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shiny-black figure on the opposite side of the Avenue; and then,
abruptly and startlingly, he crossed the road and saluted and spoke to
"I MUST speak to you," he said. "I can't keep away from you."
She made some inane response. She was struck by a change in his
appearance. His eyes looked a little bloodshot to her; his face had lost
something of its ruddy freshness.
He began a jerky, broken conversation that lasted until they reached the
station, and left her puzzled at its drift and meaning. She quickened
her pace, and so did he, talking at her slightly averted ear. She made
lumpish and inadequate interruptions rather than replies. At times he
seemed to be claiming pity from her; at times he was threatening her
with her check and exposure; at times he was boasting of his inflexible
will, and how, in the end, he always got what he wanted. He said that
his life was boring and stupid without her. Something or other--she
did not catch what--he was damned if he could stand. He was evidently
nervous, and very anxious to be impressive; his projecting eyes sought
to dominate. The crowning aspect of the incident, for her mind, was the
discovery that he and her indiscretion with him no longer mattered very
much. Its importance had vanished with her abandonment of compromise.
Even her debt to him was a triviality now.
And of course! She had a brilliant idea. It surprised her she hadn't
thought of it before! She tried to explain that she was going to pay
him forty pounds without fail next week. She said as much to him. She
repeated this breathlessly.
"I was glad you did not send it back again," he said.
He touched a long-standing sore, and Ann Veronica found herself vainly
trying to explain--the inexplicable. "It's because I mean to send it
back altogether," she said.
He ignored her protests in order to pursue some impressive line of his
"Here we are, living in the same suburb," he began. "We have to
Her heart leaped within her as she caught that phrase. That knot also
would be cut. Modern, indeed! She was going to be as primordial as
In the late afternoon, as Ann Veronica was gathering flowers for the
dinner-table, her father came strolling across the lawn toward her with
an affectation of great deliberation.
"I want to speak to you about a little thing, Vee," said Mr. Stanley.
Ann Veronica's tense nerves started, and she stood still with her eyes
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