Women in Love

had been sudden and momentaneous.

The normal consciousness however was returning, ebbing back. Birkin could breathe almost naturally again. Gerald’s hand slowly withdrew, Birkin slowly, dazedly rose to his feet and went towards the table. He poured out a whiskey and soda. Gerald also came for a drink.

“It was a real set-to, wasn’t it?” said Birkin, looking at Gerald with darkened eyes.

“God, yes,” said Gerald. He looked at the delicate body of the other man, and added: “It wasn’t too much for you, was it?”

“No. One ought to wrestle and strive and be physically close. It makes one sane.”

“You do think so?”

“I do. Don’t you?”

“Yes,” said Gerald.

There were long spaces of silence between their

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