I iJui i MtUWA f
WHAT IS A HUSBAND WORTH? AMERICAN
HUSBAND, DEFENCELESS WITH WOMEN
J BY MAX NORDAU.
(German Author and Satirist.)
European literature is very fond of
the American man as a type. Alex
ander Dumas was the first to place
him in the theater in his play 1'Es
trangere (The Foreign Woman) .
Since then the American man has
haunted thousands of plays and
novels in European languages, always
the same in aspect as well as in char
acter; tall, thin, very muscular, clean
shaven, of nondescript age, as he
combines youthful vigor with a wrin
kled forehead, and wears a mask -of
He emits the greatest laconisms in
a low, calm and rather drawling voice.
He is married, he loves his wife, but
lives over there, in New York, Bos
ton or Chicago, while his wife is
amusing herself in Paris.
Twice a year he makes an abrupt
appearance on the scene, remains a
few days during which time he re
ceives endless cablegrams. He re
sembles a noiseless motor; speaks
little but acts all the time. His out
ward coolness hides a strong and
naive sentimental life. In his head
nothing but speculations on the stock
exchange in his heart nothjng but
With men a phlegmatic wrestler,
cold as ice and hard as steel; with
women, a defenceless child.
Americans are apt to smile when
they see this portrait which they fail
to recognize, but these traits are, al
though touching on caricature, what
strike us most in Americans visiting
Contrary to the American type of
men who are to be found at every
step in European literature the Amer
ican woman is totally absent from it.
She has neither inspired novelists nor
playwrights. All have passed her with
indifference. That is worthy of note,
food for reflecti6m '
Seldom hi Europe is the American
known as a man. For he is neither
a diplomat nor a consul and follows
no professional duties which force
him to social life. As a rule he does
not try to make European connec
tions. He keeps strictly to his fellow
countrymen whom he meets at their
clubs or in their homes.
The American woman, on the con
trary, is to be met with everywhere.
Wherever life is costly or where wo
man is the slave of fashion she goes.
She is the center of attention in all
the fashionable country seats, sum
mer resorts, cosmopolitan watering
places. She is on the lookout for
invitations and receives with great
She does not miss a single circle
where, according to the ruling of the
rich, you must put in an appearance
if you are to be considered. It is a
question with her of being present
wherever fashion and elegance rule
She is almost always strikingly
beautiful, often graceful, always ele
gant, and in perfect good taste, a
"parvenue" as to the prices she pays
for things, but never so in color or
She loves to visit Europe and
makes no secret of her preference.
And yet she does not meet with re
sponsive sympathy outside the neces
sarily restricted circle of fortune
She fails to become an Intellectual
center and never attains any other
role in society than that of brutal
The objection cannot be raised, I
am certain, that the ambition of rul
ing society and being the center of
all intellectual movement is denied to
all foreign women. The Paris of to
day and of the past shows numerous
examples to the contrary.
The American woman- possesses
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