MoboReader > Literature > Lazy Thoughts of a Lazy Girl / Sister of that Idle Fellow.""

   Chapter 1 ON LOVE.

Lazy Thoughts of a Lazy Girl / Sister of that Idle Fellow."" By Jenny Wren Characters: 10092

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:03

"Love is of man's life a thing apart;

'Tis woman's whole existence."

So sings the poet, and so agrees the world. Humiliating as it is to make the confession, it is undeniably true. "Men and Dress are all women think about," cry the lords of creation in their unbounded vanity. And again, we must submit-and agree-to the truth of the accusation; at any rate, in nine cases out of ten. Fortunately I am a tenth case; at least, I consider myself so. I don't dispute the "dress" imputation. I am very fond of dress. Nearly as fond of it as the twenty-year old youth, and saying that, I allow a good deal. But very few of my thoughts are given to the creature "man"! I do not think him worth it. As my old nurse used to say, "I never 'ad no opinion of the sex!"

Do not conclude, however, that because of my statement that I am a disappointed, soured old maid, for I am nothing of the sort. I am on the right side of twenty-five, and I have never been crossed in love; indeed, I have never even experienced the tender passion, and only write from my observations of other people; thus taking a perfectly neutral ground in speaking of it at all.

One never hears that Adam fell in love with Eve, or that Eve was passionately attached to Adam. But then, poor things, they had so little choice-it was either that or nothing. Besides, there was no opposition to the match, so it was bound to be rather a tame affair. For my part, I pity Eve, for Adam was, I think, the very meanest of men. When he was turned out of the garden, what a wretch he must have felt himself! and how he must have taunted his poor wife! Weak men are always bullies.

But "revenons à nos moutons," I am wondering who was the first person to fall in love! Cain might have done so with his mysterious wife; history does not say. But certainly there is always some attraction in mystery, so such a thing is possible. I wonder whence that extraordinary woman sprang!

Neither do we hear much of Noah's domestic experiences, but I should conclude on the whole that they were not happy. No man could be endured for forty days shut up in the house, no business to go to, nothing to do, always hanging about, his idle hands at some mischief or other, and last, but not least, a diabolical temper, displayed at every turn! Why, I cannot endure one for a week! My only wonder is that the female population of the Ark did not rise up in a body and consign their lords and masters to the floods.

Poor men, they deserve a little of our pity too, perhaps; for if Mrs. Noah and her daughters-in-law at all resembled their effigies in the Noah's Arks of the present day, they were women to be avoided, I think.

So that, after all, it must have been Jacob who set such a very foolish example; because we could not count Isaac, his being so extraordinary and isolated a case, when he fell in love with his own wife!

Therefore I think we owe Jacob a great many grudges. He was the inventor of the tender passion, and since his time people have begun to follow his example long before they come to years of discretion, simply because their parents did so before them, and they think they are not grown up, that they are not men, unless they have some love affair on hand.

Some get married at once, some wait a long time, and some do not marry at all. These last are, I think, generally the happiest, for this so-called love lasts for only a very short time, and neither husband nor wife are long before they console themselves with someone else's affection to make up for what is wanting on the part of the other.

Of course I am speaking generally. As far as I can see, the majority act thus, though I am glad to say that many and various are the exceptions. It was only the other day I came across our washerwoman and asked her how she and her husband got on together. He used to be a drunkard, and used her cruelly, but two years ago he took the pledge, and, what is more, he kept it. "Lor', mum," she exclaimed fervently, "we draws nearer every day!" I am afraid not many husbands and wives could say the same.

People are so anxious to marry too. I cannot understand them, men especially. They have their clubs, they are entirely independent, and can go home as late as they please without being questioned as to their whereabouts. And yet, as soon as they can, they saddle themselves with a wife, who requires at least half the money-they have never found sufficient for themselves alone-besides a great deal of looking after!

Women, on the contrary, are different. They have to make some provision for the future, so to speak. How do you like it, oh men! the idea that you, with your handsome personages and fascinating ways, are used only as a kind of insurance office? This is the case very often, however, though you may not know it!

Yet others pursue the god Hymen merely for the sake of being married. As soon as they leave the school-room, sometimes before, they begin their search for a husband, and look out for him in the person of every man they m

eet. No matter who it is so long as they are married before So-and-So, and can triumph over all their friends.

It must be said for men that they are falling off in the marrying line. This is not nearly such a proposing generation as the last. Then they married much younger and seemed to propose after a few days' acquaintance. No, this is a more cautious age altogether. Men look round carefully before they make their choice. They sample it well, they watch it in the home circle, they watch it abroad, they watch it with other men, and finally come to the conclusion that it is worthy to be allied to their noble selves, or they don't!

Another thing. Men of the present day are so direfully afraid of a refusal! So fearful are they, that rather than risk one, they give up many chances of happiness.

They expect that a girl should show her feeling toward them, before they come to the point. But you must remember that girls also have to be cautious, and a few-I acknowledge it is only a few-would rather die than show they cared for a man who after all might only "love and ride away."

Not that I altogether blame man in this respect. I always admire pride, and am afraid I should not care for a refusal myself. I am intolerant of it even in the smallest matters!

It is curious how men run in grooves. The same style of man nearly always marries the opposite type of girl. I mean that the intellectual, the clever, invariably choose the insipid brainless girl. Pretty, she may be, but it is in a doll-like way, with not a thought above her household. You would have imagined that such men would require some help-meet, in the fullest sense of the word; with a brain almost as quick as their own. But such a choice occurs very seldom.

Again, why is it that little men always select the very tallest women they can find? You would think that a man would hesitate to show off his meagre inches to such bad advantage. But these pigmies appear to enjoy the contrast. It is evidently quantity they admire, not quality.

I daresay a good deal of what I have written sounds very cynical, but perhaps my experience has been unfortunate, therefore you must forgive me: certainly it is sometimes very difficult to distinguish between the real thing and its successful counterpart.

Parents are greatly at fault in the issues of the matrimonial market. After all these centuries of experience you would give them credit for more tact than they possess. Any match they do not desire, they oppose at once, and thereby set alight all the contradictory elements in your nature. If Laban had been less obstinate, and had consented to an alliance between Jacob and Rachel from the first, provided Leah was left behind to look after him, the latter would immediately have been endowed with attractions innumerable to Jacob, tender eyes and all!

Nowhere is there such a fertile soil for love as opposition!

On the other hand, if parents wish to encourage a match, young people are thrown together as much as possible. However big the gathering, you are somehow always paired off with the eligible parti until you grow to loathe the man, and would sooner become an "old maid" than marry him.

Parents have a bad time altogether I am afraid. Their nice little plans are so nearly always upset by their ungrateful children, and then they have to be continually looking after their brood. I knew one mother who used to take her daughters on the pier and lose sight of them at once, as they paired off with their he-acquaintances. Do what she would she could not find them again, so many were the nooks and crannies near at hand. Finally she had recourse to the Camera Obscura, and, with the help of the views set before her there, she found the missing girls! "We never can escape her now," they told me in mournful tones, after her fatal discovery.

Girls are degenerating sadly, it is said. They are getting too masculine, too independent, too different from man's ideal-the modest little maid who sits at home and mends her husband's socks.

I do not dispute the fact. They are degenerating. Neither, though I dislike the ideal specimen, and have a contempt for her, do I stand up for the other extreme. I have a horror of fast masculine girls, and agree with all that is said against them. Nevertheless, I do not consider men have any right to complain, as they are the chief cause of the deterioration of our sex.

Everyone knows that a girl thinks more of a man's opinion than that of anyone else. If he applauds, then she is satisfied. She does not consider it ignominy to be termed "a jolly good fellow!" She gets praise, and in a way admiration, when she caps his good stories, smokes, and drinks brandies and sodas. Unfortunately, she does not hear herself discussed when he is alone with his friends, or perhaps she would be more cautious in her manners and conversation for the future, for this is not the kind of girl who is

"Rich in the grace all women desire,

Strong in the power that all men adore."

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