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241
MARION

the evening of that day with my questions answered by a solicitor.

"We can't as a matter of fact," I said, "get divorced as things are. Apparently, so far as the law goes you've got to stand this sort of thing. It's silly—but that is the law. However, it's easy to arrange a divorce. In addition to adultery there must be desertion or cruelty. To establish cruelty I should have to strike you, or something of that sort, before witnesses. That's impossible—but it's simple to desert you—legally. I have to go away from you; that's all. I can go on sending you money—and you bring a suit, what is it?—for Restitution of Conjugal Rights. The Court orders me to return. I disobey. Then you can go on to divorce me. You get a Decree Nisi, and once more the Court tries to make me come back. If we don't make it up within six months and if you don't behave scandalously—the Decree is made absolute. That's the end of the fuss. That's how one gets unmarried. It's easier, you see, to marry than unmarry."

"And then—how do I live? What becomes of me?"

"You'll have an income. They call it alimony. From a third to a half of my present income—more if you like—I don't mind—three hundred a year, say. You've got your old people to keep and you'll need all that."

"And then—then you'll be free?"

"Both of us."

"And all this life you've hated——"

I looked up at her wrung and bitter face. "I haven't hated it," I lied, my voice near breaking with the pain of it all. "Have you?"