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In the beginning of December Ann Veronica began to speculate privately
upon the procedure of pawning. She had decided that she would begin
with her pearl necklace. She spent a very disagreeable afternoon and
evening--it was raining fast outside, and she had very unwisely left
her soundest pair of boots in the boothole of her father's house in
Morningside Park--thinking over the economic situation and planning a
course of action. Her aunt had secretly sent on to Ann Veronica some new
warm underclothing, a dozen pairs of stockings, and her last winter's
jacket, but the dear lady had overlooked those boots.
These things illuminated her situation extremely. Finally she decided
upon a step that had always seemed reasonable to her, but that hitherto
she had, from motives too faint for her to formulate, refrained from
taking. She resolved to go into the City to Ramage and ask for his
advice. And next morning she attired herself with especial care and
neatness, found his address in the Directory at a post-office, and went
She had to wait some minutes in an outer office, wherein three young
men of spirited costume and appearance regarded her with ill-concealed
curiosity and admiration. Then Ramage appeared with effusion, and
ushered her into his inner apartment. The three young men exchanged
The inner apartment was rather gracefully furnished with a thick, fine
Turkish carpet, a good brass fender, a fine old bureau, and on the walls
were engravings of two young girls' heads by Greuze, and of some modern
picture of boys bathing in a sunlit pool.
"But this is a surprise!" said Ramage. "This is wonderful! I've been
feeling that you had vanished from my world. Have you been away from
"I'm not interrupting you?"
"You are. Splendidly. Business exists for such interruptions. There you
are, the best client's chair."
Ann Veronica sat down, and Ramage's eager eyes feasted on her.
"I've been looking out for you," he said. "I confess it."
She had not, she reflected, remembered how prominent his eyes were.
"I want some advice," said Ann Veronica.
"You remember once, how we talked--at a gate on the Downs? We talked
about how a girl might get an independent living."
"Well, you see, something has happened at home."
"Nothing has happened to Mr. Stanley?"
"I've fallen out with my father. It was about--a question of what I
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