remark of Fredrika Bremer
that a woman may do almost anything she pleases with a man if she always has something nice to pop into his mouth.
From the days of that Roman epitaph onward the theory of suppression has been pretty well sustained.
It would be easy to fill pages with the sayings of wise men to the general effect that women should, as far as possible, be kept in some place that has a lid to it. The favorite German novelist Auerbach
, for instance, puts this with a praiseworthy directness: “The best woman is she of whom men speak least.
I understand it so that where a man speaks of a woman he should content himself with a few words.
He should say, ‘ She is an intelligent, a good, a domestic, or a noble woman.’
Qualify these words, and the strength of the comment is lost.”
It is certain that in saying this Auerbach
speaks the spirit of his nation.
He says it gravely too, and does nothing inconsistent with it, being in this respect more fortunate than the English Archdeacon Trench
, who thoroughly approves the Latin
motto as applied to women, Bene vixit qui bene latuit
( “She has lived well who has kept well concealed” ), and quotes it with pride in a preface to a very thick octavo volume containing several hundred of his mother's most private letters.
There is one way alone in which men have been