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CHAPTER THE SECOND
ANN VERONICA GATHERS POINTS OF VIEW
"Are you coming to the Fadden Dance, Ann Veronica?" asked Constance
Ann Veronica considered her answer. "I mean to," she replied.
"You are making your dress?"
"Such as it is."
They were in the elder Widgett girl's bedroom; Hetty was laid up, she
said, with a sprained ankle, and a miscellaneous party was gossiping
away her tedium. It was a large, littered, self-forgetful apartment,
decorated with unframed charcoal sketches by various incipient masters;
and an open bookcase, surmounted by plaster casts and the half of a
human skull, displayed an odd miscellany of books--Shaw and Swinburne,
Tom Jones, Fabian Essays, Pope and Dumas, cheek by jowl. Constance
Widgett's abundant copper-red hair was bent down over some dimly
remunerative work--stencilling in colors upon rough, white material--at
a kitchen table she had dragged up-stairs for the purpose, while on her
bed there was seated a slender lady of thirty or so in a dingy green
dress, whom Constance had introduced with a wave of her hand as Miss
Miniver. Miss Miniver looked out on the world through large emotional
blue eyes that were further magnified by the glasses she wore, and her
nose was pinched and pink, and her mouth was whimsically petulant. Her
glasses moved quickly as her glance travelled from face to face.
She seemed bursting with the desire to talk, and watching for her
opportunity. On her lapel was an ivory button, bearing the words "Votes
for Women." Ann Veronica sat at the foot of the sufferer's bed, while
Teddy Widgett, being something of an athlete, occupied the only
bed-room chair--a decadent piece, essentially a tripod and largely a
formality--and smoked cigarettes, and tried to conceal the fact that
he was looking all the time at Ann Veronica's eyebrows. Teddy was the
hatless young man who had turned Ann Veronica aside from the Avenue two
days before. He was the junior of both his sisters, co-educated and
much broken in to feminine society. A bowl of roses, just brought by
Ann Veronica, adorned the communal dressing-table, and Ann Veronica was
particularly trim in preparation for a call she was to make with her
aunt later in the afternoon.
Ann Veronica decided to be more explicit. "I've been," she said,
"forbidden to come."
"Hul-LO!" said Hetty, turning her head on the pillow; and Teddy remarked
with profound emotion, "My God!"
"Yes," said Ann Veronica, "and that complicates the situation."
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