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She was trying by some wonderful, secret, and motionless gymnastics to
restrain her tears. But when she spoke her lips quivered, and they
came. "I mean to go to that dance!" she blubbered. "I mean to go to
that dance! I meant to reason with you, but you won't reason. You're
At the sight of her tears his expression changed to a mingling of
triumph and concern. He stood up, apparently intending to put an
arm about her, but she stepped back from him quickly. She produced a
handkerchief, and with one sweep of this and a simultaneous gulp had
abolished her fit of weeping. His voice now had lost its ironies.
"Now, Veronica," he pleaded, "Veronica, this is most unreasonable. All
we do is for your good. Neither your aunt nor I have any other thought
but what is best for you."
"Only you won't let me live. Only you won't let me exist!"
Mr. Stanley lost patience. He bullied frankly.
"What nonsense is this? What raving! My dear child, you DO live, you
DO exist! You have this home. You have friends, acquaintances, social
standing, brothers and sisters, every advantage! Instead of which, you
want to go to some mixed classes or other and cut up rabbits and dance
about at nights in wild costumes with casual art student friends and God
knows who. That--that isn't living! You are beside yourself. You don't
know what you ask nor what you say. You have neither reason nor logic.
I am sorry to seem to hurt you, but all I say is for your good. You
MUST not, you SHALL not go. On this I am resolved. I put my foot down
like--like adamant. And a time will come, Veronica, mark my words, a
time will come when you will bless me for my firmness to-night. It goes
to my heart to disappoint you, but this thing must not be."
He sidled toward her, but she recoiled from him, leaving him in
possession of the hearth-rug.
"Well," she said, "good-night, father."
"What!" he asked; "not a kiss?"
She affected not to hear.
The door closed softly upon her. For a long time he remained standing
before the fire, staring at the situation. Then he sat down and filled
his pipe slowly and thoughtfully....
"I don't see what else I could have said," he remarked.
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