Human All-Too-Human, Part 1

Page 51 of 70


The Survival of the Parents.—The undissolved dissonances in the relation of the character and sentiments of the parents survive in the nature of the child and make up the history of its inner sufferings.


Inherited from the Mother.—Every one bears within him an image of woman, inherited from his mother: it determines his attitude[Pg 296] towards women as a whole, whether to honour, despise, or remain generally indifferent to them.


Correcting Nature.—Whoever has not got a good father should procure one.


Fathers and Sons.—Fathers have much to do to make amends for having sons.


The Error of Gentlewomen.—Gentle-women think that a thing does not really exist when it is not possible to talk of it in society.


A Male Disease.—The surest remedy for the male disease of self-contempt is to be loved by a sensible woman.


A Species of Jealousy.—Mothers are readily jealous of the friends of sons who are particularly successful. As a rule a mother loves herself in her son more than the son.


RATIONAL IRRATIONALITY.—In the maturity of life and intelligence the feeling comes over a man that his father did wrong in begetting him.

[Pg 297]


Maternal Excellence.—Some mothers need happy and honoured children, some need unhappy ones,—otherwise they cannot exhibit their maternal excellence.


Different Sighs.—Some husbands have sighed over the elopement of their wives, the greater number, however, have sighed because nobody would elope with theirs.


Love Matches.—Marriages which are contracted for love (so-called love-matches) have error for their father and need (necessity) for their mother.


Women's Friendships.—Women can enter into friendship with a man perfectly well; but in order to maintain it the aid of a little physical antipathy is perhaps required.


Ennui.—Many people, especially women, never feel ennui because they have never learnt to work properly.


An Element of Love.—In all feminine love something of maternal love also comes to light.

[Pg 298]


Unity of Place and Drama.—If married couples did not live together, happy marriages would be more frequent.


The Usual Consequences of Marriage.—All intercourse which does not elevate a person, debases him, and vice versa; hence men usually sink a little when they marry, while women are somewhat elevated. Over-intellectual men require marriage in proportion as they are opposed to it as to a repugnant medicine.


Learning to Command.—Children of unpretentious families must be taught to command, just as much as other children must be taught to obey.


Wanting to Be in Love.—Betrothed couples who have been matched by convenience often exert themselves to fall in love, to avoid the reproach of cold, calculating expediency. In the same manner those who become converts to Christianity for their advantage exert themselves to become genuinely pious; because the religious cast of countenance then becomes easier to them.


No Standing Still in Love.—A musician who loves the slow tempo will play the same pieces[Pg 299] ever more slowly. There is thus no standing still in any love.


Modesty.—Women's modesty usually increases with their beauty.[1]


Marriage on a Good Basis.—A marriage in which each wishes to realise an individual aim by means of the other will stand well; for instance, when the woman wishes to become famous through the man and the man beloved through the woman.


Proteus-nature.—Through love women actually become what they appear to be in the imagination of their lovers.


To Love and to Possess.—As a rule women love a distinguished man to the extent that they wish to possess him exclusively. They would gladly keep him under lock and key, if their vanity did not forbid, but vanity demands that he should also appear distinguished before others.


The Test of a Good Marriage.—The goodness of a marriage is proved by the fact that it can stand an "exception."

[Pg 300]


Bringing Anyone Round to Anything.—One may make any person so weak and weary by disquietude, anxiety, and excess of work or thought that he no longer resists anything that appears complicated, but gives way to it,—diplomatists and women know this.


Propriety and Honesty.—Those girls who mean to trust exclusively to their youthful charms for their provision in life, and whose cunning is further prompted by worldly mothers, have just the same aims as courtesans, only they are wiser and less honest.


Masks.—There are women who, wherever one examines them, have no inside, but are mere masks. A man is to be pitied who has connection with such almost spectre-like and necessarily unsatisfactory creatures, but it is precisely such women who know how to excite a man's desire most strongly; he seeks for their soul, and seeks evermore.


Marriage As a Long Talk.—In entering on a marriage one should ask one's self the question, "Do you think you will pass your time well with this woman till your old age?" All else in marriage is transitory; talk, however, occupies most of the time of the association.

[Pg 301]


Girlish Dreams.—Inexperienced girls flatter themselves with the notion that it is in their power to make a man happy; later on they learn that it is equivalent to underrating a man to suppose that he needs only a girl to make him happy. Women's vanity requires a man to be something more than merely a happy husband.


The Dying-out of Faust and Marguerite.—According to the very intelligent remark of a scholar, the educated men of modern Germany resemble somewhat a mixture of Mephistopheles and Wagner, but are not at all like Faust, whom our grandfathers (in their youth at least) felt agitating within them. To them, therefore,—to continue the remark,—Marguerites are not suited, for two reasons. And because the latter are no longer desired they seem to be dying out.

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