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unduly--But--They're artistic people, Vee. That's the fact about them.
"I suppose we are," said Vee, rearranging the flowers in her hand.
"Friendships that are all very well between school-girls don't always go
on into later life. It's--it's a social difference."
"I like Constance very much."
"No doubt. Still, one has to be reasonable. As you admitted to me--one
has to square one's self with the world. You don't know. With people
of that sort all sorts of things may happen. We don't want things to
Ann Veronica made no answer.
A vague desire to justify himself ruffled her father. "I may seem
unduly--anxious. I can't forget about your sister. It's that has always
made me--SHE, you know, was drawn into a set--didn't discriminate
Ann Veronica remained anxious to hear more of her sister's story from
her father's point of view, but he did not go on. Even so much allusion
as this to that family shadow, she felt, was an immense recognition of
her ripening years. She glanced at him. He stood a little anxious and
fussy, bothered by the responsibility of her, entirely careless of what
her life was or was likely to be, ignoring her thoughts and feelings,
ignorant of every fact of importance in her life, explaining everything
he could not understand in her as nonsense and perversity, concerned
only with a terror of bothers and undesirable situations. "We don't want
things to happen!" Never had he shown his daughter so clearly that the
womenkind he was persuaded he had to protect and control could please
him in one way, and in one way only, and that was by doing nothing
except the punctual domestic duties and being nothing except restful
appearances. He had quite enough to see to and worry about in the City
without their doing things. He had no use for Ann Veronica; he had
never had a use for her since she had been too old to sit upon his knee.
Nothing but the constraint of social usage now linked him to her. And
the less "anything" happened the better. The less she lived, in fact,
the better. These realizations rushed into Ann Veronica's mind and
hardened her heart against him. She spoke slowly. "I may not see the
Widgetts for some little time, father," she said. "I don't think I
"Some little tiff?"
"No; but I don't think I shall see them."
Suppose she were to add, "I am going away!"
"I'm glad to hear you say it," said Mr. Stanley, and was so evidently
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