Monday, January 17, 2022

the last book I ever read (D. H. Lawrence's St. Mawr, excerpt eight)

from St. Mawr by D. H. Lawrence:

Mrs. Witt rode on in the rain, which abated as the afternoon wore down, and the evening came without rain, and with a suffusion of pale yellow light. All the time she had trotted in silence, with Lewis just behind her and she scarcely saw the heather-covered hills with the deep clefts between them, nor the oak-woods, nor the lingering foxgloves, nor the earth at all. Inside herself she felt a profound repugnance for the English country: she preferred even the crudeness of Central Park in New York.

And she felt an almost savage desire to get away from Europe, from everything European. Now she was really en route, she cared not a straw for St. Mawr or for Lewis or anything. Something just writhed inside her, all the time, against Europe. That closeness, that sense of cohesion, that sense of being fused into a lump with all the rest--no matter how much distance you kept--this drove her mad. In America the cohesion was a matter of choice and will. But in Europe it was organic, like the helpless particles of one sprawling body. And the great body in a state of incipient decay.

She was a woman of fifty-one: and she seemed hardly to have lived a day. She looked behind her the thin trees and swamps of Louisiana, the sultry, sub-tropical excitement of decaying New Orleans, the vast bare dryness of Texas, with mobs of cattle in an illumined dust! The half-European thrills of New York! The false stability of Boston! A clever husband, who was a brilliant lawyer, but who was far more thrilled by his cattle ranch than by his law: and who drank heavily and, died. The years of first widowhood in Boston, consoled by a self-satisfied sort of intellectual courtship from clever men.--For curiously enough, while she wanted it, she had always been able to compel men to pay court to her. All kinds of men.--Then a rather dashing time in New York--when she was in her early forties. Then the long visual philandering in Europe. She left off “loving,” save through the eye, when she came to Europe. And when she made her trips to America, she found it was finished there also, her “loving.”

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