Monday, 26 January 2009

Virtue

'I do not wish to consider myself, nor yet to be considered, in a bony light': thus Pleasant Riderhood to Mr. Venus, articulator of bones in London's East End. And thus Mr. Venus - though made, it would seem, for true love and surrounded by trophies of his art - loses his domestic chance. He may scuttle its image in the fathoms of his teacup and read in the residue there of twists and turns in its future dearth. But he cannot wash out the taste of its truth: that Venus must never trump Virtue.

Pleasant is in love with Love, no doubt. But Pleasant knows that Love is a virtue; Love is what you do. And if what you do is articulate women, bone by bone, then all the professions of Love in the world will not override the sense, primary and strong, of woman as so many tarsals and carpels, as so many shillings and pence, with no sense nor worth until spoken for.

A woman may be Pleasant; but she must not forget her Virtue: if she does not, then she may win her Love (who agrees to articulate only men, children and the lower animals) and may reasonably hope to keep him.

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