Up to this point...documents, both private and historical, have made it possible to fulfill the first duty of a biographer, which is to plod, without looking right or left, in the indelible footprints of truth... on and on methodically until we fall plump into the grave and write finis on the tombstone above our heads.

This passage, written in the voice of the narrator-biographer, provides the opening to Chapter Two. It is a part of Woolf's larger parody of the biographical genre. As a biographer, it is the narrator's duty to progress in a logical fashion, relating simply the facts, and letting the reader decide for himself what he will make of it. Here, the narrator claims to rely on documents and letters to piece her story together. But she regrets to inform the reader that this period of Orlando's life is dark and mysterious, without documents to describe exactly what happened when he was alone in his rooms.

This passage, of course, challenges the whole theory of biography, especially the idea that there is a single truth to a person's life. Woolf was highly critical of such a theory. She felt that the internal life, that which could not be determined by letters and documents was just as important as the external. When describing a person's life, "plodding without looking right or left" would be the worst path to take.