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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 11, Issue 5 (August 1, 1936)

The Wife And The Wherefor

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The Wife And The Wherefor

Who Made Marriage?

It has been asserted that marriages are made in Heaven. This may be true, but Woman registered the first earthly patent rights. Man believes that it was he who introduced the marriage law, and Woman lets him believe it. But the fatal truth is that Man, while not bigamous, was originally polygamous until cured by Woman's wiles, and the nuptial knot; for, early in the game she decided that it was hard enough to snare a man without having to share him. So, gradually, by convincing him that he was the only-only and the “answer to the maiden's prayer,” she prevailed upon him to give up collecting wives as a hobby, and get down to the serious business of supporting one as a duty. Finally he actually came to the conclusion that it was better to work for one wife than to have half a dozen to work for him. In fact, he grew so jealous of his reputation as an indispensible accessory to the fact that he invented the Marriage Law—or thought he did. Later on he woke up to find that he had overslept.

The Power Behind the Drone.

We do not suggest that marriage is not a good thing. It is one of the greatest institutions ever evolved by the ingenuity of Woman. There are cynics who say that, if love is blind, marriage is a greater “blind,” but these are generally people to whom marriage is a kind of “war of the ruses,” or “a thing of duty and a cloy forever.” When a woman agrees to share a man's lot, she naturally likes it to be a lot. Thus she is usually the power behind the drone. Many men succeed because of their wives, some succeed in spite of them, but only a few succeed without them. There is no doubt that there is something in her claim that she “boosts” while he boasts. Her slogan is “lead to strength through weakness” as in bridge and other games of chance.

The Velvet Glove and the Metal Mitt.

Woman's strength is her weakness, while Man's weakness is his “strength.” With his manly strength he leads; with her womanly weakness, she only directs. They are both happy because he believes that he is protecting her and she knows that she is protecting both of them. For the most mousely spouse has, concealed in the velvet glove of fidelity, the metal mitt of duplicity. This is nothing to her discredit for, while she may boast that she loves him “for what he is,” she knows that she loves him “for what she has made him.” She may be unscrupulous, but she is not uninteresting; life without her might be less anxious, but it would be more monotonous. There
“She loves him for what she has made him.”

“She loves him for what she has made him.”

would be no one to lean on a man— to hold him up; no one besides himself, to tell him what a brilliant fellow he is; no one to go home to—and stay away from. For what man would enjoy staying out late if he knew he could do it whenever he liked? Doing something you know you shouldn't do has always been interesting. Matrimony, not variety, is the spice of life.


So long as Woman preserves the age-old illusion of her “helplessness” man will continue to lead while she pushes from behind; and everybody will be comparatively happy; but let her beware of the snare.

Some say that Woman lacks a sense of humour; yet she perpetrated one of the greatest jokes in history when she claimed “women's rights.” The joke was almost on her, and the only thing that saved her was that, when she claimed that she was the equal of Man, he refused to believe her, and so preserved her “rights” for her. For Woman possessed the patent rights of power before ever she fired a letter box or pelted a Prime Minister with tomatoes to get them. She fought for “Equality” when “Inequality” was her strongest weapon and “helplessness” her strongest lure.

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Motive Power.

Why does a young man, otherwise comparatively sane, seek to sacrifice his liberty, half his cigarettes, and his Sunday mornings in bed? Why does he deliberately knot the silken legrope of matrimony and abandon the flesh-pots for the cook-pots? Why does he forsake the glad and glamorous glades of bachelorhood for the rugged road of Matrimony. Why? Because the “little girl” looked so frail, so helpless, so unfitted to face life without his broad back to shield her. Every time she looked at him he felt like Canera and Joe Louis and Mr. Schmelling and the League of Nations rolled up in muscle. And while he vows to himself “I'll protect the little woman,” she murmurs to herself: “I'll make a man of him yet.” And so they live happily ever after.

The Way of a Father.

Later on, she may even allow him to believe that he has become a father, knowing, of course, that he is only baby's meal-ticket. And he goes about for a few days looking like “the first of the fathers.” While he recognises that she has had some small part in the achievement, he makes no secret of his cleverness. She lets him take all the credit while she takes everything else.

There is nothing to beat the divine duplicity of a good woman. The better she is the worse she is. The more she thinks of her husband the more she deceives him. The greater her simplicity the greater her subtlety. She knows that “women's rights” were gained when Eve cried over the spot where Adam's spare rib used to be.

Rivalry and Chivalry.

The age of chivalry is not totally dead, but it can only survive while women allow men to believe that they are not quite capable of looking after themselves. It is difficult for a young male to believe that the “only girl” requires
The Height Of His Ambition.

The Height Of His Ambition.

“She looked so frail that he felt like Carnera and Joe Louis and Mr. Schmelling and the League of Nations rolled up in muscle.”

“She looked so frail that he felt like Carnera and Joe Louis and Mr. Schmelling and the League of Nations rolled up in muscle.”

his protection and assistance immediately after she has finished belting him all over a tennis court and reducing him to pulp. It must appear like “love's labour lost” to croon protectively over a young amazon who is in the habit of taking corners at “sixty” on two wheels. Believe us, the mid-Victorian misses knew their music. There was method in their vapours; they made history with hysterics and realised the efficacy of a well-timed swoon. Not that we want to see the modern girl swooning all over the shop but, believe us girls, a touch of the old technique is still effective. In conclusion,

Men must work,
And women must weep,
If out of their plighted troth,
They'd reap
The harvest of Joy—
The sort of thing
That marriage is always
Supposed to bring.
A tear in time,
Or even a wail,
Is useful to melt
The simple male,
And render him easy
To take and mould,
As women have done
Since times of old.
Don't scorn hysteries,
They play their part
In melting the male's
Protective heart
Nor spurn the “vapours,”
They've stood the test;
And old-fashioned methods
Are always best.
Don't claim your “rights,”
With any vim—
But get your man
And lean on him.

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