The Physical Life of Woman (Google Books)


FEW words, ere we pass to another branch of
our subject, on the physical relations of her
who by choice or other reasons never marries. It is
a common observation among physicians who have
devoted themselves to the study of woman’s phy
sical nature, that, in spite of those perils of mater
nity which we have taken no pains to conceal, the
health of single women during the child-bearing
period is, as a general rule, not better, not even so
good, as that of their married sisters. Those insu
rance companies who take female risks, do not ask
any higher premium for the married than the un
Various suggestions have been made to account
for this unexpected fact. Some writers have pointed
out that in many diseases marriage excrts a
decidedly curative influence, especially in chronic
nervous ailments. Chorea, for instance, or St.
Vitus’s dance, as it is popularly termed, has been
repeatedly cured by marriage. As a rule, painful
menstruation, which always arises from some defect
or disease of the ovaries or adjacent organs, is im
proved, and often completely removed, by the same
act. There are, as is well known, a whole series of .
emotional disorders, hysteria, and various kinds of
mania and hallucination,–which are almost exclu
sively confined to single persons, and only occur in
the married under exceptional circumstances. An
instance has lately been detailed in the medical
journals by a Prussian physician, of a case of un
doubted hereditary insanity which was greatly
benefited—indeed temporarily cured—by a fortu
nate nuptial relation. Few who have watched a
large circle of lady acquaintances but will have ob
served that many of them increased in flesh and
improved in health when they had been married
some months. An English writer of distinction
accounts for these favourable results in a peculiar
manner. Success, he says, is always a tonic, and
the best of tonics. Now, to women, marriage is a
success. It is their aim in Social life; and this ac
complished, health and strength follow. We are
not quite ready to subscribe to such a sweeping
assertion, but no doubt it is applicable in a limited
number of cases. Our own opinion is, that nature
gave to each sex certain functions, and that the
whole system is in better health when all parts and
powers fulfil their destiny. Common proverbs portray the character of the
spinster as peevish, selfish, given to queer fancies, and unpleasant eccentricities. In many a case we
are glad to say this is untrue. Instances of noble
devotion, broad and generous sympathy, and distin
guished self-sacrifice, are by no means rare in single women But take the whole class, the popular
opinion, as it often is, must be granted to be correct.
Deprived of the natural objects of interest, the sen timents are apt to fix themselves on parrots and
33 B B 2.
poodles, or to be confined within the breast, and
wither for want of nourishment. Too often the
history of those sisterhoods who assume vows of
singleness in the interest of religion, presents to
the physician the sad spectacle of prolonged ner
vous maladies, and to the Christian that of a sickly
In this connection we may answer a question
not unfrequently put to the medical attendant.
Are those women who marry late in their sexual
life more apt to bear living children than the
married of the same age; and are they more
likely to prolong their child-bearing period by their
deferred nuptials 2 To both these inquiries we
answer No. On the contrary, the woman who
marries a few years only before her change of life,
is almost sure to have no children who will survive,
She is decidedly less apt to have any than the
woman of the same age who married young. If,
therefore, love of children and a desire for offspring
form, as they rightly should, one of the induce
ments to marry, let not the act be postponed too
long, or it will probably fail of any such result.

The National Review (Google Books)

IT has long been the fashion to regard the position of all women in America as immeasurably superior to that of women in any other quarter of the globe. From a legal point of view this is perhaps true, and even in social matters it might well be admitted with regard to the unmarried girl; but on behalf of married women I venture to make an Englishwoman’s emphatic protest to the contrary. This is probably a proceeding of extreme audacity, and, in order as far as possible to disarm criticism, I wish to say that the following remarks are not intended to apply to the United States at large, of which I know little, but only to the Southern town where I spent two or three years. Furthermore, they are proffered not as universal truths, but as resulting from the observation and experience of one individual. They may (and probably do) apply in large measure to all American society, but their truth is vouched for as regards one town only. To disprove the universal affirmative alluded to in my first sentence it is by every law of logic sufficient to prove one particular negative, and this is the aim of the present article. “No man,” said an inhabitant of this town of L to me, “cares to play tennis with a woman except for purposes of flirtation.” For the special game mentioned he might have substituted the game of conversation or of social relations as a whole, and his axiom would have been broadly true. No man in L— cares for a woman’s society unless he is actually or potentially in love with her. It may even be allowable for a married man to “pay attention” to a girl, because this also is a semi-flirtation, with limits clearly understood beforehand; but let a man of any kind try to make friends with a married woman, and he will soon find himself and her in the unenviable position of the heathen man and the publican. Friendship between the sexes after marriage is a thing simply not understood; among Americans it falls under one of two heads, formality or flirtation. Of course, it is, and always will be, a moot question whether friendship between the sexes is ever more than a temporary illusion, and whether, as the old song says, one at least of the parties does not invariably “come but for friendship and take away love.” But to the English mind it would seem almost a self-evident proposition that such a friendship is more within the bounds of possibility when one or both of the parties is deterred from going farther, not only by honour but by the sense of previous acquisition, a repletion of soul, so to speak, that might presumably quench the thirst for conquest. That this is not the opinion of Americans is clearly indicated by the following points of their practice:— A girl in L- may ride, drive, or bicycle with a man to an unlimited extent; she may see him tete-à-tête in her own house at any time; she may write to him freely; she may, and even expects to, receive from him flowers and candy with a frequency appalling to a frugal English mind. And yet with all this she neither marries him nor has any intention of so doing; indeed, unless polyandry were permitted, she could not. But once she is married all this abruptly ceases. For a man to indulge in any real intimacy with a married woman, whether it take the form of rides, correspondence, or even frequent five o’clock teas at her own home, is to expose himself and her first to surprised comment and then to ill-natured gossip. The average American man, indeed, takes this so much for granted that he cannot understand why his wife should want anything more. Feminine society she may have all day long if she likes—ladies’ luncheons and ladies’ teas seem to him part of the natural order of the universe; but as far as male companionship goes, he, in his own eyes, and presumably in hers, is all-sufficing. Her neighbours at dinners (a form of entertainment by-the-bye much rarer than in England), the few men her husband may bring to the house to dine, the still fewer “tame cats” whom she may meet at teas, and, fewest of all, the men who at a ball will spare to a married woman some moments ordinarily consecrated to a succession of immature debutantes—this is all she is allowed to see of the superior sex. And the most remarkable feature of the whole is the fact that not only is she unable to make new men friends, but she loses all her old ones. The very same woman who has been a “tearing belle” one year is absolutely shelved the next by the mere fact of marriage. American men have been heard pathetically to complain that from the moment of their engagement girls looked coldly on them. Much more is this true of women, who in becoming everything to one man becomes less than nothing to all the rest, even to the “beaux” or potential “beaux” of a few weeks before. It might perhaps be inferred from this that the American wife enjoyed an unusual portion of her husband’s society, and that other men were excluded simply on the principle of “two’s company.” If it were so, she would doubtless be a fit object of envy,

or at least would have no right to complain; but, as a matter of fact, the women of L see far less of their husbands than the average Englishwoman. Business hours are longer, and on the remaining hours the clubs are far more apt to encroach; men’s dinners are more common; and finally, in the summer almost every couple is forcibly separated by the heat for three or four months. Companionship in outdoor amusements is rare, though latterly on the increase. Hitherto it has been considered almost a point of etiquette for a woman when she marries to retire-from the world of “sport,” and one hears women say with conscious virtue: “I have never danced” (or “ridden” or “played tennis,” as the case may be) “since I married.” The consequence naturally is that even the man’s hours of exercise are passed away from his wife, and he is more likely to spend his summer holiday fishing with a male friend than rocking beside his wife on a hotel piazza. This, indeed, is one principal cause of the social phenomenon here treated of. The American woman is not only less robust than her English sister, but also less active, and after marriage this difference is intensified. She has always played but a feeble game of golf or tennis, and whereas before marriage there were plenty of men ready to play with her “for purposes of flirtation,” after marriage that incentive is gone, and she is accepted, or rather refused, solely on her merits as a player. And so she stops playing, or, indeed, using her muscles at all, so that if her husband wishes to take any form of exercise he has to do so without her, and so a fortiori do her old men friends, who are presumably less tolerant because less interested. It is, however, fair to say that every year the American woman seems to realize more clearly the value of exercise, so that this cause is probably transitory. Another cause of separation between the men and women in L may indisputably be traced to that old and hackneyed source, the “servant problem.” The unmarried girl is (fortunately for her) not responsible for the vagaries of the cook or the housemaid, but when she marries she has in America, thanks to the inferiority of the servants, to devote to household duties an amount of time and care unheard of in England. Especially is this true where there are children, for obviously when it is necessary for a woman, or she at least thinks so, to wash and dress her own baby, prepare its food, and generally perform the offices first of a nurse and then of a governess, she cannot have time for much besides. Sport, work, and even companionship, whether with her own husband or with other men, have all to go to the wall. Let us hope that the course of years and changed social conditions will do away with this cause also. But there are weightier reasons than servants or habits of exercise for the total difference in mental attitude on this subject between the English and the Americans. It is not merely that marriage by tradition or necessity diverts a woman from her old interests to a greater degree in L than in London; there is far more than this. Marriage for a woman is regarded in England as the hall-mark of merit; in L it has, so far as the opposite sex is concerned, almost the painful consequences of the mark of Cain. And here we touch on a curious double inconsistency. Men in England do not, as a rule, want to marry; in fact, a recent writer has told us that they view the coming on of love with horror; yet a married woman is ipso facto more desirable as a companion in their eyes, and it has become a commonplace of modern English literature that “girls are no good,” or that “nobody cares to talk to girls.” Men in America regard marriage as a goal, and prolonged bachelorhood as a disgrace; yet their friend’s wife seems to them either a nuisance or a negligible quantity. Possibly this is not really an inconsistency, but points to the fact that to every man an unmarried girl is a possibility, to the American delightful, to the Englishman terrifying. So to the Englishman a married woman is a haven of refuge; to the American she is as salt that has lost its savour. The greatness of this difference in attitude no one will deny. The comments on it will be various according to the race or personal idiosyncrasies of the thinker. To the English mind it may appear ridiculous, to say the least of it, for a man to see in every woman a potential wife, and to take no interest in those outside this category. The American, on the other hand, regards the Englishman’s dread of marriage and preference for a friendship where this is manifestly impossible, as something selfish and unnatural, and he claims for himself the championship of the married state. To this there is the English rejoinder: No wonder that men desire the married state, when bachelor lodgings are as bad and bachelor comforts as few as in most parts of the United States, so that a wife is the cheapest and best form of housekeeper; but where is your boasted admiration for marriage in the abstract, when you discard your girl friends immediately on their attaining that state? Being an Englishwoman, I will not attempt to frame an American reply, but will content myself with mentioning a few more points which have come under my own observation. A good deal of what we have been considering may I think be accounted for by three lacunae in American society: the want of common topics of conversation, the absence of what has been called “country-house life,” and the practical elimination of the chaperon. The women in L— are, as a rule, better educated than the men, who have little time or inclination for anything besides the newspaper; books, therefore, are almost an impossible subject. Politics, that great bond in England between all ages and classes, as a recent critic has pointed out, are in America, broadly speaking, neither a gentleman’s profession nor a suitable society topic. On the interests of the men themselves few women are competent to talk, for the “society men” of L consist entirely, so far as my experience goes, of business men, lawyers, and doctors. Conversation on business cannot be expected, and should indeed not be encouraged in social intercourse, and the wearisome discussions on stocks and “real estate” may advantageously be confined to the smoking room; while for men to discourse on law or medicine to the lay woman simply ends in an egotistical monologue on the one side, and polite inattention on the other. And so talk in L— becomes at home an intermittent exchange of domestic items, and in society a mere fire of banter, “chaffing ” compliments from the man, and “bright” repartees from the woman, all of which is obviously easier and more amusing between the unmarried, who consider themselves privileged to go to all or almost all conversational lengths. To an Englishwoman accustomed to have her “want of sense of humour” daily and hourly impressed upon her, the marvel is that Americans should make so little humour of their own go such a long and weary way. But this is no doubt mere jealousy on our part, the jealousy which a foxhound must feel on watching the surprising antics of a French poodle. At any rate, just as the course of years makes the poodle old and stiff, so do age and matrimony dry up the fount of American conversation, and the married woman is emphatically “not in it.” So much for town society. When we come to country life with its Saturday-to-Monday parties, its shooting weeks and so forth, we find that all this is in America as the snakes in Iceland. If any Englishman will call to mind his many pleasant talks to women, married or single (preferably the former), whether in a punt or on horseback, or merely in the course of a Sunday afternoon walk, all owed to the hospitality of friends on the river or elsewhere, he will forcibly realize what a large avenue of pleasure for the man and of social importance for the woman is closed by the non-existence of “country-house life” in America. The American married woman spends at least nine months of the year by her own fireside, the remaining three probably at a summer hotel with her children. In neither circumstances has she the freedom from domestic responsibility and the opportunity for casual unsought acquaintanceship that form a part of the ordinary existence of an English wife, accustomed from her earliest girlhood to “pay visits,” first with her parents and afterwards with her husband.

Again, chaperonage, whether in town or country, plays a far smaller part in the society of L— than it does with us, and the married woman is still further shorn of importance. When men and girls can freely ride, drive, bicycle, and sail together, what need is there for the young and fascinating chaperon, in England herself often half the attraction? She has no place in the young American’s scheme of creation, and, therefore, in spite of all her charms he leaves her to languish where in his opinion is her proper sphere, at home.

This question admits of infinite discussion leading to no particular issue. But enough has, I hope, been said to establish the proposition: That however transcendent may be the privileges of the American girl, the American wife has in comparison with the English wife a less free position, a less full social life, in short, as she herself would say, far less of a “lovely time.” We are perhaps rather tired of that same American girl, of hearing and even echoing her praises and observing with wonder or envy her perfect liberty. It is therefore only right to note that the natural outcome of her pre-matrimonial freedom seems in the land of her birth to be an almost Turkish seclusion after marriage. If the English girl wishes to copy her Transatlantic sister, a wish which of late years she has steadily been carrying into effect, she ought in fairness to make her imitation thorough. She must not expect, in nursery parlance, to eat her cake and have it too, but must be content to sink gracefully into the background as soon as the Wedding March is over. She can have fun and plenty of it before marriage; afterwards the “way to glory,” by a reversal of English processes, will be found to have turned suddenly and uncompromisingly into the “path of duty.” Whether the consciousness of glorious triumphs in the past and unbounded domestic usefulness in the present will fully compensate her, I for my part cannot pretend to say.



Selections from Tales of the Borders and of Scotland (Google Books)

The Literary Companion to Dogs: From Homer to Hockney – Page 660 › books

Christopher Hawtree – 1993 – ‎Snippet view – ‎More editions
Like all spinsters she watches eagerly for the foreign mails and keeps carefully under lock and key a casket full of depressing agricultural intelligence; like all spinsters she is accompanied everywhere by an ageing lap-dog. From Work …

The Modern Review – Volume 104 – Page 63 › books

Ramananda Chatterjee – 1958 – ‎Snippet view – ‎More editions
This liking for the dog in humans reaches its climax in old bachelors and spinsters. Psychologists will perhaps say that not being … Not long ago a spinster proudly paraded her lap dog to me. It was her late – cor’s pet. With its hair coming off at …

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Encounters: Essays for Exploration and Inquiry – Page 301 › books

Pat C. Hoy, ‎Robert DiYanni – 1999 – ‎Snippet view – ‎More editions
She has been studying painting in France and owns the smallest Pekingese dog in the world. … She typifies one kind of independent American spinster who keeps reappearing in our history in forms as various as Margaret Fuller and …
Cue: The Weekly Magazine of New York Life › books

1966 – ‎Snippet view – ‎More editions
… Horseback” A FAMILY AFFAIR TAary Cassatt is honored in “Knoedler show An extraordinary Philadelphia-bred spinster, who died k in 1926 after … She has been studying painting in Paris, and owns the smallest Pekingese dog in the world.
The Quill Reader – Page 515 › books

Jocelyn Siler, ‎Kate Gadbow, ‎Mark Medvetz – 1999 – ‎Snippet view – ‎More editions
She has been studying painting in France and owns the smallest Pekingese dog in the world. … She typifies one kind of independent American spinster who keeps reappearing in our history in forms as various as Margaret Fuller and …
Prentice Hall Literature: Platinum – Page 499 › books

1996 – ‎Snippet view – ‎More editions
She has been studying painting in France and owns the smallest Pekingese dog in the world. … She typifies one kind of independent American spinster who keeps reappearing in our history in forms as various as Margaret Fuller and …
Country Life – Volume 52 – Page 114 › books

1927 – ‎Snippet view – ‎More editions
2 : Oct o B E R, 1927 “Show Dog” Beauty and Health for Your Dog FOREMOST kennels are now agreed that if the … 1281 St. George “Blue Ribbon Winners” 1st prize New York Beautiful Pekingese Puppies B’ue ribbon stock. … ST, MARGARET’S MISTIT: KENDUSKEAG WALLEY SPINSTER, BEST SEALYHAM PUPPY AMERICAN SEALYHAM TERRIER CLUB SPECIALTY SHOW, NEW YORK, 1926.
The Royal Cat of Siam: The Complete Book of the Siamese Cat › books

May Eustace – 1968 – ‎Snippet view
The traditional spinster, of course, and that strange class of hard-jawed, intensely competitive female who breeds for show purposes cats that look like squirrels, monkeys, Pekingese dogs – like most anything except a Cat-Cat. The freak cats …
John O’London’s Weekly – Issues 1184-1196 – Page 3 › books

1942 – ‎Snippet view – ‎More editions
… technique with his friend ” Plum ” Wodehouse, he played with his Pekingese dogs, his budgerigars and his goldfish. … But he, is certain that first 100,000 words or so, declared Poland and Mr. Skimpole wanting family; widows, spinsters and …
Hounds of Spring, and Other Stories – Page 94 › books

Julian Fane – 1976 – ‎Snippet view
Mary was a spinster in her late thirties. … She did a little interior decorating for people, advising on colour schemes and that sort of thing, helped to organise village activities, looked after her garden and her Pekingese dogs, Ming and Tang, …



THE poet of The Elegy par excellence, hath written two lines which runs thus—

“Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.”

Now, I never can think of these lines but they remind mo of the tender, delicate, living, breathing, and neglected flowers that bud, blossom, shed their leaves, and die, in cold, unsunned obscurity—flowers that were formed to shed their fragrance around a man’s heart, and to charm his eye—but which, though wandering melancholy and alone in the wilderness where they grow, he passeth by with neglect, making a companion of his loneliness. But, to drop all metaphor—where will you find a flower more interesting than a spinster of threescore and ten, of sixty, of fifty, or of forty? They have, indeed, ” wasted their sweetness on the desert air.” Some call them “old maids;” but it is a malicious appellation, unless it can be proved that they have refused to be wives. I would always take the part of a spinster: they are a peculiar people, far more “sinned against than sinning.” Every blockhead thinks himself at liberty to crack a joke upon them; and when he says something that he conceives to be wondrous smart about Miss Such-an-one and her cat and poodle dog, he conceives himself a marvellous clever fellow; yea, even those of her own sex who are below what is called a ” certain age,” (what that age is I cannot tell,) think themselves privileged to giggle at the expense of their elder sister. Now, though there may be a degree of peevishness (and it is not to be wondered at)

amongst the sisterhood, yet with them you will find the most sensitive tenderness of heart, a delicacy that quivers like the aspen leaf at a breath, and a kindliness of soul that a mother might envy—or rather, for envy, shall I not write imitate? But, ah! if their history were told, what a thronicle would it exhibit of blighted affections, withered learts, secret tears, and midnight sighs.

The first spinster of whom I have a particular remembrance, as belonging to her castle, was Diana Darling. It is now six-and-twenty years since Diana paid the debt of nature, up to which period, and for a few years before, she rented a room in Chirnside. It was only a year or two before her death that I became acquainted with her; and I was then very young. But I never shall forget her kindness towards me. She treated me as though I had been her own child, or rather her grandchild, for she was then very little under seventy years of age. She had always an air of gentility about her; people called her “a betterish sort o’ body.” And, although Miss and Mistress are becoming general appellations now, twenty or thirty years ago, upon the Borders, those titles were only applied to particular persons, or on particular occasions; and whether their more frequent use now is to be attributed to the schoolmaster being abroad, or the dancing master being abroad, I cannot tell, but Diana Darling, although acknowledged to be a “betterish sort o’ body,” never was spoken of by any other term but “auld Diana,” or “auld Die.” Well do I remember her flowing chintz gown, with short sleeves, her snow-white apron, her whiter cap, and old kid gloves reaching to her elbows; and as well do I remember how she took one of the common blue cakes which washerwomen use, and tying it up in a piece of woollen cloth, dipped it in water, and daubed it round and round the walls of her room, to give them the appearance of being papered. I have often heard of and seen stenciling since; but, rude as the attempt was, I am almost persuaded that Diana was the first who put it in practice. To keep up gentility putteth people to strange shifts, and often to ridiculous ones—and to both of these extremities she was driven. But I have hinted that she was a kind-hearted creature; and above all do I remember her for the fine old ballads which she sang to me. But there was one that was an especial favourite with her, and a verse of which, if I remember correctly, ran thus—

“Fie, Lizzy Lindsay I
Sae lang in the morning ye lie,
Mair fit ye was helping yer minny
To milk a’ the ewes and the kye.”

Diana, however, was a woman of some education, and to a relative she left a sort of history of her life, from which the following is an extract:—

“My father died before I was eighteen (so began Diana’a narrative), and he left five of ns—that is my mother, two sisters, a brother, and myself—five hundred pounds a piece. My sisters were both younger than me; but, within six years after onr father’s death, they both got married; and my brother, who was only a year older than myself, left the house also, and took a wife, so that there was nobody but me and my mother left. Everybody thought there was something very singular in this: for it was not natural that the youngest should be taken and the auldest left; and, besides, it was acknowledged that I was the best-faured and the best-tempered in the family; and there could be no dispute but that my siller was as good as theirs.

I must confess, however, that when I was but a lassie o’ sixteen I had drawn up wi’ one James Laidlaw—but I should score out the word one, and just say that I had drawn up wi’ James Laidlaw. He was a year, or maybe three, aulder than me, and I kenned him when he was just a laddie at Mr. Wh—’s school in Dunse; but I took no notice o’ him then in particular, and, indeed, I never did, until one day that I was an errand down by Kimmerghame, and I met James just coming out frae the gardens. It was the summer season, and he had a posie in his hand, and a very bonny posie it was. ‘Here’s a fine day, Diana,’ says he. ‘Yes, it is,’ says I.

So we said nae mair for some time; but he keepit walking by my side, and at last he said—’ What do you think o’ this posie?’ ‘It is very- bonny, James,’ said I. ‘I think sae,’ quoth he; ‘and if ye will accept it, there should naebody be mair welcome to it.’ ‘Ou, I thank ye,’ said I, and I blushed in a way—’ why should ye gie me it?’ ‘Never mind,’ says he, ‘tak it for old aquaintance sake—we were at the school together.’ .

So I took the flowers, and James keepit by my side, and cracked to me a’ the way to my mother’s door, and I cracked to him—and I really wondered that the road between Kimmerghame and Dunse had turned sae short. It wasna half the length that it used to be, or what I thought it ought to be.

But I often saw James Laidlaw after this; and somehow or other I aye met him just as I was coming out o’ the kirk, and weel do I recollect that, one Sabbath in particular, he said to me—’ Diana, will ye no come out and tak a walk after ye get your dinner?’ ‘I dinna ken, James,’ says I; ‘I doubt I daurna, for our folk are very particular, and baith my faither and my mother are terribly against ony thing like gaun about stravaigin’ on the Sundays.’ ‘Oh, they need never ken where ye’re gaun,’ says he. ‘Weel, I’ll try,’ says I, for by this time I had a sort o’ liking for James. ‘Then,’ said he, * I’ll be at the Penny Stane at four o’clock.’ ‘Very weel,’ quoth I.

And, although baith my faither and mother said to me, as I was gaun out—’ Where are ye gaun, lassie ?’—’ Oh, no very far,’ said I; and, at four o’clock, I met James at the Penny Stane. I shall never forget the grip that he gied my hand when he took it in his, and said—

‘Ye hae been as good as your word, Diana.’

We wandered awa doun by Wedderburn dyke till we came to the Blackadder, and then we sauntered down by the river side till we were opposite Kelloe—and, oh! it was a pleasant afternoon. Everything round about us, aboon us, and among out feet, seemed to ken it was Sunday—everything but James and me. The laverock was singing in the blue lift—the blackbirds were whistling in the hedges—the mavis chaunted its loud sang frae the bushes on the braes— the lennerts were singing and chirming among the whins— and the shelfa absolutely seemed to follow ye wi’ its three notes over again, in order that ye might learn them.

It was the happiest afternoon I ever spent. James grat, and I grat. I got a scolding frae my faither and my mother when I gaed hame, and they demanded to ken where I had been; but the words that James had spoken to me bore me up against their reproaches.

Weel, it was very shortly (I dare say not six months after my faither’s death) that James called at my mother’s, and aa he said, to bid us fareweel! He took my mother’s hand—I mind I saw him raise it to his lips, while the tears were on his cheeks; and he was also greatly put about to part wi’ my sisters; but to me he said—

‘Ye’ll set me down a bit, Diana.’

He was to take the coach for Liverpool—or, at least, a coach to take him on the road to that town, the next day; and from there he was to proceed to the West Indies, to meet an uncle who was to make him his heir.

I went out wi’ him, and we wandered away down by our auld walks; but, oh! he said little, and he sighed often, and his heart was sad. But mine was as sad as his, and I could say as little as him. I winna, 1 canna write a’ the words and the vows that passed. He took the chain frae his watch, and it was o’ the best gold, and he also took a pair o’ Bibles frae his pocket, and he put the watch-chain and the Bibles into my hand, and—’ Diana,’ said he, ‘take these, dear—keep them for the sake o’ your poor James, and, as often as ye see them, think on him.’ I took them, and wi’ the tears running down my cheeks—’ O James,’ cried I, ‘this is hard !—hard!’

Twice, ay thrice, we bade each other ‘fareweel,’ and thrice after he had parted frae me he cam running back again, and throwing his arms around my neck, cried—

‘Diana! I canna leave ye !—promise me that ye will never marry onybody else!’

And thrice I promised him that I wouldna.

But he gaed awa, and my only consolation was looking at the Bibles, on one o’ the white leaves o’ the first volume o’ which I found written, by his own hand, ‘James Laidlaw and Diana Darling vowed that, if they were spared, they would become man and wife; and that neither time, distance, nor circumstances should absolve their plighted troth. Dated, May 25th, 17—.’

These were cheering words to me; and I lived on them for years, even after my younger sisters were married, and I had ceased to hear from him. And, during that time, for his sake, I had declined offers which my friends said I was waur than foolish to reject. At least half a dozen good matches I let slip through my hands, and a’ for the love o’ James Laidlaw, who was far awa, and the vows he had plighted to me by the side o’ the Blackadder. And, although he hadna written to me for some years, I couldna think that ony man could be so wicked as to write words o’ falsehood and bind them np in the volume o’ everlasting truth.

But about ten years after he had gane awa James Laidlaw came back to our neighbourhood; but he wasna the same lad he left—for he was now a dark-complexioned man, and he had wi’ him a mulatto woman and three bairns that called him faither! He was no longer my James!

My mother was by this time dead, and I expected naething but that the knowledge o’ his faithfulness would kill me too —for I had clung to hope till the last straw was broken.

I met him once during his stay in the country, and, strange to tell, it was within a hundred yards o’ the very spot where I first foregathered wi’ him, when he offered me the posie.

‘Ha! Die!’ said he, ‘my old girl, are you still alive? I’m glad to see you. Is the old woman, your mother, living yet?’ I was ready to faint, my heart throbbed as though it would have burst. A’ the trials I had ever had were naething to this; and he continued—’ Why, if I remember right, there was once something like an old flame between you and me.’ ‘0 James! James!’ said I, ‘do ye remember

the words ye wrote in the Bible, and the vows that ye made me by the side of the Blackadder?’ ‘Ha! ha!’ said he, and he laughed, ‘you are there, are you? I do mind something of it. But, Die, I did not think that a girl like you would have been such a fool as to remember what a boy said to her.’

I would have spoken to him again; but I remembered he was the husband of another woman—though she was a mulatto—an’ I hurried away as fast as my fainting heart would permit. I had but one consolation, and that was, that, though he had married another, naebody could compare her face wi’ mine..

But it was lang before I got the better o’ this sair slight —ay, I may say it was ten years and mair; and I had to try to pingle and find a living upon the interest o’ my five hundred pounds, wi’ ony other thing that I could turn my hand to in a genteel sort o’ way.

I was now getting on the wrang side o’ eight-and-thirty; and that is an age when it isna prudent in a spinster to be throwing the pouty side o’ her lip to any decent lad that hands out his hand, and says—’Jenny, will ye tak me?’ Often and often, baith by day and by night, did I think o’ the good bargains I had lost, for the sake o’ my fause James Laidlaw; and often, when I saw some o’ them that had come praying to me pass me on a Sunday, wi’ their wives wi’ their bands half round their waist on the horse behint them— ‘O, James! fause James!’ I have said, ‘but for trusting to you, and it would hae been me that would this day been riding behint Mr.’

But I had still five hundred pounds, and sic fend as I could make, to help what they brought to me. And, about this time, there was one that had the character of being a very respectable sort o’ lad, one Walter Sanderson; he was a farmer, very near about my own age, and altogether a most prepossessing and intelligent young man. I first met wi’ him at my youngest sister’s goodman’s kirn, and I must say a better or a more gracefu’ dancer I never saw upon a floor. He had neither the jumping o’ a mountebank nor the sliding o’ a play-actor, but there was an ease in his carriage which I never saw equalled. I was particularly struck wi’ him, and especially his dancing; and it so happened that he was no less struck wi’ me. I thought he looked even better than James Laidlaw used to do—but at times I had doubts about it. However, he had stopped all the night at my brother-in-law’s as weel as mysel’; and when I got up to gang hame the next day he said he would bear me company. I thanked him, said I was obliged to him, never thinking that he would attempt such a thing. But, just as the powny was brought for me to ride on (and the callant was to come up to Dunse for it at night), Mr. Walter Sanderson mounted his horse, and says he—

‘Now, wi’ your permission, Miss Darling, I will see you hame.’

It would have been very rude o’ me to hae said—’ No, I thank you, sir,’ and especially at my time o’ life, wi’ twa younger sisters married that had families; so I blushed, as it were, and giein my powny a twitch, he sprang on to his saddle, and came trotting on by my side. He was very agreeable company; and when he said, ‘I shall be most happy to pay you a visit, Miss Darling,’ I didna think o’ what I had said until after that I had answered him, ‘I shall be very happy to see you, sir.’ And when I thought o’ it, my very cheek-bones burned wi’ shame.

But, howsoever, Mr. Sanderson was not long in calling again—and often he did call, and my sisters and their guidmen began to jeer me about him. “Weel, he called and called, for I dare say as good as three-quarters of a year; and he was sae backward and modest a’ the time that I thought him a very remarkable man; indeed, I began to think him. every way superior to James Laidlaw.

But at last he made proposals—I consented—the weddingday was set, and we had been cried in the kirk. It was the fair-day, just two days before we were to be married, and he came into the house, and, after he had been seated a while, and cracked in his usual kind way—

‘Oh,’ says he, ‘what a bargain I hae missed the day! There are four lots o’ cattle in the market, and I might hae cleared four hundred pounds cent, per cent, by them,’

‘Losh me! “Walter, then,’ says I, ‘why dinna ye do it? How did ye let sic a bargain slip through your fingers?’

‘Woman,’ said he, ‘I dinna ken; but a man that is to be married within eight-and-forty hours is excusable. I came to the fair without any thought o’ either buying or selling -—but just to see you, Diaua—and I kenned there wasna meikle siller necessary for that.’

‘Losh, Walter, man,’ said I, ‘but that is a pity—and ye say ye could mak cent, per cent, by the beasts?’

”Deed could I,’ quoth he—’ I am sure o’ that.’

‘Then, Walter,’ says I, ‘what is mine the day is to be yours the morn, I may say; and it would be a pity to lose sic a bargain.’

Therefore I put into his hands an order on a branch bank that had been established in Dunse for every farthing that I was worth in the world, and Walter kissed me, and went out to get the money frae the bank, and buy the cattle.

But he hadna been out an hour when one o’ my brothersin-law called, and I thought he looked unco dowie. So I began to tell him about the excellent bargain that Walter had made, and what I had done. But the man started frae his seat as if he were crazed, and without asking me ony questions, he only cried—’ Gracious! Diana! hae ye been sic an idiot?’ and, rushing out o’ the house, ran to the bank.

He left me in a state that I canna describe: I neithei kenned what to do nor what to think. But within half an hour he returned, and he cried out as he entered—’ Diana, ye are ruined! He has taken in you and everybody else. The villain broke yesterday! He is off! Ye may bid fareweel to your siller.’ ‘Wha is off?’ cried I, and I was in sic a state I was hardly able to speak. ‘Walter Sanderson!’ answered my brother-in-law.

I believe I went into hysterics; for the first thing I mind o’ after his saying so was a dozen people standing round about me—some slapping at the palms o’ my hands, and others laving water on my breast and temples, until they had me as wet as if they had douked me in Bollock’s Well.

I canna tell tow I stood up against this clap o’ misery.

It was near getting the better o’ me. For a time I really

hated the very name and the sight o’ man, and I said, as the

song says, that

“Men are a’ deceivers.”

But this was not the worst o’ it—I had lost my all, and I was now forced into the acquaintanceship of poverty and dependence. I first went to live under the roof o’ my youngest sister, who had always been my favourite; but, before six months went round, I found that she began to treat me just as though I had been a servant, ordering me to do this and do the other; and sometimes my dinner was sent ben to me into the kitchen; and the servant lassies, seeing Low their mistress treated me, considered that they should be justified in doing the same—and they did the same. Many a weary time have I lain upon my bed and wished never to rise again, for my spirit was weary o’ this world. But I put up wi’ insult after insult, until flesh and blood could endure it no longer. Then did I go to my other sister, and she hardly opened her mouth to me as I entered her house. I saw that I might gang where I liked—I wasna welcome there. Before I had been a week under her roof I found that the herd’s dog led a lady’s life to mine. I was forced to leave her too.

And, as a sort o’ last alternative, just to keep me in existence, I began a bit shop in a neighbouring town, and took in sewing and washing; and after I had tried them awhile, and found that they would hardly do, I commenced a bit school, at the advice of the minister’s wife, and learned bairns their letters and the catechism, and knitting and sewing. I also taught them (for they were a’ girls) how to work their samplers, and to write and to cast accounts. But what vexed and humbled me more than all I had suffered was, that one night, just after I had let my scholars away, an auld hedger and ditcher body, almost sixty years o’ age, came into the house, and ‘How’s a’ wi’ ye the nicht.?’ says he, though I never spoke to the man before. But he took off his bonnet, and pulling in a chair, drew a seat to the fire. I was thunderstruck! But I was yet mair astonished and ashamed when the auld body, sleeking down his hair and his chin, had the assurance to make love to me!

‘There is the door, sir !’ cried I. And when he didna seem willing to understand me, I gripped him by the shoulders, and showed him what I meant.

Yet quite composedly he turned round to me and said, ‘I dinna see what is the use o’ the like o’ this—it is true I am aulder than you, but you are at a time o’ life now that ye canna expect ony young man to look at ye. Therefore, ye had better think twice before ye turn me to the door. Ye will find it just as easy a life being the wife o’ a hedger as keeping a school—rather mair sae, I apprehend, and mair profitable too.’ I had nae patience wi’ the man. I thought my sisters had insulted me; but this offer o’ the hedger’s wounded me mair than a’ that they had done.

‘O, James Laidlaw!’ cried I, when I was left to mysel’, ‘what hae ye brought me to!’ My sisters dinna look after me. My parting wi’ them has gien them an excuse to forget that I exist. My brother is far frae me, and he is ruled by a wife; and I hae been robbed by another o’ the little that I had. I am like a withered tree in a wilderness, standing by its lane—I will fa’ and naebody will miss me. I am sick, and there are none to haud my head. My throat is parched, and my lips dry, and there are none to bring me a cup o’ water. There is nae living thing that I can ca’ mine. And some day I shall be found a stiffened corpse in my bed, with no one near me to close my eyes in death, or perform the last office of humanity! For I am alone—I am by myself— I am forgotten in the world; and my latter years, if I have a long life, will be a burden to strangers.'”

But Diana Darling did not so die. Her gentleness, her kindness, caused her to be beloved by many who knew not her history; and when the last stern messenger came to call her hence many watched with tears around her bed of death, and many more in sorrow followed her to the grave. So ran the few leaves in the diary of a spinster—and the reader will forgive our interpolations.

The Works of Oliver Wendell Holmes: The poet at the breakfast-table (Google Books)

■— Six hours kill ’em all, according to this experiment, — said the Master. — Good as far as it goes. One more negative result. Do you know what would have happened if that liquid had been clouded, and we had found life in the sealed flask? Sir, if that liquid had held lif e in it the Vatican would have trembled to hear it, and there would have been anxious questionings and ominous whisperings in the halls of Lambeth palace! The accepted cosmogonies on trial, sir! Traditions, sanctities, creeds, ecclesiastical establishments, all shaking to know whether my little sixpenny flask of fluid looks muddy or not! I don’t know whether to laugh or shudder. The thought of an oecumenical council having its leading feature dislocated by my trifling experiment! The thought, again, of the mighty revolution in human beliefs and affairs that might grow out of the same insignificant little phenomenon. A wineglassful of clear liquid growing muddy. If we had found a wriggle, or a zigzag, or a shoot from one side to the other, in this last flask, what a scare there would have been, to be sure, in the schools of the prophets! Talk about your megatherium and your megalosaurus, — what are these to the bacterium and the vibrio? These are the dreadful monsters of to-day. If they show themselves where they have no business, the little rascals frighten honest folks worse than ever people were frightened by the Dragon of Rhodes!

The Master gets going sometimes, there is no denying it, until his imagination runs away with him. He had been trying, as the reader sees, one of those curious experiments in spontaneous generation, as it is called, which have been so often instituted of late years, and by none more thoroughly than by that eminent American student of nature1 whose process he had imitated with a result like his.

We got talking over these matters among us the next morning at the breakfast-table.

We must agree they couldn’t stand six hours’ boiling, — I said.

— Good for the Pope of Rome! — exclaimed the Master.

— The Landlady drew back with a certain expression of dismay in her countenance. She hoped he did n’t want the Pope to make any more converts in this country. She had heard a sermon only last Sabbath, and the minister had made it out, she thought, as plain as could be, that the Pope was the Man of Sin and that the Church of Rome was — Well, there was very strong names applied to her in Scripture.

What was good for the Pope was good for your minister, too, my dear madam, — said the Master. — Good for everybody that is afraid of what people call “science.” If it should prove that dead things come to life of themselves, it would be awkward, you know, because then somebody will get up and say if one dead thing made itself alive another might, and so perhaps the earth peopled itself without any help. Possibly the difficulty would n’t be so great as many people suppose. We might perhaps find room for a Creator after all, as we do now, though we see a little brown seed grow till it sucks up the juices of half an 1 Professor Jeffries Wyman.

acre of ground, apparently all by its own inherent power. That does not stagger us; I am not sure that it would if Mr. Crosse’s or Mr. Weekes’s acarus should show himself all of a sudden, as they said he did, in certain mineral mixtures acted on by electricity.

The Landlady was off soundings, and looking vacant enough by this time.

The Master turned to me. — Don’t think too much of the result of our one experiment. It means something, because it confirms those other experiments of which it was a copy; but we must remember that a hundred negatives don’t settle such a question. Life does get into the world somehow. You don’t suppose Adam had the cutaneous unpleasantness politely called psora, do you?

— Hardly, — I answered. — He must have been a walking hospital if he carried all the maladies about him which have plagued his descendants.

— Well, then, how did the little beast which is peculiar to that special complaint intrude himself into the Order of Things? You don’t suppose there was a special act of creation for the express purpose of bestowing that little wretch on humanity, do you?

I thought, on the whole, I would n’t answer that question.

— You and I are at work on the same problem, — said the Young Astronomer to the Master. — I have looked into a microscope now and then, and I have seen that perpetual dancing about of minute atoms in a fluid, which you call molecular motion. Just so, when I look through my telescope I see the star-dust whirling about in the infinite expanse of ether; or if I do not see its motion, I know that it is only on account of its immeasurable distance. Matter and motion everywhere; void and rest nowhere. You ask why your restless microscopic atoms may not come together and become self-conscious and self-moving organisms. I ask why my telescopic star-dust may not come together and grow and organize into habitable worlds, — the ripened fruit on the branches of the tree Yggdrasil, if I may borrow from our friend the Poet’s province. It frightens people, though, to hear the suggestion that worlds shape themselves from starmist. It does not trouble them at all to see the watery spheres that round themselves into being out of the vapors floating over us; they are nothing but raindrops. But if a planet can grow as a rain-drop grows, why then — It was a great comfort to these timid folk when Lord Rosse’s telescope resolved certain nebulae into star-clusters. Sir John Herschel would have told them that this made little difference in accounting for the formation of worlds by aggregation, but at any rate it was a comfort to them.

— These people have always been afraid of the astronomers, — said the Master. —They were shy, you know, of the Copernican system, for a long while; well they might be with an oubliette waiting for them if they ventured to think that the earth moved round the sun. Science settled that point finally for them, at length, and then it was all right, — when there was no use in disputing the fact any longer. By and by geology began turning up fossils that told extraordinary stories about the duration of life upon our planet. What subterfuges were not used to get rid of their evidence! Think of a man seeing the fossilized skeleton of an animal split out of a quarry, his teeth worn down by mastication, and the remains of food still visible in his interior, and, in order to get rid of a piece of evidence contrary to the traditions he holds to, seriously maintaining that this skeleton never belonged to a living creature, but was created with just these appearances; a make-believe, a sham, a Barnum’smermaid contrivance to amuse its Creator and impose upon his intelligent children! And now people talk about geological epochs and hundreds of millions of years in the planet’s history as calmly as if they were discussing the age of their deceased great-grandmothers. Ten or a dozen years ago people said Sh! Sh! if you ventured to meddle with any question supposed to involve a doubt of the generally accepted Hebrew traditions. To-day such questions are recognized as perfectly fair subjects for general conversation; not in the basement story, perhaps, or among the rank and file of the curbstone congregations, but among intelligent and educated persons. You may preach about them in your pulpit, you may lecture about them, you may talk about them with the first sensible-looking person you happen to meet, you may write magazine articles about them, and the editor need not expect to receive remonstrances from angry subscribers and withdrawals of subscriptions, as he would have been sure to not a great many years ago. Why, you may go to a tea-party where the clergyman’s wife shows her best cap and his daughters display their shining ringlets, and you will hear the company discussing the Darwinian theory of the origin of the human race as if it were as harmless a question as that of the lineage of a spinster’s lapdog. You may see a fine lady who is as particular in her genuflections as any Buddhist or Mahometan saint in his manifestations of reverence, who will talk over the anthropoid ape, the supposed founder

of the family to which we belong, and even go hack with you to the acephalous mollusk, first cousin to the clams and mussels, whose rudimental spine was the hinted prophecy of humanity; all this time never dreaming, apparently, that what she takes for a matter of curious speculation involves the whole future of human progress and destiny.

I can’t help thinking that if we had talked as freely as we can and do now in the days of the first boarder at this table, — I mean the one who introduced it to the public, — it would have sounded a good deal more aggressively than it does now. — The old Master got rather warm in talking; perhaps the consciousness of having a number of listeners had something to do with it.

— This whole business is an open question, — he said,—and there is no use in saying, “Hush! don’t talk about such things!” People do talk about ’em everywhere; and if they don’t talk about ’em they think about ’em, and that is worse, — if there is anything bad about such questions, that is. If for the Fall of man, science comes to substitute the RISE of man, sir, it means the utter disintegration of all the spiritual pessimisms which have been like a spasm in the heart and a cramp in the intellect of men for so many centuries. And yet who dares *o say that it is not a perfectly legitimate and proper question to be discussed, without the slightest regard to the fears or the threats of Pope or prelate?

Sir, I believe, — the Master rose from his chair as he spoke, and said in a deep and solemn tone, but without any declamatory vehemence, — sir, I believe that we are at this moment in what will be recognized not many centuries hence as one of the late watches in the night of the dark ages. There is a twilight ray, beyond question. We know something of the universe, a very little, and, strangely enough, we know most of what is farthest from us. We have weighed the planets and analyzed the flames of the sun and stars. We predict their movements as if they were machines we ourselves had made and regulated. We know a good deal about the earth on which we live. But the study of man has been so completely subjected to our preconceived opinions, that we have got to begin all over again. We have studied anthropology through theology; we have now to begin the study of theology through anthropology. Until we have exhausted the human element in every form of belief, and that can only be done by what we may call comparative spiritual anatomy, we cannot begin to deal with the alleged extra-human elements without blundering into all imaginable puerilities. If you think for one moment that there is not a single religion in the world which does not come to us through the medium of a preexisting language; and if you remember that this language embodies absolutely nothing but human conceptions and human passions, you will see at once that every religion presupposes its own elements as already existing in those to whom it is addressed. I once went to a church in London and heard the famous Edward Irving preach, and heard some of his congregation speak in the strange words characteristic of their miraculous gift of tongues. I had a respect for the logical basis of this singular phenomenon. I have always thought it was natural that any celestial message should demand a language of its own, only to be understood by divine illumina

tion. All human words tend, of course, to stop short in human meaning. And the more I hear the most sacred terms employed, the more I am satisfied that they have entirely and radically different meanings in the minds of those who use them. Yet they deal with them as if they were as definite as mathematical quantities or geometrical figures. What would become of arithmetic if the figure 2 meant three for one man and five for another and twenty for a third, and all the other numerals were in the same way variable quantities? Mighty intelligent correspondence business men would have with each other! But how is this any worse than the difference of opinion which led a famous clergyman to say to a brother theologian, “Oh, I see, my dear sir, your God is my Devil.”

Man has been studied proudly, contemptuously, rather, from the point of view supposed to be authoritatively settled. The self-sufficiency of egotistic natures was never more fully shown than in the expositions of the worthlessness and wretchedness of their fellow-creatures given by the dogmatists who have “gone back,” as the vulgar phrase is, on their race, their own flesh and blood. Did you ever read what Mr. Bancroft says about Calvin in his article on Jonathan Edwards? — and mighty well said it is too, in my judgment. Let me remind you of it, whether you have read it or not. “Setting himself up over against the privileged classes, he, with a loftier pride than theirs, revealed the power of a yet higher order of nobility, not of a registered ancestry of fifteen generations, but one absolutely spotless in its escutcheon, preordained in the council chamber of eternity.” I think you ‘ll find I have got that sentence right, word for word, and there’s a great deal more in it than many good folks who call themselves after the reformer seem to be aware of. The Pope put his foot on the neck of kings, but Calvin and his cohort crushed the whole human race under their heels in the name of the Lord of Hosts. Now, you see, the point that people don’t understand is the absolute and utter humility of science, in opposition to this doctrinal self-sufficiency. I don’t doubt this may sound a little paradoxical at first, but I think you will find it is all right. You remember the courtier and the monarch, —Louis the Fourteenth, wasn’t it? — never mind, give the poor fellows that live by setting you right a chance. “What o’clock is it?” says the king. “Just whatever o’clock your Majesty pleases,” says the courtier. I venture to say the monarch was a great deal more humble than the follower, who pretended that his master was superior to such trifling facts as the revolution of the planet. It was the same thing, you remember, with King Canute and the tide on the sea-shore. The king accepted the scientific fact of the tide’s rising. The loyal hangers-on, who believed in divine right, were too proud of the company they found themselves in to make any such humiliating admission. But there are people, and plenty of them, to-day, who will dispute facts just as clear to those who have taken the pains to learn what ia known about them, as that of the tide’s rising. They don’t like to admit these facts, because they throw doubt upon some of their cherished opinions. We are getting on towards the last part of this nineteenth century. What we have gained is not so much in positive knowledge, though that is a good deal, as it is in the freedom of discussion of every subject that comes within the range of observation and inference. How long is it since Mrs. Piozzi wrote, — “Let me hope that you will not pursue geology till it leads you into doubts destructive of all comfort in this world and all happiness in the next”?

He has no head

I recall how Comic Book Resources used to have a column called She Has No Head which deconstructs sexism in superhero comics. Now as to why some people tend to prefer their muses to be headless, to some it would be that it’s easier to fantasise about what they’ll look like. Even if it’s sometimes dehumanising (actually some deliberately do so).

Not all romances do this as there are others who do bother to show their models’ faces. (Though if he does make eye contact, it’s as if he’s interacting with the reader but oh so too invasive at times.) But it seems for others, headlessness seems preferable to giving them faces (let alone proper eye contact and emotions though that would give away too much to the characters’ personalities).

Again not all romances do this and there are some romance readers who take issue with it. But I think when it comes to headlessness, it makes it easier to fantasise about such a character that they’re dehumanised this way.

Headless blokes

Whilst I don’t feel like shaming people for reading romances, I still think the romance novel’s the best example of the female gaze in the wild. I mean, there are women who do objectify men in photography but they’re far from the norm (even then, they’re outnumbered by their gay male counterparts). So we’re ultimately left with romance novels as the most mainstream expression of the female gaze.

I actually think if Dianora Niccolini’s any indication, the female gaze’s not any better especially with the faceless or headless men (something I tried to undo and still do) or men with their eyes turned away. I’m not entirely against beefcake as much as I think the real problem with the use of headless men (like with headless women)’s that it makes it harder to identify who’s who.

Also if such a nude man were to make eye contact, especially if he does the mile wide stare or has strong emotions, he wouldn’t be entirely desexualised but would still come off as an actual person. (Something I learnt too.) So I think when it comes to the use of headless men, not all romances do this but headless bodies seem to be so dehumanised that it’s hard to identify the actual people behind those anyways.

Self-Control: a novel. By Mary Brunton. Fourth edition (Google Books)

NorwooD had appeared to Laura to be little more than a mile distant from Walbourne. The swellings of the ground had deceived her. It was more than twice that distance. As the carriage approached Norwood, Laura perceived traces of a noble park, changed from its former purpose to one more useful, though less magnificent. The corn fields were intersected by venerable avenues, and T

studded with gigantic elm and oak. Through one of these avenues, straight as a dart, and darkened by the woods which closed over it, the party drove up to a massive gate. In the door of a turreted lodge, overgrown with hornbeam, stood the grey-haired porter, waiting their arrival. He threw open the gate with one hand, and respectfully stood with his hat in the other, while De Courcy checked his horse to enquire for the old man’s family. The avenue now quitted its formality, to wind along the bank of a rapid stream, till the woods suddenly opening to the right, discovered the lawn, green as an emerald, and kept with a neatness truly English. Flowering shrubs were scattered over it, and here and there a lofty foresttree threw its quivering shadow ; while tall spruce-firs, their branches descending to the ground, formed a contrast to its verdure. At the extremity of this lawn stood Norwood, a large castellated building; and, while Laura looked at it, she imagined the interior dull with baronial magnificence. The carriage drove up to the door, and Laura could not help smiling at the cordial welcome which seemed to await De Courcy. The great Newfoundland dog that lay upon the steps leaped upon him, and expressed his joy by a hundred clumsy gambols; while John, the old servant, whom she had seen in Audley Street, busied himself about his master, with an officiousness which evidently came from the heart, leaving Lady Pelham’s attendants to wait upon their mistress and her companions. De Courcy, giving his hand to Lady Pelham, conducted her, followed by Harriet and Laura, into the room where Mrs. de Courcy was sitting; and the next moment his heart throbbed with pleasure, while he saw the beloved of his soul locked in his mother’s arms. When the first joy of the meeting was over, Laura had leisure to observe the interior of the mansion, which differed not less from her expectations than from any thing she had before seen. Though it was equally remote from the humble simplicity of her cottage at Glenalbert, and the gaudiness of Lady Pelham’s more modern abode, she saw nothing of the gloomy splendour which she had fancied; every thing breathed comfort and repose. The furniture though not without magnificence, was unadorned and substantial, grandeur holding the second place to usefulness. The marble hall through which she had entered was almost covered with matting. In the spacious room in which she was sitting, the little Turkey carpet of our forefathers had given place to one of homelier grain but of far larger dimensions. The apartment was liberally stored with couches, footstools, and elbow-chairs. A harp occupied one window, a piano-forte stood near it; many books were scattered about, in bindings which showed they were not meant for ornament: and in the chimney blazed a fire which would have done credit to the days of Elizabeth. The dinner hour was four; and punctual to a moment the dinner appeared, plain, neat, and substantial. It was served without tumult, partaken of with appetite, and enlivened by general hilarity, and good will. When the ladies rose from table, Harriet offered to conduct Laura through the other apartments, which exactly corresponded with those she had seen. The library was spacious; and besides an excellent collection of books, contained globes, astronomical instruments, and cabinets of minerals and coins. A smaller room which opened from it, used as De Courcy’s laboratory, was filled with chemical and mechanical apparatus. Comfort, neatness, and peace reigned every where, and Norwood seemed a fit retreat for literary leisure and easy hospitality. Between music, work, and conversation, the evening passed cheerfully away; nor did Laura mark its flight till the great house-clock struck nine. The conversation suddenly paused; Harriet laid aside her work; Mrs. de Courcy’s countenance assumed a pleasing seriousness; and Montague, quitting his place by Laura’s side, seated himself in a patriarchal-looking chair, at the upper end of the room. Presently John entered, followed by all the domestics of the family. He placed before his master a readingdesk and a large Bible, and then sat down at a distance with his fellow-servants. With a manner serious and earnest, as one impressed with a just sense of their importance, Montague read a portion of the Holy Scriptures. He closed the volume; and all present sunk upon their knees. In plain but solemn language, he offered a petition in the name of all, that all might be endowed with the graces of the Christian spirit. In the name of all he confessed that they were unworthy of the blessings they implored. In the name of all, he gave thanks for the means of improvement, and for the hopes of glory. He next, more particularly, besought a blessing on the circumstances of their several conditions. Among the joyous faces of this happy household, Laura had observed one alone clouded with sorrow. It was that of a young modest-looking girl in deep mourning, whose audible sobs attested that she was the subject of a prayer which commended an orphan to the Father of the fatherless. The worship was closed; the servants withdrew. A silence of a few moments ensued; and Laura could not help gazing with delight, not unmingled with awe, on the traces of serene benevolence and manly piety, which lingered on the countenance of De Courcy.

“Happy Harriet,” said she, when she was alone with her friend; “would that I had been your sister !” Harriet laughed. “You need not laugh, my dear,” continued Laura, with most unembarrassed simplicity, “I did not mean your brother’s wife, but his sister, and Mrs. de Courcy’s daughter.”

Though Miss de Courcy was much less in Montague’s confidence than her mother, she was not ignorant of his preference for Laura; but Mrs. de Courcy had so strongly cautioned her against even hinting this preference to the object of it, that though she but half-guessed the reasons of her mother’s injunctions, she was afraid to disobey. That Laura was even acquainted with Hargrave was unknown to Harriet; for De Courcy was almost as tenacious of Laura’s secret as she herself was, and would as soon have thought of giving up his own heart to the frolics of a kitten, as of exposing that of Laura to the badinage of his sister. This kind precaution left Laura perfectly at her ease with Harriet, an ease which would quickly have vanished had she known her to be acquainted with her humiliating story.

The young ladies had rambled over half the grounds of Norwood before the family had assembled at a cheerful breakfast; and as soon as it was ended, Harriet proposed that Laura should assist her with her advice in composing a water-colour drawing from one of her own pictures. “We’ll leave Lady Pelham and my mother in possession of the drawing-room,” said she, “ for the pictures all hang in the library. I wanted them put up in the sittingroom, but Montague would have them where they are — and so he carried his point, for mamma humours him in every thing.”—“Perhaps,” returned Laura, “Mrs. de Courcy thinks he has some right to dictate in his own house.”—“Well, that’s true,” cried Harriet. “I protest I had forgotten that this house was not my mother’s.”

The picture which Miss de Courcy had fixed upon, was that of Leonidas, and Laura would far rather have been excused from interference; yet, as she could not with propriety escape, nothing remained but to summon her composure, and to study anew this resemblance of her unworthy lover. She took her work, and began quietly to superintend Harriet’s progress. Their employments did not interrupt conversation; and though Laura’s was at first a little embarrassed, she soon recovered her ease. “Do touch the outline of the mouth for me,” said Harriet; “I can’t hit the resemblance at all.” Laura excused herself, saying, that since her fever, her hand had been unsteady. “Oh, here’s Montague; he’ll do it. Come hither Montague, and sketch a much prettier mouth than your own.” De Courcy, who had approached his sister before he understood her request, shrunk back. She could scarcely have proposed an employment less agreeable to him; and he was hastily going to refuse it, when, happening to meet the eye of Laura, in the dread that she should detect his consciousness, he snatched the pencil and began.

Harriet having thus transferred her work, quickly found out other occupation. “O, by the by, my dear,” said she to Laura, “ your Leonidas is the greatest likeness in the world of my old beau, Colonel Hargrave. Bless me, how she blushes! Ah ! I see Hargrave has not been so long in Scotland for nothing!”

“Take away that thing, Harriet,” cried De Courcy, quite thrown off his guard, and pushing the drawing from him. “I see no reason why Miss Montreville and I should both do for you what you ought to be doing for yourself.” “Heyday! what ails the man?” cried Harriet, looking after her brother to the window, whither he had retreated. “You need not be angry with me for making Laura blush. I dare say she likes it; it becomes her so well.” “If you are accustomed to say such strange things to your friends, my dear Harriet,” said Laura, “the blushes you raise will not always have that advantage. The colourings of anger are not generally becoming.” “So, with that meek face of yours, you would have me believe that it is downright rage which has made you all scarlet. No, no, my dear — there is rage, and there is the colour of it too (pointing to Montague’s face); and if you’ll put your two heads together before the glass, you will see whether the colours are a bit alike ‘’ Montague, recovering his temper, tried to laugh and succeeded very ill. “I don’t wonder you laugh,” said Laura, not venturing to look round to him, “at hearing Harriet, on such slender grounds, exalt such a matter-offact person as myself into the heroine of a romance. But, to spare your imagination, Harriet, I will tell you, that your old beau, as you call him, being the handsomest man I had seen, I saw no harm in making use of his beauty in my picture.” “Well, I protest,” cried Harriet, “it was quite by accident I thought of mentioning it, for I had not the least idea that ever you had seen Hargrave.” “And, now that you have made that mighty discovery,” said De Courcy, endeavouring to appear unconcerned, “I suppose you’ll poison Miss Montreville; for you know you were so in love with Hargrave, that I was obliged to put a rail round the fish-pond to prevent felo de se.” “In love,” said Harriet, yawning, “ay, so I was indeed, for three whole days once when I had nothing else to do. But only think of the sly girl never even to name him to me! Well ! well! I shall worm it all out of her when we are by ourselves, though she won’t blab before you.” ” “I will give you an opportunity this moment,” said De Courcy, who, quite unable to bear the subject any longer, determined to make his mother interrupt it, and immediately went in search of her. In a few minutes Mrs. de Courcy appeared, and dismissed her unwilling daughter to escort Lady Pelham to the flower-garden, while Laura preferred remaining at home. At the next opportunity, Harriet executed her threat, in so far as depended upon her. She did what she could to rally Laura out of her secret, but she totally failed of success. Laura, now upon her guard, not only evaded making any discovery, but, by the easy indifference of her answers, convinced Harriet that there was nothing to discover. Indeed, her suspicion was merely a transient thought, arising from Laura’s confusion at her sudden attack, and scarcely outlived the moment that gave it birth; though the emotion which Montague had shown, confirmed his sister in the belief of his attachment to Laura. The subject thus entirely dropped which Laura could never approach without pain, the time of her visit to Norwood glided away in peace and comfort, every day lessening the dejection which she had believed, nay almost wished, would follow her to the grave. Still, however, the traces of it were sufficiently visible to the observant eye of love; and Montague found in it an interest not to be awakened by the brightest flashes of gaiety. “There is a charm inexpressible in her sadness,” said he to Mrs. de Courcy.—“I think,” replied Mrs. de Courcy, “I can observe that that charm is decaying. Indeed, if it should entirely disappear before your fates are more closely united, you need not lament its departure. These cypresses look graceful bending over the urn there in the vista, but I should not like them to darken the sitting-room.” The only habit, common to love-lorn damsels, in which Laura indulged, was that of preferring solitary rambles; a habit, however, which had been imbibed long before she had any title to that character. Delighted with the environs of Norwood, she sometimes wandered beyond the dressed ground into the park, where art still embellished without restraining nature. The park might, indeed, have better deserved the name of an ornamented farm; for the lawns were here and there diversified by corn fields, and enlivened by the habitations of the labourers necessary to the agriculturist. These cottages, banished by fashion far from every lordly residence, were contrived so as to unite beauty with usefulness; they gave added interest to the landscape even to the eye of a stranger, but far more to that of De Courcy, for he knew that every one of them contained useful hands or grateful hearts: youth for whom he provided employment, or age whose past services he repaid. Here the blue smoke curled from amidst the thicket; there the white wall enlivened the meadow ; here the casement flashed bright with the setting sun; there the woodbine and the creeping rose softened the colouring which would have glared on the eye. Laura had followed the windings of a little green lane, till the woods which darkened it suddenly opened into a small field, sheltered by them on every side, which seemed to form the territory of a cottage of singular neatness and beauty. In a porch covered with honeysuckle, which led through a flower-garden to the house, a lovely little boy about three years old was playing with De Courcy’s great Newfoundland dog. The child was stretching on tiptoe to hug with one arm the neck of his rough companion; while with the other hand he was playfully offering the animal a bit of bread, and then snatching it in sport away. Neptune, not used to be so tantalised, made a catch at his prey; but the child succeeded in preserving his prize, and laughing, hid it behind him. The next moment Laura saw the dog throw him down, and heard a piercing cry. Fearless of personal danger, she ran to his assistance. The child was lying motionless on its face; while, with one huge paw laid on his back, Neptune was standing over him, wagging his tail in triumph. Convinced that the child was unhurt, and that the scream had been caused merely by fear, Laura spoke to the dog, who immediately quitted his posture to fawn upon her. She lifted the child from the ground and carried him towards the cottage. The poor little fellow, pale with terror, clung round her neck; but he no sooner saw himself in safety, than, recovering his suspended faculties, he began to roar with all his might. His cries reached the people in the house, who hastened to enquire into their cause; and Laura was met in the door of the cottage by De Courcy’s grey-haired servant, John, who seemed its owner, and a decent old woman, who was his wife. Laura prefaced her account of the accident by an assurance that the child was not hurt, and the old woman, taking him in her arms, tried to soothe him, while John invited Miss Montreville to enter. She followed him into a room, which, unacquainted as she was with the cleanliness of English cottages, appeared to her quite Arcadian. While Margaret was busy with her little charge, Laura praised the neatness and comfort of John’s abode. “It is as smug a place as heart can desire, please you, ma’am,” answered John, visibly gratified; “and we have every thing here as convenient as in the king’s palace, or as my master himself has, for the matter of that.”—“I thought, John, you had lived in Mr. de Courcy’s house,” said Laura. —“Yes, please you, ma’am, and so I did, since I was a little fellow no higher than my knee, taken in to run messages, till my young master came of age, and then he built this house for me, that I might just have it to go to when I pleased, without being turned away like; for he knew old folks liked to have a home of their own. So now, of a fine evening, I come home after prayers, and I stay all night; and when it’s bad weather, I have the same bed as I have had these forty years; not a penny worse than my master’s own.”—“And if you are employed all day at Norwood,” said Laura, “how do you contrive to keep your garden in such nice order ?”—“Oh ! for the matter of that, ma’am, my master would not grudge me a day’s work of the under gardener any time; no, nor to pay a man to work the little patch for me; but only as he says, the sweetest flowers are of one’s own planting, so, of a fine day, he often sends me home for an hour or two in the cool, just to put the little place in order.”—“Mr. de Courcy seems attentive to the comfort of every body who comes near him,” said Laura.—“That he is, madam; one would think he had an affection like for every mortal creature,

and particularly when they grow old and useless, like me and Margaret. I know who offered him twenty pounds a-year for this house and the bit of field; but he said, old folks did not like moving, and he would not put us out of this, even though he could give us one twice as good.”— “And your rent is lower than twenty pounds, I suppose?” said Laura.—“Why, sure, ma’am, we never pay a penny for it. My master,” said John, drawing up his head, and advancing his chest, “my master has the proper true spirit of a gentleman, and he had it since ever he was born ; for its bred in the bone with him, as the saying is. Why, ma’am, he had it from a child.—I have seen him, when he was less than that boy there, give away his dinner, when he was as hungry as a hound, just because a beggar asked it.—Ay, I remember, one day, just two-and-twenty years ago come July, that he was sitting at the door on my knee, eating his breakfast, and he had asked it half a dozen times from Mrs. Martin, for he was very hungry; and she did not always attend to him very well. So, up came a woman leading a little ragged creature; and it looked at Master Montague’s bread and milk, and said, ‘I wish I had some too. So says my master, “Here take you some, and I’ll take what you leave. —Well, ma’am, the brat snapped it all up in a trice, and I waited to see what little .master would do.—Well, he just laughed as good naturedly! Then I was going to have got him another breakfast, but my lady would not allow me. ‘No, no, John ” said my lady, “we must teach Montague the connection between generosity and self-denial.”—These were my lady’s very words.” By this time Margaret had succeeded in quieting the child; and a double allowance of bread and butter restored all his gaiety. “Come, Nep,” said he, squatting himself down on the ground, where Neptune was lying at Laura’s feet; “come, Nep, I’ll make friends; and there’s half for you, Henry’s own dear Nep.”—“Will you sit upon my knee?” said Laura, who was extremely fond of children. The boy looked steadily in her face for a few moments, and then holding out his arms to her, said, “Yes, I will.” -“Whose charming child is this?” enquired Laura, twisting his golden ringlets round her fingers. The colour rose to old Margaret’s furrowed cheek as she answered, “He is an orphan, ma’am.”—“He is our grandson,” said John, and drew his hand across his eyes. Laura saw that the subject was painful, and she enquired no further. She remained for a while playing with little Henry, and listening to John’s praises of his master; and then returned homewards. She was met by De Courcy and Harriet, who were coming in search of her. She related her little adventure, and praised the extraordinary beauty of the child. “Oh, that’s Montague’s protegé!” cried Harriet. “By the by he has not been to visit us since you came; I believe he was never so long absent before. I have a great notion my brother did not want to produce him to you.”—“To me!” exclaimed Laura in surprise ! “Why not ?” But receiving no answer from Harriet, who had been effectually silenced by a look from De Courcy, she turned for explanation to Montague; who made an awkward attempt to laugh off his sister’s attack, and then as awkwardly changed the subject. For some minutes Laura gravely and silently endeavoured to account for his behaviour. “His generosity supports this child,” thought she, “and he is superior to blazoning his charity.” So having, as greater philosophers have done, explained the facts to agree with her theory, she was perfectly satisfied, and examined them no more. Association carrying her thoughts to the contemplation of the happiness which De Courcy seemed to diffuse through every circle where he moved, she regretted that she was so soon to exchange the enjoyment of equable, unobtrusive kindness, for starts of officious fondness mingling with intervals of cold neglect or peevish importunity. “Norwood is the Eden of the earth,” said she to Harriet, as they drew their chairs towards the fire, to enjoy a téte-à-téte after the family were retired for the night; “ and it is peopled with spirits fit for paradise. – Happy you, who need never think of leaving it!” “Bless you ! my dear,” cried Harriet, “there is nothing I think of half so much. – You would not have me an old maid to comb lap-dogs and fatten cats, when I might be scolding my own maids, and whipping my own children.” “Really,” said Laura, “I think you would purchase even these delightful recreations too dearly by the loss of your present society. Sure it were a mad venture to change such a blessing for any uncertainty 1″ “And yet, Mrs. Graveairs, I have a notion that a certain gallant soldier could inspire you with the needful daring. – Now, look me in the face, and deny it if you Call. Laura did as she was desired; and, with cheeks flushed to crimson, but a voice of “sweet austere composure,” replied, “Indeed, Miss de Courcy, I am hurt that you should so often have taxed me, even in sport, with so discreditable a partiality. You cannot be serious in supposing that I would marry an ” adulterer, Laura would have said; but to apply such an epithet to Hargrave was too much for human firmness, and she stopped. “I declare she is angry,” cried Harriet. “Well, my dear, since it displeases you, I shan’t tease you any more; at least not till I find a new subject. But, pray now, do you intend to practise as you preach? Have you made a vow never to marry?” “I do not say so,” answered Laura; “it is silly to assert resolutions which nobody credits. . Besides my situation sadly differs from yours. Like the moon, which is rising yonder, I must pursue my course alone. Thousands around me might perhaps warm and enlighten me; but far distant, their influence is lost ere it reaches me. You are in the midst of a happy family, endeared to you by all that is lovely in virtue; all that is sacred in kindred. — I know not what would tempt me to resign your situation.” “What would tempt you?” cried Harriet. “Why, a pretty fellow would. But I verily believe you have been taking your cue from Montague: these are precisely his ideas. I think he has set his heart upon making me lead apes.” “What makes you think so?” enquired Laura. “Because he finds out a hundred faults to every man who talks nonsense to me. One is poor; and he thinks it folly to marry a beggar. Another is old, though he’s rich; and that would be downrightly selling myself. One’s a fool, and t’other’s cross; and in short there’s no end to his freaks. Only the other day he made me dismiss a creature whom I believe I should have liked well enough in time. I have not half forgiven him for it yet. Poor Wilmot ? – and I should have had a nice barouche too !” “What could possibly weigh with your brother against the barouche P” said Laura, smiling. “Why, my dear, the saucy wretch told me, as plainly as he civilly could, that Wilmot and I had not a grain of prudence between us; ergo, that we should be ridiculous and miserable. Besides, poor Wilmot once persuaded a pretty girl to play the fool; and though he afterwards did every thing he could to prevail on her to be made an honest woman, the silly thing chose rather to break her heart and die; and, ever since, poor Wilmot has been subject to fits of low spirits.” “Is it possible, Harriet, that you can talk so lightly of a crime so black in its nature, so dreadful in its consequences? Can it seem a trifle to you to destroy the peace, the innocence of a fellow-creature? Can you smile at remorse which pursued its victim even to the grave?” Tears filled the eyes of Harriet. “Oh no, my dearest,” she cried, throwing her arms round Laura’s neck; “do not think so hardly of me. — I am a rattle, it is true, but I am not unprincipled.” “Pardon my injustice, dearest Harriet,” said Laura, “ in believing, even for a moment, that you were capable of such perversion; and join with me in rejoicing that your brother’s influence has saved you from witnessing, from sharing, the pangs of unavailing repentance.” “Indeed,” said Harriet, “Montague’s influence can do any thing with me; and no wonder. I should be the most ungrateful wretch on earth if I could oppose his wishes. I cannot tell you the thousandth part of the affection he has shown me. Did you ever hear, my dear, that my father had it not in his power to make any provision for me?”

Laura answered that she had never heard the circumstances of the family at all mentioned. “Do you know,” continued Harriet, “I am certain that Montague is averse to my marrying, because he is afraid that “my poverty, and not my will, consents. But he has himself set that matter to rest; for the very morning after I gave Wilmot his congé, Montague presented me with bills for two thousand pounds. The generous fellow told me that he did not offer his gift while Wilmot’s suit was pending, lest I should think he bought a right to influence my decision.” “This is just what I should have expected from Mr. de Courcy,” said Laura, the purest satisfaction beaming in her countenance. “He is ever considerate, ever generous.” “To tell you that he gives me money,” cried Harriet rapturously, “is nothing; he gives me his time, his labour, his affection. Do love him, dear Laura ! He is the best of all creatures !” “Indeed I believe it,” said Laura, “ and I have the most cordial regard for him.” “Ah, but you must ” Harriet’s gratitude to her brother had very nearly been too strong for his secret, and she was on the point of petitioning Laura to return a sentiment warmer than cordial regard, when, recollecting her mother’s commands, she desisted; and to fly from the temptation, wished Laura good night, and retired. It was with sincere regret that Laura, the next day, took leave of her kind hosts. As De Courcy handed her into the carriage, the tears were rising to her eyes: but they were checked by a glance from Lady Pelham, in which Laura thought she could read mingled scorn and anger. Lady Pelham had remarked the improved spirits of her niece; but, instead of rejoicing that any medicine should have “ministered to a mind diseased,” she was offended at the success of a remedy applied by any other than herself. She was nettled at perceiving that the unobtrusive seriousness of Mrs. de Courcy, and the rattling gaiety of Harriet, had effected what all her brilliant powers had not achieved. Her powers, indeed, had been sometimes directed to en

tertain, but never to console; they had been exerted to purchase admiration, not to win confidence; yet, with a common perverseness, she was angry at their ill success, not sorry for their wrong direction. She did not consider, that real benevolence, or an excellent counterfeit, is the only road to an unadulterated heart. It appeared to her a proof of an ungrateful temper in her niece, that she should yield in so short a time to strangers to whom she owed nothing, what she refused to a relation to whom she owed so much. She had not been able to forbear from venting her spleen in little spiteful remarks, and sly stings, sometimes so adroitly given, that they were unobserved, except by the person who was by degrees becoming accustomed to expect them. The presence of the De Courcy family, however, restrained the expression of Lady Pelham’s ill humour; and, as she detested restraint (a detestation which she always ascribed to a noble ingenuousness of mind), she nestled, with peculiar complacency, into the corner of the carriage which was to convey her to what she called freedom, namely, the liberty to infringe with impunity the rights of others. Laura felt that her reluctance to quit Norwood was a bad compliment to her aunt, and she called a smile to her face as she kissed her hand to her kind friends; yet the contrast between their affectionate looks, and the “lurking devil” in Lady Pelham’s eye, did not lessen her regret at the exchange she was making. Lady Pelham saw the tone of Laura’s mind, and she immediately struck up a discord. “Heaven be praised,” she cried, “we have at last escaped out of that stupid place ! I think it must be something extraordinary that tempts me to spend four days there again.” Laura remained silent; for she disliked direct contradiction, and never spoke what she did not think. Lady Pelham continued her harangue, declaring, “that your good sort of people were always intolerably tiresome; that clock-work regularity was the dullest thing in nature; that Norwood was another cave of Trophonius; Mrs. de Courcy inspired with the soul of a starched old maid; Harriet animated by the joint spirit of a magpie and a monkey; and Montague by that of a methodist parson.” Finally, she again congratulated herself on her escape from such society, and wondered how anybody could submit to it without hanging himself. Laura was accustomed to support Lady Pelham’s attacks upon herself with perfect equanimity; but her temper was not proof against this unjust, this unexpected philippic against her friends; and she reddened with anger and disdain, though she had still so much self-command as to reply only, “Your Ladyship is fortunate in being able to lose, without regret, what others find it difficult to replace.” Lady Pelham fully understood the emphasis which was laid on the word others, but the mortification to her vanity was compensated by the triumph of discovering the vulnerable side of her niece’s temper. This was the first time that she had been conscious of power over it, and severely did Laura pay for the momentary negligence which had betrayed the secret. Some persons never feel pleasure without endeavouring to communicate it. Lady Pelham acted upon the converse of this amiable principle; and, as an ill-regulated mind furnished constant sources of pain, a new channel of participation was a precious discovery. As often, therefore, as spleen, jealousy, or malice prompted her to annoyance, she had recourse henceforth to this new found weapon; and she varied her warfare through all the changes of hints, insinuations, and that mode of attack the most provoking of all, which, aiming at no particular point, becomes the more difficult to parry. During several months, she made it the occasional instrument of her vengeance for the jealousy which she entertained of Laura’s increasing intimacy with the De Courcys; an intimacy which she chose to embitter, though she could not break it off, without depriving herself of acquaintances who were visited by the first people in the county. Her industry in teasing was not confined to Laura. She inflicted a double stroke, by the petulance or coldness with which she sometimes treated the De Courcys. But though Laura was keenly sensible to these petty wrongs done her friends, the injured passed them over without much notice. Harriet repaid them with laughter or sarcasm; while

Montague seemed to consider them as wholly unworthy of attention. He continued his visits to Walbourne, and accident at last furnished an excuse for their frequency. In the course of Lady Pelham’s improvements, a difficulty chanced to occur, which a slight knowledge of the elements of mathematics would have enabled her to solve. To supply the want of this knowledge, she had recourse to Mr. de Courcy, who removed her perplexity with the ease of one conversant with his subject, and the accuracy of one who speaks to a reasoning creature. Lady Pelham was charmed ! She was convinced that “ of all studies that of mathematics must be the most delightful. She imagined it might not be quite impracticable even for a lady, supposing she were so fortunate as to meet with a friend who could assist her.” De Courcy, laughing, offered his services, not, it must be owned, with any idea that they would be accepted. Her Ladyship, however, eagerly embraced the offer; for she was little accustomed to forecast the difficulties of any scheme which entered her brain. In the triumphant expectation that all difficulty would yield to her acuteness, and her brighter abilities gain in a comparison with the plain good sense of her niece, she obliged Laura to join in her new pursuit. Upon the study of this science, so little in favour with a sex who reserve cultivation for faculties where it is least wanting, Laura entered with a pleasure which surprised herself, and she persevered in it with an industry which astonished her teacher. Lady Pelham was, for a little while, the companion of her labours; but, at the first difficulty, she took offence at the unaccommodating thing, which showed no more indulgence to female than to royal indolence. Forthwith she was fired with strong aversion to philosophers in bibs, and a horror at she-pedants, a term of reproach which a dexterous side-glance could appropriate to her niece, though the author of these memoirs challenges any mortal to say that ever Laura Montreville was heard to mention ellipse or parabola, or to insinuate her acquaintance with the properties of circle or polygon. Nothing moved by Lady Pelham’s sneers, Laura continued her studies, impelled partly by the duty of improving the most U

valuable faculty of an immortal mind, partly by the pleasure which she derived from the study itself. It is true, that her Ladyship’s indiscreet use of the secret, made Laura’s labours the cause of much merriment to titterers of both sexes; but we have never discovered that De Courcy esteemed her the less for her persevering industry, or loved her the less for this new subject of mutual interest. He watched with delight the restoration of her mind to its full vigour; and as he had never known her in the blaze of youthful gaiety, he was scarcely sensible of the shade which blended the radiance of her mid-day of life with the sober tints of evening. The impression of her early disappointment was indeed indelible, but it was no longer overwhelming. She had given the reins to her imagination, — it had fatally misled her; but its power had sustained an irrecoverable shock, and the sway was transferred to reason. She had dreamed of an earthly heaven, and seen that it was but a dream. All her earthly joys had vanished — yet misery had been almost as transient as delight, and she learned the practical use of a truth which all acknowledge in theory. In the course of four months’ residence at Walbourne, she recovered a placid cheerfulness, which afterwards continued to be the habitual tenor of her mind. If she looked forward to the future events of her life, it was to resolve that they should be subservient to the great end of her being. If she glanced backward, it was less to lament the disappointment, than to blame the error which had led to it; and she never allowed her thoughts to dwell upon her unworthy lover, except when praying that he might be awakened to a sense of his guilt. She was chiefly concerned to improve and to enjoy the present; and in this she was successful in spite of the peevish humours of Lady Pelham, mixed occasionally with ebullitions of rage. Those who are furious where they dare, or when the provocation is sufficient to rouse their courage, sometimes chide with impotent perseverance where they are awed from the full expression of their fury; as the sea, which the lightest breeze dashes in billows over the sandbank, frets in puny ripples against the rock that frowns over it. If Lady Pelham’s temper had any resemblance to this stormy element, it was not wholly void of likeness to another — for it “changed as it listed,” without any discoverable reason. It would have lost half its power to provoke, and Laura half the merit of her patient endurance, if it had been permanently diabolical. The current, not only serene but sparkling, would reflect with added beauty every surrounding object, then would suddenly burst into foam, or settle into a stagnant marsh. Laura threw oil upon the torrent, and suffered the marsh to clear itself. She enjoyed Lady Pelham’s wit and vivacity in her hours of good humour, and patiently submitted to her seasons of low spirits, as she complaisantly called them. Laura at last, undesignedly, opened a new direction to her aunt’s spleen. From her first introduction to Lady Pelham, she had laboured assiduously to promote a reconciliation between her aunt and her daughter, Mrs. Herbert. Her zeal appeared surprising to Lady Pelham, who could not estimate the force of her motive for thus labouring, to the manifest detriment of her own interest, she being (after Mrs. Herbert) the natural heiress of her aunt’s fortune. She had seized the moment of complacency; watched the relentings of nature; by turns tried to soothe and to convince ; and, in the proper spirit of a peace-maker, adhered to her purpose with meek perseverance. According to the humour of the hour, Lady Pelham was alternately flattered by solicitations that confessed her power, or rendered peevish by entreaties which she was determined to reject, or fired to rage by the recollection of her wrongs. If the more placid frame prevailed, she could ring eternal changes on the same oft-refuted arguments, or adroitly shift the subject by some lively sally of wit, or some neat compliment to her niece. In her more stormy tempers, she would profess a total inability to pardon; nay, a determination never to attempt it; and took credit for scorning to pretend a forgiveness which she could not practise. Still Laura was not discouraged; for she had often observed that what Lady Pelham declared on one day to be wholly impossible, on the next became, without

any assignable reason, the easiest thing in nature; and that what to-day no human force should wrest from her, was yielded to-morrow to no force at all. She therefore persisted in her work of conciliation; and her efforts at last prevailed so far, that, though Lady Pelham still protested implacability, she acknowledged that, as there was no necessity for her family feuds being known to the world, she was willing to appear upon decent terms with the Herberts; and, for that purpose, would receive them for a few weeks at Walbourne. Of this opening, unpromising as it was, Laura instantly availed herself; and wrote to convey the frozen invitation to her cousin, in the kindest language which she was permitted to use. It was instantly accepted; and Mrs. Herbert and her husband became the inmates of Walbourne. Mrs. Herbert had no resemblance to her mother. Her countenance was grave and thoughtful; her manners uniformly cold and repulsive. Laura traced in her unbending reserve, the apathy of one whose genial feelings had been blunted by early unkindness. Frank, highspirited, and imprudent, Herbert was his wife’s opposite; and Laura had not been half an hour in his company, before she began to tremble for the effect of these qualities on the irascible temper of her aunt. But her alarm seemed causeless; for the easy resoluteness with which he maintained his opinions, appeared to extort from Lady Pelham a sort of respect; and, though she privately complained to Laura of what she called his assurance, she exempted him, while present, from her attacks, seeming afraid to exert upon him her skill in provoking. Laura began to perceive, that a termagant is not so untameable an animal as she had once imagined, since one glimpse of the master-spirit is of sovereign power to lay the lesser imps of spleen. But though Lady Pelham seemed afraid to measure her strength with spirits of kindred irascibility, she was under no restraint with Mrs. Herbert, upon whom she vented a degree of querulousness which appeared less like the ebullitions of ill temper, than the overflowings of settled malice. Every motion, every look, furnished matter of censure or of sarcasm. The placing of a book, the pronunciation of a word, the snuffing of a candle, called forth reprehension; and Laura knew not whether to be most astonished at the ingenious malice which contrived to convert “trifles, light as air,” into certain proofs of degeneracy, or at the apathy on which the venomed shaft fell harmless. Mrs. Herbert received all her mother’s reprimands in silence, without moving a muscle, without announcing, by the slightest change of colour, that the sarcasm had reached further than her ear. If, as not unfrequently happened, the reproof extended into a harangue, Mrs. Herbert, unmoved, withdrew no part of her attention from her netting, and politely suppressed a yawn. These discourteous scenes were exhibited only in Mr. Herbert’s absence; his presence instantly suspended Lady Pelham’s warfare; and Laura inferred that his wife never made him acquainted with her mother’s behaviour. That behaviour formed an exception to the general unsteadiness of Lady Pelham ; for to Mrs. Herbert she was consistently cruel and insulting. Nothing could be more tormenting to the benevolent mind of Laura, than to witness this system of aggression; and she repented having been instrumental in renewing an intercourse which could lead to no pleasing issue. But the issue was nearer than she expected. One day, in Herbert’s absence, Lady Pelham began to discuss with his wife, or rather to her, the never-failing subject of her duplicity and disobedience. She was not interrupted by any expression of regret or repentance from the culprit, who maintained a stoical silence, labouring the while to convey mathematical precision to the crimping of a baby’s cap, an employment upon which Lady Pelham seemed to look with peculiar abhorrence. From the turpitude of her daughter’s conduct, she proceeded to its consequences. She knew no right, she said, that people had to encumber their relations with hosts of beggarly brats. She vowed that none such should ever receive her countenance or protection. Her rage kindled as she spoke. She inveighed against Mrs. Herbert’s insensibility; and at last talked herself into such a pitch of fury, as even to abuse her for submitting to the company of one who could not conceal detestation of her; – a want of spirit which she directly attributed to the most interested views;—views which, however, she absolutely swore that she would defeat.

In the energy of her declamation, she did not perceive that Herbert had entered the room, and stood listening to her concluding sentences, with a face of angry astonishment. Advancing towards his wife, he indignantly enquired into the meaning of the tumult. “Nothing,” answered she, calmly surveying her handy-work; “only my mother is a little angry, but I have not spoken a word.” He then turned for explanation to Lady Pelham, whom the flashing of his eye reduced to instantaneous quiet; and, not finding, in her stammering abstract of the conversation, any apology for the insult which he had heard, he took his wife by the arm, and instantly left the house, giving orders that his baggage should follow him to a little inn in the neighbouring village.

Thus did the insolence of one person, and the hasty spirit of another, undo what Laura had for months been labouring to effect. The Herberts never made any attempt at reconciliation, and Lady Pelham would never afterwards hear them mentioned, without breaking out into torrents of abuse, and even imprecation, which made Laura’s blood run cold. Yet, with her usual inconsistency, Lady Pelham was vexed at the suspension of her intercourse with the Herberts; because she thus lost even the shadow of power over her daughter. Not that she acknowledged this cause of regret. No! she eloquently bewailed her hard fate, in being exposed to the censure of the world as at variance with her nearest relatives. She complained that, with a heart “warm as melting charity,” she had no one to love or to cherish. Yet Laura could not always forbear smiling at the perverse direction of her aunt’s regrets. Lady Pelham was angry, not that her own unkindness had driven her children from her, but that Laura’s officious benevolence had brought them to her house; a measure from which she was pleased to say that no person of common sense could have expected a different 1SSule.

Post-anime prose fiction

In light of anime having an impending demise (not helped by that even a mangaka might say things that’ll make anime fans uncomfortable), on one hand you have global animation and comics industries taking over Japan’s very own and some of them may even be highly inspired by or adapt Western literature. On the other hand, you have anime fans possibly turning to other media as viable substitutes.

Some of them may even gravitate to rather unlikely genres. This could’ve happened before to some extent as Evangelion was said to influence crime fiction in Japan. But with anime gone, I have a feeling you’d be getting more crime fiction with anime-traits and references. As odd as it sounds, this is also possibly why I think database consumption can easily survive outside of Japanese anime.

Though that would mean an entirely different approach to writing crime fiction where characters seem anime-ish at first. But then that’s what you get with anime being dead, some viable alternatives can be unlikely at first. Even if they’re doable.

The post-anime landscape

I sometimes still think anime might not be around forever, let alone in its current form as Japan’s own successors might surpass it. They may even be the new hub of anime and manga soon after Japan’s own decline in those industries as one may predict. It’s also partly going to be why it’s much more feasible to do animated adaptations of things like Starship Troopers and Dune if Japan may not produce the next anime IP anymore.

Some of it’s wishful thinking but when animation studios chose to adapt science fiction classics and banking on it in absence of anime, that’s saying of where it’s heading. Should a mangaka say that another country may surpass Japan, chances are post-anime might be forthcoming and anime fans may have to be aware of growing animation industries in India, China and Uganda. No seriously Uganda’s got Katoto.

Whatever the country is, Japan might not be the only major non-Western animation hub anymore and may even be surpassed by America when it comes to adult animation.

Hair Powder recipe

1 cup of aita
2 tbsp madder/red food colouring
1 tbsp henna

Bleu/Gorm (Gorm can also mean black hair)
1 cup of indigo
2 tbsp blue food colouring
1 tbsp henna

3 tbsp of walnut husk
1 cup of corn starch
5 tbsp of citric oil

Dark Blond (Light Brown)/Odhar
5 tbsp of walnut husk
1 cup of corn starch
5 tbsp of citric oil

1 cup of walnut husk
5 tbsp of corn starch
5 tbsp of citric oil

1 cup of corn starch
2 tbsp of turmeric
6 tbsp of citric oil