on the curb, a little rod about the length of one's finger 
begins to lay its bar across the velocity and abundance of 
life. ‘Really I must—really I must'—that is it. Without 
investigating the demand, the mind cringes to the accus-
tomed tyrant. One must, one always must, do something 
or other; it is not allowed one simply to enjoy oneself. Was 
it not for this reason that, some time ago, we fabricated 
that excuse, and invented the necessity of buying some-
thing? But what was it? Ah, we remember, it was a pencil. 
Let us go then and buy this pencil. But just as we are turn-
ing to obey the command, another self disputes the right 
of the tyrant to insist. The usual conflict comes about. 
Spread out behind the rod of duty we see the whole breadth 
of the River Thames—wide, mournful, peaceful. And we 
see it through the eyes of somebody who is leaning over the 
Embankment on a summer evening, without a care in the 
world. Let us put off buying the pencil; let us go in search 
of this person (and soon it becomes apparent that this 
person is ourselves). For if we could stand there where 
we stood six months ago, should we not be again as we 
were then—calm, aloof, content? Let us try then. But the 
river is rougher and greyer than we remembered. The tide 
is running out to sea. It brings down with it a tug and two 
barges, whose load of straw is tightly bound down beneath 
tarpaulin covers. There is, too, close by us, a couple leaning 
over the balustrade murmuring with that curious lack of 
self-consciousness which lovers have, as if the importance 
of the affair they are engaged on claims without question 
the indulgence of the human race. The sights we see and 
the sounds we hear now have none of the quality of the 
past; nor have we any share in the serenity of the person 
who, six months ago, stood precisely where we stand now. 
His is the happiness of death; ours the insecurity of life. 
He has no future; the future is even now invading our 
peace. It is only when we look at the past and take from 
it the element of uncertainty that we can enjoy perfect