`Ah God! Waiting! What are we waiting for?'

`Some old Johnny says there are three cures for ennui, sleep, drink, and travel,' said Birkin.

`All cold eggs,' said Gerald. `In sleep, you dream, in drink you curse, and in travel you yell at a porter. No, work and love are the two. When you're not at work you should be in love.'

`Be it then,' said Birkin.

`Give me the object,' said Gerald. `The possibilities of love exhaust themselves.'

`Do they? And then what?'

`Then you die,' said Gerald.

`So you ought,' said Birkin.

`I don't see it,' replied Gerald. He took his hands out of his trousers pockets, and reached for a cigarette. He was tense and nervous. He lit the cigarette over a lamp, reaching forward and drawing steadily. He was dressed for dinner, as usual in the evening, although he was alone.

`There's a third one even to your two,' said Birkin. `Work, love, and fighting. You forget the fight.'

`I suppose I do,' said Gerald. `Did you ever do any boxing --?'

`No, I don't think I did,' said Birkin.

`Ay --' Gerald lifted his head and blew the smoke slowly into the air.

`Why?' said Birkin.

`Nothing. I thought we might have a round. It is perhaps true, that I want something to hit. It's a suggestion.'

`So you think you might as well hit me?' said Birkin.

`You? Well! Perhaps --! In a friendly kind of way, of course.'

`Quite!' said Birkin, bitingly.

Gerald stood leaning back against the mantel-piece. He looked down at Birkin, and his eyes flashed with a sort of terror like the eyes of a stallion, that are bloodshot and overwrought, turned glancing backwards in a stiff terror.

`I fell that if I don't watch myself, I shall find myself doing something silly,' he said.

`Why not do it?' said Birkin coldly.

Gerald listened with quick impatience. He kept glancing down at Birkin, as if looking for something from the other man.

`I used to do some Japanese wrestling,' said Birkin. `A Jap lived in the same house with me in Heidelberg, and he taught me a little. But I was never much good at it.'

`You did!' exclaimed Gerald. `That's one of the things I've never ever seen done. You mean jiu-jitsu, I suppose?'

`Yes. But I am no good at those things -- they don't interest me.'

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