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incomprehensible way that back view made her feel sorry for Alice. Also
she remembered very vividly the smell of orange blossom, and Alice,
drooping and spiritless, mumbling responses, facing Doctor Ralph, while
the Rev. Edward Bribble stood between them with an open book. Doctor
Ralph looked kind and large, and listened to Alice's responses as though
he was listening to symptoms and thought that on the whole she was
And afterward her mother and Alice kissed long and clung to each other.
And Doctor Ralph stood by looking considerate. He and her father shook
Ann Veronica had got quite interested in Mr. Bribble's rendering of the
service--he had the sort of voice that brings out things--and was still
teeming with ideas about it when finally a wild outburst from the organ
made it clear that, whatever snivelling there might be down in the
chancel, that excellent wind instrument was, in its Mendelssohnian
way, as glad as ever it could be. "Pump, pump, per-um-pump, Pum, Pump,
The wedding-breakfast was for Ann Veronica a spectacle of the unreal
consuming the real; she liked that part very well, until she was
carelessly served against her expressed wishes with mayonnaise. She
was caught by an uncle, whose opinion she valued, making faces at Roddy
because he had exulted at this.
Of the vast mass of these impressions Ann Veronica could make nothing
at the time; there they were--Fact! She stored them away in a mind
naturally retentive, as a squirrel stores away nuts, for further
digestion. Only one thing emerged with any reasonable clarity in her
mind at once, and that was that unless she was saved from drowning by
an unmarried man, in which case the ceremony is unavoidable, or totally
destitute of under-clothing, and so driven to get a trousseau, in which
hardship a trousseau would certainly be "ripping," marriage was an
experience to be strenuously evaded.
When they were going home she asked her mother why she and Gwen and
Alice had cried.
"Ssh!" said her mother, and then added, "A little natural feeling,
"But didn't Alice want to marry Doctor Ralph?"
"Oh, ssh, Vee!" said her mother, with an evasion as patent as an
advertisement board. "I am sure she will be very happy indeed with
But Ann Veronica was by no means sure of that until she went over
to Wamblesmith and saw her sister, very remote and domestic and
authoritative, in a becoming tea-gown, in command of Doctor Ralph's
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