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CHAPTER THE FIFTEENTH
THE LAST DAYS AT HOME
They decided to go to Switzerland at the session's end. "We'll clean up
everything tidy," said Capes....
For her pride's sake, and to save herself from long day-dreams and an
unappeasable longing for her lover, Ann Veronica worked hard at her
biology during those closing weeks. She was, as Capes had said, a
hard young woman. She was keenly resolved to do well in the school
examination, and not to be drowned in the seas of emotion that
threatened to submerge her intellectual being.
Nevertheless, she could not prevent a rising excitement as the dawn of
the new life drew near to her--a thrilling of the nerves, a secret
and delicious exaltation above the common circumstances of
existence. Sometimes her straying mind would become astonishingly
active--embroidering bright and decorative things that she could say to
Capes; sometimes it passed into a state of passive acquiescence, into
a radiant, formless, golden joy. She was aware of people--her aunt,
her father, her fellow-students, friends, and neighbors--moving about
outside this glowing secret, very much as an actor is aware of the dim
audience beyond the barrier of the footlights. They might applaud, or
object, or interfere, but the drama was her very own. She was going
through with that, anyhow.
The feeling of last days grew stronger with her as their number
diminished. She went about the familiar home with a clearer and clearer
sense of inevitable conclusions. She became exceptionally considerate
and affectionate with her father and aunt, and more and more concerned
about the coming catastrophe that she was about to precipitate upon
them. Her aunt had a once exasperating habit of interrupting her work
with demands for small household services, but now Ann Veronica rendered
them with a queer readiness of anticipatory propitiation. She was
greatly exercised by the problem of confiding in the Widgetts; they were
dears, and she talked away two evenings with Constance without broaching
the topic; she made some vague intimations in letters to Miss Miniver
that Miss Miniver failed to mark. But she did not bother her head very
much about her relations with these sympathizers.
And at length her penultimate day in Morningside Park dawned for her.
She got up early, and walked about the garden in the dewy June sunshine
and revived her childhood. She was saying good-bye to childhood and
home, and her making; she was going out into the great, multitudinous
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