My dearest Claudette,
Hate and love are both as intense, a passionate feeling that overwhelms and consumes. One swings to adoration and the other to loathing. But they both at the penultimate height of their passion lack clarity and vision and can lead us astray. They have far more in common than we think.
I no longer know clearly whether I hate or love Alice. Perchance both.
This journey I undertake is far, to the very reaches of the known world. But there is no journey upon this earth that a person may not make if he sets his heart to it. There is nothing that he cannot do, there are no mountains he may not climb, there are no deserts he cannot cross; save a mountain and a desert of which he is spared the knowledge, if hate or love leads him and he holds his life in his hand counting it as nothing, ready to keep it or to lose it as Providence may order.
Alice is a lioness gone rogue, a predator that has tasted human blood and taken a liking to it, grown to have a hedonistic lust for it. Now it is a hard thing when one has shot six hundred sixty-five predators or more, as I have in the course of my long life, that the six hundred sixty-sixth should chew your leg like a quid of tobacco. It breaks the routine of the thing, and putting other considerations aside, I am an orderly individual and don’t like that. This is by the way and I shall set it aright.
By all that is sacred, if there be anything that still holds as such, I shall put an end to all this. By my hand, though ignorant I may have been, I started all this horrid evil upon its course. I daresay willfully ignorant towards Alice, which makes my doubly accountable. If by the ending of my own life I put an end to her malevolent purpose I shall do so.
But what is life? It is a feather, it is the seed of the grass, blown hither and thither, sometimes multiplying itself and dying in the act, sometimes carried away into the heavens. But if that seed be good and heavy it may perchance travel a little way on the road it wills. It is well to try and journey one’s road and to fight with the air. But we all must die. At the worst we can but die a little sooner before we have made good our purpose.
I have done much in the fullness of the morn and the stretching of the long midsummer day, but twilight is upon me, and night must eventually fall. I have frolicked in the brief spring and toiled in the heat of the lengthy summer, but autumn is here and winter presses in like an ox at the yoke, slowly and steadily moving forward on its unyielding course. I feel the cold settling into my bones, and realize that though I have done much, nary have I done much good. The time has come for me to remedy that.
It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest I go to than I have ever known.
Endearingly yours, Allan Quartermain