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Think--think of that engagement!"
Their talk had come to eloquent silences that contradicted all he had to
She stood up before him, smiling faintly.
"I think we've exhausted this discussion," she said.
"I think we have," he answered, gravely, and took her in his arms, and
smoothed her hair from her forehead, and very tenderly kissed her lips.
They spent the next Sunday in Richmond Park, and mingled the happy
sensation of being together uninterruptedly through the long sunshine
of a summer's day with the ample discussion of their position. "This has
all the clean freshness of spring and youth," said Capes; "it is love
with the down on; it is like the glitter of dew in the sunlight to be
lovers such as we are, with no more than one warm kiss between us. I
love everything to-day, and all of you, but I love this, this--this
innocence upon us most of all.
"You can't imagine," he said, "what a beastly thing a furtive love
affair can be.
"This isn't furtive," said Ann Veronica.
"Not a bit of it. And we won't make it so.... We mustn't make it so."
They loitered under trees, they sat on mossy banks they gossiped on
friendly benches, they came back to lunch at the "Star and Garter,"
and talked their afternoon away in the garden that looks out upon the
crescent of the river. They had a universe to talk about--two universes.
"What are we going to do?" said Capes, with his eyes on the broad
distances beyond the ribbon of the river.
"I will do whatever you want," said Ann Veronica.
"My first love was all blundering," said Capes.
He thought for a moment, and went on: "Love is something that has to be
taken care of. One has to be so careful.... It's a beautiful plant,
but a tender one.... I didn't know. I've a dread of love dropping its
petals, becoming mean and ugly. How can I tell you all I feel? I love
you beyond measure. And I'm afraid.... I'm anxious, joyfully anxious,
like a man when he has found a treasure."
"YOU know," said Ann Veronica. "I just came to you and put myself in
"That's why, in a way, I'm prudish. I've--dreads. I don't want to tear
at you with hot, rough hands."
"As you will, dear lover. But for me it doesn't matter. Nothing is wrong
that you do. Nothing. I am quite clear about this. I know exactly what I
am doing. I give myself to you."
"God send you may never repent it!" cried Capes.
She put her hand in his to be squeezed.
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