Sons and Lovers

By D. H. Lawrence

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Part One 

Sons and Lovers

‘THE BOTTOMS’ succeeded to ‘Hell Row”. Hell Row was a block of thatched, bulging cottages that stood by the brookside on Greenhill Lane. There lived the colliers who worked in the little gin-pits two fields away. The brook ran under the alder trees, scarcely soiled by these small mines, whose coal was drawn to the surface by donkeys that plodded wearily in a circle round a gin. And all over the countryside were these same pits, some of which had been worked in the time of Charles II, the few colliers and the donkeys burrowing down like ants into the earth, making queer mounds and little black places among the corn-fields and the meadows. And the cottages of these coal-miners, in blocks and pairs here and there, together with odd farms and homes of the stockingers, straying over the parish, formed the village of Bestwood. Then, some sixty years ago, a sudden change took place. The gin-pits were elbowed aside by the large mines of the financiers. The coal and iron field of Nottinghamshire and
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Derbyshire was discovered. Carston, Waite and Co. appeared. Amid tremendous excitement, Lord Palmerston formally opened the company’s first mine at Spinney Park, on the edge of Sherwood Forest. About this time the notorious Hell Row, which through growing old had acquired an evil reputation, was burned down, and much dirt was cleansed away. Carston, Waite & Co. found they had struck on a good thing, so, down the valleys of the brooks from Selby and Nuttall, new mines were sunk, until soon there were six pits working. From Nuttall, high up on the sandstone among the woods, the railway ran, past the ruined priory of the Carthusians and past Robin Hood’s Well, down to Spinney Park, then on to Minton, a large mine among corn-fields; from Minton across the farmlands of the valleyside to Bunker’s Hill, branching off there, and running north to Beggarlee and Selby, that looks over at Crich and the hills of Derbyshire: six mines like black studs on the countryside, linked by a loop of fine chain, the railway. To accommodate the regiments of miners, Carston, Waite and Co. built the Squares, great quadrangles of dwellings on the hillside of Bestwood, and then, in the brook valley, on the site of Hell Row, they erected the Bottoms. The Bottoms consisted of six blocks of miners’ dwellings, two rows of three, like the dots on a blank-six domino, and twelve houses in a block. This double row of dwellings sat at the foot of the rather sharp slope from Bestwood, and looked out, from the attic windows at least, on the slow climb of the valley towards Selby. 
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The houses themselves were substantial and very decent. One could walk all round, seeing little front gardens with auriculas and saxifrage in the shadow of the bottom block, sweet-williams and pinks in the sunny top block; seeing neat front windows, little porches, little privet hedges, and dormer windows for the attics. But that was outside; that was the view on to the uninhabited parlours of all the colliers’ wives. The dwelling-room, the kitchen, was at the back of the house, facing inward between the blocks, looking at a scrubby back garden, and then at the ash-pits. And between the rows, between the long lines of ash-pits, went the alley, where the children played and the women gossiped and the men smoked. So, the actual conditions of living in the Bottoms, that was so well built and that looked so nice, were quite unsavoury because people must live in the kitchen, and the kitchens opened on to that nasty alley of ash-pits. Mrs. Morel was not anxious to move into the Bottoms, which was already twelve years old and on the downward path, when she descended to it from Bestwood. But it was the best she could do. Moreover, she had an end house in one of the top blocks, and thus had only one neighbour; on the other side an extra strip of garden. And, having an end house, she enjoyed a kind of aristocracy among the other women of the ‘between’ houses, because her rent was five shillings and sixpence instead of five shillings a week. But this superiority in station was not much consolation to Mrs. Morel. She was thirty-one years old, and had been married eight years. A rather small woman, of delicate mould but resolute
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bearing, she shrank a little from the first contact with the Bottoms women. She came down in the July, and in the September expected her third baby. Her husband was a miner. They had only been in their new home three weeks when the wakes, or fair, began. Morel, she knew, was sure to make a holiday of it. He went off early on the Monday morning, the day of the fair. The two children were highly excited. William, a boy of seven, fled off immediately after breakfast, to prowl round the wakes ground, leaving Annie, who was only five, to whine all morning to go also. Mrs. Morel did her work. She scarcely knew her neighbours yet, and knew no one with whom to trust the little girl. So she promised to take her to the wakes after dinner. William appeared at half-past twelve. He was a very active lad, fair-haired, freckled, with a touch of the Dane or Norwegian about him. ‘Can I have my dinner, mother?’ he cried, rushing in with his cap on. ‘Cause it begins at half-past one, the man says so.’ ‘You can have your dinner as soon as it’s done,’ replied the mother. ‘Isn’t it done?’ he cried, his blue eyes staring at her in indignation. ‘Then I’m goin’ be-out it.’ ‘You’ll do nothing of the sort. It will be done in five minutes. It is only half-past twelve.’ ‘They’ll be beginnin’,’ the boy half cried, half shouted. ‘You won’t die if they do,’ said the mother. ‘Besides, it’s only half-past twelve, so you’ve a full hour.’ 
Sons and Lovers

The lad began hastily to lay the table, and directly the three sat down. They were eating batter-pudding and jam, when the boy jumped off his chair and stood perfectly stiff. Some distance away could be heard the first small braying of a merry-go-round, and the tooting of a horn. His face quivered as he looked at his mother. ‘I told you!’ he said, running to the dresser for his cap. ‘Take your pudding in your hand—and it’s only five past one, so you were wrong—you haven’t got your twopence,’ cried the mother in a breath. The boy came back, bitterly disappointed, for his twopence, then went off without a word. ‘I want to go, I want to go,’ said Annie, beginning to cry. ‘Well, and you shall go, whining, wizzening little stick!’ said the mother. And later in the afternoon she trudged up the hill under the tall hedge with her child. The hay was gathered from the fields, and cattle were turned on to the eddish. It was warm, peaceful. Mrs. Morel did not like the wakes. There were two sets of horses, one going by steam, one pulled round by a pony; three organs were grinding, and there came odd cracks of pistol-shots, fearful screeching of the cocoanut man’s rattle, shouts of the Aunt Sally man, screeches from the peep-show lady. The mother perceived her son gazing enraptured outside the Lion Wallace booth, at the pictures of this famous lion that had killed a negro and maimed for life two white men. She left him alone, and went to get Annie a spin of toffee. Presently the lad stood in front of her, wildly excited. ‘You never said you was coming—isn’t the’ a lot of
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things?- that lion’s killed three men-l’ve spent my tuppencean’ look here.’ He pulled from his pocket two egg-cups, with pink mossroses on them. ‘I got these from that stall where y’ave ter get them marbles in them holes. An’ I got these two in two goes-’aepenny a go-they’ve got moss-roses on, look here. I wanted these.’ She knew he wanted them for her. ‘H’m!’ she said, pleased. ‘They ARE pretty!’ ‘Shall you carry ‘em, ‘cause I’m frightened o’ breakin’ ‘em?’ He was tipful of excitement now she had come, led her about the ground, showed her everything. Then, at the peep-show, she explained the pictures, in a sort of story, to which he listened as if spellbound. He would not leave her. All the time he stuck close to her, bristling with a small boy’s pride of her. For no other woman looked such a lady as she did, in her little black bonnet and her cloak. She smiled when she saw women she knew. When she was tired she said to her son: ‘Well, are you coming now, or later?’ ‘Are you goin’ a’ready?’ he cried, his face full of reproach. ‘Already? It is past four, I know.’ ‘What are you goin’ a’ready for?’ he lamented. ‘You needn’t come if you don’t want,’ she said. And she went slowly away with her little girl, whilst her son stood watching her, cut to the heart to let her go, and yet unable to leave the wakes. As she crossed the open ground 
Sons and Lovers

in front of the Moon and Stars she heard men shouting, and smelled the beer, and hurried a little, thinking her husband was probably in the bar. At about half-past six her son came home, tired now, rather pale, and somewhat wretched. He was miserable, though he did not know it, because he had let her go alone. Since she had gone, he had not enjoyed his wakes. ‘Has my dad been?’ he asked. ‘No,’ said the mother. ‘He’s helping to wait at the Moon and Stars. I seed him through that black tin stuff wi’ holes in, on the window, wi’ his sleeves rolled up.’ ‘Ha!’ exclaimed the mother shortly. ‘He’s got no money. An’ he’ll be satisfied if he gets his ‘lowance, whether they give him more or not.’ When the light was fading, and Mrs. Morel could see no more to sew, she rose and went to the door. Everywhere was the sound of excitement, the restlessness of the holiday, that at last infected her. She went out into the side garden. Women were coming home from the wakes, the children hugging a white lamb with green legs, or a wooden horse. Occasionally a man lurched past, almost as full as he could carry. Sometimes a good husband came along with his family, peacefully. But usually the women and children were alone. The stay-at-home mothers stood gossiping at the corners of the alley, as the twilight sank, folding their arms under their white aprons. Mrs. Morel was alone, but she was used to it. Her son and her little girl slept upstairs; so, it seemed, her home was
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there behind her, fixed and stable. But she felt wretched with the coming child. The world seemed a dreary place, where nothing else would happen for her—at least until William grew up. But for herself, nothing but this dreary endurance—till the children grew up. And the children! She could not afford to have this third. She did not want it. The father was serving beer in a public house, swilling himself drunk. She despised him, and was tied to him. This coming child was too much for her. If it were not for William and Annie, she was sick of it, the struggle with poverty and ugliness and meanness. She went into the front garden, feeling too heavy to take herself out, yet unable to stay indoors. The heat suffocated her. And looking ahead, the prospect of her life made her feel as if she were buried alive. The front garden was a small square with a privet hedge. There she stood, trying to soothe herself with the scent of flowers and the fading, beautiful evening. Opposite her small gate was the stile that led uphill, under the tall hedge between the burning glow of the cut pastures. The sky overhead throbbed and pulsed with light. The glow sank quickly off the field; the earth and the hedges smoked dusk. As it grew dark, a ruddy glare came out on the hilltop, and out of the glare the diminished commotion of the fair. Sometimes, down the trough of darkness formed by the path under the hedges, men came lurching home. One young man lapsed into a run down the steep bit that ended the hill, and went with a crash into the stile. Mrs. Morel shuddered. He picked himself up, swearing viciously, rather
10 Sons and Lovers

pathetically, as if he thought the stile had wanted to hurt him. She went indoors, wondering if things were never going to alter. She was beginning by now to realise that they would not. She seemed so far away from her girlhood, she wondered if it were the same person walking heavily up the back garden at the Bottoms as had run so lightly up the breakwater at Sheerness ten years before. ‘What have I to do with it?’ she said to herself. ‘What have I to do with all this? Even the child I am going to have! It doesn’t seem as if I were taken into account.’ Sometimes life takes hold of one, carries the body along, accomplishes one’s history, and yet is not real, but leaves oneself as it were slurred over. ‘I wait,’ Mrs. Morel said to herself—‘I wait, and what I wait for can never come.’ Then she straightened the kitchen, lit the lamp, mended the fire, looked out the washing for the next day, and put it to soak. After which she sat down to her sewing. Through the long hours her needle flashed regularly through the stuff. Occasionally she sighed, moving to relieve herself. And all the time she was thinking how to make the most of what she had, for the children’s sakes. At half-past eleven her husband came. His cheeks were very red and very shiny above his black moustache. His head nodded slightly. He was pleased with himself. ‘Oh! Oh! waitin’ for me, lass? I’ve bin ‘elpin’ Anthony, an’ what’s think he’s gen me? Nowt b’r a lousy hae’f-crown, an’ that’s ivry penny—-‘
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‘He thinks you’ve made the rest up in beer,’ she said shortly. ‘An’ I ‘aven’t—that I ‘aven’t. You b’lieve me, I’ve ‘ad very little this day, I have an’ all.’ His voice went tender. ‘Here, an’ I browt thee a bit o’ brandysnap, an’ a cocoanut for th’ children.’ He laid the gingerbread and the cocoanut, a hairy object, on the table. ‘Nay, tha niver said thankyer for nowt i’ thy life, did ter?’ As a compromise, she picked up the cocoanut and shook it, to see if it had any milk. ‘It’s a good ‘un, you may back yer life o’ that. I got it fra’ Bill Hodgkisson. ‘Bill,’ I says, ‘tha non wants them three nuts, does ter? Arena ter for gi’ein’ me one for my bit of a lad an’ wench?’ ‘I ham, Walter, my lad,’ ‘e says; ‘ta’e which on ‘em ter’s a mind.’ An’ so I took one, an’ thanked ‘im. I didn’t like ter shake it afore ‘is eyes, but ‘e says, ‘Tha’d better ma’e sure it’s a good un, Walt.’ An’ so, yer see, I knowed it was. He’s a nice chap, is Bill Hodgkisson, e’s a nice chap!’ ‘A man will part with anything so long as he’s drunk, and you’re drunk along with him,’ said Mrs. Morel. ‘Eh, tha mucky little ‘ussy, who’s drunk, I sh’d like ter know?’ said Morel. He was extraordinarily pleased with himself, because of his day’s helping to wait in the Moon and Stars. He chattered on. Mrs. Morel, very tired, and sick of his babble, went to bed as quickly as possible, while he raked the fire. Mrs. Morel came of a good old burgher family, famous independents who had fought with Colonel Hutchinson, and who remained stout Congregationalists. Her grandfa1 Sons and Lovers

She remembered to have hated her father’s overbearing manner towards her gentle. She favoured her mother. And she still had the Bible that John Field had given her. Gertrude resembled her mother in her small build. Mrs. She could always recall in detail a September Sunday afternoon. defiant blue eyes and their broad brow. kindly-souled 1 . The sun came through the chinks of the vine-leaves and made beautiful patterns. when they had sat under the vine at the back of her father’s house. for she was a delicate. was an engineer—a large. She remembered running over the breakwater at Sheerness and finding the boat. but more proud still of his integrity. she had from the Coppards. George Coppard was bitterly galled by his own poverty. But her temper. haughty man. humorous. Morel—Gertrude—was the second daughter. She used to walk home from chapel with John Field when she was nineteen. He was the son of a wellto-do tradesman. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. She remembered to have been petted and flattered by all the men when she had gone to the dockyard. rather proud child. handsome. had been to college in London. proud and unyielding. whose assistant she had become. whom she had loved to help in the private school. proud of his fair skin and blue eyes. like a lace scarf. George Coppard. but she had the Coppards’ clear. Her father. loved her mother best of all.ther had gone bankrupt in the lace-market at a time when so many lace-manufacturers were ruined in Nottingham. She remembered the funny old mistress. and was to devote himself to business. He became foreman of the engineers in the dockyard at Sheerness.

she knew that it was NOT everything. I hate it!’ he cried hotly. owing to her health. Fancy their saying it’s brown.’ ‘But if you’re a MAN?’ she had cried.’ She held her head erect.’ he replied. ‘Now your hair. nothing would stop me. ‘But you say you don’t like business. Her father had retired home to Nottingham. like yellow flat flowers. ‘Being a man isn’t everything. I don’t know what it IS like! It’s as bright as copper and gold. Now.falling on her and on him. Your mother calls it mouse-colour. she had left Sheerness. ‘If I were a man. as she moved about her work at the Bottoms.’ he had cried. He was rather timid before her. ‘And you would like to go into the ministry. At twenty. ‘But my father’s so stiff-necked.’ she half implored. I should love it. if I thought I could make a first-rate preacher. the son had gone as a teacher in 1 Sons and Lovers . and it has gold threads where the sun shines on it. ‘Now sit still.’ She had met his brilliant eyes. He means to put me into the business. and I know he’ll do it. John Field’s father had been ruined. as red as burnt copper. Some of the leaves were clean yellow.’ ‘Then why don’t you—why DON’T you?’ Her voice rang with defiance.’ she pursued. but her clear face scarcely showed the elation which rose within her. ‘I don’t. frowning with puzzled helplessness. with some experience of what being a man meant. ‘I should.

a rich. two years later. Gertrude Coppard had watched him. What she liked most of all was an argument on religion or philosophy or politics with some educated man. Morel preserved John Field’s Bible. a kind of gambolling. his voice ran so easily into comic grotesque. and was considered very intellectual. and very smart. She did not now believe him to be—. He was so full of colour and animation. a woman of forty. he was so ready and so pleasant with everybody. Her own father had a rich fund of humour. And still Mrs. He had wavy black hair that shone again. she understood pretty well what he might or might not have been. He had that rare thing. she made determined inquiry. His cheeks were ruddy. This she did not often Free eBooks at Planet eBook. fascinated. receptive mind which found much pleasure and amusement in listening to other folk. She herself was opposite. erect. she met. So she preserved his Bible.Well. She loved ideas. but it was satiric. and a vigorous black beard that had never been shaved. non-intellectual. When she was twenty-three years old. She did not hear of him until. To her dying 1 . she did not speak of him. This man’s was different: soft. a widow with property. moist mouth was noticeable because he laughed so often and so heartily. He was well set-up.Norwood. She had a curious. a young man from the Erewash Valley. at a Christmas party. for thirty-five years. She was clever in leading folk to talk. and his red. He had married his landlady. for her own sake. and kept his memory intact in her heart. warm. ringing laugh. Morel was then twenty-seven years old.

with tumbled black hair. and in familiarity ironic. So she always had people tell her about themselves. She thought him rather wonderful. the Apostle Paul. proud in his bearing. who preferred theology in reading. who was harsh in government. She was still perfectly intact. Gertrude Coppard watched the young miner as he danced. Gertrude herself was rather 1 Sons and Lovers . and laughing alike whatever partner he bowed above. He danced well. and who drew near in sympathy only to one man. She was to the miner that thing of mystery and fascination. it was with a southern pronunciation and a purity of English which thrilled him to hear. handsome. This. ruddy. Her dress was always subdued. and dropping bunches of brown silk curls. She had the beautiful hands of the Coppards. as if it were natural and joyous in him to dance. Walter Morel seemed melted away before her.enjoy. and a heavy brooch of twisted gold. and his face the flower of his body. who ignored all sensuous pleasure:—he was very different from the miner. honest. deeply religious. with a peculiar silver chain of silver scallops. a certain subtle exultation like glamour in his movement. and rather bitter. When she spoke to him. was her only ornament. And George Coppard. with a large brow. His grandfather was a French refugee who had married an English barmaid—if it had been a marriage. In her person she was rather small and delicate. Her father was to her the type of all men. and searching. a lady. never having met anyone like him. Her blue eyes were very straight. She watched him. finding her pleasure so. and full of beautiful candour. She wore dark blue silk.

‘But you mustn’t miss your dance.’ It was her turn to laugh quickly. golden softness of this man’s sensuous flame of life. He came and bowed above her. Her words came clean and ringing.’ He laughed very heartily at this. high-minded. ‘Now do come and have this one wi’ me. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘No. It moved the man so that he forgot everything. not baffled and gripped into incandescence by thought and spirit as her life was. you know. I’m pining to see you dance.contemptuous of dancing. ‘Nay. ‘It’s easy. that flowed off his flesh like the flame from a candle. like her father. Therefore the dusky. I don’t want to dance that—it’s not one as I care about.’ she said. Not knowing what he was doing—he often did the right thing by instinct—he sat beside her.’ she said 1 . she had not the slightest inclination towards that accomplishment. Tha’rt not long in taking the curl out of me.’ She had told him before she could not dance.’ she reproved. She glanced at his humility and smiled. I won’t dance. ‘You don’t look as if you’d come much uncurled. A warmth radiated through her as if she had drunk wine. ‘I never thought o’ that. Her smile was very beautiful. inclining reverentially. seemed to her something wonderful. beyond her. and really stern. She was puritan.’ he said caressively.’ ‘Yet you invited me to it. and had never learned even a Roger de Coverley.

‘Like a moudiwarp!’ he laughed. rather boisterously. it ‘ud dirty thee.’ He thrust his face forward in the blind. ‘You soon get used to it.’ She looked at him. But tha mun let me ta’e thee down some time. ‘When you were ten! And wasn’t it very hard?’ she asked. ‘And you are a miner!’ she exclaimed in surprise. The next Christmas they were married.’ she frowned. seeming to sniff and peer for direction.’ She looked at him in wondering dismay. hundreds of them toiling below earth and coming up at evening.‘I’m like a pig’s tail. I went down when I was ten. ‘Yi. with a touch of appeal in her pure humility. and with gaiety. an’ you pop out at night to see what’s going on. You live like th’ mice. ‘Shouldn’t ter like it?’ he asked tenderly.’ ‘It makes me feel blind. ‘Tha niver seed such a way they get in. an’ tha can see for thysen. This was a new tract of life suddenly opened before her. He risked his life daily. He seemed to her noble.’ She had never been ‘thee’d’ and ‘thou’d’ before. 1 Sons and Lovers .’ he laughed. snout-like way of a mole. and for three months she was perfectly happy: for six months she was very happy. an’ there’s some chaps as does go round like moudiwarps. ‘They dun though!’ he protested naively. She realised the life of the miners. ‘Appen not. ‘Yes. startled. She looked at him. I curl because I canna help it.

she thought. and. But in the seventh month. She saw him listen deferentially. This killed her efforts at a finer intimacy. it’s a steel one!’ ‘An’ what if it is! Tha s’lt ha’e one very similar. and quite nicely furnished.’ She did not mind the mess. The women. seized with a sudden curiosity. so I can make thee one! ‘ ‘What! why. when she was brushing his Sunday coat. but convenient enough.’ ‘Does ter. my wench? Well. Sometimes. But she could perfectly well live by herself. He was a remarkably handy man—could make or mend anything. nor the hammering and noise. so long as she had her husband close. were rather foreign to her. He Free eBooks at Planet eBook. she tried to open her heart seriously to him. her neighbours. if not exactly same. worthy stuff that suited her honest soul. It was small. I made that. They lived. and she had flashes of fear. Sometimes he was restless of an evening: it was not enough for him just to be near her. She was glad when he set himself to little jobs. when she herself wearied of love-talk. So she would say: ‘I do like that coal-rake of your mother’s—it is small and natty. and Morel’s mother and sisters were apt to sneer at her ladylike ways. took them out to read. with solid. He was busy and happy. but without understanding.He had signed the pledge. she felt papers in the breast pocket. in his own house. she 1 . and wore the blue ribbon of a tee-totaller: he was nothing if not showy.

still unpaid. ‘Look here. ‘Eighty pound. ‘I can have your bank-book. if you look—beside 0 Sons and Lovers . if you’re so keen on knowin’.’ she replied. I don’t like sitting on another man’s chairs and eating from an unpaid table. The next day she went down to see his mother. Haven’t you settled the bills yet?’ ‘No. ‘Didn’t you buy the furniture for Walter?’ she asked. I haven’t had a chance. ‘Eighty pounds! But there are forty-two pounds still owing!’ ‘I can’t help that. after he was washed and had had his dinner. ‘I found these in the pocket of your wedding-coat.’ ‘But where has it all gone?’ ‘You’ll find all the papers. ‘And how much did he give you to pay for it?’ The elder woman was stung with fine indignation. can’t I?’ ‘Tha can ha’e it. I think. for what good it’ll be to thee. She sat rigid with bitterness and indignation. I had better go into Nottingham on Saturday and settle them.’ ‘I thought—-’ she began. ‘Yes.’ tartly retorted the elder woman.’ she said at night.very rarely wore the frock-coat he was married in: and it had not occurred to her before to feel curious concerning the papers. But she realised it was no use asking questions. He had told her he had a good bit of money left over. They were the bills of the household furniture. I did.’ He did not answer.’ ‘But you told me all was paid.

She was her father now. ‘And not clear either. at his expense.’ Gertrude sat white and silent. ‘I thought the house we live in—-’ she began. honourable soul had crystallised out hard as rock.’ said the elder woman. ‘It is lucky to be you. and leaves you a free hand. ‘Six and six a week. It was more than the house was worth. Something in her proud. ‘Then we ought to be paying you rent. bitingly. ‘to have a husband as takes all the worry of the money. She said very little to her husband. but her manner had changed towards him.’ ‘Six pounds!’ echoed Gertrude Morel.ten pound as he owed me. after her own father had paid so heavily for her wedding.’ replied the mother.’ she said coldly. It seemed to her monstrous that. those two. Gertrude held her head erect. ‘And what rent?’ asked Gertrude. an’ six pound as the wedding cost down here. It’s as much as I can do to keep the mortgage interest paid. was his own. looked straight before her. Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ The young wife was silent. six pounds more should have been squandered in eating and drinking at Walter’s parents’ house. ‘And how much has he sunk in his houses?’ she asked.’ retorted the mother. ‘His houses—which houses?’ Gertrude Morel went white to the 1 . He had told her the house he lived in. ‘They’re my houses. and the next one. ‘Walter is paying me rent.’ said the mother-in-law.

at first.’ The other woman was defiant. and Thursday. But they stop to have their pint at Ellen’s. I don’t think. You know he’s quite a famous one for dancing. an’ they get talkin’.’  Sons and Lovers . do you. he is though! Why. accordin’ to all accounts. an’ there you are! Dinner stone cold—an’ it serves ‘em right. he did. aren’t they?’ she said to her washer-woman. for she was superior. and she had a fair share of it. he ran that dancing-class in the Miners’ Arms club-room for over five year. Morel. ‘Yea.’ ‘Did he?’ ‘Yes.When October came in. she had met him. Two years ago.’ laughed Mrs. Last Christmas she had married him. ‘You don’t dance yourself. when there was great talk of opening a dancing-class over the Brick and Tile Inn at Bestwood. in October. Morel does not take any drink. Morel replied. missis?’ asked her nearest neighbour. He began to be rather late in coming home.’ ‘But Mr. The women did not spare her. ‘Fancy! An’ how funny as you should ha’ married your Mester. though she could not help it. ‘They’re working very late now. ‘An’ it was thronged every Tuesday.’ ‘I didn’t know he was famous. she thought only of Christmas. ‘No later than they allers do. at Christmas. an’ Sat’day—an’ there WAS carryin’s-on. Morel.’ This kind of thing was gall and bitterness to Mrs. This Christmas she would bear him a child.’ Mrs. ‘No—I never had the least inclination to.

His mother loved him passionately. the novelty of his own home was gone. bloody battle that ended only with the death of one. to make him fulfill his obligations. Gertrude Morel was very ill when the boy was born. when her faith in life was shaken. but he came on quickly. She made much of the child. the father’s temper had become so irritable that it was not to be trusted. and she strove to make him moral. miles away from her own  . He had no grit. He could not endure it—it drove him out of his mind. He was a beautiful child. At last Mrs. His nature was purely sensuous. He could not abide by anything. that was all to him. She fought to make him undertake his own responsibilities. and his presence only made it more intense. Morel was good to her. Morel. But she felt very lonely. and her soul felt dreary and lonely. and dark-blue eyes which changed gradually to a clear grey. and the father was jealous. He came just when her own bitterness of disillusion was hardest to bear. then went on with her work. He had begun to neglect her. The boy was small and frail at first. But he was too different from her. she said bitterly to herself. Morel despised her husband. she turned from the father. She turned to the child.The woman dropped the clothes. as good as gold. saying nothing. What he felt just at the minute. She tried to force him to face things. There began a battle between the husband and wife— a fearful. looked at Mrs. with dark gold ringlets. There was nothing at the back of all his show. The child had Free eBooks at Planet eBook. While the baby was still tiny. religious. She felt lonely with him now.

with his little white hat curled with an ostrich feather. and seated in his armchair. the room was hot. on his return. and his white coat. It was her first baby. and he went out and drank. and was unable to speak. knowingly or unknowingly. Then. ‘What dost think o’ ‘im?’ Morel laughed uneasily. She was not well off now. grossly to offend her where he would not have done. a great fire glowed in the grate. and came forward. one Sunday morning. the child—cropped like a sheep.only to give a little trouble when the man began to bully. Then she dozed off. like the petals of a marigold scattered in the reddening firelight. Morel lay listening. he was a joy to her. sat Morel. The estrangement between them caused him. Morel stood still.  Sons and Lovers . against the chimney-piece. Morel loathed her husband. a myriad of crescent-shaped curls. rather timid. A little more. William was only one year old. Then Mrs. lifted them. and standing between his legs. the twining wisps of hair clustering round his head. Mrs. with such an odd round poll—looking wondering at her. to the chatter of the father and child downstairs. but her sisters kept the boy in clothes. When she came downstairs. Mrs. and the hard hands of the collier hit the baby. She gripped her two fists. and on a newspaper spread out upon the hearthrug. and she cared very little what he did. Morel shrank back. he was so pretty. the breakfast was roughly laid. She went very white. loathed him for days. Only. and his mother was proud of him. she scathed him with her satire.

The mother looked down at the jagged. her two fists uplifted. Presently she came to an end. that the boy’s hair would have had to be cut. littered with curls. But she knew. Morel sat with his elbows on his knees. Her lip trembled. she even brought herself to say to her husband it was just as well he had played barber when he did. Morel was subdued. ‘Yer non want ter make a wench on ‘im. I could!’ she said. and his meals were a misery that day. and MoFree eBooks at Planet eBook. He gazed in the fire. She spoke to him civilly. close-clipped head of her child. feeling almost stunned.’ Morel said. soothed the child and cleared away the breakfast-table. In the end. sooner or later. Afterwards she said she had been silly. bending his head to shield his eyes from hers. ‘Oh—my boy!’ she faltered. as if he could not breathe. her sobbing. in a frightened tone. She choked with rage. she buried her face in his shoulder and cried painfully.‘I could kill you. and. his hands gripped together till the knuckles were white. At last her husband gathered it up and put it at the back of the fire. her face broke. But he felt something final had happened. and stroked and fondled his head. spread upon the hearthrug. She went about her work with closed mouth and very quiet. She was one of those women who cannot cry. She put her hands on his hair. He crept about wretchedly. It was like ripping something out of her. snatching up the child. She left the newspaper. whom it hurts as it hurts a  . His attempt at laughter had vanished. and never alluded to what he had done.

she tortured him. was often a poltroon. Sometimes he stayed at home on Wednesday and Thursday evenings. or had loved him. It was now a religious instinct. She also had the children. She still had her high moral sense. She remembered the scene all her life. She could not be content with the little he might be. On Monday and Tuesday he had to get up and reluctantly leave towards ten o’clock. and always beer. This act of masculine clumsiness was the spear through the side of her love for Morel. while she had striven against him bitterly. This made life much more bearable. Nevertheless. though not more than many miners. She injured and hurt and scarred herself. inherited from generations of Puritans. Now she ceased to fret for his love: he was an outsider to her. she wielded the lash unmercifully. sometimes a knave. So. If he drank. every Saturday. she was too much his opposite. she had fretted after him.rel knew. she still continued to strive with him. she destroyed him. as if he had gone astray from her. because she loved him. The week-end was his chief carouse. it was never injured. The pity was. If he sinned. but she lost none of her worth. that that act had caused something momentous to take place in her soul. she would have him the much that he ought to be. as one in which she had suffered the most intensely. so that whilst his health was affected. and every Sunday evening. He drank rather heavily. and she was almost a fanatic with him. and lied. in seeking to make him nobler than he could be. He sat in the Miners’ Arms until turning-out time every Friday. or was only out for an  Sons and Lovers . Before.

‘Tha’d better stan’ on a bit o’ clunch. in the Palmerston: ‘Th’ gaffer come down to our stall this morning. therefore he could only abuse the pit-managers. He was blab-mouthed. Authority was hateful to him.’ So ‘e wor that mad. He imitated the manager’s fat. while the two disliked each other. they more or less took each other for granted. But Alfred Charlesworth did not forgive the butty these public-house sayings. sometimes earning as much as five pounds a week when he married. It’ll ‘appen carry thee ter bed an’ back. Who knows more about it. an’ ‘e says. Alfred.’ Morel was a good mimic. what art talkin’ about? What d’st mean about th’ props?’ ‘It’ll never do. ‘e cossed an’ ‘e swore. ‘I shan’t have it. he came gradually to have worse and worse stalls. ‘You’ll be havin’ th’ roof in. this ‘ere’ll not do. his wages fell off. where the coal was thin. The pit-manager was not an educated man.hour.’ ‘e says. What about these props?’ An’ I says to him. a tongue-wagger. and unprofitable. He practically never had to miss work owing to his drinking. Walter. me or you?’ So I says. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Consequently. ‘You know.’ An’ I says. squeaky  . Walter. although Morel was a good miner. ‘Why. ‘I’ve niver fun out how much tha’ knows. so that. then. with its attempt at good English. But although he was very steady at work. He had been a boy along with Morel. He would say. an’ t’other chaps they did laugh. and hard to get. one o’ these days. this ‘ere.‘ So Morel would go on to the amusement of his boon companions. an’ hold it up wi’ thy ‘ead. And some of this would be true.

from twenty-eight  Sons and Lovers . In winter. because money will be short at the end of the week. eleven. looking down the fields and seeing the wheels on the headstocks standing. he scarcely spared the children an extra penny or bought them a pound of apples. to provide everything—rent. with a decent stall. as they come from school at dinner-time. Occasionally. the men are seen trooping home again at ten. clubs. say: ‘Minton’s knocked off. It all went in drink. In the bad times. My dad’ll be at home. Saturday. but he was not so often drunk. he gave her thirty-five. and count the wagons the engine is taking along the line up the valley. in summer.’ And there is a sort of shadow over all. doctors. Morel was supposed to give his wife thirty shillings a week. clothes. and Sunday.’ If he earned forty shillings he kept ten. Often. from thirty-two he kept four. On Friday night. And out of so much. so that Mrs. No empty trucks stand at the pitmouth. or twelve o’clock. But these occasions by no means balanced those when he gave her twenty-five. on bright sunny mornings. Morel used to say: ‘I’m not sure I wouldn’t rather be short. for when he’s flush.Also. And the children. if he were flush. women and children and men. food. the pits are slack. The women on the hillside look across as they shake the hearthrug against the fence. he spent royally. getting rid of his sovereign or thereabouts. the miner might earn fifty or fifty-five shillings a week. from thirty-five he kept five. Then he was happy. there isn’t a minute of peace. matters were more worrying. insurance.

On the Tuesday morning Morel rose early. At nine o’clock. wavy hair. from twenty-four he kept two. from twenty he kept one-and-six. harassed. His wife lay listening to him tinkering away in the garden. Morel was trying to save against her confinement. He had been a choir-boy with a beautiful voice. his whistling ringing out as he sawed and hammered away. There were two days’ holiday. but debts when he had bought a canary. or a fancy walking-stick. So it galled her bitterly to think he should be out taking his pleasure and spending money. with black. from eighteen he kept a shilling. He never saved a penny. It always gave her a sense of warmth and peace to hear him thus as she lay in bed. At the wakes time Morel was working badly. and he gave his wife no opportunity of saving. he came in from his carpentry. and the mother was washing up. his sleeves rolled up. for those never were passed on to the women. and a large black moustache. while the children with bare legs and feet were sitting playing on the sofa.he kept three. He was still a good-looking man. whilst she remained at home. before six o’clock. and had taken solos in Southwell cathedral. Quite early. He was in good spirits. in the bright early morning. His morning whistling alone betrayed  . from sixteen he kept sixpence. the children not yet awake. not public-house debts. He had a pleasant way of whistling. His face Free eBooks at Planet eBook. happy in his man’s fashion. He nearly always whistled hymns. lively and musical. instead. his waistcoat hanging open. she heard him whistling away to himself downstairs. and Mrs. she had occasionally to pay his debts.

and wore his Sunday tail-coat.’ With which he stood watching her a moment. His 0 Sons and Lovers . Now. But now he was jolly. a black bow. ‘Then you can go and wash yourself in the soft-water tub. and there was about him a look almost of peevishness. and Mrs. scrupulously parted his wet black hair. There seemed so much gusto in the way he puffed and swilled as he washed himself. ‘What. bending because it was too low for him. thin man. As such. Morel. so much alacrity with which he hurried to the mirror in the kitchen. he made a toilet. brittle dignity. ‘Sluthe off an’ let me wesh mysen. his instinct for making the most of his good looks would. with a rather foxy face. Morel. and.’ said his wife. as if his head were on a wooden spring. are thee there!’ he said boisterously. and what his clothes would not do.’ ‘You may wait till I’ve finished. He put on a turn-down collar. Jerry was Morel’s bosom friend. the kind of face that seems to lack eyelashes. He went straight to the sink where his wife was washing up. ‘Oh. When he chose he could still make himself again a real gallant. He was a tall. At half-past nine Jerry Purdy came to call for his pal. mun I? An’ what if I shonna?’ This good-humoured threat amused Mrs. tha mucky little ‘ussy. he looked spruce. that it irritated Mrs. however.’ ‘Ha! I can’ an’ a’. Morel disliked him. then went away to wait for her. Usually he preferred to go out with a scarf round his neck. He walked with a stiff.was perhaps too much inflamed.

’ ‘Open-handed to 1 . and more or less to take charge of him. ‘A mean. Morel said of him. that if he came into her room it caused her haemorrhage. and who had. Morel’s eye. poor things. he seemed to be very fond of Morel. ‘Yes. She had known his wife. ‘But his fist is shut tight enough to his children. Morel hated him.’ But Mrs. Generous where he intended to be generous. and looked after the two younger children. at the end. None of which Jerry had seemed to mind. Morel. The subject of argument was seen.’ he said to Mrs.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ Jerry entered unasked. ‘A nice day.’ retorted Mrs.’ ‘Poor things! And what for are they poor things. Mrs. He caught Mrs. who had died of consumption. And now his eldest daughter. wizzen-hearted stick!’ Mrs. but stood there. conceived such a violent dislike of her husband. and stood by the kitchen doorway.’ protested Morel. ‘Mornin’. Morel. ‘A opener-handed and more freer chap you couldn’t find anywhere. coolly asserting the rights of men and husbands. I should like to know. missis! Mester in?’ ‘Yes—he is. kept a poor house for him. accordin’ to my knowledge. a girl of fifteen. ‘Grand out this morning—grand for a walk. ‘I’ve never known Jerry mean in MY life. craning his thin neck over the scullery curtain. Morel would not be appeased on Jerry’s score. He was not invited to sit down.nature was cold and shrewd.

on skittles. smoking vaguely in the midday glare. We mean walkin’ to Nottingham. ‘Yes. Morel was sleepy. so that. But he laced his boots quickly. The two had dinner in the Meadows. with spirit.’ he replied. In the last field Morel lay down under an oak tree and slept soundly for over an hour. Morel never in his life played cards. then on to the Old Spot. All the men in the old. however.‘Do you mean YOU’RE going for a walk?’ she asked. Morel took off his coat. Morel rather subdued. Jerry held the hat containing the money. with Jerry’s sister. they mounted gaily into the morning. Climbing the hillside from the Bottoms. Some stood with their mugs  Sons and Lovers . They were going for a ten-mile walk across the fields to Nottingham. long bar took sides. then repaired to the Punch Bowl. both glad: Jerry. considering them as having some occult. full of assurance. At the Moon and Stars they had their first drink. Then a long five miles of drought to carry them into Bulwell to a glorious pint of bitter. The town spread upwards before them. When he rose to go forward he felt queer. But they stayed in a field with some haymakers whose gallon bottle was full. where they mixed in the excitement of pigeon-racing. malevolent power—‘the devil’s pictures. betting either one way or the other. when they came in sight of the city. ‘H’m!’ The two men greeted each other. He took a challenge from a Newark man.’ he called them! But he was a master of skittles and of dominoes. The men at the tables watched. fridging the crest away to the south with spires and factory bulks and chimneys. afraid to seem too jubilant in presence of his wife.

in their hands. The child required much attention. They caught the 7. and won half a crown. She knew William was at the dipping-hole. The water ran quickly over stones and broken pots. sat on their heels and talked. a railway journey no longer impended. having a rest between drinks. Morel could see the naked forms of boys flashing round the deep yellow water. the slate roofs glistered in the arid heat. Then she worked awhile. He played havoc among the nine-pins.30 train home. or an occasional bright figure dart glittering over the blackish stagnant meadow. Morel took the little girl down to the brook in the meadows. Up at the dipping-hole. and the flies were teasing. at the other end of the meadow. Annie played under the tall old hedge. that she called currants. Morel felt his big wooden ball carefully. bareheaded and in white aprons. By seven o’clock the two were in good condition. Mrs. gossiped in the alley between the blocks. Men. The women. so they could put the finishing touches to a glorious Free eBooks at Planet eBook. When Walter Morel and Jerry arrived at Bestwood they felt a load off their minds. and it was the dread of her life lest he should get drowned. In the afternoon the Bottoms was intolerable. Every inhabitant remaining was out of doors. which were not more than two hundred yards away. watching. picking up alder cones. Mrs. The children were put to bed at seven o’clock. then launched it. Mother and child leaned on the rail of the old sheepbridge. which restored him to  . The place smelled stale. in twos and threes.

in a drawl: ‘Lead. Morel was pouring the infusion of herbs out of the saucepan. Swaying slightly.’ she cried. He entered just as Mrs.’ Mrs. He did not know he was angry. Morel started back. he lurched against the table. The boiling liquor pitched. Morel was always indignant with the drunken men that they must sing that hymn when they got maudlin. to sleep in preparation for the morrow. ‘As if ‘Genevieve’ weren’t good enough. Morel took a panchion. Some were already rolling dismally home. ‘Good gracious. went indoors. On a doorstep somewhere a man was singing loudly. On the hob a large black saucepan steamed slowly. The next day was a work-day. after having slept on the ground when he was so hot. streamed a heap of white sugar into the bottom. kindly Light. But when the garden gate resisted his attempts to open it. but coming home had grown irritable. ‘coming home in his drunk Sons and Lovers .’ she said. Mrs. Morel. Mrs. The kitchen was full of the scent of boiled herbs and hops. He had not quite got over the feeling of irritability and They entered the Nelson with the satisfaction of returned travellers. and then. Nine o’clock passed. and still ‘the pair’ had not returned. and the thought of it put a damper on the men’s spirits. moreover. Mrs. he kicked it and broke the latch. He had been very jolly in the Nelson. a great bowl of thick red earth. straining herself to the weight. had spent their money. and ten. Just then Morel came in. Most of them. was pouring in the liquor. listening to their mournful singing. and a bad conscience afflicted him as he neared the house.

’ she cried. ‘Say you’re not drunk. She had put down her saucepan. ‘Say you’re NOT drunk!’ she flashed. ‘You’re a liar. why. They went on till he called her a liar. ‘Why. ‘You’re a liar!’ he yelled. ‘And. and thrust his face forwards at her. Suddenly her blood rose in a jet. let him look after his children.’ She forced the last words out of suffocated lungs. woman. She was fiery and furious as he.’ ‘It’s a lie.’ he said. He dropped his two hands heavily on the table. nobody but a nasty little bitch like you ‘ud ‘ave such a thought.’ she cried. ‘You don’t get as drunk as a lord on nothing. it’s a lie. for they need it. Each forgot everything save the hatred of the other and the battle between them.’ she replied.’ He thrust his face forward at her.’ ‘I’ve not spent a two-shillin’ bit this day. Shut your  . starting up. flashing into sudden fury. ‘Don’t call me that—you.’’ he repeated. ‘There’s money to bezzle with. you’re a liar. banging the table with his fist. scarce able to breathe.’ They were now at battle-pitch. ‘No. ‘if you’ve been sponging on your beloved Jerry. and was stirring the sugar into the beer.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. his hat over his eye. the most despicable liar that ever walked in shoe-leather. if there’s money for nothing else.enness!’ ‘Comin’ home in his what?’ he snarled.

from exhaustion and intoxication. sinking between his knees.’ she laughed. when I’d only the one’—suddenly drying into rage. struggled to be free. laugh. She cried in fear of him.’ ‘Go. wouldn’t I have gone long ago. ‘It’s me as brings th’ money whoam. Coming slightly to himself. Thus he dipped gradually into a stupor. lifting his fist. My word.’ she cried loudly.’ he cried thickly. It’s my house. dropped into his armchair. ‘No. ‘The house is filthy with you. panting. not thine. and gripped her arms. with its bloodshot eyes.’ she replied.’ he shouted. He was afraid of her. his head.’ she cried. I’ve got those children to see to. I should laugh. not thee. wouldn’t I. you shan’t do ALL you like. ‘Go!’ ‘No!’ She faced round. ‘I should look well to leave them to you. ‘Go!’ ‘I should be only too glad. ‘Then get out on it—it’s mine. my lord. suddenly shaken into tears of impotence. slotting the bolt behind her with a bang. ‘Do you think it’s for YOU I stop—do you think I’d stop one minute for YOU?’ ‘Go.  Sons and Lovers . thrust forward. Then ger out on’t—ger out on’t!’ ‘And I would. he pushed her roughly to the outer door. ‘Ah. ‘you shan’t have it ALL your own way. then. and thrust her forth. haven’t I repented not going years ago.She stiffened herself. with clenched fists. beside himself. Ay. Then he went back into the kitchen. if I could get away from you. bursting full of blood. his red face. but for those children. He came up to her. Get out on it!’ he shouted.’ she cried.

and each time she enacted again the past hour. while the child boiled within her. The garden was a narrow strip. seared with passion. and gave a shock to her inflamed soul. by a thick thorn hedge. She must have been half an hour in this delirious condition. she murmured to herself over and over again: ‘The nuisance! the nuisance!’ She became aware of something about her. Mrs. She had wandered to the side garden. and at last she came to herself. certain moments coming each time like a brand red-hot down on her soul. She glanced round in fear. then over it again. that cut transversely between the blocks. mechanically she went over the last scene. For a while she could not control her consciousness. She hurried out of the side garden to the front. She walked down the garden path. panting and half weeping in reaction from the stress. the moon streaming high in face of her. bounded from the  . where she could stand as if in an immense gulf of white light. almost blindingly. Then she got the air into her breast. There. certain phrases. shivered to find herself out there in a great white light. She stood for a few moments helplessly staring at the glistening great rhubarb leaves near the door.The moon was high and magnificent in the August night. till the mark was burnt in. each time the brand came down at the same points. the moonlight standing up from the hills in front. Then the presence of the night came again to her. With an efFree eBooks at Planet eBook. and filling the valley where the Bottoms crouched. where she was walking up and down the path beside the currant bushes under the long wall. Morel. trembling in every limb. and the pain burnt out. that fell cold on her.

and wanted to sleep. the clumps of white phlox seemed like bushes spread with linen. Then she drank a deep draught of the scent. and her consciousness in the child. She passed along the path. They seemed to be stretching in the moonlight. Morel gasped slightly in fear. She was very fond of them. Mrs. and she lost herself awhile. When she came to herself she was tired for sleep. but it only appeared dusky. Following it with her eye roused her. After a time the child. Morel leaned on the garden gate. It almost made her dizzy. pale air. and the air was charged with their perfume. soft leaves reminded her of the morning-time and sunshine. She touched the big. Except for a slight feeling of sickness. Mrs. In the mysterious out-of-doors she felt forlorn. It smelled sweet and simple. too. She bent down to look at the binful of yellow pollen. A few whiffs of the raw. She did not know what she thought. She put her hand into one white bin: the gold scarcely showed on her fingers by moonlight. Languidly she looked about her. looking out. and right across the garden. melted with her in the mixing-pot of moonlight. strong scent of phlox invigorated her. Their fresh scent and cool. a moth ricochetted over them.fort she roused herself to see what it was that penetrated her consciousness. herself melted out like scent into the shiny. as with a presence. She touched the white ruffles of the roses.  Sons and Lovers . and she rested with the hills and lilies and houses. then shivered. all swum together in a kind of swoon. hesitating at the white rose-bush. But she was tired. The tall white lilies were reeling in the moonlight. pallid flowers on their petals.

com  . He must be asleep. She tapped at the window more and more noisily. He was sleeping with his face lying on the table. three miles away. She must not rouse the children. Her heart began to burn to be indoors. she could tell by the copper colour of the light. Almost it seemed as if the glass would break. sound of a train like a sigh. she would take a chill. partly from contact with the stone. And out of the silver-grey fog of darkness came sounds vague and hoarse: a corncrake not far off. she could just see. waited. she hurried down the side garden to the back of the house. and hard against her. She clung to the door-handle. Now it was cold. Evidently the children had not been wakened. She rapped gently.There was no noise anywhere. she hurried again to the side garden. Fearful always for the unborn child. and from exhaustion. roared across the valley. Her quietened heart beginning to beat quickly again. A train. Something in his attitude made her feel tired of things. the door was still bolted. she began to shiver. nor the neighbours. or had gone to sleep again. to the window of the kitchen. Still he did not wake up. her husband’s arms spread out on the table. stretching its hoary distances infinitely. and in her present condition! Putting her apron over her head and her arms. The night was very large. After vain efforts. and distant shouts of men. Leaning on the sill. she wondered what she could do for Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Softly she lifted the latch. under the blind. then rapped again. and very strange. The lamp was burning smokily. and his black head on the board. and he would not wake easily.

bewildered. Instantly she saw his fists set and his eyes glare. When. He glared round. if grimy.warmth. Morel entered. She warmed and soothed herself. after the tawny light of the lamp. and telling herself that in the end the very strain of his position must wake him. It was warm. He had ripped his collar off his neck in his haste to be gone ere she came in. His hands relaxed. rinsed his pit-bottle. in despair. If it had been twenty burglars. knocking. At last. She saw him hurry to the door. She went down to the coal-house. He had not a grain of physical fear. but prepared to fight. The labouring of his heart hurt him into consciousness. It dawned on him what he had done. sullen and dogged.’ she said coldly. 0 Sons and Lovers . where there was an old hearthrug she had carried out for the rag-man the day before. Then she walked up and down the garden path. fearful to him. In her weariness forgetting everything. she moved about at the little tasks that remained to be done. peeping every now and then under the blind. It made her angry. ‘Open the door. she saw him almost running through the door to the stairs. This she wrapped over her shoulders. She rapped imperatively at the window. Gradually the sound penetrated to him. and there it lay with bursten button-holes. she saw him stir. she rapped long and low at the window. he would have gone blindly for them. He tried the latch. after about an hour. When Mrs. His head dropped. heard the bolt chock. He started awake. Walter. He hurried back. It opened—and there stood the silver-grey night. set his breakfast. she had ceased to tap. then lift his face blindly.

and went to bed. but she was asleep before her husband awoke from the first sleep of his drunkenness. seemed to be saying: ‘I don’t care who you are nor what you 1 . I SHALL have my own way. Morel knew him too well to look at him. raked the fire. put him out a clean scarf and snap-bag and two apples. As she unfastened her brooch at the mirror. she smiled faintly to see her face all smeared with the yellow dust of lilies. set his pit-boots beside them. He was already dead asleep. She brushed it off. and his sulky mouth. His narrow black eyebrows were drawn up in a sort of peevish misery into his forehead while his cheeks’ down-strokes.put his pit-clothes on the hearth to warm.’ Mrs. For some time her mind continued snapping and jetting sparks. and at last lay down. Free eBooks at Planet eBook.

Physically even. Walter Morel was for some days abashed and ashamed. he woke. Being a man who rose early and had plenty of time he did not. almost quite sober. But now he realised how hard it was for his wife to drag about at her work. At five. and. but he soon regained his old bullying indifference. as some miners do. sometimes earlier. his sympathy quickened by penitence. and then he could not remain at home. assertive bearing. He came straight home from the pit. drag his wife out of bed at six o’clock. his physique seemed to contract along with his pride and moral strength. hastened forward with his help. But he was back again by ten o’clock. so that. and went down Sons and Lovers . and stayed in at evening till Friday. AND ANOTHER BATTLE AFTER such a scene as the last. got straight out of bed. he shrank. and his fine full presence waned. a diminishing in his assurance. He always made his own breakfast. as he sank from his erect.CHAPTER II THE BIRTH OF PAUL. Yet there was a slight shrinking. He never grew in the least stout.

There was always a fire. His cup and knife and fork. He loathed a fork: it is a modern introduction which has still scarcely reached common people. He went downstairs in his shirt and then struggled into his pit-trousers. as Morel smashed the remainder of the coal to make the kettle. all he wanted except just the food. was laid ready on the table on a newspaper. With his family about. in cold weather. and was happy. in solitude. his food on the fender. because Mrs. When she could not sleep. and sat down to an hour of joy. He preferred to keep the blinds down and the candle lit even when it was daylight. often sitting. finally boil. piled a big fire. He toasted his bacon on a fork and caught the drops of fat on his  . it was the habit of the mine. meals were never so pleasant. The only real rest seemed to be when he was out of the house. his cup on the hearth. He Free eBooks at Planet eBook. cut two thick slices of bread and butter. Then he got his breakfast. as for a period of peace. And then he read the last night’s newspaper—what of it he could—spelling it over laboriously. and cut off chunks with a clasp-knife. poured his tea into his saucer. on a little stool with his back to the warm chimney-piece. his wife lay waiting for this time. made the tea. which were left on the hearth to warm all night. At a quarter to six he rose. Morel raked. bang of the poker against the raker. which was filled and left on the hob. packed the bottom of the doors with rugs to shut out the draught. And the first sound in the house was the bang. then he put the rasher on his thick slice of bread. he ate and drank. What Morel preferred was a clasp-knife. Then.stairs. and put them in the white calico snap-bag.

a vest of thick flannel cut low round the neck. sipping again. and with short sleeves like a chemise. He always liked it when she put one out for him. injured. heavy boots. and the walk across the fields. So he appeared at the pit-top. so an apple or an orange was a treat to him. down the mine. and because it occurred to him. and put on his pit-singlet.’ she replied. often with a stalk from the hedge between his teeth. He tied a scarf round his neck. you needn’t. his coat. and went. ‘It’s a wonder. which he chewed all day to keep his mouth moist. lass. the door behind him. He never took more than two slices of bread and butter to eat in the pit. it’ll pop thee off to sleep again. ‘Well. that carried his snap-bag and his bottle of tea. ‘I’ve brought thee a cup o’ tea. It pleased him to see her take it and sip it. He loved the early morning.’ She accepted the tea. feeling quite as happy as when he was in the field. Cold tea without milk or sugar was the drink he preferred for the pit.  Sons and Lovers .’ she said.’ he replied. without locking. for you know I don’t like it. ‘I’ll back my life there’s no sugar in. closing. He loved her to grumble at him in this manner. with the big pocket. put on his great. She had a winsome face when her hair was loose.’ he said. He looked at her again.filled his tin bottle with tea. and went forth into the fresh morning air. ‘Drink it up.’ she said. without any sort of leave-taking. Then he pulled off his shirt. Then he went upstairs to his wife with a cup of tea because she was ill. ‘Yi—there’s one big ‘un.

She could not rest until she had thoroughly cleaned. Then. sweeping the house before he went to work. Then. ‘Eh. Morel deprecatingly.Later. Kirk. ‘Now I’m cleaned up for thee: tha’s no ‘casions ter stir a peg all day. a black-haired. he went upstairs. would contrive to have to go to her own coal-place at that minute. ‘I haven’t. so she went down to the ash-pit with her dustpan. Morel. spying her. I wish he’d come.’ ‘Hark! He’s at the end.’ ‘Have you seen Hose?’ called a very small woman from across the road.’ Which made her laugh. in spite of her  . she would call: ‘So you keep wagging on. tight fitting. When she got downstairs.’ said Mrs.’ he answered. who always wore a brown velvet dress.’ ‘Ay. It was Mrs. across the wooden fence. ‘Eh. ‘There’s nothing else for it. when the time for the baby grew nearer. an’ I’m sure I heered his bell. poking out the ashes. she would find the house tidy. rubbing the fireplace. then?’ ‘Ay. Mrs. At the end of the Free eBooks at Planet eBook. strange little body. but dirty. he would bustle round in his slovenly fashion. I’ve got a copperful of clothes. feeling very self-righteous. ‘appen so. departing. I know nowt about th’ dinner. but sit and read thy books. ‘And the dinner cooks itself?’ she answered.’ ‘You’d know if there weren’t any.’ The two women looked down the alley.’ answered Mrs. Anthony.

thud. in her grate. ‘T-t-t!’ went the other.’ she said proudly to Mrs. The man. ‘Well. she should put the poker in the fire and bang at the back of the fireplace. Mrs.’ said Mrs.Bottoms a man stood in a sort of old-fashioned trap. Morel. Morel went up her yard disdainfully. nearly started out of her skin as she heard the thud. as the fires were back to back. Mrs. ‘I’d starve before I’d sit down and seam twenty-four stockings for twopence ha’penny. made jokes with them. ‘I’ve done ten dozen this week. Anthony. Morel.’ Hose was coming along. Anthony. With her  Sons and Lovers . ‘I don’t know how you can find time.’ replied the other. tried to swindle them. bending over bundles of cream-coloured stuff. ‘And how much shall you get for those many?’ ‘Tuppence-ha’penny a dozen. undyed stockings hanging over her arm. Anthony herself had a heap of creamy. and bullied them. Kirk. ‘You can rip along with ‘em.’ ‘Oh. would make a great noise in the adjoining house. ringing his bell. mixing a pudding. I don’t know.’ said Mrs.’ ‘Eh!’ said Mrs. some with bundles. which. a common fellow.’ ‘I don’t know how you do it. Women were waiting at the yard-ends with their seamed stockings hanging over their arms. while a cluster of women held up their arms to him. One morning Mrs.’ said Mrs. ‘You can find time if you make time. Morel. It was an understood thing that if one woman wanted her neighbour.

Kirk climbed on to her copper. ‘Did you knock. Some men were there before four o’clock. lifted up her strong. Kirk. Morel. was at this time about a mile and a half away from the bottom. by the light of the green candle—he was in a safe working—and again at half-past two. then he finished also. shrill voice. she rushed to the fence. At last Aggie came running up.’ Mrs. got over the wall on to Mrs. worked usually till the first mate stopped. and was sent for Mrs. dear. Bower. and called: ‘Ag-gie—Ag-gie!’ The sound was heard from one end of the Bottoms to the other. Mrs. Bower. Bower.’ said Mrs.’ said Mrs. Mrs.’ said Mrs. but Morel. ‘You might fetch Mrs. however. Kirk left her pudding and stayed with her neighbour. the miner was sick of the work. Morel?’ ‘If you wouldn’t mind. Morel was not as a rule one of the first to appear at the bottom of the pit. Bower. whose stall. Mrs. Morel’s copper. bossed the house. Mrs. how are you feeling?’ she cried in concern. whilst  . Kirk had Annie and William for dinner. and ran in to her neighbour. Mrs. Kirk went into the yard. ‘Hash some cold meat up for the master’s dinner.hands all floury. Mrs. ‘Eh. fat and waddling. a poor one. when the whistle blew loose-all. At two o’clock he looked at his watch. ready to come up. ‘He may go without pudding this day. He was hewing at a Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and make him an apple-charlotte pudding. This day. Morel went to bed. Morel.

He was tired. Rising. ‘Tha’ll happen catch me up. Many colliers were waiting their turns  Sons and Lovers . where the great drops of water fell plash. As he sat on his heels. at the end of his tether. ‘Oh. He sat at the bottom of the pit. ‘Shall ter finish. Still he struck and hacked with all his might.’ said Israel. And he went on striking. heavy tramp underground.finger on this to-morrow. It was a long. When he had gone. giving hard blows with his pick. blew out his candle. felt savage. if tha wunna. left alone. his fellow butty. to answer. Isr’el!’ cried Morel. somebody else’ll ha’e to. departing. He had not finished his job.’ said Barker. ‘Uszza—uszza!’ he went. took his lamp. Walter. or kneeled. Then Morel continued to strike.piece of rock that was in the way for the next day’s work. well. Down the main road the lights of the other men went swinging. There was a hollow sound of many voices. and went.’ ‘I’ll lay no b—. ‘It’ll do to-morrow. ‘It’s a heart-breaking job. But Morel was too exasperated. Morel.’ said Barker. Sorry?’ cried Barker. ‘Hey-up there—LOOSE-A’!’ cried the men. without thee hackin’ thy guts out.’ said Barker. Morel continued to strike. ‘Tha might as well leave it. ‘Finish? Niver while the world stands!’ growled Morel. wet with sweat. pulled on his coat. leaving the next stall. He had overworked himself into a frenzy. he threw his tool down.

if he doesn’t stop. feeling sufficiently disagreeable to resist temptation. and Co. All along the road to Bestwood the miners tramped. Morel put up his umbrella. listening to the rain. talking noisily. were streaming down the line and up the field. Then he handed in his lamp and got his umbrella. bright coal. in the lamp cabin.W. Many men passed into the Prince of Wales or into Ellen’s. At last he took his stand on the chair. but their red mouths talking with animation. The trucks stood full of wet. who had had the news from the top. a grey. Morel found one comfort. and the feet of the colliers from Minton. He had his old umbrella. Colliers. Morel also walked with a gang. Morel. He stood on the edge of the pit-bank for a moment. ‘It’s rainin’. and took pleasure from the peppering of the drops thereon. and the bang. ‘There’s some herb beer behind the pantry door. their  . which he had bought at an auction for one-and-six.’. grey rain was falling. walking indifferent to the go up. over the white ‘C. He frowned peevishly as he went. Mrs. and down the mud of Greenhill Lane. dismal host. Water ran down the sides of the waggons. Sorry. wet and grey and dirty. Morel gave his answers short and disagreeable. and was at the top in a moment. Morel lay in bed. but he said nothing. ‘Th’ master’ll want a drink.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. looking out over the fields.’ said old Giles. trudged along under the dripping trees that overhung the park wall.’ she said. which he loved. bang of the gates as they went through the stile up the field.

thinking nothing. ‘Well. feeling sick to death. Her love came up hot. put his empty snap-bag and his tin bottle on the dresser. ‘Was that the master?’ asked Mrs. gasped. He drank. went back into the scullery and hung up his coat. and was bonny. It had blue eyes. and lay back in his chair. The thought of being the mother of men was warming to her heart. ‘What is it?’ she asked. She looked at the child. The woman went into the pantry. She set the mug.’ replied Mrs. Bower appeared in the inner doorway. Morel. 0 Sons and Lovers . ‘A boy.’ she said. There was heard the pop of a cork. What did he care about the child or her? She was very ill when her children were born. then came and dropped into his chair. wearily and angrily. drank. on the table before Morel. with a little. Bower.’ And she took consolation in that.But he was late. and stood it in the sink. It’s a boy childt. Morel. ‘Han yer got a drink?’ he asked. Mrs. She set his dinner before him. so she concluded he had called for a drink. disgusted rap. then he sluthered his heavy boots into the kitchen. The woman would not speak to him again. gasped. wiped his big moustache on the end of his scarf. ‘I’ve gave him his dinner. She had it in bed with her. since it was raining. ‘she’s about as bad as she can be. He closed his umbrella.’ The miner grunted. and went upstairs. dragged his way up the garden path. and a lot of fair hair. in spite of everything.

’ he answered. and this bother was rather a nuisance to him. He was tired. and smeared with sweat. The fact that his wife was ill. he did not like having Mrs. He was too tired. He had a dirty woollen scarf round his throat. he wanted to sit with his arms lying on the board. which he did not feel just then. and gave him a little plate. in his stockinged feet. So he stood at the foot of the bed. It was a struggle to face his wife at this moment. His singlet had dried again. turning away. ‘H’m!’ He stood at a loss what to say next. His face was black. Dismissed. my lass. After he had finished his meal. that he had another boy. instead of a full-sized dinner-plate—he began to eat. and he was tired. then?’ he asked. he wanted his dinner. because he blessed by rote—pretending paternal emotion. he wanted to kiss her. tha says. The fire was too small to please him. ‘A lad. She Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and he didn’t quite know where he was. Bower about. he sat for twenty minutes.’ he stammered. was nothing to him at that moment. but he dared not. She turned down the sheet and showed the child. ‘Go now. Then. Which made her 1 . how are ter. ‘I will. he went reluctantly upstairs. soaking the dirt in. ‘Well. then he stoked up a big fire.’ she answered. Bower put no cloth on for him.After he had sat with his arms on the table—he resented the fact that Mrs. ‘Bless him!’ he murmured. ‘I s’ll be all right.’ she said.

leaving behind him a faint smell of pit-dirt. She brought him judiciously to earth. would discuss his next sermon. Heaton was young. and hoped Morel would not come too soon. indeed. His ideas were quaint and fantastic. ‘that is a symbol that the ordinary life. Heaton would hold the baby. of the married husband and wife. Then she laid the cloth early. His wife had died at the birth of his first baby. became filled with the Spirit. because she believed children should have their chief meal at midday. like water. she would not mind this day. and no preacher. Mr. He was a Bachelor of Arts of Cambridge. ‘When He changed the water into wine at Cana. very shy. because. got out her best cups. Mrs. the whole spiritual constitution of a man changes. so he remained alone in the manse. and he depended on her. when she was well. with a little green rim. whilst Mrs. watching her all the time. is filled with the Holy Ghost. She only breathed freely when he was gone out of the room again. Morel. and he. and  Sons and Lovers . For hours he talked to her. She had always two dinners to cook. when love enters. if he stayed for a pint. Morel had a visit every day from the Congregational clergyman. Mrs. He became the god-parent of the child. whereas Morel needed his at five o’clock. Morel beat up a batter-pudding or peeled the potatoes. but could not bring herself to give any sign. So Mr.’ he said. Occasionally the minister stayed to tea with Mrs. Morel was fond of him. and was as wine. which had before been uninspired. even the blood. and very poor.half wanted him to kiss her. It was a discussion of the wedding at Cana.

‘but it’s all come out Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ The minister flushed with confusion.’ replied Morel. ‘Tired? I ham that. and sat down again.’ They were halfway down their first cup of tea when they heard the sluther of pit-boots. look yer ‘ere. showing his hand. Morel. ‘No. The minister looked rather scared. that is why he makes his love into the Holy Ghost. Morel entered. ‘Are you tired?’ asked the clergyman.’ said Morel.’ ‘No. ‘Good gracious!’ exclaimed Mrs. ‘It’s a bit dry now. showing the shoulders of his singlet. ‘Nay.’ said Morel. ‘Mr. Morel. does ter? There’s too much pick-haft and shovel-dirt on it. Morel took off his coat.’ said the miner. He was feeling rather savage. Feel it.’ ‘Goodness!’ cried Mrs. and sat down heavily.’ replied the clergyman. Mrs.’ Mrs. Heaton doesn’t want to feel your nasty singlet. ‘YOU don’t know what it is to be tired. but it’s wet as a clout with sweat even yet. carried out the steaming  . dragged his armchair to table. poor fellow. ‘Why. Morel thought to herself: ‘Yes.’ The clergyman put out his hand gingerly. Morel rose. He nodded a ‘How d’yer do’ to the clergyman. as I’M tired. ‘look thee at it! Tha niver wants ter shake hands wi’ a hand like that. perhaps he doesn’t. who rose to shake hands with him. in spite of herself.almost his form is altered. his young wife is dead.

Morel. ‘My cloth!’ said Mrs. ‘A man as comes home as I do ‘s too tired to care about cloths. Heaton. ‘Mr.’ ‘I am sure he does. ‘a man as has been down the black hole all day.’ put in Mrs. Missis. sarcastically. blew it.—that clogged up down a coal-mine. ‘But it’s ten to one if there’s owt for him.’ said Mrs. putting it on a plate. sighing afterwards.’ ‘There’s water—and there’s tea. The room was full of the smell of meat and vegetables and pit-clothes. yi. he NEEDS a drink when he comes home.’ said the clergyman. ‘An’ was there no more to be got?’ Turning to the clergyman—‘A man gets that caked up wi’ th’ dust. whether or not. Morel. pouring out his tea. and sucked it up through his great black moustache. for a man when he comes home barkled up from the pit?’ ‘You know you drank all the beer. Then he poured out another saucerful.of me.’ he said.’ said Mrs. ‘Pity!’ exclaimed his wife. ‘Water! It’s not water as’ll clear his throat. He leaned over to the minister. Morel.  Sons and Lovers .’ He poured out a saucerful of tea. and stood his cup on the table. a sight harder than that wall—-‘ ‘Needn’t make a moan of it. his mouth very red in his black face. Morel. dingin’ away at a coal-face. you know. his great moustache thrust forward.’ said Morel. ‘Aven’t you got a drink. An’ iv’ry day alike my singlet’s wringin’ wet.

William. picking up a saucepan from the hearth. but she said nothing. he whined and played for sympathy. ‘A fine mess!’ she said. directly after the parson’s visit. Morel had kicked William. and for the stupid treatment of his mother. and Morel growled: ‘I canna see what there is so much to laugh at. whenever he had an audience. boxed his ears. saying: ‘What are YOU putting in for?’ And then she sat down and laughed. with a boy’s hatred for false sentiment. and Morel to shout at her. jumped up.  . she took Annie and the baby and went out. whereupon the girl began to whine. The baby began to cry. till tears ran over her cheeks. accidentally knocked Annie on the head. Annie had never liked him. In the midst of this pandemonium. she merely avoided him. Morel looked at her cloth. feeling unable to bear herself after another display from her husband. while William kicked the stool he had been sitting on.She hated her husband because. ‘Dos’t think I’m goin’ to sit wi’ my arms danglin’. They were both angry. cos tha’s got a parson for tea wi’ thee?’ he bawled. Mrs. rushed at him. and the mother would never forgive him. When the minister had gone. She went over the sheep-bridge and across a corner of Free eBooks at Planet eBook. William looked up at the big glazed text over the mantelpiece and read distinctly: ‘God Bless Our Home!’ Whereupon Mrs. Morel.’ One evening. trying to soothe the baby. sitting nursing the baby. and Mrs. hated him.

spread the big green cricket-field. whispering with the distant mill-race. Many rooks. and Mrs. leaving a soft flower-blue overhead. The big haystacks on the hillside. one side of the haystacks was lit up. perhaps her son would be a Joseph. high up. They stooped in a long curve down into the golden glow. level and solid. a mirrored sunset floated pink opposite the west’s scarlet. Mrs. The sun was going down. Before her. Morel watched the sun sink from the glistening sky. like the bed of a sea of light. wheeling. She sat on a seat under the alders in the cricketground. Children played in the bluish shadow of the pavilion. cawing. the other sides blue-grey. came cawing home across the softly-woven sky. as if all the fire had swum down there. Every open evening. that  Sons and Lovers . concentrating. could see the white forms of men shifting silently over the green. The mountain-ash berries across the field stood fierily out from the dark leaves. and the voices of men suddenly roused. A waggon of sheaves rocked small across the melting yellow light. In the east.the meadow to the cricket-ground. A few shocks of corn in a corner of the fallow stood up as if alive. for a moment. evening light. over a tree clump that made a dark boss among the pasture. Away at the grange. and fronted the evening. upon which already the under shadows were smouldering. she imagined them bowing. while the western space went red. the hills of Derbyshire were blazed over with red sunset. The meadows seemed one space of ripe. A few gentlemen were practising. leaving the bell cast flawless blue. like black flakes on a slow vortex. Morel could hear the chock of the ball.

when she looked at her child’s dark. and the peculiar heaviness of its eyes. Her heart was heavy because of the child. Kirk. Morel looked down at him. went cold. Annie came up with a handful of alder-currants. that she and her husband were guilty. ‘My lamb!’ she cried  . And now she felt strangely towards the infant. or malformed. brooding pupils. Yet it seemed quite well. It had blue eyes like her own. She had dreaded this baby like a catastrophe. The baby was restless on his mother’s knee.’ said Mrs. But she noticed the peculiar knitting of the baby’s brows. the heavy feeling at the mother’s heart melted into passionate grief. looking at him. but its look was heavy. She felt. ‘He looks as if he was thinking about something—quite sorrowful. And at that moment she felt. and the beauty of things stands out. She bowed over him. and she had the peace and the strength to see herself. a swallow cut close to her. Suddenly. almost as if it were unhealthy. With Mrs.butted into the glare. clambering with his hands at the light. steady. as if it were trying to understand something that was pain. as if a burden were on her heart. in some far inner place of her soul. as if it had realised Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Mrs. Morel it was one of those still moments when the small frets vanish. Now and again. The baby was looking up at her. because of her feeling for her husband. and a few tears shook swiftly out of her very heart. The baby lifted his fingers. Now and again.

throbbing sun. almost with relief. She saw him lift his little fist. she knew not why. and there it lay in her arms and pulled at her heart.  Sons and Lovers . with fear and pain. Once more she was aware of the sun lying red on the rim of the hill opposite. She would love it all the more now it was here. ‘Look!’ she said. ‘If he lives. ‘Look. She suddenly held up the child in her hands.something that had stunned some point of its soul. ashamed almost of her impulse to give him back again whence he came. With all her force. Its clear. She felt as if the navel string that had connected its frail little body with hers had not been broken. Did it know all about her? When it lay under her heart. seemed to draw her innermost thoughts out of her. she had not wanted this child to come. A wave of hot love went over her to the infant. Its deep blue eyes. always looking up at her unblinking. In her arms lay the delicate baby. She held it close to her face and breast. knowing eyes gave her pain and fear. with all her soul she would make up to it for having brought it into the world unloved. ‘what will become of him—what will he be?’ Her heart was anxious. had it been listening then? Was there a reproach in the look? She felt the marrow melt in her bones. Then she put him to her bosom again. ‘I will call him Paul.’ she said suddenly. carry it in her love. She no longer loved her husband. my pretty!’ She thrust the infant forward to the crimson.’ she thought to herself.

The child at last sank down to sleep in her arms. But Morel was home by ten o’clock. not wishing to see him. and was restless. was nearly drunk. She was too tired to carry him to the cradle. Morel. at least. tired to death. I won’t say anything. If the fire were rather low he bullied about that. exceedingly irritable. in passing. hearing him coming.’ she said wearily to herself. she found the house empty. as if it were something she could not bear. Walter Morel was.After a while she went home. and made them hate him. She sighed. ‘I wish the nuisance would come. darkening all. The baby was unwell. ‘But I’ll say  . But it went through her like a flash of hot fire when. he was not home by eleven o’clock. and clutched at the white pot knobs Free eBooks at Planet eBook. She kept her head bent over the child as he entered. Mrs. at this time. His work seemed to exhaust him. setting the tins rattling.’ she added to herself. taking his revenge. whatever time he comes. if the children made a chatter he shouted at them in a way that made their mother’s blood boil. On the Friday. he grumbled about his dinner. But I know if he does anything it’ll make my blood boil. and still weak. he lurched against the dresser. He. crying if he were put down. ended peacefully.’ she said. A fine shadow was flung over the deep green meadow. When he came home he did not speak civilly to anybody. was scarcely under control. ‘It only works me up. and that day. As she expected.

He glowered again. ‘And you got it. then returned. as she sat bowed over the child. like other women have to. stood glowering from a distance at her.’ ‘Yis. still ignoring him. The baby gave a little convulsed start. The drawer stuck because he pulled sideways. In certain stages of his intoxication he affected the clipped. a hundred metallic things. and spoons. an’ I’ll learn thee tha’s got to. He hung up his hat and coat. Wait on ME.’ she said. as if to a servant. and with the other jerked at the table drawer to get a knife to cut bread. yes tha sh’lt wait on me—-‘ 0 Sons and Lovers . Mrs. mincing speech of the towns. ‘Yes.’ she said. splashed with a clatter and a clang upon the brick floor. ‘You know what there is in the house.for support. so coldly. clumsy. Tha should get up. drunken fool?’ the mother cried. knives. ‘I asked a civil question. an’ wait on a man. and I expect a civil answer. so that it flew out bodily. insolently.’ he said affectedly. it sounded impersonal. In a temper he dragged it. Morel hated him most in this condition. ‘Is there nothing to eat in the house?’ he asked. ‘Then tha should get the flamin’ thing thysen.’ ‘Wait on you—wait on you?’ she cried. Then he came unsteadily forward. He leaned on the table with one hand. I see myself. ‘What are you doing. forks. He stood and glared at her without moving a muscle.

almost fell stunned from her chair. With the catastrophe he had lost all balance. The baby was crying plaintively. As she glanced down at the child. so that the blood ran into her eye. some drops of blood soaked into its white shawl. She swayed. in a tone of wondering concern: ‘Did it catch thee?’ He swayed again. To her very soul she was sick. Her left brow was bleeding rather profusely. in contempt. swayed. ‘Go away. as if he would pitch on to the child. she clasped the child tightly to her bosom. his eyes bloodshot. he went across to her. One of the corners caught her brow as the shallow drawer crashed into the fireplace. ‘P-h!’ she went quickly. caught hold of the back of her rocking-chair. Walter Morel remained as he had stood. then leaning forward over her. cut sharply on his shin. He stared at her one silent second in threat. looking blank. leaning on the table with one hand. then. milord. struggling to keep her presence of mind. and on the reflex he flung it at her. His face was crimson.’ ‘What—what?’ He was trying to fit in the drawer. It fell.’ she said. almost tipping her out. he said. she brought herself to. with an effort. She balanced her head to keep equilibrium. At her last speech be turned round. and swaying as he spoke. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. He jerked at the drawer in his excitement. her brain reeling. I’d wait on a dog at the door first. A few moments elapsed. but the baby was at least not hurt. When he was sufficiently sure of his 1 .‘Never.

gazing upon her. bothered. he sickened with feebleness and hopelessness of spirit. hiccoughing again. she kept the baby clasped.’ She smelled him of drink. He stood. He was turning drea Sons and Lovers . By a cruel effort of will. but she was too dizzy. which grasped his legs just above the knee. moving as if in sleep. had succeeded in pushing the drawer back into its cavity. supported on his hands. and weakly she pushed him off. in a very wretched. ‘You can see what it’s done. lass?’ he asked. she returned to her rocking-chair. felt the unequal pull of his swaying grasp on the back of her rocking-chair. She drew away from the thrust of his face with its great moustache. trembling in every fibre. where she bathed her eye for a minute in cold water. she went across to the scullery. lass. ‘Go away!’ she cried. Presently Morel got up and came craning his neck towards her. By instinct. who was cold and impassive as stone. averting her own face as much as possible.’ she answered. Morel. ‘Go away. for the scattered spoons. He stood. As he looked at her. with mouth shut tight. Summoning all her strength she rose. ‘Let’s—let’s look at it. Afraid lest she should swoon.He hiccoughed. humble tone. groping. He peered to look at the wound. ‘What has it done to thee. the baby on one arm. bending forward. and was on his knees.’ she said. uncertain in balance. with numb paws.’ he said. ‘Lemme—lemme look at it. Her brow was still bleeding.

’ she replied.’ Again he rummaged and fumbled in the drawer. fascinated. ‘Let me tie it for thee. He lay and suffered like a sulking dog. dismayed eyes. and with trembling fingers proceeded to bind it round her head. But her low. his manhood broke. He had hurt himFree eBooks at Planet eBook. He stumbled away very obediently. telling him to rake the fire and lock the door.’ he said humbly. then. It would soak through to the baby’s scalp. They said nothing. Another drop fell. glistening hair. then put on her forehead. presently returning with a pad. returning presently with a red. as she sat with the baby on her lap. Morel said: ‘I knocked against the latch of the coal-place. He watched. She softened: ‘Get me some wadding out of the middle drawer.’ Her two small children looked up at her with wide. In the morning Mrs. He did not think of the previous evening’s work. because the candle blew out. but their parted lips seemed to express the unconscious tragedy they felt. He scarcely thought of anything. Fascinated. and pull down the gossamer. finally. he watched the heavy dark drop hang in the glistening cloud. Walter Morel lay in bed next day until nearly dinnertime. when he saw a drop of blood fall from the averted wound into the baby’s  . which she singed before the fire. intense tones brought his head lower. but he would not think of that. feeling it soak in. ‘Now that clean pit-scarf. ‘What of this child?’ was all his wife said to him. when I was getting a raker in the dark. narrow scarf.rily away.’ she said. ‘I can do it myself. She took it. When it was done she went upstairs.

dinner. or express his sorrow. however. could prevent his inner consciousness inflicting on him the punishment which ate into his spirit like rust. or to move. It was Saturday. cut himself food in the pantry. then pulled on his boots. then once more straight to bed. he had himself violent pains in the head. There was a feeling of misery over all the house.self most. The children breathed the air that was poisoned.’ he said to himself. to put on her Sunday dress. Moreover. ‘Isn’t my father going to get up?’ asked William. He rose again at six in the evening. and they felt dreary.’ But no. and went out. I’m sorry. They were rather disconsolate. Sunday was the same: bed till noon. the Palmerston Arms till 2. and he was the more damaged because he would never say a word to her. Towards noon he rose. if he had once said. He tried to wriggle out of it. He felt as if he had not the initiative to get up. ‘It was her own fault. or to say a word. Sunday was the only day when all sat down to meals together. he was fast asleep. The family began tea. So she merely left him alone. to return at three o’clock slightly tipsy and relieved.30. had tea and went straight out. towards four o’clock. scarcely a word spoken. he insisted to himself it was her fault. Nothing. and which he could only alleviate by drinking. and bed. Morel went upstairs. There was this deadlock of passion between them. ‘Let him lie. She would have felt sorry for him. but could only lie like a log. And so he broke himself. ‘Wife. and she was stronger. did not know what  Sons and Lovers . ate it with his head dropped.’ the mother replied. When Mrs.

Annie listening and asking eternally ‘why?’ Both children hushed into silence as they heard the approaching thud of their father’s stockinged feet. As she heard him sousing heartily in cold water. ‘If she hadn’t said soand-so. That was characteristic of him all his life. which so sickened Mrs. He ate and drank more noisily than he had need. But he cared no longer about his alienation. she closed her eyes in disgust. Yet he was usually indulgent to them. watchful rest of the family. shrank away. his wincing sensitiveness having hardened again. this haste to be gone. Immediately he had finished tea he rose with alacrity to go out. It was this alacrity. He was all for activity. he excused himself. This time he entered without hesitation. Immediately Morel woke he got straight out of do. She asked for what Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and became hushed as he entered. what to play at. and shrank as he entered. It was near six o’clock when he got down. there was a certain vulgar gusto in his movement that divided him from the reserved. As he bent over. The family life withdrew. Morel. lacing his boots. as he wetted his hair. William was reading aloud from ‘The Child’s Own’. it would never have happened. Even in his own heart’s privacy. heard the eager scratch of the steel comb on the side of the bowl. No one spoke to him. brutally. Morel made the meal  . The tea-things were on the table. saying. He always ran away from the battle with himself. He did not care any longer what the family thought or felt. The prostrated inactivity of two mornings was stifling him.

if foul. and went out. and looked inside. and a sixpence. He hastened forward in anticipation. she looked in the purse for her sixpence. In a minute or two they had thawed all responsibility out of him. ‘What shollt ha’e. All the slate roofs of the Bottoms shone black with wet. and he was clear as a bell for a jolly night. The passage was paddled with wet feet. and took him in warmly.she’s got. He did not know what to do with himself that evening. as soon as Morel appeared in the doorway. The next day. he hunted in the top drawer of the dresser where she kept her purse. always dark with coal-dust. So. So he took the sixpence. were full of blackish mud. It contained a half-crown. having not even twopence with which to go to the Palmerston. they sighed with relief. He closed the door behind him. he hated her. and being already rather deeply in debt. The roads. my lad. while his wife was down the garden with the child. Having hurt her. The Palmerston would be the cosier. when she wanted to pay the greengrocer.’ The children waited in restraint during his preparations. When he had gone. and was glad. He hastened along. Morel was penniless. The Palmerston windows were steamed over. Jim. all trouble. found it. Walter?’ cried a voice. He was glad. He dreaded his wife. two halfpennies. It was a rainy evening. and full of the sound of voices and the smell of beer and smoke. On the Wednesday following. But the air was warm. wheriver has thee sprung frae?’ The men made a seat for him. all shame. put the purse carefully back. and her heart sank  Sons and Lovers . ‘Oh.

And. So that was how she had known he had taken it. ‘Why.’ he shouted. She hunted round everywhere for it. I didna! I niver clapped eyes on your purse. The second time he had not paid back. ‘Yer at me  . enormous handkerchief. This time she felt it was too much. He had done so twice before. had I? And I hadn’t left it anywhere else?’ She was much put about. ‘I tell you I didna. are yer? I’ve had about enough on’t.’ But she could detect the lie. But that he should sneak it from her thus was unbearable. Then she sat down and thought: ‘WAS there a sixpence? I hadn’t spent it. He bustled and got washed.’ he her shoes. looking up in an offended way. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. as she sought. Presently he came down dressed. pushing back his chair in desperation. The first time she had not accused him. then went determinedly upstairs. What she had in her purse was all the money she possessed.’ she said quietly.’ ‘I’ll may yer pay for this. When he had had his dinner— he came home early that day—she said to him coldly: ‘Did you take sixpence out of my purse last night?’ ‘Me!’ he said. and with a big bundle in a blue-checked. ‘No. and at the week-end he had put the shilling again into her purse. you know you did. the conviction came into her heart that her husband had taken it.’ ‘So you filch sixpence out of my purse while I’m taking the clothes in.

however. never trouble. as yet. And she and William retired to the sofa and wept. Mrs.’ ‘It’ll be before I want to.’ she replied.’ But the children were not to be consoled. Twilight came on. ‘He says he’s run away.’ ‘But if he doesn’t come back. ‘Eh. and at that he marched out of the house with his bundle. ‘you’ll see me again when you do. Morel sat and laughed.’ he said. and got in with another woman? But she knew him too well—he couldn’t. And there in the dark lay the big blue bundle. coming in from school. ‘Where’s my dad?’ said William. When she went down to the coal-place at the end of the garden. but her heart brimming with contempt. Nevertheless her heart was gnawed inside her. he won’t go far. she knew very well he could NOT go. ‘Where to?’ ‘Eh.’ wailed Annie. ‘You’ll see him before the night’s out. she could not quite let him go. One part of her said it would be a relief to see the last of him. Mrs.’ ‘What shall we do?’ cried the boy. and says he’s not coming back. Morel grew anxious from very weariness.’ replied the mother. another part fretted because of keeping the children. She was dead sure of him. obtained work.‘And now. ‘You pair of gabeys!’ she exclaimed. She  Sons and Lovers . So she looked. I don’t know. and inside her. At the bottom. He’s taken a bundle in the blue handkerchief. What would she do if he went to some other pit. She sat trembling slightly. she felt something behind the door.

He had not even the courage to carry his bundle beyond the yard-end. ‘Why. holding his bundle. sulkily. she laughed again. with its ends flopping like dejected ears from the knots. As Mrs.sat on a piece of coal and laughed. Morel saw him slink quickly through the inner doorway. slinking. She said not a word. where should you have gone? You daren’t even get your parcel through the yard-end. Every time she saw it. trying to be impressive. hurrying upstairs. she knew. ‘I don’t know what’s in your blue handkerchief. He took off his coat. He had not any money.’ she said quietly. returning presently and crossing the kitchen with averted face. at about nine o’clock. he opened the door and came in. looking up from under his dropped head.’ Whereupon he got up and went out of the house. so if he stopped he was running up a bill. Morel sat waiting. ‘But if you leave it the children shall fetch it in the  .’ she said. slunk into its corner in the dark. because she had loved Free eBooks at Planet eBook. As she meditated. ‘You may thank your stars I’ve come back to-night. ‘You’d better fetch your bundle before you take your boots off. she laughed to herself: but her heart was bitter.’ she said. He continued to take his boots off and prepare for bed. She was relieved. and slunk to his armchair. and yet sulky. where he began to take off his boots. He looked such a fool she was not even angry with him. so fat and yet so ignominious. Mrs. She was very tired of him— tired to death.’ he said.

him. 0 Sons and Lovers .

dandelion. and centaury. he would often pay for himself.’ he vowed. Like all miners.CHAPTER III THE CASTING OFF OF MOREL—THE TAKING ON OF WILLIAM DURING the next week Morel’s temper was almost unbearable. he was a great lover of medicines. elder flowers. 1 . Usually there was a jug of one or other decoction standing on the hob. He had hanging in the attic great bunches of dried herbs: wormwood. from which he drank largely. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. And he made himself a jug of wormwood tea. Morel bought him elixir of vitriol. which. rue. marshmallow. parsley-purt. ‘Grand!’ he said. ‘It’s better than any of your tea or your cocoa stews. his favourite first medicine. ‘Grand!’ And he exhorted the children to try.’ So Mrs. smacking his lips after wormwood. ‘You mun get me a drop o’ laxy vitral. strangely enough. ‘It’s a winder as we canna ha’e a sup i’ th’ ‘ouse. hyssop.’ he said. But they were not to be tempted.

everything to do.This time. Since then he had drunk and stormed. and Mrs. Now he fell seriously ill. once on the mend. nevertheless. and putting aside the fact that he was breadwinner. but she did what was wanted of her. Morel had him to nurse. so that. however. She was quite worn out. grew better. But. and every Friday Barker and the other butty put by a portion of the stall’s profits for Morel’s wife. neither pills nor vitriol nor all his herbs would shift the ‘nasty peens in his head”. Mrs. occasionally some would do the downstairs work for her. Then she had nursing of baby and husband. Soon he was pottering about downstairs. He had never been well since his sleeping on the ground when he went with Jerry to Nottingham. And the money was just sufficient. The weeks passed. Morel. If they had not helped her so generously in those times. almost against hope. And the neighbours made broths. he went straight forward to recovery. Still there was one part of her wanted him for herself. The neighbours were very good to her: occasionally some had the children in to meals. It was not every day the neighbours helped. He was sickening for an attack of an inflammation of the brain. one would mind the baby for a day. He had a fine constitution. in spite of all. During his illness his wife had spoilt him  Sons and Lovers . cleaning and cooking. He was one of the worst patients imaginable. She had seventeen shillings a week from clubs. she never quite wanted him to die. But it was a great drag. without incurring debts that would have dragged her down. and such invalids’ trifles. and gave eggs. Morel would never have pulled through.

many stages in the ebbing of her love for him.a little. and shammed pains he did not feel. the wistfulness about the ensuing Free eBooks at Planet eBook. not feeling him so much part of herself. At first she merely smiled to herself. Then she scolded him sharply. depending on her almost like a child. After this she scarcely desired him. there was a state of peace in the house for some time. He often put his band to his head. Her living depended on him. but it was always ebbing. could leave him alone. Now. There was the halt. helplessly. her self no longer set towards him. like a  . but was like a tide that scarcely rose. and cursed under his breath.’ said the wife shortly. ‘Goodness. But there was no deceiving her.’ That wounded him slightly. He was forced to resume a normal tone. Mrs. standing off from him. but merely part of her circumstances. Nevertheless. Then he was indignant. There were many. was rather happy. but still he continued to feign sickness. Neither knew that she was more tolerant because she loved him less. don’t be so lachrymose. pulled down the comers of his mouth. Up till this time. man. ‘I wouldn’t be such a mardy baby. standing more aloof from him. Now he wanted her to continue. with the birth of this third baby. more or less. and to cease to whine. in spite of all. And. she did not mind so much what he did. and he. he had been her husband and her man. She had felt that. what he did to himself he did to her. Morel was more tolerant of him.

half regretfully. The silences between them were peculiar. both made an effort to come back somewhat to the old relationship of the first months of their marriage. And then he took her words humbly. slowly pronouncing and delivering the words like a man pitching quoits. Often she hurried him on. as so many men do. He felt a sort of emptiness. would be feeling vaguely uncomfortable. And he himself acquiesced. and the master said he was the smartest lad in the school. Already he was getting a big boy. casting him off and turning now for love and life to the children. full of vigour. There would be the swift. His soul would reach out in its blind way to her and find her gone. when it was really over between them. young. He sat at home and. the warmth. slight ‘cluck’ of her needle. the sharp ‘pop’ of his lips as he let out the smoke.year. During his recuperation. which is like autumn in a man’s life. quite alone. giving him a phrase in anticipation. when the children were in bed. almost like a vacuum in his soul. the sizzle on the bars as he spat in the fire. Soon he could not live in that atmosphere. Already he was top of the class. and she was sewing—she did all her sewing by hand. yielding their place to their children. made all shirts and children’s clothing—he would read to her from the newspaper. and he affected his wife. His wife was casting him off. and having nothing to think about. She saw him a man. but relentlessly. And Morel sitting there. Henceforward he was more or less a husk. Then her thoughts turned to William. Both felt  Sons and Lovers . making the world glow again for her. He was unsettled and restless. oppression on their breathing when they were left together for some time. with heavy blue eyes. the baby would put up his arms and crow. bless his bit o’ mutton!’ he exclaimed. And if Morel were in a good temper. He was then a plump. both for economic reasons and because she did not love her husband. fruit of this little peace and tenderness between the separating parents. Mrs. and still the peculiar slight knitting of the brows. my beauty? I sh’ll come to thee in a minute. mellow voice: ‘What then. Paul was seventeen months old when the new baby was born. living. with a mop of gold curls. Hearing the miner’s footsteps. Mrs. Then he went to bed and she settled down to enjoy herself alone. Morel was sorry when she knew she was with child. quiet. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. but not for the sake of the infant. and give him to his father. He was very pretty.’ And as soon as he had taken off his pit-coat. and he loved his father from the first. Then Morel laughed joyfully. Morel was glad this child loved the father. taking back the baby. fair and bonny. Mrs. ‘What a sight the lad looks!’ she would exclaim sometimes. The last child was also a boy. that was smutted on the face from his father’s kisses and play. Morel would put an apron round the child. They called the baby  . thinking. in his hearty. pale child. ‘He’s a little collier. Meanwhile another infant was coming. he called back immediately.

Then the mother would find the boy of three or four crying on the sofa. plumped him into his little chair. Morel’s heart. He was usually active and interested. but they caused a shadow in Mrs. what’s the mat Sons and Lovers . ‘What’s the matter?’ she asked. and trotted after his mother like her shadow. Anthony in brown velvet. Then the father.’ ‘You’ll do nothing of the sort. Misery!’ And then a butterfly on the rhubarb-leaves perhaps caught his eye.’ sobbed the child. and got no answer. but sometimes he would have fits of depression. So she tried to reason him out of it. and her treatment of Paul was different from that of the other children. ‘Why. Morel. when the children included the father in her heart. while Paul.’ said the mother coldly. Morel. I’ll smack him till he does.’ ‘Oh. I want to tell you about your Willie. and said: ‘Now cry there. would jump from his chair and shout: ‘If he doesn’t stop. Suddenly one morning as she was looking down the alley of the Bottoms for the barm-man. she heard a voice calling her. got slimmer. always impatient. or to amuse him. ‘I don’t know. ‘Here. but without effect. always rather delicate and quiet. getting cross.And these were the happy moments of her life now. It was the thin little Mrs. do you?’ replied Mrs. ‘What’s the matter?’ she insisted. It made her feel beside herself. or at last he cried himself to sleep. Meanwhile William grew bigger and stronger and more active. And then she carried the child into the yard. Mrs. These fits were not often.

‘wants showing something. but that doesn’t give him a right to get hold of the boy’s collar. ‘I don’t thrash my children.’ ‘Well.’ ‘Why—it was yesterday—an’ it was torn a’ready.’ Mrs. Morel moved away and closed her gate. Went down to a river to bade. ‘When it comes ter rippin’ a lad’s clean collar off’n ‘is back a-purpose—-‘ ‘I’m sure he didn’t do it on purpose.ter?’ ‘A lad as gets ‘old of another an’ rips his clothes off’n ‘is back. and even if I did.’ said Mrs. ‘But I s’ll let your mester know.’ Mrs. Anthony. Anthony said. Morel. Her hand trembled as she held her mug of barm. I should want to hear their side of the tale. I’d got a cobbler as ‘ad licked seventeen—an’ Alfy Ant’ny ‘e says: ‘Adam an’ Eve an’ pinch-me. an’ fair rip it clean off his back. Mrs. Morel.’ ‘Well.’ ‘But you tore it more. ‘Make me a liar!’ shouted Mrs. Anthony. Morel. ‘Appen ‘e is. when William had finished his meal and wanted to be off again—he was then eleven years old—his mother said to him: ‘What did you tear Alfred Anthony’s collar for?’ ‘When did I tear his collar?’ ‘I don’t know when.’ ‘They’d happen be a bit better if they did get a good hiding. Anthony cried after her.’ ‘Your Alfred’s as old as my William.’ retorted Mrs. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. but his mother says you did. At dinner-time.’ said Mrs.’ said  .

‘No—well. But that evening Morel came in from the pit looking very sour. an’ ‘e was mad. Anthony. ‘YOU be more careful. our mother.’ an’ so I pinched ‘im. glad to be exonerated. I never did it a-purpose. So the boy was proud of his veteran. thought she would explain to Mrs. And Mrs.’ William fled away.’ ‘I don’t care.’ said his mother. ‘Well.’ ‘Next time. and the business would be over. An’ so I run after ‘im. ‘I never meant tr’a done it—an’ it was on’y an old indirrubber collar as was torn a’ready.’ said Mrs. an’ so he snatched my cobbler an’ run off with it. Morel.’ ‘Well. I shouldn’t like it if you came home with your collar torn off. ‘e dodged. But I got my cobbler—-‘ He pulled from his pocket a black old horse-chestnut hanging on a string. who hated any bother with the neighbours. He stood in the kitchen and glared round. our mother!’ he answered. Pinch-YOU. an’ it ripped ‘is collar. This old cobbler had ‘cobbled’—hit and smashed—seventeen other cobblers on similar strings.  Sons and Lovers . an’ when I was gettin’ hold of ‘im. ‘you know you’ve got no right to rip his collar. Who do yer think got saved?’ An’ so I says: ‘Oh. but did not speak for some minutes. Then: ‘Wheer’s that Willy?’ he asked. Morel. you be more careful.Adam an’ Eve got drownded.’ The boy was rather miserable at being reprimanded.

‘He was running after that Alfy.‘What do you want HIM for?’ asked Mrs.’ said Morel.’ ‘That’s more than  . Morel. rather sneering. ‘I’ll let ‘im know when I get him. ‘supposing some loud-mouthed creature had been getting you to thrash your own children. Morel.’ replied his wife bitingly.’ said Mrs.’ ‘I’ll learn ‘im!’ said Morel. Morel.’ ‘I know. ‘that you’re so ready to side with any snipey vixen who likes to come telling tales against your own children. ‘You would. ‘It none matters to me whose lad ‘e is.’ said Mrs. who had guessed. because the other dodged—as an Anthony would. ‘I know my business.’ ‘It’s a poor tale.’ said Mrs. but sat and nursed his bad temper. Suddenly William ran in.’ stormed Morel. banging his pit-bottle on to the dresser.’ said Morel. ‘I suppose Mrs. who’d taken his cobbler. saying: ‘Can I have my tea. Anthony’s got hold of you and been yarning to you about Alfy’s collar. Morel. ‘Niver mind who’s got hold of me. ‘e’s none goin’ rippin’ an’ tearin’ about just as he’s a mind. and he accidentally got hold of his collar. And he said no more.’ repeated Morel.’ ‘I know!’ shouted Morel threateningly. Morel.’ ‘Ripping and tearing about!’’ repeated Mrs. ‘Niver you mind. before you’re told. mother?’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘When I get hold of ‘IM I’ll make his bones rattle.

’ He was afraid of her. ‘Go out!’ Mrs. milord. Morel commanded her son. 0 Sons and Lovers . with her fist lifted. Morel. ‘Only dare. ringing voice. to lay a finger on that child! You’ll regret it for ever. turned suddenly and was gone. glaring at the boy.’ ‘He’ll look ridiculous before I’ve done wi’ him!’ shouted Morel. panting with rage. rising from his chair and glaring at his son. he ran forward. He returned. ‘Don’t you DARE!’ she cried. and was looking in a sort of horror at his father. Morel. ‘You shall not touch him for HER telling. had gone pale. ‘and don’t look so ridiculous. ‘What!’ She spun round to her son. man. William. and crouched. Morel rushed to the door. Mrs. ‘Hold your noise. but very sensitive. ‘Shonna I?’ And. The boy. ‘I’ll GI’E him ‘go out’!’ he shouted like an insane thing.’ said Mrs. ‘What!’ cried Mrs. who was a tall lad for his years. but was too late. Morel sprang in between them. In a towering rage. But now his wife was fully roused. you shall not!’ ‘Shonna I?’ shouted Morel.‘Tha can ha’e more than that!’ shouted Morel. pale under his pit-dirt with fury. Suddenly Morel clenched his fist. baffled for the moment. William had not the wit to move. ‘Only dare!’ she said in a loud. he sat down. as if hypnotised by her. ‘What!’ he shouted. ‘GO out of the house!’ she commanded him in fury.

The Guild was called by some hostile husbands. because she told him things. ‘What dost want ter ma’e a stool-harsed Jack on ‘im for?’ said Morel. It seemed queer to the children to see their mother.When the children were old enough to be left. when the lad was thirteen. partly because of the treats they derived from it. Then. The women were supposed to discuss the benefits to be derived from co-operation.’ office. the ‘clatfart’ shop—that is. and find fault. the gossip-shop. so that the children liked William to be in when their mother came home. Mrs. Morel joined the Women’s Guild. with rather rough features and real viking blue eyes. rather disconcerting. Morel read a paper. and writing again. It was the only thing to which they did not grudge their mother—and that partly because she enjoyed it. who was always busy about the house. It is true. and other social questions. frank. Morel always had a lot of news on Monday nights. He was a very clever boy. Mrs. referring to books. Sometimes Mrs. which met on Monday night in the long room over the grocery shop of the Bestwood ‘Co-op”. sitting writing in her rapid fashion. It was a little club of women attached to the Co-operative Wholesale Society. she got him a job in the ‘Co-op. They felt for her on such occasions the deepest respect. So the colliers found their women had a new standard of their own. thinking. the women could look at their homes. ‘All he’ll do is to wear his britches behind out an’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. who found their wives getting too independent. And also. But they loved the Guild. at the conditions of their own lives. from off the basis of the 1 .

and learned shorthand. Morel.earn nowt. Morel a keen pleasure. I know. The boy only ran for her. ‘and there’s an end of it. All the things that men do—the decent things—William did. What’s ‘e startin’ wi’?’ ‘It doesn’t matter what he’s starting with. breathless. She took it like a queen.’ ‘He is NOT going in the pit.’ ‘It wor good enough for me. He could run like the wind.’ said Mrs. except one.’ ‘Twelve! It wor a sight afore that!’ ‘Whenever it was. But six shillin’ wearin’ his truck-end out on a stool’s better than ten shillin’ i’ th’ pit wi’me. He flew home with his anvil. it’s no reason why I should do the same with my lad. and gave Mrs. with a ‘Look. When he was twelve he won a first prize in a race. an’ ‘ell earn a easy ten shillin’ a wik from th’ start.’ said Mrs. Morel. but it’s non good enough for ‘im. mother!’ That was the first real tribute to herself.  Sons and Lovers . She was very proud of her son. Then he taught in the night schools. ‘How pretty!’ she exclaimed. Morel. He went to the night school. an inkstand of glass. It stood proudly on the dresser. But he was so fiery that only his good-nature and his size protected him.’ said Mrs. so that by the time he was sixteen he was the best shorthand clerk and book-keeper on the place. shaped like an anvil.’ ‘If your mother put you in the pit at twelve. ‘It wouldna! Put ‘im i’ th’ pit we me.

Mrs. from the sixpenny-hops down Church Street. ‘Which one? There are several. and immediately she sniffed the air. to sports and  . Morel. ‘I—I mean YOUNG Mr.’ she explained. Occasionally some flame would come in pursuit of her errant swain. All the life that Bestwood offered he enjoyed. she gave him back two for himself. most of whom lived like cut blooms in William’s heart for a brief fortnight. He went about with the bourgeois of Bestwood. the schoolmaster. Also he danced—this in spite of his mother. and.’ Whereupon much blushing and stammering from the fair one. The townlet contained nothing higher than the clergyman. Morel in?’ the damsel would ask appealingly. He played billiards in the Mechanics’ Hall. He gave all his money to his mother. And Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Paul was treated to dazzling descriptions of all kinds of flower-like ladies. then the doctors. When he earned fourteen shillings a week. ‘I—I met Mr. and after that the hosts of colliers. ‘Oh—at a dance!’ ‘Yes. then the tradespeople. Willam began to consort with the sons of the chemist. Morel—at Ripley. ‘Is Mr.’ ‘I don’t approve of the girls my son meets at dances. Morel replied. as he never drank. and the tradesmen.’ repeated the maiden painfully. Then came the bank manager.Then he began to get ambitious. he felt himself rich. Morel would find a strange girl at the door. ‘My husband is at home.’ Mrs.

Tell them that—brazen baggages you meet at dancing-classes. Knowing her son was angry. simply. and took his strong jaw in his hand. who walked with long strides. ‘I don’t know about a lady. ‘A good-looking girl—seemed a lady?’ ‘I didn’t look at her. they’re not to come and ask your mother for you. she trembled inwardly.’ ‘I’m sure she was a nice girl. ‘Did a lady call for me yesterday. my son. mother?’ he asked. with her hair taken straight back from her forehead. that when they’re running after you.’ Then he came home angry with his mother for having turned the girl away so rudely. Now he came in frowning. and yet of rare warmth.’ ‘And I’m sure she wasn’t. and glared down at his mother.’ ‘And why didn’t you tell me?’ ‘Because I forgot. Over the dancing there was a great strife between the mother and the son. yet eagerlooking fellow. There was a girl came. often with his cap pushed jollily to the back of his head. He was a careless. He threw his cap on to the sofa. And tell your girls. sometimes frowning.he is NOT at home. The grievance reached its height when William said he was going to Hucknall Torkard—considered a low town—to a fancy Sons and Lovers . She had a quiet air of authority.’ There ended the altercation.’ He fumed a little. She was small.’ ‘Big brown eyes?’ ‘I did NOT look.

‘No. Everybody praised William. The Highland suit came home. ‘Aren’t you going to stop and see me. Annie was now studying to be a teacher.dress ball. and her face was closed and hard. Mrs. In his new place he had thirty shillings a week instead of eighteen. His mother and his father were brimmed up with pride. the clergyman who Free eBooks at Planet eBook. She was afraid of her son’s going the same way as his father. It seemed he was going to get on  . There was a dress he could hire. He hesitated a moment. When he was nineteen he suddenly left the Co-op. with his aid. mother?’ he asked. to help her younger sons. enraptured. showing her the suit. Paul. He was to be a Highlander. which one of his friends had had. ‘My suit come?’ cried William. Morel received it coldly and would not unpack it. Mrs. ‘How do you fancy your son in this!’ he said. forgetting her. was getting on well.’ she replied. This was indeed a rise. She was rather pale. having lessons in French and German from his godfather. Mrs. and his heart stood still with anxiety. Then he caught sight of the Highland bonnet with its ribbons. She went out. also very clever. and which fitted him perfectly. office and got a situation in Nottingham.’ On the evening of the dance. He picked it up gleefully.’ He rushed in and cut the string. when he had come home to dress. I don’t want to see you. ‘There’s a parcel in the front room. ‘You know I don’t want to fancy you in it. Morel put on her coat and bonnet. Morel hoped.

He did not drink. He came home very late at night. but don’t think you can work in the office. his eyes blazing as he read the letter. William remained a year at his new post in Nottingham. You can’t. mother. ‘Dance. to do one thing or another. This seemed a fabulous sum. Morel.’ Then he got a place in London. was at the Board school. The children were all rabid teetotallers. Arthur. and then amuse yourself. the human frame won’t stand it. Something seemed to be fretting him. His mother implored him to take more care.’ she answered sadly.was still a friend to Mrs. my son. Do one thing or the other—amuse yourself or learn Latin. a spoilt and very good-looking boy. and growing serious.’ ‘We shall. if you want to dance. He read the letter: ‘And will you reply by Thursday whether you accept. Morel felt everything go silent inside her. and don’t even ask to see me. at a hundred and twenty a year. We s’ll all be rolling in money. mother. and sat yet longer studying. His mother doubted almost whether to rejoice or to grieve. but don’t try to do both. Yours faithfully—-’ They want me. ‘They want me in Lime Street on Monday week. Mrs. Didn’t I tell you I could do it! Think of me in London! And I can give you twenty pounds a year. my son. but there was talk of his trying to get a scholarship for the High School in Nottingham. Still he went out to the dances and the river parties. mater. He was studying hard. and THEN study on top of all. at a hundred and twenty a year. It never occurred to him that she might be more hurt at  Sons and Lovers .’ he cried.

his going away than glad of his success. She felt almost as if he were going as well out of her heart. So she used to rub away at them with her little convex iron. From some of them he had read extracts to his mother. Postle. There was no laundry. which he loved. He was scarcely conscious that she was so miserable. It was a joy to her to have him proud of his collars. as the days drew near for his departure. They had hung on a file at the top of the kitchen cupboard. and had purple and green thistles. Morel had done her Saturday’s work on the Friday. her heart began to close and grow dreary with despair. Indeed. That was the grief and the pain to her. She liked to do things for him: she liked to put a cup for his tea and to iron his collars. William sniffed the page. of which he was so proud. He took nearly all himself  . A few days before his departure—he was just twenty—he burned his love-letters. on the Saturday morning he said: ‘Come on. Almost she lived by him.’ Mrs. till they shone from the sheer pressure of her arm. But most were too trivial. Now she would not do it for him. because he was having a last day’s holiday. and you can have the birds and flowers. He did not seem to leave her inhabited with himself. let’s go through my letters. to take with him. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. She was making him a rice cake. to polish them. Now he was going away. Some of them she had taken the trouble to read herself. She loved him so much! More than that. It was mauve-tinted. she hoped in him so much. Now. He took the first letter off the file.

you—-’’ ‘Let you know how it’ what?’ interrupted Mrs. sniffing. they can’t go on scratching for ever.’  Sons and Lovers . He continued to read extracts from his letters. ‘Transpires’—oh yes!’ ‘Transpires!’’ repeated Mrs. ‘I told mother about you this morning. and you press up to them like a dog that has its head scratched. ‘is as rich as Croesus. ‘This girl’s father. I sincerely hope he will agree. I will let you know how it transpires.’ he replied. If. mother. and abandoned this maiden. I’ve forgiven you’—I like HER forgiving me. ‘And when they’ve done. Morel. ‘My lad.’ said William.’ His mother ducked her small. He owns property without end.‘Nice scent! Smell.’ ‘Well. and she will have much pleasure if you come to tea on Sunday. Morel mockingly. because I know French.’ she said. ‘I thought she was so well educated!’ William felt slightly uncomfortable.’ And he thrust the sheet under Paul’s nose. but she will have to get father’s consent also. some of which saddened her and made her anxious for him. ‘What d’you call it? Smell. She calls me Lafayette. ‘Um!’ said Paul. breathing in. however. They know they’ve only got to flatter your vanity. ‘I don’t want to smell their rubbish. some of which amused his mother. ‘You will see. ‘they’re very wise. fine nose down to the paper. giving Paul the corner with the thistles. I trot away.’ she said.

mater. all that remained of the file of scented letters. they needn’t flatter themselves.’ she said quietly. ‘Not me! I’m equal to any of ‘em.‘But one day you’ll find a string round your neck that you can’t pull  . Free eBooks at Planet eBook. And William went to London. except that Paul had thirty or forty pretty tickets from the corners of the notepaper—swallows and forget-me-nots and ivy sprays. to start a new life. Soon there was a heap of twisted black pages.’ ‘You flatter YOURSELF.’ she answered.

particularly his mother. as her mother called her. But his sister adored him. his eyes were grey. quiet child. having as yet no part of his own. 0 Sons and Lovers . He was a pale. She had a big doll of which she was fearfully proud. and then dark brown. As he grew older he became stronger. She was a tomboy and a ‘flybie-skybie’. And always Paul flew beside her. slightly and rather small. So the smaller boy belonged at first almost entirely to Annie. dropping underlip. with eyes that seemed to listen. sharing her game. His fair hair went reddish. As a rule he seemed old for his years. living her share of the game. When she fretted he understood. His soul seemed always attentive to her. He always seemed to care for things if she wanted him to. William was too far removed from him to accept him as a companion.CHAPTER IV THE YOUNG LIFE OF PAUL PAUL would be built like his mother. and could have no peace. So Paul was towed round at the heels of Annie. But she was intensely fond of her second brother. She raced wildly at lerky with the other young wildcats of the Bottoms. He was so conscious of what other people felt. He was quiet and not noticeable. and with a full.

Annie rushed up. Her grief wore itself out.’ Which disturbed Annie inwardly. because he had broken it. fished out the arms and legs.’ She was 1 . So long as the stupid big doll burned he rejoiced in silence. He made an altar of bricks. yet rather fascinated. you couldn’t tell it was there. She forgave her brother—he was so much upset. At the end be poked among the embers with a stick. all blackened. She wanted to see what the boy would do. mother.’ he said. He seemed to hate the doll so intensely. But a day or two afterwards she was shocked. So long as Annie wept for the doll he sat helpless with misery. uttered a loud wail. ‘Let’s burn her. ‘You couldn’t tell it was there. ‘That’s the sacrifice of Missis Arabella. and drop like sweat into the flame. and smashed them under stones. to sleep. Then she forgot it. poured on a little paraffin. were peculiarly Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘An’ I’m glad there’s nothing left of her. Paul remained quite still. ‘Let’s make a sacrifice of Arabella. So she laid the doll on the sofa. pulled some of the shavings out of Arabella’s body. although she could say nothing. Meantime Paul must practise jumping off the sofa arm. and sat down to weep a dirge.’ he said.’ he repeated over and over.though not so fond. He watched with wicked satisfaction the drops of wax melt off the broken forehead of Arabella. All the children. and set the whole thing alight. but particularly Paul. So he jumped crash into the face of the hidden doll. and covered it with an antimacassar. put the waxen fragments into the hollow face.

Paul hoped they would. and the men would have begun to fight. The three children sat pale on the  Sons and Lovers . William was bigger. crouching. and William. an’ I sholl that. Ay. almost like a laugh. but none of the elders looked round. an’ I’ll rattle my fist about thee.against their father. drawing back his fist to strike. A light came into his blue eyes. Morel continued to bully and to drink. his father standing on the hearthrug. watching with children’s rage and hate.’ Morel danced a little nearer. William was white with rage. almost beast-like fashion. Another word. his head down. my young jockey. when he made the whole life of the family a misery. He had periods. quiet and intense. along with their mother.’ But Morel’s blood was up. He waited until the children were silent. feet astride. and his fists were clenched. There was a silence as the young children entered. William was white to the lips. you daren’t do it when I was in. dost see?’ Morel crouched at the knees and showed his fist in an ugly. and mad with fury. He watched his father. Paul never forgot coming home from the Band of Hope one Monday evening and finding his mother with her eye swollen and discoloured. though. William put his fists ready. then he said: ‘You coward. just home from work. months at a time. ‘Dossn’t I?’ he shouted. but Morel was hard-muscled. ‘It ‘ud be the last time. He swung round on his son. glaring at his father. ‘Dossn’t I? Ha’e much more o’ thy chelp. ‘Will yer?’ he said.

When William was growing up. ‘FATHER!’’ repeated William. ‘Look at the children.’ ‘A nice thing—your own father. WHY didn’t you let me give it him?’ ‘Because I couldn’t bear it. ‘Why didn’t you let me have a go at him?’ said William.’ he said. or a  . turning on to her husband. ‘look at your children!’ Morel glanced at the sofa. easily.’ she cried quickly. both of you. when his father was upstairs. ‘We’ve had enough for ONE night. ‘Why.’ ‘No.’ cried Mrs.’ she replied.’ she said. ‘I could easily have beaten him.’ ‘The idea!’ she cried. ‘Stop it. what have I done to the children. After a while he threw his boots under the table and went to bed. And YOU.’ She refused to answer him. you nasty little bitch!’ he sneered. No one spoke. Look at yourself. he is—and so—-‘ ‘But why don’t you let me settle him? I could do. so never think of it. the family moved from the Bottoms to a house on the brow of the hill. In front of the house Free eBooks at Planet eBook. And the children went to bed. ‘It hasn’t come to THAT yet. miserably. I should like to know? But they’re like yourself. you ‘ave. which spread out like a convex cockle-shell. before it. ‘it’s come to worse. ‘Call HIM MY father!’ ‘Well. you’ve put ‘em up to your own tricks and nasty ways—you’ve learned ‘em in it. Morel in a hard voice. commanding a view of the valley.

silence everywhere. The children played in the street. and the tree shrieked again. Their mother sat sewing below. There was a feeling of horror. outside and downstairs. The winter of their first year in the new house their father was very bad. and the nasty snarling shout as the man’s voice got higher. And then the whole was drowned in a piercing medley of shrieks and cries from the great. caught the houses with full force. come home nearly drunk.was a huge old ash-tree. wind-swept ash-tree. until eight o’clock. To Paul it became almost a demoniacal noise. then the bang. The wind came through the tree fiercer and fiercer. of vastness. and a sense of blood. And then came the horror of the sudden silence. Morel liked it.’ But Paul and Arthur and Annie hated it. This terror came in from the shrieking of the tree and the anguish of the home discord. What  Sons and Lovers . Often Paul would wake up. Having such a great space in front of the house gave the children a feeling of night. The children lay silent in suspense. All the chords of the great harp hummed. Then they went to bed.’ he said. The west wind. He might hit their mother again. then the sharp replies of his mother. Then he heard the booming shouts of his father. waiting for a lull in the wind to hear what their father was doing. and shrieked. ‘It’s music. aware of thuds downstairs. ‘It sends me to sleep. whistled. and of terror. on the brim of the wide. a kind of bristling in the darkness. They lay with their hearts in the grip of an intense anguish. sweeping from Derbyshire. dark valley. Instantly he was wide awake. after he had been asleep a long time. bang of his father’s fist on the table.

In the winter nights. ‘Make him stop drinking. and grew dark early. But for months he would stop and drink every night on his way from work.’ he prayed when. which showed all their lives. But if Morel had not come they faltered. and were ready to go out to play.’ he prayed every night. if the wind allowed. the stew-jar was in the oven. Paul hated his father. they heard the water of the tap drumming into the kettle. Morel would put a brass candlestick on the table. ready for Morel’s dinner.was it? Was it a silence of blood? What had he done? The children lay and breathed the darkness.’ he prayed very often. which their mother was filling for morning. On the hob the big black saucepan was simmering. Still they listened. He was expected at five o’clock. ‘Let him not be killed at pit. very happy playing. Mrs. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. the father did not come home from work. or dripping. That was another time when the family suffered intensely. they heard their father throw down his boots and tramp upstairs in his stockinged feet. one darkness in their eyes. The children finished their bread-and-butter. after tea. light a tallow candle to save the gas. when it was cold. Then at last. let my father die. As a boy he had a fervent private religion. And  . at last. The children came from school and had their teas. So they were happy in the morning—happy. and they could go to sleep in peace. ‘Lord. dancing at night round the lonely lamp-post in the midst of the darkness. But they had one tight place of anxiety in their hearts.

Down in the great trough of twilight. made Mrs.’ said Mrs. No more colliers came. the dinnerplate lay waiting on the table. A few last colliers straggled up the dim field path. after a long day’s work. across the darkness. not coming home and eating and washing. The lamplighter came along. Paul almost hated his  Sons and Lovers . ‘They’re ruined and black. All the room was full of the sense of waiting. cross with the futility of the question. Darkness shut down over the valley. They shared the same anxiety. some mile away from home. Then Paul ran anxiously into the kitchen. but sitting. The one candle still burned on the table.The sense of his sitting in all his pit-dirt. waiting for the man who was sitting in his pit-dirt. getting drunk. Paul stood in the doorway. Presently Mrs. ‘You can see he hasn’t. drinking. work was done. Then the boy dawdled about near his mother. Morel unable to bear herself. on an empty stomach.’ she said. Paul went out to play with the rest. Mrs. tiny clusters of lights burned where the pits were. Morel went out and strained the potatoes. It was night. She never suffered alone any more: the children suffered with her. Morel sat alone. On the hob the saucepan steamed. ‘but what do I care?’ Not many words were spoken. Morel. drinking himself drunk. ‘Has my dad come?’ he asked. the big fire glowed red. dinnerless. From her the feeling was transmitted to the other children.

and did not tell his friend what ailed him. ‘You may well say ‘let him’. why don’t you let him?’ ‘Let him!’ flashed Mrs. I’ll be going and seeing if my mother wants an errand doing. for her to talk to him. Her husband was good to her but was in a shop. William gave her the sense of relief. she called: ‘Come in. and came home late. Then he ran indoors. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and depended on the breadwinner. when she saw the lad at the door. So he ran in to  . But the tense atmosphere of the room on these waiting evenings was the same. At six o’clock still the cloth lay on the table.’ The two sat talking for some time. Morel at these times came in churlish and hateful.mother for suffering because his father did not come home from work. So. next door but one.’ She knew that the man who stops on the way home from work is on a quick way to ruining himself and his home. still the same sense of anxiety and expectation in the room. She had no children. providing her at last with someone to turn to if Morel failed. Morel.’ He pretended to be perfectly cheerful. The boy could not stand it any longer. Inger. The children were yet young. The minutes ticked away. He could not go out and play. saying: ‘Well. still the dinner stood waiting. Paul. ‘If he wants to stop and get drunk. ‘What do you bother yourself for?’ he said. when suddenly the boy rose.

dirty and inflamed. because he was dangerous. shouted in a bullying fashion. everything stopped. Paul hated his father so. lay on the bare arms. pushed all the pots in a heap away from him. The collier’s small.‘This is a nice time to come home. and. mean head. usually at Annie. to lay his arms on the table. Morel.  Sons and Lovers . And everybody in the house was still. Then he went to sleep. But as soon as the father came in. or a noise were made. He was like the scotch in the smooth. was turned sideways. If anyone entered suddenly. with a fleshy nose and thin. the shutting off of life. asleep with beer and weariness and nasty temper. if tha doesna stop that clatter! Dost hear?’ And the two last words.’ said Mrs. the unwelcome. He was shut out from all family affairs. Nothing had really taken place in them until it was told to their mother. No one told him anything. alone with their mother. the man looked up and shouted: ‘I’ll lay my fist about thy y’ead. The children. paltry brows. ‘Wha’s it matter to yo’ what time I come whoam?’ he shouted. But now it was gone too far to alter. I’m tellin’ thee. And he was always aware of this fall of silence on his entry. with its black hair slightly soiled with grey. made the family writhe with hate of the man. and the face. He ate his food in the most brutal manner possible. told her all about the day’s happenings. when he had done. happy machinery of the home. everything.

and the children enjoyed it.  . They united with him in the work.’ said Paul. Conversation was impossible between the father and any other member of the family. nothing—about famous women. and was happy at work. when he was his real self again. then. Everybody was highly jubilant. Then he always wanted several attendants. Morel turned round to him. in the actual doing of something.’ ‘Hm—hm! ‘ And that was all. indeed! ‘ ‘About birds. The only times when he entered again into the life of his own people was when he worked.’ said Mrs.’ ‘And how much is the prize. but they could not. as you’ve got?’ ‘It’s a book.’ Paul won a prize in a competition in a child’s paper.’ ‘Oh.’ he said. my boy? What sort of a competition?’ ‘Oh. in the evening. ‘Have you. ‘I’ve won a prize in a competition. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘Now you’d better tell your father when be comes in. he cobbled the boots or mended the kettle or his pit-bottle. Morel. ‘You know how be carries on and says he’s never told anything. dad. Sometimes Mrs.’ ‘All right. But he would almost rather have forfeited the prize than have to tell his father.He would dearly have liked the children to talk to him. He was an outsider. He had denied the God in him. Morel would say: ‘You ought to tell your father.

Morel fetched a sheaf of long sound wheatstraws from the attic. always sang. if he could. He made and trimmed the straws while Paul and Annie rifled and plugged them. after which he cut the straws into lengths of about six inches.He was a good workman. of friction and nasty temper. and Morel was silent and intent for a minute. crying: ‘Out of my road—out of my road!’ Then he hammered the soft. soldering. These he cleaned with his hand. months. and made the shape he wanted. almost years. He always had a beautifully sharp knife that could cut a straw clean without hurting it. Or he sat absorbed for a moment. red-glowing stuff on his iron goose. He had whole periods. Then sometimes he was jolly again. for his wife to mend. Then he set in the middle of the table a heap of gunpowder. Then the children watched with joy as the metal sank suddenly molten. It was nice to see him run with a piece of red-hot iron into the scullery. dexterous. and one who. leaving. a little pile of black grains upon the whitescrubbed board. considering them too dirty. But the best time for the young children was when he made fuses. And he was rather happy when he sat putting great patches on his moleskin pit trousers. till each one gleamed like a stalk of gold. Paul loved to see 100 Sons and Lovers . and the stuff too hard. and was shoved about against the nose of the soldering-iron. which he would often do. a notch at the bottom of each piece. when he was in a good humour. He always sang when he mended boots because of the jolly sound of hammering. while the room was full of a scent of burnt resin and hot tin.

when Morel would take it to the pit. ready for the morning. there’s one little ‘oss—we call ‘im Taffy. Taff.’ replied Morel. Well.’ he would begin. my beauty. and use it to fire a shot that would blast the coal down. ‘What’s want. an’ then yo’ ‘ear ‘im sneeze. peppering jollily downwards till the straw was full.’ This Morel loved to do. ‘That’s right. my duckie. daddy. Meantime 101 . ‘Look.’ you say. ‘An’ he’s a fawce ‘un!’ Morel had a warm way of telling a story.the black grains trickle down a crack in his palm into the mouth of the straw. ‘He’s a brown ‘un. Taff?’ yo’ say.’ he would answer. ‘He wants a bit o’ bacca.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Then he bunged up the mouth with a bit of soap—which he got on his thumb-nail from a pat in a saucer—and the straw was finished. ‘Ello.’ ‘And what does he?’ Arthur always asked. that cadin’. dad!’ he said. still fond of his father. would lean on the arm of Morel’s chair and say: ‘Tell us about down pit. ‘what art sneezin’ for? Bin ta’ein’ some snuff?’ ‘An’ ‘e sneezes again. he comes i’ th’ stall wi’ a rattle. He made one feel Taffy’s cunning. ‘Well. who was peculiarly lavish of endearments to his second son. Then he slives up an’ shoves ‘is ‘ead on yer. Paul popped the fuse into the powder-tin. ‘an’ not very high.

for they’re a nuisance.This story of Taffy would go on interminably. 10 Sons and Lovers . when he had finished tinkering. if you’ll let ‘em—no matter where yo’ hing your coat— the slivin’. going to take the nine o’clock shift. Or sometimes it was a new tale. what should go runnin’ up my arm but a mouse. And the children felt secure when their father was in bed. They listened to the voices of the men. and everybody loved it. There was nothing remaining for him to stay up for. imagined them dipping down into the dark valley. for they are. nibblin’ little nuisances. ‘An’ I wor just in time ter get ‘im by th’ tail. and had skimmed the headlines of the newspaper. They lay and talked softly a while.’ ‘And did you kill it?’ ‘I did. theer!’ I shouts. And then he always went to bed very early.’ These happy evenings could not take place unless Morel had some job to do. ‘Hey up.’ ‘An’ what do they live on?’ ‘The corn as the ‘osses drops—an’ they’ll get in your pocket an’ eat your snap. The place is fair snied wi’ ‘em. often before the children. Sometimes they went to the window and watched the three or four lamps growing tinier and tinier. Then they started as the lights went suddenly sprawling over the ceiling from the lamps that swung in the hands of the colliers tramping by outside. my darlin’? When I went to put my coat on at snap-time. ‘An’ what dost think.

But it was not a family to make any fuss. on the warm chintz cushions the children loved. he opened his eyes to see his mother standing on the hearthrug with the hot iron near her cheek. to the heat. That afternoon Mrs. She always felt a mixture of anguish in her love for him. She listened to the small. so this was another reason for his mother’s difference in feeling for him. One day he came home at dinner-time feeling ill. ‘What’s the matter with YOU?’ his mother asked sharply. ‘If you eat no dinner. Morel was ironing. of the faint thud.’ he replied. subject to bronchitis. ‘Why?’ he asked. Once roused. Paul was rather a delicate boy. And yet he had a great vitality in his young body. in his semi-conscious sleep. ‘Nothing. ‘That’s why. thud on the ironing-board.’ she said. Then it was a joy to rush back to bed and cuddle closely in the warmth. almost weary feeling towards him. Perhaps it would have been a little relief to her if he had died. She had never expected him to live. Again rose in her heart the old. you’re not going to school.swaying down the fields in the darkness. The others were all quite strong. Her still Free eBooks at Planet 10 . Then he fell into a kind of doze. restless noise the boy made in his throat as she worked. But he ate no dinner. as it were. He.’ So after dinner he lay down on the sofa. listening. was vaguely aware of the clatter of the iron on the iron-stand.

Paul was laid up with an attack of bronchitis. He did not mind much. when the light was put out. after eight o’clock. She spat on the iron. and he could watch the fire-flames spring over the darkness of the walls and ceiling. and it was no good kicking against the pricks.face. Her movements were light and quick. raced off the dark. It was always a pleasure to watch her. He loved the evenings. What happened happened. Then. the father would come into the sickroom. with the mouth closed tight from suffering and disillusion and self-denial. could have been found fault with by her children. The room was warm and full of the scent of hot linen. but as if she had been done out of her rights. She was warm in the ruddy firelight. and a little ball of spit bounded. no movement she ever made. Nothing she ever did. till the room seemed full of men who battled silently. yet made him patiently dogged inside. she rubbed the iron on the sack lining of the hearthrug vigorously. she looked brave and rich with life. quick. made his heart contract with love. But he 10 Sons and Lovers . could watch huge shadows waving and tossing. Later on the clergyman came and talked softly with her. On retiring to bed. and her blue eyes so young. and her nose the smallest bit on one side. It hurt the boy keenly. Paul loved the way she crouched and put her head on one side. When she was quiet. and warm. glossy surface. He was always very gentle if anyone were ill. It was his childish aim. this feeling about her that she had never had her life’s fulfilment: and his own incapability to make up to her hurt him with a sense of impotence. kneeling. so.

my darling. His father’s presence seemed to aggravate all his sick impatience. But how long will she be?’ ‘Not long.’ Morel called downstairs. ‘I don’t want nothing.’ the father repeated gently to Paul. ‘He says he can’t go off till you come. And do stop shouting downstairs. ‘Are ter asleep. At last Morel.’ ‘She says you’re to go to sleep.’ insisted the boy. I want HER to come.’ he said. my duckie. He felt his son did not want him.’ The father waited undecidedly on the hearthrug for a moment or two. ‘ 10 . my darlin’?’ Morel asked softly. The boy began to get feverish with irritation. how long art goin’ to be?’ ‘Until I’ve finished. ‘She says she won’t be long. Do you want anything?’ Morel rarely ‘thee’d’ his son.’ ‘Good-night. ‘Well. good gracious! Tell him to go to sleep. dear! I shan’t be long. There’s the other children—-‘ Then Morel came again and crouched before the bedroom fire. ‘Eh. He loitered about indefinitely. Then he went to the top of the stairs and said to his wife: ‘This childt’s axin’ for thee.’ Paul replied. after having stood looking at his son awhile. is my mother comin’?’ ‘She’s just finishin’ foldin’ the clothes. He loved a fire dearly. said softly: ‘Good-night. turning round in relief to be Free eBooks at Planet eBook.disturbed the atmosphere for the boy.

in summer. Paul lay against her and slept. so that it takes the body and soul completely in its healing. the utter comfort from the touch of the other. always a bad sleeper. Sleep is still most perfect. Paul loved to sleep with his mother. Annie and Paul and Arthur went out early in the morning. like pigeons dashing by. In convalescence everything was wonderful. the security and peace of soul. scattering their hay on the trodden yellow snow. watch the miners troop home—small. Then the night came up in dark blue vapour from the snow. when it is shared with a beloved. then were gone. clung there a moment like swallows. The warmth. Away across the valley the little black train crawled doubtfully over the great whiteness. from which the larks were rising. The snowflakes whirled round the corner of the house. The snowflakes.alone. the children were delighted if they could do anything to help economically. And if they got half a pound they felt exceedingly happy: 10 Sons and Lovers . in spite of hygienists. knits the sleep. and got better. and a drop of water was crawling down the glass. for the white-skinned. suddenly arriving on the window-pane. looking for mushrooms. hunting through the wet grass. black figures trailing slowly in gangs across the white field. see the fluffy horses feeding at the troughs in the field. wonderful naked bodies crouched secretly in the green. whilst she. While they were so poor. fell later on into a profound sleep that seemed to give her faith. In convalescence he would sit up in bed.

the joy of accepting something straight from the hand of Nature. ‘Now. Mrs.there was the joy of finding something. in a curious tone. Morel must buy fruit for puddings on the Saturdays. ‘And there’s over two pounds-isn’t there over two pounds’? She tried the basket. so we went over Misk Hills. He loved being out in the country. But he also could not bear to go home to his mother empty. our mother!’ She peeped into the basket. Then Paul fished out a little spray. and the joy of contributing to the family exchequer. ‘wherever have you been?’ ‘Well. and he would have died rather. was the blackberries. So Paul and Arthur scoured the coppices and woods and old 10 . But the most important harvest.’ she answered doubtfully. those are fine ones!’ she exclaimed. ‘Yes. and hungry. every week-end going on their search. ‘Good gracious!’ she would exclaim as the lads came in. of a woman accepting a love-token. ‘there wasn’t any. And look here. Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ replied Paul. the best he could find. also she liked blackberries. late. after gleaning for frumenty. he felt. and tired to death. among the bushes. would disappoint her. That. In that region of mining villages blackberries became a comparative rarity. He always brought her one spray. But Paul hunted far and wide. so long as a blackberry was to be found. ‘Pretty!’ she said.

But when William went to Nottingham.The boy walked all day. red-brick building. until they went themselves to work. and was not so much at home. Morel’s intimacy with her second son was more subtle and fine. These offices were quite handsome: a new. and having a seat all round. they were good friends. rather than own himself beaten and come home to her emptyhanded. whilst he was young. women. as contractor. Here sat the col10 Sons and Lovers . Mrs. Paul used to set off at half-past three. The colliers of the five pits were paid on Fridays. almost like a mansion. a long. At the same time. the mother made a companion of Paul. She was a woman who waited for her children to grow up. Each of the Morel children— William. The waiting-room was the hall. The latter was unconsciously jealous of his brother. then Paul—had fetched the money on Friday afternoons. went miles and miles. bare room paved with blue brick. girls. She never realised this. So that the children could fetch the money. children. It was the rule that Paul should fetch the money on Friday afternoons. And William occupied her chiefly. and William was jealous of him. either in the public-house or in his own home. standing in its own grounds at the end of Greenhill Lane. perhaps not so passionate as with her eldest. with a little calico bag in his pocket. and men were seen trooping to the offices. school closed early on Friday afternoons. then Annie. and he divided the wages again. against the wall. Down all the paths. but not individually. All the earnings of each stall were put down to the chief butty.

liers in their pit-dirt. dividing it into half. Braithwaite was 10 . having a rather thin white beard. so it was often his fate to be jammed behind the legs of the men. Behind the counter stood two men—Mr. and very bald. and right up to the hot summer a huge fire burned in the open grate. Sometimes in winter the air scorched the throats of the people. Braithwaite. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. When it was time for Bretty to be paid. A counter went across. because in it grew tiny pansies and tiny forget-menots. and one or two children.’ All the folk for Spinney Park trooped inside. Mr. Winterbottom. He knew the order of the names—they went according to stall number. Mr. and usually a dog. near the fire which scorched him. ‘Holliday. somewhat of the stern patriarch in appearance. coming in from the freshness.’ came the ringing voice of Mr. and women. Little dogs ran here and there. There was a sound of many voices. Then from inside came the cry ‘Spinney Park—Spinney Park. The green shrubs were silent all around. No window was open. He made remarks that were not witty. Mr. He was usually muffled in an enormous silk neckerchief. The women had on their Sunday hats. The girls chattered loudly. They had come up early. whilst his chief launched forth patriarchal admonitions against the colliers. Paul always examined the grass border. men who had been home and changed. Braithwaite and his clerk. The pay-room was quite small. Paul went in among the crowd. The women and children usually loitered about on the red gravel paths. and the big grass bank. The room was crowded with miners in their pit-dirt. Paul was quite small. Winterbottom was rather small and fat.

in a large and magisterial voice. peering over the counter. Winterbottom. ‘Morel—Walter Morel!’ the cashier repeated. quite indifferent. ‘Here!’ piped Paul. ‘Why. and his heart began to beat. ‘You should tell him to keep off the drink. glowered at him over his spectacles.’ said glossy Mr. ‘Fred Pilkington!’ he called. was paid. The large and important cashier looked down at his next sheet.’ pronounced the great cashier. ‘It’s me. Braithwaite. Paul knew his turn was next but one. He was pushed against the chimney-piece. you used to ‘ave a different nose than that. thinking of John Bower senior. The people tittered. his finger 110 Sons and Lovers . ‘Bower—John Bower. small and inadequate. ‘An’ niver mind if he puts his foot through yer. Braithwaite was an important shareholder in the firm.’ A boy stepped to the counter. ‘How is it your father’s not come!’ said Mr. ‘John Bower!’ he repeated.Then Mrs. large and irascible. Braithwaite. Mr. Mr. ‘Walter Morel!’ came the ringing voice.’ said a mocking voice from behind. ‘He’s badly.’ said the boy.’ piped the boy. drew aside. But he did not hope to get through the wall of men. Holliday stepped silently forward. All the men laughed. His calves were burning.

Then Mr. ready to pass on. to whom the stoppages for rent and tools must be paid. ‘Don’t they teach you to count at the Board-school?’ he Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Where is he? Morel’s lad?’ The fat. ‘He’s here. Winterbottom. ‘How much do you think you’ve given me?’ asked Mr. ‘Haven’t you got a tongue in your head?’ Paul bit his lip. bald little man peered round with keen eyes. ‘Here he is!’ said Mr. Why don’t you shout up when you’re called?’ said Mr. the boy dragged the whole down the counter to Mr. but said nothing. picked up a little ten-pound column of gold. ‘Sixteen an’ six.and thumb on the 111 . He had not the faintest notion. Winterbottom. then in a delicate and pretty movement. Winterbottom came to the rescue. The cashier finished counting off the money. Here he suffered again. Braithwaite. He pushed forward some loose silver and half a sovereign. He banged on to the invoice a five-pound bag of silver. The gold slid in a bright stream over the paper. and disclosed the boy. ‘Seventeen pounds eleven and fivepence. and could not or would not shout. Paul went to the counter. and plumped it beside the silver. moved aside. He pointed at the fireplace. red. Winterbottom. The boy looked at him. The lad was too much upset to count. Paul was suffering convulsions of self-consciousness. The backs of the men obliterated him. and pushed forward some more silver. The colliers looked round. Winterbottom.’ said Mr.

‘Sit you down. ‘An’ cheek an’ impidence. even in his blackness. When he got down to the New Inn. at Bretty. his father was not yet come. ‘Nowt but algibbra an’ French. They all glanced at the boy without speaking.asked. half-patronising voice of a woman who talks chiefly to grown men. ‘Hello!’ he said rather tenderly to his son. Wharmby’s friend. was infinite. the landlady. and was walking along the Mansfield Road. The colliers were walking home in a stream. had been Mrs. knew him. With trembling fingers he got his money into the bag and slid out. Mrs. self-consciously. ‘Your father’s not come yet.’ said the landlady. in the peculiar half-scornful. brisk. and with something of an air. but could not recognise them in their dirt. He knew many of the men. His relief. Paul was keeping someone waiting. Wharmby. On the park wall the mosses were green.’ Paul sat down on the edge of the bench in the bar.’ said another. And this was a new torture to him.’ said a collier. when he got outside. others came in. His grandmother. He suffered the tortures of the damned on these occasions. Morel’s mother. There were some gold and some white fowls pecking under the apple trees of an orchard. The boy went near the wall. Some colliers were ‘reckoning’—sharing out their money—in a corner. At last Morel came. ‘Have you bested me? Shall you have a drink of something?’ Paul and all the children were bred up fierce anti-al11 Sons and Lovers .

glowering. and he treasured it.’ he declared.’ ‘Oh. and hateful. Braithwaite drops his ‘h’s’. then!’ he said. ‘I’m NOT going any more. Winterbottom says ‘You was’. resenting his clear. ‘Oh. and he would have suffered more in drinking a lemonade before all the men than in having a tooth drawn. an’ Mr.’ ‘And is that why you won’t go any more?’ smiled Mrs. Mr. But—‘They can have it. His face was pale. they are. they’d be glad enough of the sixpence. very well. This sixpence was Paul’s only income.’ ‘They’re hateful. and I’m not going any more. His mother put it before him. ‘But you needn’t bully ME about it. what’s the matter?’ his mother asked in surprise. Suddenly he turned on her in a fury.’ he said.’ said Mrs.coholists. The boy was silent for some time. but it WAS an income. Friday was baking day.’ He chewed his bun as if he hated it. rather pitying. ‘Why.’ ‘Then one of Carlin’s children can go. ‘I’m not—I’m not going to fetch the money. fierce morality. The landlady looked at him de haut en 11 . ‘I don’t want it. and common. Paul went home. His sudden rages rather amused her. and at the same time. very well. Morel. his eyes flashing: ‘I’m NOT going to the office any more.’ said his mother. He entered the house silently. and there was usually a hot bun. It mostly went in buying birthday presents. Morel. his Free eBooks at Planet eBook. tell your father so.

‘They always stan’ in front of me. Morel. and could call him to account if he gave her short money.’ replied the boy.’ she replied. where four roads. she soothed him. Morel loved her marketing.’ So. taking no notice of him. from Nottingham 11 Sons and Lovers .’ he said. in her own way. In the tiny market-place on the top of the hill. His ridiculous hypersensitiveness made her heart ache. ‘It’s a good week. He loved to stop in and draw or read. surprised. Mrs. Arthur was enjoying himself as usual. and sixteen and six stoppages. and only five shillings stoppages for my father. And sometimes the fury in his eyes roused her.’ said Mrs.’ So she was able to calculate how much her husband had earned. It was the rule that Paul should stay at home and bake. So the boy remained alone. ‘An’ then Alfred Winterbottom says. you’ve only to ASK them. Annie always ‘gallivanted’ on Friday nights. ‘Seventeen pounds eleven and fivepence. His mother moved about at her work.eyes dark and furious. my lad. ‘What do they teach you at the Board-school?’’ ‘They never taught HIM much. made her sleeping soul lift up its head a moment. so’s I can’t get out. ‘that is a fact— neither manners nor wit—and his cunning he was born with. Friday was the baking night and market night. ‘Well. he was very fond of drawing. Morel always kept to himself the secret of the week’s amount. ‘What was the cheque?’ she asked.

She was a little woman. Ilkeston and Mansfield. ‘It looks rather come down. Brakes ran in from surrounding villages.’ She put the dish down and walked away. now was reduced to black lace and a bit of jet. it was a great grievance to Annie. pretending not to. in a bonnet and a black costume. ‘don’t wear that nubbly little bonnet.’ said Paul. ‘Couldn’t you give it a pick-me-up?’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘Mother!’ the girl implored. Her bonnet was in its third year.’ ‘Then what else shall I wear. meet. Mrs. and she glanced at the dish furtively.’ she said. then had had flowers. Again she went by where the pots lay coldly on the floor. Morel usually quarrelled with her lace woman. but his wife was a bad ‘un—laughed with the fish man—who was a scamp but so droll—put the linoleum man in his place. It was amazing to see so many men everywhere in the streets.and Derby. the streets packed with men.’ replied the mother tartly.’ It had started with a tip. then she was coldly polite. The market-place was full of women. was cold with the odd-wares 11 . ‘Sevenpence to you. many stalls were erected.’ ‘Thank you. sympathised with her fruit man—who was a gabey. and only went to the crockery man when she was driven—or drawn by the cornflowers on a little dish. but she could not leave the market-place without it. ‘I wondered how much that little dish was. ‘And I’m sure it’s right enough.

‘You wouldn’t let me have it for fivepence if you didn’t want to. Her heart hardened.’ he growled. Suddenly he shouted: ‘Do you want it for fivepence?’ She started. but then she stooped and took up her dish. there are bad times.’ she said. He loved her home-coming. and good. SUCH a weight!’ 11 Sons and Lovers . ‘I am!’ she gasped. smiling at him from the doorway.’ said Mrs. Morel paid him the fivepence in a cold manner. as if there were something between them. ‘Yer’d better spit in it. putting down his brush. the pot man. She was always her best so—triumphant. scrattlin’ place you may count yerself lucky if you can give your things away. ‘My word. tired. ‘I’ll have it. like yer do when y’ave something give yer. They were friends. like?’ he said. But she had forgiven the pot man.’ said Mrs. ‘Yer’ll do me the favour.’ she said. Morel. She dare now finger his pots.’ ‘In this flamin’. ‘Oh!’ she sighed. He heard her quick. ‘I don’t see you give it me. ‘Yes. feeling rich in spirit. laden with parcels.‘I’ll jowl your head for impudence.’ Mrs. So she was happy. light step in the entry and looked up from his drawing. Paul was waiting for her. and she tied the strings of the black bonnet valiantly under her chin. Morel. ‘That brazen Annie said she’d meet me. Both she and her enemy. you ARE loaded!’ he exclaimed. had an uncomfortable feeling. She glanced at the dish again.

’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. that pot man!’ she said. it’s everybody’s cry alike nowadays—and it makes him disagreeable. And he let me have—how much do you think he let me have THIS for?’ She took the dish out of its rag of newspaper. I couldn’t afford any more. going to the oven. She took off her little black bonnet. ‘Yes. But I’d been extravagant.’ ‘No.’ said Paul.’ ‘Oh. and I thought of the teapot you bought me—-‘ ‘One and three. ‘I LOVE cornflowers on things. ‘Show me!’ said Paul. ‘Well. The two stood together gloating over the dish. I don’t think he’s quite so bad. closing the oven 11 . ‘You know what a wretch I’ve said he was? Well.’ said Paul. one can’t wonder at it. ‘Is the bread done?’ she asked.’ said Paul.She dropped her string bag and her packages on the table. ‘The last one is soaking. ‘You needn’t look. ‘No. Do you know. I fairly sneaked off with it. ‘Fivepence!’ ‘It’s not enough.’ ‘Don’t you?’ The boy was attentive to her.’ he replied. I’ve not forgotten it. and stood looking on it with joy. And he needn’t have let me have it if he hadn’t wanted to. mother. I think he can’t make any money—well.’ ‘It would ME.

’ said his mother.’ she replied. ‘Yes!’ she exclaimed. but I couldn’t afford it THIS week of all weeks. stooping to sniff.’ she said. isn’t it—and a face just like an old man!’ ‘Just!’ cried Paul. brimful of satisfaction. She tapped it also. ‘NOW look at him now he’s wet!’ he said. ‘Don’t forget that bread. At the end 11 Sons and Lovers . and the two comforted each other from the fear of having robbed the pot man.’ said he. ‘Yes. ‘And smells that nice! But he’s a bit splashed.’ said Paul. ‘Aren’t they!’ she exclaimed. extravagant woman.’ ‘But lovely!’ he cried. came back with the flannel. ‘It’s done. or a jelly. giving way to pure joy. tapped the loaf on the base. I know I s’ll come to want.’ he said. he needn’t. ‘Paul. need he. going to unpack her bag.‘No. and carefully washed the pansy.’ He ran in the scullery.’ He hopped to her side eagerly. and I’m a wicked. Paul looked in the oven. The children of Scargill Street felt quite select. to see her latest extravagance. ‘Oh. ‘Yes. ‘How CHEAP!’ he cried. look at this yellow one. She unfolded another lump of newspaper and disclosed some roots of pansies and of crimson daisies. ‘Four penn’orth!’ she moaned. ‘Or radishes and lettuce. ‘We c’n have stewed fruit in it. her voice bright with glee. ‘Or custard.’ said Paul. giving it to her.

in a hollow. yelling. The farthest tiny lights seemed to stretch out the darkness for ever. and at the end the whole great night opened out. and went out. which stood at the end of the field path. They set up a game round the lamp-post.where the Morels lived there were not many young things. luminous space were deserted. The children looked anxiously down the road at the one lamp-post. and another far away opposite for Selby. when it was not wet. There was only this one lamp-post. for they scorned overcoats. So the few were more united. Then the play went fast and furious. Suddenly a pinafore under a short coat was seen. Boys and girls played together. ‘Where’s Billy Pillins an’ your Annie an’ Eddie Dakin?’ ‘I don’t 11 . as all the colliers’ children did. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and a long-legged girl came flying up. They stood with their hands in their pockets under the lamp. quite miserable. Annie and Paul and Arthur loved the winter evenings. with a little tangle of lights below where Minton pit lay. They stayed indoors till the colliers were all gone home. the boys taking part in the dancing games and rings and make-belief of the girls. the girls joining in the fights and the rough games. till it was thick dark. as if all the night were there. till the others rushed up. Then they tied their scarves round their necks. and the street would be deserted. If the little. In front. turning their backs on the night. The entry was very dark.’ But it did not matter so much—there were three now. watching the dark houses. Behind was the great scoop of darkness. the two boys felt genuine desolation.

In a dozen yards the night had swallowed them. Mrs.’ They sounded so perfectly absorbed in the game as their voices came out of the night. surrounded by so much darkness. Occasionally somebody came out of this way and went into the field down the path. that they had the feel of wild creatures singing. going into her parlour. that the moon should be turned to blood. It stirred the mother. seeing a big red moon lift itself up. after one of these fierce internecine fights. The children played on. dark way opened over the hill brow.another wide. slowly. I wear a ring on every finger. And he thought of the Bible. And then the wild. Morel. would hear the children singing away: ‘My shoes are made of Spanish leather. passionate speech. and flee home in terror. intense games went on again under the lamp-post. I wash myself in milk. If a quarrel took place. and on Paul’s side went Alice. and Billy Pillins—really Philips—was worse. Paul never forgot. ruddy. Then Paul had to side with Arthur. My socks are made of silk. They were brought exceedingly close together owing to their isolation. And the next day he made haste to be friends with Billy Pillins. hate with a fury of hatred. Then the six would fight. and quick. 10 Sons and Lovers . steadily. between the waste road over the hilltop. Arthur was very touchy. with brilliant eyes. like a great bird. the whole play was spoilt. while Billy Pillins always had Emmie Limb and Eddie Dakin to back him up. and she understood when they came in at eight o’clock. 11 . ‘What. She saw at once they were colliers. Morel in wrath. watching the sunsets flare quickly out. Morel taking the ashes to the ash-pit. The first man came to the stile. Dakin.’ said Mrs. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. a tall.’ ‘They might as well have saved their shoe-leather. On summer evenings the women would stand against the field fence. han’ yer knocked off?’ cried Mrs. missis. Dakin. you know you’re flig to come up again. ‘It is that. ‘I reckon Minton’s knocked off. ‘Chockchock!’ went the gate under his thrust. facing the west. almost like a menace to the poor colliers who were toiling up. for the great scallop of the world it had in view. standing on the hill brow.’ replied the man. spied Mrs. Then she waited. missis. Dakin. It was only eleven o’clock. thin.’ she cried. From the far-off wooded hills the haze that hangs like fine black crape at the back of a summer morning had not yet dissipated. going up her yard. who lived next door to Mrs. Mrs. till the Derbyshire hills ridged across the crimson far away.’ ‘It’s a pity as they letn yer goo. like the black crest of a newt. ‘Nay. And both women went indoors disgusted. In this summer season the pits never turned full time. ‘Ha! But I’n just seed Jont Hutchby.’ she said. would spy men coming slowly up the hill. Mrs. shrew-faced woman. gossiping. ‘Isn’t it sickenin!’ exclaimed Mrs.’ she said sarcastically. And the man went on. ‘We han. Morel. particularly the soft coal.They all loved the Scargill Street house for its openness. going to the field fence to shake her hearthrug.

either. ‘What a story!’ exclaimed his wife. He loved the sunny morning. I’d eat it rather than it should be wasted. Morel hated to go back. might I?’ he exclaimed. their faces scarcely blackened.’ he bawled pathetically. ‘What’s my dad eating his snap for now?’ asked Arthur. Morel.’ snorted Morel.’ ‘Good bread-an’-butter’s not for mice. and to be sent home again spoilt his temper. in all the dust an’ dirt. ‘Dirty or not dirty. ‘I’m not such a extravagant mortal as you lot.The colliers.’ ‘The mice would eat it. coming home from school. ‘Oh.’ ‘Then I’ll eat my bit o’ snap as I took with me. 1 Sons and Lovers . ‘I should ha’e it holled at me if I didna. ‘An’ is it goin’ to be wasted?’ said Morel. I pick it up an’ eat it. If I drop a bit of bread at pit.’ ‘You might leave it for the mice and pay for it out of your next pint. ‘Good gracious. ‘Can I help it. were trooping home again. He felt ignominious and sore.’ said Mrs.’ said Paul. But he had gone to pit to work. ‘It wouldn’t be wasted. would wonder to see their father eating with his dinner the two thick slices of rather dry and dirty bread-and-butter that had been to pit and back. as he entered. at this time!’ exclaimed his wife.’ said Morel. woman?’ he shouted. ‘And I’ve not done half enough dinner. And the children. with your waste.

He was coming at Christmas for five days. telling her all his life. Morel made a big and magnificent cake. where the temperature was nearly at freezingpoint. ‘Just look. rather witty letters. then blew it in the air. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. how he made friends. feeling queenly. He sent ten shillings once or twice. He skinned the long nuts reverently. Mrs. but he had many things to pay for at first. and was exchanging lessons with a Frenchman. to see not one was lost. mother! Isn’t it lovely?’ And he balanced a bit on his nose. Then. It was said that eggs whisked better in a cold place. There had never been such preparations. Almost.’ said the mother. Paul and Arthur scoured the land for holly and evergreens. and whisked and whisked. ‘Now. She wrote to him every week her direct. and his mother missed his money. as she cleaned the house. she showed Paul how to blanch almonds. And there was unheardof extravagance in the larder. Annie made the pretty paper hoops in the old-fashioned way. don’t waste it.They were very poor that autumn. His mother felt again he was remaining to her just as when he was at home. So the boy stood in the scullery. and flew in excitement to his mother as the white of egg grew stiffer and more snowy. how he enjoyed London. William had just gone away to 1 . she thought of him. All day long. His letters came regularly once a week. He wrote a good deal to his mother. He was in London: he would do well. he was like her knight who wore HER favour in the battle. counting them all.

There was a big plum cake. and a rice cake. and mince-pies— two enormous dishes. He was due at seven o’clock. ‘Then he’ll be here at ten past seven. jam tarts. But she hoped. The three children had gone to meet him.’ she replied emphatically. lemon tarts. She was finishing cooking—Spanish tarts and cheese-cakes. but he would be late. 1 Sons and Lovers . man!’ she said. bless you. Mrs.’ she said indifferently.’ ‘Hadna you better be gettin’ him summat t’ eat ready?’ asked the father. He sat in his armchair. Then he came back. ‘You’re like an ill-sitting hen. spun slowly over Mrs. Morel went down the entry to look for him. Only by the careful way in which she did things could it be told how much moved she was. But at a quarter to seven Morel came in again. Everywhere was decorated. She was alone. The kissing bunch of berried holly hung with bright and glittering things. There was a scent of cooked pastry.’ ‘Eh. The clock ticked on. Morel’s head as she trimmed her little tarts in the kitchen. Neither wife nor husband spoke. ‘What time dost say he’s coming?’ Morel asked for the fifth time. by expecting him late. A great fire roared. to bring him early.Everybody was mad with excitement. and she quietly went on with her baking. quite awkward with excitement. Morel surveyed her pantry. ‘The train gets in at half-past six. William was coming on Christmas Eve. ‘Goodness. it’ll be hours late on the Midland.

It was very dark and very cold. There was London! It seemed the utter-most of distance. The three children could scarcely go into the waiting-room for fear of being sent away. ‘You be quiet—he might send us off. and for fear something should happen whilst they were off the 1 . They thought anything might happen if one came from London. and unhappy.’ she answered. ‘There’s not so much as I can see on. let alone one in a peaked cap.’ said Arthur pathetically. they huddled together on the platform. on the Midland main line. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘I’m not. She began to clear her table. A train came—he was not there.’ he answered. They waited and waited.’ said Paul to Annie.’ said Annie. ‘it’s Christmas Eve. They waited one hour. Meantime the three children were on the platform at Sethley Bridge. They were all too troubled to talk. Down the line the red and green lights shone. to dare to ask.‘There’s plenty of time. and silent. ‘It’s an hour an’ a half late. He wasn’t coming. ‘Well. two miles from home. turning crossly in his chair. They looked down the darkness of the railway.’ said Annie. Still they waited in the dark and cold.’ They all grew silent. when they saw a man in a tip cap. Cold.’ But Paul was dying for the man to know they were expecting someone by the London train: it sounded so grand. Yet he was much too much scared of broaching any man. The kettle was singing. ‘Ask him if the London train’s come.

At last there was a sound of voices. they saw the lights of an engine peering round. and from one of them. Meanwhile the parents were getting anxious. The table was set. pretending to read. The ash tree moaned outside in a cold. Morel put on her black apron. Mrs.’ They were both a bit cross with each other. ‘H’m!’ said Morel. Then he stood back. on Christmas Eve they’re HOURS wrong. And all that space of night from London home! Mrs. drew up. Two doors opened. and immediately began to explain that this great train had stopped for HIS sake at such a small station as Sethley Bridge: it was not booked to stop. They flew to him. The children drew back with beating hearts. and a footstep in the entry. raw wind. 1 Sons and Lovers . bound for Manchester. It was getting so late. everything was ready. so gnawed with anxiety. it was getting unbearable. ‘Ha’s here!’ cried Morel. The minutes were a torture to her. the chop was cooked. A great train. jumping up.’ ‘And those children waiting!’ she said.At last. ‘It’s an hour an’ a ha’ef. after more than two hours. ‘Th’ train canna ha’ come in yet. He handed parcels to them cheerily.’ he said. The slight click of the works inside the clock irritated her. William. Then she sat. She was wearing her best dress. A porter ran out. ‘I tell you. The mother ran a few steps towards the door and waited. away down the darkness. Morel suffered. There was a rush and a patter of feet.

‘Well!’ he exclaimed. ‘We thought tha’d niver be commin’. Everybody was still for a second. And for two seconds. I’d come!’ exclaimed William.’ he said. and pushed it whole into his mouth. ‘But you look well. did iver you see such a parish oven!’ the father exclaimed. ‘Well. dad!’ The two men shook hands. ‘Mater!’ he said. as if in relief.’ she said proudly. ‘By jove! mother. ‘Well. He dropped his Gladstone bag and took his mother in his arms. big. William was there. Then she withdrew and said. There was a sense of luxury overFree eBooks at Planet eBook. and the little tarts that lay in their tins on the hearth. it’s not different!’ he said. turning to his 1 . she clasped him and kissed him. He looked round at the evergreens and the kissing bunch. Then he suddenly sprang forward.the door burst open. ‘I should think so—coming home!’ He was a fine fellow. trying to be quite normal: ‘But how late you are!’ ‘Aren’t I!’ he cried. picked a tart from the hearth. and fearless-looking. Every penny he had he had spent on them. ‘Well. He had brought them endless presents. straight. laughing. my lad!’ Morel’s eyes were wet. ‘Oh. no longer. ‘My boy!’ she cried. Then the son turned round to his mother.

You may never have a chance again. my word’! When he went away again the children retired to various places to weep alone. whatever the suffering had been. and besides. and I should love to think of you cruising there in the Mediterranean almost better than to have you at home. Not even the Mediterranean. For his mother there was an umbrella with gold on the pale handle. and SUCH a fine fellow. Morel wrote: ‘Go. crystallised pineapple. She loved him passionately. cut off in slices. ‘Real pineapple. and Mrs. She kept it to her dying day. and at his poor man’s 1 Sons and Lovers . go. And they all found him ‘such a gentleman. Morel felt as if she were numbed by some drug. People came in to see William. There were parties. for quite a small cost. there were rejoicings. And Paul boasted of these sweets among his friends. there were pounds of unknown sweets: Turkish delight. my boy. and such-like things which. and then turned into crystal—fair grand!’ Everybody was mad with happiness in the family. the children thought. Mrs. and at the midsummer his chief offered him a trip in the Mediterranean on one of the boats. and would have lost anything rather than that. to see what difference London had made to him. Morel went to bed in misery. Home was home. Everybody had something gorgeous. which pulled at all his young man’s desire to travel. He was in the office of a lawyer connected with a large shipping firm. as if her feelings were paralysed. and they loved it with a passion of love. only the splendour of London could provide.flowing in the house.’ But William came home for his fortnight’s holiday.

wonder at the glamorous south. That compensated his mother for much. could take him away when he might come 1 . Free eBooks at Planet eBook.

Mrs. ‘Yes. his face grey under his dirt. his body limp and sick with some hurt or other. About a year after William went to London.’ he said. expecting almost to see her husband seated in the waggon. she would run out to help. ‘Your mester’s got hurt. 10 Sons and Lovers . Now. Crossly he put down his brush to go.CHAPTER V PAUL LAUNCHES INTO LIFE MOREL was rather a heedless man. A pit-lad in his dirt stood on the threshold. ‘What is it?’ But she had guessed already. ‘Is this Walter Morel’s?’ he asked.’ said Mrs. ‘Eh. she ran into the parlour to look. ‘It’s a wonder if he hadn’t. So he had endless accidents. when Mrs. Morel was upstairs and her son was painting in the kitchen—he was very clever with his brush—when there came a knock at the door. before he got work. Morel. dear me!’ she exclaimed. At the same moment his mother opened a window upstairs and looked down. If it were he. and just after Paul had left school. careless of danger. Morel heard the rattle of an empty coal-cart cease at her entry-end.

if I’m not sick—sick and surfeited. there’s no time to be painting now. Put those things away. ‘And it must be pretty bad if they’ve taken him to the hospital. ‘Eh. And what’s he done this time?’ ‘I don’t know for sure. Eh. I shall catch the seven o’clock back. An’ I seed ‘em bring ‘im up in a tub. They ta’ein’ ‘im ter th’ ‘ospital. just as we WERE getting easy a bit at last. he WOULD want to put all the burden on me. But he shouted like anythink when Doctor Fraser examined him i’ th’ lamp cabin—an’ cossed an’ swore. ‘He WOULD want to come home. my lad.’ said Paul. what a one he is! There’s not five minutes of peace. and now—. but it’s ‘is leg somewhere. I should think. so that I can have all the bother.’ ‘I can finish it. dear. Thank you. my blessed heart. Yes. the fuss and commotion he’ll Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ The boy faltered to an end. ‘You needn’ 11 . an’ said as ‘e wor goin’ to be ta’en whoam— ‘e worn’t goin’ ter th’ ‘ospital. an’ ‘e wor in a dead faint.lad.’ she went on. Paul had mechanically resumed his painting. Oh. I s’ll have to leave that bedroom. I’ll be hanged if there is! His thumb’s nearly better.’ ‘Good gracious me!’ she exclaimed. dear. I am!’ She came downstairs. ‘But what a CARELESS creature he is! OTHER men don’t have all these accidents.Did you see him?’ ‘I seed him at th’ bottom. Eh. dear. What time is there a train? I know I s’ll have to go trailing to Keston.

make! And those granite setts at Tinder Hill—he might well call them kidney pebbles—they’ll jolt him almost to bits. dear! His clean shirt—and it’s 1 Sons and Lovers . what have I to take him? Eh. But no. The men bought the ground. wriggling the handle impatiently. Poor beggar. strong arms. Should I come with you to Keston?’ ‘Come with me? What for. rather surprising on a smallish woman. put on the kettle. blinking at him over the towel as she wiped her face.’ All the time she was getting ready. She had very handsome. he’ll wish himself anywhere rather. I wonder why they can’t mend them. You’d think they’d have a hospital here.’ he said. You must drink a cup of tea at any rate. ‘There isn’t a train till four-twenty. ‘Yes. I should like to know? Now. there’d be accidents enough to keep it going. and set the table.’ ‘Oh no. she crouched at the boiler while the water ran slowly into her lading-can. my sirs. Paul cleared away. ‘You’ve time enough. ‘I wish this boiler was at the bottom of the sea!’ she exclaimed. Hurriedly taking off her bodice. you have. Now there’s no telling how long he’ll be stuck in that hospital—and WON’T he hate it! But if it’s only his leg it’s not so bad. It’s a crying shame! Oh. and the fuss he’ll make! I know he will! I wonder who’s with him. Barker. I s’d think. an’ all the men as go across in that ambulance. But he’ll look after him. and. I haven’t!’ she cried. they must trail them ten miles in a slow ambulance to Nottingham. the state they’re in. I know.

All the things she was taking him she had in her bulging string bag. So she sat down and sipped her tea. Now what else?’ ‘A comb.’ he insisted. She was thinking. tripping so quickly in her anxiety. and handkerchiefs. I suppose they see plenty like it. to walk the two and a half miles to Keston Station. I suppose.’ he said. quick-stepping figure.’ continued Mrs. and his heart ached for her. Paul watched her go up the road between the hedges—a little. now it’s put out ready. and was touched now with grey. And stockings—he won’t want them—and a towel. and ate a little. that was fine as silk. in silence. ‘He’s very particular to wash himself to the waist.a blessing it IS clean. putting her cup of tea in her place. even supporting her. she thought: ‘It WILL upset that lad when I tell him how bad it Free eBooks at Planet eBook. that she was thrust forward again into pain and trouble. His father had been in the hospital before. ‘Goodness knows what sort of state his feet were in. a knife and fork and spoon. so 1 . But it had better be aired. felt at the back of her her son’s heart waiting on her. And when she was at the hospital.’ Paul had laid the table. In a few minutes she was gone. He cut his mother one or two pieces of very thin bread and butter. And she. as she combed her long brown hair. but below he thinks doesn’t matter. you’ve got to. Morel. ‘I can’t be bothered!’ she exclaimed crossly. ‘Here you are. ‘Well. felt him bearing what part of the burden he could.’ said Paul. But there.

and her small. it IS a very dangerous smash. ‘And.’ she replied. and he’s lost a lot of blood. ‘I’m done for. Her son watched her face as it was lifted.’ he groaned. ‘Well.’ she answered.’ Mrs. I’ve no doubt they will. he IS bad. looking at me. ‘Is it bad?’ asked Paul. but the nurse says it’s a dreadful smash. You see. ‘if you want them to carry you into the garden in a wooden box. ‘You’re not going to die of a broken leg. Morel took off her And then there’s the fever and the mortification— if it took bad ways he’d quickly be gone. he’s a 1 Sons and Lovers . She’s an awfully nice Sister.’ she continued. she felt he was coming to share her burden. There are pieces of bone sticking through—-‘ ‘Ugh—how horrid!’ exclaimed the children.’ I said to him. ‘Well. however badly it’s smashed. of course. as soon as she entered the house.’ I said. ‘it’s not really dangerous.’ said the Sister. a great piece of rock fell on his leg—here—and it’s a compound fracture. my lass!’ he said.’ ‘If we think it’s good for him. ‘What?’ She sighed and sat down.’ ‘I s’ll niver come out of ‘ere but in a wooden box. It’s a great shock. It’s not at all sure that it will mend so easily. undoing her bonnet-strings. ‘It’s bad enough. and. The children waited in silence.’ she continued. work-hardened hands fingering at the bow under her chin. I’d better be careful. ‘Don’t be so silly.’ And when she was trudging home again. ‘of course he says he’s going to die—it wouldn’t be him if he didn’t. But there. but rather strict. when you’re better. ‘and he will be. ‘Of course.

She was grieved. Arthur went outside for some coal.’ Paul took up his brush again and went on painting. and bitterly sorry for the man who was hurt so much. ‘But he always gets better. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. in her little rocking-chair that her husband had made for her when the first baby was coming. She brooded a while. because of the train—and the children. when she would have slaved herself to death to nurse him and to save him. when all her woman’s pity was roused to its full extent. But still. and the house was silent. and so I see no reason why it SHOULD take bad ways. somewhere far away inside her. Now. ‘But the Sister says that is the pain. Everybody moved about in silence. remained motionless. Walter.’ she said.’ Annie took away her mother’s coat and bonnet. And Mrs. even when he roused her strong emotions. Of course there’s a wound—-‘ She was pale now with emotion and anxiety. in her heart of hearts. It hurt her most of all. when she would have taken the pain herself. there was a blank. Annie sat looking dismal. Morel. ‘And he really looked nearly done for. brooding. It seems hard. The three children realised that it was very bad for their father.’ said the mother. if she could. 1 . ‘That’s what I tell him. with wonderful healing flesh. ‘And he looked at me when I came away! I said: ‘I s’ll have to go now.’ said Paul after a while. she felt indifferent to him and to his suffering.clean-blooded man. this failure to love him. where the love should have burned.’ And he looked at me.

missis!’ he said. ‘An’ the scream ‘e gives sometimes! Missis. not if he can help it. who was helping her with her housework. of course. it WOR that!’ he said. He did look bad.’ she said suddenly. ‘I know what he’d be. ‘At ivry jolt I thought my ‘eart would ha’ flown clean out o’ my mouth.’ They were an old pair of Paul’s. I found I’d come out in my working boots—and LOOK at them. Mrs. the hospital IS hard. ‘I found Barker at the hospital. There’s something so manly about him. And he won’t let anybody else touch him. When he smashed the muscles of his thigh. And I didn’t like leaving him. Mrs.’ he said.’ I said. ‘It’s a nasty job.’ she added.’ Mrs. ‘I know. I’m sure. Morel. for shame.’ I said. when I kissed him an’ came away. ‘an’ one as’ll be a long while afore it’s right again. though. So. brown and rubbed through at the toes. He CAN’T understand rules and regulations. ‘when I’d got halfway to Keston.’ he said. 1 Sons and Lovers . when Annie and Arthur were at school.’ ‘I can quite understand it.’ I said. Morel talked again to her son. not for a fortune would I go through wi’ it again. Barker—I DO like him. he’ll suffer in there with the nurses. Morel continued. ‘Ay. ‘what sort of a journey did you have with him?’ ‘Dunna ax me. I like Mr. poor little fellow! ‘Well.’ ‘But it WOR bad for him.’ I said. ‘I didn’t know what to do with myself. ‘for a man like your father. ‘And of course.’ I said to him.’ Paul resumed his task silently. In the morning. and it had to be dressed four times a day. WOULD he let anybody but me or his mother do it? He wouldn’t.‘And there.’ ‘I’m afraid it will.

And in the end she shared almost everything with him without knowing. and proceeded to live happily. and then every week the butties had something for Mrs. And whilst Morel was progressing favourably in the hospital. listening. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. the whole family sighed with relief. And then. or a bit of pretty wood.’ So she talked to her son. a couple of postcards for Annie. or some thick paper. by sharing her trouble to lighten it. The three sat round till bed-time. There were fourteen shillings a week from the pit. On Saturdays and Wednesdays Mrs. 1 . the family was extraordinarily happy and peaceful. and five shillings from the Disability Fund. that the whole family rejoiced over for days before the girl was allowed to send them away. or a fret-saw for Arthur. For a week he was in a critical condition. Morel went to Nottingham to see her husband. They were not badly off whilst Morel was in the hospital. Then he began to mend. Morel—five or seven shillings—so that she was quite well to do. Soon the folk in the picture-shop knew her. Morel had a very bad time. putting in. arguing. Then she always brought back some little thing: a small tube of paints for Paul. ten shillings from the sick club. knowing he was going to get better. She described her adventures into the big shops with joy. Morel was full of information when she got home from Nottingham. The girl in the book-shop took a keen interest in seemed a shame. almost as if she were thinking aloud to him. and he took it in as best he could. Then Paul often raked the fire. and knew about Paul.

But afterwards he liked it. his mother said. almost rugged—and it was extraordinarily mobile. then his smile. is adorable at the first touch of warmth. like his mother’s. He was the sort of boy that becomes a clown and a lout as soon as he is not understood. When he was seven. He did not care for making things with his hands. and warm. and. And now that he felt he had to go out into life. And they almost regretted—though none of them would have owned to such callousness—that their father was soon coming back. or feels himself held cheap. with dark brown hair and light blue eyes. he went through agonies of shrinking self-consciousness. and he knew some French and German and mathematics that Mr.’ he used to say to his mother with joy. Usually he looked as if he saw things. He was a rather small and rather finely-made boy. preferred racing about. He was not strong enough for heavy manual work. Heaton had taught him. He suffered very much from the first contact with anything. and then. They learned how perfectly peaceful the home could be. Paul was now fourteen.‘I’m the man in the house now. when there was any clog in his soul’s quick running. was full of life. But nothing he had was of any commercial value. His face had already lost its youthful chubbiness. He was quite a clever painter for a boy of his years. came suddenly and was very lovable. and was becoming somewhat like William’s—rough-featured. or making excursions into 1 Sons and Lovers . and was looking for work. again. his face went stupid and ugly. the starting school had been a nightmare and a torture to him.

and then. the real thing. and live happy ever after. measuring people against himself. as far as this world’s gear went. he set off. inexorably. paint and go out as he 1 . reading-room to look in the papers for a place. ‘you must look in the paper for the advertisements. ‘Then. ‘Anything.’ said Mrs. When he got up in the morning. was quietly to earn his thirty or thirty-five shillings a week somewhere near home. that thought. But he was proud within himself. Morel. ‘What do you want to be?’ his mother asked.the country. killing all joy and even life. His ambition. He can’t get a job. have a cottage with his mother. That was his programme as far as doing things went. or painting. his whole being was knotted up over this one thought: ‘I’ve got to go and look for advertisements for a job. But it was quite truthfully the only answer he could give. He was supposed to be a queer. and placing them. It seemed to him a bitter humiliation and an anguish to go through. But that he left alone. I suppose he’s living on his mother. he felt as if all the folk he met said to themselves: ‘He’s going to the Co-op. at ten o’clock.’ He looked at her.’ said his mother.’ It stood in front of the morning. or reading. quiet child. But he said nothing. His heart felt like a tight knot. when his father died.’ ‘That is no answer. And he thought that PERHAPS he might also make a painter. And then. for him.’ Then he crept up the stone stairs behind the drapery shop Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Going up the sunny street of the little town.

was bleached almost white by the sun. Then he looked wistfully out of the window. was not so much below Paul’s eye. and peeped in the reading-room. waved their small white plumes of steam. ‘I wish. either old. four a side. went on by themselves. full of shrinking and suffering when they looked up. rolling massively in his seat. throned aloft. The horses. Paul wished he were stupid. dark and fascinating. His freedom in the beloved home valley was going now. The waggoner.’ he thought to himself. or colliers ‘on the club”. like beans in a burst beanpod. useless fellows. looking by far the masters of the show. His red face shone and was almost asleep with sunshine. handsome and brown. The brewers’ waggons came rolling up from Keston with enormous barrels. He knew they would think: ‘What does a lad of thirteen want in a reading-room with a newspaper?’ and he suffered. on his small. and like a dog in the sun. bullet the Co-op. Two collieries.. brightening in the sun. looking in their jolly way down on the women who were hurrying with something for dinner. He was being taken into bondage. the white hairs glistened. ‘I was fat like him. among the fields. and on his thick red arms. Far off on the hills were the woods of Annesley. Large sunflowers stared over the old red wall of the garden opposite. I wish I 10 Sons and Lovers . So he entered. The valley was full of corn. The man’s hair. rocking idly on his sack apron. and pretended to scan the news. Usually one or two men were there. seated himself at the table. Already his heart went down. Already he was a prisoner of industrialism.

got into a fever of impatience.was a pig and a brewer’s waggoner. ‘Yes. in Bestwood. The elder brother was becoming quite 11 . then another.’ she said. But now there seemed to come a kind of fever into the young man’s letters.’ Then. ‘you may try. he was so jolly. he seemed so pleased. And his lodging in Walthamstow was so dreary. In London he found that he could associate with men far above his Bestwood friends in station. he did not stand firm on his own feet. The boy’s handwriting was execrable. William always made friends among men wherever he went. but seemed to spin rather giddily on the quick current of the new life. with variations. He was unsettled by all the change. rather surprised at the ease with which he became a gentleman. She Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and would merely have called indifferently on the Rector. and slip out in immense relief. Therefore he was soon visiting and staying in houses of men who. He was.’ William had written out a letter of application. so that William. and were more or less going through a kind of apprenticeship. couched in admirable business language. indeed. who did all things well. he would hastily copy an advertisement on a scrap of paper. would have looked down on the unapproachable bank manager. His mother was glad. Some of the clerks in the office had studied for the law. So he began to fancy himself as a great gun. which Paul copied. the room being at last empty. His mother would scan over his copies. His mother was anxious for him.

you would know how I feel. And she did not want any. I tell you.’ William resented these things. like lights on water at night. if her son did not 1 Sons and Lovers . and when ten shillings would have saved her much worry. Morel wondered. and in the law as much as he could. mocking. It is all very well to be a bit satirical till you see her. the little he had. But take care. transparent olive complexions.’ his mother wrote to him. He never sent his mother any money now. She still dreamed of William. after whom the men were running thick and fast. hair as black as jet. ‘unless you saw all the other men chasing her too. He had danced and gone to the theatre. my boy. been out with friends. Also he talked a good deal now of a girl he had met at a dance. and in triumph. and see how you feel when you find yourself alone. except sometimes. boated on the river. quite young. ‘I wonder if you would run. and such grey eyes—bright. Tall and elegant. in her heart. ‘If you saw her. Never for a minute would she admit to herself how heavy and anxious her heart was because of him. You feel safe enough and vain enough in a crowd. It was all taken. a handsome brunette.’ Mrs. with herself behind him.could feel him losing himself. your son doesn’t half put his head up when she goes walking down Piccadilly with him. with the clearest of clear. for his own life. and of what he would do. and she knew he sat up afterwards in his cold bedroom grinding away at Latin. when she was in a tight corner. He had taken the girl on the river. and a lady. mother. And she dresses as well as any woman in London. because he intended to get on in his office. and continued the chase.

He had not known that elastic stockings existed. at 21. and its impersonality. He would have suffered much physical pain rather than this unreasonable suffering at being exposed to strangers. She saw him saddled with an elegant and expensive wife. ‘There.’ Paul looked at the picture of a wooden leg. Nottingham. the mother brooded over her son. Mother and son set off together one Tuesday morning. It was August and blazing hot. and the third is answered. Presently. adorned with elastic stockings and other appliances. the load of anxiety scarcely ever left her heart. Morel was all joy. Yet he Free eBooks at Planet eBook. rather than with a woman who was near to him. It seemed monstrous also that a business could be run on wooden legs. And he seemed to feel the business world. my boy. that figured on Mr. Jordan’s notepaper. and he felt alarmed.go walking down Piccadilly with an elegant figure and fine clothes. to be accepted or rejected. And. ugly house in a suburb. Paul was bidden call upon Thomas Jordan. with its regulated system of values.’ she told herself. ‘But there. as she stood over the washing-tub. You’re lucky. Manufacturer of Surgical Appliances. Spaniel Row. ‘You’ve only written four letters. But she congratulated him in her doubtful fashion. ‘I am very likely a silly—meeting trouble halfway.’ Nevertheless. earning little money. dragging along and getting draggled in some small. you see!’ she cried. her eyes shining. lest William should do the wrong thing by himself. Paul walked with something screwed up tight inside 1 . as I always said you were. and he dreaded it. Mrs.

his heart contracted with pain of love of her. She stood in front of the ticket-office at Bestwood. She was gay.chattered away with his mother. feeling the excitement of lovers having an adventure together. beautiful with brightness and love. He would never have confessed to her how he suffered over these things. ‘Now look at that silly cow!’ she said. As he saw her hands in their old black kid gloves getting the silver out of the worn purse. ‘careering round as if it thought it was a circus. Suddenly their eyes met. ‘A what?’ she asked brightly and unashamed.’ she would say. The sixteen slow miles of railway journey passed. like a sweetheart. intimate smile. They enjoyed the shops immensely. ‘Now you see that blouse. Isn’t 1 Sons and Lovers . and Paul watched her take from her purse the money for the tickets. She was quite excited. ‘It’s just like Venice. and quite gay. They thought a while. and she smiled to him—a rare. seeing the sunshine on the water that lay between high factory walls.’ he said. The mother and son walked down Station Street.’ she answered. He was sensible all the time of having her opposite him. He suffered because she WOULD talk aloud in presence of the other travellers. In Carrington Street they stopped to hang over the parapet and look at the barges on the canal below.’ he said very low. ‘Perhaps. and she only partly guessed.’ ‘It’s most likely a bottfly. Then each looked out of the window. smiling. ‘wouldn’t that just suit our Annie? And for one-and-eleven-three.

Mother and son went cautiously. in which were names of various firms. dark archway.that cheap?’ ‘And made of needlework as well. and yellow-ochred doorsteps projecting on to the pavement. on a dirty glass Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Suddenly they spied a big. half-shut eye.’ said Paul. and two flights of steps. And they ventured under the archway. They turned up a narrow street that led to the Castle. It was like hunting in some wild place. then another old shop whose small window looked like a cunning. But elsewhere the place was like a pit. dark. It was littered with straw and boxes.’ he said. They emerged into a wide yard. having low dark shops and dark green house doors with brass knockers. On one side was a queer. It was nearly eleven o’clock by St. ‘But now WHERE is it?’ They looked round. There were several doors. cardboard factory. ‘Yes. Straight in front. ‘It’s up the entry. The sunshine actually caught one crate whose straw was streaming on to the yard like gold. so they did not hurry. with buildings all round. ‘Here it is!’ said Mrs. He dreaded the interview with Thomas Jordan. on the other a Commercial Hotel. It was gloomy and old-fashioned. looking everywhere for ‘Thomas Jordan and Son”. They were on tiptoe of excitement. The town was strange and delightful to 1 . Morel. and cardboard. But the boy was tied up inside in a knot of apprehension. as into the jaws of the dragon. like a well. Peter’s Church.’ They had plenty of time. Thomas Jordan among them.

Then the same little man came up the room. Paul stood behind her. and clerks. loomed the ominous words ‘Thomas Jordan and Son—Surgical Appliances. His way of looking was alert. were going about in an at-home sort of way.’ answered the young man. the glossy cream parcels seemed luminous. She had on her Sunday bonnet and a black veil.’ Mrs. hesitating before Mrs. Then he glanced round to the other end of the room. with one ear up. inquiring fashion towards Mrs. he wore a boy’s broad white collar and a Norfolk suit. She pushed open the door. where was a glass office. ‘Can I see Mr. her son followed her. with their shirt-sleeves rolled back. All was quiet and very homely. with a small face. and wore an alpaca jacket. as it were. A red-faced. In front of her was a big warehouse. he came stoutly and inquiringly down the room. and stood in pleased surprise. He reminded Paul of a pomeranian dog.door at the top of a staircase. And then he came forward. but leaned in a gentle. So. was rather stout. One of the clerks looked up. with creamy paper parcels everywhere. He was thin and tall. whitewhiskered old man looked up. The light was subdued. 1 Sons and Lovers . Jordan?’ she asked. He did not say anything. Morel took two steps forward. ‘Good-morning!’ he said. then waited. Charles I mounted his scaffold with a lighter heart than had Paul Morel as he followed his mother up the dirty steps to the dirty door. He had short legs. Morel went first. Mrs. ‘I’ll fetch him. Morel. the counters were of dark brown wood. Morel. He went down to the glass office.

You asked him to call this morning. ‘Yes. in feeling guilty for telling a lie. I came with my son. Jordan. since William had composed the letter. Paul sniffed the odour of new washleather. in the fat. thrusting what Paul recognised as his own notepaper in front of him.’ ‘Come this way. By this time he was so much stunned that he only noticed the outside things. glossy with the rubbing of many customers.’ said Mr. yellow wash-leather hoops tangled together. She sat on the edge in an uncertain fashion. They looked new and living. ‘Good-morning. They followed the manufacturer into a grubby little room. in a rather snappy little manner intended to be businesslike. in wondering why his letter seemed so strange and different. Then the little old man fidgeted and found a paper. ‘Where did you learn to write?’ said the old man crossly. He wondered what the things were. At that moment he was occupied in two ways: first. ‘Did you write this letter?’ he snapped. It was like part of himself. Morel to a horse-hair 1 . On the table was a pile of trusses.’ he answered. Paul merely looked at him doubt as to whether she were a customer or not. Paul Morel. ‘Sit down!’ said Mr. from what it had been when it lay on the kitchen table. second. red hand of the man. Jordan. He resented the way the man held it. and did not anFree eBooks at Planet eBook. upholstered in black American leather. gone astray. irritably pointing Mrs.

‘Monsieur. he turned desperately to the paper again. in thin.’ he said. half pleading and rather distant.swer.’’ he began. still sharply. unfolded it. Mr. Jordan. ‘Read that. Morel apologetically. ‘And you say you know French?’ inquired the little man. Jordan. Feeling an utter fool. and hating Mr. ‘Sir. flimsy foreign handwriting that the boy could not decipher. Morel. but his wits would no longer work even sufficiently to supply him with the word.’ ‘And did you learn it there?’ ‘No—I—-’ The boy went crimson and got no farther. in his irritable manner— he always seemed to keep his hands ready for action—he pulled another sheet of paper from his pocket. He handed it to Paul. ‘Yes.’ said Paul.—Please send me’—er—er—I can’t tell 1 Sons and Lovers . He stared blankly at the paper. Jordan hesitated.’ said Mrs. then he looked in great confusion at Mr. ‘His godfather gave him lessons. ‘He IS a bad writer. It was a note in French. ‘It’s the—it’s the—-‘ He wanted to say ‘handwriting’. Then she pushed up her veil. and he loved her face clear of the veil. Then.’ put in Mrs. Paul hated her for not being prouder with this common little man. The paper made a crackling noise. ‘What school did you go to?’ ‘The Board-school.

Jordan snatched the paper from him. Jordan looked at the pale.’ flashed Paul. ‘And when could he come?’ he asked. but he could be in—at the station—at quarter to 1 . Seeing him stuck. He has finished school now. ‘Please send by return two pairs grey thread stockings without TOES.’ ‘He would live in Bestwood?’ ‘Yes. He hated the little man.’ said Mrs. then at the mother. but the word still refused to come. ‘Well. The boy did not open his mouth to say Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Mr. stupid.’’ ‘Well. who made such a clod of him.’ the boy persisted.’ ‘H’m!’ It ended by Paul’s being engaged as junior spiral clerk at eight shillings a week. ‘as soon as you wish. ‘doigts’ means ‘fingers’—as well—as a rule—-‘ The little man looked at him. He did not know whether ‘doigts’ meant ‘fingers”. Mr.the—er—‘two pairs—gris fil bas—grey thread stockings’—er—er—‘sans—without’— er—I can’t tell the words—er—‘doigts—fingers’—er—I can’t tell the—-‘ He wanted to say ‘handwriting’. defiant boy. ‘Well. Morel. ‘Fingers to stockings!’ he snapped. it DOES mean fingers. he knew that for all HIS purposes it meant ‘toes”. who sat quiet and with that peculiar shut-off look of the poor who have to depend on the favour of others.

You always think people are meaning things for you. ‘I think you’ll like it. my boy. Wasn’t that first young fellow nice? I’m sure you’ll like them. and then only to have a cup of tea and a bun. mother. after having insisted that ‘doigts’ meant ‘fingers”. Paul had only been in an eating-house once or twice in his life. Over the big desolate space of the market-place the blue sky shimmered. with fruit blazing in the sun—apples and piles of reddish oranges.’ It was very sunny.’ ‘But wasn’t Mr. and 10 Sons and Lovers . Shops down the Long Row were deep in obscurity. and the granite cobbles of the paving glistened. and you won’t see much of him. mother? Does he own it all?’ ‘I suppose he was a workman who has got on. She looked at him with her bright blue eyes full of love and joy. But they don’t. Just where the horse trams trundled across the market was a row of fruit stalls. small green-gage plums and bananas. He followed his mother down the stairs. Most of the people of Bestwood considered that tea and bread-and-butter. It was felt to be a reckless extravagance. They’re not being disagreeable to YOU—it’s their way. Gradually his feeling of ignominy and of rage sank. I couldn’t read the writing. ‘You mustn’t mind people so much.another word. and the shadow was full of colour.’ she said.’ she said. and it was the writing. I’m sure he’ll be all right. There was a warm scent of fruit as mother and son passed.’ ‘Never mind. ‘Where should we go for dinner?’ asked the mother. Jordan common. ‘Doigts’ does mean ‘fingers’.

The girl looked round insolently. so that she had not the courage to insist on her rights just then. Morel clearly. because he liked sweets. ‘you’ll have it. Real cooked dinner was considered great extravagance. ‘We won’t come again. ‘We oughtn’t to have come here. mother.’ And she looked round for the waitress. and he came long after us. she’s taking that man HIS pudding. But she was too poor. ‘Should we go.’ she insisted. and her orders were too meagre. ‘Never mind. things were so dear. ‘Directly. They found a place that looked quite cheap.’ she said.’ She insisted on his having a small currant tart. mother?’ he said. Morel stood up. They waited and waited.’ ‘It doesn’t matter. ‘Will you bring one currant tart?’ said Mrs. mother.’ he pleaded. Morel scanned the bill of fare. Paul felt rather guilty.’ said Paul. whilst she flirted among the men. Mrs. ‘Brazen hussy!’ said Mrs. ‘Yes. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Morel was 11 . But when Mrs. her heart was heavy. Morel to Paul. was all they could afford to eat in Nottingham. and Mrs.’ said Paul. So the mother and son waited for the girl’s pleasure. ‘Look now.’ she said. ‘I don’t want it. mother. Morel did not like to bother her then. Then Mrs.perhaps potted beef. So she ordered kidney-pies and potatoes as the cheapest available dish. The girl was passing near. But the waitress was busy.

’ ‘So there is—red and white.‘We have waited quite long enough. shall we?’ They had discussions over the pictures. but content for her to be interested. Mrs. Morel wanted to buy him a little sable brush that be hankered after. But really. refusing to be moved.’ she said. ‘It’s the last time I go THERE for anything!’ she declared. But this indulgence he refused.’ Then she rejoiced in the florists. there’s a tubful. Morel. an elegant young lady in black peering over the counter curiously. They wandered on. ‘But what is it?’ she exclaimed. He knew that only years of battling had taught her to insist even so little on her rights. and one or two places. In a moment the girl came back with the tart. Morel asked coldly for the bill. I never knew 1 Sons and Lovers . in the darkness of the shop. trying to draw his mother away. ‘We’ll go. when they were outside the place. She shrank as much as he. standing in the doorway sniffing. He marvelled at his mother’s hardness. just look at those black grapes!’ she said. ‘Now.’ said Mrs.’ he said. ‘Stocks!’ he answered. Paul wanted to sink through the floor. I’ve wanted some of those for years. ‘and look at Keep’s and Boot’s. thankful to be clear. ‘Look. but I s’ll have to wait a bit before I get them. ‘Oh! oh! Isn’t it simply lovely!’ Paul saw. ‘They make your mouth water. He stood in front of milliners’ shops and drapers’ shops almost bored. and Mrs. sniffing hastily. ‘They’re looking at you.

‘Paul!’ she cried to him. and set off towards the station. I s’ll love it. who was trying to get out of sight of the elegant young lady in black—the shop-girl. pointing. ‘Won’t it be nice for me to come out at dinner-times?’ said Paul. to his great relief. ‘I wonder!’ she answered. green-bushed rock. ‘You’d think every second as the flowers was going to fall off. they hang so big an’ heavy. They Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘H’m!’ He made a curious. ‘Lovely!’ ‘I wonder who’ll buy it!’ he said. He had spent a perfect afternoon with his mother.’ ‘Yes. ‘Now. she moved out of the doorway. ‘I can go all round here and see everything.’ They bought a few things. they saw the Castle on its bluff of brown.stocks to smell like it!’ And. ‘And the way they drop downwards with their threads and knots!’ ‘Yes!’ she exclaimed. through the dark pass of the buildings. ‘Not us. interested sound. just look at that fuchsia!’ she exclaimed. beastly cold. it kills every bit of a plant you put in.’ ‘And such an abundance!’ she cried. and the kitchen chokes them to 1 . in a positive miracle of delicate sunshine.’ assented his mother. ‘Paul! Just look here!’ He came reluctantly back.’ ‘You will. sunless hole.’ ‘It would die in our parlour. Looking up the canal. but only to stand in front of the window.

once they’ve gone.’ she replied. In the morning he filled in the form for his season-ticket and took it to the station. They’re large in promises. ‘Is it a lot?’ he asked.’ said Paul. when he went to London. his mother was just beginning to wash the floor. He has given me ten shillings—twice. ‘And I keep this house on less than thirty.’ he said. but it’s precious little fulfilment you get. ‘He says it’ll be here on Saturday. which I’d never expected.’ he said. Not that I want it. ‘And how much will it be?’ ‘About one pound eleven. At last she said: ‘That William promised me.’ said Paul. But they don’t care about helping you. happy. When he got back. But they’re all alike. He’d rather 1 Sons and Lovers . and tired.arrived home in the mellow evening. She went on washing her floor in silence. ‘It’s no more than I thought. ‘An’ I s’ll earn eight shillings a week. He sat crouched up on the sofa. as he’d give me a pound a month. Only just now you’d think he might be able to help with this ticket. She did not answer. and now I know he hasn’t a farthing if I asked him.’ ‘He earns a lot. ‘and am supposed to find money for extras. and glowing. ‘He earns a hundred and thirty pounds.’ she answered.’ ‘He spends over fifty shillings a week on himself. but went on with her work.’ he said.

But I hardly expected to see so much of them at the first view. my boy. ‘the photograph of Louie is very striking. He asked the girl—her name was Louisa Lily Denys Western—for a photograph to send to his mother. as he called her. an’ one as wunna do him owermuch good neither. Morel to her son. but she hasn’t. ‘Yes. ‘She should.’ William was succeeding with his ‘Gipsy’. smirking slightly—and. only a naked bust. He came out with it between his thick thumb and finger. taken in profile. The photo came—a handsome brunette. And I know he doesn’t buy her a gold bangle for nothing. I wonder whoever bought ME a gold bangle. from th’ look on ‘er.’ said Paul. Who is she?’ ‘Her name is Louisa Lily Denys Western.’ ‘She should have her own money if she’s so grand. ‘H’m! ‘Er’s a bright spark. ‘Who dost reckon this is?’ he asked of his wife.’ wrote Mrs.spend it on that dressed-up creature. it was very good taste of a girl to give her young man that photo to send to his mother—the first? Certainly the shoulders are beautiful. I asked him.’ Morel found the photograph standing on the chiffonier in the parlour.’ replied 1 . and I can see she must be attractive.’ ‘An’ come again to-morrer!’ exclaimed the miner. quite naked. as you say. for on the photograph not a scrap of clothing was to be seen. it might be. But do you think. ‘An’ is Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Morel. ‘It’s the girl our William is going with.

‘I think the first one with bare shoulders is lovely. in fact.’ Presently the new photograph came. ‘Well.’ ‘I’ll bet!’ he exclaimed.’ William replied. and takes what bit of money’s given her.’ said Paul.’ said Mrs. Morel sarcastically. the photographers ask her if they may take her for nothing. This time the young lady was seen in a black satin evening bodice. so she’s going to send you another. ‘A lady. is she? An’ how much does she reckon ter keep up this sort o’ game on?’ ‘On nothing. She lives with an old aunt. However. She’s always being photographed. and black lace hanging down her beautiful arms.’ ‘Dear Mater.’ ‘Do you?’ answered his mother. He loved it with its bars 1 Sons and Lovers .’ On the Monday morning the boy got up at six to start work. It never occurred to me when I sent it. that I hope will please you better. ‘Then he’s a fool to ha’ ta’en up wi’ such a one as that. still staring at the photo. ‘I’m sorry you didn’t like the photograph. I told Gyp that it didn’t quite suit your prim and proper notions. He had the season-ticket.’ ‘You are disagreeable. cut square. in his waistcoat pocket. with little puff sleeves. ‘I wonder if she ever wears anything except evening clothes. mother. whom she hates. I don’t. that you mightn’t think it decent. which had cost such bitterness. with a little silly note from the girl.’ ‘H’m!’ said Morel. laying down the photograph.‘er an actress?’ ‘She is not. ‘I’m sure I ought to be impressed. She’s supposed to be a lady.

into the front gardens of the houses. but feeling very unhappy. The valley was full of a lustrous dark haze. It was a perfect morning. and feel that she had put a man into each of them. From the ash tree the slender green fruits that the children call ‘pigeons’ were twinkling gaily down on a little breeze. mother.15 train. Paul would be working in Nottingham. they were of her. doing well. that these men would work out what SHE wanted. as she saw him trudging over the field. and in which the steam from Minton pit melted swiftly. He had a small. great centres of industry. She stood in her white apron on the open road. Morel came to the entry-end to see him off. watching him as he crossed the field. shut-up basket. they were derived from her. ‘Good-morning. and their works also would be hers. His mother packed his dinner in a small. Paul looked over the high woods of Aldersley. through which the ripe corn shimmered. He was away in London. She felt. ‘Good-morning. and home had never pulled at him so powerfully. where the country gleamed.’ he said. All the morning long she thought of Paul. At eight o’clock he climbed the dismal stairs of Jordan’s Free eBooks at Planet eBook. He would have leaped the fence instead of going round the stile. smiling. She could think of two places. Now she had two sons in the world. Puffs of wind came. that where he determined to go he would get. and he set off at a quarter to seven to catch the 1 . She thought of William. Mrs.’ she replied cheerfully and tenderly. compact body that looked full of life.of yellow across.

Then the young fellow came striding importantly down to his counter. and one could see above. over the fence of the top floor. It had a great hole in the middle of the floor. waiting for somebody to pick him up. as they took off their coats and rolled up their shirt-sleeves. decaying clerk. Then he heard someone cough. One of the junior clerks went to the old man.’ said Paul. in a round smoking-cap of black velvet embroidered with red and green. Two men only had arrived. Over the counters were great dust sheets.’ Paul followed him round the rectangle of counters.’ ‘Paul Morel? All right. The room was second storey. and all light for the three storeys came downwards. It was ten past eight. ‘H’m! What’s your name?’ ‘Paul Morel. oblong hole in the ceiling. and stood helplessly against the first great parcel-rack. He spied Paul. ‘Hello!’ he said. Paul listened to the voices of the two clerks. He waited and waited. The place was still not awake. ‘You the new lad?’ ‘Yes. and were heard talking in a corner. and the light for the bottom storey. Evidently the old ‘chief’ was deaf. you come on round here. so that it was always night on the ground 1 Sons and Lovers . and right away overhead was the glass roof. and saw in the office at the end of the room an old. getting dimmer. opening letters. Evidently there was no rush of punctuality. and down this wide shaft the lifts went. greeted him cheerily and loudly. some machinery.Surgical Appliance Factory. Also there was a corresponding big. fenced as with a wall of counters.

He’s your boss. Paul was led round to a very dark corner. ‘All right. where the counter made an angle. ‘You want the letters for the Spiral department. ‘Here’s a peg to hang your cap on. The factory was the top floor. It was an insanitary.’ And the thin young man stalked away with long. etc. where the great parcel-rack came to an end. So you can fetch the letters. if you like. the warehouse the second. Here are your entry ledgers. without feet. such as I had from you last year. 1 . Melling down there. with Pappleworth. but he’s not come yet. But he took the letters and returned to his dark place.’ he said. kindly and impressively.’ said Paul. the storehouse the ground floor. ‘Major Chamberlain wishes to repeat his previous order for a silk non-elastic suspenFree eBooks at Planet eBook.’ The young man pointed to the old clerk in the office. ancient place. After a minute or two Paul went down and stood in the door of the glass office. Thomas?’ Paul resented being called ‘Thomas”. busy strides over the hollow wooden floor. They ran as follows: ‘Will you please send me at once a pair of lady’s silk spiral thigh-hose. and where there were three doors in the corner. He sat on a high stool and read the letters—those whose handwriting was not too difficult. ‘You’re Spiral.’ said the clerk. thigh to knee. Pappleworth won’t be long. He doesn’t get here till half-past eight.floor and rather gloomy on the second floor. length.’ Or. from Mr. ‘This is the ‘Spiral’ corner. The old clerk in the smoking-cap looked down over the rim of his spectacles. ‘Good-morning.

let’s look slippy.’ ‘Copied ‘em?’ ‘No. Pappleworth gave a chew to his gum.’ Many of these letters. quick. Pappleworth arrived.’ ‘You want to bring an old coat and leave it here. at half-past eight. ‘You my new lad?’ he said. at about twenty to nine. some of them in French or Norwegian. Then he slipped into his coat. chewing a chlorodyne gum.’ ‘Well. Paul noticed how thin he was. He sat on his stool nervously awaiting the arrival of his ‘boss”. reappeared coatless. He suffered tortures of shyness when. rather smart. ‘Fetched the letters?’ Mr. Mr. turning up a smart striped shirt-cuff over a thin and hairy arm. Changed your coat?’ ‘No. come on then. rather ‘cute and shrewd.’ He pronounced the last words with the chlorodyne gum between his side teeth. staccato. sallow man with a red nose. He vanished into the darkness behind the great parcel-rack. were a great puzzle to the boy. There was something rather ‘doggy’.sory bandage. and something warm. and smartly but stiffly dressed. ‘Yes. and something slightly contemptible about him. Paul stood up and said he was. He was a thin. when all the other men were at work. the factory girls for upstairs trooped past him. and that his 10 Sons and Lovers . He was about thirty-six years old.

how many h’yer done? Only three! I’d ‘a eaten ‘em. and said: ‘Now look here. Paul took a pen. let’s see you. then went very still and absorbed. look! Get on!’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook.trousers were in folds behind. Paul took a seat. and smelling of chlorodyne.’ ‘All right then. He seized a stool. Get on. Pappleworth was very close to him. and exceedingly badly. chewing. gave a quick chew at his gum. Paul rather liked copying the letters. when Mr. ‘Ne’er mind. and wrote the entry rapidly.’ ‘Think you can do it all right?’ ‘Yes. and sat down. but he wrote slowly. lad. Pappleworth reappeared. You want to copy these letters in here. stared fixedly at a letter. Here. how’r’ yer getting on? Done ‘em?’ He leaned over the boy’s shoulder. He was doing the fourth letter. and feeling quite busy and happy. but you’re a beautiful writer!’ he exclaimed satirically. He glanced quickly at Paul. ‘Now then. Pappleworth 11 . snatched a long entry-book out of a rack in front of him. The man seized the letters. ‘Strike my bob. laboriously.’ He sniffed twice. my lad. Mr. seized a pen. in a beautiful flourishing hand. ‘See that?’ ‘Yes. flung it open. dragged it beside the boy’s. ‘Sit down.’ he said. Mr.’ He sprang off his stool. an’ put numbers on ‘em.

working all the while rapidly. Pappleworth fussed over various jobs. Pappleworth disagreeably into the tube. never having seen a speaking-tube before. took a plug out of a pipe. and the few brief directions which his chief made upon the yellow paper. Paul watched the weird little drawings of legs. and ankles.’ said Mr. and the yellow papers fly1 Sons and Lovers . Suddenly the boy started as a shrill whistle sounded near his ear. Then Mr. and thighs. like a woman’s. he seized some strips of long yellow paper. with the strokes across and the numbers. He gazed in wonder. and he pushed the plug into the tube. whilst Mr. Mr. come out!’ He took the book. ‘Come. This done. and made out the day’s orders for the work-girls.’ Again the woman’s tiny voice was heard. ‘there’s Polly crying out for them orders. ‘You’d better watch me. and said.’ he said to Paul. He worked quickly and well. ‘you’d better get some of your back work done.Paul ground away at the letters. and began the copying himself. Can’t you buck up a bit? Here.’ he said.’ he said imploringly to Paul. in an amazingly cross and bossy voice: ‘Yes?’ Paul heard a faint voice. out of the mouth of the tube. ‘I’ve not time to stand here while you talk. Pappleworth came. then. to Paul’s immense chagrin. about three inches wide. sounding pretty and cross. ‘Well.’ said Mr. Pappleworth. ‘Come on with me. Pappleworth finished and jumped up. my lad.

flying at him. ‘The girls have been here nearly half an hour waiting. Pappleworth severely and coldly. then a long. ‘Yes. In this room a small woman with a red serge blouse. She was an erect little body of forty.’ said Mr. ‘You could ha’ been finishing off.’ said Mr. into the basement where the gas was burning. we do. Pappleworth. ‘Here y’are!’ said Pappleworth. was waiting like a proud little bantam. Just think of the time wasted!’ ‘YOU think of getting your work done and not talking so much. ‘I think it is ‘here you are’!’ exclaimed Polly. ‘It was time for work some time back.’ ‘As we did the last!’ repeated Polly. which had been built on to the main building. ‘Tu-tu-tu-tu-terterter!’ he mocked. not for talk. Through the inner doorway Free eBooks at Planet eBook. her dark eyes flashing. a lad would TAKE some ruining after he’d been with you. My word. into a smaller. cosy apartment.’ ‘You know quite well we finished everything off on Saturday!’ cried Pony. marching away with her head in the air. They crossed the cold. and her black hair done on top of her head. ‘Here’s your new lad.’ ‘It’s time for work now. he dashed through a door and down some stairs.’ said Polly. damp 1 .ing in his hands. dreary room with a long table on trestles. not very high. Don’t ruin him as you did the last. WE do a lot of ruining. In that room were two round spiral machines on the bench under the window.

his ears red with shame. Paul looked at ‘Mr.’ The boy regretted his too-much generosity in disposing of honours. Jordan watched. Pappleworth. began again. 1 Sons and Lovers . my lad. A little group of girls. A. He stood at the desk. Jordan snatched away the invoice. Bates. ‘MR. J. hesitated.’ he said. You’ll know your road down here again. A. and with trembling fingers.’ Then all at once Mr. Bates. Suddenly a red and fat finger was thrust on the form he was filling in. labouring in his execrable handwriting. ‘Come on. Jordan came strutting down from the glass office and stood behind him.was another longer room. Esquire!’ exclaimed the cross voice just behind his ear. to the boy’s great discomfort. Paul. ‘Well. Esquire’ in his own vile writing. and wondered what was the matter now. nicely dressed in white aprons. Presently Mr. laughing. ‘Only wait for you.’ you don’t put Esquire’-a man can’t be both at once. ‘Have you nothing else to do but talk?’ said Mr.’ And Paul ran upstairs after his chief. scratched out the ‘Mr. Still Mr. get on. ‘Didn’t they teach you any better THAN that while they were at it? If you put ‘Mr.’ said one handsome girl. stood talking together. get on. ‘Make another! Are you going to send that to a gentleman?’ And he tore up the blue form irritably. He was given some checking and invoicing to do. with six more machines. J.

isn’t it?’ replied Mr. the little manufacturer. Pappleworth of the boy. But he knew he did not look like the boss and owner of the show. WHAT’S your name?’ asked Mr. Mr. A girl came up from out of a door just behind. and began writing. was quite gentleman enough to leave his men alone and to take no notice of trifles. He went through the few things. and then—-‘ Mr. ‘Let’s see. although he spoke bad English. Pappleworth subsided on to a stool. to put things on a right footing. wrote out a couple of orders. is it? All right. Next was a flesh-pink ‘leg”. Indeed. Paul divined that his master’s bark was worse than his bite. Lads learn nothing nowadays. ‘Yes.’ It is curious that children suffer so much at having to pronounce their own names. examined it.‘I don’t know what they DO teach in schools. ‘Paul Morel. and put it on one side. Pappleworth. Have you seen his writing?’ he asked of Mr. ‘Paul Morel. you Paul-Morel through them things there. put some newly-pressed elastic web appliances on the counter. This time they went through the door whence the girl had emerged. There Paul Free eBooks at Planet eBook. You’ll have to write better than that. Mr. Jordan gave a little grunt. not unamiable. and returned. so he had to play his role of proprietor at first. Pappleworth picked up the whitey-blue knee-band. 1 . Pappleworth indifferently. and called to Paul to accompany him. and its yellow order-paper quickly. but how to recite poetry and play the fiddle.

with its great bands of bright brown hair. and her wrists. Pappleworth tried to be impressive for Paul’s benefit.’ the hunchback woman cried. He showed her something that was wrong with a knee-cap. and said. coming out of the narrow cuffs. as she put down her work nervously. were thin and flat. and at the farther end half a dozen girls sitting bending over the benches in the light from the window. Pappleworth. ‘Can’t you make a bit less row?’ said Mr. They stopped singing. as did her pale. and below him saw a room with windows round two sides. seemed over large. Will you do as I tell you?’ replied Mr. Then 1 Sons and Lovers .’ A hunchback woman on a high stool turned her long. rather heavy face towards Mr. ‘I never said it WAS your fault. they all turned round.found himself at the top of a little wooden flight of steps. Pappleworth.’ Her colour mounted to her cheek.’ she said. to see Mr. in a contralto voice: ‘They’re all tom-cats then. and went to the hunchback Fanny. ‘Folk’ll think we keep cats. She had such a short body on her high stool that her head. Pappleworth shortly. She wore a dress of green-black cashmere. ‘You don’t say it’s my fault. but you’d like to make out as it was. It’s not my fault. ‘you needn’t come blaming it on to me. heavy face. He descended the steps into the finishing-off room.’ In vain Mr. Pappleworth and Paul looking down on them from the far end of the room. Hearing the door opened. ‘Well. sewing. They were singing together ‘Two Little Girls in Blue”. almost in tears.

sitting scribbling on the yellow order-paper. not having spoken a word. Pappleworth disappeared to catch his train: he lived in the suburbs. rather. Pappleworth. ‘Oh!’ she said. ‘Yes. saying: ‘Yes. don’t make a softy of him between you. Mr.’ said Mr. It was the commoner girls who worked upstairs at the heavy tasks of truss-making and the finishing of artificial limbs. The day was very long. There was a titter of laughter. All morning the work-people were coming to speak to Mr. I’ll do it for you. and ate his meal hurriedly.’ ‘Here’s your new lad. making remarks. that had the long table on trestles. not knowing what to do.’ ‘It’s not us as ‘ud make a softy of him. ‘Au revoy. Paul. Pappleworth came at twenty minutes to Free eBooks at Planet eBook. He waited for Mr. smiling very gently on Paul. alone in that cellar of gloom and desolation. At one o’clock. Paul went out. At one o’ 1 . but you needn’t be snappy. Fanny turned. at a quarter to one. took his dinner-basket down into the stockroom in the basement. Paul. feeling very lost. Soon the work-girls went trooping past. Pappleworth. The brightness and the freedom of the streets made him feel adventurous and happy.’ said Mr. Mr. Pappleworth.she snatched the knee-cap from her ‘boss’. Then he went out of doors. ready for the midday post. or. blushing deeply. Paul. But at two o’clock he was back in the corner of the big room.’ said one of the girls.’ she said indignantly. ‘Come on then. Pappleworth. Paul was writing or learning to make up parcels.

three. Then he sat and gossiped with Paul, treating the boy entirely as an equal, even in age. In the afternoon there was never very much to do, unless it were near the week-end, and the accounts had to be made up. At five o’clock all the men went down into the dungeon with the table on trestles, and there they had tea, eating bread-and-butter on the bare, dirty boards, talking with the same kind of ugly haste and slovenliness with which they ate their meal. And yet upstairs the atmosphere among them was always jolly and clear. The cellar and the trestles affected them. After tea, when all the gases were lighted, WORK went more briskly. There was the big evening post to get off. The hose came up warm and newly pressed from the workrooms. Paul had made out the invoices. Now he had the packing up and addressing to do, then he had to weigh his stock of parcels on the scales. Everywhere voices were calling weights, there was the chink of metal, the rapid snapping of string, the hurrying to old Mr. Melling for stamps. And at last the postman came with his sack, laughing and jolly. Then everything slacked off, and Paul took his dinner-basket and ran to the station to catch the eight-twenty train. The day in the factory was just twelve hours long. His mother sat waiting for him rather anxiously. He had to walk from Keston, so was not home until about twenty past nine. And he left the house before seven in the morning. Mrs. Morel was rather anxious about his health. But she herself had had to put up with so much that she expected her children to take the same odds. They must go through
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with what came. And Paul stayed at Jordan’s, although all the time he was there his health suffered from the darkness and lack of air and the long hours. He came in pale and tired. His mother looked at him. She saw he was rather pleased, and her anxiety all went. ‘Well, and how was it?’ she asked. ‘Ever so funny, mother,’ he replied. ‘You don’t have to work a bit hard, and they’re nice with you.’ ‘And did you get on all right?’ ‘Yes: they only say my writing’s bad. But Mr. Pappleworth— he’s my man—said to Mr. Jordan I should be all right. I’m Spiral, mother; you must come and see. It’s ever so nice.’ Soon he liked Jordan’s. Mr. Pappleworth, who had a certain ‘saloon bar’ flavour about him, was always natural, and treated him as if he had been a comrade. Sometimes the ‘Spiral boss’ was irritable, and chewed more lozenges than ever. Even then, however, he was not offensive, but one of those people who hurt themselves by their own irritability more than they hurt other people. ‘Haven’t you done that YET?’ he would cry. ‘Go on, be a month of Sundays.’ Again, and Paul could understand him least then, he was jocular and in high spirits. ‘I’m going to bring my little Yorkshire terrier bitch tomorrow,’ he said jubilantly to Paul. ‘What’s a Yorkshire terrier?’ ‘DON’T know what a Yorkshire terrier is? DON’T KNOW A YORKSHIRE—-’ Mr. Pappleworth was aghast.
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‘Is it a little silky one—colours of iron and rusty silver?’ ‘THAT’S it, my lad. She’s a gem. She’s had five pounds’ worth of pups already, and she’s worth over seven pounds herself; and she doesn’t weigh twenty ounces.’ The next day the bitch came. She was a shivering, miserable morsel. Paul did not care for her; she seemed so like a wet rag that would never dry. Then a man called for her, and began to make coarse jokes. But Mr. Pappleworth nodded his head in the direction of the boy, and the talk went on sotto voce. Mr. Jordan only made one more excursion to watch Paul, and then the only fault he found was seeing the boy lay his pen on the counter. ‘Put your pen in your ear, if you’re going to be a clerk. Pen in your ear!’ And one day he said to the lad: ‘Why don’t you hold your shoulders straighter? Come down here,’ when he took him into the glass office and fitted him with special braces for keeping the shoulders square. But Paul liked the girls best. The men seemed common and rather dull. He liked them all, but they were uninteresting. Polly, the little brisk overseer downstairs, finding Paul eating in the cellar, asked him if she could cook him anything on her little stove. Next day his mother gave him a dish that could be heated up. He took it into the pleasant, clean room to Polly. And very soon it grew to be an established custom that he should have dinner with her. When he came in at eight in the morning he took his basket to her, and when he came down at one o’clock she had his dinner ready.
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He was not very tall, and pale, with thick chestnut hair, irregular features, and a wide, full mouth. She was like a small bird. He often called her a ‘robinet”. Though naturally rather quiet, he would sit and chatter with her for hours telling her about his home. The girls all liked to hear him talk. They often gathered in a little circle while he sat on a bench, and held forth to them, laughing. Some of them regarded him as a curious little creature, so serious, yet so bright and jolly, and always so delicate in his way with them. They all liked him, and he adored them. Polly he felt he belonged to. Then Connie, with her mane of red hair, her face of appleblossom, her murmuring voice, such a lady in her shabby black frock, appealed to his romantic side. ‘When you sit winding,’ he said, ‘it looks as if you were spinning at a spinning-wheel—it looks ever so nice. You remind me of Elaine in the ‘Idylls of the King’. I’d draw you if I could.’ And she glanced at him blushing shyly. And later on he had a sketch he prized very much: Connie sitting on the stool before the wheel, her flowing mane of red hair on her rusty black frock, her red mouth shut and serious, running the scarlet thread off the hank on to the reel. With Louie, handsome and brazen, who always seemed to thrust her hip at him, he usually joked. Emma was rather plain, rather old, and condescending. But to condescend to him made her happy, and he did not mind. ‘How do you put needles in?’ he asked. ‘Go away and don’t bother.’
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‘But I ought to know how to put needles in.’ She ground at her machine all the while steadily. ‘There are many things you ought to know,’ she replied. ‘Tell me, then, how to stick needles in the machine.’ ‘Oh, the boy, what a nuisance he is! Why, THIS is how you do it.’ He watched her attentively. Suddenly a whistle piped. Then Polly appeared, and said in a clear voice: ‘Mr. Pappleworth wants to know how much longer you’re going to be down here playing with the girls, Paul.’ Paul flew upstairs, calling ‘Good-bye!’ and Emma drew herself up. ‘It wasn’t ME who wanted him to play with the machine,’ she said. As a rule, when all the girls came back at two o’clock, he ran upstairs to Fanny, the hunchback, in the finishing-off room. Mr. Pappleworth did not appear till twenty to three, and he often found his boy sitting beside Fanny, talking, or drawing, or singing with the girls. Often, after a minute’s hesitation, Fanny would begin to sing. She had a fine contralto voice. Everybody joined in the chorus, and it went well. Paul was not at all embarrassed, after a while, sitting in the room with the half a dozen workgirls. At the end of the song Fanny would say: ‘I know you’ve been laughing at me.’ ‘Don’t be so soft, Fanny!’ cried one of the girls. Once there was mention of Connie’s red hair. ‘Fanny’s is better, to my fancy,’ said Emma.
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‘You needn’t try to make a fool of me,’ said Fanny, flushing deeply. ‘No, but she has, Paul; she’s got beautiful hair.’ ‘It’s a treat of a colour,’ said he. ‘That coldish colour like earth, and yet shiny. It’s like bog-water.’ ‘Goodness me!’ exclaimed one girl, laughing. ‘How I do but get criticised,’ said Fanny. ‘But you should see it down, Paul,’ cried Emma earnestly. ‘It’s simply beautiful. Put it down for him, Fanny, if he wants something to paint.’ Fanny would not, and yet she wanted to. ‘Then I’ll take it down myself,’ said the lad. ‘Well, you can if you like,’ said Fanny. And he carefully took the pins out of the knot, and the rush of hair, of uniform dark brown, slid over the humped back. ‘What a lovely lot!’ he exclaimed. The girls watched. There was silence. The youth shook the hair loose from the coil. ‘It’s splendid!’ he said, smelling its perfume. ‘I’ll bet it’s worth pounds.’ ‘I’ll leave it you when I die, Paul,’ said Fanny, half joking. ‘You look just like anybody else, sitting drying their hair,’ said one of the girls to the long-legged hunchback. Poor Fanny was morbidly sensitive, always imagining insults. Polly was curt and businesslike. The two departments were for ever at war, and Paul was always finding Fanny in tears. Then he was made the recipient of all her woes, and he
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had to plead her case with Polly. So the time went along happily enough. The factory had a homely feel. No one was rushed or driven. Paul always enjoyed it when the work got faster, towards post-time, and all the men united in labour. He liked to watch his fellowclerks at work. The man was the work and the work was the man, one thing, for the time being. It was different with the girls. The real woman never seemed to be there at the task, but as if left out, waiting. From the train going home at night he used to watch the lights of the town, sprinkled thick on the hills, fusing together in a blaze in the valleys. He felt rich in life and happy. Drawing farther off, there was a patch of lights at Bulwell like myriad petals shaken to the ground from the shed stars; and beyond was the red glare of the furnaces, playing like hot breath on the clouds. He had to walk two and more miles from Keston home, up two long hills, down two short hills. He was often tired, and he counted the lamps climbing the hill above him, how many more to pass. And from the hilltop, on pitch-dark nights, he looked round on the villages five or six miles away, that shone like swarms of glittering living things, almost a heaven against his feet. Marlpool and Heanor scattered the far-off darkness with brilliance. And occasionally the black valley space between was traced, violated by a great train rushing south to London or north to Scotland. The trains roared by like projectiles level on the darkness, fuming and burning, making the valley clang with their passage. They were gone, and the lights of the towns and villages glittered
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in silence. And then he came to the corner at home, which faced the other side of the night. The ash-tree seemed a friend now. His mother rose with gladness as he entered. He put his eight shillings proudly on the table. ‘It’ll help, mother?’ he asked wistfully. ‘There’s precious little left,’ she answered, ‘after your ticket and dinners and such are taken off.’ Then he told her the budget of the day. His life-story, like an Arabian Nights, was told night after night to his mother. It was almost as if it were her own life.

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ARTHUR MOREL was growing up. He was a quick, careless, impulsive boy, a good deal like his father. He hated study, made a great moan if he had to work, and escaped as soon as possible to his sport again. In appearance he remained the flower of the family, being well made, graceful, and full of life. His dark brown hair and fresh colouring, and his exquisite dark blue eyes shaded with long lashes, together with his generous manner and fiery temper, made him a favourite. But as he grew older his temper became uncertain. He flew into rages over nothing, seemed unbearably raw and irritable. His mother, whom he loved, wearied of him sometimes. He thought only of himself. When he wanted amusement, all that stood in his way he hated, even if it were she. When he was in trouble he moaned to her ceaselessly. ‘Goodness, boy!’ she said, when he groaned about a master who, he said, hated him, ‘if you don’t like it, alter it, and if you can’t alter it, put up with it.’ And his father, whom he had loved and who had worshipped him, he came to detest. As he grew older Morel
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fell into a slow ruin. His body, which had been beautiful in movement and in being, shrank, did not seem to ripen with the years, but to get mean and rather despicable. There came over him a look of meanness and of paltriness. And when the mean-looking elderly man bullied or ordered the boy about, Arthur was furious. Moreover, Morel’s manners got worse and worse, his habits somewhat disgusting. When the children were growing up and in the crucial stage of adolescence, the father was like some ugly irritant to their souls. His manners in the house were the same as he used among the colliers down pit. ‘Dirty nuisance!’ Arthur would cry, jumping up and going straight out of the house when his father disgusted him. And Morel persisted the more because his children hated it. He seemed to take a kind of satisfaction in disgusting them, and driving them nearly mad, while they were so irritably sensitive at the age of fourteen or fifteen. So that Arthur, who was growing up when his father was degenerate and elderly, hated him worst of all. Then, sometimes, the father would seem to feel the contemptuous hatred of his children. ‘There’s not a man tries harder for his family!’ he would shout. ‘He does his best for them, and then gets treated like a dog. But I’m not going to stand it, I tell you!’ But for the threat and the fact that he did not try so hard as be imagined, they would have felt sorry. As it was, the battle now went on nearly all between father and children, he persisting in his dirty and disgusting ways, just to assert his independence. They loathed him.
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Arthur was so inflamed and irritable at last, that when he won a scholarship for the Grammar School in Nottingham, his mother decided to let him live in town, with one of her sisters, and only come home at week-ends. Annie was still a junior teacher in the Board-school, earning about four shillings a week. But soon she would have fifteen shillings, since she had passed her examination, and there would be financial peace in the house. Mrs. Morel clung now to Paul. He was quiet and not brilliant. But still he stuck to his painting, and still he stuck to his mother. Everything he did was for her. She waited for his coming home in the evening, and then she unburdened herself of all she had pondered, or of all that had occurred to her during the day. He sat and listened with his earnestness. The two shared lives. William was engaged now to his brunette, and had bought her an engagement ring that cost eight guineas. The children gasped at such a fabulous price. ‘Eight guineas!’ said Morel. ‘More fool him! If he’d gen me some on’t, it ‘ud ha’ looked better on ‘im.’ ‘Given YOU some of it!’ cried Mrs. Morel. ‘Why give YOU some of it!’ She remembered HE had bought no engagement ring at all, and she preferred William, who was not mean, if he were foolish. But now the young man talked only of the dances to which he went with his betrothed, and the different resplendent clothes she wore; or he told his mother with glee how they went to the theatre like great swells. He wanted to bring the girl home. Mrs. Morel said she
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should come at the Christmas. This time William arrived with a lady, but with no presents. Mrs. Morel had prepared supper. Hearing footsteps, she rose and went to the door. William entered. ‘Hello, mother!’ He kissed her hastily, then stood aside to present a tall, handsome girl, who was wearing a costume of fine black-and-white check, and furs. ‘Here’s Gyp!’ Miss Western held out her hand and showed her teeth in a small smile. ‘Oh, how do you do, Mrs. Morel!’ she exclaimed. ‘I am afraid you will be hungry,’ said Mrs. Morel. ‘Oh no, we had dinner in the train. Have you got my gloves, Chubby?’ William Morel, big and raw-boned, looked at her quickly. ‘How should I?’ he said. ‘Then I’ve lost them. Don’t be cross with me.’ A frown went over his face, but he said nothing. She glanced round the kitchen. It was small and curious to her, with its glittering kissing-bunch, its evergreens behind the pictures, its wooden chairs and little deal table. At that moment Morel came in. ‘Hello, dad!’ ‘Hello, my son! Tha’s let on me!’ The two shook hands, and William presented the lady. She gave the same smile that showed her teeth. ‘How do you do, Mr. Morel?’ Morel bowed obsequiously.
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‘I’m very well, and I hope so are you. You must make yourself very welcome.’ ‘Oh, thank you,’ she replied, rather amused. ‘You will like to go upstairs,’ said Mrs. Morel. ‘If you don’t mind; but not if it is any trouble to you.’ ‘It is no trouble. Annie will take you. Walter, carry up this box.’ ‘And don’t be an hour dressing yourself up,’ said William to his betrothed. Annie took a brass candlestick, and, too shy almost to speak, preceded the young lady to the front bedroom, which Mr. and Mrs. Morel had vacated for her. It, too, was small and cold by candlelight. The colliers’ wives only lit fires in bedrooms in case of extreme illness. ‘Shall I unstrap the box?’ asked Annie. ‘Oh, thank you very much!’ Annie played the part of maid, then went downstairs for hot water. ‘I think she’s rather tired, mother,’ said William. ‘It’s a beastly journey, and we had such a rush.’ ‘Is there anything I can give her?’ asked Mrs. Morel. ‘Oh no, she’ll be all right.’ But there was a chill in the atmosphere. After half an hour Miss Western came down, having put on a purplishcoloured dress, very fine for the collier’s kitchen. ‘I told you you’d no need to change,’ said William to her. ‘Oh, Chubby!’ Then she turned with that sweetish smile to Mrs. Morel. ‘Don’t you think he’s always grumbling, Mrs.
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Morel?’ ‘Is he?’ said Mrs. Morel. ‘That’s not very nice of him.’ ‘It isn’t, really!’ ‘You are cold,’ said the mother. ‘Won’t you come near the fire?’ Morel jumped out of his armchair. ‘Come and sit you here!’ he cried. ‘Come and sit you here!’ ‘No, dad, keep your own chair. Sit on the sofa, Gyp,’ said William. ‘No, no!’ cried Morel. ‘This cheer’s warmest. Come and sit here, Miss Wesson.’ ‘Thank you so much,’ said the girl, seating herself in the collier’s armchair, the place of honour. She shivered, feeling the warmth of the kitchen penetrate her. ‘Fetch me a hanky, Chubby dear!’ she said, putting up her mouth to him, and using the same intimate tone as if they were alone; which made the rest of the family feel as if they ought not to be present. The young lady evidently did not realise them as people: they were creatures to her for the present. William winced. In such a household, in Streatham, Miss Western would have been a lady condescending to her inferiors. These people were to her, certainly clownish—in short, the working classes. How was she to adjust herself? ‘I’ll go,’ said Annie. Miss Western took no notice, as if a servant had spoken. But when the girl came downstairs again with the handkerchief, she said: ‘Oh, thank you!’ in a gracious way.
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She sat and talked about the dinner on the train, which had been so poor; about London, about dances. She was really very nervous, and chattered from fear. Morel sat all the time smoking his thick twist tobacco, watching her, and listening to her glib London speech, as he puffed. Mrs. Morel, dressed up in her best black silk blouse, answered quietly and rather briefly. The three children sat round in silence and admiration. Miss Western was the princess. Everything of the best was got out for her: the best cups, the best spoons, the best table cloth, the best coffee-jug. The children thought she must find it quite grand. She felt strange, not able to realise the people, not knowing how to treat them. William joked, and was slightly uncomfortable. At about ten o’clock he said to her: ‘Aren’t you tired, Gyp?’ ‘Rather, Chubby,’ she answered, at once in the intimate tones and putting her head slightly on one side. ‘I’ll light her the candle, mother,’ he said. ‘Very well,’ replied the mother. Miss Western stood up, held out her hand to Mrs. Morel. ‘Good-night, Mrs. Morel,’ she said. Paul sat at the boiler, letting the water run from the tap into a stone beer-bottle. Annie swathed the bottle in an old flannel pit-singlet, and kissed her mother good-night. She was to share the room with the lady, because the house was full. ‘You wait a minute,’ said Mrs. Morel to Annie. And Annie sat nursing the hot-water bottle. Miss Western shook
1 Sons and Lovers

hands all round, to everybody’s discomfort, and took her departure, preceded by William. In five minutes he was downstairs again. His heart was rather sore; he did not know why. He talked very little till everybody had gone to bed, but himself and his mother. Then he stood with his legs apart, in his old attitude on the hearthrug, and said hesitatingly: ‘Well, mother?’ ‘Well, my son?’ She sat in the rocking-chair, feeling somehow hurt and humiliated, for his sake. ‘Do you like her?’ ‘Yes,’ came the slow answer. ‘She’s shy yet, mother. She’s not used to it. It’s different from her aunt’s house, you know.’ ‘Of course it is, my boy; and she must find it difficult.’ ‘She does.’ Then he frowned swiftly. ‘If only she wouldn’t put on her BLESSED airs!’ ‘It’s only her first awkwardness, my boy. She’ll be all right.’ ‘That’s it, mother,’ he replied gratefully. But his brow was gloomy. ‘You know, she’s not like you, mother. She’s not serious, and she can’t think.’ ‘She’s young, my boy.’ ‘Yes; and she’s had no sort of show. Her mother died when she was a child. Since then she’s lived with her aunt, whom she can’t bear. And her father was a rake. She’s had no love.’ ‘No! Well, you must make up to her.’
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and still he was waiting for her. ‘Merry Christmas!’ he shouted to her. Morel.‘And so—you have to forgive her a lot of things. ‘Was she REALLY getting up when she said she was?’ he asked of Annie. mother—she’s—she’s different from us. they don’t seem to have the same principles. And she’s FEARFULLY fond of me.’ said Mrs. Her laugh. was heard in the bedroom. But he seemed uneasy within himself. ‘Happy New Year.’ he called. far away. like those she lives amongst. 1 Sons and Lovers . then went to the stairs again. Those sort of people. sitting on the stairs.’ ‘WHAT do you have to forgive her. It was nearly an hour. She did not come down in half an hour. In the morning.’ replied Annie.’ ‘You mustn’t judge too hastily.’ her voice called faintly. he was up singing and larking round the house.’ ‘But you know. you have to remember she’s never had anybody to bring her deeper side out. ‘Are you getting up?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Anybody can see that. pretty and tinkling. who always rose before six. ‘Thank you. she was. ‘Buck up!’ he implored. ‘Yes. Morel. Chubby dear!’ came the laughing voice. ‘Hello!’ he called. When she seems shallow. however. looked at the clock. my boy?’ ‘I dunno. He waited a while.

And Paul really DID admire ‘Gipsy’ wholeheartedly. It was so much more interesting. The family had breakfasted. ‘Chubby dear! That question is not permitted. is it. something like magic. ‘Shall I have to send you an Easter egg up there?’ he called. And Morel. Morel?’ She played the grand lady at first. William always wanted Paul or Annie to go along with them on their walks. 1 .‘Well. his mother scarcely forgave the boy for the adulation with Free eBooks at Planet eBook. She only laughed. in fact. Paul and Arthur and Annie expected everybody to bow to the ground in admiration. felt he was the father of princes and princesses. it’s a winder!’ he exclaimed. He went to the foot of the stairs. Morel with a certain glibness and Morel with patronage. ‘Have you REALLY been all this time getting ready?’ he asked. The family expected. after that time of preparation. he in his frock-coat and silk hat. She treated Mrs. For a year now she had been a sort of secretary or clerk in a London office. all but William. she in her furs and London-made costume. She sat and let Annie or Paul wait on her as if they were her servants. At last she came. But after a day or so she began to change her tune. When she went with William to chapel. standing in his Sunday suit at the end of the road. looking very nice in a blouse and skirt. But while she was with the Morels she queened it. rather crossly. watching the gallant pair go. And yet she was not so grand.

He returned to the kitchen. thank you. and I can read. mother?’ he said.’ ‘Go to bed. shut mouth.which he treated the girl. Morel. but it is as late as I usually sit up.’ William kissed his sweetheart at the foot of the stairs. ‘And leave you two? No. when Lily said: ‘Oh. On the second day. She had been sitting alone. then?’ he asked. do you know where I left my muff?’ William replied: ‘You know it is in your bedroom. mother?’ he repeated. I don’t believe in it.’ ‘Annie has left the candle burning. Morel was heard raking the fire. my boy.’ ‘Yes. mother?’ ‘Whether I can or not. ‘Is it as late as that. Annie. Good-night. At a quarter to eleven Mrs. rather offend1 Sons and Lovers . Morel. and she went. On the third evening William and Lily were sitting together in the parlour by the fire in the dark.’ ‘Can’t you trust us.’ ‘Won’t you go to bed. William came out to the kitchen. Lily.’ he said to his girl. ‘We won’t keep mater waiting. Mrs. Why do you ask Annie?’ And Lily went upstairs with a cross.’ said Mrs. followed by his beloved. But it angered the young man that she made a servant of his sister. ‘Can’t you trust us. Gyp. I won’t do it. ‘I think you will see. my boy. ‘It is not LATE. You can stay till eleven if you like.

It worried and perplexed him. ‘My boy.’ said Mrs. All his strength and money went in keeping this girl.ed. He could scarcely afford to take his mother to Nottingham when he came over. when I’m with her in the evenings I am awfully fond of her. She’s an orphan. I don’t 1 . Morel. Paul’s wages had been raised at Christmas to ten shillings. to his great joy. mother. ‘You know. ‘But yet—there’s so much between us now I couldn’t give her up.’ ‘Oh. Morel.’ And he was forced to take this answer. I wouldn’t call it LOVE—at any rate. But.’ ‘It’s a queer sort of love to marry on. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. He was quite happy at Jordan’s. And then he discussed his sweetheart endlessly with his mother. then. when I’m away from her I don’t care for her a bit. ‘But if it is as you say. At Easter he came over alone. mother. and—-‘ They never came to any sort of conclusion. it doesn’t look much like it. ‘if she holds you no more than that!’ ‘It IS funny!’ he exclaimed. I tell you I don’t BELIEVE in leaving two young things like you alone downstairs when everyone else is in bed. She was rather reserved. but his health suffered from the long hours and the confinement. I shouldn’t care if I never saw her again. He kissed his mother good-night.’ ‘You know best.’ said Mrs. He seemed puzzled and rather fretted.

the boy had a vision of spring outside. Well. how lovely!’ he cried. Shall we go?’ ‘I say. And the steep swoop of highroad lay. ‘When I’m ready. spring was a very flame of green. ‘Are we going?’ he asked.’ she replied.His mother. Leivers. Down Derby Road was a cherry-tree that glistened. thought how to help. perfectly still. She did so. This meant something. as the two sat alone at breakfast. and inside the warehouse all the morning. and I promised to bring you on Monday if it’s fine. ‘Go and get dressed while I wash up. On a Monday morning in May. ‘You know Mr. Mrs. ‘And we’ll go this afternoon?’ Paul hurried off to the station jubilant. Leivers has gone to live on a new farm. little woman. straightened. When he came home at dinner-time his mother was rather excited. and then took her boots. he asked me last week if I wouldn’t go and see Mrs. splendid with patterns of sunshine and shadow. to whom he became more and more significant. They were quite clean. The trees sloped their great green shoulders proudly.’ he said. Presently he got up. in its cool morning dust. she said: ‘I think it will be a fine day. Morel was one 1 Sons and Lovers . The old brick wall by the Statutes ground burned scarlet. He washed the pots. His half-day holiday was on Monday afternoon.’ He looked up in surprise.

Morel. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. She had got a new cotton blouse on. ‘Well. ‘do you like it?’ ‘Awfully! You ARE a fine little woman to go jaunting out with!’ He went and surveyed her from the back. however. and he cleaned them with as much reverence as if they had been flowers.’ she asked. ‘What a bobby-dazzler!’ She sniffed in a little haughty way. Paul jumped up and went forward. looking as if she was wrapped in burnt paper. and put her head up. ‘She’s not sure it suits her. ‘if I was walking down the street behind you. ‘Well. but pretending to know better.’ She sniffed in her little way. pleased. ‘Oh. But Paul had to clean them for her. It DOES suit you. my stars!’ he exclaimed. quite shy. thought them the most dainty boots in the world.’ She walked 1 .’ he said. ‘It’s very quiet. He. she doesn’t. They were kid boots at eight shillings a pair. Suddenly she appeared in the inner doorway rather shyly. I should say: ‘Doesn’t THAT little person fancy herself!‘ ‘Well.’ replied Mrs. whilst he hovered round her. but pretending to be high and mighty. ‘It’s not a bobby-dazzler at all!’ she replied.’ ‘Oh no! she wants to be in dirty black. and I say you look nice.of those naturally exquisite people who can walk in mud without dirtying their shoes.

’ he said. it’s good stuff. ‘Too young for you!’ he exclaimed in disgust.’ she said. ‘Now look at that!’ said Mrs. you’ve no business to. with a little sprig of heliotrope and black. Mother and son stood on the road to watch. a small truck. and rattled hoarsely. because of the sun.’ ‘Well. a horse. coughed. Paul was considerably taller than she. There was an undue rattle as the waste fell down the sheer 10 Sons and Lovers . Minton pit waved its plumes of white steam. ‘And. You couldn’t have got it ready-made for that price.’ ‘Awfully pretty. He fancied himself.’ she said rather strangely. ‘Too young for me.’ ‘I s’ll soon have no need. At the end the man tipped the wagon. ‘it’s cost me just three shillings. though. could you?’ ‘I should think you couldn’t. and a man. she carrying the umbrella William had given her.’ she said. Morel. you know.’ he said. though he was not big.‘Well. On the fallow land the young wheat shone silkily. The blouse was white.’ she replied. Along the ridge of the great pithill crawled a little group in silhouette against the sky. my lad. ‘What do I want with a white-haired mother?’ ‘I’m afraid you’ll have to put up with one. I’m afraid. ‘Why don’t you buy some false white hair and stick it on your head.’ he replied. ‘I’m going white fast enough. They climbed the incline against the heavens. They set off in great style.

mother. The mother and son went through the wheat and oats. ‘and wonderfully beautiful. Paul hung behind in terror of being sent back. over a little bridge Free eBooks at Planet eBook. whilst he sketched rapidly. A dog barked furiously. ‘for that means they’ll turn middling time this week. Morel. while they’re alive. She was silent whilst he worked.slope of the enormous bank. but she was interested. ‘Look how it heaps together. He was constantly informing her.’ she said.’ said Mrs.’ ‘And so’s the pit. ‘Is this the way to Willey Farm?’ Mrs. looking round at the afternoon.’ ‘Yes. Then they turned on a private road. ‘Perhaps!’ ‘And all the trucks standing waiting.’ ‘Yes. and directed them.’ he said. But the woman was amiable. and in some trepidation approached a big farm. because they’ve been handled with men’s hands. the red cottages shining among their greenness. like a string of beasts to be fed.’ he said. They went along under the trees of the highroad. that was tossing its sunshine like petals lightly in its lap.’ she said. and she took a seat on a bank. A woman came out to see.’ he said. like something alive almost—a big creature that you don’t know. ‘You sit a minute. They passed the end of Nethermere. all of them. There’s a feel of men about trucks. ‘And very thankful I am they ARE 11 .’ ‘But I like the feel of MEN on things. ‘The world is a wonderful place.’ she said. Morel asked.

I will do it in my own way. The lake was still and blue. holding the little bunch of flowers he gave her.’ He stood below with his hands up ready to help her. Peewits. He found flowers for her. again. with a new thicket of fir and pine on one hand. ‘let me help you. ‘It’s a wild road. She was perfectly happy. And among the oaks the bluebells stood in pools of azure. And. and soon were in a broad green alley of the wood. he brought her forget-me-nots. his heart hurt with love. ‘which way? He told me through the wood. ‘But now. under the new green hazels. And she was quite content. then. go away.into a wild meadow. looking round. She 1 Sons and Lovers . ‘Just like Canada. But at the end of the riding was a fence to climb. again. seeing her hand. ‘I can feel a bit of a path this road. an old oak glade dipping down on the other. green and still. ‘Here’s a bit of new-mown hay.’ he said. ‘Come. fenced and dark. somehow or other. used with work. Morel. the wood heaped on the hill. Opposite. ‘See that heron—see—see her legs?’ He directed his mother. what she must see and what not. lay on their left. upon a pale fawn floor of oak-leaves.’ said Paul.’ They found a little gate.’ The wood. ‘You’ve got town feet. Paul was over in a second. wheeled and screamed about them.’ she said. you have.’ ‘Isn’t it beautiful!’ said Mrs. mother. High overhead a heron floated.’ he said.’ said Paul. with their white breasts glistening.’ ‘No.

The two women shook hands. ‘What a way to climb!’ he exclaimed scornfully. It was very still. shy. three sides of a quadrangle. questioning.climbed cautiously. The two hastened forward. ‘who can’t get over ‘em. then. Then. frail woman. a little resentful of the strangers. where was a scent of red gillivers. with great dark brown eyes.’ Her voice was intimate and rather sad. Mother and son went into the small railed garden. ‘I know what a farming life 1 . Some cows stood in the shade. smiling with a little glow.’ In front. Morel. she disappeared. ‘Duffer of a little woman. A hen was just coming to peck them. when she was safely to earth again. had a rosy dark face. was a cluster of low red farm buildings. where blossom was falling on the grindstone. rosy. a small.’ he replied. I AM glad to see you. a bunch of short black curls. Flush with the wood was the apple orchard. embraced the sunshine towards the wood.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. The farm and buildings. The pond was deep under a hedge and overhanging oak trees. ‘Now are you sure we’re not a bother to you?’ said Mrs. ‘Oh!’ she exclaimed. along the edge of the wood. put out to cool. In a minute another figure appeared. She was about fourteen years old. in the doorway suddenly appeared a girl in a dirty apron. ‘Hateful stiles!’ she cried. and dark eyes. By the open door were some floury loaves. ‘you’ve come. very fine and free.

Leivers. Morel. pointing to the bushes along the fence. and they went through the buildings. ‘I suppose they are cabbage-roses when they come out?’ he said. She looked at him with startled. They were taken through into the parlour—a long. ‘No. ‘They’re white with pink middles. ‘I don’t know.’ she faltered. whilst Paul went out to survey the land. ‘This is our first year here.’ ‘Then they’re maiden-blush. She had a beautiful warm colouring. It’s as much as I can do to 1 Sons and Lovers . with a great bunch of guelder-roses in the fireplace. ‘I suppose these are cabbage-roses?’ he said to her. Paul was hugely delighted. big brown eyes. but went his round of exploration. ‘You don’t have MUCH in your garden.’ Miriam flushed.’ she said. He was in the garden smelling the gillivers and looking at the plants. it’s so lost up here.‘Oh no! We’re only too thankful to see a new face.’ ‘I suppose so. ‘And I suppose you have the fowls and calves and pigs to look after?’ said Mrs. There the women talked.’ said Mrs.’ he said. He did not notice. Morel to Mrs. drawing back and going indoors. in a distant. rather superior way. when the girl came out quickly to the heap of coal which stood by the fence. and I’m not used to it. ‘I can’t find time to look after cattle. ‘I don’t know.’ replied the little woman. low room.’ she answered. Presently his mother came out.

‘Oh. then we’ll come. The mother and son were in ecstasy together. and rather capable-looking. He had a small hand. The bird eyed it with her 1 . Leivers was a good-looking man in the prime of life. and blue eyes screwed up against the weather. Leivers and Edgar. Miriam. Mr. while fumy forget-me-nots were in the paths. Mrs. thank you. mother. Then they went out into the wood that was flooded with bluebells.’ said Paul.’ replied her mother. He held the corn to the hen. and suddenly made a peck into Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘Durst you do it?’ he asked of Paul. Edgar was about eighteen. Morel?’ ‘Of course. almost ingratiatingly. Presently the girl came out. As they were feeding the fowls Miriam came out.’ she said in a musical. Miriam watched. The boys took no notice of her. were in the kitchen. Morel.keep going in the house. the eldest son. They went round for eggs.’ said Mrs. quiet voice.’ said Mrs. When they got back to the house. Morel. with her yellow chickens. were in from school. I suppose it is. The boys were condescending. with a golden-brown moustache. Then Geoffrey and Maurice. scrambling into all sorts of places. bright eye. ‘Would you CARE to have tea now. Leivers had tea together. but Paul scarcely observed it.’ ‘Well. big lads of twelve and thirteen.’ Paul and his mother and Mrs. was in a coop. Mr. One hen. warm. ‘Whenever it’s ready. ‘Tea is ready. ‘Let’s see. Maurice took his hand full of corn and let the hen peck from it.

cowards and bullies!’ they repeated mincingly. ‘Ha! baby.’ said Maurice. and nips you.’ ‘No. He laughed again. where they had rigged up a parallel bar.his hand. shaking her black curls and shrinking.’ ‘No.’ ‘Dursn’t jump off a gate. ‘I dare do more than you. ‘You’re never anything but cowards and bullies.’ said Paul.’ she still cried. mocking her speech. He was more agile than strong. ‘Not such a clown shall anger me. He started. when the last corn had gone. rap!’ went the bird’s beak in his palm. but it 1 Sons and Lovers .’ she cried. ‘She knocks you. dursn’t go on a slide. She can do nowt but go about thinkin’ herself somebody. They did feats of strength. dursn’t stop a girl hittin’ her. shrinking back. Miriam was crimson with shame and misery. The mardy-kid!’ said her brothers. and the other boys joined. ‘The Lady of the Lake.’ ‘Oh.’ said Paul. and laughed.’ she cried. shouting with laughter. ‘She dursn’t.’ he quoted against her. ‘ Now. Paul went with the boys into the orchard.’ Yah!’ cried Maurice. but she never hurts. dursn’t tweedle. Miriam. She went indoors. A boor is answered silently. rap. ‘She niver durst do anything except recite poitry. ‘you come an ‘ave a go. ‘It only just nips rather nicely.’ said Geoffrey. ‘It doesn’t hurt a bit. ‘Rap.

’ said Edgar. ‘It only makes you laugh. She’s ever so neat. half of chagrin. some maize in her hand. and started back with a cry.’ replied Paul. ‘I only wanted to try. half of fear. he saw Miriam kneeling in front of the hen-coop. they were more interested in their own pursuits. She put her hand forward and dragged it away. As he went round the back. and watched. The boys felt hostile to him. He frowned. biting her lip. ‘There’ll be no apples next year. you see. I’d let her take corn from my face.’ he said.served. the eldest brother. and. tried again. He fingered a piece of apple-blossom that hung low on a swinging bough. ‘It won’t hurt you. it doesn’t hurt.’ said Paul. peck at his bare hand. ‘I wouldn’t get the apple-blossom. She flushed crimson and started up. The hen was eyeing her wickedly. going away. ‘only she bumps a bit. he let the hen peck.’ said Paul.’ He waited grimly. He wandered back to the house to look for his mother. ‘Why.’ he 1 . and pain because of fear—rather pathetic. peck.’ said the boy. She drew back quickly with a cry. At last Miriam let the bird peck from her hand. and crouching in an intense attitude. look how much ground she’d peck up every day. The hen bobbed for her. ‘See. and she did it again. Very gingerly she put forward her hand.’ she said in a low voice.’ ‘I wasn’t going to get it. She gave a little cry—fear. If she wasn’t. ‘It doesn’t hurt. putting only two corns in his palm. But she had done it. does it?’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘There.

A thin moon was coming out. She smiled on her son. save for the rustling of leaves and birds. Leivers walked down the fields with them. brown rabbits hopping everywhere. It was everywhere perfectly stiff.’ answered Mr. ‘WOULDN’T I see to the fowls and the young stock! And I’D learn to milk. He took the great bunch of flowers. and I’D talk with him. if I were his wife. Mr. I 1 Sons and Lovers .She looked at him with dilated dark eyes. if only it weren’t for the rabbits. the farm would be run. and Mrs.’ she thought. ‘Would you believe it!’ exclaimed Mrs. My word. ‘Wasn’t it lovely. and she wanted to prove she was a grand person like the ‘Lady of the Lake”. ‘No. Morel. and I’D plan with him. The hills were golden with evening. ‘it’s a nice little place. Leivers. Paul found his mother ready to go home. ‘But it is a beautiful place. trembling. wanted to cry with happiness. I dunno if ever I s’ll get the rent off it.’ she laughed. ‘He thinks I’m only a common girl. ‘Yes. She seemed to be in some way resentful of the boy. deep in the woods showed the darkening purple of bluebells.’ He clapped his hands. Then she rose and went indoors. The pasture’s bitten down to nothing. His mother had to chatter. and the field broke into motion near the woods. ‘Now WOULDN’T I help that man!’ she said. Morel. She and Paul went on alone together. because she. too. mother?’ he said quietly.’ said Mrs. His heart was full of happiness till it hurt.

As a rule. and just a pink touch of ragged robin.’ the boy said to her. laughing down on her lover. ‘Now you look like a young witch-woman. Paul came back and threaded daisies in her jet-black hair—big spangles of white and yellow. she hasn’t the strength—she simply hasn’t the strength. all three. if I’D had him. William opened his eyes and looked at her. and I’m sorry for him too. I shouldn’t have thought him a bad husband! Not that she does either.’ William came home again with his sweetheart at the Whitsuntide. Paul went gathering the big daisies. like laughter. thinner now and even a bit gaunt. while she fingered with his hair. She had taken off her hat. William. her hair was black as a horse’s mane. William and Lily and Paul went out in the morning together for a walk. William?’ Lily laughed.know! But there. I’m sorry for her. ‘Has he made a sight of me?’ she asked. It was beautiful weather. ‘Doesn’t she. by the Castle Farm. She ought never to have been burdened like it. was a beautiful quivering screen of poplars. you know. William did not talk to his beloved much. He had one week of his holidays then. In his gaze was a certain baffled look of misery and fierce appreciation. in a meadow by Minton Church. They lay down. On one side. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. My word. except to tell her things from his boyhood. a big fellow of twenty-three. and she’s very 1 . lay back in the sunshine and dreamed. penny daisies and ragged robin were in the field. Hawthorn was dropping from the hedges. Paul talked endlessly to both of them.

In a little while William recovered. would you mind.’ he said. Mrs. And she walked without her hat. with its glistening hairs and freckles. silky and sweeping. he carved her initials and his in a heart. She watched his strong. and these things?’ And Annie stood washing when William and Lily went out the next morning.‘That he has!’ said William.’ she said to Annie. W. and a certain tenderness in the house. catching a glimpse of his sweetheart’s attitude towards his sister. ‘washing me these two blouses. On Sunday morning she looked very beautiful in a dress of foulard. L. W. whilst William and Lily were at home. when she was going out. if that’s what you want to know. ‘Oh. nervous hand. mostly crimson. M. Nobody could admire her enough. L. and was rather tender to her. All the time there was a feeling of sadness and warmth. she asked again: ‘Chubby. He looked at her. and in a large cream hat covered with many roses. She had brought. and she seemed fascinated by it. Coming to a bridge. Her beauty seemed to hurt him. Morel was furious. hated her. He glanced at her flower-decked head and frowned. But often he got irritable. smiling. have you got my gloves?’ 00 Sons and Lovers . And sometimes the young man. for an eight-days’ stay. and blue as a jay-bird’s feather. ‘You look nice enough. as he carved. five dresses and six blouses. But in the evening.

’ chimed in Morel. ‘It’s true. Morel.’ said the girl. he stood on the hearthrug whilst she sat on the sofa.’ he cried. She had lost them. she’s never read a book in her life. and he seemed to hate her. Lily. mother—she hasn’t. ‘Er canna see what there is i’ books. ‘I will sit still. ‘Here is your book. After supper William wanted to write a letter. go along!’ said Mrs.’ said Mrs. ‘She’s never read a book in her life. Morel to her son. mother. thank you. nor more can I.’ ‘But you shouldn’t say these things.’ William scribbled irritably at a great rate.’ ‘But it is so dull. ter sit borin’ your nose in ‘em for.‘Which?’ asked William. after supper.’ ‘No. jumping up and taking his old position on the hearthrug.’ ‘Er’s like me. ‘My new black 01 . Morel. And in the evening. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘that’s the fourth pair she’s lost since Christmas—at five shillings a pair!’ ‘You only gave me TWO of them. ‘Would you care to go on with it for a few minutes?’ ‘No.’ said Mrs. She had sat looking at a book. As he sealed the envelope he said: ‘Read a book! Why.’ ‘Oh.’ said William.’ she remonstrated. cross with the exaggeration. ‘Look here. In the afternoon he had left her whilst he went to see some old friend.’ There was a hunt.

when he was alone with her at night. ‘Yes. so. ‘she’s no idea of money. ‘How much?’ ‘l don’t know how many pages. He turned to her swiftly. when he wanted companionship. ‘DID you ready any?’ he asked. All the time Lily sat miserably on the sofa. she’ll suddenly buy such rot as marrons glaces. I’ll bet she didn’t read ten lines of it. mother—she CAN’T read. she’s so wessel-brained. and was asked in reply to be the billing and twittering lover. She never got beyond the second page. and then I have to buy her season ticket. What did you give her?’ ‘Well. he hated his betrothed. ‘You know. and had a quick. But at this rate—-‘ ‘A fine mess of a marriage it would be. When she’s paid. And she wants to get married. Nobody wants to read dry stuff on Sunday afternoon. I gave her a little thing of Annie Swan’s. He read a great deal.’ replied his moth0 Sons and Lovers . I did. active intelligence. and her extras. mother. and I think myself we might as well get married next year.’ she replied. even her underclothing.’ She could not.’ said his mother.’ ‘Tell me ONE THING you read.‘But it’s true. He was accustomed to having all his thoughts sifted through his mother’s mind.’ he said. She could understand nothing but love-making and chatter.’ ‘You are mistaken.’ ‘Well.

’ he said. and I have to find the money. not able to keep still. you will.’ So I said: ‘Have you got warm underthings on?’ And she said: ‘No. they were cotton. ‘I should consider it again.’ said Mrs. she OUGHT to keep enough to pay for her season-ticket. mother. Morel bitterly. for SOME things I couldn’t do without her. remember you’re taking your life in your hands.’ ‘Oh. And there she is—a bronchial subject! I HAD to take her and get some warm so I asked her if she was well wrapped up. my boy. He was pale. my boy. and she said because she HAD nothing. We shall manage.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. but no. was stamped with conflict and despair. She said: ‘I think so.’ ‘Oh. mother. that used to be so perfectly careless and laughing.’ I asked her why on earth she hadn’t got something thicker on in weather like that. Well. but one morning—and it WAS cold—I found her on the station shivering.’ he began apologetically. and there’s no stopping you. If you will. you know.’ ‘It’s a poor lookout. I can’t sleep when I think about it. ‘But I can’t give her up now. it’s gone too far. ‘she didn’t ask me. well. And. she’ll be all right. ‘And. I shouldn’t mind the money if we had any.’ ‘My boy.’ ‘And she lets you buy her underclothing?’ asked the mother. besides. ‘Well. I’ve gone too far to break off now. but I tell you. she comes to me about that.’ he said.’ ‘Very 0 . and his rugged face. ‘and so I shall get married as soon as I can.

things had seemed to be breaking down in her. ‘I couldn’t give her up now. Before. ‘NOTHING is as bad as a marriage that’s a hopeless failure. But she saw the despair on his face.’ he said. Now her soul felt lamed in itself. and perhaps you’ll know better. would you believe she has been confirmed three times?’ ‘Nonsense!’ laughed Mrs. Morel. who looked as if he would go to the world’s end if he wanted to. On the last evening at home he was railing against her.’ he said. It was her hope that was struck. my son. She raked the fire. At last she said: ‘Well. and went. Morel. The clock ticked on. and ought to teach you something.’ He kissed her. a conflict between them.said Mrs. ‘remember there are worse wrongs than breaking off an engagement. ‘Well.’ He leaned with his back against the side of the chimneypiece. but he would say no more.’ she said. Mine was bad enough. she HAS! That’s what confirmation 0 Sons and Lovers . ‘Well. mother and son remained in silence. Her heart was heavy now as it had never been.’ ‘I can’t give her up NOW. go to bed. with her husband. And so often William manifested the same hatred towards his betrothed. his hands in his pockets. ‘if you don’t believe me. what she’s like. He was a big. God knows. but it might have been worse by a long chalk. raw-boned man. but they did not destroy her power to live. ‘Nonsense or not. You’ll feel better in the morning.’ he said.

’ ‘I haven’t. To do nothing but find fault with a girl. kissed and Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ ‘But it’s true. and later he repented. Take no notice of him. in her than that table-leg. Morel. Morel. to show herself off. and that’s how she is in EVERYTHING— EVERYTHING!’ The girl sat on the sofa.’ commanded Mrs. ‘Once in Bromley. crying. saying such things. ‘you might as well ask a fly to love you! It’ll love settling on you—-‘ ‘Now. child. once in Beckenham. She was not strong.’ she pleaded. and once somewhere else. you must find another place than this. Morel subsided in wrath and indignation. Gets confirmed three times for show. William was silent. Mrs. Morel!’ cried the girl—‘I haven’t! it is not true!’ ‘What!’ he cried. in tears—‘nowhere else!’ ‘It WAS! And if it wasn’t why were you confirmed TWICE?’ ‘Once I was only fourteen. ‘If you want to say these 0 . flashing round on her. or anything else. I am ashamed of you. say no more. ‘Yes. tears in her eyes. ‘I can quite understand it. William! Why don’t you be more manly.’ said Mrs. You ought to be ashamed. She’s religious—she had blue velvet PrayerBooks—and she’s not as much religion.’ ‘Nowhere else!’ she said.means for her—a bit of a theatrical show where she can cut a figure. Mrs. William. Morel. and then pretend you’re engaged to her! ‘ Mrs. ‘As for LOVE!’ he cried.

’ said Mrs. ‘There’s one comfort. mother. She’s very much in love with me now. Matters were not yet very desperate.’ he said to her. Her heart beat furiously. He hated her. ‘You know.’ he said. that I AM sure of. ‘Gyp’s shallow.comforted the girl. She waited. then she returned home. And so she’ll save him that way. Morel. mother. Morel accompanied them as far as Nottingham.’ Mrs. She firmly believed William would never marry his Gipsy. ‘In three months after I was buried you’d have somebody else. he 0 Sons and Lovers .’ So she took cheer. what he had said. ‘You DON’T know. When they were going away. Yet it was true. hearing the quiet bitterness of her son’s last speech.’ ‘William. but if I died she’d have forgotten me in three months. Morel was afraid. very uncomfortable for the girl who walked beside her. Mrs.’ she said to Paul—‘he’ll never have any money to marry on. ‘But it doesn’t. Morel saw them into the train in Nottingham. and she kept Paul near to her. I WISH you wouldn’t say these things. It was a long way to Keston station.’ ‘He’s always saying these things!’ cried the girl. Nothing goes deep with her. All summer long William’s letters had a feverish tone. and I should be forgotten. ‘How do you know?’ she replied. and therefore you’ve no right to say such a thing. ‘And that’s your love!’ Mrs.

not even once. ‘You are not well.’ He wanted to come home. mother. I think. and there was a haggard look in his eyes. ‘You are doing too much. ‘I’ve seemed to have a dragging cold all the last month. no more than a rag doll. He was more gaunt than ever. if I died she’d be broken-hearted for two months. usually he was flat and bitter in his 0 . my boy. she’d never come home here to look at my grave. trying to make some money to marry on. He wrote in wild excitement. who isn’t worthy of his love—no. He only talked to his mother once on the Saturday night. ‘No. He seemed wild with joy. I’ve not been well. then he was sad and tender about his beloved. then again he was silent and reserved. William.’ said his mother to him. you know. so why talk about it?’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ said his mother. ‘Ah.seemed unnatural and intense. when she saw him. and then she’d start to forget me.’ his mother said. like a schoolboy escaped. for all that.’ he said.’ said his mother.’ It was sunny October weather.’ ‘Why. The midsummer holiday was gone. the first week in October. She was almost in tears at having him to herself again. ‘And yet. He was doing extra work. he said. ‘you’re not going to die. but it’s going. Sometimes he was exaggeratedly jolly. You’d see. ‘I’m afraid he’s ruining himself against that creature. it was a long while to Christmas. saying he could come for Saturday and Sunday at Goose Fair.

you can’t grumble. and set off. called a neighbour. read the telegram. put a bit of this soothing ointment on. ‘Here. She sat in her corner in a kind of stupor. she was anxiously asking the porters if they knew how to get to Elmers End. holding up his chin. ‘what a rash my collar’s made under my chin!’ Just at the junction of chin and throat was a big red inflammation. The journey was three hours.‘But whether or not—-’ he replied. a comb and brush. never moving.’ he said to his mother. She hurried to Keston. You should wear different collars. She is like that. It was six o’clock when she arrived at William’s lodging.’ said his mother. She had to wait in Nottingham nearly an hour. ‘And she can’t help it. that contained her nightdress. At last they sent her underground to Cannon Street.’ said his mother. Carrying her string bag. caught an express for London in Nottingham. On Tuesday morning came a telegram from London that he was ill. put on her things. ‘It ought not to do that. A small figure in her black bonnet. Morel got off her knees from washing the floor. and if you choose her—well. seeming better and more solid for his two days at home. went to her landlady and borrowed a sovereign. she went from person to person.’ He went away on Sunday midnight. At King’s Cross still no one could tell her how to get to Elmers End. Mrs. 0 Sons and Lovers . as he was putting his collar on: ‘Look. On the Sunday morning.

She prayed for WilFree eBooks at Planet eBook. The clothes were tossed about. So I wired. The doctor came. a peculiar erysipelas. as if repeating a letter from dictation: ‘Owing to a leakage in the hold of this vessel. Mrs. the sugar had set. ‘He got home at six o’clock on Monday morning. He hoped it would not get to the brain. which had started under the chin where the collar chafed. No one had been with him.The blinds were not down. with bloodshot eyes. She followed the woman upstairs. ‘How is he?’ she asked. his face rather discoloured. my son!’ said the mother bravely. He did not answer. It had been his business to examine some such cargo of sugar in the Port of London. It needed hacking—-‘ He was quite unconscious. ‘Why. It was pneumonia. and this morning he asked for you. William lay on the bed. a glass of milk stood on the stand at his bedside. Morel tried to soothe her son. and. he said. there was no fire in the room. Then he began to say. and he seemed to sleep all day. ‘No better. in a dull voice. ‘How long has he been like this?’ the mother asked the landlady. and was spreading over the face. and become converted into rock.’ said the landlady. to keep him 0 . but did not see her.’ ‘Will you have a fire made?’ Mrs. He looked at her. and we fetched the doctor. then in the night we heard him talking. Morel settled down to nurse.

At six o’clock. At nine o’clock to the cottage on Scargill Street came another wire: ‘William died last night. Paul set off for his father. prayed that he would recognise her.’ Annie. Morel sat perfectly still for an hour in the lodging bedroom. At two o’clock. the screen. ‘I want my father. with the aid of the charwoman. then she went round the dreary London village to the registrar and the doctor.’ 10 Sons and Lovers . he’s got to go to London.’ Paul went into the little top office. he’s got to go to London. he died. Annie began to whimper with fear. bring money. then she roused the household. The three children said not a word. Morel. the wheels of the headstocks twinkled high up. and would not come to consciousness. At Brinsley pit the white steam melted slowly in the sunshine of a soft blue sky. made a busy noise. It was a beautiful day. He raved. Mr.’ ‘What.’ ‘Thy feyther? Is he down? What’s his name?’ ‘Mr. Walter? Is owt amiss?’ ‘He’s got to go to London. But the young man’s face grew more discoloured. In the night she struggled with him. shuffling its coal into the trucks. ‘I want my father. Paul. ‘Tha wants Walter Morel? Go in theer an’ tell Joe Ward. Mrs. in a dreadful paroxysm. Let father come.’ said the boy to the first man he met on the bank. and raved. Morel was gone to work.liam. and Arthur were at home. she laid him out.

Morel said in a frightened voice: ‘E’s niver gone. it was impossible. with such a bustle going on. He was slightly lame from an accident. The puller-off swung the small truck on to the turn-table. there’s his lad here. As they came out and went along the railway. with its wagon of coal.’ he said. The great iron cage sank back on its rest. ‘He’ll be up in a few minutes.’ Then he turned round to Paul. At last. child?’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and my mother’s in London. an empty tram run on to the 11 . standing beside a wagon. Summat’s amiss. the chair heaved. a full carfle was hauled off. then dropped like a stone. and what will she be doing?’ the boy asked himself. He watched chair after chair come up. a man’s form! the chair sank on its rests. as if it were a conundrum. and still no father.The man went to the telephone and rang up the bottom office. ‘And William is dead. with the sunny autumn field on one side and a wall of trucks on the other. Hard. another man ran with it along the bank down the curving lines. Paul? Is ‘e worse?’ ‘You’ve got to go to London. Paul wandered out to the pit-top. a bell ting’ed somewhere. He watched the chair come up.’ The two walked off the pit-bank. ‘Walter Morel’s wanted. where men were watching curiously. Paul did not realise William was dead. number 42. Morel stepped off. ‘Is it thee.

he saw his mother and father. ‘Paul!’ she said. and mute. to help his wife. On the weighing machine a truck trundled slowly. waiting. except his father leaning against the truck as if he were tired. and Annie had in a friend to be with her. Mrs. Paul went to work. felt he 1 Sons and Lovers . who had come to Sethley Bridge Station. He was not crying.’ ‘When wor’t?’ ‘Last night. You’d better see about some help. She let him kiss her. white. ‘Mother!’ he said. He spoke again. his hand over his eyes. then leaned up against a truck-side. In the house she was the same—small. Morel had only once before been to London.’ Then she relapsed into the same mute looking into space. uninterestedly. as Paul was turning the corner. Paul saw everything. The boy waited. On Saturday night. He set off. coming home from Keston. They were walking in silence in the dark. only: ‘The coffin will be here to-night. Paul stood looking round. The children were left alone in the house.‘Yes. her hands folded on her lap. Arthur went to school. That was on Tuesday. We had a telegram from my mother.’ Then. Morel’s small figure seemed not to observe. she said nothing. tired. Paul. Walter. straggling apart.’ Morel walked on a few strides. in the darkness. She noticed nothing. looking at her. scared and peaked. but she seemed unaware of him. turning to the children: ‘We’re bringing him home.

‘Bring another candle. I suppose so.’ ‘An’ ha’e him across th’ chairs?’ ‘You know there—-Yes. The house was dead silent. ‘Wheer s’ll we ha’e him when he DOEScome?’ he asked his wife.’ he said plaintively. ‘Did you?’ she answered.’ Morel and Paul went. dully.’ called Morel. It was a faintly luminous night. and cleared the middle of the room.’ ‘Then I’d better shift th’ table?’ ‘Yes. After half an hour Morel. ‘You niver seed such a length as he is!’ said the miner. so that the coffin could stand on their beds. Paul went back to his mother. At ten o’clock Morel called: ‘He’s here!’ Everyone started. and watching anxiously as he worked. mother. then he arranged six chairs opposite each other.could not breathe. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘I went to work. ‘In the front-room. Paul went to the bay window and looked out. The ash-tree stood monstrous and black in front of the wide 1 . which opened straight from the night into the room. There was no gas there. with a candle. The father unscrewed the top of the big mahogany oval table. came in again. There was a noise of unbarring and unlocking the front door. troubled and bewildered. into the parlour.

Annie’s candle flickered. as if in pain. Paul followed with his mother. All the six bearers were up in the small garden. The yellow lamp of the carriage shone alone down the black road. Morel and Burns. He stood with his arm round her waist in the inner doorway. Down the middle of the cleared room waited six chairs. and by the open door. and the limbs and bowed heads of six men struggled to climb into the room. ‘Now then!’ said Morel. all in their shirt-sleeves. bearing the coffin that rode like sorrow on their living 1 Sons and Lovers . out of breath.Annie and Arthur went. staggered. Arthur held up one candle. There were three more steps to the door. In the window. seemed to struggle in the obscurity. heaved into the candlelight with their gleaming coffin-end. the great dark weight swayed. Outside in the darkness of the street below Paul could see horses and a black vehicle. against the night. holding the great coffin aloft. It was Morel and his neighbour. and she whimpered as the first men appeared. one lamp. ‘Steady!’ called Morel. Presently two men appeared. ‘Steady. her brass candlestick glittering. the men began to mount the three steps with their load. Limbs of other men were seen struggling behind. bowed beneath a great weight. then some men. and a few pale faces. Annie stood leaning forward. There was the noise of wheels. The coffin swayed. against the lace curtains. face to face. steady!’ cried Morel. in front. miners. He and his fellow mounted the steep garden step.

Morel could not be persuaded. The sweat fell from Morel’s face on its boards. with yielding. They buried him on the Monday in the little cemetery on the hillside that looks over the fields at the big church and the houses. my son—my son!’ she repeated. and the white chrysanthemums frilled themselves in the warmth. closing the door behind them. bowed. to talk and take her old bright interest in life. his hand round her waist. Morel sang softly. he’s a weight!’ said a man. She remained shut off. when laid out. The coffin veered. and was gently lowered on to the chairs. Six men were in the room—six coatless men.flesh. His mother was stroking the polished wood. ‘My word. The family was alone in the parlour with the great polished box. Like a monument lay the bright brown. ‘Oh. ponderous coffin. Mrs. struggling limbs. filling the room and knocking against the furniture. and. ‘Oh. my son—my son!’ Mrs. trembling with the struggle. after this. descended the steps 1 . Paul saw drops of sweat fall from his father’s brow. and the five miners sighed. my son—my son—my son!’ ‘Mother!’ Paul whimpered. was six feet four inches long. She did not hear. and each time the coffin swung to the unequal climbing of the men: ‘Oh. Paul thought it would never be got out of the room again. It was sunny. William. All the way home in the train she had said to herself : ‘If only it could have been me! ‘ When Paul came home at night he found his mother sitFree eBooks at Planet eBook.

’ she said irritably. She could only brood on her dead son. mother?’ he asked. her mouth shut tight. Now Annie set his supper. but she could not rouse herself. She put it on 1 Sons and Lovers . and her heart stood still. on December 23. before. although she did not listen. and she said my sketch of a colliery at work was beautiful. ‘Mother. November and December. It drove him almost insane to have her thus. She did not hear. She always used to have changed her dress and put on a black apron. Morel took no notice. Paul wandered blindly home. ‘What’s the matter?’ she asked. he had been let to die so cruelly. ‘Mother. At last: ‘What’s a-matter. ‘I’m badly. His mother looked at him. turning away. her day’s work done. Miss Jordan was down to-day. His mother tried.’ But Mrs. what’s a-matter?’ ‘You know what’s the matter. with hands folded in her lap upon her coarse apron. mother!’ he replied. Jordan gave me five shillings for a Christmas-box!’ He handed it to her with trembling hands. ‘Mr.ting. He was cut off and wretched through October. ‘What’s a-matter?’ he persisted. with his five shillings Christmas-box in his pocket. and his mother sat looking blankly in front of her. Then he beat his brains for news to tell her. Night after night he forced himself to tell her things. The lad—he was sixteen years old—went to bed drearily. At last.

they could not afford a nurse. It was the old question. He realised her. He grew worse. One night he tossed into consciousness in the ghastly. heaving for breath on the pillow. Mrs. His mother lay in bed at nights with him. He had pneumonia dangerously. ‘Where hurts you?’ she said. but he trembled violently. unbuttoning his overcoat. His whole will rose up and arrested 1 . She lifted him up. mother!’ be cried. Morel stood condemned on her own ground. He put his head on her breast. ‘Might he never have had it if I’d kept him at home. mother. ‘I s’ll die. ‘You aren’t glad!’ he reproached her. not let him go to Nottingham?’ was one of the first things she asked. sickly feeling of dissolution. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. like madness. and consciousness makes a last flare of struggle. my son—my son!’ That brought him to.’ She undressed him and put him to bed. when all the cells in the body seem in intense irritability to be breaking down.’ said the doctor. ‘I should have watched the living. and the crisis approached. ‘I feel badly.the table. ‘He might not have been so bad. crying in a small voice: ‘Oh. and took ease of her for love. not the dead. Paul was very ill. the doctor said.’ she told herself.

Morel had a little present and a letter from Lily at Christmas. I believe it saved his mother. Morel’s sister had a letter at the New Year. returning in his normal state. Mrs.’ said the letter. ‘I was at a ball last night. His father had bought him a pot of scarlet and gold tulips. past the office where his son had worked. and I enjoyed myself thoroughly. But never in his life would he go for a walk up Shepstone. ‘it was a good thing Paul was ill that Christmas. ‘I had every dance—did not sit out one. Morel never heard any more of her. Morel’s life now rooted itself in Paul.‘For some things. William had been a prophet. Some delightful people were there. Mrs. They used to flame in the window in the March sunshine as he sat on the sofa chattering to his mother. Morel and his wife were gentle with each other for some time after the death of their son. and he always avoided the cemetery. The two knitted together in perfect intimacy. Mrs.’ Paul was in bed for seven weeks. He got up white and fragile.’ said his aunt.’ Mrs. staring wide-eyed and blank across the room. Then he got up suddenly and hurried out to the Three Spots. 1 Sons and Lovers . He would go into a kind of daze.

com 1 .Part Two Free eBooks at Planet eBook.

looked something like a Walter Scott hero. Everywhere was a Walter Scott heroine being loved by men with helmets or with plumes in their caps. The girl was romantic in her soul. would not condescend at first. and inclined to be mystical. who. so she held aloof. And Miriam also refused to be approached. and see the whole of life in a mist thereof. unable to perceive the princess beneath. And she was afraid lest this boy. nevertheless. Edgar the eldest. such women as treasure religion inside them. They were both brown-eyed. and knew what algebra meant. which she loved tremblingly and passionately when a tremendous sunset 0 Sons and Lovers . Christ and God made one great figure. might consider her simply as the swine-girl. Her great companion was her mother. breathe it in their nostrils. So to Miriam. He was friends with the two youngest boys. as by her own brothers.CHAPTER VII LAD-AND-GIRL LOVE PAUL had been many times up to Willey Farm during the autumn. and who went by train to Nottingham every day. She herself was something of a princess turned into a swine-girl in her own imagination. who could paint and speak French. She was afraid of being set at nought.

Learning was the only distinction to which she thought to aspire. so strong Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and must not be scooped up among the common fry.burned out the western sky. Her beauty—that of a shy. That was life to her. rustled the sunny leaves in the morning. but only wanted to have as easy a time as he could. Brian de Bois Guilberts. as Paul said he could read. So she was mad to have learning whereon to pride herself. when it snowed. She madly wanted her little brother of four to let her swathe him and stifle him in her love. she went to church reverently. whom she considered brutal louts. and Ediths. or the ‘Voyage autour de ma Chambre’. or sat in her bedroom aloft. For she was different from other folk. alone. and Lucys. She hated her position as swine-girl. the world would have a different face for her and a deepened respect. Even her soul. she drudged in the house. quiveringly sensitive thing—seemed nothing to her. and Guy Mannerings. thinking that if she could read. she fought with her brothers. which work she would not have minded had not her clean red floor been mucked up immediately by the trampling farm-boots of her brothers. with bowed head. and she held not her father in too high esteem because he did not carry any mystical ideals cherished in his heart. She wanted to be considered. wild. She wanted to learn. and quivered in anguish from the vulgarity of the other choir-girls and from the common-sounding voice of the curate. and his meals when he was ready for them. Rob 1 . and Rowenas. ‘Colomba’. For the rest. She could not be princess by wealth or standing.

Miriam. and thrushes called. White clouds went on their way. crowding to the back of the hills that were rousing in the springtime. and who had a death in the family. light. Then he was so ill. Then she could love him. peeping through the kitchen window. It was four and a half miles’ drive. Paul she eyed rather wistfully. Yet she tried hard to scorn him. and she felt he would be weak. She must have something to reinforce her pride. saw the horse walk through the big white gate into the farmyard  Sons and Lovers . was not enough. glamorous world. vivid as copper-green. as it were. Tiny buds on the hedges. It was a new. The water of Nethermere lay below. But here was a new specimen. And he scarcely observed her.for rhapsody. then clicked to the horse as they climbed the hill slowly. take care of him. who could be gentle and who could be sad. were opening into rosettes. On the whole. The boy’s poor morsel of learning exalted him almost sky-high in her esteem. and who was clever. have him in her arms. if she could. how she would love him! As soon as the skies brightened and plum-blossom was out. If she could be mistress of him in his weakness. graceful. quick. Mr. and blackbirds shrieked and scolded. she scorned the male sex. because she felt different from other people. Paul drove off in the milkman’s heavy float up to Willey Farm. very blue against the seared meadows and the thorn-trees. Then she would be stronger than he. in the freshness of the morning. and who knew a lot. Leivers shouted in a kindly fashion at the boy. if he could depend on her. because he would not see in her the princess but only the swine-girl.

‘Let me take your coat. with her warm colouring. Then a youth in a heavy overcoat climbed  . mother. She was almost smothered under its weight. He was quite unused to such attention. But he yielded it to her. her gravity. ‘I say. ‘Why.’ said Paul. ‘I’m sure you’re tired and cold. swinging the great milk-churns. It IS heavy. She was nearly sixteen. ruddy farmer handed down to him. ‘Let me take the rug. rather injured. through Free eBooks at Planet eBook. turning shyly aside.’ laughed the farmer as he passed through the kitchen. caressing voice. Leivers appeared. Isn’t it early? But don’t they look cold?’ ‘Cold!’ said Miriam. The farm had been originally a labourer’s cottage. And the furniture was old and battered. ‘your daffodils are nearly out. You mustn’t walk far in it. still bare.’ She helped him off with his coat. and the funny little corner under the stairs. Miriam appeared in the doorway. Then Mrs. ‘you’ve got almost more than you can manage there. in her musical. ‘I can carry it. her eyes dilating suddenly like an ecstasy. very beautiful.’ he answered.’ she said. He put up his hands for the whip and the rug that the good-looking.’ said Miriam over-gently. ‘The green on their buds—-’ and he faltered into silence timidly.that was backed by the oak-wood. But Paul loved it—loved the sack-bag that formed the hearthrug. The kitchen was very small and irregular.’ She beat up the sofa cushions for the youth. and the small window deep in the corner.

’ ‘How’s your mother?’ ‘I think she’s tired now. I s’ll be glad if she can. don’t you think? I saw a sloe-bush in blossom and a lot of celandines. ‘Oh no. but his eyes were quick and bright with life as ever. His face was pale and thin. I think she’s had too much to do.’ ‘Can I give you anything to eat or to drink?’ ‘No. a maiden in bondage.’ he said. where everything seemed so ordinary. I’m glad it’s sunny. Perhaps in a little while she’ll go to Skegness with me. thank you. the girl started. I’m not tired. There was a sense of silence inside the house and out. Paul watched everything that happened. almost rhapsodic way in which the girl moved about.’ Miriam was moving about preparing dinner. ‘Isn’t it lovely coming out. carrying a great stew-jar to the oven. Miriam seemed as in some dreamy tale. or looking in the saucepan. ‘It’s a wonder she isn’t ill herself. looked round with dark eyes. Leivers.’ replied Mrs. The atmosphere was different from that of his own home. bending a little. that was reaching over to feed on the rose-bushes in the garden. as if something had come breaking in on her world.which. Leivers.’ ‘Yes. ‘Won’t you lie down?’ said Mrs. Leivers called loudly outside to the horse. old blue frock and her broken boots seemed only like the  Sons and Lovers . her spirit dreaming in a land far away and magical. And her discoloured. be could see the plum trees in the back garden and the lovely round hills beyond. Then she’ll be able to rest. He watched the strange. When Mr.

although she was needed at her work.romantic rags of King Cophetua’s beggar-maid. does it?’ Mrs. The girl stiffened as if from a blow. Leivers looked at the youth with her brown. She was too polite to leave him. And afterwards her hands trembled slightly at her work. Her dark eyes dilated.’ She peered into the pan. ‘I’m sure I looked at them five minutes since.’ said Paul. Miriam. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Presently she excused herself and rose. ‘I know it’s easily done. She resented his seeing everything.’ she answered.’ ‘  . When her inside dream was shaken. taking her all in. She resented that he saw so much. gripped tight in self-conscious shame. blushing deeply.’ said the mother. After a while she looked into the tin saucepan. ‘these potatoes have boiled dry!’ Miriam started as if she had been stung. Even he knew that her stocking was not pulled up. ‘if I hadn’t trusted them to you. She suddenly became aware of his keen blue eyes upon her. her body quivered with trepidation. hurt eyes.’ she cried. she remained standing in the same spot. ‘HAVE they. ‘Oh DEAR. She went into the scullery. She nearly dropped all she handled. mother?’ she cried. ‘Well. Miriam. Leivers sat for some time talking to the boy. Instantly her broken boots and her frayed old frock hurt her.’ ‘They’re not much burned.’ said the mother. Mrs. ‘It doesn’t matter. ‘I shouldn’t care.

‘you shouldn’t let them make a trouble. Her mouth opened.’ replied the mother apologetically. ‘I’m ready for mine. taking up the newspaper and reading.’ said the mother. The over-gentleness and apologetic tone of the mother brought out all the brutality of manners in the sons. for a farmer. He glanced at Paul. ‘I’m sure she was trying hard. and said: ‘Dinner ready?’ ‘Nearly. He wore leggings. Edgar tasted the potatoes. ‘Only Miriam knows what a trouble they make if the potatoes are ‘caught’. The meal went rather brutally. but she said nothing. Miriam looked up. mother.’ Edgar looked in anger across at Miriam.’ ‘Then. and his boots were covered with earth. ‘What was Miriam doing that she couldn’t attend to them?’ he said. He was rather small. Edgar.’ said the young man. Edgar. looked indignantly at his mother. rather formal.‘It wouldn’t matter but for the boys. nodded to him distantly. Presently the rest of the family trooped in.’ ‘Yes. her dark eyes blazed and winced.’ she said to him. I forgot them for a minute. and said: ‘These potatoes are burnt. ‘She hasn’t got sense even to boil the potatoes. Dinner was served. Perhaps you’ll have bread if you can’t eat them. She swallowed her anger and her shame. bowing her dark head.’ After a while Edgar came in.’ thought Paul to himself.’ said Ed Sons and Lovers . moved his mouth quickly like a rabbit.

’ said Maurice. when they had gone away again. She was utterly humiliated. The sons resented this. The mother exalted everything—even a bit of housework— to the plane of a religious trust. her mother said: ‘You disappointed me at dinner-time. I CAN’T stand it when you wrangle. where everything took a religious value.’ The girl dropped her head. The mother sat in silence.’ laughed the father. He wondered vaguely why all this intense feeling went running because of a few burnt potatoes. and they answered with brutality and also with a sneering superciliousness. Here there was something different. This atmosphere. ‘They are such BRUTES!’ she suddenly cried. looking up with flashing eyes. ‘But hadn’t you promised not to answer them?’ said the mother. ‘What is she kept at home for?’ ‘On’y for eating everything that’s left in th’ pantry. ‘And I believed in you. like some saint out of place at the brutal  . It puzzled Paul. Paul was just opening out from childhood into manhood. His own mother was logical. Later in the afternoon. came with a subtle fascination to him. Miriam quarrelled with her brothers fiercely. There was something in the air. they felt themselves cut away underneath. Miriam. something he loved.gar. ‘They don’t forget that potato-pie against our Miriam. something that at times he hated. suffering.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook.

trivial and inconsiderable.’ ‘Yes. But how often have I asked you not to answer Edgar back? Can’t you let him say what he likes?’ ‘But why should he say what he likes?’ ‘Aren’t you strong enough to bear it.‘But they’re so hateful!’ cried Miriam. And so they were unaccustomed. if even for my sake? Are you so weak that you must wrangle with them?’ Mrs. and Miriam was the child of her heart. Although the boys resented so bitterly this eternal appeal to their deeper feelings of resignation and proud humility. yet it had its effect on them. suffering. Then they spat on her and hated her. They could not establish between themselves and an outsider just the ordinary human feeling and unexaggerated friendship. but they could not get even nor Sons and Lovers . dear. living within herself. Then beneath was the yearning for the soul-intimacy to which they could not attain because they were too dumb. She could not instil it at all into the boys. Ordinary folk seemed shallow to them. Miriam. But she walked in her proud humility. Leivers stuck unflinchingly to this doctrine of ‘the other cheek”. There was always this feeling of jangle and discord in the Leivers family. painfully uncouth in the simplest social intercourse. They wanted genuine intimacy. and yet insolent in their superiority. With the girls she succeeded better. ‘and—and LOW. Miriam was often sufficiently lofty to turn it. and every approach to close connection was blocked by their clumsy contempt of other people. they were always restless for the something deeper. The boys loathed the other cheek when it was presented to them.

because they scorned to take the first steps.’ And then the celandines ever after drew her with a little spell. Everything had a religious and intensified meaning when he was with her. They seemed to be pressing themselves at the sun.’ said Mrs. In the sunshine of the afternoon mother and daughter went down the fields with him. Miriam was her mother’s daughter. ‘I like them. Leivers’s spell. His soul. they scorned the triviality which forms common human intercourse.’ he said. hurt. Then how did it make the ceiling round. on the side of the ditch. ‘I DO want you to see this. highly developed. Miriam came to see it every day. They looked for nests. They say a bird makes its nest round like a cup with pressing its breast on  . Anthropomorphic as she was. Again. He crouched down and carefully put his finger through the thorns into the round door of the nest. It seemed so close to her. There was a jenny wren’s in the hedge by the orchard. ‘when their petals go flat back with the sunshine. she stimulated him Free eBooks at Planet eBook. I wonder?’ The nest seemed to start into life for the two women. Leivers.mally near to anyone. he noticed the celandines. Together they seemed to sift the vital fact from an experience. ‘It’s almost as if you were feeling inside the live body of the bird. sought her as if for nourishment.’ he said. scalloped splashes of gold. After that. ‘it’s so warm. going down the hedgeside with the girl. Paul fell under Mrs.

a strange gentleness and lovableness. unwearied. this meeting in their common feeling for something in Nature. and then they lived for her. that their love started. Leivers and her children were almost his disciples. when they could trust themselves. and was perfectly happy. ‘Will you come with me on to the fallow?’ asked Edgar. It was not his art Mrs.into appreciating things thus. it was himself and his achievement. anxious for them to see. But even from the seaside he wrote long letters to Mrs. And she was cut off from ordinary life by her religious intensity which made the world for her either a nunnery garden or a paradise. rather hesitatingly. whereas his mother’s influence was to make him quietly determined. he was a long time before he realized her. Morel cared about. or else an ugly. She seemed to need things kindling in her imagination or in her soul before she felt she had them. They had all. Almost they would interest the Leivers more than they interested his mother. Leivers about the shore and the sea. Personally. patient. He used to lie with 0 Sons and Lovers . For a while he went to Skegness with his mother. And he brought back his beloved sketches of the flat Lincoln coast. where sin and knowledge were not. So it was in this atmosphere of subtle intimacy. and spent the afternoon helping to hoe or to single turnips with his friend. dogged. Paul went joyfully. whose rudeness was only superficial. For ten months he had to stay at home after his illness. He soon was friends with the boys. They kindled him and made him glow to his work. But Mrs. cruel thing.

and her dear things—the valuable things to her—her brothers had so often mocked or flouted. and they him. somehow. Though the lads were strong and healthy. darker shed there was standing for four cows. and then he loved them. Hens flew scolding over the manger-wall as the youth and girl went forward for the great thick rope which hung from Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘Come on. yet also such close. they taught him to milk. after having hesitated for some time: ‘Have you seen the swing?’ ‘No. Men have such different standards of worth from women. Miriam came later. There were two cowsheds. only Miriam and her mother at home.’ he replied. like ‘les derniers fils d’une race epuisee”.com 1 . They seemed. One dull afternoon. yet they had all that over-sensitiveness and hanging-back which made them so lonely.’ he answered. At midsummer he worked all through hay-harvest with them. In return. and let him do little jobs—chopping hay or pulping turnips—just as much as he liked. the girl said to him. jumping up. then.the three brothers in the hay piled up in the barn and tell them about Nottingham and about Jordan’s. She always hesitated to offer or to show him anything. Paul loved them dearly. when the men were on the land and the rest at school.’ she replied. But he had come into her life before she made any mark on his. one on either side of the barn. ‘Where?’ ‘In the cowshed. delicate friends once their intimacy was won. The family was so cut off from the world actually. In the lower.

and was pushed back over a peg in the wall. He looked down at her. ‘It’s a treat of a swing. every bit of him swinging. and at the back of all the grey-green wall of the wood. ‘Mind out!’ He set off with a spring. and in a moment was flying through the air. And he  Sons and Lovers . That gave her pleasure. ‘All right. She stood aside in her still.’ she answered. going into the barn. ‘Yes. ‘See.’ he said to the girl.’ she pleaded. then. anxious to try it. ‘No. He held the rope. the cattle standing disconsolate against the black cartshed. Almost for the first time in her life she had the pleasure of giving up to a man. aloof fashion. like a bird that swoops for joy of movement.’ He was swinging through the air.’ she answered. and she saw his blue eyes sparkling. ‘Come on. and he sat down on it.’ he said. and have first go. the upper half of which was open. and she made the swing comfortable for him. ‘Come on.’ he said to her. ‘Why?’ ‘You go. Paul looked at her.the beam in the darkness overhead. showing outside the drizzling rain. She stood below in her crimson tam-o’-shanter and watched. I won’t go first. almost out of the door of the shed. ‘It’s something like a rope!’ he exclaimed appreciatively. Then immediately he rose. sitting down. the filthy yard. of spoiling him. then.’ he said. ‘we put some bags on the seat”.

He swung negligently. firm and inevitable came the thrust at the right moment. and she was afraid. ‘Now I’ll die. Suddenly he put on the brake and jumped out. Suddenly a swallow came down from the high roof and darted out of the door. ‘Ha!’ she laughed in fear. ‘Well. Again. almost swooning.’ She felt the accuracy with which he caught her. as if he were lying on some force.’ he said. ‘It’s so ripping!’ he said. astonished. Down to her bowels went the hot wave of fear.’ she said. dreamy voice. or they’ll bang the manger wall. ‘I’ve had a long turn. ‘Keep your heels up. in a detached. I’ll have just a little. Her crimson cap hung over her dark curls. and the exactly proportionate strength of his thrust. you go on. her beautiful warm face.’ She sat down. ‘Why. ‘I didn’t know a bird was watching. whilst he kept the bags in place for her. It was dark and rather cold in the shed. ‘No. fascinated. exactly at the right moment. so still in a kind of brooding. not much. as though he were the dying motion of the swing. She watched him. ‘But it’s a treat of a swing— it’s a real treat of a swing!’ Miriam was amused that he took a swing so seriously and felt so warmly over it.’ he said. She could feel him falling and lifting through the air.looked down at her. She was in his  . was lifted towards him. setting her in motion. ‘No higher!’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. She gripped the rope. don’t you want one?’ he asked.’ he called.

’ he remonstrated. ‘I don’t believe I should ever be seasick. If he brought up  Sons and Lovers . ‘Should I keep you there?’ ‘No. She began to breathe. Her heart melted in hot pain when the moment came for him to thrust her forward again.‘But you’re not a BIT high. nor could her brothers. But he left her alone. There was something fascinating to her in him. ‘Why. She could never lose herself so.’ he said. Edgar was his very close friend. and desisted. And gradually the intimacy with the family concentrated for Paul on three persons—the mother. because she seemed so humble. For the moment he was nothing but a piece of swinging stuff. you’re scarcely moving. Edgar. as he mounted again. ‘But no higher. It roused a warmth in her. and Miriam. and in a moment got down. She laughed slightly with shame. But the girl gradually sought him out.’ Away he went. He moved aside and watched her.’ he said. It was almost as if he were a flame that had lit a warmth in her whilst he swung in the middle air. not a particle of him that did not swing. ‘They say if you can swing you won’t be sea-sick. To the mother he went for that sympathy and that appeal which seemed to draw him out.’ He heard the fear in her voice. let me go by myself. ‘Won’t you really go any farther?’ he asked.’ she answered. And to Miriam he more or less condescended.

Then she would look up at him. The shimmer is inside really.’ Miriam looked. and vivified things which had meant nothing to her. He had been quiet. dazzled looks of hers. It seems so true. and was frightened.’ And she.his sketch-book. that burned not away. as if I’d painted the shimmering protoplasm in the leaves and everywhere. ‘I wanted that. The shape is a dead crust. And they were the medium through which she came distinctly at her beloved objects. it’s more shimmery. look at them and tell me.’ ‘It’s because—it’s because there is scarcely any shadow in it. That seems dead to me. she would ask: ‘Why do I like this so?’ Always something in his breast shrank from these close. standing-up pieces of fire in that darkness? There’s God’s burning bush for you. Now. ‘Why DO you?’ he asked. and not the stiffness of the shape. She managed to find some meaning in his struggling. with her little finger in her mouth. would ponder these sayings. are they pine trunks or are they red coals. They gave her a feeling of life again. her dark eyes alight like water that shakes with a stream of gold in the dark. Only this shimmeriness is the real living. But the pine trunks Free eBooks at Planet eBook. it was she who pondered longest over the last picture. abstract speeches. intimate. ‘I don’t know. ‘There you are!’ he said  . Another day she sat at sunset whilst he was painting some pine-trees which caught the red glare from the west. Suddenly.

‘Eh. but she brooded on it. roused sensation. ‘Sad!’ she exclaimed. ‘Why are you always sad?’ he asked her.were wonderful to her. looking up at him with startled. with a touch of elf. Her youngest brother was only five. her eyes half closed.’ ‘No. with immense brown eyes in his quaint fragile face—one of Reynolds’s ‘Choir of Angels’. my Hubert!’ And. Often Miriam kneeled to the child and drew him to her.’ he persisted. Miriam!’ ‘Yes. and then you flare up. ‘Eh. wonderful brown eyes. ‘You are always sad. It was a strange stimulant. ‘Don’t!’ said the child. she swayed slightly from side to side with love. don’t you?’ she murmured deep in her throat. and distinct.’ she pondered. and he had a strange. ‘But even your joy is like a flame coming off of sadness. her voice drenched with love. in a voice heavy and surcharged with love. with fidgety leaves and jolly—-‘ He got tangled up in his own speech. ‘I wonder—why?’ ‘Because you’re not. like a pine-tree. ‘You’re never jolly. folding him in her arms. She got so near him. not a bit!’ she cried. He was a frail lad. almost as if she were in a trance. ‘Yes. her face half lifted. because you’re different inside. but you’re not just like an ordinary tree. as if his feelings were new. uneasy—‘don’t. He packed his box and rose. or even just all right. Then sometimes he hated her.’ he replied. Suddenly he looked at her. my Hubert!’ she sang. you love me. and swaying also as  Sons and Lovers .’ ‘I am not—oh.

don’t you?’ she murmured. And on such occasions he was thankful in his heart and soul that he had his mother. intense Free eBooks at Planet eBook. forward. She walked with a swing. overcharged. pondering. closed in on itself. so sane and wholesome. Her intensity. She rarely varied from her swinging. She was not clumsy. in her fear and selfmistrust. and said nothing. It was as if. which were usually dark as a dark church. she put too much strength into the  . and her effort. her head bowed forward. Everything was gripped stiff with intensity. ‘What do you make such a FUSS for?’ cried Paul. And this fearful. Often. He was used to his mother’s reserve. naked contact of her on small occasions shocked him. but could flame with light like a conflagration. when wiping the dishes. All the life of Miriam’s body was in her eyes.if she were swooned in an ecstasy of love. irritated the youth into a frenzy. ‘You love me. which would leave no emotion on a normal plane. all in suffering because of her extreme emotion. ‘Don’t!’ repeated the child. a frown on his clear brow. She might have been one of the women who went with Mary when Jesus was dead. she would stand in bewilderment and chagrin because she had pulled in two halves a cup or a tumbler. Her body was not flexible and living. rather heavily. ‘Why can’t you be ordinary with him?’ She let the child go. Her face scarcely ever altered from its look of brooding. and yet none of her movements seemed quite THE movement. and rose. There was no looseness or abandon about her.

and. be kept at home and not allowed to be anything? What chance HAVE I?’ ‘Chance of what?’ ‘Of knowing anything—of learning. he brought her falling from the fence. And he could not persuade her to jump from even a small height. I want a chance like anybody else. jerking her forward. She landed on her feet safely. If she were getting over a stile. Her eyes dilated. cut him. because I’m a woman. as if she were losing consciousness. But she was physically afraid. Paul wondered. She never wanted to be other than a girl. In his own home Annie was almost glad to be a girl. things were lighter for her. But Miriam almost fiercely wished she  Sons and Lovers . ‘No!’ she cried. It’s not fair. ‘What is it? I’m all day cleaning what the boys make just as bad in five minutes. she gripped his hands in a little hard anguish. ‘Don’t you like being at home?’ Paul asked her. She had not so much responsibility. But her wild ‘Ah!’ of pain. and began to lose her presence of mind. then?’ ‘I want to do something. and afterwards had courage in this respect. I don’t WANT to be at home. Why should 1. She was very much dissatisfied with her lot. ‘Who would?’ she answered. became exposed and palpitating. low and intense. Then her eyes blazed naked in a kind of ecstasy that frightened him. half laughing in terror—‘no!’ ‘You shall!’ he cried once. Occasionally she ran with Paul down the fields. of doing anything.walk.’ She seemed very bitter. because I’m a girl. surprised.’ ‘What do you want.

’ he answered. her dark eyes shining. flushed. and was kneeling at the hearth when he entered. Everyone was out but her. frowning. ‘Would you?’ he asked. her fine hair falling about her face.’ Her eyes dilated. ‘Well.’ When he went up to the farm on the Monday evening. you can learn as much as I  .were a man. ‘Well. ‘But it’s as well to be a woman as a man. ‘I hope she’ll get fat on it. She looked round at him. Why SHOULD it be that I know nothing?’ ‘What! such as mathematics and French?’ ‘Why SHOULDN’T I know mathematics? Yes!’ she cried. ‘I want to learn.’ ‘I should think women ought to be as glad to be women as men are to be men. it was drawing twilight. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. if you like. ‘Ha! Is it? Men have everything.’ replied Mrs. Miriam was just sweeping up the kitchen.’ he said. He used to tell his mother all these things. ‘Yes. Her head had dropped.’ he said. ‘I’m going to teach Miriam algebra. She mistrusted him as teacher.’ ‘But what do you want?’ he asked. and she was sucking her finger broodingly.’ he said. And yet she hated men at the same time. Morel.’ she said hesitatingly. ‘I’ll teach you. ‘No!’—she shook her head—‘no! Everything the men have. her eye expanding in a kind of defiance.

Nobody treads so quick and firm. ‘But—-‘ He could feel her backing away. ‘It’s only letters for figures. bringing some big greenish apples.’ ‘Well. ‘Here.‘Hello!’ she said. she with her head down on the 0 Sons and Lovers . I haven’t thought of it. ‘You know you like them. ‘Ready to do some algebra?’ he asked. my goodness! Take the ashes and come. Presently she came. tipped up. to air. where the big milk-cans were standing. he talking.’ he insisted. half tremulously. but to-night! You see. He gave her the book quickly. though?’ she faltered. And if you want to learn it. with his mouth full. It irritated him. drawing a little book from his pocket. soft and musical.’ He sat down. She was short-sighted. You put down ‘a’ instead of ‘2’ or ‘6’. sighing. ‘Sit down. He could hear the little singsong of the milk spurting into the pails. laughing.’ He went and sat on the stone bench in the back-yard. ‘You said you wanted. you must begin.’ he said.’ She took up her ashes in the dustpan and looked at him.’ ‘How?’ ‘I knew your step.’ he said. He took a bite. and peered over his shoulder.’ They worked. ‘I knew it was you. ‘To-night. ‘Yes. The men were in the cowsheds.’ she said. ‘But I came on purpose.

She was poring over the book. yet trembling lest she could not get at it.’ replied Paul. then got hot. her eyes dilated with laughter that was 1 . Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Occasionally. when he demanded of her. ashamed. Then he glanced at Miriam. It made him cross. as it were. looked at the miserable cabbages in the garden. Then he passed on with a laugh. He stormed at her. The algebra-book she closed. at his mercy. apologetic. ‘Do you see?’ she looked up at him. And when she held herself in a grip. abusing her. Yet her soul seemed to be intensely supplicating. her eyes wide with the half-laugh that comes of fear. She was ruddy and Then Edgar came along with two buckets of milk. it made his blood rouse. But she said nothing. Paul took a bite at his forgotten apple. He was quick and hasty. ‘Algebra!’ repeated Edgar curiously. and grew furious again. shrinking. But things came slowly to her. knowing he was angered. He questioned her more. and at the same instant he grew gentle. Occasionally. her mouth open. ‘What are you doing?’ ‘Algebra. He had been too fast. pecked into lace by the fowls. seemed so utterly humble before the lesson. and he wanted to pull them up. Her liquid dark eyes blazed at him. seeing her hurt because she did not understand. very rarely.’ she said. It made his blood rouse to see her there. seemed absorbed in it. continued the lesson. ‘Hello!’ he said. She listened in silence. she defended herself. got ashamed. ‘You don’t give me time to learn it. She never answered. ‘Don’t you?’ he cried.

and still. do you?’ he asked of the girl later. and still. ‘I didn’t—-’ he began. She turned her face slightly aside. his blood began to boil with her. don’t be so hard on Miriam. And because of the intensity to which she  Sons and Lovers . he felt he wanted to throw the pencil in it. as it were. he went back to her repentant. Once he threw the pencil in her face.’ ‘You don’t mind me. in spite of himself. She may not be quick. feeling weak in all his bones. Then. I don’t mind. Mrs. It was strange that no one else made him in such fury. She never reproached him or was angry with him. when he saw her hand trembling and her mouth parted with suffering.’ he answered. saying: ‘Paul. ‘I go off like it. He flared against her.’ he said rather pitiably. blind face.‘All right.’ ‘Don’t mind me. but got no farther. But still again his anger burst like a bubble surcharged. silent. Miriam.’ she reassured him in her beautiful deep tones—‘no. He was always either in a rage or very gentle. Can’t you look at it with your clear simple wits?’ Often. ‘You don’t learn algebra with your blessed soul. when he saw her eager. when he went again into the kitchen. So the lessons went.’ ‘I can’t help it. He was often cruelly ashamed. There was a silence. ‘What do you tremble your SOUL before it for?’ he cried. Leivers would look at him reproachfully. it’s my fault. after a while. ‘No. his heart was scalded with pain for her.’ But. but I’m sure she tries. throwing the book on the table and lighting a cigarette.

when it rained. mother.’ So she waited for the youth to come back to her. had bitter debates on the nationalizing of the land and similar problems. and he returned gladly to his work. Edgar and Paul and I would be just the same. ‘After all. ‘I’m sure!’ she exclaimed.roused him. But the youth was very happy with her elder brother. that was bright with living warmth. ‘if the land were nationalized. The two men spent afternoons together on the land or in the loft doing carpentry. he argued for her. looking up from his task. He was studying for his painting. at night. and her heart quivered with brightFree eBooks at Planet eBook. Edgar was a rationalist.’ she said within herself. She sewed or read. Mr. working and working. and had a sort of scientific interest in life. he would rest his eyes for a moment on her face. Then. Then he often avoided her and went with Edgar. But she felt it was so. he sought her. sniffing with mock scepticism. alone with his mother. Leivers as well. It was a great bitterness to Miriam to see herself deserted by Paul for  . And often all the men. Miriam attended and took part. He loved to sit at home. but was all the time waiting until it should be over and a personal communication might begin. Miriam and her brother were naturally antagonistic. And they talked together. Paul had already heard his mother’s views. ‘I can do my best things when you sit there in your rocking-chair. and as these were as yet his own. who was curious. who seemed so much lower. or Paul taught Edgar the songs he himself had learned from Annie at the piano.’ he said.

he always wanted to take it to Miriam.ness. There was a yellow glow over the mowing-grass. his vision went deeper. One evening in the summer Miriam and he went over the fields by Herod’s Farm on their way from the library home. and both unconscious of it. Then he was stimulated into knowledge of the work he had produced unconsciously. they almost ignored. the gold in the west sank down to red. and which were real living. When he returned to the factory the conditions of work were better. For many hours she sat still. In contact with Miriam he gained insight. and then the chill blue crept up against the glow. and the sorrel-heads burned crimson. It was two miles home for him. could feel her warmth inside him like strength. one mile forward for Miriam. Then the factory closed at six instead of eight on Thursday and Friday evenings. that meant so much. They came out upon the high road to Alfreton. So it was only three miles to Willey Farm. He had Wednesday afternoon off to go to the Art School— Miss Jordan’s provision—returning in the evening.  Sons and Lovers . There Paul hesitated. They were both very happy so. which ran white between the darkening fields. with all his soul’s intensity directing his pencil. the strength to produce. the red to crimson. whilst she worked or read her book. Miriam urged this warmth into intensity like a white light. And he. From his mother he drew the lifewarmth. Gradually. A sketch finished. He was conscious only when stimulated. slightly conscious of him labouring away. These times. as they walked along the high land.

immortal. By the time they came to the pine-trees Miriam was getting very eager and very tense.’ he said. On the crest of the hill. There was a coolness in the wood. of honeysuckle. wondering whether one whiteness were a strand of fog or only campion-flowers pallid in a cloud. She wanted to show him a certain wild-rose bush she had discovered. ‘The wood is so lovely now. She might not be able to find it. loth to part. Only he could make it her own. AlFree eBooks at Planet eBook.’ she answered impatiently.They both looked up the road that ran in shadow right under the glow of the north-west sky. In the old oak-wood a mist was rising. expectant. ‘Nine o’clock!’ he said. The pair stood. She knew it was wonderful. hugging their books. ‘I wanted you to see it. Selby.’ He followed her slowly across the road to the white gate. stood in black silhouette small against the sky. She was dissatisfied. ‘They grumble so if I’m  . And yet. Her bush might be gone. ‘But you’re not doing anything wrong. He looked at his watch. Dew was already on the paths. The two walked in silence. He followed her across the nibbled pasture in the dusk. and he hesitated. till he had seen it. among the throng of dark treetrunks. Night came wonderfully there. and she wanted it so much. a scent of leaves. He looked round.’ she said. she felt it had not come into her soul. with its stark houses and the up-pricked headstocks of the pit. and a twilight.

and watched. They were going to have a communion together—something that thrilled her. and its long streamers trailed thick. and her dark eyes  Sons and Lovers . When they turned the corner of the path she stood still. seeming to kindle something in their souls. she could distinguish nothing for some moments. splashing the darkness everywhere with great spilt stars. something holy. her lips were parted. In bosses of ivory and in large splashed stars the roses gleamed on the darkness of foliage and stems and grass. She was pale and expectant with wonder. and still did not put out the roses. quivering.most passionately she wanted to be with him when be stood before the flowers. The tree was tall and straggling. It was very still. He was walking beside her in silence. Somewhere on the outermost branches of the pine-wood the honeysuckle was streaming scent. like mother-of-pearl. Point after point the steady roses shone out to them. In the wide walk between the pines. She trembled. ‘Down the middle path. silent. and the earth growing dark. Then she saw her bush. and he listened. right down to the grass. The dusk came like smoke around. Paul and Miriam stood close together. ‘Where?’ he asked. gazing rather frightened. the greying light robbed things of their colour. hastening forward. They were very near to each other. It had thrown its briers over a hawthorn-bush. Coming to the edge of the wood.’ she murmured. Paul looked into Miriam’s eyes. ‘Ah!’ she cried. they saw the sky in front. pure white. vaguely anxious.

The tree was dark as a shadow. It was like a delicious delirium in his veins. where he could breathe. he started to run as fast as he could. It was the communion she wanted. ‘and he is just such a gaby as to let himself be absorbed. and shake themselves. He turned to the bush. Her soul quivered. some incurved and holy. ‘They seem as if they walk like butterflies. feeling her soul satisfied with the holiness of the night. And as soon as he was out of the wood. She had been sitting thinking. They were white. Always when he went with Miriam. ‘Till Sunday. and it grew rather late. His look seemed to travel down into her. and left her. flinging down his  . She lifted her hand impulsively to the flowers.’ he said.’ he said. The two walked in silence. She will never Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ she said to herself. and she walked home slowly.lay open to him. There was a cool scent of ivory roses—a white. virgin scent. She could feel Paul being drawn away by this girl. he knew his mother was fretting and getting angry about him—why. ‘Let us go. she went forward and touched them in worship. he could not understand. And she did not care for Miriam. He stumbled down the path. He turned aside. in the free open meadow. because a chill to her eyes prevented her reading. ‘She is one of those who will want to suck a man’s soul out till he has none of his own left. others expanded in an ecstasy. his mother looked up at the clock. as if pained. As he went into the house. She looked at her roses. Something made him feel anxious and imprisoned.’ he said quietly.

He would not answer. Besides’—her voice suddenly flashed into anger and contempt—‘it is disgusting—bits of lads and girls courting.’ ‘It is NOT courting. You know.’ He was hurt between the past glamour with Miriam and the knowledge that his mother fretted. Morel grew more and more worked up. But he could not harden his heart to ignore his mother. warm and exposed from contact with the girl. that you can’t get away from her. Morel. whoever you went with. when you’ve been to Nottingham. looking at him quickly. ‘Is there nobody else to talk to?’ ‘You wouldn’t say anything if I went with Edgar. saw his hair was damp on his forehead with haste.’ ‘You know I should.’ his mother continued. ‘You must have been right home with her.’  Sons and Lovers . I should say it was too far for you to go trailing. He had meant not to say anything. shrank.’ he answered irritably. coldly and rather tired: ‘You have been far enough to-night.’ So. late at night.’ His soul. she never will. saw him frowning in his heavy fashion.’ he cried. ‘She must be wonderfully fascinating. Mrs. resentfully. but must go trailing eight miles at this time of night. to refuse to answer.let him become a man. She glanced at the clock and said. Mrs. while he was away with Miriam. ‘I DO like to talk to her. ‘I don’t know what else you call it.

I should!’ ‘Oh.’ he said. But his mother looked tired. and never did.‘It’s not! Do you think we SPOON and do? We only talk. ‘What are you so mad about?’ he asked. ‘Well.’ ‘I don’t say I don’t like her. and her eyes hurt her. He said he’d missed you.’ ‘Oh. Sleath asked about you. ‘Because you don’t like her. She was never so strong after William’s death. ‘it’s so pretty in the country. Mr. you know you wouldn’t have gone before quarter-past ten. the rising of the fine hair. greying Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ ‘But you don’t mind our Annie going out with Jim Inger.’ she replied. you’d say anything now you’re disagreeable with me.’ He failed to see the meaning of this remark. yes. wouldn’t you?’ He kissed her forehead that he knew so well: the deep marks between the  .’ ‘Till goodness knows what time and distance. mother. little woman.’ ‘They’ve more sense than you two. Paul snapped at the laces of his boots angrily.’ was the sarcastic rejoinder. Are you a bit better?’ ‘I ought to have been in bed a long time ago.’ ‘Why?’ ‘Our Annie’s not one of the deep sort. ‘Why. But I don’t hold with children keeping company.

‘Why does she get upset?’ she asked. brooding. But. He thought he was too sane for such sentimentality. They both were late in coming to maturity. Then the next time he saw Miriam he said to her: ‘Don’t let me be late to-night—not later than ten o’clock. And somehow. Miriam was exceedingly sensitive. Miriam was the more hypersensitive to the matter. Then he went slowly to bed. Paul took his pitch from His hand lingered on her shoulder after his kiss. And he was usually late again. He had forgotten Miriam. rather quietly. The slightest grossness made her recoil almost in anguish. he only saw how his mother’s hair was lifted back from her warm. because of the continual business of birth and of begetting which goes on upon every farm. but never coarse in speech. and her blood was chastened almost to disgust of the faintest suggestion of such intercourse. and their inti0 Sons and Lovers . perhaps. Her brothers were brutal. broad brow. as her mother had always been. with just a touch of a sneer. and the proud setting of the temples. He resented that. and psychical ripeness was much behind even the physical. she was hurt.’ Miriam dropped her bead. That there was any love growing between him and Miriam neither of them would have acknowledged. The men did all the discussing of farm matters outside. My mother gets so upset.’ ‘Very well!’ said Miriam. and she thought herself too lofty. ‘Because she says I oughtn’t to be out late when I have to get up early.

telling them they had been ‘kested’ by a little lass. They were now in another house. Miriam and Geoffrey. near the Scargill Street home. When he was nineteen. He turned away several boys who came with more buns. This was another holiday 1 . Mrs. and the family straggled down. calling her ‘my darling”. It was a Free eBooks at Planet eBook. At seven o’clock the family heard him buy threepennyworth of hot-cross buns. whistling and sawing in the yard. was home for the holiday. His painting went well. and life went well enough. The room was warm. then Annie and Arthur. this lying in bed just beyond the ordinary time on a weekday. It could never be mentioned that the mare was in foal. sitting in their shirt-sleeves. Everything felt free of care and anxiety. Morel. There was a sense of plenty in the house. but he was happy. and had the meal unwashed. as usual. On the Good Friday he organised a walk to the Hemlock Stone. he talked with gusto to the little girl who brought them. Morel got up. There were three lads of his own age. He threw down his book and went out.macy went on in an utterly blanched and chaste fashion. It was an immense luxury to everybody. which had been left soon after William had died. he was earning only twenty shillings a week. Morel went into the garden. was up early. There was a long garden that ran to a field. While the boys were reading. And Paul and Arthur read before breakfast. apprenticed as an electrician in Nottingham. an old one. Arthur. Directly came an excited cry from the garden: ‘Paul! Paul! come and look!’ It was his mother’s voice. Then Mrs.

‘Well.grey. ‘Come and see. Two fields away Bestwood began.’ She had been looking at the buds on the currant trees. with a jumble of roofs and red house-ends. is it a bit of sugar-bag?’ and there. thinks I to myself. Not nipped. cold day. Her head appeared among the young currant-bushes. Paul looked down the garden for his mother. But HAVEN’T they done well? You see. and such beauties! But where on earth did they come from?’ ‘I don’t know. just see those!’ she exclaimed. and three scyllas in bloom. in a little bed. And beyond went woods and hills. Mrs. ‘To think. not touched!’  Sons and Lovers . now! I THOUGHT I knew every weed and blade in this garden. when. ‘that here I might never have seen them!’ Her son went to her side. ‘Now. behold you! Sugar-bag! Three glories of the snow. that gooseberry-bush just shelters them. right away to the pale grey heights of the Pennine Chain.’ she said. was a ravel of poor grassy leaves. with a sharp wind blowing out of Derbyshire. ‘Come here!’ she cried.’ said Paul. ‘There’s something very blue. out of which rose the church tower and the spire of the Congregational Chapel. ‘What for?’ he answered. that’s a marvel. such as come from very immature bulbs. Morel pointed to the deep blue flowers. Under the fence. ‘I was looking at the currant bushes. Paul went up.

delighted party. ‘And you never told me. ‘Aren’t they!’ she cried.’ She was full of excitement and elation. Fancy them against the snow! But where have they come from? They can’t have BLOWN here. to London.’ she said. to ScotFree eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘I guess they come from Switzerland. ‘They’re a glorious colour!’ he said. ‘You should see the Flying Scotsman come through at half-past six!’ said Leonard. And it was true. Paul was thankful for her sake at last to be in a house with a long garden that went down to a field. The garden was an endless joy to her.’ ‘And  . she knew every weed and blade. whose father was a signalman. They hung over the wall of the mill-race. They stood on the foot-bridge over Boathouse Station and looked at the metals gleaming coldly. Everybody turned up for the walk. where they say they have such lovely things. ‘No! I thought I’d leave it till they might flower. you see! I might have missed them. but she doesn’t half buzz!’ and the little party looked up the lines one way. And I’ve never had a glory of the snow in my garden in my life.He crouched down and turned up the bells of the little blue flowers. and they set off. dropped paper in the water on one side of the tunnel and watched it shoot out on the other. a merry. ‘Lad. can they?’ Then he remembered having set here a lot of little trash of bulbs to mature. Food was packed. Every morning after breakfast she went out and was happy pottering about in it. and the other way.

At Trowell they crossed again from Derbyshire into Nottinghamshire. At Stanton Gate the iron foundry blazed. ‘L. but something else. Leonard and Dick immediately proceeded to carve their initials. It was a town of idleness and lounging. They had expected a venerable and dignified monument. They found a little. In Ilkeston the colliers were waiting in gangs for the public-houses to open. W. and deadened her very perceptions. Beyond was the garden of an old manor. his lesser  Sons and Lovers . Everywhere in the field below. It had yew-hedges and thick clumps and borders of yellow crocuses round the lawn. standing out pathetically on the side of a field. something like a decayed mushroom. twisted stump of rock. He had not seemed to belong to her among all these others.’. Only when he came right back to her. Its field was crowded with folk from Nottingham and Ilkeston. because he had read in the newspaper satirical remarks about initial-carvers.’ said Paul to Miriam. then she looked gratefully. factory girls and lads were eating lunch or sporting about. ‘what a quiet garden!’ She saw the dark yews and the golden crocuses. speaking another language than hers.’ and ‘R. How it hurt P. he was different then—not her Paul. but Paul desisted. leaving his other. in the old red sandstone. Over everything there were great discussions. and they felt the touch of these two magical places. They came to the Hemlock Stone at dinner-time. gnarled. ‘See. who understood the slightest quiver of her innermost soul. who could find no other road to immortality. Then all the lads climbed to the top of the rock to look round.

He remained concentrated in the middle of the road. Impatient of the set in the field. Then he left her again and joined the others. discovered in him a rare potentiality. who stood bent over something. as she thought. She hesitated in her approach. his mind fixed on it. In the dusky. and she knew she must love him. She lingered to gather them. she turned to the quiet lawn. wanting the contact with her again. she could very rarely get into human relations with anyone: so her friend. passionately. Suddenly she realised she was alone in a strange road. the passion in her heart came to a glow upon the leaves.self. She did not fit in with the others. would she feel alive again. was Nature. slender and firm. her companion. tenderly.  . She saw the sun declining wanly. She saw him. The love in her fingertips caressed the leaves. patiently. And she had discovered him. Soon they started home. working away steadily. At last he looked up. as if the setting sun had given him to her. Miriam loitered behind. discovered his loneliness. her lover. and she hurried forward. she went slowly forward. Quivering as at some ‘annunciation’. to watch. a little hopelessly. came over her. A feeling of stillness. one rift of rich gold in that colourless grey evening seemed to make him stand out in dark relief. It felt almost as if she were alone with him in this garden. she came upon Paul. Turning a corner in the lane. almost of ecstasy. A deep pain took hold of her. surrounded by sheaves of shut-up crocuses. Beyond. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. cold hedgerows were some red leaves. And now he asked her to look at this garden.

seemed to be struggling to convince himself. ‘The spring broken here. ‘Come on. This. she knew he had not done the damage himself. ‘Like mother said to me when I was little. because.’ he said. ‘You know. He was talking to her fretfully. love might be a very terrible thing. ‘if one person loves. That same evening they were walking along under the trees by Nether Green. with an effort. But there was about him a certain reserve. She wondered why he. ‘It is only an old umbrella.’ ‘I hope so. ‘I can’t do it. isn’t it?’ she asked.’’ ‘Yes. not even speak softly to him. and she dared not comfort him.’ and he showed her where his umbrella was injured. I think it MUST be.’ he said. who did not usually trouble over trifles. The words went through Miriam like a blade. ‘But it was William’s an’ my mother can’t help but know. was the confirmation of her vision of him! She looked at him.  Sons and Lovers .’ ‘Ah!’ she answered.’ he said quietly. if it were not. ‘What is it?’ she asked. still patiently working at the umbrella. the other does. something like that.’ and they went in silence along the road. Instantly.‘Why.’ he exclaimed gratefully. but that Geoffrey was responsible. ‘Love begets love. then. made such a mountain of this molehill. ‘have you waited for me!’ She saw a deep shadow in his eyes. with some shame.’ she said.

When. thin fellow. unforgettable. In that atmosphere Miriam’s soul came into a glow. Here was a new race of miners. she stuck to him. Paul. and believed he was right.‘Yes. Her soul expandFree eBooks at Planet eBook. They were together. Leonard. He answered. They left the train at Alfreton. They were all rather timid of entering. amid all the bustle of the Bank Holiday crowd. Paul was interested in the street and in the colliers with their dogs. but it IS—at least with most people. vivid. for fear of being turned out. The place was decorated for Easter. He would not go beyond the Communion-rail. felt strong in herself. with their bags of food. went last. developed to a more subtle psychological stage. Miriam did not live till they came to the church. It was great excitement to Miriam to catch a train at Sethley Bridge. about this time. Paul was afraid of the things he mustn’t do. And at this time she dreamed dreams of him. thinking he had assured himself. and he was sensitive to the feel of the place. And this conversation remained graven in her mind as one of the letters of the law. She always regarded that sudden coming upon him in the lane as a revelation. he outraged the family feeling at Willey Farm by some overbearing insult. The air was dim and coloured from the windows and thrilled with a subtle scent of lilies and narcissi. And  . who would have died rather than be sent back. went first. Now she stood with him and for him. a comic. She loved him for that. These dreams came again later on.’ he answered. In the font hundreds of white narcissi seemed to be growing. Miriam turned to him. On the Easter Monday the same party took an excursion to Wingfield Manor.

All his latent mysticism quivered into life. He felt the strange fascination of shadowy religious places. who could act as guides and expositors. She was drawn to him. the tyres of the wheels brilliant with gold-red rust. within the high broken walls. Here on the pavement. an old thorn tree was budding. It was very still. He was a prayer along with her. The manor is of hard.  Sons and Lovers . All kinds of strange openings and broken rooms were in the shadow around them. pale grey stone. and went timidly through the fine clean arch of the inner courtyard. where the hall had been. The young folk were in raptures. Miriam very rarely talked to the other lads. was perfect. They were shy. were farm-carts. After lunch they set off once more to explore the ruin. the soft. In the first courtyard. The glitter of the ivy.ed into prayer beside him. with their shafts lying idle on the ground. All things shone softly in the sun. So usually she was silent. which was wonderfully warm and enlivening. They went in trepidation. This time the girls went with the boys. Everybody was tip-top full with happiness. Celandines and violets were out. atmospheric grey of the castle walls. They at once became awkward in conversation with her. There was one tall tower in a corner. All eagerly paid their sixpences. It was past midday when they climbed the steep path to the manor. almost afraid that the delight of exploring this ruin might be denied them. the gentleness of everything near the ruin. and the other walls are blank and calm.

hopeless eyes. where they say Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned. ‘Think of the Queen going up here!’ said Miriam in a low voice. as he would have picked up her glove.’ They continued to mount the winding staircase. each one separately. She remembered this always. He did it perfectly  . Free eBooks at Planet eBook. as she climbed the hollow stairs. Also. Paul made a drawing: Miriam stayed with him. but he would not let her. and country with gleams of pasture. She was thinking of Mary Queen of Scots looking with her strained. went rushing up the shaft. Instead. old and handsome.’ ‘You don’t think she deserved it?’ asked Miriam. She was only lively. she had to wait behind him. A high wind. I reckon they treated her rottenly. in pale cold bud. and in perfect preservation. ‘If she could get up. that could not understand misery. blowing through the loopholes. Miriam wanted to lean over for some ivy. The tower seemed to rock in the wind. I don’t. ‘No. and take from him each spray as he gathered it and held it to her. They looked over miles and miles of wooded country. there were a few chill gillivers. until he took the hem of her dress and held it down for her.rather tottering. over the hills whence no help came. or sitting in this crypt. ‘for she had rheumatism like anything. The crypt underneath the manor was beautiful.’ said Paul. and filled the girl’s skirts like a balloon. so that she was ashamed. being told of a God as cold as the place she sat in. Round the broken top of the tower the ivy bushed out. in the purest manner of chivalry.

though only ten miles from home. and on the top of which stood an ancient monument. his fingers touching. and the place was golden as a vision. for signalling in old days far down into the level lands of Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire. The lads were eager to get to the top of the hill. watchful and jealous. high up there in the exposed place. that lies high. She held her fingers very still among the strings of the bag. The party was straggling. that the only way to be safe was to stand nailed by the 0 Sons and Lovers . ‘Yes!’ ‘Wouldn’t it be lovely to come and see you!’ They were now in the bare country of stone walls. and the path was jewelled. and which. walking alongside.’ said Paul to Miriam.They set off again gaily. It was blowing so hard. But the meadow was bathed in a glory of sunshine. Beyond the village was the famous Crich Stand that Paul could see from the garden at home. along a path embedded with innumerable tiny glittering points. half of which was by now cut away. ‘Supposing you could have THAT farm. which he loved. It was capped by a round knoll. laced his fingers in the strings of the bag Miriam was carrying. The party pushed on. As they were crossing a large meadow that sloped away from the sun. sturdy and squat. and it was seldom that he gave her any sign. Great expanse of country spread around and below. looking round on their beloved manor that stood so clean and big on its hill. and instantly she felt Annie behind. At last they came into the straggling grey village of Crich. Paul. seemed so foreign to Miriam.

He had been responsible for the party all day. Paul was now pale with weariness.wind to the wan of the tower. crowded with excursionists returning to Manchester. She had an elder sister. They saw the hills of Derbyshire fall into the monotony of the Midlands that swept away South. They got back rather late. Miriam. to Whatstandwell. They had an hour to wait at Ambergate 1 . which they hacked to pieces with shut-knives. watched the moon rise big and red and misty. Ambergate. and London. All the food was eaten. Miriam was somewhat scared by the wind. Miriam understood. but the lads enjoyed it. far away among the rather crowded country on the left. They went on. and kept close to him. She felt something was fulfilled in her. who was a school-teachFree eBooks at Planet eBook. and now he was done. and the brakes from Matlock pulling up at the inn. Stoney Middleton. and he left himself in her hands. Trains came. miles and miles. ‘We might be going there—folk easily might think we’re going that far. They were disgusted that it seemed to stand on a plain. Birmingham. and there was very little money to get home with. But they managed to procure a loaf and a currant-loaf. everybody was hungry. At their feet fell the precipice where the limestone was quarried away. Agatha. and ate sitting on the wall near the bridge. watching the bright Derwent rushing by. walking home with Geoffrey.’ said Paul. Below was a jumble of hills and tiny villages—Mattock. The lads were eager to spy out the church of Bestwood.

Catherine”. was a loophole to the east. and the red-brown wooden beads looked well against her cool brown neck. But at last she had it on. Miriam had nailed on the wall a reproduction of Veronese’s ‘St. Their bedroom was over the stable. Both girls liked to be upstairs. and looked upon the tree-tops of the oak-wood across the yard. out of the way. But in the little looking-glass nailed  Sons and Lovers . dreaming. She was a well-developed girl. They preferred to come running down. not very large. Agatha. But the front one was dripped over with honeysuckle and virginia creeper. had rebelled against the home atmosphere. on manners. on position. and bare. who was fair and small and determined. Miriam stood painfully pulling over her head a rosary he had given her. Miriam considered Agatha worldly. against the doctrine of ‘the other cheek”. The two sisters did not talk much to each other. And she insisted on worldly values. It was a low room. and see him watching. She loved the woman who sat in the window. when Paul came. It caught in the fine mesh of her hair. Between the two girls was a feud. which Miriam would fain have ignored. to the dawn beating up against the beloved round hills. One Saturday afternoon Agatha and Miriam were upstairs dressing. open the stairfoot door. expectant of them. Her own windows were too small to sit in. She was out in the world now. while the little back window. in a fair way to be independent. no bigger than a handkerchief. and very And she wanted herself to be a schoolteacher. on appearance.

She felt there would be some disgrace in it. ‘Paul’s come!’ she exclaimed. she was afraid she did want  . ‘Yes. Miriam stood still in amazement and bewilderment. She saw him look at the house.’ She heard the rope run through the hole as the horse lifted its head from the lad’s caress. She felt as if her whole soul Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and think I wanted him. Miriam was near the window.’ Miriam was startled. Full of twisted feeling. which she propped up to suit herself. and talking to Jimmy. and she shrank away. and who was seedy. ‘Well. She stood self-convicted. ‘Well. then. who had been a pit-horse. and his bicycle went with him as if it were a live thing. but I’m not going to let him see it. She shrank within herself in a coil of torture. She heard him putting his bicycle in the stable underneath. how are ter? Nobbut sick an’ sadly. it’s a shame. like? Why. push his bicycle into the yard. Jimmy my lad. aren’t you?’ she asked. my owd lad. She searched earnestly in herself to see if she wanted Paul Morel. ‘Aren’t you glad?’ said Agatha cuttingly. Then came an agony of new shame. How she loved to listen when he thought only the horse could hear. Suddenly she heard the well-known click of the chain. But there was a serpent in her Eden. Agatha had bought a little mirror of her own. He walked in a nonchalant fashion. and she saw Paul fling open the gate. and did he know she wanted him? What a subtle infamy upon her.against the whitewashed wall she could only see a fragment of herself at a time. Did she want Paul Morel.

not Paul Morel’s or her own. Miriam heard her greet the lad gaily. who died for the souls of men. She was to be a sacrifice. Agatha was dressed first.’ Something anomalous in the prayer arrested her. She herself would have felt it bold to have greeted him in such wise. between herself and God. and said: ‘But.coiled into knots of shame. because he is Thy son. if it is Thy will that I should love him. But. How could it be wrong to love him? Love was God’s gift. That was because of him. then. And yet it caused her shame. Make me love him splendidly. identifying herself with a God who was sacrificed. When she went downstairs Paul was lying back in an  Sons and Lovers . Lord. make me love him—as Christ would. if I ought not to love him. let me not love Paul Morel. Yet there she stood under the self-accusation of wanting him. Prayer was almost essential to her. Paul Morel. and deeply moved. quite still. In bitter perplexity she kneeled down and prayed: ‘O Lord. But it was God’s sacrifice.’ She remained kneeling for some time. After a few minutes she hid her face in the pillow again. her black hair against the red squares and the lavender-sprigged squares of the patchwork quilt. tied to that stake of torture. it was her own. it was not his affair. knew exactly how brilliant her grey eyes became with that tone. Then she fell into that rapture of self-sacrifice. and ran downstairs. Keep me from loving him. She lifted her head and pondered. which gives to so many human souls their deepest bliss.

’ ‘Meet you where?’ ‘Somewhere—where you like. The intimacy between them had been kept so abstract. who was scorning a little painting he had brought to show her. ‘Nothing. ‘Why?’ he asked.’ ‘Very well. Miriam glanced at the two. were dropped.’ So the Thursday evenings which had been so precious to her.armchair. and then her manner was so distant he thought he had offended her. holding forth with much vehemence to Agatha. I don’t see why you shouldn’t keep calling for me.’ ‘I shan’t meet you  . So she announced to Paul one evening she would not call at his house again for him on Thursday nights. we could still go together. and she decided to go no more. But if you won’t. After calling for Paul regularly during the whole spring. It was tea-time before she was able to speak to Paul. ‘if you’d care to meet me. She went into the parlour to be alone. Mrs. and avoided their levity. such a matter Free eBooks at Planet eBook. a number of trifling incidents and tiny insults from his family awakened her to their attitude towards her. very short. Miriam discontinued her practice of going each Thursday evening to the library in Bestwood.’ ‘But. Only I’d rather not. He would not have it that they were lovers. He worked instead.’ she faltered. I don’t want to meet you. and to him. Morel sniffed with satisfaction at this arrangement.

we are friends. One evening in midsummer Miriam called at the house. The place where she was touching him ran hot with friction. He was a fool who did not know what was happening to himself. and he became cruel to her because of it. Paul was alone in the kitchen. His consciousness seemed to split. till the change had taken place in him again. ‘Come and look at the sweet-peas. What does it matter what they say. He stoutly denied there was anything else between them. Miriam was silent. ‘We aren’t lovers. By tacit agreement they ignored the remarks and insinuations of their acquaintances. she had him all to herself. frowning. and she knew it. It caused a violent conflict in him. With Miriam he was always on the high plane of abstraction. all thought and weary struggle into consciousness. as they were walking together.’ he said to the girl. If he were jolly and. and he was wrestling with his own soul. his mother could be heard moving about upstairs.of the soul. that he saw it only as a platonic friendship.  Sons and Lovers . But he must be made abstract first. when his natural fire of love was transmitted into the fine stream of thought. passionate in his desire for understanding. warm from climbing. flippant. He was one internecine battle. if she put her arm in his. Then. as she put it.’ Sometimes. And in this passion for understanding her soul lay close to his. it caused him almost torture. ‘WE know it. or else she very quietly agreed. She would have it so.’ he said to her. she waited till he came back to her. she slipped her arm timidly into his. Let them talk. But he always resented it.

taking the pin out of his mouth. then he said: ‘Come here. The sky behind the townlet and the church was orange-red. Paul passed along a fine row of sweet-peas.They went into the garden. flowers appealed with such strength she felt she must make them part of herself. Hurriedly he Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Miriam followed. But from him it hurt her. She thought flowers ought to be pinned in one’s dress without any care. ‘a woman ought always to arrange her flowers before her glass. gathering a blossom here and there. breathing the fragrance. To her. but mirthlessly. stepping back now and then to see the effect. to hear him thus mix her up with women in a general way. and let me pin them in for you.’ Miriam laughed. There seemed a sort of exposure about the action. all cream and pale blue. ‘Some women do—those who look decent. When he had got a fair bunch. From most men she would have ignored it.’ He arranged them two or three at a time in the bosom of her dress. Paul hated her for it. it was as if she and the flower were loving each other. they returned to the house. He was rather offended at her laughter. ‘You know. the flower-garden was flooded with a strange warm light that lifted every leaf into significance. He had nearly finished arranging the flowers when he heard his mother’s footstep on the stairs. Miriam laughed again. something too intimate. He listened for a moment to his mother’s quiet movement upstairs.’ he said. That Paul should take pains to fix her flowers for her was his whim.’ he  . When she bent and breathed a flower.

and Leonard. There was immense jubilation. ‘Don’t let mater know. She thought one week would be enough. Morel. There was to be a party: some of Annie’s friends. and Alice. He and she sat at evening picturing what it would be like. ‘Good-evening. It was not till he was twenty years old that the family could ever afford to go away for a holiday. except to see her sister. in a deferential way. ‘Oh. a cottage such as they wished for thirty shillings a week. Morel was too wise to have any open rupture. and Kitty. Miriam?’ replied Mrs.’ she said. she said. and they were all going. She sounded as if she felt she had no right to be there. and Mrs. Annie came in. one friend of Paul’s. At last they got an answer from Mablethorpe. Paul was wild with joy for his mother’s sake. She would have a real holiday now.pushed in the last pin and turned away. Morel coolly. Mrs. Now at last Paul had saved enough money.’ he said. a young man in the same office where William had previously been. but he insisted on two. It was great excitement writing for rooms. is it you. since she had been married. Morel had never been away for a holiday. There was wild rejoicing and  Sons and Lovers . Paul and his mother debated it endlessly between them. and Miriam. They wanted a furnished cottage for two weeks. Mrs. Miriam picked up her books and stood in the doorway looking with chagrin at the beautiful sunset. She would call for Paul no more. But Paul insisted on everybody’s accepting his friendship with the girl.

And Mrs. Morel. She came down for supper. Paul suggested that Miriam should sleep at his house.anticipation.’ interrupted Mrs. She seemed to brood with joy over it. But the Morel’s house rang with excitement. Paul ducked his head over the book. and by him. and so he must read it to Miriam. And even Annie and the father attended. ‘what IS the ‘Bride of Enderby’ that the bells are supposed to ring?’ ‘It’s an old tune they used to play on the bells for a warning against water. Everybody was so excited that even Miriam was accepted with warmth. Morel with his head cocked on one side. ‘But. like somebody listening to a sermon and feeling conscious of the fact. But now they condescended to listen. He had got now all the audience he cared for. Morel sat jealously in her own chair. She always seemed absorbed in him. Paul told Miriam. because it was so far for her to walk. They were to go on Saturday morning by the seven train.’ he replied. He was in very high feather. He had discovered a poem by Jean Ingelow which mentioned Mablethorpe. Mrs. when he was present. He had not the faintest knowledge what it really was. She was going to hear also. Miriam sat on the sofa absorbed in him. He would never have got so far in the direction of sentimentality as to read poetry to his own family. Morel and Annie almost contested with Miriam who should listen best and win his favour. I suppose the Bride of Enderby was drowned in a  . But almost as soon as she entered the feeling in the family became close and tight. but he would never have sunk so low as to confess that to his womenfolk. They listened and believed Free eBooks at Planet eBook.

Everybody thought it clever. ‘Certainly not. And he wasn’t equal to getting a carriage.’ cried Annie. ‘You sit down again. Annie got up to clear the table. And great tortures he suffered lest the tin box should be put out at Firsby instead of at Mablethorpe. ‘A bell sounds the same whether it’s rung backwards or forwards. who could not be familiar and insist.’ ‘How?’ said Annie. Then.’ he said. There was a pause. He thought so too.’ ‘But. waiting a minute. There aren’t many. Morel curiously. Miriam rose to help with the pots. he continued the poem.’ said Morel. ‘And the people knew what that tune meant?’ said his mother.’ And Miriam. when he finished.him. ‘Let ME help to wash up.’ she said. ‘Hm!’ said Mrs.’ ‘I canna see what they want drownin’ theirselves for. His bold little mother did that. ‘But I wish everything that’s written weren’t so sad. He believed himself. ‘Yes—just like the Scotch when they heard ‘The Flowers o’ the Forest’—and when they used to ring the bells backward for alarm. ‘if you start with the deep bell and ring up to the high one—der—der—der—der—der—der—der— der!’ He ran up the scale. his father was no good. 0 Sons and Lovers . sat down again to look at the book with Paul. He was master of the party.

yellow oats. and if it were a tramcar—-‘ They drove along. flat and stretching level to the sky. ‘Two shillings. ‘Here!’ Paul and Annie got behind the rest. and immense expanse of land patched in white barley. The total expenses—lodging. Morel. There was a universal sigh. food. There was wild excitement because they had to cross a little bridge to get into the front garden. how far is it?’ ‘A good way. ‘it’s only threepence each. convulsed with shamed laughter. They drove past.’ she said. everything—was sixteen Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘How much will it be to drive to Brook Cottage?’ said Mrs. But she scrambled in. Each cottage they came to. this is it!’ Everybody sat breathless.’ ‘I don’t believe it.’ ‘Why. At last they descended at a house that stood alone over the dyke by the highroad. There were eight crowded in one old seaside carriage.’ They drove on and on. Mrs. and green root-crops.‘Here!’ she cried to a man.’ said Mrs. with a sea-meadow on one side. Morel. But they loved the house that lay so solitary. Morel.’ said Mrs. red wheat. ‘I WAS frightened. He and his mother ran the show. Paul kept 1 . ‘You see. ‘I’m thankful it wasn’t that brute. Morel cried: ‘Is it this? Now.

The woman of the house was young.’ And to Miriam he said. Yet he.’ he answered. Miriam did not get much of him. too. except. She was afraid of the plank bridge. and he preached priggishly to Annie about the fatuity of listening to them. knew all their songs. And if he found himself listening. Morel was wandering abroad quite early.’ his mother called from the bedroom. Morel always washed the pots in the kitchen and made the beds.shillings a week per person. perhaps. Coons were insufferably stupid to Miriam.’ ‘Work!’ she exclaimed. Yet to Annie he said: ‘Such rot! there isn’t a grain of intelligence in it. and she did laundry work. and he abused her for being a baby.’  Sons and Lovers . ‘eat a piece of bread-and-butter. ‘But you said you’d have a real holiday. Her husband was blind. He and Leonard went bathing in the mornings. with much scorn of Annie and the others: ‘I suppose they’re at the ‘Coons’. Nobody with more gumption than a grasshopper could go and sit and listen. and sang them along the roads roisterously. when all the others went to the ‘Coons”. the stupidity pleased him very much. so he thought they were to himself also. Paul. ‘What are you talking about!’ He loved to go with her across the fields to the village and the sea. ‘You. ‘and now you work. On the whole he stuck to her as if he were HER man.’ said Paul. So Mrs.’ ‘All right. And when he got back he saw his mother presiding in state at the breakfast-table.

It was quite dark when they turned again. She bowed in consent even to that. the great levels of sky and land in Lincolnshire. She always reminded Paul of some sad Botticelli angel when she sang.’ Only when he sketched. Miriam was Gothic.It was queer to see Miriam singing coon songs. nobody knows where. There was not a figure but themselves on the far reaches of sand. talk with  . Paul loved to see it clanging at the land. He loved to feel himself between the noise of it and the silence of the sandy shore. The country was black and Free eBooks at Planet eBook. she had him to herself. and then along a raised grass road between two dykes. even when it was: ‘Come down lover’s lane For a walk with me. Miriam was with him. Everything grew very intense. She had a straight chin that went in a perpendicular line from the lower lip to the turn. no noise but the sound of the sea. or at evening when the others were at the ‘Coons’. he said. Himself. on and on. in contradiction to the perpendicular lines and to the Gothic arch. repeating themselves. meant the dogged leaping forward of the persistent human soul. The way home was through a gap in the sandhills. The long breakers plunged and ran in a hiss of foam along the coast. which. leapt up at heaven and touched the ecstasy and lost itself in the divine. One evening he and she went up the great sweeping shore of sand towards Theddlethorpe. was Norman. It was a warm evening. He talked to her endlessly about his love of horizontals: how they. meant to him the eternality of the will. just as the bowed Norman arches of the church. he said.

His blood was concentrated like a flame in his chest. She was expecting some religious state in him. troubled. He remained perfectly still. the only thing in the far-reaching darkness of the level. covered with the darkness of her hat. Still yearning. was watching him unseen. ‘It’s the moon. staring at the immense and ruddy moon.’ she assented. He stood still. But she was brooding. she was half aware of his passion. when she saw it. The crisis was past. He was impotent against it. She was slightly afraid—deeply moved and religious. looking at it. waiting for him. There were flashes in his blood. the muscles of his arms contracted. He was naturally so young. ‘Ah!’ cried Miriam. for ever in shadow. and he could scarcely breathe. ‘Isn’t it wonderful?’ She was curious about him. That was her best state. But he could not get across to her. From behind the sandhills came the whisper of the sea. ‘What is it?’ murmured Miriam. frowning. Suddenly he started. he did not know he wanted to crush her on to his breast to  Sons and Lovers . But somehow she ignored them. ‘Yes.’ he answered. An enormous orange moon was staring at them from the rim of the sandhills. Paul and Miriam walked in silence. He did not know himself what was the matter.still. The whole of his blood seemed to burst into flame. and gazed at him. His heart beat heavily. ‘What is it?’ she murmured again. Her face. and their intimacy was so abstract. She stood beside him. He turned and looked at her.

Mrs. and the other jolly people. And now this ‘purity’ prevented even their first love-kiss. ‘then DO as you like.’ said Mrs. for she seemed in some way to make him despise himself. She plodded beside him. and then he was too shrinking and sensitive to give it. and melancholic. can’t I?’ ‘And I should have thought you could get in to supper with the rest. Morel. The fact that he might want her as a man wants a woman had in him been suppressed into a shame. When she shrank in her convulsed. For this Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘It’s not LATE. the window of their lamp-lit cottage. ‘I shall please myself. he had winced to the depths of his soul. I shall do as I like.’ And she took no further notice of him that evening. ‘Well. priggish. even a passionate kiss.’ he retorted.’ ‘Very well. Looking ahead—he saw the one light in the darkness. He hated her.’ said his mother cuttingly. ‘What does that matter!’ he cried irritably. He loved to think of his mother. but sat reading. It was as if she could scarcely stand the shock of physical love. As they walked along the dark fen-meadow he watched the moon and did not speak. Miriam read also. everybody else has been in long ago!’ said his mother as they  . Which he pretended neither to notice nor to care about. Morel hated her for making her son like this. She watched Paul growing irritable. ‘I can go a walk if I like. coiled torture from the thought of such a thing.ease the ache there. He was afraid of her. obliterating herself.

because she despised the triviality of these other people.  Sons and Lovers . only Paul.she put the blame on Miriam. somehow. she spoilt his ease and naturalness. Annie and all her friends joined against the girl. And he writhed himself with a feeling of humiliation. Miriam had no friend of her own. And Paul hated her because. But she did not suffer so much.

or he stayed in Nottingham all night instead of coming home.’ replied his mother. he simply can’t come away from a game of whist.CHAPTER VIII STRIFE IN LOVE ARTHUR finished his apprenticeship. But no. He’s a fool. He had not been at his work many months when again he did not come home one night.’ ‘I don’t know that it would make it any better if he did Free eBooks at Planet eBook. He did not drink nor gamble. ‘Do you know where Arthur is?’ asked Paul at breakfast. But he was wild and restless. ‘And if he DID anything I shouldn’t mind. and scored his chest into one mass of wounds on the raw stones and tins at the bottom. but had a good chance of getting on. ‘I do not. like a  . ‘He is a fool. and got a job on the electrical plant at Minton Pit. Either he went rabbiting in the woods. always through some hot-headed thoughtlessness.’ said Paul. or he miscalculated his dive into the canal at Bestwood. or else he must see a girl home from the skating-rink—quite proprietously—and so can’t get home. He earned very little. Yet he somehow contrived to get into endless scrapes.

blind eye!’ exclaimed her son. and she resented it. ‘Well. She saw the sunshine going out of him. ‘My dearest Mother. instead of going to work.’ said his mother coldly. ‘Are you fearfully fond of him?’ Paul asked his mother.’ Paul was raw and irritable. he wearies me. No. ‘Give it here. I came with Jack Bredon yesterday.’ said Paul. ‘I very much doubt it. ‘I have taken the King’s shilling. Morel.’ ‘She may do—but I don’t. He also wearied his mother very often. ‘It’s from your son. Arthur. She started. and almost boxed his ears.’ he said. I should respect him more. I came away with him. Mrs. and enlisted.something to make us all ashamed. Morel screwed up her eyes to look at the address.’ ‘And you’d actually rather he was good?’ ‘I’d rather he showed some of a man’s common sense.’ said Mrs. Morel. and. ‘What now—-!’ cried Mrs.’’ Paul read. He said he was sick of wearing the seat of a stool out. ‘I don’t know what made me such a fool. snatching it away from her. but perhaps if you came  Sons and Lovers . like the idiot you know I am. As they were finishing breakfast came the postman with a letter from Derby. I want you to come and fetch me back from here. ‘What do you ask that for?’ ‘Because they say a woman always like the youngest best. They went on with breakfast.

I promise I will have more sense and consideration…. Morel sat down in her rocking-chair. ‘Not in my eyes!’ ‘He should get in a cavalry regiment. I am nothing but a trouble to you. ‘Well. her face set. stung.’’  . thinking. my boy!’ cried his mother. he’ll have the time of his life.’ ‘I suppose I’m to take it as a blessing.’ said Paul. ‘Oh. so there. NOW. ‘let him stop.for me they would let me go back with you. and not a thing in a red coat. ‘He’ll look well in uniform. My dear mother. do you hear. ‘let him stop!’ ‘Yes. His mother turned on him like a fury. ‘You’re not going to mount it up to a tragedy.’ said Paul. The mother sat with her hands folded in her apron. I was a fool when I did it. ‘you’re not going to worry your soul out about this. ‘what am I but a common clerk?’ ‘A good deal.’ said Paul. will he!’ she cried. I don’t want to be in the army. and will look an awful swell.’ said Paul irritatingly. But if you get me out of this.’ he retorted. ‘What?’ ‘At any rate. ‘If I’m not SICK!’ she cried suddenly. ‘The FOOL!—the young fool!’ she cried.’ ‘I shouldn’t mind being in a red coat—or dark blue.’ There was silence. ‘Sick!’ ‘Now.’ ‘Swell!—SWELL!—a mighty swell idea indeed!—a common soldier!’ ‘Well. that Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ she cried. a MAN.’ she flashed. turning on her son. beginning to frown.

’ ‘It’s no good. It was. ‘Just as he was getting on. ‘Yes.would suit me better—if they didn’t boss me about too much. or might have been getting on. and she sat back in her chair. When Morel was having his dinner in the evening.’ But his mother had ceased to listen. she said suddenly: ‘I’ve had to go to Derby to-day. brimmed up with wrath and chagrin. however. ‘YOU know what he wants!’ She got ready and went by the first train to Derby.’ cried the mother. A SOLDIER!—a common SOLDIER!—nothing but a body that makes movements when it hears a shout! It’s a fine thing!’ ‘I can’t understand why it upsets you.’ ‘I’ll see for myself.’ 0 Sons and Lovers .’ said Paul. her chin in one hand. perhaps you can’t. It’s just what he wants. after THIS?’ ‘It may lick him into shape beautifully. What good will he be. where she saw her son and the sergeant. ‘No.’ ‘And why on earth don’t you let him stop. at his job—a young nuisance—here he goes and ruins himself for life. no good. holding her elbow with the other. ‘Lick him into shape!—lick what marrow there WAS out of his bones. But I understand”.’ ‘Of course. do you think.’ said Paul. ‘And shall you go to Derby?’ asked Paul.

showing the whites in his black face. ‘Saying such a thing!’ ‘I do.’ Morel put down his knife and leaned back in his chair.’ He considered it a moment. so you needn’t ‘h’m’!’ Mrs. I s’ll do no more for ‘ 1 .’ he said.’ she said. did you go?’ said Paul to his mother when he came home. ‘I hope he may never set foot i’ my house again. ‘Has ter. ‘The idea!’ cried Mrs. ‘that he niver ‘as!’ ‘And is going down to Aldershot tomorrow.’ ‘A fat sight you have done as it is. ‘A fool as runs away for a soldier. ‘I did. And Morel was almost ashamed to go to his public-house that evening. ‘That’s a winder.’ ‘And what did he say?’ ‘He blubbered when I came away.’ ‘Well!’ exclaimed the miner. Suddenly his face contracted with wrath. Morel.’ he said.’ ‘And could you see him?’ ‘Yes.The miner turned up his eyes.’ ‘H’m!’ ‘And so did I.’ repeated Morel. said ‘H’m!’ and proceeded with his dinner. Morel fretted after her son. ‘Nay. let ‘im look after ‘issen. ‘Well. She knew he would not Free eBooks at Planet eBook. What took thee there?’ ‘That Arthur!’ ‘Oh—an’ what’s agate now?’ ‘He’s only enlisted. lass.

‘said he was perfectly proportioned—almost exactly. He was highly excited. ‘Now. ‘It’s nice. though she said nothing. my boy!’ ‘A first prize for those glass jars—-‘ ‘H’m!’ ‘And a first prize for that sketch up at Willey Farm. bright look about her.’ ‘Both first?’ ‘Yes. The discipline was intolerable to him. ‘But the doctor. He IS good-looking. a landscape in water-colour and a still life in oil. it’s a different character. does he?’ ‘No. how should I know. But he doesn’t fetch the girls like William. irresponsible. mother?’ he asked. Her face flushed. And in the autumn exhibition of students’ work in the Castle he had two studies. He did not.’ ‘H’m!’ There was a rosy. She saw by his eyes he was glad.’ ‘He’s awfully nice-looking.’ he said.’ she said with some pride to Paul. you know. He’s a good deal like his father. ‘isn’t it?’ ‘It is. ‘What do you think I’ve got for my pictures.’ ‘Why don’t you praise me up to the skies?’  Sons and Lovers . Paul did not go much to Willey Farm at this time. all his measurements were correct.’ To console his mother. both of which had firstprize awards. coming home one the army.

‘Name—Paul Morel—First Prize. She kept them still. and probably would do well in the end. William had brought her his sporting trophies. She was to see herself fulfilled.’ It looked so strange. Several times during the exhibition Mrs. ‘I should have the trouble of dragging you down again. they were good. But she felt a proud woman. She had a great belief in  . She wandered down the long room looking at the other exhibits. She looked at them a long time trying to find fault with them. But Paul was going to distinguish himself. Yes. the more because he was unaware of his own powers. a good specimen—and warm and generous. Then suddenly she had a shock that made her heart beat. But she was full of joy. Life for her was rich with promise. When she met well-dressed ladies going home to the Park. And she glanced round to see if anyone had noticed her again in front of the same sketch. There hung Paul’s picture! She knew it as if it were printed on her heart. Arthur was handsome—at least. she thought to herself: ‘Yes.She laughed. on the walls of the Castle gallery. nevertheless. and she did not forgive his death. Some made her jealous. where in her lifetime she had seen so many pictures. There was so much to come out of him. you look very well—but I wonder if YOUR son has Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ she said. they were so good. But they had not in them a certain something which she demanded for her satisfaction. Morel went to the Castle unknown to Paul. there in public. Not for nothing had been her struggle.

and a sort of slightly affected simple dress that made her look rather  Sons and Lovers . as he was going up Castle Gate.’ And she walked on.’ ‘No. if only a trifle. And Paul felt he had done something for her. dowdy hat of black beaver. but which believed the former. as she shook hands with him. Miriam watched Paul searchingly. He had seen her on the Sunday. Dawes. in her bowed. looked dwarfed beside this woman with the handsome shoulders.’ said Miriam huskily. It was strange how Miriam. blonde. All his work was hers. One day. ‘I’ve told you about Mrs. ‘Hello!’ he said. as if she had drawn away in contempt. a skin like white honey.’ replied Miriam. she was nervous. The girl saw his masculine spirit rear its head. half apologetically. She was walking with a rather striking woman. ‘you didn’t tell me you were coming to town. His gaze was on the stranger. She carried her head back. as proud a little woman as any in Nottingham.’ replied Mrs. perhaps from men also. who ignored him. Dawes indifferently.two first prizes in the Castle. and had not expected to meet her in town.’ He looked at her companion. ‘I drove in to Cattle Market with father. and a full mouth. he met Miriam. do you know Paul?’ ‘I think I’ve seen him before. She wore a large. ‘Clara. She had scornful grey eyes. and a defiant carriage. meditative bearing. with a sullen expression. with a slightly lifted upper lip that did not know whether it was raised in scorn of all men or out of eagerness to be kissed.

‘Where are you going?’ he asked. damn it!’ And directly the two women moved on.sack-like. Through her Miriam felt she got into direct contact with Jordan’s. and could estimate better Paul’s position. ‘Where have you seen me?’ Paul asked of the woman. Then: ‘Walking with Louie Travers. But Mrs. Miriam usually looked nice. Baxter Dawes. was smith for the factory. Baxter Dawes he knew and disliked. The smith was a man of thirty-one or thirty-two. ‘To the Castle. What time are you free?’ ‘You know not till eight to-night. She was evidently poor. also striking to Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Miriam had sought her out because she had once been Spiral overseer at Jordan’s. and because her husband. Leivers. She did not answer. and had taken up Women’s Rights. I wish you could come too. He came occasionally through Paul’s corner—a big. and so on. Louie was one of the ‘Spiral’ girls. He turned to Miriam.’ ‘What train are you going home by?’ ‘I am driving with father.’ she said. She looked at him as if she would not trouble to answer. ‘Why. It interested Paul. do you know her?’ he asked. She was supposed to be clever. Dawes was separated from her husband. well-set man. Paul remembered that Clara Dawes was the daughter of an old friend of Mrs. making the irons for cripple  . and had not much taste.

three hap’orth o’ pap?’ he snarled. There was a peculiar similarity between himself and his wife. critical gaze fixed on his face. And he had a similar defiance in his bearing and manner.’ Since that time the boy used to look at the man every time he came through with the same curious criticism. with a clear. The boy glanced away. ‘Leave him alone. Pappleworth. his moustache was golden. deliberate gaze of an artist on his face. he got into a fury. dark brown and quick-shifting. He had the same white skin. ‘Why yer—-!’ shouted Dawes. The boy shrugged his shoulders slightly. ‘He’s only one of your good little sops who can’t help it. and handsome. His mouth. They protruded very slightly. with a kind of rottenness. and his eyelids hung over them in a way that was half hate. as if he were ready to knock anybody down who disapproved of him—perhaps because he really disapproved of himself. glancing away before he met the smith’s eye. His eyes. But the smith used to stand behind the counter and talk to Mr. His speech was dirty. Pappleworth. was sensual. Finding the lad’s impersonal. It made Dawes  Sons and Lovers . But then came the difference. The smith started round as if he had been stung. His hair was of soft brown. too. golden tinge. ‘What’r yer lookin’ at. bullying. in that insinuating voice which means. From the first day he had hated Paul. were dissolute.’ said Mr. His whole manner was of cowed defiance. ‘What are yer lookin’ at?’ he sneered. Again he found the youth with his cool.look at.

He sat in the armchair. warm room. ‘What did you think of Mrs. On the table and on the high old rosewood piano were bowls of coloured leaves. in a deep tone. She had a fire in the parlour. Clara Dawes had no children. When she had left her husband the home had been broken up. so the two had the parlour together. and somehow Paul knew that this girl. but don’t you think she’s a fine woman?’ she said. low. The glow was warm on her handsome. and yet flushed if he walked along to the station with her as she went home. I think she’s dissatisfied. she crouched on the hearthrug near his feet.’ ‘What with?’ ‘Well—how would you like to be tied for life to a man Free eBooks at Planet eBook. The next time he went to see Miriam it was Saturday evening. I like her for some things.’ he replied. The others. ‘Yes—in stature. In the same house was a sister-in-law. pensive face as she kneeled there like a devotee. It was a long. and she had gone to live with her mother. insolent hussy. They hated each other in silence. Dawes?’ she asked quietly. IS she disagreeable?’ ‘I don’t think so. But without a grain of taste. There were three of Paul’s small sketches on the wall. ‘No. was now Dawes’s woman. had gone out. ‘She doesn’t look very amiable. Louie Travers. Dawes lodged with his  . and was waiting for him. and his photo was on the mantelpiece. She was a handsome.furious. who mocked at the youth. except her father and mother and the young children.

‘I do. that?’ ‘Why did she marry him. ‘What makes you think so?’ ‘Look at her mouth—made for passion—and the very setback of her throat—-’ He threw his head back in Clara’s defiant manner. Miriam bowed her head. if she was to have revulsions so soon?’ ‘Ay. that’s all. Miriam bowed a little lower. ‘I don’t know—her skin and the texture of her—and her—I don’t know—there’s a sort of fierceness somewhere in her. There was a silence for some moments. I don’t know—perhaps you like her because she’s got  Sons and Lovers .’ ‘Yes. do you?’ he asked the girl.’ he said. ‘You don’t really like her. why did she!’ repeated Miriam bitterly. ‘Ay?’ she queried satirically. ‘Eh. while he thought of Clara. I appreciate her as an artist.’ He wondered why Miriam crouched there brooding in that strange way. ‘Yes.’ ‘Then what?’ she asked slowly. dazzled dark eyes. ‘And I should have thought she had enough fight in her to match him.’ she said. She looked at him with her great. ‘You don’t—you can’t—not really.’ she said. It irritated him. ‘And what were the things you liked about her?’ she asked.

They were silent. His vigorous warm hands were playing excitedly with the berries. ‘I don’t know. You only laugh when something is odd or incongruous. painful sound. ‘If you put red berries in your hair.’ she said. ‘why would you look like some witch or priestess. When you laugh I could always cry. Oh.’ She bowed her head as if he were scolding her.’ he said. I feel as if it would set something free. He reached over and pulled out a bunch. There had come into his forehead a knitting of the brows which was becoming habitual with him.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ ‘But’—and she looked up at him with eyes frightened and struggling—‘I do laugh at you—I DO. it seems as if it shows up your suffering.a grudge against men.’ ‘Never! There’s always a kind of intensity. ‘You never laugh  . ‘I wish you could laugh at me just for one minute—just for one minute. you make me knit the brows of my very soul and cogitate. Dawes. There were some crimson berries among the leaves in the bowl. but this did not occur to him. and never like a reveller?’ She laughed with a naked. and then it almost seems to hurt you. ‘Why can’t you laugh?’ he said. She longed to smooth it away. particularly when he was with Miriam. and she was afraid of it.’ That was more probably one of his own reasons for liking Mrs. It seemed the stamp of a man who was not her man in Paul Morel.

And she rose and got the books. ‘You make me so spiritual!’ he lamented. And she yearned to him. ‘Well. he was mad to comfort her and kiss her. nervous hands looked so pitiful.’ There was still another silence. brooding figure. ‘get that French and we’ll do some—some Verlaine. ‘I’m so damned spiritual with YOU always!’ he cried. thinking. and looking as if they were deep as the deepest well. But then be dared not—or could not. There was something prevented him.Slowly she shook her head despairingly. But still her soul was naked in her great dark eyes. and looked up at him almost challenging. ‘Then why don’t you be otherwise. and there was the same yearning appeal upon her. They 0 Sons and Lovers . ‘And I don’t want to be spiritual.’ he said. If he could have kissed her in abstract purity he would have done so.’ he said.’ But he saw her crouching. it’s autumn. She remained silent. ‘and everybody feels like a disembodied spirit then. almost of resignation.’ ‘Yes. He gave a brief laugh.’ she said in a deep tone.’ she said. ‘I’m sure I don’t want to. there. He seemed so beautiful with his eyes gone dark. But he could not kiss her thus—and she seemed to leave no other way. His kisses were wrong for her. And her rather red. and it seemed to tear him in two. ‘But.’ She took her finger from her mouth with a little pop. This peculiar sadness between them thrilled her soul.

and set speedily to work. And busy at his work he seemed to forget her. He straightened himself. there was a kind of fascination about him. and Paul was natural and jolly again with the father and mother. and ran them quickly down. hating her voice. with a kind of easiness even in his most hasty movements.’ he said to her. ‘There!’ he said.continued the reading till ten o’clock.’ He lighted the hurricane lamp. She did not seem to realise HIM in all this. She loved him absorbedly. He might have been an object. but his blood roused to a wave of flame by her hands. bounced the machine on the Free eBooks at Planet eBook. turned up the bicycle. rising suddenly. ‘Now. when they went into the kitchen. She never realised the male he was. Miriam came with the bowl of water and stood close to him. He was slim and vigorous. He laughed. She wanted to run her hands down his sides. took off his coat. When he went into the barn for his bicycle he found the front wheel punctured. watching. could you have done it quicker?’ ‘No!’ she laughed. and then I s’ll catch it. ‘Fetch me a drop of water in a bowl. His back was towards her. His eyes were dark and shining. She loved to see his hands doing things. ‘You are so FINE!’ she said. ‘I shall be 1 . so long as he did not want her. She always wanted to embrace him. He lighted his bicycle-lamp. She put her two hands on his sides.

Orion was wheeling up over the wood. jumping on his bicycle. Looking across. and silent. with pine trees. won’t you?’ she pleaded. She stood a moment watching the light from his lamp race into obscurity along the ground.’ ‘I can use my toe. For the rest the world was full of darkness. was quite black in front. his dog twinkling after him. with Edgar.’ ‘Shall we?’ ‘Do—about four.’ His voice already came out of the darkness. ‘No!’ ‘But why didn’t you?’ ‘The back one goes on a bit. ‘Don’t worry—come to tea tomorrow.’ ‘But it’s not safe. and buttoned his coat.’ ‘I wish you’d had them mended.’ she murmured. ‘Did you have them mended?’ she asked. ‘Yes.’ he said. half smothered. he saw through the uncurtained window of the kitchen the heads of Mr.barn floor to see that the tyres were sound. ‘You’ll take care. I’ll come to meet you. save for the breathing of cattle in their  Sons and Lovers . She was trying the brakes.’ ‘Very well. Leivers in the warm glow. The road. It looked very cosy. ‘Till tomorrow. They went across the dark yard to the gate. and Mrs. ‘That’s all right!’ he said.’ She was pleased. that she knew were broken. She turned very slowly indoors.

It was risky. He feels he is not valued. He felt a pleasure as the machine plunged over the second. silver upon the blackness. ‘Aren’t they pretty?’ ‘Yes. because of the curve in the darkness at the bottom. Recklessness is almost a man’s revenge on his woman. She sat reading. ‘H’m!’ she said. as he threw her the berries and leaves on to the table. as he spun past. He dropped down the hills on his bicycle. and because of the brewers’ waggons with drunken waggoners asleep. The roads were greasy.stalls. glancing at them. steeper drop in the hill. After a few minutes he said: ‘Edgar and Miriam are coming to tea tomorrow. then away again. she often lay in anxiety. The stars on the lake seemed to leap like grasshoppers. ‘You know whether I mind or not.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. so he had to let it go. ‘Here goes!’ he said. and he loved it. His bicycle seemed to fall beneath him.’ She did not  . Then there was the long climb home.’ He knew she was cross with him. ‘You don’t mind?’ Still she did not answer. alone. mother!’ he said. ‘Do you?’ he asked. ‘See. wondering if he had got home safely. so he will risk destroying himself to deprive her altogether. When he left her. She prayed earnestly for his safety that night. as she always did.

the pictures were prints in good taste. but with Miriam cold and rather grudging. She rose to meet the visitors. Paul went to meet his friends the next afternoon.’ He was very angry with his mother. Everywhere was clean and still for Sunday afternoon. and the sofa was old. The chairs were only wooden. a certain distinction. the cloth was fine. Miriam would have gladly proffered. but was afraid. And then he was proud of the table. With Edgar she was cordial. He was rather proud of his home. He flung off his boots and went to bed. They arrived home at about four o’clock. and warm.’ ‘Then why do you begrudge them tea?’ ‘I begrudge whom tea?’ ‘What are you so horrid for?’ ‘Oh. He knew it was merely Miriam she objected to.‘I don’t see why you should. There was about it now. nor was Miriam of hers. But the hearthrug and cushions were cosy. he thought. I have plenty of meals there. He helped his mother to get the tea ready. the china was pretty. He was never ashamed in the least of his home. and plenty of books. He was glad to see them coming. She’ll come. because both were what they should be. It did not matter that the spoons were not silver nor the knives ivory Sons and Lovers . it’s quite sufficient. Morel sat in her black dress and black apron.’ ‘You do. Mrs. Yet Paul thought the girl looked so nice in her brown cashmere frock. say no more! You’ve asked her to tea. there was a simplicity in everything.

next to Miriam. It was wonderfully sweet and soothing to sit there for an hour and a half. Morel’s pew. Paul at the other end. Mrs. and at first Miriam sat next to him. Her father took one for themselves once more. with dark pews and slim. At first Edgar and Miriam used to go into Mrs. Morel. That was her unfailing topic. She did not very long occupy the Morels’ pew. the tall black headstocks and lines of trucks. and flowers. But  . And the same people had sat in the same places ever since he was a boy. elegant pillars. And after chapel he walked home with Miriam. sat at the head of her pew. by the lighted lamp-house. Burns. and turned soon to Edgar. Then he felt warm and happy and religious at once. Then the chapel was like home. He never went past the pits at night. When Paul and his mother came in the chapel the Leivers’s pew was always empty. Morel was not cordial.handled. whilst Mrs. He Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Miriam talked books a little. keen and almost unbearable. Mrs. He was keenly alive on his walks on Sunday nights with Edgar and Miriam. Morel never went to chapel. without the feeling of Miriam returning to him. Morel had managed wonderfully while her children were growing up. It was a pretty place. preferring the publichouse. It was under the little gallery. Mrs. and near to his mother. Morel spent the rest of the evening with her old friend. so that nothing was out of place. like a little champion. opposite the Morels’. uniting his two loves under the spell of the place of worship. everything looked nice. past the fans spinning slowly like shadows.

as if all his soul stirred within him. Her face. But it gave him a very keen feeling. and battled and brooded bitterly.’ Mrs. Morel cried in her heart when Paul had gone. She wants to draw him out and absorb him till there is nothing left of him.’ So the mother sat. But he did not spare her.  Sons and Lovers . He was cruel. All the way he went cruelly smashing her beliefs. and tinged to intensity by a pain. He was twenty-one. Edgar enjoyed it. and hurt her so much. with her long stride. often very late indeed. who can leave me my share in him. He bled her beliefs till she almost lost consciousness. less human. It was not the same glow. At this time he was beginning to question the orthodox creed. ‘She exults—she exults as she carries him off from me. and she was twenty. that he felt in having his mother in charge: something more wonderful. happiness. He will never be a man on his own feet—she will suck him up. and there were so many rainy Sundays. she came in. even for himself. as if he would kill her soul. as if there were something he could not get to. with an intellect like a knife. to see her there. She was beginning to dread the spring: he became so wild. Then. ‘She’s not like an ordinary woman. as she sat opposite. the man she loved examined her religion in which she lived and moved and had her being. And when they went alone he was even more fierce.was anxious for fear she would not come: it was so far. her face hidden under her bat of dark green velvet. her head bowed. as. and pride. He was by nature critical and rather dispassionate. But Miriam suffered exquisite pain. was always in shadow. She wants to absorb him.

and she said nothing. ‘I’m sure I’ve tried to like her. There was a great hollow of darkness fronting him. an indefinite thing. I’ve tried and tried. but I can’t—I can’t!’ And he felt dreary and hopeless between the  . brought up against a stile. Then came the hours when he knew Miriam was expecting him. ‘Why don’t you like her. and feel so cruel towards her. It was all weird and dreadful. what a rush of tenderness and humility! Suddenly he plunged on again. going at a great rate. ‘I don’t know. a flare of the pit. But why should she? And why did he hate Miriam. insecure. But he had to make her talk to him.And he. So he decided to stay away from her. Why did she make him feel as if he were uncertain of himself. and on the black upslopes patches of tiny lights. and in the lowest trough of the night. and did not move. He walked biting his lips and with clenched fists. and unable to move? Why did his mother sit at home and suffer? He knew she suffered badly. Why was he torn so. Then. mother?’ he cried in despair.’ she replied piteously. If Miriam caused his mother suffering. coming home from his walks with Miriam. as if he had not sufficient sheathing to prevent the night and the space breaking into him? How he hated her! And then. Then she was angry with him for going so far with Miriam. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. He was changeable. running home. almost bewildered. at the thought of his mother. he stood for some minutes. then he hated her—and he easily hated her. His mother saw on him the marks of some agony. was wild with torture. Spring was the worst time. and intense and cruel. my boy.

so brilliant. looking up. whiteand-blue day.His mother watched him growing restless. Paul lay on his back in the old grass. All his strength and energy she drew into herself through some channel which united them. It felt to her as if she were fingering the very quivering tissue. and not him. And in the end it frightened her. One day in March he lay on the bank of Nethermere. There he lay in the white intensity of his search. Big clouds. He wanted now to give her passion and tenderness. almost inhuman. He resisted all the time. He could not go on with his work. saying nothing. ‘Don’t talk any more. as drug-taking might. It was a glistening. She wanted to draw all of him into her. went by overhead. and his voice gradually filled her with fear. He felt that she wanted the soul out of his body. And as soon as he was on the way he sighed with relief. the very protoplasm of life. Then he put on his hat and went. which fascinated him. The clear spaces in the sky were of clean. laying her hand  Sons and Lovers . And his mother knew he was gone.’ she pleaded softly. He was discussing Michael Angelo. so that there were two of them. She seemed to want him. and he resisted. with Miriam sitting beside him. It gave her deepest satisfaction. and he could not. while shadows stole along on the water. as if in a trance. so level it was. cold blue. It was as if something were drawing his soul out towards Willey Farm. He could not bear to look at Miriam. as she heard him. man and woman together. It urged him to an intensity like madness. And when he was with her he was cruel again. He could do nothing. She did not want to meet him.

‘Yet you always make me like it. struggling with difficulty through the spume of cloud.’ He laughed shortly. almost unable to move. did not prevent his hating her. But your unconscious self always asks it of me. very low. his dog ran low. however. As the stars came out the clouds closed. His body was somewhere discarded. In a vague way he hated her for it. unable to part. when would you let me take you?’ ‘Then it’s my fault. And he knew he was as much to blame himself. gathering himself together. he got up and began to talk trivialities. ‘Why not? Are you tired?’ ‘Yes. and not want what I can reel off for you! ‘ ‘I!’ she cried bitterly—‘I! Why. One evening about this time he had walked along the home road with her. He lay quite still. and it wears you out.’ He went on.’ she said. ‘I don’t wish to. They had glimpses of their own constellation.’ he said. in his dead fashion: ‘If only you could want ME. and you feel you can’t bear it.’ he said. towards the west.on his forehead. This. And I suppose I want it. He felt insubstantial. Orion. and. Orion was for them chief in significance among the Free eBooks at Planet eBook. His jewels glimmered for a moment.  . They stood by the pasture leading down to the wood. ‘Not when you’ve gone too far.

very well. Miriam was watching her lover’s mood carefully. unconsciously. But he said nothing that gave him away. surcharged hours of feeling. And you understand. Pappleworth left to set up a business of his own. This evening Paul had been moody and perverse. There was to be a little party at his house the next day. ‘Oh. His wages were to be raised to thirty shillings at the year00 Sons and Lovers . don’t you? You know it’s only friendship. and she despised him for being blown about by any wind of authority. They had gazed at him in their strange.’ he said. it’s not very nice out. It had cost him an effort. at which she was to attend. Jordan as Spiral overseer. They say I care more for you than for them. wanting to spare him any further humiliation. At this time Paul became an important factor in Jordan’s warehouse. Mr. Orion had seemed just an ordinary constellation to him. And in her heart of hearts. She was hurt deep down. ‘I shan’t come and meet you. She pitied him.’ Miriam was astonished and hurt for him. and Paul remained with Mr. ‘It’s not that—only they don’t like me to. This she would never have acknowledged.constellations. A fine rain blew in her face as she walked along the road. till the moment came to part. behind which the great constellation must be striding still. when he stood frowning gloomily at the gathered clouds. she felt that he was trying to get away from her. He had fought against his glamour and fascination. until they seemed themselves to live in every one of his stars. She left him.’ she replied slowly.

Mrs. Still on Friday night Miriam often came down for her French lesson. Annie banged it behind her. Paul and the mother frowned to hear him. ‘If tha oppens it again while I’m weshin’ me. and was gone.end. So they read Balzac. It was decorum for the women to absent themselves while the men reckoned. prepared to get washed. He bustled immediately after his dinner. and did compositions. moreover. nor were they to know the exact amount of the week’s earnings. and she grieved at the thought of her education’s coming to end. Morel attended to her baking. according as his fellow-butties wished. who had been teaching away. they both loved to be together. Morel ‘reckoned’—shared up the money of the stall—either in the New Inn at Bretty or in his own house. So. was at home again. Friday night was reckoning night for the miners. Paul was studying 01 . Paul did not go so frequently to Willey Farm. and she was engaged to be married. Morel was always in good spirits on Friday evening. She was still a tomboy. whilst her father was spluttering in the scullery. I’ll ma’e thy jaw rattle. Women were not supposed to spy into such a masculine privacy as the butties’ reckoning. Annie. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘Shut that doo-er!’ bawled Morel furiously. Barker had turned a non-drinker. in spite of discords.’ he threatened from the midst of his soap-suds. unless the week’s earnings were small. if things went well. Annie went out to spend an hour with a neighbour. and felt highly cultured. so now the men reckoned at Morel’s house.

as dead as a door-knob. ‘I’m nowt b’r a skinned rabbit. He squatted on his heels before the hot baking-fire to dry himself. Morel laughed. ‘It’s NOT cold. pretending to shudder with cold. otherwise he would have bullied and blustered.’ replied his wife. that’s what they say. wi’ thy nesh sides. ‘Iv’ry-wheer! I’m nobbut a sack o’ faggots. tha’d drop down stiff.’ Mrs. I dunno.’ replied his father. as it blows through your ribs like through a five-barred gate. curious.’ ‘I should like to know where. He had still a wonderfully young body. don’t be such a kid!’ said Mrs.Presently he came running out of the scullery.’ ‘Thee strip thysen stark nak’d to wesh thy flesh i’ that scullery. ‘Me!’ he exclaimed. ‘No. muscular. with the soapy water dripping from him.’ said the miner. ‘F-ff-f!’ he went. ‘Eh. ‘Wheer’s my towel?’ It was hung on a chair to warm before the fire. my sirs!’ he said.’ ‘It would have some difficulty in blowing through yours. ‘Goodness. without any fat. His skin was smooth and 0 Sons and Lovers . Morel. dithering with cold. as he rubbed his hair.’ retorted his wife. ‘nowt b’r a ice-’ouse!’ ‘And I shouldn’t make that fuss. My bones fair juts out on me.’ said Mrs. Morel. ‘But there’s that much draught i’ yon scullery.’ ‘Why is a door-knob deader than anything else?’ asked Paul. ‘Oh. Morel looked down ruefully at his sides. man.

clear. ‘Tha’s niver knowed me but what I looked as if I wor goin’ off in a rapid decline.’ she said. It was his fixed belief that. Morel. startled and timid. and the incongruity struck him.’ She sat and laughed. ‘you had a good figure once. drawing herself up to imitate her husband’s once handsome 0 .’ ‘Eh!’ exclaimed the miner. except that there were. ‘I suppose. ‘He had. ‘You’ve had a constitution like iron. brownish hands all scarred. too many blue scars. with broken nails. Morel watched her shyly. It might have been the body of a man of twenty-eight. ‘if he didn’t hurtle himself up as if he was trying to get in the smallest space he could.’ ‘Me!’ exclaimed Morel—‘me a good figure! I wor niver much more n’r a skeleton. where the coal-dust remained under the skin. because be did not get fat. rubbing the fine smoothness of his sides. if it was body that counted. He was Free eBooks at Planet eBook. He saw again the passion she had had for him. he was as thin as a starved rat. like a child.’ ‘Man!’ cried his wife. You should have seen him as a young man. ‘and never a man had a better start.’ she cried suddenly to Paul.’ he said to his father. It blazed upon her for a moment. But he put his hand on his side ruefully. It seemed strange they were the same flesh. and that his chest was too hairy.’ exclaimed Mrs. ‘don’t be such a pulamiter!’ ‘Strewth!’ he said. like tattoo-marks. Paul looked at his father’s thick. glancing round. perhaps.

He gave a jump. returning immediately with his shifting-trousers. ‘Goodness. man!’ cried Mrs. At last he took off his pit-trousers and donned decent black. and went upstairs. Mrs.shy. His wife brought a well-soaped flannel and clapped it on his shoulders. washing his back. She wiped him in a desultory fashion. he stood warming the garments he was going to put on.’ she added. he scorched them. Morel. ‘tha’lt see as it’s draughty for me. ‘get dressed!’ ‘Should thee like to clap thysen into britches as cowd as a tub o’ water?’ he said.’ But she had finished. ‘No. When he was dried he struggled into his shirt. He wanted to bustle about. with hair on end. and his flannelette shirt hanging over his pit-trousers. The children did those things. Yet again he felt his old glow. ‘The next world won’t be half hot enough for you. and humble.’ she laughed. he pulled them inside out. ‘Cowd as death!’ ‘You ought to have been a salamander.’ he said. Morel turned the bread in the oven. ‘Eh. And then immediately he felt the ruin he had made during these years. He turned them. ‘Gi’e my back a bit of a wesh. tha mucky little ‘ussy!’ he cried. ruddy and shiny. He did all this on the hearthrug. rather scared. to run away from it. Then from the red earthenware panchion of dough that stood in a corner 0 Sons and Lovers . It was very rarely she would do anything so personal for him.’ he asked her. Then. as he would have done if Annie and her familiar friends had been present.

Morel.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. missis.’ said Barker. ‘I dunno as I have. His black hair was cropped 0 . but healthy and taut. tidy. He sat. he was pale.she took another handful of paste.’ ‘Well.’ said Morel. and he seated himself with a sigh.’ ‘You can have mine. compact little man. for she’s none too strong. I think. ‘Tha’s made thy heels crack. Like most miners.’ she replied cordially. who looked as if he would go through a stone wall.’ ‘Let’s see—when?’ asked Mrs. worked it to the proper shape. I shouldn’t be surprised any time now. rubbing his head. An’ I’ve done another silly trick. He had told her some time back: ‘We’re expectin’ us third just now.’ ‘That’s a blessing.’ he answered. you see. effacing himself rather. Morel. ‘I’m come be-out th’ market-bag.’ ‘Ah! And she’s kept fairly?’ ‘Yes. his head was bony. He was a quiet.’ he nodded to Mrs. Morel knew Barker wouldn’t do anything very silly. and dropped it into a tin. ‘How’s missis?’ she asked of him.’ ‘No. ‘Good-evening. ‘Well. ‘Evenin’.’ ‘What’s that?’ Mrs. As she was doing so Barker knocked and entered. as the men always did in Morel’s kitchen. ‘she keeps pretty middlin’.

but he’s ten times the man you are. ‘I’m afraid you’re cold. Mr.’ she said to her husband. ‘It’s a bit nippy.’ ‘Yes. thank yer. The hearth is sacred to the family. ‘And how’s that chest of yours?’ demanded Mrs. you’ll be wantin’ that yourself. I s’ll do where I am. and she admired him. of course. I’m very nicely here. ‘Then come to the fire.’ ‘I shan’t.’ She saw the determined little collier buying in the week’s groceries and meat on the Friday nights. Wesson.’ Both colliers sat away back. He smiled again. They could not be induced to come on to the hearth. ‘Yes. He sat in Morel’s armchair awkwardly. come. it’s very middlin’.’ said Mrs.’ ‘Nay. He rose and went awkwardly.’ insisted Mrs. with a boyish ingenuousness and a slightly foolish smile. despite his seven children. 0 Sons and Lovers . His nose was pointed and red. with his blue eyes rather sunny. Just then Wesson entered. Morel.’ he said. ‘Barker’s little. ‘Go thy ways i’ th’ armchair.’ replied Barker. The newcomer took off his cap and his big woollen muffler. Morel. But the fire made him blissfully happy.’ he replied. smiling rather vapidly.’ he said. But his wife was a passionate woman. ‘Oh. It was too great a familiarity. rather fraillooking.’ cried Morel cheerily. ‘Nay. I take a string bag always. ‘I see you’ve kested me. Morel. He was thin.‘Nay.

’ he smiled. Barker and Morel were both impatient of Wesson. The two butties had cooler seats. ‘Ah.’ said Barker shortly. why didn’t you?’ she cried. Morel rapidly with her tongue.‘Wi’ a rattle in it like a kettle-drum. There was a five-pound bag of silver. None of them counted the money.’ he smiled. Morel and BarkFree eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘An’ Bill Naylor’s?’ This money also was taken from the pack. physically. Morel went upstairs. ‘Count it. then. boy. Morel. an’ Doomsday!’ exclaimed Barker. and the three men came to table. and his rent had been deducted.’ he asked humbly. He counted quickly. Mrs. Then. sat in his armchair. tipped the bag upside down on the 0 . Paul impatiently turned from his books and pencil. ‘It’ll come. sovereigns and loose money. ‘What did we say Simpson’s was?’ asked Morel. ‘T-t-t-t!’ went Mrs. as master of the house. Then Barker glanced at the checks. and the butties cavilled for a minute over the dayman’s earnings. they were both as hard as nails. referred to the checks—the written papers giving amount of coal—put the money in order. with his back to the hot fire. ‘Then. When Morel was nearly ready he pushed the bag of money to Paul. because Wesson lived in one of the company’s houses. ‘Did you have that flannel singlet made?’ ‘Not yet. Then the amount was put aside. But.

and her wrath rising.’ She went very quiet. Then. He could not work when she was cross. She heard the door close. ‘Don’t carry on again. Then the three men rose and went. If there was anything at the end that wouldn’t split. Then it was plain sailing. an’ his club this week! But I know him. I should like to know?’ she exclaimed. He thinks because YOU’RE earning he needn’t keep the house any longer. mother. ‘A measly twenty-five shillings!’ she exclaimed. Morel scuttled out of the house before his wife came down. No. glancing on the table. don’t!’ cried Paul.’ said Paul irritably. she saw her money lying. all he has to do with his money is to guttle it. and the leading was stopped. Paul had been working all the time. She counted again. 0 Sons and Lovers . ‘T-t-t-t-t!’ went her tongue. and descended. Morel gave each of them a sovereign till there were no more sovereigns. ‘And he gives me a scrattlin’ twenty-five. But I’ll show him!’ ‘Oh. each a shilling till there were no more shillings. ‘Don’t what. ‘How much was the cheque?’ ‘Ten pounds eleven. Barker and Wesson took four shillings each. But now he felt his mother counting the week’s money. Morel took it and stood drinks. I can’t took four-and-six each. She looked hastily at the bread in the oven. He frowned. each half a crown till there were no more half-crowns. And because Morel’s coals had come. He dreaded what was coming.

‘but how do you think I’m going to manage?’ ‘Well.’ she said.’ he answered. It irritated him that she peered so into everything that was his. hanging them up. ‘All alone?’ she said. ‘Yes. and she went to market. ‘Still design. Carefully unFree eBooks at Planet eBook. He remained alone working.’ ‘All right.‘Yes. it won’t make it any better to whittle about it. Don’t forget 0 . But his usual intense concentration became unsettled. and for embroidery.’ She bent short-sightedly over the drawings.’ she said. When she was fretted he could not bear it. It gave him a thrill. At a quarter-past seven came a low knock. ‘The two loaves at the top. This might be their own house. But now he began to insist on her recognizing him. and Miriam entered. for decorating stuffs.’ He went back to his work. his and hers. she took off her tam-o’-shanter and her long coat. He listened for the yard-gate. searching him out.’ ‘It won’t be long. You can have my money. ‘What is it?’ she asked. ‘will be done in twenty minutes.’ ‘I should like to know what you’d do if you had it to put up with. it’s all very well. and she tied her bonnet-strings grimly. Let him go to hell. He went into the parlour and returned with a bundle of brownish linen. Then she came back and peered over his work.’ As if at home.

He saw her crouched voluptuously before his work. He took the cloth back into the parlour. Suddenly she looked up at him. He became embarrassed. tapped them vigorously. ‘By Jove.folding it. lay at her feet. He had spoken with a touch of bitterness. ‘Why does it seem cruel?’ she asked.’ she said. It proved to be a curtain or portiere. how beautiful!’ she cried. When he returned he threw to Miriam a smaller piece. ‘It’s jolly good. the bread!’ he cried. folding up his work with a lover’s hands. all so simple. and his heart beat quickly.’ he replied. I did it for my mother. She fingered the work with trembling hands. and somehow so wickedlooking. and Miriam sympathised.’ he said. with its wonderful reddish roses and dark green stems. He took the top loaves out. They 10 Sons and Lovers . her dark curls dropping. whether or not. ‘Send it to Liberty’s. ‘What?’ ‘There seems a feeling of cruelty about it. She went on her knees before it. but I think she’d rather have the money. The spread cloth. ‘Ah. It was a cushion-cover with the same design. She rose slowly. he spread it on the floor. beautifully stencilled with a design on roses.’ said Miriam. and did not speak. pondering.’ ‘Yes. ‘And what will you do with it?’ she asked. Money would have been nothing to HER. ‘I did that for you.

‘No. with a scent of new bread. He laughed uncomfortably. She was a friend at the Morel’s. She looked up at him. All his passion. Miriam Leivers. The room was hot. Then he began to talk about the design. went into this intercourse with her. Brown. when he talked and conceived his work. There was for him the most intense pleasure in talking about his work to Miriam. small and pale. wetted his hands. ‘Why not?’ murmured Miriam huskily. let’s look at your shoes. ‘You do like it?’ he asked.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ said Paul. who were on the sofa.’ She sat down in the armchair opposite Paul and Miriam. Miriam moved a little farther from him. But this was life for her and for him. any more than a woman understands when she conceives a child in her womb. He put them on the hearth to cool.’ said Beatrice wickedly. hollow-eyed. Miriam was still bent over her painted cloth. She did not understand. and dropped it in a baking-tin. scooped the last white dough out of the punchion. I’m not stopping. entered the room. yet with a relentless look about her. While they were talking. crisp loaves stood on the hearth.were done. a young woman of about twenty-two. all his wild blood. ‘I shouldn’t have expected to see you here to-night. She brought forth to him his imaginations. Then he went to the scullery. ‘ 11 . with her dark eyes one flame of love. ‘Take your things off. He stood rubbing the bits of dough from his hands.

’ he said. and brothers. But love laughs at sludge. ‘Who cleans your boots?’ ‘I clean them myself.’ she said humbly. ‘Up its sleeve. ‘If tha doesna tha durs’na. Lord! are you going to spout foreign languages? What does it mean. ‘Glory! You’re a positive muck-heap. Her boots had that queer. irresolute. and even at the b’loved himself?’ She affected a great innocence. And they were covered with mud. silent laughter.’ ‘Postle?’ she repeated. ‘Postle Morel—you believe me. but Miriam did not see it. and sisters. Miriam put her feet from under her dress. and fathers. rather pathetic look about them. ‘In fact. and men friends. and she went off into another burst of wicked.’ he replied. 1 Sons and Lovers . ‘It would ha’ taken a lot of men to ha’ brought me down here to-night. Beatrice put her tongue between her teeth and laughed wickedly.’ I believe. ‘Among other things. ‘Oh.’ said Beatrice. ‘Do you mean love laughs at mothers. it’s one big smile. ‘Among other things. ‘Postle my duck?’ ‘Inter alia.’ laughed Beatrice.’ she said. Miriam?’ There was a fine sarcasm in the last question.Miriam remained uncomfortably still. doesn’t it.’ exclaimed Beatrice. and lady friends.’ ‘Then you wanted a job. which showed how self-conscious and self-mistrustful she was.

she combed him straight. and he left her in the lurch—seemed almost to have a sort of revenge upon her then. ‘Only brains to bite with. He held her wrists while she wrestled with him. then!’ she cried.?’ ‘I don’t know. eh. then?’ ‘I expect it at Easter. dark brown hair. she rushed and boxed his ears. springing from her seat. Every one of Paul’s friends delighted in taking sides against her.’ ‘You’ve not had your notice. She tilted his head back and Free eBooks at Planet 1 . ‘Agatha says you’re as good as any teacher anywhere. nevertheless making place for her between him and Miriam. as he pulled his hair straight with his fingers. and.’ ‘Isn’t it an awful shame. and. ‘Did it ruffle his pretty hair. ‘Nuisance!’ she cried. laughing. with her hair-comb.’ ‘I’d as lief be neighbours with a vixen.Miriam sat silent.’ he said. ‘And his nice little moustache!’ she exclaimed. ‘I want to sit next to you. ‘Postle?’ said Beatrice briefly. which she shook.’ ‘Short of brains. I wonder why you didn’t pass. ‘Yes. It seems to me ridiculous. ‘Beat!’ he said. ‘I hate you!’ She laughed with glee. ‘Are you still at school?’ asked Miriam of Beatrice.’ said Beatrice coldly. She had beautiful small hands. and seized two handfuls of his thick. withdrawn into herself.’ replied Paul. ‘Mind!’ she said. At last she broke free. to turn you off merely because you didn’t pass the exam.

’ he said. Miriam?’ ‘Quite.’ she said. ‘Oh. Miriam?’ she asked.’ said Miriam. He held a lit match to her. putting the thing between her teeth. ‘Isn’t he shameless. tipping up his chin and giving him a little kiss on the cheek.’ she said mockingly. ‘It’s a red for danger.’ said Beatrice. ‘By the way.. ‘Light. jumping up and going away. ‘It’s a wicked moustache. mouth quivering. He bent forward to her to light his cigarette at hers. He took a cigarette for himself. old boy?’ said Beatrice. ‘Don’t you think he does it nicely. tilting her cigarette at him. and she could not bear it. He was not himself. ‘I s’ll kiss thee back. She was winking at him as he did so. darling. ‘Thanks so much. It gave her a wicked delight. She saw the cigarette dancing on his full red lips. ‘Tha wunna!’ she giggled. very!’ said Miriam. As he was now. ‘Sweet boy!’ said Beatrice. ‘And fancy me having Connie’s last cig. and his full. Have you got any of those cigarettes?’ He pulled his cigarette-case from his pocket. ‘Postle. almost sensual. Miriam saw his eyes trembling with mischief. Beat. aren’t you forgetting 1 Sons and Lovers . and she puffed daintily. Beatrice looked inside it. She hated his thick hair for being tumbled loose on his forehead. she had no connection with him.combed his young moustache. she might as well not have existed.

coming to his side.’ Paul was ruefully removing the loaves.’ She giggled as she scraped the loaf. One was burnt black on the hot side. knocking the charcoal off the poor loaf.’ said Beatrice. He set the doors open to blow away the smell of burned bread. Out puffed the bluish smoke and a smell of burned bread. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Paul mended the fire ruefully. ‘Fetch me the nutmeg-grater. she’d have boxed the brazen thing’s ears who made the oblivion.the bread?’ ‘By Jove!’ he cried. ‘My word. Beatrice grated 1 .’ said Beatrice. flinging open the oven door. instead of poor Alfred’s. ‘Poor mater!’ said Paul. The garden gate was heard to bang. she peered over his shoulder. Even Miriam laughed in spite of herself. If that old woman had come in a bit sooner. my boy. He brought the grater. Miriam! you’re in for it this time. another was hard as a brick. I know why King Alfred burned the cakes. Now I see it! ‘Postle would fix up a tale about his work making him forget. ‘You’d better be gone when his mother comes in. He crouched before the oven. puffing her cigarette. if he thought it would wash. and she grated the bread on to a newspaper on the table. ‘I!’ exclaimed Miriam in amazement. ‘Oh.’ She arranged the bread in the oven. golly!’ cried Beatrice. ‘You want to grate it. ‘This is what comes of the oblivion of love.

She was an abrupt. Annie was looking in the oven. ‘Smell of burning!’ she exclaimed. twisting up a comic face.’ said Beatrice. ‘he’s gone off with number nine. and sat down innocently. ‘Yes—we’re going to share him up like Solomon’s baby. Paul entered. giving Paul the scraped loaf.’ said Paul.’ he said. Miriam sat ignored. ‘Then you should stop an’ look after it. She blinked in the strong light. ‘I’ll let all the others pick first. ‘It’s the cigarettes. ‘You mean YOU should do what you’re reckoning to do.’ ‘An’ you’d have the leavings. Beatrice hastily blew her scrapings into the fire. He had a long comic face and blue eyes.’ said Annie. He nodded sympathetically to Miriam. like?’ said Leonard.’ said Beatrice. Annie laughed. very sad. ‘Wrap it up in a damp towel.’ said Leonard.’ ‘I just met number five inquiring for him.’ replied Beatrice demurely. ‘Oh. ‘Where’s Paul?’ Leonard had followed Annie.’ said Beatrice. quite smart young woman. ‘This bread’s a fine sight. our Paul. ‘I suppose he’s left you to settle it between you. and became gently sarcastic to Beatrice.’ Paul disappeared into the scullery. ‘And which bit should you have?’ ‘I don’t know. Annie came bursting in.’ 1 Sons and Lovers .‘Quick!’ cried Beatrice. ay.’ said Leonard. ‘No.

our Paul. However.’ said Leonard. and she’ll take it to heart. Paul fetched the swathed loaf.’ insinuated Leonard kindly. She would meet her own boy. and yet glad.’ cried Annie. after all—twopence. ‘It’s a mess!’ he said. He stood balanced opposite her for some moments considering.’ answered Miriam impatiently. For some inscrutable reason it served Miriam right. didn’t you. shouldn’t he!’ cried Beatrice. ‘Yes—but I’d been in all week—-‘ ‘And you wanted a bit of a change. you can’t be stuck in the house for ever. Miriam?’ said Annie. and went out with Leonard and Annie. Miriam. it’s no good bothering.replied Annie. ‘Don’t forget that bread. Why might she not push it back for him. Beatrice pulled on her coat. and surveyed it sadly. He was not going to repent. ‘Well. ‘He should. She wondered what he was thinking of as he stood suspended. ‘But. ‘Goodnight. He felt guilty inside himself. She was quite amiable. ‘I s’d think he’d got plenty on hand. There was a little distance between him and Miriam.’ When they had all gone. His thick hair was tumbled over his forehead. and remove the marks of Beatrice’s comb? Why Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ha’penny. I don’t think it will 1 . unwrapped it.’ Annie agreed. ‘You had a nasty walk. thinking of his behaviour with Beatrice. but—it’s the mater’s precious baking.’ He took the loaf back into the scullery. like. ‘what is it.’ ‘Yes.

‘We’d better buck up. He remained quite still. firm and warm. motionless. ‘Half-past eight!’ he said. Toute l’aube tressaillit. ‘Il faisait encore un crepuscule. Est-ce que vous voyez aussi l’aube? Les oiseaux m’eveillent presque tous les matins. and every whit living. He sat beside her.might she not press his body with her two hands.’’ he read. It made her quiver almost with terror as he quickly pushed the hair off his forehead and came towards her. jaune. But gradually his hand forgot its work. He was reading only the French. Every week she wrote for him a sort of diary of her inner life. et toujours il y a quelque chose de terreur dans le cri des grives. et tous les oiseaux du bois eclaterent dans un chanson vif et resonnant. trying to understand. And her diary was mostly a love-letter. Il est si clair—-’’ Miriam sat tremulous. 1 Sons and Lovers . She quivered. He read in silence. ‘Ce matin les oiseaux m’ont eveille. half ashamed. He only knew she loved him. She watched his hand. rigorously scoring her work. Mais la petite fenetre de ma chambre etait bleme. It looked so firm. she felt as if her soul’s history were going to be desecrated by him in his present mood. why not her? Suddenly he started into life. He had found this was the only way to get her to do compositions. in her own French. And he would let other girls. Where’s your French?’ Miriam shyly and rather bitterly produced her exercise-book. ignoring her soul that was there. He would read it now. et puis. J’avais reve de vous.

‘the past participle conjugated with avoir agrees with the direct object when it precedes.’ he said quietly. He started as if they had been red hot. and they hurt her. They seemed to master her.He was afraid of her love for 1 . His breath came short as he watched her. It was too good for him. caught it up again. Her free. His own love was at fault. He returned to her exercise. her red lips parted piteously. trying to see and to understand. and yearning. Ashamed. turning the bread. He returned and finished the exercise. And a touch of hate for her crept back again into his heart. ‘You’ve done well this week.’ She bent forward. and it hurt her with real pain. before he could kiss her. As it was. She was coloured like a pomegranate for richness. he corrected her work. Suddenly he flung down the pencil. His eyes. There seemed to be something cruel in it. He saw her peering forward at the page. shuddering. Even the way he crouched before the oven hurt her. ruddy cheek. the black hair springing in fine strands across her tawny. She lost all her self-control. Suddenly she looked up at him. afraid. not hers. fine curls tickled his face. something cruel in the swift way he pitched the bread out of the tins. were dark. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘Look. she was hurt. was exposed in fear. he must drive something out of himself. If only he had been gentle in his movements she would have felt so rich and warm. and was at the oven in a leap. and he was inadequate. humbly writing above her words. too. She started violently. And he knew. Her dark eyes were naked with their love. For Miriam he was too quick.’ he said.

’ she said. but growing almost brutal. saying in his throat bitterly: ‘Tu te rappelleras la beaute des caresses. She did not like Baudelaire. He made her copy Baudelaire’s ‘Le Balcon”. ‘Shall we read.’ she pleaded.’ She lifted her head with joy. calm and pure.’ he said. then she shook it mistrustfully. So did ‘Fair Ines”. ‘It is late—but we can read just a little. And— ‘It was a beauteous evening.’ That nourished her heart. This he did now. when he was much moved. ‘I don’t trust myself. She dared not look at him. ‘You should try!’ Again she shook her head. And breathing holy quiet like a nun. She could not understand why he got into such a tumult and fury.She saw he was flattered by her diary. passionately and bitterly. She was really getting now the food for her life during the next week. It made Miriam feel as if he were trampling on her. ‘You ought to write poetry. He had a way of lifting his lips and showing his teeth. or is it too late?’ he asked. Then he read it for her.’ 0 Sons and Lovers . His voice was soft and caressing. And there was he. on the whole—nor Verlaine. It did not repay her entirely. but sat with her head bowed. ‘Behold her singing in the field Yon solitary highland lass. It made her wretched.’ These were like herself. ‘You really do blossom out sometimes.

‘It won’t upset her so much then as at night. He did not trouble to lock the door. ‘Yes. No one spoke. He took off his coat. ‘it’s only twopence ha’penny. with a rope of hair hanging down her back. His mother was seated in the rocking-chair. ‘Well. ‘you don’t know how badly my mother Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ Being angry. For some minutes he sat pretending to read a piece of paper he found on the table. His mother was reading the little local newspaper. He was very uncomfortable. No one spoke. Then he turned down the gas and they set off. the good ones at the top. On the table stood the offending loaf unswathed. The desiccated loaf remained swathed up in the scullery. 1 .The poem was finished. His mother moved curtly aside to let him pass.’ he said. ‘Mater needn’t know till morning. He was not home again until a quarter to eleven.’ he said. he took the bread out of the oven. arranging the burnt loaves at the bottom of the panchion. gloomily. There was no answer from either woman. She took one that had interested him. he put three pennies on the table and slid them towards his mother.’ he said.’ said Annie. She turned away her head. remained sitting on a low stool before the fire. I can pay you for that. Paul entered rather breathless. and went to sit down on the sofa.’ Miriam looked in the bookcase. saw what books were there. Then—‘I forgot that bread. Her mouth was shut tightly. Annie. saw what postcards and letters he had received. her elbows on her knees.

why DID you hug them.’ ‘Then who would?’ ‘Let Annie fetch the meat. angry with him for his  Sons and Lovers . ‘And have you felt it before?’ ‘Yes—often enough.’ ‘Yes. ‘Well. ‘Why is she badly?’ asked Paul. WHY?’ insisted Paul. you needn’t have done. in his overbearing way. She looked ill. Morel shifted in her chair.’ she replied. his eyes dilating passionately. Morel. instead of being in when my mother came. ‘It was enough to upset anybody. His brows were knitting. but how was I to know. ‘I suppose it’s my heart. ‘Well!’ said Annie. and a pair of curtains—-‘ ‘Well. ‘She could scarcely get home.’ said!’ The girl sat staring glumly into the fire.’ said Annie. ‘I found her as white as a sheet sitting here. She would not answer.’ ‘Then why haven’t you told me?—and why haven’t you seen a doctor?’ Mrs.’ He looked closely at his mother. still sharply. ‘WHY could you scarcely get home?’ he asked her. You were off with Miriam. with a suggestion of tears in her voice.’ ‘And what was the matter with you?’ asked Paul of his mother. ‘hugging those parcels—meat. Certainly she looked bluish round the mouth. and I WOULD fetch the meat. and green-groceries.

Morel bitterly. He knew his mother wanted to upbraid him. as he would have liked to do.’ ‘Why?’ he flashed. he began to read.’ It was his mother’s custom to bring him some trifle for Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘that she wouldn’t have occupied you so entirely as to burn a whole ovenful of bread. he sat and waited. Seizing a paper. you’d better get it.’ ‘I don’t want anything.’ said Annie.’ said the mother harshly. ‘You’d never notice anything. am I—and any worse than you with Leonard?’ ‘I was in at a quarter to ten. bidding him a very curt good-night. ‘I should have thought. ‘And if you’re going to have anything to eat. He also wanted to know what had made her ill. So. her blouse unfastened. her long ropes of hair twisted into a plait.’ ‘Beatrice was here as well as she. went up to bed.’ There was silence in the room for a time. ‘Because you were engrossed with Miriam. instead of running away to bed. ‘You’d better go to bed before your father comes in. The clock ticked loudly. very well—then it was NOT!’ he replied angrily. There was a tense silence.’ ‘Oh. ‘You’re too eager to be off with Miriam. Paul sat pretending to read. ‘Oh.’ said Mrs. Annie. But we know why the bread is spoilt.hectoring.’ ‘Very likely.’ replied Mrs. He was distressed and  . Morel hotly. for he was troubled.

the night of luxury for the colliers. This insulted her. ‘I do like her. Morel. But to go trapseing up there miles and miles in the mud. with averted face. the black sateen of her apron. ‘Why. ‘It seems to me you like nothing and nobody else.’ he said. what if I DO want her—-’ he replied. ‘But you’re never too tired to go if SHE will come for you. There’s neither Annie. nor anyone now for you. jerked movement. ‘but—-‘ ‘LIKE her!’ said Mrs.supper on Friday night. nothing. I can imagine the scene. you neither want to eat nor drink then. ‘If I WANTED you to go to Selby on Friday night. I should. and got to go to Nottingham in the morning—-‘ ‘If I hadn’t.’ said Mrs. because there’s no sense in it. in the same biting tones. He was too angry to go and find it in the pantry this night.’ ‘Can’t you? And why does she come?’ ‘Not because I ask her. mother—you know I don’t love her— I—I tell you I DON’T love her—she doesn’t even walk with my arm. if it was sensible or reasonable.’ ‘Yes.’ ‘What nonsense. She sat still.’  Sons and Lovers . coming home at midnight. Morel. It was a movement that hurt Paul to see.’ ‘I can’t let her go alone. Morel was bitterly sarcastic. Nay. stroking with a rhythmic. you’d be just the same. Is she so fascinating that you must follow her all that way?’ Mrs. nor me. because I don’t want her to.’ ‘She doesn’t come without you want her—-‘ ‘Well.

He knitted his brows with pain. then—what is it. But he realised the moment he had spoken that he had said the wrong thing.‘Then why do you fly to her so often?’ ‘I DO like to talk to her—I never said I didn’t. mother.’ Mrs. I have nothing more to do with you. ‘that I shouldn’t. ‘And YOU won’t at my age. you know t’s not.’ ‘Is there nobody else to talk to?’ ‘Not about the things we talk of. Morel flashed defiantly. There’s a lot of things that you’re not interested  . to try?’ ‘But it’s not that that matters to you. and we’re young. you know you don’t care whether a picture’s decorative or not. But I DON’T love her. I know it well—I am old. then. Morel was so intense that Paul began to pant.’ was the sad reply. YOU don’t care about Herbert Spencer.’ ‘No. ‘Why—painting—and books.’ ‘How do you know I don’t care? Do you ever try me? Do you ever talk to me about these things. mother. You only want Free eBooks at Planet eBook. that matters to me?’ she flashed. ‘You’re old.’ ‘What is it.’ He only meant that the interests of HER age were not the interests of his. ‘Yes. Do you ever try me!’ ‘But you don’t. you don’t care what MANNER it is in. And therefore I may stand aside. that—-‘ ‘What things?’ Mrs.’ ‘Well. mother. but I do now—and Miriam does—-‘ ‘And how do you know.

’ she said. in a whimpering voice. As he stooped to kiss his mother. ‘It looks a great deal like it.’ He had taken off his collar and tie. so unlike her own that he writhed in agony: ‘I can’t bear it.’ He could not bear it. ‘And she exults so in taking you from me—she’s not like ordinary girls. And. bare-throated. in a voice trembling with passionate love. fervent kiss.’ he murmured. she threw her arms round his neck.’ ‘Well. Paul—I’ve never had a husband—not really—-‘ He stroked his mother’s hair. bowing his head and hiding his eyes on her shoulder in misery. and cried. not a bit of room—-‘ And immediately he hated Miriam bitterly. I talk to her. I could let another woman—but not her. She’d leave me no room.  Sons and Lovers . mother—I really DON’T love her. ‘My boy!’ she said. but I want to come home to you. and his mouth was on her throat. she was the chief thing to him. ‘And I’ve never—you know. mother. ‘No. ‘You know it isn’t. mother. to go to bed. I don’t love her. you know it isn’t!’ She was moved to pity by his to wait on you—the rest is for Miriam. half putting aside her despair. Instinctively he realised that he was life to her. the only supreme thing. and rose. after all. hid her face on his shoulder. His mother kissed him a long.

You’ll be so tired in the morning. ‘Waste your own stuff!’ he cried. flung it into the fire. Then they heard him go down three steps to the pantry. ‘now go to bed. it is sober. It was what Mrs. Paul started to his feet.’ she said. he gently stroked her face. in a vicious spurt of temper. Paul kissed her. ‘Nor was that bought for you.’ ‘Wha-at—wha-at!’ snarled Morel.’ said his mother. His hat was over one corner of his eye. Morel’s emotion turned into sudden hate of the drunkard who had come in thus upon her. He went into the passage. If you want her. If you can give me no more than twenty-five shillings. He balanced in the doorway.Without knowing. trembling. and suddenly. Morel came in. ‘At your mischief again?’ he said venomously. ‘At any rate. ‘Ha—mother!’ he said softly.’ His mother looked so strange. ‘There. toppling in his balance. I’m sure I’m not going to buy you pork-pie to stuff. my boy. Free eBooks at Planet  . ‘Perhaps I’m selfish.’ As she was speaking she heard her husband coming. ‘H’m—h’m! h’m—h’m!’ he sneered. Morel had bought for her son. Mrs. after you’ve swilled a bellyful of beer. ‘There’s your father—now go. take her. hung up his hat and coat. He returned with a piece of pork-pie in his fist. walking unevenly.’ Suddenly she looked at him almost as if in fear. ‘Wha-at—not for me?’ He looked at the piece of meat and crust.

so that the word rang. fists up. yer young jockey!’ ‘All right!’ said Paul viciously. Morel was half crouching. The tears were hopping down his face. even though so close. But he heard a faint moan from behind. Morel started. Gradually she was coming to herself. ‘Mother!’ She began to struggle with herself. putting his head on one side. ‘Right!’ said Paul. Her open eyes watched him.‘What—what!’ suddenly shouted Morel. which at last she could sip. really touch the young man. ‘Show me!’ He would at that moment dearly have loved to have a smack at something. sat with his elbows on his knees glaring across. jumping up and clenching his fist. ready to spring. Morel. ‘I’ll show yer. As he kneeled in front of her he did not cry. His mother was deadly pale and dark at the mouth. Morel was dancing up to deliver another blow.  Sons and Lovers . his eyes upon the side of his father’s mouth. He laid her down on the sofa. swiping round with a great stroke just past his son’s face. ‘Ussha!’ hissed the father. smiling with his lips. The young man stood. ‘Mother!’ moaned the boy. ‘Father!’ said Paul. on the opposite side of the room. although she could not move. ‘What’s a-matter with ‘er?’ he asked. He ached for that stroke. and stood at attention. He dared not. and ran upstairs for a little whisky. but the tears ran down his face quickly. but swerved an inch away. where in another instant his fist would have hit.

then followed her closely upstairs. and raked the fire. and brought his mother’s candle.’ ‘Sleep with Annie.’ She rose.‘Faint!’ replied Paul.’ ‘Good-night!’ she said. And yet. mother. I’ll sleep in my own bed.’ ‘Don’t sleep with him. ‘Good-night. The efforts of his father to conciliate him next day were a great humiliation to him. carrying her candle. somewhere in his soul. I’ll come. mother. put everything straight. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘Can you go to bed. At last he rose. ‘Don’t be poorly. Paul kneeled there. He pressed his face upon the pillow in a fury of misery. not with him. fetched in a large piece of coal. and he turned out the gas.’ she murmured. Then he cleared the room. He stumbled off to bed. mother?’ ‘Yes. my boy.’ ‘No. mother. mother—don’t be poorly!’ he said time after time. It was the bitter peace of resignation. ‘H’m!’ The elderly man began to unlace his boots. stroking his mother’s hand. ‘It’s nothing. His last fight was fought in that home. laid the things for breakfast.’ ‘I’ll sleep in my own  . he was at peace because he still loved his mother best. On the landing he kissed her close.

0 Sons and Lovers .Everybody tried to forget the scene.

This year he had a good deal against her. On the Sunday afternoon she stood at her bedroom window. She was prepared for the big things and the deep things. Now it was spring. She did not believe in herself primarily: doubted whether she could ever be what he would demand of her.CHAPTER IX DEFEAT OF MIRIAM PAUL was dissatisfied with himself and with everything. The old feeling that she was to be a sacrifice to this love. The Easter holidays began happily. The deepest of his love belonged to his mother. which she had had when she prayed. in renunciation she was strong. When he felt he had hurt her. Certainly she never saw herself living happily through a lifetime with him. and there was battle between him and Miriam. like tragedy. was mingled in all her emotions. sorrow. for she did not trust herself to support everyday life. or wounded his love for her. She saw tragedy. Yet she felt it would go wrong. Paul was his own frank self. looking Free eBooks at Planet eBook. he could not bear 1 . And in sacrifice she was proud. It was the sufficiency of the small day-life she could not trust. She was vaguely aware of it. and sacrifice ahead. She did not at the bottom believe she ever would have him.

Hearing the clack of the gate she stood in suspense. and could tell from that keen-looking. cruel bearing. At twenty she was full-breasted and luxuriously formed. and dignified. now taking on one expression and then another. She knew him well by now. aloof young body of his what was happening inside him. which glittered as he walked. look wonderfully a woman. But her eyes. She was wearing a new net blouse that she thought became her. It was spring. To-day he walked with shut lips and cold. that had something of a slouch and a sneer in it.across at the oak-trees of the wood. There was a cold correctness in the way he put his bicycle in its place. and making her. with the eyes that could be so beautiful. He sat at the head of the table. It was a bright grey day. Her face was still like a soft rich mask. Usually he rang his bell and laughed towards the house. being in a hard. Grey-green rosettes of honeysuckle leaves hung before the window. shining with tenderness or dancing with laughter. unchangeable. that made her heart sink. conducted by one of the well-known preachers of the sect. It had a high collar with a tiny ruff. his mobile face. He would notice her new blouse. She came downstairs nervously. She was afraid of him. in imitation of vari Sons and Lovers . showing bud. she fancied. Queen of Scots. some already. ironical mood. He. which she loved and dreaded. below the bright sky of the afternoon. she thought. reminding her of Mary. were wonderful. Paul came into the yard with his bicycle. was entertaining the family to a description of a service given in the Primitive Methodist Chapel. in whose branches a twilight was tangled. once lifted.

‘I didn’t notice it. it was too near the reality. ‘You were late. She was nervous. He was pale and impassive. Later. Leivers was wiping her eyes with laughter. she ventured to address him personally. ‘Was I?’ he answered. Everything looked washed. She felt that when his eyes were like this. Miriam glanced at Paul. rather hard. sleepy appearance in their shirt-sleeves. was rubbing his head in amusement. Will you come and look at the daffodils?’ she said. which she Free eBooks at Planet eBook. but it won from him not a spark of warmth. ‘Was it rough riding?’ she asked. The hills and the sky were clean and cold. It seemed cruel to her that his eyes and brows. he would spare neither himself nor anybody else.’ she said.ous people he was mocking. Leivers. He rose without answering. But Mrs. When she had finished—‘Tea won’t be for a few minutes. just awake from his Sunday nap. When the men went out to milk. and Mr. could hardly reach the teacups from the  . He took no notice of Miriam. hard with mocking hate. He was too clever and cruel. The three brothers sat with ruffled. The whole family loved a ‘take-off’ more than anything. His mockery always hurt her. giving a guffaw from time to time. she saw him remark her new blouse. They went out into the back garden under the budding damson-trees. There was silence for a while.’ She continued quickly to lay the table. saw that the artist approved.

‘Is there need to cycle to know that!’ he said. The cheeks of the flowers were greenish with cold. I think not. They went forward in silence. sipping the flowers with fervid kisses. But still some had burst. ‘Why must you always be fondling things?’ he said ir Sons and Lovers . He watched her crouching. ‘No. bursten flowers appealingly.’ she murmured. She detected an underneath feeling of weariness about him. Miriam went on her knees before one cluster. Round the wild. and their gold ruffled and glowed. so I don’t understand. fondling them lavishly all the while.loved. She thought his sarcasms were unnecessary. ‘Has the wind made you tired?’ she asked. that helps me here.’ ‘You see. watching her. ‘Aren’t they magnificent?’ she murmured. ‘Magnificent! It’s a bit thick—they’re pretty!’ She bowed again to her flowers at his censure of her praise. could look so hurting.’ ‘You can see by the clouds it’s a south-west wind.’ he answered. One after another she turned up to him the faces of the yellow. under which daffodils were craning forward from among their sheaves of greygreen blades. turned up its face of gold to her. tussocky lawn at the back of the house was a thorn hedge. caressing it with her mouth and cheeks and brow. and bowed down. ‘It must be rough on the road—the wood moans so. took a wild-looking daffodil between her hands. He stood aside. I don’t cycle. with his hands in his pockets.

‘You’re always begging things to love you. Miriam was swaying and stroking the flower with her mouth. and did not hear. run hot by thwarted passion. as if you must fill yourself up with love. These things came from him mechanically. It was as if his fretted. was so much kinder than he. He had not the faintest notion of what he was saying. or something?’ She looked up at him full of pain. as she smelled it. Even the  . then continued slowly to stroke her lips against a ruffled flower. She looked at him. You aren’t positive. or reserve. His body seemed one weapon. because you’ve got a shortage somewhere. ‘Can you never like things without clutching them as if you wanted to pull the heart out of them? Why don’t you have a bit more restraint.’ He scarcely knew what he was saying.’ She was stunned by his cruelty. ‘I would never wheedle—at any rate. inhaling the scent which ever after made her shudder as it came to her nostrils. absorb. You absorb. She only sat crouched beneath his Free eBooks at Planet eBook. I’d go straight.ritably. ‘You don’t want to love—your eternal and abnormal craving is to be loved. hurt. you’re negative. ‘But I love to touch them. ‘You wheedle the soul out of things.’ he said. Their scent. jetted off these sayings like sparks from electricity. firm and hard against her. it almost made her cry. She did not grasp anything he said. ‘as if you were a beggar for love. tortured soul. you have to fawn on them—-‘ Rhythmically.’ she replied.’ he said.

She was determined to track this mood of his to its origin. They faced the amphitheatre of round hills  Sons and Lovers . And at last he yielded and came to her. She counted it not much more than a mood. baited with the guts of a rabbit. waited for him. a monument squared and brown. ‘Isn’t it dreadful?’ she asked. After tea he stayed with Edgar and the brothers.’ he said. There was a little bed of hay from the last cutting. ‘I don’t know! Is it worse than a weasel with its teeth in a rabbit’s throat? One weasel or many rabbits? One or the other must go!’ He was taking the bitterness of life badly. Just a fragment remained of the haystack. She was rather sorry for him. She. He sat down against his will. extremely unhappy on this looked-for holiday. ‘Shall we go through the wood a little way?’ she asked him. ‘We will go back to the house. resting his back against the hard wall of hay. They went down to the warren. Over everything she brooded and brooded. whose bronze leaf-buds were coming unfastened. ‘Let us sit here a minute. knowing he never refused a direct request. On the middle path they passed a trap. taking no notice of Miriam.’ said Miriam. She caught his eye. a narrow horseshoe hedge of small fir-boughs. ‘I don’t want to walk out.’ They went past the lilac-tree. like a pillar of stone. She never realised in a flash.cruelty and his hatred of her. Paul glanced at it frowning.

Paul drew back. licking his face. ‘Get out. his brown eyes rolling in his white face. At that moment a big bull-terrier came rushing up.that glowed with sunset. There was something pathetic about the man. the woods dark and yet luminous. however. tiny white farms standing out. I’ve had enough o’ thee. to be tender. The lad frowned. But he only scowled. and flickered a red tongue at him. But the dog only stood with two heavy paws. The rough way he bowled the dog over was really loving. only floundered tumultuously back again. pranced his two paws on the youth’s shoulders. openmouthed. The evening had cleared. upon his thigh. Miriam watched them. So Paul had a little battle with the creature. He drew back.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. who. that quivered with love. the dog grinning all over. He wanted so badly to love. wild with joy. Bill got up.’ he said—‘no—I’ve had enough. laughing. the meadows golden. ‘or I’ll dot thee one. He would rather have had it ugly just then. ‘No. distinct in the distance. treetops folded over tree-tops.’ he said. ‘Bill. pitching poor Bill away from him. The two fought together. panting with happiness. but it came leaping back.’ said the lad. Bill was a great relief to him. and lumbered back again. He pushed the dog aside.’ But the dog was not to be pushed away. ‘Isn’t it beautiful?’ she  . He adored Paul. the man laughing grudgingly. and the east was tender with a magenta flush under which the land lay still and rich.

And in a minute the dog trotted off happily. ‘What is it?’ she pleaded softly. He lay perfectly still. thrust. digging up little clods of earth as if he were in a fever of irritation.’ she murmured. whose still beauty he begrudged. and leaned back. She gently and firmly laid her band on his wrist. ‘I’m not sad. ‘You’d far better not talk. ‘But what is the matter?’ she pleaded. He laughed resentfully.’ he answered. and they full of  Sons and Lovers . ‘I’m only normal. coaxing him soothingly. Yet he had not the courage to leave Miriam. to vary the fun. He wanted to go and cycle with Edgar.’ he said. He remained staring miserably across at the hills. Now he was bottled up. He thrust. He picked up a stick and began to stab the earth with it.’ He flung the stick into the currant-bushes.’ She wondered why he always claimed to be normal when he was disagreeable. why should I be. only his eyes alive. ‘Nothing!’ ‘Nay!’ she murmured. ‘Put it away. ‘But I wish to know—-’ she replied. ‘Why are you sad?’ she asked humbly. ‘Don’t!’ she said. ‘You always do. ‘It’s not fair to me.’ he said. thrust at the ground with the pointed stick.

She brooded.’ There was warmth of fury in his last  . monotonous voice. It was no good being impatient with him. sadly. it kept her always back. He meant she loved him more than he her. patiently. ‘We agreed on friendship.’ he said at length. Let us have done. he would tell her now what ailed him.’ It was what she dreaded. It was the deepest motive of her soul. rather wearily—‘you know—we’d better break off. this self-mistrust. Perhaps she had not in herself that which he wanted. nor gets anywhere else. It’s no good—-‘ She waited in silence. She would merely see. She would never let herself want him.’ he went on in a dull. ‘But what has happened?’ she said. At any rate.torment. ‘You know. ‘How often HAVE we agreed for friendship! And yet—it neither stops there. she would do without him. ‘What has happened?’ ‘Nothing has happened.’ He was silent again. ‘I can only give friendship—it’s all I’m capable of—it’s a flaw in my make-up. It was so deep she dared neither realise nor acknowledge. If it were so. What did he mean? He was so wearying. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Swiftly everything seemed to darken before her eyes. We only realise where we are. The thing overbalances to one side—I hate a toppling balance. ‘Why!’ she murmured. There was something he would not yield. Perhaps she was deficient. Yet she must be patient with him. Perhaps he could not love her. Like an infinitely subtle shame.

She felt upon him the hardness. it was he who was chiefly humiliated. physically. She guessed somebody had been influencing him. the foreignness 0 Sons and Lovers . ‘Love you. And she bowed under her suffering.You see. and so ought to leave her a chance with another man. she pitied him. We’re always like this towards Easter-time. His soul wanted her. was a mere perversity on his part. any more than I can fly up like a skylark—-‘ ‘What?’ she murmured. ah! she loved his soul. He was stupid like a child. After all. ‘What do you want?’ she asked him.’ she said huskily. Was HE deficient in something? Perhaps he was. How foolish and blind and shamefully clumsy he was! What were other men to her! What were men to her at all! But he. Now she dreaded. ‘I know. Why should I monopolise you when I’m not—. He really belonged to her.’ he cried. ‘Why—I mustn’t come often—that’s all.‘Nothing—it’s all in myself—it only comes out just now. I’m deficient in something with regard to you—-‘ He was telling her he did not love her.’ He grovelled so helplessly. At least she never floundered in such a pitiable way. Love her! She knew he loved her. This about not loving her. bodily. He belonged to her. ‘you never will! You’ll never believe that I can’t—can’t physically.’ He hated her bitterly at that moment because he made her suffer. ‘But I don’t understand. ‘Yesterday—-‘ The night was turning jangled and hateful to him as the twilight faded. because he knew she loved him.

‘What have they been saying at home?’ she asked. She would fight to keep Paul. And in the same way she waited for him.of another influence. They did not know what things were really worth. After all he left her to cycle with Edgar. he was going to alter the face of the earth in some way which mattered. He and she talked very little more that night. Everybody else could grow shadowy. ‘It’s not that. When he thought round. It was as if the pivot and pole of his life. as it were. his people. Miriam shrank away. from which he could not escape. She despised them for their commonness. Hers was the strongest tie in his life. almost non-existent to 1 . Whatever he did she felt her soul stood by him. She could not bear it when he was with Miriam. Wherever he went she felt her soul went with him. the life beyond offered very little to Mrs. Morel. Paul was going to prove that she had been right. After all. he was going to make a man whom nothing should shift off his feet. and doing counted with her. unreal feel about her. She saw that our chance for DOING is here. And he came back to her. to hand him his tools. There was a vague. He had come back to his mother. And nobody else mattered. And then she knew it was. ready. And in his soul was a feeling Free eBooks at Planet eBook. but she could not. William was dead. In him was established her life now. was his mother.’ he answered. There was one place in the world that stood solid and did not melt into unreality: the place where his mother was.

Miriam had suffered a great deal. and wished bitterly that Miriam had been a woman who could take this new life of his. He met her with the young children in the front garden. how he would torture her with his battle against her. Leivers was glad to see him.’ He felt she would like him to come. so strong and imperious. His new young life. Was she now to endure the ignominy of his abandoning her? That would only be superficial and temporary. He seemed to drift to her for comfort. He fought against his mother almost as he fought against Miriam. He could have wept with gratitude that she was deferential to him. At the bottom of the Mow Close they found a thrush’s  Sons and Lovers . Mrs.of the satisfaction of self-sacrifice because he was faithful to her. They went. And she was good to him. She gathered something was fretting him. and leave her the roots. He would come back. She loved him first.’ said the mother. She held the keys to his soul. It was a week before he went again to Willey Farm. ‘It is such a sunny day. It made him mad with restlessness. That soothed him. And yet it was not enough. He was feeling humiliated. looking at him with her great appealing brown eyes. that he found things hard. and was afraid to see him again. ‘I’m glad you’ve come. I was just going down the fields for the first time this year. was urged towards something else. the Sunday after Easter he came to tea. talking simply. But meanwhile. She did him that great kindness of treating him almost with reverence. he loved her first. he gentle and humble. She shrank from it. However. She saw this.

and Miriam wondered and dreaded what Free eBooks at Planet eBook. He was concentrated on the act. Seeing him so. ‘Isn’t it a strange warmth!’ she murmured. He shoved his muzzle in the man’s  . his hand folded carefully over the eggs. his arm reaching slowly through the thorns. poor thing!’ said Mrs. She watched him putting them back. but without any heart for it. cradled them so well. He took ‘Tartarin de Tarascon”. ‘I don’t want you. Bill. to get near him. Again they sat on the bank of hay at the foot of the stack. ‘Go away. holding them in the palm of his hand.’ Bill slunk off. Paul fingered his ear for a moment.’ he answered. Miriam could not help touching the eggs. After tea she stood hesitating at the bookshelf. he seemed so simple and sufficient to himself.nest. ‘Ay. Again the dog came racing up to repeat the fun of the other day. and his hand which. ‘They seem SUCH a sign of spring. his body pressed against the hedge. she loved him. ‘They are quite hot—I think we frightened her off them. He read a couple of pages. ‘Do!’ replied Mrs. Leivers. ‘Shall I show you the eggs?’ he said. Leivers.’ He put aside the thorns.’ he said.’ he said. and so hopeful. it seemed to her. ‘Blood heat. Then he pushed him away. and took out the eggs. And she could not get to him.

that he knew why he came so much. What do you think about it?’ Miriam bowed her head moodily. ‘Do you think we love each other enough to marry?’ he asked definitely. but his quiet resolutions that she feared.was coming. They say at this rate everybody will consider me engaged. because it’s not fair to you. It was not his furies. There was a silence about the youth that made her still with apprehension. Why do you ask?’ she replied. wondering if her people had anything to do with it. in a low tone that should have been a reproach to him. They had not. ‘Mother—and the others.’ she murmured. She had been furious with her own father for suggesting to Paul. And I’ve tried to find out—and I don’t think I love you as a man ought to love his wife. ‘Why. so that she could not see him.’ he blurted. speaking slowly and painfully: ‘Do you think—if I didn’t come up so much—you might get to like somebody else—another man?’ So this was what he was still harping on. and I ought to consider myself so. laughingly. She was angry at having this struggle. Turning his face a little to one side. People should leave him and her alone. ‘Who says?’ she asked. he began. It made her tremble. ‘I don’t know. ‘because they say I’ve no right to come up like this—without we mean to marry—-‘ Miriam was indignant at anybody’s forcing the issues between them.  Sons and Lovers . ‘But I don’t know any other men.

might have given me more—than I could ever make up to you. ‘You see. She only said. ‘And if I ask you to come down any time. I ought to consider myself engaged.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ This she did not consider. Then. ‘It was for your sake she spoke this time. ‘I know she never liked me. He was always such a child for people to do as they liked with. ‘No. But I suppose I can go on alone. after a pause. I don’t think so.’ she said firmly. if I was going on. ‘Well. ‘I can give you a French lesson. will you?’ She did not answer. too.’ ‘No. ‘that you. ‘I don’t think so—we’re too young. And she was angry. and her dark eyes flashed.’ he said. I was just beginning to get on with it. ‘with me—I don’t think one person would ever monopolize me—be everything to me—I think never. it isn’t.‘No.’ he said. He pondered a minute. with your intensity in things.’ he went on miserably. surely.’ Now Miriam wanted to cry.’ he said hastily.’ ‘I thought perhaps. you won’t stop away. ‘I suppose I’d better drop French.’ There was a silence. ‘No. what shall we do?’ she said shortly. she looked at him. no. And even now—if you think it better—we’ll be engaged.’ she answered truthfully.’ ‘I don’t see that we  .’ she murmured.’ she said. ‘This is your mother. By this time she was very angry.

without looking at him. rather taken aback. no!’ he laughed. I can go alone. Miriam pitied him now. and it’s all the social life I get. I shan’t stop coming to chapel. he rose to go.’ ‘All right. ‘Because. will you?’ he asked.’ There was silence.’ he continued. ‘Oh no. ‘Miriam. are you?’ asked Mrs. But a woman broods. She thought him unstable.’ ‘No. Leivers exclaimed. After all. and let it trouble you.’ replied Miriam. He was silent. ‘You’re not going home.‘Well—and there are Sunday nights. Do you think you’ve taken cold. But you’ve no need to come home with me. and then they can say nothing. she would not lose much. But he felt done up. Leivers anxiously. For all their talk down at his home there would not be much difference. ‘a man gets across his bicycle— and goes to work—and does all sorts of things. ‘But if I ask Edgar. no anchor of righteousness that held him. He had no fixity of purpose. then. But quite early. he’ll always come with us.  Sons and Lovers . ‘And you won’t think about it. It wore him out. They went indoors. Paul?’ ‘Oh. She wished they would mind their own business. because I enjoy it. It had gone rather chilly. before nine o’clock.’ said Miriam. And she meant it. you shouldn’t have let him sit out of doors. ‘How white Paul looks!’ Mrs.’ he answered. I shan’t bother. the conflict in himself.

He was at a loss.’ said Mrs. She saw him pale. He loved the little pokey kitchen. where the lamp hung over the table at night. But as he went past the window he looked in. She rose and went to the doorway to wave good-bye to him as he passed through the gate. He hesitated. where men’s boots tramped. its Free eBooks at Planet eBook. his brows knit slightly in a way that had become constant with him. all!’ he faltered. feeling a cur and a miserable wretch. He loved the family so much. It was his mother. Two days later he sent her up a book and a little note. His home was not so lovable. urging her to read and be busy. His bicycle went tilting down the hills at random. At this time he gave all his friendship to Edgar. with its atmosphere of romance.’ He was very awkward. it was the dearest place on earth to him. he loved the farm so much. expecting her to rise and go with him to the barn as usual for his bicycle. He rode slowly under the pine-trees. She spoke her good-night along with all the others. ‘But this IS early. Leivers. She remained as she was. Whereas Willey Farm he loved  . and did not speak. and the dog slept with one eye open for fear of being trodden on.’ he replied. ‘I said I’d be early. But then he would have been just as happy with his mother anywhere.‘Yes. He thought it would be a relief to break one’s neck. He loved Miriam’s long. low parlour. and everything was so silent. ‘Well—good-night. Miriam sat in the rocking-chair. his eyes dark with pain.

who lit up when he came. and Mrs. And he wrote to her the wild country scooping down a valley and up the uncultured hills of the other side. Miriam drew them together. So he went as often. Leivers was glad. he loved Mr. its books. When she and Edgar and he walked home together from chapel or from the literary society in Bestwood. so warm and young and lovable. She was nearly always alone. and the boys and the children and Bill—even the sow Circe and the Indian game-cock called Tippoo. joined in charades and games at evening. Miriam was glad. He loved the gardens and the buildings that stood with their scarlet roofs on the naked edges of the fields. taking parts. Only all the family. studying. waiting. with her unworldliness and her quaint cynicism. its high rosewood piano. Only to be there was an exhilaration and a joy to him. walking. He could not give it up. and Mr. For her Friday nights and her French lessons were gone. his days working in the fields. He loved Mrs. pondering in the wood. he loved Edgar. Leivers. however. she knew his talk. reading. She did envy Edgar. dreaming. Leivers. and they read Macbeth out of penny books. was for her. And later. crept towards the wood as if for cosiness. including the father. Then they all learned songs together from tonic sol-fa. But now Paul was very rarely alone with Miriam.  Sons and Lovers . but he was usually with Edgar. She waited. his Friday nights. his cycling with Paul. It was great excitement. All this besides Miriam. singing in a circle round the fire. so passionate and so unorthodox nowadays. Leivers enjoyed it.

She liked him on Sundays. He was setting now full sail towards Agnosticism. he gradually realized where he was wrong. He was more or less under her spell again. Then he wore a dark suit that showed the lithe movement of his body. There was a clean. she submitted to his argument and expounding. Miriam was the threshing-floor on which he threshed out all his beliefs. He took the key out of the scullery window. She felt he could not do without her. Almost impassive. She alone was his threshing-floor. the truth came out for him. They were at the Renan Vie de Jesus stage. As usual. She sat on the sofa. quietly. She wore a large white hat with some pinkish flowers. because of her. She watched him. clear-cut look about  . and brought her some cakes from the pantry. Always her ears were hid in her short curls. but such a religious Agnosticism that Miriam did not suffer so badly. they were discussing the sermon.One Sunday evening they attained to their old rare harmony. All the time he went on with his discussion. Suddenly he reached for a Bible. She alone helped him towards realization. Miriam liked the way Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Edgar had stayed to Communion—he wondered what it was like—with Mrs. but he liked it. And somehow. mended the fire. golden-brown and ruddy. They came to the silent house. He went on with his thinking to her. While he trampled his ideas upon her soul. and they entered. Her face beneath was still and pensive. So Paul came on alone with Miriam to his home. And what he realized. He lit the gas. It was a cheap hat. she realized. with a plate on her knee. Morel.

There was between them now always a ground for strife. She wanted to prove him. Soon Edgar came in. He tried to go on with his argument. something of which they were ashamed. Now she felt there was really something hostile between them. He went on reading. and read her a chapter of St. his voice only thinking. John. Miriam brooded over his split with her. It gave her great pleasure. ‘A woman. She ate her cake mechanically. She shrank when the well-known words did not follow. when she is in travail. she felt as if he were using her unconsciously as a man uses his tools at some work he is bent on. he missed it out. She sat back on the sofa away from him. As he sat in the armchair reading. Six months ago he would have read it simply. The three set off to Willey Farm. the rest might go. Morel had gone to her friends’. he could give her no peace.he reached up—so sharp. she could sim0 Sons and Lovers . Miriam had felt him growing uncomfortable. Mrs. There was something else he wanted. intent. hath sorrow because her hour is come’. both to herself and to him. A grief and shame made her bend her head. Then he began to falter and to get self-conscious. but she did not hear. and yet feeling herself the very instrument his hand grasped. If she could prove it. And when he came to the verse. straight to the mark. and it was as if she were what he reached with. He could not be satisfied. He turned the pages quickly. Now there was a scotch in his running with her. She loved it. And the wistfulness of his voice was like a reaching to something. She believed that his chief need in life was herself. but could not get back the right note.

com 1 . The girl stood. They found her rather hard to put up with. He was rather excited at the idea of meeting Clara at Willey Farm. Yet she was perfectly amiable. He said he did not like her. Yet he was keen to know about her. There was something he hankered after. So in May she asked him to come to Willey Farm and meet Mrs.ply trust to the future. Dawes. She forgot that her ‘higher’ and ‘lower’ were arbitrary. All the Leivers were eclipsed like candles. ‘She’s readFree eBooks at Planet eBook. bowing her head because of the sunshine. Mrs. At any rate. dun-coloured hair was coiled on top of her head. glad to see him. he should put himself to the test. She believed that there were in him desires for higher things. She saw him. Paul did not come till afternoon. As he swung off his bicycle. Dawes came for the day. Miriam went out to meet him. wherever she was. and somehow. and desires for lower. Well. Her heavy. he should try. Nasturtiums were coming out crimson under the cool green shadow of their leaves. and that the desire for the higher would conquer. Miriam saw him look round at the house eagerly. rouse and get slightly angry. Miriam’s beautiful twilighty parlour looked stiff and stupid. and rather hard. seemed to make things look paltry and insignificant. She wore a white blouse and navy skirt. ‘Hasn’t Clara come?’ he asked. dark-haired. the kitchen seemed too small and mean altogether. He would be disappointed if the visitor had not come.’ replied Miriam in her musical tone. but indifferent. When she was in the room. ‘Yes. He was early. whenever they spoke of Clara Dawes.

’ ‘I don’t like to nag at you. ‘I am glad. but was too lazy to brush the dust from his shoes. ‘Yes.’ she said. Miriam already began to suffer. ‘Yes. ‘But nag at me till you get it. in spite of the socks and tie.’ ‘Do it whether or not. He saw the nape of her white neck. and the fine hair lifted from it. ‘She came this morning?’ he asked. no!’ he said. And is she any more agreeable?’ he continued. He had put on a handsome tie. He noticed how her breasts swelled inside her blouse.’ replied Miriam. looking at him and socks to match. He took the clips off his trousers. ‘You have chosen a fine day. of which he was rather proud. and yet to fling something to him. They went together towards the house. in a manner that seemed at once to keep him at a distance.’ He was silent.’ He wheeled his bicycle into the barn.’ he said.’  Sons and Lovers .’ he said. ‘It happens so. ‘You know I always think she is quite agreeable. Evidently his eagerness to be early to-day had been the newcomer. dash. ‘You said you’d bring me that letter from the man at Liberty’s. To shake hands she lifted her arm straight. Clara sat in the cool parlour reading. Have you remembered?’ ‘Oh. She rose. as she walked at his side. and how her shoulder curved handsomely under the thin muslin at the top of her arm.

’ said Miriam. ‘She’s lovable for all that. She did not mind if he observed her hands. of course.She sat down. ‘Well. ‘She’s a great deal cleverer than most men. ‘You were at Margaret Bonford’s meeting the other evening. ‘  . coughing huskily. that is all that matters.’ asked Miriam.’ he said.’ he said to her. ‘how do you know?’ ‘I went in for a few minutes before the train came. and white. Miriam did not know this courteous Paul. but well kept. And the skin on them seemed almost coarse.’ she said.’ said Clara witheringly. opaque. deprecating. you see. Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ he answered. with fine golden hairs. Her mouth was closed as if she were offended. I didn’t say she wasn’t. Her heavy arm lay negligently on the table. Clara glanced at him. ‘Yes. not thanking him for his politeness.’ ‘And. ‘Margaret Bonford!’ exclaimed Clara. Clara turned away again rather disdainfully.’ ‘Well.’ Clara sat leaning on the table. holding aloof. He noticed her hands were large. and she kept her face slightly averted. ‘What have you been doing all morning?’ asked Paul of Miriam. She intended to scorn him. ‘I think she’s a lovable little woman. ‘Clara only came with father—and so—she’s not been here very long.’ said Paul.

He rose and left them. ‘I’m sure she wouldn’t mind darning even my stockings. and he walked with con Sons and Lovers .’ said Miriam. warm eyes.’ Miriam dared not propose anything for the three of them. On the top road. I wished she was sitting comfortably in peace—-‘ ‘Darning her husband’s stockings. Just as I wouldn’t mind blacking her boots if she wanted me to. Edgar was good-looking.’’ said Clara scathingly.’ he said. ‘I suppose it matters more than her cleverness.’ he said.’ he said. rather perplexed. He should be back directly. ‘he’s gone for a load of coal.’ But Clara refused to answer this sally of his. with dark. Is he on the land?’ ‘I believe. He talked to Miriam for a little while. and awfully nice—only too frail. ‘And I’m sure she’d do them well.’ he said. after all.’ ‘Then. ‘which. ‘Well. where the gorse was out. ‘Well. The young farmer’s face lighted up as he saw his friend.’ he said. who nodded her whitestarred forehead as she dragged the clanking load of coal. would never get her to heaven. ‘I think I’ll go and see Edgar. His clothes were old and rather disreputable. ‘I’ll go and meet him. ‘I thought she was warm.’ ‘It’s not heaven she wants to get—it’s her fair share on earth. The other woman held aloof. he saw Edgar walking lazily beside the mare. She spoke as if he were responsible for some deprivation which Miss Bonford suffered. rather annoyed.’ retorted Clara.He rubbed his head.

‘Who is ‘Nevermore’?’ he asked. ‘Don’t you like her?’ he asked.siderable pride. ‘Where are you going?’ ‘Came to meet you. Dawes—it ought to be Mrs. and if she looks forward she says it cynically.’ Edgar considered this speech. seeing Paul bareheaded.’ and if she looks at herself in the looking-glass she says disdainfully ‘Nevermore.’ said Paul.’ He mused a little.’ and if she thinks back she says it in disgust. ‘The lady—Mrs. failed to make much out of it. Can’t stand ‘Nevermore. ‘if she looks at a man she says haughtily ‘Nevermore. ‘Well. and said. then?’ ‘Could you imagine her NICE with anybody?’ asked the young man. ‘Why.’ replied Paul. Then: ‘But why do you call her ‘Nevermore’?’ he asked. ‘No!’ Edgar pursed up his lips. ‘But you don’t think so?’ ‘No. Free eBooks at Planet  .’ said Paul. ‘I can’t say she’s much in my line. ‘Wasn’t she nice with you. do you?’ ‘No!’ The answer came with a deep ring of conviction. laughing: ‘You think she’s a man-hater?’ ‘SHE thinks she is.’’ Edgar’s teeth flashed in a laugh of amusement. The Raven that quothed ‘Nevermore. ‘Not a fat lot. ‘Hello!’ he said.’ replied Paul.’’ Edgar laughed with glee.

‘We have such jolly times. She thought it anomalous in him that he could be so thoroughly absorbed in a triviality. for fear of Clara. Edgar agreed. Paul watched him sometimes.  Sons and Lovers . and first one. However. Dawes ate her meal in a slow. so that he could sing whilst he was carting. Together they unloaded the coal in the yard. sneezing with the dust that came from the pelts of Jimmy and Flower. It was tea-time when they had finished. Miriam was impatient of men. ‘Do you like singing?’ Miriam asked her. abused his horse. ‘Do you know a new song to teach me?’ said Edgar. then the other. he sang softly. It took so little to amuse them—even Paul. because he knew Clara could see if she looked out of the window. She didn’t look. Paul was rather self-conscious. The conversation turned to singing. ‘Mary Morrison’?’ suggested the younger. He continued to work all the time. Paul had a very indifferent baritone voice. On Saturday afternoons the horses were brushed down and groomed. and his fingers that held the brush were thick. Whenever the men were present she grew distant.Edgar laughed. Paul and Edgar worked together. The back of his neck was sun-red when he bent down. but a good ear. At times they both broke off to sneeze. dignified way. He had a good tenor voice.’ Miriam said to Clara. Edgar told her. Mrs. and he loved to learn all the songs his friend could teach him. Edgar repeated the line in a clear tenor. ‘What song was that?’ asked Miriam.

’ she said.’ she said. Then he took his departure to the cowsheds. coloured. people sing for their own pleasure.’ Paul had been feeling uncomfortable during this discourse.’ he said. when all the men had gone but Paul. ‘I think a voice needs training before the singing is  . Leivers said to Clara: ‘And you find life happier now?’ ‘Infinitely.’ ‘And it may be for other people’s discomfort. Mrs. After tea. ‘Really. and his manly pride was high. Miriam came for him a little later to know if he would go Free eBooks at Planet eBook. of course. He felt he had been witty. There was a silence.’ ‘Then the other people should have flaps to their ears. ‘I’ve put all that behind me.‘If it is good. ‘You mean if it is high-class and trained?’ he said. Leivers gently. He flushed deeply. The boys laughed.’ he replied. as a rule. He whistled as he went down the brick track.’ he replied.’ ‘And you don’t MISS anything in your life?’ asked Mrs. Paul. ‘You’ll find you’re always tumbling over the things you’ve put behind you. ‘You might as well insist on having people’s voices trained before you allowed them to talk.’ ‘And you are satisfied?’ ‘So long as I can be free and independent. and ate in silence. He got up.

away there where the air was shadowy.’ ‘Well.’ he replied. and just let ME be clever. laughing. When she fights for herself she seems like a dog before a looking-glass. they saw. ‘that you are too clever.’ he answered.P.with Clara and her for a walk. The three stood charmed.’ he retorted. They set off down to Strelley Mill Farm.’ ‘And to have us shut up safely?’ replied Clara.’  Sons and Lovers .’ ‘And YOU are the looking-glass?’ she asked. sweet maid.’ emblazoned on my shield.’ ‘I have no doubt.U. The big red beast seemed to dance romantically through that dimness of green hazel drift. on the Willey Water side. ‘What a treat to be a knight. ‘Be good. I leave it to you to be GOOD. beneath a woman rampant. As they were going beside the brook.S. ‘singing with your maids at your broidery.’ she said. ‘Yes.’ said Clara. among the fading bluebells that might have bloomed for Deidre or Iseult. beyond the tree-trunks and the thin hazel bushes. I would carry your banner of white and green and heliotrope. as if it were in the past.’ he said. gone into a mad fury with its own shadow. where pink campions glowed under a few sunbeams. ‘that you would much rather fight for a woman than let her fight for herself. looking through the brake at the edge of the wood. I would have ‘W. ‘I am afraid. ‘and to have a pavilion here. with a curl of the lip. a man leading a great bay horse through the gullies.’ ‘I would. ‘Or the shadow.

walking with a kind of sulky abandon. half-contemptuous. Limb pulled up before them. in a peculiar piping voice. ‘that his young beas’es ‘as broke that bottom fence three days an’ runnin’.But Clara wearied of his flippancy.’ The man and the stallion went forward. shifting round its red flanks. then splashed finely through the second brook. with an endless excess of vigour. His heart grew tender for everybody.’ said the man affectionately to the  . Suddenly. watched it half-fascinated. he saw that the upward lifting of her face was misery and not scorn. as it felt itself in the brook. ‘Come along a bit. At the wood’s edge they met Limb. The three stood to let him pass over the stepping-stones of the first brook. a thin. Paul admired that so large an animal should walk on such springy toes.’ replied Limb. Miss Leivers. tremulous. It went up the bank in little leaps.’ ‘Which?’ asked Miriam. ‘Tell your father. which he ran as a cattle-raising farm. swarthy man of forty. He turned and was gentle with Miriam.’ he said. Limb stopped and pointed to the fence under some Free eBooks at Planet eBook. It danced sideways. shaking its white fetlocks and looking frightened. whom he had neglected till then. and looking suspiciously with its wonderful big eyes upwards from under its lowered head and falling mane. tenant of Strelley Mill. He held the halter of the powerful stallion indifferently. as if he were tired. ‘an’ I’ll show you. Clara. looking at her. ‘No hanky-pankyin’. The great horse breathed heavily.

Her dark eyes glanced straight at Paul.’ he said.’ she said. ‘My man’s druv ‘em back three times. thanks. ducking his head. She held his head in her arms against her breast. ‘He is glad to be back. ‘Are you comin’ in?’ asked the man. ‘Oh. then she kissed him near the eyes. She came up excitedly. Her brother went forward. but we should like to go by the pond. the big bay stallion whinneyed again.’ ‘Well. good-evening. you see where they got through. ‘Are you home again. The horse gave little whinneys of pleasure at being so near home. ‘There. excitable-looking woman of about thirty-five. She smuggled into his mouth the wrinkled yellow apple she had been hiding behind her back.’ 0 Sons and Lovers . ‘It’s ages since you’ve been down.’ he said.willows. my boy!’ she said tenderly to the horse. As it saw her. Miss Limb looked up. and saw approaching them from the big farmhouse a smallish. The great beast shifted round to her. Her hair was touched with grey. Miss Leivers.’ said Clara. her dark eyes looked wild. ‘Isn’t he splendid!’ said Miriam to her.’ ‘Yes. colouring as if she were at fault. He gave a big sigh of pleasure. not to the man.’ They went through the gate. who was interested in the creature. ‘Yes—‘e’s been a tidy step to-day.’ answered Miriam. ‘No. just as you’ve a mind. dark. She walked with her hands behind her back.

do. She wanted to look in his eyes.’ ‘What fish are there in the pond?’ he asked. but we should like to go by the mill-pond.’ said Paul. ‘We scarcely see a soul from week’s end to week’s end. They went through the front garden.’ said Miss Limb. ‘No. we won’t come in. ‘Don’t you think big fellows are?’ ‘He’s a beauty!’ replied Clara.’ ‘Yes—yes. Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ ‘Morel. Then her brother moved on with the horse. Paul walked with Miss Limb. ‘Oh.Miriam introduced her friends. ‘As loving as any man!’ ‘More loving than most men. ‘Your horse IS a fine fellow!’ said Clara.’ she said. Clara. and up the steep bank to the pond. but he can—all but. went up to stroke his neck. again embracing the horse.’ replied 1 . ‘He’s quite gentle. which lay in shadow. She wanted him to look at her. ‘It’s a pity he can’t talk.—I didn’t catch it. over the sluice. Mr. I should be thankful. ‘Isn’t he!’ Again she kissed him. I should think. ‘Because if you do you might come and fish any time. ‘He’s a nice boy!’ cried the woman.’ said Miriam. with its two wooded islets. Mr.’ replied the other woman. Morel?’ ‘No. ‘Are you coming in? DO come in. fascinated by the big beast.’ said Miss Limb. Do you fish.

Do come and swim. ‘But it’s the loneliness sends her cracked.’ he said.’ he said.’ ‘Yes. It was wild and tussocky.’ blurted Clara suddenly. ‘Come when you like. ‘I suppose. but strode on uphill.’ said Paul. He is so quiet.’ The other two were silent for a few moments. ‘Miss Limb was just saying we could come when we liked. ‘It’s not the right sort of life for her.’ said Paul. her legs swinging as she kicked  Sons and Lovers . then went on up the wild hill. leaving the lonely. ‘and so clear. ‘It’s a fine depth.‘I shouldn’t mind swimming here.’ ‘What’s a matter with her? Is she going dotty with being too lonely?’ ‘Yes.’ she replied. But—she upsets me. ‘Yes.’ said Miriam. The three walked in silence. I really ought to go and see her more. Clara did not answer. given over to rabbits. ‘she wants a man.’ Clara came up. ‘Do you swim?’ said Paul. ‘Do. Then: ‘She makes me feel uncomfortable. because there is no one to talk to.’ she said. The hillside was all ripe with sunshine.’ said Miss Limb. ‘You mean Miss Limb?’ asked Miriam.’ said Miss Limb. She was walking with her hand hanging.’ ‘She makes me feel sorry for her—yes. My brother will be awfully pleased to talk with you. and she bothers me.’ ‘Of course there’s the farm-hands. They talked a few moments. I think it’s cruel to bury her there. haggard-eyed woman on the bank.

talking in subdued tones. was looking at the cowslips disconsolately.through the dead thistles and the tussocky  . ‘Do you still think she is disagreeable?’ she asked. two sides of which were backed by the wood. ‘Ah!’ cried Miriam. Between these overgrown bushes were gaps that the cattle might have walked through had there been any cattle now. the other sides by high loose hedges of hawthorn and elder bushes. her arms hanging loose. He was curious about her. finding he did not answer her. quickly gathering the best blossoms. ‘Something’s the matter with her. who was walking beside him talking to him.’ answered Miriam. Rather than walking. padded and holed by the rabbits. her handsome body seemed to be blundering up the hill. It was like a roadstead crowded with tan. fairy shipping. Together they enjoyed the field of flowers. talking softly all the time. He smiled.’ he said. He did not notice that the question was sudden. His eyes were fixed ahead on Clara. He forgot Miriam. They found at the top of the hill a hidden wild field. Clara. He kneeled on one knee. Perhaps life had been cruel to her. There the turf was smooth as velveteen. Paul and Miriam stayed close together. Clusters of strong flowers rose everywhere above the coarse tussocks of bent. The field itself was coarse. and she looked at Paul. She glanced at him. It ran with his thoughts. big cowslips that had never been cut. Miriam plucked the flowers Free eBooks at Planet eBook. a little way off. moving from tuft to tuft restlessly. and crowded with tall. ‘Yes. A hot wave went over Paul. her dark eyes dilating.

he ate the little yellow trumpets. ‘That’s a stiff.lovingly. And you only call a thing a corpse because it looks corpse-like. Yet his bunches had a natural beauty more than hers. He loved them. As he gathered them. A dead flower isn’t a corpse of a flower. ‘Because I like them. He wanted to drink them.’ she said. Clara was still wandering about disconsolately.’ he said. And besides.’ ‘Whether it is one or not?’ she argued. Going towards her. He always seemed to her too quick and almost scientific.’ Clara now ignored him. Why not? I’m sure they’d smell nice in your room  Sons and Lovers . they LOOK nice in a bowl—they look jolly. The flowers were very fresh and sweet. he said: ‘Why don’t you get some?’ ‘I don’t believe in it.’ ‘I don’t want the corpses of flowers about me. but as if they were his and he had a right to them. ‘And even so—what right have you to pull them?’ she asked.’ ‘But you’d like some?’ ‘They want to be left. She had more reverence for them: they held something she had not.’ ‘And that is sufficient?’ ‘Yes. artificial notion. lingering over them. ‘It isn’t one to me. They look better growing. ‘They don’t die any quicker in water than on their roots. and want them—and there’s plenty of them.’ ‘I don’t believe they do.

It is the spirit you pluck them in that  . standing there above her. ‘sturdy and lusty like little trees and like boys with fat legs. ‘I think. ‘if you treat them with reverence you don’t do them any harm. He picked some more. Suddenly. such a beautiful thing.’ said Miriam. and that’s all.’ ‘And I should have the pleasure of watching them die. yet not proud of itself just now. Miriam had come close. ‘Look at these!’ he continued. bending forward still to smell the flowers. and dust to dust. you get ‘em because you want ‘em. Miriam was silent. Clara was kneeling. and went stooping over the clumps of tangled flowers which thickly sprinkled the field like pale.’ Whereupon he left her. scared grey eyes.’ he said. She was Nottingham. breathing some scent from the cowslips. saying: ‘Ashes to ashes. If the Lord won’t have you the devil must.’ He held out his bunch.’ Clara’s hat lay on the grass not far off. without knowing. Flowers fell on her face. The arching curve of her back was beautiful and strong. he felt awkward. Suddenly. She looked up at him.’ ‘But then—it does not matter if they do die. and she shut her eyes. he was scattering a handful of cowslips over her hair and neck. Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ The chill flowers fell on her neck. with almost pitiful. luminous foam-clots. Her neck gave him a sharp pang.’ ‘Yes. she wore no stays. wondering what he was doing. ‘But no. Her breasts swung slightly in her blouse.

But they were fading now. you DO feel like one of the open space sort.’ she smiled. ‘I wonder which was more frightened among old tribes— those bursting out of their darkness of woods upon all the space of light. She took up her hat and pinned it on. His blood beat up. Clara laughed strangely. Then she turned with a flash of warmth and of gratitude. don’t you?’ ‘How should I know?’ she answered queerly. ‘It makes me think of the wild men of the woods.’ ‘I should think the second. or those from the open tiptoeing into the forests. The bluebells pleased him.’ he said. how terrified they would be when they got breast to breast with the open space. picking the cowslips from her hair. ‘Yes. and rose.’ ‘Do you think they were?’ she asked. trying to force yourself into the dark. Already the  Sons and Lovers .‘I thought you wanted a funeral. The conversation ended there. ‘Look how they’ve come out of the wood!’ he said. At the edge of the wood the bluebells had flowed over into the field and stood there like flood-water. but would not tell her. He wandered after her. Clara strayed up to them. The evening was deepening over the earth. He gathered up the flowers he had sprinkled over her. He saw. One flower had remained tangled in her hair. ‘Yes. ill at ease.’ she answered.

‘Shall we go?’ she asked. to fasten her. One tiny square of light stood opposite at Crossleigh Bank Farm. They saw the great cathedral lying couchant above the plain. Then he wanted to get hold of her. all shadow. loose bunch of flowers. and still did not  . Miriam came up slowly. They drew near to the city. Clara was silent. They were all silent. ‘It has been nice. walking ankle-deep through the scattered froth of the cowslips. Beyond her the trees were coming into shape. At this time Paul took his mother to Lincoln. she seemed to look frail. that she suffered. where the colliery village touched the sky. And the three turned away. ‘So she is!’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and on the ridge of the hill a thin dark outline with little lights. almost to chain her. ‘Don’t you think so?’ he persisted. He could tell by the way she moved. Going down the path they could see the light of home right across. Both were at the window looking for the cathedral. But she walked with her head up. ‘There she is. mother!’ he cried. He had a momentary sensation as if she were slipping away from him. Brightness was swimming on the tops of the hills. her face in her big.valley was full of shadow. hasn’t it?’ he asked. but as he sat opposite her in the railway carriage. She was bright and enthusiastic as ever. He felt he must keep hold of her with his hand. Miriam murmured assent. as if she didn’t care. ‘Ah!’ she exclaimed.

‘Look. but crow’s-feet near her eyes.’ he said. She seemed again to be beyond him. Something in the eternal repose of the uplifted cathedral. was reflected in her. They ate a meal that she considered wildly extravagant. I really don’t! Just THINK of your money wasted!’ ‘You never mind my money.’ And he bought her some blue violets. And the crow’s-feet near her eyes. something of the fatality. WAS.’ she said. reflecting the relentlessness of life. and her mouth shut so hard. ‘Stop it at once. ‘You forget I’m a fellow taking his girl for an outing. the skin still fresh and pink and downy. her eyelids steady. and there was on her the same eternal look. Stand still!’  Sons and Lovers . sinking a little. ‘Don’t imagine I like it. ‘I DON’T like it. ‘How can I do it?’ ‘You’ve got nothing to do. blue and noble against the sky. there are streets and streets below her! She looks bigger than the city altogether.He looked at his mother. breaking bright into life again. looking steady out of the window at the cathedral.’ ‘So she does!’ exclaimed his mother. What was. her face and eyes fixed. made him feel he would go mad. how big she is above the town! Think. as if she knew fate at last. He beat against it with all the strength of his soul. her mouth always closed with disillusion. Her blue eyes were watching the cathedral quietly. as she ate her cutlet. With all his young will he could not alter it. mother. sir!’ she commanded. He saw her face. But he had seen her sitting.

And every step seemed like a weight on his chest. took off his hat. So look ikey. She stood enchanted. looking at the castle gate.’ she laughed. ‘You see. Paul—?’ But she could scarcely climb the cathedral hill. madam?’ ‘No.’ he said. She stood above Glory Hole. ‘It’s nothing. but looked at her. At last they came to the top. ‘Strut!’ he commanded.’ ‘I’ll jowl your head.’ she said.’ she answered.’ Then Paul was cross with her for not answering with more dignity. A man came up. Again his heart was crushed in a hot grip. one must expect it.  . she stood everywhere. ‘You go away with you!’ she exclaimed. do you remember that lecture. she stood before Stone Bow. ‘Be a fantail pigeon. He felt as if his heart would burst. thank you. looking at the cathedral Free eBooks at Planet eBook.And in the middle of High Street he stuck the flowers in her coat. He wanted to cry. he wanted to smash things in fury. ‘Ha! that’s the Jew’s House. They set off again. pace by pace. where she rested. Then suddenly he found her unable to speak.’ It took him an hour to get her through the street. ‘My heart is only a bit old. He did not notice. ‘Can I show you the town. ‘I’ve got my son.’ He did not answer. so slowly. ‘I want people to think we’re awful swells. ‘An old thing like me!’ she said. He took her into a little public-house. and exclaimed. sniffing. and bowed to her.

She had quite forgotten herself. ‘Now THIS is better than I thought it could be!’ she cried.’ ‘Well. when they were leaning over the wall.’ ‘I didn’t arrange it.’ his mother laughed. They attended a little service in the choir. ‘I suppose it is open to anybody?’ she asked him. ‘What are you old for!’ he said. They sat together in the cathedral. brooding. you’re as much to blame as me. ‘WHY can’t you walk? WHY can’t you come with me to places?’ 0 Sons and Lovers . And all the time he was wanting to rage and smash things and cry. Everywhere he followed her. She was timid.’ ‘And why wasn’t I the oldest son? Look—they say the young ones have the advantage—but look. I’m sure.’ she remonstrated. THEY had the young mother. white. looking at the town below. mad with his impotence. his eyes furious. Afterwards. ‘Do you think they’d have the damned cheek to send us away. ‘Come to consider.front.’ He turned on her.’ he replied. ‘they would if they heard your language. he blurted suddenly: ‘Why can’t a man have a YOUNG mother? What is she old for?’ ‘Well. ‘she can scarcely help it. But he hated it. You should have had me for your eldest son. ‘Yes.’ she exclaimed.’ Her face seemed to shine again with joy and peace during the service.

you know—not a bit 1 . he told her about Clara. my boy?’ ‘I don’t know that she’s charming. and you’ll have to put up with it. it is—‘ ‘Ill!’ she cried. hitting his fist on the wall. mother. got so furious suddenly. I’m going on twenty-three.’ Mrs.’ They were quiet. Then he became plaintive. And she seems straight. His mother asked him innumerable questions. watching the boats.’ ‘What’s the good of that to ME?’ he cried. But she’s nice. and again was melancholic.’ ‘You haven’t told me what you like her for. Morel considered. ‘I’m a bit old. I think they do lace work.’ ‘Because I don’t know—a sort of defiant way she’s got—a sort of angry way. on Bluebell Hill. that’s all. ‘Then who does she live with?’ ‘With her mother. They got jolly again over tea. But he fretted so. She wished he knew some nice woman— She did not know what she wished. Little.’ ‘And have they enough to keep them?’ ‘I don’t think so. She would have been glad now for her son to fall in love with some woman who would— she did not know what.’ ‘But she’s a good deal older than you. But it was as much as they could bear.’ ‘And wherein lies her charm.’ ‘She’s thirty.‘At one time. not a bit. ‘It’s too bad of you to be ill. As they sat by Brayford. but Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘I could have run up that hill a good deal better than you.’ she replied.

Only—it’s a winder when you have to pour your own tea out—an’ nobody to grouse if you team it in your saucer and sup it up. One week-end when he was home she had said to him: ‘You don’t look very well. ‘And you know. lad.’ he said. I want to get married.’ He coloured up to the ears.’ she said.’ ‘I dunno.’ he blurted. I did say so. ‘And you know. And I know. ma.’ she exclaimed. ‘And so it knocks you up?’ she said.’ ‘Yes. was getting married.’ she answered. He said nothing. ‘Annie’s a bit of a spendthrift. ‘But.’ he replied stubbornly. ‘Yes—yes. you haven’t had much chance. ‘It doesn’t go far.’ Mrs. my lad.’ she said. ‘I’ve nothing—-‘  Sons and Lovers . At any rate. Leonard had gone away to work in Birmingham. ‘I feel anyhow or nohow. There was a silence. She’s saved no more than eleven pounds. ‘I’ve got thirty-three quid. ‘I thought you said you’d wait another year. Again she considered. ‘Are you sure they’re good lodgings?’ she asked. she was not hostile to the idea of Clara. Morel laughed. ‘I dunno. It somehow takes a’ the taste out of it. too.’ He called her ‘ma’ already in his boyish fashion.left it vague. but twisted his fingers.’ he said. twisting his fingers and looking down at his boots. Annie.

‘we must all do the best we can for it.’ he said. I was only wishing I had. Leonard was jolly and cordial.’ He twisted still. You won’t do much on that. and some white on her blouse. Young girls ARE like that. And take away five pounds for the wedding and things—it leaves twenty-nine pounds. ‘you’re steady—you’ve got a decent place.’ she said. Morel called her a fool for getting married. and was teased by both her sons for fancying herself so grand. ‘Do you feel as if you ought?’ He gave her one straight look from his blue eyes. Morel had white tips in her bonnet. not looking up. ‘No. and felt a fearful fool. ma!’ he cried. Mrs.‘I didn’t want. I know. ‘My lad. Annie looked nice in a dove-grey dress that she could take for Sundays. It’s not everything. Paul could not quite see Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘Yes.’ he said. They look forward to the fine home they think they’ll have. very red. and was splendid in uniform. impotent. suffering and remonstrating. lad. stubborn. my lad. If a man had NEEDED me I’d have married him on his last week’s wages. ‘Then.’ The next time he looked up there were tears in his eyes. But I had expensive furniture.’ she replied. Arthur came home.’ So the wedding took place almost immediately. ‘I don’t want Annie to feel  . and was cool with his son-in-law. She may find it a bit hard to start humbly. ‘But do you really want to get married?’ she asked. struggling.

’ ‘But you can trust him to be good to her?’ ‘Yes.’ he said. and he knew it well.’ his mother answered. but was secretly ashamed of the uniform. as he often did. Arthur was astonishingly handsome in his scarlet and yellow. And it was all over. yes. But I say if a man is GENUINE. he hoped rather lugubriously that it would turn out all right. my lad. on leaving her mother. then patted her on the back and said: ‘But don’t cry. That’s how mothers are— I know it’s silly. and a girl is fond of him—  Sons and Lovers . Paul sat talking. with his mother. Still.’ ‘And shall you be miserable about her?’ ‘When I think of my own wedding day. mother. Mrs. ‘You’re not sorry she’s married. Mrs. Annie cried her eyes up in the kitchen. They say he’s not good enough for her. he’ll be good to you. ‘I’m not sorry she’s married—but—it seems strange that she should go from me. nearly dead with the ordeal. He was fond of her.’ ‘You can.what Annie wanted to get married for. Morel said to him: ‘I s’ll trust her to you. as he is. Morel cried a little. When Morel and Arthur were in bed. Leonard looked white and overwrought. and she of him. It even seems to me hard that she can prefer to go with her Leonard. ‘I can only hope her life will be different.’ Morel stamped and said she was a fool to go and tie herself up. child. and hold you responsible for her. are you?’ he asked.

it’s easy to talk. my lad. We’ll see when the time comes.’ ‘It would be hard—and very hard.’ ‘What time? I’m nearly twenty-three. my lad.’ ‘But I shan’t marry.’ ‘And you think I ought to marry?’ ‘Sooner or later every man ought. And yet.’ ‘But you don’t want me to marry?’ ‘I shouldn’t like to think of you going through your life without anybody to care for you and do—no.’ ‘So you don’t mind?’ ‘I would NEVER have let a daughter of mine marry a man I didn’t FEEL to be genuine through and through. mother. in her new black silk blouse with its bit of white trimming.’ They were both miserable. He’s as good as she. ‘Ay. But my daughter’s my daughter the whole of her life. ‘At any rate.then—it should be all right. you’re not one that would marry young. and we’ll have a servant. my boy.’ ‘Yes. I shall live with you. You’ve not met the one yet. mother. Only wait a year or two.’ ‘But you’d rather it were  . and wanted her back again.’’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. It’s as they say: ‘A son’s my son till he takes him a wife. It seemed to Paul his mother looked lonely. I s’ll never marry.’ ‘Ay.’ he said. they all say that. there’s a gap now she’s gone. But in three years’ time—-‘ ‘I shall be with you just the same. we’ll see.’ ‘We’ll see.

Mrs. Paul wanted her.’ ‘And we’ll have a pretty house. She fretted at losing Annie. And she felt she MUST live now.’ she cried.’ ‘Will you go to bed!’ ‘And then you s’ll have a pony-carriage.‘And you think I’d let a wife take me from you?’ ‘Well. and it’ll be just all right. His plans for the future were always the same. and a servant. See yourself—a little Queen Victoria trotting round.’ Mrs. you and me. ‘Go to bed. I’m fat and forty-four. about Arthur. Life was so rich for her. I’ll never marry while I’ve got you—I won’t.’ she said—‘go to bed.’ ‘She wouldn’t—till she’d got you—and then you’d see. Then I’ll marry a staid body. The family was very closely bound. ‘You’re not going to leave me. See!’ His mother sat and laughed. Arthur never knew how deeply he  Sons and Lovers .’ ‘I never will see.’ ‘But I shouldn’t like to leave you with nobody. Morel sat brooding—about her daughter. I s’ll perhaps be rich with my painting. about Paul. you wouldn’t ask her to marry your mother as well as you. ‘She could do what she liked. my boy. to be with her children.’ ‘I tell you to go to bed. she wouldn’t have to interfere.’ she laughed. There you are. What are you? Fifty-three! I’ll give you till seventy-five. He kissed her and went. and so did Arthur. Morel smiled.

he was never alone. So he turned his attention to getting the best out of it. He resented bitterly the authority of the officers. weakprincipled folk. He was a creature of the moment. Often he got into scrapes. He was wild Free eBooks at Planet eBook. It was his father’s mouth. Paul he admired and loved and despised slightly. Something seemed to gnaw him inside. Never yet had he been forced to realise himself. So he made a good time out of it. With his mother he was rather humble. There was something childish about his nose. his decent education to get him most of what he wanted. But he had too much sense to kick. The army had disciplined his body. Once he had really run the rig he was safe. and she decided to buy her son out of the army. Morel was anxious about  . He hated having to obey as if he were an animal. Morel had had a few pounds left to her by her father. Mrs. but not his soul. And Paul admired and loved and despised him slightly. His dark. but they were the manly scrapes that are easily condoned. He was in perfect health and very handsome.loved her. He trusted to his good looks and handsome figure. He was never still. He could sing. whilst his self-respect was in suppression. and his jaw was strong. his refinement. But he had the fun red mouth of a man under his brown moustache. Mrs. and he was not disappointed. But how far would he go? The army had not really done him any good. he was a boon-companion. something almost girlish about his dark blue eyes. it was the nose and eyes of her own mother’s people—good-looking. vigorous hair sat close to his smallish head. Yet he was restless.

His face was near hers.’ she cried.  Sons and Lovers . He grew flushed. rather stiffly.’ he said. Then Arthur would unhook his tunic collar. his eyes were bright. ‘along wi’ t’ kiss. Afterwards they sat together on the sofa. ‘Ha’e a smoke kiss?’ The soldier leaned forward to her. Arty Morel. ‘Nay. ‘Nay. Occasionally she would only take a few whiffs at his cigarette.with joy. when she reached for his cigarette. tha doesna. smiling.’ ‘I want a draw at thy fag.’ she answered.’ she said. Arthur taking her arm in soldier’s fashion. sitting back. snatching for the cigarette between his lips.’ he said. She would sometimes smoke with him. He had always been fond of Beatrice Wyld.’ ‘I wanted a whiff.’ he said to her one evening. She was small and quick as lightning. The two often went long walks together. I’ll gi’e thee a smoke kiss if ter’s a mind. He was sitting with his shoulder touching her. And she came to play the piano whilst he sang. She was stronger and better in health. He seemed to flaunt his body: she was aware of him so—the strong chest. He liked to lapse into the dialect when he talked to her. and during his furlough he picked up with her again. the thighs in their close-fitting trousers. he sang in a manly tenor. the sides. ‘Tha’rt a knivey nuisance. no kiss at all. ‘I’ll gi’e thee a smoke kiss. Now he was like a lad taking a holiday. ‘Well. He just escaped. an’ tha s’lt ha’e a whiff.

and put his lips close to her. He took a draw at his cigarette. glaring at her. The cigarette fell from his mouth almost singeing his throat. showing his hands. Beatrice was putting in her comb. He hid the comb between his knees. he laughed till he lay back on the sofa shaking with laughter. which he had under his knees.’ he said thickly. leaping after her. ‘You brazen imp!’ she exclaimed. ‘I’ve non got it. He. ‘Nuisance!’ she cried. The cigarette trembled between his lips with laughter as he spoke. She stood with her hands to her head. and he laughed till his blue eyes were blinded. ‘Give me my comb!’ She was afraid that her  . He started up.‘Shonna!’ she replied. seized the comb from her back hair. specially done for him. Like a flash her small white hand went out and smacked his face. His dark-brown cropped moustache stood out like a brush. Beat. tight-covered knees. Then he sat up. would come down. They stared at each Free eBooks at Planet eBook. She looked at the puckered crimson lips. As she wrestled with him. pulling at his smooth. ‘S true as I’m here!’ he laughed. He picked it up. and pursed up his mouth. put it in his mouth. She turned. ‘Tha tickled me. rushing and scuffling for the comb. and sat down. turning away her head. Under his delicate tan the blood flushed up. threw the cigarette at him.’ he said. then suddenly snatched the cigarette from his fingers and darted away. ‘Liar!’ she said. his throat swollen almost to choking.

then her head. He sat down sulkily. pore fing!’ she mocked. ‘You are a little cat. half apologetically. 0 Sons and Lovers . and made nobody responsible. through the open collar. ‘Kiss?’ he invited her. There was again a long silence. ‘Did it. She went into the scullery to adjust her hair. giving herself up again in a kiss. The clock ticked in the silence like blows. and neither spoke.other. But it was only a film over her fire. smiling curiously. ‘Daren’t I?’ she asked.’ she replied. in the armchair. The conditions of youth were gone. Beat. He whistled to himself like a man much agitated but defiant. He lifted his face. Deliberately. you shouldn’t be brazen. she did not know what for. Suddenly she went across to him and kissed him. What she would do she did. his mouth lifted to her. ‘Well. Immediately his arms folded round her. she dropped her eyes. and with a peculiar quivering smile that seemed to overspread her whole body. Slowly the flush mounted her cheek. was sulking upon the sofa. Paul felt life changing around him. He. ‘Go on!’ he challenged. with ruffled hair. Then she closed her eyes. Now it was a home of grown-up people. she put her mouth on his. In private there she shed a few tears.’ he said at length. put her delicate fingers on his neck. She acted of her own free will. She sat down opposite. As soon as the long kiss was finished she drew back her head from him. When she returned she was pursed up close.

Annie and Arthur had gone. half-empty feeling about the house. Paul became more and more unsettled. But on these last occasions the situation became strained. and she listened to him. came to help her to put the hay in cocks. it all vanished. and having finished. It did not matter what went before. And still there was something else. They came home for holiday and for rest. His old mad desire to be with her grew weaker. She might be intimate and sad with him. The moon came out: they walked home together: he seemed to have come to her because he needed her so badly. There was a triangle of antagonism between Paul and Clara and Miriam. With Clara he took on a smart. For so long they had all lived at home. Sometimes he met Clara in 1 . He had been on the horse-rake. and gone out to pass their time. as if the birds had flown. sometimes he saw her at Willey Farm. something he wanted. and he played to the newcomer. something outside. He was restless to follow. life lay outside their mother’s house. for Annie and Arthur. mocking tone very antagonistic to Miriam. and his whole soul seemed to lie bare before her. worldly. gave him all her love Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Then as soon as Clara appeared. Miriam did not satisfy him. Arthur was following his own pleasure in a way unknown to his folk. Yet home was for him beside his mother. So there was that strange. He grew more and more restless. Miriam had one beautiful evening with him in the hay.Annie was a married woman. But now. She felt as if she watched the very quivering stuff of life in him. Then he talked to her of his hopes and despairs. sometimes he went to meetings with her.

glad in her faith.’ said Paul. ‘You’re beaten. ‘But you touched. ‘Box his ears for me!’ she cried to Edgar. Clara’s blood was roused. did I? Wasn’t I clear?’ ‘I couldn’t say. the sky did not cherish the stars more surely and eternally than she would guard the good in the soul of Paul Morel. ‘I didn’t touch. turning to Edgar. It seemed to her he brought her the best of himself to keep. because he was light. Nay. Miriam did not care for the game. They were to have tea in the hayfield. He made higher and higher heaps of hay that they were jumping over.’ said Paul. Paul loved the determined way she rushed at the hay-cock and leaped. And all the time Paul was sporting with Clara. ‘You touched!’ ‘No!’ she flashed. She went on home alone. She could run like an Amazon. her breasts shaken. Her little triumph before  Sons and Lovers . She was furious with him. Paul won. And then. ‘I daren’t. None of them could say.’ laughed Edgar. and that she would guard it all her life. ‘As plain as anything.and her faith. and stood aside. You must do it yourself. ‘Nay.’ Edgar laughed. Edgar and Geoffrey and Maurice and Clara and Paul jumped. the next day. Clara came.’ ‘I did NOT touch!’ she cried. landed on the other side. Miriam watched the evening drawing to gold and shadow. her thick hair come undone.’ ‘And nothing can alter the fact that you touched.’ laughed Paul. feeling exalted. ‘You touched!’ he cried.

There was a danger of his becoming frivolous. But it only does it because it feels itself carried to where it’s going. It made Miriam bitter to think that he should throw away his soul for this flippant traffic of triviality with Clara. was he.’ But Miriam knew that one should be religious in everything. Yet everybody could see that the only person she listened to. ‘It’s not religious to be religious. He IS things. ‘I think you are despicable!’ she said. She walked in bitterness and silence. whatever God might be. She had forgotten herself in the game. And again he laughed. Now he was to humble her.’ he said. not because it thinks it is being eternal. deep Paul Morel. and he of her. while the other two rallied each other. she saw. Paul could choose the lesser in place of the higher. ‘I don’t believe God knows such a lot about Himself. She turned her back on him. but he was rather ashamed of himself. ‘And I KNEW you couldn’t jump that heap. he would not own it. of his running after his satisfaction like any Arthur. in a way that tortured Miriam. ‘I reckon a crow is religious when it sails across the sky.’ he cried. And I’m Free eBooks at Planet eBook. have God. and prostrated himself before Miriam.these lads and men was gone. It pleased the men to see this battle between them. unfaithful to the real. or was conscious of. He could be unfaithful to himself. And afterwards. present in everything. ‘God doesn’t KNOW things. or like his father. Then again he rebelled. and Paul sported.’ he  . But Miriam was tortured.

because in one way she did hold the best of him. I can give you a spirit love. somehow. Those were the ever-recurring conditions. In all our relations no body enters. And he caused her sorrow.’ And then it seemed to her that Paul was arguing God on to his own side. he had got a conscience that was too much for him. and he felt. See. She fretted him to the bottom of his soul. Yet you regret—no. Surely you esteem it best. long time. When she was twenty-one he wrote her a letter which could only have been written to her. Ours is not an everyday affection. is changing. I have given you what I would give a holy nun—as a mystic monk to a mystic nun. She was his conscience. a worshipper. I have given it you this long. too. and went off again. There she remained—sad. this last time. then he hated her. is it not? Say. So he chafed himself into rawness over her. have regretted—the other. which was three-quarters. There was a long battle between him and her. but not embodied passion. pensive. It. He was utterly unfaithful to her even in her own presence. That is why we cannot love in the common sense. has not the body of that love died. worn love. then repentant. half the time he hated her. As yet we are mortal.sure He’s not soulful. He could not leave her. He could not stay with her because she did not take the rest of him. because he wanted his own way and his own pleasure. then he was ashamed. you are a nun. and left you its invulnerable soul? You see. Half the time he grieved for her. and to live  Sons and Lovers . I do not talk to you through the senses—rather through the spirit. ‘May I speak of our old.

’ The words went into her heart again and again.’ ‘I am glad you answered. I do look forward to your criticisms. If people marry. Nothing he ever had said had gone into her so deeply. like a mortal wound. She answered him two days after the party. ‘Our intimacy would have been all-beautiful but for one little mistake. they must live together as affectionate humans. ‘Ought I to send this letter?—I doubt it. It is a lovely joke. you are so calm and natural you put me to shame. Au revoir. to my shame and glory. you know. sending her at the same time a little ‘Omar Khayyam. Many a sketch is dedicated to you.’ This was the end of the first phase of Paul’s love affair. What a ranter I am! We are often out of sympathy. ‘You are a nun—you are a nun. and. after which she sealed it up. that.’’ she quoted.side by side with one another would be dreadful.’ Miriam read this letter twice. are always grand appreciations. who may be commonplace with each other without feeling awkward—not as two  . So I feel it. ‘Was the mistake mine?’ Almost immediately he replied to her from Nottingham. which. to be always beyond this mortal state would be to lose it. But there—it is best to understand. A year later she broke the seal to show her mother the letter. He Free eBooks at Planet eBook. But in fundamentals we may always be together I think. fixedly. ‘I must thank you for your sympathy with my painting and drawing. Au revoir. for somehow with you I cannot long be trivial.

as he talked to Clara Dawes. warning him that sooner or later he would have to ask one woman or another. that peculiar concentration in the breast. the sex instinct that Miriam had over-refined for so long now grew particularly strong.  Sons and Lovers . Of that she was so fixedly sure that he allowed her right. though still virgin. came that thickening and quickening of his blood. Often. as if something were alive there. and. But he belonged to Miriam.was now about twenty-three years old. a new self or a new centre of consciousness.

He was beginning to grow ambitious. flung her arms round him for a moment. Rushing into the kitchen. crying: ‘Hurrah. He was shocked and frightened. he found her standing on the hearthrug wildly waving a letter and crying ‘Hurrah!’ as if she had gone mad. and invited him to her house. Miss Jordan had taken a good deal of interest in him. ‘and is sold Free eBooks at Planet eBook. then waved the letter. where he met other artists. mother!’ he exclaimed. Suddenly he heard a wild noise from his mother. She flew to him. ‘His picture’s got first  . severe woman with graying hair suddenly bursting out in such frenzy. Morel rushed to the door. my boy! I knew we should do it!’ He was afraid of her—the small. Fred. ‘Why.CHAPTER X CLARA WHEN he was twenty-three years old.’ she cried. One morning the postman came just as he was washing in the scullery. The postman came running back. Mrs. They saw his tipped cap over the short curtains. Paul sent in a landscape to the winter exhibition at Nottingham Castle. afraid something had happened.

Paul was afraid lest she might have misread the letter.’ said the postman. mother—‘ he began tentatively. his heart beating with joy. pretending she was not crying. his blue eyes bright.’ she said.’ ‘But not so much. and might be disappointed after all. ‘No.’ And then she recovered her composure.’ ‘Indeed. that does.’ he said. ‘Didn’t I SAY we should do it!’ she said. whom they had known all his life.’ ‘My word. He took the kettle off the fire and mashed the tea. ‘It looks like meanin’ something. ‘But why?’ ‘Because I shan’t. my son—not so much—but I expected a good deal. showing his young throat almost like a girl’s. He was glad to have brought such a lucky letter. and the towel in his hand. he became convinced it was true. his hair sticking up wet.’ ‘Well—you have twelve pounds. that’s something like!’ said the young postman. ‘And Major Moreton has bought it!’ she cried. trembling. apparently at least. He sat with his shirt turned back. ‘Twenty guineas. I shan’t take it all. Morel went indoors and sat down. Mrs.for twenty guineas.’  Sons and Lovers . ‘No—no—but I knew we should do it. mother! That’s just what you wanted to buy Arthur out. ‘Mother!’ he exclaimed. He scrutinised it once. ‘You didn’t think. Then he sat down. twice. Mrs. It’ll just do. Yes. I’ll have nine. Now you needn’t borrow any. Morel.

But he was disappointed nevertheless. Morel. Morel came home at night from the pit.’ ‘Twenty guineas! Tha niver says!’ exclaimed Morel.They cavilled about sharing the twenty guineas. ‘But as for fifty pounds—such nonsense!’ She was silent awhile. ‘Has he.’ said Mrs. and sold it to Lord Henry Bentley for fifty pound. He would not hear of it. ‘It’s true he has got the first prize. She wanted to take only the five pounds she needed. ‘Yes. ‘Major Moreton bought it for twenty guineas. Morel  . what stories people do tell!’ she cried. ‘I don’t misdoubt it.’ ‘As if I would tell him such stuff!’ ‘Ha!’ assented the miner. that’s true.’ ‘Ay!’ he said. as if it were nothing. The miner sat heavily in his chair. I suppose. But twenty guineas for a bit of a paintin’ as he knocked off in an hour or two!’ He was silent with conceit of his son. He stared across the room fixedly. ‘And when does he handle th’ money?’ asked the collier. and it was worth it. When the picture is sent home. beguy!’ he exclaimed.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘That I couldn’t tell you. Mrs. So they got over the stress of emotion by quarrelling. saying: ‘They tell me Paul’s got first prize for his picture. But they said tha’d told Fred Hodgkisson.’ ‘Oh. ‘I said I wor sure it wor a lie. ‘Ha!’ he answered.

It left her feeling she was tired.’ she said. She was glad. Morel stared at the sugar-basin instead of eating his dinner. ‘Yes. His wife pretended not to see him rub the back of his hand across his eyes. and wanted rest. Paul was invited to dinner at Mr. ‘that I know cost four pounds ten and which he’d only worn three times. The thought of William went through Mrs. nor the smear in the coal-dust on his black face.’ He went upstairs and put on the coat and vest. smoothing her hand over his shoulder. I never could find in my heart to let your father wear the trousers. I was afraid you would. with the hand all gnarled with work lay on the table. Jordan’s. His black arm. Morel like a cold blade. with an evening coat and vest. Afterwards he said: ‘Mother. ‘It’s beautiful stuff. an’ that other lad ‘ud ‘a done as much if they hadna ha’ killed ‘im. ‘There’s that one of William’s.’ he said quietly.There was silence. It was rather large. ‘The tailor can make it right. I want an evening suit. and very glad I am now.’ And as she smoothed her hand over the silk collar she thought of her eldest son. The trousers would want shortening. I think it would fit you—at least the coat. But this son was living enough in0 Sons and Lovers . mother?’ he asked. ‘Yes. he looked strange in a flannel collar and a flannel shirt-front.’ she said. Coming down.’ ‘Should you like me to wear it.’ ‘Yes. There was a moment or two of silence.’ she continued.

The other was dead. she submitted. She passed her hand down his back to feel him. child! ‘ she laughed. The studs she and the children had bought for William were in his shirtfront. He was started now. ‘Go along with you!’ she said. and was sure she looked a sight. But she began to spare her hands. It was as if she had been there. She even went so far as to allow a black velvet bow to be placed on her hair. He was alive and hers. were workgnarled now. but warm-looking and rather pleasing. too. he wore one of William’s dress shirts. He went out to dinner several times in his evening suit that had been William’s. But he had an elegant figure. The skin was shiny with so much hot water. And when Annie insisted on her having more stylish blouses to suit her age. ‘ ‘Go along with 1 . His face was rough. because you are quite as clever as I am. But she looked a lady. ‘If they want to know me—and they say they do—then they want to know you. everything that was said. They.side the clothes. He told her everything that took place. ‘What do they want to know me for?’ ‘They do!’ he cried indignantly. And he was dying to introduce her to these new friends who had dinner at seven-thirty in the evening. She regretted what they had been— so small and exquisite. He did not look particularly a gentleman. Then she sniffed in her sarcastic manner. but she thought he looked quite a man. Each time his mother’s heart was firm with pride and joy. the knuckles rather swollen. But she began to be careful to keep them out of soda. Free eBooks at Planet eBook.

You feel their hates and loves. Paul and his mother now had long discussions about life.’ ‘Not at all. They’re the common people. my boy. warmth. far nicer. Only Morel remained unchanged. He had shovelled away an the beliefs that would hamper him. Now life interested him more. as much as Mrs. Only from the middle classes one gets ideas. After all. but in themselves.’ ‘Very well. wouldn’t you be in a tear. then.’ ‘But if anyone else said so. and come more or less to the bedrock of belief that one should feel inside oneself for right and wrong. YOU know you consider yourself equal to any gentleman.’ ‘It’s all very well. had cleared the ground. But.Paul declared. and far. I belong to the common people. and should have the patience to gradually realise one’s God. whom do you mix with now—among the common people? Those  Sons and Lovers . Then why talk about the common people?’ ‘Because—the difference between people isn’t in their class. and from the common people—life itself. Religion was fading into the background. then. But in myself I am. Major Moreton. ‘I don’t want to belong to the well-to-do middle class. why don’t you go and talk to your father’s pals?’ ‘But they’re rather different.’ he said to his mother. my son. ‘You know. lapsed slowly. I like my common people best. The family was coming on. or rather. ‘not in my class or my education or my manners.’ ‘In myself.’ he answered.

she knew. your breaking away from old things. ‘My boy. and. a thing not very difficult. could neither break free nor go the whole length of engagement. He still kept up his connection with Miriam. And this indecision seemed to bleed him of his energy. It is YOU who are snobbish about class. And she wanted him in the end to marry a lady.’ She frankly WANTED him to climb into the middle classes.’ ‘What is happiness!’ he cried. she wished he would fall in love with one of the girls in a better station of life. But he was stupid. ‘all your cleverness. doesn’t seem to bring you much happiness. and taking life in your own hands. ‘That’s for you to judge. and would refuse to love or even to admire a girl  . The rest don’t interest you. my lad.that exchange ideas. But if you could meet some GOOD woman who would MAKE you happy—and you began to think of settling your life—when you have the means—so that you could work without all this fretting—it Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Now she began to combat him in his restless fretting.’ ‘But—there’s the life—-‘ ‘I don’t believe there’s a jot more life from Miriam than you could get from any educated girl—say Miss Moreton. since the latter was a married woman. ‘It’s nothing to me! How AM I to be happy?’ The plump question disturbed her.’ said his mother to him. like the middle classes. his mother suspected him of an unrecognised leaning towards Clara. Moreover. just because she was his social superior.

I don’t care about its divinity. one OUGHT. And one OUGHT to be happy. ‘You mean easy.’ ‘But why not.’ By this time Mrs. ‘That’s a woman’s whole doctrine for life—ease of soul and physical comfort.  Sons and Lovers .’ she said. ‘But it does matter!’ she cried. when she seemed to fight for his very life against his own will to die. He took her in his arms.’ He frowned. my son.’ he cried. And I am the same. my dear? I tell you it’s the best—-‘ ‘It isn’t. mother. His mother caught him on the raw of his wound of Miriam. And I do despise it. ‘And you OUGHT to be happy.’ ‘Oh. his eyes full of pain and fire. mater. but it hasn’t left you so much worse off than the folk who’ve been happier. Morel was trembling violently.would be much better for you. But damn your happiness! So long as life’s full. as far as I can see. She was ill and pitiful. I reckon you’ve done well. Aren’t I well enough off?’ ‘You’re not. to live to be happy. I’m afraid your happiness would bore me. Struggles of this kind often took place between her and her son. How could I bear to think your life wouldn’t be a happy one!’ ‘Your own’s been bad enough. Then suddenly all her passion of grief over him broke out. It’s about all you do. you ought to try to be happy. ‘And do you call yours a divine discontent?’ ‘Yes. it doesn’t matter whether it’s happy or not. He pushed the tumbled hair off his forehead.’ ‘You never give it a chance. Battle—battle—and suffer. do you!’ replied his mother.

And while he slept.’ Mrs. a little cottage of two rooms. That was all her prayer—not for his soul or his righteousness. It did not matter how he kicked and struggled. ‘Eh. with the help of Beatrice’s mother. that he might not be wasted. He was caught now. Dawes. He seemed to like Mrs.’ she said pathetically. At this rate she knew he would not live. Miriam did it. It did not matter to her that Miriam could not help it. his own life. happiness or unhappiness. Arthur only left the army to be married. Little. He drifted away from Miriam imperceptibly. She furnished for him. It almost broke her heart. without knowing he was going. Morel felt as if her heart would break for him.’ he murmured. ‘So long as you don’t feel life’s paltry and a miserable business. for hours and hours she thought and prayed for him. The baby was born six months after his wedding. She wished so much he would fall in love with a girl equal to be his mate—educated and strong. ‘But I want you to be happy. he was Free eBooks at Planet eBook. the rest doesn’t matter. But he would not look at anybody above him in station. With all the passion of her strong nature she hated Miriam for having in this subtle way undermined his joy. but that he might not be wasted. Morel got him a job under the firm again. at twenty-one shillings a week. which is a form of slow  . and she hated her. his own suffering. Mrs. His mother prayed and prayed for him. my dear—say rather you want me to live.‘Never mind.’ She pressed him to her. He had that poignant carelessness about himself. At any rate that feeling was wholesome.

There came a heavy footstep. She had a rather severe face. Now he was gone altogether. stuffy. and did make a good best of it. my lad. where the feet of the passersby rasped and clattered.  Sons and Lovers .’ And then the grit came out in him. a large. Radford left him. The brown paint on the door was so old that the naked wood showed between the rents. Suffragette. cried or gave trouble. It was a small. asked him to take a message to Mrs. now you must make the best of it. She was stately. acknowledged that he belonged to his wife and child. and deathly enlargements of photographs of departed people done in carbon. stout woman of about sixty towered above him. She admitted him into the parlour. He stood on the street below and knocked. which opened on to the street. defunct room. you did it yourself. was irritable with his young He found the house in a mean little street paved with granite cobbles and having causeways of dark blue. He went in the evening across Sneinton Market to Bluebell Hill. One day a friend of his and of Clara’s. undertook his responsibilities. Mrs. The months went slowly along. owing to his acquaintance with Clara. in Bestwood. Dawes. For a time he chafed. who loved him. of mahogany. Unitarian people in Nottingham. he went almost distracted when the baby. She only said: ‘Well. He looked up at her from the pavement. The front door went up a step from off this rough pavement. which was delicate. Paul had more or less got into connection with the Socialist. He grumbled for hours to his mother. He had never been very closely inbound into the family. He buckled to work. grooved bricks.

a little box of pins.’ Clara.almost martial. but it was smothered in white lace. a pack of cards of lace. The room was all lace. She invited him out of the mausoleum of a parlour into the kitchen. much embarrassed. But she might as well be hung for a sheep as for a lamb. piling the hearthrug. shamedly.’ she said. ‘If you’re coming in you won’t have to mind the work. darkish room too. A clump of fluff and ravelled cotton was at her right hand. She flushed deeply. for fear of treading on piles of white stuff. Then she herself took her place on the sofa. It seemed as if she did not like being discovered in her home circumstances. gave him a chair against the wall opposite the white heaps. snowy stuff seemed the more distinct. Threads of curly cotton. The mother had seated herself again by the cupboard. and on the sofa lay a heap of drawn lace. That was a little. On the table was a jenny for carding the lace. Paul dared not go forward. and was drawing thread from a vast web of lace. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘I know we’re about blocked up. In a moment Clara appeared. whilst in front of her was the mountain of lace web. strewed over the fender and the fireplace. ‘I thought it couldn’t be your voice. But sit you down. a heap of three-quarter-inch lace lay on her left. pulled out from between the lengths of lace. There was a pack of brown cardboard  . and it was so dark and warm that the white. Radford. and he was covered with confusion.’ said Mrs.

’ she answered.’ he replied. Radford. ‘Nay. Paul watched her. her large.’ said Mrs. and pinned the end down to the banded lace. I’m not a spider as likes a corner to myself. Radford. A house o’ women is as dead as a house wi’ no fire. brought him a bottle of stout and a glass. if he’s only something to snap at. ‘And light yourself a cigarette. ashamed and chagrined. ‘here’s health!’ ‘And thank you. well-kept hands  Sons and Lovers . Radford asked. so long as you don’t set the house on fire. Her jenny spun with a subdued buzz. to my thinkin’.’ He protested. It was filled. Her throat and arms were bare. lifting the glass.’ Clara began to work. I like a man about. He took a drink of stout.’ he answered. ‘Clara. but Mrs. Her arms were creamy and full of life beside the white lace.’ said Mrs. ‘You look as if you could do with it.‘Will you drink a bottle of stout?’ Mrs. ‘Thank you.’ she said. ‘Haven’t you never any more colour than that?’ ‘It’s only a thick skin I’ve got that doesn’t show the blood through. she bent her head in shame of her humility. ‘I s’ll be glad to smell a bit of smoke in th’ ‘ouse again. The blood still mantled below her ears. Then she put a new card in her jenny.’ he said. Radford insisted. She sat square and magnificent. get him a bottle of stout. she snipped off the length. He poured out some of the black stuff. Her face was set on her work. the white lace hopped from between her fingers on to the card. you needn’t thank me. Clara. ‘Well.

‘You’re in Jordan’s. There was something determined about her that he liked.’ continued the mother. he is—or used to be. watched her all the time. ‘I’ve heard a bit about you from Clara. merely her wrinkles and loose cheeks were an anachronism. The big web came up inevitably over her apron. he watched her moving. Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ said Paul. Her arms were finely shapen. but her eyes were calm. well. Her face was falling loose. and there was something strong in her that made it seem she was not old. ‘Yes.’ ‘Did he?’ laughed Paul. She continued drawing the lace with slow. They had not the peculiar dull gleam that made Clara’s so fascinating to him. as if nothing would hurry them. ‘Yes.’ ‘Ay. I’m glad to hear it. and I can remember when Thomas Jordan used to ask ME for one of my toffies. Radford looked across at him  . well.worked with a balanced movement.’ ‘I think he’s very decent. She had the strength and sang-froid of a woman in the prime of life.’ Mrs. For he’s the sort that takes all and gives naught. not knowing. the length of lace fell away at her side. gleaming arms. sometimes he didn’t—which was latterly. but glossy and yellow as old ivory. dignified movements. he saw the coil of dun hair. He. aren’t you?’ She drew her lace unceasing. He saw the arch of her neck from the shoulder. ‘And did he get it?’ ‘Sometimes he did. as she bent her head.

No man was ever that bad wi’ me but what he got it back again. ‘Do you like jennying?’ he asked. the men wouldn’t be bad uns. aren’t they?’ he asked. Don’t you listen to her. He had surprised her in her drudgery. ‘Well—‘ he answered. ‘Well. Clara broke in. She spoke humbly to him. she won’t. ‘She’s very nice. she’s a nice girl.’ ‘She is a bit like that. that’s what I say. To have her humble made him feel as if he were lifting his head in expectation. ‘I don’t think so.’ ‘Now then. Not but what they’re a lousy lot.’ she replied. but she’s a bit too much above this world to suit my fancy. ‘If the women wasn’t fools.’ he agreed.’ she answered.’ said her mother. ‘Yes. ‘thank her stars if she could get back.’ she said.’ she continued. ‘Would you care to be back at Jordan’s?’ he asked Clara. you shut up about the men. and he told her his message. ‘Yes.‘And you’ve been going with Miriam Leivers?’ the mother asked him.’ ‘But they’re all right really. ‘What can a woman do!’ she replied bitterly. She’s for ever on that 00 Sons and Lovers . ‘Is it sweated?’ ‘More or less. since we force ourselves into the labour market. they’re a bit different from women. there’s no denying it. ‘She’ll never be satisfied till she’s got wings and can fly over everybody’s head. she would!’ cried her mother. Isn’t ALL woman’s work? That’s another trick the men have played.

No wonder she protested. He had thought her high and mighty. he wanted to run. He was shaken and at a loss. as if it had no use for her. And her arm moved mechanically. looking up at her. she winced from the street. she reminded him of Juno dethroned. was about to be married. an’ it’s back’s that thin an’ starved it’ll cut her in two one of these days. thinking she might need his help. So fine she was in her stature and her bearing. When he left her.’ Clara suffered badly from her mother. He stood below in the mean street. It was a bitter thing to her to be put aside by life. He experienced a thrill of joy. pleading with a kind of captive misery. They looked dumb with humiliation. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. only watching her. after all? She spun steadily at her 01 . Paul felt as if his eyes were coming very wide open. She came with him to the door. He went to the station in a sort of dream. She seemed to be stranded there among the refuse that life has thrown away. Her grey eyes at last met his. She seemed denied and deprived of so much. and was at home without realising he had moved out of her street. the overseer of the Spiral girls. Wasn’t he to take Clara’s fulminations so seriously. and her head was bowed to the lace. that never should have been bowed. He asked her the next day. doing her jennying. As she stood in the doorway. from her surroundings. ‘And you will go with Mrs.‘igh horse of hers. He had an idea that Susan. Hodgkisson to Hucknall?’ He was talking quite meaninglessly. that should never have been subdued to a mechanism.

there’s making the worst of it.’ he said. laid her beautiful arms on the 0 Sons and Lovers . ‘There’s nothing else for it. I wish I wasn’t!’ ‘Nay. though you needn’t tell anybody.‘I say. she looked at him. and her eyes flashed. ‘care to come back to Jordan’s?’ She put down her work. Susan.’ he continued rather wistfully. ‘Who’s been talking to you?’ she replied. I merely heard a whisper that you WERE thinking—-‘ ‘Well. you won’t make me believe that. He understood. ‘Why. There was about him a candour and gentleness which made the women trust him. I’m sorry. ‘Nobody. ‘But you’ll see it’ll turn out all right.’ ‘Yea. ‘Ah. I’d rather stop here a thousand times. What’s more. though. What about it?’ Susan flushed red. Susan. Tears came to her eyes. I am.’ He soon made occasion to call again on Clara. You’ll make the best of it. Try and make it all right. I heard a whisper of your getting married.’ he said.’ Paul was perturbed.’ ‘Shan’t I? You CAN believe it. Susan?’ The girl’s colour was high. ‘That’s why!’ ‘And must you?’ For answer. ‘Would you.

reserved.’ She went on spinning her little machine. overstrung hunchback. Fanny among them.’ she said. If she had occasion to find fault. Towards 0 . Clara went on with her jennying. she did it coolly and with perfect politeness. the poor. Clara had always been ‘ikey’. as a result of which Fanny shed more bitter tears than ever the rough tongues of the other overseers had caused her. Paul felt rather awkward. she said at last. not a word. and superior. remembered her earlier rule. which the defaulter felt to be a bigger insult than crassness. There was something in Clara that Paul disliked. ‘Why?’ she asked. and looked at him for some moments without answering. ‘I will apply when the advertisement is out. Without raising her head. Some of the older hands. Gradually the flush mounted her cheek.’ he said.’ There was again a long silence. and Free eBooks at Planet eBook. He waited for her. in a peculiar low voice: ‘Have you said anything about it?’ ‘Except to you.table. Clara was unfailingly compassionate and gentle. and did not contradict him. ‘Well. The white lace leaped in little jumps and bounds on to the card. I will let you know exactly when. ‘You will apply before that. because Susan is thinking of leaving. She had never mixed with the girls as one of themselves. Clara came to Jordan’s. and cordially disliked the memory.

He flung down the brushes.’ she would say. he saw it always. and turned to talk to her.’ ‘Because you don’t understand it. perfectly motionless. almost invisible. ‘Then why ask me about it?’ ‘Because I thought you would understand. But she never owned that she had been wrong. Sometimes she praised his work. There was a fine down. Then he felt her. Although she stood a yard away he felt as if he were in contact with her.much that piqued him. upon which the blonde hair grew low and fluffy. though she neither spoke nor touched him. upon the skin of her face and arms. painting in the afternoon. as there was an element of truth in her condemnation. and went into passionate exposition of his stuff. If she were about. she would come and stand near to him. When he was at his work. 0 Sons and Lovers . he always watched her strong throat or her neck. Then he could paint no more. During the ten years that she had belonged to the women’s movement she had acquired a fair amount of education. and when once he had perceived it. ‘H’m!’ She made a small doubtful sound.’ he retorted. sometimes she was critical and cold. He was furious. She maddened him. Again: ‘What of this?’ he would ask enthusiastically. Then he abused her. ‘You are affected in that piece. ‘It doesn’t interest me much. and. This amused and stimulated her. his blood boiled with anger.’ She would shrug her shoulders in scorn of his work.

sullen scrutiny. balanced regularity. Often she met his eyes. But then her own were. as it were. because of the knowledge she seemed to possess. do you?’ he cried. It was a 0 . She gave him a little. There was an air of refinement in both rooms. did she reveal to Paul. Clara glanced round negligently. and could read in that language with a struggle. But Clara was aloof also from her fellow-workers. which made him move quickly. from her class. One day he picked up a copy of Lettres de mon Moulin from her work-bench. lenient smile. special industry. None of these things.and. The girls in the Spiral department were all of good homes. and had a certain distinction. shone Free eBooks at Planet eBook. covered over. She was not the one to give herself away. revealing nothing. She was making an elastic stocking of heliotrope silk. She considered herself as a woman apart. but its inner meaning was hidden from everybody. There was a sense of mystery about her. And then sometimes he caught her looking at him from under her brows with an almost furtive. had taught herself French. ‘You read French. It was exciting. She was to him extraordinarily provocative. having had some of Miriam’s passion to be instructed. with its down and fine pencils of hair. then her magnificent neck. She was so reserved. however. and gathered fruit of experience he could not attain. he felt she had much to reserve. turning the Spiral machine with slow. and particularly apart. Her history was open on the surface. occasionally bending down to see her work or to adjust the needles.

as she said: ‘There is so little likelihood of my ever being given a choice. all work is work. She merely turned away from him in disdain. ‘What did you say?’ she asked. ‘I did not know you read French. with a faint. ‘What would you prefer to do?’ he asked. He shut his mouth angrily as he watched her.’ she replied coldly.’ ‘Pah!’ he said. He had to do everything hotly. but scarcely loud enough to be heard. and stopped.’ ‘You know me very well. very polite. ‘Did you not?’ she replied. She laughed at him indulgently. lustrous silk. ‘You don’t like Spiral work. flirted and laughed with Hilda. ‘You only say that because you’re too proud to own up what you want and can’t get.’ she answered.’ he said. sarcastic smile. ‘Oh.white against the lavender. yet the hose she made were as nearly perfect as possible. smiling sweetly. and that you live under the eternal insult of working in a factory. ‘I know you think you’re terrific great shakes.’ he said. that I haven’t wasted time considering. He walked whistling down the room. She seemed to scorn the work she mechanically produced. She turned a few more rounds. contemptuous on his side now. Paul’s eyes glittered at her insolent indifference to him. as if she knew all about it. She must be something special. He marvelled at her coldness. well. ‘Rotten swank!’ he said. 0 Sons and Lovers .’ He was very angry and very rude.

‘I’ll call you Penelope. In the afternoon he came down. She bent over her machine. She loved him for his quick. His feet swung as he pondered.’ he said. I say. ‘Have one?’ he said. pulled down by the weight. ‘There is always about you. she stinks with silent 0 . twisting a piece of silk round his finger. There was a certain weight on his heart which he wanted to remove. then stooping to see the stocking that hung beneath.’ ‘And what does that mean?’ she asked coolly. unexpected movements. ‘It means I’ve got a right to boss you. ‘Serve her right. He thought to do it by offering her chocolates. you’re not really there: you are waiting—like Penelope when she did her weaving.’ he said. you seem to forget I’m your boss.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ he said to himself angrily. carefully removing one of her needles. like a young animal. ‘Would it make any difference?’ she said. so long as it pleases me. ‘a sort of waiting.’ To his great relief. It just occurs to me. grinding rhythmically. at the same time glad. Whatever I see you doing. He sat on the workbench beside her machine. ‘That doesn’t matter. Here. and the apron-strings curling on the floor.’ He could not help a spurt of wickedness. He watched the handsome crouching of her back. The sweets lay strewn on the bench. ‘I bought a handful to sweeten me up. she accepted.Later on he said to himself: ‘What was I so impudent to Clara for?’ He was rather annoyed with himself.

I say. ‘I want you to treat me nicely and respectfully. Pussy.’ smiled Pussy. sir.’ ‘Then I wish you would go upstairs. I should love it.’ she said. a little brunette they called Pussy. Clara heard him laughing.’ he replied. Later on Minnie. he doubted slightly that he was showing off. he saw his chocolates lying untouched in front of Clara’s machine. ‘Yes.‘Is there anything you want to complain about?’ ‘Oh. and a frown came on his face. haven’t you got a chocolate for anybody?’ ‘Sorry. ‘Oh no. You don’t want them after they’ve been lying about.’ ‘Call you ‘sir’. ‘I meant to have offered them. He felt he was being angrier than he had any need to be. do you?’ ‘Oh. called to him: ‘Hey. ‘You’re too blessed superior for anything.’ she answered.’ 0 Sons and Lovers . He left them.’ His mouth closed. He jumped suddenly down. with the girls down the next room. call me ‘sir’. then he would. ‘I don’t know what you want.’ ‘I think you did. perhaps?’ she asked quietly. When at evening he went through the department after the girls had gone. and Clara was at work. you needn’t be nasty. But if he were. in a way she hated. ‘I’ll bring you some this afternoon.’ he said. In the morning they were still there. And he went away to the other girls. In fact. I’m not particular. ‘They’ll be dusty. continuing her task. then I went and forgot ‘em.’ he said angrily.’ he said.

‘Oh. and went away.’ he said. ‘Here you are.’ She accepted one. He gathered them together in his fist. I wonder why you didn’t. ‘Come out!’ she cried. The girls clamoured round. Pussy.’ he said. take several—for luck. She took a couple more. He just glanced at her.’ he said. can’t I. She flushed scarlet. She winced from his eyes. He went past Clara without speaking. ‘Tenpence. ‘Don’t be greedy!’ ‘Are they all for her?’ cried the 0 . and put it on to the bench. ‘Sorry I left these things littering about. ‘These are fresh.’ he said. rushing up. It Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘Will you take some?’ he said. ‘Of course they’re not.’ he said. Paul?’ ‘Be nice with ‘em. He went on up the room.He went up to Clara’s bench. In the afternoon he brought another packet. ‘You should have taken them.’ he answered. offering them first to Clara.’ he said. and put them on the bench also. Then she turned in confusion to her work. ‘I can have first pick.’ He flung them out of the window into the yard below. I meant to have told you I wanted you to. She felt the three chocolate creams would burn her if she touched them. ‘They’ll be dirty now.’ the girls cried. ‘You ARE a dear. Pussy drew back from her mates.

Miriam was an eternal reproach. His mother was not well. at a loss. poor job. standing at the top of her stairs. the house was in trouble. He felt he owed himself to her. treating them as if they scarcely existed. His father.’ she coaxed. He was so nice while he was nice. The girls were not due till 8. He was pulled in all directions. he heard a voice behind him say: ‘Paul.’ It was Fanny. He was not glad it was his birthday. ‘Come on. The girls loved him and were afraid of him. I want you. or not more than the bobbins of thread. Paul looked at her in astonishment. ‘finishing-off’ room. narrow. It made him bitter.’ He went down the half-dozen steps into her dry. the hunchback. He got to work at eight o’clock.30. Paul. was given a paltry.needed all her courage to slip them into the pocket of her apron. if they were impudent. Most of the clerks had not turned up. he said quietly: ‘Do you mind going on with your work. Arthur was just going to be married. And then. yet could not give himself. Fanny walked before him: her 10 Sons and Lovers . her face radiant with a secret. needed his support. getting an old man. When he celebrated his twenty-third birthday. He stood. and lame from his accidents. As he was changing his coat.’ and stood and watched. The house. moreover. but if he were offended.’ she said. ‘Come before you begin on the letters. so distant. ‘I want you.

lavishFree eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘How did you know?’ ‘Yes. ‘You didn’t think we’d forgot you?’ she asked. and he smiled. kisses for my birthday. and he saw. hugely delighted. She went to her seat at the narrow end of the room. as she strode with big strides before the young man. ‘I could never be so soft. hundreds of little crosses in black-lead. ‘No. my duck. surrounding the big black number ‘21’. you want to know. But I shan’t tell you how many I put. ‘There’s one from everybody—except Lady Clara—and two from some.’ Her voice was strong and 11 .’ ‘Oh. ‘Why?’ he asked. Paul watched her thin hands and her flat red wrists as she excitedly twitched her white apron. ‘Why. where the window opened on to chimney-pots. ‘And you know you’re as sentimental—-‘ ‘I’d rather be called sentimental than frozen meat. which was spread on the bench in front of her.’ he laughed.’ Fanny blurted.’ he said. She hesitated. don’t you?’ Fanny mocked. He had forgotten his birthday himself. look here!’ She pointed to the calendar.’ he laughed. you’re spooney. ‘There you ARE mistaken!’ she cried. ‘Oh. I know. himself so graceful.’ the hunchback woman bodice was short—the waist was under her armpits— and her green-black cashmere skirt seemed very long. Paul knew she referred to Clara. ‘You always pretend to be such a hard-hearted hussy. reproachful. indignant. ‘Do you say such nasty things about me?’ he laughed.’ he says! ‘Why!’ Why.

ly tender. Paul?’ she persisted daringly. Fanny. There was a little bundle of paint-tubes on the bench before him. I’m as good as you. aren’t I. ‘No. suiting action to words. ‘And open your mouth. my duck. He opened his eyes. ‘I thought I’d get here before the others—won’t they say I’m deep! Now shut your eyes—-’ she said. Fanny. ‘No. because you don’t think yourself a fine figure in marble and us nothing but dirt. ‘Why. If it comes to goodness. He heard the rustle of the apron. He turned pale. her long cheeks flushed. and expecting a piece of chocolate. was gazing at him. you’re better.’ she answered hastily. her blue eyes shining. we’re not better than one another. ‘But I’m as good as you. rocking herself with delight. She might get hysterical. ‘I’m going to look.’ he continued. Paul?’ and the question delighted her. ‘From us all. aren’t I. ‘No.’ he said quickly. are we?’ he replied. and a faint clink of metal. ‘Of course you are. ‘Jove! they’re the best in the catalogue. She was thirty-nine. and see what God sends you. 1 Sons and Lovers .’ ‘But they’re the right sorts?’ she cried.’ he said.’ She was rather afraid of the situation. but—-‘ ‘Are they the right sort?’ she asked.

or I shall feel stale india-rubber right through. ‘You have stayed to dinner!’ he exclaimed. ‘You are going anywhere?’ he asked. ‘She didn’t get the chance. ‘They was all on thorns to do it. ‘And wouldn’t she join?’ Paul asked. It was unusual for 1 .‘They’re off the little list I’d made to get when my ship came in.’ He bit his lip. down to ugliness. we wasn’t going to have HER bossing THIS show. ‘Yes. She must turn the conversation. all except the Queen of Sheba. and left her. Fanny was overcome with emotion. He was much moved. ‘I can give you a kiss to-day. He instantly caught at her wish. it’s made my heart ache.’ Paul laughed at the woman. They went together up to the Castle. they all paid their shares. Her arms were so pitifully thin that his heart ached also.’ she said apologetically.’ The Queen of Sheba was Clara. I MUST go out now. we never told her.’ Paul kissed her. We didn’t WANT her to join. She was very close to him. Suddenly she flung her arms round his neck and kissed him vehemently. and I seem to have dined on old surgical-appliance stock.’ She lingered. Outdoors she dressed very plainly. indoors she always Free eBooks at Planet eBook. That day he met Clara as he ran downstairs to wash his hands at dinner-time. ‘You’ve looked so white. At last he must go.

pigeons preened themselves and cooed softly.’ ‘Bulk only. and drooping. The Castle grounds were very green and fresh. There was scarcely time to go inside the squat.’ he said. she showed to great disadvantage. but she was silent. She walked with hesitating steps alongside Paul. ‘You feel as if you could scoop up the folk like tadpoles. She laughed. She appeared almost insignificant. He could scarcely recognise her strong form. Then the silver string of the canal lay at ran1 Sons and Lovers . They leaned upon the wall where the cliff runs sheer down to the Park.’ he said.looked nice. beside which smoking toy engines fussed. as she shrank from the public gaze. Dowdy in dress. Away down upon the boulevard at the foot of the rock. drowning her stature in her stoop. whose margin was crowded with little stacks of timber. The trees are much more significant. tiny trees stood in their own pools of shadow. he laughed and chattered. it is not necessary to get far off in order to see us proportionately. in their holes in the sandstone. answering: ‘Yes. bowing and turning away from him. square building that crowns the bluff of rock. and have a handful of them. She laughed cynically. and tiny people went scurrying about in almost ludicrous importance. Below them. that seemed to slumber with power. Away beyond the boulevard the thin stripes of the metals showed upon the railway-track. Climbing the precipitous ascent. seeming to brood over something.

‘Thank you. ‘to think the town goes no farther.dom among the black heaps.’ he replied. broken now and then by taller plants. looked like black. to keep close company with the Castle. she reminded Paul of one of the bitter. stretching right away. spread towards the haze. She loathed the town. my brother!’ she laughed. Dawes smiled brightly as she looked across the country. ‘it’s only temporary. ‘But the town’s all right. poisonous herbage. To the left the large church of St. ‘It is comforting. clumsy make-shift we’ve practised on.’ Paul said. ‘Great compliment!’ ‘Oh. above the heaped rubble of the town. It is only a LITTLE sore upon the country yet. the dwellings. Looking drearily across at the country which was forbidden her. Dawes. where the hills rose blue beyond grey. Mrs.’ ‘A little scab.’ The pigeons in the pockets of rock. among the perched bushes.’ she said. Beyond. ‘I feel better. her impassive face. The town will come all right. remorseful angels. Mary rose into space. The steep scarp cliffs across the river looked puny. in thick rows and crowded beds. This is the crude. She shivered. right to where the river glistened in a hieroglyph across the country.’ said Mrs. ‘H’m! that’s snatching back with the left hand what you Free eBooks at Planet eBook. till we find out what the idea is. Great stretches of country darkened with trees and faintly brightened with corn-land. very dense on the river 1 . pale and hostile.’ he said. cooed comfortably.

‘They can have all the secrets in the world.’ ‘What about ‘em?’ Paul asked. ‘if they did not thrust it into my face—the fact that they have a secret. She flushed and bit her lip. they insult me with their secrecy. I can see the stamp of it on your face yet. ‘I know you were brooding something special. ‘I should not mind.’ he answered.’ ‘Do they?’ he asked in concern. All alike.’ said he. She laughed in amusement at him. He was much perturbed. Paul was silent. and making me feel more out of it than ever. ‘but they might refrain from glorying in them.’ he said.’ she said intensely.’ Paul thought for a few minutes.’ ‘I think I will not tell you. ‘No. their mean gloating. and to-day they seem particularly full of it. in the metallic. ‘It’s my birthday. angry tone. brooding bitterly. It is—it is almost unbearable.’ he said. ‘All right. ‘it was the girls.’ she said. ‘They have been plotting something for a week now. ‘It is hateful. hug it. ‘I will tell you what it’s all about. and no mistake.’ she went on. He was sorry to be the cause of this new dissension. pale and nervous.gave with the right. and they’ve bought me a fine lot 1 Sons and Lovers .’ she said. He knew what the girls gloated over.’ ‘Just like women.’ she went on. ‘But what was the matter with you?’ he asked.

a dark mass of struggle and pain. He was brooding now. there remained the mass from which all the landscape was composed. And she saw nothing but his two hands. they were only shapen differently. his mother. Don’t bother about it. He had inherited from his mother a fineness of mould. and sorrowful. ‘But. every bit. They’re jealous of you’—he felt her stiffen coldly at the word ‘jealous’—‘merely because I sometimes bring you a book. what would they say if they saw us here now. so warm and alive. will you—because’—he laughed quickly—‘well. ‘Is that two o’clock striking?’ Mrs. which seemed to live for her. although it cost her an effort. in spite of their victory?’ She was angry with him for his clumsy reference to their present intimacy. Dawes said in surFree eBooks at Planet eBook. the girls. brooding. the same in all the houses and the river-flats and the people and the birds. uplifted church. As Paul looked at them he knew her. And now that the forms seemed to have melted away. dark matrix of sorrow and tragedy. she forgave him. all that remained was a vast. you see.of paints.’ he said to himself. it’s only a trifle. Their two hands lay on the rough stone parapet of the Castle wall. interesting diversity of shapes had vanished from the scene. merged into one atmosphere—dark. so that his hands were small and vigorous.’ he added slowly. It was almost insolent of him. ‘She is wanting somebody to take her hands—for all she is so contemptuous of us. the large. Yet he was so quiet. all the girls. to match her large 1 . the thicket of the town. Hers were large. The little. staring out over the country from under sullen brows. but white and powerful looking. The factory.

quite frank. The other girls noticed that when Paul met Mrs. it was quite open. handing Paul a package. who ever’d have thought it!’ He was suddenly intensely moved. and 1 Sons and Lovers . Dawes his eyes lifted and gave that peculiar bright greeting which they could interpret. smiling. her shoulders.’ The postman. Paul Morel. save that occasionally she turned aside her face from him when he came upon her.D.prise. examining the work up from Fanny’s room. She can’t afford it. the evening postman came in. They walked out together very often at dinner-time. Dawes. He was filled with the warmth of her. and its cheerfulness. It was a volume of verse with a brief note: ‘You will allow me to send you this. In the glow he could almost feel her as if she were present—her arms. Everybody seemed to feel that he was quite unaware of the state of his own feeling. her bosom. When he was in the rush of preparing for the night’s post. Paul started. and everything sprang into form. ‘Good Lord! Mrs. They hurried back to work. Good Lord. was pleased to make fun of the girls’ affection for Paul. This move on the part of Clara brought them into closer intimacy. Clara made no sign. its forgetfulness. himself a favourite.’ Paul flushed hot. ‘Mr. see them. which smelt of ironing.—C.’’ he said. feel them. regained its individuality. Knowing he was unaware. I also sympathise and wish you well. ‘A lady’s handwriting! Don’t let the girls see it. and so spare me my isolation. almost contain them.

she sat on the stile. ‘How old were you when you married?’ he asked quietly.’ ‘Somnambule? But—when did you wake up?’ ‘I don’t know that I ever did.that nothing was wrong. And he wanted me. They were quiet. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. he never got there.’ ‘Five years! Did you love him when you married him?’ She was silent for some time. and yellow sheaves glowing through. but he cared less about the talk.’ she replied. He climbed and sat on a gate. almost submissive. The afternoon was perfectly still. He talked to her now with some of the old fervour with which he had talked to Miriam. or ever have—since I was a child.’ Her voice was subdued.’ ‘And you sort of walked into it without thinking?’ ‘Yes. I seemed to have been asleep nearly all my life. with a dim haze. ‘It is eight years ago?’ ‘Yes. ‘ 1 . he did not bother about his conclusions.’ ‘You went to sleep as you grew to be a woman? How queer! And he didn’t wake you?’ ‘No. She would tell him now. I didn’t think much about it.’ ‘And when did you leave him?’ ‘Three years ago. Suddenly they came to a halt on top of the hill. in a monotone. then she said slowly: ‘I thought I did—more or less. I was very prudish then. One day in October they went out to Lambley for tea.

And then I felt as if I wanted to run. He wanted to bully me because he hadn’t got me. ‘But why did you leave him? Was he horrid to you?’ She shuddered lightly. ‘And was he always dirty?’ he asked. He put his own over it. Her hand lay on the gate-post as she balanced. ‘At me.’ ‘I married him—and I was willing—-‘ 0 Sons and Lovers . He loved the day. but he could not understand. ‘A bit. really. He never really mattered to me. Red roofs of the cottages burned among the blue haze.’ He did not at all see. His heart beat quickly. ‘But did you—were you ever—did you ever give him a chance?’ ‘Chance? How?’ ‘To come near to you.’ The afternoon was so gently warm and dim. ‘And then he seemed as if he couldn’t get AT me. what Clara was saying.’ ‘I see.The brown birds dashed over the hedges where the rosehips stood naked and scarlet. And then he got brutal—he WAS brutal!’ ‘And why did you leave him finally?’ ‘Because—because he was unfaithful to me—-‘ They were both silent for some time. ‘He—he sort of degraded me. as if I was fastened and bound up.’ she replied slowly. ‘Got where?’ he asked. He could feel. And he seemed dirty.

She poured out his tea.’ she said. She was very quiet. After tea. where they sat in the cold parlour. The gold became a diaphanous. It fell. ‘And I suppose he couldn’t MAKE himself mean everything to you?’ ‘He tried to bully me into it. twisting her wedding ring all the time.’ she replied. ‘Let’s go and get some tea. ‘It looks like it. and the ring was quivering upon the table. It was only a friendship between man and woman. ‘Come on.’ he said.They both strove to keep their voices steady. she stared broodingly into her tea-cup.’ But the conversation had got them both out of their depth. Paul watched. She spun it again and again. Suddenly Paul jumped down. He was like so many young men of his own age. such as any civilised persons might have. and could not. And he considered that he was perfectly honourable with regard to her.’ he said. he began again: ‘Did you leave him out of count all along?’ ‘He left me. In her abstraction she took the ring off her finger. fascinated. and he believed in simple friendship. He wanted to take his hand away. She saved him by removing her own. stood it up. Sex had become so complicated in him that he would have denied Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and spun it upon the 1 . glittering globe. After a silence. ‘I believe he loves you.’ They found a cottage. But she was a married woman. He felt she had withdrawn again from him.

was a married woman— was shallow and temporal. He saw none of the anomaly of his position. but he seemed not so fretted. She could bear all if he were inwardly true to her and must come back. It seemed to  Sons and Lovers . but still she was certain that the best in him would triumph. but left him to his courses. That he gave Clara to understand. whenever he could. Dawes—who. Miriam knew now how strong was the attraction of Clara for him. and she belonged to Nottingham. She thought he was getting away from Miriam. Then he wrote frequently to Miriam. lover. he battled with her. it would be his duty to marry Miriam. he knew the curves of her breast and shoulders as if they had been moulded inside him. some time in the far future. He would have denied it for ever. He came to her. compared with his love for herself. Clara was a newer friend. Dawes. to the world. He grew warm at the thought of Clara. Mrs. but cured of his desire for the lesser things which other women than herself could give him. that did not belong to a woman. He would come back to her. and yet he did not positively desire her. and she belonged to Bestwood and home and his youth. He believed himself really bound to Miriam. moreover. Miriam was his old friend. to life. If ever he should marry. He loved Miriam with his soul. she was sure.that he ever could want Clara or Miriam or any woman whom he knew. His feeling for Mrs. His mother was easier about him. with some of his young freshness gone. Sex desire was a sort of detached thing. and visited the girl occasionally. perhaps. So he went on through the winter. and she said nothing.

‘In what way?’ ‘Oh. but considerably weakened. ‘Will you come in to the concert on Sunday afternoon?’ Clara asked him just after Christmas. when they saw little of each other. ‘You know. It was a thing that seemed to trouble him. The friendship between the two women was not broken off. ‘Miriam and I have been a lot to each other ever since I was sixteen—that’s seven years now. but they always came together again.’ Clara replied. ‘Oh. ‘Yes.’ he said. But it made her cool with him for some time. I don’t know.him quite plain.’ she said coolly.’ ‘It’s a long time. but somehow she—it doesn’t go right—-‘ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. my friend. ‘You are so clever. Which almost annoyed him. ‘Why should I?’ she answered. The conversation broke off there. But weren’t you horrid with him? Didn’t you do something that knocked him to pieces?’ ‘What. Dawes and he had many periods of  .’ Paul declared. She very rarely saw Miriam now. Mrs. very well. do you?’ he asked. pray?’ ‘Making him feel as if he were nothing—I know. ‘I promised to go up to Willey Farm. ‘Were you horrid with Baxter Dawes?’ he asked her.’ ‘You don’t mind.’ he replied.

‘I don’t. when I’m not good.’ ‘But how do you know what she wants?’ ‘I’ve been with her for seven years.’ ‘Yes.’ ‘But you like to be kept. ‘She seems to draw me and draw me. I wish it could be normal. give and take— like me and you. I don’t love her. ‘I’m not. ‘I don’t know.’ ‘Why not?’ Clara asked. and she wouldn’t leave a single hair of me free to fall out and blow away— she’d keep it.’ ‘What’s that?’  Sons and Lovers . I never even kiss her. I should love her better then. She sort of wants me so much that I can’t give myself.’ ‘Wants you how?’ ‘Wants the soul out of my body.’ ‘How do you know what she is?’ ‘I do! I know she wants a sort of soul union.’ she said.‘How?’ asked Clara.’ ‘And you haven’t found out the very first thing about her. it couldn’t be normal.’ ‘But if you love her.’ ‘No.’ ‘I suppose you’re afraid.’ ‘And yet you love her!’ ‘No. like me and you. but not in her pocket. Something in me shrinks from her like hell— she’s so good.’ he said. I want a woman to keep me. I can’t help shrinking back from her.

She wants you.‘That she doesn’t want any of your soul communion. Perhaps he was wrong. ‘You’ve never tried. ‘But she seems—-’ he began. That’s your own imagination. Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ He pondered over  .’ she answered.

did he feel he would burst forth  Sons and Lovers . as they walked. he did not see that it should inevitably follow they should be man and wife. timidly. kiss her? Why. He shrank from the physical contact. But what was his reluctance? He told himself it was only a sort of overstrong virginity in her and him which neither could break through. but his circumstances at home made it difficult. He would have given his head to have felt a joyous desire to marry her and to have her. when she put her arm in his. He might have married her. moreover. and what was the obstacle? It lay in the physical bondage. then why couldn’t he go to her. he and she. Clara said she even wanted him.CHAPTER XI THE TEST ON MIRIAM WITH the spring came again the old madness and battle. He wished he did. and because they had become close companions. Why? She loved him. Now he knew he would have to go to Miriam. Marriage was for life. But why? With her he felt bound up inside himself. He did not feel that he wanted marriage with Miriam. Then why couldn’t he bring it off? There was some obstacle. He could not go out to her. and. he did not want to marry. but he could not get to her. make love to her. Something struggled in him.

it was the opposite. And with her he felt it so hard to overcome. yet he was nearest to her. He looked brutality and recoil? He owed himself to her. They could easier deny themselves than incur any reproach from a woman. and they were full of the sense of their Free eBooks at Planet eBook. He would try what he COULD do. They were so sensitive to their women that they would go without them for ever rather than do them a hurt. He could not bear to fail her. bound in by their own virginity. It would all come right if they tried. Then. for a woman was like their mother. if they could get things right. dreaming her religion. It seemed as if virginity were a positive force. it was a strong desire battling with a still stronger shyness and virginity. He could not have faced his mother. And he had a great tenderness for Miriam. and with her alone could he deliberately break  . It seemed to him that to sacrifice himself in a marriage he did not want would be degrading. make it a nullity. and he was nearly a religion to her. He had no aversion for her. but he would not marry unless he could feel strong in the joy of it—never. and would undo all his life. she was sad. And he owed himself to her. they were themselves too diffident and shy. an injustice. which they could not break out of. Always. which fought and won in both of them. he wanted to belong to her. No. Perhaps the recoil and the shrinking from her was love in its first fierce modesty. A good many of the nicest men he knew were like himself. they could marry. Being the sons of mothers whose husbands had blundered rather brutally through their feminine sanctities.

Mrs. They preferred themselves to suffer the misery of celibacy. Again. tender with her. ‘I am old enough. One day he stood behind her as she sang. If he came home late. breathing with her the atmosphere of reverie and religious dreams.’ he said. when he looked at her. came up the pain in him. he frowned and turned on her in an overbearing way: ‘I shall come home when I like. rather than risk the other person.mother. As Miriam sang her mouth seemed hopeless. She sang like a nun singing to heaven. There seemed an eternal maidenhood about her. and when he thought of her mother. Something in her. Why must he ask her for the other thing? Why was there his blood battling with her? If only he could have been always gentle. hot as steel. he saw the great brown eyes of a maiden who was nearly scared and shocked out of her virgin maidenhood. but not quite. Morel saw him going again frequently to Miriam. so spiritual. brought the tears almost to his eyes. not of her.’ ‘Must she keep you till this time?’  Sons and Lovers . but upon her. It reminded him so much of the mouth and eyes of one who sings beside a Botticelli Madonna. He went back to her. because she never had possessed them. They had been born almost leaving her out of count. and was astonished. he would give his right hand. and she reproached him. He said nothing to his mother. Annie was playing a song on the piano. He did not explain nor excuse himself. So she could never let them go. It was not fair to hurt her. in spite of her seven children.

And she went to bed. she had finished. however. It reminded her of William. yet he  . She was in the way. leaving the door unlocked for him. nothing on earth would alter him. She could not forgive him. ‘And she lets you? But very well. She began to give up at last. the uselessness of any further interference. cooked for him still. There was nothing for her to do now but the housework. He lay back in the rocking-chair at Willey Farm one evening. He had been talking to Miriam for some weeks. It was a great bitterness to her that he had gone back to Miriam. and full of the warmest affection. Miriam killed the joy and the warmth in him. If he had made up his mind. she waited on him.’ he answered. He went on determinedly. She had no right over him. but Free eBooks at Planet eBook. but she lay listening until he came.‘It is I who stay. Morel was tired. He made himself callous towards her. It only hardened his soul. and loved to slave for him. and she saw him going to Miriam. He had been such a jolly lad. There was a coldness between him and her. for all the rest he had gone to Miriam. not as a youth. but Paul was worse. Discarded. It undermined him quickly. often long after. and more realisation of what he was about.’ she said. He did things with more intensity. She recognised. He realised more or less what his mother felt. He went to Willey Farm as a man now. but her face closed again like a mask. now he grew colder. His mother knew how he was suffering for want of a woman. more and more irritable and gloomy. Mrs. He hardly told her anything. but it was like being callous to his own health.

But you know I can’t help being—as I am—don’t you?’ ‘I know you can’t help it. ‘I can’t marry you. and she waited.’ ‘Ay. ‘You wouldn’t be ashamed before your God.had not come to the point. 0 Sons and Lovers .’ he answered. and they depend on me at home.’ she answered deeply. ‘But I want to marry now—-‘ ‘You want to marry?’ she repeated. but one ought to marry about then. She looked up at him suddenly in surprise. Now he said suddenly: ‘I am twenty-four.’ She was silent. almost.’ She had been brooding.’ he continued slowly. why are you before people?’ ‘Nay.’ She laughed quaintly. ‘And you love me?’ She laughed bitterly.’ She sat half-guessing what was coming. ‘not now. ‘Why are you ashamed of it.’ she replied.’ ‘You are. ‘Yes. I must. at last. What makes you say it?’ There was something in the charged atmosphere that she dreaded. because we’ve no money. ‘Sir Thomas More says one can marry at twenty-four. ‘Ay.’ she answered. ‘A woman—you know what I mean.’ he said. ‘Now. ‘and it’s my fault. saying: ‘Does it need Sir Thomas More’s sanction?’ ‘No. ‘I am not ashamed.’ he replied bitterly.’ she answered broodingly.

perhaps worse. ‘it is so. She looked at him and was sorry for him.’ ‘Where?’ she 1 .’ There was silence in the room for some time. ‘Oh.’ replied Miriam. ‘all these years of intimacy. ‘You recoiled away from anything of the sort.’ She felt she could bear anything for him. He Free eBooks at Planet eBook. for ever urging forward and trying to find a way out. ‘Don’t you think we have been too fierce in our what they call purity? Don’t you think that to be so much afraid and averse is a sort of dirtiness?’ She looked at him with startled dark eyes. ‘Nay. He took it and kissed it. she would suffer for him. ‘I am not bitter.’ ‘There is between us. ‘And you love me?’ She laughed. and have what he liked of her.’ she answered. And I am ashamed. She put her hand on his knee as he leaned forward in his chair. She was sorry for him. ‘Don’t be bitter. who could never be properly mated. and I took the motion from you. It is misery. ‘And I don’t know. He was restless. looking at him.’ he repeated.’ she said softly. I feel naked enough before you. his eyes were dark with torture. and recoiled also.’ she said.’ he said.’ he pleaded. Why is it?’ ‘I don’t know. He might do as he liked. Do you understand?’ ‘I think so. ‘Yes. but it hurt to do so. in me! It is I who ought to be ashamed—like a spiritual cripple. it was worse for him to have this deflated love than for herself.‘I love you an awful lot—then there is something short.

and kissed her. ‘What are you thinking about?’ she asked. I love you. with a peculiar dark blaze in them that fascinated her.’ he said. and leave nothing but pain? Yet slowly he drew her to him and kissed her. The blaze in his eyes shuddered.’ she answered. How could he kiss her hand passionately. ‘Yes. ‘I was thinking. all the while. It was a moment of anguish. and his arms folded her closer and closer. and then was quenched. she watched his eyes. We will be happy?’  Sons and Lovers . Then she raised her head and looked into his eyes with her full gaze of love. She could feel his heart throbbing heavily in his breast. He sat there sacrificed to her purity.’ she whispered. ‘Kiss me.felt he was putting himself aside. when it would drive her away. I feel so simple with you— as if there was nothing to hide. became uncertain.’ She sank her head on his breast. seemed to try to get away from her. When she walked home with him over the fields. they were staring across the room. ‘That’s all. he said: ‘I am glad I came back to you. He turned his head quickly aside. He shut his eyes. They knew each other too well to pretend anything. The blaze struggled. I have been obstinate. and his mouth was kissing her throat. He was perfectly still. As she kissed him. and his voice seemed sure. which felt more like nullity.

and the tears came to her eyes.’ ‘Yes. his passion flooded him. ‘Yes. In the darkness. ‘It rests me so. As she stood under the drooping-thorn tree. ‘Sometime you will have me?’ he murmured.’ he said. ‘but there’s not much risk for you really—not in the Gretchen way. ‘We belong to each other. in the darkness by the roadside.’ ‘Then why shouldn’t we belong to each other altogether?’ ‘But—-’ she faltered.’ he said. where he could not see her but only feel her. ‘I love to feel your arm THERE!’ she said.’ he said. get away from. His hopes and his heart sunk. His clasp of her  . ‘Some sort of perversity in our souls. and his fingers wandered over her face. ‘I know it’s a lot to ask.‘Yes.’ she said. and she felt stunned.’ she murmured. A dreariness came over him.’ she said. It was so difficult. ‘Not now. ‘makes us not want. You can trust Free eBooks at Planet eBook. the very thing we want. hiding his face on her shoulder. He clasped her very close. ‘No.’ He tightened the pressure of his arm upon the small of her back to rest her. pressing his arm against her back. he kissed her.’ he said. where it went round her waist. We have to fight against that.

She waited. but with a sort of horror.’ she said. He kissed her tenderly. ‘Yes. His heart died in him.’ The answer came quick and strong. Looking round he saw the pale blotch of her face down in the darkness under the hanging tree. His heart beat up again like fire. ‘Never mind. ‘Good-bye!’ she called softly. She could not bear it. ‘You SHALL have me. scarcely hearing what she said. ‘I don’t know!’ she cried. ‘You should please yourself. only a voice and a dim face. I am only afraid. At last he kissed her quickly and climbed the fence. He sighed. ‘You don’t think it ugly?’ he asked. She drew away. wishing he would go. She seemed slightly hysterical. ‘Won’t you be late?’ she asked gently. and clenched her body stiff. She had no body. He turned away and ran down the  Sons and Lovers .’ Suddenly she gripped his arms round her. through her shut teeth.’ ‘You are afraid?’ She calmed herself hastily. I can trust you.’ he said. ‘No. He disengaged her. ‘It’s not that—it’s not that at all—but—-‘ ‘What?’ She hid her face in his neck with a little cry of there?’ ‘Oh. There was no more of her but this pale blotch. You have TAUGHT me it isn’t. He folded her close.’ she said. and his mouth was on her throat. not now.

Miriam plunged home over the meadows. He could not meet her gaze. full of love. her heart went down. something deeper! She could trust to it. made him turn away. Oh. He should have her. Yet he was so insistent. what they might say.road. he would find no satisfaction. as if against something. earnest and searching. and when he came to the wall over the lake he leaned there. when he grew hot. and looked in his eyes. seeking his satisfaction. After all. and then he would go away. he was only like other men. but Life forced her through this gate of suffering. almost stunned. which was her deepest wish. his fists clenched. Perhaps it was so. when she thought of it afterwards. Often. Yes. it would give him what he wanted. Her dark eyes. she would let him have her if he insisted. too. She brooded and brooded and brooded herself towards accepting him. religiously. looking up the black water. to the sacrifice. held it between her hands. hard. And at the thought her whole body clenched itself involuntarily. in spite of all desires. she put his face from her. then she would submit. At any rate. She was not afraid of people. was their love to break down. which did not seem so all-important to her. He would be disappointed. but there was something more in him. All strong emotions concentrated there. He said that possession was a great moment in  . He courted her now like a lover. and then. Back again he had to torture himself into a sense of his responFree eBooks at Planet eBook. There was something divine in it. and over this. Not for an instant would she let him forget. and she would submit. but she dreaded the issue with him.

heaped in soft. The world. The young man. glowing yellow right up the sky. suddenly caught the broken clouds. Immense piles of gold flared out in the south-east. impersonal fire of desire. The wind. and now the clouds were rolling in the sky. Cherries touched his ears and his neck as he stretched forward. where the scarlet beady cherries hung thick underneath. All shades of red. very large and tall. from a golden vermilion to a rich crimson. The sun. the personal relationship. going down. he must be brought back to a deliberate. The trees at the back of the house. dark and warm. moaning steadily. Paul combed high in the tree. and tore off handful after handful of the sleek. His eyes. Paul and Edgar were gathering the fruit one evening. full of the dark. their chill finger-tips sending a flash down his blood. ‘Leave me alone—leave me alone!’ he wanted to cry. It had been a hot day. never any leaving himself to the great hunger and impersonality of passion. but she wanted him to look at her with eyes full of love. under the dark leaves. cool-fleshed fruit. Never any relaxing. made the whole tree rock with a subtle. perched insecurely in the slender branches.sibility and hers. above the scarlet roofs of the buildings. As if from a swoon of passion she caged him back to the littleness. glowed and met his eyes under a darkness of leaves. reached down the boughs. hung thick with scarlet and crimson drops. rocked till he felt slightly drunk. reflective creature. There was a great crop of cherries at the farm. till now  Sons and Lovers . thrilling motion that stirred the blood. He could not bear it. did not belong to her.

‘How high you are!’ she said. ‘Nearly.dusk and grey. watching the gold clouds fall to pieces. Beside her. like pain in its intense brightness. turned up to him. and go in immense. Miriam came out wondering. ‘Haven’t you got enough?’ she asked. so soft. He looked down again to Miriam. Paul saw some cherry stones hanging quite bleached. so tender. down there. ‘isn’t it wonderful?’ He looked down. chuckling sound. and the far-off water. She ran for shelter. It is like being on a ship up here. and the grass.’ She went to the fence and sat there. and pelted her. ‘Oh!’ Paul heard her mellow voice call. He laughed with a low. Gold flamed to  . reflected the gold glow. on the rhubarb leaves. picked clear of flesh. picking up some cherries.’ ‘And how long will you stay?’ ‘While the sunset lasts. There was a faint gold glimmer on her face. seemed roused from the twilight and shining. Then the scarlet sank to rose. ‘Beautiful!’ she cried. that looked very soft. ‘Clouds are on fire. and rose Free eBooks at Planet eBook. were four dead birds. like skeletons. rose-coloured ruin towards the darkness. She seemed so small. Everywhere the trees. thieves that had been shot. astonished. She was startled and frightened. then she looked up again. He threw a handful of cherries at her.’ he said. Two fine red pairs she hung over her ears.

strange note in his voice. This thick-voiced. ‘No. thick darkness. She was afraid. He stood against a pine-tree trunk and took her in his arms. She took the three-cornered rip. ‘I’ve torn my sleeve. Paul was silent and strange. and the sharp spines pricked her face.  Sons and Lovers .’ It was very dark among the firs. oblivious man was a stranger to her. tearing his shirt-sleeve as he did crimson.’ It was near the shoulder. ‘Do you want to?’ ‘Yes. He laughed. All the world was dark grey. ‘Shall we stay out?’ he said. ‘How warm!’ she said. saying: ‘I shall have to mend it.’ said Miriam. She put her fingers through the tear. ‘Shall we go in among the trees?’ he asked. but it was a sacrifice in which she felt something of horror. and quickly the passion went out of the sky.’ He seemed to be almost unaware of her as a person: she was only to him then a woman. fingering the cherries. There was a new.’ he answered. ‘Won’t it rain?’ she asked. ‘They are lovely. ‘I wish it were thicker— good. ‘I like the darkness. let us walk a little way.’ he said. She was afraid.’ They went down the fields and into the thick plantation of trees and pines. Paul scrambled quickly down with his basket. She relinquished herself to him. one that made her pant.

and inaction. very sad. on the dead pine needles. Very dreary at heart. His heart was down. as he lay with his face on the dead pine-leaves. in a sort of horror. The highest of all was to melt out into the darkness and sway there. that her soul had stood apart. ‘The rain is coming in on us. on his shoulders. this seemed like BEING. very heavy. but no more. This strange. felt extraordinarily quiet. He did not mind if the raindrops came on him: he would have lain and got wet through: he felt as if nothing mattered. ‘Yes—is it coming on you?’ She put her hands over him.Later it began to rain. To be alive.’ said Miriam. Now he realised that she had not been with him all the time. on his hair. She loved him dearly. ‘Yes. ‘We must go. to be urgent and insistent—that was NOT-TO-BE. and stillness. Free eBooks at Planet  . Paul lay with his head on the ground. near and quite lovable.’ said Miriam.’ he said. He was tender and beautiful. Now again she loved him deeply. He was physically at rest. To him now. day a white shadow. and assisted her.’ he answered. and death. ‘The rain!’ he said. night. He. ‘It is a pity. listening to the sharp hiss of the rain—a steady. He rose. and very tender. as if his living were smeared away into the beyond. life seemed a shadow. but did not move. The pine-trees smelled very strong. identified with the great Being. his fingers wandered over her face pitifully. keen noise. to feel if the raindrops fell on him. gentle reaching-out to death was new to him.

’ ‘Ay. At last they gained the cartshed. ‘The fir-trees are like presences on the darkness: each one only a presence.’ He was walking with his hand in hers.’ ‘Still!’ she repeated. There was a sound of rain everywhere.’ ‘Yes?’ 0 Sons and Lovers . a kind of curious sleep—that is very beautiful. that is our after-life—our immortality.’ he said. smothering everything. I feel so still.’ She had been afraid before of the brute in him: now of the mystic. ‘along with everything. though he held her hand close. She trod beside him in silence. she had a fear lest she should lose him. which is our effort—to live effortless. The rain fell with a heavy ‘Hush!’ on the trees. ‘A sort of hush: the whole night wondering and asleep: I suppose that’s what we do in death—sleep in wonder. ‘Stiller than I have ever been in my life. Now he seemed beyond her.’ he said. She pressed his fingers. which is our will. and said nothing. I think. ‘Let us stay here awhile.‘What?’ ‘To have to go. feeling a slight fear.’ She was afraid. ‘To be rid of our individuality.’ she answered patiently. He seemed again unaware of her. ‘I feel so strange and still.

At the back another garden was separated from the fields by a tall old hedge. with red brick walls. and the girl was sent to keep house. was driven to Derby to stay with her daughter for a day or two. so Miriam stayed alone in the cottage. but then on the Monday of the holiday he was to spend a whole day with her.’ ‘You don’t usually say that. telling her where he was going. the stillness in his voice. and might return the second day or the third.’ ‘No.‘Yes—and very beautiful to have. Miriam had not much to do. It was sweet to rush through the morning lanes on his bicycle. He did not embarrass her much. Paul used often to cycle over. heavy look in his eyes. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. It was very pretty. At the holiday-time her grandmother. when he was going to do as he liked. The cottage had a big garden in front. It was a beautiful little place. He still kept the quiet. It was perfect weather. She was a crotchety old lady.’ In a while they went indoors. who lived in a tiny cottage in Woodlinton. Everybody looked at them curiously. It cast a shadow over him. against which the plum trees were nailed. About this time Miriam’s grandmother. 1 . so she found time for her beloved reading. being better. fell ill. which also pleased her. She would be alone all the day. and for writing little introspective pieces which interested her. and they had as a rule peaceful and happy times. He left his mother. but he had three days that were all his own. they all left him alone.

The dinner was a great success.’ he said. Then he wiped the dishes she had washed. ruddy and busy. It was their cottage for the day. The sofa was covered all over with a sort of linen in squares of red and pale blue. questioning. There was a bright little brook that ran into a bog at the foot of a very steep bank. it was all overcast with a yellow shine. He thought she gave a feeling of home almost like his mother. The sunlight came through the leaves of the scented geraniums in the window. picking still a few marsh-marigolds and many big blue forget-me-nots. old. Then he kissed her fingers. and they were man and wife. He laughed pleadingly to her. mostly golden water-blobs. and quite still. laying his hands on hers. then her face. As she put her face down into the marigolds. yet  Sons and Lovers . Then she sat on the bank with her hands full of flowers. Like a young husband. when she was flushed from the fire. Here they wandered. There was a stuffed owl in a case over a corner cupboard. The world was all steeped in sunshine. Miriam was busy preparing dinner. She looked so perfectly in keeping with the little kitchen. ‘Your face is bright.’ She looked at him. with her tumbled curls. She was cooking a chicken in his honour.He got to the cottage at about eleven o’clock. The room was small and cosy. He kissed her and sat down to watch. but pretty. He beat the eggs for her and peeled the potatoes. much washed. he carved. ‘like a transfiguration. They talked all the time with unflagging zest. and they went out down the fields. and no one could look more beautiful.

when he was unfastening his collar. His eyes were very dark. ‘I have never seen anything more beautiful than this. ‘Will you come?’ he asked. He never forgot seeing her as she lay on the bed. Her big brown eyes were watching him. ‘And our day—just between us. like a creature awaiting immolation. but the look at the back of her eyes. She had the most beautiful body he had ever imagined. in silence. and he saw it. and they had the little house to themselves. They lingered a little while. ‘Don’t you think it’s a great day?’ he asked. but as he went forward to her. her hands lifted in a little pleading movement. First he saw only her beauty. and he looked down at her simply. The chickens came scampering down the path to her.’ he said. He held her hand fast all the time. and stopped.not asleep. and he looked at her face.’ he said. but quivering with a kind of expectancy. still and resigned and loving. hand in hand. She WAS happy. Then they stood up upon the sweet thyme. and all his blood fell back. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. He stood unable to move or speak. very bright. looking at her. and was blind with it. arrested him. She murmured her assent. He locked the door. she lay as if she had given herself up to sacrifice: there was her body for  . And then he wanted her. his face half-smiling with wonder. ‘And the water singing to itself as it runs—do you love it?’ She looked at him full of love. They went back to the house.

But why had he the dull pain in his soul? Why did the thought of death. and wore her out with his passion before it was gone. He stayed with her till quite late at night. the after-life. There was something he could not bear for her sake. ‘Yes. He looked at her.‘You are sure you want me?’ he asked. And afterwards he loved her—loved her to the last fibre of his being. and act from the brute strength of his own feelings. do you?’ ‘Ah. he wished he were sexless or dead. he had to put her aside. quite sure. He was a youth no longer. seem so sweet and consoling? He spent the week with Miriam. He had always. As he rode home he felt that he was finally initiated.’ he said. ‘When I come to you. his eyes dark with pain and shame. almost wilfully. But he wanted.’ he asked her.  Sons and Lovers . and there remained afterwards always the sense of failure and of death. He loved her. Then he shut his eyes again to her. he had to put aside himself and his desire. ‘you don’t really want me. If he were really with her. ‘Nay. very calm. She only realised that she was doing something for him. And he had to sacrifice her. and his blood beat back again. somehow. If he would have her. And he could not do it often.’ She was very quiet. yes!’ she replied quickly. to put her out of count. He could hardly bear it. as if a cold shadow had come over him. She lay to be sacrificed for him because she loved him so much. For a second. to cry.

’ ‘How can you say so? But we must be married to have children—-‘ ‘Shall we be married. ‘Don’t I want your children?’ ‘But not me.’ She was trembling with agitation. ‘But all my life.’ She rocked with pain. and looked at her.’ he said. as you do.’ she said. watching him. taking his face and shutting it out against her shoulder—‘you see—as we are—how can I get used to you? It would come all right if we were married. She pondered sadly. ‘I believe.’ ‘And still believe it. then? I want you to have my children. ‘I’m not used to the thought—-‘ ‘You are lately. now.’ she said. ‘No!’ she cried hastily. but you have to bear it.’ ‘No. even in THAT way.’ he said. taking his head in her arms and rocking in despair. ‘Don’t say so! You don’t understand. Mother said to me: ‘There is one thing in marriage that is always dreadful. ‘You see. ‘You see.’ she said at length.She began to tremble. ‘You mean.’ And I believed it.’ He kissed her hand reverently.’ she said. Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ ‘That doesn’t alter the fact that you never want it. is the high-water mark of living. that  . ‘We are too young. it is always too much shock?’ ‘Yes—and—-‘ ‘You are always clenched against me.’ He lifted her head.

He continued faithful to Miriam. such as she had seen when he was a small baby.‘Twenty-four and twenty-three—-‘ ‘Not yet. Then he began to feel he could not go on. wondering where he would end. just as they were going to bed: ‘I shan’t go so much to Miriam’s. to go abroad. Tacitly. He had to go on alone. make his own way. anything. she acquiesced in what he felt.’ She was surprised. The tone of hopelessness in which he said these things grieved her deeply. Now it was the same again.’ she pleaded. it put them apart. ‘When you will. And then he realised. But there was a new quietness about him which she had wondered at. For one day he had loved her utterly. It had always been a failure between them. And after a week of love he said to his mother suddenly one Sunday night. She bowed her head gravely. and much too quiet for him. but she would not ask him anything. But it never came again. Precipitation might spoil things. The sense of failure grew stronger. Gradually he ceased to ask her to have him. as she rocked herself in distress. Instead of drawing them together.’ he said. So he went to bed. ‘You please yourself.’ she said. And she could do nothing for him. He was sick. There was a perpetual little knitting of his brows. mother. At first it was only a sadness. It was  Sons and Lovers . She would leave him alone. however. She almost guessed. that it was no good. consciously. and which had been gone for many years. He wanted to run. She watched him in his loneliness.

But he always reserved himself for Miriam. Swain. he sketched and studied with Jessop. She treated him indulgently. Newton.’ ‘Yes. Pleading work. who was chemistry demonstrator at the university. besides Edgar and Miriam’s younger brothers. however. But deep below the surface it piqued him. and he was gay again. and how the women took it. With Clara. as if he were a child. for whom he felt responsible. I suppose I did all the jawing—I usually do.useless trying: it would never be a success between them. at the art school. I think I was telling her about the strike. He thought he was being quite faithful to her. and to whom he felt he belonged. his brow cleared. They had occasionally walked out for half an hour at dinnertime. who was a teacher. Sometimes Miriam said: ‘What about Clara? I hear nothing of her lately. It was not easy to estimate exactly the strength and warmth of one’s feelings for a woman till they have run away with one.’ ‘I walked with her about twenty minutes yesterday. He thought he did not  . and the two went ‘down town’ togethFree eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘And what did she talk about?’ ‘I don’t know.’ he replied. without his knowing it. He called in the university for Swain. For some months he had seen very little of Clara. There was Jessop.’ So he gave the account of himself. But insidiously. He began to give more time to his men friends. the warmth he felt for Clara drew him away from Miriam.

Then I work for myself in the afternoon. Having come home in the train with Newton. During the summer Clara wore sometimes a dress of soft cotton stuff with loose Frequently he hated Miriam. and giving off life. ‘Hold your arm still.’ He made sketches of her hand and arm. When she lifted her hands. ‘I think Clara has such beautiful arms. Often I can do every single thing they need in the department. You know. ‘Yes! When did you draw them?’ ‘On Tuesday. she gave no living warmth. he felt quite justified. who always went scrupulously through his books and papers. His mother began to be relieved. and he tortured her. At least.’ he cried. he said. She was never alive. as if he were an endless psychological account. She took all and gave nothing. When he was with her. He always told her where he had been. Looking for her was like looking for something which did not exist. before dinner. turning the leaves of his sketch-book. and yet not got him. If he gave to Miriam the excuse of his men friends. He hated her way of patiently casting him up. her sleeves fell back.’ ‘Yes. ‘Half a minute. Miriam. I’ve got a corner where I can work. and just see to things at night. he hated her for having got him.  Sons and Lovers . He hated her as she bent forward and pored over his things. and the drawings contained some of the fascination the real thing had for him. he called and had a game of billiards with him in the Moon and Stars. in the work-room. saw the drawings.’ she said.’ he said. and her beautiful strong arms shone out.

then she would stand aloof till he said something. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. He was not going to stick to Miriam. A halfmoon. He went across the bed of pinks. dusky gold. making the sky dull purple with its glow. Nearer. not his mate. when he would come back to her. A corncrake in the hay-close called insistently. This evening there was between them a peculiar condition of suspense. and the air all round seemed to stir with scent. almost as if it were prowling abroad. came the scent of madonna lilies. He saw more and more of Clara. They flagged all loose. The scent made him drunk. Very well. He had been sitting working at home one evening. so that he could escape from himself. There was between him and his mother a peculiar condition of people frankly finding fault with each other. as if they were panting. The beauty of the night made him want to shout. He went down to the field to watch the moon sink under.She was only his conscience. Mrs. and was more cruel to her. Through the open door. At last he spoke. stealthily. whose keen perfume came sharply across the rocking. It had been coming a long time. growing more flushed. Morel was strong on her feet again. heavy scent of the lilies. It grew late. was sinking behind the black sycamore at the end of the garden. He hated her violently. The moon slid quite quickly downwards. and stood alongside the white barrier of  . as if it were alive. this bursting of the storm in him. They dragged on till the next summer. a dim white fence of lilies went across the garden. He worked feverishly and mechanically. Suddenly he got up and went out of doors.

They stood stiff in the darkness. She did not want to see him too clearly. She looked up at him over her spectacles. unswerving.’ he answered. dominant.’ said his mother. The corncrake called still.’ he answered calmly. ‘Come. ‘I thought lately you had made up your mind to have her.’ ‘Well. like a shock. my boy. He was staring back at her. oughtn’t I?’ ‘You know best. The moon was melting down upon the crest of the hill.’ exclaimed his mother.’ said his mother. She met his eyes for a moment. It was gone. all was dark. he had found something. ‘I shall break off with Miriam. You know I said so long ago.’ ‘I had—I wanted to—but now I don’t want. At any rate. Hunting round. ‘I’m sure it’s time you went to bed. But lately 0 Sons and Lovers . I shall break off on Sunday. I shall break off on Sunday. The male was up in him. he suddenly went indoors.’ ‘I can’t help that now. ‘I think it will be best.Behind him the great flowers leaned as if they were calling. He was white. he found the purple iris. And then. he caught another perfume. mother. amazed. I don’t want to marry her—so I shall have done. ‘Well. It’s no good. and so I said nothing. then took off her glasses. ‘I don’t love her.’ He stood with the pink against his lips. Their scent was brutal. Breaking off a pink. something raw and coarse. touched their fleshy throats and their dark. I ought to. ‘But I thought—-’ she began. grasping hands.’ ‘But.

Those short sleeves. and went to bed. These he spat into the fire. and beautiful in her new dress—it hurt so much that his heart seemed almost to be bursting with the restraint he put on it. ‘Never mind. resigned arms—gave him so much pain that they helped to make him cruel. But I say as I have always said. closed them on the blossom slowly. She had made herself look so beautiful and fresh for him. and it was irrevocable. She was wearing a new dress of figured muslin that had short sleeves. But he had decided.’ ‘On Sunday I break off. Every time he looked at her—a mature young woman now. He said nothing. She knew that ‘he was Free eBooks at Planet eBook. She seemed to blossom for him alone. my son. He had written Miriam that they would walk over the fields to Hucknall. kissed his mother. On Sunday he went up to the farm in the early afternoon. and had a mouthful of petals. whilst she fingered his hair. On the hills they sat down. and he lay with his head in her lap. I DON’T think she is suited to you. and Miriam’s brown-skinned arms beneath them— such pitiful.’ he said. The peculiar set look on his face stilled her. Miriam met him at the lane-end. smelling the pink. he bared his 1 .I decided you had made up your mind to have her. ‘ Paul glanced swiftly at his mother in surprise and resentment. He did not want sympathy. ‘You will be so much better when it is all over. But she saw the effort it was costing. He put the flower in his mouth. so I said nothing.’ she said. Unthinking. His mother was very tender with him. and should have said nothing.

I’ve not told you anything but what I thought was true. Often. and could not find him. ‘Because it’s no good going on. where the lip of turf hung over a hollow bank of yellow earth. as he did when he was perturbed and cruel. It was nearly five o’clock when he told her. But this afternoon she was not prepared.’  Sons and Lovers . she looked for him.’ ‘Why is it no good?’ ‘It isn’t.’ ‘Why?’ she cried in surprise. ‘I have been thinking.’ ‘But why do you say this now?’ ‘Because I’ve made up my mind. and the things you told me then?’ ‘I can’t help it! I don’t want to go on. And if we’re not going to marry. I don’t want ever to marry. I free of you.’ ‘You don’t want any more of me?’ ‘I want us to break off—you be free of me. ‘we ought to break off.’ ‘And what about these last months.’ he said. and he was hacking away with a stick.’ ‘And what about these last months?’ ‘I don’t know. They were sitting on the bank of a stream.’ ‘You haven’t told me why it’s no good.not there.’ as she put it. it’s no good going on.’ ‘Then why are you different now?’ ‘I’m not—I’m the same—only I know it’s no good going on.’ ‘Because I don’t want to go on—and I don’t want to marry. I don’t want to marry. when she had him with her.

and there was silence. I will go my own way without you. she could not help registering. when it has drunk its fill.’ But he said nothing to her. We have lived on each other all these years. ‘Then what do you WANT?’ she asked. He was like an infant which. if I’m a child of four. what do you want me for? I don’t want another mother. in spite of her bitterness. and you will go your way without me. I want us to separate. but I want us to break off. She bent her head. pondering. Then she cried: ‘I have said you were only fourteen—you are only FOUR!’ He still dug at the earth viciously. She hated her love for him from the moment Free eBooks at Planet eBook. He was an unreasonable child. feeling she could get hold of him and WRING some consistency out of him. ‘And have you told your people?’ she asked.’ There was another long interval of silence.’ There was silence for a moment or two. and I wouldn’t?’ ‘I know.‘How many times have you offered to marry me.’ There was in it some truth that. ‘You are a child of  .’ she repeated in her anger. throws away and smashes the cup. He heard. You will have an independent life of your own then. But she was helpless. ‘Why. now let us stop. She knew she felt in a sort of bondage to him. which she hated because she could not control it. She looked at him. but said in his heart: ‘All right. while he dug viciously at the earth. He did not answer. ‘I have told my mother.

and was leaving her in the lurch. she had seen it all along. she had hated him because she loved him and he dominated her. But she said nothing. ‘Always—it has always been so!’ she cried. even more than he of her. ‘You please yourself. And she was free of him. like a flash of lightning.’ he said. ‘I told my mother.’ he answered.’ he continued. And.’ She bit her finger moodily. knew in her heart that Clara’s influence was over him to liberate him. Frowning. She. She had resisted his domination.’ he answered. ‘And. ‘Nothing—only to be free.’ ‘What do you want to do?’ she asked. however. She had fought to keep herself free of him in the last issue. Was this how she saw it? ‘But we’ve had SOME perfect grew too strong for her. ‘It’s true enough. He knew he had landed her in a nasty hole. You have done a lot for me. She thought over their whole affair. I for you. Now let us start and live by ourselves.’ It came from her unawares. ‘It has been one long battle between us—you fighting away from me.’ ‘I shall not tell them at home.  Sons and Lovers . ‘Tell them you wouldn’t and won’t marry me. She had known it would come to this. The man’s heart stood still. and have broken off.’ she said. ‘we shall always be more or less each other’s work. It chimed with her bitter expectation.’ he said. ‘And what have I to tell my mother?’ she asked. ‘that I was breaking off—clean and altogether. SOME perfect times. It angered him. deep down.

’ ‘Not always—not at first!’ he pleaded. At last the whole affair appeared in a cynical aspect to him. ‘Always. They would never fight you off. from the very beginning—always the same!’ She had finished.when we were together!’ he pleaded. and despised him. ‘You ought to marry a man who worships you. She had really played with him. There had never been anything really between them.’ he said. All the time this was at the bottom of her! He sat silent in bitterness.’ he said. had flattered him. ‘He had always fought away from her?’ Then it had been monstrous. instead of givFree eBooks at Planet eBook. if you get on the private side of their natures. ‘But don’t advise me to marry someone else any more. And she had known. You ought to marry one such. but it is at an end. He had wanted to say: ‘It has been good. He sat  . not he with her. feeling as if he had had a blow. all the time he had been imagining something where there was nothing.’ ‘Thank you!’ she said. ‘I will say no more. She had hidden all her condemnation from him. She despised him now. ‘never! It has always been you fighting me off. Plenty of men will worship you. ‘then you could do as you liked with him. but she had done enough. He grew intellectual and cruel.’ ‘Very well. She had known all the time.’ He sat still. She had known so much. and had told him so little. You’ve done it before. ‘Never!’ she cried.’ And she—she whose love he had believed in when he had despised himself—denied that their love had ever been love.

That pleased him bitterly. Their eight years of friendship and love.  Sons and Lovers . He was full of a feeling that she had deceived him.’ he thought. but I shall tell her now. ‘And have you said anything to Clara?’ she asked. She had let him say wrong things.’ she said.’ ‘It has failed because you want something else. THE eight years of his life. She had let him fight alone. and thought of him secretly as an infant. He sat in silence.’ he said. ‘Oh. He hated her. were nullified. a foolish child. All these years she had treated him as if he were a hero. She should have told him when she found fault with him. in my grandmother’s house—nay last month even?’ ‘Yes. ‘I do! And I meant them! I can’t help that it’s failed. Then why had she left the foolish child to his folly? His heart was hard against her. But it stuck in his throat that she had despised him whilst he thought she worshipped him. very well! If she knew then it doesn’t come as a surprise to one. ‘No. ‘I thought definitely on Thursday night.’ ‘I knew it was coming. YOU never believed in me. and had not contradicted him. She had not played fair. ‘Do you remember the things you said this time last year. ‘When did you think of this?’ she asked. She had despised him when he thought she worshipped him.’ She laughed strangely.’ ‘It would have failed whether or not.’ There was a silence.

She was sure of herself. ‘We will go and have tea here?’ he asked. she knew. would she have to obey? She would obey him in his trifling commands. Why this bondage for her? Why was it the movement of his arm stirred her as nothing else in the world could? Why was she fastened to him? Why. Only. She was not overthrown. this new influence! Ah. inconsistent. He sat flinging lumps of earth in the stream.’ she answered. and mean. not prostrated. But once he was obeyed. not even much hurt. he was not a man! He was a baby that cries for the newest toy. He hacked at the earth till she was fretted to death. Even she had guarded her soul against him. She had known—oh. he would have to go. She had known. Very well. his meanness. He held forth on the love of ornament—the cottage parlour moved him thereto—and its connection with aesthetics. But he would come back when he had tired of his new sensation. As they walked home. then she had him in her power. false. and his folly. Only why. to lead him where she would. as he sat there. seen his littleness. well she had known! All the time he was away from her she had summed him up. And all the attachment of his soul would not keep him.She sat full of bitterness. She rose. They chattered over irrelevant subjects during tea. if he looked at her and commanded her. she asked: ‘And we shall not see each other?’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. had he still this strange dominance over her? His very movements fascinated her as if she were hypnotised by him. even  . ‘Yes. Yet he was despicable. She was cold and quiet.

he stood still with shame and pain in the highroad.‘No—or rarely. He opened his mouth.’ said the girl. Paul sat near with his whisky. Nothing more mattered. I don’t like creams. But he was at that stage at which nothing else hurts. ‘Give me a hard one—nut. he went into the Willow Tree for a drink. He left her at the lane-end.’ She held the sweet between her fingers. I will write to you now and again. ‘As you will. there was no need to make a fuss that it was ended. then.’ ‘Here you are. ‘here’s an almond for you. He had had a great shock when she had told him their love had been always a conflict.’ he answered. ‘All right. in her new frock.’ ‘I see!’ she answered cuttingly. He noticed the girls whispering and nudging. Presently one. whatever happened. There were four girls who had been out for the day.’ he answered. and blushed. leaned to him and said: ‘Have a chocolate?’ The others laughed loudly at her impudence. He had made a great cleavage in his life. thinking of the suffering he caused her.  Sons and Lovers . ‘Nor write?’ she asked. You please yourself. ‘We’re not strangers—never should be. They had some chocolates on the table. She popped it in.’ said Paul. drinking a modest glass of port. almost sarcastically. having her people to face at the other end. In the reaction towards restoring his self-esteem. As she went home. If it never had been much. a bonny dark hussy. solitary.

’ ‘I’m afraid.’ ‘I don’t mind if I have another—another sort. Mrs. but best in the long run. who had been waiting. At the back of it was too much horror and misery. ‘we thought you looked overcast. ‘I’ve had such a lark with some girls in a pub. my son. ‘Now have some supper. Afterwards he said wistfully: ‘She never thought she’d have me. ‘I’m glad. I know. Morel looked at him. ‘That’s right. He had forgotten Miriam now. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. You weren’t suited for her. He hung up his cap wearily. ‘I said we’d have done altogether.’ he said. ‘It’s hard for her now.’ she said very gently. ‘she doesn’t give up hopes of you yet.’ He laughed shakily as he sat down. falling dark. He told her about the girls in the Willow Tree. rose anxiously. his gaiety.’ ‘No. His mother.’ he said. not from the first. mother. and so she’s not disappointed.’ said the mother.’ he said. ‘Well.’ replied the mother.’ he said. ‘I told her. with great relief. and they dared me offer you a chocolate.’ she answered. He entered the house in silence. ‘perhaps not.’ she said. His mother looked at him. It was nine o’clock when he got home.’ ‘You’ll find it’s better to have done.’ said his mother. And presently they were all laughing together. It seemed unreal.‘You ARE nice!’ he said.’ he  .

waiting.’ he said desperately. and she for very few people. 0 Sons and Lovers . She remained alone with herself. and she was alone. So he left her. ‘Well.’ replied his mother. leave her alone. Very few people cared for her.‘I don’t know.

CHAPTER XII PASSION HE was gradually making it possible to earn a livelihood by his art. It was not very much he made at present. At the same time he laboured slowly at his pictures. using everybody he knew. And these he fitted into a landscape. in one or two places. and was gaining some knowledge of his new acquaintance’s art. full of light. Liberty’s had taken several of his painted designs on various stuffs. like some of Michael Angelo’s people. he believed in his work. and he could sell designs for embroideries. but not merely made up of lights and cast shadows. He believed firmly in his work. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. like the impressionists. rather definite figures that had a certain luminous quality. He was twenty-four when he said his first confident thing to his mother. for altar-cloths. in what he thought true proportion. He had also made friends with the designer for a pottery firm. and similar things. shrinking. The applied arts interested him very much. everything. that it was good and 1 . but he might extend it. He worked a great deal from memory. In spite of fits of depression. He loved to paint large figures.

‘And what about Minnie?’ asked Mrs. ‘I heard her this morning: ‘Eh. It was like a halfpleased shrug of the shoulders. ‘And you apologising to her: ‘You can’t do two things at once.’ he said. He looked at his mother.’ said Mrs. She was quite warm and rosy again with love of him. a girl of fourteen. ‘You shall see. It seemed as if all the sunshine were on her for a moment. ‘But you’ll have to alter.’ replied Mrs. ‘And what did she say? ‘It could easy have waited a bit. She seemed so well when she was happy that he forgot her grey hair. smiling. we’ll see. Morel. with dignity. laughing. Look at you with Minnie!’ Minnie was the small servant. can you?’’ ‘She WAS busy washing up.’ when you went out in the rain for some coal. He continued his work gladly. Now look how your feet paddle!’’ ‘Yes—brazen young baggage!’ said Mrs. And that year she went with him to the Isle of Wight for  Sons and Lovers .’ he said. my pigeon! You see if you’re not swanky one of these days!’ ‘I’m quite content.’ she said.’ she smiled. Mrs. my boy. Morel. Morel! I was going to do that.‘Mother. Morel. Morel.’ She sniffed in her quaint fashion. my boy. ‘That looks a lot like your being able to manage servants!’ ‘Well. ‘Very well. ‘I s’ll make a painter that they’ll attend to. it was only the child’s niceness.

She looked up at him and smiled. She saw a new brightness about him. There was already a sort of secret understanding between Free eBooks at Planet eBook. He drew the stuff of her blouse tighter. On the Monday following the day of the rupture he went down to the work-room. asking: ‘And what of it?’ ‘Suits you—awfully! I could design you a dress. his eyes glittering as he expounded. His whole body was quivering with the sensation. and he forgot. ‘Well. Then she was better again. Then suddenly he took hold of her. Morel was full of joy and wonder. He had touched her. Mrs. ‘I think it suits you.’ She flushed. Queen of Sheba!’ he said. ‘But why?’ she asked. so blue her mouth! It was agony to him.a holiday. like a wound that did not close. You’ve got a new frock  . But the anxiety remained inside him. They had grown very intimate unawares. and immediately he ran away. He felt as if someone were pushing a knife in his chest. She had a bad fainting bout. ‘More SO!’ he explained. smoothed it over her breast. laughing.’ ‘How would it be?’ He stood in front of her. After leaving Miriam he went almost straight to Clara. It was too exciting for them both. But he would have her walk with him more than she was able. So grey her face was. But they were both of them flaming with blushes. He kept her eyes fixed with his. and too beautiful. She half-started back.

‘Shall you tell Miriam?’ she replied sarcastically. looking very reserved and very distant.’ he said.’ he said. meeting him after work was over. She agreed. She came.’ Clara did not answer. He hesitated. He held it fast. with a kind of resentful. He was afraid to  Sons and Lovers . She was rather superior with him. ‘Shall we go a walk on Monday?’ he asked. He darted away across the road. As they sat. The next day he came again. talking to her. ‘We will walk a little while. He had three-quarters of an hour to train-time.’ ‘You quarrelled?’ ‘No! I had made up my mind. She walked moodily at his side. angry walk. She neither moved nor made any sign. It was large and firm. The next evening he went to the cinematograph with her for a few minutes before train-time. he saw her hand lying near him. reluctant. She turned her face aside. For some moments he dared not touch it. ‘Good-night. and they went past the Castle into the Park. He was afraid of her. She was so quiet and so superb! On the Saturday evening he asked her to come and drink coffee with him in a restaurant.them. and he returned to his work. I told her quite definitely I should consider myself free. Then he took her hand in his.’ she said. it filled his grasp. When they came out his train was due. The pictures danced and dithered. ‘When?’ ‘Last Sunday. ‘I have broken off with her.

‘Come along.’ ‘Then we’ll go up the steps.’ he said.’ He suddenly turned round. staring out of the window at the far hill. She stood aloof. penitent. He neither Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Then he let her go. he let go her hand. kissed her. His body acted mechanically. He looked for her. People talked to him. They went in silence. but it only made it worse. He could not see her till Monday. with its few lights. Neither spoke till they reached the station. She followed him. Then they looked each other in the eyes. But he sat still. And he went for his train. When they came to the light. All himself was pitched there. And Sunday intervened—hour after hour of tension. He dissembled. His mother must not be upset. He caught her suddenly in his arms. that was all. He took her hand and kissed her finger-tips. There he sat. He wanted to beat his head against the door of the  . They had passed the Park steps. and got quickly to bed. He drank some whisky on the way home. He was in a delirium. ahead. He felt that he would go mad if Monday did not come at once. dressed. ‘Which way shall we go?’ he asked as they walked in darkness. ‘Good-night. On Monday he would see her again. She stood still in resentment at his suddenly abandoning her. Sunday intervened. with his chin on his knees.take her hand. He could not bear it. He heard faint echoes answering them. ‘I don’t mind. held her strained for a moment.’ she said.

Slowly the hours crawled. He went to bed and slept. He went in. he found his watch had stopped at half-past two. And he scarcely knew where he had been. He was pale.thought nor slept. Presently she called him softly. Cocks were still crowing. but still there was the torment of knowing it was only Sunday morning. Then he cycled all day long. This shell of himself did well. He answered as if he were asleep. and quite cold. real. Ah! he saw her through the glass door. he heard him pottering about. Then he lay and thought. She knocked the fire. She would come in half an hour. At any rate. His father got up. she would be near. He ran downstairs. ‘You will  Sons and Lovers . Afternoon! It seemed years ahead. Would she misunderstand him? He could not write his real self with this shell. His mother got up. but sat perfectly still. A cart went down the road. ‘And this afternoon. till he was fagged out. Perhaps she had not come.’ he struggled to say. He had done the letters. awkward. his heavy boots scraping the yard. He was coming nearer to himself—he could see himself. He was at Jordan’s. It was after three o’clock. he could not stand. staring. He was exhausted. nervous. Her shoulders stooping a little to her work made him feel he could not go forward. And when at last he was so cold that he came to himself. Would it stop before the tunnels? But it did not matter. But the day after was Monday. it would get there before dinner-time. somewhere in front. He was walking to the station—another mile! The train was near Nottingham. She would go a walk with him in the afternoon. She would be there. He slept till four o’clock. Then the miner set off to the pit.

As if he had nailed his clothing against the desk. ‘I can’t be there till half-past. in the distance. But the ache and strain of it could not go on much longer. ‘You will meet me at the Fountain at two o’clock.’ she replied. She saw his dark. and he would do so. It was a quarter to one. as they do to a man under chloroform. ‘I will try at a quarter past. He himself seemed under a tight band of constraint. All the morning things seemed a long way off. He had done everything correctly yet.’ ‘Yes!’ he said. All the time he was still under chloroform.’ he said. Then there was his other self. he could clear away. unable to say a word. She hid her face from him. forcing every stroke out of himself. murmuring. He stood before her.come?’ ‘I think so. he stood there and worked. The torture Free eBooks at Planet eBook. He set his teeth and went upstairs. Then he ran downstairs. doing things. mad eyes. He was at the Fountain at five past two. Again came over him the feeling that he would lose consciousness. and he watched that far-off him carefully to see he made no mistake. He walked miles of streets.’ And he had to be content. He worked incessantly. Then he thought he would be late at the meetingplace. entering stuff in a ledger. He went and got some dinner. and every minute was stretched out  . Still it was only twelve o’clock.

‘I’d never have done it to you. He bought her a bunch of scarlet. ‘You want some flowers. The  Sons and Lovers . As they sat in the tramcar. was near to him. She hung her head. He seemed to be spinning down the street. There was a wonderful close down on her face near the ear that he wanted to touch. and he took her hand. ‘That’s a fine colour!’ he said. going to the nearest florist’s. She came! And he was there. ‘I’d rather have had something softer. She put them in her coat.’ he laughed. Her ear. He looked sideways at her as they walked. half-hidden among her blonde hair.of the next quarter of an hour was refined beyond expression. Then he saw her. He looked at her beautiful figure. She followed him in silence. beginning to breathe.’ he said.’ he said. ‘Do you feel like a blot of vermilion walking down the street?’ he said. He laughed. brick-red carnations. It was the anguish of combining the living self with the shell. the heaviness of a very full ear of corn that dips slightly in the wind. that there was about her.’ she said. She was in a dark blue costume. flushing. ‘You are late. And a certain heaviness. ‘Only five minutes.’ she answered. she leaned her heavy shoulder against him. made his brain spin. He felt himself coming round from the anaesthetic. afraid of the people they met. everything going round.

She rocked slightly to the tram’s motion. No one was on the path that went along the green river meadow. with glisten of silver here and there. he was some attribute of hers. It still remained to him to kiss it. The Trent was very full. travelling in a soft body.temptation to kiss it was almost too great. along the elm-tree colonnade. and yet they were still trembling on the finest balance of laughter. like the common people’s. But there were other people on top of the car. He was a vigorous. like the sunshine that fell on her. with rough-hewn features. They crossed the wide. It had been raining. black space of the Midland Railway. They seemed to dance. Then they ran down sordid Wilford Road. as it reared above the flat of the town. The sky was grey. He looked quickly  . She bit her lip moodily. There was the faintest haze over the silvery-dark water Free eBooks at Planet eBook. The big bluff of the Castle rock was streaked with rain. His hand was hard clenched over hers. His face was rough. and as she leaned against him. After all. His mouth the same was just going to spring into a laugh of triumph. he was not himself. In Wilford churchyard the dahlias were sodden with rain—wet black-crimson balls. rocked upon him. and passed the cattle enclosure that stood out white. There had been a great deal of rain. yet did not. They paid their two halfpennies at the turnstile and crossed the bridge. On the river levels were flat gleams of flood water. It swept silent and insidious under the bridge. There was a sharp suspense about him. slender man. with exhaustless energy. but his eyes under the deep brows were so full of life that they fascinated her.

’ She was silent for a moment. And I didn’t want to marry. ‘You didn’t want to marry Miriam. ‘But you have really been going with her for some time?’ she asked. ‘Don’t you think you’ve treated her rather badly?’ she 0 Sons and Lovers . intertwining among itself like some subtle.’ she asked at length. utterly silent and swift. ‘Why?’ ‘Because I didn’t want to go on with her. ‘Yes. in rather a jarring tone.and the green meadow-bank. ‘Because I WANTED to leave her. I know it’s no good. The river slid by in a body. Drops of water fell from the elm-trees.’ ‘And now you don’t want any more of her?’ ‘No. ‘did you leave Miriam?’ He frowned. and the elm-trees that were spangled with gold. ‘Why. ‘Both. ‘Miriam? She said I was a baby of four. Clara walked moodily beside him.’ he answered—‘both!’ They had to manoeuvre to get to the stile. or you didn’t want to marry at all?’ she asked.’ he said. and that I always HAD battled her off. They picked their way down the muddy path. ‘And what did she say?’ Clara asked.’ She pondered again. because of the pools of water.’ Clara pondered over this for a time. complex creature.

What does it matter!’ They were at the entrance to the Grove.’ ‘I shall be thirty-one—or AM I thirty-one?’ ‘I neither know nor care.’ ‘And I am thirty. On the left the red wet plough-land showed through the doorways between the elm-boles and their branches. Presently she released his hand and put it round her waist. they could see the tree-tops of elms growing far beneath them. Laughing.asked. ‘Twenty-five. All was silent and deserted. ‘You press the vein in my arm. On either side stood the elm-trees like pillars along a great aisle.’ she said. On the right. They walked along. he held her. arching over and making high up a roof from which the dead leaves fell. and covered her face with kisses.’ she said. ‘Yes. They went on up the slippery. already sticky with fallen leaves. holding it so tightly.’ ‘How old ARE you?’ Clara asked. looking down. His finger-tips felt the rocking of her breast. ‘I know you are. went up the steep bank between the grass. Her breast came against his. The wet. All was empty and silent and wet. Then she leaped. She stood on top of the stile. Sometimes Free eBooks at Planet eBook. red track. But it would have been no good going on. and he held both her hands. Two wrongs don’t make a right. I ought to have dropped it years back. steep red path. hear occasionally the gurgle of the 1 . she looked down into his eyes.

‘It is slippery. She looked at him. silent. shut his eyes. and his body was like a taut string. to the river that glimmered and was dark between the foliage. He flashed with a small laugh. There came a quick gurgle from the river below. He led her across to the grass. ‘did you hate Baxter Dawes?’ She turned to him with a splendid movement. and of water-meadows dotted with small cattle. But he was watching her throat below the ear. and her throat. They were standing beside the public path. leaving herself in his hands. through trees and bushes. afraid.  Sons and Lovers . whole kiss. He and she stood leaning against one another. their bodies were sealed and annealed.’ he asked at length. ‘Will you go down to the river?’ he asked. soft-sliding Trent. It was some minutes before they withdrew. ‘Why. where the Grove rose highest above the river. their forward movement faltered to an end.’ he said. ‘It has scarcely altered since little Kirke White used to come. The cliff of red earth sloped swiftly down. Halfway up the big colonnade of elms. He went over the brim of the declivity and began to climb down. She stirred against him as she walked. Her mouth was offered him. Her mouth fused with his. and her mouth that pouted disconsolate. and met her in a long. her breast was tilted as if it asked for him.’ he said. under the trees at the edge of the path.there below they caught glimpses of the full. where the flush was fusing into the honey-white. The far-below water-meadows were very green. their bodies touching all along. her eyes were half-shut.

I’ll be damned!’ he cried crossly. and the red decline ran straight into the water. He frowned. Her shoes were clogged with red earth. went from one tuft of grass to the next. Her colour was up. ‘Well. I can’t help you. He dug in his heels and brought himself up violently. The cliff rose above them and fell away below. hanging on to the twigs and grasses.’ she replied. her eyes flashed.’ she said quickly. Then he laughed. It was hard for her.’ he said. Away he went. Shall we go back?’ ‘Not for my sake. He slid. the flood had eaten away the path. There he waited for her. At last he caught her hand. ‘All right. He looked at the big drop below them.‘Never mind. You see. staggering. and sailed smoothly away. under the trees. Your poor shoes!’ They stood perched on the face of the declivity. at any rate. to his disgust. She came after cautiously. the brown parcel bounded  . to the river’s brink. ‘It’s risky. The red clay went down almost sheer. So they descended. leaped into the water. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. I’ll go again. The string of the parcel broke with a snap. laughing with excitement.’ he said. slipping. Give me that little parcel and your gloves. stage by stage. into which he fell with a slam that nearly shook the breath out of him. ‘or messy. I should only hinder. hanging on to the bushes. making for a little platform at the foot of a tree. sliding to the next tree. ‘Well. and she stood beside him. He hung on to his tree. There.

There was only room for their four feet. ‘Let us try going forward. They had had a fire. and together they stood watching the dark water scoop at the raw edge of the bank. They stood against the tree in the watery silence. Suddenly. ‘Come now. Their barkled shoes hung heavy on their steps. His heart was beating thick and fast. She hesitated. He turned and put his hand up warningly to Clara. At last they found the broken path. She let herself run. waiting. ‘It doesn’t matter. They were fishing. The two went on together. ‘Mind!’ he warned her. They were hot and flushed. ‘It’s a swindle!’ he said.She was coming perilously down. coming on to the little level. The cliff rose high above Paul and Clara on their right hand. and they struggled in the red clay along the groove a man’s nailed boots had made.’ he said. but at any rate it was easier. The fishermen turned curiously to watch the two intruders on their privacy and solitude. He stood with his back to the tree.’ he called. but  Sons and Lovers . He caught her. ‘But there’s a rut where a man has been. buttoned her coat. He held her close and kissed her. His heart leaped. so if we go on I guess we shall find the path again.’ The river slid and twined its great volume.’ she said. On the other bank cattle were feeding on the desolate flats. They cleaned their boots with twigs. opening his arms. he saw two figures of men standing silent at the water’s edge. The parcel had sailed out of sight. It was littered with rubble from the water.

he was laughing to himself. All kept perfectly still. The cliff came down like a sloping wall from far above their heads. It was littered with damp leaves. and. digging his heels sideways into the steep bank of red clay. sloping straight into the river. He cursed again deeply under his breath. He stood erect. They toiled forward along a tiny path on the river’s lip. she looked at him Free eBooks at Planet eBook. At last he found what he wanted. Behind.’ said Paul softly. setting his was nearly out. Arriving there. Clara went with bowed head. Just ahead were two islets in the stream. Suddenly it vanished. He gazed up the great steep bank. were the fishermen. ‘It’s impossible!’ said Clara. stood over the grey glinting river like statues. The fishermen were perhaps sufficiently out of  . The men turned again to their fishing. he began nimbly to mount. He stood and cursed beneath his breath. Two beech-trees side by side on the hill held a little level on the upper face between their roots. looking round. not far back. covered with osiers. The bank was sheer red solid clay in front of them. but it would do. Directly they passed out of sight behind the willows.’ he said. He looked across at every tree-foot. Across the river the distant cattle fed silently in the desolate afternoon. Clara did not answer. She toiled to his side. But they were unattainable. He threw down his rainproof and waved to her to come. flushing. ‘Now they ought to be drowned. Was there no hope but to scale back to the public path? ‘Stop a minute.

‘But tha shouldna worrit!’ he said softly. kissing him. and  Sons and Lovers . She looked at him heavily as she put back her hair. wiped the sweat from his forehead. looking on the ground all the time. ‘No.’ he said. dumbly. caressing. and kissed her.’ he implored. They had a stiff climb to get to the top again. and red. and laughed shakily. ‘Never thee bother!’ She gripped his fingers tight. He put the hair back from her brows. he. stroking her temples. saw suddenly sprinkled on the black wet beech-roots many scarlet carnation petals. ‘Nay!’ he said. ‘Yea. streaming down her dress to her feet. There was nothing in the afternoon but themselves. as if she felt alone in herself. tha does! Dunna thee worrit. pleading. He caressed her cheek with his fingers. he threw off his cap. where he felt her heavy pulse beat under his lips. kissing them lightly. Suddenly he put his finger-tips on her cheek. She smiled sadly. ‘Your flowers are smashed. It took them a quarter of an hour. small splashes fell from her bosom.heavily. When she arose. lonely cows over the river. He held her fast as he looked round. He sunk his mouth on her throat. I don’t worry!’ she laughed tenderly and resigned. They were safe enough from all but the small. When he got on to the level grass. Then she dropped her hand. ‘No!’ she consoled him. ‘Why dost look so heavy?’ he reproached her. and laid her head on his shoulder. Everything was perfectly still. like splashed drops of blood.

drew his head to her. worked away with a stick and tufts of grass. ‘Aren’t I a great hand at restoring you to respectability? Stand up! There. panting. every crease in her garments. like his mother.’ he said. ‘I’m your boot-boy for the time being. She touched his thick hair. and he kissed her fingers.’ he said.sighed.’ she replied.’ And he returned to his boot-cleaning. ‘Now we’re back at the ordinary level. ‘cleaning shoes or dibbling with love? Answer me that!’ ‘Just whichever I please. and kissed it. He was madly in love with her.’ he said. sent a hot flash through him and seemed adorable. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. on the tussocky grass. She put her fingers in his hair. and she gave way to joy. He kneeled at her feet. looking at her laughing. you see!’ he said. They went on into Clifton village. and sang. ‘There you are. washed his hands in a puddle. you look as irreproachable as Britannia herself!’ He cleaned his own boots a little. She sat down. Then they kissed with little nibbling kisses. ‘What am I supposed to be doing. ‘And now I’ll clean thy boots and make thee fit for respectable folk. At last they were quite presentable. ‘T-t-t-t!’ he went with his tongue. ‘I tell you. He worked away at her shoes. every movement she made. and nothing else!’ But they remained looking into each other’s eyes and laughing. singing  . nothing gets done when there’s a woman about. He kissed her. Her cheeks were flushed pink.

and it shows we’re nice in ourselves.’ she said to Clara. She looked very handsome. She fussed about.’ The old lady looked at him curiously. at any rate. ‘I don’t know whether you’d like some radishes as well. When they were going away. and I’m sure I feel harmless—so—if it makes you look nice.’ she said. ‘I should like some radishes. ‘If she knew!’ said Clara quietly to him. You look quite enough to satisfy an archangel. a light rousing in her old eyes. and makes folk happy when they have us. ‘Then I’m sure the day’s good enough. ‘Truly!’ he laughed.’ Clara flushed. and makes us happy—why. His eyes were dark and laughing. hovering round.The old lady at whose house they had tea was roused into gaiety by them. we’re not cheating them out of much!’ They went on with the meal. ‘but I’ve got some in the garden—AND a cucumber. and speckled scarlet and white. He rubbed his moustache with a glad movement. she doesn’t know.’ she answered. ‘Nay!’ he laughed.’ said the old lady. neat as bees. ‘We’ve been saying how nice it is. ‘I could wish you’d had something of a better day. and did not want to leave them. She  Sons and Lovers . ‘Well. There was a peculiar glow and charm about him. And the old lady pottered off gleefully. ‘Have you been saying SO!’ she exclaimed. the old lady came timidly with three tiny dahlias in full blow.

with an uneasy little frown.’ he said. Clara was rather quiet and uncomfortable. ‘Criminal!’ she said. laughing. ‘Yes. ‘You like your little bit of guiltiness.stood before Clara. how pretty!’ cried Clara. And she bobbed a little curtsey of delight. What do they matter? Here. ‘Then she does as she pleases. they do understand. He kissed her. he said: ‘You don’t feel criminal. beaming with joy. ‘You have got enough for your share. you don’t feel not the least bit wrong.’ said the old lady. As they walked along. holding her eyes with his. ‘I Free eBooks at Planet eBook. held her facing him. Something fretted him. ‘Oh. do you?’ She looked at him with startled grey eyes. ‘Shall she have them all?’ asked Paul reproachfully of the old woman. they’d cease to understand. are we?’ he said. I believe. pleased with herself.’ she replied. she shall have them all.’ she said. and they like it.’ ‘But you seem to feel you have done a wrong?’ ‘No. but I shall ask her to give me one!’ he teased.’ she replied. with only the trees and me. ‘Not sinners. smiling.’ ‘Ah. saying: ‘I don’t know whether—-’ and holding the flowers forward in her old  . accepting the flowers. As it is. ‘I only think. ‘If they knew!’’ ‘If they knew. ‘No. do you?’ He took her by the arm. ‘No.

’ ‘So I DO! What can people say?—that we take a walk together. he found himself tumultuously happy. his face seemed to glow. and if once she gets talked about—-‘ ‘Well. I believe you’re jealous. ‘Why? They know she’s a suffragette. and everything good.’ said his mother.’ ‘I think you ought to consider HER. He smiled to her. ‘But you know what folks are. ‘Yes. When he was alone in the railway-carriage. after all.’ But there was a certain glow and quietness about her that made him glad. there may be nothing wrong in it.’ His mother looked at him again. and there had come that ivory pallor into her face which he never noticed. And what if they do talk!’ ‘Of course. and which afterwards he never forgot. Her health was not good now. and the people exceedingly nice. Morel was sitting reading when he got home. it was not much. She did not mention her own ill-health to him. I’ve been down Clifton Grove with Clara.’ 0 Sons and Lovers .believe Eve enjoyed it. Mrs. His eyes were shining. and so on. After all. ‘You are late!’ she said. when she went cowering out of Paradise. Their jaw isn’t so almighty important. and the night lovely. ‘But won’t people talk?’ she said. I can’t help it. she thought. looking at him.’ ‘You know I should be GLAD if she weren’t a married woman.

she is really! You don’t know!’ ‘That’s not the same as marrying her. ‘Should you like to know her?’ He hesitated. We’ll see how it will end.She’s better than ninety-nine folk out of a hundred.’ There was silence for a while. mother. ‘I should like to know what she’s like. and talks on platforms. my son. my mother.’ ‘It’s perhaps better.‘Well. Then she must pay— we both must pay! Folk are so frightened of paying. but—-‘ Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ ‘We’ll see!’ ‘And she’s—she’s AWFULLY nice. Morel flushed. hasn’t much to lose. her life’s nothing to her.’ ‘But you seem to think she’s—not as good as—. so what’s the worth of nothing? She goes with me—it becomes something. She may be quite as you say. ‘I am sure I am not mean about her.’ ‘But she’s nice. mother. as far as I can see.’ ‘Very well. she is! She’s fair. I’ll abide by the end. she lives separate from her husband. they’d rather starve and die. and. my dear. ‘ 1 .’ ‘Very well.’ said Mrs. so she’s already singled out from the sheep. He wanted to ask his mother something. I tell you! She’s BETTER. No. but was afraid. she’s straight! There isn’t anything underhand or superior about her. Don’t be mean about her!’ Mrs. Morel coolly. she’s honest. she is! And not a bit common!’ ‘I never suggested she was.

‘You don’t approve. like the simplest egoist. He. Miriam. ‘Oh.’ Occasionally he still walked a little way from chapel with Miriam and Edgar. He knew he had won.’ ‘Then I WILL bring her here—one Sunday—to tea.’ His mother laughed. Mrs. for her part. I shan’t forgive you. Very soon the conversation drifted to his own doings. They began by talking books: it was their unfailing topic.’ he finished. was very much the same with him. could place her finger any minute on the chapter and the line.’ ‘Then I’ll bring her—shall I bring her here?’ ‘You please yourself. Morel had said that his and Miriam’s affair was like a fire fed on books—if there were no more volumes it would die out. If you think a horrid thing about her. however. ‘And do you expect me to?’ she answered coldly. but it feels so fine. It flattered him immensely that he was of such supreme interest. One evening she was alone when he accompanied her. boasted that she could read him like a book.  Sons and Lovers . and he did not feel embarrassed in her presence. ‘Yes!—yes!—if you’d anything about you. easily taken in. ‘As if it would make any difference!’ she said. when she’s there! She’s such a queen in her way. believed that Miriam knew more about him than anyone else. She. So it pleased him to talk to her about himself. He did not go up to the farm. you’d be glad! Do you WANT to see her?’ ‘I said I did.

‘Quite all right.’ ‘It was! The jolliest old woman! She gave us several pompom dahlias. ‘What made her give them you?’ she asked. as pretty as you like. I should think. not much! I made a sketch of Bestwood from the garden. He was quite unconscious of concealing anything from her. ‘was it?’ ‘But I wanted to go out.’ said Miriam. ‘No. I think. He laughed. and he was angry. ‘And how IS Clara?’ asked Miriam.’ ‘And did you go to Barton?’ she asked.’ ‘Ha!’ They walked on in silence. lately?’ ‘Yes. ‘Were you late home?’ she asked.’ So they went  . I went up Clifton Grove on Monday afternoon with Clara. ‘I caught the seven-thirty.’ Miriam put her finger in her mouth. At last he resented her tone. It’s the hundredth try. we had tea in Clifton. then.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and it was all right.’ ‘It was not very nice weather. that is nearly right at last. The Trent IS full.‘And what have you been doing lately?’ ‘I—oh.’ Miriam bowed her head and brooded. Then she said: ‘You’ve not been out. ‘Because she liked us—because we were jolly.’ ‘DID you! That would be nice.

so I think. She never asked him anything direct. it’s impossible! You don’t understand what a woman forfeits—-‘ ‘No.’  Sons and Lovers . so why not him? Then she developed into the femme incomprise. She thought it was all in the day’s march—it would have to come—and Dawes—well. and is also quite all right. but she got to know enough.’ ‘I see—you don’t know for certain. ‘she never knew the fearful importance of marriage.’ ‘He’s got some other woman. ‘How can she? And if she does. But if a woman’s got nothing but her fair fame to feed on. and treated him badly. I don’t. Another day. why. look at her position!’ ‘What of it?’ ‘Why. Don’t you think a position like that is hard on a woman?’ ‘Rottenly hard!’ ‘It’s so unjust!’ said Miriam. it’s thin tack.’ he said. ‘By the way. and she knew he would act accordingly. and a donkey would die of it!’ So she understood his moral attitude. when he saw Miriam. ‘At least.‘That’s good!’ she said. ‘You see. what of her husband? One never hears anything of him. a good many women would have given their souls to get him.’ he replied. then to Clara’s marriage with Dawes.’ he said. I’ll bet my boots. at least. ‘The man does as he likes—‘ ‘Then let the woman also. the conversation turned to marriage. with a tinge of irony.

It isn’t altogether a question of understanding. See.’ ‘What happened. And the dormant woman was the femme incomprise. got real joy and satisfaction out of my father at first. There’s not a tiny bit of feeling of sterility about her.’ said Miriam.’ ‘Yes.’ ‘No. ‘Yes. if it only lasts three months. You can feet it about her. at first. but my mother. I’m sure she had the real thing. With him.’ said Miriam. and about hundreds of people you meet every day. and she HAD to be awakened. ‘And with my father.‘And she left him because he didn’t understand her?’ ‘I suppose so. only once. deadened.’ ‘And what about him.’ ‘I don’t know. but he’s a fool. the rest was  . that’s why she stayed with him. they were bound to each other. After all. ‘That’s what one MUST HAVE. real flame of feeling through another person—once.’ he continued—‘the real. it’s a question of living. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. I believe she had a passion for him. she was only half-alive. I believe. you can go on with anything and ripen. I think. she has been there. and. once it has happened to you. and about him. I rather think he loves her as much as he can. my mother looks as if she’d HAD everything that was necessary for her living and developing.’ said Miriam. I suppose she had to. She knows. exactly?’ asked Miriam.’ ‘It was something like your mother and father.

and afterwards. Perhaps it was essential to him. though they are miles apart. At any rate. so that he could work. let him go and have his fill—something big and intense. to sow wild oats. he would not rage with restlessness any more. It almost seems to fertilise your soul and make it that you can go on and mature. She realised that he would never be satisfied till he had it.’ ‘And you think Clara never had it?’ ‘I’m sure. it seemed to her. It seemed to her a bitter thing that he must go. not as a man goes for pleasure to a pros Sons and Lovers . so long as it was something that would satisfy a need in him. if he must go. so she could let him go to Clara. when he had got it. She saw what he was seeking— a sort of baptism of fire in passion. when he was satisfied. he would not want it—that he said himself.’ ‘And you think your mother had it with your father?’ ‘Yes. as to some men. and at the bottom she feels grateful to him for giving it her. and leave him free for herself to possess. Well. but could settle down and give her his life into her hands. then. he called it. She knew this would be a test of the seriousness of his feeling for the other woman: she knew he was going to Clara for something vital. but the something big and intense that changes you when you really come together with somebody else. he would want the other thing that she could give him.’ Miriam pondered this. He would want to be owned. but she could let him go into an inn for a glass of whisky.‘It’s so hard to say. ‘Have you told your mother about Clara?’ she asked. even now.

The train was late. That seemed like foreboding. then. Suddenly he saw the train crawling. if she could not keep her promise? Perhaps she had missed her train—he himself was always missing trains—but that was no reason why she should miss this particular one. And was Clara to be accepted by his people. if he told his mother.’ he said.’ ‘Very well. he would have to go alone. sneaking round Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ ‘To your house?’ ‘Yes. She felt a sudden bitterness that he could leave her so soon and so entirely. and he tried to find out. He was angry with her. and the evening.’ she said. ‘It is a long time since I saw Clara. On the Sunday afternoon he went to Keston to meet Clara at the station. Why had she promised. the afternoon would be wasted. he was furious.’ ‘Ah!’ There was a silence. He hated her for not coming. As he stood on the platform he was trying to examine in himself if he had a premonition. I want mater to see her. Things had gone quicker than she  . and instead of taking her over the fields home.’ he said. astonished. His heart felt queer and contracted. Then he HAD a foreboding she would not come! Then she would not come. who had been so hostile to herself? ‘I may call in as I go to chapel. ‘Do I FEEL as if she’d come?’ he said to himself. ‘and she is coming to tea on Sunday. and unconsciously angry.titute. as he had imagined. ‘Yes.

They took the road into Nuttall and over the Reckoning House Farm.the corner. ‘I thought you weren’t coming. WHATEVER I should do if you weren’t there!’ she said. several doors opened. Here. many scarlet hips stood upon the hedge beside the wood.’ he said. He caught her hand impulsively.’ he said. You often find the berries going rotten in the springtime. ‘And I wondered. eyed her with awe and admiration. She looked beautiful. He felt the station people.’ he laughed shakily. In her hat were large silk roses. who knew him. but of course she had not come. the row of brown carriages drew up. because of the birds. talking at a great rate to hide his feeling. His pride went up as he walked with her. It was a blue. there she was! She had a big black hat on! He was at her side in a moment. almost with a little cry. was the train. ‘I was sure you weren’t coming. really. where they can get plenty of stuff. He gathered a few for her to wear. as he fitted them into the breast of her coat. then. She laughed in answer. mild day. ‘you ought to object to my getting them. when I was in the train. Everywhere the brown leaves lay scattered. their eyes met. ah. She was laughing rather breathlessly as she put out her hand to him. ‘Though. But they don’t care much for rose-hips in this part.’  Sons and Lovers . He took her quickly along the platform. The green engine hissed along the platform. and they went along the narrow twitchel. she had not come! No! Yes. Her costume of dark cloth fitted so beautifully over her breast and shoulders. No. coloured like tarnished gold.

its immense heap of slag seen rising almost from the oats. and it seemed to her she had never SEEN anything before. I always thought a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night was a pit.’ she replied.So he chattered. The Morels lived in a house in an ugly street that ran Free eBooks at Planet eBook. everything had been indistinct. To him it seemed just as if one of his men friends were going to be introduced to his mother. only nicer.’ As they drew near home she walked in silence.—and I thought the Lord was always at the pit-top. ‘Yes. They came near to the colliery. and the headstocks. It did not occur to him that her position in his home would be rather a peculiar and difficult one. No. and the lights at night. ‘Don’t you want to come home?’ he asked. It stood quite still and black among the corn-fields. with its steam. I like the rows of trucks. When I was a boy. Till now. ‘What a pity there is a coal-pit here where it is so pretty!’ said Clara. scarcely aware of what he said. and its  . ‘You see. so full of life. I am so used to it I should miss it. only knowing he was putting berries in the bosom of her coat. and seemed to hang back. and I like the pits here and there. and the burning bank. I want to come. She flushed. He pressed her fingers in his own. while she stood patiently for him. And she watched his quick hands. and the steam in the daytime. but gave no response. ‘Do you think so?’ he answered.

‘I hope you don’t mind my coming. with heaps of dishevelled chrysanthemums in the sunshine. ‘It’s such a pretty day. The street itself was hideous. Morel sat in her rocking-chair. and the field. The young woman was very nervous. Paul.’ she faltered. ‘I was pleased when he said he would bring you. His mother looked so small. but it looked gloomy. It was old. grimy.’ she said.’ replied Mrs. with a big bay window. mother!’ he said. even rather stiff. Clara thought her a lady. In front of the window was a plot of sunny grass. and beyond one looked over a few red-roofed cottages to the hills with all the glow of the autumn afternoon. Morel. almost resigned. Then Paul opened the door to the garden. Mrs. and it was semi-detached. The house was rather superior to most. Morel rose. Mrs. Her grey-brown hair was taken smooth back from her brow and her high temples. felt his heart contract with pain. followed Paul into the kitchen. with old lilacs round it. watching. suffering. The blood flamed in Clara’s cheek. wearing her black silk blouse. her face was rather pale. ‘Mother—Clara. down to the sycamore-tree. She had almost a wistful look. Mrs. Clara. and all was different.down a steep hill. and sallow. and done-for beside the luxuriant Clara. Morel held out her hand and smiled. ‘And we saw a 0 Sons and Lovers .’ said Paul. The sunny afternoon was there. ‘He has told me a good deal about you. By the path grew tansy and little trees. like another land. And away went the garden.

She thought what a man he seemed. Morel put aside her book. well-made clothes. Morel. and the photos of people. ‘You have gone to live down Sneinton Boulevard?’ said Mrs. Then they returned to the kitchen.jay. and he led the way into the little front room. Mrs.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and the books. She felt as if she were being taken into the family. coiled on top of her head. ‘When I was a girl—girl.’ said Paul. He was pale and detached-looking. with narrow black-and-white stripes.’ she replied. with its old piano. the place was littered with books and drawing-boards. ‘Oh. its mahogany furniture. ‘I leave my things lying about. ‘I have a friend in number 6. did you!’ said Clara. he had turned to her. A fire was 1 . thank you. this was Arthur and his wife and the baby. Soon he was telling her: this was William.’ She loved his artist’s paraphernalia. ‘Perhaps you’ll leave your things in the parlour. this was William’s young lady in the evening dress. She looked rather stately and reserved.’ His mother looked at him. in his dark. He showed her photos.’ said Mrs. books.’ ‘Oh. Her heart glowed. ‘It’s so much easier.’ he said. it would be hard for any woman to keep him. sketches. its yellowing marble mantelpiece. this was Annie and her husband. her hair was done simply. and they talked a little while. ‘Come on. I say!—when I was a young woman WE lived in Minerva Terrace. then she was sorry for Clara. Morel nicely to the young woman. Clara wore a blouse of fine silk chiffon.

as she felt with Paul. Clara was still rather nervous. Then Morel pulled himself together. Clara saw Paul’s manner of bowing and shaking hands. ‘I am very glad to see you—I am.’ Clara was astonished at this flood of hospitality from the old collier. ‘This is Mrs.And the conversation had started. No. and be very welcome. She was surprised to find this little interested woman chatting with such readiness. Mrs. Morel measured herself against the younger woman. no make yourself quite comfortable. They talked Nottingham and Nottingham people. She clipped her language very clear and precise. Dawes. But they were going to get on well together.’ said Paul. it interested them both. and found herself easily stronger. he plodded in his stocking feet. ‘Only from Nottingham. I assure you. He seemed incongruous. so gallant! She thought him most delightful. Presently Morel came down. and then she felt. There was something so hard and certain in his mother.’ she said. He scratched his grizzled head. But don’t disturb yourself. father. expecting someone rather hard and cold. ruffled and yawning. Morel’s way. from his afternoon sleep. that she would not care to stand in Mrs. She knew Paul’s surprising regard for his mother. his waistcoat hung open over his shirt. Morel was still somewhat on her dignity. Clara was deferential. as if she never had a misgiving in her life. and she had dreaded the meeting. ‘Oh. ‘And may you have come far?’ he asked. Paul saw. He was so courteous. indeed!’ exclaimed Morel.  Sons and Lovers . Mrs.

Paul cleared the table whilst his mother and Clara talked. By the way she leaned forward. clear atmosphere. where everyone was himself. Morel could see she was possessed elsewhere as she talked.‘From Nottingham! Then you have had a beautiful day for your  . She took their tone. there was a feeling of balance. Mrs. It was a hazy. but there was a fear deep at the bottom of her. But she was rather afraid of the self-possession of the Morels. At tea Clara felt the refinement and sang-froid of the household. The pouring out the tea and attending to the people went on unconsciously. sunny afternoon. Mrs.’ Then he strayed into the scullery to wash his hands and face. and it was a pleasure to her. Morel was perfectly at her ease. father and all. without interrupting her in her talk. as if listening. he strolled down the garden. Clara felt she completed the circle. Most of herself went with him. the china of dark blue willow-pattern looked pretty on the glossy cloth. Having finished. and in harmony. It was a cool. and from force of habit came on to the hearth with the towel to dry himself. leaving the two women to talk. seeming blown quickly by a wind at its work. It was almost like the hither and thither of a leaf that comes unexpected. There was a lot of room at the oval table. and again the elder woman was sorry for her. yellow chrysanthemums. Clara enjoyed it. There was a little bowl of small. mild and soft. Clara was conscious of his quick. vigorous body as it came and went. Clara glanced through the window after him as he Free eBooks at Planet eBook.

‘You will let me help you wash up. he turned to her with an easy motion.’ said Clara.loitered among the chrysanthemums. indolent movement.’ said the other. all golden dim. She felt as if something almost tangible fastened her to him. Mrs. dried the tea-things. however. yet he seemed so easy in his graceful.’ Clara stood near him. that she wanted to shriek in her helplessness. watching the last bees crawl into the hive. Something in their perfect isolation together made her know that it was accomplished between them. saw him turn. She saw Clara go up to him. as she put it. saying: ‘It’s the end of the run with these chaps. Over the low red wall in front was the country and the far-off hills. At last she allowed herself to go. there are so few. married. she felt as if a rope were taken off her ankle. The afternoon was golden over the hills of Derbyshire.  Sons and Lovers . it will only take a minute. beside a bush of pale Michaelmas daisies. Clara. and saw them come to rest together. so detached as he tied up the too-heavy flower branches to their stakes. He stood across in the other garden. but it was torture not to be able to follow him down the garden. that they were. Morel rose. and was glad to be on such good terms with his mother. At that moment Miriam was entering through the garden-door. ‘Eh. She walked very slowly down the cinder-track of the long garden. Hearing her coming.

’ replied the other. ‘Have you come down alone?’ asked Paul. as she broke the flat seeds one by one from the roll of coin. ‘You said you’d come!’ ‘Yes. We are going to chapel. She looked at him.’ There was a hesitation. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. There was a click. I went to Agatha’s to tea. I only called in for a moment to see Clara. laughing. isn’t it?’ said Miriam. ‘Count your money.Clara had pulled a button from a hollyhock spire. ‘Can I turn them into gold?’ ‘I’m afraid not.’ replied Clara. Miriam!’ he exclaimed. and Clara turned impatiently aside. ‘Yes.’ she laughed. ‘Hello. and was breaking it to get the seeds. Miriam laughed shortly. as if defending her.’ she said.’ ‘You should have come in here to tea. smiling. They looked into each other’s eyes. saying: ‘It seems strange to see you here.’ laughed Paul. Then Miriam realised that Clara was accepted as she had never been. The last bees were falling down to the hive. ‘it seems strange to be here. ‘How much? Pf!’ He snapped his fingers. At that moment they became aware of Miriam. and everything had altered.’ ‘Yes. Had you forgotten?’ She shook hands with Clara. ‘I’m well off.’ he  . ‘This is pretty. ‘I like it very much. Above her bowed head the pink flowers stared.

I think. He ran indoors. she said she’d call and see Clara.’ said Miriam. these are the white ones that came from your garden.’ replied Miriam.’ ‘I don’t think you’ve seen all the sorts. they are very fine. She asked him for a book to read. Miriam. and then die. Come and see which are YOUR favourites. things grow big and tender. but he had not left her even yet. sounding loud across the town and the field. frowned irritably. where the towsled bushes of flowers of all colours stood raggedly along the path down to the field. Will you have some?’ While they were out there the bells began to ring in the church. ‘Which sort do you like best?’ he asked. Come and look. He winced from his mother’s irony. Clara. You’re so sheltered. ‘Yes. The bronze. ‘Yes.’ ‘You told her. are they?’ ‘No. Miriam looked at the tower. to his knowledge. ‘What! is that Miriam?’ asked his mother coldly. ‘Yes. thinking: ‘Why can’t  Sons and Lovers . It had been different then. and remembered the sketches he had brought her.’ He led the two women back to his own garden.‘Do you like the chrysanthemums?’ he asked. why shouldn’t I?’ ‘There’s certainly no reason why you shouldn’t. proud among the clustering roofs. These little yellow ones I like.’ said Mrs. and she returned to her book. The situation did not embarrass him. ‘But they’re hardier. ‘Look. Morel. They aren’t so fine here. ‘I don’t know. then?’ came the sarcastic answer.

‘When will you come up to Willey Farm?’ the latter asked. whilst he accompanied Miriam to the gate. Morel before?’ Miriam was saying to Clara.I do as I like?’ ‘You’ve not seen Mrs.’ ‘Oh. if you cared to come. ‘I couldn’t say. ‘Mother asked me to say she’d be pleased to see you any time. I shall see you.’ he answered.’ ‘Ah. She went down the path with her mouth to the flowers he had given her. ‘No.’ ‘Had Paul told you much about her?’ ‘He had talked a good deal.’ ‘I should think so. very well!’ exclaimed Miriam rather bitterly.’ replied Clara. but I can’t say when.’ said Miriam. turning away. ‘in some ways she’s very fine.’ ‘Thank you. then!’ Miriam was very bitter. ‘No. but she’s so nice!’ ‘Yes. dropping her head. thanks. I should like to.’ ‘Ha!’ There was silence until he returned with the book. ‘When you  .’ ‘We are going to chapel. ‘You’re sure you won’t come in?’ he said. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘When will you want it back?’ Miriam asked. Clara turned to go indoors.

What right had they to say that? Something in the speech itself stung him into a flame of hate against Miriam. In chapel Miriam saw him find the place in the hymnbook for Clara. Then his own heart rebelled furiously at Clara’s taking the liberty of speaking so about Miriam.  Sons and Lovers . He felt himself cruel towards Miriam.’ ‘Yes. His mother looked excited. in exactly the same way as he used for herself.‘Yes. he thought. if it came to goodness. sit with her next his mother in chapel. then Clara’s answer: ‘What I hate is the bloodhound quality in Miriam. He still belonged to herself. He went indoors. And during the sermon he could see the girl across the chapel.’ They parted. Halting on the plot of grass. ‘yes. as women do who are wearing out. yet he could have Clara. But he did not go straight in. give her the same hymn-book he had given herself years before. take her home. and he was angry with them for talking about the girl. She was bitter.’ said his mother quickly. She heard him running quickly indoors. she believed. What did she think. DOESN’T it make you hate her. and she scorned him. seeing Clara with him? He did not stop to consider. He felt guilty towards her. He could never bear to see the movement. he heard his mother’s voice. the girl was the better woman of the two. now!’ His heart went hot. She was beating with her hand rhythmically on the sofa-arm. After all. then he began to talk. her hat throwing a dark shadow over her face. There was a silence.

and the hot blood bathed him. There never WAS a great deal more than talk between us.’ he said.After chapel he went over Pentrich with  . or some such tack. Up Pentrich Hill Clara leaned against him as he went. or I might have married her. the tightness in his chest because of Miriam relaxed. They had said good-bye to Miriam. Feeling the strong motion of her body under his arm as she walked. Thank God.’ he said inside himself. He slid his arm round her waist.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘But you can’t really give her up. He held her closer and closer. It was a dark autumn night. ‘I don’t give her up. I’m not!’ They walked on in silence for some time.’ said Clara. ‘If I was with her now. He was full of conflict.’ she said quietly. ‘There is for her. The battle that raged inside him made him feel desperate. we should be jawing about the ‘Christian Mystery’. But it’s all up really!’ Suddenly his voice went passionate with hate. because there’s nothing to give. and his heart had smitten him as he left the girl alone. There was a scent of damp leaves in the darkness. ‘But it serves her right. Then: ‘You still keep on with Miriam. and it almost gave him pleasure to go off under her eyes with this other handsome woman. Clara’s hand lay warm and inert in his own as they walked. ‘No. ‘Only talk. ‘Your mother doesn’t care for her.’ said Clara.’ he said bitterly.

’ Clara drew away from him. Hard and relentless his mouth came for her. stretched forward. She resisted. She turned frantically to avoid him. trying to take her again.’ he persisted. ‘But it’ll only be friends.’ mocked Clara. and put his mouth on her face in a kiss of rage. she would have sunk to the ground. He suddenly caught her in his arms. He stood showing his teeth. Still there was no answer. but drew farther from him. ‘Why do you want to walk alone?’ he asked. The lane was dark. leaning away from contact with him. Her breasts hurt against the wall of his chest. Suddenly he strode across in front of her. He held her fast. quite lonely. and kissed her. and he kissed her. ‘What are you drawing away for?’ he asked. The blood flamed up in him. 00 Sons and Lovers . she went loose in his arms. Helpless. barring her way. She did not answer. ‘What do you want now?’ ‘You’d better run after Miriam. ‘Because I said I would be friends with Miriam!’ he exclaimed. ‘I tell you it’s only words that go between us.’ he said. She walked resentfully. She would not answer him anything. gripping her arm till it hurt. ‘Stand up! stand up!’ he said thickly. She drooped sulkily. hanging her head. ‘Damn it!’ he said. He heard people coming down the hill. If he had let go.‘I don’t know why she and I shouldn’t be friends as long as we live.

here and there. It was the way to Nottingham and to the station. but not the figures. handfuls of glittering points.’ he said. and then she woke 01 . she knew. while he stood panting. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and held her fast. and she walked in silence with him over the first dark field. looking at the lights scattered on the night before them. They came out on a bare hilltop where stood the dark figure of the ruined windmill. There he halted.’ he pleaded thickly. ‘Yes it does—yes! I must go!’ ‘It’s early yet. Then he took her in his arms. In the darkness she could see the round. dogged and low: ‘What time is it?’ ‘It doesn’t matter. He felt the joints fuse into fire. ‘I don’t know. But she let herself be helped over the stile.’ She put her hand on his chest. All round lay the black night.’ he said. They stood together high up in the darkness. with a quaky laugh. She groped in his waistcoat pocket. villages lying high and low on the dark. speckled and spangled with lights. She moved aside her mouth to ask. ‘What time is it?’ she insisted. ‘We will go over the fields. He seemed to be looking about. pale face of the watch. feeling for his watch.She sighed and walked dizzily beside him. They went on in silence.’ he said. ‘Like treading among the stars.

She felt in his power. At any rate—-‘ She could distinguish his dark form again a yard or so away.’ he said brusquely. ‘But can’t I do it?’ she pleaded.She stooped over it. ‘I can’t see. She had heard the ring in his voice. definite. only a glowing match was red near her feet. quiet. There was a pause.’ ‘No. She wanted to escape.’ he replied. Clara. ‘Wait! I’ll look!’ But he could not see.’ 0 Sons and Lovers . Instantly all was dark again. I’m going!’ she said. ‘You can’t do it. telling the truth with a struggle. ‘What time is it?’ she asked. All was black before her eyes. I’ll come with you. Where was he? ‘What is it?’ she asked. afraid.’ his voice answered out of the darkness. hopeless. his eyes fixed on the watch. turning away.’ she said. ‘And can I get from here to the station in fourteen minutes?’ ‘No. ‘Two minutes to nine. ‘But you could easily walk it. He was panting till he could take her in his arms again.’ ‘Yes. it’s only seven miles to the tram.’ He secretly hoped it was too late to catch the train. ‘If you hurry. I want to catch the train. It frightened her. ‘I’ll strike a match. ‘Then don’t bother. She saw the glowing lantern of his hands as he cradled the light: then his face lit up.

dark fields behind him. then. I must say your boots are in a nice state!’ she said. His eyes were dark and dangerous-looking. Now he was hard and cruel to her. His mother looked at him. as if he were drunk. ‘Well. There was a faint rattling noise. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. But the double row of lights at the station drew nearer. dry and hard. He looked at his feet. was threading across the night. Suddenly: ‘There she is!’ he cried. ‘Very well. He was very pale. quite out of breath.’ Clara ran. His mother wondered if he were drunk. and fell at last into the train. ‘Come along. wanting to cry. ‘Yes. He was gone. Where on earth you dragged her I don’t know!’ He was silent and motionless for some time. ready to drop. Before he knew where he was he was in the kitchen at home. The rattling ceased. She ran over the rough. Away to the right the train. out of breath. Then he took off his overcoat. ‘She’s over the viaduct. He turned round and plunged home. ‘She caught the train then?’ she said. You’ll just do it. She ran after him.’ he said. The whistle blew. Gone!—and she was in a carriage full of people. like a luminous caterpillar.‘But why?’ ‘I do—I want to catch the train.’ And he plunged ahead into the darkness. She felt the cruelty of 0 .’ ‘I hope HER feet weren’t so filthy.’ Suddenly his voice altered. breaking into a run.

‘Did you like her?’ he asked grudgingly at last. ‘Yes, I liked her. But you’ll tire of her, my son; you know you will.’ He did not answer. She noticed how he laboured in his breathing. ‘Have you been running?’ she asked. ‘We had to run for the train.’ ‘You’ll go and knock yourself up. You’d better drink hot milk.’ It was as good a stimulant as he could have, but he refused and went to bed. There he lay face down on the counterpane, and shed tears of rage and pain. There was a physical pain that made him bite his lips till they bled, and the chaos inside him left him unable to think, almost to feel. ‘This is how she serves me, is it?’ he said in his heart, over and over, pressing his face in the quilt. And he hated her. Again he went over the scene, and again he hated her. The next day there was a new aloofness about him. Clara was very gentle, almost loving. But he treated her distantly, with a touch of contempt. She sighed, continuing to be gentle. He came round. One evening of that week Sarah Bernhardt was at the Theatre Royal in Nottingham, giving ‘La Dame aux Camelias”. Paul wanted to see this old and famous actress, and he asked Clara to accompany him. He told his mother to leave the key in the window for him. ‘Shall I book seats?’ he asked of Clara. ‘Yes. And put on an evening suit, will you? I’ve never seen you in it.’ 
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‘But, good Lord, Clara! Think of ME in evening suit at the theatre!’ he remonstrated. ‘Would you rather not?’ she asked. ‘I will if you WANT me to; but I s’ll feel a fool.’ She laughed at him. ‘Then feel a fool for my sake, once, won’t you?’ The request made his blood flush up. ‘I suppose I s’ll have to.’ ‘What are you taking a suitcase for?’ his mother asked. He blushed furiously. ‘Clara asked me,’ he said. ‘And what seats are you going in?’ ‘Circle—three-and-six each!’ ‘Well, I’m sure!’ exclaimed his mother sarcastically. ‘It’s only once in the bluest of blue moons,’ he said. He dressed at Jordan’s, put on an overcoat and a cap, and met Clara in a cafe. She was with one of her suffragette friends. She wore an old long coat, which did not suit her, and had a little wrap over her head, which he hated. The three went to the theatre together. Clara took off her coat on the stairs, and he discovered she was in a sort of semi-evening dress, that left her arms and neck and part of her breast bare. Her hair was done fashionably. The dress, a simple thing of green crape, suited her. She looked quite grand, he thought. He could see her figure inside the frock, as if that were wrapped closely round her. The firmness and the softness of her upright body could almost be felt as he looked at her. He clenched his fists. And he was to sit all the evening beside her beautiful naFree eBooks at Planet 0

ked arm, watching the strong throat rise from the strong chest, watching the breasts under the green stuff, the curve of her limbs in the tight dress. Something in him hated her again for submitting him to this torture of nearness. And he loved her as she balanced her head and stared straight in front of her, pouting, wistful, immobile, as if she yielded herself to her fate because it was too strong for her. She could not help herself; she was in the grip of something bigger than herself. A kind of eternal look about her, as if she were a wistful sphinx, made it necessary for him to kiss her. He dropped his programme, and crouched down on the floor to get it, so that he could kiss her hand and wrist. Her beauty was a torture to him. She sat immobile. Only, when the lights went down, she sank a little against him, and he caressed her hand and arm with his fingers. He could smell her faint perfume. All the time his blood kept sweeping up in great white-hot waves that killed his consciousness momentarily. The drama continued. He saw it all in the distance, going on somewhere; he did not know where, but it seemed far away inside him. He was Clara’s white heavy arms, her throat, her moving bosom. That seemed to be himself. Then away somewhere the play went on, and he was identified with that also. There was no himself. The grey and black eyes of Clara, her bosom coming down on him, her arm that he held gripped between his hands, were all that existed. Then he felt himself small and helpless, her towering in her force above him. Only the intervals, when the lights came up, hurt him 
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expressibly. He wanted to run anywhere, so long as it would be dark again. In a maze, he wandered out for a drink. Then the lights were out, and the strange, insane reality of Clara and the drama took hold of him again. The play went on. But he was obsessed by the desire to kiss the tiny blue vein that nestled in the bend of her arm. He could feel it. His whole face seemed suspended till he had put his lips there. It must be done. And the other people! At last he bent quickly forward and touched it with his lips. His moustache brushed the sensitive flesh. Clara shivered, drew away her arm. When all was over, the lights up, the people clapping, he came to himself and looked at his watch. His train was gone. ‘I s’ll have to walk home!’ he said. Clara looked at him. ‘It is too late?’ she asked. He nodded. Then he helped her on with her coat. ‘I love you! You look beautiful in that dress,’ he murmured over her shoulder, among the throng of bustling people. She remained quiet. Together they went out of the theatre. He saw the cabs waiting, the people passing. It seemed he met a pair of brown eyes which hated him. But he did not know. He and Clara turned away, mechanically taking the direction to the station. The train had gone. He would have to walk the ten miles home. ‘It doesn’t matter,’ he said. ‘I shall enjoy it.’
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‘Won’t you,’ she said, flushing, ‘come home for the night? I can sleep with mother.’ He looked at her. Their eyes met. ‘What will your mother say?’ he asked. ‘She won’t mind.’ ‘You’re sure?’ ‘Quite! ‘ ‘SHALL I come?’ ‘If you will.’ ‘Very well.’ And they turned away. At the first stopping-place they took the car. The wind blew fresh in their faces. The town was dark; the tram tipped in its haste. He sat with her hand fast in his. ‘Will your mother be gone to bed?’ he asked. ‘She may be. I hope not.’ They hurried along the silent, dark little street, the only people out of doors. Clara quickly entered the house. He hesitated. He leaped up the step and was in the room. Her mother appeared in the inner doorway, large and hostile. ‘Who have you got there?’ she asked. ‘It’s Mr. Morel; he has missed his train. I thought we might put him up for the night, and save him a ten-mile walk.’ ‘H’m,’ exclaimed Mrs. Radford. ‘That’s your lookout! If you’ve invited him, he’s very welcome as far as I’m concerned. YOU keep the house!’ ‘If you don’t like me, I’ll go away again,’ he said. 
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‘Nay, nay, you needn’t! Come along in! I dunno what you’ll think of the supper I’d got her.’ It was a little dish of chip potatoes and a piece of bacon. The table was roughly laid for one. ‘You can have some more bacon,’ continued Mrs. Radford. ‘More chips you can’t have.’ ‘It’s a shame to bother you,’ he said. ‘Oh, don’t you be apologetic! It doesn’t DO wi’ me! You treated her to the theatre, didn’t you?’ There was a sarcasm in the last question. ‘Well?’ laughed Paul uncomfortably. ‘Well, and what’s an inch of bacon! Take your coat off.’ The big, straight-standing woman was trying to estimate the situation. She moved about the cupboard. Clara took his coat. The room was very warm and cosy in the lamplight. ‘My sirs!’ exclaimed Mrs. Radford; ‘but you two’s a pair of bright beauties, I must say! What’s all that get-up for?’ ‘I believe we don’t know,’ he said, feeling a victim. ‘There isn’t room in THIS house for two such bobby-dazzlers, if you fly your kites THAT high!’ she rallied them. It was a nasty thrust. He in his dinner jacket, and Clara in her green dress and bare arms, were confused. They felt they must shelter each other in that little kitchen. ‘And look at THAT blossom! ‘ continued Mrs. Radford, pointing to Clara. ‘What does she reckon she did it for?’ Paul looked at Clara. She was rosy; her neck was warm with blushes. There was a moment of silence. ‘You like to see it, don’t you?’ he asked.
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The mother had them in her power. All the time his heart was beating hard, and he was tight with anxiety. But he would fight her. ‘Me like to see it!’ exclaimed the old woman. ‘What should I like to see her make a fool of herself for?’ ‘I’ve seen people look bigger fools,’ he said. Clara was under his protection now. ‘Oh, ay! and when was that?’ came the sarcastic rejoinder. ‘When they made frights of themselves,’ he answered. Mrs. Radford, large and threatening, stood suspended on the hearthrug, holding her fork. ‘They’re fools either road,’ she answered at length, turning to the Dutch oven. ‘No,’ he said, fighting stoutly. ‘Folk ought to look as well as they can.’ ‘And do you call THAT looking nice!’ cried the mother, pointing a scornful fork at Clara. ‘That—that looks as if it wasn’t properly dressed!’ ‘I believe you’re jealous that you can’t swank as well,’ he said laughing. ‘Me! I could have worn evening dress with anybody, if I’d wanted to!’ came the scornful answer. ‘And why didn’t you want to?’ he asked pertinently. ‘Or DID you wear it?’ There was a long pause. Mrs. Radford readjusted the bacon in the Dutch oven. His heart beat fast, for fear he had offended her. ‘Me!’ she exclaimed at last. ‘No, I didn’t! And when I was 
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in service, I knew as soon as one of the maids came out in bare shoulders what sort SHE was, going to her sixpenny hop!’ ‘Were you too good to go to a sixpenny hop?’ he said. Clara sat with bowed head. His eyes were dark and glittering. Mrs. Radford took the Dutch oven from the fire, and stood near him, putting bits of bacon on his plate. ‘THERE’S a nice crozzly bit!’ she said. ‘Don’t give me the best!’ he said. ‘SHE’S got what SHE wants,’ was the answer. There was a sort of scornful forbearance in the woman’s tone that made Paul know she was mollified. ‘But DO have some!’ he said to Clara. She looked up at him with her grey eyes, humiliated and lonely. ‘No thanks!’ she said. ‘Why won’t you?’ he answered carelessly. The blood was beating up like fire in his veins. Mrs. Radford sat down again, large and impressive and aloof. He left Clara altogether to attend to the mother. ‘They say Sarah Bernhardt’s fifty,’ he said. ‘Fifty! She’s turned sixty!’ came the scornful answer. ‘Well,’ he said, ‘you’d never think it! She made me want to howl even now.’ ‘I should like to see myself howling at THAT bad old baggage!’ said Mrs. Radford. ‘It’s time she began to think herself a grandmother, not a shrieking catamaran—-‘ He laughed. ‘A catamaran is a boat the Malays use,’ he said.
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‘And it’s a word as I use,’ she retorted. ‘My mother does sometimes, and it’s no good my telling her,’ he said. ‘I s’d think she boxes your ears,’ said Mrs. Radford, goodhumouredly. ‘She’d like to, and she says she will, so I give her a little stool to stand on.’ ‘That’s the worst of my mother,’ said Clara. ‘She never wants a stool for anything.’ ‘But she often can’t touch THAT lady with a long prop,’ retorted Mrs. Radford to Paul. ‘I s’d think she doesn’t want touching with a prop,’ he laughed. ‘I shouldn’t.’ ‘It might do the pair of you good to give you a crack on the head with one,’ said the mother, laughing suddenly. ‘Why are you so vindictive towards me?’ he said. ‘I’ve not stolen anything from you.’ ‘No; I’ll watch that,’ laughed the older woman. Soon the supper was finished. Mrs. Radford sat guard in her chair. Paul lit a cigarette. Clara went upstairs, returning with a sleeping-suit, which she spread on the fender to air. ‘Why, I’d forgot all about THEM!’ said Mrs. Radford. ‘Where have they sprung from?’ ‘Out of my drawer.’ ‘H’m! You bought ‘em for Baxter, an’ he wouldn’t wear ‘em, would he?’—laughing. ‘Said he reckoned to do wi’out trousers i’ bed.’ She turned confidentially to Paul, saying: ‘He couldn’t BEAR ‘em, them pyjama things.’ The young man sat making rings of smoke. 
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‘Well, it’s everyone to his taste,’ he laughed. Then followed a little discussion of the merits of pyjamas. ‘My mother loves me in them,’ he said. ‘She says I’m a pierrot.’ ‘I can imagine they’d suit you,’ said Mrs. Radford. After a while he glanced at the little clock that was ticking on the mantelpiece. It was half-past twelve. ‘It is funny,’ he said, ‘but it takes hours to settle down to sleep after the theatre.’ ‘It’s about time you did,’ said Mrs. Radford, clearing the table. ‘Are YOU tired?’ he asked of Clara. ‘Not the least bit,’ she answered, avoiding his eyes. ‘Shall we have a game at cribbage?’ he said. ‘I’ve forgotten it.’ ‘Well, I’ll teach you again. May we play crib, Mrs. Radford?’ he asked. ‘You’ll please yourselves,’ she said; ‘but it’s pretty late.’ ‘A game or so will make us sleepy,’ he answered. Clara brought the cards, and sat spinning her weddingring whilst he shuffled them. Mrs. Radford was washing up in the scullery. As it grew later Paul felt the situation getting more and more tense. ‘Fifteen two, fifteen four, fifteen six, and two’s eight—-!’ The clock struck one. Still the game continued. Mrs. Radford had done all the little jobs preparatory to going to bed, had locked the door and filled the kettle. Still Paul went on dealing and counting. He was obsessed by Clara’s arms
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and throat. He believed he could see where the division was just beginning for her breasts. He could not leave her. She watched his hands, and felt her joints melt as they moved quickly. She was so near; it was almost as if he touched her, and yet not quite. His mettle was roused. He hated Mrs. Radford. She sat on, nearly dropping asleep, but determined and obstinate in her chair. Paul glanced at her, then at Clara. She met his eyes, that were angry, mocking, and hard as steel. Her own answered him in shame. He knew SHE, at any rate, was of his mind. He played on. At last Mrs. Radford roused herself stiffly, and said: ‘Isn’t it nigh on time you two was thinking o’ bed?’ Paul played on without answering. He hated her sufficiently to murder her. ‘Half a minute,’ he said. The elder woman rose and sailed stubbornly into the scullery, returning with his candle, which she put on the mantelpiece. Then she sat down again. The hatred of her went so hot down his veins, he dropped his cards. ‘We’ll stop, then,’ he said, but his voice was still a challenge. Clara saw his mouth shut hard. Again he glanced at her. It seemed like an agreement. She bent over the cards, coughing, to clear her throat. ‘Well, I’m glad you’ve finished,’ said Mrs. Radford. ‘Here, take your things’—she thrust the warm suit in his hand— ‘and this is your candle. Your room’s over this; there’s only two, so you can’t go far wrong. Well, good-night. I hope you’ll rest well.’ 
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‘I’m sure I shall; I always do,’ he said. ‘Yes; and so you ought at your age,’ she replied. He bade good-night to Clara, and went. The twisting stairs of white, scrubbed wood creaked and clanged at every step. He went doggedly. The two doors faced each other. He went in his room, pushed the door to, without fastening the latch. It was a small room with a large bed. Some of Clara’s hair-pins were on the dressing-table—her hair-brush. Her clothes and some skirts hung under a cloth in a corner. There was actually a pair of stockings over a chair. He explored the room. Two books of his own were there on the shelf. He undressed, folded his suit, and sat on the bed, listening. Then he blew out the candle, lay down, and in two minutes was almost asleep. Then click!—he was wide awake and writhing in torment. It was as if, when he had nearly got to sleep, something had bitten him suddenly and sent him mad. He sat up and looked at the room in the darkness, his feet doubled under him, perfectly motionless, listening. He heard a cat somewhere away outside; then the heavy, poised tread of the mother; then Clara’s distinct voice: ‘Will you unfasten my dress?’ There was silence for some time. At last the mother said: ‘Now then! aren’t you coming up?’ ‘No, not yet,’ replied the daughter calmly. ‘Oh, very well then! If it’s not late enough, stop a bit longer. Only you needn’t come waking me up when I’ve got to sleep.’ ‘I shan’t be long,’ said Clara.
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He went through into the kitchen. Now he could not help himself. Then it was dark. The old woman stirred in her bed. The candlelight flashed through the cracks in his door. he would intercept her. and stood a moment. He tried to step lightly. He sat strung up on the bed. and he heard the clatter of her latch. He felt he must go or die. Then he stood. and his heart jumped. After a long time it was quite still. His door was an inch open. Then he went on. lest the old woman’s door should open behind him up above. She was very leisurely indeed in her preparations for sleep. Then he went straight to the door. but sat crouching on her heels. her back towards him. As Clara came upstairs. He stood a moment. He waited. All was dead silence. which opened into the kitchen. warming herself. She did not look round. The clock struck two. Clara was kneeling on a pile of white underclothing on the hearthrug. She was warming 1 Sons and Lovers . Then he heard a slight scrape of the fender downstairs. He stepped off the bed. and her face was hidden. There was a slit of light under the stair-foot door. The staircase was dark. The latch opened with a loud clack. He listened. shivering slightly. arrested. and shut the door noisily behind him. His shivering was uncontrollable. Her dress brushed the door. The old woman daren’t come now. The first stair cracked like a shot. and his back was creeping. He fumbled with the door at the bottom. mechanically. Every step creaked. and her rounded beautiful back was towards him.Immediately afterwards Paul heard the mother slowly mounting the stairs. shuddering.

His eyes were dark. closing her eyes. The cord of his sleeping-suit dangled against her and made her shiver. Free eBooks at Planet 1 .’ he murmured. ‘Sorry!’ he murmured. frightened. At length. She kept her head bent. imploring. looking to see if she must be ashamed. mute.’ she whispered. realising that his hands were very cold. and very quiet. Her arms clasped his knees. then the other. and was afraid. The breath of her words were on his mouth. very deep.her body at the fire for consolation. at his touch. Then he went forward to her. She clung close to him. unable to stand so any more. first one. twice. the shadow was dark and warm on the other. ‘My hands are so cold. clenching his teeth and fists hard to keep control. He looked at her with a little pain. As the warmth went into him. Her arms hung slack. ‘I like it. A convulsed shiver ran through her. His hands went over her slowly with an infinite tenderness of caress. once. He clasped her very fast. made him sorrowful. He shuddered violently. He was so humble before her. his shuddering became less. Then she looked up at him. and she folded herself to him. he raised her. Then at last she looked at him. and she buried her head on his shoulder. the fingers of the other hand under her chin to raise her face. She kissed him fervently on the eyes. It was as if her beauty and his taking it hurt him. The glow was rosy on one side. He put one hand on her shoulder. like a thing that is afraid of death. trying to hide herself against him.

her mouth pouting disconsolately. Then he looked at her.She gave herself. ‘Why not?’ he asked. and he strained her to his chest. later on. He held her fast. and he gave way. Her pride had been wounded inside her. Now she radiated with joy and pride again. then things would have been definite. It made her feel erect and proud again. At any rate. She looked at him and shook her head. It healed her. He watched her fixedly. he was back in bed. her eyes heavy with passion. the minutes passed. ‘Yes!’ he said. It was her restoration and her recognition. It healed her hurt pride. It was a moment intense almost to agony. They laughed to each other. so that her mother would know. His eyes hardened. dissatisfied. and still the two stood clasped rigid together. sorrowfully. ‘Come you to my room. When. without 1 Sons and Lovers . restless. it made her glad. his face radiant. She looked at him still heavily. She stood letting him adore her and tremble with joy of her. he wondered why she had refused to come to him openly. But again his fingers went seeking over her. wandering. like a statue in one block. The hot blood came up wave upon wave. And she could have stayed with him the night. She laid her head on his shoulder. She had been cheapened. The seconds ticked off. mouth to mouth. Again she shook her head.’ he murmured. and again she shook her head.

com 1 . ‘Fancy. ‘It’s no good your scratching your head.’ ‘Don’t she never do it?’ asked Mrs. ‘It won’t make it no earlier. I’ve brought you a cup of tea.’ he said. He rubbed his hair crossly. ‘Do you think you’re going to sleep till Doomsday?’ she said.’ he said. He awoke in the morning with someone speaking to him. ‘it’s half-past seven.’ she answered. ‘You should go to bed earlier. Opening his eyes. He resented being wakened. ‘Yes. Here. and he could not understand it.’ He rubbed his face. ‘Well. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. whether or not. an’ how long d’you think I’m going to stand waiting wi’ this here cup?’ ‘Oh. He laughed at once. stirring his tea.having to go. my Guyney. as white and round as a girl’s. Here. as she was. ‘It ought only to be about five o’clock. looking down on him. It amused her. laughing with impudence. and roused himself. It was strange. ‘I went to bed before YOU did. ‘having tea brought to bed to me! My mother’ll think I’m ruined for life. Radford.’ he said. he saw Mrs. dash the cup!’ he said. you did!’ she exclaimed. Radford. She saw his neck in the flannel sleeping-jacket. And then almost immediately he fell asleep. He looked up at her. big and stately. pushed the tumbled hair off his forehead. She held a cup of tea in her hand. to her mother’s bed.’ said the woman. ‘What’s it so late for!’ he grumbled.’ she said.

‘She’d as leave think of flying.’ ‘Ah, I always spoilt my lot! That’s why they’ve turned out such bad uns,’ said the elderly woman. ‘You’d only Clara,’ he said. ‘And Mr. Radford’s in heaven. So I suppose there’s only you left to be the bad un.’ ‘I’m not bad; I’m only soft,’ she said, as she went out of the bedroom. ‘I’m only a fool, I am!’ Clara was very quiet at breakfast, but she had a sort of air of proprietorship over him that pleased him infinitely. Mrs. Radford was evidently fond of him. He began to talk of his painting. ‘What’s the good,’ exclaimed the mother, ‘of your whittling and worrying and twistin’ and too-in’ at that painting of yours? What GOOD does it do you, I should like to know? You’d better be enjoyin’ yourself.’ ‘Oh, but,’ exclaimed Paul, ‘I made over thirty guineas last year.’ ‘Did you! Well, that’s a consideration, but it’s nothing to the time you put in.’ ‘And I’ve got four pounds owing. A man said he’d give me five pounds if I’d paint him and his missis and the dog and the cottage. And I went and put the fowls in instead of the dog, and he was waxy, so I had to knock a quid off. I was sick of it, and I didn’t like the dog. I made a picture of it. What shall I do when he pays me the four pounds?’ ‘Nay! you know your own uses for your money,’ said Mrs. Radford. ‘But I’m going to bust this four pounds. Should we go to the seaside for a day or two?’ 
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‘Who?’ ‘You and Clara and me.’ ‘What, on your money!’ she exclaimed, half-wrathful. ‘Why not?’ ‘YOU wouldn’t be long in breaking your neck at a hurdle race!’ she said. ‘So long as I get a good run for my money! Will you?’ ‘Nay; you may settle that atween you.’ ‘And you’re willing?’ he asked, amazed and rejoicing. ‘You’ll do as you like,’ said Mrs. Radford, ‘whether I’m willing or not.’

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SOON after Paul had been to the theatre with Clara, he was drinking in the Punch Bowl with some friends of his when Dawes came in. Clara’s husband was growing stout; his eyelids were getting slack over his brown eyes; he was losing his healthy firmness of flesh. He was very evidently on the downward track. Having quarrelled with his sister, he had gone into cheap lodgings. His mistress had left him for a man who would marry her. He had been in prison one night for fighting when he was drunk, and there was a shady betting episode in which he was concerned. Paul and he were confirmed enemies, and yet there was between them that peculiar feeling of intimacy, as if they were secretly near to each other, which sometimes exists between two people, although they never speak to one another. Paul often thought of Baxter Dawes, often wanted to get at him and be friends with him. He knew that Dawes often thought about him, and that the man was drawn to him by some bond or other. And yet the two never looked at each other save in hostility. Since he was a superior employee at Jordan’s, it was the 
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thing for Paul to offer Dawes a drink. ‘What’ll you have?’ he asked of him. ‘Nowt wi’ a bleeder like you!’ replied the man. Paul turned away with a slight disdainful movement of the shoulders, very irritating. ‘The aristocracy,’ he continued, ‘is really a military institution. Take Germany, now. She’s got thousands of aristocrats whose only means of existence is the army. They’re deadly poor, and life’s deadly slow. So they hope for a war. They look for war as a chance of getting on. Till there’s a war they are idle good-for-nothings. When there’s a war, they are leaders and commanders. There you are, then—they WANT war!’ He was not a favourite debater in the public-house, being too quick and overbearing. He irritated the older men by his assertive manner, and his cocksureness. They listened in silence, and were not sorry when he finished. Dawes interrupted the young man’s flow of eloquence by asking, in a loud sneer: ‘Did you learn all that at th’ theatre th’ other night?’ Paul looked at him; their eyes met. Then he knew Dawes had seen him coming out of the theatre with Clara. ‘Why, what about th’ theatre?’ asked one of Paul’s associates, glad to get a dig at the young fellow, and sniffing something tasty. ‘Oh, him in a bob-tailed evening suit, on the lardy-da!’ sneered Dawes, jerking his head contemptuously at Paul. ‘That’s comin’ it strong,’ said the mutual friend. ‘Tart an’ all?’
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‘Tart, begod!’ said Dawes. ‘Go on; let’s have it!’ cried the mutual friend. ‘You’ve got it,’ said Dawes, ‘an’ I reckon Morelly had it an’ all.’ ‘Well, I’ll be jiggered!’ said the mutual friend. ‘An’ was it a proper tart?’ ‘Tart, God blimey—yes!’ ‘How do you know?’ ‘Oh,’ said Dawes, ‘I reckon he spent th’ night—-‘ There was a good deal of laughter at Paul’s expense. ‘But who WAS she? D’you know her?’ asked the mutual friend. ‘I should SHAY SHO,’ said Dawes. This brought another burst of laughter. ‘Then spit it out,’ said the mutual friend. Dawes shook his head, and took a gulp of beer. ‘It’s a wonder he hasn’t let on himself,’ he said. ‘He’ll be braggin’ of it in a bit.’ ‘Come on, Paul,’ said the friend; ‘it’s no good. You might just as well own up.’ ‘Own up what? That I happened to take a friend to the theatre?’ ‘Oh well, if it was all right, tell us who she was, lad,’ said the friend. ‘She WAS all right,’ said Dawes. Paul was furious. Dawes wiped his golden moustache with his fingers, sneering. ‘Strike me—-! One o’ that sort?’ said the mutual friend. ‘Paul, boy, I’m surprised at you. And do you know her, Bax Sons and Lovers

ter?’ ‘Just a bit, like!’ He winked at the other men. ‘Oh well,’ said Paul, ‘I’ll be going!’ The mutual friend laid a detaining hand on his shoulder. ‘Nay,’ he said, ‘you don’t get off as easy as that, my lad. We’ve got to have a full account of this business.’ ‘Then get it from Dawes!’ he said. ‘You shouldn’t funk your own deeds, man,’ remonstrated the friend. Then Dawes made a remark which caused Paul to throw half a glass of beer in his face. ‘Oh, Mr. Morel!’ cried the barmaid, and she rang the bell for the ‘chucker-out”. Dawes spat and rushed for the young man. At that minute a brawny fellow with his shirt-sleeves rolled up and his trousers tight over his haunches intervened. ‘Now, then!’ he said, pushing his chest in front of Dawes. ‘Come out!’ cried Dawes. Paul was leaning, white and quivering, against the brass rail of the bar. He hated Dawes, wished something could exterminate him at that minute; and at the same time, seeing the wet hair on the man’s forehead, he thought he looked pathetic. He did not move. ‘Come out, you —-,’ said Dawes. ‘That’s enough, Dawes,’ cried the barmaid. ‘Come on,’ said the ‘chucker-out’, with kindly insistence,
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‘you’d better be getting on.’ And, by making Dawes edge away from his own close proximity, he worked him to the door. ‘THAT’S the little sod as started it!’ cried Dawes, halfcowed, pointing to Paul Morel. ‘Why, what a story, Mr. Dawes!’ said the barmaid. ‘You know it was you all the time.’ Still the ‘chucker-out’ kept thrusting his chest forward at him, still he kept edging back, until he was in the doorway and on the steps outside; then he turned round. ‘All right,’ he said, nodding straight at his rival. Paul had a curious sensation of pity, almost of affection, mingled with violent hate, for the man. The coloured door swung to; there was silence in the bar. ‘Serve, him, jolly well right!’ said the barmaid. ‘But it’s a nasty thing to get a glass of beer in your eyes,’ said the mutual friend. ‘I tell you I was glad he did,’ said the barmaid. ‘Will you have another, Mr. Morel?’ She held up Paul’s glass questioningly. He nodded. ‘He’s a man as doesn’t care for anything, is Baxter Dawes,’ said one. ‘Pooh! is he?’ said the barmaid. ‘He’s a loud-mouthed one, he is, and they’re never much good. Give me a pleasant-spoken chap, if you want a devil!’ ‘Well, Paul, my lad,’ said the friend, ‘you’ll have to take care of yourself now for a while.’ ‘You won’t have to give him a chance over you, that’s all,’ said the barmaid. 
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‘Can you box?’ asked a friend. ‘Not a bit,’ he answered, still very white. ‘I might give you a turn or two,’ said the friend. ‘Thanks, I haven’t time.’ And presently he took his departure. ‘Go along with him, Mr. Jenkinson,’ whispered the barmaid, tipping Mr. Jenkinson the wink. The man nodded, took his hat, said: ‘Good-night all!’ very heartily, and followed Paul, calling: ‘Half a minute, old man. You an’ me’s going the same road, I believe.’ ‘Mr. Morel doesn’t like it,’ said the barmaid. ‘You’ll see, we shan’t have him in much more. I’m sorry; he’s good company. And Baxter Dawes wants locking up, that’s what he wants.’ Paul would have died rather than his mother should get to know of this affair. He suffered tortures of humiliation and self-consciousness. There was now a good deal of his life of which necessarily he could not speak to his mother. He had a life apart from her—his sexual life. The rest she still kept. But he felt he had to conceal something from her, and it irked him. There was a certain silence between them, and he felt he had, in that silence, to defend himself against her; he felt condemned by her. Then sometimes he hated her, and pulled at her bondage. His life wanted to free itself of her. It was like a circle where life turned back on itself, and got no farther. She bore him, loved him, kept him, and his love turned back into her, so that he could not be free to go forward with his own life, really love another womFree eBooks at Planet 

an. At this period, unknowingly, he resisted his mother’s influence. He did not tell her things; there was a distance between them. Clara was happy, almost sure of him. She felt she had at last got him for herself; and then again came the uncertainty. He told her jestingly of the affair with her husband. Her colour came up, her grey eyes flashed. ‘That’s him to a ‘T’,’ she cried—‘like a navvy! He’s not fit for mixing with decent folk.’ ‘Yet you married him,’ he said. It made her furious that he reminded her. ‘I did!’ she cried. ‘But how was I to know?’ ‘I think he might have been rather nice,’ he said. ‘You think I made him what he is!’ she exclaimed. ‘Oh no! he made himself. But there’s something about him—-‘ Clara looked at her lover closely. There was something in him she hated, a sort of detached criticism of herself, a coldness which made her woman’s soul harden against him. ‘And what are you going to do?’ she asked. ‘How?’ ‘About Baxter.’ ‘There’s nothing to do, is there?’ he replied. ‘You can fight him if you have to, I suppose?’ she said. ‘No; I haven’t the least sense of the ‘fist’. It’s funny. With most men there’s the instinct to clench the fist and hit. It’s not so with me. I should want a knife or a pistol or something to fight with.’ ‘Then you’d better carry something,’ she said. 
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‘Nay,’ he laughed; ‘I’m not daggeroso.’ ‘But he’ll do something to you. You don’t know him.’ ‘All right,’ he said, ‘we’ll see.’ ‘And you’ll let him?’ ‘Perhaps, if I can’t help it.’ ‘And if he kills you?’ she said. ‘I should be sorry, for his sake and mine.’ Clara was silent for a moment. ‘You DO make me angry!’ she exclaimed. ‘That’s nothing afresh,’ he laughed. ‘But why are you so silly? You don’t know him.’ ‘And don’t want.’ ‘Yes, but you’re not going to let a man do as he likes with you?’ ‘What must I do?’ he replied, laughing. ‘I should carry a revolver,’ she said. ‘I’m sure he’s dangerous.’ ‘I might blow my fingers off,’ he said. ‘No; but won’t you?’ she pleaded. ‘No.’ ‘Not anything?’ ‘No.’ ‘And you’ll leave him to—-?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘You are a fool!’ ‘Fact!’ She set her teeth with anger. ‘I could SHAKE you!’ she cried, trembling with passion. ‘Why?’
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‘Let a man like HIM do as he likes with you.’ ‘You can go back to him if he triumphs,’ he said. ‘Do you want me to hate you?’ she asked. ‘Well, I only tell you,’ he said. ‘And YOU say you LOVE me!’ she exclaimed, low and indignant. ‘Ought I to slay him to please you?’ he said. ‘But if I did, see what a hold he’d have over me.’ ‘Do you think I’m a fool!’ she exclaimed. ‘Not at all. But you don’t understand me, my dear.’ There was a pause between them. ‘But you ought NOT to expose yourself,’ she pleaded. He shrugged his shoulders. ‘The man in righteousness arrayed, The pure and blameless liver, Needs not the keen Toledo blade, Nor venom-freighted quiver,’’ he quoted. She looked at him searchingly. ‘I wish I could understand you,’ she said. ‘There’s simply nothing to understand,’ he laughed. She bowed her head, brooding. He did not see Dawes for several days; then one morning as he ran upstairs from the Spiral room he almost collided with the burly metal-worker. ‘What the—-!’ cried the smith. ‘Sorry!’ said Paul, and passed on. ‘SORRY!’ sneered Dawes. Paul whistled lightly, ‘Put Me among the Girls”. 
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‘I’ll stop your whistle, my jockey!’ he said. The other took no notice. ‘You’re goin’ to answer for that job of the other night.’ Paul went to his desk in his corner, and turned over the leaves of the ledger. ‘Go and tell Fanny I want order 097, quick!’ he said to his boy. Dawes stood in the doorway, tall and threatening, looking at the top of the young man’s head. ‘Six and five’s eleven and seven’s one-and-six,’ Paul added aloud. ‘An’ you hear, do you!’ said Dawes. ‘FIVE AND NINEPENCE!’ He wrote a figure. ‘What’s that?’ he said. ‘I’m going to show you what it is,’ said the smith. The other went on adding the figures aloud. ‘Yer crawlin’ little —-, yer daresn’t face me proper!’ Paul quickly snatched the heavy ruler. Dawes started. The young man ruled some lines in his ledger. The elder man was infuriated. ‘But wait till I light on you, no matter where it is, I’ll settle your hash for a bit, yer little swine!’ ‘All right,’ said Paul. At that the smith started heavily from the doorway. Just then a whistle piped shrilly. Paul went to the speakingtube. ‘Yes!’ he said, and he listened. ‘Er—yes!’ He listened, then he laughed. ‘I’ll come down directly. I’ve got a visitor just now.’
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‘Couldn’t say. looking at the stocking. shaking his head and shrugging  Sons and Lovers . Morel turned round. ‘What I say. and came running down the room. seizing him by the arm. what’s a-matter?’ he said. I’ll stop your gallop!’ shouted the smith. in his old man’s sharp voice.’ Dawes stood frustrated. ‘What do you mean?’ snapped Thomas Jordan. ‘I’ll visitor you. ‘What’s a-matter. ‘Get it off. ‘Hey! Hey!’ cried the office-boy. He turned quickly. helpless with rage. Morel was leaning against the counter. ‘Yer little devil!’ he said.Dawes knew from his tone that he had been speaking to Clara. ‘Excuse me a minute. ‘I’m just goin’ ter settle this little —-. He stepped forward. inside of two minutes! Think I’m goin’ to have YOU whipperty-snappin’ round?’ The other clerks in the warehouse looked up. Paul’s office-boy appeared.’ said Paul. holding some white article. ‘Fanny says you could have had it last night if you’d let her know. Thomas Jordan started out of his little glass office.’ said Dawes. but he hung fire. alarmed.’ he said to Dawes. and he would have run downstairs. ashamed. ‘All right. that’s all.’ answered Paul. ‘By God.’ he said.’ said Dawes desperately. ‘What’s it all about?’ snapped Thomas Jordan. halfgrinning.

‘Have you finished?’ cried the old man. who’ll turn me out?’ said Dawes. Jordan started. ‘Get out before you’re turned out!’ snapped Thomas Jordan. strutting.’ The smith looked down contemptuously on his employer.’ snapped the old man. Before anyone could help him.’ Dawes turned his big frame slowly upon him. furious face. Thomas Jordan had collided with the flimsy spring-door. waving him off. ‘Why. and yet well shaped for his labour.his shoulders. ‘Couldn’t yer. Mr. marched up to the smith. It had given way. beginning to sneer. and squaring his fist. worked restlessly. and don’t be long about it. ‘Tipsy!’ he said. couldn’t yer!’ cried Dawes. and a flash of hate went through him. ‘Now you get off. ‘Come off!’ said the smith. Paul remembered they were the hands of Clara’s husband. large. Comin’ HERE with your rowdying. and with a jerk of the elbow he sent the little manufacturer staggering backwards. saying: ‘Get off my premises—get off!’ He seized and twitched Dawes’s arm. thrusting forward his handsome. ‘Who’s tipsy? I’m no more tipsy than YOU are!’ ‘We’ve heard that song before. and don’t come here tipsy in the morning. and let Free eBooks at Planet eBook. His hands. thrusting his stout little figure at the  . ‘Get off about your business. and grimy.

did you?’ ‘What do you think I took the case up for?’ ‘Well. He was. then men and girls were running. ‘I don’t think I did.him crash down the half-dozen steps into Fanny’s room.’  Sons and Lovers . Dawes stood a moment looking bitterly on the scene.’ she declared. Jordan to Paul.’ said Paul.’ ‘Cherchez la femme!’ smiled the magistrate. and he wanted his revenge.’ he said indifferently. Dawes and me because I accompanied her to the theatre one evening. beside himself with rage. then he took his departure. ‘Better speak it openly than leave it to be whispered. At the trial Paul Morel had to give evidence. ‘YOU may not be. ‘I’m sorry if I said the wrong thing.’ ‘There was no need for anything at all. ‘Why need MY name have been dragged in?’ she said. then I threw some beer at him. he said: ‘Dawes took occasion to insult Mrs. however. ‘Besides. Thomas Jordan was shaken and braised.’ she said. He dismissed Dawes from his employment. ‘And you?’ he asked. The case was dismissed after the magistrate had told Dawes he thought him a skunk. you didn’t really want a conviction. There was a second of amazement.’ snapped Mr. ‘We are none the poorer.’ Clara was also very angry. ‘You gave the case away. not otherwise hurt. ‘I need never have been mentioned. and summoned him for assault. Asked how the trouble began.’ replied the latter.

I love her.‘I’m sorry. ‘What of?’ ‘Of you.’ ‘I don’t care what her opinion of me is. when I see her just as THE WOMAN. ‘Have you ever considered where it will end?’ his mother said. Mrs. mother. ‘things work out of themselves.’ And she did. that I CAN’T love. ‘You know.’ he said.’ he answered. I think there must be something the matter with me. in a way one doesn’t like. Jordan and the trial of Dawes. ‘Yes. ‘And then one has to put up with them. ‘And what do you think of it all?’ she asked him. He went on working rapidly at his design. ‘You’ll find you’re not as good at ‘putting up’ as you imagine. as a rule. nevertheless. but he did not sound sorry. ‘I think he’s a fool. She’s fearfully in love with me.’ He looked up at his mother curiously. He told himself easily: ‘She will come round. When she’s there.’ said his mother. but then. when she talks and criticises. Morel watched him  .’ ‘But quite as deep as your feeling for her. as a rule. But he was very uncomfortable. He told his mother about the fall of Mr. Sometimes.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ he said. I often don’t listen to her. and the whole thing.’ he said.’ ‘They do. mother. I DO love her. ‘Do you ever ask HER opinion?’ she said at length. but it’s not very deep. ‘No.’ she said.’ he said.

I even love Clara. and he  Sons and Lovers .’ ‘But no. ‘there’s plenty of time yet.’ ‘And I never shall meet the right woman while you live. sat looking across the room.’ ‘Perhaps. and I love her better than Miriam. indeed. and I can’t ever give it them. my son?’ ‘I don’t know. at first perhaps I would.’ he said. His mother turned away her face.’ said his mother. ‘No. mother. very quiet. She was very quiet. But why—why don’t I want to marry her or anybody? I feel sometimes as if I wronged my women.’ ‘You haven’t met the right woman. Now she began to feel again tired. and I did Miriam. he had touched the quick of the trouble. mother.’ ‘How wronged them. They seem to want ME. The feeling that things were going in a circle made him mad. I couldn’t belong to them. with something of renunciation. But WHY don’t they hold me?’ The last question was almost a lamentation.’ she answered. as if she were done. but to GIVE myself to them in marriage I couldn’t. passionately in love with him. ‘We’ll see. ‘But you wouldn’t want to marry Clara?’ she said. my son. ‘And as for wanting to marry.‘Yet she’s as much sense as Miriam. Clara was. grave.’ He went on painting rather despairingly.

The days were often a misery to her. and talked only a few. almost meaningless words. She was working in the same building. He was busy. He knew that she was dreary every evening she did not see him. and something was troubling him. It maddened her to hear his mechanical voice giving orders about the work. making him feel whole.with her. But he was often short and offhand with her. But he had her hand in his. as far as passion went. get at the man again. For hours they sat together. and her bosom left its warmth in his chest. She knew exactly how his breast was shapen under the waistcoat. and when he came it was a shock to her. but she was afraid. He gave her his directions in an official manner. and her existence was of no matter to him. In the daytime he forgot her a good deal. Then they were silent. but it was a cruelty to her. but the evenings and the nights were usually a bliss to them both. smash the trivial coating of business which covered him with hardness. and she wanted to touch it. She knew she had not Free eBooks at Planet  . and before she could feel one touch of his warmth he was gone. a physical sense of his person in the same building. or walked together in the dark. but he was not aware of it. so he gave her a good deal of his time. She dared not misunderstand or fail to remember. But all the time she was in her Spiral room she had a sense that he was upstairs. One evening they were walking down by the canal. and she ached again. She wanted to break through the sham of it. With what wits she had left she listened to him. Every second she expected him to come through the door. She wanted to touch his chest. keeping her at bay.

but it was almost an agony to have him near her. ‘No. When they came to the swing bridge he sat down on the great pole. while there’s my mother.’ ‘You couldn’t leave her?’ ‘Not for long. She had been thinking. ‘And if you made a nice lot of money. It was an agony to know he would leave her. looking at the stars in the water. ‘Go somewhere in a pretty house near London with my mother. I shall hardly go for long. feeling she could learn more from his whistling than from his speech. and some sort of sale for my pictures first. They lay very white and staring. what would you do?’ she asked.’ ‘But what shall you do?’ ‘I shall have to get some steady designing work. All the time he whistled softly and persistently to himself. I s’ll leave Nottingham and go abroad—soon.’ he answered without reflecting. He was a long way from him. She walked on in silence. I know I am.’  Sons and Lovers .’ She looked at the stars in the black water. ‘No. ‘Will you always stay at Jordan’s?’ she asked.’ ‘And when do you think you’ll go?’ ‘I don’t know. She listened. It was a sad dissatisfied tune—a tune that made her feel he would not stay with her. ‘I am gradually making my way.’ he said.’ ‘Go abroad! What for?’ ‘I dunno! I feel restless.

loved him. no matter what it is?’ And she took him in her arms. she was a married woman. only a woman. There came a breath of wind.’ There was a silence. She caught him passionately to her. He went suddenly to her. She wanted him to be soothed upon her—soothed. She wanted to soothe him into forgetfulness. She could not bear the suffering in his voice. Don’t ask me what I should do. and he was miserable.‘I see. And soon the struggle went down in his soul.’ There was a long pause. and she had no right even to what he gave her. but she did not want to KNOW. ‘I could still come and see you. He needed her badly. She stood clasping him and caressing him. She was afraid in her soul. He might have anything of her—anything. ‘Clara. Be with me now. consoled  . She had him in her arms. and he forgot. The stars shuddered and broke upon the water. She felt she could not bear it. But then Clara was not there for him. She would let the moment stand for itself.’ he said. After a moment he lifted his head as if he wanted to speak. struggling. will you. ‘Don’t ask me anything about the future. After all. and put his hand on her shoulder.’ he said. ‘I don’t know. and he was something unknown to her— something almost uncanny. pressed his head down on her breast with her hand. ‘I don’t know anything.’ he said miserably. I don’t know. With her warmth she folded him over. Free eBooks at Planet eBook.

afraid. and she felt it was great that he came to her. They felt small. something strong and blind and ruthless in its primitiveness. It seemed natural they were there. yet meeting him. And after such an evening they both were very still. When they stood up they saw other lovers stealing down the opposite hedge. stranger to him. and included in their meeting the thrust of the manifold grass stems. He lifted his head. and the peewit was calling. Then he realised it was the grass. They had met. 0 Sons and Lovers . even if he left her. The warmth was Clara’s breathing heaving. wild life. and her soul was still within her. She knew how stark and alone he was. something he loved and almost worshipped. there in the dark. the night contained them. the wheel of the stars. They were dark and shining and strange. life wild at the source staring into his life. She did this for him in his need. What was she? A strong. curving and strong with life in the dark. and what voice it was speaking.warm. All the while the peewits were screaming in the field. having known the immensity of passion. When he came to. and she submitted to him. and looked into her eyes. the cry of the peewit. for she loved him. he wondered what was near his eyes. and she took him simply because his need was bigger either than her or him. But it was not Clara. strange. that breathed with his in the darkness through this hour. and he put his face down on her throat. It was all so much bigger than themselves that he was hushed. The naked hunger and inevitability of his loving her. made the hour almost terrible to her.

and they felt a sort of peace each in the other. But Clara was not satisfied. She had been there. It seemed almost as if he had known the Free eBooks at Planet eBook. he might leave her. then why fret about themselves? They could let themselves be carried by life. She thought it was he whom she wanted. Something great was there. childish and wondering. she was not satisfied. but she had not gripped the—the something—she knew not what—which she was mad to have. There was a verification which they had had together. she knew. gave them rest within themselves.half-afraid. and was happy in himself. This that had been between them might never be again. In the morning he had considerable peace. They had KNOWN. In the morning it was not the same. He was not safe to her. and living thing. to know the tremendous living flood which carried them always. But it did not keep her. It was for each of them an initiation and a satisfaction. She had not realised fully. but she could not keep the moment. something great enveloped her. If so great a magnificent power could overwhelm them. it was almost their belief in life. To know their own nothingness. nothing could take it away. identify them altogether with 1 . and every tree. She had not got him. like Adam and Eve when they lost their innocence and realised the magnificence of the power which drove them out of Paradise and across the great night and the great day of humanity. Nothing could nullify it. She wanted it again. she wanted something permanent. so that they knew they were only grains in the tremendous heave that lifted every grass blade its little height.

He had wanted her to be something she could not be. The drop of fire grew more intense in her breast. as after a strong emotion they had known together. and lifted her arms to him. He felt more and more that his experience had been impersonal. very quiet. always mute and yearning. It was something that happened because of her. She could not see him without touching him. But it was not Clara. She invariably waited for him at dinnertime for him to embrace her before she went. He ran upstairs. When she saw him that day at the factory her heart melted like a drop of fire. Somebody was at the door. lest she should too flagrantly give herself away before the other girls. full of unrestrained passion. They were scarcely any nearer each other. He kissed her. almost a burden to him. After that the fire slowly went down. He loved her. and it irritated him.baptism of fire in passion. and it left him at rest. It was as if they had been blind agents of a great force. as he talked to her about Spiral hose.  Sons and Lovers . He was afraid of her. ugly basement. she kept fixed on his. her eyes. his brows. It was his body. moving as if in a trance. but it was not her. she ran her hand secretly along his side. very subdued this morning. But he. she must hold him. went on giving his instruction. but it was not she who could keep his soul steady. She followed him out into the basement for a quick kiss. she returned to her room. and the intensity of passion began to burn him again. And she was mad with desire of him. There was a big tenderness. In the factory. She followed him into the dark. He felt as if she were helpless. and not Clara.

’ ‘And that’s all you think of it?’ ‘It’s quite enough. It was known in Nottingham that Paul Morel and Mrs. ‘Surely there’s a time for everything. ‘Has it to have special hours?’ ‘Yes. he was uneasy till she had forgiven him again. out of work hours. In the spring they went together to the seaside.’ ‘It is only to exist in spare time?’ ‘That’s all. ‘DO I always want to be kissing you?’ she said. He kept her because he never satisfied her. Radford sometimes went with them. and according to the freedom from business of any sort. Work’s work—-‘ ‘And what is love?’ she asked. They had rooms at a little cottage near Theddlethorpe.’ ‘I’m glad you think so. and not always then—not the kissing sort of love.’ And she was cold to him for some time—she hated him. and while she was cold and contemptuous.‘But what do you always want to be kissing and embracing for?’ he said. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. even if I come to ask you about the work. Jordan’s closing time?’ ‘Yes. But when they started afresh they were not any nearer. I don’t want anything to do with love when I’m at work.’ ‘And you’ll regulate it according to Mr.’ She looked up at him. and the hate came into her eyes.  . and lived as man and wife. ‘Always.

her eyes shone. and he seemed so simple and innocent. He loved her for being so luxuriously heavy. and  Sons and Lovers . They came through a pass in the big. and yet so quick. Over the gloomy sea the sky grew red. Quickly the fire spread among the clouds and scattered them. Her colour soon came. the ocean was a flat dark strip with a white edge. were stark enough to rejoice his soul. half-way down the west. the land a little darker than the sky. and Clara always a solitary person. desolate reaches of the fenland smitten with winter. A flush came into the sky. and looked round at the endless monotony of levels. They grew warm. his heart filled strong with the sweeping relentlessness of life. She could run well. cold sandhills on to the beach. the sea-meadows rank with herbage. The grey of the dawn. He was solitary and strong. The long waste of foreshore lay moaning under the dawn and the sea. the far. it did not make much difference. and his eyes had a beautiful light. plants with great leaves became distinct. then he raced her down the road to the green turf bridge. Himself was light. orange to dull gold. She loved him then. He loved the Lincolnshire coast. On the shadowy land things began to take life. Crimson burned to orange. the sea sounding small beyond the sandhills. As they stepped on to the highroad from their plank bridge. and walked hand in hand. the wan moon. she went with a beautiful rush. In the early morning they often went out together to bathe. but as nothing was very obvious. sank into insignificance.Dawes were going together. and she loved the sea. her throat was bare. They shuddered with cold.

Mablethorpe was tiny on their right. ‘There are some fine waves this morning.’ he said. as if someone had gone along and the light had spilled from her pail as she walked. Far away the coast reached out. They had a warm hollow in the sandhills where the wind did not come. like a solitary and poetic person. Tiny seagulls. The morning was of a lovely limpid gold colour. He laughed. He stood looking out to sea. dribbling fierily over the waves in little splashes. It irritated her to see him standing gazing at the sea.’ she said. She was a better swimmer than he.’ he answered. ‘In a minute. She was white and velvet skinned. A little wind. and melted into the morning. Veils of shadow seemed to be drifting away on the north and the Free eBooks at Planet eBook. the sharp crying of the  . the tussocky sandhills seemed to sink to a level with the beach. hoarse strokes. The breakers ran down the shore in long. wheeled above the line of surf. ‘Now don’t get sentimental. with heavy a golden glitter the sun came up. the faint noise of the waters. She quickly undressed. the sea.’ she said triumphantly. like specks of spray. ‘It’s very fine. and the upcoming sun. coming from the sea. blew across her body and ruffled her hair. They had alone the space of all this level shore. Their crying seemed larger than they. he stood idly watching her. ‘Aren’t you coming?’ she said.

The sea-grass rose behind the white stripped woman. muttering sea-edge. not much more than a clot of foam being blown and rolled over the sand. ‘Look how little she is!’ he said to himself. drew him against her. She glanced at the sea. She hugged her breasts between her arms. and kissed her again.south. She stood waiting. twisting her hair. ‘Not much more than a big white pebble on the beach. ‘She’s lost like a grain of sand in the beach—just a concentrated speck blown along.’ She went plodding heavily over the sand that was soft as velvet. he lost her. a tiny white foam-bubble. lost proportion. Clara stood shrinking slightly from the touch of the wind.’ he said to himself. He looked into her eyes. it will be so cold!’ she said. She grew smaller. cringing. saying: ‘But you’ll come in?’ ‘In a minute. held her suddenly close. As he watched. She flung her arms round his neck. on the sandhills. She seemed to move very slowly across the vast sounding shore. then looked at him. laughing: ‘Oo. He was watching her with dark eyes which she loved and could not understand. Again he saw her. and went. She was dazzled out of sight by the sunshine. ‘Go. then away at the pale sands. seemed only like a large white bird toiling forward. then!’ he said quietly. the merest white speck moving against the white. watched the great pale coast envelop her. kissed him passionately. He bent forward and kissed her. He. almost nothing among the  Sons and Lovers .

her shoulders in a pool of liquid silver. ‘Here’s the seacoast morning. subsided. there is she. like a bubble of foam represents the sea. her breasts that swayed and made him frightened as she rubbed them. then raced each other back to the sandhills. big and permanent and beautiful. which he begrudged her. What does she mean to me. He was a poor swimmer. fretting. She played round him in triumph. Is she—-? Is she—-‘ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Her arm flashed up to him. the sandhills with their blue marrain. But what is she? It’s not her I care for. They laughed in the sea for a minute or two. unbroken solitude.morning. and he thought again: ‘But she is magnificent. and temporary as a bubble of foam. and even bigger than the morning and the sea. and could not stay long in the water. Far and wide the beach. He jumped through the breakers. glowed together in immense. When they were drying themselves. The sunshine stood deep and fine on the water. startled by his own unconscious thoughts. breathless face. Why does she absorb me?’ The morning was altogether uninterrupted: she was gone in the water. sporting with her superiority. after all? She represents something. he watched her laughing. the shining water. her bright shoulders. that seemed to speak so distinctly that all the morning could hear. and in a moment her hand was on his  . She was watching for him. ‘What is she. after all?’ he said to himself. he undressed and ran quickly down the sands. she heaved on a wave. always unsatisfied.’ Then. panting heavily.

’ he answered. Later in the day he went out sketching. ‘You. ‘It seems. broke off from her drying with a laugh. laughing. She felt his desire to be free of her. where no light was to be seen—‘it seemed as if you only loved me at night—as if you didn’t love me in the daytime. as if there were something on top of him. as if he could not get a free deep breath. then sat for a while in the shelter of the sandhills. She made him feel imprisoned when she was there. and thinking: ‘What is she? What is she?’ She loved him in the morning. I am so dull.’ She stood and looked at him. not in the least of her and her wanting him. and elemental about his kisses then. ‘In the daytime I  Sons and Lovers . seeing his dark eyes fixed on her. In the evening he came back to her. and in a moment he was kissing her white ‘goose-fleshed’ shoulder. He knew she wanted to come with him. ‘The night is free to you.She.’ he said to her. but he preferred to be alone. ‘go with your mother to Sutton. They walked down the shore in the darkness.’ he replied. feeling guilty under the accusation. Her eyes met his. ‘You.’ she said.’ He ran the cold sand through his fingers. ‘What are you looking at?’ she said. as if he were only conscious of his own will. as they stared over the darkness of the sea. There was something detached. hard.

’ It was a knot they could not untie. ‘It always is. when we are on this short holiday?’ ‘I don’t know. ‘And you never really intended to belong to ME?’ he said. I do belong to you.’ She sat feeling very bitter.’ ‘Why?’ ‘I don’t  . I don’t think so.’ ‘But why?’ she said. ‘Why.’ he answered slowly.’ he said. ‘Do you me?’ she replied. It was some minutes before she replied. Love-making stifles me in the daytime. ‘when you and I are together. do you?’ he said.’ she said. ‘No.’ she answered.’ she said. ‘I don’t think I do. even now. so they left it.want to be by myself. listening to the wind blowing over the hoarse. fingering the sand. then?’ ‘I think he belongs to me. ‘Yes.’ ‘But it needn’t be always love-making.’ he answered. very deliberately. I should like us to have children. dark sea. He was silent for some minutes. ‘because you don’t want to be divorced. yes. ‘No. She sat with her head bent.’ she replied. took Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ ‘What. ‘Yes. ‘But you don’t really want a divorce from Baxter.’ ‘Do you feel as if you belonged to him?’ ‘No. ‘Do you ever want to marry me?’ he asked curiously.

‘I suppose you thought he was a lily of the valley. And instead of boxing his ears.’ But she took him seriously. and is giving him what’s good for him. ‘Why?’ she said. not of prison. and so you put him in an appropriate pot. That’s just what a woman is. and tended him according. ‘I’m thinking what tune I shall whistle. It’s sick0 Sons and Lovers . he may sit and whistle for what he needs. and what they could not attain they ignored. she considered him in earnest. while she’s got him. and don’t know so much about other people’s. but love should give a sense of freedom. ‘You think I want to give you what’s good for you?’ she asked.’ he laughed. as his mother would: ‘You consider your own affairs. and nowhere else. and no matter if he’s starving.’ he said another time.’ ‘I certainly never imagined him a lily of the valley.’ ‘And what are you doing?’ she asked. You wouldn’t have it. and she’s going to see he gets it. ‘I hope so.what they could get. She thinks she knows what’s good for a man. almost to his own surprise. ‘I consider you treated Baxter rottenly. You made up your mind he was a lily of the valley and it was no good his being a cow-parsnip. He half-expected Clara to answer him.’ ‘You imagined him something he wasn’t. Miriam made me feel tied up like a donkey to a stake. I must feed on her patch.

Free eBooks at Planet eBook. but she never believed that her life belonged to Paul 1 . And the same could almost be said of him. nor his to her. She knew she never fully had him. nor did she ever try to get it. I’ll see that she likes to love me.’ replied Clara. Dawes. and the rest of her life would be an ache after him. She did not love Dawes. Some part. though they laughed. each through the other. But at any rate. at least depended on her. she knew now. never had loved him.’ ‘If you were as wonderful as you say—-. but she believed he loved her. ‘Love’s a dog in a manger.’ he laughed.ening!’ ‘And would YOU let a WOMAN do as she likes?’ ‘Yes. of course. There was a silence in which they hated each other. or even to realise what it was. Together they had received the baptism of life. she was sure of herself. eased her of her self-mistrust. She felt a certain surety about him that she never felt with Paul Morel. She had received her confirmation. and stood now distinct and complete. They would separate in the end. you. ‘I should be the marvel I am. ‘And which of us is the dog?’ she asked. Whatever else she was. she had no hold over. ‘Oh well. her doubt. It was almost as if she had gained HERSELF. I don’t hold her. Her passion for the young man had filled her soul. she was inwardly assured.’ he said. given her a certain satisfaction.’ So there went on a battle between them. If she doesn’t—well. big and vital in him. And he knew in some way that she held herself still as Mrs.

Each wanted a mate to go side by side with. One evening. saying. they met Dawes. and she would only have to attend to him when he came home. Where he wanted to go she could not come with him. Morel knew something about the bearing of the man approaching. But it was not possible. They would have to part sooner or later. but he was absorbed in his thinking at the moment. but there was a furtive look in his eyes that gave one the impression he was trying to get unnoticed past every person he met. full of hate and yet tired. so that only his artist’s eye watched the form of the stranger.but now their missions were separate. laughing: ‘But we walk side by side. Then he suddenly turned to Clara with a laugh. glancing suspiciously to see what they thought of him.’ she replied. saw the dark brown eyes burning. and yet I’m in London arguing with an imaginary Orpen. Clara had gone to live with her mother upon Mapperley Plains. then he saw again distinctly the man’s form as it approached him. with his fine shoulders flung back. The young man glanced. ‘It was Baxter. go on alone. still he would have to leave her. ‘Who was that?’ he asked of Clara. Dawes still walked erect. And his hands seemed to be  Sons and Lovers . as Paul and she were walking along Woodborough Road. and put his hand on her shoulder. Paul took his hand from her shoulder and glanced round. and where are you?’ At that instant Dawes passed. and his face lifted. Even if they married. and were faithful to each other. almost touching Morel.

and angry. She did not answer. ‘He looks shady. ‘His true commonness comes out. the trousers were torn at the knee. ‘Do you hate him?’ he asked.’ ‘Don’t I?’ he said.’ He felt puzzled. and made her feel hard. ‘Perhaps not as much.wanting to hide.’ she said bitterly—‘about ME!’ ‘No more than Baxter knew?’ he asked. and the handkerchief tied round his throat was dirty. ‘Don’t I know you exist?’ ‘About ME you know nothing. ‘about the cruelty of women.’ she said. ‘And I have let you know me?’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. but his cap was still defiantly over one  . ‘He wouldn’t let me. I wish you knew the cruelty of men in their brute force. though they had been through such experience together.’ said Paul. ‘No. because it hurt her.’ she answered.’ she said. ‘Did you know Baxter as well as you know me?’ he asked. As she saw him. There she walked unknown to him. But the note of pity in his voice reproached her. ‘But you know ME pretty well. Clara felt guilty. ‘You talk.’ she answered. and helpless.’ he said. He wore old clothes. There was a tiredness and despair on his face that made her hate him. They simply don’t know that the woman exists.

‘It’s the culmination of everything. ‘I feel.’ she said. ‘You begin to value Baxter now you’ve not got him. she startled him by asking: ‘Do you think it’s worth it—the—the sex part?’ ‘The act of loving. Baxter could do that better than you. After all. But is it ME you want.’ he said. He was silent. But he believed her too implicitly. as if all of you weren’t there. where he thought they fulfilled each other. One evening. is it worth anything to you?’ ‘But how can you separate it?’ he said. ‘No. I can only see where he was different from you. as they were coming home over the fields.’ she said. even there.‘It’s what men WON’T let you do. All our intimacy culminates then. then?’ ‘Something just for yourself. you can’t. He was angry with her for prefering Baxter to him.’ He walked on pondering. itself?’ ‘Yes. or is it IT?’  Sons and Lovers .’ But he felt she had a grudge against him. she was dissatisfied with him. It has been fine.’ she continued slowly.’ she answered slowly.’ ‘Not for me. ‘but you’ve never come near to me. You can’t come out of yourself. so that I daren’t think of it. ‘And haven’t I let you?’ ‘Yes. A flash of hate for her came up. ‘as if I hadn’t got you. They won’t let you get really near to them. and as if it weren’t ME you were taking—-‘ ‘Who.

as a fire ran through him. He became. and take simply women? But he thought that was splitting a hair. ‘Yes. not a man with a mind. ‘And then is it nothing to you?’ he asked.’ He knitted his brows angrily. noiselessly. She submitted. but you’ve never given me yourself. actually had him. and was silent. soul. it was more whole. then I DID feel as if I had all of him. like the Trent carries bodily its back-swirls and intertwinings. ‘When I had  . I don’t say you haven’t given me more than he ever gave me. the little sensations.’ she said.’ she said. but a great Free eBooks at Planet eBook. almost rigid with chagrin. Did he leave Clara out of count. ‘If I start to make love to you. kissing her quickly. As a rule. ‘And it was better?’ he asked.’ ‘And leave me out of count. and sometimes you have carried me away—right away—I know—and—I reverence you for it— but—-‘ ‘Don’t ‘but’ me. the emotion was strong enough to carry with it everything—reason.He again felt guilty. everything borne along in one flood. when he started lovemaking. were lost.’ he said. yes. thought also went.’ he said.’ ‘Yes. perhaps.’ ‘Or could give you. Gradually the little criticisms. ‘I just go like a leaf down the wind. blood—in a great sweep. It was true as he said. ‘It’s something.

subject to no will of his. failed her very often. and not so satisfactorily. and the stars. seemed the highest point of bliss. and it gave a little thrill. It. to get back some of the feeling of satisfaction. everything was still. He and they struck with the same pulse of fire. without the marvellous glamour. his limbs. so it seemed the vigorous. or they loved sometimes in a little hollow below the fence of the path where people were pass Sons and Lovers . It was as if he. his body. His hands were like creatures. Gradually. were all life and consciousness. almost dangerously near to the river. They did not often reach again the height of that once when the peewits had called. Everything rushed along in living beside him. Just as he was. They would be very near. but living in themselves. knowing THAT evening had only made a little split between them. So often he seemed merely to be running on alone. wintry stars were strong also with life. however. along with him. perfect in itself. and the same joy of strength which held the bracken-frond stiff near his eyes held his own body firm. they had them separately. not what they had wanted. This wonderful stillness in each thing in itself. Gradually they began to introduce novelties. when they had splendid moments. and Clara were licked up in an immense tongue of flame. while it was being borne along in a very ecstasy of living. living. and the dark herbage. He left her. or. often they realised it had been a failure. Their loving grew more mechanical. which tore onwards and upwards. some mechanical effort spoilt their loving. so she trusted altogether to the passion. so that the black water ran not far from his face.instinct. And Clara knew this held him to her.

‘I’ve got yer. Behind. the houses stood on the brim of the dip. Morel had not much time. It was very dark. ‘Good-evening!’ he said. there the houses with their yellow lights stand up against the darkness. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Some creature stirred under the willows of the farm pond. He was close up to the next stile before he saw a dark shape leaning against it. glaring on the clouds at the back of him. have I?’ he said awkwardly. not noticing. ‘Paul Morel?’ said the man. almost felt the vibration of the tread. The man stopped his way. The town ceases almost abruptly on the edge of a steep hollow. as if she had merited it! One night he left her to go to Daybrook Station over the fields. Then he knew it was Dawes. Paul glanced round. Under the orchard one warm window shone in Swineshead Farm. and they heard footsteps coming. he plunged  . although the spring was so far advanced. with an attempt at snow. and these things caused a distance between the two of them. It was the town that seemed savage and uncouth. He began to despise her a little. The man moved aside. And afterwards each of them was rather ashamed. on the edge of the town. He went over the stile. ‘Good-evening!’ Morel answered. and they heard what the passersby said—strange little things that were never intended to be heard. It was too dark to distinguish occasionally. black against the sky. and dropped quickly into the hollow of the fields. like wild beasts glaring curiously with yellow eyes down into the darkness.

’ ‘All right. He could see nothing of Dawes’s face. and as Dawes was coming through after him. Morel attempted to move forward. he was staggering backwards from a blow across the face. and the desire was anguish in its strength. He tore off his overcoat and coat. ‘You’re going to get it from me now.’ he said. Morel. the other man stepped in front of him. ‘But. The young man’s mouth was bleeding. Suddenly. dodging a blow. ‘or are you goin’ to lie down to it?’ Paul was afraid the man was mad. He felt his whole body unsheath itself like a claw. and flung the garments over Dawes. was now alert and furious. The latter swore savagely. He stepped quickly through the stile. ‘Are yer goin’ to take that top-coat off. It was the other man’s mouth he was dying to get at. Dawes stumbled over Paul’s coats. The whole night went black. Dawes advanced slowly. He could not fight. that sent him falling helpless back Sons and Lovers . then. came a great blow against his ear. then came rushing forward. from out of nowhere. The man’s teeth seemed to chatter as he talked. he moved round to get to the stile again.‘I shall miss my train.’ he said.’ said Paul.’ answered Dawes. The other man became more distinct to him. he could see particularly the shirt-breast. so he would use his wits. ‘I don’t know how to fight. He shivered with pleasure. and before the younger man knew where he was.’ said Dawes. like a flash he got a blow in over the other’s mouth. spitting. in his shirt-sleeves. Paul was afraid.

giving him such agony that he got up and. his body adjusting itself to its one pure purpose of choking the other man. He was a pure instinct. cleaved against the struggling body of the other man. with exactly the right amount of strength. losing his presence of mind. gradually pressing its knuckles deeper. Paul’s hands were wrenched. torn out of the scarf in which they were knotted. not a muscle in him relaxed. the struggles of the other. unchanging. He was quite unconscious. He heard Dawes’s heavy panting. He lay pressed hard against his adversary. as he realised what he was doing. till at last Dawes fell with a crash. then came a kick on the knee. intent. but they did not hurt. Pure instinct brought his hands to the man’s neck. like a wild beast’s. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Morel felt his body flame with pain. full of wonder and misgiving. only his body had taken upon itself to kill this other man. For himself. quite blind. and he was flung  . without reason or feeling. he had got his fists twisted in the scarf and his knuckles dug in the throat of the other man. leapt clean under his enemy’s guard. till something breaks.wards. resisting exactly at the right moment. He hung on to the bigger man like a wild cat. He felt blows and kicks. feeling the struggles of the other body become wilder and more frenzied. could wrench him free. Dawes’s struggles suddenly renewed themselves in a furious spasm. he had neither feeling nor reason. silent. Paul went down with him. and before Dawes. His body. Tighter and tighter grew his body. like a screw that is gradually increasing in pressure. in frenzy and agony. Then suddenly he relaxed. he was all bewildered. hard and wonderful in itself. Dawes had been yielding.

every step making him sick with 0 Sons and Lovers . Pain made him sick and dazed. Dawes. he hurried to get away from it. ‘Why don’t I?’ And still it was some time before he had sufficiently pulled himself together to stir. He did not know whether his face was still bleeding. quite still. At last his will clicked into action. Suddenly the whistle of the train shrieked two fields away. Morel gradually came to himself. He turned round and glared suspiciously. then. It seemed to him people were approaching. He heard the horrid sound of the other’s gasping. then gradually he got up. but he did not want to move. He lay still. The time passed. he felt the blows of the other’s feet. ‘it’s silly. grunting with pain like a beast. and dimly in his consciousness as he went. He made off across the field into Nottingham. It was pleasant to lie quite.’ he repeated.’ But still he did not move.’ he said. but his brain was clear. Walking blindly. still dazed.helpless. He knew where he was and what had happened. ‘I mustn’t lie here. but he lay stunned. It was the bits of snow that kept rousing him when he did not want to be roused. Reeling. he felt on his foot the place where his boot had knocked against one of the lad’s bones. with tiny bits of snow tickling his face. The knock seemed to re-echo inside him. buttoning his overcoat up to his ears. What was coming? He saw the lights of the train draw across his vision. It was some time before he found his cap. and lost consciousness. he groped for his coats and got them on. ‘I said I was going to get up. was kicking the prostrate body of his rival.

Say it was a bicycle accident. he told her about it. mother. Presently Minnie. She was there. like a nightmare. he got through with the journey home. the little servant. His face was discoloured and smeared with blood. he was in her hands. and struggled sickly along.’ she said quietly. He washed it. mother. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Continually the ground seemed to fall away from him as he walked. He covered his face as much as he could. he went back to the pond and washed his face and hands. In the morning he found his mother looking at him. came upstairs with some tea. but helped to bring him back to himself.’ she said. ‘It’s not much. The night went by in delirium.’ She covered him up. He wanted to get to his mother—he must get to his mother—that was his blind intention. and he felt himself dropping with a sickening feeling into space.’ ‘Tell me where it hurts you.’ He could not move his arm. ‘I will. ‘And now I should have done with them all. Her blue eyes—they were all he wanted to see. ‘Your mother’s nearly frightened me out of my wits— fainted 1 .pain. and went to bed. His mother nursed him. Everybody was in bed. mother. ‘I don’t know—my shoulder. He looked at himself. He felt he could not bear it. The icy water hurt. ‘It was Baxter Dawes.’ he said. He crawled back up the hill to the tram. almost like a dead man’s face.’ she said quietly. so.

He only knew that his life seemed unbalanced.’ He had a dislocated shoulder. Afterwards he said to his mother: ‘She makes me tired. and he was somewhere else. He almost  Sons and Lovers . then away into space. mother. It was given out everywhere that it was a bicycle accident. There was some secret between them which they could not bear. He and his mother seemed almost to avoid each other. my son. She felt she was clutching for him. but she seemed almost like a stranger to him. Another day Miriam came. I don’t care about them. He was not aware of it.’ he said. The doctor won’t be here till eleven. It tortured her. Morel replied. and the second day acute bronchitis set in. mother.’ she replied sadly. His mother was pale as death now. I wish she wouldn’t come. Soon he was able to go to work again. Clara did not know what was the matter with him. but now there was a constant sickness and gnawing at his heart.’ ‘Yes. For a month at a time she kept him at arm’s length. ‘I’m afraid you don’t. and very thin. Even when he came to her he seemed unaware of her. There was something between them that neither dared mention.’ she said—‘only try to go to sleep. nobody there. He could not work. and so she tortured him. Clara came to see him. She realised that he seemed unaware of her. as if it were going to smash into pieces. always he was somewhere else.’ Mrs. He went to Clara. ‘You know. but there seemed. She would sit and look at him. as it were.‘And don’t think about it.

The two young men simply enjoyed themselves. His mother was ill. jolly fellow. who lived there. Paul was very gay. And underneath it all was a shadow for her. The latter was a big. was always at the George or the White Horse. She consented to go to Sheffield. her face more waxen. He was terrified of something. still she dragged about at her work. no mother that fretted him. distant. though she did not want to. he dared not look at her. as young fellows will in a place like Blackpool. and long letters to his mother. He said her heart and her digestion were wrong. The two young men set off gaily for Blackpool. Once at the station. but now she would do everything her son wished of  . Newton was to spend the day with Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Perhaps the change would do her good. Mrs. Morel was attending a woman’s doctor in Nottingham. None of himself remained—no Clara. not a thought. and stay also in Sheffield till the holiday was up. no Miriam. excited at the thought of staying with his mother in Sheffield. He wrote to them all. Her eyes seemed to grow darker. Paul was like another man. He was having a good time. Morel was quite lively as Paul kissed her and left her. Mrs. but they were jolly letters that made her laugh. and was driven to her in spite of himself. with a touch of the bounder about him. he forgot everything. Paul said his mother must go to Sheffield to stay a week with Annie. He went mostly into the company of men. shadowy.hated her. It was agreed. Four days were clear—not an anxiety. Paul said he would come for her on the fifth day. quiet. At Whitsuntide he said he would go to Blackpool for four days with his friend Newton.

and buried his face in the bedclothes. He expected his mother laughing in the hall. humble. laughing.’ she answered gaily. Annie let him kiss her cheek. he opened the door.’ But he felt as if his blood was melting into tears. Joking. Don’t upset her. ‘Yes. Paul ran gaily up the steps. His mother sat up in bed.’ And then the queer feeling went over him. she’s not very well. He stood a second in dismay. as if all the sunshine had gone out of him. but it was Annie who opened to him. Annie lived in a nice house. so that he could tease her about it. ‘Is my mother ill?’ he said. and saying: ‘Mother—mother—mother!’ She stroked his hair slowly with her thin hand. He dropped the bag and ran upstairs.’ ‘Is she in bed?’ ‘Yes. and it was all shadow.them. ‘Don’t cry—it’s nothing. She looked at him almost as if she were ashamed of herself. But he only fell on his knees at the bedside. He saw the ashy look about her. and had a little maid. ‘I thought you were never coming. Paul had bought his mother a little collar of real lace that he wanted to see her wear. Their train was late.’ she said. ‘Don’t cry. the young men swung their bags on to the tram-car. and he  Sons and Lovers . ‘Mother!’ he said. pleading to him. crying in agony. wearing a dressing-gown of old-rose colour. with their pipes between their teeth. Hesitating. She seemed distant to him.

It’s been there—the lump has—a long time.’ Up came the tears again. Slowly she stroked his hair. You needn’t trouble. my boy. ‘Here. like a child. He sat down on the bed.’ he replied. and the tears hurt in every fibre of his body. But all the while his blood and his body knew definitely what it was.’ He stood feeling dazed and helpless. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. But you know they can sweal a tumour away.’ ‘I’m sure you must be hungry. ‘Don’t—don’t cry.’ his mother faltered. She put her hand on her side. ‘Yes.cried in terror and pain. His mind was clear and hard. he reassured himself it was so. that miserable Central! Is Newton come?’ ‘Yes. He thought perhaps it was as she said. Shocked out of himself. She averted her eyes as she answered: ‘Only a bit of a tumour. mother?’ he asked brutally. muffled in the sheet. and they’ve kept dinner waiting.’ With a wrench he looked up at her. ‘What is it. and took her hand. Where have you been?’ his mother asked. ‘You ARE late. Yes. ‘The train was late. but he dared not lift his face out of the bedclothes. Suddenly he stopped. ‘Where?’ he said. but his body was  . She had never had but the one ring—her wedding-ring. he cried.

They were silent for a while.’ she answered submissively. Annie began to cry again. to himself more than to her.’ she said. I believe Dr. then he went downstairs. ‘Is it really a tumour?’ he asked.‘When were you poorly?’ he asked. a beautiful sole I had. but not more than I’ve often had at home. ‘Now go and have your dinner. Ansell. ‘You MUST be hungry. ‘Pains?’ ‘Yes. ‘it’s been there a long time. it’s a lump as big as my double fist. Ansell is an alarmist. I wonder what it is?’ And there I looked.’ ‘Have you had yours?’ ‘Yes. The little maid had gone on an errand.’ he said. He was very white and strained. Annie IS good to me.’ They talked a little while. whenever did that come?’ ‘Why. child.’ I thought I should  Sons and Lovers . mother. Newton sat in miserable sympathy. look at this lump on my side. After dinner he went into the scullery to help Annie to wash up.’ ‘You ought not to have travelled alone. Paul. and when she’d got to bed she said to me: ‘Annie. ‘It was yesterday it began.’ she said. ‘Leonard ran like a madman for Dr. and I thought I should have dropped. I said: ‘Good gracious. ‘As if that had anything to do with it!’ she answered quickly. as true as I’m here. ‘The pain she had yesterday—I never saw anybody suffer like it!’ she cried.

and he’s treated her for heart and indigestion. our Paul. She’s been having these pains for months at home.’ he said. then knitted his fingers. I did.’ replied the doctor. ‘If I’d have been at home. ‘Not there. ‘and which we MAY be able to make go away.’ said the doctor.’ ‘Mrs. Jameson about the lump. ‘Why did Dr.’ The tears came to his eyes.have died. Jameson in Nottingham never find out anything about it? She’s been going to him for weeks. lovable man. The latter was a shrewd. Morel never told Dr. In the afternoon he went to see the doctor.’ ‘Can’t you operate?’ asked  .’ He felt like a man walking in unrealities. then dried suddenly. ‘And do you KNOW it’s a tumour?’ ‘No. ‘But what is it?’ he said. ‘Are you sure?’ ‘QUITE!’ Paul meditated a while. The doctor looked at the young man. ‘It may be a large tumour which has formed in the membrane. ‘Are you sure it’s a tumour?’ he asked. I am not sure.’ said Annie. ‘I should have seen for myself.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and nobody looking after her. ‘But she’s been attending the doctor in Nottingham— and she never told me.’ he said slowly.

’ ‘When would you like him to come?’ ‘I will call in this evening. I hardly know myself. The tears ran down his face without ceasing.’ ‘You must arrange about that. but her mouth would not open. She was light and frail. was quite young again. He held brandy to her lips. His mother could come downstairs for tea. almost wanting him to forgive her. and.‘What else MIGHT it be? You asked my sister if there was cancer in the family. ‘Yes. ‘But you look quite pretty in that.’ she answered. biting his lip.’ he said.’ ‘And what shall you do?’ ‘I should like an examination. Her face looked as if she were dead. with blue lips shut tight. with a little colour in her face. the colour went. He lifted her up and carried her quickly downstairs. Paul helped her. but not a muscle moved. with Dr. At the top of the stairs she was gone. and we will talk it over. His fee wouldn’t be less than ten guineas to come here from Nottingham. the doctor said. She wore the oldrose dressing-gown that Leonard had given Annie. they make me so fine.’ ‘Then have one. unfailing eyes— and she looked at him pleadingly. Jameson. half-carrying her.’ Paul went away. Her eyes opened—her blue. She was only sorry for him. laid her on the couch. He was intent on getting a little brandy between  Sons and Lovers . Her son went upstairs to help her. But when she stood up to walk. All the time she watched him lovingly. Might it be cancer?’ ‘I don’t know.

Morel. The waiting-room was full of poor women.’ said Mrs. ‘it’ll go off. so tired. He kneeled there. Paul thought of his mother. They looked into each other’s eyes. holding her hand. Don’t cry!’ ‘I’m not doing. ‘Are you all right?’ she murmured timidly to her mother. After a while she was better again.her lips. in Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Her son went on the same day. But he could borrow. Paul sat down and told her about Blackpool.’ she said. ‘No. and their eyes as they looked at each other understood. She was curious.’ But he was white to the  . Soon she was able to swallow a teaspoonful. ‘But. and then you’ll get better soon. when she could see the doctor for only a nominal sum. Jameson in Nottingham. and neither said anything. mother. You’ll have to be quite still. Her eyes were so blue—such a wonderful forget-me-not blue! He felt if only they had been of a different colour he could have borne it better. A day or two after. Paul had practically no money in the world. he went to see Dr. who sat patiently on a bench around the wall. to arrange for a consultation. His heart seemed to be ripping slowly in his breast. He was kneeling beside the couch.’ she panted. The tears continued to run down his face. ‘I don’t want you to make a trouble of it. Then Annie came in. ‘Of course. His mother had been used to go to the public consultation on Saturday morning.’ he said. She lay back.

sitting waiting likewise. and the doctor looked up the case in his book. ‘And you’ll come to-morrow?’ ‘To-morrow—Sunday? Yes! Can you tell me about what 0 Sons and Lovers . brown-skinned. ‘There is a big lump that may be a tumour. busy. He was very friendly. ‘Er—to go to Sheffield!’ he said. It was arranged so. ‘Eight guineas?’ ‘Thank you!’ said Paul. good-looking. ‘But Dr. ‘I am a clerk in Jordan’s Appliance Factory. The women all looked rather frightened. ‘Not very well off. At last the doctor came. Ansell was going to write you a letter.’ said Paul. putting the tips of his fingers together.’ said the nurse. and smiling with his eyes.’ said Paul. drawing the letter from his pocket.’ ‘Ah. had specialised on women’s ailments. kind. ‘Number forty-six M. and he. He was about forty. He would come to Sheffield the next day. I suppose?’ ‘This—I see after this.her little black costume.’ replied Paul.. flushing and rising. ‘He is a coal-miner. ‘What is your father?’ he asked. The doctor was late. affable. who had loved her. ‘And you?’ smiled the doctor.’ The doctor smiled at him. His wife had died. Paul told his name and his mother’s. Paul asked the nurse in attendance if he could see the doctor immediately he came. yes!’ replied the doctor. The women sitting patiently round the walls of the room eyed the young man curiously. The doctor did not remember.

‘An’ has ter eaten owt?’ ‘No. Walter Morel was getting very grey now. son! Tha has landed. with earthy hands.’ said Morel. ‘But I’m going back to-night. ‘That’s a blessin’!’ exclaimed Morel. He shook hands with his father. An’ what’s that Nottingham doctor say?’ ‘He’s going to-morrow to have an examination of 1 . ‘Come thy ways in. ‘Thank you!’ he said. He had written him a letter. and shook hands.’ ‘And will there be any way of getting up to the house? Shall I have to walk?’ The doctor smiled. The two went indoors. ‘She can sit up.’ The father was afraid of the mention of his wife. ‘There is the tram. Then Paul went on home to see his father. then.time there is a train in the afternoon?’ ‘There is a Central gets in at four-fifteen. sat in the arm-chair opposite and looked at him. then?’ said the father. ‘Yes. beguy!’ exclaimed the collier. and sleeves rolled up. Paul ate in silence. ‘Well. his father.’ said Paul. ‘I hope we s’ll soon be havin’ her whoam. she can be carried down for tea. Paul found him digging in the garden.’ ‘Are ter.’ replied the son.’ said Paul.’ The doctor made a note of it. who was left in the charge of Minnie. ‘the Western Park tram. ‘Hello. an’ how is she?’ asked the miner at length.’ ‘That’s just like thee.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. in a little voice.

‘Well.’ said Paul.’ said Morel.’ ‘I can pay that. The doctor came. ‘She says she hopes you’re getting on all right with Minnie. The house seemed strangely empty. lad! Eight guineas! An’ when dost think she’ll be able to get as far as this?’ ‘We must see what the doctors say to-morrow.’ answered Morel. I canna ma’e it out. I’m thinkin’!’ ‘Eight guineas.’ ‘Eight guineas!’ the miner spoke breathlessly.’ Paul said.’ said Paul. ‘But tha writes i’ such a fashion. Leonard felt it his duty to meet him  Sons and Lovers . and Paul thought his father looked lost. and old. There was silence between them for some time. for he could scarcely do more than write his own name. ‘But Minnie’s a good little wench.’ he said. father.’ ‘I dunno wheer I s’ll find th’ money. ‘And I’ll write to you what the doctor says. I’m all right. forlorn. ‘If she’s not.‘Is he beguy! That’s a tidy penny. ‘then you must come. ‘I hope she’ll be a-whoam by that time. ‘Well.’ said Paul.’ It was no good asking Morel to answer.’ said Morel. ‘You’ll have to go and see her next week.’ said Morel.’ said Paul. Morel sighed deeply. I’ll write plain. ‘It’s a trapse for thee. an’ I wish as she was. we mun find it from somewhere. ‘I s’ll have to be going at half-past three.’ Paul said. bless ‘er heart!’ He sat looking dismal. ‘Yes.

Annie. He felt he could not carry her. no! Just take care. ‘It MAY be a tumour. Paul put eight sovereigns and half a sovereign on the table. But we must see what we can do. Paul. ‘Thank you!’ he said. and Leonard were waiting in the parlour anxiously. ‘Yes. Arthur. The doctors came down. her heart wouldn’t stand it.’ And the doctor was gone. The doctor counted them.’ said Dr.’ said Annie. too. He had never had any hope. She lay simply.’ ‘Is her heart risky?’ asked Paul. Paul glanced at them.’ ‘Very risky?’ ‘No—er—no. Morel is so ill. Then Paul carried his mother downstairs. The doctor shook his head.with a  . we must wait and see. And he was frightened. ‘and even if there could. like a child. ‘can you sweal it away?’ ‘Probably. ‘I’m so frightened of these beastly stairs. she put her arms round his neck.’ he said.’ she said. took a florin out of his purse.’ ‘There can’t be an operation?’ said Paul. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. clinging. except when he had deceived himself. ‘No. ‘I’m sorry Mrs. you must be careful with her. The examination did not take long. But when he was on the stairs. and put that down. Jameson. ‘And if it is.’ said the doctor. He would let Leonard do it another time.

’ he said. smoking. mother?’ ‘No. after a while: ‘And I shall come next Saturday. He sat in the kitchen. as if she were a lover. my boy!’ she said. held her in his arms for a moment. it would be silly.’ ‘I KNEW he could. ‘Shan’t you be late?’ she murmured. gently. and they were alone. and  Sons and Lovers . mother. She pretended not to notice that Paul had gone out of the room. ‘No. ‘I’m going. ‘You won’t fret. And take care of yourself.’ he answered.’ He kissed her again. and stroked the hair from her temples. my son. Still he sat a few minutes.’ ‘Yes. and shall bring my father?’ ‘I suppose he wants to come. if he does you’ll have to let him. It was very early in the morning. ‘And he can sweal it away. He looked again. He let go. It was one of his mother’s grey hairs. I won’t be any worse.‘He thinks it’s only a tumour!’ cried Annie to her mother. Then. and it drifted into the chimney. Then he tried to brush some grey ash off his coat. It was so long! He held it up. tenderly.’ she replied. stroking the brown and grey hair from her temples.’ protested Mrs. ‘At any rate.’ ‘You promise me?’ ‘Yes. Morel scornfully.’ ‘No. The long grey hair floated and was gone in the blackness of the chimney. very low. ‘And you won’t be any worse. The next day he kissed her before going back to work.’ He kissed her.

’ ‘I will. that was all that existed. he did not know what for. He read sometimes. He took her hand. the agony. But he did not forget. And Clara was a way of occupying his mind. She caught him impulsively to her breast. her hands were in his hair. He had to keep his mind occupied. crying all the way. All the time. He was just as much alone whether he was with Clara or with the men in the White Horse. On the Saturday Walter Morel went to  . It was his blood weeping.’ he answered. dear. In the early sunny morning he ran to the station. So he put the trouble aside for her sake. When she felt it coming. to take it up again immediately he was alone. He cried. rocked him. And her blue eyes were wide and staring as she thought of him.was gone. Her breast was there. ‘I do. he cried mechanically.’ he said. He was Free eBooks at Planet eBook. you don’t know!’ replied the other. It was comforting. she cried to him: ‘Don’t think of it. ‘Try and forget it. In the afternoon he went a walk with Clara. Paul! Don’t think of it. Just himself and this pressure inside him. They sat in the little wood where bluebells were standing. my darling!’ And she pressed him to her breast. His mind and hands were busy. he did not know why. soothed him like a child. He only talked to Clara of something else. as he went about. warm for him. And it was always so. and he held his arms round her. ‘You’ll see.’ ‘Oh.’ she said.’ he said to Clara. ‘try and forget it. ‘she’ll never be better.

timid fashion. rather wearily. and as if nobody owned him. kissing his mother.’ She gave him a few instructions. Morel. He sat looking at her as if she were almost a stranger to him. ‘Have you gone on all right?’ asked the wife. as yer might expect. She WILL leave things to the last minute. as if it were an effort to talk to him.a forlorn figure. ‘Er’s a bit behint-hand now and again. going forward and kissing her in a hasty. I’ve ‘ad to shout at ‘er once or twice. that he was on thorns to be gone from so trying a situation. feeling so awkward in presence of big trouble. lass?’ he said. ‘How dun I find thee. Paul ran upstairs. I’m middlin’.’ she replied. ‘My father’s come. ‘Yis.’ he said. ‘Well.’ he said. Then he wiped his eyes with his handkerchief. He put up his eyebrows for misery. The old collier came rather frightened into the bedroom. he looked. ‘Well.  Sons and Lovers .’ ‘Does she have your dinner ready?’ asked Mrs.’ he said. and yet must linger because it looked better. ‘I see tha art.’ he answered. He stood looking down on her. before whom he was awkward and humble. and clenched his fists on his knees. looking rather as if nobody owned him. and wanted to run. and also as if he had lost his presence of mind. Helpless. This feeling that he wanted to run away. ‘Has he?’ she answered wearily. ‘And you MUST shout at her if she’s not ready. made his presence so trying.

Under the blue sky they could all see she was dying. ‘I saw a lizard dart on that rock!’ Her eyes were so quick. they said. Arthur took her as if she were a child. Morel did not change much. deep chair by the hearth where her rocking-chair used to  . she was still so full of life. Morel knew she was coming. When she was unwrapped and seated. They heard the sound of the great motor-car. Morel wanted to go home. But she wanted to go home. They had set her a big. Morel. Half the street turned out. It was a great event in the street. ‘Don’t think I don’t like your house. Mrs. He had the front door open.’ And Morel answered huskily: Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Mrs.’ she said. but they saw her smile and nod. Yet she was jollier than she had been for weeks. everything was bright and warm. and had drunk a little brandy. Harrison?’ They none of them could hear. And they all saw death on her face. Annie. Annie had her children. ‘And just look at them all come out to see me!’ she said. but he was too old. ‘but it’s nice to be in my own home again. So they got a motor-car from Nottingham—for she was too ill to go by train—and she was driven through the sunshine. she looked round the room. She stayed in Sheffield for two months. Mrs. Everybody was on tiptoe. It was just August.Mrs. ‘Annie. Mathews? How are you. How do you do. ‘But there. Morel wanted to carry her indoors. If anything. smiling. drove home down the street. I suppose I should have done the same.’ she exclaimed. at the end she was rather worse. Mrs. They all laughed and talked.

She looked out of the window.‘It is. lass. ‘There are my sunflowers!’ she said. it is.’ There was a lovely yellow ravel of sunflowers in the garden. the little quaint maid.  Sons and Lovers . said: ‘An’ we glad t’ ‘ave yer.’ And Minnie.

’ ‘Did he? Do you know anything about him? He’s just sulking. I believe. physically.’ ‘I don’t know anything of his home circumstances. ‘Do you know a man from Nottingham named Morel?’ and he looked at me as if he’d jump at my throat. Ansell one evening when Morel was in Sheffield.CHAPTER XIV THE RELEASE ‘By the way. I should think.’ answered the other. You know him?’ ‘He used to work at the place where I am. Been in a bit of a mess lately.’ said Dr. ‘That’s the man—has been a fine fellow. He doesn’t seem to have many belongings in this world. But tell him about me. So I said: ‘I see you know the Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ ‘Baxter Dawes!’ Paul exclaimed. will you? Tell him I’ll come and see him. ‘we’ve got a man in the fever hospital here who comes from Nottingham—Dawes.’ The next time Morel saw the doctor he said: ‘And what about Dawes?’ ‘I said to him. or he’d be a lot better than he is by now. except that he’s separated from his wife and has been a bit  .

who was suffering and despairing. He went down to the isolation hospital. In a way Morel felt guilty towards the other. startled eyes be0 Sons and Lovers .’ There was a feeling of connection between the rival men. Ansell’s card.’ ‘And did he say he would see me?’ asked Paul. And being in such a state of soul himself. ‘He can only say ‘Caw!’ I have brought you a gentleman to see you. with Dr. a healthy young Irishwoman. more than ever since they had fought. There he lies and sulks.’ replied the doctor. Jim Crow. Can’t get a word of information out of him. This sister. Now say ‘Thank you. ‘He wouldn’t say anything—good. as if you were a policeman. Besides. At any rate. they had met in a naked extremity of hate.’ and show some manners. ‘A visitor to see you. Dawes turned over suddenly with a startled grunt. bad or indifferent.’ Dawes looked swiftly with his dark. he felt an almost painful nearness to Dawes. ‘Why not?’ ‘That’s what I want to know. it’s Paul Morel. ‘You might. day in.’ Then I told him about your saying you would go and see him. ‘Eh?’ ‘Caw!’ she mocked. and it was a bond. and more or less responsible. ‘What does he want?’ he said. day out.’ ‘Do you think I might go?’ asked Paul. led him down the ward. the elemental man in each had met.’ she said.

and would not move forward towards convalescence. It is hard lines! Here am I dying to hear Jim Crow’s voice. ‘So I thought I’d come in. Morel met the swift. He seemed to grudge every beat of his heart. The two men were afraid of the naked selves they had been.’ laughed Morel. but life seemed low in him. Presently she left the two men alone. ‘Only two old men and a boy who always cries. ‘Dr. ‘and it frightens every word out of his mouth. Dawes mechanically shook hands.’ said the nurse.’ ‘He is getting on all right?’ said Paul to her. ‘That’s it!’ laughed the nurse. His look was full of fear. hate. and hesitated. dark eyes. Dawes was thinner. ‘Say ‘Caw!’ Jim Crow. holding out his hand. ‘Isn’t it?’ said the nurse. and handsome again.’ continued Paul. ‘Oh yes! He lies and imagines he’s going to die. and nothing but an odd ‘Caw!’ will he give!’ ‘So rough on you!’ said Morel. he was lying sulking. There was no answer.yond the sister at Paul.’ said Morel. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. dropped straight from heaven!’ laughed the nurse. As the doctor said. ‘I suppose I am a godsend.’ ‘And you MUST have somebody to talk to. mistrust. Dawes lay staring at the opposite wall. ‘Oh. Ansell told me you were 1 . and misery.’ he laughed. ‘Say ‘Caw!‘ mocked the nurse.

‘I couldn’t say for sure. I know. Suddenly Dawes said: ‘What did you come for?’ ‘Because Dr.’ said Paul.’ said Paul. as if trying to believe Morel was not there. ‘My mother was taken ill at my sister’s in Thurston Street. ‘Typhoid’s pretty bad. ‘What are you doing in Sheffield?’ he asked. Paul felt his heart go hard and angry. ‘She’s got a cancer. ‘But we want to get her home.’ Dawes answered grudgingly. then. ‘Dr. ‘Well.’  Sons and Lovers . The other man did not answer. Ansell told me you were here.’ There was another silence. with a sick man’s interest in illness.’ he said coldly. Do you?’ ‘I know nobody nowhere. Suddenly again Dawes looked at him.’ said Paul. ‘How long have you been in?’ Morel asked.’ said Dawes. ‘We s’ll be taking my mother home as soon as we can. What are you doing here?’ There was no answer.’ Morel persisted. He lay staring across at the wall opposite. Ansell said you didn’t know anybody here. ‘What’s a-matter with her?’ asked Dawes. ‘We s’ll have to get a motor-car.‘Have you had a bad time?’ asked Paul. ‘it’s because you don’t choose to.’ There was another silence.

Dawes blinked his dark eyes as he lay thinking. ‘I was only here a day or two before I was taken bad. ‘Sun on those sandhills. and swim!’ Dawes glanced at him quickly. ‘It’s not big enough. The sick man was gaunt and handsome again. ‘The seaside would be all right just now. ‘Did you get a job here?’ he asked. You know him. too miserable to bother much. ‘Why don’t you ask Thomas Jordan to lend you his?’ said Dawes. and the waves not far out.’ said Paul.’ Morel said. ‘it’s all right when you know you’re going to walk again. ‘Then ask Jack Pilkington.Dawes lay thinking.’ The other did not answer.’ he said. But the real misFree eBooks at Planet eBook. It was evident he dared not face the world again. Ansell would get you a  . ‘I’m goin’ in no convalescent home. The man’s dark eyes were afraid to meet any other eyes in the world.’ said Dawes.’ Morel answered. an’ he liked it. ‘You’re a fool if you do.’ Dawes replied. ‘You want to get in a convalescent home. he’d lend it you.’ ‘I think I s’ll hire one. The other’s face clouded again.’ Dawes lay thinking. Paul was sorry for him because his eyes looked so tired.’ said Paul. Dr. ‘By Gad!’ Paul concluded. ‘My father’s been in the one at Seathorpe.

It was in the dinner-hour. I’ll be going. Morel did not answer. ‘but cheerful— lively!’ He bit his lip. There they sat while the scarlet geraniums and the yellow calceolarias blazed in the sunlight.’ The other man did not answer. ‘I’ll try and run in when I’m back in Sheffield.ery and helplessness in Paul’s tone gave him a feeling of relief.’ ‘I don’t know him. She looked at him with startled grey eyes. After a minute he rose.’ Paul answered. ‘Did you know Baxter was in Sheffield Hospital with typhoid?’ he asked. ‘Is she far gone?’ he asked.’ said Dawes. She was now always rather protective. Paul went. but next day he spoke to Clara about this interview. He did not tell his mother. and rather resentful towards him. ‘I’ll leave you this halfcrown.’ he said.’ Dawes muttered. The two did not often go out together now. made him shiver.’ he said. The strong emotion that Dawes aroused in him. but this day he asked her to go with him to the Castle grounds. ‘Well. repressed. ‘Well. but left the coin on the table. and her face  Sons and Lovers .’ ‘I don’t want it. ‘She’s going like wax. Should I tell him to come? He might bring you some papers to look at. ‘He’s all right. Happen you might like to see my brother-in-law? He works in Pyecrofts.

The next time they took a walk together. and returned to his own brooding. ‘He’s getting better.went pale. she disengaged herself from his arm. ‘No. and walked at a distance from him. ‘I’ve said many a time you haven’t treated him well.’ he  .’ Clara seemed stricken by the news.’ she said. And there was a hostility between them.’ ‘What did he say to you?’ ‘Oh. frightened.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘I’ve treated him—no. She did not answer. ‘What’s the matter?’ he said. ‘Don’t!’ she said. nothing! He seems to be sulking. ‘Is he very bad?’ she asked guiltily. ‘He has been. I went to see him yesterday—the doctor told me. disengaging herself. ‘I HAVE been VILE to him!’ she said. She went about shut up and silent. He’s mending now.’ There was a distance between the two of them. ‘Is it Baxter that upsets you?’ he asked at length.’ she said. He gave her more information. It serves me right. putting his arm across her shoulder. I’ve treated him badly. ‘Won’t you be nice with me?’ he asked. Each pursued his own train of thought. ‘And now you treat ME badly. He left her alone. He was wanting her comfort badly.

The meeting was not a success.’ she repeated.’ ‘It looked as if he respected you!’ he said. As she looked at him lying there her heart did not warm with love. ‘He did! At any rate. He was not sorry when he left her. she had failed to make Morel really love her. Only she wanted to humble herself to him. So she kneeled to Dawes. ‘It serves me right. he did respect me. It was not that she loved him. and it gave him a subtle pleasure. to kneel before him.’ ‘He didn’t!’ protested Paul.’ ‘All right. Clara only tormented him and made him tired. She wanted to do penance. She went on the first opportunity to Sheffield to see her husband. But the distance between them was still very great—too great. And he loved me a thousand times better than ever you do. He only wanted to be left alone now. ‘He did! And I MADE him horrid—I know I did! You’ve taught me that. She wanted now to be self-sacrificial. He loved me a thousand times better than you ever did.‘How do I treat you badly?’ he said. He had his own trouble. It frightened the man. But it serves me right. and now you don’t consider ME. She wanted to make restitution. But she left him roses and fruit and money. It almost pleased the woman. which was almost too much to bear. She liked to feel she was serving him across an  Sons and Lovers . ‘I never considered him worth having. and that’s what you don’t do.’ said Paul. She was morally frightened. After all.

The gold wedding-ring shone on her white hand. ‘Yes. Mrs. and so pretty. my dear?’ he asked. She sat propped in her chair.’ she answered. As she lay she looked like a girl. It hurt a bit. pressing the place on her side where the pain was. Every morning. She was proud now. ‘Not very well?’ ‘Well. that she was dying. And all the while her blue eyes watched him. He knew.’ And she sniffed in her old scornful way. But they never mentioned the woman who was between them. At first they used to carry her downstairs. and the dahlias. yes! ‘ Then he knew she had lain awake.insuperable distance. Morel went to see Dawes once or twice. smiling. And she watched the tangled sunflowers dying. and she knew. But they kept up a pretence of cheerfulness. But there were the dark pain-circles beneath that made him ache again. Paul and she were afraid of each  . There was a sort of friendship between the two men. the chrysanthemums coming out. her hair was carefully brushed. ‘It’s a sunny day. Morel got gradually worse. when he got up. He saw her hand under the bedclothes. but nothing to mention. ‘Has it been bad?’ he asked. who were all the while deadly rivals. ‘Did you sleep. ‘No. sometimes even into the garden.’ he said. he went into her room in his pyjamas. Free eBooks at Planet eBook.

agony. he could not understand it.’ he said.’ ‘Do you think you’ll be carried down?’ ‘I shall see. he glanced through the kitchen window. brushed it out. All day long he was conscious of nothing but her. miserably. ‘Lie still.’ she answered. he bit his lip and felt dazed. He was almost afraid to ask: ‘Didn’t you get up. Her head was snuggled between her shoulders.’ And going behind her. pigeon?’ ‘No. It was like fine long silk of brown and grey. As he lightly brushed and plaited her hair. ‘I think he does. Her blue eyes smiled straight into his. She was not there. Then. and love. when he got home in the early evening. ‘it was that morphia.’ she said.’ he said. she had not got up. She had a way of curling and lying on her side. like a child. It all seemed unreal.’ ‘I think he gives you too much.‘It’s a beautiful day. It made him pant with terror. ‘You want your hair doing in a plait. he carefully loosened her hair. looking up from  Sons and Lovers . it made me tired. His face was near hers. The grey and brown hair was loose over her ear.’ she replied. He sat down by the bed. gently putting it back. It was a long ache that made him feverish. ‘It does. ‘Doesn’t it tickle you?’ he said. He ran straight upstairs and kissed her. laughing with tender love. like a girl’s—warm.’ Then he went away to get her breakfast. At night he often worked in her room.

utterly lonely and stubborn clenching of her mouth. And so often he found her blue eyes fixed on him. chattered to him  . They were afraid. Then she pretended to be better. came up again so strongly that they broke from her. the things that had been most bitter to her. Often the tears came suddenly. He ran to the station. She could not bear him to be in the room. She was holding herself rigid. lest they should give in to the big thing. Often he could not go on with his work. And when their eyes met. which persisted for weeks. He worked away again mechanically. with watchful. They were both afraid of the veils that were ripping between them. And a few things. when it was lighter. so they made light of things and were gay. Sometimes he came in. He felt as if his life were being destroyed. and she told her son. The pen stopped writFree eBooks at Planet eBook.time to time. sudden eyes. piece by piece. He never forgot that hard. Now she hated him. she talked about her husband. and their human independence would go smash. within him. made a great fuss over some scraps of news. producing good stuff without knowing what he was doing. so that she might die without ever uttering the great cry that was tearing from her. like a man who is drunk almost to death. For they had both come to the condition when they had to make much of the trifles. She did not forgive him. Sometimes as she lay he knew she was thinking of the past. the tear-drops falling on the pavement. Her mouth gradually shut hard in a line. very pale and still. Sometimes. she smiled.

Often. unable to go any farther. ‘After all. stubborn. That was coming. the months. She had to submit to it. though her face was grey with the morphia. again. nevertheless. neither did he. especially if Annie or Arthur were at home. Sometimes. seemed to ravage inside him. with her face shut hard and He went into his room at last to go to bed. and leaned against the doorway as if paralysed. not everybody has seen those beautiful places. hardly ever of the death. and Shanklin. for a whole evening she spoke not a word. He stood leaning there. She thought of the pain. never questioning. He never questioned what it was. and her body felt like ash. silent. of the morphia. And wasn’t it beautiful! I try to think of that. in the sunny afternoons. He did not 0 Sons and Lovers . They were together. she seemed almost happy. His mind did not try to analyse or understand. A furious storm. He sat staring. of the next day. rigid. But they were bright again. and kept his eyes shut. not of the other things. she knew.’ she said. His consciousness went. submitting. In the morning they were both normal again. Blind. ‘I try to think of the nice times—when we went to Mablethorpe. let the thing go over him. quite unconscious. and trembled in his limbs. And when he came round again he felt sick. But she would never entreat it or make friends with it. he neglected her. she was pushed towards the door. he knew not what. He merely submitted. The days passed. the weeks. and Robin Hood’s Bay. His mother did the same.’ Then.

‘Take me!’ he said simply.’ she replied. somebody sinister.’ he said. There Paul visited him sometimes. She lay in horror. It was almost as if he were a criminal. his eyes dark and glittering. ‘I’d thought quite. Clara very occasionally. who mended very slowly and seemed very feeble. She grew to dread him. Shall we go to the seaside for the week-end?’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. In the beginning of November Clara reminded Paul that it was her birthday. yet so strange. seemed to leave himself in the hands of Morel. whom she could feel behind this make-belief lover. but she was almost cold to him. Dawes. When he had her then. She was afraid of the man who was not there with her. He was quick and active and lively. ‘I’d nearly forgotten. She began to have a kind of horror of him. they had a certain mistrust of him. Then came little bouts of tenderness. Occasionally she would. there was something in it that made her shrink away from him—something unnatural. Sometimes he went to Clara. He was so quiet. There was no man there loving 1 . Dawes had come to Colonel Seely’s Home near Nottingham. Between the two men the friendship developed peculiarly. that filled her with horror.see much of Clara. But she was afraid. But she dared not pity him. She almost hated him. Usually he was with men. ‘No. but when his friends saw him go white to the gills. He wanted her—he had her—and it made her feel as if death itself had her in its grip.

He could not talk nor think. And in the evening they sat among the sandhills. She was dissatisfied and miserable. to sit holding her hand. ‘And she won’t die. pulled by the neck. however. looking out. ‘What is it dear?’ she asked. Things seemed as if they did not exist. She waited for him to be warm and tender with her. but my mother’s people are pushed from behind. and have to be hauled out of life into death like cattle into a slaughter-house. ‘Don’t those windmill sails look monotonous?’ He sat holding her hand. He was not with her. inch by inch.They went. and your sisters. She went across to him. They are stubborn people.’ ‘Yes. and was startled when she spoke to him. Clara’s heart sank. was in the other day.’ And she said: ‘I have done without them for a long time. heavy sea.’ he said quietly. ‘She will never give in. she was nothing. Renshaw. and your son. instead of which he seemed hardly aware of her. in the Other Land. It was cold and rather dismal. looking at the black.’ she replied. It was a comfort.’ said Clara. and won’t die. ‘you will have your mother and father. the parson. ‘Think!’ he said to her. It is the liv Sons and Lovers . ‘No. ‘Nothing!’ he said. Mr. He sat in the railway-carriage. and CAN do without them now. ‘There are different ways of dying. My father’s people are frightened. She can’t. He was not definitely thinking.

’ she says. re-echoing shore. She looked round. and disliked him. too frightened to speak. She wanted to be where there was light. it seems as if she would never go—never!’ ‘Don’t think of it!’ cried Clara. He did not come to her. ‘It’ll only keep your strength up. ‘and she knows it. ‘She’s got such a will. the dark sky down on her. It’s the cancer that gnaws like that at her. And she was afraid of him. He seemed scarcely aware of her existence. I’d WILL to die. He sat with his head dropped.’ I said to her. He did not cry.’ ‘I’ll have a cup of Benger’s. ‘And she looks at me. There was the black.’ So I went and made her the food. only went on speaking mo-notonously. She got up terrified. I can’t bear it. not the I want.’ And she said to me. ‘Yes’—and she almost cried—‘but there’s such a gnawing when I eat nothing. I’d die.’ he went on monotonously. And do you know. ‘And I don’t want her to eat. ‘And she was religious—she is religious now—but it is no good. Clara wanted to run. how horrible!’ said Clara. sharp: ‘Do you think I haven’t? Do you think you can die when you like?’’ His voice ceased.’ He followed her down the darkness of the sands. I wish she’d die!’ ‘Come!’ said Clara roughly. and she wants to stay with me. if I had to die. where there were other people. ‘I’m going. not moving a muscle.’ ‘Oh. When I ask her: ‘Shall you have anything’ she’s almost afraid to say ‘  . She wanted to be away from him. I said to her on Thursday: ‘Mother. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. She simply won’t give in.’ he said.’ She wants to live even now.

‘It was an old promise. Dawes sat down heavily. always going from one to the other of his friends. not quite daring to ask. trusting to be told. always doing something.’ said Paul. ‘if you’ve owt better to do. ‘I knew as much. ‘How’s your mother?’ asked the other.’ said Paul. ‘You shouldn’t get up. ‘I wanted a change. ‘I went with Clara.’ ‘I was at Skegness.’ said Morel. Listless and pale. ‘Hardly any different. ‘Don’t you waste your time on me. ‘Nay.’ said Morel slowly.’ ‘I wanted to come. On the Monday he went to see Baxter Dawes. ‘Here! I brought you some sweets.’  Sons and Lovers .’ said Dawes quietly. ‘You have it your own way. He seemed to be waiting.’ said Paul.In the same acute daze they went back to Nottingham.’ said Paul. clinging to his chair as he held out his hand.’ said Paul. ‘It’s not been much of a week-end.’ The other looked at him with dark eyes. He was always busy.’ The invalid put them aside. being as you didn’t come on Sunday. the man rose to greet the other.’ ‘I thought she was perhaps worse.’ he said.’ said Dawes. This was the first time Clara had been definitely mentioned between them. eyeing Morel with a sort of suspicion. ‘she’s tired of me.

‘I s’ll go abroad when my mother’s dead.’ Morel said. ‘Abroad!’ repeated Dawes.’ said the other. when you and her passed me—you with your hand on her shoulder. I don’t care what I do.’ said Paul. ‘Yes. Dawes was winning. Give me some toffee. Dawes’s hand trembled as he moved the piece.Again Dawes looked at him. ‘When?’ ‘That night on Woodborough  . ‘I never knew you were there till the very second when Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘and you as well.’ said Paul. They played in silence. The two men were very quiet together. ‘Things have to happen.’ said Paul. Dawes kept his fingers on the draught-piece.’ They continued the game. very low. I don’t know.’ he said. and began another game of draughts. I suppose. ‘I s’ll have to begin a new start of some sort. Paul suggested a game of draughts. and looked over the garden. ‘I dunno where.’ he said. Paul put his hand hastily to his lips. ‘It’s no good doing anything—at least—no. ‘What made that scar on your mouth?’ asked Dawes. ‘Since August she’s been getting tired of me.’ He took one of Dawes’s pieces.’ ‘I never laughed at you.’ Morel repeated. ‘You shouldn’t ha’ laughed at me. ‘I had a bicycle accident.’ The two men ate sweets.

His mothers door was wide open. or He did not know it. in order to have something to do.’ He took off his boots quietly and crept upstairs. ‘I never laughed.’ he said to himself. ‘Why. what time is it?’ The murmur came plaintive and  Sons and Lovers . But at the end was only the sick-room. Across the field he could see the red firelight leaping in her bedroom window. His heart seemed to break again. ‘How late you are!’ she murmured. If he walked and walked for ever. ‘except as I’m always laughing.’ said Morel. The red firelight dashed its glow on the landing. Soft as a shadow. there was only that place to come to. ‘It was that as did me.’ he said. The furnaces flared in a red blotch over Bulwell. he peeped in her doorway. Paul took another sweet. he felt as if he were walking out of life. That night Morel walked home from passed. ‘Not very. because she slept alone still. As he went along the ten miles of highroad. between the black levels of the sky and the earth. ‘Paul!’ she murmured.’ Dawes said. ‘When she’s dead.’ They finished the game. very low.’ he said. He went in and sat by the bed. He was not tired when he got near home. ‘that fire will go out. the black clouds were like a low ceiling.

Her pity came up.’ she wailed. white. my Little. ‘Will you sleep?’ he asked. But he wandered restlessly from one person to another for some help.’ And he knew the unutterable misery of her nights that would not go. I’ll stop with you half an hour. ‘I thought it was later. He hardly ever went to see Clara now. holding her fingers in his free hand. soothing her. ‘It’s only just gone eleven. my love. ‘Never mind. with his eyes dark and bewildered. I think so. then perhaps it will be better. ‘How is she?’ she asked.’ And he sat by the bedside. lying quite still under his fingers and his love.’ That was not true. my pigeon. ‘No.’ ‘You feel better.’ she murmured. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Little!’ He said  . hurting her till she could not bear it. ‘Now go to bed. stroking her eyes shut. ‘Yes. it was nearly one o’clock. gaunt. slowly. half-soothed child. don’t you?’ ‘Yes. my pigeon?’ he said. They could hear the sleepers’ breathing in the other rooms. Miriam had written to him tenderly. Her heart was very sore when she saw him. ‘Can’t you sleep. ‘Oh!’ she said. rhythmically stroking her brows with his finger-tips. He went to see her. ‘Never mind.’ she said. Still the days and the weeks went by. and there was none anywhere. I can’t.helpless. like a fretful.

and roused his blood. so that it should not nourish her. It was reaction. Often. Then Paul would go upstairs gingerly. That remained alone and apart. And she kissed him and fingered his body. She kissed his face. in the evenings. and some snow. she kissed him and kissed him. when friends were in the kitchen with them. feeling he would go mad. She’ll be here at Christmas.’ Miriam shuddered. And she thought she had soothed him and done him good. and among her bitterness was a feeling of relief. to see if she had heard. while his soul was apart writhing with the agony of death. Annie was so quaint. December came. they all laughed together and shook with laughter. The whole party laughed till they cried. He stayed at home all the while now. And he would put some water with it. It was not what he wanted just then—not that. She had morphia every night. Paul shared the nursing with Annie. the parish nurse. he got away from her. She could not kiss his agony. whom they loved. Paul was so comical. guiltily. she pressed him to her bosom. came in morning and evening. ‘Shall I give you some milk?’ he asked. And Mrs. Yet he loved her more than his own life. They could not afford a nurse. He submitted. lying alone in the darkness heard them. ‘A little. An Sons and Lovers . but I know she will.‘The same—the same!’ he said. trying to subdue the sound. and her heart got fitful. Morel. but it was torture. till at last. Annie came to look after her mother. She drew him to her.’ she replied plaintively. ‘The doctor says she can’t last.

‘She can’t last many days now.’ said Annie. Morel. His mother was wasted and almost ashen in the morning with the morphia. or even complain much. That was supposed to betoken the end. ‘Did I?’ she answered. But she did not consent to die. with the torture. when his sister got up. knowing what he wanted. Darker and darker grew her eyes. But the doctor shook his head. little one. we shall all go mad. ‘  . Paul would go in in the early morning. ‘Can’t you give her something to put an end to it?’ he asked the doctor at last. Minnie.’ He stood looking out of the window. all pupil. with fretful weariness. Her eyes were dark and full of torture.’ he would say to her. The whole country was bleak and pallid under the snow. In the mornings the weariness and ache were too much to bear. It was almost as if he were agreeing to die also. Then they almost seemed to make an agreement.nie slept beside her. she would not. Paul went indoors. Mr. Then he felt her pulse. ‘I can’t bear it much longer.’ he said. ‘You slept a bit later this morning. Her body was wasted to a fragment of ash. it’s nearly eight o’clock. The two sat down to breakfast. She let him feel her wrist. There was a strong stroke and a weak one. ‘Go and sit with her while we have breakfast. Sometimes they looked in each other’s eyes. Yet she could not—would not—weep.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. like a sound and its echo.

over the snow. ‘Have the men been saying their hands are sore. at any rate. He put his arms round the donkey’s neck. A smoky red sunset came on slowly.’ Not a thing did she let slip. ‘But. Then he backed out. His mother. silent.’ she 00 Sons and Lovers . ‘Not as I know of. Mrs. Still her dark eyes were alive. and returned a fortnight or so before Christmas. and put its head against him. through the woods. She kept her hold on life still. He saw the marks of rabbits and birds in the white snow. querulous voice that would not give in. It was nearing Christmas. Minnie stood surprised. was still alive. Paul went through the country. silent and frightened. Minnie went upstairs with the feeding-cup. The miners had been out on strike. obliterated himself.’ she answered. But the girl was frightened. Minnie?’ she asked. there was more snow. Sometimes he would go into the sick-room and look at her. bewildered. He thought she would die that day.said Annie. Morel. There was a donkey that came up to him over the snow by the wood’s edge. and stroked his cheeks against his ears.’ said the dying woman. Annie and he felt as if they could go on no more. Annie. He wandered miles and miles. ‘Your father’s pit things will want well airing. and walked with him alongside. with her hard mouth gripped grimly. Morel. It was two days after the men had been in. ‘But I’ll bet they are sore. her eyes of dark torture only living. there’ll be something to buy in with this week. lingering. painfully. as she moved her head with a sigh of weariness. in the faint.

‘Don’t you bother about that.’ He looked round. Another fibre seemed to snap in his heart. Carefully he crushed them to powder. The next day he was painting in the bedroom. my dear.’ ‘Which?’ said Annie. Nurse did not come that night to settle Mrs. Paul went up with the hot milk in a feeding-cup. ‘I s’ll put ‘em in her night milk. She was reared up in bed. and took them downstairs. She seemed to be asleep. Suddenly her small voice wailed: ‘Don’t walk about. ‘What are you doing?’ said Annie. Her eyes. It was nine o’clock.’ said Annie. and he put the feeding-cup Free eBooks at Planet eBook. They were both full of horror.’ he said gently. ‘She’ll live over Christmas. That evening he got all the morphia pills there 01 . ‘Ay—do!’ said Annie. One night Annie and Paul were alone. when the men were going back to work. On top of all their horror flicked this little sanity. Paul.’ said Paul. were looking at him. ‘All that came from Sheffield. my dear. He stepped softly backwards and forwards at his painting. ‘I s’ll give her morphia. like dark bubbles in her face. Morel down.’ Then they both laughed together like two conspiring children. ‘No.’ said Annie. ‘She won’t.’ he replied grimly. Nurse was upstairs.said.

‘He thought it would leave you in such a state in the morning.’ she said. She was obedient to him like a child. ‘I wonder why nurse didn’t come to settle me down?’ complained the mother.’ she said. Where’s that milk?’ They both went upstairs. like a child. my love. ‘Has she had it?’ whispered Annie. She drank some more of the milk.’ ‘I think so. ‘Yes—and she said it was bitter. then put the spout of the cup away and looked at him with her dark.’ he said. ‘She said she was going to a concert.’ he said. wistfully. She took a sip. He saw her poor wasted throat moving as she drank with difficulty. making a little grimace. wondering eyes. There were no grains in the bottom of the cup. Paul!’ she said.’ replied 0 Sons and Lovers . ‘Oh. He wondered if she knew. ‘But it IS horrid!’ she said. her lips making a little move.between her lips that he would have died to save from any hurt. Then he ran downstairs for more milk. ‘And I told her it was a new draught.’ ‘Oh!’ laughed Annie. like a child. He saw her frail fingers over the cup. putting her under lip between her teeth. it IS bitter. and she went on with the draught. He looked at her. ‘But I’ll give you some clean milk afterwards. ‘It’s a new sleeping draught the doctor gave me for you.’ ‘And I hope it won’t. ‘I know—I tasted it.

’ she added.’ They put out the light. Annie and Paul came to look at her at about eleven. Nurse did not come. made the other. Paul saw his mother LIke a girl curled up in her flannel nightdress. ‘You’ll sleep. ‘There. stroking her softly. Her mouth had come a bit open. never mind. Morel gulped the little clean milk. my love? Well. Quickly they made one half of the bed. She seemed to be sleeping as usual after her draught. that draught WAS horrid!’ she said plaintively.’ They turned the clothes back. and covered her up. ‘Annie. moved 0 . Her pulse was very irregular. ‘Was it.’ The mother sighed again with weariness. ‘Did she?’ They were silent a minute. and it was still.’ said Annie. ‘I didn’t think you could do the bed so nicely. her head snugged between her shoulders. Mrs. ‘There!—now you’ll sleep. ‘Yes.’ she answered trustfully. Paul put the long thin plait of grey hair over her shoulder and kissed her. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. my love. Then she curled up.’ he said.’ ‘Yes. almost gaily.’ said Paul. ‘Perhaps nurse will be so late. with her cheek on her hand. ‘Good-night. ‘Let US settle you down.’ said the mother—‘try.’ she said.’ ‘Ay. straightened her nightgown over her small feet. Morel was in bed.Annie.

He slept almost immediately. and she breathed with great. Then the two sat waiting.’ Annie huddled into the dressing-gown. But her mouth had fallen open. He mended the fire. snoring breath was taken—held awhile—then given back.‘Shall we sit up?’ said Paul.’ said Annie. A bud of gas was burning in the sick chamber. ‘She might wake up. curled up as she had gone to sleep.’ said Annie. At last he went into the next room and went to bed. The great. like snoring. and there were long intervals between. but kept waking every now and again. Paul!’ He saw his sister in her white nightdress. He started awake at Annie’s whispered. standing in the darkness.’ They lingered before the bedroom fire. ‘I s’ll lie with her as I always do. ‘Come and look at her. ‘Yes?’ he whispered. their two selves alone in the world.’ ‘All right. Then he went sound asleep. It was three o’clock.’ He slipped out of bed. There was a 0 Sons and Lovers . hoarse breaths. ‘Paul.’ ‘Yes. ‘She’s going!’ he whispered. His mother lay with her cheek on her hand. sitting up. ‘How long has she been like it?’ ‘I only just woke up. with her long plait of hair down her back. feeling the night big and black and snowy outside. ‘Yes. Paul wrapped himself in a brown blanket. And call me if you see any difference.

’ he—a long space. He looked out of the window. with the bottom jaw fallen back. snoring breath was taken again. He mended the fire again. Then suddenly. at such wide intervals. Then they started. watching. ‘I’ll sit up. He nodded. They were both silent. ‘You go to my 0 . and could faintly discern the snow on the garden. The sound. Paul and Annie sat crouched. The great.’ he said to Annie. Each time the sound came he felt it wring him.’ she said. They sat down again helplessly. He hugged himself in his brown blanket. At last Annie crept out of the room. and he was alone. breath by breath.’ he said. slept on. motionless. The great snoring sound began again—there was a painful pause while the breath was held—back came the rasping breath.’ ‘I’d rather you didn’t. so irregular. ‘She may last like this. bending low over her. Morel.’ ‘No. ‘Isn’t it awful!’ whispered Annie. Again they hung suspended. Again it was given back. The minutes went by. startling him. huddled. came the great harsh sound. The night was going. ‘I’ll stop with you. noiselessly. crouched in front of his mother. She looked dreadful. long and harsh. He could not bear it—the waiting. in his room. Again came the great. sounded through the house. till at last he could not feel so much. snoring breath. Minute after minute passed. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. He bent close down and looked at her. Paul looked at her again. She must not be disturbed. He watched. Sometimes he thought the great breath would never begin again.

entered. Paul heard the miner drawing his stockings on. then a long pause—then—ah-h-h-h-h! as it came back. Go to work.’ ‘Yes. ‘Am I to go?’ he said. came upstairs again. and in horror. Then Morel. Still it was dark. Per0 Sons and Lovers . and went obediently out of the room. the blowers of the collieries and the other works. The terrible. The great breaths broke the silence—she looked just the same. ‘Had I better stop a-whoam?’ he whispered.’ ‘I don’t think so. Morel. helplessly. She’ll last through to-morrow. ‘Hush!’ said Paul. Then he looked at his son.His father got up. some near. yawning. Far away over the snow sounded the hooters of the ironworks. dressed for the pit. One after another they crowed and boomed. then returned. ‘No.’ The miner looked at her again. After another half-hour Paul went downstairs and drank a cup of tea. in shirt and stockings.’ And in a few minutes Paul heard his father’s heavy steps go thudding over the deadening snow. Miners called in the streets as they tramped in gangs to work. longdrawn breaths continued—heave—heave—heave. Go to work. Paul saw the tape of his garters swinging against his legs. some small and far away. in fear. Morel stood watching. He mended the fire. ‘Yes. He put back the blind and peered out. Then there was silence.

he drank brandy from the bottle on the wash-stand.’ he said calmly. He drew up the blind and got dressed. If he piled the blanket and heavy coats on her—Suddenly the door opened. ghastly snores Free eBooks at Planet eBook. They whispered together a minute. he could see the houses. He could see her. That was not her—not her a bit. ‘Drink some tea. He looked at her. It was twenty to eight. He heard some people calling. and Annie entered. He heard a cart clanking down the street.haps there was a lighter tinge. Perhaps the snow was bluer. ‘If she looks like that!’ said Annie. She looked at him questioningly. He wondered if he piled heavy clothes on top of her it would stop. and it was coming a little bit light. then he went downstairs to get breakfast. and the great. Yes. ‘Isn’t it awful! Doesn’t she look awful!’ she whispered. The snow WAS growing blue. Soon the neighbours came with their frightened question: ‘How is she?’ It went on just the same. They went upstairs again. She was just the same. He put out the gas. He nodded. but he was almost used to it. She lay with her cheek in her hand. it was seven o’clock. Soon Annie came down. shuddering. The world was waking. It seemed very dark. her mouth fallen 0 .’ he said. deathly dawn crept over the snow. A grey. Yes. Then. dazed with horror. The breathing came still. ‘Just the same.

he went downstairs and sat in the neighbour’s house. She looked strange and woebegone. ‘Well.came and went. They all stood back.’ There was a silence. ‘she’ll last like this for days?’ ‘She can’t. and put his face to hers and his arms round her: ‘My love—my love—oh. my love!’ he whispered again and again. at about eleven o’clock. At ten o’clock nurse came. and so on. call at 0 Sons and Lovers . Suddenly Annie came flying across the yard crying. crying. with her face on her hand. Morel. and nurse was wiping her mouth. she’s better. ‘My love—oh. my love!’ Then he heard the nurse behind him. ‘She can’t. Mr. The doctor came and glanced at her. ‘Nurse. then turned away. saying: ‘She’s better. Morel.’ When he took his face up from his warm. ‘Who would have thought she could stand it? Go down now.’ At last. Mr. and sighed. Nurse and Arthur were upstairs. Morel.’ said nurse.’ cried Paul. Paul sat with his head in his hand. There was a good deal to do. go down. Annie was downstairs also. He kneeled down. She lay curled up and still. ‘Ay—poor thing!’ he said. dead mother he went straight downstairs and began blacking his boots. Mr. half mad: ‘Paul—Paul—she’s gone!’ In a second he was back in his own house and upstairs. ‘Isn’t it dreadful!’ wailed the nurse. letters to write.

The house was empty except for her. He took a candle and went upstairs. It was a long business. ‘Why—has she gone?’ ‘Yes. ‘No. The room was cold. and nobody had spoken.’ The father came home from work at about four o’clock.’ ‘When wor that?’ ‘About twelve this morning. The undertaker was coming soon to measure for the coffin. At last the son said: ‘You noticed the blinds were down?’ Morel looked up. Free eBooks at Planet 0 . then began his dinner. Annie went away. Minnie bustled to give him his dinner. plates. bottles. that had been warm for so long. the doctor. ‘Have you seen her?’ Annie asked of him when he came down. Flowers. In a little while he went out. It was some time. Afterwards he washed and went upstairs to dress. The door of her room was shut. the registrar. He got back at nearly eight o’clock.’ ‘H’m!’ The miner sat still for a moment. It was as if nothing had happened. and Paul called on the undertaker.the surgery about six for the certificate. all sick-room litter was taken away. He dragged silently into the house and sat down. which he liked. There were swede turnips for his dinner. the clergyman. he laid his black arms on the table.’ he said. Paul wondered if he knew.’ he said. He ate his turnips in silence. ‘No. Tired.

She would wake up. No! He stroked the hair from her temples. Only the hair as it arched so beautifully from her temples was mixed with silver. he felt he could never. but her face was young. he bent over her. They did not look at her. She lay like a maiden asleep. Looking at her. She lay like a girl asleep and dreaming of her love. never let her go. They touched her reverently. young men who had been to school with him. winsome nose a bit on one side. so silent. He saw the mouth so dumb and wondering at the hurt. After a while Paul went out of the house. He and Annie guarded her fiercely. He watched jealously. at the small. too. and in a quiet. She was young again. It was midnight when he got back. was cold. and played cards at a friend’s. saying in a plain10 Sons and Lovers . They would not let anybody come to see her. and the neighbours were offended. whispering to her: ‘Mother. He looked again at the eyebrows. She would lift her eyelids. He bent and kissed her passionately. her brow clear and white as if life had never touched it. He bit his lips with horror.everything was harsh and austere. and the two simple plaits that lay on her shoulders were filigree of silver and brown. But there was coldness against his mouth. Then he crouched on the floor. With his candle in his hand. That. She lay raised on the bed. the sweep of the sheet from the raised feet was like a clean curve of snow. The mouth was a little open as if wondering from the suffering. mother!’ He was still with her when the undertakers came. She was with him still. businesslike fashion. His father rose from the couch as he entered.

for fear she should be cold and strange to him.tive way: ‘I thought tha wor niver comin’. His father looked so forlorn. hearing Annie downstairs and Paul coughing in the room across the landing. In the morning Morel summoned his courage. and went into the darkened room. Still she dreamed her young dream. ‘My dear!’ And he did not kiss her. He hurried past the closed door. ‘I forgot you’d be alone. It was cold and dark.’ ‘I didn’t think you’d sit up. Get it down thee.’ ‘Sithee—I made thee a drop o’ hot milk. It eased him she slept so beautifully. Bewildered. as usual. After a while Morel went to bed. he got out of the room again and left Free eBooks at Planet eBook. alone in the house with his 11 . But she would be cold. He opened her door.’ Paul drank it. father. He saw the white uplifted form in the twilight. not to wake her. too frightened to possess any of his faculties. ‘My dear!’ he whispered. He wished they had kept her fire burning.’ said Paul. He was sorry.’ he said. ‘Dost want owt to eat?’ asked Morel. it’s cold enough for owt. and left his own door open. He shut her door softly. Paul realised with a start that he had been afraid to go to bed. Soon the son came upstairs also. but her he dared not see. ‘No. Morel had been a man without fear—simply nothing frightened him. He went in to kiss her good-night. lad. and went to bed.

and they had tea together in a cafe. ‘superior’ people. He had not seen her for months.her. The rain poured in the grave. The wet clay glistened. the affair became public. His father sat in the kitchen with Mrs. ‘And don’t you think she looks nice?’ ‘Yes. because he had not dared to look. They put themselves aside. and wept. when they were quite jolly again. and said what a good lass she’d been. Later. The cemetery was deserted under the drenching cold rain. and how he’d tried to do everything he could for her—everything. And all the time He seemed to be creeping aside to avoid it. And she looked like his young wife again. when the relatives began to come for the funeral. Paul went about from place to place. Annie gripped his arm and leaned forward. The procession of black. He never looked at her again. The oak box sank steadily. ‘Yes. They buried her in a furious storm of rain and wind. Paul went home and busied himself supplying the guests with drinks. He had striven all his life to 1 Sons and Lovers . She was gone. He met Clara in Nottingham.’ He went out of the house soon after. ‘Have you seen her?’ Annie asked of him sharply after breakfast. with its umbrellas glistening. turned away. She was infinitely relieved to find he did not take it tragically. Morel’s relatives.’ he said. doing the business of the death. all the white flowers were soaked. Down below she saw a dark corner of William’s coffin. and the children became social beings.

as if nothing had altered. The weeks passed half-real. Everything deep in him he denied. She was. and he’d nothing to reproach himself with. Paul hated his father for sitting sentimentalising over her. Paul went to the seaside for a few days. He knew he would do it in the public-houses. The three of them were drifting forward. not much pain. not much of anything. Dawes mended very slowly. He was in the convalescent home at Skegness at Christmas. I dream of her often. Paul went restless from place to place. His father was with Annie in Free eBooks at Planet what he could for her. he came down from his afternoon sleep. For the real tragedy went on in Morel in spite of himself. For some months.’ he said in a small voice. He never thought of her personally. ‘I HAVE been dreaming of thy mother. perhaps a little relief. dumb to him. ‘Have you. Dawes saw her very 1 . father? When I dream of her it’s always just as she was when she was well. All his life he’d done his best for her. white and cowering. he had not made love to Clara. He wiped his eyes with his white handkerchief. he repeated. but the two could not get an inch across the great distance between them. nearly well again. later. He’d nothing to reproach himself for. rather distant. Sometimes. as it were. but it seems quite nice and natural. And that was how he tried to dismiss her. She was gone. since his mother had been worse. but he’d done his best for her.’ But Morel crouched in front of the fire in terror. mostly a nuit blanche.

Paul jumped up.’ ‘It does me good.’ he said. continued to mix the drink. ‘Did you?’ said Dawes.’ he said. Dawes depended on Morel now. you told me. ‘Say when. ‘I begin to think I’m right again. Paul drank the remainder of his glass of whisky. ‘Let me fill you up. He knew Paul and Clara had practically separated. but almost leaving himself in the other’s hands. ‘I told the landlady your wife was coming.’ ‘You are about right.’ said Dawes. you know. between whom was such a big reserve. with rather shaky hand. then. seemed faithful to each other.’ replied Dawes. lad. ‘Thanks!’ replied the other. 1 Sons and Lovers .Sheffield. ‘But you’ve no business to get up. and reached for Morel’s glass. ‘You sit still. He got up rather stiffly. ‘Yes.’ he replied. His time in the home was up. certainly I am. Two days after Christmas Paul was to go back to Nottingham. The other man glanced at him.’ he said. shrinking.’ he said. Dawes came to Paul’s lodgings. The two men. But Dawes.’ ‘I am. nodding to him. The evening before he sat with Dawes smoking before the fire. ‘You know Clara’s coming down for the day to-morrow?’ he said.

‘Thirty-nine.’ ‘I know—I understand it. ‘I suppose so.’ Dawes said. to set him up firm again. ‘The go is there.’ Dawes glanced at him again.’ Paul looked up and laughed. ‘You’ve not done for yourself like I have. Dawes knocked his pipe in a hopeless fashion. I don’t know. to warm him. glancing at him. almost pleading for reassurance. ‘You don’t look as if much life had gone out of you. ‘It’s funny. ‘You’ll just be in your prime. ‘How old are you?’ Paul asked. as if he had given 1 . lad?’ ‘I don’t know.’ he said. and no road anywhere.’ he said.’ The brown eyes of the other flashed suddenly. It’s as if I was in a tangled sort of hole.’ replied Dawes.’ ‘In what way.’ said Paul. ‘starting again. nodding. full of the consciousness of failure. Morel saw the wrist and the white hand of the other man gripping the stem of the pipe and knocking out the ash. ‘But you’ll find it’ll come all right. Those brown eyes. ‘It hasn’t. perhaps a trifle dominated by him.’ He spoke caressingly. for someone to re-establish the man in himself. rather dark and dreary. Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ said Morel.‘And Len says he can get you on in Sheffield. I feel in a lot bigger mess than you. troubled Paul.’ said Paul. with dark eyes that agreed with everything the other would say.

Dawes showed his teeth as he bit his pipe stem. ‘You mean you don’t want her?’ asked Paul.’ They smoked in silence. The eyes of the two men met.’ he said. Dawes stared up at the picture with a caustic expression on his face. begod!’ said Dawes. She never really hitched on to me—you were always there in the background. Having recognised the stress of passion each in the other. They exchanged one look.’ Dawes hid his face and shook his head. abstract. and looked up with an ironic smile. suggestively.’ he said.‘We’ve both got plenty of life in us yet to make things fly.’ said Paul. they both drank their whisky. soft.’ he said. ‘Couldn’t be done. ‘Yes. ‘why you shouldn’t go on where you left off. satirical. ‘And I don’t see. ‘Yes. That’s why she wouldn’t get a divorce.’ said Paul. ‘Do you?’ replied the other.’ ‘What—-’ said Dawes. ‘I believe she wants you. There was a pause. The smoke floated softly up. ‘Why? Because you don’t want?’ ‘Perhaps.’ Dawes continued to stare in a satirical fashion at the pic1 Sons and Lovers . ‘Yes—fit your old home together again. ‘I hardly know. breathless.

He sat on the side of the bed in his shirt.’ replied the other. I’m clearing out to-morrow. Then they did not talk any more. ‘They look all right. ‘I was lookin’ at these legs. looking at his legs.’ answered Dawes. ‘Perhaps I was a fool.’ replied Paul. from his bed.’ said Morel.’ The triumphant male came up in Dawes. ‘Do you think so?’ said Paul. ‘What’s up with ‘em? They look all 1 . ‘That’s how women are with me.’ he said.’ Paul reluctantly got out of bed and went to look at the rather handsome legs of the other man that were covered Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘I see. He showed his teeth more distinctly.’ said Dawes.ture over the mantelpiece. ‘But perhaps even THEN you were a bigger fool. They shared the same bedroom. They almost avoided each other.’ ‘And what about it?’ ‘Come and look. And she BELONGED to you all the time.’ said Paul.’ said Morel. thinking of something. But there’s some water in ‘em yet. The instinct to murder each other had returned. ‘At any rate. ‘You were a big fool. They were silent for some time. I knew. There was a touch of triumph and malice in it. ‘Aren’t you getting cold?’ asked Morel. ‘They want me like mad. but they don’t want to belong to me. When they retired Dawes seemed abstract.

‘Look at the water under here. The man pressed in his finger-tips. In the morning it was raining. ‘Rotten. and came along the platform. isn’t it?’ said Dawes.’ He returned to his own bed. His black overcoat was buttoned up to the chin because of the rain. Clara stepped out of the train. The two men were at the station. It made little dents. Paul shook hands with her at the barrier. ‘You feel. very erect and coldly composed. He was pale. Dawes was leaning against the bookstall. ‘Look here. watching.’ said Morel.’ ‘You’re not much of a man with water in your legs. He seemed to be cutting himself off from life more and more.’ said Dawes. They left little dents that filled up slowly. ‘I suppose the rest of me’s all right. pointing to his shin. with almost a touch of nobility in 1 Sons and Lovers . dark gold hair. It gave him a wicked pleasure to do it. She wore a long coat and a tweed hat.’ said Dawes.’ said Dawes. Paul tried with his fingers. Morel packed his bag.’ ‘Where?’ said Paul. Both men hated her for her composure. ‘H’m!’ he said. ‘Why? It’s nothing much. The sea was grey and shaggy and dismal.with glistening. ‘It’s nothing. and he put out the light.’ ‘I can’t see as it makes any difference.’ said Paul. ‘I’ve got a weak chest.

’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. hissed not far off. He came forward. ‘Shall we go to the lodging straight off. The sittingroom faced the sea. Paul walked on the outside of the pavement. ‘or somewhere else?’ ‘We may as well go home. ‘Come nearer to the fire. then Dawes.’ he said. I’m quite warm. She kept the two men hesitating near her. They made polite conversation.’ she answered. so he wants me to stop. rather aloof and composed. whose tide. Clara took off her things and laid them on the couch. She looked out of the window at the rain and at the sea.’ The three stood at a loss. She had a slight air of resentment. He’s going back to-night. ‘I should think you’re cold. the rooms are taken until to-morrow.’ said Dawes.’ she said. Lifting her hair with her 1 . ‘Sit down. ‘You ought to look better than this.’ ‘Thank you.’ ‘And then you’re thinking of going to Sheffield?’ ‘Yes. I’m all right now. then Clara. limping slightly. she sat down. ‘Oh. Jack. ‘Sit down!’ Morel repeated. Paul ran downstairs to speak to the landlady.’ said Dawes to his wife. ‘When are you going back?’ she asked. grey and shaggy. ‘I don’t want that chair.’ said Dawes. ‘Well.’ said Paul.his quietness. Morel swung up the big arm-chair.

’ ‘You’ve really got a place?’ ‘Yes—begin on Monday. while Paul seemed to screw himself up. ‘I s’d think so. Clara thought she had never seen him look so small and mean.’ ‘You don’t look fit. Nobody answered. Morel sat down.’ He put the slippers near her feet. ‘I shall go by the four-twenty. The panes were blurred with streaming rain. She left them there. But Dawes now carried himself quietly. seemed to yield himself. Both the men seemed helpless. And as he went about arranging. ‘There’s a pair of slippers of mine. He was as if trying to get himself into the smallest possible compass.’ Again she looked away out of the window. and as he sat talking.’ she said. 0 Sons and Lovers .’ he said as he entered.‘Are you fit to start work?’ ‘I’m going to start. ‘And can you manage all right?’ she asked. I s’ll have to!’ They were silent when Morel returned. ‘And have you got lodgings in Sheffield?’ ‘Yes.’ he said to Clara.’ ‘Thank you.’ ‘Why don’t I?’ She looked again out of the window instead of answering. ‘I wish you’d take your boots off. ‘They aren’t wet. and each of them had a rather hunted look. Watching him unknown. there seemed something false about him and out of tune.

Her husband had more manly dignity. She did not remember that she herself had Free eBooks at Planet eBook. On the whole. and it seemed as if their three fates lay in his hands. Yet Clara realised that Morel was withdrawing from the circle. leaving her the option to stay with her husband. and sat eating nuts and drinking by the fire. But this other would never own to being beaten. And yet she watched him rather than Dawes. She was less afraid of them. She hated him for it. He would shift round and round. and when he was beaten gave in. There was nothing stable about him. she thought. Her cup had been full. after all.she said to herself there was no stability about him. He would never make sure ground for any woman to stand on. She despised him. she would not be sorry when he was gone. passionate. more sure of herself. prowl. At any rate HE did not waft about with any wind. to take what he wanted and then give her back. He was fine in his 1 . Her husband at least was manly. getting smaller. She despised him rather for his shrinking together. That they were not the small egoists she had imagined them made her more comfortable. He was a mean fellow. And now he looked paltry and insignificant. She seemed to understand better now about men. and what they could or would do. Not a serious word had been spoken. something shifting and false. and able to give her drinks of pure life when he was in one mood. They had dinner. She had learned a good deal—almost as much as she wanted to learn. There was something evanescent about Morel. get smaller. It was still as full as she could carry. It angered her.

She could not cope with him. But he was not afraid of death. because his own hold on life was so unsure. Then. That would be too much trouble to her. afraid. It made him ashamed. wished to be given back. She wanted him. He had loved her. for fear of this big thing. faced the world together. There was a certain nobility in it. He wanted someone of their own free initiative to help him. He could go to the brink of death. he would not give in. following in the wake of his beloved. That she could do for him. he had to crawl back. he could lie on the edge and look in. because nobody held him. He did not want to die. not the real him that was in trouble. he drew himself together smaller and smaller. as if he were drawn towards death. As Clara saw. but not to understand him. feeling unsubstantial. he owned himself beaten. the tear in the veil. and really. Paul felt crumpled up and lonely. he would go on alone. and he wanted to be taken back whether or not. through which his life seemed to drift slowly. they two had. So. Now she was gone. He felt she wanted the man on top. and for ever behind him was the gap in life. at the bottom of her heart. he dared not give it her. shadowy. secretly ashamed because he was in such a mess. until he was afraid. as if he did not count for much in this concrete world. the lapse towards death. and like a beggar take what offered. Clara could not stand for him to hold on to. The lesser things he began to let go from him. cowed. His mother had really supported his life. in fact. Dawes had been driven to the extremity of life. If nobody would help.  Sons and Lovers . It was three o’clock.had what she wanted.

They talked in a desultory fashion until it grew dark. After tea. like a husband.’ Dawes jerked suddenly. ‘It’s a nasty day for travelling.’ said the man. like a wife.’ laughed Paul. Dawes and his wife sat down again. giving him her hand.’ she said. He looked out over the sea.’ said Dawes. he went to the Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘I’m meeting my father in Nottingham at seven-fifteen. ‘I s’ll be on the rocks before I’m very much older.’ he said to Clara. ‘An’ perhaps—one day—I s’ll be able to pay you back the money as—-‘ ‘I shall come for it.‘I am going by the four-twenty. Dawes drew up his chair to the table without being invited. ‘Yes. She served him as she would.’ she answered. dumb and humble. The landlady brought in the tea.’ said Morel.’ he said. ‘I shall see you both later. ‘There are one or two books in the corner.’ ‘Ay—well—-’ said Dawes. Then she glanced at him for the last time. He was gone.’ At about four o’clock he went. as he shook hands. not consulting his wish. as if he had been held on a strain. Then he sat humbly waiting for his cup. ‘Then. ‘Good-bye. as it drew near to six o’clock.’ said Paul again to Clara. ‘Good-bye. ‘I’ve done with ‘  . ‘I suppose so. but he saw nothing.’ she answered.’ she said. you’ll see. ‘I’ll come later. ‘Are you coming then or later?’ ‘I don’t know.’ he said.

He remained with his back to her. She did not answer. and put them round his neck. She stood with her hands behind her back.  Sons and Lovers . ‘Take me back!’ she whispered.’ he said. shall you?’ he said. Baxter?’ she asked. inscrutable fashion. towards her. lifted her arms. hesitating. ‘Yes. ‘I shouldn’t go in this rain. ‘It’s raining yet.’ he said. hesitating. ‘Do you want me. as if she were only semi-conscious. ‘Do you want me again?’ he murmured. The sea was roaring. ‘Is it?’ she answered.’ he said.window. ‘Do you WANT me to stay?’ she asked. drawing him to her. ‘You won’t go to-night. broken. His hand as he held the dark curtain trembled. holding her clasped. take me back!’ And she put her fingers through his fine. ecstatic. looking up at him in a heavy. ‘Take me back. turned. She rose and went slowly to him. He tightened his grasp on her. All was dark outside. He waited. He let go the curtain. thin dark hair. His voice was hoarse as he answered: ‘Do you want to come back to me?’ She made a moaning noise. He hid his face on her shoulder.

Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Everything seemed to have gone smash for the young man. and Morel went to live with a friendly family in Bestwood. strained look in his eyes. and as they could neither of them bear the emptiness of the house. to almost any woman. just the same. He talked to barmaids. but there was that dark. There was nothing left. When he came home he could not take up his brushes again. He could not paint. as if he were hunting something. Walter Morel seemed to have let all the trouble go over  . and there he was.CHAPTER XV DERELICT CLARA went with her husband to Sheffield. As there was no one to keep on the home. drinking. So he was always in the town at one place or another. save that each felt he must not let the other go in any actual want. The picture he finished on the day of his mother’s death—one that satisfied him—was the last thing he did. It really wearied him. crawling about on the mud of it. Paul took lodgings in Nottingham. and Paul scarcely saw her again. knocking about with the men he knew. There was scarcely any bond between father and son. At work there was no Clara.

her eyes. His friends talked to him: he heard the sounds. in her company. that things had lost their reality. ‘Why trouble to go tilting down to Trent Bridges?’ he asked of the big trams. The realest thing was the thick darkness at night. But he  Sons and Lovers . Unconsciously he had been with her. and he answered. But it had to come to an end. brilliant tram-cars ran along the street at night. He could leave himself to it. He stood still. He was most himself when he was alone. They would have given him the liveliest emotion at one time. when he lapsed from consciousness. There seemed no reason why people should go along the street. But why there should be the noise of speech he could not understand. Now they were there. There seemed no reason why these things should occupy the space. In the latter case there was pure forgetfulness. It hurt him so. a flame of agony going over him. In a few moments they would cease to occupy that place. where they had been. The swift hop of the paper reminded him she was gone. and just the space would be. or working hard and mechanically at the factory. with clenched fists. so unreal. and houses pile up in the daylight. instead of leaving it empty. Suddenly a piece of paper started near his feet and blew along down the pavement. but they did not seem to mean anything. The first snowdrops came. Tall. And he saw again the sick-room. It seemed they just as well might NOT be as be.Everything seemed so different. rigid. That seemed to him whole and comprehensible and restful. It seemed almost a wonder they should trouble to rustle backwards and forwards. his mother. He saw the tiny drop-pearls among the grey.

nibbling the fallen crumbs. The days passed. Far away he could hear the sharp clinking of the trucks on the railway. yet he saw the dim smoke wavering up the chimney. The fire was burning low. He could not tell one day from another. They were there in their places. He did not want to move. flashed into sharp phrases. careering wildly. He wanted everything to stand still. One evening he came home late to his lodging. working  . cautiously. could not remember what he had done. He did not know anything. No. ‘What am I doing?’ And out of the semi-intoxicated trance came the answer: ‘Destroying myself. The church clock struck two. the weeks. from time to time. scampered cheekily over his slippers. everybody was in bed. gone into a conglomerated mass. one week from another. Presently two mice came out. The two mice. hardly one place from another. it was not they that were far away. Often he lost himself for an hour at a time. and decided he wanted no supper. He was not thinking of anything.had been with her. It was perfectly still. glanced at the table. so that he could be with her again. He threw on some more coal. some other consciousness. Then. He had not moved a muscle. But where was he himself? The time passed. Nothing was distinct or distinguishable. It was easier so.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Then he sat down in the arm-chair. There was no wrench of knowing anything. He watched them as it were from a long way off. But everything seemed to have fused.

’  Sons and Lovers . They both carry on her effort. ‘But you can go on with your painting. quite mechanically and more distinctly. Then. Only the mice had scuttled.’ Suddenly he felt tired with the burden of it. He did not stir. and what she had done. live feeling. go on with it. There was a sound of a heavy cart clanking down the road. as if it would not rouse. What was it all for—her struggle?’ That was his despair wanting to go after her. ‘You’ve got to carry forward her living. but sat gazing in front of him. ‘Or else you can beget children.’ ‘She’s not.’ ‘She is—in you. Something felt sulky. ‘You’re alive.’ said the will in him. Suddenly the electric light went out. and the fire glowed red in the dark room.’ said his will in him.Then a dull. ‘You’ve got to keep alive for her sake.’ ‘Then live. but a stroke of hot stubbornness inside his chest resisted his own annihilation. gone in an instant. ‘She’s dead.’ ‘Painting is not living. He wanted to give up. told him that it was wrong.’ But he did not want to. the conversation began again inside him. suddenly came the question: ‘Why wrong?’ Again there was no answer. there was a bruising thud in the penny-in-the-slot meter. After a while.

Turning abruptly. then on the side of life. nothing to  . ‘As best you can. The real agony was that he had nowhere to go. things were there. to have done. He would not say it. Sometimes he stood before the bar of the public-house where he called for a drink. or that death had beaten him. When he got inside his bedroom and closed the door. He would not admit that he wanted to die. There was something between him and them. He did not want them. shut Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Then he stopped. doggedly. with the whole force of his soul.’ ‘Miriam?’ But he did not trust that.‘Marry whom?’ came the sulky question. he stood with clenched fist. So the weeks went on. mahogany board. On the threshold he stood and looked at the lighted street. the gobbling drinkers. my dear—-’ he began. He could not get into touch. he went out. he did not want his drink. abandoning himself to the sleep. things weren’t there. he slept at once. But he was not of it or in it. He rose suddenly. Always alone. Sometimes he ran down the streets as if he were mad: sometimes he was mad. Something separated him. It made him pant. went straight to bed. Going straight to bed. in the distance. nothing to say. and WAS nothing himself. He saw the face of the barmaid. ‘Mater. his soul oscillated. first on the side of death. He would not own that life had beaten him. Everything went on there below those lamps. his own glass on the slopped. Everything suddenly stood back away from him.

He put his hope in her. The light glistened on her lower lip as she sang. to a place where he could flirt with a barmaid who was no more to him than the brass pump-handle she drew. He longed for the sermon to be over. he never looked at himself. for the mystery and comfort. He dared not meet his own eyes in the mirror. There was nowhere for him. A warm. turning blindly. She seemed to yearn. He ran down the road. Her comfort and her life seemed in the after-world. and went away. He could 0 Sons and Lovers . there. He felt stifled. everywhere. He determined to work. The stress grew inside him. He felt he couldn’t touch the lamp-posts. when they stood up to sing the second hymn he saw her before him. But when he had made six strokes. hurried off to a club where he could play cards or billiards. got up. She looked as if she had got something. not if he reached. sometimes it made him worse. Perhaps—perhaps—-? Then. In despair he thought of Miriam. happening to go into the Unitarian Church one Sunday evening. The throng carried her out just before him. as she sang. and. neither back into the inn. Where could he go? There was nowhere to go. Sometimes the drink did him good. he went here. but there was nothing to get hold of. strong feeling for her came up. to speak to her. He wanted to get away from himself.away from him. he went in and drank.’ he said. he felt he should smash. He was very thin and lantern-jawed. at any rate: some hope in heaven. if not in earth. or forward anywhere. ‘I mustn’t. For ever restless. He could not get at them. he loathed the pencil violently.

it’s not necessary. people were coming down the steps.’ He turned away. only till to-morrow. She always looked so lost and out of place among people.’ he said: ‘then I’ll Free eBooks at Planet eBook. She was better and bigger than he. He shrank slightly from her. He would leave himself to her. ‘Nor I. They threaded through the throng of church people. flaring hope sank again. ‘I’m staying at Cousin Anne’ 1 .’ she said—‘no. ‘What are you doing in town?’ he asked. then hid her face under her hatbrim.’ ‘Ha! For long?’ ‘No. They went down Hollow Stone. He saw the brown. She did not know he was there. She went wandering. The large coloured windows glowed up in the night. ‘I didn’t know—-’ she faltered. ‘You will just have supper with me. He would depend on her.nearly touch her. and he took the car for the Bridges. humble nape of her neck under its black curls. He looked away. Dark figures came through the lighted doors.’ ‘Must you go straight home?’ She looked at him. She started violently. His sudden. and she went with him. The organ was still sounding in St. in her blind way.’ he said. Her great brown eyes dilated in fear. ‘No. The church was like a great lantern suspended. then went questioning at the sight of him. He went forward and put his hand on her arm. Mary’s. through the little throngs of people outside the church.

they hurried along by the houses. Still touching them with her fingertips. were on the wall. Everything he had touched. There were only a few meaningless lines. Miriam took off her things and looked round.’ he said. They scarcely spoke while they were on the car. Supper was laid.’ she said.’ ‘Very well. He lived down Holme Road. she looked up at him. She bent to them. everything that was in the least personal to him. Her photo. she examined with lingering absorption. she wanted to redis Sons and Lovers . and from some man or other she did not know. Arthur. It was a bare. low and husky. on the naked edge of the town. facing across the river meadows towards Sneinton Hermitage and the steep scrap of Colwick Wood.’ He went out to the kitchen. Annie’s.bring you back. She looked to see what books he was reading. He swung the curtain over the window. Clara’s. severe room. He had been gone from her for so long. ‘Then excuse me a moment. The letters in the rack she saw were from Annie. ‘What will you drink—coffee?’ ‘I should like it. The silent water and the darkness spread away on their left. Evidently just an ordinary novel. The floods were out. She looked on the drawing-board to see what he was doing. Away towards Colwick all was black night. Almost afraid. There was a bowl of freesias and scarlet anemones on the table. The Trent ran dark and full under the bridge.’ she replied. saying: ‘Aren’t they beautiful?’ ‘Yes.

‘And what of it?’ ‘I’m merely going to the farming college at Broughton for three months. ‘H’m!’ he said. ‘I don’t quite understand it.’ she answered gravely. as she paused at a sketch.’ he said.’ she replied.cover him. She was curiously examining a sketch-book when he returned with the coffee. it was so hard and comfortless. Again he made a curious sound of surprise and pleasure. ‘and nothing very interesting.’ He put down the tray. is it?’ ‘No. ‘There’s some not bad stuff in there. But there was not much in the room to help her.’ He took the book from her and went through it. and I shall probably be kept on as a teacher there. ‘I’d forgotten that. what he was now. ‘didn’t I hear something about your earning your own living?’ ‘  . intent on examining everything. ‘By the way. She turned the pages slowly.’ he said. ‘There’s nothing new in it. Or was it for himself? Why was she always most interested in him as he appeared in his work? They sat down to supper.’ she said. He felt again her interest in his work. It only made her feel rather sad.’ he said. bowing her dark head over her cup. It’s not bad. ‘Not at all bad. and went to look over her shoulder. his position.’ ‘I say—that sounds all right for you! You always wanted Free eBooks at Planet eBook.

practically. ‘you’d have told me you were trying. swallowing with difficulty. almost as if she recoiled a little from doing anything so publicly. ‘I don’t suppose it is.’ ‘But a man can give ALL himself to work?’ she asked.’ He was rather disappointed. but nothing was settled then. ‘Why do you think it won’t?’ she asked. Only you’ll find earning your own living isn’t everything. ‘Very glad. ‘I think it will be a great deal.’ she said.’ ‘No. But a woman only works with a part of herself. I don’t think it won’t be a great deal. constrained way.’ she said. He laughed shortly.’ he said.’ ‘Yes.’ he said. ‘Why didn’t you tell me?’ ‘I only knew last week. ‘I suppose you’re glad. The real and vital part is covered up.’ ‘I suppose work CAN be nearly everything to a man. ‘though it isn’t to me. ‘ be independent.’ ‘And a woman only the unimportant part of herself?’  Sons and Lovers .’ ‘I should have thought.’ She ate her food in the deliberate. almost haughtily. ‘Oh. ‘Yes.’ he said. resentfully.’ he said.’ ‘But I heard a month ago.’ ‘Yes—it will be something. that he knew so well.

then looked at him. very low. older than Clara. ‘Then. A sort of stiffness. ‘Nay. She looked at him.‘That’s it. ‘And you have broken off with Clara?’ ‘Yes. the almost hysterical look. ‘About all right.’ she said. almost of woodenness. She seemed old to  . She put her fingers between her lips. Her brown.’ She looked up at him. She suddenly took her finger from her mouth and looked at him. She was wearing a dress of dark claret colour. black. and they sat down. His slim. Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ His body lay like an abandoned thing.’ she said. ‘if it’s true. He winced as he saw them. strewn in the chair. waiting. After supper they drew up to the fire. tortured body lay quite still in the chair. Her bloom of youth had quickly gone. But I don’t know everything. Then he laughed mirthlessly. She meditated a little while. it’s a great shame. He swung her a chair facing him. the curls were fine and free.’ he answered.’ ‘It is. ‘I think we ought to be married. They had still the lack of confidence or repose. ‘And how are things with you?’ she asked.’ He opened his eyes for the first time since many months.’ she said. Still. but her face was much older. ‘You know.’ he answered. had come upon her. and her eyes dilated with anger. that suited her dark complexion and her large features. the brown throat much thinner. nervous hands were clasped over her knee.

’ ‘A prey?’ he repeated. put her arms round him. ‘how you waste yourself! You might be ill. ‘I know you do. ‘At any rate. you want to put me in your pocket. And I should die there smothered. Perhaps I shall soon go abroad. ‘I’m not sure. I suppose. But dare she? She could easily sacri Sons and Lovers . She felt that now he lay at her mercy. ‘See. very near to him.’ then he would leave himself to her. ‘You are mine.’ The despairing doggedness in his tone made her go on her knees on the rug before the fire. But—you love me so much. He lay feeling his despair come up again. His hands lay quite inert on the arms of his chair. There she crouched as if she were crushed by something. and say. ‘And what will you do otherwise?’ she asked. ‘that marriage would be much good.’ he said slowly. and I never know—be no more then than if I had never known you.’ ‘And if we married?’ he asked. and could not raise her head. put her fingers between her lips. smiling.’ She bent her head.’ she said. I could prevent you wasting yourself and being a prey to other women—like—like Clara. you might die. while the bitterness surged up in her heart. take him. If she could rise.’ she replied. She was aware of them. She bowed her head in silence.and attended to her with respect. ‘I don’t know—go on. ‘Why?’ he said.’ ‘I only think of you.

But dare she assert herself? She was aware of his dark-clothed. she knew not with what. that seemed one stroke of life. with him. She pleaded to him with all her love not to make it her choice. appealing. sprawled in the chair close to her. his body. this body. shuddering. She turned her face aside. was her extremity. abandoned. It called to all her woman’s instinct.’ And she wanted to. slender body. His heart caught with pity. But she crouched. ‘It is mine. almost distracted. It was too much for her. raising herself with digFree eBooks at Planet eBook. he was hard. take it up. But it strained her till she felt she would break. She was afraid it was too much. It lay there. ‘Do you want it?’ she asked. then. why did not he take her? Her very soul belonged to him. Now he was straining her again. and looked him in the eyes. very gravely. He took her hands. Oh. She knew she ought to take it up and claim it. and say. pleaded to him suddenly. He wanted something else. gone. before the strong demand of some unknown thing in him. But—could she do it? Her impotence before him.’ he replied. ‘Will you have me. and dared  . Her hands fluttered. and comforted her. Leave it to me. she dared not put her arms round it. No. ‘Not much. and claim every right to it. with pain. She was afraid he would not let her. But no. drew her to him. she half-lifted her head.fice herself. Why would he not take what was his? She had borne so long the cruelty of belonging to him and not being claimed by him. held his face between her hands. Her eyes. She drew back her head. She could not cope with it. to marry me?’ he said very low.

You are mine for a mate. He drew away. the anguished sweetness of self-sacrifice. He was thinking of his mother.’ She had not the strength. She could only sacrifice herself to him—sacrifice herself every day. and rocked him softly. he was denying his own life. So much he wanted to rest on her that the feint of rest only tortured him.nity. He  Sons and Lovers . ‘No. and had forgotten Miriam. then. Her sacrifice. She suddenly looked at him. then! So she could comfort him. She put her fingers through his hair. ‘No. low and like the toll of a bell. But he knew that. Or was it a mate she wanted? or did she want a Christ in him? He felt. she took his head to her bosom. ‘And without marriage we can do nothing?’ he asked. with joy and authority: ‘Stop all this restlessness and beating against death. She was not to have him. wavering. stilling the inner. the hate and misery of another failure. desperate man. He wanted her to hold him and say. His mouth was lifted from his teeth with pain. He could not bear it—that breast which was warm and which cradled him without taking the burden of him. For her. in leaving her. I think not. The smoke went up from it. He lit a cigarette. he was defrauding her of life. She put her little finger between her lips.’ she said. She sat very quiet. And that he did not want. was useless. gladly.’ It was the end then between them. For him. She could not take him and relieve him of the responsibility of himself. in staying. Her bitterness came surging up. And he did not hope to give life to her by denying his own.

he talking. and he took them out of the jar. he would! ‘I think I must go. He was so foolish. He would destroy himself like a perverse child. swift and relentless and quiet. He would escape like a weasel out of her hands. It was like him to have those flowers. By her tone he knew she was despising him. ‘I’ll come along with you.lay there aloof. Suddenly she saw again his lack of religion. and they went out together. she feeling dead. Yet without him her life would trail on lifeless. ‘Have them!’ he said. then. She bowed her face over the flowers—the freesias so sweet and spring-like. never at peace with himself. his restless instability. how unutterably bitter. And now where would he go? And what did he care that he wasted her? He had no religion.’ she said softly. He was unresponsive. and went quickly into the kitchen. Where would he go? What would be the end of him? She could not bear it. so wasteful. She was going from him now. as if the glow were gone out. she touched the flowers. it was all for the moment’s Free eBooks at Planet  . He rose quietly. How bitter. She stood before the mirror pinning on her hat. took the flowers. dripping as they were. the vacant feeling where he should be. In her misery she leaned against him as they sat on the car. He moved about the room with a certain sureness of touch. the scarlet anemones flaunting over the table. careless about her. She waited for him. Brooding. She knew she could not cope with him. Well. it made her that he rejected her sacrifice! Life ahead looked dead.’ he answered.

When he had had enough he would give in and come to her. only Space. that was all. holding everything in its silence and its living gloom. little stars spread far away in the flood-waters. The town. and was in another. wherever she was. They seemed something. Everywhere the vastness and terror of the immense night which is roused and stirred for a brief while by the day. from his mouth. Now she was gone abroad into the night. From his breast. and he was with her still. nothing deeper. He got off the car. there he stood alone. They were small shadows whose footsteps and voices could be heard. little smouldering spots for more towns— the sea—the night—on and on! And he had no place in it! Whatever spot he stood on. a firmament below. Where was he?—one tiny upright 0 Sons and Lovers . his chest. and will remain at last eternal. she would wait and see how it turned out with him. And his soul could not leave her. They were together. In the country all was dead still. Well. The people hurrying along the streets offered no obstruction to the void in which he found himself. and it was there behind him. But yet there was his body. but in each of them the same night. sprang the endless space. When he turned away he felt the last hold for him had gone. There was no Time. his hands on the wooden bar. Little stars shone high up. everywhere. He shook hands and left her at the door of her cousin’s house. a level fume of lights. but which returns. that leaned against the stile. Beyond the town the country. as he sat upon the car. the same silence. stretched away over the bay of railway. nothing else. Who could say his mother had lived and did not live? She had been in one place.attraction that he cared.

He wanted her to touch him. intermingled herself. So much. ‘Mother!’ he whispered—‘mother!’ She was the only thing that held him up. to the darkness. He could not bear it. into extinction. and yet not nothing. And she was gone. But no. went reaching out. Stars and sun. went spinning round for terror. less than an ear of wheat lost in the field. infinitesimal. there in a darkness that outpassed them all. quickly. have him alongside with her. He walked towards the faintly humming. himself. His fists were shut. at the core a nothingness. and left them tiny and daunted. a few bright grains. to follow her. Night. and himself. he could not be extinct. THE END Free eBooks at Planet eBook. he walked towards the city’s gold phosphorescence. glowing town. On every side the immense dark silence seemed pressing him. beyond stars and sun. in which everything was lost. amid all this. he would not give 1 . and yet.speck of flesh. He would not take that direction. almost nothing. Turning sharply. so tiny a spark. his mouth set fast. and holding each other in embrace.

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