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offence, that I wanted to be alone. One thing Ella never quite realised, my wretched inability to live in two worlds at once, the real and the unreal. When I want to write there is no use giving me certain hours or times to myself. I want all the days and all the nights. I don't wish to be spoken to, nor torn away from my story and new friends. For this reason I have always had to leave London many months in the year, for the seaside or abroad. London meant Ella, almost daily, at the telephone if not personally.

"You don't write all day, do you? What are you pretending? Don't be so absurd, you must go out sometimes. I am fetching you in the car at..."

And then I was lured by her to theatres, dinners, lunches. She thought people liked to meet me, but I have rarely noticed any interest taken in a female novelist, however many editions she may run through. My strength was returning, if slowly. Ella of course had duties to those children of hers that sometimes I resented so unreasonably. I always wished her early widowhood had left her without ties. However, the call of them came in usefully now; it was not necessary for me to press it. I came first with her, I exulted in it. But since I was getting better...

I wished to be alone with that parcel. I did make a tentative effort before Ella left.