'Patricia pulled on her hat, buttoned her mackintosh and stepped out into pale Beaumont Street. It was raining still and dusk had fallen early, but that wasn't as depressing as it would have been a week or two ago, for the shortest day was over: once again you could look forward to the spring. But what's the use of spring to me, thought Patricia. It'll be light after tea, and as I go down the garden to get the eggs, a blackbird will sing in the holly; the chestnuts will flower in Christ Church meadow and Magdalen will have her fritillaries, but I'll have a beastly dental plate...I'm old...Hugh's old. God! what a struggle it's been, she thought, remembering monthly nurses, sticking out teeth, tempers, nametapes, rows about dirty necks, rows about tidying up the nursery; and now that I've finished with it, she thought, now that they're grown-up, wash themselves, feed themselves, don't quarrel any more or drop egg down their fronts, now that my work's done, I've just got to grow old and feeble and ugly'