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Mr. Stanley used his authority, and commanded Ann Veronica to come home,
to which, of course, she said she wouldn't; and then he warned her not
to defy him, warned her very solemnly, and then commanded her again.
He then said that if she would not obey him in this course she should
"never darken his doors again," and was, indeed, frightfully abusive.
This threat terrified Ann Veronica so much that she declared with sobs
and vehemence that she would never come home again, and for a time both
talked at once and very wildly. He asked her whether she understood what
she was saying, and went on to say still more precisely that she should
never touch a penny of his money until she came home again--not one
penny. Ann Veronica said she didn't care.
Then abruptly Mr. Stanley changed his key. "You poor child!" he said;
"don't you see the infinite folly of these proceedings? Think! Think of
the love and affection you abandon! Think of your aunt, a second mother
to you. Think if your own mother was alive!"
He paused, deeply moved.
"If my own mother was alive," sobbed Ann Veronica, "she would
The talk became more and more inconclusive and exhausting. Ann Veronica
found herself incompetent, undignified, and detestable, holding on
desperately to a hardening antagonism to her father, quarrelling with
him, wrangling with him, thinking of repartees--almost as if he was a
brother. It was horrible, but what could she do? She meant to live
her own life, and he meant, with contempt and insults, to prevent her.
Anything else that was said she now regarded only as an aspect of or
diversion from that.
In the retrospect she was amazed to think how things had gone to pieces,
for at the outset she had been quite prepared to go home again upon
terms. While waiting for his coming she had stated her present
and future relations with him with what had seemed to her the most
satisfactory lucidity and completeness. She had looked forward to an
explanation. Instead had come this storm, this shouting, this weeping,
this confusion of threats and irrelevant appeals. It was not only that
her father had said all sorts of inconsistent and unreasonable things,
but that by some incomprehensible infection she herself had replied in
the same vein. He had assumed that her leaving home was the point at
issue, that everything turned on that, and that the sole alternative was
obedience, and she had fallen in with that assumption until rebellion
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