Read Books Online, for Free
|The Collapse Of The Penitent||H. G. [Herbert George] Wells|
|Page 1 of 4||
Capes made no answer for a time.
"My mind is full of confused stuff," he said at length. "I've been thinking--all the afternoon. Oh, and weeks and months of thought and feeling there are bottled up too. . . . I feel a mixture of beast and uncle. I feel like a fraudulent trustee. Every rule is against me-- Why did I let you begin this? I might have told--"
"I don't see that you could help--"
"I might have helped--"
"I ought to have--all the same.
"I wonder," he said, and went off at a tangent. "You know about my scandalous past?"
"Very little. It doesn't seem to matter. Does it?"
"I think it does. Profoundly."
"It prevents our marrying. It forbids--all sorts of things."
"It can't prevent our loving."
"I'm afraid it can't. But, by Jove! it's going to make our loving a fiercely abstract thing."
"You are separated from your wife?"
"Yes, but do you know how?"
"Why on earth--? A man ought to be labelled. You see, I'm separated from my wife. But she doesn't and won't divorce me. You don't understand the fix I am in. And you don't know what led to our separation. And, in fact, all round the problem you don't know and I don't see how I could possibly have told you before. I wanted to, that day in the Zoo. But I trusted to that ring of yours."
"Poor old ring!" said Ann Veronica.
"I ought never have gone to the Zoo, I suppose. I asked you to go. But a man is a mixed creature. . . . I wanted the time with you. I wanted it badly."
"Tell me about yourself," said Ann Veronica.
"To begin with, I was--I was in the divorce court. I was--I was a co-respondent. You understand that term?"
Ann Veronica smiled faintly. "A modern girl does understand these terms. She reads novels--and history --and all sorts of things. Did you really doubt if I knew?"
"No. But I don't suppose you can understand."
"I don't see why I shouldn't."
"To know things by name is one thing; to know them by seeing them and feeling them and being them quite another. That is where life takes advantage of youth. You don't understand."
"Perhaps I don't."
"You don't. That's the difficulty. If I told you the facts, I expect, since you are in love with me, you'd explain the whole business as being very fine and honorable for me--the Higher Morality, or something of that sort. . . . It wasn't."
|Who's On Your Reading List?
Read Classic Books Online for Free at
Page by Page Books.TM
H. G. [Herbert George] Wells
Home | More Books | About Us | Copyright 2004