The Forerunner, Volume 1 (1909-1910)
Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Part 14 out of 18
Then the heart and mind of society is applied to the question, and
certain results are soon reached; others slowly worked toward.
First result. Some persons are so morally diseased that they must have
hospital treatment. The world's last prison will be simply a hospital
for moral incurables. They must by no means reproduce their kind,--that
can be attended to at once. Some are morally diseased, but may be
cured, and the best powers of society will be used to cure them. Some
are only morally diseased because of the conditions in which they are
born and reared, and here society can save millions at once.
An intelligent society will no more neglect its children than an
intelligent mother will neglect her children; and will see as clearly
that ill-fed, ill-dressed, ill-taught and vilely associated little ones
must grow up gravely injured.
As a matter of fact we make our crop of criminals, just as we make our
idiots, blind, crippled, and generally defective. Everyone is a baby
first, and a baby is not a criminal, unless we make it so. It never
would be,--in right conditions. Sometimes a pervert is born, as
sometimes a two-headed calf is born, but they are not common.
The older, simpler forms of crime we may prevent with case and despatch,
but how of the new ones?--big, terrible, far-reaching, wide-spread
crimes, for which we have as yet no names; and before which our old
system of anti-personal punishment falls helpless? What of the crimes
of poisoning a community with bad food; of defiling the water; of
blackening the air; of stealing whole forests? What of the crimes of
working little children; of building and renting tenements that produce
crime and physical disease as well? What of the crime of living on the
wages of fallen women--of hiring men to ruin innocent young girls; of
holding them enslaved and selling them for profit? (These things are
only "misdemeanors" in a man-made world!)
And what about a crime like this; to use the public press to lie to the
public for private ends? No name yet for this crime; much less a
And this: To bring worse than leprosy to an innocent clean wife who
loves and trusts you?
Or this: To knowingly plant poison in an unborn child?
No names, for these; no "penalties"; no conceivable penalty that could
The whole punishment system falls to the ground before the huge mass of
evil that confronts us. If we saw a procession of air ships flying over
a city and dropping bombs, should we rush madly off after each one
crying, "Catch him! Punish him!" or should we try to stop the
The time is coming when the very word "crime" will be disused, except in
poems and orations; and "punishment," the word and deed, be obliterated.
We are beginning to learn a little of the nature of humanity its
goodness, its beauty, its lovingness; and to see that even its stupidity
is only due to our foolish old methods of education.
It is not new power, new light, new hope that we need, but _to
understand what ails us._
We know enough now, we care enough now, we are strong enough now, to
make the whole world a thousand fold better in a generation; but we are
shackled, chained, blinded, by old false notions. The ideas of the
past, the sentiments of the past, the attitude and prejudices of the
past, are in our way; and among them none more universally mischievous
than this great body of ideas and sentiments, prejudices and habits,
which make up the offensive network of the androcentric culture.
THE BEAUTY WOMEN HAVE LOST
We know how arbitrary, how changeable, how helplessly associative, is
the "beauty sense." That which gives us a peculiar feeling of deep
pleasure, received through various senses, we call "beautiful," whether
it be color of form, sound, scent, or touch; but no sensation is more
Among savages absolute mutilation is considered beautiful; among
partially civilized peoples, like ourselves, restriction and distortion
in our bodies and those of domestic animals are still considered
beautiful; and in matters of fashion, or of food, we all know the
helpless proverb--"Every one to his taste."
In this general variability of taste we have in great measure failed to
grasp certain laws of beauty which obtain whether appreciated or not.
Abstract beauty is but a concept, a thought form for purposes of
discussion. The beauty perceived pertains to something, and in that
something lie its definitions and limitations. This we practically
recognize in certain marked and simple forms. The points which we
admire in a horse are visibly not the same as those admired in a fish or
bird; the beauty of a given animal must be of its own kind.
So vivid and sharp is this law of association, that precisely the same
bit of form and color which we would call beautiful while we supposed it
to be an irridescent shell, would strike us with disgust if we suddenly
perceived the little object to be a piece of very ancient meat. Beauty
must _belong_--varying with its subject.
The beauty of women has suffered from too narrow a field of
appreciation. It has been measured solely from a masculine viewpoint,
primarily as a characteristic of sex, secondarily as pertaining to a
subject creature; and associatively, to every mad extreme of fancy in
nature's variant, the male.
Among other creatures the beauty of the female is mainly that of race.
The lioness is a more appreciable working type of feline power than the
lion, whose sex-beauty, the mane, is somewhat similar to that of a
bison, or a great seal.
In our case, where the dependent female adds to her neutral race-beauty
the shifting attributes of sex-attraction, she has gained to a high
degree in the field man most admires, and lost in the normal beauty of
Relative size and strength are elements of beauty in an animal; neither
dwarf nor giant is beautiful; and we for many years have dwarfed our
women, under the direct effect of restraining conditions and the
selective action of the master, whose pride would brook no equal.
Of late years, in some classes and countries, this is changing; so
frequently that the tall woman no longer excites remark or disapproval.
There is no reason whatever, in a civilized condition, why the male and
female should differ markedly in size, and the difference is
disappearing as above noted, as is also the extreme weakness so long
held desirable in women.
But in the great majority of cases our women are still content to be
what they consider beautiful as _women_, and never to consider human
beauty at all.
The disproportionate part played by costume and decoration in the
sex-governed activities of the dependent woman, has given a peculiar
cant to her beauty-sense. If she be well dressed,--or so considered,
and richly ornamented, her sense of beauty is satisfied, quite
regardless of shape, size and color in herself. This is perhaps a
fortunate provision to meet our special case, where the male must be
attracted as a means of livelihood, and under the average limitations of
personal charms. But it is a pity, in the interest of a nobler race,
that our preoccupation with cloths should so blind us to the real beauty
of the human body.
I once knew a girl whose vanity led her to decline gymnasium work, on
the ground that it would make her hands large. The same vanity would
have urged her to it if she had even known of the beauty of a well
proportioned, vigorous, active body. She had read and heard of small
soft hands as a feminine attraction, but never of a smooth, strong neck,
a well set head, a firm, pliant, muscular trunk, and limbs that cannot
be beautiful unless they are strong.
"Slender," "plump," "rounded," "graceful,"--these words suggest beauty
in a woman, but "strong" does not. Yet weakness,--in a healthy
adult,--is incompatible with true beauty--race beauty--the beauty women
In their enforced restriction they have lost the beauty of expression
that comes of a rich wide life, fully felt, fully expressed. Look at
the puffy negation of a row of women's faces in a street car. Plump
women, "pretty" women perhaps, well dressed, "stylish," not ill
tempered,--and not anything else! Their range of experience is
absolutely domestic; their interests and ambitions are either domestic
or what they fondly call "social;" they do not feel, know, or act in the
full sense of human life, and their faces show it. They are rated
first, last, and all the time as mothers: mothers future, mothers
present, mothers past; and much is made of "the maternal expression" in
women's beauty. It belongs there, surely. It is a true large part of
it; beauty in a woman could not be true which was inimical to maternity;
but, but it is not the whole of life.
A man's face may be beautiful with a paternal expression, but if that is
all the expression he has, he lacks much.
There is a lack of dignity in our types of female loveliness. There is
the appealing type, the coquettish, the provocative, the mysterious; but
seldom do we see the calm pride based on nature's mightiest power which
should distinguish womanhood.
The woman of the remote past, the far distant matriarchal age, had the
beauty of freedom and the beauty of power; though their hands were
large, doubtless, and assuredly strong. In much later ages, while
losing this, we still kept somewhat of the free beauty of untramelled
bodies; but that too has gone under our binding weight of clothes. No
free grace is possible under a huge, slouching, heavy hat, or to a body
poised on sharp-toed shoes with towering heels.
If we knew beauty--human beauty; if we were familiar from childhood with
the real proportions of the body; if we were familiar with pictures of
the human figure, and then shown that same figure, the woman's, with her
feet artificially mis-shapen and out of poise, her waist distorted, her
head obscured, her every action hampered and confined,--we should see
the ugliness of these things, as we do not now.
The human woman, now so rapidly developing, will regain the wholesome
natural beauty that belongs to her as a human being; will hold, of
course, the all-powerful attraction of her womanhood; but will leave to
the male of her species,--to whom it properly belongs, the effort of
COMMENT AND REVIEW
How many of you have read the life story of Alexander Irvine--"From the
It is one of the most vivid, interesting, readable of books. It talks,
it laughs, it lives,--and it reveals. It is not a "confession;" not the
overflow of a self-conscious soul like Marie Barklirtseff's outpourings;
it is a story; an account of what happened to the man, and how he grew.
A hungry, ragged, barefoot, ignorant little Irish boy; handicapped in
all ways but three; unusually fortunate in these. He had a good body, a
good mind, a good heart. Up and up and up he pushes; helped now by the
body, now by the soul, now by the intellect, till we find him, still in
strong middle life, educated, experienced, traveled, enobled by loving
and serving, awake to our larger social needs, and working with all his
splendid power to help humanity.
Never was there a man more alive; learning Greek roots while delivering
milk; converting miners, practicing a score of trades, and boxing like a
The book has a double value; in the hope and courage which must rise
from contact with such a personality and its rich experience, and in the
strong light it throws upon "how the other half live." As Rose Pastor
Stokes so quaintly put it, "Half the world does not know how. The other
In this book one-half may learn much of the unnecessary misery of "the
submerged;" and the other half may begin to learn how to live.
* _From The Bottom Up._ The life story of Alexander Irvine. Doubleday
Page & Co. New York, 1910.
The English Suffrage papers are an inspiration--and a reproach.
_"Votes for Women"_--the London organ of the militant suffragist, is so
solid and assured; so richly upheld; so evidently the strong voice of a
_"The Common Cause,"_ published in Manchester, is another, not militant,
giving the same sense of a settled position and masterly leadership.
The women of England are awake to their needs, and valiantly support
their defenders; but American women, as a rule, are still asleep as to
the responsibilities of citizenship. Here suffrage papers still give
much space to argument and appeal: there, they are mostly filled with
the record of work planned and done; they are party organs, secure and
One of our best is _"The Progressive Woman"_ of Girard, Kansas.
It is edited by a progressive woman--Josephine Conger-Kaneko.
This is a Socialist as well as Suffragist paper, and more than that; it
stands for the whole front rank of the woman's movement.
In the August number we read of Kate O'Hare's campaign for congress in
Kansas; of "The Socialist Woman's Movement in Russia;" of "The White
Slave Traffic"--quoting from Elizabeth Goodnow's impressive book of
stories, "The Soul Market;" of "The Work of Madam Curie;" of "The
Marriage Contract;" of "The Woman's Suffrage Movement and Political
Parties;" with much other valuable matter.
The "Arena Club" of New Orleans is doing good work. It has prepared a
bill against the "white slave traffic" in Louisiana, which was submitted
to the legislature by Hon. J. D. Wall, Representative for East
Feliciana, La. This bill is now a law, and the next step is
enforcement. This calls for activity on the part of the "City Mothers."
_"The Union Labor Advocate"_ is one of our exchanges, and a good one.
It is the organ of the National Woman's Trade Union League. One of the
most practical and useful of all woman's organizations.
As women work for the world they become more human; becoming human, they
organize; and in organization grow in further humanness. This was well
shown in the shirt-waist strike of last winter in New York, the new
sense of common interest bringing out college women, society women, all
kinds of women, to help the workingwomen in their struggle for decent
Professor Francis Squire Potter formerly of Michigan University, is now
general lecturer for the League: a good field for her unusual powers.
The _Forerunner's_ question in this department of the June issue,
reached a good many, it would seem. Here is another response:
"When people must wake up too early every morning, half dead, or at
least half asleep, to begin the ceaseless, monotonous daily grind, keep
at it all day until half dead or at least half asleep until too late at
night, for the mere privilege of existence, they are too tired to wake
up and LIVE--the rest of the night.
When people are entombed in conventions, customs, _Beliefs_! from which
they may only be freed by digging, filing, gnawing, scraping, _wearing_,
themselves as well as their way out, few have the strength and spirit to
emerge and LIVE--only occassionally one comes out _alive_."
"Such _purely_ personal questions as 'how may I, half (or truly a minute
fraction of that) educated, half alive by reason of ill-health, wholly
unaccustomed to push my way in the world, grub out an existence and keep
out of the poor-house, and keep out of the way of others who are doing
things;' seem rather too small, and altogether too numerous."
A. These "purely personal" questions are the most universal, and open
to the most universal answers.
To "Wake up and Live--World size" means this: Your personality is only
the smallest part of your consciousness. A child with a hurt finger
howls inconsolably; a conquering king with a hurt finger doesn't know
"You" are weak and ill; "you" are half educated: "you" don't know how to
work--Just put "we" for "you."
"We," thousands and millions of us, are at present suffering from
various wrong conditions. Taken separately, personally, these wrong
conditions overwhelm us; each sits down in his or her own little circle
of pain, and suffers.
Taken _collectively_--faced, understood, met, overcome--those wrong
conditions can be removed and forgotten.
The writer of this interesting letter (thanks for its kind
appreciation!) sees the trouble of living clearly enough, but does not
see the joy of living.
In the first place, accept your own pain and loss, whatever it may be,
as merely a part of the general pain and loss. Your own, singly, you
may be unable to help; but "ours" you can help. Never mind what ails
"you"--you can stand it--other people do? The human soul is a stronger
thing than you think--_you don't use enough of it._ Unless the mind is
affected, so that one is irresponsible, it is always open to a Human
Being to change the attitude of the mind, and enlarge its area of
Human Life is a huge Immortal Thing.
It has been on earth for many thousand years.
It is bigger, stronger, better, than it ever was.
It is on the verge of a new consciousness, a new power, a new joy, which
will make our poor past seem like a lovingly forgotten babyhood; and our
future a progressive Heaven--growing under our hands as we make it.
And our present! _This_ is our present! Get into the game! You are
human life. Human life is You.
It's a big thing. It's worth while to be alive--if you are human!
To get a lively sense of historic movement read "_The Martyrdom of Man_"
by Winwood Reade. To get it of life today, read what you like of the
rising flood of sociologic and humanitarian books and magazines of
When you are socially conscious--a live Human Being--your "personal
problems" will take on different proportions. There is no personal
trouble so great as the trouble of the world--which we have to face and
There is no personal joy so great as the joy of the world--which is ours
to feel, to make, to steadily enlarge.
Change your own condition if you can, but if you cannot, spread out your
life--your Human Life, till your burden is no bigger than a biscuit--to
such huge consciousness.
"When my children were little and at home it was easy to guide and
direct, but now they are in the big man-made world without judgment
enough to know that the _world_ standards are wrong, and the _home_
standards of helpfulness and co-operation right.
I believe we are going ahead, and I'm willing enough to help build the
road for others to pass over, but must my children hunger and thirst in
A. This is a wide-spread problem. The trouble lies in our confounding
personal and social relations. Our children are in direct connection
with us physically and psychically--but not, of necessity, socially. A
musician does not necessarily have musical children; a reformer does not
necessarily have reforming children. There is no reason why our
children should be expected to see things as we do. They may never see
the way out of the wilderness as we see it.
They are to love and serve, to shelter, guard, teach--and set free!
We must do our work--and they must do theirs.
Here is a question from Detroit.
"I entirely agree with you in believing that children should be governed
by reason, and that coercion is a mistake; but how would you suggest
dealing with a child before it can possibly understand reason?"
The writer then speaks of the selfishness and rudeness of undisciplined
children, and goes on:
"I have always thought that the training of a child should begin from a
very early age, long before they can listen to reason at all."
She is quite right. Child culture should begin as soon as the child
begins. The difficulty of the average parent is that he or she assumes
"reason" to mean reasoning--oral argument.
In the reaction from our old violent discipline, they use no discipline;
and for repression substitute gross indulgence.
When a child learns that fire burns by a mild, safe burning, he learns
_reasonably;_ the fire _reacts_--which is not a punishment, but a
consequence. He should learn the rights of others as early as his own,
and by similar processes. Real child culture calls for far more care
and training than the old rule of thumb, but it is of a different kind.
"I am very much interested in your 'Androcentric Culture.' Is it your
idea that the female organism was the stronger before consciousness
existed only, or after that period in prehistoric times?"
For the scientific facts underlying the above work, all readers are
referred to Chapter XIV. of "_Pure Sociology,_" by Lester F. Ward. It
is--or should be--in every Public Library, and should be read by every
woman in the world--and by the men also.
THE EDITOR'S PROBLEM
How to enlarge the subscription list!
To pay its running expenses this little magazine must have about three
thousand subscribers. It now has between eleven and twelve hundred.
We want, to make good measure, two thousand more. This is a bare
minimum, providing no salary to the editor.
If enough people care for the magazine to support it to that extent, the
editor will do her work for nothing--and be glad of the chance! If
enough people care for it to support her--she will be gladder.
Do you like the magazine, its spirit and purpose? Do you find genuine
interest and amusement in the novel--the short story? Do the articles
appeal to you? Do the sermons rouse thought and stir to action? Are
the problems treated such as you care to study? Does the poetry have
bones to it as well as feathers? Does it give you your dollar's worth
in the year? And do you want another dollar's worth?
Most of the people who take it like it very much. We are going to
print, a few at a time, some of the pleasant praises our readers send.
They are so cordial that we are moved to ask all those who do enjoy this
little monthly service of sermon and story, fun and fiction, poetry and
First, To renew their subscriptions.
Second, Each to get one new subscriber. (Maybe more!)
Third, To make Christmas present of subscriptions, or of bound volumes
of the first year.
FROM LETTERS OF SUBSCRIBERS
"I am delighted to hear of the Forerunner. No one in the United States
is so competent as you to write the whole of a magazine, little or big,
from the beginning to end. You have the gift of expression, if anyone
has, and, what is still more important, you have something to express."
"I enclose in this $1.00 for one year of the 'Gilmanian' and I think it
a bargain to get so much of you at the price."
"Indeed I am more than delighted to have an opportunity to communicate
regularly with you through The Forerunner, and I shall be very proud to
be numbered among the charter subscribers."
"Herewith I send $1.00 for my subscription, with all manner of good
wishes for your magazine. Our family has enjoyed every line."
"I laid my copy on her dish, and she was so pleased with it that she
came to me with her dollar shortly afterwards."
"I enclose $1.00 for a year's subscription. I found The Forerunner most
interesting, and shall look forward to it every month."
"The magazine is 'bully.' It even exceeds all my expectations, high as
these were. There are so many good points about the Forerunner that I
hope to come down soon with my husband to congratulate you in person."
"I have received the first number of your magazine, and am more than
pleased with it. The first article was splendid--and ought to be read
before every circle of mothers belonging to the Mothers Congress."
Enclosed find two subscriptions to The Forerunner. I am making
Christmas gifts to my friends of your interesting and stimulating
"I think The Forerunner foreruns a lot of good things. It is strong,
interesting, fearless, yet kindly, genial--I like it."
"The magazine is unique and distinctly 'Gilmanesque,' which is a
sufficient recommendation to me."
"I am constantly surprised at your originality and versatility, and
knowledge of human nature."
"Of course I have _got to have_ The Forerunner! And I shall read every
word of every issue. So will everybody else. But what makes you so
lazy? _Why don't you set the type?"_
"Your magazine has more real common sense to the square inch than any I
have ever seen. I enclose subscription for one year, beginning with the
"I think a very great deal of this publication and shall try to have a
complete file of it on hand to use for reference. I know of nothing
better in the whole field of the 'Woman Question.'"
"I am just 'stuck' on that article 'Why we honestly fear Socialism,' in
December Forerunner, and think it one of the best things to circulate
for propaganda work that I have yet seen."
"Will you please send me a year's subscription to The Forerunner, dating
from the first number. They are too good for me to miss any."
"I feel The Forerunner will fill a need. In my case it gratifies an
absorbing desire. I knew ere it came out that women would get something
for which they had waited, Lo! these many years."
"Your magazines are splendid and I must be among your regular readers."
"The first number of The Forerunner has reached us and we wish to
express our appreciation of its excellence and the wish for its long
life. Please find enclosed $1.00, our subscription for the current
"Mrs. ----- and I are delighted with The Forerunner and send this dollar
to keep it running our way. Please send samples to the addresses on the
attached list. They should all take the paper, and I shall be glad to
tell them so the first chance I have."
"The ----- Club is using your Androcentric Culture articles as the study
one evening each month as they appear. If you can't make something out
of men and women, then indeed only a miracle can."
"I _must_ have _your_ magazine all to myself!--and trust to the Lord to
provide the material bread!"
"B---- and I have just returned from a delightful week end with Mrs.
-----. I told her about The Forerunner--and she naturally feels that
life is worthless until she has seen it."
"The verses are all brilliant; I don't know how you can think of so many
gay and serious things all at the same time. It is as if you took your
conjuror's hat out and produced eggs, cannon-balls, perfume flowers, and
a whole live, quivering beef at the same stroke. You are a sure
"Your scintellating first number has arrived. I have been waiting for
an hour of leisure in which to tell you how much we have all enjoyed
"Oh! Charlotte Perkins Gilman! You have--and do--and will--'Contribute
to the great stream of civilization'--by courageously obeying the
injunction, and calling aloud to your sisters to 'Let your light
"If you do no other good and great thing you will certainly work one
tremendous miracle; you will rouse every lazy brain that gets a glimpse
into these pages with such a dynamic force that a real desire may be
kindled to Think--Think--Think--for itself."
"I am delighted with the magazine. It is meaty, and stimulating."
"The valuable readable material in it justifies the absence of any text
on the part of the new minister. It will create free souls and that is
the great work, for while a dead body is not pleasant to look upon, a
dead soul is a thousand fold worse."
"I enclose one year's subscription to it for my sister, to whom I am
giving it as one of her Christmas presents. And I know she will enjoy
The Forerunner as much as I do."
"The magazines are very interesting and I wish you much success. I am
particularly interested in the suffrage arguments."
"I am charmed--thrilled with your strong trenchment work. You are one
of the few who clearly see and forcibly express the fundamental
difference between the old androcentric world and the new dawning age in
which women and men co-operate in _world building._"
"I have been wanting and intending to congratulate you on your effort
and result,--and to wish you everlasting success. It is unlike any of
the present-day magazines in many ways.
Allow me to say it is most interesting, and Mr. H---- joins me in
wishing for this publication a most brilliant future."
"Enclosed find $1.00, for which please send The Forerunner, your fine
"I see your _think marks_ on many an article written by both men and
women, and I know they have read your books."
"I want ten copies of the January Forerunner. I think it is
particularly good and the article on suffrage--or 'The Humanness of
Women,' one of the very best things I ever read on the subject."
"The Forerunner is a great success! I like it all, and it is not
disappointing in any respect in spite of the fact that I have been
getting more impatient to see it each month since I subscribed for it."
"Please send The Forerunner to me at ----- -----. It does good
digging--loosens up the soil nicely."
"I have enjoyed The Forerunner very much. I feel that I am getting more
than my money's worth; so to help the cause along I am sending you
herewith a few names of progressive friends, who will, I think, become
subscribers, and help in turn."
SOME OF OUR EXCHANGES
The Common Cause
WHAT IS IT?
There are in England something like twenty-five National Societies for
promoting the enfranchisement of women. The oldest of these is the
National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies, which was started in 1861
and whose President is Mrs. Fawcett, LL.D. The National Union has over
two hundred branches in Great Britain, and a total membership of about
20,000. It is the only British Woman's Suffrage Society affiliated to
the International Woman Suffrage Alliance.
The Common Cause
Is the Organ of the National Union.
It contains leaders and articles on political, social, legal and
industrial matters affecting women, and is a complete record or the work
done by the National Union for the enfranchisement of women in England.
The Common Cause
Is the Paper of Thinking Women.
Subscriptions should be sent to
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Edited and Published by
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Price, 50 cents a year.
The Progressive Woman stands for a better race through the political and
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of the more advanced thinkers, and its readers endeavor to keep up with
This is the great charm about The Progressive Woman--it does not stand
still: it leads.
Send to-day for sample copy.
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IT IS A KIND BY ITSELF
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A BRAND NEW THING IN MAGAZINES
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CHARLOTTE PERKINS GILMAN'S MAGAZINE
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AS TO PURPOSE:
_What is The Forerunner?_ It is a monthly magazine, publishing stories
short and serial, article and essay; drama, verse, satire and sermon;
dialogue, fable and fantasy, comment and review. It is written entirely
by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.
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and impatience; to offer practical suggestions and solutions, to voice
the strong assurance of better living, here, now, in our own hands to
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Volume 1. No. 12 OCTOBER, 1910
Copyright for 1910
C. P. Gilman
Tin soldiers have long been a popular toy.
Why not tin carpenters?
They told me what she had done--
Of her life like a river free:
Teaching and showing with tender truth,
Giving her light to age and youth,
Till fathers and mothers and children grew
To listen and learn and see
What the village had come to be;
How they had no sickness, young or old,
And had lost but one from all their fold;
For all the people knew
How to keep life strong and true;
And I asked her how had her love begun
To ripen and reach to every one.
She lifted a royal head,
Standing straight, as a tree;
While troops of little ones clustered and clung
To raiment and hand and knee.
"Should I not be glad," said she,
"In health and beauty and joy like this?
Babies by hundreds to cuddle and kiss;
A happier town was never sung;
A heaven of children for old and young;
There is only one that is dead--
It was only mine," she said.
THE BOYS AND THE BUTTER
Young Holdfast and J. Edwards Fernald sat grimly at their father's
table, being seen and not heard, and eating what was set before them,
asking no questions for conscience' sake, as they had been duly reared.
But in their hearts were most unchristian feelings toward a venerable
guest, their mother's aunt, by name Miss Jane McCoy.
They knew, with the keen observation of childhood, that it was only a
sense of hospitality, and duty to a relative, which made their father
and mother polite to her--polite, but not cordial.
Mr. Fernald, as a professed Christian, did his best to love his wife's
aunt, who came as near being an "enemy" as anyone he knew. But Mahala,
his wife, was of a less saintly nature, and made no pretense of more
than decent courtesy.
"I don't like her and I won't pretend to; it's not honest!" she
protested to her husband, when he remonstrated with her upon her want of
natural affection. "I can't help her being my aunt--we are not
commanded to honor our aunts and uncles, Jonathan E."
Mrs. Fernald's honesty was of an iron hardness and heroic mould. She
would have died rather than have told a lie, and classed as lies any
form of evasion, deceit, concealment or even artistic exaggeration.
Her two sons, thus starkly reared, found their only imaginative license
in secret converse between themselves, sacredly guarded by a pact of
mutual faith, which was stronger than any outward compulsion. They
kicked each other under the table, while enduring this visitation,
exchanged dark glances concerning the object of their common dislike,
and discussed her personal peculiarities with caustic comment later,
when they should have been asleep.
Miss McCoy was not an endearing old lady. She was heavily built, and
gobbled her food, carefully selecting the best. Her clothing was
elaborate, but not beautiful, and on close approach aroused a suspicion
of deferred laundry bills.
Among many causes for dislike for her aunt, Mrs. Fernald cherished this
point especially. On one of these unwelcome visits she had been at some
pains to carry up hot water for the Saturday evening bath, which was all
the New England conscience of those days exacted, and the old lady had
neglected it not only once but twice.
"Goodness sake, Aunt Jane! aren't you ever going to take a bath?"
"Nonsense!" replied her visitor. "I don't believe in all this wetting
and slopping. The Scripture says, 'Whoso washeth his feet, his whole
body shall be made clean.'"
Miss McCoy had numberless theories for other people's conduct, usually
backed by well-chosen texts, and urged them with no regard for anybody's
feelings. Even the authority of parents had no terrors for her.
Sipping her tea from the saucer with deep swattering inhalations, she
fixed her prominent eyes upon the two boys as they ploughed their way
through their bread and butter. Nothing must be left on the plate, in
the table ethics of that time. The meal was simple in the extreme. A
New Hampshire farm furnished few luxuries, and the dish of quince
preserves had already been depleted by her.
"Mahala," she said with solemn determination, "those boys eat too much
Mrs. Fernald flushed up to the edging of her cap. "I think I must be
the judge of what my children eat at my table, Aunt Jane," she answered,
not too gently.
Here Mr. Fernald interposed with a "soft answer." (He had never lost
faith in the efficacy of these wrath turners, even on long repeated
failure. As a matter of fact, to his wife's temper, a soft answer,
especially an intentionally soft answer, was a fresh aggravation.) "The
missionary, now, he praised our butter; said he never got any butter in
China, or wherever 'tis he lives."
"He is a man of God," announced Miss McCoy. "If there is anybody on
this poor earth deserving reverence, it is a missionary. What they
endure for the Gospel is a lesson for us all. When I am taken I intend
to leave all I have to the Missionary Society. You know that."
They knew it and said nothing. Their patience with her was in no way
"But what I am speaking of is children," she continued, not to be
diverted from her fell purpose. "Children ought not to eat butter."
"They seem to thrive on it," Mrs. Fernald replied tartly. And in truth
both the boys were sturdy little specimens of humanity, in spite of
their luxurious food.
"It's bad for them. Makes them break out. Bad for the blood. And
self-denial is good for children. 'It is better to bear the yoke in thy
The youth in question spread its butter more thickly, and ate it with
satisfaction, saying nothing.
"Here, boys!" she suddenly assailed them. "If you will go without
butter for a year--a whole year, till I come round again--I'll give each
of you fifty dollars!"
This was an overwhelming proposition.
Butter was butter--almost the only alleviation of a dry and monotonous
bill of fare, consisting largely of bread. Bread without butter! Brown
bread without butter! No butter on potatoes! No butter on anything!
The young imagination recoiled. And this measureless deprivation was to
cover a whole year. A ninth or an eleventh of a lifetime to them
respectively. About a fifth of all they could really remember.
Countless days, each having three meals; weeks, months, the long dry
butterless vista stretched before them like Siberian exile to a Russian
But, on the other hand, there was the fifty dollars. Fifty dollars
would buy a horse, a gun, tools, knives--a farm, maybe. It could be put
in the bank, and drawn on for life, doubtless. Fifty dollars at that
time was like five hundred to-day, and to a child it was a fortune.
Even their mother wavered in her resentment as she considered the fifty
dollars, and the father did not waver at all, but thought it a Godsend.
"Let 'em choose," said Miss McCoy.
Stern is the stock of the Granite State. Self-denial is the essence of
their religion; and economy, to give it a favorable name, is for them
Nature's first law.
The struggle was brief. Holdfast laid down his thick-spread slice. J.
Edwards laid down his. "Yes, ma'am," said one after the other. "Thank
you, ma'am. We'll do it."
It was a long year. Milk did not take the place of it. Gravy and
drippings, freely given by their mother, did not take the place of it,
nor did the infrequent portions of preserves. Nothing met the same
want. And if their health was improved by the abstinence it was in no
way visible to the naked eye. They were well, but they were well
As to the moral effect--it was complex. An extorted sacrifice has not
the same odor of sanctity as a voluntary one. Even when made willingly,
if the willingness is purchased, the effect seems somewhat confused.
Butter was not renounced, only postponed, and as the year wore on the
young ascetics, in their secret conferences, indulged in wild visions of
oleaginous excess so soon as the period of dearth should be over.
But most they refreshed their souls with plans for the spending and the
saving of the hard-earned wealth that was coming to them. Holdfast was
for saving his, and being a rich man--richer than Captain Briggs or
Deacon Holbrook. But at times he wavered, spurred by the imagination of
J. Edwards, and invested that magic sum in joys unnumbered.
The habit of self-denial was perhaps being established, but so was the
habit of discounting the future, of indulging in wild plans of
self-gratification when the ship came in.
Even for butterless boys, time passes, and the endless year at last drew
to a close. They counted the months, they counted the weeks, they
counted the days. Thanksgiving itself shone pale by contrast with this
coming festival of joy and triumph. As it drew nearer and nearer their
excitement increased, and they could not forget it even in the passing
visit of a real missionary, a live one, who had been to those dark lands
where the heathen go naked, worship idols and throw their children to
They were taken to hear him, of course, and not only so, but he came to
supper at their house and won their young hearts by the stories he told
them. Gray of hair and beard was the preacher and sternly devout; but
he had a twinkling eye none the less, and told tales of wonder and
amazement that were sometimes almost funny and always interesting.
"Do not imagine, my young friends," he said, after filling them with
delicious horror at the unspeakable wickedness of those "godless lands,"
"that the heathen are wholly without morality. The Chinese, among whom
I have labored for many years, are more honest than some Christians.
Their business honor is a lesson to us all. But works alone cannot
save." And he questioned them as to their religious state, receiving
The town turned out to hear him; and, when he went on circuit,
preaching, exhorting, describing the hardships and dangers of missionary
life, the joys of soul-saving, and urging his hearers to contribute to
this great duty of preaching the Gospel to all creatures, they had a
sort of revival season; and arranged for a great missionary church
meeting with a special collection when he should return.
The town talked missionary and thought missionary; dreamed missionary,
it might well be; and garrets were ransacked to make up missionary boxes
to send to the heathen. But Holdfast and J. Edwards mingled their
interest in those unfortunate savages with a passionate desire for
butter, and a longing for money such as they had never known before.
Then Miss McCoy returned.
They knew the day, the hour. They watched their father drive down to
meet the stage, and tormented their mother with questions as to whether
she would give it to them before supper or after.
"I'm sure I don't know!" she snapped at last. "I'll be thankful when
it's over and done with, I'm sure. A mighty foolish business, I think!"
Then they saw the old chaise turn the corner. What? Only one in it!
The boys rushed to the gate--the mother, too.
"What is it, Jonathan? Didn't she come?"
"Where is she, father?"
"She's not coming," said Mr. Fernald. "Says she's going to stay with
Cousin Sarah, so's to be in town and go to all the missionary doin's.
But she's sent it."
Then he was besieged, and as soon as the horse was put up, by three
pairs of busy hands, they came to the supper table, whereon was a full
two pounds of delicious butter, and sat down with tingling impatience.
The blessing was asked in all due form--a blessing ten miles long, it
seemed to the youngsters, and then the long, fat envelope came out of
Mr. Fernald's pocket.
"She must have written a lot," he said, taking out two folded papers,
and then a letter.
"My dear great-nephews," ran the epistle, "as your parents have assured
me that you have kept your promise, and denied yourselves butter for the
space of a year, here is the fifty dollars I promised to each of
Mr. Fernald opened the papers. To Holdfast Fernald and to J. Edwards
Fernald, duly made out, receipted, signed and sealed, were two $50 life
memberships in the Missionary society!
Poor children! The younger one burst into wild weeping. The older
seized the butter dish and cast it on the floor, for which he had to be
punished, of course, but the punishment added nothing to his grief and
When they were alone at last, and able to speak for sobbing, those
gentle youths exchanged their sentiments; and these were of the nature
of blasphemy and rebellion against God. They had learned at one fell
blow the hideous lesson of human depravity. People lied--grown
people--religious people--they lied! You couldn't trust them! They had
been deceived, betrayed, robbed! They had lost the actual joy
renounced, and the potential joy promised and withheld. The money they
might some day earn, but not heaven itself could give back that year of
butter. And all this in the name of religion--and of missionaries!
Wild, seething outrage filled their hearts at first; slower results
The pious enthusiasm of the little town was at its height. The
religious imagination, rather starved on the bald alternatives of
Calvinism, found rich food in these glowing tales of danger, devotion,
sometimes martyrdom; while the spirit of rigid economy, used to daylong
saving from the cradle to the grave, took passionate delight in the
success of these noble evangelists who went so far afield to save lost
Out of their narrow means they had scraped still further; denied
themselves necessaries where no pleasures remained; and when the
crowning meeting was announced, the big collection meeting, with the
wonderful brother from the Church in Asia to address them again, the
meeting house was packed in floor and gallery.
Hearts were warm and open, souls were full of enthusiasm for the great
work, wave on wave of intense feeling streamed through the crowded
Only in the Fernalds' pew was a spirit out of tune.
Fernald, good man though he was, had not yet forgiven. His wife had not
"Don't talk to me!" she had cried passionately, when he had urged a
reconciliation. "Forgive your enemies! Yes, but she hasn't done any
harm to _me!_. It's my boys she's hurt! It don't say one word about
forgiving other people's enemies!"
Yet Mrs. Fernald, for all her anger, seemed to have some inner source of
consolation, denied her husband, over which she nodded to herself from
time to time, drawing in her thin lips, and wagging her head decisively.
Vengeful bitterness and impotent rage possessed the hearts of Holdfast
and J. Edwards.
This state of mind in young and old was not improved when, on arriving
at the meeting a little late, they had found the head of the pew was
occupied by Miss McCoy.
It was neither the time nor the place for a demonstration. No other
seats were vacant, and Mrs. Fernald marched in and sat next to her,
looking straight at the pulpit. Next came the boys, and murder was in
their hearts. Last, Mr. Fernald, inwardly praying for a more Christian
spirit, but not getting it.
Holdfast and young J. Edwards dared not speak in church or make any
protest; but they smelled the cardamum seeds in the champing jaws beyond
their mother, and they cast black looks at each other and very secretly
showed clenched fists, held low.
In fierce inward rebellion they sat through the earlier speeches, and
when the time came for the address of the occasion, even the deep voice
of the brother from Asia failed to stir them. Was he not a missionary,
and were not missionaries and all their works proved false?
But what was this?
The address was over; the collection, in cash, was in the piled plates
at the foot of the pulpit. The collection in goods was enumerated and
described with full names given.
Then the hero of the hour was seen to confer with the other reverend
brothers, and to rise and come forward, raising his hand for silence.
"Dearly beloved brethren and sisters," he said, "in this time of
thanksgiving for gifts spiritual and temporal I wish to ask your
patience for a moment more, that we may do justice. There has come to
my ears a tale concerning one of our recent gifts which I wish you to
hear, that judgment may be done in Israel.
"One among us has brought to the House of the Lord a tainted
offering--an offering stained with cruelty and falsehood. Two young
children of our flock were bribed a year ago to renounce one of the
scant pleasures of their lives for a year's time--a whole long year of a
child's life. They were bribed with a promise--a promise of untold
wealth to a child, of fifty dollars each."
The congregation drew a long breath.
Those who knew of the Fernald boys' endeavor (and who in that friendly
radius did not?) looked at them eagerly. Those who recognized Miss
McCoy looked at her, too, and they were many. She sat, fanning herself,
with a small, straight-handled palmleaf fan, striving to appear
"When the time was up," the clear voice went on remorselessly, "the year
of struggle and privation, and the eager hearts of childhood expected
the reward; instead of keeping the given word, instead of the money
promised, each child was given a paid life membership in our society!"
Again the house drew in its breath. Did not the end justify the means?
He went on:
"I have conferred with my fellow members, and we are united in our
repudiation of this gift. The money is not ours. It was obtained by a
trick which the heathen themselves would scorn."
There was a shocked pause. Miss McCoy was purple in the face, and only
kept her place for fear of drawing more attention if she strove to
"I name no names," the speaker continued, "and I regret the burden laid
upon me to thus expose this possibly well-meant transaction, but what we
have at stake to-night is not this handful of silver, nor the feelings
of one sinner, but two children's souls. Are we to have their sense of
justice outraged in impressionable youth? Are they to believe with the
Psalmist that all men are liars? Are they to feel anger and blame for
the great work to which our lives are given because in its name they
were deceived and robbed? No, my brothers, we clear our skirts of this
ignominy. In the name of the society, I shall return this money to its
rightful owners. 'Whoso offendeth one of these little ones, it were
better that a millstone be hanged about his neck and he cast into the
depths of the sea.'"
Why is it, God, that mother's hearts are made
So very deep and wide?
How does it help the world that we should hold
Such welling floods of pain till we are old
Because when we were young one grave was laid--
One baby died?
IS IT WRONG TO TAKE LIFE?
"Thou shalt not kill."
This is about as explicit as words can be; there is no qualification, no
palliating circumstance, no exception.
"Thou"--(presumably you and I, any and every person) "shalt not"--(a
prohibition absolute) "kill"--(take life: that is, apparently, of
How do we read this? How apply it?
Some have narrowed it to assassination only, frankly paraphrasing the
simple law, as "Thou shalt do no murder," and excepting the whole range
of war-slaughter, of legal execution, of "self-defence" and "justifiable
Some have widened it to cover not only all human beings, but all animal
life as well; the Buddhist and his modern followers sparing even the ant
in the path, and the malaria-planting mosquito.
Such extremists should sit in sackcloth and ashes over the riotous
carriage of their own phagasytes; ever ruthlessly destroying millions
upon millions of staphyllococci and similar intruders.
Where should the line be drawn? And why? Especially why? Why is it
wrong to kill?
If we hark back to the direct command, we find that it could not have
been intended as universally binding.
"Whoso sheddeth man's blood by man shall his blood be shed," and all the
explicit directions as to who should be killed, and how; for such and
such offences, certainly justify the axe and rope of the executioner;
and beyond that come numbers of inspired commands as to the merciless
extermination of opposing tribes in which men, women and children were
"put to the sword"--even to babes unborn. Killing seemed highly
honorable, even compulsory, among the people on whom this stern command
Scholars teach us that the ten commandments were in truth not given to
the Israelites until after the return of Hezekiah; that may alter the
case a little, but assuredly if we are to believe the Old Testament at
all there was no blame attached to many kinds of killing.
The Prophets and Psalmists particularly yearned to have their enemies
destroyed, and exulted in their destruction.
In the teachings of Jesus we find another spirit altogether, but we have
not therefore abrogated the old commandments, and the problem of this
clear prohibition remains unsolved.
Those of us to-day who feel most keenly the evil of "taking life" are
almost Buddhistic in attitude. They object to killing for food or
killing in self-defence.
Fortunately for them, we have not many destructive wild beasts among us,
thanks to the vigorous killing of our less scrupulous forefathers.
Some millennial dreamers suggest that the wolves and catamounts might
have been tamed, if taken young; the natural resistance of the parents
to the "taking" overcome by moral suasion, doubtless! Yes, it is
conceivable that all the little snarling cubs and kittens might have
been tamed, and taught to feed out of the hand--_but on what?_
In India some there may be who would emulate their saintly master, who
offered his own body as food to a starving mother tiger; a sacrifice of
less moment than appears, since he believed he would soon have
another--that he had to have a great many--and that the sooner he got
through with the lot the better.
From this unkind point of view his offering was much like that of a lady
giving away a dress she is tired of, to promote the replenishment of her
The popular objection to killing, in India, results in the continuance
of man-eating tigers and deadly serpents; which again results in their
killing, in their untaught vigor, great numbers of human beings and
other useful animals. The sum of the killings would be less if the
killers were killed.
In our cooler land we have fewer poisonous reptiles and creeping things,
yet insects there are which most of us slay with enthusiasm; the most
sentimental devotee would hardly share couch or clothing with them!
Surely no rational person objects to "justifiable insecticide"?
The most merciful will usually admit our own right to live, and
therefore to kill in self-defence all creatures that would kill us.
Where the line is drawn, however, by many earnest thinkers and feelers,
is at killing harmless, inoffensive creatures for food.
The sheep we may shear, but not make into chops; the cow we may milk,
but not turn into steaks and stews; the hen we may rob of her potential
young, but neither roast nor fricassee.
It is no wonder, in view of the steaming horrors of the slaughter-house,
that we recoil from killing; but is it the killing which is wrong in
itself, or merely the horrors?
Let us first consider how this might be done; and then, if, at its best,
the essential act of "taking life" is deemed wrong, we will consider
Suppose green pastures and still waters, the shade of trees, the warmth
of the sun, the shelter of roof and walls; suppose protection and kind
care, provision for the winter, and that we only shared the milk with
the calves instead of barbarously separating the mother from her young.
Calves might be bottle-fed, to satisfy their hunger, and afterward
turned loose with the mother; they could not take all the milk then, and
we might have the rest.
Suppose creatures thus living in an animal paradise, then gathered in
small numbers, in local centers, and neatly, instantaneously and
painlessly killed, any surgeon can tell us how. They could then be
dressed, chilled and sent to larger centers for more general
What hardship, to them, is involved in this?
Die they must, some time, and by worse methods. In a wild state or a
tame they must either be killed by something or die slowly of old age
Even if we nursed the toothless ox, and fed him with a spoon, he would
not enjoy it.
We have to admit that in this whole round world all creatures die, and
that in most cases, their lives are taken by others.
Looked at from a strictly scientific point of view, this is evidently
the order of nature, her universal law. Looked at from a religious
point of view, it is as evidently the will of God, His universal law.
Some postulate a sinless Eden past, before this killing habit began; and
foresee a sinless Millennium to come, when we shall have outgrown it.
These do not use their imaginations enough. Even if Edenic or
Millennial tigers could digest grass and apples, are they therefore
immortal? Is a species to live on forever in one representative, or one
Because if we have life, as we know it, we have also reproduction, the
direction for which precedes the picture of Eden; each pair being told
"to increase and multiply and replenish the earth." Now for the
imagination, to forecast results.
If the creatures fulfill this command, (and they do, diligently) the
earth presently becomes replenished to a degree apparently unforeseen;
unless, indeed, this law of mutual destruction be specially provided to
meet that difficulty.
Life is multiple and interchangeable. Life continues on earth not in
permanent radiating lines, but in flowing union; the forms combining,
separating, growing, in and through one another.
Perhaps our error lies in fixing our minds in the eaten instead of the
eater; dwelling on the loss of the killed, instead of the gain of the
We say "all creatures eat one another," and it grieves us. Why not say
"all creatures feed one another?" There is something beautiful in that.
Life, to each creature, is all time--all that he has any knowledge
of--and living is a pleasure lasting all that time. Death, on the other
hand, is but a moment, and even so is a pleasure to the wolf who eats,
if not to the sheep who is eaten.
We, with our larger range of thought, and with our strange religions
theories, have complicated and warped the thought of death by associate
ideas. We place conscious fear before it, and load that fear with
threats of eternal punishment.
We try to measure the wholesome facts of life by arbitrary schemes of
later devising, and life seems dreary by contrast.
When we look at the facts themselves, however; see the grass green and
thick for all its cropping; fish swimming in great schools, "as good as
ever were caught"; the oysters peacefully casting forth their millions
of eggs to make up for all that are eaten; this whole blooming, fruiting
world of life and love; we find these to be the main things, the real
prominent features of the performance; and death but a "lightning change
artist," a quick transformation, in which one living form turns into
another, while life goes on.
Meanwhile, in our human affairs it would be a good thing if we would
develop as keen a sense of the responsibility of giving life as we have
in taking it. We hold three powers in the life-process--a degree of
choice and judgment as to who comes on the stage, some power to decide
who shall go off, and when, and, most important of all, the ability to
modify life while we have it.
Is it not singular that there should be so much sentiment about taking
life and so little about giving it? We give life almost as
thoughtlessly as the beasts below us. We are variously minded about
taking it, killing many good men in war, and not killing many bad ones
in peace, except an ill-selected few; but as yet we have no deep feeling
about the struggles and sufferings of people while they live.
If we become religiously careful about the kind of people that are born,
and about the treatment they get after they are born, it will make more
difference to human happiness, and human progress, than would the
establishment of a purely vegetable diet, the abolition of capital
punishment, or even the end of war.
THE WORLD AND THE THREE ARTISTS
Three Artists found a World on their hands. It was their World and they
were its Artists.
It was a Dull World, and needed Amusement.
It was a Hungry World, and needed Food.
It was a Tired World, and needed Inspiration.
It was an Ugly World, and needed Beauty.
Now the Artists were very powerful, having all these things in their
The first was an Artist Pure and Simple, so he arose and gave the Dull
World what he himself found amusing,--but the World was not amused.
"Stupid Beast!" said the Artist. "When I am dead it will find my work
Then he gave the Hungry World what he thought good to eat,--but the
World would not eat it.
"Ungrateful Wretch!" said the Artist. "When I am dead it will find this
Then he gave the Tired World what he thought was Inspiration,--but the
World was not Inspired.
"Dense Dolt!" said the Artist. "When I am dead it will recognize my
Then he gave the Ugly World what he thought was Beauty,--but the World
did not find it Beautiful.
"Blind Brute!" said the Artist. "How terrible it is to be
unappreciated! This Fool Incarnate can never realize what it is
ignoring! And it will give me no reward! When I am dead it will see my
Now the World had its feelings, and did not enjoy the attitude of the
Artist; so verily it gave him no reward. And he died. Nevertheless
what he foretold was by no means fulfilled, for his work was for himself
alone, and perished with him.
Then arose the second Artist, and he was not only an Artist, but a
And he said, "I perceive that this my brother has died because he did
not please the World, and it would give him no reward. I shall be
Then he studied the tastes of the World; Dull, Hungry, Tired and Ugly; a
And he carefully catered to its ignorance, its prejudices and its
childish tastes; he tickled with cheap pleasures, he gave it what its
lower nature liked, and the Dull World found his Amusement amusing, and
paid for it; and the Hungry World found his food palatable, and paid for
it; and the Tired World received his Inspiration as if it were genuine,
and paid for it; and the Ugly World eagerly grasped his poor prettiness
as if it were Beauty, and paid for it; so the second Artist did not
die--until he died; and then he was dead; and his work with him.
But the third Artist, who was also a Citizen, thought long of his task.
"I am an Artist," he said, "and this is my World. Of what avail is my
Beauty if the World does not see it? How do I know that Worlds to Come
will see it?--even if it lives? _This_ World needs Beauty, _now!_ If I
work to express myself alone, I die, lean and angry; and my work dies
with me. If I basely cater to this Neglected Child, I die, though
fatter; and my work dies with me. How shall I feed the World?"
But he was an Artist, and very powerful, so he essayed his task.
He earnestly studied the needs of the World. "Shall I feed a lamb on
beef?" said he, "or a cat on pie?"
By the exercise of his intelligence he learned the needs of the World,
which were many and conspicuous; by the exercise of his Art he met them.
He gave it Amusement which was within reach of the tastes of that
Neglected Child, yet which was in truth Amusing; and the World was
Amused, and loved him.
He gave it food both palatable and nourishing; and the World was fed,
and loved him.
He gave it Inspiration which struck to the heart, yet was drawn from
Eternal Truth; and the World was Inspired, and loved him.
And he poured forth his very soul in Beauty; Beauty as simple as the
common flowers the whole world loves, and as true as the stars in
heaven, Beauty that ravished the soul of the Neglected Child, opened its
eyes to Radiant Joy, and lifted it along the ages. And the World bathed
in Beauty, and loved him. Also its taste improved continually under the
influence of his Art. And the Artist was happy, for he fulfilled his
"My glorious World!" he said; "What happiness! To be allowed to serve
And he watched it grow; well-nourished now, full of sweet merriment,
strong in steady inspiration, rich in unfolding beauty.
For the World lived, and the Artist lived, and his work lived
forever,--in the world.
IN HOW LITTLE TIME
In how little time, were we so minded,
We could be wise and free--not held and blinded!
We could be hale and strong--not weak and sickly!
Could do away with wrong--and do it quickly!
Riches of earth, enough for all our keeping;
Love in the heart, awake, no longer sleeping;
Power in the hand and brain for what needs making;
Joy in the gift of power, joy in the taking!
In how little time could grow around us
A people clean and fair as life first found us!
One with the under-earth, in peaceful growing,
One with the over-soul, in doing, knowing.
Labor a joy and pride, in ease and beauty;
Art that should fill at last its human duty;
This we could make and have, were we not blinded!
In how little time--were we so minded!
WOMAN AND THE STATE
[A Discussion of Political Equality of Men and Women. To be read in
connection with chapter 12 of Our Androcentric Culture, in this issue.]
Here are two vital factors in human life; one a prime essential to our
existence; the other a prime essential to our progress.
Both of them we idealize in certain lines, and exploit in others. Both
of them are misinterpreted, balked of their full usefulness, and
humanity thus injured.
The human race does not get the benefit of the full powers of women, nor
of the full powers of the state.
In all civilized races to-day there is a wide and growing sense of
discontent among women; a criticism of their assigned limitations, and a
demand for larger freedom and opportunity. Under different conditions
the demand varies; it is here for higher education, there for justice
before the law; here for economic independence, and there for political
This last is at present the most prominent Issue of "the woman question"
in England and America, as the activity of the "militant suffragists"
has forced it upon the attention of the world.
Thoughtful people in general are now studying this point more seriously
than ever before, genuinely anxious to adopt the right side, and there
is an alarmed uprising of sincere objection to the political equality of
Wasting no time on ignorance, prejudice, or the resistance of special
interests, let us fairly face the honest opposition, and do it justice.
The conservative position is this:
Men and women have different spheres in life. To men belong the
creation and management of the state, and the financial maintenance of
the home and family:
"To women belong the physical burden of maternity, and the industrial
management of the home and family; these duties require all their time
"The prosperity of the state may be sufficiently conserved by men alone;
the prosperity of the family requires the personal presence and services
of the mother in the home: if women assume the cares of the state, the
home and family will suffer:
Some go even farther than this, and claim an essential limitation in
"the female mind" which prevents it from grasping large political
interests; holding, therefore, that if women took part in state affairs
it would be to the detriment of the community:
Others advance a theory that "society," in the special sense, is the
true sphere of larger service for women, and that those of them not
exclusively confined to "home duties" may find full occupation in
"social duties," including the time honored fields of "religion" and
Others again place their main reliance on the statement that, as to the
suffrage, "women do not want it."
Let us consider these points in inverse order, beginning with the last
We will admit that at present the majority of women are not consciously
desirous of any extension of their political rights and privileges, but
deny that this indifference is any evidence against the desirability of
It has long been accepted that the position of women is an index of
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