Unless you can arouse your heart to such an understanding of love, you are not yet acquainted with the little god. If your lover consents to the sacrifice you have demanded, he will indicate a weakness of character which augurs ill for the future: and if you insist upon the sacrifice, you will establish a selfish precedent which can only make you a tyrant in your own domain, and at the same time belittle your husband in the public eye.
However proud and happy you may be in the thought of noble achievements of your own, you must realize that there are many brutal and painful phases to a public career for a woman. These phases do not exist to any such degree for a man. I do not believe it is the result of tradition or habit, but of sex and temperament, that this difference exists, and that the shelter of a man’s name means more to woman than any shelter to be found in her own, and that the sacrifice of her own name means less to her than the sacrifice of his means to him. Unless you can reach this same conclusion, do not marry—for you do not love.
To Mrs. St. Claire
The Young Divorcee
And so you have joined the increasing army of the divorcees.
It is worse than useless to discuss again the causes which led to this situation, and now that the law of the land has made you a free woman, the one thing for you to consider is your future, and to formulate to some degree a code of conduct for your guidance.
You are in the prime of beautiful womanhood, pleasing to the eye, and agreeable to the mind. Women will regard you with more or less mental reservation, and men will seek you at every opportunity.
Some witty creature has said, “A little widow is a dangerous thing.”
It might be added, “A grass widow whets the appetites of bovines”.
You will find yourself at a loss to choose when an escort is needed, so many and persistent will be the applicants for the position.
After having passed through the black waters of an unhappy marriage, this sudden freedom and return to the privileges of girlhood will be liable to affect you like the glare of sunlight after confinement in a dark room.
You will be blinded for a time. It would be well for you to walk slowly, and to use a cane of common sense, and even to feel your way with the outstretched hands of discretion, until you become accustomed to the light.
To fall and scar yourself now, would be a disaster.
It is a curious fact that a woman who has been unhappy with one man usually finds many others ready to give her the opportunity for a repetition of her experience. And it is equally curious that one unhappy marriage frequently leads to another.
A disastrous rencontre with Hymen seems to destroy a woman’s finer intuitions. If you feel that you must marry again, go slowly, and wait until the bruised tendrils of your heart have healed and are rooted in healthy soil. Do not let them twine about any sort of a dead tree or frail reed. Run no chance of a second sorrow.