D H Lawrence – Women in Love, 1920

 

`You have heard the plan,’ he said with some excitement, `for a studio for Winifred, over the stables?’

`No!’ exclaimed Gudrun, in mock wonder.

`Oh! — I thought Winnie wrote it to you, in her letter!’

`Oh — yes — of course. But I thought perhaps it was only her own little idea –‘ Gudrun smiled subtly, indulgently. The sick man smiled also, elated.

`Oh no. It is a real project. There is a good room under the roof of the stables — with sloping rafters. We had thought of converting it into a studio.’

`How very nice that would be!’ cried Gudrun, with excited warmth. The thought of the rafters stirred her.

`You think it would? Well, it can be done.’

`But how perfectly splendid for Winifred! Of course, it is just what is needed, if she is to work at all seriously. One must have one’s workshop, otherwise one never ceases to be an amateur.’

`Is that so? Yes. Of course, I should like you to share it with Winifred.’

`Thank you so much.’

Gudrun knew all these things already, but she must look shy and very grateful, as if overcome.

`Of course, what I should like best, would be if you could give up your work at the Grammar School, and just avail yourself of the studio, and work there — well, as much or as little as you liked –‘

He looked at Gudrun with dark, vacant eyes. She looked back at him as if full of gratitude. These phrases of a dying man were so complete and natural, coming like echoes through his dead mouth.

`And as to your earnings — you don’t mind taking from me what you have taken from the Education Committee, do you? I don’t want you to be a loser.’

`Oh,’ said Gudrun, `if I can have the studio and work there, I can earn money enough, really I can.’

`Well,’ he said, pleased to be the benefactor, `we can see about all that. You wouldn’t mind spending your days here?’

‘If there were a studio to work in,’ said Gudrun, ‘I could ask for nothing better.’

D H Lawrence, 1885-1930.  Women in Love, 1920. (Chapter 21 – The Threshold)

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Author: jeh

Jeremy Hunt is Director of the AAJ Press (Art & Architecture Journal / Press) – a writer and consultant on art and public space

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