Lady Chatterley's Lover HTML version

Chapter 11
Connie was sorting out one of the Wragby lumber rooms. There were several:
the house was a warren, and the family never sold anything. Sir Geoffery's father
had liked pictures and Sir Geoffery's mother had liked cinquecento furniture. Sir
Geoffery himself had liked old carved oak chests, vestry chests. So it went on
through the generations. Clifford collected very modern pictures, at very
moderate prices.
So in the lumber room there were bad Sir Edwin Landseers and pathetic William
Henry Hunt birds' nests: and other Academy stuff, enough to frighten the
daughter of an R. A. She determined to look through it one day, and clear it all.
And the grotesque furniture interested her.
Wrapped up carefully to preserve it from damage and dry-rot was the old family
cradle, of rosewood. She had to unwrap it, to look at it. It had a certain charm:
she looked at it a longtime.
"It's thousand pities it won't be called for," sighed Mrs. Bolton, who was helping.
"Though cradles like that are out of date nowadays."
"It might be called for. I might have a child," said Connie casually, as if saying
she might have a new hat.
"You mean if anything happened to Sir Clifford!" stammered Mrs. Bolton.
"No! I mean as things are. It's only muscular paralysis with Sir Clifford---it doesn't
affect him," said Connie, lying as naturally as breathing.
Clifford had put the idea into her head. He had said: "Of course I may have a
child yet. I'm not really mutilated at all. The potency may easily come back, even
if the muscles of the hips and legs are paralysed. And then the seed may be
He really felt, when he had his periods of energy and worked so hard at the
question of the mines, as if his sexual potency were returning. Connie had looked
at him in terror. But she was quite quick-witted enough to use his suggestion for
her own preservation. For she would have a child if she could: but not his.
Mrs. Bolton was for a moment breathless, flabbergasted. Then she didn't believe
it: she saw in it a ruse. Yet doctors could do such things nowadays. They might
sort of graft seed.
"Well, my Lady, I only hope and pray you may. It would be lovely for you: and for
everybody. My word, a child in Wragby, what a difference it would make!"
"Wouldn't it!" said Connie.
And she chose three R. A. pictures of sixty years ago, to send to the Duchess of
Shortlands for that lady's next charitable bazaar. She was called `the bazaar
duchess', and she always asked all the county to send things for her to sell. She
would be delighted with three framed R. A.'s. She might even call, on the
strength of them. How furious Clifford was when she called!
But oh my dear! Mrs. Bolton was thinking to herself. Is it Oliver Mellors' child
you're preparing us for? Oh my dear, that would be a Tevershall baby in the
Wragby cradle, my word! Wouldn't shame it, neither!