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  8. Full Moon H. G. [Herbert George] Wells

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The shadow of Martin stood over him, inexorable. He had to release Miss Grammont from the adventure into which he had drawn her. This decision stood out stern-and inevitable in his mind with no conceivable alternative.

As he looked at the task before him he began to realize its difficulty. He was profoundly in love with her, he was still only learning how deeply, and she was not going to play a merely passive part in this affair. She was perhaps as deeply in love with him. . . .

He could not bring himself to the idea of confessions and disavowals. He could not bear to think of her disillusionment. He felt that he owed it to her not to disillusion her, to spoil things for her in that fashion. "To turn into something mean and ugly after she has believed in me. . . . It would be like playing a practical joke upon her. It would be like taking her into my arms and suddenly making a grimace at her. . . . It would scar her with a second humiliation. . . ."

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Should he take her on to Bath or Exeter to-morrow and contrive by some sudden arrival of telegrams that he had to go from her suddenly? But a mere sudden parting would not end things between them now unless he went off abruptly without explanations or any arrangements for further communications. At the outset of this escapade there had been a tacit but evident assumption that it was to end when she joined her father at Falmouth. It was with an effect of discovery that Sir Richmond realized that now it could not end in that fashion, that with the whisper of love and the touching of lips, something had been started that would go on, that would develop. To break off now and go away without a word would leave a raw and torn end, would leave her perplexed and perhaps even more humiliated with an aching mystery to distress her. "Why did he go? Was it something I said?-- something he found out or imagined? "

Parting had disappeared as a possible solution of this problem. She and he had got into each other's lives to stay: the real problem was the terms upon which they were to stay in each other's lives. Close association had brought them to the point of being, in the completest sense, lovers; that could not be; and the real problem was the transmutation of their relationship to some form compatible with his honour and her happiness. A word, an idea, from some recent reading floated into Sir Richmond's head. "Sublimate," he whispered. "We have to sublimate this affair. We have to put this relationship upon a Higher Plane.

His mind stopped short at that.

Presently his voice sounded out of the depths of his heart. "God! How I loathe the Higher Plane! . . . .

"God has put me into this Higher Plane business like some poor little kid who has to wear irons on its legs.

"I WANT her. . . . Do you hear, Martin? I want her. "

As if by a lightning flash he saw his car with himself and Miss Grammont--Miss Seyffert had probably fallen out-- traversing Europe and Asia in headlong flight. To a sunlit beach in the South Seas. . . .

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The Secret Places of the Heart
H. G. [Herbert George] Wells

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