“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.
CHAPTER THE SECOND
ANN VERONICA GATHERS POINTS OF VIEW
“Are you coming to the Fadden Dance, Ann Veronica?” asked Constance Widgett.
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