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started out in any high-browed manner to scandalize and Shelleyfy.
When first you left your home you had no idea that _I_ was the hidden
impulse. I wasn't. You came out like an ant for your nuptial flight. It
was just a chance that we in particular hit against each other--nothing
predestined about it. We just hit against each other, and here we are
flying off at a tangent, a little surprised at what we are doing, all
our principles abandoned, and tremendously and quite unreasonably proud
of ourselves. Out of all this we have struck a sort of harmony....
And it's gorgeous!"
"Glorious!" said Ann Veronica.
"Would YOU like us--if some one told you the bare outline of our
story?--and what we are doing?"
"I shouldn't mind," said Ann Veronica.
"But if some one else asked your advice? If some one else said, 'Here is
my teacher, a jaded married man on the verge of middle age, and he and I
have a violent passion for one another. We propose to disregard all our
ties, all our obligations, all the established prohibitions of society,
and begin life together afresh.' What would you tell her?"
"If she asked advice, I should say she wasn't fit to do anything of the
sort. I should say that having a doubt was enough to condemn it."
"But waive that point."
"It would be different all the same. It wouldn't be you."
"It wouldn't be you either. I suppose that's the gist of the whole
thing." He stared at a little eddy. "The rule's all right, so long as
there isn't a case. Rules are for established things, like the pieces
and positions of a game. Men and women are not established things;
they're experiments, all of them. Every human being is a new thing,
exists to do new things. Find the thing you want to do most intensely,
make sure that's it, and do it with all your might. If you live, well
and good; if you die, well and good. Your purpose is done.... Well,
this is OUR thing."
He woke the glassy water to swirling activity again, and made the
deep-blue shapes below writhe and shiver.
"This is MY thing," said Ann Veronica, softly, with thoughtful eyes upon
Then she looked up the sweep of pine-trees to the towering sunlit cliffs
and the high heaven above and then back to his face. She drew in a deep
breath of the sweet mountain air. Her eyes were soft and grave, and
there was the faintest of smiles upon her resolute lips.
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