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CHAPTER THE SIXTH
The next morning opened calmly, and Ann Veronica sat in her own room,
her very own room, and consumed an egg and marmalade, and read the
advertisements in the Daily Telegraph. Then began expostulations,
preluded by a telegram and headed by her aunt. The telegram reminded
Ann Veronica that she had no place for interviews except her
bed-sitting-room, and she sought her landlady and negotiated hastily for
the use of the ground floor parlor, which very fortunately was vacant.
She explained she was expecting an important interview, and asked that
her visitor should be duly shown in. Her aunt arrived about half-past
ten, in black and with an unusually thick spotted veil. She raised this
with the air of a conspirator unmasking, and displayed a tear-flushed
face. For a moment she remained silent.
"My dear," she said, when she could get her breath, "you must come home
Ann Veronica closed the door quite softly and stood still.
"This has almost killed your father.... After Gwen!"
"I sent a telegram."
"He cares so much for you. He did so care for you."
"I sent a telegram to say I was all right."
"All right! And I never dreamed anything of the sort was going on. I
had no idea!" She sat down abruptly and threw her wrists limply upon the
table. "Oh, Veronica!" she said, "to leave your home!"
She had been weeping. She was weeping now. Ann Veronica was overcome by
this amount of emotion.
"Why did you do it?" her aunt urged. "Why could you not confide in us?"
"Do what?" said Ann Veronica.
"What you have done."
"But what have I done?"
"Elope! Go off in this way. We had no idea. We had such a pride in
you, such hope in you. I had no idea you were not the happiest girl.
Everything I could do! Your father sat up all night. Until at last I
persuaded him to go to bed. He wanted to put on his overcoat and come
after you and look for you--in London. We made sure it was just like
Gwen. Only Gwen left a letter on the pincushion. You didn't even do that
Vee; not even that."
"I sent a telegram, aunt," said Ann Veronica.
"Like a stab. You didn't even put the twelve words."
"I said I was all right."
"Gwen said she was happy. Before that came your father didn't even
know you were gone. He was just getting cross about your being late for
dinner--you know his way--when it came. He opened it--just off-hand, and
then when he saw what it was he hit at the table and sent his soup spoon
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