Max O’Rell was the pen name of Léon Paul Blouet (1848 – 1903), French author and journalist, the Wikipedia entry on him states. “He was born in Brittany. He served as a cavalry officer in the Franco-German War, was captured at Sedan, but was released in time to join the Versaillist army which overcame the Paris Commune, and was severely wounded during the second siege of Paris. In 1872 he went to England as correspondent of several French newspapers, and in 1876 became the very efficient French master at St Paul’s School, London, retaining that post until 1884. What induced him to leave was the brilliant success of his first book, John Bull et son île (translated as John Bull and his Island ), which in its French and English forms was so widely read as to make his pseudonym a household word in England and America.”
Her Royal Highness Woman was first published by Chatto & Windus in 1901, and is all about putting women on a pedestal — and keeping them there. Indeed, its statements about women are so outrageously “sexist”, one occasionally wonders whether they were intended to be taken completely seriously. Alas, I think they probably were, as one often finds similar sentiments aired by other male writers of the era. The chapter I have reproduced below is Chapter XXX, which is charmingly entitled The Woman I Hate. No doubt it went down well in the gentlemen’s clubs — and among those women who perversely upheld the Victorian ideal of the tirelessly patient, self-sacrificing wife.