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0100_005E 7. Companionship H. G. [Herbert George] Wells

Section 9

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Table Of Contents: The Secret Places of the Heart

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"Not nearly so much as I might have done."

"It is unfair to him. Atrociously unfair. He's not my sort of man, perhaps, but it will hurt him cruelly according to the peculiar laws of his being. He seems to me a crawling sort of lover with an immense self-conceit at the back of his crawlingness."

"He has," she endorsed.

"He backs himself to crawl--until he crawls triumphantly right over you . . . . I don't like to think of the dream he has . . . . I take it he will lose. Is it fair to go into this game with him?"

"In the interests of Lake," she said, smiling softly at Sir Richmond in the moonlight. "But you are perfectly right."

"And suppose he doesn't lose!"

Sir Richmond found himself uttering sentiments.

"There is only one decent way in which a civilized man and a civilized woman may approach one another. Passionate desire is not enough. What is called love is not enough. Pledges, rational considerations, all these things are worthless. All these things are compatible with hate. The primary essential is friendship, clear understanding, absolute confidence. Then within that condition, in that elect relationship, love is permissible, mating, marriage or no marriage, as you will-- all things are permissible. . . ."

Came a long pause between them.

"Dear old cathedral," said Miss Grammont, a little irrelevantly. She had an air of having concluded something that to Sir Richmond seemed scarcely to have begun. She stood looking at the great dark facade edged with moonlight for some moments, and then turned towards the hotel, which showed a pink-lit window.

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"I wonder," she said, "if Belinda is still up, And what she will think when I tell her of the final extinction of Mr. Lake. I think she rather looked forward to being the intimate friend, secrets and everything, of Mrs. Gunter Lake."

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

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