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disposition to carry her scientific ambitions to unwomanly lengths. She
seemed to think he was merely the paymaster, handing over the means
of her freedom. And now she insisted that she MUST leave the chastened
security of the Tredgold Women's College for Russell's unbridled
classes, and wanted to go to fancy dress dances in pirate costume and
spend the residue of the night with Widgett's ramshackle girls in some
indescribable hotel in Soho!
He had done his best not to think about her at all, but the situation
and his sister had become altogether too urgent. He had finally put
aside The Lilac Sunbonnet, gone into his study, lit the gas fire, and
written the letter that had brought these unsatisfactory relations to a
MY DEAR VEE, he wrote.
These daughters! He gnawed his pen and reflected, tore the sheet up, and
"MY DEAR VERONICA,--Your aunt tells me you have involved yourself in
some arrangement with the Widgett girls about a Fancy Dress Ball in
London. I gather you wish to go up in some fantastic get-up, wrapped
about in your opera cloak, and that after the festivities you propose to
stay with these friends of yours, and without any older people in your
party, at an hotel. Now I am sorry to cross you in anything you have set
your heart upon, but I regret to say--"
"H'm," he reflected, and crossed out the last four words.
"--but this cannot be."
"No," he said, and tried again: "but I must tell you quite definitely
that I feel it to be my duty to forbid any such exploit."
"Damn!" he remarked at the defaced letter; and, taking a fresh sheet, he
recopied what he had written. A certain irritation crept into his manner
as he did so.
"I regret that you should ever have proposed it," he went on.
He meditated, and began a new paragraph.
"The fact of it is, and this absurd project of yours only brings it to
a head, you have begun to get hold of some very queer ideas about what a
young lady in your position may or may not venture to do. I do not think
you quite understand my ideals or what is becoming as between father and
daughter. Your attitude to me--"
He fell into a brown study. It was so difficult to put precisely.
"--and your aunt--"
For a time he searched for the mot juste. Then he went on:
"--and, indeed, to most of the established things in life is, frankly,
unsatisfactory. You are restless, aggressive, critical with all
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