Notes on the Intelligence of Woman


Men have been found to deny woman intellect; they have credited her with instinct, with intuition, with a capacity to correlate cause and effect much as a dog connects its collar with a walk. But intellect in its broadest sense, the capacity consecutively to plan and steadfastly to execute, they have often denied her. They have gone further, I seem to remember that in the Middle Ages an ecumenical council denied her a soul. I forget the result, but it never occurred to the council to discuss whether man had a soul, possibly because its members were all men.

The days are not now so dark. Woman has a place in the state, a place under, but still a place. Man has recognized her value without coming to understand her much better, and so we are faced with a paradox: while man accords woman an improved social position he continues to describe her as illogical, petty, jealous, vain, untruthful, disloyal to her own sex; quite as frequently he charges her with being over-loyal to her own sex: there is no pleasing him. Also he discerns in this unsatisfactory creature extreme unselfishness, purity, capacity for self-sacrifice. It seems that the intelligence of woman cannot solve the problem of woman, which is a bad sign in a superior intelligence. The trouble lies in this: man assumes too readily that woman essentially differs from man. Hardly a man has lived who did not so exaggerate. Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, agreed to despise women; Napoleon seemed to view them as engines of pleasure; for Shakespeare they may well have embodied a romantic ideal, qualified by sportive wantonness. In Walter Scott, women appear as romance in a cheap edition; Byron in their regard is a beast of prey, Doctor Johnson a pompous brute and a puritanical sensualist. Cervantes mixed in his romantic outlook a sort of suspicious hatred, while Alexandre Dumas thought them born only to lay laurel wreaths and orange blossoms (together with coronets) on the heads of musketeers. All, all--from Thackeray, who never laid his hand upon a woman save in the way of patronage, to Goethe, to Dante, to Montaigne, to Wellington--all harbored this curious idea: in one way or another woman differs from man. And to-day, whether we read Mr. Bernard Shaw, Mr. George Moore, M. Paul Bourget, or Mr. Hall Caine, we find that there still persists a belief in Byron's lines:--

What a strange thing is man! And what a stranger
Is woman!

Almost every man, except the professional Lovelace (and he knows nothing), believes in the mystery of woman. I do not. For men are also mysterious to women; women are quite as puzzled by our stupidity as by our subtlety. I do not believe that there is either a male or a female mystery; there is only the mystery of mankind. There are today differences between the female intellect; we have to ask ourselves whether they are absolute or only apparent, or whether they are absolute but removable by education arid time, assuming this to be desirable. I believe that these differences are superficial, temporary, traceable to hereditary and local influences. I believe that they will not endure forever, that they will tend to vanish as environment is modified, as old suggestions cease to be made.

This leads us to consider present idiosyncrasies in woman as a sex, her apparently low and apparently high impulses, her exaltations, and, in the light of her achievements, her future. I do not want to generalize hastily. The subject is too complex and too obscure for me to venture so to do, and I would ask my readers to remember throughout this article that I am not laying down the law, but trying only to arrive at the greatest possible frequency of truth. This is a short research of tendencies. There are human tendencies, such as belief in a divine spirit, painting pictures, making war, composing songs. Are there any special female tendencies? Given that we glimpse what distinguishes man from the beast, is there anything that distinguishes woman from man? In the small space at my disposal I cannot pretend to deal extensively with the topic. One reason is the difficulty of securing true evidence. Questions addressed to women do not always yield the truth; nor do questions addressed to men; for a desire to please, vanity, modesty, interfere. But the same question addressed to a woman may, according to circumstances, be sincerely answered in four ways,--

1. Truthfully, with a defensive touch, if she is alone with another woman.

2. With intent to cause male rivalry if she is with two men.

3. With false modesty and seductive evasiveness if she is with one man and one woman.

4. With a clear intention to repel or attract if she is with a man alone.

And there are variations of these four cases! A man investigating woman's points of view often finds the response more emotional than intellectual. Owing to the system under which we live, where man is a valuable prey, woman has contracted the habit of trying to attract. Even aggressive insolence on her part may conceal the desire to attract by exasperating. These notes must, therefore, be taken only as hints and the reader may be interested to know that they are based on the observation of 65 women, subdivided as follows: Intimate acquaintance, 5; adequate acquaintance, 19; slight acquaintance, 41; married, 39; status uncertain, 8; celibate, 18. Ages, 17 to 68 (average age, about 35).


It is most difficult to deduce the quality of woman's intellect from her conduct, because her impulses are frequently obscured by her policy. The physical circumstances of her life predispose her to an interest in sex more dominant than is the case with man. As intellect flies out through the window when emotion comes in at the door this is a source of complications. The intervention of love is a difficulty, for love, though blind, is unfortunately not dumb, and habitually uses speech for the concealment of truth. It does this with the best of intentions, and the best of intentions generally yield the worst of results. It should be said that sheer intellect is very seldom displayed by man. Intellect is the ideal skeleton of a man's mental power. It may be defined as an aspiration toward material advantage, absolute truth, or achievement, combined with a capacity for taking steps toward successful achievement or attaining truth. From this point of view such men as Napoleon, Machiavelli, Epictetus, Leo XIII, Bismarck, Voltaire, Anatole France, are typical intellectuals. They are not perfect: all, so far as we can tell, are tainted with moral feeling or emotion,--a frailty which probably explains why there has never been a British or American intellectual of the first rank. Huxley, Spencer, Darwin, Cromwell, all alike suffered grievously from good intentions. The British and American mind has long been honeycombed with moral impulse at any rate since the Reformation; it is very much what the German mind was up to the middle of the nineteenth century. Intellect, as I conceive it, is seeing life sanely and seeing it whole, without much pity, without love; seeing life as separate from man, whose pains and delights are only phenomena; seeing love as a reaction to certain stimuli.

In this sense it can probably be said that no woman has ever been, an intellectual. A few may have pretensions, as, for instance, 'Vernon Lee,' Mrs. Sidney Webb, Mrs. Wharton, perhaps Mrs. Hetty Green. I do not know, for these women can be judged only by their works. The greatest women in history--Catherine of Russia, Joan of Arc, Sappho, Queen Elizabeth--appear to have been swayed largely by their passions, physical or religious. I do not suppose that this will always be the case. For reasons which I shall indicate further on in this article, I believe that woman's intellect will tend toward approximation with that, of man. But meanwhile it would be futile not to recognize that there exist to-day between man and woman some sharp intellectual divergences.

One of the sharpest lies in woman's logical faculty. This may be due to her education (which is seldom mathematical or scientific); it may proceed from a habit of mind; it may be the result of a secular withdrawal from responsibilities other than domestic. Whatever the cause it must be acknowledged that, with certain trained exceptions, woman has not of logic the same conception as man. I have devoted particular care to this issue, and have collected a number of cases where the feminine conception of logic clashes with that of man. Here are a few transcribed from my notebook:--

Case 33

My remark: 'Most people practice a religion because they are too cowardly to face the idea of annihilation.'

Case 33: 'I don't see that they are any more cowardly than you. It doesn't matter whether you have a faith or not, it will be all the same in the end.'

The reader will observe that Case 33 evades the original proposition; in her reply she ignores the set question, namely why people practice a religion.

Case 17

Votes for Women, of January 22, 1915, prints a parallel, presumably drawn by a woman, between two police-court cases. In the first a man, charged with having struck his wife, is discharged because his wife intercedes for him. In the second a woman, charged with theft, is sent to prison in spite of her husband's plea. The writer appears to think that these cases are parallel; the difference of treatment of the two offenders offends her logic. From a masculine point of view two points differentiate the cases:--

In the first case the person who may be sent to prison is the bread-winner; in the second case it is the housekeeper, which is inconvenient but less serious.

In the first case the person who intercedes, the wife, is the one who has suffered; in the second case the person who intercedes, the husband, has not suffered injury. The person who has suffered injury is the one who lost the goods.

Case 51

This case is peculiar as it consists in frequent confusion of words. The woman here instanced referred to a very ugly man as looking Semitic. She was corrected and asked whether she did not mean simian, that is, like a monkey. She said, 'Yes,' but that Semitic meant looking like a monkey. When confronted with the dictionary she was compelled to acknowledge that the two words were not the same, but persisted in calling the man Semitic, and seriously explained this by asserting that Jews look like monkeys.

Case 51, in another conversation, referred to a man who had left the Church of England for the Church of Rome as a 'pervert.' She was asked whether she did not mean 'convert.'

She said, 'No, because to become a Roman Catholic is the act of a pervert.'

As I thought that this might come from religious animus, I asked whether a Roman Catholic who entered a Protestant church was also a pervert.

Case 51 replied, 'Yes.'

Case 51 therefore assumes that any change from an original state is abnormal. The application to the charge of bad logic consists in this further test:--

I asked Case 51 whether a man originally brought up in Conservative views would be a pervert if he became a Liberal.

Case 51 replied, 'No.'

On another occasion Case 51 referred to exaggerated praise showered upon a popular hero, and said that the new papers were 'belittling' him.

I pointed out that they were doing the very contrary; that indeed they were exaggerating his prowess.

Confronted with the dictionary, and the meaning of 'belittle,' which is 'to cheapen with intent,' she insisted that 'belittling' was the correct word cause 'the result of this exaggerated praise was to make the man smaller in her own mind.' [note: The notes as to Case 51 have not an absolute bearing upon logic in general, but the reasons put forth in her defense by Case 51 are indicative of a certain kind of logic which is not masculine. I must add that Case 51 is a woman of very good education, with many general interests.--The Author]

Case 63

In the course of a discussion on the war in which Case 63 has given vent moral and religious views, she remarks, 'Thou shalt not kill.'

I: 'Then do you accept war?'

Case 63: 'War ought to be done away with.'

I (attempting to get a straight answer): 'Do you accept war?'

Case 63: 'One must defend one's self.'

Upon this follows a long argument in which I attempt to prove to Case 63 that one defends, not one's self but the nation. When in difficulties, she repeats, 'One must defend one's self.'

She refuses to face the fact that if nobody offered any resistance nobody would be killed; she completely confuses the defense of self against a burglar with that of a nation against an invader. Finally she assumes that the defense of one's country is legitimate yet insists on maintaining with the Bible that one may not kill!

Case 33

Case 33: 'Why didn't America interfere with regard to German atrocities in Belgium?'

I: 'Why should she?'

Case 33: 'America did protest when her trade was menaced.'

I: 'Yes. America wanted to protect other interests, but does it follow that she should protest against atrocities which do not menace her interests?'

Case 33: 'But her interests are menaced. Look at the trade complications; they've all come out of that.'

Case 33 has confused trade interests with moral duty; she has confused two issues: atrocities against neutrals and destruction of American property. When I tell her this, she states that 'there is a connection: that if America had protested against atrocities the war would have proceeded on better lines because the Germans would have been frightened.

I: 'How would this have affected the trade question?'

Case 33 does not explain but draws me into a morass of moral indignation because America protested against trade interference and not against atrocities. She finally says America had no right to do the one without the other, which logically is chaos. She also demands to be told what was the use of America's signing the Geneva Convention and the Hague Convention. She ignores the fact that these conventions do not bind anybody to fight in their defense but merely to observe their provisions. I would add that Case 33 is a well-educated woman, independent in views, and with a bias toward social questions.

Naturally, where there is a question of love, feminine logic reaches the zenith of topsy-turvydom. Here is a dialogue which took place in my presence.

Case 8

Case 8, who was about to be married, attacked a man who had had a pronounced flirtation with her because he suddenly announced that he was engaged.

Case 8: 'How can you be so mean?'

The man: 'But I don't understand. You're going to be married. What objection can you have to my getting engaged?'

Case 8: 'It's quite different.'

Nothing could move Case 8 from that point of view. [note: Probably owing to woman's having for centuries been taught to regard the vain aspirations of the male as her perquisites.--The Author.]

I do not contend that bad logic is the monopoly of woman, for man is also disposed to believe what he chooses in matters such as politics, wars, and so forth, and then to try to prove it. Englishmen as well as Englishwomen find victory in the capture of a German trench, insignificance in the loss of a British trench; man, as well as woman, is quite capable of saying that it always rains when the Republicans are in power, should he happen to be a Democrat; man also is capable of tracing to a dinner with twelve guests the breaking of a leg, while forgetting the scores of occasions on which he dined in a restaurant with twelve other people and suffered no harm. Man is capable of every unreasonable deduction, but he is more inclined to justify himself by close reasoning. In matters of argument man is like the Italian brigand who robs the friar, then confesses and asks him for absolution; woman is the burglar unrepentant. This may be due to woman as a rule having few guiding principles or intellectual criteria. She often holds so many moral principles that intellectual argument with her irritates the crisper male mind. But she finds it difficult to retain a grasp upon a central idea, to clear away the side issues which obscure it. She can seldom carry an idea to its logical conclusion, passing from term to term; somewhere there is a solution of continuity. For this reason arguments with women, which have begun with the latest musical play, easily pass on, from its alleged artistic merit, to its costumes, their scantiness, their undesirable scantiness, the need for inspection, inspectors of theatres, and, little by little, other inspectors, until one gets to mining inspectors and possibly to mining in general. The reader will observe that these ideas are fairly well linked. All that happens is that the woman, tiring of the central argument, has pursued each side issue as it offered itself. This comes from a lack of concentration which indisposes a woman to penetrate deeply into a subject; she is not used to concentration, she does not like it. It might lead her to disagreeable discoveries.

It is for this reason--because she needs to defend purely emotional positions against man, who uses intellectual weapons--that woman is so much more easily than man attracted by new religions and new philosophies,--by Christian Science, by Higher Thought, by Theosophy, by Eucken, by Bergson. Those religions are no longer spiritual; they have an intellectual basis; they are not ideal religions like Christianity and Mohammedanism and the like, which frankly ask you to make an act of faith; what they do is to attempt to seduce the alleged soul through the intellect. That is exactly what the aspiring woman demands: emotional satisfaction and intellectual concession. Particularly in America, one discovers her intellectual fog in the continual use of such words as mental, elemental, cosmic, universality, social harmony, essential cosmos, and other similar ornaments of the modern logomachy.

Case 16

Case 16 told me that my mind did not 'functionalize' properly. And gave me as an authority for the statement Aristotle, before whom, of course, I bow.

A singular and suggestive fact is that woman generally displays pitiless logic when she is dealing with things that she knows well. An expert housekeeper, is the type, and there are no lapses in her argument with a tradesman. It is a platitude to mention the business capacity of the Frenchwoman, and many women are expert in the investment of money, in the administration of detail, in hospital management, in the rotation of servants' holidays (which, in large households, is most complex). It would appear that woman is unconcentrated and inconsequent only where she has not been properly educated; and this has a profound bearing on her future development. There is a growing class, of which Mrs. Fawcett, Mrs. Havelock Ellis, the Countess of W wick, Miss Jane Addams, are typical who have bent their minds upon intellectual problems; women like Miss Emma Goldman; like Miss Mary McArthur, whose grasp of industrial questions is as good as any man's. They differ profoundly from the average feminine literary artist, who is almost invariably unable to write of anything except love. I can think of only modern exception, Miss Amber Reeves; among her seniors, Mrs. Humphry Ward is the most notable exception but not quite notable enough.

This tendency is, I believe, entirely due to woman's having always been divorced from business and politics, to her having been until recently encouraged to delight in small material possessions, while discouraged from focusing on anything non-material except religion, and from considering general ideas. Particularly as regards general ideas woman has lived in a bad atmosphere. The French king who said to his queen, 'Madam, we have taken you to give us children and not to give us advice,' was blowing a chill breath upon the tender shoot of woman's intelligence. Neither he nor other men wished women to conceive general ideas: women became incapable of conceiving or understanding them. Thence sprang generalization, the tendency in woman to make sweeping statements, such as 'All men are deceivers,' or 'Men can do what they like in the world,' or 'Men cannot feel as women do.' It is not that they dislike general questions, but that they have been thrust back from general questions, so that they cannot hold them. Here is a case:--

Case 2

With the object of entertaining an elderly lady, who is an invalid, I explain, in response to her own request, the case that Germany makes for having declared war. She asks one or two questions, and then suddenly interrupts me to ask what I have been doing with myself lately in the evenings.

This is a case of interest in the particular as opposed to the general. It is an instance of what I want to show, that woman drifts toward the particular because she has been driven away from the general. To concentrate too long upon the general is to her merely fatiguing. Doubtless because of this, many middle-aged women become exceedingly dull to men. So long as they are young all is well, for few men care what folly issues from rosy lips. But once the lips are no longer rosy, then man fails to find the companion he needs, because companionship, as differentiated from love, can rest only on mental sympathy. Middle-aged man is often dull too; while the middle-aged woman may concern herself over-much with the indigestion of her pet dog, the middle-aged man is often unduly moved by his own indigestion. But, broadly speaking, a greater percentage of middle-aged and elderly men than of such women are interested in political and philosophical questions.

These men are often dull for another reason: they are more conventional. The reader may differ from me, but I believe that woman is much less conventional than man. She does all the conventional things and attacks other women savagely for breaches of convention. But you will generally find that where a man may with impunity break a convention he will not do so, while, if secrecy is guaranteed, a woman will please herself first and repent only if necessary. It follows that a man is conventional because he respects convention; woman conventional because she is afraid of what may happen if she does not obey convention. I submit that this shows a greater degree of conventionality in man. The typical Englishman of the world, wrecked on a desert island, would get into his evening clothes as long as his shirts lasted; I do not think his wife, alone in such circumstances, would wear a low-cut dress to take her meal of cocoanuts, even if her frock did up in front.

It is this unconventionality that precipitates woman into the so-called new movements in art or philosophy. She reacts against what is, seeking a new freedom; even if she is only seeking a new excitement, a new color a new god, unconsciously she seeks a more liberal atmosphere, while man is nearly always contented with the atmosphere that is. When he rebels, his tendency is to destroy the old sanctuary, hers to build a new sanctuary. That is a form of idealism,--not a very high idealism, for woman seldom strains toward the impossible. In literature I cannot call to mind that woman has ever conceived a Utopia such as those imagined by Bellamy, Samuel Butler, William Morris, and H. G. Wells. The only woman who voiced ideas of this kind was Mary Wollestonecraft, and her views were hardly utopian. Nothings, such as Utopias, have been always too airy for woman. The heroes in the novels she has written, until recently and with one or two exceptions, such as some of the heroes of George Eliot,--are either stagey or sweet. Mr. Rochester is stagey, Grandcourt is stagey, while the hero of 'Under Two Flags' is merely Turkish Delight.


A quality which singularly contrasts with woman's vague idealism is the accuracy she displays in business. This is due to her being fundamentally inaccurate. It is not the accurate people who are always accurate; it is the inaccurate people on their guard. [note: I have observed for two years the steady growth in the accuracy of the work of Case 38, due to her having concentrated upon her instinctive inaccuracy. --The Author] Woman's interest in the particular predisposes her to the exact, for accuracy may be defined as a continuous interest in the particular. I suspect that it indicates a probability that by education, and especially encouragement, woman may develop a far higher degree of concentration than she has hitherto done. In her way stands a fatal facility, that of grasping ideas before they are half-expressed. It is a quality of imagination, natural rather than induced. Any schoolteacher will confirm the statement that in a mixed class, aged 11 to 12, the essays of the girls are better than those of the boys. This is not so in a mixed university. I suspect that this latter is quite as much due to the academic judgment, which does not recognize imagination, as to the fact that the later years of their lives the energies of girls are diverted from intellectual concentration (and also expression), toward the artistic and the social. This untrained concentration produces a certain superficiality and an impetuousness which harmonize with the intrusion of side issues,--to which I have referred,--and with the burgeoning side issues on the general idea.

Nowhere is this better shown than in the postscript habit. Men do not, as a rule, use postscripts, and it is significant that artists and persons inclined toward the arts are much more given to postscripts than other kinds of men. One might almost say that women correspond by postscript; some of them put the subject of the letter in the post script, as the scorpion keeps his poison in his tail. I have before me letters from Case 58, with two postscripts, and one extraordinary letter from Case 11, with four postscripts and a sentence written outside the envelope. This is the apogee of superficiality. The writers have run on, seduced by irrelevance and have not been able to stop to consider in all its bearings the subject of the letter. Each postscript represents a development or qualification, which must indicate the waste by bad education of what maybe a very good mind.

I would say in passing that we should not attach undue importance to woman's physical disabilities. It is true that woman is more conscious of her body than is man. So long as he is fed, sufficiently busy, in good general health, he is normal. But woman is far more often in an unbalanced physical condition. There is a great deal to be said for the Hindu philosophical point of view, that the body needs to be just so satisfied to become imperceptible to the consciousness, as opposed to the point view of the Christian ascetics, who unfortunately carried their ideas so far that they ended by thinking more of their hair shirt than of Him for whose sake they wore it. In this sense woman is intellectually handicapped because her body obtrudes itself upon her. It is a subject of brooding and agitation. I suspect that this is largely remediable, for I am not convinced that it is woman's peculiar physical conditions that occasionally warp her intellect; it is equally possible that a warped intellect produces unsatisfactory physical conditions. Therefore, if, as I firmly believe that we can, we develop this intellect, profound changes may with time appear in these physical conditions.


The further qualification of woman's intellect is in her moral attitude. I would ask the reader to divest himself of the idea that 'moral' refers only to matters of sex. Morality is the rule of conduct of each human being in his relations with other human beings, and this covers all relations. Because in some senses the morality of woman is not the morality of man, we are not entitled to say with Pope that

Woman's at best a contradiction still.

She is a contradiction. Man is a contradiction, apparently of a different kind, and that is all. Thence spring misunderstandings and sometimes dislike, as between people of different nations. I do not want to labor the point, but I would suggest that in a very minor degree the apparent difference between man and woman may be paralleled by the apparent difference between the Italian and the Swede, who, within two generations, produce very similar American children. But man, who generalizes quite as wildly as woman when he does not understand, is determined to emphasize the difference in every relation of life. For instance, it is commonly said that woman cannot keep her promise. This seems to me entirely untrue; given that as a rule woman's intellect is not sufficiently educated to enable her to find a good reason for breaking her promise, it is much more difficult for her to do so. For we are all moral creatures, and if a man must steal the crown jewels he is happier if he can discover a high motive for so doing. Man has a definite advantage where a loophole has to be found, and I have known few women capable of standing up in argument against a trained lawyer who has acquired the usual dexterity in misrepresentation.

In love and marriage, particularly, woman will keep plighted troth more closely than man; there is no male equivalent of jilt, but the male does jilt on peculiar lines; while a woman who knows that her youth, her beauty are going must bring things to a head by jilting, the male is never in a hurry, for his attractions wane so very slowly. Why should he jilt the woman? make a stir? So he just goes on. In due course she tires and releases him, when he goes to another woman. That is jilting by inches, and as regards faithfulness a pledged woman is more difficult to win away than a pledged man. (To be just, it should be said that unfaithfulness is in the eyes of most men a small matter, in the eyes of most women a serious matter.) A pledged woman will remain faithful long after love has flown; the promise is a mystic bond; none but a tall flame can hide the ashes of the dead love. And so, when Shakespeare asserts,--

Frailty, thy name is woman,

he is delivering one of the hasty judgments that abound in his solemn romanticism.

This applies in realms divorced from love,--in questions of money, such as debts or bets. Women do run up milliners' bills, but men boast of never paying their tailors. And if sometimes women do not discharge the lost bet, it is largely because a tradition of protection and patronage has laid down that women need not pay their bets. Besides, women usually pay their losses, while several men have not yet discharged their debts of honor to me. It is a matter of honesty, and I think the criminal returns for the United States would produce the same evidence as those for England and Wales. In 1913 there were tried at Assizes for offences against property 1616 men and 1292 women. The records of Quarter Sessions and of the courts of Summary Jurisdiction yield the same result, an enormous majority of male offenders,--though there be more women than men in England and Wales! And yet in the face of such official figures, of the evidence of every employer, man cherishes a belief in woman's dishonesty! One reason, no doubt, is that woman's emotional nature leads her when she is criminal to criminality of an aggravated kind. She then justifies Pope's misogynist lines:

O woman, woman! When to ill thy mind Is bent, all hell contains no fouler fiend.

Most men, however, have abandoned the case against woman's dishonesty and confine themselves to describing her as a liar, forgetting that they generally dislike the truth when it comes from a woman's lips, and always when it reflects upon their own conduct. For centuries man has asked that woman should flatter, but also that she should tell the truth: such a confusion of demands leads the impartial mind to conclusion that vanity cannot be the monopoly of the female. But it is quite true that woman does not always cherish truth so well as man. The desire for truth is intellectual, not emotional. Truth is a cold bedfellow, as might be expected of one who rose from a well. And among women cases of disinterested lying are not uncommon. Here is Case 16: An elderly woman talked at length about not having received insurance papers, and made a great disturbance. It later appeared that she had not insured. On another occasion she informed the household that her son-in-law had been cabled to from South Africa to come and visit his dying mother. It was proved that no cable had been sent.

I have a number of cases of this kind but this is the most curious. I suspect that this sort of lying is traceable to a need for romance and drama in a colorless life. It springs from the wish to create a romantic atmosphere round one's self and to increase one's personal importance. Because men hold out hands less greedy toward drama and romance they are less afflicted, they do not entirely escape, and have all observed the new importance of the man whose brother has been photographed in a newspaper or, better still, killed in a railway accident. If he has been burned in a theatre the grief his male relatives is subtly tinged with excited delight. Romance, the wage of lies, is woman's compensation for a dull life.