’Oh, if I had only had the courage to begin by telling her outright and bluntly that you and I had settled that I should take her place! That would have stopped her. But I hadn’t. And, besides, how could I foresee what she would say to me and how she would affect me? No; I lied to her at every point. My whole attitude was a lie. Supposing you and I had gone off together before I had seen her, and then I had met her afterwards, I could have looked her in the face—sorrowfully, with a heart bleeding—but I could have looked her in the face. But after this interview—no; it would be impossible for me to face her with you at my side! Don’t I put things crudely, horribly! I know everything that you will say. You could not bring a single argument that I have not thought of.
’However, arguments are nothing. It is how I feel. Fate is against us. Possibly I have ruined your life and mine without having done anything to improve hers; and possibly I have saved us all three from terrible misery. Possibly fate is with us. No one can say. I don’t know what will happen in the immediate future; I won’t think about it. If you do as I wish, if you have any desire to show me that I have any influence over you, you will go back to live with your wife. Where did you sleep last night? Or did you walk the streets? You must not answer this letter at present. Write to me later. Do not try to see me. I won’t see you. We mustn’t meet. I am going away at once. I don’t think I could stand another scene with your wife, and she would be sure to come again to me.
’Try to resume your old existence. You can do it if you try. Remember that your wife is no more to blame than you are, or than I am. Remember that you loved her once. And remember that I act as I am acting because there is no other way for me. C’est plus fort que moi, I am going to Torquay. I let you know this—I hate concealment; and anyway you would find out. But I shall trust you not to follow me. I shall trust you. You are saying that this is a very different woman from last night. It is. I haven’t yet realized what my feelings are. I expect I shall realize them in a few days. I send with this a manuscript. It is nothing. I send it merely to put Emmeline off the scent, so that she shall think that it is purely business. Now I shall trust you.—C. P.’