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Ideals And A Reality H. G. [Herbert George] Wells

Part 7

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Table Of Contents: Ann Veronica

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That was two days before Christmas Eve. The next morning came a compact letter from her father.

"MY DEAR DAUGHTER," it ran,--"Here, on the verge of the season of forgiveness I hold out a last hand to you in the hope of a reconciliation. I ask you, although it is not my place to ask you, to return home. This roof is still open to you. You will not be taunted if you return and everything that can be done will be done to make you happy.

"Indeed, I must implore you to return. This adventure of yours has gone on altogether too long; it has become a serious distress to both your aunt and myself. We fail altogether to understand your motives in doing what you are doing, or, indeed, how you are managing to do it, or what you are managing on. If you will think only of one trifling aspect--the inconvenience it must be to us to explain your absence--I think you may begin to realize what it all means for us. I need hardly say that your aunt joins with me very heartily in this request.

"Please come home. You will not find me unreasonable with you.

"Your affectionate


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."

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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."

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Ann Veronica
H. G. [Herbert George] Wells

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