Modern Women and What is Said of Them by Anonymous
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Mill wishes them to have--a vote for the borough, or perhaps a seat in Parliament. They do ask that young women should have a fair matrimonial chance, independently of such trivial considerations as good looks, and that after marriage they should have the right to despise their husbands whenever duty and common sense tell them it is proper to do so. The odd thing is that the heroines of whom authoresses are so fond in novels, are not the heroines whom other women like in real life. Even the popular authoresses of the day, who are always producing some lovely pantheress in their stories, and making her achieve an endless series of impossible exploits, would not care much about a lovely pantheress in a drawing-room or a country-house; and are not perhaps in the habit of meeting any.
We mean, of course, on the assumption that the daughter is either a pretty or clever girl, with whom any sort of flirtation is in itself perilous. His danger is all the greater if it happens--and it is only fair to young-ladydom to admit that it often does happen--that the daughter has sufficient spirit and self-respect to repudiate all share in the maternal plot. Many a man has been half surprised, half piqued, into serious courtship by finding himself vigorously snubbed and rebuffed where he had been led to imagine that his slightest advances would be only too eagerly received.
To assert the great cause of the independence of the female sex is one of the ends of feminine fiction, just as the assertion of the rights of plain girls is another. Authoresses do not ask for what Mr. Mill wishes them to have--a vote for the borough, or perhaps a seat in Parliament. They do ask that young women should have a fair matrimonial chance, independently of such trivial considerations as good looks, and that after marriage they should have the right to despise their husbands whenever duty and common sense tell them it is proper to do so.