I was standing outside a music shop the other day, gazing through the windows at the songs “everybody is singing.” Their titles amused me. Not a single one promised very much real sense. They were all what I will call love “mush”–“If you were a flowering rose,” and “Come to my garden of love,” were two typical examples. The remainder of the verses–with which the suburban sopranos will doubtless break the serenity of the suburban nights this summer–were of a “sloppy” sentimentality combined with a kind of hypersexual idiocy unparalleled except in an English ballad of the popular order. On such belief, I said to myself, are young lovers brought up. Well, I suppose it would be difficult for a youthful soprano to put “her soul” into a song which asked, “What shall I give my dear one every morning for his breakfast?” or, “Who’ll soothe your brow when the Income Tax is due, dear?” And yet, sooner or later, she will be faced with some such problems, and then her beloved won’t ask her if she be a flowering rose or invite her into his garden of love unless she can find an answer which will carry them both over to the next difficulty fairly successfully. But to live in an eternal state of love-mush is what young people are brought up to regard as matrimony. The plain facts of matrimony are carefully hidden from them, as either being too “prosaic” or too indelicate. The most responsible position in all life for a man and a woman is entered upon by them with an ignorance and an irresponsibility which are neither dignified nor likely to be satisfactory. A woman goes in for several years’ training before she can become a cook; a worker in every grade of life has to go through a long period of initiation before she can be said to be really fit for her “job.” But any girl thinks she is fit to become a wife, with no other qualification except that she is a woman, and can return endearment for endearment when required. She is not expected to know or do anything else. But her husband expects many and more important things from her if he is not to live to regret his bargain. He may not know it when he is asking her to live with him in his garden of love, but he will realise it a few years later, especially if she has turned that garden of love into a wilderness of expensive weeds.