Lady Chatterley's Lover
When Connie went up to her bedroom she did what she had not done for a long
time: took off all her clothes, and looked at herself naked in the huge mirror. She
did not know what she was looking for, or at, very definitely, yet she moved the
lamp till it shone full on her.
And she thought, as she had thought so often, . . what a frail, easily hurt, rather
pathetic thing a human body is, naked; somehow a little unfinished, incomplete!
She had been supposed to have rather a good figure, but now she was out of
fashion: a little too female, not enough like an adolescent boy. She was not very
tall, a bit Scottish and short; but she had a certain fluent, down-slipping grace
that might have been beauty. Her skin was faintly tawny, her limbs had a certain
stillness, her body should have had a full, down-slipping richness; but it lacked
Instead of ripening its firm, down-running curves, her body was flattening and
going a little harsh. It was as if it had not had enough sun and warmth; it was a
little greyish and sapless.
Disappointed of its real womanhood, it had not succeeded in becoming boyish,
and unsubstantial, and transparent; instead it had gone opaque.
Her breasts were rather small, and dropping pear-shaped. But they were unripe,
a little bitter, without meaning hanging there. And her belly had lost the fresh,
round gleam it had had when she was young, in the days of her German boy,
who really loved her physically. Then it was young and expectant, with a real look
of its own. Now it was going slack, and a little flat, thinner, but with a slack
thinness. Her thighs, too, they used to look so quick and glimpsey in their female
roundness, somehow they too were going flat, slack, meaningless.
Her body was going meaningless, going dull and opaque, so much insignificant
substance. It made her feel immensely depressed and hopeless. What hope was
there? She was old, old at twenty-seven, with no gleam and sparkle in the flesh.
Old through neglect and denial, yes, denial. Fashionable women kept their
bodies bright like delicate porcelain, by external attention. There was nothing
inside the porcelain; but she was not even as bright as that. The mental life!
Suddenly she hated it with a rushing fury, the swindle!
She looked in the other mirror's reflection at her back, her waist, her loins. She
was getting thinner, but to her it was not becoming. The crumple of her waist at
the back, as she bent back to look, was a little weary; and it used to be so gay-
looking. And the longish slope of her haunches and her buttocks had lost its
gleam and its sense of richness. Gone! Only the German boy had loved it, and
he was ten years dead, very nearly. How time went by! Ten years dead, and she
was only twenty-seven. The healthy boy with his fresh, clumsy sensuality that
she had then been so scornful of! Where would she find it now? It was gone out
of men. They had their pathetic, two-seconds spasms like Michaelis; but no
healthy human sensuality, that warms the blood and freshens the whole being.
Still she thought the most beautiful part of her was the long-sloping fall of the
haunches from the socket of the back, and the slumberous, round stillness of the