Sons and Lovers

By D. H. Lawrence

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Part One

‘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 

Sons and Lovers

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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.’ 
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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 
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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
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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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Walter. whose assistant she had become.’ An’ so I took one. She remembered to have hated her father’s overbearing manner towards her gentle. she had from the Coppards. ‘Here. tha niver said thankyer for nowt i’ thy life. He became foreman of the engineers in the dockyard at Sheerness. when they had sat under the vine at the back of her father’s house. to see if it had any milk. did ter?’ As a compromise. but more proud still of his integrity. But her temper. She remembered to have been petted and flattered by all the men when she had gone to the dockyard. And she still had the Bible that John Field had given her. She remembered running over the breakwater at Sheerness and finding the boat. humorous. is Bill Hodgkisson. you may back yer life o’ that. loved her mother best of all. She favoured her mother. was an engineer—a large. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. I’ve ‘ad very little this day. ‘tha non wants them three nuts. went to bed as quickly as possible. kindly-souled mother. she picked up the cocoanut and shook it. very tired. ‘Bill. Walt. ‘Nay. had been to college in London. haughty man. ‘Eh. He chattered on.’ she said shortly. He was the son of a wellto-do tradesman. famous independents who had fought with Colonel Hutchinson. Morel came of a good old burgher family. Morel. but she had the Coppards’ clear.’ I says. on the table. tha mucky little ‘ussy. rather proud child. a hairy object.’ He laid the gingerbread and the cocoanut. while he raked the fire. He was extraordinarily pleased with himself.‘He thinks you’ve made the rest up in beer. yer see. handsome. defiant blue eyes and their broad brow. who’s drunk. proud and unyielding. and you’re drunk along with him. I sh’d like ter know?’ said Morel. but ‘e says. ‘An’ I ‘aven’t—that I ‘aven’t. and was to devote himself to business. She could always recall in detail a September Sunday afternoon. because of his day’s helping to wait in the Moon and Stars. She remembered the funny old mistress. Gertrude resembled her mother in her small build. George Coppard was bitterly galled by his own poverty. ‘Tha’d better ma’e sure it’s a good un. Mrs. my lad. does ter? Arena ter for gi’ein’ me one for my bit of a lad an’ wench?’ ‘I ham. Morel. I knowed it was. an’ a cocoanut for th’ children. like a lace scarf.’ ‘e says.’ His voice went tender. Morel—Gertrude—was the second daughter. She used to walk home from chapel with John Field when she was nineteen. proud of his fair skin and blue eyes. I have an’ all. The sun came through the chinks of the vine-leaves and made beautiful patterns. e’s a nice chap!’ ‘A man will part with anything so long as he’s drunk. Mrs. for she was a delicate. Mrs.’ An’ so. Her 1 .’ said Mrs. George Coppard. an’ I browt thee a bit o’ brandysnap. ‘ta’e which on ‘em ter’s a mind. Her grandfa1 Sons and Lovers ther had gone bankrupt in the lace-market at a time when so many lace-manufacturers were ruined in Nottingham. I got it fra’ Bill Hodgkisson. and who remained stout Congregationalists. an’ thanked ‘im. whom she had loved to help in the private school. I didn’t like ter shake it afore ‘is eyes. and sick of his babble. ‘It’s a good ‘un. You b’lieve me. He’s a nice chap.

At twenty. And still Mrs. She was clever in leading folk to talk. a rich. owing to her health. When she was twenty-three years old. frowning with puzzled helplessness. and kept his memory intact in her heart. Morel was then twenty-seven years old. To her dying day. she did not speak of him. and I know he’ll do it. She did not hear of him until.Well. ‘I don’t. a kind of gambolling. So she preserved his Bible. Morel preserved John Field’s Bible. ‘If I were a man.’ ‘Then why don’t you—why DON’T you?’ Her voice rang with defiance. I don’t know what it IS like! It’s as bright as copper and gold. a young man from the Erewash Valley. receptive mind which found much pleasure and amusement in listening to other folk. she understood pretty well what he might or might not have been. and was considered very intellectual. I should love it. Now. ‘Now your hair. non-intellectual. fascinated. Her father had retired home to Nottingham. This she did not often Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and very smart. ‘But my father’s so stiff-necked.’ he replied. He was rather timid before her. He had married his landlady. for her own sake.’ she half implored.’ he had cried. but it was satiric. ‘I should. He had that rare thing. and a vigorous black beard that had never been shaved. He was so full of colour and animation. She herself was opposite. erect. She did not now believe him to be—.’ She had met his brilliant eyes. His cheeks were ruddy. Some of the leaves were clean yellow. He means to put me into the business. she had left Sheerness. Fancy their saying it’s brown. ‘Being a man isn’t everything. Her own father had a rich fund of humour. I hate it!’ he cried hotly. but her clear face scarcely showed the elation which rose within her.’ she pursued. This man’s was different: soft. He had wavy black hair that shone again. he was so ready and so pleasant with everybody. She loved ideas. She had a curious. ‘Now sit still. Gertrude Coppard had watched him. with some experience of what being a man 1 . two years later. He was well set-up. like yellow flat flowers. John Field’s father had been ruined. as she moved about her work at the Bottoms. she knew that it was NOT everything. warm. she made determined inquiry. a woman of forty. and it has gold threads where the sun shines on it. ‘And you would like to go into the ministry. What she liked most of all was an argument on religion or philosophy or politics with some educated man. nothing would stop me. Your mother calls it mouse-colour. his voice ran so easily into comic grotesque. moist mouth was noticeable because he laughed so often and so heartily. a widow with property. ‘But you say you don’t like business. ringing laugh. she met.’ She held her head erect. if I thought I could make a first-rate preacher. as red as burnt copper. at a Christmas party. for thirty-five years.falling on her and on him. the son had gone as a teacher in 1 Sons and Lovers Norwood.’ ‘But if you’re a MAN?’ she had cried. and his red.

you know. She watched him. like her father. I don’t want to dance that—it’s not one as I care about. Her dress was always subdued. Her smile was very beautiful.’ she reproved. In her person she was rather small and delicate. Therefore the dusky. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. She thought him rather wonderful. And George Coppard. with tumbled black hair. It moved the man so that he forgot everything. When she spoke to him. never having met anyone like him. she had not the slightest inclination towards that accomplishment. handsome. proud in his bearing. and searching. His grandfather was a French refugee who had married an English barmaid—if it had been a marriage.’ He laughed very heartily at this. who preferred theology in reading.enjoy. with a peculiar silver chain of silver scallops. Her father was to her the type of all men. and laughing alike whatever partner he bowed above. Her blue eyes were very 1 . Her words came clean and ringing. finding her pleasure so. Gertrude Coppard watched the young miner as he danced. She was puritan. Gertrude herself was rather 1 Sons and Lovers contemptuous of dancing. not baffled and gripped into incandescence by thought and spirit as her life was. who ignored all sensuous pleasure:—he was very different from the miner. honest. ‘But you mustn’t miss your dance. He danced well.’ he said caressively. who was harsh in government. a certain subtle exultation like glamour in his movement. I won’t dance. seemed to her something wonderful.’ she said. ruddy.’ It was her turn to laugh quickly. He came and bowed above her. She glanced at his humility and smiled. ‘No. and in familiarity ironic. it was with a southern pronunciation and a purity of English which thrilled him to hear. ‘Nay. ‘I never thought o’ that. that flowed off his flesh like the flame from a candle. She was still perfectly intact. Not knowing what he was doing—he often did the right thing by instinct—he sat beside her. Tha’rt not long in taking the curl out of me. and full of beautiful candour. I’m pining to see you dance. She wore dark blue silk. ‘Now do come and have this one wi’ me. and rather bitter. and really stern. and dropping bunches of brown silk curls. ‘You don’t look as if you’d come much uncurled. Walter Morel seemed melted away before her. and who drew near in sympathy only to one man.’ ‘Yet you invited me to it. and had never learned even a Roger de Coverley. the Apostle Paul. So she always had people tell her about themselves. She was to the miner that thing of mystery and fascination. as if it were natural and joyous in him to dance. high-minded. beyond her. and his face the flower of his body. ‘It’s easy. was her only ornament. with a large brow.’ she said softly. and a heavy brooch of twisted gold. She had the beautiful hands of the Coppards.’ She had told him before she could not dance. a lady. inclining reverentially. deeply religious. A warmth radiated through her as if she had drunk wine. golden softness of this man’s sensuous flame of life. This.

if not exactly same. worthy stuff that suited her honest soul. and for three months she was perfectly happy: for six months she was very happy. So she would say: ‘I do like that coal-rake of your mother’s—it is small and natty. when she herself wearied of love-talk. She looked at him. and with gaiety. He was a remarkably handy man—could make or mend anything.’ He thrust his face forward in the blind. seized with a sudden curiosity. I made that. she tried to open her heart seriously to him. Sometimes he was restless of an evening: it was not enough for him just to be near her. an’ tha can see for thysen. He Free eBooks at Planet eBook. She realised the life of the miners. startled.’ ‘Does ter. 1 Sons and Lovers He had signed the pledge. The women. but without understanding. This killed her efforts at a finer intimacy. You live like th’ mice. He was busy and happy. ‘Yes. but convenient enough. This was a new tract of life suddenly opened before her. She saw him listen deferentially. He risked his life daily. She was glad when he set himself to little jobs. it ‘ud dirty thee. nor the hammering and noise. in his own house. ‘And you are a miner!’ she exclaimed in surprise. ‘They dun though!’ he protested naively.’ she frowned.’ She had never been ‘thee’d’ and ‘thou’d’ before. she thought. with solid. But tha mun let me ta’e thee down some time. and wore the blue ribbon of a tee-totaller: he was nothing if not showy. But she could perfectly well live by herself.‘I’m like a pig’s tail. rather 1 . and.’ She looked at him in wondering dismay. an’ there’s some chaps as does go round like moudiwarps. ‘Tha niver seed such a way they get in. They lived.’ She looked at him. ‘Appen not. were rather foreign to her. ‘You soon get used to it. It was small. I curl because I canna help it.’ ‘It makes me feel blind. snout-like way of a mole. and she had flashes of fear. hundreds of them toiling below earth and coming up at evening. she realised. and quite nicely furnished. seeming to sniff and peer for direction. ‘Shouldn’t ter like it?’ he asked tenderly. and Morel’s mother and sisters were apt to sneer at her ladylike ways. her neighbours. ‘When you were ten! And wasn’t it very hard?’ she asked. when she was brushing his Sunday coat. so long as she had her husband close. He seemed to her noble. she felt papers in the breast pocket. with a touch of appeal in her pure humility.’ he laughed.’ She did not mind the mess. The next Christmas they were married. my wench? Well. so I can make thee one! ‘ ‘What! why. ‘Like a moudiwarp!’ he laughed. it’s a steel one!’ ‘An’ what if it is! Tha s’lt ha’e one very similar. took them out to read. I went down when I was ten. an’ you pop out at night to see what’s going on. ‘Yi. Sometimes. But in the seventh month.

‘And not clear either. I had better go into Nottingham on Saturday and settle them. six pounds more should have been squandered in eating and drinking at Walter’s parents’ house. She was her father now. ‘I thought the house we live in—-’ she began. ‘Then we ought to be paying you rent. was his own. bitingly.’ she replied.’ said the elder woman. I did. I haven’t had a chance. She said very little to her husband.’ ‘But where has it all gone?’ ‘You’ll find all the papers. an’ six pound as the wedding cost down here. if you look—beside 0 Sons and Lovers ten pound as he owed me. ‘His houses—which houses?’ Gertrude Morel went white to the lips. ‘Yes. still unpaid. ‘And what rent?’ asked Gertrude.’ she said coldly. after he was washed and had had his dinner.’ ‘I thought—-’ she began. He had told her the house he lived in. He had told her he had a good bit of money left over. It’s as much as I can do to keep the mortgage interest paid. ‘It is lucky to be you. ‘Didn’t you buy the furniture for Walter?’ she asked. Haven’t you settled the bills yet?’ ‘No. I think.’ said the mother-in-law. at his expense.’ retorted the mother. ‘They’re my houses. but her manner had changed towards him. if you’re so keen on knowin’. and the next one.’ He did not answer.’ replied the mother. ‘Six and six a week. I don’t like sitting on another man’s chairs and eating from an unpaid table. can’t I?’ ‘Tha can ha’e it. ‘I can have your bank-book. Gertrude held her head erect. They were the bills of the household furniture. It seemed to her monstrous that.’ ‘Six pounds!’ echoed Gertrude Morel. Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ tartly retorted the elder woman. those two.very rarely wore the frock-coat he was married in: and it had not occurred to her before to feel curious concerning the papers.’ Gertrude sat white and silent. ‘Walter is paying me rent. Something in her proud.’ she said at night. and leaves you a free hand. after her own father had paid so heavily for her wedding. It was more than the house was worth.’ The young wife was silent. honourable soul had crystallised out hard as rock. She sat rigid with bitterness and indignation. ‘And how much has he sunk in his houses?’ she asked. ‘I found these in the pocket of your wedding-coat. But she realised it was no use asking questions. ‘to have a husband as takes all the worry of the 1 . ‘Look here. The next day she went down to see his mother. ‘Eighty pound. ‘Eighty pounds! But there are forty-two pounds still owing!’ ‘I can’t help that. ‘And how much did he give you to pay for it?’ The elder woman was stung with fine indignation.’ ‘But you told me all was paid. for what good it’ll be to thee. looked straight before her.

The women did not spare her. There was nothing at the back of all his show. The child had Free eBooks at Planet eBook. aren’t they?’ she said to her washer-woman. he is though! Why.’ ‘I didn’t know he was famous. I don’t think. and his presence only made it more intense. though she could not help it. do you.’ laughed Mrs. He came just when her own bitterness of disillusion was hardest to bear. when her faith in life was shaken. she said bitterly to herself. ‘No later than they allers do. when there was great talk of opening a dancing-class over the Brick and Tile Inn at Bestwood.When October came in. She tried to force him to face things. and dark-blue eyes which changed gradually to a clear grey. She felt lonely with him now. he did. in October. accordin’ to all accounts. He could not endure it—it drove him out of his mind. and the father was jealous. saying nothing. What he felt just at the minute. but he came on quickly. Morel. the novelty of his own home was gone. and her soul felt dreary and lonely. This Christmas she would bear him a child. Last Christmas she had married him. that was all to him. ‘No—I never had the least inclination  .’ ‘Did he?’ ‘Yes.’ The other woman was defiant. She fought to make him undertake his own responsibilities. Morel replied. an’ they get talkin’. as good as gold. miles away from her own people. looked at Mrs. Two years ago. bloody battle that ended only with the death of one. Morel. The boy was small and frail at first. He could not abide by anything. But he was too different from her. then went on with her work. missis?’ asked her nearest neighbour. at first. Gertrude Morel was very ill when the boy was born.’ Mrs. She made much of the child. she thought only of Christmas. His nature was purely sensuous. ‘Yea. religious. an’ there you are! Dinner stone cold—an’ it serves ‘em right. and she strove to make him moral. He had begun to neglect her. He began to be rather late in coming home. to make him fulfill his obligations. He had no grit. ‘You don’t dance yourself.’ This kind of thing was gall and bitterness to Mrs. she had met him. ‘An’ it was thronged every Tuesday. There began a battle between the husband and wife— a fearful. At last Mrs.’ ‘But Mr. But they stop to have their pint at Ellen’s. Morel does not take any drink. ‘They’re working very late now. the father’s temper had become so irritable that it was not to be trusted. and she had a fair share of it. with dark gold ringlets. You know he’s quite a famous one for dancing. While the baby was still tiny. Morel despised her husband. He was a beautiful child. an’ Sat’day—an’ there WAS carryin’s-on. ‘Fancy! An’ how funny as you should ha’ married your Mester. But she felt very lonely. Morel. His mother loved him passionately. She turned to the child. for she was superior. and Thursday. she turned from the father. at Christmas. he ran that dancing-class in the Miners’ Arms club-room for over five year.’  Sons and Lovers The woman dropped the clothes. Morel was good to her.

She went about her work with closed mouth and very quiet. as if he could not breathe. She was one of those women who cannot cry. and MoFree eBooks at Planet eBook. and standing between his legs. and he went out and drank. and his white coat. Her lip trembled. The estrangement between them caused him. he was so pretty. He gazed in the fire. Morel sat with his elbows on his knees. and stroked and fondled his head. It was like ripping something out of her. whom it hurts as it hurts a man. Mrs. His attempt at laughter had vanished. She left the newspaper. on his return. he was a joy to her. the twining wisps of hair clustering round his head. and came forward. and seated in his armchair. his hands gripped together till the knuckles were white. the breakfast was roughly laid.’ Morel said. feeling almost stunned. It was her first baby. a myriad of crescent-shaped curls. sooner or later. ‘Yer non want ter make a wench on ‘im. but her sisters kept the boy in clothes. Then Mrs. Afterwards she said she had been silly. Morel stood still. She gripped her two fists. Then. When she came downstairs. Morel lay listening. Morel was subdued. she scathed him with her satire. Presently she came to an end. rather timid.only to give a little trouble when the man began to bully. Morel shrank back. Only. She put her hands on his hair. close-clipped head of her child. soothed the child and cleared away the breakfast-table. But he felt something final had happened. She spoke to him civilly. in a frightened tone. her sobbing. grossly to offend her where he would not have done. lifted them. littered with curls. and his meals were a misery that day. knowingly or unknowingly.  Sons and Lovers ‘I could kill you. She choked with rage. the room was hot. one Sunday morning. loathed him for days. the child—cropped like a sheep. and his mother was proud of him. she even brought herself to say to her husband it was just as well he had played barber when he did. that the boy’s hair would have had to be cut. Then she dozed  . a great fire glowed in the grate. In the end. William was only one year old. He crept about wretchedly. At last her husband gathered it up and put it at the back of the fire. ‘What dost think o’ ‘im?’ Morel laughed uneasily. But she knew. spread upon the hearthrug. She went very white. with such an odd round poll—looking wondering at her. and the hard hands of the collier hit the baby. sat Morel. She was not well off now. Morel loathed her husband. like the petals of a marigold scattered in the reddening firelight. ‘Oh—my boy!’ she faltered. The mother looked down at the jagged. I could!’ she said. her face broke. to the chatter of the father and child downstairs. A little more. and. and on a newspaper spread out upon the hearthrug. her two fists uplifted. and she cared very little what he did. and was unable to speak. bending his head to shield his eyes from hers. against the chimney-piece. and never alluded to what he had done. Mrs. she buried her face in his shoulder and cried painfully. snatching up the child. with his little white hat curled with an ostrich feather.

but she lost none of her worth. She also had the children. What about these props?’ An’ I says to him. an’ t’other chaps they did laugh. therefore he could only abuse the pit-managers. and every Sunday evening. was often a poltroon. But although he was very steady at work. If he sinned. and unprofitable. She injured and hurt and scarred herself. his wages fell off. they more or less took each other for granted. It’ll ‘appen carry thee ter bed an’ back. It was now a religious  .‘ So Morel would go on to the amusement of his boon companions. He had been a boy along with Morel. On Monday and Tuesday he had to get up and reluctantly leave towards ten o’clock. sometimes earning as much as five pounds a week when he married. The pity was. and lied. Authority was hateful to him. she had fretted after him. sometimes a knave. she still continued to strive with him. He sat in the Miners’ Arms until turning-out time every Friday. this ‘ere’ll not do. where the coal was thin. If he drank. He imitated the manager’s fat. in the Palmerston: ‘Th’ gaffer come down to our stall this morning. She could not be content with the little he might be. The week-end was his chief carouse. But Alfred Charlesworth did not forgive the butty these public-house sayings. or was only out for an  Sons and Lovers hour. with its attempt at good English. Walter. it was never injured. she was too much his opposite.’ So ‘e wor that mad. she destroyed him. He was blab-mouthed. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and she was almost a fanatic with him. squeaky voice. Consequently. she tortured him. And some of this would be true. in seeking to make him nobler than he could be. though not more than many miners. while she had striven against him bitterly. ‘I’ve niver fun out how much tha’ knows. This act of masculine clumsiness was the spear through the side of her love for Morel. Who knows more about it. what art talkin’ about? What d’st mean about th’ props?’ ‘It’ll never do. she wielded the lash unmercifully. although Morel was a good miner. or had loved him. ‘You’ll be havin’ th’ roof in. as if he had gone astray from her. ‘You know. She still had her high moral sense. every Saturday.’ An’ I says.’ Morel was a good mimic. He drank rather heavily. He would say. ‘e cossed an’ ‘e swore. an’ hold it up wi’ thy ‘ead. Walter. ‘Why. She remembered the scene all her life. that that act had caused something momentous to take place in her soul. inherited from generations of Puritans. she would have him the much that he ought to be. This made life much more bearable. The pit-manager was not an educated man. ‘Tha’d better stan’ on a bit o’ clunch. He practically never had to miss work owing to his drinking. because she loved him. Nevertheless. Alfred. so that. So. and hard to get. as one in which she had suffered the most intensely.’ ‘e says. while the two disliked each other. he came gradually to have worse and worse stalls. ‘I shan’t have it.rel knew. an’ ‘e says. Sometimes he stayed at home on Wednesday and Thursday evenings. so that whilst his health was affected. a tongue-wagger. then. me or you?’ So I says. Now she ceased to fret for his love: he was an outsider to her. and always beer. one o’ these days. this ‘ere. Before.

women and children and men. wavy hair. not public-house debts. He nearly always whistled hymns.’ And there is a sort of shadow over  . the miner might earn fifty or fifty-five shillings a week. he gave her thirty-five. say: ‘Minton’s knocked off. if he were flush. he came in from his carpentry. or a fancy walking-stick. harassed. she heard him whistling away to himself downstairs. He had a pleasant way of whistling. On Friday night. to provide everything—rent. matters were more worrying. and he gave his wife no opportunity of saving. with black. before six o’clock. and the mother was washing up. He was still a good-looking man. happy in his man’s fashion. At nine o’clock. In winter. On the Tuesday morning Morel rose early. He had been a choir-boy with a beautiful voice. instead. Quite early. Saturday. and Sunday. So it galled her bitterly to think he should be out taking his pleasure and spending money. Morel was supposed to give his wife thirty shillings a week. but debts when he had bought a canary. Occasionally. He was in good spirits. eleven. on bright sunny mornings. or twelve o’clock. but he was not so often drunk. clubs. The women on the hillside look across as they shake the hearthrug against the fence. in the bright early morning. And out of so much. from sixteen he kept sixpence. while the children with bare legs and feet were sitting playing on the sofa.’ If he earned forty shillings he kept ten. for when he’s flush. In the bad times. lively and musical. from eighteen he kept a shilling. from thirty-five he kept five. And the children. insurance. from thirty-two he kept four. Then he was happy. At the wakes time Morel was working badly. His wife lay listening to him tinkering away in the garden. there isn’t a minute of peace. with a decent stall.Also. clothes. Often. in summer. It all went in drink. No empty trucks stand at the pitmouth. It always gave her a sense of warmth and peace to hear him thus as she lay in bed. his sleeves rolled up. doctors. whilst she remained at home. and had taken solos in Southwell cathedral. There were two days’ holiday. food. My dad’ll be at home. his whistling ringing out as he sawed and hammered away. His face Free eBooks at Planet eBook. from twenty he kept one-and-six. Morel used to say: ‘I’m not sure I wouldn’t rather be short. he scarcely spared the children an extra penny or bought them a pound of apples. and count the wagons the engine is taking along the line up the valley. because money will be short at the end of the week. the men are seen trooping home again at ten. the pits are slack. he spent royally. from twenty-eight  Sons and Lovers he kept three. His morning whistling alone betrayed it. and a large black moustache. from twenty-four he kept two. and Mrs. Morel was trying to save against her confinement. He never saved a penny. so that Mrs. his waistcoat hanging open. getting rid of his sovereign or thereabouts. looking down the fields and seeing the wheels on the headstocks standing. But these occasions by no means balanced those when he gave her twenty-five. the children not yet awake. she had occasionally to pay his debts. for those never were passed on to the women. as they come from school at dinner-time.

Morel. so much alacrity with which he hurried to the mirror in the kitchen. Mrs. brittle dignity. are thee there!’ he said boisterously.’ retorted Mrs. thin man. ‘A nice day. a girl of fifteen. Now.’ With which he stood watching her a moment. tha mucky little ‘ussy. craning his thin neck over the scullery curtain. ‘But his fist is shut tight enough to his children. poor things. Morel would not be appeased on Jerry’s score. ‘Grand out this morning—grand for a walk. coolly asserting the rights of men and husbands. At half-past nine Jerry Purdy came to call for his pal. As such. and wore his Sunday tail-coat. She had known his wife. Morel. The subject of argument was seen. but stood there. at the end. and what his clothes would not do. He caught Mrs. conceived such a violent dislike of her husband. Morel. He went straight to the sink where his wife was washing up. he looked spruce. accordin’ to my knowledge. But now he was jolly. ‘What. then went away to wait for her. ‘I’ve never known Jerry mean in MY life. and who had. He was a tall. the kind of face that seems to lack eyelashes.was perhaps too much inflamed. he seemed to be very fond of Morel. wizzen-hearted stick!’ Mrs.’ ‘Ha! I can’ an’ a’.’ ‘Open-handed to you. and stood by the kitchen doorway. Morel hated him. Morel’s eye.’ ‘You may wait till I’ve finished. a black bow. Morel said of him.’ said his 1 . There seemed so much gusto in the way he puffed and swilled as he washed himself.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘A opener-handed and more freer chap you couldn’t find anywhere. and looked after the two younger children.’ protested Morel. Generous where he intended to be generous. He put on a turn-down collar. however. I should like to know. and more or less to take charge of him.’ But Mrs. He was not invited to sit down. he made a toilet. mun I? An’ what if I shonna?’ This good-humoured threat amused Mrs.’ Jerry entered unasked.’ ‘Poor things! And what for are they poor things. who had died of consumption. and Mrs. kept a poor house for him. His 0 Sons and Lovers nature was cold and shrewd. with a rather foxy face. ‘Yes. scrupulously parted his wet black hair. that it irritated Mrs. ‘Oh. and there was about him a look almost of peevishness. And now his eldest daughter. Morel disliked him. ‘A mean. ‘Then you can go and wash yourself in the soft-water tub. Morel. and. When he chose he could still make himself again a real gallant. that if he came into her room it caused her haemorrhage. bending because it was too low for him. Jerry was Morel’s bosom friend. ‘Sluthe off an’ let me wesh mysen.’ he said to Mrs. He walked with a stiff. his instinct for making the most of his good looks would. None of which Jerry had seemed to mind. as if his head were on a wooden spring. missis! Mester in?’ ‘Yes—he is. Usually he preferred to go out with a scarf round his neck. ‘Mornin’.

malevolent power—‘the devil’s pictures. All the men in the old. full of assurance. Morel took off his  . Mrs. When he rose to go forward he felt queer. The place smelled stale. gossiped in the alley between the blocks. smoking vaguely in the midday glare. Mother and child leaned on the rail of the old sheepbridge. Every inhabitant remaining was out of doors. The children were put to bed at seven o’clock. on skittles. at the other end of the meadow. watching. The women. and the flies were teasing. In the last field Morel lay down under an oak tree and slept soundly for over an hour. a railway journey no longer impended. Up at the dipping-hole. Annie played under the tall old hedge. Jerry held the hat containing the money. which restored him to solvency. and won half a crown. that she called currants. They caught the 7. Morel never in his life played cards. where they mixed in the excitement of pigeon-racing. in twos and threes. They were going for a ten-mile walk across the fields to Nottingham. Mrs. sat on their heels and talked. The water ran quickly over stones and broken pots. Then a long five miles of drought to carry them into Bulwell to a glorious pint of bitter. Then she worked awhile. the slate roofs glistered in the arid heat. Morel rather subdued. picking up alder cones. But they stayed in a field with some haymakers whose gallon bottle was full. so that. afraid to seem too jubilant in presence of his wife. fridging the crest away to the south with spires and factory bulks and chimneys. however.’ he replied. when they came in sight of the city. they mounted gaily into the morning. Some stood with their mugs  Sons and Lovers in their hands. ‘Yes. then launched it. She knew William was at the dipping-hole. Morel took the little girl down to the brook in the meadows. When Walter Morel and Jerry arrived at Bestwood they felt a load off their minds. or an occasional bright figure dart glittering over the blackish stagnant meadow. Climbing the hillside from the Bottoms. Morel was sleepy. He played havoc among the nine-pins.’ he called them! But he was a master of skittles and of dominoes. then repaired to the Punch Bowl. The two had dinner in the Meadows. and it was the dread of her life lest he should get drowned. But he laced his boots quickly. Morel felt his big wooden ball carefully. At the Moon and Stars they had their first drink. ‘H’m!’ The two men greeted each other. We mean walkin’ to Nottingham. In the afternoon the Bottoms was intolerable. betting either one way or the other. considering them as having some occult. both glad: Jerry. having a rest between drinks.30 train home. The men at the tables watched. long bar took sides. then on to the Old Spot.‘Do you mean YOU’RE going for a walk?’ she asked. Morel could see the naked forms of boys flashing round the deep yellow water. with Jerry’s sister. bareheaded and in white aprons. He took a challenge from a Newark man. Men. which were not more than two hundred yards away. so they could put the finishing touches to a glorious Free eBooks at Planet eBook. The child required much attention. The town spread upwards before them. By seven o’clock the two were in good condition. with spirit.

’ He thrust his face forward at her. you’re a liar. He entered just as Mrs. ‘You don’t get as drunk as a lord on nothing.’ ‘I’ve not spent a two-shillin’ bit this day. and still ‘the pair’ had not returned. They went on till he called her a liar.’’ he repeated. to sleep in preparation for the morrow. ‘You’re a liar!’ he yelled. Shut your face.’ she it’s a lie. and then.’ she replied. ‘Good gracious. ‘coming home in his drunk Sons and Lovers enness!’ ‘Comin’ home in his what?’ he snarled. ‘As if ‘Genevieve’ weren’t good enough. ‘You’re a liar. kindly Light. Mrs. He did not know he was angry. The boiling liquor pitched. scarce able to breathe. Each forgot everything save the hatred of the other and the battle between them. Mrs.’ Mrs. nobody but a nasty little bitch like you ‘ud ‘ave such a thought. the most despicable liar that ever walked in shoe-leather. ‘There’s money to bezzle with. had spent their money. went indoors.’ he said. flashing into sudden fury. let him look after his children. Morel was always indignant with the drunken men that they must sing that hymn when they got maudlin. On the hob a large black saucepan steamed slowly. Suddenly her blood rose in a jet. in a drawl: ‘Lead. if there’s money for nothing else. Morel started back. and was stirring the sugar into the beer. But when the garden gate resisted his attempts to open it. listening to their mournful singing. ‘Say you’re not drunk.  . straining herself to the weight. his hat over his eye. She was fiery and furious as he. starting up. after having slept on the ground when he was so hot.’ she cried. for they need it. Mrs. He dropped his two hands heavily on the table. streamed a heap of white sugar into the bottom. ‘if you’ve been sponging on your beloved Jerry.’ she cried. woman. he kicked it and broke the latch. Morel took a panchion. and the thought of it put a damper on the men’s spirits. ‘No. banging the table with his fist. Swaying slightly.’ she cried. ‘Don’t call me that—you. The kitchen was full of the scent of boiled herbs and hops. Most of them. and thrust his face forwards at her. why. Nine o’clock passed. he lurched against the table. was pouring in the liquor. and ten. a great bowl of thick red earth. He had not quite got over the feeling of irritability and pain. ‘Why. He had been very jolly in the Nelson. On a doorstep somewhere a man was singing loudly.’ ‘It’s a lie.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘Say you’re NOT drunk!’ she flashed. Morel. The next day was a work-day. She had put down her saucepan. but coming home had grown irritable.’ She forced the last words out of suffocated lungs. Morel was pouring the infusion of herbs out of the saucepan. Some were already rolling dismally home.’ They were now at battle-pitch. They entered the Nelson with the satisfaction of returned travellers. Just then Morel came in. ‘And. and a bad conscience afflicted him as he neared the house.

mechanically she went over the last scene. ‘Go!’ ‘No!’ She faced round. I’ve got those children to see to. bounded from the road. Thus he dipped gradually into a stupor.’ she cried loudly. but for those children.  Sons and Lovers The moon was high and magnificent in the August night. panting. wouldn’t I. she murmured to herself over and over again: ‘The nuisance! the nuisance!’ She became aware of something about her. seared with passion. ‘Do you think it’s for YOU I stop—do you think I’d stop one minute for YOU?’ ‘Go. with clenched fists. ‘No. thrust forward. struggled to be free. He was afraid of her. It’s my house. trembling in every limb. She walked down the garden path. panting and half weeping in reaction from the stress. Coming slightly to himself. She stood for a few moments helplessly staring at the glistening great rhubarb leaves near the door. my lord. My word. For a while she could not control her consciousness. Then ger out on’t—ger out on’t!’ ‘And I would. then over it again. his red face. that fell cold on her. you shan’t do ALL you like.’ she cried. when I’d only the one’—suddenly drying into rage. and thrust her forth. He came up to her. bursting full of blood. Then he went back into the kitchen. She must have been half an hour in this delirious condition. where she was walking up and down the path beside the currant bushes under the long wall. haven’t I repented not going years ago. and gripped her arms. certain moments coming each time like a brand red-hot down on her soul. laugh. the moon streaming high in face of her.’ she replied. slotting the bolt behind her with a bang. She hurried out of the side garden to the front.’ she laughed. he pushed her roughly to the outer door. dropped into his armchair. beside  . ‘I should look well to leave them to you. ‘The house is filthy with you. She had wandered to the side garden. then. Ay. till the mark was burnt in. not thee. and filling the valley where the Bottoms crouched. Then the presence of the night came again to her. ‘Then get out on it—it’s mine. not thine. certain phrases. With an efFree eBooks at Planet eBook. lifting his fist.She stiffened herself. his head. with its bloodshot eyes. that cut transversely between the blocks. shivered to find herself out there in a great white light. and at last she came to herself. There.’ he cried thickly. ‘you shan’t have it ALL your own way. suddenly shaken into tears of impotence. The garden was a narrow strip. ‘Go!’ ‘I should be only too glad. I should laugh. while the child boiled within her. and the pain burnt out.’ ‘Go. wouldn’t I have gone long ago. ‘Ah. sinking between his knees. She cried in fear of him. each time the brand came down at the same points. Then she got the air into her breast. ‘It’s me as brings th’ money whoam.’ she cried. almost blindingly.’ he shouted. and each time she enacted again the past hour. from exhaustion and intoxication. the moonlight standing up from the hills in front. She glanced round in fear. by a thick thorn hedge. Morel. if I could get away from you. Mrs. where she could stand as if in an immense gulf of white light. and gave a shock to her inflamed soul. Get out on it!’ he shouted.

Then she drank a deep draught of the scent. the clumps of white phlox seemed like bushes spread with linen. After a time the child. to the window of the kitchen. looking out. He was sleeping with his face lying on the table. She was very fond of them. roared across the valley. She tapped at the window more and more noisily. Fearful always for the unborn child. and from exhaustion. but it only appeared dusky. It smelled sweet and simple. pallid flowers on their petals. and hard against her. She touched the big. and he would not wake easily. Still he did not wake up. under the blind. The lamp was burning smokily. stretching its hoary distances infinitely. It almost made her dizzy. and she lost herself awhile. Except for a slight feeling of sickness. Almost it seemed as if the glass would break. Leaning on the sill. her husband’s arms spread out on the table. She rapped gently. and the air was charged with their perfume. In the mysterious out-of-doors she felt forlorn. melted with her in the mixing-pot of moonlight. Her quietened heart beginning to beat quickly again. and right across the garden. A train. Evidently the children had not been wakened. Softly she lifted the latch. the door was still bolted. and distant shouts of men. Morel gasped slightly in fear. herself melted out like scent into the shiny. three miles away. partly from contact with the stone. They seemed to be stretching in the moonlight. as with a presence. a moth ricochetted over  . She must not rouse the children. she hurried again to the side garden. A few whiffs of the raw. she could tell by the copper colour of the light. she could just see. She bent down to look at the binful of yellow pollen. Following it with her eye roused her. Something in his attitude made her feel tired of things. She did not know what she thought. and her consciousness in the child. She clung to the door-handle. And out of the silver-grey fog of darkness came sounds vague and hoarse: a corncrake not far off. But she was tired. then rapped again. and wanted to sleep. and in her present condition! Putting her apron over her head and her arms. Mrs. Morel leaned on the garden gate. When she came to herself she was tired for sleep. sound of a train like a sigh. soft leaves reminded her of the morning-time and sunshine. She touched the white ruffles of the roses. pale air. nor the neighbours. Now it was cold. Mrs. She put her hand into one white bin: the gold scarcely showed on her fingers by moonlight. she wondered what she could do for Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and very strange. He must be asleep.fort she roused herself to see what it was that penetrated her consciousness. or had gone to sleep again.  Sons and Lovers There was no noise anywhere. all swum together in a kind of swoon. The night was very large. too. and she rested with the hills and lilies and houses. After vain efforts. she hurried down the side garden to the back of the house. Their fresh scent and cool. she would take a chill. She passed along the path. and his black head on the board. hesitating at the white rose-bush. Her heart began to burn to be indoors. strong scent of phlox invigorated her. then shivered. waited. Languidly she looked about her. she began to shiver. The tall white lilies were reeling in the moonlight.

set his pit-boots beside them. sullen and dogged. she smiled faintly to see her face all smeared with the yellow dust of lilies. rinsed his pit-bottle. seemed to be saying: ‘I don’t care who you are nor what you are.warmth. bewildered. raked the fire. He tried the latch. She rapped imperatively at the window. When. then lift his face blindly. She brushed it off. If it had been twenty burglars. but prepared to fight. She went down to the coal-house. 0 Sons and Lovers put his pit-clothes on the hearth to warm. At last. put him out a clean scarf and snap-bag and two apples. in despair. The labouring of his heart hurt him into consciousness. He hurried back. and went to bed. His narrow black eyebrows were drawn up in a sort of peevish misery into his forehead while his cheeks’ down-strokes. As she unfastened her brooch at the mirror. It opened—and there stood the silver-grey night. heard the bolt chock. He started awake. It dawned on him what he had done. she saw him almost running through the door to the stairs. and telling herself that in the end the very strain of his position must wake him. Gradually the sound penetrated to him. Instantly she saw his fists set and his eyes glare. but she was asleep before her husband awoke from the first sleep of his drunkenness. he would have gone blindly for them. if grimy. His hands relaxed. she moved about at the little tasks that remained to be done. It made her 1 . Then she walked up and down the garden path. and his sulky mouth. She warmed and soothed herself.’ she said coldly. She saw him hurry to the door.’ Mrs. fearful to him. peeping every now and then under the blind. He had not a grain of physical fear. He was already dead asleep. set his breakfast. Morel knew him too well to look at him. He glared round. When Mrs. It was warm. He had ripped his collar off his neck in his haste to be gone ere she came in. Walter. For some time her mind continued snapping and jetting sparks. In her weariness forgetting everything. Morel entered. and there it lay with bursten button-holes. and at last lay down. His head dropped. she rapped long and low at the window. ‘Open the door. I SHALL have my own way. she had ceased to tap. where there was an old hearthrug she had carried out for the rag-man the day before. after the tawny light of the lamp. after about an hour. knocking. This she wrapped over her shoulders. she saw him stir. Free eBooks at Planet eBook.

AND ANOTHER BATTLE AFTER such a scene as the last. which were left on the hearth to warm all night. packed the bottom of the doors with rugs to shut out the draught. he shrank. Being a man who rose early and had plenty of time he did not. his cup on the hearth. He came straight home from the pit. He toasted his bacon on a fork and caught the drops of fat on his bread. was laid ready on the table on a newspaper. At five. often sitting. and cut off chunks with a clasp-knife. which was filled and left on the hob. all he wanted except just the food. made the tea. He went downstairs in his shirt and then struggled into his pit-trousers. When she could not sleep. his wife lay waiting for this time. What Morel preferred was a clasp-knife. sometimes earlier. his food on the fender. as he sank from his erect. Then. and stayed in at evening till Friday. in solitude. Then he got his breakfast. his sympathy quickened by penitence. and put them in the white calico snap-bag. Walter Morel was for some days abashed and ashamed. But now he realised how hard it was for his wife to drag about at her work. The only real rest seemed to be when he was out of the house. finally boil. but he soon regained his old bullying indifference. He Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Morel raked. so that. and his fine full presence waned. And the first sound in the house was the bang. drag his wife out of bed at six o’clock. as Morel smashed the remainder of the coal to make the kettle. his physique seemed to contract along with his pride and moral strength. then he put the rasher on his thick slice of bread. it was the habit of the mine. assertive bearing. got straight out of bed. He loathed a fork: it is a modern introduction which has still scarcely reached common people. Physically even. There was always a fire. hastened forward with his help. And then he read the last night’s newspaper—what of it he could—spelling it over laboriously.CHAPTER II THE BIRTH OF PAUL. and then he could not remain at home. and was happy. a diminishing in his assurance. in cold weather. and went down Sons and Lovers stairs. With his family about. At a quarter to six he rose. meals were never so pleasant. as for a period of peace. cut two thick slices of bread and butter. He always made his own breakfast. But he was back again by ten o’clock. he ate and drank. Yet there was a slight shrinking. He never grew in the least stout. He preferred to keep the blinds down and the candle lit even when it was daylight. poured his tea into his saucer. His cup and knife and fork. and. almost quite sober. on a little stool with his back to the warm chimney-piece. because Mrs. as some miners do. and sat down to an hour of joy. piled a big fire. he  . bang of the poker against the raker.

closing.’ she replied. but sit and read thy books. ‘Eh. sweeping the house before he went to work. for you know I don’t like it. lass. ‘Eh. and put on his pit-singlet. ‘It’s a wonder. ‘Yi—there’s one big ‘un.’ ‘Have you seen Hose?’ called a very small woman from across the road. spying her. ‘I haven’t. tight fitting. When she got downstairs. then?’ ‘Ay.’ she said. Then he went upstairs to his wife with a cup of tea because she was ill.  Sons and Lovers Later. a black-haired. He loved her to grumble at him in this manner. injured. and because it occurred to him. without locking. the door behind him.’ he answered.’ he said.’ he replied. and the walk across the fields. ‘Drink it up. I wish he’d come. Cold tea without milk or sugar was the drink he preferred for the pit. At the end of the Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘And the dinner cooks itself?’ she answered.’ she said. departing. would contrive to have to go to her own coal-place at that minute. So he appeared at the pit-top. it’ll pop thee off to sleep again. ‘appen so. He looked at her again. ‘There’s nothing else for it. Then. Then he pulled off his shirt. she would find the house tidy. feeling very self-righteous.’ answered Mrs. Then.’ ‘Ay. feeling quite as happy as when he was in the field. poking out the ashes. put on his great. and went forth into the fresh morning air. I’ve got a copperful of clothes. Morel. across the wooden fence. down the mine. which he chewed all day to keep his mouth moist. Anthony. when the time for the baby grew nearer. Morel deprecatingly. a vest of thick flannel cut low round the neck. you needn’t. that carried his snap-bag and his bottle of tea. She could not rest until she had thoroughly cleaned. ‘Now I’m cleaned up for thee: tha’s no ‘casions ter stir a peg all day. without any sort of leave-taking. ‘I’ll back my life there’s no sugar in. strange little body. He always liked it when she put one out for him. He never took more than two slices of bread and butter to eat in the pit. sipping again. he went upstairs. often with a stalk from the hedge between his teeth. Kirk. with the big pocket.’ ‘You’d know if there weren’t any. she would call: ‘So you keep wagging on. he would bustle round in his slovenly fashion.’ The two women looked down the alley. heavy boots. but  . Mrs.’ said Mrs. He loved the early morning. and with short sleeves like a chemise. She had a winsome face when her hair was loose. He tied a scarf round his neck. his coat. in spite of her indignation.’ ‘Hark! He’s at the end. ‘I’ve brought thee a cup o’ tea. rubbing the fireplace. It pleased him to see her take it and sip it. and went. so she went down to the ash-pit with her dustpan. who always wore a brown velvet dress.’ Which made her laugh. It was Mrs. ‘Well. I know nowt about th’ dinner. so an apple or an orange was a treat to him. an’ I’m sure I heered his bell.filled his tin bottle with tea.’ She accepted the tea.

‘I’ve done ten dozen this week. some with bundles. by the light of the green candle—he was in a safe working—and again at half-past two. when the whistle blew loose-all. Bower. Morel. Morel?’ ‘If you wouldn’t mind. which. Kirk went into the yard. thud. Mrs. Morel was not as a rule one of the first to appear at the bottom of the pit. ‘I don’t know how you can find time. while a cluster of women held up their arms to him. ‘You can find time if you make time. Morel. At two o’clock he looked at his watch. a common fellow. shrill voice. Morel’s copper. Bower.’ said Mrs. and make him an apple-charlotte pudding. Mrs. a poor one. ‘Eh. tried to swindle them. fat and waddling. ‘He may go without pudding this day. bossed the house. she rushed to the fence. With her  Sons and Lovers hands all floury. Mrs. was at this time about a mile and a half away from the bottom. ready to come up. undyed stockings hanging over her arm. Mrs. Anthony. Morel went up her yard disdainfully. I don’t know. The man. Mrs. This day. and ran in to her neighbour. Mrs. and was sent for Mrs. but Morel. Bower. she should put the poker in the fire and bang at the back of the fireplace. whose stall. Morel. dear.’ replied the other. in her grate. ‘You can rip along with ‘em. then he finished also. how are you feeling?’ she cried in  . bending over bundles of cream-coloured stuff. ‘And how much shall you get for those many?’ ‘Tuppence-ha’penny a dozen. Morel. Bower. and bullied them. mixing a pudding. ‘Hash some cold meat up for the master’s dinner. nearly started out of her skin as she heard the thud. got over the wall on to Mrs. Morel. Kirk left her pudding and stayed with her neighbour.’ ‘Oh.’ said Mrs. Kirk. Mrs. Anthony herself had a heap of creamy. One morning Mrs. ringing his bell. Morel went to bed.’ she said proudly to Mrs. ‘T-t-t!’ went the other. made jokes with them. Kirk climbed on to her copper. Kirk had Annie and William for dinner.’ said Mrs.’ said Mrs. ‘Did you knock. Some men were there before four o’clock. worked usually till the first mate stopped. Women were waiting at the yard-ends with their seamed stockings hanging over their arms. the miner was sick of the work. as the fires were back to back. Mrs.’ Hose was coming along. whilst Mrs. would make a great noise in the adjoining house.’ ‘I don’t know how you do it. ‘You might fetch Mrs.’ said Mrs. At last Aggie came running up.’ said Mrs. ‘Well. He was hewing at a Free eBooks at Planet eBook. however. Kirk. Anthony. and called: ‘Ag-gie—Ag-gie!’ The sound was heard from one end of the Bottoms to the other.’ ‘Eh!’ said Mrs.Bottoms a man stood in a sort of old-fashioned trap.’ Mrs. ‘I’d starve before I’d sit down and seam twenty-four stockings for twopence ha’penny. It was an understood thing that if one woman wanted her neighbour. lifted up her strong.

his fellow butty. which he had bought at an auction for one-and-six.’ said Barker. ‘It’ll do to-morrow. where the great drops of water fell plash. There was a hollow sound of many voices. Mrs. to answer. ‘Shall ter finish. looking out over the fields. pulled on his coat. Many colliers were waiting their turns  Sons and Lovers to go up. grey rain was falling.’ said old Giles. somebody else’ll ha’e to. He had overworked himself into a frenzy. but their red mouths talking with animation. but he said nothing.’. And he went on striking. Morel continued to strike. well. Many men passed into the Prince of Wales or into Ellen’s. Sorry?’ cried Barker. if he doesn’t stop. left alone. giving hard blows with his pick. He frowned peevishly as he went. He sat at the bottom of the pit.’ said Israel. heavy tramp underground. Morel also walked with a gang. ‘Tha’ll happen catch me up. their voices. Isr’el!’ cried Morel. He was tired. and was at the top in a moment. feeling sufficiently disagreeable to resist temptation. Morel. felt savage. he threw his tool down. walking indifferent to the rain.piece of rock that was in the way for the next day’s work.’ she said. bright coal. But Morel was too exasperated. ‘There’s some herb beer behind the pantry door. wet with sweat. leaving the next stall. or kneeled. and took pleasure from the peppering of the drops thereon. Still he struck and hacked with all his might. wet and grey and dirty. It was a long. He stood on the edge of the pit-bank for a moment. Water ran down the sides of the waggons.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Down the main road the lights of the other men went swinging. a grey. As he sat on his heels. trudged along under the dripping trees that overhung the park wall. ‘Tha might as well leave it. and went. departing.’ said Barker. He had not finished his job. in the lamp cabin. Morel gave his answers short and disagreeable. were streaming down the line and up the field. Sorry. and the feet of the colliers from Minton. The trucks stood full of wet. Walter. ‘Th’ master’ll want a drink. At last he took his stand on the chair. blew out his candle. if tha wunna. Morel lay in bed. who had had the news from the top. ‘It’s rainin’. and down the mud of Greenhill  . Then he handed in his lamp and got his umbrella. Rising. and Co. Morel put up his umbrella. Morel found one comfort. He had his old umbrella. Morel. dismal host. took his lamp.’ ‘I’ll lay no b—. ‘It’s a heart-breaking job. without thee hackin’ thy guts out. ‘Oh.finger on this to-morrow. which he loved. ‘Hey-up there—LOOSE-A’!’ cried the men. When he had gone. at the end of his tether. bang of the gates as they went through the stile up the field. over the white ‘C. Then Morel continued to strike.W. All along the road to Bestwood the miners tramped. Colliers. listening to the rain.’ said Barker. ‘Finish? Niver while the world stands!’ growled Morel. talking noisily. ‘Uszza—uszza!’ he went. and the bang.

thinking nothing.’ he answered. which he did not feel just then. then he stoked up a big fire. and went upstairs. was nothing to him at that moment. She looked at the child. and gave him a little plate. His singlet had dried again. ‘she’s about as bad as she can be. Bower put no cloth on for him. dragged his way up the garden path. She set his dinner before him.’ The miner grunted. and was bonny. he wanted to sit with his arms lying on the board. He drank. The thought of being the mother of men was warming to her heart. What did he care about the child or her? She was very ill when her children were born. After he had finished his meal. and smeared with sweat. with a little. on the table before Morel. in spite of everything. ‘Was that the master?’ asked Mrs. and he didn’t quite know where he was. gasped. Mrs. Morel. The fire was too small to please him. He had a dirty woollen scarf round his throat. Bower appeared in the inner doorway. and a lot of fair hair. ‘Han yer got a drink?’ he asked.’ she answered. ‘H’m!’ He stood at a loss what to say next. ‘I s’ll be all right. then?’ he asked. turning away. went back into the scullery and hung up his coat.’ he stammered. There was heard the pop of a cork. Morel. Bower about. ‘Go now. ‘A lad. ‘I will. he went reluctantly upstairs. It was a struggle to face his wife at this moment. He was too tired. So he stood at the foot of the bed. She Free eBooks at Planet 1 . then came and dropped into his chair. Her love came up hot. in his stockinged feet. put his empty snap-bag and his tin bottle on the dresser. instead of a full-sized dinner-plate—he began to eat. ‘Bless him!’ he murmured. He closed his umbrella. She set the mug. and lay back in his chair. my lass.But he was late.’ replied Mrs. 0 Sons and Lovers After he had sat with his arms on the table—he resented the fact that Mrs. Dismissed. soaking the dirt in. and stood it in the sink. wiped his big moustache on the end of his scarf. he did not like having Mrs. She turned down the sheet and showed the child. ‘A boy.’ she said. he wanted to kiss her. tha says. how are ter. so she concluded he had called for a drink. drank. ‘I’ve gave him his dinner. ‘Well. but he dared not. He was tired. since it was raining.’ And she took consolation in that. The woman would not speak to him again. he sat for twenty minutes. then he sluthered his heavy boots into the kitchen. disgusted rap. The woman went into the pantry. It’s a boy childt. Bower. because he blessed by rote—pretending paternal emotion. feeling sick to death.’ she said. ‘What is it?’ she asked. It had blue eyes. gasped. Then. The fact that his wife was ill. His face was black. wearily and angrily. and he was tired. and this bother was rather a nuisance to him. ‘Well. She had it in bed with her. that he had another boy. Which made her laugh. he wanted his dinner.

com  .’ ‘No. and sat down again. ‘Why. Mrs. He was a Bachelor of Arts of Cambridge. and hoped Morel would not come too soon. ‘YOU don’t know what it is to be tired.’ said the miner.’ They were halfway down their first cup of tea when they heard the sluther of pit-boots. leaving behind him a faint smell of pit-dirt. ‘that is a symbol that the ordinary life.half wanted him to kiss her. Then she laid the cloth early. as I’M tired. Occasionally the minister stayed to tea with Mrs. ‘Tired? I ham that.’ said Morel. which had before been uninspired. So Mr. showing the shoulders of his singlet.’ replied Morel. like water. showing his hand. ‘Mr. perhaps he doesn’t. ‘When He changed the water into wine at Cana. Mrs. His ideas were quaint and fantastic. ‘Nay. She had always two dinners to cook. and was as wine. Morel had a visit every day from the Congregational clergyman. He became the god-parent of the child. and very poor. Morel. Feel it. became filled with the Spirit. his young wife is dead. ‘Are you tired?’ asked the clergyman. ‘It’s a bit dry now. and he. poor fellow. and he depended on her. and sat down heavily. Morel was fond of him. whilst Mrs. if he stayed for a pint. Mr. For hours he talked to her. Morel thought to herself: ‘Yes. got out her best cups. does ter? There’s too much pick-haft and shovel-dirt on it. Heaton would hold the baby.’ he said. It was a discussion of the wedding at Cana. He nodded a ‘How d’yer do’ to the clergyman. She only breathed freely when he was gone out of the room again. look yer ‘ere. is filled with the Holy Ghost. the whole spiritual constitution of a man changes. that is why he makes his love into the Holy Ghost. ‘No. she would not mind this day. He was feeling rather savage. ‘look thee at it! Tha niver wants ter shake hands wi’ a hand like that. with a little green rim. His wife had died at the birth of his first baby. but could not bring herself to give any sign. indeed. The minister looked rather scared. would discuss his next sermon. Mrs. so he remained alone in the manse. Heaton was young.’ said Morel. Morel entered. ‘but it’s all come out Free eBooks at Planet eBook. carried out the steaming saucepan. She brought him judiciously to earth. ‘Good gracious!’ exclaimed Mrs. Morel. Morel took off his coat. Morel beat up a batter-pudding or peeled the potatoes.’ replied the clergyman. because. who rose to shake hands with him. when she was well. even the blood. but it’s wet as a clout with sweat even yet. watching her all the time. Morel. dragged his armchair to table. very shy.’ The clergyman put out his hand gingerly. in spite of herself. whereas Morel needed his at five o’clock.’ Mrs. when love enters. Heaton doesn’t want to feel your nasty singlet.’ The minister flushed with confusion. and no preacher.’ ‘Goodness!’ cried Mrs. Morel rose. because she believed children should have their chief meal at midday. of the married husband and wife. and  Sons and Lovers almost his form is altered.

Morel. Morel. trying to soothe the baby. ‘Mr. Morel. with a boy’s hatred for false sentiment.’ said Morel. ‘Pity!’ exclaimed his wife.of me. jumped up. but she said nothing. and Mrs. Then he poured out another saucerful. whereupon the girl began to whine. he NEEDS a drink when he comes home. Missis. Morel. sighing afterwards. ‘Water! It’s not water as’ll clear his throat. sarcastically.’ He poured out a saucerful of tea. picking up a saucepan from the hearth.’ ‘There’s water—and there’s tea. his mouth very red in his black face. The baby began to cry. and Morel to shout at her. They were both angry. and stood his cup on the table. She went over the sheep-bridge and across a corner of Free eBooks at Planet  .’ One evening. William. saying: ‘What are YOU putting in for?’ And then she sat down and laughed. ‘Aven’t you got a drink. Morel looked at her cloth. and for the stupid treatment of his mother.’ said Mrs. ‘An’ was there no more to be got?’ Turning to the clergyman—‘A man gets that caked up wi’ th’ dust. hated him. sitting nursing the baby. ‘But it’s ten to one if there’s owt for him. The room was full of the smell of meat and vegetables and pit-clothes. she took Annie and the baby and went out. Morel. ‘A man as comes home as I do ‘s too tired to care about cloths. whenever he had an audience. Annie had never liked him. William looked up at the big glazed text over the mantelpiece and read distinctly: ‘God Bless Our Home!’ Whereupon Mrs. putting it on a plate. ‘A fine mess!’ she said. he whined and played for sympathy. He leaned over to the minister.’ said Mrs. you know. When the minister had gone. In the midst of this pandemonium. pouring out his tea. feeling unable to bear herself after another display from her husband. An’ iv’ry day alike my singlet’s wringin’ wet.’ said the clergyman. and sucked it up through his great black moustache. Morel. accidentally knocked Annie on the head. directly after the parson’s visit. whether or not. a sight harder than that wall—-‘ ‘Needn’t make a moan of it. Morel had kicked William. for a man when he comes home barkled up from the pit?’ ‘You know you drank all the beer. ‘a man as has been down the black hole all day.’ put in Mrs. rushed at him. till tears ran over her cheeks. and the mother would never forgive him.’ ‘I am sure he does. Heaton. yi. dingin’ away at a coal-face. Mrs. his great moustache thrust forward. cos tha’s got a parson for tea wi’ thee?’ he bawled. while William kicked the stool he had been sitting on. boxed his ears. ‘Dos’t think I’m goin’ to sit wi’ my arms danglin’.—that clogged up down a coal-mine.  Sons and Lovers She hated her husband because.’ he said. she merely avoided him. and Morel growled: ‘I canna see what there is so much to laugh at. blew it. ‘My cloth!’ said Mrs.

high up. clambering with his hands at the light. level and solid. as if all the fire had swum down there. Mrs. She bowed over him. like the bed of a sea of light. The baby lifted his fingers. Morel looked down at  . A waggon of sheaves rocked small across the melting yellow light. Before her. Many rooks.the meadow to the cricket-ground. or malformed. upon which already the under shadows were smouldering. steady. Morel it was one of those still moments when the small frets vanish. Now and again. and a few tears shook swiftly out of her very heart. the other sides blue-grey. because of her feeling for her husband. cawing. in some far inner place of her soul. Away at the grange. brooding pupils. Morel watched the sun sink from the glistening sky. The baby was restless on his mother’s knee. The mountain-ash berries across the field stood fierily out from the dark leaves. Kirk. Children played in the bluish shadow of the pavilion. In the east. With Mrs. a swallow cut close to her. almost as if it were unhealthy. looking at him. She felt. A few gentlemen were practising. as if it had realised Free eBooks at Planet eBook. while the western space went red. It had blue eyes like her own. The big haystacks on the hillside. she imagined them bowing. that she and her husband were guilty. as if it were trying to understand something that was pain. the hills of Derbyshire were blazed over with red sunset. over a tree clump that made a dark boss among the pasture. ‘He looks as if he was thinking about something—quite sorrowful. went cold. concentrating. The sun was going down. She had dreaded this baby like a catastrophe. A few shocks of corn in a corner of the fallow stood up as if alive. that  Sons and Lovers butted into the glare. one side of the haystacks was lit up. The meadows seemed one space of ripe. for a moment. came cawing home across the softly-woven sky. as if a burden were on her heart. when she looked at her child’s dark. Annie came up with a handful of alder-currants.’ said Mrs. perhaps her son would be a Joseph. evening light. and fronted the evening. They stooped in a long curve down into the golden glow. Morel could hear the chock of the ball. and the peculiar heaviness of its eyes. The baby was looking up at her. a mirrored sunset floated pink opposite the west’s scarlet. But she noticed the peculiar knitting of the baby’s brows. Her heart was heavy because of the child. but its look was heavy. Mrs. like black flakes on a slow vortex. and she had the peace and the strength to see herself. the heavy feeling at the mother’s heart melted into passionate grief. Yet it seemed quite well. She sat on a seat under the alders in the cricketground. spread the big green cricket-field. and Mrs. Every open evening. And now she felt strangely towards the infant. and the voices of men suddenly roused. ‘My lamb!’ she cried softly. Now and again. and the beauty of things stands out. whispering with the distant mill-race. leaving the bell cast flawless blue. Suddenly. could see the white forms of men shifting silently over the green. And at that moment she felt. wheeling. leaving a soft flower-blue overhead.

’ she thought to herself. Once more she was aware of the sun lying red on the rim of the hill opposite. knowing eyes gave her pain and fear. whatever time he comes. if the children made a chatter he shouted at them in a way that made their mother’s blood boil. He. She sighed. But I know if he does anything it’ll make my blood boil. Did it know all about her? When it lay under her heart. and was restless. setting the tins rattling.’ she said. ‘what will become of him—what will he be?’ Her heart was anxious. A fine shadow was flung over the deep green meadow. not wishing to see him. Morel. my pretty!’ She thrust the infant forward to the crimson. as if it were something she could not bear. ashamed almost of her impulse to give him back again whence he came. ‘Look!’ she said. As she expected. he was not home by eleven o’clock. But it went through her like a flash of hot fire when. hearing him coming. She felt as if the navel string that had connected its frail little body with hers had not been broken. at least. ended peacefully. ‘It only works me up. had it been listening then? Was there a reproach in the look? She felt the marrow melt in her bones. She saw him lift his little fist. On the Friday. She kept her head bent over the child as he entered. she found the house empty.’ she said wearily to herself. crying if he were put down. and still weak. and that day. he grumbled about his dinner. She suddenly held up the child in her hands. She no longer loved her husband. in passing. he lurched against the dresser.something that had stunned some point of its soul. Its clear. ‘I wish the nuisance would come.’ she said suddenly. Mrs. A wave of hot love went over her to the infant. she knew not why. In her arms lay the delicate baby. seemed to draw her innermost thoughts out of her. with fear and pain. and there it lay in her arms and pulled at her heart. ‘But I’ll say nothing. always looking up at her  . ‘I will call him Paul. and made them hate him. Walter Morel was.  Sons and Lovers After a while she went home.’ she added to herself. His work seemed to exhaust him. ‘If he lives. almost with relief. But Morel was home by ten o’clock. The baby was unwell. was nearly drunk. exceedingly irritable. taking his revenge. with all her soul she would make up to it for having brought it into the world unloved. She held it close to her face and breast. darkening all. I won’t say anything. she had not wanted this child to come. She would love it all the more now it was here. If the fire were rather low he bullied about that. ‘Look. tired to death. When he came home he did not speak civilly to anybody. Its deep blue eyes. She was too tired to carry him to the cradle. The child at last sank down to sleep in her arms. With all her force. throbbing sun. at this time. carry it in her love. and clutched at the white pot knobs Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Then she put him to her bosom again. was scarcely under control.

almost tipping her out. ‘You know what there is in the house. It fell. stood glowering from a distance at her. yes tha sh’lt wait on me—-‘ 0 Sons and Lovers ‘Never. like other women have to. an’ wait on a man. Then he came unsteadily forward. cut sharply on his shin. Tha should get up. still ignoring him. in contempt. ‘Is there nothing to eat in the house?’ he asked.’ ‘Wait on you—wait on you?’ she cried. She swayed. in a tone of wondering concern: ‘Did it catch thee?’ He swayed again. almost fell stunned from her chair.’ she said. He stared at her one silent second in threat. He jerked at the drawer in his excitement. and swaying as he spoke. The baby gave a little convulsed start. Her left brow was bleeding rather profusely. then returned. ‘Go away. He stood and glared at her without moving a muscle. and spoons. knives. he said. with an effort. then leaning forward over her. ‘I asked a civil question. so that it flew out bodily. splashed with a clatter and a clang upon the brick floor. and I expect a civil answer.’ he said affectedly. so coldly. When he was sufficiently sure of his balance. his eyes bloodshot. He leaned on the table with one hand. Morel hated him most in this condition. ‘And you got it. but the baby was at least not hurt. She balanced her head to keep equilibrium. as if to a servant. and on the reflex he flung it at her. ‘Yes.’ she said. so that the blood ran into her eye. forks. it sounded impersonal. and with the other jerked at the table drawer to get a knife to cut bread. struggling to keep her presence of mind. swayed. insolently. I’d wait on a dog at the door first. mincing speech of the towns. some drops of blood soaked into its white shawl. The baby was crying plaintively. her brain reeling. she brought herself to. At her last speech be turned round. Walter Morel remained as he had stood. I see myself. an’ I’ll learn thee tha’s got to. leaning on the table with one hand. His face was crimson. caught hold of the back of her rocking-chair. The drawer stuck because he pulled sideways.’ ‘ 1 . drunken fool?’ the mother cried. A few moments elapsed. ‘What are you doing. In a temper he dragged it. a hundred metallic things.’ ‘What—what?’ He was trying to fit in the drawer. ‘P-h!’ she went quickly. he went across to her. then. Mrs. looking blank. ‘Then tha should get the flamin’ thing thysen. as she sat bowed over the child. One of the corners caught her brow as the shallow drawer crashed into the fireplace.’ she said. To her very soul she was sick. He hung up his hat and coat. As she glanced down at the child.for support. as if he would pitch on to the child. He glowered again. milord. In certain stages of his intoxication he affected the clipped. she clasped the child tightly to her bosom. Wait on ME. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. clumsy. With the catastrophe he had lost all balance.

intense tones brought his head lower. with numb paws. in a very wretched. moving as if in sleep. where she bathed her eye for a minute in cold water. and weakly she pushed him off. but their parted lips seemed to express the unconscious tragedy they felt. He lay and suffered like a sulking dog. By a cruel effort of will. She softened: ‘Get me some wadding out of the middle drawer. ‘Now that clean pit-scarf. which grasped his legs just above the knee. glistening hair. and with trembling fingers proceeded to bind it round her head. ‘Let’s—let’s look at it. because the candle blew out. He peered to look at the wound. lass. he sickened with feebleness and hopelessness of spirit. and pull down the gossamer. his manhood broke. She took it.’ she said. supported on his hands. He stumbled away very obediently.’ she said.’ she replied. He had hurt himFree eBooks at Planet eBook. returning presently with a red. They said nothing. fascinated. she kept the baby clasped. ‘Go away. when he saw a drop of blood fall from the averted wound into the baby’s fragile.’ Her two small children looked up at her with wide. He stood. Fascinated. It would soak through to the baby’s scalp. ‘You can see what it’s done. who was cold and impassive as stone. Another drop fell. ‘Lemme—lemme look at it.’ he said. He did not think of the previous evening’s work. finally. but she was too dizzy. feeling it soak in. he watched the heavy dark drop hang in the glistening cloud. humble tone. felt the unequal pull of his swaying grasp on the back of her rocking-chair. ‘I can do it myself. In the morning Mrs. ‘What of this child?’ was all his wife said to him. for the scattered spoons. She drew away from the thrust of his face with its great moustache.He hiccoughed. dismayed eyes. with mouth shut tight. narrow scarf. she returned to her rocking-chair. lass?’ he asked. when I was getting a raker in the dark. as she sat with the baby on her lap. When it was done she went upstairs. but he would not think of that. she went across to the scullery. Presently Morel got up and came craning his neck towards her. He stood. Her brow was still bleeding. But her low. ‘Let me tie it for thee. hiccoughing again. uncertain in balance. By instinct. Afraid lest she should swoon. bothered.’ he said humbly. ‘Go away!’ she cried. Morel said: ‘I knocked against the latch of the coal-place. Walter Morel lay in bed next day until nearly dinnertime. groping. ‘What has it done to thee. had succeeded in pushing the drawer back into its cavity. and was on his knees. telling him to rake the fire and lock the door. Summoning all her strength she rose. He watched. the baby on one arm. trembling in every fibre. As he looked at  . then put on her forehead. which she singed before the fire. averting her own face as much as possible. Morel.’ She smelled him of drink. He scarcely thought of anything.’ she answered. bending forward. presently returning with a pad. gazing upon her.’ Again he rummaged and fumbled in the drawer. He was turning drea Sons and Lovers rily away. then.

self most; and he was the more damaged because he would never say a word to her, or express his sorrow. He tried to wriggle out of it. ‘It was her own fault,’ he said to himself. Nothing, however, could prevent his inner consciousness inflicting on him the punishment which ate into his spirit like rust, and which he could only alleviate by drinking. He felt as if he had not the initiative to get up, or to say a word, or to move, but could only lie like a log. Moreover, he had himself violent pains in the head. It was Saturday. Towards noon he rose, cut himself food in the pantry, ate it with his head dropped, then pulled on his boots, and went out, to return at three o’clock slightly tipsy and relieved; then once more straight to bed. He rose again at six in the evening, had tea and went straight out. Sunday was the same: bed till noon, the Palmerston Arms till 2.30, dinner, and bed; scarcely a word spoken. When Mrs. Morel went upstairs, towards four o’clock, to put on her Sunday dress, he was fast asleep. She would have felt sorry for him, if he had once said, ‘Wife, I’m sorry.’ But no; he insisted to himself it was her fault. And so he broke himself. So she merely left him alone. There was this deadlock of passion between them, and she was stronger. The family began tea. Sunday was the only day when all sat down to meals together. ‘Isn’t my father going to get up?’ asked William. ‘Let him lie,’ the mother replied. There was a feeling of misery over all the house. The children breathed the air that was poisoned, and they felt dreary. They were rather disconsolate, did not know what 
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to do, what to play at. Immediately Morel woke he got straight out of bed. That was characteristic of him all his life. He was all for activity. The prostrated inactivity of two mornings was stifling him. It was near six o’clock when he got down. This time he entered without hesitation, his wincing sensitiveness having hardened again. He did not care any longer what the family thought or felt. The tea-things were on the table. William was reading aloud from ‘The Child’s Own’, Annie listening and asking eternally ‘why?’ Both children hushed into silence as they heard the approaching thud of their father’s stockinged feet, and shrank as he entered. Yet he was usually indulgent to them. Morel made the meal alone, brutally. He ate and drank more noisily than he had need. No one spoke to him. The family life withdrew, shrank away, and became hushed as he entered. But he cared no longer about his alienation. Immediately he had finished tea he rose with alacrity to go out. It was this alacrity, this haste to be gone, which so sickened Mrs. Morel. As she heard him sousing heartily in cold water, heard the eager scratch of the steel comb on the side of the bowl, as he wetted his hair, she closed her eyes in disgust. As he bent over, lacing his boots, there was a certain vulgar gusto in his movement that divided him from the reserved, watchful rest of the family. He always ran away from the battle with himself. Even in his own heart’s privacy, he excused himself, saying, ‘If she hadn’t said soand-so, it would never have happened. She asked for what
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she’s got.’ The children waited in restraint during his preparations. When he had gone, they sighed with relief. He closed the door behind him, and was glad. It was a rainy evening. The Palmerston would be the cosier. He hastened forward in anticipation. All the slate roofs of the Bottoms shone black with wet. The roads, always dark with coal-dust, were full of blackish mud. He hastened along. The Palmerston windows were steamed over. The passage was paddled with wet feet. But the air was warm, if foul, and full of the sound of voices and the smell of beer and smoke. ‘What shollt ha’e, Walter?’ cried a voice, as soon as Morel appeared in the doorway. ‘Oh, Jim, my lad, wheriver has thee sprung frae?’ The men made a seat for him, and took him in warmly. He was glad. In a minute or two they had thawed all responsibility out of him, all shame, all trouble, and he was clear as a bell for a jolly night. On the Wednesday following, Morel was penniless. He dreaded his wife. Having hurt her, he hated her. He did not know what to do with himself that evening, having not even twopence with which to go to the Palmerston, and being already rather deeply in debt. So, while his wife was down the garden with the child, he hunted in the top drawer of the dresser where she kept her purse, found it, and looked inside. It contained a half-crown, two halfpennies, and a sixpence. So he took the sixpence, put the purse carefully back, and went out. The next day, when she wanted to pay the greengrocer, she looked in the purse for her sixpence, and her heart sank 
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to her shoes. Then she sat down and thought: ‘WAS there a sixpence? I hadn’t spent it, had I? And I hadn’t left it anywhere else?’ She was much put about. She hunted round everywhere for it. And, as she sought, the conviction came into her heart that her husband had taken it. What she had in her purse was all the money she possessed. But that he should sneak it from her thus was unbearable. He had done so twice before. The first time she had not accused him, and at the week-end he had put the shilling again into her purse. So that was how she had known he had taken it. The second time he had not paid back. This time she felt it was too much. 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, looking up in an offended way. ‘No, I didna! I niver clapped eyes on your purse.’ But she could detect the lie. ‘Why, you know you did,’ she said quietly. ‘I tell you I didna,’ he shouted. ‘Yer at me again, are yer? I’ve had about enough on’t.’ ‘So you filch sixpence out of my purse while I’m taking the clothes in.’ ‘I’ll may yer pay for this,’ he said, pushing back his chair in desperation. He bustled and got washed, then went determinedly upstairs. Presently he came down dressed, and with a big bundle in a blue-checked, enormous handkerchief.
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‘And now,’ he said, ‘you’ll see me again when you do.’ ‘It’ll be before I want to,’ she replied; and at that he marched out of the house with his bundle. She sat trembling slightly, but her heart brimming with contempt. What would she do if he went to some other pit, obtained work, and got in with another woman? But she knew him too well—he couldn’t. She was dead sure of him. Nevertheless her heart was gnawed inside her. ‘Where’s my dad?’ said William, coming in from school. ‘He says he’s run away,’ replied the mother. ‘Where to?’ ‘Eh, I don’t know. He’s taken a bundle in the blue handkerchief, and says he’s not coming back.’ ‘What shall we do?’ cried the boy. ‘Eh, never trouble, he won’t go far.’ ‘But if he doesn’t come back,’ wailed Annie. And she and William retired to the sofa and wept. Mrs. Morel sat and laughed. ‘You pair of gabeys!’ she exclaimed. ‘You’ll see him before the night’s out.’ But the children were not to be consoled. Twilight came on. Mrs. Morel grew anxious from very weariness. One part of her said it would be a relief to see the last of him; another part fretted because of keeping the children; and inside her, as yet, she could not quite let him go. At the bottom, she knew very well he could NOT go. When she went down to the coal-place at the end of the garden, however, she felt something behind the door. So she looked. And there in the dark lay the big blue bundle. She 
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sat on a piece of coal and laughed. Every time she saw it, so fat and yet so ignominious, slunk into its corner in the dark, with its ends flopping like dejected ears from the knots, she laughed again. She was relieved. Mrs. Morel sat waiting. He had not any money, she knew, so if he stopped he was running up a bill. She was very tired of him— tired to death. He had not even the courage to carry his bundle beyond the yard-end. As she meditated, at about nine o’clock, he opened the door and came in, slinking, and yet sulky. She said not a word. He took off his coat, and slunk to his armchair, where he began to take off his boots. ‘You’d better fetch your bundle before you take your boots off,’ she said quietly. ‘You may thank your stars I’ve come back to-night,’ he said, looking up from under his dropped head, sulkily, trying to be impressive. ‘Why, where should you have gone? You daren’t even get your parcel through the yard-end,’ she said. He looked such a fool she was not even angry with him. He continued to take his boots off and prepare for bed. ‘I don’t know what’s in your blue handkerchief,’ she said. ‘But if you leave it the children shall fetch it in the morning.’ Whereupon he got up and went out of the house, returning presently and crossing the kitchen with averted face, hurrying upstairs. As Mrs. Morel saw him slink quickly through the inner doorway, holding his bundle, she laughed to herself: but her heart was bitter, because she had loved
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DURING the next week Morel’s temper was almost unbearable. Like all miners, he was a great lover of medicines, which, strangely enough, he would often pay for himself. ‘You mun get me a drop o’ laxy vitral,’ he said. ‘It’s a winder as we canna ha’e a sup i’ th’ ‘ouse.’ So Mrs. Morel bought him elixir of vitriol, his favourite first medicine. And he made himself a jug of wormwood tea. He had hanging in the attic great bunches of dried herbs: wormwood, rue, horehound, elder flowers, parsley-purt, marshmallow, hyssop, dandelion, and centaury. Usually there was a jug of one or other decoction standing on the hob, from which he drank largely. ‘Grand!’ he said, smacking his lips after wormwood. ‘Grand!’ And he exhorted the children to try. ‘It’s better than any of your tea or your cocoa stews,’ he vowed. But they were not to be tempted. 


Sons and Lovers

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This time, however, neither pills nor vitriol nor all his herbs would shift the ‘nasty peens in his head”. He was sickening for an attack of an inflammation of the brain. He had never been well since his sleeping on the ground when he went with Jerry to Nottingham. Since then he had drunk and stormed. Now he fell seriously ill, and Mrs. Morel had him to nurse. He was one of the worst patients imaginable. But, in spite of all, and putting aside the fact that he was breadwinner, she never quite wanted him to die. 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, occasionally some would do the downstairs work for her, one would mind the baby for a day. But it was a great drag, nevertheless. It was not every day the neighbours helped. Then she had nursing of baby and husband, cleaning and cooking, everything to do. She was quite worn out, but she did what was wanted of her. And the money was just sufficient. She had seventeen shillings a week from clubs, and every Friday Barker and the other butty put by a portion of the stall’s profits for Morel’s wife. And the neighbours made broths, and gave eggs, and such invalids’ trifles. If they had not helped her so generously in those times, Mrs. Morel would never have pulled through, without incurring debts that would have dragged her down. The weeks passed. Morel, almost against hope, grew better. He had a fine constitution, so that, once on the mend, he went straight forward to recovery. Soon he was pottering about downstairs. During his illness his wife had spoilt him 
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a little. Now he wanted her to continue. He often put his band to his head, pulled down the comers of his mouth, and shammed pains he did not feel. But there was no deceiving her. At first she merely smiled to herself. Then she scolded him sharply. ‘Goodness, man, don’t be so lachrymose.’ That wounded him slightly, but still he continued to feign sickness. ‘I wouldn’t be such a mardy baby,’ said the wife shortly. Then he was indignant, and cursed under his breath, like a boy. He was forced to resume a normal tone, and to cease to whine. Nevertheless, there was a state of peace in the house for some time. Mrs. Morel was more tolerant of him, and he, depending on her almost like a child, was rather happy. Neither knew that she was more tolerant because she loved him less. Up till this time, in spite of all, he had been her husband and her man. She had felt that, more or less, what he did to himself he did to her. Her living depended on him. There were many, many stages in the ebbing of her love for him, but it was always ebbing. Now, with the birth of this third baby, her self no longer set towards him, helplessly, but was like a tide that scarcely rose, standing off from him. After this she scarcely desired him. And, standing more aloof from him, not feeling him so much part of herself, but merely part of her circumstances, she did not mind so much what he did, could leave him alone. There was the halt, the wistfulness about the ensuing
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year, which is like autumn in a man’s life. His wife was casting him off, half regretfully, but relentlessly; casting him off and turning now for love and life to the children. Henceforward he was more or less a husk. And he himself acquiesced, as so many men do, yielding their place to their children. During his recuperation, when it was really over between them, both made an effort to come back somewhat to the old relationship of the first months of their marriage. He sat at home and, when the children were in bed, and she was sewing—she did all her sewing by hand, made all shirts and children’s clothing—he would read to her from the newspaper, slowly pronouncing and delivering the words like a man pitching quoits. Often she hurried him on, giving him a phrase in anticipation. And then he took her words humbly. The silences between them were peculiar. There would be the swift, slight ‘cluck’ of her needle, the sharp ‘pop’ of his lips as he let out the smoke, the warmth, the sizzle on the bars as he spat in the fire. Then her thoughts turned to William. Already he was getting a big boy. Already he was top of the class, and the master said he was the smartest lad in the school. She saw him a man, young, full of vigour, making the world glow again for her. And Morel sitting there, quite alone, and having nothing to think about, would be feeling vaguely uncomfortable. His soul would reach out in its blind way to her and find her gone. He felt a sort of emptiness, almost like a vacuum in his soul. He was unsettled and restless. Soon he could not live in that atmosphere, and he affected his wife. Both felt 
Sons and Lovers

an oppression on their breathing when they were left together for some time. Then he went to bed and she settled down to enjoy herself alone, working, thinking, living. Meanwhile another infant was coming, fruit of this little peace and tenderness between the separating parents. Paul was seventeen months old when the new baby was born. He was then a plump, pale child, quiet, with heavy blue eyes, and still the peculiar slight knitting of the brows. The last child was also a boy, fair and bonny. Mrs. Morel was sorry when she knew she was with child, both for economic reasons and because she did not love her husband; but not for the sake of the infant. They called the baby Arthur. He was very pretty, with a mop of gold curls, and he loved his father from the first. Mrs. Morel was glad this child loved the father. Hearing the miner’s footsteps, the baby would put up his arms and crow. And if Morel were in a good temper, he called back immediately, in his hearty, mellow voice: ‘What then, my beauty? I sh’ll come to thee in a minute.’ And as soon as he had taken off his pit-coat, Mrs. Morel would put an apron round the child, and give him to his father. ‘What a sight the lad looks!’ she would exclaim sometimes, taking back the baby, that was smutted on the face from his father’s kisses and play. Then Morel laughed joyfully. ‘He’s a little collier, bless his bit o’ mutton!’ he exclaimed.
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but sometimes he would have fits of depression. always impatient.’ ‘But you tore it more.’ said the mother coldly.’ Mrs. Morel. ‘What’s the matter?’ she asked. ‘I don’t thrash my children. and her treatment of Paul was different from that of the other children. and said: ‘Now cry there. And then she carried the child into the yard. Morel.’ said Mrs. or at last he cried himself to sleep. but they caused a shadow in Mrs.’ ‘Oh. Anthony cried after her.And these were the happy moments of her life now. what’s the mat Sons and Lovers ter?’ ‘A lad as gets ‘old of another an’ rips his clothes off’n ‘is back.’ ‘They’d happen be a bit better if they did get a good hiding. It was the thin little Mrs. ‘Make me a liar!’ shouted Mrs. Anthony. ‘But I s’ll let your mester know. Went down to a river to bade. got slimmer.’ ‘Well.’ ‘Your Alfred’s as old as my William. always rather delicate and quiet. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and got no answer. Morel’s heart. but that doesn’t give him a right to get hold of the boy’s collar. I’ll smack him till he does. It made her feel beside herself. would jump from his chair and shout: ‘If he doesn’t stop.’ ‘Why—it was yesterday—an’ it was torn a’ready.’ said Mrs. ‘What’s the matter?’ she insisted. Meanwhile William grew bigger and stronger and more active. Anthony said. plumped him into his little chair. Anthony. ‘Here. So she tried to reason him out of it.’ ‘Well. Anthony in brown velvet. Her hand trembled as she held her mug of barm. ‘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. while Paul. do you?’ replied Mrs. an’ fair rip it clean off his back.’ said Mrs. Misery!’ And then a butterfly on the rhubarb-leaves perhaps caught his eye. Suddenly one morning as she was looking down the alley of the Bottoms for the barm-man. At dinner-time. or to amuse him. Morel. when the children included the father in her heart.’ ‘You’ll do nothing of the sort.’ sobbed the child. and even if I did. ‘Appen ‘e  . but without effect. I’d got a cobbler as ‘ad licked seventeen—an’ Alfy Ant’ny ‘e says: ‘Adam an’ Eve an’ pinch-me. Then the mother would find the boy of three or four crying on the sofa. I should want to hear their side of the tale. getting cross. Then the father. 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. He was usually active and interested. ‘Why. I want to tell you about your Willie.’ retorted Mrs. Mrs. and trotted after his mother like her shadow. Morel. Morel moved away and closed her gate. Mrs. These fits were not often.’ Mrs. Morel. ‘I don’t know. she heard a voice calling her. ‘wants showing something. but his mother says you did.

And he said no more. ‘I suppose Mrs. and he accidentally got hold of his collar. ‘I never meant tr’a done it—an’ it was on’y an old indirrubber collar as was torn a’ready. Pinch-YOU.’ ‘It’s a poor tale.’ said Mrs. But that evening Morel came in from the pit looking very sour. Anthony.’ said Morel. who had guessed. ‘supposing some loud-mouthed creature had been getting you to thrash your own children. rather sneering.’ said Mrs.’ The boy was rather miserable at being reprimanded. mother?’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ ‘Ripping and tearing about!’’ repeated Mrs. Morel.’ said Morel. But I got my cobbler—-‘ He pulled from his pocket a black old horse-chestnut hanging on a string. our mother. ‘Niver mind who’s got hold of me. our mother!’ he answered.’ ‘I’ll learn ‘im!’ said Morel. and the business would be over.’ ‘That’s more than doubtful. ‘No—well. because the other dodged—as an Anthony would. banging his pit-bottle on to the dresser. ‘He was running after that Alfy. Who do yer think got saved?’ An’ so I says: ‘Oh. Suddenly William ran in. you be more careful. Morel.’ ‘Next time. ‘I know my business. an’ so he snatched my cobbler an’ run off with it. ‘Well. Anthony’s got hold of you and been yarning to you about Alfy’s collar.’ an’ so I pinched ‘im. before you’re told. He stood in the kitchen and glared round.’ stormed Morel. ‘e dodged.’ repeated Morel. Then: ‘Wheer’s that Willy?’ he asked. ‘that you’re so ready to side with any snipey vixen who likes to come telling tales against your own children.’ ‘I know!’ shouted Morel threateningly. but did not speak for some minutes. ‘You would.’ ‘I don’t care.  . thought she would explain to Mrs. So the boy was proud of his veteran.  Sons and Lovers ‘What do you want HIM for?’ asked Mrs. Morel.Adam an’ Eve got drownded. ‘I’ll let ‘im know when I get him. Morel. an’ when I was gettin’ hold of ‘im. saying: ‘Can I have my tea. an’ ‘e was mad. ‘YOU be more careful.’ replied his wife bitingly. And Mrs.’ said Mrs. ‘e’s none goin’ rippin’ an’ tearin’ about just as he’s a mind. ‘It none matters to me whose lad ‘e is.’ ‘Well. an’ it ripped ‘is collar.’ William fled away.’ ‘I know. who’d taken his cobbler. An’ so I run after ‘im.’ said his mother. but sat and nursed his bad temper.’ said Mrs. Morel. This old cobbler had ‘cobbled’—hit and smashed—seventeen other cobblers on similar strings. who hated any bother with the neighbours. ‘Niver you mind. glad to be exonerated. ‘you know you’ve got no right to rip his collar. ‘When I get hold of ‘IM I’ll make his bones rattle. Morel. I never did it a-purpose. I shouldn’t like it if you came home with your collar torn off.

Morel always had a lot of news on Monday nights. Mrs. which met on Monday night in the long room over the grocery shop of the Bestwood ‘Co-op”. And also. sitting writing in her rapid fashion. Suddenly Morel clenched his fist. ‘I’ll GI’E him ‘go out’!’ he shouted like an insane thing. Then. with rather rough features and real viking blue eyes. baffled for the moment. It seemed queer to the children to see their mother. had gone pale. and crouched. ‘and don’t look so ridiculous. 0 Sons and Lovers When the children were old enough to be left. It was a little club of women attached to the Co-operative Wholesale Society. you shall not!’ ‘Shonna I?’ shouted Morel. who found their wives getting too independent. who was a tall lad for his years. ‘Shonna I?’ And.’ said Mrs. but very sensitive. The boy. to lay a finger on that child! You’ll regret it for ever. milord. ‘What!’ he shouted. and other social questions. ‘All he’ll do is to wear his britches behind out an’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. pale under his pit-dirt with fury.’ office. William had not the wit to move. ‘What!’ cried Mrs. frank. but was too late. man. and find fault. Morel. partly because of the treats they derived from it. rather disconcerting. so that the children liked William to be in when their mother came home. ringing voice. ‘Go out!’ Mrs. He was a very clever boy. the gossip-shop.’ ‘He’ll look ridiculous before I’ve done wi’ him!’ shouted Morel. He returned. Morel rushed to the door. Mrs. The Guild was called by some hostile husbands. They felt for her on such occasions the deepest respect. Morel joined the Women’s Guild. she got him a job in the ‘Co-op. ‘You shall not touch him for HER telling. Morel commanded her son. The women were supposed to discuss the benefits to be derived from co-operation. In a towering rage. Mrs. panting with rage. he sat down. and was looking in a sort of horror at his father. at the conditions of their own lives. the ‘clatfart’ shop—that is. ‘What!’ She spun round to her son. he ran forward. from off the basis of the Guild. William. rising from his chair and glaring at his son.‘Tha can ha’e more than that!’ shouted Morel. So the colliers found their women had a new standard of their own. as if hypnotised by her. with her fist lifted. But now his wife was fully roused. ‘Hold your noise. ‘Don’t you DARE!’ she cried. glaring at the boy. the women could look at their homes. It is true. But they loved the Guild. It was the only thing to which they did not grudge their mother—and that partly because she enjoyed 1 .’ He was afraid of her. when the lad was thirteen. ‘Only dare!’ she said in a loud. ‘GO out of the house!’ she commanded him in fury. and writing again. ‘What dost want ter ma’e a stool-harsed Jack on ‘im for?’ said Morel. because she told him things. thinking. who was always busy about the house. turned suddenly and was gone. Morel sprang in between them. referring to books. Sometimes Mrs. Morel read a paper. Morel. ‘Only dare.

Morel. most of whom lived like cut blooms in William’s heart for a brief fortnight. the schoolmaster. as he never drank. and the tradesmen. He gave all his money to his mother. and. then the doctors.’ said Mrs. an’ ‘ell earn a easy ten shillin’ a wik from th’ start.earn nowt. shaped like an anvil. And Free eBooks at Planet eBook. then the tradespeople. Paul was treated to dazzling descriptions of all kinds of flower-like ladies.’ said Mrs. She was very proud of her son.’ repeated the maiden painfully.’ Mrs. ‘It wouldna! Put ‘im i’ th’ pit we me. He flew home with his anvil. she gave him back two for himself. ‘Which one? There are several. so that by the time he was sixteen he was the best shorthand clerk and book-keeper on the place. The townlet contained nothing higher than the clergyman.’ Whereupon much blushing and stammering from the fair one. Morel in?’ the damsel would ask appealingly. Morel—at Ripley. Morel. Morel a keen pleasure. He went to the night school. All the things that men do—the decent things—William did. with a ‘Look. When he earned fourteen shillings a week. and learned shorthand. breathless. It stood proudly on the dresser.’ she explained. Willam began to consort with the sons of the chemist. except one. an inkstand of glass. it’s no reason why I should do the same with my lad. But six shillin’ wearin’ his truck-end out on a stool’s better than ten shillin’ i’ th’ pit wi’me. ‘Oh—at a dance!’ ‘Yes. but it’s non good enough for ‘im. ‘Is Mr. Morel.’ said Mrs. What’s ‘e startin’ wi’?’ ‘It doesn’t matter what he’s starting with. to sports and billiards.’ ‘I don’t approve of the girls my son meets at dances. She took it like a queen. All the life that Bestwood offered he enjoyed. from the sixpenny-hops down Church Street. Also he danced—this in spite of his mother. ‘How pretty!’ she exclaimed.’ ‘If your mother put you in the pit at twelve. I know.’ ‘Twelve! It wor a sight afore that!’ ‘Whenever it was. ‘My husband is at home. The boy only ran for her. He could run like the wind. ‘I—I met Mr. he felt himself rich. and after that the hosts of colliers. Morel.’ ‘It wor good enough for  . Morel replied. Then he taught in the night schools. ‘I—I mean YOUNG Mr. He went about with the bourgeois of Bestwood. ‘and there’s an end of it. But he was so fiery that only his good-nature and his size protected him. mother!’ That was the first real tribute to herself. Mrs.  Sons and Lovers Then he began to get ambitious. Morel would find a strange girl at the door. and gave Mrs. When he was twelve he won a first prize in a race. He played billiards in the Mechanics’ Hall. Occasionally some flame would come in pursuit of her errant swain. and immediately she sniffed the air.’ ‘He is NOT going in the pit. Then came the bank manager.

Now he came in frowning. when he had come home to dress. And tell your girls. they’re not to come and ask your mother for you. with his aid. ‘No. His mother and his father were brimmed up with pride. forgetting her. Mrs. ‘Did a lady call for me yesterday. He was to be a Highlander. ‘My suit come?’ cried William. often with his cap pushed jollily to the back of his head. He hesitated a moment. office and got a situation in Nottingham. who walked with long strides. my son. ‘How do you fancy your son in this!’ he said. to help her younger sons. The Highland suit came home. She was rather pale. ‘I don’t know about a lady. with her hair taken straight back from her forehead. enraptured. The grievance reached its height when William said he was going to Hucknall Torkard—considered a low town—to a fancy Sons and Lovers dress ball. I don’t want to see you. ‘You know I don’t want to fancy you in it. Mrs. she trembled inwardly. and yet of rare warmth.’ Then he came home angry with his mother for having turned the girl away so rudely.’ On the evening of the dance.’ ‘Big brown eyes?’ ‘I did NOT look. ‘Aren’t you going to stop and see me.’ she replied. Morel hoped. showing her the suit.’ He fumed a little. Annie was now studying to be a teacher. She went out. Everybody praised William. sometimes frowning. She had a quiet air of authority. She was small. and her face was closed and hard.he is NOT at home. ‘A good-looking girl—seemed a lady?’ ‘I didn’t look at her. There was a dress he could hire. was getting on well.’ ‘And I’m sure she wasn’t. mother?’ he asked. which one of his friends had had. Over the dancing there was a great strife between the mother and the son. There was a girl came. She was afraid of her son’s going the same way as his father. In his new place he had thirty shillings a week instead of  . and which fitted him perfectly. When he was nineteen he suddenly left the Co-op.’ There ended the altercation. having lessons in French and German from his godfather. Paul. and took his strong jaw in his hand. This was indeed a rise. also very clever. Then he caught sight of the Highland bonnet with its ribbons.’ ‘And why didn’t you tell me?’ ‘Because I forgot.’ He rushed in and cut the string. He was a careless. mother?’ he asked. It seemed he was going to get on rapidly. Tell them that—brazen baggages you meet at dancing-classes. yet eagerlooking fellow. and his heart stood still with anxiety. Knowing her son was angry. Morel put on her coat and bonnet. ‘There’s a parcel in the front room. Mrs.’ ‘I’m sure she was a nice girl. that when they’re running after you. simply. Morel received it coldly and would not unpack it. He picked it up gleefully. the clergyman who Free eBooks at Planet eBook. He threw his cap on to the sofa. and glared down at his mother.

and then amuse yourself.’ Then he got a place in London. He took the first letter off the file. He took nearly all himself away. and THEN study on top of all. but don’t think you can work in the office. ‘Dance. It was mauve-tinted. She loved him so much! More than that. his eyes blazing as he read the letter. mater. Didn’t I tell you I could do it! Think of me in London! And I can give you twenty pounds a year. William sniffed the page. Mrs. You can’t. let’s go through my  . That was the grief and the pain to her. The children were all rabid teetotallers. Postle. to do one thing or another. A few days before his departure—he was just twenty—he burned his love-letters. her heart began to close and grow dreary with despair. She liked to do things for him: she liked to put a cup for his tea and to iron his collars. which he loved. It never occurred to him that she might be more hurt at  Sons and Lovers his going away than glad of his success. my son. my son. William remained a year at his new post in Nottingham. She felt almost as if he were going as well out of her heart. He was scarcely conscious that she was so miserable. at a hundred and twenty a year. So she used to rub away at them with her little convex iron. the human frame won’t stand it. to polish them. We s’ll all be rolling in money. of which he was so proud. Morel. Indeed. His mother implored him to take more care. They had hung on a file at the top of the kitchen cupboard. ‘They want me in Lime Street on Monday week. From some of them he had read extracts to his mother. Something seemed to be fretting him. on the Saturday morning he said: ‘Come on. because he was having a last day’s holiday. at a hundred and twenty a year. and don’t even ask to see me.’ ‘We shall.’ he cried. He was studying hard. a spoilt and very good-looking boy. Yours faithfully—-’ They want me. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. as the days drew near for his departure. she hoped in him so much. Some of them she had taken the trouble to read herself. but there was talk of his trying to get a scholarship for the High School in Nottingham. till they shone from the sheer pressure of her arm. Now he was going away.’ she answered sadly. Now she would not do it for him. But most were too trivial. Almost she lived by him. Still he went out to the dances and the river parties. This seemed a fabulous sum. and had purple and green thistles. Do one thing or the other—amuse yourself or learn Latin. Morel had done her Saturday’s work on the Friday. and you can have the birds and flowers. was at the Board school.’ Mrs. Arthur. He did not seem to leave her inhabited with himself. and sat yet longer studying. mother. She was making him a rice cake. It was a joy to her to have him proud of his collars. but don’t try to do both. if you want to dance. and growing serious. He read the letter: ‘And will you reply by Thursday whether you accept. to take with him. He did not drink. There was no laundry.was still a friend to Mrs. Now. His mother doubted almost whether to rejoice or to grieve. He came home very late at night. Morel felt everything go silent inside her. mother.

’ His mother ducked her small.‘Nice scent! Smell.’ she said. and she will have much pleasure if you come to tea on Sunday. ‘is as rich as Croesus. He continued to read extracts from his letters. some of which saddened her and made her anxious for him. some of which amused his mother. to start a new life. I sincerely hope he will agree. Soon there was a heap of twisted black pages. all that remained of the file of scented letters. Morel mockingly. I’ve forgiven you’—I like HER forgiving  . they can’t go on scratching for ever.’ she said quietly. ‘I thought she was so well educated!’ William felt slightly uncomfortable.’ ‘Well.’ she said. ‘I told mother about you this morning. breathing in. ‘Um!’ said Paul. and abandoned this maiden. If. They know they’ve only got to flatter your vanity. ‘they’re very wise.’ said William.’ ‘You flatter YOURSELF. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. And William went to London. She calls me Lafayette. Morel. because I know French.’ And he thrust the sheet under Paul’s nose. but she will have to get father’s consent also.’ he replied.’  Sons and Lovers ‘But one day you’ll find a string round your neck that you can’t pull off. I will let you know how it transpires. ‘You will see. and you press up to them like a dog that has its head scratched. however. ‘Transpires’—oh yes!’ ‘Transpires!’’ repeated Mrs. except that Paul had thirty or forty pretty tickets from the corners of the notepaper—swallows and forget-me-nots and ivy sprays. fine nose down to the paper. mother. ‘Not me! I’m equal to any of ‘em.’ she answered. He owns property without end. you—-’’ ‘Let you know how it’ what?’ interrupted Mrs. ‘What d’you call it? Smell. sniffing. giving Paul the corner with the thistles. I trot away. mater. ‘And when they’ve done. ‘My lad. ‘This girl’s father. they needn’t flatter themselves. ‘I don’t want to smell their rubbish.

So the smaller boy belonged at first almost entirely to Annie. with eyes that seemed to listen. So Paul was towed round at the heels of Annie.’ he said. and drop like sweat into the flame. Paul remained quite still.’ Which disturbed Annie inwardly.’ he said. She had a big doll of which she was fearfully proud. As a rule he seemed old for his years. having as yet no part of his own. and smashed them under stones. fished out the arms and legs. All the children. and then dark brown. although she could say nothing. So he jumped crash into the face of the hidden doll. you couldn’t tell it was there. and set the whole thing alight. ‘That’s the sacrifice of Missis Arabella. And always Paul flew beside her. But she was intensely fond of her second brother. As he grew older he became stronger. His fair hair went reddish. 0 Sons and Lovers though not so fond. uttered a loud wail. He was so conscious of what other people felt. She forgave her brother—he was so much upset. as her mother called her. and with a full. ‘Let’s make a sacrifice of Arabella. ‘You couldn’t tell it was there. William was too far removed from him to accept him as a companion. all blackened. particularly his mother. quiet child. and sat down to weep a dirge. poured on a little paraffin. were peculiarly Free eBooks at Planet eBook. living her share of the game. He seemed to hate the doll so intensely. but particularly Paul.’ She was horrified. dropping underlip. He was quiet and not noticeable. put the waxen fragments into the hollow face. his eyes were 1 . sharing her game. So she laid the doll on the sofa. ‘Let’s burn her.’ he repeated over and over. His soul seemed always attentive to her. slightly and rather small. Her grief wore itself out. because he had broken it.CHAPTER IV THE YOUNG LIFE OF PAUL PAUL would be built like his mother. She raced wildly at lerky with the other young wildcats of the Bottoms. to sleep. She was a tomboy and a ‘flybie-skybie’. He was a pale. He always seemed to care for things if she wanted him to. He watched with wicked satisfaction the drops of wax melt off the broken forehead of Arabella. But his sister adored him. Annie rushed up. and could have no peace. mother. ‘An’ I’m glad there’s nothing left of her. yet rather fascinated. She wanted to see what the boy would do. Meantime Paul must practise jumping off the sofa arm. When she fretted he understood. He made an altar of bricks. But a day or two afterwards she was shocked. pulled some of the shavings out of Arabella’s body. and covered it with an antimacassar. Then she forgot it. So long as the stupid big doll burned he rejoiced in silence. At the end be poked among the embers with a stick. So long as Annie wept for the doll he sat helpless with misery.

I should like to know? But they’re like yourself. The three children sat pale on the  Sons and Lovers sofa. ‘Why didn’t you let me have a go at him?’ said William. my young jockey. ‘Will yer?’ he said. ‘Why. Ay. and William.’ he said. and mad with  . And the children went to bed. quiet and intense. ‘I could easily have beaten him. you ‘ave. He waited until the children were silent.’ Morel danced a little nearer. There was a silence as the young children entered. Morel in a hard voice. along with their mother. his father standing on the hearthrug.’ But Morel’s blood was up. Morel continued to bully and to drink. William put his fists ready. Paul hoped they would. Look at yourself. so never think of it. which spread out like a convex cockle-shell.’ cried Mrs. ‘Dossn’t I? Ha’e much more o’ thy chelp. dost see?’ Morel crouched at the knees and showed his fist in an ugly. but Morel was hard-muscled. miserably. turning on to her husband. commanding a view of the valley. ‘it’s come to worse. WHY didn’t you let me give it him?’ ‘Because I couldn’t bear it. months at a time. when his father was upstairs. you nasty little bitch!’ he sneered. He watched his father. almost beast-like fashion. ‘Dossn’t I?’ he shouted. before it. ‘look at your children!’ Morel glanced at the sofa. or a clamp-shell. though. ‘Call HIM MY father!’ ‘Well. ‘Look at the children. No one spoke.’ she said. ‘Stop it. and his fists were clenched. He had periods. almost like a laugh. but none of the elders looked round. you daren’t do it when I was in.’ she cried quickly. crouching. ‘It ‘ud be the last time. and the men would have begun to fight. an’ I’ll rattle my fist about thee. ‘It hasn’t come to THAT yet. watching with children’s rage and hate. he is—and so—-‘ ‘But why don’t you let me settle him? I could do.’ ‘A nice thing—your own father. William was white to the lips. Another word. And YOU.against their father. drawing back his fist to strike. After a while he threw his boots under the table and went to bed. feet astride. when he made the whole life of the family a misery. easily. an’ I sholl that. He swung round on his son. both of you. Paul never forgot coming home from the Band of Hope one Monday evening and finding his mother with her eye swollen and discoloured. the family moved from the Bottoms to a house on the brow of the hill.’ she replied. just home from work. When William was growing up.’ She refused to answer him. glaring at his father. A light came into his blue eyes.’ ‘No. William was white with rage. his head down. William was bigger.’ ‘The idea!’ she cried. In front of the house Free eBooks at Planet eBook. what have I done to the children. you’ve put ‘em up to your own tricks and nasty ways—you’ve learned ‘em in it. then he said: ‘You coward. ‘We’ve had enough for ONE night. ‘FATHER!’’ repeated William.

outside and downstairs. then the sharp replies of his mother. Then at last. ‘Let him not be killed at pit. if the wind allowed. ‘Lord. But they had one tight place of anxiety in their hearts. the father did not come home from work. after tea. at last. The children came from school and had their teas. He was expected at five o’clock. bang of his father’s fist on the table. The wind came through the tree fiercer and fiercer. On the hob the big black saucepan was simmering. and the tree shrieked again. which their mother was filling for morning. until eight o’clock. then the bang. one darkness in their eyes. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘It sends me to sleep.’ he said. and the nasty snarling shout as the man’s voice got higher.was a huge old ash-tree. which showed all their lives. But if Morel had not come they faltered. Morel would put a brass candlestick on the table. whistled.’ But Paul and Arthur and Annie hated it. Then he heard the booming shouts of his father. and grew dark early. Still they listened. the stew-jar was in the  . But for months he would stop and drink every night on his way from work. Their mother sat sewing below. Then they went to bed. and of terror. This terror came in from the shrieking of the tree and the anguish of the home discord. sweeping from Derbyshire. and a sense of blood. That was another time when the family suffered intensely. Paul hated his father. He might hit their mother again. Often Paul would wake up. and shrieked. and they could go to sleep in peace. There was a feeling of horror. The west wind. Instantly he was wide awake. dancing at night round the lonely lamp-post in the midst of the darkness. Having such a great space in front of the house gave the children a feeling of night. The children played in the street. aware of thuds downstairs. ready for Morel’s dinner. silence everywhere. let my father die. They lay with their hearts in the grip of an intense anguish. come home nearly drunk. As a boy he had a fervent private religion. light a tallow candle to save the gas. and were ready to go out to play. Mrs. ‘It’s music. What  Sons and Lovers was it? Was it a silence of blood? What had he done? The children lay and breathed the darkness. And then the whole was drowned in a piercing medley of shrieks and cries from the great. very happy playing. caught the houses with full force. In the winter nights. they heard the water of the tap drumming into the kettle. on the brim of the wide. Morel liked it. of vastness. when it was cold. after he had been asleep a long time. The winter of their first year in the new house their father was very bad. wind-swept ash-tree. And then. So they were happy in the morning—happy.’ he prayed when. or dripping. dark valley. All the chords of the great harp hummed.’ he prayed very often. waiting for a lull in the wind to hear what their father was doing. The children lay silent in suspense. To Paul it became almost a demoniacal noise. a kind of bristling in the darkness. they heard their father throw down his boots and tramp upstairs in his stockinged feet. The children finished their bread-and-butter. And then came the horror of the sudden silence.’ he prayed every night. ‘Make him stop drinking.

’ The two sat talking for some time. dinnerless. Then the boy dawdled about near his mother. Morel unable to bear herself. At six o’clock still the cloth lay on the table. not coming home and eating and washing.’ He pretended to be perfectly cheerful.The sense of his sitting in all his pit-dirt. They shared the same anxiety. the big fire glowed red. Then Paul ran anxiously into the kitchen. Morel. The minutes ticked away. still the dinner stood waiting. drinking. So he ran in to Mrs. William gave her the sense of relief. Presently Mrs. and did not tell his friend what ailed him. Inger. It was night. The lamplighter came along. when suddenly the boy rose. Morel sat alone. after a long day’s work. cross with the futility of the question. providing her at last with someone to turn to if Morel failed. and depended on the breadwinner. No more colliers came. she called: ‘Come in. The boy could not stand it any longer. when she saw the lad at the door. Paul. But the tense atmosphere of the room on these waiting evenings was the same. All the room was full of the sense of waiting. the dinnerplate lay waiting on the table. Morel went out and strained the potatoes. for her to talk to him. The one candle still burned on the table. He could not go out and play. The children were yet young. Mrs. She had no children. I’ll be going and seeing if my mother wants an errand doing. Paul almost hated his  Sons and Lovers mother for suffering because his father did not come home from work. why don’t you let him?’ ‘Let him!’ flashed Mrs. Paul stood in the doorway. A few last colliers straggled up the dim field path. From her the feeling was transmitted to the other children. next door but one. but sitting. some mile away from home. She never suffered alone any more: the children suffered with her. On the hob the saucepan steamed.’ said Mrs. drinking himself drunk. ‘Has my dad come?’ he asked. So. ‘but what do I care?’ Not many words were spoken. ‘What do you bother yourself for?’ he said.’ She knew that the man who stops on the way home from work is on a quick way to ruining himself and his home. Then he ran indoors. Paul went out to play with the rest. Morel. made Mrs. Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ she said. Down in the great trough of twilight. ‘If he wants to stop and get drunk. work was done. tiny clusters of lights burned where the pits were. ‘You may well say ‘let him’. Morel at these times came in churlish and hateful. on an empty stomach. waiting for the man who was sitting in his pit-dirt. across the darkness. ‘They’re ruined and black. Darkness shut down over the  . ‘You can see he hasn’t. getting drunk. Her husband was good to her but was in a shop. and came home late. saying: ‘Well. still the same sense of anxiety and expectation in the room.

’ ‘Oh.’ said Mrs. when he was his real self again. but they could not. because he was dangerous. But now it was gone too far to alter. Morel. and. Then he always wanted several attendants.’ ‘All right.  Sons and Lovers He would dearly have liked the children to talk to him. No one told him anything. usually at Annie. He ate his food in the most brutal manner possible. He was shut out from all family affairs. told her all about the day’s happenings. Sometimes. happy machinery of the home. alone with their mother. he cobbled the boots or mended the kettle or his pit-bottle. ‘You know how be carries on and says he’s never told anything. in the evening. my boy? What sort of a competition?’ ‘Oh. everything stopped. nothing—about famous women. dad. indeed! ‘ ‘About birds. the man looked up and shouted: ‘I’ll lay my fist about thy y’ead. Everybody was highly jubilant. ‘Wha’s it matter to yo’ what time I come whoam?’ he shouted. And everybody in the house was still. in the actual doing of something.‘This is a nice time to come home.’ ‘Hm—hm! ‘ And that was all. when he had done. if tha doesna stop that clatter! Dost hear?’ And the two last words. with a fleshy nose and thin. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. The collier’s small.’ said Paul. was turned sideways. I’m tellin’ thee. Morel turned round to him. made the family writhe with hate of the man. dirty and inflamed. to lay his arms on the table. They united with him in the work. or a noise were made. pushed all the pots in a heap away from him. asleep with beer and weariness and nasty temper. as you’ve got?’ ‘It’s a book. Morel would say: ‘You ought to tell your father. ‘Now you’d better tell your father when be comes in. the shutting off of life.’ Paul won a prize in a competition in a child’s paper. and the children enjoyed it. then. He had denied the God in him. lay on the bare arms. The children. ‘I’ve won a prize in a competition.’ he said. Conversation was impossible between the father and any other member of the family. mean head. But as soon as the father came in.’ ‘And how much is the prize. and was happy at work.’ said Mrs. The only times when he entered again into the life of his own people was when he  . the unwelcome. If anyone entered suddenly. shouted in a bullying fashion. He was like the scotch in the smooth. Paul hated his father so. But he would almost rather have forfeited the prize than have to tell his father. He was an outsider. Nothing had really taken place in them until it was told to their mother. ‘Have you. and the face. with its black hair slightly soiled with grey. paltry brows. Morel. everything. Then he went to sleep. And he was always aware of this fall of silence on his entry. Sometimes Mrs.

dexterous. He always had a beautifully sharp knife that could cut a straw clean without hurting it. my beauty. he comes i’ th’ stall wi’ a rattle. months. after which he cut the straws into lengths of about six inches. soldering. when Morel would take it to the pit. peppering jollily downwards till the straw was full. ‘That’s right. Taff?’ yo’ say. ‘an’ not very high. red-glowing stuff on his iron goose. Morel fetched a sheaf of long sound wheatstraws from the attic. my duckie. dad!’ he said. 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. for his wife to mend. Then he slives up an’ shoves ‘is ‘ead on yer. And he was rather happy when he sat putting great patches on his moleskin pit trousers. Or he sat absorbed for a moment. while the room was full of a scent of burnt resin and hot 101 . Then he set in the middle of the table a heap of gunpowder. would lean on the arm of Morel’s chair and say: ‘Tell us about down pit. ‘Ello. ‘Look.’ he would begin. always sang.’ This Morel loved to do. Then sometimes he was jolly again. ready for the morning.’ he would answer.’ you say.’ replied Morel. He made one feel Taffy’s cunning. ‘He’s a brown ‘un. if he could. Paul popped the fuse into the powder-tin. who was peculiarly lavish of endearments to his second son. crying: ‘Out of my road—out of my road!’ Then he hammered the soft. He made and trimmed the straws while Paul and Annie rifled and plugged them. He always sang when he mended boots because of the jolly sound of hammering. considering them too dirty. Then the children watched with joy as the metal sank suddenly molten. and Morel was silent and intent for a minute. and was shoved about against the nose of the soldering-iron.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook.He was a good workman. and one who. daddy. Paul loved to see 100 Sons and Lovers the black grains trickle down a crack in his palm into the mouth of the straw. there’s one little ‘oss—we call ‘im Taffy. These he cleaned with his hand. leaving. a notch at the bottom of each piece. ‘What’s want. ‘An’ he’s a fawce ‘un!’ Morel had a warm way of telling a story. Well. But the best time for the young children was when he made fuses. He had whole periods. almost years. It was nice to see him run with a piece of red-hot iron into the scullery. when he was in a good humour. Taff. which he would often do. that cadin’. still fond of his father. a little pile of black grains upon the whitescrubbed board. an’ then yo’ ‘ear ‘im sneeze.’ ‘And what does he?’ Arthur always asked. ‘what art sneezin’ for? Bin ta’ein’ some snuff?’ ‘An’ ‘e sneezes again. Meantime Arthur. of friction and nasty temper. and use it to fire a shot that would blast the coal down. ‘He wants a bit o’ bacca. ‘Well. till each one gleamed like a stalk of gold. and made the shape he wanted. and the stuff too hard.

Sometimes they went to the window and watched the three or four lamps growing tinier and tinier. Perhaps it would have been a little relief to her if he had died. That afternoon Mrs. was vaguely aware of the clatter of the iron on the iron-stand. The others were all quite strong. ‘An’ I wor just in time ter get ‘im by th’ tail. 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. on the warm chintz cushions the children loved. theer!’ I shouts. They lay and talked softly a while. subject to bronchitis. for they are. ‘Why?’ he asked. Then it was a joy to rush back to bed and cuddle closely in the warmth.’ These happy evenings could not take place unless Morel had some job to do. Morel was ironing. going to take the nine o’clock shift. for they’re a nuisance. what should go runnin’ up my arm but a mouse. Again rose in her heart the old. ‘An’ what dost think. But he ate no dinner. nibblin’ little 10 . One day he came home at dinner-time feeling ill. But it was not a family to make any fuss. Once roused. thud on the ironing-board. he opened his eyes to see his mother standing on the hearthrug with the hot iron near her cheek. ‘That’s why. Or sometimes it was a new tale. And yet he had a great vitality in his young body. so this was another reason for his mother’s difference in feeling for him. Her still Free eBooks at Planet eBook. There was nothing remaining for him to stay up for. Then he fell into a kind of doze.’ he replied. and everybody loved it. restless noise the boy made in his throat as she worked. ‘If you eat no dinner.’ she said. ‘What’s the matter with YOU?’ his mother asked sharply. my darlin’? When I went to put my coat on at snap-time.’ ‘And did you kill it?’ ‘I did. listening. as it were. imagined them dipping down into the dark valley.This story of Taffy would go on interminably. to the heat.’ ‘An’ what do they live on?’ ‘The corn as the ‘osses drops—an’ they’ll get in your pocket an’ eat your snap. ‘Nothing. The place is fair snied wi’ ‘em. They listened to the voices of the men. Paul was rather a delicate boy. often before the children.’ So after dinner he lay down on the sofa. And the children felt secure when their father was in bed. 10 Sons and Lovers swaying down the fields in the darkness. almost weary feeling towards him. of the faint thud. ‘Hey up. She had never expected him to live. if you’ll let ‘em—no matter where yo’ hing your coat— the slivin’. when he had finished tinkering. And then he always went to bed very early. She always felt a mixture of anguish in her love for him. She listened to the small. He. you’re not going to school. in his semi-conscious sleep. and had skimmed the headlines of the newspaper.

And do stop shouting downstairs.’ Paul replied. and he could watch the fire-flames spring over the darkness of the walls and ceiling. said softly: ‘Good-night. till the room seemed full of men who battled silently.’ insisted the boy.’ the father repeated gently to Paul.’ ‘She says you’re to go to sleep. His father’s presence seemed to aggravate all his sick impatience. dear! I shan’t be long. ‘I don’t want nothing. could watch huge shadows waving and tossing. On retiring to 10 . He loved the evenings. the father would come into the sickroom. raced off the dark. He felt his son did not want him. quick. Do you want anything?’ Morel rarely ‘thee’d’ his son.’ ‘Good-night. ‘Eh.face. glossy surface. ‘No. It was always a pleasure to watch her. no movement she ever made. Later on the clergyman came and talked softly with her. good gracious! Tell him to go to sleep. my darlin’?’ Morel asked softly. and her blue eyes so young. is my mother comin’?’ ‘She’s just finishin’ foldin’ the clothes. she looked brave and rich with life. The boy began to get feverish with irritation. Paul loved the way she crouched and put her head on one side. yet made him patiently dogged inside. But he 10 Sons and Lovers disturbed the atmosphere for the boy. Paul was laid up with an attack of bronchitis. What happened happened. At last Morel. could have been found fault with by her children. She was warm in the ruddy firelight. after having stood looking at his son awhile.’ Morel called downstairs. ‘Well. Then. Her movements were light and quick. and warm. and her nose the smallest bit on one side. The room was warm and full of the scent of hot linen. It was his childish aim. Nothing she ever did. my duckie. made his heart contract with love. with the mouth closed tight from suffering and disillusion and self-denial. He loitered about indefinitely. ‘She says she won’t be long. so. I want HER to come. He did not mind much. and a little ball of spit bounded. ‘He says he can’t go off till you come. Then he went to the top of the stairs and said to his wife: ‘This childt’s axin’ for thee.’ he said. There’s the other children—-‘ Then Morel came again and crouched before the bedroom fire.’ The father waited undecidedly on the hearthrug for a moment or two. But how long will she be?’ ‘Not long. He loved a fire dearly. It hurt the boy keenly. how long art goin’ to be?’ ‘Until I’ve finished. and it was no good kicking against the pricks. kneeling. after eight o’clock. my darling. She spat on the iron. but as if she had been done out of her rights. turning round in relief to be Free eBooks at Planet eBook. she rubbed the iron on the sack lining of the hearthrug vigorously. When she was quiet. 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. when the light was put out. ‘Are ter asleep. He was always very gentle if anyone were ill.

And if they got half a pound they felt exceedingly happy: 10 Sons and Lovers there was the joy of finding something. the security and peace of soul. scattering their hay on the trodden yellow snow. for the white-skinned. ‘Good gracious!’ she would exclaim as the lads came in. ‘Pretty!’ she said. when it is shared with a beloved. from which the larks were rising. our mother!’ She peeped into the basket. every week-end going on their search. like pigeons dashing by. hunting through the wet grass. among the bushes. Sleep is still most perfect. see the fluffy horses feeding at the troughs in the field. He always brought her one spray. the children were delighted if they could do anything to help economically. whilst she. Morel must buy fruit for puddings on the Saturdays. Then the night came up in dark blue vapour from the snow. of a woman accepting a love-token. ‘there wasn’t any.alone. The snowflakes. Annie and Paul and Arthur went out early in the morning. suddenly arriving on the window-pane. so we went over Misk Hills. and the joy of contributing to the family exchequer. The snowflakes whirled round the corner of the house. looking for mushrooms. Paul lay against her and slept. wonderful naked bodies crouched secretly in the green. then were gone. was the blackberries. clung there a moment like swallows. and a drop of water was crawling down the glass. he felt. so that it takes the body and soul completely in its healing. But Paul hunted far and wide. ‘Now. Mrs. And look here. and he would have died rather. ‘And there’s over two pounds-isn’t there over two pounds’? She tried the basket. knits the sleep. and tired to death. always a bad sleeper. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. In that region of mining villages blackberries became a comparative rarity. The warmth. Away across the valley the little black train crawled doubtfully over the great whiteness. would disappoint her. black figures trailing slowly in gangs across the white field. ‘Yes. also she liked blackberries. in summer. and got better. In convalescence he would sit up in bed. So Paul and Arthur scoured the coppices and woods and old quarries. the utter comfort from the touch of the other. fell later on into a profound sleep that seemed to give her faith. after gleaning for frumenty.’ replied Paul. While they were so poor.’ she answered doubtfully. Then Paul fished out a little spray. those are fine ones!’ she exclaimed. That. and hungry. But he also could not bear to go home to his mother empty. so long as a blackberry was to be found. 10 . in a curious tone. But the most important harvest. ‘wherever have you been?’ ‘Well. He loved being out in the country. in spite of hygienists. In convalescence everything was wonderful. the best he could find. watch the miners troop home—small. the joy of accepting something straight from the hand of Nature. Paul loved to sleep with his mother.

No window was open. The colliers of the five pits were paid on Fridays. and very bald. children. but not individually. a long. They had come up early. and one or two children. and women. bare room paved with blue brick. as contractor. Mr. When it was time for Bretty to be paid. Paul always examined the grass border. school closed early on Friday afternoons. and men were seen trooping to the offices. and he divided the wages again. and the big grass bank. Down all the paths. These offices were quite handsome: a new. Mr. red-brick building. until they went themselves to work. so it was often his fate to be jammed behind the legs of the men. either in the public-house or in his own home. The green shrubs were silent all around. they were good friends. men who had been home and changed. But when William went to Nottingham. and having a seat all round. He made remarks that were not witty. Mr. Braithwaite and his clerk. The girls chattered loudly. Each of the Morel children— William. All the earnings of each stall were put down to the chief butty. whilst his chief launched forth patriarchal admonitions against the colliers. the mother made a companion of Paul. 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. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Braithwaite was large. Here sat the col10 Sons and Lovers liers in their pit-dirt. Paul went in among the crowd. Paul used to set off at half-past three.’ All the folk for Spinney Park trooped inside. Behind the counter stood two men—Mr. then Paul—had fetched the money on Friday afternoons. The room was crowded with miners in their pit-dirt. rather than own himself beaten and come home to her emptyhanded. Then from inside came the cry ‘Spinney Park—Spinney Park. coming in from the freshness. Winterbottom was rather small and fat. He was usually muffled in an enormous silk neckerchief. standing in its own grounds at the end of Greenhill Lane. and usually a dog. ‘Holliday. with a little calico bag in his pocket. and William was jealous of him. somewhat of the stern patriarch in appearance. And William occupied her chiefly. The pay-room was quite small. went miles and miles. against the wall. So that the children could fetch the money. having a rather thin white beard.’ came the ringing voice of Mr. She never realised this. The women had on their Sunday hats. It was the rule that Paul should fetch the money on Friday afternoons. He knew the order of the names—they went according to stall number. The women and children usually loitered about on the red gravel paths. Little dogs ran here and there. Morel’s intimacy with her second son was more subtle and fine. perhaps not so passionate as with her eldest. There was a sound of many voices. A counter went across. Winterbottom. She was a woman who waited for her children to grow up.The boy walked all day. At the same time. Mrs. and was not so much at home. because in it grew tiny pansies and tiny forget-menots. near the fire which scorched him. girls. Braithwaite. then Annie. dividing it into 10 . whilst he was young. women. almost like a mansion. The latter was unconsciously jealous of his brother. The waiting-room was the hall. Paul was quite small.

‘How much do you think you’ve given me?’ asked Mr. ‘It’s me. and plumped it beside the 111 . The colliers looked round. The large and important cashier looked down at his next sheet.Then Mrs. ‘Here he is!’ said Mr. and could not or would not shout. was paid. Then Mr. ‘Fred Pilkington!’ he called. But he did not hope to get through the wall of men.’ said the boy. ‘Seventeen pounds eleven and fivepence. to whom the stoppages for rent and tools must be paid. Winterbottom. Winterbottom. moved aside. his finger 110 Sons and Lovers and thumb on the invoice. Winterbottom. small and inadequate.’ said Mr. The boy looked at him. but said nothing. peering over the counter. Winterbottom. the boy dragged the whole down the counter to Mr. red. ‘Walter Morel!’ came the ringing voice. Mr. The backs of the men obliterated him. Where is he? Morel’s lad?’ The fat. bald little man peered round with keen eyes. He pushed forward some loose silver and half a sovereign. ‘Morel—Walter Morel!’ the cashier repeated. Paul was suffering convulsions of self-consciousness. picked up a little ten-pound column of gold. Here he suffered again. ‘Bower—John Bower. ‘Don’t they teach you to count at the Board-school?’ he Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘You should tell him to keep off the drink. He pointed at the fireplace. Mr. Braithwaite. The cashier finished counting off the money. drew aside. Why don’t you shout up when you’re called?’ said Mr. ‘How is it your father’s not come!’ said Mr. Braithwaite was an important shareholder in the firm. ready to pass on. His calves were burning. Paul went to the counter. ‘Haven’t you got a tongue in your head?’ Paul bit his lip. Paul knew his turn was next but one.’ A boy stepped to the counter. Braithwaite. then in a delicate and pretty movement.’ said a mocking voice from behind. He had not the faintest notion. in a large and magisterial voice. ‘Sixteen an’ six.’ said glossy Mr. ‘Why. and his heart began to beat. ‘An’ niver mind if he puts his foot through yer. All the men laughed. Winterbottom came to the rescue. thinking of John Bower senior. ‘Here!’ piped Paul. you used to ‘ave a different nose than that. and disclosed the boy. large and irascible. He was pushed against the chimney-piece. ‘John Bower!’ he repeated.’ piped the boy. ‘He’s here. quite indifferent.’ pronounced the great cashier. The lad was too much upset to count. and pushed forward some more silver. Winterbottom. Braithwaite. The gold slid in a bright stream over the paper. The people tittered. glowered at him over his spectacles. He banged on to the invoice a five-pound bag of silver. Holliday stepped silently forward. ‘He’s badly.

‘Hello!’ he said rather tenderly to his son. they’d be glad enough of the sixpence. ‘Oh. With trembling fingers he got his money into the bag and slid out. His relief. what’s the matter?’ his mother asked in surprise. Morel. They all glanced at the boy without speaking. He knew many of the men. This sixpence was Paul’s only income. Paul went home. even in his blackness. very well.’ he declared. But—‘They can have it. at Bretty. Mrs. fierce morality. but it WAS an income. Morel’s mother. And this was a new torture to him. Wharmby’s friend. they are. self-consciously. Morel. There were some gold and some white fowls pecking under the apple trees of an orchard. Wharmby. and there was usually a hot bun. ‘Sit you down. and hateful. Winterbottom says ‘You was’. ‘An’ cheek an’ impidence. when he got outside.’ ‘And is that why you won’t go any more?’ smiled Mrs.’ said Mrs. tell your father so. his Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and with something of an air. resenting his clear. in the peculiar half-scornful. and common. half-patronising voice of a woman who talks chiefly to grown men. and was walking along the Mansfield Road. Paul was keeping someone waiting. his father was not yet come. He suffered the tortures of the damned on these occasions.’ He chewed his bun as if he hated it. very well.asked.’ ‘Then one of Carlin’s children can go. knew him. The boy went near the wall. brisk. and I’m not going any more. and he treasured it. ‘But you needn’t bully ME about it. ‘I’m not—I’m not going to fetch the money.’ he said. His mother put it before him.’ said another. His grandmother. The landlady looked at him de haut en bas. an’ Mr. then!’ he said. and at the same time. ‘Your father’s not come yet. and he would have suffered more in drinking a lemonade before all the men than in having a tooth drawn. glowering. Mr. His face was pale. His sudden rages rather amused her.’ said a collier. others came in. On the park wall the mosses were green.’ ‘Oh. When he got down to the New Inn. It mostly went in buying birthday presents. rather pitying. Braithwaite drops his ‘h’s’. Suddenly he turned on her in a fury. The boy was silent for some time. Some colliers were ‘reckoning’—sharing out their money—in a corner. He entered the house silently. had been Mrs. The colliers were walking home in a stream. ‘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 coholists.’ said the landlady. was infinite.’ ‘They’re hateful. the landlady. but could not recognise them in their dirt. ‘Nowt but algibbra an’ 11 . At last Morel came. ‘I don’t want it. Friday was baking day. ‘I’m NOT going any more.’ Paul sat down on the edge of the bench in the bar. his eyes flashing: ‘I’m NOT going to the office any more. ‘Why.’ said his mother.

Annie always ‘gallivanted’ on Friday nights. The market-place was full of women. ‘And I’m sure it’s right enough. And sometimes the fury in his eyes roused her. from Nottingham 11 Sons and Lovers and Derby. ‘Seventeen pounds eleven and fivepence. Friday was the baking night and market night. sympathised with her fruit man—who was a gabey. ‘Mother!’ the girl implored. ‘that is a fact— neither manners nor wit—and his cunning he was born with. His mother moved about at her work. many stalls were erected. ‘An’ then Alfred Winterbottom says. and only five shillings stoppages for my father. Morel usually quarrelled with her lace woman.’ she replied. Morel. in her own way. Morel loved her marketing. ‘I wondered how much that little dish was.’ It had started with a tip. Arthur was enjoying himself as usual. he was very fond of drawing. it was a great grievance to Annie. His ridiculous hypersensitiveness made her heart ache.’ replied the mother tartly. ‘They always stan’ in front of me. 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. Brakes ran in from surrounding villages. Her bonnet was in its third year. ‘Couldn’t you give it a pick-me-up?’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘It’s a good week.’ said Mrs.’ replied the boy. ‘It looks rather come down. my lad. so’s I can’t get out. Mrs.’ she said. ‘What was the cheque?’ she asked. taking no notice of him. Ilkeston and Mansfield. It was the rule that Paul should stay at home and bake. where four roads.’ So. but she could not leave the market-place without it. now was reduced to black lace and a bit of jet.’ She put the dish down and walked away. she soothed him. So the boy remained alone. It was amazing to see so many men everywhere in the streets.’ he said. surprised. was cold with the odd-wares man. and only went to the crockery man when she was driven—or drawn by the cornflowers on a little dish. and she glanced at the dish furtively. ‘What do they teach you at the Board-school?’’ ‘They never taught HIM much.’ said Paul. ‘Well. in a bonnet and a black costume.’ So she was able to calculate how much her husband had earned.’ ‘Then what else shall I wear. Mrs. you’ve only to ASK them. ‘don’t wear that nubbly little bonnet. and could call him to account if he gave her short money. Morel always kept to himself the secret of the week’s 11 . the streets packed with men. He loved to stop in and draw or read.eyes dark and furious. meet. made her sleeping soul lift up its head a moment. pretending not to. She was a little woman. then she was coldly polite. ‘Sevenpence to you.’ ‘Thank you. Again she went by where the pots lay coldly on the floor. then had had flowers. and sixteen and six stoppages. In the tiny market-place on the top of the hill.

‘Yer’ll do me the favour. She was always her best so—triumphant. ‘You wouldn’t let me have it for fivepence if you didn’t want to. you ARE loaded!’ he exclaimed.’ Mrs.’ said Paul. ‘My word. The two stood together gloating over the dish. that pot man!’ she said. light step in the entry and looked up from his drawing. Both she and her enemy. but then she stooped and took up her dish. and I thought of the teapot you bought me—-‘ ‘One and three. had an uncomfortable feeling.’ he replied. as if there were something between them.’ said Paul. and stood looking on it with joy. She glanced at the dish again. closing the oven door. mother. ‘You needn’t look. I don’t think he’s quite so bad. ‘The last one is soaking.’ he growled.‘I’ll jowl your head for impudence. ‘I don’t see you give it me. She took off her little black bonnet. ‘No.’ ‘Oh. Her heart hardened. like yer do when y’ave something give yer.’ said Mrs. I’ve not forgotten it. ‘I LOVE cornflowers on things. Morel paid him the fivepence in a cold manner. But she had forgiven the pot man. ‘Well.’ said Paul. Suddenly he shouted: ‘Do you want it for fivepence?’ She started. I fairly sneaked off with it. ‘Is the bread done?’ she asked. ‘That brazen Annie said she’d meet me. Morel. tired.’ ‘It would ME. ‘Show me!’ said Paul. She dare now finger his pots. ‘Yes. So she was happy.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. I couldn’t afford any more. like?’ he said.’ ‘In this flamin’. But I’d been extravagant. He loved her home-coming.’ ‘Don’t you?’ The boy was attentive to her. feeling rich in spirit.’ ‘No. Morel. ‘You know what a wretch I’ve said he was? Well. there are bad times. 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. ‘Oh!’ she sighed. ‘I’ll have it. And he needn’t have let me have it if he hadn’t wanted to. They were friends. scrattlin’ place you may count yerself lucky if you can give your things away. I think he can’t make any money—well. it’s everybody’s cry alike nowadays—and it makes him disagreeable. ‘Yer’d better spit in 11 . one can’t wonder at it.’ she said. SUCH a weight!’ 11 Sons and Lovers She dropped her string bag and her packages on the table. and she tied the strings of the black bonnet valiantly under her chin.’ she said. He heard her quick. putting down his brush.’ said Mrs. going to the oven. and good. laden with parcels. the pot man. ‘I am!’ she gasped. ‘Yes. ‘Fivepence!’ ‘It’s not enough. Do you know. Paul was waiting for her. smiling at him from the doorway.

’ said he. I know I s’ll come to want. going to unpack her bag. came back with the 11 . ‘Paul.’ said his mother. till it was thick dark. luminous space were deserted. to see her latest extravagance. with a little tangle of lights below where Minton pit lay. They set up a game round the lamp-post. ‘NOW look at him now he’s wet!’ he said. ‘Yes!’ she exclaimed. She tapped it also. when it was not wet. The entry was very dark.’ said Paul. ‘How CHEAP!’ he cried. brimful of satisfaction. The children of Scargill Street felt quite select. extravagant woman.’ she said. he needn’t. At the end 11 Sons and Lovers where the Morels lived there were not many young things. turning their backs on the night. Suddenly a pinafore under a short coat was seen. and went out. The farthest tiny lights seemed to stretch out the darkness for ever.’ ‘But lovely!’ he cried. ‘Where’s Billy Pillins an’ your Annie an’ Eddie Dakin?’ ‘I don’t know. Then they tied their scarves round their necks. need he. as all the colliers’ children did. the two boys felt genuine desolation. Then the play went fast and furious. and another far away opposite for Selby. her voice bright with glee. look at this yellow one. ‘Or radishes and lettuce. and carefully washed the pansy. Boys and girls played together. Paul looked in the oven.‘No. Annie and Paul and Arthur loved the winter evenings. and the street would be deserted. ‘Yes. Behind was the great scoop of darkness. as if all the night were there. ‘Four penn’orth!’ she moaned. They stayed indoors till the colliers were all gone home. ‘Aren’t they!’ she exclaimed. stooping to sniff. If the little.’ said Paul. watching the dark houses. and at the end the whole great night opened out. giving it to her. ‘We c’n have stewed fruit in it. isn’t it—and a face just like an old man!’ ‘Just!’ cried Paul. which stood at the end of the field path.’ He hopped to her side eagerly. The children looked anxiously down the road at the one lamp-post. They stood with their hands in their pockets under the lamp. ‘Don’t forget that bread. but I couldn’t afford it THIS week of all weeks.’ he said. There was only this one lamp-post. ‘Or custard. in a hollow. for they scorned overcoats. ‘And smells that nice! But he’s a bit splashed. She unfolded another lump of newspaper and disclosed some roots of pansies and of crimson daisies. and the two comforted each other from the fear of having robbed the pot man. till the others rushed up.’ But it did not matter so much—there were three now. In front. ‘It’s done. tapped the loaf on the base. quite miserable. or a jelly. the boys taking part in the dancing games and rings and make-belief of the girls.’ He ran in the scullery. and a long-legged girl came flying up. So the few were more united. the girls joining in the fights and the rough games. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘Yes. yelling. ‘Oh. and I’m a wicked.’ she replied. giving way to pure joy.

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

in all the dust an’ dirt. 1 Sons and Lovers They were very poor that autumn. All day long. ‘What’s my dad eating his snap for now?’ asked Arthur.’ said Morel. He was coming at Christmas for five days. If I drop a bit of bread at pit. So the boy stood in the scullery. she showed Paul how to blanch almonds. 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. mother! Isn’t it lovely?’ And he balanced a bit on his nose. He felt ignominious and sore. ‘Oh. ‘An’ is it goin’ to be wasted?’ said Morel.’ he bawled pathetically. Morel hated to go back. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. He was in London: he would do well. counting them all. ‘What a story!’ exclaimed his wife. He sent ten shillings once or twice. Almost. His mother felt again he was remaining to her just as when he was at home. But he had gone to pit to work.’ ‘The mice would eat it. coming home from school. she thought of him. Morel made a big and magnificent cake. I pick it up an’ eat it.The colliers.’ said Mrs. He skinned the long nuts reverently. Annie made the pretty paper hoops in the old-fashioned way. telling her all his life. ‘Now. William had just gone away to London. at this time!’ exclaimed his wife. where the temperature was nearly at freezingpoint. were trooping home again. but he had many things to pay for at first. and to be sent home again spoilt his temper.’ ‘Good bread-an’-butter’s not for mice. There had never been such preparations. Then.’ snorted Morel. might I?’ he exclaimed. their faces scarcely blackened. as he entered.’ ‘Then I’ll eat my bit o’ snap as I took with me. woman?’ he shouted. ‘I should ha’e it holled at me if I didna. It was said that eggs whisked better in a cold place. ‘Dirty or not 1 .’ said the mother. Mrs. then blew it in the air. and whisked and whisked. ‘It wouldn’t be wasted. ‘Just look.’ ‘You might leave it for the mice and pay for it out of your next pint. and flew in excitement to his mother as the white of egg grew stiffer and more snowy. His letters came regularly once a week. how he enjoyed London. to see not one was lost. ‘And I’ve not done half enough dinner. feeling queenly. ‘I’m not such a extravagant mortal as you lot. with your waste. either. as she cleaned the house. He wrote a good deal to his mother. and his mother missed his money. rather witty letters. and was exchanging lessons with a Frenchman. ‘Can I help it. I’d eat it rather than it should be wasted. how he made friends. And there was unheardof extravagance in the larder. She wrote to him every week her direct. Morel. don’t waste it.’ said Paul. Paul and Arthur scoured the land for holly and evergreens. He loved the sunny morning. he was like her knight who wore HER favour in the battle. ‘Good gracious. And the children.

Everywhere was decorated. Yet he was much too much scared of broaching any man. The kettle was singing. ‘The train gets in at half-past six.’ They all grew silent. She was alone. ‘You be quiet—he might send us off. There was a big plum cake. But at a quarter to seven Morel came in again. Morel went down the entry to look for him. bless you. Mrs. and silent. They waited one hour. and she quietly went on with her baking.Everybody was mad with excitement.’ said Annie.’ said Annie. She was finishing cooking—Spanish tarts and cheese-cakes. and mince-pies— two enormous dishes. Only by the careful way in which she did things could it be told how much moved she was. spun slowly over Mrs. She began to clear her table. He was due at seven o’clock.’ she replied emphatically. Down the line the red and green lights shone.’ she answered. The kissing bunch of berried holly hung with bright and glittering things. man!’ she said. turning crossly in his chair. and unhappy. They thought anything might happen if one came from London. and a rice cake. ‘It’s an hour an’ a half late. 1 Sons and Lovers ‘There’s plenty of time. There was London! It seemed the utter-most of distance.’ But Paul was dying for the man to know they were expecting someone by the London train: it sounded so grand. to dare to ask. ‘What time dost say he’s coming?’ Morel asked for the fifth time. ‘Goodness. quite awkward with excitement. He sat in his armchair. They looked down the darkness of the railway. The three children had gone to meet him. ‘Ask him if the London train’s come. but he would be late. lemon tarts. William was coming on Christmas Eve. A train came—he was not there.’ he answered. They were all too troubled to talk. Neither wife nor husband spoke. He wasn’t coming. The three children could scarcely go into the waiting-room for fear of being sent away.’ she said indifferently. ‘I’m not. Meantime the three children were on the platform at Sethley Bridge.’ ‘Eh. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘it’s Christmas Eve. ‘There’s not so much as I can see on.’ said Paul to Annie. ‘Well. It was very dark and very cold. Morel surveyed her pantry. ‘You’re like an ill-sitting hen. on the Midland main line. Cold. they huddled together on the 1 . when they saw a man in a tip cap. to bring him early. and for fear something should happen whilst they were off the platform. But she hoped. Then he came back.’ said Arthur pathetically. ‘Then he’ll be here at ten past seven. There was a scent of cooked pastry.’ ‘Hadna you better be gettin’ him summat t’ eat ready?’ asked the father. Still they waited in the dark and cold. jam tarts. The clock ticked on. They waited and waited. A great fire roared. let alone one in a peaked cap. it’ll be hours late on the Midland. by expecting him late. two miles from home. Morel’s head as she trimmed her little tarts in the kitchen.

A great train. William. Morel put on her black apron. Then the son turned round to his mother. ‘I should think so—coming home!’ He was a fine fellow. Everybody was still for a second. I’d come!’ exclaimed William. big. ‘Oh. ‘Well. ‘I tell you. everything was ready. on Christmas Eve they’re HOURS wrong. bound for Manchester. She was wearing her best dress. trying to be quite normal: ‘But how late you are!’ ‘Aren’t I!’ he cried. Two doors opened. laughing. after more than two hours. It was getting so late. Mrs. Every penny he had he had spent on them. my lad!’ Morel’s eyes were wet. He had brought them endless presents. 1 Sons and Lovers the door burst open. The mother ran a few steps towards the door and waited. and fearless-looking. straight. she clasped him and kissed him. Morel suffered. pretending to read. ‘Well. raw wind. There was a rush and a patter of feet. At last there was a sound of voices. so gnawed with anxiety. it’s not different!’ he said. it was getting unbearable. as if in relief. and the little tarts that lay in their tins on the hearth. There was a sense of luxury overFree eBooks at Planet eBook. they saw the lights of an engine peering 1 . Meanwhile the parents were getting anxious.’ he said. Then he stood back. turning to his father. ‘Ha’s here!’ cried Morel. He handed parcels to them cheerily.’ They were both a bit cross with each other. and from one of them. no longer. 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. and pushed it whole into his mouth. The table was set. They flew to him. The children drew back with beating hearts. The ash tree moaned outside in a cold. And for two seconds.’ ‘And those children waiting!’ she said. ‘Mater!’ he said. ‘H’m!’ said Morel.At last. The slight click of the works inside the clock irritated her. jumping up. picked a tart from the hearth. and a footstep in the entry. The minutes were a torture to her.’ she said proudly. ‘Well!’ he exclaimed. He looked round at the evergreens and the kissing bunch. Then she sat. ‘Th’ train canna ha’ come in yet. dad!’ The two men shook hands. ‘But you look well. ‘My boy!’ she cried. ‘We thought tha’d niver be commin’.’ he said. did iver you see such a parish oven!’ the father exclaimed. Then he suddenly sprang forward. And all that space of night from London home! Mrs. Then she withdrew and said. William was there. A porter ran out. away down the darkness. He dropped his Gladstone bag and took his mother in his arms. ‘It’s an hour an’ a ha’ef. the chop was cooked. ‘By jove! mother. ‘Well. drew up.

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

an’ ‘e wor in a dead faint. So he had endless accidents. I’ll be hanged if there is! His thumb’s nearly better. I am!’ She came downstairs. there’s no time to be painting now. what a one he is! There’s not five minutes of peace.’ ‘I can finish it. the fuss and commotion he’ll Free eBooks at Planet eBook. his body limp and sick with some hurt or other. but it’s ‘is leg somewhere. Eh. I s’ll have to leave that bedroom. They ta’ein’ ‘im ter th’ ‘ospital. ‘What is it?’ But she had guessed 11 . And what’s he done this time?’ ‘I don’t know for sure. careless of danger. ‘Is this Walter Morel’s?’ he asked. ‘You needn’t. Paul had mechanically resumed his painting.’ she went on. Morel. and now—. Mrs. ‘Eh. ‘He WOULD want to come home. ‘It’s a wonder if he hadn’t. But he shouted like anythink when Doctor Fraser examined him i’ th’ lamp cabin—an’ cossed an’ swore. Crossly he put down his brush to go. At the same moment his mother opened a window upstairs and looked down. ‘And it must be pretty bad if they’ve taken him to the hospital. he WOULD want to put all the burden on me. so that I can have all the bother. dear. An’ I seed ‘em bring ‘im up in a tub. About a year after William went to London. 10 Sons and Lovers lad.CHAPTER V PAUL LAUNCHES INTO LIFE MOREL was rather a heedless man. an’ said as ‘e wor goin’ to be ta’en whoam— ‘e worn’t goin’ ter th’ ‘ospital. if I’m not sick—sick and surfeited. and just after Paul had left school.Did you see him?’ ‘I seed him at th’ bottom.’ said Paul. Yes. What time is there a train? I know I s’ll have to go trailing to Keston. 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. Thank you. before he got work. she ran into the parlour to look. I should think. ‘But what a CARELESS creature he is! OTHER men don’t have all these accidents. I shall catch the seven o’clock back. dear. ‘Yes. ‘Eh. his face grey under his dirt.’ ‘Good gracious me!’ she exclaimed. dear. Put those things away.’ The boy faltered to an end. my lad.’ he said. expecting almost to see her husband seated in the waggon. ‘Your mester’s got hurt. Oh. dear me!’ she exclaimed. my blessed heart. she would run out to help. If it were he. just as we WERE getting easy a bit at last.’ said Mrs. Morel heard the rattle of an empty coal-cart cease at her entry-end. A pit-lad in his dirt stood on the threshold. Now. when Mrs. Eh.

’ he said. felt him bearing what part of the burden he could. ‘I wish this boiler was at the bottom of the sea!’ she exclaimed. He cut his mother one or two pieces of very thin bread and butter. All the things she was taking him she had in her bulging string bag.’ ‘Oh no. to walk the two and a half miles to Keston Station. strong arms. dear! His clean shirt—and it’s 1 Sons and Lovers a blessing it IS clean. a knife and fork and spoon. tripping so quickly in her anxiety. put on the kettle. and the fuss he’ll make! I know he will! I wonder who’s with him. I s’d think. I should like to know? Now. as she combed her long brown hair. now it’s put out ready. felt at the back of her her son’s heart waiting on her. rather surprising on a smallish woman. quick-stepping figure. It’s a crying shame! Oh. She had very handsome. But he’ll look after him. you have.’ Paul had laid the table. the state they’re in.make! And those granite setts at Tinder Hill—he might well call them kidney pebbles—they’ll jolt him almost to bits. putting her cup of tea in her place. even supporting her. my sirs. And she. Now what else?’ ‘A comb. Poor beggar. they must trail them ten miles in a slow ambulance to Nottingham. I haven’t!’ she cried. what have I to take him? Eh. blinking at him over the towel as she wiped her face. and ate a little. he’ll wish himself anywhere rather. she crouched at the boiler while the water ran slowly into her lading-can. Hurriedly taking off her bodice. Paul watched her go up the road between the hedges—a little. The men bought the ground. and. that she was thrust forward again into pain and trouble. And stockings—he won’t want them—and a towel. Barker. there’d be accidents enough to keep it going. but below he thinks doesn’t matter. you’ve got to. I 1 . I wonder why they can’t mend them. so there. You’d think they’d have a hospital here. Morel. So she sat down and sipped her tea. Paul cleared away. Should I come with you to Keston?’ ‘Come with me? What for. But it had better be aired. in silence. ‘Well. an’ all the men as go across in that ambulance. ‘There isn’t a train till four-twenty.’ continued Mrs. ‘Goodness knows what sort of state his feet were in.’ All the time she was getting ready. In a few minutes she was gone.’ said Paul. I suppose they see plenty like it. and his heart ached for her. She was thinking. I suppose. that was fine as silk.’ he said. But there. And when she was at the hospital. she thought: ‘It WILL upset that lad when I tell him how bad it Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and handkerchiefs. ‘Yes. and was touched now with grey. His father had been in the hospital before. You must drink a cup of tea at any rate. But no. ‘I can’t be bothered!’ she exclaimed crossly. 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. ‘Here you are. and set the table. ‘You’ve time enough. wriggling the handle impatiently. ‘He’s very particular to wash himself to the waist.’ he insisted.

‘if you want them to carry you into the garden in a wooden box. ‘Well. my lass!’ he said. ‘What?’ She sighed and sat down. he’s a 1 Sons and Lovers clean-blooded man. and her small. brooding.’ she continued. ‘Don’t be so silly. but the nurse says it’s a dreadful smash. ‘It’s bad enough. Now.’ she continued.’ said the mother. You see. She’s an awfully nice Sister.’ ‘I s’ll niver come out of ‘ere but in a wooden box.’ I said to him. because of the train—and the children. The three children realised that it was very bad for their father. ‘And. ‘Well.’ I said. ‘of course he says he’s going to die—it wouldn’t be him if he didn’t. I’ve no doubt they will.’ said the Sister.’ Annie took away her mother’s coat and bonnet. ‘Of course. ‘But he always gets better. there was a blank. however badly it’s smashed. looking at me. it IS a very dangerous smash. ‘Is it bad?’ asked Paul. but rather strict. I’d better be careful. She was grieved. she felt he was coming to share her burden. ‘That’s what I tell him. a great piece of rock fell on his leg—here—and it’s a compound fracture.’ And when she was trudging home again. There are pieces of bone sticking through—-‘ ‘Ugh—how horrid!’ exclaimed the children. of course. It hurt her most of all. The children waited in silence.’ ‘If we think it’s good for him. ‘and he will 1 . and the house was silent.’ she replied. as soon as she entered the house. if she could. Morel took off her bonnet. in her little rocking-chair that her husband had made for her when the first baby was coming. and he’s lost a lot of blood. Morel. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘I’m done for. anxious. ‘You’re not going to die of a broken leg. this failure to love him. somewhere far away inside her. when she would have slaved herself to death to nurse him and to save him. Of course there’s a wound—-‘ She was pale now with emotion and anxiety. It’s not at all sure that it will mend so easily. even when he roused her strong emotions. It’s a great shock. But still. work-hardened hands fingering at the bow under her chin. It seems hard. she felt indifferent to him and to his suffering. 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.’ he groaned. Everybody moved about in silence. and. undoing her bonnet-strings. But there. in her heart of hearts. Annie sat looking dismal. when she would have taken the pain herself. remained motionless. ‘And he looked at me when I came away! I said: ‘I s’ll have to go now. And Mrs. ‘it’s not really dangerous. he IS bad.’ said Paul after a while. Walter.’ And he looked at’ she answered.’ Mrs. ‘And he really looked nearly done for. And then there’s the fever and the mortification— if it took bad ways he’d quickly be gone.’ she said. where the love should have burned. and so I see no reason why it SHOULD take bad ways. Her son watched her face as it was lifted. when all her woman’s pity was roused to its full extent. ‘But the Sister says that is the pain. when you’re better. She brooded a while. with wonderful healing flesh.

and he took it in as best he could. ‘It’s a nasty job. Soon the folk in the picture-shop knew her. and five shillings from the Disability Fund.’ ‘I’m afraid it will. almost as if she were thinking aloud to him.’ I said to him. Then Paul often raked the fire. or a fret-saw for Arthur. or a bit of pretty wood.’ I said. On Saturdays and Wednesdays Mrs. and it had to be dressed four times a day. Morel. of course. He did look bad. who was helping her with her housework. ‘I know. Morel talked again to her son. In the morning. or some thick paper. There’s something so manly about him. And whilst Morel was progressing favourably in the hospital. listening. ‘an’ one as’ll be a long while afore it’s right again. Morel was full of information when she got home from Nottingham. I found I’d come out in my working boots—and LOOK at them. ‘At ivry jolt I thought my ‘eart would ha’ flown clean out o’ my mouth. ‘what sort of a journey did you have with him?’ ‘Dunna ax me. the family was extraordinarily happy and peaceful.’ ‘I can quite understand it.’ she said suddenly. he’ll suffer in there with the nurses. I like Mr. The girl in the book-shop took a keen interest in her. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. by sharing her trouble to lighten it. And then. Then he began to mend. ‘I didn’t know what to do with myself. missis!’ he said. Then she always brought back some little thing: a small tube of paints for Paul. Barker—I DO like him.’ Paul resumed his task silently. For a week he was in a critical condition. when I kissed him an’ came away. 1 Sons and Lovers it seemed a shame. the hospital IS hard. He CAN’T understand rules and regulations. And I didn’t like leaving 1 . Mrs. ‘I found Barker at the hospital.’ I said. though. it WOR that!’ he said. brown and rubbed through at the toes. ‘Ay. When he smashed the muscles of his thigh. The three sat round till bed-time.’ So she talked to her son. ten shillings from the sick club. ‘when I’d got halfway to Keston. There were fourteen shillings a week from the pit.’ he said. Morel continued. not for a fortune would I go through wi’ it again. and proceeded to live happily. ‘And of course. So. arguing.’ They were an old pair of Paul’s. ‘for a man like your father. putting in.’ Mrs. and then every week the butties had something for Mrs. that the whole family rejoiced over for days before the girl was allowed to send them away. WOULD he let anybody but me or his mother do it? He wouldn’t. Mrs. for shame. Morel went to Nottingham to see her husband. not if he can help it.‘And there. Morel had a very bad time. ‘An’ the scream ‘e gives sometimes! Missis. when Annie and Arthur were at school. poor little fellow! ‘Well. They were not badly off whilst Morel was in the hospital. And in the end she shared almost everything with him without knowing.’ he said.’ ‘But it WOR bad for him. And he won’t let anybody else touch him. I’m sure. Mrs.’ I said. ‘I know what he’d be.’ she added. She described her adventures into the big shops with joy. a couple of postcards for Annie.’ I said. Morel—five or seven shillings—so that she was quite well to do. knowing he was going to get better. and knew about Paul. the whole family sighed with relief.

’ It stood in front of the morning. He was the sort of boy that becomes a clown and a lout as soon as he is not understood. was quietly to earn his thirty or thirty-five shillings a week somewhere near home. is adorable at the first touch of warmth.’ said Mrs. ‘Anything. He did not care for making things with his hands. like his mother’s. But afterwards he liked it. But he was proud within himself. came suddenly and was very lovable. have a cottage with his mother. inexorably. or reading. When he was seven.’ Then he crept up the stone stairs behind the drapery shop Free eBooks at Planet eBook. 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. and live happy ever after. and warm. that thought. ‘Then. He was supposed to be a queer. quiet child. I suppose he’s living on his mother. and was looking for work. and was becoming somewhat like William’s—rough-featured. His ambition. ‘you must look in the paper for the advertisements. He can’t get a job. or making excursions into 1 Sons and Lovers the country.’ He looked at her. almost rugged—and it was extraordinarily mobile. or painting.’ ‘That is no answer.’ he used to say to his mother with joy.‘I’m the man in the house now. the starting school had been a nightmare and a torture to him. Paul was now fourteen. It seemed to him a bitter humiliation and an anguish to go through. paint and go out as he liked. he set off. He was quite a clever painter for a boy of his 1 . again. measuring people against himself. the real thing. as far as this world’s gear went. His heart felt like a tight knot. He was not strong enough for heavy manual work. then his smile. was full of life. when there was any clog in his soul’s quick running. ‘What do you want to be?’ his mother asked. with dark brown hair and light blue eyes. preferred racing about. he felt as if all the folk he met said to themselves: ‘He’s going to the Co-op. and he knew some French and German and mathematics that Mr. for him. Usually he looked as if he saw things. or feels himself held cheap. Heaton had taught him. But nothing he had was of any commercial value. and. That was his programme as far as doing things went. at ten o’clock. But he said nothing. Going up the sunny street of the little town. And they almost regretted—though none of them would have owned to such callousness—that their father was soon coming back. When he got up in the morning.’ said his mother. And he thought that PERHAPS he might also make a painter. and then. when his father died. He suffered very much from the first contact with anything. and placing them. His face had already lost its youthful chubbiness. his face went stupid and ugly. and then. he went through agonies of shrinking self-consciousness. killing all joy and even life. reading-room to look in the papers for a place. And then. Morel. He was a rather small and rather finely-made boy. But that he left alone. his mother said. They learned how perfectly peaceful the home could be. And now that he felt he had to go out into life.

indeed. The boy’s handwriting was execrable. dark and fascinating. the white hairs glistened. like beans in a burst beanpod.’ William had written out a letter of application. got into a fever of impatience. I wish I 10 Sons and Lovers was a pig and a brewer’s waggoner. rocking idly on his sack apron. either old.’ she said. bullet head. Already his heart went down. and like a dog in the sun. His mother was 11 . His freedom in the beloved home valley was going now. and peeped in the reading-room. Therefore he was soon visiting and staying in houses of men who. ‘you may try. handsome and brown. He was unsettled by all the change. then another. He knew they would think: ‘What does a lad of thirteen want in a reading-room with a newspaper?’ and he suffered. So he began to fancy himself as a great gun. She Free eBooks at Planet eBook. His red face shone and was almost asleep with sunshine. Then he looked wistfully out of the window. Already he was a prisoner of industrialism. couched in admirable business language. who did all things well. and on his thick red arms. looking by far the masters of the show. or colliers ‘on the club”. full of shrinking and suffering when they looked up. Two collieries. looking in their jolly way down on the women who were hurrying with something for dinner. and would merely have called indifferently on the Rector. He was being taken into bondage. brightening in the sun. so that William. and slip out in immense relief. in Bestwood. on his small. and were more or less going through a kind of apprenticeship. Some of the clerks in the office had studied for the law. In London he found that he could associate with men far above his Bestwood friends in station. The horses. ‘I was fat like him. he did not stand firm on his own feet. but seemed to spin rather giddily on the quick current of the new life. Paul wished he were stupid. ‘Yes. among the fields. useless fellows. His mother would scan over his copies. was not so much below Paul’s eye. The brewers’ waggons came rolling up from Keston with enormous barrels. Usually one or two men were there. rolling massively in his seat. Far off on the hills were the woods of Annesley. would have looked down on the unapproachable bank manager. He was.’ he thought to himself. with variations. he seemed so pleased. and pretended to scan the news. The elder brother was becoming quite swanky.’ the Co-op. rather surprised at the ease with which he became a gentleman. But now there seemed to come a kind of fever into the young man’s letters. was bleached almost white by the sun. which Paul copied. William always made friends among men wherever he went. throned aloft. waved their small white plumes of steam. four a side. he was so jolly. And his lodging in Walthamstow was so dreary. The man’s hair. So he entered. His mother was anxious for him. The waggoner. went on by themselves. he would hastily copy an advertisement on a scrap of paper. Large sunflowers stared over the old red wall of the garden opposite.. the room being at last empty. ‘I wish. The valley was full of corn. seated himself at the table.

But she congratulated him in her doubtful fashion. ugly house in a suburb. mother. You’re lucky. been out with friends. It seemed monstrous also that a business could be run on wooden legs. and in the law as much as he could. ‘I am very likely a silly—meeting trouble halfway.could feel him losing himself. Morel wondered. for his own life. a handsome brunette. with its regulated system of values. at 21. Yet he Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ Mrs. my boy. And. She still dreamed of 1 . and such grey eyes—bright. and he dreaded it. Mrs. ‘But there. except sometimes. the little he had. and she knew he sat up afterwards in his cold bedroom grinding away at Latin.’ his mother wrote to him. because he intended to get on in his office.’ she told herself. as I always said you were. Manufacturer of Surgical Appliances. and its impersonality. Never for a minute would she admit to herself how heavy and anxious her heart was because of him. you would know how I feel. ‘unless you saw all the other men chasing her too. in her heart. ‘There. It was all taken. mocking. and when ten shillings would have saved her much worry. and of what he would do. and he felt alarmed. He had taken the girl on the river. And she did not want any. Paul was bidden call upon Thomas Jordan. dragging along and getting draggled in some small. Spaniel Row. hair as black as jet. He had not known that elastic stockings existed. with the clearest of clear. when she was in a tight corner.’ Paul looked at the picture of a wooden leg. transparent olive complexions. Nottingham. the mother brooded over her son. after whom the men were running thick and fast. And she dresses as well as any woman in London. He never sent his mother any money now. my boy. Presently. if her son did not 1 Sons and Lovers go walking down Piccadilly with an elegant figure and fine clothes. lest William should do the wrong thing by himself. you see!’ she cried. She saw him saddled with an elegant and expensive wife. ‘You’ve only written four letters. earning little money. to be accepted or rejected. and see how you feel when you find yourself alone. rather than with a woman who was near to him. But take care. and a lady. He would have suffered much physical pain rather than this unreasonable suffering at being exposed to strangers. quite young. her eyes shining. that figured on Mr. Jordan’s notepaper. and continued the chase. your son doesn’t half put his head up when she goes walking down Piccadilly with him. It is all very well to be a bit satirical till you see her. He had danced and gone to the theatre. with herself behind him. Also he talked a good deal now of a girl he had met at a dance. like lights on water at night. You feel safe enough and vain enough in a crowd. And he seemed to feel the business world. the load of anxiety scarcely ever left her heart. Mother and son set off together one Tuesday morning. boated on the river. ‘If you saw her. Morel was all joy. It was August and blazing hot. and in triumph. ‘I wonder if you would run. adorned with elastic stockings and other appliances. Tall and elegant.’ William resented these things. and the third is answered. Paul walked with something screwed up tight inside him. I tell you. as she stood over the washing-tub.’ Nevertheless.

She was gay. and she smiled to him—a rare. Suddenly their eyes met.chattered away with his mother. and two flights of steps.’ he said. The mother and son walked down Station Street. He was sensible all the time of having her opposite him. There were several doors. It was like hunting in some wild place. Straight in front. ‘It’s up the entry. half-shut eye. It was littered with straw and boxes. so they did not hurry. They thought a while.’ he said. smiling. ‘wouldn’t that just suit our Annie? And for one-and-eleven-three.’ she would say. Isn’t 1 Sons and Lovers that cheap?’ ‘And made of needlework as well. then another old shop whose small window looked like a cunning. He suffered because she WOULD talk aloud in presence of the other travellers. They enjoyed the shops immensely. Then each looked out of the window. The town was strange and delightful to them.’ she answered. having low dark shops and dark green house doors with brass knockers. ‘Here it is!’ said Mrs. On one side was a 1 . with buildings all round. Morel. like a sweetheart. cardboard factory. his heart contracted with pain of love of her. The sunshine actually caught one crate whose straw was streaming on to the yard like gold. Suddenly they spied a big. in which were names of various firms.’ said Paul. They were on tiptoe of excitement. ‘A what?’ she asked brightly and unashamed. dark. And they ventured under the archway. and yellow-ochred doorsteps projecting on to the pavement. intimate smile. feeling the excitement of lovers having an adventure together. Mother and son went cautiously. Peter’s Church. dark archway. They emerged into a wide yard. seeing the sunshine on the water that lay between high factory walls. and she only partly guessed. He dreaded the interview with Thomas Jordan.’ he said very low. beautiful with brightness and love. and quite gay. as into the jaws of the dragon. She was quite excited. She stood in front of the ticket-office at Bestwood. They turned up a narrow street that led to the Castle. The sixteen slow miles of railway journey passed. on a dirty glass Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘Now you see that blouse. Thomas Jordan among them. It was gloomy and old-fashioned. and cardboard. But elsewhere the place was like a pit. He would never have confessed to her how he suffered over these things.’ ‘It’s most likely a bottfly.’ They had plenty of time. ‘Yes. ‘Perhaps. ‘But now WHERE is it?’ They looked round. and Paul watched her take from her purse the money for the tickets. In Carrington Street they stopped to hang over the parapet and look at the barges on the canal below. ‘It’s just like Venice. looking everywhere for ‘Thomas Jordan and Son”. It was nearly eleven o’clock by St. like a well. As he saw her hands in their old black kid gloves getting the silver out of the worn purse. on the other a Commercial Hotel. But the boy was tied up inside in a knot of apprehension. ‘Now look at that silly cow!’ she said. ‘careering round as if it thought it was a circus.

She pushed open the door. ‘Yes. with creamy paper parcels everywhere. was rather stout. Paul sniffed the odour of new washleather. where was a glass office. It was like part of himself. He wondered what the things were. thrusting what Paul recognised as his own notepaper in front of him. On the table was a pile of trusses. ‘Did you write this letter?’ he snapped. as it were. You asked him to call this morning. Paul Morel. 1 Sons and Lovers in doubt as to whether she were a customer or not. red hand of the man.door at the top of a staircase. Jordan. One of the clerks looked up. and stood in pleased surprise. Morel took two steps forward. He was thin and tall. and wore an alpaca jacket. He went down to the glass office. I came with my son. So. Then he glanced round to the other end of the room. were going about in an at-home sort of way. She had on her Sunday bonnet and a black veil. ‘Sit down!’ said Mr. second. in feeling guilty for telling a lie. hesitating before Mrs. in a rather snappy little manner intended to be businesslike. A red-faced. All was quiet and very homely. but leaned in a gentle. and did not anFree eBooks at Planet eBook. At that moment he was occupied in two ways: first. ‘Good-morning!’ he said. upholstered in black American leather. Paul stood behind her. He reminded Paul of a pomeranian dog. In front of her was a big warehouse. Mrs. Paul merely looked at him shamedly. He did not say anything. yellow wash-leather hoops tangled together. he came stoutly and inquiringly down the room. They looked new and living. Then the same little man came up the room. Morel. he wore a boy’s broad white collar and a Norfolk suit. 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. from what it had been when it lay on the kitchen table.’ ‘Come this way. with a small face. whitewhiskered old man looked up. And then he came forward. in the fat. then waited. in wondering why his letter seemed so strange and different. gone astray. Morel went first.’ answered the young man. since William had composed the letter. irritably pointing Mrs. They followed the manufacturer into a grubby little room. ‘Where did you learn to write?’ said the old man crossly. loomed the ominous words ‘Thomas Jordan and Son—Surgical Appliances. Jordan?’ she asked. She sat on the edge in an uncertain fashion. He resented the way the man held it. His way of looking was alert. Morel to a horse-hair chair. ‘I’ll fetch him. ‘Can I see Mr.’ he answered. ‘Good-morning. inquiring fashion towards Mrs.’ said Mr. glossy with the rubbing of many customers. Morel. the glossy cream parcels seemed luminous.’ Mrs. with one ear up. By this time he was so much stunned that he only noticed the outside things. The light was subdued. Jordan. He had short legs. with their shirt-sleeves rolled back. and clerks. the counters were of dark brown wood. Then the little old man fidgeted and found a paper. her son followed 1 .

in his irritable manner— he always seemed to keep his hands ready for action—he pulled another sheet of paper from his pocket. ‘Please send by return two pairs grey thread stockings without TOES. Jordan. ‘It’s the—it’s the—-‘ He wanted to say ‘handwriting’.’ the boy persisted. Then.’ ‘H’m!’ It ended by Paul’s being engaged as junior spiral clerk at eight shillings a week. unfolded it. he turned desperately to the paper again. stupid. ‘Sir.’’ ‘Well.’ ‘He would live in Bestwood?’ ‘Yes. it DOES mean fingers. flimsy foreign handwriting that the boy could not decipher. Mr. in thin.’ said Mrs.’ put in Mrs. ‘doigts’ means ‘fingers’—as well—as a rule—-‘ The little man looked at him. ‘Yes. ‘Fingers to stockings!’ he snapped. ‘Well.’ said Mrs. and hating Mr. then at the mother. Jordan snatched the paper from him. but he could be in—at the station—at quarter to eight. ‘What school did you go to?’ ‘The Board-school. He has finished school now. Then she pushed up her veil. ‘And when could he come?’ he asked.swer. still sharply.’ ‘And did you learn it there?’ ‘No—I—-’ The boy went crimson and got no farther. Seeing him stuck. He handed it to 1 .’’ he began. but the word still refused to come. He did not know whether ‘doigts’ meant ‘fingers”. ‘And you say you know French?’ inquired the little man. ‘Read that. Mr.—Please send me’—er—er—I can’t tell 1 Sons and Lovers 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’. Jordan hesitated. The boy did not open his mouth to say Free eBooks at Planet eBook. defiant boy. he knew that for all HIS purposes it meant ‘toes”. Feeling an utter fool. half pleading and rather distant. Paul hated her for not being prouder with this common little man. Jordan.’ said Paul.’ flashed Paul. ‘as soon as you wish. The paper made a crackling noise. Morel. ‘Well. but his wits would no longer work even sufficiently to supply him with the word. He stared blankly at the paper. ‘Monsieur.’ he said. ‘His godfather gave him lessons. Mr. who made such a clod of him. Morel apologetically. Morel. then he looked in great confusion at Mr. and he loved her face clear of the veil. He hated the little man. It was a note in French. who sat quiet and with that peculiar shut-off look of the poor who have to depend on the favour of others. ‘He IS a bad writer. Jordan looked at the pale.

after having insisted that ‘doigts’ meant ‘fingers”. ‘Directly. Over the big desolate space of the market-place the blue sky shimmered. Morel clearly. ‘Brazen hussy!’ said Mrs. Morel scanned the bill of fare. my boy. You always think people are meaning things for you.’ she said.’ he pleaded. Just where the horse trams trundled across the market was a row of fruit stalls. with fruit blazing in the sun—apples and piles of reddish oranges.’ she said. and he came long after us. Morel to Paul. mother. Mrs. ‘Doigts’ does mean ‘fingers’.’ she said.’ She insisted on his having a small currant tart. Jordan common. I’m sure he’ll be all right. ‘Look now. and 10 Sons and Lovers perhaps potted beef. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Morel was angry. was all they could afford to eat in Nottingham. and it was the writing. They found a place that looked quite cheap. She looked at him with her bright blue eyes full of love and joy. Morel stood up.’ It was very sunny. ‘Where should we go for dinner?’ asked the mother. Then Mrs. But the waitress was busy. Paul felt rather guilty. ‘We won’t come again. because he liked sweets.’ ‘It doesn’t matter. mother?’ he said. ‘I don’t want it. ‘you’ll have it. ‘Will you bring one currant tart?’ said Mrs. They’re not being disagreeable to YOU—it’s their way. and Mrs. she’s taking that man HIS pudding. It was felt to be a reckless extravagance. mother.’ she said. Paul had only been in an eating-house once or twice in his life. and her orders were too meagre. ‘Never mind.’ And she looked round for the waitress. ‘Should we go. He followed his mother down the stairs. The girl looked round insolently. mother. whilst she flirted among the men. so that she had not the courage to insist on her rights just then. So the mother and son waited for the girl’s pleasure. Shops down the Long Row were deep in obscurity. things were so 11 . Gradually his feeling of ignominy and of rage sank. her heart was heavy. and the shadow was full of colour. and you won’t see much of him. But when Mrs. Morel did not like to bother her then. and then only to have a cup of tea and a bun.’ said Paul. I couldn’t read the writing. So she ordered kidney-pies and potatoes as the cheapest available dish. mother. But they don’t. Real cooked dinner was considered great extravagance.’ ‘Never mind. ‘I think you’ll like it. ‘You mustn’t mind people so much. The girl was passing near.another word. ‘We oughtn’t to have come here. small green-gage plums and bananas. But she was too poor. Wasn’t that first young fellow nice? I’m sure you’ll like them.’ ‘But wasn’t Mr. and the granite cobbles of the paving glistened. They waited and waited.’ said Paul. Most of the people of Bestwood considered that tea and bread-and-butter. There was a warm scent of fruit as mother and son passed.’ she insisted. ‘Yes. mother? Does he own it all?’ ‘I suppose he was a workman who has got on.

beastly cold. I s’ll love it. just look at that fuchsia!’ she exclaimed. and Mrs. ‘And the way they drop downwards with their threads and knots!’ ‘Yes!’ she exclaimed.’ she said. ‘Lovely!’ ‘I wonder who’ll buy it!’ he said. Morel wanted to buy him a little sable brush that be hankered after. He knew that only years of battling had taught her to insist even so little on her rights. ‘Look. interested sound. I never knew 1 Sons and Lovers stocks to smell like it!’ And. when they were outside the place. He stood in front of milliners’ shops and drapers’ shops almost bored. shall we?’ They had discussions over the pictures. He marvelled at his mother’s hardness. They wandered on. an elegant young lady in black peering over the counter curiously. sunless hole.’ ‘You will. ‘Now. trying to draw his mother away. ‘I wonder!’ she answered. ‘and look at Keep’s and Boot’s. She shrank as much as he.’ ‘So there is—red and white.‘We have waited quite long enough. In a moment the girl came back with the tart. ‘They’re looking at you. ‘We’ll go. I’ve wanted some of those for years. Mrs. Morel. ‘H’m!’ He made a curious. ‘You’d think every second as the flowers was going to fall off. Looking up the canal.’ Then she rejoiced in the florists. through the dark pass of the buildings. who was trying to get out of sight of the elegant young lady in black—the shop-girl. but only to stand in front of the window. thankful to be clear. but content for her to be interested.’ said Mrs. and one or two places.’ he said. to his great relief. she moved out of the doorway.’ ‘It would die in our parlour.’ They bought a few things. standing in the doorway sniffing. they saw the Castle on its bluff of 1 . in a positive miracle of delicate sunshine. pointing. But really. ‘Paul!’ she cried to him. it kills every bit of a plant you put in. green-bushed rock. ‘They make your mouth water. ‘I can go all round here and see everything.’ assented his mother. ‘Paul! Just look here!’ He came reluctantly back. ‘Stocks!’ he answered. just look at those black grapes!’ she said. ‘It’s the last time I go THERE for anything!’ she declared. They Free eBooks at Planet eBook. in the darkness of the shop. But this indulgence he refused. sniffing hastily. ‘But what is it?’ she exclaimed. Paul wanted to sink through the floor. He had spent a perfect afternoon with his mother. refusing to be moved. and the kitchen chokes them to death. there’s a tubful. ‘Now. ‘Oh! oh! Isn’t it simply lovely!’ Paul saw. and set off towards the station. Morel asked coldly for the bill. they hang so big an’ heavy. ‘Won’t it be nice for me to come out at dinner-times?’ said Paul. but I s’ll have to wait a bit before I get them. ‘Not us.’ ‘And such an abundance!’ she cried.’ ‘Yes.

’ ‘She should have her own money if she’s so grand. and tired.’ said Paul. She did not answer. He’d rather 1 Sons and Lovers spend it on that dressed-up creature. but it’s precious little fulfilment you get. ‘It’s no more than I thought. my boy. as you say.’ wrote Mrs.’ replied Mrs. He sat crouched up on the sofa. They’re large in promises. which I’d never expected. He came out with it between his thick thumb and finger.’ ‘He spends over fifty shillings a week on himself. ‘Yes. once they’ve gone. but she hasn’t. In the morning he filled in the form for his season-ticket and took it to the station. I wonder whoever bought ME a gold bangle. happy. taken in profile. Not that I want it. When he got back.’ she answered. an’ one as wunna do him owermuch good neither. And I know he doesn’t buy her a gold bangle for nothing.’ he said. ‘An’ I s’ll earn eight shillings a week. I asked him. ‘H’m! ‘Er’s a bright spark. ‘and am supposed to find money for extras. ‘the photograph of Louie is very striking. ‘Is it a lot?’ he asked. ‘She should.’ said Paul. his mother was just beginning to wash the floor. But they don’t care about helping you. ‘It’s the girl our William is going with. and now I know he hasn’t a farthing if I asked him.’ ‘He earns a lot. 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. but went on with her work.’ ‘An’ come again to-morrer!’ exclaimed the miner.’ William was succeeding with his ‘Gipsy’. She went on washing her floor in silence. Who is she?’ ‘Her name is Louisa Lily Denys 1 . But do you think. Only just now you’d think he might be able to help with this ticket.’ he said. as he’d give me a pound a month. He asked the girl—her name was Louisa Lily Denys Western—for a photograph to send to his mother. as he called her. At last she said: ‘That William promised me.arrived home in the mellow evening. when he went to London. But they’re all alike. and I can see she must be attractive. ‘An’ is Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ Morel found the photograph standing on the chiffonier in the parlour. Morel.’ she replied.’ he said. The photo came—a handsome brunette. and glowing. only a naked bust. quite naked. He has given me ten shillings—twice. for on the photograph not a scrap of clothing was to be seen. it might be. ‘Who dost reckon this is?’ he asked of his wife. ‘He earns a hundred and thirty pounds. from th’ look on ‘er. But I hardly expected to see so much of them at the first view. ‘He says it’ll be here on Saturday. smirking slightly—and.’ said Paul. Morel to her son. ‘And I keep this house on less than thirty. ‘And how much will it be?’ ‘About one pound eleven.

I told Gyp that it didn’t quite suit your prim and proper notions. ‘I think the first one with bare shoulders is lovely. ‘Good-morning. Morel came to the entry-end to see him off. mother. still staring at the photo. From the ash tree the slender green fruits that the children call ‘pigeons’ were twinkling gaily down on a little breeze. they were derived from her.’ Presently the new photograph came. Mrs. He would have leaped the fence instead of going round the stile. with little puff sleeves. Now she had two sons in the world. laying down the photograph. However. is she? An’ how much does she reckon ter keep up this sort o’ game on?’ ‘On nothing. great centres of industry. He had the season-ticket. He had a small.’ ‘I’ll bet!’ he exclaimed. and home had never pulled at him so powerfully. the photographers ask her if they may take her for nothing. where the country gleamed. She’s always being photographed. which had cost such bitterness.’ ‘Do you?’ answered his mother. into the front gardens of the houses. that you mightn’t think it decent. shut-up basket. At eight o’clock he climbed the dismal stairs of Jordan’s Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ he said. whom she hates. doing well. She could think of two places. I don’t. She’s supposed to be a lady. ‘Good-morning. and in which the steam from Minton pit melted swiftly. that these men would work out what SHE wanted. in his waistcoat pocket.‘er an actress?’ ‘She is not. His mother packed his dinner in a small. It never occurred to me when I sent it.’ William replied. mother. All the morning long she thought of Paul.’ said Paul. Paul looked over the high woods of Aldersley. that where he determined to go he would get. Paul would be working in Nottingham.’ ‘Dear Mater. and their works also would be hers. compact body that looked full of life. smiling. Puffs of wind came. It was a perfect morning. that I hope will please you better. in fact.15 train.’ ‘You are disagreeable. but feeling very unhappy. ‘I’m sure I ought to be impressed. She stood in her white apron on the open 1 . through which the ripe corn shimmered. ‘I’m sorry you didn’t like the photograph. He loved it with its bars 1 Sons and Lovers of yellow across. and feel that she had put a man into each of them. they were of her. and he set off at a quarter to seven to catch the 7. watching him as he crossed the field. ‘A lady. so she’s going to send you another. This time the young lady was seen in a black satin evening bodice. He was away in London. ‘Then he’s a fool to ha’ ta’en up wi’ such a one as that. cut square. She lives with an old aunt. and takes what bit of money’s given her. with a little silly note from the girl.’ she replied cheerfully and tenderly. The valley was full of a lustrous dark haze.’ said Mrs. as she saw him trudging over the field. ‘Well. She felt. and black lace hanging down her beautiful arms.’ On the Monday morning the boy got up at six to start work.’ ‘H’m!’ said Morel. She thought of William. ‘I wonder if she ever wears anything except evening clothes. Morel sarcastically.

from Mr. in a round smoking-cap of black velvet embroidered with red and green. and were heard talking in a corner. He’s your boss. The old clerk in the smoking-cap looked down over the rim of his spectacles. some machinery. kindly and impressively. He waited and waited. over the fence of the top floor. ‘This is the ‘Spiral’ corner. ‘Good-morning. such as I had from you last year. 1 . and where there were three doors in the corner. ancient place. Thomas?’ Paul resented being called ‘Thomas”. Two men only had arrived. getting dimmer. and right away overhead was the glass roof. Then the young fellow came striding importantly down to his counter. Melling down there. Pappleworth won’t be long. He doesn’t get here till half-past eight. Evidently there was no rush of punctuality.’ Paul followed him round the rectangle of counters. Over the counters were great dust sheets. ‘You want the letters for the Spiral department.’ said Paul. ‘H’m! What’s your name?’ ‘Paul Morel. without feet. ‘All right. ‘Major Chamberlain wishes to repeat his previous order for a silk non-elastic suspenFree eBooks at Planet eBook.’ And the thin young man stalked away with long. where the counter made an angle. One of the junior clerks went to the old man. the storehouse the ground floor. so that it was always night on the ground 1 Sons and Lovers floor and rather gloomy on the second floor. Mr. ‘Here’s a peg to hang your cap on.’ said Paul. with Pappleworth. They ran as follows: ‘Will you please send me at once a pair of lady’s silk spiral thigh-hose. where the great parcel-rack came to an end. the warehouse the second. and one could see above. and down this wide shaft the lifts went. and saw in the office at the end of the room an old. greeted him cheerily and loudly. It had a great hole in the middle of the floor. ‘You’re Spiral. fenced as with a wall of counters. The factory was the top floor. opening letters. ‘Hello!’ he said.’ The young man pointed to the old clerk in the office. waiting for somebody to pick him up.’ said the clerk. He sat on a high stool and read the letters—those whose handwriting was not too difficult. Paul was led round to a very dark corner. So you can fetch the letters. Paul listened to the voices of the two clerks. as they took off their coats and rolled up their shirt-sleeves.’ he said. Evidently the old ‘chief’ was deaf.’ ‘Paul Morel? All right. oblong hole in the ceiling. busy strides over the hollow wooden floor. etc. The room was second storey. but he’s not come yet. But he took the letters and returned to his dark place. Also there was a corresponding big. It was ten past eight.Surgical Appliance Factory. Here are your entry ledgers. you come on round here. ‘You the new lad?’ ‘Yes. and stood helplessly against the first great parcel-rack. if you like.’ Or. After a minute or two Paul went down and stood in the door of the glass office. The place was still not awake. It was an insanitary. decaying clerk. Then he heard someone cough. thigh to knee. and all light for the three storeys came downwards. and the light for the bottom storey. He spied Paul.

‘Ne’er mind. Paul stood up and said he was. ‘Fetched the letters?’ Mr. dragged it beside the boy’s. He suffered tortures of shyness when. let’s look slippy. Paul took a pen. Pappleworth disappeared.’ He sniffed twice. and said: ‘Now look here. let’s see you. He sat on his stool nervously awaiting the arrival of his ‘boss”. how many h’yer done? Only three! I’d ‘a eaten ‘em.sory 11 . but you’re a beautiful writer!’ he exclaimed satirically. rather smart. Mr. at about twenty to nine. and feeling quite busy and happy. chewing. ‘See that?’ ‘Yes. Then he slipped into his coat. He was a thin. and that his 10 Sons and Lovers trousers were in folds behind. chewing a chlorodyne gum. and something warm. and smelling of chlorodyne. He vanished into the darkness behind the great parcel-rack. The man seized the letters. Here. ‘Now then. my lad. ‘Sit down. and something slightly contemptible about him. when Mr. and sat down. ‘Strike my bob. rather ‘cute and shrewd. He seized a stool. when all the other men were at work. at half-past eight.’ ‘All right then. an’ put numbers on ‘em. Paul took a seat. quick. and wrote the entry rapidly. but he wrote slowly. ‘Yes. stared fixedly at a letter. He was about thirty-six years old. how’r’ yer getting on? Done ‘em?’ He leaned over the boy’s shoulder. Mr.’ Many of these letters. flung it open. some of them in French or Norwegian. lad. and smartly but stiffly dressed.’ ‘Think you can do it all right?’ ‘Yes. Changed your coat?’ ‘No.’ ‘Copied ‘em?’ ‘No. turning up a smart striped shirt-cuff over a thin and hairy arm. Pappleworth reappeared.’ He sprang off his stool. Pappleworth gave a chew to his gum. He glanced quickly at Paul. in a beautiful flourishing hand.’ He pronounced the last words with the chlorodyne gum between his side teeth. staccato. the factory girls for upstairs trooped past him. Mr.’ ‘Well. laboriously. look! Get on!’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Paul rather liked copying the letters. and exceedingly badly. Pappleworth arrived. gave a quick chew at his gum. ‘You my new lad?’ he said. Get on. Paul noticed how thin he was. seized a pen. come on then. There was something rather ‘doggy’. reappeared coatless.’ he said.’ ‘You want to bring an old coat and leave it here. Pappleworth was very close to him. sallow man with a red nose. snatched a long entry-book out of a rack in front of him. He was doing the fourth letter. were a great puzzle to the boy. You want to copy these letters in here. then went very still and absorbed.

cosy apartment.’ said Mr. sounding pretty and cross. Pappleworth disagreeably into the tube. not for talk. about three inches wide. to Paul’s immense chagrin. marching away with her head in the air. Mr. my lad. Then Mr. This done.’ ‘You know quite well we finished everything off on Saturday!’ cried Pony. a lad would TAKE some ruining after he’d been with you. Suddenly the boy started as a shrill whistle sounded near his ear. In this room a small woman with a red serge blouse. then.’ he said to Paul. into the basement where the gas was burning. dreary room with a long table on trestles. like a woman’s. not very high. out of the mouth of the tube. ‘I think it is ‘here you are’!’ exclaimed Polly. Can’t you buck up a bit? Here.’ said Mr. her dark eyes flashing.’ ‘It’s time for work now. in an amazingly cross and bossy voice: ‘Yes?’ Paul heard a faint voice. Through the inner doorway Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘It was time for work some time back. ‘you’d better get some of your back work done. He worked quickly and well. WE do a lot of ruining. with the strokes across and the numbers. ‘You’d better watch 1 .’ he said imploringly to Paul. he seized some strips of long yellow paper. we do. ‘The girls have been here nearly half an hour waiting. Pappleworth severely and coldly.’ ‘As we did the last!’ repeated Polly. flying at him. Pappleworth finished and jumped up. He gazed in wonder. ‘I’ve not time to stand here while you talk. ‘Come. and made out the day’s orders for the work-girls. working all the while rapidly. never having seen a speaking-tube before. Pappleworth. Pappleworth. ‘Here y’are!’ said Pappleworth. was waiting like a proud little bantam. and ankles.’ said Mr. ‘Here’s your new lad. and the yellow papers fly1 Sons and Lovers ing in his hands. She was an erect little body of forty. Pappleworth fussed over various jobs. ‘Come on with me. and her black hair done on top of her head. and he pushed the plug into the tube. ‘Tu-tu-tu-tu-terterter!’ he mocked. Don’t ruin him as you did the last. ‘Well.’ he said. In that room were two round spiral machines on the bench under the window. then a long. and began the copying himself. come out!’ He took the book. damp storeroom. he dashed through a door and down some stairs. and thighs. took a plug out of a pipe. My word. which had been built on to the main building. ‘You could ha’ been finishing off. Pappleworth came.’ said Polly. They crossed the cold. Just think of the time wasted!’ ‘YOU think of getting your work done and not talking so much.’ Again the woman’s tiny voice was heard. Paul watched the weird little drawings of legs.Paul ground away at the letters.’ said Mr. ‘there’s Polly crying out for them orders. ‘Yes. and said. into a smaller. and the few brief directions which his chief made upon the yellow paper. whilst Mr.

A girl came up from out of a door just behind. ‘MR. laughing. Esquire’ in his own vile writing. and returned. Suddenly a red and fat finger was thrust on the form he was filling in. Pappleworth. but how to recite poetry and play the fiddle.’ he said. ‘Didn’t they teach you any better THAN that while they were at it? If you put ‘Mr. ‘Have you nothing else to do but talk?’ said Mr. Jordan came strutting down from the glass office and stood behind him. not unamiable.’ The boy regretted his too-much generosity in disposing of honours. Presently Mr. Jordan gave a little grunt. Have you seen his writing?’ he asked of Mr. you Paul-Morel through them things there. You’ll know your road down here again. A little group of girls. to put things on a right footing. isn’t it?’ replied Mr. stood talking together.was another longer room. ‘Come on. ‘Only wait for you. my lad. Pappleworth indifferently. his ears red with shame. the little manufacturer. Paul looked at ‘Mr. although he spoke bad English. Esquire!’ exclaimed the cross voice just behind his ear. ‘Paul Morel. A. nicely dressed in white aprons. Jordan snatched away the invoice. J. to the boy’s great discomfort. get on. examined it. ‘Paul Morel.’ And Paul ran upstairs after his chief. He went through the few things. and began writing.’ Then all at once Mr.’ said one handsome girl. Bates. and with trembling fingers. and wondered what was the matter now. 1 Sons and Lovers ‘I don’t know what they DO teach in schools. prime. Mr.’ you don’t put Esquire’-a man can’t be both at once. This time they went through the door whence the girl had emerged. ‘Yes. and then—-‘ Mr. was quite gentleman enough to leave his men alone and to take no notice of trifles. J.’ It is curious that children suffer so much at having to pronounce their own names. He was given some checking and invoicing to do. is it? All right. ‘Let’s see. Paul divined that his master’s bark was worse than his bite. A. There Paul Free eBooks at Planet eBook. began again. Pappleworth. Lads learn nothing nowadays. wrote out a couple of orders. and called to Paul to accompany him. Mr. ‘Well. Bates. Next was a flesh-pink ‘leg”. and its yellow order-paper quickly. and put it on one side. scratched out the ‘Mr. Still Mr. with six more machines. He stood at the desk. You’ll have to write better than 1 . hesitated. Pappleworth subsided on to a stool. labouring in his execrable handwriting. But he knew he did not look like the boss and owner of the show. so he had to play his role of proprietor at first. get on. Indeed. Jordan watched. Pappleworth of the boy. Paul. ‘Make another! Are you going to send that to a gentleman?’ And he tore up the blue form irritably. Pappleworth picked up the whitey-blue knee-band. WHAT’S your name?’ asked Mr. put some newly-pressed elastic web appliances on the counter.

Will you do as I tell you?’ replied Mr. Pappleworth shortly.’ she said. ‘you needn’t come blaming it on to me. Hearing the door opened. He descended the steps into the finishing-off room. they all turned round. Pappleworth disappeared to catch his train: he lived in the suburbs. Pappleworth and Paul looking down on them from the far end of the room. Pappleworth. Soon the work-girls went trooping past. ‘You don’t say it’s my fault. At one o’clock. Then 1 Sons and Lovers she snatched the knee-cap from her ‘boss’.found himself at the top of a little wooden flight of steps. Pappleworth.’ said Mr. and went to the hunchback Fanny.’ she said indignantly. Fanny turned. Pappleworth came at twenty minutes to Free eBooks at Planet eBook. almost in tears. ‘I never said it WAS your fault. Paul. and said. Pappleworth. ‘Can’t you make a bit less row?’ said Mr. but you needn’t be snappy. saying: ‘Yes. sewing. took his dinner-basket down into the stockroom in the basement. but you’d like to make out as it was. ‘Au revoy.’ ‘Here’s your new lad. and at the farther end half a dozen girls sitting bending over the benches in the light from the window. It’s not my fault. She had such a short body on her high stool that her head. The brightness and the freedom of the streets made him feel adventurous and happy. rather heavy face towards Mr. that had the long table on trestles. Pappleworth.’ ‘It’s not us as ‘ud make a softy of him. Paul. rather. don’t make a softy of him between you. making remarks. smiling very gently on Paul. seemed over large.’ In vain Mr. It was the commoner girls who worked upstairs at the heavy tasks of truss-making and the finishing of artificial limbs. feeling very lost. ‘Oh!’ she said. coming out of the narrow cuffs. sitting scribbling on the yellow order-paper. not knowing what to do.’ said one of the girls. Paul went out. at a quarter to one. heavy face. They were singing together ‘Two Little Girls in Blue”. Pappleworth. ‘Come on then. as did her pale. and below him saw a room with windows round two sides. ready for the midday post. Paul. She wore a dress of green-black cashmere. But at two o’clock he was back in the corner of the big room. Pappleworth tried to be impressive for Paul’s benefit. or. Mr. to see Mr. ‘Yes. He showed her something that was wrong with a knee-cap. and her wrists. I’ll do it for you. with its great bands of bright brown hair. Mr.’ A hunchback woman on a high stool turned her long. and ate his meal hurriedly. At one o’clock. The day was very long. alone in that cellar of gloom and desolation. He waited for 1 . There was a titter of laughter. Paul was writing or learning to make up parcels.’ said Mr. ‘Well. in a contralto voice: ‘They’re all tom-cats then. All morning the work-people were coming to speak to Mr. Pappleworth.’ the hunchback woman cried. blushing deeply. as she put down her work nervously.’ Her colour mounted to her cheek. not having spoken a word. Then he went out of doors. were thin and flat. ‘Folk’ll think we keep cats. They stopped singing.

Mrs.three. Then everything slacked off. ‘Ever so funny. Paul had made out the invoices. Even then. He had to walk from Keston. In the afternoon there was never very much to do. and they’re nice with you. They must go through 1 Sons and Lovers with what came. however. ‘What’s a Yorkshire terrier?’ ‘DON’T know what a Yorkshire terrier is? DON’T KNOW A YORKSHIRE—-’ Mr. Pappleworth— he’s my man—said to Mr. and treated him as if he had been a comrade. so was not home until about twenty past nine. the hurrying to old Mr. It’s ever so nice. was always natural. laughing and jolly. 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. ‘I’m going to bring my little Yorkshire terrier bitch tomorrow. I’m Spiral. and how was it?’ she asked. mother. Morel was rather anxious about his health. he was not offensive. although all the time he was there his health suffered from the darkness and lack of air and the long hours. The hose came up warm and newly pressed from the workrooms. ‘Go on. His mother sat waiting for him rather anxiously. And Paul stayed at Jordan’s.’ Again. unless it were near the week-end. talking with the same kind of ugly haste and slovenliness with which they ate their meal. Sometimes the ‘Spiral boss’ was irritable. Then he sat and gossiped with Paul. ‘Well. Pappleworth. when all the gases were lighted. But 1 . And yet upstairs the atmosphere among them was always jolly and clear. and the accounts had to be made up. there was the chink of metal. you must come and see. But she herself had had to put up with so much that she expected her children to take the same odds. but one of those people who hurt themselves by their own irritability more than they hurt other people. and there they had tea. Melling for stamps. and Paul could understand him least then. ‘You don’t have to work a bit hard. The cellar and the trestles affected them. who had a certain ‘saloon bar’ flavour about him. then he had to weigh his stock of parcels on the scales. and chewed more lozenges than ever. And at last the postman came with his sack. eating bread-and-butter on the bare.’ ‘And did you get on all right?’ ‘Yes: they only say my writing’s bad. and her anxiety all went. ‘Haven’t you done that YET?’ he would cry. At five o’clock all the men went down into the dungeon with the table on trestles. he was jocular and in high spirits. Mr. There was the big evening post to get off.’ he replied. And he left the house before seven in the morning. mother.’ he said jubilantly to Paul. WORK went more briskly. dirty boards. Everywhere voices were calling weights. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. be a month of Sundays.’ Soon he liked Jordan’s. Now he had the packing up and addressing to do. Pappleworth was aghast. After tea. even in age. He came in pale and tired. treating the boy entirely as an equal. His mother looked at him. Jordan I should be all right. the rapid snapping of string. She saw he was rather pleased.

laughing. They all liked him. he would sit and chatter with her for hours telling her about his home. Paul did not care for her. Polly. and pale. and he adored them. You remind me of Elaine in the ‘Idylls of the King’. He often called her a ‘robinet”. Some of them regarded him as a curious little creature. He took it into the pleasant. and she’s worth over seven pounds herself. But Paul liked the girls best. ‘Put your pen in your ear. yet so bright and jolly. and always so delicate in his way with them. ‘When you sit winding. He liked them all. so serious. she seemed so like a wet rag that would never dry. if you’re going to be a clerk. They often gathered in a little circle while he sat on a bench. Pappleworth nodded his head in the direction of the boy. She was a shivering. her murmuring voice.‘Is it a little silky one—colours of iron and rusty silver?’ ‘THAT’S it. full mouth. With Louie. I’d draw you if I could.’ when he took him into the glass office and fitted him with special braces for keeping the shoulders square. and she doesn’t weigh twenty ounces. ‘How do you put needles in?’ he asked. the little brisk overseer downstairs. Jordan only made one more excursion to watch 11 .’ The next day the bitch came. and when he came down at one o’clock she had his dinner ready. handsome and brazen. ‘it looks as if you were spinning at a spinning-wheel—it looks ever so nice. who always seemed to thrust her hip at him. appealed to his romantic side. and the talk went on sotto voce. Mr.’ And she glanced at him blushing shyly. She’s had five pounds’ worth of pups already. and held forth to them. finding Paul eating in the cellar. Next day his mother gave him a dish that could be heated up. my lad. When he came in at eight in the morning he took his basket to her.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. with her mane of red hair. She’s a gem. She was like a small bird. and he did not mind. miserable morsel. her face of appleblossom. But Mr. ‘Go away and don’t bother. irregular features. Though naturally rather quiet. rather old. Then a man called for her. her flowing mane of red hair on her rusty black frock. And later on he had a sketch he prized very much: Connie sitting on the stool before the wheel. Polly he felt he belonged to. Emma was rather plain. clean room to Polly. Pen in your ear!’ And one day he said to the lad: ‘Why don’t you hold your shoulders straighter? Come down here. And very soon it grew to be an established custom that he should have dinner with her. such a lady in her shabby black frock. asked him if she could cook him anything on her little stove. 10 Sons and Lovers He was not very tall. and began to make coarse jokes. and a wide. The men seemed common and rather dull. Then Connie. and condescending. but they were uninteresting. But to condescend to him made her happy. with thick chestnut hair. he usually joked. her red mouth shut and serious. and then the only fault he found was seeing the boy lay his pen on the counter. running the scarlet thread off the hank on to the reel. The girls all liked to hear him talk.’ he said.

laughing. or singing with the girls. ‘There are many things you ought to know.’ said the lad. At the end of the song Fanny would say: ‘I know you’ve been laughing at me.’ said he. ‘How I do but get criticised. calling ‘Good-bye!’ and Emma drew herself up.’ He watched her attentively. slid over the humped back. talking. Poor Fanny was morbidly sensitive. Put it down for him. what a nuisance he is! Why. Mr. ‘Fanny’s is better. and it went well. and said in a clear voice: ‘Mr. Paul.’ said Fanny. ‘What a lovely lot!’ he exclaimed. ‘Tell me. 1 Sons and Lovers ‘You needn’t try to make a fool of me. in the finishing-off room. he ran upstairs to Fanny.’ said one of the girls to the long-legged hunchback. Fanny would begin to sing. sitting drying their hair.’ said Fanny. when all the girls came back at two o’clock. The two departments were for ever at war.’ she said. how to stick needles in the machine. ‘Well.’ ‘Oh. if he wants something to paint. Everybody joined in the chorus. There was silence. ‘It’s splendid!’ he said. and he often found his boy sitting beside Fanny. Pappleworth did not appear till twenty to three. It’s like bog-water. As a rule. ‘Then I’ll take it down myself. ‘I’ll bet it’s worth pounds. or drawing.’ ‘It’s a treat of a colour. Once there was mention of Connie’s red hair.’ ‘Don’t be so soft.’ she replied. Paul. half joking.’ Paul flew upstairs.’ cried Emma earnestly. but she has. flushing deeply. after a minute’s hesitation.’ said Fanny. Paul. ‘It’s simply beautiful. Often. always imagining insults. and yet she wanted to. Paul was not at all embarrassed.‘But I ought to know how to put needles in.’ said Fanny. Paul. ‘But you should see it down. to my fancy.’ ‘Goodness me!’ exclaimed one girl. she’s got beautiful hair. Fanny. And he carefully took the pins out of the knot. ‘No.’ ‘I’ll leave it you when I die. and Paul was always finding Fanny in tears. Polly was curt and businesslike.’ Fanny would not. Then Polly appeared. Suddenly a whistle piped. Pappleworth wants to know how much longer you’re going to be down here playing with the girls. She had a fine contralto voice. and the rush of hair. after a while. ‘You look just like anybody else. The girls watched. ‘It wasn’t ME who wanted him to play with the machine. The youth shook the hair loose from the coil. then. and yet shiny. the hunchback. you can if you like. Then he was made the recipient of all her woes. smelling its perfume. and he Free eBooks at Planet eBook. sitting in the room with the half a dozen workgirls. THIS is how you do it. of uniform dark brown. Fanny!’ cried one of the 1 . the boy. ‘That coldish colour like earth.’ said Emma.’ She ground at her machine all the while steadily.

fusing together in a blaze in the valleys. The factory had a homely feel. ‘after your ticket and dinners and such are taken off. And from the hilltop. And then he came to the corner at home. there was a patch of lights at Bulwell like myriad petals shaken to the ground from the shed stars. The trains roared by like projectiles level on the darkness. making the valley clang with their passage. They were gone. violated by a great train rushing south to London or north to 1 . Drawing farther off. he looked round on the villages five or six miles away. towards post-time. fuming and burning. And occasionally the black valley space between was traced. sprinkled thick on the hills.’ Then he told her the budget of the day. mother?’ he asked wistfully. No one was rushed or driven. playing like hot breath on the clouds. one thing. for the time being. and all the men united in labour. was told night after night to his mother. The real woman never seemed to be there at the task. He felt rich in life and happy. and the lights of the towns and villages glittered 1 Sons and Lovers in silence. Paul always enjoyed it when the work got faster. which faced the other side of the night. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. waiting. and beyond was the red glare of the furnaces. Marlpool and Heanor scattered the far-off darkness with brilliance. and he counted the lamps climbing the hill above him. From the train going home at night he used to watch the lights of the town. So the time went along happily enough. He had to walk two and more miles from Keston home. The man was the work and the work was the man. He liked to watch his fellowclerks at work. He put his eight shillings proudly on the table. His mother rose with gladness as he entered. It was almost as if it were her own life. like an Arabian Nights. It was different with the girls. ‘There’s precious little left. how many more to pass. He was often tired. that shone like swarms of glittering living things. His life-story. down two short hills. but as if left out. on pitch-dark nights. ‘It’ll help. up two long hills. The ash-tree seemed a friend now.’ she answered. almost a heaven against his feet.had to plead her case with Polly.

There came over him a look of meanness and of paltriness. ‘He does his best for them. They loathed him. together with his generous manner and fiery temper. and then gets treated like a dog. Morel’s manners got worse and worse. When he was in trouble he moaned to her ceaselessly. he said. As he grew older Morel 1 Sons and Lovers fell into a slow ruin. Then. the father was like some ugly irritant to their souls. and if you can’t alter it. In appearance he remained the flower of the family. while they were so irritably sensitive at the age of fourteen or fifteen. the father would seem to feel the contemptuous hatred of his children. sometimes. ‘Dirty nuisance!’ Arthur would cry. and escaped as soon as possible to his sport again. whom he had loved and who had worshipped him. which had been beautiful in movement and in being. even if it were she. seemed unbearably raw and irritable. I tell you!’ But for the threat and the fact that he did not try so hard as be imagined. He seemed to take a kind of satisfaction in disgusting them. boy!’ she said. When the children were growing up and in the crucial stage of adolescence. he came to detest.CHAPTER VI DEATH IN THE FAMILY ARTHUR MOREL was growing up. made a great moan if he had to work. ‘Goodness. they would have felt sorry. put up with it. hated him worst of all. And Morel persisted the more because his children hated it. jumping up and going straight out of the house when his father disgusted him. and driving them nearly mad. did not seem to ripen with the years. He flew into rages over 1 . just to assert his independence. His mother. So that Arthur. His manners in the house were the same as he used among the colliers down pit. when he groaned about a master who. He thought only of himself. But I’m not going to stand it. As it was. graceful. When he wanted amusement. His dark brown hair and fresh colouring. all that stood in his way he hated. and full of life. His body. made him a favourite. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. he persisting in his dirty and disgusting ways. And when the mean-looking elderly man bullied or ordered the boy about. impulsive boy. ‘There’s not a man tries harder for his family!’ he would shout. careless. who was growing up when his father was degenerate and elderly. alter it. wearied of him sometimes.’ And his father. But as he grew older his temper became uncertain. Moreover. his habits somewhat disgusting. Arthur was furious. a good deal like his father. whom he loved. and his exquisite dark blue eyes shaded with long lashes. shrank. being well made. He was a quick. the battle now went on nearly all between father and children. ‘if you don’t like it. He hated study. but to get mean and rather despicable. hated him.

’ A frown went over his face. and William presented the lady. with its glittering kissing-bunch. its wooden chairs and little deal table.’ ‘Given YOU some of it!’ cried Mrs. ‘Hello. But still he stuck to his painting. But soon she would have fifteen shillings. The two shared lives. she rose and went to the door. ‘How should I?’ he said. At that moment Morel came in. Annie was still a junior teacher in the Board-school. William entered. ‘I am afraid you will be hungry. Morel said she 1 Sons and Lovers should come at the Christmas. He sat and listened with his earnestness.’ said Mrs. if he were foolish. we had dinner in the train. ‘Oh. Hearing footsteps. ‘Then I’ve lost them. Have you got my gloves. ‘Here’s Gyp!’ Miss Western held out her hand and showed her teeth in a small smile. Morel?’ Morel bowed obsequiously. and there would be financial peace in the house. how do you 1 . Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Everything he did was for her. Morel clung now to Paul. He wanted to bring the girl home. He was quiet and not brilliant. and she preferred William. Morel. ‘Hello. big and raw-boned. ‘How do you do. Mrs. or of all that had occurred to her during the day. and only come home at week-ends.Arthur was so inflamed and irritable at last. and furs. ‘Eight guineas!’ said Morel. She waited for his coming home in the evening. and had bought her an engagement ring that cost eight guineas. mother!’ He kissed her hastily. Mrs. or he told his mother with glee how they went to the theatre like great swells. It was small and curious to her. looked at her quickly. Morel!’ she exclaimed. Chubby?’ William Morel. This time William arrived with a lady. and the different resplendent clothes she wore. who was wearing a costume of fine black-and-white check. and then she unburdened herself of all she had pondered. Mrs. with one of her sisters. Morel had prepared supper. who was not mean. Mr. Don’t be cross with me. Morel. since she had passed her examination. But now the young man talked only of the dances to which he went with his betrothed. She gave the same smile that showed her teeth. Mrs. my son! Tha’s let on me!’ The two shook hands. handsome girl. it ‘ud ha’ looked better on ‘im. then stood aside to present a tall. but he said nothing. but with no presents. The children gasped at such a fabulous price. that when he won a scholarship for the Grammar School in Nottingham. ‘Why give YOU some of it!’ She remembered HE had bought no engagement ring at all. earning about four shillings a week. its evergreens behind the pictures. ‘Oh no. his mother decided to let him live in town. ‘More fool him! If he’d gen me some on’t. dad!’ ‘Hello. and still he stuck to his mother. She glanced round the kitchen. William was engaged now to his brunette.

and using the same intimate tone as if they were alone. keep your own chair. she’ll be all right. then went downstairs for hot water. Morel.’ said William. In such a household. ‘Oh. no!’ cried Morel. ‘No.’ ‘Is there anything I can give her?’ asked Mrs. Chubby dear!’ she said.’ ‘And don’t be an hour dressing yourself up. Gyp. too shy almost to speak. seating herself in the collier’s armchair.’ said William to her. preceded the young lady to the front bedroom. Sit on the sofa. Walter. ‘I told you you’d no need to change. thank you very much!’ Annie played the part of maid.’ ‘It isn’t.’ said Mrs.’ she replied. ‘If you don’t mind. ‘I think she’s rather tired. but not if it is any trouble to you. ‘Won’t you come near the fire?’ Morel jumped out of his armchair. William winced. But when the girl came downstairs again with the handkerchief. too. really!’ ‘You are cold. thank you. was small and cold by candlelight. certainly clownish—in short. Annie will take you.’ said William. The young lady evidently did not realise them as people: they were creatures to her for the present. ‘Oh no. Miss Wesson. Miss Western took no notice. Come and sit here. which Mr.’ said William to his betrothed. dad. rather amused. Morel. She shivered. Miss Western would have been a lady condescending to her inferiors. the place of honour. Morel. the working classes. Chubby!’ Then she turned with that sweetish smile to Mrs. very fine for the collier’s 11 . How was she to adjust herself? ‘I’ll go. and we had such a rush. ‘It’s a beastly journey. 10 Sons and Lovers Morel?’ ‘Is he?’ said Mrs. ‘This cheer’s warmest.’ said the mother. ‘Fetch me a hanky. and. having put on a purplishcoloured dress. thank you!’ in a gracious way. as if a servant had spoken. ‘Shall I unstrap the box?’ asked Annie. ‘Don’t you think he’s always grumbling.’ said Annie. mother. After half an hour Miss Western came down. putting up her mouth to him. You must make yourself very welcome. Morel.‘I’m very well.’ said the girl.’ ‘Oh. feeling the warmth of the kitchen penetrate her. Mrs. which made the rest of the family feel as if they ought not to be present. in Streatham. Morel had vacated for her. and I hope so are you. ‘Come and sit you here!’ he cried. she said: ‘Oh. ‘That’s not very nice of him. ‘Come and sit you here!’ ‘No. These people were to her.’ But there was a chill in the atmosphere. The colliers’ wives only lit fires in bedrooms in case of extreme illness. ‘Oh. Annie took a brass candlestick. ‘You will like to go upstairs.’ ‘Thank you so much. Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ ‘It is no trouble. It. and Mrs. carry up this box.

in his old attitude on the hearthrug. Chubby. the best spoons. The three children sat round in silence and admiration. feeling somehow hurt and humiliated. mother. She’s had no love. In five minutes he was downstairs again. and listening to her glib London speech. Morel. letting the water run from the tap into a stone beer-bottle. ‘Good-night. mother. you must make up to her. ‘Very well. watching her. But his brow was gloomy. you know.’ she said. and chattered from fear. and she can’t think. the best coffee-jug. ‘I’ll light her the candle. preceded by William. about dances. not knowing how to treat them. Mrs.’ ‘No! Well. my son?’ She sat in the rocking-chair. She was really very nervous. not able to realise the people. Since then she’s lived with her aunt. She’s not serious.’ ‘That’s it. mother?’ ‘Well. And her father was a rake.’ ‘She does. Everything of the best was got out for her: the best cups. She’ll be all right. Morel. dressed up in her best black silk blouse. and she’s had no sort of show. The children thought she must find it quite grand. Gyp?’ ‘Rather. and was slightly uncomfortable. at once in the intimate tones and putting her head slightly on one side. Morel. my boy. and kissed her mother good-night. whom she can’t bear. ‘You know. the best table cloth.’ came the slow answer. mother. ‘If only she wouldn’t put on her BLESSED airs!’ ‘It’s only her first awkwardness. for his 1 . William joked.’ she answered. His heart was rather sore. Miss Western stood up. she’s not like you. mother. Morel to Annie.’ replied the mother. And Annie sat nursing the hot-water bottle. Mrs.’ he replied gratefully. he did not know why. and took her departure. Morel sat all the time smoking his thick twist tobacco. Miss Western was the princess.’ ‘She’s young. It’s different from her aunt’s house. ‘You wait a minute. Miss Western shook 1 Sons and Lovers hands all round. about London. which had been so poor.’ said Mrs. answered quietly and rather briefly.She sat and talked about the dinner on the train. She felt strange. my boy. held out her hand to Mrs. Then he stood with his legs apart.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘She’s shy yet. and she must find it difficult. ‘Do you like her?’ ‘Yes. Her mother died when she was a child.’ ‘Yes. Annie swathed the bottle in an old flannel pit-singlet. She was to share the room with the lady. as he puffed. He talked very little till everybody had gone to bed. and said hesitatingly: ‘Well. At about ten o’clock he said to her: ‘Aren’t you tired. my boy.’ Then he frowned swiftly. to everybody’s discomfort. Paul sat at the boiler. She’s not used to it. but himself and his mother.’ he said. because the house was full.’ ‘Of course it is.

his mother scarcely forgave the boy for the adulation with Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘Shall I have to send you an Easter egg up there?’ he called. And yet she was not so grand. ‘Merry Christmas!’ he shouted to her. In the morning. But he seemed uneasy within himself. Paul and Arthur and Annie expected everybody to bow to the ground in admiration. was heard in the bedroom. felt he was the father of princes and princesses.’ replied Annie. she in her furs and London-made costume. mother—she’s—she’s different from us. Her laugh. Chubby dear!’ came the laughing voice. He waited a while. ‘Chubby dear! That question is not permitted. ‘Yes. you have to remember she’s never had anybody to bring her deeper side out. sitting on the 1 . ‘Happy New Year.’ said Mrs. in fact.’ ‘But you know. far away. She sat and let Annie or Paul wait on her as if they were her servants. he in his frock-coat and silk hat. it’s a winder!’ he exclaimed. rather crossly. looking very nice in a blouse and skirt. ‘Are you getting up?’ ‘Yes. after that time of preparation. But while she was with the Morels she queened it. my boy?’ ‘I dunno. something like magic. And Morel. When she seems shallow. all but William. It was so much more interesting. Morel?’ She played the grand lady at first. he was up singing and larking round the house. And Paul really DID admire ‘Gipsy’ wholeheartedly.’ ‘You mustn’t judge too hastily. When she went with William to chapel. Morel with a certain glibness and Morel with patronage. ‘Hello!’ he called.’ ‘WHAT do you have to forgive her. She only laughed. The family expected. ‘Buck up!’ he implored. ‘Thank you. however.‘And so—you have to forgive her a lot of things. pretty and tinkling. At last she came. looked at the clock. watching the gallant pair go. then went to the stairs again. Morel.’ ‘Anybody can see that. It was nearly an hour. William always wanted Paul or Annie to go along with them on their walks. is it. and still he was waiting for her. like those she lives amongst. She treated Mrs. ‘Have you REALLY been all this time getting ready?’ he asked. But after a day or so she began to change her tune. The family had breakfasted.’ he called. Morel. And she’s FEARFULLY fond of me. she was. Those sort of people. 1 Sons and Lovers ‘Well.’ her voice called faintly. ‘Was she REALLY getting up when she said she was?’ he asked of Annie. who always rose before six. She did not come down in half an hour. standing in his Sunday suit at the end of the road. He went to the foot of the stairs. For a year now she had been a sort of secretary or clerk in a London office. they don’t seem to have the same principles. Mrs.

I wouldn’t call it LOVE—at any rate.’ said Mrs. Paul’s wages had been raised at Christmas to ten shillings.’ ‘Oh. mother. ‘Is it as late as that. ‘You know. She’s an orphan. All his strength and money went in keeping this girl.’ ‘Yes. He was quite happy at Jordan’s. and—-‘ They never came to any sort of conclusion. then. ‘My boy. She had been sitting alone. Morel. He returned to the kitchen. He kissed his mother good-night. He could scarcely afford to take his mother to Nottingham when he came over.’ ‘You know best. do you know where I left my muff?’ William replied: ‘You know it is in your bedroom. She was rather reserved. mother.’ William kissed his sweetheart at the foot of the stairs. ‘if she holds you no more than that!’ ‘It IS funny!’ he exclaimed. William came out to the kitchen. mother?’ he said. and I can read. ‘Can’t you trust us. ‘But if it is as you say. I don’t know. to his great joy. ‘It is not LATE. Morel.’ said Mrs. Morel. I won’t do it. when I’m away from her I don’t care for her a bit. mother?’ ‘Whether I can or not. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. I tell you I don’t BELIEVE in leaving two young things like you alone downstairs when everyone else is in bed. ‘We won’t keep mater waiting. and she went.’ ‘Can’t you trust us. Annie. when Lily said: ‘Oh. thank you. Good-night. But. Mrs. but his health suffered from the long hours and the confinement. ‘I think you will see. rather offend1 Sons and Lovers ed.’ said Mrs.’ And he was forced to take this answer.’ ‘Annie has left the candle burning. I shouldn’t care if I never saw her again.’ ‘It’s a queer sort of love to marry on. ‘And leave you two? No. On the second day. my boy. On the third evening William and Lily were sitting together in the parlour by the fire in the dark. At a quarter to eleven Mrs.’ ‘Won’t you go to bed. You can stay till eleven if you like. mother?’ he repeated. Gyp. then?’ he asked. my boy. And then he discussed his sweetheart endlessly with his mother. shut mouth. when I’m with her in the evenings I am awfully fond of her. He seemed puzzled and rather fretted.’ ‘Go to bed. Why do you ask Annie?’ And Lily went upstairs with a cross. but it is as late as I usually sit up.’ he said to his girl. Lily. I don’t believe in it. followed by his beloved. Morel. it doesn’t look much like it. ‘But yet—there’s so much between us now I couldn’t give her up. Morel was heard raking the fire.which he treated the girl. It worried and perplexed 1 . At Easter he came over alone. But it angered the young man that she made a servant of his sister.

but pretending to know better. Down Derby Road was a cherry-tree that glistened. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘And we’ll go this afternoon?’ Paul hurried off to the station jubilant. ‘It’s very quiet. thought them the most dainty boots in the world. Leivers. and I say you look nice. Leivers has gone to live on a new farm. pleased. the boy had a vision of spring outside. ‘When I’m ready. Well. He. Mrs. and put her head up. splendid with patterns of sunshine and shadow. I should say: ‘Doesn’t THAT little person fancy herself!‘ ‘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. thought how to help.’ She sniffed in her little way. straightened. Morel.’ she replied. When he came home at dinner-time his mother was rather excited. in its cool morning dust. to whom he became more and more significant. Suddenly she appeared in the inner doorway rather shyly. ‘It’s not a bobby-dazzler at all!’ she replied.’ replied Mrs. he asked me last week if I wouldn’t go and see Mrs. and inside the warehouse all the morning. ‘Well.’ she asked. She had got a new cotton blouse on. She did so. little woman. He washed the pots. They were quite clean. spring was a very flame of green.’ ‘Oh no! she wants to be in dirty black. ‘Well. Presently he got up. And the steep swoop of highroad lay. my stars!’ he exclaimed. The old brick wall by the Statutes ground burned scarlet. ‘Go and get dressed while I wash up. ‘What a bobby-dazzler!’ She sniffed in a little haughty way.His mother. Morel was one 1 Sons and Lovers of those naturally exquisite people who can walk in mud without dirtying their shoes. how lovely!’ he cried. It DOES suit you. His half-day holiday was on Monday afternoon. ‘You know Mr. quite shy. but pretending to be high and mighty.’ She walked forward.’ he said. The trees sloped their great green shoulders proudly. looking as if she was wrapped in burnt 1 . and I promised to bring you on Monday if it’s fine. This meant something. she said: ‘I think it will be a fine day. and then took her boots. ‘She’s not sure it suits her. ‘Oh. On a Monday morning in May. Paul jumped up and went forward. she doesn’t.’ he said. as the two sat alone at breakfast. ‘Are we going?’ he asked. But Paul had to clean them for her. They were kid boots at eight shillings a pair. ‘if I was walking down the street behind you.’ He looked up in surprise. Shall we go?’ ‘I say. and he cleaned them with as much reverence as if they had been flowers. whilst he hovered round her. perfectly still.

’ he replied. ‘Now look at that!’ said Mrs. because of the sun. ‘Too young for you!’ he exclaimed in disgust. ‘Perhaps!’ ‘And all the trucks standing waiting.’ ‘Awfully pretty.’ she said. Paul was considerably taller than she. and rattled hoarsely. and a man.’ he said.’ she said. though. ‘for that means they’ll turn middling time this week.’ he said. ‘Look how it heaps together. At the end the man tipped the wagon. you’ve no business to. Then they turned on a private road. because they’ve been handled with men’s hands. Morel asked. There was an undue rattle as the waste fell down the sheer 10 Sons and Lovers slope of the enormous bank.’ she said. ‘And. She was silent whilst he worked. all of them.’ he said. mother. though he was not big. ‘What do I want with a white-haired mother?’ ‘I’m afraid you’ll have to put up with one. They climbed the incline against the heavens. The blouse was white. like a string of beasts to be fed. ‘Is this the way to Willey Farm?’ Mrs. Morel. The mother and son went through the wheat and oats. coughed. and directed them. ‘I’m going white fast enough.’ ‘Well.’ he said. I’m afraid. with a little sprig of heliotrope and black. A woman came out to see. the red cottages shining among their greenness. like something alive almost—a big creature that you don’t know.’ ‘I s’ll soon have no need.’ she said. and in some trepidation approached a big farm. There’s a feel of men about trucks. Mother and son stood on the road to watch. and she took a seat on a bank. a small truck.’ he said. On the fallow land the young wheat shone silkily. looking round at the afternoon. while they’re alive. A dog barked furiously. ‘Why don’t you buy some false white hair and stick it on your head. Along the ridge of the great pithill crawled a little group in silhouette against the sky.’ ‘Yes. ‘Too young for me. it’s good stuff. They went along under the trees of the 11 . Paul hung behind in terror of being sent back. ‘And very thankful I am they ARE standing.’ said Mrs. ‘You sit a minute.‘Well. whilst he sketched rapidly. ‘The world is a wonderful place. Morel. He was constantly informing her. she carrying the umbrella William had given her.’ she replied.’ ‘Yes. over a little bridge Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ she said. could you?’ ‘I should think you couldn’t. They passed the end of Nethermere. you know.’ ‘But I like the feel of MEN on things.’ she said rather strangely. ‘and wonderfully beautiful. ‘it’s cost me just three shillings. You couldn’t have got it ready-made for that price. my lad. He fancied himself. They set off in great style. But the woman was amiable. a horse. Minton pit waved its plumes of white steam. that was tossing its sunshine like petals lightly in its lap. but she was interested.’ ‘And so’s the pit.

and dark eyes. somehow or other. lay on their left.’ He stood below with his hands up ready to help her. mother. ‘I can feel a bit of a path this road.’ Her voice was intimate and rather sad. ‘But now. upon a pale fawn floor of oak-leaves. was a cluster of low red farm buildings. in the doorway suddenly appeared a girl in a dirty apron. ‘Hateful stiles!’ she cried. I AM glad to see you. a little resentful of the strangers. with great dark brown eyes. The pond was deep under a hedge and overhanging oak trees.’ In front. She was perfectly happy. embraced the sunshine towards the wood. seeing her hand.’ he said. It was very still. green and still. He found flowers for her. again. with a new thicket of fir and pine on one hand. Morel. Peewits. used with work. his heart hurt with love.’ he replied. ‘you’ve come. And. But at the end of the riding was a fence to climb. rosy. looking round. where was a scent of red gillivers.’ They found a little gate. ‘See that heron—see—see her legs?’ He directed his mother. ‘I know what a farming life is. And she was quite content. three sides of a quadrangle. ‘Here’s a bit of new-mown hay. when she was safely to earth again. ‘Just like Canada. High overhead a heron 1 . fenced and dark. then. smiling with a little glow. Some cows stood in the shade. ‘Come. then. he brought her forget-me-nots. ‘which way? He told me through the wood.’ ‘Isn’t it beautiful!’ said Mrs. holding the little bunch of flowers he gave her. questioning. under the new green hazels. By the open door were some floury loaves. The farm and buildings.into a wild meadow. you have. ‘It’s a wild road. Then. She was about fourteen years old. In a minute another figure appeared.’ said Paul. and soon were in a broad green alley of the wood. ‘Duffer of a little woman. frail woman. Mother and son went into the small railed garden. Opposite. the wood heaped on the hill. go away.’ said Paul. along the edge of the wood. ‘You’ve got town feet. The two hastened forward. what she must see and what not. Flush with the wood was the apple orchard. And among the oaks the bluebells stood in pools of azure. shy.’ he said.’ The wood. again. ‘let me help you. I will do it in my own way. had a rosy dark face. she disappeared. where blossom was falling on the grindstone. ‘Now are you sure we’re not a bother to you?’ said Mrs. a small. an old oak glade dipping down on the other. ‘What a way to climb!’ he exclaimed scornfully. very fine and free. A hen was just coming to peck them.’ ‘No. Paul was over in a second.’ she said. The two women shook hands. wheeled and screamed about them. a bunch of short black curls. The lake was still and blue. Morel. put out to cool. ‘Oh!’ she exclaimed.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. She 1 Sons and Lovers climbed cautiously. ‘who can’t get over ‘em. with their white breasts glistening.

it’s so lost up here. I suppose it is. Presently the girl came out. drawing back and going indoors. He was in the garden smelling the gillivers and looking at the plants. ‘They’re white with pink middles. Presently his mother came 1 .’ Paul and his mother and Mrs.’ replied the little woman. big brown eyes. She looked at him with startled. Mrs. One hen. Maurice took his hand full of corn and let the hen peck from it.’ ‘Well. ‘I suppose these are cabbage-roses?’ he said to her. rather superior way. and I’m not used to it. ‘I don’t know. When they got back to the house.’ ‘Then they’re maiden-blush.’ he said.‘Oh no! We’re only too thankful to see a new face.’ Miriam flushed. ‘Whenever it’s ready. in a distant. ‘You don’t have MUCH in your garden. whilst Paul went out to survey the land. and rather capable-looking. and suddenly made a peck into Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ ‘I suppose so. He had a small hand. Miriam. but Paul scarcely observed it. Mr. ‘Would you CARE to have tea now. low room. mother.’ she said in a musical. He held the corn to the hen.’ she answered. bright eye. ‘No. when the girl came out quickly to the heap of coal which stood by the fence. The bird eyed it with her hard. ‘This is our first year here. There the women talked. He did not notice. and they went through the buildings. warm. ‘And I suppose you have the fowls and calves and pigs to look after?’ said Mrs. pointing to the bushes along the fence. Edgar was about eighteen.’ said Mrs. Mr. were in the kitchen.’ said Mrs. Morel to Mrs. with a golden-brown moustache. scrambling into all sorts of places. Then Geoffrey and Maurice. ‘I suppose they are cabbage-roses when they come out?’ he said. ‘Durst you do it?’ he asked of Paul. Morel. The mother and son were in ecstasy together. Then they went out into the wood that was flooded with bluebells. Miriam watched. the eldest son. almost ingratiatingly. They went round for eggs. Leivers. with a great bunch of guelder-roses in the fireplace. The boys took no notice of her. ‘I don’t know. Morel. Morel?’ ‘Of course. was in a coop.’ replied her mother. thank you. Leivers was a good-looking man in the prime of life. but went his round of exploration. ‘I can’t find time to look after cattle. were in from school. She had a beautiful warm colouring.’ she said. ‘Let’s see. Leivers had tea together. and blue eyes screwed up against the weather.’ said Paul. As they were feeding the fowls Miriam came out. ‘Oh. ‘Tea is ready. with her yellow chickens. They were taken through into the parlour—a long. Morel. then we’ll come. quiet voice.’ she faltered. while fumy forget-me-nots were in the paths.’ said Mrs. Paul was hugely delighted. The boys were condescending. It’s as much as I can do to 1 Sons and Lovers keep going in the house. big lads of twelve and thirteen. Leivers and Edgar.

shaking her black curls and shrinking.’ said Geoffrey. He frowned. ‘You’re never anything but cowards and bullies. She flushed crimson and started up.’ said Paul.’ he quoted against her.’ ‘No. but she never hurts. and the other boys joined. tried again. But she had done it. putting only two corns in his palm. some maize in her hand. ‘I dare do more than you. he let the hen peck. He started. ‘It won’t hurt you. shrinking back.’ ‘Oh. cowards and bullies!’ they repeated mincingly. half of chagrin. ‘There’ll be no apples next year.’ replied Paul.’ ‘Dursn’t jump off a gate. and crouching in an intense attitude. ‘I only wanted to try. half of fear. They did feats of strength. but it 1 Sons and Lovers served. dursn’t tweedle. does it?’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and watched.’ said the boy. ‘Rap. I’d let her take corn from my face. ‘There. and she did it again. ‘you come an ‘ave a go. the eldest brother. ‘Ha! baby. She went indoors.’ ‘I wasn’t going to get it. ‘It only just nips rather nicely. they were more interested in their own pursuits. dursn’t go on a slide.’ she cried. She drew back quickly with a cry. At last Miriam let the bird peck from her hand. A boor is answered silently. The hen was eyeing her wickedly. mocking her speech. He was more agile than strong.’ said Paul. ‘She niver durst do anything except recite poitry. ‘The Lady of the Lake. The mardy-kid!’ said her brothers. ‘She dursn’t.’ ‘No. and laughed. As he went round the back. shouting with laughter. rap. ‘She knocks you. ‘only she bumps a bit. peck at his bare hand. and. She gave a little cry—fear. She put her hand forward and dragged it away. he saw Miriam kneeling in front of the hen-coop.his hand. rap!’ went the bird’s beak in his palm. you see. going away.’ said Maurice.’ he said.’ He waited grimly.’ Yah!’ cried Maurice. She’s ever so neat. where they had rigged up a parallel bar. Very gingerly she put forward her hand. She can do nowt but go about thinkin’ herself somebody. ‘See.’ she cried. Paul went with the boys into the orchard. Miriam.’ she said in a low voice. Miriam was crimson with shame and misery. The hen bobbed for her. He wandered back to the house to look for his mother. ‘It doesn’t hurt a bit. ‘ Now. He fingered a piece of apple-blossom that hung low on a swinging bough. and started back with a cry. biting her 1 . ‘I wouldn’t get the apple-blossom. and nips you. The boys felt hostile to him.’ said Paul. look how much ground she’d peck up every day. and pain because of fear—rather pathetic. ‘It doesn’t hurt. when the last corn had gone. ‘Not such a clown shall anger me. peck. If she wasn’t. He laughed again. ‘It only makes you laugh. ‘Why.’ she still cried.’ said Edgar.’ he said. it doesn’t hurt.’ said Paul. dursn’t stop a girl hittin’ her.

My word. Morel. while she fingered with his hair. Mr. She and Paul went on alone together. she hasn’t the strength—she simply hasn’t the strength. ‘Now you look like a young witch-woman. and I’D talk with him. Paul came back and threaded daisies in her jet-black hair—big spangles of white and yellow. I’m sorry for her. ‘He thinks I’m only a common girl. by the Castle Farm. Paul went gathering the big daisies. His mother had to chatter. Morel.’ she laughed. mother?’ he said quietly. trembling. ‘Doesn’t she. Then she rose and went indoors. William did not talk to his beloved much. My word. It was everywhere perfectly stiff. She ought never to have been burdened like it. her hair was black as a horse’s mane. thinner now and even a bit gaunt. the farm would be run. and just a pink touch of ragged robin. all three. His heart was full of happiness till it hurt. Leivers walked down the fields with them. They lay down. I dunno if ever I s’ll get the rent off it. ‘it’s a nice little place. ‘But it is a beautiful place. like laughter.’ the boy said to her.’ He clapped his hands. and she’s very lovable. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. She had taken off her hat. in a meadow by Minton Church. She seemed to be in some way resentful of the boy.’ answered Mr. In his gaze was a certain baffled look of misery and fierce appreciation. and I’D plan with him. William?’ Lily laughed. It was beautiful weather. and Mrs. On one side.’ said Mrs. except to tell her things from his boyhood. Hawthorn was dropping from the hedges. if only it weren’t for the rabbits. deep in the woods showed the darkening purple of bluebells. penny daisies and ragged robin were in the field. William and Lily and Paul went out in the morning together for a walk. and she wanted to prove she was a grand person like the ‘Lady of the Lake”. The hills were golden with evening.’ William came home again with his sweetheart at the Whitsuntide. and the field broke into motion near the woods. wanted to cry with happiness. if I’D had him. save for the rustling of leaves and birds. William opened his eyes and looked at her. ‘Yes. ‘Has he made a sight of me?’ she asked. A thin moon was coming out. ‘WOULDN’T I see to the fowls and the young stock! And I’D learn to milk.’ she thought. too. because she. you know. The pasture’s bitten down to nothing. if I were his wife. I shouldn’t have thought him a bad husband! Not that she does either. ‘Wasn’t it 1 . She smiled on her son. I 1 Sons and Lovers know! But there. laughing down on her lover. Paul talked endlessly to both of them. Leivers. ‘Now WOULDN’T I help that man!’ she said. ‘No. He had one week of his holidays then.She looked at him with dilated dark eyes. William. and I’m sorry for him too. brown rabbits hopping everywhere. lay back in the sunshine and dreamed. ‘Would you believe it!’ exclaimed Mrs. He took the great bunch of flowers. was a beautiful quivering screen of poplars. a big fellow of twenty-three. As a rule. Paul found his mother ready to go home.

’ William scribbled irritably at a great rate. ‘My new black SUEDE.’ ‘Er’s like me.’ said Mrs. when she was going out. cross with the exaggeration. as he carved.’ he cried. he carved her initials and his in a heart. ‘You look nice enough. smiling. have you got my gloves?’ 00 Sons and Lovers ‘Which?’ asked William. Morel. All the time there was a feeling of sadness and warmth. mostly crimson. and a certain tenderness in the house. hated her.’ said the girl.’ ‘But it is so dull. Coming to a bridge. catching a glimpse of his sweetheart’s attitude towards his sister. ‘Look here. And sometimes the young man.’ said William. W. and these things?’ And Annie stood washing when William and Lily went out the next morning. ‘Oh.’ ‘No. Morel. she asked again: ‘Chubby. and blue as a jay-bird’s feather. M. go along!’ said Mrs.‘That he has!’ said William. After supper William wanted to write a letter. Lily. In the afternoon he had left her whilst he went to see some old friend. And she walked without her hat.’ he said. mother. Morel was furious. nor more can I. Morel to her son. She had lost them. She watched his strong. But in the evening.’ ‘Oh.’ chimed in Morel. silky and sweeping. ‘Here is your book. mother—she hasn’t. On Sunday morning she looked very beautiful in a dress of foulard. ‘Would you care to go on with it for a few minutes?’ ‘No. ‘It’s true. L. L. ‘I will sit still. and in a large cream hat covered with many roses.’ There was a hunt. Mrs. Nobody could admire her 01 . he stood on the hearthrug whilst she sat on the sofa. As he sealed the envelope he said: ‘Read a book! Why. jumping up and taking his old position on the hearthrug. And in the evening. with its glistening hairs and freckles. ter sit borin’ your nose in ‘em for. and was rather tender to her. He glanced at her flower-decked head and frowned. Her beauty seemed to hurt him. She had sat looking at a book. after supper. and he seemed to hate her. ‘that’s the fourth pair she’s lost since Christmas—at five shillings a pair!’ ‘You only gave me TWO of them. ‘Er canna see what there is i’ books. and she seemed fascinated by it.’ she remonstrated. W. she’s never read a book in her life. for an eight-days’ stay. nervous hand. whilst William and Lily were at home.’ ‘But you shouldn’t say these things. five dresses and six blouses. if that’s what you want to know.’ she said to Annie. She had brought. would you mind.’ said Mrs. thank you. He looked at her. In a little while William recovered. ‘She’s never read a book in her life. ‘washing me these two blouses. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. But often he got irritable.

Nobody wants to read dry stuff on Sunday 0 . She could understand nothing but love-making and chatter. that used to be so perfectly careless and laughing. it’s gone too far. and there’s no stopping you. and had a quick. ‘And. I can’t sleep when I think about it. All the time Lily sat miserably on the sofa. was stamped with conflict and despair. besides. I’ve gone too far to break off now. remember you’re taking your life in your hands.’ he said. We shall manage. I did.’ ‘Very well.’ ‘It’s a poor lookout. and was asked in reply to be the billing and twittering lover. they were cotton. and his rugged face. He was accustomed to having all his thoughts sifted through his mother’s mind. I’ll bet she didn’t read ten lines of it. well. but one morning—and it WAS cold—I found her on the station shivering. ‘she’s no idea of money. ‘How much?’ ‘l don’t know how many pages. she OUGHT to keep enough to pay for her season-ticket. And she wants to get married. she’ll be all right.’ she replied. He turned to her swiftly. so. mother. ‘she didn’t ask me. I gave her a little thing of Annie Swan’s. mother.’ said Mrs. you know. He read a great deal. but I tell you. Morel bitterly. and she said because she HAD nothing. ‘But I can’t give her up now.’ ‘You are mistaken.’ he said. and I think myself we might as well get married next year. When she’s paid. And there she is—a bronchial subject! I HAD to take her and get some warm things.’ ‘My boy. ‘You know. ‘DID you ready any?’ he asked.’ So I said: ‘Have you got warm underthings on?’ And she said: ‘No. ‘Yes.’ She could not.’ ‘Oh.’ replied his moth0 Sons and Lovers er. and her extras.’ he said. when he wanted companionship. and then I have to buy her season ticket. so I asked her if she was well wrapped up. I shouldn’t mind the money if we had any.’ said his mother. But at this rate—-‘ ‘A fine mess of a marriage it would be.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. for SOME things I couldn’t do without her. She never got beyond the second page. my boy. she comes to me about that. Well.’ ‘And she lets you buy her underclothing?’ asked the mother. ‘I should consider it again.‘But it’s true. he hated his betrothed.’ he began apologetically. If you will. mother—she CAN’T read. What did you give her?’ ‘Well. even her underclothing.’ I asked her why on earth she hadn’t got something thicker on in weather like that. you will. She said: ‘I think so. but no. And.’ ‘Tell me ONE THING you read. when he was alone with her at night. active intelligence. ‘Well. and I have to find the money.’ ‘Oh. not able to keep still. ‘and so I shall get married as soon as I can. she’s so wessel-brained. she’ll suddenly buy such rot as marrons glaces. He was pale. my boy.’ ‘Well. mother.

‘if you don’t believe me. Morel. Her heart was heavy now as it had never been. You’ll feel better in the morning. Morel. crying.’ he said. who looked as if he would go to the world’s end if he wanted to. but he would say no more. The clock ticked on. tears in her eyes.’ He leaned with his back against the side of the chimneypiece. Morel subsided in wrath and indignation. raw-boned man. She’s religious—she had blue velvet PrayerBooks—and she’s not as much religion. William! Why don’t you be more manly. At last she said: ‘Well. but it might have been worse by a long chalk. Morel!’ cried the girl—‘I haven’t! it is not true!’ ‘What!’ he cried. or anything else. kissed and Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘you might as well ask a fly to love you! It’ll love settling on you—-‘ ‘Now.’ she pleaded. ‘NOTHING is as bad as a marriage that’s a hopeless failure.’ ‘But it’s true. and that’s how she is in EVERYTHING— EVERYTHING!’ The girl sat on the sofa. He was a big.’ ‘I haven’t. child. his hands in his pockets. and went.said Mrs. ‘Well. But she saw the despair on his face. with her husband.’ she said. flashing round on her. saying such things. Gets confirmed three times for show. William. go to bed.’ He kissed her. what she’s like.’ ‘Nowhere else!’ she said. and later he repented. say no more. She was not strong. ‘remember there are worse wrongs than breaking off an engagement. Now her soul felt lamed in itself. William was silent. ‘Nonsense or not. ‘I can quite understand it. Take no notice of him.’ he said. God knows. my son. and perhaps you’ll know better. ‘As for LOVE!’ he cried. Morel. once in Beckenham. And so often William manifested the same hatred towards his betrothed. ‘If you want to say these 0 . She raked the fire. You ought to be ashamed. ‘I couldn’t give her up now. and then pretend you’re engaged to her! ‘ Mrs. and once somewhere else.’ said Mrs. ‘Yes. and ought to teach you something.’ commanded Mrs. mother and son remained in silence. I am ashamed of you. ‘Well. in her than that table-leg. Mine was bad enough. but they did not destroy her power to live. a conflict between them.’ ‘I can’t give her up NOW.’ he said. ‘Once in Bromley. to show herself off. you must find another place than this. Mrs. On the last evening at home he was railing against her. Morel. in tears—‘nowhere else!’ ‘It WAS! And if it wasn’t why were you confirmed TWICE?’ ‘Once I was only fourteen. Mrs. It was her hope that was struck. she HAS! That’s what confirmation 0 Sons and Lovers means for her—a bit of a theatrical show where she can cut a figure. things had seemed to be breaking down in her. Morel. Before. would you believe she has been confirmed three times?’ ‘Nonsense!’ laughed Mrs. To do nothing but find fault with a girl.

’ He wanted to come home.comforted the girl. William. ‘In three months after I was buried you’d have somebody else. for all that. who isn’t worthy of his love—no. And so she’ll save him that way. then again he was silent and reserved. Morel saw them into the train in Nottingham. Her heart beat furiously. He seemed wild with joy. He was doing extra work. Morel was afraid. ‘How do you know?’ she replied. and she kept Paul near to her. Nothing goes deep with her. ‘you’re not going to die.’ ‘He’s always saying these things!’ cried the girl. He hated her.’ ‘William. He only talked to his mother once on the Saturday night. ‘And yet. no more than a rag doll. Mrs. ‘No. He was more gaunt than ever.’ It was sunny October weather. It was a long way to Keston station. She was almost in tears at having him to herself again. I WISH you wouldn’t say these things.’ he said. ‘And that’s your love!’ Mrs.’ So she took cheer. ‘Gyp’s shallow. ‘You are not well. then he was sad and tender about his beloved.’ she said to Paul—‘he’ll never have any money to marry on. I think. ‘I’m afraid he’s ruining himself against that creature. ‘You DON’T know. Yet it was true. when she saw him. and there was a haggard look in his eyes. he 0 Sons and Lovers seemed unnatural and intense. you know.’ he said.’ he said to her. if I died she’d be broken-hearted for two months. ‘There’s one comfort.’ said Mrs. very uncomfortable for the girl who walked beside her. mother.’ said his mother. he said.’ his mother said. You’d see. When they were going away. mother. trying to make some money to marry on. I’ve not been well.’ said his mother to him. The midsummer holiday was gone. saying he could come for Saturday and Sunday at Goose Fair. and then she’d start to forget me. ‘I’ve seemed to have a dragging cold all the last month. ‘Ah. ‘You are doing too much. hearing the quiet bitterness of her son’s last speech.’ said his mother. that I AM sure of. She’s very much in love with me now. my boy.’ Mrs. Sometimes he was exaggeratedly jolly. She waited. but it’s going. not even once. and therefore you’ve no right to say such a thing. ‘You 0 . She firmly believed William would never marry his Gipsy. she’d never come home here to look at my grave. what he had said. so why talk about it?’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. then she returned home. ‘But it doesn’t. but if I died she’d have forgotten me in three months. and I should be forgotten. Matters were not yet very desperate. usually he was flat and bitter in his letter. Morel.’ ‘Why. Morel accompanied them as far as Nottingham. All summer long William’s letters had a feverish tone. mother. the first week in October. it was a long while to Christmas. He wrote in wild excitement. like a schoolboy escaped.

You should wear different collars. ‘Why. A small figure in her black bonnet. ‘How is he?’ she asked. ‘Here. never moving. She had to wait in Nottingham nearly an hour. She prayed for WilFree eBooks at Planet eBook. He did not answer. At last they sent her underground to Cannon Street. seeming better and more solid for his two days at home. and become converted into rock. ‘He got home at six o’clock on Monday morning. She is like that. William lay on the bed. a comb and brush. read the telegram. ‘And she can’t help it. He looked at her. and set off. a glass of milk stood on the stand at his bedside. Morel tried to soothe her son. On Tuesday morning came a telegram from London that he was ill. she went from person to person. It had been his business to examine some such cargo of sugar in the Port of London. which had started under the chin where the collar chafed. with bloodshot eyes.‘But whether or not—-’ he replied. Mrs. there was no fire in the room. Carrying her string bag. ‘No better.’ He went away on Sunday midnight. my son!’ said the mother bravely. and was spreading over the face. as he was putting his collar on: ‘Look. The clothes were tossed about. It was pneumonia. ‘It ought not to do that. you can’t grumble. Then he began to say. then in the night we heard him talking. the sugar had set. his face rather discoloured. and. and this morning he asked for you. ‘How long has he been like this?’ the mother asked the landlady. He hoped it would not get to the brain. She sat in her corner in a kind of stupor. So I wired. called a neighbour. At King’s Cross still no one could tell her how to get to Elmers End. she was anxiously asking the porters if they knew how to get to Elmers End. Mrs.’ he said to his mother. to keep him still. that contained her nightdress. The journey was three hours.’ said his mother. put a bit of this soothing ointment on. put on her things. and he seemed to sleep all day. The doctor came. ‘what a rash my collar’s made under my chin!’ Just at the junction of chin and throat was a big red inflammation.’ ‘Will you have a fire made?’ Mrs. She followed the woman upstairs. Morel got off her knees from washing the floor. he said. but did not see her. She hurried to Keston.’ said his mother. 0 Sons and Lovers The blinds were not down. Morel settled down to nurse. and if you choose her—well. in a dull voice. On the Sunday morning. as if repeating a letter from dictation: ‘Owing to a leakage in the hold of this 0 . and we fetched the doctor. It was six o’clock when she arrived at William’s lodging. It needed hacking—-‘ He was quite unconscious. holding up his chin. went to her landlady and borrowed a sovereign.’ said the landlady. No one had been with him. a peculiar erysipelas. caught an express for London in Nottingham.

Hard. At last. He was slightly lame from an accident. In the night she struggled with him. and would not come to consciousness. he died. with the aid of the charwoman. he’s got to go to London.’ he said.’ The two walked off the pit-bank. he’s got to go to 11 . Morel sat perfectly still for an hour in the lodging bedroom. Let father come.’ Annie. Paul set off for his father. where men were watching curiously. Walter? Is owt amiss?’ ‘He’s got to go to London. Morel stepped off. ‘I want my father. a bell ting’ed somewhere.’ Then he turned round to Paul. Summat’s amiss. with the sunny autumn field on one side and a wall of trucks on the other. The puller-off swung the small truck on to the turn-table. Annie began to whimper with fear. As they came out and went along the railway. with such a bustle going on. child?’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and raved. in a dreadful paroxysm. prayed that he would recognise her. He raved. with its wagon of coal. an empty tram run on to the chair. At six o’clock. and Arthur were at home. she laid him out. He watched chair after chair come up. a full carfle was hauled off. the chair heaved. Paul did not realise William was dead.’ said the boy to the first man he met on the bank. ‘He’ll be up in a few minutes. The great iron cage sank back on its rest. At Brinsley pit the white steam melted slowly in the sunshine of a soft blue sky. and my mother’s in London.’ Paul went into the little top office. and still no father.liam. Mr. It was a beautiful day. ‘I want my father. then she went round the dreary London village to the registrar and the doctor. The three children said not a word. as if it were a conundrum. Paul? Is ‘e worse?’ ‘You’ve got to go to London. ‘Is it thee. then dropped like a stone. Mrs. the screen. Morel said in a frightened voice: ‘E’s niver gone. At two o’clock. ‘And William is dead. Paul wandered out to the pit-top. another man ran with it along the bank down the curving lines. and what will she be doing?’ the boy asked himself. number 42. it was impossible. the wheels of the headstocks twinkled high up. Morel was gone to work. made a busy noise. ‘Tha wants Walter Morel? Go in theer an’ tell Joe Ward. He watched the chair come up. ‘Walter Morel’s wanted. standing beside a wagon.’ 10 Sons and Lovers The man went to the telephone and rang up the bottom office. bring money.’ ‘Thy feyther? Is he down? What’s his name?’ ‘Mr. Morel. At nine o’clock to the cottage on Scargill Street came another wire: ‘William died last night. then she roused the household. shuffling its coal into the trucks.’ ‘What. there’s his lad here. a man’s form! the chair sank on its rests. Paul. But the young man’s face grew more discoloured.

Morel’s small figure seemed not to observe. which opened straight from the night into the room. except his father leaning against the truck as if he were tired. It was a faintly luminous night.’ Then. and watching anxiously as he worked. her hands folded on her lap. coming home from Keston. into the parlour. Morel had only once before been to London. ‘Wheer s’ll we ha’e him when he DOEScome?’ he asked his wife. In the house she was the same—small. so that the coffin could stand on their beds. came in again.’ Morel walked on a few strides. troubled and bewildered. The ash-tree stood monstrous and black in front of the wide darkness. and cleared the middle of the room. his hand over his eyes. Paul saw everything. The father unscrewed the top of the big mahogany oval table. then leaned up against a truck-side. The house was dead silent.’ ‘An’ ha’e him across th’ chairs?’ ‘You know there—-Yes. On Saturday night. We had a telegram from my mother. Arthur went to school. Paul went back to his mother. ‘In the front-room. turning to the children: ‘We’re bringing him home. waiting.’ Then she relapsed into the same mute looking into space. The boy waited. ‘Mother!’ he said. After half an hour Morel. ‘Bring another candle. looking at her. straggling apart. Mrs.’ ‘When wor’t?’ ‘Last night. There was no gas there. to help his wife. She let him kiss her. Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ Morel and Paul 1 . Paul went to work. You’d better see about some help. ‘I went to work. mother. and Annie had in a friend to be with her. The children were left alone in the house. tired. There was a noise of unbarring and unlocking the front door. scared and peaked.’ called Morel. but she seemed unaware of him.’ ‘Then I’d better shift th’ table?’ ‘Yes. dully. ‘You niver seed such a length as he is!’ said the miner. ‘Paul!’ she said. as Paul was turning the corner. white. and mute. ‘Did you?’ she answered. Paul went to the bay window and looked out. felt he 1 Sons and Lovers could not breathe. That was on Tuesday. She noticed nothing.‘Yes. He spoke again. then he arranged six chairs opposite each other. he saw his mother and father. I suppose so. in the darkness. On the weighing machine a truck trundled slowly. with a candle. Paul stood looking round. He was not crying. Walter.’ he said plaintively. she said nothing. At ten o’clock Morel called: ‘He’s here!’ Everyone started. uninterestedly. He set off. They were walking in silence in the dark. only: ‘The coffin will be here to-night. Paul. who had come to Sethley Bridge Station.

all in their shirt-sleeves. Limbs of other men were seen struggling behind. She remained shut off. seemed to struggle in the obscurity. with yielding. The coffin swayed. his hand round her waist. The family was alone in the parlour with the great polished box. She did not hear. and the white chrysanthemums frilled themselves in the warmth. and the five miners sighed. The yellow lamp of the carriage shone alone down the black road. ponderous coffin. In the window. and the limbs and bowed heads of six men struggled to climb into the room. It was Morel and his neighbour. face to face. He and his fellow mounted the steep garden step. bowed. against the night.Annie and Arthur went. There was the noise of wheels. ‘My word. out of breath. my son—my son!’ she repeated. Morel and Burns. He stood with his arm round her waist in the inner doorway. Six men were in the room—six coatless men. 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. Paul followed with his mother. descended the steps again. It was sunny. All the six bearers were up in the small garden. Paul thought it would never be got out of the room again. ‘Oh. Morel sang softly. miners. The sweat fell from Morel’s face on its boards. filling the room and knocking against the furniture. staggered. steady!’ cried Morel. her brass candlestick glittering. William. in front. after this. trembling with the struggle. he’s a weight!’ said a man. one lamp. Morel could not be persuaded. The coffin veered. Paul saw drops of sweat fall from his father’s brow. against the lace curtains. to talk and take her old bright interest in life. and each time the coffin swung to the unequal climbing of the men: ‘Oh. and was gently lowered on to the chairs. Like a monument lay the bright brown. my son—my son—my son!’ ‘Mother!’ Paul whimpered. heaved into the candlelight with their gleaming coffin-end. my son—my son!’ 1 . ‘Steady. Presently two men appeared. His mother was stroking the polished wood. Annie stood leaning forward. closing the door behind them. holding the great coffin aloft. was six feet four inches long. and a few pale faces. Annie’s candle flickered. and. ‘Oh. the great dark weight swayed. Outside in the darkness of the street below Paul could see horses and a black vehicle. Mrs. 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. Arthur held up one candle. bearing the coffin that rode like sorrow on their living 1 Sons and Lovers flesh. when laid out. and by the open door. struggling limbs. There were three more steps to the door. ‘Steady!’ called Morel. then some men. Down the middle of the cleared room waited six chairs. bowed beneath a great weight. and she whimpered as the first men appeared. the men began to mount the three steps with their load. ‘Now then!’ said Morel. as if in pain.

He was cut off and wretched through October.’ But Mrs. her day’s work done.’ said the doctor. She always used to have changed her dress and put on a black apron. Now Annie set his supper. not let him go to Nottingham?’ was one of the first things she asked. ‘I feel badly. heaving for breath on the pillow. He had pneumonia dangerously. He realised her. Miss Jordan was down to-day.ting. like madness. ‘Where hurts you?’ she said. sickly feeling of dissolution. turning away. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. on December 23. although she did not listen. At last: ‘What’s a-matter. Night after night he forced himself to tell her things. She lifted him up. unbuttoning his overcoat. Paul was very ill. ‘I should have watched the living. before. Morel stood condemned on her own 1 . She did not hear. His mother looked at him. ‘Mother. they could not afford a nurse. mother?’ he asked. He grew worse. my son—my son!’ That brought him to. Paul wandered blindly home. and the crisis approached. crying in a small voice: ‘Oh. She could only brood on her dead son. The lad—he was sixteen years old—went to bed drearily. He put his head on her breast. His whole will rose up and arrested him. His mother lay in bed at nights with him. His mother tried.’ she said irritably. ‘What’s a-matter?’ he persisted. and her heart stood still. with his five shillings Christmas-box in his pocket. Jordan gave me five shillings for a Christmas-box!’ He handed it to her with trembling hands. he had been let to die so cruelly. ‘I’m badly. ‘He might not have been so bad. Morel took no notice. ‘What’s the matter?’ she asked. It drove him almost insane to have her thus. but she could not rouse herself. One night he tossed into consciousness in the ghastly. not the dead. the doctor said. Mrs. ‘I s’ll die. what’s a-matter?’ ‘You know what’s the matter. Then he beat his brains for news to tell her. At last. and consciousness makes a last flare of struggle.’ She undressed him and put him to bed. ‘Mother. She put it on 1 Sons and Lovers the table. It was the old question. mother!’ be cried. mother. with hands folded in her lap upon her coarse apron. and she said my sketch of a colliery at work was beautiful. and his mother sat looking blankly in front of her. her mouth shut tight. ‘Might he never have had it if I’d kept him at home.’ she told herself. and took ease of her for love. when all the cells in the body seem in intense irritability to be breaking down. November and December. ‘Mr. ‘You aren’t glad!’ he reproached her. but he trembled violently. mother!’ he replied.

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

would not condescend at first. when it snowed. she fought with her brothers. And Miriam also refused to be approached. nevertheless. such women as treasure religion inside them. Christ and God made one great figure. quiveringly sensitive thing—seemed nothing to her. wild. breathe it in their nostrils. And she was afraid lest this boy. That was life to her. with bowed head. and who went by train to Nottingham every day. so she held aloof. Rob Roys. she went to church reverently. thinking that if she could read. looked something like a Walter Scott hero. She was afraid of being set at nought. and quivered in anguish from the vulgarity of the other choir-girls and from the common-sounding voice of the curate. and inclined to be mystical. She could not be princess by wealth or standing. The girl was romantic in her soul. as Paul said he could read. which she loved tremblingly and passionately when a tremendous sunset 0 Sons and Lovers burned out the western sky. Even her soul. Brian de Bois Guilberts. ‘Colomba’. or the ‘Voyage autour de ma Chambre’. Edgar the eldest. Learning was the only distinction to which she thought to aspire. She herself was something of a princess turned into a swine-girl in her own imagination. So she was mad to have learning whereon to pride herself. who could paint and speak French. and Rowenas. the world would have a different face for her and a deepened respect. who. She wanted to learn. For she was different from other 1 . 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. She hated her position as swine-girl. alone. so strong Free eBooks at Planet eBook. or sat in her bedroom aloft. For the rest. He was friends with the two youngest boys. and Guy Mannerings. They were both brown-eyed. as by her own brothers. She wanted to be considered. and Ediths. might consider her simply as the swine-girl. she drudged in the house. She madly wanted her little brother of four to let her swathe him and stifle him in her love. and Lucys. unable to perceive the princess beneath. rustled the sunny leaves in the morning. and knew what algebra meant. Her great companion was her mother. Her beauty—that of a shy. and his meals when he was ready for them.CHAPTER VII LAD-AND-GIRL LOVE PAUL had been many times up to Willey Farm during the autumn. whom she considered brutal louts. and see the whole of life in a mist thereof. So to Miriam. and must not be scooped up among the common fry. and she held not her father in too high esteem because he did not carry any mystical ideals cherished in his heart. but only wanted to have as easy a time as he could. Everywhere was a Walter Scott heroine being loved by men with helmets or with plumes in their caps.

She was nearly sixteen. It was a new. were opening into rosettes. But here was a new specimen. ‘I can carry it. her eyes dilating suddenly like an ecstasy. Then she would be stronger than he. ‘The green on their buds—-’ and he faltered into silence timidly. On the whole. If she could be mistress of him in his weakness. He was quite unused to such attention. The boy’s poor morsel of learning exalted him almost sky-high in her esteem.’ She helped him off with his coat. who could be gentle and who could be sad.’ he answered. ‘you’ve got almost more than you can manage there. ‘Why. ‘your daffodils are nearly out. peeping through the kitchen window. ‘Let me take your coat. and who knew a lot. crowding to the back of the hills that were rousing in the springtime. how she would love him! As soon as the skies brightened and plum-blossom was out. But Paul loved it—loved the sack-bag that formed the hearthrug. because he would not see in her the princess but only the swine-girl.’ She beat up the sofa cushions for the youth. and the small window deep in the corner. and she felt he would be weak. The farm had been originally a labourer’s cottage. It was four and a half miles’ drive. still bare. Paul she eyed rather wistfully. and thrushes called. It IS heavy. You mustn’t walk far in it. ‘I’m sure you’re tired and cold. rather injured. Isn’t it early? But don’t they look cold?’ ‘Cold!’ said Miriam. and the funny little corner under the stairs. ‘Let me take the rug. in her musical. Then Mrs. The kitchen was very small and irregular. as it were. Leivers appeared. Leivers shouted in a kindly fashion at the boy. in the freshness of the morning. The water of Nethermere lay below. was not enough. and who was clever. with her warm colouring. Then a youth in a heavy overcoat climbed down. then clicked to the horse as they climbed the hill slowly. Paul drove off in the milkman’s heavy float up to Willey  . quick.’ she said.’ said Miriam over-gently. But he yielded it to her. She was almost smothered under its weight. ‘I say. Miriam appeared in the doorway. take care of him. Yet she tried hard to scorn him. very beautiful. He put up his hands for the whip and the rug that the good-looking.for rhapsody. glamorous world.’ said Paul. graceful. Then she could love him. through Free eBooks at Planet eBook. she scorned the male sex. because she felt different from other people. mother. light. and who had a death in the family. turning shyly aside. very blue against the seared meadows and the thorn-trees. And he scarcely observed her. her gravity. have him in her arms. White clouds went on their way. She must have something to reinforce her pride.’ laughed the farmer as he passed through the kitchen. Mr. caressing voice. Tiny buds on the hedges. if he could depend on her. Then he was so ill. swinging the great milk-churns. saw the horse walk through the big white gate into the farmyard  Sons and Lovers that was backed by the oak-wood. ruddy farmer handed down to him. and blackbirds shrieked and scolded. Miriam. vivid as copper-green. if she could. And the furniture was old and battered.

I s’ll be glad if she can.’ ‘Yes. And afterwards her hands trembled slightly at her work. ‘HAVE they.’ ‘They’re not much burned. be could see the plum trees in the back garden and the lovely round hills beyond.’ she cried. Presently she excused herself and rose. hurt eyes. When her inside dream was shaken. She went into the scullery. ‘Won’t you lie down?’ said  .’ She peered into the pan. The atmosphere was different from that of his own home. Miriam. ‘I shouldn’t care. ‘if I hadn’t trusted them to you. Leivers. although she was needed at her work. I’m not tired. She was too polite to leave him. He watched the strange. Miriam. When Mr. And her discoloured.’ she answered. Perhaps in a little while she’ll go to Skegness with me.’ ‘Can I give you anything to eat or to drink?’ ‘No. ‘Oh no. ‘I know it’s easily done. as if something had come breaking in on her world. a maiden in bondage. ‘these potatoes have boiled dry!’ Miriam started as if she had been stung. ‘I’m sure I looked at them five minutes since. old blue frock and her broken boots seemed only like the  Sons and Lovers romantic rags of King Cophetua’s beggar-maid.’ Miriam was moving about preparing dinner. Even he knew that her stocking was not pulled up.which. thank you. gripped tight in self-conscious shame. her spirit dreaming in a land far away and magical.’ ‘How’s your mother?’ ‘I think she’s tired now. she remained standing in the same spot.’ ‘Yes. She suddenly became aware of his keen blue eyes upon her. bending a little. does it?’ Mrs. her body quivered with trepidation. almost rhapsodic way in which the girl moved about. ‘It doesn’t matter. Miriam seemed as in some dreamy tale. There was a sense of silence inside the house and out. Then she’ll be able to rest. looked round with dark eyes. the girl started. don’t you think? I saw a sloe-bush in blossom and a lot of celandines. After a while she looked into the tin saucepan.’ replied Mrs. Her dark eyes dilated. that was reaching over to feed on the rose-bushes in the garden. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. carrying a great stew-jar to the oven. She resented his seeing everything. ‘Oh DEAR. taking her all in. ‘It’s a wonder she isn’t ill herself. Leivers looked at the youth with her brown.’ he said. Leivers called loudly outside to the horse. She resented that he saw so much.’ said the mother.’ said Paul. Instantly her broken boots and her frayed old frock hurt her. where everything seemed so ordinary. Leivers. Mrs. She nearly dropped all she handled. but his eyes were quick and bright with life as ever. The girl stiffened as if from a blow. I think she’s had too much to do. I’m glad it’s sunny. mother?’ she cried. blushing deeply. or looking in the saucepan. ‘Well. His face was pale and thin. Leivers sat for some time talking to the boy. Paul watched everything that happened. ‘Isn’t it lovely coming out.’ said the mother.

Presently the rest of the family trooped in. The mother exalted everything—even a bit of housework— to the plane of a religious trust.’ thought Paul to himself. The over-gentleness and apologetic tone of the mother brought out all the brutality of manners in the sons. suffering. There was something in the air. I CAN’T stand it when you wrangle. bowing her dark head. Later in the afternoon. Miriam.’ The girl dropped her head. ‘But hadn’t you promised not to answer them?’ said the mother. Her mouth opened.’ After a while Edgar came in. The sons resented this. Edgar tasted the potatoes. taking up the newspaper and reading. ‘She hasn’t got sense even to boil the potatoes. He glanced at Paul. and said: ‘These potatoes are burnt. looked indignantly at his mother. when they had gone away again.‘It wouldn’t matter but for the boys. and his boots were covered with  . her mother said: ‘You disappointed me at dinner-time. her dark eyes blazed and winced.’ said the mother. This atmosphere. and they answered with brutality and also with a sneering superciliousness. It puzzled Paul. something that at times he hated. His own mother was logical. ‘What was Miriam doing that she couldn’t attend to them?’ he said.’ Edgar looked in anger across at Miriam.’ said Ed Sons and Lovers gar. came with a subtle fascination to him. I forgot them for a minute.’ laughed the father. ‘And I believed in you. ‘I’m sure she was trying hard. He wore leggings.’ replied the mother apologetically. The meal went rather brutally. ‘They are such BRUTES!’ she suddenly cried. something he loved. nodded to him distantly. Miriam looked up. Perhaps you’ll have bread if you can’t eat them. where everything took a religious value. He wondered vaguely why all this intense feeling went running because of a few burnt potatoes.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Dinner was served.’ she said to him. She was utterly humiliated. Paul was just opening out from childhood into manhood. Edgar. ‘I’m ready for mine. and said: ‘Dinner ready?’ ‘Nearly. Miriam quarrelled with her brothers fiercely. ‘What is she kept at home for?’ ‘On’y for eating everything that’s left in th’ pantry. like some saint out of place at the brutal board.’ said Maurice. mother. looking up with flashing eyes. Here there was something different. ‘you shouldn’t let them make a trouble. moved his mouth quickly like a rabbit. He was rather small.’ said the young man. they felt themselves cut away underneath. but she said nothing. rather formal. for a farmer. She swallowed her anger and her shame. ‘They don’t forget that potato-pie against our Miriam.’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Then. Edgar. ‘Only Miriam knows what a trouble they make if the potatoes are ‘caught’. The mother sat in silence.

Anthropomorphic as she was. Everything had a religious and intensified meaning when he was with her. Then beneath was the yearning for the soul-intimacy to which they could not attain because they were too dumb. ‘it’s so warm. They could not establish between themselves and an outsider just the ordinary human feeling and unexaggerated friendship. going down the hedgeside with the girl. Miriam was her mother’s daughter. Miriam. on the side of the ditch. After that. he noticed the celandines.’ he said. ‘I like them.’ he  . ‘It’s almost as if you were feeling inside the live body of the bird.’ said Mrs. Ordinary folk seemed shallow to them. I wonder?’ The nest seemed to start into life for the two women. they scorned the triviality which forms common human intercourse. sought her as if for nourishment. His soul. ‘I DO want you to see this. They wanted genuine intimacy. and every approach to close connection was blocked by their clumsy contempt of other people. painfully uncouth in the simplest social intercourse. Then they spat on her and hated her. yet it had its effect on them. Although the boys resented so bitterly this eternal appeal to their deeper feelings of resignation and proud humility. Leivers stuck unflinchingly to this doctrine of ‘the other cheek”. hurt. trivial and inconsiderable.’ ‘Yes. if even for my sake? Are you so weak that you must wrangle with them?’ Mrs. But she walked in her proud humility. but they could not get even nor Sons and Lovers mally near to anyone. and yet insolent in their superiority. because they scorned to take the first steps. The boys loathed the other cheek when it was presented to them. ‘when their petals go flat back with the sunshine. scalloped splashes of gold. He crouched down and carefully put his finger through the thorns into the round door of the nest.’ And then the celandines ever after drew her with a little spell. They looked for nests. Together they seemed to sift the vital fact from an experience. 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. Then how did it make the ceiling round. dear. They seemed to be pressing themselves at the sun. Again. Leivers. There was always this feeling of jangle and discord in the Leivers family. highly developed. They say a bird makes its nest round like a cup with pressing its breast on it. Miriam came to see it every day. living within herself. Leivers’s spell.‘But they’re so hateful!’ cried Miriam. Paul fell under Mrs. And so they were unaccustomed. She could not instil it at all into the boys. suffering. In the sunshine of the afternoon mother and daughter went down the fields with him. and Miriam was the child of her heart. they were always restless for the something deeper. she stimulated him Free eBooks at Planet eBook. With the girls she succeeded better. There was a jenny wren’s in the hedge by the orchard. Miriam was often sufficiently lofty to turn it. It seemed so close to her. ‘and—and LOW.

it was himself and his achievement. the girl said to him. And he brought back his beloved sketches of the flat Lincoln coast. Leivers about the shore and the sea. this meeting in their common feeling for something in Nature. yet also such close. whose rudeness was only superficial.’ she replied. For a while he went to Skegness with his mother. Men have such different standards of worth from women. whereas his mother’s influence was to make him quietly determined. Almost they would interest the Leivers more than they interested his mother. He soon was friends with the boys. She seemed to need things kindling in her imagination or in her soul before she felt she had them. At midsummer he worked all through hay-harvest with them. They seemed. unwearied. patient. one on either side of the barn. he was a long time before he realized her. darker shed there was standing for four cows. when they could trust themselves. Morel cared about. anxious for them to see. like ‘les derniers fils d’une race epuisee”.into appreciating things thus. they taught him to milk. when the men were on the land and the rest at school. rather hesitatingly. In return. 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. delicate friends once their intimacy was won. For ten months he had to stay at home after his illness. after having hesitated for some time: ‘Have you seen the swing?’ ‘No. They kindled him and made him glow to his work. jumping up. The family was so cut off from the world actually. One dull afternoon. Though the lads were strong and healthy. But even from the seaside he wrote long letters to Mrs. then. and spent the afternoon helping to hoe or to single turnips with his friend. and was perfectly happy. It was not his art Mrs. dogged. He used to lie with 0 Sons and Lovers the three brothers in the hay piled up in the barn and tell them about Nottingham and about Jordan’s. So it was in this atmosphere of subtle intimacy. She always hesitated to offer or to show him anything. yet they had all that over-sensitiveness and hanging-back which made them so 1 . They had all. But Mrs. and they him. only Miriam and her mother at home. and then they lived for her. and her dear things—the valuable things to her—her brothers had so often mocked or flouted.’ he answered. or else an ugly. ‘Will you come with me on to the fallow?’ asked Edgar. where sin and knowledge were not. There were two cowsheds. Paul loved them dearly. In the lower.’ he replied. Personally. But he had come into her life before she made any mark on his. Leivers and her children were almost his disciples. 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. that their love started. Paul went joyfully. and let him do little jobs—chopping hay or pulping turnips—just as much as he liked. somehow. Miriam came later. and then he loved them. a strange gentleness and lovableness. ‘Come on. ‘Where?’ ‘In the cowshed. cruel thing.

of spoiling  .’ she said. That gave her pleasure. not much. ‘All right.’ she answered.’ he said to her. and he sat down on it. and she made the swing comfortable for him. He swung negligently.’ she pleaded.’ He was swinging through the air. Paul looked at her. and she saw his blue eyes sparkling. ‘Come on. ‘It’s a treat of a swing. ‘Come on. so still in a kind of brooding. firm and inevitable came the thrust at the right moment. He held the rope. She gripped the rope. going into the barn. ‘Ha!’ she laughed in fear. like a bird that swoops for joy of movement. ‘I didn’t know a bird was watching.’ she answered. in a detached. or they’ll bang the manger wall. ‘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. setting her in motion. ‘Keep your heels up. you go on.’ he said. the upper half of which was open. aloof fashion. and at the back of all the grey-green wall of the wood. almost out of the door of the shed. I’ll have just a little. and have first go. as though he were the dying motion of the swing. She was in his hands. then.’ he said. ‘Why?’ ‘You go. It was dark and rather cold in the shed. then. ‘Why.’ he said. Her crimson cap hung over her dark curls. don’t you want one?’ he asked. Then immediately he rose.’ he said. ‘No. and was pushed back over a peg in the wall. Suddenly a swallow came down from the high roof and darted out of the door.’ he called. He looked down at her. ‘It’s so ripping!’ he said. sitting down. Suddenly he put on the brake and jumped out. She stood aside in her still. And he  Sons and Lovers looked down at her. ‘It’s something like a rope!’ he exclaimed appreciatively. exactly at the right moment. ‘No. ‘Now I’ll die. and she was afraid. anxious to try it. ‘See. her beautiful warm face. almost swooning. ‘Mind out!’ He set off with a spring. ‘I’ve had a long turn. astonished. and the exactly proportionate strength of his thrust. Again. fascinated. was lifted towards him. and in a moment was flying through the air. ‘Well. whilst he kept the bags in place for her. ‘we put some bags on the seat”. every bit of him swinging.’ he said to the girl. She watched him. as if he were lying on some force. showing outside the drizzling rain. ‘Yes.the beam in the darkness overhead. the filthy yard.’ She sat down. She stood below in her crimson tam-o’-shanter and watched. the cattle standing disconsolate against the black cartshed. Down to her bowels went the hot wave of fear. dreamy voice. She could feel him falling and lifting through the air. Almost for the first time in her life she had the pleasure of giving up to a man. ‘No higher!’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. I won’t go first.’ She felt the accuracy with which he caught her.

and vivified things which had meant nothing to her. He moved aside and watched her.’ he said. are they pine trunks or are they red coals.’ He heard the fear in her voice. abstract speeches.’ he said. let me go by myself. ‘Should I keep you there?’ ‘No. She could never lose herself so.’ And she. she would ask: ‘Why do I like this so?’ Always something in his breast shrank from these close. Edgar. Suddenly. It seems so true. Her heart melted in hot pain when the moment came for him to thrust her forward again. and not the stiffness of the shape. Only this shimmeriness is the real living. They gave her a feeling of life again. If he brought up  Sons and Lovers his sketch-book. For the moment he was nothing but a piece of swinging stuff. it’s more shimmery. it was she who pondered longest over the last picture. Now. ‘I don’t believe I should ever be seasick. ‘I wanted that.’ ‘It’s because—it’s because there is scarcely any shadow in it.’ Away he went. ‘Won’t you really go any farther?’ he asked. She laughed slightly with shame. It was almost as if he were a flame that had lit a warmth in her whilst he swung in the middle air. ‘But no higher. that burned not away. But he left her alone. her dark eyes alight like water that shakes with a stream of gold in the dark. ‘There you are!’ he said suddenly. And gradually the intimacy with the family concentrated for Paul on three persons—the mother. intimate. and was frightened. He had been quiet. because she seemed so humble. you’re scarcely moving. But the pine trunks Free eBooks at Planet  . nor could her brothers. and desisted. standing-up pieces of fire in that darkness? There’s God’s burning bush for you. ‘They say if you can swing you won’t be sea-sick. There was something fascinating to her in him.’ she answered. She managed to find some meaning in his struggling. ‘Why DO you?’ he asked.‘But you’re not a BIT high.’ he remonstrated. It roused a warmth in her. and Miriam. with her little finger in her mouth. look at them and tell me. Then she would look up at him. Another day she sat at sunset whilst he was painting some pine-trees which caught the red glare from the west. And they were the medium through which she came distinctly at her beloved objects. as if I’d painted the shimmering protoplasm in the leaves and everywhere. But the girl gradually sought him out. To the mother he went for that sympathy and that appeal which seemed to draw him out. not a particle of him that did not swing. as he mounted again. That seems dead to me.’ Miriam looked. ‘Why. And to Miriam he more or less condescended. ‘I don’t know. She began to breathe. dazzled looks of hers. would ponder these sayings. The shimmer is inside really. The shape is a dead crust. and in a moment got down. Edgar was his very close friend.

‘Why can’t you be ordinary with him?’ She let the child go. Often. with a touch of elf. It was a strange stimulant. which were usually dark as a dark church. you love me. wonderful brown eyes. which would leave no emotion on a normal plane. ‘Eh. He was used to his mother’s reserve. ‘What do you make such a FUSS for?’ cried Paul. as if his feelings were new. ‘You love me.were wonderful to her. and her effort. ‘You are always sad. she swayed slightly from side to side with love. He packed his box and rose. with fidgety leaves and jolly—-‘ He got tangled up in his own speech. ‘Eh. pondering. rather heavily. with immense brown eyes in his quaint fragile face—one of Reynolds’s ‘Choir of Angels’. in her fear and selfmistrust. in a voice heavy and surcharged with love. and rose. There was no looseness or abandon about her. she would stand in bewilderment and chagrin because she had pulled in two halves a cup or a tumbler.’ he replied.’ ‘I am not—oh. or even just all right. It was as if. He was a frail lad. Often Miriam kneeled to the child and drew him to her. and swaying also as  Sons and Lovers if she were swooned in an ecstasy of love. She might have been one of the women who went with Mary when Jesus was dead. looking up at him with startled. intense Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘I wonder—why?’ ‘Because you’re not. a frown on his clear brow. and he had a strange.’ she pondered. don’t you?’ she murmured. Miriam!’ ‘Yes. She rarely varied from her swinging. roused sensation. She walked with a swing. and then you flare up. Suddenly he looked at her. ‘Yes. She got so near him. and distinct. naked contact of her on small occasions shocked him. but could flame with light like a conflagration. don’t you?’ she murmured deep in her throat. And this fearful. her face half lifted. ‘Sad!’ she exclaimed. ‘Why are you always sad?’ he asked her. closed in on itself. my Hubert!’ she sang. folding him in her arms. ‘Don’t!’ said the child.’ ‘No. overcharged. Her youngest brother was only five. when wiping the dishes. Her face scarcely ever altered from its look of brooding. like a pine-tree. She was not clumsy. but you’re not just like an ordinary  . Then sometimes he hated her. forward.’ he persisted. and said nothing. but she brooded on it. all in suffering because of her extreme emotion. not a bit!’ she cried. and yet none of her movements seemed quite THE movement. irritated the youth into a frenzy. ‘You’re never jolly. Her intensity. her eyes half closed. my Hubert!’ And. All the life of Miriam’s body was in her eyes. ‘Don’t!’ repeated the child. her voice drenched with love. her head bowed forward. she put too much strength into the effort. And on such occasions he was thankful in his heart and soul that he had his mother. almost as if she were in a trance. uneasy—‘don’t. Everything was gripped stiff with intensity. ‘But even your joy is like a flame coming off of sadness. Her body was not flexible and living. because you’re different inside. so sane and wholesome.

Miriam was just sweeping up the kitchen. Why SHOULD it be that I know nothing?’ ‘What! such as mathematics and French?’ ‘Why SHOULDN’T I know mathematics? Yes!’ she cried.’ he said. In his own home Annie was almost glad to be a girl. jerking her forward.’ replied Mrs. it was drawing twilight. He used to tell his mother all these things. It’s not fair. because I’m a girl. And he could not persuade her to jump from even a small height. and began to lose her presence of mind. ‘I’ll teach you. Paul wondered. I want a chance like anybody else. and. But her wild ‘Ah!’ of pain. as if she were losing consciousness. ‘Well. ‘What is it? I’m all day cleaning what the boys make just as bad in five minutes. I don’t WANT to be at home. ‘No!’—she shook her head—‘no! Everything the men have.’ he answered.’ he said. Her eyes dilated.’ she said hesitatingly. half laughing in terror—‘no!’ ‘You shall!’ he cried once. if you like. because I’m a woman. became exposed and palpitating. he brought her falling from the fence. ‘No!’ she cried.’ ‘But what do you want?’ he asked.’ ‘What do you want. But Miriam almost fiercely wished she  Sons and Lovers were a man. ‘Yes. ‘Would you?’ he asked. things were lighter for her. ‘I want to learn. ‘Well. and she was sucking her finger broodingly.’ ‘I should think women ought to be as glad to be women as men are to be men. She looked round at him. and was kneeling at the hearth when he entered. and afterwards had courage in this respect. ‘I’m going to teach Miriam algebra. Why should 1. you can learn as much as I know. She was very much dissatisfied with her  .’ he said. If she were getting over a stile.’ Her eyes dilated. then?’ ‘I want to do something. ‘I hope she’ll get fat on it. her fine hair falling about her face. flushed. she gripped his hands in a little hard anguish. ‘Don’t you like being at home?’ Paul asked her. She mistrusted him as teacher. low and intense. surprised. be kept at home and not allowed to be anything? What chance HAVE I?’ ‘Chance of what?’ ‘Of knowing anything—of learning. Then her eyes blazed naked in a kind of ecstasy that frightened him. She had not so much responsibility. her eye expanding in a kind of defiance. She landed on her feet safely. Occasionally she ran with Paul down the fields. And yet she hated men at the same time.walk. Morel. She never wanted to be other than a girl. Everyone was out but her. Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ When he went up to the farm on the Monday evening. ‘Who would?’ she answered. ‘But it’s as well to be a woman as a man. ‘Ha! Is it? Men have everything.’ She seemed very bitter. frowning. cut him. But she was physically afraid. her dark eyes shining. of doing anything. Her head had dropped.

her eyes dilated with laughter that was afraid. drawing a little book from his pocket. I haven’t thought of it. ‘But—-‘ He could feel her backing away.’ He went and sat on the stone bench in the back-yard. Then Edgar came along with two buckets of milk. Occasionally. It made him cross. You put down ‘a’ instead of ‘2’ or ‘6’. ‘Ready to do some algebra?’ he asked. Yet her soul seemed to be intensely supplicating. ashamed. she defended herself. She was ruddy and beautiful. He took a bite. He had been too fast. knowing he was angered. to air. And if you want to learn it. ‘It’s only letters for figures.’ He sat down.’ he said. her mouth open. ‘Do you see?’ she looked up at him. as it were. and peered over his shoulder. very rarely.’ he 1 . ‘Yes. He questioned her more. her eyes wide with the half-laugh that comes of fear. and he wanted to pull them up. It made his blood rouse to see her there. then got hot. Nobody treads so quick and firm. half tremulously. sighing.’ She took up her ashes in the dustpan and looked at him. Occasionally. though?’ she faltered. and at the same instant he grew gentle. Then he passed on with a laugh. and grew furious again. And when she held herself in a grip.‘Hello!’ she said. where the big milk-cans were standing. ‘Algebra!’ repeated Edgar curiously. ‘You don’t give me time to learn it. bringing some big greenish apples. She never answered. soft and musical. laughing. Presently she came. He could hear the little singsong of the milk spurting into the pails. She was poring over the book. ‘Here. He gave her the book quickly. ‘Don’t you?’ he cried. he talking. ‘You said you wanted.’ ‘Well. when he demanded of her. Paul took a bite at his forgotten apple. my goodness! Take the ashes and come. apologetic. you must begin. yet trembling lest she could not get at it. seeing her hurt because she did not understand. got ashamed. ‘What are you doing?’ ‘Algebra. But things came slowly to her. ‘But I came on purpose. at his mercy. but to-night! You see.’ she said. ‘Hello!’ he said. ‘You know you like them. seemed absorbed in it. ‘To-night. The men were in the cowsheds. Her liquid dark eyes blazed at him. The algebra-book she closed.’ They worked. She was short-sighted. looked at the miserable cabbages in the garden.’ she said. tipped up. ‘I knew it was you. seemed so utterly humble before the lesson. She listened in silence.’ replied Paul. it made his blood rouse. He stormed at her.’ he said. It irritated him. she with her head down on the 0 Sons and Lovers book. continued the lesson. abusing her. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. shrinking. Then he glanced at Miriam. But she said nothing. He was quick and hasty. ‘Sit down.’ ‘How?’ ‘I knew your step. pecked into lace by the fowls. with his mouth full.

Edgar was a rationalist. at night. ‘You don’t learn algebra with your blessed soul. Then. Edgar and Paul and I would be just the same.’ he said. ‘if the land were nationalized. but was all the time waiting until it should be over and a personal communication might begin. Mr. and he returned gladly to his work.’ But. She may not be quick. It was strange that no one else made him in such fury. He loved to sit at home. alone with his mother. but I’m sure she tries. He flared against her. I don’t mind. looking up from his task. who seemed so much lower. He was always either in a rage or very gentle. he went back to her repentant. And they talked together. Miriam attended and took part. Miriam. that was bright with living warmth. But the youth was very happy with her elder brother. when he saw her eager. ‘I go off like it. working and working.’ So she waited for the youth to come back to her. There was a silence. blind face. ‘I’m sure!’ she exclaimed. Once he threw the pencil in her face. it’s my fault. when he saw her hand trembling and her mouth parted with suffering. Then. he sought her. ‘I can do my best things when you sit there in your rocking-chair. She sewed or read. And because of the intensity to which she  Sons and Lovers roused him. But still again his anger burst like a bubble surcharged. The two men spent afternoons together on the land or in the loft doing carpentry.’ ‘Don’t mind me. He was often cruelly ashamed. he felt he wanted to throw the pencil in it. his blood began to boil with her.’ ‘I can’t help it. but got no farther. Miriam and her brother were naturally antagonistic.’ she said within herself. who was curious. when it rained. sniffing with mock scepticism. feeling weak in all his bones.’ he answered. and had a sort of scientific interest in life. and as these were as yet his own. It was a great bitterness to Miriam to see herself deserted by Paul for Edgar.’ she reassured him in her beautiful deep tones—‘no. She never reproached him or was angry with him. silent. his heart was scalded with pain for her. he would rest his eyes for a moment on her face. ‘After all. when he went again into the kitchen. He was studying for his painting. She turned her face slightly aside. Then he often avoided her and went with Edgar. ‘I didn’t—-’ he began. had bitter debates on the nationalizing of the land and similar problems. ‘  . mother.‘All right. So the lessons went. But she felt it was so.’ he said rather pitiably. or Paul taught Edgar the songs he himself had learned from Annie at the piano. saying: ‘Paul. don’t be so hard on Miriam. in spite of himself. Mrs. Paul had already heard his mother’s views. Leivers as well. do you?’ he asked of the girl later. Can’t you look at it with your clear simple wits?’ Often. ‘What do you tremble your SOUL before it for?’ he cried. and her heart quivered with brightFree eBooks at Planet eBook. throwing the book on the table and lighting a cigarette. And often all the men. as it were. he argued for her. and still.’ ‘You don’t mind me. Leivers would look at him reproachfully. and still. after a while.

and a twilight. Only he could make it her own. a scent of leaves. and he hesitated. He followed her across the nibbled pasture in the dusk. He looked round. It was two miles home for him. which ran white between the darkening fields. In contact with Miriam he gained insight. wondering whether one whiteness were a strand of fog or only campion-flowers pallid in a cloud. There was a yellow glow over the mowing-grass. By the time they came to the pine-trees Miriam was getting very eager and very tense. She wanted to show him a certain wild-rose bush she had discovered. and both unconscious of it.ness. the strength to produce.’ he said.  Sons and Lovers They both looked up the road that ran in shadow right under the glow of the north-west sky. ‘The wood is so lovely now. expectant.’ she said. could feel her warmth inside him like strength. he always wanted to take it to Miriam. ‘They grumble so if I’m late. ‘Nine o’clock!’ he said. These times. and which were real living. In the old oak-wood a mist was rising. For many hours she sat still. So it was only three miles to Willey Farm. and then the chill blue crept up against the glow. There Paul hesitated. They came out upon the high road to Alfreton. and she wanted it so much. The two walked in silence. till he had seen it. He was conscious only when stimulated.’ He followed her slowly across the road to the white gate. He had Wednesday afternoon off to go to the Art School— Miss Jordan’s provision—returning in the evening. among the throng of dark treetrunks. AlFree eBooks at Planet eBook. as they walked along the high land. Gradually. She was dissatisfied. On the crest of the hill. One evening in the summer Miriam and he went over the fields by Herod’s Farm on their way from the library home. that meant so much. whilst she worked or read her book. his vision went deeper. the gold in the west sank down to red. Then he was stimulated into knowledge of the work he had produced unconsciously. And he. Selby. with all his soul’s intensity directing his pencil. Miriam urged this warmth into intensity like a white light. ‘I wanted you to see it. ‘But you’re not doing anything wrong. one mile forward for Miriam. the red to crimson. with its stark houses and the up-pricked headstocks of the pit. They were both very happy so. and the sorrel-heads burned crimson. Dew was already on the paths. Her bush might be gone. When he returned to the factory the conditions of work were better. of honeysuckle. slightly conscious of him labouring away. loth to part. she felt it had not come into her soul. Then the factory closed at six instead of eight on Thursday and Friday evenings. they almost ignored. stood in black silhouette small against the sky. From his mother he drew the  . Night came wonderfully there. A sketch finished. She knew it was wonderful. immortal. hugging their books. He looked at his watch. The pair stood. And yet. She might not be able to find it.’ she answered impatiently. There was a coolness in the wood.

where he could breathe. and her dark eyes  Sons and Lovers lay open to him. her lips were parted. And she did not care for Miriam. seeming to kindle something in their souls.’ she said to herself.’ he said.most passionately she wanted to be with him when be stood before the flowers. He turned aside. silent. something holy. She had been sitting thinking. in the free open meadow. ‘Down the middle path. some incurved and holy. ‘Ah!’ she cried. his mother looked up at the clock.’ he said. He was walking beside her in silence. and he listened. and it grew rather late. ‘Where?’ he asked. they saw the sky in front. The tree was tall and straggling. She trembled. The tree was dark as a shadow. Then she saw her bush. and still did not put out the roses. hastening forward. ‘They seem as if they walk like butterflies. The two walked in silence. right down to the grass. and left her. virgin scent. They were white. as if pained. the greying light robbed things of their colour. he knew his mother was fretting and getting angry about him—why. others expanded in an ecstasy. In bosses of ivory and in large splashed stars the roses gleamed on the darkness of foliage and stems and grass. She will never Free eBooks at Planet eBook. she went forward and touched them in worship. Paul and Miriam stood close together. She could feel Paul being drawn away by this girl. ‘and he is just such a gaby as to let himself be absorbed. It was like a delicious delirium in his veins. She looked at her roses. quivering. Paul looked into Miriam’s eyes. and shake themselves. It was very still. vaguely anxious. He stumbled down the path.’ he said quietly. flinging down his cap. Somewhere on the outermost branches of the pine-wood the honeysuckle was streaming scent. ‘She is one of those who will want to suck a man’s soul out till he has none of his own left. And as soon as he was out of the wood. They were going to have a communion together—something that thrilled  . Always when he went with Miriam. They were very near to each other. His look seemed to travel down into her. splashing the darkness everywhere with great spilt stars. feeling her soul satisfied with the holiness of the night. He turned to the bush. and its long streamers trailed thick. It was the communion she wanted. Coming to the edge of the wood. gazing rather frightened.’ she murmured. pure white. Point after point the steady roses shone out to them. ‘Let us go. he started to run as fast as he could. The dusk came like smoke around. she could distinguish nothing for some moments. like mother-of-pearl. ‘Till Sunday. In the wide walk between the pines. because a chill to her eyes prevented her reading. he could not understand. When they turned the corner of the path she stood still. Her soul quivered. It had thrown its briers over a hawthorn-bush. and the earth growing dark. Something made him feel anxious and imprisoned. and she walked home slowly. and watched. As he went into the house. There was a cool scent of ivory roses—a white. She lifted her hand impulsively to the flowers. She was pale and expectant with wonder.

she never  . She glanced at the clock and said. greying Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ ‘Till goodness knows what time and distance. She was never so strong after William’s death. whoever you went with.let him become a man.’ He was hurt between the past glamour with Miriam and the knowledge that his mother fretted.’ ‘Oh. wouldn’t you?’ He kissed her forehead that he knew so well: the deep marks between the brows.’ So.’ ‘You know I should. that you can’t get away from her.’  Sons and Lovers ‘It’s not! Do you think we SPOON and do? We only talk. saw his hair was damp on his forehead with haste. You know. ‘Well. you’d say anything now you’re disagreeable with me. ‘I DO like to talk to her.’ was the sarcastic rejoinder. Mrs. resentfully. ‘Why. Morel grew more and more worked up.’ his mother continued. the rising of the fine hair.’ His soul. But his mother looked tired. He had meant not to say anything. Morel.’ ‘I don’t say I don’t like her. yes.’ ‘Why?’ ‘Our Annie’s not one of the deep sort. ‘What are you so mad about?’ he asked.’ ‘It is NOT courting. while he was away with Miriam. ‘it’s so pretty in the country.’ he answered irritably.’ she replied. mother. you know you wouldn’t have gone before quarter-past ten. Mr. Are you a bit better?’ ‘I ought to have been in bed a long time ago. But I don’t hold with children keeping company.’ ‘They’ve more sense than you two. He would not answer. coldly and rather tired: ‘You have been far enough to-night. shrank. ‘You must have been right home with her. but must go trailing eight miles at this time of night. and her eyes hurt her. little woman. late at night. Paul snapped at the laces of his boots angrily. But he could not harden his heart to ignore his mother. ‘Because you don’t like her. warm and exposed from contact with the girl. ‘She must be wonderfully fascinating. ‘Is there nobody else to talk to?’ ‘You wouldn’t say anything if I went with Edgar. Mrs. to refuse to answer. when you’ve been to Nottingham. Besides’—her voice suddenly flashed into anger and contempt—‘it is disgusting—bits of lads and girls courting. and never did. Sleath asked about you.’ He failed to see the meaning of this remark. saw him frowning in his heavy fashion. ‘I don’t know what else you call it.’ he cried. I should!’ ‘Oh.’ he said. looking at him quickly. I should say it was too far for you to go trailing.’ ‘But you don’t mind our Annie going out with Jim Inger. He said he’d missed you.

‘Why does she get upset?’ she asked. It was an immense luxury to everybody. as usual. she was hurt. He thought he was too sane for such sentimentality. He resented that. When he was nineteen. Paul took his pitch from her. Morel got up. Miriam was exceedingly sensitive. was up early. whistling and sawing in the yard. calling her ‘my darling”. perhaps. Her brothers were brutal. Arthur. then Annie and Arthur. which had been left soon after William had died. because of the continual business of birth and of begetting which goes on upon every farm. He threw down his book and went out. Mrs. sitting in their shirt-sleeves. an old one. And Paul and Arthur read before breakfast. Morel. but never coarse in speech. He had forgotten Miriam. The men did all the discussing of farm matters outside. Directly came an excited cry from the garden: ‘Paul! Paul! come and look!’ It was his mother’s voice. On the Good Friday he organised a walk to the Hemlock Stone. His hand lingered on her shoulder after his kiss. and the family straggled down. apprenticed as an electrician in Nottingham. and life went well enough. While the boys were reading.’ ‘Very well!’ said Miriam. This was another holiday luxury. It could never be mentioned that the mare was in foal. That there was any love growing between him and Miriam neither of them would have acknowledged. and her blood was chastened almost to disgust of the faintest suggestion of such intercourse. was home for the holiday. near the Scargill Street home. he talked with gusto to the little girl who brought them. broad brow. and she thought herself too lofty. And he was usually late again. The room was warm. and the proud setting of the temples. Then he went slowly to bed. with just a touch of a Everything felt free of care and anxiety. brooding. There was a long garden that ran to a field. It was a Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Miriam was the more hypersensitive to the matter.’ Miriam dropped her bead. His painting went well. My mother gets so upset. There were three lads of his own age. ‘Because she says I oughtn’t to be out late when I have to get up early. They both were late in coming to maturity. as her mother had always been. and their inti0 Sons and Lovers macy went on in an utterly blanched and chaste fashion. telling them they had been ‘kested’ by a little lass. Miriam and Geoffrey. Then Mrs. They were now in another house. he only saw how his mother’s hair was lifted back from her warm. But. And somehow. he was earning only twenty shillings a week. 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. but he was happy. At seven o’clock the family heard him buy threepennyworth of hot-cross buns. There was a sense of plenty in the house. and psychical ripeness was much behind even the physical. rather quietly. and had the meal unwashed. this lying in bed just beyond the ordinary time on a weekday. He turned away several boys who came with more buns. The slightest grossness made her recoil almost in anguish. Morel went into the 1 .

And I’ve never had a glory of the snow in my garden in my life. ‘Lad. ‘You should see the Flying Scotsman come through at half-past six!’ said Leonard. and three scyllas in bloom. just see those!’ she exclaimed. delighted party. Fancy them against the snow! But where have they come from? They can’t have BLOWN here. ‘What for?’ he answered.’ She was full of excitement and elation. ‘Now. Mrs.’ ‘And now.grey. But HAVEN’T they done well? You see. Everybody turned up for the walk. with a jumble of roofs and red house-ends. behold you! Sugar-bag! Three glories of the snow. she knew every weed and blade. whose father was a signalman. Paul was thankful for her sake at last to be in a house with a long garden that went down to a field. in a little bed. And beyond went woods and hills. Two fields away Bestwood  . that gooseberry-bush just shelters them. ‘There’s something very blue. They hung over the wall of the mill-race. where they say they have such lovely things. a merry. can they?’ Then he remembered having set here a lot of little trash of bulbs to mature. Paul looked down the garden for his mother. Food was packed. ‘that here I might never have seen them!’ Her son went to her side. is it a bit of sugar-bag?’ and there. ‘No! I thought I’d leave it till they might flower. now! I THOUGHT I knew every weed and blade in this garden. ‘Come and see. Under the fence. ‘I guess they come from Switzerland. such as come from very immature bulbs. and such beauties! But where on earth did they come from?’ ‘I don’t know. out of which rose the church tower and the spire of the Congregational Chapel. with a sharp wind blowing out of Derbyshire. The garden was an endless joy to her. They stood on the foot-bridge over Boathouse Station and looked at the metals gleaming coldly. ‘To think. ‘I was looking at the currant bushes. ‘Come here!’ she cried. Morel pointed to the deep blue flowers. ‘And you never told me. Her head appeared among the young currant-bushes. that’s a marvel. ‘They’re a glorious colour!’ he said.’ she said. and they set off.’ she said. right away to the pale grey heights of the Pennine Chain. And it was true. ‘Well. but she doesn’t half buzz!’ and the little party looked up the lines one way. to London. you see! I might have missed them. when. Every morning after breakfast she went out and was happy pottering about in it. cold day. dropped paper in the water on one side of the tunnel and watched it shoot out on the other. ‘Aren’t they!’ she cried. thinks I to myself. Not nipped. and the other way. was a ravel of poor grassy leaves. to ScotFree eBooks at Planet eBook.’ She had been looking at the buds on the currant trees. Paul went up.’ said Paul. not touched!’  Sons and Lovers He crouched down and turned up the bells of the little blue flowers.

almost of ecstasy. twisted stump of rock. to watch. he was different then—not her Paul. tenderly. would she feel alive again. in the old red sandstone. W. but something else. and they felt the touch of these two magical places. surrounded by sheaves of shut-up crocuses. gnarled. her lover. She saw the sun declining wanly. At Trowell they crossed again from Derbyshire into Nottinghamshire. He had not seemed to belong to her among all these others. And now he asked her to look at this garden. his mind fixed on it. who could find no other road to immortality.’ and ‘R. It felt almost as if she were alone with him in this garden.’ said Paul to Miriam. The love in her fingertips caressed the leaves. Only when he came right back to  . ‘L. passionately. and she hurried forward. cold hedgerows were some red leaves. something like a decayed mushroom. Over everything there were great discussions. was Nature. the passion in her heart came to a glow upon the leaves. How it hurt her. his lesser  Sons and Lovers self. because he had read in the newspaper satirical remarks about initial-carvers. her companion. she went slowly forward. She did not fit in with the others. who stood bent over something. At last he looked up. came over her. Miriam loitered behind. alone. She lingered to gather them. wanting the contact with her again. They came to the Hemlock Stone at dinner-time. She hesitated in her approach. factory girls and lads were eating lunch or sporting about. Then he left her again and joined the others. Then all the lads climbed to the top of the rock to look round. In Ilkeston the colliers were waiting in gangs for the public-houses to open. discovered in him a rare potentiality. Soon they started home. who understood the slightest quiver of her innermost soul. They found a little. a little hopelessly. P. standing out pathetically on the side of a field. It was a town of idleness and lounging. Impatient of the set in the field. It had yew-hedges and thick clumps and borders of yellow crocuses round the lawn. Beyond was the garden of an old manor. Its field was crowded with folk from Nottingham and Ilkeston. leaving his other. ‘what a quiet garden!’ She saw the dark yews and the golden crocuses. one rift of rich gold in that colourless grey evening seemed to make him stand out in dark relief. discovered his loneliness. He remained concentrated in the middle of the road. Quivering as at some ‘annunciation’.’. Everywhere in the field below. as she thought. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Beyond. Suddenly she realised she was alone in a strange road. but Paul desisted. She saw him. speaking another language than hers. A deep pain took hold of her. They had expected a venerable and dignified monument. she could very rarely get into human relations with anyone: so her friend. Leonard and Dick immediately proceeded to carve their initials. and deadened her very perceptions. working away steadily. In the dusky. Turning a corner in the lane. A feeling of stillness. as if the setting sun had given him to her. And she had discovered him. patiently. ‘See. slender and firm. she came upon Paul. At Stanton Gate the iron foundry blazed. and she knew she must love him. she turned to the quiet lawn. then she looked

They were together. She wondered why he. isn’t it?’ she asked. vivid. This. That same evening they were walking along under the trees by Nether Green. ‘Like mother said to me when I was little. And at this time she dreamed dreams of him. She always regarded that sudden coming upon him in the lane as a revelation.’ ‘I hope so. ‘But it was William’s an’ my mother can’t help but know. thinking he had assured himself. who would have died rather than be sent back. then. Paul. And Miriam. who did not usually trouble over trifles. ‘What is it?’ she asked. for fear of being turned out.’ he said. ‘It is only an old umbrella. felt strong in herself. Miriam did not live till they came to the church. But there was about him a certain reserve. She loved him for that.  Sons and Lovers ‘Yes. went first. if it were not. They left the train at Alfreton. love might be a very terrible thing. and believed he was right. not even speak softly to him. but it IS—at least with most people.’ he said quietly. Miriam turned to him. Paul was afraid of the things he mustn’t do. but that Geoffrey was responsible. The words went through Miriam like a blade. because. ‘if one person loves. ‘The spring broken here. These dreams came again later on. with an effort. made such a mountain of this molehill. I think it MUST be.’’ ‘Yes. Now she stood with him and for him. ‘You know. Paul was interested in the street and in the colliers with their dogs. He was talking to her fretfully. a comic. the other does. ‘have you waited for me!’ She saw a deep shadow in his eyes. she knew he had not done the damage himself. something like that.’ he answered. seemed to be struggling to convince himself. Instantly. ‘Come on. When. In the font hundreds of white narcissi seemed to be growing. Here was a new race of miners. and she dared not comfort him. Leonard. thin fellow.’ he exclaimed gratefully. He would not go beyond the Communion-rail. ‘Love begets love. unforgettable.’ he said. about this time. with their bags of food. went last. Her soul expandFree eBooks at Planet eBook.’ she said.’ and they went in silence along the road. he outraged the family feeling at Willey Farm by some overbearing insult. On the Easter Monday the same party took an excursion to Wingfield Manor. The air was dim and coloured from the windows and thrilled with a subtle scent of lilies and narcissi.’ and he showed her where his umbrella was injured. The place was decorated for Easter. was the confirmation of her vision of him! She looked at him. still patiently working at the umbrella. In that atmosphere Miriam’s soul came into a glow. They were all rather timid of entering. developed to a more subtle psychological stage. and he was sensitive to the feel of the place. He answered.’ ‘Ah!’ she  .‘Why. It was great excitement to Miriam to catch a train at Sethley Bridge. And this conversation remained graven in her mind as one of the letters of the law. she stuck to him. with some shame. ‘I can’t do it. amid all the bustle of the Bank Holiday crowd.

They looked over miles and miles of wooded country. Instead. and went timidly through the fine clean arch of the inner courtyard. Round the broken top of the tower the ivy bushed out. so that she was ashamed. and country with gleams of pasture. After lunch they set off once more to explore the ruin. In the first courtyard. where the hall had been. where they say Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned. as she climbed the hollow stairs. or sitting in this crypt. that could not understand misery. This time the girls went with the boys.  Sons and Lovers rather tottering. She was only lively. the soft. The manor is of hard. Miriam very rarely talked to the other lads. The tower seemed to rock in the wind. The crypt underneath the manor was beautiful. They were shy. blowing through the loopholes. He felt the strange fascination of shadowy religious places. Paul made a drawing: Miriam stayed with him. He did it perfectly simply. Everybody was tip-top full with happiness. within the high broken walls. ‘If she could get up. She was drawn to him. ‘Think of the Queen going up here!’ said Miriam in a low voice. went rushing up the shaft. Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ They continued to mount the winding staircase. who could act as guides and expositors. She remembered this always. an old thorn tree was budding. there were a few chill gillivers. They went in trepidation. All things shone softly in the sun. over the hills whence no help came. The glitter of the ivy. She was thinking of Mary Queen of Scots looking with her strained. in pale cold bud. I reckon they treated her rottenly. the tyres of the wheels brilliant with gold-red rust.’ said Paul. and take from him each spray as he gathered it and held it to her. Here on the pavement. ‘No. Celandines and violets were out. in the purest manner of chivalry. almost afraid that the delight of exploring this ruin might be denied them. All kinds of strange openings and broken rooms were in the shadow around them. which was wonderfully warm and enlivening. pale grey stone. and in perfect preservation. Miriam wanted to lean over for some ivy.ed into prayer beside him. and the other walls are blank and calm. with their shafts lying idle on the ground. were farm-carts. hopeless eyes. The young folk were in raptures. being told of a God as cold as the place she sat in. I don’t. It was very still. the gentleness of everything near the ruin. They at once became awkward in conversation with her. All his latent mysticism quivered into life. All eagerly paid their sixpences. was perfect. There was one tall tower in a corner. old and handsome. Also. ‘for she had rheumatism like anything.’ ‘You don’t think she deserved it?’ asked Miriam. but he would not let her. atmospheric grey of the castle walls. she had to wait behind him. and filled the girl’s skirts like a balloon. each one separately. until he took the hem of her dress and held it down for  . He was a prayer along with her. A high wind. as he would have picked up her glove. It was past midday when they climbed the steep path to the manor. So usually she was silent.

They set off again gaily, looking round on their beloved manor that stood so clean and big on its hill. ‘Supposing you could have THAT farm,’ said Paul to Miriam. ‘Yes!’ ‘Wouldn’t it be lovely to come and see you!’ They were now in the bare country of stone walls, which he loved, and which, though only ten miles from home, seemed so foreign to Miriam. The party was straggling. As they were crossing a large meadow that sloped away from the sun, along a path embedded with innumerable tiny glittering points, Paul, walking alongside, laced his fingers in the strings of the bag Miriam was carrying, and instantly she felt Annie behind, watchful and jealous. But the meadow was bathed in a glory of sunshine, and the path was jewelled, and it was seldom that he gave her any sign. She held her fingers very still among the strings of the bag, his fingers touching; and the place was golden as a vision. At last they came into the straggling grey village of Crich, that lies high. Beyond the village was the famous Crich Stand that Paul could see from the garden at home. The party pushed on. Great expanse of country spread around and below. The lads were eager to get to the top of the hill. It was capped by a round knoll, half of which was by now cut away, and on the top of which stood an ancient monument, sturdy and squat, for signalling in old days far down into the level lands of Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire. It was blowing so hard, high up there in the exposed place, that the only way to be safe was to stand nailed by the 
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wind to the wan of the tower. At their feet fell the precipice where the limestone was quarried away. Below was a jumble of hills and tiny villages—Mattock, Ambergate, Stoney Middleton. The lads were eager to spy out the church of Bestwood, far away among the rather crowded country on the left. They were disgusted that it seemed to stand on a plain. They saw the hills of Derbyshire fall into the monotony of the Midlands that swept away South. Miriam was somewhat scared by the wind, but the lads enjoyed it. They went on, miles and miles, to Whatstandwell. All the food was eaten, everybody was hungry, and there was very little money to get home with. But they managed to procure a loaf and a currant-loaf, which they hacked to pieces with shut-knives, and ate sitting on the wall near the bridge, watching the bright Derwent rushing by, and the brakes from Matlock pulling up at the inn. Paul was now pale with weariness. He had been responsible for the party all day, and now he was done. Miriam understood, and kept close to him, and he left himself in her hands. They had an hour to wait at Ambergate Station. Trains came, crowded with excursionists returning to Manchester, Birmingham, and London. ‘We might be going there—folk easily might think we’re going that far,’ said Paul. They got back rather late. Miriam, walking home with Geoffrey, watched the moon rise big and red and misty. She felt something was fulfilled in her. She had an elder sister, Agatha, who was a school-teachFree eBooks at Planet 1

er. Between the two girls was a feud. Miriam considered Agatha worldly. And she wanted herself to be a schoolteacher. One Saturday afternoon Agatha and Miriam were upstairs dressing. Their bedroom was over the stable. It was a low room, not very large, and bare. Miriam had nailed on the wall a reproduction of Veronese’s ‘St. Catherine”. She loved the woman who sat in the window, dreaming. Her own windows were too small to sit in. But the front one was dripped over with honeysuckle and virginia creeper, and looked upon the tree-tops of the oak-wood across the yard, while the little back window, no bigger than a handkerchief, was a loophole to the east, to the dawn beating up against the beloved round hills. The two sisters did not talk much to each other. Agatha, who was fair and small and determined, had rebelled against the home atmosphere, against the doctrine of ‘the other cheek”. She was out in the world now, in a fair way to be independent. And she insisted on worldly values, on appearance, on manners, on position, which Miriam would fain have ignored. Both girls liked to be upstairs, out of the way, when Paul came. They preferred to come running down, open the stairfoot door, and see him watching, expectant of them. Miriam stood painfully pulling over her head a rosary he had given her. It caught in the fine mesh of her hair. But at last she had it on, and the red-brown wooden beads looked well against her cool brown neck. She was a well-developed girl, and very handsome. But in the little looking-glass nailed 
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against the whitewashed wall she could only see a fragment of herself at a time. Agatha had bought a little mirror of her own, which she propped up to suit herself. Miriam was near the window. Suddenly she heard the well-known click of the chain, and she saw Paul fling open the gate, push his bicycle into the yard. She saw him look at the house, and she shrank away. He walked in a nonchalant fashion, and his bicycle went with him as if it were a live thing. ‘Paul’s come!’ she exclaimed. ‘Aren’t you glad?’ said Agatha cuttingly. Miriam stood still in amazement and bewilderment. ‘Well, aren’t you?’ she asked. ‘Yes, but I’m not going to let him see it, and think I wanted him.’ Miriam was startled. She heard him putting his bicycle in the stable underneath, and talking to Jimmy, who had been a pit-horse, and who was seedy. ‘Well, Jimmy my lad, how are ter? Nobbut sick an’ sadly, like? Why, then, it’s a shame, my owd lad.’ She heard the rope run through the hole as the horse lifted its head from the lad’s caress. How she loved to listen when he thought only the horse could hear. But there was a serpent in her Eden. She searched earnestly in herself to see if she wanted Paul Morel. She felt there would be some disgrace in it. Full of twisted feeling, she was afraid she did want him. She stood self-convicted. Then came an agony of new shame. She shrank within herself in a coil of torture. Did she want Paul Morel, and did he know she wanted him? What a subtle infamy upon her. She felt as if her whole soul
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coiled into knots of shame. Agatha was dressed first, and ran downstairs. Miriam heard her greet the lad gaily, knew exactly how brilliant her grey eyes became with that tone. She herself would have felt it bold to have greeted him in such wise. Yet there she stood under the self-accusation of wanting him, tied to that stake of torture. In bitter perplexity she kneeled down and prayed: ‘O Lord, let me not love Paul Morel. Keep me from loving him, if I ought not to love him.’ Something anomalous in the prayer arrested her. She lifted her head and pondered. How could it be wrong to love him? Love was God’s gift. And yet it caused her shame. That was because of him, Paul Morel. But, then, it was not his affair, it was her own, between herself and God. She was to be a sacrifice. But it was God’s sacrifice, not Paul Morel’s or her own. After a few minutes she hid her face in the pillow again, and said: ‘But, Lord, if it is Thy will that I should love him, make me love him—as Christ would, who died for the souls of men. Make me love him splendidly, because he is Thy son.’ She remained kneeling for some time, quite still, and deeply moved, her black hair against the red squares and the lavender-sprigged squares of the patchwork quilt. Prayer was almost essential to her. Then she fell into that rapture of self-sacrifice, identifying herself with a God who was sacrificed, which gives to so many human souls their deepest bliss. When she went downstairs Paul was lying back in an 
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armchair, holding forth with much vehemence to Agatha, who was scorning a little painting he had brought to show her. Miriam glanced at the two, and avoided their levity. She went into the parlour to be alone. It was tea-time before she was able to speak to Paul, and then her manner was so distant he thought he had offended her. Miriam discontinued her practice of going each Thursday evening to the library in Bestwood. After calling for Paul regularly during the whole spring, a number of trifling incidents and tiny insults from his family awakened her to their attitude towards her, and she decided to go no more. So she announced to Paul one evening she would not call at his house again for him on Thursday nights. ‘Why?’ he asked, very short. ‘Nothing. Only I’d rather not.’ ‘Very well.’ ‘But,’ she faltered, ‘if you’d care to meet me, we could still go together.’ ‘Meet you where?’ ‘Somewhere—where you like.’ ‘I shan’t meet you anywhere. I don’t see why you shouldn’t keep calling for me. But if you won’t, I don’t want to meet you.’ So the Thursday evenings which had been so precious to her, and to him, were dropped. He worked instead. Mrs. Morel sniffed with satisfaction at this arrangement. He would not have it that they were lovers. The intimacy between them had been kept so abstract, such a matter
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of the soul, all thought and weary struggle into consciousness, that he saw it only as a platonic friendship. He stoutly denied there was anything else between them. Miriam was silent, or else she very quietly agreed. He was a fool who did not know what was happening to himself. By tacit agreement they ignored the remarks and insinuations of their acquaintances. ‘We aren’t lovers, we are friends,’ he said to her. ‘WE know it. Let them talk. What does it matter what they say.’ Sometimes, as they were walking together, she slipped her arm timidly into his. But he always resented it, and she knew it. It caused a violent conflict in him. With Miriam he was always on the high plane of abstraction, when his natural fire of love was transmitted into the fine stream of thought. She would have it so. If he were jolly and, as she put it, flippant, she waited till he came back to her, till the change had taken place in him again, and he was wrestling with his own soul, frowning, passionate in his desire for understanding. And in this passion for understanding her soul lay close to his; she had him all to herself. But he must be made abstract first. Then, if she put her arm in his, it caused him almost torture. His consciousness seemed to split. The place where she was touching him ran hot with friction. He was one internecine battle, and he became cruel to her because of it. One evening in midsummer Miriam called at the house, warm from climbing. Paul was alone in the kitchen; his mother could be heard moving about upstairs. ‘Come and look at the sweet-peas,’ he said to the girl. 
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They went into the garden. The sky behind the townlet and the church was orange-red; the flower-garden was flooded with a strange warm light that lifted every leaf into significance. Paul passed along a fine row of sweet-peas, gathering a blossom here and there, all cream and pale blue. Miriam followed, breathing the fragrance. To her, flowers appealed with such strength she felt she must make them part of herself. When she bent and breathed a flower, it was as if she and the flower were loving each other. Paul hated her for it. There seemed a sort of exposure about the action, something too intimate. When he had got a fair bunch, they returned to the house. He listened for a moment to his mother’s quiet movement upstairs, then he said: ‘Come here, and let me pin them in for you.’ He arranged them two or three at a time in the bosom of her dress, stepping back now and then to see the effect. ‘You know,’ he said, taking the pin out of his mouth, ‘a woman ought always to arrange her flowers before her glass.’ Miriam laughed. She thought flowers ought to be pinned in one’s dress without any care. That Paul should take pains to fix her flowers for her was his whim. He was rather offended at her laughter. ‘Some women do—those who look decent,’ he said. Miriam laughed again, but mirthlessly, to hear him thus mix her up with women in a general way. From most men she would have ignored it. But from him it hurt her. He had nearly finished arranging the flowers when he heard his mother’s footstep on the stairs. Hurriedly he
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pushed in the last pin and turned away. ‘Don’t let mater know,’ he said. Miriam picked up her books and stood in the doorway looking with chagrin at the beautiful sunset. She would call for Paul no more, she said. ‘Good-evening, Mrs. Morel,’ she said, in a deferential way. She sounded as if she felt she had no right to be there. ‘Oh, is it you, Miriam?’ replied Mrs. Morel coolly. But Paul insisted on everybody’s accepting his friendship with the girl, and Mrs. Morel was too wise to have any open rupture. It was not till he was twenty years old that the family could ever afford to go away for a holiday. Mrs. Morel had never been away for a holiday, except to see her sister, since she had been married. Now at last Paul had saved enough money, and they were all going. There was to be a party: some of Annie’s friends, one friend of Paul’s, a young man in the same office where William had previously been, and Miriam. It was great excitement writing for rooms. Paul and his mother debated it endlessly between them. They wanted a furnished cottage for two weeks. She thought one week would be enough, but he insisted on two. At last they got an answer from Mablethorpe, a cottage such as they wished for thirty shillings a week. There was immense jubilation. Paul was wild with joy for his mother’s sake. She would have a real holiday now. He and she sat at evening picturing what it would be like. Annie came in, and Leonard, and Alice, and Kitty. There was wild rejoicing and 
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anticipation. Paul told Miriam. She seemed to brood with joy over it. But the Morel’s house rang with excitement. They were to go on Saturday morning by the seven train. Paul suggested that Miriam should sleep at his house, because it was so far for her to walk. She came down for supper. Everybody was so excited that even Miriam was accepted with warmth. But almost as soon as she entered the feeling in the family became close and tight. He had discovered a poem by Jean Ingelow which mentioned Mablethorpe, and so he must read it to Miriam. He would never have got so far in the direction of sentimentality as to read poetry to his own family. But now they condescended to listen. Miriam sat on the sofa absorbed in him. She always seemed absorbed in him, and by him, when he was present. Mrs. Morel sat jealously in her own chair. She was going to hear also. And even Annie and the father attended, Morel with his head cocked on one side, like somebody listening to a sermon and feeling conscious of the fact. Paul ducked his head over the book. He had got now all the audience he cared for. And Mrs. Morel and Annie almost contested with Miriam who should listen best and win his favour. He was in very high feather. ‘But,’ interrupted Mrs. Morel, ‘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. I suppose the Bride of Enderby was drowned in a flood,’ he replied. He had not the faintest knowledge what it really was, but he would never have sunk so low as to confess that to his womenfolk. They listened and believed
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him. He believed himself. ‘And the people knew what that tune meant?’ said his mother. ‘Yes—just like the Scotch when they heard ‘The Flowers o’ the Forest’—and when they used to ring the bells backward for alarm.’ ‘How?’ said Annie. ‘A bell sounds the same whether it’s rung backwards or forwards.’ ‘But,’ he said, ‘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. Everybody thought it clever. He thought so too. Then, waiting a minute, he continued the poem. ‘Hm!’ said Mrs. Morel curiously, when he finished. ‘But I wish everything that’s written weren’t so sad.’ ‘I canna see what they want drownin’ theirselves for,’ said Morel. There was a pause. Annie got up to clear the table. Miriam rose to help with the pots. ‘Let ME help to wash up,’ she said. ‘Certainly not,’ cried Annie. ‘You sit down again. There aren’t many.’ And Miriam, who could not be familiar and insist, sat down again to look at the book with Paul. He was master of the party; his father was no good. And great tortures he suffered lest the tin box should be put out at Firsby instead of at Mablethorpe. And he wasn’t equal to getting a carriage. His bold little mother did that. 
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‘Here!’ she cried to a man. ‘Here!’ Paul and Annie got behind the rest, convulsed with shamed laughter. ‘How much will it be to drive to Brook Cottage?’ said Mrs. Morel. ‘Two shillings.’ ‘Why, how far is it?’ ‘A good way.’ ‘I don’t believe it,’ she said. But she scrambled in. There were eight crowded in one old seaside carriage. ‘You see,’ said Mrs. Morel, ‘it’s only threepence each, and if it were a tramcar—-‘ They drove along. Each cottage they came to, Mrs. Morel cried: ‘Is it this? Now, this is it!’ Everybody sat breathless. They drove past. There was a universal sigh. ‘I’m thankful it wasn’t that brute,’ said Mrs. Morel. ‘I WAS frightened.’ They drove on and on. At last they descended at a house that stood alone over the dyke by the highroad. There was wild excitement because they had to cross a little bridge to get into the front garden. But they loved the house that lay so solitary, with a sea-meadow on one side, and immense expanse of land patched in white barley, yellow oats, red wheat, and green root-crops, flat and stretching level to the sky. Paul kept accounts. He and his mother ran the show. The total expenses—lodging, food, everything—was sixteen
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leapt up at heaven and touched the ecstasy and lost itself in the divine. Her husband was blind. He and Leonard went bathing in the mornings. It was quite dark when they turned again. The country was black and Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and he abused her for being a baby. with much scorn of Annie and the others: ‘I suppose they’re at the ‘Coons’.’ And to Miriam he said. and then along a raised grass road between two dykes. Miriam was with him. he said. It was a warm evening. Himself. ‘eat a piece of bread-and-butter. the great levels of sky and land in Lincolnshire. perhaps. no noise but the sound of the sea. and she did laundry work. The way home was through a gap in the sandhills. the stupidity pleased him very much. and sang them along the roads roisterously. And if he found himself listening. talk with me. too. knew all their songs. He loved to feel himself between the noise of it and the silence of the sandy shore. when all the others went to the ‘Coons”. And when he got back he saw his mother presiding in state at the breakfast-table. Miriam did not get much of him. Everything grew very intense. Miriam was Gothic.’ his mother called from the bedroom. meant to him the eternality of the will. Morel was wandering abroad quite early. on and on. except. Paul loved to see it clanging at the land. or at evening when the others were at the ‘Coons’. One evening he and she went up the great sweeping shore of sand towards Theddlethorpe. ‘and now you work. Yet he. was Norman. just as the bowed Norman arches of the church. Yet to Annie he said: ‘Such rot! there isn’t a grain of intelligence in it. repeating themselves. ‘You. On the whole he stuck to her as if he were HER man.’ ‘Work!’ she exclaimed. even when it was: ‘Come down lover’s lane For a walk with me. She bowed in consent even to that. The woman of the house was young. and he preached priggishly to Annie about the fatuity of listening to them. ‘What are you talking about!’ He loved to go with her across the fields to the village and the sea.shillings a week per person. Nobody with more gumption than a grasshopper could go and sit and listen. Paul.’  Sons and Lovers It was queer to see Miriam singing coon songs. He talked to her endlessly about his love of horizontals: how they. She had a straight chin that went in a perpendicular line from the lower lip to the turn. She always reminded Paul of some sad Botticelli angel when she sang. she had him to herself.’ ‘All right. So Mrs.’ Only when he sketched. She was afraid of the plank bridge. which. so he thought they were to himself also.’ said Paul. Coons were insufferably stupid to Miriam. meant the dogged leaping forward of the persistent human soul. in contradiction to the perpendicular lines and to the Gothic arch. he said.’ he answered. ‘But you said you’d have a real holiday. There was not a figure but themselves on the far reaches of sand. The long breakers plunged and ran in a hiss of foam along the  . nobody knows where. Morel always washed the pots in the kitchen and made the beds.

’ said Mrs. Her face. ‘Ah!’ cried Miriam. the muscles of his arms contracted. ‘Well. frowning. He remained perfectly still. Mrs. As they walked along the dark fen-meadow he watched the moon and did not speak. obliterating herself. The whole of his blood seemed to burst into flame. ‘Yes. She plodded beside him. Paul and Miriam walked in silence. Suddenly he started. looking at it. and gazed at him. Looking ahead—he saw the one light in the darkness. even a passionate kiss. for ever in shadow. But somehow she ignored them. was watching him unseen. priggish. the window of their lamp-lit cottage. I shall do as I like. Which he pretended neither to notice nor to care about. ‘What does that matter!’ he cried irritably. She was slightly afraid—deeply moved and religious. Morel. She was expecting some religious state in him. The fact that he might want her as a man wants a woman had in him been suppressed into a shame. and then he was too shrinking and sensitive to give it.still. There were flashes in his blood. Morel hated her for making her son like this. But she was brooding. ‘I can go a walk if I like. His blood was concentrated like a flame in his chest. he had winced to the depths of his soul. He stood still. But he could not get across to her. He turned and looked at her. everybody else has been in long ago!’ said his mother as they entered. For this Free eBooks at Planet  . He was afraid of her. His heart beat heavily. He did not know himself what was the matter. staring at the immense and ruddy moon. That was her best state. but sat reading. ‘What is it?’ murmured Miriam. He was impotent against it. An enormous orange moon was staring at them from the rim of the sandhills. The crisis was past. and he could scarcely breathe. ‘What is it?’ she murmured again. ‘I shall please myself. He loved to think of his mother. for she seemed in some way to make him despise himself. the only thing in the far-reaching darkness of the level. and melancholic. troubled.’ said his mother cuttingly. She stood beside him. ‘It’s the moon. From behind the sandhills came the whisper of the sea. can’t I?’ ‘And I should have thought you could get in to supper with the rest. he did not know he wanted to crush her on to his breast to  Sons and Lovers ease the ache there. she was half aware of his passion. covered with the darkness of her hat. Still yearning. She watched Paul growing irritable. He was naturally so young. When she shrank in her convulsed. and their intimacy was so abstract. And now this ‘purity’ prevented even their first love-kiss. It was as if she could scarcely stand the shock of physical love. ‘Isn’t it wonderful?’ She was curious about him. coiled torture from the thought of such a thing. He hated her. Miriam read also.’ he answered. waiting for him. ‘It’s not LATE. when she saw it. ‘then DO as you like.’ And she took no further notice of him that evening.’ ‘Very well.’ she assented. and the other jolly people.’ he retorted.

she spoilt his ease and naturalness. And Paul hated her because. But she did not suffer so much. But no. He earned very little. Miriam had no friend of her own. He’s a fool. ‘I do not. always through some hot-headed thoughtlessness. He did not drink nor gamble. But he was wild and restless. ‘And if he DID anything I shouldn’t mind. Either he went rabbiting in the woods. but had a good chance of getting on. ‘Do you know where Arthur is?’ asked Paul at breakfast.’ replied his mother. or he miscalculated his dive into the canal at Bestwood. and scored his chest into one mass of wounds on the raw stones and tins at the  . only Paul. because she despised the triviality of these other people. 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  Sons and Lovers Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ said Paul. he simply can’t come away from a game of whist.she put the blame on Miriam. CHAPTER VIII STRIFE IN LOVE ARTHUR finished his apprenticeship. ‘He is a fool. like a poacher. And he writhed himself with a feeling of humiliation. Annie and all her friends joined against the girl. or he stayed in Nottingham all night instead of coming home. somehow. Yet he somehow contrived to get into endless scrapes. or else he must see a girl home from the skating-rink—quite proprietously—and so can’t get home. and got a job on the electrical plant at Minton Pit.

They went on with breakfast. I promise I will have more sense and consideration…. ‘What now—-!’ cried Mrs. but perhaps if you came  Sons and Lovers for me they would let me go back with you. and she resented it. instead of going to work.’ she flashed. that Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘Well. Morel.’ ‘She may do—but I don’t. ‘My dearest Mother. ‘Well. Morel screwed up her eyes to look at the address.’ said Paul.’ ‘I shouldn’t mind being in a red coat—or dark blue. ‘Are you fearfully fond of him?’ Paul asked his mother. and.’ There was silence. like the idiot you know I am. and will look an awful swell. Morel sat down in her rocking-chair.’’ Mrs. and not a thing in a red coat.’ ‘I suppose I’m to take it as a blessing. ‘I have taken the King’s shilling. ‘The FOOL!—the young fool!’ she cried. a MAN. She saw the sunshine going out of him. ‘Not in my eyes!’ ‘He should get in a cavalry regiment. I want you to come and fetch me back from here. her face set. Arthur. ‘I very much doubt it. ‘Sick!’ ‘Now. beginning to frown. But if you get me out of this. stung. No. Morel.’ ‘And you’d actually rather he was good?’ ‘I’d rather he showed some of a man’s common sense. Mrs.’ said Mrs. my boy!’ cried his mother. I came with Jack Bredon yesterday. thinking.something to make us all ashamed. He also wearied his mother very often. She started.’ said Paul.’ said Paul. NOW.’ said his mother coldly. I should respect him more. turning on her son. and almost boxed his ears. The mother sat with her hands folded in her apron. so there. He said he was sick of wearing the seat of a stool out. ‘I don’t know what made me such a fool. I came away with him. ‘What?’ ‘At any rate.’’ Paul read. will he!’ she cried. he’ll have the time of his life.’ said Paul. ‘If I’m not SICK!’ she cried suddenly.’ he said. ‘You’re not going to mount it up to a tragedy. he wearies me. and enlisted.’ said Paul irritatingly. ‘let him stop. ‘Oh.’ ‘Swell!—SWELL!—a mighty swell idea indeed!—a common soldier!’ ‘Well. ‘let him stop!’ ‘Yes. I was a fool when I did it. ‘What do you ask that for?’ ‘Because they say a woman always like the youngest best. His mother turned on him like a fury.’ Paul was raw and irritable. My dear mother. As they were finishing breakfast came the postman with a letter from Derby. do you hear. ‘you’re not going to worry your soul out about this. snatching it away from her. ‘It’s from your son. ‘what am I but a common clerk?’ ‘A good deal. ‘Give it here. ‘He’ll look well in uniform. blind eye!’ exclaimed her son.’ she cried. I don’t want to be in the  .’ he retorted. I am nothing but a trouble to you.

did you go?’ said Paul to his mother when he came home. where she saw her son and the sergeant. When Morel was having his dinner in the evening.’ ‘Of course. ‘I hope he may never set foot i’ my house again. ‘that he niver ‘as!’ ‘And is going down to Aldershot tomorrow. or might have been getting on. after THIS?’ ‘It may lick him into shape beautifully. let ‘im look after ‘issen. brimmed up with wrath and chagrin.’ ‘Well!’ exclaimed the miner.’ he said. lass. ‘Well. perhaps you can’ 1 . Suddenly his face contracted with wrath. Morel fretted after her son.’ 0 Sons and Lovers The miner turned up his eyes. ‘Just as he was getting on. Morel.’ repeated Morel.’ Morel put down his knife and leaned back in his chair.’ said Paul. do you think. however.’ He considered it a moment.would suit me better—if they didn’t boss me about too much. showing the whites in his black face.’ ‘H’m!’ ‘And so did I.’ she said. no good. so you needn’t ‘h’m’!’ Mrs. ‘Saying such a thing!’ ‘I do. ‘And shall you go to Derby?’ asked Paul. ‘I did.’ said Paul.’ ‘And why on earth don’t you let him stop.’ But his mother had ceased to listen. she said suddenly: ‘I’ve had to go to Derby to-day. ‘Yes. ‘A fool as runs away for a soldier. What good will he be. said ‘H’m!’ and proceeded with his dinner.’ cried the mother. ‘That’s a winder. ‘Has ter. ‘Lick him into shape!—lick what marrow there WAS out of his bones. But I understand”.’ ‘A fat sight you have done as it is.’ ‘I’ll see for myself.’ he said. her chin in one hand. ‘No. What took thee there?’ ‘That Arthur!’ ‘Oh—an’ what’s agate now?’ ‘He’s only enlisted. I s’ll do no more for ‘im. ‘YOU know what he wants!’ She got ready and went by the first train to Derby. at his job—a young nuisance—here he goes and ruins himself for life. ‘Nay. and she sat back in her chair.’ ‘And could you see him?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘And what did he say?’ ‘He blubbered when I came away. ‘The idea!’ cried Mrs.’ ‘It’s no good. And Morel was almost ashamed to go to his public-house that evening. It’s just what he wants. She knew he would not Free eBooks at Planet eBook. 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. holding her elbow with the other. It was.

She looked at them a long time trying to find fault with them.’ ‘Both first?’ ‘Yes. ‘What do you think I’ve got for my pictures. on the walls of the Castle gallery. She saw by his eyes he was glad. And in the autumn exhibition of students’ work in the Castle he had two studies.’ ‘He’s awfully nice-looking. Her face flushed. The discipline was intolerable to him. Arthur was handsome—at least. There hung Paul’s picture! She knew it as if it were printed on her heart. the more because he was unaware of his own powers.’ he said. But Paul was going to distinguish himself. both of which had firstprize awards. Then suddenly she had a shock that made her heart beat. ‘Name—Paul Morel—First Prize. Morel went to the Castle unknown to Paul.’ ‘H’m!’ There was a rosy. all his measurements were correct. bright look about her. how should I know. she thought to herself: ‘Yes. ‘Now. irresponsible. But he doesn’t fetch the girls like William. ‘isn’t it?’ ‘It is. and she did not forgive his death. it’s a different character. a good specimen—and warm and generous. There was so much to come out of him. But she felt a proud woman. Not for nothing had been her struggle. they were good. nevertheless.’ she said with some pride to Paul. But they had not in them a certain something which she demanded for her satisfaction. coming home one evening. He was highly excited.’ To console his mother. She was to see herself fulfilled. Several times during the exhibition Mrs. you know.’ It looked so strange. But she was full of joy. He did not. Yes. and probably would do well in the  . there in public. He IS good-looking. She wandered down the long room looking at the other exhibits. When she met well-dressed ladies going home to the Park. She had a great belief in him. where in her lifetime she had seen so many pictures. ‘It’s nice. a landscape in water-colour and a still life in oil. She kept them still. He’s a good deal like his father. my boy!’ ‘A first prize for those glass jars—-‘ ‘H’m!’ ‘And a first prize for that sketch up at Willey Farm. ‘I should have the trouble of dragging you down again. Life for her was rich with promise. does he?’ ‘No. Some made her jealous. Paul did not go much to Willey Farm at this time. they were so good. you look very well—but I wonder if YOUR son has Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘But the the army. And she glanced round to see if anyone had noticed her again in front of the same sketch. William had brought her his sporting trophies. mother?’ he asked.’ ‘Why don’t you praise me up to the skies?’  Sons and Lovers She laughed. ‘said he was perfectly proportioned—almost exactly. though she said nothing.’ she said.

The girl saw his masculine spirit rear its head. with a sullen expression. and a defiant carriage.’ said Miriam huskily. looked dwarfed beside this woman with the handsome shoulders. He turned to Miriam. And Paul felt he had done something for her. and a full mouth. Leivers. Then: ‘Walking with Louie Travers. and had not expected to meet her in town. All his work was hers. He had seen her on the Sunday. ‘Why. a skin like white honey. was smith for the factory. ‘To the Castle. ‘Hello!’ he said. It interested Paul. She was walking with a rather striking woman. perhaps from men also. also striking to Free eBooks at Planet eBook. She had scornful grey eyes. and so on. ‘you didn’t tell me you were coming to town. The smith was a man of thirty-one or thirty-two. Through her Miriam felt she got into direct contact with Jordan’s. ‘I’ve told you about Mrs. His gaze was on the stranger. and because her husband. as if she had drawn away in contempt. meditative bearing. do you know Paul?’ ‘I think I’ve seen him before. Baxter Dawes. 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. What time are you free?’ ‘You know not till eight to-night. She did not answer. if only a trifle. But Mrs.two first prizes in the Castle. She looked at him as if she would not trouble to answer. Baxter Dawes he knew and disliked. Miriam watched Paul searchingly. but which believed the  . blonde. making the irons for cripple instruments. One day. He came occasionally through Paul’s corner—a big. and had not much taste. ‘Where are you going?’ he asked. he met Miriam. do you know her?’ he asked. Miriam had sought her out because she had once been Spiral overseer at Jordan’s. and a sort of slightly affected simple dress that made her look rather  Sons and Lovers sack-like. as proud a little woman as any in Nottingham.’ And she walked on. she was nervous. Dawes. ‘Clara. as he was going up Castle Gate. She was evidently poor. It was strange how Miriam. in her bowed. She wore a large. dowdy hat of black beaver.’ ‘No. damn it!’ And directly the two women moved on. She carried her head back. Dawes indifferently. ‘I drove in to Cattle Market with father.’ He looked at her companion. Paul remembered that Clara Dawes was the daughter of an old friend of Mrs. and had taken up Women’s Rights.’ she said. who ignored him.’ replied Mrs. She was supposed to be clever. I wish you could come too. Miriam usually looked nice. as she shook hands with him. Dawes was separated from her husband. half apologetically. well-set man.’ ‘What train are you going home by?’ ‘I am driving with father. and could estimate better Paul’s position.’ replied Miriam. Louie was one of the ‘Spiral’ girls. ‘Where have you seen me?’ Paul asked of the woman.

pensive face as she kneeled there like a devotee. Pappleworth. ‘Leave him alone. as if he were ready to knock anybody down who disapproved of him—perhaps because he really disapproved of himself. His mouth. in that insinuating voice which means. ‘What are yer lookin’ at?’ he sneered. had gone out. who mocked at the youth. was now Dawes’s woman. but don’t you think she’s a fine woman?’ she said. His eyes. ‘No. bullying. Pappleworth. His hair was of soft brown. low. and yet flushed if he walked along to the station with her as she went home. The others. He had the same white skin. three hap’orth o’ pap?’ he snarled. and handsome. The next time he went to see Miriam it was Saturday evening. his moustache was golden. ‘He’s only one of your good little sops who can’t help it. His whole manner was of cowed defiance. Dawes lodged with his sister. Finding the lad’s impersonal. critical gaze fixed on his face. and she had gone to live with her mother. The glow was warm on her handsome. Dawes?’ she asked quietly. The smith started round as if he had been stung. But the smith used to stand behind the counter and talk to Mr. ‘Yes—in stature. in a deep tone. The boy glanced away. It was a long. There were three of Paul’s small sketches on the wall. dark brown and quick-shifting. glancing away before he met the smith’s eye.’ ‘What with?’ ‘Well—how would you like to be tied for life to a man Free eBooks at Planet eBook. except her father and mother and the young children.’ he replied. But then came the difference.’ said Mr. When she had left her husband the home had been broken up. ‘What’r yer lookin’ at. and his eyelids hung over them in a way that was half hate. On the table and on the high old rosewood piano were bowls of coloured leaves. She had a fire in the parlour. ‘Why yer—-!’ shouted Dawes. She was a  . There was a peculiar similarity between himself and his wife. and somehow Paul knew that this girl. From the first day he had hated Paul. so the two had the parlour together. golden tinge. I think she’s dissatisfied. deliberate gaze of an artist on his face. And he had a similar defiance in his bearing and manner. ‘She doesn’t look very amiable. But without a grain of taste. It made Dawes  Sons and Lovers furious. ‘What did you think of Mrs. were dissolute. They hated each other in silence. he got into a fury. He sat in the armchair. Again he found the youth with his cool. IS she disagreeable?’ ‘I don’t think so. The boy shrugged his shoulders slightly. They protruded very slightly. was sensual. with a clear.look at. with a kind of rottenness. insolent hussy. warm room. Louie Travers. Clara Dawes had no children. His speech was dirty. and was waiting for him. and his photo was on the mantelpiece. In the same house was a sister-in-law. too. she crouched on the hearthrug near his feet. I like her for some things.’ Since that time the boy used to look at the man every time he came through with the same curious criticism.

I appreciate her as an artist. then. ‘I wish you could laugh at me just for one minute—just for one minute.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘I do. ‘And what were the things you liked about her?’ she asked. There were some crimson berries among the leaves in the bowl. painful sound. ‘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.’ ‘But’—and she looked up at him with eyes frightened and struggling—‘I do laugh at you—I DO.’ she said. and then it almost seems to hurt you. Oh. It irritated him.’ That was more probably one of his own reasons for liking Mrs. I don’t know—perhaps you like her because she’s got  Sons and Lovers a grudge against men. He reached over and pulled out a bunch. you make me knit the brows of my very soul and cogitate. dazzled dark eyes. if she was to have revulsions so soon?’ ‘Ay. They were silent.’ she said. ‘I don’t know. Dawes. It seemed the stamp of a man who was not her man in Paul Morel. Miriam bowed a little lower.’ he said. it seems as if it shows up your suffering. ‘why would you look like some witch or priestess. particularly when he was with Miriam. When you laugh I could always cry. ‘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.’ She bowed her head as if he were scolding her. ‘Eh. ‘Yes. ‘If you put red berries in your hair. I feel as if it would set something free.’ she said. ‘Why can’t you laugh?’ he said. and she was afraid of it. ‘Ay?’ she queried satirically.’ he said. while he thought of Clara. His vigorous warm hands were playing excitedly with the berries. She longed to smooth it away.’ ‘Yes. why did she!’ repeated Miriam bitterly. ‘And I should have thought she had enough fight in her to match him. and never like a reveller?’ She laughed with a naked.’ ‘Then what?’ she asked slowly. There was a silence for some moments. ‘You never laugh laughter. You only laugh when something is odd or incongruous. do you?’ he asked the girl. There had come into his forehead a knitting of the brows which was becoming habitual with him. that’s all. Miriam bowed her head. ‘You don’t—you can’t—not really.’ ‘Never! There’s always a kind of intensity. She looked at him with her that?’ ‘Why did she marry him. but this did not occur to him.’ He wondered why Miriam crouched there brooding in that strange way. ‘You don’t really like  .

could you have done it quicker?’ ‘No!’ she 1 . If he could have kissed her in abstract purity he would have done so. Miriam came with the bowl of water and stood close to him. He laughed. ‘You are so FINE!’ she said.’ she said. There was something prevented him. He gave a brief laugh. He seemed so beautiful with his eyes gone dark. ‘I shall be late. ‘Then why don’t you be otherwise. She put her two hands on his sides.’ he said. She remained silent. But he could not kiss her thus—and she seemed to leave no other way. there.’ ‘Yes. watching. and then I s’ll catch it. His eyes were dark and shining. rising suddenly. ‘and everybody feels like a disembodied spirit then. turned up the bicycle. ‘But. ‘I’m so damned spiritual with YOU always!’ he cried. This peculiar sadness between them thrilled her soul. He lighted his bicycle-lamp. ‘get that French and we’ll do some—some Verlaine. ‘I’m sure I don’t want to. so long as he did not want her. and it seemed to tear him in two. thinking. and looked up at him almost challenging. She did not seem to realise HIM in all this. ‘Fetch me a drop of water in a bowl. and Paul was natural and jolly again with the father and mother.’ But he saw her crouching. ‘And I don’t want to be spiritual. They 0 Sons and Lovers continued the reading till ten o’clock. She always wanted to embrace him. ‘Well.’ There was still another silence.’ He lighted the hurricane lamp. He might have been an object. and ran them quickly down. with a kind of easiness even in his most hasty movements.’ he said to her. She loved to see his hands doing things. He was slim and vigorous. he was mad to comfort her and kiss her. almost of resignation. took off his coat. He straightened himself. there was a kind of fascination about him. She never realised the male he was. and looking as if they were deep as the deepest well. But then be dared not—or could not. ‘Now. And she yearned to him.’ he said. it’s autumn. and set speedily to work. And she rose and got the books. She loved him absorbedly. bounced the machine on the Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ she said in a deep tone. but his blood roused to a wave of flame by her hands.’ She took her finger from her mouth with a little pop. When he went into the barn for his bicycle he found the front wheel punctured. brooding figure.Slowly she shook her head despairingly. and there was the same yearning appeal upon her. And her rather red. But still her soul was naked in her great dark eyes. His back was towards her. when they went into the kitchen. She wanted to run her hands down his sides. ‘There!’ he said. His kisses were wrong for her. hating her voice. And busy at his work he seemed to forget her. nervous hands looked so pitiful. ‘You make me so spiritual!’ he lamented.

so he had to let it go. glancing at them. that she knew were broken. When he left her. ‘Yes.’ ‘Shall we?’ ‘Do—about four. He feels he is not valued. and buttoned his coat. as he spun past.’ His voice already came out of the darkness. Leivers in the warm glow. half smothered. The roads were greasy. I’ll come to meet you. For the rest the world was full of darkness. silver upon the blackness.barn floor to see that the tyres were sound. ‘Till tomorrow. ‘You’ll take care. After a few minutes he said: ‘Edgar and Miriam are coming to tea tomorrow. won’t you?’ she pleaded. wondering if he had got home safely. It was risky. steeper drop in the hill. jumping on his bicycle. Recklessness is almost a man’s revenge on his woman. ‘Do you?’ he asked. and he loved it. save for the breathing of cattle in their  Sons and Lovers stalls. ‘Here goes!’ he said. he saw through the uncurtained window of the kitchen the heads of Mr. and because of the brewers’ waggons with drunken waggoners asleep. ‘Aren’t they pretty?’ ‘Yes. Looking across. Orion was wheeling up over the wood.’ ‘I can use my toe.’ He knew she was cross with him.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. was quite black in front. The stars on the lake seemed to leap like grasshoppers. then away again.’ She did not answer.’ she murmured. The road. He dropped down the hills on his bicycle. She sat reading. She turned very slowly indoors. His bicycle seemed to fall beneath him. He felt a pleasure as the machine plunged over the second. ‘That’s all right!’ he said.’ ‘Very well. mother!’ he said.’ ‘I wish you’d had them mended. ‘Did you have them mended?’ she asked. ‘No!’ ‘But why didn’t you?’ ‘The back one goes on a bit.’ She was pleased. Then there was the long climb home. She stood a moment watching the light from his lamp race into obscurity along the ground. with pine trees.’ he said.  . with Edgar. She was trying the brakes. ‘H’m!’ she said. They went across the dark yard to the gate. ‘Don’t worry—come to tea tomorrow. ‘You know whether I mind or not. his dog twinkling after him. so he will risk destroying himself to deprive her altogether. ‘You don’t mind?’ Still she did not answer. and Mrs. She prayed earnestly for his safety that night. It looked very cosy. as she always did. she often lay in anxiety. and silent.’ ‘But it’s not safe. ‘See. because of the curve in the darkness at the bottom. as he threw her the berries and leaves on to the table.

next to Miriam. the tall black headstocks and lines of trucks. He was glad to see them coming. Then the chapel was like home. Burns. but with Miriam cold and rather grudging. without the feeling of Miriam returning to him. and the sofa was old. The chairs were only wooden. nor was Miriam of hers. so that nothing was out of place. Yet Paul thought the girl looked so nice in her brown cashmere frock. She rose to meet the visitors. keen and almost unbearable. Everywhere was clean and still for Sunday afternoon. Miriam talked books a little. the china was pretty. When Paul and his mother came in the chapel the Leivers’s pew was always empty. say no more! You’ve asked her to tea. Mrs. it’s quite sufficient. At first Edgar and Miriam used to go into Mrs. It was a pretty place. opposite the Morels’. Mrs. sat at the head of her pew.‘I don’t see why you should. the cloth was fine. but was afraid. like a little champion. there was a simplicity in everything. It did not matter that the spoons were not silver nor the knives ivory Sons and Lovers handled. He Free eBooks at Planet eBook. whilst Mrs. and turned soon to Edgar. Morel was not cordial. She’ll come. He knew it was merely Miriam she objected to. Paul at the other end. I have plenty of meals there.’ He was very angry with his mother. the pictures were prints in good taste. But the hearthrug and cushions were cosy. by the lighted lamp-house. he thought. and plenty of books.’ ‘You do. with dark pews and slim. And the same people had sat in the same places ever since he was a boy. With Edgar she was cordial. He was rather proud of his home. Morel spent the rest of the evening with her old friend. Mrs. He flung off his boots and went to bed. everything looked nice. Her father took one for themselves once more. She did not very long occupy the Morels’ pew. because both were what they should be. He helped his mother to get the tea ready. He was keenly alive on his walks on Sunday nights with Edgar and Miriam. Morel’s pew. Miriam would have gladly proffered.  . Morel never went to chapel. and at first Miriam sat next to him. preferring the publichouse. Then he felt warm and happy and religious at once.’ ‘Then why do you begrudge them tea?’ ‘I begrudge whom tea?’ ‘What are you so horrid for?’ ‘Oh. and near to his mother. And then he was proud of the table. past the fans spinning slowly like shadows. Morel sat in her black dress and black apron. That was her unfailing topic. a certain distinction. Morel had managed wonderfully while her children were growing up. uniting his two loves under the spell of the place of worship. But Mrs. Mrs. and flowers. And after chapel he walked home with Miriam. Paul went to meet his friends the next afternoon. There was about it now. It was under the little gallery. and warm. He never went past the pits at night. They arrived home at about four o’clock. elegant pillars. He was never ashamed in the least of his home. It was wonderfully sweet and soothing to sit there for an hour and a half.

was always in shadow. He bled her beliefs till she almost lost consciousness. mother?’ he cried in despair. and on the black upslopes patches of tiny lights. her face hidden under her bat of dark green velvet. as she sat opposite. But why should she? And why did he hate Miriam. he stood for some minutes. as if there were something he could not get to. Why did she make him feel as if he were uncertain of himself. At this time he was beginning to question the orthodox creed. He was cruel. and pride. Edgar enjoyed it. as. It was all weird and dreadful. He will never be a man on his own feet—she will suck him up. and tinged to intensity by a pain. He was changeable.was anxious for fear she would not come: it was so far. Then came the hours when he knew Miriam was expecting him. Spring was the worst time. as if all his soul stirred within him. her head bowed. Why was he torn so. less human. with her long stride. and there were so many rainy Sundays. the man she loved examined her religion in which she lived and moved and had her  . But he had to make her talk to him. happiness. ‘She’s not like an ordinary woman. She was beginning to dread the spring: he became so wild. If Miriam caused his mother suffering. running home. almost bewildered. She wants to absorb him. coming home from his walks with Miriam. But it gave him a very keen feeling. But he did not spare her. my boy. brought up against a stile. It was not the same glow. as if he would kill her soul. but I can’t—I can’t!’ And he felt dreary and hopeless between the two. and in the lowest trough of the night. then he hated her—and he easily hated her. going at a great rate. insecure. Then. what a rush of tenderness and humility! Suddenly he plunged on again. ‘She exults—she exults as she carries him off from me.’ So the mother sat. I’ve tried and tried. often very late indeed. He walked biting his lips and with clenched fists. and battled and brooded bitterly. and hurt her so much. was wild with torture.  Sons and Lovers And he. as if he had not sufficient sheathing to prevent the night and the space breaking into him? How he hated her! And then. His mother saw on him the marks of some agony. ‘I don’t know. Then she was angry with him for going so far with Miriam. All the way he went cruelly smashing her beliefs. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. There was a great hollow of darkness fronting him. But Miriam suffered exquisite pain. So he decided to stay away from her. Then. even for himself. with an intellect like a knife.’ she replied piteously. And when they went alone he was even more fierce. ‘Why don’t you like her. and did not move. a flare of the pit. an indefinite thing. to see her there. and she said nothing. that he felt in having his mother in charge: something more wonderful. Her face. who can leave me my share in him. He was twenty-one. and feel so cruel towards her. and she was twenty. and unable to move? Why did his mother sit at home and suffer? He knew she suffered badly. ‘I’m sure I’ve tried to like her. she came in. Morel cried in her heart when Paul had gone. and intense and cruel. He was by nature critical and rather dispassionate.’ Mrs. at the thought of his mother. She wants to draw him out and absorb him till there is nothing left of him.

He could not go on with his work. man and woman together. And his mother knew he was gone. It felt to her as if she were fingering the very quivering tissue. And in the end it frightened her.’ he said. They stood by the pasture leading down to the wood. realising. towards the west. and not him. so brilliant. They had glimpses of their own constellation. went by overhead. so level it was. struggling with difficulty through the spume of cloud. One evening about this time he had walked along the home road with her. did not prevent his hating her. But your unconscious self always asks it of me. ‘Don’t talk any more. He could not bear to look at Miriam. unable to part. And when he was with her he was cruel again. Orion. and he resisted. gathering himself together. as if in a trance. And he knew he was as much to blame himself. She seemed to want him. whiteand-blue day. He felt that she wanted the soul out of his body.’ He went on. ‘I don’t wish to.’ she said. It was a glistening. and not want what I can reel off for you! ‘ ‘I!’ she cried bitterly—‘I! Why. and he could not. laying her hand  Sons and Lovers on his forehead. And as soon as he was on the way he sighed with relief. looking up. and. It was as if something were drawing his soul out towards Willey Farm. And I suppose I want it. as drug-taking might. his dog ran low. All his strength and energy she drew into herself through some channel which united them. Then he put on his hat and went. He lay quite still. In a vague way he hated her for it. and you feel you can’t bear it. which fascinated him. As the stars came out the clouds closed. with Miriam sitting beside him. His body was somewhere discarded. Big clouds. ‘Not when you’ve gone too far. This. The clear spaces in the sky were of clean. almost inhuman. almost unable to move. It urged him to an intensity like madness. in his dead fashion: ‘If only you could want ME. It gave her deepest satisfaction. he got up and began to talk trivialities. He was discussing Michael Angelo. saying nothing. and it wears you out.’ he said.His mother watched him growing restless. She wanted to draw all of him into her. He could do nothing. and his voice gradually filled her with fear. when would you let me take you?’ ‘Then it’s my fault. She did not want to meet him. very low. however. ‘Why not? Are you tired?’ ‘Yes.’ He laughed shortly. One day in March he lay on the bank of Nethermere. He resisted all the time. while shadows stole along on the water. the very protoplasm of life. He wanted now to give her passion and tenderness. cold blue.’ she pleaded softly. He felt insubstantial. His jewels glimmered for a moment. ‘Yet you always make me like it. There he lay in the white intensity of his search. as she heard  . Paul lay on his back in the old grass. Orion was for them chief in significance among the Free eBooks at Planet eBook. so that there were two of them.

it’s not very nice out.’ Miriam was astonished and hurt for him. So they read Balzac. Annie. He had fought against his glamour and fascination. was at home again. ‘Oh. when he stood frowning gloomily at the gathered clouds. But he said nothing that gave him away. They had gazed at him in their strange.’ she replied slowly. He bustled immediately after his dinner. and felt highly cultured. His wages were to be raised to thirty shillings at the year00 Sons and Lovers end. unconsciously. It was decorum for the women to absent themselves while the men reckoned. at which she was to attend. She left him. ‘If tha oppens it again while I’m weshin’ me.constellations.’ he said. Annie went out to spend an hour with a neighbour. very well.’ he threatened from the midst of his soap-suds. ‘It’s not that—only they don’t like me to. don’t you? You know it’s only friendship. This evening Paul had been moody and perverse. whilst her father was spluttering in the scullery. and she was engaged to be married. At this time Paul became an important factor in Jordan’s warehouse. so now the men reckoned at Morel’s house. moreover. Paul was studying design. wanting to spare him any further humiliation. A fine rain blew in her face as she walked along the road. and she despised him for being blown about by any wind of authority. who had been teaching away. behind which the great constellation must be striding still. Pappleworth left to set up a business of his own. till the moment came to part. This she would never have acknowledged. she felt that he was trying to get away from her. ‘Shut that doo-er!’ bawled Morel furiously. Morel attended to her baking. She pitied him. Annie banged it behind her. unless the week’s earnings were small. Mrs. It had cost him an effort. nor were they to know the exact amount of the week’s earnings. and did compositions. There was to be a little party at his house the next day. and she grieved at the thought of her education’s coming to end. according as his fellow-butties wished. Women were not supposed to spy into such a masculine privacy as the butties’ reckoning. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. surcharged hours of feeling. Morel was always in good spirits on Friday evening. And you understand. Miriam was watching her lover’s mood carefully. prepared to get washed. if things went well. and was gone. So. and Paul remained with Mr. And in her heart of hearts. Paul and the mother frowned to hear him. I’ll ma’e thy jaw rattle. Friday night was reckoning night for the miners. She was hurt deep down. ‘I shan’t come and meet you. Still on Friday night Miriam often came down for her French lesson. Barker had turned a non-drinker. Mr. Paul did not go so frequently to Willey 01 . Orion had seemed just an ordinary constellation to him. She was still a tomboy. Morel ‘reckoned’—shared up the money of the stall—either in the New Inn at Bretty or in his own house. they both loved to be together. Jordan as Spiral overseer. They say I care more for you than for them. in spite of discords. until they seemed themselves to live in every one of his stars.

’ Mrs. His skin was smooth and 0 Sons and Lovers clear. and that his chest was too hairy. ‘Oh. He saw again the passion she had had for him. Morel looked down ruefully at his sides. because be did not get fat. ‘if he didn’t hurtle himself up as if he was trying to get in the smallest space he could. Morel.’ she said. Morel.’ ‘Why is a door-knob deader than anything else?’ asked Paul.’ retorted his wife.’ replied his father.’ She sat and laughed. ‘don’t be such a pulamiter!’ ‘Strewth!’ he said.’ ‘Me!’ exclaimed Morel—‘me a good figure! I wor niver much more n’r a skeleton. He had still a wonderfully young body. as he rubbed his hair.’ ‘Thee strip thysen stark nak’d to wesh thy flesh i’ that scullery.’ said the miner.’ ‘Man!’ cried his wife. otherwise he would have bullied and blustered. muscular. He squatted on his heels before the hot baking-fire to dry himself. ‘Iv’ry-wheer! I’m nobbut a sack o’ faggots. ‘But there’s that much draught i’ yon scullery. with broken nails.Presently he came running out of the scullery. perhaps. Morel. my sirs!’ he said.’ he said to his father. like tattoo-marks. as dead as a door-knob. Morel laughed. ‘Tha’s niver knowed me but what I looked as if I wor goin’ off in a rapid decline. He was Free eBooks at Planet eBook. if it was body that counted. You should have seen him as a young man. don’t be such a kid!’ said Mrs. brownish hands all scarred. and the incongruity struck him.’ exclaimed Mrs. ‘Eh. I dunno. he was as thin as a starved rat. glancing round. It seemed strange they were the same flesh. rubbing the fine smoothness of his sides. It was his fixed belief that. It might have been the body of a man of twenty-eight. ‘I suppose. pretending to shudder with cold.’ ‘I should like to know where. ‘You’ve had a constitution like iron. But he put his hand on his side ruefully. man. dithering with cold.’ she cried suddenly to Paul. drawing herself up to imitate her husband’s once handsome bearing. ‘I’m nowt b’r a skinned rabbit. ‘No. ‘It’s NOT cold. Morel watched her shyly. with the soapy water dripping from him. My bones fair juts out on me. wi’ thy nesh sides. ‘Me!’ he exclaimed. startled and timid.’ said Mrs. ‘you had a good figure once. It blazed upon her for a moment.’ ‘Eh!’ exclaimed the miner. ‘F-ff-f!’ he went. ‘nowt b’r a ice-’ouse!’ ‘And I shouldn’t make that fuss. without any fat. ‘Goodness. except that there were. like a child.’ replied his wife. ‘He had. where the coal-dust remained under the skin. that’s what they say. as it blows through your ribs like through a five-barred 0 .’ ‘It would have some difficulty in blowing through yours. ‘and never a man had a better start. tha’d drop down stiff. Paul looked at his father’s thick. too many blue scars. ‘Wheer’s my towel?’ It was hung on a chair to warm before the fire. curious.

Morel turned the bread in the oven.’ she laughed. tidy. Morel. rubbing his head. Mrs. ‘Eh. and humble. ‘Gi’e my back a bit of a wesh. he pulled them inside out. he scorched them. ‘How’s missis?’ she asked of him. An’ I’ve done another silly trick. He was a quiet. His black hair was cropped short. returning immediately with his shifting-trousers. The children did those things.shy.’ ‘No. to run away from it. and went upstairs. She wiped him in a desultory fashion. ‘Goodness. When he was dried he struggled into his shirt. but healthy and taut.’ she added. ‘I dunno as I have. missis.’ But she had finished. Yet again he felt his old glow. he was pale. Morel.’ ‘Well. Morel knew Barker wouldn’t do anything very silly. As she was doing so Barker knocked and entered. It was very rarely she would do anything so personal for him. and he seated himself with a sigh.’ she replied cordially.’ he said. His wife brought a well-soaped flannel and clapped it on his shoulders.’ he answered. man!’ cried Mrs. ‘Evenin’. effacing himself rather. He gave a jump. ‘No. Then. And then immediately he felt the ruin he had made during these years. He sat. He had told her some time back: ‘We’re expectin’ us third just now. ‘Good-evening. and his flannelette shirt hanging over his pit-trousers. At last he took off his pit-trousers and donned decent black. as he would have done if Annie and her familiar friends had been present.’ ‘That’s a blessing. He wanted to bustle about. He did all this on the hearthrug. Then from the red earthenware panchion of dough that stood in a corner 0 Sons and Lovers she took another handful of paste.’ ‘You can have mine.’ ‘Let’s see—when?’ asked Mrs.’ ‘What’s that?’ Mrs. ‘get dressed!’ ‘Should thee like to clap thysen into britches as cowd as a tub o’ water?’ he said.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ he asked her.’ said Morel. his head was bony. ‘she keeps pretty middlin’.’ said Barker. washing his back. ‘Well. He turned them. Like most miners. ruddy and shiny. tha mucky little ‘ussy!’ he cried. I shouldn’t be surprised any time now. worked it to the proper shape. ‘Cowd as death!’ ‘You ought to have been a salamander. with hair on end. rather scared. I think. as the men always did in Morel’s kitchen. ‘Tha’s made thy heels crack.’ he nodded to Mrs. ‘tha’lt see as it’s draughty for me. for she’s none too strong. Morel. you 0 . ‘I’m come be-out th’ market-bag. ‘The next world won’t be half hot enough for you.’ ‘Ah! And she’s kept fairly?’ ‘Yes. who looked as if he would go through a stone wall. he stood warming the garments he was going to put on. and dropped it into a tin. compact little man.

it’s very middlin’. ‘I’m afraid you’re cold.’ said Barker shortly. ‘It’s a bit nippy. 0 Sons and Lovers ‘Wi’ a rattle in it like a kettle-drum. ‘I see you’ve kested me. Morel went upstairs. sovereigns and loose money. But the fire made him blissfully happy.’ he smiled. ‘Oh. but he’s ten times the man you are. When Morel was nearly ready he pushed the bag of money to Paul.’ ‘Yes. He counted quickly. because Wesson lived in one of the company’s houses. despite his seven children.’ replied Barker. smiling rather vapidly. ‘And how’s that chest of yours?’ demanded Mrs. Morel rapidly with her tongue. Then. He rose and went awkwardly. Morel. an’ Doomsday!’ exclaimed Barker. He smiled again. as master of the house. boy. The hearth is sacred to the family. None of them counted the money. with a boyish ingenuousness and a slightly foolish smile.’ insisted Mrs. He was thin. Mr.’ ‘I shan’t. rather fraillooking. Just then Wesson entered. physically.’ he said. ‘Did you have that flannel singlet made?’ ‘Not yet. The two butties had cooler seats. His nose was pointed and red. ‘Ah. There was a five-pound bag of silver.’ she said to her husband.’ said Mrs. ‘Yes. Mrs. Barker and Morel were both impatient of Wesson. It was too great a familiarity.’ She saw the determined little collier buying in the week’s groceries and meat on the Friday nights. 0 . referred to the checks—the written papers giving amount of coal—put the money in order. ‘Then. ‘An’ Bill Naylor’s?’ This money also was taken from the pack. you’ll be wantin’ that yourself. Morel and BarkFree eBooks at Planet eBook. thank yer. But his wife was a passionate woman. with his back to the hot fire. then. with his blue eyes rather sunny.’ he said. Morel. Then the amount was put aside.’ he asked humbly.’ he replied.’ Both colliers sat away back.‘Nay. they were both as hard as nails. sat in his armchair. ‘It’ll come. and the butties cavilled for a minute over the dayman’s earnings. But. Morel. ‘What did we say Simpson’s was?’ asked Morel.’ ‘Nay. ‘Count it. ‘Go thy ways i’ th’ armchair. of course. tipped the bag upside down on the table. The newcomer took off his cap and his big woollen muffler. Wesson. ‘T-t-t-t!’ went Mrs. and his rent had been deducted. and she admired him. ‘Nay. Then Barker glanced at the checks. They could not be induced to come on to the hearth. and the three men came to table. ‘Barker’s little. Paul impatiently turned from his books and pencil. I s’ll do where I am. ‘Then come to the fire. I take a string bag always. why didn’t you?’ she cried.’ cried Morel cheerily. come. He sat in Morel’s armchair awkwardly. I’m very nicely here.’ he smiled.

’ he answered. each a shilling till there were no more 0 . Morel gave each of them a sovereign till there were no more sovereigns. all he has to do with his money is to guttle it.’ He went back to his work. He thinks because YOU’RE earning he needn’t keep the house any longer. mother. and for embroidery. It gave him a thrill. He could not work when she was cross. He listened for the yard-gate. At a quarter-past seven came a low knock. Carefully unFree eBooks at Planet eBook. No. But now he felt his mother counting the week’s money. And because Morel’s coals had come. ‘will be done in twenty minutes. Morel took it and stood drinks. ‘And he gives me a scrattlin’ twenty-five. and her wrath rising. ‘A measly twenty-five shillings!’ she exclaimed. and Miriam entered. an’ his club this week! But I know him. Then she came back and peered over his work. don’t!’ cried Paul. Let him go to hell.’ she said. ‘What is it?’ she asked. she took off her tam-o’-shanter and her long coat. ‘The two loaves at the top.’ ‘All right. Morel scuttled out of the house before his wife came down. Then. But his usual intense concentration became unsettled. and she tied her bonnet-strings grimly. She counted again. If there was anything at the end that wouldn’t split. I can’t work. ‘Don’t what. Paul had been working all the time. But I’ll show him!’ ‘Oh. ‘but how do you think I’m going to manage?’ ‘Well. ‘Yes. hanging them up. it’s all very well. it won’t make it any better to whittle about it. Then the three men rose and went.’ ‘It won’t be long. and the leading was stopped. ‘How much was the cheque?’ ‘Ten pounds eleven. Don’t forget them. and descended. she saw her money lying. He went into the parlour and returned with a bundle of brownish linen. each half a crown till there were no more half-crowns. glancing on the table. She looked hastily at the bread in the oven. He dreaded what was coming. He frowned. But now he began to insist on her recognizing him. You can have my money. She heard the door close. I should like to know?’ she exclaimed. for decorating stuffs. Then it was plain sailing. He remained alone working.’ said Paul irritably.’ she said. ‘All alone?’ she said. his and hers.’ As if at home. When she was fretted he could not bear it. ‘T-t-t-t-t!’ went her tongue. ‘Don’t carry on took four-and-six each. It irritated him that she peered so into everything that was his.’ ‘I should like to know what you’d do if you had it to put up with.’ She went very quiet. Barker and Wesson took four shillings each. and she went to market. searching him out. 0 Sons and Lovers ‘Yes. ‘Still design. This might be their own house.’ She bent short-sightedly over the drawings.

All his passion.’ he said. ‘By Jove.’ she 11 . with a scent of new bread. Then he went to the scullery.’ said Paul. her dark curls dropping. pondering. There was for him the most intense pleasure in talking about his work to Miriam. how beautiful!’ she cried. yet with a relentless look about her. While they were talking. lay at her feet. and dropped it in a baking-tin. ‘You do like it?’ he asked. tapped them vigorously.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Miriam Leivers. He took the top loaves out. ‘Ah. small and pale.’ said Beatrice wickedly. Miriam was still bent over her painted cloth. She did not understand. hollow-eyed. and his heart beat quickly. She fingered the work with trembling hands. ‘No. but I think she’d rather have the money. They 10 Sons and Lovers were done. beautifully stencilled with a design on roses. The spread cloth. Brown. any more than a woman understands when she conceives a child in her womb. whether or not. crisp loaves stood on the hearth. ‘What?’ ‘There seems a feeling of cruelty about it. He took the cloth back into the parlour. the bread!’ he cried. Then he began to talk about the design. when he talked and conceived his work. She was a friend at the Morel’s. ‘Take your things off. ‘I shouldn’t have expected to see you here to-night. with her dark eyes one flame of love. and Miriam sympathised. let’s look at your shoes. ‘I did that for you. When he returned he threw to Miriam a smaller piece. He became embarrassed. Miriam moved a little farther from him. wetted his hands.’ She sat down in the armchair opposite Paul and Miriam. and did not speak. ‘Why. She went on her knees before it. It was a cushion-cover with the same design. with its wonderful reddish roses and dark green stems. It proved to be a curtain or portiere. But this was life for her and for him. went into this intercourse with her. ‘Why not?’ murmured Miriam huskily. and somehow so wickedlooking. who were on the sofa. ‘And what will you do with it?’ she asked. ‘Send it to Liberty’s. She brought forth to him his imaginations. all his wild blood. He had spoken with a touch of bitterness. He saw her crouched voluptuously before his work. He put them on the hearth to cool. She looked up at him. entered the room. I did it for my mother. He stood rubbing the bits of dough from his hands.’ said Miriam. folding up his work with a lover’s hands.folding it.’ he replied. I’m not stopping. ‘It’s jolly good. The room was hot. a young woman of about twenty-two. ‘Why does it seem cruel?’ she asked. all so simple. scooped the last white dough out of the punchion. he spread it on the floor.’ ‘Yes. He laughed uncomfortably. Suddenly she looked up at him. Money would have been nothing to HER. She rose slowly.

Miriam put her feet from under her dress. and seized two handfuls of his thick. And they were covered with mud.?’ ‘I don’t know. ‘Mind!’ she said. and fathers. with her hair-comb. Beatrice put her tongue between her teeth and laughed wickedly. springing from her seat. rather pathetic look about them.’ ‘You’ve not had your notice. ‘In fact. and he left her in the lurch—seemed almost to have a sort of revenge upon her then. and.’ ‘Isn’t it an awful shame. I wonder why you didn’t pass. and even at the b’loved himself?’ She affected a great innocence.’ said Beatrice coldly. She tilted his head back and Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ I believe. but Miriam did not see it. ‘I hate you!’ She laughed with glee.’ he said.’ ‘Short of brains. silent laughter.’ ‘Then you wanted a job.’ he replied. laughing. Every one of Paul’s friends delighted in taking sides against her. nevertheless making place for her between him and Miriam. ‘Oh. ‘Nuisance!’ she cried.’ he said. ‘Only brains to bite with. and sisters. doesn’t it. withdrawn into herself. ‘Postle Morel—you believe me. ‘Among other things.’ replied Paul. ‘Are you still at school?’ asked Miriam of 1 .’ ‘Postle?’ she repeated. ‘And his nice little moustache!’ she exclaimed. He held her wrists while she wrestled with him. She had beautiful small hands. It seems to me ridiculous.’ laughed Beatrice. and brothers.’ exclaimed Beatrice. and lady friends. 1 Sons and Lovers Miriam sat silent. she combed him straight. and she went off into another burst of wicked. she rushed and boxed his ears. Miriam?’ There was a fine sarcasm in the last question. eh.Miriam remained uncomfortably still. ‘I want to sit next to you. ‘It would ha’ taken a lot of men to ha’ brought me down here to-night. Lord! are you going to spout foreign languages? What does it mean. irresolute. ‘Who cleans your boots?’ ‘I clean them myself. ‘Postle?’ said Beatrice briefly. and.’ ‘I’d as lief be neighbours with a vixen. ‘Postle my duck?’ ‘Inter alia. Her boots had that queer. ‘If tha doesna tha durs’na. But love laughs at sludge. and men friends. it’s one big smile. then!’ she cried.’ she said. which showed how self-conscious and self-mistrustful she was. to turn you off merely because you didn’t pass the exam. dark brown hair. At last she broke free. which she shook. ‘Yes. ‘Do you mean love laughs at mothers. then?’ ‘I expect it at Easter. ‘Glory! You’re a positive muck-heap. ‘Among other things.’ she said humbly. ‘Beat!’ he said. ‘Did it ruffle his pretty hair. ‘Up its sleeve. ‘Agatha says you’re as good as any teacher anywhere. as he pulled his hair straight with his fingers.’ said Beatrice.

’ said Beatrice.. ‘Sweet boy!’ said Beatrice.’ said Miriam.combed his young moustache.’ She arranged the bread in the oven. ‘And fancy me having Connie’s last cig. Beat. ‘Postle. He set the doors open to blow away the smell of burned bread. Out puffed the bluish smoke and a smell of burned bread. flinging open the oven door. and she puffed daintily. ‘My word. As he was now. One was burnt black on the hot side. If that old woman had come in a bit sooner. jumping up and going away. The garden gate was heard to bang. Even Miriam laughed in spite of herself. Paul mended the fire ruefully. ‘Isn’t he shameless. she had no connection with him. puffing her cigarette.’ he said. ‘I s’ll kiss thee back.’ she said mockingly. ‘Don’t you think he does it nicely. tilting her cigarette at him. ‘I!’ exclaimed Miriam in amazement. Miriam?’ ‘Quite. knocking the charcoal off the poor loaf. old boy?’ said Beatrice. She hated his thick hair for being tumbled loose on his forehead.’ said Beatrice. my boy. Beatrice looked inside 1 . He took a cigarette for himself. ‘This is what comes of the oblivion of love. Beatrice grated away. if he thought it would wash. tipping up his chin and giving him a little kiss on the cheek. ‘Tha wunna!’ she giggled. darling. She was winking at him as he did so. and she grated the bread on to a newspaper on the table. Now I see it! ‘Postle would fix up a tale about his work making him forget. ‘By the way. putting the thing between her teeth. she might as well not have existed. ‘Thanks so much.’ she said. She saw the cigarette dancing on his full red lips.’ Paul was ruefully removing the loaves. ‘Poor mater!’ said Paul. almost sensual. Miriam?’ she asked. mouth quivering. Miriam! you’re in for it this time. instead of poor Alfred’s. ‘Oh. It gave her a wicked delight. she’d have boxed the brazen thing’s ears who made the oblivion. she peered over his shoulder.’ She giggled as she scraped the loaf. very!’ said Miriam. ‘It’s a red for danger. ‘Oh. ‘Fetch me the nutmeg-grater. aren’t you forgetting 1 Sons and Lovers the bread?’ ‘By Jove!’ he cried. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and his full. ‘Light. I know why King Alfred burned the cakes. He brought the grater. another was hard as a brick. golly!’ cried Beatrice. He bent forward to her to light his cigarette at hers. coming to his side.’ said Beatrice. ‘You’d better be gone when his mother comes in. Have you got any of those cigarettes?’ He pulled his cigarette-case from his pocket. and she could not bear it. ‘It’s a wicked moustache. ‘You want to grate it. He was not himself. He crouched before the oven. Miriam saw his eyes trembling with mischief. He held a lit match to her.

after all—twopence.’ said Beatrice. it’s no good bothering. and remove the marks of Beatrice’s comb? Why Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ answered Miriam impatiently.’ said Leonard. Paul entered. She would meet her own boy.’ said Paul. ‘Where’s Paul?’ Leonard had followed Annie. ‘This bread’s a fine sight. ‘Wrap it up in a damp towel. ‘It’s a mess!’ he said.’ said Leonard.’ he said. and went out with Leonard and Annie. ‘I s’d think he’d got plenty on hand. ‘Well. However. shouldn’t he!’ cried Beatrice.’ said Leonard. For some inscrutable reason it served Miriam right. She was quite amiable. very sad. Annie came bursting in. ay. Paul fetched the swathed loaf. Why might she not push it back for him. and she’ll take it to heart. He stood balanced opposite her for some moments considering. ‘Yes—we’re going to share him up like Solomon’s baby. ‘Then you should stop an’ look after it. There was a little distance between him and Miriam. ‘But. ‘Goodnight. Miriam. like. He nodded sympathetically to Miriam. giving Paul the scraped loaf. ‘Don’t forget that bread.‘Quick!’ cried Beatrice. ‘Yes—but I’d been in all week—-‘ ‘And you wanted a bit of a change. ha’penny. She was an abrupt. I don’t think it will rain. She blinked in the strong light.’ ‘Yes.’ Annie agreed. Annie was looking in the oven. ‘No. and sat down innocently. She wondered what he was thinking of as he stood 1 . ‘He should. Annie laughed. ‘Smell of burning!’ she exclaimed.’ insinuated Leonard kindly. thinking of his behaviour with Beatrice. like?’ said Leonard. ‘You had a nasty walk.’ Paul disappeared into the scullery. ‘Oh. Beatrice hastily blew her scrapings into the fire. ‘It’s the cigarettes.’ said Beatrice. ‘he’s gone off with number nine.’ said Annie. and surveyed it sadly.’ ‘An’ you’d have the leavings. He felt guilty inside himself. our Paul.’ He took the loaf back into the scullery. didn’t you. unwrapped it.’ ‘I just met number five inquiring for him.’ replied Beatrice demurely. ‘And which bit should you have?’ ‘I don’t know. but—it’s the mater’s precious baking. twisting up a comic face.’ 1 Sons and Lovers replied Annie.’ cried Annie. Miriam?’ said Annie. He had a long comic face and blue eyes. ‘I suppose he’s left you to settle it between you.’ said Beatrice. and became gently sarcastic to Beatrice. He was not going to repent. our Paul. ‘what is it. Beatrice pulled on her coat. and yet glad.’ When they had all gone. quite smart young woman. ‘You mean YOU should do what you’re reckoning to do. ‘I’ll let all the others pick first. Miriam sat ignored. His thick hair was tumbled over his forehead. you can’t be stuck in the house for ever.

1 Sons and Lovers He was afraid of her love for him. It made her quiver almost with terror as he quickly pushed the hair off his forehead and came towards her. It looked so firm. She lost all her self-control. Est-ce que vous voyez aussi l’aube? Les oiseaux m’eveillent presque tous les matins. et puis.’ he said quietly. ‘Il faisait encore un crepuscule. He only knew she loved him. and yearning. For Miriam he was too quick. Even the way he crouched before the oven hurt her. her red lips parted piteously. ruddy cheek.’’ he read. ‘the past participle conjugated with avoir agrees with the direct object when it precedes. She quivered. Suddenly she looked up at him. He would read it now. fine curls tickled his face. she was hurt. and every whit living. And he would let other girls. He remained quite still. And he knew. ignoring her soul that was there. rigorously scoring her work. She started violently. et tous les oiseaux du bois eclaterent dans un chanson vif et resonnant. ‘You’ve done well this week. ‘We’d better buck up. Toute l’aube tressaillit. why not her? Suddenly he started into life. something cruel in the swift way he pitched the bread out of the tins. afraid. Every week she wrote for him a sort of diary of her inner 1 . He saw her peering forward at the page. motionless. Suddenly he flung down the pencil. ‘Ce matin les oiseaux m’ont eveille. firm and warm. and was at the oven in a leap. They seemed to master her. It was too good for him. shuddering. He read in silence. half ashamed. And her diary was mostly a love-letter. There seemed to be something cruel in it.’ he said. He returned to her exercise. Il est si clair—-’’ Miriam sat tremulous. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. caught it up again. Ashamed. But gradually his hand forgot its work. turning the bread. he must drive something out of himself. jaune. His eyes. He sat beside her. His own love was at fault. ‘Look. She watched his hand. He started as if they had been red hot. was exposed in fear. before he could kiss her. were dark. Mais la petite fenetre de ma chambre etait bleme. and it hurt her with real pain. she felt as if her soul’s history were going to be desecrated by him in his present mood. et toujours il y a quelque chose de terreur dans le cri des grives.might she not press his body with her two hands. he corrected her work. not hers. and he was inadequate. He had found this was the only way to get her to do compositions. ‘Half-past eight!’ he said. humbly writing above her words. too.’ She bent forward. J’avais reve de vous. Her free. Her dark eyes were naked with their love. His breath came short as he watched her. And a touch of hate for her crept back again into his heart. As it was. He was reading only the French. trying to understand. trying to see and to understand. If only he had been gentle in his movements she would have felt so rich and warm. He returned and finished the exercise. She was coloured like a pomegranate for richness. and they hurt her. Where’s your French?’ Miriam shyly and rather bitterly produced her exercise-book. the black hair springing in fine strands across her tawny. in her own French.

Annie. then she shook it mistrustfully.She saw he was flattered by her diary.’ These were like herself. He was not home again until a quarter to eleven. remained sitting on a low stool before the fire. She did not like Baudelaire. ‘You should try!’ Again she shook her head. ‘you don’t know how badly my mother Free eBooks at Planet eBook. but sat with her head bowed. The desiccated loaf remained swathed up in the scullery. ‘I don’t trust myself. ‘It is late—but we can read just a little. he took the bread out of the oven. ‘Behold her singing in the field Yon solitary highland lass. arranging the burnt loaves at the bottom of the panchion. It made her wretched. Then he read it for her. He did not trouble to lock the door. ‘Mater needn’t know till morning. mother.’ She lifted her head with joy. Then he turned down the gas and they set off. There was no answer from either woman. His voice was soft and caressing.’ Miriam looked in the bookcase. His mother was reading the little local newspaper. saw what books were there.’ 0 Sons and Lovers The poem was finished. His mother was seated in the rocking-chair. ‘Shall we read. saw what postcards and letters he had received. And there was he. with a rope of hair hanging down her back. It made Miriam feel as if he were trampling on her. passionately and 1 . the good ones at the top.’ he said. Paul entered rather breathless.’ he said. She was really getting now the food for her life during the next week. This he did now. He made her copy Baudelaire’s ‘Le Balcon”. ‘it’s only twopence ha’penny. ‘It won’t upset her so much then as at night. She dared not look at him.’ That nourished her heart. He was very uncomfortable. and went to sit down on the sofa. when he was much moved. ‘Well. ‘You really do blossom out sometimes. And— ‘It was a beauteous evening. She could not understand why he got into such a tumult and fury. I can pay you for that. It did not repay her entirely. She turned away her head. he put three pennies on the table and slid them towards his mother.’ Being angry. He took off his coat. Then—‘I forgot that bread. She took one that had interested him. gloomily. For some minutes he sat pretending to read a piece of paper he found on the table. ‘Yes. And breathing holy quiet like a nun. but growing almost brutal. ‘You ought to write poetry. on the whole—nor Verlaine.’ said Annie. saying in his throat bitterly: ‘Tu te rappelleras la beaute des caresses.’ he said. calm and pure. or is it too late?’ he asked. her elbows on her knees. On the table stood the offending loaf unswathed.’ she pleaded. Her mouth was shut tightly. His mother moved curtly aside to let him pass.’ he said. No one spoke. He had a way of lifting his lips and showing his teeth.’ she said. So did ‘Fair Ines”. No one spoke.

you needn’t have done.’ ‘Very likely.’ He looked closely at his mother. as he would have liked to do. ‘Because you were engrossed with Miriam. but how was I to know. ‘Why is she badly?’ asked Paul. ‘It was enough to upset anybody.’ ‘And what was the matter with you?’ asked Paul of his mother. You were off with Miriam. Morel hotly.’ said Annie. Paul sat pretending to read. But we know why the bread is spoilt. Morel. angry with him for his  Sons and Lovers hectoring.’ There was silence in the room for a time.’ said the mother harshly. ‘I should have thought. you’d better get it. ‘You’re too eager to be off with Miriam. She looked ill. went up to bed. ‘And have you felt it before?’ ‘Yes—often enough. with a suggestion of tears in her voice. He also wanted to know what had made her ill.’ ‘Yes. and I WOULD fetch the meat.’ ‘Why?’ he flashed. He was distressed and wretched. he sat and waited.’ she replied.’ It was his mother’s custom to bring him some trifle for Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘I suppose it’s my heart. her long ropes of hair twisted into a plait. instead of being in when my mother came. his eyes dilating passionately. Certainly she looked bluish round the mouth. ‘You’d never notice anything.’ ‘Then why haven’t you told me?—and why haven’t you seen a doctor?’ Mrs.’ ‘Beatrice was here as well as she. Morel shifted in her chair. for he was troubled. ‘that she wouldn’t have occupied you so entirely as to burn a whole ovenful of bread. Morel bitterly. There was a tense silence. She would not  . her blouse unfastened. am I—and any worse than you with Leonard?’ ‘I was in at a quarter to ten. ‘She could scarcely get home. in his overbearing way. He knew his mother wanted to upbraid him. he began to!’ The girl sat staring glumly into the fire. ‘WHY could you scarcely get home?’ he asked her.’ ‘Then who would?’ ‘Let Annie fetch the meat.’ said Annie. ‘Oh. ‘I found her as white as a sheet sitting here.’ ‘I don’t want anything. and a pair of curtains—-‘ ‘Well. The clock ticked loudly. Seizing a paper. ‘Well. ‘Well!’ said Annie. instead of running away to bed. Annie. ‘And if you’re going to have anything to eat. very well—then it was NOT!’ he replied angrily. His brows were knitting.’ replied Mrs. why DID you hug them. and green-groceries. WHY?’ insisted Paul. bidding him a very curt good-night.’ ‘Oh. still sharply.’ said Mrs.’ said Mrs. So. ‘You’d better go to bed before your father comes in. ‘hugging those parcels—meat.

mother. with averted face.’ He only meant that the interests of HER age were not the interests of his. I can imagine the scene. ‘It seems to me you like nothing and nobody else. then—what is it. Morel. I know it well—I am old. and we’re young. because there’s no sense in it. you don’t care what MANNER it is in.supper on Friday night.’ ‘How do you know I don’t care? Do you ever try me? Do you ever talk to me about these things. Do you ever try me!’ ‘But you don’t. ‘But you’re never too tired to go if SHE will come for you. But I DON’T love her. and got to go to Nottingham in the morning—-‘ ‘If I hadn’t. but I do now—and Miriam does—-‘ ‘And how do you know. You only want Free eBooks at Planet eBook. that—-‘ ‘What things?’ Mrs.’  Sons and Lovers ‘Then why do you fly to her so often?’ ‘I DO like to talk to her—I never said I didn’t. mother. And therefore I may stand aside. ‘You’re old. in the same biting tones. you neither want to eat nor drink then. you know you don’t care whether a picture’s decorative or not. what if I DO want her—-’ he replied. Morel flashed defiantly. This insulted her. jerked movement.’ said Mrs. ‘that I shouldn’t.’ ‘I can’t let her go alone. you know t’s not.’ ‘She doesn’t come without you want her—-‘ ‘Well. then.’ ‘What is it. you’d be just the same. Morel was so intense that Paul began to pant. that matters to me?’ she flashed. nothing.’ ‘Yes. the night of luxury for the colliers. to try?’ ‘But it’s not that that matters to you. ‘Why. Is she so fascinating that you must follow her all that way?’  .’ ‘No. I have nothing more to do with you. coming home at midnight. if it was sensible or reasonable.’ ‘What nonsense. He was too angry to go and find it in the pantry this night.’ he said. nor me. ‘but—-‘ ‘LIKE her!’ said Mrs. ‘I do like 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. Morel. ‘And YOU won’t at my age. She sat still. nor anyone now for you. Morel was bitterly sarcastic. But he realised the moment he had spoken that he had said the wrong thing. Nay. He knitted his brows with pain.’ ‘Well. It was a movement that hurt Paul to see. because I don’t want her to. stroking with a rhythmic. There’s a lot of things that you’re not interested in. I should.’ was the sad reply. the black sateen of her apron. mother.’ ‘Is there nobody else to talk to?’ ‘Not about the things we talk of. YOU don’t care about Herbert Spencer.’ Mrs. ‘Why—painting—and books. ‘If I WANTED you to go to Selby on Friday night. But to go trapseing up there miles and miles in the mud. ‘Yes.’ ‘Can’t you? And why does she come?’ ‘Not because I ask her. There’s neither Annie.

He balanced in the doorway. ‘Perhaps I’m selfish. and rose. ‘now go to bed.’ said his mother. after you’ve swilled a bellyful of beer.’ she said. I could let another woman—but not her.’ He could not bear it. ‘And I’ve never—you know. and cried. my boy.’ He had taken off his collar and tie. Morel’s emotion turned into sudden hate of the drunkard who had come in thus upon her. If you can give me no more than twenty-five shillings. Paul started to his  .’ Suddenly she looked at him almost as if in fear. mother. It was what Mrs. toppling in his balance. to go to bed. the only supreme thing. Morel had bought for her son. Paul kissed her. I don’t love her.’ ‘Wha-at—wha-at!’ snarled Morel. she threw her arms round his neck. you know it isn’t!’ She was moved to pity by his cry. but I want to come home to you. ‘No. As he stooped to kiss his mother. I’m sure I’m not going to buy you pork-pie to stuff. Instinctively he realised that he was life to her.’ As she was speaking she heard her husband coming. His hat was over one corner of his eye. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Morel came in. ‘You know it isn’t.’ he murmured.’ ‘Well. mother—I really DON’T love her. and suddenly. ‘There. in a voice trembling with passionate love. ‘Waste your own stuff!’ he cried. hung up his hat and coat. and his mouth was on her throat. she was the chief thing to him. ‘Nor was that bought for you. And. You’ll be so tired in the morning. ‘Ha—mother!’ he said softly. hid her face on his shoulder. If you want her. mother. it is sober. Mrs. walking unevenly.’ she said. in a vicious spurt of temper. ‘At your mischief again?’ he said venomously. She’d leave me no room. flung it into the fire. ‘At any rate. not a bit of room—-‘ And immediately he hated Miriam bitterly. he gently stroked her face. trembling. His mother kissed him a long. ‘It looks a great deal like it.’ His mother looked so strange. Then they heard him go down three steps to the pantry. half putting aside her despair. ‘My boy!’ she said. He returned with a piece of pork-pie in his fist. so unlike her own that he writhed in agony: ‘I can’t bear it. take to wait on you—the rest is for Miriam.  Sons and Lovers Without knowing. fervent kiss. Paul—I’ve never had a husband—not really—-‘ He stroked his mother’s hair. ‘Wha-at—not for me?’ He looked at the piece of meat and crust. I talk to her. ‘There’s your father—now go. He went into the passage. bare-throated. ‘And she exults so in taking you from me—she’s not like ordinary girls. ‘H’m—h’m! h’m—h’m!’ he sneered. in a whimpering voice. bowing his head and hiding his eyes on her shoulder in misery. after all.

mother. As he kneeled in front of her he did not  . Then he cleared the room. laid the things for breakfast. The efforts of his father to conciliate him next day were a great humiliation to him. ‘Right!’ said Paul. his eyes upon the side of his father’s mouth. on the opposite side of the room. and brought his mother’s candle. jumping up and clenching his fist. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. putting his head on one side. ready to spring.  Sons and Lovers ‘Faint!’ replied Paul. but swerved an inch away. mother?’ ‘Yes. He stumbled off to bed. smiling with his lips. fetched in a large piece of coal. although she could not move. Paul kneeled there. he was at peace because he still loved his mother best. At last he rose. But he heard a faint moan from behind. Morel was half crouching. mother—don’t be poorly!’ he said time after time. ‘Father!’ said Paul. I’ll sleep in my own bed. somewhere in his soul. sat with his elbows on his knees glaring across. ‘It’s nothing. so that the word rang. not with him. His last fight was fought in that home. Morel was dancing up to deliver another blow. He laid her down on the sofa. where in another instant his fist would have hit.’ ‘Good-night!’ she said. His mother was deadly pale and dark at the mouth. really touch the young man. The young man stood. ‘Ussha!’ hissed the father.’ ‘Don’t sleep with him. even though so close. It was the bitter peace of resignation. ‘I’ll show yer. Morel started. He pressed his face upon the pillow in a fury of misery. He dared not.’ ‘Sleep with Annie. yer young jockey!’ ‘All right!’ said Paul viciously. He ached for that stroke. ‘Mother!’ moaned the boy. Morel. and stood at attention. The tears were hopping down his face. and raked the fire.‘What—what!’ suddenly shouted Morel.’ she murmured. and ran upstairs for a little whisky. ‘Can you go to bed. fists up. stroking his mother’s hand. ‘Good-night. swiping round with a great stroke just past his son’s face. carrying her candle. On the landing he kissed her close. and he turned out the gas. my boy. but the tears ran down his face quickly. And yet. ‘What’s a-matter with ‘er?’ he asked. ‘Mother!’ She began to struggle with herself.’ ‘No.’ She rose. Gradually she was coming to herself. Her open eyes watched him. mother. mother. ‘Don’t be poorly. put everything straight. then followed her closely upstairs. which at last she could sip. ‘Show me!’ He would at that moment dearly have loved to have a smack at something. ‘H’m!’ The elderly man began to unlace his boots. I’ll come.’ ‘I’ll sleep in my own bed.

She was prepared for the big things and the deep things. She did not at the bottom believe she ever would have him.Everybody tried to forget the scene. Paul was his own frank self. which she had had when she prayed. And in sacrifice she was proud. in renunciation she was strong. and there was battle between him and Miriam. and sacrifice ahead. The deepest of his love belonged to his mother. 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. It was the sufficiency of the small day-life she could not trust. he could not bear it. was mingled in all her emotions. This year he had a good deal against her. like tragedy. She was vaguely aware of it. The Easter holidays began happily. or wounded his love for her. looking 0 Sons and Lovers Free eBooks at Planet 1 . Now it was spring. Yet she felt it would go wrong. for she did not trust herself to support everyday life. She saw tragedy. sorrow. On the Sunday afternoon she stood at her bedroom window. She did not believe in herself primarily: doubted whether she could ever be what he would demand of her. When he felt he had hurt her. Certainly she never saw herself living happily through a lifetime with him.

The three brothers sat with ruffled. he would spare neither himself nor anybody else. giving a guffaw from time to time. He sat at the head of the table. hard with mocking hate. now taking on one expression and then another. Leivers was wiping her eyes with laughter. There was silence for a while. below the bright sky of the afternoon. shining with tenderness or dancing with laughter. ‘Was it rough riding?’ she asked. reminding her of Mary. She felt that when his eyes were like this. once lifted. But Mrs. that made her heart sink. It was a bright grey day. The hills and the sky were clean and cold. Everything looked washed. Her face was still like a soft rich mask. There was a cold correctness in the way he put his bicycle in its place. It was spring. Leivers. cruel bearing. When she had finished—‘Tea won’t be for a few minutes. sleepy appearance in their shirt-sleeves. ironical mood. but it won from him not a spark of warmth. she thought. Grey-green rosettes of honeysuckle leaves hung before the window. Will you come and look at the daffodils?’ she said. Miriam glanced at Paul. that had something of a slouch and a sneer in it. look wonderfully a woman. But her eyes. some already. conducted by one of the well-known preachers of the sect. and could tell from that keen-looking. his mobile face. and making her. He took no notice of Miriam. She was wearing a new net blouse that she thought became her. He. it was too near the reality. rather hard. showing bud.across at the oak-trees of the wood.’ She continued quickly to lay the table. in imitation of vari Sons and Lovers ous people he was mocking. She was nervous. To-day he walked with shut lips and cold. Paul came into the yard with his bicycle. was entertaining the family to a description of a service given in the Primitive Methodist Chapel. It had a high collar with a tiny ruff. she fancied. Later. His mockery always hurt her. Queen of Scots. and dignified. being in a hard. At twenty she was full-breasted and luxuriously formed. aloof young body of his what was happening inside him. ‘You were late. She came downstairs nervously. It seemed cruel to her that his eyes and brows. could hardly reach the teacups from the shelves. were wonderful. which she loved and dreaded. which glittered as he walked. which she Free eBooks at Planet eBook. The whole family loved a ‘take-off’ more than anything. and Mr.’ she said. When the men went out to milk. saw that the artist approved. she saw him remark her new blouse. She knew him well by  . just awake from his Sunday nap. with the eyes that could be so beautiful. was rubbing his head in amusement. He rose without answering. unchangeable. Hearing the clack of the gate she stood in suspense. in whose branches a twilight was tangled. He was too clever and cruel. ‘Was I?’ he answered. She was afraid of him. ‘I didn’t notice it. she ventured to address him personally. They went out into the back garden under the budding damson-trees. He would notice her new blouse. Usually he rang his bell and laughed towards the house. He was pale and impassive.

Miriam went on her knees before one cluster.’ she replied. and did not hear. She did not grasp anything he said. ‘But I love to touch them. Miriam was swaying and stroking the flower with her mouth. because you’ve got a shortage somewhere. She thought his sarcasms were unnecessary.’ she murmured. ‘Is there need to cycle to know that!’ he said. She detected an underneath feeling of weariness about him. and their gold ruffled and glowed. It was as if his fretted. could look so hurting. watching her. ‘as if you were a beggar for love. as she smelled it. You absorb. firm and hard against her.’ he said. ‘Aren’t they magnificent?’ she murmured. with his hands in his pockets. He watched her crouching. then continued slowly to stroke her lips against a ruffled flower. or reserve.’ He scarcely knew what he was saying. fondling them lavishly all the while. turned up its face of gold to her.’ he answered. run hot by thwarted passion. and bowed down. or something?’ She looked up at him full of pain. ‘No. bursten flowers appealingly. Even the flowers. But still some had burst. you’re negative. She only sat crouched beneath his Free eBooks at Planet eBook. absorb. These things came from him mechanically. The cheeks of the flowers were greenish with  .’ ‘You can see by the clouds it’s a south-west wind. inhaling the scent which ever after made her shudder as it came to her nostrils. He stood aside. They went forward in silence. ‘Has the wind made you tired?’ she asked. caressing it with her mouth and cheeks and brow. I think not. ‘You wheedle the soul out of things. ‘You don’t want to love—your eternal and abnormal craving is to be loved. I’d go straight. took a wild-looking daffodil between her hands. it almost made her cry.’ he said. ‘It must be rough on the road—the wood moans so. was so much kinder than he. His body seemed one weapon.’ ‘You see. Round the wild. jetted off these sayings like sparks from electricity. so I don’t understand. ‘I would never wheedle—at any rate. as if you must fill yourself up with love. you have to fawn on them—-‘ Rhythmically. ‘Magnificent! It’s a bit thick—they’re pretty!’ She bowed again to her flowers at his censure of her praise. under which daffodils were craning forward from among their sheaves of greygreen blades.’ She was stunned by his cruelty. hurt. sipping the flowers with fervid kisses. that helps me here. ‘Why must you always be fondling things?’ he said ir Sons and Lovers ritably. ‘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. Their scent. You aren’t positive. She looked at him. I don’t cycle. He had not the faintest notion of what he was saying. tussocky lawn at the back of the house was a thorn hedge.loved. ‘You’re always begging things to love you. tortured soul. One after another she turned up to him the faces of the yellow.

On the middle path they passed a trap. The rough way he bowled the dog over was really loving. He adored Paul. and lumbered back again. however. pitching poor Bill away from him. to be tender. She caught his eye. He would rather have had it ugly just then. They faced the amphitheatre of round hills  Sons and Lovers that glowed with sunset. a monument squared and brown. ‘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. At that moment a big bull-terrier came rushing up. She was rather sorry for him. only floundered tumultuously back again. She. He pushed the dog aside.’ They went past the lilac-tree. But he only scowled.’ he said. but it came leaping back. the dog grinning all over. waited for him. He sat down against his will. After tea he stayed with Edgar and the brothers. treetops folded over tree-tops. ‘or I’ll dot thee one. resting his back against the hard wall of hay. So Paul had a little battle with the creature. There was a little bed of hay from the last cutting. Bill was a great relief to him. his brown eyes rolling in his white face. He drew back. ‘Let us sit here a minute. like a pillar of stone. wild with joy. whose bronze leaf-buds were coming unfastened.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. taking no notice of Miriam. the meadows golden. ‘We will go back to the house. ‘Isn’t it dreadful?’ she asked.’ he said.cruelty and his hatred of her. distinct in the distance. And at last he yielded and came to her. The evening had cleared. Paul drew back. knowing he never refused a direct request. pranced his two paws on the youth’s shoulders. a narrow horseshoe hedge of small fir-boughs. Miriam watched them. licking his face. ‘I don’t want to walk out. the man laughing grudgingly. tiny white farms standing out. She never realised in a flash. upon his thigh. There was something pathetic about the man. who. He wanted so badly to love. Paul glanced at it frowning. baited with the guts of a rabbit. They went down to the  . ‘Isn’t it beautiful?’ she pleaded. ‘Get out. that quivered with love. extremely unhappy on this looked-for holiday. Bill got up. ‘No. laughing. ‘Shall we go through the wood a little way?’ she asked him.’ he said—‘no—I’ve had enough.’ said Miriam.’ said the lad. She counted it not much more than a mood. The lad frowned. Over everything she brooded and brooded. the woods dark and yet luminous. panting with happiness. Just a fragment remained of the haystack. and flickered a red tongue at him.’ But the dog was not to be pushed away. But the dog only stood with two heavy paws. I’ve had enough o’ thee. and the east was tender with a magenta flush under which the land lay still and rich. openmouthed. The two fought together. She was determined to track this mood of his to its origin. ‘Bill.

Yet she must be patient with him. It was so deep she dared neither realise nor acknowledge. he would tell her now what ailed him. Like an infinitely subtle shame.’ he said. ‘How often HAVE we agreed for friendship! And yet—it neither stops there. ‘But what is the matter?’ she pleaded. it kept her always back.’ she murmured. rather wearily—‘you know—we’d better break off. thrust at the ground with the pointed stick. She gently and firmly laid her band on his wrist. to vary the fun.’ She wondered why he always claimed to be normal when he was disagreeable. At any rate.’ He flung the stick into the currant-bushes. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘I can only give friendship—it’s all I’m capable of—it’s a flaw in my make-up. He thrust. this self-mistrust.’ he said.’ he went on in a dull. she would do without him. If it were so.’ It was what she dreaded. He laughed resentfully. thrust. ‘Why are you sad?’ she asked humbly. ‘It’s not fair to me. Perhaps she was deficient. The thing overbalances to one side—I hate a toppling balance. ‘Don’t!’ she said. whose still beauty he begrudged. Swiftly everything seemed to darken before her eyes. It was the deepest motive of her soul. sadly. ‘You always do. ‘I’m only normal. ‘I’m not sad. She would never let herself want him. digging up little clods of earth as if he were in a fever of irritation. ‘But what has happened?’ she said. coaxing him soothingly. Yet he had not the courage to leave Miriam. ‘You’d far better not talk. What did he mean? He was so wearying. ‘Put it away. It was no good being impatient with him.’ There was warmth of fury in his last phrases. He meant she loved him more than he her. ‘You know. She would merely see. patiently.’ he answered. Perhaps she had not in herself that which he wanted. Perhaps he could not love her. There was something he would not  . ‘Nothing!’ ‘Nay!’ she murmured. Now he was bottled up. only his eyes alive. It’s no good—-‘ She waited in silence. and they full of  Sons and Lovers torment. and leaned back. He picked up a stick and began to stab the earth with it. He wanted to go and cycle with Edgar.’ he said at length. why should I be. ‘What has happened?’ ‘Nothing has happened. ‘What is it?’ she pleaded softly. ‘But I wish to know—-’ she replied. She brooded. We only realise where we are. ‘We agreed on friendship. He lay perfectly still.’ He was silent again. He remained staring miserably across at the hills. nor gets anywhere else. Let us have done. ‘Why!’ she murmured. monotonous voice.And in a minute the dog trotted off happily.

Miriam shrank 1 . She felt upon him the hardness. he was going to alter the face of the earth in some way which mattered. And in the same way she waited for him.’ she said huskily. ‘What have they been saying at home?’ she asked. but she could not. ‘What do you want?’ she asked him. It was as if the pivot and pole of his life. She would fight to keep Paul. his people. because he knew she loved him.’ He hated her bitterly at that moment because he made her suffer. Love her! She knew he loved her. They did not know what things were really worth. Morel. William was dead. ‘Yesterday—-‘ The night was turning jangled and hateful to him as the twilight faded. Now she dreaded. He and she talked very little more that night. There was one place in the world that stood solid and did not melt into unreality: the place where his mother was. He really belonged to her. ‘Why—I mustn’t come often—that’s all. His soul wanted her. In him was established her life now. Hers was the strongest tie in his life. ‘But I don’t understand. it was he who was chiefly humiliated. Was HE deficient in something? Perhaps he was. ‘Love you. and doing counted with her.’ he answered. We’re always like this towards Easter-time. She guessed somebody had been influencing him. Why should I monopolise you when I’m not—. he was going to make a man whom nothing should shift off his feet. She could not bear it when he was with Miriam. Wherever he went she felt her soul went with him. unreal feel about her. At least she never floundered in such a pitiable way. And nobody else mattered. the foreignness 0 Sons and Lovers of another influence. He belonged to her. Everybody else could grow shadowy. After all. the life beyond offered very little to Mrs. to hand him his tools. How foolish and blind and shamefully clumsy he was! What were other men to her! What were men to her at all! But he. physically. He had come back to his mother. When he thought round. I’m deficient in something with regard to you—-‘ He was telling her he did not love her. was a mere perversity on his part. She saw that our chance for DOING is here. After all.’ he cried. ah! she loved his soul. And in his soul was a feeling Free eBooks at Planet eBook. bodily. as it were. from which he could not escape. And then she knew it was. She despised them for their commonness. any more than I can fly up like a skylark—-‘ ‘What?’ she murmured. And he came back to her. ‘I know. He was stupid like a child.’ He grovelled so helplessly. and so ought to leave her a chance with another man. almost non-existent to him. was his mother. And she bowed under her suffering. she pitied him. After all he left her to cycle with Edgar. Whatever he did she felt her soul stood by him. Paul was going to prove that she had been right. ready. There was a vague.‘Nothing—it’s all in myself—it only comes out just now. ‘you never will! You’ll never believe that I can’t—can’t physically.You see. ‘It’s not that. This about not loving her.

He met her with the young children in the front garden. and Miriam wondered and dreaded what Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Leivers was glad to see him. ‘Isn’t it a strange warmth!’ she murmured. Miriam could not help touching the eggs. was urged towards something else. She gathered something was fretting him. ‘Blood heat. He took ‘Tartarin de Tarascon”.’ he said. However. looking at him with her great appealing brown eyes. She watched him putting them back. She shrank from it. his body pressed against the hedge. He shoved his muzzle in the man’s chest. and wished bitterly that Miriam had been a woman who could take this new life of his. But meanwhile. how he would torture her with his battle against her. Paul fingered his ear for a moment. Mrs. He would come back. and leave her the roots. Leivers. ‘They are quite hot—I think we frightened her off them. and took out the eggs. At the bottom of the Mow Close they found a thrush’s  Sons and Lovers nest.of the satisfaction of self-sacrifice because he was faithful to her. ‘Ay. to get near him. He was concentrated on the act. Then he pushed him away. ‘Shall I show you the eggs?’ he said. he seemed so simple and sufficient to himself. She did him that great kindness of treating him almost with reverence. and so hopeful. It was a week before he went again to Willey Farm. and was afraid to see him again. ‘I don’t want you.’ He put aside the thorns. After tea she stood hesitating at the bookshelf. ‘Go  . That soothed him.’ Bill slunk off. His new young life. but without any heart for it. He seemed to drift to her for comfort. Leivers. They went. ‘It is such a sunny day. I was just going down the fields for the first time this year. cradled them so well. Was she now to endure the ignominy of his abandoning her? That would only be superficial and temporary. Miriam had suffered a great deal. Again the dog came racing up to repeat the fun of the other day.’ He felt she would like him to come. and his hand which. Bill.’ he said. It made him mad with restlessness. she loved him. talking simply. Again they sat on the bank of hay at the foot of the stack. ‘Do!’ replied Mrs. ‘I’m glad you’ve come. he gentle and humble. so strong and imperious. poor thing!’ said Mrs. the Sunday after Easter he came to tea. He read a couple of pages. And she could not get to him. He could have wept with gratitude that she was deferential to him. Seeing him so. And yet it was not enough. his arm reaching slowly through the thorns. He fought against his mother almost as he fought against Miriam. She loved him first. She saw this. holding them in the palm of his hand. He was feeling humiliated. his hand folded carefully over the eggs. She held the keys to his soul. he loved her first.’ he answered. that he found things hard. And she was good to him. it seemed to her. ‘They seem SUCH a sign of spring.’ said the mother.

and I ought to consider myself so. and her dark eyes flashed. ‘You see. ‘Who says?’ she asked. ‘I know she never liked me. it isn’t. Then. She had been furious with her own father for suggesting to Paul.’ she said firmly.’ There was a silence. will you?’ She did not answer. wondering if her people had anything to do with it.’ he said hastily. I ought to consider myself engaged. People should leave him and her alone. And she was angry. There was a silence about the youth that made her still with apprehension. she looked at him. with your intensity in things. Turning his face a little to one side. ‘No. She was angry at having this struggle.  Sons and Lovers ‘No. ‘I don’t know. that he knew why he came so much. I don’t think so. ‘This is your mother. It made her tremble. ‘But I don’t know any other men. ‘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. ‘Why. She only said.’ This she did not consider. surely. if I was going on. so that she could not see him. And even now—if you think it better—we’ll be engaged. But I suppose I can go on alone.’ ‘No.’ she answered truthfully. he began. ‘It was for your sake she spoke this time. He was always such a child for people to do as they liked with.’ he said.’ he went on miserably. ‘And if I ask you to come down any time.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ he said.’ she murmured. Why do you ask?’ she replied. And I’ve tried to find out—and I don’t think I love you as a man ought to love his wife. in a low tone that should have been a reproach to him. ‘I suppose I’d better drop French.’ ‘I thought perhaps. too.was coming. 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. after a pause. because it’s not fair to you. but his quiet resolutions that she feared. They had not. ‘that you. ‘Do you think we love each other enough to marry?’ he asked definitely. ‘Mother—and the others. ‘Well.’ ‘I don’t see that we need.’ she murmured. They say at this rate everybody will consider me engaged. ‘with me—I don’t think one person would ever monopolize me—be everything to me—I think never. no. you won’t stop away.’ he blurted. ‘I can give you a French lesson. laughingly. I was just beginning to get on with it. might have given me more—than I could ever make up to you. What do you think about it?’ Miriam bowed her head moodily. It was not his  . ‘I don’t think so—we’re too young.’ she said. ‘No.’ Now Miriam wanted to cry. He pondered a minute. By this time she was very angry. what shall we do?’ she said shortly.

‘How white Paul looks!’ Mrs. Leivers exclaimed. his brows knit slightly in a way that had become constant with him. ‘a man gets across his bicycle— and goes to work—and does all sorts of things. He loved the little pokey kitchen. ‘But if I ask Edgar. I shan’t stop coming to chapel. But you’ve no need to come home with me. his eyes dark with pain. she would not lose much. where men’s boots tramped. His home was not so lovable. His bicycle went tilting down the hills at random. She wished they would mind their own business.’ ‘All right. He thought it would be a relief to break one’s neck. Paul?’ ‘Oh. all!’ he faltered. rather taken aback. Do you think you’ve taken cold. They went indoors. It had gone rather chilly. He loved Miriam’s long. you shouldn’t have let him sit out of doors. But quite early. ‘You’re not going home. And she meant it. It was his mother. It wore him out. He rode slowly under the pine-trees. no!’ he laughed. and it’s all the social life I get. Two days later he sent her up a book and a little note. I shan’t bother. I can go alone. he rose to go. without looking at him.’ ‘No. But he felt done up.’ he replied. He was at a loss.’ He was very awkward. She spoke her good-night along with all the others. He hesitated. He loved the family so much. with its atmosphere of romance. But then he would have been just as happy with his mother anywhere. low parlour. ‘Oh no. He had no fixity of purpose. he loved the farm so much. and let it trouble you. no anchor of righteousness that held him. its Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘Because. She saw him pale. he’ll always come with us. For all their talk down at his home there would not be much difference. feeling a cur and a miserable wretch. ‘I said I’d be early. it was the dearest place on earth to him.  Sons and Lovers ‘Yes. Leivers.’ There was silence. will you?’ he asked.’ he continued. She remained as she was.’ replied Miriam.’ said Mrs. After all. expecting her to rise and go with him to the barn as usual for his bicycle. At this time he gave all his friendship to Edgar. ‘Well—good-night. and did not speak. and then they can say nothing. ‘And you won’t think about it. Miriam sat in the rocking-chair.’ said Miriam. But a woman broods. She rose and went to the doorway to wave good-bye to him as he passed through the gate. ‘Miriam. the conflict in himself.  . Leivers anxiously. and the dog slept with one eye open for fear of being trodden on. and everything was so silent.‘Well—and there are Sunday nights. ‘But this IS early.’ he answered. He was silent. But as he went past the window he looked in. are you?’ asked Mrs. where the lamp hung over the table at night. Miriam pitied him now. before nine o’clock. She thought him unstable. Whereas Willey Farm he loved passionately. urging her to read and be busy. because I enjoy it.

and they read Macbeth out of penny books. its high rosewood piano. and brought her some cakes from the pantry. with her unworldliness and her quaint cynicism. he gradually realized where he was wrong. pondering in the wood. but such a religious Agnosticism that Miriam did not suffer so badly. taking parts. Leivers. As usual. including the father. Leivers enjoyed it. he loved Edgar. Leivers. Her face beneath was still and pensive. was for her. She did envy Edgar. singing in a circle round the fire. Then they all learned songs together from tonic sol-fa. She alone helped him towards realization. but he liked it. And later. so warm and young and lovable. She was nearly always alone. She liked him on Sundays. 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. She alone was his threshing-floor. Suddenly he reached for a Bible. mended the fire. And somehow. It was great excitement. and Mr. She watched him. There was a clean. So Paul came on alone with Miriam to his home. dreaming. Almost impassive. He lit the gas. its books. clear-cut look about him. walking. But now Paul was very rarely alone with Miriam. waiting. Miriam was because of her. reading. but he was usually with Edgar. When she and Edgar and he walked home together from chapel or from the literary society in Bestwood.  . and they entered. She sat on the sofa. Morel. He could not give it up. Leivers was glad. He was more or less under her spell again. she realized. And what he realized. He went on with his thinking to her. So he went as often. He loved the gardens and the buildings that stood with their scarlet roofs on the naked edges of the fields. Only to be there was an exhilaration and a joy to him. his Friday nights. Only all the family. his days working in the fields. She waited. Edgar had stayed to Communion—he wondered what it was like—with Mrs. She wore a large white hat with some pinkish flowers. he loved Mr. with a plate on her knee. They came to the silent house. who lit up when he came. He loved Mrs. Miriam drew them together. his cycling with Paul.  Sons and Lovers One Sunday evening they attained to their old rare harmony. All the time he went on with his discussion. Then he wore a dark suit that showed the lithe movement of his body. she knew his talk. crept towards the wood as if for cosiness. they were discussing the sermon. For her Friday nights and her French lessons were gone. Always her ears were hid in her short curls. All this besides Miriam. They were at the Renan Vie de Jesus stage. quietly. so passionate and so unorthodox nowadays. Miriam liked the way Free eBooks at Planet eBook. While he trampled his ideas upon her soul. she submitted to his argument and expounding. He took the key out of the scullery window. the wild country scooping down a valley and up the uncultured hills of the other side. Miriam was the threshing-floor on which he threshed out all his beliefs. however. golden-brown and ruddy. And he wrote to her frequently. He was setting now full sail towards Agnosticism. the truth came out for him. It was a cheap hat. She felt he could not do without her. and Mrs.

she could sim0 Sons and Lovers ply trust to the future.he reached up—so sharp. Soon Edgar came in. Miriam had felt him growing uncomfortable. Mrs. All the Leivers were eclipsed like candles. She saw him. She wore a white blouse and navy skirt. but could not get back the right note. He could not be satisfied. Mrs. Then he began to falter and to get self-conscious. Paul did not come till afternoon. glad to see him. She believed that there were in him desires for higher things. Miriam saw him look round at the house eagerly. He was rather excited at the idea of meeting Clara at Willey Farm. The three set off to Willey Farm. He was early. So in May she asked him to come to Willey Farm and meet Mrs. He went on reading. Morel had gone to her friends’. Miriam brooded over his split with her. She shrank when the well-known words did not follow. She wanted to prove him. John. dark-haired. Miriam’s beautiful twilighty parlour looked stiff and stupid. Dawes came for the day. If she could prove it. The girl stood. As he swung off his bicycle. She loved it. Miriam went out to meet him. he should put himself to the test. Now there was a scotch in his running with her. They found her rather hard to put up with. And the wistfulness of his voice was like a reaching to something. Dawes. seemed to make things look paltry and insignificant. There was something else he 1 . the rest might go. whenever they spoke of Clara Dawes. Now she felt there was really something hostile between them. He turned the pages quickly. ‘Yes. she felt as if he were using her unconsciously as a man uses his tools at some work he is bent on. Six months ago he would have read it simply. both to herself and to him. wherever she was. At any rate. A grief and shame made her bend her head. It gave her great pleasure. He tried to go on with his argument. he could give her no peace. his voice only thinking. Yet she was perfectly amiable. He said he did not like her. rouse and get slightly angry. She believed that his chief need in life was herself. Her heavy. he should try. but indifferent. and it was as if she were what he reached with. and that the desire for the higher would conquer. ‘A woman. and somehow. and read her a chapter of St. he missed it out. She sat back on the sofa away from him. He would be disappointed if the visitor had not come. and rather hard. When she was in the room. and yet feeling herself the very instrument his hand grasped. There was something he hankered after. when she is in travail. something of which they were ashamed. Well. and desires for lower. bowing her head because of the sunshine. As he sat in the armchair reading. dun-coloured hair was coiled on top of her head. ‘Hasn’t Clara come?’ he asked.’ replied Miriam in her musical tone. She forgot that her ‘higher’ and ‘lower’ were arbitrary. the kitchen seemed too small and mean altogether. And when he came to the verse. She ate her cake mechanically. intent. but she did not hear. Yet he was keen to know about her. ‘She’s readFree eBooks at Planet eBook. Nasturtiums were coming out crimson under the cool green shadow of their leaves. There was between them now always a ground for strife. straight to the mark. hath sorrow because her hour is come’.

and yet to fling something to  .’ he said. Clara sat in the cool parlour reading. of course.’ ‘Do it whether or not. and white. deprecating. and she kept her face slightly averted. Miriam did not know this courteous Paul. He saw the nape of her white neck. He had put on a handsome tie. ‘It happens so.’ ‘Well. ‘I think she’s a lovable little woman. ‘She’s a great deal cleverer than most men. ‘Why. with fine golden hairs. ‘how do you know?’ ‘I went in for a few minutes before the train came.’ He wheeled his bicycle into the barn. ‘Well. ‘You said you’d bring me that letter from the man at Liberty’s.’ said Paul. and the fine hair lifted from it. I didn’t say she wasn’t. ‘She came this morning?’ he asked. ‘Yes.’ she said.’  Sons and Lovers She sat down. Miriam already began to suffer. She rose.’ He was silent. She intended to scorn him. ‘Clara only came with father—and so—she’s not been here very long. but was too lazy to brush the dust from his shoes. Clara glanced at him. Her heavy arm lay negligently on the table. ‘I am glad. And the skin on them seemed almost coarse. ‘But nag at me till you get it.’ Clara sat leaning on the table. Her mouth was closed as if she were offended. ‘What have you been doing all morning?’ asked Paul of Miriam.’ said Miriam. He took the clips off his trousers. not thanking him for his politeness. He noticed her hands were large. that is all that matters. you see.’ he said. ‘You know I always think she is quite agreeable. Have you remembered?’ ‘Oh.’ she said. She did not mind if he observed her hands. and socks to match. dash. looking at him indifferently. ‘You have chosen a fine day. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and how her shoulder curved handsomely under the thin muslin at the top of her arm. And is she any more agreeable?’ he continued.’ he said to her. Evidently his eagerness to be early to-day had been the newcomer. in spite of the socks and tie. opaque.’ ‘And. of which he was rather proud.’ ‘I don’t like to nag at you. but well kept. ‘Margaret Bonford!’ exclaimed Clara. ‘Yes. ‘Yes.’ he Clara turned away again rather disdainfully. He noticed how her breasts swelled inside her blouse. coughing huskily. no!’ he said. They went together towards the house. To shake hands she lifted her arm straight.’ asked Miriam. ‘You were at Margaret Bonford’s meeting the other evening.’ he answered. in a manner that seemed at once to keep him at a distance.’ said Clara witheringly. holding aloof. ‘She’s lovable for all that. as she walked at his side.’ replied Miriam.

’ He mused a little. rather annoyed.’ retorted Clara. ‘Wasn’t she nice with you. ‘Well. he saw Edgar walking lazily beside the mare. failed to make much out of it. His clothes were old and rather disreputable. ‘No!’ Edgar pursed up his lips. ‘Who is ‘Nevermore’?’ he asked. Is he on the land?’ ‘I believe. ‘I think I’ll go and see Edgar. ‘The lady—Mrs.’ ‘It’s not heaven she wants to get—it’s her fair share on earth. do you?’ ‘No!’ The answer came with a deep ring of conviction. ‘I’ll go and meet him.’ But Clara refused to answer this sally of his.’ he said.’ Miriam dared not propose anything for the three of them. The young farmer’s face lighted up as he saw his friend. and he walked with con Sons and Lovers siderable pride. after all.’ Edgar considered this speech. I wished she was sitting comfortably in peace—-‘ ‘Darning her husband’s stockings. ‘Well.’’ Edgar laughed with glee. The other woman held aloof.’’ Edgar’s teeth flashed in a laugh of amusement. ‘Well. ‘I’m sure she wouldn’t mind darning even my stockings. Dawes—it ought to be Mrs.’ and if she thinks back she says it in disgust.’ he said. ‘Don’t you like her?’ he asked. ‘he’s gone for a load of coal. Can’t stand ‘Nevermore. ‘Why.’ he said. ‘Where are you going?’ ‘Came to meet you. On the top road. and awfully nice—only too frail.’ he  .’ said Paul.’ replied Paul. The Raven that quothed ‘Nevermore. He should be back directly. rather perplexed.’ he said.’ ‘Then. Edgar was good-looking. She spoke as if he were responsible for some deprivation which Miss Bonford suffered. ‘I can’t say she’s much in my line. who nodded her whitestarred forehead as she dragged the clanking load of coal. ‘Not a fat lot. ‘But you don’t think so?’ ‘No.’ replied Paul. ‘which.’ said Paul. He talked to Miriam for a little while. with dark.’ and if she looks at herself in the looking-glass she says disdainfully ‘Nevermore. ‘if she looks at a man she says haughtily ‘Nevermore.’’ said Clara scathingly.He rubbed his head. laughing: ‘You think she’s a man-hater?’ ‘SHE thinks she is. then?’ ‘Could you imagine her NICE with anybody?’ asked the young man. and if she looks forward she says it cynically. He rose and left them. would never get her to heaven. Just as I wouldn’t mind blacking her boots if she wanted me to. ‘And I’m sure she’d do them well. where the gorse was out. ‘I thought she was warm. Then: ‘But why do you call her ‘Nevermore’?’ he asked. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. warm eyes. seeing Paul bareheaded. ‘I suppose it matters more than her cleverness.’ said Miriam. ‘Hello!’ he said. and said.

Paul had a very indifferent baritone voice. dignified way.’ he replied. Dawes ate her meal in a slow. Edgar repeated the line in a clear tenor. ‘I’ve put all that behind me. and his manly pride was high. On Saturday afternoons the horses were brushed down and groomed. Leivers gently. He got up.Edgar laughed. The boys laughed. and ate in silence. He whistled as he went down the brick track. Edgar told her.’ he replied. ‘What song was that?’ asked Miriam. and his fingers that held the brush were thick. Mrs.’ ‘Then the other people should have flaps to their ears. He flushed deeply.  Sons and Lovers ‘If it is good. then the other.’ Miriam said to Clara. ‘Mary Morrison’?’ suggested the younger. he sang softly. ‘You might as well insist on having people’s voices trained before you allowed them to talk. Then he took his departure to the cowsheds. He continued to work all the time. abused his horse. for fear of Clara.’ Paul had been feeling uncomfortable during this discourse. Miriam came for him a little later to know if he would go Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ ‘And you don’t MISS anything in your life?’ asked Mrs.’ ‘And it may be for other people’s discomfort. Paul. because he knew Clara could see if she looked out of the window. There was a silence. Paul and Edgar worked together. Leivers said to Clara: ‘And you find life happier now?’ ‘Infinitely. and first  . ‘You mean if it is high-class and trained?’ he said. Together they unloaded the coal in the yard. people sing for their own pleasure. Whenever the men were present she grew distant. Paul was rather self-conscious. He felt he had been witty. He had a good tenor voice. ‘Do you know a new song to teach me?’ said Edgar. Paul watched him sometimes. However. At times they both broke off to sneeze. ‘You’ll find you’re always tumbling over the things you’ve put behind you. ‘I think a voice needs training before the singing is anything. coloured. The conversation turned to singing.’ she said. The back of his neck was sun-red when he bent down. Miriam was impatient of men. It took so little to amuse them—even Paul.’ she said. and he loved to learn all the songs his friend could teach him. She didn’t look. when all the men had gone but Paul. so that he could sing whilst he was carting. It was tea-time when they had finished.’ he said. Mrs. of course. Edgar agreed. as a rule. ‘We have such jolly times. ‘Really. She thought it anomalous in him that he could be so thoroughly absorbed in a triviality. sneezing with the dust that came from the pelts of Jimmy and Flower. After tea.’ ‘And you are satisfied?’ ‘So long as I can be free and independent. ‘Do you like singing?’ Miriam asked her. but a good ear.

As they were going beside the brook. shifting round its red flanks.’ said Clara. he saw that the upward lifting of her face was misery and not scorn.’ he retorted.’ ‘I would. which he ran as a cattle-raising farm. I would carry your banner of white and green and heliotrope. a man leading a great bay horse through the gullies. swarthy man of forty. among the fading bluebells that might have bloomed for Deidre or Iseult. Clara. as if it were in the past.’ emblazoned on my shield. beneath a woman rampant.’ he said. tremulous. ‘Come along a bit. walking with a kind of sulky abandon. as it felt itself in the brook. When she fights for herself she seems like a dog before a looking-glass.’ ‘And YOU are the looking-glass?’ she asked. The big red beast seemed to dance romantically through that dimness of green hazel drift. His heart grew tender for everybody. a thin. looking at her. away there where the air was shadowy.U. with an endless excess of vigour. ‘that you are too clever. It went up the bank in little leaps.’ ‘Well. I would have ‘W.’ she said.with Clara and her for a walk.’ The man and the stallion went forward. He turned and was gentle with Miriam.’ replied Limb. watched it half-fascinated. then splashed finely through the second brook. They set off down to Strelley Mill Farm. as if he were tired.’ he answered. Miss Leivers.’ ‘And to have us shut up safely?’ replied Clara. The great horse breathed heavily. shaking its white fetlocks and looking frightened. they saw. ‘I am afraid. where pink campions glowed under a few sunbeams.’  Sons and Lovers But Clara wearied of his flippancy.’ he  . gone into a mad fury with its own shadow. Limb stopped and pointed to the fence under some Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘No hanky-pankyin’. Suddenly. sweet maid. and just let ME be clever. ‘singing with your maids at your broidery.’ ‘I have no doubt.P. tenant of Strelley Mill. ‘that his young beas’es ‘as broke that bottom fence three days an’ runnin’. beyond the tree-trunks and the thin hazel bushes. laughing.’ ‘Which?’ asked Miriam.’ he said. He held the halter of the powerful stallion indifferently. ‘Tell your father.S. ‘What a treat to be a knight. The three stood to let him pass over the stepping-stones of the first brook. ‘Or the shadow. Paul admired that so large an animal should walk on such springy toes. Limb pulled up before them. ‘Be good. It danced sideways. The three stood charmed. ‘that you would much rather fight for a woman than let her fight for herself. I leave it to you to be GOOD. looking through the brake at the edge of the wood. half-contemptuous. ‘Yes. on the Willey Water side.’ said the man affectionately to the beast. ‘an’ I’ll show you. whom he had neglected till then. At the wood’s edge they met Limb. ‘and to have a pavilion here. with a curl of the lip. in a peculiar piping voice. and looking suspiciously with its wonderful big eyes upwards from under its lowered head and falling mane.

fascinated by the big beast.’ said Clara.’ said Miss Limb. ‘Oh. ‘Don’t you think big fellows are?’ ‘He’s a beauty!’ replied Clara. Mr. Miss Limb looked up. and saw approaching them from the big farmhouse a smallish. but he can—all but. Her dark eyes glanced straight at Paul. then she kissed him near the eyes.—I didn’t catch it.’ ‘Yes.’ answered Miriam. ducking his head.’ he said. you see where they got through. and up the steep bank to the pond. ‘As loving as any man!’ ‘More loving than most men. which lay in shadow.’ said Miriam. dark. just as you’ve a mind.’ They went through the gate.’ ‘Well. colouring as if she were at fault. we won’t come in. Miss Leivers. ‘Are you coming in? DO come in. The great beast shifted round to her. thanks.’ 0 Sons and Lovers Miriam introduced her friends. not to the man. ‘There. ‘Because if you do you might come and fish any time.’ she said. went up to stroke his neck. ‘Oh. Her brother went forward.’ said Miss Limb. ‘We scarcely see a soul from week’s end to week’s end. The horse gave little whinneys of pleasure at being so near home. ‘He’s quite gentle.’ replied the other 1 .’ ‘Morel. I should be thankful. ‘Isn’t he!’ Again she kissed him. over the sluice. She smuggled into his mouth the wrinkled yellow apple she had been hiding behind her back. ‘It’s a pity he can’t talk. I should think. excitable-looking woman of about thirty-five. Paul walked with Miss Limb. good-evening. Clara.’ ‘Yes—yes. Morel?’ ‘No. but we should like to go by the mill-pond. ‘Are you home again. ‘Your horse IS a fine fellow!’ said Clara. They went through the front garden.willows. She wanted to look in his eyes.’ replied Clara. He gave a big sigh of pleasure. ‘Isn’t he splendid!’ said Miriam to her. ‘He’s a nice boy!’ cried the woman. my boy!’ she said tenderly to the horse. ‘No. Then her brother moved on with the horse. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘No.’ she said. the big bay stallion whinneyed again. who was interested in the creature. She walked with her hands behind her back. ‘It’s ages since you’ve been down. ‘Yes—‘e’s been a tidy step to-day. ‘My man’s druv ‘em back three times.’ said Paul. She held his head in her arms against her breast. She wanted him to look at her. again embracing the horse. She came up excitedly. As it saw her. ‘Are you comin’ in?’ asked the man. Mr.’ he said. but we should like to go by the pond. Her hair was touched with grey. do. her dark eyes looked wild. ‘He is glad to be back.’ ‘What fish are there in the pond?’ he asked. with its two wooded islets. Do you fish.

her dark eyes dilating. talking in subdued tones. finding he did not answer her.’ blurted Clara suddenly. But—she upsets me. I really ought to go and see her more. because there is no one to talk to. There the turf was smooth as velveteen. ‘Do you swim?’ said Paul. They found at the top of the hill a hidden wild field. Perhaps life had been cruel to her. the other sides by high loose hedges of hawthorn and elder  . fairy shipping. quickly gathering the best blossoms. her legs swinging as she kicked  Sons and Lovers through the dead thistles and the tussocky grass. Paul and Miriam stayed close together.’ answered Miriam. who was walking beside him talking to him. and crowded with tall. ‘Ah!’ cried Miriam. He is so quiet. Together they enjoyed the field of flowers.’ she replied. two sides of which were backed by the wood. moving from tuft to tuft restlessly. Rather than walking. ‘I suppose. Clusters of strong flowers rose everywhere above the coarse tussocks of bent. big cowslips that had never been cut. His eyes were fixed ahead on Clara. her handsome body seemed to be blundering up the hill. Between these overgrown bushes were gaps that the cattle might have walked through had there been any cattle now. ‘and so clear. ‘It’s a fine depth.‘I shouldn’t mind swimming here. It was wild and tussocky. was looking at the cowslips disconsolately. A hot wave went over Paul. It was like a roadstead crowded with tan. He did not notice that the question was sudden. talking softly all the time. ‘Yes.’ ‘She makes me feel sorry for her—yes. Do come and swim. her arms hanging loose. padded and holed by the rabbits. ‘But it’s the loneliness sends her cracked. The three walked in silence. ‘she wants a man. and she bothers me. haggard-eyed woman on the bank.’ he said. ‘You mean Miss Limb?’ asked Miriam. then went on up the wild hill. Miriam plucked the flowers Free eBooks at Planet eBook. He forgot Miriam.’ ‘Yes. a little way off.’ ‘What’s a matter with her? Is she going dotty with being too lonely?’ ‘Yes. Clara did not answer. ‘Come when you like.’ he said. ‘Something’s the matter with her. He kneeled on one knee. The field itself was coarse. ‘Miss Limb was just saying we could come when we liked. given over to rabbits. Clara. ‘Do.’ said Miss Limb.’ The other two were silent for a few moments.’ said Paul.’ Clara came up. He smiled. ‘Yes. but strode on uphill. and she looked at Paul. Then: ‘She makes me feel uncomfortable. The hillside was all ripe with sunshine.’ said Paul.’ ‘Of course there’s the farm-hands. ‘Do you still think she is disagreeable?’ she asked. It ran with his thoughts. She glanced at him. He was curious about her. My brother will be awfully pleased to talk with you.’ said Miriam. She was walking with her hand hanging.’ said Miss Limb.’ she said. leaving the lonely. I think it’s cruel to bury her there. They talked a few moments.’ he said. ‘It’s not the right sort of life for her.

Going towards her.’ ‘Yes. and dust to dust.’ ‘But you’d like some?’ ‘They want to be left. she wore no stays. and went stooping over the clumps of tangled flowers which thickly sprinkled the field like pale.’ He held out his bunch. ‘That’s a stiff. Why not? I’m sure they’d smell nice in your room  Sons and Lovers in Nottingham. lingering over them. As he gathered them. luminous foam-clots. Suddenly. Clara was still wandering about disconsolately. And besides.’ she said. saying: ‘Ashes to ashes. breathing some scent from the cowslips. Her breasts swung slightly in her blouse. She was kneeling. Flowers fell on her face. They look better growing. ‘if you treat them with reverence you don’t do them any harm.’ Clara now ignored him. Suddenly. ‘sturdy and lusty like little trees and like boys with fat legs.’ The chill flowers fell on her neck. He picked some more.lovingly. you get ‘em because you want ‘em. A dead flower isn’t a corpse of a flower. he felt awkward. The flowers were very fresh and sweet.’ ‘Whether it is one or not?’ she argued.’ ‘And I should have the pleasure of watching them die. artificial notion. such a beautiful thing.’ ‘But then—it does not matter if they do die. He always seemed to her too quick and almost scientific. scared grey eyes. ‘Because I like them.’ Clara’s hat lay on the grass not far off. Yet his bunches had a natural beauty more than hers. they LOOK nice in a bowl—they look jolly.’ ‘I don’t believe they do. Her neck gave him a sharp pang. Miriam had come close. And you only call a thing a corpse because it looks corpse-like.’ ‘And that is sufficient?’ ‘Yes. ‘I think.’ ‘I don’t want the corpses of flowers about me. without knowing. with almost pitiful. ‘Look at these!’ he continued. Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ he said. standing there above her. ‘And even so—what right have you to pull them?’ she asked. yet not proud of itself just now.’ he said. he said: ‘Why don’t you get some?’ ‘I don’t believe in it.’ said Miriam. Miriam was silent. She looked up at him. ‘But no. wondering what he was doing. If the Lord won’t have you the devil must. he was scattering a handful of cowslips over her hair and neck. and that’s all. he ate the little yellow trumpets. It is the spirit you pluck them in that matters. Clara was kneeling. The arching curve of her back was beautiful and strong. but as if they were his and he had a right to them. ‘It isn’t one to me. bending forward still to smell the flowers. He loved them. ‘They don’t die any quicker in water than on their roots. and she shut her eyes. He wanted to drink them. She had more reverence for them: they held something she had not. and want them—and there’s plenty of  .’ Whereupon he left her.

One flower had remained tangled in her hair. loose bunch of flowers. ‘It has been nice. almost to chain her. Clara laughed strangely. ‘Yes. He wandered after her. But she walked with her head up. and on the ridge of the hill a thin dark outline with little lights. ‘Yes. ‘There she is. ‘So she is!’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ ‘Do you think they were?’ she asked.’ 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. The conversation ended there. trying to force yourself into the dark. hasn’t it?’ he asked. or those from the open tiptoeing into the forests. where the colliery village touched the sky. Then he wanted to get hold of her. Already the  Sons and Lovers valley was full of shadow.’ ‘I should think the second. that she suffered. She took up her hat and pinned it on. mother!’ he cried. Then she turned with a flash of warmth and of gratitude. ‘Don’t you think so?’ he persisted. and still did not answer. ‘Shall we go?’ she asked. ‘Ah!’ she exclaimed. don’t you?’ ‘How should I know?’ she answered queerly. Going down the path they could see the light of home right  . Miriam murmured assent. as if she didn’t care. He gathered up the flowers he had sprinkled over her. and rose. His blood beat up. Clara was silent. but would not tell her. walking ankle-deep through the scattered froth of the cowslips. They drew near to the city. They were all silent. all shadow. Both were at the window looking for the cathedral.‘I thought you wanted a funeral. but as he sat opposite her in the railway carriage. At the edge of the wood the bluebells had flowed over into the field and stood there like flood-water. ill at ease. He felt he must keep hold of her with his hand. At this time Paul took his mother to Lincoln.’ she answered. He could tell by the way she moved. how terrified they would be when they got breast to breast with the open space. ‘It makes me think of the wild men of the woods. They saw the great cathedral lying couchant above the plain. The evening was deepening over the earth. And the three turned away. But they were fading now. She was bright and enthusiastic as ever. Beyond her the trees were coming into shape. Clara strayed up to them. He had a momentary sensation as if she were slipping away from him. ‘Look how they’ve come out of the wood!’ he said. you DO feel like one of the open space sort. The bluebells pleased him. He saw. to fasten her. picking the cowslips from her hair. Brightness was swimming on the tops of the hills. her face in her big. Miriam came up slowly. One tiny square of light stood opposite at Crossleigh Bank Farm. she seemed to look frail.’ he said.

‘My heart is only a bit old.’ she said. thank  . ‘Stop it at once. was reflected in her. her eyelids steady. breaking bright into life again. where she rested.’ she laughed. blue and noble against the sky. Then suddenly he found her unable to speak. madam?’ ‘No. he wanted to smash things in fury. ‘Can I show you the town. reflecting the relentlessness of life. With all his young will he could not alter it. Now. ‘Be a fantail pigeon. as she ate her cutlet. and bowed to her.’ It took him an hour to get her through the street. He felt as if his heart would burst. They ate a meal that she considered wildly extravagant. What was. ‘It’s nothing. Paul—?’ But she could scarcely climb the cathedral hill. her face and eyes fixed. there are streets and streets below her! She looks bigger than the city altogether.He looked at his mother. she stood everywhere. But he had seen her sitting. So look ikey.’ ‘So she does!’ exclaimed his mother. Something in the eternal repose of the uplifted cathedral. looking steady out of the window at the cathedral. ‘Don’t imagine I like it. ‘Strut!’ he commanded. Again his heart was crushed in a hot grip. At last they came to the top. ‘You go away with you!’ she exclaimed. so slowly. her mouth always closed with disillusion.’ he said.’ Then Paul was cross with her for not answering with more dignity. do you remember that lecture. as if she knew fate at last. She seemed again to be beyond him. ‘Ha! that’s the Jew’s House. I really don’t! Just THINK of your money wasted!’ ‘You never mind my money. ‘How can I do it?’ ‘You’ve got nothing to do. ‘I’ve got my son.’ And he bought her some blue violets. how big she is above the town! Think. made him feel he would go mad. And every step seemed like a weight on his chest. the skin still fresh and pink and downy. ‘I DON’T like it. sinking a little. took off his hat. ‘I want people to think we’re awful swells. pace by pace. sir!’ she commanded. looking at the castle gate. He saw her face. and there was on her the same eternal look. Her blue eyes were watching the cathedral quietly. He did not notice.’ she answered.’ he said.’ she said. WAS. ‘An old thing like me!’ she said. And the crow’s-feet near her eyes. and exclaimed. He took her into a little public-house. mother.’ He did not answer. He wanted to cry. ‘You forget I’m a fellow taking his girl for an outing. and her mouth shut so hard. she stood before Stone Bow. ‘You see. one must expect it. She stood enchanted. ‘Look. looking at the cathedral Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Stand still!’  Sons and Lovers And in the middle of High Street he stuck the flowers in her coat. but crow’s-feet near her eyes. She stood above Glory Hole. They set off again. A man came up. sniffing. He beat against it with all the strength of his soul. but looked at her.’ ‘I’ll jowl your head. something of the fatality.

She would have been glad now for her son to fall in love with some woman who would— she did not know what.’ They were quiet. And she seems straight.’ she exclaimed. and again was melancholic.’ he replied.’ ‘And why wasn’t I the oldest son? Look—they say the young ones have the advantage—but look. but Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘I suppose it is open to anybody?’ she asked him. ‘Come to consider. ‘WHY can’t you walk? WHY can’t you come with me to places?’ 0 Sons and Lovers ‘At one time. ‘It’s too bad of you to be ill. But it was as much as they could bear. They sat together in the cathedral.’ ‘But she’s a good deal older than you.front. ‘they would if they heard your language.’ Her face seemed to shine again with joy and peace during the service. I’m sure. you’re as much to blame as me. white. his eyes furious. mother. mad with his impotence.’ ‘She’s thirty. His mother asked him innumerable questions. I’m going on twenty-three. Little.’ she replied. when they were leaning over the wall.’ ‘And wherein lies her charm.’ Mrs. ‘Do you think they’d have the damned cheek to send us away. looking at the town below. hitting his fist on the wall. he told her about 1 . They attended a little service in the choir. And all the time he was wanting to rage and smash things and cry. Morel considered. got so furious suddenly. he blurted suddenly: ‘Why can’t a man have a YOUNG mother? What is she old for?’ ‘Well. ‘What are you old for!’ he said. you know—not a bit deep. She wished he knew some nice woman— She did not know what she wished. that’s all.’ ‘And have they enough to keep them?’ ‘I don’t think so.’ ‘What’s the good of that to ME?’ he cried. not a bit. ‘I’m a bit old. ‘Yes. THEY had the young mother. She was timid.’ ‘I didn’t arrange it. and you’ll have to put up with it. But he fretted so. ‘Now THIS is better than I thought it could be!’ she cried. it is—‘ ‘Ill!’ she cried. ‘Then who does she live with?’ ‘With her mother. ‘I could have run up that hill a good deal better than you. But she’s nice. Afterwards. But he hated it.’ his mother laughed. Then he became plaintive. on Bluebell Hill. watching the boats. I think they do lace work. As they sat by Brayford.’ He turned on her. Everywhere he followed her. ‘she can scarcely help it. my boy?’ ‘I don’t know that she’s charming. brooding.’ ‘You haven’t told me what you like her for.’ she remonstrated. You should have had me for your eldest son. She had quite forgotten herself. They got jolly again over tea.’ ‘Well.’ ‘Because I don’t know—a sort of defiant way she’s got—a sort of angry way.

Paul could not quite see Free eBooks at Planet eBook. I did say so. but twisted his fingers. Arthur came home. If a man had NEEDED me I’d have married him on his last week’s wages. ‘I’ve nothing—-‘  Sons and Lovers ‘I didn’t want. and was cool with his son-in-law.’ she answered. ‘But do you really want to get married?’ she asked. There was a silence. ‘Are you sure they’re good lodgings?’ she asked.’ The next time he looked up there were tears in his eyes. ma!’ he cried. impotent. ‘Yes—yes. ‘you’re steady—you’ve got a decent place. and felt a fearful fool.’ she said. ‘I dunno. I was only wishing I had. I know. ‘No. Again she considered.’ ‘I dunno. ‘Yes.’ He coloured up to the ears. 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.’ He twisted still. twisting his fingers and looking down at his boots.’ he said. ‘But.’ she replied. ‘My lad. I want to get married. ‘I feel anyhow or nohow. lad. my lad. You won’t do much on that. and was splendid in uniform. ‘It doesn’t go far. was getting married. and was teased by both her sons for fancying herself so grand. Annie looked nice in a dove-grey dress that she could take for Sundays. she was not hostile to the idea of Clara. And I know. ma. He said nothing. She may find it a bit hard to start humbly. ‘And you know. Leonard had gone away to work in Birmingham. ‘Do you feel as if you ought?’ He gave her one straight look from his blue eyes. She’s saved no more than eleven pounds. my lad. struggling. and some white on her  . Mrs. stubborn.’ he blurted.’ she exclaimed.’ Mrs. too. ‘I’ve got thirty-three quid. ‘Annie’s a bit of a spendthrift. One week-end when he was home she had said to him: ‘You don’t look very well. And take away five pounds for the wedding and things—it leaves twenty-nine pounds.left it vague.’ he said. suffering and remonstrating.’ he replied stubbornly. ‘Then. They look forward to the fine home they think they’ll have. not looking up. But I had expensive furniture. ‘And you know. you haven’t had much chance. It’s not everything. lad. Morel called her a fool for getting married. At any rate. ‘we must all do the best we can for it.’ he said. Annie. It somehow takes a’ the taste out of it.’ she said. ‘And so it knocks you up?’ she said. Morel had white tips in her bonnet. very red.’ she said. ‘I don’t want Annie to feel handicapped.’ So the wedding took place almost immediately.’ He called her ‘ma’ already in his boyish fashion. Leonard was jolly and cordial.’ ‘Yes. ‘I thought you said you’d wait another year. Morel laughed. Young girls ARE like that.’ he said.

and hold you responsible for her.’ ‘What time? I’m nearly twenty-three. ‘Ay.’ Morel stamped and said she was a fool to go and tie herself up. child. nearly dead with the ordeal.’ ‘But you’d rather it were later.’ his mother answered. my lad. and she of him. Leonard looked white and  . in her new black silk blouse with its bit of white trimming. I shall live with you. on leaving her mother.’ ‘And you think I ought to marry?’ ‘Sooner or later every man ought. mother. Morel cried a little. my lad.’ ‘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. we’ll see.’ ‘Ay.’ ‘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. and wanted her back again. ‘At any rate. but was secretly ashamed of the uniform. then patted her on the back and said: ‘But don’t cry. It seemed to Paul his mother looked lonely. Mrs. He’s as good as she. he hoped rather lugubriously that it would turn out all right. as he is. ‘I can only hope her life will be different.’ ‘But you can trust him to be good to her?’ ‘Yes. Only wait a year or two. he’ll be good to you. He was fond of her. Mrs. it’s easy to talk. Still. It even seems to me hard that she can prefer to go with her Leonard. Paul sat talking. When Morel and Arthur were in bed. I s’ll never marry.’ ‘Yes.’ ‘And shall you be miserable about her?’ ‘When I think of my own wedding day. Morel said to him: ‘I s’ll trust her to you. with his mother. You’ve not met the one yet. Arthur was astonishingly handsome in his scarlet and yellow. my lad. But my daughter’s my daughter the whole of her life.’ he said.’ ‘You can. and we’ll have a servant. as he often did. ‘I’m not sorry she’s married—but—it seems strange that she should go from me.what Annie wanted to get married for. It’s as they say: ‘A son’s my son till he takes him a wife.’’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Annie cried her eyes up in the kitchen. are you?’ he asked. They say he’s not good enough for her. and he knew it well. We’ll see when the time comes. they all say that. my boy.’ ‘It would be hard—and very hard. That’s how mothers are— I know it’s silly. And it was all over. and a girl is fond of him—  Sons and Lovers then—it should be all right. you’re not one that would marry young. But in three years’ time—-‘ ‘I shall be with you just the same. yes. mother. But I say if a man is GENUINE. mother. And yet.’ They were both miserable. there’s a gap now she’s gone.’ he said.’ ‘We’ll see.’ ‘But I shan’t marry. ‘You’re not sorry she’s married.

about Arthur. Paul wanted her. And she felt she MUST live now. Often he got into scrapes. he was a boon-companion. ‘She could do what she liked. Arthur never knew how deeply he  Sons and Lovers loved her. he was never alone. and it’ll be just all right.’ ‘I never will see. Mrs. She fretted at losing Annie. Morel sat brooding—about her daughter. you and me. There you are. He was a creature of the moment. It was his father’s mouth. Once he had really run the rig he was safe. you wouldn’t ask her to marry your mother as well as you. He was never still. vigorous hair sat close to his smallish head.‘And you think I’d let a wife take me from you?’ ‘Well. and he was not disappointed. ‘You’re not going to leave me. He could sing. and his jaw was strong.’ ‘She wouldn’t—till she’d got you—and then you’d see.’ she cried. And Paul admired and loved and despised him slightly. Never yet had he been forced to realise himself. Mrs.’ she laughed. something almost girlish about his dark blue eyes. Mrs. So he turned his attention to getting the best out of it. weakprincipled folk. He hated having to obey as if he were an animal. But how far would he go? The army had not really done him any good. He was wild Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Yet he was restless.’ she said—‘go to bed. I’ll never marry while I’ve got you—I won’t. His plans for the future were always the same. But he had the fun red mouth of a man under his brown moustache.’ ‘But I shouldn’t like to leave you with nobody. but they were the manly scrapes that are easily condoned. and a servant. See!’ His mother sat and laughed. about Paul. his refinement. his decent education to get him most of what he wanted. and so did Arthur. whilst his self-respect was in suppression. What are you? Fifty-three! I’ll give you till seventy-five. and she decided to buy her son out of the army. He trusted to his good looks and handsome figure.’ ‘I tell you to go to bed. Morel smiled. I’m fat and forty-four. but not his soul.’ Mrs. Then I’ll marry a staid body. to be with her children. my boy. Morel had had a few pounds left to her by her father. ‘Go to bed. I s’ll perhaps be rich with my painting. Life was so rich for  . He kissed her and went. Something seemed to gnaw him inside. The family was very closely bound. He resented bitterly the authority of the officers. Paul he admired and loved and despised slightly. There was something childish about his nose. she wouldn’t have to interfere.’ ‘Will you go to bed!’ ‘And then you s’ll have a pony-carriage. it was the nose and eyes of her own mother’s people—good-looking. With his mother he was rather humble.’ ‘And we’ll have a pretty house. Morel was anxious about him. The army had disciplined his body. His dark. See yourself—a little Queen Victoria trotting round. But he had too much sense to kick. He was in perfect health and very handsome. So he made a good time out of it.

’ he said. ‘Tha’rt a knivey nuisance. Beatrice was putting in her comb. ‘Nay. The cigarette trembled between his lips with laughter as he spoke. ‘You brazen imp!’ she exclaimed. She was small and quick as lightning. Arthur taking her arm in soldier’s fashion. He. sitting back. then suddenly snatched the cigarette from his fingers and darted away.  Sons and Lovers ‘Shonna!’ she replied. rather stiffly. The two often went long walks together. glaring at her. tha doesna. and pursed up his mouth. specially done for him. when she reached for his cigarette. threw the cigarette at him. ‘Nay. He hid the comb between his knees. She turned.’ ‘I want a draw at thy fag. He seemed to flaunt his body: she was aware of him so—the strong chest. Under his delicate tan the blood flushed up. He liked to lapse into the dialect when he talked to her. and during his furlough he picked up with her again. snatching for the cigarette between his lips. no kiss at all. Afterwards they sat together on the sofa. He just escaped. leaping after her. seized the comb from her back hair. an’ tha s’lt ha’e a whiff. His dark-brown cropped moustache stood out like a brush. His face was near hers. the thighs in their close-fitting  . He started up. He took a draw at his cigarette. the sides. and sat down. rushing and scuffling for the comb. ‘along wi’ t’ kiss.with joy.’ she cried. he laughed till he lay back on the sofa shaking with laughter.’ he said to her one evening. ‘Well.’ she answered. tight-covered knees. pulling at his smooth.’ ‘I wanted a whiff. his throat swollen almost to choking. turning away her head. As she wrestled with him. he sang in a manly tenor. She looked at the puckered crimson lips.’ he said thickly. his eyes were bright. Then he sat up. I’ll gi’e thee a smoke kiss if ter’s a mind. ‘Liar!’ she said. and he laughed till his blue eyes were blinded. ‘Tha tickled me. He grew flushed. Beat. He had always been fond of Beatrice Wyld. And she came to play the piano whilst he sang.’ he said. ‘Ha’e a smoke kiss?’ The soldier leaned forward to her. ‘I’ve non got it. She would sometimes smoke with him. Then Arthur would unhook his tunic collar.’ she said. She was stronger and better in health. and put his lips close to her. The cigarette fell from his mouth almost singeing his throat. They stared at each Free eBooks at Planet eBook. which he had under his knees. ‘Nuisance!’ she cried. He was sitting with his shoulder touching her. Arty Morel. Occasionally she would only take a few whiffs at his cigarette. Like a flash her small white hand went out and smacked his face. ‘I’ll gi’e thee a smoke kiss. smiling.’ he said. Now he was like a lad taking a holiday. would come down. She stood with her hands to her head. put it in his mouth. ‘Give me my comb!’ She was afraid that her hair. ‘S true as I’m here!’ he laughed. showing his hands. He picked it up.

com 1 . half-empty feeling about the house. Then she closed her eyes. His old mad desire to be with her grew weaker. giving herself up again in a kiss. For so long they had all lived at home. Miriam did not satisfy him. mocking tone very antagonistic to Miriam. Then he talked to her of his hopes and despairs. ‘You are a little cat. ‘Daren’t I?’ she asked. and neither spoke. Suddenly she went across to him and kissed him. and made nobody responsible. worldly. through the open collar.’ he said at length. and with a peculiar quivering smile that seemed to overspread her whole body. She acted of her own free will. Paul became more and more unsettled. He lifted his face. The clock ticked in the silence like blows. He. and he played to the newcomer. with ruffled hair. half apologetically. In private there she shed a few tears. Slowly the flush mounted her cheek. gave him all her love Free eBooks at Planet eBook. pore fing!’ she mocked. 0 Sons and Lovers Annie was a married woman. But it was only a film over her fire. Now it was a home of grown-up people. The conditions of youth were gone. Annie and Arthur had gone. And still there was something else. ‘Well. When she returned she was pursed up close. As soon as the long kiss was finished she drew back her head from him. He was restless to follow. He whistled to himself like a man much agitated but defiant. They came home for holiday and for rest. for Annie and Arthur. sometimes he went to meetings with her.’ she replied. and gone out to pass their time. Paul felt life changing around him. He grew more and more restless. was sulking upon the sofa. came to help her to put the hay in cocks. She felt as if she watched the very quivering stuff of life in him. Deliberately. So there was that strange. she did not know what for. With Clara he took on a smart. Then as soon as Clara appeared. sometimes he saw her at Willey Farm. she dropped her eyes. He had been on the horse-rake. something outside. Arthur was following his own pleasure in a way unknown to his folk. smiling curiously. It did not matter what went before. He sat down sulkily. But now. There was again a long silence. The moon came out: they walked home together: he seemed to have come to her because he needed her so badly. But on these last occasions the situation became strained. it all vanished. ‘Go on!’ he challenged.other. She sat down opposite. in the armchair. Yet home was for him beside his mother. something he wanted. and having finished. then her head. life lay outside their mother’s house. ‘Kiss?’ he invited her. Beat. put her delicate fingers on his neck. ‘Did it. There was a triangle of antagonism between Paul and Clara and Miriam. his mouth lifted to her. She went into the scullery to adjust her hair. she put her mouth on his. Miriam had one beautiful evening with him in the hay. Immediately his arms folded round her. Sometimes he met Clara in Nottingham. What she would do she did. as if the birds had flown. you shouldn’t be brazen. She might be intimate and sad with him. and his whole soul seemed to lie bare before her. and she listened to him.

feeling exalted.’ laughed Paul.’ ‘I did NOT touch!’ she cried.’ laughed Edgar. None of them could say. ‘I reckon a crow is religious when it sails across the sky.’ Edgar laughed. And I’m Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ But Miriam knew that one should be religious in everything. ‘You’re beaten. They were to have tea in the hayfield. Then again he rebelled. Paul won. ‘I think you are despicable!’ she said. the next day. whatever God might be. ‘I don’t believe God knows such a lot about Himself. And all the time Paul was sporting with Clara. and Paul sported. he would not own it. And then. She could run like an Amazon. did I? Wasn’t I clear?’ ‘I couldn’t say. Miriam did not care for the game. He IS things. But it only does it because it feels itself carried to where it’s going. because he was light. and that she would guard it all her life. ‘I didn’t touch. or was conscious of. It made Miriam bitter to think that he should throw away his soul for this flippant traffic of triviality with Clara. Clara’s blood was roused. She turned her back on him. her breasts shaken. turning to Edgar. ‘I daren’t. or like his father. the sky did not cherish the stars more surely and eternally than she would guard the good in the soul of Paul Morel. not because it thinks it is being eternal. And again he laughed. and he of her. He made higher and higher heaps of hay that they were jumping over. but he was rather ashamed of himself. Miriam watched the evening drawing to gold and shadow. It seemed to her he brought her the best of himself to keep.and her faith. ‘It’s not religious to be religious. She had forgotten herself in the game. She went on home alone.’ said Paul.’ he said. Now he was to humble her. glad in her faith. present in everything. her thick hair come undone. ‘Box his ears for me!’ she cried to Edgar. in a way that tortured Miriam. ‘But you touched. deep Paul Morel. and stood aside. ‘Nay. Edgar and Geoffrey and Maurice and Clara and Paul  .’ said Paul. Yet everybody could see that the only person she listened to. But Miriam was tortured. she saw. Her little triumph before  Sons and Lovers these lads and men was gone. He could be unfaithful to himself.’ ‘And nothing can alter the fact that you touched. You must do it yourself. was he. Nay. There was a danger of his becoming frivolous. landed on the other side. It pleased the men to see this battle between them. have God. Clara came. while the other two rallied each other. and prostrated himself before Miriam. She walked in bitterness and silence. And afterwards. ‘As plain as anything. ‘God doesn’t KNOW things. Paul could choose the lesser in place of the higher. She was furious with him. ‘You touched!’ he cried. Paul loved the determined way she rushed at the hay-cock and leaped.’ he teased. ‘You touched!’ ‘No!’ she flashed. ‘And I KNEW you couldn’t jump that heap.’ he cried. of his running after his satisfaction like any Arthur. unfaithful to the real.

because he wanted his own way and his own pleasure. There she remained—sad. He Free eBooks at Planet eBook. half the time he hated her. Ours is not an everyday affection. have regretted—the other. It is a lovely joke. pensive. you are a nun. Half the time he grieved for her. then repentant. So I feel it.’ Miriam read this letter twice. which was three-quarters. I do look forward to your criticisms. That is why we cannot love in the common sense. they must live together as affectionate humans. too.’ The words went into her heart again and again. somehow. is it not? Say.’’ she quoted.’ And then it seemed to her that Paul was arguing God on to his own side. and left you its invulnerable soul? You see. What a ranter I am! We are often out of sympathy. are always grand appreciations. ‘Our intimacy would have been all-beautiful but for one little mistake. and he felt. you know. like a mortal wound. for somehow with you I cannot long be trivial. which. ‘Ought I to send this letter?—I doubt it. In all our relations no body enters. I do not talk to you through the senses—rather through the spirit. I have given it you this long. She fretted him to the bottom of his soul. She answered him two days after the party.sure He’s not soulful. But there—it is best to understand. When she was twenty-one he wrote her a letter which could only have been written to her. A year later she broke the seal to show her mother the letter. but not embodied passion. is changing. He could not stay with her because she did not take the rest of him. As yet we are mortal. ‘May I speak of our old. Yet you regret—no. ‘I must thank you for your sympathy with my painting and drawing. I have given you what I would give a holy nun—as a mystic monk to a mystic nun. Surely you esteem it best.’ ‘I am glad you answered. So he chafed himself into rawness over her. There was a long battle between him and her. ‘You are a nun—you are a nun. then he hated her. this last time. And he caused her sorrow. He could not leave her. has not the body of that love died. Those were the ever-recurring  . because in one way she did hold the best of him. and. long time. But in fundamentals we may always be together I think. and to live  Sons and Lovers side by side with one another would be dreadful. and went off again. Au revoir. Many a sketch is dedicated to you. It. who may be commonplace with each other without feeling awkward—not as two souls. to be always beyond this mortal state would be to lose it. fixedly. worn love. a worshipper. you are so calm and natural you put me to shame. after which she sealed it up. sending her at the same time a little ‘Omar Khayyam. that. I can give you a spirit love. to my shame and glory. Au revoir. he had got a conscience that was too much for him. He was utterly unfaithful to her even in her own presence. If people marry. She was his conscience. Nothing he ever had said had gone into her so deeply. See. then he was ashamed. ‘Was the mistake mine?’ Almost immediately he replied to her from Nottingham.’ This was the end of the first phase of Paul’s love affair.

the sex instinct that Miriam had over-refined for so long now grew particularly strong. severe woman with graying hair suddenly bursting out in such frenzy. He was beginning to grow ambitious. though still virgin. warning him that sooner or later he would have to ask one woman or another. afraid something had happened. that peculiar concentration in the breast. Fred. Often. as he talked to Clara Dawes. my boy! I knew we should do it!’ He was afraid of her—the small.’ she cried. he found her standing on the hearthrug wildly waving a letter and crying ‘Hurrah!’ as if she had gone mad. a new self or a new centre of consciousness. ‘and is sold Free eBooks at Planet eBook. mother!’ he exclaimed. crying: ‘   Sons and Lovers . and. Morel rushed to the door. came that thickening and quickening of his blood.was now about twenty-three years old. Suddenly he heard a wild noise from his mother. One morning the postman came just as he was washing in the scullery. They saw his tipped cap over the short curtains. The postman came running back. and invited him to her house. She flew to him. Mrs. flung her arms round him for a moment. Of that she was so fixedly sure that he allowed her right. Miss Jordan had taken a good deal of interest in him. ‘His picture’s got first prize. then waved the letter. as if something were alive there. Paul sent in a landscape to the winter exhibition at Nottingham Castle. ‘Why. where he met other artists. But he belonged to Miriam. Rushing into the kitchen. CHAPTER X CLARA WHEN he was twenty-three years old. He was shocked and frightened.

But they said tha’d told Fred Hodgkisson. that does. ‘Ha!’ he answered.’  Sons and Lovers They cavilled about sharing the twenty guineas. ‘But as for fifty pounds—such nonsense!’ She was silent awhile. ‘That I couldn’t tell you. and might be disappointed after all.’ said Mrs. I shan’t take it all. mother—‘ he began tentatively. The miner sat heavily in his chair.’ ‘Indeed. whom they had known all his life. ‘Mother!’ he exclaimed.’ ‘My word. his blue eyes bright. Mrs.’ ‘Twenty guineas! Tha niver says!’ exclaimed Morel. Then he sat down.’ he said. ‘Has he. Mrs. and sold it to Lord Henry Bentley for fifty pound. Paul was afraid lest she might have misread the letter. ‘It’s true he has got the first prize.’ ‘Well—you have twelve pounds. his hair sticking up wet. beguy!’ he exclaimed. He took the kettle off the fire and mashed the tea. saying: ‘They tell me Paul’s got first prize for his picture. He would not hear of it. He scrutinised it once. ‘Twenty guineas.’ ‘Oh. It’ll just do. showing his young throat almost like a girl’s. ‘Yes.’ she said. that’s something like!’ said the young postman. Morel. Morel sniffed. He stared across the room fixedly. So they got over the stress of emotion by quarrelling. pretending she was not crying. and the towel in his hand. But he was disappointed nevertheless. ‘Didn’t I SAY we should do it!’ she said. ‘You didn’t think.’ ‘But not so much. He was glad to have brought such a lucky letter. ‘And Major Moreton has bought it!’ she cried. ‘No—no—but I knew we should do it. as if it were nothing.’ ‘As if I would tell him such stuff!’ ‘Ha!’ assented the miner. I’ll have nine. Morel went indoors and sat down. ‘I said I wor sure it wor a lie. Now you needn’t borrow any. ‘It looks like meanin’ something. ‘Major Moreton bought it for twenty guineas. apparently at least.for twenty guineas.’ And then she recovered her composure. She wanted to take only the five pounds she needed.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Morel came home at night from the  .’ ‘Ay!’ he said. twice. he became convinced it was true. I suppose.’ said the postman. trembling. Morel. what stories people do tell!’ she cried. ‘But why?’ ‘Because I shan’t. ‘No. 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. When the picture is sent home. and it was worth it. Yes. Mrs. that’s true. his heart beating with joy. ‘And when does he handle th’ money?’ asked the collier. my son—not so much—but I expected a good deal. ‘I don’t misdoubt it. He sat with his shirt turned back. mother! That’s just what you wanted to buy Arthur out.

Afterwards he said: ‘Mother. everything that was said.’ He went upstairs and put on the coat and vest. They. Paul was invited to dinner at Mr. smoothing her hand over his shoulder. but she thought he looked quite a man. She was glad. But she began to be careful to keep them out of soda. I want an evening suit. ‘What do they want to know me for?’ ‘They do!’ he cried indignantly. And when Annie insisted on her having more stylish blouses to suit her age.’ ‘Should you like me to wear it. because you are quite as clever as I am. Each time his mother’s heart was firm with pride and joy. but warm-looking and rather pleasing. He was started now. ‘If they want to know me—and they say they do—then they want to know you. And he was dying to introduce her to these new friends who had dinner at seven-thirty in the evening. ‘ ‘Go along with you.’ she continued.’ he said quietly.’ she said. I never could find in my heart to let your father wear the trousers. the knuckles rather swollen.’ And as she smoothed her hand over the silk collar she thought of her eldest son. child! ‘ she 1 . and very glad I am now. were workgnarled now. ‘Yes. I think it would fit you—at least the coat. He told her everything that took place. I was afraid you would. It was rather large.’ she said. His black arm. But this son was living enough in0 Sons and Lovers side the clothes. It left her feeling she was tired. His face was rough. and was sure she looked a sight. He was alive and hers. Morel like a cold blade. But he had an elegant figure. ‘The tailor can make it right. mother?’ he asked. The trousers would want shortening. Jordan’s. She even went so far as to allow a black velvet bow to be placed on her hair. with an evening coat and vest. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. But she began to spare her hands. It was as if she had been there. ‘It’s beautiful stuff. He went out to dinner several times in his evening suit that had been William’s. ‘that I know cost four pounds ten and which he’d only worn three times.’ ‘Yes. She passed her hand down his back to feel him. he looked strange in a flannel collar and a flannel shirt-front. The thought of William went through Mrs. The skin was shiny with so much hot water. ‘Go along with you!’ she said. and wanted rest. Then she sniffed in her sarcastic manner. nor the smear in the coal-dust on his black face. with the hand all gnarled with work lay on the table. he wore one of William’s dress shirts. He did not look particularly a gentleman. too. The studs she and the children had bought for William were in his shirtfront. The other was dead. She regretted what they had been— so small and exquisite. ‘Yes. an’ that other lad ‘ud ‘a done as much if they hadna ha’ killed ‘im. Morel stared at the sugar-basin instead of eating his dinner.There was silence. His wife pretended not to see him rub the back of his hand across his eyes. But she looked a lady. There was a moment or two of silence. ‘There’s that one of William’s. she submitted. Coming down.

Only Morel remained unchanged. my boy. The rest don’t interest you. Now she began to combat him in his restless fretting.’ ‘Not at all.’ ‘But if anyone else said so. You feel their hates and loves.’ She frankly WANTED him to climb into the middle classes. But he was stupid. lapsed slowly.’ he answered.’ ‘What is happiness!’ he cried. and from the common people—life itself. as much as Mrs. He had shovelled away an the beliefs that would hamper him. his mother suspected him of an unrecognised leaning towards Clara. like the middle classes. But in myself I am. Religion was fading into the background. It is YOU who are snobbish about class. she wished he would fall in love with one of the girls in a better station of life. But. They’re the common people. why don’t you go and talk to your father’s pals?’ ‘But they’re rather different. and far.’ said his mother to him. Now life interested him more. ‘My boy. Moreover. my son. and taking life in your own hands. had cleared the ground. ‘all your cleverness. or rather. your breaking away from old things. YOU know you consider yourself equal to any gentleman. I like my common people best. and would refuse to love or even to admire a girl much. And this indecision seemed to bleed him of his energy.’ ‘Very well. could neither break free nor go the whole length of engagement. He still kept up his connection with Miriam. wouldn’t you be in a tear. After all. far nicer. ‘You know. ‘I don’t want to belong to the well-to-do middle class. And she wanted him in the end to marry a lady. ‘It’s nothing to me! How AM I to be happy?’ The plump question disturbed her. warmth. and come more or less to the bedrock of belief that one should feel inside oneself for right and wrong. Major  . then. a thing not very difficult. since the latter was a married woman. but in themselves. 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 that exchange ideas. she knew. 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.Paul declared. just because she was his social superior. and.’ he said to his mother. The family was coming on. I belong to the common people. ‘That’s for you to judge. my lad.’ ‘In myself. ‘not in my class or my education or my manners. Only from the middle classes one gets ideas. then.’ ‘It’s all very well. doesn’t seem to bring you much happiness.’ ‘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. Paul and his mother now had long discussions about life. Then why talk about the common people?’ ‘Because—the difference between people isn’t in their class.

But damn your happiness! So long as life’s full. With all the passion of her strong nature she hated Miriam for having in this subtle way undermined his joy.’ he cried. as far as I can see. that he might not be wasted.’ ‘Oh. She was ill and pitiful. Dawes. Then suddenly all her passion of grief over him broke out. ‘And you OUGHT to be happy. for hours and hours she thought and prayed for him. a little cottage of two rooms. But he would not look at anybody above him in station. Aren’t I well enough off?’ ‘You’re not. my son. do you!’ replied his mother. Morel got him a job under the firm again. ‘But I want you to be happy. the rest doesn’t matter. And I am the same. And one OUGHT to be happy. I don’t care about its divinity. my dear—say rather you want me to live. his eyes full of pain and fire.’ ‘You never give it a chance. Miriam did it. without knowing he was going. mother.’ Mrs.’ By this time Mrs. How could I bear to think your life wouldn’t be a happy one!’ ‘Your own’s been bad enough. his own life.’ she said. with the help of Beatrice’s mother. And I do despise it. It almost broke her heart. He drifted away from Miriam imperceptibly.’ He frowned.’ he murmured. ‘But it does matter!’ she cried. when she seemed to fight for his very life against his own will to die. Battle—battle—and suffer. He seemed to like Mrs. He was caught now. At this rate she knew he would not live. but that he might not be wasted. He took her in his arms. and she hated her. it doesn’t matter whether it’s happy or not. It did not matter to her that Miriam could not help it.’ She pressed him to her. Little. It did not matter how he kicked and struggled. at twenty-one shillings a week. to live to be happy. his own suffering. She furnished for him. At any rate that feeling was wholesome. ‘Eh. I reckon you’ve done well. It’s about all you do. happiness or unhappiness. The baby was born six months after his wedding.’ she said pathetically. ‘So long as you don’t feel life’s paltry and a miserable business. one OUGHT. which is a form of slow suicide. he was Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ ‘But why not. my dear? I tell you it’s the best—-‘ ‘It isn’t.  Sons and Lovers ‘Never mind. He had that poignant carelessness about himself. ‘You mean easy. ‘That’s a woman’s whole doctrine for life—ease of soul and physical comfort. His mother caught him on the raw of his wound of Miriam. but it hasn’t left you so much worse off than the folk who’ve been happier. Struggles of this kind often took place between her and her son. ‘And do you call yours a divine discontent?’ ‘Yes. Arthur only left the army to be married. He pushed the tumbled hair off his forehead. His mother prayed and prayed for him. you ought to try to be happy. She wished so much he would fall in love with a girl equal to be his mate—educated and strong. Morel felt as if her heart would break for him. That was all her prayer—not for his soul or his  . And while he slept. mater. I’m afraid your happiness would bore me. Morel was trembling violently.would be much better for you. Mrs.

He went in the evening across Sneinton Market to Bluebell Hill. darkish room too. She had a rather severe face. The brown paint on the door was so old that the naked wood showed between the rents. ‘I know we’re about blocked up. my lad. The mother had seated herself again by the cupboard. She invited him out of the mausoleum of a parlour into the kitchen. There was a pack of brown cardboard squares. stout woman of about sixty towered above him. Suffragette. There came a heavy footstep. That was a little. He buckled to work. Paul dared not go forward. In a moment Clara appeared. where the feet of the passersby rasped and clattered. It seemed as if she did not like being discovered in her home circumstances. She flushed deeply. He found the house in a mean little street paved with granite cobbles and having causeways of dark blue. She only said: ‘Well. shamedly. He grumbled for hours to his mother. Paul had more or less got into connection with the Socialist. Threads of curly cotton. Radford. and was drawing thread from a vast web of lace. The front door went up a step from off this rough pavement. But she might as well be hung for a sheep as for a lamb. which opened on to the street. asked him to take a message to Mrs.  Sons and Lovers almost martial. and he was covered with confusion. of mahogany. One day a friend of his and of Clara’s. ‘If you’re coming in you won’t have to mind the work. was irritable with his young wife. On the table was a jenny for carding the lace. a heap of three-quarter-inch lace lay on her left. strewed over the fender and the fireplace. and did make a good best of it. owing to his acquaintance with Clara. in Bestwood. Radford left him. but it was smothered in white lace.’ she said. cried or gave trouble. he went almost distracted when the baby. defunct room. pulled out from between the lengths of lace. gave him a chair against the wall opposite the white heaps. Now he was gone altogether. snowy stuff seemed the more distinct. undertook his responsibilities.’ Clara. He had never been very closely inbound into the family. She admitted him into the parlour. and deathly enlargements of photographs of departed people done in carbon. A clump of fluff and ravelled cotton was at her right hand.’ said Mrs. a little box of pins. piling the hearthrug. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. She was stately. and it was so dark and warm that the white. The months went slowly along. a large. acknowledged that he belonged to his wife and child. for fear of treading on piles of white stuff. The room was all  . He looked up at her from the pavement. and on the sofa lay a heap of drawn lace. who loved him. ‘I thought it couldn’t be your voice. now you must make the best of it. much embarrassed. a pack of cards of lace. grooved bricks. Dawes. which was delicate. He stood on the street below and knocked. stuffy. Then she herself took her place on the sofa. It was a small. Unitarian people in Nottingham. whilst in front of her was the mountain of lace web. Mrs. For a time he chafed.’ And then the grit came out in him. you did it yourself. But sit you down.

Radford. dignified movements. ‘Thank you. lifting the glass.’ she answered. He. but Mrs. Her face was set on her work. well-kept hands  Sons and Lovers worked with a balanced movement. ‘Yes. to my thinkin’. merely her wrinkles and loose cheeks were an anachronism. as she bent her head. ‘You look as if you could do with it. Her arms were creamy and full of life beside the white lace. brought him a bottle of stout and a glass. watched her all the time. It was filled. Her jenny spun with a subdued buzz. ‘here’s health!’ ‘And thank you. and there was something strong in her that made it seem she was not old. Paul watched her. He poured out some of the black stuff.’ ‘I think he’s very  . I like a man about. and I can remember when Thomas Jordan used to ask ME for one of my toffies. well. get him a bottle of stout. A house o’ women is as dead as a house wi’ no fire. ashamed and chagrined.‘Will you drink a bottle of stout?’ Mrs. They had not the peculiar dull gleam that made Clara’s so fascinating to him.’ ‘Ay. ‘I’ve heard a bit about you from Clara.’ he answered. She had the strength and sang-froid of a woman in the prime of life. sometimes he didn’t—which was latterly. Radford insisted. ‘Well. her large.’ said Mrs. Radford. Her arms were finely shapen. Radford looked across at him steadily. and pinned the end down to the banded lace. the white lace hopped from between her fingers on to the card. she bent her head in shame of her humility. he is—or used to be.’ He protested.’ he replied. ‘And light yourself a cigarette. ‘You’re in Jordan’s. the length of lace fell away at her side. ‘I s’ll be glad to smell a bit of smoke in th’ ‘ouse again. The blood still mantled below her ears.’ ‘Did he?’ laughed Paul. For he’s the sort that takes all and gives naught.’ said Mrs. He saw the arch of her neck from the shoulder. gleaming arms.’ Clara began to work. She sat square and magnificent. so long as you don’t set the house on fire.’ Mrs. he saw the coil of dun hair. you needn’t thank me. Clara.’ she said. I’m not a spider as likes a corner to myself. ‘Clara. There was something determined about her that he liked. as if nothing would hurry them. Radford asked. She continued drawing the lace with slow. Then she put a new card in her jenny. The big web came up inevitably over her apron.’ said Paul. but glossy and yellow as old ivory.’ he said. aren’t you?’ She drew her lace unceasing. ‘Yes. if he’s only something to snap at. but her eyes were calm. ‘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. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Her face was falling loose. ‘And did he get it?’ ‘Sometimes he did. well. ‘Nay. not knowing. Her throat and arms were bare. He took a drink of stout.’ continued the mother. she snipped off the length. he watched her moving. I’m glad to hear it.

‘Would you care to be back at Jordan’s?’ he asked Clara. They looked dumb with humiliation. you shut up about the men. the overseer of the Spiral girls. When he left her. ‘Well—‘ he answered. Her grey eyes at last met his. she reminded him of Juno dethroned. Clara broke in.’ ‘But they’re all right really. the men wouldn’t be bad uns. ‘Do you like jennying?’ he asked. and her head was bowed to the lace. that’s what I say. He had surprised her in her drudgery. He was shaken and at a loss.’ Clara suffered badly from her mother. He had thought her high and mighty. Not but what they’re a lousy lot. as if it had no use for her. that should never have been subdued to a mechanism. So fine she was in her stature and her bearing. She seemed to be stranded there among the refuse that life has thrown away. Isn’t ALL woman’s work? That’s another trick the men have played. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘Well. they’re a bit different from women. It was a bitter thing to her to be put aside by life. He had an idea that Susan. ‘thank her stars if she could get back. Don’t you listen to her. He stood below in the mean street. To have her humble made him feel as if he were lifting his head in expectation. she winced from the street. As she stood in the doorway. He asked her the next day. only watching her. ‘What can a woman do!’ she replied bitterly. there’s no denying it. ‘And you will go with Mrs. doing her jennying. aren’t they?’ he asked.’ she replied. and he told her his message. looking up at her. ‘She’ll never be satisfied till she’s got wings and can fly over everybody’s head.’ said her mother. since we force ourselves into the labour market. ‘Yes. from her surroundings. after all? She spun steadily at her work. He went to the station in a sort of dream. ‘She’s very nice. She seemed denied and deprived of so much. an’ it’s back’s that thin an’ starved it’ll cut her in two one of these days. she won’t.’ he agreed.‘And you’ve been going with Miriam Leivers?’ the mother asked him. she would!’ cried her mother. Wasn’t he to take Clara’s fulminations so seriously. And her arm moved mechanically. ‘I don’t think so.’ she answered. was about to be married. ‘Is it sweated?’ ‘More or less. She’s for ever on that 00 Sons and Lovers ‘igh horse of hers. and was at home without realising he had moved out of her street. Paul felt as if his eyes were coming very wide open. he wanted to run. ‘If the women wasn’t fools. He experienced a thrill of joy.’ ‘She is a bit like that. No wonder she protested. she’s a nice girl. Hodgkisson to Hucknall?’ He was talking quite meaninglessly. but she’s a bit too much above this world to suit my fancy. thinking she might need his help.’ she continued. She came with him to the door. No man was ever that bad wi’ me but what he got it back again. that never should have been 01 . pleading with a kind of captive misery.’ ‘Now then. ‘Yes.’ she said. She spoke humbly to him.

which the defaulter felt to be a bigger insult than crassness. There was something in Clara that Paul disliked. though. though you needn’t tell anybody. and her eyes flashed. ‘There’s nothing else for it. Gradually the flush mounted her cheek. the poor. ‘You will apply before that. ‘Why.’ he said. there’s making the worst of it.’ ‘Yea.’ He soon made occasion to call again on Clara. ‘Who’s been talking to you?’ she replied.’ There was again a long silence.’ Paul was perturbed. Paul felt rather awkward. as a result of which Fanny shed more bitter tears than ever the rough tongues of the other overseers had caused her.’ he said. I am. Clara came to Jordan’s. Susan.’ She went on spinning her little machine. she looked at him. I heard a whisper of your getting married. Without raising her head. I will let you know exactly when. What’s more. I’m sorry. and superior. because Susan is thinking of leaving. Clara went on with her jennying. ‘Ah. He understood. reserved. ‘But you’ll see it’ll turn out all right. The white lace leaped in little jumps and bounds on to the card.’ ‘Shan’t I? You CAN believe it. remembered her earlier rule.’ he continued rather wistfully. I merely heard a whisper that you WERE thinking—-‘ ‘Well. ‘Would you. What about it?’ Susan flushed red.‘I say. she said at last. laid her beautiful arms on the 0 Sons and Lovers table. and looked at him for some moments without answering. ‘care to come back to Jordan’s?’ She put down her work. Clara was unfailingly compassionate and gentle. I wish I wasn’t!’ ‘Nay.’ he said. Tears came to her eyes. He waited for her. Susan?’ The girl’s colour was high. you won’t make me believe that. ‘I will apply when the advertisement is out. in a peculiar low voice: ‘Have you said anything about it?’ ‘Except to you. You’ll make the best of it. Some of the older hands. ‘That’s why!’ ‘And must you?’ For answer.’ she said. ‘Nobody. She had never mixed with the girls as one of themselves. not a 0 . There was about him a candour and gentleness which made the women trust him. ‘Well. overstrung hunchback. and cordially disliked the memory. I’d rather stop here a thousand times. Towards Fanny. Clara had always been ‘ikey’. Susan. If she had occasion to find fault. and did not contradict him. ‘Why?’ she asked. she did it coolly and with perfect politeness. Try and make it all right. Fanny among them. and Free eBooks at Planet eBook.

Then he could paint no more. Her history was open on the surface. having had some of Miriam’s passion to be instructed.much that piqued him. and could read in that language with a struggle. Then he abused her. She gave him a little. covered over. ‘H’m!’ She made a small doubtful sound. upon which the blonde hair grew low and fluffy. upon the skin of her face and arms. But Clara was aloof also from her fellow-workers. he saw it always. did she reveal to Paul. He flung down the brushes. which made him move quickly. balanced regularity. he felt she had much to reserve. and when once he had perceived it. There was an air of refinement in both rooms. however. painting in the afternoon. He was furious. occasionally bending down to see her work or to adjust the needles. almost invisible. She maddened him. None of these things. She was so reserved. shone Free eBooks at Planet eBook. She considered herself as a woman apart. Then he felt her. but its inner meaning was hidden from everybody. as it were. This amused and stimulated her. from her class. It was 0 . When he was at his work. During the ten years that she had belonged to the women’s movement she had acquired a fair amount of education.’ she would say. lenient smile. Sometimes she praised his work. though she neither spoke nor touched him. If she were about. and particularly apart. his blood boiled with anger.’ She would shrug her shoulders in scorn of his work. 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. revealing nothing. But she never owned that she had been wrong. Although she stood a yard away he felt as if he were in contact with her. with its down and fine pencils of hair. and had a certain distinction. he always watched her strong throat or her neck. She was to him extraordinarily provocative.’ he retorted. sometimes she was critical and cold. had taught herself French. One day he picked up a copy of Lettres de mon Moulin from her work-bench. then her magnificent neck. sullen scrutiny. and went into passionate exposition of his stuff. The girls in the Spiral department were all of good homes. as there was an element of truth in her condemnation. It was a small. ‘It doesn’t interest me much. There was a fine down. ‘You are affected in that piece. turning the Spiral machine with slow. ‘Then why ask me about it?’ ‘Because I thought you would understand. Again: ‘What of this?’ he would ask enthusiastically. Often she met his eyes. Clara glanced round negligently.’ ‘Because you don’t understand it. she would come and stand near to him. ‘You read French. and gathered fruit of experience he could not attain. special industry. She was not the one to give herself away. She was making an elastic stocking of heliotrope silk. do you?’ he cried. because of the knowledge she seemed to possess. 0 Sons and Lovers and. and. But then her own were. perfectly motionless. and turned to talk to her.

His feet swung as he pondered. ‘I did not know you read French. lustrous silk.’ he said. you’re not really there: you are waiting—like Penelope when she did her weaving.white against the lavender.’ he said. yet the hose she made were as nearly perfect as possible. ‘I’ll call you Penelope. He sat on the workbench beside her machine. ‘You only say that because you’re too proud to own up what you want and can’t get. She seemed to scorn the work she mechanically produced.’ he said. ‘Rotten swank!’ he said. ‘It means I’ve got a right to boss you. pulled down by the weight. ‘I bought a handful to sweeten me up. all work is work.’ he said to himself angrily. ‘There is always about you. ‘I know you think you’re terrific great shakes. as she said: ‘There is so little likelihood of my ever being given a choice. and that you live under the eternal insult of working in a factory.’ ‘You know me very well. ‘That doesn’t matter. so long as it pleases me. In the afternoon he came down. Here. carefully removing one of her needles. ‘Would it make any difference?’ she said.’ ‘And what does that mean?’ she asked coolly. She laughed at him indulgently. I say. He watched the handsome crouching of her back. she accepted.’ He was very angry and very rude. 0 Sons and Lovers Later on he said to himself: ‘What was I so impudent to Clara for?’ He was rather annoyed with himself. and the apron-strings curling on the floor. He had to do everything hotly. Paul’s eyes glittered at her insolent indifference to him. He walked whistling down the room. ‘Serve her right. contemptuous on his side 0 . ‘Did you not?’ she replied.’ she replied coldly.’ ‘Pah!’ he said. and stopped.’ To his great relief.’ He could not help a spurt of wickedness. like a young animal.’ she answered. She must be something special. He thought to do it by offering her chocolates. She turned a few more rounds. ‘a sort of waiting. well. that I haven’t wasted time considering.’ he said. It just occurs to me. sarcastic smile.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. She bent over her machine. Whatever I see you doing. There was a certain weight on his heart which he wanted to remove. ‘Have one?’ he said. with a faint. He marvelled at her coldness. as if she knew all about it. unexpected movements. but scarcely loud enough to be heard. ‘You don’t like Spiral work. smiling sweetly. twisting a piece of silk round his finger. He shut his mouth angrily as he watched her. at the same time glad. grinding rhythmically. ‘What would you prefer to do?’ he asked. flirted and laughed with Hilda. ‘What did you say?’ she asked. then stooping to see the stocking that hung beneath. ‘Oh. very polite. you seem to forget I’m your boss. She loved him for his quick. She merely turned away from him in disdain. she stinks with silent pride. The sweets lay strewn on the bench.

In the afternoon he brought another 0 . and a frown came on his face. Pussy drew back from her mates.’ he replied.’ she said.’ he said. Later on Minnie. then he would. then I went and forgot ‘em. I should love it. In the morning they were still there. ‘You ARE a dear. I say.’ She accepted one. Clara heard him laughing. He felt he was being angrier than he had any need to be.’ he said angrily. The girls clamoured round. He jumped suddenly down. ‘Tenpence.’ he said. call me ‘sir’. called to him: ‘Hey. ‘Sorry I left these things littering about. can’t I. ‘They’ll be dirty now. Paul?’ ‘Be nice with ‘em. ‘You’re too blessed superior for anything.’ He flung them out of the window into the yard below. sir. She winced from his eyes.’ he said. He gathered them together in his fist. When at evening he went through the department after the girls had gone. ‘Oh.’ he said. ‘Of course they’re not.’ she answered. I’m not particular.’ he said. ‘I meant to have offered them. and Clara was at work. I meant to have told you I wanted you to. ‘They’ll be dusty. he saw his chocolates lying untouched in front of Clara’s machine. ‘Yes. haven’t you got a chocolate for anybody?’ ‘Sorry. ‘Oh no. He went on up the room. And he went away to the other girls. It Free eBooks at Planet eBook. you needn’t be nasty. ‘These are fresh. ‘Here you are. In fact.’ ‘Then I wish you would go upstairs. a little brunette they called Pussy.’ he answered. continuing her task. ‘You should have taken them. She took a couple more.’ he said. You don’t want them after they’ve been lying about. ‘I’ll bring you some this afternoon. I wonder why you didn’t.‘Is there anything you want to complain about?’ ‘Oh. do you?’ ‘Oh. take several—for luck. But if he were. with the girls down the next room.’ ‘I think you did. and put it on to the bench. He left them.’ smiled Pussy. He went past Clara without speaking. She flushed scarlet. he doubted slightly that he was showing off. offering them first to Clara.’ 0 Sons and Lovers He went up to Clara’s bench.’ His mouth closed.’ ‘Call you ‘sir’. Pussy. ‘I want you to treat me nicely and respectfully. ‘Will you take some?’ he said. Pussy. ‘Don’t be greedy!’ ‘Are they all for her?’ cried the others. ‘I don’t know what you want.’ the girls cried. and went away. She felt the three chocolate creams would burn her if she touched them. and put them on the bench also.’ he said. ‘Come out!’ she cried. ‘I can have first pick. in a way she hated. perhaps?’ she asked quietly. He just glanced at her. rushing up.’ he said. Then she turned in confusion to her work.

‘No. I want you. standing at the top of her stairs. which was spread on the bench in front of her. poor job. He was so nice while he was 11 . She went to her seat at the narrow end of the room. ‘There you ARE mistaken!’ she cried.’ Her voice was strong and contralto. and lame from his accidents.’ He went down the half-dozen steps into her dry. ‘How did you know?’ ‘Yes. at a loss. needed his support. The girls loved him and were afraid of him. He was not glad it was his birthday. moreover.’ he says! ‘Why!’ Why. if they were impudent. She hesitated. He was pulled in all directions.’ he said. Paul. and he saw. Paul looked at her in astonishment.30. Miriam was an eternal reproach. indignant. ‘There’s one from everybody—except Lady Clara—and two from some. I know. the house was in trouble. He had forgotten his birthday himself.’ she coaxed. Fanny walked before him: her 10 Sons and Lovers black bodice was short—the waist was under her armpits— and her green-black cashmere skirt seemed very long. narrow. surrounding the big black number ‘21’. hugely delighted. ‘Oh. treating them as if they scarcely existed. Paul watched her thin hands and her flat red wrists as she excitedly twitched her white apron. the hunchback.needed all her courage to slip them into the pocket of her apron. As he was changing his coat.’ she said. getting an old man. Paul knew she referred to Clara. you’re spooney. ‘And you know you’re as sentimental—-‘ ‘I’d rather be called sentimental than frozen meat. hundreds of little crosses in black-lead. or not more than the bobbins of thread. he heard a voice behind him say: ‘Paul. ‘I could never be so soft.’ and stood and watched. but if he were offended.’ he laughed. ‘Come on. yet could not give himself. ‘I want you. He stood. you want to know. ‘Why. ‘Do you say such nasty things about me?’ he laughed. her face radiant with a secret.’ he laughed. my duck. ‘Why?’ he asked. ‘You didn’t think we’d forgot you?’ she asked. But I shan’t tell you how many I put. The house. he said quietly: ‘Do you mind going on with your work. as she strode with big strides before the young man. kisses for my birthday.’ ‘Oh. ‘finishing-off’ room. It made him bitter. so distant. don’t you?’ Fanny mocked. look here!’ She pointed to the calendar. himself so graceful.’ Fanny blurted. The girls were not due till 8. was given a paltry. ‘Come before you begin on the letters. Arthur was just going to be married. Most of the clerks had not turned up. When he celebrated his twenty-third birthday. ‘You always pretend to be such a hard-hearted hussy. reproachful. where the window opened on to chimney-pots. His mother was not well. And then. and he smiled.’ It was Fanny. He got to work at eight o’clock.’ the hunchback woman answered. His father. lavishFree eBooks at Planet eBook. He felt he owed himself to her.

com 1 . and see what God sends you. ‘No.’ he said. down to ugliness. ‘And open your mouth. was gazing at him. ‘I’m going to look. She was thirty-nine. We didn’t WANT her to join. I MUST go out now.’ ‘But they’re the right sorts?’ she cried. it’s made my heart ache. ‘No. we never told her.’ Paul laughed at the woman. If it comes to goodness. ‘She didn’t get the chance. He instantly caught at her wish. suiting action to tender. all except the Queen of Sheba. rocking herself with delight. ‘From us all. ‘Jove! they’re the best in the catalogue. Paul?’ and the question delighted her. but—-‘ ‘Are they the right sort?’ she asked. 1 Sons and Lovers ‘They’re off the little list I’d made to get when my ship came in. She might get hysterical. we’re not better than one another.’ she answered hastily. ‘And wouldn’t she join?’ Paul asked. I’m as good as you.’ She lingered.’ he said quickly.’ she said apologetically.’ he continued. you’re better. ‘They was all on thorns to do it. She was very close to him. Suddenly she flung her arms round his neck and kissed him vehemently. my duck. ‘You’ve looked so white. ‘You are going anywhere?’ he asked. are we?’ he replied. Outdoors she dressed very plainly. ‘You have stayed to dinner!’ he exclaimed. her blue eyes shining. or I shall feel stale india-rubber right through. That day he met Clara as he ran downstairs to wash his hands at dinner-time. and a faint clink of metal. because you don’t think yourself a fine figure in marble and us nothing but dirt. He was much moved. aren’t I. Her arms were so pitifully thin that his heart ached also. He heard the rustle of the apron. They went together up to the Castle. and expecting a piece of chocolate. Fanny. ‘I can give you a kiss to-day. and I seem to have dined on old surgical-appliance stock.’ She was rather afraid of the situation. ‘Why. ‘Of course you are. and left her. indoors she always Free eBooks at Planet eBook. aren’t I. ‘No.’ The Queen of Sheba was Clara. At last he must go. There was a little bundle of paint-tubes on the bench before him. ‘But I’m as good as you.’ Paul kissed her. He turned pale. ‘Yes. She must turn the conversation. He opened his eyes. we wasn’t going to have HER bossing THIS show. Paul?’ she persisted daringly. her long cheeks flushed. ‘I thought I’d get here before the others—won’t they say I’m deep! Now shut your eyes—-’ she said. It was unusual for her. Fanny. they all paid their shares.’ He bit his lip. Fanny was overcome with emotion.

among the perched bushes. The steep scarp cliffs across the river looked puny. beside which smoking toy engines fussed. The town will come all right. as she shrank from the public gaze.’ he said. Mary rose into space. ‘You feel as if you could scoop up the folk like tadpoles. To the left the large church of St. spread towards the haze.’ said Mrs. above the heaped rubble of the town. it is not necessary to get far off in order to see us proportionately. Looking drearily across at the country which was forbidden her. clumsy make-shift we’ve practised on. the dwellings. Away beyond the boulevard the thin stripes of the metals showed upon the railway-track. ‘I feel better. he laughed and chattered. drowning her stature in her stoop. She shivered.’ he said. in thick rows and crowded beds. Great stretches of country darkened with trees and faintly brightened with corn-land. Then the silver string of the canal lay at ran1 Sons and Lovers dom among the black heaps. and have a handful of them. seeming to brood over something. her impassive face. right to where the river glistened in a hieroglyph across the country. She laughed. whose margin was crowded with little stacks of timber. It is only a LITTLE sore upon the country yet.’ he replied. Dowdy in dress. cooed comfortably. The trees are much more significant.’ Paul said. tiny trees stood in their own pools of shadow. stretching right away. Dawes.’ he said. ‘it’s only temporary. ‘But the town’s all right. ‘H’m! that’s snatching back with the left hand what you Free eBooks at Planet eBook. but she was silent. she reminded Paul of one of the bitter. Climbing the precipitous 1 .’ ‘A little scab. There was scarcely time to go inside the squat.’ ‘Bulk only. The Castle grounds were very green and fresh. ‘It is comforting. square building that crowns the bluff of rock. answering: ‘Yes. ‘to think the town goes no farther. and tiny people went scurrying about in almost ludicrous importance. She walked with hesitating steps alongside Paul. Beyond. very dense on the river flat. broken now and then by taller plants. She laughed cynically. pigeons preened themselves and cooed softly. to keep close company with the Castle. Mrs. and drooping. Dawes smiled brightly as she looked across the country. she showed to great disadvantage. She loathed the town. ‘Thank you. looked like black. that seemed to slumber with power. bowing and turning away from him. till we find out what the idea is. Away down upon the boulevard at the foot of the rock.’ she said. Below them. poisonous herbage. This is the crude. remorseful angels. They leaned upon the wall where the cliff runs sheer down to the Park. in their holes in the sandstone. She appeared almost insignificant. my brother!’ she laughed.’ The pigeons in the pockets of rock. ‘Great compliment!’ ‘Oh. pale and hostile. He could scarcely recognise her strong form. where the hills rose blue beyond grey.looked nice.

’ she went on. He was much perturbed. all that remained was a vast. merged into one atmosphere—dark. his mother. It is—it is almost unbearable. dark matrix of sorrow and tragedy.gave with the right. and no mistake. The factory. they were only shapen differently. ‘I will tell you what it’s all about. to match her large limbs. He had inherited from his mother a fineness of mould. Yet he was so quiet.’ Paul thought for a few minutes. uplifted church. she forgave him. Don’t bother about it. angry tone. will you—because’—he laughed quickly—‘well. the thicket of the town. ‘No. hug it. ‘But what was the matter with you?’ he asked. so that his hands were small and vigorous. pale and nervous.’ ‘Do they?’ he asked in concern. interesting diversity of shapes had vanished from the scene. All alike.’ ‘What about ‘em?’ Paul asked.’ he said. and making me feel more out of it than ever. they insult me with their secrecy. ‘But. She flushed and bit her lip. He knew what the girls gloated over.’ ‘Just like women. He was brooding now. in spite of their victory?’ She was angry with him for his clumsy reference to their present intimacy. a dark mass of struggle and pain. and to-day they seem particularly full of it. ‘it was the girls. As Paul looked at them he knew her. ‘but they might refrain from glorying in them. It was almost insolent of him. Paul was silent. ‘if they did not thrust it into my face—the fact that they have a secret. Their two hands lay on the rough stone parapet of the Castle wall. And now that the forms seemed to have melted away. ‘I know you were brooding something special. what would they say if they saw us here now.’ she said.’ he said to himself. and sorrowful. there remained the mass from which all the landscape was composed. so warm and alive. The little.’ she went on.’ she said. ‘They can have all the secrets in the world.’ he answered. but white and powerful looking. every bit. I can see the stamp of it on your face yet.’ he said. brooding bitterly.’ she said intensely. in the metallic. all the girls. which seemed to live for 1 . ‘She is wanting somebody to take her hands—for all she is so contemptuous of us. Hers were large. although it cost her an effort. Dawes said in surFree eBooks at Planet eBook. She laughed in amusement at him. the same in all the houses and the river-flats and the people and the birds. the large. you see. They’re jealous of you’—he felt her stiffen coldly at the word ‘jealous’—‘merely because I sometimes bring you a book. ‘All right. And she saw nothing but his two hands. ‘It is hateful. He was sorry to be the cause of this new dissension. it’s only a trifle. and they’ve bought me a fine lot 1 Sons and Lovers of paints. brooding. ‘They have been plotting something for a week now.’ he added slowly.’ ‘I think I will not tell you. ‘It’s my birthday.’ said he. ‘Is that two o’clock striking?’ Mrs. their mean gloating. ‘I should not mind. the girls. staring out over the country from under sullen brows.

I seemed to have been asleep nearly all my life. examining the work up from Fanny’s room. feel them. its 1 .’ ‘Somnambule? But—when did you wake up?’ ‘I don’t know that I ever did. and its cheerfulness. Clara made no sign. She can’t afford it. He climbed and sat on a gate. Everybody seemed to feel that he was quite unaware of the state of his own feeling. who ever’d have thought it!’ He was suddenly intensely moved. with a dim haze. he never got there. They were quiet. This move on the part of Clara brought them into closer intimacy.’ ‘And when did you leave him?’ ‘Three years ago. almost submissive. Knowing he was unaware. ‘It is eight years ago?’ ‘Yes. and everything sprang into form. ‘Good Lord! Mrs. and so spare me my isolation. but he cared less about the talk. handing Paul a package. They walked out together very often at dinner-time. see them. smiling.’ ‘You went to sleep as you grew to be a woman? How queer! And he didn’t wake you?’ ‘No. In the glow he could almost feel her as if she were present—her arms. then she said slowly: ‘I thought I did—more or less. I was very prudish then. ‘How old were you when you married?’ he asked quietly. and 1 Sons and Lovers that nothing was wrong. in a monotone.’ ‘Five years! Did you love him when you married him?’ She was silent for some time. she sat on the stile. The other girls noticed that when Paul met Mrs. Paul Morel. it was quite open. ‘Mr. quite frank. Good Lord. regained its individuality. he did not bother about his conclusions. I didn’t think much about it. Dawes.prise.—C. was pleased to make fun of the girls’ affection for Paul. They hurried back to work. Dawes his eyes lifted and gave that peculiar bright greeting which they could interpret. When he was in the rush of preparing for the night’s post. It was a volume of verse with a brief note: ‘You will allow me to send you this. And he wanted me. One day in October they went out to Lambley for tea. ‘Twenty-two. She would tell him now.D. He talked to her now with some of the old fervour with which he had talked to Miriam. The afternoon was perfectly still. almost contain them. save that occasionally she turned aside her face from him when he came upon her. her bosom. which smelt of ironing.’’ he said.’ Paul flushed hot. I also sympathise and wish you well. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. the evening postman came in. Suddenly they came to a halt on top of the hill. Paul started.’ ‘And you sort of walked into it without thinking?’ ‘Yes. or ever have—since I was a child. He was filled with the warmth of her. ‘A lady’s handwriting! Don’t let the girls see it. her shoulders.’ The postman.’ she replied. himself a favourite. and yellow sheaves glowing through.’ Her voice was subdued.

In her abstraction she took the ring off her finger.’ he said. ‘But did you—were you ever—did you ever give him a chance?’ ‘Chance? How?’ ‘To come near to you. and could not. ‘And was he always dirty?’ he asked.’ he said.’ He did not at all see.’ she replied. She spun it again and again. and the ring was quivering upon the table. ‘But why did you leave him? Was he horrid to you?’ She shuddered lightly. He loved the day. It fell. She poured out his tea.’ she said. And then I felt as if I wanted to run. Her hand lay on the gate-post as she balanced. ‘And then he seemed as if he couldn’t get AT me. where they sat in the cold parlour. but he could not understand.’ The afternoon was so gently warm and dim. It was only a friendship between man and woman. stood it up. ‘I believe he loves you. Paul watched. He was like so many young men of his own age.’ They found a cottage.’ But the conversation had got them both out of their depth. Red roofs of the cottages burned among the blue haze. Suddenly Paul jumped down. His heart beat quickly.’ ‘I married him—and I was willing—-‘ 0 Sons and Lovers They both strove to keep their voices steady. But she was a married 1 . ‘Got where?’ he asked. 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. Sex had become so complicated in him that he would have denied Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and he believed in simple friendship. He never really mattered to me. and spun it upon the table. ‘At me. what Clara was saying. He wanted to take his hand away. After a silence. twisting her wedding ring all the time. as if I was fastened and bound up. He put his own over it. She saved him by removing her own. ‘And I suppose he couldn’t MAKE himself mean everything to you?’ ‘He tried to bully me into it. glittering globe. ‘It looks like it. really.The brown birds dashed over the hedges where the rosehips stood naked and scarlet. He could feel.’ she replied slowly. He felt she had withdrawn again from him. After tea. And he considered that he was perfectly honourable with regard to her. ‘He—he sort of degraded me. She was very quiet. she stared broodingly into her tea-cup. ‘Come on.’ ‘I see. such as any civilised persons might have. The gold became a diaphanous. He wanted to bully me because he hadn’t got me. And he seemed dirty. ‘Let’s go and get some tea. ‘A bit. he began again: ‘Did you leave him out of count all along?’ ‘He left me. fascinated.

‘Oh. She very rarely saw Miriam now. Miriam knew now how strong was the attraction of Clara for him. The friendship between the two women was not broken off. ‘Yes.’ ‘You don’t mind. ‘Why should I?’ she  . He would come back to her.’ he said. The conversation broke off there. to life. but cured of his desire for the lesser things which other women than herself could give him. with some of his young freshness gone. and visited the girl occasionally. to the world. ‘In what way?’ ‘Oh. moreover. when they saw little of each other.’ Clara replied. whenever he could. Then he wrote frequently to Miriam. but they always came together again. it would be his duty to marry Miriam. pray?’ ‘Making him feel as if he were nothing—I know. He loved Miriam with his soul. Dawes and he had many periods of coolness. So he went on through the winter.that he ever could want Clara or Miriam or any woman whom he knew. but left him to his courses. Which almost annoyed him. She could bear all if he were inwardly true to her and must come back.’ he replied. but he seemed not so fretted. That he gave Clara to understand. ‘I promised to go up to Willey Farm.’ Paul declared. Sex desire was a sort of detached thing.’ she said coolly. But it made her cool with him for some time. but still she was certain that the best in him would triumph. ‘You know. my friend. she was sure. very well. that did not belong to a woman. but somehow she—it doesn’t go right—-‘ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. But weren’t you horrid with him? Didn’t you do something that knocked him to pieces?’ ‘What. ‘You are so clever. and she said nothing. do you?’ he asked. ‘Were you horrid with Baxter Dawes?’ he asked her. Clara was a newer friend. She thought he was getting away from Miriam. He came to her. He grew warm at the thought of Clara. Dawes. and she belonged to Nottingham. ‘Miriam and I have been a lot to each other ever since I was sixteen—that’s seven years now. and she belonged to Bestwood and home and his youth. He would have denied it for ever.’ ‘It’s a long time. some time in the far future. His mother was easier about him. he battled with her. Miriam was his old friend. ‘Will you come in to the concert on Sunday afternoon?’ Clara asked him just after Christmas. was a married woman— was shallow and temporal. It was a thing that seemed to trouble him. His feeling for Mrs. he knew the curves of her breast and shoulders as if they had been moulded inside him. lover. If ever he should marry. He saw none of the anomaly of his position. perhaps. but considerably weakened. Mrs. Mrs. He believed himself really bound to Miriam. Dawes—who. and yet he did not positively desire her. I don’t know. compared with his love for herself. It seemed to  Sons and Lovers him quite plain.

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

an injustice. Clara said she even wanted him. He would have given his head to have felt a joyous desire to marry her and to have her. And with her he felt it so hard to overcome. for a woman was like their mother.CHAPTER XI THE TEST ON MIRIAM WITH the spring came again the old madness and battle. Why? She loved him. He could not go out 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. they could marry. and. Then why couldn’t he bring it off? There was some obstacle. moreover. 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. Then. Perhaps the recoil and the shrinking from her was love in its first fierce modesty. He shrank from the physical contact. did he feel he would burst forth  Sons and Lovers in brutality and recoil? He owed himself to her. He wished he did. And he owed himself to her. He had no aversion for her. yet he was nearest to her. timidly. No. and with her alone could he deliberately break through. It would all come right if they tried. He could not have faced his mother. Now he knew he would have to go to Miriam. kiss her? Why. they were themselves too diffident and shy. as they walked. Being the sons of mothers whose husbands had blundered rather brutally through their feminine sanctities. dreaming her religion. he did not see that it should inevitably follow they should be man and wife. but his circumstances at home made it difficult. He did not feel that he wanted marriage with Miriam. They were so sensitive to their women that they would go without them for ever rather than do them a hurt. when she put her arm in his. which fought and won in both of them. He might have married her. if they could get things right. which they could not break out of. He looked round. she was sad. He could not bear to fail her. make it a nullity. and he was nearly a religion to her. he wanted to belong to her. but he would not marry unless he could feel strong in the joy of it—never. Something struggled in him. and what was the obstacle? It lay in the physical bondage. Marriage was for life. Always. he and  . and because they had become close companions. it was the opposite. then why couldn’t he go to her. But why? With her he felt bound up inside himself. It seemed to him that to sacrifice himself in a marriage he did not want would be degrading. and would undo all his life. He would try what he COULD do. it was a strong desire battling with a still stronger shyness and virginity. It seemed as if virginity were a positive force. And he had a great tenderness for Miriam. A good many of the nicest men he knew were like himself. bound in by their own virginity. make love to her. he did not want to marry. but he could not get to her.

It only hardened his soul. One day he stood behind her as she sang. And she went to bed. She could not forgive him. and was astonished. hot as steel. for all the rest he had gone to Miriam. He did not explain nor excuse himself. It was not fair to hurt her. As Miriam sang her mouth seemed hopeless. cooked for him still. not of her. If he came home late. yet he persisted. There was nothing for her to do now but the housework. and loved to slave for him. not as a youth.mother. He lay back in the rocking-chair at Willey Farm one evening. and she reproached him. He hardly told her anything. when he looked at her. There seemed an eternal maidenhood about her. so spiritual. She began to give up at last. It reminded him so much of the mouth and eyes of one who sings beside a Botticelli Madonna. because she never had possessed them. more and more irritable and gloomy. Mrs. came up the pain in him. Mrs. She recognised. brought the tears almost to his eyes. Discarded. and more realisation of what he was about. but upon her. Again. rather than risk the other person. He had been such a jolly lad. but it was like being callous to his own health. He went on determinedly. but her face closed again like a mask. It was a great bitterness to her that he had gone back to Miriam. He did things with more intensity.’ he said. often long after. tender with  . Morel saw him going again frequently to Miriam. She was in the way. She had no right over him. and full of the warmest affection. Morel was tired. Miriam killed the joy and the warmth in him. There was a coldness between him and her. she had finished. ‘I am old enough. It reminded her of William. he saw the great brown eyes of a maiden who was nearly scared and shocked out of her virgin maidenhood. If he had made up his mind. nothing on earth would alter him. and she saw him going to Miriam. He went back to her. now he grew colder. she waited on him. He said nothing to his mother. They had been born almost leaving her out of count. So she could never let them go. and when he thought of her mother. He had been talking to Miriam for some weeks. His mother knew how he was suffering for want of a woman. leaving the door unlocked for him. he would give his right hand. but Paul was worse. however. he frowned and turned on her in an overbearing way: ‘I shall come home when I like. They preferred themselves to suffer the misery of celibacy. breathing with her the atmosphere of reverie and religious dreams. but not quite.’ he answered. She sang like a nun singing to heaven. in spite of her seven children. Something in her. He went to Willey Farm as a man now.’ ‘Must she keep you till this time?’  Sons and Lovers ‘It is I who stay. but Free eBooks at Planet eBook. He realised more or less what his mother felt. 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. but she lay listening until he came. It undermined him quickly. He made himself callous towards her.’ she said. ‘And she lets you? But very well. the uselessness of any further interference. Annie was playing a song on the piano.

’ There was silence in the room for some time.’ she replied.’ She laughed quaintly.’ She had been brooding. and I took the motion from you. and recoiled also.’ she said. ‘Yes. but one ought to marry about then. She looked at him and was sorry for him. ‘Why are you ashamed of it. He might do as he liked. I must. ‘And you love me?’ She laughed bitterly. ‘Nay.had not come to the point. ‘And I don’t know.’ she said softly. ‘not now. Do you understand?’ ‘I think so. ‘all these years of intimacy. She put her hand on his knee as he leaned forward in his chair. He was restless. He took it and kissed it.’ he answered.’ she answered. ‘and it’s my fault. ‘I can’t marry you.’ she answered. But you know I can’t help being—as I am—don’t you?’ ‘I know you can’t help it. She was sorry for him. Now he said suddenly: ‘I am twenty-four.’ she answered deeply.’ he replied bitterly. Why is it?’ ‘I don’t know. and she waited. ‘You recoiled away from anything of the sort.’ he pleaded. ‘You wouldn’t be ashamed before your God. 0 Sons and Lovers ‘I love you an awful lot—then there is something short. What makes you say it?’ There was something in the charged atmosphere that she dreaded.’ She sat half-guessing what was coming. at last. but it hurt to do so. and they depend on me at home. because we’ve no money. ‘A woman—you know what I mean. ‘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.’ he repeated.’ ‘Ay. and have what he liked of her. in me! It is I who ought to be ashamed—like a spiritual cripple.’ replied Miriam. why are you before people?’ ‘Nay. And I am ashamed. It is misery. perhaps worse.’ ‘There is between us. She looked up at him suddenly in surprise.’ ‘You are. ‘Now. looking at him. who could never be properly mated. ‘Don’t be 1 .’ she answered broodingly. she would suffer for him. ‘Ay. almost. it was worse for him to have this deflated love than for herself. ‘I am not bitter.’ he continued slowly.’ She was silent. ‘Oh. saying: ‘Does it need Sir Thomas More’s sanction?’ ‘No.’ She felt she could bear anything for him. for ever urging forward and trying to find a way out. ‘Yes. ‘I am not ashamed.’ he said.’ ‘Where?’ she answered. He Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘And you love me?’ She laughed. I feel naked enough before you.’ he said. ‘But I want to marry now—-‘ ‘You want to marry?’ she repeated. ‘it is so. his eyes were dark with torture. ‘Sir Thomas More says one can marry at twenty-four.

’ ‘Yes. As she stood under the drooping-thorn tree.’ he said. and kissed her. ‘I love to feel your arm THERE!’ she said. which felt more like nullity. The blaze in his eyes shuddered. all the while. The blaze struggled. his passion flooded him. As she kissed him. and she felt stunned. hiding his face on her shoulder.’ She sank her head on his breast. and the tears came to her eyes.’ he said. His hopes and his heart sunk.’ He tightened the pressure of his arm upon the small of her back to rest her. and his voice seemed sure. He clasped her very close.’ she answered. He turned his head quickly aside. Then she raised her head and looked into his eyes with her full gaze of love.’ he said. ‘No. She could feel his heart throbbing heavily in his breast. We have to fight against that. he said: ‘I am glad I came back to you. You can trust Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘Kiss me.’ he said. ‘but there’s not much risk for you really—not in the Gretchen way. When she walked home with him over the fields. He sat there sacrificed to her purity. It was a moment of anguish. pressing his arm against her back. I have been obstinate. and leave nothing but pain? Yet slowly he drew her to him and kissed her. became uncertain. ‘makes us not want. We will be happy?’  Sons and Lovers ‘Yes. ‘Yes. they were staring across the room. seemed to try to get away from her. It was so difficult. ‘Not now. where it went round her waist. ‘What are you thinking about?’ she asked. where he could not see her but only feel her. in the darkness by the roadside. How could he kiss her hand passionately. ‘We belong to each  . I feel so simple with you— as if there was nothing to hide.’ he said. ‘That’s all. and his mouth was kissing her throat. ‘Some sort of perversity in our souls. and his arms folded her closer and closer. and then was quenched.’ ‘Then why shouldn’t we belong to each other altogether?’ ‘But—-’ she faltered. They knew each other too well to pretend anything.’ she murmured. He was perfectly still. he kissed her. A dreariness came over him. ‘It rests me so. with a peculiar dark blaze in them that fascinated her. when it would drive her away. ‘Sometime you will have me?’ he murmured.’ she said. I love you.’ she said.’ she whispered. He shut his eyes. ‘I know it’s a lot to ask. and his fingers wandered over her face.felt he was putting himself aside. ‘I was thinking. ‘Yes. she watched his eyes. get away from. His clasp of her slackened. In the darkness. the very thing we want.

held it between her hands. made him turn away. He should have her. ‘You SHALL have me. he was only like other men. He could not meet her gaze. She was not afraid of  . Perhaps it was so. almost stunned. After all. but there was something more in him. in spite of all desires. and over this. when she thought of it afterwards. He turned away and ran down the  Sons and Lovers road. and then.’ Suddenly she gripped his arms round her. At any rate. but with a sort of horror. and when he came to the wall over the lake he leaned there. religiously. She waited. I am only afraid. Yes. which was her deepest wish. then she would submit. His heart died in him. not now. earnest and searching. but she dreaded the issue with him. ‘You don’t think it ugly?’ he there?’ ‘Oh. There was no more of her but this pale blotch. through her shut teeth. ‘Never mind. I can trust you.’ she said. ‘Good-bye!’ she called softly.’ ‘You are afraid?’ She calmed herself hastily. wishing he would go. which did not seem so all-important to her. his fists clenched. Not for an instant would she let him forget. You have TAUGHT me it isn’t. and she would submit. Often. ‘Yes. Looking round he saw the pale blotch of her face down in the darkness under the hanging tree. Back again he had to torture himself into a sense of his responFree eBooks at Planet eBook. when he grew hot. looking up the black water. too. it would give him what he wanted. and clenched her body stiff. what they might say. seeking his satisfaction. He folded her close. He said that possession was a great moment in life. ‘No. He courted her now like a lover. He would be disappointed. She could not bear it. She drew away. Oh. scarcely hearing what she said. Miriam plunged home over the meadows. as if against something. her heart went down. and his mouth was on her throat. something deeper! She could trust to it. He disengaged her. He sighed. She seemed slightly hysterical. Yet he was so insistent. he would find no satisfaction. She had no body. At last he kissed her quickly and climbed the fence. All strong emotions concentrated there. she put his face from her. was their love to break down. full of love. His heart beat up again like fire.’ she said.’ The answer came quick and strong. ‘You should please yourself. ‘I don’t know!’ she cried.’ he said. He kissed her tenderly. ‘Won’t you be late?’ she asked gently. and then he would go away. ‘It’s not that—it’s not that at all—but—-‘ ‘What?’ She hid her face in his neck with a little cry of misery. only a voice and a dim face. she would let him have her if he insisted. And at the thought her whole body clenched itself involuntarily. There was something divine in it. and looked in his eyes. She brooded and brooded and brooded herself towards accepting him. to the sacrifice. Her dark eyes. but Life forced her through this gate of suffering. hard.

’ he said. under the dark leaves. He could not bear it. very large and tall. reached down the boughs. on the rhubarb leaves. There was a great crop of cherries at the farm. and the far-off water. The trees at the back of the house.sibility and hers. It is like being on a ship up here. reflective creature. and the grass. dark and warm. perched insecurely in the slender branches. chuckling sound. ‘Beautiful!’ she cried. She ran for shelter. like skeletons. seemed roused from the twilight and shining. then she looked up again. Paul saw some cherry stones hanging quite bleached. heaped in soft. rose-coloured ruin towards the darkness. moaning steadily. so soft. and go in immense. The sun. ‘Leave me alone—leave me alone!’ he wanted to cry. He laughed with a low. from a golden vermilion to a rich crimson. He looked down again to Miriam. The world. ‘Oh!’ Paul heard her mellow voice call. The young man. suddenly caught the broken clouds. Never any relaxing. thieves that had been shot. rocked till he felt slightly drunk. going down. Paul combed high in the tree. never any leaving himself to the great hunger and impersonality of passion. All shades of red. reflected the gold glow. Miriam came out wondering. full of the dark. Two fine red pairs she hung over her ears. ‘isn’t it wonderful?’ He looked down. ‘Clouds are on fire. and tore off handful after handful of the sleek. turned up to him. where the scarlet beady cherries hung thick underneath. so tender. till now  Sons and Lovers dusk and grey. Paul and Edgar were gathering the fruit one evening. She seemed so small. Immense piles of gold flared out in the south-east. He threw a handful of cherries at her. ‘How high you are!’ she said. hung thick with scarlet and crimson drops. above the scarlet roofs of the buildings. that looked very soft. down there. astonished. thrilling motion that stirred the blood. and pelted her. It had been a hot day. picking up some cherries. like pain in its intense brightness. There was a faint gold glimmer on her face. Then the scarlet sank to rose. Everywhere the trees. their chill finger-tips sending a flash down his blood. but she wanted him to look at her with eyes full of love. impersonal fire of desire. glowing yellow right up the sky.’ She went to the fence and sat there. The wind. made the whole tree rock with a subtle. cool-fleshed fruit.’ ‘And how long will you stay?’ ‘While the sunset  . Beside her. ‘Haven’t you got enough?’ she asked. were four dead birds. His eyes. As if from a swoon of passion she caged him back to the littleness. picked clear of flesh. Gold flamed to scarlet. watching the gold clouds fall to pieces. the personal relationship. glowed and met his eyes under a darkness of leaves. he must be brought back to a deliberate. and rose Free eBooks at Planet eBook. She was startled and frightened. did not belong to her. ‘Nearly. Cherries touched his ears and his neck as he stretched forward. and now the clouds were rolling in the sky.

but did not move. Now again she loved him deeply. saying: ‘I shall have to mend it. Very dreary at heart. to be urgent and insistent—that was NOT-TO-BE. as if his living were smeared away into the beyond.’ he said. and the sharp spines pricked her face. let us walk a little way. ‘Won’t it rain?’ she asked. strange note in his voice.  Sons and Lovers Later it began to rain. that her soul had stood apart. in a sort of horror. He rose. oblivious man was a stranger to her. on the dead pine needles. and assisted her. ‘Do you want to?’ ‘Yes.’ He seemed to be almost unaware of her as a person: she was only to him then a woman. She put her fingers through the tear. Paul lay with his head on the ground. To be alive. This thick-voiced. To him crimson. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and very tender. Paul was silent and strange. ‘Shall we go in among the trees?’ he asked. He laughed.’ he said. ‘I’ve torn my sleeve. very heavy. ‘They are lovely. to feel if the raindrops fell on him. identified with the great Being. but no more. and stillness. very sad. near and quite lovable.’ said Miriam. tearing his shirt-sleeve as he did so. Paul scrambled quickly down with his basket. thick darkness. but it was a sacrifice in which she felt something of horror. and inaction. fingering the cherries. This strange. The pine-trees smelled very strong. He was physically at rest. gentle reaching-out to death was new to him. He. ‘Yes—is it coming on you?’ She put her hands over him. ‘Shall we stay out?’ he said.’ said Miriam. his fingers wandered over her face pitifully. keen noise. ‘How warm!’ she said. His heart was down. ‘The rain is coming in on us. ‘I wish it were thicker— good.’ It was near the shoulder.’ They went down the fields and into the thick plantation of trees and pines. She loved him dearly. She was afraid. and quickly the passion went out of the sky.’ said Miriam. on his shoulders. She relinquished herself to him. and death. night. on his hair.’ It was very dark among the firs. All the world was dark grey. ‘No. this seemed like BEING.’ he  . She took the three-cornered rip.’ he answered. ‘We must go. He was tender and beautiful. as he lay with his face on the dead pine-leaves. Now he realised that she had not been with him all the time. listening to the sharp hiss of the rain—a steady. life seemed a shadow. one that made her pant. ‘It is a pity. He did not mind if the raindrops came on him: he would have lain and got wet through: he felt as if nothing mattered. ‘I like the darkness. She was afraid. felt extraordinarily quiet. There was a new. He stood against a pine-tree trunk and took her in his arms. ‘Yes. day a white shadow. The highest of all was to melt out into the darkness and sway there. ‘The rain!’ he said.

’ She was afraid. Now he seemed beyond her. ‘along with everything. ‘I feel so strange and still. and for writing little introspective pieces which interested her. I think. fell ill. The cottage had a big garden in front.‘What?’ ‘To have to go. smothering everything. that is our after-life—our immortality. against which the plum trees were nailed. the stillness in his voice. she had a fear lest she should lose him. heavy look in his eyes. He left his 1 .’ ‘You don’t usually say that.’ In a while they went indoors. but then on the Monday of the holiday he was to spend a whole day with her. which also pleased her. ‘A sort of hush: the whole night wondering and asleep: I suppose that’s what we do in death—sleep in wonder. being better. She trod beside him in silence. It was very pretty. She would be alone all the day. 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. He seemed again unaware of her. Miriam had not much to do. ‘Let us stay here awhile. when he was going to do as he liked. ‘Stiller than I have ever been in my life.’ ‘Yes?’ 0 Sons and Lovers ‘Yes—and very beautiful to have. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. At the back another garden was separated from the fields by a tall old hedge. He did not embarrass her much. a kind of curious sleep—that is very beautiful. who lived in a tiny cottage in Woodlinton. which is our effort—to live effortless.’ she answered patiently. The rain fell with a heavy ‘Hush!’ on the trees. feeling a slight fear. She pressed his fingers. It was a beautiful little place.’ ‘Ay. telling her where he was going. ‘To be rid of our individuality. Paul used often to cycle over. I feel so still. with red brick walls. and might return the second day or the third.’ he said. There was a sound of rain everywhere. so she found time for her beloved reading. they all left him alone. and they had as a rule peaceful and happy times. was driven to Derby to stay with her daughter for a day or two.’ he said. He still kept the quiet. Instinctively.’ ‘No. Everybody looked at them curiously. so Miriam stayed alone in the cottage. She was a crotchety old lady. and the girl was sent to keep house. About this time Miriam’s grandmother. It was sweet to rush through the morning lanes on his bicycle. It cast a shadow over him. and said nothing. At the holiday-time her grandmother.’ She had been afraid before of the brute in him: now of the mystic. though he held her hand close. which is our will.’ ‘Still!’ she repeated. It was perfect weather. but he had three days that were all his own.

The sunlight came through the leaves of the scented geraniums in the window. with her tumbled curls. The room was small and cosy. and no one could look more beautiful. As she put her face down into the marigolds. Here they wandered. mostly golden water-blobs. her hands lifted in a little pleading movement. arrested him.’ he said. much washed. His eyes were very dark. He laughed pleadingly to her. but quivering with a kind of expectancy. and all his blood fell back. questioning. Her big brown eyes were watching him. The sofa was covered all over with a sort of linen in squares of red and pale blue. ‘Don’t you think it’s a great day?’ he asked. She WAS happy. in silence. There was a stuffed owl in a case over a corner cupboard. still and resigned and loving. They talked all the time with unflagging zest. ruddy and busy. he carved. but the look at the back of her eyes. and he looked down at her simply.He got to the cottage at about eleven o’clock. and was blind with it. They went back to the house. but as he went forward to her. There was a bright little brook that ran into a bog at the foot of a very steep bank. when he was unfastening his collar. and he saw it. He held her hand fast all the time. very bright. then her face. The world was all steeped in sunshine. She was cooking a chicken in his honour. He locked the door. Like a young husband. when she was flushed from the fire. ‘Your face is bright. and they had the little house to themselves. Then he wiped the dishes she had washed. The chickens came scampering down the path to her. And then he wanted  . Then he kissed her fingers. picking still a few marsh-marigolds and many big blue forget-me-nots. She had the most beautiful body he had ever imagined. She looked so perfectly in keeping with the little kitchen. and he looked at her face. ‘like a transfiguration. ‘I have never seen anything more beautiful than this.’ She looked at him. First he saw only her beauty. but pretty. and quite still. He kissed her and sat down to watch. The dinner was a great success. and they went out down the fields. Miriam was busy preparing dinner. like a creature awaiting immolation. yet  Sons and Lovers not asleep. ‘And our day—just between us. and stopped. she lay as if she had given herself up to sacrifice: there was her body for him. It was their cottage for the day. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. He beat the eggs for her and peeled the potatoes. They lingered a little while. old. ‘And the water singing to itself as it runs—do you love it?’ She looked at him full of love. He thought she gave a feeling of home almost like his mother. laying his hands on hers. his face half-smiling with wonder. and they were man and wife. He stood unable to move or speak. She murmured her assent. Then they stood up upon the sweet thyme. He never forgot seeing her as she lay on the bed.’ he said. ‘Will you come?’ he asked. looking at her. hand in hand. it was all overcast with a yellow shine.’ he said. Then she sat on the bank with her hands full of flowers.

He could hardly bear it. but you have to bear it. and looked at her. very calm. But why had he the dull pain in his soul? Why did the thought of death.’ he said. She pondered sadly. ‘But all my life.’ she said. and wore her out with his passion before it was gone. 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. And afterwards he loved her—loved her to the last fibre of his being. And he could not do it often. He was a youth no longer. then? I want you to have my children. even in THAT way. to put her out of count. and there remained afterwards always the sense of failure and of death. ‘You see. almost wilfully.’ he asked her.’ ‘That doesn’t alter the fact that you never want it. ‘Yes. ‘No!’ she cried  . He looked at her.’ He lifted her head. ‘you don’t really want me. ‘Don’t say so! You don’t understand. quite sure.’ she said. As he rode home he felt that he was finally initiated. and act from the brute strength of his own feelings.’ he said. ‘I’m not used to the thought—-‘ ‘You are lately. his eyes dark with pain and shame. that loving. He stayed with her till quite late at night.’ She rocked with pain. If he would have her. do you?’ ‘Ah. ‘When I come to you. he had to put her aside. taking his head in her arms and rocking in despair. ‘You see.‘You are sure you want me?’ he asked. as you do. He loved her. He had always. seem so sweet and consoling? He spent the week with Miriam. somehow.’ He kissed her hand reverently. and his blood beat back again. is the high-water mark of living. to cry. Then he shut his eyes again to her. now.  Sons and Lovers She began to tremble. he wished he were sexless or dead.’ ‘And still believe it.’ he said. ‘I believe.’ she said at length. If he were really with her. watching him. the after-life.’ And I believed it. yes!’ she replied quickly. But he wanted. And he had to sacrifice her. as if a cold shadow had come over him. ‘Don’t I want your children?’ ‘But not me. he had to put aside himself and his desire. She only realised that she was doing something for him. Mother said to me: ‘There is one thing in marriage that is always dreadful.’ She was trembling with agitation. ‘Nay. There was something he could not bear for her sake. ‘You mean.’ she said.’ ‘How can you say so? But we must be married to have children—-‘ ‘Shall we be married. She lay to be sacrificed for him because she loved him so much. Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ ‘No.’ She was very quiet. it is always too much shock?’ ‘Yes—and—-‘ ‘You are always clenched against me. ‘We are too young. For a second.

that it was no good. anything.’ ‘Yes. ‘When you will. besides Edgar and Miriam’s younger brothers. She would leave him alone. At first it was only a sadness. The tone of hopelessness in which he said these things grieved her deeply. consciously. however. Pleading work. but she would not ask him anything. He thought he was being quite faithful to her. such as she had seen when he was a small baby. who was chemistry demonstrator at the university. He was sick. and he was gay again. who was a teacher. She bowed her head gravely. and much too quiet for  . for whom he felt responsible. But it never came again. He began to give more time to his men friends. wondering where he would end. however. But insidiously.’ she said. It was  Sons and Lovers useless trying: it would never be a success between them. She watched him in his loneliness. There was a perpetual little knitting of his brows. I suppose I did all the jawing—I usually do. He had to go on alone.’ She was surprised. Sometimes Miriam said: ‘What about Clara? I hear nothing of her lately. at the art school. just as they were going to bed: ‘I shan’t go so much to Miriam’s. without his knowing it. But there was a new quietness about him which she had wondered at. and to whom he felt he belonged. It had always been a failure between them. He continued faithful to Miriam. as if he were a child. mother. to go abroad. With Clara. Then he began to feel he could not go on. Precipitation might spoil things. For some months he had seen very little of Clara. And then he realised. I think I was telling her about the strike.’ ‘I walked with her about twenty minutes yesterday. He thought he did not mind. she acquiesced in what he felt. He called in the university for Swain. So he went to bed. and the two went ‘down town’ togethFree eBooks at Planet eBook. he sketched and studied with Jessop. it put them apart. And she could do nothing for him. make his own way. But he always reserved himself for Miriam. 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. Tacitly. Now it was the same again.’ she pleaded. Instead of drawing them together.‘Twenty-four and twenty-three—-‘ ‘Not yet. For one day he had loved her utterly. There was Jessop. She treated him indulgently. as she rocked herself in distress. Newton. And after a week of love he said to his mother suddenly one Sunday night. the warmth he felt for Clara drew him away from Miriam.’ he replied. ‘You please yourself. They had occasionally walked out for half an hour at dinnertime. She almost guessed. and how the women took it. The sense of failure grew stronger.’ he said. But deep below the surface it piqued him. Swain. his brow cleared. Gradually he ceased to ask her to have him. ‘And what did she talk about?’ ‘I don’t know. He wanted to run. and which had been gone for many years.’ So he gave the account of himself.

Frequently he hated Miriam. You know.’ he cried. making the sky dull purple with its glow. If he gave to Miriam the excuse of his men friends. who always went scrupulously through his books and papers. Then I work for myself in the afternoon. When she lifted her hands. He worked feverishly and mechanically. almost as if it were prowling abroad. Mrs. before dinner. and the drawings contained some of the fascination the real thing had for him. At least. heavy scent of the lilies. She was never alive. and he tortured her. Looking for her was like looking for something which did not exist. and was more cruel to her. The scent made him drunk. ‘Half a  . saw the drawings. this bursting of the storm in him. dusky gold. and giving off life. He saw more and more of Clara. and her beautiful strong arms shone out. ‘I think Clara has such beautiful arms. Suddenly he got up and went out of doors.’ He made sketches of her hand and arm. The beauty of the night made him want to shout. as if they were panting. He had been sitting working at home one evening. A corncrake in the hay-close called insistently. as if it were alive. At last he spoke. in the work-room. Miriam. Morel was strong on her feet again. Very well. so that he could escape from himself. ‘Yes! When did you draw them?’ ‘On Tuesday. When he was with her. He hated her violently. They dragged on till the next summer. he said. A halfmoon. he called and had a game of billiards with him in the Moon and Stars. he felt quite justified. Having come home in the train with Newton. ‘Hold your arm still. not his mate. stealthily. her sleeves fell back. During the summer Clara wore sometimes a dress of soft cotton stuff with loose sleeves. She took all and gave nothing.’ he said. He hated her way of patiently casting him up.’ she said. He hated her as she bent forward and pored over his things. whose keen perfume came sharply across the rocking. The moon slid quite quickly downwards. There was between him and his mother a peculiar condition of people frankly finding fault with each other. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. turning the leaves of his sketch-book. and stood alongside the white barrier of flowers. when he would come back to her.’ ‘Yes. a dim white fence of lilies went across the garden. and the air all round seemed to stir with scent.  Sons and Lovers She was only his conscience. It had been coming a long time. then she would stand aloof till he said something. His mother began to be He went down to the field to watch the moon sink under. He always told her where he had been. and just see to things at night. and yet not got him. he hated her for having got him. growing more flushed. They flagged all loose. It grew late. He was not going to stick to Miriam. was sinking behind the black sycamore at the end of the garden. This evening there was between them a peculiar condition of suspense. came the scent of madonna lilies. He went across the bed of pinks. Often I can do every single thing they need in the department. Through the open door. Nearer. she gave no living warmth. I’ve got a corner where I can work. as if he were an endless psychological account.

my boy. He put the flower in his mouth. smelling the pink. I don’t want to marry her—so I shall have done. But I say as I have always said. ‘You will be so much better when it is all over. touched their fleshy throats and their dark. She knew that ‘he was Free eBooks at Planet eBook. But he had decided. ‘I’m sure it’s time you went to bed. I ought to. he found the purple iris. She seemed to blossom for him alone. I shall break off on Sunday. You know I said so long ago. On the hills they sat down. His mother was very tender with him. He had written Miriam that they would walk over the fields to Hucknall. closed them on the blossom slowly. ‘But I thought—-’ she began. ‘Well. Breaking off a pink. And then. then took off her glasses. grasping hands. ‘I shall break off with Miriam. all was dark. ‘I thought lately you had made up your mind to have her.’ he said. he had found something. Unthinking. and should have said nothing. amazed. On Sunday he went up to the farm in the early afternoon.’ ‘Well. ‘Never mind. The male was up in him. he bared his teeth. ‘Come.’ ‘On Sunday I break off. and Miriam’s brown-skinned arms beneath them— such pitiful.’ exclaimed his mother. ‘I don’t love 1 . and so I said nothing. 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. Miriam met him at the lane-end. kissed his mother. he suddenly went indoors. ‘ Paul glanced swiftly at his mother in surprise and resentment.’ he answered. Every time he looked at her—a mature young woman now.’ he answered calmly.’ He stood with the pink against his lips. The peculiar set look on his face stilled her. She did not want to see him too clearly. She had made herself look so beautiful and fresh for him. But lately 0 Sons and Lovers I decided you had made up your mind to have her. my son. I shall break off on Sunday.’ ‘I had—I wanted to—but now I don’t want. I DON’T think she is suited to you. She was wearing a new dress of figured muslin that had short sleeves. He said nothing. he caught another perfume. and went to bed. oughtn’t I?’ ‘You know best. They stood stiff in the darkness.’ ‘But. ‘I think it will be best. He was white. and he lay with his head in her lap. At any rate. But she saw the effort it was costing. It’s no good. and it was irrevocable. unswerving. so I said nothing. The corncrake called still. like a shock. mother. He did not want sympathy. Those short sleeves.’ she said. She met his eyes for a moment. These he spat into the fire.’ said his mother. She looked up at him over her spectacles. something raw and coarse. Hunting round. It was gone. Their scent was brutal. and had a mouthful of petals.’ ‘I can’t help that now. resigned arms—gave him so much pain that they helped to make him cruel. He was staring back at her.’ said his mother. whilst she fingered his hair. dominant.Behind him the great flowers leaned as if they were calling. The moon was melting down upon the crest of the hill.

I want us to separate. Often. It was nearly five o’clock when he told her.not there.’ ‘You haven’t told me why it’s no good. ‘Then what do you WANT?’ she asked. what do you want me for? I don’t want another mother. I don’t want ever to marry. We have lived on each other all these years. throws away and smashes the cup. ‘we ought to break off. which she hated because she could not control it. ‘Why. while he dug viciously at the earth. feeling she could get hold of him and WRING some consistency out of him. and could not find him.’ ‘Why?’ she cried in surprise. He did not answer. it’s no good going on. She hated her love for him from the moment Free eBooks at Planet eBook. she could not help registering. ‘I have been thinking.’ he said. where the lip of turf hung over a hollow bank of yellow earth.’ ‘Then why are you different now?’ ‘I’m not—I’m the same—only I know it’s no good going on.’ ‘But why do you say this now?’ ‘Because I’ve made up my mind. But she was helpless. But this afternoon she was not prepared. and you will go your way without me. She looked at him. He was like an infant which.’ ‘And what about these last months?’ ‘I don’t know. and there was silence. He was an unreasonable child. when she had him with her. She knew she felt in a sort of bondage to him. but said in his heart: ‘All right. ‘Because it’s no good going on. ‘You are a child of four.’ she repeated in her anger. and he was hacking away with a stick.’ There was another long interval of silence. I don’t want to marry. He heard. and the things you told me then?’ ‘I can’t help it! I don’t want to go on.’ ‘You don’t want any more of me?’ ‘I want us to break off—you be free of me. And if we’re not going to marry.’  Sons and Lovers ‘How many times have you offered to marry me.’ as she put it. I free of you.’ There was in it some truth that. I will go my own way without you. when it has drunk its fill. now let us stop. You will have an independent life of your own then. and I wouldn’t?’ ‘I know. if I’m a child of four.’ But he said nothing to her. in spite of her bitterness. as he did when he was perturbed and cruel. but I want us to break off. ‘I have told my mother.’ ‘Why is it no good?’ ‘It isn’t. They were sitting on the bank of a  . I’ve not told you anything but what I thought was true.’ ‘Because I don’t want to go on—and I don’t want to marry.’ There was silence for a moment or two. Then she cried: ‘I have said you were only fourteen—you are only FOUR!’ He still dug at the earth viciously. ‘And have you told your people?’ she asked. She bent her head.’ ‘And what about these last months. she looked for him. pondering.

’ And she—she whose love he had believed in when he had despised himself—denied that their love had ever been love. but it is at an end. It angered grew too strong for her.’ ‘What do you want to do?’ she asked. deep down. ‘And. ‘I will say no more. if you get on the private side of their natures. ‘Nothing—only to be free. and had told him so little.’ he continued. she had hated him because she loved him and he dominated her. not he with her. and have broken off. knew in her heart that Clara’s influence was over him to liberate him.  Sons and Lovers when we were together!’ he pleaded. ‘He had always fought away from her?’ Then it had been monstrous. from the very beginning—always the same!’ She had finished. however.’ he answered. ‘that I was breaking off—clean and altogether.’ she said. instead of givFree eBooks at Planet eBook. but she had done enough. ‘It’s true enough.’ he said. And she was free of him. ‘then you could do as you liked with him. I for you. He knew he had landed her in a nasty hole.’ ‘Very well. all the time he had been imagining something where there was nothing.’ He sat still. ‘You please yourself. ‘never! It has always been you fighting me off. You ought to marry one such. She had really played with him.’ It came from her unawares. She had resisted his  . She thought over their whole affair. She had known so much. But she said nothing. Was this how she saw it? ‘But we’ve had SOME perfect hours. ‘Never!’ she cried. and despised him.’ ‘Not always—not at first!’ he pleaded.’ he said. And.’ ‘I shall not tell them at home. ‘Always—it has always been so!’ she cried. She. He had wanted to say: ‘It has been good. There had never been anything really between them. She had known all the time. SOME perfect times. had flattered him.’ ‘Thank you!’ she said. ‘Tell them you wouldn’t and won’t marry me. ‘It has been one long battle between us—you fighting away from me. ‘And what have I to tell my mother?’ she asked. You have done a lot for me. At last the whole affair appeared in a cynical aspect to him. And she had known. Now let us start and live by ourselves. He grew intellectual and cruel.’ he said.’ he said.’ She bit her finger moodily. You’ve done it before. It chimed with her bitter expectation. ‘I told my mother. All the time this was at the bottom of her! He sat silent in bitterness. even more than he of her. she had seen it all along.’ he answered. ‘Always. She despised him now. Plenty of men will worship you. ‘we shall always be more or less each other’s work. They would never fight you off. The man’s heart stood still. ‘But don’t advise me to marry someone else any more. She had fought to keep herself free of him in the last issue. Frowning. and was leaving her in the lurch. like a flash of lightning. She had hidden all her condemnation from him. feeling as if he had had a blow. He sat aghast. ‘You ought to marry a man who worships you. She had known it would come to this.

he would have to go. he was not a man! He was a baby that cries for the newest toy. She was not overthrown. this new influence! Ah.’ ‘It would have failed whether or not. she asked: ‘And we shall not see each other?’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. That pleased him bitterly. ‘Yes. a foolish child. Then why had she left the foolish child to his folly? His heart was hard against her. All these years she had treated him as if he were a hero. well she had known! All the time he was away from her she had summed him up. THE eight years of his life.’ he said.’ She laughed strangely. He was full of a feeling that she had deceived him. She had let him fight alone. inconsistent. if he looked at her and commanded her. then she had him in her power. ‘Oh. She had known. He hated her. Even she had guarded her soul against him. They chattered over irrelevant subjects during tea. and his  . And all the attachment of his soul would not keep him. would she have to obey? She would obey him in his trifling commands. YOU never believed in me. and mean. ‘I do! And I meant them! I can’t help that it’s failed.’ ‘It has failed because you want something else. ‘And have you said anything to Clara?’ she asked. she knew. She was cold and quiet.’ There was a silence. As they walked home. But he would come back when he had tired of his new sensation. He hacked at the earth till she was fretted to death. ‘I thought definitely on Thursday night. ‘Do you remember the things you said this time last year. false. even now. She had known—oh. She had despised him when he thought she worshipped him.’ she said. Very well. She should have told him when she found fault with him. Yet he was despicable. 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. He sat flinging lumps of earth in the stream.  Sons and Lovers She sat full of bitterness. but I shall tell her now. were nullified. He held forth on the love of ornament—the cottage parlour moved him thereto—and its connection with aesthetics. She had let him say wrong things. not even much hurt. his meanness.’ ‘I knew it was coming. had he still this strange dominance over her? His very movements fascinated her as if she were hypnotised by him.’ he thought. seen his littleness. She was sure of herself. to lead him where she would. He sat in silence. Only. very well! If she knew then it doesn’t come as a surprise to her. not prostrated. as he sat there. But once he was obeyed. Only why. She had not played fair. But it stuck in his throat that she had despised him whilst he thought she worshipped him. in my grandmother’s house—nay last month even?’ ‘Yes. ‘We will go and have tea here?’ he asked. and thought of him secretly as an infant. Their eight years of friendship and love. ‘When did you think of this?’ she asked. She rose. ‘No.’ she one. and had not contradicted him.

You weren’t suited for her.’ she said very gently.’ he said. and they dared me offer you a chocolate. He entered the house in silence. He hung up his cap wearily.’ said the girl.’ said his mother.’ he said. ‘We’re not strangers—never should be. ‘I’ve had such a lark with some girls in a pub.’ he said.’ replied the mother. whatever happened. ‘I told her. His mother. ‘we thought you looked overcast. my son. Nothing more mattered. ‘Now have some supper.‘No—or rarely. I will write to you now and again.’ She held the sweet between her fingers. ‘It’s hard for her now.’ he said.’ ‘You’ll find it’s better to have done. leaned to him and said: ‘Have a chocolate?’ The others laughed loudly at her impudence. ‘she doesn’t give up hopes of you yet.’ ‘I’m afraid. with great relief. He noticed the girls whispering and nudging. I don’t like creams. ‘All right. then. rose anxiously. It seemed unreal.’ he said. ‘perhaps not. and so she’s not disappointed. who had been waiting. almost sarcastically. He had forgotten Miriam now. ‘I said we’d have done altogether. As she went home. drinking a modest glass of port. his gaiety. They had some chocolates on the table. He told her about the girls in the Willow Tree. In the reaction towards restoring his self-esteem. There were four girls who had been out for the day. Presently one.  Sons and Lovers ‘You ARE nice!’ he said. he stood still with shame and pain in the highroad. She popped it in.’ said the mother.’ ‘Here you are. mother. If it never had been much. ‘Well. ‘Nor write?’ she asked. there was no need to make a fuss that it was  . He had had a great shock when she had told him their love had been always a conflict. he went into the Willow Tree for a drink. having her people to face at the other end.’ she said.’ he answered. And presently they were all laughing together.’ ‘No.’ said Paul. Morel looked at him. and blushed. but best in the long run. solitary. ‘here’s an almond for you. in her new frock.’ he answered. He opened his mouth. It was nine o’clock when he got home. At the back of it was too much horror and misery.’ ‘I don’t mind if I have another—another sort. ‘Give me a hard one—nut.’ she answered. a bonny dark hussy.’ ‘I see!’ she answered cuttingly. Mrs. ‘As you will.’ He laughed shakily as he sat down. thinking of the suffering he caused her. not from the first. I know. He left her at the lane-end. Paul sat near with his whisky. ‘I’m glad. His mother looked at him. falling dark. Afterwards he said wistfully: ‘She never thought she’d have me. ‘That’s right. You please yourself. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. He had made a great cleavage in his life. But he was at that stage at which nothing else hurts.

‘I don’t know. In spite of fits of depression. but not merely made up of lights and cast shadows. using everybody he knew. At the same time he laboured slowly at his pictures. in one or two places. and he could sell designs for embroideries. like some of Michael Angelo’s people. and she for very few people. And these he fitted into a landscape. full of light. and was gaining some knowledge of his new acquaintance’s art. rather definite figures that had a certain luminous quality. The applied arts interested him very much. for altar-cloths. He loved to paint large figures.’ he said desperately. So he left her. She remained alone with 1 . shrinking. It was not very much he made at present. Very few people cared for her. in what he thought true proportion. He was twenty-four when he said his first confident thing to his mother. that it was good and valuable. and she was alone. leave her alone. like the impressionists. waiting. CHAPTER XII PASSION HE was gradually making it possible to earn a livelihood by his art. 0 Sons and Lovers Free eBooks at Planet eBook. He had also made friends with the designer for a pottery firm. but he might extend it. He believed firmly in his work. everything. ‘Well. he believed in his work. and similar things. He worked a great deal from memory. Liberty’s had taken several of his painted designs on various stuffs.’ replied his mother.

It was too exciting for them both. On the Monday following the day of the rupture he went down to the work-room. my pigeon! You see if you’re not swanky one of these days!’ ‘I’m quite content. But they were both of them flaming with blushes. She seemed so well when she was happy that he forgot her grey hair. He continued his work gladly. asking: ‘And what of it?’ ‘Suits you—awfully! I could design you a dress. and too beautiful. ‘And what did she say? ‘It could easy have waited a bit. Mrs.’ said Mrs. ‘But you’ll have to alter. And that year she went with him to the Isle of Wight for  Sons and Lovers a holiday.’ She sniffed in her quaint fashion.’ when you went out in the rain for some coal. Morel. my boy. He felt as if someone were pushing a knife in his chest.’ he said. ‘That looks a lot like your being able to manage servants!’ ‘Well. with dignity. ‘But why?’ she asked. But the anxiety remained inside him. so blue her mouth! It was agony to him. His whole body was quivering with the sensation. But he would have her walk with him more than she was able. Morel! I was going to do that. She looked up at him and smiled.’ she said. ‘Well. Morel. He had touched her. She half-started back. ‘And what about Minnie?’ asked Mrs. She saw a new brightness about him.’ he said. my boy. his eyes glittering as he expounded. Then she was better again. and he forgot.’ ‘How would it be?’ He stood in front of her. Morel. She had a bad fainting bout.’ She flushed. Look at you with Minnie!’ Minnie was the small servant. it was only the child’s niceness. Then suddenly he took hold of her. laughing. Morel. ‘More SO!’ he explained. ‘And you apologising to her: ‘You can’t do two things at once. Queen of Sheba!’ he said. It was like a halfpleased shrug of the shoulders. ‘You shall see. Morel was full of joy and wonder. a girl of fourteen. So grey her face was. ‘Very well. She was quite warm and rosy again with love of him. like a wound that did not close.’ replied Mrs.’ she smiled.‘Mother. They had grown very intimate unawares. He kept her eyes fixed with his. ‘I heard her this morning: ‘Eh. Mrs. He looked at his mother. we’ll see. You’ve got a new frock on. He drew the stuff of her blouse tighter. laughing. ‘I s’ll make a painter that they’ll attend to. smoothed it over her breast. Now look how your feet paddle!’’ ‘Yes—brazen young baggage!’ said Mrs. and immediately he ran away. After leaving Miriam he went almost straight to Clara. smiling. It seemed as if all the sunshine were on her for a  . can you?’’ ‘She WAS busy washing up. There was already a sort of secret understanding between Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘I think it suits you.

His mother must not be upset. Then he took her hand in his. And he went for his train. and they went past the Castle into the Park. reluctant.’ ‘Then we’ll go up the steps. He was afraid to  Sons and Lovers take her hand. When they came out his train was due. it filled his grasp. He drank some whisky on the way home. ‘Good-night.’ he said. Sunday intervened. that was all. He could not bear it. For some moments he dared not touch it. He held it fast. He  . His body acted mechanically. All himself was pitched there. held her strained for a moment. ‘I don’t mind. kissed her. he saw her hand lying near him. I told her quite definitely I should consider myself free.’ he said. He was in a delirium. with its few lights. He caught her suddenly in his arms.’ she said. She stood aloof. and got quickly to bed. penitent. ‘When?’ ‘Last Sunday. ‘Good-night. he let go her hand. Then he let her go. They had passed the Park steps. Neither spoke till they reached the station.’ He suddenly turned round. He was afraid of her. talking to her. meeting him after work was over. She followed him. And Sunday intervened—hour after hour of tension. ‘I have broken off with her.’ he said. People talked to him. He took her hand and kissed her finger-tips. He felt that he would go mad if Monday did not come at once. But he sat still. but it only made it worse. She was so quiet and so superb! On the Saturday evening he asked her to come and drink coffee with him in a restaurant. She stood still in resentment at his suddenly abandoning her. The next evening he went to the cinematograph with her for a few minutes before train-time. He heard faint echoes answering them. He dissembled. The next day he came again.them. ‘Which way shall we go?’ he asked as they walked in darkness. She was rather superior with him.’ she said. On Monday he would see her again. and he returned to his work. with a kind of resentful. There he sat. ‘Come along. angry walk. Then they looked each other in the eyes. ‘Shall we go a walk on Monday?’ he asked. She neither moved nor made any sign. She turned her face aside. He neither Free eBooks at Planet eBook. When they came to the light. As they sat. He could not see her till Monday.’ ‘You quarrelled?’ ‘No! I had made up my mind. He looked for her. He had three-quarters of an hour to train-time. They went in silence. ahead. She agreed. The pictures danced and dithered. He wanted to beat his head against the door of the carriage. ‘We will walk a little while. staring out of the window at the far hill. dressed. She came. She walked moodily at his side. looking very reserved and very distant.’ Clara did not answer. He darted away across the road. ‘Shall you tell Miriam?’ she replied sarcastically. with his chin on his knees. It was large and firm.

He set his teeth and went upstairs. At any  . ‘And this afternoon. He was pale. She saw his dark. He went and got some dinner. Presently she called him softly. till he was fagged out. his heavy boots scraping the yard. She would go a walk with him in the afternoon. As if he had nailed his clothing against the desk.’ she replied. He himself seemed under a tight band of constraint. murmuring. ‘I can’t be there till half-past. And he scarcely knew where he had been. Slowly the hours crawled.’ ‘Yes!’ he said. he could clear away. Then he ran downstairs. He was walking to the station—another mile! The train was near Nottingham.’ And he had to be content. Ah! he saw her through the glass door. and he watched that far-off him carefully to see he made no mistake. and quite cold. unable to say a word. He was at the Fountain at five past two. All the time he was still under chloroform. He slept till four o’clock. he heard him pottering about. mad eyes. he stood there and worked. in the distance. This shell of himself did well. It was a quarter to one. ‘I will try at a quarter past. Then the miner set off to the pit. Would she misunderstand him? He could not write his real self with this shell. It was after three o’clock. Still it was only twelve o’clock. she would be near. He had done the letters. He went to bed and slept. He was coming nearer to himself—he could see himself. He worked incessantly. All the morning things seemed a long way off. But the ache and strain of it could not go on much longer. Would it stop before the tunnels? But it did not matter. Then he lay and thought. But the day after was Monday. He walked miles of streets. somewhere in front. but sat perfectly still. Then he cycled all day long. He was exhausted. Cocks were still crowing. and every minute was stretched out indefinitely. He stood before her. His father got up. it would get there before dinner-time. She knocked the fire. Then he thought he would be late at the meetingplace. His mother got up. Afternoon! It seemed years ahead. A cart went down the road. staring. The torture Free eBooks at Planet eBook. but still there was the torment of knowing it was only Sunday morning. ‘You will meet me at the Fountain at two o’clock. He had done everything correctly yet.thought nor slept. She would be there. Then there was his other self. awkward. She hid her face from him.’ he struggled to say. And when at last he was so cold that he came to himself. He went in. He ran downstairs. She would come in half an hour. real. and he would do so. ‘You will  Sons and Lovers come?’ ‘I think so. Perhaps she had not come. as they do to a man under chloroform. entering stuff in a ledger.’ he said. Again came over him the feeling that he would lose consciousness. Her shoulders stooping a little to her work made him feel he could not go forward. He was at Jordan’s. he could not stand. forcing every stroke out of himself. doing things. nervous. he found his watch had stopped at half-past two. He answered as if he were asleep.

the heaviness of a very full ear of corn that dips slightly in the wind. made his brain spin. In Wilford churchyard the dahlias were sodden with rain—wet black-crimson balls. And a certain heaviness. They crossed the wide. But there were other people on top of the car.’ she answered. with rough-hewn features. He bought her a bunch of scarlet. She put them in her coat. There had been a great deal of rain. There was the faintest haze over the silvery-dark water Free eBooks at Planet eBook. slender man. black space of the Midland Railway. beginning to breathe. The Trent was very full. was near to him. She bit her lip moodily. After all. ‘I’d rather have had something softer. He laughed. ‘Only five minutes. His face was rough. ‘You want some flowers. She was in a dark blue  . She came! And he was there.’ he laughed. They paid their two halfpennies at the turnstile and crossed the bridge. rocked upon him. that there was about her. It had been raining. half-hidden among her blonde hair. The sky was grey.’ he said. His mouth the same was just going to spring into a laugh of triumph. she leaned her heavy shoulder against him. The  Sons and Lovers temptation to kiss it was almost too great. and passed the cattle enclosure that stood out white. He was a vigorous. He looked sideways at her as they walked. yet did not. and yet they were still trembling on the finest balance of laughter. He felt himself coming round from the anaesthetic. He looked at her beautiful figure. He seemed to be spinning down the street. Her ear. He looked quickly away. he was some attribute of hers. They seemed to dance. brick-red carnations.of the next quarter of an hour was refined beyond expression. like the common people’s. with exhaustless energy. afraid of the people they met. The big bluff of the Castle rock was streaked with rain. ‘That’s a fine colour!’ he said. She followed him in silence. Then he saw her. As they sat in the tramcar. going to the nearest florist’s.’ he said. ‘I’d never have done it to you. Then they ran down sordid Wilford Road. It still remained to him to kiss it. No one was on the path that went along the green river meadow. She hung her head. On the river levels were flat gleams of flood water. She rocked slightly to the tram’s motion. as it reared above the flat of the town.’ she said. and as she leaned against him. ‘You are late. like the sunshine that fell on her. travelling in a soft body. It was the anguish of combining the living self with the shell. and he took her hand. he was not himself. flushing. but his eyes under the deep brows were so full of life that they fascinated her. everything going round. along the elm-tree colonnade. His hand was hard clenched over hers. There was a sharp suspense about him. There was a wonderful close down on her face near the ear that he wanted to touch. ‘Do you feel like a blot of vermilion walking down the street?’ he said. It swept silent and insidious under the bridge. with glisten of silver here and there.

steep red path. ‘You press the vein in my arm. Sometimes Free eBooks at Planet eBook. they could see the tree-tops of elms growing far beneath them.’ ‘And now you don’t want any more of her?’ ‘ 1 . On the right. utterly silent and swift. went up the steep bank between the grass.’ ‘And I am thirty. ‘Yes. ‘Why. Two wrongs don’t make a right.and the green meadow-bank. Presently she released his hand and put it round her waist. arching over and making high up a roof from which the dead leaves fell. All was empty and silent and wet.’ he said.’ She pondered again. She stood on top of the stile. What does it matter!’ They were at the entrance to the Grove. ‘Twenty-five. complex creature. Clara walked moodily beside him.’ ‘I shall be thirty-one—or AM I thirty-one?’ ‘I neither know nor care. Then she leaped. hear occasionally the gurgle of the river. Her breast came against his. They went on up the slippery.’ he answered—‘both!’ They had to manoeuvre to get to the stile. because of the pools of water. ‘Both. All was silent and deserted. ‘Yes. he held her. and covered her face with kisses.’ she asked at length. ‘You didn’t want to marry Miriam. or you didn’t want to marry at all?’ she asked. she looked down into his eyes. The river slid by in a body. ‘Because I WANTED to leave her. Drops of water fell from the elm-trees. and he held both her hands. They walked along. red track. ‘Why?’ ‘Because I didn’t want to go on with her.’ she said. I know it’s no good. ‘did you leave Miriam?’ He frowned. On the left the red wet plough-land showed through the doorways between the elm-boles and their branches. already sticky with fallen leaves. On either side stood the elm-trees like pillars along a great aisle. His finger-tips felt the rocking of her breast. Laughing. They picked their way down the muddy path. The wet.’ she said. looking down. holding it so tightly. ‘And what did she say?’ Clara asked. in rather a jarring tone. And I didn’t want to marry. I ought to have dropped it years back. intertwining among itself like some subtle.’ Clara pondered over this for a time. ‘Don’t you think you’ve treated her rather badly?’ she 0 Sons and Lovers asked. and the elm-trees that were spangled with gold.’ ‘How old ARE you?’ Clara asked.’ She was silent for a moment. ‘I know you are. and that I always HAD battled her off. ‘But you have really been going with her for some time?’ she asked. But it would have been no good going on. ‘Miriam? She said I was a baby of four.

at any rate. Her colour was up. I’ll go again. The string of the parcel broke with a snap. Away he went. to the river’s brink. I should only hinder. Her mouth was offered him. ‘It has scarcely altered since little Kirke White used to come. through trees and bushes. Her mouth fused with his. The far-below water-meadows were very green.there below they caught glimpses of the full. and met her in a long. hanging on to the twigs and grasses. hanging on to the bushes. their bodies were sealed and annealed. and of water-meadows dotted with small cattle. He hung on to his tree.’ he said. He led her across to the grass. But he was watching her throat below the ear. soft-sliding Trent. There he waited for her. silent. where the Grove rose highest above the river. and the red decline ran straight into the water. He dug in his heels and brought himself up violently. the brown parcel bounded down. leaving herself in his hands. shut his eyes. ‘did you hate Baxter Dawes?’ She turned to him with a splendid movement. and her mouth that pouted disconsolate. There came a quick gurgle from the river below. You see.’ he said. She stirred against him as she walked. to the river that glimmered and was dark between the foliage. ‘It’s risky. He flashed with a small laugh. He frowned. He looked at the big drop below them. He went over the brim of the declivity and began to climb down. Then he laughed.  Sons and Lovers ‘Never mind. and she stood beside him. whole kiss. leaped into the water. their bodies touching all along. making for a little platform at the foot of a  . sliding to the next tree. He slid. It was some minutes before they withdrew. under the trees at the edge of the path. laughing with excitement. under the trees. her eyes flashed. Her shoes were clogged with red earth. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. and his body was like a taut string. ‘It is slippery. ‘Why. I’ll be damned!’ he cried crossly. the flood had eaten away the path.’ he asked at length. ‘or messy. her breast was tilted as if it asked for him. and sailed smoothly away.’ he said. Halfway up the big colonnade of elms. ‘Will you go down to the river?’ he asked. ‘All right. her eyes were half-shut. Give me that little parcel and your gloves. to his disgust. They were standing beside the public path. and her throat. their forward movement faltered to an end. Your poor shoes!’ They stood perched on the face of the declivity. ‘Well. At last he caught her hand. went from one tuft of grass to the next.’ she said quickly. Shall we go back?’ ‘Not for my sake.’ she replied. The cliff of red earth sloped swiftly down. where the flush was fusing into the honey-white. slipping. The cliff rose above them and fell away below. stage by stage. afraid. The red clay went down almost sheer. ‘Well. I can’t help you. He and she stood leaning against one another.’ he said. So they descended. It was hard for her. She came after cautiously. into which he fell with a slam that nearly shook the breath out of him. She looked at him. staggering. There.

His heart leaped. It was littered with damp leaves. The fishermen were perhaps sufficiently out of sight. He stood with his back to the tree. were the fishermen. The men turned again to their fishing.’ said Paul softly.’ he called. setting his teeth. Across the river the distant cattle fed silently in the desolate afternoon. covered with osiers. At last they found the broken path. He looked across at every tree-foot. But they were unattainable. Clara did not answer. It was littered with rubble from the water. opening his arms. There was only room for their four feet.She was coming perilously down. At last he found what he wanted. Arriving there. he saw two figures of men standing silent at the water’s edge. They had had a fire. He cursed again deeply under his breath. The two went on together. She hesitated. not far back. ‘But there’s a rut where a man has been. The cliff rose high above Paul and Clara on their right hand. ‘Let us try going forward. but at any rate it was easier. ‘It’s impossible!’ said Clara.’ The river slid and twined its great volume. Was there no hope but to scale back to the public path? ‘Stop a minute. Suddenly. He gazed up the great steep bank. He threw down his rainproof and waved to her to come. Behind. flushing. He held her close and kissed her. waiting. He stood and cursed beneath his  . she looked at him Free eBooks at Planet eBook. They stood against the tree in the watery silence. They cleaned their boots with twigs. They were hot and flushed. coming on to the little level. and they struggled in the red clay along the groove a man’s nailed boots had made. ‘Now they ought to be drowned. Clara went with bowed head. buttoned her coat. His heart was beating thick and fast. All kept perfectly still. The parcel had sailed out of sight. so if we go on I guess we shall find the path again.’ he said. ‘It doesn’t matter. On the other bank cattle were feeding on the desolate flats. He turned and put his hand up warningly to Clara. but it would do. he began nimbly to mount. ‘Come now. The bank was sheer red solid clay in front of them. and. ‘It’s a swindle!’ he said. Suddenly it vanished. Their barkled shoes hung heavy on their steps. stood over the grey glinting river like statues. Two beech-trees side by side on the hill held a little level on the upper face between their roots. The fishermen turned curiously to watch the two intruders on their privacy and solitude. sloping straight into the river. but  Sons and Lovers it was nearly out. and together they stood watching the dark water scoop at the raw edge of the bank. Just ahead were two islets in the stream. He caught her. She let herself run. They were fishing. Directly they passed out of sight behind the willows. ‘Mind!’ he warned her. He stood erect. They toiled forward along a tiny path on the river’s lip.’ he said. The cliff came down like a sloping wall from far above their heads. looking round.’ she said. digging his heels sideways into the steep bank of red clay. She toiled to his side. he was laughing to himself.

‘I tell you. every movement she made. lonely cows over the river. as if she felt alone in herself. and  Sons and Lovers sighed. and she gave way to joy. stroking her temples. ‘Never thee bother!’ She gripped his fingers tight. and kissed her. pleading. ‘There you are. and laughed shakily. ‘And now I’ll clean thy boots and make thee fit for respectable folk. ‘No!’ she consoled him. ‘Yea. singing softly. you look as irreproachable as Britannia herself!’ He cleaned his own boots a little.’ he said. drew his head to her. every crease in her garments. caressing. ‘T-t-t-t!’ he went with his tongue. ‘What am I supposed to be doing. Then they kissed with little nibbling  . He kneeled at her feet. kissing him. He put the hair back from her brows. She sat down. and red.’ he implored. He worked away at her shoes. He kissed her. ‘Nay!’ he said. There was nothing in the afternoon but themselves. and sang. panting. and laid her head on his shoulder.’ he said. He held her fast as he looked round. When he got on to the level grass. She touched his thick hair. and nothing else!’ But they remained looking into each other’s eyes and laughing. washed his hands in a puddle. Suddenly he put his finger-tips on her cheek. like his mother. I don’t worry!’ she laughed tenderly and resigned. sent a hot flash through him and seemed adorable. tha does! Dunna thee worrit. ‘I’m your boot-boy for the time being. He was madly in love with her. on the tussocky grass. wiped the sweat from his forehead. She smiled sadly. Everything was perfectly still. he. He sunk his mouth on her throat. dumbly. They were safe enough from all but the small.heavily. saw suddenly sprinkled on the black wet beech-roots many scarlet carnation petals. Then she dropped her hand. small splashes fell from her bosom.’ And he returned to his boot-cleaning. ‘Aren’t I a great hand at restoring you to respectability? Stand up! There. It took them a quarter of an hour.’ she replied. When she arose. looking on the ground all the time. At last they were quite presentable. ‘But tha shouldna worrit!’ he said softly. Her cheeks were flushed pink. nothing gets done when there’s a woman about. He caressed her cheek with his fingers. ‘cleaning shoes or dibbling with love? Answer me that!’ ‘Just whichever I please. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. They had a stiff climb to get to the top again. ‘Now we’re back at the ordinary level. and kissed it. kissing them lightly.’ he said. and he kissed her fingers. She looked at him heavily as she put back her hair. he threw off his cap. They went on into Clifton village. ‘No. worked away with a stick and tufts of grass. She put her fingers in his hair. ‘Your flowers are smashed. you see!’ he said. streaming down her dress to her feet. ‘Why dost look so heavy?’ he reproached her.’ he said. looking at her laughing. where he felt her heavy pulse beat under his lips. like splashed drops of blood.

he said: ‘You don’t feel criminal. What do they matter?  . ‘I don’t know whether you’d like some radishes as well.’ said the old lady. and did not want to leave them. When they were going away. a light rousing in her old eyes. ‘No. are we?’ he said. how pretty!’ cried Clara. And she bobbed a little curtsey of delight. ‘Truly!’ he laughed. She  Sons and Lovers stood before Clara. ‘If they knew!’’ ‘If they knew. His eyes were dark and laughing. ‘I should like some radishes. holding her eyes with his. I believe. but I shall ask her to give me one!’ he teased. she shall have them all.’ she said. ‘Oh. and makes folk happy when they have us. with only the trees and me. ‘I only think. ‘If she knew!’ said Clara quietly to him. ‘Not sinners.’ she said to Clara. pleased with herself. at any rate. and they like it. you don’t feel not the least bit wrong. ‘No. ‘I could wish you’d had something of a better day. smiling. ‘Yes. ‘but I’ve got some in the garden—AND a cucumber. with an uneasy little frown.’ said the old lady. the old lady came timidly with three tiny dahlias in full blow. ‘You have got enough for your share. As it is.’ ‘Ah. and makes us happy—why. You look quite enough to satisfy an archangel.’ The old lady looked at him curiously. ‘Then she does as she pleases.’ she answered. they do understand.’ he said. As they walked along.’ Clara flushed. ‘Criminal!’ she said. ‘We’ve been saying how nice it is. ‘Nay!’ he laughed. we’re not cheating them out of much!’ They went on with the meal. hovering round. ‘Then I’m sure the day’s good enough. He kissed her.’ she replied. do you?’ He took her by the arm. ‘Shall she have them all?’ asked Paul reproachfully of the old woman. Clara was rather quiet and uncomfortable. ‘I Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ she replied. Something fretted him. There was a peculiar glow and charm about him. And the old lady pottered off gleefully. He rubbed his moustache with a glad movement. do you?’ She looked at him with startled grey eyes. neat as bees. ‘Have you been saying SO!’ she exclaimed. they’d cease to understand. ‘Well. accepting the flowers. saying: ‘I don’t know whether—-’ and holding the flowers forward in her old hand. ‘You like your little bit of guiltiness.The old lady at whose house they had tea was roused into gaiety by them.’ she said. She looked very handsome. held her facing him. and I’m sure I feel harmless—so—if it makes you look nice. she doesn’t know. beaming with joy. and it shows we’re nice in ourselves. laughing.’ ‘But you seem to feel you have done a wrong?’ ‘No. and speckled scarlet and white. She fussed about.

’ 0 Sons and Lovers ‘Well. so what’s the worth of nothing? She goes with me—it becomes something.’ His mother looked at him again. my mother. She did not mention her own ill-health to him. she’s straight! There isn’t anything underhand or superior about her. After all. and the people exceedingly nice. and there had come that ivory pallor into her face which he never noticed. her life’s nothing to her. and if once she gets talked about—-‘ ‘Well. he found himself tumultuously happy. and which afterwards he never forgot. hasn’t much to lose. Don’t be mean about her!’ 1 . I believe you’re jealous. ‘You are late!’ she said. Their jaw isn’t so almighty important.’ said Mrs. No.’ ‘Very well. it was not much. Her health was not good now.’ ‘So I DO! What can people say?—that we take a walk together. His eyes were shining. ‘I should like to know what she’s like. We’ll see how it will end. I’ve been down Clifton Grove with Clara. my dear. his face seemed to glow. when she went cowering out of Paradise. ‘Yes. ‘Should you like to know her?’ He hesitated. ‘But won’t people talk?’ she said. She may be quite as you say. He wanted to ask his mother something. Morel flushed. ‘Yes. she is really! You don’t know!’ ‘That’s not the same as marrying her. and talks on platforms. and everything good. ‘But you know what folks are. there may be nothing wrong in it. she is! She’s fair. so she’s already singled out from the sheep.She’s better than ninety-nine folk out of a hundred.’ ‘We’ll see!’ ‘And she’s—she’s AWFULLY nice. mother. looking at him. and so on. mother. I can’t help it. Then she must pay— we both must pay! Folk are so frightened of paying. my son. as far as I can see.’ There was silence for a while.’ ‘It’s perhaps better.’ ‘Very well. they’d rather starve and die. I’ll abide by the end.’ ‘But you seem to think she’s—not as good as—. And what if they do talk!’ ‘Of course. ‘Why? They know she’s a suffragette.’ ‘But she’s nice.’ ‘You know I should be GLAD if she weren’t a married woman.’ But there was a certain glow and quietness about her that made him glad. and. and the night lovely. I tell you! She’s BETTER. He smiled to her.believe Eve enjoyed it. When he was alone in the railway-carriage. but was afraid. after all. Mrs. she is! And not a bit common!’ ‘I never suggested she was. but—-‘ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘I am sure I am not mean about her.’ ‘I think you ought to consider HER. she thought. she lives separate from her husband. she’s honest.’ said his mother. Morel coolly. Morel was sitting reading when he got home.

‘You don’t approve. Then she said: ‘You’ve not been out. boasted that she could read him like a book. I think. 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. like the simplest egoist.’ ‘It was! The jolliest old woman! She gave us several pompom dahlias.’ he finished. He knew he had won. easily taken in.’ Miriam put her finger in her mouth. So it pleased him to talk to her about himself. Mrs. and it was all right. then. I went up Clifton Grove on Monday afternoon with Clara.’ ‘Ha!’ They walked on in silence. Miriam. I should think. when she’s there! She’s such a queen in her way.’ ‘It was not very nice weather. It flattered him immensely that he was of such supreme interest. Very soon the conversation drifted to his own doings. She.’ ‘And did you go to Barton?’ she asked. He  .’ His mother laughed. ‘Yes!—yes!—if you’d anything about you. for her part. however.’ ‘Then I WILL bring her here—one Sunday—to tea.’ said Miriam. ‘Oh. we had tea in Clifton. ‘Because she liked us—because we were jolly.’ So they went on. ‘Quite all right. ‘What made her give them you?’ she asked. believed that Miriam knew more about him than anyone else. and he was angry. ‘And do you expect me to?’ she answered coldly.’ ‘Then I’ll bring her—shall I bring her here?’ ‘You please yourself. ‘Were you late home?’ she asked. He. as pretty as you like. could place her finger any minute on the chapter and the line. lately?’ ‘Yes. ‘And how IS Clara?’ asked Miriam. At last he resented her tone. The Trent IS full.’ Occasionally he still walked a little way from chapel with Miriam and Edgar. but it feels so fine. that is nearly right at last. not much! I made a sketch of Bestwood from the garden.’ ‘DID you! That would be nice. It’s the hundredth try. ‘was it?’ ‘But I wanted to go out. They began by talking books: it was their unfailing topic.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. If you think a horrid thing about her. ‘As if it would make any difference!’ she said.’ Miriam bowed her head and brooded. ‘No. you’d be glad! Do you WANT to see her?’ ‘I said I did. and he did not feel embarrassed in her presence.  Sons and Lovers ‘And what have you been doing lately?’ ‘I—oh. ‘I caught the seven-thirty. One evening she was alone when he accompanied her. I shan’t forgive you. He was quite unconscious of concealing anything from her. was very much the same with him. He did not go up to the farm.

It isn’t altogether a question of understanding. ‘she never knew the fearful importance of marriage.’ said Miriam.’ ‘He’s got some other woman. ‘And with my father. exactly?’ asked Miriam. the conversation turned to marriage. but my mother. she was only half-alive. that’s why she stayed with him. And the dormant woman was the femme incomprise. she has been there.’ ‘No. ‘By the way. at least. and treated him badly.’ ‘I see—you don’t know for certain. real flame of feeling through another person—once. it’s a question of living. But if a woman’s got nothing but her fair fame to feed on. got real joy and satisfaction out of my father at first. ‘That’s what one MUST HAVE. look at her position!’ ‘What of it?’ ‘Why. what of her husband? One never hears anything of him. but he’s a fool. I think.’ ‘I don’t know. ‘You see. it’s thin tack. I rather think he loves her as much as he can. You can feet it about her.’ he said.’ ‘What happened. at first. the rest was dormant. it’s impossible! You don’t understand what a woman forfeits—-‘ ‘No. and is also quite all right. and she HAD to be awakened.‘That’s good!’ she  . once it has happened to you.’ said Miriam. you can go on with anything and ripen.’  Sons and Lovers ‘And she left him because he didn’t understand her?’ ‘I suppose so. and a donkey would die of it!’ So she understood his moral attitude. I believe. so I think. See.’ ‘Yes. ‘Yes. and she knew he would act accordingly. Another day. I’m sure she had the real thing. and.’ said Miriam. only once. Don’t you think a position like that is hard on a woman?’ ‘Rottenly hard!’ ‘It’s so unjust!’ said Miriam. I’ll bet my boots.’ he continued—‘the real. a good many women would have given their souls to get him. they were bound to each other. I believe she had a passion for him. I don’t. There’s not a tiny bit of feeling of sterility about her. With him. I suppose she had to. when he saw Miriam.’ he replied.’ ‘And what about him. deadened. if it only lasts three months. with a tinge of irony. and about hundreds of people you meet every day. and about him. why. ‘How can she? And if she does. then to Clara’s marriage with Dawes. Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ ‘It was something like your mother and father. but she got to know enough. She never asked him anything direct. She thought it was all in the day’s march—it would have to come—and Dawes—well. so why not him? Then she developed into the femme incomprise. She knows. After all. ‘At least. ‘The man does as he likes—‘ ‘Then let the woman also.’ he said. my mother looks as if she’d HAD everything that was necessary for her living and developing.

’ ‘And you think Clara never had it?’ ‘I’m sure. if he must go. not as a man goes for pleasure to a pros Sons and Lovers titute. He hated her for not coming. when he was satisfied. ‘It is a long time since I saw Clara. At any rate. 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. 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.‘It’s so hard to say. and instead of taking her over the fields home. and unconsciously angry.’ she said.’ he said. as to some men. and leave him free for herself to possess. he was furious. That seemed like foreboding. he would not rage with restlessness any more. so she could let him go to Clara. he would want the other thing that she could give him. but could settle down and give her his life into her hands. let him go and have his fill—something big and intense. and he tried to find out. He was angry with her. On the Sunday afternoon he went to Keston to meet Clara at the station. so long as it was something that would satisfy a need in him. but she could let him go into an inn for a glass of whisky. Things had gone quicker than she thought. As he stood on the platform he was trying to examine in himself if he had a premonition. It seemed to her a bitter thing that he must go. it seemed to her. Then he HAD a foreboding she would not come! Then she would not come. and the evening. sneaking round Free eBooks at Planet eBook. he would not want it—that he said himself. though they are miles apart. Suddenly he saw the train crawling.’ ‘To your house?’ ‘Yes. then. I want mater to see her. And was Clara to be accepted by his people. Perhaps it was essential to him. if he told his mother. even now.’ ‘Ah!’ There was a silence. to sow wild oats.’ ‘Very well. astonished. Why had she promised. and afterwards. who had been so hostile to herself? ‘I may call in as I go to chapel. The train was late. when he had got it. so that he could work. ‘Yes. His heart felt queer and contracted. and at the bottom she feels grateful to him for giving it her. but the something big and intense that changes you when you really come together with somebody else. Well. ‘Have you told your mother about Clara?’ she asked. ‘Do I FEEL as if she’d come?’ he said to himself. then. as he had imagined.’ Miriam pondered this. She realised that he would never be satisfied till he had it. the afternoon would be wasted. ‘and she is coming to tea on Sunday. He would want to be owned. It almost seems to fertilise your soul and make it that you can go on and mature.’ he said. he called it. She felt a sudden bitterness that he could leave her so soon and so entirely. he would have to go alone.’ ‘And you think your mother had it with your father?’ ‘  . She saw what he was seeking— a sort of baptism of fire in passion.

WHATEVER I should do if you weren’t there!’ she said.the corner. He felt the station people. as he fitted them into the breast of her coat. And she watched his quick hands. ‘What a pity there is a coal-pit here where it is so pretty!’ said Clara. No. so full of life. She flushed. because of the birds. when I was in the train. I always thought a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night was a pit. its immense heap of slag seen rising almost from the oats. ‘Yes. only knowing he was putting berries in the bosom of her coat. and seemed to hang back. She laughed in answer. It stood quite still and black among the corn-fields. really. then. talking at a great rate to hide his feeling. ‘Do you think so?’ he answered. Her costume of dark cloth fitted so beautifully over her breast and shoulders. but gave no response. eyed her with awe and admiration.’  Sons and Lovers So he chattered. In her hat were large silk roses. and the lights at night. When I was a boy. ah. No. I am so used to it I should miss it. and I like the pits here and there. coloured like tarnished gold. Everywhere the brown leaves lay scattered. while she stood patiently for him. They came near to the colliery. She looked beautiful. almost with a little cry.’ As they drew near home she walked in silence.’ he laughed shakily. Here. But they don’t care much for rose-hips in this part. and they went along the narrow twitchel. many scarlet hips stood upon the hedge beside the wood. and the headstocks. ‘I thought you weren’t coming. He pressed her fingers in his own. His pride went up as he walked with her. and its lights. and the burning bank. there she was! She had a big black hat on! He was at her side in a moment. everything had been indistinct. mild day. ‘Though.’ he said. who knew him. and the steam in the daytime. she had not come! No! Yes. only nicer. He gathered a few for her to wear. Till now. I like the rows of trucks. with its steam. He caught her hand impulsively. and it seemed to her she had never SEEN anything before. ‘And I wondered. The Morels lived in a house in an ugly street that ran Free eBooks at Planet eBook.—and I thought the Lord was always at the pit-top. their eyes met. I want to come. the row of brown carriages drew up. was the train.’ she replied. scarcely aware of what he said. To him it seemed just as if one of his men friends were going to be introduced to his mother. The green engine hissed along the platform. ‘you ought to object to my getting them. ‘You see. It was a blue. where they can get plenty of stuff. She was laughing rather breathlessly as she put out her hand to him.’ he said. He took her quickly along the platform. It did not occur to him that her position in his home would be rather a peculiar and difficult  . ‘Don’t you want to come home?’ he asked. ‘I was sure you weren’t coming. They took the road into Nuttall and over the Reckoning House Farm. You often find the berries going rotten in the springtime. several doors opened. but of course she had not come.

Clara. its mahogany furniture. The blood flamed in Clara’s cheek. this was Arthur and his wife and the baby. She had almost a wistful look.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. like another land.’ she said. coiled on top of her head. followed Paul into the kitchen. The street itself was hideous. with a big bay window. She thought what a man he seemed. its yellowing marble mantelpiece. Clara thought her a lady. did you!’ said Clara. She looked rather stately and reserved. ‘I leave my things lying 1 . almost resigned. Then they returned to the kitchen.’ His mother looked at him. Morel. and done-for beside the luxuriant Clara. ‘Mother—Clara. felt his heart contract with pain. and it was semi-detached.’ said Paul. He was pale and detached-looking. and the books. grimy.’ said Mrs. wearing her black silk blouse. with narrow black-and-white stripes. Mrs. and he led the way into the little front room. suffering. and the field. and all was different.’ ‘Oh. even rather stiff. ‘Oh. then she was sorry for Clara. Morel held out her hand and smiled. It was old. with its old piano. her hair was done simply. ‘I hope you don’t mind my coming. He showed her photos. Morel sat in her rocking-chair. ‘I have a friend in number 6. down to the sycamore-tree. ‘Come on. The young woman was very nervous. thank you. ‘He has told me a good deal about you. ‘I was pleased when he said he would bring you. with heaps of dishevelled chrysanthemums in the sunshine. A fire was burning.’ She loved his artist’s paraphernalia. but it looked gloomy. The sunny afternoon was there. ‘Perhaps you’ll leave your things in the parlour. ‘And we saw a 0 Sons and Lovers jay. books. and sallow. sketches.’ said Paul. Morel put aside her book. and the photos of people.’ she faltered. By the path grew tansy and little trees. with old lilacs round it. His mother looked so small. Mrs. I say!—when I was a young woman WE lived in Minerva Terrace. 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. her face was rather pale. Her grey-brown hair was taken smooth back from her brow and her high temples. ‘It’s such a pretty day. ‘When I was a girl—girl. Morel rose. She felt as if she were being taken into the family. well-made clothes.down a steep hill. The house was rather superior to most. Mrs.’ she replied. Soon he was telling her: this was William. he had turned to her. And away went the garden. Paul. Clara wore a blouse of fine silk chiffon. ‘You have gone to live down Sneinton Boulevard?’ said Mrs. watching. and they talked a little while. in his dark. it would be hard for any woman to keep him. ‘It’s so much easier.’ replied Mrs. this was William’s young lady in the evening dress. Morel. Her heart glowed. Then Paul opened the door to the garden. Morel nicely to the young woman.’ he said. Mrs. mother!’ he said. this was Annie and her husband. the place was littered with books and drawing-boards.

’ she said. he plodded in his stocking feet. The pouring out the tea and attending to the people went on unconsciously. no make yourself quite comfortable. Dawes. but there was a fear deep at the bottom of her. Most of herself went with him. and found herself easily stronger. father. there was a feeling of balance. It was a hazy. as she felt with Paul. Morel measured herself against the younger woman. Clara saw Paul’s manner of bowing and shaking hands. Clara enjoyed it. mild and soft. leaving the two women to talk. Mrs. Morel’s way. Mrs. ‘And may you have come far?’ he asked. Paul saw. Clara felt she completed the circle. There was a lot of room at the oval table. Paul cleared the table whilst his mother and Clara talked. that she would not care to stand in Mrs. his waistcoat hung open over his shirt. Then Morel pulled himself together. Having finished.  . ‘Only from Nottingham. yellow chrysanthemums.’ Clara was astonished at this flood of hospitality from the old collier. and she had dreaded the meeting. Morel was perfectly at her ease. There was a little bowl of small. At tea Clara felt the refinement and sang-froid of the household. Mrs.’ Then he strayed into the scullery to wash his hands and face.  Sons and Lovers ‘From Nottingham! Then you have had a beautiful day for your journey. She clipped her language very clear and precise. I assure you. Clara was still rather nervous. Morel was still somewhat on her dignity. and from force of habit came on to the hearth with the towel to dry himself. Clara was conscious of his quick. indeed!’ exclaimed Morel. Clara was deferential. vigorous body as it came and went. he strolled down the garden. Clara glanced through the window after him as he Free eBooks at Planet eBook. clear atmosphere. By the way she leaned forward. ‘Oh. She knew Paul’s surprising regard for his mother. seeming blown quickly by a wind at its work. She was surprised to find this little interested woman chatting with such readiness. from his afternoon sleep. But don’t disturb yourself. ‘This is Mrs. She took their tone. and then she felt.’ said Paul. as if listening. He seemed incongruous. so gallant! She thought him most delightful. He was so courteous. ruffled and yawning. without interrupting her in her talk. They talked Nottingham and Nottingham people. It was almost like the hither and thither of a leaf that comes unexpected. and it was a pleasure to her. Morel could see she was possessed elsewhere as she talked. He scratched his grizzled head. it interested them both. There was something so hard and certain in his mother. and be very welcome. as if she never had a misgiving in her life. sunny afternoon. and in harmony. and again the elder woman was sorry for her. father and all. But she was rather afraid of the self-possession of the Morels. But they were going to get on well together. expecting someone rather hard and cold. where everyone was himself. Presently Morel came down. the china of dark blue willow-pattern looked pretty on the glossy cloth. It was a cool. Mrs. ‘I am very glad to see you—I am.And the conversation had started.

saying: ‘It’s the end of the run with these chaps.’ she said.’ replied Clara. ‘Hello.’ ‘You should have come in here to tea. At that moment Miriam was entering through the garden-door. laughing. At that moment they became aware of Miriam. ‘Have you come down alone?’ asked Paul. that she wanted to shriek in her helplessness. indolent movement. beside a bush of pale Michaelmas daisies. ‘Yes. married. Miriam laughed shortly. ‘Eh. ‘You will let me help you wash up. ‘You said you’d come!’ ‘Yes. I only called in for a moment to see Clara. The last bees were falling down to the hive. At last she allowed herself to go. The afternoon was golden over the hills of Derbyshire. isn’t it?’ said Miriam. ‘I’m well off. she felt as if a rope were taken off her ankle. She felt as if something almost tangible fastened her to him. that they were. there are so few. ‘Count your money. There was a click. Miriam!’ he exclaimed. We are going to chapel. ‘How much? Pf!’ He snapped his fingers. and saw them come to rest together. Had you forgotten?’ She shook hands with Clara. smiling.’ replied the other. He stood across in the other garden. Morel rose. so detached as he tied up the too-heavy flower branches to their stakes. Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ he said. he turned to her with an easy motion. They looked into each other’s eyes.’ said Clara. She saw Clara go up to him. and was glad to be on such good terms with his mother. it will only take a minute. ‘I like it very much. Mrs. but it was torture not to be able to follow him down the garden. ‘it seems strange to be here. as she broke the flat seeds one by one from the roll of coin. She looked at him.’ said the other.  Sons and Lovers Clara had pulled a button from a hollyhock spire. dried the tea-things. as she put it. ‘This is pretty. saw him turn. She walked very slowly down the cinder-track of the long garden. I went to Agatha’s to tea.’ ‘Yes. as if defending her. all golden dim. Then Miriam realised that Clara was accepted as she had never been. ‘Can I turn them into gold?’ ‘I’m afraid not. Hearing her coming. Something in their perfect isolation together made her know that it was accomplished between them. yet he seemed so easy in his graceful.’ Clara stood near him. watching the last bees crawl into the hive.  . and everything had altered. and Clara turned impatiently aside.’ There was a hesitation. Above her bowed head the pink flowers stared. saying: ‘It seems strange to see you here.’ she laughed. Over the low red wall in front was the country and the far-off hills.loitered among the chrysanthemums. however.’ laughed Paul. and was breaking it to get the seeds.

It had been different then. Miriam. Clara turned to go indoors. He ran indoors.’ replied Clara.’ ‘You told her. ‘No. she said she’d call and see Clara. ‘Yes.’ he answered. Come and look. Will you have some?’ While they were out there the bells began to ring in the church.’ ‘Ah. sounding loud across the town and the field. then!’ Miriam was very bitter. I shall see you. to his knowledge. and then die. where the towsled bushes of flowers of all colours stood raggedly along the path down to the field. proud among the clustering roofs. are they?’ ‘No. Come and see which are YOUR favourites. whilst he accompanied Miriam to the gate. why shouldn’t I?’ ‘There’s certainly no reason why you shouldn’t.’ He led the two women back to his own garden.‘Do you like the chrysanthemums?’ he asked.’ replied Miriam. The situation did not embarrass him.’ ‘We are going to chapel. and she returned to her book. dropping her head. These little yellow ones I like. Miriam looked at the tower.’ ‘I don’t think you’ve seen all the sorts. very well!’ exclaimed Miriam rather bitterly. Morel before?’ Miriam was saying to Clara. if you cared to come. ‘What! is that Miriam?’ asked his mother coldly. but he had not left her even  . ‘When you like. ‘Look. ‘Which sort do you like best?’ he asked. Clara. ‘You’re sure you won’t come in?’ he said. thanks. She asked him for a book to read. frowned irritably. He winced from his mother’s irony. Morel. ‘I don’t know.’ ‘I should think so. ‘No. but I can’t say when. ‘Yes.’ said Mrs. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. turning away. ‘When will you want it back?’ Miriam asked. ‘When will you come up to Willey Farm?’ the latter asked. I think. ‘Yes. She went down the path with her mouth to the flowers he had given her. They aren’t so fine here.’ ‘Had Paul told you much about her?’ ‘He had talked a good deal. but she’s so nice!’ ‘Yes. thinking: ‘Why can’t  Sons and Lovers I do as I like?’ ‘You’ve not seen Mrs.’ ‘Thank you.’ ‘Oh. You’re so sheltered. then?’ came the sarcastic answer. ‘Mother asked me to say she’d be pleased to see you any time. things grow big and tender. ‘I couldn’t say. these are the white ones that came from your garden. The bronze.’ said Miriam. they are very fine.’ ‘Ha!’ There was silence until he returned with the book. ‘in some ways she’s very fine. and remembered the sketches he had brought her. I should like to.’ said Miriam. ‘But they’re hardier.

then Clara’s answer: ‘What I hate is the bloodhound quality in Miriam. and he was angry with them for talking about the girl. The battle that raged inside him made him feel desperate. or I might have married her. in exactly the same way as he used for herself. Thank  . DOESN’T it make you hate her. ‘I don’t give her up. yet he could have Clara. She was beating with her hand rhythmically on the sofa-arm. or some such tack. ‘But you can’t really give her up. There never WAS a great deal more than talk between us. Feeling the strong motion of her body under his arm as she walked. he thought. There was a scent of damp leaves in the darkness. And during the sermon he could see the girl across the chapel. I’m not!’ They walked on in silence for some time. But he did not go straight in.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. the tightness in his chest because of Miriam relaxed. He held her closer and closer.’ he said. ‘If I was with her now. and his heart had smitten him as he left the girl alone. Halting on the plot of grass. He slid his arm round her waist. the girl was the better woman of the two. and the hot blood bathed him. then he began to talk. He felt guilty towards her. It was a dark autumn night. because there’s nothing to give. There was a silence. Clara’s hand lay warm and inert in his own as they walked. if it came to goodness. take her home. His mother looked excited. Then his own heart rebelled furiously at Clara’s taking the liberty of speaking so about Miriam. and it almost gave him pleasure to go off under her eyes with this other handsome woman. She heard him running quickly indoors. He could never bear to see the movement.’ They parted. Then: ‘You still keep on with Miriam. After all. He went indoors. give her the same hymn-book he had given herself years before. her hat throwing a dark shadow over her face.’ said his mother quickly.’ he said bitterly. she believed. ‘Your mother doesn’t care for her.’ ‘Yes. he heard his mother’s voice. and she scorned him. ‘Only talk. as women do who are wearing out. we should be jawing about the ‘Christian Mystery’.’ he said inside himself.’ said Clara. ‘yes.’ she said quietly. They had said good-bye to Miriam. now!’ His heart went hot. But it’s all up really!’ Suddenly his voice went passionate with hate.  Sons and Lovers After chapel he went over Pentrich with Clara. seeing Clara with him? He did not stop to consider.’ said Clara. She was bitter. ‘But it serves her right. ‘There is for her.‘Yes. He felt himself cruel towards Miriam. What did she think. He was full of conflict. sit with her next his mother in chapel. What right had they to say that? Something in the speech itself stung him into a flame of hate against Miriam. ‘No. He still belonged to herself. Up Pentrich Hill Clara leaned against him as he went. In chapel Miriam saw him find the place in the hymnbook for Clara.

The lane was dark.‘I don’t know why she and I shouldn’t be friends as long as we live. ‘What are you drawing away for?’ he asked. He stood showing his teeth. They came out on a bare hilltop where stood the dark figure of the ruined windmill.’ She put her hand on his chest. They went on in silence. gripping her arm till it hurt. She would not answer him anything. He felt the joints fuse into fire. She resisted.’ he pleaded thickly. handfuls of glittering points. The blood flamed up in him. leaning away from contact with him. while he stood panting. ‘I don’t know.’ he said.’ he said. ‘Yes it does—yes! I must go!’ ‘It’s early yet. villages lying high and low on the dark. here and there. ‘But it’ll only be friends. If he had let go. she would have sunk to the ground.’ Clara drew away from him. She moved aside her mouth to ask. ‘I tell you it’s only words that go between us. ‘What do you want now?’ ‘You’d better run after Miriam. Then he took her in his arms.’ mocked Clara. barring her way. ‘Stand up! stand up!’ he said thickly. Still there was no answer. Hard and relentless his mouth came for her.’ he persisted. Her breasts hurt against the wall of his chest. she knew. There he halted. ‘Like treading among the stars. ‘What time is it?’ she insisted. ‘Damn it!’ he said. Helpless. and held her fast. She turned frantically to avoid him. pale face of the watch.’ he 01 . 00 Sons and Lovers She sighed and walked dizzily beside him.’ he said. She drooped sulkily. quite lonely. dogged and low: ‘What time is it?’ ‘It doesn’t matter. and he kissed her. and put his mouth on her face in a kiss of rage. speckled and spangled with lights. but drew farther from him. and kissed her. She did not answer. and then she woke up. He heard people coming down the hill. He seemed to be looking about. ‘We will go over the fields. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. It was the way to Nottingham and to the station. trying to take her again. ‘Because I said I would be friends with Miriam!’ he exclaimed. All round lay the black night. but not the figures. hanging her head. ‘Why do you want to walk alone?’ he asked. She walked resentfully. Suddenly he strode across in front of her. They stood together high up in the darkness. with a quaky laugh. and she walked in silence with him over the first dark field. He suddenly caught her in his arms. stretched forward. looking at the lights scattered on the night before them. she went loose in his arms. He held her fast. But she let herself be helped over the stile. feeling for his watch. She groped in his waistcoat pocket. In the darkness she could see the round.

’ He secretly hoped it was too late to catch the train. The whistle blew. Clara. ‘What time is it?’ she asked. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘You can’t do it. ‘Very well. His eyes were dark and dangerous-looking. She felt the cruelty of it. Suddenly: ‘There she is!’ he cried. quiet.’ his voice answered out of the darkness.’ she said. The rattling ceased. But the double row of lights at the station drew nearer. turning away. There was a pause.’ he said. You’ll just do it. breaking into a run. his eyes fixed on the watch.’ ‘I hope HER feet weren’t so filthy. He was gone. ‘Yes. like a luminous caterpillar. Away to the right the train. I must say your boots are in a nice state!’ she said. Now he was hard and cruel to her. Where on earth you dragged her I don’t know!’ He was silent and motionless for some time. dark fields behind him. Instantly all was dark again. I want to catch the train. It frightened her. ‘But can’t I do it?’ she pleaded.’ Clara ran. it’s only seven miles to the tram. His mother looked at him.’ he said brusquely. quite out of breath. only a glowing match was red near her 0 . ‘She caught the train then?’ she said. ‘I’ll strike a match. He turned round and plunged home. She wanted to escape.’ 0 Sons and Lovers ‘But why?’ ‘I do—I want to catch the train. She felt in his power.’ ‘No. I’m going!’ she said. dry and hard. telling the truth with a struggle. ‘Come along. Where was he? ‘What is it?’ she asked. At any rate—-‘ She could distinguish his dark form again a yard or so away. ‘Wait! I’ll look!’ But he could not see. There was a faint rattling noise. then. hopeless. ready to drop. definite. afraid. All was black before her eyes. ‘Two minutes to nine.’ Suddenly his voice altered. wanting to cry. She ran after him. She had heard the ring in his voice. I’ll come with you. ‘I can’t see. She saw the glowing lantern of his hands as he cradled the light: then his face lit up.’ ‘Yes. ‘Well.’ And he plunged ahead into the darkness. was threading across the night. He was panting till he could take her in his arms again. His mother wondered if he were drunk. Gone!—and she was in a carriage full of people. and fell at last into the train. ‘But you could easily walk it. ‘She’s over the viaduct. She ran over the rough. as if he were drunk. ‘And can I get from here to the station in fourteen minutes?’ ‘No. ‘Then don’t bother. ‘If you hurry. He was very pale. Before he knew where he was he was in the kitchen at home.She stooped over it.’ he replied. Then he took off his overcoat. out of breath. He looked at his feet.

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

insane reality of Clara and the drama took hold of him again. When all was over. Then the lights were out.’ he murmured over her shoulder. her bosom coming down on him. Then away somewhere the play went on. A kind of eternal look about her. His moustache brushed the sensitive flesh. But he was obsessed by the desire to kiss the tiny blue vein that nestled in the bend of her arm. her arm that he held gripped between his hands. drew away her arm. ‘I shall enjoy it. He and Clara turned away. she sank a little against him. He saw it all in the distance. She sat immobile. when the lights went down. her moving bosom. All the time his blood kept sweeping up in great white-hot waves that killed his consciousness momentarily. pouting. Only. so long as it would be dark again. He saw the cabs waiting. The play went on. There was no himself. going on somewhere. as if she were a wistful sphinx. her towering in her force above him. She could not help herself. The train had gone. as if she yielded herself to her fate because it was too strong for her. and the strange. watching the breasts under the green stuff.’ he said. and he was identified with that also. ‘I s’ll have to walk home!’ he said. He could feel it. the curve of her limbs in the tight dress. Together they went out of the theatre. ‘It is too late?’ she asked. watching the strong throat rise from the strong chest. It seemed he met a pair of brown eyes which hated him. he wandered out for a drink.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. wistful. His whole face seemed suspended till he had put his lips there. That seemed to be himself. He was Clara’s white heavy arms. Only the intervals. She remained quiet. immobile. His train was gone. Her beauty was a torture to him. and he caressed her hand and arm with his fingers. her throat. mechanically taking the direction to the station. In a maze. He wanted to run anywhere. he came to himself and looked at his watch.ked arm. Then he helped her on with her 0 . the people passing. were all that existed. Something in him hated her again for submitting him to this torture of nearness. among the throng of bustling people. ‘It doesn’t matter. The grey and black eyes of Clara. He dropped his programme. when the lights came up. Then he felt himself small and helpless. And he loved her as she balanced her head and stared straight in front of her. but it seemed far away inside him. The drama continued. the people clapping. hurt him 0 Sons and Lovers expressibly. It must be done. He could smell her faint perfume. the lights up. He would have to walk the ten miles home. he did not know where. she was in the grip of something bigger than herself. But he did not know. ‘I love you! You look beautiful in that dress. made it necessary for him to kiss her. Clara looked at him. And the other people! At last he bent quickly forward and touched it with his lips. and crouched down on the floor to get it. Clara shivered. He nodded. so that he could kiss her hand and wrist.

0 Sons and Lovers ‘Nay. It was a nasty thrust. ‘My sirs!’ exclaimed Mrs.’ he said.’ ‘It’s a shame to bother you. pointing to Clara. He in his dinner jacket. I must say! What’s all that get-up for?’ ‘I believe we don’t know.’ The big.’ It was a little dish of chip potatoes and a piece of bacon. The wind blew fresh in their faces. Her mother appeared in the inner doorway. he has missed his train. feeling a victim. ‘What does she reckon she did it for?’ Paul looked at Clara. ‘What will your mother say?’ he asked. He leaped up the step and was in the room. were confused.’ ‘Very well. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘Will your mother be gone to bed?’ he asked.’ he said.’ continued Mrs. dark little street. ‘That’s your lookout! If you’ve invited him. he’s very welcome as far as I’m concerned. and Clara in her green dress and bare arms. Radford. ‘She won’t mind. She moved about the cupboard. and save him a ten-mile walk. The room was very warm and cosy in the lamplight. He hesitated. They felt they must shelter each other in that little kitchen. nay.’ ‘You’re sure?’ ‘Quite! ‘ ‘SHALL I come?’ ‘If you will. The town was dark. ‘There isn’t room in THIS house for two such bobby-dazzlers. I hope not. and what’s an inch of bacon! Take your coat off. Radford. if you fly your kites THAT high!’ she rallied them. ‘She may be. Their eyes met. At the first stopping-place they took the car.’ They hurried along the silent. don’t you?’ he asked. large and hostile. ‘It’s Mr. flushing. straight-standing woman was trying to estimate the situation. There was a moment of silence.’ ‘H’m. YOU keep the house!’ ‘If you don’t like me. ‘Well?’ laughed Paul uncomfortably. The table was roughly laid for one. ‘but you two’s a pair of bright beauties. Clara quickly entered the house. ‘come home for the night? I can sleep with mother. Clara took his coat. I thought we might put him up for the night.’ she said.’ He looked at her. didn’t you?’ There was a sarcasm in the last question. don’t you be apologetic! It doesn’t DO wi’ me! You treated her to the theatre. She was rosy. ‘Oh.‘Won’t you. her neck was warm with blushes. the only people out of doors. He sat with her hand fast in his. ‘Who have you got there?’ she asked. ‘And look at THAT blossom! ‘ continued Mrs. the tram tipped in its haste.’ he said. I’ll go away again.’ exclaimed Mrs. Morel. Radford. ‘You can have some more 0 . you needn’t! Come along in! I dunno what you’ll think of the supper I’d got her. ‘Well. ‘More chips you can’t have. Radford.’ And they turned away. ‘You like to see it.

‘They’re fools either road. ‘No thanks!’ she said. ‘No. ‘A catamaran is a boat the Malays use. ‘They say Sarah Bernhardt’s fifty. ‘Folk ought to look as well as they can. ‘Or DID you wear it?’ There was a long pause. ‘you’d never think it! She made me want to howl even now. ‘Me!’ she exclaimed at last.’ he said. and stood near him. putting bits of bacon on his plate. ‘Me! I could have worn evening dress with anybody. ‘SHE’S got what SHE wants. ‘Fifty! She’s turned sixty!’ came the scornful answer.’ she answered at length. I didn’t! And when I was 10 Sons and Lovers in service. ‘That—that looks as if it wasn’t properly dressed!’ ‘I believe you’re jealous that you can’t swank as well. humiliated and lonely. for fear he had offended her. All the time his heart was beating hard. I knew as soon as one of the maids came out in bare shoulders what sort SHE was. large and threatening.’ he said laughing. Clara sat with bowed head. ‘It’s time she began to think herself a grandmother. She looked up at him with her grey eyes. turning to the Dutch oven.’ ‘I should like to see myself howling at THAT bad old baggage!’ said Mrs. There was a sort of scornful forbearance in the woman’s tone that made Paul know she was mollified. But he would fight her.’ he said. His heart beat fast. and he was tight with anxiety. ‘And why didn’t you want to?’ he asked pertinently. fighting stoutly.’ he 11 . ay! and when was that?’ came the sarcastic rejoinder. The blood was beating up like fire in his veins. He left Clara altogether to attend to the mother. stood suspended on the hearthrug. large and impressive and aloof. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘Oh. Radford sat down again. ‘Don’t give me the best!’ he said. Mrs. if I’d wanted to!’ came the scornful answer.The mother had them in her power. Radford took the Dutch oven from the fire. ‘When they made frights of themselves. pointing a scornful fork at Clara.’ he answered. ‘Well. His eyes were dark and glittering. Radford.’ he said. Mrs. ‘But DO have some!’ he said to Clara. ‘No. not a shrieking catamaran—-‘ He laughed. going to her sixpenny hop!’ ‘Were you too good to go to a sixpenny hop?’ he said. ‘THERE’S a nice crozzly bit!’ she said.’ ‘And do you call THAT looking nice!’ cried the mother. holding her fork. Mrs. Mrs. Radford readjusted the bacon in the Dutch oven.’ was the answer.’ he said. ‘Why won’t you?’ he answered carelessly. Clara was under his protection now. Radford. ‘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.

Radford.’ ‘That’s the worst of my mother. ‘I shouldn’t. and it’s no good my telling her. ‘I s’d think she doesn’t want touching with a prop. ‘Where have they sprung from?’ ‘Out of my drawer. I’d forgot all about THEM!’ said Mrs. ‘She never wants a stool for anything. ‘but it’s pretty late. ‘Why. it’s everyone to his taste.’ ‘I can imagine they’d suit you. returning with a sleeping-suit.’ said the mother. After a while he glanced at the little clock that was ticking on the mantelpiece.’ he said. Radford was washing up in the scullery. Radford. ‘Shall we have a game at cribbage?’ he said.’ she retorted. ‘Said he reckoned to do wi’out trousers i’ bed. Mrs. As it grew later Paul felt the situation getting more and more tense.’ ‘H’m! You bought ‘em for Baxter.’ she said. Soon the supper was finished. Still the game continued. Mrs.’ The young man sat making rings of smoke. I’ll watch that. ‘My mother loves me in them. Radford had done all the little jobs preparatory to going to bed. I’ll teach you again. Radford?’ he asked. ‘You’ll please yourselves. Still Paul went on dealing and counting. Clara went upstairs. ‘Not the least bit.’ said Mrs.’ said Mrs.’ said Mrs. Radford. and she says she will.’ She turned confidentially to Paul.’ he laughed. He was obsessed by Clara’s arms Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘I s’d think she boxes your ears. ‘It is funny.’ he said. Clara brought the cards.’ ‘A game or so will make us sleepy. clearing the table.’ she answered. an’ he wouldn’t wear ‘em.’ he answered. ‘I’ve forgotten it. Radford. fifteen four. Then followed a little discussion of the merits of pyjamas. and sat spinning her weddingring whilst he shuffled them. ‘She’d like to. laughing suddenly. ‘She says I’m a pierrot.’ ‘It might do the pair of you good to give you a crack on the head with one. would he?’—laughing. had locked the door and filled the kettle. fifteen six.’ he said. Mrs. avoiding his eyes. them pyjama things. goodhumouredly. and two’s eight—-!’ The clock struck one. May we play crib. It was half-past twelve. Paul lit a cigarette. Mrs.’ ‘Well. ‘I’ve not stolen anything from you. ‘Why are you so vindictive towards me?’ he 1 . ‘My mother does sometimes. Radford sat guard in her chair. Radford to Paul.’ ‘It’s about time you did. ‘Are YOU tired?’ he asked of Clara. saying: ‘He couldn’t BEAR ‘em.’ ‘But she often can’t touch THAT lady with a long prop. so I give her a little stool to stand on.’ he laughed.’ said Clara.’ ‘No.’ laughed the older woman.‘And it’s a word as I use. which she spread on the fender to air. ‘Fifteen two. 1 Sons and Lovers ‘Well. ‘but it takes hours to settle down to sleep after the theatre.’ retorted Mrs.

so you can’t go far wrong.’ said Mrs. He went doggedly. there’s only two. It was a small room with a large bed. At last the mother said: ‘Now then! aren’t you coming up?’ ‘No. I hope you’ll rest well. and in two minutes was almost asleep. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. He played on. and so you ought at your age. Then she sat down again. The two doors faced each other. lay down. and went. but determined and obstinate in her chair. his feet doubled under him. and hard as steel. The hatred of her went so hot down his veins. He believed he could see where the division was just beginning for her breasts. and yet not quite. ‘Here. folded his suit. when he had nearly got to sleep. He could not leave her. I always do. something had bitten him suddenly and sent him mad. but his voice was still a challenge. which she put on the mantelpiece. mocking. good-night. Your room’s over this. His mettle was roused. without fastening the latch. very well then! If it’s not late enough. She was so near.’ she replied. scrubbed wood creaked and clanged at every step. nearly dropping asleep. listening. It was as if. then.’ 1 Sons and Lovers ‘I’m sure I shall. Radford roused herself stiffly. Only you needn’t come waking me up when I’ve got to sleep.and throat. She sat on. and said: ‘Isn’t it nigh on time you two was thinking o’ bed?’ Paul played on without answering. coughing.’ he said. He undressed. then the heavy. ‘Half a minute. Her own answered him in shame. Paul glanced at her. Radford. ‘Yes. She bent over the cards. Clara saw his mouth shut hard.’ replied the daughter calmly. The elder woman rose and sailed stubbornly into the scullery. Two books of his own were there on the shelf. He hated Mrs. returning with his candle. and sat on the bed. ‘Well. Some of Clara’s hair-pins were on the dressing-table—her hair-brush. Well. Then click!—he was wide awake and writhing in torment. that were angry. He went in his room. At last Mrs. not yet. to clear her throat. It seemed like an agreement. He heard a cat somewhere away outside. She met his eyes. Again he glanced at her.’ he said. was of his mind. Her clothes and some skirts hung under a cloth in a corner. ‘Oh. then Clara’s distinct voice: ‘Will you unfasten my dress?’ There was silence for some time. then at Clara.’ ‘I shan’t be long. There was actually a pair of stockings over a chair. it was almost as if he touched her. He sat up and looked at the room in the darkness. stop a bit longer. ‘We’ll stop. She watched his hands. and felt her joints melt as they moved quickly. Radford. listening. He knew SHE. Then he blew out the candle.’ he said. at any rate. He bade good-night to Clara. He hated her sufficiently to murder her. poised tread of the mother. pushed the door to. I’m glad you’ve finished. he dropped his cards. perfectly 1 .’ said Clara. He explored the room. The twisting stairs of white. take your things’—she thrust the warm suit in his hand— ‘and this is your candle.

As the warmth went into him. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. The first stair cracked like a shot. As Clara came upstairs. closing her eyes. the shadow was dark and warm on the other. imploring. She was very leisurely indeed in her preparations for sleep. She clung close to him. Then it was dark.’ he murmured. Then at last she looked at him. and her rounded beautiful back was towards him. mechanically. very deep. A convulsed shiver ran through her. The glow was rosy on one side. and was afraid. and she folded herself to him. made him sorrowful. She kissed him fervently on the eyes. He felt he must go or die. He listened. It was as if her beauty and his taking it hurt him. first one. and his heart jumped. Then he went straight to the door.Immediately afterwards Paul heard the mother slowly mounting the stairs. He was so humble before her. shivering slightly. and her face was hidden. He fumbled with the door at the bottom. looking to see if she must be ashamed. and he heard the clatter of her latch. He stepped off the bed. unable to stand so any more. The breath of her words were on his mouth. She did not look round. frightened. The clock struck two. Then he went forward to her. clenching his teeth and fists hard to keep control. Every step creaked. All was dead silence. mute. He looked at her with a little pain. shuddering. The staircase was dark. The latch opened with a loud clack. His shivering was uncontrollable. arrested. lest the old woman’s door should open behind him up above. but sat crouching on her heels. The old woman stirred in her bed. and shut the door noisily behind him. He clasped her very fast. Now he could not help himself.’ she whispered. and stood a 1 . at his touch. He put one hand on her shoulder. He went through into the kitchen. She was warming 1 Sons and Lovers her body at the fire for consolation. He waited. He shuddered violently. Her arms clasped his knees. His eyes were dark. His hands went over her slowly with an infinite tenderness of caress. He sat strung up on the bed. he raised her. Her dress brushed the door. twice. ‘Sorry!’ he murmured. trying to hide herself against him. Clara was kneeling on a pile of white underclothing on the hearthrug. and his back was creeping. and very quiet. the fingers of the other hand under her chin to raise her face. and she buried her head on his shoulder. She kept her head bent. then the other. her back towards him. Then he heard a slight scrape of the fender downstairs. Then he stood. like a thing that is afraid of death. He tried to step lightly. his shuddering became less. The candlelight flashed through the cracks in his door. Then she looked up at him. He stood a moment. he would intercept her. The cord of his sleeping-suit dangled against her and made her shiver. ‘I like it. After a long time it was quite still. realising that his hands were very cold. which opened into the kitchen. There was a slit of light under the stair-foot door. Then he went on. At length. once. warming herself. The old woman daren’t come now. His door was an inch open. Her arms hung slack. ‘My hands are so cold.

then things would have been definite. ‘I went to bed before YOU did. When. It made her feel erect and proud again. She looked at him and shook her head. At any rate.’ said the woman.’ she said. sorrowfully. ‘Fancy. He awoke in the morning with someone speaking to him. Radford. ‘It’s no good your scratching your head. Again she shook her head. laughing with impudence.’ he said. you did!’ she exclaimed. as white and round as a girl’s. ‘Yes. I’ve brought you a cup of tea. He resented being wakened. ‘it’s half-past seven. restless. She stood letting him adore her and tremble with joy of her. and still the two stood clasped rigid together.’ he said. She saw his neck in the flannel sleeping-jacket. and roused himself. wandering. It amused her. It was strange. Opening his eyes. he saw Mrs.’ He rubbed his face.’ he said. her mouth pouting disconsolately. the minutes passed. And she could have stayed with him the night. my Guyney. to her mother’s bed. It was her restoration and her recognition. ‘Why not?’ he asked. He watched her fixedly. his face radiant. an’ how long d’you think I’m going to stand waiting wi’ this here cup?’ ‘Oh. he was back in bed. She had been cheapened.’ ‘Don’t she never do it?’ asked Mrs. It was a moment intense almost to agony. ‘Well. ‘It won’t make it no earlier. She looked at him still heavily. His eyes hardened.’ he murmured. They laughed to each other.’ she answered. it made her glad. mouth to mouth. so that her mother would know. like a statue in one 1 . as she was. ‘having tea brought to bed to me! My mother’ll think I’m ruined for life. her eyes heavy with passion. He held her fast. ‘What’s it so late for!’ he grumbled. stirring his tea. dash the cup!’ he said. She laid her head on his shoulder. ‘It ought only to be about five o’clock. whether or not. But again his fingers went seeking over her. The hot blood came up wave upon wave. ‘Do you think you’re going to sleep till Doomsday?’ she said. and again she shook her head. Here. and he gave way. Here. and he strained her to his chest. He rubbed his hair crossly. Now she radiated with joy and pride again. dissatisfied. He laughed at once. Then he looked at her.She gave herself. She held a cup of tea in her hand. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘Come you to my room. It healed her hurt pride. Radford. big and stately. pushed the tumbled hair off his forehead. The seconds ticked off. He looked up at her. he wondered why she had refused to come to him openly. ‘Yes!’ he said. without 1 Sons and Lovers having to go. It healed her. looking down on him. And then almost immediately he fell asleep. Her pride had been wounded inside her. ‘You should go to bed earlier. later on. and he could not understand it.

’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. What shall I do when he pays me the four pounds?’ ‘Nay! you know your own uses for your 1 .’ ‘And I’ve got four pounds owing. I am!’ Clara was very quiet at breakfast.’ ‘Did you! Well.’ he said.’ ‘Ah. I made a picture of it. I was sick of it. but she had a sort of air of proprietorship over him that pleased him infinitely. ‘I’m only a fool. Mrs.’ she said. ‘What’s the good.’ exclaimed Paul. ‘But I’m going to bust this four pounds.’ exclaimed the mother. And I went and put the fowls in instead of the dog. I’m only soft. ‘You’d only Clara. I should like to know? You’d better be enjoyin’ yourself. ‘I made over thirty guineas last year. amazed and rejoicing. Radford.’ ‘What.’ ‘I’m not bad. ‘So long as I get a good run for my money! Will you?’ ‘Nay.‘She’d as leave think of flying. Radford’s in heaven. Radford. but it’s nothing to the time you put in. Should we go to the seaside for a day or two?’ 0 Sons and Lovers ‘Who?’ ‘You and Clara and me. I always spoilt my lot! That’s why they’ve turned out such bad uns. He began to talk of his painting.’ said Mrs. and he was waxy. so I had to knock a quid off.’ ‘Oh. but. ‘And Mr. half-wrathful. on your money!’ she exclaimed. ‘You’ll do as you like.’ said Mrs. Radford was evidently fond of him. ‘of your whittling and worrying and twistin’ and too-in’ at that painting of yours? What GOOD does it do you. as she went out of the bedroom. ‘Why not?’ ‘YOU wouldn’t be long in breaking your neck at a hurdle race!’ she said. you may settle that atween you. and I didn’t like the dog.’ ‘And you’re willing?’ he asked. So I suppose there’s only you left to be the bad un. A man said he’d give me five pounds if I’d paint him and his missis and the dog and the cottage. that’s a consideration.’ said the elderly woman. ‘whether I’m willing or not.

his eyelids were getting slack over his brown eyes. They’re deadly poor.’ he continued. ‘is really a military institution. their eyes met. jerking his head contemptuously at Paul. they are leaders and commanders. Since he was a superior employee at Jordan’s. His mistress had left him for a man who would marry  . which sometimes exists between two people. Take Germany. he had gone into cheap lodgings. he was drinking in the Punch Bowl with some friends of his when Dawes came in. and sniffing something tasty. Clara’s husband was growing stout. and life’s deadly slow. Then he knew Dawes had seen him coming out of the theatre with Clara.’ said the mutual friend. Dawes interrupted the young man’s flow of eloquence by asking. what about th’ theatre?’ asked one of Paul’s associates. him in a bob-tailed evening suit. ‘Oh. he was losing his healthy firmness of flesh. and there was a shady betting episode in which he was concerned. ‘That’s comin’ it strong. He was very evidently on the downward track. Paul often thought of Baxter Dawes. and yet there was between them that peculiar feeling of intimacy. He had been in prison one night for fighting when he was drunk. They listened in silence. and were not sorry when he finished. He irritated the older men by his assertive manner. then—they WANT war!’ He was not a favourite debater in the public-house. and that the man was drawn to him by some bond or other. She’s got thousands of aristocrats whose only means of existence is the army. now. When there’s a war. ‘Tart an’ all?’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. And yet the two never looked at each other save in hostility. on the lardy-da!’ sneered Dawes. Having quarrelled with his sister. although they never speak to one another.CHAPTER XIII BAXTER DAWES SOON after Paul had been to the theatre with Clara. as if they were secretly near to each other. in a loud sneer: ‘Did you learn all that at th’ theatre th’ other night?’ Paul looked at him. and his cocksureness. They look for war as a chance of getting on. There you are. being too quick and overbearing. Paul turned away with a slight disdainful movement of the shoulders. So they hope for a war. Till there’s a war they are idle good-for-nothings. ‘What’ll you have?’ he asked of him. Paul and he were confirmed enemies. ‘Nowt wi’ a bleeder like you!’ replied the man. very irritating. glad to get a dig at the young fellow. ‘The aristocracy. He knew that Dawes often thought about him. it was the  Sons and Lovers thing for Paul to offer Dawes a drink. often wanted to get at him and be friends with him. ‘Why.

and took a gulp of beer. Paul was furious. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. He did not move. like!’ He winked at the other men. At that minute a brawny fellow with his shirt-sleeves rolled up and his trousers tight over his haunches intervened. you —-. ‘Strike me—-! One o’ that sort?’ said the mutual friend.’ said Dawes. ‘An’ was it a proper tart?’ ‘Tart. ‘You shouldn’t funk your own deeds.’ ‘Well. God blimey—yes!’ ‘How do you know?’ ‘Oh. and at the same time.‘Tart. ‘Now. ‘Come out. Dawes wiped his golden moustache with his fingers.’ said Dawes. seeing the wet hair on the man’s forehead. ‘She WAS all right. ‘He’ll be braggin’ of it in a bit. against the brass rail of the bar. ‘Then spit it out.’ said Dawes. Bax Sons and Lovers ter?’ ‘Just a bit. ‘It’s a wonder he hasn’t let on himself. ‘you don’t get off as easy as that.’ said the ‘chucker-out’.’ said the friend. ‘I’ll be going!’ The mutual friend laid a detaining hand on his shoulder. ‘Nay. ‘Paul.’ ‘Then get it from Dawes!’ he said.’ ‘Own up what? That I happened to take a friend to the theatre?’ ‘Oh well. Mr. ‘You’ve got it. ‘That’s enough. he thought he looked pathetic. wished something could exterminate him at that minute. and she rang the bell for the ‘chucker-out”.’ remonstrated the friend. I’ll be jiggered!’ said the mutual friend. ‘an’ I reckon Morelly had it an’ all.’ said Paul. Paul was leaning. boy.’ he said.’ ‘Come on. let’s have it!’ cried the mutual friend.’ said the mutual friend. with kindly insistence. I’m surprised at you. ‘Come on. tell us who she was.’ cried the barmaid. Paul. ‘But who WAS she? D’you know her?’ asked the mutual friend. You might just as well own up. We’ve got to have a full account of this business. begod!’ said Dawes. Dawes. ‘I reckon he spent th’ night—-‘ There was a good deal of laughter at Paul’s expense. man. ‘Come out!’ cried Dawes.’ said Dawes. This brought another burst of laughter. He hated  . Morel!’ cried the barmaid. if it was all right.’ he said.’ said Dawes. my lad. pushing his chest in front of Dawes. ‘I should SHAY SHO. Dawes spat and rushed for the young man. sneering. ‘it’s no good. Then Dawes made a remark which caused Paul to throw half a glass of beer in his face. white and quivering. ‘Oh well. ‘Oh.’ said the friend. ‘Go on. And do you know her. Dawes shook his head. lad. then!’ he said.

Morel doesn’t like it. He suffered tortures of humiliation and self-consciousness. Mr. by making Dawes edge away from his own close proximity.’ he answered. what a story. And Baxter Dawes wants locking up.’ And presently he took his departure. Paul had a curious sensation of pity. until he was in the doorway and on the steps outside. is Baxter Dawes. that’s what he wants. he felt condemned by her.’ said the mutual friend. and it irked him. Mr. almost of affection.’ Still the ‘chucker-out’ kept thrusting his chest forward at him. really love another womFree eBooks at Planet eBook.’ Paul would have died rather than his mother should get to know of this affair. my lad. Jenkinson the wink. if you want a devil!’ ‘Well. Dawes!’ said the barmaid. I believe.’ said the barmaid. calling: ‘Half a minute. pointing to Paul Morel.’ said the barmaid. for the man. He nodded. But he felt he had to conceal something from her. You an’ me’s going the same road. jolly well right!’ said the barmaid.’ said the friend. It was like a circle where life turned back on itself. ‘But it’s a nasty thing to get a glass of beer in your eyes. ‘Pooh! is he?’ said the barmaid. and they’re never much good. Jenkinson. and pulled at her bondage. ‘Will you have another. ‘THAT’S the little sod as started it!’ cried Dawes.’ whispered the barmaid. ‘I might give you a turn or two. ‘You know it was you all the time. He had a life apart from her—his sexual life. Morel?’ She held up Paul’s glass questioningly. Then sometimes he hated her. and his love turned back into her. we shan’t have him in much more. so that he could not be free to go forward with his own life. ‘All right. His life wanted to free itself of her. ‘He’s a loud-mouthed one. he’s good company. ‘Why. and followed Paul.’ ‘Mr. I haven’t time. ‘you’ll have to take care of yourself now for a while. loved him. There was now a good deal of his life of which necessarily he could not speak to his mother.’ said the friend. halfcowed. ‘I tell you I was glad he did.’ ‘You won’t have to give him a chance over you.’ he said. Mr. nodding straight at his rival. She bore him. ‘Not a bit. mingled with violent hate. still he kept edging back.’ said one. that’s all. he is. Paul. The man nodded. took his hat. to defend himself against her. in that silence. Give me a pleasant-spoken chap. ‘Serve.’ And. old man. I’m sorry. ‘Thanks. then he turned round. kept him. ‘You’ll see. The rest she still kept. ‘He’s a man as doesn’t care for anything.‘you’d better be getting on. there was silence in the bar. and he felt he had.  Sons and Lovers ‘Can you box?’ asked a  . and got no farther.’ said the barmaid. ‘Go along with him. said: ‘Good-night all!’ very heartily. still very white. The coloured door swung to. tipping Mr. There was a certain silence between them. him. he worked him to the door.

‘That’s him to a ‘T’.’ ‘Then you’d better carry something.’ ‘I might blow my fingers off. for his sake and mine.’ she said.’ he said. ‘we’ll see. You don’t know him. It made her furious that he reminded her. But there’s something about him—-‘ Clara looked at her lover closely. ‘Oh no! he made himself. ‘No. I suppose?’ she said.’ she said. ‘You can fight him if you have to.’ he said. I should want a knife or a pistol or something to fight with.’ ‘You are a fool!’ ‘Fact!’ She set her teeth with anger. ‘I could SHAKE you!’ she cried. ‘No. There was something in him she hated. He did not tell her things.’ ‘And you’ll let him?’ ‘Perhaps. ‘I’m not daggeroso. ‘You DO make me angry!’ she exclaimed.’ he laughed.’ he said.’ ‘Yet you married him.’ ‘But he’ll do something to you. She felt she had at last got him for herself.’ ‘And if he kills you?’ she said.’ she cried—‘like a navvy! He’s not fit for mixing with decent folk. he resisted his mother’s influence. almost sure of  . laughing.’ he said. and then again came the uncertainty. ‘But why are you so silly? You don’t know him.’ he laughed. ‘I’m sure he’s dangerous. a coldness which made her woman’s soul harden against him. ‘I should be sorry. ‘Why?’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ ‘All right. trembling with passion.’ ‘And don’t want. unknowingly. It’s not so with me. I haven’t the least sense of the ‘fist’. He told her jestingly of the affair with her husband. but you’re not going to let a man do as he likes with you?’ ‘What must I do?’ he replied.’ ‘There’s nothing to do. if I can’t help it. ‘I should carry a revolver.’ ‘And you’ll leave him to—-?’ ‘Yes. Her colour came a sort of detached criticism of herself. but won’t you?’ she pleaded. ‘I did!’ she cried. At this period. ‘And what are you going to do?’ she asked. It’s funny. ‘No.’ ‘Yes. her grey eyes flashed. ‘That’s nothing afresh.’ Clara was silent for a moment. is there?’ he replied. Clara was happy. ‘You think I made him what he is!’ she exclaimed.’ ‘Not anything?’ ‘No. ‘How?’ ‘About Baxter. With most men there’s the instinct to clench the fist and hit. there was a distance between them.  Sons and Lovers ‘Nay. ‘But how was I to know?’ ‘I think he might have been rather nice.

no matter where it is. I’ve got a visitor just now. He did not see Dawes for several days. then he laughed.’ he said. But you don’t understand me.‘Let a man like HIM do as he likes with you. ‘SORRY!’ sneered Dawes. ‘But you ought NOT to expose yourself. brooding. ‘Well. Dawes stood in the doorway. At that the smith started heavily from the doorway. looking at the top of the young man’s head. my jockey!’ he said. I’ll settle your hash for a bit.’ she pleaded.’ There was a pause between them. do you!’ said Dawes. The young man ruled some lines in his 1 .’’ he quoted. ‘Do you want me to hate you?’ she asked. The pure and blameless liver. and passed on. ‘But if I did. ‘And YOU say you LOVE me!’ she exclaimed. ‘I wish I could understand you. She bowed her head. ‘Not at all. ‘Sorry!’ said Paul.’ ‘You can go back to him if he triumphs. ‘FIVE AND NINEPENCE!’ He wrote a figure. ‘What’s that?’ he said. The other went on adding the figures aloud. ‘Six and five’s eleven and seven’s one-and-six. ‘There’s simply nothing to understand. my dear.’ he said. ‘Ought I to slay him to please you?’ he said. then one morning as he ran upstairs from the Spiral room he almost collided with the burly metal-worker. ‘What the—-!’ cried the smith. yer little swine!’ ‘All right. ‘Er—yes!’ He listened. ‘Yes!’ he said.’ Paul went to his desk in his corner. quick!’ he said to his boy. 0 Sons and Lovers ‘I’ll stop your whistle.’ ‘Do you think I’m a fool!’ she exclaimed. ‘You’re goin’ to answer for that job of the other night. ‘But wait till I light on you. see what a hold he’d have over me. Just then a whistle piped shrilly. low and indignant. ‘Yer crawlin’ little —-. Nor venom-freighted quiver. I only tell you. ‘I’ll come down directly. He shrugged his shoulders. The other took no notice.’ she said. Paul whistled lightly.’ said Paul.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ Paul added aloud. and he listened. and turned over the leaves of the ledger. Needs not the keen Toledo blade. tall and threatening. Paul went to the speakingtube.’ he laughed. She looked at him searchingly. The elder man was infuriated. ‘An’ you hear. ‘Go and tell Fanny I want order 097. ‘I’m going to show you what it is.’ said the smith. yer daresn’t face me proper!’ Paul quickly snatched the heavy ruler. ‘The man in righteousness arrayed. Dawes started. ‘Put Me among the Girls”.

‘Get it off. but he hung fire. and grimy. Morel was leaning against the counter. Paul remembered they were the hands of Clara’s husband. beginning to sneer. He stepped forward.’ snapped the old man. ‘What do you mean?’ snapped Thomas Jordan. Mr. and a flash of hate went through him. seizing him by the arm. holding some white article. ‘Get out before you’re turned out!’ snapped Thomas Jordan. Morel turned round. furious face. ‘What’s it all about?’ snapped Thomas Jordan. ‘Couldn’t say. ‘Have you finished?’ cried the old man. It had given way.’ he said. what’s a-matter?’ he said.’ The smith looked down contemptuously on his employer. ‘Tipsy!’ he said. ‘What’s a-matter. inside of two minutes! Think I’m goin’ to have YOU whipperty-snappin’ round?’ The other clerks in the warehouse looked up. He turned quickly. ‘Couldn’t yer. ‘I’m just goin’ ter settle this little —-. thrusting forward his handsome.’ Dawes stood frustrated. I’ll stop your gallop!’ shouted the smith. ‘Come off!’ said the smith. large. that’s all. strutting. Thomas Jordan started out of his little glass office. who’ll turn me out?’ said Dawes. ‘Why.’ he said to Dawes. thrusting his stout little figure at the man.’ said Paul. halfgrinning. Paul’s office-boy appeared.’ said Dawes desperately. shaking his head and shrugging  Sons and Lovers his shoulders. and he would have run downstairs. ‘Fanny says you could have had it last night if you’d let her know. ‘Get off about your business.Dawes knew from his tone that he had been speaking to Clara. and don’t come here tipsy in the morning. and let Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘All right. couldn’t yer!’ cried Dawes. saying: ‘Get off my premises—get off!’ He seized and twitched Dawes’s arm. ‘Excuse me a minute. and don’t be long about it. ‘Hey! Hey!’ cried the office-boy. and came running down the room. Before anyone could help him. and with a jerk of the elbow he sent the little manufacturer staggering backwards. ‘I’ll visitor you. ‘Who’s tipsy? I’m no more tipsy than YOU are!’ ‘We’ve heard that song before. ashamed. worked restlessly. helpless with rage. ‘By God. marched up to the smith. in his old man’s sharp voice. Thomas Jordan had collided with the flimsy spring-door. His hands. and squaring his fist. Comin’ HERE with your rowdying. alarmed. looking at the stocking.’ answered Paul.’ Dawes turned his big frame slowly upon him. waving him off. ‘Yer little devil!’ he  . ‘Now you get off. Jordan started. ‘What I say.’ said Dawes. and yet well shaped for his labour.

beside himself with rage. The case was dismissed after the magistrate had told Dawes he thought him a skunk.’ And she did.’ replied the latter. when I see her just as THE WOMAN. in a way one doesn’t like. and he wanted his revenge.’ ‘There was no need for anything at all. he said: ‘Dawes took occasion to insult Mrs.’ He looked up at his mother curiously. ‘You’ll find you’re not as good at ‘putting up’ as you imagine. Thomas Jordan was shaken and braised.’ said Paul. Dawes and me because I accompanied her to the theatre one evening.’ he said. I often don’t listen to her. then he took his departure. Sometimes.’ ‘They do. ‘Do you ever ask HER opinion?’ she said at length. When she’s there.him crash down the half-dozen steps into Fanny’s room. ‘Yes. you didn’t really want a conviction.’ he said. however. Mrs. ‘Have you ever considered where it will end?’ his mother said.’ said his mother. Dawes stood a moment looking bitterly on the scene. ‘I’m sorry if I said the wrong thing.’ snapped Mr. that I CAN’T love. I love her. Jordan to Paul. mother. He dismissed Dawes from his  . nevertheless. ‘And what do you think of it all?’ she asked him. and summoned him for assault. but it’s not very deep. ‘We are none the poorer. Morel watched him closely.’ he said indifferently.’ he said. Asked how the trouble began. mother. as a rule. ‘And you?’ he asked. I think there must be something the matter with me.’ he said. and the whole thing. not otherwise hurt.’ he answered. He went on working rapidly at his design. when she talks and criticises. I DO love her. Jordan and the trial of Dawes.’ she declared. but he did not sound sorry. did you?’ ‘What do you think I took the case up for?’ ‘Well.’ ‘Cherchez la femme!’ smiled the magistrate. ‘Besides. She’s fearfully in love with me. then men and girls were running. ‘I need never have been mentioned. ‘And then one has to put up with them.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘YOU may not be. but then.’ ‘I don’t care what her opinion of me is. ‘things work out of themselves. ‘You gave the case away. He told himself easily: ‘She will come round.’ Clara was also very angry.’ she said. But he was very uncomfortable. He was. At the trial Paul Morel had to give evidence.’ ‘But quite as deep as your feeling for her. He told his mother about the fall of Mr. ‘I think he’s a fool.’  Sons and Lovers ‘I’m sorry.’ she said. ‘No. There was a second of amazement. ‘You know. ‘What of?’ ‘Of you. then I threw some beer at him. as a rule. ‘Better speak it openly than leave it to be whispered. ‘Why need MY name have been dragged in?’ she said. ‘I don’t think I did.

’ he said. It maddened her to hear his mechanical voice giving orders about the work. But why—why don’t I want to marry her or anybody? I feel sometimes as if I wronged my women. He knew that she was dreary every evening she did not see him.’ ‘You haven’t met the right woman. and I can’t ever give it them. Clara was. Every second she expected him to come through the door. and I love her better than Miriam. She knew exactly how his breast was shapen under the waistcoat. and before she could feel one touch of his warmth he was gone. but to GIVE myself to them in marriage I couldn’t. With what wits she had left she listened to him. and he  Sons and Lovers with her. She dared not misunderstand or fail to remember.‘Yet she’s as much sense as Miriam. get at the man again. His mother turned away her face. ‘But you wouldn’t want to marry Clara?’ she said. I even love Clara.’ she answered.’ ‘Perhaps.’ ‘And I never shall meet the right woman while you live. They seem to want  .’ said his mother. She wanted to touch his chest. ‘No. keeping her at bay. at first perhaps I would. mother. but the evenings and the nights were usually a bliss to them both. passionately in love with him. But he was often short and offhand with her. but she was afraid. Then they were silent. and I did Miriam. with something of renunciation. and she ached again.’ He went on painting rather despairingly. as if she were done. and her existence was of no matter to him. and talked only a few. But he had her hand in his.’ ‘But no. She was working in the same building. But WHY don’t they hold me?’ The last question was almost a lamentation. ‘And as for wanting to marry. almost meaningless words. In the daytime he forgot her a good deal. and her bosom left its warmth in his chest. He gave her his directions in an official manner. but it was a cruelty to her. as far as passion went. She was very quiet. and when he came it was a shock to her. indeed. making him feel whole. grave. The feeling that things were going in a circle made him mad. my son?’ ‘I don’t know. Now she began to feel again tired. One evening they were walking down by the canal. The days were often a misery to her. I couldn’t belong to them. and something was troubling him. my son.’ ‘How wronged them. sat looking across the room. He was busy. For hours they sat together. ‘We’ll see. smash the trivial coating of business which covered him with hardness. so he gave her a good deal of his time. but he was not aware of it. or walked together in the dark. very quiet. But all the time she was in her Spiral room she had a sense that he was upstairs. She knew she had not Free eBooks at Planet eBook. he had touched the quick of the trouble. mother. She wanted to break through the sham of it. and she wanted to touch it. ‘there’s plenty of time yet. a physical sense of his person in the same building.

and he was something unknown to her— something almost uncanny. pressed his head down on her breast with her hand.’ ‘Go abroad! What for?’ ‘I dunno! I feel restless. All the time he whistled softly and persistently to himself. ‘Go somewhere in a pretty house near London with my mother. With her warmth she folded him over. ‘No. will you.’ There was a silence.’ ‘And when do you think you’ll go?’ ‘I don’t know. She had him in her arms. It was an agony to know he would leave her. There came a breath of wind. and some sort of sale for my pictures first. He might have anything of her—anything. She had been thinking. and he forgot. After all. feeling she could learn more from his whistling than from his speech. Be with me now. but it was almost an agony to have him near her. When they came to the swing bridge he sat down on the great pole. but she did not want to KNOW.’ There was a long pause. and he was miserable. I know I am. He needed her badly. She wanted him to be soothed upon her—soothed. ‘Will you always stay at Jordan’s?’ she asked.’ he answered without reflecting. she was a married woman. He went suddenly to her.’ he said. She wanted to soothe him into forgetfulness. She would let the moment stand for itself. ‘Don’t ask me anything about the future. ‘I don’t know. no matter what it is?’ And she took him in her arms. and put his hand on her shoulder. only a woman. looking at the stars in the water. and she had no right even to what he gave her.’ She looked at the stars in the black water. while there’s my mother. I s’ll leave Nottingham and go abroad—soon. He was a long way from her. She felt she could not bear it. ‘I could still come and see you. She stood clasping him and caressing him. After a moment he lifted his head as if he wanted to speak. ‘I don’t know anything. consoled him.’ he said.’ he said.’ ‘You couldn’t leave her?’ ‘Not for long. ‘Clara. And soon the struggle went down in his soul.’  Sons and Lovers ‘I see.’ ‘But what shall you do?’ ‘I shall have to get some steady designing work. The stars shuddered and broke upon the water. loved  . Don’t ask me what I should do. It was a sad dissatisfied tune—a tune that made her feel he would not stay with her. ‘ him. She caught him passionately to her. She was afraid in her soul. I shall hardly go for long. She could not bear the suffering in his voice. But then Clara was not there for him. They lay very white and staring. She listened. I don’t know. ‘I am gradually making my way. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘And if you made a nice lot of money. She walked on in silence.’ he said miserably. struggling. what would you do?’ she asked.

They were dark and shining and strange. He lifted his head. to know the tremendous living flood which carried them always. and she submitted to him. and was happy in himself. It was for each of them an initiation and a satisfaction. She had not got him. he might leave her. She wanted it again. In the morning he had considerable peace. When he came to. He was not safe to her. But Clara was not satisfied. But it did not keep her. she wanted something permanent. and every tree. and the peewit was calling. childish and wondering. wild life. and they felt a sort of peace each in the other. and what voice it was speaking. so that they knew they were only grains in the tremendous heave that lifted every grass blade its little height. She knew how stark and alone he was. But it was not Clara. gave them rest within themselves. nothing could take it away. and he put his face down on her throat. and she took him simply because his need was bigger either than her or him. And after such an evening they both were very 1 . life wild at the source staring into his life. curving and strong with life in the dark. the cry of the peewit. she was not satisfied. The warmth was Clara’s breathing heaving. afraid. made the hour almost terrible to her. strange. She did this for him in his need. it was almost their belief in life. 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. and living thing. Nothing could nullify it. Something great was there. for she loved him. that breathed with his in the darkness through this hour. To know their own nothingness. and looked into her eyes. having known the immensity of passion. then why fret about themselves? They could let themselves be carried by life. but she had not gripped the—the something—she knew not what—which she was mad to have. identify them altogether with itself. there in the dark.warm. They had KNOWN. and her soul was still within her. She thought it was he whom she wanted. All the while the peewits were screaming in the field. something he loved and almost worshipped. the night contained them. but she could not keep the moment. In the morning it was not the same. she knew. he wondered what was near his eyes. If so great a magnificent power could overwhelm them. They felt small. They had met. When they stood up they saw other lovers stealing down the opposite hedge. It seemed natural they were there. the wheel of the stars. Then he realised it was the grass. stranger to him. 0 Sons and Lovers half-afraid. It was all so much bigger than themselves that he was hushed. even if he left her. yet meeting him. It seemed almost as if he had known the Free eBooks at Planet eBook. What was she? A strong. The naked hunger and inevitability of his loving her. There was a verification which they had had together. and she felt it was great that he came to her. something strong and blind and ruthless in its primitiveness. She had not realised fully. She had been there. something great enveloped her. This that had been between them might never be again. and included in their meeting the thrust of the manifold grass stems.

It was as if they had been blind agents of a great force. She followed him out into the basement for a quick kiss. In the factory. and lifted her arms to him. he was uneasy till she had forgiven him again. almost a burden to him. she kept fixed on his. very subdued this morning. He felt more and more that his experience had been impersonal. They had rooms at a little cottage near Theddlethorpe. lest she should too flagrantly give herself away before the other girls. I don’t want anything to do with love when I’m at work. she ran her hand secretly along his side. ‘Always. But when they started afresh they were not any nearer. and lived as man and wife. and it irritated him. He ran upstairs. went on giving his instruction. ‘Has it to have special hours?’ ‘Yes. but it was not she who could keep his soul steady. There was a big tenderness. always mute and yearning.’ ‘And that’s all you think of it?’ ‘It’s quite enough.’ ‘And you’ll regulate it according to Mr. She could not see him without touching him. He had wanted her to be something she could not be. She invariably waited for him at dinnertime for him to embrace her before she went. very quiet. After that the fire slowly went down.’ She looked up at him. but it was not her. out of work hours.’ ‘I’m glad you think so. He kept her because he never satisfied her. and while she was cold and contemptuous. as after a strong emotion they had known together. Radford sometimes went with them. It was known in Nottingham that Paul Morel and Mrs. ‘DO I always want to be kissing you?’ she said. ugly basement.baptism of fire in passion. and it left him at rest. Work’s work—-‘ ‘And what is love?’ she asked. He felt as if she were helpless. He kissed her. and the intensity of passion began to burn him again. her eyes.’ And she was cold to him for some time—she hated him. and not Clara.’ ‘It is only to exist in spare time?’ ‘That’s all. his brows. But he. moving as if in a trance. Somebody was at the door. He was afraid of her.  Sons and Lovers ‘But what do you always want to be kissing and embracing for?’ he said. It was something that happened because of her. Mrs. and the hate came into her eyes. He loved her. she must hold him. When she saw him that day at the factory her heart melted like a drop of fire. as he talked to her about Spiral hose. Jordan’s closing time?’ ‘Yes. It was his body. She followed him into the dark. And she was mad with desire of him. In the spring they went together to the seaside. They were scarcely any nearer each other. and according to the freedom from business of any sort. ‘Surely there’s a time for everything. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. she returned to her room. even if I come to ask you about the  . full of unrestrained passion. The drop of fire grew more intense in her breast. But it was not Clara. and not always then—not the kissing sort of love.

like specks of spray. and Clara always a solitary person. the wan  . Mablethorpe was tiny on their right. A flush came into the sky. Veils of shadow seemed to be drifting away on the north and the Free eBooks at Planet eBook. A little wind. orange to dull gold. the sea sounding small beyond the sandhills. and yet so quick. Far away the coast reached out. and his eyes had a beautiful light. She loved him then.’ he answered. the sea-meadows rank with herbage. cold sandhills on to the beach. were stark enough to rejoice his soul. She quickly undressed. then he raced her down the road to the green turf bridge. hoarse strokes. Himself was light. They shuddered with cold. ‘It’s very fine. The long waste of foreshore lay moaning under the dawn and the sea. It irritated her to see him standing gazing at the sea. plants with great leaves became distinct. He loved her for being so luxuriously heavy. wheeled above the line of surf. She could run well. ‘In a minute. He stood looking out to sea. the ocean was a flat dark strip with a white edge. the land a little darker than the sky. They had a warm hollow in the sandhills where the wind did not come. half-way down the west. They had alone the space of all this level shore. but as nothing was very obvious. she went with a beautiful rush. and  Sons and Lovers in a golden glitter the sun came up. and walked hand in hand. Crimson burned to orange. He loved the Lincolnshire coast. with heavy shoulders.’ he said. They grew warm. the tussocky sandhills seemed to sink to a level with the beach. ‘Now don’t get sentimental. coming from the sea. She was a better swimmer than he. like a solitary and poetic person. as if someone had gone along and the light had spilled from her pail as she walked.’ she said triumphantly. Her colour soon came. the faint noise of the waters. He was solitary and strong. The breakers ran down the shore in long. He laughed. the sharp crying of the gulls. As they stepped on to the highroad from their plank bridge. the sea. her eyes shone. dribbling fierily over the waves in little splashes. sank into insignificance. the far. and looked round at the endless monotony of levels. blew across her body and ruffled her hair. The grey of the dawn. and the upcoming sun. Over the gloomy sea the sky grew red. and melted into the morning. he stood idly watching her.’ she said. ‘There are some fine waves this morning. her throat was bare. On the shadowy land things began to take life. ‘Aren’t you coming?’ she said. it did not make much difference. his heart filled strong with the sweeping relentlessness of life. The morning was of a lovely limpid gold colour. desolate reaches of the fenland smitten with winter. She was white and velvet skinned.Dawes were going together. and he seemed so simple and innocent. Tiny seagulls. Quickly the fire spread among the clouds and scattered them. Their crying seemed larger than they. and she loved the sea. They came through a pass in the big. In the early morning they often went out together to bathe.

She flung her arms round his neck. she heaved on a wave. unbroken solitude. ‘What is she. her shoulders in a pool of liquid silver. then looked at him. seemed only like a large white bird toiling forward. She grew smaller. He jumped through the breakers. on the sandhills. and he thought again: ‘But she is magnificent. then away at the pale sands. it will be so cold!’ she said. and in a moment her hand was on his shoulder.south. The sea-grass rose behind the white stripped woman. The sunshine stood deep and fine on the water. ‘Look how little she is!’ he said to himself. ‘Go. She was watching for him. kissed him passionately. and kissed her again.’ Then. She glanced at the sea. Is she—-? Is she—-‘ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. She seemed to move very slowly across the vast sounding shore. When they were drying themselves. ‘She’s lost like a grain of sand in the beach—just a concentrated speck blown along. held her suddenly close. subsided. her breasts that swayed and made him frightened as she rubbed them. watched the great pale coast envelop her. lost proportion. twisting her hair. He.’ She went plodding heavily over the sand that was soft as velvet. a tiny white foam-bubble. not much more than a clot of foam being blown and rolled over the sand. always unsatisfied. big and permanent and beautiful. after all? She represents something. Why does she absorb me?’ The morning was altogether uninterrupted: she was gone in the water. sporting with her superiority. and went. and temporary as a bubble of foam. cringing. They laughed in the sea for a minute or two. But what is she? It’s not her I care for. laughing: ‘Oo. startled by his own unconscious thoughts. He was watching her with dark eyes which she loved and could not understand. almost nothing among the  Sons and Lovers morning. the merest white speck moving against the white. her bright shoulders. As he watched. and could not stay long in the water. ‘Here’s the seacoast morning.’ he said to himself. She was dazzled out of sight by the sunshine. He was a poor swimmer. ‘Not much more than a big white pebble on the beach. What does she mean to me. Her arm flashed up to him. and even bigger than the morning and the sea. He looked into her eyes. he undressed and ran quickly down the sands. then!’ he said quietly. Clara stood shrinking slightly from the touch of the wind. that seemed to speak so distinctly that all the morning could hear. panting heavily. the sandhills with their blue marrain. then raced each other back to the sandhills. glowed together in immense. he lost her. She hugged her breasts between her arms. after all?’ he said to himself. drew him against her. He bent forward and kissed her. She played round him in triumph. he watched her laughing. the shining water. there is she. muttering sea-edge. saying: ‘But you’ll come in?’ ‘In a minute. fretting. breathless  . which he begrudged her. Again he saw her. Far and wide the beach. She stood waiting. like a bubble of foam represents the sea.

’ It was a knot they could not untie. seeing his dark eyes fixed on her.’ she said. ‘Yes.She.’ she answered. yes. He was silent for some minutes. do you?’ he said. I am so dull.’ he said.’ she said. In the evening he came back to her. hard. laughing. listening to the wind blowing over the hoarse.’ she said.’ ‘Do you feel as if you belonged to him?’ ‘No. took Free eBooks at Planet eBook. dark sea. ‘In the daytime I  Sons and Lovers want to be by myself. ‘The night is free to you. ‘Do you ever want to marry me?’ he asked curiously. Love-making stifles me in the daytime. ‘go with your mother to Sutton. ‘I don’t think I do. It was some minutes before she replied.’ he answered slowly.’ He ran the cold sand through his fingers. feeling guilty under the accusation. so they left it. ‘It always is.’ he said to her. ‘when you and I are together. ‘Why. not in the least of her and her wanting him.’ he answered. I do belong to you. and elemental about his kisses then.’ ‘But it needn’t be always love-making.’ she replied. ‘It seems. as if he could not get a free deep breath. ‘What are you looking at?’ she said. Her eyes met his.’ ‘Why?’ ‘I don’t know. She sat with her head bent. ‘You. She felt his desire to be free of her. ‘Do you me?’ she replied.’ She sat feeling very bitter. ‘No.’ She stood and looked at him. ‘But you don’t really want a divorce from Baxter. She made him feel imprisoned when she was there. I should like us to have children. 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.’ ‘What. ‘because you don’t want to be divorced. then sat for a while in the shelter of the sandhills. fingering the sand. then?’ ‘I think he belongs to me. There was something detached. as if there were something on top of him. ‘Yes. when we are on this short holiday?’ ‘I don’t know. and in a moment he was kissing her white ‘goose-fleshed’ shoulder.’ he replied. They walked down the shore in the darkness. Later in the day he went out sketching. and thinking: ‘What is she? What is she?’ She loved him in the morning. broke off from her drying with a laugh.’ he  . but he preferred to be alone. He knew she wanted to come with him. as if he were only conscious of his own will. ‘And you never really intended to belong to ME?’ he said.’ ‘But why?’ she said. I don’t think so. ‘No. as they stared over the darkness of the sea. very deliberately. even now. ‘You.

’ So there went on a battle between them. I don’t hold her. though they laughed. Some part. It’s sick0 Sons and Lovers ening!’ ‘And would YOU let a WOMAN do as she likes?’ ‘Yes. eased her of her self-mistrust. It was almost as if she had gained HERSELF. ‘I suppose you thought he was a lily of the valley. Her passion for the young man had filled her soul. They would separate in the end. ‘I’m thinking what tune I shall whistle. she had no hold over. I’ll see that she likes to love me.’ he laughed. and don’t know so much about other people’s. ‘I should be the marvel I am. of course.’ ‘If you were as wonderful as you say—-.’ he laughed. You made up your mind he was a lily of the valley and it was no good his being a cow-parsnip. and stood now distinct and complete. But at any rate. And the same could almost be said of him. and tended him according. and the rest of her life would be an ache after him. nor his to her. She did not love Dawes. each through the other. You wouldn’t have it. and no matter if he’s starving. she considered him in earnest.’ ‘And what are you doing?’ she asked. not of prison.’ ‘You imagined him something he wasn’t. And he knew in some way that she held herself still as Mrs. but she never believed that her life belonged to Paul Morel. She knew she never fully had him. If she doesn’t—well. ‘Love’s a dog in a manger. ‘And which of us is the dog?’ she asked. as his mother would: ‘You consider your own affairs. never had loved him.’ ‘I certainly never imagined him a lily of the valley. but love should give a sense of freedom.’ he said another time.’ replied 1 . ‘I hope so. she was inwardly assured. given her a certain satisfaction. and so you put him in an appropriate pot. you. and what they could not attain they ignored. nor did she ever try to get it. big and vital in him. and nowhere else. ‘Oh well. ‘You think I want to give you what’s good for you?’ she asked. Dawes. but she believed he loved her. He half-expected Clara to answer him. her doubt.what they could get. Whatever else she was. she knew now. Miriam made me feel tied up like a donkey to a stake. She thinks she knows what’s good for a man. I must feed on her patch. she was sure of herself. almost to his own surprise. and she’s going to see he gets it. at least depended on her. And instead of boxing his ears.’ he said. ‘I consider you treated Baxter rottenly.’ But she took him seriously. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. he may sit and whistle for what he needs. She felt a certain surety about him that she never felt with Paul Morel. That’s just what a woman is. ‘Why?’ she said. Together they had received the baptism of life. or even to realise what it was. There was a silence in which they hated each other. while she’s got him. and is giving him what’s good for him. She had received her confirmation.

’ said Paul. ‘His true commonness comes out. They would have to part sooner or later.’ she answered. and yet I’m in London arguing with an imaginary Orpen. Then he suddenly turned to Clara with a laugh. Morel knew something about the bearing of the man approaching. ‘It was Baxter. and put his hand on her shoulder. and angry. almost touching Morel. ‘No. ‘He wouldn’t let me. But the note of pity in his voice reproached her. but his cap was still defiantly over one eye. laughing: ‘But we walk side by side.’ she said.’ she replied. The young man glanced. ‘about the cruelty of women. ‘Did you know Baxter as well as you know me?’ he asked. and helpless.’ she said bitterly—‘about ME!’ ‘No more than Baxter knew?’ he asked. because it hurt her. ‘But you know ME pretty well. still he would have to leave her.’ she said. Even if they married. saw the dark brown eyes burning. They simply don’t know that the woman exists. and made her feel hard. and were faithful to each other. ‘Do you hate him?’ he asked. though they had been through such experience together.but now their missions were separate. ‘He looks shady. they met Dawes. but he was absorbed in his thinking at the moment. and his face lifted.’ he said. so that only his artist’s eye watched the form of the stranger. ‘And I have let you know me?’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Where he wanted to go she could not come with him. She did not answer. Paul took his hand from her shoulder and glanced round. Dawes still walked erect. Each wanted a mate to go side by side with. with his fine shoulders flung back. And his hands seemed to be  Sons and Lovers wanting to hide. then he saw again distinctly the man’s form as it approached him.’ ‘Don’t I?’ he  . There she walked unknown to him. He wore old clothes. the trousers were torn at the knee. and she would only have to attend to him when he came home. One evening. ‘Don’t I know you exist?’ ‘About ME you know nothing. as Paul and she were walking along Woodborough Road. and the handkerchief tied round his throat was dirty. As she saw him. But it was not possible.’ she answered. and where are you?’ At that instant Dawes passed. There was a tiredness and despair on his face that made her hate him. Clara felt guilty.’ He felt puzzled. go on alone. full of hate and yet tired. ‘Perhaps not as much. glancing suspiciously to see what they thought of him. I wish you knew the cruelty of men in their brute force. ‘You talk. ‘Who was that?’ he asked of Clara. Clara had gone to live with her mother upon Mapperley Plains. saying. 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.

They won’t let you get really near to them. and sometimes you have carried me away—right away—I know—and—I reverence you for it— but—-‘ ‘Don’t ‘but’ me.’ ‘Yes.’ she said. everything borne along in one flood. ‘It’s something.’ she said. then I DID feel as if I had all of him. she startled him by asking: ‘Do you think it’s worth it—the—the sex part?’ ‘The act of loving. ‘I just go like a leaf down the wind. but you’ve never given me yourself. He became. Did he leave Clara out of count. He was angry with her for prefering Baxter to him.’ he said. ‘And it was better?’ he asked. ‘I  . He was silent. perhaps. One evening.’ he said. yes.’ He walked on pondering. ‘but you’ve never come near to me. I don’t say you haven’t given me more than he ever gave me.’ she said. and was silent. were lost. itself?’ ‘Yes. It was true as he said. ‘And haven’t I let you?’ ‘Yes.’ she continued slowly. Baxter could do that better than you. noiselessly. as if all of you weren’t there. She submitted. You can’t come out of yourself. even there. As a rule. A flash of hate for her came up. But he believed her too implicitly. thought also went.’ she said.’ ‘Not for me. the little sensations. It has been fine. or is it IT?’  Sons and Lovers He again felt guilty. she was dissatisfied with him.’ But he felt she had a grudge against him. then?’ ‘Something just for yourself. soul. I can only see where he was different from you. as a fire ran through him. But is it ME you want. kissing her quickly.’ ‘Or could give you. ‘It’s the culmination of everything. but a great Free eBooks at Planet eBook. like the Trent carries bodily its back-swirls and intertwinings.‘It’s what men WON’T let you do. is it worth anything to you?’ ‘But how can you separate it?’ he said. ‘No. not a man with a mind. it was more whole. as they were coming home over the fields.’ He knitted his brows angrily. Gradually the little criticisms. and as if it weren’t ME you were taking—-‘ ‘Who.’ ‘And leave me out of count. ‘Yes. ‘You begin to value Baxter now you’ve not got him. ‘And then is it nothing to you?’ he asked. where he thought they fulfilled each other. ‘If I start to make love to you. ‘When I had Baxter. ‘as if I hadn’t got you.’ she answered slowly. After all. blood—in a great sweep. you can’t. the emotion was strong enough to carry with it everything—reason. and take simply women? But he thought that was splitting a hair. when he started lovemaking. almost rigid with chagrin. so that I daren’t think of it.’ he said. All our intimacy culminates then. actually had him.

and not so satisfactorily. Gradually they began to introduce novelties. Some creature stirred under the willows of the farm pond. knowing THAT evening had only made a little split between them. his body. And afterwards each of them was rather ashamed. He and they struck with the same pulse of fire. and the same joy of strength which held the bracken-frond stiff near his eyes held his own body firm. or they loved sometimes in a little hollow below the fence of the path where people were pass Sons and Lovers ing occasionally. along with him. subject to no will of his. so she trusted altogether to the passion. almost felt the vibration of the tread. although the spring was so far advanced. and they heard what the passersby said—strange little things that were never intended to be heard. He left her. This wonderful stillness in each thing in itself. like wild beasts glaring curiously with yellow eyes down into the  . not what they had wanted. seemed the highest point of bliss. they had them separately. not noticing. however. glaring on the clouds at the back of him. and the dark herbage. The town ceases almost abruptly on the edge of a steep hollow.instinct. without the marvellous glamour. And Clara knew this held him to her. ‘Paul Morel?’ said the man. Paul glanced round. Their loving grew more mechanical. which tore onwards and upwards. ‘Good-evening!’ he said. and these things caused a distance between the two of them. there the houses with their yellow lights stand up against the darkness. Just as he was. living. and it gave a little thrill. when they had splendid moments. and the stars. and Clara were licked up in an immense tongue of flame. so that the black water ran not far from his face. everything was still. as if she had merited it! One night he left her to go to Daybrook Station over the fields. often they realised it had been a failure. His hands were like creatures. Gradually. some mechanical effort spoilt their loving. Morel had not much time. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. failed her very often. almost dangerously near to the river. Then he knew it was Dawes. The man stopped his way. were all life and consciousness. It was the town that seemed savage and uncouth. he plunged forward. ‘Good-evening!’ Morel answered. He began to despise her a little. It was too dark to distinguish anything. perfect in itself. wintry stars were strong also with life. with an attempt at snow. They would be very near. on the edge of the town. Behind. to get back some of the feeling of satisfaction. while it was being borne along in a very ecstasy of living. The man moved aside. Under the orchard one warm window shone in Swineshead Farm. Everything rushed along in living beside him. It was very dark. He went over the stile. his limbs. They did not often reach again the height of that once when the peewits had called. It. black against the sky. have I?’ he said awkwardly. So often he seemed merely to be running on alone. It was as if he. and they heard footsteps coming. ‘I’ve got yer. He was close up to the next stile before he saw a dark shape leaning against it. or. so it seemed the vigorous. and dropped quickly into the hollow of the fields. the houses stood on the brim of the dip. but living in themselves.

and he was flung away. the struggles of the other. silent. torn out of the scarf in which they were knotted. then came a kick on the knee. unchanging. he was all  . as he realised what he was doing. not a muscle in him relaxed. like a flash he got a blow in over the other’s mouth. Dawes’s struggles suddenly renewed themselves in a furious spasm.’ answered Dawes. Pure instinct brought his hands to the man’s neck. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. He was quite unconscious. Suddenly.’ he said. like a screw that is gradually increasing in pressure. The latter swore savagely. the other man stepped in front of him. The young man’s mouth was bleeding. like a wild beast’s. Dawes had been yielding. giving him such agony that he got up and. in frenzy and agony. Dawes advanced slowly.‘I shall miss my train. he could see particularly the shirt-breast. He felt his whole body unsheath itself like a claw. and flung the garments over Dawes. full of wonder and misgiving. so he would use his wits. he had neither feeling nor reason. Paul went down with him. but they did not hurt.’ said Paul. was now alert and furious. he was staggering backwards from a blow across the face. feeling the struggles of the other body become wilder and more frenzied. his body adjusting itself to its one pure purpose of choking the other man. till at last Dawes fell with a crash. could wrench him free. He shivered with pleasure. He hung on to the bigger man like a wild cat. ‘But.’ ‘All right.’ he said. he had got his fists twisted in the scarf and his knuckles dug in the throat of the other man. Morel felt his body flame with pain. quite blind. ‘I don’t know how to fight. he moved round to get to the stile again. ‘Are yer goin’ to take that top-coat off. and before the younger man knew where he was. from out of nowhere. Paul was afraid.’ said Dawes. that sent him falling helpless back Sons and Lovers wards. He could see nothing of Dawes’s face. It was the other man’s mouth he was dying to get at. then came rushing forward. came a great blow against his ear. He was a pure instinct. dodging a blow. with exactly the right amount of strength. then. He stepped quickly through the stile. and before Dawes. ‘You’re going to get it from me now. only his body had taken upon itself to kill this other man. ‘or are you goin’ to lie down to it?’ Paul was afraid the man was mad. in his shirt-sleeves. Paul’s hands were wrenched. He lay pressed hard against his adversary. Morel attempted to move forward. He heard Dawes’s heavy panting. gradually pressing its knuckles deeper. hard and wonderful in itself. His body. The man’s teeth seemed to chatter as he talked. resisting exactly at the right moment. till something breaks. Dawes stumbled over Paul’s coats. He could not fight. without reason or feeling. Morel. The whole night went black. He felt blows and kicks. For himself. He tore off his overcoat and coat. spitting. leapt clean under his enemy’s guard. cleaved against the struggling body of the other man. and as Dawes was coming through after him. intent. and the desire was anguish in its strength. Then suddenly he relaxed. The other man became more distinct to him. Tighter and tighter grew his body. losing his presence of mind.

He wanted to get to his mother—he must get to his mother—that was his blind intention. mother. mother. ‘I will. so. Walking blindly. quite still. In the morning he found his mother looking at him. ‘I said I was going to get up. He crawled back up the hill to the tram. but helped to bring him back to himself. Pain made him sick and dazed. The knock seemed to re-echo inside him. Her blue eyes—they were all he wanted to see. and went to bed. He lay still. Presently Minnie. and dimly in his consciousness as he went. he felt on his foot the place where his boot had knocked against one of the lad’s bones. It seemed to him people were approaching.’ he said.’ ‘Tell me where it hurts you.’ She covered him up. almost like a dead man’s face.’ he said. He did not know whether his face was still bleeding. buttoning his overcoat up to his ears. It was pleasant to lie quite. ‘Why don’t I?’ And still it was some time before he had sufficiently pulled himself together to 1 . He heard the horrid sound of the other’s gasping. came upstairs with some tea.helpless. ‘It’s not much. It was the bits of snow that kept rousing him when he did not want to be roused.’ he repeated. ‘And now I should have done with them all.’ she said quietly. grunting with pain like a beast. and he felt himself dropping with a sickening feeling into space. and lost consciousness. At last his will clicked into action. mother. but he lay stunned. every step making him sick with 0 Sons and Lovers pain. Continually the ground seemed to fall away from him as he walked. Suddenly the whistle of the train shrieked two fields away.’ But still he did not move. he felt the blows of the other’s feet. He made off across the field into Nottingham. ‘it’s silly. then. he told her about it. he groped for his coats and got them on. He looked at himself. His mother nursed him. but his brain was clear. The time passed. The night went by in delirium. the little servant. and struggled sickly along. ‘It was Baxter Dawes. like a nightmare. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. he got through with the journey home.’ she said quietly. Reeling. He turned round and glared suspiciously. The icy water hurt. Everybody was in bed. but he did not want to move.’ she said. was kicking the prostrate body of his rival. His face was discoloured and smeared with blood. What was coming? He saw the lights of the train draw across his vision. still dazed. he went back to the pond and washed his face and hands. She was there. with tiny bits of snow tickling his face. Morel gradually came to himself. He knew where he was and what had happened. ‘Your mother’s nearly frightened me out of my wits— fainted away. he hurried to get away from it. then gradually he got up. ‘I don’t know—my shoulder. ‘I mustn’t lie here.’ He could not move his arm. It was some time before he found his cap. he was in her hands. Say it was a bicycle accident. He covered his face as much as he could. He washed it. Dawes. He felt he could not bear it.

mother. no Miriam. but they were jolly letters that made her laugh. as it were. He said her heart and her digestion were wrong. Mrs. and stay also in Sheffield till the holiday was up. though she did not want to. but now she would do everything her son wished of her.’ she replied sadly. Four days were clear—not an anxiety. The two young men simply enjoyed themselves. She consented to go to Sheffield. ‘I’m afraid you don’t. Her eyes seemed to grow darker. Paul was very gay. but there seemed. my son. I don’t care about them. And underneath it all was a shadow for her.’ Mrs. then away into space. and very thin. Clara did not know what was the matter with him. Even when he came to her he seemed unaware of her. jolly fellow. She would sit and look at him. He was not aware of it. but now there was a constant sickness and gnawing at his heart. and was driven to her in spite of himself. Clara came to see him. He went to Clara. Once at the station. He was terrified of something. It tortured her. no mother that fretted him. and the second day acute bronchitis set in.’ she said—‘only try to go to sleep. His mother was pale as death now. Afterwards he said to his mother: ‘She makes me tired. but she seemed almost like a stranger to him. Morel replied. There was some secret between them which they could not bear. Another day Miriam came. The doctor won’t be here till eleven. and long letters to his mother. ‘You know. It was agreed. he dared not look at her. He wrote to them all.’ ‘Yes. as young fellows will in a place like Blackpool. He went mostly into the company of men. with a touch of the bounder about him. who lived there. None of himself remained—no Clara.’ he said. The latter was a big. She felt she was clutching for him. distant. he forgot everything. For a month at a time she kept him at arm’s length. her face more waxen. Paul said he would come for her on the fifth day. as if it were going to smash into pieces. shadowy. At Whitsuntide he said he would go to Blackpool for four days with his friend Newton. He almost  Sons and Lovers hated her. He only knew that his life seemed unbalanced. He and his mother seemed almost to avoid each other. and he was somewhere else. still she dragged about at her work. Mrs. There was something between them that neither dared mention. Perhaps the change would do her good. Soon he was able to go to work again. and so she tortured him. quiet.’ He had a dislocated shoulder. Paul said his mother must go to Sheffield to stay a week with Annie. He could not work. Newton was to spend the day with Free eBooks at Planet eBook. It was given out everywhere that it was a bicycle accident. mother. Morel was quite lively as Paul kissed her and left  . His mother was ill. always he was somewhere else. excited at the thought of staying with his mother in Sheffield. nobody there. I wish she wouldn’t come. Paul was like another man. not a thought. She realised that he seemed unaware of her. Morel was attending a woman’s doctor in Nottingham. was always at the George or the White Horse.‘And don’t think about it. The two young men set off gaily for Blackpool. He was having a good time.  . ‘The train was late. It’s been there—the lump has—a long time. but he dared not lift his face out of the bedclothes. But all the while his blood and his body knew definitely what it was.’ And then the queer feeling went over him. but it was Annie who opened to him. Hesitating.’ With a wrench he looked up at her. and saying: ‘Mother—mother—mother!’ She stroked his hair slowly with her thin hand. muffled in the sheet. with their pipes between their teeth. She averted her eyes as she answered: ‘Only a bit of a tumour. my boy. laughing. ‘Don’t cry—it’s nothing. ‘Is my mother ill?’ he said.’ he replied. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘Don’t cry. But he only fell on his knees at the bedside.’ But he felt as if his blood was melting into tears. as if all the sunshine had gone out of him. Don’t upset her. He sat down on the bed. Suddenly he stopped. Their train was late. ‘I thought you were never coming. He stood a second in dismay. ‘Don’t—don’t cry. She put her hand on her side.’ Up came the tears again. crying in agony. He expected his mother laughing in the hall. ‘What is it. mother?’ he asked brutally. and had a little maid. pleading to him. wearing a dressing-gown of old-rose colour. he reassured himself it was so. Shocked out of himself.’ He stood feeling dazed and helpless. the young men swung their bags on to the tram-car. and the tears hurt in every fibre of his body. She seemed distant to him. but his body was crying. and they’ve kept dinner waiting. He saw the ashy look about her. Yes. Annie let him kiss her cheek. His mother sat up in bed. and buried his face in the bedclothes. she’s not very well.’ his mother faltered. that miserable Central! Is Newton come?’ ‘Yes. humble. Where have you been?’ his mother asked. Paul had bought his mother a little collar of real lace that he wanted to see her wear.’ ‘Is she in bed?’ ‘Yes. Slowly she stroked his hair. ‘Mother!’ he said. Paul ran gaily up the steps. But you know they can sweal a tumour away. ‘Yes. he opened the door. and took her hand. You needn’t trouble. Annie lived in a nice house. and he  Sons and Lovers cried in terror and pain. ‘Yes. He dropped the bag and ran upstairs. He thought perhaps it was as she said. so that he could tease her about it. She had never had but the one ring—her wedding-ring.’ ‘I’m sure you must be hungry. His mind was clear and hard. She looked at him almost as if she were ashamed of herself. Joking. and it was all shadow. like a child. ‘You ARE late. ‘Where?’ he said. ‘Here.’ she answered gaily.’ she said. he cried.

’ ‘Have you had yours?’ ‘Yes. then he went downstairs. ‘Why did Dr.’ ‘Can’t you operate?’ asked Paul. and nobody looking after her. whenever did that come?’ ‘Why. He was very white and strained. ‘It may be a large tumour which has formed in the membrane. and he’s treated her for heart and indigestion.’ she answered submissively.’ said Annie. Jameson about the lump. Jameson in Nottingham never find out anything about it? She’s been going to him for weeks. it’s a lump as big as my double fist. Morel never told Dr.’ They talked a little while. but not more than I’ve often had at home. I believe Dr. a beautiful sole I had. ‘If I’d have been at home. They were silent for a while.’ he said. lovable man. Ansell is an alarmist. and when she’d got to bed she said to me: ‘Annie.’ she said. After dinner he went into the scullery to help Annie to wash up. I did. I said: ‘Good gracious. then knitted his fingers.’ The tears came to his eyes.‘When were you poorly?’ he asked. ‘I should have seen for myself. Ansell. as true as I’m here. ‘You MUST be hungry.’ ‘Mrs. The little maid had gone on an errand. then dried suddenly. ‘Now go and have your dinner. our Paul. to himself more than to her. Newton sat in miserable sympathy. The latter was a shrewd.’ I thought I should  Sons and Lovers have died. ‘But what is it?’ he said.’ He felt like a man walking in  .’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘Not there.’ said the doctor. ‘and which we MAY be able to make go away. ‘it’s been there a long time. ‘The pain she had yesterday—I never saw anybody suffer like it!’ she cried. Annie IS good to me. In the afternoon he went to see the doctor.’ he said slowly. ‘Leonard ran like a madman for Dr. The doctor looked at the young man. mother. look at this lump on my side.’ she said. ‘It was yesterday it began. ‘But she’s been attending the doctor in Nottingham— and she never told me. ‘Are you sure it’s a tumour?’ he asked. ‘As if that had anything to do with it!’ she answered quickly. I wonder what it is?’ And there I looked. ‘Are you sure?’ ‘QUITE!’ Paul meditated a while. Paul. ‘And do you KNOW it’s a tumour?’ ‘No. and I thought I should have dropped. ‘Is it really a tumour?’ he asked.’ replied the doctor. child. She’s been having these pains for months at home.’ he said.’ ‘You ought not to have travelled alone. Annie began to cry again. I am not sure. ‘Pains?’ ‘Yes.

They looked into each other’s eyes. he went to see Dr. ‘But. Soon she was able to swallow a teaspoonful. ‘Are you all right?’ she murmured timidly to her mother. The tears ran down his face without ceasing. At the top of the stairs she was gone. He was kneeling beside the couch. with blue lips shut tight. Jameson in Nottingham. unfailing eyes— and she looked at him pleadingly. biting his lip. His heart seemed to be ripping slowly in his breast. Morel. After a while she was better again. He kneeled there. His mother had been used to go to the public consultation on Saturday morning. to arrange for a consultation. Her face looked as if she were dead. ‘But you look quite pretty in that. But he could borrow. laid her on the couch. The waiting-room was full of poor women. She was curious. Her son went on the same day. The tears continued to run down his face.’ ‘You must arrange about that. Might it be cancer?’ ‘I don’t know. ‘I don’t want you to make a trouble of it. She wore the oldrose dressing-gown that Leonard had given Annie.’ she panted. Jameson.’ he said.’ said Mrs. but her mouth would not open. in Free eBooks at Planet  . ‘No. 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. who sat patiently on a bench around the wall. and then you’ll get better soon.’ ‘Then have one. ‘Of course. Paul had practically no money in the world. He held brandy to her lips. You’ll have to be quite still. and their eyes as they looked at each other understood. Paul thought of his mother. mother. but not a muscle moved. when she could see the doctor for only a nominal sum. Paul sat down and told her about Blackpool. His mother could come downstairs for tea. the doctor said. He was intent on getting a little brandy between  Sons and Lovers her lips.’ ‘When would you like him to come?’ ‘I will call in this evening. almost wanting him to forgive her. A day or two after. His fee wouldn’t be less than ten guineas to come here from Nottingham. with a little colour in her face. Paul helped her. Then Annie came in. She was only sorry for him. and we will talk it over. and. ‘it’ll go off. and neither said anything. Don’t cry!’ ‘I’m not doing.’ he said. with Dr.’ Paul went away. was quite young again. holding her hand. Her eyes opened—her blue. But when she stood up to walk.’ she said.’ ‘And what shall you do?’ ‘I should like an examination. ‘Yes. He lifted her up and carried her quickly downstairs.’ But he was white to the lips.‘What else MIGHT it be? You asked my sister if there was cancer in the family. they make me so fine. I hardly know myself. so tired. She lay back. All the time she watched him lovingly. Her son went upstairs to help her.’ she answered. the colour went. half-carrying her. She was light and frail.

’ said Paul. and the doctor looked up the case in his book.’ replied Paul.’ said the nurse. and shook hands.’ said Morel. ‘Thank you!’ he said. good-looking. ‘the Western Park tram.’ The father was afraid of the mention of his wife. ‘He is a coal-miner. Then Paul went on home to see his father. ‘I hope we s’ll soon be havin’ her whoam. The two went indoors.’ The doctor made a note of it. An’ what’s that Nottingham doctor say?’ ‘He’s going to-morrow to have an examination of her.’ ‘And will there be any way of getting up to the house? Shall I have to walk?’ The doctor smiled. He was very friendly. sitting waiting likewise. ‘But Dr. his father. an’ how is she?’ asked the miner at length. The doctor was late. It was arranged so. she can be carried down for tea. The doctor did not remember. who was left in the charge of 1 . ‘What is your father?’ he asked. in a little voice. drawing the letter from his pocket.. He shook hands with his father.’ said Paul. ‘Number forty-six M. ‘Come thy ways in.’ ‘Are ter.’ The doctor smiled at him. then?’ said the father. ‘There is the tram. with earthy hands. He would come to Sheffield the next day. His wife had died. At last the doctor came. then. The women sitting patiently round the walls of the room eyed the young man curiously. Paul asked the nurse in attendance if he could see the doctor immediately he came. ‘Hello. had specialised on women’s ailments. ‘There is a big lump that may be a tumour. Ansell was going to write you a letter. flushing and rising. He had written him a letter. ‘And you?’ smiled the doctor. busy. The women all looked rather frightened.’ replied the son. ‘That’s a blessin’!’ exclaimed Morel. sat in the arm-chair opposite and looked at him. He was about forty. ‘Eight guineas?’ ‘Thank you!’ said Paul. ‘Not very well off. son! Tha has landed. and smiling with his eyes. ‘But I’m going back to-night. putting the tips of his fingers together. ‘I am a clerk in Jordan’s Appliance Factory. ‘And you’ll come to-morrow?’ ‘To-morrow—Sunday? Yes! Can you tell me about what 0 Sons and Lovers time there is a train in the afternoon?’ ‘There is a Central gets in at four-fifteen. ‘Well. I suppose?’ ‘This—I see after this. yes!’ replied the doctor. Paul told his name and his mother’s. and he. ‘She can sit up. beguy!’ exclaimed the collier. Paul ate in silence. brown-skinned. kind. Walter Morel was getting very grey now. who had loved her.’ ‘Ah. affable. ‘An’ has ter eaten owt?’ ‘No. ‘Er—to go to Sheffield!’ he said. ‘Yes. and sleeves rolled up.’ said Paul.her little black costume.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Paul found him digging in the garden.’ said Paul.’ ‘That’s just like thee.

for he could scarcely do more than write his own name.’ said Dr. ‘I hope she’ll be a-whoam by that time. Annie. I’ll write plain. There was silence between them for some time. except when he had deceived himself.’ said Paul. I’m thinkin’!’ ‘Eight guineas. we must wait and see. ‘I’m sorry Mrs. her heart wouldn’t stand it.’ Paul said.’ said Paul. Jameson. ‘It MAY be a tumour.‘Is he beguy! That’s a tidy penny.’ answered Morel.’ said Annie.’ said Paul.’ said the doctor. forlorn. Morel sighed deeply. 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. and Paul thought his father looked lost. bless ‘er heart!’ He sat looking dismal. But when he was on the stairs. we mun find it from somewhere.’ And the doctor was gone.’ he said. an’ I wish as she was.’ Paul said. ‘If she’s not. He felt he could not carry her. The doctor counted them. no! Just take care. ‘Well. ‘And if it is. father.’ ‘Is her heart risky?’ asked Paul. ‘and even if there could. and put that down. ‘No.’ ‘Very risky?’ ‘No—er—no. like a child.’ ‘Eight guineas!’ the miner spoke breathlessly. she put her arms round his neck. I’m all right. Arthur. ‘Yes. you must be careful with her. ‘Thank you!’ he said. She lay simply. ‘then you must come. The doctors came down.’ he said. ‘She says she hopes you’re getting on all right with Minnie. The doctor shook his head. ‘I s’ll have to be going at half-past three. Paul put eight sovereigns and half a sovereign on the table. ‘I’m so frightened of these beastly stairs. ‘Well. Leonard felt it his duty to meet him  Sons and Lovers with a cab. and old.’ ‘I can pay that. clinging. Paul glanced at them. The doctor came.’ ‘I dunno wheer I s’ll find th’ money. The house seemed strangely empty. too. He had never had any hope. took a florin out of his purse.’ said Morel. But we must see what we can do. ‘It’s a trapse for thee.’ It was no good asking Morel to answer.’ said Paul.’ said Morel. and Leonard were waiting in the parlour anxiously. ‘And I’ll write to you what the doctor says. He would let Leonard do it another time.’ ‘There can’t be an operation?’ said Paul. Paul.’ she said. The examination did not take long. I canna ma’e it out. ‘can you sweal it away?’ ‘Probably. ‘  . Morel is so ill. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘You’ll have to go and see her next week. Then Paul carried his mother downstairs. ‘But tha writes i’ such a fashion. And he was frightened. ‘But Minnie’s a good little wench.’ said Morel.

’ she said.’ He kissed her.’ ‘I KNEW he could. When she felt it coming. very low. In the afternoon he went a walk with Clara. He had to keep his mind occupied. Still he sat a few minutes.’ ‘No.’ he answered.‘He thinks it’s only a tumour!’ cried Annie to her mother. He let go. my darling!’ And she pressed him to her breast. ‘try and forget it. rocked him.’ she replied. He took her hand. So he put the trouble aside for her sake. It was very early in the morning. ‘I’m going. He looked again.’ he said. ‘I do. In the early sunny morning he ran to the station. if he does you’ll have to let him. All the time. Morel scornfully. my son. crying all the way. to take it up again immediately he was alone. after a while: ‘And I shall come next Saturday. and it drifted into the chimney. ‘You won’t fret. soothed him like a child. warm for him. Paul! Don’t think of it. ‘she’ll never be better. And it was always so.’ ‘You promise me?’ ‘Yes. They sat in the little wood where bluebells were standing. He was just as much alone whether he was with Clara or with the men in the White Horse. mother. ‘Try and forget it. And take care of yourself. my boy!’ she said. She pretended not to notice that Paul had gone out of the room. His mind and hands were busy. tenderly. he cried mechanically. It was comforting. And Clara was a way of occupying his mind. He sat in the kitchen. stroking the brown and grey hair from her temples. Then he tried to brush some grey ash off his coat. and stroked the hair from her temples. held her in his arms for a moment. dear. ‘And he can sweal it away. Then. Her breast was there. as he went about.’ protested Mrs.’ ‘Oh. and they were alone. He only talked to Clara of something  . On the Saturday Walter Morel went to Sheffield. It was so long! He held it up. And her blue eyes were wide and staring as she thought of him. ‘Shan’t you be late?’ she murmured. ‘And you won’t be any worse. you don’t know!’ replied the other. But he did not forget. and  Sons and Lovers was gone. Just himself and this pressure inside him. ‘No. gently. and shall bring my father?’ ‘I suppose he wants to come. and he held his arms round her. The next day he kissed her before going back to work.’ he answered. mother?’ ‘No. he did not know what for. The long grey hair floated and was gone in the blackness of the chimney. her hands were in his hair. He cried.’ ‘I will. it would be silly.’ ‘Yes. It was his blood weeping. he did not know why. He read sometimes. He was Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ he said. as if she were a lover. ‘At any rate. I won’t be any worse.’ he said to Clara. ‘You’ll see. smoking.’ He kissed her again. she cried to him: ‘Don’t think of it. the agony. It was one of his mother’s grey hairs. that was all that existed. She caught him impulsively to her breast.

timid fashion.’ ‘Does she have your dinner ready?’ asked Mrs. ‘And you MUST shout at her if she’s not ready. He stood looking down on her. If anything. before whom he was awkward and humble. Everybody was on tiptoe. she looked round the room. and as if nobody owned him.  Sons and Lovers Mrs. I’ve ‘ad to shout at ‘er once or twice. He put up his eyebrows for misery. ‘I saw a lizard dart on that rock!’ Her eyes were so quick. lass?’ he said. he looked. Morel wanted to go home.’ he said.’ she said. So they got a motor-car from Nottingham—for she was too ill to go by train—and she was driven through the sunshine.’ he said. kissing his mother. and had drunk a little brandy. ‘My father’s come. ‘Don’t think I don’t like your house. They all laughed and talked. It was a great event in the street. ‘I see tha art. It was just August. Mrs. deep chair by the hearth where her rocking-chair used to stand. The old collier came rather frightened into the bedroom. at the end she was rather worse. They heard the sound of the great motor-car. feeling so awkward in presence of big trouble. When she was unwrapped and seated. ‘Well. and wanted to run. Morel. and yet must linger because it looked better. smiling. looking rather as if nobody owned him. But she wanted to go home. And they all saw death on her face. Arthur took her as if she were a child. Mathews? How are you. Mrs. I’m middlin’. Then he wiped his eyes with his handkerchief.’ She gave him a few instructions. He sat looking at her as if she were almost a stranger to him. Annie. Half the street turned out. This feeling that he wanted to run away. she was still so full of life. ‘Well. as yer might expect. ‘Er’s a bit behint-hand now and again. as if it were an effort to talk to him. Morel wanted to carry her indoors. ‘Annie. She WILL leave things to the last minute. made his presence so trying.’ he said. ‘but it’s nice to be in my own home again.’ she exclaimed. everything was bright and warm. ‘Has he?’ she answered wearily. Mrs. ‘Yis. Mrs. and also as if he had lost his presence of mind. He had the front door open. they said.’ he answered. She stayed in Sheffield for two months. drove home down the street. They had set her a big. and clenched his fists on his  . rather wearily. but they saw her smile and nod. Under the blue sky they could all see she was dying. Paul ran upstairs. Annie had her children. Helpless. that he was on thorns to be gone from so trying a situation. Morel. ‘How dun I find thee. How do you do. ‘And just look at them all come out to see me!’ she said. Harrison?’ They none of them could hear.’ And Morel answered huskily: Free eBooks at Planet eBook. I suppose I should have done the same. going forward and kissing her in a hasty.’ she replied. Morel knew she was coming. ‘But there. Yet she was jollier than she had been for weeks. but he was too old.a forlorn figure. Morel did not change much. ‘Have you gone on all right?’ asked the wife.

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

name.’ continued Paul. dark eyes. led him down the ward. ‘Only two old men and a boy who always cries. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. mistrust. day in. and misery.’ said the nurse. as if you were a policeman. It is hard lines! Here am I dying to hear Jim Crow’s voice. they had met in a naked extremity of hate. ‘Dr. He seemed to grudge every beat of his heart. more than ever since they had fought.’ replied the doctor. he was lying sulking. who was suffering and despairing. ‘I suppose I am a godsend. ‘Oh yes! He lies and imagines he’s going to die. Ansell told me you were here.’ ‘Do you think I might go?’ asked Paul. Ansell’s card. Presently she left the two men alone. too.’ ‘He is getting on all right?’ said Paul to her. The two men were afraid of the naked selves they had been. ‘Oh. Dawes turned over suddenly with a startled grunt. ‘You might. day out. ‘Say ‘Caw!‘ mocked the nurse. ‘A visitor to see you. bad or indifferent. and it was a bond.’ laughed Morel. ‘and it frightens every word out of his mouth. startled eyes be0 Sons and Lovers yond the sister at Paul. In a way Morel felt guilty towards the other. and would not move forward towards convalescence. And being in such a state of soul himself.’ ‘And you MUST have somebody to talk to. holding out his hand. the elemental man in each had met. it’s Paul Morel. hate. ‘He wouldn’t say anything—good. Jim Crow.’ Then I told him about your saying you would go and see him. ‘He can only say ‘Caw!’ I have brought you a gentleman to see you.’ and show some manners. ‘Say ‘Caw!’ Jim Crow. Can’t get a word of information out of him. and nothing but an odd ‘Caw!’ will he give!’ ‘So rough on you!’ said Morel. he felt an almost painful nearness to Dawes. This sister. He went down to the isolation hospital. ‘Why not?’ ‘That’s what I want to know. ‘That’s it!’ laughed the nurse.’ Dawes looked swiftly with his dark.’ she said.’ he laughed. Now say ‘Thank you. There he lies and sulks. dropped straight from heaven!’ laughed the nurse. but life seemed low in him. and hesitated. At any rate. ‘So I thought I’d come in. a healthy young Irishwoman. and handsome again. Besides. with Dr. ‘Eh?’ ‘Caw!’ she mocked. As the doctor said. ‘Isn’t it?’ said the nurse. and more or less responsible. Dawes mechanically shook hands. There was no 1 . Morel met the swift. ‘What does he want?’ he said. Dawes lay staring at the opposite wall. Dawes was thinner.’ ‘And did he say he would see me?’ asked Paul. His look was full of fear.’ said Morel.’ There was a feeling of connection between the rival men.

’ Dawes lay thinking.’ The other did not answer. ‘It’s not big enough. ‘Well. Ansell said you didn’t know anybody here. ‘You’re a fool if you do. Paul felt his heart go hard and angry.’ he said. ‘What’s a-matter with her?’ asked Dawes. he’d lend it you. then.‘Have you had a bad time?’ asked Paul. an’ he liked it.’ Morel persisted.’ There was another silence.’ Morel answered.’  Sons and Lovers Dawes lay thinking.’ Dawes replied.’ There was another silence. Paul was sorry for him because his eyes looked so tired. and swim!’ Dawes glanced at him quickly.’ he said  . ‘I couldn’t say for sure. ‘My father’s been in the one at Seathorpe. Suddenly Dawes said: ‘What did you come for?’ ‘Because Dr.’ said Paul. It was evident he dared not face the world again. ‘Dr. ‘She’s got a cancer. ‘But we want to get her home.’ said Paul. ‘The seaside would be all right just now.’ Dawes answered grudgingly. ‘Then ask Jack Pilkington. You know him.’ said Dawes. I know. ‘Did you get a job here?’ he asked. ‘We s’ll have to get a motor-car. ‘How long have you been in?’ Morel asked.’ Morel said. The other’s face clouded again. Dr. ‘it’s all right when you know you’re going to walk again.’ said Paul. The other man did not answer. ‘You want to get in a convalescent home. too miserable to bother much. and the waves not far out. ‘Sun on those sandhills.’ said Paul. Suddenly again Dawes looked at him. with a sick man’s interest in illness. ‘it’s because you don’t choose to.’ said Dawes. ‘Typhoid’s pretty bad. ‘By Gad!’ Paul concluded. ‘Why don’t you ask Thomas Jordan to lend you his?’ said Dawes. Ansell told me you were here. ‘We s’ll be taking my mother home as soon as we can. ‘I was only here a day or two before I was taken bad. ‘My mother was taken ill at my sister’s in Thurston Street. But the real misFree eBooks at Planet eBook.’ ‘I think I s’ll hire one. ‘I’m goin’ in no convalescent home. Do you?’ ‘I know nobody nowhere. ‘What are you doing in Sheffield?’ he asked. Dawes blinked his dark eyes as he lay thinking. The sick man was gaunt and handsome again. Ansell would get you a recommend.’ said Paul. He lay staring across at the wall opposite. What are you doing here?’ There was no answer. The man’s dark eyes were afraid to meet any other eyes in the world. as if trying to believe Morel was not there.

’ Clara seemed stricken by the news. Each pursued his own train of thought.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘Is it Baxter that upsets you?’ he asked at length. He did not tell his mother. ‘What’s the matter?’ he said.’ she said. Morel did not answer. ‘He’s getting better.’ said Dawes.’ he said. He’s mending now. ‘I’ve said many a time you haven’t treated him well.’ ‘What did he say to you?’ ‘Oh.’ she said. ‘I’ll try and run in when I’m back in Sheffield. ‘Won’t you be nice with me?’ he asked. The next time they took a walk together. There they sat while the scarlet geraniums and the yellow calceolarias blazed in the sunlight.’ Dawes muttered. She looked at him with startled grey eyes. ‘Is she far gone?’ he asked. ‘Did you know Baxter was in Sheffield Hospital with typhoid?’ he asked. She did not answer. I went to see him yesterday—the doctor told me. Should I tell him to come? He might bring you some papers to look at. She was now always rather  . He left her alone. but this day he asked her to go with him to the Castle grounds. and walked at a distance from him. ‘but cheerful— lively!’ He bit his lip. ‘I HAVE been VILE to him!’ she said. nothing! He seems to be sulking. I’ll be going. ‘No.’ he replied.’ Paul answered. made him shiver. ‘He has been. I’ve treated him badly. and her face  Sons and Lovers went pale.ery and helplessness in Paul’s tone gave him a feeling of relief. ‘Well. She went about shut up and silent. and rather resentful towards him. ‘And now you treat ME badly. but next day he spoke to Clara about this interview. After a minute he rose. putting his arm across her shoulder. The two did not often go out together now. ‘She’s going like wax.’ The other man did not answer. but left the coin on the table.’ ‘I don’t want it. ‘I’ve treated him—no. repressed. And there was a hostility between them. ‘I’ll leave you this halfcrown. He was wanting her comfort badly. It was in the dinner-hour. disengaging herself. ‘He’s all right. and returned to his own brooding. frightened. The strong emotion that Dawes aroused in him.’ he said. Happen you might like to see my brother-in-law? He works in Pyecrofts. He gave her more information. she disengaged herself from his arm. Paul went.’ There was a distance between the two of them. It serves me right.’ ‘I don’t know him. ‘Don’t!’ she said. ‘Well. ‘Is he very bad?’ she asked guiltily.

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

insuperable distance. She was proud now. Morel went to see Dawes once or twice. There was a sort of friendship between the two men, who were all the while deadly rivals. But they never mentioned the woman who was between them. Mrs. Morel got gradually worse. At first they used to carry her downstairs, sometimes even into the garden. She sat propped in her chair, smiling, and so pretty. The gold wedding-ring shone on her white hand; her hair was carefully brushed. And she watched the tangled sunflowers dying, the chrysanthemums coming out, and the dahlias. Paul and she were afraid of each other. He knew, and she knew, that she was dying. But they kept up a pretence of cheerfulness. Every morning, when he got up, he went into her room in his pyjamas. ‘Did you sleep, my dear?’ he asked. ‘Yes,’ she answered. ‘Not very well?’ ‘Well, yes! ‘ Then he knew she had lain awake. He saw her hand under the bedclothes, pressing the place on her side where the pain was. ‘Has it been bad?’ he asked. ‘No. It hurt a bit, but nothing to mention.’ And she sniffed in her old scornful way. As she lay she looked like a girl. And all the while her blue eyes watched him. But there were the dark pain-circles beneath that made him ache again. ‘It’s a sunny day,’ he said.
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‘It’s a beautiful day.’ ‘Do you think you’ll be carried down?’ ‘I shall see.’ Then he went away to get her breakfast. All day long he was conscious of nothing but her. It was a long ache that made him feverish. Then, when he got home in the early evening, he glanced through the kitchen window. She was not there; she had not got up. He ran straight upstairs and kissed her. He was almost afraid to ask: ‘Didn’t you get up, pigeon?’ ‘No,’ she said. ‘it was that morphia; it made me tired.’ ‘I think he gives you too much,’ he said. ‘I think he does,’ she answered. He sat down by the bed, miserably. She had a way of curling and lying on her side, like a child. The grey and brown hair was loose over her ear. ‘Doesn’t it tickle you?’ he said, gently putting it back. ‘It does,’ she replied. His face was near hers. Her blue eyes smiled straight into his, like a girl’s—warm, laughing with tender love. It made him pant with terror, agony, and love. ‘You want your hair doing in a plait,’ he said. ‘Lie still.’ And going behind her, he carefully loosened her hair, brushed it out. It was like fine long silk of brown and grey. Her head was snuggled between her shoulders. As he lightly brushed and plaited her hair, he bit his lip and felt dazed. It all seemed unreal, he could not understand it. At night he often worked in her room, looking up from 
Sons and Lovers

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

ing. He sat staring, quite unconscious. And when he came round again he felt sick, and trembled in his limbs. He never questioned what it was. His mind did not try to analyse or understand. He merely submitted, and kept his eyes shut; let the thing go over him. His mother did the same. She thought of the pain, of the morphia, of the next day; hardly ever of the death. That was coming, she knew. She had to submit to it. But she would never entreat it or make friends with it. Blind, with her face shut hard and blind, she was pushed towards the door. The days passed, the weeks, the months. Sometimes, in the sunny afternoons, she seemed almost happy. ‘I try to think of the nice times—when we went to Mablethorpe, and Robin Hood’s Bay, and Shanklin,’ she said. ‘After all, not everybody has seen those beautiful places. And wasn’t it beautiful! I try to think of that, not of the other things.’ Then, again, for a whole evening she spoke not a word; neither did he. They were together, rigid, stubborn, silent. He went into his room at last to go to bed, and leaned against the doorway as if paralysed, unable to go any farther. His consciousness went. A furious storm, he knew not what, seemed to ravage inside him. He stood leaning there, submitting, never questioning. In the morning they were both normal again, though her face was grey with the morphia, and her body felt like ash. But they were bright again, nevertheless. Often, especially if Annie or Arthur were at home, he neglected her. He did not 
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see much of Clara. Usually he was with men. He was quick and active and lively; but when his friends saw him go white to the gills, his eyes dark and glittering, they had a certain mistrust of him. Sometimes he went to Clara, but she was almost cold to him. ‘Take me!’ he said simply. Occasionally she would. But she was afraid. When he had her then, there was something in it that made her shrink away from him—something unnatural. She grew to dread him. He was so quiet, yet so strange. She was afraid of the man who was not there with her, whom she could feel behind this make-belief lover; somebody sinister, that filled her with horror. She began to have a kind of horror of him. It was almost as if he were a criminal. He wanted her—he had her—and it made her feel as if death itself had her in its grip. She lay in horror. There was no man there loving her. She almost hated him. Then came little bouts of tenderness. But she dared not pity him. Dawes had come to Colonel Seely’s Home near Nottingham. There Paul visited him sometimes, Clara very occasionally. Between the two men the friendship developed peculiarly. Dawes, who mended very slowly and seemed very feeble, seemed to leave himself in the hands of Morel. In the beginning of November Clara reminded Paul that it was her birthday. ‘I’d nearly forgotten,’ he said. ‘I’d thought quite,’ she replied. ‘No. Shall we go to the seaside for the week-end?’
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They went. It was cold and rather dismal. She waited for him to be warm and tender with her, instead of which he seemed hardly aware of her. He sat in the railway-carriage, looking out, and was startled when she spoke to him. He was not definitely thinking. Things seemed as if they did not exist. She went across to him. ‘What is it dear?’ she asked. ‘Nothing!’ he said. ‘Don’t those windmill sails look monotonous?’ He sat holding her hand. He could not talk nor think. It was a comfort, however, to sit holding her hand. She was dissatisfied and miserable. He was not with her; she was nothing. And in the evening they sat among the sandhills, looking at the black, heavy sea. ‘She will never give in,’ he said quietly. Clara’s heart sank. ‘No,’ she replied. ‘There are different ways of dying. My father’s people are frightened, and have to be hauled out of life into death like cattle into a slaughter-house, pulled by the neck; but my mother’s people are pushed from behind, inch by inch. They are stubborn people, and won’t die.’ ‘Yes,’ said Clara. ‘And she won’t die. She can’t. Mr. Renshaw, the parson, was in the other day. ‘Think!’ he said to her; ‘you will have your mother and father, and your sisters, and your son, in the Other Land.’ And she said: ‘I have done without them for a long time, and CAN do without them now. It is the liv Sons and Lovers

ing I want, not the dead.’ She wants to live even now.’ ‘Oh, how horrible!’ said Clara, too frightened to speak. ‘And she looks at me, and she wants to stay with me,’ he went on monotonously. ‘She’s got such a will, it seems as if she would never go—never!’ ‘Don’t think of it!’ cried Clara. ‘And she was religious—she is religious now—but it is no good. She simply won’t give in. And do you know, I said to her on Thursday: ‘Mother, if I had to die, I’d die. I’d WILL to die.’ And she said to me, sharp: ‘Do you think I haven’t? Do you think you can die when you like?’’ His voice ceased. He did not cry, only went on speaking mo-notonously. Clara wanted to run. She looked round. There was the black, re-echoing shore, the dark sky down on her. She got up terrified. She wanted to be where there was light, where there were other people. She wanted to be away from him. He sat with his head dropped, not moving a muscle. ‘And I don’t want her to eat,’ he said, ‘and she knows it. When I ask her: ‘Shall you have anything’ she’s almost afraid to say ‘Yes.’ ‘I’ll have a cup of Benger’s,’ she says. ‘It’ll only keep your strength up,’ I said to her. ‘Yes’—and she almost cried—‘but there’s such a gnawing when I eat nothing, I can’t bear it.’ So I went and made her the food. It’s the cancer that gnaws like that at her. I wish she’d die!’ ‘Come!’ said Clara roughly. ‘I’m going.’ He followed her down the darkness of the sands. He did not come to her. He seemed scarcely aware of her existence. And she was afraid of him, and disliked him.
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In the same acute daze they went back to Nottingham. He was always busy, always doing something, always going from one to the other of his friends. On the Monday he went to see Baxter Dawes. Listless and pale, the man rose to greet the other, clinging to his chair as he held out his hand. ‘You shouldn’t get up,’ said Paul. Dawes sat down heavily, eyeing Morel with a sort of suspicion. ‘Don’t you waste your time on me,’ he said, ‘if you’ve owt better to do.’ ‘I wanted to come,’ said Paul. ‘Here! I brought you some sweets.’ The invalid put them aside. ‘It’s not been much of a week-end,’ said Morel. ‘How’s your mother?’ asked the other. ‘Hardly any different.’ ‘I thought she was perhaps worse, being as you didn’t come on Sunday.’ ‘I was at Skegness,’ said Paul. ‘I wanted a change.’ The other looked at him with dark eyes. He seemed to be waiting, not quite daring to ask, trusting to be told. ‘I went with Clara,’ said Paul. ‘I knew as much,’ said Dawes quietly. ‘It was an old promise,’ said Paul. ‘You have it your own way,’ said Dawes. This was the first time Clara had been definitely mentioned between them. ‘Nay,’ said Morel slowly; ‘she’s tired of me.’ 
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Again Dawes looked at him. ‘Since August she’s been getting tired of me,’ Morel repeated. The two men were very quiet together. Paul suggested a game of draughts. They played in silence. ‘I s’ll go abroad when my mother’s dead,’ said Paul. ‘Abroad!’ repeated Dawes. ‘Yes; I don’t care what I do.’ They continued the game. Dawes was winning. ‘I s’ll have to begin a new start of some sort,’ said Paul; ‘and you as well, I suppose.’ He took one of Dawes’s pieces. ‘I dunno where,’ said the other. ‘Things have to happen,’ Morel said. ‘It’s no good doing anything—at least—no, I don’t know. Give me some toffee.’ The two men ate sweets, and began another game of draughts. ‘What made that scar on your mouth?’ asked Dawes. Paul put his hand hastily to his lips, and looked over the garden. ‘I had a bicycle accident,’ he said. Dawes’s hand trembled as he moved the piece. ‘You shouldn’t ha’ laughed at me,’ he said, very low. ‘When?’ ‘That night on Woodborough Road, when you and her passed me—you with your hand on her shoulder.’ ‘I never laughed at you,’ said Paul. Dawes kept his fingers on the draught-piece. ‘I never knew you were there till the very second when
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you passed,’ said Morel. ‘It was that as did me,’ Dawes said, very low. Paul took another sweet. ‘I never laughed,’ he said, ‘except as I’m always laughing.’ They finished the game. That night Morel walked home from Nottingham, in order to have something to do. The furnaces flared in a red blotch over Bulwell; the black clouds were like a low ceiling. As he went along the ten miles of highroad, he felt as if he were walking out of life, between the black levels of the sky and the earth. But at the end was only the sick-room. If he walked and walked for ever, there was only that place to come to. He was not tired when he got near home, or He did not know it. Across the field he could see the red firelight leaping in her bedroom window. ‘When she’s dead,’ he said to himself, ‘that fire will go out.’ He took off his boots quietly and crept upstairs. His mothers door was wide open, because she slept alone still. The red firelight dashed its glow on the landing. Soft as a shadow, he peeped in her doorway. ‘Paul!’ she murmured. His heart seemed to break again. He went in and sat by the bed. ‘How late you are!’ she murmured. ‘Not very,’ he said. ‘Why, what time is it?’ The murmur came plaintive and 
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helpless. ‘It’s only just gone eleven.’ That was not true; it was nearly one o’clock. ‘Oh!’ she said; ‘I thought it was later.’ And he knew the unutterable misery of her nights that would not go. ‘Can’t you sleep, my pigeon?’ he said. ‘No, I can’t,’ she wailed. ‘Never mind, Little!’ He said crooning. ‘Never mind, my love. I’ll stop with you half an hour, my pigeon; then perhaps it will be better.’ And he sat by the bedside, slowly, rhythmically stroking her brows with his finger-tips, stroking her eyes shut, soothing her, holding her fingers in his free hand. They could hear the sleepers’ breathing in the other rooms. ‘Now go to bed,’ she murmured, lying quite still under his fingers and his love. ‘Will you sleep?’ he asked. ‘Yes, I think so.’ ‘You feel better, my Little, don’t you?’ ‘Yes,’ she said, like a fretful, half-soothed child. Still the days and the weeks went by. He hardly ever went to see Clara now. But he wandered restlessly from one person to another for some help, and there was none anywhere. Miriam had written to him tenderly. He went to see her. Her heart was very sore when she saw him, white, gaunt, with his eyes dark and bewildered. Her pity came up, hurting her till she could not bear it. ‘How is she?’ she asked.
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And she kissed him and fingered his body. trying to subdue the sound.’ she replied plaintively. Then they almost seemed to make an agreement. guiltily. ‘The doctor says she can’t last. Yet he loved her more than his own life. ‘Did I?’ she answered. she would not.’ Miriam shuddered. ‘A little. Annie came to look after her mother. That remained alone and apart. She kissed his face. But she did not consent to die. like a sound and its echo. and roused his blood. when friends were in the kitchen with  . we shall all go mad. ‘Yes. while his soul was apart writhing with the agony of death. He stayed at home all the while now. She let him feel her wrist. but it was torture. Her eyes were dark and full of torture. Paul went indoors. They could not afford a nurse. she pressed him to her bosom. and her heart got fitful. There was a strong stroke and a weak one. with the torture. It was almost as if he were agreeing to die also. Morel. the parish nurse. It was reaction. Annie was so quaint. Morel. it’s nearly eight o’clock. Sometimes they looked in each other’s eyes.’ said Annie. She drew him to her. He submitted. And she thought she had soothed him and done him good. came in morning and evening. ‘Go and sit with her while we have breakfast. December came. Paul was so comical. to see if she had heard. he got away from her. Then he felt her pulse. or even complain much. knowing what he wanted. An Sons and Lovers nie slept beside her. when his sister got up. Then Paul would go upstairs gingerly. She had morphia every night. Darker and darker grew her eyes. Yet she could not—would not—weep. with fretful weariness. but I know she will. feeling he would go mad.‘The same—the same!’ he said. whom they loved. ‘I can’t bear it much longer. The whole country was bleak and pallid under the snow.’ he would say to her. in the evenings. ‘Shall I give you some milk?’ he asked. ‘You slept a bit later this morning. And he would put some water with it. That was supposed to betoken the end. His mother was wasted and almost ashen in the morning with the morphia. and some snow. Paul shared the nursing with Annie. so that it should not nourish her. And Mrs. little one. and among her bitterness was a feeling of relief. It was not what he wanted just then—not that. till at last. She could not kiss his agony.’ he said.’ He stood looking out of the window. The whole party laughed till they cried. Often. all pupil. she kissed him and kissed him. Paul would go in in the early morning. Minnie. In the mornings the weariness and ache were too much to bear. The two sat down to breakfast. She’ll be here at Christmas. lying alone in the darkness heard them. Mr. they all laughed together and shook with laughter. But the doctor shook his head. ‘She can’t last many days now. Her body was wasted to a fragment of ash. ‘Can’t you give her something to put an end to it?’ he asked the doctor at last.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook.

That evening he got all the morphia pills there were. silent. The miners had been out on strike. He wandered miles and miles.’ she 00 Sons and Lovers said. Paul went through the country. and put its head against him. was still alive. Morel. Paul went up with the hot milk in a feeding-cup. He stepped softly backwards and forwards at his painting. She kept her hold on life still. Then he backed out. ‘I s’ll put ‘em in her night milk. A smoky red sunset came on slowly. Minnie stood surprised. through the woods. Her eyes. and returned a fortnight or so before Christmas. over the snow. Minnie went upstairs with the feeding-cup. ‘She won’t.’ said the dying woman. ‘She’ll live over Christmas.said Annie. at any rate. ‘But. One night Annie and Paul were alone.’ Not a thing did she let 01 . in the faint. He saw the marks of rabbits and birds in the white snow. Sometimes he would go into the sick-room and look at her. ‘Don’t you bother about that. ‘Ay—do!’ said Annie. His mother. On top of all their horror flicked this little sanity. ‘All that came from Sheffield. and he put the feeding-cup Free eBooks at Planet eBook.’ he said gently. He thought she would die that day.’ He looked round. with her hard mouth gripped grimly. ‘I s’ll give her morphia. there was more snow. ‘Your father’s pit things will want well airing. Minnie?’ she asked. and stroked his cheeks against his ears. lingering. like dark bubbles in her face. and walked with him alongside.’ he replied grimly. Another fibre seemed to snap in his heart. when the men were going back to work. They were both full of horror. It was nine o’clock. He put his arms round the donkey’s neck. Mrs. ‘Not as I know of. painfully.’ she answered. bewildered. It was two days after the men had been in. Suddenly her small voice wailed: ‘Don’t walk about. There was a donkey that came up to him over the snow by the wood’s edge. Nurse was upstairs. Nurse did not come that night to settle Mrs. obliterated himself. Carefully he crushed them to powder. Morel down.’ ‘Which?’ said Annie. silent and frightened. The next day he was painting in the bedroom.’ said Paul. querulous voice that would not give in. my dear. there’ll be something to buy in with this week. ‘Have the men been saying their hands are sore. She seemed to be asleep. Still her dark eyes were alive. as she moved her head with a sigh of weariness. It was nearing Christmas. Paul. were looking at him. Annie and he felt as if they could go on no more. But the girl was frightened.’ said Annie. ‘But I’ll bet they are sore. Morel. She was reared up in bed. ‘What are you doing?’ said Annie. and took them downstairs.’ Then they both laughed together like two conspiring children.’ said Annie. Annie. ‘No. her eyes of dark torture only living. my dear.

straightened her nightgown over her small feet. ‘I wonder why nurse didn’t come to settle me down?’ complained the mother. ‘There. ‘She said she was going to a concert. ‘There!—now you’ll sleep. Paul put the long thin plait of grey hair over her shoulder and kissed her. her head snugged between her shoulders.’ he said. and covered her up. ‘Did she?’ They were silent a minute. ‘I know—I tasted 0 . Morel gulped the little clean milk.’ replied 0 Sons and Lovers Annie. ‘Yes. ‘Good-night.’ ‘Oh!’ laughed Annie.’ They turned the clothes back. ‘It’s a new sleeping draught the doctor gave me for you. never mind. She seemed to be sleeping as usual after her draught. ‘But it IS horrid!’ she said.’ ‘Ay. almost gaily. There were no grains in the bottom of the cup.’ she answered trustfully.’ she said. that draught WAS horrid!’ she said plaintively. He saw her frail fingers over the cup.’ she said. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘You’ll sleep. ‘Has she had it?’ whispered Annie. her lips making a little move.’ he said. He looked at her. Her mouth had come a bit open. putting her under lip between her teeth.’ he said. like a child. ‘I didn’t think you could do the bed so nicely.’ They put out the light. ‘Oh. and she went on with the draught. making a little grimace. ‘But I’ll give you some clean milk afterwards.’ The mother sighed again with weariness. wistfully. my love. with her cheek on her hand. Then she curled up. Paul saw his mother LIke a girl curled up in her flannel nightdress.’ ‘And I hope it won’t. He saw her poor wasted throat moving as she drank with difficulty. Her pulse was very irregular.’ said Annie. made the other.’ ‘Yes. She was obedient to him like a child.’ said Paul. Mrs. my love. Paul!’ she said. then put the spout of the cup away and looked at him with her dark. ‘And I told her it was a new draught.’ she said. ‘Was it. my love? Well. She took a sip. Annie and Paul came to look at her at about eleven. and it was still. He wondered if she knew. it IS bitter. ‘Annie.’ said the mother—‘try. Nurse did not come.’ she added. moved her. Where’s that milk?’ They both went upstairs. Then he ran downstairs for more milk. She drank some more of the milk. like a child.between her lips that he would have died to save from any hurt. wondering eyes. ‘Perhaps nurse will be so late. stroking her softly. ‘Yes—and she said it was bitter. Quickly they made one half of the bed. ‘Let US settle you down.’ ‘I think so. ‘He thought it would leave you in such a state in the morning. Morel was in bed.

‘How long has she been like it?’ ‘I only just woke up. Paul looked at her again. sounded through the house. Paul wrapped himself in a brown blanket. A bud of gas was burning in the sick chamber. He nodded. The night was going. At last Annie crept out of the room. His mother lay with her cheek on her hand. with the bottom jaw fallen back. long and harsh. ‘Paul.’ They lingered before the bedroom fire. The great.’ ‘No. ‘Isn’t it awful!’ whispered Annie. snoring breath.’ ‘I’d rather you didn’t. At last he went into the next room and went to bed.’ ‘Yes. noiselessly. ‘I s’ll lie with her as I always do. He mended the fire. ‘You go to my bed. And call me if you see any difference. but kept waking every now and again. like snoring.‘Shall we sit up?’ said Paul. ‘I’ll stop with you. ‘She may last like this. Then suddenly.’ he said. It was three o’clock.’ he said to Annie. The great snoring sound began again—there was a painful pause while the breath was held—back came the rasping breath. motionless. Then the two sat waiting.’ said Annie. The sound. in his room. and she breathed with great. startling him. He hugged himself in his brown blanket. so irregular. He could not bear it—the waiting. slept on. Sometimes he thought the great breath would never begin again. Then they started. huddled. He started awake at Annie’s whispered. Each time the sound came he felt it wring him. But her mouth had fallen open. Paul!’ He saw his sister in her white nightdress. snoring breath was taken—held awhile—then given back.’ Annie huddled into the dressing-gown. their two selves alone in the world. He slept almost immediately. There was a 0 Sons and Lovers space—a long space. hoarse breaths. They were both silent. He watched. till at last he could not feel so much. and could faintly discern the snow on the garden. standing in the darkness. bending low over her. ‘Yes?’ he whispered. with her long plait of hair down her back. and he was alone. Morel. The minutes went by.’ He slipped out of bed. They sat down again helplessly. He mended the fire again. at such wide intervals. feeling the night big and black and snowy 0 . Again it was given back. Minute after minute passed. ‘Come and look at her. ‘She’s going!’ he whispered. and there were long intervals between. Then he went sound asleep. ‘She might wake up. breath by breath. Paul and Annie sat crouched. She must not be disturbed.’ ‘All right. crouched in front of his mother. She looked dreadful. ‘I’ll sit up. ‘Yes. curled up as she had gone to sleep.’ he said. Again they hung suspended.’ she said. The great. watching. Again came the great. He looked out of the window. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. sitting up. He bent close down and looked at her. snoring breath was taken again. came the great harsh sound.’ said Annie.

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

haps there was a lighter tinge. Perhaps the snow was bluer. He drew up the blind and got dressed. Then, shuddering, he drank brandy from the bottle on the wash-stand. The snow WAS growing blue. He heard a cart clanking down the street. Yes, it was seven o’clock, and it was coming a little bit light. He heard some people calling. The world was waking. A grey, deathly dawn crept over the snow. Yes, he could see the houses. He put out the gas. It seemed very dark. The breathing came still, but he was almost used to it. He could see her. She was just the same. He wondered if he piled heavy clothes on top of her it would stop. He looked at her. That was not her—not her a bit. If he piled the blanket and heavy coats on her—Suddenly the door opened, and Annie entered. She looked at him questioningly. ‘Just the same,’ he said calmly. They whispered together a minute, then he went downstairs to get breakfast. It was twenty to eight. Soon Annie came down. ‘Isn’t it awful! Doesn’t she look awful!’ she whispered, dazed with horror. He nodded. ‘If she looks like that!’ said Annie. ‘Drink some tea,’ he said. They went upstairs again. Soon the neighbours came with their frightened question: ‘How is she?’ It went on just the same. She lay with her cheek in her hand, her mouth fallen open, and the great, ghastly snores
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came and went. At ten o’clock nurse came. She looked strange and woebegone. ‘Nurse,’ cried Paul, ‘she’ll last like this for days?’ ‘She can’t, Mr. Morel,’ said nurse. ‘She can’t.’ There was a silence. ‘Isn’t it dreadful!’ wailed the nurse. ‘Who would have thought she could stand it? Go down now, Mr. Morel, go down.’ At last, at about eleven o’clock, he went downstairs and sat in the neighbour’s house. Annie was downstairs also. Nurse and Arthur were upstairs. Paul sat with his head in his hand. Suddenly Annie came flying across the yard crying, half mad: ‘Paul—Paul—she’s gone!’ In a second he was back in his own house and upstairs. She lay curled up and still, with her face on her hand, and nurse was wiping her mouth. They all stood back. He kneeled down, and put his face to hers and his arms round her: ‘My love—my love—oh, my love!’ he whispered again and again. ‘My love—oh, my love!’ Then he heard the nurse behind him, crying, saying: ‘She’s better, Mr. Morel, she’s better.’ When he took his face up from his warm, dead mother he went straight downstairs and began blacking his boots. There was a good deal to do, letters to write, and so on. The doctor came and glanced at her, and sighed. ‘Ay—poor thing!’ he said, then turned away. ‘Well, call at 
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the surgery about six for the certificate.’ The father came home from work at about four o’clock. He dragged silently into the house and sat down. Minnie bustled to give him his dinner. Tired, he laid his black arms on the table. There were swede turnips for his dinner, which he liked. Paul wondered if he knew. It was some time, and nobody had spoken. At last the son said: ‘You noticed the blinds were down?’ Morel looked up. ‘No,’ he said. ‘Why—has she gone?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘When wor that?’ ‘About twelve this morning.’ ‘H’m!’ The miner sat still for a moment, then began his dinner. It was as if nothing had happened. He ate his turnips in silence. Afterwards he washed and went upstairs to dress. The door of her room was shut. ‘Have you seen her?’ Annie asked of him when he came down. ‘No,’ he said. In a little while he went out. Annie went away, and Paul called on the undertaker, the clergyman, the doctor, the registrar. It was a long business. He got back at nearly eight o’clock. The undertaker was coming soon to measure for the coffin. The house was empty except for her. He took a candle and went upstairs. The room was cold, that had been warm for so long. Flowers, bottles, plates, all sick-room litter was taken away;
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everything was harsh and austere. She lay raised on the bed, the sweep of the sheet from the raised feet was like a clean curve of snow, so silent. She lay like a maiden asleep. With his candle in his hand, he bent over her. She lay like a girl asleep and dreaming of her love. The mouth was a little open as if wondering from the suffering, but her face was young, her brow clear and white as if life had never touched it. He looked again at the eyebrows, at the small, winsome nose a bit on one side. She was young again. Only the hair as it arched so beautifully from her temples was mixed with silver, and the two simple plaits that lay on her shoulders were filigree of silver and brown. She would wake up. She would lift her eyelids. She was with him still. He bent and kissed her passionately. But there was coldness against his mouth. He bit his lips with horror. Looking at her, he felt he could never, never let her go. No! He stroked the hair from her temples. That, too, was cold. He saw the mouth so dumb and wondering at the hurt. Then he crouched on the floor, whispering to her: ‘Mother, mother!’ He was still with her when the undertakers came, young men who had been to school with him. They touched her reverently, and in a quiet, businesslike fashion. They did not look at her. He watched jealously. He and Annie guarded her fiercely. They would not let anybody come to see her, and the neighbours were offended. After a while Paul went out of the house, and played cards at a friend’s. It was midnight when he got back. His father rose from the couch as he entered, saying in a plain10 Sons and Lovers

tive way: ‘I thought tha wor niver comin’, lad.’ ‘I didn’t think you’d sit up,’ said Paul. His father looked so forlorn. Morel had been a man without fear—simply nothing frightened him. Paul realised with a start that he had been afraid to go to bed, alone in the house with his dead. He was sorry. ‘I forgot you’d be alone, father,’ he said. ‘Dost want owt to eat?’ asked Morel. ‘No.’ ‘Sithee—I made thee a drop o’ hot milk. Get it down thee; it’s cold enough for owt.’ Paul drank it. After a while Morel went to bed. He hurried past the closed door, and left his own door open. Soon the son came upstairs also. He went in to kiss her good-night, as usual. It was cold and dark. He wished they had kept her fire burning. Still she dreamed her young dream. But she would be cold. ‘My dear!’ he whispered. ‘My dear!’ And he did not kiss her, for fear she should be cold and strange to him. It eased him she slept so beautifully. He shut her door softly, not to wake her, and went to bed. In the morning Morel summoned his courage, hearing Annie downstairs and Paul coughing in the room across the landing. He opened her door, and went into the darkened room. He saw the white uplifted form in the twilight, but her he dared not see. Bewildered, too frightened to possess any of his faculties, he got out of the room again and left
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her. He never looked at her again. He had not seen her for months, because he had not dared to look. And she looked like his young wife again. ‘Have you seen her?’ Annie asked of him sharply after breakfast. ‘Yes,’ he said. ‘And don’t you think she looks nice?’ ‘Yes.’ He went out of the house soon after. And all the time He seemed to be creeping aside to avoid it. Paul went about from place to place, doing the business of the death. He met Clara in Nottingham, and they had tea together in a cafe, when they were quite jolly again. She was infinitely relieved to find he did not take it tragically. Later, when the relatives began to come for the funeral, the affair became public, and the children became social beings. They put themselves aside. They buried her in a furious storm of rain and wind. The wet clay glistened, all the white flowers were soaked. Annie gripped his arm and leaned forward. Down below she saw a dark corner of William’s coffin. The oak box sank steadily. She was gone. The rain poured in the grave. The procession of black, with its umbrellas glistening, turned away. The cemetery was deserted under the drenching cold rain. Paul went home and busied himself supplying the guests with drinks. His father sat in the kitchen with Mrs. Morel’s relatives, ‘superior’ people, and wept, and said what a good lass she’d been, and how he’d tried to do everything he could for her—everything. He had striven all his life to 
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do what he could for her, and he’d nothing to reproach himself with. She was gone, but he’d done his best for her. He wiped his eyes with his white handkerchief. He’d nothing to reproach himself for, he repeated. All his life he’d done his best for her. And that was how he tried to dismiss her. He never thought of her personally. Everything deep in him he denied. Paul hated his father for sitting sentimentalising over her. He knew he would do it in the public-houses. For the real tragedy went on in Morel in spite of himself. Sometimes, later, he came down from his afternoon sleep, white and cowering. ‘I HAVE been dreaming of thy mother,’ he said in a small voice. ‘Have you, father? When I dream of her it’s always just as she was when she was well. I dream of her often, but it seems quite nice and natural, as if nothing had altered.’ But Morel crouched in front of the fire in terror. The weeks passed half-real, not much pain, not much of anything, perhaps a little relief, mostly a nuit blanche. Paul went restless from place to place. For some months, since his mother had been worse, he had not made love to Clara. She was, as it were, dumb to him, rather distant. Dawes saw her very occasionally, but the two could not get an inch across the great distance between them. The three of them were drifting forward. Dawes mended very slowly. He was in the convalescent home at Skegness at Christmas, nearly well again. Paul went to the seaside for a few days. His father was with Annie in
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Sheffield. Dawes came to Paul’s lodgings. His time in the home was up. The two men, between whom was such a big reserve, seemed faithful to each other. Dawes depended on Morel now. He knew Paul and Clara had practically separated. Two days after Christmas Paul was to go back to Nottingham. The evening before he sat with Dawes smoking before the fire. ‘You know Clara’s coming down for the day to-morrow?’ he said. The other man glanced at him. ‘Yes, you told me,’ he replied. Paul drank the remainder of his glass of whisky. ‘I told the landlady your wife was coming,’ he said. ‘Did you?’ said Dawes, shrinking, but almost leaving himself in the other’s hands. He got up rather stiffly, and reached for Morel’s glass. ‘Let me fill you up,’ he said. Paul jumped up. ‘You sit still,’ he said. But Dawes, with rather shaky hand, continued to mix the drink. ‘Say when,’ he said. ‘Thanks!’ replied the other. ‘But you’ve no business to get up.’ ‘It does me good, lad,’ replied Dawes. ‘I begin to think I’m right again, then.’ ‘You are about right, you know.’ ‘I am, certainly I am,’ said Dawes, nodding to him. 
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‘And Len says he can get you on in Sheffield.’ Dawes glanced at him again, with dark eyes that agreed with everything the other would say, perhaps a trifle dominated by him. ‘It’s funny,’ said Paul, ‘starting again. I feel in a lot bigger mess than you.’ ‘In what way, lad?’ ‘I don’t know. I don’t know. It’s as if I was in a tangled sort of hole, rather dark and dreary, and no road anywhere.’ ‘I know—I understand it,’ Dawes said, nodding. ‘But you’ll find it’ll come all right.’ He spoke caressingly. ‘I suppose so,’ said Paul. Dawes knocked his pipe in a hopeless fashion. ‘You’ve not done for yourself like I have,’ he said. Morel saw the wrist and the white hand of the other man gripping the stem of the pipe and knocking out the ash, as if he had given up. ‘How old are you?’ Paul asked. ‘Thirty-nine,’ replied Dawes, glancing at him. Those brown eyes, full of the consciousness of failure, almost pleading for reassurance, for someone to re-establish the man in himself, to warm him, to set him up firm again, troubled Paul. ‘You’ll just be in your prime,’ said Morel. ‘You don’t look as if much life had gone out of you.’ The brown eyes of the other flashed suddenly. ‘It hasn’t,’ he said. ‘The go is there.’ Paul looked up and laughed.
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‘We’ve both got plenty of life in us yet to make things fly,’ he said. The eyes of the two men met. They exchanged one look. Having recognised the stress of passion each in the other, they both drank their whisky. ‘Yes, begod!’ said Dawes, breathless. There was a pause. ‘And I don’t see,’ said Paul, ‘why you shouldn’t go on where you left off.’ ‘What—-’ said Dawes, suggestively. ‘Yes—fit your old home together again.’ Dawes hid his face and shook his head. ‘Couldn’t be done,’ he said, and looked up with an ironic smile. ‘Why? Because you don’t want?’ ‘Perhaps.’ They smoked in silence. Dawes showed his teeth as he bit his pipe stem. ‘You mean you don’t want her?’ asked Paul. Dawes stared up at the picture with a caustic expression on his face. ‘I hardly know,’ he said. The smoke floated softly up. ‘I believe she wants you,’ said Paul. ‘Do you?’ replied the other, soft, satirical, abstract. ‘Yes. She never really hitched on to me—you were always there in the background. That’s why she wouldn’t get a divorce.’ Dawes continued to stare in a satirical fashion at the pic1 Sons and Lovers

ture over the mantelpiece. ‘That’s how women are with me,’ said Paul. ‘They want me like mad, but they don’t want to belong to me. And she BELONGED to you all the time. I knew.’ The triumphant male came up in Dawes. He showed his teeth more distinctly. ‘Perhaps I was a fool,’ he said. ‘You were a big fool,’ said Morel. ‘But perhaps even THEN you were a bigger fool,’ said Dawes. There was a touch of triumph and malice in it. ‘Do you think so?’ said Paul. They were silent for some time. ‘At any rate, I’m clearing out to-morrow,’ said Morel. ‘I see,’ answered Dawes. Then they did not talk any more. The instinct to murder each other had returned. They almost avoided each other. They shared the same bedroom. When they retired Dawes seemed abstract, thinking of something. He sat on the side of the bed in his shirt, looking at his legs. ‘Aren’t you getting cold?’ asked Morel. ‘I was lookin’ at these legs,’ replied the other. ‘What’s up with ‘em? They look all right,’ replied Paul, from his bed. ‘They look all right. But there’s some water in ‘em yet.’ ‘And what about it?’ ‘Come and look.’ Paul reluctantly got out of bed and went to look at the rather handsome legs of the other man that were covered
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‘Shall we go to the lodging straight off. I’m quite warm. ‘Sit down!’ Morel repeated. His black overcoat was buttoned up to the chin because of the rain.’ said Dawes to his wife. In the morning it was raining. ‘I don’t want that chair. and came along the platform. grey and shaggy. hissed not far off. she sat down. rather aloof and composed. ‘or somewhere else?’ ‘We may as well go home.’ she said. Clara stepped out of the train. ‘You feel.’ ‘You’re not much of a man with water in your legs.’ He returned to his own bed. Paul walked on the outside of the pavement. The two men were at the station. ‘Sit down. isn’t it?’ said Dawes. It gave him a wicked pleasure to do it.’ he said.’ said Dawes. and he put out the light. so he wants me to stop.with glistening.’ said Dawes. ‘It’s nothing.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. She looked out of the window at the rain and at the sea.’ said 1 . dark gold hair. He’s going back to-night. Jack. She had a slight air of resentment. The sittingroom faced the sea. Paul ran downstairs to speak to the landlady. the rooms are taken until to-morrow. ‘H’m!’ he said. Both men hated her for her composure. It made little dents. very erect and coldly composed. ‘Look here. Paul tried with his fingers. watching. They left little dents that filled up slowly.’ ‘And then you’re thinking of going to Sheffield?’ ‘Yes. They made polite conversation. whose tide.’ ‘Where?’ said Paul. Morel packed his bag. with almost a touch of nobility in 1 Sons and Lovers his quietness. ‘Rotten. He came forward.’ said Dawes. He was pale. She kept the two men hesitating near her. ‘Look at the water under here. ‘Come nearer to the fire. She wore a long coat and a tweed hat. Morel swung up the big arm-chair. ‘You ought to look better than this. The sea was grey and shaggy and dismal. ‘I should think you’re cold.’ said Dawes. He seemed to be cutting himself off from life more and more.’ The three stood at a loss.’ ‘Thank you. pointing to his shin. The man pressed in his finger-tips.’ she answered.’ ‘I can’t see as it makes any difference. Dawes was leaning against the bookstall.’ said Morel. limping slightly. ‘Why? It’s nothing much.’ said Paul. ‘I suppose the rest of me’s all right. Paul shook hands with her at the barrier. ‘Oh. Lifting her hair with her fingers. ‘Well. ‘I’ve got a weak chest. Clara took off her things and laid them on the couch. then Dawes.’ said Dawes. I’m all right now. ‘When are you going back?’ she asked. then Clara.

That they were not the small egoists she had imagined them made her more comfortable. seemed to yield himself. after all.’ He put the slippers near her feet. She despised him rather for his shrinking together. getting smaller. And as he went about arranging. They had dinner. there seemed something false about him and out of tune. passionate.’ Again she looked away out of the window. It was still as full as she could carry. But this other would never own to being beaten. She had learned a good deal—almost as much as she wanted to learn. and when he was beaten gave in. She did not remember that she herself had Free eBooks at Planet eBook. ‘And can you manage all right?’ she asked. It angered her. Not a serious word had been spoken. He would never make sure ground for any woman to stand on. and what they could or would do. and it seemed as if their three fates lay in his hands.’ ‘You don’t look fit. He would shift round and round.’ he said to 1 . and each of them had a rather hunted look.‘Are you fit to start work?’ ‘I’m going to start. There was nothing stable about him. she would not be sorry when he was gone. she thought. and as he sat talking. ‘And have you got lodgings in Sheffield?’ ‘Yes. He was a mean fellow. Yet Clara realised that Morel was withdrawing from the circle. She hated him for it.’ she said. She despised him. more sure of herself. Morel sat down.’ ‘Thank you. He was fine in his way. Watching him unknown. He was as if trying to get himself into the smallest possible compass. Her husband had more manly dignity. And yet she watched him rather than Dawes. while Paul seemed to screw himself up. to take what he wanted and then give her back. ‘I s’d think so. She left them there.’ ‘You’ve really got a place?’ ‘Yes—begin on Monday. There was something evanescent about Morel. ‘I wish you’d take your boots off. leaving her the option to stay with her husband. But Dawes now carried himself quietly. and able to give her drinks of pure life when he was in one mood. And now he looked paltry and insignificant. Both the men seemed helpless. On the whole.’ ‘Why don’t I?’ She looked again out of the window instead of answering. Nobody answered. Clara thought she had never seen him look so small and mean. At any rate HE did not waft about with any wind. get smaller. ‘There’s a pair of slippers of mine. I s’ll have to!’ They were silent when Morel returned. prowl. ‘They aren’t wet. and sat eating nuts and drinking by the fire. ‘I shall go by the four-twenty. She seemed to understand better now about men. Her husband at least was manly. something shifting and false. The panes were blurred with streaming rain. 0 Sons and Lovers she said to herself there was no stability about him. She was less afraid of them. Her cup had been full.’ he said as he entered.

’ she said. It was three o’clock. not consulting his wish. That would be too much trouble to her. The landlady brought in the tea. ‘I’ve done with ‘em. they two had. as if he had been held on a strain. As Clara saw. because his own hold on life was so unsure. cowed. There was a certain nobility in it. he had to crawl back. She could not cope with him. So.’ said Morel. you’ll see. ‘Then. giving him her hand. ‘Are you coming then or later?’ ‘I don’t know. Dawes had been driven to the extremity of life. He could go to the brink of death. and he wanted to be taken back whether or not. That she could do for him. ‘I shall see you both later. as if he were drawn towards death. he owned himself beaten. He was gone.’ he said. It made him ashamed. until he was afraid. in fact.’ said the man. feeling unsubstantial. ‘Yes.’ he said to Clara. at the bottom of her heart. and for ever behind him was the gap in life. he would go on alone. He looked out over the sea. Then.’ said Dawes. the lapse towards death. Clara could not stand for him to hold on to. he could lie on the edge and look in.’ she answered. ‘Good-bye. afraid.’ ‘Ay—well—-’ said Dawes.  Sons and Lovers ‘I am going by the four-twenty.’ laughed Paul. The lesser things he began to let go from him. Paul felt crumpled up and lonely. ‘It’s a nasty day for travelling. faced the world together. he dared not give it her. as he shook hands. His mother had really supported his life. following in the wake of his beloved.had what she wanted. like a husband.’ At about four o’clock he went. Now she was gone. through which his life seemed to drift slowly. ‘An’ perhaps—one day—I s’ll be able to pay you back the money as—-‘ ‘I shall come for it. wished to be given back. If nobody would help. Dawes drew up his chair to the table without being invited. because nobody held  . shadowy.’ said Paul again to Clara. like a wife. ‘I’ll come later. ‘I s’ll be on the rocks before I’m very much older. But he was not afraid of death. ‘Good-bye. She wanted him. not the real him that was in trouble. secretly ashamed because he was in such a mess. He did not want to die. ‘I’m meeting my father in Nottingham at seven-fifteen. ‘There are one or two books in the corner. dumb and humble. he would not give in. and like a beggar take what offered.’ she answered. She served him as she would. and really. Dawes and his wife sat down again. He wanted someone of their own free initiative to help him. They talked in a desultory fashion until it grew dark. He had loved her. After tea.’ Dawes jerked suddenly. as it drew near to six o’clock. but not to understand him. for fear of this big thing.’ he said. he drew himself together smaller and smaller.’ she said. ‘I suppose so. but he saw nothing. the tear in the veil. He felt she wanted the man on top. Then he sat humbly waiting for his cup. Then she glanced at him for the last time. he went to the Free eBooks at Planet eBook. as if he did not count for much in this concrete world.

‘Do you want me. Walter Morel seemed to have let all the trouble go over him. strained look in his eyes. Baxter?’ she asked. Paul took lodgings in Nottingham. It really wearied him. So he was always in the town at one place or another. shall you?’ he said.window. He let go the curtain. His hand as he held the dark curtain trembled. CHAPTER XV DERELICT CLARA went with her husband to Sheffield. He hid his face on her shoulder. broken. hesitating. She rose and went slowly to him. looking up at him in a heavy. Everything seemed to have gone smash for the young man. but there was that dark.’ he said. knocking about with the men he knew. There was scarcely any bond between father and son. He tightened his grasp on her. and there he was. and put them round his neck. He waited. and as they could neither of them bear the emptiness of the house. crawling about on the mud of it. ‘I shouldn’t go in this rain. He could not paint. ‘It’s raining yet. There was nothing left. His voice was hoarse as he answered: ‘Do you want to come back to me?’ She made a moaning noise. At work there was no Clara. just the same. and Morel went to live with a friendly family in Bestwood. as if she were only semi-conscious. ‘Yes. holding her clasped. ecstatic. She stood with her hands behind her back.’ he said. When he came home he could not take up his brushes again. drawing him to her. hesitating. ‘Is it?’ she answered. thin dark hair. ‘Do you WANT me to stay?’ she asked. save that each felt he must not let the other go in any actual want. ‘You won’t go to-night. He talked to barmaids. take me back!’ And she put her fingers through his fine. lifted her arms. ‘Take me back. ‘Take me back!’ she whispered. drinking. as if he were hunting something. ‘Do you want me again?’ he murmured. to almost any woman. The sea was roaring. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. She did not answer. The picture he finished on the day of his mother’s death—one that satisfied him—was the last thing he did. inscrutable fashion. He remained with his back to her.’ he   Sons and Lovers . As there was no one to keep on the home. towards her. and Paul scarcely saw her again. turned. All was dark outside.

He could leave himself to it. The days passed. everybody was in bed. He threw on some more coal. One evening he came home late to his lodging. But where was he himself? The time passed. Suddenly a piece of paper started near his feet and blew along down the pavement. He stood still. In a few moments they would cease to occupy that place. so that he could be with her again. scampered cheekily over his slippers. and he answered. with clenched fists.’ Free eBooks at Planet eBook. her eyes. in her company. Now they were there. Far away he could hear the sharp clinking of the trucks on the railway. It was perfectly still. He saw the tiny drop-pearls among the grey. He watched them as it were from a long way off. In the latter case there was pure forgetfulness. flashed into sharp phrases. yet he saw the dim smoke wavering up the  . It seemed almost a wonder they should trouble to rustle backwards and forwards. Then. rigid. They were there in their places. But he  Sons and Lovers had been with her. He wanted everything to stand still. The church clock struck two. so unreal. The two mice. He was most himself when he was alone. and decided he wanted no supper. where they had been. It was easier so. or working hard and mechanically at the factory. They would have given him the liveliest emotion at one time. could not remember what he had done. Then he sat down in the arm-chair. from time to time. His friends talked to him: he heard the sounds. He could not tell one day from another. He did not know anything.Everything seemed so different. It seemed they just as well might NOT be as be. and houses pile up in the daylight. Tall. working mechanically. it was not they that were far away. He did not want to move. There was no wrench of knowing anything. when he lapsed from consciousness. but they did not seem to mean anything. He was not thinking of anything. No. the weeks. Nothing was distinct or distinguishable. That seemed to him whole and comprehensible and restful. Unconsciously he had been with her. ‘Why trouble to go tilting down to Trent Bridges?’ he asked of the big trams. his mother. careering wildly. The first snowdrops came. But it had to come to an end. brilliant tram-cars ran along the street at night. some other consciousness. a flame of agony going over him. ‘What am I doing?’ And out of the semi-intoxicated trance came the answer: ‘Destroying myself. There seemed no reason why these things should occupy the space. And he saw again the sick-room. The swift hop of the paper reminded him she was gone. gone into a conglomerated mass. There seemed no reason why people should go along the street. that things had lost their reality. cautiously. Presently two mice came out. nibbling the fallen crumbs. It hurt him so. and just the space would be. The realest thing was the thick darkness at night. The fire was burning low. Often he lost himself for an hour at a time. glanced at the table. He had not moved a muscle. instead of leaving it empty. hardly one place from another. But everything seemed to have fused. But why there should be the noise of speech he could not understand. one week from another.

After a while. and what she had done. He would not admit that he wanted to die. live feeling. It made him pant. Everything went on there below those lamps.’ Suddenly he felt tired with the burden of  . go on with it. He wanted to give up. He saw the face of the barmaid. Then.’  Sons and Lovers ‘Marry whom?’ came the sulky question. gone in an instant. the gobbling drinkers. but sat gazing in front of him. in the distance. The real agony was that he had nowhere to go. to have done. nothing to do. ‘You’ve got to keep alive for her sake. ‘She’s dead. quite mechanically and more distinctly. Always alone. and the fire glowed red in the dark room. Sometimes he ran down the streets as if he were mad: sometimes he was mad.’ But he did not want to. They both carry on her effort. he did not want his drink. ‘As best you can. There was a sound of a heavy cart clanking down the road. He rose suddenly.’ ‘Then live. On the threshold he stood and looked at the lighted street. then on the side of life. things weren’t there. What was it all for—her struggle?’ That was his despair wanting to go after her. but a stroke of hot stubbornness inside his chest resisted his own annihilation.’ ‘Painting is not living. ‘But you can go on with your painting. mahogany board. his own glass on the slopped. nothing to say. When he got inside his bedroom and closed the door. Something felt sulky. doggedly.’ said the will in him. first on the side of death. He did not want them.’ said his will in him. He could not get into touch. went straight to bed. He would not say it. Only the mice had scuttled. abandoning himself to the sleep. with the whole force of his soul. things were there. he stood with clenched fist. his soul oscillated.Then a dull. He would not own that life had beaten him. Sometimes he stood before the bar of the public-house where he called for a drink. there was a bruising thud in the penny-in-the-slot meter. Turning abruptly. So the weeks went on.’ ‘Miriam?’ But he did not trust that. my dear—-’ he began. shut Free eBooks at Planet eBook. Suddenly the electric light went out. There was something between him and them. the conversation began again inside him. Then he stopped. as if it would not rouse. ‘Or else you can beget children. suddenly came the question: ‘Why wrong?’ Again there was no answer. Going straight to bed. ‘You’re alive. he went out. ‘You’ve got to carry forward her living. told him that it was wrong. He did not stir. he slept at once. or that death had beaten him. But he was not of it or in it.’ ‘She’s not. Everything suddenly stood back away from him.’ ‘She is—in you. Something separated him. ‘Mater. and WAS nothing himself.

But when he had made six strokes. to speak to her. through the little throngs of people outside the church. ‘I mustn’t. only till to-morrow. flaring hope sank again. A warm. She went wandering. They went down Hollow Stone. when they stood up to sing the second hymn he saw her before him.’ He turned away. happening to go into the Unitarian Church one Sunday evening.away from him. He wanted to get away from himself. or forward anywhere. everywhere. ‘Nor I. and went away. He shrank slightly from her. he went here. Sometimes the drink did him good. at any rate: some hope in heaven.’ she said—‘no. She did not know he was there. The organ was still sounding in St. She seemed to yearn. He went forward and put his hand on her arm. he loathed the pencil violently. then hid her face under her hatbrim. He could 0 Sons and Lovers nearly touch her. it’s not necessary. He ran down the road. In despair he thought of Miriam. to a place where he could flirt with a barmaid who was no more to him than the brass pump-handle she drew. She was better and bigger than he. Mary’s. for the mystery and comfort. Perhaps—perhaps—-? Then. For ever restless. and he took the car for the Bridges. The light glistened on her lower lip as she sang. He put his hope in her. She always looked so lost and out of place among 1 .’ ‘Must you go straight home?’ She looked at him.’ ‘Ha! For long?’ ‘No. then went questioning at the sight of him. strong feeling for her came up. and she went with him. He longed for the sermon to be over. ‘I’m staying at Cousin Anne’s. The church was like a great lantern suspended. in her blind way. He could not get at them. The throng carried her out just before him. not if he reached.’ he said. The stress grew inside him. She looked as if she had got something. There was nowhere for him. ‘No. He was very thin and lantern-jawed. They threaded through the throng of church people. got up. He felt stifled. neither back into the inn. he never looked at himself. He determined to work. Where could he go? There was nowhere to go. he felt he should smash. sometimes it made him worse. Her comfort and her life seemed in the after-world. humble nape of her neck under its black curls. The large coloured windows glowed up in the night. as she sang. He looked away. He saw the brown. he went in and drank. hurried off to a club where he could play cards or billiards. there.’ he said: ‘then I’ll Free eBooks at Planet eBook. She started violently. ‘You will just have supper with me. He would leave himself to her. but there was nothing to get hold of. and. He dared not meet his own eyes in the mirror. if not in earth. people were coming down the steps. His sudden.’ he said. He would depend on her. ‘I didn’t know—-’ she faltered. Her great brown eyes dilated in fear. ‘What are you doing in town?’ he asked. He felt he couldn’t touch the lamp-posts. turning blindly. Dark figures came through the lighted doors.

Miriam took off her things and looked round. and went to look over her shoulder. were on the wall. everything that was in the least personal to him. Almost afraid.’ he said. It was a bare. ‘and nothing very interesting. on the naked edge of the town. It only made her feel rather sad. ‘Then excuse me a moment. He lived down Holme Road.’ she said. and I shall probably be kept on as a teacher there. ‘By the way.bring you back. He felt again her interest in his work. and from some man or other she did not know. ‘What will you drink—coffee?’ ‘I should like it. Again he made a curious sound of surprise and pleasure. It’s not bad. Annie’s. He swung the curtain over the window. as she paused at a sketch. But there was not much in the room to help her. She turned the pages slowly. ‘There’s some not bad stuff in there. she looked up at him. The letters in the rack she saw were from Annie.’ she replied. Everything he had touched. She looked to see what books he was reading. They scarcely spoke while they were on the car.’ he said. There were only a few meaningless lines. is it?’ ‘No. Arthur. Her photo. ‘I don’t quite understand it. ‘There’s nothing new in it.’ she said. it was so hard and comfortless.’ He put down the tray.’ she answered gravely. bowing her dark head over her cup. intent on examining everything. ‘H’m!’ he said. The floods were out. She bent to them. 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 looked on the drawing-board to see what he was doing. she examined with lingering absorption. Evidently just an ordinary novel. ‘I’d forgotten that. There was a bowl of freesias and scarlet anemones on the table. ‘didn’t I hear something about your earning your own living?’ ‘Yes.’ He took the book from her and went through it.’ he said. Clara’s. She was curiously examining a sketch-book when he returned with the coffee. facing across the river meadows towards Sneinton Hermitage and the steep scrap of Colwick Wood. low and husky. ‘And what of it?’ ‘I’m merely going to the farming college at Broughton for three months.’ He went out to the kitchen. severe room. The Trent ran dark and full under the bridge. his position. He had been gone from her for so long.’ ‘Very well. The silent water and the darkness spread away on their left. Still touching them with her fingertips.’ he said. saying: ‘Aren’t they beautiful?’ ‘Yes. Supper was laid. what he was now. Away towards Colwick all was black night. she wanted to redis Sons and Lovers cover him.’ ‘I say—that sounds all right for you! You always wanted Free eBooks at Planet  . they hurried along by the houses.’ she replied. ‘Not at all bad.

and they sat down.’ She looked up at him. swallowing with difficulty. He winced as he saw them. She put her fingers between her lips. She meditated a little while. constrained way. Then he laughed mirthlessly. ‘Very glad. She suddenly took her finger from her mouth and looked at him. After supper they drew up to the fire. ‘I suppose you’re glad.’ he answered. ‘if it’s true. then looked at him. ‘About all right. She seemed old to him.’ ‘I suppose work CAN be nearly everything to a man. ‘though it isn’t to me. nervous hands were clasped over her knee.’ ‘It is. very low.’ he answered. Free eBooks at Planet eBook. They had still the lack of confidence or repose.’ ‘But I heard a month ago.’ ‘Yes. Only you’ll find earning your own living isn’t everything.’ he said.’ she said. older than Clara. it’s a great shame.’ He opened his eyes for the first time since many months. ‘you’d have told me you were trying.’ ‘No. The real and vital part is covered up. ‘And you have broken off with Clara?’ ‘Yes. A sort of stiffness.’ he said. ‘Nay. that he knew so be independent. But I don’t know everything. strewn in the chair. tortured body lay quite still in the chair. ‘Why didn’t you tell me?’ ‘I only knew last week. ‘You know. I don’t think it won’t be a great deal. almost haughtily. She was wearing a dress of dark claret colour.’ ‘But a man can give ALL himself to work?’ she asked. ‘Yes. the curls were fine and free. Still. almost of  . resentfully.’ he said. black.’ she said. ‘Why do you think it won’t?’ she asked. ‘Oh. He laughed shortly. He swung her a chair facing him. and her eyes dilated with anger. but nothing was settled then.’ She ate her food in the deliberate. Her bloom of youth had quickly gone. Her brown.’ He was rather disappointed.’ ‘I should have thought. ‘Yes. His slim.’ he said. almost as if she recoiled a little from doing anything so publicly. but her face was much older. that suited her dark complexion and her large features.’ she said.’ ‘Yes—it will be something. ‘Then.’ she said.’ His body lay like an abandoned thing. the almost hysterical look. ‘I think we ought to be married. ‘And how are things with you?’ she asked. practically.’ ‘And a woman only the unimportant part of herself?’  Sons and Lovers ‘That’s it. ‘I think it will be a great deal. ‘I don’t suppose it is.’ she said. the brown throat much thinner. She looked at him. But a woman only works with a part of herself. had come upon her. waiting.

She bowed her head in silence. But—you love me so much. ‘It is mine. she knew not with what. very near to him. Her eyes. ‘You are mine. with pain. drew her to him. slender body. he was hard. He wanted something else. But dare she? She could easily sacri Sons and Lovers fice herself. you might die.’ ‘And if we married?’ he asked. she dared not put her arms round it. It was too much for her. and could not raise her head.’ he replied. abandoned. why did not he take her? Her very soul belonged to him. ‘I know you do. put her fingers between her lips. and claim every right to it. He took her hands. Oh. shuddering. very gravely.’ then he would leave himself to her. and looked him in the eyes. smiling. to marry me?’ he said very low.’ he said slowly. I could prevent you wasting yourself and being a prey to other women—like—like Clara. ‘And what will you do otherwise?’ she asked.’ she said. pleaded to him suddenly. and comforted her. Now he was straining her again. But it strained her till she felt she would break. It called to all her woman’s instinct. ‘Why?’ he said. She turned her face aside.’ ‘I only think of you. She felt that now he lay at her mercy. ‘Not much. held his face between her hands. She drew back her head. She was aware of them. ‘Will you have me. gone. If she could rise. appealing. that seemed one stroke of life. Perhaps I shall soon go abroad. ‘See. She could not cope with it. 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.’ ‘A prey?’ he repeated. this body.’ And she wanted to. But dare she assert herself? She was aware of his dark-clothed. And I should die there smothered. his body. take him. while the bitterness surged up in her heart. She was afraid it was too much. But no. she half-lifted her head. you want to put me in your pocket. and I never know—be no more then than if I had never known  . ‘I don’t know—go on. His hands lay quite inert on the arms of his chair. put her arms round him. with him. almost distracted. He lay feeling his despair come up again.’ She bent her head. Her hands fluttered. and dared not.and attended to her with respect. But she crouched. She pleaded to him with all her love not to make it her choice. was her extremity. and say. sprawled in the chair close to her. But—could she do it? Her impotence before him. She knew she ought to take it up and claim it. and say. then. take it up. ‘how you waste yourself! You might be ill. There she crouched as if she were crushed by something. ‘Do you want it?’ she asked.’ The despairing doggedness in his tone made her go on her knees on the rug before the fire. Leave it to me. ‘that marriage would be much good. before the strong demand of some unknown thing in him. It lay there. She was afraid he would not let her. His heart caught with pity. ‘I’m not sure. I suppose. raising herself with digFree eBooks at Planet eBook.’ she replied. No. ‘At any rate.

it was all for the moment’s Free eBooks at Planet eBook. He lit a cigarette. She waited for him. It was like him to have those flowers. Brooding. wavering. in staying. He moved about the room with a certain sureness of touch. She could only sacrifice herself to him—sacrifice herself every day. ‘No. The smoke went up from it. she touched the flowers. She was not to have him. And now where would he go? And what did he care that he wasted her? He had no religion. and went quickly into the kitchen. was useless. So much he wanted to rest on her that the feint of rest only tortured him. She put her little finger between her lips. He would escape like a weasel out of her hands. and rocked him softly. But he knew that. and he took them out of the jar. took the flowers. And that he did not want. he was denying his own life. He rose quietly. then! So she could comfort him. careless about her. he was defrauding her of life. then.’ she said  . and had forgotten Miriam. in leaving her. He would destroy himself like a perverse child. and they went out together. he talking. Yet without him her life would trail on lifeless. She stood before the mirror pinning on her hat. He  Sons and Lovers lay there aloof. He drew away. with joy and authority: ‘Stop all this restlessness and beating against death. Well. In her misery she leaned against him as they sat on the car. the anguished sweetness of self-sacrifice. Where would he go? What would be the end of him? She could not bear it. She bowed her face over the flowers—the freesias so sweet and spring-like. He was unresponsive. the scarlet anemones flaunting over the table. she feeling dead. the vacant feeling where he should be.’ he answered. ‘No.nity. ‘I’ll come along with you. Suddenly she saw again his lack of religion. For her. His mouth was lifted from his teeth with pain.’ she said. his restless instability. He could not bear it—that breast which was warm and which cradled him without taking the burden of him. She was going from him now. She could not take him and relieve him of the responsibility of himself. low and like the toll of a bell. as if the glow were gone out. gladly. You are mine for a mate. it made her that he rejected her sacrifice! Life ahead looked dead. He wanted her to hold him and say. dripping as they were. swift and relentless and quiet. how unutterably bitter. I think not. He was thinking of his mother. She suddenly looked at him. he would! ‘I think I must go. so wasteful. Or was it a mate she wanted? or did she want a Christ in him? He felt. How bitter. By her tone he knew she was despising him. She sat very quiet. then. She put her fingers through his hair.’ It was the end then between them. desperate man. And he did not hope to give life to her by denying his own. ‘Have them!’ he said. never at peace with himself. stilling the inner. ‘And without marriage we can do nothing?’ he asked. Her sacrifice. the hate and misery of another failure. He was so foolish. Her bitterness came surging up. she took his head to her bosom.’ She had not the strength. She knew she could not cope with him. For him.

Everywhere the vastness and terror of the immense night which is roused and stirred for a brief while by the day. his chest. His fists were shut. into extinction. himself. a firmament below. his mouth set fast. But yet there was his body. the same silence. wherever she was. THE END Free eBooks at Planet eBook. went spinning round for terror. and he was with her still. Stars and 1 . in which everything was lost. 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. and was in another. amid all this. there he stood alone. Beyond the town the country. infinitesimal. and himself. a level fume of lights. But no. Turning sharply. have him alongside with her. his hands on the wooden bar. So much. but which returns. and yet. quickly. stretched away over the bay of railway. He walked towards the faintly humming. He wanted her to touch him. He got off the car. There was no Time. On every side the immense dark silence seemed pressing him. as he sat upon the car. a few bright grains. to the darkness. Who could say his mother had lived and did not live? She had been in one place. less than an ear of wheat lost in the field. intermingled herself. that was all. at the core a nothingness. Well. he could not be extinct. Where was he?—one tiny upright 0 Sons and Lovers speck of flesh. he walked towards the city’s gold phosphorescence. And she was gone. and will remain at last eternal. he would not give in. only Space. When he turned away he felt the last hold for him had gone. to follow her. so tiny a spark. little stars spread far away in the flood-waters. The people hurrying along the streets offered no obstruction to the void in which he found himself. He shook hands and left her at the door of her cousin’s house. but in each of them the same night. ‘Mother!’ he whispered—‘mother!’ She was the only thing that held him up. They were together. And his soul could not leave her. nothing deeper. and left them tiny and daunted. there in a darkness that outpassed them all. sprang the endless space. Now she was gone abroad into the night. They were small shadows whose footsteps and voices could be heard. glowing town. and it was there behind him. everywhere. nothing else. went reaching out. and holding each other in embrace. Little stars shone high up. When he had had enough he would give in and come to her. Night.attraction that he cared. He could not bear it. From his breast. In the country all was dead still. and yet not nothing. from his mouth. she would wait and see how it turned out with him. He would not take that direction. holding everything in its silence and its living gloom. The town. that leaned against the stile. They seemed something. beyond stars and sun. almost nothing.

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