'That's a pity,' said Steerforth. 'If you had had one, I should think she would have been a pretty, timid, little, bright-eyed sort of girl. I should have liked to know her. Good night, young Copperfield.'
I had finished cooking his supper and I put it up on the counter. He ate as if he was really hungry. I asked him if it was all right. He said it was wonderful, and I felt warm inside. What a fantastic bit of luck, this man, and just this man, coming so magically out of the blue! I felt humble about it. It was so much a miracle. I swore to myself to say my prayers that night, the first time for years. I hovered about him slavishly, offering him more coffee, some jam to finish his toast with. Finally he laughed tenderly at me. "You're spoiling me. Here, I'm sorry. I forgot all about it. It's time for your cigarette. You've earned the whole easeful." He lit it with a Ronson, gunmetaled like his case. My hand touched his, and I felt a small shock pass down my body. I suddenly found I was trembling. I quickly took the dishes and began washing them. I said, "I haven't earned anything. It's so wonderful you're here. It's an absolute miracle." My voice choked and I felt stupid tears coming. I brushed the back of my hand across my eyes. He must have seen, but he pretended not to have.
The governments tried to compel the peoples to reproduce. Women were educated to believe that their sole function was reproduction. Mothers were honoured in relation to the number of their offspring. Those produced fifteen or more babies were given the title ‘Prolific Mother’. Any who succeeded in launching twenty human beings were deified. Contraception was made illegal and condemned as immoral. In spite of all these measures the fertility-rate declined. In desperation the World Government tightened its grip on the women. Every girl was compelled to have intercourse with a man as soon as she was certified as mature. A month after certification she appeared before her medical board again and was examined to prove that she was no longer a virgin. If after three months she had not conceived, she was sent to an institution that combined the characters of a brothel and a stud-farm. If after another three months she still failed to conceive, she was subjected to medical and surgical treatment to cure her barrenness. If this also failed, she was publicly disgraced, appropriately tortured, and gradually killed.
'Oh, lord!' The man's puzzlement cleared. Grief took its place. 'Sorry to hear that. Great pal of mine in the war. Funny! I didn't see anything about it in The Times. Always read the "Births, Marriages, and Deaths". What was it?'
'You didn't care for that happiness in the least,' said Dora, slightly raising her eyebrows, and shaking her head, 'when you were sitting by Miss Kitt.'
What irksome constraint I underwent, sitting in the same attitude hours upon hours, afraid to move an arm or a leg lest Miss Murdstone should complain (as she did on the least pretence) of my restlessness, and afraid to move an eye lest she should light on some look of dislike or scrutiny that would find new cause for complaint in mine! What intolerable dulness to sit listening to the ticking of the clock; and watching Miss Murdstone's little shiny steel beads as she strung them; and wondering whether she would ever be married, and if so, to what sort of unhappy man; and counting the divisions in the moulding of the chimney-piece; and wandering away, with my eyes, to the ceiling, among the curls and corkscrews in the paper on the wall!
'He was there once before,' said my aunt presently. 'He was ailing a long time - a shattered, broken man, these many years. When he knew his state in this last illness, he asked them to send for me. He was sorry then. Very sorry.'
"Dollar-fifty." She pushed through a mauve ticket and kept a finger on it until Bond had put his money down.
other coaches were always rah-rah-rah-ing about; Vigil wasn’t talking about “grit” or “hunger” or“the size of the fight in the dog.” In fact, he meant the exact opposite. Vigil’s notion of characterwasn’t toughness. It was compassion. Kindness. Love.