“It is a wonderful advantage to a man, in every pursuit or avocation, to
secure an adviser in a sensible woman. In woman there is at once a
subtile delicacy of tact & plain soundness of judgment which are rarely
combined to an equal degree in man. A woman, if she be really your
friend, will have a sensitive regard for your character, honor, repute.
She will seldom cousel you to do a shabby thing; for a woman friend
always desires to be proud of you.”

The Earl of Lytton (1831-91)

I have had this framed on my office wall for some time, and then the
nail came loose, and it has fallen. Should I return it to my wall? Is it
something a college gal can promote? *think think* Are our proficiencies
best demonstrated as compliments to the masculine? Must we be only
passive advisors?

Christine de Pisan, placed in the Medieval courtly life with a widowed
mother and several young charges, was forced to find a way to support
her family. She wrote. She created manners manuals for her fellow
courtly women telling them, much like Lytton, that their best character
trait was diplomacy and that they can woo the men in their lives to
their better selves. She was an Esther in her time. I’d like to think
that she was a College Gal.

Does it matter that a man is expressing his gratitude for the Esthers
qua Esthers in his life versus a woman advising other women to be
Esther-like? When are we to be like Deborah? Could the Earl be as
thankful for a Deborah?

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