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In Perspective H. G. [Herbert George] Wells

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"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 had."


"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 Veronica.

"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.' "


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"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 spur of the moment in the face of such conflicting values as he had before him. With me behaving as if everything was infinitely matter-of-fact, what could he do? And just then Heaven sent old Manningtree--I didn't tell you before of the fortunate intervention of Manningtree, did I? He was looking quite infernally distinguished, with a wide crimson ribbon across him--what IS a wide crimson ribbon? Some sort of knight, I suppose. He is a knight. 'Well, young man,' he said, 'we haven't seen you lately,' and something about 'Bateson & Co.'--he's frightfully anti-Mendelian--having it all their own way. So I introduced him to my father-in-law like a shot. I think that WAS decision. Yes, it was Manningtree really secured your father. He--"

"Here they are!" said Ann Veronica as the bell sounded.

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Ann Veronica
H. G. [Herbert George] Wells

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