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( 308 )
( 308 )
Lv.—Modern Inconsistency. -*- *
LV . —MODERN INCONSISTENCY . - _* - *
If In The World Of Matter, Singular, And...
If in the world of matter , singular , and at first sight , contradictory facts are frequently met with , to a greater and more puzzling
extent are they likewise encountered in the world of mind . In daily intercourse with societypersons cross our path who , loudly
, advocating a particular theory of life and system of moral action , carry out in practice theories and systems of quite another character .
And in no class is this discrepancy so frequent and so palpable as in the middle class of our social scale , and among the women of that
class . To such an extent , in the case of women , are these paradoxes found ,
that one is tempted to ask , How is it that they , more than men , appear endowed with so many contradictory mental qualities and
inconsistent feelings ? A certain amount of- consistency is looked for in a man ; whereas it creates no surprise , calls forth no comments
, should a woman utter the most diverse opinions , or act one day in a manner which she entirely repudiates the next . Are they by
nature thus _xmstable , or have " habit and repute" made them so ; or do they dissemble , and appear the shadowy , uncertain _Tbeings
they are not ? These questions we have asked ourselves times without number .
Take , as one of the commonest examples , the ever-smiling and apparently amiable woman ; a being impressed with the idea
that her chief object in life is to make herself pleasing and agreeable to every one , no matter at what sacrifice of principle or
abnegation of opinion . She has been told , from the time she could count her fingers , that the purpose of her existence could only be
rightly fulfilled by pleasing others and gratifying their wishes . Conning over her lesson and trying hard to acquire it , she grows up
enters the world , and is found to be a bundle of inconsistencies . , Like all of the human race , she was born with an individuality of
her own , but as it has been long announced and accepted as a dogma in the social creed of women , that their greatest charm consists in
having no peculiar characteristics , in order to carry out this dogma every means are taken to obliterate the natural impress
and convert them into what are called " amiable" women , smiling ¦ when they ought to look grave , and appearing pleased when they
_otight to be displersod . Let us follow this pretty , smiling creature into her private sitting-room , and see how nature revenges herself
for thie mockery . The outward guise is laid aside with the outward garb ; there is no one near to smile upon , no one within hearing of
the ultra soft voice , and the player is graver , more ill-natured , and her voice harsher than need be from the long strain and the weary
sameness of her daily task . She is alone , can look as she likes ,
speak as she likes , and storm as she likes , at the vapidity and list-
English Woman’s Journal (1858-1864), Jan. 1, 1862, page 308, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/ewj/issues/ewj_01011862/page/20/