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8. Full Moon H. G. [Herbert George] Wells

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Table Of Contents: The Secret Places of the Heart

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"She is different," argued Sir Richmond.

"But you are the same," said the shadow of Martin with Martin's unsparing return. "Your love has never been a steadfast thing. It comes and goes like the wind. You are an extravagantly imperfect lover. But I have learnt to accept you, as people accept the English weather. . . . Never in all your life have you loved, wholly, fully, steadfastly--as people deserve to be loved--,not your mother nor your father, not your wife nor your children, nor me, nor our child, nor any living thing. Pleasant to all of us at times--at times bitterly disappointing. You do not even love this work of yours steadfastly, this work to which you sacrifice us all in turn. You do not love enough. That is why you have these moods and changes, that is why you have these lassitudes. So it is you are made. . . .

"And that is why you must not take this brave young life, so much simpler and braver than your own, and exalt it--as you can do--and then fail it, as you will do. . . . "

Sir Richmond's mind and body lay very still for a time.

"Should I fail her? . . ."

For a time Martin Leeds passed from the foreground of his mind.

He was astonished to think how planless, instinctive and unforeseeing his treatment of Miss Grammont had been. It had been just a blind drive to get hold of her and possess her. . . .

Suddenly his passion for her became active in its defence again.

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"But is there such a thing as a perfect love? Is YOURS a perfect love, my dear Martin, with its insatiable jealousy, its ruthless criticism? Has the world ever seen a perfect lover yet? Isn't it our imperfection that brings us together in a common need? Is Miss Grammont, after all, likely to get a more perfect love in all her life than this poor love of mine? And isn't it good for her that she should love?"

"Perfect love cherishes. Perfect love foregoes."

Sir Richmond found his mind wandering far away from the immediate question. "Perfect love," the phrase was his point of departure. Was it true that he could not love passionately and completely? Was that fundamentally what was the matter with him? Was that perhaps what was the matter with the whole world of mankind? It had not yet come to that power of loving which makes action full and simple and direct and unhesitating. Man upon his planet has not grown up to love, is still an eager, egotistical and fluctuating adolescent. He lacks the courage to love and the wisdom to love. Love is here. But it comes and goes, it is mixed with greeds and jealousies and cowardice and cowardly reservations. One hears it only in snatches and single notes. It is like something tuning up before the Music begins. . . . The metaphor altogether ran away with Sir Richmond's half dreaming mind. Some day perhaps all life would go to music.

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

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