English Literature

From a Girl’s Point of View by Lilian Bell

From a Girl's Point of View by Lilian Bell.jpg

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 noble ends.”

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 rawness 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 somewhere 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 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 failures. And by the time that we have tolerably 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 company 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 fragments, but duly deployed, expounded, and enforced. It is of far more pressing importance, for example, than the art of playing 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 instruction, 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 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 generously polishing off sharp mental corners—has had no part. It need not necessarily mean men who have not encountered feminine 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 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 flamboyant egoism, and he will, for the first time, learn that he is but an untrained man under thirty-five.

This elastic classification does not obtain 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 certainly 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, because women are not reasonable beings and men are too reasonable. I never am willing 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 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 conclusions, but I feel like declaring with Josh Billings, “I’d 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, because 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. 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 quickly than others. It depends on the type of man and on the length of time he is willing 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 dislikes, 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. The eyes of the untrained man under thirty-five are never taken off himself. They are always turned in. He is studying himself 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 neither surprise nor gratitude for your interest. 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 mentally lies down to worry his Ego again, like a dog with a bone.

The conceit of one of these men is the 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 poison. It unsettles the steadiest brain and feeds the too-ravenous Ego with a food which at first he deemed nectar and ambrosia, but which he soon comes to feel is the staff of life, and no more than he deserves. With success should come the determination, 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 brutality, 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 believe them. Tactful girls are a necessity, 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, comprehending, soul-satisfying, mental wink going the rounds of the girls, indicating our comradeship and unanimity of thought quite as understandingly 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 independence, 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 feminine 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. Both 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 untrained 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 under thirty-five does not dance?

Sometimes an untrained man under thirty-five will actually have the audacity to say to me that he takes small pleasure in society 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 occupies 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 nor flesh 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.

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 kind of girl that I like is a Methodist without bangs.” And some nice girl begins to look up Methodist tenets and buys invisible 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 cleverer women, than you think us. But there is no call for such wares, so we lay character 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.

Of course, some of us get very much disgusted with the débutantes. But, aside from the great superiority they have over girls with thinking powers (in regard to the number 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 intelligence—don’t you believe for one moment that the simple little dears do not know exactly 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 improve.

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 another man under thirty-five, or that some of my men friends of that persuasion have married 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 thoroughly satisfied with himself he always expands his chest.

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 sociable, and I like conversation; but I never for a moment dream that they will do it. They intend to, and their inclination is always to please us, even to spoil us; but they either cannot or will not change; and they think if they can refuse pleasantly, and mentally 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 disagreeable. Therefore we choose personal discomfort 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, whose life-work often may be only to improve 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 frivolous or serious, vain or sensible, clever or stupid, rich or poor, we are what the American 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 displace,
She seemed a pearl-tinged-cloud, and I was—space!
She filled my soul as cloud-shapes fill the West.

 “And so it is that, 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!”

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 going 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. Women must believe in themselves before they 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, misused 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 until 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 native state of charming ignorance of materials; the man who always suggests a “gusset” 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 because 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 him your velvet and ermine wrap, which cost you two hundred dollars, I would just like to ask you if it pays to dress for him. Women know this from a sorrowful experience. Girls have to learn it for themselves. A ball-dress of white tarlatan, made up over white paper cambric, with a white sash, will satisfy a man quite as well as a Paris muslin trimmed with a hundred dollars’ worth of Valenciennes lace and made up over silk. Most of them would never know the difference.

I do not know whether to be sorry for these men or not. It must be lovely not to agonize and plan and worry to have everything the best of its kind. I would like to take in only the effect, and never know why I was pleased. Too much analysis is death to unmitigated rapture. You always are haunted by knowing exactly what is lacking, and just how it could be remedied. But these dear men are singularly deluded in many ways, and upon these delusions clever women play, as a master plays upon an organ. And young girls, who have not had time to study into the philosophy of it—how should the poor things know that clothes have any philosophy?—as usual, have to suffer for it.

One of these delusions is the “simple white muslin” delusion. When a man speaks of a “simple white muslin” in the softly admiring tone which he generally adopts to go with it, he means anything on earth in the line of a thin, light stuff which produces in his mind the effect of youth and innocence. A ball-dress or a cotton morning-gown is to him a “simple white muslin.”

Now a word with you, you dear, unsophisticated man. I have heard you, with the sound of your hundred-and-fifty-dollar-a-month salary ringing in your ears, gurgle and splash about a girl who wears “simple white muslins” to balls; and I have heard you set down, as extravagant, and too rich for your purse, the girl who wears silk. There is no more extravagant or troublesome gown in the world than what you call a “simple white muslin.” In the first place, it never is muslin, unless it is Paris muslin, which is no joke, if you are thinking of paying for it yourself, as it necessitates a silk lining, which costs more than the outside. If it is trimmed with lace, that would take as much of your salary as the coal for all winter would come to. If trimmed with ribbons, they must be changed often to freshen the gown, whose only beauty is its freshness. Deliver me from a soiled or stringy white party-dress! If it can be worn five times during the winter, the girl is either a careful dancer or else a wallflower. In either case, after every wearing she must have it pressed out and put away as daintily as if it were egg-shells, all of which is the greatest nuisance on earth. Often such a gown is torn all to pieces the first time it is worn. Scores of “simple white muslin” ball-gowns at a hundred dollars apiece are only worn once or twice.

Now take the “extravagant” girl with her flowered taffeta silk, or plain satin, or brocade dress. There is at once the effect of richness and elegance. No matter how sweet and pretty she is, you at once decide that you never could afford to dress her. But that taffeta cost, perhaps, only a dollar a yard. The satin, possibly a dollar and a half. They require almost no trimming, because the material is so handsome and the effect must be as simple as possible. Such a gown never need be lined with silk unless you wish to do it. Many a girl gets up such a gown for fifty or sixty dollars. And then think of the service that there is in it. It does not tear, it does not crush. When she comes home she looks as fresh as when she started. When it soils at the edge of the skirt, she has it cleaned, and there she is with a new dress again. Do you call that extravagant? Why, my dear sirs, it is only the very rich who can afford to wear “simple white muslins!”

There is a hollowness about having a man praise your gowns when you know he doesn’t know what he is talking about. When a man praises your clothes he always is praising you in them. You never will hear a man praise even the good dressing of a woman he dislikes; while girls who positively hate another girl often will add, “But she certainly does know how to dress.”

And so the experienced woman wears her expensive clothes for other women, and produces her “effects” for men. She wears scarlet on a cold or raw day, and the eyes of the men light up when they see her. It makes her look cheerful and bright and warm. She wears gray when she wants to look demure. Let a man beware of a woman in silvery gray. She looks so quiet and dove-like and gentle that she has disarmed him before she has spoken one word, and he will snuggle down beside her and let her turn his mind and his pocket-book wrong side out. A woman could not look designing in light gray if she tried. He dotes upon the girl in pale blue. Pale blue naturally suggests to his mind the sort of girl who can wear it, which is generally a blonde with soft, fluffy hair, fair skin, and blue eyes—appealing, trustful, baby-blue eyes. Did you ever notice that men always instinctively put confidence in a girl with blue eyes, and have their suspicions of a girl with brilliant black ones, and will you kindly tell me why? Is it that the limpid blue eye, transparent and gentle, suggests all the soft, womanly virtues, and because he thinks he can see through it, clear down into that blue-eyed girl’s soul, that she is the kind of girl he fancies she is? I think it is; but some of the greatest little frauds I know are the purry, kitteny girls with big, innocent blue eyes.

Blazing black eyes, and the rich, warm colors which dark-skinned women have to wear, suggest energy and brilliance and no end of intellect. Men look into such eyes and seem not to be able to see below the surface. They have not the pleasure of a long, deep gaze into immeasurable depths. And so they think her designing and clever, and (God save the mark!) even intellectual, when perhaps she has a wealth of love and devotion and heroism stored up behind that impulsive disposition and those dazzling black eyes which would do and dare more in a minute for some man she had set that great heart of hers upon than your cool-blooded, tranquil blonde would do in forty years. A mere question of pigment in the eye has settled many a man’s fate in life, and established him with a wife who turned out to be very different from the girl he fondly thought he was getting.

Yet whenever I complain to experienced married women of how discouraging it is to wear your good clothes for unappreciative men, they beg me not to be guilty of the heresy of wishing things different. If they have married one of the noticing kind, they tell me harrowing tales of gorgeous costumes having been cast aside because these critical men made fun of, or were prejudiced against them, and “made remarks.” And they point with envy to Mrs. So-and-So, whose husband never knows what she has on, but who thinks she looks lovely in everything, so that she is at liberty to dress as she pleases. When a woman defers to her husband’s taste, she sometimes is the best-dressed woman in the room. And sometimes another woman, dressing according to another man’s taste, is the worst-dressed. So you see you never can tell. “De mule don’t kick ‘cordin’ to no rule.”

There is something rather pathetic to me about a man being so ignorant of why a woman’s dress is beautiful, but only the effect remaining in his memory. He remembers how she looked on a certain day in a certain gown. He thinks he remembers her dress. He thinks he would know it again if he saw it. But the truth is that he is remembering the woman herself, her face, her voice, her eyes—above all, what she said, and how she said it. If she wore a scarlet ribbon in her dark hair, a red rose in another woman’s hair will most unaccountably bring it all back to him, and he will not know why he suddenly sees the whole picture rise out of the past before his eyes, nor why his throat aches with the memory of it.

I know one of these men, whose descriptions of a woman’s dress are one of the experiences of a lifetime. He loves the word bombazine. His mother must have worn a gown of black bombazine during his impressionable age. And he never will be successful in describing a modern gown until bombazines again become the rage. This same dear man brought back to his invalid wife a description of a fashionable noon wedding, which consisted of the single item that the bride wore a blue alpaca bonnet. It really would be of interest from a scientific point of view to know what suggested that combination to any intelligence, even if it were masculine.

I have more evidence to go on, however, when I wonder why the idea of the cost penetrates this same man’s brain when shown a new gown by any member of his family, all of whom he is weak enough to adore. His daughter will say, “Papa, do look here just one minute! How do you like my new gown?” And the answer never varies: “Very pretty, indeed. I hope it’s paid for.” He will say that of a cotton frock made two years ago—he never knows—of a silk négligé, or of a ball-gown of the newest make. The fashion produces no impression upon him, nor the material, nor the cut. But let his daughter put on any kind of a pale green dress, and stand before him with the question, “Papa, how do you like my new gown?” While he is raising his head from his book he begins the old formula, “Very pretty. I hope—” Then he stops and says, “I have seen that dress before. Child, you grow to look more like your mother every day of your life.” And there is a little break in his voice, and before he goes on reading he takes off his glasses and wipes them, and looks out of the window without seeing anything, and sits very still for a moment. It was the sight of the pale green dress. When he came home from the war his lovely young wife, whom he lost when she was still young and beautiful, came to meet him, holding her baby son in her arms for his father to see, and she had worn a pale green gown.

Why certain kinds of clothes are associated in the public mind with certain kinds of women is to me an amusing mystery. Why are old maids always supposed to wear black silks? And why are they always supposed to be thin?—the old maids, I mean, not the silks. Why are literary women always supposed to be frayed at the edges? And why, if they keep up with the fashions and wear patent-leathers, do people say, in an exasperatingly astonished tone, “Can that woman write books?” Why not, pray? Does a fragment of genius corrupt the aesthetic sense? Is writing a hardening process? Must you wear shabby boots and carry a baggy umbrella just because you can write? Not a bit of it. Little as some of you men may think it, literary women have souls, and a woman with a soul must, of necessity, love laces and ruffled petticoats, and high heels, and rosettes. Otherwise I question her possession of a soul.

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