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Capes had changed into the easiest and jolliest companion in the world.
The mere fact that he was there in the train alongside her, helping her,
sitting opposite to her in the dining-car, presently sleeping on a seat
within a yard of her, made her heart sing until she was afraid their
fellow passengers would hear it. It was too good to be true. She would
not sleep for fear of losing a moment of that sense of his proximity. To
walk beside him, dressed akin to him, rucksacked and companionable, was
bliss in itself; each step she took was like stepping once more across
the threshold of heaven.
One trouble, however, shot its slanting bolts athwart the shining warmth
of that opening day and marred its perfection, and that was the thought
of her father.
She had treated him badly; she had hurt him and her aunt; she had done
wrong by their standards, and she would never persuade them that she
had done right. She thought of her father in the garden, and of her aunt
with her Patience, as she had seen them--how many ages was it ago? Just
one day intervened. She felt as if she had struck them unawares. The
thought of them distressed her without subtracting at all from the
oceans of happiness in which she swam. But she wished she could put the
thing she had done in some way to them so that it would not hurt them
so much as the truth would certainly do. The thought of their faces,
and particularly of her aunt's, as it would meet the fact--disconcerted,
unfriendly, condemning, pained--occurred to her again and again.
"Oh! I wish," she said, "that people thought alike about these things."
Capes watched the limpid water dripping from his oar. "I wish they did,"
he said, "but they don't."
"I feel--All this is the rightest of all conceivable things. I want to
tell every one. I want to boast myself."
"I told them a lie. I told them lies. I wrote three letters yesterday
and tore them up. It was so hopeless to put it to them. At last--I told
"You didn't tell them our position?"
"I implied we had married."
"They'll find out. They'll know."
"Sooner or later."
"Possibly--bit by bit.... But it was hopelessly hard to put. I said
I knew he disliked and distrusted you and your work--that you shared
all Russell's opinions: he hates Russell beyond measure--and that we
couldn't possibly face a conventional marriage. What else could one say?
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