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In Perspective H. G. [Herbert George] Wells

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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 cookery?"

They went up by the lift in silence.

"It's odd," said Ann Veronica, re-entering the flat.

"What's odd?"

"Oh, everything!"

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."

"But how?"

"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!' "

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"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 us--considering everything; but she tried to be practical and sympathetic and live down to our standards."

Capes looked at his wife's unsmiling face.

"Your father," he said, "remarked that all's well that ends well, and that he was disposed to let bygones be bygones. He then spoke with a certain fatherly kindliness of the past. . . ."

"And my heart has ached for him!"

"Oh, no doubt it cut him at the time. It must have cut him."

"We might even have--given it up for them!"

"I wonder if we could."

"I suppose all IS well that ends well. Somehow to-night--I don't know."

"I suppose so. I'm glad the old sore is assuaged. Very glad. But if we had gone under--!"

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Ann Veronica
H. G. [Herbert George] Wells

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