She stood up, and her face was bright. “Why did you not tell me before?” she asked. “And all this time we have been here!”
He looked at her for a moment, and smiled. Then the smile vanished. “I thought it ought to come from you,” he said. “I didn’t like to ask for your money. And besides—at first I thought this would be rather fine.”
There was a pause.
“It has been fine,” he said; and glanced once more over his shoulder. “Until all this began.”
“Yes,” she said, “those first days. The first three days.”
They looked for a space into one another’s faces, and then Denton slid down from the wall and took her hand.
“To each generation,” he said, “the life of its time. I see it all plainly now. In the city—that is the life to which we were born. To live in any other fashion … Coming here was a dream, and this—is the awakening.”
“It was a pleasant dream,” she said,—”in the beginning.”
For a long space neither spoke.
“If we would reach the city before the shepherds come here, we must start,” said Denton. “We must get our food out of the house and eat as we go.”
Denton glanced about him again, and, giving the dead dogs a wide berth, they walked across the garden space and into the house together. They found the wallet with their food, and descended the blood-stained stairs again. In the hall Elizabeth stopped. “One minute,” she said. “There is something here.”
She led the way into the room in which that one little blue flower was blooming. She stooped to it, she touched it with her hand.
“I want it,” she said; and then, “I cannot take it… .”
Impulsively she stooped and kissed its petals.
Then silently, side by side, they went across the empty garden-space into the old high road, and set their faces resolutely towards the distant city—towards the complex mechanical city of those latter days, the city that had swallowed up mankind.
THE WAYS OF THE CITY
Prominent if not paramount among world-changing inventions in the history of man is that series of contrivances in locomotion that began with the railway and ended for a century or more with the motor and the patent road. That these contrivances, together with the device of limited liability joint stock companies and the supersession of agricultural labourers by skilled men with ingenious machinery, would necessarily concentrate mankind in cities of unparallelled magnitude and work an entire revolution in human life, became, after the event, a thing so obvious that