CULTIVATING LIBERALISM
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Edith Wharton: Marriage's Slavery
“Yes—and afterward?
Well—what? and what did this new question mean? Afterward: why, of course, there was the startled puzzled surrender to the incomprehensible exigencies of the young man to whom one had at most yielded a rosy cheek in return for an engagement ring; there was the large double-bed; the terror of seeing him shaving calmly the next morning, in his shirt-sleeves, through the dressing room door; the evasions, insinuations, resigned smiles and Bible texts of one's Mamma; the reminder of the phrase "to obey" in the glittering blur of the Marriage Service; a week or a month of flushed distress, confusion, embarrassed pleasure; then the growth of habit, the insiduous lulling of the matter-of course, the dreamless double slumbers in the big white bed, the early morning discussions and consultations through that dressing room door which had once seemed to open into a fiery pit scorching the brow of innocence.”
—From “The Old Maid” in Old New York” (1924)

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