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4. At Maidenhead H. G. [Herbert George] Wells

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"And as I am made, said Sir Richmond with sudden insistence, "AS I AM MADE--I do not believe that I could go on without these affairs. I know that you will be disposed to dispute that.

Dr. Martineau made a reassuring noise.

"These affairs are at once unsatisfying and vitally necessary. It is only latterly that I have begun to perceive this. Women MAKE life for me. Whatever they touch or see or desire becomes worth while and otherwise it is not worth while. Whatever is lovely in my world, whatever is delightful, has been so conveyed to me by some woman. Without the vision they give me, I should be a hard dry industry in the world, a worker ant, a soulless rage, making much, valuing nothing."

He paused.

"You are, I think, abnormal," considered the doctor.

"Not abnormal. Excessive, if you like. Without women I am a wasting fever of distressful toil. Without them there is no kindness in existence, no rest, no sort of satisfaction. The world is a battlefield, trenches, barbed wire, rain, mud, logical necessity and utter desolation--with nothing whatever worth fighting for. Whatever justifies effort, whatever restores energy is hidden in women . . . ."

"An access of sex," said Dr. Martineau. " This is a phase. . . ."

"It is how I am made," said Sir Richmond.

A brief silence fell upon that. Dr. Martineau persisted. "It isn't how you are made. We are getting to something in all this. It is, I insist, a mood of how you are made. A distinctive and indicative mood."

Sir Richmond went on, almost as if he soliloquized.

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"I would go through it all again. . . . There are times when the love of women seems the only real thing in the world to me. And always it remains the most real thing. I do not know how far I may be a normal man or how far I may not be, so to speak, abnormally male, but to me life has very little personal significance and no value or power until it has a woman as intermediary. Before life can talk to me and say anything that matters a woman must be present as a medium. I don't mean that it has no significance mentally and logically; I mean that irrationally and emotionally it has no significance. Works of art, for example, bore me, literature bores me, scenery bores me, even the beauty of a woman bores me, unless I find in it some association with a woman's feeling. It isn't that I can't tell for myself that a picture is fine or a mountain valley lovely, but that it doesn't matter a rap to me whether it is or whether it isn't until there is a feminine response, a sexual motif, if you like to call it that, coming in. Whatever there is of loveliness or pride in life doesn't LIVE for me until somehow a woman comes in and breathes upon it the breath of life. I cannot even rest until a woman makes holiday for me. Only one thing can I do without women and that is work, joylessly but effectively, and latterly for some reason that it is up to you to discover, doctor, even the power of work has gone from me."

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

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