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about Saas or peep into Samuel Butler's chapels, and sometimes we will
climb up out of the way of the other people on to the glaciers and snow.
And, for one expedition at least, we will go up this desolate valley
here to Mattmark, and so on to Monte Moro. There indeed you see Monte
Rosa. Almost the best of all."
"Is it very beautiful?"
"When I saw it there it was very beautiful. It was wonderful. It was the
crowned queen of mountains in her robes of shining white. It towered up
high above the level of the pass, thousands of feet, still, shining, and
white, and below, thousands of feet below, was a floor of little woolly
clouds. And then presently these clouds began to wear thin and expose
steep, deep slopes, going down and down, with grass and pine-trees, down
and down, and at last, through a great rent in the clouds, bare roofs,
shining like very minute pin-heads, and a road like a fibre of white
silk-Macugnana, in Italy. That will be a fine day--it will have to be,
when first you set eyes on Italy.... That's as far as we go."
"Can't we go down into Italy?"
"No," he said; "it won't run to that now. We must wave our hands at the
blue hills far away there and go back to London and work."
"Italy's for a good girl," he said, and laid his hand for a moment on
her shoulder. "She must look forward to Italy."
"I say," she reflected, "you ARE rather the master, you know."
The idea struck him as novel. "Of course I'm manager for this
expedition," he said, after an interval of self-examination.
She slid her cheek down the tweed sleeve of his coat. "Nice sleeve," she
said, and came to his hand and kissed it.
"I say!" he cried. "Look here! Aren't you going a little too far?
This--this is degradation--making a fuss with sleeves. You mustn't do
things like that."
"Free woman--and equal."
"I do it--of my own free will," said Ann Veronica, kissing his hand
again. "It's nothing to what I WILL do."
"Oh, well!" he said, a little doubtfully, "it's just a phase," and bent
down and rested his hand on her shoulder for a moment, with his heart
beating and his nerves a-quiver. Then as she lay very still, with her
hands clinched and her black hair tumbled about her face, he came still
closer and softly kissed the nape of her neck....
Most of the things that he had planned they did. But they climbed more
than he had intended because Ann Veronica proved rather a good climber,
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