Woolf worried about the childlessness from time to time, and suffered from the imposed anxiety that she was not, unlike her friend Vita Sackville-West, a real woman. I do not know what kind of woman one would have to be to stand unflinchingly in front of The Canon, but I would guess, a real one. There is something sadistic in the whip laid on women to prove themselves as mothers and wives at the same time as making their way as artists. The abnormal effort that can be diverted or divided. We all know the story of Coleridge and the Man from Porlock. What of the woman writer and a whole family of Porlocks?For most of us the dilemma is rhetorical but those women who are driven with consummate energy through a single undeniable channel should be applauded and supported as vigorously as the men who have been setting themselves apart for centuries.
Here she tossed her foot impatiently, and showed an inch or two of calf. A sailor on the mast, who happened to look down at the moment, started so violently that he missed his footing and only saved himself by the skin of his teeth. 'If the sight of my ankles means death to an honest fellow who, no doubt, has a wife and family to support, I must, in all humanity, keep them covered,' Orlando thought. Yet her legs were among her chieftest beauties. And she fell to thinking what an odd pass we have come to when all a woman's beauty has to be kept covered lest a sailor fall from a mast-head. 'A pox on them!' she said, realizing for the first time what, in other circumstances, she would have been taught as a child, that is to say, the sacred responsibilities of womanhood..
As summer neared, as the evening lengthened there came to the wakeful, the hopeful, walking the beach, stirring the pool, imaginations of the strangest kind- of flesh turned to atoms which drove before the wind, of stars flashing in their hearts, of outwardly the scattered parts of the vision within. In those mirrors, the minds of men, in those pools of uneasy water, in which cloud forever and shadows form, dreams persisted; and it was impossible to resist the strange intimation which every gull, flower, tree, man and woman, and the white earth itself seemed to declare (but if you questioned at once to withdraw) that good triumph, happiness prevails, order rules, or to resist the extra ordinary stimulus to range hither and thither in search of some absolute good, some crystal of intensity remote from the known pleasures and familiar virtues, something alien to the processes of domestic life, single, hard, bright, like a diamond in the sand which would render the possessor secure. Moreover softened and acquiescent, the spring with their bees humming and gnats dancing threw her cloud about her, veiled her eyes, averted her head, and among passing shadows and fights of small rain seemed to have taken upon her knowledge of the sorrows of mankind.