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|The First Men In The Moon||H. G. [Herbert George] Wells|
Mr. Bedford Meets Mr. Cavor at Lympne
|Page 4 of 10||
"I had no idea."
He stopped dead. He regarded me gravely. " Can it be," he said, " that I have formed a Habit ? "
"Well, it looks like it. Doesn't it? "
He pulled down his lower lip between finger and thumb. He regarded a puddle at his feet.
"My mind is much occupied," he said. "And you want to know why! Well, sir, I can assure you that not only do I not know why I do these things, but I did not even know I did them. Come to think, it is just as you say; I never have been beyond that field. ... And these things annoy you? "
For some reason I was beginning to relent towards him. "Not annoy, I said. "But - imagine yourself writing a play!"
"Well, anything that needs concentration."
"Ah!" he said, "of course," and meditated. His expression became so eloquent of distress, that I relented still more. After all, there is a touch of aggression in demanding of a man you don't know why he hums on a public footpath.
"You see," he said weakly, " it's a habit."
"Oh, I recognise that."
"I must stop it."
"But not if it puts you out. After all, I had no business - it's something of a liberty."
"Not at all, sir," he said, "not at all. I am greatly indebted to you. I should guard myself against these things. In future I will. Could I trouble you - once again? That noise? "
"Something like this," I said. " Zuzzoo, zuzzoo. But really, you know -"
"I am greatly obliged to you. In fact, I know I am getting absurdly absent-minded. You are quite justified, sir - perfectly justified. Indeed, I am indebted to you. The thing shall end. And now, sir, I have already brought you farther than I should have done."
"I do hope my impertinence -"
"Not at all, sir, not at all."
We regarded each other for a moment. I raised my hat and wished him a good evening. He responded convulsively, and so we went our ways.
At the stile I looked back at his receding figure. His bearing had changed remarkably, he seemed limp, shrunken. The contrast with his former gesticulating, zuzzoing self took me in some absurd way as pathetic. I watched him out of sight. Then wishing very heartily I had kept to my own business, I returned to my bungalow and my play.
The next evening I saw nothing of him, nor the next. But he was very much in my mind, and it had occurred to me that as a sentimental comic character he might serve a useful purpose in the development of my plot. The third day he called upon me.
For a time I was puzzled to think what had brought him. He made indifferent conversation in the most formal way, then abruptly he came to business. He wanted to buy me out of my bungalow.
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|The First Men In The Moon
H. G. [Herbert George] Wells
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