Full text: Mrs. Dalloway

MRS. DALLOWAY 
she came to them—had pawned a brooch to come 
down. She had rushed off in a passion. They sat up 
till all hours of the night talking. Sally it was who made 
her feel, for the first time, how sheltered the life at 
Bourton was. She knew nothing about sex—nothing 
about social problems. She had once seen an old man 
who had dropped dead in a field—she had seen cows 
just after their calves were born. But Aunt Helena 
never liked discussion of anything (when Sally gave her 
William Morris, it had to be wrapped in brown paper). 
There they sat, hour after hour, talking in her bedroom 
at the top of the house, talking about life, how they 
were to reform the world. They meant to found a 
society to abolish private property, and actually had a 
letter written, though not sent out. The ideas were 
Sally’s, of course—but very soon she was just as ex- 
cited—read Plato in bed before breakfast; read Morris; 
read Shelley by the hour. 
Sally’s power was amazing, her gift, her personality. 
There was her way with flowers, for instance. At 
Bourton they always had stiff little vases all the way 
down the table. Sally went out, picked hollyhocks, 
dahlias—all sorts of flowers that had never been seen 
together—cut their heads off, and made them swim on 
the top of water in bowls. The effect was extraordinary 
—coming in to dinner in the sunset. (Of course Aunt 
Helena thought it wicked to treat flowers like that.) 
Then she forgot her sponge, and ran along the passage 
naked. That grim old housemaid, Ellen Atkins, went 
about grumbling—*“Suppose any of the gentlemen had 
seen?” Indeed she did shock people. She was untidy, 
Papa said. 
The strange thing, on looking back, was the purity, 
the integrity, of her feeling for Sally. It was not like 
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