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|Ann Veronica Puts Things In Order||H. G. [Herbert George] Wells|
|Page 1 of 2||
When Ann Veronica found herself in her father's study that evening it seemed to her for a moment as though all the events of the past six months had been a dream. The big gray spaces of London, the shop-lit, greasy, shining streets, had become very remote; the biological laboratory with its work and emotions, the meetings and discussions, the rides in hansoms with Ramage, were like things in a book read and closed. The study seemed absolutely unaltered, there was still the same lamp with a little chip out of the shade, still the same gas fire, still the same bundle of blue and white papers, it seemed, with the same pink tape about them, at the elbow of the arm-chair, still the same father. He sat in much the same attitude, and she stood just as she had stood when he told her she could not go to the Fadden Dance. Both had dropped the rather elaborate politeness of the dining-room, and in their faces an impartial observer would have discovered little lines of obstinate wilfulness in common; a certain hardness--sharp, indeed, in the father and softly rounded in the daughter --but hardness nevertheless, that made every compromise a bargain and every charity a discount.
"And so you have been thinking?" her father began, quoting her letter and looking over his slanting glasses at her. "Well, my girl, I wish you had thought about all these things before these bothers began."
Ann Veronica perceived that she must not forget to remain eminently reasonable.
"One has to live and learn," she remarked, with a passable imitation of her father's manner.
"So long as you learn," said Mr. Stanley.
Their conversation hung.
"I suppose, daddy, you've no objection to my going on with my work at the Imperial College?" she asked.
"If it will keep you busy," he said, with a faintly ironical smile.
"The fees are paid to the end of the session."
He nodded twice, with his eyes on the fire, as though that was a formal statement.
"You may go on with that work," he said, "so long as you keep in harmony with things at home. I'm convinced that much of Russell's investigations are on wrong lines, unsound lines. Still--you must learn for yourself. You're of age--you're of age."
"The work's almost essential for the B.Sc. exam."
"It's scandalous, but I suppose it is."
Their agreement so far seemed remarkable, and yet as a home-coming the thing was a little lacking in warmth. But Ann Veronica had still to get to her chief topic. They were silent for a time. "It's a period of crude views and crude work," said Mr. Stanley. "Still, these Mendelian fellows seem likely to give Mr. Russell trouble, a good lot of trouble. Some of their specimens--wonderfully selected, wonderfully got up."
"Daddy," said Ann Veronica, "these affairs--being away from home has--cost money."
"I thought you would find that out."
"As a matter of fact, I happen to have got a little into debt."
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H. G. [Herbert George] Wells
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