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They had their explanations the next evening, but they were explanations
in quite other terms than Ann Veronica had anticipated, quite other and
much more startling and illuminating terms. Ramage came for her at her
lodgings, and she met him graciously and kindly as a queen who knows she
must needs give sorrow to a faithful liege. She was unusually soft
and gentle in her manner to him. He was wearing a new silk hat, with a
slightly more generous brim than its predecessor, and it suited his type
of face, robbed his dark eyes a little of their aggressiveness and gave
him a solid and dignified and benevolent air. A faint anticipation of
triumph showed in his manner and a subdued excitement.
"We'll go to a place where we can have a private room," he said.
"Then--then we can talk things out."
So they went this time to the Rococo, in Germain Street, and up-stairs
to a landing upon which stood a bald-headed waiter with whiskers like a
French admiral and discretion beyond all limits in his manner. He seemed
to have expected them. He ushered them with an amiable flat hand into a
minute apartment with a little gas-stove, a silk crimson-covered sofa,
and a bright little table, gay with napery and hot-house flowers.
"Odd little room," said Ann Veronica, dimly apprehending that obtrusive
"One can talk without undertones, so to speak," said Ramage.
"It's--private." He stood looking at the preparations before them with
an unusual preoccupation of manner, then roused himself to take her
jacket, a little awkwardly, and hand it to the waiter who hung it in the
corner of the room. It appeared he had already ordered dinner and
wine, and the whiskered waiter waved in his subordinate with the soup
"I'm going to talk of indifferent themes," said Ramage, a little
fussily, "until these interruptions of the service are over. Then--then
we shall be together.... How did you like Tristan?"
Ann Veronica paused the fraction of a second before her reply came.
"I thought much of it amazingly beautiful."
"Isn't it. And to think that man got it all out of the poorest little
love-story for a respectable titled lady! Have you read of it?"
"It gives in a nutshell the miracle of art and the imagination. You get
this queer irascible musician quite impossibly and unfortunately in
love with a wealthy patroness, and then out of his brain comes THIS, a
tapestry of glorious music, setting out love to lovers, lovers who love
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