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in spite of all that is wise and respectable and right."
Ann Veronica thought. She did not want to seem to shrink from
conversation, but all sorts of odd questions were running through her
mind. "I wonder why people in love are so defiant, so careless of other
"The very hares grow brave. I suppose because it IS the chief thing in
life." He stopped and said earnestly: "It is the chief thing in
life, and everything else goes down before it. Everything, my dear,
everything!... But we have got to talk upon indifferent themes until
we have done with this blond young gentleman from Bavaria...."
The dinner came to an end at last, and the whiskered waiter presented
his bill and evacuated the apartment and closed the door behind him with
an almost ostentatious discretion. Ramage stood up, and suddenly turned
the key in the door in an off-hand manner. "Now," he said, "no one can
blunder in upon us. We are alone and we can say and do what we please.
We two." He stood still, looking at her.
Ann Veronica tried to seem absolutely unconcerned. The turning of the
key startled her, but she did not see how she could make an objection.
She felt she had stepped into a world of unknown usages.
"I have waited for this," he said, and stood quite still, looking at her
until the silence became oppressive.
"Won't you sit down," she said, "and tell me what you want to say?" Her
voice was flat and faint. Suddenly she had become afraid. She struggled
not to be afraid. After all, what could happen?
He was looking at her very hard and earnestly. "Ann Veronica," he said.
Then before she could say a word to arrest him he was at her side.
"Don't!" she said, weakly, as he had bent down and put one arm about her
and seized her hands with his disengaged hand and kissed her--kissed her
almost upon her lips. He seemed to do ten things before she could think
to do one, to leap upon her and take possession.
Ann Veronica's universe, which had never been altogether so respectful
to her as she could have wished, gave a shout and whirled head over
heels. Everything in the world had changed for her. If hate could kill,
Ramage would have been killed by a flash of hate. "Mr. Ramage!" she
cried, and struggled to her feet.
"My darling!" he said, clasping her resolutely in his arms, "my
"Mr. Ramage!" she began, and his mouth sealed hers and his breath was
mixed with her breath. Her eye met his four inches away, and his was
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