An Autobiography: Herbert Spencer - Vol. 2

By Herbert Spencer | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXXV.
A VOLUME OF THE BIOLOGY. 1862-64. ÆT. 42-44.

ON my return from Paris, some time in the first week of November, I took up my abode at 6 Hinde Street, Manchester Square,--a house which has since been destroyed in the formation of a new street. Here I remained during the winter and early spring.

Is it really a fact that women have better intuitions into character than men have? That they are quicker to divine other's moods of mind, there is, I think, good reason for believing, as I have pointed out in the Study of Sociology; and it seems almost an implication that if they perceive more truly the passing mental states in those they observe, they also perceive more truly their permanent mental states or established natures. Yet when we remember how multitudinous are the cases in which women are deceived by smooth manners and pretty speeches, we cannot but hesitate about admitting this implication. May not the truth rather be that men and women differ, not so much in these intuitions as in the readiness with which they accept and act upon them? The lines--" I do not like you Dr. Fell," etc., point to a distinction between the two. Speaking generally, women do not question the worth of the impressions made on them; while men, receiving the like impressions, are apt to

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