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Thoughts In Prison H. G. [Herbert George] Wells

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Table Of Contents: Ann Veronica

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"Now," said Ann Veronica, after the half-hour of exercise, and sitting on the uncomfortable wooden seat without a back that was her perch by day, "it's no good staying here in a sort of maze. I've got nothing to do for a month but think. I may as well think. I ought to be able to think things out.

"How shall I put the question? What am I? What have I got to do with myself? . . .

"I wonder if many people HAVE thought things out?

"Are we all just seizing hold of phrases and obeying moods?

"It wasn't so with old-fashioned people, they knew right from wrong; they had a clear-cut, religious faith that seemed to explain everything and give a rule for everything. We haven't. I haven't, anyhow. And it's no good pretending there is one when there isn't. . . . I suppose I believe in God. . . . Never really thought about Him--people don't. . . . I suppose my creed is, 'I believe rather indistinctly in God the Father Almighty, substratum of the evolutionary process, and, in a vein of vague sentimentality that doesn't give a datum for anything at all, in Jesus Christ, His Son.' . . .

"It's no sort of good, Ann Veronica, pretending one does believe when one doesn't. . . .

"And as for praying for faith--this sort of monologue is about as near as any one of my sort ever gets to prayer. Aren't I asking--asking plainly now? . . .

"We've all been mixing our ideas, and we've got intellectual hot coppers--every blessed one of us. . . .

"A confusion of motives--that's what I am! . . .

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"There is this absurd craving for Mr. Capes--the 'Capes crave,' they would call it in America. Why do I want him so badly? Why do I want him, and think about him, and fail to get away from him?

"It isn't all of me.

"The first person you love, Ann Veronica, is yourself--get hold of that! The soul you have to save is Ann Veronica's soul. . . ."

She knelt upon the floor of her cell and clasped her hands, and remained for a long time in silence.

"Oh, God!" she said at last, "how I wish I had been taught to pray!"

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Ann Veronica
H. G. [Herbert George] Wells

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