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"Rotten, rotten old world," broke out Eleanor suddenly, "and the
wretchedest thing of all is me--oh, _why_ am I a girl? Why am I not a
stupid--? Look at you; you're stupider than I am, not much, but some,
and you can lope about and get bored and then lope somewhere else,
and you can play around with girls without being involved in meshes of
sentiment, and you can do anything and be justified--and here am I with
the brains to do everything, yet tied to the sinking ship of future
matrimony. If I were born a hundred years from now, well and good, but
now what's in store for me--I have to marry, that goes without saying.
Who? I'm too bright for most men, and yet I have to descend to their
level and let them patronize my intellect in order to get their
attention. Every year that I don't marry I've got less chance for a
first-class man. At the best I can have my choice from one or two cities
and, of course, I have to marry into a dinner-coat.
"Listen," she leaned close again, "I like clever men and good-looking
men, and, of course, no one cares more for personality than I do. Oh,
just one person in fifty has any glimmer of what sex is. I'm hipped on
Freud and all that, but it's rotten that every bit of _real_ love in
the world is ninety-nine per cent passion and one little soupcon of
jealousy." She finished as suddenly as she began.
"Of course, you're right," Amory agreed. "It's a rather unpleasant
overpowering force that's part of the machinery under everything. It's
like an actor that lets you see his mechanics! Wait a minute till I
think this out...."
He paused and tried to get a metaphor. They had turned the cliff and
were riding along the road about fifty feet to the left.
"You see every one's got to have some cloak to throw around it. The
mediocre intellects, Plato's second class, use the remnants of romantic
chivalry diluted with Victorian sentiment--and we who consider ourselves
the intellectuals cover it up by pretending that it's another side of
us, has nothing to do with our shining brains; we pretend that the fact
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