This page will take you into pieces of literature that are carefully selected for their great content at the literary, scientific, or philosophical level. A short selection will be presented in full. A long one will be divided into sections that will be refreshed regularly. Emphasis and highlights are mostly ours, not made by the original author.
Here is our current selection:
Fan, the Story of a Young Girl's Life (1892)
by Henry Harford (W.H. Hudson)
When Fan awoke, physically well and refreshed by her long slumber, it had been light some time, with such dim light as found entrance through the clouded panes of one small window. The day was gloomy, with a bitterly cold blustering east wind, which made the loose window-sashes rattle in their frames, and blew the pungent smell of city smoke in at every crack. She sat up and looked round at the small cheerless apartment, with no fireplace, and for only furniture the bed she was lying on, one cane-chair over which her clothes were thrown, and a circular iron wash-stand, with yellow stone jug and ewer, and underneath a shelf for the soap dish.
She shivered and dropped her head again on the pillow. Then, for the first time since that terrible experience of the previous day, she began to realise her position, and to wonder greatly why she had been subjected to such cruel treatment. The time had already come of which Mary had once spoken prophetically, when they would be for ever separated, and she
would have to go out into the world unaided and fight her own battle. But, oh! why had not Mary spoken to her, and told her that she could no longer keep her, and sent her away? For then there would still have been affection and gratitude in her heart for the woman who had done so much for her, and she would have looked forward with hope to a future meeting. Love and hope would have cheered her in her loneliness, and made her strong in her efforts to live. But now all loving ties had been violently sundered, now the separation was eternal. Even as death had divided her from her poor mother, this cruel deed had now put her for all time apart from the one friend she had possessed in the world. What had she done, what had she done to be treated so hardly? Had she not been faithful, loving her mistress with her whole heart? It was little to give in return for so much, but it was her all, and Mary had required nothing more from her. It was not enough; Mary had grown tired of her at last. And not tired only: her loving-kindness had turned to wormwood and gall; the very sight of the girl she had rescued and cared for had become hateful to her, and her unjust hatred and anger had resulted in that cruel outrage. Now she understood the reason of that change in Mary, when she grew silent and stern and repellent before that fatal morning when she went away to carry out her heartless scheme of revenge. But revenge for what? --and Fan could only moan again and again, "What had I done? what had I done?" What had she ever done that she should not be loved and allowed to live in peace and happiness--what had she done to her brutal stepfather, or to Captain Horton and to Rosie, that they should take pleasure in tormenting her?
When the woman came in with the breakfast she found Fan lying sobbing on her pillow.
"Oh, that's wrong to cry so," she said, putting the tray on the table and coming to the bedside. "Don't take on so, my poor young lady. Things'll come right by-and-by. You'll write to your mother and father----"
"I've no mother and father," said Fan, trying to repress her sobs.
"Then you'll have brothers and sisters and friends."
"No, I've got no one. I only had one friend, and she's turned against me, and I'm alone. I'm not a young lady; my mother was poorer than you, and I must get something to do to make my living."
This confession was a little shock to the woman, for it spoilt her romance, and the result was that her interest in her young lodger diminished considerably.
"Well, it ain't no use taking on, all the same," she said, in a tone somewhat less deferential and kind than before. "And it's too bad a day for you to go out and look for anything. It's going to snow, I'm thinking; so you'd better ,i>have your breakfast in bed and stay in today."
Fan took her advice and remained all day in her room, thinking only of the strange thing that had happened to her, of the misery of a life with no one to love. Mary's image remained persistently in her mind, while the bitter wind without made strange noises in the creaking zinc chimney-pots, and rattled the window and hurled furious handfuls of mingled dust and sleet against the panes. And yet she felt no anger in her heart; unspeakable grief and despair precluded anger, and again and again she cried, her whole frame convulsed with sobs, and the tears and sobs exhausted her body but brought no relief to her mind.
Next day there was no wind, though it was still intensely cold, with a dull grey cloud threatening snow over the whole sky; but it was time for her to be up and doing, and she went out to seek for employment. She wandered about in a somewhat aimless way, until, in the Ladbroke Grove Road, she found a servants' registry-office, and went in to apply for a place as nursemaid or nursery-governess. Mary had once told her that she was fit for such a place, and there was nothing else she could think of. A woman in the office took down her name and address, and promised to send for her if she had any applications. She did not know of anyone in need of a nursemaid or nursery-governess. "But you can call again to-
morrow and inquire," she added.
On the following day she was advised to wait in the office so as to be on the spot should anyone call to engage a girl. After waiting for some hours the woman began to question her, and finding that she had no knowledge of children, and had never been in service and could give no references, told her brusquely that she was giving a great deal of unnecessary trouble, and that she need not come to the office again, as in the circumstances no lady would think of taking her.
Fan returned to her lodgings very much cast down, and there being no one else to seek counsel from, told her troubles to her landlady. But the poor woman had nothing very hopeful to say, and could only tell Fan of another registry-office in Notting Hill High Street, and advise her to apply there.
This was a larger place, and after her name, address, and other particulars had been taken down in a book, she ventured to ask whether her not having been in a place before, and being without a reference, would make it very difficult for her to get a situation; the woman of the
office merely said, "One never knows."
This was not very encouraging, but she was told that she could come every day and sit as long as she liked in the waiting-room. There were always several girls and women there--a row of them sitting chatting together on chairs ranged against the wall--house, parlour, and kitchen-maids out of places; and a few others of a better description, modest-looking, well-dressed young women, who came and stood about for a few minutes and then went away again. Of the girls of this kind Fan alone remained patiently at her post, taking no interest in the conversation of the others, anxious only to avoid their bold inquisitive looks and to keep herself apart from them. Yet their conversation, to anyone wishing to know something of the lights and shadows of downstair life, was instructive and interesting enough.
"Only seven days in your last place!"
"Oh, I say!"
"But what did you leave for?"
"Because she was a beast--my missus was; and what I told her was that it was seven days too much."
"You never did!"
"Oh, I say!"
"And what did she say?"
"Well, it was like this. I was a-doing of my hair in the kitchen with the curling-iron, when down comes Miss Julia. 'Oh, you are frizzing your hair!' she says. 'Yes, miss,' I says, 'have you any objection?' I says. 'Ma won't let you have a fringe,' she says. When I loses my temper, and I says, 'Well, Miss Himperence, you can go and tell your ma that she can find a servant as can do without a fringe.'"
"Oh, I say!" etc., etc., etc.
They also made critical remarks on Fan's appearance, wondering what a "young lady" wanted among servants. She felt no pride at being taken for a lady; she had no feeling and no thought that gave her any pleasure, but only a dull aching at the heart, only the wish in her mind to find something to do and save herself from utter destitution.
For three days she continued to attend at the office, and beyond a short "Good morning" from the woman that kept it each day, not a word was spoken to her. The third day was Saturday, when the office would close early; and after twelve o'clock, seeing that the others were all going, she too left, to spend the time as best she could until the following
Monday. The day was windless and bright, and full of the promise of spring. Not feeling hungry she did not return to her lodgings, but went for a short walk in Kensington Gardens. Leaving the Broad Walk, she went into that secluded spot near the old farm-like buildings of Kensington Palace and sat down on one of the seats among the yews and fir trees. The new gate facing Bayswater Hill has changed that spot now, making it more
public, but it was very quiet on that day as she sat there by herself. On that beautiful spring morning her heart seemed strangely heavy, and her life more lonely and desolate than ever. The memory of her loss came over her like a bitter flood, and covering her face with her hands she gave free vent to her grief. There was no person near, no one to be attracted
by her sobs. But one person was passing at some distance, and glancing in her direction through the trees, saw her, and stopped in her walk. It was Miss Starbrow, and in the figure of the weeping girl she had recognised Fan. Her face darkened, and she walked on, but presently she stopped again, and stood irresolute, swinging the end of her sunshade over the
young grass. At length she turned and walked slowly towards the girl, but Fan was sobbing with covered face, and did not hear her steps and rustling dress. For some moments Miss Starbrow continued watching her, a scornful smile on her lips and a strange look in her eyes as of a slightly cruel feeling struggling against compassion. At length she spoke, startling Fan with her voice sounding so close to her.
"Crying? Well, I am glad that your sin has found you out! Glad you have met with some thief cleverer than yourself, who has stolen your booty, I suppose, and left you penniless--a beggar as I found you! I admire your courage in coming here, but you needn't be afraid; I'll have mercy on you. You have punished yourself more than I could punish you; and some
day I shall perhaps see you again in rags, starving in the streets, and shall fling a penny to you."
Fan had started at first with an instinctive fear--a vague apprehension that she would be seized and dragged away to be shut up and tortured as Miss Starbrow had desired. But suddenly this feeling gave place to another, to a burning resentment experienced for the first time against this woman who had made her suffer so cruelly, and now came to taunt her
and mock at her misery. It suffocated and made her dumb for a time. Then she burst out: "You wicked bad woman! You beast--you beast, how I hate you! Oh, I wish God would strike you dead!"
"How dare you say such things to me, you ungrateful, shameless little thief!"
"You liar--you beast of a liar!" exclaimed Fan, still torn with the rage that possessed her. "Go away, you liar! Leave me, you wicked devil! I hate you! I hate you!"
Miss Starbrow uttered a little scornful laugh. "You would have some reason to hate me if I were to shut you up for six months with hard labour," she answered, turning aside as if about to walk away.
To shut her up for six months! Yes, that was what she had tried to do with the assistance of a strong man and woman. And what other tortures and sufferings had she intended to inflict on her victim! It was too much to be reminded of this. It turned her blood into liquid fire, and
maddened her brain; and struggling to find words to speak the rage that overmastered her, suddenly, as if by a miracle, every evil term of reproach, every profane and blasphemous expression of drunken brutish anger she had heard and shuddered at in the old days in Moon Street, flashed back into her mind, and she poured them out in a furious torrent, hurled them at her torturer; and then, exhausted, sunk back into her seat, and covering her face again, sobbed convulsively.
Miss Starbrow's face turned crimson with shame, and she moved two or three steps away; then she turned, and said in cold incisive tones:
"I see, Fan, that you have not forgotten all the nice things you learnt before I took you out of the slums to shelter and feed and clothe you. This will be a lesson to me: I had not thought so meanly of the suffering poor as you make me think. They say that even dogs are grateful to those that feed them. And I did more than feed you, Fan. That's the last word you will ever hear from me."
She was moving away, but Fan, stung by a reproach so cruelly unjust, started to her feet with a cry of passion.
"Yes, I know you gave me these things--oh, I wish I could tear off this dress you gave me! And this is the money you gave me--take it! I hate it!" And drawing her purse from her pocket, she flung it down at Miss Starbrow's feet. Then, searching for something else to fling back to the donor, she drew out that crumpled pink paper which had been all the time in her pocket. "And take this too--the wicked telegram you sent me. It is yours, like the money--take it, you bad, hateful woman!"
Miss Starbrow still remained standing near, watching her, and in spite of her own great anger, she could not help feeling very much astonished at such an outburst of fury from a girl who had always seemed to her so mild-spirited. She touched the crumpled piece of paper with her foot, then glanced back at the girl seated again with bowed head and covered face. What had she meant by a telegram? Curiosity overcame the impulse to walk away, and stooping, she picked up the paper and smoothed it out and read, "From Miss Starbrow, Twickenham. To Miss Affleck, Dawson Place."
She had not been to Twickenham, and had sent no telegram to Fan. Then she
read the message and turned the paper over, and read it again and again, glancing at intervals at the girl. Then she went up to her and put her hand on her shoulder. Fan started and shook the hand off, and raised her eyes wet with tears and red with weeping, but still full of anger.
Miss Starbrow caught her by the arm. "Tell me what this means--this telegram; when did you get it, and who gave it to you?" she said in such a tone that the girl was compelled to obey.
"You know when you sent it," said Fan.
"I never sent it! Oh, my God, can't you understand what I say? Answer--answer my question!"
"Rosie gave it to me."
"And you went to Twickenham?"
"And what happened?"
"And the woman you sent to meet me--"
"Hush! don't say that. Are you daft? Don't I tell you I never sent it. Tell me, tell me, or you'll drive me mad!"
Fan looked at her in astonishment. Could it be that it had never entered into Mary's heart to do this cruel thing? That raging tempest in her heart was fast subsiding. She began to collect her faculties.
"The woman met me," she continued, "and took me a long way from the station to a little house. She tried to take me upstairs. She said you were waiting for me, but I looked up and saw Captain Horton peeping over the banisters--"
Miss Starbrow clenched her hands and uttered a little cry. Her face had become white, and she turned away from the girl. Presently she sat down, and said in a strangely altered voice, "Tell me, Fan, did you take some jewels from my dressing-table--a brooch and three rings, and some other things?"
"I took nothing except what you--what the telegram said, and Rosie put the things in a bag and got the cab for me."
For a minute or two Miss Starbrow sat in silence, and then got up and said:
"Home with me to Dawson Place." Then she added, "Must I tell you again that I have done nothing to harm you? Do you not understand that it was all a wicked horrible plot to get you away and destroy you, that the telegram was a forgery, that the jewels were taken to make it appear that you had stolen them and run away during my absence from the house?"
Fan rose and followed her, and when they got to the Bayswater Road Miss Starbrow called a cab.
"Where is your bag--where did you sleep last night?" she asked; and when Fan had told her she said, "Tell the man to drive us there," and got in.
In a few minutes they arrived at her lodging, and Fan got out and went in to get her bag. She did not owe anything for rent, having paid in advance, but she gave the woman a shilling.
"I knew I was right," said the woman, who was now all smiles. "Bless you, miss, you ain't fit to make your own living like one of us. Well, I'm real pleased your friends has found you."
Fan got into the cab again, and they proceeded in silence to Dawson Place. A small boy in buttons, who had only been engaged a day or two before, opened the door to them. They went up to the bedroom on the first floor.
"Sit down, Fan, and rest yourself," said Miss Starbrow, closing and locking the door; then after moving about the room in an aimless way for a little while, she came and sat down near the girl. "Before you tell me this dreadful story, Fan," she said, "I wish to ask you one thing more. One day last week when it was raining you came home from Kensington with
a young man. Who was he--a friend of yours?"
"A friend of mine! oh no. I was hurrying back in the rain when he came up to me and held his umbrella over my head, and walked to the door with me. It was kind of him, I thought, because he was a stranger, and I had never seen him before."
"It was a small thing, but you usually tell me everything, and you did not tell me this?"
"No, I was waiting to tell you that--and something else, and didn't tell you because you seemed angry with me, and I was afraid to speak to you."
"What was the something else you were going to tell me?"
Fan related the scene she had witnessed in the drawing-room. It had seemed a great thing then, and had disturbed her very much, but now, after all she had recently gone through, it seemed a very trivial matter.
To the other it did not appear so small a matter, to judge from her black looks. She got up and moved about the room again, and then once more sat down beside the girl.
"Now tell me your own story--everything from the moment you got the telegram up to our meeting in the Gardens."
With half-averted face she listened, while the girl again began the interrupted narration, and went on telling everything to the finish, wondering at times why Mary sat so silent with face averted, as if afraid to meet her eyes. But when she finished Mary turned and took her hand.
"Poor Fan," she said, "you have gone through a dreadful experience, and scarcely seem to understand even now what danger you were in. But there will be time enough to talk of all this--to congratulate you on such a fortunate escape; just now I have got to deal with that infamous wretch of a girl who still poisons the house with her presence."
She rose and rung the bell sharply, and when the boy in buttons answered it, she ordered him to send Rosie to her.
"She's gone," said he.
"Gone! what do you mean--when did she go?"
"Just now, ma'am. She came up to speak to you when you came in, and then she got her box down and went away in a cab."
Miss Starbrow then sent for the cook. "What does this mean about Rosie's going?" she demanded of that person. "How came you to let her go without informing me?"
"She came down and said she had had some words with you, and was going to leave because Miss Fan had been took back."
"And the wretch has then got away with my jewellery! What else did she say?"
"Nothing very good, ma'am. I'd rather not tell you."
"Tell me at once when I order you."
"I asked if she was going without her wages and a character, and she said as you had paid her her wages, and she didn't want a character, because she didn't consider the house was respectable."
Miss Starbrow sent her away and closed the door; presently she sat down at some distance from Fan, but spoke no word. Fan was in a low easy-chair near the window, through which the sun was shining very brightly. She looked pale and languid, resting her cheek on her palm and never moving; only at intervals, when Miss Starbrow, with an exclamation of rage, would rise and take a few steps about the room and then drop into her seat again, the girl would raise her eyes and glance at her. All the keen suffering, the strife, the bitterness of heart and anger were over, and the reaction had come. It had all been a mistake; Mary had never dreamt of doing her harm: the whole trouble had been brought about by Captain Horton and Rosie; but she remembered them with a strange indifference; the fire of anger had burnt itself out in her heart and could not be rekindled.
With the other it was different. It had been a great shock to her to discover that the girl she had befriended, and loved as she had never loved anyone of her own sex before, was so false, so unutterably base. For some little time she refused to believe it, and a horrible suspicion of foul play had crossed her mind. But the proofs stared her in the face, and she remembered that Fan had kept that acquaintance she had formed with someone out of doors a secret. On returning to the house in the evening, she was told that shortly after she had gone out for the day a letter was brought addressed to Fan, and, when questioned, she had refused to tell Rosie who it was from. At one o'clock Rosie had gone up with her dinner, and, missing her, had searched for her in all the rooms, and was then amazed to find that most of the girl's clothes had also
disappeared. But she did not know that anything else had been taken. Miss Starbrow missed some jewels she had put on her dressing-table, and on a further search it was discovered that other valuables, and one of her best travelling bags, were also gone. The astonishment and indignation displayed by the maid, who exclaimed that she had always considered Fan a sly little hypocrite, helped perhaps to convince her mistress that the girl had taken advantage of her absence to make her escape from the house. Miss Starbrow remembered how confused and guilty she had looked for two or three days before her flight, and came to the conclusion that
the young friend out of doors, not being able to see Fan, had kept a watch on the house, and had cunningly arranged it all, and finally sent or left the letter instructing her where to meet him, also probably advising her what to take.
But Miss Starbrow had not been entirely bound up in the girl: she had other affections and interests in life, and great as the shock had been and the succeeding anger, she had recovered her self-possession, and had set herself to banish Fan from her remembrance. She was ashamed to let her servants and friends see how deeply she had been wounded by the little starving wretch she had compassionately rescued from the streets. Outwardly she did not appear much affected; and when Rosie, with well-feigned surprise, asked if the police were not to be employed to trace
the stolen articles and arrest the thief, she only laughed carelessly replied: "No; she has punished herself enough already, and the trinkets have no doubt been sold before now, and could not be traced."
Rosie hurried away to hide the relief she felt, for she had been trembling to think what might happen if some cunning detective were to be employed to make investigations in the house.
Now, however, when Mary began to recover from the amazement caused by Fan's narrative, a dull rage took such complete possession of her that it left no room for any other feeling. The girl sitting there with bent head seemed no more to her than some stranger who had just come in, and about whom she knew and cared nothing. All that Fan had suffered was forgotten:
she only thought of herself, of the outrage on her feelings, of the vile treachery of the man who had pretended to love her, whom she had loved and had treated so kindly, helping him with money and in other ways, and forgiving him again and again when he had offended her. She could not rest or sit still when she thought of it, and she thought of it continually and of nothing else. She rose and paced the room, pausing at every step, and turning herself from side to side, like some savage animal, strong and lithe and full of deadly rage, but unable to spring, trapped and shut within iron bars. Her face had changed to a livid white, and looked hard and pitiless, and her eyes had a fixed stony stare like those of a serpent. And at intervals, as she moved about the room, she clenched her hands with such energy that the nails wounded her palms. And from time to time her rage would rise to a kind of frenzy, and find expression in a voice strangely harsh and unnatural, deeper than a man's,
and then suddenly rising to a shrill piercing key that startled Fan and made her tremble. Poor Fan! that little burst of transitory anger she had experienced in the Gardens seemed now only a pitifully weak exhibition compared with the black tempest raging in this strong, undisciplined woman's soul.
"And I have loved him--loved that hell-hound! God! shall I ever cease to despise and loathe myself for sinking into such a depth of infamy! Never--never--until his viper head has been crushed under my heel! To strike! to crush! to torture! How?--have I no mind to think? Nothing can I do--nothing--nothing! Are there no means? Ah, how sweet to scorch the skin and make the handsome face loathsome to look at! To burn the eyes up in their sockets--to shut up the soul for ever in thick blackness!... Oh, is there no wise theologian who can prove to me that there is a hell, that he will be chained there and tortured everlastingly! That would satisfy me--to remember it would be sweeter than Heaven."
Suddenly she turned in a kind of fury on Fan, who had risen trembling from her seat. "Sit down!" she said. "Hide your miserable white face from my sight! You could have warned me in time, you could have saved me from this, and you failed to do it! Oh, I could strike you dead with my hand for your imbecile cowardice!... And he will escape me! To blast his name, to hold him up to public scorn and hatred, years of imprisonment in a felon's cell--all, all the suffering we can inflict on such a fiendish wretch seems weak and childish, and could give no comfort to my soul. Oh, it drives me mad to think of it--I shall go mad--I shall go mad!" And shrieking, and with eyes that seemed starting from their sockets, she began madly tearing her hair and clothes.
Fan had risen again, white and trembling at that awful sight; and unable to endure it longer, she sprang to the door, and crying out with terror, flew down to the kitchen. The cook returned with her, and on entering the room they discovered their mistress in a mad fit of hysterics, shrieking with laughter, and tearing her clothes off. The woman was strong, and seeing that prompt action was needed, seized her mistress in her arms and threw her on to the couch, and held her there in spite of her frantic struggles. Assisted by Fan, she then emptied the contents of the toilet jug over her face and naked bosom, half drowning her; and after a while Miss Starbrow ceased her struggles, and sank back gasping and half fainting on the cushion, her eyes closed and her face ghostly white.
"You see," said the cook to Fan, "she never had one before, and she's a strong one, and it's always worse for that sort when it do come. Lor', what a temper she must have been in to take on so!"
Between them they succeeded in undressing and placing her on her bed, where she lay for an hour in a half-conscious state; but later in the day she began to recover, and moved to the couch near the fire, while Fan sat beside her on the carpet, watching the face that looked so strange in its whiteness and languor, and keeping the firelight from the half-closed eyes.
"Oh, Fan, how weak I feel now--so weak!" she murmured. "And a little while ago I felt so strong! If he had been present I could have torn the flesh from his bones. No tiger in the jungle maddened by the hunters has such strength as I felt in me then. And now it has all gone, and he has escaped from me. Let him go. All the kindly feeling I had for him--all the hopes for his future welfare, all my secret plans to aid him--they are dead. But it was all so sudden. Was it today, Fan, that I saw you sitting in Kensington Gardens, crying by yourself, or a whole year ago? Poor Fan! poor Fan!"
The girl had hid her face against Mary's knee.
"But why do you cry, my poor girl?"
"Oh, dear Mary, will you ever forgive me?" said Fan, half raising her tearful face.
"Forgive you, Fan! For what?"
"For what I said today in the Gardens. Oh, why, why did I say such dreadful things! Oh, I am so--so sorry--I am so sorry!"
"I remember now, but I had forgotten all about it. That was nothing, Fan--less than nothing. It was not you that spoke, but the demon of anger that had possession of you. I forgive you freely for that, poor child, and shall never think of it again. But I shall never be able to feel towards you as I did before. Never, Fan."
"Mary, Mary, what have I done!"
"Nothing, child. It is not anything you have done, or that you have left undone. But I took you into my house and into my heart, and only asked you to love and trust me, and you forgot it all in a moment, and were ready to believe the worst of me. A stranger told you that I had secretly planned your destruction, and you at once believed it. How could you find it in your heart to believe such a thing of me--a thing so horrible, so impossible?"
Fan, with her face hidden, continued crying.
"But don't cry, Fan. You shall not suffer. If you could lose all faith in me, and think me such a demon of wickedness, you are not to blame. You are not what I imagined, but only what nature made you. Where I thought you strong you are weak, and it was my mistake."
Suddenly Fan raised her eyes, wet with tears, and looked fixedly at the other's face; nor did she drop them when Mary's eyes, opening wide and expressing a little surprise at the girl's courage, and a little resentment, returned the look.
"Mary," she said, speaking in a voice which had recovered its firmness, "I loved you so much, and I had never done anything wrong, and--and you said you would always love and trust me because you knew that I was good."
"And you believed what Rosie said about me, and that I was a thief, and had taken your jewels and ran away."
Mary cast down her eyes, and the corners of her mouth twitched as if with a slight smile.
"That is true," she said slowly. "You are right, Fan; you are not so poor as I thought, but can defend yourself with your tongue or your teeth, as occasion requires. Perhaps my sin balances yours after all, and leaves us quits. Perhaps when I get over this trouble I shall love you as much as ever--perhaps more."
"And you are not angry with me now, Mary?"
"No, Fan, I was not angry with you: kiss me if you like. Only I feel very, very tired--tired and sick of my life, and wish I could lie down and sleep and forget everything."