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|4. At Maidenhead||H. G. [Herbert George] Wells|
|Page 1 of 4||
After tea Dr. Martineau left Sir Richmond in a chair upon the lawn, brooding darkly--apparently over the crime of the carbuncle. The doctor went to his room, ostensibly to write a couple of letters and put on a dinner jacket, but really to make a few notes of the afternoon's conversation and meditate over his impressions while they were fresh.
His room proffered a comfortable armchair and into this he sank. . . A number of very discrepant things were busy in his mind. He had experienced a disconcerting personal attack. There was a whirl of active resentment in the confusion.
"Apologetics of a rake," he tried presently.
"A common type, stripped of his intellectual dressing. Every third manufacturer from the midlands or the north has some such undertow of 'affairs.' A physiological uneasiness, an imaginative laxity, the temptations of the trip to London-- weakness masquerading as a psychological necessity. The Lady of the Carbuncle seems to have got rather a hold upon him. She has kept him in order for three or four years."
The doctor scrutinized his own remarks with a judicious expression.
"I am not being fair. He ruffled me. Even if it is true, as I said, that every third manufacturer from the midlands is in much the same case as he is, that does not dismiss the case. It makes it a more important one, much more important: it makes it a type case with the exceptional quality of being self-expressive. Almost too selfexpressive.
"Sir Richmond does, after all, make out a sort of case for himself. . . .
"A valid case?"
The doctor sat deep in his chair, frowning judicially with the fingers of one hand apposed to the fingers of the other. "He makes me bristle because all his life and ideas challenge my way of living. But if I eliminate the personal element? "
He pulled a sheet of note-paper towards him and began to jot down notes with a silver-cased pencil. Soon he discontinued writing and sat tapping his pencil-case on the table. "The amazing selfishness of his attitude! I do not think that once--not once--has he judged any woman except as a contributor to his energy and peace of mind. . . . Except in the case of his wife. . . .
"For her his habit of respect was formed before his ideas developed. . . .
"That I think explains HER. . . .
"What was his phrase about the unfortunate young woman with the carbuncle? . . . 'Totally Useless and unnecessary illness,' was it? . . .
"Now has a man any right by any standards to use women as this man has used them?
"By any standards?"
The doctor frowned and nodded his head slowly with the corners of his mouth drawn in.
For some years now an intellectual reverie had been playing an increasing part in the good doctor's life. He was writing this book of his, writing it very deliberately and laboriously, THE PSYCHOLOGY OF A NEW AGE, but much more was he dreaming and thinking about this book. Its publication was to mark an epoch in human thought and human affairs generally, and create a considerable flutter of astonishment in the doctor's own little world. It was to bring home to people some various aspects of one very startling proposition: that human society had arrived at a phase when the complete restatement of its fundamental ideas had become urgently necessary, a phase when the slow, inadequate, partial adjustments to two centuries of changing conditions had to give place to a rapid reconstruction of new fundamental ideas. And it was a fact of great value in the drama of these secret dreams that the directive force towards this fundamentally reconstructed world should be the pen of an unassuming Harley Street physician, hitherto not suspected of any great excesses of enterprise.
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|The Secret Places of the Heart
H. G. [Herbert George] Wells
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