They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница

Lionel appeared to understand the drift of his son's silence. He told Edward that he had been wonderful with his mother, always kind and helpful, and that this conversation changed nothing. It simply recognised that he was old enough to know the facts. At that point, the twins came running into the garden, looking for their brother, and Lionel only had time to repeat, 'What I've said changes nothing, absolutely nothing,' before the girls were noisily among them, and then pulling Edward towards the house to deliver an opinion on something they had made.

But much else They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница was changing for him around this time. He was at Henley grammar school, and was beginning to hear from various teachers that he might be 'university material'. His friend Simon at Northend, and all the other village boys he ran around with, went to the secondary modern, and would soon be leaving to learn a trade or work on a farm before being called up for National Service. Edward hoped his future would be different. Already there was a certain constraint in the air when he was with his friends, on their side as well as his. With homework They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница piling up - for all his mildness, Lionel was a tyrant on this matter - Edward no longer roamed the woods after school with the lads, building camps or traps and provoking the gamekeepers on the Wormsley or Stonor estates. A small town like Henley had its urban pretensions and he was learning to conceal the fact that he knew the names of butterflies, birds, and the wild flowers growing on the Fane family's land in the intimate valley below the cottage - the bell flower, succory, scabious, the ten kinds of orchis and helleborine and the rare summer snowflake. At They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница school such knowledge might mark him out as a yokel.

Learning of his mothers accident that day changed nothing outwardly, but all the tiny shifts and realignments in his life seemed crystallised in this new knowledge. He was attentive and kindly towards her, he continued to help maintain the fiction that she ran the house and that everything she said really was the case, but now he was consciously acting a part, and doing so fortified that newly discovered, tough little core of selfhood. At sixteen he developed a taste for long moody rambles. It helped clear his mind to be out They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница of the house. He often went along Holland Lane, a sunken chalk track overhung with crumbling mossy banks that ran downhill to Turville, and then walked down the Hambleden valley to the Thames, crossing at Henley into the Berkshire downs. The term 'teenager' had not long been invented, and it never occurred to him that the separateness he felt, which was both painful and delicious, could be shared by anyone else.

Without asking or even telling his father, he hitchhiked to London one weekend for a rally in Trafalgar Square against the Suez invasion. While he was there he They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница decided in a moment of elation that he would not apply to Oxford, which was where Lionel and all the teachers wanted him to go. The town was too familiar, insufficiently different from Henley. He was coming here, where people seemed larger and louder and unpredictable and the famous streets carelessly shrugged off their own importance. It was a secret plan he held to -he did not want to generate early opposition. He was also intending to avoid National Service, which Lionel had decided would be good for him. These private schemes refined further his sense They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница of a concealed self, a tight nexus of sensitivity, longing and hardedged egotism. Unlike some of the boys at school, he did not loathe his home and family. He took for granted the small rooms and their squalor, and he remained unembarrassed by his mother. He was simply impatient for his life, the real story, to start, and the way things were arranged, it could not do so until he had passed his exams. So he worked hard, and turned in good essays, especially for his history master. He was amiable enough with his sisters and parents, and he continued to They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница dream of the day when he would leave the cottage at Turville Heath. But in a sense, he already had.

When Florence reached the bedroom, she released Edward's hand and, steadying herself against one of the oak posts that supported the bed's canopy, she dipped first to her right, then to her left, dropping a shoulder prettily each time, in order to remove her shoes. These were going-away shoes she had bought with her mother one quarrelsome rainy afternoon in Debenhams - it was unusual and stressful for Violet to enter a shop. They were They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница of soft pale blue leather, with low heels and a tiny bow at the front, artfully twisted in leather of darker blue. The bride was not hurried in her movements - this was yet another of those delaying tactics that also committed her further. She was aware of her husband's enchanted gaze, but for the moment she did not feel quite so agitated or pressured. Entering the bedroom, she had plunged into an uncomfortable, dreamlike condition that encumbered her like an old-fashioned diving suit in deep water. Her thoughts did not seem her own - they were piped down to They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница her, thoughts instead of oxygen.



And in this condition she had been aware of a stately, simple musical phrase, playing and repeating itself, in the shadowy ungraspable way of auditory memory, following her to the bedside, where it played again as she took a shoe in each hand. The familiar phrase - some might even have called it famous - consisted of four rising notes, which appeared to be posing a tentative question. Because the instrument was a cello rather than her violin, the interrogator was not herself but a detached observer, mildly incredulous, but insistent too, for after a brief silence and They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница a lingering, unconvincing reply from the other instruments, the cello put the question again, in different terms, on a different chord, and then again, and again, and each time received a doubtful answer. There was no set of words she could match to these notes; it was not as if something were being said. The enquiry was without content, as pure as a question mark.

It was the opening of a Mozart quintet, the cause of some dispute between Florence and her friends because playing it had meant drafting in another viola player and the others preferred They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница to avoid complications. But Florence insisted, she wanted someone for this piece, and when she invited a girlfriend from her corridor to join them for a rehearsal and they sight-read it through, naturally the cellist in his vanity fell for it, and soon enough the others came under its spell. Who could not? If the opening phrase posed a difficult question about the cohesion of the Ennismore Quartet - named after the address of the girls' hostel - it was settled by Florence's resolve in the face of opposition, one against three, and her tough-minded sense of They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница her own good taste.

As she crossed the bedroom, still with her back to Edward, still playing for time, and carefully set her shoes down on the floor by the wardrobe, the same four notes reminded her of this other aspect of her nature. The Florence who led her quartet, who coolly imposed her will, would never meekly submit to conventional expectations. She was no lamb to be uncomplainingly knifed. Or penetrated. She would demand of herself what it was exactly she wanted and did not want from her marriage, and she would say so out loud to Edward, and expect to They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница discover some form of compromise with him. Surely, what each of them desired should not be at the other's expense. The point was to love, and set each other free. Yes, she needed to speak up, the way she did at rehearsals, and she was going to do it now. She even had the beginnings of a proposal she might make. Her lips parted, and she drew breath. Then, at the sound of a floorboard, she turned, and he was coming towards her, smiling, his beautiful face a little pink, and the liberating idea - as if They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница never quite her own - was gone.

Her going-away dress was of a light summer cotton in cornflower blue, a perfect match for her shoes, and discovered only after many pavement hours between Regent Street and Marble Arch, thankfully without her mother. When Edward drew Florence into his embrace, it was not to kiss her, but first to press her body against his, and then to put a hand on her nape and feel for the zip of this dress. His other hand was flat and firm against the small of her back, and he was whispering in her ear, so They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница loudly, so closely that she heard only a roar of warm moist air. But the zip could not be unfastened with one hand alone, at least, not for the first inch or two. You had to hold the top of the dress straight with one hand while pulling down, otherwise the fine material would bunch and snag. She would have reached over her shoulder to help, but her arms were trapped, and besides, it did not seem right, showing him what to do. Above all, she did not wish to hurt his feelings. With a sharp sigh, he tugged They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница harder at the zip, trying to force it, but the point had already been reached when it would move neither down nor up. For the moment, she was trapped inside her dress. 'Oh God, Flo. Just keep still, will you.' Obediently, she froze, horrified by the agitation in his voice, automatically certain that it was her fault. It was, after all, her dress, her zip. It might have helped, she thought, to get free and turn her back, and move nearer the window for the light. But that could appear unaffectionate, and the interruption would admit to They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница the scale of the problem. At home she relied on her sister, who was clever with her fingers, despite her abysmal piano playing. Their mother had no patience for small things. Poor Edward - she felt on her shoulders tremors of effort along his arms as he brought both hands into play, and she imagined his thick fingers fumbling between the folds of pinched cloth and obstinate metal. She was sorry for him, and she was a little frightened of him too. To make even a timid suggestion might enrage him further. So she stood patiently, until at last he freed They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница himself from her with a groan and stepped back.

In fact, he was penitent. 'I'm really sorry. It's a mess. I'm so bloody clumsy'

'Darling. It happens to me often enough.'

They went and sat together on the bed. He smiled to let her know he did not believe her, but appreciated the remark. Here in the bedroom the windows were open wide towards the same view of hotel lawn, woodland and sea. A sudden shift in wind or tide, or perhaps it was the wake of a passing ship, brought the sound of several waves They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница breaking in succession, hard smacks against the shore. Then, just as suddenly, the waves were as before, tinkling and raking softly across the shingle.

She put her arm around his shoulder. 'Do you want to know a secret?'

'Yes.'

She took his earlobe between forefinger and thumb and gently tugged his head towards her and whispered, 'Actually, I'm a little bit scared.'

This was not strictly accurate but, thoughtful though she was, she could never have described her array of feelings: a dry physical sensation of tight shrinking, general revulsion at what she might be asked to They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница do, shame at the prospect of disappointing him, and of being revealed as a fraud. She disliked herself, and when she whispered to him, she thought her words hissed in her mouth like those of a stage villain. But it was better to talk of being scared than admit to disgust or shame. She had to do everything she could to begin to lower his expectations. He was gazing at her, and nothing registered in his expression to show he had heard her. Even in her difficult state, she marvelled at his soft brown eyes. Such kindly intelligence and forgiveness. Perhaps They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница if she stared into them and saw nothing else, she might just be able to do anything he asked of her. She would trust him utterly. But this was fantasy.

He said at last, 'I think I am too.' As he spoke he placed his hand just above her knee, and slid along, under the hem of her dress, and came to rest on her inner thigh, with his thumb just touching her knickers. Her legs were bare and smooth, and brown from sunbathing in the garden and tennis games with old schoolfriends on the Summertown They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница public courts and two long picnics with Edward on the flowery downs above the pretty village of Ewelme, where Chaucer's granddaughter was interred. They continued to look into each other's eyes - in this they were accomplished. Such was her awareness of his touch, the warmth and sticky pressure of his hand against her skin, that she could imagine, she could see, precisely his long, curving thumb in the blue gloom under her dress, lying patiently like a siege engine beyond the city walls, the well-trimmed nail just brushing the cream silk puckered in tiny swags along the line of They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница the lacy trim, and touching too - she was certain of this, she felt it clearly - a stray hair curling free.

She was doing all she could to prevent a muscle in her leg from tightening, but it was happening without her, of its own accord, as inevitable and powerful as a sneeze. It was not painful as it clenched and went into mild spasm, this treacherous band of muscle, but she felt it was letting her down, giving the first indication of the extent of her problem. He surely felt the little storm beneath his hand They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница, for his eyes widened minutely, and the tilt of his eyebrows and the soundless parting of his lips suggested that he was impressed, even in awe, as he mistook her turmoil for eagerness.

'Flo...?' He said her name cautiously, on a dip and a rise, as though wanting to steady her, or dissuade her from some headlong action. But he was having to hold down a little storm of his own. His breathing was shallow and irregular, and he kept detaching his tongue from his palate with a soft, sticking sound.

It is shaming sometimes, how the body will not They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница, or cannot, lie about emotions. Who, for decorum's sake, has ever slowed his heart, or muted a blush? Her unruly muscle jumped and fluttered, like a moth trapped beneath her skin. She had similar trouble sometimes with her eyelid. But perhaps the tumult was subsiding; she could not be sure. It helped her to settle on the basics, and she spelled them out for herself with stupid clarity: his hand was there because he was her husband; she let it stay because she was his wife. Certain of her friends - Greta, Hermione, Lucy especially - would have been naked between They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница the sheets hours ago, and would have consummated this marriage - noisily, joyously - long before the wedding. In their affection and generosity, they even had the impression that this was precisely what she had done. She had never lied to them, but neither had she set them straight. Thinking of her friends, she felt the peculiar unshared flavour of her own existence: she was alone.

Edward's hand did not advance - he may have been unnerved by what he had unleashed - and instead rocked lightly in place, gently kneading her inner thigh. This may have been why the spasm was fading They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница, but she was no longer paying attention. It must have been accidental, because he could not have known that as his hand palpated her leg, the tip of his thumb pushed against the lone hair that curled out free from under her panties, rocking it back and forth, stirring in the root, along the nerve of the follicle, a mere shadow of a sensation, an almost abstract beginning, as infinitely small as a geometric point that grew to a minuscule smoothedged speck, and continued to swell. She doubted it, denied it, even as she felt herself sink They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница and inwardly fold in its direction. How could the root of a solitary hair drag her whole body in? To the caressing rhythm of his hand, in steady beats, the single point of feeling spread itself across the surface of her skin, across her belly, and in pulses downwards to her perineum. The feeling was not entirely unfamiliar - something between an ache and an itch, but smoother, warmer, and somehow emptier, a pleasurable aching emptiness emanating from one rhythmically disturbed follicle, extending in concentric waves across her body and now moving deeper into it.

For the first time, her love They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница for Edward was associated with a definable physical sensation, as irrefutable as vertigo. Before, she had known only a comforting broth of warm emotions, a thick winter blanket of kindness and trust. That had always seemed enough, an achievement in itself. Now here at last were the beginnings of desire, precise and alien, but clearly her own; and beyond, as though suspended above and behind her, just out of sight, was relief that she was just like everyone else. When she was a late-developing fourteen, in despair that all her friends had breasts while she still resembled a They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница giant nine-year-old, she had a similar moment of revelation in front of the mirror the evening she first discerned and probed a novel tight swelling around her nipples. If her mother had not been preparing her Spinoza lecture on the floor below, Florence would have shouted in delight. It was undeniable: she was not a separate subspecies of the human race. In triumph, she belonged among the generality.

She and Edward still held each other's eyes. Talking appeared out of the question. She was half pretending that nothing was happening - that his hand was not They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница under her dress, his thumb was not pushing an outlying pubic hair back and forth, and she was not making a momentous sensory discovery. Behind Edward's head extended a partial view of a distant past - the open door and the dining table by the French window and the debris around their uneaten supper - but she did not let her gaze shift to take it in. Despite the pleasing sensation and her relief, there remained her apprehension, a high wall, not so easily demolished. Nor did she want it to be. For all the novelty, she was not They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница in a state of wild abandonment, nor did she want to be hurried towards one. She wanted to linger in this spacious moment, in these fully clothed conditions, with the soft brown-eyed gaze and the tender caress and the spreading thrill. But she knew that this was impossible, and that, as everyone said, one thing would have to lead to another.

--- Edward's face was still unusually pink, his pupils dilated, his lips still parted,- his breathing as before: shallow, irregular, rapid. His week of wedding preparation, of crazed restraint, was bearing down hard on his body's young They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница chemistry. She was so precious and vivid before him, and he did not quite know what to do. In the falling light, the blue dress he had failed to remove gleamed darkly against the stretched white counterpane. When he first touched her inner thigh her skin had been surprisingly cool, and for some reason this had excited him intensely. As he looked into her eyes, he had an impression of toppling towards her in constant giddy motion. He felt trapped between the pressure of his excitement and the burden of his ignorance. Beyond the films, the dirty jokes and They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница the wild anecdotes, most of what he knew about women was derived from Florence herself. The perturbation beneath his hand could easily be a telltale sign that anyone could have told him how to recognise and respond to, some kind of precursor to female orgasm, perhaps. Equally, it could be nerves. There was no telling, and he was relieved when it began to subside. He remembered a time, in a vast cornfield outside Ewelme, when he sat at the controls of a combine harvester, having boasted to the farmer that he was competent, and then did not dare touch a single They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница lever. He simply did not know enough. On the one hand, she was the one who had led him to the bedroom, removed her shoes with such abandon, let him place his hand so close. On the other, he knew from long experience how easily an impetuous move could wreck his chances. There again, while his hand remained in place, palpating her thigh, she continued to gaze at him so invitingly - her bold features softened, her eyes narrowing, then opening wide again to find his own, and now her head tilting back -that his caution was They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница surely absurd. This hesitancy was a madness of his own. They were married, for goodness' sake, and she was encouraging him, urging him on, desperate for him to take the lead. But still, he could not escape the memories of those times when he had misread the signs, most spectacularly in the cinema, at the showing of A Taste of Honey, when she had leaped out of her seat and into the aisle like a startled gazelle. That single mistake took weeks to repair - it was a disaster he dared not repeat, and he was sceptical that a forty-minute They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница wedding ceremony could make so profound a difference.

The air in the room seemed thin, insubstantial, and it was a conscious effort to breathe. He was troubled by a fit of nervous yawning, which he suppressed with a frown and a flaring of the nostrils - it would not help if she thought he was bored. It pained him tremendously that their wedding night was not simple, when their love was so obvious. He regarded his state of excitement, ignorance and indecision as dangerous because he did not trust himself. He was capable of behaving stupidly, even explosively. He was They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница known to his university friends as one of those quiet types, prone to the occasional violent eruption. According to his father, his very early childhood had been marked by spectacular tantrums. Through his school years and into his time at college he was drawn now and then by the wild freedom of a fist fight. From schoolyard scraps round which savagely chanting kids formed a spectator ring, to a solemn rendezvous in a woodland clearing near the edge of the village, to shameless brawls outside central London pubs, Edward found in fighting a thrilling unpredictability, and discovered a spontaneous They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница, decisive self that eluded him in the rest of his tranquil existence. He never sought out these situations, but when they arose, certain aspects - the taunting, the restraining friends, the squaring up, the sheer outrageousness of his opponent - were irresistible. Something like tunnel vision and deafness descended on him, and then suddenly he was back there again, stepping into a forgotten pleasure, as though emerging into a recurring dream. As in a student drinking bout, the pain came afterwards. He was no great pugilist, but he had the useful gift of physical recklessness, and was well placed to They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница raise the stakes. He was also strong.

Florence had never seen this madness in him, and he did not intend to talk to her about it. He had not been in a fight for eighteen months, since January of 1961, in the second term of his final year. It was a one-sided affair, and unusual in that Edward had some cause, a degree of justice on his side. He was walking along Old Compton Street towards the French Pub in Dean Street with another third-year history student, Harold Mather. It was early evening and they had come straight from the library They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница in Malet Street to meet up with friends. At Edward's grammar school, Mather would have been the perfect victim - he was short, barely five foot five, wore thick glasses over comically squashed features and was maddeningly talkative and clever. At university, however, he flourished, he was a high-status figure. He had an important jazz record collection, he edited a literary magazine, he had a short story accepted, though not yet published, by Encounter magazine, he was hilarious in formal Union debates and a good mimic - he did Macmillan, Gaitskell, Kennedy, Khrushchev in fake Russian, as They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница well as various African leaders, and comedians like Al Read and Tony Hancock. He could reproduce all the voices and sketches from Beyond the Fringe, and was reckoned by far the best student in the history group. Edward counted it as progress in his own life, evidence of a new maturity, that he prized his friendship with a man he might once have taken trouble to avoid.

At that time, on a weekday winter's evening, Soho was only just coming to life. The pubs were full, but the clubs were not yet open, and the pavements were They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница uncrowded. It was easy to notice the couple coming towards them along Old Compton Street. They were rockers - he was a big fellow in his mid-twenties, with long sideburns, studded leather jacket, tight jeans and boots, and his plump girlfriend, holding on to his arm, was identically dressed. As they passed, and without breaking stride, the man swung his arm out to deliver a hard, flat-handed smack to the back of Mather's head which caused him to stagger, and sent his Buddy Holly glasses skidding across the road. It was an act of casual contempt for Mather's They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница height and studious appearance, or for the fact that he looked, and was, Jewish. Perhaps it was intended to impress or amuse the girl. Edward did not stop to think about it. As he strode after the couple, he heard Harold call out something like a 'no' or a 'don't', but that was just the kind of entreaty he was now deaf to. He was back in that dream. He would have found it difficult to describe his state: his anger had lifted itself and spiralled into a kind of ecstasy. With his right hand he gripped They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница the man's shoulder and spun him round, and with his left, took him by the throat and pushed him back against a wall. The man's head clunked satisfyingly against a cast iron drainpipe. Still clenching his throat, Edward hit him in the face, just once, but very hard, with a closed fist. Then he went back to help Mather find his glasses, one lens of which was cracked. They walked on, leaving the fellow sitting on the pavement, both hands covering his face, while his girlfriend fussed over him.

It took Edward some while into the evening to They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница become aware of Harold Mather's lack of gratitude, and then of his silence, or silence towards him, and even longer, a day or two, to realise that his friend not only disapproved, but worse - he was embarrassed. In the pub neither man told their friends the story, and afterwards Mather never spoke about the incident to Edward. Rebuke would have been a relief. Without making any great show of it, Mather withdrew from him. Though they saw each other in company, and he was never obviously distant towards Edward, the friendship was never the same. Edward was They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница in agonies when he considered that Mather was actually repelled by his behaviour, but he did not have the courage to raise the subject. Besides, Mather made sure they were never alone together. At first Edward believed that his error was to have damaged Mather's pride by witnessing his humiliation, which Edward then compounded by acting as his champion, demonstrating that he was tough while Mather was a vulnerable weakling. Later on, Edward realised that what he had done was simply not cool, and his shame was all the greater. Street fighting did not go with poetry and irony They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница, bebop or history. He was guilty of a lapse of taste. He was not the person he had thought. What he believed was an interesting quirk, a rough virtue, turned out to be a vulgarity. He was a country boy, a provincial idiot who thought a bare-knuckle swipe could impress a friend. It was a mortifying reappraisal. He was making one of the advances typical of early adulthood: the discovery that there were new values by which he preferred to be judged. Since then, Edward had stayed out of fights.

But now, on his wedding night, he did They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница not trust himself. He could not be certain that the tunnel vision and selective deafness would never descend again, enveloping him like a wintry mist on Turville Heath, obscuring his more recent, more sophisticated self. He had been sitting beside Florence, with his hand under her dress, stroking her thigh for more than a minute and a half His painful craving was building intolerably, and he was frightened by his own savage impatience and the furious words or actions it might provoke, and so end the evening. He loved her, but he wanted to shake her awake, or slap her They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница out of her straight-backed music-stand poise, her North Oxford proprieties, and make her see how really simple it was: here was a boundless sensual freedom, theirs for the taking, even blessed by the vicar - with my body I thee worship - a dirty, joyous bare-limbed freedom, which rose in his imagination like a vast airy cathedral, ruined perhaps, roofless, fan-vaulted to the skies, where they would weightlessly drift upwards in a powerful embrace and have each other, drown each other in waves of breathless, mindless ecstasy. It was so simple! Why weren't they They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница up there now, instead of sitting here, bottled up with all the things they did not know how to say or dared not do?

And what stood in their way? Their personalities and pasts, their ignorance and fear, timidity, squeamishness, lack of entitlement or experience or easy manners, then the tail end of a religious prohibition, their Englishness and class, and history itself. Nothing much at all. He removed his hand and drew her to him and kissed her on the lips, with all the restraint he was capable of, holding back his tongue. He eased her back across the They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница bed so that her head was cushioned on his arm. He lay on his side, propped on the elbow of that same arm, looking down at her. The bed squeaked mournfully when they moved, a reminder of other honeymoon couples who had passed through, all surely more adept than they were. He held down a sudden impulse to laugh at the idea of them, a solemn queue stretching out into the corridor, downstairs to reception, back through time. It was important not to think about them; comedy was an erotic poison. He also had to hold off the thought that They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница she might be terrified of him. If he believed that, he could do nothing. She was compliant in his arms, her eyes still fixed on his, her face slack and difficult to read. Her breathing was steady and deep, like a sleeper's. He whispered her name and told her again that he loved her, and she blinked, and parted her lips, perhaps in assent, or even reciprocation. With his free hand he began to remove her knickers. She tensed, but she did not resist, and lifted, or half lifted, her buttocks from the bed. Again, the sad sound They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница of mattress springs or bed frame, like the bleat of a spring lamb. Even with his free arm at full stretch, it was not possible to continue to cushion her head while hooking the knickers past her knees and around her ankles. She helped him by bending her knees. A good sign. He could not face another attempt on the zip of her dress, so for the moment her bra - pale blue silk, so he had glimpsed, with a fine lace trim - must stay in place too. So much for the bare-limbed weightless embrace. But she was beautiful They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница as she was, lying on his arm, her dress rucked up around her thighs, ropes of her tangled hair spread out across the counterpane. A sun queen. They kissed again. He was nauseous with desire and indecision. To get undressed he would have to disturb this promising arrangement of their bodies and risk breaking the spell. A slight change, a combination of tiny factors, little zephyrs of doubt, and she could change her mind. But he firmly believed that to make love - and for the very first time - merely by unzipping his fly was unsensual and gross. And impolite They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница.

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Документ They were young, educated, and both virgins on this, their wedding night, and they lived in a time when a conversation about sexual difficulties was plainly impossible. But it is never easy. They 4 страница