The use of gossip is brought in GN. Is gossip merely the clucking of old wives at the fence? Or is gossip to be likened to a set of cautionary tales? Or is gossip testament of caring concern? Or merely something for which women can barter power and alliance among themselves? While indulging in gossip leaves a shameful taste in my mouth I find it prevalent in some of my female relationships. Gossip's enduring tradition may be that it provides a more accurate report of reality then the spin we have to endure at work, in community, in the news or historically. Imagine the stories a servant (or other marginalized person, a wife perhaps) might tell of a famous historical figure. Know all the stories you yourself can't tell. The hidden story is often the real story, the one ignored by a glossed press release. The one that can't be told without upsetting the apple cart. And in this sense, Anna is digging deeper still. Molly asks for gossip but gets more then she wants to deal with in Anna's response. Lessing got my full attention at the end of Free Women and into the introduction of the Notebooks when Anna questions even the stories Molly and she have told themselves.