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"If we satisfy you?"
"Then, if possible, I would like to go to prison."
"It isn't nice going to prison."
"It would suit me."
"It isn't nice getting there."
"That's a question of detail," said Ann Veronica.
The tired woman looked quietly at her. "What are your objections?" she
"It isn't objections exactly. I want to know what you are doing; how you
think this work of yours really does serve women."
"We are working for the equal citizenship of men and women," said the
tired woman. "Women have been and are treated as the inferiors of men,
we want to make them their equals."
"Yes," said Ann Veronica, "I agree to that. But--"
The tired woman raised her eyebrows in mild protest.
"Isn't the question more complicated than that?" said Ann Veronica.
"You could have a talk to Miss Kitty Brett this afternoon, if you liked.
Shall I make an appointment for you?"
Miss Kitty Brett was one of the most conspicuous leaders of the
movement. Ann Veronica snatched at the opportunity, and spent most
of the intervening time in the Assyrian Court of the British Museum,
reading and thinking over a little book upon the feminist movement the
tired woman had made her buy. She got a bun and some cocoa in the little
refreshment-room, and then wandered through the galleries up-stairs,
crowded with Polynesian idols and Polynesian dancing-garments, and all
the simple immodest accessories to life in Polynesia, to a seat among
the mummies. She was trying to bring her problems to a head, and her
mind insisted upon being even more discursive and atmospheric than
usual. It generalized everything she put to it.
"Why should women be dependent on men?" she asked; and the question was
at once converted into a system of variations upon the theme of "Why
are things as they are?"--"Why are human beings viviparous?"--"Why are
people hungry thrice a day?"--"Why does one faint at danger?"
She stood for a time looking at the dry limbs and still human face of
that desiccated unwrapped mummy from the very beginnings of social life.
It looked very patient, she thought, and a little self-satisfied. It
looked as if it had taken its world for granted and prospered on that
assumption--a world in which children were trained to obey their
elders and the wills of women over-ruled as a matter of course. It was
wonderful to think this thing had lived, had felt and suffered. Perhaps
once it had desired some other human being intolerably. Perhaps some one
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