The Forerunner, Volume 1 (1909-1910)
Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Part 16 out of 18
contains many special features that are readable, timely, lively.
ELLA WHEELER WILCOX tells of "The Influences Which Shaped My Career."
ANTOINETTE E. GAZZAM contributes an original article on "Clothes" which
is most beautifully illustrated and full of valuable suggestions and
THOMAS MARTINDALE, the renowned sportsman and author of "Sport Royal,"
and other fascinating sporting tales, tells of "The Lure of Hunting."
Mr. Martindale never wrote more entertainingly than in this article.
EDWENA LAWRENCE reveals inside information in an article, especially
pleasing to theatre-goers, on "The Educational Value of a Theatrical
Stock Company," an article that will be appreciated by both the actor
SPLENDID FICTION, intimate sketches of the personalities of the day,
able book reviews, able articles on political, social, civic and
national phases of the leading questions of the day, and an entertaining
department of Fun, Fact and Fiction, as well as
CHARLES HOUSTON GOUDISS'S splendid eugenism in an article treating of
the most important phase of the prevention of child degradation, combine
in making The Forecast the most attractive ten cent magazine published.
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A Monthly Magazine
WRITTEN, EDITED, OWNED AND PUBLISHED
By Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Mrs. Gilman's new novel, will appear in
THE FORERUNNER, of 1911.
This touches upon one of the most vivid and vital of our age problems;
and has more than one kind of love story in it. Also, published
serially, her next book,
"Moving the Mountain"
Those who believe this world is a good place, easily made better, and
who wish to know how to help it, will enjoy reading this book. Those
who do not so believe and wish may not enjoy it so much, but it will do
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Volume 1. No. 13
Copyright for 1910
C. P. Gilman
"The Public Wants Facts!" says the Popular Editor; "Give us the Facts!"
Haven't we had all the Facts in the universe before us always?
Isn't it time we learned _to think about them?_
How does it feel?--
The drawing of the magnet on the steel?
All else gives way;
No rivets hold, no bars delay,
Called in that overwhelming hour,
From far and near they fly and cling,
Allied, united, clustering;
And the great pulsing currents flow
Through each small scattered scrap below.
Scattered no more;
One with that all compelling core;
One absolute, one all alive with power.
How does it feel?--
The swift obedient utmost flight
Of radiant sky-wide waves of light,
Far couriers of the central sun,
Crossing a million miles as one--
Limitless joy that needs no knowing
Each last least flickering ray
One with the Heart of Day.
MY ASTONISHING DODO
She was twenty-six, and owned it cheerfully, the day I met her.
This prejudiced me in her favor at once, for I prize honesty in women,
and on this point it is unusual. She did not, it is true, share largely
in my special artistic tastes, or, to any great extent, in my social
circle; but she was a fine wholesome sweet woman, cheerful and strong,
and I wished to make a friend of her. I greatly prized my good friends
among women, for I had conscientious views against marrying on a small
Later it appeared that she had other and different views, but she did
not mention them then.
Dorothea was her name. Her family called her Dora, her intimate
friends, Dolly, but I called her Dodo, just between ourselves.
A very good-looking girl was Dodo, though not showy; and in no way
distinguished in dress, which rather annoyed me at first; for I have a
great admiration for a well-gowned, well-groomed woman.
My ideas on matrimony were strongly colored by certain facts and figures
given me by an old college friend of mine. He was a nice fellow, and
his wife one of the loveliest girls of our set, though rather delicate.
They lived very comfortably in a quiet way, with a few good books and
pictures, and four little ones.
"It's a thousand dollars a year for the first year for each baby," he
told me, "and five hundred a year afterward."
I was astonished. I had no idea the little things cost so much.
"There's the trained nurse for your wife," he went on, "at $25.00 a week
for four weeks; and then the trained nurse for your baby, at $15.00 a
week for forty-eight weeks; that makes $820.00. Then the doctor's
bills, the clothes and so on--with the certified milk--easily take up
"Isn't fifteen dollars a week a good deal for a child's nurse?" I asked.
"What do you pay a good stenographer?" he demanded.
"Why, a special one gets $20.00," I admitted. "But that work needs
training and experience."
"So does taking care of babies!" he cried triumphantly. "Don't try to
save on babies, Morton; it's poor economy."
I liked his point of view, and admired his family extremely. His wife
was one of those sympathetic appreciative women who so help a man in his
work. But the prospects of my own marriage seemed remote. That was why
I was so glad of a good wholesome companionable friend like Dodo.
We were so calmly intimate that I soon grew to discuss many of my ideas
and plans with her. She was much interested in the figures given by my
friend, and got me to set them all down for her. He had twice my
salary, and not a cent left at the year's end; and they were not in
"society" either. Five hundred dollars was allowed for his personal
expenses, and the same for her; little enough to dress on nowadays, he
had assured me, with all amusements, travel, books and periodicals, and
dentist bills, included.
"I don't think it ought to cost so much," said Dodo.
She was a business woman, and followed the figures closely; and of
course she appreciated the high views I held on the subject, and my
I can't tell to this day how it happened; but before I knew it we were
engaged. I was almost sorry, for a long engagement is a strain on both
parties; but Dodo cheered me up; she said we were really no worse off
than we were before, and in some ways better. At times I fully agreed
So we drifted along for about a year, and then, after a good deal of
distant discussion, we suddenly got married.
I don't recall now just why we so hastily concluded to do it; I seemed
to be in a kind of dream; but anyway we did, and were absurdly happy
about it, too.
"Don't be a Goose, dear boy!" she said. "It isn't wicked to be married.
And we're _quite_ old enough!"
"But we can't afford it--you know we can't," I said. This was while we
were camping out on our honey-vacation.
"Mr. Morton Howland," said my wife; "don't you worry one bit about
affording it. I want you to understand that you've married a business
"But you've given up your position!" I cried, aghast. "Surely, you
don't think of going back!"
"I've given up one position," she replied with calmness, "and taken
another. And I mean to fill it. Now you go peacefully on earning what
you did before, and leave the housekeeping business to me--will you,
Naturally I had to; for I couldn't keep house; even if I so desired I
didn't know how. But I had read so much and heard so much and seen so
much of the difficulties of housekeeping for young married people, that
I confess I was a good deal worried.
Toward the end of our trip I began to anticipate the burden of
"About where do you think we are going to live?" I tentatively inquired.
"At 384 Meter Avenue," she promptly answered. I nearly dropped the
paddle (we were canoeing at the moment), I was so astonished.
"That's a good location--for cheap flats," I said slowly. "Do you mean
to say you've rented one, all by yourself?"
She smiled comfortingly. Lovely teeth had my Dodo, strong and white and
even, though not small.
"Not quite so bad as that, Dear," she answered, "but I've got the
refusal. My friends the Scallens had it, and are moving out this Fall.
It's a new building, they had it all papered very prettily, and if you
like it we can move in as soon as they leave--say a week after moving
time--it will be cheaper then. We'll look at it as soon as we return."
We did. It seemed suitable enough; pleasant, and cheaper than I had
thought possible. Indeed, I demurred a little on the question of style,
and accessibility to friends; but Dodo said the people who really cared
for us would come, and the people who did not could easily be spared.
We had married so hastily, right on the verge of vacation time, that I
had hardly given a thought to furnishing but Dodo seemed to know just
where to go and what to get; at much less cost than I had imagined.
She produced $250.00 from her bank account, which she had been saving
for years she said. I put up about the same; and we had that little
flat as pretty and comfortable as any home I ever saw.
She set her foot down about pictures though. "Time enough for those
things when we can afford it," she said, and we certainly could not
afford it then.
Then was materialized from some foreign clime a neat, strong young woman
to do our house-work, washing and all.
"She's an apprentice," said Dodo. "She is willing to learn
housekeeping, and I am willing to teach her."
"How do you come to be so competent in house-work?" said I; "I thought
you were a bookkeeper."
Then Dodo smiled her large bright smile. "Morton, dear," she said, "I
will now tell you a Secret! I have always intended to marry, and, as
far as possible, I learned the business. I am a business woman, you
She certainly did know her business. She kept the household accounts
like--well, like what she was--an expert accountant. When she furnished
the kitchen she installed a good reliable set of weights and measures.
She weighed the ice and the bread, she measured the milk and the
potatoes, and made firm, definite, accurate protests when things went
wrong; even sending samples of queer cream to the Board of Health for
analysis. What with my business stationery and her accurate figures our
letters were strangely potent, and we were well supplied, while our
friends sadly and tamely complained of imposture and extortion.
Her largest item of expense in furnishing was a first-class sewing
machine, and a marvellous female figure, made to measure, which stood in
a corner and served as a "cloak tree" when not in use.
"You don't propose to make your own clothes, surely?" said I when this
headless object appeared.
"Some of 'em," she admitted, "you'll see. Of course I can't dress for
Now I had prepared myself very conscientiously to meet the storms and
shallows of early married life, as I had read about them; I was bound I
would not bring home anybody to dinner without telephoning, and was
prepared to assure my wife verbally, at least twice a day, that I loved
her. She anticipated me on the dinner business, however.
"Look here!" she said, leading me to the pantry, when it was filled to
her liking, and she showed me a special corner all marked off and
labelled "For Emergencies." There was a whole outfit of eatables and
drinkables in glass and tin.
"Now do your worst!" she said triumphantly. "You can bring home six men
in the middle of the night--and I'll feed them! But you mustn't do it
two nights in succession, for I'd have to stock up again."
As to tears and nervousness and "did I love her," I was almost,
sometimes, a bit disappointed in Dodo, she was so calm. She was happy,
and I was happy, but it seemed to require no effort at all.
One morning I almost forgot, and left the elevator standing while I ran
back to kiss her and say "I love you, dearest." She held me off from
her with her two strong hands and laughed tenderly. "Dear boy!" she
said, "I mean you shall."
I meditated on that all the way downtown.
She meant I should. Well, I did. And the next time one of my
new-married friends circuitously asked for a bit of light on what was to
him a dark and perplexing question, I suddenly felt very light-hearted
about my domestic affairs. Somehow we hadn't any troubles at all. Dodo
kept well; we lived very comfortably and it cost far less than I had
"How did you know how to train a servant?" I asked my wife.
"Dear," said she, "I have admitted to you that I always intended to be
married, when I found the man I could love and trust and honor." (Dodo
overestimates my virtues, of course.)
"Lots of girls intend to marry," I interposed.
"Yes, I know they do," she agreed, "they want to love and he loved, but
they don't learn their business! Now the business of house-work is not
so abstruse nor so laborious, if you give your mind to it. I took an
evening-course in domestic economy, read and studied some, and spent one
vacation with an aunt of mine up in Vermont who 'does her own work.'
The next vacation I did ours. I learned the trade in a small way."
We had a lovely time that first year. She dressed fairly well, but the
smallness of her expense account was a standing marvel, owing to the
machine and the Headless One.
"Did you take a course in dressmaking, too?" I inquired.
"Yes, in another vacation."
"You had the most industrious vacations of anyone I ever knew," said I,
"and the most varied."
"I am no chicken, you see, my dear," was her cheerful reply, "and I like
to work. You work, why shouldn't I?"
The only thing I had to criticize, if there was anything, was that Dodo
wouldn't go to the theatre and things like that, as often as I wanted
her to. She said frankly that we couldn't afford it, and why should I
want to go out for amusement when we had such a happy home? So we
stayed at home a good deal, made a few calls, and played cards together,
and were very happy, of course.
All this time I was in more or less anxiety lest that thousand dollar
baby should descend upon us before we were ready, for I had only six
hundred in the bank now. Presently this dread event loomed
awe-inspiringly on our horizon. I didn't say anything to Dodo about my
fears, she must on no account be rendered anxious, but I lay awake
nights and sometimes got up furtively and walked the floor in my room,
thinking how I should raise the money.
She heard me one night. "Dear!" she called softly. "What are you
doing? Is it burglars?"
I reassured her on that point and she promptly reassured me on the
other, as soon as she had made me tell her what I was worrying about.
"Why, bless you, dear," she said, serenely, "you needn't give a thought
to that. I've got money in the bank for my baby."
"I thought you spent all of it for the furnishings," said I.
"Oh, that was the Furnishing Money! Cuddle down here, or you'll get
cold, and I'll tell you all about it."
So she explained in her calm strong cheerful way, with a little
contented chuckle now and then, that she had always intended to be
"This is now no news," I exclaimed severely, "tell me something
"Well, in order to prepare for this Great Event," she went on, "I
learned about housework, as you have seen. I saved money enough to
furnish a small flat and put that in one bank. And I also anticipated
this not Impossible Contingency and saved more money and put it in
"Why two banks, if a mere man may inquire?"
"It is well," she replied sententiously, "not to have all one's eggs in
I lay still and meditated on this new revelation.
"Have you got a thousand dollars, if this Remote Relative may so far
urge for information?"
"I have just that sum," she replied.
"And, not to be impertinent, have you nine other thousands of dollars in
nine other banks for nine other not Impossible Contingencies?"
She shook her head with determination. "Nine is an Impossible
Contingency," she replied. "No, I have but one thousand dollars in this
bank. Now you be good, and continue to practice your business, into the
details of which I do not press, and let me carry on the Baby Business,
which is mine."
It was a great load off my mind, and I slept well from that time on.
So did Dodo. She kept well, busy, placid, and cheerful. Once, I came
home in a state of real terror. I had been learning, from one of my
friends, and from books, of the terrible experience which lay before
her. She saw that I was unusually intense in my affection and
constantly regarded her with tender anxiety. "What is the matter with
you, Morton?" said she. "I'm--worried," I admitted. "I've been
thinking--what if I should lose you! Oh Dodo! I'd rather have you than
a thousand babies."
"I should think you would," said she calmly. "Now look here, Dear Boy!
What are you worrying about? This is not an unusual enterprise I've
embarked on; it's the plain course of nature, easily fulfilled by all
manner of lady creatures! Don't you be afraid one bit, I'm not."
She wasn't. She kept her serene good cheer up to the last moment, had
an efficient but inexpensive woman doctor, and presently was up again,
still serene, with a Pink Person added to our family, of small size but
of enormous importance.
Again I rather trembled for our peace and happiness, and mentally girded
up my loins for wakeful nights of walking. No such troubles followed.
We used separate rooms, and she kept the Pink Person in hers.
Occasionally he made remarks in the night, but not for long. He was
well, she was well--things went along very much as they did before.
I was "lost in wonder, love and praise" and especially in amazement at
the continued cheapness of our living.
Suddenly a thought struck me. "Where's ths nurse?" I demanded.
"The nurse? Why she left long ago. I kept her only for the month."
"I mean the child's nurse," said I, "the fifteen dollar one."
"Oh--I'm the child's nurse," said Dodo.
"You!" said I. "Do you mean to say you take all the care of this child
"Why, of course," said Dodo, "what's a mother for?"
"But--the time it takes," I protested, rather weakly.
"What do you expect me to do with my time, Morton?"
"Why, whatever you did before--This arrived."
"I will not have my son alluded to as 'This'!" said she severely.
"Morton J. Hopkins, Jr., if you please. As to my time before? Why, I
used it in preparing for time to come, of course. I have things ready
for this youngster for three years ahead."
"How about the certified milk?" I asked.
Dodo smiled a superior smile; "I certify the milk," said she.
"Can you take care of the child and the house, too?"
"Bless you, Morton, 'the care' of a seven-room flat and a competent
servant does not take more than an hour a day. And I market while I'm
out with the baby.
"Do you mean to say you are going to push the perambulator yourself?"
"Why not?" she asked a little sharply, "surely a mother need not be
ashamed of the company of her own child."
"But you'll be taken for a nurse--"
"I _am_ a nurse! And proud of it!"
I gazed at her in my third access of deep amazement. "Do you mean to
say that you took lessons in child culture, _too_?"
"_Too?_ Why, I took lessons in child culture first of all. How often
must I tell you, Morton, that I always intended to be married! Being
married involves, to my mind, motherhood, that is what it is for! So
naturally I prepared myself for the work I meant to do. I am a business
woman, Morton, and this is my business."
That was twenty years ago. We have five children. Morton, Jr., is in
college. So is Dorothea second. Dodo means to put them _all_ through,
she says. My salary has increased, but not so fast as prices, and
neither of them so fast as my family. None of those babies cost a
thousand dollars the first year though, nor five hundred thereafter;
Dodo's thousand held out for the lot. We moved to a home in the
suburbs, of course; that was only fair to the children. I live within
my income always--we have but one servant still, and the children are
all taught housework in the good old way. None of my friends has as
devoted, as vigorous and--and--as successful a wife as I have. She is
the incarnate spirit of all the Housewives and House-mothers of history
and fiction. The only thing I miss in her--if I must own to missing
anything--is companionship and sympathy outside of household affairs.
My newspaper work--which she always calls "my business"--has remained a
business. The literary aspirations I once had were long since laid
aside as impracticable. And the only thing I miss in life beyond my
home is, well--as a matter of fact, I don't have any life beyond my
home--except, of course, my business.
My friends are mostly co-commuters now. I couldn't keep up with the set
I used to know. As my wife said, she could 't dress for society, and,
visibly, she couldn't. We have few books, there isn't any margin for
luxuries, she says; and of course we can't go to the plays and concerts
in town. But these are unessentials--of course--as she says.
I am very proud of my home, my family, and my Amazing Dodo.
I once listened to a sermon in the Temple Church in London; a sermon
delivered with great dignity by an Eminent Divine, a Canon, as I
Here was this worthy man, in that historic place, in the heart of huge
London, in the fierce whirring center of so many present social
problems, so many aching, hoping human hearts. He had a chance to speak
to them; with the purpose, presumably, of giving light and cheer and
strength to live better.
There he stood, a conspicuous and powerful figure; and there sat his
audience, waiting. To say the truth, they did not look particularly
hopeful; having doubtless "sat under" him before.
He took his text from the Nineteenth Chapter of "Acts"--something about
"the town clark" of Ephesus; and how he appeased the people. There was
some excitement, it appeared, among the citizens, and they raised a
noise comparable to the convention which nominated Bryan; "and all with
one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great is Diana of the
Well. She certainly was--is yet, for that matter, though her influence
is not confined to Ephesus.
In the face of this tumult, the "town clark," who seems to have been a
peaceable person, with a strong sense of justice and propriety, quieted
the people with fair words, explaining to them that their vociferous
statement as to the dimensions or efficacy of their goddess were quite
indisputable; and "matters of common knowledge," and that if they had
any complaint against these missionaries they should go to law about it.
Evidently a fair-minded and law-abiding citizen, the "town clark of
Ephesus"; but--what of it?
What shadow of interest, to modern life, has this chatty anecdote about
the attitude of the Ancient Ephesian toward visiting preachers?
It is barely possible; intellectually conceivable, that is, that the
distinguished clergyman was drawing a parallel between these long dead
gentry, and ourselves; in our attitude toward the advocates of new
For instance, there come among us persons teaching Socialism; and we all
cry with one voice for about the space of fifty years, "Great is the
Competitive System!"--and are minded to destroy the teachers, no "town
But this did not seem to be in his mind at all. He was talking about
ancient history pure and simple; the only merit in his extract lying in
its location--it was in the Bible.
Whence to my title--Why texts?
Why does a modern sermon to modern people have to be based upon and
buttressed by a quotation from the writings of the ancient Hebrews, or
the more modern group of mixed blood and more mixed language through
whom came the New Testament?
This is no question either verbal or general; but a very sincere
question of the need of such quotation in the religious teaching of the
Suppose we have a glaring modern instance of good or evil, which every
live minister feels called upon to preach about; to the genuine
edification of his hearers; why must he get out his concordance and
ransack the Scriptures to find an applicable remark?
In the Hebrew Church the Reading is longer and the Exposition closer, I
understand; and in the "Christian Science" church there is Reading
without even that much licence; but in our liberal Christian "services"
the sermon is generally intended to be of immediate use to the hearers,
not merely to give them an extract from "that which is written."
What people want most is to know how to behave, now.
They want teaching that shall explain clearly what they ought to do; why
they want to do it, and how they may best learn to do it.
Clear, strong, simple, convincing Explanations of Life--Directions for
Action; Stimulus and Strength; Courage and Hope; Peace and
Comfort--these are the things we want in our sermons.
Are they any better for the laborious far-fetched text?
THE LITTLE WHITE ANIMALS
Reprinted from "The Conservator," by courtesy of Mr. Horace Traubel.
We who have grown Human--house-bodied, cloth-skinned,
Wire-nerved and steam-heated--alas! we forget
The poor little beasts we have bandaged and pinned
And hid in our carpet-lined prisons!--and yet
Though our great social body be brickwork and steel,
The little white animals in it, can feel!
Humanity needs them. We cannot disclaim
The laws of the bodies we lived in before
We grew to be Human. In spite of our frame
Of time-scorning metals, the life at its core,
Controlling its action and guarding its ease,
Is the little white animal out of the trees!
It is true that our soul is far higher than theirs;
We look farther, live longer, love wider--we _know;_
They only can feel for themselves--and their heirs;
We, the life of humanity. Yet, even so,
We must always remember that soul at its base
Looks out through the little white animal's face.
If they die we are dead. If they live we can grow,
They ply in our streets as blood corpuscles ply
In their own little veins. If you cut off the flow
Of these beasts in a city, that city will die.
Yet we heighten our buildings and harden our souls
Till the little white animals perish in shoals.
Their innocent instincts we turn to a curse,
Their bodies we torture, their powers we abuse,
The beast that humanity lives in fares worse
Than the beasts of the forest with nothing to lose.
Free creatures, sub-human--they never have known
The sins and diseases we force on our own.
And yet 'tis a beautiful creature!--tall--fair--
With features full pleasant and hand-wooing hair;
Kind, docile, intelligent, eager to learn;
And the longing we read in its eyes when they burn
Is to beg us to use it more freely to show
To each other the love that our new soul can know.
Our engines drive fast in earth, water and air;
Our resistless, smooth-running machines still unroll,
With brain-work unceasing and handiwork fair,
New material forms for each step on the soul;
But that soul, for the contact without which it dies,
Comes closest of all through that animal's eyes.
WOMEN TEACHERS, MARRIED AND UNMARRIED
We have still active and conspicuous among us, saying and doing foolish
things about women, men, both eminent and ordinary, whose attitude in
this matter will make them a shame to their children, and a laughing
stock to their grandchildren. We are proud to exhibit name and portrait
of the great-grandfather who signed the Declaration of Independence, but
our descendants will forget as soon as possible those asinine ancestors
who are to-day so writing themselves down--in their attitude in regard
to women teachers, married and unmarried.
For long women were kept out of the schools altogether--education was
for boys. They were not allowed to teach, save in a small way, in
infant schools, or schools for girls; teaching was a masculine
profession. Now they have equal educational opportunities--in large
measure, and constitute the majority of pupils; and, what is more
alarming, the majority of teachers. The "male mind"--essentially and
hopelessly male--sees in this not the natural development of a long
suppressed human being, but the entrance of females upon a masculine
In her relation of pupil, there is a large body of eminent educators
clamoring that girls should be taught female things; that, whether our
universities are turned into trade schools or not, the women's colleges
and "annexes" should teach girls "the duties of wife and mother." By
this, of course, they mean the duties of house-service, and, perhaps, of
nursing. Nothing would scandalize these Antique Worthies more than to
have girls taught the real duties of wife and mother!
Also, in the relation of pupils, a man of as high standing as Professor
Barrett Wendell of Harvard claims that teaching girls lowers the
mentality of men! In coeducational colleges the "male mind," seeing in
the violent games of young men a profound educational influence (and
large profits!), considers that the presence of the purely studious
element--the girls--is an injury to the college, and is even now
endeavoring to eliminate them.
But it is in treatment of women teachers that this sex attitude of mind
is most prominent to-day, most offensive, and most ridiculous.
The first effect is, of course, to give to the woman teacher the lowest
grades of work and the lowest pay. Even when she has forced her way
into high-grade work, and won a good position over all competitors, her
pay is still measured by her status as a female--not as a teacher. The
"male mind" can never for a moment forget or overlook the fact that
women are females; and is rigidly incapable of admitting that they are
also human beings as much as he.
In spite of this absurd limitation, women teachers have increased in
numbers and in power; and are pressing steadily up into the higher
positions reserved for men. An enormous majority of our teaching force
is now composed of women; and, in our public schools, they naturally
teach boys. Upon this point has arisen, and is still rising, an angry
protest among men. Women teachers are, they say, unmarried; to be
unmarried is an unnatural state, productive of various mental and
physical morbidities; and as such does not form a suitable atmosphere
for growing boys.
Recently President Hamilton of Tufts College goes even further than
this, and objects to the influence of unmarried teachers upon girls!
To the "male mind," viewing the woman as first, last and always a
female, and marriage and motherhood as her only normal relations, these
crowding thousands of calm, respectable, independent, unmarried women
are in a condition of unrest, of acrimonious rebellion against fate, of
a contemptuous dislike for their unattainable "sour grapes." They are
assumed to have been queer in the first place, or some gracious
protector would have married them; and to grow queerer as life drags
away, leaving them eternally unsatisfied, bitter and perverse. This
deadly influence is supposed to have some poisonous effect on the
pupils; just what is not defined. The unselfish, tireless service of
the "maiden aunt" in the home we all know; but set her to teaching
school, and some strange evil follows from the contact.
President Hamilton says college girls need to have their outlook on life
broadened, not narrowed; and thinks these limited ladies, the teachers,
are fitted only for work in the lower preparatory schools, or in "homes"
Just how the average male teacher in a college is to broaden the outlook
of his pupils is not explained. It does not need explanation. It is
broader because he is a man!
Most of our men teachers are still young men, by the way, and unmarried.
Is the influence of the unmarried male on classes of girls an unmixed
good? Is a man by nature a better teacher? More subtly sympathetic,
more capable of understanding the difficulties of each pupil and meeting
them, more patient and tender?
No--but he is "more methodical," and "a better disciplinarian." In
other words, he is more male--and therefore a better teacher! All this
is absurd enough, and injurious enough; false, unjust, pitifully
But the crowning feat of the "logical male mind" is in its exclusion of
married women from schools. This is what the living children of living
men will laugh at and blush for--that their fathers should have made
themselves thus lamentably conspicuous in present-day history. Here in
this city of New York, where a system of competitive examination ensures
the required degree of learning and promotion follows on proved
efficiency (or is supposed to); some women teachers, following "that
inexorable law of nature" which so many others successfully evade, have
presumed to marry. Surely now the stock objection to women teachers is
All that "narrowness," that "bitterness," that "morbidity" is
transformed by this magic alchemy into breadth and sweetness and all
health. Now we have for our children the influence of "normal
womanhood"--of "the wife and mother."
No. Married women are not desired in our schools; not allowed; they are
specifically discriminated against.
Some years ago a woman teacher of New York married, and refused to give
up her position. There was no reason for discharging her--she fulfilled
every duty as competently as before. But these historic school
officials withheld her pay!
They had no right to; she had earned the money--it was hers. But they
had the power, and used it. After many months of this high-handed
withholding of her legitimate salary, this woman, and another similarly
placed, sued for their back pay, making a test case of it.
They won. It was a perfectly plain case in law and equity.
Then the Board, naturally displeased, passed a by-law prohibiting the
appointment, or reappointment, of married women. One woman, already in,
and married, a very efficient teacher, and candidate for promotion to
principalship, was not promoted, for this plain reason: they do not wish
married women to teach in our schools.
What injurious influence exudes from previously competent teachers
merely because they now know this personal, as well as their former
Then with bated breath the official male mind suggests that they might
Well? So they should. Is there anything about mothers which renders
them unfit persons to teach children?
"You do not understand!" says the official male mind, a little
nervously. "They would be--about to become mothers--and the children
might notice it!"
Here we have Justice Shallow, Mrs. Grundy and King Canute rolled into
one. What gross ignorance, what narrow conservatism, what petty and
futile resistance to progress, as well as a low coarseness, prompts this
objection! If our system of education allows children to grow up in
such neglect that they neither know nor reverence motherhood, it is high
time that the system was changed.
And it will be changed; by women--who are mothers.
Aside from this, and admitting that most married teachers who are in
this dreaded "condition" do rapidly remove themselves from school, and
do not come back for a year or more, the next objection is "the
continued absence" of the married woman teachers.
Since there is a long array of substitutes, excellent substitutes (often
married women, these!) who are paid less than the salary the absent one
does not draw, it is difficult to see the evil of this. Unless indeed
the merits of the married teacher are so supreme that even her temporary
absence is a real loss. If that be so, then she is worth keeping, it
would seem, at any cost.
In all this tissue of injustice and absurdity is there no thread of
explanation, no reason better than these for such arbitrary interference
with personal rights? There is a veritable cable; enough to hang the
whole case on. It is shown in this provision:
If the married woman teacher can bring a doctor's certificate showing
that her husband is sick--_then_ she can hold her place and draw her
The plain ordinary un-male mind will say, "What has that to do with it?"
It has nothing to do with it. The position in question is that of the
teacher; the relation one between the teacher and pupil on the one side,
and teacher and governing officers on the other side. Whether teacher,
pupil or official is married or unmarried had nothing to do with the
case, unless it can be shown to interfere with the legitimate work
involved. Are we to suppose that the unseen extraneous husband has,
when well, a malign influence on his wife's proficiency as a teacher,
and, when ill, a beneficent one? Not at all; there is no such subtlety
involved. It is not in the least a question of professional efficiency;
it is a question of money.
Money is for men--who should use some of it to take care of their women.
When a woman marries, she has a claim for support, and no further use
for money of her own, no right to it, in fact!
Now let us temporarily admit that this is so--what has it to do with the
action of school boards? Is our public school system an institution for
the regulation of married women's property rights? Does it make
inquiries as to the family relations of men teachers and pay them
according to the number of dependents they have to support? Among the
unmarried women, are those who are putting brothers through college, or
maintaining invalid sisters or aged parents, paid more than the young
lady living at home and not "having to work" at all? If there is no
discrimination made in this matter among men teachers, nor among
unmarried women teachers, why does it instantly enter into consideration
in the case of married teachers?
All "systems" grow stiff, case-hardened, difficult to change; but in
America we have the newest and most pliable, and we are bravely used to
altering things. It is high time we altered our system of education.
The very crown and flower of our best minds and noblest characters are
called for to bring up children:
"That our childhood may pass with the best you can give--
And our manhood so live!"
Men and women both are needed as teachers; education is a social
process--not one of sex. Yet the woman is, by virtue of her motherhood,
the original teacher; and is more frequently possessed of the teaching
instinct. All normal women would naturally marry, circumstances
permitting; should marry, and would be no poorer teachers for that new
relationship. All normal women should be mothers; and as such, would be
_better_ teachers--not worse!
As to payment, so long as we must measure off our services and pay for
them, no form of human work is worthy of higher reward than this. To
gather the fruit of all our progress, to prepare it for a child's mind,
and lead him to eat that fruit, freely, and so grow to his best and
highest--this is _the_ human work.
It should be so prized, so honored, and so paid. And the payment should
be for great work done--and bear no relation whatever to age or sex, or
sex-relation; much less to the pathological condition of irrelevant
There is now formed in New York City, "The Married Women Teachers'
Association" (secretary, Miss Anna G. Walsh, 22 Harvard Street, Jamaica,
N. Y.), the purpose of which is to resist this unjust and illegitimate
It is unfortunate that more of the unmarried teachers do not cheerfully
assist in the work.
They do not yet seem to realize that all women should make common cause
against what is not only an injustice, but the most insolent and
presuming interference on the part of men, with the private and personal
affairs of women.
WHAT DIANTHA DID
They laid before her conquering feet
The spoils of many lands;
Their crowns shone red upon her head
Their scepters in her hands.
She heard two murmuring at night,
Where rose-sweet shadows rest;
And coveted the blossom red
He laid upon her breast.
When Madam Weatherstone shook the plentiful dust of Orchardina from her
expensive shoes, and returned to adorn the more classic groves of
Philadelphia, Mrs. Thaddler assumed to hold undisputed sway as a social
The Social Leader she meant to be; and marshalled her forces to that
end. She Patronized here, and Donated there; revised her visiting list
with rigid exclusiveness; secured an Eminent Professor and a Noted
Writer as visitors, and gave entertainments of almost Roman
Her husband grew more and more restive under the rising tide of social
exactions in dress and deportment; and spent more and more time behind
his fast horses, or on the stock-ranch where he raised them. As a
neighbor and fellow ranchman, he scraped acquaintance with Ross Warden,
and was able to render him many small services in the process of
Mrs. Warden remembered his visit to Jopalez, and it took her some time
to rearrange him in her mind as a person of wealth and standing. Having
so rearranged him, on sufficient evidence, she and her daughters became
most friendly, and had hopes of establishing valuable acquaintance in
the town. "It's not for myself I care," she would explain to Ross,
every day in the week and more on Sundays, "but for the girls. In that
dreadful Jopalez there was absolutely _no_ opportunity for them; but
here, with horses, there is no reason we should not have friends. You
must consider your sisters, Ross! Do be more cordial to Mr. Thaddler."
But Ross could not at present be cordial to anybody. His unexpected
good fortune, the freedom from hated cares, and chance to work out his
mighty theories on the faithful guinea-pig, ought to have filled his
soul with joy; but Diantha's cruel obstinacy had embittered his cup of
joy. He could not break with her; she had not refused him, and it was
difficult in cold blood to refuse her.
He had stayed away for two whole weeks, in which time the guinea-pigs
nibbled at ease and Diantha's work would have suffered except for her
mother's extra efforts. Then he went to see her again, miserable but
stubborn, finding her also miserable and also stubborn. They argued
till there was grave danger of an absolute break between them; then
dropped the subject by mutual agreement, and spent evenings of
unsatisfying effort to talk about other things.
Diantha and her mother called on Mrs. Warden, of course, admiring the
glorious view, the sweet high air, and the embowered loveliness of the
two ranch houses. Ross drew Diantha aside and showed her "theirs"--a
lovely little wide-porched concrete cottage, with a red-tiled roof, and
heavy masses of Gold of Ophir and Banksia roses.
He held her hand and drew her close to him.
He kissed her when they were safe inside, and murmured: "Come,
darling--won't you come and be my wife?"
"I will, Ross--whenever you say--but--!" She would not agree to give up
her work, and he flung away from her in reckless despair. Mrs. Warden
and the girls returned the call as a matter of duty, but came no more;
the mother saying that she could not take her daughters to a Servant
And though the Servant Girls' Club was soon removed to its new quarters
and Union House became a quiet, well-conducted hotel, still the two
families saw but little of each other.
Mrs. Warden naturally took her son's side, and considered Diantha an
unnatural monster of hard-heartedness.
The matter sifted through to the ears of Mrs. Thaddler, who rejoiced in
it, and called upon Mrs. Warden in her largest automobile. As a mother
with four marriageable daughters, Mrs. Warden was delighted to accept
and improve the acquaintance, but her aristocratic Southern soul was
inwardly rebellious at the ancestorlessness and uncultured moneyed pride
of her new friend.
"If only Madam Weatherstone had stayed!" she would complain to her
daughters. "She had Family as well as Wealth."
"There's young Mrs. Weatherstone, mother--" suggested Dora.
"A nobody!" her mother replied. "She has the Weatherstone money, of
course, but no Position; and what little she has she is losing by her
low tastes. She goes about freely with Diantha Bell--her own
"She's not her housekeeper now, mother--"
"Well, it's all the same! She _was!_ And a mere general servant before
that! And now to think that when Ross is willing to overlook it all and
marry her, she won't give it up!"
They were all agreed on this point, unless perhaps that the youngest had
her inward reservations. Dora had always liked Diantha better than had
Young Mrs. Weatherstone stayed in her big empty house for a while, and
as Mrs. Warden said, went about frequently with Diantha Bell. She liked
Mrs. Bell, too--took her for long stimulating rides in her comfortable
car, and insisted that first one and then the other of them should have
a bit of vacation at her seashore home before the winter's work grew too
With Mrs. Bell she talked much of how Diantha had helped the town.
"She has no idea of the psychic effects, Mrs. Bell," said she. "She
sees the business, and she has a great view of all it is going to do for
women to come; but I don't think she realizes how much she is doing
right now for women here--and men, too. There were my friends the
Pornes; they were 'drifting apart,' as the novels have it--and no
wonder. Isabel was absolutely no good as a housekeeper; he naturally
didn't like it--and the baby made it all the worse; she pined for her
work, you see, and couldn't get any time for it. Now they are as happy
as can be--and it's just Diantha Bell's doings. The housework is off
"Then there are the Wagrams, and the Sheldons, and the Brinks--and ever
so many more--who have told me themselves that they are far happier than
they ever were before--and can live more cheaply. She ought to be the
happiest girl alive!"
Mrs. Bell would agree to this, and quite swelled with happiness and
pride; but Mrs. Weatherstone, watching narrowly, was not satisfied.
When she had Diantha with her she opened fire direct. "You ought to be
the happiest, proudest, most triumphant woman in the world!" she said.
"You're making oodles of money, your whole thing's going well, and look
at your mother--she's made over!"
Diantha smiled and said she was happy; but her eyes would stray off to
the very rim of the ocean; her mouth set in patient lines that were not
in the least triumphant.
"Tell me about it, my friend," said her hostess. "Is it that he won't
let you keep on with the business?"
"And you won't give it up to marry him?"
"No," said Diantha. "No. Why should I? I'd marry him--to-morrow!"
She held one hand with the other, tight, but they both shook a little.
"I'd be glad to. But I will not give up my work!"
"You look thin," said Mrs. Weatherstone.
"Do you sleep well?"
"And I can see that you don't eat as you ought to. Hm! Are you going
to break down?"
"No," said Diantha, "I am not going to break down. I am doing what is
right, and I shall go on. It's a little hard at first--having him so
near. But I am young and strong and have a great deal to do--I shall do
And then Mrs. Weatherstone would tell her all she knew of the intense
satisfaction of the people she served, and pleasant stories about the
girls. She bought her books to read and such gleanings as she found in
foreign magazines on the subject of organized house-service.
Not only so, but she supplied the Orchardina library with a special
bibliography on the subject, and induced the new Woman's Club to take up
a course of reading in it, so that there gradually filtered into the
Orchardina mind a faint perception that this was not the freak of an
eccentric individual, but part of an inevitable business development,
going on in various ways in many nations.
As the winter drew on, Mrs. Weatherstone whisked away again, but kept a
warm current of interest in Diantha's life by many letters.
Mr. Bell came down from Jopalez with outer reluctance but inner
satisfaction. He had rented his place, and Susie had three babies now.
Henderson, Jr., had no place for him, and to do housework for himself
was no part of Mr. Bell's plan.
In Diantha's hotel he had a comfortable room next his wife's, and a
capacious chair in the firelit hall in wet weather, or on the shaded
piazza in dry. The excellent library was a resource to him; he found
some congenial souls to talk with; and under the new stimulus succeeded
at last in patenting a small device that really worked. With this, and
his rent, he felt inclined to establish a "home of his own," and the
soul of Mrs. Bell sank within her. Without allowing it to come to an
issue between them, she kept the question open for endless discussion;
and Mr. Bell lived on in great contentment under the impression that he
was about to move at almost any time. To his friends and cronies he
dilated with pride on his daughter's wonderful achievements.
"She's as good as a boy!" he would declare. "Women nowadays seem to do
anything they want to!" And he rigidly paid his board bill with a
Meanwhile the impressive gatherings at Mrs. Thaddler's, and the humbler
tea and card parties of Diantha's friends, had a new topic as a
A New York company had bought one of the largest and finest blocks in
town--the old Para place--and was developing it in a manner hitherto
unseen. The big, shabby, neglected estate began to turn into such a
fairyland as only southern lands can know. The old live-oaks were
untouched; the towering eucalyptus trees remained in ragged majesty; but
an army of workmen was busy under guidance of a master of beauty.
One large and lovely building rose, promptly dubbed a hotel by the
unwilling neighbors; others, smaller, showed here and there among the
trees; and then a rose-gray wall of concrete ran around the whole, high,
tantalizing, with green boughs and sweet odors coming over it. Those
who went in reported many buildings, and much activity. But, when the
wall was done, and each gate said "No admittance except on business,"
then the work of genii was imagined, and there was none to contradict.
It was a School of Theosophy; it was a Christian Science College; it was
a Free-Love Colony; it was a Secret Society; it was a thousand wonders.
"Lot of little houses and one big one," the employees said when
"Hotel and cottages," the employers said when questioned.
They made no secret of it, they were too busy; but the town was
unsatisfied. Why a wall? What did any honest person want of a wall?
Yet the wall cast a pleasant shadow; there were seats here and there
between buttresses, and, as the swift California season advanced, roses
and oleanders nodded over the top, and gave hints of beauty and richness
more subtly stimulating than all the open glory of the low-hedged
Diantha's soul was stirred with secret envy. Some big concern was about
to carry out her dream, or part of it--perhaps to be a huge and
overflowing rival. Her own work grew meantime, and flourished as well
as she could wish.
The food-delivery service was running to its full capacity; the girls
got on very well under Mrs. Jessup, and were delighted to have a house
of their own with the parlors and piazzas all to themselves, and a
garden to sit in as well. If this depleted their ranks by marriage, it
did not matter now, for there was a waiting list in training all the
Union House kept on evenly and profitably, and Diantha was beginning to
feel safe and successful; but the years looked long before her.
She was always cheered by Mrs. Weatherstone's letters; and Mrs. Porne
came to see her, and to compare notes over their friend's success. For
Mrs. Weatherstone had been presented at Court--at more than one court,
in fact; and Mrs. Weatherstone had been proposed to by a Duke--and had
refused him! Orchardina well-nigh swooned when this was known.
She had been studying, investigating, had become known in scientific as
well as social circles, and on her way back the strenuous upper layer of
New York Society had also made much of her. Rumors grew of her
exquisite costumes, of her unusual jewels, of her unique entertainments,
of her popularity everywhere she went.
Other proposals, of a magnificent nature, were reported, with more
magnificent refusals; and Orchardina began to be very proud of young
Mrs. Weatherstone and to wish she would come back.
She did at last, bringing an Italian Prince with her, and a Hoch
Geborene German Count also, who alleged they were travelling to study
the country, but who were reputed to have had a duel already on the
beautiful widow's account.
All this was long-drawn gossip but bore some faint resemblance to the
facts. Viva Weatherstone at thirty was a very different woman front the
pale, sad-eyed girl of four years earlier. And when the great house on
the avenue was arrayed in new magnificence, and all Orchardina--that
dared--had paid its respects to her, she opened the season, as it were,
with a brilliant dinner, followed by a reception and ball.
All Orchardina came--so far as it had been invited. There was the
Prince, sure enough--a pleasant, blue-eyed young man. And there was the
Count, bearing visible evidence of duels a-plenty in earlier days. And
there was Diantha Bell--receiving, with Mrs. Porne and Mrs.
Weatherstone. All Orchardina stared. Diantha had been at the
dinner--that was clear. And now she stood there in her soft, dark
evening dress, the knot of golden acacias nestling against the black
lace at her bosom, looking as fair and sweet as if she had never had a
care in her life.
Her mother thought her the most beautiful thing she had ever seen; and
her father, though somewhat critical, secretly thought so, too.
Mrs. Weatherstone cast many a loving look at the tall girl beside her in
the intervals of "Delighted to see you's," and saw that her double
burden had had no worse effect than to soften the lines of the mouth and
give a hint of pathos to the clear depths of her eyes.
The foreign visitors were much interested in the young Amazon of
Industry, as the Prince insisted on calling her; and even the German
Count for a moment forgot his ancestors in her pleasant practical talk.
Mrs. Weatherstone had taken pains to call upon the Wardens--claiming a
connection, if not a relationship, and to invite them all. And as the
crowd grew bigger and bigger, Diantha saw Mrs. Warden at last
approaching with her four daughters--and no one else. She greeted them
politely and warmly; but Mrs. Weatherstone did more.
Holding them all in a little group beside her, she introduced her noble
visitors to them; imparted the further information that their brother
was _fiance_ to Miss Bell. "I don't see him," she said, looking about.
"He will come later, of course. Ah, Miss Madeline! How proud you all
must feel of your sister-in-law to be!"
Madeline blushed and tried to say she was.
"Such a remarkable young lady!" said the Count to Adeline. "You will
admire, envy, and imitate! Is it not so?"
"Your ladies of America have all things in your hands," said the Prince
to Miss Cora. "To think that she has done so much, and is yet so
young--and so beautiful!"
"I know you're all as proud as you can be," Mrs. Weatherstone continued
to Dora. "You see, Diantha has been heard of abroad."
They all passed on presently, as others came; but Mrs. Warden's head was
reeling. She wished she could by any means get at Ross, and _make_ him
come, which he had refused to do.
"I can't, mother," he had said. "You go--all of you. Take the girls.
I'll call for you at twelve--but I won't go in."
Mr. and Mrs. Thaddler were there--but not happy. She was not, at least,
and showed it; he was not until an idea struck him. He dodged softly
out, and was soon flying off, at dangerous speed over the moon-white
He found Ross, dressed and ready, sulking blackly on his shadowy porch.
"Come and take a spin while you wait," said Mr. Thaddler.
"Thanks, I have to go in town later."
"I'll take you in town."
"Thank you, but I have to take the horses in and bring out my mother and
"I'll bring you all out in the car. Come on--it's a great night."
So Ross rather reluctantly came.
He sat back on the luxurious cushions, his arms folded sternly, his
brows knit, and the stout gentleman at his side watched him shrewdly.
"How does the ranch go?" he asked.
"Very well, thank you, Mr. Thaddler."
"Them Chinks pay up promptly?"
"As prompt as the month comes round. Their rent is a very valuable part
of the estate."
"Yes," Mr. Thaddler pursued. "They have a good steady market for their
stuff. And the chicken man, too. Do you know who buys 'em?"
Ross did not. Did not greatly care, he intimated.
"I should think you'd be interested--you ought to--it's Diantha Bell."
Ross started, but said nothing.
"You see, I've taken a great interest in her proposition ever since she
sprung it on us," Mr. Thaddler confided. "She's got the goods all
right. But there was plenty against her here--you know what women are!
And I made up my mind the supplies should be good and steady, anyhow.
She had no trouble with her grocery orders; that was easy. Meat I
couldn't handle--except indirectly--a little pressure, maybe, here and
there." And he chuckled softly. "But this ranch I bought on purpose."
Ross turned as if he had been stung.
"You!" he said.
"Yes, me. Why not? It's a good property. I got it all fixed right,
and then I bought your little upstate shop--lock, stock and barrel--and
gave you this for it. A fair exchange is no robbery. Though it would
be nice to have it all in the family, eh?"
Ross was silent for a few turbulent moments, revolving this far from
"What'd I do it for?" continued the unasked benefactor. "What do you
_think_ I did it for? So that brave, sweet little girl down here could
have her heart's desire. She's established her business--she's proved
her point--she's won the town--most of it; and there's nothing on earth
to make her unhappy now but your pigheadedness! Young man, I tell you
you're a plumb fool!"
One cannot throw one's host out of his own swift-flying car; nor is it
wise to jump out one's self.
"Nothing on earth between you but your cussed pride!" Mr. Thaddler
remorselessly went on. "This ranch is honestly yours--by a square deal.
Your Jopalez business was worth the money--you ran it honestly and
extended the trade. You'd have made a heap by it if you could have
unbent a little. Gosh! I limbered up that store some in twelve
months!" And the stout man smiled reminiscently.
Ross was still silent.
"And now you've got what you wanted--thanks to her, mind you, thanks to
her!--and you ain't willing to let her have what she wants!"
The young man moistened his lips to speak.
"You ain't dependent on her in any sense--I don't mean that. You earned
the place all right, and I don't doubt you'll make good, both in a
business way and a scientific way, young man. But why in Hades you
can't let her be happy, too, is more'n I can figure! Guess you get your
notions from two generations back--and some!"
Ross began, stumblingly. "I did not know I was indebted to you, Mr.
"You're not, young man, you're not! I ran that shop of yours a
year--built up the business and sold it for more than I paid for this.
So you've no room for heroics--none at all. What I want you to realize
is that you're breaking the heart of the finest woman I ever saw. You
can't bend that girl--she'll never give up. A woman like that has got
more things to do than just marry! But she's pining for you all the
"Here she is to-night, receiving with Mrs. Weatherstone--with those
Bannerets, Dukes and Earls around her--standing up there like a Princess
herself--and her eyes on the door all the time--and tears in 'em, I
could swear--because you don't come!"
They drew up with a fine curve before the carriage gate.
"I'll take 'em all home--they won't be ready for some time yet," said
Mr. Thaddler. "And if you two would like this car I'll send for the
Ross shook hands with him. "You are very kind, Mr. Thaddler," he said.
"I am obliged to you. But I think we will walk."
Tall and impressive, looking more distinguished in a six-year-old
evening suit than even the Hoch Geborene in his uniform, he came at
last, and Diantha saw him the moment he entered; saw, too, a new light
in his eyes.
He went straight to her. And Mrs. Weatherstone did not lay it up
against him that he had but the briefest of words for his hostess.
"Will you come?" he said. "May I take you home--now?"
She went with him, without a word, and they walked slowly home, by far
outlying paths, and long waits on rose-bowered seats they knew.
The moon filled all the world with tender light and the orange blossoms
flooded the still air with sweetness.
"Dear," said he, "I have been a proud fool--I am yet--but I have come to
see a little clearer. I do not approve of your work--I cannot approve
of it--but will you forgive me for that and marry me? I cannot live any
longer without you?"
"Of course I will," said Diantha.
(To be continued)
THE GOOD MAN
A certain Good Man possessed many Virtues of character by right of
inheritance, so that my Critical Friend remarked, "It is easy for him to
Now the Good Man was by no means satisfied with his inherited virtues,
and with Ceaseless Diligence and Long Effort he strove to acquire more,
and in due season acquired them, abundantly, so that even my Critical
Friend allowed these virtues were of some credit to him.
Nevertheless, being critical, he criticized the Good Man, to my grief
"How can you criticize this Great White Soul?" I cried. "He has never
committed a crime."
"Neither have you or I," interrupted my Critical Friend.
"He has never sinned," I continued, "he has not a single vice, he has
not even a fault! And as to his Virtues!"
"What are his Virtues?" asked my Critical Friend.
Then I considered the Virtues of that Great Man and was lost in
admiration and amazement. "He is unimpeachably Honest, Trustworthy and
True," said I. "He is Humble and Modest even in his Superiority, and
has Hope of Improvement; he is Brave in meeting adversity and Patient in
bearing it. He is Chaste and Temperate, he is Generous and Unselfish
and Self-sacrificing, he is Persevering and Diligent, Faithful and
Enduring. He is _good_."
"Yes?" said my Critical Friend. "What good is he?"
"_What_ good?" said I.
"Yes, what good? What does he _do?_"
"What do you mean?" I asked. "His business?"
"Of course. What's his business? What does he do in the world?"
"He's a business man," said I, "and a very good business man, if that is
what you mean."
My Critical friend grinned unfeelingly. "What use is he?" he asked.
"Whom does he serve? Of what use to humanity is his work? In what may
the human race be benefited by his business? What will the world lose
when he is gone?"
"They will lose a Good Man," said I, a little angrily.
And my Critical Friend subsided, merely grunting once more, in that
tiresome way of his, "_What_ good?"
OUR ANDROCENTRIC CULTURE; OR, THE MAN-MADE WORLD
INDUSTRY AND ECONOMICS.
The forest of Truth, on the subject of industry and economics, is
difficult to see on account of the trees.
We have so many Facts on this subject; so many Opinions; so many
Traditions and Habits; and the pressure of Immediate Conclusions is so
intense upon us all; that it is not easy to form a clear space in one's
mind and consider the field fairly.
Possibly the present treatment of the subject will appeal most to the
minds of those who know least about it; such as the Average Woman. To
her, Industry is a daylong and lifelong duty, as well as a natural
impulse; and economics means going without things. To such untrained
but also unprejudiced minds it should be easy to show the main facts on
Let us dispose of Economics first, as having a solemn scientific
Physical Economics treats of the internal affairs of the body; the whole
machinery and how it works; all organs, members, functions; each last
and littlest capillary and leucocyte, are parts of that "economy."
Nature's "economy" is not in the least "economical." The waste of life,
the waste of material, the waste of time and effort, are prodigious, yet
she achieves her end as we see.
Domestic Economics covers the whole care and government of the
household; the maintenance of peace, health, order, and morality; the
care and nourishment of children as far as done at home; the entire
management of the home, as well as the spending and saving of money; are
included in it. Saving is the least and poorest part of it; especially
as in mere abstinence from needed things; most especially when this
abstinence is mainly "Mother's." How best to spend; time, strength,
love, care, labor, knowledge, and money--this should be the main study
in Domestic Economics.
Social, or, as they are used to call it, Political Economics, covers a
larger, but not essentially different field. A family consists of
people, and the Mother is their natural manager. Society consists of
people--_the same people_--only more of them. All the people, who are
members of Society, are also members of families--except some incubated
orphans maybe. Social Economics covers the whole care and management of
the people, the maintenance of peace and health and order and morality;
the care of children, as far as done out of the home; as well as the
spending and saving of the public money--all these are included in it.
This great business of Social Economics is at present little understood
and most poorly managed, for this reason; we approach it from an
individual point of view; seeking not so much to do our share in the
common service, as to get our personal profit from the common wealth.
Where the whole family labors together to harvest fruit and store it for
the winter, we have legitimate Domestic Economics: but where one member
takes and hides a lot for himself, to the exclusion of the others, we
have no Domestic Economics at all--merely individual selfishness.
In Social Economics we have a large, but simple problem. Here is the
earth, our farm. Here are the people, who own the earth. How can the
most advantage to the most people be obtained from the earth with the
least labor? That is the problem of Social Economics.
Looking at the world as if you held it in your hands to study and
discuss, what do we find at present?
We find people living too thickly for health and comfort in some places,
and too thinly for others; we find most people working too hard and too
long at honest labor; some people working with damaging intensity at
dishonest labor; and a few wretched paupers among the rich and poor,
degenerate idlers who do not work at all, the scum and the dregs of
All this is bad economics. We do not get the comfort out of life we
easily could; and work far too hard for what we do get. Moreover, there
is no peace, no settled security. No man is sure of his living, no
matter how hard he works, a thousand things may occur to deprive him of
his job, or his income. In our time there is great excitement along
this line of study; and more than one proposition is advanced whereby we
may improve, most notably instanced in the world-covering advance of
In our present study the principal fact to be exhibited is the influence
of a male culture upon Social Economics and Industry.
Industry, as a department of Social Economics, is little understood.
Heretofore we have viewed this field from several wholly erroneous
positions. From the Hebrew (and wholly androcentric) religious
teaching, we have regarded labor as a curse.
Nothing could be more absurdly false. Labor is not merely a means of
supporting human life--it _is_ human life. Imagine a race of beings
living without labor! They must be the rudest savages.
Human work consists in specialized industry and the exchange of its
products; and without it is no civilization. As industry develops,
civilization develops; peace expands; wealth increases; science and art
help on the splendid total. Productive industry, and its concomitant of
distributive industry cover the major field of human life.
If our industry was normal, what should we see?
A world full of healthy, happy people; each busily engaged in what he or
she most enjoys doing. Normal Specialization, like all our voluntary
processes, is accompanied by keen pleasure; and any check or
interruption to it gives pain and injury. Whosoever works at what he
loves is well and happy. Whoso works at what he does not love is ill
and miserable. It is very bad economics to force unwilling industry.
That is the weakness of slave labor; and of wage labor also where there
is not full industrial education and freedom of choice.
Under normal conditions we should see well developed, well trained
specialists happily engaged in the work they most enjoyed; for
reasonable hours (any work, or play either, becomes injurious if done
too long); and as a consequence the whole output of the world would be
vastly improved, not only in quantity but in quality.
Plain are the melancholy facts of what we do see. Following that
pitiful conception of labor as a curse, comes the very old and
androcentric habit of despising it as belonging to women, and then to
As a matter of fact industry is in its origin feminine; that is,
maternal. It is the overflowing fountain of mother-love and
mother-power which first prompts the human race to labor; and for long
ages men performed no productive industry at all; being merely hunters
It is this lack of natural instinct for labor in the male of our
species, together with the ideas and opinions based on that lack, and
voiced by him in his many writings, religious and other, which have
given to the world its false estimate of this great function, human
work. That which is our very life, our greatest joy, our road to all
advancement, we have scorned and oppressed; so that "working people,"
the "working classes," "having to work," etc., are to this day spoken of
with contempt. Perhaps drones speak so among themselves of the "working
Normally, widening out from the mother's careful and generous service in
the family, to careful, generous service in the world, we should find
labor freely given, with love and pride.
Abnormally, crushed under the burden of androcentric scorn and
prejudice, we have labor grudgingly produced under pressure of
necessity; labor of slaves under fear of the whip, or of wage-slaves,
one step higher, under fear of want. Long ages wherein hunting and
fighting were the only manly occupations, have left their heavy impress.
The predacious instinct and the combative instinct weigh down and
disfigure our economic development. What Veblen calls "the instinct of
workmanship" grows on, slowly and irresistably; but the malign features
of our industrial life are distinctively androcentric: the desire to
get, of the hunter; interfering with the desire to give, of the mother;
the desire to overcome an antagonist--originally masculine, interfering
with the desire to serve and benefit--originally feminine.
Let the reader keep in mind that as human beings, men are able to
over-live their masculine natures and do noble service to the world;
also that as human beings they are today far more highly developed than
women, and doing far more for the world. The point here brought out is
that as males their unchecked supremacy has resulted in the abnormal
predominance of masculine impulses in our human processes; and that this
predominance has been largely injurious.
As it happens, the distinctly feminine or maternal impulses are far more
nearly in line with human progress than are those of the male; which
makes her exclusion from human functions the more mischievous.
Our current teachings in the infant science of Political Economy are
naively masculine. They assume as unquestionable that "the economic
man" will never do anything unless he has to; will only do it to escape
pain or attain pleasure; and will, inevitably, take all he can get, and
do all he can to outwit, overcome, and if necessary destroy his
Always the antagonist; to the male mind an antagonist is essential to
progress, to all achievement. He has planted that root-thought in all
the human world; from that old hideous idea of Satan, "The Adversary,"
down to the competitor in business, or the boy at the head of the class,
to be superseded by another.
Therefore, even in science, "the struggle for existence" is the dominant
law--to the male mind, with the "survival of the fittest" and "the
elimination of the unfit."
Therefore in industry and economics we find always and everywhere the
antagonist; the necessity for somebody or something to be overcome--else
why make an effort? If you have not the incentive of reward, or the
incentive of combat, why work? "Competition is the life of trade."
Thus the Economic Man.
But how about the Economic Woman?
To the androcentric mind she does not exist. Women are females, and
that's all; their working abilities are limited to personal service.
That it would be possible to develop industry to far greater heights,
and to find in social economics a simple and beneficial process for the
promotion of human life and prosperity, under any other impulse than
these two, Desire and Combat, is hard indeed to recognize--for the "male
So absolutely interwoven are our existing concepts of maleness and
humanness, so sure are we that men are people and women only females,
that the claim of equal weight and dignity in human affairs of the
feminine instincts and methods is scouted as absurd. We find existing
industry almost wholly in male hands; find it done as men do it; assume
that that is the way it must be done.
When women suggest that it could be done differently, their proposal is
waved aside--they are "only women"--their ideas are "womanish."
Agreed. So are men "only men," their ideas are "mannish"; and of the
two the women are more vitally human than the men.
The female is the race-type--the man the variant.
The female, as a race-type, having the female processes besides; best
performs the race processes. The male, however, has with great
difficulty developed them, always heavily handicapped by his maleness;
being in origin essentially a creature of sex, and so dominated almost
exclusively by sex impulses.
The human instinct of mutual service is checked by the masculine
instinct of combat; the human tendency to specialize in labor, to
rejoicingly pour force in lines of specialized expression, is checked by
the predacious instinct, which will exert itself for reward; and
disfigured by the masculine instinct of self-expression, which is an
entirely different thing from the great human outpouring of world force.
Great men, the world's teachers and leaders, are great in humanness;
mere maleness does not make for greatness unless it be in warfare--a
disadvantageous glory! Great women also must be great in humanness; but
their female instincts are not so subversive of human progress as are
the instincts of the male. To be a teacher and leader, to love and
serve, to guard and guide and help, are well in line with motherhood.
"Are they not also in line with fatherhood?" will be asked; and, "Are
not the father's paternal instincts masculine?"
No, they are not; they differ in no way from the maternal, in so far as
they are beneficial. Parental functions of the higher sort, of the
human sort, are identical. The father can give his children many
advantages which the mother can not; but that is due to his superiority
as a human being. He possesses far more knowledge and power in the
world, the human world; he himself is more developed in human powers and
processes; and is therefore able to do much for his children which the
mother can not; but this is in no way due to his masculinity. It is in
this development of human powers in man, through fatherhood, that we may
read the explanation of our short period of androcentric culture.
So thorough and complete a reversal of previous relation, such
continuance of what appears in every way an unnatural position, must
have had some justification in racial advantages, or it could not have
endured. This is its justification; the establishment of humanness in
the male; he being led into it, along natural lines, by the exercise of
previously existing desires.
In a male culture the attracting forces must inevitably have been, we
have seen, Desire and Combat. These masculine forces, acting upon human
processes, while necessary to the uplifting of the man, have been
anything but uplifting to civilization. A sex which thinks, feels and
acts in terms of combat is difficult to harmonize in the smooth bonds of
human relationship; that they have succeeded so well is a beautiful
testimony to the superior power of race tendency over sex tendency.
Uniting and organizing, crudely and temporarily, for the common hunt;
and then, with progressive elaboration, for the common fight; they are
now using the same tactics--and the same desires, unfortunately--in
Union, organization, complex interservice, are the essential processes
of a growing society; in them, in the ever-increasing discharge of power
along widening lines of action, is the joy and health of social life.
But so far men combine in order to better combat; the mutual service
held incidental to the common end of conquest and plunder.
In spite of this the overmastering power of humanness is now developing
among modern men immense organizations of a wholly beneficial character,
with no purpose but mutual advantage. This is true human growth, and as
such will inevitably take the place of the sex-prejudiced earlier
The human character of the Christian religion is now being more and more
insisted on; the practical love and service of each and all; in place of
the old insistence on Desire--for a Crown and Harp in Heaven, and
Combat--with that everlasting adversary.
In economics this great change is rapidly going on before our eyes. It
is a change in idea, in basic concept, in our theory of what the whole
thing is about. We are beginning to see the world, not as "a fair field
and no favor"--not a place for one man to get ahead of others, for a
price; but as an establishment belonging to us, the proceeds of which
are to be applied, as a matter of course, to human advantage.
In the old idea, the wholly masculine idea, based on the processes of
sex-combat, the advantage of the world lay in having "the best man win."
Some, in the first steps of enthusiasm for Eugenics, think so still;
imagining that the primal process of promoting evolution through the
paternity of the conquering male is the best process.
To have one superior lion kill six or sixty inferior lions, and leave a
progeny of more superior lions behind him, is all right--for lions; the
superiority in fighting being all the superiority they need.
But the man able to outwit his follows, to destroy them in physical, or
ruin in financial, combat, is not therefore a superior human creature.
Even physical superiority, as a fighter, does not prove the kind of
vigor best calculated to resist disease, or to adapt itself to changing
That our masculine culture in its effect on Economics and Industry is
injurious, is clearly shown by the whole open page of history. From the
simple beneficent activities of a matriarchal period we follow the same
lamentable steps; nation after nation. Women are enslaved and captives
are enslaved; a military despotism is developed; labor is despised and
discouraged. Then when the irresistible social forces do bring us
onward, in science, art, commerce, and all that we call civilization, we
find the same check acting always upon that progress; and the really
vital social processes of production and distribution heavily injured by
the financial combat and carnage which rages ever over and among them.
The real development of the people, the forming of finer physiques,
finer minds, a higher level of efficiency, a broader range of enjoyment
and accomplishment--is hindered and not helped by this artificially
maintained "struggle for existence," this constant endeavor to eliminate
what, from a masculine standard, is "unfit."
That we have progressed thus far, that we are now moving forward so
rapidly, is in spite of and not because of our androcentric culture.
A FREQUENT QUESTION
If women become economically independent, their husbands will stop
working--and depend on them.
Oh, no, they won't.
How do you know they won't?
Because that kind of man will not succeed in getting that kind of woman
to depend on when women are wiser.
What's to prevent the man from becoming a burden on her afterward?
The marriage contract.
You propose a new kind of marriage contract, do you?
Why not? Marriages may be made in Heaven, but the contract is drawn up
by mere men. These--and some women to help them--may easily make a
better one. Why not?
BOYS WILL BE BOYS
"Boys will be boys," and boys have had their day;
Boy-mischief and boy-carelessness and noise
Extenuated all, allowed, excused and smoothed away,
Each duty missed, each damaging wild act,
By this meek statement of unquestioned fact--
Boys will be boys!
"Now, women will be women." Mark the change;
Calm motherhood in place of boisterous youth;
No warfare now; to manage and arrange,
To nurture with wise care, is woman's way,
In peace and fruitful industry her sway.
In love and truth.
Many minds are many windows,
Varied are their views;
Each of us, if lonely, knows
Only what one window shows--
Can no further choose.
Many minds are many windows,
One the light divine,
We may freely move and range,
Wide our windows may exchange,--
Come and look through mine!
COMMENT AND REVIEW
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