Dear Clifford, I am afraid what you foresaw has happened. I am really in love with another man, and do
hope you will divorce me. I am staying at present with Duncan in his flat. I told you he was at Venice
with us. I'm awfully unhappy for your sake: but do try to take it quietly. You don't really need me any
more, and I can't bear to come back to Wragby. I'm awfully sorry. But do try to forgive me, and divorce
me and find someone better. I'm not really the right person for you, I am too impatient and selfish, I
suppose. But I can't ever come back to live with you again. And I feel so frightfully sorry about it all, for
your sake. But if you don't let yourself get worked up, you'll see you won't mind so frightfully. You didn't
really care about me personally. So do forgive me and get rid of me.
Clifford was not inwardly surprised to get this letter. Inwardly, he had known for a long time she was
leaving him. But he had absolutely refused any outward admission of it. Therefore, outwardly, it came
as the most terrible blow and shock to him, He had kept the surface of his confidence in her quite serene.
And that is how we are, By strength of will we cut off our inner intuitive knowledge from admitted consciousness.
This causes a state of dread, or apprehension, which makes the blow ten times worse when it does fall.
Clifford was like a hysterical child. He gave Mrs Bolton a terrible shock, sitting up in bed ghastly and
`Why, Sir Clifford, whatever's the matter?'
No answer! She was terrified lest he had had a stroke. She hurried and felt his face, took his pulse.
`Is there a pain? Do try and tell me where it hurts you. Do tell me!'
`Oh dear, oh dear! Then I'll telephone to Sheffield for Dr Carrington, and Dr Lecky may as well run round
She was moving to the door, when he said in a hollow tone:
She stopped and gazed at him. His face was yellow, blank, and like the face of an idiot.
`Do you mean you'd rather I didn't fetch the doctor?'
`Yes! I don't want him,' came the sepulchral voice.
`Oh, but Sir Clifford, you're ill, and I daren't take the responsibility. I must send for the doctor, or I shall
A pause: then the hollow voice said:
`I'm not ill. My wife isn't coming back.'---It was as if an image spoke.
`Not coming back? you mean her ladyship?' Mrs Bolton moved a little nearer to the bed. `Oh, don't you
believe it. You can trust her ladyship to come back.'
The image in the bed did not change, but it pushed a letter over the counterpane.
`Read it!' said the sepulchral voice.
`Why, if it's a letter from her ladyship, I'm sure her ladyship wouldn't want me to read her letter to you,
Sir Clifford. You can tell me what she says, if you wish.'