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|When the Sleeper Wakes||H. G. [Herbert George] Wells|
Ostrog's Point Of View
|Page 4 of 4||
"I wonder," said Graham doggedly.
For a moment he stood downcast.
"But I must see these things for myself," he said, suddenly assuming a tone of confident mastery. "Only by seeing can I understand. I must learn. That is what I want to tell you, Ostrog. I do not want to be King in a Pleasure City; that is not my, pleasure. I have spent enough time with aeronautics--and those other things. I must learn how people live now, how the common life has developed. Then I shall understand these things better. I must learn how common people live--the labour people more especially--how they work, marry, bear children, die--"
"You get that from our realistic novelists," suggested Ostrog, suddenly preoccupied.
"I want reality," said Graham, "not realism."
"There are difficulties," said Ostrog, and thought.
"On the whole perhaps--
"I did not expect--.
"I had thought--. And yet, perhaps--. You say you want to go through the Ways of the city and see the common people."
Suddenly he came to some conclusion. "You would need to go disguised," he said. "The city is intensely excited, and the discovery of your presence among them might create a fearful tumult. Still this wish of yours to go into this city--this idea of yours--. Yes, now I think the thing over it seems to me not altogether--. It can be contrived. If you would really find an interest in that! You are, of course, Master. You can go soon if you like. A disguise for this excursion Asano will be able to manage. He would go with you. After all it is not a bad idea of yours."
"You will not want to consult me in any matter?" asked Graham suddenly, struck by an odd suspicion.
"Oh, dear no! No! I think you may trust affairs to me for a time, at any rate," said Ostrog, smiling. "Even if we differ--"
Graham glanced; at him sharply.
"There is no fighting likely to happen soon?" he asked abruptly.
"I have been thinking about these negroes. I don't believe the people intend any hostility to me, and, after all, I am the Master. I do not want any negroes brought to London. It is an archaic prejudice perhaps, but I have peculiar feelings about Europeans and the subject races. Even about Paris---"
Ostrog stood watching him from under his drooping brows." I am not bringing negroes to London," he said slowly." But if--"
"You are not to bring armed negroes to London, whatever happens," said Graham. "In that matter I am quite decided."
Ostrog, after a pause, decided not to speak, and bowed deferentially.
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|When the Sleeper Wakes
H. G. [Herbert George] Wells
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