The Forerunner, Volume 1 (1909-1910)
Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Part 2 out of 18
perhaps even less. Good things happen sometimes--such as you, my heart's
They were at her gate now, and she stood a little while to say
good-night. A step inside there was a seat, walled in by evergreen,
roofed over by the wide acacia boughs. Many a long good-night had they
exchanged there, under the large, brilliant California moon. They sat
there, silent, now.
Diantha's heart was full of love for him, and pride and confidence in
him; but it was full of other feelings, too, which he could not fathom.
His trouble was clearer to her than to him; as heavy to bear. To her
mind, trained in all the minutiae of domestic economy, the Warden family
lived in careless wastefulness. That five women--for Dora was older
than she had been when she began to do housework--should require
servants, seemed to this New England-born girl mere laziness and pride.
That two voting women over twenty should prefer being supported by their
brother to supporting themselves, she condemned even more sharply.
Moreover, she felt well assured that with a different family to
"support," Mr. Warden would never have broken down so suddenly and
irrecoverably. Even that funeral--her face hardened as she thought of
the conspicuous "lot," the continual flowers, the monument (not wholly
paid for yet, that monument, though this she did not know)--all that
expenditure to do honor to the man they had worked to death (thus
brutally Diantha put it) was probably enough to put off their happiness
for a whole year.
She rose at last, her hand still held in his. "I'm sorry, but I've got
to get supper, dear," she said, "and you must go. Good-night for the
present; you'll be round by and by?"
"Yes, for a little while, after we close up," said he, and took himself
off, not too suddenly, walking straight and proud while her eves were on
him, throwing her a kiss from the corner; but his step lagging and his
headache settling down upon him again as he neared the large house with
Diantha watched him out of sight, turned and marched up the path to her
own door, her lips set tight, her well-shaped head as straightly held as
his. "It's a shame, a cruel, burning shame!" she told herself
rebelliously. "A man of his ability. Why, he could do anything, in his
own work! And he loved it so!
"To keep a grocery store--
""And nothing to show for all that splendid effort!
"They don't do a thing? They just _live_--and 'keep house!' All those
"Six years? Likely to be sixty! But I'm not going to wait!"
WHERE THE HEART IS
A small stone city, very old, built upon rock, rock-paved, rock-bound
with twenty centuries of walls.
A Ghetto, an age-old Ghetto, crowded into a stony corner of the crowded
stony city; its steep and narrow confines not more a boundary than the
iron prejudices that built them.
In the Ghetto--life, human life; close-pressed, kept to its elemental
forms, with a vitality purchased at nature's awful price--by surviving
This life, denied all larger grouping, finds its sole joy in fierce deep
love of family and home. This home a room, a low and narrow room,
unwholesome, dark, incredibly filled up, yet overflowing most with love.
Here was peace. Here was Honor wherewith to face the outer Scorn. Here
was Safety--the only safety known. Here, most of all was Love, Love,
wound and interwound with the blood-tie, deepened by religion,
intensified by centuries of relentless pressure, strengthened a
thousandfold by the unbroken cruelty of the environment. Love, one with
the family; the family one with the home; the home, for generation after
A miracle! Some daughter of this house, strayed as a child, found by
eccentric travellers, taken to England, reared with love and care to
strange exotic beauty, marrying a great landowner so lost in passionate
devotion that he gave her all he had, and, dying, left her heir to vast
She following, her family inherit the estate, and come to take
They enter the tall pillared gates; they wander up the shaded avenue, a
little group, huddled and silent, timid, ill at ease. They mount the
wide, white marble-terraced steps, the children crowding close, the
mother frightened, the father striving to hold up this new strange pride
under his time-swollen burden of humility and fear.
These towering halls, these broad-curved stairways, these lofty
chambers, even the great kitchens and their clustering offices, are to
this timid group as wide and desolate as deserts or the sea.
They seek a room, a room that shall be small enough and low enough and
dark enough; they reach at last one friendly sheltering little
room--crowd into it with tumultuous affection, and find a home!
It is home where the heart is!
A new age where new power has conquered a new element, and sky-sailors
seek for large discoveries compared to which the old "new world" was but
a dooryard venture. Our little world now known from coast to coast and
pole to pole; its problems solved, its full powers mastered; its sweet
serviceableness and unfailing comfort the common joy of all.
Later science, piling wonder upon wonder, handling radiant energy,
packing compressed air for long excursions into outer space, sends out
some skyship on tremendous errands of interstellar search. Days, weeks,
they flit, with speed incredible, our earth a speck, our moon invisible,
our sun a star among the others now; then having done their work, turn
the sharp prow and study their vast charts for the return.
Out of that blackness, wider than our minds, back from the awful
strangeness of new stars, they turn and fly. All know their charts, all
have their telescopes, all see that old familiar system swinging nearer.
They greet the sun as we Fire Island--the moon like Sandy Hook.
But that small star, bigger and bigger now, its heavenly radiance fading
softly down to the warm glow of earthly beauty, coming out round and
full at last--ah! how they choke, how they cry out to see it!
Nearer--the blue skin of the all-enclosing sea, the green of
interrupting continents; now they can recognize the hemisphere--the
tears come--this is home!
It is home where the heart is.
I never thought much of the folks who pray
The Lord to make them thankful for a meal
Expecting Him to furnish all the food
And then provide them with the gratitude
They haven't grace to feel.
I never thought much of this yearly thanks,
Either for what once happened long ago,
Or for "our constant mercies." To my mind
If we're to thank a Power that's daily kind,
Our annual's too slow.
Suppose we spread Thanksgiving--hand it round--
Give God an honest heartful every day;
And, while we're being thankful, why not give
Some gratitude to those by whom we live--
As well as stingy pay?
OUR ANDROCENTRIC CULTURE, or THE MAN-MADE WORLD
AS TO HUMANNESS.
Let us begin, inoffensively, with sheep. The sheep is a beast with
which we are all familiar, being much used in religious imagery; the
common stock of painters; a staple article of diet; one of our main
sources of clothing; and an everyday symbol of bashfulness and
In some grazing regions the sheep is an object of terror, destroying
grass, bush and forest by omnipresent nibbling; on the great plains,
sheep-keeping frequently results in insanity, owing to the loneliness of
the shepherd, and the monotonous appearance and behavior of the sheep.
By the poet, young sheep are preferred, the lamb gambolling gaily;
unless it be in hymns, where "all we like sheep" are repeatedly
described, and much stress is laid upon the straying propensities of the
To the scientific mind there is special interest in the sequacity of
sheep, their habit of following one another with automatic imitation.
This instinct, we are told, has been developed by ages of wild crowded
racing on narrow ledges, along precipices, chasms, around sudden spurs
and corners, only the leader seeing when, where and how to jump. If
those behind jumped exactly as he did, they lived. If they stopped to
exercise independent judgment, they were pushed off and perished; they
and their judgment with them.
All these things, and many that are similar, occur to us when we think
of sheep. They are also ewes and rams. Yes, truly; but what of it?
All that has been said was said of sheep, _genus ovis,_ that bland
beast, compound of mutton, wool, and foolishness. so widely known. If
we think of the sheep-dog (and dog-ess), the shepherd (and
shepherd-ess), of the ferocious sheep-eating bird of New Zealand, the
Kea (and Kea-ess), all these herd, guard, or kill the sheep, both rams
and ewes alike. In regard to mutton, to wool, to general character, we
think only of their sheepishness, not at all of their ramishness or
eweishness. That which is ovine or bovine, canine, feline or equine, is
easily recognized as distinguishing that particular species of animal,
and has no relation whatever to the sex thereof.
Returning to our muttons, let us consider the ram, and wherein his
character differs from the sheep. We find he has a more quarrelsome
disposition. He paws the earth and makes a noise. He has a tendency to
butt. So has a goat--Mr. Goat. So has Mr. Buffalo, and Mr. Moose, and
Mr. Antelope. This tendency to plunge head foremost at an
adversary--and to find any other gentleman an adversary on
sight--evidently does not pertain to sheep, to _genus ovis;_ but to any
male creature with horns.
As "function comes before organ," we may even give a reminiscent glance
down the long path of evolution, and see how the mere act of
butting--passionately and perpetually repeated--born of the beliggerent
spirit of the male--produced horns!
The ewe, on the other hand, exhibits love and care for her little ones,
gives them milk and tries to guard them. But so does a goat--Mrs. Goat.
So does Mrs. Buffalo and the rest. Evidently this mother instinct is
no peculiarity of _genus ovis,_ but of any female creature.
Even the bird, though not a mammal, shows the same mother-love and
mother-care, while the father bird, though not a butter, fights with
beak and wing and spur. His competition is more effective through
display. The wish to please, the need to please, the overmastering
necessity upon him that he secure the favor of the female, has made the
male bird blossom like a butterfly. He blazes in gorgeous plumage,
rears haughty crests and combs, shows drooping wattles and dangling
blobs such as the turkey-cock affords; long splendid feathers for pure
ornament appear upon him; what in her is a mere tail-effect becomes in
him a mass of glittering drapery.
Partridge-cock, farmyard-cock, peacock, from sparrow to ostrich, observe
his mien! To strut and languish; to exhibit every beauteous lure; to
sacrifice ease, comfort, speed, everything--to beauty--for her
sake--this is the nature of the he-bird of any species; the
characteristic, not of the turkey, but of the cock! With drumming of
loud wings, with crow and quack and bursts of glorious song, he woos his
mate; displays his splendors before her; fights fiercely with his
rivals. To butt--to strut--to make a noise--all for love's sake; these
acts are common to the male.
We may now generalize and clearly state: That is masculine which belongs
to the male--to any or all males, irrespective of species. That is
feminine which belongs to the female, to any or all females,
irrespective of species. That is ovine, bovine, feline, canine, equine
or asinine which belongs to that species, irrespective of sex.
In our own species all this is changed. We have been so taken up with
the phenomena of masculinity and femininity, that our common humanity
has largely escaped notice. We know we are human, naturally, and are
very proud of it; but we do not consider in what our humanness consists;
nor how men and women may fall short of it, or overstep its bounds, in
continual insistence upon their special differences. It is "manly" to
do this; it is "womanly" to do that; but what a human being should do
under the circumstances is not thought of.
The only time when we do recognize what we call "common humanity" is in
extreme cases, matters of life and death; when either man or woman is
expected to behave as if they were also human creatures. Since the
range of feeling and action proper to humanity, as such, is far wider
than that proper to either sex, it seems at first somewhat remarkable
that we have given it so little recognition.
A little classification will help us here. We have certain qualities in
common with inanimate matter, such as weight, opacity, resilience. It
is clear that these are not human. We have other qualities in common
with all forms of life; cellular construction, for instance, the
reproduction of cells and the need of nutrition. These again are not
human. We have others, many others, common to the higher mammals; which
are not exclusively ours--are not distinctively "human." What then are
true human characteristics? In what way is the human species
distinguished from all other species?
Our human-ness is seen most clearly in three main lines: it is
mechanical, psychical and social. Our power to make and use things is
essentially human; we alone have extra-physical tools. We have added to
our teeth the knife, sword, scissors, mowing machine; to our claws the
spade, harrow, plough, drill, dredge. We are a protean creature, using
the larger brain power through a wide variety of changing weapons. This
is one of our main and vital distinctions. Ancient animal races are
traced and known by mere bones and shells, ancient human races by their
buildings, tools and utensils.
That degree of development which gives us the human mind is a clear
distinction of race. The savage who can count a hundred is more human
than the savage who can count ten.
More prominent than either of these is the social nature of humanity.
We are by no means the only group-animal; that ancient type of industry
the ant, and even the well-worn bee, are social creatures. But insects
of their kind are found living alone. Human beings never. Our
human-ness begins with some low form of social relation and increases as
that relation develops.
Human life of any sort is dependent upon what Kropotkin calls "mutual
aid," and human progress keeps step absolutely with that interchange of
specialized services which makes society organic. The nomad, living on
cattle as ants live on theirs, is less human than the farmer, raising
food by intelligently applied labor; and the extension of trade and
commerce, from mere village market-places to the world-exchanges of
to-day, is extension of human-ness as well.
Humanity, thus considered, is not a thing made at once and unchangeable,
but a stage of development; and is still, as Wells describes it, "in the
making." Our human-ness is seen to lie not so much in what we are
individually, as in our relations to one another; and even that
individuality is but the result of our relations to one another. It is
in what we do and how we do it, rather than in what we are. Some,
philosophically inclined, exalt "being" over "doing." To them this
question may be put: "Can you mention any form of life that merely 'is,'
without doing anything?"
Taken separately and physically, we are animals, _genus homo_; taken
socially and psychically, we are, in varying degree, human; and our real
history lies in the development of this human-ness.
Our historic period is not very long. Real written history only goes
back a few thousand years, beginning with the stone records of ancient
Egypt. During this period we have had almost universally what is here
called an Androcentric Culture. The history, such as it was, was made
and written by men.
The mental, the mechanical, the social development, was almost wholly
theirs. We have, so far, lived and suffered and died in a man-made
world. So general, so unbroken, has been this condition, that to
mention it arouses no more remark than the statement of a natural law.
We have taken it for granted, since the dawn of civilization, that
"mankind" meant men-kind, and the world was theirs.
Women we have sharply delimited. Women were a sex, "the sex," according
to chivalrous toasts; they were set apart for special services peculiar
to femininity. As one English scientist put it, in 1888, "Women are not
only not the race--they are not even half the race, but a subspecies
told off for reproduction only."
This mental attitude toward women is even more clearly expressed by Mr.
H. B. Marriot-Watson in his article on "The American Woman" in the
"Nineteenth Century" for June, 1904, where he says: "Her constitutional
restlessness has caused her to abdicate those functions which alone
excuse or explain her existence." This is a peculiarly happy and
condensed expression of the relative position of women during our
androcentric culture. The man was accepted as the race type without one
dissentient voice; and the woman--a strange, diverse creature, quite
disharmonious in the accepted scheme of things--was excused and
explained only as a female.
She has needed volumes of such excuse and explanation; also, apparently,
volumes of abuse and condemnation. In any library catalogue we may find
books upon books about women: physiological, sentimental, didactic,
religious--all manner of books about women, as such. Even to-day in the
works of Marholm--poor young Weininger, Moebius, and others, we find the
same perpetual discussion of women--as such.
This is a book about men--as such. It differentiates between the human
nature and the sex nature. It will not go so far as to allege man's
masculine traits to be all that excuse, or explain his existence: but it
will point out what are masculine traits as distinct from human ones,
and what has been the effect on our human life of the unbridled
dominance of one sex.
We can see at once, glaringly, what would have been the result of giving
all human affairs into female hands. Such an extraordinary and
deplorable situation would have "feminized" the world. We should have
all become "effeminate."
See how in our use of language the case is clearly shown. The
adjectives and derivatives based on woman's distinctions are alien and
derogatory when applied to human affairs; "effeminate"--too female,
connotes contempt, but has no masculine analogue; whereas
"emasculate"--not enough male, is a term of reproach, and has no
feminine analogue. "Virile"--manly, we oppose to "puerile"--childish,
and the very word "virtue" is derived from "vir"--a man.
Even in the naming of other animals we have taken the male as the race
type, and put on a special termination to indicate "his female," as in
lion, lioness; leopard, leopardess; while all our human scheme of things
rests on the same tacit assumption; man being held the human type; woman
a sort of accompaniment aud subordinate assistant, merely essential to
the making of people.
She has held always the place of a preposition in relation to man. She
has been considered above him or below him, before him, behind him,
beside him, a wholly relative existence--"Sydney's sister," "Pembroke's
mother"--but never by any chance Sydney or Pembroke herself.
Acting on this assumption, all human standards have been based on male
characteristics, and when we wish to praise the work of a woman, we say
she has "a masculine mind."
It is no easy matter to deny or reverse a universal assumption. The
human mind has had a good many jolts since it began to think, but after
each upheaval it settles down as peacefully as the vine-growers on
Vesuvius, accepting the last lava crust as permanent ground.
What we see immediately around us, what we are born into and grow up
with, be it mental furniture or physical, we assume to be the order of
If a given idea has been held in the human mind for many generations, as
almost all our common ideas have, it takes sincere and continued effort
to remove it; and if it is one of the oldest we have in stock, one of
the big, common, unquestioned world ideas, vast is the labor of those
who seek to change it.
Nevertheless, if the matter is one of importance, if the previous idea
was a palpable error, of large and evil effect, and if the new one is
true and widely important, the effort is worth making.
The task here undertaken is of this sort. It seeks to show that what we
have all this time called "human nature" and deprecated, was in great
part only male nature, and good enough in its place; that what we have
called "masculine" and admired as such, was in large part human, and
should be applied to both sexes: that what we have called "feminine" and
condemned, was also largely human and applicable to both. Our
androcentric culture is so shown to have been, and still to be, a
masculine culture in excess, and therefore undesirable.
In the preliminary work of approaching these facts it will be well to
explain how it can be that so wide and serious an error should have been
made by practically all men. The reason is simply that they were men.
They were males, avid saw women as females--and not otherwise.
So absolute is this conviction that the man who reads will say, "Of
course! How else are we to look at women except as females? They are
females, aren't they?" Yes, they are, as men are males unquestionably;
but there is possible the frame of mind of the old marquise who was
asked by an English friend how she could bear to have the footman serve
her breakfast in bed--to have a man in her bed-chamber--and replied
sincerely, "Call you that thing there a man?"
The world is full of men, but their principal occupation is human work
of some sort; and women see in them the human distinction
preponderantly. Occasionally some unhappy lady marries her
coachman--long contemplation of broad shoulders having an effect,
apparently; but in general women see the human creature most; the male
creature only when they love.
To the man, the whole world was his world; his because he was male; and
the whole world of woman was the home; because she was female. She had
her prescribed sphere, strictly limited to her feminine occupations and
interests; he had all the rest of life; and not only so, but, having it,
insisted on calling it male.
This accounts for the general attitude of men toward the now rapid
humanization of women. From her first faint struggles toward freedom
and justice, to her present valiant efforts toward full economic and
political equality, each step has been termed "unfeminine" and resented
as an intrusion upon man's place and power. Here shows the need of our
new classification, of the three distinct fields of life--masculine,
feminine and human.
As a matter of fact, there is a "woman's sphere," sharply defined and
quite different from his; there is also a "man's sphere," as sharply
defined and even more limited; but there remains a common sphere--that
of humanity, which belongs to both alike.
In the earlier part of what is known as "the woman's movement," it was
sharply opposed on the ground that women would become "unsexed." Let us
note in passing that they have become unsexed in one particular, most
glaringly so, and that no one has noticed or objected to it.
As part of our androcentric culture we may point to the peculiar
reversal of sex characteristics which make the human female carry the
burden of ornament. She alone, of all human creatures, has adopted the
essentially masculine attribute of special sex-decoration; she does not
fight for her mate as yet, but she blooms forth as the peacock and bird
of paradise, in poignant reversal of nature's laws, even wearing
masculine feathers to further her feminine ends.
Woman's natural work as a female is that of the mother; man's natural
work as a male is that of the father; their mutual relation to this end
being a source of joy and well-being when rightly held: but human work
covers all our life outside of these specialties. Every handicraft,
every profession, every science, every art, all normal amusements and
recreations, all government, education, religion; the whole living world
of human achievement: all this is human.
That one sex should have monopolized all human activities, called them
"man's work," and managed them as such, is what is meant by the phrase
COMMENT AND REVIEW
Why does anybody criticize anything? And why does THE FORERUNNER
criticize--the things herein treated?
On examination, we find several sources of criticism. The earliest and
commonest is the mere expression of personal opinion, as is heard where
young persons are becoming acquainted, the voluble "I like this!" and
"Don't you like that?" and "Isn't such a thing horrid?" For hours do
the impressionable young exchange their ardent sentiments; and the same
may be heard from older persons in everyday discussion.
This form of criticism has its value. It serves to show, even
relentlessly to expose, the qualities and deficiencies of the critic.
What one "likes" merely shows what one is like.
The vitality dies out of it, however, when one learns two things; first,
that likings change with growth of character and new experience, and,
second, that few people are interested in an inventory of limitations.
Following this comes another painfully common source of criticism--the
desire to exhibit superiority. The aged are prone to this fault in
discussion of the young and their achievements. The elect in general
show it, seeking to prove to common people that these are not as they
are; the conservative rests his objection to anything new and different
on the same broad base; and the critic, the real, professional critic,
can hardly trust himself to approve warmly of anything, lest it weaken
his reputation. If he does, it must be something which is caviar to the
Then comes that amiable desire to instruct and assist, born of parental
instinct, fostered by pedagogy, intrusted by St. Paul to the "husband at
home." Moved by this feeling, we point out the errors of our friends
and mark examination papers; and thus does the teacher of painting move
among his pupils and leave them in ranks of glimmering hope or dark
Another fruitful source of criticism is a natural wish to free one's
mind; as the hapless public sputters on the street, or in letters to the
papers, protesting against the stupidity and cruelty of its many
aggressors. Under this impulse bursts forth the chattering flood of
discussion after play or lecture, merely to relieve the pressure.
Then comes a very evil cause--the desire to give pain, to injure.
Certain persons, and publications, use their critical ability with great
effect to this end. In England it seems to be a sort of game, great
literary personages rush out into the open and belabor each other
mercilessly; while the public rejoices as at a prize-fight. We
sometimes see a newspaper offering its readers a form of entertainment
which is not even a fight, nor yet a prompt and needed execution, but a
sort of torture-chamber exhibition, where the dumb victim is vilified
and ridiculed, grilled and "roasted," to make an American holiday.
There is one more cause of criticism--the need of money. Some people
are hired to criticize others, the nature of their attentions wholly
dictated by the employer. A shadowy bridge is opened here, connecting
criticism with advertisement. Many cross it.
For any criticism to have value it must rest clearly and honestly upon a
definite point of view.
"The Toad beneath the harrow knows
Exactly where each tooth point goes.
The Butterfly upon the road
Preaches contentment to that Toad."
If one elects, for instance, to criticize an illustration in
particular--or a particular illustration--or the present status of
popular illustration in general--the position of the critic must be
frankly chosen and firmly held. If it is that of the technician, either
the original artist or the reproducer or even the publisher, then a
given picture in a magazine may be discussed merely as a picture, as a
half-tone, or as a page effect, intelligently and competently. If the
purely aesthetic viewpoint is chosen, all the above considerations may
be waived and the given picture judged as frankly ugly, or as beautiful,
quite apart from its technique. If, again, the base of judgment is that
of the reader, in whose eyes an illustration should illustrate--i.e.,
give light, make clear the meaning of the text--then we look at a given
picture to see if it carries out the ideas expressed in the tale or
article, and value it by that.
On this base also stands the author, only one person, to be sure, as
compared with the multitude of readers, but not a dog, for all that.
The author, foaming at the mouth, remote and helpless, here makes common
ground with the reader and expects an illustration to illustrate.
Perhaps, we should say, "the intelligent reader"--leaving out such as
the young lady in the tale, who said they might read her anything, "if
it was illustrated by Christie."*
[*--This does not by any means deny intelligence to all appreciators of
Mr. Christie's work, but merely to such as select literature for the
THE FORERUNNER believes that it may voice the feelings of many writers
and more readers; almost all readers, in fact, if it here and now
records a protest against an all too frequent illustrative sin: where
the gentleman, or lady, who is engaged and paid to illustrate a story,
prefers to insert pictures of varying attractiveness which bear no
relation to the text. This is not illustration. It is not even honest
business. It does not deliver the goods paid for. It takes advantage
of author, publisher and public, and foists upon them all an art
exhibition which was not ordered.
To select a recent popular, easily obtainable, instance of vice and
virtue in illustration, let us take up the "American Magazine" for
August. Excellent work among the advertisements--there the artist is
compelled to "follow copy"; his employer will take no nonsense. That's
one reason why people like to look at them--the pictures are
intelligible. Admirable pictures by Worth Brehm to Stewart White's
story--perfect. You see the people, Mr. White's people, see them on the
page as you saw them in your mind, and better. Good drawing, and
_personal character_--those special people and not others. The insight
and appreciation shown in the frontispiece alone makes as fine an
instance of what illustration ought to be as need be given.
Those light sketches to the airy G. G. Letters are good, too--anything
more definite would not belong to that couple.
But Mr. Cyrus Cuneo shows small grasp of what Mr. Locke was writing
about in his "Moonlight Effect." The tailpiece, by somebody else, is
the best picture of the lot.
Mr. Leone Brackner does better in Jack London's story, though falling
far short of the extreme loathsomeness Mr. London heaps so thickly. J.
Scott Williams follows "Margherita's Soul" with a running accompaniment
and variations, in pleasant accord with the spirit of that compelling
tale. He gives more than the scene represented, gives it differently,
and yet gives it.
Mr. McCutcheon and George Fitch are also harmonious in clever fooling of
pen and pencil, and Thomas Fogarty, though by no means convincing, goes
well enough with Mr. O'Higgins' story, which is not convincing, either.
The hat and dress pictures are photographs, and do artificial justice to
their artificial subjects in Mrs. Woodrow's arraignment of the Fantastic
But--. Go to your library after, or send your ten cents for, or look up
on your own shelves, that August number, and turn to Lincoln Colcord's
story of "Anjer," to see what an illustrator dare do. Here's a story,
the merits of which need not be discussed, but in which great stress is
laid on a certain Malay Princess, the free nobility of whose savage love
healed the sick heart of an exhausted man. "I saw how beautiful she
was," says the narrator: "her breast was bare in a long slit, and
shadowed like the face of the pool." "The most glorious native woman of
the East I've ever seen." "She walked like a tiger, with a crouching
step of absolute grace." "Her eyes called as if they'd spoken words of
love: the beauty of her face was beyond speech--almost beyond thought."
Thus Mr. Colcord.
And how Mr. Townshend? It is on Page 334, Mr. Townshend's
"illustration." ("Whit way do we ca' it the Zoo?" "If it wasna' ca'd
the Zoo, what would we ca' it?") A bit of railing and a pillar is the
only concession to the scene described; that and the fact that there is
a man and a woman there. One more detail is granted--a forehead
ornament, as alleged. For the rest?
Since the picture is so unjust to the words of the author, can the words
of the critic do any justice to the picture? The man will do, as well
one man as another, apparently. The big blob of an object that seems to
have been suggested by a Gargantuan ginger jar, and to be put in for
tropical effect, as also a set of wooden bananas, may be forgiven.
But the Princess--the tigress--the free, graceful, passionate woman--the
beauty beyond speech. Look at it.
A crooked, crouching, awkward negroid type, a dress of absurd volume and
impossible outlines, the upper part a swathed bath towel, one stiff,
ugly arm hung helpless, one lifted and ending in a _hoof,_ a plain pig's
hoof; the head bent, chin sunk on chest like a hunchback's; and the
face--! One could forgive the gross, unusual ugliness; but why no hint
of interest in her lover? Why this expression as of a third generation
London pauper in a hospital? What explanation is there of this meagre,
morbid, deformed female in the midst of that story?
Frank incapacity on the part of an artist is possible. To try and try
and try again and utterly fail is possible. To write to the author and
say, "I cannot visualize your character, or express it, and must decline
to undertake the order," or to the editor and refuse the job, is
possible. But to take the order, to read the story (if he did read it),
to send in and accept pay for a picture like that--"Whit way would ye
A passionate interest is shown by many persons in consulting anonymous
advisers through the columns of various publications. Their inquiries
are mainly as to small matters of etiquette, and the care of the
In one of the current women's papers we find such questions as these:
"When one is introduced, how does one acknowledge the introduction?
Must it be by a mention of the weather? How should one receive a small
gift?" (x) All these by one breathless inquirer.
Another asks pathetically: "Will you tell me how soon after a husband's
death it is permitted to a widow to return formal calls? What is the
present form of visiting cards for a widow?" (y)
Another rudderless ship, in a somewhat less recent issue of a very
popular woman's paper, writes: "I am wearing mourning. In the hot
weather I find the veil very heavy and close, and wish to throw it back.
What shall I do?" (z)
These are apparently bona fide questions, but in most cases they are
answered in a style too palpably oracular. If the questioners are
genuine and want help they get precious little. If it is merely a game,
it seems rather a flat one. But the popularity of the pastime
The Forerunner will give no answers to foolish questions; unless at
peril of the asker. But to sincere inquirers, who are interested in
some moot point of conduct, some balance of conflicting duties, honest
attention will be given, and their questions answered as sincerely.
The intention is to promote discussion of the real problems of life, and
to apply to them the new standards afforded by the larger knowledge and
deeper religious sense of to-day.
If any of the above questions were sent to this office they would be
(x) Read "How To Do It," by E. E. Hale. Learn to be sincere; have real
feelings and express them honestly.
(y) If you are truly prostrated by grief you cannot return calls. If
you are able--and like to do it--what are you afraid of? Whose
"permission" are you asking? See answer to x.
(z) Mourning is a relic of barbarism, kept up by women because of their
retarded social development. But if you must wear a heavy veil and wish
to throw it back--why don't you?
These persons would be displeased and not write again. Truly. Such
questions are not wanted by The Forerunner. They would discontinue
their subscription. Doubtless. But this is a waste of anxiety, for
such would never have subscribed for The Forerunner in the first place.
Suppose, however, that a question like this is sent in:
"I am a girl of twenty. My mother is an invalid. My father is in
business difficulties. They want me to marry an old friend of
father's--a good man, but forty years older then I am. Is it my duty to
marry him--for their sake?" (B)
Answer. (B) Marriage is not an institution for the support of parents,
or the settling of business difficulties. If you loved that old man you
would not be asking advice. To marry a man you do not love is immoral.
Marriage is to serve the best interests of children and to give
happiness to the contracting parties. If your parents need your
financial aid go to work and give them your earnings, but do not make a
business of matrimony.
Or again: Query. "My mother is a widow living on a moderate income.
She has two married children, but does not like to live with them. I am
a college graduate and wish to work at a profession. She says it is not
necessary for me to work, and wants me to live with her--says she needs
me, claims my filial duty. Is this right?" (F)
Answer. (F) No, it is dead wrong. Parental duty is a natural
obligation--not a loan. Filial duty is the same from son and daughter.
You owe your mother care and service if needed, just as your brother
would. She has no more right to prevent your going to work than if you
were a son. By all means live with her if you both like it, but live
your own life. You have a duty of citizenship as well as of
Or again: Query. "My wife is spending more of my income on dress than I
can afford. How can I stop her?" (G)
There is not room to answer this in this issue.
Thankful are we for life
And the joy of living.
Baby-pleasure of taking;
Mother-glory of giving.
Thankful are we for light
And the joy of seeing.
Stir of emotion strong,
And the peace of being.
Thankful are we for power,
And the pride ensuing;
Baby-pleasure of having,
Father-glory of doing.
I speak as one who has cared little for candy of any kind and less for
I don't like chocolate cake, nor chocolate _blanc mange,_ nor chocolate
pudding, nor chocolate to drink--unless it is cocoa, very hot, not too
sweet, and strained carefully.
Nevertheless I fell in with friends, who feasted upon Lowney's; they
beguiled me into feasting upon Lowney's, and since then my attitude has
changed as to candy.
I had a box of Lowney's, a particularly well-made, attractive box, that
is still kept to put small treasures in, and brought it home for my
family to eat.
Always before, I had looked on with the unselfishness of a pelican, to
see others eat candy; but now I strove with them, like a frigate bird,
and made them give up some of it. I wanted it myself.
Furthermore, I bought a small box of Lowney's chocolate almonds in
Portland, Oregon, on the fourteenth of June, and with severe
self-denial, brought it home on the twenty-ninth of July.
Then it was eaten, largely by me, and every single one of those
chocolate almonds was fresh and good.
I can state further, on the evidence of personal friends, that all the
Lowney preparations are pure and honest and perfectly reliable.
They are as good as the best in the world.
As to the candy,--That's better.
C. P. G.
Walter M. Lowney Co.
Please mention THE FORERUNNER when purchasing
I took a trolley trip in New England, one Summer, carrying for my only
baggage a neat thin German "mappe"--about 15 by 12 by 2.
"But what do you do for clean underwear?" inquired my friends.
Then I produced from one corner of that restricted space, a neat small
box, and a piece of a cake of Fels-Naptha.
"Wash 'em over night, they are dry in the morning," said I.
"But are they clean?"
"Of course, they are clean, chemically clean,--if you use Fels-Naptha."
Suppose you are camping, and hot water is hard to come by; or travelling
in places where it may not be had at all; or that you merely live in the
country and have to heat it "by hand," as it were; it is warm weather,
very warm weather, and the mere thought of hot water is unpleasant; or
that you burn gas,--and gas costs money, as indeed does other fuel; or
that your laundress is unreliable and will not boil the clothes:--
In any or all of these cases, use Fels-Naptha, and use it according to
It is easy, it is quick, it is inexpensive, and the clothes are clean,
artistically and antiseptically clean.
This soap has been a solid comfort my kitchen for years. It is a steady
travelling companion, and I have recommended it to many grateful friends
C. P. G.
Fels & Co., Philadelphia, Pa.
Please mention THE FORERUNNER when purchasing
Few women like to darn stockings, but most women have to.
They have to darn their own,--not many; their husband's--more; and their
The amount of time they waste in this Sisyphean task would, even at
charwoman's wages, buy socks and stockings for a dozen families.
Spent in reading, it would improve their minds--darning doesn't. Spent
in rest, it would improve their health--darning doesn't. Darning
stockings is one of the most foolish things women are expected to do.
"But what are we to do? Stockings will wear out," protest the darners.
Buy new ones.
"But they wear out so fast!"
That is where you are wrong; they do not wear out fast--if you buy the
I bought some once. Did they wear out? They did not wear out. I wore
them and wore them and wore them, till I was so tired of those
deathless, impervious, unnaturally whole stockings that I gave them
Seriously, the Holeproof Hosiery does what it promises. I have used it,
other members of my family have used it, friends of mine have used it
and I have never heard any complaint, except of the monotony of whole
If you don't believe it, try it--but be sure and get the real thing; of
your dealer or
The Holeproof Hoisery Co., Milwaulkee, Wis.
Please mention THE FORERUNNER when purchasing
C. P. G.
MOORE'S FOUNTAIN PEN
I have had, and lost, perhaps a dozen fountain pens, of various kinds.
Never one of them that didn't distribute ink where--and when--it wasn't
wanted, till I happened on Moore's.
1 didn't notice the name of it till after considerable use, with perfect
satisfaction; and then I looked to see who was responsible for this
It is all very well for men, with vest pockets, to carry a sort of
leather socket, or a metal clip that holds the pen to that pocket
safely--so long as the man is vertical.
But women haven't vest pockets--and do not remain continuously erect.
A woman stoops over to look in the oven--to pick up her thimble--to take
the baby off the floor--and if she carries a fountain pen, it stoops
over too and spills its ink.
If the woman carries it about in a little black bag, it is horizontal,
and the ink ebbs slowly from the pen into the cap, afterwards swiftly to
With Moore's you pull the pen into the handle, and then the cap screws
The ink can not get out.
You can carry that pen up, or down, or sideways; it doesn't care.
I use it with joy, with comfort, with clean hands. It is a constant
American Fountain Pen Co.
168 Devonshire St., Boston, Mass.
Please mention THE FORERUNNER when purchasing
C. P. G.
CHARLOTTE PERKINS GILMAN'S MAGAZINE
CHARLTON CO., 67 WALL ST., NEW YORK
AS TO PURPOSE:
_What is The Forerunner?_ It is a monthly magazine, publishing stories
short and serial, article and essay; drama, verse, satire and sermon;
dialogue, fable and fantasy, comment and review. It is written entirely
by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.
_What is it For?_ It is to stimulate thought: to arouse hope, courage
and impatience; to offer practical suggestions and solutions, to voice
the strong assurance of better living, here, now, in our own hands to
_What is it about?_ It is about people, principles, and the questions
of every-day life; the personal and public problems of to-day. It gives
a clear, consistent view of human life and how to live it.
_Is it a Woman's magazine?_ It will treat all three phases of our
existence--male, female and human. It will discuss Man, in his true
place in life; Woman, the Unknown Power; the Child, the most important
_Is it a Socialist Magazine?_ It is a magazine for humanity, and
humanity is social. It holds that Socialism, the economic theory, is
part of our gradual Socialization, and that the duty of conscious
humanity is to promote Socialization.
_Why is it published?_ It is published to express ideas which need a
special medium; and in the belief that there are enough persons
interested in those ideas to justify the undertaking.
AS TO ADVERTISING:
We have long heard that "A pleased customer is the best advertiser."
The Forerunner offers to its advertisers and readers the benefit of this
authority. In its advertising department, under the above heading, will
be described articles personally known and used. So far as individual
experience and approval carry weight, and clear truthful description
command attention, the advertising pages of The Forerunner will be
useful to both dealer and buyer. If advertisers prefer to use their own
statements The Forerunner will publish them if it believes them to be
AS TO CONTENTS:
The main feature of the first year is a new book on a new subject with a
_"Our Androcentric Culture."_ this is a study of the historic effect on
normal human development of a too exclusively masculine civilization.
It shows what man, the male, has done to the world: and what woman, the
more human, may do to change it.
_"What Diantha Did."_ This is a serial novel. It shows the course of
true love running very crookedly--as it so often does--among the
obstructions and difficulties of the housekeeping problem--and solves
that problem. (NOT by co-operation.)
Among the short articles will appear:
"Private Morality and Public Immorality."
"The Beauty Women Have Lost"
"Our Overworked Instincts."
"The Nun in the Kitchen."
"Genius: Domestic and Maternal."
"A Small God and a Large Goddess."
"Animals in Cities."
"How We Waste Three-Fourths Of Our Money."
There will be short stories and other entertaining matter in each issue.
The department of "Personal Problems" does not discuss etiquette,
fashions or the removal of freckles. Foolish questions will not be
answered, unless at peril of the asker.
AS TO VALUE:
If you take this magazine one year you will have:
One complete novel . . . By C. P. Gilman
One new book . . . By C. P. Gilman
Twelve short stories . . . By C. P. Gilman
Twelve-and-more short articles . . . By C. P. Gilman
Twelve-and-more new poems . . . By C. P. Gilman
Twelve Short Sermons . . . By C. P. Gilman
Besides "Comment and Review" . . . By C. P. Gilman
"Personal Problems" . . . By C. P. Gilman
And many other things . . . By C. P. Gilman
DON'T YOU THINK IT'S WORTH A DOLLAR?
CHARLOTTE PERKINS GILMAN'S MAGAZINE
CHARLTON CO., 67 WALL ST., NEW YORK
Please find enclosed $_____ as subscription to "The Forerunner" from
_____ 19___ to _____ 19___
A TOILET PREPARATION
I cannot give the name of this article, because they have not given me
But I hope to get it later on; for it is supremely good. It is
scientifically and honestly made, by good people in a good place; a
place comfortable and pretty enough to live in.
It claims a good deal as to what it is good for, and as far as I have
tried it, in several capacities, it does the things it claims to do,
does them well.
It is clean and sweet to use, isn't sticky or greasy, is reasonable in
price, smells good and is nice to look at.
You can get it anywhere--it is an old standby.
I have used it exclusively for years and years, and my mother used it
And I cannot recommend any other--for I don't use any other!
C A L E N D U L A
CHILDREN CEASE TO CRY FOR IT.
This is a gratuitous advertisement, benefitting
a) The Child; whose pain stops;
b) The Mother; who doesn't have to hear him cry;
c) The Nearest Druggist--a little.
CALENDULA is a good standard old drug--made of marigolds--in the
_materia medica._ You buy a little bottle of tincture of calendula, and
keep it on the shelf. Nobody will drink it by mistake--it doesn't taste
Presently Johnny falls down hard--he was running--he fell on a gritty
place--his poor little knee is scraped raw. And he howls, how he howls!
square-mouthed and inconsolable.
Then you hastily get a half a tea-cupful of water, a little warm if you
have it, and put in a few drops of calendula. Wet a soft clean rag in
it, bind it softly on the wound, keep it wet--and the pain stops.
Many many times has this quieted my infant anguish; also have I used it
as a grown up. The effect is the same.
C A L E N D U L A
TAKES THE PAIN FROM
A R A W W O U N D
A MONTHLY MAGAZINE
CHARLOTTE PERKINS GILMAN
OWNER AND PUBLISHER
1.00 A YEAR
.10 A COPY
Volume 1. No. 2
The Charlton Company, 67 Wall Street, New York
Copyright for 1909, C. P. Gilman
Not the child-god of our most childish past,
Nor sympathy, nor worship, passionless;
Nor gratitude, nor tenderest caress:
Nor the post-mortal glamor priests have cast
With "This to hope! Surrender what thou hast!"
These are but parts and can but partly bless;
We in our new-born common consciousness
Are learning Law and Life and Love at last.
The age-old secret of the sphinx's holding,
Incarnate triumph, infinitely strong;
The mother's majesty, grown wide and long,
In the full power and fire of life's unfolding;
The conscious splendor and ripe joy thereof--
Glad world-wide, life-long service--this is Love!
ACCORDING TO SOLOMON
"'He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favor than he that
flattereth with his tongue,'" said Mr. Solomon Bankside to his wife
"Its the other way with a woman, I think;" she answered him, "you might
put that in."
"Tut, tut, Molly," said he; "'Add not unto his words,'--do not speak
lightly of the wisdom of the great king."
"I don't mean to, dear, but--when you hear it all the time"--
"'He that turneth away his ear from the law, even his prayer shall be an
abomination,'" answered Mr. Bankside.
"I believe you know every one of those old Proverbs by heart," said his
wife with some heat. "Now that's not disrespectful!--they _are_
old!--and I do wish you'd forget some of them!"
He smiled at her quizzically, tossing back his heavy silver-gray hair
with the gesture she had always loved. His eyes were deep blue and
bright under their bushy brows; and the mouth was kind--in its iron way.
"I can think of at least three to squelch you with, Molly," said he,
"but I won't."
"O I know the one you want! 'A continual dropping in a very rainy day
and a contentions woman are alike!' I'm _not_ contentious, Solomon!"
"No, you are not," he frankly admitted. "What I really had in mind was
this--'A prudent wife is from the Lord,' and 'He that findeth a wife
findeth a good thing; and obtaineth favor of the Lord.'"
She ran around the table in the impulsive way years did not alter, and
kissed him warmly.
"I'm not scolding you, my dear," he continued: "but if you had all the
money you'd like to give away--there wouldn't be much left!"
"But look at what you spend on me!" she urged.
"That's a wise investment--as well as a deserved reward," her husband
answered calmly. "'There is that scattereth and yet increaseth,' you
know, my dear; 'And there is that withholdeth more than is meet--and it
tendeth to poverty!' Take all you get my dear--its none too good for
He gave her his goodby kiss with special fondness, put on his heavy
satin-lined overcoat and went to the office.
Mr. Solomon Bankside was not a Jew; though his last name suggested and
his first seemed to prove it; also his proficiency in the Old Testament
gave color to the idea. No, he came from Vermont; of generations of
unbroken New England and old English Puritan ancestry, where the
Solomons and Isaacs and Zedekiahs were only mitigated by the Standfasts
and Praise-the-Lords. Pious, persistent pigheaded folk were they, down
all the line.
His wife had no such simple pedigree. A streak of Huguenot blood she
had (some of the best in France, though neither of them knew that), a
grandmother from Albany with a Van to her name; a great grandmother with
a Mac; and another with an O'; even a German cross came in somewhere.
Mr. Bankside was devoted to genealogy, and had been at some pains to dig
up these facts--the more he found the worse he felt, and the lower ran
his opinion of Mrs. Bankside's ancestry.
She had been a fascinating girl; pretty, with the dash and piquancy of
an oriole in a May apple-tree; clever and efficient in everything her
swift hands touched; quite a spectacular housekeeper; and the sober,
long-faced young downeasterner had married her with a sudden decision
that he often wondered about in later years. So did she.
What he had not sufficiently weighed at the time, was her spirit of
incorrigible independence, and a light-mindedness which, on maturer
judgment, he could almost term irreligious. His conduct was based on
principle, all of it; built firmly into habit and buttressed by
scriptural quotations. Hers seemed to him as inconsequent as the flight
of a moth. Studying it, in his solemn conscientious way, in the light
of his genealogical researches, he felt that all her uncertainties were
accounted for, and that the error was his--in having married too many
kinds of people at once.
They had been, and were, very happy together none the less: though
sometimes their happiness was a little tottery. This was one of the
times. It was the day after Christmas, and Mrs. Bankside entered the
big drawing room, redolent of popcorn and evergreen, and walked slowly
to the corner where the fruits of yesterday were lovingly arranged; so
few that she had been able to give--so many that she had received.
There were the numerous pretty interchangeable things given her by her
many friends; "presents," suitable to any lady. There were the few
perfectly selected ones given by the few who knew her best. There was
the rather perplexing gift of Mrs. MacAvelly. There was her brother's
stiff white envelope enclosing a check. There were the loving gifts of
children and grand-children.
Finally there was Solomon's.
It was his custom to bestow upon her one solemn and expensive object, a
boon as it were, carefully selected, after much thought and balancing of
merits; but the consideration was spent on the nature of the gift---not
on the desires of the recipient. There was the piano she could not
play, the statue she did not admire, the set of Dante she never read,
the heavy gold bracelet, the stiff diamond brooch--and all the others.
This time it was a set of sables, costing even more than she imagined.
Christmas after Christmas had these things come to her; and she stood
there now, thinking of that procession of unvalued valuables, with an
expression so mixed and changeful it resembled a kaleidoscope. Love for
Solomon, pride in Solomon, respect for Solomon's judgment and power to
pay, gratitude for his unfailing kindness and generosity, impatience
with his always giving her this one big valuable permanent thing, when
he knew so well that she much preferred small renewable cheap ones; her
personal dislike of furs, the painful conviction that brown was not
becoming to her--all these and more filled the little woman with what
used to be called "conflicting emotions."
She smoothed out her brother's check, wishing as she always did that it
had come before Christmas, so that she might buy more presents for her
beloved people. Solomon liked to spend money on her--in his own way;
but he did not like to have her spend money on him--or on anyone for
that matter. She had asked her brother once, if he would mind sending
her his Christmas present beforehand.
"Not on your life, Polly!" he said. "You'd never see a cent of it! You
can't buy 'em many things right on top of Christmas, and it'll be gone
long before the next one."
She put the check away and turned to examine her queerest gift. Upon
which scrutiny presently entered the donor.
"I'm ever so much obliged, Benigna," said Mrs. Bankside. "You know how
I love to do things. It's a loom, isn't it? Can you show me how it
"Of course I can, my dear; that's just what I ran in for--I was afraid
you wouldn't know. But you are so clever with your hands that I'm sure
you'll enjoy it. I do."
Whereat Mrs. MacAvelly taught Mrs. Bankside the time-honored art of
weaving. And Mrs. Bankside enjoyed it more than any previous handicraft
she had essayed.
She did it well, beginning with rather coarse and simple weaves; and
gradually learning the finer grades of work. Despising as she did the
more modern woolens, she bought real wool yarn of a lovely red--and made
some light warm flannelly stuff in which she proceeded to rapturously
enclose her little grandchildren.
Mr. Bankside warmly approved, murmuring affectionately, "'She seeketh
wool and flax--she worketh willingly with her hands.'"
He watched little Bob and Polly strenuously "helping" the furnace man to
clear the sidewalk, hopping about like red-birds in their new caps and
coats; and his face beamed with the appositeness of his quotation, as he
remarked, "She is not afraid of the snow for her household, for all her
household are clothed with scarlet!" and he proffered an extra, wholly
spontaneous kiss, which pleased her mightily.
"You dear man!" she said with a hug; "I believe you'd rather find a
proverb to fit than a gold mine!"
To which he triumphantly responded: "'Wisdom is better than rubies; and
all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.'"
She laughed sweetly at him. "And do you think wisdom stopped with that
string of proverbs?"
"You can't get much beyond it," he answered calmly. "If we lived up to
all there is in that list we shouldn't be far out, my dear!"
Whereat she laughed again smoothed his gray mane, and kissed him in the
back of his neck. "You _dear_ thing!" said Mrs. Bankside.
She kept herself busy with the new plaything as he called it. Hands
that had been rather empty were now smoothly full. Her health was
better, and any hint of occasional querulousness disappeared entirely;
so that her husband was moved to fresh admiration of her sunny temper,
and quoted for the hundredth time, "'She openeth her mouth with wisdom,
and in her tongue is the law of kindness.'"
Mrs. MacAvelly taught her to make towels. But Mrs. Bankside's skill
outstripped hers; she showed inventive genius and designed patterns of
her own. The fineness and quality of the work increased; and she
joyfully replenished her linen chest with her own handiwork.
"I tell you, my dear," said Mrs. MacAvelly, "if you'd be willing to sell
them you could get almost any price for those towels. With the initials
woven in. I know I could get you orders--through the Woman's Exchange,
Mrs. Bankside was delighted. "What fun!" she said. "And I needn't
appear at all?"
"No, you needn't appear at all--do let me try."
So Mrs. Bankside made towels of price, soft, fine, and splendid, till
she was weary of them; and in the opulence of constructive genius fell
to devising woven belts of elaborate design.
These were admired excessively. All her women friends wanted one, or
more; the Exchange got hold of it, there was a distinct demand; and
finally Mrs. MacAvelly came in one day with a very important air and a
"I don't know what you'll think, my dear," she said, "but I happen to
know the Percy's very well--the big store people, you know; and Mr.
Percy was talking about those belts of yours to me;--of course he didn't
know they are yours; but he said (the Exchange people told him I knew,
you see) he said, 'If you can place an order with that woman, I can take
all she'll make and pay her full price for them. Is she poor?' he
asked. 'Is she dependent on her work?' And I told him, 'Not
altogether.' And I think he thinks it an interesting case! Anyhow,
there's the order. Will you do it?'
Mrs. Bankside was much excited. She wanted to very much, but dreaded
offending her husband. So far she had not told him of her quiet trade
in towels; but hid and saved this precious money--the first she had ever
The two friends discussed the pros and cons at considerable length; and
finally with some perturbation, she decided to accept the order.
"You'll never tell, Benigna!" she urged. "Solomon would never forgive
me, I'm afraid."
"Why of course I won't--you needn't have a moment's fear of it. You
give them to me--I'll stop with the carriage you see; and I take them to
the Exchange--and he gets them from there."
"It seems like smuggling!" said Mrs. Bankside delightedly. "I always
did love to smuggle!"
"They say women have no conscience about laws, don't they?" Mrs.
"Why should we?" answered her friend. "We don't make 'em--nor God--nor
nature. Why on earth should we respect a set of silly rules made by
some men one day and changed by some more the next?"
"Bless us, Polly! Do you talk to Mr. Bankside like that?"
"Indeed I don't!" answered her hostess, holding out a particularly
beautiful star-patterned belt to show to advantage. "There are lots of
things I don't say to Mr. Bankside--'A man of understanding holdeth his
peace' you know--or a woman."
She was a pretty creature, her hair like that of a powdered marchioness,
her rosy checks and firm slight figure suggesting a charmer in Dresden
Mrs. MacAvelly regarded her admiringly. "'Where there is no wood the
fire goeth out; so where there is no tale bearer the strife ceaseth,'"
she proudly offered, "I can quote that much myself."
But Mrs. Bankside had many misgivings as she pursued her audacious way;
the busy hours flying away from her, and the always astonishing checks
flying toward her in gratifying accumulation. She came down to her
well-planned dinners gracious and sweet; always effectively dressed;
spent the cosy quiet evenings with her husband, or went out with him,
with a manner of such increased tenderness and charm that his heart
warmed anew to the wife of his youth; and he even relented a little
toward her miscellaneous ancestors.
As the days shortened and darkened she sparkled more and more; with
little snatches of song now and then; gay ineffectual strumming on the
big piano; sudden affectionate darts at him, with quaintly distributed
"Molly!" said he, "I don't believe you're a day over twenty! What makes
you act so?"
"Don't you like it, So?" she asked him. That was the nearest she ever
would approximate to his name.
He did like it, naturally, and even gave her an extra ten dollars to buy
Christmas presents with; while he meditated giving her an electric
runabout;--to her!--who was afraid of a wheelbarrow!
When the day arrived and the family were gathered together, Mrs.
Bankside, wearing the diamond brooch, the gold bracelet, the point lace
handkerchief--everything she could carry of his accumulated
generosity--and such an air of triumphant mystery that the tree itself
was dim beside her; handed out to her astonished relatives such an
assortment of desirable articles that they found no words to express
"Why, _Mother!"_ said Jessie, whose husband was a minister and salaried
as such, "Why, _Mother_--how did you know we wanted just that kind of a
rug!--and a sewing-machine _too!_ And this lovely suit--and--and--why
But her son-in-law took her aside and kissed her solemnly. He had
wanted that particular set of sociological books for years--and never
hoped to get them; or that bunch of magazines either.
Nellie had "married rich;" she was less ostentatiously favored; but she
had shown her thankfulness a week ago--when her mother had handed her a
"Sh, sh! my dear!" her mother had said, "Not one word. I know! What
pleasant weather we're having."
This son-in-law was agreeably surprised, too; and the other relatives,
married and single; while the children rioted among their tools and
toys, taking this Christmas like any other, as a season of unmitigated
Mr. Solomon Bankside looked on with growing amazement, making
computations in his practiced mind; saying nothing whatever. Should he
criticize his wife before others?
But when his turn came--when gifts upon gifts were offered to him--sets
of silken handkerchiefs (he couldn't bear the touch of a silk
handkerchief!), a cabinet of cards and chips and counters of all sorts
(he never played cards), an inlaid chess-table and ivory men (the game
was unknown to him), a gorgeous scarf-pin (he abominated jewelery), a
five pound box of candy (he never ate it), his feelings so mounted
within him, that since he would not express, and could not repress them,
he summarily went up stairs to his room.
She found him there later, coming in blushing, smiling, crying a little
too--like a naughty but charming child.
He swallowed hard as he looked at her; and his voice was a little
"I can take a joke as well as any man, Molly. I guess we're square on
that. But--my dear!--where did you get it?"
"Earned it," said she, looking down, and fingering her lace
"Earned it! My wife, earning money! How--if I may ask?"
"By my weaving, dear--the towels and the belts--I sold 'em. Don't be
angry--nobody knows--my name didn't appear at all! Please don't be
angry!--It isn't wicked, and it was such fun!"
"No--it's not wicked, I suppose," said he rather grimly. "But it is
certainly a most mortifying and painful thing to me--most
"Not so unprecedented, Dear," she urged, "Even the woman you think most
of did it! Don't you remember 'She maketh fine linen and selleth
it--and delivereth girdles unto the merchants!'"
Mr. Bankside came down handsomely.
He got used to it after a while, and then he became proud of it. If a
friend ventured to suggest a criticism, or to sympathize, he would
calmly respond, "'The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so
that he shall have no need of spoil. Give her of the fruit of her
hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates.'"
AN OBVIOUS BLESSING
We are told, on the authority of the Greatest Sociologist, that it is
more blessed to give than to receive.
So patent and commonplace a fact as this ought to meet with general
acceptance. Anyone can see that it is so, by a little study or by less
practice. To give implies having. You must be in possession before you
can give. To receive implies wanting, at its best--to receive what you
do not want is distinctly unpleasant. To have is more blessed than to
want. Of course it is.
To give gratifies several natural feelings; the mother-instinct of
supplying needs, the pride of superior power and the generosity; and, if
you are a sordid soul, the desire to "lay up treasure in heaven" or, as
the Buddhists frankly put it--to "acquire merit."
None of these pleasures pertain to receiving. There is a certain
humiliation about it always, a childish sense of dependence and
inferiority. Only children can continuously receive without
degradation; and as soon as they begin to realize life at all they
delight to give as we all do. "Let me help!" says the child, and plans
birthday presents for mama as eagerly as he hopes for them himself.
The instinct of giving is the pressure of the surplus; the natural outgo
of humanity, its fruit. We are not mere receptacles, we are productive
engines, of immense capacity; and, having produced, we must distribute
the product. To give, naturally, is to shed, to bear fruit; a healthy
and pleasurable process.
What has confused us so long on this subject? Why have we been so blind
to this glaring truth that we have stultified our giving instinct and
made of it an abnormal process called "Charity," or a much restricted
pleasure only used in families or at Christmas time?
Two things have combined to prevent our easy acceptance of this visible
truth; one the time-honored custom of "sacrifice," and the other our
ignorance of social economics.
Sacrificing is not giving. That black remnant of lowest savagery dates
back to the time when a pursuing beast was placated by the surrender of
something, or somebody; and a conqueror bought off by tribute. The
medicine man made play with this race habit, and gross idols were
soothed and placated by sacrifices--on which the medicine man lived.
Always the best and finest were taken naturally by the hungry beast; as
naturally by the greedy conqueror; and not unnaturally by the dependent
priesthood. Sacrificing is a forced surrender with personal hope as the
reason. It is not giving.
Our economic ignorance and confusion is partly based on this same old
period of cruelty and darkness. Labor was extorted as the price of
life; and the fruits of labor taken by force through warring centuries.
A guarded and grudging system of exchange gradually developed; the
robbing instinct slowly simmering down to legally limited extortion; but
each party surrendering his goods reluctantly, and only with the purpose
of gaining more than he lost. Here also is the basic spirit of
sacrifice--to get something now or in the far future--always the trading
spirit at the bottom. Selling is not giving.
The real basis of giving is motherhood; and that is merely the orderly
expression of life's progressive force. Living forms must
increase--spread--grow--improve. The biological channel for this force
is through mother-love; and, later, father-love. The sociological
channel is in the pouring flood of productive activity, which fills the
world with human fruit--the million things we make and do.
This ceaseless output is not dragged out of us as a sacrifice, it is not
produced by want and hunger and the grasping spirit of exchange. It is
the natural expression of social energy; blossoming in every form of
art, stirring the brain to ceaseless action, filling the world with the
rich fruit of human handiwork.
Having produced, we must distribute--we must discharge, we must _give._
To be human is to be a producer, to make, to do, to have some output
either in goods or services whereby the sum of welfare is increased. To
have this productive energy and to use it normally, is to give. Not to
have it, not to use it, is not to be human--to be a minus quantity; to
live parasitically on the labor of others--to receive.
It is more blessed to give than to receive.
I was a slave, because I could not see
That work for one another is our law;
I hated law. I work? I would be free!
Therefore the heavy law laid hands on me
And I was forced to work in slavery--
Until I saw.
I was a hireling, for I could not see
That work was natural as the breath I drew,
Natural? I would not work without the fee!
So nature laid her heavy hands on me
And I was forced by fear of poverty--
Until I knew.
Now I am free. Life is new-seen, recast
To work is to enjoy, to love, to live!
The shame and pain of slavery are past,
Dishonor and extortion follow fast,
I am not owned, nor hired, full-born at last,
My power I give.
WHY WE HONESTLY FEAR SOCIALISM
A peaceable elderly Englishman of a bald and scholarly aspect, inquired,
following a lecture on Socialism, "Will the speaker state in one
sentence what Socialism is?" He wore an air of mild gentlemanly
triumph; apparently imagining that he had demanded the impossible.
But the speaker, seeming unconscious of any difficulty replied,
"Certainly; Socialism is the public ownership of all natural monopolies
and the means of production."
This simple definition is advanced to start with, that we may know what
we are talking about. This is the essence of Socialism--public
ownership of public things; the real point at issue being "What things
The vast majority of us do not yet understand this easy and clear
definition; and no wonder; for the Socialists themselves are for the
most part so lost in grief over the sufferings of the poor and in rage
over the misbehavior of the rich, that they find it hard to speak
gently. Most of us, having but vague ideas of Socialism, fear it on
several grounds, some of them easily removable as mere mistakes; others
requiring careful treatment.
The mistakes are these:
ERROR I. "Socialism will abolish private property."
ANSWER. Quite wrong. It will do no such thing. You are thinking of
Communism. The early Communists, like the early Christians, held all
things in common, but Socialism urges no such doctrine. It does,
however, restrict our definition of what is private property; just as
was done when human slavery was abolished.
Slavery was once universal, and still exists In many countries. It was
held legal and honest to personally own human beings--they were
property. In our great civil contest of half a century since, the
north--from a southern point of view--confiscated property when the
slaves were freed. But from the northern point of view the slave was
not property at all. This is a very vivid instance of change of opinion
on property rights. Such "rights" are wholly of our own making; and
change from age to age.
Parents once held property rights in children and men "owned" their
wives; they could be punished, imprisoned, sold--even killed, at will of
the owner. The larger public sense has long since said, "Women and
children are not private property."
Laws about property are not God's laws; not Nature's laws; they are just
rules and regulations people make from time to time according to their
standards of justice. There is nothing novel in proposing to change
them--they have often been changed. There is nothing immoral or
dangerous in changing them; it is constantly done in all legislatures,
in varying degree, as when private estates are "condemned" for public
Socialism advances the idea that private property rights do not
legitimately apply to public necessities like coal, water, oil and land.
As a matter of fact we do not really "own" land now--we only rent it of
the government, calling our rent "taxes." If we do not pay our rent the
government gets it again, like any other owner.
The utmost restriction of private property under Socialism leaves us
still every article of personal use and pleasure. One may still "own"
land by paying the government for it as now; with such taxation,
however, as would make it very expensive to own too much! One may own
one's house and all that is in it; one's clothes and tools and
decorations; one's horses, carriages and automobiles; one's flying
machines--presently. All "personal property" remains in our personal
But no man or group of men could own the country's coal and decide how
much the public can have, and what we must pay for it. Private holding
of public property would be abolished.
ERROR 2. Socialism would reduce us all to a dead level.
ANSWER. Quite wrong. Eating at the same table in the same family does
not reduce brothers and sisters to the same level; some remain far
smarter and stronger than others. By a wiser system of education we may
greatly increase the difference in people--Socialism would not hinder
it. A higher average level of income--which is what Socialism ensures,
will give people a chance to differ more than they do now. Our
machine-like educational system, long hours of labor, specialized
monotony of mill work, and "the iron law of wages" do tend to reduce us
to a dead level. Socialism does not.
ERROR 3. Socialists are atheists.
ANSWER. How anyone can say this when they know of the immense
organization of Christian Socialists is amazing; but then it is always
amazing to see how queerly people think. Some Socialists are atheists.
So are some monarchists and some republicans. A Socialist may be an
atheist, or a homeopathist, or a Holy Roller--it has nothing to do with
ERROR 4. Socialists are immoral.
ANSWER. Again--some are; but so are some other people. The immorality
of which we hear most in the papers is by no means that of Socialists;
but of most prominent capitalists.
ERROR 5. Socialism is unnatural--you must "alter human nature" before
it would be possible.
ANSWER. This is a very common position, based like most of the
foregoing, on lack of understanding. It assumes that Socialism requires
a state of sublime unselfishness and mutual deference, in which all men
are willing to work for nothing. But why assume this? It is no product
of Socialism. Our socialistic public parks and libraries do not
presuppose that people shall be angels. They may tend to make them
such, but the progress is not rapid enough to alarm us. In regard to
this particular error we should learn that Socialism is not a totally
new and different scheme of things; but a gradual and legitimate
extension of previous tendencies. Human nature is socialistic--and is
progressively extending socialism.
ERROR 5. Socialism will pay every one alike and so destroy the
incentive of personal ambition.
ANSWER. This idea of equal payment is not Socialism. Some socialists
hold it--more do not. The essential idea of public ownership and
management of public property does not include this notion of equal
ERROR 7. Socialism will destroy competition. Competition, most of us
believe, "is the life of trade;" in other words we are supposed to work,
not merely to get something for ourselves, but to get ahead of other
ANSWER. Admitting that we do; admitting that such an incentive is
useful; the simple answer is that Socialism would not destroy
Even in financial reward some would still be paid more than others; and
far beyond this lies the larger competition for fame and glory and
public esteem, which has always moved men more strongly than the love of
money. This remains always open.
MAIN ERROR. Passing over all these minor objections, due to mere
ignorance and easily understood, we come to the one major objection,
honestly held by intelligent people; that under Socialism people would
not work. This is why so many good and intelligent persons do honestly
distrust and fear it. Their position is this:
PREMISE A. Work must be done to keep civilization going. Work is done
by individuals in order to get something they want. Work would not be
done by anyone without the immediate stimulus of personal desire.
PREMISE B. Socialism, in some mysterious way will supply the needs of
the people gratuitously.
CONCLUSION. The people being so provided for would not work. Then
follows the downfall of civilization.
This is the honest opinion of the individualist, the older economist,
and is entitled to respect and fair answer.
If the premises were correct the terrible conclusion would be correct,
and the Socialist position visionary and dangerous. Of course people
are afraid of anything that controverts the laws of economics and human
nature--they ought to be. But are those premises correct?
To remove the easiest one first let us observe the absurdity of the
idea, that Socialism will provide for people without their working.
Provide them with what, pray? All wealth is produced by human
labor--there is no socialist patent for drawing bread and circuses from
the sky. People must always and forever work for what they have, and
have in proportion to the quantity and quality of their work.
So thoroughly is this true that the socialist grieves to see so many
people living to-day without working; receiving wealth out of all
proportion to their usefulness. If this was common to all of us it
would mean the downfall of civilization. As we live now a great many
people work too hard, too long, under unsanitary conditions, a sort of
living sacrifice to the rest of the world; and a few people do visibly
and ostentatiously consume and waste the very things the workers so
Socialism claims to ensure decent payment for all labor, and see that we
all receive it--all of us; not the same for everyone; but enough for
everyone. Further, Socialism claims that by such procedure the quantity
and quality of human work would be improved; that more wealth would be
By thus removing Premise B, Premise A becomes a _non sequitur._ We
will, however, remove this also, to make a clean sweep.
It is not true that work is only done in order to get something. Some
work is done that way by some people. But it is not the only kind of
work--and they are not the only kind of people. Even the savage, having
exerted himself to get his dinner, and having had his dinner, and being,
in a small way, human, begins to exert himself further to decorate his
tools and weapons, his canoes and totem poles--because he likes to.
Nobody pays him for it. He enjoys the act of doing it, and the results.
The reason any ordinary man prefers any one kind of work to another is
that he experiences a certain pleasure in the performance of certain
actions--more than others. He is beginning to specialize.
The reason the highly specialized social servant, artist, teacher,
preacher, scientific student, true physician, inventor, chooses his
work, follows it often under disadvantages; and in the case of the
enthusiast, even under conditions of danger, pain and death--is that he
likes that kind of work, enjoys doing it, indeed _has to do it_--is
uncomfortable if prevented.
This is a social instinct which our earlier economists have not
recognized. It is proven an instinct by the fact that children have
it--all normal children. They like any kind of ordinary work, want to
learn how, want to help, long before they attach any idea of gain to the
The little girl in the kitchen wants to make cookies--as well as eat
them; longs to print little figures around the pies, and then hold the
plate on poised spread fingers and trim off that long broken ribbon of
superfluous pastry--wants to do things, as well as to have things. The
one instinct is as natural as the other.
The reasons so many of us to-day hate and despise work, avoid it, give
it up as soon as possible, are simple and clear. First because of the
cruel difficulties with which we have loaded what should be a
pleasure--the monotony, the long hours, the disagreeable surroundings,
the danger and early death, and the grossly insufficient pay. Any
normal boy enjoys working with carpenter's tools, or blacksmith's tools;
enjoys running a machine; but when such work is saddled with the above
conditions, he does not like it. Of course. It is not the work we are
averse to, it is what goes with it;--difficulties of our own making.
Further; besides the physical disadvantages, we have loaded this great
natural process of human labor with a mass of superstitions and
degrading lies. The lazy old orientals called it a curse! Work, a
curse! Work; which is the essential process of human life; man's
natural function and means of growth!
We have despised it because women did it. Glory to the women--without
them we should have had no industry. We have despised it because slaves
did it. Glory to the slaves! They built the pyramids--not Cheops.
They built every one of the marvelous relics and ruins of the past--the
slaves built Athens!
We despise it now because the low and ignorant do it. If there was ever
an instance of consummate folly, of churlish ingratitude, it is our
general attitude toward work and the workers. Here are three millions
of laboring benefactors; feeding us; clothing us; building our houses;
spinning and weaving and sewing for us;--hewing wood and drawing
water;--keeping the world alive and moving; and we look down on the work
and the workers. As we are not really brutes and fools, how is this
absurd position to be accounted for?
By that old fallacy of Premise A. "They are only doing it for
themselves," we say. "They are paid for what they do. They wouldn't do
it if they weren't paid for it!" That is the vital core of the real
opposition to Socialism, this erroneous economic idea about work.
If that can ever be changed, if we can look at work with new eyes, then
we can look at Socialism with new eyes too; and not be afraid. Then
cautiously and rationally, we shall say:
"So this new system of yours proposes to increase human wealth, does it?
To promote and develop all kinds of legitimate work and to distribute
the product so as to improve the people? That sounds pretty good to me.
But how do you know you can do it? I'm from Missouri myself--you'll
have to show me."
And then perhaps our wiser Socialists will appeal to the people as a
whole, of every grade and class; and teach the natural orderly
development of this simple and practical system of economics; teach its
splendid benefits to all classes; and the methods of its legitimate and
gradual introduction; by careful massing of the facts; by visible proof
of things already accomplished. They must show us that we are not
facing a great leap in the dark, but clear straight steps in the light,
in the orderly progress of social evolution.
The children in the Poor House
May die of many an ill,
But the Poor House does not profit
By their labor in the mill!
The children in the Orphanage
Wear raiment far from fine,
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