“There goes a true woman,” he said. “I have been persuading her to take the very best step open to her. I began by talking sense, like a man of honor, and kept at it for half an hour, but she would not listen to me. Then I talked romantic nonsense of the cheapest sort for five minutes, and she consented with tears in her eyes. Let us take this hansom. Hi! Belsize Avenue. Yes; you sometimes have to answer a woman according to her womanishness, just as you have to answer a fool according to his folly. Have you ever made up your mind, Jansenius, whether I am an unusually honest man, or one of the worst products of the social organization I spend all my energies in assailing—an infernal scoundrel, in short?”
“Now pray do not be absurd,” said Mr. Jansenius. “I wonder at a man of your ability behaving and speaking as you sometimes do.”
“I hope a little insincerity, when meant to act as chloroform—to save a woman from feeling a wound to her vanity—is excusable. By-the-bye, I must send a couple of telegrams from the first post-office we pass. Well, sir, I am going to marry Agatha, as I sent you word. There was only one other single man and one other virgin down at Brandon Beeches, and they are as good as engaged. And so—
“’Jack shall have Jill, Nought shall go ill, The man shall have his mare again; And all shall be well.’”
LETTER TO THE AUTHOR FROM MR. SIDNEY TREFUSIS.
My Dear Sir: I find that my friends are not quite satisfied with the account you have given of them in your clever novel entitled “An Unsocial Socialist.” You already understand that I consider it my duty to communicate my whole history, without reserve, to whoever may desire to be guided or warned by my experience, and that I have no sympathy whatever with the spirit in which one of the ladies concerned recently told you that her affairs were no business of yours or of the people who read your books. When you asked my permission some years ago to make use of my story, I at once said that you would be perfectly justified in giving it the fullest publicity whether I consented or not, provided only that you were careful not to falsify it for the sake of artistic effect. Now, whilst cheerfully admitting that you have done your best to fulfil that condition, I cannot help feeling that, in presenting the facts in the guise of fiction, you have, in spite of yourself, shown them in a false light. Actions described in novels are judged by a romantic system of morals as fictitious as the actions themselves. The traditional parts of this system are, as Cervantes tried to show, for the chief part, barbarous and obsolete; the modern additions are largely due to the novel readers and writers of our own century—most of them half-educated women, rebelliously slavish, superstitious, sentimental, full of the intense egotism fostered by their struggle