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Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Marital breakdown

October 23rd., 12B George Street, London.

Today I wrote to my sister as follows:

My dear Tertia,

A great calamity has occurred in this household. I am obliged to arrange for a separation from Marguerite on account of her relations with Legros, whom she absolutely refuses to give up, & with whom she is certainly very much in love. She has several times suggested a separation, and at last, after witnessing their manifestations of passion in my presence, after an episode in Italy where they met (after hoodwinking me as to their intentions until the meeting had taken place), and after certain occurrences at Comarques, I was obliged to take advice, both legal & from friends. I then learnt to my astonishment that I was being regarded by many people as a mari complaisant! The actual rupture occurred through Marguerite insisting on me giving her £1500 a year for her own private use - doubtless so that she might have more money to spend on Legros. She was seldom getting less than £1000 a year from me for her own private use, but that was not enough! The unfortunate creature has simply been carried away. Legros is undoubtedly a scoundrel, but she can't see it & I hear that no-one has been able to make her see it. When the inevitable row occurs there, she will realise (what she now utterly fails to realise) that she has made a most ghastly future for herself. She ingenuously dreams of a career as a French reciter in London. It is pathetic. She has enjoyed enormous prestige, and resents always that she enjoys it as my wife, and she thinks she can continue it apart from me. One of the worst aspects of the affair is that as of course I must see to her financial independence - I am giving her £2000 a year free to tax; she wanted £4000! - she will have money to spend on Legros. She is, I am told by our mutual solicitor, convinced that at the last moment I will ask her to stay. The only thing that worries me is the tragedy she is making for herself. Her increasingly terrible temper is bound in the end to triumph over Legros' love of her money. Not that Legros is not genuinely fond of her - I think he is at present. Precisely the same thing happened to her mother who is the slightest bit cracked, & I fear that Marguerite is too. Various persons have tried to make her see reason. No success. Even her own people,  papa & mama Bion, have each written to her to protest against her relations with Legros & to warn her of the consequences. I should not have heard of these letters, but they so infuriated her that she was obliged to talk to someone about them, & she came & talked to me, though our relations were then practically broken off! I am most acutely distressed by the fact that Marguerite is behaving with the most tragic idiocy and that nobody can stop her. Otherwise, if I thought she was going to be happier, I should be only too pleased at the change, though of course nothing can end my responsibility for her material welfare. (In this latter view my friends scarcely agree with me.) I think I must come down tomorrow Monday night, after dinner.

See also 'The Residue of Love': September 27th.

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