Why didn't the sisters ever marry?

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Josephine muses, briefly, whether she and her sister might have married if their mother had lived, suggesting that the lack of a mother may have caused them a loss of maternal influence and perhaps the loss of a person who might have encouraged the women to marry or arranged meetings with possible suitors. This idea is quickly dismissed, however, with the statement that "there had been nobody for them to marry." The late colonel had quarreled with his "Anglo-Indian friends," removing them as prospects for marriage to his daughters and presumably meaning that the daughters had no appropriate social set with which to mingle. Josephine muses that she and her sister "never met a single man except clergymen" and had no idea how one met a man, or even how, having met one, it would be possible to become "more than strangers." The sisters have never been pursued, and they have spent most of their time "looking after father." They have never been taught how to behave in male company, except for that of their father, and even he is a frightening figure in the sisters' minds, someone to be kept out of the way of. Now, their father is dead, and Josephine cannot envisage what will come next for them.

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