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who lived three gardens away, and who had been mowing his lawn to get
an appetite for dinner, standing in a fascinated attitude beside the
forgotten lawn-mower and watching her intently.
She found it extremely difficult to infuse an air of quiet correctitude
into her return through the window, and when she was safely inside she
waved clinched fists and executed a noiseless dance of rage.
When she reflected that Mr. Pragmar probably knew Mr. Ramage, and might
describe the affair to him, she cried "Oh!" with renewed vexation, and
repeated some steps of her dance in a new and more ecstatic measure.
At eight that evening Miss Stanley tapped at Ann Veronica's bedroom
"I've brought you up some dinner, Vee," she said.
Ann Veronica was lying on her bed in a darkling room staring at the
ceiling. She reflected before answering. She was frightfully hungry.
She had eaten little or no tea, and her mid-day meal had been worse than
She got up and unlocked the door.
Her aunt did not object to capital punishment or war, or the industrial
system or casual wards, or flogging of criminals or the Congo Free
State, because none of these things really got hold of her imagination;
but she did object, she did not like, she could not bear to think of
people not having and enjoying their meals. It was her distinctive test
of an emotional state, its interference with a kindly normal digestion.
Any one very badly moved choked down a few mouthfuls; the symptom of
supreme distress was not to be able to touch a bit. So that the thought
of Ann Veronica up-stairs had been extremely painful for her through all
the silent dinner-time that night. As soon as dinner was over she went
into the kitchen and devoted herself to compiling a tray--not a tray
merely of half-cooled dinner things, but a specially prepared "nice"
tray, suitable for tempting any one. With this she now entered.
Ann Veronica found herself in the presence of the most disconcerting
fact in human experience, the kindliness of people you believe to be
thoroughly wrong. She took the tray with both hands, gulped, and gave
way to tears.
Her aunt leaped unhappily to the thought of penitence.
"My dear," she began, with an affectionate hand on Ann Veronica's
shoulder, "I do SO wish you would realize how it grieves your father."
Ann Veronica flung away from her hand, and the pepper-pot on the tray
upset, sending a puff of pepper into the air and instantly filling them
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