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Then one day a little thing happened that clothed itself in
She had been working upon a ribbon of microtome sections of the
developing salamander, and he came to see what she had made of them. She
stood up and he sat down at the microscope, and for a time he was busy
scrutinizing one section after another. She looked down at him and saw
that the sunlight was gleaming from his cheeks, and that all over
his cheeks was a fine golden down of delicate hairs. And at the sight
something leaped within her.
Something changed for her.
She became aware of his presence as she had never been aware of any
human being in her life before. She became aware of the modelling of his
ear, of the muscles of his neck and the textures of the hair that came
off his brow, the soft minute curve of eyelid that she could just see
beyond his brow; she perceived all these familiar objects as though
they were acutely beautiful things. They WERE, she realized, acutely
beautiful things. Her sense followed the shoulders under his coat, down
to where his flexible, sensitive-looking hand rested lightly upon the
table. She felt him as something solid and strong and trustworthy beyond
measure. The perception of him flooded her being.
He got up. "Here's something rather good," he said, and with a start and
an effort she took his place at the microscope, while he stood beside
her and almost leaning over her.
She found she was trembling at his nearness and full of a thrilling
dread that he might touch her. She pulled herself together and put her
eye to the eye-piece.
"You see the pointer?" he asked.
"I see the pointer," she said.
"It's like this," he said, and dragged a stool beside her and sat down
with his elbow four inches from hers and made a sketch. Then he got up
and left her.
She had a feeling at his departure as of an immense cavity, of something
enormously gone; she could not tell whether it was infinite regret or
But now Ann Veronica knew what was the matter with her.
And as she sat on her bed that night, musing and half-undressed, she
began to run one hand down her arm and scrutinize the soft flow of
muscle under her skin. She thought of the marvellous beauty of skin,
and all the delightfulness of living texture. Oh the back of her arm she
found the faintest down of hair in the world. "Etherialized monkey," she
said. She held out her arm straight before her, and turned her hand this
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