The Conflict by David Graham Phillips Page 1 of 317

I

Four years at Wellesley; two years about equally divided among Paris, Dresden and Florence. And now Jane Hastings was at home again. At home in the unchanged house - spacious, old-fashioned - looking down from its steeply sloping lawns and terraced gardens upon the sooty, smoky activities of Remsen City, looking out upon a charming panorama of hills and valleys in the heart of South Central Indiana.

Six years of striving in the East and abroad to satisfy the restless energy she inherited from her father; and here she was, as restless as ever - yet with everything done that a woman could do in the way of an active career. She looked back upon her years of elaborate preparation; she looked forward upon - nothing.

That is, nothing but marriage - dropping her name, dropping her personality, disappearing in the personality of another. She had never seen a man for whom she would make such a sacrifice; she did not believe that such a man existed.


She meditated bitterly upon that cruel arrangement of Nature's whereby the father transmits his vigorous qualities in twofold measure to the daughter, not in order that she may be a somebody, but solely in order that she may transmit them to sons. "I don't believe it," she decided. "There's something for ME to do."

But what? She gazed down at Remsen City, connected by factories and pierced from east, west and south by railways. She gazed out over the fields and woods. Yes, there must be something for her besides merely marrying and breeding - just as much for her as for a man. But what? If she should marry a man who would let her rule him, she would despise him.

If she should marry a man she could respect - a man who was of the master class like her father - how she would hate him for ignoring her and putting her in her ordained inferior feminine place. She glanced down at her skirts with an angry sense of enforced masquerade.

And then she laughed - for she had a keen sense of humor that always came to her rescue when she was in danger of taking herself too seriously.



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