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from her pillow. She charged boldly into the space of Miss Miniver's
"It isn't quite that we're toys. Nobody toys with me. Nobody regards
Constance or Vee as a delicate trifle."
Teddy made some confused noise, a thoracic street row; some remark was
assassinated by a rival in his throat and buried hastily under a cough.
"They'd better not," said Hetty. "The point is we're not toys, toys
isn't the word; we're litter. We're handfuls. We're regarded as
inflammable litter that mustn't be left about. We are the species, and
maternity is our game; that's all right, but nobody wants that admitted
for fear we should all catch fire, and set about fulfilling the purpose
of our beings without waiting for further explanations. As if we didn't
know! The practical trouble is our ages. They used to marry us off at
seventeen, rush us into things before we had time to protest. They don't
now. Heaven knows why! They don't marry most of us off now until high up
in the twenties. And the age gets higher. We have to hang about in the
interval. There's a great gulf opened, and nobody's got any plans what
to do with us. So the world is choked with waste and waiting daughters.
Hanging about! And they start thinking and asking questions, and begin
to be neither one thing nor the other. We're partly human beings and
partly females in suspense."
Miss Miniver followed with an expression of perplexity, her mouth shaped
to futile expositions. The Widgett method of thought puzzled her weakly
rhetorical mind. "There is no remedy, girls," she began, breathlessly,
"except the Vote. Give us that--"
Ann Veronica came in with a certain disregard of Miss Miniver. "That's
it," she said. "They have no plans for us. They have no ideas what to do
"Except," said Constance, surveying her work with her head on one side,
"to keep the matches from the litter."
"And they won't let us make plans for ourselves."
"We will," said Miss Miniver, refusing to be suppressed, "if some of us
have to be killed to get it." And she pressed her lips together in white
resolution and nodded, and she was manifestly full of that same passion
for conflict and self-sacrifice that has given the world martyrs since
the beginning of things. "I wish I could make every woman, every girl,
see this as clearly as I see it--just what the Vote means to us. Just
what it means...."
As Ann Veronica went back along the Avenue to her aunt she became aware
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