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brightness of a lost paradise, as indeed for many women it is a lost
"I wonder if there is anything wrong with my manners," she said. "I
wonder if I've been properly brought up. If I had been quite quiet and
white and dignified, wouldn't it have been different? Would he have
For some creditable moments in her life Ann Veronica was utterly
disgusted with herself; she was wrung with a passionate and belated
desire to move gently, to speak softly and ambiguously--to be, in
Horrible details recurred to her.
"Why, among other things, did I put my knuckles in his
neck--deliberately to hurt him?"
She tried to sound the humorous note.
"Are you aware, Ann Veronica, you nearly throttled that gentleman?"
Then she reviled her own foolish way of putting it.
"You ass and imbecile, Ann Veronica! You female cad! Cad! Cad!... Why
aren't you folded up clean in lavender--as every young woman ought to
be? What have you been doing with yourself?..."
She raked into the fire with the poker.
"All of which doesn't help me in the slightest degree to pay back that
That night was the most intolerable one that Ann Veronica had ever
spent. She washed her face with unwonted elaboration before she went
to bed. This time, there was no doubt, she did not sleep. The more
she disentangled the lines of her situation the deeper grew her
self-disgust. Occasionally the mere fact of lying in bed became
unendurable, and she rolled out and marched about her room and whispered
abuse of herself--usually until she hit against some article of
Then she would have quiet times, in which she would say to herself, "Now
look here! Let me think it all out!"
For the first time, it seemed to her, she faced the facts of a woman's
position in the world--the meagre realities of such freedom as it
permitted her, the almost unavoidable obligation to some individual man
under which she must labor for even a foothold in the world. She had
flung away from her father's support with the finest assumption of
personal independence. And here she was--in a mess because it had
been impossible for her to avoid leaning upon another man. She had
thought--What had she thought? That this dependence of women was but
an illusion which needed only to be denied to vanish. She had denied it
with vigor, and here she was!
She did not so much exhaust this general question as pass from it to her
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