Read CHAPTER XI of Her Royal Highness Woman, free online book, by Max O'Rell, on


How many times can a man and a woman love?-They love differently-
A delicate question-’Lucky dog!’-The inexorability of the
virtuous woman.

Man is capable of love as earnestly as woman is; but love is not the whole business of his life, whereas it is a woman’s. When a child, she loves her doll; when a girl, her mother; when a woman, a man. She can feed on love and die of it. When a mother, she loves her children; when she dies, surrounded by beloved grandchildren, she may say that her life has been well filled.

I believe that a woman can love more than once. I have known widows remarry, and love their second husbands with the same devotion as their first.

A man really loves once only. I knew a man under fifty who was married three times. He was a good and devoted husband to his three wives, but he never really loved but the second. If he dies suddenly without having time to take all his precautions, the portrait of his second wife will be found on his heart.

The reason of this is that men and women love in different ways. A man loves because his whole being-heart, soul, and body-craves for a woman. A woman often gives herself to a man because it pleases her to be loved by him. For a man, love is the pleasure he feels in the company of a woman; for a woman, it is the enjoyment of the pleasure she gives to a man. A woman is proud to call herself a reward, and that is why all heroes appeal to her so much. Mirabeau was the plainest of men, with his face covered with smallpox marks, yet no man ever made so many conquests among women. Successful generals, explorers, great orators, authors, artists, singers, all appeal to women. They may not love them personally, but it affords them great pleasure to be loved by them. There is in every woman a craving for a man superior to herself, and that is why women who try to dominate men are such dismal failures.

To a woman love is sacred, her food, her life.

Never have a sneer at a woman or at a child. Whenever you feel sarcastic, exercise your talents on something else.

Never profane the words, ‘I love you’; they may seal the fate of a woman; but when you have uttered these three words in great earnestness, and the woman has answered with that great religious, almost sad, smile that Victor Hugo called ‘the smile of angels,’ when, in a word, she is yours, place her on a pedestal, on an altar, and worship her. The world has nothing better to offer you.

A man can cure a woman of a man. Nothing can cure a man of a woman, unless it be that woman herself.

While on the subject of love and tender relations, let me ask a question of my lady readers: Which would you rather know, that the man you love had broken his allegiance to you, but kept his heart faithful, or that he had lost his heart with another woman, but kept his ‘monastic’ vows? A clever woman once answered me in the following manner: ’If that man was my husband, I would much rather know that his heart had gone from me for a time. If I was not married to him, I would prefer to know that his heart had remained faithful.’

Only I must warn you that if a man put this question to his wife, she would probably say to him at once: ’Jack, which of the two are you guilty of?’

‘In ninety cases out of a hundred,’ says Paul Bourget, ’for a woman to play her heart in the game of love is to play at cards with a sharper, and gold against counterfeit pieces.’ How true! for when the game is over, society (which ought to be ashamed of itself in its treatment of men and women) says of the man, ‘Lucky dog!’ but mocks at the woman who has given way, puts her outside the pale when she forgets herself for the moment, and turns away from her when she gives way to despair. Poor woman! She cannot rebel, for if man is the cause of her downfall, it is woman who becomes her bitterest enemy. There is no pity in the breast of a woman for the woman who has fallen, unless she herself has had the same sad experience. The virtuous woman is inexorable, although her virtue is very often like a fortress which never had to capitulate for the reason that it never was attacked.

If I were a woman, oh, how I should hate women!

Madame de Stael said that what consoled her to know that she was a woman was that she would never have to marry a woman.