"She is not; she's another man's except in name and law. And I have been thinking — it was suggested to me by a conversation I had with her — that, in kindness to her, I ought to dissolve the legal tie altogether; which, singularly enough, I think I can do, now she has been back, and refused my request to stay after I said I had forgiven her. I believe that fact would afford me opportunity of doing it, though I did not see it at the moment. What's the use of keeping her chained on to me if she doesn't belong to me? I know — I feel absolutely certain — that she would welcome my taking such a step as the greatest charity to her. For though as a fellow-creature she sympathizes with, and pities me, and even weeps for me, as a husband she cannot endure me — she loathes me — there's no use in mincing words — she loathes me, and my only manly, and dignified, and merciful course is to complete what I have begun... And for worldly reasons, too, it will be better for her to be independent. I have hopelessly ruined my prospects because of my decision as to what was best for us, though she does not know it; I see only dire poverty ahead from my feet to the grave; for I can be accepted as teacher no more. I shall probably have enough to do to make both ends meet during the remainder of my life, now my occupation's gone; and I shall be better able to bear it alone. I may as well tell you that what has suggested my letting her go is some news she brought me — the news that Fawley is doing the same."
"Oh — he had a spouse, too? A queer couple, these lovers!"
"Well — I don't want your opinion on that. What I was going to say is that my liberating her can do her no possible harm, and will open up a chance of happiness for her which she has never dreamt of hitherto. For then they'll be able to marry, as they ought to have done at first."
Gillingham did not hurry to reply. "I may disagree with your motive," he said gently, for he respected views he could not share. "But I think you are right in your determination — if you can carry it out. I doubt, however, if you can."
AT ALDBRICKHAM AND ELSEWHERE
"Thy aerial part, and all the fiery parts which are mingled in thee, though by nature they have an upward tendency, still in obedience to the disposition of the universe they are over-powered here in the compound mass the body." — M. ANTONINUS (Long).