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Everybody knows how Proserpina Macnair won three bouts against three pros with three right hooks all in one day, in her shirtwaist; if you want that story you can read the papers. But that’s after she came to town with the seal already dry on her degree. What you don’t hear is how she earned the title of Radcliffe Professor of Self-Defensive Sciences, Ph.D., or what it cost her, or why she wanted it so badly. You don’t hear about where or how she got that hammerhanded hook. You don’t hear about her faded black tattoos.

Unless you ask nice.