Page:HG Wells--secret places of the heart.djvu/236

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have it. Even now when you are wildly in love with this girl’s freshness and boldness and cleverness I come into your mind by right and necessity.”

“She is different,” argued Sir Richmond.

“But you are the same,” said the shadow of Martin with Martin’s unsparing return. “Your love has never been a steadfast thing. It comes and goes—like the wind. You are an extravagantly imperfect lover. But I have learnt to accept you, as people accept the English weather.... Never in all your life have you loved, wholly, fully, steadfastly—as people deserve to be loved—not your mother nor your father, not your wife nor your children, nor me, nor our child, nor any living thing. Pleasant to all of us at times—at times bitterly disappointing. You do not even love this work of yours steadfastly, this work to which you sacrifice us all in turn. You do not love enough. That is why you have these moods and changes, that is why you have these lassitudes. So it is you are made....

“And that is why you must not take this brave young life, so much simpler and braver than your own, and exalt it—as you can do—and then fail it, as you will do....”

Sir Richmond’s mind and body lay very still for a time.

“Should I fail her?...”

For a time Martin Leeds passed from the foreground of his mind.