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merely the maid moving about in the hall.
"Wonderful man!" said Ann Veronica, reassured, and stroking his cheek
with her finger.
Capes made a quick movement as if to bite that aggressive digit, but it
withdrew to Ann Veronica's side.
"I was really interested in his stuff. I WAS talking to him before I saw
his name on the card beside the row of microscopes. Then, naturally, I
went on talking. He--he has rather a poor opinion of his contemporaries.
Of course, he had no idea who I was."
"But how did you tell him? You've never told me. Wasn't it--a little bit
of a scene?"
"Oh! let me see. I said I hadn't been at the Royal Society soiree for
four years, and got him to tell me about some of the fresh Mendelian
work. He loves the Mendelians because he hates all the big names of
the eighties and nineties. Then I think I remarked that science was
disgracefully under-endowed, and confessed I'd had to take to
more profitable courses. 'The fact of it is,' I said, 'I'm the new
playwright, Thomas More. Perhaps you've heard--?' Well, you know, he
"Isn't it? 'I've not seen your play, Mr. More,' he said, 'but I'm told
it's the most amusing thing in London at the present time. A friend
of mine, Ogilvy'--I suppose that's Ogilvy & Ogilvy, who do so many
divorces, Vee?--'was speaking very highly of it--very highly!'" He
smiled into her eyes.
"You are developing far too retentive a memory for praises," said Ann
"I'm still new to them. But after that it was easy. I told him instantly
and shamelessly that the play was going to be worth ten thousand pounds.
He agreed it was disgraceful. Then I assumed a rather portentous manner
to prepare him."
"How? Show me."
"I can't be portentous, dear, when you're about. It's my other side of
the moon. But I was portentous, I can assure you. 'My name's NOT More,
Mr. Stanley,' I said. 'That's my pet name.'"
"I think--yes, I went on in a pleasing blend of the casual and sotto
voce, 'The fact of it is, sir, I happen to be your son-in-law, Capes. I
do wish you could come and dine with us some evening. It would make my
wife very happy.'"
"What did he say?"
"What does any one say to an invitation to dinner point-blank? One tries
to collect one's wits. 'She is constantly thinking of you,' I said."
"And he accepted meekly?"
"Practically. What else could he do? You can't kick up a scene on the
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