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"I wish you and I had drunk that love potion," he said.
She found no ready reply to that, and he went on: "This music is the
food of love. It makes me desire life beyond measure. Life! Life and
love! It makes me want to be always young, always strong, always
devoting my life--and dying splendidly."
"It is very beautiful," said Ann Veronica in a low tone.
They said no more for a moment, and each was now acutely aware of the
other. Ann Veronica was excited and puzzled, with a sense of a strange
and disconcerting new light breaking over her relations with Ramage.
She had never thought of him at all in that way before. It did not shock
her; it amazed her, interested her beyond measure. But also this must
not go on. She felt he was going to say something more--something
still more personal and intimate. She was curious, and at the same time
clearly resolved she must not hear it. She felt she must get him talking
upon some impersonal theme at any cost. She snatched about in her mind.
"What is the exact force of a motif?" she asked at random. "Before I
heard much Wagnerian music I heard enthusiastic descriptions of it from
a mistress I didn't like at school. She gave me an impression of a sort
of patched quilt; little bits of patterned stuff coming up again and
She stopped with an air of interrogation.
Ramage looked at her for a long and discriminating interval without
speaking. He seemed to be hesitating between two courses of action. "I
don't know much about the technique of music," he said at last, with his
eyes upon her. "It's a matter of feeling with me."
He contradicted himself by plunging into an exposition of motifs.
By a tacit agreement they ignored the significant thing between them,
ignored the slipping away of the ground on which they had stood together
All through the love music of the second act, until the hunting horns of
Mark break in upon the dream, Ann Veronica's consciousness was flooded
with the perception of a man close beside her, preparing some new thing
to say to her, preparing, perhaps, to touch her, stretching hungry
invisible tentacles about her. She tried to think what she should do in
this eventuality or that. Her mind had been and was full of the thought
of Capes, a huge generalized Capes-lover. And in some incomprehensible
way, Ramage was confused with Capes; she had a grotesque disposition to
persuade herself that this was really Capes who surrounded her, as it
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