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chapter the fourththe crisis part 1we left miss stanley with ann veronica's fancy dress in her hands and her eyesdirected to ann veronica's pseudo-turkish slippers. when mr. stanley came home at a quarter tosix--an earlier train by fifteen minutes than he affected--his sister met him in thehall with a hushed expression. "i'm so glad you're here, peter," she said. "she means to go.""go!" he said. "where?""to that ball."
"what ball?" the question was rhetorical.he knew. "i believe she's dressing up-stairs--now.""then tell her to undress, confound her!" the city had been thoroughly annoying thatday, and he was angry from the outset. miss stanley reflected on this proposal fora moment. "i don't think she will," she said. "she must," said mr. stanley, and went intohis study. his sister followed."she can't go now. she'll have to wait for dinner," he said,uncomfortably.
"she's going to have some sort of meal withthe widgetts down the avenue, and go up with them. "she told you that?""yes." "when?""at tea." "but why didn't you prohibit once for allthe whole thing? how dared she tell you that?""out of defiance. she just sat and told me that was herarrangement. i've never seen her quite so sure ofherself." "what did you say?"
"i said, 'my dear veronica! how can youthink of such things?'" "and then?""she had two more cups of tea and some cake, and told me of her walk." "she'll meet somebody one of these days--walking about like that." "she didn't say she'd met any one.""but didn't you say some more about that ball?" "i said everything i could say as soon as irealized she was trying to avoid the topic. i said, 'it is no use your telling me aboutthis walk and pretend i've been told about the ball, because you haven't.
your father has forbidden you to go!'""well?" "she said, 'i hate being horrid to you andfather, but i feel it my duty to go to that ball!'" "felt it her duty!""'very well,' i said, 'then i wash my hands of the whole business.your disobedience be upon your own head.'" "but that is flat rebellion!" said mr.stanley, standing on the hearthrug with his back to the unlit gas-fire."you ought at once--you ought at once to have told her that. what duty does a girl owe to any one beforeher father?
obedience to him, that is surely the firstlaw. what can she put before that?" his voice began to rise."one would think i had said nothing about the matter.one would think i had agreed to her going. i suppose this is what she learns in herinfernal london colleges. i suppose this is the sort of damnedrubbish--" "oh! ssh, peter!" cried miss stanley. he stopped abruptly.in the pause a door could be heard opening and closing on the landing up-stairs.
then light footsteps became audible,descending the staircase with a certain deliberation and a faint rustle of skirts."tell her," said mr. stanley, with an imperious gesture, "to come in here." part 2miss stanley emerged from the study and stood watching ann veronica descend. the girl was flushed with excitement,bright-eyed, and braced for a struggle; her aunt had never seen her looking so fine orso pretty. her fancy dress, save for the green-graystockings, the pseudo-turkish slippers, and baggy silk trousered ends natural to acorsair's bride, was hidden in a large
black-silk-hooded opera-cloak. beneath the hood it was evident that herrebellious hair was bound up with red silk, and fastened by some device in her ears(unless she had them pierced, which was too dreadful a thing to suppose!) were longbrass filigree earrings. "i'm just off, aunt," said ann veronica."your father is in the study and wishes to speak to you." ann veronica hesitated, and then stood inthe open doorway and regarded her father's stern presence.she spoke with an entirely false note of cheerful off-handedness.
"i'm just in time to say good-bye before igo, father. i'm going up to london with the widgetts tothat ball." "now look here, ann veronica," said mr.stanley, "just a moment. you are not going to that ball!"ann veronica tried a less genial, more dignified note. "i thought we had discussed that, father.""you are not going to that ball! you are not going out of this house in thatget-up!" ann veronica tried yet more earnestly totreat him, as she would treat any man, with an insistence upon her due of masculinerespect.
"you see," she said, very gently, "i amgoing. i am sorry to seem to disobey you, but iam. i wish"--she found she had embarked on abad sentence--"i wish we needn't have quarrelled."she stopped abruptly, and turned about toward the front door. in a moment he was beside her."i don't think you can have heard me, vee," he said, with intensely controlled fury."i said you were"--he shouted--"not to go!" she made, and overdid, an immense effort tobe a princess. she tossed her head, and, having no furtherwords, moved toward the door.
her father intercepted her, and for amoment she and he struggled with their hands upon the latch.a common rage flushed their faces. "let go!" she gasped at him, a blaze ofanger. "veronica!" cried miss stanley, warningly,and, "peter!" for a moment they seemed on the verge of analtogether desperate scuffle. never for a moment had violence comebetween these two since long ago he had, in spite of her mother's protest in thebackground, carried her kicking and squalling to the nursery for some forgottencrime. with something near to horror they foundthemselves thus confronted.
the door was fastened by a catch and alatch with an inside key, to which at night a chain and two bolts were added. carefully abstaining from thrusting againsteach other, ann veronica and her father began an absurdly desperate struggle, theone to open the door, the other to keep it fastened. she seized the key, and he grasped her handand squeezed it roughly and painfully between the handle and the ward as shetried to turn it. his grip twisted her wrist. she cried out with the pain of it.a wild passion of shame and self-disgust
swept over her. her spirit awoke in dismay to an affectionin ruins, to the immense undignified disaster that had come to them.abruptly she desisted, recoiled, and turned and fled up-stairs. she made noises between weeping andlaughter as she went. she gained her room, and slammed her doorand locked it as though she feared violence and pursuit. "oh god!" she cried, "oh god!" and flungaside her opera-cloak, and for a time walked about the room--a corsair's bride ata crisis of emotion.
"why can't he reason with me," she said,again and again, "instead of doing this?" part 3there presently came a phase in which she said: "i won't stand it even now.i will go to-night." she went as far as her door, then turned tothe window. she opened this and scrambled out--a thingshe had not done for five long years of adolescence--upon the leaded space abovethe built-out bath-room on the first floor. once upon a time she and roddy haddescended thence by the drain-pipe. but things that a girl of sixteen may do inshort skirts are not things to be done by a young lady of twenty-one in fancy dress andan opera-cloak, and just as she was coming
unaided to an adequate realization of this, she discovered mr. pragmar, the wholesaledruggist, who lived three gardens away, and who had been mowing his lawn to get anappetite for dinner, standing in a fascinated attitude beside the forgottenlawn-mower and watching her intently. she found it extremely difficult to infusean air of quiet correctitude into her return through the window, and when she wassafely inside she waved clinched fists and executed a noiseless dance of rage. when she reflected that mr. pragmarprobably knew mr. ramage, and might describe the affair to him, she cried "oh!"with renewed vexation, and repeated some
steps of her dance in a new and moreecstatic measure. part 4at eight that evening miss stanley tapped at ann veronica's bedroom door."i've brought you up some dinner, vee," she said. ann veronica was lying on her bed in adarkling room staring at the ceiling. she reflected before answering.she was frightfully hungry. she had eaten little or no tea, and hermid-day meal had been worse than nothing. she got up and unlocked the door. her aunt did not object to capitalpunishment or war, or the industrial system
or casual wards, or flogging of criminalsor the congo free state, because none of these things really got hold of her imagination; but she did object, she didnot like, she could not bear to think of people not having and enjoying their meals. it was her distinctive test of an emotionalstate, its interference with a kindly normal digestion. any one very badly moved choked down a fewmouthfuls; the symptom of supreme distress was not to be able to touch a bit. so that the thought of ann veronica up-stairs had been extremely painful for her
through all the silent dinner-time thatnight. as soon as dinner was over she went intothe kitchen and devoted herself to compiling a tray--not a tray merely ofhalf-cooled dinner things, but a specially prepared "nice" tray, suitable for temptingany one. with this she now entered. ann veronica found herself in the presenceof the most disconcerting fact in human experience, the kindliness of people youbelieve to be thoroughly wrong. she took the tray with both hands, gulped,and gave way to tears. her aunt leaped unhappily to the thought ofpenitence.
"my dear," she began, with an affectionatehand on ann veronica's shoulder, "i do so wish you would realize how it grieves yourfather." ann veronica flung away from her hand, andthe pepper-pot on the tray upset, sending a puff of pepper into the air and instantlyfilling them both with an intense desire to sneeze. "i don't think you see," she replied, withtears on her cheeks, and her brows knitting, "how it shames and, ah!--disgraces me--ah tishu!" she put down the tray with a concussion onher toilet-table. "but, dear, think!he is your father.
shooh!" "that's no reason," said ann veronica,speaking through her handkerchief and stopping abruptly. niece and aunt regarded each other for amoment over their pocket-handkerchiefs with watery but antagonistic eyes, each far tooprofoundly moved to see the absurdity of the position. "i hope," said miss stanley, with dignity,and turned doorward with features in civil warfare."better state of mind," she gasped.... ann veronica stood in the twilight roomstaring at the door that had slammed upon
her aunt, her pocket-handkerchief rolledtightly in her hand. her soul was full of the sense of disaster. she had made her first fight for dignityand freedom as a grown-up and independent person, and this was how the universe hadtreated her. it had neither succumbed to her norwrathfully overwhelmed her. it had thrust her back with an undignifiedscuffle, with vulgar comedy, with an unendurable, scornful grin. "by god!" said ann veronica for the firsttime in her life. "but i will!i will!"
> chapter the fifththe flight to london part 1ann veronica had an impression that she did not sleep at all that night, and at anyrate she got through an immense amount of feverish feeling and thinking. what was she going to do?one main idea possessed her: she must get away from home, she must assert herself atonce or perish. "very well," she would say, "then i mustgo." to remain, she felt, was to concedeeverything.
and she would have to go to-morrow. it was clear it must be to-morrow.if she delayed a day she would delay two days, if she delayed two days she woulddelay a week, and after a week things would be adjusted to submission forever. "i'll go," she vowed to the night, "or i'lldie!" she made plans and estimated means andresources. these and her general preparations hadperhaps a certain disproportion. she had a gold watch, a very good goldwatch that had been her mother's, a pearl necklace that was also pretty good, someunpretending rings, some silver bangles and
a few other such inferior trinkets, three pounds thirteen shillings unspent of herdress and book allowance and a few good salable books.so equipped, she proposed to set up a separate establishment in the world. and then she would find work. for most of a long and fluctuating nightshe was fairly confident that she would find work; she knew herself to be strong,intelligent, and capable by the standards of most of the girls she knew. she was not quite clear how she should findit, but she felt she would.
then she would write and tell her fatherwhat she had done, and put their relationship on a new footing. that was how she projected it, and ingeneral terms it seemed plausible and possible. but in between these wider phases ofcomparative confidence were gaps of disconcerting doubt, when the universe waspresented as making sinister and threatening faces at her, defying her to defy, preparing a humiliating and shamefuloverthrow. "i don't care," said ann veronica to thedarkness; "i'll fight it."
she tried to plan her proceedings indetail. the only difficulties that presentedthemselves clearly to her were the difficulties of getting away frommorningside park, and not the difficulties at the other end of the journey. these were so outside her experience thatshe found it possible to thrust them almost out of sight by saying they would be "allright" in confident tones to herself. but still she knew they were not right, andat times they became a horrible obsession as of something waiting for her round thecorner. she tried to imagine herself "gettingsomething," to project herself as sitting
down at a desk and writing, or as returningafter her work to some pleasantly equipped and free and independent flat. for a time she furnished the flat.but even with that furniture it remained extremely vague, the possible good and thepossible evil as well! the possible evil! "i'll go," said ann veronica for thehundredth time. "i'll go.i don't care what happens." she awoke out of a doze, as though she hadnever been sleeping. it was time to get up.
she sat on the edge of her bed and lookedabout her, at her room, at the row of black-covered books and the pig's skull."i must take them," she said, to help herself over her own incredulity. "how shall i get my luggage out of thehouse?..." the figure of her aunt, a little distant,a little propitiatory, behind the coffee things, filled her with a sense of almostcatastrophic adventure. perhaps she might never come back to thatbreakfast-room again. never!perhaps some day, quite soon, she might regret that breakfast-room.
she helped herself to the remainder of theslightly congealed bacon, and reverted to the problem of getting her luggage out ofthe house. she decided to call in the help of teddywidgett, or, failing him, of one of his sisters. part 2she found the younger generation of the widgetts engaged in languid reminiscences,and all, as they expressed it, a "bit decayed." every one became tremendously animated whenthey heard that ann veronica had failed them because she had been, as she expressedit, "locked in."
"my god!" said teddy, more impressivelythan ever. "but what are you going to do?" askedhetty. "what can one do?" asked ann veronica. "would you stand it?i'm going to clear out." "clear out?" cried hetty."go to london," said ann veronica. she had expected sympathetic admiration,but instead the whole widgett family, except teddy, expressed a common dismay."but how can you?" asked constance. "who will you stop with?" "i shall go on my own.take a room!"
"i say!" said constance."but who's going to pay for the room?" "i've got money," said ann veronica. "anything is better than this--this stifledlife down here." and seeing that hetty and constance wereobviously developing objections, she plunged at once into a demand for help. "i've got nothing in the world to pack withexcept a toy size portmanteau. can you lend me some stuff?" "you are a chap!" said constance, andwarmed only slowly from the idea of dissuasion to the idea of help.but they did what they could for her.
they agreed to lend her their hold-all anda large, formless bag which they called the communal trunk. and teddy declared himself ready to go tothe ends of the earth for her, and carry her luggage all the way. hetty, looking out of the window--shealways smoked her after-breakfast cigarette at the window for the benefit of the lessadvanced section of morningside park society--and trying not to raise objections, saw miss stanley going downtoward the shops. "if you must go on with it," said hetty,"now's your time."
and ann veronica at once went back with thehold-all, trying not to hurry indecently but to keep up her dignified air of being awronged person doing the right thing at a smart trot, to pack. teddy went round by the garden backs anddropped the bag over the fence. all this was exciting and entertaining. her aunt returned before the packing wasdone, and ann veronica lunched with an uneasy sense of bag and hold-all packed up-stairs and inadequately hidden from chance intruders by the valance of the bed. she went down, flushed and light-hearted,to the widgetts' after lunch to make some
final arrangements and then, as soon as heraunt had retired to lie down for her usual digestive hour, took the risk of the servants having the enterprise to reporther proceedings and carried her bag and hold-all to the garden gate, whence teddy,in a state of ecstatic service, bore them to the railway station. then she went up-stairs again, dressedherself carefully for town, put on her most businesslike-looking hat, and with a waveof emotion she found it hard to control, walked down to catch the 3.17 up-train. teddy handed her into the second-classcompartment her season-ticket warranted,
and declared she was "simply splendid.""if you want anything," he said, "or get into any trouble, wire me. i'd come back from the ends of the earth.i'd do anything, vee. it's horrible to think of you!""you're an awful brick, teddy!" she said. "who wouldn't be for you?" the train began to move."you're splendid!" said teddy, with his hair wild in the wind."good luck! good luck!" she waved from the window until the bendhid him.
she found herself alone in the train askingherself what she must do next, and trying not to think of herself as cut off fromhome or any refuge whatever from the world she had resolved to face. she felt smaller and more adventurous eventhan she had expected to feel. "let me see," she said to herself, tryingto control a slight sinking of the heart, "i am going to take a room in a lodging-house because that is cheaper.... but perhaps i had better get a room in anhotel to-night and look round.... "it's bound to be all right," she said.but her heart kept on sinking. what hotel should she go to?
if she told a cabman to drive to an hotel,any hotel, what would he do--or say? he might drive to something dreadfullyexpensive, and not at all the quiet sort of thing she required. finally she decided that even for an hotelshe must look round, and that meanwhile she would "book" her luggage at waterloo. she told the porter to take it to thebooking-office, and it was only after a disconcerting moment or so that she foundshe ought to have directed him to go to the cloak-room. but that was soon put right, and she walkedout into london with a peculiar exaltation
of mind, an exaltation that partook ofpanic and defiance, but was chiefly a sense of vast unexampled release. she inhaled a deep breath of air--londonair. part 3 she dismissed the first hotels she passed,she scarcely knew why, mainly perhaps from the mere dread of entering them, andcrossed waterloo bridge at a leisurely pace. it was high afternoon, there was no greatthrong of foot-passengers, and many an eye from omnibus and pavement rested gratefullyon her fresh, trim presence as she passed
young and erect, with the light of determination shining through the quietself-possession of her face. she was dressed as english girls do dressfor town, without either coquetry or harshness: her collarless blouse confesseda pretty neck, her eyes were bright and steady, and her dark hair waved loosely andgraciously over her ears.... it seemed at first the most beautifulafternoon of all time to her, and perhaps the thrill of her excitement did add adistinctive and culminating keenness to the day. the river, the big buildings on the northbank, westminster, and st. paul's, were
rich and wonderful with the soft sunshineof london, the softest, the finest grained, the most penetrating and least emphaticsunshine in the world. the very carts and vans and cabs thatwellington street poured out incessantly upon the bridge seemed ripe and good in hereyes. a traffic of copious barges slumbered overthe face of the river-barges either altogether stagnant or dreaming along inthe wake of fussy tugs; and above circled, urbanely voracious, the london seagulls. she had never been there before at thathour, in that light, and it seemed to her as if she came to it all for the firsttime.
and this great mellow place, this london,now was hers, to struggle with, to go where she pleased in, to overcome and live in."i am glad," she told herself, "i came." she marked an hotel that seemed neitheropulent nor odd in a little side street opening on the embankment, made up her mindwith an effort, and, returning by hungerford bridge to waterloo, took a cab to this chosen refuge with her two piecesof luggage. there was just a minute's hesitation beforethey gave her a room. the young lady in the bureau said she wouldinquire, and ann veronica, while she affected to read the appeal on a hospitalcollecting-box upon the bureau counter, had
a disagreeable sense of being surveyed from behind by a small, whiskered gentleman in afrock-coat, who came out of the inner office and into the hall among a number ofequally observant green porters to look at her and her bags. but the survey was satisfactory, and shefound herself presently in room no. 47, straightening her hat and waiting for herluggage to appear. "all right so far," she said to herself.... part 4 but presently, as she sat on the oneantimacassared red silk chair and surveyed
her hold-all and bag in that tidy, rathervacant, and dehumanized apartment, with its empty wardrobe and desert toilet-table and pictureless walls and stereotypedfurnishings, a sudden blankness came upon her as though she didn't matter, and hadbeen thrust away into this impersonal corner, she and her gear.... she decided to go out into the londonafternoon again and get something to eat in an aerated bread shop or some such place,and perhaps find a cheap room for herself. of course that was what she had to do; shehad to find a cheap room for herself and work!this room no. 47 was no more than a sort of
railway compartment on the way to that. how does one get work? she walked along the strand and acrosstrafalgar square, and by the haymarket to piccadilly, and so through dignifiedsquares and palatial alleys to oxford street; and her mind was divided between a speculative treatment of employment on theone hand, and breezes--zephyr breezes--of the keenest appreciation for london, on theother. the jolly part of it was that for the firsttime in her life so far as london was concerned, she was not going anywhere inparticular; for the first time in her life
it seemed to her she was taking london in. she tried to think how people get work.ought she to walk into some of these places and tell them what she could do? she hesitated at the window of a shipping-office in cockspur street and at the army and navy stores, but decided that perhapsthere would be some special and customary hour, and that it would be better for her to find this out before she made herattempt. and, besides, she didn't just immediatelywant to make her attempt. she fell into a pleasant dream of positionsand work.
behind every one of these myriad fronts shepassed there must be a career or careers. her ideas of women's employment and amodern woman's pose in life were based largely on the figure of vivie warren inmrs. warren's profession. she had seen mrs. warren's professionfurtively with hetty widgett from the gallery of a stage society performance onemonday afternoon. most of it had been incomprehensible toher, or comprehensible in a way that checked further curiosity, but the figureof vivien, hard, capable, successful, and bullying, and ordering about a veritable teddy in the person of frank gardner,appealed to her.
she saw herself in very much vivie'sposition--managing something. her thoughts were deflected from viviewarren by the peculiar behavior of a middle-aged gentleman in piccadilly. he appeared suddenly from the infinite inthe neighborhood of the burlington arcade, crossing the pavement toward her and withhis eyes upon her. he seemed to her indistinguishably abouther father's age. he wore a silk hat a little tilted, and amorning coat buttoned round a tight, contained figure; and a white slip gave afinish to his costume and endorsed the quiet distinction of his tie.
his face was a little flushed perhaps, andhis small, brown eyes were bright. he stopped on the curb-stone, not facingher but as if he was on his way to cross the road, and spoke to her suddenly overhis shoulder. "whither away?" he said, very distinctly ina curiously wheedling voice. ann veronica stared at his foolish,propitiatory smile, his hungry gaze, through one moment of amazement, thenstepped aside and went on her way with a quickened step. but her mind was ruffled, and its mirror-like surface of satisfaction was not easily restored.queer old gentleman!
the art of ignoring is one of theaccomplishments of every well-bred girl, so carefully instilled that at last she caneven ignore her own thoughts and her own knowledge. ann veronica could at the same time askherself what this queer old gentleman could have meant by speaking to her, and know--know in general terms, at least--what that accosting signified. about her, as she had gone day by day toand from the tredgold college, she had seen and not seen many an incidental aspect ofthose sides of life about which girls are expected to know nothing, aspects that were
extraordinarily relevant to her ownposition and outlook on the world, and yet by convention ineffably remote. for all that she was of exceptionalintellectual enterprise, she had never yet considered these things with unavertedeyes. she had viewed them askance, and withoutexchanging ideas with any one else in the world about them. she went on her way now no longer dreamingand appreciative, but disturbed and unwillingly observant behind her mask ofserene contentment. that delightful sense of free,unembarrassed movement was gone.
as she neared the bottom of the dip inpiccadilly she saw a woman approaching her from the opposite direction--a tall womanwho at the first glance seemed altogether beautiful and fine. she came along with the flutteringassurance of some tall ship. then as she drew nearer paint showed uponher face, and a harsh purpose behind the quiet expression of her open countenance,and a sort of unreality in her splendor betrayed itself for which ann veronica could not recall the right word--a word,half understood, that lurked and hid in her mind, the word "meretricious."
behind this woman and a little to the sideof her, walked a man smartly dressed, with desire and appraisal in his eyes. something insisted that those two weremysteriously linked--that the woman knew the man was there. it was a second reminder that against herclaim to go free and untrammelled there was a case to be made, that after all it wastrue that a girl does not go alone in the world unchallenged, nor ever has gone freely alone in the world, that evil walksabroad and dangers, and petty insults more irritating than dangers, lurk.
it was in the quiet streets and squarestoward oxford street that it first came into her head disagreeably that she herselfwas being followed. she observed a man walking on the oppositeside of the way and looking toward her. "bother it all!" she swore."bother!" and decided that this was not so, and would not look to right or left again. beyond the circus ann veronica went into abritish tea-table company shop to get some tea.and as she was yet waiting for her tea to come she saw this man again. either it was an unfortunate recovery of atrail, or he had followed her from mayfair.
there was no mistaking his intentions thistime. he came down the shop looking for her quiteobviously, and took up a position on the other side against a mirror in which he wasable to regard her steadfastly. beneath the serene unconcern of annveronica's face was a boiling tumult. she was furiously angry. she gazed with a quiet detachment towardthe window and the oxford street traffic, and in her heart she was busy kicking thisman to death. he had followed her! what had he followed her for?he must have followed her all the way from
beyond grosvenor square. he was a tall man and fair, with bluisheyes that were rather protuberant, and long white hands of which he made a display. he had removed his silk hat, and now satlooking at ann veronica over an untouched cup of tea; he sat gloating upon her,trying to catch her eye. once, when he thought he had done so, hesmiled an ingratiating smile. he moved, after quiet intervals, with aquick little movement, and ever and again stroked his small mustache and coughed aself-conscious cough. "that he should be in the same world withme!" said ann veronica, reduced to reading
the list of good things the british tea-table company had priced for its patrons. heaven knows what dim and tawdryconceptions of passion and desire were in that blond cranium, what romance-begottendreams of intrigue and adventure! but they sufficed, when presently ann veronica went out into the darkling street again, toinspire a flitting, dogged pursuit, idiotic, exasperating, indecent.she had no idea what she should do. if she spoke to a policeman she did notknow what would ensue. perhaps she would have to charge this manand appear in a police-court next day. she became angry with herself.
she would not be driven in by thispersistent, sneaking aggression. she would ignore him.surely she could ignore him. she stopped abruptly, and looked in aflower-shop window. he passed, and came loitering back andstood beside her, silently looking into her face. the afternoon had passed now into twilight.the shops were lighting up into gigantic lanterns of color, the street lamps wereglowing into existence, and she had lost her way. she had lost her sense of direction, andwas among unfamiliar streets.
she went on from street to street, and allthe glory of london had departed. against the sinister, the threatening,monstrous inhumanity of the limitless city, there was nothing now but this supreme,ugly fact of a pursuit--the pursuit of the undesired, persistent male. for a second time ann veronica wanted toswear at the universe. there were moments when she thought ofturning upon this man and talking to him. but there was something in his face at oncestupid and invincible that told her he would go on forcing himself upon her, thathe would esteem speech with her a great point gained.
in the twilight he had ceased to be aperson one could tackle and shame; he had become something more general, a somethingthat crawled and sneaked toward her and would not let her alone.... then, when the tension was gettingunendurable, and she was on the verge of speaking to some casual passer-by anddemanding help, her follower vanished. for a time she could scarcely believe hewas gone. he had.the night had swallowed him up, but his work on her was done. she had lost her nerve, and there was nomore freedom in london for her that night.
she was glad to join in the stream ofhurrying homeward workers that was now welling out of a thousand places ofemployment, and to imitate their driven, preoccupied haste. she had followed a bobbing white hat andgray jacket until she reached the euston road corner of tottenham court road, andthere, by the name on a bus and the cries of a conductor, she made a guess of herway. and she did not merely affect to be driven--she felt driven. she was afraid people would follow her, shewas afraid of the dark, open doorways she passed, and afraid of the blazes of light;she was afraid to be alone, and she knew
not what it was she feared. it was past seven when she got back to herhotel. she thought then that she had shaken offthe man of the bulging blue eyes forever, but that night she found he followed herinto her dreams. he stalked her, he stared at her, he cravedher, he sidled slinking and propitiatory and yet relentlessly toward her, until atlast she awoke from the suffocating nightmare nearness of his approach, and lay awake in fear and horror listening to theunaccustomed sounds of the hotel. she came very near that night to resolvingthat she would return to her home next
morning. but the morning brought courage again, andthose first intimations of horror vanished completely from her mind. part 5she had sent her father a telegram from the east strand post-office worded thus: alliswellwithme-------------------------------- andquitesafeveronica-------------------------------------- and afterward she had dined a la carte upona cutlet, and had then set herself to write an answer to mr. manning's proposal ofmarriage.
but she had found it very difficult. "dear mr. manning," she had begun.so far it had been plain sailing, and it had seemed fairly evident to go on: "i findit very difficult to answer your letter." but after that neither ideas nor phraseshad come and she had fallen thinking of the events of the day. she had decided that she would spend thenext morning answering advertisements in the papers that abounded in the writing-room; and so, after half an hour's perusal of back numbers of the sketch in thedrawing-room, she had gone to bed. she found next morning, when she came tothis advertisement answering, that it was
more difficult than she had supposed. in the first place there were not so manysuitable advertisements as she had expected. she sat down by the paper-rack with ageneral feeling of resemblance to vivie warren, and looked through the morning postand standard and telegraph, and afterward the half-penny sheets. the morning post was hungry for governessesand nursery governesses, but held out no other hopes; the daily telegraph thatmorning seemed eager only for skirt hands. she went to a writing-desk and made somememoranda on a sheet of note-paper, and
then remembered that she had no address asyet to which letters could be sent. she decided to leave this matter until themorrow and devote the morning to settling up with mr. manning.at the cost of quite a number of torn drafts she succeeded in evolving this: "dear mr. manning,--i find it verydifficult to answer your letter. i hope you won't mind if i say first that ithink it does me an extraordinary honor that you should think of any one likemyself so highly and seriously, and, secondly, that i wish it had not beenwritten." she surveyed this sentence for some timebefore going on.
"i wonder," she said, "why one writes himsentences like that? it'll have to go," she decided, "i'vewritten too many already." she went on, with a desperate attempt to beeasy and colloquial: "you see, we were rather good friends, ithought, and now perhaps it will be difficult for us to get back to the oldfriendly footing. but if that can possibly be done i want itto be done. you see, the plain fact of the case is thati think i am too young and ignorant for marriage. i have been thinking these things overlately, and it seems to me that marriage
for a girl is just the supremest thing inlife. it isn't just one among a number ofimportant things; for her it is the important thing, and until she knows farmore than i know of the facts of life, how is she to undertake it? so please; if you will, forget that youwrote that letter, and forgive this answer. i want you to think of me just as if i wasa man, and quite outside marriage altogether. "i do hope you will be able to do this,because i value men friends. i shall be very sorry if i cannot have youfor a friend.
i think that there is no better friend fora girl than a man rather older than herself. "perhaps by this time you will have heardof the step i have taken in leaving my home.very likely you will disapprove highly of what i have done--i wonder? you may, perhaps, think i have done it justin a fit of childish petulance because my father locked me in when i wanted to go toa ball of which he did not approve. but really it is much more than that. at morningside park i feel as though all mygrowing up was presently to stop, as though
i was being shut in from the light of life,and, as they say in botany, etiolated. i was just like a sort of dummy that doesthings as it is told--that is to say, as the strings are pulled.i want to be a person by myself, and to pull my own strings. i had rather have trouble and hardship likethat than be taken care of by others. i want to be myself.i wonder if a man can quite understand that passionate feeling? it is quite a passionate feeling.so i am already no longer the girl you knew at morningside park.
i am a young person seeking employment andfreedom and self-development, just as in quite our first talk of all i said i wantedto be. "i do hope you will see how things are, andnot be offended with me or frightfully shocked and distressed by what i have done."very sincerely yours, "ann veronica stanley." part 6in the afternoon she resumed her search for apartments.the intoxicating sense of novelty had given place to a more business-like mood. she drifted northward from the strand, andcame on some queer and dingy quarters.
she had never imagined life was half sosinister as it looked to her in the beginning of these investigations. she found herself again in the presence ofsome element in life about which she had been trained not to think, about which shewas perhaps instinctively indisposed to think; something which jarred, in spite of all her mental resistance, with all herpreconceptions of a clean and courageous girl walking out from morningside park asone walks out of a cell into a free and spacious world. one or two landladies refused her with anair of conscious virtue that she found hard
to explain."we don't let to ladies," they said. she drifted, via theobald's road, obliquelytoward the region about titchfield street. such apartments as she saw were eitherscandalously dirty or unaccountably dear, or both. and some were adorned with engravings thatstruck her as being more vulgar and undesirable than anything she had ever seenin her life. ann veronica loved beautiful things, andthe beauty of undraped loveliness not least among them; but these were pictures thatdid but insist coarsely upon the roundness of women's bodies.
the windows of these rooms were obscuredwith draperies, their floors a carpet patchwork; the china ornaments on theirmantels were of a class apart. after the first onset several of the womenwho had apartments to let said she would not do for them, and in effect dismissedher. this also struck her as odd. about many of these houses hung amysterious taint as of something weakly and commonly and dustily evil; the women whonegotiated the rooms looked out through a friendly manner as though it was a mask,with hard, defiant eyes. then one old crone, short-sighted andshaky-handed, called ann veronica "dearie,"
and made some remark, obscure and slangy,of which the spirit rather than the words penetrated to her understanding. for a time she looked at no moreapartments, and walked through gaunt and ill-cleaned streets, through the sordidunder side of life, perplexed and troubled, ashamed of her previous obtuseness. she had something of the feeling a hindoomust experience who has been into surroundings or touched something thatoffends his caste. she passed people in the streets andregarded them with a quickening apprehension, once or twice came girlsdressed in slatternly finery, going toward
regent street from out these places. it did not occur to her that they at leasthad found a way of earning a living, and had that much economic superiority toherself. it did not occur to her that save for someaccidents of education and character they had souls like her own.for a time ann veronica went on her way gauging the quality of sordid streets. at last, a little way to the northward ofeuston road, the moral cloud seemed to lift, the moral atmosphere to change; cleanblinds appeared in the windows, clean doorsteps before the doors, a different
appeal in the neatly placed cards bearingthe word --------------------------apartments------ -------------------- in the clear bright windows.at last in a street near the hampstead road she hit upon a room that had an exceptionalquality of space and order, and a tall woman with a kindly face to show it. "you're a student, perhaps?" said the tallwoman. "at the tredgold women's college," said annveronica. she felt it would save explanations if shedid not state she had left her home and was
looking for employment. the room was papered with green, large-patterned paper that was at worst a trifle dingy, and the arm-chair and the seats ofthe other chairs were covered with the unusual brightness of a large-patterned chintz, which also supplied the window-curtain. there was a round table covered, not withthe usual "tapestry" cover, but with a plain green cloth that went passably withthe wall-paper. in the recess beside the fireplace weresome open bookshelves. the carpet was a quiet drugget and notexcessively worn, and the bed in the corner
was covered by a white quilt. there were neither texts nor rubbish on thewalls, but only a stirring version of belshazzar's feast, a steel engraving inthe early victorian manner that had some satisfactory blacks. and the woman who showed this room wastall, with an understanding eye and the quiet manner of the well-trained servant. ann veronica brought her luggage in a cabfrom the hotel; she tipped the hotel porter sixpence and overpaid the cabmaneighteenpence, unpacked some of her books and possessions, and so made the room a
little homelike, and then sat down in a byno means uncomfortable arm-chair before the fire.she had arranged for a supper of tea, a boiled egg, and some tinned peaches. she had discussed the general question ofsupplies with the helpful landlady. "and now," said ann veronica surveying herapartment with an unprecedented sense of proprietorship, "what is the next step?" she spent the evening in writing--it was alittle difficult--to her father and--which was easier--to the widgetts.she was greatly heartened by doing this. the necessity of defending herself andassuming a confident and secure tone did
much to dispell the sense of being exposedand indefensible in a huge dingy world that abounded in sinister possibilities. she addressed her letters, meditated onthem for a time, and then took them out and posted them. afterward she wanted to get her letter toher father back in order to read it over again, and, if it tallied with her generalimpression of it, re-write it. he would know her address to-morrow. she reflected upon that with a thrill ofterror that was also, somehow, in some faint remote way, gleeful."dear old daddy," she said, "he'll make a
fearful fuss. well, it had to happen somewhen....somehow. i wonder what he'll say?" chapter the sixthexpostulations part 1 the next morning opened calmly, and annveronica sat in her own room, her very own room, and consumed an egg and marmalade,and read the advertisements in the daily telegraph. then began expostulations, preluded by atelegram and headed by her aunt.
the telegram reminded ann veronica that shehad no place for interviews except her bed- sitting-room, and she sought her landladyand negotiated hastily for the use of the ground floor parlor, which very fortunatelywas vacant. she explained she was expecting animportant interview, and asked that her visitor should be duly shown in. her aunt arrived about half-past ten, inblack and with an unusually thick spotted veil. she raised this with the air of aconspirator unmasking, and displayed a tear-flushed face.for a moment she remained silent.
"my dear," she said, when she could get herbreath, "you must come home at once." ann veronica closed the door quite softlyand stood still. "this has almost killed your father.... after gwen!""i sent a telegram." "he cares so much for you.he did so care for you." "i sent a telegram to say i was all right." "all right!and i never dreamed anything of the sort was going on.i had no idea!" she sat down abruptly and threw her wristslimply upon the table.
"oh, veronica!" she said, "to leave yourhome!" she had been weeping. she was weeping now.ann veronica was overcome by this amount of emotion."why did you do it?" her aunt urged. "why could you not confide in us?" "do what?" said ann veronica."what you have done." "but what have i done?""elope! go off in this way. we had no idea.we had such a pride in you, such hope in
you.i had no idea you were not the happiest girl. everything i could do!your father sat up all night. until at last i persuaded him to go to bed.he wanted to put on his overcoat and come after you and look for you--in london. we made sure it was just like gwen.only gwen left a letter on the pincushion. you didn't even do that vee; not eventhat." "i sent a telegram, aunt," said annveronica. "like a stab.you didn't even put the twelve words."
"i said i was all right." "gwen said she was happy.before that came your father didn't even know you were gone. he was just getting cross about your beinglate for dinner--you know his way--when it came. he opened it--just off-hand, and then whenhe saw what it was he hit at the table and sent his soup spoon flying and splashing onto the tablecloth. 'my god!' he said, 'i'll go after them andkill him. i'll go after them and kill him.'for the moment i thought it was a telegram
from gwen." "but what did father imagine?""of course he imagined! any one would!'what has happened, peter?' i asked. he was standing up with the telegramcrumpled in his hand. he used a most awful word!then he said, 'it's ann veronica gone to join her sister!' 'gone!'i said. 'gone!' he said.'read that,' and threw the telegram at me,
so that it went into the tureen. he swore when i tried to get it out withthe ladle, and told me what it said. then he sat down again in a chair and saidthat people who wrote novels ought to be strung up. it was as much as i could do to prevent himflying out of the house there and then and coming after you.never since i was a girl have i seen your father so moved. 'oh! little vee!' he cried, 'little vee!'and put his face between his hands and sat still for a long time before he broke outagain."
ann veronica had remained standing whileher aunt spoke. "do you mean, aunt," she asked, "that myfather thought i had gone off--with some man?" "what else could he think?would any one dream you would be so mad as to go off alone?""after--after what had happened the night before?" "oh, why raise up old scores?if you could see him this morning, his poor face as white as a sheet and all cut aboutwith shaving! he was for coming up by the very firsttrain and looking for you, but i said to
him, 'wait for the letters,' and there,sure enough, was yours. he could hardly open the envelope, hetrembled so. then he threw the letter at me.'go and fetch her home,' he said; 'it isn't what we thought! it's just a practical joke of hers.'and with that he went off to the city, stern and silent, leaving his bacon on hisplate--a great slice of bacon hardly touched. no breakfast, he's had no dinner, hardly amouthful of soup--since yesterday at tea." she stopped.aunt and niece regarded each other
silently. "you must come home to him at once," saidmiss stanley. ann veronica looked down at her fingers onthe claret-colored table-cloth. her aunt had summoned up an altogether toovivid picture of her father as the masterful man, overbearing, emphatic,sentimental, noisy, aimless. why on earth couldn't he leave her to growin her own way? her pride rose at the bare thought ofreturn. "i don't think i can do that," she said. she looked up and said, a littlebreathlessly, "i'm sorry, aunt, but i don't
think i can." part 2then it was the expostulations really began.from first to last, on this occasion, her aunt expostulated for about two hours. "but, my dear," she began, "it isimpossible! it is quite out of the question.you simply can't." and to that, through vast rhetoricalmeanderings, she clung. it reached her only slowly that annveronica was standing to her resolution. "how will you live?" she appealed.
"think of what people will say!"that became a refrain. "think of what lady palsworthy will say!think of what"--so-and-so--"will say! what are we to tell people? "besides, what am i to tell your father?" at first it had not been at all clear toann veronica that she would refuse to return home; she had had some dream of acapitulation that should leave her an enlarged and defined freedom, but as her aunt put this aspect and that of her flightto her, as she wandered illogically and inconsistently from one urgentconsideration to another, as she mingled
assurances and aspects and emotions, it became clearer and clearer to the girl thatthere could be little or no change in the position of things if she returned."and what will mr. manning think?" said her aunt. "i don't care what any one thinks," saidann veronica. "i can't imagine what has come over you,"said her aunt. "i can't conceive what you want. you foolish girl!"ann veronica took that in silence. at the back of her mind, dim and yetdisconcerting, was the perception that she
herself did not know what she wanted. and yet she knew it was not fair to callher a foolish girl. "don't you care for mr. manning?" said heraunt. "i don't see what he has to do with mycoming to london?" "he--he worships the ground you tread on.you don't deserve it, but he does. or at least he did the day beforeyesterday. and here you are!"her aunt opened all the fingers of her gloved hand in a rhetorical gesture. "it seems to me all madness--madness!just because your father--wouldn't let you
disobey him!" part 3in the afternoon the task of expostulation was taken up by mr. stanley in person. her father's ideas of expostulation were alittle harsh and forcible, and over the claret-colored table-cloth and under thegas chandelier, with his hat and umbrella between them like the mace in parliament, he and his daughter contrived to have aviolent quarrel. she had intended to be quietly dignified,but he was in a smouldering rage from the beginning, and began by assuming, whichalone was more than flesh and blood could
stand, that the insurrection was over andthat she was coming home submissively. in his desire to be emphatic and to avengehimself for his over-night distresses, he speedily became brutal, more brutal thanshe had ever known him before. "a nice time of anxiety you've given me,young lady," he said, as he entered the room."i hope you're satisfied." she was frightened--his anger always didfrighten her--and in her resolve to conceal her fright she carried a queen-like dignityto what she felt even at the time was a preposterous pitch. she said she hoped she had not distressedhim by the course she had felt obliged to
take, and he told her not to be a fool. she tried to keep her side up by declaringthat he had put her into an impossible position, and he replied by shouting,"nonsense! nonsense! any father in my place would have done whati did." then he went on to say: "well, you've hadyour little adventure, and i hope now you've had enough of it. so go up-stairs and get your thingstogether while i look out for a hansom." to which the only possible reply seemed tobe, "i'm not coming home."
"not coming home!" "no!"and, in spite of her resolve to be a person, ann veronica began to weep withterror at herself. apparently she was always doomed to weepwhen she talked to her father. but he was always forcing her to say and dosuch unexpectedly conclusive things. she feared he might take her tears as asign of weakness. so she said: "i won't come home.i'd rather starve!" for a moment the conversation hung uponthat declaration. then mr. stanley, putting his hands on thetable in the manner rather of a barrister
than a solicitor, and regarding herbalefully through his glasses with quite undisguised animosity, asked, "and may i presume to inquire, then, what you mean todo?--how do you propose to live?" "i shall live," sobbed ann veronica."you needn't be anxious about that! i shall contrive to live." "but i am anxious," said mr. stanley, "i amanxious. do you think it's nothing to me to have mydaughter running about london looking for odd jobs and disgracing herself?" "sha'n't get odd jobs," said ann veronica,wiping her eyes.
and from that point they went on to athoroughly embittering wrangle. mr. stanley used his authority, andcommanded ann veronica to come home, to which, of course, she said she wouldn't;and then he warned her not to defy him, warned her very solemnly, and thencommanded her again. he then said that if she would not obey himin this course she should "never darken his doors again," and was, indeed, frightfullyabusive. this threat terrified ann veronica so muchthat she declared with sobs and vehemence that she would never come home again, andfor a time both talked at once and very wildly.
he asked her whether she understood whatshe was saying, and went on to say still more precisely that she should never toucha penny of his money until she came home again--not one penny. ann veronica said she didn't care.then abruptly mr. stanley changed his key. "you poor child!" he said; "don't you seethe infinite folly of these proceedings? think! think of the love and affection youabandon! think of your aunt, a second mother to you.think if your own mother was alive!" he paused, deeply moved.
"if my own mother was alive," sobbed annveronica, "she would understand." the talk became more and more inconclusiveand exhausting. ann veronica found herself incompetent,undignified, and detestable, holding on desperately to a hardening antagonism toher father, quarrelling with him, wrangling with him, thinking of repartees--almost asif he was a brother. it was horrible, but what could she do? she meant to live her own life, and hemeant, with contempt and insults, to prevent her. anything else that was said she nowregarded only as an aspect of or diversion
from that. in the retrospect she was amazed to thinkhow things had gone to pieces, for at the outset she had been quite prepared to gohome again upon terms. while waiting for his coming she had statedher present and future relations with him with what had seemed to her the mostsatisfactory lucidity and completeness. she had looked forward to an explanation. instead had come this storm, this shouting,this weeping, this confusion of threats and irrelevant appeals. it was not only that her father had saidall sorts of inconsistent and unreasonable
things, but that by some incomprehensibleinfection she herself had replied in the same vein. he had assumed that her leaving home wasthe point at issue, that everything turned on that, and that the sole alternative wasobedience, and she had fallen in with that assumption until rebellion seemed a sacredprinciple. moreover, atrociously and inexorably, heallowed it to appear ever and again in horrible gleams that he suspected there wassome man in the case.... some man! and to conclude it all was the figure ofher father in the doorway, giving her a
last chance, his hat in one hand, hisumbrella in the other, shaken at her to emphasize his point. "you understand, then," he was saying, "youunderstand?" "i understand," said ann veronica, tear-wetand flushed with a reciprocal passion, but standing up to him with an equality thatamazed even herself, "i understand." she controlled a sob. "not a penny--not one penny--and neverdarken your doors again!" the next day her aunt came again andexpostulated, and was just saying it was "an unheard-of thing" for a girl to leaveher home as ann veronica had done, when her
father arrived, and was shown in by thepleasant-faced landlady. her father had determined on a new line. he put down his hat and umbrella, restedhis 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 hewent 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--" "come home!" 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'snot for a parent to go on persuading a child." miss stanley rose and regarded ann veronicafixedly.
the girl stood with her hands behind herback, sulky, resolute, and intelligent, a strand of her black hair over one eye andlooking more than usually delicate- featured, and more than ever like anobdurate child. "she doesn't know.""she does." "i can't imagine what makes you fly outagainst 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 fromthemselves." an immense gulf seemed to open betweenfather and daughter as he said these words. "i don't see," gasped ann veronica, "whyparents and children... shouldn't be friends.""friends!" said her father. "when we see you going through disobedienceto 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 oftremendous pathos; she would have given anything to have been able to frame andmake some appeal, some utterance that should bridge this bottomless chasm that had opened between her and her father, andshe could find nothing whatever to say that was in the least sincere and appealing."father," she cried, "i have to live!" he misunderstood her. "that," he said, grimly, with his hand onthe door-handle, "must be your own affair, unless you choose to live at morningsidepark."
miss stanley turned to her. "vee," she said, "come home.before it is too late." "come, molly," said mr. stanley, at thedoor. "vee!" said miss stanley, "you hear whatyour father says!" miss stanley struggled with emotion. she made a curious movement toward herniece, then suddenly, convulsively, she dabbed down something lumpy on the tableand turned to follow her brother. ann veronica stared for a moment inamazement at this dark-green object that clashed as it was put down.it was a purse.
she made a step forward. "aunt!" she said, "i can't--"then she caught a wild appeal in her aunt's blue eye, halted, and the door clicked uponthem. there was a pause, and then the front doorslammed.... ann veronica realized that she was alonewith the world. and this time the departure had atremendous effect of finality. she had to resist an impulse of sheerterror, to run out after them and give in. "gods," she said, at last, "i've done itthis time!" "well!"she took up the neat morocco purse, opened
it, and examined the contents. it contained three sovereigns, six andfourpence, two postage stamps, a small key, and her aunt's return half ticket tomorningside park. part 5after the interview ann veronica considered herself formally cut off from home.if nothing else had clinched that, the purse had. nevertheless there came a residuum ofexpostulations. her brother roddy, who was in the motorline, came to expostulate; her sister alice wrote.
and mr. manning called.her sister alice seemed to have developed a religious sense away there in yorkshire,and made appeals that had no meaning for ann veronica's mind. she exhorted ann veronica not to become oneof "those unsexed intellectuals, neither man nor woman."ann veronica meditated over that phrase. "that's him," said ann veronica, in sound,idiomatic english. "poor old alice!"her brother roddy came to her and demanded tea, and asked her to state a case. "bit thick on the old man, isn't it?" saidroddy, who had developed a bluff,
straightforward style in the motor shop."mind my smoking?" said roddy. "i don't see quite what your game is, vee,but i suppose you've got a game on somewhere."rummy lot we are!" said roddy. "alice--alice gone dotty, and all overkids. gwen--i saw gwen the other day, and thepaint's thicker than ever. jim is up to the neck in mahatmas andtheosophy and higher thought and rot-- writes letters worse than alice.and now you're on the war-path. i believe i'm the only sane member of thefamily left. the g.v.'s as mad as any of you, in spiteof all his respectability; not a bit of him
straight anywhere, not one bit." "straight?""not a bit of it! he's been out after eight per cent. sincethe beginning. eight per cent.! he'll come a cropper one of these days, ifyou ask me. he's been near it once or twice already.that's got his nerves to rags. i suppose we're all human beings really,but what price the sacred institution of the family!us as a bundle! eh?...
i don't half disagree with you, vee,really; only thing is, i don't see how you're going to pull it off.a home may be a sort of cage, but still-- it's a home. gives you a right to hang on to the old manuntil he busts--practically. jolly hard life for a girl, getting aliving. not my affair." he asked questions and listened to herviews for a time. "i'd chuck this lark right off if i wereyou, vee," he said. "i'm five years older than you, and no endwiser, being a man.
what you're after is too risky.it's a damned hard thing to do. it's all very handsome starting out on yourown, but it's too damned hard. that's my opinion, if you ask me.there's nothing a girl can do that isn't sweated to the bone. you square the g.v., and go home before youhave to. that's my advice.if you don't eat humble-pie now you may live to fare worse later. i can't help you a cent.life's hard enough nowadays for an unprotected male.let alone a girl.
you got to take the world as it is, and theonly possible trade for a girl that isn't sweated is to get hold of a man and makehim do it for her. it's no good flying out at that, vee; ididn't arrange it. it's providence.that's how things are; that's the order of the world. like appendicitis.it isn't pretty, but we're made so. rot, no doubt; but we can't alter it. you go home and live on the g.v., and getsome other man to live on as soon as possible.it isn't sentiment but it's horse sense.
all this woman-who-diddery--no damn good. after all, old p.--providence, i mean--hasarranged it so that men will keep you, more or less.he made the universe on those lines. you've got to take what you can get." that was the quintessence of her brotherroddy. he played variations on this theme for thebetter part of an hour. "you go home," he said, at parting; "you gohome. it's all very fine and all that, vee, thisfreedom, but it isn't going to work. the world isn't ready for girls to startout on their own yet; that's the plain fact
of the case. babies and females have got to keep hold ofsomebody or go under--anyhow, for the next few generations.you go home and wait a century, vee, and then try again. then you may have a bit of a chance.now you haven't the ghost of one--not if you play the game fair." part 6it was remarkable to ann veronica how completely mr. manning, in his entirelydifferent dialect, indorsed her brother roddy's view of things.
he came along, he said, just to call, withlarge, loud apologies, radiantly kind and good.miss stanley, it was manifest, had given him ann veronica's address. the kindly faced landlady had failed tocatch his name, and said he was a tall, handsome gentleman with a great blackmustache. ann veronica, with a sigh at the cost ofhospitality, made a hasty negotiation for an extra tea and for a fire in the ground-floor apartment, and preened herself carefully for the interview. in the little apartment, under the gaschandelier, his inches and his stoop were
certainly very effective. in the bad light he looked at once militaryand sentimental and studious, like one of ouida's guardsmen revised by mr. haldaneand the london school of economics and finished in the keltic school. "it's unforgivable of me to call, missstanley," he said, shaking hands in a peculiar, high, fashionable manner; "butyou know you said we might be friends." "it's dreadful for you to be here," hesaid, indicating the yellow presence of the first fog of the year without, "but youraunt told me something of what had happened.
it's just like your splendid pride to doit. quite!" he sat in the arm-chair and took tea, andconsumed several of the extra cakes which she had sent out for and talked to her andexpressed himself, looking very earnestly at her with his deep-set eyes, and carefully avoiding any crumbs on hismustache the while. ann veronica sat firelit by her tea-traywith, quite unconsciously, the air of an expert hostess. "but how is it all going to end?" said mr.manning.
"your father, of course," he said, "mustcome to realize just how splendid you are! he doesn't understand. i've seen him, and he doesn't a bitunderstand. i didn't understand before that letter.it makes me want to be just everything i can be to you. you're like some splendid princess in exilein these dreadful dingy apartments!" "i'm afraid i'm anything but a princesswhen it comes to earning a salary," said ann veronica. "but frankly, i mean to fight this throughif i possibly can."
"my god!" said manning, in a stage-aside."earning a salary!" "you're like a princess in exile!" herepeated, overruling her. "you come into these sordid surroundings--you mustn't mind my calling them sordid-- and it makes them seem as though theydidn't matter.... i don't think they do matter. i don't think any surroundings could throwa shadow on you." ann veronica felt a slight embarrassment."won't you have some more tea, mr. manning?" she asked. "you know--," said mr. manning,relinquishing his cup without answering her
question, "when i hear you talk of earninga living, it's as if i heard of an archangel going on the stock exchange--orchrist selling doves.... forgive my daring.i couldn't help the thought." "it's a very good image," said annveronica. "i knew you wouldn't mind.""but does it correspond with the facts of the case? you know, mr. manning, all this sort ofthing is very well as sentiment, but does it correspond with the realities?are women truly such angelic things and men so chivalrous?
you men have, i know, meant to make usqueens and goddesses, but in practice-- well, look, for example, at the stream ofgirls one meets going to work of a morning, round-shouldered, cheap, and underfed! they aren't queens, and no one is treatingthem as queens. and look, again, at the women one findsletting lodgings.... i was looking for rooms last week. it got on my nerves--the women i saw.worse than any man. everywhere i went and rapped at a door ifound behind it another dreadful dingy woman--another fallen queen, i suppose--dingier than the last, dirty, you know, in
grain. their poor hands!""i know," said mr. manning, with entirely suitable emotion. "and think of the ordinary wives andmothers, with their anxiety, their limitations, their swarms of children!"mr. manning displayed distress. he fended these things off from him withthe rump of his fourth piece of cake. "i know that our social order is dreadfulenough," he said, "and sacrifices all that is best and most beautiful in life. i don't defend it.""and besides, when it comes to the idea of
queens," ann veronica went on, "there'stwenty-one and a half million women to twenty million men. suppose our proper place is a shrine.still, that leaves over a million shrines short, not reckoning widows who re-marry. and more boys die than girls, so that thereal disproportion among adults is even greater.""i know," said mr manning, "i know these dreadful statistics. i know there's a sort of right in yourimpatience at the slowness of progress. but tell me one thing i don't understand--tell me one thing: how can you help it by
coming down into the battle and the mire? that's the thing that concerns me.""oh, i'm not trying to help it," said ann veronica. "i'm only arguing against your position ofwhat a woman should be, and trying to get it clear in my own mind. i'm in this apartment and looking for workbecause--well, what else can i do, when my father practically locks me up?""i know," said mr. manning, "i know. don't think i can't sympathize andunderstand. still, here we are in this dingy, foggycity.
ye gods! what a wilderness it is! every one trying to get the better of everyone, every one regardless of every one-- it's one of those days when every one bumpsagainst you--every one pouring coal smoke into the air and making confusion worse confounded, motor omnibuses clattering andsmelling, a horse down in the tottenham court road, an old woman at the cornercoughing dreadfully--all the painful sights of a great city, and here you come into itto take your chances. it's too valiant, miss stanley, too valiantaltogether!" ann veronica meditated.
she had had two days of employment-seekingnow. "i wonder if it is." "it isn't," said mr. manning, "that i mindcourage in a woman--i love and admire courage. what could be more splendid than abeautiful girl facing a great, glorious tiger?una and the lion again, and all that! but this isn't that sort of thing; this isjust a great, ugly, endless wilderness of selfish, sweating, vulgar competition!""that you want to keep me out of?" "exactly!" said mr. manning.
"in a sort of beautiful garden-close--wearing lovely dresses and picking beautiful flowers?""ah! if one could!" "while those other girls trudge to businessand those other women let lodgings. and in reality even that magic garden-closeresolves itself into a villa at morningside park and my father being more and morecross and overbearing at meals--and a general feeling of insecurity andfutility." mr. manning relinquished his cup, andlooked meaningly at ann veronica. "there," he said, "you don't treat mefairly, miss stanley. my garden-close would be a better thingthan that."
chapter the seventhideals and a reality part 1and now for some weeks ann veronica was to test her market value in the world. she went about in a negligent novemberlondon that had become very dark and foggy and greasy and forbidding indeed, and triedto find that modest but independent employment she had so rashly assumed. she went about, intent-looking and self-possessed, trim and fine, concealing her emotions whatever they were, as therealities of her position opened out before her.
her little bed-sitting-room was like alair, and she went out from it into this vast, dun world, with its smoke-grayhouses, its glaring streets of shops, its dark streets of homes, its orange-lit windows, under skies of dull copper ormuddy gray or black, much as an animal goes out to seek food. she would come back and write letters,carefully planned and written letters, or read some book she had fetched frommudie's--she had invested a half-guinea with mudie's--or sit over her fire andthink. slowly and reluctantly she came to realizethat vivie warren was what is called an
"ideal." there were no such girls and no suchpositions. no work that offered was at all of thequality she had vaguely postulated for with such qualifications as she possessed,two chief channels of employment lay open, and neither attracted her, neither seemedreally to offer a conclusive escape from that subjection to mankind against which, in the person of her father, she wasrebelling. one main avenue was for her to become asort of salaried accessory wife or mother, to be a governess or an assistantschoolmistress, or a very high type of
governess-nurse. the other was to go into business--into aphotographer's reception-room, for example, or a costumer's or hat-shop. the first set of occupations seemed to herto be altogether too domestic and restricted; for the latter she wasdreadfully handicapped by her want of experience. and also she didn't like them. she didn't like the shops, she didn't likethe other women's faces; she thought the smirking men in frock-coats who dominatedthese establishments the most intolerable
persons she had ever had to face. one called her very distinctly "my dear!" two secretarial posts did indeed seem tooffer themselves in which, at least, there was no specific exclusion of womanhood; onewas under a radical member of parliament, and the other under a harley street doctor, and both men declined her profferedservices with the utmost civility and admiration and terror. there was also a curious interview at a bighotel with a middle-aged, white-powdered woman, all covered with jewels and reekingof scent, who wanted a companion.
she did not think ann veronica would do asher companion. and nearly all these things were fearfullyill-paid. they carried no more than bare subsistencewages; and they demanded all her time and energy. she had heard of women journalists, womenwriters, and so forth; but she was not even admitted to the presence of the editors shedemanded to see, and by no means sure that if she had been she could have done anywork they might have given her. one day she desisted from her search andwent unexpectedly to the tredgold college. her place was not filled; she had beensimply noted as absent, and she did a
comforting day of admirable dissection uponthe tortoise. she was so interested, and this was such arelief from the trudging anxiety of her search for work, that she went on for awhole week as if she was still living at home. then a third secretarial opening occurredand renewed her hopes again: a position as amanuensis--with which some of the lighterduties of a nurse were combined--to an infirm gentleman of means living at twickenham, and engaged upon a greatliterary research to prove that the "faery queen" was really a treatise upon molecularchemistry written in a peculiar and
picturesquely handled cipher. part 2 now, while ann veronica was taking thesesoundings in the industrial sea, and measuring herself against the world as itis, she was also making extensive explorations among the ideas and attitudes of a number of human beings who seemed tobe largely concerned with the world as it ought to be. she was drawn first by miss miniver, andthen by her own natural interest, into a curious stratum of people who are busiedwith dreams of world progress, of great and
fundamental changes, of a new age that is to replace all the stresses and disordersof contemporary life. miss miniver learned of her flight and gother address from the widgetts. she arrived about nine o'clock the nextevening in a state of tremulous enthusiasm. she followed the landlady half way up-stairs, and called up to ann veronica, "may i come up? it's me!you know--nettie miniver!" she appeared before ann veronica couldclearly recall who nettie miniver might be. there was a wild light in her eye, and herstraight hair was out demonstrating and
suffragetting upon some independent notionsof its own. her fingers were bursting through hergloves, as if to get at once into touch with ann veronica. "you're glorious!" said miss miniver intones of rapture, holding a hand in each of hers and peering up into ann veronica'sface. "glorious! you're so calm, dear, and so resolute, soserene! "it's girls like you who will show themwhat we are," said miss miniver; "girls whose spirits have not been broken!"
ann veronica sunned herself a little inthis warmth. "i was watching you at morningside park,dear," said miss miniver. "i am getting to watch all women. i thought then perhaps you didn't care,that you were like so many of them. now it's just as though you had grown upsuddenly." she stopped, and then suggested: "i wonder--i should love--if it was anything i said." she did not wait for ann veronica's reply.she seemed to assume that it must certainly be something she had said. "they all catch on," she said."it spreads like wildfire.
this is such a grand time!such a glorious time! there never was such a time as this! everything seems so close to fruition, socoming on and leading on! the insurrection of women!they spring up everywhere. tell me all that happened, one sister-womanto another." she chilled ann veronica a little by thatlast phrase, and yet the magnetism of her fellowship and enthusiasm was very strong;and it was pleasant to be made out a heroine after so much expostulation and somany secret doubts. but she did not listen long; she wanted totalk.
she sat, crouched together, by the cornerof the hearthrug under the bookcase that supported the pig's skull, and looked intothe fire and up at ann veronica's face, and let herself go. "let us put the lamp out," she said; "theflames are ever so much better for talking," and ann veronica agreed."you are coming right out into life--facing it all." ann veronica sat with her chin on her hand,red-lit and saying little, and miss miniver discoursed. as she talked, the drift and significanceof what she was saying shaped itself slowly
to ann veronica's apprehension. it presented itself in the likeness of agreat, gray, dull world--a brutal, superstitious, confused, and wrong-headedworld, that hurt people and limited people unaccountably. in remote times and countries its eviltendencies had expressed themselves in the form of tyrannies, massacres, wars, andwhat not; but just at present in england they shaped as commercialism and competition, silk hats, suburban morals,the sweating system, and the subjection of women.so far the thing was acceptable enough.
but over against the world miss miniverassembled a small but energetic minority, the children of light--people she describedas "being in the van," or "altogether in the van," about whom ann veronica's mindwas disposed to be more sceptical. everything, miss miniver said, was "workingup," everything was "coming on"--the higher thought, the simple life, socialism,humanitarianism, it was all the same really. she loved to be there, taking part in itall, breathing it, being it. hitherto in the world's history there hadbeen precursors of this progress at great intervals, voices that had spoken andceased, but now it was all coming on
together in a rush. she mentioned, with familiar respect,christ and buddha and shelley and nietzsche and plato.pioneers all of them. such names shone brightly in the darkness,with black spaces of unilluminated emptiness about them, as stars shine in thenight; but now--now it was different; now it was dawn--the real dawn. "the women are taking it up," said missminiver; "the women and the common people, all pressing forward, all roused."ann veronica listened with her eyes on the fire.
"everybody is taking it up," said missminiver. "you had to come in.you couldn't help it. something drew you. something draws everybody.from suburbs, from country towns-- everywhere.i see all the movements. as far as i can, i belong to them all. i keep my finger on the pulse of things."ann veronica said nothing. "the dawn!" said miss miniver, with herglasses reflecting the fire like pools of blood-red flame.
"i came to london," said ann veronica,"rather because of my own difficulty. i don't know that i understand altogether." "of course you don't," said miss miniver,gesticulating triumphantly with her thin hand and thinner wrist, and patting annveronica's knee. "of course you don't. that's the wonder of it.but you will, you will. you must let me take you to things--tomeetings and things, to conferences and talks. then you will begin to see.you will begin to see it all opening out.
i am up to the ears in it all--every momenti can spare. i throw up work--everything! i just teach in one school, one goodschool, three days a week. all the rest--movements!i can live now on fourpence a day. think how free that leaves me to followthings up! i must take you everywhere.i must take you to the suffrage people, and the tolstoyans, and the fabians." "i have heard of the fabians," said annveronica. "it's the society!" said miss miniver."it's the centre of the intellectuals.
some of the meetings are wonderful! such earnest, beautiful women!such deep-browed men!... and to think that there they are makinghistory! there they are putting together the plansof a new world. almos light-heartedly. there is shaw, and webb, and wilkins theauthor, and toomer, and doctor tumpany--the most wonderful people!there you see them discussing, deciding, planning! just think--they are making a new world!""but are these people going to alter
everything?" said ann veronica."what else can happen?" asked miss miniver, with a little weak gesture at the glow. "what else can possibly happen--as thingsare going now?" part 3miss miniver let ann veronica into her peculiar levels of the world with soenthusiastic a generosity that it seemed ingratitude to remain critical. indeed, almost insensibly ann veronicabecame habituated to the peculiar appearance and the peculiar manners of thepeople "in the van." the shock of their intellectual attitudewas over, usage robbed it of the first
quaint effect of deliberate unreason. they were in many respects so right; sheclung to that, and shirked more and more the paradoxical conviction that they werealso somehow, and even in direct relation to that rightness, absurd. very central in miss miniver's universewere the goopes. the goopes were the oddest little coupleconceivable, following a fruitarian career upon an upper floor in theobald's road. they were childless and servantless, andthey had reduced simple living to the finest of fine arts.
mr. goopes, ann veronica gathered, was amathematical tutor and visited schools, and his wife wrote a weekly column in new ideasupon vegetarian cookery, vivisection, degeneration, the lacteal secretion, appendicitis, and the higher thoughtgenerally, and assisted in the management of a fruit shop in the tottenham courtroad. their very furniture had mysteriously ahigh-browed quality, and mr. goopes when at home dressed simply in a pajama-shaped suitof canvas sacking tied with brown ribbons, while his wife wore a purple djibbah with arichly embroidered yoke. he was a small, dark, reserved man, with alarge inflexible-looking convex forehead,
and his wife was very pink and high-spirited, with one of those chins that pass insensibly into a full, strong neck. once a week, every saturday, they had alittle gathering from nine till the small hours, just talk and perhaps reading aloudand fruitarian refreshments--chestnut sandwiches buttered with nut tose, and so forth--and lemonade and unfermented wine;and to one of these symposia miss miniver after a good deal of preliminarysolicitude, conducted ann veronica. she was introduced, perhaps a little tooobviously for her taste, as a girl who was standing out against her people, to agathering that consisted of a very old lady
with an extremely wrinkled skin and a deep voice who was wearing what appeared to annveronica's inexperienced eye to be an antimacassar upon her head, a shy, blondyoung man with a narrow forehead and glasses, two undistinguished women in plain skirts and blouses, and a middle-agedcouple, very fat and alike in black, mr. and mrs. alderman dunstable, of the boroughcouncil of marylebone. these were seated in an imperfectsemicircle about a very copper-adorned fireplace, surmounted by a carved woodinscription: "do it now."
and to them were presently added a roguish-looking young man, with reddish hair, an orange tie, and a fluffy tweed suit, andothers who, in ann veronica's memory, in spite of her efforts to recall details,remained obstinately just "others." the talk was animated, and remained alwaysbrilliant in form even when it ceased to be brilliant in substance. there were moments when ann veronica rathermore than suspected the chief speakers to be, as school-boys say, showing off at her. they talked of a new substitute fordripping in vegetarian cookery that mrs. goopes was convinced exercised anexceptionally purifying influence on the
mind. and then they talked of anarchism andsocialism, and whether the former was the exact opposite of the latter or only ahigher form. the reddish-haired young man contributedallusions to the hegelian philosophy that momentarily confused the discussion. then alderman dunstable, who had hithertobeen silent, broke out into speech and went off at a tangent, and gave his personalimpressions of quite a number of his fellow-councillors. he continued to do this for the rest of theevening intermittently, in and out, among
other topics. he addressed himself chiefly to goopes, andspoke as if in reply to long-sustained inquiries on the part of goopes into thepersonnel of the marylebone borough council. "if you were to ask me," he would say, "ishould say blinders is straight. an ordinary type, of course--" mrs. dunstable's contributions to theconversation were entirely in the form of nods; whenever alderman dunstable praisedor blamed she nodded twice or thrice, according to the requirements of hisemphasis.
and she seemed always to keep one eye onann veronica's dress. mrs. goopes disconcerted the alderman alittle by abruptly challenging the roguish- looking young man in the orange tie (who,it seemed, was the assistant editor of new ideas) upon a critique of nietzsche and tolstoy that had appeared in his paper, inwhich doubts had been cast upon the perfect sincerity of the latter.everybody seemed greatly concerned about the sincerity of tolstoy. miss miniver said that if once she lost herfaith in tolstoy's sincerity, nothing she felt would really matter much any more, andshe appealed to ann veronica whether she
did not feel the same; and mr. goopes said that we must distinguish between sincerityand irony, which was often indeed no more than sincerity at the sublimated level. alderman dunstable said that sincerity wasoften a matter of opportunity, and illustrated the point to the fair young manwith an anecdote about blinders on the dust destructor committee, during which the young man in the orange tie succeeded ingiving the whole discussion a daring and erotic flavor by questioning whether anyone could be perfectly sincere in love. miss miniver thought that there was no truesincerity except in love, and appealed to
ann veronica, but the young man in theorange tie went on to declare that it was quite possible to be sincerely in love with two people at the same time, althoughperhaps on different planes with each individual, and deceiving them both. but that brought mrs. goopes down on himwith the lesson titian teaches so beautifully in his "sacred and profanelove," and became quite eloquent upon the impossibility of any deception in theformer. then they discoursed on love for a time,and alderman dunstable, turning back to the shy, blond young man and speaking inundertones of the utmost clearness, gave a
brief and confidential account of an unfounded rumor of the bifurcation of theaffections of blinders that had led to a situation of some unpleasantness upon theborough council. the very old lady in the antimacassartouched ann veronica's arm suddenly, and said, in a deep, arch voice:"talking of love again; spring again, love again. oh! you young people!" the young man with the orange tie, in spiteof sisyphus-like efforts on the part of goopes to get the topic on to a higherplane, displayed great persistence in
speculating upon the possible distribution of the affections of highly developedmodern types. the old lady in the antimacassar said,abruptly, "ah! you young people, you young people, if you only knew!" and then laughedand then mused in a marked manner; and the young man with the narrow forehead and glasses cleared his throat and asked theyoung man in the orange tie whether he believed that platonic love was possible. mrs. goopes said she believed in nothingelse, and with that she glanced at ann veronica, rose a little abruptly, anddirected goopes and the shy young man in
the handing of refreshments. but the young man with the orange tieremained in his place, disputing whether the body had not something or other whichhe called its legitimate claims. and from that they came back by way of thekreutzer sonata and resurrection to tolstoy again.so the talk went on. goopes, who had at first been a littlereserved, resorted presently to the socratic method to restrain the young manwith the orange tie, and bent his forehead over him, and brought out at last very clearly from him that the body was onlyillusion and everything nothing but just
spirit and molecules of thought. it became a sort of duel at last betweenthem, and all the others sat and listened-- every one, that is, except the alderman,who had got the blond young man into a corner by the green-stained dresser with the aluminum things, and was sitting withhis back to every one else, holding one hand over his mouth for greater privacy,and telling him, with an accent of confidential admission, in whispers of the chronic struggle between the naturalmodesty and general inoffensiveness of the borough council and the social evil inmarylebone.
so the talk went on, and presently theywere criticising novelists, and certain daring essays of wilkins got their dueshare of attention, and then they were discussing the future of the theatre. ann veronica intervened a little in thenovelist discussion with a defence of esmond and a denial that the egoist wasobscure, and when she spoke every one else stopped talking and listened. then they deliberated whether bernard shawought to go into parliament. and that brought them to vegetarianism andteetotalism, and the young man in the orange tie and mrs. goopes had a great set-to about the sincerity of chesterton and
belloc that was ended by goopes showingsigns of resuming the socratic method. and at last ann veronica and miss minivercame down the dark staircase and out into the foggy spaces of the london squares, andcrossed russell square, woburn square, gordon square, making an oblique route toann veronica's lodging. they trudged along a little hungry, becauseof the fruitarian refreshments, and mentally very active. and miss miniver fell discussing whethergoopes or bernard shaw or tolstoy or doctor tumpany or wilkins the author had the morepowerful and perfect mind in existence at the present time.
she was clear there were no other mindslike them in all the world. then one evening ann veronica went withmiss miniver into the back seats of the gallery at essex hall, and heard and sawthe giant leaders of the fabian society who are re-making the world: bernard shaw and toomer and doctor tumpany and wilkins theauthor, all displayed upon a platform. the place was crowded, and the people abouther were almost equally made up of very good-looking and enthusiastic young peopleand a great variety of goopes-like types. in the discussion there was the oddestmixture of things that were personal and petty with an idealist devotion that wasfine beyond dispute.
in nearly every speech she heard was thesame implication of great and necessary changes in the world--changes to be won byeffort and sacrifice indeed, but surely to be won. and afterward she saw a very much largerand more enthusiastic gathering, a meeting of the advanced section of the womanmovement in caxton hall, where the same note of vast changes in progress sounded; and she went to a soiree of the dressreform association and visited a food reform exhibition, where imminent changewas made even alarmingly visible. the women's meeting was much more chargedwith emotional force than the socialists'.
ann veronica was carried off herintellectual and critical feet by it altogether, and applauded and uttered criesthat subsequent reflection failed to endorse. "i knew you would feel it," said missminiver, as they came away flushed and heated."i knew you would begin to see how it all falls into place together." it did begin to fall into place together. she became more and more alive, not so muchto a system of ideas as to a big diffused impulse toward change, to a greatdiscontent with and criticism of life as it
is lived, to a clamorous confusion of ideas for reconstruction--reconstruction of themethods of business, of economic development, of the rules of property, ofthe status of children, of the clothing and feeding and teaching of every one; she developed a quite exaggerated consciousnessof a multitude of people going about the swarming spaces of london with their mindsfull, their talk and gestures full, their very clothing charged with the suggestion of the urgency of this pervasive project ofalteration. some indeed carried themselves, dressedthemselves even, rather as foreign visitors
from the land of "looking backward" and"news from nowhere" than as the indigenous londoners they were. for the most part these were detachedpeople: men practising the plastic arts, young writers, young men in employment, avery large proportion of girls and women-- self-supporting women or girls of thestudent class. they made a stratum into which ann veronicawas now plunged up to her neck; it had become her stratum. none of the things they said and did werealtogether new to ann veronica, but now she got them massed and alive, instead of byglimpses or in books--alive and articulate
and insistent. the london backgrounds, in bloomsbury andmarylebone, against which these people went to and fro, took on, by reason of theirgray facades, their implacably respectable windows and window-blinds, their reiterated unmeaning iron railings, a stronger andstronger suggestion of the flavor of her father at his most obdurate phase, and ofall that she felt herself fighting against. she was already a little prepared by herdiscursive reading and discussion under the widgett influence for ideas and"movements," though temperamentally perhaps she was rather disposed to resist andcriticise than embrace them.
but the people among whom she was nowthrown through the social exertions of miss miniver and the widgetts--for teddy andhetty came up from morningside park and took her to an eighteen-penny dinner in soho and introduced her to some artstudents, who were also socialists, and so opened the way to an evening of meanderingtalk in a studio--carried with them like an atmosphere this implication, not only that the world was in some stupid and evenobvious way wrong, with which indeed she was quite prepared to agree, but that itneeded only a few pioneers to behave as such and be thoroughly and indiscriminately
"advanced," for the new order to achieveitself. when ninety per cent. out of the ten ortwelve people one meets in a month not only say but feel and assume a thing, it is veryhard not to fall into the belief that the thing is so. imperceptibly almost ann veronica began toacquire the new attitude, even while her mind still resisted the felted ideas thatwent with it. and miss miniver began to sway her. the very facts that miss miniver neverstated an argument clearly, that she was never embarrassed by a sense of self-contradiction, and had little more respect
for consistency of statement than a washerwoman has for wisps of vapor, whichmade ann veronica critical and hostile at their first encounter in morningside park,became at last with constant association the secret of miss miniver's growinginfluence. the brain tires of resistance, and when itmeets again and again, incoherently active, the same phrases, the same ideas that ithas already slain, exposed and dissected and buried, it becomes less and lessenergetic to repeat the operation. there must be something, one feels, inideas that achieve persistently a successful resurrection.
what miss miniver would have called thehigher truth supervenes. yet through these talks, these meetings andconferences, these movements and efforts, ann veronica, for all that she went withher friend, and at times applauded with her enthusiastically, yet went nevertheless with eyes that grew more and more puzzled,and fine eyebrows more and more disposed to knit. she was with these movements--akin to them,she felt it at times intensely--and yet something eluded her. morningside park had been passive anddefective; all this rushed about and was
active, but it was still defective.it still failed in something. it did seem germane to the matter that somany of the people "in the van" were plain people, or faded people, or tired-lookingpeople. it did affect the business that they allargued badly and were egotistical in their manners and inconsistent in their phrases. there were moments when she doubted whetherthe whole mass of movements and societies and gatherings and talks was not simply onecoherent spectacle of failure protecting itself from abjection by the glamour of itsown assertions. it happened that at the extremest point ofann veronica's social circle from the
widgetts was the family of the morningsidepark horse-dealer, a company of extremely dressy and hilarious young women, with one equestrian brother addicted to fancywaistcoats, cigars, and facial spots. these girls wore hats at remarkable anglesand bows to startle and kill; they liked to be right on the spot every time and up toeverything that was it from the very beginning and they rendered their conception of socialists and all reformersby the words "positively frightening" and "weird." well, it was beyond dispute that thesewords did convey a certain quality of the
movements in general amid which missminiver disported herself. they were weird. and yet for all that--it got into ann veronica's nights at last and kept her awake, the perplexing contrastbetween the advanced thought and the advanced thinker. the general propositions of socialism, forexample, struck her as admirable, but she certainly did not extend her admiration toany of its exponents. she was still more stirred by the idea ofthe equal citizenship of men and women, by the realization that a big and growingorganization of women were giving form and
a generalized expression to just that personal pride, that aspiration forpersonal freedom and respect which had brought her to london; but when she heardmiss miniver discoursing on the next step in the suffrage campaign, or read of women badgering cabinet ministers, padlocked torailings, or getting up in a public meeting to pipe out a demand for votes and becarried out kicking and screaming, her soul revolted. she could not part with dignity.something as yet unformulated within her kept her estranged from all these practicalaspects of her beliefs.
"not for these things, o ann veronica, haveyou revolted," it said; "and this is not your appropriate purpose." it was as if she faced a darkness in whichwas something very beautiful and wonderful as yet unimagined.the little pucker in her brows became more perceptible. part 5in the beginning of december ann veronica began to speculate privately upon theprocedure of pawning. she had decided that she would begin withher pearl necklace. she spent a very disagreeable afternoon andevening--it was raining fast outside, and
she had very unwisely left her soundestpair of boots in the boothole of her father's house in morningside park-- thinking over the economic situation andplanning a course of action. her aunt had secretly sent on to annveronica some new warm underclothing, a dozen pairs of stockings, and her lastwinter's jacket, but the dear lady had overlooked those boots. these things illuminated her situationextremely. finally she decided upon a step that hadalways seemed reasonable to her, but that hitherto she had, from motives too faintfor her to formulate, refrained from
taking. she resolved to go into the city to ramageand ask for his advice. and next morning she attired herself withespecial care and neatness, found his address in the directory at a post-office,and went to him. she had to wait some minutes in an outeroffice, wherein three young men of spirited costume and appearance regarded her withill-concealed curiosity and admiration. then ramage appeared with effusion, andushered her into his inner apartment. the three young men exchanged expressiveglances. the inner apartment was rather gracefullyfurnished with a thick, fine turkish
carpet, a good brass fender, a fine oldbureau, and on the walls were engravings of two young girls' heads by greuze, and of some modern picture of boys bathing in asunlit pool. "but this is a surprise!" said ramage."this is wonderful! i've been feeling that you had vanishedfrom my world. have you been away from morningside park?""i'm not interrupting you?" "you are. splendidly.business exists for such interruptions. there you are, the best client's chair."ann veronica sat down, and ramage's eager
eyes feasted on her. "i've been looking out for you," he said."i confess it." she had not, she reflected, remembered howprominent his eyes were. "i want some advice," said ann veronica. "yes?""you remember once, how we talked--at a gate on the downs?we talked about how a girl might get an independent living." "yes, yes.""well, you see, something has happened at home."she paused.
"nothing has happened to mr. stanley?" "i've fallen out with my father.it was about--a question of what i might do or might not do.he--in fact, he--he locked me in my room. practically." her breath left her for a moment."i say!" said mr. ramage. "i wanted to go to an art-student ball ofwhich he disapproved." "and why shouldn't you?" "i felt that sort of thing couldn't go on.so i packed up and came to london next day.""to a friend?"
"to lodgings--alone." "i say, you know, you have some pluck.you did it on your own?" ann veronica smiled."quite on my own," she said. "it's magnificent!" he leaned back and regarded her with hishead a little on one side. "by jove!" he said, "there is somethingdirect about you. i wonder if i should have locked you up ifi'd been your father. luckily i'm not.and you started out forthwith to fight the world and be a citizen on your own basis?"
he came forward again and folded his handsunder him on his desk. "how has the world taken it?" he asked. "if i was the world i think i should haveput down a crimson carpet, and asked you to say what you wanted, and generally walkover me. but the world didn't do that." "not exactly.""it presented a large impenetrable back, and went on thinking about something else.""it offered from fifteen to two-and-twenty shillings a week--for drudgery." "the world has no sense of what is due toyouth and courage.
it never has had.""yes," said ann veronica. "but the thing is, i want a job." "exactly!and so you came along to me. and you see, i don't turn my back, and i amlooking at you and thinking about you from top to toe." "and what do you think i ought to do?""exactly!" he lifted a paper-weight and dabbed itgently down again. "what ought you to do?" "i've hunted up all sorts of things.""the point to note is that fundamentally
you don't want particularly to do it.""i don't understand." "you want to be free and so forth, yes. but you don't particularly want to do thejob that sets you free--for its own sake. i mean that it doesn't interest you initself." "i suppose not." "that's one of our differences.we men are like children. we can get absorbed in play, in games, inthe business we do. that's really why we do them sometimesrather well and get on. but women--women as a rule don't throwthemselves into things like that.
as a matter of fact it isn't their affair. and as a natural consequence, they don't doso well, and they don't get on--and so the world doesn't pay them. they don't catch on to discursiveinterests, you see, because they are more serious, they are concentrated on thecentral reality of life, and a little impatient of its--its outer aspects. at least that, i think, is what makes aclever woman's independent career so much more difficult than a clever man's.""she doesn't develop a specialty." ann veronica was doing her best to followhim.
"she has one, that's why. her specialty is the central thing in life,it is life itself, the warmth of life, sex- -and love." he pronounced this with an air of profoundconviction and with his eyes on ann veronica's face.he had an air of having told her a deep, personal secret. she winced as he thrust the fact at her,was about to answer, and checked herself. she colored faintly."that doesn't touch the question i asked you," she said.
"it may be true, but it isn't quite what ihave in mind." "of course not," said ramage, as one whorouses himself from deep preoccupations and he began to question her in a business-likeway upon the steps she had taken and the inquiries she had made. he displayed none of the airy optimism oftheir previous talk over the downland gate. he was helpful, but gravely dubious. "you see," he said, "from my point of viewyou're grown up--you're as old as all the goddesses and the contemporary of any manalive. but from the--the economic point of viewyou're a very young and altogether
inexperienced person."he returned to and developed that idea. "you're still," he said, "in theeducational years. from the point of view of most things inthe world of employment which a woman can do reasonably well and earn a living by,you're unripe and half-educated. if you had taken your degree, for example." he spoke of secretarial work, but eventhere she would need to be able to do typing and shorthand. he made it more and more evident to herthat her proper course was not to earn a salary but to accumulate equipment.
"you see," he said, "you are like aninaccessible gold-mine in all this sort of matter.you're splendid stuff, you know, but you've got nothing ready to sell. that's the flat business situation."he thought. then he slapped his hand on his desk andlooked up with the air of a man struck by a brilliant idea. "look here," he said, protruding his eyes;"why get anything to do at all just yet? why, if you must be free, why not do thesensible thing? make yourself worth a decent freedom.
go on with your studies at the imperialcollege, for example, get a degree, and make yourself good value.or become a thorough-going typist and stenographer and secretarial expert." "but i can't do that.""why not?" "you see, if i do go home my father objectsto the college, and as for typing--" "don't go home." "yes, but you forget; how am i to live?""easily. easily....borrow.... from me."
"i couldn't do that," said ann veronica,sharply. "i see no reason why you shouldn't.""it's impossible." "as one friend to another. men are always doing it, and if you set upto be a man--" "no, it's absolutely out of the question,mr. ramage." and ann veronica's face was hot. ramage pursed his rather loose lips andshrugged his shoulders, with his eyes fixed steadily upon her."well anyhow--i don't see the force of your objection, you know.
that's my advice to you.here i am. consider you've got resources depositedwith me. perhaps at the first blush--it strikes youas odd. people are brought up to be so shy aboutmoney. as though it was indelicate--it's just asort of shyness. but here i am to draw upon.here i am as an alternative either to nasty work--or going home." "it's very kind of you--" began annveronica. "not a bit.just a friendly polite suggestion.
i don't suggest any philanthropy. i shall charge you five per cent., youknow, fair and square." ann veronica opened her lips quickly anddid not speak. but the five per cent. certainly did seemto improve the aspect of ramage's suggestion."well, anyhow, consider it open." he dabbed with his paper-weight again, andspoke in an entirely indifferent tone. "and now tell me, please, how you elopedfrom morningside park. how did you get your luggage out of thehouse? wasn't it--wasn't it rather in somerespects--rather a lark?
it's one of my regrets for my lost youth. i never ran away from anywhere with anybodyanywhen. and now--i suppose i should be consideredtoo old. i don't feel it.... didn't you feel rather eventful--in thetrain--coming up to waterloo?" part 6before christmas ann veronica had gone to ramage again and accepted this offer shehad at first declined. many little things had contributed to thatdecision. the chief influence was her awakening senseof the need of money.
she had been forced to buy herself thatpair of boots and a walking-skirt, and the pearl necklace at the pawnbrokers' hadyielded very disappointingly. and, also, she wanted to borrow that money. it did seem in so many ways exactly whatramage said it was--the sensible thing to do.there it was--to be borrowed. it would put the whole adventure on abroader and better footing; it seemed, indeed, almost the only possible way inwhich she might emerge from her rebellion with anything like success. if only for the sake of her argument withher home, she wanted success.
and why, after all, should she not borrowmoney from ramage? it was so true what he said; middle-classpeople were ridiculously squeamish about money.why should they be? she and ramage were friends, very goodfriends. if she was in a position to help him shewould help him; only it happened to be the other way round. he was in a position to help her.what was the objection? she found it impossible to look her owndiffidence in the face. so she went to ramage and came to the pointalmost at once.
"can you spare me forty pounds?" she said.mr. ramage controlled his expression and thought very quickly. "agreed," he said, "certainly," and drew acheckbook toward him. "it's best," he said, "to make it a goodround sum. "i won't give you a check though--yes, iwill. i'll give you an uncrossed check, and thenyou can get it at the bank here, quite close by.... you'd better not have all the money on you;you had better open a small account in the post-office and draw it out a fiver at atime.
that won't involve references, as a bankaccount would--and all that sort of thing. the money will last longer, and--it won'tbother you." he stood up rather close to her and lookedinto her eyes. he seemed to be trying to understandsomething very perplexing and elusive. "it's jolly," he said, "to feel you havecome to me. it's a sort of guarantee of confidence.last time--you made me feel snubbed." he hesitated, and went off at a tangent. "there's no end of things i'd like to talkover with you. it's just upon my lunch-time.come and have lunch with me."
ann veronica fenced for a moment. "i don't want to take up your time.""we won't go to any of these city places. they're just all men, and no one is safefrom scandal. but i know a little place where we'll get alittle quiet talk." ann veronica for some indefinable reasondid not want to lunch with him, a reason indeed so indefinable that she dismissedit, and ramage went through the outer office with her, alert and attentive, tothe vivid interest of the three clerks. the three clerks fought for the onlywindow, and saw her whisked into a hansom. their subsequent conversation is outsidethe scope of our story.
"ritter's!" said ramage to the driver,"dean street." it was rare that ann veronica used hansoms,and to be in one was itself eventful and exhilarating. she liked the high, easy swing of the thingover its big wheels, the quick clatter- patter of the horse, the passage of theteeming streets. she admitted her pleasure to ramage. and ritter's, too, was very amusing andforeign and discreet; a little rambling room with a number of small tables, withred electric light shades and flowers. it was an overcast day, albeit not foggy,and the electric light shades glowed
warmly, and an italian waiter withinsufficient english took ramage's orders, and waited with an appearance of affection. ann veronica thought the whole affairrather jolly. ritter sold better food than most of hiscompatriots, and cooked it better, and ramage, with a fine perception of afeminine palate, ordered vero capri. it was, ann veronica felt, as a sip or soof that remarkable blend warmed her blood, just the sort of thing that her aunt wouldnot approve, to be lunching thus, tete-a- tete with a man; and yet at the same time it was a perfectly innocent as well asagreeable proceeding.
they talked across their meal in an easyand friendly manner about ann veronica's affairs. he was really very bright and clever, witha sort of conversational boldness that was just within the limits of permissibledaring. she described the goopes and the fabians tohim, and gave him a sketch of her landlady; and he talked in the most liberal andentertaining way of a modern young woman's outlook. he seemed to know a great deal about life.he gave glimpses of possibilities. he roused curiosities.he contrasted wonderfully with the empty
showing-off of teddy. his friendship seemed a thing worthhaving.... but when she was thinking it over in herroom that evening vague and baffling doubts came drifting across this conviction. she doubted how she stood toward him andwhat the restrained gleam of his face might signify. she felt that perhaps, in her desire toplay an adequate part in the conversation, she had talked rather more freely than sheought to have done, and given him a wrong impression of herself.
part 7that was two days before christmas eve. the next morning came a compact letter fromher father. "my dear daughter," it ran,--"here, on theverge of the season of forgiveness i hold out a last hand to you in the hope of areconciliation. i ask you, although it is not my place toask you, to return home. this roof is still open to you. you will not be taunted if you return andeverything that can be done will be done to make you happy."indeed, i must implore you to return. this adventure of yours has gone onaltogether too long; it has become a
serious distress to both your aunt andmyself. we fail altogether to understand yourmotives in doing what you are doing, or, indeed, how you are managing to do it, orwhat you are managing on. if you will think only of one triflingaspect--the inconvenience it must be to us to explain your absence--i think you maybegin to realize what it all means for us. i need hardly say that your aunt joins withme very heartily in this request. "please come home.you will not find me unreasonable with you. "your affectionate "father."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 ofhow he feels and what he feels." "i wonder how he treated gwen." her mind drifted into a speculation abouther 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, "toplease her.
she has been a dear.considering how little he lets her have." the truth prevailed. "the unaccountable thing is that i wouldn'tgo 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 herfather'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 gohome! perhaps, after all, roddy was right! "father keeps opening the door and shuttingit, 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."