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a drawing by Regamey

To Verlaine

London, Friday afternoon (4 July 1873)

Come back, come back, my dear friend, my only friend, come back. I swear I shall be kind. If I was cross with you, it was a joke which I was obstinately determined to carry on; I repent of it more than can be said. Come back, it will be quite forgotten. How terrible that you should have taken that joke seriously. For two days I have not stopped crying. Come back. Be brave, dear friend. Nothing is lost. All you have to do is make another journey. We'll live here again, very brave and very patiently. Oh! I beg you! It's for your good, besides. Come back, you'll find all your things here. I hope you realize now that there was nothing real in our argument. That frightful moment! But you -- when I signalled to you to get off the boat -- why didn't you come? Have we lived together for two years to come to this? What are you going to do? If you won't come here, would you like me to come and meet you where you are?

Yes, I was in the wrong.

Oh, you won't forget me, will you?

No, you can't forget me.

As for me, I still have you, here.

Listen, answer your friend, must we not live together anymore?

Be brave. Answer this quickly. I can't stay here much longer. Do not read this except with goodwill.

Quick, tell me if I must come to you.

Yours, all my life.