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|Ideals And A Reality||H. G. [Herbert George] Wells|
|Page 1 of 4||
In the beginning of December Ann Veronica began to speculate privately upon the procedure of pawning. She had decided that she would begin with her pearl necklace. She spent a very disagreeable afternoon and evening--it was raining fast outside, and she had very unwisely left her soundest pair of boots in the boothole of her father's house in Morningside Park--thinking over the economic situation and planning a course of action. Her aunt had secretly sent on to Ann Veronica some new warm underclothing, a dozen pairs of stockings, and her last winter's jacket, but the dear lady had overlooked those boots.
These things illuminated her situation extremely. Finally she decided upon a step that had always seemed reasonable to her, but that hitherto she had, from motives too faint for her to formulate, refrained from taking. She resolved to go into the City to Ramage and ask for his advice. And next morning she attired herself with especial care and neatness, found his address in the Directory at a post-office, and went to him.
She had to wait some minutes in an outer office, wherein three young men of spirited costume and appearance regarded her with ill-concealed curiosity and admiration. Then Ramage appeared with effusion, and ushered her into his inner apartment. The three young men exchanged expressive glances.
The inner apartment was rather gracefully furnished with a thick, fine Turkish carpet, a good brass fender, a fine old bureau, and on the walls were engravings of two young girls' heads by Greuze, and of some modern picture of boys bathing in a sunlit pool.
"But this is a surprise!" said Ramage. "This is wonderful! I've been feeling that you had vanished from my world. Have you been away from Morningside Park?"
"I'm not interrupting you?"
"You are. Splendidly. Business exists for such interruptions. There you are, the best client's chair."
Ann Veronica sat down, and Ramage's eager eyes feasted on her.
"I've been looking out for you," he said. "I confess it."
She had not, she reflected, remembered how prominent his eyes were.
"I want some advice," said Ann Veronica.
"You remember once, how we talked--at a gate on the Downs? We talked about how a girl might get an independent living."
"Well, you see, something has happened at home."
"Nothing has happened to Mr. Stanley?"
"I've fallen out with my father. It was about--a question of what I might do or might not do. He--In fact, he--he locked me in my room. Practically."
Her breath left her for a moment.
"I SAY!" said Mr. Ramage.
"I wanted to go to an art-student ball of which he disapproved."
"And why shouldn't you?"
"I felt that sort of thing couldn't go on. So I packed up and came to London next day."
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H. G. [Herbert George] Wells
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