A monologue from the novel by H. G. Wells

  • NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from When the Sleeper Wakes. H.G. Wells. London: Harper & Brothers, 1899.
  • OSTROG: I can imagine how this great world state of ours seems to a Victorian Englishman. You regret all the old forms of representative government -- their spectres still haunt the world, the voting councils and parliaments and all that eighteenth century tomfoolery. You feel moved against our Pleasure Cities. I might have thought of that, -- had I not been busy. But you will learn better. The people are mad with envy -- they would be in sympathy with you. Even in the streets now, they clamour to destroy the Pleasure Cities. But the Pleasure Cities are the excretory organs of the State, attractive places that year after year draw together all that is weak and vicious, all that is lascivious and lazy, all the easy roguery of the world, to a graceful destruction. They go there, they have their time, they die childless, all the pretty silly lascivious women die childless, and mankind is the better. If the people were sane they would not envy the rich their way of death. And you would emancipate the silly brainless workers that we have enslaved, and try to make their lives easy and pleasant again. Just as they have sunk to what they are fit for. You will learn better. I know those ideas; in my boyhood I read your Shelley and dreamt of Liberty. There is no liberty, save wisdom and self control. Liberty is within -- not without. It is each man's own affair. Suppose -- which is impossible -- that these swarming yelping fools in blue get the upper hand of us, what then? They will only fall to other masters. So long as there are sheep Nature will insist on beasts of prey. It would mean but a few hundred years' delay. The coming of the aristocrat is fatal and assured. The end will be the Over-man -- for all the mad protests of humanity. Let them revolt, let them win and kill me and my like. Others will arise -- other masters. The end will be the same.