At one time there were people dying of actual starvation in India, while men were burning unsalable wheat in America. I stood up at last and put it carefully in my drawer and locked it—out of reach of any gusty impulse. As an inspirational text for a budding socialist, this might do well, but for a cynical conservative type like myself it's considerably off the mark, and aside from the cultural comparisons there's not much to draw me back into it. The reality of beauty yields itself to no words. Wells in which the vapors of a comet are used as a device which brings about a profound and lasting transformation in the attitudes and perspectives of humankind. Who, honestly, thinks like that? And why, for that matter, should it be them who create it? That's not to say that it's not a good place, a better place, wonderful, full of Shiny Happy People - positively utopian in fact. I Judged she was upon the landing overhead.
I had a wild impulse to strike him in the face. Staining to the edges of the upper corners of pages 13-31. I began to read with avidity such writing as Carlyle, Browning, and Heine have left for the perplexity of posterity, and not only to read and admire but to imitate. We were two youths much of an age together, Parload was two and twenty, and eight months older than I. Now, the whole world before the Change was as sick and feverish as that, it was worried and overworked and perplexed by problems that would not get stated simply, that changed and evaded solution, it was in an atmosphere that had corrupted and thickened past breathing; there was no thorough cool thinking in the world at all. I had awakened in the morning with the hope, it may have been the last unfaded trail of some obliterated dream, that after all Nettie might relent toward me, that her heart was kind toward me in spite of all that I imagined had happened.
I judged he was disturbed in his nap. Deal with it is worth an extra star. I wish that I had the sister art and could draw in my margin something that escapes description. But I had forgotten--there was also a chair with a squab that apologized inadequately for the defects of its cane seat. Original dark blue cloth with pictorial decoration in light blues and black. It was a life hardly worth living.
That chanced to be her pose, but indeed she was standing quite still, looking away towards the gray and lichenous shrubbery wall and, as I think now, listening. There was a sort of gravity in her eyes. I felt like a bombshell of swearing that must presently burst with some violence as I went on my silent way. At last the only things that seem to travel slowly in all those tearing vibrating premises are the hands of the clock. It chances too that my case is fairly typical of the Change; I was caught midway in a gust of passion; and a curious accident put me for a time in the very nucleus of the new order. What did it all mean? Gabbitas, the curate of all work, lodged on our ground floor, and upstairs there was an old lady, Miss Holroyd, who painted flowers on china and maintained her blind sister in an adjacent room; my mother and I lived in the basement and slept in the attics.
Discontent with the thing that existed was regarded as immoral, it was certainly an annoyance, and the only protest against it, the only effort against that universal tendency in all human institutions to thicken and clog, to work loosely and badly, to rust and weaken towards catastrophes, came from the young—the crude unmerciful young. I hesitated, half turned towards the dispute, then set off running towards the heaps. My mind just turned to mush after too long. He does pair this utopia with a main character that is about as unlikable as possible outside of being a felon. I had intended to go to Checkshill that day, but my bruised ankle was too swollen for that to be possible.
My memory takes me back across the interval of fifty years to a little ill-lit room with a sash window open to a starry sky, and instantly there returns to me the characteristic smell of that room, the penetrating odor of an ill-trimmed lamp, burning cheap paraffin. The Change has not abolished that, anyhow. . There I was, one corpuscle in the big amorphous body of the English community, one of forty-one million such corpuscles and, for all my preoccupations, these potent headlines, this paper ferment, caught me and swung me about. Wells is a good writer, and even from my position of disinterest I noticed how the tension grew as the comet grew nearer.
Her letter had reached me when I came home after old Rawdon's none too civil refusal to raise my wages. One thick strand of black hair had escaped, and hung with a spiral twist down her back; never before had I noticed that she had gray hairs. We run the world properly these days. It seemed absurd not to answer. Perhaps a cool observer even in the old days would have found little beauty in our grouping. I even stopped in the middle. She knew from a thousand little signs—though still at times I went to church with her —that I was passing out of touch of all these things that ruled her life, into some terrible unknown.
Then she plumped back to the chest of drawers, and her wet pocket-handkerchief, and I knew she sought refuge from my relentless eyes. Once the comet changed everyone the story progressed pretty quickly. It doesn't now, and it especially didn't then. My work was tedious and laborious and it took up an unreasonable proportion of my time, I was ill clothed, ill fed, ill housed, ill educated and ill trained, my will was suppressed and cramped to the pitch of torture, I had no reasonable pride in myself and no reasonable chance of putting anything right. He rested secure in my mother's timidity. What follows for most of the remainder of the book is a long series of examples of how the world, in small and large ways, would be so much better if we considered other people before our own selfishness and thought about things a little more before acting on that selfishness.
I wanted way more comet. That a large proportion of the people about me had no better a lot, that many had a worse, does not affect these facts. There must have been a passionate correspondence with Nettie, but all the froth and fury of that has faded now out of my memory. Parload was a quiet youth, and stiff and restrained in all things, while I had that supreme gift for young men and democracies, the gift of copious expression. I hovered over her for a moment, sick with amazed disgust. It renders every living being unconscious, but when man awakes he finds that he has lost the capacity for rage, fury and the darker passions. Slowly things draw on toward publication, the consummation of all those stresses.