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the fluttering assurance of some tall ship. Then as she drew nearer
paint showed upon her face, and a harsh purpose behind the quiet
expression of her open countenance, and a sort of unreality in her
splendor betrayed itself for which Ann Veronica could not recall the
right word--a word, half understood, that lurked and hid in her mind,
the word "meretricious." Behind this woman and a little to the side
of her, walked a man smartly dressed, with desire and appraisal in his
eyes. Something insisted that those two were mysteriously linked--that
the woman knew the man was there.
It was a second reminder that against her claim to go free and
untrammelled there was a case to be made, that after all it was true
that a girl does not go alone in the world unchallenged, nor ever has
gone freely alone in the world, that evil walks abroad and dangers, and
petty insults more irritating than dangers, lurk.
It was in the quiet streets and squares toward Oxford Street that
it first came into her head disagreeably that she herself was being
followed. She observed a man walking on the opposite side of the way and
looking toward her.
"Bother it all!" she swore. "Bother!" and decided that this was not so,
and would not look to right or left again.
Beyond the Circus Ann Veronica went into a British Tea-Table Company
shop to get some tea. And as she was yet waiting for her tea to come she
saw this man again. Either it was an unfortunate recovery of a trail, or
he had followed her from Mayfair. There was no mistaking his intentions
this time. He came down the shop looking for her quite obviously, and
took up a position on the other side against a mirror in which he was
able to regard her steadfastly.
Beneath the serene unconcern of Ann Veronica's face was a boiling
tumult. She was furiously angry. She gazed with a quiet detachment
toward the window and the Oxford Street traffic, and in her heart she
was busy kicking this man to death. He HAD followed her! What had he
followed her for? He must have followed her all the way from beyond
He was a tall man and fair, with bluish eyes that were rather
protuberant, and long white hands of which he made a display. He had
removed his silk hat, and now sat looking at Ann Veronica over an
untouched cup of tea; he sat gloating upon her, trying to catch her eye.
Once, when he thought he had done so, he smiled an ingratiating smile.
He moved, after quiet intervals, with a quick little movement, and ever
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