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As far as she could look forward it seemed certain to be just the same until she was nothing but a solitary, little withered leaf clinging to a wintry bough.
The moment when a woman realises that she has nothing to live for--neither love, duty, purpose nor hope--holds for her the bitterness of death.
For that matter, there were a good many things about Valancy that nobody suspected.
She knew the ugliness of that room by heart--knew it and hated it. Stirling would sulk for days if offended, with the airs of an insulted duchess.
The yellow-painted floor, with one hideous, "hooked" rug by the bed, with a grotesque, "hooked" dog on it, always grinning at her when she awoke; the faded, dark-red paper; the ceiling discoloured by old leaks and crossed by cracks; the narrow, pinched little washstand; the brown-paper lambrequin with purple roses on it; the spotted old looking-glass with the crack across it, propped up on the inadequate dressing-table; the jar of ancient potpourri made by her mother in her mythical honeymoon; the shell-covered box, with one burst corner, which Cousin Stickles had made in her equally mythical girlhood; the beaded pincushion with half its bead fringe gone; the one stiff, yellow chair; the faded old motto, "Gone but not forgotten," worked in coloured yarns about Great-grandmother Stirling's grim old face; the old photographs of ancient relatives long banished from the rooms below. The only thing Valancy liked about her room was that she could be alone there at night to cry if she wanted to.
She was twenty-nine, lonely, undesired, ill-favoured--the only homely girl in a handsome clan, with no past and no future.
As far as she could look back, life was drab and colourless, with not one single crimson or purple spot anywhere.
There were only two pictures that were not of relatives. Valancy sometimes felt that she could have done something for her room herself, even without money, if she were permitted. But, after all, what did it matter if a room, which you used for nothing except sleeping and dressing in, were ugly?
One, an old chromo of a puppy sitting on a rainy doorstep. That forlorn little dog crouched on the doorstep in the driving rain! The other picture was a faded, passe-partouted engraving of Queen Louise coming down a stairway, which Aunt Wellington had lavishly given her on her tenth birthday. But her mother had negatived every timid suggestion and Valancy did not persist. Valancy was never permitted to stay alone in her room for any other purpose. Frederick Stirling and Cousin Stickles believed, could only want to be alone for some sinister purpose.
She had had a spell of it after she had got into bed--rather worse than any she had had yet.
And she was afraid her mother would notice her red eyes at breakfast and keep at her with minute, persistent, mosquito-like questions regarding the cause thereof.
She would have gone, with the rest of her clan, to Aunt Wellington's engagement picnic and Dr. But it did rain and you shall hear what happened to her because of it.
Valancy wakened early, in the lifeless, hopeless hour just preceding dawn. One does not sleep well, sometimes, when one is twenty-nine on the morrow, and unmarried, in a community and connection where the unmarried are simply those who have failed to get a man.
"Suppose," thought Valancy with a ghastly grin, "I answered with the plain truth, 'I am crying because I cannot get married.' How horrified Mother would be--though she is ashamed every day of her life of her old maid daughter." But of course appearances should be kept up.Tags: Adult Dating, affair dating, sex dating