Overruled eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 40 pages of information about Overruled.
the gallant adventures as crimes of so horrible a nature that only the most depraved and desperate characters engage in them or would listen to advances in that direction without raising an alarm with the noisiest indignation, are clearly examples of the fact that most sections of society do not know how the other sections live.  Industry is the most effective check on gallantry.  Women may, as Napoleon said, be the occupation of the idle man just as men are the preoccupation of the idle woman; but the mass of mankind is too busy and too poor for the long and expensive sieges which the professed libertine lays to virtue.  Still, wherever there is idleness or even a reasonable supply of elegant leisure there is a good deal of coquetry and philandering.  It is so much pleasanter to dance on the edge of a precipice than to go over it that leisured society is full of people who spend a great part of their lives in flirtation, and conceal nothing but the humiliating secret that they have never gone any further.  For there is no pleasing people in the matter of reputation in this department:  every insult is a flattery; every testimonial is a disparagement:  Joseph is despised and promoted, Potiphar’s wife admired and condemned:  in short, you are never on solid ground until you get away from the subject altogether.  There is a continual and irreconcilable conflict between the natural and conventional sides of the case, between spontaneous human relations between independent men and women on the one hand and the property relation between husband and wife on the other, not to mention the confusion under the common name of love of a generous natural attraction and interest with the murderous jealousy that fastens on and clings to its mate (especially a hated mate) as a tiger fastens on a carcase.  And the confusion is natural; for these extremes are extremes of the same passion; and most cases lie somewhere on the scale between them, and are so complicated by ordinary likes and dislikes, by incidental wounds to vanity or gratifications of it, and by class feeling, that A will be jealous of B and not of C, and will tolerate infidelities on the part of D whilst being furiously angry when they are committed by E.

THE CONVENTION OF JEALOUSY

That jealousy is independent of sex is shown by its intensity in children, and by the fact that very jealous people are jealous of everybody without regard to relationship or sex, and cannot bear to hear the person they “love” speak favorably of anyone under any circumstances (many women, for instance, are much more jealous of their husbands’ mothers and sisters than of unrelated women whom they suspect him of fancying); but it is seldom possible to disentangle the two passions in practice.  Besides, jealousy is an inculcated passion, forced by society on people in whom it would not occur spontaneously.  In Brieux’s Bourgeois aux Champs, the benevolent

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Overruled from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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