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

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Sir Richmond stood quite still on the platform as the train ran out of the station. He did not move until it had disappeared round the bend. Then he turned, lost in a brown study, and walked very slowly towards the station exit.

"The most wonderful thing in my life," he thought. "And already--it is unreal.

"She will go on to her father whom she knows ten thousand times more thoroughly than she knows me; she will go on to Paris, she will pick up all the threads of her old story, be reminded of endless things in her life, but never except in the most casual way of these days: they will be cut off from everything else that will serve to keep them real; and as for me--this connects with nothing else in my life at all. . . . It is as disconnected as a dream. . . . Already it is hardly more substantial than a dream. . . .

"We shall write letters. Do letters breathe faster or slower as you read them?

"We may meet.

"Where are we likely to meet again? ... I never realized before how improbable it is that we shall meet again. And if we meet? . . .

"Never in all our lives shall we be really TOGETHER again. It's over--With a completeness. . . .

"Like death."

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He came opposite the bookstalls and stopped short and stared with unseeing eyes at the display of popular literature. He was wondering now whether after all he ought to have let her go. He experienced something of the blank amazement of a child who has burst its toy balloon. His golden globe of satisfaction in an instant had gone. An irrational sense of loss was flooding every other feeling about V.V. If she had loved him truly and altogether could she have left him like this? Neither of them surely had intended so complete a separation. He wanted to go back and recall that train.

A few seconds more, he realized, and he would give way to anger. Whatever happened that must not happen. He pulled himself together. What was it he had to do now? He had not to be angry, he had not even to be sorry. They had done the right thing. Outside the station his car was waiting.

He went outside the station and stared at his car. He had to go somewhere. Of course! down into Cornwall to Martin's cottage. He had to go down to her and be kind and comforting about that carbuncle. To be kind? . . . If this thwarted feeling broke out into anger he might be tempted to take it out of Martin. That at any rate he must not do. He had always for some inexplicable cause treated Martin badly. Nagged her and blamed her and threatened her. That must stop now. No shadow of this affair must lie on Martin. . . . And Martin must never have a suspicion of any of this. . . .

The image of Martin became very vivid in his mind. He thought of her as he had seen her many times, with the tears close, fighting with her back to the wall, with all her wit and vigour gone, because she loved him more steadfastly than he did her. Whatever happened he must not take it out of Martin. It was astonishing how real she had become now--as V.V. became a dream. Yes, Martin was astonishingly real. And if only he could go now and talk to Martin--and face all the facts of life with her, even as he had done with that phantom Martin in his dream. . . .

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

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