- E.M. Forster
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Very often Durham made no reply and Maurice would be terrified lest he was losing him.
Now Maurice, though he did not know it, had become an attractive young man. Much exercise had tamed his clumsiness. He was heavy but alert, and his face seemed following the example of his body. Mrs Hall put it down to his moustache—“Maurice’s moustache will be the making of him”—a remark more profound than she realized.
“Clive, you’re a silly little fool, and since you’ve brought it up I think you’re beautiful, the only beautiful person I’ve ever seen. I love your voice and everything to do with you, down to your clothes or the room you are sitting in. I adore you.”
“Mr Hall, is there anyone? Some Newnham girl? Pippa declares there is.” “Pippa had better ask then,” Maurice replied. Mrs Durham was impressed. He had met one impertinence with another. Who would have expected such skill in a young man?
Clive knew that ecstasy cannot last, but can carve a channel for something lasting, and he contrived a relation that proved permanent. If Maurice made love it was Clive who preserved it, and caused its rivers to water the garden.
He carried the stool down the passage and cleaned it. Now that Clive was undignified and weak, he loved him as never before.
Their correspondence had ceased several months ago. Maurice’s last had been written after Birmingham, and announced he should not kill himself. Clive had never supposed he would, and was glad the melodrama was over.
Such thoughts as the above occurred to Clive rarely and feebly.
Love was an emotion through which you occasionally enjoyed yourself.
If the reader knows too much of what’s coming he may be bored. If he knows too little he may be puzzled.