Page:HG Wells--secret places of the heart.djvu/68

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He shook his head sideways and twirled the green umbrella like an animated halo around his large broad-minded face.

Sir Richmond considered. “Desire has never been the chief incentive of my relations with women. Never. So far as I can analyze the thing, it has been a craving for a particular sort of life giving companionship.”

“That I take it is Nature’s device to keep the lovers together in the interest of the more or less unpremeditated offspring.”

“A poor device, if that is its end. It doesn’t keep parents together; more often it tears them apart. The wife or the mistress, so soon as she is encumbered with children, becomes all too manifestly not the companion goddess....”

Sir Richmond brooded over his sculls and thought.

“Throughout my life I have been an exceedingly busy man. I have done a lot of scientific work and some of it has been very good work. And very laborious work. I’ve travelled much. I’ve organized great business developments. You might think that my time has been fairly well filled without much philandering. And all the time, all the time, I’ve been—about women—like a thirsty beast looking for water.... Always. Always. All through my life.”

Dr. Martineau waited through another silence.

“I was very grave about it at first. I married young. I married