`Read it!' repeated the voice.
`Why, if I must, I do it to obey you, Sir Clifford,' she said. And she read the letter.
`Well, I am surprised at her ladyship,' she said. `She promised so faithfully she'd come back!'
The face in the bed seemed to deepen its expression of wild, but motionless distraction. Mrs Bolton
looked at it and was worried. She knew what she was up against: male hysteria. She had not nursed
soldiers without learning something about that very unpleasant disease.
She was a little impatient of Sir Clifford. Any man in his senses must have known his wife was in love
with somebody else, and was going to leave him. Even, she was sure, Sir Clifford was inwardly absolutely
aware of it, only he wouldn't admit it to himself. If he would have admitted it, and prepared himself for
it: or if he would have admitted it, and actively struggled with his wife against it: that would have been
acting like a man. But no! he knew it, and all the time tried to kid himself it wasn't so. He felt the devil
twisting his tail, and pretended it was the angels smiling on him. This state of falsity had now brought
on that crisis of falsity and dislocation, hysteria, which is a form of insanity. `It comes', she thought to
herself, hating him a little, `because he always thinks of himself. He's so wrapped up in his own immortal
self, that when he does get a shock he's like a mummy tangled in its own bandages. Look at him!'
But hysteria is dangerous: and she was a nurse, it was her duty to pull him out. Any attempt to rouse his
manhood and his pride would only make him worse: for his manhood was dead, temporarily if not finally.
He would only squirm softer and softer, like a worm, and become more dislocated.
The only thing was to release his self-pity. Like the lady in Tennyson, he must weep or he must die.
So Mrs Bolton began to weep first. She covered her face with her hand and burst into little wild sobs.
`I would never have believed it of her ladyship, I wouldn't!' she wept, suddenly summoning up all her old
grief and sense of woe, and weeping the tears of her own bitter chagrin. Once she started, her weeping
was genuine enough, for she had had something to weep for.
Clifford thought of the way he had been betrayed by the woman Connie, and in a contagion of grief,
tears filled his eyes and began to run down his cheeks. He was weeping for himself. Mrs Bolton, as
soon as she saw the tears running over his blank face, hastily wiped her own wet cheeks on her little
handkerchief, and leaned towards him.
`Now, don't you fret, Sir Clifford!' she said, in a luxury of emotion. `Now, don't you fret, don't, you'll only
do yourself an injury!'
His body shivered suddenly in an indrawn breath of silent sobbing, and the tears ran quicker down his
face. She laid her hand on his arm, and her own tears fell again. Again the shiver went through him,
like a convulsion, and she laid her arm round his shoulder. `There, there! There, there! Don't you fret,
then, don't you! Don't you fret!' she moaned to him, while her own tears fell. And she drew him to her,
and held her arms round his great shoulders, while he laid his face on her bosom and sobbed, shaking
and hulking his huge shoulders, whilst she softly stroked his dusky-blond hair and said: `There! There!
There! There then! There then! Never you mind! Never you mind, then!'
And he put his arms round her and clung to her like a child, wetting the bib of her starched white apron,
and the bosom of her pale-blue cotton dress, with his tears. He had let himself go altogether, at last.
So at length she kissed him, and rocked him on her bosom, and in her heart she said to herself: `Oh,
Sir Clifford! Oh, high and mighty Chatterleys! Is this what you've come down to!' And finally he even
went to sleep, like a child. And she felt worn out, and went to her own room, where she laughed and
cried at once, with a hysteria of her own. It was so ridiculous! It was so awful! Such a come-down! So
shameful! And it was so upsetting as well.