She stood for a time looking at the dry limbs and still human face of that desiccated unwrapped mummy from the very beginnings of social life. It looked very patient, she thought, and a little self-satisfied. It looked as if it had taken its world for granted and prospered on that assumption—a world in which children were trained to obey their elders and the wills of women over-ruled as a matter of course. It was wonderful to think this thing had lived, had felt and suffered. Perhaps once it had desired some other human being intolerably. Perhaps some one had kissed the brow that was now so cadaverous, rubbed that sunken cheek with loving fingers, held that stringy neck with passionately living hands. But all of that was forgotten. “In the end,” it seemed to be thinking, “they embalmed me with the utmost respect—sound spices chosen to endure—the best! I took my world as I found it. Things are so!”
Ann Veronica’s first impression of Kitty Brett was that she was aggressive and disagreeable; her next that she was a person of amazing persuasive power. She was perhaps three-and-twenty, and very pink and healthy-looking, showing a great deal of white and rounded neck above her business-like but altogether feminine blouse, and a good deal of plump, gesticulating forearm out of her short sleeve. She had animated dark blue-gray eyes under her fine eyebrows, and dark brown hair that rolled back simply and effectively from her broad low forehead. And she was about as capable of intelligent argument as a runaway steam-roller. She was a trained being—trained by an implacable mother to one end.
She spoke with fluent enthusiasm. She did not so much deal with Ann Veronica’s interpolations as dispose of them with quick and use-hardened repartee, and then she went on with a fine directness to sketch the case for her agitation, for that remarkable rebellion of the women that was then agitating the whole world of politics and discussion. She assumed with a kind of mesmeric force all the propositions that Ann Veronica wanted her to define.
“What do we want? What is the goal?” asked Ann Veronica.
“Freedom! Citizenship! And the way to that—the way to everything—is the Vote.”
Ann Veronica said something about a general change of ideas.
“How can you change people’s ideas if you have no power?” said Kitty Brett.
Ann Veronica was not ready enough to deal with that counter-stroke.
“One doesn’t want to turn the whole thing into a mere sex antagonism.”
“When women get justice,” said Kitty Brett, “there will be no sex antagonism. None at all. Until then we mean to keep on hammering away.”
“It seems to me that much of a woman’s difficulties are economic.”
“That will follow,” said Kitty Brett—“that will follow.”
She interrupted as Ann Veronica was about to speak again, with a bright contagious hopefulness. “Everything will follow,” she said.