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Aaron's Rod by D. H. Lawrence

Yet feeling she was withstanding him


Look--here it is!" And she brought him the little yellow book. It was just a hand-book, with melody and words only, no accompaniment. So she stood offering him the book, but waiting as if for something else, and standing as if with another meaning.

He opened the leaves at random.

"But I ought to know which ones you sing," said he, rising and standing by her side with the open book.

"Yes," she said, looking over his arm. He turned the pages one by one. "_Trois jeunes tambours_," said she. "Yes, that.... Yes, _En passant par la Lorraine_.... _Aupres de ma blonde_.... Oh, I like that one so much--" He stood and went over the tune in his mind.

"Would you like me to play it?" he said.

"Very much," said she.

So he got his flute, propped up the book against a vase, and played the tune, whilst she hummed it fragmentarily. But as he played, he felt that he did not cast the spell over her. There was no connection. She was in some mysterious way withstanding him. She was withstanding him, and his male super-power, and his thunderbolt desire. She was, in some indescribable way, throwing cold water over his phoenix newly risen from the ashes of its nest in flames.

He realised that she did not want him to play. She did not want him to look at the songs.

So he put the book away, and turned round, rather baffled, not quite sure what was happening, yet feeling she was withstanding him. He glanced at her face: it was inscrutable: it was her Cleopatra face once more, yet with something new and warm in it. He could not understand it. What was it in her face that puzzled him? Almost angered him? But she could not rob him of his male power, she could not divest him of his concentrated force.

"Won't you take off your coat?" she said, looking at him with strange, large dark eyes. A strange woman, he could not understand her. Yet, as he sat down again, having removed his overcoat, he felt her looking at his limbs, his physical body. And this went against him, he did not want it. Yet quite fixed in him too was the desire for her, her beautiful white arms, her whole soft white body. And such desire he would not contradict nor allow to be contradicted. It was his will also. Her whole soft white body--to possess it in its entirety, its fulness.

"What have you to do this morning?" she asked him.

"Nothing," he said. "Have you?" He lifted his head and looked at her.

"Nothing at all," said she.

And then they sat in silence, he with his head dropped. Then again he looked at her.

"Shall we be lovers?" he said.

She sat with her face averted, and did not answer. His heart struck heavily, but he did not relax.

"Shall we be lovers?" came his voice once more, with the faintest touch of irony.

Her face gradually grew dusky. And he wondered very much to see it.

"Yes," said she, still not looking at him. "If you wish."

"I do wish," he said. And all the time he sat with his eyes fixed on her face, and she sat with her face averted.

"Now?" he said. "And where?"

Again she was silent for some moments, as if struggling with herself. Then she looked at him--a long, strange, dark look, incomprehensible, and which he did not like.

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