Women in Love
The week passed away. On the Saturday it rained, a soft drizzling rain that held
off at times. In one of the intervals Gudrun and Ursula set out for a walk, going
towards Willey Water. The atmosphere was grey and translucent, the birds sang
sharply on the young twigs, the earth would be quickening and hastening in
growth. The two girls walked swiftly, gladly, because of the soft, subtle rush of
morning that filled the wet haze. By the road the black-thorn was in blossom,
white and wet, its tiny amber grains burning faintly in the white smoke of
blossom. Purple twigs were darkly luminous in the grey air, high hedges glowed
like living shadows, hovering nearer, coming into creation. The morning was full
of a new creation.
When the sisters came to Willey Water, the lake lay all grey and visionary,
stretching into the moist, translucent vista of trees and meadow. Fine electric
activity in sound came from the dumbles below the road, the birds piping one
against the other, and water mysteriously plashing, issuing from the lake.
The two girls drifted swiftly along. In front of them, at the corner of the lake, near
the road, was a mossy boat-house under a walnut tree, and a little landing-stage
where a boat was moored, wavering like a shadow on the still grey water, below
the green, decayed poles. All was shadowy with coming summer.
Suddenly, from the boat-house, a white figure ran out, frightening in its swift
sharp transit, across the old landing-stage. It launched in a white arc through the
air, there was a bursting of the water, and among the smooth ripples a swimmer
was making out to space, in a centre of faintly heaving motion. The whole
otherworld, wet and remote, he had to himself. He could move into the pure
translucency of the grey, uncreated water.
Gudrun stood by the stone wall, watching.
'How I envy him,' she said, in low, desirous tones.
'Ugh!' shivered Ursula. 'So cold!'
'Yes, but how good, how really fine, to swim out there!' The sisters stood
watching the swimmer move further into the grey, moist, full space of the water,
pulsing with his own small, invading motion, and arched over with mist and dim
'Don't you wish it were you?' asked Gudrun, looking at Ursula.
'I do,' said Ursula. 'But I'm not sure---it's so wet.'
'No,' said Gudrun, reluctantly. She stood watching the motion on the bosom of
the water, as if fascinated. He, having swum a certain distance, turned round and
was swimming on his back, looking along the water at the two girls by the wall. In
the faint wash of motion, they could see his ruddy face, and could feel him
'It is Gerald Crich,' said Ursula.
'I know,' replied Gudrun.
And she stood motionless gazing over the water at the face which washed up
and down on the flood, as he swam steadily. From his separate element he saw
them and he exulted to himself because of his own advantage, his possession of