The Industrial Magnate
IN BELDOVER, there was both for Ursula and for Gudrun an interval. It seemed to Ursula as if Birkin had gone out of her for the time, he had lost his significance, he scarcely mattered in her world. She had her own friends, her own activities, her own life. She turned back to the old ways with zest, away from him.
And Gudrun, after feeling every moment in all her veins conscious of Gerald Crich, connected even physically with him, was now almost indifferent to the thought of him. She was nursing new schemes for going away and trying a new form of life. All the time, there was something in her urging her to avoid the final establishing of a relationship with Gerald. She felt it would be wiser and better to have no more than a casual acquaintance with him.
She had a scheme for going to St Petersburg, where she had a friend who was a sculptor like herself, and who lived with a wealthy Russian whose hobby was jewel-making. The emotional, rather rootless life of the Russians appealed to her. She did not want to go to Paris. Paris was dry, and essentially boring. She would like to go to Rome, Munich, Vienna, or to St Petersburg or Moscow. She had a friend in St Petersburg and a friend in Munich. To each of these she wrote, asking about rooms.
She had a certain amount of money. She had come home partly to save, and now she had sold several pieces of work, she had been praised in various shows. She knew she could become quite the `go' if she went to London. But she knew London, she wanted something else. She had seventy pounds, of which nobody knew anything. She would move soon, as soon as she heard from her friends. Her nature, in spite of her apparent placidity and calm, was profoundly restless.
The sisters happened to call in a cottage in Willey Green to buy honey. Mrs Kirk, a stout, pale, sharp- nosed woman, sly, honied, with something shrewish and cat-like beneath, asked the girls into her toocosy, too tidy kitchen. There was a cat-like comfort and cleanliness everywhere.
`Yes, Miss Brangwen,' she said, in her slightly whining, insinuating voice, `and how do you like being back in the old place, then?'
Gudrun, whom she addressed, hated her at once.
`I don't care for it,' she replied abruptly.
`You don't? Ay, well, I suppose you found a difference from London. You like life, and big, grand places. Some of us has to be content with Willey Green and Beldover. And what do you think of our Grammar School, as there's so much talk about?'
`What do I think of it?' Gudrun looked round at her slowly. `Do you mean, do I think it's a good school?'
`Yes. What is your opinion of it?'
"I do think it's a good school.'
Gudrun was very cold and repelling. She knew the common people hated the school.
`Ay, you do, then! I've heard so much, one way and the other. It's nice to know what those that's in it feel. But opinions vary, don't they? Mr Crich up at Highclose is all for it. Ay, poor man, I'm afraid he's not long for this world. He's very poorly.'
`Is he worse?' asked Ursula.
`Eh, yes -- since they lost Miss Diana. He's gone off to a shadow. Poor man, he's had a world of trouble.'
`Has he?' asked Gudrun, faintly ironic.
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