The Forerunner, Volume 1 (1909-1910)
Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Part 17 out of 18
Lavina L. Dock is a trained nurse of long and wide experience in more
than one country. She is the author of "A Text Book of Materia Medica
for Nurses," now in its fourth edition, revised and enlarged, and, in
collaboration with M. D. Nutting, R.N., of "The History of Nursing," in
Miss Dock's present book, "Hygiene and Morality," is of far wider appeal
than either of the former works. The title is a good one, for it links
two aspects of one subject, and presents the new case without ignoring
the old one.
The work deals in the main, in plain, simple moderate language, with the
pathological aspects of what is called "the social evil"; laying stress
not so much upon the moral danger, long known, as on the physical
danger, to which we are but just awakening.
The first part gives clear descriptions of the venereal diseases, now
known to be caused by specific germs; and to be both infectious and
contagious in the highest degree; giving statistics as to their
The general estimate, in syphilis, she quotes as from five to eighteen
per cent of the population, varying in the different countries. Taking
the most modest estimate for ours, and allowing our population at
80,000,000--this would give us an army of 4,000,000 syphilitics at large
among us--unknown to the public.
Say they had leprosy, or cholera, or smallpox, and imagine our horror;
yet these diseases are not comparable in their terrible consequences;
not only to the victims, but to their children and grandchildren.
In gonorrhoea, a cause of sterility, blindness of babies, and all manner
of surgical operations and "diseases peculiar to women," so common among
innocent wives, Miss Dock shows us that European records give about
seventy-five per cent of men as infected. In America things are better,
a conservative estimate giving the proportion of our men having either
syphilis or gonorrhoea as about sixty per cent.
As each of these diseases affects both wife and child, it is specially
necessary that women should be informed about them.
The second part treats of Prostitution; the efforts made at its control
and regulation, and the new widespread movement for its abolition; and
gives melancholy figures to show not only the immense extent of this
evil, but the fact that the large majority of its victims are
Abnormal women who might wish to follow this trade are so few that in
order to supply the market, innocent young girls, numbering in America
about fifty thousand a year, must be forced into this profession, into
shame, disease and painful death; hence the "White-Slave traffic."
The third part discusses Prevention; with wise and hopeful words;
telling how chance infection may be avoided, how patients with these
diseases should be isolated; and how all children should be educated in
full knowledge of this danger and its best avoidance.
Miss Dock is also very clear and strong in showing that women can best
reduce this evil through the use of the ballot; and gives conclusive
evidence of what is already accomplished in those states and countries
having equal suffrage.
It is a clean, forcible interesting book, most moderate in tone; and
giving a long list of scientific authorities.
Now for an amusing book!
This is "Marriage as a Trade," by Cicely Hamilton, a clever and forcible
English writer, co-author of that delicious little play "How The Vote
A keen and accurate weapon is Miss Hamilton's pen; and in this work she
uses it with delicious dexterity to prick bubbles, to slice off masks,
cut veils and bandages, and dissect ancient idols.
Her special matter in discussion is exactly given in the title, and she
does not stray from her theme; but brings out, sharply and inescapably,
the universal fact, that marriage, to a woman, is not only a happiness
(or a grief!), not only a duty, or at least a natural function, but a
trade--she earns her living by it!
Miss Hamilton points out very forcibly that not all women are fitted by
nature for following the same trade, that not all of them like it; that
it produces low grade work and discontented lives; and that many women
would infinitely prefer working at some other business.
The value of this book is is the sharp light thrown on this large
subject from the woman's view--or at least from a woman's view; and one
that will be shared by many others.
Its amusing quality is for those who like trenchant wit and penetrating
Mary Jonston is a writer of good novels, strong, thrilling, excellent in
workmanship, as all who have read her "To Have and To Hold" will agree;
and it was that quality of literary skill which made me seize upon this,
in the Woman's Journal of October 8th, before I noticed the name of the
THE WISE HOUSEKEEPER:
Will be against
A HOW BUILT ON SAND.
Will be for
THE CATEGORICAL IMPERATIVE.
Will be against
GROUNDS WITHOUT SHADE AND WATER.
Will be for
Will be against
QUARRELS WITH NEIGHBORS.
Will be for
Will be against
Will be for
ECONOMY IN ADMINISTRATION.
Will be against
PENNY WISDOM AND POUND FOOLISHNESS.
Will be for
LIBERAL APPROPRIATIONS FOR COMMON WELFARE.
Will be against
Will be for
INTELLIGENCE AND HONOR IN OFFICE.
Will be against
Will be for
Will be against
MOTHS, RUST AND MILDEW
Will be for
AN END TO GRAFT.
Will be against
Will be for
THE INITIATIVE AND REFERENDUM.
Will be against
Will be for
Will be against
Will be for
COMMON OWNERSHIP IN COMMON NEEDS.
Will be against
Will be for
Will be against
CANDLES BURNED AT BOTH ENDS.
Will be for
ABOLITION OF CHILD LABOR.
Will be against
Will be for
ACTS LOOKING TO PREVENTION OF MINE, RAILWAY AND FACTORY ACCIDENTS.
Will be against
Will be for
AN EIGHT-HOUR DAY.
Will be against
Will be for
A FEDERAL DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH.
Will be against
STAINS THAT WILL NOT COME OUT.
Will be for
Will be against
POISONS LEFT WHERE THE CHILDREN CAN GET THEM.
Will be for
WAR AGAINST THE SOCIAL EVIL.
WAR AGAINST ALCOHOL.
Will be against
Will be for
WISER MARRIAGE LAWS.
Will be against
Will be for
A FEDERAL DEPARTMENT OF EUGENICS.
Will be against
A MISTRESS OF THE HOUSE WITHOUT AUTHORITY.
Will be for
THE FRANCHISE FOR WOMEN.
"To-day's Problems" is a good ten cents' worth--or five, if you live in
It is a pocket-size pamphlet, full of short bits from some hundred and
fifty leading writers, workers, and speakers, along lines of Social
Ministers, college professors, economists, sociologists, editors,
authors, organizers, poets, orators; a millionaire, a member of
parliament, a prince,--it's a great booklet. And not a thing in it that
fills one page, even.
_To-day's Problems._ Trade Union Book Concern. Chicago, Ill.
We mean to carry lists of books useful to our readers. We wish to prove
that it will pay publishers to advertise with us. If you order any book
reviewed here, please send your order to The FORERUNNER.
"Pure Sociology," by Lester F. Ward, Macmillan, Pub., $4.00.
"Hygiene and Morality," by Lavina L. Dock, R. N., G. P. Putnam's Sons,
"Marriage as a Trade," by Cicely Hamilton, Moffat, Yard & Co., Pub.,
_Question._--A radical woman and conservative man are married, have been
married for years. The woman now wants to do a share of work for votes
for women. The man takes it as a personal reflection. He thinks
outsiders will conclude that a woman suffragist must have a family
grievance at home. How much suffrage work do you advise her to do?
_Answer._--I advise her to do all the suffrage work she thinks right;
and any other work she thinks right. What her husband thinks somebody
else will think, is a pretty poor obstacle.
If a woman so lives as to hold the love and respect of her husband, she
can differ from him quite widely--for conscience sake--and not break
If he does not love and respect her--why should she mind what he thinks?
Here are some earnest questions from an artist:
1. "How shall I be most efficient?
2. "Which of my work is best--what I think best, or what other people
3. "If my best work is done by accident, what's the use of trying?"
_Answer._--1. Live to your fullest development in all lines--and keep
your health. Do not so concentrate on art as to neglect life--and your
art will be greater.
2. Do the work you think best, with all your might, accepting others'
judgement only when it convinces yours.
3. Trying, always--that is, doing your best work, life long--is what
allows those happy accidents. Keep on trying.
In this department in August, "E. M. K." asked:
"Would you please outline a plan of organization among married women who
wish to continue practicing their profession, through which they may
arouse other women; and also reach the authorities who have control over
I then recommended political organization as the best possible; but have
been called upon since to mention The Married Women Teachers'
Association, of New York, as an instance of what may be done. The
Secretary is Mrs. Anna G. Walsh, 22 Harvard Avenue, Jamaica, N. Y.
FROM LETTERS OF SUBSCRIBERS
"Charlotte Perkins Gilman: Since the first of January, 1904, I've been
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you to me--and I've been acknowledging the introduction ever since!!
'-----' I bought--and read--and re-read your 'Women and Economics' and
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Long may it continue."
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in all the tons of fiction I have swum through a story of real LOVE
before. * * * Apropos of this not seeing--not grasping the idea--comes
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"Accept my hearty congratulations upon The Forerunner. The first number
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"My mother wants you to know of her enthusiasm over the second issue of
The Forerunner, which she thinks an advance even over the first number.
Her points were these: 1. Such a pleasure to read a homogeneous magazine
instead of having to skip from lion hunting to Christian Science and
from that to flying machines. 2. Admires the way you take the
individual problems of individual women, and by means of the individual
problems lead these women into the larger view of life and into an
understanding of the androcentric culture. 3. Article on Socialism most
concise, clearest and most convincing she has ever read. In this I
heartily agree." * * * "4. The trite phrase about 'not one dull word
from cover to cover' applies literally and without the slightest
exaggeration to this number of The Forerunner."
"I enclosed a dollar; please send your magazine for a year to the
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"As your lectures and books always appealed to my best judgment, I am
anxious to have it a monthly visitor, beginning with the first number."
"It has the spirit of making people think and wish to see things go on."
"To say that we greatly appreciate it is to only hint our mood. It is
by far the strongest and best expressed word on these problems of
society in which are inextricably mingled the position of woman. We
read it with the greatest satisfaction and feel sure that your message
is coming most timely." * * *
"Here is my subscription to The Forerunner--one of the most cheerful
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efforts, for they mean _much_ to mankind."
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Culture. They contain knowledge combined with so much beauty of
expression that they feed and charm the mind alike."
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that it will go to the many men and women who are in sore need of it."
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A FRIENDLY RESPONSE
The editor wishes to acknowledge with cordial thanks the warm response
to the appeal to subscribers to "renew, and get another."
They are doing it, quite rapidly, and only three or four--so far--have
discontinued. One of these did it twice! Evidently The Forerunner was
_non persona grata_ there.
We begin to feel that we have more friends--and warmer ones--than at
OUR BOUND VOLUME AS A CHRISTMAS PRESENT
The first year comprises fourteen issues--November, 1909, to December,
In it is the Housekeeping novel--"What Diantha Did"--which will interest
many, both men and women. It offers a very practical solution to the
In it is also the Book About Men--"The Man-Made World, or Our
There have been books and books about women--mostly, unpleasant. This
is the first one about men, as such; men as distinguished from Human
Beings--as women have always been distinguished from Human Beings.
You won't wholly like the book--just consider whether it is true!
The novel separately, or the book separately, would also make good
presents, but the date of their publication is not settled, while in the
bound volume of the magazine you get them both for only 25c. more than
one would cost.
This set, making a volume of some 420 pages, with its twelve short
stories, its articles, fables, verse, and other matter, will make a very
good gift--for some people. Ready early in December. $1.25.
TO THOSE SPECIALLY INTERESTED IN THiS MAGAZINE, OR SPECIALLY INTERESTED
IN FIFTY DOLLARS
This is not a "Popular Magazine." It does not try to be. It is a
magazine which meets the needs of a comparatively few, but they like it
immensely--as is shown by the extracts from their letters we are now
We want to reach, if possible, all the people who would like The
Forerunner if they knew about it.
For the rest of this year we are making a special offer to anyone who
will get us new subscribers; the regular commission of 25 per cent., and
a rising premium which goes up to a total of 50 per cent. for a hundred
new paid year's subscriptions.
$50.00 for one hundred new subscribers!
For a girl in college who wants to help herself;
For a woman in a liberal church, or with a wide acquaintance among
For a Suffragist in touch with similar believers;
For any man or woman who can reach organizations of liberal-minded
For anybody who thinks they would like to earn $50.00 that way--it is a
Write for full terms, samples, etc.
IF YOU RENEW
The first year runs through December; fourteen copies.
Renew from January, 1911, and get the whole of next year.
IF YOU DISCONTINUE
So far one subscriber has discontinued.
She will get the magazine two months more.
If you must discontinue, please let us know.
The Woman's Journal
585 Boylston St., Boston, Mass.
Official Organ of the National American Woman Suffrage Association
A weekly newspaper devoted to winning the ballot for women
Contains all the best news about women and their progress
FOUNDED 1870 BY LUCY STONE AND HENRY B. BLACKWELL
Alice Stone Blackwell
The Woman's Journal is published in Boston and controlled by the
National American Woman Suffrage Association whose headquarters are at
505 Fifth Avenue, New York City. It gives suffrage news from every
state in the Union, and especially from the states where campaigns are
under way; it gives important suffrage news from all the countries where
the women have the full right of suffrage, and from the countries where
the battle is waging; it gives official announcements and rousing news.
Thousands of women read it every week from beginning to end. Nobody who
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Send for sample copies for yourself and ask us to send them to your
Try our four months trial subscription for 25 cents
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A MONTHLY MAGAZINE FOR WOMEN
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"The Englishwoman" is intended to reach the cultured public and bring
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two hundred branches in Great Britain, and a total membership of about
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the International Woman Suffrage Alliance.
The Common Cause
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The Common Cause
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THE FORERUNNER, of 1911.
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Volume 1. No. 14
Copyright for 1910
C. P. Gilman
You can't give what you haven't got.
The best gifts are love and wisdom, courage and power.
Lay in some!
IN AS MUCH
The Christian arose upon Christmas Day
And solemnly cleared his score:
He called on the sick, to the needy gave alms,
And entered the prison door.
He lent to his friends, gave away his old coat
Was never by sinners enticed,
And handed the man who complained of a throat
A cup of cold water--iced.
He bestowed on a newsboy a new pair of shoes,
And quoted in pious glee:
"In as much as ye've done it to one of these least
Ye have done it unto me."
That night he dreamed upon judgment Day:
Men's hearts were all in their throats;
To his pained surprise he was hustled away
And herded among the goats!
"Oh Lord," he cried, "there is some mistake,
I have always remembered Thee!"
But the world's neglected children rose
And gazed reproachfully.
And a voice replied, "Thy punishment take;
Thy duty thou didst not see!
In as much as ye have NOT done it to ONE
Ye have NOT done it unto me."
A WORD IN SEASON
"Children pick up words like pigeons peas,
And utter them again as God shall please."
When Grandma came to the breakfast table with her sour little smile and
her peremptory "Good morning," every one said "good morning" as politely
and pleasantly as they could, but they didn't say very much else. They
"A fine morning, Mother," Papa observed, but she only answered "Too
"Did you sleep well, Mother?" ventured Mama; and the reply to that was,
"No, I never do!"
Then Uncle John tried--he always tried once.
"Have you heard of our new machine, Mrs. Grey? We've got one now
that'll catch anything in a room--don't have to talk right into it."
Mrs. Grey looked at him coldly.
"I do not take the least interest in your talking machines, Henry, as I
have told you before."
She had, many times before, but Uncle Henry never could learn the
astonishing fact. He was more interested in his machines than he was in
his business, by far; and spent all his spare time in tinkering with
"I think they are wonderful," said little Josie.
"You're my only friend, Kid! I believe you understand 'em almost as
well is I do," her Uncle answered gaily; and finished his breakfast as
quickly as possible.
So did everybody. It was not appetizing to have Grandma say "How you do
dawdle over your meals, Louise!"
Little Josephine slipped down from her chair, with a whispered "Scuse me
Mama!" and whisked into her play room.
"How you do spoil that child!" said Grandma, and Mama closed her lips
tight and looked at her husband.
"Now Mother, don't you fret about Josie," said he. "She's a good little
girl and quiet as a mouse."
"Anything I can do for you downtown, Mother?"
"No thank you Joseph. I'll go to my room and be out of Louise's way."
"You're not in my way at all, Mother--won't you sit down stairs?"
Young Mrs. Grey made a brave effort to speak cordially, but old Mrs.
Grey only looked injured, and said "No thank you, Louise," as she went
Dr. Grey looked at his wife. She met his eyes steadily, cheerfully.
"I think Mother's looking better, don't you dear?" she said.
"There's nothing at all the matter with my mother--except--" he shut his
mouth hard. "There are things I cannot say, Louise," he continued, "but
others I can. Namely; that for sweetness and patience and gentleness
you--you beat the Dutch! And I do appreciate it. One can't turn one's
Mother out of the house, but I do resent her having another doctor!"
"I'd love your Mother, Joseph, if--if she was a thousand times worse!"
his wife answered; and he kissed her with grateful love.
Sarah came in to clear the table presently, and Ellen stood in the
pantry door to chat with her.
"Never in my life did I see any woman wid the patience of her!" said
Ellen, wiping her mouth on her apron.
"She has need of it," said Sarah. "Any Mother-in-law is a trial I've
heard, but this wan is the worst. Why she must needs live with 'em I
don't see--she has daughters of her own."
"Tis the daughter's husbands won't put up wid her," answered Ellen,
"they havin' the say of course. This man's her son--and he has to keep
her if she will stay."
"And she as rich as a Jew!" Sarah went on. "And never spendin' a cent!
And the Doctor workin' night and day!"--
Then Mama came in and this bit of conversation naturally came to an end.
A busy, quiet, sweet little woman was Mama; and small Josie flew into
her arms and cuddled there most happily.
"Mama Dearest," she said, "How long is it to Christmas? Can I get my
mat done for Grandma? And _do_ you think she'll like it?"
"Well, well dear--that's three _questions!_ It's two weeks yet to
Christmas; and I think you can if you work steadily; and I hope she'll
"And Mama--can I have my party?"
"I'm afraid not, dearest. You see Grandma is old, and she hates a noise
and confusion--and parties are expensive. I'm sorry, childie. Can't
you think of something else you want, that Mother can give you?"
"No," said the child, "I've wanted a party for three years, Mama!
Grandma just spoils everything!"
"No, no, dear--you must always love Grandma because she is dear Papa's
mother; and because she is lonely and needs our love.
"We'll have a party some day, Dearest--don't feel badly. And _we_
always have a good time together, don't we?"
They did; but just now the child's heart was set on more social
pleasures, and she went sadly back to her playroom to work on that mat
It was a busy day. Mama's married sister came to see her, and the child
was sent out of the room. Two neighbors called, and waited, chatting,
some time before Mama came down.
Grandma's doctor--who was not Papa--called; and her lawyer too; and they
had to wait some time for the old lady to dress as she thought fitting.
But Grandma's doctor and lawyer were very old friends, and seemed to
The minister came also, not Grandma's minister, who was old and thin and
severe and wore a long white beard; but Mama's minister, who was so
vigorous and cheerful, and would lift Josephine way up over his head--as
if she was ten years old. But Mama sent her out of the room this time,
which was a pity.
To be sure Josephine had a little secret trail from her playroom
door--behind several pieces of furniture--right up to the back of the
sofa where people usually sat, but she was not often interested in their
conversation. She was a quiet child, busy with her own plans and ideas;
playing softly by herself, with much imaginary conversation. She set up
her largest doll, a majestic personage known as "The Lady Isobel," and
talked to her.
"Why is my Grandma so horrid? And why do I have to love her? How can
you love people--if you don't, Lady Isobel?
"Other girls' Grandmas are nice. Nelly Elder's got a lovely Grandma!
She lets Nelly have parties and everything. Maybe if Grandma likes my
mat she'll--be pleasanter.
"Maybe she'll go somewhere else to live--sometime. Don't you think so,
The Lady Isobel's reply, however, was not recorded.
Grandma pursued her pious way as usual, till an early bedtime relieved
the family of her presence. Then Uncle Harry stopped puttering with his
machines and came out to be sociable with his sister. If Papa was at
home they would have a game of solo--if not, they played cribbage, or
Uncle Harry was the life of the household--when Grandma wasn't around.
"Well, Lulu," he said cheerfully, "What's the prospect? Can Joe make
"No," said Mama. "It's out of the question. He could arrange about his
practice easily enough but it's the money for the trip. He'll have to
send his paper to be read."
"It's a shame!" said the young man, "He ought to be there. He'd do
those other doctors good. Why in the name of reason don't the old lady
give him the money--she could, easy enough."
"Joe never'll ask her for a cent," answered Mrs. Grey, "and it would
never occur to her to give him one! Yet I think she loves him best of
all her children."
"Huh! _Love!_" said Uncle Harry.
Grandma didn't sleep well at night. She complained of this
circumstantially and at length.
"Hour after hour I hear the clock strike," she said. "Hour after hour!"
Little Josephine had heard the clock strike hour after hour one terrible
night when she had an earache. She was really sorry for Grandma.
"And nothing to take up my mind," said Grandma, as if her mind was a
burden to her.
But the night after this she had something to take up her mind. As a
matter of fact it woke her up, as she had napped between the clock's
strikings. At first she thought the servants were in her room--and
realized with a start that they were speaking of her.
"Why she must live with 'em I don't see--she has daughters of her own--"
With the interest of an eavesdropper she lay still, listening, and heard
no good of herself.
"How long is it to Christmas?" she presently heard her grandchild ask,
and beg her mother for the "party"--still denied her.
"Grandma spoils everything!" said the clear childish voice, and the
mother's gentle one urged love and patience.
It was some time before the suddenly awakened old lady, in the dark,
realized the source of these voices--and then she could not locate it.
"It's some joke of that young man's" she said grimly--but the joke went
It was Mrs. Grey's sister now, condoling with her about this
"Why do you have to put up with it Louise? Won't any of her daughters
"I'm afraid they don't want her," said Louise's gentle voice. "But Joe
is her son, and of course he feels that his home is his mother's. I
think he is quite right. She is old, and alone--she doesn't _mean_ to
"Well, she achieves it without effort, then! A more disagreeable old
lady I never saw, Louise, and I'd like nothing better than to tell her
The old lady was angry, but impressed. There is a fascination in
learning how others see us, even if the lesson is unpleasant. She heard
the two neighbors who talked together before Mama came down, and their
talk was of her--and of how they pitied young Mrs. Grey.
"If I was in her shoes," said the older of the two, "I'd pick up and
travel! She's only sixty-five--and sound as a nut."
"Has she money enough?" asked the other.
"My, yes! Money to burn! She has her annuity that her father left her,
and a big insurance--and house rents. She must have all of three
thousand a year."
"And doesn't she pay board here?"
"Pay board! Not she. She wouldn't pay anything so long as she has a
relative to live on. She's saved all her life. But nobody'll get any
good of it till she's dead."
This talk stopped when their hostess entered, changing to more general
themes; but the interest revived when men's voices took up the tale.
"Yes--wants her will made again. Always making and unmaking and
remaking. Harmless amusement, I suppose."
"She wastes good money on both of us--and I tell her so. But one can't
be expected to absolutely refuse a patient."
"Or a client!"
"No. I suppose not."
"She's not really ill then?"
"Bless you, Ruthven, I don't know a sounder old woman anywhere. All she
needs is a change--and to think of something besides herself! I tell
her that, too--and she says I'm so eccentric."
"Why in all decency don't her son do her doctoring?"
"I suppose he's too frank--and not quite able to speak his mind. He's a
fine fellow. That paper of his will be a great feature of our
convention. Shame he can't go."
"Why can't he? Can't afford it?"
"That's just it. You see the old lady don't put up--not a cent--and he
has all he can do to keep the boys in college." And their conversation
stopped, and Grandma heard her own voice--inviting the doctor up to her
room--and making another appointment for the lawyer.
Then it was the young minister, a cheerful, brawny youth, whom she had
once described as a "Godless upstart!"
He appeared to be comforting young Mrs. Grey, and commending her. "You
are doing wonders," he said, as their voices came into hearing, "and not
letting your right hand know it, either."
"You make far too much of it, Mr. Eagerson," the soft voice answered, "I
am so happy in my children--my home--my husband. This is the _only_
trouble--I do not complain."
"I know you don't complain, Mrs. Grey, but I want you to know that
you're appreciated! 'It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop,
than with a woman in a wide house'--especially if she's your
"I won't allow you to speak so--if you are my minister!" said young Mrs.
Grey with spirit; and the talk changed to church matters, where the
little lady offered to help with time and service, and regretted that
she had no money to give.
There was a silence, save for small confused noises of a day time
household; distant sounds of doors and dishes; and then in a sad,
confidential voice--"Why is Grandma so horrid? And why do I have to
love her? How can you love people you don't, Lady Isobel?"
Grandma was really fond of quiet little Josephine, even if she did
sometimes snub her as a matter of principle. She lay and listened to
these strictly private remarks, and meditated upon them after they had
ceased. It was a large dose, an omnibus dose, and took some time to
assimilate; but the old lady had really a mind of her own, though much
of it was uninhabited, and this generous burst of light set it to
She said nothing to anyone, but seemed to use her eyes and ears with
more attention than previously, and allowed her grand-daughter's small
efforts toward affection with new receptiveness. She had one talk with
her daughter-in-law which left that little woman wet-eyed and smiling
with pleasure, though she could not tell about it--that was requisite.
But the family in general heard nothing of any change of heart till
breakfast time on Christmas morning. They sat enjoying that pleasant
meal, in the usual respite before the old lady appeared, when Sarah came
in with a bunch of notes and laid one at each plate, with an air of
"She said I was to leave 'em till you was all here--and here they are!"
said Sarah, smiling mysteriously, "and that I was to say nothing--and I
haven't!" And the red-cheeked girl folded her arms and waited--as
interested as anybody.
Uncle Harry opened his first. "I bet it's a tract!" said he. But he
blushed to the roots of his thick brown hair as he took out, not a
tract, but a check.
"A Christmas present to my son-in-law-by-marriage; to be spent on the
improvement of talking machines--if that is necessary!"
"Why bless her heart!" said he, "I call that pretty handsome, and I'll
tell her so!"
Papa opened his.
"For your Convention trip, dear son," said this one, "and for a new
dress suit--and a new suit case, and a new overcoat--a nice one. With
It was a large check, this one. Papa sat quite silent and looked at his
wife. She went around the table and hugged him--she had to.
"You've got one, too, Louise," said he--and she opened it.
"For my dear daughter Louise; this--to be spent on other people; and
_this_" (_this_ was much bigger) "to be inexorably spent on
herself--every cent of it! On her own special needs and pleasures--if
she can think of any!"
Louise was simply crying--and little Josephine ran to comfort her.
"Hold on Kiddie--you haven't opened yours," said Uncle Harry; and they
all eagerly waited while the child carefully opened her envelope with a
clean knife, and read out solemnly and slowly, "For my darling
Grand-child Josephine, to be spent by herself, for herself, with Mama's
advice and assistance; and in particular to provide for her party!"
She turned over the stiff little piece of paper--hardly understanding.
"It's a check, dear," said Papa. "It's the same as money. Parties cost
money, and Grandma has made you a Christmas present of your party."
The little girl's eyes grew big with joy.
"Can I?--Is there really--a party?"
"There is really a party--for my little daughter, this afternoon at
"O where is Grandma!" cried the child--"I want to hug her!"
They all rose up hurriedly, but Sarah came forward from her scant
pretense of retirement, with another note for Dr. Grey.
"I was to give you this last of all," she said, with an air of one
fulfilling grave diplomatic responsibility.
"My dear ones," ran the note, "I have gathered from my family and
friends, and from professional and spiritual advisers the idea that
change is often beneficial. With this in mind I have given myself a
Christmas present of a Cook's Tour around the world--and am gone. A
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!"
She was gone.
Sarah admitted complicity.
"Sure she would have no one know a thing--not a word!" said Sarah. "And
she gave us something handsome to help her! And she's got that young
widder Johnson for a companion--and they went off last night on the
sleeper for New York!"
The gratitude of the family had to be spent in loving letters, and in
great plans of what they would do to make Grandma happy when she came
No one felt more grateful than little loving Josephine, whose dearest
wishes were all fulfilled. When she remembered it she went very
quietly, when all were busy somewhere else, climbed up on the step
ladder, and took down the forgotten phonograph from the top of the
"Dear Grandma!" she said. "I do hope she liked it!"
When the Writer or the Preacher or one who chances to be both considers
a Christmas sermon, a Christmas story, what is the idea that comes
Love, of course. Not sex-love: that's for every day. Not Mother-love:
that's always and always. Not any of the minor brands of admiring
devotion, gratitude, sympathy, friendship, attraction of any sort. No.
When we say "Love" at Christmas time we mean Love, the Spirit of Life.
About once a year we give thought to it. About once a year we seek to
express it; and, pitiful and limited though that expression be, its
forms are right.
These main forms of Christmas expressions are two-fold: the Spirit of
Joy, of Celebration, of High Festival--the highest of all; and the
Spirit of Giving. These are found wherever Christmas is kept, and make
it, as it should be, the glory of the year. In joy and in giving we are
most absolutely in line with the mainspring of the Universe: unmeasured
happiness--happiness that cannot be quenched--cannot be kept to
ourselves. What must run over and pour forth on other people: that is
real Love, Christmas Love--and that, of course, finds physical
expression in gay festivities and showering gifts.
Light, color, music--all that is sweet and gay and comforting; games,
dances and performances that show the happy heart; and always the
overflow--giving, giving, giving. That is the Spirit of Life.
It is the children's festival because children are more in line with the
Life Spirit than weazened old folk: the child has the passionate thirst
for joy which marks his high parentage.
Whatever else is true about the Central Power of the Universe, this is
true: it _is_ power. And it pours forth in Radiant Energy. All
"inanimate nature," so called, expresses this Power, each form after its
kind; and all animate nature, crowned with consciousness, not only
expresses it, but _feels_ it,--which is called "Living."
We human beings are the highest, finest, subtlest instrument on this
planet to receive and to transmit these waves of pouring Power. When we
feel it most we call it Happiness. In two ways it reaches our
consciousness, as it comes in and as it goes out, via the sensory and
motor nerves. The joy of receiving power is great: "stimulus" we call
it. It comes to us along the avenues of sense and thrills us with
increased well being. But this kind of pleasure is sadly limited by
those sense nerves of ours. We are but a little tea-cup: we cannot hold
much. The Music of the Spheres might pour round us; the light of a
thousand suns, the sweetness of piled banks of flowers, and all honey
and sugar and rich food: every sense can be fed to its little limit
only--and there the Happiness stops.
We can only feel so much--coming in. But there seems to be no limit to
the joy we feel when Power goes out through us. It seems so
self-evident, so needless, to say "It is more blessed to give than to
receive." Why _of course_ it is: any child even knows that.
True, a child, having a fresh, unsated sensorium, can receive with more
vivid pleasure than an adult--for a while. But it is easily over-tired,
easily over-fed with sensation, easily bored and weary with receiving.
Not with giving! Every child delights to let out the Power which is in
him--in her; delights to make and delights to give. Therefore, to
children is this their festival: the busy weeks of happiness in making
gifts, the swelling, glowing pride of giving them!
It's all right as far as it goes, but why, when such a thing is such
transcendent splendid blessedness, why only once a year? Why should
this beautiful experience in which we not only remember the birth of the
man who taught the world most of love but even try to practise what He
preached--why should it be limited to a mere memorial of His birthday,
plastered over the remnants of ancient festivals of the return of the
Sun God--the Goodness of the Earth Mother?
If Christmas is good, why not more of it? Then we smile, wryly, and
say, "Why, of course, we couldn't. The rest of life isn't like
that--and we have to live, you see."
Ah, that is where we are wrong--utterly wrong. The rest of life _is_
like that. That is _life_--Loving and Giving.
"Tut! Tut!" says the Practical Man. "That's emotional nonsense. That's
womanish." Two-thirds right, my practical friend. It is not nonsense,
but it is "emotional" and it is "womanish."
Emotion is _consciousness under pressure._ When we feel Power, we call
it emotion. Emotions vary: some are helpful and some hateful, according
to the nature of the instrument; but not to be emotional at all is not
to be alive. Those who spend their lives lit by a blaze of emotion,
warmed by a deep, slow-burning fire of emotion, pouring forth that
emotion in great works--we call Geniuses. Genius is simply more Power.
As to being womanish: that word is no longer a term of reproach or
belittlement. To be womanish is to be human, and we may now turn round
and pitifully dismiss much old world folly and passion as merely
"mannish." To be womanish--and practical--let us repeat, Life _is_
Loving and Giving. When we realize this, intelligently and completely,
we shall have a "continuous performance" of Christmases and a higher
level of happiness the year round, varied by greater heights. At
present the natural flood of Life Force, pouring through us in unbounded
creative energy, resulting in the myriad forms of human achievement and
manufacture, is sadly thwarted in its output by lingering remains of our
For a long time we lived by getting: to hunt, to catch, to kill, to eat
was all we knew: no loving or giving there save as the mother fulfilled
the law. But since our Humaness began, since all our thousand powers
and talents grew for mutual service, since we learned to do things for
each other--to make things for each other, to give things to each
other--then grew in us that rising tide of Power which lives out in
In spite of our old world perverseness, that Power pours on. Though we
scorn the gifts of those who make the comforts of life for us, though we
despise their service and so cruelly use them as to greatly thwart their
love--still we are fed and housed and clothed and carried by the love
and service of our kind, the daily, hourly gifts of those who work.
"They are not gifts," cries the Practical Man. "They are paid
for--every bit of 'em." Yes, Brother. And how paid for? Paid how
much? What scant reward, what meagre living, what miserable houses,
what stinted food, what limited education, and what poisoned pleasures
do we pay to those who make every necessity, comfort, convenience and
luxury for us!
Pay indeed! If a man "saves your life" once, and you give him twenty
cents an hour for his exertions in your behalf--have you paid him? By
the life-long labor of the human race--all those dead workers who built
up the structure of our present world, all those living workers who keep
the wheels revolving now--by these labors we live, all of us, all the
Pay? Pay for daily--hourly--maintenance, protection, food, shelter,
safety, comfort? Pay for being kept alive?
Life is giving--Loving and Giving. You can't pay for it. You don't pay
for it. But this you do: you hinder it, by your paying. This pitiful
trickle of measurement, this ticking and pricing and holding back the
world's flood of outpouring energy by our wretched turnstiles--this is
what keeps us poor!
We need to let loose the Power that is in us. We need to Love more and
Give more--a plain truth, Jesus taught some centuries ago, largely in
vain. We have but to let out the love that is in us: there is no limit
to its flood.
To so love every child that is born on earth as to provide that child
with all that it needs for richest growth, for full appreciation of the
splendor of human life--of conscious citizenship! Children so reared
will have a thousandfold more to give, and a thousandfold greater joy in
giving. Then life will roll out through our glad hearts and willing
hands as the sun's light pours abroad--only that we are conscious, we
feel this light, this heat, this radiant energy. We call it--_love._
WHAT DIANTHA DID
AND HEAVEN BESIDE.
They were married while the flowers were knee-deep over the sunny slopes
and mesas, and the canyons gulfs of color and fragrance, and went for
their first moon together to a far high mountain valley hidden among
wooded peaks, with a clear lake for its central jewel.
A month of heaven; while wave on wave of perfect rest and
world-forgetting oblivion rolled over both their hearts.
They swam together in the dawn-flushed lake, seeing the morning mists
float up from the silver surface, breaking the still reflection of thick
trees and rosy clouds, rejoicing in the level shafts of forest filtered
sunlight. They played and ran like children, rejoiced over their picnic
meals; lay flat among the crowding flowers and slept under the tender
"I don't see," said her lover, "but that my strenuous Amazon is just as
much a woman as--as any woman!"
"Who ever said I wasn't?" quoth Diantha demurely.
A month of perfect happiness. It was so short it seemed but a moment;
so long in its rich perfection that they both agreed if life brought no
further joy this was Enough.
Then they came down from the mountains and began living.
Day service is not so easily arranged on a ranch some miles from town.
They tried it for a while, the new runabout car bringing out a girl in
the morning early, and taking Diantha in to her office.
But motor cars are not infallible; and if it met with any accident there
was delay at both ends, and more or less friction.
Then Diantha engaged a first-class Oriental gentleman, well recommended
by the "vegetable Chinaman," on their own place. This was extremely
satisfactory; he did the work well, and was in all ways reliable; but
there arose in the town a current of malicious criticism and
protest--that she "did not live up to her principles."
To this she paid no attention; her work was now too well planted, too
increasingly prosperous to be weakened by small sneers.
Her mother, growing plumper now, thriving continuously in her new lines
of work, kept the hotel under her immediate management, and did
bookkeeping for the whole concern. New Union Home ran itself, and
articles were written about it in magazines; so that here and there in
other cities similar clubs were started, with varying success. The
restaurant was increasingly popular; Diantha's cooks were highly skilled
and handsomely paid, and from the cheap lunch to the expensive banquet
they gave satisfaction.
But the "c. f. d." was the darling of her heart, and it prospered
exceedingly. "There is no advertisement like a pleased customer," and
her pleased customers grew in numbers and in enthusiasm. Family after
family learned to prize the cleanliness and quiet, the odorlessness and
flylessness of a home without a kitchen, and their questioning guests
were converted by the excellent of the meals.
Critical women learned at last that a competent cook can really produce
better food than an incompetent one; albeit without the sanctity of the
"Sanctity of your bootstraps!" protested one irascible gentleman. "Such
talk is all nonsense! I don't want _sacred_ meals--I want good
ones--and I'm getting them, at last!"
"We don't brag about 'home brewing' any more," said another, "or 'home
tailoring,' or 'home shoemaking.' Why all this talk about 'home
What pleased the men most was not only the good food, but its clock-work
regularity; and not only the reduced bills but the increased health and
happiness of their wives. Domestic bliss increased in Orchardina, and
the doctors were more rigidly confined to the patronage of tourists.
Ross Warden did his best. Under the merciless friendliness of Mr.
Thaddler he had been brought to see that Diantha had a right to do this
if she would, and that he had no right to prevent her; but he did not
like it any the better.
When she rolled away in her little car in the bright, sweet mornings, a
light went out of the day for him. He wanted her there, in the
home--his home--his wife--even when he was not in it himself. And in
this particular case it was harder than for most men, because he was in
the house a good deal, in his study, with no better company than a
polite Chinaman some distance off.
It was by no means easy for Diantha, either. To leave him tugged at her
heart-strings, as it did at his; and if he had to struggle with
inherited feelings and acquired traditions, still more was she beset
with an unexpected uprising of sentiments and desires she had never
dreamed of feeling.
With marriage, love, happiness came an overwhelming instinct of
service--personal service. She wanted to wait on him, loved to do it;
regarded Wang Fu with positive jealousy when he brought in the coffee
and Ross praised it. She had a sense of treason, of neglected duty, as
she left the flower-crowned cottage, day by day.
But she left it, she plunged into her work, she schooled herself
"Shame on you!" she berated herself. "Now--_now_ that you've got
everything on earth--to weaken! You could stand unhappiness; can't you
stand happiness?" And she strove with herself; and kept on with her
After all, the happiness was presently diluted by the pressure of this
blank wall between them. She came home, eager, loving, delighted to be
with him again. He received her with no complaint or criticism, but
always an unspoken, perhaps imagined, sense of protest. She was full of
loving enthusiasm about his work, and he would dilate upon his harassed
guinea-pigs and their development with high satisfaction.
But he never could bring himself to ask about her labors with any
genuine approval; she was keenly sensitive to his dislike for the
subject, and so it was ignored between them, or treated by him in a vein
of humor with which he strove to cover his real feeling.
When, before many months were over, the crowning triumph of her effort
revealed itself, her joy and pride held this bitter drop--he did not
sympathize--did not approve. Still, it was a great glory.
The New York Company announced the completion of their work and the
_Hotel del las Casas_ was opened to public inspection. "House of the
Houses! That's a fine name!" said some disparagingly; but, at any rate,
it seemed appropriate. The big estate was one rich garden, more
picturesque, more dreamily beautiful, than the American commercial mind
was usually able to compass, even when possessed of millions. The hotel
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