Marriage or Not

THE BRANGWEN family was going to move from Beldover. It was necessary now for the father to be in town.

Birkin had taken out a marriage licence, yet Ursula deferred from day to day. She would not fix any definite time -- she still wavered. Her month's notice to leave the Grammar School was in its third week. Christmas was not far off.

Gerald waited for the Ursula-Birkin marriage. It was something crucial to him.

`Shall we make it a double-barrelled affair?' he said to Birkin one day.

`Who for the second shot?' asked Birkin.

`Gudrun and me,' said Gerald, the venturesome twinkle in his eyes.

Birkin looked at him steadily, as if somewhat taken aback.

`Serious -- or joking?' he asked.

`Oh, serious. Shall I? Shall Gudrun and I rush in along with you?'

`Do by all means,' said Birkin. `I didn't know you'd got that length.'

`What length?' said Gerald, looking at the other man, and laughing.

`Oh yes, we've gone all the lengths.'

`There remains to put it on a broad social basis, and to achieve a high moral purpose,' said Birkin.

`Something like that: the length and breadth and height of it,' replied Gerald, smiling.

`Oh well,' said Birkin,' it's a very admirable step to take, I should say.'

Gerald looked at him closely.

`Why aren't you enthusiastic?' he asked. `I thought you were such dead nuts on marriage.'

Birkin lifted his shoulders.

`One might as well be dead nuts on noses. There are all sorts of noses, snub and otherwise--'

Gerald laughed.

`And all sorts of marriage, also snub and otherwise?' he said.

`That's it.'

`And you think if I marry, it will be snub?' asked Gerald quizzically, his head a little on one side.

Birkin laughed quickly.

`How do I know what it will be!' he said. `Don't lambaste me with my own parallels--'

Gerald pondered a while.

`But I should like to know your opinion, exactly,' he said.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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