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appealed to Ann Veronica whether she did not feel the same; and Mr.
Goopes said that we must distinguish between sincerity and irony, which
was often indeed no more than sincerity at the sublimated level.
Alderman Dunstable said that sincerity was often a matter of
opportunity, and illustrated the point to the fair young man with an
anecdote about Blinders on the Dust Destructor Committee, during which
the young man in the orange tie succeeded in giving the whole discussion
a daring and erotic flavor by questioning whether any one could be
perfectly sincere in love.
Miss Miniver thought that there was no true sincerity except in love,
and appealed to Ann Veronica, but the young man in the orange tie went
on to declare that it was quite possible to be sincerely in love with
two people at the same time, although perhaps on different planes with
each individual, and deceiving them both. But that brought Mrs. Goopes
down on him with the lesson Titian teaches so beautifully in his "Sacred
and Profane Love," and became quite eloquent upon the impossibility of
any deception in the former.
Then they discoursed on love for a time, and Alderman Dunstable, turning
back to the shy, blond young man and speaking in undertones of the
utmost clearness, gave a brief and confidential account of an unfounded
rumor of the bifurcation of the affections of Blinders that had led to a
situation of some unpleasantness upon the Borough Council.
The very old lady in the antimacassar touched Ann Veronica's arm
suddenly, and said, in a deep, arch voice:
"Talking of love again; spring again, love again. Oh! you young people!"
The young man with the orange tie, in spite of Sisyphus-like efforts
on the part of Goopes to get the topic on to a higher plane, displayed
great persistence in speculating upon the possible distribution of the
affections of highly developed modern types.
The old lady in the antimacassar said, abruptly, "Ah! you young people,
you young people, if you only knew!" and then laughed and then mused in
a marked manner; and the young man with the narrow forehead and glasses
cleared his throat and asked the young man in the orange tie whether he
believed that Platonic love was possible. Mrs. Goopes said she believed
in nothing else, and with that she glanced at Ann Veronica, rose a
little abruptly, and directed Goopes and the shy young man in the
handing of refreshments.
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