Typos p. 302, n. 1: preforce [= perforce]; p. 308: concensus [= consensus]
The Virtues and Vices of Women
"Through their passion for men, through their mutable temper, through their natural heartlessness, they become disloyal to their husbands, however carefully they may be guarded in this world.
"Knowing their disposition, which the Lord of crea-
1 See Man's Descent from the Gods, chapter VIII.
"When creating them, Manu allotted to woman (love of their) bed, (of their) seat and (of) ornament, impure desires, wroth, dishonesty, malice and bad conduct." 1
Lombroso and Ferrero actually regard deception as being "physiological" in women. They ascribe it to her weakness (which makes it necessary for her to rely on craft to achieve her ends), to her periodical functional disturbances, to her modesty, to the pretences necessary to acquiring an ascendancy over man, to the duties of maternity, and to one or two other inevitable circumstances in her life. 2 In Chapter VII of their work, they adduce the testimony of such acute psychologists as Flaubert, Balzac, Zola, Schopenhauer, Weininger, Molière, to support their contention that in woman lying is instinctive. We might add Shakespeare, Luther, Byron, Nietzsche, La Bruyère, and many others to the list. No matter where we turn, or to whom we refer, we find, more or less, the same verdict. It lies recorded even in an Arab proverb, 3 just as it lies, though perhaps more obscurely, in most of that "tinsel of sentiment" with which, utterly false as it is, woman insists upon veiling the natural relations of the sexes; while we must not forget that for hundreds of years a great and very profound people the Mussulmans of Europe and Asia have denied woman a soul.
The evidence of profound psychologists, the substance of myths, the content of national proverbs, the personal experience, in short, of all those who have learnt to know women generation after generation, all point to this conclusion, that there is a certain duplicity and unscrupulous-
1 Book IX, verses 15, 16, 17.
2 Op. cit. p. 135. "Mais si le mensonge est un vice très répandu dans toute l'humanité, c'est surtout chez les femmes qu'il atteint son maximum d'intensité. Demontrer que le mensonge est habituel, physiologique chez la femme, serait inutile: cela est consacré par la croyance populaire."
3 "There are three things that cannot be trusted: a king, a horse, and a woman; the king tyrannizes, a horse escapes, a woman is perfidious."
On the other hand, in all countries with a modern, democratic outlook, where woman's influence is in the ascendant, and where men are inclined to a pronounced romanticism of thought, there is no quality, no jewel of human virtue, too priceless for woman to be thought worthy of it.
Perhaps the most radical attempt to contradict the tradition of ages, concerning woman, and to cast suspicion for ever upon all those who might venture to criticize her adversely, was made by that gallant but, alas! henpecked English "philosopher," John Stuart Mill, than whom no writer is perhaps more responsible for the sudden access of strength that the Feminist movement acquired in the latter half of the nineteenth century in England. And, before proceeding with our inquiry, it will be necessary to pause in order to deal with his views and to dispose of them; for, since they represent the maximum that can be said on the other side, in accomplishing this, we shall have dealt vicariously with most of what has been advanced as scientific argumentation against the verdict of the rest of mankind.
John Stuart Mill admitted that all his writings, except his Logic, were as much his own work as that of the lady, Mrs. Taylor, who ultimately became his wife. He was not ashamed to acknowledge that Mrs. John Taylor was "in part the author of all that is best" in his writings; and speaking of his treatise on Liberty, Mr. W. L. Courtney says it "was written especially under her authority and encouragement." The same author referring to the famous work The Subjection of Women, which is going to occupy our attention, writes: "Mill's share was the result of discussions and conversations with his wife." 1
Now, quite early in this book on women, the following important remark occurs: "What is now called the nature of women is an eminently artificial thing the result of
1 See Life of John Stuart Mill, p. 162.
The ingenuity of this sentence, its plausibility in the eyes of ignorant and prejudiced people, and its dark innuendo, make it one of the most astonishing utterances that ever issued from the lips of an alleged philosopher. If it be more than an insincere attempt to quash all discussion and inquiry regarding the subject for ever, it can mean only two things.
(1) The word "now" definitely restricts the allegations concerning the nature of women to the present age. "What is now called the nature of women," therefore is implicitly contrasted with what was once called the nature of women. The first possible meaning of the sentence is therefore as follows: "As compared with what used to be called the nature of women, what is now called the nature of woman is an entirely artificial thing."
In order to dispose of this first possible meaning, we have only to reply to Mrs. Taylor (for it is obvious that Mill would only have referred us to her if we had addressed ourselves to him), that, as the present view of woman's nature does not differ entirely from the traditional and ancient view where there exists no difference between the two, we may presumably postulate eternities, or constant factors. And, so long as we abide by those characteristics, in which the testimony of the present age concurs with tradition and hoary antiquity, we escape, even if we do not respect, her ruling.
(2) The words, "an eminently artificial thing," are surely a begging of the question. Everybody, even the most be-Taylorized thinker, ought to be able to see this. For, it may be asked, what at present can be called natural and what can be called artificial in civilized man and woman? Is it natural to wear clothes, or is it artificial? Is it natural to use implements instead of our fingers at meals? Is it natural to speak English? Two thousand years ago no one on earth spoke English. In the days of
1 See The Subjection of Women, chap. I, section 7.
Those who are acquainted with The Subjection of Women will probably reply that Mrs. Taylor, or Miss Helen, 2 did feel it incumbent upon them to state a little more precisely what they meant by the use of the word artificial; for Mill proceeds to write as follows: "It may be asserted, without scruple [fine scruples these!!!], that no other class of dependents have had their character
1 The observation occurs in Congreve's Mourning Bride, at the end of the 3rd Act, and is put in the mouth of Queen Zara. The precise words are:
"Heaven has no rage, like love to hatred turn'd,
Nor Hell a fury, like a woman scorn'd."
2 W. L. Courtney (Op. cit.) tells us that portions of the Subjection of Women were written by Miss Helen Taylor (Mill's step-daughter).
But we may very relevantly ask Mesdames Taylor, how, when and where they have had the unique privilege of coming across this wholly "true" and "natural" woman? Presumably, she was not only a "true" woman, but also a "truthful" woman; she was not only a "natural" woman, but a guileless, honest woman, devoid of all malice and vanity in fact quite unlike the woman Manu knew, or the woman Adam knew. At what period in history did she appear and fall into the distorting hands of man? By what scientific process have Mesdames Taylor acquired any knowledge of her? We only know of woman as she is seen to-day, in history, in the literary remains of antiquity, and in savage tribes. Whence comes this alleged "true" and "natural" woman, beside whom the woman we know is only a distorted caricature? To postulate a norm that is wholly hypothetical, and then to argue that by the side of that gratuitous creation, the woman that we know, and have seen mirrored in history, in the tradition of mankind, and in the work of our acutest psychologists, is a monstrous distortion, may prove a useful means of clouding the issue, but can hardly be allowed to pass as an argument. And the fact that Mill, the logician, the critic of Spencer and Sir William Hamilton, wrote this, and the whole of the remaining paragraph, surely demonstrates how very far he was from being himself when he wrote this particular book. 2
1 Op. cit., section 18.
2 See Sir Almroth E. Wright (Op. cit., p. 32), footnote: "This is a question on which Mill has endeavoured to confuse the issue for his reader, first, by representing that by no possibility can man know anything of the 'nature,' i.e. of the 'secondary sexual characters' of woman; and secondly, by distracting attention from the fact that 'acquired characteristics' may produce unfitness for the suffrage."
A little later on in his Subjection of Women we read the following: "For, however great and apparently ineradicable the moral and intellectual differences between men and women might be, the evidence of their being natural differences could only be negative. Those only could be inferred to be natural which could not possibly be artificial the residuum, after deducting every characteristic of either sex, which can admit of being explained from education or external circumstances." 1
In this sentence it is difficult not to discern the voice of the female collaborator in two distinct vibrations: the general sentiment and the irrational argument; for, apart from the fact that it amounts practically to a drastic and final veto against all such discussions as the one I am engaging in at the present moment, it relies upon wholly specious but plausible biological phraseology for its persuasiveness. In it, moreover, we not only find a reiteration of the counterfeit argument, but also an attempt to dress it in a delusively scientific garb.
According to the evolutionary hypothesis, about which Mrs. and Miss Taylor must have known (for they moved in circles where these matters were discussed, and The Subjection of Women appeared eight to ten years after The Origin of Species), it is impossible to say precisely what is and what is not the outcome of external circumstances in women. In fact it is ridiculous to speak of a possible residuum after the influence of external circumstances has been deducted. The evolutionary hypothesis
1 J. S. Mill, section 20.
It was, however, never intended that it should undergo so severe an inspection. It is simply one example, flagrant but instructive, of a woman's "natural" duplicity or dishonesty. If accepted, it makes all inquiry into the nature of man and woman, even on the broadest lines, utterly impossible. If taken seriously, it renders every conclusion you can possibly draw concerning that nature utterly invalid. And this, indeed, is its precise intention. This is exactly the function it was expected to perform. Mrs. Taylor and her daughter could hope to achieve no more by it.
Advance any opinion on woman's nature, consonant or not with a sane view of the women of to-day, the women of history, the women of myth, and the women of tradition, and immediately Mrs. Taylor would shoot up from behind her neatly framed and quasi-learned sentence, and declare that your opinion was quite incompatible with
These sentences, and many more like them, constitute the burden of the argument in The Subjection of Women, and make it not only valueless, but also dangerously misleading. The pamphlet remains the most unhappy record of Mill's character as a thinker.
It is impossible here to examine this hermaphrodite pamphlet line by line; but the fact which makes the disingenuousness of these early lines so monstrous is that the remainder of the book depends upon them, evolves necessarily from them, and falls entirely to the ground if it be deprived of them. When, therefore, it is remembered that this book has exercised a potent influence over half a century of English life, 2 and that its principles have formed the basis of many hundreds of books of the same kind, and of a movement which ultimately fixed the coping-stone into the arch of stupidity supporting our political life, we cannot too severely condemn, not only the carelessness of a man who could so imperfectly distinguish senile sentimentality from his duty to the public, but also the unscrupulousness of two full-grown females who
1 Cp. Sir Almroth E. Wright, who, in speaking of Mill's hypothetical natural woman, says (Op. cit., p. 5): "Instead of dealing with woman as she is, and with woman placed in a setting of actually subsisting conditions, Mill takes as his theme a woman who is a creature of his imagination. This woman is, by assumption, in mental endowment a replica of man. She lives in a world which is, by tacit assumption, free from the complications of sex. . . . It is in connexion with this fictitious woman that Mill sets himself to work out the benefit which women would derive from co-partnership with men in the government of the State, and those which such co-partnership would confer on the community."
2 The Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D., calls Mill's Subjection of Women "admirable."
Even if we examine the historical value of the ostensibly historic basis of Mill's contention, we find it entirely unsubstantiated by fact. Mill says: "What is now called the nature of women is an entirely artificial thing the result of forced regression in some directions, unnatural stimulation in others."
Taken up by a thousand angry female voices, this came to mean at the end of the nineteenth century that, if women were as they were inferior to man in intellectual power, in honesty, in reliability, in social instincts, in taste, etc. it was because throughout their history as a sex they had been oppressed and deprived of the opportunities of improvement.
Now, even if the first part of the sentence were true (and we have already shown how false it is), the latter part remains utterly untenable.
The fact that women throughout their history have had to play the part of mothers, and therefore to stay very much at home, cannot be meant as the artificial factor in their evolution. We cannot therefore conceive of Mrs. Taylor's having been so palpably foolish as to suppose that it was their motherhood that constituted this
1 A certain French writer, despite a wholly mistaken admiration for J. S. Mill, is nevertheless bound to admit, in reference to Mill's Subjection of Women and his strangely wild and unreasoning infatuation for Mrs. Taylor, that: "Il n'en est pas moins curieux et remarquable que, sous l'aiguillon de ce sentiment, cet esprit froid, si fort, si durement logique, ait pris sans hésiter cette attitude." See Psychologie de la Femme, by Henri Marion, (Paris, 1903, p. 257). In his Criticisms on Contemporary Thought and Thinkers the Rev. R. H. Hutton, M.A., writes as follows on Mill's relation to Mrs. Taylor; "His passionate reverence for his wife's memory and genius in his own words 'a religion' was one which, as he must have been perfectly sensible, he could not possibly make to appear otherwise than extravagant, not to say an hallucination, in the eyes of the rest of mankind." (See Vol I, p. 173.) See the same work for some sharp and well-deserved criticism of Mill's Utilitarianism.
Men of the J. S. Mill school say that you can trace women's bondage throughout the ages, that you can see how they have been withheld both from places of responsibility and from opportunities for intellectual development ever since the dawn of history. But is this a fact? Is the evidence in favour of this view? Personally, I am convinced that the evidence is entirely against it.
Within the limits naturally described by their destiny as mothers, we can, on the contrary, positively assert that, at least in England and France, nothing no obstacle, no restriction and no harsh measure whatsoever have stood in the way of women's development.
Throughout the whole of its history, our people have been careful to place no barrier in the path of women's advancement. It is rather the other way; everything has been done to enhance and to promote their importance.
Speaking of the early Teutonic tribes, from which we partly sprang, Tacitus emphasizes the prominent rôle that was allowed to the women for generations. "They neither scorn to consult them, nor slight their answers," said Tacitus. "They even believe that a certain sanctity and prescience characterize the female sex. We have seen Veleda . . . long revered as a deity by many. Aurima, besides, and many more, were formerly treated with the same veneration, but not with slavish adulation, nor as if they were goddesses." 1 Speaking of the neighbours of the Suiones, the Sitones, Tacitus says, they "differ in submitting to a female ruler; so far have they degenerated, not only from liberty, but even from slavery." 2 Gibbon, after referring more particularly to those women in the early Teutonic tribes who were revered as goddesses, goes on to say: "The rest of the
1 Germania, chap. IX.
2 Ibid., chap. XLV.
"Even more marked than among the Teutonic and Frisian races," says Dr. Browne, "was the recognition of women in the early Celtic races, whose blood somewhat diluted is in our veins." 2 Two hundred years before the coming of Christ, in the league between Hannibal and the Celts, there was the following clause: "If the Celtae have complaints against the Carthaginians the Carthaginian commander in Spain shall judge it. But if the Carthaginians have anything to lay to the charge of the Celtae, it shall be brought before the Celtic women. 3
As regards the women of Anglo-Saxon England, the evidence of their freedom and high cultivation is so voluminous that it would be impossible to quote it in detail. We have only to mention such names as Rowena, Guiniver, Bertha, Ethelburga, Eanfled, Redburga and Osburga 4 the mother of Alfred the Great. Editha, the consort of Edward the Confessor, appears to have been a remarkable woman. The Saxon historian, Ingulphus, speaks highly of her learning and her domestic gifts, while Edith, or Alfgith, Harold's wife, seems to have been at least a creature of refined sentiments. We also know that all mixed monasteries in Anglo-Saxon times were ruled over
1 See Decline and Fall, chap. IX.
2 The Importance of Women in Anglo-Saxon Times, by the Rt. Rev. G. F. Browne, D.D., p. 12.
3 Browne (Op. cit.), p. 12. The women of the ruling class in Britain at the time of the Roman subjugation of the island, were also distinguished for their cultivation; such women, I mean, as Cartismandua, the earliest British queen to be mentioned in history, Boadicea, and Martia, surnamed Proba, whose laws were ultimately confirmed, and partly adopted, by King Alfred and Edward the Confessor.
4 The only reason why these last two did not share the honours of royalty with their husbands was because of the crimes of the Queen Edburga who had poisoned her husband.
With the arrival of the Normans, the already important position of women could but be still further enhanced; for, the Normans having attained to an even higher grade of civilization, brought with them the notion, created and taught by the troubadours and minstrels of France and Italy, that the softer sex was entitled, not only to the protection and tenderness, but also to the homage and service of all true knights. 4 Certainly if Emma, wife of Ethelred, and subsequently of Canute, represented the type of Norman women, they must have been a remarkable breed. I do not attach as much blame to her, as some are inclined to do, for sacrificing the interests of her children by her first husband to those by her second marriage with the Danish conqueror and this seems the gravamen of the charges brought against her, even by Edward the Confessor; for we have to remember two circumstances in mitigation of this charge: (1) Her possible greater love for her second husband; (2) His ascendancy over her, to which it is a credit to her to have yielded, and consequently the likelihood of his having been himself responsible for her attitude to the children of the first bed. In any case, the fact that Edward the Confessor himself fell at her feet imploring her pardon with tears, after she had successfully passed through the ordeal of walking barefoot unscathed over nine red-hot ploughshares in Winchester cathedral, in order to clear herself of the charges brought against her by her foes; and the fact that he submitted to the
1 Browne (Op. cit.), p. 23.
2 Ibid., p. 23.
3 Ibid., p. 23.
4 See Lives of the Queens of England, by Agnes Strickland. Vol. I. Introduction.
In the Middle Ages, therefore, women may be said to have enjoyed a position, not only of untrammelled freedom, but of exceptional honour. Matilda of Scotland, Adelicia of Louvaine, the third Matilda, Berengaria, Eleanor of Castille, were creatures who could only have deployed the qualities they did deploy, in an age in which every opportunity was afforded for female education and development. And, indeed, Mill himself sees an objection to his argument here; 2 for all historians are unanimous. Women were voting in municipal elections in France as early as 1316 and 1331. Guizot, writing of the women of the Middle Ages, says: "Quand le possesseur de fief d'ailleurs sortait de son château pour aller chercher la guerre et les aventures, sa femme y restait, et dans une situation toute différente de celle que jusque'là les femmes avaient presque toujours eue. Elle y restait maîtresse, châtelaine représentant son mari, chargée en son absence de la défense et de l'honneur du fief. Cette situation élevée et presque souveraine, au sein même de la vie domestique, a souvent donné aux femmes de l'époque féodale une dignité, un courage, des vertus, un éclat qu'elles n'avaient point deployés ailleurs, et elle a, sans nul doute, puissamment contribué a leur développement moral et au progrès général de leur condition." 3
We know that women surgeons were quite common in
1 We have only to think of the enormous amount of faith and intense inward conviction that the successful survival of such an ordeal must mean, in order to realize that Emma of Normandy must have possessed qualities that are extremely rare even among the women of to-day.
2 Subjection of Women, chap. I, section 9. Henry III's wife and mother of Edward I, although perhaps extravagant and reckless, enjoyed an excellent education.
3 Histoire de la Civilisation en France (Paris 1846), Vol. III, pp. 332333.
When we come to more recent times, with the more plentiful material that lies to hand, we are able to demonstrate beyond a doubt that, if ever women had limitations forcibly imposed upon the development of their intellect or character, it was certainly not in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In France in 1576 they were voting for the elections of the States-general, and in the same century they held seats in the States Assembly of Franche-Conté. As regards protection of the female in France in this and the following two centuries, it was rigorous to the point of being inhuman. In 1579 there was a law that made rape a capital offence. 4 In 1709 a certain Sieur La Gravigne was condemned to capital punishment for having seduced a girl with whom he had eloped; in 1712 a member of the Paris Parliament was ordered to pay 60,000 livres damages (or 200,000 francs) for breach of promise, and in 1738 the Parliament at Dijon condemned the Marquis de Tavannes to death for having eloped with a Demoiselle de Bron. 5
1 See Lacroix, Science et Lettres au Moyen Age et à l'époque de la Renaissance (2nd Ed.), p. 169, where the author, speaking of the beginning of the fourteenth century, says: "Bien des femmes ne donnaient confiance qu'à des personnes de leur sexe pour des opérations d'une nature délicate."
2 See Mary Bateson, Mediæval England, p. 286.
3 See G. S. Coulson, M.A., A Mediæval Garner, p. 58.
4 See Emile Faguet, Le Féminisme, p. 173: "Quand on songe que la coûtume de Bretagne et que l'Ordonnance de Blois de 1579 (executive dans tout le Royaume) condamnaient à la peine de mort, les hommes coupables de rapt!" As to the spiritual side of the seventeenth century, on the other hand, we have only to think of Molière's Précieuses Ridicules and Les Femmes Savantes, each of which plays caricatures the then existing phenomenon of the learned woman.
5 Faguet, Op. cit.
"A book might be wholly filled with the story of the part taken by women in the political and religious struggles of the period," says Miss Clark. "They were also active among the crowd who perpetually besieged the Court for grants of wardships and monopolies or patents." 3
"From the women who begged for monopolies which if granted must have involved much worry and labour if
1 See Working Life of Women in the Seventeenth Century, p. 41.
2 Alice Clark, Op. cit., pp. 1418.
3 Ibid., Op. cit., p. 25.
Now, in the face of all this evidence and I do not pretend to know, much less to have adduced, a hundredth part of it in view, moreover, of the prominent part that women, even of the most obscure origin, played in the literature of the eighteenth century, and the independence with which they moved in society, how can it any longer be maintained, with any semblance of honesty, that there has been, as if from malice aforethought, a male conspiracy to achieve the subjection of women?
In trying to explain away certain female characteristics, which are as unanimously testified to to-day as they have been in all ages of history, by ascribing them to a distortion of "true" or "natural" woman whoever or wherever she may be as if woman were only just at this moment coming into her own, as if in fact she were only just emerging from a dark and stifling obscurity that had stunted her. Mill and his followers are guilty of a deliberate lie. They imply that which it is incumbent upon them to prove, and they do so with the full-throated sentimentality of romanticists, who cannot be quite sensible, who must have a tear in their eye, and a lump in their throat, when they pronounce the word "Woman."
But the falsehood, palpable as it was, succeeded by
1 Alice Clark, pp. 2831.
This was much too fascinating a lie ever to be suspected or distrusted by the overweening champions of Women's Rights, either in the late nineteenth or the early twentieth century; hence the eager speed with which it was swallowed down hence too Mill's inordinate popularity! A large majority of women, it is true, were a little too thoughtful, or a little too well informed, to be duped by it; but the disgruntled and arrogant minority won the day. 1
It is perfectly true, of course indeed nothing could be plainer that man, throughout the ages, even of European history, has been unable to relieve woman of those duties which, as a mother, and therefore as a homekeeper, have necessarily devolved upon her; 2 but
1 Weininger agrees that it is wholly erroneous to suggest that hitherto women have had no opportunity for the undisturbed development of their mental powers (see Op. cit., p. 72), but, as usual, the support of his contention is feeble and unconvincing.
2 Miss Clark is of the opinion that even in these domestic duties she was not altogether unassisted by men in former times, as the following passage shows: "On the other hand it may be urged that, if women were on the whole more actively engaged in industrial work during the seventeenth century than they were in the first decade of the twentieth century, men were much more occupied with domestic affairs than they are now. Men in all classes gave time and care to the education of their children, and the
For the truth is, the fact remains (securely as Mill was blinded to it) that even in those departments of social life which for centuries, almost from time immemorial, have constituted practically the undisputed domain of woman woman's Empire, woman's peculiar field for enterprise and initiative, where her independence and supremacy have been unchallenged in cooking, clothing and child-care, such ineptitude, such inability to improve, such gross and stubborn stupidity have been shown, that only when men took over these departments of knowledge, as special branches of study, was there any sign, any hope, any certainty of progress being made.
Even if we were so easily hoodwinked as to be led to admit that woman's relative intellectual inferiority, her lack of creative and inventive ability in other spheres, did not constitute a natural sexual characteristic, but were the outcome of a deliberate attempt on our part to withhold from her the opportunities of acquiring ability in those spheres, how are we to explain the marked deficiency of intelligence and initiative which she has shown as a sex in the elaboration and perfection of those arts or sciences, such as cooking, clothing, and child-care, which have practically been her exclusive domain for ages? Here she was supreme. Here she was entirely free and untrammelled. By now she could have converted each of these pursuits into an exact science. She has had the time, the hereditary bias, and the accumulated knowledge
young unmarried men, who generally occupied positions as apprentices and servants, were partly employed over domestic work. Therefore, though it is now taken for granted that domestic work will be done by women, a considerable proportion of it in former days fell to the share of the men." (Op. cit., p. 5.)
To-day the high authorities, the only authorities, on cooking are all men. To-day, if a woman for some reason or other is unable to nurse her new-born child, she cannot turn to the traditional wisdom of her sex, 1 she cannot even turn to a classical work on child welfare written by one member of her sex, she must turn to man; for the high authorities on this subject, at the time of writing, are all men like Dr. Eric Pritchard, or else women who have learnt all they know directly from them. To-day, every fashion, whether of men's or of women's clothing, is entirely the creation of the male mind. A group of men in England direct the former, and a group of men in France autocratically prescribe the latter.
The only circumstance that could possibly make me regret the death of a woman like Mrs. Taylor, many years before my own birth, is that it has rendered me unable to confront her with these facts, and to ask her how she accounts, or how she would have made poor Mill account, for this colossal, incurable and wellnigh incredible lack of ability in thousands of generations of women, in occupations where they had everything their own way for centuries.
In England, in the Middle Ages, a proverb was current to the effect that "God sent us meat and the devil ordained the cooking of it." 2 The cooking of food, which has remained in the hands of women for a longer period in England than in France, is, in England, notori-
1 If she does so, it only means disaster. As late as a generation ago, if she happened to be in India, she was put to no trouble whatsoever; for the custom there, in such circumstances, was for the European mother to seek out a native mother who could act as wet-nurse. The fact that this almost invariably meant as every Anglo-Indian will tell you the death of the native woman's own child, was cynically overlooked by the British occupiers of India.
2 Paul Lecroix, Op. cit., pp. 370371.
If Mill had, with one masterly shake of his muddled head, removed those soft pink fingers from his brow, he might possibly have seen all this, and have left his MS. in some conspicuous place where his wise housemaid (who consigned Carlyle's French Revolution to the flames) might have done the same by his own Subjection of Women. But with characteristic confusion he mistook erotic vividness for mental vision, and thus added one great intellectual blunder to the many which contributed towards forming late nineteenth-century opinion.
Unlike man, whose nature is more variegated and more subject to variation, woman is possessed of a primum mobile that we can recognize that is to say, she is actuated by a main-spring, a ruling motive, that we can observe in operation. As we have seen, this primum mobile constitutes her the chief custodian and preserver of Life, and the chief promoter of Life's multiplication. In fact, these two functions constitute her principal importance, and endow her with her great power and her great value. Everything else in woman is of minor significance. If, therefore, we assume at this stage in our treatise for the point has been demonstrated often enough that the positive woman's incessant and unconscious impetus is in the direction of Life and its multipli-
Seeing that the pursuit of Life and its multiplication is in Nature an activity that is untrammelled by any moral consideration whatsoever, we may ask ourselves, whether in view of the difficulty of improving upon Nature's methods in this respect, and in view, moreover, of the fact that woman is a child of Nature, we are not justified in recognizing in woman a primum mobile that is also completely a-moral.
If we are so justified, then it follows that all woman's deeper characteristics, as Nature's characteristics, are not moral but immoral, not social but unsocial, not lawful but lawless. 1
Let us proceed to examine this statement more narrowly. A woman's deepest characteristics are termed by us unmoral. What does that precisely mean? We have admitted that what constitutes woman's greatest value and her greatest power is that she is the chief supporter of the vital functions the promotion and preservation of Life. If, therefore, she is also immoral, it must mean that, in the fulfilment of her destiny, she has often to run counter, as Nature does, to our standard of moral integrity. Therefore, that if she were moral, this would be a hindrance and an obstacle in the way of her destiny. But how will she reveal this immorality, or a-morality? My reply is, in being like Nature utterly unscrupulous in the means she adopts to achieve her vital end that is to say, more intent on the vital end than on anything else, such as truth, honour, justice, fair-play, etc., etc. For morality means scruples, it involves the necessity of regarding scruples as obstacles in the way of certain actions. If, therefore, we can show that woman, like
1 Weininger comes to the same conclusion. See Op. cit., pp. 150151 and 196. But he does not give the same reasons as I do. His conclusion is much more of a guess than mine is, and therefore makes one suspect that he was actuated by strong prejudice.
Before, however, we proceed with this inquiry, we should like to remind all readers, who at this point may begin to feel their cheeks mantling with indignation, that, since from the optimist's point of view it is desirable for the human species to survive, a very high sanction indeed prevails over woman's vital unscrupulousness, however surprising and unexpected its consequences may prove to be. 1 For instance, if, as we hope we have already abundantly shown, woman's chief and deepest concern is the multiplication and preservation of life, it is obvious that, when confronted by a situation in which a lie will secure her vital end, and one in which truth will defeat it, she will naturally and instinctively choose to lie not because she necessarily prefers to lie, but because she is more concerned about the end in view than the means she adopts to achieve it, and every lie to her is a "white" lie that secures her vital end. If then from a vital indifference to truth she ultimately reveals an ordinary indifference to truth in the common and less vital circumstances of everyday life, we must blame, not a fundamental perversity of her nature, which would seem to suggest that moral obliquity is a deep-rooted and ineradicable element of her psyche, but a self preservative characteristic of the race which, though manifesting itself, as it were, unnecessarily and provokingly in everyday affairs, nevertheless, if absent altogether, would prove the most serious menace to the survival of humanity. In the form of a simile we might say that, just as the good
1 Weininger (Op. cit., p. 346), who maintained that "it cannot be a moral duty to provide for the continuance of the race," was an avowed pessimist, and, being unable therefore to find a higher sanction for woman's immorality, preforce condemned it. We who believe that there is no duty more sacred than to provide for the continuance of the race, naturally take the other view, and though recognizing woman's unscrupulousness in furthering the survival of the race, recognize the high sanction which her immorality thus acquires.
Is that clear? In plain English, to take an extreme case, if a girl is to be equipped with that ability for wiles and small deceptions which, despite adverse circumstances, are to enable her to secure a lover and a husband and a large family early in life; if, moreover, she is to be prepared to go to extreme lengths to defend and promote the welfare of her children (as all good mothers are), and also to secure their survival and success over the heads of other and possibly more deserving or better children (as all good mothers are prepared to do 1); if, moreover, in her relations with her husband and her children, she is to display that tact and diplomacy which always secure her the victory in domestic negotiations; then, it seems to me, we have a creature whose special gifts will extend beyond her family and its vital concerns, and invade all the other circumstances of her life, and who will inevitably practise wiles and small deceptions in those conditions where life, its multiplication and preservation are not necessarily in question.
The fact, however, that such a creature may be detected again and again in some act of unscrupulousness, not necessarily concerned directly with Life, or some vital interest, does not mean that she is perverse or depraved for the sake of perversity and depravity, as ends in them-
1 Cp. Sir Almroth E. Wright (Op. cit., p. 46): "It would be difficult to find anyone who would trust a woman to be just to the rights of others in the case where the material interests of her children, or of a devoted husband, were involved. And even to consider the question of being in such a case intellectually just to anyone who came into competition with personal belongings like husband and child would, of course, lie quite beyond the moral horizon of ordinary woman."
When from folklore and myth, from national proverbs and tradition, and from the text-books of the oldest religions, therefore, we learn that woman is two-faced, or false, or treacherous, or disloyal, while we cannot expect these sources of information to give us also their reasons for their verdict, we have at least a hint that something deeper is in question than an obliquity of mind. For one would have thought that centuries of schooling would have eradicated these characteristics from women, and that if they have failed to do so, something more essential to woman's nature than a mere perversion of mind may be suspected. Neither is it enough to point, as Lombroso does, to woman's relative weakness, to her periodical functional disturbances, to her modesty, etc., to account for a trait so universally attested. 1
The positive woman who is disloyal to her absent husband is not disloyal from weakness, she is disloyal
1 Schopenhauer in one of his Essays (see the Parerga und Paralipomena, Vol. II, Chap. XXVII) also speaks of women's "instinctive cunning" and "her ineradicable tendency to falsehood," as the outcome of her weakness, but never hints at any deeper, or more positive cause. Speaking of woman's character as being given to injustice, he says: "Er entsteht zunächst aus den dargelegten Mangel an Vernünftigkeit und Ueberlegung, wird zudem aber noch dardurch unterstützt, dass sie, als die schwächeren, von der Natur nicht auf die Kraft, sondern auf die List angewiesen sind: daher ihre instinktartige Verschlagenheit und ihr unvertilgbarer Hang zum Lügen."
The unfairness of the attitude of most psychologists and other men to the phenomenon of unreliability and deception in woman, consists in the fact that they condemn it without understanding it; while those who neither condemn it nor understand it stubbornly, stupidly, and sentimentally deny it in the face of all the overwhelming evidence in proof of its existence. But when once you admit that duplicity and disloyalty in women are part of a vital principle making for the multiplication and preservation of life, and serving the best interests of the species, you are no longer even entitled to condemn those same characteristics when they happen to operate in circumstances and conditions inconvenient to yourself. You cannot always expect to have it both ways, and if the species profits by a certain principle in the female, it must expect to pay for that principle somewhere, somewhen.
To attempt to make woman perfectly honest and upright would therefore be to attack the most vital impulse within
1 Not a little even of our "Good" Queen Bess's success as a ruler was due to her unlimited capacity for lies. Speaking of Queen Elizabeth, J. R. Green in his Short History of the English People, says: "Ignoble, inexpressibly wearisome as the Queen's diplomacy seems to us now, tracing it as we do through a thousand despatches, it succeeded in its main end. It gained time, and every year that was gained doubled Elizabeth's strength. Nothing is more revolting in the Queen, but nothing is more characteristic, than her shameless mendacity. It was an age of political lying, but in the profusion and recklessness of her lies Elizabeth stood without a peer in Christendom." (Chap. VII. Section III.) And
If we observe Nature herself engaged upon the same task that constitutes woman's principal concern in life, we observe the same unscrupulousness. Nature stops at nothing to achieve this end. All means are good to her: rapine, deception, falsehood, usurpation of rights, bullying, stealth, robbery, invasion, and complete indifference to quality and desirability.
Life in Nature is a continuous process of inter-racial and intra-racial struggles for power and supremacy, with no principle, except the one of "more life" in each race or species, governing the whole. Every species behaves as if it alone had the right to exist on earth, irrespective of all other claims. The fact that there are more species of parasites than of any other kind of organism shows that this universal process of rapine and deception is pursued without any natural exercise of favour for what, from the human standpoint, can be called desirability. The parasite kills the human genius just as readily as it kills the cow, and the locusts devour the food which is the only sustenance of the ewe and her lamb. Without scruple, and without favour, Nature's one cry is "Life!" and evermore "Life!" and whether the success of the struggle falls to what we should call the "nobler" species, or to the "inferior," is a matter of utter indifference to her.
When men like Weininger, Lombroso, Havelock Ellis, and many others, inveigh against Nature turned woman, and see the same unscrupulousness concentrated on one form of survival human survival the fact that they
later on in the same chapter he says: "As we track Elizabeth through her tortuous mazes of lying and intrigue, the sense of her greatness is almost lost in a sense of contempt." Even her most distinguished minister, William Cecil, Lord Burleigh, was a most incorrigible liar and rascal.
In woman I recognize some of the principal virtues that make for a continuance of the human species on earth: (1) Unreflecting constancy to the demands of Life; 2 (2) Untiring interest in the processes of Life and its multiplication (which in its minor ramifications lead to that intense concern about all human affairs, which, in opprobrious language, is called "a love of scandal mongering"); (3) A capacity for desperate bravery in defending or succouring human life; (4) A capacity for single-minded devotion to her own offspring (which in its minor ramifications often manifests itself in the virgin, and in the spinster of all ages, as a single-minded devotion to a purpose, to an idea, or to a cause); (5) A capacity for bodily purity, or chastity, which in the more passionate type of woman is based upon an instinct to withhold herself until her heart and her affections are captured (this in its spiritual ramifications leads to intellectual obstinacy, conservatism, or fanaticism. Thus a woman's citadel of opinions, like her bodily citadel, is only liable to capitulation when her heart and her affections are engaged).
These five cardinal virtues of woman constitute her eternal claim to glory and to respect; in each of them she is a natural mistress, a gifted virtuosa. They are of so much value, of so much moment, to the human species, that they overshadow every catalogue of foibles and vices
1 It is true that Havelock Ellis, when discussing woman's tendency to ruse and deception, is careful to say that "to regard the caution and indirectness of women as due to innate wickedness, it need hardly be said would be utterly irrational. It is inevitable, and results from the constitution of women, acting in conditions under which they are generally placed." (Op cit., p. 196.) But this is a very long way from my position, according to which woman's tendency to ruse and deception is a constant positive and life-promoting instinct.
2 As I have shown in Chap. VIII, this constancy supersedes, and frequently defeats, her constancy to man.
To appreciate these virtues of woman at their proper worth, however, a stronger and more vital generation of people is needed than any that has appeared, in England at least, for the last 250 years. The very fact that, at the present day, the general concensus of opinion among men would accord to women quite a different set of virtues, is a sufficient sign of the degeneracy that has occurred.
To-day, for instance, a Parliament of Englishmen or Anglo Saxons would, in enumerating woman's virtues, speak about (1) Her moralizing influence on Society; 1 (2) Her unselfishness (whatever that may mean!); (3) Her powers of self-sacrifice (this is the result of sick values and a confusion of thought see pp. 7779); (4) Her intuition (a great myth, the outcome of woman's habit of saying the first thing that enters her head, and which, according to the laws of chance, must be right sometimes); (5) Her humanitarianism (a mischievous misunderstanding) all weak, or at least, fictitious qualities, that no full-blooded woman would ever do anything more than pretend to possess, and which made Huxley say "that woman's virtue was man's most poetic fiction!"
1 See Lecky, The History of European Morals; Buckle, The Influence of Women on the Progress of Knowledge; Herbert Spencer, Sociology; etc. Emerson asks, "What is civilization?" and replies, "It is the influence of good women."
From (1), which we call the Unreflecting constancy to the demands of Life, we can see the following as derivatives: (a) Woman's constancy to the circumstances (and therefore to the man) who enables her to meet the demands of Life. (b) Her intensely keen sense of self-preservation, when the danger threatening her is not life-promoting. This accounts for her caution, her sagacity in suspecting the unfamiliar, and her over-anxiousness in public thoroughfares, or on railway platforms, on board ship, and in the neighbourhood of restive horses, etc. (c) Her quick recognition of the fact that a given environment cannot procure the demands of Life hence her mobility, tractableness, docility, amenability, and readiness to follow at great personal risk, until such time as she has found the environment that can procure her the demands of Life. In all communities where marriage is difficult owing to a superfluity of women, girls thus show a tendency frequently to change their environment, and are quite unconscious that in so doing they are pursuing tactics which are calculated to enable them to meet Life's demands. Thus, they will leave home to study Political Economy, or Sculpture, and when that fails they will change over to child-welfare, or to nursing, and if that fails they will try secretarial work giving as their reason at each change, that the previous work "did not satisfy them." If economic pressure compels, they will of course be forced to remain in one occupation, whether it satisfies the demands of Life or not; but those who can afford it, will, as a rule, be restless until they find an environment which promises them fertilization, (d) Her ability to put up with any number of inconveniences and discomforts, provided that the demands of Life are pro-
From (2), which we call the Untiring interest in the processes of Life and its multiplication, we can see the follow-
1 See Arabella Kenealy (Op. cit.,p. 105): "No matter to what degree she may acquire masculine characteristics and aptitudes, she remains, at core, a creature of instinct; not of reason. As a creature of instinct she is invaluable to life because Life is moulded upon instinct.
From (4), which we call A capacity for single-minded devotion to her own offspring, we can see the following derivatives: (a) Woman's unswerving tenacity of purpose in serving and ministering to those she loves. (b) Her indefatigable industry on behalf of those who depend on her, so that she is able, like a horse, to work herself to death, provided she loves and knows she is loved. (c) In the spiritual realm, her capacity for fanatical adherence to a cause, to a belief, to a faith, and her corresponding fierce antagonism to those who oppose that cause or faith. (d) Her pride in her own offspring and her consequent tendency to undervalue or to dislike the offspring of others. When this sentiment is stimulated to its zenith by the fact that the offspring of others happen to be the offspring of the former possessor of her man's love, you get the staggering cruelties of the stepmother. Thus in woman's
1 This occurred on the 4th of June, and Miss Davison died, as the result of her action, on the 8th of June at 4.50 p.m. at Epsom.
It is certainly in this capacity for single-minded devotion to her own offspring that, generally speaking, the greatest beauty of woman's character is revealed; and to one who has experienced it in all its perfection and intensity there is perhaps some pardonable difficulty in speaking about it either with calm or with moderation. The very effort of seeking, in writing, a suitable expression for his feelings in this matter may well seem to a man to subject them to a limitation and temperateness which he can hardly regard as sincere; and, ultimately, in the coldness of the printed page, he can perceive, at best, but a poor travesty of the sentiments he wished to convey.
Everything connected with this virtue is at once so useful to the race, and so unique and unforgettable as an individual experience, that it seems only fitting to pause for a moment here to dwell on one or two of its most stirring features. Passing over the first months and years when the only force between helpless, pitiably dependent life, and death or at least neglect is precisely this mother's instinct, this jealous care, when inarticulate infancy can neither acknowledge, return thanks for, nor, what is perhaps more perplexing, realize all the thousand and one services that are cheerfully performed in order to promote its growth and its comfort; passing over, too, those moments of the silent watcher, of the sleepless sentry, in which, during times of danger, every breath
1 This is not generally understood. The cruel stepmother is universally reviled in fable, in fiction, and in real life; but truth to tell the very fact that she is a bad stepmother shows how deep her mother's instincts must be. I have known one or two such stepmothers, and have always found them the most excellent mothers. In fact a good stepmother may always be taken to mean a bad or indifferent mother. This is so little realized by most people, that I believe I am the first person in history who has ventured to defend the bad stepmother on these lines. On the contrary, the whole tendency of the modern world is to deprecate the bad stepmother and to honour the good stepmother. In this way are woman's best virtues being undermined.
There is in the child of a good mother, a spirit so confiding, so receptive, so perfectly trustful, that possibly at no other age are the pre-requisites for sound education more completely present than in those first years of life at the dawn of which a fold of the mother's skirt still offers a substantial amount of support to legs that are learning both bearing power and balance. What happens then, and how it happens, will, of course, never be properly recorded; for lessons are given and lessons are learnt without sufficient conscious effort on either side for the method to be made a subject of exact knowledge. But the result is gradually made manifest by the marvellous transformation of an inarticulate little animal, whose whole horizon is bounded by food, sleep and apparently purposeless limb-exercises, into a creature that can express its wishes, demand explanations of the things about it, learn to recognize the first rules of decent behaviour, and, what is more, shed its own fresh light on the problems of existence; and, if what it learns later on may, from the standpoint of material utility, bear a more imposing and less chaotic aspect, certainly nothing it has failed to learn at this period will ever be acquired at any subsequent stage of its existence. It cannot be said that
Let it not be suspected, however, because we can find only vague phraseology for our purpose, that we wish to claim for this early education an indispensable character that it really does not possess. What is it then that makes it almost impossible to give a more narrow description of it without losing all grasp of its magnitude and importance? It is the fact that, from this education are derived those qualities of heart and mind which, though hardly ever referred to at critical moments in a man's life, are nevertheless among the most serviceable and powerful of life's weapons. The man who has had a good mother has learnt to feel a certain confidence in his own unaided efforts, because the best in him has been diligently sought, encouraged, and brought to the fore; he has acquired a certain vigorous sanguineness and courage because, having started life so well, in such a glorious morning of sunshine, he is conscious of stored-up warmth within him, upon which he can fall back in his moments of loneliness, gloom and trouble; but, above all, he has been launched forth into the world with at least one solid experience, one ineffaceable impression of human kindness and human beauty, and this, while it gives him a perpetual criterion of value and criticism, shielding him from the specious and the base, also prevents him from ever feeling that despair and doubt about himself and his fellows which in moments of deep tribulation paralyses effort and precludes the possibility of hope.
This is what the equipment amounts to, with which a loving mother can endow her son. Quite apart from the joys that are derived from deep filial emotions, and from that unique relationship of a mother to her son, these are among the chief benefits that the relationship necessarily
It is here that woman excels; it is here that she can defy all competition, and it is in this rôle that the best in herself, and some of the best in mankind, is developed and sustained. Anything else that she may do must be always second best to this; and those who, by misrepresentation and appeals to vanity, persuade her while she is yet quite young that there are callings better than, or at least as good as, motherhood for her, are enemies not only of woman, but also of the species.
From (5), which we call A capacity for bodily purity or chastity, which is based upon an instinct to resist fertilization until heart and affection are engaged, we can see the following derivatives: 1 (a) Woman's tendency to a certain rather becoming dignity and pride, which come to their zenith at the moment of the most heated appeal made by the lover who has failed to engage her heart and affection. This on the spiritual side leads to a power of renitency against conviction and persuasion, which frequently makes of woman a most powerful and reliable ally in a secret movement, or in a secret intrigue, (b) Since the demands of Life make it necessary, when once woman has abandoned her attitude of chaste resistance, to yield wholly and unreservedly to the male, there is in all women a certain sequaciousness, a certain docility, a marked predilection in favour of subservience and sub-
1 This is in addition to the derivatives already given in the first mention of this virtue.
From this fifth virtue, which, when the attitude of chastity is abandoned, becomes converted into subjection and submission, are thus derived woman's suppleness, her plasticity, her promptness to assimilate and to form herself according to another's pattern, and her ability to adapt herself to circumstances.
In all these derivatives of the five cardinal virtues of
1 See Baudouin's confirmation of this in his interesting work Suggestion and Auto-Suggestion. (George Alien & Unwin, Ltd.)
2 See Henri Marion (Op cit., p. 79). Les filles sont aussi plus imitatrices que les garçons, quoique l'instinct d'imitation soit remarquable chez tous également. Selon Mlle Lauriol 'les filles imitent et singent mieux que les garçons.' Il semble qu'elles remarquent mieux ce qu'on dit et fait devant elles et qu'elles y prennent plus d'intérêt; le répéter et l'imiter est un de leurs plaisiers les plus vifs. Elles y excellent d'autant plus qu'elles créent, inventent et innovent moins."
3 Op. cit., p. 234. See also p, 177: "The sex-instinct in woman having had its origin in surrender, retains much still of this primal element."
In the positive woman 1 only those vices may be recognized which are inseparable from her functions as a promoter and preserver of life, for all the other vices she may or may not have in common with man. 2 Those that are constantly characteristic of her are:
(l) Duplicity and an indifference to truth; (2) Lack of Taste; (3) Vulgarity; (4) Love of petty power; (5) Vanity; and (6) Sensuality.
These six cardinal vices have been recognized in her in all ages; they have been censured and deplored; but no one so far, to the best of my knowledge, has ever traced them to a basic vital principle within her. No one has ever said of them, for instance, what I say of them that to attempt to eradicate them from her nature would amount to an attack on the most solid guarantee we possess of human survival.
While discussing the derivative and minor vices that descend from these six cardinal vices, I shall, however, also show the connexion of the latter with woman's innate vital principle, as in some cases this is not obvious at first sight.
No. l Duplicity and an indifference to truth has already been discussed above, and its relation to the will
1 It is naturally impossible to discuss or enumerate the many vices that may or may not fall to the share of the negative woman; for they would consist of all the positive woman's vices, plus those vices that come with subnormal health, and minus, of course, sensuality. Negative women can at least pride themselves on this minus.
2 No reference will be made to those vices that result from a thwarting of her natural instincts such vices as cruelty, gluttony, and drunkenness; for most of these were discussed in the Chapter on the Old Maid.
Again, women are notorious for their tact and presence of mind in embarrassing situations; 2 indeed, the tactful-
1 Byron has already been mentioned in this volume as one who also detected women as the creators of this tinsel of false sentiment. Michelet and Alphonse Daudet were among the Frenchmen who saw eye to eye with Byron on this point. Daudet said: "La femme deteste l'ironie qui la déconcerte et qu'elle sent être l'antagoniste des enthusiasmes et des rêveries de l'amour."
2 See Havelock Ellis, Op. cit., p. 196: "Whenever a man or a woman are found under compromising circumstances, it is nearly always the woman who with ready wit audaciously retrieves the situation. Every one is acquainted with instances from life or from history of women whose quick and cunning ruses have saved lover or husband or child. It is unnecessary to insist on this quality, which in its finest forms is called tactfulness." See also Lecky, History of European Morals, Vol. II., p. 358. See as a magnificent poetic representation of this power in women Byron's Don Juan, Canto I, stanzas CXLII to CLXXVIII. The latter stanza is worth quoting in full. It is as follows:
"A hint, in tender cases is enough;
Silence is best; besides, there is a tact
(That modern phrase appears to me sad stuff,
But it will serve to keep my verse compact)
Which keeps, when push'd by questions rather rough,
A lady always distant from the fact:
The charming creatures lie with such a grace,
There's nothing so becoming to the face."
1 Speaking of little girls Henri Marion says: "De même les observateurs n'hésitent pas à declarer les petites files moins parfaitement droites que les garçons, en général, plus compliquées, plus diplomates, plus fertiles en petites roueries, plus inclinées à biaiser, à broder, à inventer, tout au moins à aranger et amplifier. . . . Surtout quand elles veulent mentir, elles sont plus habiles que les petits garçons, se troublent moins, ont plus de présence d'esprit pour soutenir un premier mensonge. Op. cit., p. 86. Monsieur Marion adduces Mgr Dupanloup and Mlle Lauriol as his authorities for this view.
2 Finally among the great thinkers of Europe who have held the view that women are indifferent to truth, and incapable of rectitude, I would further mention Rousseau, Diderot, La Bruyère, and that great genius Kant, who, in his Ueber Pädagogik coldly conjures fathers to enforce truthfulness in their children because "mothers have a tendency to attach but little importance to it." His exact words are (p. 108 of the Königsberg
What I did not do, however, in Man's Descent from the
1813 Edition), speaking of children's habit of lying, "Des Vaters Sache ist es, darauf zu sehen, dass sich die Kinder dessen entwöhnen; denn die Mütter achten es gemeiniglich für eine Sache van keiner, oder doch nur geringer Bedeutung."
1 See Chapter VIII of that work.
If we think of the immensely precarious situation of the new born infant or animal, its lack of all means of protection, of mobility, and of procuring nourishment independently, its lack of warmth, and frequently of the very equipment for preserving warmth (clothing in the human infant, and fur and feathers in the young animal and bird respectively), we realize at once the immense importance to the species of an instinct in the mother which makes the provision of all these deficiencies a joy, a passionate need, in fact a delight worth fighting for. If the new-born creature is to be preserved, and the species is to survive, there must be no possible loophole, no conceivable crevice or chink, in the armour of the natural instinct, through which any doubt, any hesitation whatever, may enter, as to the immediate urgency and desirability of succouring it. The moment in the life of the young creature is too critical, the situation is too precarious. Here you have pitiable helplessness, pathetic dependence, extreme vulnerability. The future of the species depends upon these unreliable qualities being turned into reliable ones by the only creature in the young one's neighbourhood who, while being necessarily present at its birth, is in a position to offer first aid. If then there were any excuse or pretext for indecision, any humming and ha-ing over the question of desirability, the "best of the brood," the "most promising of the litter," etc., life's very future would be in the balance, the precious instinct which secures the safety and the survival of the young creature would be undermined, or at least no longer impelled unreflectingly to do the right thing in the right way. There must be an uncritical unreasoning impulse to succour, to warm, to protect, and to feed,
Besides, if organic evolution be true, it depends upon the operation of three factors: (1) The survival of the fittest through the action of (2) Natural Selection, with (3) occasional appearance of variations from type.
Now, if the female of the species is to exercise discernment before she succours her young, if her action is to be deliberative and not impulsive, what becomes of those variations which, when happy, lead to a new development of the species, or actually to a new variety of species? Happy variations are just as odd qua type as unhappy variations. But if the female's instinct is to preserve life, it will preserve one just as passionately as the other. Discrimination would prove fatal to both. The very process of organic evolution, if it be a fact, therefore depends upon the lack of discrimination in the motherly instinct, and the hypothesis of organic evolution certainly assumes it.
This instinct in the female to succour young life of any kind, therefore, is useful to Nature's scheme. It is an indispensable factor in Nature's plan. In the lower animals it is demonstrated by the ease with which a female of one species can be made to act as foster-mother to the young of another. Books on natural history mention many such cases: cats that have reared leverets and young squirrels, 1 hens that rear ducklings, and the classical natural instance of birds like the Pipit, the Water
1 See White's Natural History of Selborne. Letters LXXVI and "Observations on Quadrupeds."
It is true that in the human species this lack of discrimination in the female operates as a preserver both of desirable and undesirable varieties; but, as in all modern civilizations, the father is no longer allowed, as he was by ancient Sparta or Rome, to override the female's lack of taste in this matter, and unsuccessful variations from type are more common than geniuses, it follows that the female's point of view, now that it is supported by the State and public opinion, must lead to the survival of a vast number of undesirable human beings in our midst.
Thus, although the human female's instinct is seen to be a vital one, and though her lack of taste must be regarded as part of the general scheme of life, it must tend nowadays to an enormous amount of degeneration.
This, however, is not precisely our point. The facts we wish to establish are, in the first place, that in woman's rôle of mother, the blind instinct to succour, to protect and to preserve the helpless creature that she bears is of vital importance to the race; and, secondly, that this blind instinct necessarily involves a deep-seated and incorrigible lack of taste. The fact that subsequently that is to say, when the undesirable offspring, be it cripple, cretin or idiot, grows up it is frequently cherished by the mother more than her whole and hearty children, is but a confirmation of the point I am attempting to make; for it shows that what appeals to the true mother and what according to our whole argument must and ought to appeal, is not the particular excellence of a given child, not its claim to any particular form of desirability, but simply its helplessness. And, since in
1 The researches of ornithologists during recent years sufficiently prove that the female cuckoo lays her egg upon the ground, and then deposits it in the nest of a bird whose egg resembles the one she has just laid.
The consequences of this fundamental and vital lack of taste in women are, of course, considerable.
When we read in Manu's Book of Laws that "women do not care for beauty," 1 when Lombroso and Ferrero, in discussing woman's taste state that "en général, la beauté et l'intelligence la laissent indifférente," 2 and when we find Rousseau saying "les femmes en général n'aiment aucun art, ne se connoissent à aucun" 3 we feel inclined to object, because we know of individual instances of women who have shown a marked feeling for beauty. Neither Lombroso, Manu nor Rousseau tells us, however, that their respective statements only refer to a specific and superficial manifestation of a deep and unalterable law. When once we realize that law, we see that these men must be right not, however, because individual women have shown an indifference to beauty, but because the sex as a whole has no taste, and that, wherever discernment for beauty is pronounced in a woman, she either diverges from type or has undergone some special educating influence.
We are better able to understand now why the forms of art have all been man's invention, although they have sometimes been successfully imitated by women (in the novel), 4 and why clothes, even those that fill the wardrobes of women, are all derived from an original masculine designing centre in London or Paris. We can also see why women are so prone to select and to associate with the worst and most unpromising type of men, 5 why they have no flair (except on the sexual side, and even
1 See chap. IX, verse 14.
2 Op. cit., p. 121. See also Weininger, Op. cit., p 250.
3 Letter to d'Alembert.
4 Among other reasons accounting for woman's dependance on man for art-forms is her lack of originality.
5 See my Man's Descent from the Gods, chap. VIII.
No. 3. Woman's Vulgarity might be supposed to arise from her natural absence of taste. But, truth to tell, it is the outcome of a different basic principle in her. Many men have been conscious of it, but none, as far as I have been able to discover, has shown how essential it is, and how necessarily it derives from the vital functions of the female nature. Besides, there is a substantial difference between a lack of taste and vulgarity. The former is a defect, a minus. The latter is a definite quality which operates as a determined bias in an unrefined, rude and low direction. A person lacking taste may by a fluke select a tasteful thing. A vulgar person can in no circumstances be refined. It is not necessarily low, or rude, or unrefined in the mother to prefer the crippled or cretin child before the healthy one that is simply tasteless. We could not call the mother vulgar because she prefers her child in long clothes before her grown up child in knickerbockers. The grown-up child makes a stronger appeal to taste, owing to the greater harmony of his proportions, his articulateness, his intelligence, and his greater command over his body and its movements; but as the mother is chiefly attracted by helplessness, it is the child in long clothes that she prefers. The appeals to taste do not affect her. It is tastelessness, therefore, and not vulgarity, that elects the child in long clothes, Thus we see there is a distinct difference between the two, and the one cannot derive from the other. It can aggravate the other, add to its seriousness as a social evil,
Now woman constantly overlooks and avoids the former and as constantly pursues the latter, and we hope to show that she cannot help acting in this way in fact, that in so doing she is obeying a vital instinct.
The records of the lives of artists reveal one singular fact most impressively, and that is the frequency with which they have had to associate with immoral women, or women of the working classes: Heine, Goethe, Rodin, Van Gogh, Wagner, etc.; they are all alike in this; so much so, indeed, that Weininger, with his customary superficiality, thought fit to assert that "great men have always preferred women of the prostitute type." 1 Weininger is wrong great men have not always preferred women of this type. The point is, however, that women of the prostitute type, or women of the proletariat, are the only women who will, as a rule, have anything to do with great men when, as in the case of Wagner, Heine, Van Gogh, and Rodin, their beginnings are poor, inconspicuous, and uncertain. These artists at the outset, like many hundreds of other great men, were unsuccessful. That is the important fact as far as the sexual side of their life is concerned. Unsuccessful men find it quite difficult enough to prevail upon women of their own station in life to associate with them, but to get them as wives is out of the question. This accounts for the fact that great men are so frequently thrown upon the company of courtesans and women of lower rank. 2
1 Op. cit., p. 226.
2 One or two exceptions will occur to the reader's mind, such as Mahommed and Benjamin Disraeli; but these are not really exceptions, because in each case the woman was rich enough to compensate for her husband's impecunious and unsuccessful condition.
Woman, by her very nature, is bound to take this attitude. She is compelled, therefore, to be vulgar. What is the rationale of her conduct?
It is obviously as follows: Woman, like the female butterfly, the female house-fly, or the female horse-fly, has the very vital and useful instinct to deposit her eggs only there where there is a sound promise of food, and ample quantities of it, for the support of the larvæ that are to be reared from them. To consider other matters here would obviously imperil not so much the mother herself as her future offspring. Æsthetic considerations must therefore be barred. It is not the best-looking repository, or the most refined, or the most learned, or the most artistic, that is sought, but that repository which promises the richest food-supply for the coming brood. In the insect it is the leafy tree, 1 the towering dung-heap; in the human female it is the man who shows some substantial promise of being able to support the family that will come, and support it, moreover, in circumstances similar to those in which the wife herself has been reared. Thus the struggling artist, the struggling scientist, and
1 See W. S. Coleman, M.E.S., British Butterflies, p. 4: "Prompted by a most remarkable instinct, and one that could not have originated in any experience of personal advantage, the female butterfly, when seeking a depository for her eggs, selects with unerring certainty the very plant which, of all others, is best fitted for the support of her offspring, who, when hatched, find themselves surrounded by an abundant store of their proper food."
Now this is obviously a very useful and a very vital instinct in woman. From the standpoint of the species nothing could be more laudable than this anxious preoccupation with the future of the offspring. But it amounts to this, that by their nature women can have no primary concern about those things that bear the hallmarks of cultivation, of refinement and of greatness, and that, therefore, they are essentially vulgar. 1
If in the Europe of to-day, and in all countries like Europe, it is material success alone that is regarded as of the highest value, and if money is the principal hall-mark of power and prestige, it is due to the ascendancy of women in our midst. Women cannot take any other
1 The reader is probably aware that celibacy was not always the rule among the clergy of the Holy Catholic Church. It was only enforced by law during the fourth century A.D. Now, it is my theory that it was this instinctive vulgar predilection of the female in favour of material success that was partly responsible for compelling the authorities of the Church ultimately to make celibacy a duty among the clergy. Because as the bulk of them were, by virtue of their profession, poor, it was impossible for them to find women of their own station to marry them, and in consequence they were thrown on the lowest women, or the prostitutes, of the time. To avoid the abasement of the ecclesiastical body by this inevitable law, the authorities therefore prescribed celibacy. H. H. Milman, D.D., in his History of Latin Christianity, admits that celibacy was enforced among the clergy to save the Church from degeneration, but he gives as a reason that ecclesiastical matrimony would have led to the holy office passing from father to son, and thus to grandson and great-grandson. Why this should necessarily have led to degeneration is not clear, unless he assumes, as I do, that the clergy would have had to marry beneath them. See Vol. IV (Ed. London, 1864), pp. 1718.
It is indeed one of the most pernicious results of woman's ascendancy in any society, that this vulgar pursuit of mere material success (because it provides the surest provision for the offspring) tends to become general, 1 and it is a sign of woman's subordination in the Hindu community, for instance, that there the most respected caste is the poorest caste.
To-day this vulgarity can be detected in every aspect of our lives. Everything, every consideration of refinement, is overlooked, provided that money be present. And the man who kills most female hearts is he who can throw a rich fur round his capture and whirl her off in a sumptuous Rolls-Royce. This to the normal decent woman is simply irresistible. She will abandon any mere artist for this experience. And though in later years, when the latter has become great in a worldly sense, she may deplore her error of judgment, she has no gifts that enable her immediately to gauge his worth, and thus to foretell his ultimate position.
It is interesting to note that neither Heine, Nietzsche nor Van Gogh ever became a material success until long
1 That acute thinker, Schopenhauer, realized this, and spoke of the harm that women do to modern society by stimulating the most sordid and ignoble ambitions of men. See Essay, Ueber die Weiber, in the 2nd Vol. of the Parerga und Paralipomena, chap. XXVII, para. 369.
Indeed, so deeply rooted is this love of material success in women that it manifests itself in those who have long ceased to be able to bear children. Thus wives who have passionately loved their husbands will learn to dislike and despise them intensely if owing to some unhappy turn in their fortunes they become material failures. Daughters will also manifest a pronounced dislike towards fathers who, for their station in life, have been inadequate material successes. I once heard a daughter of a peer talk most bitterly about her father, because he was a failure from the financial point of view. A woman will forgive anything in her man adultery, cruelty, obesity, and stupidity, but she cannot and will not forgive material failure.
The ramifications of this fundamental and vital vulgarity in woman are, of course, manifold. We have only to think of the ostentation of wealth, of the insistence upon the insignia of wealth and material success by women (diamonds, pearls, furs, fine external domestic appointments, etc.), and of the stampede for wealth and success in modern, women-ridden society. We have only to think of the commercial, industrial and financial immorality of modern societies, all of which are the direct outcome of the maniacal struggle for that hall-mark which alone means power and prestige in an effeminate community. Individually this vulgarity ramifies in woman as an inability to pursue refinement, unassisted or undirected; as a readiness to sacrifice refinement or else the fruits of cultivation, to any other sordid end, and as an inaccessibility to the finer nuances of thought. That is why the notion "Lady" is such absurd nonsense. It is the grossest and most palpable fiction. No "lady" has ever existed or will ever exist. As Napoleon said, "Women
No. 4. Woman's love of petty power is obvious and hardly requires demonstrating. It arises from the species' urgent need of some adult animal which, when the offspring is born, will take an instinctive delight in looking after it. Apart from the pleasant sensations that the healthy female whether animal or human derives from suckling, 2 there must also be an instinct which makes it a pleasure to nurse, to fondle, and to tend the infant of the species. This instinct can be examined under its two aspects, either as a love of petty power or as a love of dealing with something pathetically helpless. And, indeed, if some of the deepest chords in the female's being were not moved by helplessness, where on earth should we be? What would become of our babies and our children?
As far as her relation to the child is concerned, therefore, there can be no doubt whatsoever concerning the utility to the species of woman's love of petty power, and away from the child it is revealed in a hundred different ways: woman's pronounced preference for lap-dogs, her fondness for teaching (when children play at school it is invariably a little girl of the party who plays the part of teacher), 3 her conscious preference for the grown-up schoolboy as. a husband (that is to say, the man who is easily led by the nose), her tendency to desire to give advice to relatives and friends, in everything, so that virtually she directs their lives (this is admirably depicted by George Eliot in her descriptions of Maggie's aunts in the Mill on the Floss), and finally her tendency to excessive self-assertion and to interference with other people's concerns.
1 An intelligent working man once said in my presence, "Almighty God made woman, and money made ladies." I have wondered ever since whether the deep wisdom in this remark was original, or whether there is any national saw embodying this sentiment.
2 In White's Natural History of Selborne there are some interesting and illuminating remarks on this point. See Edward Jesse's edition (London, 1898), pp. 223 (Footnote) and 333.
3 See the Chapter on the Old Maid.
Truth to tell, woman is less happy with the grown-up schoolboy type than with the latter type, but this she only finds out later. Her conscious choice, supported by the values of the age, inclines her to the type over which she can exercise petty power, and this man, who believes in "chivalry," who believes in playing "cricket" (or "playing the game") with his womenfolk, and who accepts the whole of the tinsel of false sentiment that women have succeeded in drawing over the natural relations of the sexes, has become the beau ideal of Anglo-Saxon society.
Ultimately, of course, woman suffers excruciatingly, not only as an individual, but also as a whole sex, when
A moment's thought, of course, reveals at once how ridiculous even the terminology of this womanly ideal of man really is; for truly "manly" men are not ruled by their women. And yet, in the most successful novels of the day, in the most exalted circles of the land, and in the hearts of all unsuspecting virgins, he continues to be upheld as the paragon for all times and climes.
This is what we have had to pay for woman's point of view becoming paramount.
Do not let it be thought, however, that the cure would consist in curbing, uprooting or correcting woman's love of petty power. This should not be attempted for one instant, even if it were possible. Woman's love of petty power is much too valuable to the species to be tampered with. The only practical cure would be the breeding of a type of masculine men over whom woman's love of petty power could not avail.
Thus woman's lack of taste on the one hand, her vulgarity and her love of petty power on the other, 1 are all seen to be exercising a deleterious and dangerous
1 This, by the by, was recognized by Pope. See his Moral Essays (Epistle II, To a Lady):
"In men, we various passions find;
In women, two almost divide the kind;
Those, only fixed, they first and last obey,
The love of pleasure, and the love of sway."
What in the circumstances is the solution?
The only advisable solution lies in the direction, not of changing woman that would be suicidal to the species but in limiting her power, in controlling her influence. Feminism, therefore, which aims at the opposite ideal, is wrong wrong to the root. There must be a revulsion of feeling, or we perish. Woman must be re-defined. Her sphere must once again be delimited and circumscribed, if her vital and precious instincts are not, in their effort to extend "out of bounds," to drag us steadily down into the abyss.
If woman were happier as she is, than with her influence controlled, if Feminism had brought bliss instead of anguish to millions of women, there might be at least one remaining argument a purely hedonistic one in favour of this nineteenth-century madness. But seeing that this is not so; in view of what every one now knows and can see and feel with his own unassisted senses, that woman has grown every day more wretched, more neurotic, and more sick, with every advance that Feminism has made, the last and only possible word remaining in its favour, the plea even of hedonism, is shown to be as inadmissible as the rest.
When, therefore, we read in the old cannon of the Brahmins, "He who carefully guards his wife, preserves the purity of his offspring, virtuous conduct, his family, himself, and his means of acquiring merit" 1; when we read "Day and night women must be kept in dependence
1 The Book of Manu, chap. IX, verse 7.
No. 5. Woman's Vanity, I take it, is not open to question. If no other proof of its pre-eminence in her were available, we should find one in her universally reported modesty; for, who says modest, says also vain. 2 Since, therefore, no one has yet contested the modesty of women, I may take it that her vanity is by implication generally accepted too.
The ramifications of this vice in her are to be found in her tendency to inordinate jealousy (which arises from her incessant desire to be the centre of attraction and her intolerance of rivals in this desire); in her love of honours, titles, badges, etc. (hence her incessant spurring on of her mate to obtain them, and her impatience with him if he fails); in her tendency to adopt only showy or
1 The Book of Manu, verses 2 and 3.
2 For the necessary relationship of vanity and modesty, see Chapter on Divorce, pp. 223225 ante.
1 Op. cit., p. 211.
The most cursory study of any woman's opinion about her fellow-creatures will always reveal the same fact, that they are not based at all upon the intrinsic value of people, but on the way people treat her. This is a comparatively harmless trait so long as woman has no power; the moment, however, that she is placed in a position of wielding power, her errors of judgment affect public life, and she only accepts those men as her ministers, advisers or directors who can prostrate themselves with the best grace at her feet, and appeal most irresistibly to her vanity. Her choice of a fellow-creature may of course be right by a fluke, as for instance when he combines with general ability the power for fulsome flattery (Benjamin Disraeli); but otherwise it is almost sure to be wrong. 1
These ramifications of the fundamental vice of vanity in woman are, I presume, disputed by no one. It only remains, therefore, to show that here again we are concerned with a vital instinct which, while it may require curbing by man, is too precious to be uprooted or suppressed. For what, after all, is this vanity in woman but the outcome of her natural impulse to attract the notice of the male to speed up, that is to say, or to make certain of, the act of fertilization, which can only be consummated when a male has been captivated? If the female played the aggressive and prehensile rôle in the sexual act, she would only need to pursue and to over-
1 A vain man is just as dangerous when he has power; because he too judges his fellows only according to how they treat him.
Since, however, in a contest between attractions, native beauty and native endowments generally play a greater part than dress or acquired intellectual smartness, it will generally be found that women are more bitterly jealous of each other's bodily gifts than of each other's wardrobes, wealth or wisdom. But woman does not consciously consider the benefit of the species, although she is constantly working for it. Thus when she is vying with other women in the business of attraction, she realizes the enormous advantage enjoyed by the rival who has the best physical endowments, and since it is her own fertilization that is alone important to her, her jealousy of the other woman or women may quite easily drive her to homicide, if she can hope to achieve a speedier triumph by this means.
Apart from sexual matters, this characteristic in the female manifests itself generally as a desire to shine, or to outshine, and to be the centre of an admiring or, at least,
1 This tendency to add to personal attractions by cultivating intellectual interests is more particularly suspicious in the mature virgin, and in the young married woman who is either childless or has ceased to bear children. In both the waxing unconscious desire for fertilization calls forth the instinct to use every possible weapon to draw attention.
As a general rule it is best to teach women through the example of other women; because their natural loathing and contempt of other women is such, that if you can once convince your wife, or your daughter, that she is behaving, or has behaved, like a certain other woman, whom she has had opportunities of observing with disapproval, the chances are that you will have cured her spontaneously of the objectionable trait which it was your desire to suppress.
This fact, however, should be carefully noted in regard to female vanity, and that is that normally it is only a means of luring the male. When once the male has been lured, and the woman is passionate and positive, vanity is flung to the four winds, and passion will induce the woman to accept even insults from the man she loves without ceasing from loving him. The negative woman, on the other hand, whose vanity is never smothered by passion, cannot accept an insult from anyone. She hates the lover who does not keep up to the mark in worshipping her. Since she is never carried away by passion, she never forgets to ask herself the constant question what sort of figure she is cutting in the affair; and this makes her very sensitive to adulation, neglect and insults.
No. 6. Woman's Sensuality will be stoutly denied, not only by women themselves, but by all sentimental and women-ridden men. Owing to the lies told by the writers of the J. S. Mill type, most modern Anglo-Saxons
But let us not suppose that on that account sensuality is an evil. On the contrary, it is one of the greatest mainstays of life. Without sensuality we could not advance from one generation to another; without a love of the flesh and its joys human nature and the animal creation would come to an end in half a century. In this sense, seeing that to-day we are all Puritans if not in deed, at least in thought I have the best possible proof of how little woman has influenced civilization for the good. For woman is chiefly sensual. If then she had influenced civilization for the good, she must have checked Puritanism. Because even if we admit, as we must, that her sensuality must be kept within proper bounds by man,
1 See, for instance, Lecky, History of European Morals, Vol. II, p. 379: "Morally the general superiority of women over men is, I think, unquestionable . . . they are more chaste both in thought and act" [!!!]. See also Vol. I, p. 145: "Sensuality is the vice of young men." There is scarcely an English book on this subject that does not reiterate this insane legend. See also footnote on p. 308 ante.
The reader may reply that this proves that woman is not sensual. But I invite him to consider the process of bearing and rearing children. Surely it is from start to finish from the coitus to the weaning a sensuous process; and in that sense woman's sensuality is entirely laudable. When once this sensuous process ceases from being pleasant in all its stages, disease is present, and the species is in danger of extermination. 1 This danger may be remote, but it must be recognized. Now, how can we expect a creature to find pleasure in a sensuous process lasting over such a long period of time unless sensuality plays a great part in her constitution?
The only point we have to settle here (since we have placed sensuality among woman's vices) is at what point does her sensuality become vicious. Now let it be thoroughly understood that two-thirds of our middle-class and certainly three-quarters of our wealthiest classes can hardly produce a positive woman among them, and, therefore, that there can be no question of sensuality in the women of these sections of the community. To be sensual a woman must at least be positive; she must at least have healthy and tonic organs, both of alimentation, etc., and of sex; hence, we shall not be thinking of the bulk of British women when we proceed to show how the natural and laudable sensuality of the positive woman becomes a vice.
1 Nature evidently intended it to be pleasant in alt its stages: for all bodily functions, when healthy, are pleasant; their very pleasantness seems to be part of the design of preserving life on earth. He who has watched a female cat, as I have often done, from the moment of fertilization to the day when the kittens are weaned, can no longer entertain any doubt that the enormous amount of unpleasantness that civilized women have to undergo, in the process of childbearing, is all the result of degeneration and disease. A female cat purrs even while the kittens are being born.
How does it operate harmfully when once it has become a vice through positive women having their own way? It operates as a vice by breaking up the family unit, by unduly exhausting the menfolk of the nation, by leading to promiscuity and thence to disease, by making woman the only subject whether of agreement or disagreement among men, and by elevating to the first place among the virtues a caprine degree of masculine potency.
The way of arresting this vice, however, is not, as our ancestors of the seventeenth century thought (and did), to eradicate woman's sensuality and to make her negative; for that is tantamount to destroying a portion of her vitality, and of her valuable vital impulses. The only remedy, here again, is to circumscribe woman's powers, and to place each woman under the tutelage of some responsible man. But in order to do this successfully you must have the men who can undertake the charge. Besides, is it not too late to speak of this now? Has not the wrong remedy, the rearing of negative and non-sexual women, gone too far? I doubt whether, in view of humanity's infinite possibilities, anything could have gone too far. But the revulsion of feeling that would be required to alter our present condition in suchwise as (l) to rear a majority of positive women once more, and
Certainly the choice taken by our ancestors cannot have been the right one. 1 It cannot be right to suppress a vice by eradicating or detoning the vital principle that causes it 2; and now that we have the fruits of this method about us, in our millions of negative women, it may reasonably be asked whether we do not see the necessity of starting a counter movement which, while it will increase the proportion of positive women in our midst, will also and concurrently rear the men who can take charge of them.
"Day and night woman must be kept in dependence by the males of their families," says Manu, "and if they attach themselves to sensual enjoyments, they must be kept under one's control." 3
Thus we have seen that both in her virtues and her vices woman is entirely the creature of vital impulses. Her virtues, like her vices, arise from principles within her that are valuable nay indispensable, to the species. Furthermore, we have seen that her vices are not vices in their origin, but only become so when certain vital principles within her get out of hand, or find expression in a way they were not intended to adopt. To attempt to correct these vices by extirpation is dangerous, seeing that to do so is to ruin instincts upon which the race
1 For a description of how our ancestors deliberately created a majority of negative women, see Chapter V of my Defence of Aristocracy.
2 This method of going to work, which is the method of amputation, is always the first adopted by weak and stupid people. It is easier to amputate and suppress than it is to master and to organize. Hence there is an element of impotence and dull-wittedness in the counsel, "And if thy right eye offend thee pluck it out and cast it from thee" (Matthew v. 29, 30); "And if thy right hand offend thee" do ditto.
3 Book of Laws, IX, 2.
The only difficulty we can see in the way of this desirable reform, is the absence of the men who would be capable of carrying it out. For women themselves are already half-convinced that Feminism is wrong, and that J. S. Mill is actually the pernicious liar I have shown him to be.
1 Rousseau was groping towards this truth when in Emile, Book V, he said: "Vous dites sans cesse, les femmes ont un tel et tel défaut que nous n'avons pas. Votre orgueil vous trompe; ce seroint des défauts pour vous, ce sont des qualités pour elles; tout iroit moins bien si elles ne les avoient pas. Empêchez ces prétendus défauts de dégénerer, mais gardez-vous de les détruire."