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They started, but presently they came to high banks that showed such masses of bluebells, ragged Robin, great stitchwort and the like that Belinda was not to be restrained. She clamoured to stop the car and go up the bank and pick her hands full, and so they drew up by the roadside and Sir Richmond and Miss Grammont sat down near the car while Belinda carried her enthusiastic onslaught on the flowers up the steep bank and presently out of earshot.

The two lovers said unheeded things about the flowers to each other and then fell silent. Then Miss Grammont turned her head and seemed deliberately to measure her companion's distance. Evidently she judged her out of earshot.

"Well, said Miss Grammont in her soft even voice. "We love one another. Is that so still?"

"I could not love you more."

"It wasn't a dream?"


"And to-morrow we part?"

He looked her in the eyes. "I have been thinking of that all night," he said at last.

"I too."

"And you think--?"

"That we must part. Just as we arranged it when was it? Three days or three ages ago? There is nothing else in the world to do except for us to go our ways. . . . I love you. That means for a woman--It means that I want to be with you. But that is impossible. . . . Don't doubt whether I love you because I say--impossible. . . . "

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Sir Richmond, faced with his own nocturnal decision, was now moved to oppose it flatly. "Nothing that one can do is impossible."

She glanced again at Belinda and bent down towards him." Suppose," she said, "you got back into that car with me; suppose that instead of going on as we have planned, you took me away. How much of us would go?"

"You would go," said Sir Richmond, "and my heart."

"And this work of yours? And your honour? For the honour of a man in this New Age of yours will be first of all in the work he does for the world. And you will leave your work to be just a lover. And the work that I might do because of my father's wealth; all that would vanish too. We should leave all of that, all of our usefulness, all that much of ourselves. But what has made me love you? Just your breadth of vision, just the sense that you mattered. What has made you love me? Just that I have understood the dream of your work. All that we should have to leave behind. We should specialize, in our own scandal. We should run away just for one thing. To think, by sharing the oldest, simplest, dearest indulgences in the world, that we had got each other. When really we had lost each other, lost all that mattered. . . ."

Her face was flushed with the earnestness of her conviction. Her eyes were bright with tears. "Don't think I don't love you. It's so hard to say all this. Somehow it seems like going back on something--something supreme. Our instincts have got us. . . . Don't think I'd hold myself from you, dear. I'd give myself to you with both hands. I love you-- When a woman loves--I at any rate--she loves altogether. But this thing--I am convinced--cannot be. I must go my own way, the way I have to go. My father is the man, obstinate, more than half a savage. For me--I know it--he has the jealousy of ten husbands. If you take me--If our secret becomes manifest--If you are to take me and keep me, then his life and your life will become wholly this Feud, nothing but this Feud. You have to fight him anyhow--that is why I of all people must keep out of the quarrel. For him, it would be an immense excitement, full of the possibility of fierce satisfactions; for you, whether you won me or lost me, it would be utter waste and ruin."

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

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