One day about the time of the general strike in England I visited the celebrated garden of La Mortola near Ventimiglia. As I wandered about that lovely place, I passed by an unknown little lady sitting and reading in a shady corner. Her pose reminded me of another little lady who has always been very dear to me. She was making notes upon a slip of paper as she read. I noted how charmingly intent she was upon her book and wondered what it was that held her so firmly. I never discovered. I do not know who she was and I have never seen her again. In all probability she was a tourist like myself and quite unaware that she was destined, in my fancy, to become the mistress of all the beauty about her. She in part, and in part the lady she had recalled. I went my way to the beach and sat there and as I mused on things that were happening in England and Italy and the world at large, that remembered and reinforced personality mingled with my thoughts, became a sort of frame for my thoughts, and this story very much as I have shaped it here presented itself suddenly to my imagination. It jumped into existence. Much of it had been in my mind for some time lacking a form and a personification. Then all at once it was alive. I went home and I began to write. The garden of this book is by no means a replica of the garden of La Mortola, which was merely the inspiring point of departure for this fantasia of ideas, this picture of a mind and of a world in a phase of expectation. Gorge and Caatinga you will seek at La Mortola in vain. But all sorts of things grow upon that wonderful corner of sunlit soil, and this novel, which I dedicate very gratefully to the real owners of the garden, gratefully and a little apologetically because of the freedoms I have taken with their home, is only the least and latest product of its catholic fertility.
H. G. Wells.
Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:15