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Her mind got back to the Fadden Ball.
She meant to go, she meant to go, she meant to go. Nothing would stop
her, and she was prepared to face the consequences. Suppose her father
turned her out of doors! She did not care, she meant to go. She would
just walk out of the house and go....
She thought of her costume in some detail and with considerable
satisfaction, and particularly of a very jolly property dagger with
large glass jewels in the handle, that reposed in a drawer in her room.
She was to be a Corsair's Bride. "Fancy stabbing a man for jealousy!"
she thought. "You'd have to think how to get in between his bones."
She thought of her father, and with an effort dismissed him from her
She tried to imagine the collective effect of the Fadden Ball; she had
never seen a fancy-dress gathering in her life. Mr. Manning came into
her thoughts again, an unexpected, tall, dark, self-contained presence
at the Fadden. One might suppose him turning up; he knew a lot of clever
people, and some of them might belong to the class. What would he come
Presently she roused herself with a guilty start from the task of
dressing and re-dressing Mr. Manning in fancy costume, as though he
was a doll. She had tried him as a Crusader, in which guise he seemed
plausible but heavy--"There IS something heavy about him; I wonder if
it's his mustache?"--and as a Hussar, which made him preposterous, and
as a Black Brunswicker, which was better, and as an Arab sheik. Also
she had tried him as a dragoman and as a gendarme, which seemed the most
suitable of all to his severely handsome, immobile profile. She felt
he would tell people the way, control traffic, and refuse admission
to public buildings with invincible correctness and the very finest
explicit feelings possible. For each costume she had devised a suitable
form of matrimonial refusal. "Oh, Lord!" she said, discovering what she
was up to, and dropped lightly from the fence upon the turf and went on
her way toward the crest.
"I shall never marry," said Ann Veronica, resolutely; "I'm not the sort.
That's why it's so important I should take my own line now."
Ann Veronica's ideas of marriage were limited and unsystematic. Her
teachers and mistresses had done their best to stamp her mind with an
ineradicable persuasion that it was tremendously important, and on no
account to be thought about. Her first intimations of marriage as a fact
of extreme significance in a woman's life had come with the marriage of
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