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ringing in their ears.
"Dreadful women, my dear!" said Miss Stanley. "And some of them quite
pretty and well dressed. No need to do such things. We must never
let your father know we went. Why ever did you let me get into that
"I thought we had to," said Ann Veronica, who had also been a little
under the compulsion of the marshals of the occasion. "It was very
"We will have some tea in the drawing-room as soon as ever we can--and I
will take my things off. I don't think I shall ever care for this bonnet
again. We'll have some buttered toast. Your poor cheeks are quite sunken
When Ann Veronica found herself in her father's study that evening it
seemed to her for a moment as though all the events of the past six
months had been a dream. The big gray spaces of London, the shop-lit,
greasy, shining streets, had become very remote; the biological
laboratory with its work and emotions, the meetings and discussions,
the rides in hansoms with Ramage, were like things in a book read and
closed. The study seemed absolutely unaltered, there was still the same
lamp with a little chip out of the shade, still the same gas fire, still
the same bundle of blue and white papers, it seemed, with the same pink
tape about them, at the elbow of the arm-chair, still the same father.
He sat in much the same attitude, and she stood just as she had stood
when he told her she could not go to the Fadden Dance. Both had dropped
the rather elaborate politeness of the dining-room, and in their faces
an impartial observer would have discovered little lines of obstinate
wilfulness in common; a certain hardness--sharp, indeed, in the father
and softly rounded in the daughter--but hardness nevertheless, that made
every compromise a bargain and every charity a discount.
"And so you have been thinking?" her father began, quoting her letter
and looking over his slanting glasses at her. "Well, my girl, I wish you
had thought about all these things before these bothers began."
Ann Veronica perceived that she must not forget to remain eminently
"One has to live and learn," she remarked, with a passable imitation of
her father's manner.
"So long as you learn," said Mr. Stanley.
Their conversation hung.
"I suppose, daddy, you've no objection to my going on with my work at
the Imperial College?" she asked.
"If it will keep you busy," he said, with a faintly ironical smile.
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