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by D H Lawrence
The original, squashed down to read in about 35 minutes
There is nothing new about the erotic in fiction. What shocked genteel English society in Lady Chatterley was not just an aristocratic woman having a relationship with a social inferior, but the indecent exposure of upper-class sexual habits with their preference for dynasty above love, and, worst of all, that in a new, affordable 'Penguin' paperback, the lower orders could read about it. Prosecuted in England for obscenity in 1960, the jury were asked if this was a book they would wish their servants to read. They decided that, now, it was.
Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically. The cataclysm has happened, we are among the ruins, we start to build up new little habitats, to have new little hopes. We've got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen.
This was more or less Constance Chatterley's position. The war had brought the roof down over her head. She married Clifford Chatterley in 1917, when he was home for a month on leave. They had a month's honeymoon. Then he went back to Flanders: to be shipped over to England again six months later, more or less in bits, with the lower half of his body, from the hips down, paralysed for ever. Constance, was then twenty-three years old, and he was twenty-nine.
This was in 1920. They returned, Clifford and Constance, to his home, Wragby Hall, the family 'seat'. His father had died, Clifford was now a baronet, Sir Clifford, and Constance was Lady Chatterley. Crippled for ever, knowing he could never have any children, Clifford came home to the smoky Midlands to keep the Chatterley name alive while he could.
He was not really downcast. He could wheel himself about in a wheeled chair, and he had a bath-chair with a small motor attachment, so he could drive himself slowly round the garden and into the melancholy park, of which he was really so proud.
Constance was a ruddy, country-looking girl with soft brown hair and sturdy body, and slow movements, full of unusual energy. Her father was the once well-known R.A., her mother one of the cultivated Fabians in the palmy, rather pre-Raphaelite days. Constance and her sister Hilda had been taken to Paris and Florence and Rome to breathe in art, and they had been taken also to the Hague and Berlin, to great Socialist conventions.
Both Hilda and Constance had had their tentative love-affairs by the time they were eighteen. And however one might sentimentalize it, this sex business was one of the most ancient, sordid connexions and subjections. Poets who glorified it were mostly men. Women had always known there was something better, something higher, than mere crisis and orgasm.
Wragby was a long low old house in brown stone, a warren of a place without much distinction. It stood on an eminence in a rather old park of oak trees, but alas, one could see in the near distance the chimney of Tevershall pit, with its clouds of steam and smoke, and on the damp, hazy distance of the hill the raw straggle of Tevershall village, a village which began almost at the park gates, and trailed in utter hopeless ugliness for a long and gruesome mile.
Connie was accustomed to Kensington or the Scotch hills. With the stoicism of the young she took in the utter, soulless ugliness of the coal-and-iron Midlands at a glance.
Connie and Clifford were attached to one another, in the aloof modern way. He was a hurt thing. And as such Connie stuck to him passionately. But she could not help feeling how little connexion he really had with people. The miners were, in a sense, his own men; but he saw them as objects rather than men, parts of the pit rather than parts of life.
He had taken to writing stories; curious, very personal stories about people he had known. Clever, rather spiteful, and yet, in some mysterious way, meaningless. They appeared in the most modern magazines, and were praised and blamed as usual.
Connie's father, where he paid a flying visit to Wragby, said to her: 'I hope you won't let circumstances force you into being a demi-vierge - a half virgin. Why don't you get yourself a beau, Connie? Do you all the good in the world.'
Time went on. Whatever happened, nothing happened. Time went on as the clock does, half past eight instead of half past seven.
Connie was aware of a growing restlessness. And she was getting thinner. Vaguely she knew herself that she was going to pieces in some way.
That winter Michaelis came for a few days. He was a young Irishman who had made a large fortune by his plays in America. He arrived in a very neat car, with a chauffeur and a manservant. He was absolutely Bond Street, this Dublin mongrel!
He sent a servant to ask, could he be of any service to Lady Chatterley: he thought of driving into Sheffield. The answer came, would he care to go up to Lady Chatterley's sitting-room.
Connie had a sitting-room on the third floor, the top floor of the central portion of the house. Clifford's rooms were on the ground floor, of course. She and Michaelis sit on opposite sides of the fire and talked.
He was a curious and very gentle lover, very gentle with the woman, trembling uncontrollably, and yet at the same time detached, aware, aware of every sound outside.
To her it meant nothing except that she gave herself to him.
'And now, I suppose you'll hate me, they mostly do,' he said; then he caught himself up. 'I mean...a woman is supposed to.'
'No, I don't hate you,' she said. 'I think you're nice.'
Connie always had a foreboding of the hopelessness of her affair with Mick, as people called him. Yet she was attached to Clifford.
Clifford was making strides into fame, and even money. People came to see him. Connie nearly always had somebody at Wragby. But if they weren't mackerel they were herring, with an occasional cat-fish, or conger-eel.
There were a few regular men, constants; men who had been at Cambridge with Clifford. There was Tommy Dukes, who had remained in the army, and was a Brigadier-General. 'The army leaves me time to think, and saves me from having to face the battle of life,' he said.
There was Charles May, an Irishman, who wrote scientifically about stars. There was Hammond, another writer. All were about the same age as Clifford; the young intellectuals of the day. They all believed in the life of the mind. What you did apart from that was your private affair, and didn't much matter.
There was a gorgeous talk on Sunday evening, when the conversation drifted to love.
'The whole point about the sexual problem,' said Hammond, 'is that there is no point to it. We don't want to follow a man into the w.c., so why should we want to follow him into bed with a woman?'
'Quite, Hammond, quite! But if someone starts making love to Julia, you begin to simmer.'...Julia was Hammond's wife.
'Blest be the tie that binds', said Tommy Dukes. 'The tie that binds us just now is mental friction on one another. And, apart from that, there's damned little tie between us. We bust apart, and say spiteful things about one another, like all the other damned intellectuals in the world. Always has been so! Look at Socrates and his bunch round him! And Jesus, telling his disciples little Sunday stories. No, there's something wrong with the mental life, radically. It's rooted in spite and envy, envy and spite.'
On a frosty morning with a little February sun, Clifford and Connie went for a walk across the park to the wood. That is, Clifford chuffed in his motor-chair, and Connie walked beside him.
The sheep coughed in the rough, sere grass of the park, where frost lay bluish in the sockets of the tufts. Clifford loved the wood; he loved the old oak-trees. He felt they were his own through generations. He wanted to protect them. He wanted this place inviolate, shut off from the world.
'I consider this is really the heart of England,' said Clifford to Connie, 'I mind more, not having a son, when I come here, than any other time,' he said.
'I'm sorry we can't have a son,' she said.
'It would almost be a good thing if you had a child by another man, he said. 'If we brought it up at Wragby, it would belong to us and to the place.'
'But what about the other man?' she asked.
'Does it matter very much? Do these things really affect us very deeply?'
She was watching a brown spaniel that had run out of a side-path, and was looking towards them with lifted nose, making a soft, fluffy bark. A man with a gun strode swiftly, softly out. It was only the new game-keeper, but he had frightened Connie, he seemed to emerge with such a swift menace. That was how she had seen him, like the sudden rush of a threat out of nowhere. He was a man in dark green velveteens and gaiters...the old style, with a red face and red moustache and distant eyes.
'Mellors!' called Clifford.
The man faced lightly round, and saluted with a quick little gesture, a soldier!
'Will you turn the chair round and get it started?' said Clifford.
'Connie, this is the new game-keeper, Mellors.'
He gave another slight bow, turned, put his hat on, and strode to take hold of the chair. Clifford started the little engine, the man carefully turned the chair, and set it nose-forwards to the incline that curved gently to the dark hazel thicket.
'Thanks for the help, Mellors,' said Clifford casually.
'Good morning, Sir.'
'Good morning!' said Connie, looking back at the keeper.
His eyes came to hers in an instant, as if wakened up. He was aware of her.
Then his voice dropped again into the broad sound of the vernacular: 'Good mornin' to your Ladyship!'
The next afternoon she went to the wood again. The place was a little sinister, cold, damp. And she noticed a narrow track between young fir-trees, a track that seemed to lead nowhere. She saw a secret little clearing, and a secret little hut made of rustic poles. And she had never been here before! She realized it was the quiet place where the growing pheasants were reared; the keeper in his shirt-sleeves was kneeling, hammering.
He straightened himself and saluted, watching her in silence, as she came forward with weakening limbs. He resented the intrusion; he cherished his solitude as his only and last freedom in life.
'I wondered what the hammering was,' she said, feeling weak and breathless, and a little afraid of him, as he looked so straight at her.
'Ah'm gettin' th' coops ready for th' young bods,' he said, in broad vernacular.
'I should like to sit down a bit,' she said.
'Come and sit 'ere i' th' 'ut,' he said. 'Am Ah t' light yer a little fire?'
'Oh, don't bother,' she replied.
'Sit 'ere then a bit, and warm yer,' he said.
She obeyed him. The hut was quite cosy, panelled with unvarnished deal, having a little rustic table and stool beside her chair, and a carpenter's bench, then a big box, tools, new boards, nails.
'It is so nice here, so restful,' she said. 'Do you lock the hut when you're not here?'
'Yes, your Ladyship.'
'Do you think I could have a key too, so that I could sit here sometimes?'
Their eyes met. His had a cold, ugly look of dislike and contempt, and indifference to what would happen. Hers were hot with rebuff.
'Afternoon, my Lady!' She had wakened the sleeping dogs of old voracious anger in him, anger against the self-willed female. And he was powerless, powerless. He knew it!
She looked at him.
'Why don't you speak ordinary English?' she said coldly.
'Me! AH thowt it wor ordinary.'
Connie was surprised at her own feeling of aversion from Clifford. And Clifford the same. All that talk! All that writing! But at least, Clifford was shifting his grip from her on to his nurse, Mrs Bolton.
Mrs Bolton was admirable in many ways. But she had that queer sort of bossiness, endless assertion of her own will, which is one of the signs of insanity in modern woman. She thought she was utterly subservient and living for others.
Nevertheless, one got a new vision of Tevershall village from Mrs Bolton's talk. A terrible, seething welter of ugly life it seemed: not at all the flat drabness it looked from outside. Clifford of course knew by sight most of the people mentioned, Connie knew only one or two. But it sounded really more like a Central African jungle than an English village.
'Is there much Socialism, Bolshevism, among the people?' Clifford asked.
'Oh!' said Mrs Bolton, 'you hear a few loud-mouthed ones. But I don't believe you'll ever turn our Tevershall men into reds. They're too decent for that.'
Under Mrs Bolton's influence, Clifford began to take a new interest in the mines. He began to feel he belonged.
Connie was a good deal alone now, fewer people came to Wragby. Clifford no longer wanted them. He had turned against even the cronies. She fled as much as possible to the wood. One afternoon, as she sat brooding, the keeper had strode up to her.
'I got you a key made, my Lady!' he said, saluting, and he offered her the key.
'But I didn't want you to trouble!' she said.
'I am setting the hens in about a week. But they won't be scared of you.'
He seemed kindly, but distant. But at least he was sane, and wholesome, if even he looked thin and ill. A cough troubled him.
'You have a cough,' she said.
'Nothing - a cold! The last pneumonia left me with a cough, but it's nothing.'
He had made the hut tidy, put the little table and chair near the fireplace, left a little pile of kindling and small logs, and put the tools and traps away as far as possible, effacing himself. And, one day when she came, she found two brown hens sitting alert and fierce in the coops, sitting on pheasants' eggs, and fluffed out so proud and deep in all the heat of the pondering female blood. This almost broke Connie's heart. She, herself was so forlorn and unused, not a female at all, just a mere thing of terrors.
One evening, guests or no guests, she escaped after tea. She arrived at the clearing flushed and semi-conscious. The keeper was there, in his shirt-sleeves, just closing up the coops for the night, so the little occupants would be safe.
'I had to come and see the chickens!' she said, panting, glancing shyly at the keeper, almost unaware of him. 'Are there any more?'
'Thurty-six so far!' he said. 'Not bad!'
'I'd love to touch them,' she said, putting her fingers gingerly through the bars of the coop.
The man standing above her laughed, and crouched down beside her, knees apart, and put his hand with quiet confidence slowly into the coop. And slowly, softly, with sure gentle fingers, he felt among the old bird's feathers and drew out a faintly-peeping chick in his closed hand.
'There!' he said, holding out his hand to her. She took the little drab thing between her hands, and there it stood, on its impossible little stalks of legs, its atom of balancing life trembling through its almost weightless feet into Connie's hands.
The keeper, squatting beside her, saw a tear fall on to her wrist.
And he stood up, and stood away, moving to the other coop. For suddenly he was aware of the old flame shooting and leaping up in his loins, that he had hoped was quiescent for ever.
'You shouldn't cry,' he said softly.'Shall you come to the hut?'
His face was pale and without expression, like that of a man submitting to fate.
'You lie there,' he said softly, and he shut the door, so that it was dark, quite dark.
With a queer obedience, she lay down on the blanket. Then she felt the soft, groping, helplessly desirous hand touching her body, feeling for her face. The hand stroked her face softly, softly, with infinite soothing and assurance, and at last there was the soft touch of a kiss on her cheek.
She lay quite still, in a sort of sleep, in a sort of dream. Then she quivered as she felt his hand groping softly, yet with queer thwarted clumsiness, among her clothing. Yet the hand knew, too, how to unclothe her where it wanted. Then with a quiver of exquisite pleasure he touched the warm soft body, and touched her navel for a moment in a kiss. And he had to come in to her at once, to enter the peace on earth of her soft, quiescent body. It was the moment of pure peace for him, the entry into the body of the woman.
She lay still, in a kind of sleep, always in a kind of sleep. The activity, the orgasm was his, all his; she could strive for herself no more. Even the tightness of his arms round her, even the intense movement of his body, and the springing of his seed in her, was a kind of sleep, from which she did not begin to rouse till he had finished and lay softly panting against her breast.
Then she wondered, just dimly wondered, why? Why was this necessary? Was it real? Was it real? She was old; millions of years old, she felt. She was to be had for the taking. To be had for the taking.
She saw a very brilliant little moon shining above the afterglow over the oaks. Quickly she got up and arranged herself she was tidy. Then she went to the door of the hut.
'You aren't sorry, are you?' he asked, as he went at her side.
'No! No! Are you?' she said.
'In a way!' he replied, looking up at the sky. 'I thought I'd done with it all. Now I've begun again.'
'Life!' she re-echoed, with a queer thrill.
He kissed her softly, softly, with the kisses of warmth.
'Shall I come again?' she asked wistfully.
The next day she did not go to the wood. She went instead with Clifford to Uthwaite to see his godfather, Leslie Winter, who lived at Shipley Hall. Towards Connie the Squire was always rather gallant; he himself had no heir.
Connie wondered what he would say if he knew that Clifford's game-keeper had been having intercourse with her, and saying to her 'tha mun come to th' cottage one time.' He would detest and despise her, for he had come almost to hate the shoving forward of the working classes. A man of her own class he would not mind.
She did not go to the wood that day nor the next, nor the day following. She did not go so long as she felt, or imagined she felt, the man waiting for her, wanting her. But the fourth day she was terribly unsettled and uneasy. She called at Marehay Farm, the Flints were Chatterley tenants, and was persuaded in to admire Mrs Flint's new baby.
Connie climbed the fence into the narrow path between the dense, bristling young firs. Yes, Mrs Flint had flaunted her motherhood. And Connie had been just a bit, just a little bit jealous. She couldn't help it.
She started out of her muse, and gave a little cry of fear. A man was there.
It was the keeper. He stood in the path like Balaam's ass, barring her way.
'And were you going to the hut now?' he asked rather sternly.
'No! I mustn't. I stayed at Marehay. No one knows where I am. I'm late. I've got to run.'
'Giving me the slip, like?' he said, with a faint ironic smile. 'No! No. Not that. Only - '
'Oh, not now, not now,' she cried, trying to push him away.
'Why not? It's only six o'clock. You've got half an hour. Nay! Nay! I want you.'
He held her fast and she felt his urgency. He looked around.
He led her through the wall of prickly trees, that were difficult to come through, to a place where was a little space and a pile of dead boughs. He threw one or two dry ones down, put his coat and waistcoat over them, and she had to lie down there under the boughs of the tree, like an animal, while he waited, standing there in his shirt and breeches, watching her with haunted eyes.
He bared the front part of his body and she felt his naked flesh against her as he came into her. Then as he began to move, in the sudden helpless orgasm, there awoke in her new strange thrills rippling inside her. Rippling, rippling, rippling, like a flapping overlapping of soft flames, soft as feathers, running to points of brilliance, exquisite, exquisite and melting her all molten inside. She lay unconscious of the wild little cries she uttered at the last. But it was over too soon, too soon, and she could no longer force her own conclusion with her own activity.
But he drew away at last, and kissed her and covered her over.
She turned and looked at him. 'We came off together that time,' he said.
She did not answer.
'It's good when it's like that. Most folks live their lives through and they never know it,' he said, speaking rather dreamily.
'Don't people often come off together?' she asked with naive curiosity.
'A good many of them never. You can see by the raw look of them.' He spoke unwittingly, regretting he had begun.
'Have you come off like that with other women?'
He looked at her amused.
'I don't know,' he said, 'I don't know.'
He put on his waistcoat and his coat, and pushed a way through to the path again.
Connie went slowly home, realizing the depth of the other thing in her. Another self was alive in her, burning molten and soft in her womb and bowels, and with this self she adored him. In her womb and bowels she was flowing and alive now and vulnerable, and helpless in adoration of him as the most naive woman. It feels like a child, she said to herself it feels like a child in me. And so it did, as if her womb, that had always been shut, had opened and filled with new life, almost a burden, yet lovely.
Connie was sorting out one of the Wragby lumber rooms. Wrapped up carefully to preserve it from damage and dry-rot was the old family cradle, of rosewood.
'It's thousand pities it won't be called for,' sighed Mrs Bolton, who was helping.
'It might be called for. I might have a child,' said Connie casually, as if saying she might have a new hat.
'You mean if anything happened to Sir Clifford!' stammered Mrs Bolton.
'No! I mean as things are. It's only muscular paralysis with Sir Clifford - it doesn't affect him,' said Connie, lying as naturally as breathing.
'Well, my Lady, I only hope and pray you may. It would be lovely for you: and for everybody. My word, a child in Wragby, what a difference it would make!'
But oh my dear! Mrs Bolton was thinking to herself. Is it Oliver Mellors' child you're preparing us for? Oh my dear, that would be a Tevershall baby in the Wragby cradle, my word! Wouldn't shame it, neither!
'I had a letter from Father this morning,' Connie said. 'He wants to know if I am aware he has accepted Sir Alexander Cooper's Invitation for me for July and August, to the Villa Esmeralda in Venice.'
'Well,' said Clifford slowly, and a little gloomily. 'I suppose I could stand it for three weeks: if I were absolutely sure you'd want to come back.'
'I should want to come back,' she said, with a quiet simplicity, heavy with conviction. She was thinking of the other man.
She went away gloomily. But she was going as a sort of discipline: and also because, if she had a child, Clifford could think she had a lover in Venice.
It was already May, and in June they were supposed to start. Always these arrangements! The car ploughed uphill through the long squalid straggle of Tevershall, the blackened brick dwellings, the black slate roofs glistening their sharp edges, the mud black with coal-dust, the pavements wet and black. What could possibly become of such a people, a people in whom the living intuitive faculty was dead as nails, and only queer mechanical yells and uncanny will-power remained?
Merrie England! Shakespeare's England! No, but the England of today, as Connie had realized since she had come to live in it. Half-corpses, all of them: but with a terrible insistent consciousness in the other half. Yet Mellors had come out of all this! - Yes, but he was as apart from it all as she was.
Children from such men! Oh God, oh God!
Connie went to the wood directly after lunch. It was really a lovely day, the first dandelions making suns, the first daisies so white. Everywhere the bud-knots and the leap of life!
The keeper was not at the hut. Connie walked on towards the cottage, because she wanted to find him.
The cottage stood in the sun, off the wood's edge. He rose, and came to the door, wiping his mouth with a red handkerchief still chewing.
'May I come in?' she said.
On the table was his plate, with potatoes and the remains of the chop; also bread in a basket, salt, and a blue mug with beer. The table-cloth was white oil-cloth, he stood in the shade.
'I'm going away for a while next month,' she said.
'You are! Where to?'
'Venice! For a month or so,' she replied. 'Clifford won't go. He hates to travel as he is.'
'Ay, poor devil!' he said, with sympathy.
'I might have a love-affair in Venice,' she said.
'You might,' he replied slowly. 'So that's why you're going?'
'Not to have the love-affair,' she said, looking up at him, pleading.
'Just the appearance of one,' he said.
There was silence. He sat staring out the window, with a faint grin, half mockery, half bitterness, on his face. She hated his grin.
'That was why you wanted me, then, to get a child? 'Well,' he said at last. 'It's as your Ladyship likes. If you get the baby, Sir Clifford's welcome to it. I shan't have lost anything. On the contrary, I've had a very nice experience, very nice indeed!'
'But I didn't make use of you,' she said, pleading. 'I liked your body.'
'Did you?' he replied, and he laughed. 'Well, then, we're quits, because I liked yours.'
'Shall us go i' th' 'ut?' he asked.
'Do you want me?' she asked, in a sort of mistrust.
'Ay, if you want to come.'
She was silent.
'Come then!' he said.
He spread the blankets, putting one at the side for a coverlet. She took off her hat, and shook her hair. He sat down, taking off his shoes and gaiters, and undoing his cord breeches.
'Eh, but tha'rt nice, tha'rt nice!' he said, suddenly rubbing his face with a snuggling movement against her warm belly.
And she put her arms round him under his shirt, but she was afraid, afraid of his thin, smooth, naked body, that seemed so powerful, afraid of the violent muscles. She began to weep.
'What's amiss?' he said. 'It's once in a while that way.'
'I...I can't love you,' she sobbed, suddenly feeling her heart breaking.
'Canna ter? Well, dunna fret! There's no law says as tha's got to. Ta'e it for what it is.'
'How strange!' she said slowly. 'How strange he stands there! So big! and so dark and cock-sure! Is he like that?'
'So proud!' she murmured, uneasy. 'And so lordly! Now I know why men are so overbearing! But he's lovely, really. Like another being! A bit terrifying! But lovely really!'
'Ay!' he said at last, in a little voice. 'Ay ma lad! Theer on thy own, eh? Art boss? of me? Dost want her? Dost want my lady Jane? Ay, th' cheek on thee! Cunt, that's what tha're after. Tell lady Jane tha wants cunt.
'Oh, don't tease him,' said Connie, crawling on her knees on the bed towards him and putting her arms round his white slender loins.
'Lie down!' he said. 'Lie down! Let me come!' He was in a hurry now.
'John Thomas! John Thomas!' and she quickly kissed the soft penis, that was beginning to stir again.
There was silence through the lovely dewy wood. But they were together in a world of their own.
Connie had been at Venice a fortnight, and was in a sort of stupor of well-being. From which a letter of Clifford roused her.
We too have had our mild local excitement. It appears the truant wife of Mellors, the keeper, turned up. He beat a retreat and retired, it is said, to his mother's house in Tevershall. This Bertha Coutts has blown off an amazing quantity of poison-gas. She has aired in detail all those incidents of her conjugal life which are usually buried down in the deepest grave of matrimonial silence. Humanity has always had a strange avidity for unusual sexual postures, and if a man likes to use his wife, as Benvenuto Cellini says, 'in the Italian way', well that is a matter of taste. The execrable Bertha Coutts has discovered, at the top of her voice, that her husband has been 'keeping' women down at the cottage, and has made a few random shots at naming the women. Meanwhile, my dear Connie, if you would enjoy to stay in Venice or in Switzerland till the beginning of August, I should be glad to think you were out of all this buzz of nastiness.
The irritation, and the lack of any sympathy in any direction, of Clifford's letter, had a bad effect on Connie. But she understood it better when she received the following from Mellors:
The cat is out of the bag, along with various other pussies. You have heard that my wife Bertha came back to my unloving arms, and took up her abode in the cottage. Unfortunately, she found one of your books, with your name on the front page. I shall go to London, and my old landlady, Mrs Inger, 17 Coburg Square, will either give me a room or will find one for me.
In London on the Monday following, they walked together by the remoter streets to Coburg Square, where he had a room at the top of the house, an attic room where he cooked for himself on a gas ring. It was small, but decent and tidy.
'Say you're glad about the child,' she said.
'I've a dread of puttin' children i' th' world,' he said. 'I've such a dread o' th' future for 'em.'
So Connie left Wragby, and went on with Hilda to Scotland. Mellors went into the country and got work on a farm. The idea was, he should get his divorce, if possible, whether Connie got hers or not. And for six months he should work at farming, so that eventually he and Connie could have some small farm of their own, into which he could put his energy. So they would have to wait till spring was in, till the baby was born, till the early summer came round again.
The Grange Farm, Old Heanor 29 September: Here I get thirty shillings a week as labourer. Patience, always patience. This is my fortieth winter. But I'll stick to my little Pentecost flame, and have some peace. And if you're in Scotland and I'm in the Midlands, and I can't put my arms round you, and wrap my legs round you, yet I've got something of you. We fucked a flame into being. So I love chastity now, because it is the peace that comes of fucking. I love being chaste now. I love it as snowdrops love the snow.
Well, so many words, because I can't touch you. If I could sleep with my arms round you, the ink could stay in the bottle. We could be chaste together just as we can fuck together. But we have to be separate for a while, and I suppose it is really the wiser way. But a great deal of us is together, and we can but abide by it, and steer our courses to meet soon. John Thomas says good-night to Lady Jane, a little droopingly, but with a hopeful heart.
● Copyright © 2014 Glyn Hughes.
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