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"Idiots!" she said, when she heard this pandemonium, and with particular
reference to this young lady with the throaty contralto next door.
It took some days for this phase to pass, and it left some scars and
something like a decision. "Violence won't do it," said Ann Veronica.
"Begin violence, and the woman goes under....
"But all the rest of our case is right.... Yes."
As the long, solitary days wore on, Ann Veronica found a number of
definite attitudes and conclusions in her mind.
One of these was a classification of women into women who are and women
who are not hostile to men. "The real reason why I am out of place
here," she said, "is because I like men. I can talk with them. I've
never found them hostile. I've got no feminine class feeling. I don't
want any laws or freedoms to protect me from a man like Mr. Capes. I
know that in my heart I would take whatever he gave....
"A woman wants a proper alliance with a man, a man who is better stuff
than herself. She wants that and needs it more than anything else in
the world. It may not be just, it may not be fair, but things are so. It
isn't law, nor custom, nor masculine violence settled that. It is just
how things happen to be. She wants to be free--she wants to be legally
and economically free, so as not to be subject to the wrong man; but
only God, who made the world, can alter things to prevent her being
slave to the right one.
"And if she can't have the right one?
"We've developed such a quality of preference!"
She rubbed her knuckles into her forehead. "Oh, but life is difficult!"
she groaned. "When you loosen the tangle in one place you tie a knot in
another.... Before there is any change, any real change, I shall be
dead--dead--dead and finished--two hundred years!..."
One afternoon, while everything was still, the wardress heard her cry
out suddenly and alarmingly, and with great and unmistakable passion,
"Why in the name of goodness did I burn that twenty pounds?"
She sat regarding her dinner. The meat was coarse and disagreeably
"I suppose some one makes a bit on the food," she said....
"One has such ridiculous ideas of the wicked common people and the
beautiful machinery of order that ropes them in. And here are these
places, full of contagion!
"Of course, this is the real texture of life, this is what we refined
secure people forget. We think the whole thing is straight and noble at
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