Englishwoman's Love Letters (Chapter 7, page 1 of 3)

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Chapter 7

My Friend: Do you think this a cold way of beginning? I do not: is it not
the true send-off of love? I do not know how men fall in love: but I could
not have had that come-down in your direction without being your friend
first. Oh, my dear, and after, after; it is but a limitless friendship I
have grown into!

I have heard men run down the friendships of women as having little true
substance. Those who speak so, I think, have never come across a real
case of woman's friendship. I praise my own sex, dearest, for I know
some of their loneliness, which you do not: and until a certain date
their friendship was the deepest thing in life I had met with.

For must it not be true that a woman becomes more absorbed in friendship
than a man, since friendship may have to mean so much more to her, and
cover so far more of her life, than it does to the average man? However
big a man's capacity for friendship, the beauty of it does not fill his
whole horizon for the future: he still looks ahead of it for the mate
who will complete his life, giving his body and soul the complement
they require. Friendship alone does not satisfy him: he makes a bigger
claim on life, regarding certain possessions as his right.

But a woman:--oh, it is a fashion to say the best women are sure to find
husbands, and have, if they care for it, the certainty before them of a
full life. I know it is not so. There are women, wonderful ones, who
come to know quite early in life that no men will ever wish to make
wives of them: for them, then, love in friendship is all that remains,
and the strongest wish of all that can pass through their souls with
hope for its fulfillment is to be a friend to somebody.

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