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

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In the evening, after a pleasant supper, they took a turn about the walls with the moon sinking over beyond Silbury, and then went in and sat by lamplight before a brightly fussy wood fire and smoked. There were long intervals of friendly silence.

"I don't in the least want to go on talking about myself, " said Sir Richmond abruptly.

"Let it rest then," said the doctor generously.

"To-day, among these ancient memories, has taken me out of myself wonderfully. I can't tell you how good Avebury has been for me. This afternoon half my consciousness has seemed to be a tattooed creature wearing a knife of stone. . . . "

"The healing touch of history."

"And for the first time my damned Committee has mattered scarcely a rap. "

Sir Richmond stretched himself in his chair and blinked cheerfully at his cigar smoke.

"Nevertheless," he said, "this confessional business of yours has been an excellent exercise. It has enabled me to get outside myself, to look at myself as a Case. Now I can even see myself as a remote Case. That I needn't bother about further. . . . So far as that goes, I think we have done all that there is to be done."

"I shouldn't say that--quite--yet," said the doctor.

"I don't think I'm a subject for real psychoanalysis at all. I'm not an overlaid sort of person. When I spread myself out there is not much indication of a suppressed wish or of anything masked or buried of that sort. What you get is a quite open and recognized discord of two sets of motives."

The doctor considered. "Yes, I think that is true. Your LIBIDO is, I should say, exceptionally free. Generally you are doing what you want to do--overdoing, in fact, what you want to do and getting simply tired."

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"Which is the theory I started with. I am a case of fatigue under irritating circumstances with very little mental complication or concealment."

"Yes," said the doctor. "I agree. You are not a case for psychoanalysis, strictly speaking, at all. You are in open conflict with yourself, upon moral and social issues. Practically open. Your problems are problems of conscious conduct."

"As I said."

"Of what renunciations you have consciously to make."

Sir Richmond did not answer that. . . .

"This pilgrimage of ours," he said, presently, "has made for magnanimity. This day particularly has been a good day. When we stood on this old wall here in the sunset I seemed to be standing outside myself in an immense still sphere of past and future. I stood with my feet upon the Stone Age and saw myself four thousand years away, and all my distresses as very little incidents in that perspective. Away there in London the case is altogether different; after three hours or so of the Committee one concentrates into one little inflamed moment of personality. There is no past any longer, there is no future, there is only the rankling dispute. For all those three hours, perhaps, I have been thinking of just what I had to say, just how I had to say it, just how I looked while I said it, just how much I was making myself understood, how I might be misunderstood, how I might be misrepresented, challenged, denied. One draws in more and more as one is used up. At last one is reduced to a little, raw, bleeding, desperately fighting, pin-point of SELF. . . . One goes back to one's home unable to recover. Fighting it over again. All night sometimes . . . . I get up and walk about the room and curse . . . . Martineau, how is one to get the Avebury frame of mind to Westminster?"

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

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