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know. It was just a shabby, stupid, furtive business that began between
us. Like stealing. We dressed it in a little music.... I want you to
understand clearly that I was indebted to the man in many small ways. I
was mean to him.... It was the gratification of an immense necessity.
We were two people with a craving. We felt like thieves. We WERE
thieves.... We LIKED each other well enough. Well, my friend found
us out, and would give no quarter. He divorced her. How do you like the
"Go on," said Ann Veronica, a little hoarsely, "tell me all of it."
"My wife was astounded--wounded beyond measure. She thought me--filthy.
All her pride raged at me. One particularly humiliating thing came
out--humiliating for me. There was a second co-respondent. I hadn't
heard of him before the trial. I don't know why that should be so
acutely humiliating. There's no logic in these things. It was."
"Poor you!" said Ann Veronica.
"My wife refused absolutely to have anything more to do with me. She
could hardly speak to me; she insisted relentlessly upon a separation.
She had money of her own--much more than I have--and there was no need
to squabble about that. She has given herself up to social work."
"That's all. Practically all. And yet--Wait a little, you'd better have
every bit of it. One doesn't go about with these passions allayed simply
because they have made wreckage and a scandal. There one is! The same
stuff still! One has a craving in one's blood, a craving roused, cut off
from its redeeming and guiding emotional side. A man has more freedom to
do evil than a woman. Irregularly, in a quite inglorious and unromantic
way, you know, I am a vicious man. That's--that's my private life. Until
the last few months. It isn't what I have been but what I am. I haven't
taken much account of it until now. My honor has been in my scientific
work and public discussion and the things I write. Lots of us are like
that. But, you see, I'm smirched. For the sort of love-making you think
about. I've muddled all this business. I've had my time and lost my
chances. I'm damaged goods. And you're as clean as fire. You come with
those clear eyes of yours, as valiant as an angel...."
He stopped abruptly.
"Well?" she said.
"It's so strange to think of you--troubled by such things. I didn't
think--I don't know what I thought. Suddenly all this makes you human.
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