• The narrator is asked to lecture on the topic of women and fiction, presumably by a women's college.
• The narrator asks the reader to call her "Mary Seton, Mary Beton, or Mary Carmichael," and notes that her name is not important.
• After consideration of the topic's different meanings and while sitting on the river bank at a men's college, the narrator decides to write about a female writer's need for an income and a room of one's own.
• A beadle at the men's college she is visiting ushers the narrator off of the grass, as women are only allowed on the gravel pathway.
• The narrator attempts to enter the college's library, but is turned away, as women are not allowed in without an escort or a letter of introduction.
• With time to kill before lunch, "Mary" watches a procession at the campus chapel. She reflects on the...
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