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serious, they are concentrated on the central reality of life, and a
little impatient of its--its outer aspects. At least that, I think, is
what makes a clever 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
"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 profound conviction 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 I have in mind."
"Of course not," said Ramage, as one who rouses himself from deep
preoccupations And he began to question her in a business-like way upon
the steps she had taken and the inquiries she had made. He displayed
none of the airy optimism of their previous talk over the downland gate.
He was helpful, but gravely dubious. "You see," he said, "from my point
of view you're grown up--you're as old as all the goddesses and the
contemporary of any man alive. But from the--the economic point of view
you're a very young and altogether inexperienced person."
He returned to and developed that idea. "You're still," he said, "in the
educational years. From the point of view of most things in the 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
He spoke of secretarial work, but even there she would need to be able
to do typing and shorthand. He made it more and more evident to her that
her proper course was not to earn a salary but to accumulate equipment.
"You see," he said, "you are like an inaccessible 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 and looked 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 the sensible thing? Make yourself worth
a decent freedom. Go on with your studies at the Imperial College,
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