The Rainbow (Chapter 6, page 2 of 42)


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Chapter 6

Inside the room was a great steadiness, a core of living
eternity. Only far outside, at the rim, went on the noise and
the destruction. Here at the centre the great wheel was
motionless, centred upon itself. Here was a poised, unflawed
stillness that was beyond time, because it remained the same,
inexhaustible, unchanging, unexhausted.

As they lay close together, complete and beyond the touch of
time or change, it was as if they were at the very centre of all
the slow wheeling of space and the rapid agitation of life,
deep, deep inside them all, at the centre where there is utter
radiance, and eternal being, and the silence absorbed in praise:
the steady core of all movements, the unawakened sleep of all
wakefulness. They found themselves there, and they lay still, in
each other's arms; for their moment they were at the heart of
eternity, whilst time roared far off, for ever far off, towards
the rim.

Then gradually they were passed away from the supreme centre,
down the circles of praise and joy and gladness, further and
further out, towards the noise and the friction. But their
hearts had burned and were tempered by the inner reality, they
were unalterably glad.

Gradually they began to wake up, the noises outside became
more real. They understood and answered the call outside. They
counted the strokes of the bell. And when they counted midday,
they understood that it was midday, in the world, and for
themselves also.

It dawned upon her that she was hungry. She had been getting
hungrier for a lifetime. But even yet it was not sufficiently
real to rouse her. A long way off she could hear the words, "I
am dying of hunger." Yet she lay still, separate, at peace, and
the words were unuttered. There was still another lapse.

And then, quite calmly, even a little surprised, she was in
the present, and was saying: "I am dying with hunger."

"So am I," he said calmly, as if it were of not the slightest
significance. And they relapsed into the warm, golden stillness.
And the minutes flowed unheeded past the window outside.

Then suddenly she stirred against him.

"My dear, I am dying of hunger," she said.

It was a slight pain to him to be brought to.

"We'll get up," he said, unmoving.

And she sank her head on to him again, and they lay still,
lapsing. Half consciously, he heard the clock chime the hour.
She did not hear.

"Do get up," she murmured at length, "and give me something
to eat."

"Yes," he said, and he put his arms round her, and she lay
with her face on him. They were faintly astonished that they did
not move. The minutes rustled louder at the window.

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