Mavis knelt: she implored forgiveness for having believed herself to be utterly forgotten: she thanked Him for caring that a poor, friendless girl, such as she, should not fall.
There followed for Mavis many, many anxious days, spent from the first thing in the morning till late at night in a fruitless search for work. Her experiences were much the same as those of any attractive, friendless girl seeking to earn her livelihood in London. To begin with, she found that the summer was a time of year in which the openings she sought were all obstinately closed, the heads of firms, or those responsible for engaging additional assistance, being either away on holidays, or back from these in no mood to consider Mavis’ application.
Another thing that struck her was that, whenever she went to interview men, she was always treated civilly, cordially, or familiarly; but the womenfolk she saw were invariably rude, directly they set eyes upon her comeliness. Once or twice, she was offered employment by men; it was only their free and easy behaviour which prevented her accepting it. Mavis, as yet, was ignorant of the conditions on which some employers of female labour engage girls seeking work; but she had a sensible head screwed on her pretty shoulders; she argued that if a man were inclined to be familiar after three minutes’ acquaintance, what would he be when she was dependent upon him for a weekly wage? It was not compatible with her vast self-respect to lay herself open to risk of insult, suggested by a scarcely veiled admiration for her person after a few moments’ acquaintance. It was not as if she had any qualification of marketable value; she knew neither shorthand nor typewriting; she could merely write a decent hand, was on very fair terms with French, on nodding acquaintance with German, and had a sound knowledge of arithmetic.
On the face of it, her best course was to get a situation as governess; but Mavis, after a week’s trial, gave up the endeavour. The mothers of possible pupils, with whom the girl’s credentials from the college secured an interview, were scarcely civil to the handsome, distinguished-looking girl; they were sure that such looks, seeking for employment, boded ill for anyone indulgent enough to engage her. Mavis could not understand such behaviour; she had read in books how people were invariably kind and sympathetic, women particularly so, to girls in want of work; surely she furnished opportunity for her own sex to show consideration to one of the less fortunate of their kind.