Chapter Six

Orlando glances at the ring on her finger and wonders whether the age would approve of her marriage. She thinks of how much she wants to write poetry, and she realizes that a great writer must strike a balance with the spirit of her age. Orlando need not submit to the age, she finds that she can remain herself and continue to write.

The biographer now takes a moment to react on the boring nature of her subject, Orlando, who does nothing but think and love. Such occurrences do not satisfy the pen of the biographer for there is nothing to write about if these two subjects comprise Orlando's whole existence. The narrator turns to describe nature outside the window. At this, Orlando rises from her chair and announces that her manuscript, "The Oak Tree" is finished.

Orlando journeys to London in search of someone who will read her manuscript aloud. She comes across her old acquaintance, Sir Nicholas Greene, who is now the most influential critic of the Victorian age. They have lunch together, and Nick Greene, now a knight, tells her how the great Elizabethan age of English literature is over. He says that while Shakespeare, Marlowe, Dryden, and Pope were the best, authors now only write for money. It is clear that Greene himself has grown quite wealthy from literature. Orlando is hesitant to show him her manuscript but it pops out of her dress and Greene asks to take a look at it. He praises her work highly, and tells her she should publish it immediately. He promises to get it good reviews.

After lunch, Orlando goes to a bookshop, buys some things to read, and settles down in Hyde Park. Here, with her attention divided between the sky and her reading, she questions the relationship between life and literature and how to make one into the other. She falls under the illusion that a toy boat bobbing in the water is her husband's ship sinking, and she goes to telegram him at once.

Orlando travels to her house in Mayfair and reads all she can of Victorian literature. She concludes that literature has changed substantially since the Elizabethan period, and that with so many critics it must have become very dry. Then, she looks out the window and the narrator, with poetic language writes of the scene outside. When the action returns to Orlando she has given birth to a son.

The century now changes and King Edward succeeds Queen Victoria on the throne (1901); everything seems to have shrunk and the clouds are pulled back. Orlando reflects on how different this age is from the last one; everyone seems happier, but which a sense of distraction and desperation. Suddenly a light becomes very bright around Orlando and she hears an explosion in her right ear. She is struck ten times on the head; it is ten o'clock in the morning on the eleventh of October, 1928.