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Aaron's Rod by D. H. Lawrence

But perhaps the flute is different


She

took her own cigarette from her gold case.

"It is a fine room, for music, the big room," said he.

"Yes, quite. Would you like to play for us some time, do you think?"

"Do you want me to? I mean does it interest you?"

"What--the flute?"

"No--music altogether--"

"Music altogether--! Well! I used to love it. Now--I'm not sure. Manfredi lives for it, almost."

"For that and nothing else?" asked Aaron.

"No, no! No, no! Other things as well."

"But you don't like it much any more?"

"I don't know. Perhaps I don't. I'm not sure."

"You don't look forward to the Saturday mornings?" he asked.

"Perhaps I don't--but for Manfredi's sake, of course, I do. But for his sake more than my own, I admit. And I think he knows it."

"A crowd of people in one's house--" said Aaron.

"Yes, the people. But it's not only that. It's the music itself--I think I can't stand it any more. I don't know."

"Too emotional? Too much feeling for you?"

"Yes, perhaps. But

no. What I can't stand is chords, you know: harmonies. A number of sounds all sounding together. It just makes me ill. It makes me feel so sick."

"What--do you want discords?--dissonances?"

"No--they are nearly as bad. No, it's just when any number of musical notes, different notes, come together, harmonies or discords. Even a single chord struck on the piano. It makes me feel sick. I just feel as if I should retch. Isn't it strange? Of course, I don't tell Manfredi. It would be too cruel to him. It would cut his life in two."

"But then why do you have the music--the Saturdays--then?"

"Oh, I just keep out of the way as much as possible. I'm sure you feel there is something wrong with me, that I take it as I do," she added, as if anxious: but half ironical.

"No--I was just wondering--I believe I feel something the same myself. I know orchestra makes me blind with hate or I don't know what. But I want to throw bombs."

"There now. It does that to me, too. Only now it has fairly got me down, and I feel nothing but helpless nausea. You know, like when you are seasick."

Her dark-blue, heavy, haunted-looking eyes were resting on him as if she hoped for something. He watched her face steadily, a curious intelligence flickering on his own.

"Yes," he said. "I understand it. And I know, at the bottom, I'm like that. But I keep myself from realising, don't you know? Else perhaps, where should I be? Because I make my life and my living at it, as well."

"At music! Do you! But how bad for you. But perhaps the flute is different. I have a feeling that it is. I can think of one single pipe-note--yes, I can think of it quite, quite calmly. And I can't even think of the piano, or of the violin with its tremolo, or of orchestra, or of a string quartette--or even a military band--I can't think of it without a shudder. I can only bear drum-and-fife. Isn't it crazy of me--but from the other, from what we call music proper, I've endured too much. But bring your flute one day. Bring it, will you? And let me hear it quite alone. Quite, quite alone. I think it might do me an awful lot of good. I do, really. I can imagine it." She closed her eyes and her strange, sing-song lapsing voice came to an end. She spoke almost like one in a trance--or a sleep-walker.


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