Full text: Mrs. Dalloway

MRS. DALLOWAY 
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 
always 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 down- 
stairs, 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 con- 
vinced, 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 itself for a moment 
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