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Typos — p. 101, n. 1: Pilgrims on the Rhine [= Pilgrims of the Rhine]; p. 102: persent [= present]

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Chapter V
Virgin Love in the Positive Man and the Positive Girl

The moment when a healthy young man stands for the first time before a beautiful positive girl, with a full consciousness of what that girl can and may mean to him, is one of the most trying and most disconcerting in his whole life.
        In plain English, he is standing before Life itself. Life itself is taking stock of him. Let us be in no doubt here. His eyes may wander, dazed, over the bewildering spectacle before him; his eyelids may quiver; he may not understand what his feelings are, or why he feels so numb and speechless, and breathes so deeply; but he is well aware that an iron Fate has suddenly seized him like a vice, and is holding him spellbound before an examiner, who is far more relentless than any he has hitherto encountered at school or college.
        And now turn your eyes on Life itself! Look at the girl! Provided that he is not watching her too closely, her eyes are scanning every inch of his body, with a penetration, an attention, a fierce criticism, that is allowing no detail to escape, no indication of virile potency to go unnoticed. Her hands may be cold, even moist with emotion; but Life in her is neither cold nor moist: it is at white heat, working its hardest, and deciding for her whether it shall be Aye or Nay!
        The very speed with which this decision is often made proves how concentrated, how unrelaxing the scrutiny must be; and however hard the work that has to be

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done, it is all over and frequently quite brilliantly dispatched in a few seconds — a minute at the most!
        Aye or Nay! No wonder the youth feels embarrassed! Such an examination by Life itself is hard to bear. The verdict, too, if it be favourable, is gratifying. The approval of a positive, healthy, well-built girl is a certificate of potency; because it is not only Life's approval of one of its own products; it is healthy Life acquiescing in one of its essential means to multiplication. To feel pleased in such circumstances is perfectly justifiable; to feel satisfied here is nothing but becoming.
        But there is another side to the picture, and I state it now, while we are discussing this particular situation. There is nothing more harrowing, more pathetic, more heartrending than to witness poor, patient and enduring Life, in the form of a beautiful maiden, being forced by circumstances (by the fact perhaps that this is the girl's only chance) to choose the next best, the second best, the third best! Oh, how she stifles her highest feelings! How she chafes beneath the yoke! And how ruthlessly Life re-registers upon her eyes all the defects of her future mate, as fast as she in her positiveness wipes them away with the impatient sponge of her desire!
        That "Yea," given reluctantly, shamefully, almost guiltily (because women feel that they are betraying a trust in such circumstances), in the presence of a poor specimen of manhood, 1 simply because it is better to be positive to Life, even on a minor scale, than not to be positive at all! — there is nothing more excruciatingly painful to witness!
        How often this tragic farce is enacted in our part of the world, only women know, only brave women know — they who prefer anything rather than not to remain positive to Life.
        Unfortunately, it is not unusual nowadays for the positive healthy girl, particularly of the wealthier classes, to be spoilt by foolish modern prejudices that misguide

        1 Always from the standpoint of sexual potency be it remembered.

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her in this first important criticism of the men with whom she is confronted. From the very atmosphere she has breathed ever since her infancy, she has imbibed certain wholly fictitious standards regarding so-called "manliness" which, at this vital moment in her life, frequently cause her to make the most grievous mistakes. She has had dinned into her innumerable conventional desiderata relating to manners, sporting capacities, cheerfulness, levity, boyishness and bodily build, which now cause her to select consciously the very kind of man who is least likely to constitute an understanding and adequate mate. He must possess a certain kind of mind — supple, ready for light laughter, humorous, not too broody, not too masterful, not too self-centred, and above all, painstakingly chivalrous. He must have had his spirit, if not broken, at least curbed by the public-school system; his self-esteem severely shaken by excessive contact with mediocrities who have insisted on his being like one of themselves, and he must have the body and face of a young athlete. He must be capable of being trusted alone with her on rambles in the country, at games, on short excursions. He must not take himself or his claims or his thoughts too seriously, and the sine qua non is that he must be capable of idealizing Woman, of "looking up" to her, of feeling a lump in his throat at the thought of her purity, her devotion, her "heroism" as a mother, her condescension as a possible mate to himself, and her ladyhood.
        All these attributes the spoilt positive girl of our wealthier classes has been taught to seek and select among the young men that are paraded before her; and in insisting on these attributes, she consistently, almost without exception, succeeds in taking a man who is ideally equipped with every possible characteristic for making her thoroughly and exasperatingly miserable the whole of her life. For very few indeed of these attributes have any connexion whatsoever with true, desirable manliness in a mate, and the young man who

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has been tamed into making a trustworthy companion to a single positive girl in her games and her walks, is more often a torture machine than a delight as her husband in later years.
        But let us see what unspoilt Life, through the positive unspoilt girl, is actually trying to discover in the positive young man before her. Is she concerned with probing his soul? Does she meditate about his chances of going to Heaven when he dies? Is she wondering whether he has a load of sin that weighs him down? — She is very far from giving a thought to these matters. Her primary consideration is undoubtedly: Is he a fully equipped male? Is he a normally equipped male? Has he, above all, that exuberance which at one and the same time is beauty, sexual potency, and tense passion? Is he savoury? — that is to say, is he devoid of everything capable of ultimately inspiring disgust? Classical features are by no means a vital consideration. Exuberance and savouriness are much more important. Is there fire in his eyes? — voluptuousness and fullness in his mouth? Is there eagerness and enthusiasm in the dilatation of his nostrils? Is there energy lurking in the vibrations of his voice? Is his mouth clean and his breath pure? — Is there all this, and yet a remoteness from the brute, from the mere animal into the bargain?
        These facts are ascertained in the first few seconds, and all this time Life alone has been active in criticism. A satisfactory reply to all these questions makes the young man at once an object of the keenest interest to the girl, and her eyes now begin, in a more collected and less rapid manner, to survey the accessory man — his hands, his feet, his taste as revealed by his clothes, his intelligence as revealed by his remarks, his degree of mastery as revealed by his manner of approaching her. All these things are important, because they represent not merely the "quality" but also the "surviving power" of the tree to which the female butterfly is going to entrust her eggs.

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        A sleek, flourishing youth has a tremendous advantage here; because it is not Woman's self-preservative instinct that demands the evidence of a sound worldly position in a man, but again her reproductive instinct thinking of the security of the coming brood. All this, of course, is more or less unconscious, but it is satisfactorily accomplished by the instinct.
        A brilliant exuberant youth, who is shabby and poor, is naturally and very rightly less attractive to the positive girl than the youth who, though less brilliant, but quite as exuberant, flings on an opulent fur coat after a champagne supper, and gracefully hands her and her chaperon into his 40-horse power Rolls-Royce. This youth is simply irresistible!
        This must be so. Because, although the more brilliant youth may be an artist, a fascinating poet, or a gifted musician — all these things belong to the sphere of the social instinct, which Woman can scarcely appreciate critically, while the flourishing circumstances of the fur-coated youth belong to the sphere of the reproductive instinct, since they are one of the necessary conditions of the tree to which the eggs are going to be entrusted.
        Great spiritual gifts, per se, never really attract the healthy, positive girl; the only reason why she so frequently falls in love with men of great spiritual gifts is because extraordinarily high sexual exuberance is so often correlated with great spiritual gifts and powerful creative genius in a young man. In later life, of course, the relationship changes; because you cannot burn a candle at both ends, and the man of great spiritual gifts who has cultivated that side of himself alone, generally suffers a proportionate loss of sexual exuberance as he advances in years. But in any case, as far as young men are concerned, the rule holds good that high sexual exuberance is frequently accompanied by very superior spiritual gifts.
        Incidentally, this association always constitutes the most dangerous and often most disastrous characteristic

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of the artist's life. It is a choice of roads — and frequently the favour he finds with women leads the young artist inevitably along the road of least resistance and greatest voluptuousness.
        Recalling our positive couple, we will suppose that the youth, in addition to responding favourably to all the girl's searching scrutiny, is also a person of sound material position. Then, when the chorus of bodily messages to the girl's brain are unanimous in praising him, consciousness comes forward with the conclusion: "That man attracts me or fascinates me!" or "I like that man!" or "That man is a dream!" or "He's my ideal!" etc. etc. It is from this moment that the relationship of virgin love may be said to begin, and if there is a response from the young man besides — if, that is to say, he also comments favourably on the girl, then the two may be said to be each other's destiny; and, if they are both very positive, and therefore impatient, the sooner they marry the better.
        Many girls are, however, so overwhelmed by spiritual gifts, nowadays, that the position of the man, his material wealth, is often foolishly overlooked. On the whole this is not quite the fault of the modern girl. This Age, for some reason or other, sets enormous store by spiritual gifts. Girls are brought up in an atmosphere steeped in the worship of intellect. "Clever" — this is the most coveted adjective. Is he clever? Is she clever? Very often the most unhappy marriages are consummated precisely owing to the absurdly exaggerated value that is attached to cleverness. I do not lose sight of the fact that great spiritual gifts are frequently accompanied by great sexual exuberance in a man, and I make allowances for that and for the temptation such a man may certainly prove to the positive girl; but his spiritual gifts ought not to be allowed to weigh against his poverty if he be poor, or his inferiority as an animal, if he have bad teeth, an undersized and weak frame, a delicate constitution, or foul breath. Only girls, of course, whose minds have

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been perverted in this matter, make the mistake of taking a poor clever man, or an unappetizing clever man, in preference to a duller though wealthier or more appetizing suitor; for the instinct of the female when unperverted is to find not only a secure support for her offspring, but also a mate whom it will at least not disgust her to embrace.
        And, after all, what does this spiritual fascination amount to for women, apart from its occasional correlation with high sexual exuberance? If you ask yourself what it is you tire of first in life; if you inquire to which kind of phenomenon you can relevantly apply the expression "hackneyed" when you have seen or heard it once too often — what is your inevitable reply? The word "hackneyed" can be used relevantly only in regard to products of the spirit. A song, however beautiful, repeated too often becomes a bore. A picture seen too often begins to pall. (It is only because we scarcely ever notice with deep attention the pictures on our walls, that we can endure them. In time, they form part of the general scheme of decoration.) The finest poem read too frequently becomes insufferably wearisome; and who can read even the best novel more than three times? I confess I have read Wuthering Heights three times; but I doubt whether I could perform the feat a fourth time. All these things, however, are of the spirit, products of spiritual gifts. It would not sound strange or irrelevant to apply the epithet "hackneyed" to any one of them, provided that their charms had been impressed upon us once too often. This fact alone should make us suspicious of the spirit as a phenomenon possessing lasting powers of attraction.
        There are, however, other things to which the expression "hackneyed" could not be relevantly applied. What should we think or say, for instance, of a visitor, who rising suddenly in the middle of one of our tea-parties, exclaimed quite gravely that she refused to take another piece of bread-and butter for the rest of her life, because

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bread-and-butter was "hackneyed." We should all be astonished, not to say alarmed. We should suspect her of something a little more serious than mere eccentricity. But, as a matter of fact, nobody in his senses, however professedly devoted to the spirit he might be, would ever dream of saying "bread-and-butter is hackneyed." It is a thing of the body, and provided the body remains healthy and exuberant, the pleasures it provides are never hackneyed. Given a fair appetite and a healthy digestion, and bread-and-butter will remain a joy for ever. Unlike the spirit, therefore, which however exuberant and however healthy, wearies and fatigues if it be called upon to appreciate the same spirit, or the same product of another spirit too often, the body can enjoy "bread-and-butter" for threescore years and ten without ever feeling that it is hackneyed.
        This alone ought to make all admirers of "brains" in men pause before they allow themselves to be so completely dazzled by mere spiritual brilliance, as to forget other things. — What other things? — Material position, and that quality which all eminently desirable men have in common with good bread-and-butter — I refer to savouriness.
        I know of one very sad case that happened in my own circle. A well-educated but misguided Swedish girl who while being no fool herself had the modern exaggerated love for "brains," happened to meet a man in Ireland who, though brilliant to the point of genius, was as unappetizing, as unsavoury as the form of man can possibly be. I confess to having sat in that man's company frequently myself, and having revelled in the easy and fluent flow of his exuberant wit. There was virtuosity not only in his speech but also in the thoughts behind his speech. When he met the girl in question she too came under the spell of his extraordinary intelligence; and, forgetting the rule about the spirit, and forgetting the quality of good bread-and-butter — for he was so unsavoury that one could not approach him without

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becoming aware of the fact with one's nostrils, not to speak of one's eyes — she worshipped and married him.
        It was, of course, a cruel mistake, because marriage from the woman's standpoint is a tragedy if she has to smother any loathing in the embrace. Still, she admired "brains" and she certainly obtained what she admired. But at what cost! In time, of course, she explored all the territory of his spirit, and tasted all the delights of his skilful conceits; and had, no doubt, by a kindly effort of will, prolonged her enjoyment of these things very far beyond the point at which anyone else would have tired of them; and then — what was left? — Only boredom where spiritual intercourse was concerned, and ever-increasing disgust of all physical intercourse, because of her unfortunate husband's eminently unsavoury person.
        No truly positive woman, however — particularly if she has remained uninfected by modern brain-worship — ever takes any notice of a man's spiritual gifts, provided that he be savoury, exuberant, and in a sound material position; and the very fact that she does not do so is a sign of the wise and penetrating vision of Life behind her. Men have to take spiritual gifts into consideration in their dealings with one another; it is essential that they should. They may be pardoned, therefore, if they all too frequently extend this habit to their relations with the other sex. But the woman who takes a man for his brains is a ninny, or else a poor deluded victim of the madness of the Age. All she wants, I repeat, is exuberance with savouriness and a sound position; and if brains enter into the bargain as well, they are usually accepted quite unsuspectingly by the really positive and sane woman as one of those incidental details concerning her husband which, like his number in gloves or his taste in ties, she bears in mind simply as part of his general identity. Truth to tell, however, most women are saved from the mistake of marrying brains alone, owing to the readiness which most of them show to impute brains to the dullest male, provided he pleases them,

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        This explains why so many wives of gifted men have loved and eloped with males infinitely inferior to their husbands where brains were concerned; it also explains why so many wives of gifted men, who have been faithful, have been bitterly unhappy in their fidelity.
        Where the artist is concerned perhaps we might make an exception, because the artist's peculiar gifts are so frequently allied with an exceptionally exuberant sexuality. One German writer has suggested that the creative power itself is the outcome of an excess of absorbed semen in the blood. But even the artist's mental gifts, though correlated with a quality that is frequently irresistible to women, are an unsound reason for a girl's mating with him. All women should remember that artists cannot marry them without committing adultery. For, if Woman is wed to Life before she marries, the artist is certainly wed to his particular muse.
        All this the positive girl knows more or less instinctively, because Life in her knows every word of it. It is only when she has become infected with the stupid modern worship of brains that her conscious bias sometimes over-rides her better bodily feelings.
        But to return to our positive couple — the condition of mutual attraction in which they now find themselves is one of tremendous fascination, because it constitutes an enhancement of the feeling of power, and a deepening of the feeling of surrender. So intense is this feeling of power and of slavery at the same time, so exquisite is the scale of emotions that run from the bottom note of absolute subjection to a human being to the top note of supreme sovereignty over a human being — so that the girl bids and her bidding is done, and the man bids and his bidding is done — that it is probably the richest experience, as spiritual sensations go, that anyone can have. While it is being undergone the self preservative instinct of both parties is entirely suspended. The male's must be in any case, because no male throughout the animal kingdom can approach sex without making a substantial

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sacrifice in self-preservation. He cannot join the stream of Life without paying it tribute, and this to begin with is hostile to his self-preservative instinct inasmuch as it reduces his surviving power for the time being. But there is this fact in addition: his social instinct cannot face the responsibilities of a wife and her offspring unless his self-preservative instinct is prepared to make a good many reluctant concessions.
        The woman, too, readily sacrifices all her self-preservative instinct to her first-husband Life, and to her second husband, her lover. In fact, to speak with levity, but with some profound truth as well, in every respectable love-marriage, the legal husband is the dupe or bread-winning agent who keeps the girl while she does her first mate — Life's business.
        Child-birth is not always successful even in the most healthy communities, and a woman's reproductive instinct often has to clap its hand on the mouth of her self-preservative instinct before she can consent to having a second child.
        With the self-preservative instincts both of the man and the girl in abeyance, then, we have what is always a dramatic situation. We have a situation in which neither the man nor the girl cares what happens provided that each can get the other. Pain, hardship, parental hostility, parental injustice, privation, dangers of all kinds, fire, water, exile — all these things, even to Death itself, will be faced with determination by the positive couple who are waiting only to be united, if only they help a step forward, or put an end for ever to all doubt and misgivings.
        How often in the history of our race have not a chaste and positive couple, kept apart by unfavourable circumstances and in the midst of appalling difficulties, whispered to each other passionately: "One long embrace from you and I should be content to die!" This shows that the self-preservative instinct is as good as dead in such cases. Dead in the woman, because when

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her reproductive instinct is "meaning business," nothing else can live beside it; and dead in the man, because (l) he knows that love and his girl expect him to be determined and unrelenting in his worship and his desire, and (2) because his very positiveness itself makes him set the multiplication of Life higher than his own existence for the time being.
        Moreover, when the girl and the man insist upon an attitude of complete and unreserved "unselfishness" in each other, they are simply betraying the fact that they expect the self-preservative instinct in each other to be for the time being in a state of suspended animation. This is a proof of what they understand by love. As a matter of fact, it is a proof only of the circumstance that the reproductive instinct is expected for the moment to become all-powerful or to suppress every other feeling.
        When this state is reached, if the girl has no vigilant protector or guardian, and the man is not strongly endowed with social instinct, the result is usually and inevitably seduction, particularly if the man shows some mastery in sex, and some understanding of it too. And, indeed, when one considers the forces that are active here; when, moreover, one considers the temptations that are elevated here to the nth power, the wonder is not that seduction occasionally occurs among positive couples, but that it does not always occur, that it is not the rule. Only man's social instinct can prevent it. Only man's social instinct remains, and is strong enough to prevent it. Do not, however, let us confound the social instinct of the positive man, which is strong enough to stand up to his reproductive instinct, to control it, and to make it wait and consider responsibilities, with the so-called "self-control" of the negative young man, who could love his negative girl for half a century without ever desiring more than to squeeze her pale thin hand, while she feels exactly the same about him. 1

        1 See also pp. 7, 70 and 94.

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        Of course, in countries like France, where positiveness on both sides is at such a high pitch of intensity that it actually fills the atmosphere of every room and makes every mixed company electric, and also where the social instinct of men is declining more and more every year, the only possible check on wholesale seductions is a vigilant and inexorable protector or guardian, who watches over the jeune fille de famille, until she is married, and does so with such unabating zeal that it can truly be said that a respectable French girl is always being watched.
        As a matter of fact, if the same custom of vigilant supervision of the young girl does not prevail in England, it is a bad rather than a good sign.
        It is a bad sign for the following reasons: (1) It is waived either because it is a generally recognized thing that the Englishman's social instinct is of a higher order than the Frenchman's (which is not the case); or (2), because it is a generally recognized fact that the Englishman is safer, i.e. less inflammable, i.e. less exuberant sexually, i.e. less positive than the Frenchman (which is the case).
        I think it would be hard to prove that the social instinct of the Englishman is of a higher kind than that of the Frenchman. There is nothing to show that there is more order in England than in France, more social harmony, more mastery of social problems. There are absolutely no grounds whatever for assuming that there is less social misery in England than in France, less social muddle, less social strife. Nor if we go to the next highest products of the social instinct, which are represented by the sense of order manifesting itself in artistic productions, can we say that there is more Art, or a higher kind of Art, in England than in France. In fact, if we draw these comparisons at all, we must in fairness conclude that if there is any difference, that difference is undoubtedly to the advantage of the Frenchman. But for the sake of this discussion it is sufficient for me to

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assume that the social instincts of the Frenchman and Englishman respectively are about equal.
        Well, then, if this is so, it must be some other circumstance that accounts for the enormous freedom allowed in this country to the girl turned sixteen, in her intercourse with men of her own generation and older.
        There can be no doubt that, in the first place, the English girl is generally a little less positive to Life and therefore to man than the French girl; this accounts for a good deal. There can be no doubt either that there is a very much larger sprinkling of negative girls in England than in France — girls, that is to say, who are happy and content as spinsters, or whose passions are so tepid as to enable them to endure platonic relations with men, and to resist men quite successfully for interminable periods.
        A few facts alone, apart from the evidence that can be gathered first hand by all those who know France and England well, will be sufficient to prove this.
        In 1910, although France had for many years admitted women to the hospitals, to the Bar and to the chemist's dispensary, there were out of a total of 13,000 French doctors only eighty-three women 1; there were only two women barristers — one in Paris and one at Toulouse, and there were only three women chemists — one in Paris and two at Montpelier.
        To take the profession of the Bar alone, think how very many more women-barristers we should have in England in the space of five years if the Bar had been opened to women!
        To point to economic pressure here, and to say that the English girl is more hard pressed than the French girl, would be entirely false. It is much more difficult, as a matter of fact, for a French girl than for an English girl to find a husband.
        The truth of the matter is that the French girl is very

        1 In 1911 there were 477 women doctors in England, 382 of whom were unmarried.

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much more positive to Life and therefore to man, than the English girl. The latter can frequently not only be happy without man; but she will boast of the fact — applaud, that is to say, her negativeness, her nothingness!
        I do not say this in any spirit of hostility to the English girl, because I have travelled England and Scotland, and am aware that very large numbers of British girls are positive and extremely positive to Life and to man; it is, however, unfortunately true that negativeness is on the increase — hence the almost amazing liberty that is granted, and every year more readily granted, to the English girl in her intercourse with young men. Were things otherwise, such liberty would only lead to the most disastrous results; because there is absolutely no reason whatever to suppose that the Englishman's social instinct — which is the only adequate check to an overpowering reproductive instinct — is superior to that of the Frenchman.
        There is, however, another side to the question, and a far more serious and alarming side. I refer to the almost universal and increasing negativeness of the English youth and young man. The negativeness among females in England is as nothing compared with the negativeness to be found among males — and it is here really and truly that the safety of the young positive girl lies. Often to her intense annoyance and sorrow she finds she is dealing with wood and not with vital tissue at all. It is simply humbug to speak of self-control in such cases. For the negative young man is nothing more or less than a wet squib — and who believes in the self-control of a wet squib when it refuses to respond to the lighted match. 1
        The ravages that Puritanism perpetrated in the human kind — and I have dwelt sufficiently upon these ravages in another work 2 — affected the men of England far more deeply than the women; and were in a sense bound to

        1 See also pp. 7, 70, and 91.
        2 See A Defence of Aristocracy, chapter V.

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do so. Men are not Life itself, they are an amputation from Life. As I have shown, the reproductive instinct is less powerful, less wilful, more fitful and less persistent in them than in women; how, then, could they fail to be more disastrously affected by the cruel repressing and detoning methods of Puritanism than women are? They had fewer forces to meet and resist the attack; sex held their bodies with too much laxity to make them survive it completely, and the consequence is that in England and all countries like England, sexual exuberance in males — save in the working classes (which are always the last to be affected by anything) — is not only lower than elsewhere, rarer than elsewhere, and more heartily suspected than elsewhere; but it is also decreasing more and more every year. So much so, indeed, that for many generations now, long chaste engagements have not only been possible, but more or less common; so much so that positive girls who marry are able to declare quite honestly that marriage is a disappointment and an empty delusion; so much so, that in nine cases out of ten we could without a qualm and without a scruple allow our unmarried daughter to travel round the world with her so-called lover and feel quite certain that they would both remain perfectly chaste.
        This may seem most convenient and even desirable from the standpoint of the squeamish matron; but would it not be ever so much better from the point of view of Life if it were impossible, and if we were forced to exercise a vigilance at least equal if not greater than that of the French chaperon over the young couple?
        To mention self-control in connexion with such safety in the association of young people is to use a euphemism for a very much less acceptable word. It would be unfair and wrong to postulate the possession of a higher degree of social instinct by the Englishman than by the Frenchman; therefore it must be some other factor that is active in this unnatural continence where there are no safeguards; and that factor, as every one

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must know, as every doctor knows, and as most women know, is a low degree of sexual exuberance, a strong and in many cases a pronounced form of negativism. 1
        Many readers will probably cry out: "But surely this is excellent! What could be better! Our girls are safer; we do not require to be suspicious; we can trust the young men — and everybody is happy!"
        But everybody is not happy! The men are not happy; because this negativism in sex, this lack of exuberance in sex, gives them no mastery over it, and leaves them all their lives with a guilty conscience about it. (For, as pointed out earlier in the book, certain fusions are only made possible through fire. Fire purifies all things.) And the women are certainly not happy, particularly if they are positive; because they meet with no response, they meet with no leadership, they yield to no overwhelming impetuosity where sex is concerned — an impetuosity that carries everything before it, and which leaves them with no ungratified desire or longing, with not one of those aching, secret longings that thousands of women are too tasteful and too proud to reveal and often even too modest to entertain.
        Of course the negative ideal in sex was excellent from the Puritan point of view; because, as I have shown elsewhere, 2 the Puritans were concerned with rearing a race of office hermits, clerks, commercial and industrial slaves of all kinds; and to these, sexual exuberance would naturally be a most irksome, dangerous and undesirable possession. But Life is not an office or a factory, or, for that matter, a large draper's store; and what may be eminently desirable for these horrible institutions, is simply ugly, repulsive, and nauseating out in the open,

        1 It will occur to some that I ought perhaps to have referred to the fact that English Law is more severe against illicit relations than is the Law of France. This is true; but, after all, English Law applies only to girls under a certain age, and is by no means repressive of illicit relations after that age.
        2 A Defence of Aristocracy, chapter V.

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amid fields, sucking lambs and beneath a shining sun.
        There are few things more pathetic, more tragic, than a positive young English girl going to her coming-out dance. What could be more beautiful than to see her, figuratively speaking, extend her eager open hand to Life, with a confidence, a fullness of hope and trust, a profuseness of delicious expectations, and a bravery and singleness of purpose that is never again equalled in her life? And who can help hiding his eyes when he sees the same girl take back her hand. again and again, either holding nothing at all, or filled with the merest husks, the merest scrapings of Life? Oh, the youths that go to dances! — these sacred functions where the positive girl takes her first step towards her sacred calling! One can watch with equanimity the negative young Miss of narrow hips, still narrower chest, and even still narrower outlook, succeeding in captivating her negative affinity. Such dramas leave one unmoved. But to witness exuberant Life itself, obliged to be content with creatures who are mere mementoes of Life, mere echoes of Life; to see exuberant Life itself unnoticed, unselected, feared, shunned, and shelved! — to anyone who has any feelings at all, such an experience must be too painful ever to be forgotten.
        For in England, not only are there barely sufficient men to go all round; but there are not nearly sufficient positive men for the preponderating number of positive girls. And since innocent girls are absolutely unconscious of the causes of their misery when they meet and marry the negative man, you find in England and all countries like it, hundreds and hundreds of positive women who will affirm — nay, who are ready to prove — that marriage is the most unexciting thing in existence, and that Life itself is the most unexciting phenomenon in the universe! And the tragedy of it all is that, as far as their own unfortunate experiences go, they are right, and they convince because they are not only right but miserable.

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        Thus Life gets suspected, slandered, unjustly weighed and valued, and the legion of negative women about seize hold of these facts with the avidity of famishing jealousy, and prove that Life and its legitimate joys are suspicious, rightly maligned, and valueless!
        Although this is a book on Woman, it is necessary to speak about one aspect of the question of virgin love which strictly belongs to this chapter, but which is concerned only with men; I refer to the love felt for a girl by a man, and of the forces that direct him in feeling this love.
        When the positive man faces the positive girl, he really has but one inquiry: "Does the girl provoke desire?" Because desire is essential to his share in the sexual act. He does not actually say: "Does she provoke desire?" but he implies as much.
        He insists upon her being what he calls "pretty" or "attractive." But from that point onwards it depends entirely upon his upbringing, the values and current opinions of his Age, the prejudices of his religion, his class, or his own particular taste, whether he makes a wise or a foolish choice from the standpoint of Life.
        I have shown that Man is much more conscious of the limitations and the extent of the joys that sexual life is going to bring him than Woman is or can be. He is not only more conscious as regards the sexual life alone, but also as regards its consequences, its responsibilities.
        Notwithstanding all this, however, or rather precisely on account of all this, he is much more susceptible to the traditional values, opinions, or prejudices of his time, his country or his class, than Woman is, in the making of his choice. Woman is in the grip of Life. Life constantly speaks through her. Unless she is actually unhealthy or spoilt, Life speaks through her in a way that is profitable to Life. The positive, unspoilt girl, then, although she acts unconsciously, rarely makes a mistake in her choice of a man as a sexual being, provided that she be not reluctantly compelled to do so by social stress, by

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the feeling that her choice is a last shift to be positive somehow, or by any other non-vital consideration.
        Man, however, is rather differently situated. Being conscious, he is much weaker in the stand he takes. For conscious opinions, conscious views, can be modified by persuasion, by precept, by example, by a consensus of contemporary opinion.
        When the man faces the girl, therefore, he is often and almost universally swayed by the prejudices in regard to what constitutes an attractive girl that are current in his Age, country or class. And thus we arrive at this important conclusion: That provided his Age, his country and class entertain positive views and values in regard to Life, his choice will be correct and perfectly desirable as far as the highest purposes of Life are concerned; but that provided his Age, his country and class entertain the wrong or negative views or values in regard to Life, his choice will be incorrect and entirely undesirable as far as the highest purposes of Life are concerned, and this despite the fact that he himself may be a healthy, exuberant and positive specimen of humanity.
        If, for instance, the ethereal, languishing, angelic and slightly delicate type of female beauty be the type exalted by the current values of his environment, he runs considerable danger of regarding her as the attractive type; and in selecting her he will deliberately overlook her narrow frame, her lack of fire, her lack of exuberance, her lack of positiveness. 1 Where Puritan values prevail, the

        1 Speaking of the prevalence of this type of girl at present, Arabella Kenealy says (op. cit., p. 84): "So devitalized and neurasthenic are many of our pretty young girls that their flowerlike faces, topping over-tall and undeveloped bodies, suggest delicate blossoms crowning long attenuated, sapless stems. Neither faces nor bodies are vitalized and athrill with powers rooted in healthful organs, vivified by healthful functions, and instinct with warm, iron-rich, magnetic blood. They show that making for beauty which is inherent in the Woman-traits, but which, in latter-day girls, owing to defective constitutional vigour or to educational, social or industrial exhaustion, has been able to realize itself only in sickly and weed-like development."

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sexually exuberant female with the ardent and fierce brow and eye will be regarded even as distinctly ugly. It will not surprise some people to hear, therefore, that in France the angelic, passive, and meek expression of most Englishmen's wives is regarded as strangely incompatible with the frequently robust, self-assertive, exuberant appearance of the Englishmen themselves.
        Purity is indeed exhaled by such women: but not the purity that all positive people understand as purity. To them the only purity worth having is that which is the outcome of fire. Everything else is impure. A tepid passion, a non-exuberant passion, is impure: it can wait, it can temporize, it can play with Life; it can even thwart the highest purposes of Life: therefore it is impure.
        How often in our own small circle have we not seen a youth that we admired — a positive, robust and savoury fellow, full of trust and energy — condescend to take the most fragile, shadowy reminiscence of Life for a mate and the mother of his children! I say "condescend to take"; but I mean in his sense of course, "aspire to taking"; for it was obvious that he regarded her as the highest example of womanhood that could possibly be discovered; to this extent was he prevailed upon by the Puritanical prejudices of his Age! But it is within the experience of most people that the negative values of an environment will drive some men even farther. There are a few who will not even stop at deformities, sickness, disease. I know of two such cases: one man who fell in love with a consumptive girl, knowing her to be consumptive; and another who loved and married a girl with hip disease. Both of these men were acting in a manner utterly hostile to the highest purposes of Life; their love actually denied, baulked and frustrated the highest purposes of Life; they were, in my sense, therefore, utterly impure, immoral, criminal. "But from the point of view of their Age, their class, their religion and

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their country, what was there, in sooth, to show them that they were wrong?
        Had they not heard from their earliest childhood onwards, that the soul was everything and that the body did not matter? Had they not had it dinned into them at every turn along their life's path, that a pure soul can make up for any physical defect, even foul breath? Had they not learnt to regard brains as better than brawn? And who had ever told them when they were children and when they were quite ready to despise sickness, deformity, or botchedness generally, that their instincts in this respect were quite right and proper? Who had explained to them that things that are unclean (as the good, honest Old Testament has it) should be avoided? 1
        There is no science of physiognomy and of human selection to-day. It will be objected, of course, that no possible elaboration of such a science could ever induce young people to "fall in love" with the proper mates. My reply to that is: Let it be tried. When our young folk tell us that they have fallen in love at first sight, we know that they must have followed some principles of physiognomy and selection. However adventitiously these may have been acquired, they constitute the only guide obtainable. But are these principles any the better for having been acquired by chance, and very often from false and unreliable sources? They must have acquired their principles from some source. Is it better that they should have picked them up, as it were, on life's way, than that they should have been taught them? It is not a difficult matter to educate the taste of children on certain broad lines. The fact is not that these guiding lines are lacking to-day — on the contrary, they abound —

        1 Even the fiction they read did not help them to the correct attitude in this. Does Lord Lytton ever express any horror at his hero and heroine, who were both consumptive, falling in love with each other in Pilgrims on the Rhine? And how many other cases could be quoted!

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but that they are based on no understanding of essentials and are as a rule not regulated by a deep concern for health and high vitality. And since you can teach mankind the points of a good horse or a good dog, it is surely a little bold to deny that you can teach it the points of a desirable mate. 1 At least you can lay down certain very distinct principles regarding the mate to be avoided. But not even that is attempted nowadays. 2
        The danger at persent is that a young man, despite his proper instincts in this matter, may be wrongly influenced by the values and prejudices of his Age, his country and his class, so that willy-nilly he goes astray, and inclines in a negative direction when all the time his instincts are positive.
        In regard to sex and the choice of the positive woman, the Englishman particularly, therefore (more especially

        1 The teaching that is most steadily opposed to this view is that of Christianity; for, if once you admit that the physical points of a human being are important, you underrate the supreme importance of the so-called "soul," which takes precedence of everything. That is why Christianity has always strongly deprecated any doctrine of physiognomy or human selection.
        2 For instance, most of the stigmata of degeneration and disease are well known. Why are they not generally taught to the young? This would constitute at least a start in the right direction. The ancient Hindus were in this respect, as in many others, very much more civilized than ourselves. In the Laws of Manu, Book III, definite hints are given to the young man regarding the kind of girl he should choose. In verse seven we read: "Let him avoid that family (in selecting a wife) which neglects the sacred rites, one in which no male children (are born), one in which the Veda is not studied, one (the members of) which have thick hair on the body, those which are subject to hemorrhoids, phthisis, weakness of digestion, epilepsy, or white or black leprosy." Verse eight: "Let him not marry a maiden (with) reddish (hair), nor one who has a redundant member, nor one who is sickly, nor one either with no hair (on the body) or too much; nor one who is garrulous or has red (eyes)." Verse ten: "Let him wed a female free from bodily defects who has an agreeable name, the (graceful) gait of a Hamsa or an elephant, a moderate (quantity of) hair on the body and on the head, small teeth, and soft limbs."

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of the wealthier middle classes), wants re-educating, re-instructing in the values of positive Life. And it is to him, more than to Woman (for, after all, he is the chooser), that the chapters of this book are addressed.



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