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THERE was once a Woman whose Fiancé had a Decided Theory regarding the most Desirable Characteristics of the Sexes. This Theory, in a Word, was that a Woman should be Like a Clinging Vine, while a Man should Resemble a Sturdy Oak. For Many Years, therefore, the Woman had Practised Clinging with Great Success. One day, However, her Fiancé grew Critical of her Method and Addressed her thus:

“The Century is Progressing, and it Behooves Us to Progress with it. How can I Produce Great Works with no Mental Stimulus? I Want to be Criticised—appreciatively—Not Admired. March Abreast of Me and be my Spiritual Comrade, not my Slave. A Woman is the Noblest of God's Works. She Symbolizes a Number of Things. Let me Feel that your Blind Adulation has some Valuable Basis. Do you Catch the Idea?"

The Woman was Thunderstruck.

"I am Afraid Not," she said, sadly. "Not Immediately, at Least. I must Admit that though I Admire your Work Dreadfully I can Not Understand it At All. I have been Clinging too Long."

So they Broke off the Engagement. The Fiancé found a Progressive and Stimulating Woman who Agreed to Criticise him and March Abreast of him. The only Trouble with this was that Not Only did she March Abreast, but it Seemed Probable that she would Get Ahead. Also she had a Work of Her Own, which sometimes Interfered with His.

This was Hard to Bear, and the Fiancé Found that his Views had Changed, and this time Forever.

"I have been a Fool," he said, bravely. "I was Wrong. I will Go Back to my Old Love. She cannot Criticise, Thank Heaven, but she can Cling. I will Carry on my Work, and she will sit in a Low Chair with a Basket of Little Clothes and the Lamplight falling on her Hair in the Good Old Way. And if she Cannot Understand my Work, what of that? I can. A Man wants Sympathy, not Criticism."

So he Returned to his Old Love and said, "Let All Be as it was Before."

"I am Afraid that can Not be," she replied, Sadly. "Since I Lost You I have Given Up Clinging, and I have Caught Your Idea. I had to Sympathize with Someone, so I have Taken Up a Work of My Own. Judging from your Tone I think you Would Fail to Comprehend it. The Century is Progressing and Things can Never Be as they Were Before."

This teaches us that It's Well to Be On with the Old Love Before you are Off with the New.