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had intended to be quietly dignified, but he was in a smouldering rage
from the beginning, and began by assuming, which alone was more than
flesh and blood could stand, that the insurrection was over and that she
was coming home submissively. In his desire to be emphatic and to avenge
himself for his over-night distresses, he speedily became brutal, more
brutal than she had ever known him before.
"A nice time of anxiety you've given me, young lady," he said, as he
entered the room. "I hope you're satisfied."
She was frightened--his anger always did frighten her--and in her
resolve to conceal her fright she carried a queen-like dignity to what
she felt even at the time was a preposterous pitch. She said she hoped
she had not distressed him by the course she had felt obliged to take,
and he told her not to be a fool. She tried to keep her side up by
declaring that he had put her into an impossible position, and he
replied by shouting, "Nonsense! Nonsense! Any father in my place would
have done what I did."
Then he went on to say: "Well, you've had your little adventure, and I
hope now you've had enough of it. So go up-stairs and get your things
together while I look out for a hansom."
To which the only possible reply seemed to be, "I'm not coming home."
"Not coming home!"
"No!" And, in spite of her resolve to be a Person, Ann Veronica began
to weep with terror at herself. Apparently she was always doomed to weep
when she talked to her father. But he was always forcing her to say and
do such unexpectedly conclusive things. She feared he might take her
tears as a sign of weakness. So she said: "I won't come home. I'd rather
For a moment the conversation hung upon that declaration. Then Mr.
Stanley, putting his hands on the table in the manner rather of a
barrister than a solicitor, and regarding her balefully through his
glasses with quite undisguised animosity, asked, "And may I presume to
inquire, then, what you mean to do?--how do you propose to live?"
"I shall live," sobbed Ann Veronica. "You needn't be anxious about that!
I shall contrive to live."
"But I AM anxious," said Mr. Stanley, "I am anxious. Do you think it's
nothing to me to have my daughter running about London looking for odd
jobs and disgracing herself?"
"Sha'n't get odd jobs," said Ann Veronica, wiping her eyes.
And from that point they went on to a thoroughly embittering wrangle.
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