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The word husband-hunting exists for the same reason. Are we to infer from the non-existence, or at any rate the non-appearance in good society, of the word wife-hunting, that the practice is anything but common--that, since a hunt necessarily implies pursuit on one side and flight on the other, a man cannot well be said to hunt a woman who is either engaged in hunting him, or else only too ready to meet him halfway? Are we gradually tending towards an advanced stage of civilization in which woman will be formally recognized as the pursuer, and man as the pursued?
He pays the price of his blindness. Untended nature is more likely to produce weeds than choice fruits, and the chances in such cases as this are beyond calculation in favor of his having got a weed--in other words, having wedded himself to a life of wrangling, gloom, and swift deterioration of character. This result may not be invariable, but it must be more usual than not. In the exceptional cases where a man does not repent of an unequal match of this sort, you will mostly find that the match was unequal only in externals, and that his character had been a very fit counterpart for that of a vulgar and uneducated woman before he made her his wife.
As literature has grown to be a woman's occupation, we are afraid that glorified governesses in fiction will, like the poor, be always with us, and continue to the end to run their bright course of universal victory. The most, perhaps, that can be hoped is that they will in the long run take the wind out of the sails of the glorified adulteresses and murderesses which at present seem the latest and most successful efforts of feminine art. INTERFERENCE. About the strongest propensity in human nature, apart from the purely personal instincts, is the propensity to interfere.