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|Expostulations||H. G. [Herbert George] Wells|
|Page 1 of 2||
The next day her aunt came again and expostulated, and was just saying it was "an unheard-of thing" for a girl to leave her home as Ann Veronica had done, when her father arrived, and was shown in by the pleasant-faced landlady.
Her father had determined on a new line. He put down his hat and umbrella, rested his hands on his hips, and regarded Ann Veronica firmly.
"Now," he said, quietly, "it's time we stopped this nonsense."
Ann Veronica was about to reply, when he went on, with a still more deadly quiet: "I am not here to bandy words with you. Let us have no more of this humbug. You are to come home."
"I thought I explained--"
"I don't think you can have heard me," said her father; "I have told you to come home."
"I thought I explained--"
Ann Veronica shrugged her shoulders.
"Very well," said her father.
"I think this ends the business," he said, turning to his sister.
"It's not for us to supplicate any more. She must learn wisdom--as God pleases."
"But, my dear Peter!" said Miss Stanley.
"No," said her brother, conclusively, "it's not for a parent to go on persuading a child."
Miss Stanley rose and regarded Ann Veronica fixedly. The girl stood with her hands behind her back, sulky, resolute, and intelligent, a strand of her black hair over one eye and looking more than usually delicate-featured, and more than ever like an obdurate child.
"She doesn't know."
"I can't imagine what makes you fly out against everything like this," said Miss Stanley to her niece.
"What is the good of talking?" said her brother. "She must go her own way. A man's children nowadays are not his own. That's the fact of the matter. Their minds are turned against him. . . . Rubbishy novels and pernicious rascals. We can't even protect them from themselves."
An immense gulf seemed to open between father and daughter as he said these words.
"I don't see," gasped Ann Veronica, "why parents and children . . . shouldn't be friends."
"Friends!" said her father. "When we see you going through disobedience to the devil! Come, Molly, she must go her own way.
I've tried to use my authority. And she defies me. What more is there to be said? She defies me!"
It was extraordinary. Ann Veronica felt suddenly an effect of tremendous pathos; she would have given anything to have been able to frame and make some appeal, some utterance that should bridge this bottomless chasm that had opened between her and her father, and she could find nothing whatever to say that was in the least sincere and appealing.
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H. G. [Herbert George] Wells
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