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THE CONSULTATION

cheerfully wistful, a little suggestive of the full moon, of what the full moon might be if it could get fresh air and exercise. Either his tailor had made his trousers too short or he had braced them too high so that he seemed to have grown out of them quite recently. Sir Richmond had been dreading an encounter with some dominating and mesmeric personality; this amiable presence dispelled his preconceived resistances.

Dr. Martineau, a little out of breath as though he had been running upstairs, with his hands in his trouser pockets, seemed intent only on disavowals. “People come here and talk. It does them good, and sometimes I am able to offer a suggestion.

“Talking to someone who understands a little,” he expanded the idea.

“I’m jangling damnably ... overwork.....”

“Not overwork,” Dr. Martineau corrected. “Not overwork. Overwork never hurt anyone. Fatigue stops that. A man can work—good straightforward work, without internal resistance, until he drops,—and never hurt himself. You must be working against friction.”

“Friction! I’m like a machine without oil. I’m grinding to death.... And it’s so damned important I shouldn’t break down. It’s vitally important.”

He stressed his words and reinforced them with a quivering gesture of his upraised clenched hand. “My temper’s in rags. I explode at any little