A.A. Laporte Payne letter 8 March 1917.
March 8th 1917
Your letter came alright just as I wanted and thank you ever so much for it. The first part was just what I wanted. It proved that you were still thinking of me and that you were well and enjoying life. I will take things in order as they come in your letter – I am not going to act the schoolmaster though.
You seem to be having an amusing time with your visitors. What with Mrs. Tim’s baby (I regret to say I have forgotten her real name) and a walrus and his wife. I am sure you were not glad to avoid driving the delightful old gentleman to Aldenham. That in not like you. I always thought that you were all kindness and would be only too glad to drive any old buffer to his school. Think of the boring times you had to be polite to someone else and take him for drives.
I am so glad you found your gold chain. I should not like that evening to be responsible for the loss of anything.
The ‘enclosed’ did amuse me. I saw the card and thought that it would contain a photo of you – imagine my disapointment – how could you be so cruel. I certainly don’t want it but I am not going to send it back because you made it.
I don’t want to hear anything about Humphrey but I suppose the few males that are left must be made the most of during the scarcity!! That’s unkind isn’t it, but it makes me furious to hear of any fellow being where I want to be and can’t. How shall I shew you what I am really like & then you will know what to expect. Tell him from me that nursing babies is about all he is fit for. There!!!! – pray miss why were you ‘mad’ that night – what sort of madness was that? You see how jealous I am getting! And most disagreeable too.
Poor old Bourne! He seems to be in a bad way. I rather expect the accusor was or rather is a person who is often in that state himself. It usually takes them that way.
If a man wants to marry his deceased wife’s sister why the blazes can’t he do it in a registry office or in a Hindu Temple or something.
I am glad you referred to Henley in that way – you evidently believe a bit in him. Now to come to what I am thinking about. What has been going wrong, darling? You must give up ‘thinking’. You write “I also wonder what it be would be like if we stopped loving each other”. Now please what has put that into your head? Is it possible for any one who has truly loved another person to cease caring? I say no. I can only think that it came into your thoughts because either you had doubts about yourself or doubts about me – or was it idle speculation? – at any rate it has given me furiously to think.
If you had doubts about yourself you will know be honest with yourself and therefore with me. In any case it would make no difference to my loving you whatever you did or did not do. If my love were worth anything at all it should be quite content to love you whatever happened, and, Muriel, it is, however much I may want you to love me in return, but that is quite secondary and after all purely selfish isn’t it? And of I ask you to be honest I too must be so – and up to the present I am and mean to be in the future. I was not precipitate in my love making was I? It was because, I think, I could love without asking anything in return but when I led you to give something in return it was only if you could and not because I expected it. I took what the Gods gave me.
But there it is. Your words frightened me for the moment in case you should feel that I expected from you more than you could give. But you can be assured about me. I never profess to want what I really don’t.
Having got that off, I feel much better – you see what I mean don’t you, darling? All I want is that there shall be no misunderstanding. I ask nothing but what you care to give. And you can have always what you want from me.
There I have never tried so hard to express what I want to say – but I know it is a failure as such. You will, I know, read it in the spirit it is sent. I don’t care a hang what other people do. They can fall in and out of love as much as they like. I have never loved before so I can’t say what it is like doing that sort of thing, but I don’t intend to do it. I hope I know my own mind now. But if I should become insane and not love you I will tell you because such a thing cannot last with insincerity.
What a blaze your short sentence has caused. Please forgive me all.
Now I must stop – all sorts of interuptions are driving me mad.
With all my love.