WHEN THEY brought the body home, the next morning, Gudrun was shut up in her room. From her window she saw men coming along with a burden, over the snow. She sat still and let the minutes go by.
There came a tap at her door. She opened. There stood a woman, saying softly, oh, far too reverently:
`They have found him, madam!'
`Il est mort?'
`Yes -- hours ago.'
Gudrun did not know what to say. What should she say? What should she feel? What should she do? What did they expect of her? She was coldly at a loss.
`Thank you,' she said, and she shut the door of her room. The woman went away mortified. Not a word, not a tear -- ha! Gudrun was cold, a cold woman.
Gudrun sat on in her room, her face pale and impassive. What was she to do? She could not weep and make a scene. She could not alter herself. She sat motionless, hiding from people. Her one motive was to avoid actual contact with events. She only wrote out a long telegram to Ursula and Birkin.
In the afternoon, however, she rose suddenly to look for Loerke. She glanced with apprehension at the door of the room that had been Gerald's. Not for worlds would she enter there.
She found Loerke sitting alone in the lounge. She went straight up to him.
`It isn't true, is it?' she said.
He looked up at her. A small smile of misery twisted his face. He shrugged his shoulders.
`True?' he echoed.
`We haven't killed him?' she asked.
He disliked her coming to him in such a manner. He raised his shoulders wearily.
`It has happened,' he said.
She looked at him. He sat crushed and frustrated for the time being, quite as emotionless and barren as herself. My God! this was a barren tragedy, barren, barren.
She returned to her room to wait for Ursula and Birkin. She wanted to get away, only to get away. She could not think or feel until she had got away, till she was loosed from this position.
The day passed, the next day came. She heard the sledge, saw Ursula and Birkin alight, and she shrank from these also.
Ursula came straight up to her.
`Gudrun!' she cried, the tears running down her cheeks. And she took her sister in her arms. Gudrun hid her face on Ursula's shoulder, but still she could not escape the cold devil of irony that froze her soul.
`Ha, ha!' she thought, `this is the right behaviour.'
But she could not weep, and the sight of her cold, pale, impassive face soon stopped the fountain of Ursula's tears. In a few moments, the sisters had nothing to say to each other.
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