The Rainbow (Chapter 8, page 2 of 22)


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Chapter 8

It had a separate being, but it was his own child. His flesh
and blood vibrated to it. He caught the baby to his breast with
his passionate, clapping laugh. And the infant knew him.

As the newly-opened, newly-dawned eyes looked at him, he
wanted them to perceive him, to recognize him. Then he was
verified. The child knew him, a queer contortion of laughter
came on its face for him. He caught it to his breast, clapping
with a triumphant laugh.

The golden-brown eyes of the child gradually lit up and
dilated at the sight of the dark-glowing face of the youth. It
knew its mother better, it wanted its mother more. But the
brightest, sharpest little ecstasy was for the father.

It began to be strong, to move vigorously and freely, to make
sounds like words. It was a baby girl now. Already it knew his
strong hands, it exulted in his strong clasp, it laughed and
crowed when he played with it.

And his heart grew red--hot with passionate feeling for
the child. She was not much more than a year old when the second
baby was born. Then he took Ursula for his own. She his first
little girl. He had set his heart on her.

The second had dark blue eyes and a fair skin: it was more a
Brangwen, people said. The hair was fair. But they forgot Anna's
stiff blonde fleece of childhood. They called the newcomer
Gudrun.

This time, Anna was stronger, and not so eager. She did not
mind that the baby was not a boy. It was enough that she had
milk and could suckle her child: Oh, oh, the bliss of the little
life sucking the milk of her body! Oh, oh, oh the bliss, as the
infant grew stronger, of the two tiny hands clutching, catching
blindly yet passionately at her breast, of the tiny mouth
seeking her in blind, sure, vital knowledge, of the sudden
consummate peace as the little body sank, the mouth and throat
sucking, sucking, sucking, drinking life from her to make a new
life, almost sobbing with passionate joy of receiving its own
existence, the tiny hands clutching frantically as the nipple
was drawn back, not to be gainsaid. This was enough for Anna.
She seemed to pass off into a kind of rapture of motherhood, her
rapture of motherhood was everything.

So that the father had the elder baby, the weaned child, the
golden-brown, wondering vivid eyes of the little Ursula were for
him, who had waited behind the mother till the need was for him.
The mother felt a sharp stab of jealousy. But she was still more
absorbed in the tiny baby. It was entirely hers, its need was
direct upon her.

So Ursula became the child of her father's heart. She was the
little blossom, he was the sun. He was patient, energetic,
inventive for her. He taught her all the funny little things, he
filled her and roused her to her fullest tiny measure. She
answered him with her extravagant infant's laughter and her call
of delight.

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