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flame. All men and women do. It is notorious that they listen to the opinions of all their friends, and never follow their own counsel. Well, tell us about this girl. What are her qualifications, expectations, belongings, station in life, and so forth?
About beauty I do not argue. I take it for granted. A man sees beauty, or that which he likes, with eyes entirely his
I don't say that plain women get husbands as readily as the pretty girls – but so many handsome girls are unmarried, and so many of the other sort wedded, that there is no possibility of establishing a rule, or of setting up a standard. Poor dear Mrs. Brown was a far finer woman than Emily Blenkinsop, and yet I loved Emily's little finger more than the whole hand which your Aunt Martha gave me - I see the plainest women exercising the greatest •fascinations over men, - in fine, a man falls in love with a woman because it is fate, because she is a woman; Bob, too, is a man, and endowed with a heart and a beard.
Is she a clever woman? I do not mean to disparage you, my good fellow, but you are not a man that is likely to set the Thames on fire; and I should rather like to see you fall to the lot of a clever woman. A set bas been made against clever women in all times. Take all Shakspeare's heroines — they all seem to ine pretty much the same affectionate, motherly, tender, that sort of thing. Take Scott's ladies, and other writers' — each man seems to draw from one model — an ex. quisite slave is what we want for the most part; a humble, flattering, smiling, child-loving, tea-making, pianoforte-playing being, who laughs at our jokes, however old they may be, coaxes and wheedles us in our humors, and fondly lies to us through life. I never could get your poor Aunt into this system, though I confess I should have been a bappier man had she tried it.
There are many more clever women in the world than men think for. Our habit is to despise them ; we believe they do not think because they do not contradict us ; and are weak because they do not struggle and rise up against us. A man only begins to know women as he grows old; and for my part my opinion of their cleverness rises every day.
When I say I know women, I mean I know that I don't know them. Every single woman I ever knew is a puzzle to me, as I have no doubt she is to herself. Say they are not clever? Their hypocrisy is a perpetual marvel to me, and & constant exercise of cleverness of the finest sort. You see 3
demure-looking woman perfect in all her duties, constant in house-bills and shirt-buttons, obedient to her lord, and anxious to please him in all things; silent when you and he talk politics, or literature, or balderdash together, and if referred to, saying, with a smile of perfect humility, “Oh, women are not judges upon such and such matters; we leave learning and politics to men.” “ Yes, poor Polly,” says Jones, patting the back of Mrs. J.'s head good-naturedly, " attend to the house, my dear; that's the best thing you can do, and leave the rest to us.” Benighted idiot! She has long ago taken your measure and your friends'; she knows your weaknesses, and ministers to them in a thousand artful ways. She knows your obstinate points, and marches round them with the most curious art and patience, as you will see an ant on a journey turn round an obstacle. Every woman manages her husband : every person who manages another is a hypocrite. Her smiles, her submission, her good-humor, for all which we value her, — what are they but admirable duplicity? We expect falseness from her, and order and educate her to be dishonest. Should he upbraid, I'll own that he prevail ; say that he frown, I'll answer with a smile; — what are these but lies, that we exact from our slaves ?
lies, the dexterous performance of which we announce to be the female virtues : brutal Turks that we are! I do not say that Mrs. Brown ever obeyed me on the contrary : but I should have liked it, for I am a Turk like my neighbor.
I will instance your mother now. When my brother comes in to dinner after a bad day's sport, or after looking over the bills of some of you boys, he naturally begins to be surly with your poor dear mother, and to growl at the mutton. What does she do? She may be hurt, but she doesn't show it. She proceeds to coax, to smile, to turn the conversation, to stroke down Bruin, and get him in a good-humor. She sets him on his old stories, and she and all the girls — poor dear little Sapphiras ! - set off laughing; there is that story about the Goose walking into church, which your father tells and your mother and sisters laugh at, until I protest I am so ashamed that I hardly know where to look. On he goes with that story time after time: and your poor mother sits there and knows that I know she is a humbug, and laughs on ; and teaches all the girls to laugh too. Had that dear creature been born to wear a nose-ring and bangles instead of a muff and bonnet; and had she a brown skin in the place of that fair one with which nature has endowed her, she would have done Suttee, after your brown Brahmin father had died, and thought women very irreligious too, who refused to roast themselves for their
masters and lords. I do not mean to say that the late Mrs. Brown would have gone through the process of incremation for
far from it: by a timely removal she was spared from the grief which her widowhood would have doubtless caused her, and I acquiesce in the decrees of Fate in this instance, and have not the least desire to have preceded her.
I hope the ladies will not take my remarks in ill part. If I die for it, I must own that I don't think they have fair play. In the bargain we make with them I don't think they get their rights. And as a laborer notoriously does more by the piece than he does by the day, and a free man works harder than a slave, so I doubt whether we get the most out of our women by enslaving them as we do by law and custom. There are some folks who would limit the range of women's duties to little more than a kitchen range — others who like them to administer to our delectation in a ball-room, and permit them to display dimpled shoulders and flowing ringlets — just as you bave one horse for a mill, and another for the Park. But in whatever way we like them, it is for our use somehow that we have women brought up; to work for us, or to shine for us, or to dance for us, or what not? It would not have been thought shame of our fathers fifty years ago, that they could not make a custard or a pie, but our mothers would have been rebuked had they been ignorant on these matters. Why should not you and I be ashamed now because we cannot make our own shoes, or cut out our own breeches? We know better: we can get cobblers and tailors to do that — and it was we who made the laws for women, who, we are in the habit of saying, are not so clever as we are.
My dear Nephew, as I grow old and consider these things, I know which are the stronger, men or women; but which are the cleverer, I doubt.
II. LONG years ago, indeed it was at the Peace of Amiens, when with several other young bucks I was making the grand tour, I recollect how sweet we all of us were upon the lovely Duchess of Montepulciano at Naples, who, to be sure, was not niggardly of her smiles in return. There came a man amongst us, however, from London, a very handsome young fellow, with such an air of fascinating melancholy in his looks, that he cut out all the other suitors of the Duchess in the course of a week, and would have married her very likely, but that war was declared while this youth was still hankering about his Princess, and he was sent off to Verdun, whence he did not emerge for twelve
years, and until he was as fat as a porpoise, and the Duchess was long since married to General Count Raff, one of the Emperor's heroes.
I mention poor Tibbits to show the curious difference of manner which exists among us; and which, though not visible to foreigners, is instantly understood by English people. Brave, clever, tall, slim, dark, and sentimental-looking, he passed muster in a foreign saloon, and, as I must own to you, cut us fellows out: whereas we English knew instantly that the man was not well bred, by a thousand little signs not to be understood by the foreigner. In his early youth, for instance, he had been cruelly deprived of his h's by his parents, and though he tried to replace them in after life, they were no more natural than a glass eye, but stared at you as it were in a ghastly manner out of the conversation, and pained you by their horrid intrusions. Not acquainted with these refinements of our language, foreigners did not understand what Tibbits's errors were, and doubtless thought it was from envy that we conspired to slight the poor fellow.
I mention Mr. Tibbits, because he was handsome, clever, honest, and brave, and in almost all respects our superior; and yet labored under disadvantages of manner which unfitted him for certain society. It is not Tibbits the man, it is not Tibbits the citizen, of whom I would wish to speak lightly; his morals, his reading, his courage, his generosity, his talents are undoubted – it is the social Tibbits of whom I speak: and as I do not go to balls, because I do not dance, or to meetings of the Political Economy Club, or other learned associations, because taste and education have not fitted me for the pursuits for which other persons are adapted, so Tibbits's sphere is not in drawing-rooms, where the h, and other points of etiquette, are rigorously maintained.
I say thus much because one or two people have taken some remarks of mine in ill part, and hinted that I am a Tory in disguise : and an aristocrat that should be hung up to a lamp-post. Not so, dear Bob; there is nothing like the truth, about whomsoever it may be. I mean no more disrespect towards any fellow-man by saying that he is not what is called in Society well bred, than by stating that he is not tall or short, or that he cannot dance, or that he does not know Hebrew, or whatever the case may be. I mean that if a man works with a pickaxe or shovel all day, his hands will be harder than those of a lady of fashion, and that his opinion about Madame Sontag's singing, or the last new novel, will not probably be of much value. And
though I own my conviction that there are some animals which frisk advantageously in ladies' drawing-rooms, whilst others pull stoutly at the plough, I do not most certainly mean to reflect upon a horse for not being a lap-dog, or see that he has any cause to be ashamed that he is other than a horse.
And, in a word, as you are what is called a gentleman yourself, I hope that Mrs. Bob Brown, whoever she may be, is not only by nature, but by education, a gentlewoman. No man ought ever to be called upon to blush for his wife. I see good men rush into marriage with ladies of whom they are afterwards ashamed; and in the same manner charming women linked to partners, whose vulgarity they try to screen. Poor Mrs. Boti. bol, what a constant hypocrisy your life is, and how you insist upon informing everybody that Botibol is the best of men ! Poor Jack Jinkins ! what a female is that you brought back from Bagnigge Wells to introduce to London society! a handsome, tawdry, flaunting, watering-place belle ; a boarding-house beauty : tremendous in brazen ornaments and cheap finery.
If you marry, dear Bob, I hope Mrs. Robert B. will be a lady not very much above or below your own station.
I would sooner that you should promote your wife than that she should advance you. And though every man can point you out instances where his friends have been married to ladies of superior rank, who have accepted their new position with perfect grace, and made their husbands entirely happy; as there are examples of maid-servants decorating coronets, and sempstresses presiding worthily over Baronial Halls ; yet I hope Mrs. Robert Brown will not come out of a palace or a kitchen: but out of a house something like yours, out of a family something like yours, with a snug jointure something like that modest portion which I dare say you will inherit.
I remember when Arthur Rowdy (who I need not tell you belongs to the firm of Stumpy, Rowdy & Co., of Lombard Street, Bankers,) married Lady Cleopatra ; what a grand match it was thought by the Rowdy family: and how old Mrs. Rowdy in Portman Square was elated at the idea of her son's new connection. Her daughters were to go to all the parties in London ; and her house was to be filled with the very greatest of great folks. We heard of nothing but dear Lady Stonehenge from morning till night; and the old frequenters of the house were perfectly pestered with stories of dear Lady Zenobia and dear Lady Cornelia, and of the dear Marquis, whose masterly translation of Cornelius Nepos bad placed him among the most learned of our nobility