Greene and Yvonne (1923-2001) had first met in Douala in French Cameroon in 1959, and shortly afterwards became lovers despite his being 18 years her senior. Although Yvonne was married, Greene moved to Antibes in 1966 in order to be close to her. Her husband, a Swiss Unilever executive, was apparently ignorant of the affair until 1972, and although the discovery caused him some distress, it was not until the very end of Greene's life that Yvonne went to live permanently with him on Lake Geneva.
Their relationship was the most enduring of Greene's life. Greene's pet name for Yvonne, "Healthy Happy Kitten" or "H.H.K." (which appears as on the dedication page of Travels with my Aunt), disguises the deep emotion he felt for her: on the back of photograph given to her in 1978, he inscribed "If I were to live my life again, there is only one thing I would want unchanged: meeting you, knowing you, and loving you." Six months before he died, he went further: "If she didn't exist," he wrote, "I'd put a bullet through my head."
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