The first instance where Quick feels a change in his daughters is the lack of enthusiasm for his return. The girls had been in tears when they missed him, but this time they are unmoved: Jenny lies reading a book, and Kate sits thoughtfully on the swing. As he realises their actions are not as he expected, Quick muses on the change in his daughters-
Jenny… was growing up more quickly than Kate, and she was going to be an exciting woman,
He realises that the fault is his: his expectations of his children have not altered-
Quick was amused at his own disappointment.
He is more disturbed by their cruel treatment of the family dog. The girls throw anything they can at the poor creature to get it to leave, yet Quick sees it is in “acute misery”
The story becomes more sinister as the girls extend their red Indian game by attacking their father. He is shocked and hurt by their wild behaviour-
It seemed to him that something new had broken in to his old simple and happy relation with his daughters;
Quick then seeks to retreat to his club and be in the company of men, planning to return when the children are in bed.