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Aaron's Rod by D. H. Lawrence

Then he stood and looked at Aaron


hate married people who are two in one--stuck together like two jujube lozenges," said Lilly.

"Me an' all. I hate 'em myself," said Aaron.

"Everybody ought to stand by themselves, in the first place--men and women as well. They can come together, in the second place, if they like. But nothing is any good unless each one stands alone, intrinsically."

"I'm with you there," said Aaron. "If I'd kep' myself to myself I shouldn't be bad now--though I'm not very bad. I s'll be all right in the morning. But I did myself in when I went with another woman. I felt myself go--as if the bile broke inside me, and I was sick."

"Josephine seduced you?" laughed Lilly.

"Ay, right enough," replied Aaron grimly. "She won't be coming here, will she?"

"Not unless I ask her."

"You won't ask her, though?"

"No, not if you don't want her."

"I don't."

The fever made Aaron naive and communicative, unlike himself. And he knew he was being unlike himself, he knew that he was not in proper control of himself, so he was unhappy, uneasy.

"I'll stop here the night then, if you don't mind," he said.


have to," said Lilly. "I've sent for the doctor. I believe you've got the flu."

"Think I have?" said Aaron frightened.

"Don't be scared," laughed Lilly.

There was a long pause. Lilly stood at the window looking at the darkening market, beneath the street-lamps.

"I s'll have to go to the hospital, if I have," came Aaron's voice.

"No, if it's only going to be a week or a fortnight's business, you can stop here. I've nothing to do," said Lilly.

"There's no occasion for you to saddle yourself with me," said Aaron dejectedly.

"You can go to your hospital if you like--or back to your lodging--if you wish to," said Lilly. "You can make up your mind when you see how you are in the morning."

"No use going back to my lodgings," said Aaron.

"I'll send a telegram to your wife if you like," said Lilly.

Aaron was silent, dead silent, for some time.

"Nay," he said at length, in a decided voice. "Not if I die for it."

Lilly remained still, and the other man lapsed into a sort of semi-sleep, motionless and abandoned. The darkness had fallen over London, and away below the lamps were white.

Lilly lit the green-shaded reading lamp over the desk. Then he stood and looked at Aaron, who lay still, looking sick. Rather beautiful the bones of the countenance: but the skull too small for such a heavy jaw and rather coarse mouth. Aaron half-opened his eyes, and writhed feverishly, as if his limbs could not be in the right place. Lilly mended the fire, and sat down to write. Then he got up and went downstairs to unfasten the street door, so that the doctor could walk up. The business people had gone from their various holes, all the lower part of the tall house was in darkness.

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