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"Hullo!" he answered, and put some papers aside. "What's up, George?"

"Things are wrong."

"As how?"

"My life," I said, "it's a mess, an infinite mess."

"She's been a stupid girl, George," he said; "I partly understand. But you're quit of her now, practically, and there's just as good fish in the sea——"

"Oh! it's not that," I cried. "That's only the part that shows. I'm sick—— I'm sick of all this damned rascality."

"Eh? Eh?" said my uncle. "What—rascality?"

"Oh, you know. I want some stuff, man. I want something to hold on to. I shall go amok if I don't get it. I'm a different sort of beast from you. You float in all this bunkum. I feel like a man floundering in a universe of soapsuds, up and down, east and west. I can't stand it. I must get my foot on something solid or—I don't know what."

I laughed at the consternation in his face.

"I mean it," I said. "I've been thinking it over. I've made up my mind. It's no good arguing. I shall go in for work—real work. No! this isn't work; it's only laborious cheating. But I've got an idea! It's an old idea—I thought of years ago, but it came back to me. Look here! Why should I fence about with you? I believe the time has come for flying to be possible. Real flying!"


"Up in the air. Aeronautics! Machine heavier than air. It can be done. And I want to do it."

"Is there money in it, George?"

"I don't know nor care! But that's what I'm going to do."