from the PREFACE: THE only excuse for this book is the lack of books on the subject with which it deals — the trade aspect of marriage. That is to say, wifehood and motherhood considered as a means of livelihood for women. I shall not deny for an instant that there are aspects of matrimony other than the trade aspect; but upon these there is no lack of a very plentiful literature — the love of man and woman has been written about since humanity acquired the art of writing. The love of man and woman is, no doubt, a thing of infinite importance; but also of infinite importance is the manner in which woman earns her bread and the economic conditions under which she enters the family and propagates the race. Thus an inquiry into the circumstances under which the wife and mother plies her trade seems to me quite as necessary and justifiable as an inquiry into the conditions of other and less important industries — such as mining or cotton-spinning. It will not be disputed that the manner in which a human being earns his livelihood tends to mould and influence his character — to warp or to improve it. The man who works amidst brutalizing surroundings is apt to become brutal; the man from whom intelligence is demanded is apt to exercise it. Particular trades tend to develop particular types; the boy who becomes a soldier will not turn out in all respects the man he would have been had he decided to enter a stockbroker's office. In the same way the trade of marriage tends to produce its own particular type, and my contention is that woman, as we know her, is largely the product of the conditions imposed upon her by her staple industry. I am not of those who are entirely satisfied with woman as she is; on the contrary, I consider that we are greatly in need of improvement, mental, physical and moral. And it is because I desire such improvement — not only in our own interests but in that of the race in general — that I desire to see an alteration in the conditions of our staple industry. I have no intention of attacking the institution of marriage in itself — the life companionship of man and woman; I merely wish to point out that there are certain grave disadvantages attaching to that institution as it exists to-day. These disadvantages I believe to be largely unnecessary and unavoidable; but at present they are very real and the results produced by them are anything but favourable to the mental, physical and moral development of women. from the first chapter: MARRIAGE AS A TRADE THE sense of curiosity is, as a rule, aroused in us only by the unfamiliar and the unexpected. What custom and long usage has made familiar we do not trouble to inquire into but accept without comment or investigation; confusing the actual with the inevitable, and deciding, slothfully enough, that the thing that is is, likewise the thing that was and is to be. In nothing is this inert and slothful attitude of mind more marked than in the common, unquestioning acceptance of the illogical and unsatisfactory position occupied by women. And it is the prevalence of that attitude of mind which is the only justification for a book which purports to be nothing more than the attempt of an unscientific woman to explain, honestly and as far as her limitations permit, the why and wherefore of some of the disadvantages under which she and her sisters exist — the reason why their place in the world into which they were born is often so desperately and unnecessarily uncomfortable. I had better, at the outset, define the word "woman" as I understand and use it, since it is apt to convey two distinct and differing impressions, according to the sex of the hearer.
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