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Aaron's Rod by D. H. Lawrence

He leaned forward over Josephine


cool night!" he said aloud, when he felt the air on his almost bald head. The darkness smelt of sulphur.

Josephine and Robert had moved out of sight. Julia was abstracted, following them with her eyes. With almost supernatural keenness she seemed to catch their voices from the distance.

"Yes, Josephine, WOULDN'T that be AWFULLY ROMANTIC!"--she suddenly called shrilly.

The pair in the distance started.

"What--!" they heard Josephine's sharp exclamation.

"What's that?--What would be romantic?" said Jim as he lurched up and caught hold of Cyril Scott's arm.

"Josephine wants to make a great illumination of the grounds of the estate," said Julia, magniloquent.

"No--no--I didn't say it," remonstrated Josephine.

"What Josephine said," explained Robert, "was simply that it would be pretty to put candles on one of the growing trees, instead of having a Christmas-tree indoors."

"Oh, Josephine, how sweet of you!" cried Julia.

Cyril Scott giggled.

"Good egg! Champion idea, Josey, my lass. Eh? What--!" cried Jim. "Why not carry it out--eh? Why not? Most attractive." He leaned forward over Josephine, and grinned.

style="text-align: justify;">"Oh, no!" expostulated Josephine. "It all sounds so silly now. No. Let us go indoors and go to bed."

"NO, Josephine dear--No! It's a LOVELY IDEA!" cried Julia. "Let's get candles and lanterns and things--"

"Let's!" grinned Jim. "Let's, everybody--let's."

"Shall we really?" asked Robert. "Shall we illuminate one of the fir-trees by the lawn?"

"Yes! How lovely!" cried Julia. "I'll fetch the candles."

"The women must put on warm cloaks," said Robert.

They trooped indoors for coats and wraps and candles and lanterns. Then, lighted by a bicycle lamp, they trooped off to the shed to twist wire round the candles for holders. They clustered round the bench.

"I say," said Julia, "doesn't Cyril look like a pilot on a stormy night! Oh, I say--!" and she went into one of her hurried laughs.

They all looked at Cyril Scott, who was standing sheepishly in the background, in a very large overcoat, smoking a large pipe. The young man was uncomfortable, but assumed a stoic air of philosophic indifference.

Soon they were busy round a prickly fir-tree at the end of the lawn. Jim stood in the background vaguely staring. The bicycle lamp sent a beam of strong white light deep into the uncanny foliage, heads clustered and hands worked. The night above was silent, dim. There was no wind. In the near distance they could hear the panting of some engine at the colliery.

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