Page:HG Wells--secret places of the heart.djvu/131

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the paintings and drawings and scratchings of the Old Stone people who came before them.”

“Adults with the minds of thirteen-year-old children. Thirteen-year-old children with the strength of adults—and no one to slap them or tell them not to.... After all, they probably only thought of death now and then. And they never thought of fuel. They supposed there was no end to that. So they used up their woods and kept goats to nibble and kill the new undergrowth. Did these people have goats?”

“I don’t know,” said the doctor. “So little is known.”

“Very like children they must have been. The same unending days. They must have thought that the world went on for ever—just as they knew it—like my damned Committee does.... With their fuel wasting away and the climate changing imperceptibly, century by century.... Kings and important men followed one another here for centuries and centuries.... They had lost their past and had no idea of any future.. .. They had forgotten how they came into the land... When I was a child I believed that my father’s garden had been there for ever....

“This is very like trying to remember some game one played when one was a child. It is like coming on something that one built up with bricks and stones in some forgotten part of the garden....”