`Was it very vile to be dragged back here again?' Gudrun asked at length.

Ursula looked up in some bewilderment.

`I never thought of it,' she said.

`I felt a beast, fetching you,' said Gudrun. `But I simply couldn't see people. That is too much for me.'

`Yes,' said Ursula, chilled.

Birkin tapped and entered. His face was white and expressionless. She knew he knew. He gave her his hand, saying:

`The end of this trip, at any rate.'

Gudrun glanced at him, afraid.

There was silence between the three of them, nothing to be said. At length Ursula asked in a small voice:

`Have you seen him?'

He looked back at Ursula with a hard, cold look, and did not trouble to answer.

`Have you seen him?' she repeated.

`I have,' he said, coldly.

Then he looked at Gudrun.

`Have you done anything?' he said.

`Nothing,' she replied, `nothing.'

She shrank in cold disgust from making any statement.

`Loerke says that Gerald came to you, when you were sitting on the sledge at the bottom of the Rudelbahn, that you had words, and Gerald walked away. What were the words about? I had better know, so that I can satisfy the authorities, if necessary.'

Gudrun looked up at him, white, childlike, mute with trouble.

`There weren't even any words,' she said. `He knocked Loerke down and stunned him, he half strangled me, then he went away.'

To herself she was saying:

`A pretty little sample of the eternal triangle!' And she turned ironically away, because she knew that the fight had been between Gerald and herself and that the presence of the third party was a mere contingency -- an inevitable contingency perhaps, but a contingency none the less. But let them have it as an example of the eternal triangle, the trinity of hate. It would be simpler for them.

Birkin went away, his manner cold and abstracted. But she knew he would do things for her, nevertheless, he would see her through. She smiled slightly to herself, with contempt. Let him do the work, since he was so extremely good at looking after other people.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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