Orlando’s four hundred year span seems to boil down to the search for Life, Love and Authorship. Here she is learning that lovers aplenty may not be enough to provide either Life or Love (let alone Authorship).
This is not the first time that it is to a dog she speaks and from a dog she elicits the only kindly response available to her. At particularly low moments, she concludes that dogs are the only living creatures to be trusted.
‘Lovers she had in plenty, but life, which is, after all, of some importance in its way, escaped her. ‘Is this’, she asked – but there was none to answer, ‘is this’, she finished her sentence all the same, ‘what people call life?’ The spaniel raised her forepaw in token of sympathy.’
Source: Virginia Woolf, Orlando: A Biography, ed. with an introduction by Rachel Bowlby (Oxford: World’s Classics, 1992), p. 187
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