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FROM
A GIRL'S POINT OF VIEW



LILIAN BELL

AUTHOR OF "THE LOVE AFFAIRS OF AN OLD MAID'

"A LITTLE SISTER TO THB WILDERNESS"

" THE UNDER SIDE OF THINGS " ETC.




NEW YORK AND LONDON

HARPER & BROTHERS PUBLISHERS

I8Q7



BY LILIAN BELL



THE LOVE AFFAIRS OF AN OLD MAID. 16mo, Cloth,
Ornamental, Uncut Edges and Gilt Top, $1 25.

. . . The love affairs of an old maid are not her own, but
other people's, and in this volume we have the love trials
and joys of a variety of persons described and analyzed.
. . . The peculiarity of this book is that each tyne is per-
fectly distinct, clear, and interesting. . . . Altogether the
book is by far the best of those recently written on the
tender passion. Cincinnati Commercial-Gazette.

THE UNDER SIDE OF THINGS. A Novel. 16mo, Cloth,
Ornamental, Uncut Edges and Gilt Top, $1 25.

A tenderly beautiful story. . . . This book is Miss
Bell's best effort, and most in the line of what we hope
to see her proceed in, dainty and keen and bright, and
always full of the fine warmth and tenderness of splen-
did womanhood. Interior, Chicago.

PUBLISHED BY HARPER & BROTHERS, NEW YORK.



Copyright, 1897, by HARPER & BROTHERS.

Alt rights rtitrvcd.



WITH MANY APPREHENSIONS TO
THE DULL READER

WHO WILL INSIST UPON TAKING
EVERYTHING IN THIS BOOK LITERALLY



2061770



CONTENTS



PAGE

THE UNTRAINED MAN UNDER THIRTY-FIVE. 3

THE PHILOSOPHY OF CLOTHES 23

WOMAN'S RIGHTS IN LOVE 39

MEN AS LOVERS Gi

LOVE-MAKING AS A FINE ART 79

GIRLS AND OTHER GIRLS 97

ON THE SUBJECT OF HUSBANDS 113

A FEW MEN WHO I.ORE Us :

THE SELF-MADE MAN 131

THE DYSPEPTIC 139

THE TOO-ACCURATE MAN 147

THE IRRESISTIBLE MAN 156

THE STUPID MAN 163

THE NEW WOMAN 177



THE UNTRAINED MAN UNDER
THIRTY-FIVE

Since we deserved the name of friends,
And thine effect so lives in me,
A part of mine may live in thee,

And move thee on to nobler ends."



THE UNTRAINED MAN UNDER
THIRTY-FIVE



EVERY woman has had, at some time in
her life, an experience with man in the raw.
In reality, one cannot set down with any
degree of accuracy the age when his raw-
ness attacks him, or the time when he has
got the last remnant of it out of his system.
But a close study of the complaint, and the
necessity for pigeon-holing everything and
everybody, lead one to declare that some-
where in the vicinity of the age of thirty-five
man emerges from his rawness and becomes
a part of trained humanity a humanity
composed of men and women trained in the
art of living together.

I am impressed with Professor Horton's
remarks on this subject: "It has sometimes
struck me as very singular," he says, " that



4 THE UNTRAINED MAN

while nothing is so common and nothing is
so difficult as living with other people, we
are seldom instructed in our youth how to
do it well. Our knowledge of the subject
is acquired by experience, chiefly by fail-
ures. And by the time that we have toler-
ably mastered the delicate art, we are on
the point of being called to the isolation of
the grave or shall I say to the vast com-
pany of the Majority ?

" But an art of so much practical moment
deserves a little more consideration. It
should not be taught by chance, or in frag-
ments, but duly deployed, expounded, and
enforced. It is of far more pressing im-
portance, for example, than the art of play-
ing the piano or the violin, and is quite as
difficult to learn.

" It is written, ' It is not good that man
should be alone ' ; but, on the other hand, it
is often far from good to be with him. A
docile cat is preferable, a mongoose, or even
a canary. Indeed, for want of proper in-
struction, a large number of the human race,
as they are known in this damp and foggy
island, are 'gey ill to live wi',' and no one



UNDER THIRTY-FIVE 5

would attempt it but for charity and the
love of God."

Now who but women are responsible for
the training of men ? If the mother has
neglected her obvious duty in training her
son to be a livable portion of humanity,
who but the girls must take up her lost
opportunities ? It is with the class of men
whose mothers have neglected to train them
in the art of living that we have to deal ;
the man with whom feminine influence
refining, broadening, softening, graciously
smoothing out soul- wrinkles, and gener-
ously polishing off sharp mental corners
has had no part. It need not necessarily
mean men who have not encountered fem-
inine influence, but it does mean those who
never have yielded to it. The natural and
to-be-looked-for conceit of youth may have
been the barrier which prevented their
yielding. There is a time when the youth
of twenty knows more than any one on
earth could teach him, and more than he
ever will know again ; a time when, no
matter how kind his heart, he is incased in
a mental haughtiness before which plain



6 THE UNTRAINED MAN

Wisdom is dumb. But a time will come when
the keenness of some girl's stiletto of wit
will prick the empty bubble of his flamboy-
ant egoism, and he will, for the first time,
learn that he is but an untrained man under
thirty-five.

This elastic classification does not ob-
tain with either geniuses or fools. It deals
with the average man as the average girl
knows him, and may refer to every man in
her acquaintance or only to one. It certain-
ly must refer to one ! Misery loves company
to such an extent that I could not bear to
think that there was any girl living who did
not occasionally have to grapple with the
problem of at least one man in the raw, if
only for her own discipline.

You cannot argue with the untrained man
under thirty -five. In fact, I never argue
with anybody, either man or woman, be-
cause women are not reasonable beings and
men are too reasonable. I never am will-
ing to follow a chain of reasoning to its
logical conclusion, because, if I do, men can
make me admit so many things that are not
true. I abhor a syllogism. Alas, how often



UNDER THIRTY-FIVE 7

have I picked my cautious way through
three-quarters of one, only to sit down at
the critical moment, declaring I would not
go another step, and then to hear some
argumentative man cry, "But you admitted
all previous steps. Don't you know that
this naturally must follow ?" Well, perhaps
it does follow, only I don't believe it is
true. It may be very clever of the men to
reason, and perhaps I am very stupid not
to be able to admit the truth of their con-
clusions, but I feel like declaring with Josh
Billings, " Td rather not know so much
than to know so much that ain't so."

Conversation with the untrained man
under thirty-five is equally impossible, be-
cause he never converses ; he only talks.
And your chief accomplishment of being a
good listener is entirely thrown away on
him, because a mere talker never cares
whether you listen or not as long as you
do not interrupt him. He only wants the
floor and the sound of his own voice. It
is the trained man over thirty-five who can
converse and who wishes you to respond.

The untrained man desires to be amused.



8 THE UNTRAINED MAN

The trained man wishes to amuse. A man
under thirty-five is in this world to be made
happy. The man over thirty -five tries to
make you happy.

There is no use of uttering a protest.
You simply must wait, and let life take it
out of him. The man under thirty-five is
being trained in a thousand ways every
day that he lives. Some learn more quick-
ly than others. It depends on the type of
man and on the length of time he is will-
ing to remain in the raw.

You can do little to help him, if you are
the first girl to take a hand at him. You
can but prepare him to be a little more
amenable to the next girl. His mind is not
on you. It is centred on himself. You
are only an entity to him, not an individual.
He cares nothing for your likes and dis-
likes, your cares or hopes or fears. He only
wishes you to be pretty and well dressed.
Have a mind if you will. He will not know
it. Have a heart and a soul. They do not
concern him, because he cannot see them.
He likes to have you tailor-made. You are
a Girl to him. That's all.



UNDER THIRTY-FIVE 9

The eyes of the untrained man under
thirty-five are never taken off himself. They
are always turned in. He is studying him-
self first and foremost, and the world at
large is interesting to him only inasmuch
as it bears relation to himself as the pivotal
point. He fully indorses Pope's line, "The
proper study of mankind is man," and he
is that man. Join in his pursuit if you
will ; show the wildest enthusiasm in his
golf record or how many lumps of sugar he
takes in his coffee, and he will evince nei-
ther surprise nor gratitude for your in-
terest. You are only showing your good
taste.

Try to talk to the untrained man under
thirty-five upon any subject except himself.
Bait him with different topics of universal
interest, and try to persuade him to leave
his own point of view long enough to look
through the eyes of the world. And then
notice the hopeless persistence with which
he avoids your dexterous efforts and men-
tally lies down to worry his Ego again, like
a dog with a bone.

The conceit of one of these men is the



10 THE UNTRAINED MAN

most colossal specimen of psychological
architecture in existence. As a social study,
when I have him under the microscope, I
can enjoy this. I revel in it, just as I do
in a view of the ocean or the heavens at
night anything so vast that I cannot see
to the end of it. It suggests eternity or
space. But oh ! what I have suffered from
a mental contact with this phase of him in
society ! Sometimes he really is ignorant
has no brains at all and then my suffering
is lingering. Sometimes he really knows a
great deal has the making of a man in
him, only it lies fallow for want of training
and then my suffering is acute. When
success business or social or athletic or
literary or artistic comes to the untrained
man under thirty -five, it comes pitifully
near being his ruin. The adulation of the
world is more intoxicating and more deadly
than to drink absinthe out of a stein ; more
insidious than opium ; more fatal than
death. It unsettles the steadiest brain
and feeds the too-ravenous Ego with a food
which at first he deemed nectar and am-
brosia, but which he soon comes to feel is



UNDER THIRTY-FIVE n

the staff of life, and no more than he de-
serves. With success should come the de-
termination, be you man or woman, to fall
upon your knees every day and pray Heaven
for strength to keep from believing what
people tell you, so that you still may be
bearable to your friends and livable to your
family.

I know that all this will fall unkindly
upon the ears of many a worthy man under
thirty-five whose charm is still in embryo,
and that, unless he is very clever, he will
be mortally offended, and never believe my
solemn assertion that I am the stanchest
friend the man of possibilities has. Let him
take care how he resents my amiable brutal-
ity, or how he denounces me as his enemy,
for if I were not interested in the untrained
man under thirty-five I wouldn't bother with
him, would I ?

I know, too, that a diplomatic feminine
contingency will raise a howl of protest, and
will read this aloud to men under thirty-five
for the express purpose of disclaiming all
complicity with such heterodox views, and
doubtless will be able to make the men



12 THE UNTRAINED MAN

believe them. Tactful girls are a neces-
sity, and I approve of them. I do not in
the least mind their disclaiming my views
to specific men, especially if I can catch
their eye for one subtle moment when the
men are not looking. On this subject there
is a certain delicately veiled, comprehend-
ing, soul-satisfying, mental wink going the
rounds of the girls, indicating our comrade-
ship and unanimity of thought quite as un-
derstandingly as the fraternal grip stands
for fellowship among masons. We girls
have been thinking these things for a long
time, and, with this declaration of indepen-
dence, the shackles will fall from many a
girl's soul, because another girl has dared to
speak out in meeting.

Of course, I know, too, that girls with nice
brothers and cousins and husbands under
thirty-five will also offer violent protest. I
am perfectly willing. Doubtless their fem-
inine influence has circumvented nature to
such an extent that no one would suspect
that their men were under thirty-five. I only
beg of them to remember that I am not
discussing girl - trained men or widowers.



UNDER THIRTY-FIVE 13

TJoth of these types are as near perfection
as a man can become.

A man whom girls have trained is really
modest. Even at twenty he does not think
that he knows it all. He is willing to admit
that his father and mother have brains, and
that thirty years' experience entitles them to
a hearing. He also is willing to give the
girls a show, to humor them, to find them
interesting as studies, but never to claim to
understand them. In short, he has many
of the charming qualities of the man over
thirty-five and the widower. That is the
man who is girl-trained. But Heaven help
the man who is girl spoiled.

Far be it from me to say that the un-
trained man under thirty-five, at his worst,
is of no use in this world. He is excellent
for a two-step. I have used a number of
them very successfully in this way. But I
know the awful thought has already pierced
some people's brains what if the man un-
der thirty-five does not dance ?

Sometimes an untrained man under thir-
ty-five will actually have the audacity to say
to me that he takes small pleasure in society



14 THE UNTRAINED MAN

because the girls he meets are so silly, and
he must use small -talk in order to meet
them on their own ground. I am aghast at
his temerity, as he, too, will be when he
has heard our side of the subject. We girls
never have allowed ourselves the luxury
of vindicating ourselves, or refuting this
charge. It is the clever girl who suffers
most of all not the brilliant, meteoric girl
but just the ordinarily clever girl, as other
girls know her. It is this sort of a girl who
drags upon my sympathies, because she oc-
cupies an anomalous position.

Being a real woman, she likes to be
liked. She wishes to please men. We all
do. But what kind of men are we to
please? Untrained men under thirty-five?
Owing to the horrible prevalence of these
men, some girls become neither fish, flesh,
nor fowl, nor good red herring. They see
their silly, pink-cheeked sisters followed and
admired. They know either how shallow
these girls are or how cleverly hypocritical.
Clever girls are also human. They love to
go about and wear pretty clothes, and dance,
and be admired quite as much as anybody.



UNDER THIRTY-FIVE 15

The result is that they adopt the only course
left to them, and, bringing themselves down
to the level of the men, feign a frivolity
and a levity which occasionally call forth
from a thinking man a criticism which is, in
a sense, totally undeserved. What will not
the untrained man under thirty-five have to
answer for on the Day of Judgment!

It is of no use to argue about this state
of things. Facts are facts. Men make no
secret of the kind of women they want us to
be. We get preached at from pulpits and
lectured at from platforms and written about
by "The Saunterer " and " The Man About
Town " and " The One Who Knows It All,"
telling us how to be womanly, how to look
to please men, how to behave to please
men, and how to save our souls to please
men, until, if we were not a sweet, amiable
set, we would rebel as a sex and declare
that we thought we were lovely just the way
we were, and that we were not going to
change for anybody.

You lords of creation ought to be very
complaisant, or else very much ashamed of
yourselves. You send in an order : " The



16 THE UNTRAINED MAN

kind of girl that I like is a Methodist with-
out bangs." And some nice girl begins to
look up Methodist tenets and buys invisi-
ble hairpins and side combs. Or you say,
" Give me an athletic girl." And, presto !
some girl who would much rather read buys
a wheel, and learns golf, and lets out the
waists to her gowns, and revels in tan and
freckles. We do what you men want us
to. And, then, when you complain about
our lack of brains, that we cannot discuss
current events, and that you have to give
us society small-talk, I feel like saying:
"Well, whose fault is it? If you demand
brains, we will cultivate them. If you want
good looks, we will try to scare up some.
If you want nobility, we will let you know
how much we have concealed about us."

Often it is not that we are not secretly
much more of women, and better and clev-
erer women, than you think us. But there
is no call for such wares, so we lay charac-
ter and brain on the shelves to mildew, and
fill the show - windows with confectionery
and illusion. We supply the demand. We
always have supplied it, and we always will.



UNDER THIRTY-FIVE 17

Of course, some of us get very much dis-
gusted with the debutantes. But, aside from
the great superiority they have over girls
with thinking powers (in regard to the num-
ber of men who admire them, for all men
admire cooing girls with dimples) aside
from this, I say, there is something to be
said on their behalf. Don't you believe,
you dear, unsuspicious men, who dote upon
their pliability and the trustfulness of their
innocent, limpid blue or brown-eyed gaze,
which meets your own with such implied
flattery to your superior strength and intel-
ligence don't you believe for one moment
that the simple little dears do not know ex-
actly the part they are playing. They are
twice as clever as the cleverest of you. They
feel that they are needed just as they are.
The fashionable schools are turning them
out every year exactly as the untrained men
under thirty-five would wish them to be.
They know this. Therefore they remain as
Art has made them. Feeling themselves
admired by the class of men they most wish
to attract, they have no incentive to im-
prove.



1 8 THE UNTRAINED MAN

And yet, I suppose, untrained men under
thirty-five have their use in the world, aside
from the part they play in the discipline of
discriminating young women. Girls even
marry these men. Lovely girls, too. Clever
girls girls who know a hundred times more
than their husbands, and are ten times finer
grained. I wonder if they love them, if
they are satisfied with them, if ennui of the
soul is not a bitter thing to bear?

I am always wondering why girls marry
them. Every week brings me knowledge
that some lovely girl I know has found an-
other man under thirty-five, or that some of
my men friends of that persuasion have mar-
ried out-of-town girls. It does not surprise
me so much when girls from another city
marry them. Most men do not like to write
letters, and visits are only for over Sunday.

Men are always saying, " Well, why don't
you tell us the kind of men you would like
us to be ?" And their attitude when they
say it is with their thumbs in the arm-holes
of their waistcoats. When a man is thor-
oughly satisfied with himself he always ex-
pands his chest.



UNDER THIRTY-FIVE 19

There is something very funny to me in
that question, because I suppose they really
think they would change to please us. I do
not mind talking about it, because I am so-
ciable, and I like conversation ; but I never
for a moment dream that they will do it.
They intend to, and their inclination is al-
ways to please us, even to spoil us ; but they
either cannot or will not change ; and they
think if they can refuse pleasantly, and men-
tally chuck us under the chin and make us
smile, that they have succeeded in getting
our minds off a troublesome subject.

Of course, it is partly our fault that we do
not insist, but no one wants to be disagree-
able. Therefore we choose personal dis-
comfort for ourselves rather than to demand
radical changes in the men, which might
bring on contention.

But women wish to please men, aside from
their power of winning them. Whereas if
men can get the girls without any change
on their part, they consider themselves a
howling success. But they might be a little
bit surprised if they could read the minds
of these very wives whom they have won,



20 THE UNTRAINED MAN UNDER THIRTY-FIVE

whose life-work often may be only to im-
prove them so that they will make some
other woman the kind of a husband they
should have made at first, and then to lie
down and die.

So let men beware how they criticise us
unfavorably, no matter what their ages, for
the truth of the matter is that, be we frivo-
lous or serious, vain or sensible, clever or
stupid, rich or poor, we are what the Ameri-
can man has made us. We are supremely
grateful to him for the most part, for he has
literally made us what we are by the sweat
of his brow. But let him beware how he
cavils at his own handiwork. 'Tis not
for the untrained man under thirty-five to
complain of us, when now he knows why
we are so.

" I'm not denyin' that women are foolish,"
says George Eliot. " God Almighty made
'em to match the men."



THE PHILOSOPHY OF CLOTHES

' Last night in blue my little love was dressed;
And as she walked the room in maiden

grace,

I looked into her fair and smiling face,
And said that blue became my darling best.
But when, this morn, a spotless virgin -vest
And robe of white did the blue one dis-
place,
She seemed a pearl -tinged cloud, and I

was space !

She filled my soul as cloud -shapes fill the
West.

' And so it is thai, changing day by day

Changing her robe, but not her loveliness
Whether the gown be blue or white or gray,
I deem that one her most becoming dress.
The truth is this : In any robe or way,
I love her just the same, and cannot love
her less!"



THE PHILOSOPHY OF CLOTHES



IF you are interested in the spectacle of
letting people paint their own portraits, at
the same time entirely unconscious that they
are doing so, ask a number of women and
girls whether they dress to please men or
other women, and then listen carefully to
what they say and watch their faces well
while they are saying it. Most of the girls
will say they dress to please women ; and
the reason I ask you to watch their faces
is that you may see the subtle changes go-
ing on by which they persuade themselves
that they are telling the truth. Women
nice, sweet women, the kind we know
seldom tell a real untruth. But they have
a way of persuading themselves that what
they are about to say is the truth. Wom-
en must believe in themselves before they



24 THE PHILOSOPHY OF CLOTHES

can hope to make other people believe in
them ; therefore they have themselves to
persuade first of all. Now, when men are
going to utter an untruth they never care
whether they believe it or not, as long as
they can make other people believe it. And
the so-called brutal honesty of man is only
brutal want of tact. That poor, patient, mis-
used word, " honesty " ! How sick it must
get of its abuse !

Yes, girls really believe, I suppose, that
they dress for other girls. But they do not.
They dress for men. And only experience
will teach them the highest wisdom in the
matter. But that they cannot acquire un-
til they believe that only another woman
will know just how well they are dressed,
and, above all, whether Doucet turned them
out, or a dress-maker in the house at two
dollars a day.

Men only take in the effect. Women know
how the effect is produced. Of course, now
I am speaking of the general run of men
and women : neither the man who clerked
at Cash & Silk's nor the one who pays his
wife's bills in Paris, but the man in his



THE PHILOSOPHY OF CLOTHES 25

native state of charming ignorance of mate-
rials ; the man who always suggests a "gus-
set" as a remedy for too scant a gown,
who calls insertion "tatting," and who, in
setting out for the opera, will tell his wife
to put on her "bonnet and shawl," although
she may have on point-lace and diamonds.
In his more modern aspect he tells you
that a girl at the Junior Promenade had on
a blue dress with feathers around her neck
which you must translate into meaning
anything from blue satin to organdie, and
that between dances she wore a feather
boa.

It is the effect only that men take in ;
and when a man goes into ecstasies over a
gown of pale green on a hot day just be-
cause you look so cool and fresh in it, when
you know that you paid but forty cents a
yard for it, and only nods when you show


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Online LibraryLilian BellFrom a girl's point of view → online text (page 1 of 8)