Saturday, November 22, 2014

Further up and further in?

     "Was there, after all, ever any green door in the wall at all?
     "I do not know. I have told his story as he told it to me. There are times when I believe that Wallace was no more than the victim of the coincidence between a rare but not unprecedented type of hallucination and a careless trap, but that indeed is not my profoundest belief. You may think me superstitious, if you will, and foolish; but, indeed, I am more than half-convinced that he had in truth, an abnormal gift, and a sense, something—I know not what—that in the guise of wall and door offered him an outlet, a secret and peculiar passage of escape into another and altogether more beautiful world. At any rate, you will say, it betrayed him in the end. But did it betray him? There you touch the inmost mystery of these dreamers, these men of vision and the imagination. We see our world fair and common, the hoarding and the pit. By our daylight standard he walked out of security into darkness, danger, and death.
     "But did he see like that?"

     H. G. Wells, "The door in the wall," The door in the wall, and other stories (1911), as reprinted in Tales of the unexpected (London:  Collins, [1922]), 209-210; and The complete short stories of H. G. Wells, ed. John Hammond (London:  J. M. Dent, 1998), 583-584.

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