No answer he could have made could have more exasperated her. “I—don’t—believe—I—would.” Deliberation! Something incomprehensible to her going on in his mind, and as a result of it a statement that no one on earth (she felt) but he would have made. Any one else would have said boldly, blusteringly, “Of course I would have told you about the letter.” She would have liked that. She would have disbelieved it and she could have said, and enjoyed saying, she disbelieved it. Or any one else would have said furiously, “No, I’m damned if I’d have shown you the letter.” She would have liked that. It would have affirmed her suspicions that there was “something in it”; and she wished her suspicions to be affirmed. It would have been something definite. Something justifiably incentive of anger, of resentment, of jealousy. Something she could understand.
For she did not understand her husband. That was her grievance against him. She never had understood him. That den incident in the very earliest days of their marriage had been an intimation of a way of looking at things that to her was entirely and exasperatingly inexplicable; and since then, increasingly year by year, her understanding had failed to follow him. He had retired farther and farther into himself. He lived in his mind, and she could by no means penetrate into his mind. His ideas about things, his attitude towards things, were wholly and exasperatingly incomprehensible to her.
“It’s like,” she had once complained to her father, “it’s like having a foreigner in the house.”
Things, in her expression, “went on” in his mind, and she could not understand what went on in his mind, and it exasperated her to know they were going on and that she could not understand them.
“I—don’t—believe—I—would.” Characteristic, typical expression of those processes of his mind that she could not understand! And then the reason: “I wouldn’t because I’d have known perfectly well that you’d have thought it—funny.”
And, exasperation on exasperation’s head, he was right. She did think it funny; and by his very reply—for she knew him well enough, so exasperatingly well, to know that this was complete sincerity, complete truth—he proved to her that it was not really funny but merely something she could not understand. Robbery of her fancy, her hope that it was something definite against him, something justifiably incentive of resentment, of jealousy!
It was as if he had said, “You can’t understand a letter like this. There’s nothing in it to understand. And that’s just what you can’t understand. Look here, you see my head. I’m in there. You can’t come in. You don’t know how to. I can’t tell you how to. Nobody could tell you. And you wouldn’t know what to make of it if you did get in.”
Exasperating. Insufferable. Insupportable!
She could not express her feelings in words. She expressed them in action. She arose violently and left the room. The whole of her emotions she put into the slam of the door behind her. The ornaments shivered. A cup sprang off a bracket and dashed itself to pieces on the floor.