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CHAPTER THE TENTH
"There is only one way out of all this," said Ann Veronica, sitting up
in her little bed in the darkness and biting at her nails.
"I thought I was just up against Morningside Park and father, but it's
the whole order of things--the whole blessed order of things...."
She shivered. She frowned and gripped her hands about her knees very
tightly. Her mind developed into savage wrath at the present conditions
of a woman's life.
"I suppose all life is an affair of chances. But a woman's life is all
chance. It's artificially chance. Find your man, that's the rule. All
the rest is humbug and delicacy. He's the handle of life for you. He
will let you live if it pleases him....
"Can't it be altered?
"I suppose an actress is free?..."
She tried to think of some altered state of affairs in which these
monstrous limitations would be alleviated, in which women would stand on
their own feet in equal citizenship with men. For a time she brooded on
the ideals and suggestions of the Socialists, on the vague intimations
of an Endowment of Motherhood, of a complete relaxation of that intense
individual dependence for women which is woven into the existing social
order. At the back of her mind there seemed always one irrelevant
qualifying spectator whose presence she sought to disregard. She would
not look at him, would not think of him; when her mind wavered, then
she muttered to herself in the darkness so as to keep hold of her
"It is true. It is no good waiving the thing; it is true. Unless women
are never to be free, never to be even respected, there must be a
generation of martyrs.... Why shouldn't we be martyrs? There's
nothing else for most of us, anyhow. It's a sort of blacklegging to want
to have a life of one's own...."
She repeated, as if she answered an objector: "A sort of blacklegging.
"A sex of blacklegging clients."
Her mind diverged to other aspects, and another type of womanhood.
"Poor little Miniver! What can she be but what she is?... Because
she states her case in a tangle, drags it through swamps of nonsense, it
doesn't alter the fact that she is right."
That phrase about dragging the truth through swamps of nonsense she
remembered from Capes. At the recollection that it was his, she seemed
to fall through a thin surface, as one might fall through the crust of
a lava into glowing depths. She wallowed for a time in the thought of
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