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to hesitate whether he had not gone too far. He looked at his port wine
as though that tawny ruby contained the solution of the matter. "All's
well that ends well," he said; "and the less one says about things the
"Of course," said Capes, and threw a newly lit cigar into the fire
through sheer nervousness. "Have some more port wine, sir?"
"It's a very sound wine," said Mr. Stanley, consenting with dignity.
"Ann Veronica has never looked quite so well, I think," said Capes,
clinging, because of a preconceived plan, to the suppressed topic.
At last the evening was over, and Capes and his wife had gone down to
see Mr. Stanley and his sister into a taxicab, and had waved an amiable
farewell from the pavement steps.
"Great dears!" said Capes, as the vehicle passed out of sight.
"Yes, aren't they?" said Ann Veronica, after a thoughtful pause. And
then, "They seem changed."
"Come in out of the cold," said Capes, and took her arm.
"They seem smaller, you know, even physically smaller," she said.
"You've grown out of them.... Your aunt liked the pheasant."
"She liked everything. Did you hear us through the archway, talking
They went up by the lift in silence.
"It's odd," said Ann Veronica, re-entering the flat.
She shivered, and went to the fire and poked it. Capes sat down in the
arm-chair beside her.
"Life's so queer," she said, kneeling and looking into the flames. "I
wonder--I wonder if we shall ever get like that."
She turned a firelit face to her husband. "Did you tell him?"
Capes smiled faintly. "Yes."
"Well--a little clumsily."
"I poured him out some port wine, and I said--let me see--oh, 'You are
going to be a grandfather!'"
"Yes. Was he pleased?"
"Calmly! He said--you won't mind my telling you?"
"Not a bit."
"He said, 'Poor Alice has got no end!'"
"Alice's are different," said Ann Veronica, after an interval. "Quite
different. She didn't choose her man.... Well, I told aunt....
Husband of mine, I think we have rather overrated the emotional capacity
of those--those dears."
"What did your aunt say?"
"She didn't even kiss me. She said"--Ann Veronica shivered again--"'I
hope it won't make you uncomfortable, my dear'--like that--'and
whatever you do, do be careful of your hair!' I think--I judge from
her manner--that she thought it was just a little indelicate of
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