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 CHAPTER THE THIRD

 

THE DEPARTURE

 

Section 1

 

No wise man goes out upon a novel expedition without

misgivings. And between their first meeting and the appointed

morning both Sir Richmond Hardy and Dr. Martineau were the

prey of quite disagreeable doubts about each other,

themselves, and the excursion before them. At the time of

their meeting each had been convinced that he gauged the

other sufficiently for the purposes of the proposed tour.

Afterwards each found himself trying to recall the other with

greater distinctness and able to recall nothing but queer,

ominous and minatory traits. The doctor’s impression of the

great fuel specialist grew ever darker, leaner, taller and

more impatient. Sir Richmond took on the likeness of a

monster obdurate and hostile, he spread upwards until like

the Djinn out of the bottle, he darkened the heavens. And he

talked too much. He talked ever so much too much. Sir

Richmond also thought that the doctor talked too much. In

addition, he read into his imperfect memory of the doctor’s

face, an expression of protruded curiosity. What was all this

problem of motives and inclinations that they were “going

into” so gaily? He had merely consulted the doctor on a

simple, straightforward need for a nervous tonic-that was

what he had needed-a tonic. Instead he had engaged himself

for-he scarcely knew what-an indiscreet, indelicate, and

altogether undesirable experiment in confidences.

Both men were considerably reassured when at last they set

eyes on each other again. Indeed each was surprised to find

something almost agreeable in the appearance of the other.

Dr. Martineau at once perceived that the fierceness of Sir

Richmond was nothing more than the fierceness of an

overwrought man, and Sir Richmond realized at a glance that

the curiosity of Dr. Martineau’s bearing had in it nothing

personal or base; it was just the fine alertness of the

scientific mind.

Sir Richmond had arrived nearly forty minutes late, and it

would have been evident to a much less highly trained

observer than Dr. Martineau that some dissension had arisen

between the little, ladylike, cream and black Charmeuse car

and its owner. There was a faint air of resentment and

protest between them. As if Sir Richmond had been in some way

rude to it.

The cap of the radiator was adorned with a little brass

figure of a flying Mercury. Frozen in a sprightly attitude,

its stiff bound and its fixed heavenward stare was highly

suggestive of a forced and tactful disregard of current

unpleasantness.

Nothing was said, however, to confirm or dispel this

suspicion of a disagreement between the man and the car. Sir

Richmond directed and assisted Dr. Martineau’s man to adjust

the luggage at the back, and Dr. Martineau watched the

proceedings from his dignified front door. He was wearing a

suit of fawn tweeds, a fawn Homburg hat and a light Burberry,

with just that effect of special preparation for a holiday

which betrays the habitually busy man. Sir Richmond’s brown

gauntness was, he noted, greatly set off by his suit of grey.

There had certainly been some sort of quarrel. Sir Richmond

was explaining the straps to Dr. Martineau’s butler with the

coldness a man betrays when he explains the uncongenial

habits of some unloved intimate. And when the moment came to

start and the little engine did not immediately respond to

the electric starter, he said: “Oh! COME up, you-!”

His voice sank at the last word as though it was an entirely

confidential communication to the little car. And it was an

extremely low and disagreeable word. So Dr. Martineau decided

that it was not his business to hear it. . . .

It was speedily apparent that Sir Richmond was an experienced

and excellent driver. He took the Charmeuse out into the

traffic of Baker Street and westward through brisk and busy

streets and roads to Brentford and Hounslow smoothly and

swiftly, making a score of unhesitating and accurate

decisions without apparent thought. There was very little

conversation until they were through Brentford. Near

Shepherd’s Bush, Sir Richmond had explained, “This is not my

own particular car. That was butted into at the garage this

morning and its radiator cracked. So I had to fall back on

this. It’s quite a good little car. In its way. My wife

drives it at times. It has one or two constitutional

weaknesses-incidental to the make-gear-box over the back

axle for example-gets all the vibration. Whole machine

rather on the flimsy side. Still-”

He left the topic at that.

Dr. Martineau said something of no consequence about its

being a very comfortable little car.

Somewhere between Brentford and Hounslow, Sir Richmond

plunged into the matter between them. “I don’t know how deep

we are going into these psychological probings of yours,” he

said. “But I doubt very much if we shall get anything out of

them.”

“Probably not,” said Dr. Martineau.

“After all, what I want is a tonic. I don’t see that there is

anything positively wrong with me. A certain lack of energy-

“Lack of balance,” corrected the doctor. “You are wasting

energy upon internal friction. “But isn’t that inevitable? No

machine is perfectly efficient. No man either. There is

always a waste. Waste of the type; waste of the individual

idiosyncrasy. This little car, for instance, isn’t pulling as

she ought to pull-she never does. She’s low in her class. So

with myself; there is a natural and necessary high rate of

energy waste. Moods of apathy and indolence are natural to

me. (Damn that omnibus! All over the road!)”

“We don’t deny the imperfection-” began the doctor.

“One has to fit oneself to one’s circumstances,” said Sir

Richmond, opening up another line of thought.

“We don’t deny the imperfection” the doctor stuck to it.

“These new methods of treatment are based on the idea of

imperfection. We begin with that. I began with that last

Tuesday. . . .”

Sir Richmond, too, was sticking to his argument. “A man, and

for that matter the world he lives in, is a tangle of

accumulations. Your psychoanalyst starts, it seems to me,

with a notion of stripping down to something fundamental. The

ape before was a tangle of accumulations, just as we are. So

it was with his forebears. So it has always been. All life is

an endless tangle of accumulations.”

“Recognize it,” said the doctor.

“And then?” said Sir Richmond, controversially.

“Recognize in particular your own tangle.”

“Is my particular tangle very different from the general

tangle? (Oh! Damn this feeble little engine!) I am a

creature of undecided will, urged on by my tangled heredity

to do a score of entirely incompatible things. Mankind, all

life, is that.”

“But our concern is the particular score of incompatible

things you are urged to do. We examine and weigh-we weigh-”

The doctor was still saying these words when a violent and

ultimately disastrous struggle began between Sir Richmond and

the little Charmeuse car. The doctor stopped in mid-sentence.

It was near Taplow station that the mutual exasperation of

man and machine was brought to a crisis by the clumsy

emergence of a laundry cart from a side road. Sir Richmond

was obliged to pull up smartly and stopped his engine. It

refused an immediate obedience to the electric starter. Then

it picked up, raced noisily, disengaged great volumes of

bluish smoke, and displayed an unaccountable indisposition

to run on any gear but the lowest. Sir Richmond thought

aloud, unpleasing thoughts. He addressed the little car as a

person; he referred to ancient disputes and temperamental

incompatibilities. His anger betrayed him a coarse, ill-bred

man. The little car quickened under his reproaches. There

were some moments of hope, dashed by the necessity of going

dead slow behind an interloping van. Sir Richmond did not

notice the outstretched arm of the driver of the van, and

stalled his engine for a second time. The electric starter

refused its office altogether.

For some moments Sir Richmond sat like a man of stone.

“I must wind it up “ he said at last in a profound and awful

voice. “I must wind it up.”

“I get out, don’t I?” asked the doctor, unanswered, and did

so. Sir Richmond, after a grim search and the displacement

and replacement of the luggage, produced a handle from the

locker at the back of the car and prepared to wind.

There was a little difficulty. “Come UP!” he said, and the

small engine roared out like a stage lion.

The two gentlemen resumed their seats. The car started and

then by an unfortunate inadvertency Sir Richmond pulled the

gear lever over from the first speed to the reverse. There

was a metallic clangour beneath the two gentlemen, and the

car slowed down and stopped although the engine was still

throbbing wildly, and the dainty veil of blue smoke still

streamed forward from the back of the car before a gentle

breeze. The doctor got out almost precipitately, followed by

a gaunt madman, mouthing vileness, who had only a minute or

so before been a decent British citizen. He made some blind

lunges at the tremulous but obdurate car, but rather as if he

looked for offences and accusations than for displacements to

adjust. Quivering and refusing, the little car was

extraordinarily like some recalcitrant little old

aristocratic lady in the hands of revolutionaries, and this

made the behaviour of Sir Richmond seem even more outrageous

than it would otherwise have done. He stopped the engine, he

went down on his hands and knees in the road to peer up at

the gear-box, then without restoring the spark, he tried to

wind up the engine again. He spun the little handle with an

insane violence, faster and faster for-as it seemed to the

doctor-the better part of a minute. Beads of perspiration

appeared upon his brow and ran together; he bared his teeth

in a snarl; his hat slipped over one eye. He groaned with

rage. Then, using the starting handle as a club, he assailed

the car. He smote the brazen Mercury from its foothold and

sent it and a part of the radiator cap with it flying across

the road. He beat at the wings of the bonnet, until they bent

in under his blows. Finally, he hurled the starting-handle at

the wind-screen and smashed it. The starting-handle rattled

over the bonnet and fell to the ground. . . .

The paroxysm was over. Ten seconds later this cataclysmal

lunatic had reverted to sanity-a rather sheepish sanity.

He thrust his hands into his trouser pockets and turned his

back on the car. He remarked in a voice of melancholy

detachment: “It was a mistake to bring that coupe.”

Dr. Martineau had assumed an attitude of trained observation

on the side path. His hands rested on his hips and his hat

was a little on one side. He was inclined to agree with Sir

Richmond. “I don’t know,” he considered. “You wanted some

such blow-off as this.”

“Did I? “

“The energy you have! That car must be somebody’s whipping

boy.”

“The devil it is!” said Sir Richmond, turning round sharply

and staring at it as if he expected it to display some

surprising and yet familiar features. Then he looked

questioningly and suspiciously at his companion.

“These outbreaks do nothing to amend the originating

grievance,” said the doctor. “No. And at times they are even

costly. But they certainly lift a burthen from the nervous

system. . . . And now I suppose we have to get that little

ruin to Maidenhead.”

“Little ruin!” repeated Sir Richmond. “No. There’s lots of

life in the little beast yet.”

He reflected. “She’ll have to be towed.” He felt in his

breast pocket. “Somewhere I have the R.A.C. order paper, the

Badge that will Get You Home. We shall have to hail some

passing car to take it into Maidenhead.”

Dr. Martineau offered and Sir Richmond took and lit a

cigarette.

For a little while conversation hung fire. Then for the first

time Dr. Martineau heard his patient laugh.

“Amazing savage,” said Sir Richmond. “Amazing savage!”

He pointed to his handiwork. “The little car looks ruffled.

Well it may.”

He became grave again. “I suppose I ought to apologize.

“Dr. Martineau weighed the situation. “As between doctor and

patient,” he said. “No.”

“Oh!” said Sir Richmond, turned to a new point of view. “But

where the patient ends and the host begins. . . . I’m really

very sorry.” He reverted to his original train of thought

which had not concerned Dr. Martineau at all. “After all, the

little car was only doing what she was made to do.”

Section 2

The affair of the car effectively unsealed Sir Richmond’s

mind. Hitherto Dr. Martineau had perceived the possibility

and danger of a defensive silence or of a still more

defensive irony; but now that Sir Richmond had once given

himself away, he seemed prepared to give himself away to an

unlimited extent. He embarked upon an apologetic discussion

of the choleric temperament.

He began as they stood waiting for the relief car from the

Maidenhead garage. “You were talking of the ghosts of apes

and monkeys that suddenly come out from the darkness of the

subconscious . . . .”

“You mean-when we first met at Harley Street?”

“That last apparition of mine seems to have been a gorilla at

least.”

The doctor became precise. Gorillaesque. We are not descended

from gorillas.”

“Queer thing a fit of rage is!”

“It’s one of nature’s cruder expedients. Crude, but I doubt

if it is fundamental. There doesn’t seem to be rage in the

vegetable world, and even among the animals-? No, it is not

universal.” He ran his mind over classes and orders. “Wasps

and bees certainly seem to rage, but if one comes to think,

most of the invertebrata show very few signs of it.”

“I’m not so sure,” said Sir Richmond. “I’ve never seen a

snail in a towering passion or an oyster slamming its shell

behind it. But these are sluggish things. Oysters sulk, which

is after all a smouldering sort of rage. And take any more

active invertebrate. Take a spider. Not a smashing and

swearing sort of rage perhaps, but a disciplined, coldblooded

malignity. Crabs fight. A conger eel in a boat will

rage dangerously.”

“A vertebrate. Yes. But even among the vertebrata; who has

ever seen a furious rabbit?”

“Don’t the bucks fight?” questioned Sir Richmond.

Dr. Martineau admitted the point.

“I’ve always had these fits of passion. As far back as I can

remember. I was a kicking, screaming child. I threw things. I

once threw a fork at my elder brother and it stuck in his

forehead, doing no serious damage-happily. There were whole

days of wrath-days, as I remember them. Perhaps they were

only hours. . . . I’ve never thought before what a peculiar

thing all this raging is in the world. WHY do we rage? They

used to say it was the devil. If it isn’t the devil, then

what the devil is it? “After all,” he went on as the doctor

was about to answer his question; “as you pointed out, it

isn’t the lowlier things that rage. It’s the HIGHER things

and US.”

“The devil nowadays,” the doctor reflected after a pause, “so

far as man is concerned, is understood to be the ancestral

ape. And more particularly the old male ape.”

But Sir Richmond was away on another line of thought. “Life

itself, flaring out. Brooking no contradiction.” He came

round suddenly to the doctor’s qualification. “Why male?

Don’t little girls smash things just as much?”

“They don’t,” said Dr. Martineau. “Not nearly as much.”

Sir Richmond went off at a tangent again. “I suppose you have

watched any number of babies?”’

“Not nearly as many as a general practitioner would do.

There’s a lot of rage about most of them at first, male or

female. “

“Queer little eddies of fury. . . . Recently-it happens-

I’ve been seeing one. A spit of red wrath, clenching its

fists and squalling threats at a damned disobedient

universe.”

The doctor was struck by an idea and glanced quickly and

questioningly at his companion’s profile.

“Blind driving force,” said Sir Richmond, musing.

“Isn’t that after all what we really are?” he asked the

doctor. “Essentially-Rage. A rage in dead matter, making it

alive.”

“Schopenhauer,” footnoted the doctor. “Boehme.”

“Plain fact, “said Sir Richmond. “No Rage-no Go.”

“But rage without discipline?”

“Discipline afterwards. The rage first.”

“But rage against what? And FOR what?”

“Against the Universe. And for-? That’s more difficult. What

IS the little beast squalling itself crimson for? Ultimately?

. . . What is it clutching after? In the long run, what will

it get?”

(“Yours the car in distress what sent this?” asked an

unheeded voice.)

“Of course, if you were to say ‘desire’,” said Dr. Martineau,

“then you would be in line with the psychoanalysts. They talk

of LIBIDO, meaning a sort of fundamental desire. Jung speaks

of it at times almost as if it were the universal driving

force.”

“No,” said Sir Richmond, in love with his new idea. “Not

desire. Desire would have a definite direction, and that is

just what this driving force hasn’t. It’s rage.”

“Yours the car in distress what sent this?” the voice

repeated. It was the voice of a mechanic in an Overland car.

He was holding up the blue request for assistance that Sir

Richmond had recently filled in.

The two philosophers returned to practical matters.

Section 3

For half an hour after the departure of the little Charmeuse

car with Sir Richmond and Dr. Martineau, the brass Mercury

lay unheeded in the dusty roadside grass. Then it caught the

eye of a passing child.

He was a bright little boy of five. From the moment when he

caught the gleam of brass he knew that he had made the find

of his life. But his nurse was a timorous, foolish thing.

“You did ought to of left it there, Masterrarry,” she said.

“Findings ain’t keepings nowadays, not by no manner of means,

Masterrarry.

“Yew’d look silly if a policeman came along arsting people if

they seen a goldennimage.

“Arst yer ‘ow you come by it and look pretty straight at

you.”

All of which grumblings Master Harry treated with an

experienced disregard. He knew definitely that he would never

relinquish this bright and lovely possession again. It was

the first beautiful thing he had ever possessed. He was the

darling of fond and indulgent parents and his nursery was

crowded with hideous rag and sawdust dolls, golliwogs, comic

penguins, comic lions, comic elephants and comic policemen

and every variety of suchlike humorous idiocy and visual

beastliness. This figure, solid, delicate and gracious, was a

thing of a different order.

There was to be much conflict and distress, tears and wrath,

before the affinity of that cleanlimbed, shining figure and

his small soul was recognized. But he carried his point at

last. The Mercury became his inseparable darling, his symbol,

his private god, the one dignified and serious thing in a

little life much congested by the quaint, the burlesque, and

all the smiling, dull condescensions of adult love.

 

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 CHAPTER THE FOURTH

 

AT MAIDENHEAD

 

Section 1

 

The little Charmeuse was towed to hospital and the two

psychiatrists took up their quarters at the Radiant Hotel

with its pleasant lawns and graceful landing stage at the

bend towards the bridge. Sir Richmond, after some trying work

at the telephone, got into touch with his own proper car. A

man would bring the car down in two days’ time at latest, and

afterwards the detested coupe could go back to London. The

day was still young, and after lunch and coffee upon a sunny

lawn a boat seemed indicated. Sir Richmond astonished the

doctor by going to his room, reappearing dressed in tennis

flannels and looking very well in them. It occurred to the

doctor as a thing hitherto unnoted that Sir Richmond was not

indifferent to his personal appearance. The doctor had no

flannels, but he had brought a brown holland umbrella lined

with green that he had acquired long ago in Algiers, and this

served to give him something of the riverside quality.

The day was full of sunshine and the river had a Maytime

animation. Pink geraniums, vivid green lawns, gay awnings,

bright glass, white paint and shining metal set the tone of

Maidenhead life. At lunch there had been five or six small

tables with quietly affectionate couples who talked in

undertones, a tableful of bright-coloured Jews who talked in

overtones, and a family party from the Midlands, badly

smitten with shyness, who did not talk at all. “A resort, of

honeymoon couples,” said the doctor, and then rather

knowingly: “Temporary honeymoons, I fancy, in one or two of

the cases.”

“Decidedly temporary,” said Sir Richmond, considering the

company-”in most of the cases anyhow. The two in the corner

might be married. You never know nowadays.”

He became reflective. . . .

After lunch and coffee he rowed the doctor up the river

towards Cliveden.

“The last time I was here,” he said, returning to the

subject, “I was here on a temporary honeymoon.”

The doctor tried to look as though he had not thought that

could be possible.

“I know my Maidenhead fairly well,” said Sir Richmond.

“Aquatic activities, such as rowing, punting, messing about

with a boat-hook, tying up, buzzing about in motor launches,

fouling other people’s boats, are merely the stage business

of the drama. The ruling interests of this place are lovelargely

illicit-and persistent drinking. . . . Don’t you

think the bridge charming from here?”

“I shouldn’t have thought-drinking,” said Dr. Martineau,

after he had done justice to the bridge over his shoulder.

“Yes, the place has a floating population of quiet

industrious soakers. The incurable river man and the river

girl end at that.”

Dr. Martineau encouraged Sir Richmond by an appreciative

silence.

“If we are to explore the secret places of the heart,” Sir

Richmond went on, “we shall have to give some attention to

this Maidenhead side of life. It is very material to my case.

I have,-as I have said-BEEN HERE. This place has beauty and

charm; these piled-up woods behind which my Lords Astor and

Desborough keep their state, this shining mirror of the

water, brown and green and sky blue, this fringe of reeds and

scented rushes and forget-me-not and lilies, and these

perpetually posing white swans: they make a picture. A little

artificial it is true; one feels the presence of a

Conservancy Board, planting the rushes and industriously

nicking the swans; but none the less delightful. And this

setting has appealed to a number of people as an invitation,

as, in a way, a promise. They come here, responsive to that

promise of beauty and happiness. They conceive of themselves

here, rowing swiftly and gracefully, punting beautifully,

brandishing boat-hooks with ease and charm. They look to

meet, under pleasant or romantic circumstances, other

possessors and worshippers of grace and beauty here. There

will be glowing evenings, warm moonlight, distant voices

singing. . . .There is your desire, doctor, the desire you

say is the driving force of life. But reality mocks it. Boats

bump and lead to coarse ungracious quarrels; rowing can be

curiously fatiguing; punting involves dreadful indignities.

The romance here tarnishes very quickly. Romantic encounters

fail to occur; in our impatience we resort to-accosting.

Chilly mists arise from the water and the magic of distant

singing is provided, even excessively, by boatloads of cadswith

collecting dishes. When the weather keeps warm there

presently arises an extraordinary multitude of gnats, and

when it does not there is a need for stimulants. That is why

the dreamers who come here first for a light delicious brush

with love, come down at last to the Thamesside barmaid with

her array of spirits and cordials as the quintessence of all

desire.”

“I say,” said the doctor. “You tear the place to pieces.”

“The desires of the place,” said Sir Richmond.

“I’m using the place as a symbol.”

He held his sculls awash, rippling in the water.

“The real force of life, the rage of life, isn’t here,” he

said. “It’s down underneath, sulking and smouldering. Every

now and then it strains and cracks the surface. This stretch

of the Thames, this pleasure stretch, has in fact a curiously

quarrelsome atmosphere. People scold and insult one another

for the most trivial things, for passing too close, for

taking the wrong side, for tying up or floating loose. Most

of these notice boards on the bank show a thoroughly nasty

spirit. People on the banks jeer at anyone in the boats. You

hear people quarrelling in boats, in the hotels, as they walk

along the towing path. There is remarkably little happy

laughter here. The RAGE, you see, is hostile to this place,

the RAGE breaks through. . . . The people who drift from one

pub to another, drinking, the people who fuddle in the

riverside hotels, are the last fugitives of pleasure, trying

to forget the rage. . . .”

“Isn’t it that there is some greater desire at the back of

the human mind?” the doctor suggested. “Which refuses to be

content with pleasure as an end?”

“What greater desire?” asked Sir Richmond, disconcertingly.

“Oh! . . . “ The doctor cast about.

“There is no such greater desire,” said Sir Richmond. “You

cannot name it. It is just blind drive. I admit its

discontent with pleasure as an end-but has it any end of its

own? At the most you can say that the rage in life is seeking

its desire and hasn’t found it.”

“Let us help in the search,” said the doctor, with an

afternoon smile under his green umbrella. “Go on.”

 

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 Section 2

“Since our first talk in Harley Street,” said Sir Richmond,

“I have been trying myself over in my mind. (We can drift

down this backwater.) “

“Big these trees are,” said the doctor with infinite

approval.

“I am astonished to discover what a bundle of discordant

motives I am. I do not seem to deserve to be called a

personality. I cannot discover even a general direction. Much

more am I like a taxi-cab in which all sorts of aims and

desires have travelled to their destination and got out. Are

we all like that?”

“A bundle held together by a name and address and a certain

thread of memory?” said the doctor and considered. “More than

that. More than that. We have leading ideas, associations,

possessions, liabilities.”

“We build ourselves a prison of circumstances that keeps us

from complete dispersal.”

“Exactly,” said the doctor. “And there is also something, a

consistency, that we call character.”

“It changes.”

“Consistently with itself.”

“I have been trying to recall my sexual history,” said Sir

Richmond, going off at a tangent. “My sentimental education.

I wonder if it differs very widely from yours or most men’s.”

“Some men are more eventful in these matters than others,”

said the doctor,-it sounded-wistfully.

“They have the same jumble of motives and traditions, I

suspect, whether they are eventful or not. The brakes may be

strong or weak but the drive is the same. I can’t remember

much of the beginnings of curiosity and knowledge in these

matters. Can you?”

“Not much,” said the doctor. “No.”

“Your psychoanalysts tell a story of fears, suppressions,

monstrous imaginations, symbolic replacements. I don’t

remember much of that sort of thing in my own case. It may

have faded out of my mind. There were probably some uneasy

curiosities, a grotesque dream or so perhaps; I can’t recall

anything of that sort distinctly now. I had a very lively

interest in women, even when I was still quite a little boy,

and a certain-what shall I call it?-imaginative

slavishness-not towards actual women but towards something

magnificently feminine. My first love-”

Sir Richmond smiled at some secret memory. “My first love was

Britannia as depicted by Tenniel in the cartoons in PUNCH. I

must have been a very little chap at the time of the

Britannia affair. I just clung to her in my imagination and

did devoted things for her. Then I recall, a little later, a

secret abject adoration for the white goddesses of the

Crystal Palace. Not for any particular one of them that I can

remember,-for all of them. But I don’t remember anything

very monstrous or incestuous in my childish imaginations,-

such things as Freud, I understand, lays stress upon. If

there was an Oedipus complex or anything of that sort in my

case it has been very completely washed out again. Perhaps a

child which is brought up in a proper nursery of its own and

sees a lot of pictures of the nude human body, and so on,

gets its mind shifted off any possible concentration upon the

domestic aspect of sex. I got to definite knowledge pretty

early. By the time I was eleven or twelve.”

“Normally? “

“What is normally? Decently, anyhow. Here again I may be

forgetting much secret and shameful curiosity. I got my ideas

into definite form out of a little straightforward

physiological teaching and some dissecting of rats and mice.

My schoolmaster was a capable sane man in advance of his

times and my people believed in him. I think much of this

distorted perverse stuff that grows up in people’s minds

about sex and develops into evil vices and still more evil

habits, is due to the mystery we make about these things.”

“Not entirely,” said the doctor.

“Largely. What child under a modern upbringing ever goes

through the stuffy horrors described in James Joyce’s

PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN.”

“I’ve not read it.”

“A picture of the Catholic atmosphere; a young soul shut up

in darkness and ignorance to accumulate filth. In the name of

purity and decency and under threats of hell fire.”

“Horrible!”

“Quite. A study of intolerable tensions, the tensions that

make young people write unclean words in secret places. “

“Yes, we certainly ventilate and sanitate in those matters

nowadays. Where nothing is concealed, nothing can explode.”

“On the whole I came up to adolescence pretty straight and

clean,” said Sir Richmond. “What stands out in my memory now

is this idea, of a sort of woman goddess who was very lovely

and kind and powerful and wonderful. That ruled my secret

imaginations as a boy, but it was very much in my mind as I

grew up.”

“The mother complex,” said Dr. Martineau as a passing

botanist might recognize and name a flower.

Sir Richmond stared at him for a moment.

“It had not the slightest connexion with my mother or any

mother or any particular woman at all. Far better to call it

the goddess complex.”

“The connexion is not perhaps immediately visible,” said the

doctor.

“There was no connexion,” said Sir Richmond. “The women of my

adolescent dreams were stripped and strong and lovely. They

were great creatures. They came, it was clearly traceable,

from pictures sculpture-and from a definite response in

myself to their beauty. My mother had nothing whatever to do

with that. The women and girls about me were fussy bunches of

clothes that I am sure I never even linked with that dream

world of love and worship.”

“Were you co-educated?”

“No. But I had a couple of sisters, one older, one younger

than myself, and there were plenty of girls in my circle. I

thought some of them pretty-but that was a different affair.

I know that I didn’t connect them with the idea of the loved

and worshipped goddesses at all, because I remember when I

first saw the goddess in a real human being and how amazed I

was at the discovery. . . . I was a boy of twelve or

thirteen. My people took me one summer to Dymchurch in Romney

Marsh; in those days before the automobile had made the Marsh

accessible to the Hythe and Folkestone crowds, it was a

little old forgotten silent wind-bitten village crouching

under the lee of the great sea wall. At low water there were

miles of sand as smooth and shining as the skin of a savage

brown woman. Shining and with a texture-the very same. And

one day as I was mucking about by myself on the beach, boy

fashion,-there were some ribs of a wrecked boat buried in

the sand near a groin and I was busy with them-a girl ran

out from a tent high up on the beach and across the sands to

the water. She was dressed in a tight bathing dress and not

in the clumsy skirts and frills that it was the custom to

inflict on women in those days. Her hair was tied up in a

blue handkerchief. She ran swiftly and gracefully, intent

upon the white line of foam ahead. I can still remember how

the sunlight touched her round neck and cheek as she went

past me. She was the loveliest, most shapely thing I have

ever seen-to this day. She lifted up her arms and thrust

through the dazzling white and green breakers and plunged

into the water and swam; she swam straight out for a long way

as it seemed to me, and presently came in and passed me again

on her way back to her tent, light and swift and sure. The

very prints of her feet on the sand were beautiful. Suddenly

I realized that there could be living people in the world as

lovely as any goddess. . . . She wasn’t in the least out of

breath.

“That was my first human love. And I love that girl still. I

doubt sometimes whether I have ever loved anyone else. I kept

the thing very secret. I wonder now why I have kept the thing

so secret. Until now I have never told a soul about it. I

resorted to all sorts of tortuous devices and excuses to get

a chance of seeing her again without betraying what it was I

was after.”

Dr. Martineau retained a simple fondness for a story.

“And did you meet her again?”

“Never. Of course I may have seen her as a dressed-up person

and not recognized her. A day or so later I was stabbed to

the heart by the discovery that the tent she came out of had

been taken away. “

“She had gone?”

“For ever.”

Sir Richmond smiled brightly at the doctor’s disappointment.

 

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CHAPTER 9

Section 3

“I was never wholehearted and simple about sexual things,”

Sir Richmond resumed presently. “Never. I do not think any

man is. We are too much plastered-up things, too much the

creatures of a tortuous and complicated evolution.”

Dr. Martineau, under his green umbrella, nodded his conceded

agreement.

“This-what shall I call it?-this Dream of Women, grew up in

my mind as I grew up-as something independent of and much

more important than the reality of Women. It came only very

slowly into relation with that. That girl on the Dymchurch

beach was one of the first links, but she ceased very

speedily to be real-she joined the women of dreamland at

last altogether. She became a sort of legendary incarnation.

I thought of these dream women not only as something

beautiful but as something exceedingly kind and helpful. The

girls and women I met belonged to a different

creation. . . .”

Sir Richmond stopped abruptly and rowed a few long strokes.

Dr. Martineau sought information.

“I suppose,” he said, “there was a sensuous element in these

dreamings?”

“Certainly. A very strong one. It didn’t dominate but it was

a very powerful undertow.”

“Was there any tendency in all this imaginative stuff to

concentrate? To group itself about a single figure, the sort

of thing that Victorians would have called an ideal?”

“Not a bit of it,” said Sir Richmond with conviction. “There

was always a tremendous lot of variety in my mind. In fact

the thing I liked least in the real world was the way it was

obsessed by the idea of pairing off with one particular set

and final person. I liked to dream of a blonde goddess in her

own Venusberg one day, and the next I would be off over the

mountains with an armed Brunhild.”

“You had little thought of children?”

“As a young man?”

“Yes.”

“None at all. I cannot recall a single philoprogenitive

moment. These dream women were all conceived of, and I was

conceived of, as being concerned in some tremendous

enterprise-something quite beyond domesticity. It kept us

related-gave us dignity. . . . Certainly it wasn’t babies.”

“All this is very interesting, very interesting, from the

scientific point of view. A PRIORI it is not what one might

have expected. Reasoning from the idea that all instincts and

natural imaginations are adapted to a biological end and

seeing that sex is essentially a method of procreation, one

might reasonably expect a convergence, if not a complete

concentration, upon the idea of offspring. It is almost as if

there were other ends to be served. It is clear that Nature

has not worked this impulse out to any sight of its end. Has

not perhaps troubled to do so. The instinct of the male for

the female isn’t primarily for offspring-not even in the

most intelligent and farseeing types. The desire just points

to glowing satisfactions and illusions. Quite equally I think

the desire of the female for the male ignores its end. Nature

has set about this business in a CHEAP sort of way. She is

like some pushful advertising tradesman. She isn’t frank

with us; she just humbugs us into what she wants with us. All

very well in the early Stone Age-when the poor dear things

never realized that their mutual endearments meant all the

troubles and responsibilities of parentage. But NOW-!”

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 beenabout

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 very simply and purely. I was not one of those young

men who sow a large crop of wild oats. I was a fairly decent

youth. It suddenly appeared to me that a certain smiling and

dainty girl could make herself into all the goddesses of my

dreams. I had but to win her and this miracle would occur. Of

course I forget now the exact things I thought and felt then,

but surely I had some such persuasion. Or why should I have

married her? My wife was seven years younger than myself,-a

girl of twenty. She was charming. She is charming. She is a

wonderfully intelligent and understanding woman. She has made

a home for me-a delightful home. I am one of those men who

have no instinct for home making. I owe my home and all the

comfort and dignity of my life to her ability. I have no

excuse for any misbehaviour-so far as she is concerned. None

at all. By all the rules I should have been completely

happy. But instead of my marriage satisfying me, it presently

released a storm of long-controlled desires and imprisoned

cravings. A voice within me became more and more urgent.

‘This will not do. This is not love. Where are your

goddesses? This is not love.’ . . . And I was unfaithful to

my wife within four years of my marriage. It was a sudden

overpowering impulse. But I suppose the ground had been

preparing for a long time. I forget now all the emotions of

that adventure. I suppose at the time it seemed beautiful and

wonderful. . . . I do not excuse myself. Still less do I

condemn myself. I put the facts before you. So it was.”

“There were no children by your marriage?”

“Your line of thought, doctor, is too philoprogenitive. We

have had three. My daughter was married two years ago. She is

in America. One little boy died when he was three. The other

is in India, taking up the Mardipore power scheme again now

that he is out of the army. . . . No, it is simply that I was

hopelessly disappointed with everything that a good woman and

a decent marriage had to give me. Pure disappointment and

vexation. The anti-climax to an immense expectation built up

throughout an imaginative boyhood and youth and early

manhood. I was shocked and ashamed at my own disappointment.

I thought it mean and base. Nevertheless this orderly

household into which I had placed my life, these almost

methodical connubialities . . . .”

He broke off in mid-sentence.

Dr. Martineau shook his head disapprovingly.

“No,” he said, “it wasn’t fair to your wife.”

“It was shockingly unfair. I have always realized that. I’ve

done what I could to make things up to her. . . . Heaven

knows what counter disappointments she has concealed. . . .

But it is no good arguing about rights and wrongs now. This

is not an apology for my life. I am telling you what

happened.

“Not for me to judge,” said Dr. Martineau. “Go on.”

“By marrying I had got nothing that my soul craved for, I had

satisfied none but the most transitory desires and I had

incurred a tremendous obligation. That obligation didn’t

restrain me from making desperate lunges at something vaguely

beautiful that I felt was necessary to me; but it did cramp

and limit these lunges. So my story flops down into the

comedy of the lying, cramped intrigues of a respectable,

married man. . .I was still driven by my dream of some

extravagantly beautiful inspiration called love and I sought

it like an area sneak. Gods! What a story it is when one

brings it all together! I couldn’t believe that the glow and

sweetness I dreamt of were not in the world-somewhere.

Hidden away from me. I seemed to catch glimpses of the dear

lost thing, now in the corners of a smiling mouth, now in

dark eyes beneath a black smoke of hair, now in a slim form

seen against the sky. Often I cared nothing for the woman I

made love to. I cared for the thing she seemed to be hiding

from me . . . . “

Sir Richmond’s voice altered.

“I don’t see what possible good it can do to talk over these

things.” He began to row and rowed perhaps a score of

strokes. Then he stopped and the boat drove on with a whisper

of water at the bow and over the outstretched oar blades.

“What a muddle and mockery the whole thing is!” he cried.

“What a fumbling old fool old Mother Nature has been! She

drives us into indignity and dishonour: and she doesn’t even

get the children which are her only excuse for her mischief.

See what a fantastic thing I am when you take the machine to

pieces! I have been a busy and responsible man throughout my

life. I have handled complicated public and industrial

affairs not unsuccessfully and discharged quite big

obligations fully and faithfully. And all the time, hidden

away from the public eye, my life has been laced by the

thread of these-what can one call them? -love adventures.

How many? you ask. I don’t know. Never have I been a wholehearted

lover; never have I been able to leave love alone. .

. . Never has love left me alone.

“And as I am made, said Sir Richmond with sudden insistence,

“AS I AM MADE-I do not believe that I could go on without

these affairs. I know that you will be disposed to dispute

that.

Dr. Martineau made a reassuring noise.

“These affairs are at once unsatisfying and vitally

necessary. It is only latterly that I have begun to perceive

this. Women MAKE life for me. Whatever they touch or see or

desire becomes worth while and otherwise it is not worth

while. Whatever is lovely in my world, whatever is

delightful, has been so conveyed to me by some woman. Without

the vision they give me, I should be a hard dry industry in

the world, a worker ant, a soulless rage, making much,

valuing nothing.”

He paused.

“You are, I think, abnormal,” considered the doctor.

“Not abnormal. Excessive, if you like. Without women I am a

wasting fever of distressful toil. Without them there is no

kindness in existence, no rest, no sort of satisfaction. The

world is a battlefield, trenches, barbed wire, rain, mud,

logical necessity and utter desolation-with nothing whatever

worth fighting for. Whatever justifies effort, whatever

restores energy is hidden in women . . . .”

“An access of sex,” said Dr. Martineau. “ This is a

phase. . . .”

“It is how I am made,” said Sir Richmond.

A brief silence fell upon that. Dr. Martineau persisted. “It

isn’t how you are made. We are getting to something in all

this. It is, I insist, a mood of how you are made. A

distinctive and indicative mood.”

Sir Richmond went on, almost as if he soliloquized.

“I would go through it all again. . . . There are times when

the love of women seems the only real thing in the world to

me. And always it remains the most real thing. I do not know

how far I may be a normal man or how far I may not be, so to

speak, abnormally male, but to me life has very little

personal significance and no value or power until it has a

woman as intermediary. Before life can talk to me and say

anything that matters a woman must be present as a medium. I

don’t mean that it has no significance mentally and

logically; I mean that irrationally and emotionally it has no

significance. Works of art, for example, bore me, literature

bores me, scenery bores me, even the beauty of a woman bores

me, unless I find in it some association with a woman’s

feeling. It isn’t that I can’t tell for myself that a picture

is fine or a mountain valley lovely, but that it doesn’t

matter a rap to me whether it is or whether it isn’t until

there is a feminine response, a sexual motif, if you like to

call it that, coming in. Whatever there is of loveliness or

pride in life doesn’t LIVE for me until somehow a woman comes

in and breathes upon it the breath of life. I cannot even

rest until a woman makes holiday for me. Only one thing can I

do without women and that is work, joylessly but effectively,

and latterly for some reason that it is up to you to

discover, doctor, even the power of work has gone from me.”

Section 4

“This afternoon brings back to me very vividly my previous

visit here. It was perhaps a dozen or fifteen years ago. We

rowed down this same backwater. I can see my companion’s

hand-she had very pretty hands with rosy palms-trailing in

the water, and her shadowed face smiling quietly under her

sunshade, with little faint streaks of sunlight, reflected

from the ripples, dancing and quivering across it. She was

one of those people who seem always to be happy and to

radiate happiness.

“By ordinary standards,” said Sir Richmond, “she was a

thoroughly bad lot. She had about as much morality, in the

narrower sense of the word, as a monkey. And yet she stands

out in my mind as one of the most honest women I have ever

met. She was certainly one of the kindest. Part of that

effect of honesty may have been due to her open brow, her

candid blue eyes, the smiling frankness of her manner. . . .

But-no! She was really honest.

“We drifted here as we are doing now. She pulled at the sweet

rushes and crushed them in her hand. She adds a remembered

brightness to this afternoon.

“Honest.

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CHAPTER 10 

 

Section 4

“This afternoon brings back to me very vividly my previous

visit here. It was perhaps a dozen or fifteen years ago. We

rowed down this same backwater. I can see my companion’s

hand-she had very pretty hands with rosy palms-trailing in

the water, and her shadowed face smiling quietly under her

sunshade, with little faint streaks of sunlight, reflected

from the ripples, dancing and quivering across it. She was

one of those people who seem always to be happy and to

radiate happiness.

“By ordinary standards,” said Sir Richmond, “she was a

thoroughly bad lot. She had about as much morality, in the

narrower sense of the word, as a monkey. And yet she stands

out in my mind as one of the most honest women I have ever

met. She was certainly one of the kindest. Part of that

effect of honesty may have been due to her open brow, her

candid blue eyes, the smiling frankness of her manner. . . .

But-no! She was really honest.

“We drifted here as we are doing now. She pulled at the sweet

rushes and crushed them in her hand. She adds a remembered

brightness to this afternoon.

“Honest. Friendly. Of all the women I have known, this woman

who was here with me came nearest to being my friend. You

know, what we call virtue in a woman is a tremendous handicap

to any real friendliness with a man. Until she gets to an age

when virtue and fidelity are no longer urgent practical

concerns, a good woman, by the very definition of feminine

goodness, isn’t truly herself. Over a vast extent of her

being she is RESERVED. She suppresses a vast amount of her

being, holds back, denies, hides. On the other hand, there is

a frankness and honesty in openly bad women arising out of

the admitted fact that they are bad, that they hide no

treasure from you, they have no peculiarly precious and

delicious secrets to keep, and no poverty to conceal.

Intellectually they seem to be more manly and vigorous

because they are, as people say, unsexed. Many old women,

thoroughly respectable old women, have the same quality.

Because they have gone out of the personal sex business.

Haven’t you found that?”

“I have never,” said the doctor, known what you call an

openly bad woman,-at least, at all intimately. . . . “

Sir Richmond looked with quick curiosity at his companion.

“You have avoided them!”

“They don’t attract me.”

“They repel you?”

“For me,” said the doctor, “for any friendliness, a woman

must be modest. . . . My habits of thought are old-fashioned,

I suppose, but the mere suggestion about a woman that there

were no barriers, no reservation, that in any fashion she

might more than meet me half way . . . “

His facial expression completed his sentence.

“Now I wonder,” whispered Sir Richmond, and hesitated for a

moment before he carried the great research into the

explorer’s country. “You are afraid of women?” he said, with

a smile to mitigate the impertinence.

“I respect them.”

“An element of fear.”

“Well, I am afraid of them then. Put it that way if you like.

Anyhow I do not let myself go with them. I have never let

myself go.”

“You lose something. You lose a reality of insight.”

There was a thoughtful interval.

“Having found so excellent a friend,” said the doctor, “why

did you ever part from her?”

Sir Richmond seemed indisposed to answer, but Dr. Martineau’s

face remained slantingly interrogative. He had found the

effective counterattack and he meant to press it. “I was

jealous of her,” Sir Richmond admitted. “I couldn’t stand

that side of it.”

 

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  Section 5

After a meditative silence the doctor became briskly

professional again.

“You care for your wife,” he said. “You care very much for

your wife. She is, as you say, your great obligation and you

are a man to respect obligations. I grasp that. Then you tell

me of these women who have come and gone. . . . About them

too you are perfectly frank. . . There remains someone

else.” Sir Richmond stared at his physician.

“Well,” he said and laughed. “I didn’t pretend to have made

my autobiography anything more than a sketch.”

“No, but there is a special person, the current person.”

“I haven’t dilated on my present situation, I admit.”

“From some little things that have dropped from you, I should

say there is a child.”

“That,” said Sir Richmond after a brief pause, “is a good

guess.” “Not older than three.” “Two years and a half.”

“You and this lady who is, I guess, young, are separated. At

any rate, you can’t go to her. That leaves you at loose ends,

because for some time, for two or three years at least, you

have ceased to be-how shall I put it?-an emotional

wanderer.” “I begin to respect your psychoanalysis.”

“Hence your overwhelming sense of the necessity of feminine

companionship for weary men. I guess she is a very jolly

companion to be with, amusing, restful-interesting.”

“H’m,” said Sir Richmond. “I think that is a fair

description. When she cares, that is. When she is in good

form.”

“Which she isn’t at present,” hazarded the doctor. He

exploded a mine of long-pent exasperation.

“She is the clumsiest hand at keeping well that I have ever

known. Health is a woman’s primary duty. But she is incapable

of the most elementary precautions. She is maddeningly

receptive to every infection. At the present moment, when I

am ill, when I am in urgent need of help and happiness, she

has let that wretched child get measles and she herself won’t

let me go near her because she has got something disfiguring,

something nobody else could ever have or think of having,

called CARBUNCLE. Carbuncle!”

“It is very painful,” said Dr. Martineau. “No doubt it is,”

said Sir Richmond.

“No doubt it is.” His voice grew bitter. He spoke with

deliberation. “A perfectly aimless, useless illness,-and as

painful as it CAN be.”

He spoke as if he slammed a door viciously. And indeed he had

slammed a door. The doctor realized that for the present

there was no more self-dissection to be got from Sir

Richmond.

For some time Sir Richmond had been keeping the boat close up

to the foaming weir to the left of the lock by an occasional

stroke. Now with a general air of departure he swung the boat

round and began to row down stream towards the bridge and the

Radiant Hotel.

“Time we had tea,” he said.

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 CHAPTER 12

 

 Section 6

After tea Dr. Martineau left Sir Richmond in a chair upon the

lawn, brooding darkly-apparently over the crime of the

carbuncle. The doctor went to his room, ostensibly to write

a couple of letters and put on a dinner jacket, but really to

make a few notes of the afternoon’s conversation and meditate

over his impressions while they were fresh.

His room proffered a comfortable armchair and into this he

sank. . . A number of very discrepant things were busy in his

mind. He had experienced a disconcerting personal attack.

There was a whirl of active resentment in the confusion.

Apologetics of a rake,” he tried presently.

“A common type, stripped of his intellectual dressing. Every

third manufacturer from the midlands or the north has some

such undertow of ‘affairs.’ A physiological uneasiness, an

imaginative laxity, the temptations of the trip to Londonweakness

masquerading as a psychological necessity. The Lady

of the Carbuncle seems to have got rather a hold upon him.

She has kept him in order for three or four years.”

The doctor scrutinized his own remarks with a judicious

expression.

“I am not being fair. He ruffled me. Even if it is true, as I

said, that every third manufacturer from the midlands is in

much the same case as he is, that does not dismiss the case.

It makes it a more important one, much more important: it

makes it a type case with the exceptional quality of being

self-expressive. Almost too selfexpressive.

“Sir Richmond does, after all, make out a sort of case for

himself. . . .

“A valid case?”

The doctor sat deep in his chair, frowning judicially with

the fingers of one hand apposed to the fingers of the other.

“He makes me bristle because all his life and ideas challenge

my way of living. But if I eliminate the personal element? “

He pulled a sheet of note-paper towards him and began to jot

down notes with a silver-cased pencil. Soon he discontinued

writing and sat tapping his pencil-case on the table. “The

amazing selfishness of his attitude! I do not think that

once-not once-has he judged any woman except as a

contributor to his energy and peace of mind. . . . Except in

the case of his wife. . . .

“For her his habit of respect was formed before his ideas

developed. . . .

“That I think explains HER. . . .

“What was his phrase about the unfortunate young woman with

the carbuncle? . . . ‘Totally Useless and unnecessary

illness,’ was it? . . .

“Now has a man any right by any standards to use women as

this man has used them?

“By any standards?”

The doctor frowned and nodded his head slowly with the

corners of his mouth drawn in.

For some years now an intellectual reverie had been playing

an increasing part in the good doctor’s life. He was writing

this book of his, writing it very deliberately and

laboriously, THE PSYCHOLOGY OF A NEW AGE, but much more was

he dreaming and thinking about this book. Its publication was

to mark an epoch in human thought and human affairs

generally, and create a considerable flutter of astonishment

in the doctor’s own little world. It was to bring home to

people some various aspects of one very startling

proposition: that human society had arrived at a phase when

the complete restatement of its fundamental ideas had become

urgently necessary, a phase when the slow, inadequate,

partial adjustments to two centuries of changing conditions

had to give place to a rapid reconstruction of new

fundamental ideas. And it was a fact of great value in the

drama of these secret dreams that the directive force towards

this fundamentally reconstructed world should be the pen of

an unassuming Harley Street physician, hitherto not suspected

of any great excesses of enterprise.

The written portions of this book were already in a highly

polished state. They combined a limitless freedom of proposal

with a smooth urbanity of manner, a tacit denial that the

thoughts of one intelligent being could possibly be shocking

to another. Upon this the doctor was very insistent. Conduct,

he held, could never be sufficiently discreet, thought could

never be sufficiently free. As a citizen, one had to treat a

law or an institution as a thing as rigidly right as a

natural law. That the social well-being demands. But as a

scientific man, in one’s stated thoughts and in public

discussion, the case was altogether different. There was no

offence in any possible hypothesis or in the contemplation of

any possibility. Just as when one played a game one was

bound to play in unquestioning obedience to the laws and

spirit of the game, but if one was not playing that game

then there was no reason why one should not contemplate the

completest reversal of all its methods and the alteration and

abandonment of every rule. Correctness of conduct, the doctor

held, was an imperative concomitant of all really free

thinking. Revolutionary speculation is one of those things

that must be divorced absolutely from revolutionary conduct.

It was to the neglect of these obvious principles, as the

doctor considered them, that the general muddle in

contemporary marital affairs was very largely due. We left

divorce-law revision to exposed adulterers and marriage

reform to hot adolescents and craving spinsters driven by the

furies within them to assertions that established nothing and

to practical demonstrations that only left everybody

thoroughly uncomfortable. Far better to leave all these

matters to calm, patient men in easy chairs, weighing typical

cases impartially, ready to condone, indisposed to envy.

In return for which restraint on the part of the eager and

adventurous, the calm patient man was prepared in his

thoughts to fly high and go far. Without giving any

guarantee, of course, that he might not ultimately return to

the comfortable point of inaction from which he started.

In Sir Richmond, Dr. Martineau found the most interesting and

encouraging confirmation of the fundamental idea of THE

PSYCHOLOGY OF A NEW AGE, the immediate need of new criteria

of conduct altogether. Here was a man whose life was

evidently ruled by standards that were at once very high and

very generous. He was overworking himself to the pitch of

extreme distress and apparently he was doing this for ends

that were essentially unselfish. Manifestly there were many

things that an ordinary industrial or political magnate would

do that Sir Richmond would not dream of doing, and a number

of things that such a man would not feel called upon to do

that he would regard as imperative duties. And mixed up with

so much fine intention and fine conduct was this disreputable

streak of intrigue and this extraordinary claim that such

misconduct was necessary to continued vigour of action.

“To energy of thought it is not necessary,” said Dr.

Martineau, and considered for a time. “Yet-certainly-I am

not a man of action. I admit it. I make few decisions.

“The chapters of THE PSYCHOLOGY OF A NEW AGE dealing with

women were still undrafted, but they had already greatly

exercised the doctor’s mind. He found now that the case of

Sir Richmond had stirred his imagination. He sat with his

hands apposed, his head on one side, and an expression of

great intellectual contentment on his face while these

emancipated ideas gave a sort of gala performance in his

mind.

The good doctor did not dislike women, he had always guarded

himself very carefully against misogyny, but he was very

strongly disposed to regard them as much less necessary in

the existing scheme of things than was generally assumed.

Women, he conceded, had laid the foundations of social life.

Through their contrivances and sacrifices and patience the

fierce and lonely patriarchal family-herd of a male and his

women and off spring had grown into the clan and tribe; the

woven tissue of related families that constitute the human

comity had been woven by the subtle, persistent protection of

sons and daughters by their mothers against the intolerant,

jealous, possessive Old Man. But that was a thing, of the

remote past. Little was left of those ancient struggles now

but a few infantile dreams and nightmares. The greater human

community, human society, was made for good. And being made,

it had taken over the ancient tasks of the woman, one by one,

until now in its modern forms it cherished more sedulously

than she did, it educated, it housed and comforted, it

clothed and served and nursed, leaving the wife privileged,

honoured, protected, for the sake of tasks she no longer did

and of a burthen she no longer bore. “Progress has

TRIVIALIZED women,” said the doctor, and made a note of the

word for later consideration.

“And woman has trivialized civilization,” the doctor tried.

“She has retained her effect of being central, she still

makes the social atmosphere, she raises men’s instinctive

hopes of help and direction. Except,” the doctor stipulated,

“for a few highly developed modern types, most men found the

sense of achieving her a necessary condition for sustained

exertion. And there is no direction in her any more.

“She spends,” said the doctor, “she just spends. She spends

excitingly and competitively for her own pride and glory, she

drives all the energy of men over the weirs of gain. . . .

“What are we to do with the creature?” whispered the doctor.

Apart from the procreative necessity, was woman an

unavoidable evil? The doctor’s untrammelled thoughts began to

climb high, spin, nose dive and loop the loop. Nowadays we

took a proper care of the young, we had no need for high

birth rates, quite a small proportion of women with a gift in

that direction could supply all the offspring that the world

wanted. Given the power of determining sex that science was

slowly winning today, and why should we have so many women

about? A drastic elimination of the creatures would be quite

practicable. A fantastic world to a vulgar imagination, no

doubt, but to a calmly reasonable mind by no means fantastic.

But this was where the case of Sir Richmond became so

interesting. Was it really true that the companionship of

women was necessary to these energetic creative types? Was it

the fact that the drive of life towards action, as

distinguished from contemplation, arose out of sex and needed

to be refreshed by the reiteration of that motive? It was a

plausible proposition: it marched with all the doctor’s ideas

of natural selection and of the conditions of a survival that

have made us what we are. It was in tune with the Freudian

analyses.

“SEX NOT ONLY A RENEWAL OF LIFE IN THE SPECIES,” noted the

doctor’s silver pencil; “SEX MAY BE ALSO A RENEWAL OF ENERGY

IN THE INDIVIDUAL.”

After some musing he crossed out “sex” and wrote above it

“sexual love.”

“That is practically what he claims, Dr. Martineau said. “In

which case we want the completest revision of all our

standards of sexual obligation. We want a new system of

restrictions and imperatives altogether.”

It was a fixed idea of the doctor’s that women were quite

incapable of producing ideas in the same way that men do, but

he believed that with suitable encouragement they could be

induced to respond quite generously to such ideas. Suppose

therefore we really educated the imaginations of women;

suppose we turned their indubitable capacity for service

towards social and political creativeness, not in order to

make them the rivals of men in these fields, but their moral

and actual helpers. “A man of this sort wants a mistressmother,”

said the doctor. “He wants a sort of woman who cares

more for him and his work and honour than she does for child

or home or clothes or personal pride. “But are there such

women? Can there be such a woman?”

“His work needs to be very fine to deserve her help. But

admitting its fineness? . . .

“The alternative seems to be to teach the sexes to get along

without each other.

“A neutralized world. A separated world. How we should jostle

in the streets! But the early Christians have tried it

already. The thing is impossible.

“Very well, then, we have to make women more responsible

again. In a new capacity. We have to educate them far more

seriously as sources of energy-as guardians and helpers of

men. And we have to suppress them far more rigorously as

tempters and dissipaters. Instead of mothering babies they

have to mother the race. . . . “

A vision of women made responsible floated before his eyes.

“Is that man working better since you got hold of him? If

not, why not? “Or again,-Jane Smith was charged with

neglecting her lover to the common danger. . . . The

inspector said the man was in a pitiful state, morally quite

uncombed and infested with vulgar, showy ideas. . . .”

The doctor laughed, telescoped his pencil and stood up.

 

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CAPITULO 13

 

 Section 7

It became evident after dinner that Sir Richmond also had

been thinking over the afternoon’s conversation.

He and Dr. Martineau sat in wide-armed cane chairs on the

lawn with a wickerwork table bearing coffee cups and little

glasses between them. A few other diners chatted and

whispered about similar tables but not too close to our

talkers to disturb them; the dining room behind them had

cleared its tables and depressed its illumination. The moon,

in its first quarter, hung above the sunset, sank after

twilight, shone brighter and brighter among the western

trees, and presently had gone, leaving the sky to an

increasing multitude of stars. The Maidenhead river wearing

its dusky blue draperies and its jewels of light had

recovered all the magic Sir Richmond had stripped from it in

the afternoon. The grave arches of the bridge, made complete

circles by the reflexion of the water, sustained, as if by

some unifying and justifying reason, the erratic flat flashes

and streaks and glares of traffic that fretted to and fro

overhead. A voice sang intermittently and a banjo tinkled,

but remotely enough to be indistinct and agreeable.

“After all,” Sir Richmond began abruptly,” the search for

some sort of sexual modus vivendi is only a means to an end.

One does not want to live for sex but only through sex. The

main thing in my life has always been my work. This

afternoon, under the Maidenhead influence, I talked too much

of sex. I babbled. Of things one doesn’t usually . . . “

“It was very illuminating,” said the doctor.

“No doubt. But a temporary phase. It is the defective bearing

talks. . . . Just now-I happen to be irritated.”

The darkness concealed a faint smile on the doctor’s face.

“The work is the thing,” said Sir Richmond. So long as one

can keep one’s grip on it.”

“What,” said the doctor after a pause, leaning back and

sending wreaths of smoke up towards the star-dusted zenith,

“what is your idea of your work? I mean, how do you see it in

relation to yourself-and things generally?”

“Put in the most general terms?”

“Put in the most general terms.”

“I wonder if I can put it in general terms for you at all. It

is hard to put something one is always thinking about in

general terms or to think of it as a whole. . . . Now. . . .

Fuel? . . .

“I suppose it was my father’s business interests that pushed

me towards specialization in fuel. He wanted me to have a

thoroughly scientific training in days when a scientific

training was less easy to get for a boy than it is today. And

much more inspiring when you got it. My mind was framed, so

to speak, in geology and astronomical physics. I grew up to

think on that scale. Just as a man who has been trained in

history and law grows to think on the scale of the Roman

empire. I don’t know what your pocket map of the universe is,

the map, I mean, by which you judge all sorts of other

general ideas. To me this planet is a little ball of oxides

and nickel steel; life a sort of tarnish on its surface. And

we, the minutest particles in that tarnish. Who can

nevertheless, in some unaccountable way, take in the idea of

this universe as one whole, who begin to dream of taking

control of it.”

“That is not a bad statement of the scientific point of view.

I suppose I have much the same general idea of the world. On

rather more psychological lines.”

“We think, I suppose, said Sir Richmond, of life as something

that is only just beginning to be aware of what it is-and

what it might be.”

“Exactly,” said the doctor. “Good.”

He went on eagerly. “That is precisely how I see it. You and

I are just particles in the tarnish, as you call it, who are

becoming dimly awake to what we are, to what we have in

common. Only a very few of us have got as far even as this.

These others here, for example . . . .”

He indicated the rest of Maidenhead by a movement.

“Desire, mutual flattery, egotistical dreams, greedy

solicitudes fill them up. They haven’t begun to get out of

themselves.”

“We, I suppose, have,” doubted Sir Richmond.

“We have.”

The doctor had no doubt. He lay back in his chair, with his

hands behind his head and his smoke ascending vertically to

heaven. With the greatest contentment he began quoting

himself. “This getting out of one’s individuality-this

conscious getting out of one’s individuality-is one of the

most important and interesting aspects of the psychology of

the new age that is now dawning. As compared with any

previous age. Unconsciously, of course, every true artist,

every philosopher, every scientific investigator, so far as

his art or thought went, has always got out of himself,-has

forgotten his personal interests and become Man thinking for

the whole race. And intimations of the same thing have been

at the heart of most religions. But now people are beginning

to get this detachment without any distinctively religious

feeling or any distinctive aesthetic or intellectual impulse,

as if it were a plain matter of fact. Plain matter of fact,

that we are only incidentally ourselves. That really each one

of us is also the whole species, is really indeed all life. “

“A part of it.”

“An integral part-as sight is part of a man . . . with no

absolute separation from all the rest-no more than a

separation of the imagination. The whole so far as his

distinctive quality goes. I do not know how this takes shape

in your mind, Sir Richmond, but to me this idea of actually

being life itself upon the world, a special phase of it

dependent upon and connected with all other phases, and of

being one of a small but growing number of people who

apprehend that, and want to live in the spirit of that, is

quite central. It is my fundamental idea. We,-this small

but growing minority-constitute that part of life which

knows and wills and tries to rule its destiny. This new

realization, the new psychology arising out of it is a fact

of supreme importance in the history of life. It is like the

appearance of self-consciousness in some creature that has

not hitherto had self-consciousness. And so far as we are

concerned, we are the true kingship of the world.

Necessarily. We who know, are the true king. . . .I wonder

how this appeals to you. It is stuff I have thought out very

slowly and carefully and written and approved. It is the very

core of my life. . . . And yet when one comes to say these

things to someone else, face to face. . . . It is much more

difficult to say than to write.”

Sir Richmond noted how the doctor’s chair creaked as he

rolled to and fro with the uneasiness of these intimate

utterances.

“I agree,” said Sir Richmond presently. “One DOES think in

this fashion. Something in this fashion. What one calls one’s

work does belong to something much bigger than ourselves.

“Something much bigger,” he expanded.

“Which something we become,” the doctor urged, “in so far as

our work takes hold of us.”

Sir Richmond made no answer to this for a little while. “Of

course we trail a certain egotism into our work,” he said.

“Could we do otherwise? But it has ceased to be purely

egotism. It is no longer, ‘I am I’ but ‘I am part.’. . . One

wants to be an honourable part.”

“You think of man upon his planet,” the doctor pursued. “I

think of life rather as a mind that tries itself over in

millions and millions of trials. But it works out to the same

thing.”

“I think in terms of fuel,” said Sir Richmond.

He was still debating the doctor’s generalization. “I suppose

it would be true to say that I think of myself as mankind on

his planet, with very considerable possibilities and with

only a limited amount of fuel at his disposal to achieve

them. Yes. . . . I agree that I think in that way. . . . I

have not thought much before of the way in which I think

about things-but I agree that it is in that way. Whatever

enterprises mankind attempts are limited by the sum total of

that store of fuel upon the planet. That is very much in my

mind. Besides that he has nothing but his annual allowance of

energy from the sun.”

“I thought that presently we were to get unlimited energy

from atoms,” said the doctor.

“I don’t believe in that as a thing immediately practicable.

No doubt getting a supply of energy from atoms is a

theoretical possibility, just as flying was in the time of

Daedalus; probably there were actual attempts at some sort of

glider in ancient Crete. But before we get to the actual

utilization of atomic energy there will be ten thousand

difficult corners to turn; we may have to wait three or four

thousand years for it. We cannot count on it. We haven’t it

in hand. There may be some impasse. All we have surely is

coal and oil,-there is no surplus of wood now-only an

annual growth. And water-power is income also, doled out day

by day. We cannot anticipate it. Coal and oil are our only

capital. They are all we have for great important efforts.

They are a gift to mankind to use to some supreme end or to

waste in trivialities. Coal is the key to metallurgy and oil

to transit. When they are done we shall either have built up

such a fabric of apparatus, knowledge and social organization

that we shall be able to manage without them-or we shall

have travelled a long way down the slopes of waste towards

extinction. . . . To-day, in getting, in distribution, in use

we waste enormously. . . .As we sit here all the world is

wasting fuel fantastically.”

“Just as mentally-educationally we waste,” the doctor

interjected.

“And my job is to stop what I can of that waste, to do what I

can to organize, first of all sane fuel getting and then sane

fuel using. And that second proposition carries us far. Into

the whole use we are making of life.

“First things first,” said Sir Richmond. If we set about

getting fuel sanely, if we do it as the deliberate,

co-operative act of the whole species, then it follows that

we shall look very closely into the use that is being made of

it. When all the fuel getting is brought into one view as a

common interest, then it follows that all the fuel burning

will be brought into one view. At present we are getting fuel

in a kind of scramble with no general aim. We waste and lose

almost as much as we get. And of what we get, the waste is

idiotic.

“I won’t trouble you,” said Sir Richmond, “with any long

discourse on the ways of getting fuel in this country. But

land as you know is owned in patches and stretches that were

determined in the first place chiefly by agricultural

necessities. When it was divided up among its present owners

nobody was thinking about the minerals beneath. But the

lawyers settled long ago that the landowner owned his land

right down to the centre of the earth. So we have the

superficial landlord as coal owner trying to work his coal

according to the superficial divisions, quite irrespective of

the lie of the coal underneath. Each man goes for the coal

under his own land in his own fashion. You get three shafts

where one would suffice and none of them in the best possible

place. You get the coal coming out of this point when it

would be far more convenient to bring it out at that-miles

away. You get boundary walls of coal between the estates,

abandoned, left in the ground for ever. And each coal owner

sells his coal in his own pettifogging manner... But you know

of these things. You know too how we trail the coal all over

the country, spoiling it as we trail it, until at last we get

it into the silly coal scuttles beside the silly, wasteful,

airpoisoning, fog-creating fireplace.

“And this stuff,” said Sir Richmond, bringing his hand down

so smartly on the table that the startled coffee cups cried

out upon the tray; “was given to men to give them power over

metals, to get knowledge with, to get more power with.”

“The oil story, I suppose, is as bad.”

“The oil story is worse. . . .

“There is a sort of cant,” said Sir Richmond in a fierce

parenthesis, “that the supplies of oil are inexhaustiblethat

you can muddle about with oil anyhow. . . . Optimism of

knaves and imbeciles. . . . They don’t want to be pulled up

by any sane considerations. . . .”

For some moments he kept silence-as if in unspeakable

commination.

“Here I am with some clearness of vision-my only gift; not

very clever, with a natural bad temper, and a strong sexual

bias, doing what I can to get a broader handling of the fuel

question-as a common interest for all mankind. And I find

myself up against a lot of men, subtle men, sharp men,

obstinate men, prejudiced men, able to get round me, able to

get over me, able to blockade me. . . . Clever men-yes, and

all of them ultimately damned-oh! utterly damned-fools.

Coal owners who think only of themselves, solicitors who

think backwards, politicians who think like a game of cat’scradle,

not a gleam of generosity not a gleam.”

“What particularly are you working for?” asked the doctor.

“I want to get the whole business of the world’s fuel

discussed and reported upon as one affair so that some day it

may be handled as one affair in the general interest.”

“The world, did you say? You meant the empire?”

“No, the world. It is all one system now. You can’t work it

in bits. I want to call in foreign representatives from the

beginning.”

“Advisory-consultative?”

“No. With powers. These things interlock now internationally

both through labour and finance. The sooner we scrap this

nonsense about an autonomous British Empire complete in

itself, contra mundum, the better for us. A world control is

fifty years overdue. Hence these disorders. “

“Still-it’s rather a difficult proposition, as things are.”

“Oh, Lord! don’t I know it’s difficult!” cried Sir Richmond

in the tone of one who swears. “Don’t I know that perhaps

it’s impossible! But it’s the only way to do it. Therefore, I

say, let’s try to get it done. And everybody says, difficult,

difficult, and nobody lifts a finger to try. And the only

real difficulty is that everybody for one reason or another

says that it’s difficult. It’s against human nature. Granted!

Every decent thing is. It’s socialism. Who cares? Along this

line of comprehensive scientific control the world has to go

or it will retrogress, it will muddle and rot. . . .”

“I agree,” said Dr. Martineau.

“So I want a report to admit that distinctly. I want it to go

further than that. I want to get the beginnings, the germ, of

a world administration. I want to set up a permanent world

commission of scientific men and economists-with powers,

just as considerable powers as I can give them-they’ll be

feeble powers at the best-but still some sort of SAY in the

whole fuel supply of the world. A say-that may grow at last

to a control. A right to collect reports and receive accounts

for example, to begin with. And then the right to make

recommendations. . . . You see? . . . No, the international

part is not the most difficult part of it. But my beastly

owners and their beastly lawyers won’t relinquish a scrap of

what they call their freedom of action. And my labour men,

because I’m a fairly big coal owner myself, sit and watch and

suspect me, too stupid to grasp what I am driving at and too

incompetent to get out a scheme of their own. They want a

world control on scientific lines even less than the owners.

They try to think that fuel production can carry an unlimited

wages bill and the owners try to think that it can pay

unlimited profits, and when I say; ‘This business is

something more than a scramble for profits and wages; it’s a

service and a common interest,’ they stare at me-” Sir

Richmond was at a loss for an image. “Like a committee in a

thieves’ kitchen when someone has casually mentioned the

law.”

“But will you ever get your Permanent Commission?”

“It can be done. If I can stick it out.”

“But with the whole Committee against you!”

“The curious thing is that the whole Committee isn’t against

me. Every individual is . . . .”

Sir Richmond found it difficult to express. “The psychology

of my Committee ought to interest you. . . . It is probably a

fair sample of the way all sorts of things are going

nowadays. It’s curious. . . . There is not a man on that

Committee who is quite comfortable within himself about the

particular individual end he is there to serve. It’s there I

get them. They pursue their own ends bitterly and obstinately

I admit, but they are bitter and obstinate because they

pursue them against an internal opposition-which is on my

side. They are terrified to think, if once they stopped

fighting me, how far they might not have to go with me.”

“A suppressed world conscience in fact. This marches very

closely with my own ideas.”

“A world conscience? World conscience? I don’t know. But I do

know that there is this drive in nearly every member of the

Committee, some drive anyhow, towards the decent thing. It is

the same drive that drives me. But I am the most driven. It

has turned me round. It hasn’t turned them. I go East and

they go West. And they don’t want to be turned round.

Tremendously, they don’t.”

“Creative undertow,” said Dr. Martineau, making notes, as it

were. “An increasing force in modern life. In the psychology

of a new age strengthened by education-it may play a

directive part.”

“They fight every little point. But, you see, because of this

creative undertow-if you like to call it that-we do get

along. I am leader or whipper-in, it is hard to say which, of

a bolting flock. . . .I believe they will report for a

permanent world commission; I believe I have got them up to

that; but they will want to make it a bureau of this League

of Nations, and I have the profoundest distrust of this

League of Nations. It may turn out to be a sort of sidetracking

arrangement for all sorts of important world issues.

And they will find they have to report for some sort of

control. But there again they will shy. They will report for

it and then they will do their utmost to whittle it down

again. They will refuse it the most reasonable powers. They

will alter the composition of the Committee so as to make it

innocuous.”

“How?”

“Get rid of the independent scientific men, load it up so far

as Britain is concerned with muck of the colonial politician

type and tame labour representatives, balance with shady new

adventurer millionaires, get in still shadier stuff from

abroad, let these gentry appoint their own tame experts after

their own hearts,-experts who will make merely advisory

reports, which will not be published. . . .”

“They want in fact to keep the old system going under the

cloak of YOUR Committee, reduced to a cloak and nothing

more?”

“That is what it amounts to. They want to have the air of

doing right-indeed they do want to have the FEEL of doing

right-and still leave things just exactly what they were

before. And as I suffer under the misfortune of seeing the

thing rather more clearly, I have to shepherd the conscience

of the whole Committee. . . . But there is a conscience

there. If I can hold out myself, I can hold the Committee.”

He turned appealingly to the doctor. “Why should I have to be

the conscience of that damned Committee? Why should I do this

exhausting inhuman job? . . . . In their hearts these others

know. . . . Only they won’t know. . . . Why should it fall

on me?”

“You have to go through with it,” said Dr. Martineau.

“I have to go through with it, but it’s a hell of utterly

inglorious squabbling. They bait me. They have been fighting

the same fight within themselves that they fight with me.

They know exactly where I am, that I too am doing my job

against internal friction. The one thing before all others

that they want to do is to bring me down off my moral high

horse. And I loathe the high horse. I am in a position of

special moral superiority to men who are on the whole as good

men as I am or better. That shows all the time. You see the

sort of man I am. I’ve a broad streak of personal vanity. I

fag easily. I’m short-tempered. I’ve other things, as you

perceive. When I fag I become obtuse, I repeat and bore, I

get viciously ill-tempered, I suffer from an intolerable

sense of ill usage. Then that ass, Wagstaffe, who ought to be

working with me steadily, sees his chance to be pleasantly

witty. He gets a laugh round the table at my expense. Young

Dent, the more intelligent of the labour men, reads me a

lecture in committee manners. Old Cassidy sees HIS opening

and jabs some ridiculous petty accusation at me and gets me

spluttering self-defence like a fool. All my stock goes down,

and as my stock goes down the chances of a good report

dwindle. Young Dent grieves to see me injuring my own case.

Too damned a fool to see what will happen to the report! You

see if only they can convince themselves I am just a prig and

an egotist and an impractical bore, they escape from a great

deal more than my poor propositions. They escape from the

doubt in themselves. By dismissing me they dismiss their own

consciences. And then they can scamper off and be sensible

little piggy-wigs and not bother any more about what is to

happen to mankind in the long run. . . . Do you begin to

realize the sort of fight, upside down in a dustbin, that

that Committee is for me?”

“You have to go through with it,” Dr. Martineau repeated.

“I have. If I can. But I warn you I have been near breaking

point. And if I tumble off the high horse, if I can’t keep

going regularly there to ride the moral high horse, that

Committee will slump into utter scoundrelism. It will turn

out a long, inconsistent, botched, unreadable report that

will back up all sorts of humbugging bargains and sham

settlements. It will contain some half-baked scheme to pacify

the miners at the expense of the general welfare. It won’t

even succeed in doing that. But in the general confusion old

Cassidy will get away with a series of hauls that may run

into millions. Which will last his time-damn him! And that

is where we are. . . . Oh! I know! I know! . . . . I must do

this job. I don’t need any telling that my life will be

nothing and mean nothing unless I bring this thing

through. . . .

“But the thanklessness of playing this lone hand!”

The doctor watched his friend’s resentful black silhouette

against the lights on the steely river, and said nothing for

awhile.

“Why did I ever undertake to play it?” Sir Richmond appealed.

“Why has it been put upon me? Seeing what a poor thing I am,

why am I not a poor thing altogether?”

 

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CHAPTER 15

 Section 8

“I think I understand that loneliness of yours, said the

doctor after an interval.

“I am INTOLERABLE to myself.”

“And I think it explains why it is that you turn to women as

you do. You want help; you want reassurance. And you feel

they can give it.”

“I wonder if it has been quite like that,” Sir Richmond

reflected.

By an effort Dr. Martineau refrained from mentioning the

mother complex. “You want help and reassurance as a child

does,” he said. “Women and women alone seem capable of giving

that, of telling you that you are surely right, that

notwithstanding your blunders you are right; that even when

you are wrong it doesn’t so much matter, you are still in

spirit right. They can show their belief in you as no man

can. With all their being they can do that.”

“Yes, I suppose they could.”

“They can. You have said already that women are necessary to

make things real for you.”

“Not my work,” said Sir Richmond. “I admit that it might be

like that, but it isn’t like that. It has not worked out like

that. The two drives go on side by side in me. They have no

logical connexion. All I can say is that for me, with my

bifid temperament, one makes a rest from the other, and is so

far refreshment and a renewal of energy. But I do not find

women coming into my work in any effectual way. “

The doctor reflected further. “I suppose,” he began and

stopped short.

He heard Sir Richmond move in his chair, creaking an

interrogation.

“You have never,” said the doctor, “turned to the idea of

God?”

Sir Richmond grunted and made no other answer for the better

part of a minute.

As Dr. Martineau waited for his companion to speak, a falling

star streaked the deep blue above them.

“I can’t believe in a God,” said Sir Richmond.

“Something after the fashion of a God,” said the doctor

insidiously.

“No,” said Sir Richmond. “Nothing that reassures.”

“But this loneliness, this craving for companionship. . . .”

“We have all been through that,” said Sir Richmond. “We have

all in our time lain very still in the darkness with our

souls crying out for the fellowship of God, demanding some

sign, some personal response. The faintest feeling of

assurance would have satisfied us.”

“And there has never been a response?”

“Have YOU ever had a response?”

“Once I seemed to have a feeling of exaltation and security.”

“Well?”

“Perhaps I only persuaded myself that I had. I had been

reading William James on religious experiences and I was

thinking very much of Conversion. I tried to experience

Conversion. . . .”

“Yes? “

“It faded.”

“It always fades,” said Sir Richmond with anger in his voice.

“I wonder how many people there are nowadays who have passed

through this last experience of ineffectual invocation, this

appeal to the fading shadow of a vanished God. In the night.

In utter loneliness. Answer me! Speak to me! Does he answer?

In the silence you hear the little blood vessels whisper in

your ears. You see a faint glow of colour on the

darkness. . . . “

Dr. Martineau sat without a word.

“I can believe that over all things Righteousness rules. I

can believe that. But Righteousness is not friendliness nor

mercy nor comfort nor any such dear and intimate things. This

cuddling up to Righteousness! It is a dream, a delusion and a

phase. I’ve tried all that long ago. I’ve given it up long

ago. I’ve grown out of it. Men do-after forty. Our souls

were made in the squatting-place of the submen of ancient

times. They are made out of primitive needs and they die

before our bodies as those needs are satisfied. Only young

people have souls, complete. The need for a personal God,

feared but reassuring, is a youth’s need. I no longer fear

the Old Man nor want to propitiate the Old Man nor believe he

matters any more. I’m a bit of an Old Man myself I discover.

Yes. But the other thing still remains. “

“The Great Mother of the Gods,” said Dr. Martineau-still

clinging to his theories.

“The need of the woman,” said Sir Richmond. “I want mating

because it is my nature to mate. I want fellowship because I

am a social animal and I want it from another social animal.

Not from any God-any inconceivable God. Who fades and

disappears. No. . . .

“Perhaps that other need will fade presently. I do not know.

Perhaps it lasts as long as life does. How can I tell?”

He was silent for a little while. Then his voice sounded in

the night, as if he spoke to himself. “But as for the God of

All Things consoling and helping! Imagine it! That up therehaving

fellowship with me! I would as soon think of cooling

my throat with the Milky Way or shaking hands with those

stars.”

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pauloviana2012
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CHAPTER THE FIFTH

IN THE LAND OF THE FORGOTTEN PEOPLES

 

Section 1

 

A gust of confidence on the part of a person naturally or

habitually reserved will often be followed by a phase of

recoil. At breakfast next morning their overnight talk seemed

to both Sir Richmond and Dr. Martineau like something each

had dreamt about the other, a quite impossible excess of

intimacy. They discussed the weather, which seemed to be

settling down to the utmost serenity of which the English

spring is capable, they talked of Sir Richmond’s coming car

and of the possible routes before them. Sir Richmond produced

the Michelin maps which he had taken out of the pockets of

the little Charmeuse. The Bath Road lay before them, he

explained, Reading, Newbury, Hungerford, Marlborough, Silbury

Hill which overhangs Avebury. Both travellers discovered a

common excitement at the mention of Avebury and Silbury Hill.

Both took an intelligent interest in archaeology. Both had

been greatly stimulated by the recent work of Elliot Smith

and Rivers upon what was then known as the Heliolithic

culture. It had revived their interest in Avebury and

Stonehenge. The doctor moreover had been reading Hippisley

Cox’s GREEN ROADS OF ENGLAND.

Neither gentleman had ever seen Avebury, but Dr. Martineau

had once visited Stonehenge.

“Avebury is much the oldest,” said the doctor. They must have

made Silbury Hill long before 2000 B.C. It may be five

thousand years old or even more. It is the most important

historical relic in the British Isles. And the most

neglected. “

They exchanged archaeological facts. The secret places of the

heart rested until the afternoon.

Then Sir Richmond saw fit to amplify his confessions in one

particular.

 

 Section 2

 

The doctor and his patient had discovered a need for exercise

as the morning advanced. They had walked by the road to

Marlow and had lunched at a riverside inn, returning after a

restful hour in an arbour on the lawn of this place to tea at

Maidenhead. It was as they returned that Sir Richmond took up

the thread of their overnight conversation again.

“In the night,” he said, “I was thinking over the account I

tried to give you of my motives. A lot of it was terribly out

of drawing.”

“Facts?” asked the doctor.

“No, the facts were all right. It was the atmosphere, the

proportions. . . . I don’t know if I gave you the effect of

something Don Juanesque? . . .”

“Vulgar poem,” said the doctor remarkably.” I discounted

that.”

“Vulgar!”

“Intolerable. Byron in sexual psychology is like a stink in a

kitchen.”

Sir Richmond perceived he had struck upon the sort of thing

that used to be called a pet aversion.

“I don’t want you to think that I run about after women in an

habitual and systematic manner. Or that I deliberately hunt

them in the interests of my work and energy. Your questions

had set me theorizing about myself. And I did my best to

improvise a scheme of motives yesterday. It was, I perceive,

a jerry-built scheme, run up at short notice. My nocturnal

reflections convinced me of that. I put reason into things

that are essentially instinctive. The truth is that the

wanderings of desire have no single drive. All sorts of

motives come in, high and low, down to sheer vulgar

imitativeness and competitiveness. What was true in it all

was this, that a man with any imagination in a fatigue phase

falls naturally into these complications because they are

more attractive to his type and far easier and more

refreshing to the mind, at the outset, than anything else.

And they do work a sort of recovery in him, They send him

back to his work refreshed-so far, that is, as his work is

concerned.”

“At the OUTSET they are easier,” said the doctor.

Sir Richmond laughed. “When one is fagged it is only the

outset counts. The more tired one is the more readily one

moves along the line of least resistance. . . .

“That is one footnote to what I said. So far as the motive of

my work goes, I think we got something like the spirit of it.

What I said about that was near the truth of things. . . .

“But there is another set of motives altogether, “Sir

Richmond went on with an air of having cleared the ground for

his real business, “that I didn’t go into at all yesterday.”

He considered. “It arises out of these other affairs. Before

you realize it your affections are involved. I am a man much

swayed by my affections.”

Mr. Martineau glanced at him. There was a note of genuine

self-reproach in Sir Richmond’s voice.

“I get fond of people. It is quite irrational, but I get fond

of them. Which is quite a different thing from the admiration

and excitement of falling in love. Almost the opposite thing.

They cry or they come some mental or physical cropper and

hurt themselves, or they do something distressingly little

and human and suddenly I find they’ve GOT me. I’m distressed.

I’m filled with something between pity and an impulse of

responsibility. I become tender towards them. I am impelled

to take care of them. I want to ease them off, to reassure

them, to make them stop hurting at any cost. I don’t see why

it should be the weak and sickly and seamy side of people

that grips me most, but it is. I don’t know why it should be

their failures that gives them power over me, but it is. I

told you of this girl, this mistress of mine, who is ill just

now. SHE’S got me in that way; she’s got me tremendously.”

“You did not speak of her yesterday with any morbid excess of

pity,” the doctor was constrained to remark.

“I abused her very probably. I forget exactly what I

said. . . .”

The doctor offered no assistance.

“But the reason why I abuse her is perfectly plain. I abuse

her because she distresses me by her misfortunes and instead

of my getting anything out of her, I go out to her. But I DO

go out to her. All this time at the back of my mind I am

worrying about her. She has that gift of making one feel for

her. I am feeling that damned carbuncle almost as if it had

been my affair instead of hers.

“That carbuncle has made me suffer FRIGHTFULLY. . . . Why

should I? It isn’t mine.”

He regarded the doctor earnestly. The doctor controlled a

strong desire to laugh.

“I suppose the young lady-” he began.

“Oh! SHE puts in suffering all right. I’ve no doubt about

that.

“I suppose,” Sir Richmond went on, “now that I have told you

so much of this affair, I may as well tell you all. It is a

sort of comedy, a painful comedy, of irrelevant affections.”

The doctor was prepared to be a good listener. Facts he would

always listen to; it was only when people told him their

theories that he would interrupt with his “Exactly.”

“This young woman is a person of considerable genius. I don’t

know if you have seen in the illustrated papers a peculiar

sort of humorous illustrations usually with a considerable

amount of bite in them over the name of Martin Leeds?

“Extremely amusing stuff.”

“It is that Martin Leeds. I met her at the beginning of her

career. She talks almost as well as she draws. She amused me

immensely. I’m not the sort of man who waylays and besieges

women and girls. I’m not the pursuing type. But I perceived

that in some odd way I attracted her and I was neither wise

enough nor generous enough not to let the thing develop.”

“H’m,” said Dr. Martineau.

“I’d never had to do with an intellectually brilliant woman

before. I see now that the more imaginative force a woman

has, the more likely she is to get into a state of extreme

self-abandonment with any male thing upon which her

imagination begins to crystallize. Before I came along she’d

mixed chiefly with a lot of young artists and students, all

doing nothing at all except talk about the things they were

going to do. I suppose I profited by the contrast, being

older and with my hands full of affairs. Perhaps something

had happened that had made her recoil towards my sort of

thing. I don’t know. But she just let herself go at me.”

“And you?”

“Let myself go too. I’d never met anything like her before.

It was her wit took me. It didn’t occur to me that she wasn’t

my contemporary and as able as I was. As able to take care of

herself. All sorts of considerations that I should have shown

to a sillier woman I never dreamt of showing to her. I had

never met anyone so mentally brilliant before or so helpless

and headlong. And so here we are on each other’s hands! “

“But the child?

“It happened to us. For four years now things have just

happened to us. All the time I have been overworking, first

at explosives and now at this fuel business. She too is full

of her work.

“Nothing stops that though everything seems to interfere with

it. And in a distraught, preoccupied way we are abominably

fond of each other. ‘Fond’ is the word. But we are both too

busy to look after either ourselves or each other.

“She is much more incapable than I am,” said Sir Richmond as

if he delivered a weighed and very important judgment.

“You see very much of each other?”

“She has a flat in Chelsea and a little cottage in South

Cornwall, and we sometimes snatch a few days together, away

somewhere in Surrey or up the Thames or at such a place as

Southend where one is lost in a crowd of inconspicuous

people. “Then things go well-they usually go well at the

start-we are glorious companions. She is happy, she is

creative, she will light up a new place with flashes of

humour, with a keenness of appreciation . . . . “

“But things do not always go well?”

“Things,” said Sir Richmond with the deliberation of a man

who measures his words, “are apt to go wrong. . . . At the

flat there is constant trouble with the servants; they bully

her. A woman is more entangled with servants than a man.

Women in that position seem to resent the work and freedom of

other women. Her servants won’t leave her in peace as they

would leave a man; they make trouble for her. . . . And when

we have had a few days anywhere away, even if nothing in

particular has gone wrong-”

Sir Richmond stopped short.

“When they go wrong it is generally her fault,” the doctor

sounded.

“Almost always.”

“But if they don’t?” said the psychiatrist.

“It is difficult to describe. . . . The essential

incompatibility of the whole thing comes out.”

The doctor maintained his expression of intelligent interest.

“She wants to go on with her work. She is able to work

anywhere. All she wants is just cardboard and ink. My mind on

the other hand turns back to the Fuel Commission . . . .”

“Then any little thing makes trouble.”

“Any little thing makes trouble. And we always drift round to

the same discussion; whether we ought really to go on

together.”

“It is you begin that?”

“Yes, I start that. You see she is perfectly contented when I

am about. She is as fond of me as I am of her.”

“Fonder perhaps.”

‘I don’t know. But she is-adhesive. Emotionally adhesive.

All she wants to do is just to settle down when I am there

and go on with her work. But then, you see, there is MY

work.”

“Exactly. . . . After all it seems to me that your great

trouble is not in yourselves but in social institutions.

Which haven’t yet fitted themselves to people like you two.

It is the sense of uncertainty makes her, as you say,

adhesive. Nervously so. If we were indeed living in a new age

Instead of the moral ruins of a shattered one-”

“We can’t alter the age we live in,” said Sir Richmond a

little testily.

“No. Exactly. But we CAN realize, in any particular

situation, that it is not the individuals to blame but the

misfit of ideas and forms and prejudices.”

“No,” said Sir Richmond, obstinately rejecting this pacifying

suggestion; “she could adapt herself. If she cared enough.”

“But how?”

“She will not take the slightest trouble to adjust herself to

the peculiarities of our position. . . . She could be

cleverer. Other women are cleverer. Any other woman almost

would be cleverer than she is.”

“But if she was cleverer, she wouldn’t be the genius she is.

She would just be any other woman.”

“Perhaps she would,” said Sir Richmond darkly and

desperately. “Perhaps she would. Perhaps it would be better

if she was.”

Dr. Martineau raised his eyebrows in a furtive aside.

“But here you see that it is that in my case, the fundamental

incompatibility between one’s affections and one’s wider

conception of duty and work comes in. We cannot change social

institutions in a year or a lifetime. We can never change

them to suit an individual case. That would be like

suspending the laws of gravitation in order to move a piano.

As things are, Martin is no good to me, no help to me. She

is a rival to my duty. She feels that. She is hostile to my

duty. A definite antagonism has developed. She feels and

treats fuel-and everything to do with fuel as a bore. It is

an attack. We quarrel on that. It isn’t as though I found it

so easy to stick to my work that I could disregard her

hostility. And I can’t bear to part from her. I threaten it,

distress her excessively and then I am overcome by sympathy

for her and I go back to her. . . . In the ordinary course of

things I should be with her now.”

“If it were not for the carbuncle?”

“If it were not for the carbuncle. She does not care for me

to see her disfigured. She does not understand-” Sir

Richmond was at a loss for a phrase-”that it is not her good

looks.”

“She won’t let you go to her?”

“It amounts to that. . . . And soon there will be all the

trouble about educating the girl. Whatever happens, she must

have as good a chance as-anyone. . . . “

“Ah! That is worrying you too!”

“Frightfully at times. If it were a boy it would be easier.

It needs constant tact and dexterity to fix things up.

Neither of us have any. It needs attention. . . . “

Sir Richmond mused darkly.

Dr. Martineau thought aloud. “An incompetent delightful

person with Martin Leeds’s sense of humour. And her powers of

expression. She must be attractive to many people. She could

probably do without you. If once you parted.”

Sir Richmond turned on him eagerly.

“You think I ought to part from her? On her account?”

“On her account. It might pain her. But once the thing was

done-”

“I want to part. I believe I ought to part.”

“Well?”

“But then my affection comes in.”

“That extraordinary-TENDERNESS of yours?”

“I’m afraid.”

“Of what?”

“Anyone might get hold of her-if I let her down. She hasn’t

a tithe of the ordinary coolheaded calculation of an average

woman. . . . I’ve a duty to her genius. I’ve got to take care

of her.”

To which the doctor made no reply.

“Nevertheless the idea of parting has been very much in my

mind lately.”

“Letting her go FREE?”

“You can put it in that way if you like.”

“It might not be a fatal operation for either of you.”

“And yet there are moods when parting is an intolerable idea.

When one is invaded by a flood of affection.”. . . . And old

habits of association.”

Dr. Martineau thought. Was that the right word,-affection?

Perhaps it was.

They had come out on the towing path close by the lock and

they found themselves threading their way through a little

crowd of boating people and lookers-on. For a time their

conversation was broken. Sir Richmond resumed it.

“But this is where we cease to be Man on his Planet and all

the rest of it. This is where the idea of a definite task,

fanatically followed to the exclusion of all minor

considerations, breaks down. When the work is good, when we

are sure we are all right, then we may carry off things with

a high hand. But the work isn’t always good, we aren’t always

sure. We blunder, we make a muddle, we are fatigued. Then the

sacrificed affections come in as accusers. Then it is that we

want to be reassured.”

“And then it is that Miss Martin Leeds-?”

“Doesn’t,” Sir Richmond snapped.

Came a long pause.

“And yet-

“It is extraordinarily difficult to think of parting from

Martin.”

 

Section 3

 

In the evening after dinner Dr. Martineau sought, rather

unsuccessfully, to go on with the analysis of Sir Richmond.

But Sir Richmond was evidently a creature of moods. Either he

regretted the extent of his confidences or the slight

irrational irritation that he felt at waiting for his car

affected his attitude towards his companion, or Dr.

Martineau’s tentatives were ill-chosen. At any rate he would

not rise to any conversational bait that the doctor could

devise. The doctor found this the more regrettable because it

seemed to him that there was much to be worked upon in this

Martin Leeds affair. He was inclined to think that she and

Sir Richmond were unduly obsessed by the idea that they had

to stick together because of the child, because of the look

of the thing and so forth, and that really each might be

struggling against a very strong impulse indeed to break off

the affair. It seemed evident to the doctor that they jarred

upon and annoyed each other extremely. On the whole

separating people appealed to a doctor’s mind more strongly

than bringing them together. Accordingly he framed his

enquiries so as to make the revelation of a latent antipathy

as easy as possible.

He made several not very well-devised beginnings. At the

fifth Sir Richmond was suddenly conclusive. “It’s no use,” he

said, “I can’t fiddle about any more with my motives

to-day.”

An awkward silence followed. On reflection Sir Richmond

seemed to realize that this sentence needed some apology. “I

admit,” he said, “that this expedition has already been a

wonderfully good thing for me. These confessions have made me

look into all sorts of things-squarely. But-

“I’m not used to talking about myself or even thinking

directly about myself. What I say, I afterwards find

disconcerting to recall. I want to alter it. I can feel

myself wallowing into a mess of modifications and

qualifications.”

“Yes, but-”

“I want a rest anyhow. . . .”

There was nothing for Dr. Martineau to say to that.

The two gentlemen smoked for some time in a slightly

uncomfortable silence. Dr. Martineau cleared his throat twice

and lit a second cigar. They then agreed to admire the bridge

and think well of Maidenhead. Sir Richmond communicated

hopeful news about his car, which was to arrive the next

morning before ten-he’d just ring the fellow up presently to

make sure-and Dr. Martineau retired early and went rather

thoughtfully to bed. The spate of Sir Richmond’s confidences,

it was evident, was over.

 

Section 4

 

Sir Richmond’s car arrived long before ten, brought down by a

young man in a state of scared alacrity-Sir Richmond had

done some vigorous telephoning before turning in,-the

Charmeuse set off in a repaired and chastened condition to

town, and after a leisurely breakfast our two investigators

into the springs of human conduct were able to resume their

westward journey. They ran through scattered Twyford with its

pleasant looking inns and through the commonplace urbanities

of Reading, by Newbury and Hungerford’s pretty bridge and up

long wooded slopes to Savernake forest, where they found the

road heavy and dusty, still in its war-time state, and so

down a steep hill to the wide market street which is

Marlborough. They lunched in Marlborough and went on in the

afternoon to Silbury Hill, that British pyramid, the largest

artificial mound in Europe. They left the car by the roadside

and clambered to the top and were very learned and

inconclusive about the exact purpose of this vast heap of

chalk and earth, this heap that men had made before the

temples at Karnak were built or Babylon had a name.

Then they returned to the car and ran round by a winding road

into the wonder of Avebury. They found a clean little inn

there kept by pleasant people, and they garaged the car in

the cowshed and took two rooms for the night that they might

the better get the atmosphere of the ancient place. Wonderful

indeed it is, a vast circumvallation that was already two

thousand years old before the dawn of British history; a

great wall of earth with its ditch most strangely on its

inner and not on its outer side; and within this enclosure

gigantic survivors of the great circles of unhewn stone that,

even as late as Tudor days, were almost complete. A whole

village, a church, a pretty manor house have been built, for

the most part, out of the ancient megaliths; the great wall

is sufficient to embrace them all with their gardens and

paddocks; four cross-roads meet at the village centre. There

are drawings of Avebury before these things arose there, when

it was a lonely wonder on the plain, but for the most part

the destruction was already done before the MAYFLOWER sailed.

To the southward stands the cone of Silbury Hill; its shadow

creeps up and down the intervening meadows as the seasons

change. Around this lonely place rise the Downs, now bare

sheep pastures, in broad undulations, with a wart-like barrow

here and there, and from it radiate, creeping up to gain and

hold the crests of the hills, the abandoned trackways of that

forgotten world. These trackways, these green roads of

England, these roads already disused when the Romans made

their highway past Silbury Hill to Bath, can still be traced

for scores of miles through the land, running to Salisbury

and the English Channel, eastward to the crossing at the

Straits and westward to Wales, to ferries over the Severn,

and southwestward into Devon and Cornwall.

The doctor and Sir Richmond walked round the walls, surveyed

the shadow cast by Silbury upon the river flats, strolled up

the down to the northward to get a general view of the

village, had tea and smoked round the walls again in the warm

April sunset. The matter of their conversation remained

prehistoric. Both were inclined to find fault with the

archaeological work that had been done on the place. “Clumsy

treasure hunting,” Sir Richmond said. “They bore into Silbury

Hill and expect to find a mummified chief or something

sensational of that sort, and they don’t, and they report

nothing. They haven’t sifted finely enough; they haven’t

thought subtly enough. These walls of earth ought to tell

what these people ate, what clothes they wore, what woods

they used. Was this a sheep land then as it is now, or a

cattle land? Were these hills covered by forests? I don’t

know. These archaeologists don’t know. Or if they do they

haven’t told me, which is just as bad. I don’t believe they

know.

“What trade came here along these tracks? So far as I know,

they had no beasts of burthen. But suppose one day someone

were to find a potsherd here from early Knossos, or a

fragment of glass from Pepi’s Egypt.”

The place had stirred up his imagination. He wrestled with

his ignorance as if he thought that by talking he might

presently worry out some picture of this forgotten world,

without metals, without beasts of burthen, without letters,

without any sculpture that has left a trace, and yet with a

sense of astronomical fact clear enough to raise the great

gnomon of Silbury, and with a social system complex enough to

give the large and orderly community to which the size of

Avebury witnesses and the traffic to which the green roads

testify.

The doctor had not realized before the boldness and

liveliness of his companion’s mind. Sir Richmond insisted

that the climate must have been moister and milder in those

days; he covered all the downlands with woods, as Savernake

was still covered; beneath the trees he restored a thicker,

richer soil. These people must have done an enormous lot with

wood. This use of stones here was a freak. It was the very

strangeness of stones here that had made them into sacred

things. One thought too much of the stones of the Stone Age.

Who would carve these lumps of quartzite when one could carve

good oak? Or beech-a most carvable wood. Especially when

one’s sharpest chisel was a flint. “It’s wood we ought to

look for,” said Sir Richmond. “Wood and fibre.” He declared

that these people had their tools of wood, their homes of

wood, their gods and perhaps their records of wood. “A peat

bog here, even a few feet of clay, might have pickled some

precious memoranda. . . . No such luck. . . . Now in

Glastonbury marshes one found the life of the early iron

age-half way to our own times-quite beautifully pickled.”

Though they wrestled mightily with the problem, neither Sir

Richmond nor the doctor could throw a gleam of light upon the

riddle why the ditch was inside and not outside the great

wall.

“And what was our Mind like in those days?” said Sir

Richmond. “That, I suppose, is what interests you. A vivid

childish mind, I guess, with not a suspicion as yet that it

was Man ruling his Planet or anything of that sort.”

The doctor pursed his lips. “None,” he delivered judicially.

“If one were able to recall one’s childhood-at the age of

about twelve or thirteen-when the artistic impulse so often

goes into abeyance and one begins to think in a troubled,

monstrous way about God and Hell, one might get something

like the mind of this place.”

“Thirteen. You put them at that already? . . . These people,

you think, were religious?”

“Intensely. In that personal way that gives death a nightmare

terror. And as for the fading of the artistic impulse,

they’ve left not a trace of the paintings and drawings and

scratchings of the Old Stone people who came before them.”

“Adults with the minds of thirteen-year-old children.

Thirteen-year-old children with the strength of adults-and

no one to slap them or tell them not to. . . . After all,

they probably only thought of death now and then. And they

never thought of fuel. They supposed there was no end to

that. So they used up their woods and kept goats to nibble

and kill the new undergrowth. DID these people have goats? “

“I don’t know,” said the doctor. So little is known.”

“Very like children they must have been. The same unending

days. They must have thought that the world went on for everjust

as they knew it-like my damned Committee does. . . .

With their fuel wasting away and the climate changing

imperceptibly, century by century. . . . Kings and important

men followed one another here for centuries and centuries. .

. . They had lost their past and had no idea of any future. .

. . They had forgotten how they came into the land . . . When

I was a child I believed that my father’s garden had been

there for ever. . . .

“This is very like trying to remember some game one played

when one was a child. It is like coming on something that one

built up with bricks and stones in some forgotten part of the

garden. . . . “

“The life we lived here,” said the doctor, has left its

traces in traditions, in mental predispositions, in still

unanalyzed fundamental ideas.”

“Archaeology is very like remembering,” said Sir Richmond.

“Presently we shall remember a lot more about all this. We

shall remember what it was like to live in this place, and

the long journey hither, age by age out of the south. We

shall remember the sacrifices we made and the crazy reasons

why we made them. We sowed our corn in blood here. We had

strange fancies about the stars. Those we brought with us out

of the south where the stars are brighter. And what like were

those wooden gods of ours? I don’t remember. . . . But I

could easily persuade myself that I had been here before.”

They stood on the crest of the ancient wall and the setting

sun cast long shadows of them athwart a field of springing

wheat.

“Perhaps we shall come here again,” the doctor carried on Sir

Richmond’s fancy; “after another four thousand years or so,

with different names and fuller minds. And then I suppose

that this ditch won’t be the riddle it is now.”

“Life didn’t seem so complicated then,” Sir Richmond mused.

“Our muddles were unconscious. We drifted from mood to mood

and forgot. There was more sunshine then, more laughter

perhaps, and blacker despair. Despair like the despair of

children that can weep itself to sleep. . . . It’s

over. . . . Was it battle and massacre that ended that long

afternoon here? Or did the woods catch fire some

exceptionally dry summer, leaving black hills and famine? Or

did strange men bring a sickness-measles, perhaps, or the

black death? Or was it cattle pest? Or did we just waste our

woods and dwindle away before the new peoples that came into

the land across the southern sea? I can’t remember. . . . “

Sir Richmond turned about. “I would like to dig up the bottom

of this ditch here foot by foot-and dry the stuff and sift

it-very carefully. . . . Then I might begin to remember

things.”

 

Section 5

 

In the evening, after a pleasant supper, they took a turn

about the walls with the moon sinking over beyond Silbury,

and then went in and sat by lamplight before a brightly fussy

wood fire and smoked. There were long intervals of friendly

silence.

“I don’t in the least want to go on talking about myself, “

said Sir Richmond abruptly.

“Let it rest then,” said the doctor generously.

“To-day, among these ancient memories, has taken me out of

myself wonderfully. I can’t tell you how good Avebury has

been for me. This afternoon half my consciousness has seemed

to be a tattooed creature wearing a knife of stone. . . . “

“The healing touch of history.”

“And for the first time my damned Committee has mattered

scarcely a rap. “

Sir Richmond stretched himself in his chair and blinked

cheerfully at his cigar smoke.

“Nevertheless,” he said, “this confessional business of yours

has been an excellent exercise. It has enabled me to get

outside myself, to look at myself as a Case. Now I can even

see myself as a remote Case. That I needn’t bother about

further. . . . So far as that goes, I think we have done all

that there is to be done.”

“I shouldn’t say that-quite-yet,” said the doctor.

“I don’t think I’m a subject for real psychoanalysis at all.

I’m not an overlaid sort of person. When I spread myself out

there is not much indication of a suppressed wish or of

anything masked or buried of that sort. What you get is a

quite open and recognized discord of two sets of motives.”

The doctor considered. “Yes, I think that is true. Your

LIBIDO is, I should say, exceptionally free. Generally you

are doing what you want to do-overdoing, in fact, what you

want to do and getting simply tired.”

“Which is the theory I started with. I am a case of fatigue

under irritating circumstances with very little mental

complication or concealment.”

“Yes,” said the doctor. “I agree. You are not a case for

psychoanalysis, strictly speaking, at all. You are in open

conflict with yourself, upon moral and social issues.

Practically open. Your problems are problems of conscious

conduct.”

“As I said.”

“Of what renunciations you have consciously to make.”

Sir Richmond did not answer that. . . .

“This pilgrimage of ours,” he said, presently, “has made for

magnanimity. This day particularly has been a good day. When

we stood on this old wall here in the sunset I seemed to be

standing outside myself in an immense still sphere of past

and future. I stood with my feet upon the Stone Age and saw

myself four thousand years away, and all my distresses as

very little incidents in that perspective. Away there in

London the case is altogether different; after three hours or

so of the Committee one concentrates into one little inflamed

moment of personality. There is no past any longer, there is

no future, there is only the rankling dispute. For all those

three hours, perhaps, I have been thinking of just what I had

to say, just how I had to say it, just how I looked while I

said it, just how much I was making myself understood, how I

might be misunderstood, how I might be misrepresented,

challenged, denied. One draws in more and more as one is used

up. At last one is reduced to a little, raw, bleeding,

desperately fighting, pin-point of SELF. . . . One goes back

to one’s home unable to recover. Fighting it over again. All

night sometimes . . . . I get up and walk about the room and

curse . . . . Martineau, how is one to get the Avebury frame

of mind to Westminster?”

“When Westminster is as dead as Avebury,” said the doctor,

unhelpfully. He added after some seconds, “Milton knew of

these troubles. ‘Not without dust and heat’ he wrote-a great

phrase.”

“But the dust chokes me,” said Sir Richmond.

He took up a copy of THE GREEN ROADS OF ENGLAND that lay

beside him on the table. But he did not open it. He held it

in his hand and said the thing he had had in mind to say all

that evening. “I do not think that I shall stir up my motives

any more for a time. Better to go on into the west country

cooling my poor old brain in these wide shadows of the past.”

“I can prescribe nothing better,” said Dr. Martineau.

“Incidentally, we may be able to throw a little more light on

one or two of your minor entanglements.”

“I don’t want to think of them, said Sir Richmond. “Let me

get right away from everything. Until my skin has grown

again.”