Sons and Lovers HTML version

PART II: 7. Lad-And-Girl Love
PAUL had been many times up to Willey Farm during the autumn. He was
friends with the two youngest boys. Edgar the eldest, would not condescend at
first. And Miriam also refused to be approached. She was afraid of being set at
nought, as by her own brothers. The girl was romantic in her soul. Everywhere
was a Walter Scott heroine being loved by men with helmets or with plumes in
their caps. She herself was something of a princess turned into a swine-girl in her
own imagination. And she was afraid lest this boy, who, nevertheless, looked
something like a Walter Scott hero, who could paint and speak French, and knew
what algebra meant, and who went by train to Nottingham every day, might
consider her simply as the swine-girl, unable to perceive the princess beneath;
so she held aloof.
Her great companion was her mother. They were both brown-eyed, and inclined
to be mystical, such women as treasure religion inside them, breathe it in their
nostrils, and see the whole of life in a mist thereof. So to Miriam, Christ and God
made one great figure, which she loved tremblingly and passionately when a
tremendous sunset burned out the western sky, and Ediths, and Lucys, and
Rowenas, Brian de Bois Guilberts, Rob Roys, and Guy Mannerings, rustled the
sunny leaves in the morning, or sat in her bedroom aloft, alone, when it snowed.
That was life to her. For the rest, she drudged in the house, which work she
would not have minded had not her clean red floor been mucked up immediately
by the trampling farm-boots of her brothers. She madly wanted her little brother
of four to let her swathe him and stifle him in her love; she went to church
reverently, with bowed head, and quivered in anguish from the vulgarity of the
other choir-girls and from the common-sounding voice of the curate; she fought
with her brothers, whom she considered brutal louts; and she held not her father
in too high esteem because he did not carry any mystical ideals cherished in his
heart, but only wanted to have as easy a time as he could, and his meals when
he was ready for them.
She hated her position as swine-girl. She wanted to be considered. She wanted
to learn, thinking that if she could read, as Paul said he could read, "Colomba", or
the "Voyage autour de ma Chambre", the world would have a different face for
her and a deepened respect. She could not be princess by wealth or standing.
So she was mad to have learning whereon to pride herself. For she was different