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martyrs, and women as the pampered favorites of Nature. A vein of
conviction mingled with his burlesque.
For a time he and Miss Klegg contradicted one another.
The question ceased to be a tea-table talk, and became suddenly
tragically real for Ann Veronica. There he sat, cheerfully friendly
in his sex's freedom--the man she loved, the one man she cared
should unlock the way to the wide world for her imprisoned feminine
possibilities, and he seemed regardless that she stifled under his eyes;
he made a jest of all this passionate insurgence of the souls of women
against the fate of their conditions.
Miss Garvice repeated again, and almost in the same words she used at
every discussion, her contribution to the great question.
She thought that women were not made for the struggle and turmoil of
life--their place was the little world, the home; that their power lay
not in votes but in influence over men and in making the minds of their
children fine and splendid.
"Women should understand men's affairs, perhaps," said Miss Garvice,
"but to mingle in them is just to sacrifice that power of influencing
they can exercise now."
"There IS something sound in that position," said Capes, intervening as
if to defend Miss Garvice against a possible attack from Ann Veronica.
"It may not be just and so forth, but, after all, it is how things are.
Women are not in the world in the same sense that men are--fighting
individuals in a scramble. I don't see how they can be. Every home is a
little recess, a niche, out of the world of business and competition, in
which women and the future shelter."
"A little pit!" said Ann Veronica; "a little prison!"
"It's just as often a little refuge. Anyhow, that is how things are."
"And the man stands as the master at the mouth of the den."
"As sentinel. You forget all the mass of training and tradition and
instinct that go to make him a tolerable master. Nature is a mother; her
sympathies have always been feminist, and she has tempered the man to
the shorn woman."
"I wish," said Ann Veronica, with sudden anger, "that you could know
what it is to live in a pit!"
She stood up as she spoke, and put down her cup beside Miss Garvice's.
She addressed Capes as though she spoke to him alone.
"I can't endure it," she said.
Every one turned to her in astonishment.
She felt she had to go on. "No man can realize," she said, "what that
pit can be. The way--the way we are led on! We are taught to believe we
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