“Please come home. You will not find me unreasonable with you.
Ann Veronica sat over her fire with her father’s note in her hand. “Queer letters he writes,” she said. “I suppose most people’s letters are queer. Roof open—like a Noah’s Ark. I wonder if he really wants me to go home. It’s odd how little I know of him, and of how he feels and what he feels.”
“I wonder how he treated Gwen.”
Her mind drifted into a speculation about her sister. “I ought to look up Gwen,” she said. “I wonder what happened.”
Then she fell to thinking about her aunt. “I would like to go home,” she cried, “to please her. She has been a dear. Considering how little he lets her have.”
The truth prevailed. “The unaccountable thing is that I wouldn’t go home to please her. She is, in her way, a dear. One ought to want to please her. And I don’t. I don’t care. I can’t even make myself care.”
Presently, as if for comparison with her father’s letter, she got out Ramage’s check from the box that contained her papers. For so far she had kept it uncashed. She had not even endorsed it.
“Suppose I chuck it,” she remarked, standing with the mauve slip in her hand—“suppose I chuck it, and surrender and go home! Perhaps, after all, Roddy was right!
“Father keeps opening the door and shutting it, but a time will come—
“I could still go home!”
She held Ramage’s check as if to tear it across. “No,” she said at last; “I’m a human being—not a timid female. What could I do at home? The other’s a crumple-up—just surrender. Funk! I’ll see it out.”
CHAPTER THE EIGHTH
January found Ann Veronica a student in the biological laboratory of the Central Imperial College that towers up from among the back streets in the angle between Euston Road and Great Portland Street. She was working very steadily at the Advanced Course in Comparative Anatomy, wonderfully relieved to have her mind engaged upon one methodically developing theme in the place of the discursive uncertainties of the previous two months, and doing her utmost to keep right in the back of her mind and out of sight the facts, firstly, that she had achieved this haven of satisfactory activity by incurring a debt to Ramage of forty pounds, and, secondly, that her present position was necessarily temporary and her outlook quite uncertain.
The biological laboratory had an atmosphere that was all its own.