"Un amant fait la court ou s'attache son coeur" - Moliere
A woman really in love and sure of her lover delights in toying with a sort of coquetry of love; as if it pleased her to try to win over again that the winning of which gave so exquisite a pleasure. And perhaps the coquetry of love is the surest test of an unquestionable love. For when possession can afford to play at pursuit, this but proves possession complete.
Sometimes an assumed love will resort to the pretty tricks of a real one, in order to assure its object- or to re-assure itself. Surrender after a protracted siege has its advantages. At all events both M and N can look back to more demi-semi happy incidents when the courtship has been long. Happy that couple can laugh over the incidents of courtship afterwards. It is a portent of impending ill if they cannot.
Half-heartedness in courtship is not only suicidal, it is murderous. On the other hand, remember that in courtship there are various and varying stages. But there is always the home-gallop. Remember, too, that what is suitable at one stage of courtship is ruinous at another. And it is only the old whip who knows when to push the pace: in courtship to force the running is hazardous. Though we win, the victory loses its sweets. And in courtship, men too often ride on the snaffle; in matrimony, too often on the curb.
Courtship asks for cash payment. Matrimony has often to allow unlimited credit. Insolvency is not unknown.
In courtship, all auxiliaries but the rival. No one will impede a lover save another lover.
In the presence of a woman, man is by nature a diffident animal. The women who recognize this are often the most successful. Indeed, many are the refined and gentle women who in after life regret that they did not more openly cope with their less delicately-minded sisters. Nevertheless, nothing is more astonishing than a woman's tact in encouraging a man.
In courtship modulated and musical tones count for much. Who with harsh speech would assail a lady's ear?
No woman thinks she can be wooed too often. And few women can forgo an opportunity to fascinate.
In courtship the woman is the whole world to the man; in matrimony the man is the whole world to the woman.
In courtship the slightest suspicion of condescension is fatal. For true love is a greater leveler than anarchy.
In courtship, the wooer to the wooed is, in Juliet's phrase, the god of her idolatry; in matrimony he is lucky if he is the idol of her deity.
It is a question which is the sweeter: a spontaneous courtship, or one that has sprung from friendship. In a spontaneous courtship there is all the charm of novelty; in a courtship that has grown out of affection there is all the trustfulness of friendship. But friendship and courtship are two totally distinct things: in courtship, men and women meet on the flowery-thorny common of love; in friendship, men and women invite each other over to their respective plots. So, a friend will show a friend all over his domain; a lover can but point out to the lover the flowers (and thorns) which grow in the soil to which they are both strangers.
It is an open question whether in matters pre-matrimonial, the mode of the French is not preferable to that of the Anglo-Saxon; whether, that is, prudence and prevision are not more certain harbingers of matrimonial happiness of matrimonial happiness than are impulse and passion. The French couple, when wedded, are virtually strangers; the Anglo-Saxon have already together enacted some scenes of the matrimonial drama. Yet it is an open question also whether a more durable domestic affection is not built up from the pristine foundation of total ignorance than from that of a partial acquaintanceship. The American Elizabeth Patterson, before she became Madame Jerome Bonaparte, could write, "I love Jerome Bonaparte, and I prefer to be his wife, were it only for a day, to the happiest union." The continentalized Madame Jerome Bonaparte, twenty-six years after she had ceased to be Miss Elizabeth Patterson, could write "Do we not know how easily men and women free themselves from the fetters of love, and that only the stupid remain caught in these pretended bonds?" (Quoted by C. de Varigny in the "Revue des Deux Mondes" of January the 15th, 1893.) After all, little do any couple know of each other before marriage. Besides, does not a delightful romance envelope the nuptials of strangers? At all events, even if precaution is a foe to impulse, few will be found to deny that strangeness is by no means inimical to passion. Perhaps, then, fathers and mothers and uncles and aunts can form a better judgment as to the suitability and adaptability to each other of two young, ardent, and headstrong boys and girls can these themselves; since fathers and mothers and uncles and aunts know full well that impulse and passion often prove materials too friable for the many-storied fabric of marriage. At all events, the French mode of contracting a marriage precludes the possibility of perilous and precocious affairs of the heart. Perhaps the mistake that ardent and headstrong boys and girls make is in thinking that impulse and passion are the keys of Paradise. Their Elders know that impulse and passion are sometimes the keys of Purgatory. Prudence and prevision are not keys to any supernal (or infernal) existence; they are merely guide-books to a terrestrial journey. At all events, it is significant that (which might be added as a lemma) widows rarely choose unwisely!
Over that much-bethought-of, much-surmised-about-thing, a proposal of marriage, every young woman weaves a pre-conceived halo of romance, but in nineteen cases out of twenty a proposal is either unexpected or disappointing; that is, many a girl has almost held her breath with anxiety as she saw the great question coming; then almost cried with vexation at the way it came. For, often, either the wrong man proposes or the right man proposes stupidly. The woman looks for ideal surroundings, a dramatic situation, and impassioned and poetic utterance; usually, the man seizes a commonplace opportunity and-stutters. Probably, the ideal proposal occurs only in novels. And yet-and yet- perhaps after all the real proposal is more complimentary to woman than is the ideal; at least perhaps the aberration and obfuscation of the man is proof once (i) of her potency and (ii) of his sincerity. Did man keep his head, would woman be quite so sure of his heart? Yet it may be that in these matter woman is liable to err, since rarely, if ever, does a woman's heart run away with her head. When it does- Ah! the momentary bliss of an unreasoning emotion! Yet woman does right to keep her head, for almost every woman's happiness depends upon what she does with her heart- unless indeed she elects to go through life homeless, childless, and unenspoused; for though it is the wife that makes the home, it is the man who must provide for it. And since man, by nature, is probably nomadic and polygamic; not his to debate whether to give rein to emotion. Woman, by nature, is in far different case: for the sake of her child, woman must bind the nomad to herself. Accordingly, it is woman who is the true agglutinator and civilizer of society. Therefore, it comes about that to order wisely her emotions is the inherited instinct of woman. Wherefore, woman is the conserver of the nation- and this in more senses than one.
"Dio fa gli uomini, e e' s' appaino." - Salviati
There are two elements of character which a man should possess, develop, and maintain unstained if he would find favor in feminine eyes: the first is bravery; the second, indomitableness of resolution. So likewise, there are two elements of character which a woman should possess, develop, and maintain unstained if she would find favor in masculine eyes: the first is sympathy; the second, sweetness of temper.
A curious and latent hostility divides the sexes. It seems as they could not approach each other without alarums and excursions. Always the presence of the one rouses anxiety in the breast of the other; they stand to arms; they resort to tactics; they maneuver. And, men and women approach each other vizored and in armor. But it is often only to conceal the craven heart that beats beneath the brazen cuirass.
Men judge of women, not so much by their intrinsic worth, as by the impression women make upon them. And women know this, since All women are alive to the fact that the impressing (it is (perhaps) highly unfortunate that to this word is attached a two-fold signification) of men is the important function of life. Accordingly, great stress is, and is naturally, laid by women upon dress and the subtleties of the toilette. For, in matters of the heart man is led by the heart and not by the head. (Though, as Mr. Grant Allen has endeavored to show, this is a scientific a method as any.) And why not? Since it is generally a sweet-heart, not a hard head, that a man wants. In short, men are oftener vanquished by a look than by logic; by a gracious smile than by good sense; by manner and even by dress than by mental development or depth. This is to say, a man judges a woman by her appearance; a woman judges a woman by her motives. (And a woman judges of a woman's motives by what she knows of her own.)- So it comes about that, to a man, a woman's heart is something mysterious. But women, who know their own hearts, have little difficulty in reading others'.
No units of measurement yet devised are adequate for the computation of the power wielded by a beautiful woman.
That is a significant fact, and probably, could we fathom all the profundities and unravel all the entanglements of the relations between the sexes, as deep and as intricate as significant, that no woman thinks a man can pay her a higher compliment than to wish to make her his own. For though woman thinks man her ultimate aim and desire, Nature knows that man is but the stepping-stone to the child. In the end woman agrees with Nature. We may go farther, and say women are nearer the eternal laws than are men. Men govern themselves by the laws they themselves make. Women are lawless. Laws are for the temporal, the fleeting; for a given individual in a given society; for a particular race in a particular clime. Such laws are obeyed by women only under compulsion. They, more far-seeing than men, instinctively peer far beyond the ephemeral rules manufactured by men, into the realm of laws eternal and immutable; these she obeys implicitly, unquestioningly- much to man's amazement - and, it may be, his mortification; for he sees that she is freer than he. This is why, for the man she truly loves a woman will sacrifice everything - everything. The same generous sentiment cannot by any means be attributed to man.
Both the wise man and the wise woman- but here I am reminded of the recipe for hare soup.
Between the sexes there is in reality but one link- the link amatory. And so long as Nature maintains two sexes, so long will men and women hug, yet chafe under, that slender but invisible bond. Not even Cupid and Psyche avoided a misunderstanding- in spite of the devotion of the other. And, if men and women differ in matters amatory, it is because men and women have trodden different evolutionary paths: the man, given up to the chase (for pelts or pelf) and careful of his status in the tribe, thinks only of himself and the present; the woman, her sole care the nurture of her offspring, thinks only of her progeny, and the future. But since the family is the unit of the state, therefore the state makes laws, not for love, but for the family. Happy that family the parents of which are bound by cosmic not by municipal affection. Nevertheless, say what one will, Love scoffs at laws; howsoever marriage and divorce may be regulated by parliamentary statute. Man, as a member of a political community, may make marriage laws to suit that community- laws to suit that community, laws "de vinculo matrimonii" and laws "de mensa et thoro", decrees "nisi prius" and decrees absolute; but law can no more bind the affections than it can bind the sweet influences of the Pleiades. And yet, at bottom, beneath all municipal and parochial regulations, a great and cosmic law does govern the relations of the sexes; and the lightest whim of the lightest lady has a definite, perhaps a cosmic, fount and origin.
A man can never know too much. Perhaps a woman can. And it is a question how far a man admires a woman who knows too much. For, if there is nothing a man can teach a woman, not even of the ways of love, the man is apt to be chagrined. Besides, too much knowledge is inimical to romance.
War is a man's true trade; love, woman's. There is no stronger argument against the equality of the sexes than a woman's hand. It was made to toil? No; to place in her lover's. In truth, is there anything more fragile in nature than a woman's hand? But put it in her lover's. and what a force it has! Anomaly of anomalies, with women, fragility, delicacy, dependence, beauty, grace- it is by these weak weapons that she wins. So, we watch a demure damsel of some sixteen sunny summers much as we watch a delicate dynamo of some thousand kilowatts. Both seem so calm, so quiescent. Yet both, we know, can generate such startling energy, can bring about such marvelous results.
Many women forget that things which men have no objection to their female friends doing they often have a very particular objection to their mothers, sisters, and wives doing. So, too, they often forget that it is not the girl he flatters, compliments, and is conspicuously attentive to, that the man always marries. Perhaps this goes to show that there is a deeper and more serious current in the flow of male emotions, which, much as light and fitful breezes may stir the surface, is moved only by, and mingles only, with a similar and confluent stream. For it is not man's highest instincts that are stimulated by the more superficial of feminine blandishments; though, no doubt, many a man there is has been made permanently captive by their lure. The truth is that man is a many-sided creature: he will reflect many different rays; but it is only under the ray that pierces the surface and irradiates the interior that he truly glows.
Woman does not lean upon man because she is inferior, but rather because she is his supporter; just as the buttress leans upon the building; but the building would fall without the buttress. That is, woman's dependence upon man is his chief source of strength. Those who cannot understand this may be left to their ignorance.
It is not all women who comprehend the exaltation of mind into which some men are thrown by their presence. Indeed, men put a higher value upon a woman's complaisance than she does herself. To a women, feminine concession appear trivial. Is it any wonder, then, that woman calls man's jealousy unreasonable? In reality, the affianced man thinks he has gotten him an angel from heaven. It is not within the bounds of mortal male comprehension that such an angel should sully her wings.
Women know their sex. Which, if it is a truism, is a truism that men often forget. And few things permit a man to see so far into the subtleties and intricacies of feminine hearts as a squabble between two of them over himself.
A man in defeat generally turns to woman. A woman in defeat is either scornful, silent, or both.
A man, in depression, falls back upon his only weapon: brute force. A woman, in like circumstances, does the same. But her weapon is personal charm.
In matters amatory and maternal, a woman will risk more than will a man. In fact, in matters amatory and maternal, woman is the truly combative animal. Many are the members of the one sex that are entrapped by the wiles of the other; but it often happens that the entrapper afterwards rues the capture as much as- or even more than- the entrapped. So, it often happens that girls who are deliberately seeking husbands think love may be won by artifice. Not until well on in years do women know that, by men, love and artifice are considered mortal foes. To win him a wife by artifice would be to a man a thing impossible and abhorrent: yet to win her a husband by artifice is to a woman a thing quite natural. But when (if ever) the man discovers that he was won by artifice, there are apt to be several bad quarters of an hour. For, when all is said and done, the man, free and easy, thoughtless and untrammeled, knowing he may pick and choose, never chooses till-till-there comes the woman he thinks he wants. Then he says point blank he wants her. Should it ever be revealed to him that his Want was the result of her Artifice, a very different complexion is put upon that Want. On the other hand, the woman, deprived of the power of choice, trammeled by convention, bound to wait till asked for, quite naturally resorts to artifice. And yet, curiously enough, and a thing incomprehensible by man, a man whom a woman has won by sheer artifice, she can love to the end of her life. But, after all, what a refuge, to man, is work- or play! Alas! Women has no refuge. So, men cannot suffer long; women do. A man flies to work, or sport, or to the gaming-table, or to drink. A woman... he who can tell what a woman does in the sorrow of the soul, will tell us much. Some women, in sorrow of soul, eat out their hearts in silence; other women, in sorrow of soul, will tell us much. Some women, in sorrow of soul, eat out their hearts in silence; other women, in sorrow of soul, eat out the hearts of others, not in silence. But take a taciturn woman seriously. For always a taciturn woman has suffered much: a taciturn woman is a lonely one. And probably, it is only women who really know loneliness: give a man a full meal and an outlet for his energy- he is fairly contented; for a man always has friends or a club; women rarely have either.
The most superb of physical charms are powerless unless fired by imagination; as the most destructive of explosives is harmless without a cap or a detonator. But, given, a detonator, and the coarsest powder can work tremendous havoc.
What, precisely, will bring a particular man to her feet- that is, par excellence, the feminine problem: and many and various are the experiments by which she tries to resolve it. And, few are the men who learn that were won by experiment. For, man succumbs to his emotions. He cannot comprehend how it is that into feminine emotion, calculation often enters.
As there are two classes of warriors, so there are two classes of women: there is the warrior who conquers the world from sheer love of conquest- an Alexander, a Genghis Khan, an Attila, a Napoleon; and there is the warrior who captures a kingdom for the sake of possession- such is your Norman William. So, there is the woman whom no conquest contents- Aholibah, Cleopatra, Mesalina, Faustine; and there is the woman who is happy with a husband and home- Deborah, Vlmnia, Calpurnia mother of Gracchi.
One thing, from men, women cannot abide, and this is a hostile and REASONABLE attitude. And naturally, since it is only man's reason that is hostile to women. And when a man clothes himself with reason as with a garment, woman slinks away. And, quite naturally: reason and emotion are mortal foes; and it is on the field of emotion that the battle of love must be fought. For, in the battle of love, the woman chooses and entrenches her position; the man has to act on the offensive. But only emotion can cope with emotion; reason but beats the air. Wherefore, a wise man will neither oppose nor appeal to a woman through reason.
Who can penetrate to the motives of a woman's coaxings? Yet foolish is the man who questions the motives of a woman's coaxings. Yet not to be sure of a woman's coaxings- not upon this side Phlegethon is there a more poignant position.
In loving one woman a man believes in all women. And not till a woman is loved are her finger-tips objects of devoutest worship. On the other hand, it cannot be said that in loving one man a woman believes in all men. Which little distinction is proof, perhaps, that love blinds the eyes of men, but opens the eyes of women. In other words, passion obfuscates man's prevision; it does not obfuscate a woman's. Man gives the rein to passion or ere he knows whither it leads; a woman gives the rein to passion only after she has found out whither it leads. But when the goal is known, perhaps women are more implacable votaries of the Implacable Goddess than are men. That is the say, a woman keeps her head till she can give her heart, then she gives it utterly; a man (perhaps because he has no heart) soon enough loses his head. So, before the gift, a woman's qualms exasperate the man; after the gift, the man's indifference exasperates the woman; it is folly to think that love and friendship exhaust the varieties of human relationships:- the relationships between earthly souls are as complex and multiform as those between heavenly bodies. In one thing does friendship excel love: it is always reciprocal; one friend presupposes another. Not so a lover. Friendship is largely a masculine sentiment;- except among schoolgirls. The friendship that exists between a man and a woman should be called by another name. It cannot be wholly Platonic (I use the word in its purely conventional sense.); it need not be wholly Dantesque. Yet women generally strive to make it the one; and men often try to make it the other. And yet again, how many women there be, would, if they could, transmute love into friendship! That is to say, women regard a man's friendship as a delicate flattery to themselves; yet they instinctively know, though they try hard to forget, that a man's friendship for a woman is extremely likely to transcend the bounds of friendship. If only friendship would keep within bounds! How many women deceive themselves into thinking that were devoutly to be wished! Yet probably, as a matter of fact, the very woman who avers she regrets that your friendship is not mere Platonic, would resent the Platonism did it exist. Possibly not every woman will understand this. Assuredly no woman will admit it. And yet, it is impossible to conjecture in what an exchange of confidences may terminate: it may be a kiss, or it may be a quarrel. But confidences are evoked rather by friendship than by love: a woman will tell a man friend what she will not tell a lover. Few lovers will understand this, fewer still will believe it. Yet it is true, and the explication of its truth would be long and complex. This much may be said: Love idealizes; friendship does not. At the same time, love probes the innermost recesses of the womanly nature; and, until the woman is wholly won, the woman resents the inspection of love. She knows that, to stimulate love, the woman must conceal, not reveal; Furthermore, never was there a man who could be at once friend and lover. Which is only one more proof that never will the sexes understand each other.
he male was ever the more susceptible sex. And for this reason, next to sympathy, flattery is perhaps woman's most effective weapon. And no masculine shield there is which woman's flattery will not pierce. For man- man, alert in the hunt, keen in business, circumspect with his fellows, terrible in war, man is pristine and simple in matters emotional, and an easy prey to emotional wiles. In the long journey of evolution from Amoeba to Man, the masculine sex has developed muscle and mind; the feminine sex developed and perfected the emotions. Accordingly, man's emotions are the primitive weapons of a savage; woman's emotions are arms of precision. Yet sometimes woman deplores the unequal contest- perhaps deplores her too-easy victory. Since, in domestic life, the weapons are laid aside, the pair are then - presumably - unarmed and defenseless. For, though, a mate has to be won by weapons, marriage should be a treaty of peace: thenceforth the combatants are allies.
Many a man, when ensnared, has been amazed at the size of the meshes. Only a woman knows by what open methods floundering men are captured.
He who by reasoning thinks to find out woman, must either be a philosopher or a fool-probably both. Less of a philosopher and more of a fool is he who thinks to extract from woman her reasons for her actions. The woman who can give reasons for an action is yet to be born. The reason is plain: women act upon intuition, not upon reason. And he who could make a logical sorites out of feminine intuitions could make a philosophical system out of nautical almanacs. And yet, probably, could we only determine her orbit, a woman's intuitions are as exact as the paths of the planets. Unfortunately, such are the perturbations to which a woman's orbit is exposed that no masculine astronomy can construct its ephemeris. Alack, How many anxious star-gazers are there among men! The orbit of the ordinary male man it is not as difficult for a woman to compute, inasmuch as the ordinary male man revolves unusually about two foci: his Appetites; and his Ambitions. Which is the major and which the minor... However, you may trust women to know when he is in peri- and when in aphelion. Many a spouse has no difficulty in explaining away to her lord actions about the character of which even his initiate friends have no shadow of doubt. For a woman's perception is preternatural. But no; it is natural enough, since from the days of the first woman to the days of the New one, love, its wiles and its whims, has been the serious business of woman.
Women know much better than men that stolen bread is sweetest. In consequence, men steal almost everything they get from women. At least they think they do. Which is the same thing.
If the sexes were to change places, more marriage licenses would be taken out.
'Frailty,' says man, 'thy name is woman,'- and then he takes advantage of it.
At arm's length it is difficult to offer a helping hand. Yet it is hazardous to reduce that distance.
Neglect is the unpardonable sin in a woman's eyes. Woe to the man who is guilty of it.
If a woman possessed only a man's tact, what fallings-out there would be!
Man's summum bonum is to combine a comfortable home with congenial club. Woman's summum bonum is the almost equally incompatible combination of a well-regulated family and the height of fashionable gaiety. Man's infinum malum is domestic distraction. Woman's infinum malum is social exile.
Between man and man, to lay another under pecuniary obligation is to jeopardize friendship. Between man and woman, a like cause brings about an opposite result.
The man with something of the feminine about him often knows better than his more masculine rivals how to work upon feminine susceptibilities. Most women know how much to leave to a man's imagination.-But then, man has not much imagination. Besides, man's imagination is always highly complimentary to woman.
Affinity covereth a multitude of sins.
To attract sometimes requires temporary repulsion. But some women miscalculate their satellite's orbit. With the result that either it rushes on to certain destruction, or it passes beyond the limits of gravitation. The woman who to one man is no more than the sub-stratum of frock and bonnet, is to another man the centre of gravity of the created cosmos. When she is such centre to more than one man, her horoscope is difficult to cast.
When one heart lays siege to another , both sides throw up entrenchments; and this even when both belligerents are ready to negotiate for surrender. But, never, never show that you expect capitulation. And flank movements are not to be recommended.
In conversation, the last thing a woman expects from a man is information, unless it be information concerning himself. In fact, talk is a mere subterfuge. It is what is left unsaid that tells. Nevertheless, when once the troth has been plighted, both M and N try to utter what has been left unsaid. But always with indifferent success. Alack and well-a-day, can Love ever say what it feels?
It is difficult to say to which sex it is a greater compliment that widows always prove such successful fascinators. Either they still have a penchant for mankind, despite their intimate acquaintance with him- in which case the men may congratulate themselves; or else they have so completely found men out that they find no difficulty in entrapping them - in which case it is the women's turn to applaud.
When our feelings are unwittingly hurt by a beautiful woman, the pain is largely tempered by a subtle pleasure, which proceeds from a feeling that, inasmuch as we have been undeservedly pained, we merit her sympathy, perhaps even her affection.
Women seek not so much man's esteem, as his admiration. In fact, women would rather attract than inspire. Indeed, (by him who dared) it might be added that women would rather be kissed than be sonnetted, which is mighty lucky for the majority of men!
The most interesting man or woman is- well, perhaps the one most interested in us. The least interesting man or woman is- well, perhaps the one most interested in him-or her-self.
Never fear but that one woman will urge your suit with another (unless, of course, that other is a rival); for match-making is one of the most fascinating of feminine avocations.
When a woman allows it to be understood that she considers herself irresistible to the other sex, she draws upon herself the odium of her own. By the other sex, however, such a woman is very differently regarded. Indeed, men regard the avowed coquette not at all with malice, but with a very opposite feeling, of which perhaps amusement, admiration, and a certain amicable defiance are the chief ingredients.
It is only mountains that are volcanic or are snow-capped; the plains know nothing of extremes of frigidity or fire.
To the woman whom he has ceased to love, the man is sometimes unconsciously cruel. Towards the man whom she has ceased to love, the woman commonly acts a part.
For a woman to humiliate one man in the presence of another is an offence which neither of the men is likely to forget. Nor will the one man have a less unpleasant recollection of it than the other.
It is curious to listen to the explanations by one woman of the reasons of the attractiveness of another woman. Very apt is she to say that the other woman is too "free and easy", too liberal of her favors, too expansive of her sympathy, too exhibitive of her charms- Ahem! Women know women. And women know that women know men. And women know that men do not know women- Ahem! Men in this respect are somewhat different: a man usually regards not ungenerously the qualities of his successful rival; a woman never. The former will candidly admit the possession of a more potent charm; the latter will trace it to the crudest of causes. In a word, the unsuccessful man blames, not his rival, nor the women he loses, but himself. The unsuccessful woman blames, never herself, but either the outrageous meretriciousness of her rival, or the blindness of the man she loses. From which it may once more be deduced that The unsuccessful woman blames, never herself, but either the outrageous meretricousness of her rival, or the blindness of the man she loses. From which it may once more be deduced that Men are won by more primitive means than are women. And, alas for men (alas also for many women), the majority of men are so blind, so abominably blind, that they cannot distinguish the women who are really in love with them, from the women who pretend to be in love with them, but are not. For because, so completely do women know men, that it is easy for any woman to delude any man. This is one of the reasons why every woman is the rival of every other woman: this woman will be herself, her own true, simple, and virtuous self; will resort to no subterfuge, adopt no meretricious methods, scorn to rely upon tactics or strategy, be ever reserved, reluctant, shy;- yet fail. This other woman will openly and blatantly, overtly and unconcernedly, assail the masculine heart with word and look and gesture- and win. -Ach! the purblindess of the masculine heart! how it exasperates even the woman!
That man has sunk low who cannot recognize and respect the remnant of sex even in a degraded woman.
Woman can persuade themselves-and men-far more easily than can a man, of the propriety of their actions.
Man is powerless before an injured woman. He has no more dangerous foe than this.
It is the man who seeks excuses. The woman braves it out.
Coquetry is Love's lady's-maid. She is accessory and ancillary to Love; she bedizens Love, she tricks her out in gay apparel. When Love's lord and master enters, my lady's maid is dismissed. (It might be as well sometimes to recall her.) And nudity ousts coquetry.
Chastity is a word with as many shades of meaning as there are peoples - perhaps as there are individuals upon the face of this habitable world. Women think chastity is a virtue primarily insisted upon and enforced by men. They mistake. It is a virtue primarily insisted upon and enforced by women: For when that divine, unique thing Love comes to a woman, if she be not chaste, it is she who deplores the fact. The man may easily enough be deceived; her own heart a woman can never deceive. Besides, with what righteous indignation women themselves visit unchastity!
Between the sexes, resentment is the worst of defensive weapons: in the hands of a man it is like a cow-hide shield opposed to Mauser bullets; in the hands of a woman, like a parasol on a cloudy day. Since woman penetrates resentment by ridicule; man treats it with dull indifference. And a snub from a woman is never forgotten. And for two reasons: because (a) The lord of creation hates to be floored by the jiu-jitsu of feminine raillery; and because (b) The last thing a man expects from a "ministering angel" is mundane mockery. Besides, deliberate derision murders, not only affection, but admiration.
A blush needs no apologies. (Why? Because always a blush is spontaneous, uncontrollable; and if there is any one thing a man likes to see, it is a spontaneous, an uncontrollable action in woman.) When the man has declared himself hers and hers alone; has given proof of the truth of such declaration; has bound the woman to himself by terms dictated by herself then, but not till then, the woman acts spontaneously and without control; then she blushes. But seek not, impulsive masculine lover, to explore too many of the mysteries of this thy feminine helpmeet. Perchance she feels herself so much above thee that she blushes to give the herself. Perchance she regards thee so much a symbol of the god-like, that she blushes for because she is not more worthy. But far more probably she blushes for because she betrays to thee a mortal, a divine and cosmic secret. For there is a divine and cosmic secret hidden beneath every blush.
Ah! man, man, peccant, impulsive, passionate man, little knowest thou of the divine and cosmic secret that underlies Love. To thee, O man, it may be, it is a momentary flash that irradiates the world, and reveals for a moment a sky above that world; To thee, O woman, 't is the reverberating thunder that, echoing, rolls for ever after unceasing in thy ears. Is this why, between a man and a woman, a single look will sometimes change the complexion of an intimacy of a life-time? And not until that look comes- not until eyes look into eyes with a penetration supernatural- is acquaintanceship metamorphosed into love. It is a favorite fiction amongst women that a rejected suitor either will not marry or marries the first girl he meets. Because, to marry another woman after having offered inalienable and unalterable fidelity to one, would otherwise be a blow to "amour propere". And yet, strangely enough, or perhaps not so strangely, this is a fiction but rarely maintained with regard to her own cardiac transportations. And for this reason:- woman is, and knows herself to be, a multiple personality; man, a tyro in emotions, is cast in a simpler mould. So, a woman may donate herself piecemeal, or over and over again, yet deem herself perfectly loyal. And perhaps naturally and legitimately; for, that man who will comprehend and appreciate all the intricacies of feminine emotion...... but there is no such being existent. Indeed even self-revelation is a task no daughter of Eve has achieved.
To sum up: between men and women the consummation of love is a bodily oblation, the outcome of spiritual obsession. Must I explain this? No, I shall not. Suffice it to say that the Heavenly Aphrodite is true friend to the Earthly.(Cf. Plato, Symposium, 180 et seq.) So nothing offends love; since love finds in all that savors of the mortal only a symbol and epitome of the supernatural. And there is in Love a cosmic force and secret incomprehensible, incommunicable by man. Is not, after all, Love the one supreme and significant fact of the cosmos: indelible, indecipherable: efflorescing in Man; emerging from the material; idealizing the carnal; pointing to an inscrutable, a spiritual goal? Can it be that if we could explain Love, we should explain the cosmos? What if we could explain why it is that no one single isolated portion of the cosmos can live alone- and vaunt itself in itself sufficient (S.T. Coleridge, "Lectures on Shakespeare".) -, but must seek some other single and isolated portion of the cosmos in order that that very cosmos shall continue, shall evolve, shall go towards its goal... Do we put our finger here upon some curious and recondite cosmic fact utterly transcending our mean comprehension?
"...la jalousie... monster odieux." - Moliere
'Ware jealousy as you would 'ware wire: for it no psychiater has yet discovered a balm.
To make an experiment of jealousy is to make a very hazardous experiment indeed.
Jealousy is no proof of love, for often jealousy is but rancor under a sense of humiliation. Indeed, jealousy is a sign of weakness: the lover whose self-confidence assures him of his pre-eminence fears no rival. Yet male self-confidence is peculiarly vulnerable where women be concerned, since, as no man knows what it is appeals to a woman, he does not know on what to pride himself: even an Othello is jealous of even an Iago. Yet it is only the spectators who see the folly of Othello. Desdemonas usually are helpless as they are oblivious. The illicitly favored lover is never jealous of the husband; but of another illicitly favored lover, how jealous he is. But jealousy, like modesty, and like virtue, varies with every time and clime: what is customary in Cairo would rouse consternation in Kent, and what goes on in Vienna shocks New England. So, how the husband favored lover differs also with every time and clime: here he is mulcted in damages, there he is shot down, in a third place he is tolerated. How the woman thinks her husband should treat the illicitly favored lover - that you shall never find out.
The edacity of jealousy is unappeasable: a wronged lover, in his pain, looks for more pain to bear: like a martyr in an ecstasy, he cries out for further tortures. In love one always sees higher unreachable heights; in jealousy always deeper unreachable depths. And there is no wound but leaves its cicatrix.
Mistrust an unexpected change of front. So, does your erstwhile frowning lady smile? "cherchez l'homme", or la femme. Since to arouse jealousy in another feminine breast is sometimes the motive of feminine complaisance. Indeed, few women can forgo an opportunity of arousing jealousy, whether in a feminine or in a masculine breast. Bethink thee of this little fact, O man, when next thy lady comports herself thee wards ultra-graciously.
To see the girl of thy heart- even if so be she not thine, nor not nearly thine- comport herself with another as she does with thee- ah! that gives a twinge to the masculine heart. Nay, lesser things than this will perturb this irascible organ: that the other should admire her charms- that she should accept such admiration..... yet what cares she that these discomfort a man? For a man's discomfiture is naught to a woman. In sooth, take a woman to task for her conduct, and with how soft an answer she will turn away your wrath, how deftly make light of your rival's advances!
Man, when he has won him a woman, is, in his great greed of possession, infinitely chagrined that he was not master of her past as of her present and future. This goes by the name of "la jalousie retrospective".
Women never know quite how to regard a man's jealousy. It flatters her, yet it pains her. She is the cause of it, yet she would believe it causeless. She deplores it, yet she would not have it quite away. It is proof of love, yet it is fatal to love. How to treat it, puzzles her. Implicit obedience to the man's wishes lowers her in her own eyes, and, consequently, so she thinks, in his. Yet so rabid is the emotion, she fears to provoke it too far. It places her in a quandary. She never knows what will evoke it; she never knows what course it will run: whether it will cement her lover's affections, or whether it will dissipate them forever.
It is love's most dangerous foe, and it is dangerous because it is insidious. If there is any one thing that puts a woman's wits to the test, it is a man's jealousy.
The sheerest and most insensate folly a man can commit towards a woman is to let her know that another woman is cognizant of her jealousy of her. He may give the latter a very keen pleasure; but he gives the former a very keen pang. For the cause of jealousy a woman may condone; the divulgence of her jealousy she will never forgive.
What irritates a jealous man is the actions that cause his jealousy; what irritates a jealous woman is the person who is the cause of her jealousy. In other words, a jealous swain upbraids his mistress; a jealous mistress objurgates her rival.
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