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Lady Bruton’s Impatience


“She was getting impatient; the whole of her being was setting positively, undeniably, domineeringly brushing her aside all this unnecessary trifling (Peter Walsh and his affairs) upon that subject which engaged her attention, and not merely her attention, but that fibre which was the ramrod of her soul, the essential part of her without which Millicent Bruton would not have been Millicent Bruton; that project for emigrating young people of both sexes born of respectable parents and setting them up with a fair prospect of doing well in Canada. She exaggerated. She and perhaps lost her sense of proportion” (108-9).

In this passage the extent of Lady Bruton’s impatience for Hugh Whitebread is expressed by explaining how her impatience let her be successful in the past, and constructs who she is today. This impatience, which is suggested to be a feeling of sublime impatience, was so powerful that she was able to conduct the emigration project. Considering Lady Bruton’s ratio of patience to impatience, her “sense of proportion” is like that of a crazy person.

Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. New York: Harcourt, Inc. 1925. Print. p.108-9