The murder of Delicia
by Corelli, Marie, 1855-1924
this is a book of fierce feminism,
There are thousands of such ‘murders’ daily happening among us – murders which are not considered ‘cruelty’ in the eyes of the law There are any number of women who work night and day with brain and hand to support useless and brainless husbands; women whose love never falters, whose patience never tires, and whose tenderness is often rewarded only by the most callous neglect and ingratitude. I do not speak of the countless cases among the hard-working millions whom we elect to call the ‘lower classes’, where the wife, working from six in the morning to ten at night, has to see her hard earnings snatched from her by her ‘better’ half and spent at the public-house in strong drink, despite the fact that there is no food at home, and that innocent little children are starving. These instances are so frequent that they have almost ceased to awaken our interest, much less our sympathy.
In my story I allude principally to the ‘upper’ ranks, where the lazy noodle of an aristocrat spends his time, first, in accumulating debts, and then in looking about for a woman with money to pay them – a woman upon whose income he can afterwards live comfortably for the rest of his worthless life. To put it bluntly and plainly, a great majority of the men of the present day want women to keep them. It is not a manly or noble desire; but as the kind of men I mean have neither the courage nor the intelligence to fight the world for themselves, it is, I suppose, natural to such inefficient weaklings that they should, - seeing the fierce heat and contest of competition in every branch of modern labour, - gladly sneak behind a woman’s petticoats to escape the general fray. But the point to which I particularly wish to call the attention of the more thoughtful of my readers is that these very sort of men (when they have secured the ignoble end of their ambition, namely, the rich woman to live upon, under matrimonial sufferance) are the first to run down women’s work, women’s privileges, women’s attainments and women’s honour.