Volltext: Mrs. Dalloway

MRS. DALLOWAY 
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 woman, or of women to- 
‘gether. For that she could dimly perceive. She resented 
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 moment; but it was enough. It was a sudden revela- 
tion, a tinge like a blush which one tried to check and 
then, as it spread, one yielded to its expansion, 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 burn- 
ing 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 
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