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Full Online Book HomeNonfictionsA Woman Of The World: Her Counsel To Other People's Sons And Daughters - To Miss Zoe Clayborn Artist
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A Woman Of The World: Her Counsel To Other People's Sons And Daughters - To Miss Zoe Clayborn Artist Post by :musashi Category :Nonfictions Author :Ella Wheeler Wilcox Date :May 2012 Read :1895

Click below to download : A Woman Of The World: Her Counsel To Other People's Sons And Daughters - To Miss Zoe Clayborn Artist (Format : PDF)

A Woman Of The World: Her Counsel To Other People's Sons And Daughters - To Miss Zoe Clayborn Artist

_Concerning the Attentions of Married Men


I am sure, my dear niece, that you are a good and pure-minded girl, and that you mean to live a life above reproach, and I fully understand your rebellion against many of the conventional forms which are incompatible with the career of a "girl bachelor," as you like to call yourself. But let us look at the subject from all sides, while you are on the threshold of life, in the morning of your career, and before you have made any more serious mistakes than the one you mention.

For it was a mistake when you accepted Mr. Gordon's telephone message to lunch alone with him at a restaurant, even though you knew his wife might not object.

Mr. and Mrs. Gordon are happily married, parents of several children. They are broader and more liberal and more unselfish than most parents, and they went out of their path to extend courtesies to you, a young country girl--at first because you were my niece, then because they liked you personally.

When I first wrote Mrs. Gordon that you were to open a studio in Chicago after your course of study in the East, she expressed deep interest in you, and seemed anxious to have you consider her as a friend--always ready to act as a chaperon or adviser when you felt the need of wiser guidance than your own impulses.

Mrs. Gordon knew that your experience of the world was limited to a country village in the West, and two years' study at the Pratt Institute. While there she knew you boarded with a cousin of your mother's, and enjoyed the association and privileges of the daughters of the home.

To start alone in Chicago, and live in your studio, and dine from a chafing-dish, and sleep in an unfolded combination bureau and refrigerator--has more fascinations to your mind than to Mrs. Gordon's. She was reared in comfort, bordering on luxury, and while her early home life was not happy, she enjoyed all the refinements and all the privileges of protected girlhood.

She knows city life as you cannot know it, and, although she discards many of the burden-some conventions of society, she realizes the necessity of observing some of its laws.

She wanted you to feel that you had the background of a wholesome home, and the protection of clean, well-behaved married friends in your exposed situation; her attitude to you is just what she would want another woman to hold toward her daughter, were she grown up and alone in a large city.

You have been her guest, and she has been your good friend. Mr. Gordon admired you from the first, and that was a new incentive for this most tactful and liberal of wives to befriend you. She always cultivates the women he likes.

This is excellent policy on the part of a wife. If the husband has any really noble qualities or possesses a sterling character, he will appreciate and respect his wife's confidence, and never violate it; and added to this, he will usually become disillusioned with the women he has admired from a distance, when he sees them frequently at too close range.

A wife can make no greater mistake than trying to fence her husband about and obtruding high walls between him and the women he admires. Far better bring them near and turn on the calcium light.

Mr. Gordon is a born lover of the fair sex, a born gallant. He is, at the same time, a clean, self-respecting man. But he has grown a trifle selfish and a bit vain of late years.

He does not fully realize what the interesting family of children he shows with such pride to his friends has meant to their mother.

It has not occurred to him that to be the mother of three children, the youngest one year old, after six years of married life, has required a greater outlay of all the mental, moral, and physical forces than has been demanded of their father.

He is a good husband,--yet he is not the absolutely unselfish and liberal and thoughtful husband that Mrs. Gordon is wife.

If she seemed to you at all nervous, or less adaptable to your moods than he, you should stop and consider the many causes which might have led to this condition.

You are young, handsome, gifted, and unconventional, and all these things appeal to men. You can attract all the admirers you want, and more than you need, to enlarge your ideas of life, and extend your knowledge of human nature.

You say your ambition is to know the world thoroughly,--that it will aid your art.

I think that is true, if you do not pass the border-line and lose your ideals and sacrifice your principles. Once you do that, your art will lose what it can never regain.

And remember this, my dear girl, no human being ever lived or ever will live who gained anything worth having _by sacrificing the golden rule. In your search for knowledge of the world, and acquaintance with human nature, _keep that motto ever before your soul's sight, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

You say Mr. Gordon said or did nothing in that tete-a-tete luncheon his wife might not have heard or seen, but the fact that he talked entirely about you and art, and other universal subjects, and seemingly avoided any reference to his wife and children, surprised you.

And now you are wondering if you did wrong to accept this invitation. Never accept invitations of any kind from married men, unless the wife or some member of the family is included.

No matter how willing the wife may be to have you enjoy her husband's company, avoid tete-a-tete situations with benedicts.

You say you are not egotistical enough to imagine Mr. Gordon had any hidden motive for wanting to be alone with you, or for seemingly forgetting in his conversation that he was a husband and father. Yet I can see that in a measure it disillusioned you.

You do not ask a man to fling his wife and children at the head of each woman he meets, but you like him to recognize their existence.

You are a young, romantic girl seeking the ideal.

You want to find happy wives and husbands,--men and women who have sailed away from the Strands of Imagination to the more beautiful land of the Real, from whose shores they beckon you, saying: "Here is happiness and great joy. Come and join us, and feel no fear in flinging the illusions of youth behind you."

If married men only knew that is what young women are seeking,--if married women only knew that is what young men are seeking, what reconstruction would take place in the deportment of husbands and wives!

Never yet did a married woman indulge in flirtatious or sentimental converse with a bachelor without lowering herself and all women in his heart of hearts.

Never yet did a married man seem to forget his domestic ties in the presence of single women without losing a portion of their respect, however they may have been flattered by his attentions.

In every man's heart, in every woman's, is this longing to find husbands and wives who are satisfied and happy and proud, above all other things, of their loyalty.

It would be well for you to keep this fact before the minds of the men you meet. You can, in a small way, do your little toward educating on this subject the married men you encounter. And you can save yourself some embarrassing experiences.

It is no compliment to you if the husband of your friend, or a stranger, falls in love with you.

It is an easy matter for a young, attractive woman to infatuate irresponsible men.

It is a far greater compliment to you when women respect and trust you, and when you help elevate the ideals of weak men regarding your sex.

You can study the whole Encyclopedia of Manhood without breaking through the glass doors of your friend's bookcases. And you can live a free, unconventional life without sacrificing one principle, though you may ignore some customs. It is not the custom in conventional society for young women to go to theatres or dinners alone with young men. Yet I am perfectly willing you should join the large army of self-supporting, self-respecting, and well educated girls who do these things. You have been reared with that American idea of independence, and with that confidence in your ability to protect your virtue and good name, which carries the vast majority of our young women safely through all the vicissitudes of youth, and sends them chaste wives to the altar. Our American men understand this attitude of our girls, and half of them respect it, without being forced to, as the other half can be, if woman so wills.

There is no reason, to my thinking, why you should not enjoy the companionship of interesting bachelors and widowers, and take the courtesies they offer, with no chaperon but your own pride, taste, and will. So long as you know, and these men know, that you are doing nothing and going nowhere you need remember with shame or regret, the next day, just so long you are on no dangerous path.

But you must draw the line at married men, happy or unhappy. Any confidential, tete-a-tete companionship of a single woman with a married man cheapens her in the eyes of all other men and women.

It is a simpler matter to drift into free and easy manners and call them "bohemian" than to cleanse your reputation of their stain, or lift your mind from the mire to which they inevitably lead.

Once a woman begins to excuse her lawless conduct on the ground of her "artistic temperament," there are no depths to which she may not sink.

Take pride in being at once independent yet discreet; artistic, yet sensible; a student of men, yet an example of high-minded womanhood; an open foe to needless conventions, yet a staunch friend of principles; daring in methods, yet irreproachable in conduct; and however adored by men, worthy of trust by all women.

Do not take the admiration of men too seriously. Waste no vitality in a rage over their weaknesses and vices. Regard them with patience and inspire them to strive for a better goal than self-indulgence.

You can safely take it for granted that many who approach you with compliments for your charms, and pleas for your favours, would make the same advances to any other attractive girl they chanced to encounter.

Too many young women mistake a habit for a grand passion. And they forget, while they are studying man, that he is studying woman, and testing her susceptibility to flattery and her readiness to believe in his simulated infatuation.

Do not fall into the error of so many young country girls in a large city, and imagine you can establish new laws, create a new order of things, and teach men new lessons.

A great city is like an ever-burning fire,--the newcomers who thrust in their fingers will be scorched and scarred, but the fire will not be changed or extinguished.

_Keep out of the fire_.

There is no reason why you should scar yourself or smoke your garments while keeping comfortably warm.

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