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

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They found themselves next day talking love to one another high up on some rocks above a steep bank of snow that overhung a precipice on the eastern side of the Fee glacier. By this time Capes' hair had bleached nearly white, and his skin had become a skin of red copper shot with gold. They were now both in a state of unprecedented physical fitness. And such skirts as Ann Veronica had had when she entered the valley of Saas were safely packed away in the hotel, and she wore a leather belt and loose knickerbockers and puttees--a costume that suited the fine, long lines of her limbs far better than any feminine walking-dress could do. Her complexion had resisted the snow-glare wonderfully; her skin had only deepened its natural warmth a little under the Alpine sun. She had pushed aside her azure veil, taken off her snow-glasses, and sat smiling under her hand at the shining glories--the lit cornices, the blue shadows, the softly rounded, enormous snow masses, the deep places full of quivering luminosity--of the Taschhorn and Dom. The sky was cloudless, effulgent blue.

Capes sat watching and admiring her, and then he fell praising the day and fortune and their love for each other.

"Here we are," he said, "shining through each other like light through a stained-glass window. With this air in our blood, this sunlight soaking us. . . . Life is so good. Can it ever be so good again?"

Ann Veronica put out a firm hand and squeezed his arm. "It's very good," she said. "It's glorious good!"

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"Suppose now--look at this long snow-slope and then that blue deep beyond--do you see that round pool of color in the ice--a thousand feet or more below? Yes? Well, think--we've got to go but ten steps and lie down and put our arms about each other. See? Down we should rush in a foam--in a cloud of snow--to flight and a dream. All the rest of our lives would be together then, Ann Veronica. Every moment. And no ill-chances."

"If you tempt me too much ," she said, after a silence, "I shall do it. I need only just jump up and throw myself upon you. I'm a desperate young woman. And then as we went down you'd try to explain. And that would spoil it. . . . You know you don't mean it."

"No, I don't. But I liked to say it."

"Rather! But I wonder why you don't mean it?"

"Because, I suppose, the other thing is better. What other reason could there be? It's more complex, but it's better. THIS, this glissade, would be damned scoundrelism. You know that, and I know that, though we might be put to it to find a reason why. It would be swindling. Drawing the pay of life and then not living. And besides--We're going to live, Ann Veronica! Oh, the things we'll do, the life we'll lead! There'll be trouble in it at times--you and I aren't going to run without friction. But we've got the brains to get over that, and tongues in our heads to talk to each other. We sha'n't hang up on any misunderstanding. Not us. And we're going to fight that old world down there. That old world that had shoved up that silly old hotel, and all the rest of it. . . . If we don't live it will think we are afraid of it. . . . Die, indeed! We're going to do work; we're going to unfold about each other; we're going to have children."

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Ann Veronica
H. G. [Herbert George] Wells

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