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education of the two sexes separates them/vances for continuing it from century to centwidely at the beginning, and to meet on any ury, that we may fairly count upon some common ground of culture a second educa- provision for its necessities in marriage. Intion has to be gone through. It rarely hap- tellectual men are not less alive to the charms pens that there is resolution enough for this. of women than other men are; indeed the
The want of thoroughness and reality in greatest of them have always delighted in the the education of both sexes, but especially in society of women. If marriage were really that of women, may be attributed to a sort of dangerous to the intellectual life, it would be policy which is not very favorable to com- a moral snare or pitfall, from which the best panionship in married life. It appears to be and noblest would be least likely to escape. thought wise to teach boys things which It is hard to believe that the strong passions women do not learn, in order to give women which so often accompany high intellectual a degree of respect for men's attainments, gifts were intended either to drive their poswhich they would not be so likely to feel if sessors into immorality or else to the misery they were prepared to estimate them criti- of ill-assorted unions. cally; whilst girls are taught arts and lan-! No, there is such a thing as the intellectual guages which until recently were all but ex- marriage, in which the intellect itself is marcluded from our public schools, and won no ried. If such marriages are not frequent, it rank at our universities. Men and women is that they are not often made the deliberate had consequently scarcely any common purpose of a wise alliance. Men choose their ground to meet upon, and the absence of se- wives because they are pretty, or because rious mental discipline in the training of they are rich, or because they are well-conwomen made them indisposed to submit to nected, but rarely for the permanent interest the irksomeness of that earnest intellectual of their society. Yet who that had ever been labor which might have remedied the defi- condemned to the dreadful embarrassments ciency. The total lack of accuracy in their of a tête-à-tête with an uncompanionable permental habits was then, and is still for the son, could reflect without apprehension on a immense majority of women, the least easily lifetime of such téte-à-têtes? surmountable impediment to culture. The When intellectual men suffer from this history of many marriages which have failed misery they have themselves to blame. to realize intellectual companionship is com- What is the use of having any mental supeprised in a sentence which was actually ut- riority, if, in a matter so enormously importered by one of the most accomplished of my tant as the choice of a companion for life, it friends: "She knew nothing when I married fails to give us a warning when the choice is her. I tried to teach her.something; it made absurdly unsuitable? When men complain, her angry, and I gave it up."
as they do not unfrequently, that their wives have no ideas, the question inevitably sug
gests itself, why the superiority of the mascuLETTER II.
line intellect did not, in these cases, permit it
to discover the defect in time? If we are so TO A YOUNG GENTLEMAN WHO CONTEMPLATED elever as to be bored by ordinary women, MARRIAGE.
why cannot our cleverness find out the femi
nine cleverness which would respond to it? The foundations of the intellectual marriage-Marriage not a snare or pitfall for the intellectual-Men of culture. who
o What I am going to say now is in its very marry badly, often have themselves to blame–For every nature incapable of proof, and yet the longer grade of the masculine intellect there exists a correspond- I live the more the truth of it is “borne in ing grade of the feminine intellect--Difficulty of finding the true mate-French University Professors-An extreme upon me.
e upon me.”
I feel cony
I feel convinced that for every cause of intellectual separation-Regrets of a widow-| grade of the masculine intellect there exists a Women help us less by adding to our knowledge than corresponding grade of the feminine intellect. by understanding us.
so that a precisely suitable intellectual marIn several letters which have preceded this riage is always possible for every one. But I have indicated some of the differences be- since the higher intellects are rare, and rare tween the female sex and ours, and it is time in proportion to their elevation, it follows that to examine the true foundations of the intel- the difficulty of finding the true mate increases lectual marriage. Let me affirm, to begin with the mental strength and culture of the with, my profound faith in the natural ar-man. If the “mental princes," as Blake rangement. There is in nature so much evi- called himself, are to marry the mental prindent care for the development of the intel-cesses, they will not always discover them lectual life, so much protection of it in the so- quite so easily as kings' sons find kings' cial order, there are such admirable contri- daughters.
This difficulty of finding the true mate is The pair walk out together twice a week. I the real reason why so many clever men marry sometimes wonder what they say to each silly or stupid women. The women about other during those conjugal promenades. them seem to be all very much alike, mentally; They talk about their children, probably, and it seems hopeless to expect any real compan-| the little recurring difficulties about money. ionship, and the clever men are decided by He cannot talk about his studies, or the inthe color of a girl's eyes, or a thousand poundstellectual speculations which his studies conmore in her dowry, or her relationship to a tinually suggest. peer of the realm.
The most extreme cases of intellectual sepaIt was remarked to me by a French univer- ration between husband and wife that ever sity professor, that although men in his po- came under my observation was, however, sition had on the whole much more culture not that of a French professor, but a highlythan the middle class, they had an extraordi- cultivated Scotch lawyer. He was one of the nary talent for winning the most vulgar and most intellectual men I ever knew-a little ignorant wives. The explanation is that cynical, but full of original power, and untheir marriages are not intellectual marriages commonly well-informed. His theory was, at all. The class of French professors is not ad- I that women ought not to be admitted into vantageously situated; it has not great facil- the region of masculine thought—that it was ities for choice. Their incomes are so small not good for them; and he acted so consistthat, unless helped by private means, the first ently up to this theory, that although he thing they can prudently look to in a wife is would open his mind with the utmost frankher utility as a domestic servant, which, in ness to a male acquaintance over the evening fact, it is her destiny to becomė. The intel-whisky-toddy, there was not whisky enough lectual disparity is from the beginning likely in all Scotland to make him frank in the to be very great, because the professor is con- presence of his wife. She really knew nothing fined to the country-town where his Lycée whatever about his intellectual existence; happens to be situated, and in that town he and yet there was nothing in his ways of does not always see the most cultivated soci-thinking which an honorable man need conety. He may be an intellectual prince, but ceal from an intelligent woman. His theory where is he to find his princess? The mar- worked well enough in practice, and his reriage begins without the idea of intellectual serve was so perfect that it may be doubted companionship, and it continues as it began. whether even feminine subtlety ever suspected The girl was uneducated: it seems hopeless to it. The explanation of his system may pertry to educated the woman; and then there is haps have been this. He was an exceedingly the supreme difficulty, only to be overcome busy man; he felt that he had not time to teach by two wills at once most resolute and most his wife to know him as he was, and so pre persistent, namely, how to find the time. ferred to leave her with her own conception Years pass; the husband is occupied all day; of him, rather than disturb that conception the wife needs to cheer herself with a little so- when he believed it impossible to replace it ciety, and goes to sit with neighbors who are by a completely true one. We all act in that not likely to add anything valuable to her way with those whom we consider quite exknowledge or to give any elevation to her cluded from our private range of thought. thoughts. Then comes the final fixing and All this may be very prudent and wise: crystallization of her intellect, after which, there may be degrees of conjugal felicity, sathowever much pains and labor might be taken isfactory in their way, without intellectual by the pair, she is past the possibility of intercourse, and yet I cannot think that any change.
man of high culture could regard his marriage These women are often so good and devoted as altogether a successful one so long as his that their husbands enjoy great happiness; wife remained shut out from his mental life. but it is a kind of happiness curiously inde- Nor is the exclusion always quite agreeable pendent of the lady's presence. The professor to the lady herself. A widow said to me may love his wife, and fully appreciate her that her husband had never thought it nec qualities as a housekeeper, but he passes a essary to try to raise her to his own level, more interesting evening with some male yet she believed that with his kindly help friend whose reading is equal to his own. she might have attained it. Sometimes the lady perceives this, and it is an You with your masculine habits, may ob element of sadness in her life.
serve, as to this, that if the lady had seriously “I never see my husband," she tells you, cared to attain a higher level she might have not in anger. “His work occupies him all achieved it by her own private independent day, and in the evening he sees his friends.”leffort. But this is exactly what the feminine nature never does. A clever woman is thel These are the two questions which conclude best of pupils, when she loves her teacher, but and epitomize the last of your recent letters. the worst of solitary learners.
Let me endeavor to answer them as satisfacIt is not by adding to our knowledge, but torily as the obscurity of the subject will perby understanding us, that women are our mit. helpers. They understand us far better than The intellectual ideal seems to be that of a men do, when once they have the degree of conversation on all the subjects you most care preliminary information which enables them about, which should never lose ito interest. to enter into our pursuits. Men are occupied Is it possible that two people should live to with their personal works and thoughts, and gether and talk to each other every day for have wonderfully little sympathy left to en- twenty years without knowing each other's able them to comprehend us; but a woman, views too well for them to seem worth exby her divine sympathy-divine indeed, since pressing or worth listening to? There are it was given by God for this can enter into friends whom we know too well, so that our our inmost thought, and make allowances for talk with them has less of refreshment and all our difficulties. Talk about your work entertainment than a conversation with the and its anxieties to a club of masculine friends, first intelligent stranger on the quarter-deck they will give very little heed to you; they of the steamboat. It is evident that from the are all thinking about themselves, and they intellectual point of view this is the great will dislike your egotism because they have danger of marriage. It may become dull, so much egotism of their own, which yours not because the mental force of either of the invades and inconveniences. But talk in the parties has declined, but because each has same way to any woman who has education come to know so accurately beforehand what enough to enable her to follow you, and she the other will say on any given topic, that will listen so kindly, and so very intelligently, inquiry is felt to be useless. This too perfect that you will be betrayed into interminable intimacy, which has ended many a friendconfidences.
ship outside of marriage, may also terminate' Now, although an intellectual man may not the intellectual life in matrimony itself. care to make himself understood by all the Let us not pass too lightly over this danger, people in the street, it is not a good thing for for it is not to be denied. Unless carefully him to feel that he is understood by nobody. provided against, it will gradually extinguish ! The intellectual life is sometimes a fearfully the light that plays between the wedded insolitary one. Unless he lives in a great capi-telligences as the electric light burns between tal the man devoted to that life is more than two carbon points. all other men liable to suffer from isolation, I venture to suggest, however, that this to feel utterly alone beneath the deafness of evil may be counteracted by persons of some space and the silence of the stars. Give him energy and originality. This is one of those one friend who can understand him, who will very numerous cases in which an evil is sure not leave him, who will always be accessible to arrive if nothing is done to prevent it, yet by day and night–one friend, one kindly in which the evil need not arrive when those listener, just one, and the whole universe is whom it menaces are forewarned. To take changed. It is deaf and indifferent no longer, an illustration intelligible in these days of and whilst she listens, it seems as if all men steam-engines. We know that if the water and angels listened also, so perfectly his is allowed to get very low in the boiler a dethought is mirrored in the light of her answer-structive explosion will be the consequence; ing eyes.
yet, since every stoker is aware of this, such explosions are not of frequent occurrence.
That evil is continually approaching and yet LETTER III.
continually averted by the exercise of human TO A YOUNG GENTLEMAN WHO CONTEMPLATED
Let us suppose that a married couple are
clearly aware that in the course of years their The intellectual ideal of marriage-The danger of dulness
society is sure to become mutually uninterTo be counteracted only by the renewal of both mindsExample of Lady Baker-Separation of the sexes by an
s by an esting unless something is done to preserve old prejudice about education-This prejudice on the de- the earlier zest of it. What is that some cline-Influence of the late Prince Consort.
thing? How far may you hope to realize the intel-! That which an author does for the unknown lectual ideal of marriage? Have I ever ob- multitude of his readers. served in actual life any approximate realiza- Every author who succeeds takes the tion of that ideal?
I trouble to renew his mind either by fresh
knowledge or new thoughts. Is it not at least | wearisome delay; her mind had travelled with equally worth while to do as much to preserve his mind as her feet had followed his footsteps. the interest of marriage? Without undervalu- Scarcely less beautiful, if less heroic, is the ing the friendly adhesion of many readers, picture of the geologist's wife, Mrs. Buckland, without affecting any contempt for fame, who taught herself to reconstruct broken foswhich is dearer to the human heart than sils, and did it with a surprising delicacy, and wealth itself whenever it appears to be not patience, and skill, full of science, yet more wholly unattainable, may not I safely affirm than science, the perfection of feminine art. that the interest of married life, from its very The privacy of married life often prevents nearness, has a still stronger influence upon us from knowing the extent to which intellithe mind of any thinking person, of either sex, gent women have renewed their minds by than the approbation of unnumbered readers fresh and varied culture for the purpose of rein distinct countries or continents? You never taining their ascendency over their husbands. see the effect of your thinking on your read or to keep up the interest of their lives. It is ers; they live and die far away from you, a done much more frequently by women than few write letters of praise or criticism, the by men. They have so much less egotism, so thousands give no sign. But the wife is with much more adaptability, that they fit themyou always, she is almost as near to you as selves to us oftener than we adapt ourselves your own body; the world, to you, is a fig- to them. But in a quiet perfect marriage these ure-picture in which there is one figure, the efforts would be mutual. The husband would rest is merely background. And if an author endeavor to make life interesting to his comtakes pains to renew his mind for the people panion by taking a share in some pursuit which in the background, is it not at least equally was really her own. It is easier for us than worth your while to bring fresh thought for it was for our ancestors to do this—at least the renewal of your life with her?
for our immediate ancestors. There existed, This, then, is my theory of the intellectual fifty years ago, a most irrational prejudice, marriage, that the two wedded intellects very strongly rooted in the social conventions ought to renew themselves continually for of the time, about masculine and feminine aceach other. And I argue that if this were complishments. The educations of the two done in earnest, the otherwise inevitable dul- sexes were so trenchantly separated that ness would be perpetually kept at bay. neither had access to the knowledge of the
To the other question, whether in actual life other. The men had learned Latin and Greek, I have ever seen this realized, I answer yes, of which the women were ignorant: the in several instances.
women had learned French or Italian, which Not in very many instances, yet in more the men could neither read nor speak. The than one. Women, when they have conceived ladies studied fine art, not seriously, but it occuthe idea that this renewal is necessary, have pied a good deal of their time and thoughts; resolution enough for the realization of it. the gentlemen had a manly contempt for it, There is hardly any task too hard for them, which kept them, as contempt always does, in if they believe it essential to the conjugal life. a state of absolute ignorance. The intellectual I could give you the name and address of one separation of the sexes was made as complete who mastered Greek in order not to be ex- as possible by the conventionally received idea cluded from her husband's favorite pursuit; that a man.could not learn what girls learned others have mastered other languages for the without effeminacy, and that if women aspired same object, and even some branch of science to men's knowledge they would forfeit the for which the feminine mind has less natural delicacy of their sex. This illogical prejudice affinity than it has for imaginative litera- was based on a bad syllogism of this kind:ture. Their remarkable incapacity for inde-Girls speak French, and learn music and pendent mental labor is accompanied by an drawing. equally remarkable capacity for labor under Benjamin speaks French, and learns music an accepted masculine guidance. In this and drawing. connection I may without impropriety men- Benjamin is a girl. tion one English woman, for she is already And the prejudice, powerful as it was, had celebrated, the wife of Sir Samuel Baker, the not even the claim of any considerable antigdiscoverer of the Albert Nyanza. She stood uity. Think how strange and unreasonable with him on the shore of that unknown sea, it would have seemed to Lady Jane Grey and when first it was beheld by English eyes; she Sir Philip Sidney! In their time, ladies and had passed with him through all the hard pre- gentlemen studied the same things, the world liminary toils and trials. She had learned of culture was the same for both, and they Arabic with him in a year of necessary but could meet in it as in a garden.
Happily we are coming back to the old ra- | less they are urged to it, and directed in it, by tional notion of culture as independent of the some powerful masculine influence. In the question of sex. Latin and Greek are not un- absence of that influence, although their minds feminine; they were spoken by women in are active, that activity neither tends to disAthens and Rome; the modern languages are cipline nor to the accumulation of knowledge. fit for a man to learn, since men use them Women who are not impelled by some mascontinuaily on the battle-fields and in the par-culine influence are not superior, either in liaments and exchanges of the world. Art is knowledge or discipline of the mind, at the a manly business, if ever any human occupa- age of fifty to what they were at the age of tion could be called manly, for the utmost twenty-five. In other words, they have not efforts of the strongest men are needed for in themselves the motive powers which can success in it.
cause an intellectual advance. The increasing interest in the fine arts, the The best illustration of this is a sisterhood more important position given to modern lan- of three or four rich old maids, with all tho guages in the universities, the irresistible at- advantages of leisure. You wili observe that tractions and growing authority of science, they invariably remain, as to their education, all tend to bring men and women together on where they were left by their teachers many subjects understood by both, and therefore years before. They will often lament, peroperate directly in favor of intellectual inter- haps, that in their day education was very inests in marriage. You will not suspect me of ferior to what it is now; but it never occurs a snobbish desire to pay compliments to royal- to them that the large leisure of subsequent ty if I trace some of these changes in public years might, had it been well employed, have opinion to the example and influence of the supplied those deficiencies of which they are Prince Consort, operating with some effect sensible. Nothing is more curiously remote during his life, yet with far reater force from masculine habits than the resignation to since he was taken away from us. The truth particular degrees of ignorance, as to the inis, that the most modern English ideal of gen-evitable, which a woman will express in a tlemanly culture is that which Prince Albert, manner which says: “You know I am so; you to a great extent, realized in his own person. know that I cannot make myself better inPerhaps his various accomplishments may be forined.” They are like perfect billiard balls a little embellished or exaggerated in the pop- on a perfect table, which stop when no longer ular belief, but it is unquestionable that his impelled, wherever they may happen to be. notion of culture was very large and liberal, It is this absence of intellectual initiative and quite beyond the narrow pedantry of the which causes the great ignorance of women. preceding age. There was nothing in it to What they have been well taught, that they exclude a woman, and we know that she who know, but they do not increase their stores of loved him entered largely into the works and knowledge. Even in what most interests recreations of his life.
them, theology, they repeat, but do not extend, their information. All the effort of their minds appears (so far as an outside observer
may presume to judge) to act like water on a LETTER IV.
picture, which brings out the colors that al
ready exist upon the canvas but does not add TO A YOUNG GENTLEMAN WHO CONTEMPLATED
anything to the design. There is a great and MARRIAGE.
perpetual freshness and vividness in their conWomen do not or themselves undertake intellectual labor
ceptions, which is often lacking in our own. Their resignation to ignorance-Absence of scientific curi- Our conceptions fade, and are replaced; theirs osity in women-They do not accumulate accurate knowl- are not replaced, but refreshed. edge-Archimedes in his bath-Rarity of inventions due to
What many women do for their theological women-Exceptions.
conceptions or opinions, others do with referBEFORE saying much about the influence of ence to the innumerable series of questions of marriage on the intellectual life, it is neces- all kinds which present themselves in the sary to make some inquiry into the intellect- course of life. They attempt to solve them ual nature of women.
by the help of knowledge acquired in girlThe first thing to be noted is that, with ex- hood; and if that cannot be done, they either ceptions so rare as to be practically of no give them up as beyond the domain of women, importance to an argument, women do not or else trust to hearsay for a solution. What of themselves undertake intellectual labor. they will not do is to hunt the matter out un| Ev in in the situations most favorable for labor aided, and get an accurate answer by dint of
of that kind, women do not undertake it un-' independent investigation.