Women in Love
As the day wore on, the life-blood seemed to ebb away from Ursula, and within
the emptiness a heavy despair gathered. Her passion seemed to bleed to death,
and there was nothing. She sat suspended in a state of complete nullity, harder
to bear than death.
'Unless something happens,' she said to herself, in the perfect lucidity of final
suffering, 'I shall die. I am at the end of my line of life.'
She sat crushed and obliterated in a darkness that was the border of death. She
realised how all her life she had been drawing nearer and nearer to this brink,
where there was no beyond, from which one had to leap like Sappho into the
unknown. The knowledge of the imminence of death was like a drug. Darkly,
without thinking at all, she knew that she was near to death. She had travelled all
her life along the line of fulfilment, and it was nearly concluded. She knew all she
had to know, she had experienced all she had to experience, she was fulfilled in
a kind of bitter ripeness, there remained only to fall from the tree into death. And
one must fulfil one's development to the end, must carry the adventure to its
conclusion. And the next step was over the border into death. So it was then!
There was a certain peace in the knowledge.
After all, when one was fulfilled, one was happiest in falling into death, as a bitter
fruit plunges in its ripeness downwards. Death is a great consummation, a
consummating experience. It is a development from life. That we know, while we
are yet living. What then need we think for further? One can never see beyond
the consummation. It is enough that death is a great and conclusive experience.
Why should we ask what comes after the experience, when the experience is still
unknown to us? Let us die, since the great experience is the one that follows now
upon all the rest, death, which is the next great crisis in front of which we have
arrived. If we wait, if we baulk the issue, we do but hang about the gates in
undignified uneasiness. There it is, in front of us, as in front of Sappho, the
illimitable space. Thereinto goes the journey. Have we not the courage to go on
with our journey, must we cry 'I daren't'? On ahead we will go, into death, and
whatever death may mean. If a man can see the next step to be taken, why
should he fear the next but one? Why ask about the next but one? Of the next
step we are certain. It is the step into death.
'I shall die---I shall quickly die,' said Ursula to herself, clear as if in a trance, clear,
calm, and certain beyond human certainty. But somewhere behind, in the twilight,
there was a bitter weeping and a hopelessness. That must not be attended to.
One must go where the unfaltering spirit goes, there must be no baulking the
issue, because of fear. No baulking the issue, no listening to the lesser voices. If
the deepest desire be now, to go on into the unknown of death, shall one forfeit
the deepest truth for one more shallow?
'Then let it end,' she said to herself. It was a decision. It was not a question of
taking one's life---she would never kill herself, that was repulsive and violent. It