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of her irresponsive being. She twanged the catgut under her fingers.
"It seems so unfair," she said, "to take all you offer me and give so
little in return."
"It is all the world to me. And we are not traders looking at
"You know, Mr. Manning, I do not really want to marry."
"It seems so--so unworthy"--she picked among her phrases "of the noble
love you give--"
She stopped, through the difficulty she found in expressing herself.
"But I am judge of that," said Manning.
"Would you wait for me?"
Manning was silent for a space. "As my lady wills."
"Would you let me go on studying for a time?"
"If you order patience."
"I think, Mr. Manning... I do not know. It is so difficult. When I
think of the love you give me--One ought to give you back love."
"You like me?"
"Yes. And I am grateful to you...."
Manning tapped with his racket on the turf through some moments of
silence. "You are the most perfect, the most glorious of created
things--tender, frank intellectual, brave, beautiful. I am your
servitor. I am ready to wait for you, to wait your pleasure, to give all
my life to winning it. Let me only wear your livery. Give me but leave
to try. You want to think for a time, to be free for a time. That is so
like you, Diana--Pallas Athene! (Pallas Athene is better.) You are all
the slender goddesses. I understand. Let me engage myself. That is all I
She looked at him; his face, downcast and in profile, was handsome and
strong. Her gratitude swelled within her.
"You are too good for me," she said in a low voice.
"Then you--you will?"
A long pause.
"It isn't fair...."
"But will you?"
For some seconds he had remained quite still.
"If I sit here," he said, standing up before her abruptly, "I shall
have to shout. Let us walk about. Tum, tum, tirray, tum, tum, tum,
te-tum--that thing of Mendelssohn's! If making one human being
absolutely happy is any satisfaction to you--"
He held out his hands, and she also stood up.
He drew her close up to him with a strong, steady pull. Then suddenly,
in front of all those windows, he folded her in his arms and pressed her
to him, and kissed her unresisting face.
"Don't!" cried Ann Veronica, struggling faintly, and he released her.
"Forgive me," he said. "But I am at singing-pitch."
She had a moment of sheer panic at the thing she had done. "Mr.
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