Getting Married eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 173 pages of information about Getting Married.
a husband be imposed on these women as the price of their right to maternity?  I am quite unable to answer that question.  I see a good deal of first-rate maternal ability and sagacity spending itself on bees and poultry and village schools and cottage hospitals; and I find myself repeatedly asking myself why this valuable strain in the national breed should be sterilized.  Unfortunately, the very women whom we should tempt to become mothers for the good of the race are the very last people to press their services on their country in that way.  Plato long ago pointed out the importance of being governed by men with sufficient sense of responsibility and comprehension of public duties to be very reluctant to undertake the work of governing; and yet we have taken his instruction so little to heart that we are at present suffering acutely from government by gentlemen who will stoop to all the mean shifts of electioneering and incur all its heavy expenses for the sake of a seat in Parliament.  But what our sentimentalists have not yet been told is that exactly the same thing applies to maternity as to government.  The best mothers are not those who are so enslaved by their primitive instincts that they will bear children no matter how hard the conditions are, but precisely those who place a very high price on their services, and are quite prepared to become old maids if the price is refused, and even to feel relieved at their escape.  Our democratic and matrimonial institutions may have their merits:  at all events they are mostly reforms of something worse; but they put a premium on want of self-respect in certain very important matters; and the consequence is that we are very badly governed and are, on the whole, an ugly, mean, ill-bred race.

IBSEN’S CHAIN STITCH

Let us not forget, however, in our sympathy for the superfluous women, that their children must have fathers as well as mothers.  Who are the fathers to be?  All monogamists and married women will reply hastily:  either bachelors or widowers; and this solution will serve as well as another; for it would be hypocritical to pretend that the difficulty is a practical one.  None the less, the monogamists, after due reflection, will point out that if there are widowers enough the superfluous women are not really superfluous, and therefore there is no reason why the parties should not marry respectably like other people.  And they might in that case be right if the reasons were purely numerical:  that is, if every woman were willing to take a husband if one could be found for her, and every man willing to take a wife on the same terms; also, please remember, if widows would remain celibate to give the unmarried women a chance.  These ifs will not work.  We must recognize two classes of old maids:  one, the really superfluous women, and the other, the women who refuse to accept maternity on the (to them) unbearable condition of taking a

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Getting Married from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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