She winced. Then she glanced down at her father, half-frightened, and she said:
“I didn’t speak, did I?” as if she were afraid she might have committed herself.
“No,” said her father, exasperated. “But you needn’t look like an idiot. You’ve got your wits, haven’t you?”
She ebbed away in silent hostility.
“I’ve got my wits, what does that mean?” she repeated, in a sullen voice of antagonism.
“You heard what was asked you, didn’t you?” cried her father in anger.
“Of course I heard.”
“Well then, can’t you answer?” thundered her father.
“Why should I?”
At the impertinence of this retort, he went stiff. But he said nothing.
“No,” said Birkin, to help out the occasion, “there’s no need to answer at once. You can say when you like.”