From the first, the baby stirred in the young father a deep, strong emotion h_ared scarcely acknowledge, it was so strong and came out of the dark of him.
When he heard the child cry, a terror possessed him, because of the answerin_cho from the unfathomed distances in himself. Must he know in himself suc_istances, perilous and imminent?
He had the infant in his arms, he walked backwards and forwards troubled b_he crying of his own flesh and blood. This was his own flesh and bloo_rying! His soul rose against the voice suddenly breaking out from him, fro_he distances in him.
Sometimes in the night, the child cried and cried, when the night was heav_nd sleep oppressed him. And half asleep, he stretched out his hand to put i_ver the baby's face to stop the crying. But something arrested his hand: th_ery inhumanness of the intolerable, continuous crying arrested him. It was s_mpersonal, without cause or object. Yet he echoed to it directly, his sou_nswered its madness. It filled him with terror, almost with frenzy.
He learned to acquiesce to this, to submit to the awful, obliterated source_hich were the origin of his living tissue. He was not what he conceive_imself to be! Then he was what he was, unknown, potent, dark.
He became accustomed to the child, he knew how to lift and balance the littl_ody. The baby had a beautiful, rounded head that moved him passionately. H_ould have fought to the last drop to defend that exquisite, perfect roun_ead.
He learned to know the little hands and feet, the strange, unseeing, golden- brown eyes, the mouth that opened only to cry, or to suck, or to show a queer, toothless laugh. He could almost understand even the dangling legs, which a_irst had created in him a feeling of aversion. They could kick in their quee_ittle way, they had their own softness.
One evening, suddenly, he saw the tiny, living thing rolling naked in th_other's lap, and he was sick, it was so utterly helpless and vulnerable an_xtraneous; in a world of hard surfaces and varying altitudes, it la_ulnerable and naked at every point. Yet it was quite blithe. And yet, in it_lind, awful crying, was there not the blind, far-off terror of its ow_ulnerable nakedness, the terror of being so utterly delivered over, helples_t every point. He could not bear to hear it crying. His heart strained an_tood on guard against the whole universe.
But he waited for the dread of these days to pass; he saw the joy coming. H_aw the lovely, creamy, cool little ear of the baby, a bit of dark hair rubbe_o a bronze floss, like bronze-dust. And he waited, for the child to becom_is, to look at him and answer him.
It had a separate being, but it was his own child. His flesh and bloo_ibrated to it. He caught the baby to his breast with his passionate, clappin_augh. And the infant knew him.
As the newly-opened, newly-dawned eyes looked at him, he wanted them t_erceive him, to recognise him. Then he was verified. The child knew him, _ueer contortion of laughter came on its face for him. He caught it to hi_reast, clapping with a triumphant laugh.
The golden-brown eyes of the child gradually lit up and dilated at the sigh_f the dark-glowing face of the youth. It knew its mother better, it wante_ts mother more. But the brightest, sharpest little ecstasy was for th_ather.
It began to be strong, to move vigorously and freely, to make sounds lik_ords. It was a baby girl now. Already it knew his strong hands, it exulted i_is strong clasp, it laughed and crowed when he played with it.
And his heart grew red-hot with passionate feeling for the child. She was no_uch more than a year old when the second baby was born. Then he took Ursul_or his own. She his first little girl. He had set his heart on her.
The second had dark blue eyes and a fair skin: it was more a Brangwen, peopl_aid. The hair was fair. But they forgot Anna's stiff blonde fleece o_hildhood. They called the newcomer Gudrun.
This time, Anna was stronger, and not so eager. She did not mind that the bab_as not a boy. It was enough that she had milk and could suckle her child: Oh, oh, the bliss of the little life sucking the milk of her body! Oh, oh, oh th_liss, as the infant grew stronger, of the two tiny hands clutching, catchin_lindly yet passionately at her breast, of the tiny mouth seeking her i_lind, sure, vital knowledge, of the sudden consummate peace as the littl_ody sank, the mouth and throat sucking, sucking, sucking, drinking life fro_er to make a new life, almost sobbing with passionate joy of receiving it_wn existence, the tiny hands clutching frantically as the nipple was draw_ack, not to be gainsaid. This was enough for Anna. She seemed to pass of_nto a kind of rapture of motherhood, her rapture of motherhood wa_verything.
So that the father had the elder baby, the weaned child, the golden-brown, wondering vivid eyes of the little Ursula were for him, who had waited behin_he mother till the need was for him. The mother felt a sharp stab o_ealousy. But she was still more absorbed in the tiny baby. It was entirel_ers, its need was direct upon her.
So Ursula became the child of her father's heart. She was the little blossom, he was the sun. He was patient, energetic, inventive for her. He taught he_ll the funny little things, he filled her and roused her to her fullest tin_easure. She answered him with her extravagant infant's laughter and her cal_f delight.
Now there were two babies, a woman came in to do the housework. Anna wa_holly nurse. Two babies were not too much for her. But she hated any form o_ork, now her children had come, except the charge of them.
When Ursula toddled about, she was an absorbed, busy child, always amusin_erself, needing not much attention from other people. At evening, towards si_'clock, Anna very often went across the lane to the stile, lifted Ursula ove_nto the field, with a: "Go and meet Daddy." Then Brangwen, coming up th_teep round of the hill, would see before him on the brow of the path a tiny, tottering, windblown little mite with a dark head, who, as soon as she sa_im, would come running in tiny, wild, windmill fashion, lifting her arms u_nd down to him, down the steep hill. His heart leapt up, he ran his fastes_o her, to catch her, because he knew she would fall. She came fluttering on, wildly, with her little limbs flying. And he was glad when he caught her up i_is arms. Once she fell as she came flying to him, he saw her pitch forwar_uddenly as she was running with her hands lifted to him; and when he picke_er up, her mouth was bleeding. He could never bear to think of it, he alway_anted to cry, even when he was an old man and she had become a stranger t_im. How he loved that little Ursula!-his heart had been sharply seared fo_er, when he was a youth, first married.
When she was a little older, he would see her recklessly climbing over th_ars of the stile, in her red pinafore, swinging in peril and tumbling over, picking herself up and flitting towards him. Sometimes she liked to ride o_is shoulder, sometimes she preferred to walk with his hand, sometimes sh_ould fling her arms round his legs for a moment, then race free again, whils_e went shouting and calling to her, a child along with her. He was still onl_ tall, thin, unsettled lad of twenty-two.
It was he who had made her her cradle, her little chair, her little stool, he_igh chair. It was he who would swing her up to table or who would make fo_er a doll out of an old table-leg, whilst she watched him, saying:
"Make her eyes, Daddy, make her eyes!"
And he made her eyes with his knife.
She was very fond of adorning herself, so he would tie a piece of cotton roun_er ear, and hang a blue bead on it underneath for an ear-ring. The ear-ring_aried with a red bead, and a golden bead, and a little pearl bead. And as h_ame home at night, seeing her bridling and looking very self-conscious, h_ook notice and said:
"So you're wearing your best golden and pearl ear-rings, to-day?"
"I suppose you've been to see the queen?"
"Yes, I have."
"Oh, and what had she to say?"
"She said-she said-'You won't dirty your nice white frock."'
He gave her the nicest bits from his plate, putting them into her red, mois_outh. And he would make on a piece of bread-and-butter a bird, out of jam: which she ate with extraordinary relish.
After the tea-things were washed up, the woman went away, leaving the famil_ree. Usually Brangwen helped in the bathing of the children. He held lon_iscussions with his child as she sat on his knee and he unfastened he_lothes. And he seemed to be talking really of momentous things, dee_oralities. Then suddenly she ceased to hear, having caught sight of a glassi_olled into a corner. She slipped away, and was in no hurry to return.
"Come back here," he said, waiting. She became absorbed, taking no notice.
"Come on," he repeated, with a touch of command.
An excited little chuckle came from her, but she pretended to be absorbed.
"Do you hear, Milady?"
She turned with a fleeting, exulting laugh. He rushed on her, and swept he_p.
"Who was it that didn't come!" he said, rolling her between his strong hands, tickling her. And she laughed heartily, heartily. She loved him that h_ompelled her with his strength and decision. He was all-powerful, the towe_f strength which rose out of her sight.
When the children were in bed, sometimes Anna and he sat and talked, desultorily, both of them idle. He read very little. Anything he was drawn t_ead became a burning reality to him, another scene outside his window.
Whereas Anna skimmed through a book to see what happened, then she had enough.
Therefore they would often sit together, talking desultorily. What was reall_etween them they could not utter. Their words were only accidents in th_utual silence. When they talked, they gossiped. She did not care for sewing.
She had a beautiful way of sitting musing, gratefully, as if her heart wer_it up. Sometimes she would turn to him, laughing, to tell him some littl_hing that had happened during the day. Then he would laugh, they would tal_while, before the vital, physical silence was between them again.
She was thin but full of colour and life. She was perfectly happy to do jus_othing, only to sit with a curious, languid dignity, so careless as to b_lmost regal, so utterly indifferent, so confident. The bond between them wa_ndefinable, but very strong. It kept everyone else at a distance.
His face never changed whilst she knew him, it only became more intense. I_as ruddy and dark in its abstraction, not very human, it had a strong, inten_rightness. Sometimes, when his eyes met hers, a yellow flash from them cause_ darkness to swoon over her consciousness, electric, and a slight strang_augh came on his face. Her eyes would turn languidly, then close, as i_ypnotised. And they lapsed into the same potent darkness. He had the qualit_f a young black cat, intent, unnoticeable, and yet his presence graduall_ade itself felt, stealthily and powerfully took hold of her. He called, no_o her, but to something in her, which responded subtly, out of he_nconscious darkness.
So they were together in a darkness, passionate, electric, for ever hauntin_he back of the common day, never in the light. In the light, he seemed t_leep, unknowing. Only she knew him when the darkness set him free, and h_ould see with his gold-glowing eyes his intention and his desires in th_ark. Then she was in a spell, then she answered his harsh, penetrating cal_ith a soft leap of her soul, the darkness woke up, electric, bristling wit_n unknown, overwhelming insinuation.
By now they knew each other; she was the daytime, the daylight, he was th_hadow, put aside, but in the darkness potent with an overwhelmin_oluptuousness.
She learned not to dread and to hate him, but to fill herself with him, t_ive herself to his black, sensual power, that was hidden all the daytime. An_he curious rolling of the eyes, as if she were lapsing in a trance away fro_er ordinary consciousness became habitual with her, when something threatene_nd opposed her in life, the conscious life.
So they remained as separate in the light, and in the thick darkness, married.
He supported her daytime authority, kept it inviolable at last. And she, i_ll the darkness, belonged to him, to his close, insinuating, hypnoti_amiliarity.
All his daytime activity, all his public life, was a kind of sleep. She wante_o be free, to belong to the day. And he ran avoiding the day in work. Afte_ea, he went to the shed to his carpentry or his wood- carving. He wa_estoring the patched, degraded pulpit to its original form.
But he loved to have the child near him, playing by his feet. She was a piec_f light that really belonged to him, that played within his darkness. He lef_he shed door on the latch. And when, with his second sense of anothe_resence, he knew she was coming, he was satisfied, he was at rest. When h_as alone with her, he did not want to take notice, to talk. He wanted to liv_nthinking, with her presence flickering upon him.
He always went in silence. The child would push open the shed door, and se_im working by lamplight, his sleeves rolled back. His clothes hung about him, carelessly, like mere wrapping. Inside, his body was concentrated with _lexible, charged power all of its own, isolated. From when she was a tin_hild Ursula could remember his forearm, with its fine black hairs and it_lectric flexibility, working at the bench through swift, unnoticeabl_ovements, always ambushed in a sort of silence.
She hung a moment in the door of the shed, waiting for him to notice her. H_urned, his black, curved eyebrows arching slightly.
And he closed the door behind her. Then the child was happy in the shed tha_melled of sweet wood and resounded to the noise of the plane or the hammer o_he saw, yet was charged with the silence of the worker. She played on, inten_nd absorbed, among the shavings and the little nogs of wood. She neve_ouched him: his feet and legs were near, she did not approach them.
She liked to flit out after him when he was going to church at night. If h_ere going to be alone, he swung her over the wall, and let her come.
Again she was transported when the door was shut behind them, and they tw_nherited the big, pale, void place. She would watch him as he lit the orga_andles, wait whilst he began his practising his tunes, then she ran foragin_ere and there, like a kitten playing by herself in the darkness with eye_ilated. The ropes hung vaguely, twining on the floor, from the bells in th_ower, and Ursula always wanted the fluffy, red-and-white, or blue-and-whit_ope-grips. But they were above her.
Sometimes her mother came to claim her. Then the child was seized wit_esentment. She passionately resented her mother's superficial authority. Sh_anted to assert her own detachment.
He, however, also gave her occasional cruel shocks. He let her play about i_he church, she rifled foot-stools and hymn-books and cushions, like a be_mong flowers, whilst the organ echoed away. This continued for some weeks.
Then the charwoman worked herself up into a frenzy of rage, to dare to attac_rangwen, and one day descended on him like a harpy. He wilted away, an_anted to break the old beast's neck.
Instead he came glowering in fury to the house, and turned on Ursula.
"Why, you tiresome little monkey, can't you even come to church withou_ulling the place to bits?"
His voice was harsh and cat-like, he was blind to the child. She shrank awa_n childish anguish and dread. What was it, what awful thing was it?
The mother turned with her calm, almost superb manner.
"What has she done, then?"
"Done? She shall go in the church no more, pulling and littering an_estroying."
The wife slowly rolled her eyes and lowered her eyelids.
"What has she destroyed, then?"
He did not know.
"I've just had Mrs. Wilkinson at me," he cried, "with a list of things she'_one."
Ursula withered under the contempt and anger of the "she", as he spoke of her.
"Send Mrs. Wilkinson here to me with a list of the things she's done," sai_nna. "I am the one to hear that."
"It's not the things the child has done," continued the mother, "that have pu_ou out so much, it's because you can't bear being spoken to by that ol_oman. But you haven't the courage to turn on her when she attacks you, yo_ring your rage here."
He relapsed into silence. Ursula knew that he was wrong. In the outside, uppe_orld, he was wrong. Already came over the child the cold sense of th_mpersonal world. There she knew her mother was right. But still her hear_lamoured after her father, for him to be right, in his dark, sensuou_nderworld. But he was angry, and went his way in blackness and brutal silenc_gain.
The child ran about absorbed in life, quiet, full of amusement. She did no_otice things, nor changes nor alterations. One day she would find daisies i_he grass, another day, apple-blossoms would be sprinkled white on the ground, and she would run among it, for pleasure because it was there. Yet again bird_ould be pecking at the cherries, her father would throw cherries down fro_he tree all round her on the garden. Then the fields were full of hay.
She did not remember what had been nor what would be, the outside things wer_here each day. She was always herself, the world outside was accidental. Eve_er mother was accidental to her: a condition that happened to endure.
Only her father occupied any permanent position in the childish consciousness.
When he came back she remembered vaguely how he had gone away, when he wen_way she knew vaguely that she must wait for his coming back. Whereas he_other, returning from an outing, merely became present, there was no reaso_or connecting her with some previous departure.
The return or the departure of the father was the one event which the chil_emembered. When he came, something woke up in her, some yearning. She kne_hen he was out of joint or irritable or tired: then she was uneasy, she coul_ot rest.
When he was in the house, the child felt full and warm, rich like a creatur_n the sunshine. When he was gone, she was vague, forgetful. When he scolde_er even, she was often more aware of him than of herself. He was her strengt_nd her greater self.
Ursula was three years old when another baby girl was born. Then the two smal_isters were much together, Gudrun and Ursula. Gudrun was a quiet child wh_layed for hours alone, absorbed in her fancies. She was brown-haired, fair- skinned, strangely placid, almost passive. Yet her will was indomitable, onc_et. From the first she followed Ursula's lead. Yet she was a thing t_erself, so that to watch the two together was strange. They were like tw_oung animals playing together but not taking real notice of each other.
Gudrun was the mother's favourite-except that Anna always lived in her lates_aby.
The burden of so many lives depending on him wore the youth down. He had hi_ork in the office, which was done purely by effort of will: he had his barre_assion for the church; he had three young children. Also at this time hi_ealth was not good. So he was haggard and irritable, often a pest in th_ouse. Then he was told to go to his woodwork, or to the church.
Between him and the little Ursula there came into being a strange alliance.
They were aware of each other. He knew the child was always on his side. Bu_n his consciousness he counted it for nothing. She was always for him. H_ook it for granted. Yet his life was based on her, even whilst she was a tin_hild, on her support and her accord.
Anna continued in her violent trance of motherhood, always busy, ofte_arassed, but always contained in her trance of motherhood. She seemed t_xist in her own violent fruitfulness, and it was as if the sun shon_ropically on her. Her colour was bright, her eyes full of a fecund gloom, he_rown hair tumbled loosely over her ears. She had a look of richness. N_esponsibility, no sense of duty troubled her. The outside, public life wa_ess than nothing to her, really.
Whereas when, at twenty-six, he found himself father of four children, with _ife who lived intrinsically like the ruddiest lilies of the field, he let th_eight of responsibility press on him and drag him. It was then that his chil_rsula strove to be with him. She was with him, even as a baby of four, whe_e was irritable and shouted and made the household unhappy. She suffered fro_is shouting, but somehow it was not really him. She wanted it to be over, sh_anted to resume her normal connection with him. When he was disagreeable, th_hild echoed to the crying of some need in him, and she responded blindly. He_eart followed him as if he had some tie with her, and some love which h_ould not deliver. Her heart followed him persistently, in its love.
But there was the dim, childish sense of her own smallness and inadequacy, _atal sense of worthlessness. She could not do anything, she was not enough.
She could not be important to him. This knowledge deadened her from the first.
Still she set towards him like a quivering needle. All her life was directe_y her awareness of him, her wakefulness to his being. And she was against he_other.
Her father was the dawn wherein her consciousness woke up. But for him, sh_ight have gone on like the other children, Gudrun and Theresa and Catherine, one with the flowers and insects and playthings, having no existence apar_rom the concrete object of her attention. But her father came too near t_er. The clasp of his hands and the power of his breast woke her up almost i_ain from the transient unconsciousness of childhood. Wide-eyed, unseeing, sh_as awake before she knew how to see. She was wakened too soon. Too soon th_all had come to her, when she was a small baby, and her father held her clos_o his breast, her sleep-living heart was beaten into wakefulness by th_triving of his bigger heart, by his clasping her to his body for love and fo_ulfilment, asking as a magnet must always ask. From her the response ha_truggled dimly, vaguely into being.
The children were dressed roughly for the country. When she was little, Ursul_attered about in little wooden clogs, a blue overall over her thick re_ress, a red shawl crossed on her breast and tied behind again. So she ra_ith her father to the garden.
The household rose early. He was out digging by six o'clock in the morning, h_ent to his work at half-past eight. And Ursula was usually in the garden wit_im, though not near at hand.
At Eastertime one year, she helped him to set potatoes. It was the first tim_he had ever helped him. The occasion remained as a picture, one of he_arliest memories. They had gone out soon after dawn. A cold wind was blowing.
He had his old trousers tucked into his boots, he wore no coat nor waistcoat, his shirt-sleeves fluttered in the wind, his face was ruddy and intent, in _ind of sleep. When he was at work he neither heard nor saw. A long, thin man, looking still a youth, with a line of black moustache above his thick mouth, and his fine hair blown on his forehead, he worked away at the earth in th_rey first light, alone. His solitariness drew the child like a spell.
The wind came chill over the dark-green fields. Ursula ran up and watched hi_ush the setting-peg in at one side of his ready earth, stride across, an_ush it in the other side, pulling the line taut and clear upon the clod_ntervening. Then with a sharp cutting noise the bright spade came toward_er, cutting a grip into the new, soft earth.
He struck his spade upright and straightened himself.
"Do you want to help me?" he said.
She looked up at him from out of her little woollen bonnet.
"Ay," he said, "you can put some taters in for me. Look-like that-these littl_prits standing up-so much apart, you see."
And stooping down he quickly, surely placed the spritted potatoes in the sof_rip, where they rested separate and pathetic on the heavy cold earth.
He gave her a little basket of potatoes, and strode himself to the other en_f the line. She saw him stooping, working towards her. She was excited, an_nused. She put in one potato, then rearranged it, to make it sit nicely. Som_f the sprits were broken, and she was afraid. The responsibility excited he_ike a string tying her up. She could not help looking with dread at th_tring buried under the heaped-back soil. Her father was working nearer, stooping, working nearer. She was overcome by her responsibility. She pu_otatoes quickly into the cold earth.
He came near.
"Not so close," he said, stooping over her potatoes, taking some out an_earranging the others. She stood by with the painful terrified helplessnes_f childhood. He was so unseeing and confident, she wanted to do the thing an_et she could not. She stood by looking on, her little blue overall flutterin_n the wind, the red woollen ends of her shawl blowing gustily. Then he wen_own the row, relentlessly, turning the potatoes in with his sharp spade-cuts.
He took no notice of her, only worked on. He had another world from hers.
She stood helplessly stranded on his world. He continued his work. She kne_he could not help him. A little bit forlorn, at last she turned away, and ra_own the garden, away from him, as fast as she could go away from him, t_orget him and his work.
He missed her presence, her face in her red woollen bonnet, her blue overal_luttering. She ran to where a little water ran trickling between grass an_tones. That she loved.
When he came by he said to her:
"You didn't help me much."
The child looked at him dumbly. Already her heart was heavy because of her ow_isappointment. Her mouth was dumb and pathetic. But he did not notice, h_ent his way.
And she played on, because of her disappointment persisting even the more i_er play. She dreaded work, because she could not do it as he did it. She wa_onscious of the great breach between them. She knew she had no power. Th_rown-up power to work deliberately was a mystery to her.
He would smash into her sensitive child's world destructively. Her mother wa_enient, careless The children played about as they would all day. Ursula wa_houghtless-why should she remember things? If across the garden she saw th_edge had budded, and if she wanted these greeny-pink, tiny buds for bread- and-cheese, to play at teaparty with, over she went for them.
Then suddenly, perhaps the next day, her soul would almost start out of he_ody as her father turned on her, shouting:
"Who's been tramplin' an' dancin' across where I've just sowed seed? I kno_t's you, nuisance! Can you find nowhere else to walk, but just over my see_eds? But it's like you, that is-no heed but to follow your own greedy nose."
It had shocked him in his intent world to see the zigzagging lines of dee_ittle footprints across his work. The child was infinitely more shocked. He_ulnerable little soul was flayed and trampled. Why were the footprints there?
She had not wanted to make them. She stood dazzled with pain and shame an_nreality.
Her soul, her consciousness seemed to die away. She became shut off an_enseless, a little fixed creature whose soul had gone hard and unresponsive.
The sense of her own unreality hardened her like a frost. She cared no longer.
And the sight of her face, shut and superior with self-asserting indifference, made a flame of rage go over him. He wanted to break her.
"I'll break your obstinate little face," he said, through shut teeth, liftin_is hand.
The child did not alter in the least. The look of indifference, complet_lancing indifference, as if nothing but herself existed to her, remaine_ixed.
Yet far away in her, the sobs were tearing her soul. And when he had gone, sh_ould go and creep under the parlour sofa, and lie clinched in the silent, hidden misery of childhood.
When she crawled out, after an hour or so, she went rather stiffly to play.
She willed to forget. She cut off her childish soul from memory, so that th_ain, and the insult should not be real. She asserted herself only. There wa_ot nothing in the world but her own self. So very soon, she came to believ_n the outward malevolence that was against her. And very early, she learne_hat even her adored father was part of this malevolence. And very early sh_earned to harden her soul in resistance and denial of all that was outsid_er, harden herself upon her own being.
She never felt sorry for what she had done, she never forgave those who ha_ade her guilty. If he had said to her, "Why, Ursula, did you trample m_arefully-made bed?" that would have hurt her to the quick, and she would hav_one anything for him. But she was always tormented by the unreality o_utside things. The earth was to walk on. Why must she avoid a certain patch, just because it was called a seed-bed? It was the earth to walk on. This wa_er instinctive assumption. And when he bullied her, she became hard, cu_erself off from all connection, lived in the little separate world of her ow_iolent will.
As she grew older, five, six, seven, the connection between her and her fathe_as even stronger. Yet it was always straining to break. She was alway_elapsing on her own violent will into her own separate world of herself. Thi_ade him grind his teeth with bitterness, for he still wanted her. But sh_ould harden herself into her own self's universe, impregnable.
He was very fond of swimming, and in warm weather would take her down to th_anal, to a silent place, or to a big pond or reservoir, to bathe. He woul_ake her on his back as he went swimming, and she clung close, feeling hi_trong movement under her, so strong, as if it would uphold all the world.
Then he taught her to swim.
She was a fearless little thing, when he dared her. And he had a curiou_raving to frighten her, to see what she would do with him. He said, would sh_ide on his back whilst he jumped off the canal bridge down into the wate_eneath.
She would. He loved to feel the naked child clinging on to his shoulders.
There was a curious fight between their two wills. He mounted the parapet o_he canal bridge. The water was a long way down. But the child had _eliberate will set upon his. She held herself fixed to him.
He leapt, and down they went. The crash of the water as they went under struc_hrough the child's small body, with a sort of unconsciousness. But sh_emained fixed. And when they came up again, and when they went to the bank, and when they sat on the grass side by side, he laughed, and said it was fine.
And the dark-dilated eyes of the child looked at him wonderingly, darkly, wondering from the shock, yet reserved and unfathomable, so he laughed almos_ith a sob.
In a moment she was clinging safely on his back again, and he was swimming i_eep water. She was used to his nakedness, and to her mother's nakedness, eve_ince she was born. They were clinging to each other, and making up to eac_ther for the strange blow that had been struck at them. Yet still, on othe_ays, he would leap again with her from the bridge, daringly, almost wickedly.
Till at length, as he leapt, once, she dropped forward on to his head, an_early broke his neck, so that they fell into the water in a heap, and fough_or a few moments with death. He saved her, and sat on the bank, quivering.
But his eyes were full of the blackness of death. It was as if death had cu_etween their two lives, and separated them.
Still they were not separate. There was this curious taunting intimacy betwee_hem. When the fair came, she wanted to go in the swing-boats. He took her, and, standing up in the boat, holding on to the irons, began to drive higher, perilously higher. The child clung fast on her seat.
"Do you want to go any higher?" he said to her, and she laughed with he_outh, her eyes wide and dilated. They were rushing through the air.
"Yes," she said, feeling as if she would turn into vapour, lose hold o_verything, and melt away. The boat swung far up, then down like a stone, onl_o be caught sickeningly up again.
"Any higher?" he called, looking at her over his shoulder, his face evil an_eautiful to her.
She laughed with white lips.
He sent the swingboat sweeping through the air in a great semi-circle, till i_erked and swayed at the high horizontal. The child clung on, pale, her eye_ixed on him. People below were calling. The jerk at the top had almost shake_hem both out. He had done what he could-and he was attracting censure. He sa_own, and let the swingboat swing itself out.
People in the crowd cried shame on him as he came out of the swingboat. H_aughed. The child clung to his hand, pale and mute. In a while she wa_iolently sick. He gave her lemonade, and she gulped a little.
"Don't tell your mother you've been sick," he said. There was no need to as_hat. When she got home, the child crept away under the parlour sofa, like _ick little animal, and was a long time before she crawled out.
But Anna got to know of this escapade, and was passionately angry an_ontemptuous of him. His golden-brown eyes glittered, he had a strange, crue_ittle smile. And as the child watched him, for the first time in her life _isillusion came over her, something cold and isolating. She went over to he_other. Her soul was dead towards him. It made her sick.
Still she forgot and continued to love him, but ever more coldly. He was a_his time, when he was about twenty-eight years old, strange and violent i_is being, sensual. He acquired some power over Anna, over everybody he cam_nto contact with.
After a long bout of hostility, Anna at last closed with him. She had now fou_hildren, all girls. For seven years she had been absorbed in wifehood an_otherhood. For years he had gone on beside her, never really encroaching upo_er. Then gradually another self seemed to assert its being within him. He wa_till silent and separate. But she could feel him all the while coming nea_pon her, as if his breast and his body were threatening her, and he wa_lways coming closer. Gradually he became indifferent of responsibility. H_ould do what pleased him, and no more.
He began to go away from home. He went to Nottingham on Saturdays, alway_lone, to the football match and to the music-hall, and all the time he wa_atching, in readiness. He never cared to drink. But with his hard, golden- brown eyes, so keen seeing with their tiny black pupils, he watched all th_eople, everything that happened, and he waited.
In the Empire one evening he sat next to two girls. He was aware of the on_eside him. She was rather small, common, with a fresh complexion and an uppe_ip that lifted from her teeth, so that, when she was not conscious, her mout_as slightly open and her lips pressed outwards in a kind of blind appeal. Sh_as strongly aware of the man next to her, so that all her body was still, very still. Her face watched the stage. Her arms went down into her lap, ver_elf-conscious and still.
A gleam lit up in him: should he begin with her? Should he begin with her t_ive the other, the unadmitted life of his desire? Why not? He had always bee_o good. Save for his wife, he was a virgin. And why, when all women wer_ifferent? Why, when he would only live once? He wanted the other life. Hi_wn life was barren, not enough. He wanted the other.
Her open mouth, showing the small, irregular, white teeth, appealed to him. I_as open and ready. It was so vulnerable. Why should he not go in and enjo_hat was there? The slim arm that went down so still and motionless to th_ap, it was pretty. She would be small, he would be able almost to hold her i_is two hands. She would be small, almost like a child, and pretty. He_hildishness whetted him keenly. She would he helpless between his hands.
"That was the best turn we've had," he said to her, leaning over as he clappe_is hands. He felt strong and unshakeable in himself, set over against all th_orld. His soul was keen and watchful, glittering with a kind of amusement. H_as perfectly self-contained. He was himself, the absolute, the rest of th_orld was the object that should contribute to his being.
The girl started, turned round, her eyes lit up with an almost painful flas_f a smile, the colour came deeply in her cheeks.
"Yes, it was," she said, quite meaninglessly, and she covered her rathe_rominent teeth with her lips. Then she sat looking straight before her, seeing nothing, only conscious of the colour burning in her cheeks.
It pricked him with a pleasant sensation. His veins and his nerves attended t_er, she was so young and palpitating.
"It's not such a good programme as last week's," he said.
Again she half turned her face to him, and her clear, bright eyes, bright lik_hallow water, filled with light, frightened, yet involuntarily lighting an_haking with response.
"Oh, isn't it! I wasn't able to come last week."
He noted the common accent. It pleased him. He knew what class she came of.
Probably she was a warehouse-lass. He was glad she was a common girl.
He proceeded to tell her about the last week's programme. She answered a_andom, very confusedly. The colour burned in her cheek. Yet she alway_nswered him. The girl on the other side sat remotely, obviously silent. H_gnored her. All his address was for his own girl, with her bright, shallo_yes and her vulnerably opened mouth.
The talk went on, meaningless and random on her part, quite deliberate an_urposive on his. It was a pleasure to him to make this conversation, a_ctivity pleasant as a fine game of chance and skill. He was very quiet an_leasant-humoured, but so full of strength. She fluttered beside his stead_ressure of warmth and his surety.
He saw the performance drawing to a close. His senses were alert and wilful.
He would press his advantages. He followed her and her plain friend down th_tairs to the street. It was raining.
"It's a nasty night," he said. "Shall you come and have a drink of something-_up of coffee-it's early yet."
"Oh, I don't think so," she said, looking away into the night.
"I wish you would," he said, putting himself as it were at her mercy. Ther_as a moment's pause.
"Come to Rollins?" he said.
"To Carson's, then?"
There was a silence. The other girl hung on. The man was the centre o_ositive force.
"Will your friend come as well?"
There was another moment of silence, while the other girl felt her ground.
"No, thanks," she said. "I've promised to meet a friend."
"Another time, then?" he said.
"Oh, thanks," she replied, very awkward.
"Good night," he said.
"See you later," said his girl to her friend.
"Where?" said the friend.
"You know, Gertie," replied his girl.
"All right, Jennie."
The friend was gone into the darkness. He turned with his girl to the tea- shop. They talked all the time. He made his sentences in sheer, almos_uscular pleasure of exercising himself with her. He was looking at her al_he time, perceiving her, appreciating her, finding her out, gratifyin_imself with her. He could see distinct attractions in her; her eyebrows, wit_heir particular curve, gave him keen aesthetic pleasure. Later on he woul_ee her bright, pellucid eyes, like shallow water, and know those. And ther_emained the open, exposed mouth, red and vulnerable. That he reserved as yet.
And all the while his eyes were on the girl, estimating and handling wit_leasure her young softness. About the girl herself, who or what she was, h_ared nothing, he was quite unaware that she was anybody. She was just th_ensual object of his attention.
"Shall we go, then?" he said.
She rose in silence, as if acting without a mind, merely physically. He seeme_o hold her in his will. Outside it was still raining.
"Let's have a walk," he said. "I don't mind the rain, do you?"
"No, I don't mind it," she said.
He was alert in every sense and fibre, and yet quite sure and steady, and li_p, as if transfused. He had a free sensation of walking in his own darkness, not in anybody else's world at all. He was purely a world to himself, he ha_othing to do with any general consciousness. Just his own senses wer_upreme. All the rest was external, insignificant, leaving him alone with thi_irl whom he wanted to absorb, whose properties he wanted to absorb into hi_wn senses. He did not care about her, except that he wanted to overcome he_esistance, to have her in his power, fully and exhaustively to enjoy her.
They turned into the dark streets. He held her umbrella over her, and put hi_rm round her. She walked as if she were unaware. But gradually, as he walked, he drew her a little closer, into the movement of his side and hip. She fitte_n there very well. It was a real good fit, to walk with her like this. I_ade him exquisitely aware of his own muscular self. And his hand that graspe_er side felt one curve of her, and it seemed like a new creation to him, _eality, an absolute, an existing tangible beauty of the absolute. It was lik_ star. Everything in him was absorbed in the sensual delight of this on_mall, firm curve in her body, that his hand, and his whole being, had lighte_pon.
He led her into the Park, where it was almost dark. He noticed a corne_etween two walls, under a great overhanging bush of ivy.
"Let us stand here a minute," he said.
He put down the umbrella, and followed her into the corner, retreating out o_he rain. He needed no eyes to see. All he wanted was to know through touch.
She was like a piece of palpable darkness. He found her in the darkness, pu_is arms round her and his hands upon her. She was silent and inscrutable. Bu_e did not want to know anything about her, he only wanted to discover her.
And through her clothing, what absolute beauty he touched.
"Take your hat off," he said.
Silently, obediently, she shook off her hat and gave herself to his arm_gain. He liked her-he liked the feel of her-he wanted to know her mor_losely. He let his fingers subtly seek out her cheek and neck. What amazin_eauty and pleasure, in the dark! His fingers had often touched Anna on th_ace and neck like that. What matter! It was one man who touched Anna, anothe_ho now touched this girl. He liked best his new self. He was given ove_ltogether to the sensuous knowledge of this woman, and every moment he seeme_o be touching absolute beauty, something beyond knowledge.
Very close, marvelling and exceedingly joyful in their discoveries, his hand_ressed upon her, so subtly, so seekingly, so finely and desirously searchin_er out, that she too was almost swooning in the absolute of sensua_nowledge. In utter sensual delight she clenched her knees, her thighs, he_oins together! It was an added beauty to him.
But he was patiently working for her relaxation, patiently, his whole bein_ixed in the smile of latent gratification, his whole body electric with _ubtle, powerful, reducing force upon her. So he came at length to kiss her, and she was almost betrayed by his insidious kiss. Her open mouth was to_elpless and unguarded. He knew this, and his first kiss was very gentle, an_oft, and assuring, so assuring. So that her soft, defenceless mouth becam_ssured, even bold, seeking upon his mouth. And he answered her gradually, gradually, his soft kiss sinking in softly, softly, but ever more heavily, more heavily yet, till it was too heavy for her to meet, and she began to sin_nder it. She was sinking, sinking, his smile of latent gratification wa_ecoming more tense, he was sure of her. He let the whole force of his wil_ink upon her to sweep her away. But it was too great a shock for her. With _udden horrible movement she ruptured the state that contained them both.
It was a rather horrible cry that seemed to come out of her, not to belong t_er. It was some strange agony of terror crying out the words. There wa_omething vibrating and beside herself in the noise. His nerves ripped lik_ilk.
"What's the matter?" he said, as if calmly. "What's the matter?"
She came back to him, but trembling, reservedly this time.
Her cry had given him gratification. But he knew he had been too sudden fo_er. He was now careful. For a while he merely sheltered her. Also there ha_roken a flaw into his perfect will. He wanted to persist, to begin again, t_ead up to the point where he had let himself go on her, and then manage mor_arefully, successfully. So far she had won. And the battle was not over yet.
But another voice woke in him and prompted him to let her go-let her go i_ontempt.
He sheltered her, and soothed her, and caressed her, and kissed her, and agai_egan to come nearer, nearer. He gathered himself together. Even if he did no_ake her, he would make her relax, he would fuse away her resistance. S_oftly, softly, with infinite caressiveness he kissed her, and the whole o_is being seemed to fondle her. Till, at the verge, swooning at the breakin_oint, there came from her a beaten, inarticulate, moaning cry:
His veins fused with extreme voluptuousness. For a moment he almost los_ontrol of himself, and continued automatically. But there was a moment o_naction, of cold suspension. He was not going to take her. He drew her to hi_nd soothed her, and caressed her. But the pure zest had gone. She struggle_o herself and realised he was not going to take her. And then, at the ver_ast moment, when his fondling had come near again, his hot living desir_espising her, against his cold sensual desire, she broke violently away fro_im.
"Don't," she cried, harsh now with hatred, and she flung her hand across an_it him violently. "Keep off of me."
His blood stood still for a moment. Then the smile came again within him, steady, cruel.
"Why, what's the matter?" he said, with suave irony. "Nobody's going to hur_ou."
"I know what you want," she said.
"I know what I want," he said. "What's the odds?"
"Well, you're not going to have it off me."
"Aren't I? Well, then I'm not. It's no use crying about it, is it?"
"No, it isn't," said the girl, rather disconcerted by his irony.
"But there's no need to have a row about it. We can kiss good night just th_ame, can't we?"
She was silent in the darkness.
"Or do you want your hat and umbrella to go home this minute?"
Still she was silent. He watched her dark figure as she stood there on th_dge of the faint darkness, and he waited.
"Come and say good night nicely, if we're going to say it," he said.
Still she did not stir. He put his hand out and drew her into the darknes_gain.
"It's warmer in here," he said; "a lot cosier."
His will had not yet relaxed from her. The moment of hatred exhilarated him.
"I'm going now," she muttered, as he closed his hand over her.
"See how well you fit your place," he said, as he drew her to her previou_osition, close upon him. "What do you want to leave it for?"
And gradually the intoxication invaded him again, the zest came back. Afte_ll, why should he not take her?
But she did not yield to him entirely.
"Are you a married man?" she asked at length.
"What if I am?" he said.
She did not answer.
"I don't ask you whether you're married or not," he said.
"You know jolly well I'm not," she answered hotly. Oh, if she could only brea_way from him, if only she need not yield to him.
At length her will became cold against him. She had escaped. But she hated hi_or her escape more than for her danger. Did he despise her so coldly? And sh_as in torture of adherence to him still.
"Shall I see you next week-next Saturday?" he said, as they returned to th_own. She did not answer.
"Come to the Empire with me-you and Gertie," he said.
"I should look well, going with a married man," she said.
"I'm no less of a man for being married, am I?" he said.
"Oh, it's a different matter altogether with a married man," she said, in _eady-made speech that showed her chagrin.
"How's that?" he asked.
But she would not enlighten him. Yet she promised, without promising, to be a_he meeting-place next Saturday evening.
So he left her. He did not know her name. He caught a train and went home.
It was the last train, he was very late. He was not home till midnight. But h_as quite indifferent. He had no real relation with his home, not this ma_hich he now was. Anna was sitting up for him. She saw the queer, absolve_ook on his face, a sort of latent, almost sinister smile, as if he wer_bsolved from his "good" ties.
"Where have you been?" she asked, puzzled, interested.
"To the Empire."
"By myself. I came home with Tom Cooper."
She looked at him, and wondered what he had been doing She was indifferent a_o whether he lied or not.
"You have come home very strange," she said. And there was an appreciativ_nflexion in the speech.
He was not affected. As for his humble, good self, he was absolved from it. H_at down and ate heartily. He was not tired. He seemed to take no notice o_er.
For Anna the moment was critical. She kept herself aloof, and watched him. H_alked to her, but with a little indifference, since he was scarcely aware o_er. So, then she did not affect him. Here was a new turn of affairs! He wa_ather attractive, nevertheless. She liked him better than the ordinary mute, half-effaced, half-subdued man she usually knew him to be. So, he wa_lossoming out into his real self! It piqued her. Very good, let him blossom!
She liked a new turn of affairs. He was a strange man come home to her.
Glancing at him, she saw she could not reduce him to what he had been before.
In an instant she gave it up. Yet not without a pang of rage, which woul_nsist on their old, beloved love, their old, accustomed intimacy and her old, established supremacy. She almost rose up to fight for them. And looking a_im, and remembering his father, she was wary. This was the new turn o_ffairs!
Very good, if she could not influence him in the old way, she would be leve_ith him in the new. Her old defiant hostility came up. Very good, she too wa_ut on her own adventure. Her voice, her manner changed, she was ready for th_ame. Something was liberated in her. She liked him. She liked this strang_an come home to her. He was very welcome, indeed! She was very glad t_elcome a stranger. She had been bored by the old husband. To his latent, cruel smile she replied with brilliant challenge. He expected her to keep th_oral fortress. Not she! It was much too dull a part. She challenged him bac_ith a sort of radiance, very bright and free, opposite to him. He looked a_er, and his eyes glinted. She too was out in the field.
His senses pricked up and keenly attended to her. She laughed, perfectl_ndifferent and loose as he was. He came towards her. She neither rejected hi_or responded to him. In a kind of radiance, superb in her inscrutability, sh_aughed before him. She too could throw everything overboard, love, intimacy, responsibility. What were her four children to her now? What did it matte_hat this man was the father of her four children?
He was the sensual male seeking his pleasure, she was the female ready to tak_ers: but in her own way. A man could turn into a free lance: so then could _oman. She adhered as little as he to the moral world. All that had gon_efore was nothing to her. She was another woman, under the instance of _trange man. He was a stranger to her, seeking his own ends. Very good. Sh_anted to see what this stranger would do now, what he was.
She laughed, and kept him at arm's length, whilst apparently ignoring him. Sh_atched him undress as if he were a stranger. Indeed he was a stranger to her.
And she roused him profoundly, violently, even before he touched her. Th_ittle creature in Nottingham had but been leading up to this. They abandone_n one motion the moral position, each was seeking gratification pure an_imple.
Strange his wife was to him. It was as if he were a perfect stranger, as i_he were infinitely and essentially strange to him, the other half of th_orld, the dark half of the moon. She waited for his touch as if he were _arauder who had come in, infinitely unknown and desirable to her. And h_egan to discover her. He had an inkling of the vastness of the unknow_ensual store of delights she was. With a passion of voluptuousness that mad_im dwell on each tiny beauty, in a kind of frenzy of enjoyment, he lit upo_er: her beauty, the beauties, the separate, several beauties of her body.
He was quite ousted from himself, and sensually transported by that which h_iscovered in her. He was another man revelling over her. There was n_enderness, no love between them any more, only the maddening, sensuous lus_or discovery and the insatiable, exorbitant gratification in the sensua_eauties of her body. And she was a store, a store of absolute beauties tha_t drove him to contemplate. There was such a feast to enjoy, and he with onl_ne man's capacity.
He lived in a passion of sensual discovery with her for some time-it was _uel: no love, no words, no kisses even, only the maddening perception o_eauty consummate, absolute through touch. He wanted to touch her, to discove_er, maddeningly he wanted to know her. Yet he must not hurry, or he misse_verything. He must enjoy one beauty at a time. And the multitudinous beautie_f her body, the many little rapturous places, sent him mad with delight, an_ith desire to be able to know more, to have strength to know more. For al_as there.
He would say during the daytime:
"To-night I shall know the little hollow under her ankle, where the blue vei_rosses." And the thought of it, and the desire for it, made a thick darknes_f anticipation.
He would go all the day waiting for the night to come, when he could giv_imself to the enjoyment of some luxurious absolute of beauty in her. Th_hought of the hidden resources of her, the undiscovered beauties and ecstati_laces of delight in her body, waiting, only waiting for him to discover them, sent him slightly insane. He was obsessed. If he did not discover and mak_nown to himself these delights, they might be lost for ever. He wished he ha_ hundred men's energies, with which to enjoy her. He wished he were a cat, t_ick her with a rough, grating, lascivious tongue. He wanted to wallow in her, bury himself in her flesh, cover himself over with her flesh.
And she, separate, with a strange, dangerous, glistening look in her eye_eceived all his activities upon her as if they were expected by her, an_rovoked him when he was quiet to more, till sometimes he was ready to peris_or sheer inability to be satisfied of her, inability to have had enough o_er.
Their children became mere offspring to them, they lived in the darkness an_eath of their own sensual activities. Sometimes he felt he was going mad wit_ sense of Absolute Beauty, perceived by him in her through his senses. It wa_omething too much for him. And in everything, was this same, almost sinister, terrifying beauty. But in the revelations of her body through contact with hi_ody, was the ultimate beauty, to know which was almost death in itself, an_et for the knowledge of which he would have undergone endless torture. H_ould have forfeited anything, anything, rather than forego his right even t_he instep of her foot, and the place from which the toes radiated out, th_ittle, miraculous white plain from which ran the little hillocks of the toes, and the folded, dimpling hollows between the toes. He felt he would have die_ather than forfeit this.
This was what their love had become, a sensuality violent and extreme a_eath. They had no conscious intimacy, no tenderness of love. It was all th_ust and the infinite, maddening intoxication of the sense, a passion o_eath.
He had always, all his life, had a secret dread of Absolute Beauty. It ha_lways been like a fetish to him, something to fear, really. For it wa_mmoral and against mankind. So he had turned to the Gothic form, which alway_sserted the broken desire of mankind in its pointed arches, escaping th_olling, absolute beauty of the round arch.
But now he had given way, and with infinite sensual violence gave himself t_he realisation of this supreme, immoral, Absolute Beauty, in the body o_oman. It seemed to him, that it came to being in the body of woman, under hi_ouch. Under his touch, even under his sight, it was there. But when h_either saw nor touched the perfect place, it was not perfect, it was no_here. And he must make it exist.
But still the thing terrified him. Awful and threatening it was, dangerous t_ degree, even whilst he gave himself to it. It was pure darkness, also. Al_he shameful things of the body revealed themselves to him now with a sort o_inister, tropical beauty. All the shameful, natural and unnatural acts o_ensual voluptuousness which he and the woman partook of together, create_ogether, they had their heavy beauty and their delight. Shame, what was it?
It was part of extreme delight. It was that part of delight of which man i_sually afraid. Why afraid? The secret, shameful things are most terribl_eautiful.
They accepted shame, and were one with it in their most unlicensed pleasures.
It was incorporated. It was a bud that blossomed into beauty and heavy, fundamental gratification.
Their outward life went on much the same, but the inward life wa_evolutionised. The children became less important, the parents were absorbe_n their own living.
And gradually, Brangwen began to find himself free to attend to the outsid_ife as well. His intimate life was so violently active, that it set anothe_an in him free. And this new man turned with interest to public life, to se_hat part he could take in it. This would give him scope for new activity, activity of a kind for which he was now created and released. He wanted to b_nanimous with the whole of purposive mankind.
At this time Education was in the forefront as a subject of interest. Ther_as the talk of new Swedish methods, of handwork instruction, and so on.
Brangwen embraced sincerely the idea of handwork in schools. For the firs_ime, he began to take real interest in a public affair. He had at length, from his profound sensual activity, developed a real purposive self.
There was talk of night-schools, and of handicraft classes. He wanted to star_ woodwork class in Cossethay, to teach carpentry and joinery and wood-carvin_o the village boys, two nights a week. This seemed to him a supremel_esirable thing to be doing. His pay would be very little-and when he had it, he spent it all on extra wood and tools. But he was very happy and keen in hi_ew public spirit.
He started his night-classes in woodwork when he was thirty years old. By thi_ime he had five children, the last a boy. But boy or girl mattered ver_ittle to him. He had a natural blood-affection for his children, and he like_hem as they turned up: boys or girls. Only he was fondest of Ursula. Somehow, she seemed to be at the back of his new night-school venture.
The house by the yew trees was in connection with the great human endeavour a_ast. It gained a new vigour thereby.
To Ursula, a child of eight, the increase in magic was considerable. She hear_ll the talk, she saw the parish room fitted up as a workshop. The parish roo_as a high, stone, barn-like, ecclesiastical building standing away by itsel_n the Brangwens' second garden, across the lane. She was always attracted b_ts age and its stranded obsoleteness. Now she watched preparations made, sh_at on the flight of stone steps that came down from the porch to the garden, and heard her father and the vicar talking and planning and working. Then a_nspector came, a very strange man, and stayed talking with her father all on_vening. Everything was settled, and twelve boys enrolled their names. It wa_ery exciting.
But to Ursula, everything her father did was magic. Whether he came fro_lkeston with news of the town, whether he went across to the church with hi_usic or his tools on a sunny evening, whether he sat in his white surplice a_he organ on Sundays, leading the singing with his strong tenor voice, o_hether he were in the workshop with the boys, he was always a centre of magi_nd fascination to her, his voice, sounding out in command, cheerful, laconic, had always a twang in it that sent a thrill over her blood, and hypnotise_er. She seemed to run in the shadow of some dark, potent secret of which sh_ould not, of whose existence even she dared not become conscious, it cas_uch a spell over her, and so darkened her mind.