Lost Girl | D. H. Lawrence | Literary Fiction | Audiobook full unabridged | English | 1/9

Lost Girl | D. H. Lawrence | Literary Fiction | Audiobook full unabridged | English | 1/9



chapter one of the Lost Girl this is a librivox recording all librivox recordings are in the public domain for more information or to volunteer please visit librivox.org recording by Toni Foster The Lost Girl by D H Lawrence chapter one the decline of Manchester house take a mining town that like would house with a population of 10,000 people and three generations behind it this space of three generations argues a certain well established society the old county has fled from the sight of so much disemboweled coal to flourish on mineral rights in regions still idyllic remains one great and inaccessible magnet the local coal owner three generations old and clambering on the bottom step of the county kicking off the mass below rule him out a well established society in wood house full of fine shades ranging from the dark of coal dust to grit of stonemason and sawdust of timber merchants through the luster of lard and butter and meat to the perfume of the chemist and the disinfectant of the doctor on to the serene gold tarnish of bank managers cashiers for the firm clergyman and suchlike as far as the automobile refulgence of the general manager of all the calories here the NIT blue Alka the general manager lives in the shrubbery seclusion of the so-called Manor the genuine Hall abandoned by the county has been taken over as offices by the firm here we are then a vast substratum of Colliers a thick sprinkling of tradespeople intermingled with small employers of Labor and diversified by elementary school masters and nonconformist clergy a higher layer of bank managers rich Millers and well-to-do ironmasters Episcopal clergy and the managers of Colliers then the rich and sticky cherry of the local coal owner glistening over such the complicated social system of a small industrial town in the Midlands of England in this year of grace 1920 but let us go back a little such it was in the last calm year of Plenty 1913 a calm year of Plenty but one chronic and dreary malady that of the odd women why in the name of all prosperity should every class but the lowest in such a society hang overburdened with dead sea fruit of odd women unmarried unmarriageable women called old maids why is it that every tradesman every schoolmaster every bank manager and every clergyman produces one two three or more old maids do the middle classes particularly the lower middle classes give birth to more girls than boys or do the lower middle-class men assiduously climb up or down in marriage thus leaving their true partners stranded on a middle-class women very squeamish in their choice of husbands however it be it is a tragedy or perhaps it is not perhaps these unmarried women of the middle classes are the famous sexless workers of our aunt industrial Society of which we hear so much perhaps all they lack is an occupation in short a job but perhaps we might hear their own opinion before we lay the law down in wood house there was a terrible crop of old maid among the knobs the trades people and the clergy the whole town of women Colliers wives and all held its breath as it saw a chance of one of these daughters of comfort and woe getting off they flocked to the well-to-do weddings with an intoxication of relief for let class jealousy be what it may a woman hates to see another woman left Staheli on the shelf without a chance they all wanted the middle-class girls to find husbands everyone wanted it including the girls themselves hence the dismal miss now James Horton had only one child his daughter Alvina Shirley Alvina often but let us retreat to the early 80s when Alvina was a baby or even further back to the parmie days of James Huffman in his parmi days James Huffman was Clem de la creme of Woodhouse society the house of Huffman had always been well-to-do trades people we must admit but after a few generations of affluence trades people acquire a distinct cachet now James huffed in' at the age of 28 inherited a splendid business in Manchester Goods in wood house he was a tall thin elegant young man with side whiskers genuinely refined somewhat in the Bullworth style he had a tasteful elegant conversation and elegant literature and elegant Christianity a tall thin brittle young man rather fluttering in his manner full of facile ideas and with a beautiful speaking voice most beautiful with all of course a tradesman he courted a small dark woman older than himself daughter of a Derbyshire Squire he expected to get at least 10,000 pounds with her in which he was disappointed for he only got 800 being of a romantic commercial nature he never forgave her but always treated her with the most elegant courtesy to see him peel and prepare an apple fer was an exquisite site but that peeled and quartered Apple was her portion this elegant atom of Commerce gave Eve her own back nicely cored and had no more to do with her meanwhile Alvina was born before all this however before his marriage James Horton had built Manchester house it was a vast square building vast that is four Woodhouse standing on the Main Street and highroad of the small but growing town the lower front consisted of two fine shops one for Manchester Goods one for silk and woolens this was James huffed ins commercial poem the James often was a dreamer and something of a poet commercial be it understood he liked the novels of George MacDonald and the fantasies of that author extremely he wove one continual fantasy for himself a fantasy of Commerce he dreamed of silks and poplin 'he's luscious in texture and of a unforeseen exquisiteness he dreamed of carriages of the county arrested before his windows of exquisite women ruffling charmed and trance to his counter and charming and trancing he served them his lovely fabrics which only he and they could sufficiently appreciate his fame spread until Alexandra Princess of Wales and Elizabeth Empress of Austria the two best-dressed women in Europe floated down from heaven to the shop in Woodhouse and salad forth to show what could be done by purchasing from James often we cannot say why James often failed to become the Liberty or the Snelgrove of his day perhaps he had too much imagination be that as it may in those early days when he brought his wife to her new home his window on the manchester side was a foam and a may blossom of muslins and prince his window on the London side was an autumn evening of silks and rich fabrics what wife could fail to be dazzled but she poor darling from her stone Hall in Stony Derbyshire was a little bit repulsed by the man's dancing in front of his stock like David before the ark the home to which he brought her was a monument in the great bedroom over the Sharpe he had his furniture built built of solid mahogany o-22 solid no doubt he hopped or skipped himself with satisfaction into the monstrous matrimonial bed it could only be mounted by means of a stool and chair but the poor secluded little woman older than he must have climbed up with a heavy heart to lie and face the gloomy Bastille of mahogany the great cupboard opposite or to turn wearily sideways to the great shavar mirror which performed a perpetual and hideous bow before her grace such furniture it could never be removed from the room the little child was born in the second year and then James Huffman decamped to a small half furnished bedroom at the other end of the house where he slept on a roof board and played the anchorite for the rest of his days his wife was left alone with her baby and the built-in furniture she developed heart disease as a result of nervous repressions but like a butterfly James fluttered over his fabrics he was a tyrant to his shopgirls no French Marquis in a Dickens novel could have been more elegant and huffing a and heartless the girls detested him and yet his curious refinement and enthusiasm bore them away they submitted to him the shop attracted much curiosity but the poor spirited Woodhouse people were weak buyers they wearied James huffed and with their demands for common Zephyrs for red flannel which they would scallop with black worsted for black alpacas and bombazine and Marino's he fluffed out his silk striped muslins his India cotton prints but the natives shied off as if he had offered them the poisoned robes of Heracles there was a sail the sails contributed a good deal to mrs. Houghton's nervous heart disease they brought the first signs of wear and tear into the face of James Huffman at first of course he merely marked down with discretion his less expensive stock of prints and muslins nuns veiling and muslin DeLong with a few fancy braiding 's and trimmings in guam poor bronze to enliven the affair and Woodhouse bought cautiously after the sale however James huffed and felt himself at liberty to plunge into an orgy of new stock he flitted with a tense look on his face to Manchester after which huge bundles bales and boxes arrived in Woodhouse and were dumped on the pavement of the shop Friday evening came and with it a revelation in Houghton's window the first pk's the first strangely woven and honeycomb Island covers and bed quilts the first frill caps and aprons for maids earns a wonder in white that was how James advertised it a wonder in white who knows but that he had been reading Wilkie Collins famous novel as the nine days of the wandering white passed and receded James disappeared in the direction of London a few Fridays later he came out with his winter touch weird and wonderful winter coats for ladies everything James handle was for ladies he scorned the coarser sex weird and wonderful winter coats for ladies of thick black pockmarked cloth stored and flourished their bare fur cuffs in the background while Tippit's Boers muffs and winter fancies netted in front of the window space Friday night crowds gathered outside the gas lamps shown their brightest James huffed and hovered in the background like an author on his first night in the theater the result was a sensation ten villages stared and crushed round the plate-glass it was a sensation but what a sensation in the breasts of the crowd wonder admiration fear and ridicule let us stress the word fear the inhabitants of Woodhouse were afraid lest James Huffman should impose his standards upon them his goods were in excellent taste but his customers were in as bad taste as possible they stood outside and pointed giggled and jeered poor James like an author on his first night saw his work fall more than flat but still he believed in his own excellence and quite justly what he failed to perceive was that the crowd hated excellence Woodhouse wanted a gently graduated progress in mediocrity a mediocrity so stale and flat that it fell outside the imagination of any sensitive mortal Woodhouse wanted a series of vulgar little thrills as one tawdry mediocrity was imported from Nottingham or Birmingham to take the place of some tawdry mediocrity which Nottingham and Birmingham had already discarded that would house as a very condition of its own being hated any approach to originality or real taste this James Horton could never learn he thought he'd not been clever enough when he had been far far too clever already he always thought that Dame fortune was a capricious and fastidious Dame a sort of Elisabeth of Austria or Alexandra Princess of Wales elegant beyond his grasp whereas Dame fortune even in London or Vienna let alone in Woodhouse was a vulgar woman of the middle and lower middle class ready to put her heavy foot on anything that was not vulgar machine-made and appropriate to the herd when he saw his delicate originality 'he's as well as his faint flourishes of Draper's fantasy squashed flat under the calm and solid foot of vulgar Dame fortune he fell into fits of depression bordering on mysticism and talked to his wife in a vague way of higher influences and the angel Israfil she poor lady was thoroughly scared by his ruffle and completely unhooked by the vagaries of James at last we hurried down the slopes of James misfortunes the real days of Houghton's great sales began Houghton's great bargain events were really events after some years of hanging on he let go splendidly he marked down his prints his chinses his dim –'tis and his failings with a grand and lavish hand bang went his blue pencil through three and eleven and nobly he subscribed one shilling and three farthings prices fell like nuts a lofty one and eleven rolled down to six three one and six magically shrank into fourpence three farthings whilst good solid prints exposed themselves at threatens three farthings per yard now this was really an opportunity moreover the goods having become a little stale during the years of ineffectual were beginning to approximate to the public taste and besides good sound stuff it was no matter what the patent and so the little Woodhouse girls went to school in Petty's and drawers made of material which James had destined for fair summer dresses Petty's and drawers of which the little Woodhouse girls were ashamed for all that for if they should chance to turn up their little skirts be sure they would raise a chorus among their companions yeah you've got your oftens threat need roars on all this time James huffed and walked on air he still saw the faith among Ghana snatching his fabrics round her lovely form and pointing him to wealth untold true he became also superintendent of the sunday school but whether this was an act of vanity or whether it was an attempt to establish a non taunt cordial with higher powers who shall judge meanwhile his wife became more and more an invalid the little Alvina was a pretty growing child Woodhouse was really impressed by the sight of mrs. Haughton small pale and withheld taking a walk with her dainty little girl so fresh in an ermine tippet and a month mrs. Haughton in a shiny black bear's fur the child in the white and spotted ermine passing silent and shadowy down the street made an impression which the people did not forget but mrs. Haughton had pains at her heart if during her walk she saw two little boys having a scrimmage she had to run to them with pence and entreating leaving them dumbfounded while she leaned blue at the lips against the wall if she saw a Carter crack his whip over the years of the horse as the horse labored uphill she had to cover her eyes and avert her face and all her strength left her so she stayed more and more in her room and the child was given to the charge of a governess miss Frost was a handsome vigorous young woman of about thirty years of age with gray white hair and gold rimmed spectacles the white hair was not at all tragical it was a family trait miss Frost mattered more than anyone else to Elvina often during the first long 25 years of the girl's life the governess was a strong generous woman a musician by nature she had a sweet voice and sang in the choir of the chapel and took the first class of girls in the sunday school of which gems hoofed him was superintendent she disliked and rather despised James Huffman saw in him elements of a hypocrite detested his Aryan gracious selfishness his lack of human feeling and most of all his fairy fantasy as James went further into life he became a dreamer sad indeed that he died before the days of Freud he enjoyed the most wonderful and fairy-like dreams which he could describe perfectly in charming delicate language at such times his beautifully modulated voice all but sang his grey eyes gleamed fiercely under his bushy hairy eyebrows his pale face with his side whiskers had a strange lure his long thin hands fluttered occasionally he had become meager in figure his skimpy but genteel coat would be buttoned over his breast as he recounted his dream adventures adventures that were half at growlin Pole half Andersen with touches of our Tech and Lord Byron and George MacDonald perhaps more than a touch of the last ladies were always struck by these accounts but miss frost never felt so strongly moved to impatience as when she was within hearing but 20 years she and James Huffman treated each other with a courteous distance sometimes she broke into open impatience with him sometimes he answered her tartly indeed indeed Oh indeed well well I'm sorry to find it so as if the injury consisted in her finding it so then he would flit away to the conservative club with a fleet light hurried step as if pressed by fate at the club he played chess at which he was excellent and conversed then he flitted back at half-past twelve to dinner the whole morale of the house rested immediately on miss frost she saw her line in the first year she must defend the little Alvina whom she loved as her own and the nervous petulant heart stricken woman the mother from the vagaries of James not that James had any vices he did not drink or smoke was up steamiest and clean as an anchorite and never lowered his fine tone but still the two unprotected ones must be sheltered from him miss Frost imperceptibly took into her hands the reins of the domestic government a rule was quiet strong and generous she was not seeking her own way she was steering the poor domestic ship of Manchester house illuminating its dark rooms with her own Shore radiant presence her silver white hair and her pale heavy repose full face seemed to give off a certain radiance she seemed to give weight ballast and repose to the staggering and bewildered home she controlled the maid and suggested the meals meals which James ate without knowing what he ate she brought in flowers and books and very rarely a visitor visitors were out of place in the dark somberness of Manchester house her flowers charmed the petulant invalid her books she sometimes discussed with the Arry James after which discussions she was invariably filled with exasperation and impatience whilst James invariably retired to the shop and Hurd raising his musical voice which the work girls hated to one or other of the work girls James certainly had an irritating way of speaking of a book he talked of incidents and effects and suggestions as if the whole thing had just been a sensational aesthetic attribute to himself not a grain of human feeling in the man said miss Frost flushing pink with exasperation she herself invariably took the human line meanwhile the shops began to take on a hopeless and frowzy look after ten years sales spring sales summer sales autumn sales winter sales James began to give up the drapery dream he himself could not bear any more to put the heavy pock hold black cloth coat with wild bear cuffs and collar onto the stand he had marked it down from five guineas to one Guinea and then Oh ignoble day to ten and six he nearly kissed the gypsy woman with a basket of tin saucepan lids when at last she bought it for five shillings at the end of one of his winter sales but even she in spite of the bitter sleety day would not put the coat on in the shop she carried it over her arm down to the minors arms and later with a shock that really hurt him James peeping birdlike out of his shop door saw her sitting driving a dirty rag and bone car with a green white moldy pony and flourishing her arms like some wild and hairy decorated squaw for the long bear fur wet with sleet seems like a cheval de fries of long porcupine quills round her forearms and her neck yet such good such wonderful material James I did it for one moment then fled like a rabbit to the stove in his back regions the higher powers did not seem to fulfill the terms of treaty which Jains hoped for he began to back out from the on top the Sunday school was a great trial to him instead of being carried away by his grace and eloquence then a steal outs of colliery boys and girls openly banged their feet and made deafening noises when he tried to speak he said many acid and withering things as he stood there on the rostrum but what is the good of saying acid things to those little fiends and gallbladders the colliery children the situation was saved by miss Frost's sweeping together all the big girls under her surveillance and by her organizing that the tall and handsome blacksmith who taught the lower boys should extend his influence over the upper boys his influence was more than effectual it consisted in gripping any recalcitrant boy just above the knee and jesting with him in a jocular manner in the dialect the blacksmith's hand was all a blacksmith's hand need be and his dialect was as broad as could be wished between the grip and the homely idiom no boy could endure without squealing so the sunday-school paid more attention to James whose prayers were beautiful but then one of the boys a protege of Miss Frost having been left for half an hour in the obscure room with mrs. Haughton gave away the secret of the blacksmith's grip which secret so haunted the poor lady that it marked a stage in the increase of her malady and made Sunday afternoon and nightmare to her and then James Huffman resented something in the course Scotch manor of the minister of that day so that the superintendency of the sunday-school came to an end at the same time Solomon had to divide his baby that is he let the London side of his shop to WH Johnson the tailor in Hobart Asha a parvenu little fellow whose English would not bear analysis bitter as it was it had to be carpenters and joiners appeared and the premises were completely severed from her room in the shadows at the back the invalid heard the hammering and sawing and suffered wh Johnson came out with a spick-and-span window and had his wife dude quiet woman and his daughter a handsome loud girl to help him on Friday evenings men flocked in even women buying their husbands a sixpence Halfpenny tie they could have bought a tie for four three from James hoofed in' but no they would rather give sixpence half money for WH Johnson's fresh but rubbish she stuff and James who had tried to rise to another successful sale saw the streams pass into the other doorway and heard the heavy feet on the hollow boards of the other shop his shop no more after this cut at his pride in integrity he lay in retirement for a while mystically inclined probably he would have come to swedenborg had not his clipped wings spread for a new flight he hit upon the brilliant idea of working up his derelict fabrics into ready mates not men's clothes oh no women's or other ladies ladies tailoring said the new announcement james Haughton was happy once more a zigzag wooden stairway was rigged up in the high back of Manchester House in the great lofts sewing machines of various patterns and movements were installed a manager s was advertised for and work girls were hired so a new phase of life started at half-past six in the morning there was a clatter of feet and of girls excited tongs along the back yard and up the wooden stairway outside the back wall the poor invalid heard every clack and every vibration she could never get over her nervous apprehension of an invasion every morning alike she felt an invasion of some enemy was breaking in on her and all day long the low steady rumble of sewing machines overhead seems like the low drumming of a bombardment upon her weak heart to make matters worse James huffed and decided that he must have his sewing machines driven by some extra human force he installed another plant of machinery acetylene or some such contrivance which was intended to drive all the little machines from one big belt a further throbbing and shaking in the upper regions truly terrible to endure but fortunately or unfortunately the acetylene plant was not a success girls got their thumbs pierced and sewing machines absolutely refused to stop sewing once they had started and absolutely refused to start once they had been stopped so that after a while one Loft was reserved for disused and rusty but expensive engines Dame fortune who had refused to be taken by fine fabrics and fancy trimmings was just as reluctant to be captured by ready-mades again the good Dame was thoroughly lower-middle-class james Haughton designed robes now robes were the mode perhaps it was Alexandra Princess of Wales who gave glory to the slim glove fitting princess robe be that as it may James huffed and designed robes his work girls erase even more Calais than shop girls proclaimed the fact that James tried on his own inventions upon his own elegance thin person before the privacy of his own cheval mirror and even if he did why not miss Frost hearing this legend looked sideways of the enthusiast letters remarked in time that miss Frost had already ceased to draw any maintenance from James often far from it she herself contributed to the upkeep of the domestic hearth on board she had fully decided never to leave her two charges she knew that the governess was an impossible item in Manchester house as things went and so she trudged the country giving music lessons to the daughters of tradesmen and of Collier's who boasted piano Forte's she even taught heavy-handed but dauntless collies who was seized with a passion to play miles she trudged on her round from village to village a white-haired woman with a long quick stride a strong figure and a quick handsome smile when once her face awoke behind her gold rimmed glasses like many short-sighted people she had a certain intent look of one who goes her own way the miners knew her and entertained the highest respect in admiration for her as they streamed in a grimy stream home from pit they diverged like some magic dark river from off the pavement into the horse way to give her room as she approached and the men who knew her well enough to salute her by calling her name miss frost giving it the proper intonation of salute were fussy man indeed she's a lady if ever there was one they said and they meant it hearing her name poor miss Frost would flash a smile and a nod from behind her spectacles but whose black face she smiled too she never or rarely knew if she did chance to get an inkling then gladly she called in reply mr. lamb or mr. Khalid I'll in her way she was a proud woman but she was regarded with cordial respect touched with veneration by at least a thousand collars and by perhaps as many collie as wives that is something for any woman miss Frost charged 15 shillings for 13 weeks lessons two lessons a week and that that she was considered rather dear she was supposed to be making money what money she made went chiefly to support the Hoffman house whole in the meanwhile she drilled Alvina thoroughly in theory and pianoforte practice for Alvina was naturally musical and besides this she imparted to the girl the elements of a young lady's education including the drawing of flowers in watercolor and the translation of a Lamartine poem now incredible as it may seem fate threw another prop to the falling House of Haughton in the person of the manageress of the work girls miss pin Agha James often complained of fortune yet to what other man would fortune have sent to such women as miss Frost and miss pin Agha gratis yet there they were and doubtful if James was ever grateful for their presence if miss Frost saved them from heaven knows what domestic debacle and horror Mizpah Naggar saved him from the workhouse let us not mince matters but a dozen years miss frost supported the heart stricken nervous invalid Clarice often for more than twenty years she cherished and protected the young Alvina shielding the child alike from a neurotic mother and a father such as James for nearly 20 years she saw that food was set on the table and clean sheets were spread on the beds and all the time remained virtually in the position of an outsider without one grain of established Authority and then to find miss pin eager in her way miss penny girl was very different from Miss Frost she was a rather short stout mouse-colored creepy kind of woman with a high color in her cheeks and done close hair like a cap it was evident she was not a lady her grammar was not without reproach she had pale gray eyes and a padding step and a soft voice and almost purplish cheeks mrs. Haughton miss Frost and Alvina did not like her they suffered her unwillingly but from the first she had a curious ascendancy over James Huffman one would have expected his aesthetic eye to be offended but no doubt it was her voice her soft near-shore voice which seemed almost like a secret touch upon her here now many of her here is disliked being secretly touched as if it were beneath their clothing miss frost abhorred it so did mrs. Haughton miss frost voice was clear and straight as the Bell note open as the day yet Alvina though in loyalty Hsieh dared to her beloved miss frost did not really mind the quiet suggestive power of Mizpah Nagar for miss Pentagon was not vulgar ly insinuating on the contrary the things she said were rather clumsy and downright it was only that she seemed to weigh what she said secretly before she said it and then she approached as if she would slip it into her hear as consciousness without his being aware of it she seemed to slide her species unnoticed into one's ears so that one accepted them without the slightest challenge that was just her manner of approach in her own way she was as loyal and unselfish as miss Frost there are such polls of opposition between honesty's and loyalties Mizpah Nagar had the second class of girls in the sunday-school and she took second subservient place in Manchester house by force of nature miss frost took first place only when Mizpah Nagar spoke to mr. Huffman nay the very way she addressed herself to him what do you think mr. Huffman then there seemed to be assumed an immediacy of correspondence between the two an unquestioned priority in their unison his and hers which was a cruel thorn in miss Frost's outspoken breasts this sort of secret intimacy and secret exalting in having really the chief power was most repugnant to the white-haired woman not that there was in fact any secrecy or any form of unwarranted correspondence between James Huffman and Mizpah Nagar far from it each of them would have found any suggestion of such a possibility repulsive in the extreme it was simply an implicit correspondence between their two psyches an immediacy of understanding which preceded all expression tacit wireless miss penny girl lived in so that the household consisted of the invalid who mostly sat in a black dress with a white lace collar fastened by a twisted gold brooch in her own dim room doing nothing nervous and heart suffering then James and the thin young gal Vina who were dear to her beloved miss Frost and then these two strange women miss pin Agarn ever lifted up her voice in household affairs she seemed by her silence to admit her own inadequacy in culture and intellect when topics of interest were being discussed only coming out now and then with defiant platitudes and truisms but almost defiantly she took the commonplace Bulgarian point of view yet after everything she would turn with her quiet triumphant assurance to James hoofed in' and start on some point of business soft assured ascendant the others shut there is now miss pin Agha had to get her footing slowly she had to let James run the gamut of his creations each Friday night new wonders robes and ladies suits the phrase was very new garnished the window of Hostin shop it was one of the sights of the place Houghton's window on Friday night younger old no individual certainly no female left Woodhouse without spending and excited and usually hilarious ten minutes on the pavement under the window muffled shrieks of young damsels who had just got their first view go fors of sympathetic youths continued giggling and expostulation and hey but what price the embrace go my girl and you'd like to marry me in that my boy what not half or else hey now if you see me in that you'd have fallen and love me at first sight shouldn't you with the probable answer I should have fallen over myself making haste to get away loud go falls all this was the regular Friday night's entertainment in Woodhouse James Horton shop was regarded as a weekly comic issue his PK costumes with glass buttons and sort of steel trimming collars and cuffs were immortal but why once more drag it out miss penny Garr served in the shop on Friday nights she stood by her man sometimes when the shrieks grew loudest she came to the shop door and looked with her pale gray eyes at the ridiculous mob of lasses in Thomas shanties and youths half buried in caps and she imposed a silence they edged away meanwhile miss pin aghast pursued the sober and even tenor of her own way whilst James lashed out to use the local phrase in robes and suits Mizpah Nagar steadily ground away producing strong indestructible shirts and singlets for the Colliers sound serviceable aprons for the Colliers wives good print dresses for servants and so on she executed no flights of fancy she had her Goods made to suit her people and so underneath the foam and froth of James creative adventure flowed a slow but steady stream of output and income the women of Woodhouse came at last to depend on Mizpah Nagar growing lads in the pit reduce their garments to shreds with amazing expedition I'll go to miss Pina gar for thy shoes this time my lad said the harassed mothers and see if they'll stand thee it was almost like a threat but it served Manchester house James bought very little stock in these days just remnants and pieces for his immortal robes it was miss pinning her who saw the travellers and ordered the unions and calicoes and gray flannel James hovered round and said the last word of course but what was his last word boots an echo of miss pin aghast penultimate he was not interested in unions and twills his own stock remained on hand time like a slow whirlpool churned it over into sight and out of sight like a mass of dared seaweed in a backwash there was a regular series of sails for nightly the display of creations fell off the new entertainment was the Friday night sale James would attack some portion of his stock make a wild jumble of it spend a delirious Wednesday and Thursday marking down and then open on Friday afternoon in the evening there was a crush a good wiry underskirt for one an 11-3 was not to be neglected and a handsome string lace collar eight four six three would iron out and be worth at least three and six that was how he went it would nearly all have hit iron out into something really nice poor James crumple stock his fine semi-transparent face flushed pink his eyes flashed as he took in the sixpences and handed back knots of tape or packets of pins for the notorious farthings what matter if the farthing change had originally cost him a half penny his shop was crowded with women peeping and pawing and turning things over and commenting in loud unfeeling tones but there were still many comic items ones for example he suddenly heaped up piles of hats trimmed and untrue and the weirdest sauciest most screaming shapes Woodhouse enjoyed itself that night and all the time in her quiet polite think the more fashion miss pinning our waited on the people showing them considerable forbearance and just a tinge of contempt she became very tired those evenings her hair under its invisible hairnet became flatter her cheeks hung down purplish and mottled but while James stood she stood the people did not like her yet she influenced them and the stock slowly wilted withered some was scrapped the shop seemed to have digested some of its indigestible contents James accumulated sixpences in a miserly fashion luckily for her work girls Mizpah Nagar took her own orders and received payments for her own productions some of her regular customers paid her a shilling a week or less but it made a small steady income she reserved her own modest share paid the expenses of her department and left the residue to James James had accumulated sixpences and made a little space in his shop he had desist editions time now for a new flight he decided it was better to be a manufacturer than a tradesman his shop already only half its original size was again too big it might be split once more rents had risen in Woodhouse why not cut off another shop from his premises no sooner said than done in came the architect with whom he had played many a game of chess best said the architect take off one good-sized shop rather than half the premises James would be left a little cramped a little tight with only 1/3 of his present space but as we age we dwindle more hammering and alterations and James found himself cooped in a long long narrow shop very dark at the back with a high oblong window and a door that came in at a pinched corner next door to him was a cheerful new grocer of the cheap and florid type the new grocer whistled just like the IV and shouted boisterously to his shop boy in his doorway protruding on James's sensitive vision was a pyramid of sixpence half Bernie tins of salmon red shiny tins with pink carved Salmons depicted and another yellow pyramid of fourpence Halfpenny tins of pineapple bacon dangled in pale rolls almost over James's doorway while straw and paper redolent of cheese lard and stale eggs filtered through the threshold this was coming down in the world with a vengeance but what James lost downstairs he tried to recover upstairs heaven knows what he would have done but for miss pinning her she kept her own work rooms against him with a soft heavy silent tenacity that would have beaten stronger men than James but his strength lay in his pliability he rummaged in the empty lofts and among the discarded machinery he rigged up the engines of fresh bought two new machines and started an elastic department making elastic for garters and for hot chins he was immensely proud of his first cards of elastic and saw Dame fortune this time fast in his yielding hands but becoming used to disillusionment he almost welcomed it within six months he realized that every inch of elastic cost him exactly 60% more than he could sell it for and so he scrapped his new department luckily he sold one machine and even gained two pounds on it after this he made one last effort this was hosiery webbing which could be cut up and made into as yet on the hood of garments Mizpah Naggar kept her thumb on this enterprise so that it was not much more than abortive and then James left her alone meanwhile the shop slowly turned its oddments every Thursday afternoon James sorted out tangles of bits and bobs antique garments and occasional finds with these he trimmed his window so that it looked like a historical museum rather soiled and scrappy indoors he made baskets of assortments three pony six pony nine pony and shilling baskets rather like a brand pie in which everything was a plum and then on Friday evening thin and alert he hovered behind the counter his coat Shapley buttoned over his narrow chest his face agitated he had shaved his side whiskers so that they only grew becomingly as low as his ears his rather large gray moustache was brushed off his mouth his hair gone very thin was brushed frail and floating over his baldness but still a gentleman still courteous with a charming voice he suggested the possibility of a pad of green parrots tail feathers or of a few yards of pink pearl trimming out of old chenille fringe the women would pinch the thick exquisite old chenille fringe delicate and faded curious to feel its softness they wouldn't give thruppence for it tapes ribbons braids buttons feathers jabots bustles appliques fringes jet trimmings bugle trimmings bundles of old colored machine lace many bundles of strange cord in all colors for old-fashioned braids puting ribbons with HMS Birkenhead for boys sailor caps everything that nobody wanted did the women turn over and over till they chanced on a find and James quick eyes watched the slow surge of his flotsam as the pot boiled but did not boil away wonderful that he did not think of the days when these bits and bobs were new treasures but he did not and he decide Mizpah Naggar quietly took orders for shirts discussed and agreed made measurements and received installments the shop was now only opened on Friday afternoons and evenings so every day twice a day James was seen dithering bareheaded and hastily down the street as if pressed by fate to the conservative Club and twice a day he was seen as hastily returning to his meals he was becoming an old man his daughter was a young woman but in his own mind he was just the same and his daughter was a little child his wife a young invalid whom he must charm by some few delicate attentions such as the peeled apple at the club he got into more mischief he met men who wanted to extend a brick field down by the railway the brick field was called Klondike James had now a new direction to run in downhill towards bag for two Klondike big penny daisies grew in Tufts on the brink of the yellow clay at Klondike yellow eggs and bacon spread their midsummer mats of flour James came home with clay smeared all over him dis coursing brilliantly on grit and paste and presses and kilns and stamps he carried home a roof and pinkish brick and gloated over it it was a hard brick it was a non porous brick it was no ugly brick painfully heavy and parched looking this time he was sure Dame fortune would rise like Persephone out of the earth he was all the more sure because of the men of the town were in with him at this venture sound moneyed grocers and plumbers they were all going to become rich Klondike lasted a year and a half and was not so bad for in the end all things considered James had lost not more than 5% of his money in fact all things considered he was about square and yet he felt Klondike has the greatest blow of all Mizpah nagar would have aided and abetted him in another scheme if it would but have cheered him even miss Frost was nice with him but to no purpose in the year after Klondike he became an old man he seemed to have lost all his feathers he acquired a plucked tottering look yet he roused up after a coal strike throttle hate me put new life into him during a coal strike the miners themselves began digging in the fields just near the houses for the surface coal they found a plentiful seam of draw see yellowish coal behind the methodist new connection chapel the scene was opened in the side of a bank and approached by a foot real a sloping shaft down which the men walked when the strike was over two or three miners still remained working the soft draw see coal which they sold for eight and sixpence a ton or sixpence a hundred weight but the mining population scorned such dirt as they call it James huffed in however was seized with a desire to work the connection meadow seemed as he called it he gathered two minor partners he trotted endlessly up to the field he talked as he had never talked before with innumerable Colliers everybody he met he stopped to talk connection meadow and so at last he sank a shaft 60 feet deep rigged up a corrugated iron engine house with a whining engine and lowered his men one at a time down the shaft in a big bucket the whole affair was rickety amateurish and to pony the name connexion meadow was forgotten within three months everybody knew the place as throttle Haley what said a Collier to his wife have we got no call you'd better get a bit from flutter hit knee knee replied the wife I'm sure I shan't I'm sure I shall burn that milk and smother myself with white ash it was in the early throttle Haney days that mrs. Haughton died James huffed and cried and put a black band on his Sunday silk hat but he was too feverishly busy at throttle Hateley selling his hundredweight of ashpit fodder as the natives called it to realize anything else he had three men and two boys working his pit besides a superannuated old man driving the whining engine and in spite of all jeering he flourished shabby old coal cars rumbled up behind the new connection and filled from the pit bank the coal improved a little in quality it was cheap and it was handy James could sell at last 50 or 60 tons a week for the stove was easy getting and now at last he was actually handling money he saw millions ahead this went on for more than a year a year after the death of mrs. Haughton miss Frost became ill and suddenly died again James huffed and cried and trembled but it was throttle hate me that made him tremble he trembled in all his limbs at the touch of success he saw himself making noble provision for his only daughter but alas it is wearying to repeat the same thing over and over first the Board of Trade began to make difficulties then there was a fault in the seam then the roof of throttle Haney was so loose and soft James could not afford timber to hold it up in short when his daughter Alvina was about 27 years old throttle Haney closed down there was a sale of poor machinery and James Huffman came home to the dark gloomy house to miss pinning our and Alvina it was a pinched dreary house James seemed down for the last time but Miss penny gar persuaded him to take the shop again on Friday evening for the rest faded and peeked he hurried shadow alley down to the club end of chapter 1 chapter 2 of the lost girl by D H Lawrence this LibriVox recording is in the public domain the rise of Alvina often the heroine of this story is Alvina often if we leave her out of the first chapter of her own story it is because during the first 25 years of her life she really was left out of count or so overshadowed as to be negligible she and her mother were the Phantom passengers in the ship of James Houghton's fortunes in Manchester house every voice lowered its tone and so from the first Alvina spoke with a quiet refined almost convent voice she was a thin child with delicate limbs and face and wide gray blue ironic eyes even as a small girl she had that odd ironic tilt of the eyelids which gave her a look as if she were hanging back in mockery if she were she was quite unaware of it for under miss Frost's care she received no education in irony or mockery miss Frost was straightforward good-humoured and a little earnest consequently Alvina or Vina as she was called understood only the explicit mode of good humoured straightforwardness it was doubtful which shadow was greater over the child that of Manchester house gloomy and a little sinister or that of Miss Frost benevolent and protective sufficient of the girl herself worshiped miss Frost or believed she did Alvina never went to school she had her lessons from her beloved governess she worked at the piano she took her walks and for social life she went to the Congregational Chapel and to the functions connected with the chapel while she was little she went to Sunday school twice and to Chapel once on Sundays then occasionally there was a magic lantern or a penny reading to which miss Frost accompanied her as she grew older she entered the choir at Chapel she attended Christian Endeavor and PSA and the literary society on Monday evenings Chapel provided her with a whole social activity in the course of which she met certain groups of people made certain friends found opportunity for strolls into the country and jeonse to the local entertainments over and above this every Thursday evening she went to the subscription library to change the week's supply of books and there again she met friends and acquaintances it is hard to overestimate the value of church or Chapel but particularly Chapel as a social institution in places like Woodhouse the congregational Chapel provided Alvina with a whole outer life lacking which she would have been poor indeed she was not particularly religious by inclination perhaps her father's beautiful prayers put her off so she neither questioned nor accepted but just letbe she grew up a slim girl rather distinguished in appearance with a slender face a fine slightly arched nose and beautiful gray blue eyes over which the lids tilted with a very odd sardonic tilt the sardonic quality was however quite in abeyance she was ladylike not the human at all in the street her walk had a delicate lingering motion her face looked still in conversation she had rather a quick hurried manner with intervals of well-bred repose and attention her voice was like her father's flexible and curiously attractive sometimes however she would have fits of boisterous hilarity not quite natural with a strange note half pathetic half jeering her father tended to a supercilious sneering tone in viña it came out in mad bursts of hilarious jeering this made miss frost uneasy she would watch the girls strange face that could take on a gargoyle look she would see the eyes rolling strangely under sardonic eyelids and then Miss Frost would feel that never never had she known anything so utterly alien and incomprehensible and unsympathetic as her own beloved Vina for 20 years the strong protective governess reared and tended her lamb herd of only to see the lamb open a wolf's mouth to hear the Dove utter the wild cackle of a door or a magpie a strange sound of division at such times miss Frost's heart went cold within her she dared not realize and she chid and checked her ward restored her to the usual impulsive affectionate dim Yanis then she dismissed the whole matter it was just an accidental aberration on the girl's part from her own true nature miss Frost taught Alvina thoroughly the qualities of her own true nature and Alvina believed what she was taught she remained for twenty years the demure refined creature of her governess's desire but there was an odd derisive look at the back of her eyes a look of old knowledge and deliberate division she herself was unconscious of it but it was there and this it was perhaps that scared away the young men Alvina reached the age of twenty-three and it looked as if she were destined to join the ranks of the old maids so many of whom found cold comfort in the chapel but she had no suitors true they were extraordinarily few young men of her class for whatever her condition she had certain breeding and inherent culture in would house the young men of the same social standing as herself were in some curious way Outsiders to her knowing nothing yet her ancient sapiens went deep deeper than what house could fathom the young man did not like her for it they did not like the tilt of her eyelids miss Frost with anxious foreseeing persuaded the girl to take over some pupils to teach them the piano the work was distasteful to Alvina she was not a good teacher she persevered in an offhand way somewhat indifferent albeit dutiful when she was 23 years old Alvina met a man called Graham he was an Australian who had been in Edinburgh taking his medical degree before going back to Australia he came to spend some months practising with old dr. Fordham in Woodhouse dr. Fordham being in some way connected with his mother Alexander Graham called to see mrs. Haughton mrs. Haughton did not like him she said he was creepy he was a man of medium height dark in colouring with very dark eyes and a body which seemed to move inside his clothing he was amiable and polite laughed off turn showing his teeth it was his teeth which miss Frost could not stand she seemed to see a strong mouth full of cruel compact teeth she declared he had dark blood in his veins that he was not a man to be trusted and that never never would he make any woman's live happy yet in spite of all Alvina was attracted by him the two would stay together in the parlor laughing and talking by the hour what they could find to talk about was a mystery yet there they were laughing and chatting with a running insinuating sound through it all which made Miss Frost pace up and down unable to bear herself the man was always running in when Miss Frost was out he contrived to meet Alvina in the evening to take a walk with her he went a long walk with her one night and wanted to make love to her but her upbringing was too strong for her oh no she said we are only friends he knew her upbringing was too strong for him also we're more than friends he said we're more than friends I don't think so she said yes we are he insisted trying to put his arm round her waist oh don't she cried let us go home and then he burst out with wild and thick protestations of love which thrilled her and repelled her slightly anyhow I must tell miss Frost she said yes years he answered yes yes let us be engaged at once as they passed under the lamps he saw her face lifted the eyes shining the delicate nostrils dilated as of one who cents bottle and last to herself she seemed to laugh with a certain proud sinister recklessness his hands trembled with desire so they were engaged he bought her a ring and emerald set in tiny diamonds miss Frost looked grave and silent but would not openly deny her approval you like him don't you you don't dislike him Alvina insisted I don't dislike him replied miss Frost's how can I he's a perfect stranger to me and with this Alvina subtly contented her so her father treated the young man with suave attention punctuated by fits of jerky hostility and jealousy her mother merely side and took Saleh volatile to tell the truth Alvina self was a little repelled by the man's lovemaking she found him fascinating but a trifle repulsive and she was not sure whether she hated the repulsive element or whether she rather gloried in it she kept her look of arch half derisive recklessness which was so unbearably painful to miss Frost and so exciting to the dark little man it was a strange look in a refined really virgin girl oddly sinister and her voice had a curious bronze like resonance that acted straight on the nerves of her hearers unpleasantly on most English nerves but like fire on the different susceptibilities of the young man the darky as people called him but after all he had only six weeks in England before sailing to Sydney he suggested that he and Alvina should marry before he sailed miss Frost would not hear it he must see his people first she said so the time passed and he sailed Alvina missed him missed the extreme excitement of him rather than the human being he was miss frost set to work to regain her influence over her ward to remove that arch reckless almost lewd look from the girl's face it was a question of heart against sensuality miss Frost tried and tried to wake again the girls loving heart which loving heart was certainly knocked occupied by that man it was a hard task an anxious bitter task miss frost had set herself but at last she succeeded Alvina seemed to thaw the hard shining of her eyes softened again to a sort of demure Ness and tenderness the influence of the man was revoked the girl was left uninhabited empty and uneasy she was due to follow her Alexander in three months time to Sydney came letters from him on route and then a cablegram from Australia he had arrived Alvina should have been preparing her trousseau to follow but owing to her change of heart she lingered indecisive do you love him dear said Miss Frost with emphasis knitting her thick passionate earnest eyebrows do you love him sufficiently that's the point the way miss Frost put the question implied that Alvina did not and could not love him because miss Frost could not Alvina lifted her large blue eyes confused half tender towards her governess half shining with unconscious derision I don't really know who she said laughing hurriedly I don't really miss Frost scrutinized her and replied with a meaningful well to miss Frost it was clear as daylight to Alvina not so in her periods of lucidity when she saw as clear as daylight also she certainly did not love the little man she felt him a terrible outsider and inferior to tell the truth she wondered how he could have the slightest attraction for her in fact she could not understand it at all she was as free of him as if he had never existed the square green emerald on her finger was almost nonsensical she was quite quite sure of herself and then most irritating a complete vault fastened her feelings that clear as daylight mood disappeared as daylight is bound to disappear she found herself in a night where the little man loomed large terribly large potent and magical while miss frost had dwindled to nothingness at such times she wished with all her force that she could travel like a cablegram to Australia she felt it was the only way she felt the dark passionate receptivity of Alexander overwhelmed her and velop der even from the Antipodes she felt herself going distracted she felt she was going out of her mind but she could not act a mother and Miss Frost were fixed in one line her father said well of course you'll do as you think best there's a great risking going so far a great risk you would be entirely unprotected I don't mind being unprotected said Alvina perversely because you don't understand what he means said her father he looked at her quickly perhaps he understood her better than the others personally said Mizpah Nagar speaking of Alexander I don't care for him but everyone has their own taste Alvina felt she was being overborne and that she was letting herself be overborne she was half relieved she seemed to nestle into the well-known surety of Woodhouse the other unknown had frightened her miss Frost now tuck a definite line I feel you don't love him dear I'm almost sure you don't so now you have to choose your mother dreads you're going she dreads it I'm certain you would never see her again she say she can't bear it she can't bear the thought of you out there with Alexander it makes her shudder she suffers dreadfully you know so you will have to choose dear you will have to choose for the best Alvina was made stubborn by pressure she herself had come fully to believe that she did not love him she was quite sure she did not love him but out of a certain perversity she wanted to go came his letter from Sydney and one from his parents to her and one to her parents all seemed straightforward not very cordial but sufficiently over Alexander's letter miss Frost shed bitter tears to her it seemed so shallow and heartless with terms of endearment stuck in like exclamation marks he seemed to have no thought no feeling for the girl herself all he wanted was to hurry her out there he did not even mention the grief of her parting from her English parents and friends not a word just a rush to get her out there winding up with and now dear I shall not be myself till I see you here in Sydney your ever-loving Alexander a selfish sensual creature who would forget the dear little veena in three months if she did not turn up and who would neglect her in six months if she did probably miss Frost was right Alvina knew the tears she was costing all round she went upstairs and looked at his photograph his dark and impertinent muzzle who was he after all she did not know him with cold eyes she looked at him and found him repugnant she went across to her governess his room and found Miss Frost in a strange mood of trepidation don't trust me dear don't trust what I say poor miss frost ejaculated hurriedly even wildly don't notice what I have said act for yourself dear act for yourself entirely I'm sure I am wrong in trying to influence you I know I am wrong it is wrong and foolish of me act just for yourself dear the rest doesn't matter the rest doesn't matter don't take any notice of what I have said I know I am wrong for the first time in her life Alvina saw her beloved governess flustered the beautiful white hair looking a little draggled the gray nearsighted eyes so deep and kind behind the gold rim glasses now distracted and scared Alvina immediately burst into tears and flung herself into the arms of Miss Frost miss Frost also cried as if her heart would break catching her in drawn breath with a strange sound of anguish the lowness the terrible crying of a woman with a loving heart whose heart has never been able to relax Alvina was hushed in a second she became the elder of the two the terrible poignancy of the woman of 52 who now at last had broken down silence the girl of 23 and roused all her passionate tenderness the terrible sound of never now never now it is too late which seemed to ring in the curious indrawn cries of the elder woman filled the girl with a deep wisdom she knew the same would ring in her mother's dying cry married or unmarried it was the same the same anguish realized in all its pain after the age of fifty the loss in never having been able to relax to submit Alvina felt very strong and rich in the fact of her youth for her it was not too late for Miss Frost it was forever too late I don't want to go dear said Alvina to the elder woman I know I don't care for him he is nothing to me miss Frost became gradually silent and turned aside her face after this there was a hush in the house Alvina announced her intention of breaking off her engagement her mother kissed her and cried and said with the selfishness of an invalid I couldn't have parted with you I couldn't whilst the father said I think you're wise veena I have thought a lot about it so Alvina packed up his ring and his letters and little presents and posted them over the seas she was relieved really as if she had escaped some very trying ordeal for some day she went about happily in pure relief she loved everybody she was charming and sunny and gentle with everybody particularly with miss Frost whom she loved with a deep tender rather soul of poor miss frost seemed to have lost a part of her confidence to have taken on a new wistfulness a new silence and remoteness It was as if she found her busy contact with life a strain now perhaps she was getting old perhaps her proud heart at given way Alvina had kept a little photograph of the man she would often go and look at it love no it was not love it was something more primitive still it was curiosity deep radical burning curiosity how she looked and looked at his dark impertinent seeming face a flicker of derision came into her eyes yet still she looked in the same manner she would look into the faces of the young men of wood house but she never found their what she found in her photograph they all seemed like blank sheets of paper in comparison there was a curious pale surface look in the faces of the young men of wood house or if there was some underneath suggestive power it was a little abject or humiliating inferior common they were all either blank or common end of chapter two read by Tony Foster chapter three of the Lost Girl by D H Lawrence this LibriVox recording is in the public domain the maternity nurse of course Alvina made everybody pay for her mood of submission and sweetness in a month's time she was quite intolerable I can't stay here all my life she declared stretching her eyes in a way that irritated the other inmates of Manchester house extremely I know I can't I can't bear it I simply can't bear it and there's an end of it I can't I tell you I can't bear it I'm buried alive I simply buried alive and it's more than I can stand it is really there was an odd clang like a taunt in her voice she was trying them all but what do you want dear asked miss Frost knitting her dark brows in agitation I want to go away said Alvina bluntly miss Frost gave a slight gesture with her right hand of helpless impatience it was so characteristic that Elvina almost laughed but where do you want to go I don't know I don't care said Alvina anywhere if I can get out of Woodhouse you wish you'd gone to Australia but in Mizpah Nagar no I don't wish had gone to Australia retorted Alvina with a rude laughs Australia isn't the only other place beside Woodhouse Mizpah Nagar was naturally offended but the curious insolence which sometimes came out in the girl was inherited direct from her father you see dear Seb miss Frost agitated if you knew what you wanted it would be easier to see the way I want to be a nurse Rupp tout Alvina miss Frost stood still with the stillness of a middle-aged – disapproving woman and looked at her charge she believed that Alvina was just speaking at random yet she dared not check her in her present mood Alvina was indeed speaking at random she'd never thought of being a nurse the idea had never entered her head if it had she would certainly never have entertained it but she had heard Alexander speak of nurse this and sister that and so she had wrapped out her declaration and having wrapped it out she prepared herself to stick to it nothing like leaping before you look a nurse repeated miss Frost but do you feel yourself fitted to be a nurse do you think you could bear it yes I'm sure I could retorted Alvina I want to be a maternity nurse she looked strangely even outrageously at her governess I want to be a maternity nurse then I shouldn't have to attend operations and she laughed quickly miss Frost's right-hand beat like a wounded bird it was reminiscent of the way she beat time insistently when she was giving music lessons sitting close beside her pupils at the piano now it beat without time or reason al Venus smiled brightly and cruelly whatever put such an idea into your head veena asked poor miss Frost I don't know said Alvina still more archly and brightly of course you don't mean it dear said Miss Frost quailing yes I do why should I say it if I don't miss Frost would have done anything to escape the arch bright cruel eyes of her charge then we must think about it she said numb Lee and she went away Elvina floated off to her room and sat by the window looking down on the street the bright arch look was still on her face but her heart was sore she wanted to cry and fling herself on the breast of her darling but she couldn't no for her life she couldn't some little devil sat in her breast and kept her smiling archly somewhat to her amazement he sat steadily on for days and days every minute she expected him to go every minute she expected to break down to burst into tears and tenderness and reconciliation but no she did not break down she persisted they all waited for the old loving Vina to be herself again but the new and recalcitrant Vina still shone hard she found a copy of The Lancet and saw an advertisement of a home in Islington where maternity nurses would be fully trained and equipped in six months time the fee was sixty guineas Alvina declared her intention of departing to this training home she had 200 pounds of her own bequeathed by her grandfather in Manchester house they were all horrified not moved with grief this time but shocked it seemed such a repulsive and indelicate step to take which it was and which in her curious perverseness Alvina must have intended it to be mrs. Haughton assumed a remote air of silence as if she did not hear anymore did not belong she lapsed far away she was really very weak Mizpah Naggar said well really she wants to do it why she might as well try and as often with Miss penny Garr this speech seemed to contain a veiled threat a maternity nurse said James Horton a maternity nurse what exactly do you mean by a maternity nurse a trained Midwife said miss Pentagon curtly that's it isn't it it is as far as I can see a chained Midwife yes of course said Alvina brightly but stammered James often pushing his spectacles up onto his forehead and making his Long fleece of painfully thin uncover his baldness I can't understand that any young girl of any any upbringing any upbringing whatever should want to choose such a such an occupation I can't understand it can't you said Alvina brightly oh well if she does said Mizpah Nagar cryptically miss Frost said very little but she had serious confidential talks with dr. Fordham dr. Fordham didn't approve certainly he didn't but neither did he see any greater harm in it at that time it was rather the thing for young ladies to enter the nursing profession if their homes had been blighted or checked in another direction and so inquiries were made inquiries were made the upshot was that Alvina was to go to Islington for her six months training there was a great bustle preparing her nursing outfit instead of a trousseau nurses uniforms in fine blue and white stripe with great white aprons instead of a wreath of orange blossom a rather chic nurses bonnet of blue silk and for a trailing veil a blue silk fall well and good Alvina expected to become frightened as the time drew near but no she wasn't a bit frightened miss Frost watched her narrowly would there not be a return of the old tender sensitive shrinking vena the exquisitely sensitive and nervous loving girl no astounding as it may seem there was no return of such a creature Alvina remained bright and ready the half hilarious clang remained in her voice taunting she kissed them all goodbye brightly and sprightly and off she said she wasn't nervous she came to some Pancras she got her cab she drove off to her destination and as she drove she looked out of the window horrid vast stony dilapidated crumbly stuck old streets and squares of Islington grey grey grey oh by far than Woodhouse and in amenable how exceedingly sordid and disgusting but instead of being repelled and heartbroken Alvina enjoyed it she felt her trunk Rumble on top of the cab and still she looked out on the ghastly dilapidated flat facades of Islington and still she smiled brightly as if there was some charm in it all perhaps for her there was a charm in it all perhaps it acted like a tonic on the little devil in her breast perhaps if she had seemed Tufts of snowdrops it was February and you hedges and cottage windows she would have broken down as it was she just enjoyed it she enjoyed glimpsing in through on curtain'd windows into sordid rooms where human beings moved as if sordid ly unaware she enjoyed the smell of a toasted bloater rather burnt so common so indescribably common and she detested bloaters because of the hairy feel of the spines in her mouth but to smell them like this to know that she was in the region of Penny beefsteaks gave her a perverse pleasure the cab stopped at a yellow house at the corner of a square where some shabby bear trees were flecked with bits of blown paper bits of paper and refuse cluttered inside the round railings of each tree she went up some dirty yellowish steps and rung the patient's Bell because she knew she ought not to ring the tradesmen's a servant not exactly dirty but unattractive let her into a hall painted a dull drab and floored with cocoa matting otherwise bare then up the bare stairs to a room where a stout pale common woman with two warts on her face was drinking tea it was three o'clock this was the matron the matron soon deposited her in a bedroom not very small but bare and hard and dusty seeming and there left her Alvina sat down on her chair looked at her box opposite looked round the uninviting room and smiled to herself then she rose and went to the window a very dirty window looking down into a sort of well of an area with other wells ranging along and straight opposite like a reflection another solid range of back premises with iron stairways and horrid little doors and washing and little W C's and people creeping up and down like vermin Alvina shivered a little but still smiled then slowly she began to take off her hat she put it down on the drug painted chest of drawers presently the servant came in with a tray set it down litter naked gassed yet which roared faintly and drew down a crackly dark green blind which showed a tendency to fly back again alertly to the ceiling thank you said Alvina and the girl departed then Miss often drank her black tea and ate her bread and margarine surely enough books have been written about heroines in similar circumstances there is no need to go into the details of al Venus six months in Islington the food was objectionable yet Alvina got fat on it the air was filthy and yet never had her colour being so warm and fresh her skin so soft her companions were almost without exception vulgar and coarse yet never had she got on so well with women of her own age or older than herself she was ready with a laugh and a word and though she was unable to venture on indecencies herself yet she had an amazing faculty for looking knowing and indecent beyond words rolling her eyes and pitching her eyebrows in a certain way oh it was quite sufficient for her companions and yet if they had ever actually demanded a dirty story or a really open indecency from her she would have been flawed but she enjoyed it amazing how she enjoyed it she did not care how revolting and indecent these nurses were she put on a look as if she were in with it all and it all passed off as easy as winking she swung her haunches and arched her eyes with the best of them and they behaved as if she were exactly one of themselves and yet with the curious cult act of women they left her alone one and all in private just ignored her it is truly incredible how Alvina became blooming and bouncing at this time nothing shocked her nothing upset her she was always ready with her hard nurses laughs and her nurses quips no one was better than she at double entendre no one could better give the nurses Lea she had it all in a four-night and never once did she feel anything but exhilarated and in full swing it seemed to her she had not a moment's time to brood or reflect about things she was too much in the swing every moment in the swing living or active in full swing when she got into bed she went to sleep when she awoke it was morning and she got up as soon as she was open dressed she had somebody to answer somebody to say something to do time passed like an express train and she seemed to have known no other life than this not far away was a lying in the hospital a dreadful place it was there she had to go right off and help with cases there she had to attend lectures and demonstrations there she met the doctors and students well a pretty lot they were one way and another when she had put on flesh and become pink and bouncing she was just there sort just they're very ticket her voice had the right twang her eyes the right roll her haunches the right swing she seemed all together just the ticket and yet she wasn't it would be useless to say she was not shocked she was profoundly and awfully shocked the whole state was perhaps largely the result of shock a sort of play-acting based on hysteria but the dreadful things she saw in the lying in hospital and afterwards went deep and finished her youth and her tutelage forever how many infernos deeper than miss frost could ever know did she not travel the inferno of the human-animal the human organism in its convulsions the human social beast in its objection and its degradation but in her latter half she had to visit the slum cases and such cases a woman lying on a bare filthy floor a few old coats thrown over her and vermin crawling everywhere in spite of sanitary inspectors but what did the woman the sufferer herself care she ground her teeth and screamed and yelled with pains in her calm periods she lay stupid and indifferent or she cursed a little but abject stupid indifference was the bottom of it all abject brutal indifference to everything yes everything just a piece of female functioning no more Alvina was supposed to receive a certain fee for these cases she attended in their homes a small proportion of her fee she kept for herself the rest she handed over to the home that was the agreement she received her grudged fee callously threatened and exacting it when it was not forthcoming ha if they didn't have to pay you at all these slum people they would treat you with more contempt than if you were one of themselves it was one of the hardest lessons Alvina had to learn to bully these people in their own hovels into some sort of obedience to her commands and some sort of respect for her presence she had to fight tooth and nail for this end and in a week she was as hard and callous to them as they to her and so her work was well done she did not hate them there they were they had a certain life and you had to take them at their own worth in their own way what else if one should be gentle one was gentle the difficulty did not lie there the difficulty lay in being sufficiently rough and hard that was the trouble it cost a great struggle to be hard and callous enough glad she would have been to be allowed to treat them quietly and gently with consideration but paw it was not their line they wanted to be callous and if you were not colors to match they made a fool of you and prevented your doing your work was Alvina her own real self all this time the mighty question arises upon us what is one's own real self it certainly is not what we think we are and ought to be Alvina had been bred to think of herself as a delicate tender chaste creature with unselfish inclinations and a pure high mind well so she was in the more or less exhausted part of herself but high-mindedness had really come to an end with James Huffman had really reached the point not only of pathetic but of dry and anti-human repulsive quick Satori in Alvina high-mindedness was already stretched beyond the breaking point being a woman of some flexibility of temper wrought through generations to a fine pliant hardness she flew back she went right back on high-mindedness did she thereby betray it we think not if we turn over the head of the penny and look at the tail we don't thereby deny or betray the head we do but adjust it to its own complement and so with high mindedness it is but one side of the medal the crowned reverse on the obverse the three legs still go kicking the soft-footed spin of the universe the dolphin flirts and the crab layers so Alvina spun her medal and her medal came down tails heads or tails heads for generations then tails see the poetic justice thou Alvina decided to accept the decision of her fate or rather being sufficiently a woman he didn't decide anything she was her own fate she went through her training experiences like another being she was not herself said everybody when she came home to Woodhouse at Easter in her bonnet and cloak everybody was simply knocked out imagine that this frail pallid diffident girl so ladylike was now a rather fat warm colored young woman strapping and strong looking and with a certain bounce imagine her mother's startled almost expiring why veena dear veena laughed she knew how they were all feeling at least it agrees with your health said her father sarcastically to which miss penny gar answered well that's a good deal but miss Ross said nothing the first day only the second day had breakfast as Alvina ate rather rapidly and rather well the white-haired woman said quietly with a tinge of cold contempt how changed you are dear am i left Alvina oh not really and she gave the arts look with her eyes which made miss frost shudder inwardly miss frost shuddered and abstained from questioning Alvina was always speaking of the doctors dr. young and dr. Hedley and dr. james she spoke of theatres and music halls with these young men and the jolly good time she had with them and her blue grey eyes seemed to have become harder and grayer lighter somehow in her wistfulness and her tender pathos al Veena's eyes were deep in their blue so beautiful and now in her fluidity they were bright and heart and light great the deep tender flowery blue was gone forever they were luminous and crystalline like the eyes of a changeling miss frost shuddered and abstained from question she wanted she needed to ask of her charge Alvina have you betrayed yourself with any of these young men but coldly her heart abstained from asking or even from seriously thinking she left the matter untouched for the moment she was already too much shocked certainly Alvina represented the young doctors as very nice but rather fast young fellows now word you have to have your wits about you with them imagine such a speech from a girl tenderly nurtured a speech uttered in her own home and accompanied by a florid laugh which would lead a chaste generous woman like Miss Frost to imagine well she merely abstained from imagining anything she had that strength of mind she never for one moment attempted to answer the question to herself as to whether Alvina had betrayed herself with any of these young doctors or not the question remains stated but completely unanswered coldly awaiting its answer only when miss frost kissed Alvina goodbye the station tears came to her eyes and she said hurriedly in a low voice remember we are all praying for you dear no don't do that cried Alvina involuntarily without knowing what she said and then the train moved out and she saw her darlings standing there on the station the pale well modelled face looking out from behind the gold rimmed spectacles wistfully the strong rather stout figure standing very still and unchangeable under its coat and skirt of dark purple the white hair glistening under the folded dark hat Alvina threw herself down on the seat of her carriage she loved her darling she would love her through eternity she knew she was right amply and beautifully right her darling her beloved miss frost eternally and gloriously right and yet and yet it was a right which was fulfilled there were other rights there was another side to the metal purity and high-mindedness the beautiful but unbearable tyranny the beautiful unbearable tyranny of miss frost it was time now for miss frost to die it was time for that perfected flower to be gathered to immortality a lovely immortal but an obstruction to other purple and Carman blossoms which were in bud on the stem a lovely adel vice but time it was gathered into eternity black purple and red and Emma knees would you real Adonis blood and strange individual orchids spotted and fantastic time for miss frost to die she Alvina who loved her as no one else would ever love her with that love which goes to the core of the universe knew that it was time for her darling to be folded oh so gently and softly into immortality mortality was busy with the day after her day it was time for Miss Frost to die as Alvina sat motionless in the train running from Woodhouse to tip shelf it decided itself in her she was glad to be back in his Lincoln among all the horrors of her confinement cases the doctors she knew hailed her on the whole these young men had not any too deep respect for the nurses as a whole why drag in respect human functions were too obviously established to make any great fuss about and so the doctors put their arms around al Venus waist because she was plump and they kissed her face because the skin was soft and she laughed and squirmed a little so that they felt all the more her warmth and softness under their arms pressure it's no use you know she said laughing rather breathless but looking into their eyes with a curious definite look of unchangeable resistance this only piqued them what's no use they asked she shook her head slightly it isn't any use you're behaving like that with me she said with the same challenging definiteness finality a flat's negative who are you telling they said but she did not at all forbid them to behave like that not in the least she almost encouraged them she laughed and arched her eyes and flirted but her backbone became only the stronger and firmer soft and supple as she was her backbone never yielded for an instant it could not she had to confess that she liked the young doctors they were alert their faces were clean and bright looking she liked the sort of intimacy with them when they kissed her and wrestled with her in the empty laboratories or corridors often in the intervals of most critical and appalling cases she liked their arm around her waist the kisses as she reached back her face straining away the sometimes desperate struggles they took unpardonable liberties they pinched her haunches and attacked her in unheard-of ways sometimes her blood really came up in the fight and she felt as if with her hands she could tear any man any male creature limb from limb a superhuman voltaic force filled for a moment she surged in massive in human female strength the men always wilted and invariably when they wilted she touched them with a sudden gentle touch pitying so that she always remained friends with them when her curious a mazanik power left her again and she was just a mere woman she made shy eyes at them once more and treated them with the inevitable female-to-male homage the men liked her they cocked their eyes at her when she was not looking and wondered at her they wondered over her they had been beaten by her every one of them but they did not openly know it they looked at her as if she were woman itself some creature not quite personal what they noticed all of them was the way her brown hair looped over her is there was something chaste and Noble and warlike about it the remote quality which hung about her in the midst of her intimacies and her frequencies nothing high or lofty but something given to the struggle and as yet invincible in the struggle made them seek her out they felt safe with her they knew she would not let them down she would not intrigue into marriage or try to make use of them in any way she didn't care about them and so because of her isolate self-sufficiency in the fray a wild overweening backbone they were ready to attend on her and serve her Headley in particular hoped he might overcome her he was a well-built fellow with sandy hair and a pugnacious face the battle spirit was really roused in him and he heartily liked the woman if he could have overcome her he would have been mad to marry her with him she summoned up all her metal she had never to be off her guard for a single minute the treacherous suddenness of his attack for he was treachery itself had to be met by the voltaic suddenness of her resistance and counter-attack it was nothing less than magical the way the soft slumbering body of the woman could leap in one jet into terrible overwhelming voltaic Force something strange and massive had the first treacherous touch of the man's determined hand his strength was so different from hers quick muscular Lum bond but hers was deep and heaving like the strange heaving of an earthquake or the heave of a bull as it rises from earth and by sheer non-human power electric and paralyzing she could overcome the brawny redheaded fellow it was nearly a match for but she did not like him the two were enemies and good acquaintances it were more or less matched but as he found himself continually foiled he became sulky like a bear with a sore head and then she avoided him she really liked young and James much better James was a quick slender dark haired fellow a gentleman who was always trying to catch her out with his quickness she liked his fine slim limbs and his exaggerated generosity he would ask her out to ridiculously expensive suppers and send her sweets and flowers fabulously rich O'Shay he was always immaculately well dressed of course as a lady and a nurse he said to her you are too sort of women in one but she was not impressed by his wisdom she was most strongly inclined to young he was a plump young man of middle height with those blue eyes of a little boy which are so knowing particularly of a woman's secrets it is a strange thing that these childish men have such a deep half perverse knowledge of the other sex young was certainly innocent as far as acts went yet his hair was going thin at the crown already he also played with her being a doctor and she a nurse who encouraged it he too touched her and kissed her and did not rouse her to contest for his touch and his kiss had that nearness of a little boys which nearly melted her she could almost have succumbed to him if it had not been that with him there was no question of succumbing she would have had to take him between her hands and caress and cajole him like a cherub into a fall and though she would have liked to do so yet that inflexible stiffness of her backbone prevented her she could not do as she liked there was an inflexible fate within her which shaped her ends sometimes she wondered to herself over her own virginity was it worth much after all behaving as she did did she care about it anyhow didn't she rather despise it to sin in thought was as bad as to sin in act if the thought was the same as the act how much more was her behavior equivalent to a whole committal she wished she were wholly committed she wished she had gone the whole length but sophistry and wishing did her no good there she was still isolated and still there was that in her which would preserve her intact sophistry and deliberate intention notwithstanding her time was up she was returning to Woodhouse virgin as she had left it in a measure she felt herself beaten why who knows but so it was she felt herself been condemned to go back to what she was before fate had been too strong for her and her desires fate which was not an external Association of forces but which was integral in her own nature her own inscrutable nature was her fate saw against her will it was August when she came home in her nurse's uniform she was beaten by fate as far as chastity and virginity went but she came home with high material hopes here was James huffed ins own daughter she had an affluent future ahead of her a fully-qualified maternity nurse she was going to bring all the babies of the district easily and triumphantly into the world she was going to charge the regulation fee of two guineas a case and even on a modest estimate of ten babies a month she would have 20 guineas for well-to-do mothers she would charge from three to five guineas at this calculation she would make an easy 300 a year without slaving either she would be independent she could laugh everyone in the face she bounced back into wood house to make her fortune end of chapter 3 read by Tony Foster

One thought on “Lost Girl | D. H. Lawrence | Literary Fiction | Audiobook full unabridged | English | 1/9

  1. Lost Girl | D. H. Lawrence | Literary Fiction | Audiobook full unabridged | English | 1/9
    1: [00:00:00] – Chapter I – THE DECLINE OF MANCHESTER HOUSE
    2: [00:53:08] – Chapter II – THE RISE OF ALVINA HOUGHTON
    3: [01:14:05] – Chapter III – THE MATERNITY NURSE

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