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0105_001E Thoughts In Prison H. G. [Herbert George] Wells

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Table Of Contents: Ann Veronica

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"There is something to be said for the lady-like theory after all," she admitted. "Women ought to be gentle and submissive persons, strong only in virtue and in resistance to evil compulsion. My dear--I can call you that here, anyhow--I know that. The Victorians over-did it a little, I admit. Their idea of maidenly innocence was just a blank white--the sort of flat white that doesn't shine. But that doesn't alter the fact that there IS innocence. And I've read, and thought, and guessed, and looked--until MY innocence--it's smirched.

"Smirched! . . .

"You see, dear, one IS passionately anxious for something--what is it? One wants to be CLEAN. You want me to be clean. You would want me to be clean, if you gave me a thought, that is. . . .

"I wonder if you give me a thought. . . .

"I'm not a good woman. I don't mean I'm not a good woman--I mean that I'm not a GOOD woman. My poor brain is so mixed, dear, I hardly know what I am saying. I mean I'm not a good specimen of a woman. I've got a streak of male. Things happen to women-- proper women--and all they have to do is to take them well. They've just got to keep white. But I'm always trying to make things happen. And I get myself dirty . . .

"It's all dirt that washes off, dear, but it's dirt.

"The white unaggressive woman who corrects and nurses and serves, and is worshipped and betrayed--the martyr-queen of men, the white mother. . . . You can't do that sort of thing unless you do it over religion, and there's no religion in me--of that sort--worth a rap.

"I'm not gentle. Certainly not a gentlewoman.

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"I'm not coarse--no! But I've got no purity of mind--no real purity of mind. A good woman's mind has angels with flaming swords at the portals to keep out fallen thoughts. . . .

"I wonder if there are any good women really.

"I wish I didn't swear. I do swear. It began as a joke. . . . It developed into a sort of secret and private bad manners. It's got to be at last like tobacco-ash over all my sayings and doings. . . .

" 'Go it, missie,' they said; "kick aht!'

"I swore at that policeman--and disgusted him. Disgusted him!

    "For men policemen never blush;
    A man in all things scores so much . . .

"Damn! Things are getting plainer. It must be the dawn creeping in.

    "Now here hath been dawning another blue day;
    I'm just a poor woman, please take it away.

"Oh, sleep! Sleep! Sleep! Sleep!"

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Ann Veronica
H. G. [Herbert George] Wells

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