|• Main||• Contacts|
"I'm all for the vote," said Teddy.
"I suppose a girl MUST be underpaid and sweated," said Ann Veronica. "I
suppose there's no way of getting a decent income--independently."
"Women have practically NO economic freedom," said Miss Miniver,
"because they have no political freedom. Men have seen to that. The one
profession, the one decent profession, I mean, for a woman--except the
stage--is teaching, and there we trample on one another. Everywhere
else--the law, medicine, the Stock Exchange--prejudice bars us."
"There's art," said Ann Veronica, "and writing."
"Every one hasn't the Gift. Even there a woman never gets a fair chance.
Men are against her. Whatever she does is minimized. All the best
novels have been written by women, and yet see how men sneer at the lady
novelist still! There's only one way to get on for a woman, and that is
to please men. That is what they think we are for!"
"We're beasts," said Teddy. "Beasts!"
But Miss Miniver took no notice of his admission.
"Of course," said Miss Miniver--she went on in a regularly undulating
voice--"we DO please men. We have that gift. We can see round them and
behind them and through them, and most of us use that knowledge, in the
silent way we have, for our great ends. Not all of us, but some of us.
Too many. I wonder what men would say if we threw the mask aside--if
we really told them what WE thought of them, really showed them what WE
were." A flush of excitement crept into her cheeks.
"Maternity," she said, "has been our undoing."
From that she opened out into a long, confused emphatic discourse on the
position of women, full of wonderful statements, while Constance worked
at her stencilling and Ann Veronica and Hetty listened, and Teddy
contributed sympathetic noises and consumed cheap cigarettes. As she
talked she made weak little gestures with her hands, and she thrust her
face forward from her bent shoulders; and she peered sometimes at Ann
Veronica and sometimes at a photograph of the Axenstrasse, near
Fluelen, that hung upon the wall. Ann Veronica watched her face, vaguely
sympathizing with her, vaguely disliking her physical insufficiency and
her convulsive movements, and the fine eyebrows were knit with a faint
perplexity. Essentially the talk was a mixture of fragments of sentences
heard, of passages read, or arguments indicated rather than stated, and
all of it was served in a sauce of strange enthusiasm, thin yet
Page 3 from 6: Back 1 2  4 5 6 Forward