Introduction, Part 2


I might offer them, with apologies, one or two startling social hobbies. A girl might make a hobby of never asking to be taken home from a party by a man who didn't bring her and who lives several miles in another direction. Another hobby might consist of not talking about things she doesn't understand to people who do, or about things she does to people who don't. Also not incarnadining the toe nails, and not wearing a backless gown when she has an over-vertebrate back, and not talking of her family tree if she is from the South, or of her rich relations if she is from the West. I can't think of any more at the moment, but any lonely woman should be able to think of a thousand, and every one of them would probably make her less lonely. And all this is particularly true if she inhabits a cell in a boarding house, or a small bedroom in one of those rather intimidating institutions known as a woman's club, or a woman's hotel.

My advice to the fair inhabitants of the last-named convents - and New York is beginning to teem with them - is to make them really conventual. If all the ladies who lived in them absolutely refused to talk to a man, they would soon find suitors playing the guitar under their windows, suborning their duennas, placing ladders against the walls, sending them amulets by the Mother Superior, and otherwise restoring the perilous feats of the age of Romance.

Another suggestion would be to create a merger between the Yale, Harvard, Princeton and Racquet Oubs, and all the fashionable women's hostelries in New York: fifty per cent of the clubmen to move into the hostelries, and fifty per cent of the vestals to flutter into the clubs. I know that these words will be read, if at all, with disdain; and I can, on my way out, only mutter with Voltaire - "Mesdames, Mesdemoiselles, cultivez vos jardins."