DEARTH: I was rather a good sort in the days when I went courting you. [Puzzling unsteadily over himself.] I didn't know I was a wrong 'un at the time; thought quite well of myself, thought a vast deal more of you. Crack-in-my-eye Tommy, how I used to leap out of bed at 6 A.M. all agog to be at my easel; blood ran through my veins in those days. And now I'm middle-aged and done for. Funny! Don't know how it has come about, nor what has made the music mute. [Mildly curious.] When did you begin to despise me, Alice? It was a long time ago, and before I had begun to despise myself. It wasn't till I knew you had no opinion of me that I began to go downhill. The bluntness of you, the adorable wildness of you, you untamed thing! There were never any shades of you; kiss or kill was your motto, Alice. I felt from the first moment I saw you that you would love me or knife me. [Memories flare in him for as long as a sheet of paper might take to burn.] I suppose it's too late to patch things up?