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Biology of Love and Pain, the (August Baird)

Another of those great, fascinating, non-existent books; this one comes from Joan Aiken's Voices in an empty house. She gives us, tantalisingly, one direct quotation and one indirect reaction.

Fanny Cook, keeping alert and open-minded despite a fairly depressing husband, introduces her thirteen-year-old son Thomas to the writings of August Baird:

Here's a book that'll interest you, darling; this man, who's an anthropologist, so he ought to know, says the most sensible things about society and social relationships, how we all need to crawl about on our stomachs, and feel the ground with our elbows, and give each other shocks, and know where our bones are.

Thomas himself, many years later, flicks open a copy and comes upon this ennobling passage:

We can do no better than dedicate our lives to the pursuit of a vision; in this way alone is it possible for us to rise above the humble origins from which we sprang, and from the limitations and frailties of our abilities. We may never achieve our goal; indeed, how can we? But the hope of improving our legacy, and passing on to our heirs and successors a world that is a freer and nobler place must be sufficient for us.

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