“Let me say one thing,” he said. “If ever you do and I can help you in any way, by advice or inquiry or recommendation—You see, I’m no believer in feminine incapacity, but I do perceive there is such a thing as feminine inexperience. As a sex you’re a little under-trained—in affairs. I’d take it—forgive me if I seem a little urgent—as a sort of proof of friendliness. I can imagine nothing more pleasant in life than to help you, because I know it would pay to help you. There’s something about you, a little flavor of Will, I suppose, that makes one feel—good luck about you and success....”
And while he talked and watched her as he talked, she answered, and behind her listening watched and thought about him. She liked the animated eagerness of his manner.
His mind seemed to be a remarkably full one; his knowledge of detailed reality came in just where her own mind was most weakly equipped. Through all he said ran one quality that pleased her—the quality of a man who feels that things can be done, that one need not wait for the world to push one before one moved. Compared with her father and Mr. Manning and the men in “fixed” positions generally that she knew, Ramage, presented by himself, had a fine suggestion of freedom, of power, of deliberate and sustained adventure....
She was particularly charmed by his theory of friendship. It was really very jolly to talk to a man in this way—who saw the woman in her and did not treat her as a child. She was inclined to think that perhaps for a girl the converse of his method was the case; an older man, a man beyond the range of anything “nonsensical,” was, perhaps, the most interesting sort of friend one could meet. But in that reservation it may be she went a little beyond the converse of his view....
They got on wonderfully well together. They talked for the better part of an hour, and at last walked together to the junction of highroad and the bridle-path. There, after protestations of friendliness and helpfulness that were almost ardent, he mounted a little clumsily and rode off at an amiable pace, looking his best, making a leg with his riding gaiters, smiling and saluting, while Ann Veronica turned northward and so came to Micklechesil. There, in a little tea and sweet-stuff shop, she bought and consumed slowly and absent-mindedly the insufficient nourishment that is natural to her sex on such occasions.
CHAPTER THE FOURTH
We left Miss Stanley with Ann Veronica’s fancy dress in her hands and her eyes directed to Ann Veronica’s pseudo-Turkish slippers.
When Mr. Stanley came home at a quarter to six—an earlier train by fifteen minutes than he affected—his sister met him in the hall with a hushed expression. “I’m so glad you’re here, Peter,” she said. “She means to go.”