- Project Runeberg -  Letters written during a short residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark /
158

(1889) [MARC] Author: Mary Wollstonecraft With: Henry Morley
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158 LETTERS ON SWEDEN,
difference in the conduct of the two sexes ; women, in
general, are seduced by their superiors, and men jilted
by their inferiors : rank and manners awe the one, and
cunning and wantonness subjugate the other ;
ambition
creeping into the woman’s passion, and tyranny giving
force to the man’s, for most men treat their mistresses
as kings do their favourites :
ergo is not man then the
tyrant of the creation ?

Still harping on the same subject, you will exclaim
How can I avoid it, when most of the struggles of an
eventful life have been occasioned by the oppressed
state of my sex? We reason deeply when we feel
forcibly.
But to return to the straight road of observation.
The sensuality so prevalent appears to me to arise
rather from indolence of mind and dull senses, than
from an exuberance of life, which often fructifies the
whole character when the vivacity of youthful spirits
begins to subside into strength of mind.
I have before mentioned that the men are domestic
tyrants, considering them as fathers, brothers, or husbands ;
but there is a kind of interregnum between the
reign of the father and husband which is the only
period of freedom and pleasure that the women enjoy.
Young people who are attached to each other, with the
consent of their friends, exchange rings, and are permitted to enjoy a degree of liberty together which I
have never noticed in any other country. The days of
courtship are, therefore, prolonged till it be perfectly
convenient to marry : the intimacy often becomes very
tender ;
and if the lover obtain the privilege of a hus-

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