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Petting is proof that the man properly appreciates the value. Yet
meanwhile, anomalous as it may sound,

The engaged girl is still her own property, and is practically free.
Besides,

What more delectable to a girl than to have captured and kept a real man?
This flatters her, uplifts her, makes of her a woman at once: she holds
her head higher she carries herself with an air; she shows off her
capture. Besides, also,

The engaged girl is looked up to by her compeers, is congratulated y her
elders. Even if she keeps the engagement secret, these compeers and
congratulatresses do not (sometimes, alas! To her detriment). - In
addition to all this,

What delight so unique as the preparation of the trousseau! 239
Trousseau! - 'T is a name of mystical import to man.

A woman's trousseau is symbol of two things - and perhaps dimly indicative
of a third:

(i) it proves - what needs no proof - that, such is the unselfish nature
of Love, never can it give enough, never enhance too much the gifts it
gives. Accordingly the bride goes to the man appareled and bedecked to
the best of her ability;

(ii) It is a subtle tribute to the sensibility of man, of the man in
love, who is stimulated and pleased by dainty, it may be diaphanous,
raiment. Lastly, since even that supernal thing Love is not unconcerned
with matters practical,

(iii) It bespeaks as prophetic suspicion of the little fact that perhaps
it is well to go to her husband's home abundantly provided with dainty
raiment, inasmuch as the man not in love is not always so delicately
sensible of their need.

* * *

A girl's first engagement is peculiarly sweet: long does she remember,
long meditatively dwell upon, its pettiest incidents. For, if any man
dared give utterance to so outrageous an assumption,

The emoluments of a promise to marry are as sweet to the donatress as
undoubtedly they are to the accepter. - And why not, pray? Nevertheless,

A certain practical sobriety supervenes upon subsequent affairs of the
heart. For

The recurrence of love is apt to spoil its romance. And yet - and yet -

It is a question which woman after woman has put herself, in vain,
whether 't would have been wiser to have accepted and retained the
romantic love of unthinking youth, or to have waited for the more sober
affection of the years of discretion.

Perhaps a girl hardly knows all that is meant by that thing called "love"
or what is entailed upon her by that thing called an "engagement". She
has played with love so much, that when a real and serious love is
offered her, she still thinks it the toy that amused her. But

Soon enough does the man, if he is earnest - and a man never proposes
unless he is in earnest - enlighten the girl of his choice: for

To a man, love never is a toy - though mere lust may be:

Men never play with love, as do girls: they play with lust, - as they
play with bats and balls and fire-arms;

When men fall in love, they fall in love with a vengeance; and

The seriousness with which the man falls in love startles the girl.

The man demands so much; is so exacting' so peremptory; so unyielding; so
frightfully selfish; so terribly jealous of the slightest look or smile
or gesture bestowed upon any other than he, that the girl . . . . . .
well, the girl probably begins to think, either that the man is an
unreasonable brute, or that her girlish notions of love were somewhat
astray. Then one or two things happens: either the man goes off in a
huff; or the girl mends her ways.

* * *

The recurrence of a love is a great shock to love. Love thinks itself a
think unique, unalterable, supreme; a thing not made out of the flux and
change of earthly affairs, but heaven-born and descended from the skies;
that it should go and come seems to destroy the fundamental conception of
love.

* * *

The affianced man thinks he has won him the sweetest, the most sacrosanct
thing that ever trode God's earth outside of Eden: a bundle of blisses, a
compact little mass of exquisite mysteries, whose every tint and curve
and motion are to him sources of wonderment and delight; he is at once
humbled and exalted; he thanks high Heaven for the gift; for that comport
himself worthy of such gift; for that this wondrous and mysterious little
thing called "a woman" should of her own accord put herself in his arms,
to be by him and by him alone cherished and nurtured till death them do
part - this indeed gives the mail heart a very sobering, a very ennobling
thrill; for beneath the heaving breast he so passionately loves, behind
the eyes into the depths of which he so passionately looks, there stirs,
he knows, that ineffable, that indefinable thing, a woman's heart; and
that TO HIM has been committed the keeping of that heart - this rouses in
him the manly virtues as no other thing rouses them. Strong is the man
who can live up to these emotions; sage the woman who knows what she has
aroused.

* * *

The philanderer or the flirt - to whom love-making and love-taking have
been a pasttime - is appalled at the seriousness of love when real love
is offered him or her. For often enough

The philanderer or the flirt thinks compliments and cajolery the food of
love: in time they discover that love is a veritable sarcophagus!

* * *

Many an accepted lover (both masculine and feminine) tries to make up for
coldness of passion by warmness of affection: a subterfuge of dubious
efficacy. For though

Affection seeks affection, passion is only appeased by passion. Yet

When one loves passionately, and the other languidly accepts, it is well
perhaps for that other sometimes to be a little "unfaithful to the truth"
(1) and to simulate an unfelt ardor. But, always this is of questionable
value, for

Love abhors simulation of anything even of ardor.

(1) Tennyson, "Love and Duty".

* * *

If mutual confidence is not established at the moment of betrothal, it
will never afterwards be established. And

Woeful will be the plight of those between whom mutual confidence is not
then established. For

Mutual confidence is the only atmosphere in which love can breathe.

* * *

An engaged man, like a hungry man, is an irascible man. And
How often a fiancée is sore put to it, not only to satisfy him, but to
pacify him!

* * *

A woman will often blandly ask why the two rivals to her hand should not
be friends! Yet it is significant of much that she does her utmost to
keep them apart! Indeed,

In no instance are a woman's tact and finesse so exercised as in playing
off one man against another. - And yet usually she delights in the task;
for

Being-made-love-to is to women what killing - whether of men or of
animals - is to men. In a word,

To be sought after is to woman what war or the chase is to man.

* * *

The woman a woman accepts a man, then and there he becomes her lord and
master. And this she unconsciously knows - nay, expects. If the man
does not then and there exercise his lordship and show his mastery, he
will find it difficult to do it later on. But of course

No woman will ever be got to admit that her newly-won man is her master.
Nevertheless it is counsel that every man should lay to heart, for

Unless a woman is dominated (N.E. not dominated over), she tries to get
the upper hand. And

Only two instances there are in which the woman should retain the upper
hand: when the man is either a philosopher or a fool;

When a man is both (and the combination is not uncommon), she would be a
fool if she did not retain the upper hand! But

Little does a woman esteem him to does not sway - nay, who does not
sacrifice, it may be: her to his will.

* * *

Of that engaged pair who can confidingly speak the one t the other of the
dawn of their mutual attraction, little need be feared; if they cannot,
very much may be feared. For

Love, without confidence, is as defunct as faith without works. For

If M cannot confide in N, it probably means that K and L have, or that O
and P will.

* * *

So tremendous are the results of the gift of self that Nature herself
seems to have ordained that the feminine sacrifice shall be utter and
complete. For,

A man's interests may be many and and behold, a bold girl will appear and
carry off the shy man! Perhaps to the life-long chagrin and sorrow of all
three.

Often, oh! how often, an awkward and sophisticated youth and a prim maid
with down-cast eyes will sit together, waltz together, and the one never
get one inch the nearer to the other, though soul and mind and body crave
a closer union. The youth would give the solid earth - nay, the solid
earth would be naught - to gain him the courage to clasp the maiden to
his breast; yet, so intense his awe, he would not strain a spider's web
to risk the maid's good will. - The maid - who shall say what passes in
her mind? That the youth should adventure, she could wish; yet his very
hesitancy bespeaks his devotion true. Were he to fall about her neck,
embrace her close, and demand the kiss of love - most like she would
recoil aghast - at first! Yet if he desisted - she would also recoil
aghast. - What should he do, poor awkward youth? what she? - One thing
onlookers will do: smile, and simper, and smile again; but in their
inmost heart of hearts they will envy that awkward youth, that simple
maid. For because, in this the first symptoms of unsolicited and
reciprocal love, they will recognize something of the divine and mystical
nature of Love itself, of Love untrammeled by convention or law; of Love
itself, in its purity, its intensity, its diffidence, its terrifying yet
restraining force.

Ah! Love, not in every conflict art thou victor crowned. (2)

(2) Eros anikate machan. - Sophocles, Antigone, 781

* * *




XIII. On Marriage and Married Life

ariston andri ktaema sympathaes gunae.
- Hippothoon


Marriage laws are framed, not for or by the likes and dislikes of men and
women, but by the exigencies of social, often of political, economy.
Therefore

Men and women's likes and dislikes are obliged to conform to the usages
demanded by social and political economy: so

In Turkey women accept with a good grace the custom of a plurality of
wives; in Tibet men accept with good grace a plurality of husbands. In
the western world .. . . Humph!

Always will there be everywhere prevalent a latent hostility between the
likes and dislikes of men and women on one hand, and the laws enforced by
a social and political community on the other. This is why

Always there will be those who will try to "reform" the marriage state:
some looking only to the likes and dislikes of men and women, others only
to the advantages which shall accrue to the State. So,

Some there will be will always advocate a loosening of the marriage bond,
others who will seek to make it indissoluble. Both should remember that

The unit of the State is the family; therefore the State makes laws, not
to suit the tastes or convenience of the husband and the wife, but for
the good and preservation of the family. All of which, surely, is right
and proper, since

It is the business of the State to make laws governing the welfare of the
generations to come. In fine

The children - they are the pivot about which all matrimonial
controversies should turn.

Reformers of marriage laws should seek a preventative, not a cure; since

It is doubtful whether the ills of matrimony are really curable, for,
generally speaking,

Matrimonial incompatibility is a malignant, not a benignant, disease; its
prognosis is doubtful; nor does it run a regular course.

* * *

Many are the women who, soon after marriage, silently turn over in their
minds this little problem: whether it were better to marry the man they
loved but who did not love them; or to marry the man who loved them but
to whom they were indifferent. And

The man a woman ultimately marries will give her no clue to the solution.
And for the following reasons:

(i) He, fond wight, does not know that any such problem is agitating her
little brain; and

(ii) She, of course, dare not divulge the factors of the problem. In
short,

Most marriages are brought about by the following simple, yet fateful,
consideration: The man marries the woman he wants; the woman marries the
man who wants her. The two propositions, though apparently identical,
often produce results very far from identical. And yet,

Sometimes - sometimes - that glorious dream comes true, in which a hale
and heart-whole youth implants the first pure passionate kiss upon the
lips of a hale and heart-whole girl. - Ah, happy twain! For them the sun
shines, the great earth spins, and constellations shed their selectest
influence. 'T is a dream that all youth dreams. 'T is a dream makes
wakeful life worth living.

Ah! the wild dream of youth! The maenad dream! The spring-time dream!

Of the maid: the dim, dim dream of stalwart man offering a love supreme
without alloy, and taking, forceful, a love as flawless, as supreme; a
steady breast on which to lean, strong circling arms, a face set firm
against the world, a face that softens only to her up-turned eyes that
seek the lover who is hers and hers alone; a dream of music, color, and
the swaying dance; of rivals splendidly out-shone; of home and friends
and trappings; of raiment. Retinue; of ordered bliss; and by and by, in a
still dimmer far-off time, a time un-whispered to herself, of
baby-fingers, baby lips . . . . . .

Of the youthful man: a vivid dream, involved, unsteady, shifting; a dream
of lust and love and smoke, and flame and fame; of cuirass and horse and
saber; of blood and battle; of high place; of many dominated by his
look and gesture; of mighty man, and orders issued, preemptory, not to be
gain said; also of lithe arms, a supple waist, sweetly-soft entwining
limbs, a gentle girlish woman all his own who never was another's and
always will be his; and an heir and household gods. - Ah! the wild dream
of youth!

Youths, dream ye while ye may! And you, ye aged, I charge ye do not wake
them: it is the dream makes wakeful life worth living. And yet - and
yet,

Sometimes - sometimes, alack and fie for shame, things come to such a
pass, between husband and wife, that a modus viviendi has to be tacitly
agreed upon. In that case, alas!

Too often, between husband and wife, it depends upon who is the better
actor and liar - to their shame be it said. But before this happens,
much else must have happened. For,

Here and there, ahem! we meet a woman who is like the moon: she circles
sedately round, and dutifully faces, the planet to which she is united;
but that planet does not know that she is irradiated and warmed by a
far-distant sun - a sun which symbolizes, ahem! Duty, or Necessity, or
Affection for her children, or (tell it not in Gath) Affection for
another.

And here and there, ahem! we meet a man who, like the sun, shines
steadfastly enough upon his own earth, but shines also, all unbeknown to
earth, upon other earths - and errant comets - and small aerolites.

* * *

As it is usually physical or sentimental characteristics that bring a man
and a woman into the field of mutual attraction, so it is generally
physical or sentimental characteristics that drag them apart. Thus,

A clever wife will put up with a stupid husband, and an intellectual man
will get on admirably with a dull but domestic woman. But

If either party to the marriage contract disregards or is unable to
appease the demands made upon him or her for sympathy or emotion, there
is likely to be trouble; for

Sentiment, not intellect, is the cementing material in marriage, and

If a man and wife cannot effuse a mutual sentiment, gradually they will
grow apart. Indeed,

The demands of the emotions are at once more imperious and tyrannical,
and more fastidious and critical, than are the demands of the mind. Of
all of which, what is the moral? This:

The married pair who would live in amity, not to say in affection, must
so live as that each shall persuade the other is the sole personage under
the roof of heaven that he or she desires. Alas!

The unwritten motto of many a married couple is: The Heart Knoweth its
own Bitterness.

* * *

Marriage reveals the moods of a man.

What is an ideal marriage? That perhaps in which the man is to the woman
at once friend, husband, and lover. But some people prefer these
functions distinct.

That is a happy marriage in which a woman's husband is also her
confidant. And always,

Husband and wife should move like binary stars: revolving about a common
centre; mutually attractive; and, unless closely viewed, presenting a
single impression.

* * *

Matrimony is sometimes a terrible iconoclast. Whether it throws down the
images of false or of true gods, depends on the religion of the
worshipper.

* * *

It would be difficult, sometimes, to determine whether constancy was an
autogenous or enforced virtue.

* * *

Never play pranks with your wife, your horse, or your razor.

* * *

There is a thing which not gold nor favor nor even love can buy. Its
true name is secret; but it is content to be called Sympathy.
Accordingly,

Let no man or woman think when he or she has won wife or husband all has
been won that is necessary. For,

If sympathy cannot be gained from one quarter, it will probably be sought
in another.

* * *

At the moment of the formation of a matrimonial syndicate of two, each
member of this as yet unincorporated joint-stock company verily believes
that each has put into the concern his whole real and personal property.
Yet it is to be feared that, although

The woman, possibly, invests her whole capital, the man - often, no
doubt, unwittingly to himself - retains not a few unmatured bonds and
debentures. That is to say,

Love, it is to be feared, is often enough a bargain in which the woman
comes off second-best. For

A woman gives herself; man accepts the gift.

Rarely, if ever, does a man give himself. He cannot. His work, his
play, his politics, his friends, his club - these are matters to him
highly important.

To a woman the only highly important things are: her husband and her
home.

* * *

A woman rules until she tries to rule, - which will be an enigma to many.


Out of a wife's obedience will grow her governance; never out of her
dominance. - Those who think this sheer nonsense, are welcome to think
so. But it is worth thinking about.

* * *

A man ought to rule his wife. Granted. But he cannot do this unless he
rules himself. The Colonel of a Regiment cannot command if he himself
breaks the King's or the State's Regulations. And

An uncontrolled wife deems her husband indifferent - or weak.
The number of husbands who, though they think they rule, yet in reality
are ruled, would astonish - not their wives, but themselves.

It is customary to call the man the head of the household; yet, between
man and wife, it is a question after all whether it is not the stronger
will and the cooler judgment that should, and generally does, guide the
family, independent of sex or custom.

* * *

As in the solar spectrum, so in love: beyond and intermingled with the
visible rays of passion are numerous actinic but invisible rays of
affection, invisible to careless spectators, but known and felt by the
recipients. These, too, must be introduced if the connubial domicile is
to be warmed as well as illuminated.

* * *

The marriage tie loosens all other ties. In fact,

Neither men or women are always aware of the absoluteness of the marriage
tie: thenceforward the woman belongs not to her own people, hardly to
herself. - As to the man, well,

Often a wife will actually be jealous of the time and attention her
husband spends on things and matters unconnected with her - his work
- his play - his politics - his friends - his club.

* * *

Many are there who still believe that the marriage service, like a legal
indenture, irrevocably entails the whole estate of a human heart. In
sober truth,

There never was a married couple yet who had not to purchase their own
happiness. And

The only charms that increase in value as time goes on are the charms of
character; beside these, those of person, and even those of mind, are
weak. In short,

In marriage, as in every human relationship, it is character that avails
and prevails, naught else.

* * *

Chemists draw a distinction between a chemical and a mechanical mixture.
Moralists might discover the same in marriage.

* * *

To encircle monogamy with an ever-increasing halo of romance - that is a
problem deserving of study.

Monogamy is one of the disharmonies of life; it seems (as I have said) to
be the decree of politics rather than of nature.

But surely polygamy or polyandry would be more disharmonious still.

* * *

Marriage renders no one immune. That is to say;

Unless husband and wife both avoid infection, both can catch amatory
fevers.

* * *

The woman who has learned how to minister to a man's creature comforts
has learned much. And

It has disconcerted many a young wife to discover how important a part of
her education this is! Since

It is certainly sometimes hard to reconcile a suitor's poetic
protestations with a spouse's prosaic requisitions.

* * *

In the game of life a man may venture many stakes; a woman's fate is
determined by a single throw of the dice. Thus,

How often it happens that a young and inexperienced maid will look about
her, will weigh and consider, will pick and choose, and, when she thinks
she has found a man to her purpose, will set her cap at him will attract
him, enslave him, bring him to her feet, make him propose, accept him as
husband, give him all the sweets of engagement, regard herself and
proclaim herself his affianced bride, - all with most prudential - it may
be, most praise-worthy - motives. On a sudden, the man discovers that
this was no real attachment, but a fictitious, almost an enforced, one;
that the methods (so he thinks) were artificial, the results delusive.
What happens? The man withdraws - politely - gallantly: t'was a mistake;
he is sorry; they are unsuited; he did not know his own mind; he is
sorry; - and so on, and so forth. They separate. And, in this
concatenation of circumstances, action for breach of promise is out of
the question. - Besides, often enough, the girl, through pride or
through sheer chagrin at the indifference of the man, pretends
acquiescence. - What happens to the man? Nothing. If his senses were
stirred, he himself is heart-whole. He gave nothing; he merely received.
He proposes again to somebody else; is accepted; marries happily; rears a
family. What happens to the girl? Everything. The man gave her nothing;
she gave all - her lips, her looks, the recesses of her heart; the
premonitions of the gift of her self; for, when she leant on him, looked
up to him, clung to him, felt his strong encircling arms, was perturbed
by his ardor, she gave that which was not to give again. Such woman is
to be pitied. For, however much she may strive to make it appear that
she gave nothing, that she had all to give again, not even her own soul
will bear her witness, and sooner, or later, a subsequent lover (and such
girl accepts the first lover that offers) will find a void where he hoped
to find an inexhaustible treasure. For the woman cannot forever keep up
a fictitious affection; and languid looks, and eyes that will not
brighten, and smiles which are so evidently forced, bespeak her
sympathies elsewhere. - But, as Heine said, this is an old story often
repeated. (1) Wherefore

Let us pity women! The dice they throw are their hearts - and they have
only one throw: - when they have thrown away their hearts - Pity women!

Men have so many dice to throw: income, status, title; virility, fortune,
fame; good spirits, good connections, good looks; an air, a figure, a
soul-stirring voice; manners, breeding, force; a good name, a good bank
account. The pity o' it is that

The whole marriage question revolves about a single point:

The man wants him a woman, - a woman who shall be his and only his;

The woman wants her a head of a home. And here again, and once again, we
see the difference between the sexes: -

The one thing that the man wants is: a mate;

The one thing that a woman wants is: a head and provider of a
household.

The man's thoughts never go beyond the woman;

The woman's thoughts always and at once travel far beyond the man - to
the children, the household, the home. This is great Nature's inexorable
law. But little knows the woman, and less knows the man, that the nubile


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