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October 13 , 2008

The Dwelling-Place of Light, Volume 2


At certain moments during the days that followed the degree of tension her relationship with Ditmar had achieved tested the limits of Janet's ingenuity and powers of resistance. Yet the sense of mastery at being able to hold such a man in leash was by no means unpleasurable to a young woman of her vitality and spirit. There was always the excitement that the leash might break - and then what? Here was a situation, she knew instinctively, that could not last, one fraught with all sorts of possibilities, intoxicating or abhorrent to contemplate; and for that very reason fascinating. When she was away from Ditmar and tried to think about it she fell into an abject perplexity, so full was it of anomalies and contradictions, of conflicting impulses; so far beyond her knowledge and experience. For Janet had been born in an age which is rapidly discarding blanket morality and taboos, which has as yet to achieve the morality of scientific knowledge, of the individual instance. Tradition, convention, the awful examples portrayed for gain in the movies, even her mother's pessimistic attitude in regard to the freedom with which the sexes mingle to-day were powerless to influence her. The thought, however, that she might fundamentally resemble her sister Lise, despite a fancied superiority, did occasionally shake her and bring about a revulsion against Ditmar. Janet's problem was in truth, though she failed so to specialize it, the supreme problem of our time: what is the path to self-realization? how achieve emancipation from the commonplace?
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