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waiting for her round the corner. She tried to imagine herself "getting
something," to project herself as sitting down at a desk and writing,
or as returning after her work to some pleasantly equipped and free and
independent flat. For a time she furnished the flat. But even with
that furniture it remained extremely vague, the possible good and the
possible evil as well!
The possible evil! "I'll go," said Ann Veronica for the hundredth time.
"I'll go. I don't care WHAT happens."
She awoke out of a doze, as though she had never been sleeping. It was
time to get up.
She sat on the edge of her bed and looked about her, at her room, at the
row of black-covered books and the pig's skull. "I must take them,"
she said, to help herself over her own incredulity. "How shall I get my
luggage out of the house?..."
The figure of her aunt, a little distant, a little propitiatory, behind
the coffee things, filled her with a sense of almost catastrophic
adventure. Perhaps she might never come back to that breakfast-room
again. Never! Perhaps some day, quite soon, she might regret that
breakfast-room. She helped herself to the remainder of the slightly
congealed bacon, and reverted to the problem of getting her luggage
out of the house. She decided to call in the help of Teddy Widgett, or,
failing him, of one of his sisters.
She found the younger generation of the Widgetts engaged in languid
reminiscences, and all, as they expressed it, a "bit decayed." Every
one became tremendously animated when they heard that Ann Veronica had
failed them because she had been, as she expressed it, "locked in."
"My God!" said Teddy, more impressively than ever.
"But what are you going to do?" asked Hetty.
"What can one do?" asked Ann Veronica. "Would you stand it? I'm going to
"Clear out?" cried Hetty.
"Go to London," said Ann Veronica.
She had expected sympathetic admiration, but instead the whole Widgett
family, except Teddy, expressed a common dismay. "But how can you?"
asked Constance. "Who will you stop with?"
"I shall go on my own. Take a room!"
"I say!" said Constance. "But who's going to pay for the room?"
"I've got money," said Ann Veronica. "Anything is better than this--this
stifled life down here." And seeing that Hetty and Constance were
obviously developing objections, she plunged at once into a demand for
help. "I've got nothing in the world to pack with except a toy size
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