innocently.
     `And did you  understand  what I meant?' he  retorted. `All I meant is,
people can be what they like and feel what they like and do what they  like,
strictly privately,  so long as they  keep  the form of life intact, and the
     Connie walked on in silence a few paces. Then she said, obstinately:
     `It sounds like saying an egg may go as  addled as it likes, so long as
it keeps its shell on whole. But addled eggs do break of themselves.'
     `I don't think people are eggs,'  he  said. `Not even angels'  eggs, my
dear little evangelist.'
     He was  in  rather high feather  this  bright morning. The  larks  were
trilling away over the park, the distant pit in the hollow was fuming silent
steam. It was  almost like  old  days,  before the war. Connie didn't really
want to  argue. But then  she  did not really want to  go  to  the wood with
Clifford either. So she walked beside his  chair in a  certain  obstinacy of
     `No,' he  said. `There  will  be  no  more  strikes, it.  The  thing is
properly managed.'
     `Why not?'
     `Because strikes will be made as good as impossible.'
     `But will the men let you?' she asked.
     `We  shan't  ask  them. We shall do  it while they aren't  looking: for
their own good, to save the industry.'
     `For your own good too,' she said.
     `Naturally! For the  good  of everybody. But  for  their good even more
than mine. I can live without the pits. They can't. They'll starve if  there
are no pits. I've got other provision.'
     They looked  up the shallow valley at  the mine, and beyond it,  at the
black-lidded  houses  of Tevershall crawling like some serpent  up the hill.
From the old brown church the bells were ringing: Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!
     `But will the men let you dictate terms?' she said. `My dear, they will
have to: if one does it gently.'
     `But mightn't there be a mutual understanding?'
     `Absolutely: when  they  realize that  the  industry  comes before  the
     `But must you own the industry?' she said.
     `I don't.  But to the extent  I do  own  it, yes,  most decidedly.  The
ownership of  property has now become a religious  question: as  it has been
since Jesus and St Francis. The point is not: take all thou hast and give to
the poor, but use all thou  hast to encourage the  industry and give work to
the poor.  It's the only  way to feed  all  the  mouths and clothe  all  the
bodies.  Giving  away all we have to the poor spells starvation for the poor
just  as much as  for us. And  universal  starvation  is no  high aim.  Even
general poverty is no lovely thing. Poverty is ugly.'
     `But the disparity?'
     `That is  fate. Why is the star Jupiter bigger than  the star  Neptune?
You can't start altering the make-up of things!'
     `But when this envy and  jealousy and discontent has once started,' she
     `Do, your best to stop it. Somebody's got to be boss of the show.'
     `But who is boss of the show?' she asked.
     `The men who own and run the industries.'
     There was a long silence.
     `It seems to me they're a bad boss,' she said.
     `Then you suggest what they should do.'
     `They don't take their boss-ship seriously enough,' she said.
     `They take it far more seriously than you take your ladyship,' he said.
     `That's thrust  upon me. I don't really want it,'  she  blurted out. He
stopped the chair and looked at her.
     `Who's shirking their responsibility now!' he said.  `Who  is trying to
get away now  from the  responsibility of  their  own boss-ship, as you call
     `But I don't want any boss-ship,' she protested.
     `Ah! But that is funk. You've got it: fated to it. And  you should live
up to it. Who has given the colliers  all they have that's worth having: all
their  political  liberty,  and  their  education,  such  as  it  is,  their
sanitation,  their health-conditions, their books,  their music, everything.
Who  has  given  it them? Have colliers  given  it to colliers? No! All  the
Wragbys  and  Shipleys  in  England  have  given their part, and must  go on
giving. There's your responsibility.'
     Connie listened, and flushed very red.
     `I'd  like  to  give  something,'  she  said.  `But  I'm  not  allowed.
Everything is to be sold  and paid  for now; and all the things you  mention
now, Wragby  and Shipley  sells  them  to the people,  at  a  good  prof it.
Everything  is sold. You don't  give one  heart-beat  of real sympathy.  And
besides, who has taken away  from the people their natural life and manhood,
and given them this industrial horror? Who has done that?'
     `And what must I do?' he  asked,  green. `Ask them to come and  pillage
     `Why  is  Tevershall  so ugly,  so  hideous?  Why  are  their  lives so
     `They  built  their  own  Tevershall, that's part of  their display  of
freedom. They built themselves their pretty Tevershall, and they live  their
own pretty lives. I can't live their lives for them. Every  beetle must live
its own life.'
     `But you make them work for you. They live the life of your coal-mine.'
     `Not at  all. Every beetle finds its own food. Not one man is forced to
work for me.
     `Their lives are  industrialized  and  hopeless, and  so are ours,' she
     `I don't think  they are. That's just  a romantic  figure  of speech, a
relic  of the swooning and die-away  romanticism.  You don't look  at all  a
hopeless figure standing there, Connie my dear.'
     Which  was true.  For her dark-blue eyes were flashing, her  colour was
hot  in her  cheeks, she  looked full of a  rebellious passion far from  the
dejection  of  hopelessness.  She noticed,  ill the  tussocky  places of the
grass,  cottony young cowslips standing up still bleared  in their down. And
she wondered with rage, why it was  she felt Clifford was so wrong,  yet she
couldn't say it to him, she could not say exactly where he was wrong.
     `No wonder the men hate you,' she said.
     `They don't!' he replied. `And don't fall into errors: in your sense of
the word, they are not men. They are animals you don't understand, and never
could. Don't thrust your illusions on other people.  The masses  were always
the same, and will always be the  same. Nero's slaves were  extremely little
different  from our colliers or the Ford motor-car  workmen.  I mean  Nero's
mine  slaves  and  his  field  slaves.  It  is  the  masses:  they  are  the
unchangeable. An  individual  may emerge from the masses. But the  emergence
doesn't alter the  mass. The masses are  unalterable. It  is one of the most
momentous  facts of social science. Panem et circenses! Only today education
is  one of  the bad substitutes  for a circus.  What  is wrong today is that
we've  made a profound hash  of  the  circuses  part  of  the programme, and
poisoned our masses with a little education.'
     When Clifford became really  roused  in  his feelings about  the common
people,  Connie was frightened.  There  was something  devastatingly true in
what he said. But it was a truth that killed.
     Seeing her pale  and silent, Clifford started  the chair  again, and no
more was said till he halted again at the wood gate, which she opened.
     `And what we need to take up now,' he said, `is whips,  not swords. The
masses have been ruled since time began, and till time ends, ruled they will
have  to  be.  It is  sheer  hypocrisy  and  farce  to  say  they  can  rule
     `But can you rule them?' she asked.
     `I?  Oh yes! Neither my mind nor my will  is crippled, and I don't rule
with my legs. I can do my share of ruling: absolutely, my share; and give me
a son, and he will be able to rule his portion after me.'
     `But he wouldn't be  your own son, of your own ruling class; or perhaps
not,' she stammered.
     `I don't care who his father may be, so long as he is a healthy man not
below  normal  intelligence.  Give me  the child  of  any healthy,  normally
intelligent man, and I will make a perfectly competent Chatterley of him. It
is not who  begets  us,  that matters, but where fate places  us.  Place any
child among the  ruling classes, and he  will grow up, to  his own extent, a
ruler.  Put kings'  and dukes' children among the  masses,  and  they'll  be
little  plebeians,  mass  products.  It  is  the  overwhelming  pressure  of
     `Then  the  common  people  aren't  a race,  and the aristocrats aren't
blood,' she said.
     `No, my  child!  All  that  is  romantic  illusion.  Aristocracy  is  a
function, a  part of  fate. And the masses are a functioning of another part
of fate. The individual hardly matters. It is a  question  of which function
you are brought up to and adapted to. It is not the individuals that make an
aristocracy: it is the functioning of the  aristocratic whole. And it is the
functioning of the whole mass that makes the common man what he is.'
     `Then there is no common humanity between us all!'
     `Just as you like.  We all need to fill our bellies. But when  it comes
to  expressive  or  executive functioning, I  believe there is a gulf and an
absolute one, between the ruling and the serving  classes. The two functions
are opposed. And the function determines the individual.'
     Connie looked at him with dazed eyes.
     `Won't you come on?' she said.
     And  he started his chair. He had said his say. Now he  lapsed into his
peculiar and rather vacant apathy, that Connie found so trying. In the wood,
anyhow, she was determined not to argue.
     In front  of  them ran the open cleft of  the riding, between the hazel
walls and the gay  grey trees. The  chair puffed  slowly on,  slowly surging
into the forget-me-nots that rose up  in the drive  like  milk froth, beyond
the hazel shadows. Clifford steered  the middle course,  where feet  passing
had  kept  a  channel  through the flowers. But  Connie, walking behind, had
watched the wheels  jolt over the  wood-ruff  and the bugle, and squash  the
little yellow cups  of the  creeping-jenny. Now they made a wake through the
     All  the flowers were there,  the  first bluebells in  blue pools, like
standing water.
     `You are quite right about its  being beautiful,' said Clifford. `It is
so amazingly. What is quite so lovely as an English spring!'
     Connie  thought it sounded  as  if  even the  spring  bloomed by act of
Parliament. An English  spring! Why not  an  Irish one? or Jewish? The chair
moved slowly ahead, past tufts of sturdy  bluebells that stood up like wheat
and over grey burdock leaves. When  they came to  the  open place  where the
trees had been felled, the light flooded in rather stark. And the  bluebells
made sheets of bright blue  colour, here and there, sheering off into  lilac
and purple.  And  between, the bracken was  lifting  its brown curled heads,
like legions of young snakes with a new secret  to whisper  to Eve. Clifford
kept  the chair going till he came to the brow  of the hill; Connie followed
slowly  behind.  The  oak-buds were  opening soft and brown. Everything came
tenderly out of the old hardness.  Even the  snaggy craggy oak-trees put out
the softest young leaves,  spreading  thin,  brown little  wings like  young
bat-wings in the light. Why had men never any newness in them, any freshness
to come forth with! Stale men!
     Clifford stopped the chair at the top of  the rise and looked down. The
bluebells washed blue like flood-water over the broad riding, and lit up the
downhill with a warm blueness.
     `It's  a very fine colour in itself,'  said Clifford, `but  useless for
making a painting.'
     `Quite!' said Connie, completely uninterested.
     `Shall I venture as far as the spring?' said Clifford.
     `Will the chair get up again?' she said.
     `We'll try; nothing venture, nothing win!'
     And the chair began to  advance  slowly, joltingly down  the  beautiful
broad  riding  washed over with blue  encroaching  hyacinths.  O last of all
ships, through the hyacinthian shallows! O pinnace on the  last wild waters,
sailing  in  the  last voyage  of our civilization! Whither, O weird wheeled
ship,  your  slow course steering. Quiet and complacent, Clifford sat at the
wheel of adventure:  in  his old  black hat and tweed jacket, motionless and
cautious. O Captain, my Captain, our splendid trip  is done! Not yet though!
Downhill, in the wake, came Constance in  her grey dress, watching the chair
jolt downwards.
     They passed the narrow  track to the hut. Thank heaven it  was not wide
enough for the chair: hardly wide enough for  one  person. The chair reached
the bottom of the slope, and swerved round, to disappear. And Connie heard a
low whistle behind her. She glanced sharply round:  the keeper was  striding
downhill towards her, his dog keeping behind him.
     `Is Sir  Clifford going  to the cottage?' he  asked, looking  into  her
     `No, only to the well.'
     `Ah! Good! Then I can keep out of sight. But I shall see you tonight. I
shall wait for you at the park-gate about ten.'
     He looked again direct into her eyes.
     `Yes,' she faltered.
     They heard the Papp! Papp! of  Clifford's horn, tooting for Connie. She
`Coo-eed!' in reply. The  keeper's face flickered with a little grimace, and
with his hand he softly  brushed  her  breast upwards,  from underneath. She
looked  at him,  frightened,  and started  running down  the  hill,  calling
Coo-ee! again to Clifford. The man above  watched her, then turned, grinning
faintly, back into his path.
     She found Clifford slowly mounting to  the spring, which was halfway up
the slope of the dark larch-wood.  He was there by  the time she caught  him
     `She did that all right,' he said, referring to the chair.
     Connie looked at the great grey leaves of burdock that grew out ghostly
from  the edge of the larch-wood. The  people call it  Robin Hood's Rhubarb.
How  silent and gloomy  it  seemed  by  the well! Yet  the water bubbled  so
bright,  wonderful!  And  there  were  bits  of  eye-bright and strong  blue
bugle...And  there, under the  bank, the yellow earth was moving. A mole! It
emerged, rowing its  pink hands, and waving its blind gimlet of a face, with
the tiny pink nose-tip uplifted.
     `It seems to see with the end of its nose,' said Connie.
     `Better than with its eyes!' he said. `Will you drink?'
     `Will you?'
     She took an enamel mug from a  twig on  a tree, and stooped to fill  it
for him.  He drank  in  sips.  Then  she stooped again,  and drank  a little
     `So icy!' she said gasping.
     `Good, isn't it! Did you wish?'
     `Did you?'
     `Yes, I wished. But I won't tell.'
     She was  aware of the rapping of a woodpecker,  then of the  wind, soft
and eerie through the larches. She looked up. White clouds were crossing the
     `Clouds!' she said.
     `White lambs only,' he replied.
     A shadow crossed the little clearing. The mole had swum out on  to  the
soft yellow earth.
     `Unpleasant little beast, we ought to kill him,' said Clifford.
     `Look! he's like a parson in a pulpit,' she said.
     She gathered some sprigs of woodruff and brought them to him.
     `New-mown hay!' he said. `Doesn't it smell like the romantic  ladies of
the last century, who had their heads screwed on the right way after all!'
     She was looking at the white clouds.
     `I wonder if it will rain,' she said.
     `Rain! Why! Do you want it to?'
     They  started  on  the  return  journey,  Clifford  jolting  cautiously
downhill. They came  to the dark bottom of the hollow, turned  to the right,
and after  a hundred  yards swerved up  the foot of  the  long  slope, where
bluebells stood in the light.
     `Now, old girl!' said Clifford, putting the chair to it.
     It  was  a  steep  and  jolty  climb.  The chair pugged  slowly,  in  a
struggling unwilling fashion. Still, she nosed her way up unevenly, till she
came to where the hyacinths were all around her, then she balked, struggled,
jerked a little way out of the flowers, then stopped
     `We'd better sound  the  horn  and see  if the keeper will come,'  said
Connie. `He could push her a bit. For that matter, I will push. It helps.'
     `We'll let her  breathe,' said Clifford. `Do you mind putting  a scotch
under the wheel?'
     Connie found a  stone, and  they waited. After a while Clifford started
his motor again, then set the  chair  in  motion. It  struggled and faltered
like a sick thing, with curious noises.
     `Let me push!' said Connie, coming up behind.
     `No! Don't  push!'  he  said  angrily. `What's  the good of the  damned
thing, if it has to be pushed! Put the stone under!'
     There was another pause, then  another start; but more ineffectual than
     `You must let me push,' said she. `Or sound the horn for the keeper.'
     She waited; and he had another try, doing more harm than good.
     `Sound  the  horn  then, if you won't let me push,' she said. `Hell! Be
quiet a moment!'
     She  was  quiet a  moment: he made shattering efforts with  the  little
     `You'll  only   break  the   thing  down  altogether,  Clifford,'   she
remonstrated; `besides wasting your nervous energy.'
     `If  I  could only get  out  and look  at the damned thing!'  he  said,
exasperated. And he  sounded the horn stridently.  `Perhaps Mellors can  see
what's wrong.'
     They waited, among  the mashed flowers under a sky softly curdling with
cloud. In the silence a wood-pigeon began to coo roo-hoo hoo!  roo-hoo  hoo!
Clifford shut her up with a blast on the horn.
     The keeper appeared directly, striding inquiringly round the corner. He
     `Do you know anything about motors?' asked Clifford sharply.
     `I am afraid I don't. Has she gone wrong?'
     `Apparently!' snapped Clifford.
     The man crouched  solicitously by the wheel, and peered  at the  little
     `I'm afraid I  know nothing  at all  about these mechanical things, Sir
Clifford,' he said calmly. `If she has enough petrol and oil---'
     `Just  look carefully and see if you can see anything  broken,' snapped
     The man laid his gun against a  tree, took  oil  his coat, and threw it
beside it. The brown dog sat guard. Then he sat down on his heels and peered
under the chair, poking with his finger  at the  greasy  little  engine, and
resenting the grease-marks on his clean Sunday shirt.
     `Doesn't seem  anything broken,' he said. And he stood up, pushing back
his hat from his forehead, rubbing his brow and apparently studying.
     `Have you looked at the rods underneath?' asked Clifford.  `See if they
are all right!'
     The man lay  flat on  his stomach on the floor, his  neck pressed back,
wriggling under the engine and poking with his finger. Connie thought what a
pathetic  sort of thing a man was,  feeble and small-looking,  when  he  was
lying on his belly on the big earth.
     `Seems all right as far as I can see,' came his muffled voice.
     `I don't suppose you can do anything,' said Clifford.
     `Seems  as  if  I  can't!' And he scrambled up  and sat  on his  heels,
collier fashion. `There's certainly nothing obviously broken.'
     Clifford started his engine, then put her in gear. She would not move.
     `Run her a bit hard, like,' suggested the keeper.
     Clifford resented the interference: but he made his engine buzz like  a
blue-bottle. Then she coughed and snarled and seemed to go better.
     `Sounds as if she'd come clear,' said Mellors.
     But  Clifford had already jerked her into gear. She  gave a sick  lurch
and ebbed weakly forwards.
     `If I give her a push, she'll do it,' said the keeper, going behind.
     `Keep off!' snapped Clifford. `She'll do it by herself.'
     `But  Clifford!'  put in Connie from the bank, `you know  it's too much
for her. Why are you so obstinate!'
     Clifford was pale with anger. He jabbed at his levers. The chair gave a
sort of scurry,  reeled  on a  few more yards, and  came  to her end  amid a
particularly promising patch of bluebells.
     `She's done!' said the keeper. `Not power enough.'
     `She's been up here before,' said Clifford coldly.
     `She won't do it this time,' said the keeper.
     Clifford did not reply. He began doing things with his engine,  running
her fast and slow as  if  to  get  some sort of  tune  out of her.  The wood
re-echoed with weird noises.  Then  he put her  in gear with a  jerk, having
jerked off his brake.
     `You'll rip her inside out,' murmured the keeper.
     The chair charged in a sick lurch sideways at the ditch.
     `Clifford!' cried Connie, rushing forward.
     But  the  keeper  had got  the chair  by the rail.  Clifford,  however,
putting on all his  pressure, managed to  steer into the riding, and  with a
strange  noise  the chair was fighting  the hill.  Mellors  pushed  steadily
behind, and up she went, as if to retrieve herself.
     `You see, she's doing it!' said Clifford, victorious, glancing over his
shoulder. There he saw the keeper's face.
     `Are you pushing her?'
     `She won't do it without.'
     `Leave her alone. I asked you not.
     `She won't do it.'
     `Let her try!' snarled Clifford, with all his emphasis.
     The keeper stood back: then turned to fetch his coat and gun. The chair
seemed to strange immediately. She stood inert. Clifford, seated a prisoner,
was white with vexation.  He jerked at  the levers with  his hand,  his feet
were no good. He  got queer noises out of her. In savage impatience he moved
little handles and got more noises out of her. But she would not budge.  No,
she would not budge. He stopped the engine and sat rigid with anger.
     Constance sat on the  bank  arid looked  at  the wretched and  trampled
bluebells.  `Nothing  quite so  lovely as  an English  spring.' `I can do my
share of ruling.' `What we need to take up now  is  whips, not swords.' `The
ruling classes!'
     The keeper  strode up with his coat and gun,  Flossie cautiously at his
heels. Clifford  asked the  man  to  do something or other  to  the  engine.
Connie, who understood nothing at all of  the technicalities of  motors, and
who had  had experience of breakdowns, sat patiently  on  the bank as if she
were  a cipher. The  keeper lay on his stomach again. The ruling classes and
the serving classes!
     He got to his feet and said patiently:
     `Try her again, then.'
     He spoke in a quiet voice, almost as if to a child.
     Clifford  tried her, and  Mellors stepped quickly  behind and began  to
push. She was going, the engine doing about half the work, the man the rest.
     Clifford glanced round, yellow with anger.
     `Will you get off there!'
     The keeper  dropped his hold at  once, and Clifford added: `How shall I
know what she is doing!'
     The man put his gun down and began to pull on his coat. He'd done.
     The chair began slowly to run backwards.
     `Clifford, your brake!' cried Connie.
     She,  Mellors,  and Clifford  moved  at  once,  Connie  and  the keeper
jostling lightly. The chair stood. There was a moment of dead silence.
     `It's obvious I'm at  everybody's mercy!' said Clifford.  He was yellow
with anger.
     No one answered. Mellors was slinging  his gun  over his  shoulder, his
face queer and expressionless,  save for an abstracted look of patience. The
dog  Flossie,  standing  on  guard almost  between her master's legs,  moved
uneasily, eyeing  the chair  with great suspicion and dislike, and very much
perplexed  between  the three human beings. The  tableau vivant remained set
among the squashed bluebells, nobody proffering a word.
     `I  expect she'll have to  be pushed,' said  Clifford at last, with  an
affectation of sang froid.
     No  answer. Mellors' abstracted face looked as if he had heard nothing.
Connie glanced anxiously at him. Clifford too glanced round.
     `Do you mind pushing her home,  Mellors!' he said in  a  cool  superior
tone. `I  hope I have said nothing to offend  you,' he  added, in a  tone of
     `Nothing at all, Sir Clifford! Do you want me to push that chair?'
     `If you please.'
     The man stepped up  to it:  but this time it  was  without  effect. The
brake was jammed. They poked and pulled, and the keeper took off his gun and
his coat once more. And now Clifford said never a word. At last  the  keeper
heaved the back of the chair off the ground and, with an  instantaneous push
of his foot, tried to loosen the wheels. He failed, the chair sank. Clifford
was clutching the sides. The man gasped with the weight.
     `Don't do it!' cried Connie to him.
     `If you'll pull the wheel that  way, so!'  he said to her, showing  her
     `No!  You mustn't lift it! You'll strain yourself,' she  said,  flushed
now with anger.
     But he looked into her eyes and nodded. And she had to go and take hold
of the wheel, ready. He heaved and she tugged, and the chair reeled.
     `For God's sake!' cried Clifford in terror.
     But it  was all right, and the  brake was  off. The keeper put  a stone
under the wheel, and went  to sit  on the bank,  his heart beat and his face
white with the effort, semi-conscious.
     Connie looked at him, and  almost cried with  anger. There was  a pause
and a dead silence. She saw his hands trembling on his thighs.
     `Have you hurt yourself?' she asked, going to him.
     `No. No!' He turned away almost angrily.
     There was dead  silence. The back of Clifford's fair head did not move.
Even the dog stood motionless. The sky had clouded over.
     At last he sighed, and blew his nose on his red handkerchief.
     `That pneumonia took a lot out of me,' he said.
     No one answered. Connie calculated the amount  of strength it must have
taken to heave up that chair and the bulky Clifford: too much, far too much!
If it hadn't killed him!
     He rose, and again picked up his  coat, slinging it through  the handle
of the chair.
     `Are you ready, then, Sir Clifford?'
     `When you are!'
     He  stooped and took out the  scotch, then put his  weight  against the
chair. He was paler than Connie had ever seen him: and more absent. Clifford
was a heavy man: and  the  hill  was steep. Connie stepped to  the  keeper's
     `I'm going to push too!' she said.
     And she began  to  shove with a woman's turbulent energy  of anger. The
chair went faster. Clifford looked round.
     `Is that necessary?' he said.
     `Very! Do you want to kill the man! If  you'd  let the motor work while
it would---'
     But  she did not  finish. She  was already panting. She slackened off a
little, for it was surprisingly hard work.
     `Ay! slower!' said the man at her side, with a faint smile of his eyes.
     `Are you sure you've not hurt yourself?' she said fiercely.
     He  shook his head.  She  looked at his  smallish,  short,  alive hand,
browned by the  weather. It was the hand that caressed  her.  She  had never
even  looked  at it  before. It seemed  so still, like  him, with  a curious
inward stillness that made her want to clutch it, as if she could not  reach
it. All her  soul suddenly swept towards him:  he was so silent, and  out of
reach! And he felt his limbs revive. Shoving with his left hand, he laid his
right on her round white wrist,  softly enfolding  her wrist, with a caress.
And  the  flame of  strength went down his back and his loins, reviving him.
And she bent suddenly and kissed his  hand. Meanwhile the back of Clifford's
head was held sleek and motionless, just in front of them.
     At the top of the hill they rested, and Connie was glad  to let go. She
had  had  fugitive dreams of  friendship between  these  two  men:  one  her
husband, the  other the  father  of her child.  Now  she saw  the  screaming
absurdity of her dreams.  The  two males were  as hostile as fire and water.
They mutually exterminated one another. And  she realized for the first time
what a  queer subtle thing hate is. For the first time, she had  consciously
and definitely  hated  Clifford,  with vivid hate: as  if  he  ought  to  be
obliterated from  the face of  the earth. And it  was strange, how free  and
full of  life it  made  her  feel, to hate him  and  to admit  it  fully  to
herself.---`Now I've hated him, I  shall never be  able to go on living with
him,' came the thought into her mind.
     On  the level the keeper could  push  the chair  alone. Clifford made a
little conversation  with her,  to show his  complete composure: about  Aunt
Eva, who was at Dieppe,  and about Sir Malcolm, who had written to ask would
Connie drive with him in his small car, to Venice, or would she and Hilda go
by train.
     `I'd much rather go by  train,' said  Connie. `I don't like long  motor
drives, especially when there's dust. But I shall see what Hilda wants.'
     `She will want to drive her own car, and take you with her,' he said.
     `Probably!---I  must help up here. You've  no idea how heavy this chair
     She  went to the back of the chair, and  plodded side by side  with the
keeper, shoving up the pink path. She did not care who saw.
     `Why not let me  wait,  and  fetch Field?  He is strong  enough for the
job,' said Clifford.
     `It's so near,' she panted.
     But both she  and Mellors  wiped the sweat from  their faces when  they
came to the top. It was curious,  but this bit of work together  had brought
them much closer than they had been before.
     `Thanks so much, Mellors,' said Clifford, when they were  at  the house
door. `I must get a different sort of motor, that's all. Won't you go to the
kitchen and have a meal? It must be about time.'
     `Thank you, Sir  Clifford.  I was  going to my mother for dinner today,
     `As you like.'
     Mellors slung into his coat, looked at Connie, saluted, and  was  gone.
Connie, furious, went upstairs.
     At lunch she could not contain her feeling.
     `Why are you so abominably inconsiderate, Clifford?' she said to him.
     `Of whom?'
     `Of the keeper! If that is what you call ruling classes, I'm  sorry for
     `A man who's been ill, and isn't strong! My word, if I were the serving
classes, I'd let you wait for service. I'd let you whistle.'
     `I quite believe it.'
     `If he'd been  sitting in  a chair with paralysed legs, and  behaved as
you behaved, what would you have done for him?'
     `My dear evangelist, this confusing of persons and personalities  is in
bad taste.'
     `And your  nasty, sterile want of common sympathy is in the worst taste
imaginable. Noblesse oblige! You and your ruling class!'
     `And to what should it oblige me? To have a lot of unnecessary emotions
about my game-keeper? I refuse. I leave it all to my evangelist.'
     `As if he weren't a man as much as you are, my word!'
     `My game-keeper to boot, and I pay him two pounds a week and give him a
     `Pay  him!  What do you think you pay for, with two pounds a week and a
     `His services.'
     `Bah! I would tell you to keep your two pounds a week and your house.'
     `Probably he would like to: but can't afford the luxury!'
     `You, and rule!' she said. `You don't rule, don't flatter yourself. You
have only got more than your share of  the money,  and make people work  for
you for two pounds  a week, or threaten them with  starvation. Rule! What do
you  give  forth of rule?  Why, you re  dried up!  You only bully with  your
money, like any Jew or any Schieber!'
     `You are very elegant in your speech, Lady Chatterley!'
     `I assure you, you were very  elegant altogether out there in the wood.
I was  utterly ashamed of  you. Why,  my father is ten times the human being
you are: you gentleman!'
     He reached and rang the bell for Mrs Bolton. But he  was yellow  at the
     She went up to her room,  furious, saying  to herself: `Him and  buying
people! Well, he doesn't buy me, and therefore there's  no  need for  me  to
stay with him.  Dead fish  of a gentleman, with his  celluloid soul! And how
they  take one  in,  with  their  manners and  their  mock  wistfulness  and
gentleness. They've got about as much feeling as celluloid has.'
     She  made her  plans for the night, and determined  to get Clifford off
her mind. She  didn't want to hate him. She didn't want to  be mixed up very
intimately  with  him  in any sort of feeling.  She wanted him  not  to know
anything at  all about herself: and especially, not  to  know anything about
her feeling for the  keeper.  This squabble of her attitude to  the servants
was  an  old  one.  He  found  her  too familiar,  she  found  him  stupidly
insentient, tough and indiarubbery where other people were concerned.
     She  went   downstairs  calmly,  with   her  old  demure   bearing,  at
dinner-time.  He  was still yellow at the  gills: in  for one of  his  liver
bouts, when he was really very queer.---He was reading a French book.
     `Have you ever read Proust?' he asked her.
     `I've tried, but he bores me.'
     `He's really very extraordinary.'
     `Possibly! But  he  bores me: all that  sophistication! He doesn't have
feelings,  he  only  has streams  of  words  about  feelings. I'm  tired  of
self-important mentalities.'
     `Would you prefer self-important animalities?'
     `Perhaps!   But  one   might  possibly  get   something   that   wasn't
     `Well, I like Proust's subtlety and his well-bred anarchy.'
     `It makes you very dead, really.'
     `There speaks my evangelical little wife.'
     They were at it again, at it again! But she couldn't help fighting him.
He  seemed to  sit there  like  a  skeleton,  sending out a skeleton's  cold
grizzly will  against her. Almost she could feel  the skeleton clutching her
and pressing her to its cage of ribs. He too was really  up in arms: and she
was a little afraid of him.
     She went upstairs as soon as possible, and went to bed quite early. But
at  half  past  nine she got up, and went  outside to listen.  There  was no
sound. She slipped on a dressing-gown and  went downstairs. Clifford and Mrs
Bolton  were  playing  cards,  gambling.  They  would probably go  on  until
     Connie returned to her room,  threw her  pyjamas on the tossed bed, put
on  a thin tennis-dress and over  that  a woollen  day-dress, put on  rubber
tennis-shoes, and then a light coat. And she  was ready. If she met anybody,
she was just going out for  a few minutes. And in the morning, when she came
in  again,  she would  just have been for a little walk in  the  dew, as she
fairly often  did before breakfast. For the  rest, the only danger was  that
someone  should  go  into  her  room  during  the night. But  that  was most
unlikely: not one chance in a hundred.
     Betts  had  not locked up. He fastened up the house at ten o'clock, and
unfastened it again  at seven in the morning. She  slipped  out silently and
unseen. There was a half-moon shining, enough to make a little light in  the
world,  not enough to show  her up in her dark-grey coat. She walked quickly
across the park, not really in the  thrill of  the  assignation, but  with a
certain anger  and rebellion burning in her heart. It was not the right sort
of heart to take to a love-meeting. But └ la guerre comme └ la guerre!

     When she got near  the  park-gate, she heard the click of the latch. He
was there, then, in the darkness of the wood, and had seen her!
     `You are good and early,' he said out of the  dark. `Was everything all
     `Perfectly easy.'
     He shut  the gate quietly  after  her,  and made a spot of light on the
dark  ground, showing the pallid flowers still standing  there  open  in the
night. They went on apart, in silence.
     `Are you sure you didn't hurt yourself this morning with  that  chair?'
she asked.
     `No, no!'
     `When you had that pneumonia, what did it do to you?'
     `Oh  nothing!  it  left  my heart not  so strong  and the lungs  not so
elastic. But it always does that.'
     `And you ought not to make violent physical efforts?'
     `Not often.'
     She plodded on in an angry silence.
     `Did you hate Clifford?' she said at last.
     `Hate him, no! I've met too many like him to upset myself hating him. I
know beforehand I don't care for his sort, and I let it go at that.'
     `What is his sort?'
     `Nay, you  know better than I do. The sort of  youngish gentleman a bit
like a lady, and no balls.'
     `What balls?'
     `Balls! A man's balls!'
     She pondered this.
     `But is it a question of that?' she said, a little annoyed.
     `You say a  man's  got no brain,  when he's a fool:  and no heart, when
he's mean; and no stomach when he's a funker. And when he's got none of that
spunky wild bit of a man in him, you say he's got no balls. When he's a sort
of tame.'
     She pondered this.
     `And is Clifford tame?' she asked.
     `Tame, and nasty  with  it:  like  most such fellows, when  you come up
against 'em.'
     `And do you think you're not tame?'
     `Maybe not quite!'
     At length she saw in the distance a yellow light.
     She stood still.
     `There is a light!' she said.
     `I always leave a light in the house,' he said.
     She went on again at his side,  but not touching him, wondering why she
was going with him at all.
     He unlocked, and they went in, he bolting the  door behind them.  As if
it were a prison, she thought! The kettle was singing by the red fire, there
were cups on the table.
     She  sat  in the wooden  arm-chair  by the fire. It was warm after  the
chill outside.
     `I'll take off my shoes, they are wet,' she said.
     She sat with her stockinged feet on the bright steel fender. He went to
the  pantry,  bringing food: bread and  butter and pressed tongue.  She  was
warm: she took off her coat. He hung it on the door.
     `Shall you have cocoa or tea or coffee to drink?' he asked.
     `I don't think I want  anything,' she said, looking at the  table. `But
you eat.'
     `Nay, I don't care about it. I'll just feed the dog.'
     He tramped with a quiet  inevitability  over the brick  floor,  putting
food for the dog in a brown bowl. The spaniel looked up at him anxiously.
     `Ay, this is  thy supper, tha nedna  look as if tha wouldna get it!' he
     He set the bowl on the stairfoot mat, and sat himself on a chair by the
wall, to take off his leggings and boots. The dog instead of eating, came to
him again, and sat looking up at him, troubled.
     He slowly unbuckled his leggings. The dog edged a little nearer.
     `What's  amiss wi'  thee then? Art upset because  there's somebody else
here? Tha'rt a female, tha art! Go an' eat thy supper.'
     He put  his hand on her head, and  the  bitch  leaned her head sideways
against him. He slowly, softly pulled the long silky ear.
     `There!' he said. `There! Go an' eat thy supper! Go!'
     He tilted  his chair  towards the pot  on the mat, and the  dog  meekly
went, and fell to eating.
     `Do you like dogs?' Connie asked him.
     `No, not really. They're too tame and clinging.'
     He had taken off his  leggings and was unlacing his heavy boots. Connie
had turned from the fire. How bare the little room was! Yet over his head on
the  wall  hung a  hideous  enlarged  photograph  of a young married couple,
apparently him and a bold-faced young woman, no doubt his wife.
     `Is that you?' Connie asked him.
     He twisted and looked at the enlargement above his head.
     `Ay! Taken just afore we was married, when I was twenty-one.' He looked
at it impassively.
     `Do you like it?' Connie asked him.
     `Like it? No! I  never liked the thing. But she fixed it all up to have
it done, like.'
     He returned to pulling off his boots.
     `If you don't like it, why  do you  keep it hanging there? Perhaps your
wife would like to have it,' she said.
     He looked up at her with a sudden grin.
     `She  carted  off iverything  as  was worth taking from th' 'ouse,'  he
said. `But she left that!'
     `Then why do you keep it? for sentimental reasons?'
     `Nay, I niver look at it. I hardly knowed it wor theer.  It's bin theer
sin' we come to this place.'
     `Why don't you burn it?' she said.
     He twisted  round again and  looked at the enlarged  photograph. It was
framed in a  brown-and-gilt frame, hideous. It showed a clean-shaven, alert,
very young-looking man  in  a rather high collar, and a somewhat plump, bold
young  woman  with hair fluffed out and crimped,  and  wearing  a dark satin
     `It wouldn't be a bad idea, would it?' he said.
     He had pulled off his boots, and put on a pair of slippers. He stood up
on the chair, and lifted down  the photograph. It left  a big  pale place on
the greenish wall-paper.
     `No use dusting it now,' he said, setting the thing against the wall.
     He went to the scullery,  and returned with hammer and pincers. Sitting
where he had sat before, he started to tear off the back-paper from  the big
frame,  and to pull  out the  sprigs  that held  the backboard in  position,
working with the immediate quiet absorption that was characteristic of him.
     He soon had the nails out: then he pulled out the backboards,  then the
enlargement itself, in  its solid white mount.  He looked at the  photograph
with amusement.
     `Shows  me for  what I was, a young curate, and her for what she was, a
bully,' he said. `The prig and the bully!'
     `Let me look!' said Connie.
     He did look indeed very clean-shaven and  very clean altogether, one of
the clean young men of twenty years ago. But even in the photograph his eyes
were alert and dauntless. And the  woman  was not altogether a bully, though
her jowl was heavy. There was a touch of appeal in her.
     `One never should keep these things,' said Connie. `That one shouldn't!
One should never have them made!'
     He broke the  cardboard photograph and mount over his knee, and when it
was small enough, put it on the fire.
     `It'll spoil the fire though,' he said.
     The glass and the backboard he carefully took upstairs.
     The frame he knocked asunder with a few blows of the hammer, making the
stucco fly. Then he took the pieces into the scullery.
     `We'll burn that tomorrow,' he said. `There's too much plaster-moulding
on it.'
     Having cleared away, he sat down.
     `Did you love your wife?' she asked him.
     `Love?' he said. `Did you love Sir Clifford?'
     But she was not going to be put off.
     `But you cared for her?' she insisted.
     `Cared?' He grinned.
     `Perhaps you care for her now,' she said.
     `Me!' His eyes widened. `Ah no, I can't think of her,' he said quietly.
     But he shook his head.
     `Then why don't you  get  a divorce? She'll come  back to you one day,'
said Connie.
     He looked up at her sharply.
     `She wouldn't come within a mile of me. She hates me a lot worse than I
hate her.'
     `You'll see she'll come back to you.'
     `That she never will. That's done! It would make me sick to see her.'
     `You will see her. And you're not even legally separated, are you?'
     `Ah well, then she'll come back, and you'll have to take her in.'
     He gazed at Connie fixedly. Then he gave the queer toss of his head.
     `You might be right. I was  a fool ever to  come back here.  But I felt
stranded and  had  to  go somewhere. A man's  a  poor bit of a wastrel blown
about.  But  you're  right. I'll get a divorce  and get clear. I hate  those
things like death, officials and courts  and  judges. But  I've got  to  get
through with it. I'll get a divorce.'
     And  she saw his jaw set. Inwardly she exulted. `I think  I will have a
cup of tea now,' she said. He rose to make it. But his face was set. As they
sat at table she asked him:
     `Why did you marry her? She was commoner than yourself. Mrs Bolton told
me about her. She could never understand why you married her.'
     He looked at her fixedly.
     `I'll tell  you,' he said. `The  first girl I had, I began with  when I
was  sixteen. She was  a  school-master's daughter over at Ollerton, pretty,
beautiful  really. I  was supposed to be a clever sort of  young fellow from
Sheffield Grammar  School,  with a bit  of  French and  German, very much up
aloft. She was the romantic sort that hated commonness. She  egged me on  to
poetry and reading: in a  way,  she  made a man of me. I read  and I thought
like a house on fire, for her. And I was a clerk in Butterley offices, thin,
white-faced fellow fuming with all the things I read. And about everything I
talked  to her:  but  everything.  We talked  ourselves into  Persepolis and
Timbuctoo. We were the most literary-cultured couple in ten counties. I held
forth with  rapture to her, positively  with  rapture. I  simply went  up in
smoke. And  she adored  me.  The serpent  in the grass was sex. She  somehow
didn't have any; at least, not where it's supposed to be. I got  thinner and
crazier. Then I said we'd got to be  lovers. I talked her into it, as usual.
So  she let me. I was excited, and she never wanted it. She just didn't want
it. She adored me, she loved me to talk to her and kiss her: in that way she
had  a  passion  for me. But the other, she just didn't  want. And there are
lots of women like her. And it  was just the other that I did want. So there
we split. I was cruel, and  left  her. Then  I took  on with another girl, a
teacher, who  had made a  scandal  by  carrying  on  with a  married man and
driving him nearly out of his mind. She was a soft, white-skinned, soft sort
of a woman, older than me, and  played  the fiddle. And she was a demon. She
loved  everything  about love, except the sex. Clinging, caressing, creeping
into you in every  way: but if you forced her  to  the sex itself,  she just
ground her teeth and sent out hate. I forced her to it, and she could simply
numb me with hate because of it. So I was balked again.  I loathed all that.
I wanted a woman who wanted me, and wanted it.
     `Then  came  Bertha  Coutts. They'd lived next door to  us when I was a
little lad, so I knew 'em all right. And they were common. Well, Bertha went
away to some place or other in Birmingham; she said,  as a lady's companion;
everybody else said, as a waitress or something in a hotel. Anyhow just when
I was more than fed  up with that other  girl, when  I  was twenty-one, back
comes Bertha, with airs and graces and smart clothes and a sort  of bloom on
her: a  sort of sensual bloom that  you'd see sometimes  on a woman, or on a
trolly. Well, I was in a state of murder.  I chucked up my job at  Butterley
because I  thought I was  a weed, clerking  there: and I  got on as overhead
blacksmith at Tevershall: shoeing horses mostly.  It had been my  dad's job,
and  I'd always been with him. It was a job I liked: handling horses: and it
came  natural to  me. So I stopped talking "fine", as they  call it, talking
proper English, and went back to talking broad. I still read books, at home:
but I  blacksmithed and had a pony-trap of my own, and was My Lord Duckfoot.
My dad left me three  hundred pounds when he died. So I took on with Bertha,
and I  was glad  she  was common. I wanted her to be common. I  wanted to be
common myself. Well, I married her, and  she wasn't  bad. Those other "pure"
women had nearly taken all the balls out of me, but she  was  all right that
way. She wanted  me, and  made no  bones about it.  And I was  as pleased as
punch. That was what I  wanted: a woman  who  wanted  me to fuck  her. So  I
fucked her like a good un. And I  think she despised me a bit,  for being so
pleased about it, and bringin' her  her breakfast in bed sometimes. She sort
of let things go, didn't get me a proper dinner when I came home  from work,
and if I said anything, flew out at me. And I flew back, hammer  and  tongs.
She flung a cup at me and I took her by the scruff of the neck and  squeezed
the  life out of her. That sort of thing! But she treated me with insolence.
And she got so's she'd never have me when I wanted her: never. Always put me
off, brutal as you like. And then  when she'd put me right off, and I didn't
want her,  she'd come all lovey-dovey, and get  me. And I always  went.  But
when I had her, she'd never come off when I did. Never! She'd  just wait. If
I kept back for half an hour,  she'd keep back longer. And when I'd come and
really  finished,  then she'd start on her own account,  and I had  to  stop
inside her  till she  brought  herself  off, wriggling  and  shouting, she'd
clutch clutch  with  herself  down there, an' then she'd come off,  fair  in
ecstasy. And then  she'd say: That  was lovely! Gradually  I got sick of it:
and she got worse. She sort of got harder and harder to bring off, and she'd
sort of tear at  me down there, as if it was a beak  tearing at me.  By God,
you think a woman's soft down  there, like  a fig. But  I tell you  the  old
rampers have  beaks between their  legs, and they tear at you  with it  till
you're  sick.  Self! Self!  Self! all self!  tearing and shouting! They talk
about  men's selfishness,  but I  doubt if it can ever touch a woman's blind
beakishness,  once she's gone that way. Like an  old trull! And she couldn't
help it. I told her about it, I told her how I hated it. And she'd even try.
She'd try to lie still and let me work the business. She'd  try.  But it was
no  good. She got no feeling  off it, from my working. She  had to work  the
thing herself, grind her own  coffee.  And it came back on her like a raving
necessity, she had to let herself go, and tear, tear, tear, as if she had no
sensation in her except in the  top of her beak, the very  outside  top tip,
that rubbed and tore. That's how old whores  used to be, so men used to say.
It was a low kind of self-will in her, a raving sort of self-will: like in a
woman who drinks.  Well  in the end I couldn't stand it. We slept apart. She
herself had started it, in her bouts when she wanted to be clear of me, when
she  said  I bossed her. She had  started having a room for herself. But the
time came when I wouldn't have her coming to my room. I wouldn't.
     `I hated it.  And  she hated me. My God,  how she hated me before  that
child  was born! I often think  she conceived it out of hate.  Anyhow, after
the child was born I left her alone. And then came the war, and I joined up.
And I didn't come back till I knew she was with that fellow at Stacks Gate.
     He broke off, pale in the face.
     `And what is the man at Stacks Gate like?' asked Connie.
     `A big baby sort of fellow, very low-mouthed. She bullies him, and they
both drink.'
     `My word, if she came back!'
     `My God, yes! I should just go, disappear again.'
     There was a silence. The pasteboard in the fire had turned to grey ash.
     `So when you did get a  woman who  wanted you,' said Connie, `you got a
bit too much of a good thing.'
     `Ay! Seems so! Yet even then I'd rather have her than  the  never-never
ones: the  white love of my youth, and that other poison-smelling lily,  and
the rest.'
     `What about the rest?' said Connie.
     `The rest?  There is no rest.  Only to my experience the mass of  women
are like this: most of them want a man, but don't want the sex, but they put
up with  it, as part of the bargain.  The  more old-fashioned sort  just lie
there like nothing and let you  go ahead. They don't  mind afterwards:  then
they  like  you.  But the  actual thing  itself  is  nothing to them,  a bit
distasteful. Add most men  like it that way. I  hate it. But the sly sort of
women who are like that pretend they're not. They pretend they're passionate
and have thrills. But it's all cockaloopy. They make it up. Then there's the
ones that love everything, every kind of feeling and cuddling and going off,
every  kind  except the natural one. They always make you go off when you're
not in the  only place  you  should  be, when you go off.---Then there's the
hard sort, that are the devil to bring off at all, and bring themselves off,
like  my  wife. They want to  be the active party.---Then there's  the  sort
that's just dead  inside: but dead:  and they know it. Then there's the sort
that puts you  out before you really  "come", and go on writhing their loins
till they  bring themselves off against your thighs. But they're mostly  the
Lesbian sort.  It's  astonishing  how  Lesbian  women  are,  consciously  or
unconsciously. Seems to me they're nearly all Lesbian.'
     `And do you mind?' asked Connie.
     `I  could  kill  them. When I'm with a woman  who's  really Lesbian,  I
fairly howl in my soul, wanting to kill her.'
     `And what do you do?'
     `Just go away as fast as I can.'
     `But do you think Lesbian women any worse than homosexual men?'
     `I do! Because I've suffered more  from them. In the  abstract, I've no
idea. When I get with a Lesbian woman, whether she knows she's one or not, I
see red. No, no! But I wanted to have nothing to do with any woman any more.
I wanted to keep to myself: keep my privacy and my decency.'
     He looked pale, and his brows were sombre.
     `And were you sorry when I came along?' she asked.
     `I was sorry and I was glad.'
     `And what are you now?'
     `I'm  sorry, from the outside:  all the  complications and the ugliness
and recrimination that's bound  to  come,  sooner  or  later. That's when my
blood sinks, and I'm low. But  when my  blood comes  up, I'm glad.  I'm even
triumphant. I was really  getting  bitter. I  thought there  was no real sex
left:  never a woman who'd really "come" naturally with a man:  except black
women, and somehow, well, we're white men: and they're a bit like mud.'
     `And now, are you glad of me?' she asked.
     `Yes! When I can forget the rest. When I can't  forget the rest, I want
to get under the table and die.'
     `Why under the table?'
     `Why?' he laughed. `Hide, I suppose. Baby!'
     `You do seem to have had awful experiences of women,' she said.
     `You see,  I couldn't  fool myself. That's where most  men manage. They
take an attitude, and accept a lie. I could never fool myself. I knew what I
wanted with a woman, and I could never say I'd got it when I hadn't.'
     `But have you got it now?'
     `Looks as if I might have.'
     `Then why are you so pale and gloomy?'
     `Bellyful of remembering: and perhaps afraid of myself.'
     She sat in silence. It was growing late.
     `And do you think it's important, a man and a woman?' she asked him.
     `For me it is.  For  me it's  the  core of my life:  if I  have a right
relation with a woman.'
     `And if you didn't get it?'
     `Then I'd have to do without.'
     Again she pondered, before she asked:
     `And do you think you've always been right with women?'
     `God,  no! I let my wife get to what she  was: my fault a  good deal. I
spoilt her. And I'm very mistrustful.  You'll have to expect  it. It takes a
lot  to make me  trust  anybody,  inwardly. So perhaps  I'm  a  fraud too. I
mistrust. And tenderness is not to be mistaken.'
     She looked at him.
     `You don't  mistrust  with  your  body, when your  blood comes up,' she
said. `You don't mistrust then, do you?'
     `No, alas! That's how I've got into all the trouble. And  that's why my
mind mistrusts so thoroughly.'
     `Let your mind mistrust. What does it matter!'
     The dog sighed with discomfort on the mat. The ash-clogged fire sank.
     `We are a couple of battered warriors,' said Connie.
     `Are  you battered too?' he laughed. `And here we  are returning to the
     `Yes! I feel really frightened.'
     He got up, and  put her shoes  to dry, and wiped  his own and  set them
near the  fire.  In the morning  he would  grease them. He poked the  ash of
pasteboard as much as possible  out of the fire. `Even burnt, it's  filthy,'
he said. Then he brought sticks  and put  them  on the hob for the  morning.
Then he went out awhile with the dog.
     When he came back, Connie said:
     `I want to go out too, for a minute.'
     She went alone into the darkness. There were  stars overhead. She could
smell flowers on  the night air. And she could  feel  her  wet shoes getting
wetter again. But  she  felt  like  going away,  right  away  from  him  and
     It was chilly. She shuddered, and returned to the house. He was sitting
in front of the low fire.
     `Ugh! Cold!' she shuddered.
     He put the sticks on the fire, and  fetched more, till they had a  good
crackling chimneyful  of blaze. The rippling running yellow flame made  them
both happy, warmed their faces and their souls.
     `Never mind!'  she said, taking his  hand as he sat silent  and remote.
`One does one's best.'
     `Ay!' He sighed, with a twist of a smile.
     She slipped over to him,  and into his arms, as he sat there before the
     `Forget then!' she whispered. `Forget!'
     He held her close, in the running warmth of the  fire. The flame itself
was like a  forgetting.  And her soft, warm, ripe  weight!  Slowly his blood
turned, and began to ebb back into strength and reckless vigour again.
     `And perhaps the women really wanted to be there and love you properly,
only perhaps they couldn't. Perhaps it wasn't all their fault,' she said.
     `I know it. Do you think I don't know what a broken-backed snake that's
been trodden on I was myself!'
     She clung to  him suddenly. She had not wanted to start all this again.
Yet some perversity had made her.
     `But you're not now,'  she  said. `You're not that now: a broken-backed
snake that's been trodden on.'
     `I don't know what I am. There's black days ahead.'
     `No!' she protested, clinging to him. `Why? Why?'
     `There's black days coming for us  all and for everybody,' he  repeated
with a prophetic gloom.
     `No! You're not to say it!'
     He was silent. But she could feel the black void of despair inside him.
That was the death of all desire, the death of all love:  this despair  that
was like the dark cave inside the men, in which their spirit was lost.
     `And you talk so  coldly about sex,'  she said. `You talk as if you had
only wanted your own pleasure and satisfaction.'
     She was protesting nervously against him.
     `Nay!' he  said.  `I wanted  to have my  pleasure and satisfaction of a
woman,  and  I never  got  it: because I  could never get  my  pleasure  and
satisfaction of her unless she got hers of me at the same time. And it never
happened. It takes two.'
     `But you never believed in your women. You don't even believe really in
me,' she said.
     `I don't know what believing in a woman means.'
     `That's it, you see!'
     She still was curled on his lap. But his spirit was grey and absent, he
was not there for her. And everything she said drove him further.
     `But what do you believe in?' she insisted.
     `I don't know.'
     `Nothing, like all the men I've ever known,' she said.
     They were both silent. Then he roused himself and said:
     `Yes,  I  do believe in  something. I  believe in being  warmhearted. I
believe especially  in being  warm-hearted in love,  in  fucking with a warm
heart. I believe if  men could fuck  with warm hearts, and the women take it
warm-heartedly, everything would  come all right. It's all this cold-hearted
fucking that is death and idiocy.'
     `But you don't fuck me cold-heartedly,' she protested.
     `I don't want to fuck you at all.  My heart's as  cold as cold potatoes
just now.'
     `Oh!'  she said, kissing him mockingly. `Let's have them  saut╔es.'  He
laughed, and sat erect.
     `It's  a fact!' he  said.  `Anything for a bit of warm-heartedness. But
the  women  don't like it.  Even you don't  really like it. You  like  good,
sharp, piercing  cold-hearted  fucking,  and then pretending it's all sugar.
Where's your tenderness for me? You're as  suspicious of me as a cat is of a
dog. I tell  you it  takes two even to be tender and warm-hearted.  You love
fucking  all  right:  but  you want  it to  be  called  something grand  and
mysterious,  just  to   flatter   your   own   self-importance.   Your   own
self-importance  is more to you,  fifty  times more, than  any man, or being
together with a man.'
     `But that's what I'd say of you. Your own self-importance is everything
to you.'
     `Ay! Very well then!' he  said, moving as if he wanted to  rise. `Let's
keep apart then. I'd rather die than do any more cold-hearted fucking.'
     She slid away from him, and he stood up.
     `And do you think I want it?' she said.
     `I  hope you  don't,' he replied. `But  anyhow, you go to bed  an' I'll
sleep down here.'
     She  looked  at him. He  was  pale,  his brows were sullen,  he  was as
distant in recoil as the cold pole. Men were all alike.
     `I can't go home till morning,' she said.
     `No! Go to bed. It's a quarter to one.'
     `I certainly won't,' she said.
     He went across and picked up his boots.
     `Then I'll go out!' he said.
     He began to put on his boots. She stared at him.
     `Wait!' she faltered. `Wait! What's come between us?'
     He  was bent  over, lacing  his boot,  and did  not  reply. The moments
passed. A dimness came over her,  like a swoon. All her  consciousness died,
and she stood there  wide-eyed,  looking at  him from  the  unknown, knowing
nothing any more.
     He looked up,  because of the silence, and  saw her wide-eyed and lost.
And as if a wind tossed him he got  up and hobbled over to her, one shoe off
and one shoe on, and took her in his  arms, pressing her  against  his body,
which somehow felt hurt right  through. And there he held her, and there she
     Till his hands reached blindly down and felt for  her, and  felt  under
the clothing to where she was smooth and warm.
     `Ma lass!' he murmured. `Ma little lass! Dunna let's light! Dunna let's
niver light! I love thee  an' th' touch on thee. Dunna argue wi'  me! Dunna!
Dunna! Dunna! Let's be together.'
     She lifted her face and looked at him.
     `Don't be upset,' she  said steadily. `It's no good being upset. Do you
really want to be together with me?'
     She  looked with wide, steady eyes into his face.  He stopped, and went
suddenly still,  turning his face aside. All his body  went perfectly still,
but did not withdraw.
     Then he lifted his head and looked into her eyes, with his odd, faintly
mocking grin, saying: `Ay-ay! Let's be together on oath.'
     `But  really?' she said, her eyes filling with tears. `Ay really! Heart
an' belly an' cock.'
     He still smiled  faintly down at her, with  the flicker of irony in his
eyes, and a touch of bitterness.
     She was silently weeping, and he lay with her and  went into her  there
on the hearthrug, and so they gained a measure  of equanimity. And then they
went quickly to bed, for it was growing chill, and they had tired each other
out. And she nestled up  to him, feeling small  and enfolded, and  they both
went to sleep at once, fast in one  sleep. And so they lay and  never moved,
till the sun rose over the wood and day was beginning.
     Then he woke up and  looked at the light. The  curtains were drawn.  He
listened to the loud wild calling of blackbirds and thrushes in the wood. It
would be a brilliant  morning, about half past five, his hour for rising. He
had slept so fast! It was such  a new day! The woman was still curled asleep
and tender. His hand moved on her, and she  opened her blue  wondering eyes,
smiling unconsciously into his face.
     `Are you awake?' she said to him.
     He was looking into her eyes.  He smiled, and kissed her. And  suddenly
she roused and sat up.
     `Fancy that I am here!' she said.
     She  looked  round the whitewashed  little  bedroom  with  its  sloping
ceiling and gable window where the white curtains were closed.  The room was
bare save for a little yellow-painted chest of drawers, and a chair: and the
smallish white bed in which she lay with him.
     `Fancy that we  are here!' she said, looking down at  him. He was lying
watching  her,  stroking her  breasts  with  his  fingers,  under  the  thin
nightdress. When he was warm and smoothed out, he looked young and handsome.
His eyes could look so warm. And she was fresh and young like a flower.
     `I  want to take  this  off!' she  said,  gathering  the  thin  batiste
nightdress  and pulling it over her head. She  sat there with bare shoulders
and  longish breasts  faintly  golden.  He  loved to  make her breasts swing
softly, like bells.
     `You must take off your pyjamas too,' she said.
     `Eh, nay!'
     `Yes! Yes!' she commanded.
     And  he  took  off  his old cotton  pyjama-jacket,  and pushed down the
trousers. Save for  his hands and wrists and face and neck  he  was white as
milk, with fine slender muscular flesh. To Connie he was suddenly piercingly
beautiful again, as when she had seen him that afternoon washing himself.
     Gold of sunshine  touched  the closed white curtain. She felt it wanted
to come in.
     `Oh, do let's draw the curtains!  The  birds are singing so! Do let the
sun in,' she said.
     He slipped out of bed with his back to  her, naked  and white and thin,
and went to the  window, stooping a little, drawing the curtains and looking
out for a moment. The back was white and fine, the small buttocks  beautiful
with an  exquisite,  delicate manliness,  the  back of  the neck  ruddy  and
delicate and yet strong.
     There was an inward, not an outward strength in the delicate fine body.
     `But  you are beautiful!' she said. `So pure  and fine! Come!' She held
her arms out.
     He was ashamed to turn to her, because of his aroused nakedness.
     He caught his shirt off the floor, and held it to him, coming to her.
     `No!' she  said still  holding  out  her beautiful slim  arms  from her
dropping breasts. `Let me see you!'
     He  dropped the shirt and  stood  still looking  towards  her.  The sun
through the low window sent in a beam that lit up his thighs and slim  belly
and  the erect phallos rising darkish and hot-looking from the  little cloud
of vivid gold-red hair. She was startled and afraid.
     `How strange!' she said slowly.  `How strange he  stands there! So big!
and so dark and cock-sure! Is he like that?'
     The man looked down the  front of his slender white body, and  laughed.
Between the slim breasts the hair was dark, almost black. But at the root of
the  belly, where the phallos rose thick and arching, it was gold-red, vivid
in a little cloud.
     `So  proud!' she murmured, uneasy.  `And so lordly!  Now I know why men
are  so overbearing! But he's  lovely,  really.  Like another  being!  A bit
terrifying! But lovely really! And he comes to  me!---' She caught her lower
lip between her teeth, in fear and excitement.
     The man  looked  down  in silence  at the tense phallos,  that  did not
change.---`Ay!' he said at last, in a little voice. `Ay ma lad! tha're theer
right enough. Yi, tha mun rear thy head! Theer on thy own, eh?  an' ta'es no
count O' nob'dy! Tha ma'es  nowt  O'  me, John  Thomas. Art boss?  of me? Eh
well, tha're more cocky than me, an'  tha says less. John  Thomas! Dost want
her? Dost want my lady Jane? Tha's dipped me in again, tha hast. Ay, an' tha
comes up smilin'.---Ax 'er then! Ax lady Jane! Say: Lift up your heads, O ye
gates, that  the king of glory may  come  in. Ay, th' cheek on  thee!  Cunt,
that's  what  tha're after. Tell lady Jane tha wants cunt.  John Thomas, an'
th' cunt O' lady Jane!---'
     `Oh, don't tease  him,' said Connie, crawling on her  knees on  the bed
towards him and putting her arms round  his white slender loins, and drawing
him  to her so that  her hanging, swinging  breasts touched the tip  of  the
stirring, erect phallos, and  caught  the drop of moisture. She held the man
     `Lie down!' he said. `Lie down! Let me come!' He was in a hurry now.
     And  afterwards,  when  they had  been quite  still,  the  woman had to
uncover the man again, to look at the mystery of the phallos.
     `And now  he's tiny,  and  soft like a little bud  of  life!' she said,
taking the soft small penis in her hand. `Isn't he somehow lovely! so on his
own, so  strange! And  so innocent! And  he comes so far  into  me! You must
never insult  him, you know. He's mine  too. He's not only yours. He's mine!
And so lovely and innocent!' And she held the penis soft in her hand.
     He laughed.
     `Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in kindred love,' he said.
     `Of course!' she said. `Even  when he's soft and little I feel my heart
simply  tied  to  him.  And  how lovely  your hair  is  here!  quite,  quite
     `That's John Thomas's hair, not mine!' he said.
     `John Thomas! John Thomas!' and she quickly kissed the soft penis, that
was beginning to stir again.
     `Ay!' said the man, stretching his body almost painfully. `He's got his
root in my soul, has  that gentleman! An' sometimes I don' know  what ter do
wi' him. Ay, he's got a will of  his own, an'  it's hard  to suit him. Yet I
wouldn't have him killed.'
     `No wonder men have always been  afraid of him!' she said. `He's rather
     The  quiver was  going  through  the  man's  body,  as  the  stream  of
consciousness again  changed  its  direction, turning downwards. And  he was
helpless, as the penis  in slow  soft undulations filled and surged and rose
up,  and  grew hard,  standing there hard and  overweening,  in  its curious
towering fashion. The woman too trembled a little as she watched.
     `There! Take him then! He's thine,' said the man.
     And she quivered,  and  her own mind melted  out. Sharp soft  waves  of
unspeakable  pleasure  washed over  her as he entered  her, and started  the
curious molten thrilling that spread and  spread  till she was carried  away
with the last, blind flush of extremity.
     He  heard the distant hooters of Stacks Gate for  seven o'clock. It was
Monday morning. He shivered a  little, and with his face between her breasts
pressed her soft breasts up over his ears, to deafen him.
     She  had  not even heard the hooters. She lay perfectly still, her soul
washed transparent.
     `You must get up, mustn't you?' he muttered.
     `What time?' came her colourless voice.
     `Seven-o'clock blowers a bit sin'.'
     `I suppose I must.'
     She was resenting as she always did, the compulsion from outside.
     He sat up and looked  blankly out of the window. `You do love me, don't
you?' she asked calmly. He looked down at her.
     `Tha  knows what  tha  knows. What  dost  ax for!'  he  said,  a little
     `I want you to keep me, not to let me go,' she said.
     His eyes seemed full of a warm, soft darkness that could not think.
     `When? Now?'
     `Now in your heart. Then  I want  to come  and  live with you,  always,
     He sat naked on the bed, with his head dropped, unable to think.
     `Don't you want it?' she asked.
     `Ay!' he said.
     Then with the same  eyes darkened with another flame of  consciousness,
almost like sleep, he looked at her.
     `Dunna  ax  me nowt now,' he said. `Let me be.  I like thee. I luv thee
when tha lies theer. A  woman's a lovely thing when 'er's deep ter fuck, and
cunt's good. Ah luv thee, thy legs, an' th' shape on thee, an' th' womanness
on thee.  Ah  luv th' womanness on  thee. Ah luv thee wi' my bas an'  wi' my
heart. But  dunna ax  me nowt. Dunna ma'e me  say nowt. Let  me stop as I am
while I can. Tha can ax me iverything after. Now let me be, let me be!'
     And softly, he laid his hand over her mound of Venus, on the soft brown
maiden-hair, and himself-sat still and naked on the bed, his face motionless
in physical abstraction, almost like the face of Buddha. Motionless, and  in
the  invisible flame of another  consciousness, he sat with his hand on her,
and waited for the turn.
     After a while, he reached for his shirt and put it on,  dressed himself
swiftly in  silence, looked  at her  once as she still lay naked and faintly
golden like a Gloire de Dijon rose on the  bed, and was gone. She  heard him
downstairs opening the door.
     And still she lay musing, musing. It was  very hard to go: to go out of
his arms.  He  called  from the foot of  the stairs:  `Half past seven!' She
sighed, and got out of bed. The bare little room! Nothing  in it  at all but
the  small  chest of drawers and the smallish bed. But  the board  floor was
scrubbed clean. And in the corner by the window gable was  a shelf with some
books,  and  some from a circulating library.  She looked. There  were books
about Bolshevist Russia, books of  travel, a  volume about the atom  and the
electron, another about the composition of the earth's core, and the  causes
of earthquakes: then a  few  novels: then three books on India. So! He was a
reader after all.
     The sun fell on her naked  limbs through the gable  window. Outside she
saw the dog  Flossie roaming round. The hazel-brake  was misted  with green,
and  dark-green dogs-mercury  under. It was a clear clean morning with birds
flying  and  triumphantly  singing.  If only she  could stay!  If only there
weren't the other ghastly world of smoke and iron! If only he would make her
a world.
     She  came downstairs,  down the steep,  narrow wooden stairs. Still she
would be content with this little house, if only it were  in  a world of its
     He  was  washed and fresh,  and  the  fire was burning.  `Will  you eat
anything?' he said.
     `No! Only lend me a comb.'
     She followed him  into the scullery, and  combed  her hair  before  the
handbreadth of mirror by the back door. Then she was ready to go.
     She stood in the little  front garden, looking at the dewy flowers, the
grey bed of pinks in bud already.
     `I  would like to have all the rest of the world disappear,'  she said,
`and live with you here.'
     `It won't disappear,' he said.
     They went almost in silence through the lovely dewy wood. But they were
together in a world of their own.
     It was bitter to her to go on to Wragby.
     `I want soon to come  and live with  you altogether,' she  said as  she
left him.
     He smiled, unanswering.
     She got home quietly and unremarked, and went up to her room.

     There was a letter  from Hilda on the breakfast-tray. `Father  is going
to London  this week, and I shall call  for you on Thursday week, June 17th.
You must be ready so that we can go at once. I don't want to  waste time  at
Wragby, it's an awful place. I shall probably stay the night at Retford with
the Colemans, so I should be with  you for lunch, Thursday.  Then  we  could
start at teatime, and sleep  perhaps in Grantham. It is no use our  spending
an evening with Clifford. If he hates your going, it would be no pleasure to
     So! She was being pushed round on the chess-board again.
     Clifford  hated her going,  but it was only because he didn't feel safe
in her absence. Her presence, for some reason,  made him feel safe, and free
to do the things he was occupied with. He was a great deal  at the pits, and
wrestling  in spirit  with the almost  hopeless problems of getting out  his
coal in  the most  economical  fashion and then  selling it when he'd got it
out. He knew he ought  to find some way  of using it, or  converting it,  so
that he needn't sell it, or needn't  have the chagrin of failing to sell it.
But if he made  electric power, could he sell that or use it? And to convert
into oil  was as yet too costly  and too elaborate. To keep  industry  alive
there must be more industry, like a madness.
     It was a madness, and it required a madman to  succeed  in it. Well, he
was a little mad. Connie thought  so. His very intensity  and acumen  in the
affairs of the pits seemed like a  manifestation of madness to her, his very
inspirations were the inspirations of insanity.
     He talked to her of all his serious schemes, and she listened in a kind
of  wonder, and let him talk. Then  the flow  ceased,  and  he turned on the
loudspeaker,  and  became a blank,  while  apparently  his schemes coiled on
inside him like a kind of dream.
     And every  night now he played pontoon, that game of  the Tommies, with
Mrs Bolton, gambling with sixpences. And again, in  the gambling he was gone
in  a  kind of unconsciousness,  or blank  intoxication, or  intoxication of
blankness, whatever it was. Connie could not  bear to see him. But  when she
had gone to bed, he and Mrs Bolton would gamble on till two and three in the
morning, safely, and with strange lust. Mrs Bolton was caught in the lust as
much as Clifford: the more so, as she nearly always lost.
     She told Connie one day: `I lost twenty-three shillings to Sir Clifford
last night.'
     `And did he take the money from you?' asked Connie aghast.
     `Why of course, my Lady! Debt of honour!'
     Connie  expostulated roundly,  and was  angry with  both of  them.  The
upshot was, Sir Clifford raised Mrs Bolton's wages a hundred a year, and she
could gamble  on that.  Meanwhile, it seemed to  Connie, Clifford was really
going deader.
     She told him at length she was leaving on the seventeenth.
     `Seventeenth!' he said. `And when will you be back?'
     `By the twentieth of July at the latest.'
     `Yes! the twentieth of July.'
     Strangely and blankly he looked at  her, with the vagueness of a child,
but with the queer blank cunning of an old man.
     `You won't let me down, now, will you?' he said.
     `While you're away, I mean, you're sure to come back?'
     `I'm as sure as I can be of anything, that I shall come back.'
     `Yes! Well! Twentieth of July!'
     He looked at her so strangely.
     Yet he really wanted her to go.  That was so curious.  He wanted her to
go,  positively,  to  have her  little  adventures  and  perhaps  come  home
pregnant, and all that. At the same time, he was afraid of her going.
     She was  quivering,  watching  her  real opportunity  for  leaving  him
altogether, waiting till the time, herself himself should be ripe.
     She sat and talked to the keeper of her going abroad.
     `And then  when I  come back,'  she said, `I can tell  Clifford I  must
leave him.  And you  and I can go away. They never need even know it is you.
We can go to another country, shall we? To Africa or Australia. Shall we?'
     She was quite thrilled by her plan.
     `You've never been to the Colonies, have you?' he asked her.
     `No! Have you?'
     `I've been in India, and South Africa, and Egypt.'
     `Why shouldn't we go to South Africa?'
     `We might!' he said slowly.
     `Or don't you want to?' she asked.
     `I don't care. I don't much care what I do.'
     `Doesn't  it make you  happy? Why not? We shan't  be poor. I have about
six hundred a year, I wrote and asked. It's not much, but it's enough, isn't
     `It's riches to me.'
     `Oh, how lovely it will be!'
     `But I ought to get divorced, and so ought you,  unless we're  going to
have complications.'
     There was plenty to think about.
     Another  day  she asked him  about himself. They  were in the  hut, and
there was a thunderstorm.
     `And weren't you happy, when you were a lieutenant and an officer and a
     `Happy? All right. I liked my Colonel.'
     `Did you love him?'
     `Yes! I loved him.'
     `And did he love you?'
     `Yes! In a way, he loved me.'
     `Tell me about him.'
     `What is there to tell? He had risen from the ranks. He loved the army.
And he had  never married. He was twenty years older than  me. He was a very
intelligent man: and alone in  the army, as such a man is: a  passionate man
in his way:  and a very clever officer.  I lived under his spell while I was
with him. I sort of let him run my life. And I never regret it.'
     `And did you mind very much when he died?'
     `I was as near death myself. But when I came to, I knew another part of
me  was finished. But then I had always known it would finish  in death. All
things do, as far as that goes.'
     She sat  and ruminated. The thunder crashed outside. It was  like being
in a little ark in the Flood.
     `You seem to have such a lot behind you,' she said.
     `Do I? It seems to me I've died  once or twice already. Yet  here I am,
pegging on, and in for more trouble.'
     She was thinking hard, yet listening to the storm.
     `And weren't you happy as an officer and a gentleman, when your Colonel
was dead?'
     `No! They were a mingy lot.' He laughed suddenly. `The Colonel  used to
say: Lad,  the  English  middle  classes have to chew every  mouthful thirty
times because  their guts are so  narrow, a bit as big  as a pea  would give
them a stoppage. They're the  mingiest set of ladylike  snipe ever invented:
full of conceit  of themselves, frightened even if  their boot-laces  aren't
correct, rotten as high game, and  always in the right. That's what finishes
me up.  Kow-tow,  kow-tow, arse-licking  till their tongues  are  tough: yet
they're always in the right. Prigs on top of everything. Prigs! A generation
of ladylike prigs with half a ball each---'
     Connie laughed. The rain was rushing down.
     `He hated them!'
     `No,' said  he. `He  didn't bother. He  just disliked  them.  There's a
difference. Because, as he said, the Tommies  are getting  just  as priggish
and half-balled  and  narrow-gutted. It's the fate of  mankind,  to go  that
     `The common people too, the working people?'
     `All the  lot.  Their  spunk is gone  dead. Motor-cars and cinemas  and
aeroplanes suck  that last bit  out  of them. I tell you,  every  generation
breeds a more  rabbity generation, with india rubber tubing for guts and tin
legs and tin faces. Tin  people! It's all  a  steady sort of bolshevism just
killing  off the human thing,  and worshipping the  mechanical thing. Money,
money, money! All the modern lot get their real kick out of  killing the old
human feeling out of man, making mincemeat of the old Adam  and the old Eve.
They're  all alike.  The world is all alike:  kill off the  human reality, a
quid for every foreskin, two quid for each  pair of balls. What  is cunt but
machine-fucking!---It's  all  alike. Pay 'em  money to  cut off the  world's
cock.  Pay money, money, money to them that  will take spunk out of mankind,
and leave 'em all little twiddling machines.'
     He sat  there  in  the hut, his face pulled to  mocking irony. Yet even
then, he had one ear set backwards, listening to the storm over the wood. It
made him feel so alone.
     `But won't it ever come to an end?' she said.
     `Ay, it  will. It'll achieve its own salvation. When the  last real man
is  killed, and they're all tame:  white, black, yellow, all colours of tame
ones:  then they'll  all  be  insane. Because  the root of sanity  is in the
balls. Then they'll all be insane, and they'll make their grand ~auto da fe.
You  know auto da fe  means act of  faith? Ay, well, they'll make  their own
grand little act of faith. They'll offer one another up.'
     `You mean kill one another?'
     `I do, duckie! If we go on at our present rate then in a hundred years'
time there won't  be ten  thousand people  in this  island: there may not be
ten. They'll have  lovingly wiped each other  out.  The thunder was  rolling
further away.
     `How nice!' she said.
     `Quite  nice! To contemplate the extermination of the human species and
the long pause that follows before some other species crops up, it calms you
more  than anything else. And  if  we go  on  in this  way, with  everybody,
intellectuals,   artists,   government,   industrialists  and  workers   all
frantically killing  off  the  last  human feeling,  the last  bit of  their
intuition,  the  last  healthy  instinct;  if  it  goes  on  in  algebraical
progression, as it is  going on: then ta-tah! to the human species! Goodbye!
darling! the serpent swallows itself and leaves a void,  considerably messed
up,  but not hopeless. Very nice! When savage wild dogs bark in Wragby,  and
savage wild pit-ponies stamp on Tevershall pit-bank! te deum laudamus!'
     Connie laughed, but not very happily.
     `Then you ought to be pleased that they are all bolshevists,' she said.
`You ought to be pleased that they hurry on towards the end.'
     `So I am. I don't stop 'em. Because I couldn't if I would.'
     `Then why are you so bitter?'
     `I'm not! If my cock gives its last crow, I don't mind.'
     `But if you have a child?' she said.
     He dropped his head.
     `Why,' he said at last. `It seems to me a wrong and bitter thing to do,
to bring a child into this world.'
     `No! Don't say it! Don't say it!'  she pleaded. `I  think I'm going  to
have one. Say you'll he pleased.' She laid her hand on his.
     `I'm  pleased for you to  be pleased,' he said. `But for me  it seems a
ghastly treachery to the unborn creature.
     `Ah no!' she said, shocked.  `Then you  can't ever  really want me! You
can't want me, if you feel that!'
     Again  he  was silent,  his  face sullen. Outside  there  was  only the
threshing of the rain.
     `It's not quite true!' she  whispered.  `It's  not  quite true! There's
another truth.' She  felt he was bitter now partly  because  she was leaving
him, deliberately going away to Venice. And this half pleased her.
     She  pulled open  his clothing  and uncovered his belly, and kissed his
navel.  Then  she laid her cheek on his belly  and pressed her arm round his
warm, silent loins. They were alone in the flood.
     `Tell me  you want a  child, in hope!' she murmured,  pressing her face
against his belly. `Tell me you do!'
     `Why!' he  said  at last: and  she  felt the curious quiver of changing
consciousness  and  relaxation going  through  his  body. `Why  I've thought
sometimes if  one but tried, here  among th' colliers  even! They're workin'
bad now, an'  not earnin' much. If a  man could  say to 'em: Dunna  think o'
nowt but th' money.  When it comes ter wants,  we want but little. Let's not
live for money---'
     She softly rubbed her cheek on his belly, and gathered his balls in her
hand.  The penis stirred softly, with strange life, but did not rise up. The
rain beat bruisingly outside.
     `Let's live for summat else. Let's not live ter make money, neither for
us-selves nor for anybody else. Now we're forced to.  We're forced to make a
bit for us-selves, an' a fair lot for th' bosses. Let's stop it! Bit by bit,
let's stop it. We needn't  rant an'  rave. Bit by bit,  let's drop the whole
industrial life an'  go back. The  least  little  bit o'  money'll  do.  For
everybody, me an'  you,  bosses an' masters, even th' king. The least little
bit o' money'll really  do. Just make up your mind to it, an' you've got out
o' th' mess.' He paused, then went on:
     `An'  I'd  tell  'em: Look! Look at Joe! He  moves  lovely! Look how he
moves, alive and aware. He's beautiful! An' look at Jonah! He's clumsy, he's
ugly, because he's niver willin' to rouse himself  I'd  tell 'em: Look! look
at yourselves! one shoulder  higher  than  t'other, legs twisted,  feet  all
lumps! What  have  yer  done  ter yerselves, wi'  the  blasted  work? Spoilt
yerselves. No  need to work  that  much. Take  yer  clothes off an' look  at
yourselves. Yer ought ter be alive  an'  beautiful, an'  yer  ugly  an' half
dead.  So I'd tell 'em. An'  I'd get my men to wear different clothes: appen
close red trousers,  bright red, an' little short white jackets. Why, if men
had red, fine legs, that alone would change them in a month. They'd begin to
be men again, to be men! An' the women could dress as they liked. Because if
once the men walked with legs close  bright scarlet,  and buttocks nice  and
showing scarlet under  a little white jacket: then the women 'ud begin to be
women. It's because th' men aren't men, that th'  women have to be.---An' in
time pull down Tevershall and build a few beautiful  buildings,  that  would
hold  us all.  An' clean the country up again. An'  not have  many children,
because the world is overcrowded.
     `But I  wouldn't preach  to the  men: only strip 'em an' say:  Look  at
yourselves! That's workin' for money!---Hark at yourselves!  That's  working
for money. You've been working for money! Look at Tevershall! It's horrible.
That's because  it was built  while  you was working for money. Look at your
girls!  They  don't care about you, you don't  care about them. It's because
you've spent your time working an' caring for money. You can't talk nor move
nor live, you  can't  properly  be with a woman. You're  not alive.  Look at
     There fell a complete silence. Connie was half listening, and threading
in the  hair  at the  root of his belly a few  forget-me-nots that  she  had
gathered on the  way  to the hut. Outside, the world had gone  still,  and a
little icy.
     `You've got four  kinds of hair,'  she said to him. `On your chest it's
nearly  black, and your hair isn't dark on your head: but your  moustache is
hard and dark  red, and your hair here,  your  love-hair, is  like  a little
brush of bright red-gold mistletoe. It's the loveliest of all!'
     He  looked down and saw the milky bits of forget-me-nots in the hair on
his groin.
     `Ay!  That's  where  to  put  forget-me-nots,  in the  man-hair, or the
maiden-hair. But don't you care about the future?'
     She looked up at him.
     `Oh, I do, terribly!' she said.
     `Because when I feel the  human world  is doomed,  has doomed itself by
its own mingy  beastliness, then  I feel the Colonies aren't far enough. The
moon wouldn't be far enough, because  even there you could look back and see
the earth, dirty, beastly, unsavoury among all the stars: made foul  by men.
Then  I  feel  I've  swallowed gall,  and  it's  eating  my inside out,  and
nowhere's far enough away to get  away. But when  I  get a turn, I forget it
all again.  Though  it's a  shame, what's  been done  to  people  these last
hundred  years:  men turned into nothing but labour-insects,  and all  their
manhood taken away, and all  their real life.  I'd wipe the machines off the
face of the earth  again,  and end the industrial epoch  absolutely,  like a
black mistake. But since I  can't, an' nobody can, I'd better hold my peace,
an'  try an'  live my own  life: if  I've got one  to live,  which  I rather
     The thunder had ceased outside, but the rain which had abated, suddenly
came striking down, with a last blench of  lightning and mutter of departing
storm. Connie  was  uneasy.  He had  talked so long now,  and he  was really
talking  to  himself  not  to  her.  Despair  seemed  to  come down  on  him
completely, and she  was feeling  happy, she  hated  despair.  She  knew her
leaving him, which he had only just realized inside himself had  plunged him
back into this mood. And she triumphed a little.
     She opened the door and looked at the straight heavy rain, like a steel
curtain, and had a sudden desire to rush out into it, to rush away. She  got
up, and  began  swiftly  pulling off  her  stockings,  then  her  dress  and
underclothing,  and  he held  his  breath. Her  pointed keen  animal breasts
tipped and stirred as  she  moved. She  was  ivory-coloured in  the greenish
light. She slipped on her rubber shoes again and ran out with a wild  little
laugh, holding up her breasts to the heavy rain and spreading  her arms, and
running blurred in the  rain  with  the eurhythmic dance  movements she  had
learned  so  long ago in Dresden. It was a strange pallid figure lifting and
falling,  bending so the  rain beat  and glistened  on  the  full  haunches,
swaying up again  and coming  belly-forward through the rain,  then stooping
again  so  that only the full  loins and buttocks were offered in a  kind of
homage towards him, repeating a wild obeisance.
     He laughed wryly, and threw off his clothes. It was too much. He jumped
out, naked and white, with  a  little shiver, into  the  hard slanting rain.
Flossie sprang before him with  a frantic little bark. Connie, her hair  all
wet and sticking to her head, turned her hot face and saw him. Her blue eyes
blazed  with excitement as she turned and ran fast, with  a strange charging
movement,  out of the clearing  and down the  path, the  wet boughs whipping
her. She ran,  and  he saw nothing but  the  round  wet head, the  wet  back
leaning forward  in  flight,  the rounded buttocks  twinkling:  a  wonderful
cowering female nakedness in flight.
     She was nearly at  the  wide riding when he came up and flung his naked
arm round her  soft,  naked-wet middle. She gave a  shriek  and straightened
herself and the  heap of her soft, chill flesh  came up against his body. He
pressed it all up against him, madly, the heap of soft, chilled female flesh
that  became  quickly  warm as flame, in contact. The rain streamed on  them
till they smoked.  He gathered her lovely, heavy posteriors one in each hand
and pressed  them in towards him in a  frenzy, quivering motionless  in  the
rain. Then suddenly he tipped her up and fell with  her on the path, in  the
roaring  silence of the  rain, and short and sharp,  he took her,  short and
sharp and finished, like an animal.
     He got up in an instant, wiping the rain from his eyes.
     `Come in,' he  said, and they started  running back  to the hut. He ran
straight and swift: he didn't  like the rain. But she came slower, gathering
forget-me-nots and campion and bluebells, running  a few steps and  watching
him fleeing away from her.
     When she  came  with  her flowers, panting to the  hut, he  had already
started  a fire, and the  twigs were crackling.  Her sharp breasts  rose and
fell,  her hair was plastered down with rain, her face was flushed ruddy and
her body glistened and trickled. Wide-eyed and breathless,  with a small wet
head and full, trickling, na¤ve haunches, she looked another creature.
     He  took the old  sheet and rubbed her down, she standing like a child.
Then he rubbed himself having shut the door of the hut. The fire was blazing
up. She ducked her  head in  the other end of the sheet, and rubbed  her wet
     `We're drying ourselves together on  the same towel, we shall quarrel!'
he said.
     She looked up for a moment, her hair all odds and ends.
     `No!'  she said, her  eyes wide. `It's not a towel, it's  a sheet.' And
she went on busily rubbing her head, while he busily rubbed his.
     Still panting with their exertions,  each wrapped  in an  army blanket,
but the  front of the body open to the fire, they sat  on a log side by side
before the blaze, to get quiet. Connie hated the feel of the blanket against
her skin. But now the sheet was all wet.
     She  dropped  her blanket and kneeled  on  the clay hearth, holding her
head to the fire, and shaking her  hair to dry it. He watched  the beautiful
curving drop of her haunches. That fascinated him today. How it  sloped with
a rich down-slope to the heavy roundness of  her buttocks!  And in  between,
folded in the secret warmth, the secret entrances!
     He stroked her tail with his hand, long and subtly taking in the curves
and the globe-fullness.
     `Tha's got such a nice tail on thee,' he said, in the throaty caressive
dialect.  `Tha's got the nicest arse of  anybody.  It's  the  nicest, nicest
woman's arse as is! An' ivery bit of it is woman, woman sure as nuts. Tha'rt
not one o' them button-arsed lasses as should be lads,  are ter! Tha's got a
real  soft sloping bottom on thee, as a man loves in 'is guts. It's a bottom
as could hold the world up, it is!'
     All the while he spoke he exquisitely stroked the rounded tail, till it
seemed as if  a  slippery sort of fire came from it into his hands.  And his
finger-tips touched  the  two secret openings to  her body, time after time,
with a soft little brush of fire.
     `An' if tha shits an' if tha pisses, I'm glad.  I don't want a woman as
couldna shit nor piss.'
     Connie could not help  a  sudden  snort of astonished laughter, but  he
went on unmoved.
     `Tha'rt real,  tha art! Tha'art  real, even a bit of a bitch. Here  tha
shits  an' here tha pisses:  an' I lay my hand on 'em both an' like thee for
it. I like thee for it.  Tha's  got a proper, woman's arse, proud of itself.
It's none ashamed of itself this isna.'
     He laid his hand close and firm  over her secret places, in a  kind  of
close greeting.
     `I  like it,' he said. `I like it! An' if I only lived ten minutes, an'
stroked thy arse an' got to know it, I should reckon I'd lived one life, see
ter! Industrial system or not! Here's one o' my lifetimes.'
     She turned round and  climbed into his lap, clinging to him. `Kiss me!'
she whispered.
     And she knew the thought of  their separation was  latent in both their
minds, and at last she was sad.
     She  sat  on  his  thighs,  her  head  against   his  breast,  and  her
ivory-gleaming legs loosely  apart, the fire  glowing unequally  upon  them.
Sitting with his head dropped, he  looked at the folds  of her  body in  the
fire-glow,  and at the fleece of soft  brown hair that hung down  to a point
between  her open thighs. He  reached  to the table behind, and took up  her
bunch of flowers, still so wet that drops of rain fell on to her.
     `Flowers stops  out of doors  all weathers,'  he  said. `They  have  no
     `Not even a hut!' she murmured.
     With quiet fingers he  threaded a few forget-me-not flowers in the fine
brown fleece of the mound of Venus.
     `There!' he said. `There's forget-me-nots in the right place!'
     She looked  down at  the  milky  odd  little  flowers  among the  brown
maiden-hair at the lower tip of her body.
     `Doesn't it look pretty!' she said.
     `Pretty as life,' he replied.
     And he stuck a pink campion-bud among the hair.
     `There!  That's  me  where  you won't  forget me! That's  Moses  in the
     `You  don't  mind, do  you, that I'm going  away?' she asked wistfully,
looking up into his face.
     But his face  was inscrutable, under the heavy  brows. He kept it quite
     `You do as you wish,' he said.
     And he spoke in good English.
     `But I won't go if you don't wish it,' she said, clinging to him.
     There was silence. He leaned and put another piece of wood on the fire.
The flame  glowed on his silent,  abstracted  face. She waited, but he  said
     `Only I thought  it would be a good way to begin a break with Clifford.
I do want a child. And it would give me a chance to, to---,' she resumed.
     `To let them think a few lies,' he said.
     `Yes, that among other things. Do you want them to think the truth?'
     `I don't care what they think.'
     `I do! I don't want them  handling me with their unpleasant cold minds,
not  while I'm  still at Wragby.  They can  think  what  they like  when I'm
finally gone.'
     He was silent.
     `But Sir Clifford expects you to come back to him?'
     `Oh, I must come back,' she said: and there was silence.
     `And would you have a child in Wragby?' he asked.
     She closed her arm round his neck.
     `If you wouldn't take me away, I should have to,' she said.
     `Take you where to?'
     `Anywhere! away! But right away from Wragby.'
     `Why, when I come back.'
     `But what's the good  of coming back,  doing the thing twice, if you're
once gone?' he said.
     `Oh,  I  must  come back.  I've promised! I've  promised so faithfully.
Besides, I come back to you, really.'
     `To your husband's game-keeper?'
     `I don't see that that matters,' she said.
     `No?' He mused a while. `And when would you think of  going away again,
then; finally? When exactly?'
     `Oh, I  don't know. I'd come  back  from Venice.  And then we'd prepare
     `How prepare?'
     `Oh, I'd tell Clifford. I'd have to tell him.'
     `Would you!'
     He remained silent. She put her arms round his neck.
     `Don't make it difficult for me,' she pleaded.
     `Make what difficult?'
     `For me to go to Venice and arrange things.'
     A little smile, half a grin, flickered on his face.
     `I don't make it  difficult,' he said.  `I  only want  to find out just
what you  are after. But you  don't really know yourself. You want  to  take
time:  get away and look  at it. I don't blame you. I think you're wise. You
may prefer to stay mistress of Wragby. I don't blame you. I've no Wragbys to
offer. In fact, you  know what you'll get out  of me. No, no, I think you're
right! I really do! And I'm not keen on coming to live on you, being kept by
you. There's that too.'
     She felt somehow as if he were giving her tit for tat.
     `But you want me, don't you?' she asked.
     `Do you want me?'
     `You know I do. That's evident.'
     `Quite! And when do you want me?'
     `You know we can arrange it all when I come back. Now I'm out of breath
with you. I must get calm and clear.'
     `Quite! Get calm and clear!'
     She was a little offended.
     `But you trust me, don't you?' she said.
     `Oh, absolutely!'
     She heard the mockery in his tone.
     `Tell me then,' she said flatly; `do you think it would be  better if I
don't go to Venice?'
     `I'm sure it's better if you do go to  Venice,' he replied in the cool,
slightly mocking voice.
     `You know it's next Thursday?' she said.
     She now began to muse. At last she said:
     `And we shall know better where we are when I come back, shan't we?'
     `Oh surely!'
     The curious gulf of silence between them!
     `I've  been  to  the  lawyer  about  my  divorce,' he  said,  a  little
     She gave a slight shudder.
     `Have you!' she said. `And what did he say?'
     `He said I ought to have done it before;  that may be a difficulty. But
since I was in the  army, he thinks it will go through all right. If only it
doesn't bring her down on my head!'
     `Will she have to know?'
     `Yes! she is served with  a notice:  so is the  man she lives with, the
     `Isn't  it hateful, all the  performances! I  suppose I'd  have  to  go
through it with Clifford.'
     There was a silence.
     `And of course,' he said, `I have  to live  an  exemplary  life for the
next six or eight months. So if you go to Venice, there's temptation removed
for a week or two, at least.'
     `Am  I temptation!'  she  said,  stroking  his face. `I'm  so glad  I'm
temptation to  you!  Don't  let's  think about it!  You frighten me when you
start thinking: you  roll me out flat.  Don't let's  think about  it. We can
think so much when we are apart. That's the whole point! I've been thinking,
I must come to you for another night before I go.  I must come  once more to
the cottage. Shall I come on Thursday night?'
     `Isn't that when your sister will be there?'
     `Yes! But  she said we  would start at tea-time. So we  could start  at
tea-time. But she could sleep somewhere else and I could sleep with you.
     `But then she'd have to know.'
     `Oh, I shall tell her. I've  more or less told her already. I must talk
it all over with Hilda. She's a great help, so sensible.'
     He was thinking of her plan.
     `So  you'd start off  from Wragby at tea-time,  as if you were going to
London? Which way were you going?'
     `By Nottingham and Grantham.'
     `And then  your sister would drop you somewhere and you'd walk or drive
back here? Sounds very risky, to me.'
     `Does it?  Well, then, Hilda could  bring me  back. She could sleep  at
Mansfield, and bring me back here in the evening, and fetch me again  in the
morning. It's quite easy.'
     `And the people who see you?'
     `I'll wear goggles and a veil.'
     He pondered for some time.
     `Well,' he said. `You please yourself as usual.'
     `But wouldn't it please you?'
     `Oh yes! It'd please me all right,' he said a little  grimly.  `I might
as well smite while the iron's hot.'
     `Do  you know what I thought?' she said suddenly. `It suddenly came  to
me. You are the "Knight of the Burning Pestle"!'
     `Ay! And you? Are you the Lady of the Red-Hot Mortar?'
     `Yes!' she said. `Yes! You're Sir Pestle and I'm Lady Mortar.'
     `All right,  then I'm knighted.  John Thomas is Sir John, to  your Lady
     `Yes! John  Thomas  is knighted! I'm  my-lady-maiden-hair, and you must
have flowers too. Yes!'
     She threaded two  pink campions  in the bush of red-gold hair above his
     `There!' she said. `Charming! Charming! Sir John!'
     And she pushed a bit of forget-me-not in the dark hair of his breast.
     `And  you won't  forget me there,  will  you?' She  kissed  him on  the
breast,  and  made  two bits  of forget-me-not lodge  one over each  nipple,
kissing him again.
     `Make a  calendar of me!' he said.  He  laughed, and  the flowers shook
from his breast.
     `Wait a bit!' he said.
     He  rose, and opened the door of the  hut. Flossie, lying in the porch,
got up and looked at him.
     `Ay, it's me!' he said.
     The  rain had  ceased.  There was  a  wet, heavy,  perfumed  stillness.
Evening was approaching.
     He went out and down the little path in the opposite direction from the
riding. Connie watched  his thin, white  figure, and it looked to her like a
ghost, an apparition moving away from her.
     When she could see it no more, her heart sank. She stood in the door of
the hut, with  a  blanket  round her,  looking into the drenched, motionless
     But  he was coming back, trotting  strangely, and carrying flowers. She
was a little afraid of him, as  if he were not quite human. And when he came
near, his eyes looked into hers, but she could not understand the meaning.
     He had brought columbines and campions, and new-mown hay, and oak-tufts
and honeysuckle in  small bud. He fastened fluffy young oak-sprays round her
breasts,  sticking in tufts  of bluebells  and campion:  and in her navel he
poised a pink campion flower, and in her maiden-hair were forget-me-nots and
     `That's  you in all  your glory!' he said. `Lady Jane,  at her  wedding
with John Thomas.'
     And he  stuck  flowers in the hair of his own body, and  wound a bit of
creeping-jenny round his penis, and stuck a single bell of a hyacinth in his
navel. She  watched him with amusement, his odd intentness. And she pushed a
campion flower in his moustache, where it stuck, dangling under his nose.
     `This is  John Thomas marryin'  Lady Jane,'  he said. `An'  we  mun let
Constance an' Oliver go their ways. Maybe---'
     He spread out his  hand  with  a gesture, and then he sneezed, sneezing
away the flowers from his nose and his navel. He sneezed again.
     `Maybe what?' she said, waiting for him to go on.
     He looked at her a little bewildered.
     `Eh?' he said.
     `Maybe what? Go on with what you were going to say,' she insisted.
     `Ay, what was I going to say?'
     He had forgotten. And it  was  one  of the disappointments of her life,
that he never finished.
     A yellow ray of sun shone over the trees.
     `Sun!' he said. `And time you went. Time, my Lady, time! What's that as
flies without wings, your Ladyship? Time! Time!'
     He reached for his shirt.
     `Say goodnight! to  John Thomas,' he said, looking  down at  his penis.
`He's safe in the arms of creeping Jenny! Not much burning pestle about  him
just now.'
     And he put his flannel shirt over his head.
     `A  man's most dangerous moment,' he said, when his  head had  emerged,
`is when he's getting into his shirt. Then he puts his head in a bag. That's
why  I  prefer those American  shirts, that you put on  like  a jacket.' She
still stood watching him.  He stepped  into his short  drawers, and buttoned
them round the waist.
     `Look at Jane!' he said. `In all her blossoms! Who'll  put blossoms  on
you next year, Jinny? Me, or somebody else? "Good-bye, my bluebell, farewell
to you!" I hate that  song, it's early war days.'  He then sat down, and was
pulling on his stockings. She still  stood unmoving. He laid his hand on the
slope  of her buttocks.  `Pretty little  Lady  Jane!' he  said.  `Perhaps in
Venice you'll find a man  who'll  put jasmine  in your  maiden-hair,  and  a
pomegranate flower in your navel. Poor little lady Jane!'
     `Don't say those things!' she said. `You only say them to hurt me.'
     He dropped his head. Then he said, in dialect:
     `Ay, maybe I do, maybe I do!  Well  then, I'll  say nowt, an'  ha' done
wi't.  But  tha mun  dress thysen, all' go  back  to  thy stately  homes  of
England, how beautiful  they stand. Time's up!  Time's  up for Sir John, an'
for  little Lady Jane!  Put thy  shimmy on, Lady  Chatterley! Tha  might  be
anybody,  standin' there be-out even a shimmy, an'  a few  rags  o' flowers.
There then, there then,  I'll undress thee, tha  bob-tailed young throstle.'
And he took the leaves from her hair, kissing her damp hair, and the flowers
from her breasts,  and kissed her  breasts, and kissed her navel, and kissed
her  maiden-hair, where he left  the flowers threaded. `They  mun stop while
they will,' he said.  `So!  There  tha'rt bare again,  nowt but a bare-arsed
lass an' a bit of a Lady  Jane!  Now put  thy shimmy on, for  tha mun go, or
else Lady Chatterley's goin' to be late for dinner,  an' where 'ave yer been
to my pretty maid!'
     She  never knew how to answer  him when he was in this condition of the
vernacular. So she dressed herself and prepared to go a little ignominiously
home to Wragby. Or so she felt it: a little ignominiously home.
     He would accompany  her to the  broad riding. His  young pheasants were
all right under the shelter.
     When  he  and she  came out on  to the  riding, there  was  Mrs  Bolton
faltering palely towards them.
     `Oh, my Lady, we wondered if anything had happened!'
     `No! Nothing has happened.'
     Mrs Bolton looked  into the man's face, that was smooth and new-looking
with love. She met his half-laughing,  half-mocking eyes. He  always laughed
at mischance. But he looked at her kindly.
     `Evening,  Mrs Bolton! Your  Ladyship will be all right now,  so I  can
leave you. Good-night to your Ladyship! Good-night, Mrs Bolton!'
     He saluted and turned away.

     Connie  arrived  home  to an ordeal of  cross-questioning. Clifford had
been out at  tea-time, had come  in just before the storm, and where was her
ladyship?  Nobody knew, only Mrs  Bolton  suggested  she had gone for a walk
into the wood. Into the wood, in such a storm! Clifford for once let himself
get into a state of nervous frenzy. He started  at every flash of lightning,
and blenched at every roll of  thunder. He looked at the icy thunder-rain as
if it dare the end of the world. He got more and more worked up.
     Mrs Bolton tried to soothe him.
     `She'll be sheltering  in  the  hut,  till  it's over. Don't worry, her
Ladyship is all right.'
     `I don't like her being in the wood in a  storm like this! I don't like
her being  in the wood at all! She's been gone now more than two hours. When
did she go out?'
     `A little while before you came in.'
     `I  didn't see her in the  park. God  knows  where she is and what  has
happened to her.'
     `Oh,  nothing's  happened  to  her. You'll see, she'll be home directly
after the rain stops. It's just the rain that's keeping her.'
     But her ladyship did not come  home directly  the rain stopped. In fact
time went by,  the sun came out for his last yellow glimpse, and there still
was  no  sign of  her. The sun was set,  it  was growing dark, and the first
dinner-gong had rung.
     `It's no good!' said Clifford in a frenzy. `I'm going to send out Field
and Betts to find her.'
     `Oh don't do that!'  cried Mrs Bolton. `They'll think there's a suicide
or something. Oh  don't  start a lot of talk going. Let me slip over  to the
hut and see if she's not there. I'll find her all right.'
     So, after some persuasion, Clifford allowed her to go.
     And  so  Connie  had  come  upon  her  in the  drive, alone and  palely
     `You mustn't mind me coming to look for you, my  Lady! But Sir Clifford
worked  himself  up  into  such  a state.  He  made sure  you were struck by
lightning, or killed by a falling tree. And he was  determined to send Field
and Betts to the wood to find the body. So I thought I'd better come, rather
than set all the servants agog.
     She  spoke  nervously.  She  could  still  see  on  Connie's  face  the
smoothness and the half-dream  of passion, and she could feel the irritation
against herself.
     `Quite!' said Connie. And she could say no more.
     The two women plodded on through the wet world, in silence, while great
drops  splashed like explosions  in  the wood.  Ben they  came to the  park,
Connie strode  ahead, and  Mrs  Bolton  panted  a  little.  She  was getting
     `How foolish  of  Clifford  to  make a  fuss!'  said Connie  at length,
angrily, really speaking to herself.
     `Oh, you know what  men are! They like working themselves up. But he'll
be all right as soon as he sees your Ladyship.'
     Connie  was very angry  that Mrs Bolton knew her secret: for  certainly
she knew it.
     Suddenly Constance stood still on the path.
     `It's monstrous that  I should have to be followed!' she said, her eyes
     `Oh! your  Ladyship,  don't say that! He'd certainly have  sent the two
men, and they'd have  come straight to the  hut. I didn't know where it was,
     Connie  flushed darker  with rage, at  the suggestion. Yet,  while  her
passion was on her, she could not  lie. She could not even pretend there was
nothing between  herself and the keeper. She looked  at the other woman, who
stood so sly, with  her  head dropped: yet somehow,  in her  femaleness,  an
     `Oh well!' she said. `I fit is so it is so. I don't mind!'
     `Why, you're all right,  my Lady!  You've  only been sheltering  in the
hut. It's absolutely nothing.'
     They  went  on  to the house.  Connie  marched in  to Clifford's  room,
furious with him, furious  with his  pale, over-wrought  fee  and  prominent
     `I must say, I don't  think you need send the servants  after  me,' she
burst out.
     `My  God!'  he exploded. `Where have  you been, woman, You've been gone
hours,  hours,  and in  a  storm like this! What  the  hell  do  you  go  to
that-bloody wood for? What  have you been up to?  It's  hours even since the
rain  stopped, hours! Do you know  what time it  is? You're enough  to drive
anybody  mad. Where have you been? What in the name  of hell  have  you been
     `And  what if I don't choose  to tell you?' She pulled her hat from her
head and shook her hair.
     He lied  at her  with  his eyes  bulging, and  yellow  coming into  the
whites. It  was very bad  for him to get into these rages: Mrs Bolton had  a
weary time with him, for days after. Connie felt a sudden qualm.
     But really!' she said,  milder. `Anyone would think  I'd  been  I don't
know where! I just  sat in the hut during all  the storm, and  made myself a
little fire, and was happy.'
     She spoke now easily. After all, why work him up any more!
     He looked at her suspiciously.
     And look at your hair!' he said; `look at yourself!'
     `Yes!' she replied calmly. `I ran out in the rain with no clothes on.'
     He stared at her speechless.
     `You must be mad!' he said.
     `Why? To like a shower bath from the rain?'
     `And how did you dry yourself?'
     `On an old towel and at the fire.'
     He still stared at her in a dumbfounded way.
     `And supposing anybody came,' he said.
     `Who would come?'
     `Who? Why,  anybody! And  Mellors. Does  he come?  He must come in  the
     `Yes, he came later, when it had cleared up, to feed the pheasants with
     She spoke  with amazing nonchalance. Mrs  Bolton, who was listening  in
the next room,  heard in sheer  admiration. To  think a woman could carry it
off so naturally!
     `And suppose he'd  come while  you were running  about in the rain with
nothing on, like a maniac?'
     `I suppose he'd  have had the fright of his life, and  cleared  out  as
fast as he could.'
     Clifford  still  stared  at her  transfixed.  What  he  thought  in his
under-consciousness he would never know.  And he was too much taken aback to
form  one clear thought  in his upper consciousness. He just simply accepted
what she  said, in a  sort of blank. And he admired  her. He could not  help
admiring her. She looked so flushed and handsome and smooth: love smooth.
     `At  least,'  he said,  subsiding, `you'll  be lucky if you've got  off
without a severe cold.'
     `Oh, I haven't got a cold,' she replied. She was thinking to herself of
the other  man's  words: Tha's got the nicest  woman's  arse of anybody! She
wished, she dearly wished she could tell  Clifford  that this  had been said
her, during  the famous thunderstorm. However! She bore  herself rather like
an offended queen, and went upstairs to change.
     That evening, Clifford wanted to be nice  to her. He was reading one of
the latest scientific-religious books: he had a streak of a spurious sort of
religion in him, and was egocentrically concerned with the future of his own
ego. It was like  his habit to make conversation to Connie about  some book,
since the conversation between them had to be made,  almost chemically. They
had almost chemically to concoct it in their heads.
     `What do  you  think  of this,  by the way?' he said,  reaching for his
book. `You'd  have no need to cool  your  ardent  body by running out in the
rain, if only we have a  few more aeons  of evolution behind us. Ah, here it
is!---"The  universe shows us  two  aspects: on  one  side it is  physically
wasting, on the other it is spiritually ascending."'
     Connie listened, expecting more. But Clifford  was  waiting. She looked
at him in surprise.
     `And  if it spiritually ascends,' she  said, `what does  it  leave down
below, in the place where its tail used to be?'
     `Ah!'  he  said. `Take the  man  for what  he means. Ascending  is  the
opposite of his wasting, I presume.'
     `Spiritually blown out, so to speak!'
     `No, but seriously, without joking: do  you think  there is anything in
     She looked at him again.
     `Physically wasting?' she said. `I see you  getting fatter, and I'm sot
wasting myself. Do you think the sun is smaller than he used to be? He's not
to  me. And I suppose the apple Adam offered  Eve wasn't really much bigger,
if any, than one of our orange pippins. Do you think it was?'
     `Well, hear how he goes on: "It is thus slowly passing, with a slowness
inconceivable  in our  measures of  time,  to new  creative conditions, amid
which the physical world, as we at present know it, will he represented by a
ripple barely to be distinguished from nonentity."'
     She listened with a glisten of amusement. All sorts  of improper things
suggested themselves. But she only said:
     `What silly hocus-pocus! As if his little conceited consciousness could
know what was happening as slowly as all that! It only means he's a physical
failure on the earth,  so  he wants to  make the whole universe  a  physical
failure. Priggish little impertinence!'
     `Oh, but listen! Don't  interrupt the great man's solemn  words!---"The
present type of order in  the world has risen from an unimaginable part, and
will   find  its  grave  in  an   unimaginable  future.  There  remains  the
inexhaustive realm  of  abstract  forms,  and creativity with  its  shifting
character ever  determined afresh by its own  creatures, and God, upon whose
wisdom all forms of order depend."---There, that's how he winds up!'
     Connie sat listening contemptuously.
     `He's  spiritually  blown  out,'  she  said.  `What  a  lot  of  stuff!
Unnimaginables, and types of  order in graves, and realms of abstract forms,
and creativity with a shifty character,  and  God  mixed up  with  forms  of
order! Why, it's idiotic!'
     `I must say, it is  a little vaguely  conglomerate, a mixture of gases,
so  to speak,' said Clifford. `Still, I think there is something in the idea
that the universe is physically wasting and spiritually ascending.'
     `Do you? Then let it ascend, so long as it leaves me safely and solidly
physically here below.'
     `Do you like your physique?' he asked.
     `I love it!' And  through her mind  went the words:  It's  the  nicest,
nicest woman's arse as is!
     `But that is really rather  extraordinary,  because there's  no denying
it's an  encumbrance.  But  then I suppose a woman doesn't  take  a  supreme
pleasure in the life of the mind.'
     `Supreme  pleasure?' she said,  looking  up at him.  `Is that  sort  of
idiocy the supreme pleasure of the life of the  mind? No thank you!  Give me
the body. I believe the life of the body  is a greater reality than the life
of  the mind: when the body  is really wakened to  life. But so many people,
like  your  famous  wind-machine,  have  only got minds tacked  on to  their
physical corpses.'
     He looked at her in wonder.
     `The life of the body,' he said, `is just the life of the animals.'
     `And that's better than the life of professional corpses. But  it's not
true!  the human body is only  just coming  to real life. With the Greeks it
gave  a  lovely flicker, then  Plato  and  Aristotle  killed  it, and  Jesus
finished it off.  But now  the body  is coming really to life,  it is really
rising from  the tomb. And It will be  a lovely, lovely  life in  the lovely
universe, the life of the human body.'
     `My  dear, you speak as if  you were  ushering it all in! True, you  am
going away  on  a  holiday: but don't please  be quite  so indecently elated
about it.  Believe me, whatever  God there is is slowly eliminating the guts
and  alimentary  system  from the  human being, to  evolve  a  higher,  more
spiritual being.'
     `Why  should  I believe you, Clifford, when I  feel that  whatever  God
there  is  has at  last  wakened  up  in my guts,  as you  call them, and is
rippling so happily there, like dawn. Why should I believe you, when I  feel
so very much the contrary?'
     `Oh,  exactly! And  what has caused this  extraordinary  change in you?
running out  stark  naked in  the rain, and  playing  Bacchante? desire  for
sensation, or the anticipation of going to Venice?'
     `Both! Do you think it is horrid of me to be so thrilled at going off?'
she said.
     `Rather horrid to show it so plainly.'
     `Then I'll hide it.'
     `Oh,  don't  trouble! You almost  communicate  a thrill to me. I almost
feel that it is I who am going off.'
     `Well, why don't you come?'
     `We've gone over  all that. And as  a matter of fact,  I  suppose  your
greatest thrill  comes from being able to  say  a temporary farewell to  all
this. Nothing  so thrilling, for the moment, as Good-bye-to-all!---But every
parting means a meeting elsewhere. And every meeting is a new bondage.'
     `I'm not going to enter any new bondages.'
     `Don't boast, while the gods are listening,' he said.
     She pulled up short.
     `No! I won't boast!' she said.
     But she was  thrilled, none the less, to be  going off:  to feel  bonds
snap. She couldn't help it.
     Clifford, who  couldn't sleep, gambled all night with Mrs Bolton,  till
she was too sleepy almost to live.
     And the day came round  for Hilda to arrive. Connie  had arranged  with
Mellors that if everything promised well for their night together, she would
hang a green shawl out of the window. If there were frustration, a red one.
     Mrs Bolton helped Connie to pack.
     `It will be so good for your Ladyship to have a change.'
     `I think it  will. You  don't mind having  Sir  Clifford on your  hands
alone for a time, do you?'
     `Oh no! I can manage him quite all right. I mean, I can do all he needs
me to do. Don't you think he's better than he used to be?'
     `Oh much! You do wonders with him.'
     `Do  I though! But men are  all  alike:  just  babies, and you have  to
flatter them and wheedle them  and let  them think  they're having their own
way. Don't you find it so, my Lady?'
     `I'm afraid I haven't much experience.'
     Connie paused in her occupation.
     `Even your husband, did you have to manage  him, and wheedle him like a
baby?' she asked, looking at the other woman.
     Mrs Bolton paused too.
     `Well!' she said. `I had to do a good bit of coaxing, with him too. But
he always knew  what I was after, I must say that. But he generally  gave in
to me.'
     `He was never the lord and master thing?'
     `No! At least there'd be  a look in his eyes sometimes, and then I knew
I'd got to give in. But  usually he gave in to me. No, he was never lord and
master. But  neither  was I. I knew when I could go no further with him, and
then I gave in: though it cost me a good bit, sometimes.'
     `And what if you had held out against him?'
     `Oh, I don't know, I  never  did. Even when  he was in the wrong, if he
was fixed, I gave in. You see, I never wanted  to break what was between us.
And if you really set your will against a man, that finishes it. If you care
for a man, you have  to give in to him  once he's really determined; whether
you're  in the right or  not, you have to give in. Else you break something.
But I must say, Ted 'ud give in to me sometimes, when I was set on  a thing,
and in the wrong. So I suppose it cuts both ways.'
     `And that's how you are with all your patients?' asked Connie.
     `Oh, That's different. I don't care at all,  in  the same  way. I  know
what's good for  them, or I try to, and then I  just contrive to manage them
for  their own good.  It's  not like anybody as you're really fond  of. It's
quite  different.  Once  you've  been  really  fond  of  a man,  you can  be
affectionate to  almost any man, if he needs  you at  all. But it's not  the
same thing. You don't really care. I doubt, once you've really cared, if you
can ever really care again.'
     These words frightened Connie.
     `Do you think one can only care once?' she asked.
     `Or never. Most women never care,  never begin to. They don't know what
it means.  Nor men either. But when I  see a woman as cares, my heart stands
still for her.'
     `And do you think men easily take offence?'
     `Yes! If you wound them on their pride. But aren't women the same? Only
our two prides are a bit different.'
     Connie pondered this. She began  again to have some misgiving about her
gag away. After  all, was  she not giving her  man the go-by,  if only for a
short time? And he knew it. That's why he was so queer and sarcastic.
     Still! the human existence is  a good deal controlled by the machine of
external  circumstance. She was in  the power of  this machine. She couldn't
extricate herself all in five minutes. She didn't even want to.
     Hilda arrived in  good time on Thursday morning, in a nimble two-seater
car,  with  her suit-case strapped  firmly behind. She looked as  demure and
maidenly as  ever, but she had  the  same will of her own. She  had the very
hell of a will of her own, as her husband had found out. But the husband was
now divorcing her.
     Yes, she even made it easy for him to do that, though she had no lover.
For the time being, she was `off' men. She was very well content to be quite
her own mistress: and mistress of her  two children, whom she was  going  to
bring up `properly', whatever that may mean.
     Connie was only allowed a suit-case, also. But  she had sent on a trunk
to  her father, who was  going by train. No use taking a  car to Venice. And
Italy much  too hot to motor in, in July. He was going comfortably by train.
He had just come down from Scotland.
     So, like a demure arcadian  field-marshal, Hilda arranged  the material
part of the journey. She and Connie sat in the upstairs room, chatting.
     `But Hilda!' said  Connie,  a little frightened.  `I want to stay  near
here tonight. Not here: near here!'
     Hilda fixed her sister with grey, inscrutable eyes. She seemed so calm:
and she was so often furious.
     `Where, near here?' she asked softly.
     `Well, you know I love somebody, don't you?'
     `I gathered there was something.'
     `Well he  lives near here, and I want to spend this last night with him
must! I've promised.'
     Connie became insistent.
     Hilda bent her Minerva-like head in silence. Then she looked up.
     `Do you want to tell me who he is?' she said.
     `He's our game-keeper,' faltered  Connie, and she flushed vividly, like
a shamed child.
     `Connie!' said Hilda, lifting her nose slightly with disgust: a she had
from her mother.
     `I  know: but  he's lovely  really.  He really understands tenderness,'
said Connie, trying to apologize for him.
     Hilda, like a ruddy, rich-coloured  Athena, bowed her head and pondered
She was  really violently angry. But she dared not  show it, because Connie,
taking  after  her  father,  would  straight  away  become obstreperous  and
     It  was true, Hilda did  not like Clifford: his cool  assurance that he
was somebody! She thought  he made use of Connie  shamefully and impudently.
She had hoped  her  sister would  leave him. But, being solid  Scotch middle
class, she loathed any `lowering' of oneself or the family. She looked up at
     `You'll regret it,' she said,
     `I  shan't,' cried  Connie, flushed red.  `He's quite the exception.  I
really love him. He's lovely as a lover.'
     Hilda still pondered.
     `You'll get over him quite  soon,' she said, `and live to be ashamed of
yourself because of him.'
     `I shan't! I hope I'm going to have a child of his.'
     `Connie!' said Hilda, hard as a hammer-stroke, and pale with anger.
     `I  shall if  I possibly can.  I  should  be fearfully proud if I had a
child by him.'
     It was no use talking to her. Hilda pondered.
     `And doesn't Clifford suspect?' she said.
     `Oh no! Why should he?'
     `I've no doubt you've given him plenty of occasion for suspicion,' said
     `Not it all.'
     `And tonight's business seems quite  gratuitous folly.  Where does  the
man live?'
     `In the cottage at the other end of the wood.'
     `Is he a bachelor?'
     `No! His wife left him.'
     `How old?'
     `I don't know. Older than me.'
     Hilda became more angry at every reply, angry as her mother used to be,
in a kind of paroxysm. But still she hid it.
     `I would give up tonight's escapade if I were you,' she advised calmly.
     `I can't! I must stay with him tonight, or I can't go to Venice at all.
I just can't.'
     Hilda heard  her father  over  again,  and she  gave way,  out  of mere
diplomacy. And she consented to drive to Mansfield, both of them, to dinner,
to  bring  Connie back to the lane-end after dark, and to fetch her from the
lane-end the next morning,  herself sleeping in Mansfield, only half an hour
away, good going.
     But she was furious. She stored it up against  her sister, this balk in
her plans.
     Connie flung an emerald-green shawl over her window-sill.
     On the strength of her anger, Hilda warmed toward Clifford.
     After  all,  he had a mind. And if he had no sex, functionally, all the
better:  so much the less to quarrel about! Hilda wanted no more of that sex
business, where men became  nasty, selfish little horrors. Connie really had
less to put up with than many women if she did but know it.
     And Clifford decided that Hilda, after all, was a decidedly intelligent
woman, and would make a man a first-rate  helpmate, if he  were going in for
politics for example. Yes, she had none  of Connie's  silliness,  Connie was
more  a  child:  you had to  make  excuses  for  her,  because she  was  not
altogether dependable.
     There was an early cup of tea in the hall, where doors were open to let
in the sun. Everybody seemed to be panting a little.
     `Good-bye, Connie girl! Come back to me safely.'
     `Good-bye, Clifford! Yes, I shan't be long.' Connie was almost tender.
     `Good-bye, Hilda! You will keep an eye on her, won't you?'
     `I'll even keep two!' said Hilda. `She shan't go very far astray.'
     `It's a promise!'
     `Good-bye, Mrs Bolton! I know you'll look after Sir Clifford nobly.'
     `I'll do what I can, your Ladyship.'
     `And write to me if there  is any news, and tell me about Sir Clifford,
how he is.'
     `Very good, your Ladyship, I will. And have a good  time, and come back
and cheer us up.'
     Everybody waved. The car went off  Connie looked back and saw Clifford,
sitting  at the top of the steps  in his  house-chair. After all, he was her
husband: Wragby was her home: circumstance had done it.
     Mrs Chambers held the gate and wished her ladyship a happy holiday. The
car slipped out of the dark spinney that masked the park, on to the highroad
where  the colliers were trailing home. Hilda turned to  the Crosshill Road,
that was not a main road, but ran to Mansfield. Connie put on goggles.  They
ran beside the railway, which was in a cutting below them. Then they crossed
the cutting on a bridge.
     `That's the lane to the cottage!' said Connie.
     Hilda glanced at it impatiently.
     `It's a frightful  pity we can't go straight  off!'  she said. We could
have been in Pall Mall by nine o'clock.'
     `I'm sorry for your sake,' said Connie, from behind her goggles.
     They  were   soon  at   Mansfield,  that  once-romantic,   now  utterly
disheartening  colliery  town.  Hilda  stopped  at  the  hotel named in  the
motor-car book, and took  a room. The whole thing was utterly uninteresting,
and  she was  almost too  angry to talk.  However,  Connie had to  tell  her
something of the man's history.
     `He! He! What name do you call him by? You only say he,' said Hilda.
     `I've never called  him by any name: nor he  me: which is curious, when
you come  to think of it. Unless we say Lady  Jane and  John Thomas. But his
name is Oliver Mellors.'
     `And  how would  you  like  to be Mrs  Oliver Mellors, instead  of Lady
     `I'd love it.'
     There was nothing to  be  done with Connie. And anyhow, if the man  had
been a lieutenant in the  army in India for four or  five years, he  must be
more or less presentable. Apparently he had character. Hilda began to relent
a little.
     `But you'll be through with him in awhile,' she said, `and  then you'll
be  ashamed of having been connected  with him.  One  can't mix up with  the
working people.'
     `But you are such a socialist! you're always on the side of the working
     `I may be on their side in a political crisis,  but being on their side
makes me know how impossible it is to mix one's life with theirs. Not out of
snobbery, but just because the whole rhythm is different.'
     Hilda  had lived  among the real  political  intellectuals,  so she was
disastrously unanswerable.
     The nondescript evening in the hotel dragged out, and  at last they had
a nondescript dinner. Then Connie slipped a  few things  into  a little silk
bag, and combed her hair once more.
     `After all, Hilda,' she said, `love can be wonderful: when you feel you
live, and are in the very middle  of creation.' It was almost like  bragging
on her part.
     `I suppose every mosquito feels the same,' said Hilda. `Do you think it
does? How nice for it!'
     The evening was wonderfully clear and long-lingering, even in the small
town.  It  would  be half-light all night.  With  a face  like  a mask, from
resentment,  Hilda started  her  car again,  and the two sped back on  their
traces, taking the other road, through Bolsover.
     Connie wore  her  goggles and disguising cap, and she sat  in  silence.
Because of Hilda's Opposition, she was fiercely on the sidle of the man, she
would stand by him through thick and thin.
     They had their head-lights  on, by the time they  passed Crosshill, and
the small lit-up  train that chuffed past in the cutting made it  seem  like
real night. Hilda had  calculated the turn into  the lane at the bridge-end.
She slowed up rather  suddenly  and swerved off the road, the lights glaring
white into the grassy, overgrown lane. Connie looked out. She saw  a shadowy
figure, and she opened the door.
     `Here we are!' she said softly.
     But Hilda had switched off the lights, and was absorbed backing, making
the turn.
     `Nothing on the bridge?'  she asked shortly. `You're all  right,'  said
the mall's voice. She  backed on  to  the  bridge, reversed, let the car run
forwards a few  yards along the  road,  then  backed into the lane, under  a
wych-elm tree, crushing the grass and bracken. Then all the lights went out.
Connie stepped down. The man stood under the trees.
     `Did you wait long?' Connie asked.
     `Not so very,' he replied.
     They both waited  for Hilda  to get out. But Hilda shut the door of the
car and sat tight.
     `This is my sister Hilda. Won't you come and  speak to her? Hilda! This
is Mr Mellors.'
     The keeper lifted his hat, but went no nearer.
     `Do walk down to the cottage with us, Hilda,' Connie pleaded. `It's not
     `What about the car?'
     `People do leave them on the lanes. You have the key.'
     Hilda was  silent, deliberating.  Then  she  looked backwards  down the
     `Can I back round the bush?' she said.
     `Oh yes!' said the keeper.
     She backed slowly round the curve, out of sight of the road, locked the
car, and got down. It was night, but luminous dark. The hedges rose high and
wild,  by the unused  lane, and very dark  seeming. There was a  fresh sweet
scent  on  the air. The keeper went ahead, then came Connie, then Hilda, and
in silence. He lit up  the difficult places  with  a flash-light  torch, and
they went on again, while  an owl softly hooted over the oaks,  and  Flossie
padded silently around. Nobody could speak. There was nothing to say.
     At length Connie saw the yellow light  of the house, and her heart beat
fast. She was a little frightened. They trailed on, still in Indian file.
     He unlocked  the door and preceded  them into the warm but bare  little
room. The fire  burned low and  red in the grate. The table was set with two
plates and two glasses on a proper white table-cloth for  Once.  Hilda shook
her hair and looked round  the  bare, cheerless room. Then she  summoned her
courage and looked at the man.
     He was moderately tall, and thin,  and she thought him good-looking. He
kept a quiet distance of his own, and seemed absolutely unwilling to speak.
     `Do sit down, Hilda,' said Connie.
     `Do!'  he said. `Can I make you  tea or  anything, or will you  drink a
glass of beer? It's moderately cool.'
     `Beer!' said Connie.
     `Beer  for  me, please!' said Hilda, with a mock  sort of  shyness.  He
looked at her and blinked.
     He took a blue jug and tramped to the scullery.  When he came back with
the beer, his face had changed again.
     Connie sat down by the door, and  Hilda sat  in his seat, with the back
to the wall, against the window corner.
     `That is his chair,' said  Connie softly.' And  Hilda rose as if it had
burnt her.
     `Sit yer still, sit yer still! Ta'e ony cheer as yo'n a  mind  to, none
of us is th' big bear,' he said, with complete equanimity.
     And he brought Hilda a glass,  and poured her beer  first from the blue
     `As  for cigarettes,' he  said, `I've  got none, but 'appen you've  got
your own. I dunna smoke,  mysen. Shall y' eat summat?'  He turned  direct to
Connie. `Shall t'eat a smite o' summat, if I bring it thee? Tha can  usually
do wi' a bite.' He spoke the vernacular with a curious calm assurance, as if
he were the landlord of the Inn.
     `What is there?' asked Connie, flushing.
     `Boiled ham, cheese, pickled wa'nuts, if yer like.---Nowt much.'
     `Yes,' said Connie. `Won't you, Hilda?'
     Hilda looked up at him.
     `Why do you speak Yorkshire?' she said softly.
     `That! That's non Yorkshire, that's Derby.'
     He looked back at her with that faint, distant grin.
     `Derby, then!  Why  do you speak  Derby? You spoke natural  English  at
     `Did Ah though? An' canna Ah change if Ah'm a mind to 't? Nay, nay, let
me talk Derby if it suits me. If yo'n nowt against it.'
     `It sounds a little affected,' said Hilda.
     `Ay,  'appen  so! An' up i' Tevershall yo'd sound affected.'  He looked
again at her, with a queer calculating distance, along his cheek-bone: as if
to say: Yi, an' who are you?
     He tramped away to the pantry for the food.
     The sisters sat in  silence. He  brought another  plate,  and knife and
fork. The he said:
     `An' if  it's the  same to you, I s'll ta'e my  coat  off like I allers
     And  he took  off his  coat,  and hung it on the peg, then  sat down to
table in his shirt-sleeves: a shirt of thin, cream-coloured flannel.
     `'Elp yerselves!' he said. `'Elp yerselves! Dunna  wait f'r axin'!'  He
cut the bread, then sat motionless. Hilda felt, as Connie once used to,  his
power  of silence and distance. She saw his  smallish, sensitive, loose hand
on the table. He was no simple working man, not he: he was acting! acting!
     `Still!'  she said,  as  she  took a little  cheese.  `It would be more
natural if you spoke to us in normal English, not in vernacular.'
     He looked at her, feeling her devil of a will.
     `Would  it?' he said in the normal English.  `Would it?  Would anything
that was  said  between  you and  me be quite  natural, unless you said  you
wished me to hell  before  your sister ever saw me  again: and unless I said
something almost as unpleasant back again? Would anything else be natural?'
     `Oh yes!' said Hilda. `Just good manners would be quite natural.'
     `Second nature, so  to speak!' he said: then he began to laugh.  `Nay,'
he said. `I'm weary o' manners. Let me be!'
     Hilda was frankly baffled and  furiously annoyed. After all,  he  might
show  that he  realized he was  being honoured.  Instead of  which, with his
play-acting and lordly airs, he seemed to think it was he who was conferring
the honour. Just impudence! Poor misguided Connie, in the man's clutches!
     The three  ate  in silence. Hilda  looked to see what his table-manners
were like. She could not  help realizing that he was instinctively much more
delicate and well-bred  than herself. She had a certain Scottish clumsiness.
And moreover, he had all the quiet self-contained assurance of the  English,
no loose edges. It would be very difficult to get the better of him.
     But neither would he get the better of her.
     `And do you really think,' she said, a little more humanly, `it's worth
the risk.'
     `Is what worth what risk?'
     `This escapade with my sister.'
     He flickered his irritating grin.
     `Yo' maun ax 'er!' Then he looked at Connie.
     `Tha  comes o'  thine  own accord, lass, doesn't  ter?  It's non  me as
forces thee?'
     Connie looked at Hilda.
     `I wish you wouldn't cavil, Hilda.'
     `Naturally I don't  want  to. But someone  has to  think about  things.
You've got to  have some sort of continuity in your life. You can't  just go
making a mess.'
     There was a moment's pause.
     `Eh,  continuity!' he said. `An' what by that? What  continuity ave yer
got i'  your  life? I  thought  you was  gettin' divorced. What continuity's
that?  Continuity  o'  yer own stubbornness. I  can see that much. An'  what
good's it goin' to do yer? You'll be sick o' yer continuity  afore yer a fat
sight  older. A stubborn  woman  an er own self-will: ay,  they  make a fast
continuity, they do. Thank heaven,  it isn't me as `as got th'  'andlin'  of
     `What right have you to speak like that to me?' said Hilda.
     `Right!  What right ha' yo'  ter start  harnessin' other  folks i' your
continuity? Leave folks to their own continuities.'
     `My dear man, do you think I am concerned with you?' said Hilda softly.
     `Ay,'  he  said. `Yo' are.  For it's a force-put. Yo'  more  or less my
     `Still far from it, I assure you.
     `Not  a' that far,  I assure  you. I've got my own sort o'  continuity,
back your life! Good as  yours, any day. An' if your sister  there comes ter
me for a bit o' cunt an' tenderness, she knows what she's after. She's  been
in my bed afore: which you 'aven't, thank the  Lord, with your  continuity.'
There was  a  dead pause,  before he added: `---Eh, I don't wear me breeches
arse-forrards. An' if I  get a windfall, I thank my stars.  A man gets a lot
of enjoyment out o' that  lass theer, which is more than anybody gets out o'
th'  likes o' you. Which is a pity, for you might appen a' bin a good apple,
'stead of a handsome crab. Women like you needs proper graftin'.'
     He was looking at her with  an odd, flickering smile,  faintly  sensual
and appreciative.
     `And men like you,' she said, `ought to be segregated: justifying their
own vulgarity and selfish lust.'
     `Ay,  ma'am!  It's  a  mercy there's a few men  left like  me. But  you
deserve what you get: to be left severely alone.'
     Hilda  had risen and gone to the door. He rose  and took his coat  from
the peg.
     `I can find my way quite well alone,' she said.
     `I doubt you can't,' he replied easily.
     They tramped in ridiculous file down the lane again, in silence. An owl
still hooted. He knew he ought to shoot it.
     The car stood untouched, a  little  dewy.  Hilda got in and started the
engine. The other two waited.
     `All  I  mean,' she  said from  her entrenchment, `is  that I  doubt if
you'll find it's been worth it, either of you!'
     `One man's meat is another man's poison,' he said, out of the darkness.
`But it's meat an' drink to me.
     The lights flared out.
     `Don't make me wait in the morning,'
     `No, I won't. Goodnight!'
     The car rose slowly on to the highroad, then slid swiftly away, leaving
the night silent.
     Connie  timidly took his  arm, and they went down the lane.  He did not
speak. At length she drew him to a standstill.
     `Kiss me!' she murmured.
     `Nay, wait a bit! Let me simmer down,' he said.
     That amused her. She still kept  hold of his arm, and they went quickly
down the lane, in silence.  She was  so  glad to be with him, just now.  She
shivered,  knowing  that  Hilda  might  have  snatched   her  away.  He  was
inscrutably silent.
     When they were in  the cottage again, she almost  jumped with pleasure,
that she should be free of her sister.
     `But you were horrid to Hilda,' she said to him.
     `She should ha' been slapped in time.'
     `But why? and she's so nice.'
     He  didn't  answer, went round doing the evening chores,  with a quiet,
inevitable  sort  of motion.  He was  outwardly  angry, but not with her. So
Connie felt.  And his  anger gave him a peculiar handsomeness, an inwardness
and glisten that thrilled her and made her limbs go molten.
     Still he took no notice of her.
     Till he sat down and began to  unlace  his boots.  Then he looked up at
her from under his brows, on which the anger still sat firm.
     `Shan't you go up?' he said. `There's a candle!'
     He jerked his head swiftly to indicate the candle burning on the table.
She took it  obediently,  and he watched the  full  curve of her hips as she
went up the first stairs.
     It was a night of  sensual passion, in which  she was a little startled
and almost unwilling: yet pierced again with piercing thrills of sensuality,
different,  sharper, more  terrible than the thrills  of tenderness, but, at
the moment, more desirable. Though a little frightened, she let him have his
way, and the reckless, shameless  sensuality shook  her  to her foundations,
stripped her to the very last, and made a different woman of her. It was not
really love. It was not voluptuousness. It was sensuality sharp and  searing
as fire, burning the soul to tinder.
     Burning out the shames, the deepest, oldest shames, in the  most secret
places. It cost her an effort to let  him have his way  and his will of her.
She  had to be a passive, consenting thing, like a slave,  a physical slave.
Yet the passion  licked round her, consuming, and  when the sensual flame of
it pressed through her bowels and breast, she really thought she was  dying:
yet a poignant, marvellous death.
     She had often wondered what  Ab╔lard meant, when he  said that in their
year  of  love  he  and  H╔lo¤se  had  passed  through  all the  stages  and
refinements of passion. The same  thing, a  thousand years ago: ten thousand
years  ago!  The  same  on the Greek  vases, everywhere! The  refinements of
passion, the extravagances of sensuality! And necessary,  forever necessary,
to burn out false shames  and  smelt out the heaviest ore of  the  body into
purity. With the fire of sheer sensuality.
     In the  short summer night she learnt so much. She would have thought a
woman would have died  of shame. Instead of which, the  shame  died.  Shame,
which  is  fear: the  deep Organic shame,  the old, old  physical fear which
crouches in the  bodily roots  of us, and can only  be  chased  away by  the
sensual fire, at last it was roused up and routed by the phallic hunt of the
man, and she came to the very heart of the jungle of herself. She felt, now,
she  had  come  to  the  real bed-rock  of her nature,  and  was essentially
shameless.  She  was  her  sensual  self, naked  and unashamed.  She felt  a
triumph, almost a vainglory. So!  That was how it  was! That was  life! That
was how oneself really was! There was nothing left to disguise or be ashamed
of. She shared her ultimate nakedness with a man, another being.
     And what  a reckless devil the man was! really like a devil! One had to
be strong to bear him. But it took some getting at, the core of the physical
jungle, the  last  and deepest recess of  organic shame. The  phallos  alone
could explore it. And how he had pressed in on her!
     And how, in fear, she had hated  it. But how  she had really wanted it!
She knew now. At the bottom  of her soul, fundamentally, she had needed this
phallic hunting  Out, she had secretly  wanted it, and she had believed that
she would never get it. Now suddenly there it was, and a man was sharing her
last and final nakedness, she was shameless.
     What  liars  poets and  everybody  were! They made one think one wanted
sentiment.  When what one supremely wanted  was  this  piercing,  consuming,
rather awful sensuality. To find a man who dared do it, without shame or sin
or  final  misgiving!  If he had  been ashamed afterwards, and made one feel
ashamed, how awful!  What a pity most men are so doggy, a bit shameful, like
Clifford!  Like Michaelis even! Both sensually a bit doggy and  humiliating.
The supreme pleasure  of the mind! And what is that  to a woman? What is it,
really, to  the  man either! He becomes merely  messy and doggy, even in his
mind. It  needs  sheer sensuality even to purify and quicken the mind. Sheer
fiery sensuality, not messiness.
     Ah, God,  how  rare a thing a man  is! They are all dogs that  trot and
sniff and copulate. To  have found a man who was not afraid and not ashamed!
She looked at him now, sleeping so like a wild animal asleep, gone,  gone in
the remoteness of it. She nestled down, not to be away from him.
     Till his  rousing  waked  her  completely. He was  sitting up  in  bed,
looking  down  at  her.  She saw her own  nakedness  in his  eyes, immediate
knowledge of her. And the fluid, male knowledge of herself seemed to flow to
her from his  eyes and wrap her voluptuously. Oh, how  voluptuous and lovely
it was to have limbs and body half-asleep, heavy and suffused with passion.
     `Is it time to wake up?' she said.
     `Half past six.'
     She had to be  at the  lane-end at  eight. Always, always, always  this
compulsion on one!
     `I might make the breakfast and bring it up here; should I?' he said.
     `Oh yes!'
     Flossie whimpered gently below. He  got  up and  threw off his pyjamas,
and rubbed himself with a towel. When the human being is full of courage and
full  of life, how beautiful it  is!  So she thought,  as she watched him in
     `Draw the curtain, will you?'
     The sun was  shining already on the tender green leaves of morning, and
the  wood stood bluey-fresh,  in the nearness. She sat  up  in  bed, looking
dreamily  out through the dormer  window, her naked arms pushing  her  naked
breasts together. He was dressing himself.  She was half-dreaming of life, a
life together with him: just a life.
     He was going, fleeing from her dangerous, crouching nakedness.
     `Have I lost my nightie altogether?' she said.
     He pushed his  hand down  in the bed, and pulled  out the bit of flimsy
     `I knowed I felt silk at my ankles,' he said.
     But the night-dress was slit almost in two.
     `Never mind!' she said. `It belongs here, really. I'll leave it.'
     `Ay, leave it,  I can  put it between my legs at  night,  for  company.
There's no name nor mark on it, is there?'
     She slipped on  the  torn  thing, and sat dreamily looking  out of  the
window. The window was Open, the air of morning drifted in, and the sound of
birds.  Birds  flew continuously past. Then  she saw Flossie roaming out. It
was morning.
     Downstairs she  heard him making the  fire, pumping water, going out at
the back door. By  and by came the smell of  bacon,  and at  length he  came
upstairs with a huge black tray that would only just go through the door. He
set the tray on the bed, and poured out the tea. Connie squatted in her torn
nightdress, and fell on her food hungrily. He sat on the one chair, with his
plate on his knees.
     `How good it is!' she said. `How nice to have breakfast together.'
     He  ate in silence, his mind on the time that was quickly passing. That
made her remember.
     `Oh, how  I wish I could stay here with you,  and Wragby were a million
miles away! It's  Wragby I'm going away  from  really. You know that,  don't
     `And you  promise we will live together and have  a  life together, you
and me! You promise me, don't you?'
     `Ay! When we can.'
     `Yes! And we will! we will, won't we?' she leaned  over, making the tea
spill, catching his wrist.
     `Ay!' he said, tidying up the tea.
     `We  can't  possibly  not  live  together  now,  can   we?'   she  said
     He looked up at her with his flickering grin.
     `No!' he said. `Only you've got to start in twenty-five minutes.'
     `Have I?' she cried. Suddenly he held up a warning finger, and  rose to
his feet.
     Flossie had given a short bark, then three loud sharp yaps of warning.
     Silent,  he  put his plate  on  the tray and went downstairs. Constance
heard him go down the garden path. A bicycle bell tinkled outside there.
     `Morning, Mr Mellors! Registered letter!'
     `Oh ay! Got a pencil?'
     `Here y'are!'
     There was a pause.
     `Canada!' said the stranger's voice.
     `Ay! That's a mate o'  mine out there in  British  Columbia. Dunno what
he's got to register.'
     `'Appen sent y'a fortune, like.'
     `More like wants summat.'
     `Well! Lovely day again!'
     After a time he came upstairs again, looking a little angry.
     `Postman,' he said.
     `Very early!' she replied.
     `Rural round; he's mostly here by seven, when he does come.
     `Did your mate send you a fortune?'
     `No!  Only some  photographs  and papers about a  place  out  there  in
British Columbia.'
     `Would you go there?'
     `I thought perhaps we might.'
     `Oh yes! I believe it's lovely!' But he was put out  by  the  postman's
     `Them  damn bikes, they're on you afore you know where you are.  I hope
he twigged nothing.'
     `After all, what could he twig!'
     `You must  get up  now, and get  ready. I'm just  goin' ter  look round
     She saw him go  reconnoitring into the lane, with dog and gun. She went
downstairs and washed, and was ready by  the time he came back, with the few
things in the little silk bag.
     He  locked up, and they  set off, but through  the  wood, not down  the
lane. He was being wary.
     `Don't you think one lives for times like last night?' she said to him.
     `Ay!  But there's  the rest  o'times  to think  on,' he replied, rather
     They plodded on down the overgrown path, he in front, in silence.
     `And  we  will live  together and make a life together, won't  we?' she
     `Ay!' he replied,  striding on without  looking  round.  `When  t' time
comes! Just now you're off to Venice or somewhere.'
     She followed him dumbly, with sinking heart. Oh, now she was wae to go!
     At last he stopped.
     `I'll just strike across here,' he said, pointing to the right.
     But she flung her arms round his neck, and clung to him.
     `But  you'll keep the tenderness for me,  won't you?' she whispered. `I
loved last night. But you'll keep the tenderness for me, won't you?'
     He  kissed  her and  held her close for a moment. Then he  sighed,  and
kissed her again.
     `I must go an' look if th' car's there.'
     He strode over the  low brambles and  bracken, leaving a  trail through
the fern. For a minute or two he was gone. Then he came striding back.
     `Car's  not there yet,'  he  said. `But there's the  baker's cart on t'
     He seemed anxious and troubled.
     They heard  a car softly hoot as  it  came nearer. It slowed up  on the
     She plunged with  utter mournfulness in his track through the fern, and
came to a huge holly hedge. He was just behind her.
     `Here! Go through there!' he said,  pointing to  a gap. `I shan't  come
     She  looked at him in despair. But he  kissed her  and made her go. She
crept  in sheer  misery  through  the holly  and through  the  wooden fence,
stumbled down  the little ditch  and up  into the lane, where Hilda was just
getting out of the car in vexation.
     `Why you're there!' said Hilda. `Where's he?'
     `He's not coming.'
     Connie's face was  running with tears as she got into the  car with her
little bag.  Hilda snatched  up  the motoring  helmet  with the  disfiguring
     `Put it on!' she said. And Connie pulled on the disguise, then the long
motoring  coat,  and  she  sat  down,  a  goggling  inhuman,  unrecognizable
creature. Hilda  started the car with a businesslike motion. They heaved out
of the lane, and were away down the road. Connie had looked round, but there
was no  sight of him.  Away! Away! She sat in bitter tears. The parting  had
come so suddenly, so unexpectedly. It was like death.
     `Thank goodness you'll  be away  from him for  some  time!' said Hilda,
turning to avoid Crosshill village.

     `You  see,  Hilda,'  said Connie after  lunch, when  they  were nearing
London, `you have never known either real tenderness or real sensuality: and
if you do know them, with the same person, it makes a great difference.'
     `For mercy's sake don't brag about your experiences!' said Hilda. `I've
never  met  the man  yet who  was capable of intimacy with  a  woman, giving
himself  up  to  her.  That  was  what  I  wanted.  I'm  not keen  on  their
self-satisfied tenderness, and their sensuality.  I'm not  content to be any
man's  little  petsy-wetsy,  nor  his  chair └ plaisir  either.  I  wanted a
complete intimacy, and I didn't get it. That's enough for me.
     Connie  pondered  this.  Complete  intimacy! She  supposed  that  meant
revealing everything  concerning  yourself to  the  other  person,  and  his
revealing everything concerning himself. But that was  a bore.  And all that
weary self-consciousness between a man and a woman! a disease!
     `I  think  you're  too  conscious  of  yourself  all   the  time,  with
everybody,' she said to her sister.
     `I hope at least I haven't a slave nature,' said Hilda.
     `But  perhaps you have! Perhaps  you  are  a slave to your own  idea of
     Hilda  drove  in  silence for some time after this piece  of unheard of
insolence from that chit Connie.
     `At  least  I'm  not a slave  to  somebody  else's idea of me:  and the
somebody  else a servant of my  husband's,'  she  retorted at last, in crude
     `You see, it's not so,' said Connie calmly.
     She  had  always let herself be  dominated  by  her elder sister.  Now,
though somewhere inside  herself  she  was  weeping,  she was  free  of  the
dominion of other  women. Ah! that in itself was  a relief, like being given
another  life: to be free  of  the strange  dominion and  obsession of other
women. How awful they were, women!
     She  was glad  to  be with her  father, whose favourite she  had always
been. She and Hilda stayed in a little  hotel off Pall Mall, and Sir Malcolm
was in his club. But  he took  his  daughters  out in  the evening, and they
liked going with him.
     He was still handsome and robust, though just  a little  afraid of  the
new world  that  had sprung up  around  him.  He  had  got a  second wife in
Scotland, younger than himself and richer. But  he had as many holidays away
from her as possible: just as with his first wife.
     Connie sat  next to him at the opera. He was moderately  stout, and had
stout thighs,  but they  were  still strong and  well-knit, the  thighs of a
healthy  man  who  had   taken  his  pleasure  in  life.  His  good-humoured
selfishness, his dogged sort of independence, his unrepenting sensuality, it
seemed to Connie  she could see them  all  in his well-knit straight thighs.
Just  a  man!  And  now becoming  an old man, which is sad.  Because in  his
strong, thick  male legs there was none of the alert sensitiveness and power
of  tenderness which is the very essence  of youth, that  which  never dies,
once it is there.
     Connie woke up to  the existence of legs. They became more important to
her  than faces,  which  are no longer very real. How few  people  had live,
alert  legs! She looked at  the men in the stalls. Great puddingy thighs  in
black  pudding-cloth,  or  lean  wooden sticks in  black funeral  stuff,  or
well-shaped young legs  without any meaning  whatever, either  sensuality or
tenderness  or sensitiveness,  just  mere  leggy  ordinariness that  pranced
around.  Not  even any sensuality like her father's. They  were all daunted,
daunted out of existence.
     But  the women were not daunted. The awful mill-posts of most  females!
really shocking, really enough to justify murder! Or  the poor thin pegs! or
the trim neat  things in silk stockings, without the slightest look of life!
Awful, the millions of meaningless legs prancing meaninglessly around!
     But  she was not  happy in  London.  The people  seemed so spectral and
blank. They had no  alive  happiness, no  matter how brisk  and good-looking
they  were.  It  was all barren. And Connie had a woman's  blind craving for
happiness, to be assured of happiness.
     In  Paris  at any rate she felt a bit of sensuality  still. But what  a
weary, tired,  worn-out sensuality.  Worn-out for  lack  of  tenderness. Oh!
Paris was  sad.  One  of  the  saddest  towns: weary of  its  now-mechanical
sensuality,  weary  of  the tension of money, money,  money,  weary even  of
resentment  and  conceit, just weary  to death, and still  not  sufficiently
Americanized  or  Londonized  to  hide  the  weariness  under  a  mechanical
jig-jig-jig! Ah,  these  manly  he-men,  these  fl┬neurs, the oglers,  these
eaters of good dinners! How weary they were! weary,  worn-out for lack  of a
little tenderness, given  and taken. The efficient, sometimes charming women
knew  a  thing or two  about the  sensual realities: they had that pull over
their jigging English  sisters. But they knew  even less of tenderness. Dry,
with  the endless dry tension of will, they too were wearing  out. The human
world was just getting worn out. Perhaps it would turn fiercely destructive.
A sort of  anarchy!  Clifford  and  his  conservative  anarchy!  Perhaps  it
wouldn't be  conservative much  longer. Perhaps it would develop into a very
radical anarchy.
     Connie found herself shrinking and afraid  of the world. Sometimes  she
was happy  for a  little while in  the Boulevards  or  in  the  Bois  or the
Luxembourg Gardens. But  already Paris was full  of  Americans and  English,
strange Americans in the  oddest uniforms, and the usual dreary English that
are so hopeless abroad.
     She was glad to drive  on.  It was suddenly  hot weather, so  Hilda was
going through Switzerland and over  the Brenner, then  through the Dolomites
down  to Venice.  Hilda  loved all the managing and the  driving  and  being
mistress of the show. Connie was quite content to keep quiet.
     And the trip was really quite nice. Only Connie kept saying to herself:
Why don't I  really care! Why am I never really thrilled? How awful, that  I
don't really care about  the landscape any  more! But I  don't. It's  rather
awful.  I'm like Saint  Bernard,  who could  sail down the lake  of  Lucerne
without ever noticing that  there were even mountain and green water. I just
don't care  for landscape any more.  Why should one stare at it?  Why should
one? I refuse to.
     No,  she found nothing vital in France  or  Switzerland or the Tyrol or
Italy. She just was carted  through  it all.  And it was  all less real than
Wragby. Less real than the awful Wragby!  She felt  she  didn't care  if she
never saw France or Switzerland or Italy again. They'd keep. Wragby was more
     As for people! people were all alike, with very little difference. They
all wanted to get money out of you: or, if they were travellers, they wanted
to get  enjoyment, perforce,  like  squeezing  blood out  of  a stone.  Poor
mountains!  poor  landscape! it all had  to  be  squeezed  and  squeezed and
squeezed  again, to provide a thrill, to provide enjoyment.  What did people
mean, with their simply determined enjoying of themselves?
     No! said  Connie  to herself  I'd rather be at Wragby,  where I can  go
about and be still,  and  not stare at anything or do any performing of  any
sort.  This  tourist  performance of  enjoying  oneself  is  too  hopelessly
humiliating: it's such a failure.
     She  wanted  to  go  back  to Wragby, even  to  Clifford, even to  poor
crippled Clifford. He wasn't  such a fool as this  swarming holidaying  lot,
     But in her inner  consciousness she  was keeping  touch  with the other
man. She mustn't let her  connexion with him  go: oh, she mustn't let it go,
or she was lost, lost  utterly in this world of riff-raffy  expensive people
and  joy-hogs. Oh, the joy-hogs! Oh `enjoying oneself'! Another  modern form
of sickness.
     They left the car  in Mestre, in a garage, and took the regular steamer
over  to  Venice.  It  was  a lovely summer  afternoon,  the  shallow lagoon
rippled,  the full sunshine made Venice, turning its back to them across the
water, look dim.
     At  the station  quay they changed to  a  gondola, giving the  man  the
address.  He was a regular  gondolier in  a white-and-blue blouse,  not very
good-looking, not at all impressive.
     `Yes! The Villa  Esmeralda! Yes! I know it!  I have  been the gondolier
for a gentleman there. But a fair distance out!'
     He seemed a rather childish,  impetuous fellow. He rowed with a certain
exaggerated  impetuosity,  through  the dark side-canals  with the horrible,
slimy green walls, the canals that go through the poorer quarters, where the
washing hangs high up  on ropes, and there is a  slight, or strong, odour of
     But at last he came to one  of the  open canals with pavement on either
side, and  looping bridges, that run  straight, at right-angles to the Grand
Canal. The two women sat under the little awning, the man was perched above,
behind them.
     `Are  the signorine  staying long  at the Villa  Esmeralda?'  he asked,
rowing  easy,  and  `wiping  his  perspiring  face  with  a   white-and-blue
     `Some twenty  days: we  are  both  married ladies,'  said Hilda, in her
curious hushed voice, that made her Italian sound so foreign.
     `Ah! Twenty days!'  said the man.  There was  a  pause. After which  he
asked: `Do the signore want a gondolier for the twenty days or so  that they
will stay at the Villa Esmeralda? Or by the day, or by the week?'
     Connie and Hilda considered. In Venice, it is always preferable to have
one's own gondola, as it is preferable to have one's own car on land.
     `What is there at the Villa? what boats?'
     `There is  a motor-launch, also a  gondola. But---' The but meant: they
won't be your property.
     `How much do you charge?'
     It was about thirty shillings a day, or ten pounds a week.
     `Is that the regular price?' asked Hilda.
     `Less, Signora, less. The regular price---'
     The sisters considered.
     `Well,'  said  Hilda,  `come tomorrow morning, and we will arrange  it.
What is your name?'
     His name was  Giovanni, and  he wanted to know at  what time he  should
come, and  then for  whom should he say he was waiting.  Hilda had  no card.
Connie gave  him one  of  hers.  He  glanced  at it  swiftly, with his  hot,
southern blue eyes, then glanced again.
     `Ah!' he said, lighting up. `Milady! Milady, isn't it?'
     `Milady Costanza!' said Connie.
     He nodded, repeating: `Milady Costanza!' and putting the card carefully
away in his blouse.
     The Villa Esmeralda was quite a long way out, on the edge of the lagoon
looking  towards Chioggia.  It was not a very old house, and  pleasant, with
the terraces looking  seawards,  and  below, quite  a big  garden  with dark
trees, walled in from the lagoon.
     Their host was a  heavy, rather coarse  Scotchman who had made  a  good
fortune   in   Italy  before  the  war,  and  had  been  knighted   for  his
ultrapatriotism during the war. His wife  was a  thin, pale,  sharp kind  of
person with no fortune of  her own, and the misfortune of having to regulate
her husband's  rather sordid amorous exploits. He was terribly tiresome with
the  servants.  But having had a slight stroke during the winter, he was now
more manageable.
     The house was pretty full. Besides  Sir Malcolm and his  two daughters,
there were seven more people, a Scotch couple, again with  two  daughters; a
young  Italian Contessa,  a widow; a young  Georgian prince,  and a youngish
English  clergyman  who  had had pneumonia and  was  being  chaplain  to Sir
Alexander for his health's  sake. The  prince  was penniless,  good-looking,
would make  an excellent chauffeur, with the necessary impudence, and basta!
The Contessa was a quiet little puss with a game on somewhere. The clergyman
was a raw simple fellow from a Bucks vicarage: luckily  he had left his wife
and  two  children  at home. And the Guthries, the family of four, were good
solid  Edinburgh middle class, enjoying  everything in a solid  fashion, and
daring everything while risking nothing.
     Connie and  Hilda  ruled out the prince at once. The Guthries were more
or less  their  own  sort,  substantial, hut boring:  and the  girls  wanted
husbands.  The chaplain  was not  a had  fellow,  but too  deferential.  Sir
Alexander, after his slight stroke, had a terrible heaviness his  joviality,
but he was still  thrilled at the presence of so many handsome young  women.
Lady Cooper was a quiet, catty person who had a thin time of it, poor thing,
and who  watched  every other woman with a cold watchfulness that had become
her second nature, and who said  cold, nasty little things which showed what
an  utterly low  opinion she had  of  all human nature. She  was  also quite
venomously overbearing  with the servants, Connie found: but in a quiet way.
And  she skilfully  behaved so that Sir  Alexander  should think that he was
lord and monarch  of the  whole caboosh,  with  his  stout,  would-be-genial
paunch, and his utterly boring jokes, his humourosity, as Hilda called it.
     Sir   Malcolm  was  painting.  Yes,  he  still  would  do   a  Venetian
lagoonscape, now and then, in contrast to his Scottish landscapes. So in the
morning he was rowed off  with a huge canvas, to his `site'. A little later,
Lady  Cooper  would  he  rowed  off  into  the  heart  of  the  city,   with
sketching-block and colours. She was an inveterate  watercolour painter, and
the  house was full  of rose-coloured palaces, dark canals, swaying bridges,
medieval facades, and  so on. A little later the Guthries, the  prince,  the
countess, Sir Alexander,  and sometimes Mr Lind, the chaplain, would  go off
to the Lido, where they would bathe; coming  home to  a late  lunch  at half
past one.
     The house-party, as a house-party,  was distinctly boring. But this did
not trouble the sisters. They were out all the time.  Their father took them
to the exhibition, miles and miles of weary paintings.  He took  them to all
the cronies of his in the Villa Lucchese, he sat  with them on warm evenings
in the piazza, having got a table at Florian's: he took them to the theatre,
to the Goldoni plays. There were illuminated water-f╩tes, there were dances.
This was a holiday-place of all  holiday-places. The Lido, with its acres of
sun-pinked  or pyjamaed  bodies, was like  a strand  with an endless heap of
seals come up for mating. Too many people in the piazza,  too many limbs and
trunks of humanity on the Lido,  too many gondolas, too many motor-launches,
too many steamers, too many pigeons, too many ices, too many cocktails,  too
many menservants wanting tips, too many  languages  rattling, too much,  too
much sun, too much smell of Venice, too many  cargoes of  strawberries,  too
many silk shawls, too many huge,  raw-beef  slices of watermelon on  stalls:
too much enjoyment, altogether far too much enjoyment!
     Connie  and Hilda went around in  their sunny frocks. There were dozens
of people they knew, dozens of people knew them. Michaelis turned up like  a
bad penny.  `Hullo!  Where  you  staying?  Come  and  have an  ice-cream  or
something! Come with me somewhere  in  my  gondola.'  Even Michaelis  almost
sun-burned: though sun-cooked is more appropriate to the look of the mass of
human flesh.
     It was pleasant in a way. It was almost enjoyment. But anyhow, with all
the cocktails, all the lying in warmish water and sunbathing on hot sand  in
hot  sun,  jazzing  with  your stomach up  against  some  fellow in the warm
nights, cooling off with ices, it was a complete narcotic. And that was what
they  all wanted, a  drug: the slow water, a drug; the  sun, a drug; jazz, a
drug;  cigarettes,  cocktails,  ices,  vermouth.  To  be drugged! Enjoyment!
     Hilda half liked being drugged. She liked  looking  at  all  the women,
speculating about  them. The women were absorbingly interested in the women.
How does she look! what man has she captured? what fun is she getting out of
it?---The men were like great dogs in  white flannel trousers, waiting to be
patted, waiting  to wallow,  waiting to plaster some woman's stomach against
their own, in jazz.
     Hilda liked  jazz, because she  could plaster her stomach  against  the
stomach of some so-called man, and  let him  control her movement  from  the
visceral  centre,  here and there across the floor, and then she could break
loose and ignore `the creature'. He had been merely made use of. Poor Connie
was rather  unhappy. She wouldn't jazz,  because she simply couldn't plaster
her stomach  against  some  `creature's' stomach. She hated the conglomerate
mass of nearly nude flesh on  the Lido: there was hardly enough water to wet
them all. She disliked  Sir  Alexander  and  Lady Cooper. She  did not  want
Michaelis or anybody else trailing her.
     The happiest times were when she got Hilda to go with  her away  across
the lagoon, far across to  some lonely shingle-bank, where they  could bathe
quite alone, the gondola remaining on the inner side of the reef.
     Then Giovanni got another  gondolier to help him, because it was a long
way  and  he  sweated terrifically  in  the  sun.  Giovanni was  very  nice:
affectionate, as  the Italians are, and quite passionless.  The Italians are
not passionate: passion has deep reserves. They are easily  moved, and often
affectionate, but they rarely have any abiding passion of any sort.
     So Giovanni was already devoted to  his ladies, as  he had been devoted
to cargoes  of ladies  in the past. He  was  perfectly  ready to  prostitute
himself to them, if they wanted hint: he secretly hoped they would want him.
They would give  him a handsome present, and it would come in very handy, as
he was just  going to be married. He told them about his  marriage, and they
were suitably interested.
     He thought  this trip  to  some lonely bank across the lagoon  probably
meant business: business being  l'amore, love. So he got a mate to help him,
for it was a long way; and after all, they were two  ladies. Two ladies, two
mackerels! Good  arithmetic! Beautiful  ladies, too! He was justly proud  of
them. And though it  was the Signora who  paid  him and  gave him orders, he
rather hoped it would be the young milady who would select hint for l'amore.
She would give more money too.
     The mate he brought was called Daniele. He was not a regular gondolier,
so he had none of the cadger and prostitute about him. He was a sandola man,
a sandola  being  a  big  boat  that brings  in  fruit and produce from  the
     Daniele was beautiful, tall and well-shapen, with a light round head of
little, close, pale-blond  curls, and  a  good-looking man's face,  a little
like a lion, and long-distance blue eyes. He was not  effusive,  loquacious,
and bibulous like Giovanni. He was silent and  he rowed with a  strength and
ease  as if he were alone on  the water. The ladies were ladies, remote from
him. He did not even look at them. He looked ahead.
     He was a real man, a little angry when Giovanni drank too much wine and
rowed  awkwardly, with  effusive shoves of  the great oar. He was  a  man as
Mellors  was  a   man,   unprostituted.  Connie  pitied  the  wife  of   the
easily-overflowing Giovanni. But Daniele's wife would  be one of those sweet
Venetian women of the people whom one still sees, modest and  flower-like in
the back of that labyrinth of a town.
     Ah,  how sad  that man first prostitutes woman,  then woman prostitutes
man.  Giovanni  was  pining to  prostitute  himself, dribbling like  a  dog,
wanting to give himself to a woman. And for money!
     Connie looked at Venice far off, low and rose-coloured upon  the water.
Built of money, blossomed of money, and dead with money. The money-deadness!
Money, money, money, prostitution and deadness.
     Yet Daniele was still a man capable  of a man's free allegiance. He did
not  wear  the gondolier's blouse:  only the knitted blue  jersey. He  was a
little  wild,  uncouth and proud.  So  he was  hireling to  the rather doggy
Giovanni  who  was hireling again to two women. So it is! When Jesus refused
the  devil's money, he left the  devil like a Jewish banker, master  of  the
whole situation.
     Connie would  come  home from the blazing light of the lagoon in a kind
of  stupor, to lind  letters from home.  Clifford  wrote regularly. He wrote
very  good letters: they might all have been printed in a book. And for this
reason Connie found them not very interesting.
     She lived  in  the  stupor  of  the  light  of the lagoon,  the lapping
saltiness of the water,  the  space,  the  emptiness, the  nothingness:  but
health,  health, complete  stupor  of health. It was gratifying, and she was
lulled away in it, not  caring for anything. Besides, she was  pregnant. She
knew  now.  So  the stupor of sunlight and  lagoon salt and  sea-bathing and
lying on  shingle and finding  shells  and drifting away, away in a gondola,
was completed  by the  pregnancy inside  her,  another fullness  of  health,
satisfying and stupefying.
     She  had been at  Venice  a fortnight, and she was to stay  another ten
days or a fortnight. The  sunshine blazed over any count  of time,  and  the
fullness  of physical  health made forgetfulness complete. She was in a sort
of stupor of well-being.
     From which a letter of Clifford roused her.
     We  too have had our mild local excitement. It appears the truant  wife
of  Mellors,  the  keeper,  turned  up  at  the  cottage  and  found herself
unwelcome. He packed her  off, and locked the door. Report  has it, however,
that when he returned from the wood he found the no longer  fair lady firmly
established in his bed, in puris naturalibus; or one  should say, in impuris
naturalibus. She had broken a  window  and got  in that way. Unable to evict
the  somewhat man-handled  Venus  from his  couch,  he  beat a  retreat  and
retired,  it is said,  to his  mother's  house in Tevershall. Meanwhile  the
Venus of Stacks Gate is established in the cottage, which she claims  is her
home, and Apollo, apparently, is domiciled in Tevershall.
     I repeat this from hearsay, as Mellors has not come to me personally. I
had this particular  bit  of local garbage  from our garbage bird, our ibis,
our scavenging  turkey-buzzard, Mrs Bolton. I would not have repeated it had
she not exclaimed: her Ladyship will go no more to the wood  if that woman's
going to be about!
     I like your picture  of Sir Malcolm  striding into the sea  with  white
hair blowing and pink flesh glowing. I envy you that sun. Here it rains. But
I don't envy Sir Malcolm his inveterate  mortal carnality. However, it suits
his  age.  Apparently one grows  more carnal and  more  mortal as one  grows
older. Only youth has a taste of immortality---
     This news affected Connie in her state of semi-stupefied ell being with
vexation amounting to  exasperation. Now she ad got  to be bothered by  that
beast  of  a  woman! Now  she  must start and fret!  She had  no letter from
Mellors.  They had agreed not to write  at all, but now  she wanted  to hear
from  him  personally.  After all, he was  the father  of the child that was
coming. Let him write!
     But how  hateful!  Now  everything  was messed up. How  foul  those low
people  were!  How  nice  it  was here,  in the  sunshine and the indolence,
compared  to that  dismal mess of that English Midlands! After all, a  clear
sky was almost the most important thing in life.
     She did not mention the fact of her pregnancy, even to Hilda. She wrote
to Mrs Bolton for exact information.
     Duncan Forbes, an  artist friend of theirs, had  arrived  at  the Villa
Esmeralda, coming north from Rome. Now he made  a third in the gondola,  and
he bathed with them across the lagoon, and was their escort: a quiet, almost
taciturn young man, very advanced in his art.
     She had a letter from Mrs Bolton:
     You  will  be  pleased, I am sure, my Lady, when  you see Sir Clifford.
He's  looking quite blooming and  working very hard, and  very  hopeful.  Of
course  he is looking forward  to seeing you  among us again.  It is  a dull
house without my Lady, and we shall all welcome her  presence  among us once
     About Mr Mellors, I don't know how much Sir Clifford told you. It seems
his wife came back all of a sudden  one afternoon, and  he found her sitting
on the doorstep when he came in from the wood. She said she was come back to
him and wanted to live  with  him again, as  she  was his legal wife, and he
wasn't going to divorce her.  But  he wouldn't have anything to do with her,
and wouldn't let her in the house,  and did not go in  himself; he went back
into the wood without ever opening the door.
     But when he came back after dark, he found the house broken into, so he
went upstairs to see what she'd done, and he found her in bed without  a rag
on her. He offered her money, but she said she was his wife and he must take
her back. I don't know what sort of a  scene they  had.  His mother told  me
about it, she's terribly upset. Well,  he told her he'd die rather than ever
live with her again, so he took his things and went straight to his mother's
on Tevershall hill.  He stopped  the night and  went to  the  wood next  day
through the  park,  never going near the cottage. It  seems he never saw his
wife that day. But  the day after she was at her brother Pan's at Beggarlee,
swearing and carrying on, saying she was his legal wife, and that he'd beers
having  women  at the cottage, because she'd found  a  scent-bottle  in  his
drawer, and  gold-tipped cigarette-ends on the  ash-heap, and I  don't  know
what all. Then it seems the postman Fred Kirk says he heard somebody talking
in Mr  Mellors' bedroom early one  morning,  and a motor-car had been in the
     Mr Mellors stayed on with his mother, and  went to the wood through the
park, and it seems she stayed on  at the cottage. Well, there was no  end of
talk. So at last Mr Mellors and Tom Phillips went to the cottage and fetched
away most  of the furniture and bedding, and  unscrewed  the  handle of  the
pump, so she was forced to go. But instead  of going back to Stacks Gate she
went and lodged with that Mrs  Swain at Beggarlee, because her brother Dan's
wife  wouldn't have  her. And she kept going  to old  Mrs Mellors' house, to
catch him, and she began  swearing he'd got  in  bed with her in the cottage
and  she went to  a lawyer to make  him pay her  an  allowance. She's  grown
heavy, and more  common than ever, and as  strong  as a  bull. And she  goes
about saying  the most  awful things  about him,  how  he has  women  at the
cottage, and how he  behaved to her when they were married, the low, beastly
things he did to her, and  I don't know  what all.  I'm sure it's awful, the
mischief a woman can do, once she starts talking. And no matter how low  she
may be, there'll be  some as  will believe her, and  some  of the dirt  will
stick. I'm sure the way she makes out  that Mr Mellors was one of those low,
beastly men with women, is simply shocking. And people are only too ready to
believe things  against anybody, especially things  like  that. She declared
she'll never leave him alone while he lives. Though what I say is, if he was
so beastly to her, why  is  she so  anxious to go back to him? But of course
she's coming near her change of life, for she's years  older than he is. And
these common, violent women always go partly insane whets the change of life
comes upon them---
     This was a nasty blow to Connie. Here she was,  sure as life, coming in
for her  share  of the lowness  and dirt. She felt angry with  him  for  not
having  got  clear of a Bertha  Coutts: nay, for  ever  having married  her.
Perhaps he had a certain hankering after lowness. Connie remembered the last
night  she  had  spent  with  him,  and  shivered.  He  had  known  all that
sensuality, even with a Bertha Coutts! It was really  rather disgusting.  It
would  be  well  to  be rid  of him, clear of him altogether. He was perhaps
really common, really low.
     She had a  revulsion  against the  whole affair,  and almost envied the
Guthrie girls their gawky inexperience and crude maidenliness.  And  she now
dreaded the thought  that  anybody would know about herself and the  keeper.
How unspeakably humiliating! She was weary, afraid, and  felt  a craving for
utter  respectability, even  for the  vulgar and deadening respectability of
the Guthrie  girls.  If  Clifford  knew  about her  affair,  how unspeakably
humiliating! She was afraid, terrified  of society and its unclean bite. She
almost wished she could get rid of the child  again, and be  quite clear. In
short, she fell into a state of funk.
     As for the scent-bottle, that was her own folly. She had  not been able
to refrain from perfuming his one or two handkerchiefs and his shirts in the
drawer, just out of childishness, and she had left a little bottle of Coty's
Wood-violet  perfume,  half  empty,  among his things.  She  wanted  him  to
remember her in the perfume. As for the cigarette-ends, they were Hilda's.
     She could not help confiding a little  in Duncan Forbes. She didn't say
she  had been  the  keeper's lover,  she  only said she liked him,  and told
Forbes the history of the man.
     `Oh,' said Forbes, `you'll see, they'll never  rest till they've pulled
the man down and done him its. If he has refused to creep up into the middle
classes,  when he had a chance; and if he's a man who stands up  for his own
sex, then they'll do him  in.  It's  the  one thing they won't let  you  be,
straight and open in your sex. You can be as dirty as  you like. In fact the
more dirt you do on sex the better they like it.  But if you believe in your
own sex,  and won't have  it done  dirt to:  they'll down you. It's the  one
insane taboo left: sex as a natural and vital thing. They won't have it, and
they'll  kill you before they'll let you  have it. You'll see, they'll hound
that man down. And what's he done,  after all? If he's made love to his wife
all ends on, hasn't he a right to? She ought to be proud of it. But you see,
even a low bitch like that turns on him, and  uses the hyena instinct of the
mob  against  sex, to pull him down. You  have  a snivel and  feel sinful or
awful  about your  sex, before you're allowed to have any. Oh, they'll hound
the poor devil down.'
     Connie had a revulsion in the opposite direction now. What had he done,
after all? what  had he done to herself, Connie, but give  her an  exquisite
pleasure and a sense of freedom and life? He had released her warm,  natural
sexual flow. And for that they would hound him down.
     No  no, it should not  be.  She saw the image of  him, naked white with
tanned  face and hands, looking down and addressing his erect penis as if it
were another being, the odd  grin  flickering on his face. And she heard his
voice again: Tha's got  the nicest woman's arse of anybody! And she felt his
hand warmly and softly closing over her  tail again, over her secret places,
like  a  benediction. And the warmth ran through  her womb,  and the  little
flames  flickered in her knees,  and she said:  Oh, no! I mustn't go back on
it! I must not go back on him. I must stick to him and to what I had of him,
through  everything.  I had no warm,  flamy life till  he gave it me.  And I
won't go back on it.
     She did a rash thing. She sent a letter to Ivy Bolton, enclosing a note
to the keeper, and asking Mrs Bolton to give it him. And she wrote to him:
     I  am very  much distressed to  hear of  all  the trouble your  wife is
making for you, but don't mind it, it is  only  a sort of hysteria.  It will
all blow over as suddenly as it came. But I'm awfully sorry about it,  and I
do hope you are not  minding very much. After all, it isn't worth it. She is
only  a hysterical woman who wants to hurt you. I shall be home in ten days'
time, and I do hope everything will be all right.
     A few days later came a letter from Clifford. He was evidently upset.
     I  am  delighted  to hear  you  are  prepared to leave  Venice  on  the
sixteenth. But if you are enjoying it, don't hurry home. We miss you, Wragby
misses  you. But it is essential  that  you  should get  your full amount of
sunshine, sunshine  and pyjamas, as  the advertisements of  the Lido say. So
please do stay on a little longer,  if it is cheering  you  up and preparing
you for our sufficiently awful winter. Even today, it rains.
     I am assiduously, admirably  looked after by Mrs Bolton. She is a queer
specimen. The more  I live, the more I realize what strange creatures  human
beings are.  Some of them  might Just  as well have  a hundred legs,  like a
centipede, or six, like a lobster. The human consistency and dignity one has
been led  to  expect  from  one's fellow-men seem actually nonexistent.  One
doubts if they exist to any startling degree even is oneself.
     The scandal of the keeper continues  and  gets bigger like  a snowball.
Mrs Bolton keeps me informed. She reminds me of a fish which,  though  dumb,
seems to be breathing silent gossip  through its gills, while ever it lives.
All goes through the sieve of her gills, and nothing surprises her. It is as
if the events of other people's lives were the necessary oxygen of her own.
     She  is preoccupied  with tie  Mellors scandal, and if I  will let  her
begin, she takes me down to the  depths. Her  great  indignation, which even
then is  like the  indignation of an actress playing  a role, is against the
wife of Mellors, whom she persists in calling Bertha Courts. I have  been to
the depths of the muddy lies of the Bertha Couttses of this world, and when,
released from  the current of  gossip, I slowly rise to the surface again, I
look at the daylight its wonder that it ever should be.
     It seems to me absolutely true, that our world, which appears to us the
surface  of all  things, is really the bottom of a deep ocean: all our trees
are submarine growths, and we are weird, scaly-clad submarine fauna, feeding
ourselves on offal like shrimps.  Only  occasionally the  soul rises gasping
through the fathomless fathoms under which we live, far up to the surface of
the ether, where there is true  air. I am convinced that the air we normally
breathe is a kind of water, and men and women are a species of fish.
     But  sometimes the soul does come up, shoots like a kittiwake into  the
light, with ecstasy, after having  preyed on the submarine depths. It is our
mortal destiny, I suppose, to prey upon the ghastly  subaqueous  life of our
fellow-men,  in the submarine jungle of mankind. But our immortal destiny is
to escape, once we have swallowed our swimmy catch, up again into the bright
ether, bursting out  from the surface of Old Ocean into real light. Then one
realizes one's eternal nature.
     When I hear Mrs Bolton talk, I feel myself plunging down, down,  to the
depths  where the fish of  human secrets wriggle and  swim. Carnal  appetite
makes one seize a beakful of prey: then up, up again, out of the dense  into
the  ethereal,  from  the wet into  the dry. To  you  I  can tell  the whole
process.  But  with  Mrs Bolton I  only  feel  the  downward  plunge,  down,
horribly, among the sea-weeds and the pallid monsters of the very bottom.
     I am afraid  we are going to lose our  game-keeper. The scandal  of the
truant wife, instead of dying down, has  reverberated to greater and greater
dimensions. He is  accused of all unspeakable  things and curiously  enough,
the woman has  managed to  get the bulk  of the colliers' wives behind  her,
gruesome fish, and the village is putrescent with talk.
     I  hear  this Bertha  Coutts  besieges Mellors  in his mother's  house,
having ransacked  the cottage and the hut.  She seized one  day upon her own
daughter,  as  that chip  of the female block was returning from school; but
the little one, instead of  kissing the loving mother's hand, bit it firmly,
and so received  from  the other  hand  a smack in the  face which  sent her
reeling into the gutter: whence she was rescued by an indignant and harassed
     The  woman has blown  off an amazing  quantity  of poison-gas.  She has
aired in detail all  those incidents of her conjugal life which  are usually
buried  down  in the deepest  grave of matrimonial  silence, between married
couples. Having chosen to exhume them, after ten  years of burial, she has a
weird  array.  I hear these details  from Linley and  the doctor: the latter
being amused.  Of course there is  really nothing in it. Humanity has always
had a strange avidity for unusual sexual postures, and if a man likes to use
his wife,  as Benvenuto Cellini says,  `in the Italian way', well that is  a
matter  of taste. But  I had hardly expected our game-keeper to be up to  so
many tricks. No doubt Bertha Coutts herself first put him up to them. In any
case, it is a matter  of their own personal  squalor, and nothing to do with
anybody else.
     However, everybody listens: as  I do myself. A dozen years  ago, common
decency  would have hushed the thing. But common  decency  no longer exists,
and the colliers' wives are all up in arms and unabashed in voice. One would
think every child  in  Tevershall,  for the last  fifty  years, had  been an
immaculate conception,  and  every  one of  our nonconformist females was  a
shining Joan  of Arc. That our estimable game-keeper should have about him a
touch of Rabelais  seems to  make him more  monstrous  and shocking  than  a
murderer  like Crippen. Yet these people  in Tevershall are a  loose lot, if
one is to believe all accounts.
     The trouble  is, however, the execrable  Bertha Coutts has not confined
herself to her  own experiences and  sufferings. She has discovered,  at the
top of  her  voice, that her  husband has been `keeping'  women down at  the
cottage,  and has  made a few random  shots at  naming  the  women. This has
brought a few decent names trailing through the mud, and the thing  has gone
quite considerably  too far. An injunction has been  taken out  against  the
     I  have  had  to  interview  Mellors  about  the  business,  as  it was
impossible to keep the  woman away  from the wood. He goes  about  as usual,
with his Miller-of-the-Dee air, I care for nobody,  no not I, if nobody care
for me! Nevertheless, I shrewdly suspect he feels like  a dog with a tin can
tied to its tail: though he makes a very good show of pretending the tin can
isn't there.  But  I heard that in  the village  the  women call away  their
children if he is passing,  as if he were the Marquis de Sade  in person. He
goes on with a certain impudence, but I am afraid the tin can is firmly tied
to his tail,  and that inwardly he repeats,  like Don Rodrigo in the Spanish
ballad: `Ah, now it bites me where I most have sinned!'
     I asked him if he thought he would be able to attend to his duty in the
wood, and he said he did  not think he had neglected it. I told him it was a
nuisance to have the woman trespassing: to which  he replied  that he had no
power to arrest her. Then I hinted at the scandal and its unpleasant course.
`Ay,' he said. `folks should do their own  fuckin', then they wouldn't  want
to listen to a lot of clatfart about another man's.'
     He said it with some bitterness, and no doubt it contains the real germ
of  truth.  The  mode  of  putting  it,  however,  is neither  delicate  nor
respectful. I hinted as much,  and then  I heard the tin  can rattle  again.
`It's not for a man the shape you're in, Sir Clifford, to twit me for havin'
a cod atween my legs.'
     These things, said indiscriminately to all and sundry, of course do not
help him  at all,  and the  rector, and  Finley, and Burroughs all think  it
would be as well if the man left the place.
     I  asked  him  fit was  true that  he  entertained  ladies down  at the
cottage, and all  he said  was:  `Why,  what's that to you, Sir Clifford?' I
told  him I  intended  to have decency  observed on my  estate, to  which he
replied: `Then you mun button the  mouths o' a' th' women.'---When I pressed
him about his manner of life at the cottage, he said: `Surely you might ma'e
a  scandal out o' me an' my bitch Flossie. You've missed summat there.' As a
matter of fact, for an example of impertinence he'd be hard to beat.
     I asked him fit would be easy for him to find another job. He said: `If
you're hintin' that you'd like to  shunt me out of this job, it'd be easy as
wink.' So he made no trouble at  all  about leaving at the end of next week,
and apparently is willing to initiate  a young fellow, Joe Chambers, into as
many  mysteries  of the  craft as possible. I told  him  I  would give him a
month's wages  extra, when he  left. He said he'd rather I kept my money, as
I'd no occasion to ease my conscience.  I  asked him what he meant,  and  he
said: `You don't owe me nothing extra, Sir Clifford, so don't pay me nothing
extra. If you think you see my shirt hanging out, just tell me.'
     Well, there  is the end of  it for the time being. The  woman  has gone
away:  we don't know where to: but she  is liable to arrest if she shows her
face in Tevershall. And I  heard she is mortally afraid of gaol, because she
merits  it so well. Mellors will depart on Saturday week, and the place will
soon become normal again.
     Meanwhile, my dear Connie, if you  would enjoy to stay in Venice or  in
Switzerland till the beginning of August, I should be glad to think you were
out of  all this buzz of nastiness, which  will have died  quite away by the
end of the month.
     So you see, we arc deep-sea  monsters,  and  when the lobster walks  on
mud, he stirs it up for everybody. We must perforce take it philosophically.
     The  irritation, and  the  lack  of any  sympathy in  any direction, of
Clifford's letter, had a bad effect on Connie. But she understood  it better
when she received the following from Mellors:
     The cat is out of the  bag, along with various other  pussies. You have
heard that  my wife Bertha came back to my  unloving arms, and  took  up her
abode in the cottage: where, to speak disrespectfully, she smelled a rat, in
the shape  of a little  bottle of Coty. Other evidence she  did not find, at
least for some days, when she began to howl about the burnt  photograph. She
noticed  the  glass and the back-board in the square bedroom. Unfortunately,
on the back-board somebody had scribbled little sketches,  and the initials,
several times repeated: C. S. R.  This, however, afforded no clue  until she
broke  into the  hut, and found  one  of your books, an autobiography of the
actress Judith,  with your name, Constance  Stewart Reid, on the front page.
After this, for some days she went  round loudly saying that my paramour was
no less a person than  Lady Chatterley herself. The news came at last to the
rector, Mr Burroughs, and to Sir Clifford. They then proceeded to take legal
steps against my liege lady, who for her part disappeared, having always had
a mortal fear of the police.
     Sir Clifford asked to see me, so I went to him. He talked around things
and seemed annoyed with me. Then he asked if I knew that even her ladyship's
name had  been  mentioned. I  said I never  listened  to  scandal,  and  was
surprised to hear this bit from Sir Clifford himself. He said,  of course it
was a great insult, and I told him there was Queen Mary on a calendar in the
scullery,  no  doubt  because Her  Majesty  formed part of my harem.  But he
didn't appreciate  the  sarcasm. He as good as  told me I was a disreputable
character also walked about  with my breeches' buttons undone, and I as good
as told him he'd nothing to unbutton anyhow, so he  gave me the sack, and  I
leave on Saturday week, and the place thereof shall know me no more.
     I shall go to London, and my old landlady, Mrs Inger, 17 Coburg Square,
will either give me a room or will find one for me.
     Be sure your  sins will find you out,  especially if you're married and
her name's Bertha---
     There was not a word about herself, or to her. Connie resented this. He
might have said some few words of  consolation or  reassurance. But she knew
he  was  leaving her  free, free to  go back to  Wragby and to Clifford. She
resented that  too. He need riot be so falsely chivalrous. She wished he had
said to  Clifford: `Yes,  she is  my lover and my mistress and I am proud of
it!' But his courage wouldn't carry him so far.
     So her name was coupled with his in Tevershall! It was a mess. But that
would soon die down.
     She was  angry, with the complicated and confused  anger that made  her
inert. She did  not know  what to do nor  what  to say,  so she said and did
nothing. She went on at Venice just the same, rowing out in the gondola with
Duncan Forbes,  bathing, letting  the  days  slip  by. Duncan, who  had been
rather depressingly in love  with her ten years ago,  was  in love with  her
again. But she said to him: `I only want one thing of men, and that is, that
they should leave me alone.'
     So Duncan left her  alone: really quite pleased to be able to.  All the
same,  he  offered  her a soft stream of a queer, inverted  sort of love. He
wanted to be with her.
     `Have  you  ever thought,'  he said to her  one  day, `how  very little
people are connected with one  another. Look at Daniele! He is handsome as a
son of the sun. But see how alone he looks in his handsomeness. Yet I bet he
has a wife and family, and couldn't possibly go away from them.'
     `Ask him,' said Connie.
     Duncan did  so. Daniele said he was married, and had two children, both
male, aged seven and nine. But he betrayed no emotion over the fact.
     `Perhaps  only people  who are capable  of  real togetherness have that
look  of  being alone in  the  universe,'  said Connie. `The  others have  a
certain stickiness,  they  stick to  the  mass, like  Giovanni.'  `And,' she
thought to herself, `like you, Duncan.'

     She had  to  make up her mind what to do. She would leave Venice on the
Saturday that he was leaving Wragby: in six days' time. This would bring her
to London  on the Monday following, and she would then see him. She wrote to
him to  the  London address, asking him to  send her a  letter to Hartland's
hotel, and to call for her on the Monday evening at seven.
     Inside  herself she was curiously and complicatedly angry, and all  her
responses were  numb.  She refused  to  confide  even  in  Hilda, and Hilda,
offended by  her steady silence,  had  become rather intimate  with a  Dutch
woman. Connie hated these rather stifling intimacies between women, intimacy
into which Hilda always entered ponderously.
     Sir Malcolm decided to travel with  Connie, and Duncan  could  come  on
with  Hilda.  The  old artist always did himself well: he took berths on the
Orient  Express,  in  spite  of  Connie's  dislike of  trains  de  luxe, the
atmosphere  of  vulgar  depravity there is aboard them nowadays. However, it
would make the journey to Paris shorter.
     Sir Malcolm  was always uneasy going back  to  his  wife.  It was habit
carried over  from the first wife. But there would be a house-party  for the
grouse, and  he wanted  to be well ahead. Connie, sunburnt and handsome, sat
in silence, forgetting all about the landscape.
     `A  little  dull  for  you,  going  back to  Wragby,' said  her father,
noticing her glumness.
     `I'm not  sure  I  shall go back to  Wragby,' she said, with  startling
abruptness, looking into his eyes with her  big blue eyes. His big blue eyes
took  on the frightened look of a man whose  social conscience is  not quite
     `You mean you'll stay on in Paris a while?'
     `No! I mean never go back to Wragby.'
     He was bothered by his own little problems,  and sincerely hoped he was
getting none of hers to shoulder.
     `How's that, all at once?' he asked.
     `I'm going to have a child.'
     It was the first time she had uttered the words to any living soul, and
it seemed to mark a cleavage in her life.
     `How do you know?' said her father.
     She smiled.
     `How should I know?'
     `But not Clifford's child, of course?'
     `No! Another man's.'
     She rather enjoyed tormenting him.
     `Do I know the man?' asked Sir Malcolm.
     `No! You've never seen him.'
     There was a long pause.
     `And what are your plans?'
     `I don't know. That's the point.'
     `No patching it up with Clifford?'
     `I suppose  Clifford would  take it,' said Connie. `He  told  me, after
last time you talked to him, he wouldn't mind if I had a child, so long as I
went about it discreetly.'
     `Only  sensible  thing  he could say,  under the  circumstances. Then I
suppose it'll be all right.'
     `In  what way?' said Connie, looking  into her father's eyes. They were
big blue eyes rather like her own, but  with a certain uneasiness in them, a
look  sometimes  of  an  uneasy  little  boy,  sometimes  a look  of  sullen
selfishness, usually good-humoured and wary.
     `You can present Clifford with  an heir to all the Chatterleys, and put
another baronet in Wragby.'
     Sir Malcolm's face smiled with a half-sensual smile.
     `But I don't think I want to,' she said.
     `Why  not? Feeling entangled with the other man? Well! If  you want the
truth  from me, my child,  it's this. The  world goes on. Wragby  stands and
will  go  on standing.  The  world  is  more  or  less  a fixed  thing  and,
externally, we have  to  adapt ourselves  to it. Privately,  in  my  private
opinion, we can please ourselves. Emotions change. You may like one man this
year  and another next. But Wragby still stands. Stick by  Wragby as far  as
Wragby sticks by you. Then please  yourself. But you'll get very little  out
of making a break. You can make a break if you wish. You have an independent
income, the only thing that never lets you down. But you won't get much  out
of it. Put a little baronet in Wragby. It's an amusing thing to do.'
     And Sir Malcolm sat back and smiled again. Connie did not answer.
     `I hope you  had a  real man at last,' he said  to  her  after a while,
sensually alert.
     `I did. That's the trouble. There aren't many of them about,' she said.
     `No, by God!' he mused. `There aren't!  Well, my  dear, to look at you,
he was a lucky man. Surely he wouldn't make trouble for you?'
     `Oh no! He leaves me my own mistress entirely.'
     `Quite! Quite! A genuine man would.'
     Sir  Malcolm  was pleased.  Connie  was his  favourite daughter, he had
always  liked  the  female  in her. Not so much of her mother in  her as  in
Hilda. And  he  had always disliked  Clifford. So he was pleased,  and  very
tender with his daughter, as if the unborn child were his child.
     He drove with her to Hartland's hotel, and saw her installed: then went
round to his club. She had refused his company for the evening.
     She found a letter from Mellors.
     I  won't come round to your hotel,  but  I'll wait for  you outside the
Golden Cock in Adam Street at seven.
     There he stood, tall and slender, and so different, in a formal suit of
thin  dark  cloth.  He  had  a  natural  distinction,  but he  had  not  the
cut-to-pattern  look of her  class.  Yet,  she  saw  at  once,  he could  go
anywhere.  He  had a  native  breeding which was really much nicer  than the
cut-to-pattern class thing.
     `Ah, there you are! How well you look!'
     `Yes! But not you.'
     She looked in  his  face  anxiously. It  was  thin,  and the cheekbones
showed. But his eyes smiled at  her, and she felt at home with him. There it
was:  suddenly,  the  tension of keeping up her  appearances fell from  her.
Something flowed out of him  physically, that made her feel inwardly at ease
and happy, at  home. With  a  woman's now alert instinct  for happiness, she
registered it at once. `I'm happy when he's there!' Not all  the sunshine of
Venice had given her this inward expansion and warmth.
     `Was it horrid for you?' she asked as she sat opposite him at table. He
was too thin;  she saw it now. His hand lay as she knew it, with the curious
loose forgottenness  of a sleeping animal. She wanted so much to take it and
kiss it. But she did not quite dare.
     `People are always horrid,' he said.
     `And did you mind very much?'
     `I minded, as I always shall mind. And I knew I was a fool to mind.'
     `Did you feel like a dog with a tin can tied to its tail? Clifford said
you felt like that.'
     He looked at her. It was cruel of her at that moment: for his pride had
suffered bitterly.
     `I suppose I did,' he said.
     She never knew the fierce bitterness with which he resented insult.
     There was a long pause.
     `And did you miss me?' she asked.
     `I was glad you were out of it.'
     Again there was a pause.
     `But did people believe about you and me?' she asked.
     `No! I don't think so for a moment.'
     `Did Clifford?'
     `I  should  say not.  He  put it  off without  thinking  about  it. But
naturally it made him want to see the last of me.'
     `I'm going to have a child.'
     The expression died utterly out of his face, out of his whole body.  He
looked at  her with  darkened eyes, whose look she could  not understand  at
all: like some dark-flamed spirit looking at her.
     `Say  you're  glad!' she pleaded,  groping for his hand. And she  saw a
certain exultance spring  up  in him. But it  was netted down  by things she
could not understand.
     `It's the future,' he said.
     `But aren't you glad?' she persisted.
     `I have such a terrible mistrust of the future.'
     `But you needn't be troubled by any responsibility. Clifford would have
it as his own, he'd be glad.'
     She saw him go pale, and recoil under this. He did not answer.
     `Shall I go back to Clifford and put a little baronet into Wragby?' she
     He looked at her, pale and very remote.  The ugly little grin flickered
on his face.
     `You wouldn't have to tell him who the father was?'
     `Oh!' she said; `he'd take it even then, if I wanted him to.'
     He thought for a time.
     `Ay!' he said at last, to himself. `I suppose he would.'
     There was silence. A big gulf was between them.
     `But you don't want me to go back to Clifford, do you?' she asked him.
     `What do you want yourself?' he replied.
     `I want to live with you,' she said simply.
     In spite of himself,  little flames  ran over his belly as he heard her
say it, and he dropped his head. Then he looked up  at her again, with those
haunted eyes.
     `If it's worth it to you,' he said. `I've got nothing.'
     `You've got more than most men. Come, you know it,' she said.
     `In  one  way, I know it.' He was  silent for a time, thinking. Then he
resumed: `They used to  say I had too much of the woman in me. But  it's not
that.  I'm  not a woman not  because  I don't  want  to shoot birds, neither
because I don't want to make money, or  get on.  I could have got  on in the
army, easily, but I didn't like  the army. Though I could manage the men all
right: they liked me and they had a bit of a holy fear of me when I got mad.
No, it was stupid, dead-handed higher  authority  that  made the  army dead:
absolutely fool-dead. I like  men, and men  like me. But  I  can't stand the
twaddling bossy impudence  of  the people  who  run this world. That's why I
can't get on. I  hate  the impudence of  money, and I  hate the impudence of
class. So in the world as it is, what have I to offer a woman?'
     `But why offer anything? It's not a bargain. It's just that we love one
another,' she said.
     `Nay, nay! It's more than that. Living is moving and moving on. My life
won't go down  the proper  gutters, it just won't. So  I'm a bit of  a waste
ticket by myself. And I've  no business to take a woman into my life, unless
my  life does  something and gets  somewhere, inwardly at  least, to keep us
both fresh. A man must offer a woman some meaning in his life, if it's going
to be an  isolated life, and if she's a genuine woman. I can't be just  your
male concubine.'
     `Why not?' she said.
     `Why, because I can't. And you would soon hate it.'
     `As if you couldn't trust me,' she said.
     The grin flickered on his face.
     `The money is yours, the position is yours, the decisions will lie with
you. I'm not just my Lady's fucker, after all.'
     `What else are you?'
     `You  may well  ask.  It no  doubt is  invisible. Yet  I'm something to
myself at least. I can see the point of my own existence, though I can quite
understand nobody else's seeing it.'
     `And will your existence have less point, if you live with me?'
     He paused a long time before replying:
     `It might.'
     She too stayed to think about it.
     `And what is the point of your existence?'
     `I  tell  you,  it's invisible. I  don't believe in the  world, not  in
money, nor in advancement, nor in the future of our civilization. If there's
got to be a  future for humanity, there'll have to be a very big change from
what now is.'
     `And what will the real future have to be like?'
     `God  knows! I can feel something inside me, all mixed up with a lot of
rage. But what it really amounts to, I don't know.'
     `Shall I tell you?' she said, looking into his face. `Shall I  tell you
what you have  that other men  don't have,  and that will  make the  future?
Shall I tell you?'
     `Tell me then,' he replied.
     `It's  the courage of your own tenderness, that's what it is: like when
you put your hand on my tail and say I've got a pretty tail.'
     The grin came flickering on his face.
     `That!' he said.
     Then he sat thinking.
     `Ay!' he said.  `You're right.  It's that really. It's that all the way
through. I knew it with the men. I had to be in touch with them, physically,
and not go back on it. I had  to be bodily aware of them and a bit tender to
them, even if I put em through hell. It's a question of awareness, as Buddha
said.  But  even  he  fought  shy of the  bodily awareness, and that natural
physical tenderness, which  is the best, even between men; in a proper manly
way. Makes 'em really manly, not so  monkeyish. Ay! it's tenderness, really;
it's cunt-awareness. Sex is really only touch, the closest of all touch. And
it's touch we're afraid of. We're only half-conscious, and half alive. We've
got  to come alive and aware.  Especially the  English have got to get  into
touch with  one another, a  bit delicate and  a  bit tender. It's our crying
     She looked at him.
     `Then why are you afraid of me?' she said.
     He looked at her a long time before he answered.
     `It's the money, really, and the position. It's the world in you.'
     `But isn't there tenderness in me?' she said wistfully.
     He looked down at her, with darkened, abstract eyes.
     `Ay! It comes an' goes, like in me.'
     `But can't  you  trust  it  between  you  and  me?' she  asked,  gazing
anxiously at him.
     She saw his  face all softening down, losing  its  armour. `Maybe!'  he
said. They were both silent.
     `I want you  to hold me in your arms,' she said. `I want you to tell me
you are glad we are having a child.'
     She  looked so lovely and warm and wistful, his  bowels stirred towards
     `I  suppose  we can go to my room,' he  said.  `Though  it's scandalous
     But  she  saw the forgetfulness of the world coming over him again, his
face taking the soft, pure look of tender passion.
     They walked  by the remoter  streets  to Coburg Square, where  he had a
room at the top of the house, an attic room where he cooked for himself on a
gas ring. It was small, but decent and tidy.
     She took off her things, and  made him  do the same. She was  lovely in
the soft first flush of her pregnancy.
     `I ought to leave you alone,' he said.
     `No!' she said. `Love  me! Love me, and say you'll keep me.  Say you'll
keep me! Say you'll never let me go, to the world nor to anybody.'
     She crept close  against him,  clinging  fast to his thin, strong naked
body, the only home she had ever known.
     `Then I'll keep thee,' he said. `If tha wants it, then I'll keep thee.'
     He held her round and fast.
     `And say you're glad about the child,' she repeated.
     `Kiss it! Kiss my womb and say you're glad it's there.'
     But that was more difficult for him.
     `I've a dread of puttin' children i' th' world,' he said.  `I've such a
dread o' th' future for 'em.'
     `But you've  put  it into me. Be  tender to  it,  and that  will be its
future already. Kiss it!'
     He  quivered,  because it was true. `Be tender to it,  and that will be
its  future.'---At that moment he felt a sheer love for the woman. He kissed
her belly and her mound of Venus,  to kiss close to the womb  and the foetus
within the womb.
     `Oh, you love me! You love me!' she said, in a little cry  like one  of
her blind,  inarticulate love  cries. And he went in  to her softly, feeling
the stream of tenderness flowing in release  from  his  bowels to  hers, the
bowels of compassion kindled between them.
     And he realized  as he went into her that  this was the thing he had to
do, to e into tender touch,  without losing his pride  or his dignity or his
integrity as a man. After all, if she  had money and means, and he had none,
he should  be too proud and honourable to hold back his  tenderness from her
on that  account. `I stand for  the touch of bodily awareness  between human
beings,'  he said to  himself, `and  the touch of tenderness. And she  is my
mate.  And  it is a battle  against  the money, and  the  machine,  and  the
insentient  ideal monkeyishness of the  world. And she will stand  behind me
there.  Thank  God I've got a woman! Thank God I've got a woman who is  with
me, and tender  and aware of me.  Thank  God  she's not a bully, nor a fool.
Thank God she's a  tender, aware woman.' And as  his seed sprang in her, his
soul sprang  towards  her  too,  in the  creative act that is far more  than
     She was quite determined  now that there should  be  no parting between
him and her. But the ways and means were still to settle.
     `Did you hate Bertha Coutts?' she asked him.
     `Don't talk to me about her.'
     `Yes! You must let me. Because once you liked her. And once you were as
intimate  with her as you are  with  me.  So  you have  to tell me. Isn't it
rather terrible, when you've been intimate with her, to hate her so?  Why is
     `I don't know. She  sort  of  kept her  will ready  against me, always,
always: her ghastly female will: her freedom! A woman's ghastly freedom that
ends in the most beastly bullying! Oh, she  always  kept her freedom against
me, like vitriol in my face.'
     `But she's not free of you even now. Does she still love you?'
     `No, no! If she's not free of me, it's because she's got that mad rage,
she must try to bully me.'
     `But she must have loved you.'
     `No!  Well, in  specks she did.  She was drawn to me.  And I think even
that she hated. She  loved me in moments. But  she  always took it back, and
started bullying.  Her deepest  desire was to bully  me,  and there  was  no
altering her. Her will was wrong, from the first.'
     `But perhaps  she felt you didn't really love  her,  and  she wanted to
make you.'
     `My God, it was bloody making.'
     `But you didn't really love her, did you? You did her that wrong.'
     `How could  I? I began to. I began to love her. But somehow, she always
ripped  me  up. No, don't let's talk of it. It was a doom, that was. And she
was a doomed woman. This  last time, I'd have shot her like I shoot a stoat,
if I'd but been allowed: a raving, doomed thing in the shape of a woman!  If
only I  could  have shot her, and  ended  the whole  misery! It ought  to be
allowed. When a woman  gets  absolutely possessed by her  own will,  her own
will set  against everything, then it's fearful, and  she should be  shot at
     `And shouldn't men be shot at last, if they get  possessed by their own
     `Ay!---the same! But I must get free of her,  or she'll be at me again.
I wanted to tell you. I must get  a divorce if I possibly can. So we must be
careful. We mustn't really be seen together, you and I. I never, never could
stand it if she came down on me and you.'
     Connie pondered this.
     `Then we can't be together?' she said.
     `Not  for six months or so.  But  I think my divorce will go through in
September; then till March.'
     `But the baby will probably be born at the end of February,' she said.
     He was silent.
     `I could wish the Cliffords and Berthas all dead,' he said.
     `It's not being very tender to them,' she said.
     `Tender to them? Yea, even then  the tenderest  thing you could do  for
them,  perhaps,  would  be to give them  death. They can't  live!  They only
frustrate life. Their  souls are awful inside  them. Death ought to be sweet
to them. And I ought to be allowed to shoot them.'
     `But you wouldn't do it,' she said.
     `I would though! and with less qualms than  I shoot a weasel. It anyhow
has a prettiness and a loneliness. But they are legion. Oh, I'd shoot them.'
     `Then perhaps it is just as well you daren't.'
     Connie had now plenty to think of. It  was evident he wanted absolutely
to be free of  Bertha Coutts. And she felt he was right. The last attack had
been too grim.---This meant her living alone, till spring. Perhaps she could
get divorced  from Clifford.  But how? If Mellors were named, then there was
an end to his divorce. How loathsome! Couldn't one go right away, to the far
ends of the earth, and be free from it all?
     One  could not. The  far ends of  the  world are not  five minutes from
Charing Cross, nowadays. While the wireless is active, there are no far ends
of the  earth.  Kings of Dahomey  and Lamas of Tibet listen in to London and
New York.
     Patience!  Patience!  The world  is a  vast  and  ghastly intricacy  of
mechanism, and one has to be very wary, not to get mangled by it.
     Connie confided in her father.
     `You see, Father, he was Clifford's game-keeper: but he was  an officer
in the army in India. Only he is like Colonel C. E.  Florence, who preferred
to become a private soldier again.'
     Sir Malcolm, however, had no sympathy with the unsatisfactory mysticism
of  the famous  C. E. Florence. He saw too much advertisement behind all the
humility. It looked just like  the sort of conceit  the knight most loathed,
the conceit of self-abasement.
     `Where did your game-keeper spring from?' asked Sir Malcolm irritably.
     `He  was   a   collier's  son   in   Tevershall.  But  he's  absolutely
     The knighted artist became more angry.
     `Looks to  me like a  gold-digger,' he said.  `And you're a pretty easy
gold-mine, apparently.'
     `No, Father, it's not like that. You'd know if you saw him. He's a man.
Clifford always detested him for not being humble.'
     `Apparently he had a good instinct, for once.'
     What Sir  Malcolm  could not bear  was  the scandal  of  his daughter's
having  an intrigue  with a  game-keeper. He  did  not mind the intrigue: he
minded the scandal.
     `I care nothing about the fellow. He's evidently been able to get round
you all right. But, by God, think of all the talk. Think of your step-mother
how she'll take it!'
     `I  know,'  said  Connie.  `Talk is beastly:  especially if you live in
society.  And  he wants so much to get his  own divorce.  I thought we might
perhaps say  it was  another  man's child, and not  mention Mellors' name at
     `Another man's! What other man's?'
     `Perhaps Duncan Forbes. He has been our friend all his life.'
     `And he's a fairly well-known artist. And he's fond of me.'
     `Well I'm damned! Poor Duncan! And what's he going to get out of it?'
     `I don't know. But he might rather like it, even.'
     `He might, might he?  Well, he's  a funny  man if he does.  Why, you've
never even had an affair with him, have you?'
     `No! But he doesn't really  want  it. He  only loves me to be near him,
but not to touch him.'
     `My God, what a generation!'
     `He would like me most of all to be a model for him to paint from. Only
I never wanted to.'
     `God help him! But he looks down-trodden enough for anything.'
     `Still, you wouldn't mind so much the talk about him?'
     `My God, Connie, all the bloody contriving!'
     `I know! It's sickening! But what can I do?'
     `Contriving,  conniving; conniving, contriving! Makes  a man think he's
lived too long.'
     `Come,  Father, if  you  haven't  done  a good deal of  contriving  and
conniving in your time, you may talk.'
     `But it was different, I assure you.'
     `It's always different.'
     Hilda arrived, also furious when she heard of the new developments. And
she also simply could not stand the  thought  of a public  scandal about her
sister and a game-keeper. Too, too humiliating!
     `Why should we not just disappear, separately, to British Columbia, and
have no scandal?' said Connie.
     But that was no good. The scandal would come out  just the same. And if
Connie  was going  with the man, she'd better be able to marry him. This was
Hilda's opinion. Sir Malcolm wasn't sure. The affair might still blow over.
     `But will you see him, Father?'
     Poor Sir  Malcolm! he was by no  means keen on it. And poor Mellors, he
was still less keen. Yet  the meeting took  place: a lunch in a private room
at the club, the two men alone, looking one another up and down.
     Sir Malcolm drank a fair amount of whisky, Mellors also drank. And they
talked all the while about India, on which the young man was well informed.
     This  lasted  during the  meal.  Only  when  coffee was served, and the
waiter had gone, Sir Malcolm lit a cigar and said, heartily:
     `Well, young man, and what about my daughter?'
     The grin flickered on Mellors' face.
     `Well, Sir, and what about her?'
     `You've got a baby in her all right.'
     `I have that honour!' grinned Mellors.
     `Honour, by God!' Sir Malcolm gave a little squirting laugh, and became
Scotch and lewd. `Honour! How was the going, eh? Good, my boy, what?'
     `I'll  bet it  was! Ha-ha! My daughter,  chip of the old block, what! I
never  went back on a good bit of  fucking, myself. Though  her mother,  oh,
holy saints!' He rolled his eyes to heaven. `But  you warmed her up, oh, you
warmed her up, I can see that. Ha-ha! My blood in her!  You set fire to  her
haystack all right.  Ha-ha-ha! I was jolly  glad of it, I can  tell you. She
needed it. Oh, she's a nice  girl, she's  a nice girl,  and  I knew she'd be
good going, if only some damned man would set her stack on fire! Ha-ha-ha! A
game-keeper, eh, my boy! Bloody good poacher, if you ask me. Ha-ha! But now,
look here,  speaking seriously, what are we going  to do  about it? Speaking
seriously, you know!'
     Speaking seriously, they didn't get very far. Mellors, though a  little
tipsy,  was much  the  soberer  of  the  two.  He kept  the conversation  as
intelligent as possible: which isn't saying much.
     `So you're  a game-keeper! Oh, you're quite right! That sort of game is
worth a man's  while,  eh, what? The test of  a woman is when  you pinch her
bottom. You can tell just by the feel of her bottom if  she's going  to come
up all right. Ha-ha! I envy you, my boy. How old are you?'
     The knight lifted his eyebrows.
     `As much as that! Well, you've another good twenty  years, by  the look
of you. Oh, game-keeper or not, you're a good cock. I  can see that with one
eye shut. Not like that blasted  Clifford! A lily-livered hound with never a
fuck in  him, never  had. I  like you, my boy, I'll bet you've a good cod on
you; oh,  you're  a  bantam, I can see that. You're a fighter.  Game-keeper!
Ha-ha, by crikey, I wouldn't trust my game to you! But look here, seriously,
what are we going to do about it? The world's full of blasted old women.'
     Seriously, they didn't  do  anything about it, except establish the old
free-masonry of male sensuality between them.
     `And look here, my boy, if ever I can do anything for you, you can rely
on  me. Game-keeper! Christ,  but it's rich! I like it! Oh, I like it! Shows
the girl's  got spunk.  What? After all, you know,  she has her own  income,
moderate, moderate,  but above starvation. And I'll leave her what I've got.
By God,  I will. She deserves it for showing spunk, in a world of old women.
I've been struggling to  get  myself clear of the skirts  of  old  women for
seventy years, and  haven't  managed it yet. But you're the  man, I can  see
     `I'm  glad you think so.  They usually tell me,  in a sideways fashion,
that I'm the monkey.'
     `Oh, they would! My dear fellow, what could you be but a monkey, to all
the old women?'
     They parted most genially, and  Mellors  laughed inwardly all the  time
for the rest of the day.
     The following day  he had lunch with Connie and Hilda, at some discreet
     `It's a very  great pity it's  such  an ugly situation all round,' said
     `I had a lot o' fun out of it,' said he.
     `I think  you might have avoided putting children into  the world until
you were both free to marry and have children.'
     `The Lord blew a bit too soon on the spark,' said he.
     `I think the Lord had  nothing to do  with it.  Of course,  Connie  has
enough money to keep you both, but the situation is unbearable.'
     `But then  you  don't have to bear  more than a  small corner of it, do
you?' said he.
     `If you'd been in her own class.'
     `Or if I'd been in a cage at the Zoo.'
     There was silence.
     `I think,' said Hilda, `it  will be best if she names quite another man
as co-respondent and you stay out of it altogether.'
     `But I thought I'd put my foot right in.'
     `I mean in the divorce proceedings.'
     He gazed  at her in  wonder. Connie had  not dared mention  the  Duncan
scheme to him.
     `I don't follow,' he said.
     `We   have  a  friend   who  would  probably  agree  to   be  named  as
co-respondent, so that your name need not appear,' said Hilda.
     `You mean a man?'
     `Of course!'
     `But she's got no other?'
     He looked in wonder at Connie.
     `No, no!' she said hastily. `Only that old friendship, quite simple, no
     `Then why should the fellow  take the blame? If he's had nothing out of
     `Some men are chivalrous and  don't only count  what they get  out of a
woman,' said Hilda.
     `One for me, eh? But who's the johnny?'
     `A friend  whom  we've  known since  we  were children in Scotland,  an
     `Duncan  Forbes!' he said at once, for  Connie had talked  to him. `And
how would you shift the blame on to him?'
     `They could stay  together in some hotel, or she could even stay in his
     `Seems to me like a lot of fuss for nothing,' he said.
     `What else do you suggest?' said Hilda. `If your name appears, you will
get no divorce from  your wife, who is apparently quite an impossible person
to be mixed up with.'
     `All that!' he said grimly.
     There was a long silence.
     `We could go right away,' he said.
     `There is no right away for Connie,' said Hilda. `Clifford is  too well
     Again the silence of pure frustration.
     `The world  is what it is. If you  want to live together  without being
persecuted, you will have to marry. To marry, you both  have to be divorced.
So how are you both going about it?'
     He was silent for a long time.
     `How are you going about it for us?' he said.
     `We will see if Duncan will consent to figure as co-respondent: then we
must get Clifford to  divorce Connie: and you must go on  with your divorce,
and you must both keep apart till you are free.'
     `Sounds like a lunatic asylum.'
     `Possibly! And the world would look on you as lunatics: or worse.;
     `What is worse?'
     `Criminals, I suppose.'
     `Hope  I can  plunge  in  the dagger  a few more times  yet,' he  said,
grinning. Then he was silent, and angry.
     `Well!' he  said at last. `I agree to anything. The world  is a  raving
idiot, and no man can kill it: though I'll do my best. But you re  right. We
must rescue ourselves as best we can.'
     He looked in humiliation, anger, weariness and misery at Connie.
     `Ma lass!' he said. `The world's goin' to put salt on thy tail.'
     `Not if we don't let it,' she said.
     She minded this conniving against the world less than he did.
     Duncan,  when  approached,  also  insisted  on  seeing  the  delinquent
game-keeper, so there was a dinner, this time in his flat: the four of them.
Duncan was a rather  short, broad, dark-skinned, taciturn Hamlet of a fellow
with straight black hair and a weird Celtic conceit of himself.  His art was
all tubes and valves and spirals and strange colours, ultra-modern, yet with
a certain  power, even  a  certain purity  of  form and  tone:  only Mellors
thought it cruel and repellent. He did not venture to say so, for Duncan was
almost  insane on the point of his art: it  was a personal cult,  a personal
religion with him.
     They were  looking at the pictures  in the  studio, and Duncan kept his
smallish brown eyes on the other man. He wanted to hear what the game-keeper
would say. He knew already Connie's and Hilda's opinions.
     `It  is like a pure bit of  murder,'  said Mellors at  last;  a  speech
Duncan by no means expected from a game-keeper.
     `And who is murdered?' asked Hilda, rather coldly and sneeringly.
     `Me! It murders all the bowels of compassion in a man.'
     A wave of pure  hate came out  of the  artist.  He  heard the  note  of
dislike in the  other man's voice, and the note of contempt. And  he himself
loathed the mention of bowels of compassion. Sickly sentiment!
     Mellors  stood   rather  tall  and  thin,  worn-looking,   gazing  with
flickering detachment that was something like  the dancing  of a moth on the
wing, at the pictures.
     `Perhaps  stupidity  is murdered; sentimental  stupidity,' sneered  the
     `Do you think so? I think all these tubes and corrugated vibrations are
stupid  enough  for anything, and  pretty sentimental.  They  show a  lot of
self-pity and an awful lot of nervous self-opinion, seems to me.'
     In another  wave of hate the artist's face looked  yellow. But  with  a
sort of silent hauteur he turned the pictures to the wall.
     `I think we may go to the dining-room,' he said. And they trailed  off,
     After coffee, Duncan said:
     `I  don't at all mind posing as the father of Connie's child.  But only
on the condition  that she'll come and  pose as a model  for me. I've wanted
her  for years, and  she's  always refused.'  He uttered it  with  the  dark
finality of an inquisitor announcing an auto da fe.
     `Ah!' said Mellors. `You only do it on condition, then?'
     `Quite!  I only do it  on  that condition.' The artist tried to put the
utmost contempt of the other person  into his  speech.  He put  a little too
     `Better have me  as a model at the same time,' said Mellors. `Better do
us  in  a  group, Vulcan and Venus under the  net of  art.  I used  to be  a
blacksmith, before I was a game-keeper.'
     `Thank you,' said the artist.  `I don't think Vulcan has a  figure that
interests me.'
     `Not even if it was tubified and titivated up?'
     There was no answer. The artist was too haughty for further words.
     It was a dismal party, in which the  artist henceforth steadily ignored
the presence of the other man, and talked only briefly, as if the words were
wrung out of the depths of his gloomy portentousness, to the women.
     `You didn't like him, but  he's better  than that, really. He's  really
kind,' Connie explained as they left.
     `He's a little black pup with a corrugated distemper,' said Mellors.
     `No, he wasn't nice today.'
     `And will you go and be a model to him?'
     `Oh, I don't really mind any more. He won't touch  me. And I don't mind
anything, if it paves the way to a life together for you and me.'
     `But he'll only shit on you on canvas.'
     `I don't care. He'll only be painting  his own  feelings for me, and  I
don't mind if he does that. I wouldn't have him touch me, not for  anything.
But  if he thinks he can  do anything  with his owlish arty staring, let him
stare.  He can make  as many empty  tubes and corrugations  out of me  as he
likes. It's his  funeral. He hated you for what  you said: that his tubified
art is sentimental and self-important. But of course it's true.'

     Dear Clifford,  I am afraid what  you foresaw has happened. I am really
in love with another man, and do  hope you will  divorce me. I am staying at
present  with Duncan in his flat. I told  you  he was at Venice with us. I'm
awfully unhappy for  your  sake:  but  do try to  take it quietly. You don't
really need  me any more, and  I can't  bear  to  come back  to Wragby.  I'm
awfully sorry. But do  try to forgive me, and divorce  me and  find  someone
better. I'm  not really the  right person  for you,  I am too  impatient and
selfish, I suppose. But I can't ever come back to live with you again. And I
feel so frightfully sorry  about it all, for your sake. But if you don't let
yourself get worked up, you'll see you won't mind so frightfully. You didn't
really care about me personally. So do forgive me and get rid of me.
     Clifford  was not inwardly surprised to get  this letter.  Inwardly, he
had known for a long time she was leaving him. But he had absolutely refused
any  outward admission of  it.  Therefore, outwardly, it  came  as  the most
terrible blow and shock to him, He had kept the surface of his confidence in
her quite serene.
     And  that  is how we are,  By strength  of will we cut  of  four  inner
intuitive knowledge  from  admitted consciousness.  This  causes a state  of
dread, or apprehension,  which makes the  blow ten times worse when it  does
     Clifford  was like a hysterical child. He  gave Mrs  Bolton  a terrible
shock, sitting up in bed ghastly and blank.
     `Why, Sir Clifford, whatever's the matter?'
     No answer! She was  terrified lest he had had a stroke. She hurried and
felt his face, took his pulse.
     `Is there a pain? Do try and tell me where it hurts you. Do tell me!'
     No answer!
     `Oh dear,  oh dear! Then I'll telephone to Sheffield for Dr Carrington,
and Dr Lecky may as well run round straight away.'
     She was moving to the door, when he said in a hollow tone:
     She stopped and gazed at him. His face was yellow, blank,  and like the
face of an idiot.
     `Do you mean you'd rather I didn't fetch the doctor?'
     `Yes! I don't want him,' came the sepulchral voice.
     `Oh,   but  Sir  Clifford,   you're   ill,  and  I  daren't  take   the
responsibility. I must send for the doctor, or I shall be blamed.'
     A pause: then the hollow voice said:
     `I'm not ill. My  wife isn't  coming  back.'---It was as  if  an  image
     `Not coming back? you mean her  ladyship?' Mrs  Bolton  moved  a little
nearer to  the bed. `Oh, don't you believe it. You can trust her ladyship to
come back.'
     The image in the bed did not change, but  it pushed a letter  over  the
     `Read it!' said the sepulchral voice.
     `Why,  if it's  a letter  from  her  ladyship,  I'm sure  her  ladyship
wouldn't want me to read her letter  to  you, Sir Clifford. You  can tell me
what she says, if you wish.'
     `Read it!' repeated the voice.
     `Why, if  I must, I do it to obey you, Sir Clifford,' she said. And she
read the letter.
     `Well,  I am surprised  at her ladyship,' she  said.  `She  promised so
faithfully she'd come back!'
     The  face  in  the  bed seemed to deepen its  expression  of wild,  but
motionless distraction.  Mrs Bolton looked  at it and  was worried. She knew
what she was up against: male hysteria.  She had not nursed soldiers without
learning something about that very unpleasant disease.
     She was a little impatient of Sir Clifford. Any  man in his senses must
have known his wife was in love with  somebody else, and was going to  leave
him.  Even, she was sure, Sir Clifford was inwardly absolutely aware of  it,
only he wouldn't admit it to  himself.  If  he  would have admitted  it, and
prepared  himself  for it:  or if he  would  have admitted it,  and actively
struggled with his wife against it: that  would have been acting like a man.
But no! he knew it, and all the time tried  to kid himself it wasn't  so. He
felt the devil twisting his tail, and pretended it was the angels smiling on
him.  This state of falsity  had  now  brought on that crisis of falsity and
dislocation, hysteria, which is a form of insanity. `It  comes', she thought
to herself, hating him a  little, `because he always thinks of himself. He's
so wrapped up in his own  immortal  self, that when he does get a shock he's
like a mummy tangled in its own bandages. Look at him!'
     But hysteria is dangerous: and she was a nurse, it was her duty to pull
him out. Any attempt to rouse his manhood  and his pride would only make him
worse:  for his manhood was dead, temporarily if not finally. He would  only
squirm softer and softer, like a worm, and become more dislocated.
     The only thing was to release his self-pity. Like the lady in Tennyson,
he must weep or he must die.
     So Mrs  Bolton began to weep first. She covered  her face with her hand
and burst into little  wild sobs. `I would  never  have  believed it of  her
ladyship, I wouldn't!' she wept, suddenly summoning up all her old grief and
sense  of woe, and weeping  the tears  of her own bitter chagrin.  Once  she
started, her weeping was  genuine enough, for she had had something  to weep
     Clifford thought of the way  he had been betrayed  by the woman Connie,
and in a contagion of grief, tears filled his eyes and began to run down his
cheeks. He was weeping for himself. Mrs Bolton, as soon as she saw the tears
running over his  blank face, hastily wiped her own wet cheeks on her little
handkerchief, and leaned towards him.
     `Now, don't  you fret, Sir Clifford!' she said, in a luxury of emotion.
`Now, don't you fret, don't, you'll only do yourself an injury!'
     His body shivered suddenly in an indrawn breath of silent  sobbing, and
the tears  ran quicker down his face. She  laid her hand on his arm, and her
own tears fell again. Again the shiver went  through him, like a convulsion,
and she laid her arm round  his shoulder. `There, there! There, there! Don't
you fret, then, don't you! Don't you fret!' she moaned to him, while her own
tears  fell. And  she drew him to her,  and  held  her  arms round his great
shoulders,  while he  laid his face  on her  bosom  and  sobbed, shaking and
hulking  his huge shoulders, whilst she softly stroked  his dusky-blond hair
and said: `There!  There! There!  There then! There  then!  Never you  mind!
Never you mind, then!'
     And  he put his arms round her  and clung to her like  a child, wetting
the bib of her  starched white  apron, and the bosom of her pale-blue cotton
dress, with his tears. He had let himself go altogether, at last.
     So at  length she kissed him, and rocked him  on her  bosom, and in her
heart  she  said  to  herself:  `Oh,  Sir  Clifford!  Oh,  high  and  mighty
Chatterleys! Is this what you've come down to!' And finally  he even went to
sleep, like a child. And she felt worn out, and went to her own  room, where
she  laughed  and cried  at  once, with a hysteria  of  her own. It  was  so
ridiculous!  It was so awful! Such  a come-down! So shameful! And it  was so
upsetting as well.
     After this, Clifford became like a child with Mrs Bolton. He would hold
her h,  and rest  his head  on her breast, and when  she once lightly kissed
him,  he said! `Yes! Do kiss me! Do kiss me!' And when she sponged his great
blond body, he would say the same! `Do kiss me!' and she would  lightly kiss
his body, anywhere, half in mockery.
     And he  lay with  a  queer, blank face  like a child, with a bit of the
wonderment of a child. And he would gaze on her with wide, childish eyes, in
a relaxation  of  madonna-worship. It  was sheer  relaxation  on  his  part,
letting go all his manhood, and sinking back to a childish position that was
really perverse. And then he would put his hand into  her bosom and feel her
breasts, and kiss them in exultation, the exultation of perversity, of being
a child when he was a man.
     Mrs Bolton was both thrilled and ashamed, she both loved and  hated it.
Yet she never rebuffed nor rebuked him. And they drew into a closer physical
intimacy, an  intimacy of perversity, when he was a  child stricken with  an
apparent  candour  and  an  apparent  wonderment, that  looked almost like a
religious  exaltation:  the  perverse  and literal rendering of:  `except ye
become again as a  little child'.---While she  was the Magna Mater, full  of
power and  potency, having  the great blond child-man under her will and her
stroke entirely.
     The curious thing was that when this  child-man, which Clifford was now
and which he had been  becoming for years,  emerged into the world,  it  was
much sharper  and keener than the  real  man he used to  be.  This perverted
child-man was now a real business-man; when it was a question of affairs, he
was an absolute he-man, sharp as a needle, and impervious as a bit of steel.
When  he  was  out among men,  seeking his own ends,  and `making good'  his
colliery workings,  he  had  an almost uncanny  shrewdness, hardness,  and a
straight  sharp punch. It was as if  his very  passivity and prostitution to
the Magna Mater gave him insight into material  business affairs,  and  lent
him  a certain remarkable inhuman  force. The  wallowing in private emotion,
the utter  abasement of his manly self, seemed to lend him a second  nature,
cold, almost visionary, business-clever. In business he was quite inhuman.
     And in this Mrs  Bolton triumphed. `How he's getting on!' she would say
to herself in pride. `And that's  my doing! My word, he'd never have got  on
like  this with Lady Chatterley.  She was not the one  to put a man forward.
She wanted too much for herself.'
     At the same time, in  some  corner  of  her weird female soul,  how she
despised him and hated him!  He was to her the fallen  beast,  the squirming
monster.  And while she aided and abetted  him  all  she  could, away in the
remotest  corner  of her ancient  healthy womanhood she  despised him with a
savage contempt that knew no bounds. The merest tramp was better than he.
     His behaviour with regard to  Connie was curious. He insisted on seeing
her again. He insisted, moreover, on her coming to  Wragby. On this point he
was  finally  and  absolutely fixed.  Connie  had  promised to  come back to
Wragby, faithfully.
     `But is it any use?' said Mrs Bolton. `Can't you let her go, and be rid
of her?'
     `No! She said she was coming back, and she's got to come.'
     Mrs Bolton opposed him no more. She knew what she was dealing with.
     I needn't tell you what effect your  letter has had on me [he  wrote to
Connie to London].  Perhaps  you  can imagine it if you try, though no doubt
you won't trouble to use your imagination on my behalf.
     I can only  say one thing in answer: I must see you personally, here at
Wragby, before I can do anything.  You promised faithfully  to come back  to
Wragby,  and  I  hold you  to the  promise.  I  don't  believe anything  nor
understand  anything  until  I   see  you  personally,   here  under  normal
circumstances.  I  needn't tell you that nobody here  suspects anything,  so
your  return  would be quite normal.  Then if you feel, after we have talked
things over, that you still remain in the same mind, no doubt we can come to
     Connie showed this letter to Mellors.
     `He wants to  begin his  revenge on you,' he said,  handing the  letter
     Connie  was silent.  She was  somewhat  surprised  to find that she was
afraid of Clifford. She was afraid to go near him. She was afraid of him  as
if he were evil and dangerous.
     `What shall I do?' she said.
     `Nothing, if you don't want to do anything.'
     She replied, trying to put Clifford off. He answered:
     If you don't  come back to  Wragby now, I shall  consider that you  are
coming back one day, and act accordingly.  I  shall just go on the same, and
wait for you here, if I wait for fifty years.
     She was frightened.  This was bullying of an insidious sort. She had no
doubt  he meant what he said. He would not  divorce her, and the child would
be his, unless she could find some means of establishing its illegitimacy.
     After a time  of  worry  and  harassment, she decided  to go to Wragby.
Hilda would go with her. She wrote this to Clifford. He replied:
     I shall not welcome your sister, but I shall not  deity her the door. I
have  no  doubt  she  has  connived at  your  desertion of  your duties  and
responsibilities, so do not expect me to show pleasure in seeing her.
     They went  to Wragby. Clifford was  away when they arrived. Mrs  Bolton
received them.
     `Oh, your  Ladyship,  it isn't the  happy  home-coming we hoped for, is
it!' she said.
     `Isn't it?' said Connie.
     So  this woman  knew!  How much  did the rest  of the servants  know or
     She  entered  the house, which  now she hated  with every fibre in  her
body. The great, rambling mass of a place seemed evil to her, just a  menace
over her. She was no longer its mistress, she was its victim.
     `I can't stay long here,' she whispered to Hilda, terrified.
     And   she  suffered  going  into  her  own  bedroom,  re-entering  into
possession  as  if nothing had happened. She hated every minute  inside  the
Wragby walls.
     They did  not  meet  Clifford till they went  down to  dinner.  He  was
dressed, and with a  black  tie: rather reserved, and very much the superior
gentleman. He behaved perfectly politely  during the meal and kept a  polite
sort of conversation going: but it seemed all touched with insanity.
     `How much do  the servants know?' asked  Connie, when the woman was out
of the room.
     `Of your intentions? Nothing whatsoever.'
     `Mrs Bolton knows.'
     He changed colour.
     `Mrs Bolton is not exactly one of the servants,' he said.
     `Oh, I don't mind.'
     There was tension till after coffee, when Hilda said she would go up to
her room.
     Clifford  and Connie sat in silence  when she had  gone. Neither  would
begin to speak.  Connie was so glad that he wasn't taking the pathetic line,
she kept him up to as  much haughtiness as possible. She just sat silent and
looked down at her hands.
     `I  suppose you  don't at all  mind having gone back on your  word?' he
said at last.
     `I can't help it,' she murmured.
     `But if you can't, who can?'
     `I suppose nobody.'
     He looked at her with curious cold rage. He was used to her. She was as
it were embedded in his will. How dared she now go back on  him, and destroy
the  fabric  of  his  daily  existence?  How  dared  she  try  to cause this
derangement of his personality?
     `And for what do you want to go back on everything?' he insisted.
     `Love!' she said. It was best to be hackneyed.
     `Love of Duncan Forbes?  But you didn't  think that worth  having, when
you met me. Do you mean to say you now love him better than anything else in
     `One changes,' she said.
     `Possibly! Possibly you may have whims. But you still have  to convince
me of the importance  of the change. I merely don't believe in  your love of
Duncan Forbes.'
     `But why should you believe in it? You have only to divorce me, not  to
believe in my feelings.'
     `And why should I divorce you?'
     `Because I don't want to live here  any more. And you really don't want
     `Pardon  me! I  don't  change.  For my part,  since  you are my wife, I
should  prefer that  you  should stay  under  my  roof in dignity and quiet.
Leaving aside personal feelings, and I assure you, on  my part it is leaving
aside a great deal, it  is bitter as death to  me to have this order of life
broken up, here in Wragby,  and the decent round of daily life smashed, just
for some whim of yours.'
     After a time of silence she said:
     `I can't help it. I've got to go. I expect I shall have a child.'
     He too was silent for a time.
     `And is it for the child's sake you must go?' he asked at length.
     She nodded.
     `And why? Is Duncan Forbes so keen on his spawn?'
     `Surely keener than you would be,' she said.
     `But really? I want my wife, and I see no reason for letting her go. If
she likes to bear  a child under my  roof, she is welcome,  and the child is
welcome: provided that the decency  and  order of life  is preserved. Do you
mean to tell  me that  Duncan Forbes has a  greater  hold over you? I  don't
believe it.'
     There was a pause.
     `But  don't you see,' said Connie. `I must go away from you, and I must
live with the man I love.'
     `No, I  don't see  it! I don't give tuppence for your love, nor for the
man you love. I don't believe in that sort of cant.'
     `But you see, I do.'
     `Do you?  My dear  Madam, you are  too intelligent,  I  assure you,  to
believe in your own love for Duncan Forbes.  Believe me, even now you really
care more for me. So why should I give in to such nonsense!'
     She  felt he  was  right there. And she felt she  could keep  silent no
     `Because it isn't Duncan that I do love,' she said, looking up at him.
     `We only said it was Duncan, to spare your feelings.'
     `To spare my feelings?'
     `Yes!  Because who  I really love, and it'll  make you  hate  me, is Mr
Mellors, who was our game-keeper here.'
     If he  could have sprung out of his chair, he  would  have done so. His
face went yellow, and his eyes bulged with disaster as he glared at her.
     Then he dropped  back  in  the  chair,  gasping and  looking  up at the
     At length he sat up.
     `Do  you mean to say you re telling me  the  truth?' he  asked, looking
     `Yes! You know I am.'
     `And when did you begin with him?'
     `In the spring.'
     He was silent like some beast in a trap.
     `And it was you, then, in the bedroom at the cottage?'
     So he had really inwardly known all the time.
     He  still leaned forward  in his chair, gazing  at her like  a cornered
     `My God, you ought to be wiped off the face of the earth!'
     `Why?' she ejaculated faintly.
     But he seemed not to hear.
     `That scum!  That bumptious lout! That  miserable  cad! And carrying on
with him all the time, while you were here and he was one of my servants! My
God, my God, is there any end to the beastly lowness of women!'
     He was beside himself with rage, as she knew he would be.
     `And you mean to say you want to have a child to a cad like that?'
     `Yes! I'm going to.'
     `You're going to! You mean you're sure! How long have you been sure?'
     `Since June.'
     He was speechless, and the queer  blank  look of a child came over  him
     `You'd wonder,' he said at last, `that such beings were ever allowed to
be born.'
     `What beings?' she asked.
     He looked at her  weirdly,  without  an  answer.  It  was  obvious,  he
couldn't even accept the fact  of the existence of Mellors, in any connexion
with his own life. It was sheer, unspeakable, impotent hate.
     `And do you mean to say you'd marry him?---and bear his foul  name?' he
asked at length.
     `Yes, that's what I want.'
     He was again as if dumbfounded.
     `Yes!' he  said at  last. `That  proves that  what  I've always thought
about  you is correct:  you're not normal, you're not in  your right senses.
You're  one  of  those  half-insane, perverted  women  who  must  run  after
depravity, the nostalgie de la boue.'
     Suddenly  he  had  become  almost  wistfully moral, seeing himself  the
incarnation of  good, and people like Mellors  and Connie the incarnation of
mud, of evil. He seemed to be growing vague, inside a nimbus.
     `So don't you think you'd better divorce me and have done with it?' she
     `No!  You  can  go where you like,  but I shan't divorce  you,' he said
     `Why not?'
     He was silent, in the silence of imbecile obstinacy.
     `Would you  even let the  child  be  legally yours, and your heir?' she
     `I care nothing about the child.'
     `But if  it's a  boy it will  be legally your  son, and it will inherit
your title, and have Wragby.'
     `I care nothing about that,' he said.
     `But you must! I shall prevent the child from being legally yours, if I
can.  I'd  so much rather  it were illegitimate,  and mine:  if  it can't be
     `Do as you like about that.'
     He was immovable.
     `And won't you divorce me?' she said. `You can use Duncan as a pretext!
There'd be no need to bring in the real name. Duncan doesn't mind.'
     `I shall never divorce you,' he said, as if a nail had been driven in.
     `But why? Because I want you to?'
     `Because I follow my own inclination, and I'm not inclined to.'
     It was useless. She went upstairs and told Hilda the upshot.
     `Better  get  away  tomorrow,' said  Hilda,  `and let  him come  to his
     So Connie  spent half the night packing her really private and personal
effects.  In the morning  she had her trunks  sent to  the  station, without
telling Clifford. She decided to see him only to say good-bye, before lunch.
     But she spoke to Mrs Bolton.
     `I must say good-bye to you,  Mrs Bolton, you know why. But I can trust
you not to talk.'
     `Oh,  you can trust me,  your  Ladyship, though it's a  sad blow for us
here, indeed. But I hope you'll be happy with the other gentleman.'
     `The other gentleman! It's Mr Mellors, and I care for him. Sir Clifford
knobs. But  don't say anything to anybody. And  if  one day  you  think  Sir
Clifford  may be willing to divorce me, let me know, will you? I should like
to be properly married to the man I care for.'
     `I'm sure you would, my Lady. Oh, you can trust me. I'll be faithful to
Sir  Clifford, and I'll  be faithful to you, for I can see you're both right
in your own ways.'
     `Thank you! And look! I want  to give you this---may I?' So Connie left
Wragby once more, and went on with Hilda to Scotland. Mellors went into  the
country and got work on a farm. The idea was, he should get  his divorce, if
possible, whether Connie got hers or not. And for six  months he should work
at farming, so  that eventually he and Connie could have  some small farm of
their  own,  into which he could put his  energy.  For he would have to have
some work, even hard work,  to do, and he would have to make his own living,
even if her capital started him.
     So  they would have to wait till spring was in, till the baby was born,
till the early summer came round again.
     The Grange Farm Old Heanor 29 September
     I  got on here with a bit of  contriving, because I knew Richards,  the
company engineer, in the army. It is a  farm belonging to Butler and Smitham
Colliery Company, they use  it for raising hay and oats for the  pit-ponies;
not a private concern. But they've got cows and pigs and all the rest of it,
and I get thirty shillings  a week as labourer.  Rowley, the farmer, puts me
on to as  many jobs  as he  can,  so that I  can  learn as much  as possible
between now and  next Easter. I've not heard a  thing about  Bertha. I've no
idea why she  didn't show up at the divorce, nor where she is nor what she's
up to. But  if I keep quiet till March  I suppose I shall be free. And don't
you bother about  Sir  Clifford. He'll want  to  get rid of you one of these
days. If he leaves you alone, it's a lot.
     I've got lodging in a bit of an old cottage in Engine Row very  decent.
The  man is engine-driver at High Park, tall, with a beard, and very chapel.
The woman  is a  birdy bit  of  a thing who  loves anything superior. King's
English and allow-me! all the time. But they lost their only son in the war,
and it's  sort of knocked  a  hole in them.  There's a long gawky  lass of a
daughter  training for  a  school-teacher, and  I help  her with her lessons
sometimes, so we're  quite the family.  But  they're very decent people, and
only too kind to me. I expect I'm more coddled than you are.
     I  like farming all right. It's not inspiring, but then  I don't ask to
be inspired. I'm used to horses, and cows, though they are very female, have
a soothing effect on me.  When I sit  with my head in  her side,  milking, I
feel very  solaced. They have six rather fine Herefords. Oat-harvest is just
over  and I  enjoyed it, in spite of sore hands and  a lot of rain. I  don't
take much notice of people, but get  on with them all right. Most things one
just ignores.
     The  pits  are  working  badly;  this   is  a  colliery  district  like
Tevershall. only prettier. I sometimes sit in the Wellington and talk to the
men.  They grumble  a  lot, but  they're  not  going  to alter  anything. As
everybody  says, the Notts-Derby miners have got their  hearts  in the right
place. But the rest of their anatomy must be in the wrong place, in  a world
that has no  use for  them. I  like them, but they don't cheer  me much: not
enough   of  the  old   fighting-cock   in  them.  They  talk  a  lot  about
nationalization, nationalization of royalties, nationalization of the  whole
industry. But  you can't nationalize coal and leave all the other industries
as  they are. They talk about putting coal to new uses, like Sir Clifford is
trying to  do. It  may  work here and there, but not  as a  general thing. I
doubt. Whatever you  make you've got to sell it. The men are very apathetic.
They feel the whole  damned thing is doomed, and  I  believe it is. And they
are doomed along with  it. Some of the young  ones spout about a Soviet, but
there's  not much conviction  in them.  There's no sort of  conviction about
anything, except  that  it's all a  muddle  and a hole. Even  under a Soviet
you've still got to sell coal: and that's the difficulty.
     We've got this great industrial population,  and they've got to be fed,
so the damn show has  to be kept going somehow.  The women talk a  lot  more
than the men, nowadays, and  they  are a sight  more  cock-sure. The men are
limp, they feel  a doom somewhere, and they go about as if there was nothing
to  be done. Anyhow,  nobody knows  what should be done in  spite of all the
talk, the young ones get  mad because they've no money to spend. Their whole
life depends on spending money,  and now  they've got none  to spend. That's
our civilization and  our education: bring up the masses  to depend entirely
on spending  money, and then the money gives out. The pits  are  working two
days, two and a half days a week, and there's no sign of betterment even for
the winter. It means a man bringing  up a  family on twenty-five and  thirty
shillings. The women  are  the maddest of  all. But then they're the maddest
for spending, nowadays.
     If  you  could only tell them  that living and spending isn't  the same
thing! But it's no good. If only they were educated to live instead  of earn
and spend,  they could manage very  happily on twenty-five shillings. If the
men wore scarlet trousers as I  said, they wouldn't think so  much of money:
if they could  dance and hop and skip, and sing and swagger and be handsome,
they  could do with very little cash. And amuse the women themselves, and be
amused  by the women. They  ought  to learn to be naked and handsome, and to
sing in a mass and dance the old group dances, and carve the stools they sit
on,  and embroider  their own emblems. Then  they wouldn't need  money.  And
that's the only way to solve the industrial problem:  train the people to be
able to live  and live in handsomeness,  without  needing  to spend. But you
can't do it.  They're all one-track  minds nowadays.  Whereas  the  mass  of
people  oughtn't even to try to  think,  because they can't.  They should be
alive  and frisky, and acknowledge the great god Pan. He's the only  god for
the  masses, forever. The few can  go in for higher cults if  they like. But
let the mass be forever pagan.
     But  the  colliers  aren't  pagan, far from  it. They're a sad  lot,  a
deadened lot of men: dead to their women, dead to life. The young ones scoot
about  on motor-bikes  with  girls,  and jazz when they  get a  chance,  But
they're very dead. And it needs money. Money poisons you when you've got it,
and starves you when you haven't.
     I'm sure you're sick of all this. But  I  don't want to harp on myself,
and I've  nothing happening to me. I don't like to think too much about you,
in my head, that only  makes a mess of  us both. But, of course, what I live
for now is for you and me to live  together. I'm frightened, really.  I feel
the devil in the air, and  he'll try to get us. Or  not  the devil,  Mammon:
which I think, after all, is only the mass-will of people, wanting money and
hating life. Anyhow, I feel great grasping white hands in  the  air, wanting
to get  hold  of the throat  of anybody who tries  to  live, to  live beyond
money, and  squeeze the life out. There's a  bad time coming. There's  a bad
time coming, boys, there's  a bad time coming! If  things go on as they are,
there's nothing  lies  in the  future but  death and destruction,  for these
industrial masses. I feel my inside turn to water sometimes,  and there  you
are,  going  to have a child by me.  But never mind. All  the bad times that
ever have  been, haven't been able to blow the crocus out: not even the love
of women. So they won't  be able to blow  out my wanting you, nor the little
glow there is between you and  me. We'll be  together  next year. And though
I'm  frightened, I  believe in  your being  with me. A man has to  fend  and
fettle for the best, and then trust in something beyond  himself.  You can't
insure  against the  future,  except by really believing in the  best bit of
you, and  in the power  beyond it.  So I believe in the little flame between
us. For  me now, it's the only thing in the world. I've got  no friends, not
inward friends. Only you. And now the little flame is all I care about in my
life. There's the baby,  but that is  a side issue. It's my  Pentecost,  the
forked flame between me and you. The old Pentecost isn't quite right. Me and
God  is a bit uppish, somehow.  But the little  forked flame between me  and
you: there you are! That's what I abide by, and will abide by, Cliffords and
Berthas, colliery companies and governments and the money-mass of people all
     That's why I don't like to start thinking  about  you actually. It only
tortures me, and does you no good. I  don't want you to be away from me. But
if I start fretting it wastes something. Patience, always  patience. This is
my fortieth  winter. And I  can't help  all  the winters that have been. But
this winter I'll  stick to my little Pentecost flame,  and  have some peace.
And  I  won't  let the breath of  people blow it  out. I believe in a higher
mystery, that doesn't let even  the  crocus be blown out.  And if you're  in
Scotland  and I'm in  the Midlands, and  I can't put my arms round you,  and
wrap my legs round  you, yet I've got something  of you. My soul softly Naps
in the little Pentecost flame with you, like the peace of fucking. We fucked
a flame  into being.  Even the flowers are fucked into being between the sun
and  the earth.  But it's a delicate thing, and takes patience and the  long
     So I love chastity now,  because it is the peace that comes of fucking.
I love being chaste now. I  love it as  snowdrops love the snow. I love this
chastity, which is the pause  of peace of our fucking, between us now like a
snowdrop of  forked  white fire.  And when  the real spring comes,  when the
drawing together comes, then we  can fuck  the little  flame  brilliant  and
yellow, brilliant. But not now, not yet! Now is the time to be chaste, it is
so good to be  chaste, like a river of cool water  in my  soul.  I  love the
chastity now that it flows  between us. It is like fresh water and rain. How
can  men want wearisomely to  philander.  What a misery to be like Don Juan,
and impotent ever to fuck oneself into  peace, and the  little flame alight,
impotent and unable to be chaste in the cool between-whiles, as by a river.
     Well, so many words, because I can't  touch  you. If I could sleep with
my  arms round you, the ink could  stay in  the bottle.  We could  be chaste
together just as  we can fuck  together. But we have to  be  separate for  a
while, and I suppose it is really the wiser way. If only one were sure.
     Never mind, never mind,  we won't get worked up. We really trust in the
little flame,  and in the unnamed god that  shields it from being blown out.
There's so much of you here with me, really, that it's a pity you aren't all
     Never mind about Sir Clifford.  If  you don't hear  anything from  him,
never  mind. He can't  really do anything to you. Wait, he  will want to get
rid of you at last, to cast you out. And if he doesn't, we'll manage to keep
clear  of him. But he  will. In the  end he will want to spew you out as the
abominable thing.
     Now I can't even leave off writing to you.
     But a great  deal of us is together, and  we  can but abide  by it, and
steer  our courses to meet soon. John Thomas says good-night to Lady Jane, a
little droopingly, but with a hopeful heart.

­¤đŇ╠ĐĎ╬¤Ëďě: 5, Last-modified: Fri, 10 Mar 2000 18:53:20 GmT