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Part-3

16 May 2023

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"Fear no more," said Clarissa. Fear no more the heat o' the sun; for the
shock of Lady Bruton asking Richard to lunch without her made the mo-
ment in which she had stood shiver, as a plant on the river-bed feels the
shock of a passing oar and shivers: so she rocked: so she shivered.
Millicent Bruton, whose lunch parties were said to be extraordinarily
amusing, had not asked her. No vulgar jealousy could separate her from
Richard. But she feared time itself, and read on Lady Bruton's face, as if it
had been a dial cut in impassive stone, the dwindling of life; how year by
year her share was sliced; how little the margin that remained was cap-
able any longer of stretching, of absorbing, as in the youthful years, the
colours, salts, tones of existence, so that she filled the room she entered,
and felt often as she stood hesitating one moment on the threshold of her
drawing-room, an exquisite suspense, such as might stay a diver before
plunging while the sea darkens and brightens beneath him, and the
waves which threaten to break, but only gently split their surface, roll
and conceal and encrust as they just turn over the weeds with pearl.
She put the pad on the hall table. She began to go slowly upstairs, with
her hand on the bannisters, as if she had left a party, where now this
friend now that had flashed back her face, her voice; had shut the door
and gone out and stood alone, a single figure against the appalling night,
or rather, to be accurate, against the stare of this matter-of-fact June
morning; soft with the glow of rose petals for some, she knew, and felt it,
as she paused by the open staircase window which let in blinds flapping,
dogs barking, let in, she thought, feeling herself suddenly shrivelled,
aged, breastless, the grinding, blowing, flowering of the day, out of
doors, out of the window, out of her body and brain which now failed,
since Lady Bruton, whose lunch parties were said to be extraordinarily
amusing, had not asked her.
Like a nun withdrawing, or a child exploring a tower, she went up-
stairs, paused at the window, came to the bathroom. There was the green
linoleum and a tap dripping. There was an emptiness about the heart of
life; an attic room. Women must put off their rich apparel. At midday
they must disrobe. She pierced the pincushion and laid her feathered yel-
low hat on the bed. The sheets were clean, tight stretched in a broad
white band from side to side. Narrower and narrower would her bed be.
The candle was half burnt down and she had read deep in Baron
Marbot's Memoirs. She had read late at night of the retreat from Moscow.
For the House sat so long that Richard insisted, after her illness, that she
must sleep undisturbed. And really she preferred to read of the retreat
from Moscow. He knew it. So the room was an attic; the bed narrow; and
lying there reading, for she slept badly, she could not dispel a virginity
preserved through childbirth which clung to her like a sheet. Lovely in
girlhood, suddenly there came a moment—for example on the river be-
neath the woods at Clieveden—when, through some contraction of this
cold spirit, she had failed him. And then at Constantinople, and again
and again. She could see what she lacked. It was not beauty; it was not
mind. It was something central which permeated; something warm
which broke up surfaces and rippled the cold contact of man and wo-
man, or of women together. For that she could dimly perceive. She resen-
ted it, had a scruple picked up Heaven knows where, or, as she felt, sent
by Nature (who is invariably wise); yet she could not resist sometimes
yielding to the charm of a woman, not a girl, of a woman confessing, as
to her they often did, some scrape, some folly. And whether it was pity,
or their beauty, or that she was older, or some accident—like a faint
scent, or a violin next door (so strange is the power of sounds at certain
moments), she did undoubtedly then feel what men felt. Only for a mo-
ment; but it was enough. It was a sudden revelation, a tinge like a blush
which one tried to check and then, as it spread, one yielded to its expan-
sion, and rushed to the farthest verge and there quivered and felt the
world come closer, swollen with some astonishing significance, some
pressure of rapture, which split its thin skin and gushed and poured
with an extraordinary alleviation over the cracks and sores! Then, for
that moment, she had seen an illumination; a match burning in a crocus;
an inner meaning almost expressed. But the close withdrew; the hard
softened. It was over—the moment. Against such moments (with women
too) there contrasted (as she laid her hat down) the bed and Baron Mar-
bot and the candle half-burnt. Lying awake, the floor creaked; the lit
house was suddenly darkened, and if she raised her head she could just
hear the click of the handle released as gently as possible by Richard,
who slipped upstairs in his socks and then, as often as not, dropped his
hot-water bottle and swore! How she laughed!
But this question of love (she thought, putting her coat away), this fall-
ing in love with women. Take Sally Seton; her relation in the old days
with Sally Seton. Had not that, after all, been love?
She sat on the floor—that was her first impression of Sally—she sat on
the floor with her arms round her knees, smoking a cigarette. Where
could it have been? The Mannings? The Kinloch-Jones's? At some party
(where, she could not be certain), for she had a distinct recollection of
saying to the man she was with, "Who is that?" And he had told her, and
said that Sally's parents did not get on (how that shocked her—that one's
parents should quarrel!). But all that evening she could not take her eyes
off Sally. It was an extraordinary beauty of the kind she most admired,
dark, large-eyed, with that quality which, since she hadn't got it herself,
she always envied—a sort of abandonment, as if she could say anything,
do anything; a quality much commoner in foreigners than in Englishwo-
men. Sally always said she had French blood in her veins, an ancestor
had been with Marie Antoinette, had his head cut off, left a ruby ring.
Perhaps that summer she came to stay at Bourton, walking in quite unex-
pectedly without a penny in her pocket, one night after dinner, and up-
setting poor Aunt Helena to such an extent that she never forgave her.
There had been some quarrel at home. She literally hadn't a penny that
night when she came to them—had pawned a brooch to come down. She
had rushed off in a passion. They sat up till all hours of the night talking.
Sally it was who made her feel, for the first time, how sheltered the life at
Bourton was. She knew nothing about sex—nothing about social prob-
lems. She had once seen an old man who had dropped dead in a
field—she had seen cows just after their calves were born. But Aunt
Helena never liked discussion of anything (when Sally gave her William
Morris, it had to be wrapped in brown paper). There they sat, hour after
hour, talking in her bedroom at the top of the house, talking about life,
how they were to reform the world. They meant to found a society to ab-
olish private property, and actually had a letter written, though not sent
out. The ideas were Sally's, of course—but very soon she was just as ex-
cited—read Plato in bed before breakfast; read Morris; read Shelley by
the hour.
Sally's power was amazing, her gift, her personality. There was her
way with flowers, for instance. At Bourton they always had stiff little
vases all the way down the table. Sally went out, picked hollyhocks, dah-
lias—all sorts of flowers that had never been seen together—cut their
heads off, and made them swim on the top of water in bowls. The effect
was extraordinary—coming in to dinner in the sunset. (Of course Aunt
Helena thought it wicked to treat flowers like that.) Then she forgot her
sponge, and ran along the passage naked. That grim old housemaid, El-
len Atkins, went about grumbling—"Suppose any of the gentlemen had
seen?" Indeed she did shock people. She was untidy, Papa said.
The strange thing, on looking back, was the purity, the integrity, of her
feeling for Sally. It was not like one's feeling for a man. It was completely
disinterested, and besides, it had a quality which could only exist
between women, between women just grown up. It was protective, on
her side; sprang from a sense of being in league together, a presentiment of something that was bound to part them (they spoke of marriage al-
ways as a catastrophe), which led to this chivalry, this protective feeling
which was much more on her side than Sally's. For in those days she was
completely reckless; did the most idiotic things out of bravado; bicycled
round the parapet on the terrace; smoked cigars. Absurd, she was—very
absurd. But the charm was overpowering, to her at least, so that she
could remember standing in her bedroom at the top of the house holding
the hot-water can in her hands and saying aloud, "She is beneath this
roof… . She is beneath this roof!"
No, the words meant absolutely nothing to her now. She could not
even get an echo of her old emotion. But she could remember going cold
with excitement, and doing her hair in a kind of ecstasy (now the old
feeling began to come back to her, as she took out her hairpins, laid them
on the dressing-table, began to do her hair), with the rooks flaunting up
and down in the pink evening light, and dressing, and going downstairs,
and feeling as she crossed the hall "if it were now to die 'twere now to be
most happy." That was her feeling—Othello's feeling, and she felt it, she
was convinced, as strongly as Shakespeare meant Othello to feel it, all
because she was coming down to dinner in a white frock to meet Sally
Seton!
She was wearing pink gauze—was that possible? She seemed, anyhow,
all light, glowing, like some bird or air ball that has flown in, attached it-
self for a moment to a bramble. But nothing is so strange when one is in
love (and what was this except being in love?) as the complete indiffer-
ence of other people. Aunt Helena just wandered off after dinner; Papa
read the paper. Peter Walsh might have been there, and old Miss Cum-
mings; Joseph Breitkopf certainly was, for he came every summer, poor
old man, for weeks and weeks, and pretended to read German with her,
but really played the piano and sang Brahms without any voice.
All this was only a background for Sally. She stood by the fireplace
talking, in that beautiful voice which made everything she said sound
like a caress, to Papa, who had begun to be attracted rather against his
will (he never got over lending her one of his books and finding it
soaked on the terrace), when suddenly she said, "What a shame to sit in-
doors!" and they all went out on to the terrace and walked up and down.
Peter Walsh and Joseph Breitkopf went on about Wagner. She and Sally
fell a little behind. Then came the most exquisite moment of her whole
life passing a stone urn with flowers in it. Sally stopped; picked a flower;
kissed her on the lips. The whole world might have turned upside down!
The others disappeared; there she was alone with Sally. And she felt that she had been given a present, wrapped up, and told just to keep it, not to
look at it—a diamond, something infinitely precious, wrapped up,
which, as they walked (up and down, up and down), she uncovered, or
the radiance burnt through, the revelation, the religious feeling!—when
old Joseph and Peter faced them:
"Star-gazing?" said Peter.
It was like running one's face against a granite wall in the darkness! It
was shocking; it was horrible!
Not for herself. She felt only how Sally was being mauled already,
maltreated; she felt his hostility; his jealousy; his determination to break
into their companionship. All this she saw as one sees a landscape in a
flash of lightning—and Sally (never had she admired her so much!) gal-
lantly taking her way unvanquished. She laughed. She made old Joseph
tell her the names of the stars, which he liked doing very seriously. She
stood there: she listened. She heard the names of the stars.
"Oh this horror!" she said to herself, as if she had known all along that
something would interrupt, would embitter her moment of happiness.
Yet, after all, how much she owed to him later. Always when she
thought of him she thought of their quarrels for some reason—because
she wanted his good opinion so much, perhaps. She owed him words:
"sentimental," "civilised"; they started up every day of her life as if he
guarded her. A book was sentimental; an attitude to life sentimental.
"Sentimental," perhaps she was to be thinking of the past. What would
he think, she wondered, when he came back?
That she had grown older? Would he say that, or would she see him
thinking when he came back, that she had grown older? It was true.
Since her illness she had turned almost white.
Laying her brooch on the table, she had a sudden spasm, as if, while
she mused, the icy claws had had the chance to fix in her. She was not
old yet. She had just broken into her fifty-second year. Months and
months of it were still untouched. June, July, August! Each still remained
almost whole, and, as if to catch the falling drop, Clarissa (crossing to the
dressing-table) plunged into the very heart of the moment, transfixed it,
there—the moment of this June morning on which was the pressure of
all the other mornings, seeing the glass, the dressing-table, and all the
bottles afresh, collecting the whole of her at one point (as she looked into
the glass), seeing the delicate pink face of the woman who was that very
night to give a party; of Clarissa Dalloway; of herself.
How many million times she had seen her face, and always with the
same imperceptible contraction! She pursed her lips when she looked in the glass. It was to give her face point. That was her self—pointed; dart-
like; definite. That was her self when some effort, some call on her to be
her self, drew the parts together, she alone knew how different, how in-
compatible and composed so for the world only into one centre, one dia-
mond, one woman who sat in her drawing-room and made a meeting-
point, a radiancy no doubt in some dull lives, a refuge for the lonely to
come to, perhaps; she had helped young people, who were grateful to
her; had tried to be the same always, never showing a sign of all the oth-
er sides of her—faults, jealousies, vanities, suspicions, like this of Lady
Bruton not asking her to lunch; which, she thought (combing her hair fi-
nally), is utterly base! Now, where was her dress?
Her evening dresses hung in the cupboard. Clarissa, plunging her
hand into the softness, gently detached the green dress and carried it to
the window. She had torn it. Some one had trod on the skirt. She had felt
it give at the Embassy party at the top among the folds. By artificial light
the green shone, but lost its colour now in the sun. She would mend it.
Her maids had too much to do. She would wear it to-night. She would
take her silks, her scissors, her—what was it?—her thimble, of course,
down into the drawing-room, for she must also write, and see that things
generally were more or less in order.
Strange, she thought, pausing on the landing, and assembling that dia-
mond shape, that single person, strange how a mistress knows the very
moment, the very temper of her house! Faint sounds rose in spirals up
the well of the stairs; the swish of a mop; tapping; knocking; a loudness
when the front door opened; a voice repeating a message in the base-
ment; the chink of silver on a tray; clean silver for the party. All was for
the party.
(And Lucy, coming into the drawing-room with her tray held out, put
the giant candlesticks on the mantelpiece, the silver casket in the middle,
turned the crystal dolphin towards the clock. They would come; they
would stand; they would talk in the mincing tones which she could imit-
ate, ladies and gentlemen. Of all, her mistress was loveliest—mistress of
silver, of linen, of china, for the sun, the silver, doors off their hinges,
Rumpelmayer's men, gave her a sense, as she laid the paper-knife on the
inlaid table, of something achieved. Behold! Behold! she said, speaking
to her old friends in the baker's shop, where she had first seen service at
Caterham, prying into the glass. She was Lady Angela, attending Prin-
cess Mary, when in came Mrs. Dalloway.)
"Oh Lucy," she said, "the silver does look nice!"
"And how," she said, turning the crystal dolphin to stand straight,
"how did you enjoy the play last night?" "Oh, they had to go before the
end!" she said. "They had to be back at ten!" she said. "So they don't
know what happened," she said. "That does seem hard luck," she said
(for her servants stayed later, if they asked her). "That does seem rather a
shame," she said, taking the old bald-looking cushion in the middle of
the sofa and putting it in Lucy's arms, and giving her a little push, and
crying:
"Take it away! Give it to Mrs. Walker with my compliments! Take it
away!" she cried.
And Lucy stopped at the drawing-room door, holding the cushion,
and said, very shyly, turning a little pink, Couldn't she help to mend that
dress?
But, said Mrs. Dalloway, she had enough on her hands already, quite
enough of her own to do without that.
"But, thank you, Lucy, oh, thank you," said Mrs. Dalloway, and thank
you, thank you, she went on saying (sitting down on the sofa with her
dress over her knees, her scissors, her silks), thank you, thank you, she
went on saying in gratitude to her servants generally for helping her to
be like this, to be what she wanted, gentle, generous-hearted. Her ser-
vants liked her. And then this dress of hers—where was the tear? and
now her needle to be threaded. This was a favourite dress, one of Sally
Parker's, the last almost she ever made, alas, for Sally had now retired,
living at Ealing, and if ever I have a moment, thought Clarissa (but never
would she have a moment any more), I shall go and see her at Ealing.
For she was a character, thought Clarissa, a real artist. She thought of
little out-of-the-way things; yet her dresses were never queer. You could
wear them at Hatfield; at Buckingham Palace. She had worn them at
Hatfield; at Buckingham Palace.
Quiet descended on her, calm, content, as her needle, drawing the silk
smoothly to its gentle pause, collected the green folds together and at-
tached them, very lightly, to the belt. So on a summer's day waves col-
lect, overbalance, and fall; collect and fall; and the whole world seems to
be saying "that is all" more and more ponderously, until even the heart in
the body which lies in the sun on the beach says too, That is all. Fear no
more, says the heart. Fear no more, says the heart, committing its burden
to some sea, which sighs collectively for all sorrows, and renews, begins,
collects, lets fall. And the body alone listens to the passing bee; the wave
breaking; the dog barking, far away barking and barking.
"Heavens, the front-door bell!" exclaimed Clarissa, staying her needle.
Roused, she listened.
"Mrs. Dalloway will see me," said the elderly man in the hall. "Oh yes,
she will see me," he repeated, putting Lucy aside very benevolently, and
running upstairs ever so quickly. "Yes, yes, yes," he muttered as he ran
upstairs. "She will see me. After five years in India, Clarissa will see me."
"Who can—what can," asked Mrs. Dalloway (thinking it was out-
rageous to be interrupted at eleven o'clock on the morning of the day she
was giving a party), hearing a step on the stairs. She heard a hand upon
the door. She made to hide her dress, like a virgin protecting chastity, re-
specting privacy. Now the brass knob slipped. Now the door opened,
and in came—for a single second she could not remember what he was
called! so surprised she was to see him, so glad, so shy, so utterly taken
aback to have Peter Walsh come to her unexpectedly in the morning!
(She had not read his letter.)
"And how are you?" said Peter Walsh, positively trembling; taking
both her hands; kissing both her hands. She's grown older, he thought,
sitting down. I shan't tell her anything about it, he thought, for she's
grown older. She's looking at me, he thought, a sudden embarrassment
coming over him, though he had kissed her hands. Putting his hand into
his pocket, he took out a large pocket-knife and half opened the blade.
Exactly the same, thought Clarissa; the same queer look; the same
check suit; a little out of the straight his face is, a little thinner, dryer, per-
haps, but he looks awfully well, and just the same.
"How heavenly it is to see you again!" she exclaimed. He had his knife
out. That's so like him, she thought.
He had only reached town last night, he said; would have to go down
into the country at once; and how was everything, how was every-
body—Richard? Elizabeth?
"And what's all this?" he said, tilting his pen-knife towards her green
dress.
He's very well dressed, thought Clarissa; yet he always criticises me.
Here she is mending her dress; mending her dress as usual, he
thought; here she's been sitting all the time I've been in India; mending
her dress; playing about; going to parties; running to the House and back
and all that, he thought, growing more and more irritated, more and
more agitated, for there's nothing in the world so bad for some women
as marriage, he thought; and politics; and having a Conservative hus-
band, like the admirable Richard. So it is, so it is, he thought, shutting his
knife with a snap. "Heavens, the front-door bell!" exclaimed Clarissa, staying her needle.
Roused, she listened.
"Mrs. Dalloway will see me," said the elderly man in the hall. "Oh yes,
she will see me," he repeated, putting Lucy aside very benevolently, and
running upstairs ever so quickly. "Yes, yes, yes," he muttered as he ran
upstairs. "She will see me. After five years in India, Clarissa will see me."
"Who can—what can," asked Mrs. Dalloway (thinking it was out-
rageous to be interrupted at eleven o'clock on the morning of the day she
was giving a party), hearing a step on the stairs. She heard a hand upon
the door. She made to hide her dress, like a virgin protecting chastity, re-
specting privacy. Now the brass knob slipped. Now the door opened,
and in came—for a single second she could not remember what he was
called! so surprised she was to see him, so glad, so shy, so utterly taken
aback to have Peter Walsh come to her unexpectedly in the morning!
(She had not read his letter.)
"And how are you?" said Peter Walsh, positively trembling; taking
both her hands; kissing both her hands. She's grown older, he thought,
sitting down. I shan't tell her anything about it, he thought, for she's
grown older. She's looking at me, he thought, a sudden embarrassment
coming over him, though he had kissed her hands. Putting his hand into
his pocket, he took out a large pocket-knife and half opened the blade.
Exactly the same, thought Clarissa; the same queer look; the same
check suit; a little out of the straight his face is, a little thinner, dryer, per-
haps, but he looks awfully well, and just the same.
"How heavenly it is to see you again!" she exclaimed. He had his knife
out. That's so like him, she thought.
He had only reached town last night, he said; would have to go down
into the country at once; and how was everything, how was every-
body—Richard? Elizabeth?
"And what's all this?" he said, tilting his pen-knife towards her green
dress.
He's very well dressed, thought Clarissa; yet he always criticises me.
Here she is mending her dress; mending her dress as usual, he
thought; here she's been sitting all the time I've been in India; mending
her dress; playing about; going to parties; running to the House and back
and all that, he thought, growing more and more irritated, more and
more agitated, for there's nothing in the world so bad for some women
as marriage, he thought; and politics; and having a Conservative hus-
band, like the admirable Richard. So it is, so it is, he thought, shutting his
knife with a snap.
11
Articles
Mrs. Dalloway
5.0
Mrs. Dalloway is a novel by Virginia Woolf published on 14 May 1925. It details a day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway, a fictional upper-class woman in post-First World War England. It is one of Woolf's best-known novels.
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Part-1

11 May 2023
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Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself. For Lucy had her work cut out for her. The doors would be taken off their hinges; Rumpelmayer's men were coming. And then, thought Clarissa Dallow

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Part-2

16 May 2023
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Septimus Warren Smith, who found himself unable to pass, heard him. Septimus Warren Smith, aged about thirty, pale-faced, beak-nosed, wearing brown shoes and a shabby overcoat, with hazel eyes which h

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Part-3

16 May 2023
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"Fear no more," said Clarissa. Fear no more the heat o' the sun; for the shock of Lady Bruton asking Richard to lunch without her made the mo- ment in which she had stood shiver, as a plant on the riv

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Part-4

17 May 2023
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"Richard's very well. Richard's at a Committee," said Clarissa. And she opened her scissors, and said, did he mind her just finishing what she was doing to her dress, for they had a party that night?

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Part-5

17 May 2023
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Such are the visions. The solitary traveller is soon beyond the wood; and there, coming to the door with shaded eyes, possibly to look for his return, with hands raised, with white apron blowing, is a

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Part-6

17 May 2023
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He was talking, he was starting, this man must notice him. He was looking at them. "I will tell you the time," said Septimus, very slowly, very drowsily, smiling mysteriously. As he sat smiling at the

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Part-7

17 May 2023
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Septimus was one of the first to volunteer. He went to France to save an England which consisted almost entirely of Shakespeare's plays and Miss Isabel Pole in a green dress walking in a square. There

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Part-8

23 May 2023
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He could not remember it. "I—I—" Septimus stammered. "Try to think as little about yourself as possible," said Sir William kindly. Really, he was not fit to be about. Was there anything else they wish

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Part-9

23 May 2023
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"I should like to see Mr. Dubonnet," said Hugh in his curt worldly way. It appeared that this Dubonnet had the measurements of Mrs. Whitbread's neck, or, more strangely still, knew her views upon Span

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Part -10

23 May 2023
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Volubly, troublously, the late clock sounded, coming in on the wake of Big Ben, with its lap full of trifles. Beaten up, broken up by the assault of carriages, the brutality of vans, the eager advance

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Part-11- The Final Part.

23 May 2023
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Sitting at little tables round vases, dressed or not dressed, with their shawls and bags laid beside them, with their air of false composure, for they were not used to so many courses at dinner, and c

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