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droll and unconventional, but of tenderness, that most lovable quality, more common to men than to women, there is little.
Let us look at the man's attitude when he is attracted by the girl. He is determined to see a good deal of her, and he succeeds in this, too well perhaps, for every facility is given him. An amitié amoureuse with a married woman could not be conducted in a more straightforward manner. The fact that he admires her is common knowledge after a week, and he meets her constantly with an unquestioned licence. They meet on a curiously equal footing-they are both in a way bachelors; but though he is. attracted he is also wary, he is determined not to force the pace, to look before he leaps, and so the thing hangs fire. Some months pass by, and in the end he rides away to propose to a little Jane Austen débutante whom he has seen four or five times at local
Intellectual flirtations, with men much older than themselves, form a favourite occupation for the jeunes filles of to-day. They are called intellectual because books are exchanged, but not read, and the original bond of sympathy is, perhaps, the mutual appreciation of some mawkish literature. A passionate attachment for Synge or Housman is declared at a dinner-party, and on this slender basis is built up an unnecessary and rather tiresome relation.
Five or six years slip by, misspent because a true value is not given to things. Where the fault lies I do not know nor will I attempt to say, but I feel that there is a want of honest outspeaking on all sides. Mothers are ashamed to admit that marriage is the goal they wish their daughters to reach. Daughters are under the impression that with no personal effort to ingratiate themselves they will be sought out, wooed and wed by the ideal bridegroom. Better far not to make marriage the sort of bogey which it is, to discuss it freely as the most natural result of coming out,' the happiest issue of girlhood.
The ambition of mothers is often a very serious drawback. As this generation marries late, so Mammas and Grannies married at seventeen. A rather difficult situation arises where the chaperon and the girl are almost of an age! An ambitious mother, if she is not careful, can act as a cold douche, and discourage the young couple in an injudicious manner if the suitor does not quite fulfil the high standard she demands of him. There is nearly always a loss of dignity on one side or the other, and I cannot help thinking that girls nowadays fear the situation: they all wish to play at the proud Maisie' of the old ballad.
Perhaps in any case it is wise not to form any preconceived notion as to the kind of man one's daughter will marry. The law of variety is apt to baffle one. If you care passionately for
Liberal politics with leanings towards the Limehouse school of rhetoric, your daughter will marry an ignorant soldier with a few crusted Conservative tags as his entire political stock-in-trade. If you have set your heart on the sawny scion of a noble house, she will marry a promising young journalist on the Daily Mirror staff. Where you have hoped for a union with a neighbouring squire of seven thousand acres, she will become engaged to a gentleman rider who has scored a triumph in the Sefton. Parents, you are doomed to disappointment, and you will require a broad tolerance; you must needs follow a policy of inaction, for you can do nothing.
I began by saying the relations between men and maidens are not now what they used to be. They are changed, I think, because of the liberty we give our girls. The little, slender barrier which fenced them round in old days has somehow or other disappeared. It was a thing of straw, I admit, a mere observance of a few conventionalities, but breaking it down has had wide-reaching effects. A man can enjoy the constant tête-à-tête society of a girl whom he admires; can flirt with her, dance with her, hunt with her, can travel from country-house to country-house with her as long as his fancy pleases, without feeling that he is pledging himself to anything further. Cela n'engage à rien-delightful for him; there is no longer any talk of compromising her, or behaving badly. Intentions are not asked; these are honourable, no doubt, but inconvenient; and so we find that new methods have produced a type of bachelor-girl-(I have already used this phrase, but I can think of no other)-previously unknown to us all. All my sympathies are with her, though she would not like this. She has unwittingly created an impasse for herself.
She does not know that though she has altered, men are ever the same, that the idea of purdah is as strong in the West as in the East. The bride that is desirable is the precious guarded jewel which has not sparkled for others.
There must be mystery where there is to be romance. We cannot blame men who feel this; they are going back to the old primeval instincts, of which the unwritten law of social life is merely the shadow.
There is a talisman in immaturity-a charm which has never ceased to cast its spell. The sketch in art is often nearer perfection than the laboured effort at completion. A girl is possibly not at her best when she is eighteen, yet there is a quality in her first blow of loveliness which the years cannot recapture. If I were a man I would ask for this youthfulness as I would demand the delicious freshness of a mind that is opening. I would not fear that such a young, crude thing could not be my companion, for the éternel féminin is there at all times slumbering, and has only to be awakened like the old fairy-tale of the Sleeping Beauty.
After the noonday glory of her beauty is clouded over, there is an aftermath which he and she together will glean from their golden memories, ripened by the tears and laughter they have shared, mellowed by a staunch fellowship against the winds of life. As the shadows lengthen she will feel that she has reaped the rich harvest of a long love.
Et comme chaque jour je t'aime davantage
Mon amour se fera plus grave et plus serein.
C'est vrai, nous serons vieux, très vieux, faiblis par l'âge,
Car vois-tu, chaque jour je t'aime davantage
Aujourd'hui plus qu'hier et bien moins que demain.
It is impossible to put the clock back-young ladies throw off the schoolroom yoke early; and here, again, I am in favour of plain-speaking to check a forwardness and precocity which is painful. If they knew that their most powerful weapon is a gentle reserve, that their strength lies in their weakness, they would perhaps correct their ways. They will have to learn to please men-as a squaw I say it (I hope no suffragette will scan this line) -for that, indeed, is the whole duty of woman.
Parti-hunting has gone on through the ages; it is not a noble sport, but the quarry is well able to protect itself. Most eldest sons' lives are blighted by an ingenuous illusion, touching in its own way, that they are being tracked and trapped at every step. This fear haunts their waking dreams, makes them rude, selfconscious, and aloof, and cuts them off from a great deal of simple enjoyment. They are mercilessly persecuted, I admit, in some quarters; indeed, it is a perpetual subject of wonder to me that mothers, equipped with every knowledge of the world and an undefeated tact and delicacy in other matters, should blunder so hopelessly in their methods to annex marriageable men.
There are some of my acquaintance who, realising that to cater for eligibles is a work of difficulty, have departed from the beaten track their daughters have an almost frenzied naturalness of manner and appearance. Others have attempted a return to medievalism by practising their girls in much fine needlework and the reading aloud of recondite poetry. I do not consider that these far-fetched effects are necessary-we have only to generalise roughly on our own experience to find the type of girl that the average young man chooses to be his wife. He does not select the brilliant girl who seems to have been endowed by fairy godmothers with the choicest gifts of beauty, wit, and talent, and who has learnt to use them before she has struck seventeen. The announcement in the Morning Post of the marriage of a
much-sought-after young man usually falls as a bolt from the blue on the family breakfast-table. It is nearly always a surprise, and to mothers of daughters who have already outstayed their market a disagreeable surprise.
The thing has been done so quietly, almost in an underhand way, for while the offender has not blushed to advertise his flirtation with Miss, he has kept his own counsel with regard to the choice of a bride. One cannot help feeling a personal rancour.
His taste, as a rule, is good. He attaches a value to the upbringing of the woman who is to be the mother of his children. This is possibly the bedrock on which we founder. There is something seriously wrong in the education of our girls. We are not preparing them for their task. A Frenchman once said to me that the English transcended all other nations in their system of training. We are unchallenged in our greatness as the trainers of boys, horses, and sporting dogs. Let it not be said that we do not know how to rear our girls, for this is a grave indictment. The Frenchman in Fanny's First Play makes a speech on this subject. Adroit and brilliant, and instinct with the genius of his nationality, he is never for a moment sincere. He professes to admire and envy us in our upbringing of our girls; he is, no doubt, startled that mothers should not afford their daughters the ordinary protection that a good housekeeper gives the servant-girls committed to her care. These are the English methods, but he himself will be careful not to resort to them. Do not let us be hoodwinked into imagining that they are wise ones.
We are gambling with a serious trust; we are playing a losing game. Let us see the folly of these new ways, and go back to the old.
ENGLISH RADICALS AND FOREIGN
A VERY notable change has lately come over a section of the Radical party in reference to foreign affairs. It was first visible in the welcome given to the Turkish or rather Salonika Revolution. So long as the Ottoman Government remained a despotism, alike in fact and in appearance, English Radicals adhered pretty steadily to the bag and baggage' doctrine which Mr. Gladstone had made famous. He had not, it is true, done much when in office to give practical effect to his denunciations in opposition. A European conflict was too great a calamity to be provoked for the sake of an idea. But so far as feeling went, he was always on the side of the oppressed Christian races, and his conception of the ultimate re-arrangement of the Balkan peninsula invariably included the retirement of the Turks from Europe. The recent change in Radical feeling is due to the lessened importance now attributed to the religious element in the problem. Mr. Gladstone could not tolerate the permanent subjection of a Christian population to a Mohammedan Government; his Radical successors see no objection to such an arrangement, provided that the Mohammedan Government is willing to veil its real character under a veneer of constitutional forms. From the moment that the authors of the Turkish Revolution adopted the correct Parliamentary shibboleths, their English sympathisers treated the religious difficulty as non-existent. With this out of the way the establishment of a Liberal Ottoman Empire seemed to them the best and most natural settlement of the Eastern Question. It is only fair to the Young Turks to admit that they did not long sail under false colours. They have governed Macedonia and Albania by methods identical in principle with those pursued by the dethroned Sultan. In one respect, indeed, the condition of these unfortunate provinces has changed for the worse. Under Abdul Hamid they had at least the goodwill of Europe. The Great Powers may not have done very much to check the employment of murder, rape, and torture as the customary instruments of maintaining order, but they did something. Since the change of
Government they have done nothing. All thought of intervention was at once dismissed, and the Young Turks have been left free to show how readily the new hands could accommodate themselves