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0105_001E In The Mountains H. G. [Herbert George] Wells

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Table Of Contents: Ann Veronica

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One trouble, however, shot its slanting bolts athwart the shining warmth of that opening day and marred its perfection, and that was the thought of her father.

She had treated him badly; she had hurt him and her aunt; she had done wrong by their standards, and she would never persuade them that she had done right. She thought of her father in the garden, and of her aunt with her Patience, as she had seen them--how many ages was it ago? Just one day intervened. She felt as if she had struck them unawares. The thought of them distressed her without subtracting at all from the oceans of happiness in which she swam. But she wished she could put the thing she had done in some way to them so that it would not hurt them so much as the truth would certainly do. The thought of their faces, and particularly of her aunt's, as it would meet the fact-- disconcerted, unfriendly, condemning, pained--occurred to her again and again.

"Oh! I wish," she said, "that people thought alike about these things."

Capes watched the limpid water dripping from his oar. "I wish they did," he said, "but they don't."

"I feel-- All this is the rightest of all conceivable things. I want to tell every one. I want to boast myself."

"I know."

"I told them a lie. I told them lies. I wrote three letters yesterday and tore them up. It was so hopeless to put it to them. At last--I told a story."

"You didn't tell them our position?"

"I implied we had married."

"They'll find out. They'll know."

"Not yet."

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"Sooner or later."

"Possibly--bit by bit. . . . But it was hopelessly hard to put. I said I knew he disliked and distrusted you and your work--that you shared all Russell's opinions: he hates Russell beyond measure--and that we couldn't possibly face a conventional marriage. What else could one say? I left him to suppose--a registry perhaps. . . ."

Capes let his oar smack on the water.

"Do you mind very much?"

He shook his head.

"But it makes me feel inhuman," he added.

"And me. . . ."

"It's the perpetual trouble," he said, "of parent and child. They can't help seeing things in the way they do. Nor can we. WE don't think they're right, but they don't think we are. A deadlock. In a very definite sense we are in the wrong--hopelessly in the wrong. But--It's just this: who was to be hurt?"

"I wish no one had to be hurt," said Ann Veronica. "When one is happy--I don't like to think of them. Last time I left home I felt as hard as nails. But this is all different. It is different."

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Ann Veronica
H. G. [Herbert George] Wells

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