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|Ideals And A Reality||H. G. [Herbert George] Wells|
|Page 2 of 4||
"To a friend?"
"I say, you know, you have some pluck. You did it on your own?"
Ann Veronica smiled. "Quite on my own," she said.
"It's magnificent!" He leaned back and regarded her with his head a little on one side. "By Jove!" he said, "there is something direct about you. I wonder if I should have locked you up if I'd been your father. Luckily I'm not. And you started out forthwith to fight the world and be a citizen on your own basis?" He came forward again and folded his hands under him on his desk.
"How has the world taken it?" he asked. "If I was the world I think I should have put down a crimson carpet, and asked you to say what you wanted, and generally walk over me. But the world didn't do that."
"It presented a large impenetrable back, and went on thinking about something else."
"It offered from fifteen to two-and-twenty shillings a week--for drudgery."
"The world has no sense of what is due to youth and courage. It never has had."
"Yes," said Ann Veronica. "But the thing is, I want a job."
"Exactly! And so you came along to me. And you see, I don't turn my back, and I am looking at you and thinking about you from top to toe."
"And what do you think I ought to do?"
"Exactly!" He lifted a paper-weight and dabbed it gently down again. "What ought you to do?"
"I've hunted up all sorts of things."
"The point to note is that fundamentally you don't want particularly to do it."
"I don't understand."
"You want to be free and so forth, yes. But you don't particularly want to do the job that sets you free--for its own sake. I mean that it doesn't interest you in itself."
"I suppose not."
"That's one of our differences. We men are like children. We can get absorbed in play, in games, in the business we do. That's really why we do them sometimes rather well and get on. But women--women as a rule don't throw themselves into things like that. As a matter of fact it isn't their affair. And as a natural consequence, they don't do so well, and they don't get on--and so the world doesn't pay them. They don't catch on to discursive interests, you see, because they are more serious, they are concentrated on the central reality of life, and a little impatient of its--its outer aspects. At least that, I think, is what makes a clever woman's independent career so much more difficult than a clever man's."
"She doesn't develop a specialty." Ann Veronica was doing her best to follow him.
"She has one, that's why. Her specialty is the central thing in life, it is life itself, the warmth of life, sex--and love."
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H. G. [Herbert George] Wells
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