London, 5 July 1873
My dear friend,
I have your letter which is headed 'At sea'. You are wrong, this time, very wrong. To begin with, there is nothing postive in your letter. You wife is not coming, or she is coming in three months, three years, whatever. As for kicking the bucket, I know you too well. And so you are going - while you wait for your wife and for death - to struggle, to wander about, and to bore people. What! don't you realize that our anger was false, on both sides? But you will be in the wrong at the end, because, even after i called you back, you persisted in your unreal feelings. Do you think that your life will be happier with other people than it was with me? think about it! Oh! surely not!
It is only with me that you can be free, and since I swear to be very nice to you in the future, and deplore the whole part of my part in the wrong, and since my head is clear, at last, and I like you very much, if you don't want to come back, or for me to join you, you are committing a crime, and you will do penance for it for LONG YEARS TO COME, by losing all your freedom, and by sufferings more terrible perhaps than you have undergone. When you read this, think of what you were before you knew me!
For myself, I'm not going back to my mother's. I am going to Paris.
I shall try to be gone by Monday evening. You will have compelled me to sell all your suits, I can't do anything else. They aren't sold yet: they are not coming to get them from me until Monday evening. If you want to write me in Paris, send letters to L. Forain, 289 rue Saint-Jacques (for A. Rimbaud). He will know my address.
One thing is certain: if your wife comes back, I shall never compromise you by writing to you - I shall never write.
One single true word: it is, come back. I want to be with you, I love you. If you listen to this, you will prove your courage and sincerity.
Otherwise, I'm sorry for you.
But I love you, I kiss you and we'll see each other again.
8 Great Colle, etc... until Monday evening - or Tuesday midday, if you send me word.