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Margaret speaks to Armand about painter Vincent:

Margaret: Father told me I was distracting Vincent from important work. Asked if I really wanted to be responsible for preventing masterpieces from being born? And, of course I didn‘t. So I started to not be in or not be well when Vincent called.

What does "not be in or not be well" mean?

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  • She avoided meeting Vincent by getting her family to say she was out / not in (away from home) or sick / unwell (and in bed / unable to receive visitors) whenever Vincent came a-courting. Sep 24, 2021 at 15:36

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The phrase indicates that whenever Vincent called, he was given an excuse why she could not see him. She intentionally avoided seeing Vincent.

"not be in" = When Vincent asked for her, he was told that she was "not in".

"not be well" = When Vincent asker for her, he was told that she was "not well".

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