- Project Runeberg -  Jenny /

(1921) Author: Sigrid Undset
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are not meant to grow up for any other purpose than continued
production — if the raw material is not to be used?”

“It may be true to a certain extent,” Jenny said, smiling.

“I know it is. I have seen enough of women to know, ever
since I was a youngster and went to the workers’ academy. I
remember a girl at one of the English classes; she wanted to
learn the language to be able to talk to the sailors on the foreign
men-of-war. The only aim of the girls that counted for
anything was to get a situation in England or America. We boys
studied because we wanted to learn something for the sake of
mental gymnastics and to complete as much as possible what
we had learnt at school. The girls read novels.

“Take socialism, for instance. Do you think any woman
has an idea what it really means, unless she has a husband
who has taught her to see? Try to explain to a woman why
the community must arrive at such a stage that every child
born must have the opportunity to cultivate its faculties, if it
has any, and to live its life in liberty and beauty — if it can
bear liberty and has a sense of beauty. Women believe that
liberty means no work and no restrictions as to their behaviour.
Sense of beauty they have none; they only want to dress up in
the ugliest and most expensive things, because they are the
fashion. Look at the homes they arrange. The richer, the
uglier. Is there any fashion, be it ever so ugly or indecent,
that they don’t adopt if they can afford it? You cannot deny

“I won’t mention their morals, because they haven’t any.
Let alone your treatment of us men, the way you treat one
another is disgusting.”

Jenny smiled. She thought he was right in some things and
wrong in others, but she was not inclined to discuss them. Yet
she felt she ought to say something:

“Aren’t you rather hard on us?” she ventured.

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