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Aaron's Rod by D. H. Lawrence

Sisson has not spoilt his mouth


The

Marchese cut the cake, and offered pieces. The two men took and ate.

"So you have already found Mr. Sisson!" said Del Torre to Lilly.

"Ran straight into him in the Via Nazionale," said Lilly.

"Oh, one always runs into everybody in Florence. We are all already acquainted: also with the flute. That is a great pleasure."

"So I think.--Does your wife like it, too?"

"Very much, indeed! She is quite _eprise_. I, too, shall have to learn to play it."

"And run the risk of spoiling the shape of your mouth--like Alcibiades."

"Is there a risk? Yes! Then I shan't play it. My mouth is too beautiful.--But Mr. Sisson has not spoilt his mouth."

"Not yet," said Lilly. "Give him time."

"Is he also afraid--like Alcibiades?"

"Are you, Aaron?" said Lilly.

"What?"

"Afraid of spoiling your beauty by screwing your mouth to the flute?"

"I look a fool, do I, when I'm playing?" said Aaron.

"Only the least little bit in the world," said Lilly. "The way you prance your head, you know, like a horse."

justify;">"Ah, well," said Aaron. "I've nothing to lose."

"And were you surprised, Lilly, to find your friend here?" asked Del Torre.

"I ought to have been. But I wasn't really."

"Then you expected him?"

"No. It came naturally, though.--But why did you come, Aaron? What exactly brought you?"

"Accident," said Aaron.

"Ah, no! No! There is no such thing as accident," said the Italian. "A man is drawn by his fate, where he goes."

"You are right," said Argyle, who came now with the teapot. "A man is drawn--or driven. Driven, I've found it. Ah, my dear fellow, what is life but a search for a friend? A search for a friend--that sums it up."

"Or a lover," said the Marchese, grinning.

"Same thing. Same thing. My hair is white--but that is the sum of my whole experience. The search for a friend." There was something at once real and sentimental in Argyle's tone.

"And never finding?" said Lilly, laughing.

"Oh, what would you? Often finding. Often finding. And losing, of course.--A life's history. Give me your glass. Miserable tea, but nobody has sent me any from England--"

"And you will go on till you die, Argyle?" said Lilly. "Always seeking a friend--and always a new one?"

"If I lose the friend I've got. Ah, my dear fellow, in that case I shall go on seeking. I hope so, I assure you. Something will be very wrong with me, if ever I sit friendless and make no search."


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