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Vanishing Roads and Other Essays eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 267 pages of information about Vanishing Roads and Other Essays.
being so rapidly and successfully made by woman into the immemorial business of man, which are superficially regarded by some as dangerous to the tenderer sentiments between men and women, are, on the contrary, merely widening the area of romance, and will eventually develop, as they can be seen already developing, a new chivalry and a new poetry of the sexes no less deep and far more many-sided than the old.  The robuster comradeship between the two already resulting from the more active sharing of common interests cannot but tend to a deeper and more exhilarating union of man and woman, a completer, intenser marriage literally of true minds as well as bodies than was possible in the old regime, when the masculine and feminine “spheres” were kept so jealously distinct and only allowed to touch at the elementary points of relationship.  There has always been a thrill of adventure when either has been admitted a little farther into the other’s world than was customary.  How thrilling, therefore, will it be when men and women entirely share in each other’s lives, without fictitious reserves and mysteries, and face the whole adventure of life squarely and completely together, all the more husband and wife for being comrades as well—­as many men and women of the new era are already joyously doing.

And, merely on the surface, what a new romantic element woman has introduced into the daily drudgery of men’s lives by her mere presence in their offices!  She cannot always be beautiful, poor dear, and she is not invariably gracious, it is true; yet, on the whole, how much the atmosphere of office life has gained in amenity by the coming of the stenographer, the typewriter, and the telephone girl, not to speak of her frequent decorative value in a world that has hitherto been uncompromisingly harsh and unadorned!  Men may affect to ignore this, and cannot afford indeed to be too sensitive to these flowery presences that have so considerably supplanted those misbegotten young miscreants known as office-boys, a vanishing race of human terror; yet there she is, all the same, in spite of her businesslike airs and her prosaic tasks, silently diffusing about her that eternal mystery which she can never lose, be her occupations never so masculine.

There she is with her subtly wreathed hair and her absurd little lace handkerchiefs and her furtive powder puff and her bits of immemorial ornaments and the soft sound of her skirts and all the rest of it.  Never mind how grimly and even brusquely you may be dictating to her specifications for steel rails or the like, little wafts of perfume cannot help floating across to your rolltop desk, and you are a man and she is a woman, for all that; and, instead of having her with you at fag ends of your days, you have her with you all day long now—­and your sisters and your sweethearts are so much the nearer to you all day for her presence, and, whether you know it or not, you are so much the less a brute because she is there.

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