free ebooks
A Woman of Genius by Mary Hunter Austin

A Woman of Genius

BY MARY AUSTIN

_Author of "The Land of Little Rain," "The Arrowmaker," "Isidro," "Christ in Italy," etc., etc._

GARDEN CITY NEW YORK DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY 1912

_Copyright, 1912, by_ DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & CO.

_All rights reserved, including that of translation into foreign languages, including the Scandinavian_

TO LOU HENRY HOOVER AND SOME PLEASANT MEMORIES OF THE RED HOUSE IN HORNTON STREET

BOOK I

CHAPTER I

It is strange that I can never think of writing any account of my life without thinking of Pauline Mills and wondering what she will say of it. Pauline is rather given to reading the autobiographies of distinguished people--unless she has left off since I disappointed her--and finding in them new persuasions of the fundamental lightness of her scheme of things. I recall very well, how, when I was having the bad time of my life there in Chicago, she would abound in consoling instances from one then appearing in the monthly magazines; skidding over the obvious derivation of the biographist's son from the Lord Knows Who, except that it wasn't from the man to whom she was legally married, to fix on the foolish detail of the child's tempers and woolly lambs as the advertisement of that true womanliness which Pauline loves to pluck from every feminine bush.

There was also a great deal in that story about a certain other celebrity, for her relations to whom the writer was blackballed in a club of which I afterward became a member, and I think it was the things Pauline said about one of the rewards of genius being the privilege of association with such transcendent personalities on a footing which permitted one to call them by their first names in one's reminiscences, that gave me the notion of writing this book. It has struck me as humorous to a degree, that, in this sort of writing, the really important things are usually left out.

I thought then of writing the life of an accomplished woman, not so much of the accomplishment as of the woman; and I have never been able to make a start at it without thinking of Pauline Mills and that curious social warp which obligates us most to impeach the validity of a woman's opinion at the points where it is most supported by experience. From the earliest I have been rendered highly suspicious of the social estimate of women, by the general social conspiracy against her telling the truth about herself. But, in fact, I do not think Mrs. Mills will read my book. Henry will read it first at his office and tell her that he'd rather she shouldn't, for Henry has been so successfully Paulined that it is quite sufficient for any statement of life to lie outside his wife's accepted bias, to stamp it with insidious impropriety. There is at times something almost heroic in the resolution with which women like Pauline Mills defend themselves from whatever might shift the centres of their complacency.


eBook Search
Social Sharing
Share Button
About us

freefictionbooks.org is a collection of free ebooks that can be read online. Ebooks are split into pages for easier reading and better bookmarking.

We have more than 35,000 free books in our collection and are adding new books daily.

We invite you to link to us, so as many people as possible can enjoy this wonderful free website.

© 2010-2013 freefictionbooks.org - All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us