We women are always in danger of living too exclusively in the affections; and though our affections are perhaps the best gifts we have, we ought also to have our share of the more independent life -- some joy in things for their own sake. It is piteous to see the helplessness of some sweet women when their affections are disappointed -- because all their teaching has been, that they can only delight in study of any kind for the sake of a personal love. They have never contemplated an independent delight in ideas as an experience which they could confess without being laughed at. Yet surely women need this defense against passionate affliction even more than men.
A woman's whole life is a history of the affections. The heart is her world: it is there her ambition strives for empire; it is there her avarice seeks for hidden treasures. She sends forth her sympathies on adventure; she embarks her whole soul on the traffic of affection; and if shipwrecked, her case is hopeless -- for it is a bankruptcy of the heart.
The angel of the Family is Woman. Mother, wife, or sister, Woman is the caress of life, the soothing sweetness of affection shed over its toils, a reflection for the individual of the loving providence which watches over Humanity. In her there is treasure enough of consoling tenderness to allay every pain. Moreover for every one of us she is the initiator of the future. The mother's first kiss teaches the child love; the first holy kiss of the woman he loves teaches man hope and faith in life; and love and faith create a desire for perfection and the power of reaching towards it step by step; create the future, in short, of which the living symbol is the child, link between us and the generations to come. Through her the Family, with its divine mystery of reproduction, points to Eternity.
There is something to me very softening in the presence of a woman, some strange influence, even if one is not in love with them, which I cannot at all account for, having no very high opinion of the sex. But yet, I always feel in better humor with myself and every thing else, if there is a woman within ken.
The nearer society approaches to divine order, the less separation will there be in the characters, duties, and pursuits of men and women. Women will not become less gentle and graceful, but men will become more so. Women will not neglect the care and education of their children, but men will find themselves ennobled and refined by sharing those duties with them; and will receive, in return, co-operation and sympathy in the discharge of various other duties, now deemed inappropriate to women. The more women become rational companions, partners in business and in thought, as well as in affection and amusement, the more highly will men appreciate home.
I have always been principally interested in men for sex. I've always thought any sane woman would be a lover of women because loving men is such a mess. I have always wished I'd fall in love with a woman. Damn.
A man's women folk, whatever their outward show of respect for his merit and authority, always regard him secretly as an ass, and with something akin to pity. His most gaudy sayings and doings seldom deceive them; they see the actual man within, and know him for a shallow and pathetic fellow. In this fact, perhaps, lies one of the best proofs of feminine intelligence, or, as the common phrase makes it, feminine intuition.
The incomprehensibleness of women is an old theory, but what is that to the curious wondering observation with which wives, mothers, and sisters watch the other unreasoning animal in those moments when he has snatched the reins out of their hands, and is not to be spoken to! . It is best to let him come to, and feel his own helplessness.