Lady Chatterley's Lover HTML version

Chapter 16
Connie arrived home to an ordeal of cross-questioning. Clifford had been out at
tea-time, had come in just before the storm, and where was her ladyship?
Nobody knew, only Mrs. Bolton suggested she had gone for a walk into the
wood. Into the wood, in such a storm!---Clifford for once let himself get into a
state of nervous frenzy. He started at every flash of lightning, and blenched at
every roll of thunder. He looked at the icy thunder-rain as if it dare the end of the
world. He got more and more worked up.
Mrs. Bolton tried to soothe him.
"She'll be sheltering in the hut, till it's over. Don't worry, her Ladyship is all right."
"I don't like her being in the wood in a storm like this! I don't like her being in the
wood at all! She's been gone now more than two hours. When did she go out?"
"A little while before you came in."
"I didn't see her in the park. God knows where she is and what has happened to
"Oh, nothing's happened to her. You'll see, she'll be home directly after the rain
stops. It's just the rain that's keeping her."
But her ladyship did not come home directly the rain stopped. In fact time went
by, the sun came out for his last yellow glimpse, and there still was no sign of
her. The sun was set, it was growing dark, and the first dinner-gong had rung.
"It's no good!' said Clifford in a frenzy. "I'm going to send out Field and Betts to
find her."
"Oh don't do that!" cried Mrs. Bolton. "They'll think there's a suicide or something.
Oh don't start a lot of talk going.---Let me slip over to the hut and see if she's not
there. I'll find her all right."
So, after some persuasion, Clifford allowed her to go.
And so Connie had come upon her in the drive, alone and palely loitering.
"You mustn't mind me coming to look for you, my Lady! But Sir Clifford worked
himself up into such a state. He made sure you were struck by lightning, or killed
by a falling tree. And he was determined to send Field and Betts to the wood to
find the body. So I thought I'd better come, rather than set all the servants agog."
She spoke nervously. She could still see on Connie's face the smoothness and
the half-dream of passion, and she could feel the irritation against herself.
"Quite!" said Connie. And she could say no more.
The two women plodded on through the wet world, in silence, while great drops
splashed like explosions in the wood. Ben they came to the park, Connie strode
ahead, and Mrs. Bolton panted a little. She was getting plumper.
"How foolish of Clifford to make a fuss!" said Connie at length, angrily, really
speaking to herself.
"Oh, you know what men are! They like working themselves up. But he'll be all
right as soon as he sees your Ladyship."
Connie was very angry that Mrs. Bolton knew her secret: for certainly she knew
Suddenly Constance stood still on the path.