Women in Love

and went hurriedly.

Meanwhile the men stood in calm little groups, chatting, smoking, pretending to pay no heed to the rustling animation of the women’s world. But they could not really talk, because of the glassy ravel of women’s excited, cold laughter and running voices. They waited, uneasy, suspended, rather bored. But Gerald remained as if genial and happy, unaware that he was waiting or unoccupied, knowing himself the very pivot of the occasion.

Suddenly Mrs Crich came noiselessly into the room, peering about with her strong, clear face. She was still wearing her hat, and her sac coat of blue silk.

“What is it, mother?” said Gerald.

“Nothing, nothing!” she answered vaguely. And she went straight towards Birkin, who was talking to a Crich brother-in-law.

“How do you do, Mr Birkin,” she said, in her low

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