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|Ann Veronica Gathers Points Of View||H. G. [Herbert George] Wells|
|Page 1 of 4||
"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 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."
"Auntie?" asked Constance, who was conversant with Ann Veronica's affairs.
"No! My father. It's--it's a serious prohibition."
"Why?" asked Hetty.
"That's the point. I asked him why, and he hadn't a reason."
"YOU ASKED YOUR FATHER FOR A REASON!" said Miss Miniver, with great intensity.
"Yes. I tried to have it out with him, but he wouldn't have it out. "Ann Veronica reflected for an instant "That's why I think I ought to come."
"You asked your father for a reason!" Miss Miniver repeated.
"We always have things out with OUR father, poor dear!" said Hetty. "He's got almost to like it."
"Men," said Miss Miniver, "NEVER have a reason. Never! And they don't know it! They have no idea of it. It's one of their worst traits, one of their very worst."
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H. G. [Herbert George] Wells
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