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gesticulated in the twilight background of her mind.
She leaped suddenly at a desperate resolution, and in one moment had
made it into a new self. She flung aside every plan she had in life,
every discretion. Of course, why not? She would be honest, anyhow!
She turned her eyes to Manning.
He was sitting back from the table now, with one arm over the back
of his green chair and the other resting on the little table. He was
smiling under his heavy mustache, and his head was a little on one side
as he looked at her.
"And what was that dreadful confession you had to make?" he was saying.
His quiet, kindly smile implied his serene disbelief in any confessible
thing. Ann Veronica pushed aside a tea-cup and the vestiges of her
strawberries and cream, and put her elbows before her on the table. "Mr.
Manning," she said, "I HAVE a confession to make."
"I wish you would use my Christian name," he said.
She attended to that, and then dismissed it as unimportant.
Something in her voice and manner conveyed an effect of unwonted gravity
to him. For the first time he seemed to wonder what it might be that she
had to confess. His smile faded.
"I don't think our engagement can go on," she plunged, and felt exactly
that loss of breath that comes with a dive into icy water.
"But, how," he said, sitting up astonished beyond measure, "not go on?"
"I have been thinking while you have been talking. You see--I didn't
She stared hard at her finger-nails. "It is hard to express one's self,
but I do want to be honest with you. When I promised to marry you I
thought I could; I thought it was a possible arrangement. I did think it
could be done. I admired your chivalry. I was grateful."
"Go on," he said.
She moved her elbow nearer to him and spoke in a still lower tone. "I
told you I did not love you."
"I know," said Manning, nodding gravely. "It was fine and brave of you."
"But there is something more."
She paused again.
"I--I am sorry--I didn't explain. These things are difficult. It wasn't
clear to me that I had to explain.... I love some one else."
They remained looking at each other for three or four seconds. Then
Manning flopped back in his chair and dropped his chin like a man shot.
There was a long silence between them.
"My God!" he said at last, with tremendous feeling, and then again, "My
Now that this thing was said her mind was clear and calm. She heard this
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