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|Ann Veronica Gathers Points Of View||H. G. [Herbert George] Wells|
|Page 4 of 5||
He put out his hand and leaned against a tree and crossed his legs. "You're not interested in politics?" he asked, almost with a note of protest.
"Well, rather," said Ann Veronica. "It seems-- It's interesting."
"Do you think so? I find my interest in that sort of thing decline and decline."
"I'm curious. Perhaps because I don't know. I suppose an intelligent person OUGHT to be interested in political affairs. They concern us all."
"I wonder," said Mr. Manning, with a baffling smile.
"I think they do. After all, they're history in the making."
"A sort of history," said Mr. Manning; and repeated, "a sort of history. But look at these glorious daisies!"
"But don't you think political questions ARE important?"
"I don't think they are this afternoon, and I don't think they are to you."
Ann Veronica turned her back on the Michaelmas daisies, and faced toward the house with an air of a duty completed.
"Just come to that seat now you are here, Miss Stanley, and look down the other path; there's a vista of just the common sort. Better even than these."
Ann Veronica walked as he indicated.
"You know I'm old-fashioned, Miss Stanley. I don't think women need to trouble about political questions."
"I want a vote," said Ann Veronica.
"Really!" said Mr. Manning, in an earnest voice, and waved his hand to the alley of mauve and purple. "I wish you didn't."
"Why not?" She turned on him.
"It jars. It jars with all my ideas. Women to me are something so serene, so fine, so feminine, and politics are so dusty, so sordid, so wearisome and quarrelsome. It seems to me a woman's duty to be beautiful, to BE beautiful and to behave beautifully, and politics are by their very nature ugly. You see, I--I am a woman worshipper. I worshipped women long before I found any woman I might ever hope to worship. Long ago. And--the idea of committees, of hustings, of agenda-papers!"
"I don't see why the responsibility of beauty should all be shifted on to the women," said Ann Veronica, suddenly remembering a part of Miss Miniver's discourse.
"It rests with them by the nature of things. Why should you who are queens come down from your thrones? If you can afford it, WE can't. We can't afford to turn our women, our Madonnas, our Saint Catherines, our Mona Lisas, our goddesses and angels and fairy princesses, into a sort of man. Womanhood is sacred to me.
My politics in that matter wouldn't be to give women votes. I'm a Socialist, Miss Stanley."
"WHAT?" said Ann Veronica, startled.
"A Socialist of the order of John Ruskin. Indeed I am! I would make this country a collective monarchy, and all the girls and women in it should be the Queen. They should never come into contact with politics or economics--or any of those things. And we men would work for them and serve them in loyal fealty."
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H. G. [Herbert George] Wells
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