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She was glad to join in the stream of hurrying homeward workers that was
now welling out of a thousand places of employment, and to imitate their
driven, preoccupied haste. She had followed a bobbing white hat and gray
jacket until she reached the Euston Road corner of Tottenham Court Road,
and there, by the name on a bus and the cries of a conductor, she made
a guess of her way. And she did not merely affect to be driven--she felt
driven. She was afraid people would follow her, she was afraid of the
dark, open doorways she passed, and afraid of the blazes of light; she
was afraid to be alone, and she knew not what it was she feared.
It was past seven when she got back to her hotel. She thought then that
she had shaken off the man of the bulging blue eyes forever, but that
night she found he followed her into her dreams. He stalked her, he
stared at her, he craved her, he sidled slinking and propitiatory
and yet relentlessly toward her, until at last she awoke from the
suffocating nightmare nearness of his approach, and lay awake in fear
and horror listening to the unaccustomed sounds of the hotel.
She came very near that night to resolving that she would return to
her home next morning. But the morning brought courage again, and those
first intimations of horror vanished completely from her mind.
She had sent her father a telegram from the East Strand post-office
| All | is | well | with | me |
| and | quite | safe | Veronica | |
and afterward she had dined a la carte upon a cutlet, and had then set
herself to write an answer to Mr. Manning's proposal of marriage. But
she had found it very difficult.
"DEAR MR. MANNING," she had begun. So far it had been plain sailing,
and it had seemed fairly evident to go on: "I find it very difficult to
answer your letter."
But after that neither ideas nor phrases had come and she had fallen
thinking of the events of the day. She had decided that she would spend
the next morning answering advertisements in the papers that abounded in
the writing-room; and so, after half an hour's perusal of back numbers
of the Sketch in the drawing-room, she had gone to bed.
She found next morning, when she came to this advertisement answering,
that it was more difficult than she had supposed. In the first place
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