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Elizabeth enters the room where her mother rests, while Miss Kilman waits outside on the landing, wearing an unflattering mackintosh coat. She is poor and feels Clarissa is foolish and condescending. Miss Kilman thinks she has been cheated out of happiness. She was a victim of anti-German discrimination during the war, due to her German ancestry and to the sympathetic attitude she displays toward the Germans, and the school where she taught fired her. She became religious two years and three months ago. Now she feels she does not envy women like Clarissa but merely pities them.
When Clarissa gets up to greet Miss Kilman, Miss Kilman wishes to fell her like a tree. She wants to make Clarissa cry. Clarissa is shocked by the hateful look in Miss Kilman’s eyes and feels Miss Kilman has stolen Elizabeth from her. After a moment, Miss Kilman’s threat seems to shrink for Clarissa, and Clarissa laughs and says goodbye. She calls out to remember her party. When they are gone, Clarissa thinks that love and religion are the cruelest things in the world.
Clarissa watches an old woman in the house opposite hers climb the stairs and look out the window, unaware that anybody watches. Clarissa often watches her do this and feels it means something good, which she thinks is the possibility of true privacy. She does not think Miss Kilman’s religion or Peter Walsh’s being in love solves the mystery of the human soul. She has her room and the old woman has hers.
Miss Kilman thinks Clarissa laughed at her for her ugliness. She struggles to control her desire to resemble Clarissa and prays to God. All she lives for, besides Elizabeth, is food, tea, and a hot-water bottle at night. Miss Kilman thinks it is unjust that she must suffer while Clarissa has no hardships.
At the Army and Navy Stores, Miss Kilman buys a petticoat. Elizabeth guides her around like an unwieldy battleship. They have tea and Miss Kilman eats greedily, feeling resentment when a child next to them eats a pink cake she had her eye on. Miss Kilman tells Elizabeth that all professions are open to women of her generation and makes her consider the plight of the poor. Elizabeth regrets that Clarissa and Miss Kilman do not get along, though she is aware that Clarissa makes an effort. When Clarissa offered Miss Kilman flowers sent from Bourton, Miss Kilman squashed them in a bunch. Miss Kilman’s self pity becomes overwhelming, and Elizabeth longs to leave her. Miss Kilman is desperate to keep Elizabeth at the table with her, but eventually Elizabeth leaves. Miss Kilman goes to Westminster Abbey and prays.
Meanwhile, Elizabeth gets on an omnibus to the Strand and rides through a busy working-class neighborhood that her family never visits. People have begun to notice Elizabeth’s beauty, and she is obliged to go to parties. She would rather be in the country with her father and the dogs. She considers what she might do for a career, such as become a doctor or a farmer or go into Parliament. She is lazy and feels these ideas are silly, so she will say nothing about it. Elizabeth knows Clarissa will want her at home, so she boards another bus and returns home.
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