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Virginia Woolf: The freedom money gives.

Woolf comes into a legacy from her aunt. “The news of my legacy reached me one night about the same time that the act was passed that gave votes to women. A solicitor’s letter fell into the post-box and when I opened it I found that she had left me five hundred pounds a year for ever. Of the two – the vote and the money – the money, I own, seemed infinitely the more important.” Woolf remembers the bitterness of “cadging odd jobs from newspapers, by reporting a donkey show here, or a wedding there. … Such were the jobs open to women. … But what still remains with me [is] the poison of fear and bitterness which those days bred in me. To begin with, always to be doing work that one did not wish to do, and to do it like a slave, flattering and fawning, …it seemed necessary and the stakes were too great. … it is remarkable, remembering the bitterness of those days, what a change of temper a fixed income will bring about. … I need not hate any man; he cannot hurt me. I need not flatter any man; he has nothing to give me. So imperceptibly, I found myself adopting a new attitude toward the other half of the human race. …Indeed, my aunt’s legacy unveiled the sky to me, and substituted for the large and imposing figure of a gentleman, …a view of the open sky.”