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steady-headed and plucky, rather daring, but quite willing to be
cautious at his command.
One of the things that most surprised him in her was her capacity for
blind obedience. She loved to be told to do things.
He knew the circle of mountains about Saas Fee fairly well: he had been
there twice before, and it was fine to get away from the straggling
pedestrians into the high, lonely places, and sit and munch sandwiches
and talk together and do things together that were just a little
difficult and dangerous. And they could talk, they found; and never
once, it seemed, did their meaning and intention hitch. They were
enormously pleased with one another; they found each other beyond
measure better than they had expected, if only because of the want of
substance in mere expectation. Their conversation degenerated again
and again into a strain of self-congratulation that would have irked an
"You're--I don't know," said Ann Veronica. "You're splendid."
"It isn't that you're splendid or I," said Capes. "But we satisfy one
another. Heaven alone knows why. So completely! The oddest fitness!
What is it made of? Texture of skin and texture of mind? Complexion and
voice. I don't think I've got illusions, nor you.... If I had never
met anything of you at all but a scrap of your skin binding a book, Ann
Veronica, I know I would have kept that somewhere near to me.... All
your faults are just jolly modelling to make you real and solid."
"The faults are the best part of it," said Ann Veronica; "why, even our
little vicious strains run the same way. Even our coarseness."
"Coarse?" said Capes, "We're not coarse."
"But if we were?" said Ann Veronica.
"I can talk to you and you to me without a scrap of effort," said
Capes; "that's the essence of it. It's made up of things as small as the
diameter of hairs and big as life and death.... One always dreamed
of this and never believed it. It's the rarest luck, the wildest, most
impossible accident. Most people, every one I know else, seem to have
mated with foreigners and to talk uneasily in unfamiliar tongues, to be
afraid of the knowledge the other one has, of the other one's perpetual
misjudgment and misunderstandings.
"Why don't they wait?" he added.
Ann Veronica had one of her flashes of insight.
"One doesn't wait," said Ann Veronica.
She expanded that. "_I_ shouldn't have waited," she said. "I might have
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