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Aaron's Rod by D. H. Lawrence

I never get those inrushes now


went Jim and Lilly once more to the postoffice. They were quite good friends. Having so inhospitably fixed the hour of departure, Lilly wanted to be nice. Arrived at the postoffice, they found it shut: half-day closing for the little shop.

"Well," said Lilly. "We'll go to the station."

They proceeded to the station--found the station-master--were conducted down to the signal-box. Lilly naturally hung back from people, but Jim was hob-nob with the station-master and the signal man, quite officer-and-my-men kind of thing. Lilly sat out on the steps of the signal-box, rather ashamed, while the long telegram was shouted over the telephone to the junction town--first the young lady and her address, then the message "Meet me X. station 3:40 tomorrow walk back great pleasure Jim."

Anyhow that was done. They went home to tea. After tea, as the evening fell, Lilly suggested a little stroll in the woods, while Tanny prepared the dinner. Jim agreed, and they set out. The two men wandered through the trees in the dusk, till they came to a bank on the farther edge of the wood. There they sat down.

And there Lilly said what he had to say. "As a matter of fact," he said, "it's nothing but love and self-sacrifice which makes you feel yourself losing life."

"You're wrong. Only love brings it back--and wine. If I drink a bottle

of Burgundy I feel myself restored at the middle--right here! I feel the energy back again. And if I can fall in love--But it's becoming so damned hard--"

"What, to fall in love?" asked Lilly.


"Then why not leave off trying! What do you want to poke yourself and prod yourself into love, for?"

"Because I'm DEAD without it. I'm dead. I'm dying."

"Only because you force yourself. If you drop working yourself up--"

"I shall die. I only live when I can fall in love. Otherwise I'm dying by inches. Why, man, you don't know what it was like. I used to get the most grand feelings--like a great rush of force, or light--a great rush--right here, as I've said, at the solar plexus. And it would come any time--anywhere--no matter where I was. And then I was all right.

"All right for what?--for making love?"

"Yes, man, I was."

"And now you aren't?--Oh, well, leave love alone, as any twopenny doctor would tell you."

"No, you're off it there. It's nothing technical. Technically I can make love as much as you like. It's nothing a doctor has any say in. It's what I feel inside me. I feel the life going. I know it's going. I never get those inrushes now, unless I drink a jolly lot, or if I possibly could fall in love. Technically, I'm potent all right--oh, yes!"

"You should leave yourself and your inrushes alone."

"But you can't. It's a sort of ache."

"Then you should stiffen your backbone. It's your backbone that matters. You shouldn't want to abandon yourself. You shouldn't want to fling yourself all loose into a woman's lap. You should stand by yourself and learn to be by yourself. Why don't you be more like the Japanese you talk about? Quiet, aloof little devils. They don't bother about being loved. They keep themselves taut in their own selves--there, at the bottom of the spine--the devil's own power they've got there."

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