“Right you are, Mock Turtle—” said Jim maliciously.
“Breathing out is a bloody revolution,” said Lilly.
“You’ve hit the nail on the head,” said Jim solemnly.
“Let’s record it then,” said Lilly. And with the blue pencil he printed:
WHEN YOU LOVE, YOUR SOUL BREATHES IN—
WHEN YOUR SOUL BREATHES OUT, IT’S A BLOODY REVOLUTION.
“I say Jim,” he said. “You must be busting yourself, trying to breathe in.”
“Don’t you be too clever. I’ve thought about it,” said Jim. “When I’m in love, I get a great inrush of energy. I actually feel it rush in—here!” He poked his finger on the pit of his stomach. “It’s the soul’s expansion. And if I can’t get these rushes of energy, I’M DYING, AND I KNOW I AM.”
He spoke the last words with sudden ferocity and desperation.
“All I know is,” said Tanny, “you don’t look it.”
“I AM. I am.” Jim protested. “I’m dying. Life’s leaving me.”
“Maybe you’re choking with love,” said Robert. “Perhaps you have breathed in so much, you don’t know how to let it go again. Perhaps your soul’s got a crick in it, with expanding so much.”
“You’re a bloody young sucking pig, you are,” said Jim.
“Even at that age, I’ve learned my manners,” replied Robert.
Jim looked round the party. Then he turned to Aaron Sisson.
“What do you make of ’em, eh?” he said.
Aaron shook his head, and laughed.
“Me?” he said.
But Jim did not wait for an answer.
“I’ve had enough,” said Tanny suddenly rising. “I think you’re all silly. Besides, it’s getting late.”
“She!” said Jim, rising and pointing luridly to Clariss. “She’s Love. And HE’s the Working People. The hope is these two—” He jerked a thumb at Aaron Sisson, after having indicated Mrs. Browning.
“Oh, how awfully interesting. It’s quite a long time since I’ve been a personification.—I suppose you’ve never been one before?” said Clariss, turning to Aaron in conclusion.
“No, I don’t think I have,” he answered.
“I hope personification is right.—Ought to be allegory or something else?” This from Clariss to Robert.
“Or a parable, Clariss,” laughed the young lieutenant.
“Goodbye,” said Tanny. “I’ve been awfully bored.”
“Have you?” grinned Jim. “Goodbye! Better luck next time.”
“We’d better look sharp,” said Robert, “if we want to get the tube.”
The party hurried through the rainy narrow streets
down to the
Embankment station. Robert and Julia and Clariss were going west,
Lilly and his wife were going to Hampstead, Josephine and Aaron
Sisson were going both to Bloomsbury.
“I suppose,” said Robert, on the stairs—“Mr. Sisson will see you to your door, Josephine. He lives your way.”
“There’s no need at all,” said Josephine.