5、For both Grace Talbot and Jane Ross the new thing was the only thing that mattered. When you listened to them, or read them you would suppose that printing had been discovered for the first time somewhere about 1890 and in Manchester. Martha Proctor, less brilliant than the other two, had a wider culture than either of them. The first glance at her told you that she was a journalist, tall, straight-backed, her black hair brushed back from a high forehead, dressed in tweeds, stiff white collars, and cuffs, wearing pince-nez, she seemed to have nothing to do with the prevalent fashion. And she had not. Older than the other two she had come in with the Yellow Book and promised to go out with Universal Suffrage. She had fought her battles; in politics her finest time had been in the years just before the war when she had bitten a policeman's leg in Whitehall and broken a shop-window in Bond Street with her little hammer. In literature her great period had been during the Romantic Tushery of 1895 to 1905. How she had torn and scarified the Kailyard novelists, how the Cloak and Sword Romances had bled beneath her whip. Now none of these remained and the modern Realism had gone far beyond her most confident anticipations. She knew in her heart that her day was over; there was even, deep down within her, a faint alarm at the times that were coming upon the world. She knew that she seemed old-fashioned to Jane Ross and her only comfort was that in ten years' time Jane Ross would undoubtedly in her turn seem old-fashioned to somebody else. Because her horizon was wider than that of her two companions she was able to judge in finer proportion than they. Fashions passed, men died, kingdoms fell. What re[Pg 43]mained? Not, as she had once fondly imagined, Martha Proctor.