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Aaron's Rod by D. H. Lawrence

And there's Lilly that's how I put it


the little balcony wall Argyle had put square red-tiled pots, all round, and in these still bloomed a few pansies and asters, whilst in a corner a monthly rose hung flowers like round blood-drops. Argyle was as tidy and scrupulous in his tiny rooms and his balcony as if he were a first-rate sea-man on a yacht. Lilly remarked on this.

"Do you see signs of the old maid coming out in me? Oh, I don't doubt it. I don't doubt it. We all end that way. Age makes old maids of us all. And Tanny is all right, you say? Bring her to see me. Why didn't she come today?"

"You know you don't like people unless you expect them."

"Oh, but my dear fellow!--You and Tanny; you'd be welcome if you came at my busiest moment. Of course you would. I'd be glad to see you if you interrupted me at any crucial moment.--I am alone now till August. Then we shall go away together somewhere. But you and Tanny; why, there's the world, and there's Lilly: that's how I put it, my boy."

"All right, Argyle.--Hoflichkeiten."

"What? Gar keine Hoflichkeiten. Wahrhaftiger Kerl bin ich.--When am I going to see Tanny? When are you coming to dine with me?"

"After you've dined with us--say the day after tomorrow."

"Right you are. Delighted--. Let me look if that water's boiling." He

got up and poked half himself inside the bedroom. "Not yet. Damned filthy methylated spirit they sell."

"Look," said Lilly. "There's Del Torre!"

"Like some sort of midge, in that damned grey-and-yellow uniform. I can't stand it, I tell you. I can't stand the sight of any more of these uniforms. Like a blight on the human landscape. Like a blight. Like green-flies on rose-trees, smother-flies. Europe's got the smother-fly in these infernal shoddy militarists."

"Del Torre's coming out of it as soon as he can," said Lilly.

"I should think so, too."

"I like him myself--very much. Look, he's seen us! He wants to come up, Argyle."

"What, in that uniform! I'll see him in his grandmother's crinoline first."

"Don't be fanatical, it's bad taste. Let him come up a minute."

"Not for my sake. But for yours, he shall," Argyle stood at the parapet of the balcony and waved his arm. "Yes, come up," he said, "come up, you little mistkafer--what the Americans call a bug. Come up and be damned."

Of course Del Torre was too far off to hear this exhortation. Lilly also waved to him--and watched him pass into the doorway far below.

"I'll rinse one of these glasses for him," said Argyle.

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