'aren't we fools'

'What Josephine said,' explained Robert, 'was simply that it would be pretty to put candles on one of the growing trees, instead of having a Christmas-tree indoors'.... 
Soon they were busy round a prickly fir-tree at the end of the lawn. Jim stood in the background vaguely staring. The bicycle lamp sent a beam of strong white light deep into the uncanny foliage, heads clustered and hands worked. The night above was silent, dim. There was no wind. In the near distance they could hear the panting of some engine at the colliery. 
'Shall we light them as we fix them,' asked Robert, 'or save them for one grand rocket at the end?' 
'Oh, as we do them,' said Cyril Scott, who had lacerated his fingers and wanted to see some reward. 
A match spluttered. One naked little flame sprang alight among the dark foliage. The candle burned tremulously, naked. They all were silent. 
'We ought to do a ritual dance! We ought to worship the tree,' sang Julia, in her high voice. 
'Hold on a minute. We'll have a little more illumination,' said Robert. 
'Why yes. We want more than one candle,' said Josephine. 
But Julia had dropped the cloak in which she was huddled, and with arms slung asunder was sliding, waving, crouching in a pas seul before the tree, looking like an animated bough herself. 
Jim, who was hugging his pipe in the background, broke into a short, harsh, cackling laugh.
'Aren't we fools! he cried. 'What? Oh, God's love, aren't we fools!'
D.H. Lawrence, Aaron's Rod.


Originally posted 12/10/2011.