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After the interview Ann Veronica considered herself formally cut off
from home. If nothing else had clinched that, the purse had.
Nevertheless there came a residuum of expostulations. Her brother Roddy,
who was in the motor line, came to expostulate; her sister Alice wrote.
And Mr. Manning called.
Her sister Alice seemed to have developed a religious sense away there
in Yorkshire, and made appeals that had no meaning for Ann Veronica's
mind. She exhorted Ann Veronica not to become one of "those unsexed
intellectuals, neither man nor woman."
Ann Veronica meditated over that phrase. "That's HIM," said Ann
Veronica, in sound, idiomatic English. "Poor old Alice!"
Her brother Roddy came to her and demanded tea, and asked her to state
a case. "Bit thick on the old man, isn't it?" said Roddy, who had
developed a bluff, straightforward style in the motor shop.
"Mind my smoking?" said Roddy. "I don't see quite what your game is,
Vee, but I suppose you've got a game on somewhere.
"Rummy lot we are!" said Roddy. "Alice--Alice gone dotty, and all over
kids. Gwen--I saw Gwen the other day, and the paint's thicker than ever.
Jim is up to the neck in Mahatmas and Theosophy and Higher Thought and
rot--writes letters worse than Alice. And now YOU'RE on the war-path. I
believe I'm the only sane member of the family left. The G.V.'s as mad
as any of you, in spite of all his respectability; not a bit of him
straight anywhere, not one bit."
"Not a bit of it! He's been out after eight per cent. since the
beginning. Eight per cent.! He'll come a cropper one of these days,
if you ask me. He's been near it once or twice already. That's got his
nerves to rags. I suppose we're all human beings really, but what price
the sacred Institution of the Family! Us as a bundle! Eh?... I don't
half disagree with you, Vee, really; only thing is, I don't see
how you're going to pull it off. A home MAY be a sort of cage, but
still--it's a home. Gives you a right to hang on to the old man until he
busts--practically. Jolly hard life for a girl, getting a living. Not MY
He asked questions and listened to her views for a time.
"I'd chuck this lark right off if I were you, Vee," he said. "I'm five
years older than you, and no end wiser, being a man. What you're after
is too risky. It's a damned hard thing to do. It's all very handsome
starting out on your own, but it's too damned hard. That's my opinion,
if you ask me. There's nothing a girl can do that isn't sweated to the
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