Meanwhile, by H. G. Wells

§ 6

Next morning Mrs. Rylands could better grasp the great talk and its implications. She lay in bed and contemplated it as she sipped her morning tea and it looked just as it had looked before she gave way to her fatigue, a very fine talk indeed and immensely interesting — to Philip and everyone. She forgot her last phase and the awful things she had thought about Mr. Sempack and remembered only her happy plagiarism from Mr. Plantagenet-Buchan, a “cathedral of ideas.” It was indeed like a great cathedral in her memory. It had sent her to bed exhausted it is true; but is anything worth having unless it exhausts you? It had stirred up Philip. That diabolical lapse had faded from her mind like a dream that comes between sleeping and waking.

It was impossible she found to recall how the talk had developed, but now that hardly mattered. The real value of a talk is not how it goes but what it leaves in your memory, which is one reason perhaps why dialogues in books are always so boring to read. Even Plato was boring. Jowett’s Plato had been one of the acutest disappointments in her life. She remembered how she had got the “Symposium” volume out of her father’s library and struggled with it in the apple tree. She had expected something like a bag of unimagined jewels. In any talk much of what was said was like the wire stage of a clay model and better forgotten as soon as it was covered over. But what was left from last night was a fabric plain and large in its incompleted outline, in which she felt her mind could wander about very agreeably and very profitably whenever she was so disposed. And in which Philip’s mind might be wandering even now.

This morning however she had little energy for such exploration. She approved of the great talk and blessed it and felt that it had added very much to her life. But she surveyed it only from the outside. The chief thing in her consciousness was that she was very comfortable and that she did not intend to get up. She would lie and think. But so far it seemed likely to be pure thought she would produce, without any contamination with particular things. She was very comfortable, propped up by pillows in her extensive bed.

She was, also, had she been able to see herself, very pretty. She was wearing a silk bed-jacket that just repeated a little more intensely the sapphire colour beneath her lace bedspread. It was trimmed with white fur. Her ruffled hair made her look like a very jolly but rather fragile boy. A great canopy supported by bed-posts of carved wood did its utmost to enhance the importance of the mistress of Casa Terragena. The dressing table with its furnishings of silver and shining enamel and cut and coloured glass, enforced the idea that whatever size the lady chose to be, it was the duty of her bedroom to treat her as an outsize in gracious ladies. The curtains of the window to the south-east still shut out the sunlight, but the western window was wide open and showed a stone-pine in the nearer distance, a rocky promontory, and then far away the sunlit French coast and Mentone and Cap Martin.

The day was fine but not convincingly fine. Over the sea was a long line of woolly yet possibly wicked little clouds putting their heads together. But so often in this easy climate such conspiracies came to nothing.

She wasn’t going down to breakfast; she did not intend indeed to go down until lunch. She was taking the fullest advantage of her state to be thoroughly lazy and self-indulgent and lie and play with her mind. Or doze as the mood might take her. Philip and Catherine and Geoffry and dear Miss Fenimore and everybody, let alone Bombaccio the major-domo and his morning minion, would see that everybody was given coffee and tea and hot rolls and eggs and bacon and fruit and Dundee marmalade, according to their needs. They would all see to each other and Bombaccio would see to all of them. Just think. She would not force her thinking or think anything out, but she would let her thoughts run.

This onset of maternity about which feminists and serious spinsters made such a fuss, was proving to be not at all the dreadful experience she had prepared herself to face. Soft folds of indolent well-being seemed to be wrapping about her, fold upon fold.

After all, bearing heirs to the Rylands’ millions was a very easy and pleasant sort of work to do in the world. Almost too easy and pleasant when one considered the pay. Smooth. Gentle. Living to the tune of a quiet murmur. She remembered something her Sussex aunt, Aunt Janet Nicholas, Aunt Janet the prolific, had once said. “It makes you feel less and less like being Brighton and more and more like being the Downs.” The Downs, the drowsy old Downs in summer sunshine. The tiny harebells in the turf. The velvet sound of bees. A peacefulness of body and soul. And yet one could think as clearly and pleasantly as ever. Or at least one seemed to think.

She had an idea, a by no means imperative idea, that presently when she had done with realising how comfortable she was, her thoughts might after all take a stroll about the aisles and cloisters of the overnight discussion, but instead she found herself thinking alternatively of two more established prepossessions. One was Philip and his interest in the talk and the other, which somehow ought to be quite detached from him and yet which seemed this morning to be following the thought of him like a shadow, was —Stupids.

Philip’s interest in this discussion had surprised her, and yet it was only the culminating fact to something that had been very present to her mind for some little time. She was convinced — and she had always been convinced — that Philip’s mind was a very vigorous and able one, a mind of essential nobility and limitless possibilities, but so soon as she had got over the emotion and amazement of the wonderful marriage that had lifted her out of the parental Hampshire rectory to be the mistress of three lovely homes, and begun really to look at Philip and consider him not as a love god but as a human being, she had perceived a certain restrictedness in his intellectual equipment. Apparently he had read scarcely anything of the slightest importance in the world; he had gone through the educational furnaces of Eton and had a year at Oxford before the war, unscathed by sound learning of any sort. The smell of intellectual fire had not passed upon him. Not a hair of his head had been singed by it. He was amazingly inexpressive and inarticulate. If he knew the English language, for some reason he cut most of it dead. And he opened a book about as often as he took medicine, which was never.

Yet he seemed to know a lot of things and every now and then she found she had to admit him not only cleverer but more knowledgeable than she was. If he had read little, he had picked up a lot. He had been a good soldier under Allenby, they said, especially in the East. In spite of his youth men had been glad to follow him. And in spite of his silences all sorts of intelligent people respected him. Mr. Plantagenet-Buchan and Mr. Sempack betrayed no contempt nor pity for such rare remarks as he made. They were infrequent but sound. He conducted, or at any rate helped to conduct, business operations that were still extremely vague to her, operations that she had gathered had to do mainly with steel. When he went into Parliament, and he was nursing Sealholme to that end, he would, she was sure, be quite a good member of Parliament. And yet — she knew it and still her mind struggled against the admission — there was something that was lacking. A vigour, an expansion. His mind refused to be militant, was at best reserved and a commentary. Dear and adorable Philip! Was it treason to think as much? Was it treason to want him perfect?

Her own family was an old Whig family with traditions of intellectual aggressiveness. She had cousins who were university professors, and her home, so close and convenient for Oxford, had been actively bookish and alive to poetry and painting. She had listened to good talk before she was fifteen. She had not always understood, but she had listened soundly. She had grown up into the idea that there was this something eminently desirable that you got from the literature of the world, that was conveyed insidiously by great music, and by all sorts of cared-for and venerated lovely things. It went with a frequent fine use of the mind, a conscious use, and it took all science by the way. It was an inward and spiritual grace, this something, that was needed to make the large, handsome and magnificently prosperous things of life worth while. She had not so much thought out these ideas to their definiteness, as apprehended their existence established in her mind. And when all the storm of meeting this glorious happy Philip and attracting him and being loved by him and marrying him and becoming the most fortunate of young women subsided, there were these values, still entrenched, reflecting upon all that she had achieved.

There in the middle of her world ruled this sun-god, this dear friend and lover, active, quietly amused, bringing her with such an adorable pride and such adorable humility to the homes of his fathers, giving, exhibiting; and yet as one settled into this life, as day followed day, and one began to realise what the routines and usages, the interests and entertainments amounted to, there arose this whisper of discontent, this rebellious idea that still something was lacking.

The life was so large and free and splendid in comparison with anything that she might reasonably have hoped for, that there seemed a whiff of ingratitude even in thinking that it was also rather superficial.

It wasn’t, she told herself, that this new life that made her a great lady wasn’t good enough for her. She was a lucky woman. Her estimate of herself was balanced and unexacting. She had never been able to make up her mind whether she was rather more than usually clever or rather more than usually stupid; she was inclined to think both. It wasn’t a question of how this new life became her, but how it became Philip. The point was that it was somehow not good enough for Philip. And, if this wasn’t a paradox, as if Philip wasn’t as yet quite good enough for himself.

And still more evasive and subtle was her recent apprehension of the fact that Philip himself knew that somehow he wasn’t quite good enough for himself. This new perception had reached back, as it were, and supplied an explanation of why Philip had come out of a world of alert and brilliant women, to her of all people. Because about her that had been a sort of schoolgirl prestige of knowledge and cleverness, and perhaps for him that had seemed to promise just whatever it was that would supply that haunting yet impalpable insufficiency. Instead of which, she reflected, here in this almost regal apartment, she had given him a dewy passion of love, worship, physical, but physical as tears and moonlight, and now this promise of a child.

Had he forgotten, in his new phase of grateful protectiveness, what need it was had first brought them together?

Quite recently, and after being altogether blind to it, she had discovered these gropings out towards something more than the current interests of his happy and healthy days. He was questioning things. But he was questioning them as though he had forgotten she existed. He was, for example, quite markedly exercised by this question of a possible coal strike in England. With amazement she had become aware how keenly he was interested. For all she knew the Rylands’ millions were deeply involved in coal, but it wasn’t, she was assured, on any personal account that he was interested.

Beyond the question of the miners, there was something more. He was concerned about England. She had thought at first that, like nearly all his class, he took the Empire and the social system, and so forth, for granted, and the secret undertow of her mind, her memories of talk at the parental table, had made it seem a little wanting in him to treat such questionable things as though they were fundamental and inalterable. But now she realised he was beginning to penetrate these assumptions. There had been an illuminating little encounter, about a week ago, with Colonel Bullace — on the night of Colonel Bullace’s arrival.

Philip never discussed; he was too untrained to discuss. But he would suddenly ask quite far-reaching questions and then take your answer off to gnaw it over at leisure. Or he would drop remarks, like ultimatums, days or weeks after you had answered his questions. And a couple of these rare questions of his were fired that night at Colonel Bullace.

“What’s all this about British Fascists?” asked Philip, out of the void.

“Eh!” said Colonel Bullace, and accumulated force. “Very necessary organisation.”

Philip had remained patiently interrogative.

“Pat’s pretty deep in it,” dear Mrs. Bullace had explained in her simple disarming way.

The picture of the scene came back to Mrs. Rylands. It was a foursome that evening; the Bullaces had been the first of this present party to arrive. She recalled Colonel Bullace’s face. He was like a wiry-haired terrier. No, he was more like a Belgian griffon — with that big eyeglass, he was more like a one-eyed Belgian griffon. What a queer thing it must be to be a nice little, rather silly little woman like Mrs. Bullace and be married to a man like that, a sort of canine man. She supposed — for example — one would have to kiss that muzzle. Embrace the man! Mrs. Rylands stirred uneasily under her lace bedspread at the thought. He had talked about the dangers of Communism in England, of the increasing insubordination of labour, of the gold of Moscow, and the need there was to “check these Bolsheviks.” All in sentences that were like barks. She did not remember very clearly what he said; it sounded like nonsense out of the Daily Mail. It probably was. What she remembered was Philip’s grave face and how, abruptly, it came to her again as though she had never seen or felt it before, how handsome he was, how fine he was and how almost intolerably she loved him.

“You mean to say, you would like to provoke a general strike now? And smash the Trade Unions?”

“Put ’em in their place.”

“But if you resort to ‘firmness’ now — if Joynson-Hicks and his fellow Fascists in the Cabinet, and your Daily Mail and Morning Post party, do succeed in bringing off a fight and humiliating and beating the workers and splitting England into two camps ——”

Philip found his sentence too involved and dropped it. “How many men will you leave beaten?” he asked. “How many Trade Unionists are there?”

Colonel Bullace didn’t seem to know.

“Some millions of them? Englishmen?”

“Dupes of Moscow!” said Colonel Bullace. “Dupes of Moscow.”

“A day will come,” added Colonel Bullace defiantly, “when they will be grateful to us for the lesson — grateful.”

Philip had considered that for a moment and then he had sighed deeply and said, “Oh! Let’s go to bed,” and it seemed to her that never before had she heard those four words used so definitely for calling a man a fool.

And afterwards he had come into her room, still darkly thoughtful. He had kissed her good-night almost absent-mindedly and then stood quite still for a minute perhaps at the open window looking out at the starlight. “I don’t understand all this stuff,” he said at last, to himself almost as much as to her. “I don’t understand what is going on and has been going on for some time. This British Fascist stuff and so on. . . . I wonder if anyone does? These work-people — and their hours and lives, and what they will stand and what they won’t. It’s all — beyond anything I know about.”

He stood silent for a time.

“Wages went down. Now — unemployment is growing and growing.

“Nobody seems to know.” It was like a sigh.

“Suppose they smash things up.”

Then in his catlike way he was gone, without a sound except the soft click of the door.

Perplexed Philip!

Perplexing Philip!

She looked now at the window against which he had stood and wondered how she might help him. He was the most difficult and comprehensive problem she had ever faced. This social struggle that it seemed hung over England had risen disregarded while she had been giving herself wholly to love. She did not know any of the details of the coal subsidies and coal compromises, that had produced this present situation about which everybody was growing anxious. It had all come on suddenly, so far as her knowledge went, in a year or so. And now here she was, useless to her man. It was no good pestering him with ill-informed questions. She would have to read, she would have to find out before she approached him.

It was queerly characteristic of Philip that he had pounced upon Mr. Sempack at the Fortescues’ at Roquebrune and brought him over, without a word of explanation. She guessed Mr. Sempack had talked about coal and labour at Roquebrune. Philip had something instinctive and inexplicable in his actions; he seemed to do things without any formulated reason; he had felt the need of talk as a dog will sometimes feel the need of grass and fall upon it and devour it. But she reproached herself that he should have had to discover this need for himself.

Talk. That she reflected had been one of the great things that had been missing in the opening months of married life. This morning it was clearly apparent to her that so spacious and free a life as hers and Philip’s here in Casa Terragena had no right to exist without a steady flow of lucid and thorough talking.

That was a final precision of something that had been evolving itself in her mind since first she had been taken up into the beauty and comfort of this Italian palace. From the outset there had been a faint murmuring in her conscience, a murmuring she spoke of at times as her “Socialism.” She squared this murmuring with her continued intense enjoyment of her new life by explaining to herself that people were given these magnificent homes and famous and entrancing gardens and scores of servants and gardeners and airy lovely rooms with luminous views of delicately sunlit coastlines, so that they might lead beautiful exemplary lives that would enrich the whole world. For the dresses and furnishings, the graces and harmonies of life at Casa Terragena were finally reflected in beauty and better living all down the social scale. No Socialist State, she was sure, with everything equal and “divided up” could create and maintain such a garden as hers, such a tradition of gardening. That was why she was not a political socialist. Because she had to be a custodian of beauty and the finer life. That had been her apology for her happiness, and it was the underlying motive in her discontent and in her sense of something wanting, that their life was not sustaining her apology. They had been given the best of everything and they were not even producing the best of themselves. They were living without quality.

That was it, they had been living without quality.

Tennis, she reflected, by day and bridge by night.

He was not living like an aristocrat, he was living like a suburban clerk in the seventh heaven of suburbanism.

He was doing so and yet he didn’t want to do so. He was in some way hypnotised against his secret craving to do the finest and best with himself. And he was trying to find a way of release to be the man, the leader, the masterful figure in human affairs she surely believed he might be.

How to help him as he deserved to be helped, when one was clever and understanding perhaps but not very capable, not very brilliant, and when one was so easily fatigued. How to help him now particularly when one was invaded and half submerged by the needs of another life?

That was a strand of thought familiar now to Mrs. Rylands and it twisted its way slowly through her clear unhurrying mind for the tenth time perhaps or the twentieth time, with little variations due to the overnight talk and with an extension now from Philip to a score of great houses she had visited in England and wonderful dances and assemblies where she had seen so many other men and women after his type, so expensive, so free and so materially happy. With something inexpressive and futile shadowing their large magnificence. And interweaving with this and embracing it now with a suggestion almost of explanation, was a still more intimate strand in her philosophy, her long established conviction that there was a great excess of Stupids in the world.

Stupids were the enemy. This grey film that rested upon things, this formalism, this shallowness, this refusal to take life in a grand and adventurous way, were all the work of Stupids. Stupids were her enemies as dogs are the enemies of cats.

Her conception of life as a war for self-preservation against Stupids dated from the days when she had been a small, fragile, but intractable child, much afflicted by governesses in her father’s rambling Warwickshire rectory. Stupids were lumps. Stupids were obstacles. Stupids were flatteners and diluters and spoilers of exciting and delightful things. They told you not to and said it was dinner time. They wanted you to put on galoshes. They said you mustn’t be too eager to excel and that everyone would laugh at you. “Don’t over-do it,” they said. In the place of your lovely things which they marred, they had disgusting gustoes of their own. They made ineffable Channel-crossing faces when one said sensible things about religion and they abased themselves in an inelegant collapse of loyalty before quite obviously commonplace people, and quite obviously absurd institutions. And they wanted you to! And made fusses and scenes when you didn’t! Oh! Stupids! She met them in the country-side, she met them again at Somerville College where she had imagined she would be released into a company of free and vigorous virgins.

And now in this new life of great wealth and distinction, in which it ought to be so easy for men and women to become at least as noble as their furniture and at least as glorious as their gardens, there were moments when it seemed to her that Stupid was King.

She came back to her idea of Philip as awakening, as endeavouring to awake, from something that hypnotised him, that had caught him and hypnotised him quite early in life. He had been caught by Stupids and made to respect their opinions and their standards; he had been trained to a great and biased toleration of Stupids, so that they pervaded his life and wasted his time and interrupted his development. The Stupids at school had persuaded him that work was nothing and games were everything. The Stupids of his set had insisted that most of the English language was a mistake. The Stupids of this world set their heavy faces against all thought. She saw Philip as struggling in a sort of Stupid quicksand, needing help and not knowing where to find it, and she herself by no means secure, frantic to help and unable.

What if she were to try to do more than she did in making an atmosphere for Philip? The irruption and effect of Mr. Sempack had set her enquiring whether there were not perhaps quite a lot of other stimulating people to be found, and whether perhaps it wasn’t a wife’s place to collect them. Mr. Plantagenet-Buchan of course was clever, clever and dexterous, but he did not stimulate, and there were moments when Philip stared at some of Mr. Plantagenet-Buchan’s good things as though he couldn’t imagine why on earth they had been said. Tamars were intelligent but self-contained, they liked to wander off about the garden, just the two of them, she evidently listening to an otherwise rather silent young man, and Lady Catherine again was intelligent but quite uncultivated, a mental wild rose, a rambler, a sprawling sweet-briar. Philip seemed to avoid Tamar, which was natural perhaps since Tamar showed an equal shyness of Philip, but also he and Lady Catherine avoided each other, which was odd seeing how charming they both were. But all the others of the party ——?

The little face on the pillow meditated the inevitable verdict reluctantly. The loyalty of the hostess battled against an invincible truthfulness.

Stupids! . . .

She had got together a houseful of Stupids. . . .

Pervasive and contagious Stupids. The struggle overnight to get the great talk going had been a serious one, exemplary, illuminating. Nowadays people like the Bullaces, the Mathisons, and Puppy Clarges, seemed to assume they had the conversational right of way. They had no respect for consecutiveness. They hated to listen. They felt effaced unless they had something to vociferate, and it hardly mattered to them what they vociferated.

How stupid and needless Colonel Bullace’s intervention had been! And how characteristic of all his tribe of Stupids!

He had pricked up his ears at the word Utopia and coughed and turned a rather deeper pink; and after the third repetition and apropos of nothing in particular, he had addressed Mr. Sempack in an abrupt, caustic and aggressive manner. He cut across an unfinished sentence to do so.

“I suppose, Sir,” he had said, ”you find your Utopia in Moscow?”

Mr. Sempack had regarded him as a landscape might regard a puppy. “What makes you suppose that?” he asked.

“Well! isn’t it so, Sir? Isn’t it so?”

Mr. Sempack had turned away his face again. “No,” he said over his shoulder and resumed his interrupted sentence.

Then Bombaccio, wisest and most wonderful of servants, had nudged Colonel Bullace’s elbow with the peas and the new potatoes and diverted his attention and effaced him. But surely it was wrong to have people in one’s house at all if they required that amount of suppression. Yet how often in the last few months had she heard talk effaced by Stupids like Colonel Bullace. Full of ready-made opinions they were, full of suspicions they would not even assuage by listening to what they wanted to condemn.

Dear Miss Fenimore again was a demi-Stupid, a Stupid in effect, an acquiescent Stupid, willing perhaps but diluent to everything that had point and quality, and Lady Grieswold had been knowingly and wilfully invited as a Stupid, a bridge Stupid to gratify and complete the Bullaces. Her bridge was awful it seemed, but then Mrs. Bullace’s bridge was awful.

The Mathisons were a less clamorous sort of Stupid than Colonel Bullace, but more insidious and perhaps more deadly. They did not contradict and deny fine things; silently they denied. These Mathisons had been brought along by Philip and Geoffry and they were to exercise him at tennis. They did, every day. For two of his best hours in the morning and sometimes after tea Philip strove to play a better game than the Mathisons, with either Geoffry or Puppy as his partner. It tried him. It exasperated him. He detested and despised Mathison, she perceived, as much as she did, but he would not let him go and he would always play against him. He could not endure, and that was where the Stupids had him fast, that a man so inferior as Mathison, so cheap-minded, so flat-mannered, should have the better of him at anything.

They all conspired to put it upon Phil that his form at tennis mattered. She would go down to the court helplessly distressed to see her god, hot and over-polite and in a state of furious self-control, while Puppy and the others — who was it? — Miss Fenimore and some one? Mr. Haulbowline! that shadow, sat in wicker chairs and either applauded or regretted — working him up.

She smiled and affected interest and all the time her soul was crying out: “Philip, my darling! It’s the cream of your strength and the heart of your day you’re giving to the conquest of Mr. Mathison. And it doesn’t matter in the least. It doesn’t matter in the very least, whether you beat him or whether you don’t.”

Geoffry too it seemed played a better game than Philip. But that was an accepted superiority.

Geoffry was a deeper, more complex kind of Stupid altogether than these others. And yet so like Philip; as like Philip as a mask is like a face. Geoffry was the bad brother of the family; he had been sent down from Eton; he did nothing; he looked at his sister-in-law askance. Philip was too kind to him. He drifted in and out of Casa Terragena at his own invitation. A moral Stupid, she knew he was, with challenge and disbelief in his eyes, and yet with a queer hold upon Philip. And an occult understanding with Puppy. When Geoffry was about, Philip would rather die than say a serious thing.

And then as the accent upon all this Stupid side of the house-party was Puppy Clarges, strident and hard, a conflict of scent and cigarette smoke, with the wit of a music hall and an affectedly flat loud voice. She was tall as Catherine, but she had no grace, no fluency of line. Her body ran straight and hard and then suddenly turned its corners as fast as possible.

No, they made an atmosphere, an atmosphere in which it was impossible for Philip to get free from his limitations. It was his wife’s task — if it was anyone’s task — to dispel that atmosphere. Drive it out by getting in something better — of which Mr. Sempack was to be regarded as a type.

It wasn’t going to be easy to change this loose Terragena atmosphere. It was not to be thought of that a wife should set brother against brother . . .

Her mind was too indolent this morning to face baffling problems. For a time it lost itself and then she found herself thinking again with a certain unavoidable antagonism of Puppy Clarges. Why was a girl of that sort tolerated? She was rude, she was troublesome, she was occasionally indecent and she professed to be unchaste. Yet when Mrs. Rylands had mentioned the possibility of Puppy moving on somewhere, if other visitors were to be invited, Philip had said: “Oh, don’t turn out old Puppy. She’s all right. She’s amusing. She’s very good fun. She’s so good for Lady Tamar.”

The shadow of perplexed speculation rested upon the pretty face against the pillows. It was not so much that Mrs. Rylands disliked Puppy as that she failed so completely and distressingly even to begin to understand the reaction of her world to this angular and aggressive young woman.

Puppy boasted by implication and almost by plain statement of her lovers.

Who could love that body of pot-hooks and hangers? Love was an affair of beauty; first and last it had to be beautiful. How could anyone set about making love to Puppy? When men made love — Mrs. Rylands generalised boldly from the one man she knew — when men made love, they were adorably diffident, they trembled, they were inconceivably, wonderfully tender and worshipful. Love, when one dared to think of love, came into one’s mind as a sacrament, a miracle, a mutual dissolution, as whispers in the shadows, as infinite loveliness and a glory. Love was pity, was tears, was a great harmony of all that was gentle, gracious, proud and aspiring in existence, towering up to an ecstasy of sense and spirit. But Puppy? The very thought of Puppy and a lover was obscene.

And she had lovers.

How different must be their quality from Philip’s!

The idea came from nowhere into Mrs. Rylands’ mind that life had two faces and that one was hidden from her. Life and perhaps everything in life had two faces. This queer idea had come into her mind like an uninvited guest. She had always thought before of Stupids as defective and troublesome people against whom one had to maintain one’s life, but against whom there was no question whatever of being able to maintain one’s life. But suppose there was something behind the Stupid in life, nearly as great, if not quite as great as greatness, nearly as great, if not quite so great as nobility and beauty?

Suppose one lay in bed too long, and held emptiness of life, idleness, shallowness, noise and shamelessness, too cheaply? Suppose while one lay in bed, they stole a march upon one?

The mistress of Casa Terragena lay very still for some moments and then her hand began to feel for the bell-push that was swathed in the old-fashioned silk bell-pull behind her. She had decided to get up.

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/w/wells/hg/meanwhile/book1.6.html

Last updated Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 12:30