All day, he did not make up his mind what he was going to do. His first impulse was never to see her again. And this was his intention all day. But as he went home in the tram he softened, and thought. Nay, that would not be fair. For how had she treated him, otherwise than generously.
She had been generous, and the other thing, that he felt blasted afterwards, which was his experience, that was fate, and not her fault. So he must see her again. He must not act like a churl. But he would tell her—he would tell her that he was a married man, and that though he had left his wife, and though he had no dogma of fidelity, still, the years of marriage had made a married man of him, and any other woman than his wife was a strange woman to him, a violation. “I will tell her,” he said to himself, “that at the bottom of my heart I love Lottie still, and that I can’t help it. I believe that is true. It isn’t love, perhaps. But it is marriage. I am married to Lottie. And that means I can’t be married to another woman. It isn’t my nature. And perhaps I can’t bear to live with Lottie now, because I am married and not in love. When a man is married, he is not in love. A husband is not a lover. Lilly told me that: and I know it’s true now. Lilly told me that a husband cannot be a lover, and a lover cannot be a husband. And that women will only have lovers now, and never a husband. Well, I am a husband, if I am anything. And I shall never be a lover again, not while I live. No, not to anybody. I haven’t it in me. I’m a husband, and so it is finished with me as a lover. I can’t be a lover any more, just as I can’t be aged twenty any more. I am a man now, not an adolescent. And to my sorrow I am a husband to a woman who wants a lover: always a lover. But all women want lovers. And I can’t be it any more. I don’t want to. I have finished that. Finished for ever: unless I become senile—–”