The Rainbow (Chapter 6, page 1 of 42)


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Chapter 6

Will Brangwen had some weeks of holiday after his marriage,
so the two took their honeymoon in full hands, alone in their
cottage together.

And to him, as the days went by, it was as if the heavens had
fallen, and he were sitting with her among the ruins, in a new
world, everybody else buried, themselves two blissful survivors,
with everything to squander as they would. At first, he could
not get rid of a culpable sense of licence on his part. Wasn't
there some duty outside, calling him and he did not come?

It was all very well at night, when the doors were locked and
the darkness drawn round the two of them. Then they were the
only inhabitants of the visible earth, the rest were under the
flood. And being alone in the world, they were a law unto
themselves, they could enjoy and squander and waste like
conscienceless gods.

But in the morning, as the carts clanked by, and children
shouted down the lane; as the hucksters came calling their
wares, and the church clock struck eleven, and he and she had
not got up yet, even to breakfast, he could not help feeling
guilty, as if he were committing a breach of the
law--ashamed that he was not up and doing.

"Doing what?" she asked. "What is there to do? You will only
lounge about."

Still, even lounging about was respectable. One was at least
in connection with the world, then. Whereas now, lying so still
and peacefully, while the daylight came obscurely through the
drawn blind, one was severed from the world, one shut oneself
off in tacit denial of the world. And he was troubled.

But it was so sweet and satisfying lying there talking
desultorily with her. It was sweeter than sunshine, and not so
evanescent. It was even irritating the way the church-clock kept
on chiming: there seemed no space between the hours, just a
moment, golden and still, whilst she traced his features with
her finger-tips, utterly careless and happy, and he loved her to
do it.

But he was strange and unused. So suddenly, everything that
had been before was shed away and gone. One day, he was a
bachelor, living with the world. The next day, he was with her,
as remote from the world as if the two of them were buried like
a seed in darkness. Suddenly, like a chestnut falling out of a
burr, he was shed naked and glistening on to a soft, fecund
earth, leaving behind him the hard rind of worldly knowledge and
experience. He heard it in the huckster's cries, the noise of
carts, the calling of children. And it was all like the hard,
shed rind, discarded. Inside, in the softness and stillness of
the room, was the naked kernel, that palpitated in silent
activity, absorbed in reality.

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