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she didn't for some reason or other carry out for a fortnight.
When at last she did so, the sapphire ring took on a new quality in the
imagination of Capes. It ceased to be the symbol of liberty and a remote
and quite abstracted person, and became suddenly and very disagreeably
the token of a large and portentous body visible and tangible.
Manning appeared just at the end of the afternoon's work, and the
biologist was going through some perplexities the Scotchman had created
by a metaphysical treatment of the skulls of Hyrax and a young African
elephant. He was clearing up these difficulties by tracing a partially
obliterated suture the Scotchman had overlooked when the door from the
passage opened, and Manning came into his universe.
Seen down the length of the laboratory, Manning looked a very handsome
and shapely gentleman indeed, and, at the sight of his eager advance to
his fiancee, Miss Klegg replaced one long-cherished romance about Ann
Veronica by one more normal and simple. He carried a cane and a silk
hat with a mourning-band in one gray-gloved hand; his frock-coat and
trousers were admirable; his handsome face, his black mustache, his
prominent brow conveyed an eager solicitude.
"I want," he said, with a white hand outstretched, "to take you out to
"I've been clearing up," said Ann Veronica, brightly.
"All your dreadful scientific things?" he said, with a smile that Miss
Klegg thought extraordinarily kindly.
"All my dreadful scientific things," said Ann Veronica.
He stood back, smiling with an air of proprietorship, and looking about
him at the business-like equipment of the room. The low ceiling made him
seem abnormally tall. Ann Veronica wiped a scalpel, put a card over a
watch-glass containing thin shreds of embryonic guinea-pig swimming in
mauve stain, and dismantled her microscope.
"I wish I understood more of biology," said Manning.
"I'm ready," said Ann Veronica, closing her microscope-box with a click,
and looking for one brief instant up the laboratory. "We have no airs
and graces here, and my hat hangs from a peg in the passage."
She led the way to the door, and Manning passed behind her and round her
and opened the door for her. When Capes glanced up at them for a moment,
Manning seemed to be holding his arms all about her, and there was
nothing but quiet acquiescence in her bearing.
After Capes had finished the Scotchman's troubles he went back into the
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