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Women in Love

After his illness Birkin went to the south of France for a time. He did not write,
nobody heard anything of him. Ursula, left alone, felt as if everything were
lapsing out. There seemed to be no hope in the world. One was a tiny little rock
with the tide of nothingness rising higher and higher She herself was real, and
only herself--just like a rock in a wash of flood-water. The rest was all
nothingness. She was hard and indifferent, isolated in herself.
There was nothing for it now, but contemptuous, resistant indifference. All the
world was lapsing into a grey wish-wash of nothingness, she had no contact and
no connection anywhere. She despised and detested the whole show. From the
bottom of her heart, from the bottom of her soul, she despised and detested
people, adult people. She loved only children and animals: children she loved
passionately, but coldly. They made her want to hug them, to protect them, to
give them life. But this very love, based on pity and despair, was only a bondage
and a pain to her. She loved best of all the animals, that were single and unsocial
as she herself was. She loved the horses and cows in the field. Each was single
and to itself, magical. It was not referred away to some detestable social
principle. It was incapable of soulfulness and tragedy, which she detested so
She could be very pleasant and flattering, almost subservient, to people she met.
But no one was taken in. Instinctively each felt her contemptuous mockery of the
human being in himself, or herself. She had a profound grudge against the
human being. That which the word 'human' stood for was despicable and
repugnant to her.
Mostly her heart was closed in this hidden, unconscious strain of contemptuous
ridicule. She thought she loved, she thought she was full of love. This was her
idea of herself. But the strange brightness of her presence, a marvellous
radiance of intrinsic vitality, was a luminousness of supreme repudiation, nothing
but repudiation.
Yet, at moments, she yielded and softened, she wanted pure love, only pure
love. This other, this state of constant unfailing repudiation, was a strain, a
suffering also. A terrible desire for pure love overcame her again.
She went out one evening, numbed by this constant essential suffering. Those
who are timed for destruction must die now. The knowledge of this reached a
finality, a finishing in her. And the finality released her. If fate would carry off in
death or downfall all those who were timed to go, why need she trouble, why
repudiate any further. She was free of it all, she could seek a new union
Ursula set off to Willey Green, towards the mill. She came to Willey Water. It was
almost full again, after its period of emptiness. Then she turned off through the
woods. The night had fallen, it was dark. But she forgot to be afraid, she who had
such great sources of fear. Among the trees, far from any human beings, there
was a sort of magic peace. The more one could find a pure loneliness, with no