3. Of Women
From Characters by Jean De La Bruyère (1688)

1. Men and women seldom agree in their opinion of a woman's qualities; their interests are too diverse. The feminine charms that delight men have no attraction for other women: the countless ways by which women arouse strong passions in men give rise to aversion and antipathy in their own sex.

2. Some women have an artificial nobility, due to the way they turn their eyes or hold their heads, or their manner of walking, and which goes no deeper; a dazzling wit that is deceptive, and which we admire only because we don't look below the surface. In others we find a simple, natural nobility, independent of their gestures and gait, which springs from the heart and is, as it were, a consequence of their noble birth; a quiet but substantial goodness, enriched with a thousand virtues which all their modesty cannot conceal, and which shine out for all who have eyes to see.

3. I have heard the wish expressed that one could be a girl, and a goodlooking girl, between the ages of thirteen and twenty-two, and after that become a man.

4. Certain young women are not sufficiently aware of the advantage of their natural endowments, and how profitably they could trust to these; they weaken these heaven-sent gifts, so rare and so fragile, by affected manners and a poor imitation of others: their tone of voice, their way of walking are not their own; they arrange themselves, they strain after effect, they consult their glass to see whether they are far enough removed from their natural selves. They go to great pains to become less attractive.

5. For a woman to deck her person and paint her face is, I admit, not quite the same as telling a lie; but it is somewhat more than wearing fancy dress in a masquerade, where one does not pretend to be what one's disguise suggests but seeks merely to conceal oneself and pass unrecognized: it is an attempt to deceive the beholder, and to be taken for what one is not; it is a kind of falsehood.

One should judge women from top to toe, exclusive of headgear and shoes, roughly as one measures a fish from head to tail.

6. If women seek only to be beautiful in their own eyes and to please themselves, they are undoubtedly entitled to follow their own taste and whim in the way they beautify themselves, in their choice of ornaments and finery; but if they want to please men, if it is for men that they paint and powder themselves, I have put it to the vote, and I declare to them, on behalf of all men or the vast majority, that powder and rouge make them hideous and repulsive; that rouge by itself makes them look old and unrecognizable; that men hate seeing them with white lead on their faces as much as with false teeth in their mouths and balls of wax to plump out their cheeks: that they protest in all seriousness against all the artifice that women use to make themselves ugly; and that, far from men being responsible before God for this, it seems on the contrary that he has provided them with this filial and infallible means of recovering from a love of women.

If women were by nature what they become by artifice, if they were to lose in one moment all the freshness of their complexions, if their faces were to become as fiery red and as leaden white as they make them with their powder and paint, they would be inconsolable.

7. A coquette never gives up her passionate desire to attract, nor her opinion of her own beauty: she considers time and the lapse of years as something that brings wrinkles and ugliness only to other women; she forgets, at any rate, that one's age is written on one's face. The very ornaments which enhanced her beauty when she was young now disfigure her person and show up the defects that old age has brought. Throughout sickness and suffering, she retains her airs and graces: she dies decked out in coloured ribbons.

8. Lise hears it said of another coquette that she is foolish to pretend to be young, and to insist on adorning herself in a way that ill befits a woman of forty. Lise has passed that age; but years, as far as she's concerned, are less than twelve months long, and do not age her: so she believes, and as she looks at herself in the glass, puts rouge on her face and sticks on patches, she agrees that it is shocking, past a certain age, to pretend to be young, and that Clarice, with her patches and her rouge, is indeed quite ridiculous.

9. Women adorn themselves for their lovers, if they are expecting them; but should they be taken by surprise, they forget on their lovers' arrival what state they happen to be in; they lose sight of themselves. They are more at ease with those to whom they are indifferent; they are conscious of the disorder of their dress, and adjust it in their visitors' presence, or else disappear for a moment and then come back in all their finery.

10. No spectacle is finer than the sight of a fair face; and no harmony is sweeter than the sound of a loved one's voice.

11. Charm is an arbitrary quality: beauty is something more real, and more independent of taste and opinion.

12. There are certain women of such flawless beauty and such outstanding merit that their admirer asks no more than to see them and speak to them.

13. A beautiful woman with the qualities of an honourable man is the most delightful companion in the world; she combines the merits of both sexes.

14. A young woman will spontaneously do or say little things that are most convincing and highly flattering to the person to whom they are addressed. Men's behaviour is scarcely ever spontaneous; their gestures of affection are deliberate; they talk, they act, they display their zeal, but they are less convincing.

15. Caprice is a close companion of women's beauty, to serve as antidote to it and make it less baneful to men, who could not be cured of it unaided.

16. Women grow attached to men through the favours they grant them; men are cured of their attachment through those same favours.

17. A woman who has ceased to love a man forgets even those favours she has granted him.

18. A woman who has only one lover thinks she is not a coquette; one who has several lovers thinks that she is merely a coquette.

One who avoids the name of a coquette through her devotion to a single lover may be held a fool for choosing so ill.

19. A woman's attachment to a cast-off lover is so slight that a new husband readily replaces him; and the latter's reign is so short that he, in turn, gives way to a new lover.

A cast-off lover fears a new rival or despises him, according to the character of the woman he loves.

Many a cast-off lover, in relation to his mistress, lacks only the name of a husband; that's no small thing, and but for this circumstance he would be wholly lost.

20. Love affairs seem to enhance a woman's coquetry: a coquettish man, on the contrary, is something worse than a rake. The male coquette and the wanton woman are somewhat on a par.

21. Few amorous intrigues can be kept secret. Many women are known as much by their lovers' names as by their husbands'.

22. A wanton woman seeks to be loved; a coquette is satisfied with being found charming and reputed beautiful. The former seeks to win hearts; the latter merely to attract. The one moves on from one affair to the next; the other carries on several flirtations at once. One is governed by passion and sensuality, the other by vanity and frivolity. Wantonness is a defect of the heart, or perhaps a temperamental vice; coquetry is a disorder of the mind. The wanton woman makes herself feared and the coquette makes herself hated. These two characters combined might produce a third, the worst of all.

23. A weak woman is one who has incurred blame for some lapse, and blames herself for it; whose heart is at odds with her reason; who wants to be cured and who will never be cured, or else cured too late.

24. An inconstant woman is one whose love has not lasted; a fickle woman, one who is soon in love with another man; a flighty woman, one who does not know whether or with whom she is in love; a cold woman, one who feels no love at all.

25. Perfidiousness may be defined as a lie involving the whole person; it is the art with which some women can mislead one by a word or an action, and sometimes make use of promises and vows which they will break as easily as they make them.

An unfaithful woman, if she is known to be such by the person concerned, is merely unfaithful; if he believes her to be faithful, she is perfidious.

One advantage to be got from women's faithlessness is that it cures us of jealousy.

26. Some women have to keep up a twofold association throughout their lives, equally hard to break off or to conceal; the one lacks only legal sanction and the other love.

27. To judge by this woman's beauty and youth and her proud disdain, everyone assumes that only some paragon will eventually please her. Her choice falls at last on a little monster, totally devoid of wit.

28. Some women who are already past their prime fall, by reason of their temperament or their depravity, a natural prey to young men in need of funds. I don't know which is more to be pitied, the woman of mature years in need of a gallant, or the gallant who needs an old woman.

29. The man whom the Court rejects is received in town in a lady's boudoir, where he prevails over the magistrate, even when fashionably dressed in a grey coat and a cravat, and the bourgeois flaunting a sword-belt; he ousts them, and becomes lord of the place; he is listened to and worshipped; there's no resisting a gold scarf and a white feather, a man who speaks to the King and sees his Ministers. He makes both men and women jealous: he wins admiration and envy: four leagues away, he cuts a sorry figure.

30. A man from town impresses a provincial woman as a man from the Court impresses a townswoman.

31. A vain, indiscreet man, who is a great talker and a sorry joker, who speaks of himself with satisfaction and of everyone else with contempt, who is impetuous, haughty, enterprising, without morals or probity, a man of no judgement and of a licentious imagination, lacks nothing to make many women worship him but fine features and a handsome figure.

32. Is it for the sake of secrecy or from a perverse taste that one woman loves her lackey, another a monk, and Dorinne her physician?

33. Roscius makes a graceful entry on to the stage: yes, indeed, Lelia, and I'd add, further, that he has a shapely leg, that he acts well, sustains long parts, and that his declamation would be perfect if only he would speak clearly; but is he the only man to delight us by what he does? and is what he does the noblest and most honourable thing that anyone can do? Roscius, in any case, cannot be yours, he belongs to another; and even if that were not so, he is bespoken: Claudia is waiting to have him, should he tire of Messalina. Take Bathyllus, Lelia: where will you find, I won't say among those knights whom you despise, but even among clowns a young man who can leap so high when he dances or cut a better caper? Do you fancy the acrobat Cobus, who, throwing his feet forward, turns a somersault in the air before he lands on the ground? Didn't you know he is no longer young? As for Bathyllus, you say, he's too much in request, and he rejects more women than he accepts; but there's Draco, the fluteplayer; no other in his profession puffs out his cheeks so prettily when he blows into his oboe or his flageolet, for the number of instruments that he can play is endless; moreover he's a merry fellow, who can make even children and silly women laugh. Who can eat, who can drink better than Draco at a single meal? He gets everybody drunk and holds out longest himself. You sigh, Lelia: can it be that Draco has made his choice, and that you have been forestalled? Can he have pledged his affection to Cesonia, who has run after him for so long, who has renounced for his sake such a vast crowd of lovers, the flower of our Roman youth? I pity you, Lelia, if you have been infected by the newfangled taste of so many Roman women for men whose condition sets them in the public eye. What will you do when the best of that sort have been snatched away from you? There is still Bronte, the public torturer: his strength and skill are common topics; he's a young man with broad shoulders and a sturdy figure, a Negro by the way, a black man.

34. For society women, a gardener is a gardener and a bricklayer is a bricklayer; for some others, living in seclusion, a bricklayer is a man, a gardener is a man. Temptation is everywhere for one who fears it.

35. Certain women are generous to convents and to their lovers: wanton benefactresses, they have within the very precincts of the altar galleries and chapels where they read their love-letters, and where nobody can see that they are not praying to God.

36. When a woman seeks spiritual direction, does it make her kinder to her husband, gentler towards her servants, more devoted to her family and her duties, sincerer and more zealous towards her friends? does she become less of a slave to her moods, less selfinterested? is she any less fond of the creature comforts? as for her children, if they were rich already, one would not ask of her to lavish gifts upon them, but does she, out of her own superfluous wealth, provide them with the necessities of life and give them at least what is due to them? Is she any freer of self-love, or uncharitableness towards others? has she cast off all human attachments? 'No,' you say, 'nothing of the sort.' I persist, asking you: 'What does a woman gain from spiritual direction? ' Now I understand you: she gets a director.

37. If the confessor and the director fail to agree about a rule of conduct, what third party will a woman take for final arbiter?

38. The essential thing for a woman is not to have a director but to live so quietly that she does not need one.

39. If a woman could admit to her confessor, among her other failings, the weakness she has for her director and the time she wastes on conversation with him, she might be ordered, as a penance, to give him up.

40. I should like to be allowed to shout with all my might this advice to all holy men who have ever been wronged by women: 'Avoid women, don't seek to give them spiritual guidance, let others be responsible for their salvation.'

41. It's too much for a man to have to endure a wife who is both coquettish and devout; she ought to make a choice.

42. I have put off saying this, and it pained me: but it will out at last, and I hope indeed that my frankness may prove useful to those who, not content with a confessor to guide their conduct, show no discrimination in their choice of a director. I cannot get over my astonishment and stupefaction at the sight of certain persons I shall not name; I stare at them wide-eyed, I contemplate them; they speak, and I listen; I seek information, I am told facts, I note them; and I cannot understand how men who seem to display in every way the exact reverse of a sound mind, right judgement, experience of the world, a knowledge of man or an understanding of religion and morality, can assume that God is likely to repeat in our own day the wonders of the Apostolate and to work a miracle for them, rendering them, with their shallow and limited intelligence, fit to have charge of souls, that most delicate and sublime of all ministries; and if on the contrary they believe themselves born for a function which is so lofty, so difficult, and granted to so few, and convince themselves that in performing it they are only exercising their natural talents and following an ordinary vocation, I am still more at a loss.

I can see that the satisfaction of having family secrets entrusted to one, of becoming a necessary go-between in reconciliations, of procuring commissions, of placing servants, of eating often at the best tables, of driving in coaches through a great city and enjoying delicious seclusion in the country, of seeing a number of people of rank and distinction take an interest in one's life and health, and of running all the affairs of life for other people and for oneself, I repeat, I can clearly see that this alone has suggested the specious and irreproachable pretext of the care of souls, and sowed in our society this inexhaustible seed-bed of directors.

43. Piety takes hold of some people, women in particular, like a passion, or like some infirmity due to their time of life, or like a fashion that must be followed. They used to reckon their week by days for gambling, for going to the play, for concerts, masquerades, or some delightful sermon: they would go on Monday to throw away their money at Ismène's, on Tuesday to throw away their time at Climenè's, and on Wednesday their reputation at Célimène's; they always knew the day before just what delights they could expect next day and the day after; they could enjoy both the present pleasure and that which unfailingly awaited them; they would gladly have combined all these in a single day; this was then their sole concern and the subject of all their wandering thoughts; and if they happened to be at the Opera they wished they were at the play. Times have changed: they overdo austerity and seclusion; they no longer use the eyes that were given them to see with; they make no use of their senses; and believe it or not, they speak little; they still think, and they think pretty well of themselves, and rather ill of others; they vie with one another in virtue and strict morality in a way that smacks of jealousy; they are not averse to taking the lead in this new way of life, just as they used to in that which they have renounced out of prudence or satiety. Once they damned themselves merrily, through wantonness, good fare and idleness; now they damn themselves sadly, through pride and envy.

44. If I should marry a miserly woman, Hermas, she would not ruin me; a gambler might get rich; a bluestocking would be able to instruct me; a prude would not give way to passion; a passionate woman would exercise my patience; a coquette would seek to please me; a wanton might even love me; but as for one of your devout ladies, tell me, Hermas, what can I expect from one who seeks to deceive God and who deceives herself?

45. A woman is easily governed by any man who takes the trouble. The same man may even govern several women; he cultivates their mind and their memory, fixes and determines their religion; he even undertakes to rule their hearts. They will approve and disapprove, praise and condemn, only after having consulted his gaze and his expression. He is entrusted with their joys and sorrows, their desires, jealousies, hatreds and loves; he makes them break with their lovers; he estranges husbands and wives, and then brings about reconciliations, and takes advantage of the interregnum. He looks after their business affairs, promotes their lawsuits, and visits their judges; he provides them with his own doctor, his tradesmen, his workmen; he takes it upon himself to choose their homes and furniture, their carriage and horses. He may be seen beside them in their coaches, in the city streets and walks, as well as in their pew at a sermon and in their box at the play; he goes visiting with them; he accompanies them to the baths, to watering-places, on journeys; he has the most comfortable room in their country house. He grows old with his authority undiminished; a little wit and much time to waste enable him to preserve it; children, heirs, the daughter-in-law, the niece, the servants, all depend on him. He began by making himself respected; he ends by making himself feared. This oldest, most necessary of friends dies unwept; and ten women over whom he tyrannized inherit freedom by his death.

46. Certain women have sought to hide their conduct under a veil of modesty; and all that any of them have gained by continual and consistent affectation is to have it said of them: 'You'd have taken her for a vestal virgin.'

47. The most striking proof of a woman's untarnished and wellfounded reputation is that it should remain untouched by her intimacy with women of a different sort; and that despite the common tendency to spiteful explanations, people are driven to explain these relations on quite other grounds than moral compatibility.

48. A comic writer exaggerates the characters he presents on the stage; a poet heightens his descriptions; a painter who works from nature strains and intensifies a passion, a contrast, certain attitudes; while the man who copies him, unless he measures size and proportion with compasses, will make the figures in his picture too big, and all the details that form part of its composition will take up more room than they do in the original. Prudery imitates virtue in the same fashion.

There is a false modesty which is vanity, a false honour which is vainglory, a false nobility which is pettiness, a false goodness which is hypocrisy, a false virtuousness which is prudery.

A prudish woman counterfeits by her bearing and language what a virtuous woman reveals by her conduct. The former obeys her humour and temperament, the latter her reason and her heart. The one is grave and austere; the other is in varying circumstances precisely what she ought to be. The first disguises her failings under a specious exterior; the second conceals rich natural endowments under an easy and natural manner. Prudery constrains the mind, and disguises neither age nor ugliness, indeed it often implies them; virtuous behaviour, on the other hand, palliates the defects of the body, ennobles the mind and adds to the piquancy of youth and the seductiveness of beauty.

49. Why blame men because women are not learned? By what laws, what edicts, what decrees have they been forbidden to open their eyes and read, to remember what they have read and turn it to good account in their conversation or in their works? Have they not, on the contrary, become rooted in this habit of knowing nothing either through their own weakness of temperament, or laziness of mind, or their cult of their own beauty, or through a certain frivolity which prevents them from pursuing any long course of study, or through their special aptitude for working with their hands, or through the distracting effect of their household responsibilities, or through a natural aversion for difficult and serious matters, or through a curiosity which is quite alien to that which satisfies the mind, or through tastes which are incompatible with the exercise of their memory? But to whatever cause men may owe this feminine ignorance, it is lucky for them that women, who have the better of them in so many ways, lack this advantage over them.

Men consider a learned woman as they do a handsome weapon, which is chiselled with artistry, admirably polished and of exquisite workmanship: a collector's piece, which is shown to the curious but is never used: it serves no purpose either for war or hunting, any more than the best-trained horse from a riding school.

Should learning and virtue be combined in a single person, my admiration takes no account of that person's sex; and should you tell me that a virtuous woman seldom seeks to be learned, or that a learned woman is seldom virtuous, you must have already forgotten what you have just read, namely that women are only kept from acquiring knowledge by certain failings: you may therefore draw your own conclusion, that the less of these failings they have the better they will be, and that thus a virtuous woman would be all the more apt to become learned, or that a woman who has become learned through overcoming her many failings is all the more virtuous thereby.

50. To maintain a neutral role between women of whom we are equally fond, although they have become estranged for reasons that do not concern us, is a delicate matter; one often has to choose between them, or else lose them both.

51. Some women love their money more than their friends, and their lovers more than their money.

52. It is astonishing to find certain women moved by a passion keener and stronger than their love for men, such as ambition or gambling: such women make men chaste; they are women only in their dress.

53. Women are extreme; they are better than men, or worse.

54. Most women have no principles; they follow their hearts, and depend for their morals on the men they love.

55. In love, women outdo most men; but men surpass them in friendship.

When women dislike one another, it is on men's account.

56. Mimicry is dangerous. Lise, who is already old, wants to make fun of a young woman, and she herself becomes hideous; she frightens me. She tries to imitate her by means of grimaces and contortions: and now she is ugly enough to enhance the beauty of the woman she is mocking.

57. In town, many very foolish men and women are credited with intelligence; at court, many highly intelligent people are denied it; and among the latter sort, a handsome woman is seldom spared by other women.

58. A man can keep another's secret better than his own; a woman, on the contrary, can keep her own secret better than another's.

59. A young woman's love is never so intense that interest or ambition cannot add something to it.

60. There comes a time when the richest of girls must take a husband; if she lets slip early opportunities, she must repent at leisure; the reputation of her fortune, it seems, dwindles with her reputation for beauty. Everything, on the contrary, works in a young beauty's favour, even the opinion of men, who like to ascribe to her all the advantages which may render her more desirable.

61. How many girls there are whose great beauty serves no purpose but to make them hope for a great fortune!

62. Beautiful girls are liable to avenge those of their suitors whom they have treated badly by taking old, ugly or unworthy husbands.

63. Most women assess the merit and good looks of a man according to the impression these make on them, and will scarcely grant either of these to the man for whom they feel nothing.

64. A man who is anxious to know whether his looks have changed, whether he has begun to age, may consult the eyes of any young woman when he addresses her, and the tone in which she speaks to him; he will learn what he dreads to know. A cruel lesson!

65. When a woman keeps her eyes always fixed on a single person, or else always averted from him, we draw the same conclusion.

66. Women find it easy enough to say things that they do not feel; men find it even easier to say what they do feel.

67. It happens sometimes that a woman conceals from a man all the passion that she feels for him, while he, on his side, simulates a passion for her which he does not feel.

68. Imagine a man who, though indifferent to a woman, seeks to convince her of a passion which he does not feel; would he not find it easier, one wonders, to take in a woman who loved him than one who did not?

69. A man can deceive a woman by a pretence of love, provided he is not really in love with someone else.

70. A man storms against a woman who has ceased to love him, and then gets over it; a woman makes less noise when she is deserted, but remains for a long while inconsolable.

71. Women are cured of indolence by vanity or by love.

In a lively woman, on the contrary, indolence is a presage of love.

72. It is quite certain that a woman who writes with passion is a passionate woman; it is less sure that she is in love. A strong and tender emotion, it would seem, is sad and silent; and the most pressing concern of a woman whose affections are engaged, the one that troubles her most keenly, is not so much to convince a man that she loves him as to find out whether she is loved.

73. Glycera dislikes other women; she shuns their company and resents their visits, is 'not at home' to them or, indeed, to her men friends, who are few in number, and whom she keeps severely in their place, never allowing them to overstep the bounds of friendship; she is inattentive towards them, answering them in monosyllables, as though seeking to get rid of them; at home she is solitary and unsociable, her door is better guarded and her chamber more inaccessible than those of Monthoron and Hémery. A single friend, Corinna, is expected and welcomed at any hour; she is repeatedly embraced and supposedly loved; when they are alone together in a private closet, Glycera whispers in her ear, and is all ears herself for Corinna's reply, complains to her about everyone else, tells her everything, yet tells her nothing new, for Corinna is both parties' confidante. You can see Glycera in a foursome at the ball, at the play, in public gardens, or on the road to Venusia, where the first fruits are enjoyed: sometimes alone in a litter on the way to the principal suburb, where she has a delicious orchard, or calling on Canidia, who knows such interesting secrets, who can promise a young woman a second marriage, and tell her the when and the how. She is usually to be seen with her hair undressed, in simple dishabille, uncorseted and shod in slippers; she is handsome enough in this outfit, and lacks only the bloom of youth. Yet you can see on her person a rich cluster of gems, which she carefully conceals from her husband. She makes much of him, she fondles him, inventing new names for him every day; she will sleep nowhere but in that beloved spouse's bed. In the morning she divides her time between her toilette and a few notes that must be written. A servant comes to speak to her in secret; it is Parmenon, her favourite, whom she backs against his master's dislike and the jealousy of her household. Who, in truth, is more skilled at conveying intentions, and in bringing back answers? who speaks less about what must remain unspoken? who can open a secret door with less noise? who can more adroitly lead the way down the back stair, and show a man out by the way he came in?

74. I cannot understand how a husband who gives way to his moods and his temperament, who conceals none of his faults and on the contrary displays all the worst side of himself, who is miserly, untidy in his dress, rough-spoken, uncivil, cold and taciturn, can hope to guard the heart of a young wife against attacks from her lover, whose weapons are elegance and splendour, kindness, solicitude, eager attentions, gifts and flattery.

75. A certain husband has a rival of his own making, and as it were a present he once made his wife. In her presence, he praises the man's fine teeth and handsome head, accepts his attentions, welcomes his visits; and, next to the produce of his own estate, finds nothing tastier than the game and truffles sent him by this friend. He gives a supper party, and says to his guests: 'Taste this; it comes from Leander, and it cost me nothing but a Thank you!'

76. There's a certain woman who annihilates or buries her husband to such a point that he is never mentioned in society; is he still alive? is he dead? nobody knows. In his own family he serves only as an example of timid silence and perfect submissiveness. He is entitled to no dowry or marriage settlement; apart from this, and the childbearing, he is the wife and she the husband. They spend whole months in the same house together without the least danger of meeting one another; they are, indeed, merely neighbours. Monsieur pays the baker and the cook, and it's always Madame who gives the supper-party. They often have nothing in common, neither bed nor board nor even name; they live in the Greek or Roman fashion, each keeping their own name; and it is only in course of time, after one has grown familiar with the jargon of a city, that one learns at last that M. B— has been openly married to Mme L— for the past twenty years.

77. Another woman, lacking that depravity that might mortify her husband, achieves the same result through her noble birth and connexions, the rich dowry she has brought him, the power of her beauty, her merit, and what is sometimes known as virtue.

78. Few women are so perfect as to prevent a husband from regretting at least once a day that he has a wife, or from envying the good fortune of the man who has none.

79. Grief that is dazed and speechless is out of fashion: the modern woman mourns her husband loudly and tells you the whole story of his death, which distresses her so much that she forgets not the slightest detail about it.

80. Will no one discover the art of winning the love of one's wife?

81. An insensible woman is one who has not yet seen the man she must love.

There was in Smyrna a very handsome girl named Emira, who was renowned throughout the city less for her beauty than for the strictness of her morals, and above all for her indifference towards all men, whom she could meet, so she said, without the slightest risk and without any different feelings than those she bore towards her women friends or her brothers. She believed none of the stories she heard of the crazy behaviour of lovers throughout the ages; and such examples as she had seen herself she could not understand; she was familiar only with friendship. Her experience of this she owed to a charming young woman, who had made it so delightful to her that her only desire was to maintain it, and she could not conceive of any other feeling that might replace those of esteem and mutual trust, which satisfied her so well. She talked about nothing but Euphrosyne, which was the name of this faithful friend, and all Smyrna talked about nothing but Euphrosyne and Emira; their friendship became proverbial. Emira had two brothers who were young and remarkably handsome, and with whom all the women of the city were in love; and indeed she always loved them with true sisterly affection. A certain priest of Jupiter, who frequented her father's house, was attracted by her, ventured to declare his feelings and was rewarded only with contempt. An old man, who, trusting to his noble birth and great wealth, was equally daring, met with the same reception. Meanwhile she proudly boasted herself proof against love, having met no one until now but her brothers, the priest and the old man. Heaven, it seems, wished to expose her to sterner tests, which however served only to increase her pride and confirm her reputation as a girl whom love could not touch. Of three suitors whom her charms attracted in succession, and whose passion she witnessed undisturbed, the first, in an amorous frenzy, killed himself at her feet; the second, driven to despair by her refusal to hear him, went to meet his death in the Cretan wars; and the third lost his sleep, pined away and died. Their avenger had not yet appeared. That old man who had been so unlucky in his suit had cured himself of love by reflecting on his age and on the character of the woman he sought to please: he wished to go on seeing her, and she did not refuse. One day he brought with him his son, who was young and good-looking, with a most noble bearing. She saw him with interest; and as he was very silent in his father's presence, she thought him lacking in wit and wished that he had more of it. He saw her alone, he talked more freely and with wit; but since he looked at her very little, and spoke even less about her and her beauty, she was surprised and somewhat shocked to find so handsome and intelligent a man so lacking in gallantry. She spoke of him to her friend, who then wished to meet him. He had eyes only for Euphrosyne, he told her she was beautiful; and Emira, once indifferent, now jealous, realised that Ctesiphon meant what he was saying, and that he was capable not only of gallantry but of tenderness. Thenceforward she became less open with her friend. She wanted to see them together once again, to learn the truth; and the second meeting showed her even more than she had apprehended, and changed her suspicions to certainty. She cooled towards Euphrosyne, ceased to recognize the qualities that once delighted her and lost all desire for her company; she was no longer fond of her; and this change made her aware that love had driven friendship from her heart. Ctesiphon and Euphrosyne saw one another daily, fell in love, planned to marry, and married. The news spread throughout the town; and everyone said that two people had at last enjoyed the rare delight of marrying for love. Emira heard the news, and it drove her to despair. She became intensely conscious of her love; she sought out Euphrosyne, merely for the pleasure of seeing Ctesiphon again; but that young husband was still his wife's lover, and had found a mistress in his bride; he thought of Emira only as the friend of one who was dear to him. The wretched girl lost her sleep and refused food; she grew weaker; her mind began to wander; she mistook her brother for Ctesiphon, and spoke to him as a lover; aware of her lapse, she blushed for it; presently she became guilty of more serious lapses, for which she did not blush; she was no longer conscious of them. She feared men now, but too late; therein lay her madness. At intervals her reason was restored to her, and with it her distress. The young people of Smyrna, who had witnessed her pride and her coldness, think that the Gods have punished her too harshly.