In Wish With the Candles, Justin discusses the love that made the most recent beneficiary of his surgical expertise jump off a bridge and crush his chest in:
Emma: He must have loved her very much.
Justin: Men do--most men. A woman--their own particular woman--is so woven into the tapestry of their lives that she can't be cut out.
Let's leave for a minute the doubtful assertion that the depth of love the young bridge jumper had for his lady love was greater than the average. (I'm merely (and prosaically) determined to think that he was unbalanced.) And let us pick up Justin's position about men. It tickled my memory of a passage in Jane Austen's Persuasion:
And with a quivering lip he wound up the whole by adding, 'Poor Fanny! she would not have forgotten him so soon!'
'No,' replied Anne, in a low, feeling voice. 'That I can easily believe.'
'It was not in her nature. She doted on him.'
'It would not be the nature of any woman who truly loved.'
Captain Harville smiled, as much as to say, 'Do you claim that for your sex?' and she answered the question, smiling also, 'Yes. We certainly do not forget you as soon as you forget us. It is, perhaps, our fate rather than our merit. We cannot help ourselves. We live at home, quiet, confined, and our feelings prey upon us. You are forced on exertion. You have always a profession, pursuits, business of some sort or other, to take you back into the world immediately, and continual occupation and change soon weaken impressions.'
'Granting your assertion that the world does all this so soon for men (which, however, I do not think I shall grant), it does not apply to Benwick. He has not been forced upon any exertion. The peace turned him on shore at the very moment, and he has been living with us, in our little family circle, ever since.'
'True,' said Anne, 'very true; I did not recollect; but what shall we say now, Captain Harville? If the change be not from outward circumstances, it must be from within; it must be nature, man's nature, which has done the business for Captain Benwick.'
'No, no, it is not man's nature. I will not allow it to be more man's nature than woman's to be inconstant and forget those they do love, or have loved. I believe the reverse. I believe in a true analogy between our bodily frames and our mental; and that as our bodies are the strongest, so are our feelings; capable of bearing most rough usage, and riding out the heaviest weather.'Okay, so there it is. Captain Benwick and Justin on one side of the coin and Anne on the other. Let's hash it out. Who loves more deeply?--Men or women?