his hand warmly and softly <closing over her tail>

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Senior Member
Here are some words from the novel Lady Chatterley's Lover(page 392, chapter 17) by DH Lawrence (planetebook,here):
(background: Connie received a letter from Clifford, saying Mellors' wife Bertha returned to his cottage and gossiped a lot. Then she was lost in the past when she was with Mellors..…)

And she heard(seemed to hear) his voice again: Tha’s got the nicest woman’s arse of anybody! And she felt (seemed to felt) his hand warmly and softly closing over her tail (=buttocks?)again, over her secret places, like a benediction
(=blessing?). And the warmth ran through her womb, and the little flames flickered in her knees, and she said: Oh, no! I mustn’t go back on it! I must not go back on him.

What's the meaning of closing please? Is it moving?
Anyway, how should I understand this sentence please?
Thank you in advance
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  • longxianchen

    Senior Member
    Yes. It seems to me that closing means moving in the context, because moving over the tail and then move over secret places make sense. But I'm not sure.
    And I'm not clear about the meaning of tail.
    Besides the normal meaning, this is relevant:

    Definition 26, in R-H unabridged, v.i,

    1. close in on or upon:

      • [...]
      • to surround or envelop so as to entrap:a feeling that the room was closing in upon her
    Also relevant, definition 15, for v.t. (though marked archaic):

    to shut in or surround on all sides;
    cover in:to close a bird in a cage.

    Although some movement is involved, I don't think that's the primary thing being talked about.


    Check W-R for 'tail' esp. first set, definition 6.
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    Senior Member
    Based on your interpretation, I decide close doesn't mean clench (his hand into a fist). Maybe move in the direction of himself.
    And what about the meaning of tail?


    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    "She felt his hand close/closing over her mouth" - she felt his hand cover her mouth completely/gradually make contact with her mouth, covering it completely. I imagine his hand is slightly cupped, to fit the curve of her face.

    Connie is remembering how Mellors caressed her backside etc. I can't tell whether it's one smooth movement of the hand, but since she felt it as "a benediction", I suspect it is a separate cupping of each part in turn.

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