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as cold and indifferent.
Her heart failed her and her resolution became water. She remained
standing stiffly, unable even to move. She could not look at him through
an interval that seemed to her a vast gulf of time. But she felt his lax
figure become rigid.
At last his voice came to release her tension.
"I thought you weren't keeping up to the mark. You--It's jolly of you to
confide in me. Still--" Then, with incredible and obviously deliberate
stupidity, and a voice as flat as her own, he asked, "Who is the man?"
Her spirit raged within her at the dumbness, the paralysis that had
fallen upon her. Grace, confidence, the power of movement even, seemed
gone from her. A fever of shame ran through her being. Horrible doubts
assailed her. She sat down awkwardly and helplessly on one of the little
stools by her table and covered her face with her hands.
"Can't you SEE how things are?" she said.
Before Capes could answer her in any way the door at the end of the
laboratory opened noisily and Miss Klegg appeared. She went to her own
table and sat down. At the sound of the door Ann Veronica uncovered
a tearless face, and with one swift movement assumed a conversational
attitude. Things hung for a moment in an awkward silence.
"You see," said Ann Veronica, staring before her at the window-sash,
"that's the form my question takes at the present time."
Capes had not quite the same power of recovery. He stood with his
hands in his pockets looking at Miss Klegg's back. His face was white.
"It's--it's a difficult question." He appeared to be paralyzed by
abstruse acoustic calculations. Then, very awkwardly, he took a stool
and placed it at the end of Ann Veronica's table, and sat down. He
glanced at Miss Klegg again, and spoke quickly and furtively, with eager
eyes on Ann Veronica's face.
"I had a faint idea once that things were as you say they are, but the
affair of the ring--of the unexpected ring--puzzled me. Wish SHE"--he
indicated Miss Klegg's back with a nod--"was at the bottom of the
sea.... I would like to talk to you about this--soon. If you don't think
it would be a social outrage, perhaps I might walk with you to your
"I will wait," said Ann Veronica, still not looking at him, "and we will
go into Regent's Park. No--you shall come with me to Waterloo."
"Right!" he said, and hesitated, and then got up and went into the
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