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was that she had grabbed a bait. She had grabbed! She became less and
less attentive to his meditative, self-complacent fragments of talk as
she told herself this. Her secret thoughts made some hasty, half-hearted
excursions into the possibility of telling the thing in romantic
tones--Ramage was as a black villain, she as a white, fantastically
white, maiden.... She doubted if Manning would even listen to that.
He would refuse to listen and absolve her unshriven.
Then it came to her with a shock, as an extraordinary oversight, that
she could never tell Manning about Ramage--never.
She dismissed the idea of doing so. But that still left the forty
Her mind went on generalizing. So it would always be between herself and
Manning. She saw her life before her robbed of all generous illusions,
the wrappered life unwrappered forever, vistas of dull responses, crises
of make-believe, years of exacting mutual disregard in a misty garden of
But did any woman get anything better from a man? Perhaps every woman
conceals herself from a man perforce!...
She thought of Capes. She could not help thinking of Capes. Surely
Capes was different. Capes looked at one and not over one, spoke to one,
treated one as a visible concrete fact. Capes saw her, felt for her,
cared for her greatly, even if he did not love her. Anyhow, he did not
sentimentalize her. And she had been doubting since that walk in the
Zoological Gardens whether, indeed, he did simply care for her. Little
things, almost impalpable, had happened to justify that doubt; something
in his manner had belied his words. Did he not look for her in the
morning when she entered--come very quickly to her? She thought of him
as she had last seen him looking down the length of the laboratory to
see her go. Why had he glanced up--quite in that way?...
The thought of Capes flooded her being like long-veiled sunlight
breaking again through clouds. It came to her like a dear thing
rediscovered, that she loved Capes. It came to her that to marry any
one but Capes was impossible. If she could not marry him, she would not
marry any one. She would end this sham with Manning. It ought never
to have begun. It was cheating, pitiful cheating. And then if some day
Capes wanted her--saw fit to alter his views upon friendship....
Dim possibilities that she would not seem to look at even to herself
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