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Aaron's Rod by D. H. Lawrence

It wasn't a question of reasons


"And

supposing you have none?"

"Then I can't send it--and she must look out for herself."

"I call that almost criminal selfishness."

"I can't help it."

The conversation with the young Major broke off.

"It is certainly a good thing for society that men like you and Mr. Lilly are not common," said Sir William, laughing.

"Becoming commoner every day, you'll find," interjaculated the Colonel.

"Indeed! Indeed! Well. May we ask you another question, Mr. Sisson? I hope you don't object to our catechism?"

"No. Nor your judgment afterwards," said Aaron, grinning.

"Then upon what grounds did you abandon your family? I know it is a tender subject. But Lilly spoke of it to us, and as far I could see...."

"There were no grounds," said Aaron. "No, there weren't I just left them."

"Mere caprice?"

"If it's a caprice to be begotten--and a caprice to be born--and a caprice to die--then that was a caprice, for it was the same."

"Like birth or death? I don't follow."

"It happened to me: as birth happened to me once--and

death will happen. It was a sort of death, too: or a sort of birth. But as undeniable as either. And without any more grounds."

The old, tremulous man, and the young man were watching one another.

"A natural event," said Sir William.

"A natural event," said Aaron.

"Not that you loved any other woman?"

"God save me from it."

"You just left off loving?"

"Not even that. I went away."

"What from?"

"From it all."

"From the woman in particular?"

"Oh, yes. Yes. Yes, that."

"And you couldn't go back?"

Aaron shook his head.

"Yet you can give no reasons?"

"Not any reasons that would be any good. It wasn't a question of reasons. It was a question of her and me and what must be. What makes a child be born out of its mother to the pain and trouble of both of them? I don't know."

"But that is a natural process."

"So is this--or nothing."

"No," interposed the Major. "Because birth is a universal process--and yours is a specific, almost unique event."

"Well, unique or not, it so came about. I didn't ever leave off loving her--not as far as I know. I left her as I shall leave the earth when I die--because it has to be."

"Do you know what I think it is, Mr. Sisson?" put in Lady Franks. "I think you are just in a wicked state of mind: just that. Mr. Lilly, too. And you must be very careful, or some great misfortune will happen to you."

"It may," said Aaron.


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