I was resigned to the laws of this rough world. I would take my chance, and with it the penalties, for there are always penalties. I had spent that morbid Sunday wondering if simple happiness were available to all and had come to the conclusion that it was not. One had to make a determined bid for it, and I did not quite know how this was to be done. [...] I had taken the only options I thought I had, and had considered myself secure against disappointment. The disagreeable element in all this was that I knew that nothing would come of such manoeuvres, invigorating though they were. I returned every time to the status quo ante [...] If my way of looking at the world was hazardous, it was, by this date, largely unalterable.
Anita Brookner, Undue Influence, ch. 5