because polka will never die!
"Well, of course, I mean all those women,—why do they do such things? It is unwomanly, it—it is disgraceful!"
I could not keep the word back, and for the first time I saw a flash of anger in my friend's eyes.
"Come," said he, "you must not talk like that! That term may have a different signification to you, but with us it means an insult."
I quickly begged his pardon and tried to explain to him. "Our women," I said, "never do things of that sort, as I have told you. They have no taste for them and no inclination in that direction,—it is against their very nature. And if you will forgive me for saying so, I cannot but think that such indulgence as we witnessed last night must coarsen a woman's spiritual fibre, and dull the fine moral sense which is so highly developed in her."
"Excuse me," interposed Severnius. "You have shown me in the case of your own sex that human nature is the same on the Earth that it is on Mars. You would not have me think that there are two varieties of human nature on your planet, corresponding with the sexes, would you? You say 'woman’s' spiritual fibre and fine moral sense, as though she had an exclusive title to those qualities. My dear sir, it is impossible! you are all born of woman and are one flesh and one blood, whether you are male or female. I admit all you say about the unwholesome influence of such indulgence as wine drinking, late hours, questionable stories and songs,—a night's debauch, in fact, which it requires days sometimes to recover from,—but I must apply it to men as well p. 48 as women; neither are at their best under such conditions. I think," he went on, "that I begin to understand the distinction which you have curiously mistaken for a radical difference. Your women, you say, have always been in a state of semi-subjection—"
"No, no," I cried, "I never said so! On the contrary, they hold the very highest place with us; they are honored with chivalrous devotion, cared for with the tenderest consideration. We men are their slaves, in reality, though they call us their lords; we work for them, endure hardships for them, give them all that we can of wealth, luxury, ease. And we defend them from danger and save them every annoyance in our power. They are the queens of our hearts and homes."
"That may all be," he replied coolly, "but you admit that they have always been denied their political rights, and it follows that their social rights should be similarly limited. Long abstinence from the indulgences which you regard as purely masculine, has resulted in a habit merely, not a change in their nature."
"Then thank heaven for their abstinence!" I exclaimed.
"That is all very well," he persisted, "but you must concede that in the first place it was forced upon them, and that was an injustice, because they were intelligent beings and your equals."
"They ought to thank us for the injustice, then," I retorted.
"I beg your pardon! they ought not. No doubt they are very lovely and innocent beings, and that your world is the better for them. But they, being restricted in other ways by man's authority, or his wishes, or by fear of his disfavor perhaps, have acquired these gentle qualities at the expense of—or in the place of—others more essential to the foundation of character; I mean strength, dignity, self-respect, and that which you once attributed to my sister,—responsibility."
- This book is great.