THE DAYS went by, and she received no sign. Was he going to ignore her, was he going to take no further notice of her secret? A dreary weight of anxiety and acrid bitterness settled on her. And yet Ursula knew she was only deceiving herself, and that he would proceed. She said no word to anybody.
Then, sure enough, there came a note from him, asking if she would come to tea with Gudrun, to his rooms in town.
`Why does he ask Gudrun as well?' she asked herself at once. `Does he want to protect himself, or does he think I would not go alone?' She was tormented by the thought that he wanted to protect himself. But at the end of all, she only said to herself:
`I don't want Gudrun to be there, because I want him to say something more to me. So I shan't tell Gudrun anything about it, and I shall go alone. Then I shall know.'
She found herself sitting on the tram-car, mounting up the hill going out of the town, to the place where he had his lodging. She seemed to have passed into a kind of dream world, absolved from the conditions of actuality. She watched the sordid streets of the town go by beneath her, as if she were a spirit disconnected from the material universe. What had it all to do with her? She was palpitating and formless within the flux of the ghost life. She could not consider any more, what anybody would say of her or think about her. People had passed out of her range, she was absolved. She had fallen strange and dim, out of the sheath of the material life, as a berry falls from the only world it has ever known, down out of the sheath on to the real unknown.
Birkin was standing in the middle of the room, when she was shown in by the landlady. He too was moved outside himself. She saw him agitated and shaken, a frail, unsubstantial body silent like the node of some violent force, that came out from him and shook her almost into a swoon.
`You are alone?' he said.
`Yes - Gudrun could not come.'
He instantly guessed why.
And they were both seated in silence, in the terrible tension of the room. She was aware that it was a pleasant room, full of light and very restful in its form -- aware also of a fuchsia tree, with dangling scarlet and purple flowers.
`How nice the fuchsias are!' she said, to break the silence.
`Aren't they! Did you think I had forgotten what I said?'
A swoon went over Ursula's mind.
`I don't want you to remember it -- if you don't want to,' she struggled to say, through the dark mist that covered her.
There was silence for some moments.
`No,' he said. `It isn't that. Only -- if we are going to know each other, we must pledge ourselves for ever. If we are going to make a relationship, even of friendship, there must be something final and infallible about it.'
There was a clang of mistrust and almost anger in his voice. She did not answer. Her heart was too much contracted. She could not have spoken.
Seeing she was not going to reply, he continued, almost bitterly, giving himself away:
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