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  5. In The Land Of The Forgotten Peoples H. G. [Herbert George] Wells

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The doctor and his patient had discovered a need for exercise as the morning advanced. They had walked by the road to Marlow and had lunched at a riverside inn, returning after a restful hour in an arbour on the lawn of this place to tea at Maidenhead. It was as they returned that Sir Richmond took up the thread of their overnight conversation again.

"In the night," he said, "I was thinking over the account I tried to give you of my motives. A lot of it was terribly out of drawing."

"Facts?" asked the doctor.

"No, the facts were all right. It was the atmosphere, the proportions. . . . I don't know if I gave you the effect of something Don Juanesque? . . ."

"Vulgar poem," said the doctor remarkably." I discounted that."


"Intolerable. Byron in sexual psychology is like a stink in a kitchen."

Sir Richmond perceived he had struck upon the sort of thing that used to be called a pet aversion.

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"I don't want you to think that I run about after women in an habitual and systematic manner. Or that I deliberately hunt them in the interests of my work and energy. Your questions had set me theorizing about myself. And I did my best to improvise a scheme of motives yesterday. It was, I perceive, a jerry-built scheme, run up at short notice. My nocturnal reflections convinced me of that. I put reason into things that are essentially instinctive. The truth is that the wanderings of desire have no single drive. All sorts of motives come in, high and low, down to sheer vulgar imitativeness and competitiveness. What was true in it all was this, that a man with any imagination in a fatigue phase falls naturally into these complications because they are more attractive to his type and far easier and more refreshing to the mind, at the outset, than anything else. And they do work a sort of recovery in him, They send him back to his work refreshed--so far, that is, as his work is concerned."

"At the OUTSET they are easier," said the doctor.

Sir Richmond laughed. "When one is fagged it is only the outset counts. The more tired one is the more readily one moves along the line of least resistance. . . .

"That is one footnote to what I said. So far as the motive of my work goes, I think we got something like the spirit of it. What I said about that was near the truth of things. . . .

"But there is another set of motives altogether, "Sir Richmond went on with an air of having cleared the ground for his real business, "that I didn't go into at all yesterday."

He considered. "It arises out of these other affairs. Before you realize it your affections are involved. I am a man much swayed by my affections."

Mr. Martineau glanced at him. There was a note of genuine self-reproach in Sir Richmond's voice.

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

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