"Is it your idea, then, that I should live with you as your mistress--since I can't be your wife?" she asked.
The crudeness of the question startled him: the word was one that women of his class fought shy of, even when their talk flitted closest about the topic. He noticed that Madame Olenska pronounced it as if it had a recognised place in her vocabulary, and he wondered if it had been used familiarly in her presence in the horrible life she had fled from. Her question pulled him up with a jerk, and he floundered.
"I want--I want somehow to get away with you in to a world where words like that--categories like that--won't exist. Where we shall be simply two humanbeings who love each other, who are the whole of life to each other; and nothing else on earth will matter."
She drew a deep sigh that ended in another laugh."Oh, my dear--where is that country? Have you ever been there?" she asked; and as he remained sullenly dumb she went on: "I know so many who've tried to find it; and, believe me, they all got out by mistake at wayside stations: at places like Boulogne, or Pisa, or Monte Carlo--and it wasn't at all different from the old world they'd left, but only rather smaller and dingier and more promiscuous."