Chapter 11. Our Difficulties
We say, "Marriage is a lottery"; also "Marriages are made in Heaven"--but this is not so
widely accepted as the other.
We have a well-founded theory that it is best to marry "in one's class," and certain
well-grounded suspicions of international marriages, which seem to persist in the
interests of social progress, rather than in those of the contracting parties.
But no combination of alien races, of color, of caste, or creed, was ever so basically
difficult to establish as that between us, three modern American men, and these three
women of Herland.
It is all very well to say that we should have been frank about it beforehand. We had
been frank. We had discussed--at least Ellador and I had--the conditions of The Great
Adventure, and thought the path was clear before us. But there are some things one takes
for granted, supposes are mutually understood, and to which both parties may repeatedly
refer without ever meaning the same thing.
The differences in the education of the average man and woman are great enough, but
the trouble they make is not mostly for the man; he generally carries out his own views of
the case. The woman may have imagined the conditions of married life to be different;
but what she imagined, was ignorant of, or might have preferred, did not seriously matter.
I can see clearly and speak calmly about this now, writing after a lapse of years, years
full of growth and education, but at the time it was rather hard sledding for all of us--
especially for Terry. Poor Terry! You see, in any other imaginable marriage among the
peoples of the earth, whether the woman were black, red, yellow, brown, or white;
whether she were ignorant or educated, submissive or rebellious, she would have behind
her the marriage tradition of our general history. This tradition relates the woman to the
man. He goes on with his business, and she adapts herself to him and to it. Even in
citizenship, by some strange hocus-pocus, that fact of birth and geography was waved
aside, and the woman automatically acquired the nationality of her husband.
Well--here were we, three aliens in this land of women. It was small in area, and the
external differences were not so great as to astound us. We did not yet appreciate the
differences between the race-mind of this people and ours.
In the first place, they were a "pure stock" of two thousand uninterrupted years. Where
we have some long connected lines of thought and feeling, together with a wide range of
differences, often irreconcilable, these people were smoothly and firmly agreed on most
of the basic principles of their life; and not only agreed in principle, but accustomed for
these sixty-odd generations to act on those principles.