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In Perspective H. G. [Herbert George] Wells

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They regarded one another silently, and Ann Veronica had one of her penetrating flashes.

"We are not the sort that goes under," said Ann Veronica, holding her hands so that the red reflections vanished from her eyes. "We settled long ago--we're hard stuff. We're hard stuff!"

Then she went on: "To think that is my father! Oh, my dear! He stood over me like a cliff; the thought of him nearly turned me aside from everything we have done. He was the social order; he was law and wisdom. And they come here, and they look at our furniture to see if it is good; and they are not glad, it does not stir them, that at last, at last we can dare to have children."

She dropped back into a crouching attitude and began to weep. "Oh, my dear!" she cried, and suddenly flung herself, kneeling, into her husband's arms.

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"Do you remember the mountains? Do you remember how we loved one another? How intensely we loved one another! Do you remember the light on things and the glory of things? I'm greedy, I'm greedy! I want children like the mountains and life like the sky. Oh! and love--love! We've had so splendid a time, and fought our fight and won. And it's like the petals falling from a flower. Oh, I've loved love, dear! I've loved love and you, and the glory of you; and the great time is over, and I have to go carefully and bear children, and--take care of my hair--and when I am done with that I shall be an old woman. The petals have fallen --the red petals we loved so. We're hedged about with discretions--and all this furniture--and successes! We are successful at last! Successful! But the mountains, dear! We won't forget the mountains, dear, ever. That shining slope of snow, and how we talked of death! We might have died! Even when we are old, when we are rich as we may be, we won't forget the tune when we cared nothing for anything but the joy of one another, when we risked everything for one another, when all the wrappings and coverings seemed to have fallen from life and left it light and fire. Stark and stark! Do you remember it all? . . . Say you will never forget! That these common things and secondary things sha'n't overwhelm us. These petals! I've been wanting to cry all the evening, cry here on your shoulder for my petals. Petals! . . . Silly woman! . . . I've never had these crying fits before. . . ."

"Blood of my heart!" whispered Capes, holding her close to him. "I know. I understand."

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Ann Veronica
H. G. [Herbert George] Wells

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