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"You see," he said, "it is doubtful if we can ever marry. Very doubtful.
I have been thinking--I will go to my wife again. I will do my utmost.
But for a long time, anyhow, we lovers have to be as if we were no more
He paused. She answered slowly. "That is as you will," she said.
"Why should it matter?" he said.
And then, as she answered nothing, "Seeing that we are lovers."
It was rather less than a week after that walk that Capes came and sat
down beside Ann Veronica for their customary talk in the lunch hour. He
took a handful of almonds and raisins that she held out to him--for
both these young people had given up the practice of going out for
luncheon--and kept her hand for a moment to kiss her finger-tips. He did
not speak for a moment.
"Well?" she said.
"I say!" he said, without any movement. "Let's go."
"Go!" She did not understand him at first, and then her heart began to
beat very rapidly.
"Stop this--this humbugging," he explained. "It's like the Picture and
the Bust. I can't stand it. Let's go. Go off and live together--until we
can marry. Dare you?"
"Do you mean NOW?"
"At the end of the session. It's the only clean way for us. Are you
prepared to do it?"
Her hands clenched. "Yes," she said, very faintly. And then: "Of course!
Always. It is what I have wanted, what I have meant all along."
She stared before her, trying to keep back a rush of tears.
Capes kept obstinately stiff, and spoke between his teeth.
"There's endless reasons, no doubt, why we shouldn't," he said.
"Endless. It's wrong in the eyes of most people. For many of them it
will smirch us forever.... You DO understand?"
"Who cares for most people?" she said, not looking at him.
"I do. It means social isolation--struggle."
"If you dare--I dare," said Ann Veronica. "I was never so clear in all
my life as I have been in this business." She lifted steadfast eyes to
him. "Dare!" she said. The tears were welling over now, but her voice
was steady. "You're not a man for me--not one of a sex, I mean. You're
just a particular being with nothing else in the world to class with
you. You are just necessary to life for me. I've never met any one
like you. To have you is all important. Nothing else weighs against it.
Morals only begin when that is settled. I sha'n't care a rap if we can
never marry. I'm not a bit afraid of anything--scandal, difficulty,
struggle.... I rather want them. I do want them."
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