Page:HG Wells--secret places of the heart.djvu/123

This page needs to be proofread.

“You can put it in that way if you like.”

“It might not be a fatal operation for either of you.”

“And yet there are moods when parting is an intolerable idea. When one is invaded by a flood of affection..... And old habits of association.”

Dr. Martineau thought. Was that the right word,—affection? Perhaps it was.

They had come out on the towing path close by the lock and they found themselves threading their way through a little crowd of boating people and lookers-on. For a time their conversation was broken. Sir Richmond resumed it.

“But this is where we cease to be Man on his Planet and all the rest of it. This is where the idea of a definite task, fanatically followed to the exclusion of all minor considerations, breaks down. When the work is good, when we are sure we are all right, then we may carry off things with a high hand. But the work isn’t always good, we aren’t always sure. We blunder, we make a muddle, we are fatigued. Then the sacrificed affections come in as accusers. Then it is that we want to be reassured.”

“And then it is that Miss Martin Leeds——?”

“Doesn’t,” Sir Richmond snapped.

Came a long pause.

“And yet——

“It is extraordinarily difficult to think of parting from Martin.”