Page:HG Wells--secret places of the heart.djvu/25

This page needs to be proofread.

“Everybody is like that... it isn’t—what are you going to do? It isn’t—what am I going to do? It’s—what are we all going to do!... Lord! How safe and established everything was in 1910, say. We talked of this great war that was coming, but nobody thought it would come. We had been born in peace, comparatively speaking; we had been brought up in peace. There was talk of wars. There were wars—little wars—that altered nothing material.... Consols used to be at 112 and you fed your household on ten shillings a head a week. You could run over all Europe, barring Turkey and Russia, without even a passport. You could get to Italy in a day. Never were life and comfort so safe—for respectable people. And we were respectable people.... That was the world that made us what we are. That was the sheltering and friendly greenhouse in which we grew. We fitted our minds to that.... And here we are with the greenhouse falling in upon us lump by lump, smash and clatter, the wild winds of heaven tearing in through the gaps.”

Upstairs on Dr. Martineau’s desk lay the typescript of the opening chapters of a book that was intended to make a great splash in the world, his Psychology of a New Age. He had his metaphors ready.

“We said: ‘This system will always go on. We needn’t bother about it.’ We just planned our