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

Part 7

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As they came back from that day's climb--it was up the Mittaghorn--they had to cross a shining space of wet, steep rocks between two grass slopes that needed a little care. There were a few loose, broken fragments of rock to reckon with upon the ledges, and one place where hands did as much work as toes. They used the rope--not that a rope was at all necessary, but because Ann Veronica's exalted state of mind made the fact of the rope agreeably symbolical; and, anyhow, it did insure a joint death in the event of some remotely possibly mischance. Capes went first, finding footholds and, where the drops in the strata-edges came like long, awkward steps, placing Ann Veronica's feet. About half-way across this interval, when everything seemed going well, Capes had a shock.

"Heavens!" exclaimed Ann Veronica, with extraordinary passion. "My God!" and ceased to move.

Capes became rigid and adhesive. Nothing ensued. "All right?" he asked.

"I'll have to pay it."


"I've forgotten something. Oh, cuss it!"


"He said I would."


"That's the devil of it!"

"Devil of what? . . . You DO use vile language!"

"Forget about it like this."

"Forget WHAT?"

"And I said I wouldn't. I said I'd do anything. I said I'd make shirts."


"Shirts at one--and--something a dozen. Oh, goodness! Bilking! Ann Veronica, you're a bilker!"


"Will you tell me what all this is about?" said Capes.

"It's about forty pounds."

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Capes waited patiently.

"G. I'm sorry. . . . But you've got to lend me forty pounds."

"It's some sort of delirium," said Capes. "The rarefied air? I thought you had a better head."

"No! I'll explain lower. It's all right. Let's go on climbing now. It's a thing I've unaccountably overlooked. All right really. It can wait a bit longer. I borrowed forty pounds from Mr. Ramage. Thank goodness you'll understand. That's why I chucked Manning. . . . All right, I'm coming. But all this business has driven it clean out of my head. . . . That's why he was so annoyed, you know."

"Who was annoyed?"

"Mr. Ramage--about the forty pounds." She took a step. "My dear," she added, by way of afterthought, "you DO obliterate things!"

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Ann Veronica
H. G. [Herbert George] Wells

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