Thursday 15 July 2010

The Ideal Woman (2)

We continue our exploration of the ideal woman under the helpful guidance of the Viscount Mountmorres, who, at the very least, possessed an impecable moustache.

For my part, I think the first requirement in woman in true womanliness ... That outrage on human nature which seeks to cover its defective womanhood under an ill and grotesque copy of man's trappings in speech, manner, thought, and appearance, is fortunately an abomination rarely met with in life, being rather the creature of modern imagination.

Thank heavens for that, sir.

Detestable as is the blue-stocking, I am almost inclined to think the vapidity some times met with worse. There is scarcely any charm, to my mind, greater than a truly beautiful mind, bright in expression, quick of comprehension; a mind that keeps its owner apace with the times, enables her to shine - always without effort - in any company ... If a woman be blessed with such a mind, and have at the same time escaped conceit and self-consciousness, she is always an agreeable companion; and were more women agreeable companions there would be fewer unhappy homes.

So, make an effort, girls.

My ideal is she whose moods are variable as an April day, full of sunshine and gladness, yet capable of deep distress; bringing light and gaiety and warm laughter in her train, but at the same time with a fount of tears for the sorrowing and sad or in the presence of suffering ... 

A fun time to be had be all, if you bag a Viscount, plainly.

I always think it is this very combination, this mixture of bright levity and true depth of feeling, which many Englishmen have found so lovable in our transatlantic cousins, in whose blood it has been innoculated by generationd which have known the wild, glad freedom, yet serious responsibilities and trials, or building up a new country.

Well, that's one theory, I suppose. But, strangely, he agrees with Mr. Frankfort Moore, right at the end:

Let a woman who would merit and gain a man's love and lasting respect not seek after effect, let her think nothing of being ideal, but live her own life according to her own natural instincts, and she will come as near to perfection as she was meant to be. Let her once endeavour to be perfect and that moment she will fall back into the outer darkness of unloved woman.

So, for all you unloved woman out there, the Viscount's message is, ladies, don't try too hard.

I will spare you the full thoughts of the Hon. Stuart Erskine, who ends the piece, except for this gem:

There are two kinds of ideal womankind - the useful, and the purely (and merely) ornamental.

This post is dedicated to all the useful ladies out there.

1 comment:

  1. It would be interesting to know who the Viscount married and whether it was a happy marriage.