The Forerunner, Volume 1 (1909-1910)
Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Part 5 out of 18
To some degree it is. When life was simple and our activities consisted
mainly in fighting and hard work; the male who could vanquish the others
was bigger and stronger. But inter-masculine competition ceases to be
of such advantage when we enter the field of social service. What is
required in organized society is the specialization of the individual,
the development of special talents, not always of immediate benefit to
the man himself, but of ultimate benefit to society. The best social
servant, progressive, meeting future needs, is almost always at a
disadvantage besides the well-established lower types. We need, for
social service, qualities quite different from the simple masculine
characteristics--desire, combat, self-expression.
By keeping what we call "the outside world" so wholly male, we keep up
masculine standards at the expense of human ones. This may be broadly
seen in the slow and painful development of industry and science as
compared to the easy dominance of warfare throughout all history until
our own times.
The effect of all this ultra masculine competition upon health and
beauty is but too plainly to be seen. Among men the male idea of what
is good looking is accentuated beyond reason. Read about any "hero" you
please; or study the products of the illustrator and note the broad
shoulders, the rugged features, the strong, square, determined jaw.
That jaw is in evidence if everything else fails. He may be cross-eyed,
wide-eared, thick-necked, bandy-legged--what you please; but he must
have a more or less prognathous jaw.
Meanwhile any anthropologist will show you that the line of human
development is away from that feature of the bulldog and the alligator,
and toward the measured dignity of the Greek type. The possessor of
that kind of jaw may enable male to conquer male, but does not make him
of any more service to society; of any better health or higher beauty.
Further, in the external decoration of our bodies, what is the influence
here of masculine dominance.
We have before spoken of the peculiar position of our race in that the
woman is the only female creature who carries the burden of sex
ornament. This amazing reversal of the order of nature results at its
mildest in a perversion of the natural feminine instincts of love and
service, and an appearance of the masculine instincts of self-expression
and display. Alone among all female things do women decorate and preen
themselves and exhibit their borrowed plumage (literally!) to attract
the favor of the male. This ignominy is forced upon them by their
position of economic dependence; and their general helplessness. As all
broader life is made to depend, for them, on whom they marry, indeed as
even the necessities of life so often depend on their marrying someone,
they have been driven into this form of competition, so alien to the
true female attitude.
The result is enough to make angels weep--and laugh. Perhaps no step in
the evolution of beauty went farther than our human power of making a
continuous fabric; soft and mobile, showing any color and texture
desired. The beauty of the human body is supreme, and when we add to it
the flow of color, the ripple of fluent motion, that comes of a soft,
light garment over free limbs--it is a new field of loveliness and
delight. Naturally this should have filled the whole world with a new
pleasure. Our garments, first under right natural selection developing
perfect use, under right sex selection developing beauty; and further,
as our human aesthetic sense progresses, showing a noble symbolism,
would have been an added strength and glory, a ceaseless joy.
What is the case?
Men, under a too strictly inter-masculine environment, have evolved the
mainly useful but beautiless costume common to-day; and women--?
Women wear beautiful garments when they happen to be the fashion; and
ugly garments when they are the fashion, and show no signs of knowing
the difference. They show no added pride in the beautiful, no hint of
mortification in the hideous, and are not even sensitive under
criticism, or open to any persuasion or argument. Why should they be?
Their condition, physical and mental, is largely abnormal, their whole
passionate absorption in dress and decoration is abnormal, and they have
never looked, from a frankly human standpoint, at their position and its
peculiarities, until the present age.
In the effect of our wrong relation on the world's health, we have
spoken of the check to vigor and growth due to the housebound state of
women and their burdensome clothes. There follow other influences,
similar in origin, even more evil in result. To roughly and briefly
classify we may distinguish the diseases due to bad air, to bad food,
and that field of cruel mischief we are only now beginning to
discuss--the diseases directly due to the erroneous relation between men
We are the only race where the female depends on the male for a
livelihood. We are the only race that practices prostitution. From the
first harmless-looking but abnormal general relation follows the well
recognized evil of the second, so long called "a social necessity," and
from it, in deadly sequence, comes the "wages of sin;" death not only of
the guilty, but of the innocent. It is no light part of our criticism
of the Androcentric Culture that a society based on masculine desires
alone, has willingly sacrificed such an army of women; and has repaid
the sacrifice by the heaviest punishments.
That the unfortunate woman should sicken and die was held to be her just
punishment; that man too should bear part penalty was found unavoidable,
though much legislation and medical effort has been spent to shield him;
but to the further consequences society is but now waking up.
COMMENT AND REVIEW
Mr. H. G. Wells is an author whose work I have followed with delight,
interest and respect for years--since first I read that sinister vision
of dead worlds, "The Time Machine." He is a successful craftsman, an
artist of power; and has that requisite so often missing in our literary
craftsmen and artists--something to say. In his mighty work of
electrifying the world's slow mind to the splendid possibilities of life
as it might be, may be, will be, as soon as we wake up, he has my
But alas! and alas! Like many another great man, Mr. Wells loses his
perspective and clear vision when he considers women. He sees women as
females--and does not see that they are human; the universal mistake of
the world behind us; but one unworthy of a mind that sees the world
before us so vividly.
He has knowledge, the scientific habit of mind, an enormous imagination
and the courage to use it; he is not, usually, afraid of facts, even
when an admission carries reproach. But in this field he shows simply
the old race-mind, that attitude which considers women as mothers,
potential, active, and in retrospect; and as nothing else. He likes
them as mothers. He honors them as mothers. He wants to have them
salaried, as mothers. But he thinks it quite beyond reason that they
should appear as regular members of the working world; their motherhood,
to his mind, would prevent it.
In this attitude he has produced a vivid novel called Ann Veronica; a
book of keen analysis and delicate observation, full of amusing darts
and flashes; seeing and showing much that is absurd in our modern
uneasiness and wavering discussion; and thus explained by himself in The
Spectator (which had denounced the work as "poisonous").
"My book was written primarily to express the resentment and distress
which many women feel nowadays at their unavoidable practical dependence
upon some individual man not of their deliberate choice"; and he further
says he sympathizes with the woman who lives with a man she does not
love; and respects her natural desire to prefer some one man as her
husband and father of her children--a harmless position surely.
To carry out these feelings he has described a girl, vigorous and
handsome, a nice, normal girl, who is crushed and stultified in her home
life and wants to get out of it; as is the case with so many girls
today. She wants freedom--room to grow--more knowledge and power--again
as is so common nowadays. We read with sympathy, admiring his keen sure
touch, hoping much for this brave woman in her dash for freedom.
Then he makes this girl, so strong and intelligent, deliberately refuse
various kinds of work she might have done because they did not please
her; and borrow money from a man in preference to earning her living.
She exposes herself to insult and even danger with an idiocy that even a
novel-reared child of sixteen would have scorned. She falls in love,
healthfully enough, with a fine strong man; and sees no reason for
avoiding him when she learns he is married. She cheerfully elopes with
him--quite forgetting the money she had borrowed, and when she remembers
about that abhorrent debt, expects her companion to pay it, without a
The ex-wife must have conveniently died after a while; and the man
develops a sudden new talent as a playwright; for they wind up very
respectably in a nice flat, having Ann Veronica's father and aunt to
dinner, and regarding them as a pair of walking mummies. Nothing more
is said of any desire on the part of the heroine for freedom, knowledge,
independence; having attained her man she has attained all; indeed Mr.
Wells goes to the pains to fully express his idea of the case, by
describing her early struggle and outburst as like "the nuptial flight
of an ant."
It is hard to see why Mr. Wells, in seeking "to express the resentment
and distress which many women feel nowadays" at their dependence; and in
showing sympathy with their natural right of choice, should have
burdened himself with all this unnecessary complication of special
foolishness on the part of his heroine which alienates our sympathy; and
special illegality on the man's position. Perhaps this is to add
heroism to her effort to secure the right mate, to indicate how small
are any other considerations in comparison to this primary demand of
Waiving all objections to this framework of the story, there remains the
painful exhibition of Mr. Wells's misapprehension of the larger causes
of the present unrest among women. What later historians will point out
as the most distinguishing feature of our time, its importance shared
only by the movement towards economic democracy, is the sudden and
irresistible outburst of human powers, human feeling, human activities,
and in that half the world hitherto denied such experiences.
Ann Veronica, as at first portrayed, shared in this world impulse. She
wanted to be human, and tried to be. Her masculine interpreter, seeing
no possible interests in the woman's life except those of sex, dismisses
all that passionate outgoing as comparable to the mating impulse of
insects. He overestimates the weight of this department of life, a
mistake common to most men and some women.
When opposed, the protagonists of this position cry that their opponent
wishes to unsex women; to repudiate motherhood; and see in all the
natural development of the modern woman only a threat of decreased
Cannot Mr. Wells, as one acquainted with zoology, see that both male and
female of a species are alike in the special qualities of that species,
although differing in sex? Can he not see that the area of human life,
the social development of humanity, is one quite common to both men and
women; and that a woman, however amply occupied in wife and mother-hood,
suffers from lack of human relation, if denied it, even as a man would,
whose activities were absolutely limited to husband- and father-hood?
If you are a believer in women's voting why don't you take the best
equal suffrage paper in the country? Not the Forerunner--which is only
a suffrage paper because of its interest in women, and only a woman's
paper because of its interest in humanity, but this one:
The Woman's Journal
LUCY STONE AND HENRY B. BLACKWELL
A weekly newspaper published every Saturday in Boston, devoted to the
interests of women--to their educational, industrial, legal and
political equality, and especially to their right of suffrage
Entered at the Post Office, Boston, Mass., as second-class mail matter
ALICE STONE BLACKWELL
FLORENCE M. ADKINSON, CATHARINE WILDE
OFFICE: NO. 6 BEACON STREET, BOSTON, MASS.
The love and faith, the hope and courage, the steady unflinching
devotion of forty years of solid work, and the quality of brain power,
which have fed this lamp of liberty, make a Iight that is worth
Two noble lives have been given to it, and the daughter of one of those
two is carrying it on superbly. It is a paper that will broaden, live
and grow, and carry on its larger work long after this one political
question is rightly settled.
It carries news--the kind of news progressive women want. It is broad
and bright, and interesting; full of short and memorable bits that prick
the mind to understanding.
I have read this paper, myself, many years, and know its merits well.
The Sea of Matrimony. By Jessie H. Childs. Broadway Pub. Co., New York
Here is quite another kind of a novel. Earnest, thoughtful, sincere,
lacking in humor and in technical finish, yet holding one's attention by
the complete preoccupation of the author in her theme, and by the common
interests of the discussion.
It reminds one vaguely of "Together," giving pair after pair of
ill-mated persons, but one happy marriage in the lot, and that a
childless one, and offering no solution to the problem raised save in
that searching philosophy we seek to cover by the term New Thought.
There is much keen observation in this book; and so intimate an analysis
of character that one wonders who this person and that may be; and the
courage shown in giving spades their names is worthy of respect
The author shows a power of keen appreciation of the daily problems of
life. The description of the woman who tried to change even her
husband's cigars to the brand her father used to smoke is particularly
Many men and women may see their troubles reflected in this study of the
intricate difficulties of married life; and some will find strength and
hope in its conclusions.
Here is a question of financial ethics sent by one of our readers: "A
woman is sent out on a trip of inspection for her State School, or for
her Club. She is told to keep accurate accounts of her expenditures,
and is expected to send in an itemized account. Shall she send in the
regular two or three dollars a day account? Or shall she itemize each
street carfare and meal? Shall she not be justified in using a dollar
to-day which she did not spend on yesterday's dinner, in livening up her
mind by a visit to the theatre? Or shall she eat, whether hungry or
not, and pay all her own minor expenses?"
This is a good long question, and seems open to some discussion. The
simplest answer seems to be, "If the woman is required to send in an
itemized account, she should do so, accurately. If her expenses are
within the usual amount allowed it should make no difference to the
employer whether the money is spent on a dinner or a theatre.
She visibly could not suppress the theatre expense and yet have an
accurate account; nor could she call it a dinner--and be truthful.
If it is simply a matter of having such and such an allowance for
expenses, then it is no one's business how she spends it; but if she has
agreed to itemize she ought to do so.
THE MELANCHOLY RABBIT
A melancholy rabbit in distress,
Was heard complaining on the moonlit mead,
And neither we, nor anyone, could guess
If he were ill at ease, or ill indeed
We heard complaining on the moonlit mead,
We sought the lonely wanderer to relieve;
If he were ill at ease or ill indeed
We did not ask--sufficient he should grieve.
We sought the lonely wanderer to relieve
With sundry bundles of electric hay;
We did not ask--sufficient he should grieve--
If he were used to dieting that way.
With sundry bundles of electric hay
The suffering hare was speedily supplied;
If he were used to dieting that way
It could not be the reason that he died.
The suffering hare was speedily supplied--
A melancholy rabbit in distress;
It could not be the reason that he died--
And neither we, nor anyone, could guess.
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___
Confidential Remarks About Our Advertising
This magazine was planned to carry twenty-four pages of reading matter
and eight of advertising matter.
A careful list was made of about twenty first class articles, personally
known and used by the editor; and the offer was made to write absolutely
true descriptions and recommendations of them.
The value of this form of advertisement was not in the extent of the
circulation, but in
a. The unique and attractive method.
b. The select class of goods.
c. The select class of readers.
d. The weight of a personal authority specially known to these select
Our readers as far as heard from have almost without exception spoken
highly of our advertisements and declared they would purchase the goods.
If, however, the amount of sales secured does not equal the price of the
advertisement, there is no reason whatever why any dealer should use our
There is a tooth-paste, specially recommended by physicians, well used
and found of marked value, noticeably checking decay of the teeth and
improving mouth and throat conditions.
Now, suppose the makers take one page in one issue of The Forerunner at
$25.00. Then suppose that only one thousand of our readers spend 25
cents each to try that tooth-paste. That makes $250.00; and the makers
ought to get at least half of it.
if only two hundred did it, the makers would still get their money
back--to say nothing of the additional advertising given by each new
purchaser who likes it.
Here is an experiment The Forerunner would like to try.
If all the readers who did purchase goods on the strength of these
recommendations would waste a cent in sending me a post card saying they
had done so, it would definitely show whether this small experiment in
honesty has any practical value.
Meanwhile The Forerunner will continue to run one or two as samples; put
in real ones when it gets them; and may find it necessary to take out
the eight pages which would have been so useful if properly filled.
Best of all; if enough subscriptions come in, we can get along without
any advertising whatever--and furnish more reading matter.
For this ideal state we look forward hopefully.
Things we wish to Advertise
This is the list of articles the editor wishes to secure, having known
and used them for from two to forty years; some were used by her mother
before her. They are things you can buy anywhere or order by mail.
A TOILET PREPARATION: Used by mother and self.
A COURTPLASTER: Used from infancy, perfect.
SOMETHING SIMILAR TO ABOVE, Most excellent.
A SILVER CLEANER: Very satisfactory.
SEVEN KINDS OF SOAP--and such like--all good.
A BREAKFAST FOOD: Used unvaryingly for nine years.
SIX OTHER BREAKFAST FOODS: All first-rate.
ONE VARIETY OF SOUPS: Absolutely good.
FOUR OTHER FOOD-MAKERS: Safe to recommend.
FOUR KINDS OF COCOA: All very good.
A HAIRBRUSH: A real delight--if you have hair.
MY TYPEWRITER: I _would_ have this kind.
A PEN: All my books were written with this pen.
A VOICE TABLOID: A blessing to a speaker.
A TOOTHPASTE: The best out of many.
PERFECTION IN HAIRPINS.
TWO KINDS OF UNDERWEAR: Good ones.
TWO KINDS OF HOSIERY: They wear well.
A HOUSEHOLD COMFORT AND TIME-SAVER.
A MATTRESS: Continuously satisfactory.
BOOKCASES: The kind you want.
A MUSIC MACHINE: Or how to keep the boys at home.
FIVE FOOD ARTICLES: Long valued.
A DRESS SHIELD: That can be trusted.
SOMETHING BETTER THAN WHALEBONE.
TWO KINDS OF SKIRT-BINDING: Always reliable.
THE BEST OF CRACKERS.
FOUNTAIN PEN THAT NEVER LEAKS.
These are "preferred stock." More may be tried and found worthy; but
these have been used long and continuously--just because they were good.
If this list could be filled out at reasonable rates, it would form a
very useful little collection, to seller and buyer. And to
CHARLOTTE PERKINS GILMAN'S MAGAZINE
CHARLTON CO., 67 WALL ST., NEW YORK
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
AUTHOR, OWNER & PUBLISHER
1.00 A YEAR
.10 A COPY
Volume 1. No. 4
Copyright for 1910
C. P. Gilman
There is one large obstacle to woman suffrage which has nothing to do
Men, the governing class, hesitate in extending equal political
responsibility and power to their domestic servants. Do you wonder?
Only for these I pray,
Pray with assurance strong:
Light to discover the way,
Power to follow it long.
Let me have light to see,
Light to be sure and know,
When the road is clear to me
Willingly I go.
Let me have Power to do,
Power of the brain and nerve,
Though the task is heavy and new
Willingly I will serve.
My prayers are lesser than three,
Nothing I pray but two;
Let me have light to see,
Let me have power to do.
"Where's Harry?" was Mr. Gortlandt's first question.
"He's gone to the country, to mother. It was so hot this last day or
two, I've sent him out, with Miss Colton. I'm going Saturday. Sit
"I miss him," said her visitor, "more than I thought I could. I've
learned more in these seven years than I thought there was to know. Or
in the last two perhaps, since I've found you again."
She looked at him with a little still smile, but there was a puzzled
expression behind it, as of one whose mind was not made up.
They sat in the wide window of a top floor apartment, awning-shaded. A
fresh breeze blew in upon them, and the city dust blew in upon them
also, lying sandy on the broad sill.
She made little wavy lines in it with one finger--
"These windows ought to be shut tight, I suppose, and the blinds, and
the curtains. Then we should be cleaner."
"As to furniture," he agreed, "but not as to our lungs."
"I don't know about that," she said; "we get plenty of air--but see
what's in it."
"A city is a dirty place at the best; but Mary--I didn't come to
consider the ethics of the dust--how much longer must I wait?" he asked,
after a little pause. "Isn't two years courting, re-courting--enough?
Haven't I learned my lesson yet?"
"Some of it, I think," she admitted, "but not all."
"What more do you ask?" he pursued earnestly. "Can't we come to a
definite understanding? You'll be chasing off again in a few days; it's
blessed luck that brought you to town just now, and that I happened to
be here too."
"I don't how about the luck," said she. "It was business that brought
me. I never was in town before when it was so hot."
"Why don't you go to a hotel? This apartment is right under the roof,
gets the sun all day."
"It gets the breeze too, and sunlight is good. No, I'm better off in
the apartment, with Harry. It was very convenient of the Grants to be
away, and let me have it."
"How does Hal stand the weather?"
"Pretty well. But he was getting rather fretful, so I sent him off two
hours ago. I do hope he won't run away from Miss Colton again. She's
as nervous as I am about him."
"Don't you think he is fond of me?" asked the man. "I've got to catch
up, you see. He can't help being mine--half mine," he hastily added,
seeing a hint of denial in her look.
"Why yes, he seems fond of you, he is fond of you," she conceded. "I
hope he always will be, and I believe you are beginning to love him."
"A pretty strong beginning, Mary," said the man. "Of course I don't
pretend to have cared much at first, but now!--why he's so handsome, and
quick, and such a good little duffer; and so affectionate! When he
gives a jump and gets his arms around my neck and his legs around my
waist and 'hugs me all over' as he calls it, I almost feel as if I was a
mother! I can't say more than that, can I?"
"No, you certainly can't say more than that. I believe you, I'm not
questioning," for he looked up sharply at her tone.
"I've never had much to do with children, you see," he went on slowly,
"no little brothers or sisters, and then only-- What astonishes me is
how good they feel in your arms! The little fellow's body is so firm
and sinewy--he wriggles like a fish--a big fish that you're trying to
hold with both hands."
The mother smiled tenderly. She knew the feel of the little body so
well! From the soft pink helplessness, the little head falling so
naturally into the hollow of the arm or neck, the fumbling little hands;
then the gradual gain in size and strength, till now she held that eager
bounding little body, almost strong enough to get away from her--but not
wanting to. He still loved to nestle up to "Muzz," and was but newly
and partially won by this unaccustomed father.
"It's seven years Mary! That makes a man all over, they say. I'm sure
it has made me over. I'm an older man--and I think, wiser. I've
repented, I've outgrown my folly and seen the justice of my punishment.
I don't blame you an atom for divorcing me--I think you did right, and I
respect you for it. The biggest lesson I've learned is to love you! I
can see--now--that I didn't before.
Her face hardened as she looked at him. "No, you didn't, Harry, you
certainly didn't, nor the child-- When I think of what I was when you
married me! Of my proud health!--"
"_You_ are not hurt!" he cried. "I don't mean that you haven't been
hurt, I could kill myself when I think of how I made you suffer! But
you are a finer woman now than you were then; sweeter, stronger, wiser,
and more beautiful. When I found you again in Liverpool two years ago
it was a revelation. Now see--I don't even ask you to forgive me! I
ask you to try me again and let me prove I can make it up to you and the
"It's not easy for me to forgive," she answered slowly-- "I'm not of the
forgiving nature. But there is a good deal of reason in your position.
You were my husband, you are Hal's father, there's no escaping that."
"Perhaps, if you will let the rest of my life make up for that time of
my Godforsaken meanness, you won't want to escape it, Mary! See--I have
followed you about for two years. I accepted your terms, you did not
promise me anything, but for the child's sake I might try once more, try
only as one of many, to see if I could win you--again. And I love you
now a hundred times better than I did when I married you!"
She fanned herself slowly with a large soft fan, and looked out across
the flickering roofs. Below them lay the highly respectable street on
which the house technically fronted, and the broad, crowded, roaring
avenue which it really overlooked.
The rattle of many drays and more delivery wagons rose up to them. An
unusual jangle drowned his words just then and she smilingly interpreted
"that's railroad iron--or girders, I can tell lots of them now. About
four A. M. there is a string of huge milk wagons. But the worst is the
cars. Hear that now--that's a flat wheel. How do you like it?"
"Mary--why do you bring up these cars again when I'm trying my best to
show you my whole heart? Don't put things like that between us!"
"But they are between us, Henry, all the time. I hear you tell me you
love me, and I don't doubt you do in a way; yes, as well as you can,
very much indeed!--I know. But when it comes to this car question; when
I talk to you of these juggernauts of yours; you are no more willing to
do the right thing than you were when I first knew you."
Mr. Cortlandt's face hardened. He drew himself up from the eager
position in which he had leaned forward, and evidently hesitated for a
moment as to his words.
In spite of his love for this woman, who, as he justly said, was far
more beautiful and winsome than the strong, angular, over-conscientious
girl he had married, neglected and shamed, his feelings as a business
man were strong within him.
"My dear--I am not personally responsible for the condition of these
"You are President of the Company. You hold controlling shares of the
stock. It was your vote that turned down the last improvement
He looked at her sharply.
"I'm afraid someone has been prejudicing you against me Mary. You have
more technical information than seems likely to have reached you by
"It's not prejudice, but it is information; and Mr. Graham did tell me,
if that's what you mean. But he cares. You know how hard the
Settlement has worked to get the Company to make the streets safer for
children--and you wouldn't do a thing."
Mr. Cortlandt hesitated. It would never do to pile business details on
his suit for a love once lost and not yet regained.
"You make it hard for me Mary," he said. "Hard because it is difficult
to explain large business questions to a--to anyone not accustomed to
them. I cannot swing the affairs of a great corporation for personal
ends, even to please you."
"That is not the point," she said quickly.
He flushed, and hastily substituted "Even to suit the noblest
"Why not?" said she.
"Because that is not what street cars are run for," he pursued
patiently. "But why must we talk of this? It seems to put you so far
away. And you have given me no answer."
"I am sorry, but I am not ready yet."
"Is it Hugh Graham?" he demanded. The hot color leaped to her face, but
she met his eyes steadily. "I am much interested in Mr. Graham," she
said, "and in the noble work he is doing. I think I should really be
happier with him than with you. We care for the same things, he calls
out the best in me. But I have made no decision in his favor yet, nor
in yours. Both of you have a certain appeal to my heart, both to my
duty. With you the personal need, with him the hope of greater service.
But--you are the father of the child, and that gives you a great claim.
I have not decided."
The man looked relieved, and again drew his chair a little closer. The
sharp clangor of the cars rose between the,.
"You think I dragged in this car question," she said. "Really, I did it
because it is that sort of thing which does most to keep us apart,
and--I would like to remove it."
He leaned forward, playing with her big fan. "Let's remove it by all
means!" he said.
She looked at his bent head, the dark hair growing somewhat thin on top,
"If I could feel that you were truly on the right side, that you
considered your work as social service, that you tried to run your cars
to carry people--not to kill them!--If you could change your ground here
I think--almost--" she stopped, smiling up at him, her fan in her lap,
her firm delicate white hands eagerly clasped; then went on,
"Don't you care at all for the lives lost every day in this great
city--under your cars?"
"It cannot be helped, my dear. Our men are as careful as men can be.
But these swarming children will play in the streets--"
"Where else can they play!" she interjected.
"And they get right in front of the cars. We are very sorry; we pay out
thousands of dollars in damages: but it cannot be helped!"
She leaned back in her chair and her face grew cold.
"You speak as if you never heard of such things as fenders," she said.
"We have fenders!--almost every car--"
"Fenders! Do you call that piece of rat-trap a fender! Henry
Cortlandt! We were in Liverpool when this subject first came up between
us! They have fenders there that _fend_ and no murder list!"
"Conditions are different there," said he with an enforced quiet. "Our
pavement is different."
"Our children are not so different, are they?" she demanded. "Our
mothers are made of the same stuff I suppose?"
"You speak at if I wanted to kill them! As if I liked to!"
"I thought at first it would hurt you as it did me," she said warmly.
"I turned to you with real hope when we met in Liverpool. I was glad to
think I knew you, and I had not been glad of that for long! I thought
you would care, would do things."
Do what he would, his mouth set hard in its accustomed lines. "Those
English fender are not practicable in this country, Mary. They have
"When? Where? By whom?" she threw at him. "I have read about it, and
heard about it. I know there was an effort to get them adopted, and
that they were refused. They cost more than this kind!" and she pointed
disdainfully at the rattling bit of stub-toed slat-work in front of a
"Do you expect me to make a revolution in the street car system of
America--to please you? Do you make it a condition? Perhaps I can
accomplish it. Is it a bargain? Come--"
"No," she said slowly. "I'm not making bargains. I'm only wishing, as
I have wished so often in years past--that you were a different kind of
"What kind do you want me to be?"
"I want you to be--I wish you were--a man who cared to give perfect
service to his country, in his business."
"Perhaps I can be yet. I can try. If I had you to help me, with your
pure ideals, and the boy to keep my heart open for the children. I
don't know much about these things, but I can learn. I can read, you
can tell me what to read. We could study together. And in my position
perhaps, I could really be of some service after all."
"Perhaps?" She watched him, the strong rather heavy face, the
attractive smile, the eyes that interested and compelled. He was an
able, masterful man. He surely loved her now. She could feel a power
over him that her short miserable marriage had never given her; and her
girlhood's attraction toward him reasserted itself.
A new noise rose about them, a dissonant mingled merry outcry, made into
a level roaring sound by their height above the street.
"That's when the school up here lets out," she said. "We hear it every
day. Just see the crowds of them!"
They leaned on the broad sill and watched the many-colored torrent of
juveniles pouring past.
"One day it was different," she said. "A strange jarring shrillness in
it, a peculiar sound. I looked out, and there was a fight going on; two
boys tumbling about from one side of the street to the other, with a
moving ring around them, a big crowd, all roaring in one key."
"You get a birdseye view of life in these streets, don't you. Can you
make out that little chap with the red hair down there?"
"No--we are both near-sighted, you know. I can't distinguish faces at
this distance. Can you?"
"Not very clearly," he said. "But what a swarm they are!"
"Come away," said she, "I can't bear to look at them. So many children
in that stony street, and those cars going up and down like roaring
They drew back into the big sunny room, and she seated herself at the
piano and turned over loose sheets of music.
He watched her with a look of intensest admiration, she was so tall, so
nobly formed, her soft rich gown flowed and followed as she walked, her
white throat rose round and royal from broad smooth shoulders.
He was beside her; he took away the music, laid it out of reach,
possessed himself of her hands.
"Give them back to me, Mary," he pleaded. "Come to me and help me to be
a better man! Help me to be a good father. I need you!"
She looked at him almost pleadingly. His eyes, his voice, his
hands,--they had their old-time charm for her. Yet he had only said
"Perhaps"--and he _might_ study, _might_ learn.
He asked her to help him, but he did not say "I will do this"--only "I
In the steady bright June sunshine, in the sifting dust of a city
corner, in the dissonant, confused noise of the traffic below, they
stood and looked at one another.
His eyes brightened and deepened as he watched her changing color.
Softly he drew her towards him. "Even if you do not love me now, you
shall in time, you shall, my darling!"
But she drew back from him with a frightened start, a look of terror.
"What has happened!" she cried. "It's so still!"
They both rushed to the window. The avenue immediately below them was
as empty as midnight, and as silent. A great stillness widened and
spread for the moment around one vacant motionless open car. Without
passenger, driver, or conductor, it stood alone in the glaring space;
and then, with a gasp of horror, they both saw.
Right under their eyes, headed towards them, under the middle of the
long car--a little child.
He was quite still, lying face downward, dirty and tumbled, with
helpless arms thrown wide, the great car holding him down like a mouse
in a trap.
Then people came rushing.
She turned away, choking, her hands to her eyes.
"Oh!" she cried, "Oh! It's a child, a little child!"
"Steady, Mary, steady!" said he, "the child's dead. It's all over.
He's quite dead. He never knew what hit him." But his own voice
She made a mighty effort to control herself, and he tried to take her in
his arms, to comfort her, but she sprang away from him with fierce
"Very well!" she said. "You are right! The child is dead. We can not
save him. No one can save him. Now come back--come here to the
window--and see what follows. I want to see with my own eyes--and have
you see--what is done when your cars commit murder! Child murder!"
She held up her watch. "It's 12:10 now," she said.
She dragged him back to the window, and so evident was the struggle with
which she controlled herself, so intense her agonized excitement, that
he dared not leave her.
"Look!" she cried. "Look! See the them crowd now!"
The first horrified rush away from the instrument of death was followed
by the usual surging multitude.
From every direction people gathered thickly in astonishing numbers,
hustling and pushing about the quiet form upon the ground; held so flat
between iron rails and iron wheels, so great a weight on so small a
body! The car, still empty, rose like an island from the pushing sea of
heads. Men and women cried excited directions. They tried with
swarming impotent hands to lift the huge mass of wood and iron off the
small broken thing beneath it, so small that it did not raise the
crushing weight from the ground.
A whole line of excited men seized the side rail and strove to lift the
car by it, lifting only the rail.
The crowd grew momently, women weeping, children struggling to see, men
pushing each other, policemen's helmets rising among them. And still
the great car stood there, on the body of the child.
"Is there no means of lifting these monsters?" she demanded. "After
they have done it, can't they even get off."
He moistened his lips to answer.
"There is a jacking crew," he said. "They will be here presently."
"Presently!" she cried. "Presently! Couldn't these monsters use their
own power to lift themselves somehow? not even that?"
He said nothing.
More policemen came, and made a scant space around the little body,
covering it with a dark cloth. The motorman was rescued from many would
be avengers, and carried off under guard.
"Ten minutes," said she looking at her watch. "Ten minutes and it isn't
even off him yet!" and she caught her breath in a great sob.
Then she turned on the man at her side: "Suppose his mother is in that
crowd! She may be! Their children go to this school, they live all
about below here, she can't even get in to see! And if she could, if
she knew it was her child, she can't _get him out_!"
Her voice rose to a cry.
"Don't, Mary," said he, hoarsely. "It's--it's horrible! Don't make it
She kept her eyes on her watch-face, counting the minutes She looked
down at the crowd shudderingly, and said over and over, under breath, "A
little child! A little soft child!"
It was twelve minutes and a-half before the jacking crew drove up, with
their tools. It was a long time yet before they did their work, and
that crushed and soiled little body was borne to a near-by area grating
and laid there, wrapped in its dingy shroud, and guarded by a policeman.
It was a full half hour before the ambulance arrived to take it away.
She drew back then and crouched sobbing by the sofa. "O the poor
mother! God help his mother!"
He sat tense and white for a while; and when she grew quieter he spoke.
"You were right, Mary. I--naturally, I never--visualized it! It is
horrible! I am going to have those fenders on every car of the four
She said nothing. He spoke again.
"I hate to leave you feeling so, Dear. Must I go?"
She raised a face that was years older, but did not look at him.
"You must go. And you must never come back. I cannot bear to see your
And she turned from him, shuddering.
BEFORE WARM FEBRUARY WINDS
Before warm February winds
Arouse an April dream--
Or sudden rifts of azure sky
Suggest the bluebird's gleam;
Before the reddening woods awake,
Before the brooks are free--
Here where all things are sold and hired,
The driven months we see.
Wither along our snow-soiled streets,
Or under glass endure,
Fruits of the days that have not come,
I hear in raw, unwelcome dawns
The sordid sparrows sing,
And in the florist's windows watch
The forced and purchased spring.
It is physically possible to see through a knot-hole. If the eye be
near enough, and the board be movable, one can, with patient rotation,
see the universe in spots, through a knot-hole. Such a purview is
limited of necessity, and while suitable to the microscope, is not
congenial to the study of life in general.
When those who would save the forests of America began their work, the
burden of effort lay in so stimulating and stretching the mental vision
of our people, that they could see wider than their own immediate
acreage, deeper than their own immediate profit, further than their own
immediate time. Some such struggle was no doubt gone through, when that
far-seeing iconoclast of early times strove to prove to the greedy
hunter that more food was to be attained by breeding cattle than by
killing them all at once; that meat kept better when alive. What mental
labor, what arduous conflict between that prehistoric ant and
Steadily up the ages the mind of man has had to stretch, and sturdily
has he resisted the process. That protoplasmic substance of the brain,
used so much and understood so little, astonishes us no less by its
infinite capacity for new extension, for endless fluent combination,
than by its leaden immobility. Here are some, open-minded, sensitive
and hospitable to new impressions; and here are others, an innumerable
majority, preferring always to know only what they have known, to think
only what they have thought before. The distinction does not seem
innate. A normal child provided with proper stimulus, responds with
ever fresh interest as field after field of new fact and new idea opens
Twenty years later that same child has lost this capacity, has become
dull, inert, conventional, conservative, contented. Upon his growing
mind have been imposed in long succeeding years, the iron limitations of
his "elders and betters"; only in the rarest of cases has he the mental
strength to resist these influences and "think new," think for himself.
Here we all are, living together in relations as complex as the pattern
of some mighty tapestry; each of us, seeing only his own part in it,
considering the pattern from the point of view of a stitch. This
attitude is exquisitely expressed by the reply of a dull student to the
earnest teacher who strove to arouse in him some spontaneous opinion on
human conduct. With enthusiasm and dramatic force, this instructor
exhibited the career of Nero,--showed his list of crimes natural and
unnatural, personal and political; his indecency, and cruelty, demanding
what should be said of the monster. The student, spurred by questions,
some-what fretfully responded, "He never did anything to me!"
Consciousness is of varying range. We know its gradual development, its
narrow field in childhood, its permanent restriction in idiocy. We know
how it may be developed, even in animals, how we have added to the dog's
field of consciousness a deep and passionate interest in his master's
life; how a well-befriended cat becomes desperately uneasy, when the
family begins to pack for a journey. We know personally the difference
between our range of thought at one age, and at another; how one's
consciousness may include wider and wider fields of knowledge, longer
ranges of time, deeper causal relations; and how the same object, viewed
by different minds, may arouse in one as it were, a square inch, and in
the other a square mile of consciousness. Those of us, who have the
larger area under cultivation,--who are accustomed to think of human
life as age-long, world-wide, and in motion, learn to see human conduct,
not as something in neat detachable strata, like a pile of plates, but
as having long roots and longer branches, and requiring careful handling
To these, studying the world's affairs, clear lines of causal sequence
present themselves. Is it a thousand cases of typhoid? They trace the
fever to its lair as one would hunt a tiger; they point out every step
of its course; they call on the citizens to rise and fight the enemy, to
save their lives. Do the citizens do it? Not they. Individually they
suffer and die. Individually they grieve and mourn, bury,their dead
(when they should cremate them), and pay the doctor and the undertaker.
Hundreds of dollars they pay as individuals to nurses, doctors,
graveyard men, and monument makers. If, collectively they would put up
a tenth of the sum to ensure a pure water and milk supply, they would
save not only hundreds for themselves, but thousands and millions for
those after them.--to say nothing of grief!
But they look at life through a knot-hole. They see their own personal
affairs as things of sky-shadowing importance, and those same affairs,
taken collectively, become as remote and uninteresting as the Milky Way.
Now in the mere labor of intellectual comprehension our average citizen
of common-school education is able to see that where so much tuberculous
milk is fed into so many babies, that such a proportion will surely die.
He sees, but it does interest him. Show him tubercular bacilli from
the autopsy of his dead baby, show him the same in the bottle of milk
reposing in his refrigerator, and show him the man who put them
there--and you may get results.
He could see the larger facts, but only feel the smaller ones. It is a
limitation of consciousness.
All workers for human advance know this. Whatever the cause upheld,
those who work for it find everywhere the same difficulty; they have to
stretch the minds, to stimulate the consciousness, to arouse the
interest of their hearers, so that they will take action for the common
In one field it is easy, that of public danger from war. The reason is
clear. Wars are carried on by men, and men have reacted to conflict
stimuli collectively, for so many ages, that it is a race habit with
them. Only in the last extreme of terror is this habit broken, and the
battle turns to rout, with every man for himself. Then comes the
officer and strives to rekindle that common consciousness without which
is no human victory.
In the economic world our habits of organization are not so old. We
have fought in company since we fought at all, as humans; but we have
worked, for the most part alone. The comradeship of shop and factory is
of yesterday, compared to the solitary spindle, loom and forge of
earlier centuries. Yet in that comradeship wherever found, comes the
new consciousness, that recognizes common danger or common gain, and
substitutes the army for the mob, the victory for the rout.
This effect is so strong, so clear, so quick in appearance, that even
with one poor century or two of economic combination, we ought to find
much better results than we do. Where the common interest is as clear
as day, where the common strength is so irresistible, where the loss and
the danger lie so wholly in isolation, one wonders over and over at the
lack of comprehension which keeps us so helplessly apart.
We can see the immense activities of the nation, the multiplication of
national wealth, power, and progress,--the saving of life, the
elimination of disease, the development of art and science, of beauty
and of health and glorious living that we might have, but we cannot feel
these things. Therefore we do not act.
Can there be still among us some general cause, acting on everyone,
which mysteriously checks out progress, which makes us "penny-wise and
pound-foolish," makes us "save at the spigot and spend at the
bung-hole," which continually intensifies our consciousness of personal
interest and continually prevents the recognition of social interests?
It may seem almost grotesque to make so heavy a complaint as this, and
then to put forward as chief offender our old companion the kitchen.
Briefly the charge is this: that in the private kitchen, we maintain in
our civilization an economic institution as old as house-building,
almost as old as the use of fire. The results of this surviving
rudiment of a remote past are many. The one presented here is the
effect of the kitchen on the mind.
The condition is practically universal. For each house a kitchen. Be
it the merest hut, the smallest tenement, one room; wherever the family
is found, there is the kitchen. For each man there is a cook. In the
great majority of cases the man's wife is his cook, and as she must
spend most of her time in the kitchen, there must be her little ones
also. In fifteen-sixteenths of American families, the children are thus
reared,--by cooks in kitchens.
We, in our fatuous acceptance of race habits, have ceaselessly
perpetuated this kitchen-bred population, and even defended it as an
educational influence of no mean importance. "Children brought up by
their mothers in the kitchen," we say, "early acquire knowledge and
skill in various occupations; they see things done, and learn how to do
This seems to the superficial listener like good sense. He never looks
below the allegation for the evidence. He sees that daily observation,
and practice should develop knowledge and skill, and fails to inquire
further to see if it does.
Surely if all children were brought up in blacksmith shops, it would
make them good blacksmiths; if they were brought up in dental parlors
they would become good dentists!
Waiving the desirability of a form of training calculated to turn out an
unvarying population of cooks, let us see if this daily association with
the maternal house-servant in her workshop does educate as stated. On
this point one clear comment has been made: "If kitchen life is such
good training to mind and hand, why is it that so few of us are willing
to follow the kitchen trades when we are grown? and why is it that
competence in the kitchen is so rare?" This is a most practical
observation. If fifteen-sixteenths of our women followed incessantly
the occupation of shoemaking, and brought up their children in the shoe
shop, we should hardly claim great educational advantages for that
arrangement. If we did, would it not be disappointing to find that the
trade of shoemaking was universally disliked and despised, and that good
shoemakers were hard to find at any price?
Yet this is precisely the case in hand. Our kitchen-bred children, boy
and girl alike, prefer almost any other trade, and when we wish to
secure competent workers in the kitchen we find them extremely scarce.
Moreover, in its own special activities, the private kitchen makes no
advance. Advance comes to it from outside; from the wider and more
progressive professionalism of its various industries; specialized and
socialized one by one. But, left to itself, domestic cook hands down to
domestic cook the recipes of female ancestors, occasionally added to by
obliging friends. It is endless repetition, but not progress.
The purpose of this discussion, however, is not to show the inefficacy
of this ancient workshop, as a means of carrying on that great art,
science, handicraft, and business--the preparation of food; but to point
out the effect of the kitchen on the human mind.
The one dominant note of kitchen work is personality. Its products are
all prepared for home consumption only. Its provisions are all secured
and its processes directed with a view to pleasing a small group. It
does not and cannot consider the general questions of hygiene, of
nutrition, of the chemistry of improved processes of preparation, and
the immense and pressing problems of pure food.
The kitchen mind, focussed continually upon close personal concerns,
limited in time, in means, in capacity, and in mechanical convenience,
can consider only; a, what the family likes; b, what the family can
afford; and, c, what the cook can accomplish.
The most perfect type of organization we have is the military. Military
success depends most absolutely on the commissary and sanitary
departments. "An army travels on its belly," is the famous dictum.
Is there any difference in this respect between soldiers and other
people? Are we not all gasteropods whether singly or in regiments? Is
not the health and strength of the productive workers of the world, at
least as valuable as that of the cumbrous forces of destruction?
In our last little war, and in the big one before that, disease killed
more than sword and steel. We lament this--in armies. We prefer to
keep our soldiers healthy that they may fight more strongly, and die
more efficaciously, and this sick list is pure waste.
Is it any less waste in private life? Can we easily afford the loss in
money--annual billions; the loss in strength, the loss in intellect, the
loss in love, that falls on us so heavily from year to year? Study the
record of man's fight with disease. See how the specialists devoting
not only lifetimes, but the accumulating succession of lifetimes to the
study of causes, cures and preventions, announce to us at last, "thus
and thus are you made sick. Thus may you be cured, and thus may you so
live as to be well."
See then the sanitary work of an aroused public; a truth is discovered;
a truth is announced; a law is made; the law is enforced--a disease is
This is vividly shown in the work of our Government against
pleuro-pneumonia--in cattle. The Federal Government, furnishing
information and funds, and cooperating with the various States, attacked
that disease, and stamped it out completely.
There is an effort now to rouse our government to fight the White
Plague, in people as well as in cattle. And, as always, the difficulty
is to stir and stretch and rouse our kitchen minds, to make us see
things in common instead of individually. The men whose cattle had
pleuro-pneumonia, kept them in herds, and lost them in herds, losing
much money thereby. Many men were so afflicted. Therefore these many
men got together, and, using the machinery of the State, they together
destroyed their enemy. Cattle-raising is a business, a social industry.
But child-raising, husband-feeding, the care of the lives and health of
all our families, is a domestic industry, in the management of the
it has been shown recently that 72 per cent. of the cattle in New York
State are tuberculous. This does not kill them quickly like
pleuro-pneumonia. They live and may be sold. They live and may give
milk. It has been shown recently (as stated in our unimpeachable daily
press), that in some of the milk sold in New York City, there were more
germs to the cubic millimeter, than in the same amount of sewage!
This milk, and most of the milk in all our cities, goes into the
kitchen; the blind, brainless, family-feeding kitchen, and from there is
given us to drink.
What protest rises from the kitchens of New York, or Chicago, or any
city? What mass-meeting of angry women, presenting to their legislators
the horrible facts of strong men poisoned and babies slain by this or
any other abomination in the food supply?
A young man writes a novel exhibiting the badness of our meat supply.
Men become excited. Men take action. Men legislate. The great meat
industries stagger under the shock, recover, and go on smiling. Before
this meanwhile, and afterwards, the meat went into out kitchens and we
Being kitchen-minded we cannot see that health is a public concern; that
the feeding of our people is one of the most vital factors in their
health, and that the private kitchen with its private cook is not able
to keep the public well.
Ask the physician, the sanitary expert. He will tell you that the great
advance in sanitary science is in its battle with the filth diseases;
and that we die worse than ever from food diseases.
In fighting the filth diseases we have the public forces to work with;
compulsory systems of sewage and drainage, quarantine, isolation
hospitals, and all the other maneuvers by which an enlightened public
But who shall say what a child shall eat, or a man or woman? Is it not
wholly their own affair?
We cry out upon our women for the falling birth rate;--why not say
something about the death rate of their babies? The average family must
have four, merely to maintain a stationary population, said Grant Allen;
"two to replace themselves and two to die." The doctor will tell you
that they die mostly of what are called "preventable diseases" and that
those diseases are mainly of the alimentary canal.
Kitchen-fed are we all, and those of us who survive it, who become
immune to it, cry loudly of its excellence! If we could once see
outside of these ancient limits, once figure to ourselves the vision of
a healthy world, and the noble duty of making it,--then we should no
longer be kitchen-minded.
Our narrowness of vision, our petty self-interest, does not end its
injuries with our bodily health. Its leaden limitation is felt in all
the economic field.
Not a business have we in the world but needs to be considered as a
matter of public service; needs to be studied, helped, restricted,
generally managed for the public good. Not a business in the world but
is crippled and distorted by the childish self-interest of its
promoters. Kitchen-bred men born of kitchen-bred mothers are we, and
inevitably must we consider the main duty of life to be the service of
our own body. What else does the child see his mother do, but work,
work, work to cover the family table with food three times a day, and
clear up afterward? What else can he grow up to do but work, work,
work, to provide the wherewithal for another woman to do the same?
A million women are making bread as their mothers made it. How many
women are trying to lift the standard of bread-making for their country?
How many even know the difference in nutriment and digestibility
between one bread and another?
They do not think "bread," but only "my bread." Their view of the staff
of life is kitchen-minded. When our kitchen trades become world trades,
when we are fed, not by the most ignorant, but by the wisest; when
personal whims and painfully acquired habits give place to the light of
science, and the fruit of wide experience; when, instead of dragging
duty or sordid compulsion, we have wisdom and art to feed us; the change
will be far greater than that of improved health. It will be a great
and valuable advance even there. We shall become healthy, clean-fleshed
people, intelligent eaters, each generation improving in strength and
beauty, but we shall be helped in wider ways than that. We shall have
the enlarged mental capacity that comes of a wider area of work and
responsibility. We shall have in each man and woman the habitual power
of organization, the daily recognition of mutual service and world-duty.
When the world comes out of the kitchen for good and all, and for that
primitive little shop is substituted the cool glittering laboratory,
wherein the needs of bodily replenishment are fully and beautifully met,
it will give to the growing child a different background for his thought
processes. At last we shall mark the great division between production,
which is the social function, and consumption which is personal.
As we now emerge from the warm and greasy confines of our ancient
cookshop, we begin to see with new eyes its true place as an economic
factor. We are learning the unbridled waste of it; how it costs
struggling humanity about forty-three per cent. of its productive labor,
and two-thirds of its living expenses; how it does not conserve the very
end for which we uphold it,--the health of the family; how it leaves us
helpless before the adulterators of food, the purveyors of impure milk,
diseased meat, and all unpleasantness. We are beginning to see how,
most dangerous of all, it works against our economic progress, by
perpetuating a primitive selfishness.
Public interest grows in public service. Self-interest is maintained by
self-service. We can neither rightly estimate social gain, nor rightly
condemn social evil, because we are so soddenly habituated to consider
only personal gain, personal good and personal evil; because we are
Two storks were nesting.
He was a young stork--and narrow-minded. Before he married he had
consorted mainly with striplings of his own kind, and had given no
thought to the ladies, either maid or matron.
After he married his attention was concentrated upon his All-Satisfying
Wife; upon that Triumph of Art, Labor, and Love--their Nest, and upon
those Special Creations--their Children. Deeply was he moved by the
marvellous instincts and processes of motherhood. Love, reverence,
intense admiration, rose in his heart for Her of the Well-built Nest;
Her of the Gleaming Treasure of Smooth Eggs; Her of the Patient Brooding
Breast, the Warming Wings, the downy wide-mouthed Group of Little Ones.
Assiduously he labored to help her build the nest, to help her feed the
young; proud of his impassioned activity in her and their behalf;
devoutly he performed his share of the brooding, while she hunted in her
turn. When he was o-wing he thought continually of Her as one with the
Brood--His Brood. When he was on the nest he thought all the more of
Her, who sat there so long, so lovingly, to such noble ends.
The happy days flew by, fair Spring--sweet Summer--gentle Autumn. The
young ones grew larger and larger; it was more and more work to keep
their lengthening, widening beaks shut in contentment. Both parents
flew far afield to feed them.
Then the days grew shorter, the sky greyer, the wind colder; there was
less hunting and small success. In his dreams he began to see sunshine,
broad, burning sunshine day after day; skies of limitless blue; dark,
deep, yet full of fire; and stretches of bright water, shallow, warm,
fringed with tall reeds and rushes, teeming with fat frogs.
They were in her dreams too, but he did not know that.
He stretched his wings and flew farther every day; but his wings were
not satisfied. In his dreams came a sense of vast heights and boundless
spaces of the earth streaming away beneath him; black water and white
land, grey water and brown land, blue water and green land, all flowing
backward from day to day, while the cold lessened and the warmth grew.
He felt the empty sparkling nights, stars far above, quivering, burning;
stars far below, quivering more in the dark water; and felt his great
wings wide, strong, all sufficient, carrying him on and on!
This was in her dreams too, but he did not know that.
"It is time to Go!" he cried one day. "They are coming! It is upon us!
Yes--I must Go! Goodbye my wife! Goodbye my children!" For the
Passion of Wings was upon him.
She too was stirred to the heart. "Yes! It is time to Go! To Go!" she
cried. "I am ready! Come!"
He was shocked; grieved; astonished. "Why, my Dear!" he said. "How
preposterous! You cannot go on the Great Flight! Your wings are for
brooding tender little ones! Your body is for the Wonder of the
Gleaming Treasure!--not for days and nights of ceaseless soaring! You
She did not heed him. She spread her wide wings and swept and circled
far and high above--as, in truth, she had been doing for many days,
though he had not noticed it.
She dropped to the ridge-pole beside him where he was still muttering
objections. "Is it not glorious!" she cried. "Come! They are nearly
"You unnatural Mother!" he burst forth. "You have forgotten the Order
of Nature! You have forgotten your Children! Your lovely precious
tender helpless Little Ones!" And he wept--for his highest ideals were
But the Precious Little Ones stood in a row on the ridge-pole and
flapped their strong young wings in high derision. They were as big as
he was, nearly; for as a matter of fact he was but a Young Stork
Then the air was beaten white with a thousand wings, it was like snow
and silver and seafoam, there was a flashing whirlwind, a hurricane of
wild joy and then the Army of the Sky spread wide in due array and
Full of remembered joy and more joyous hope, finding the high sunlight
better than her dreams, she swept away to the far summerland; and her
children, mad with the happiness of the First Flight, swept beside her.
"But you are a Mother!" he panted, as he caught up with them.
"Yes!" she cried, joyously, "but I was a Stork before I was A Mother!
and afterward!--and All the Time!"
And the Storks were Flying.
WHAT DIANTHA DID
A CRYING NEED
"Lovest thou me?" said the Fair Ladye;
And the Lover he said, "Yea!"
"Then climb this tree--for my sake," said she,
"And climb it every day!"
So from dawn till dark he abrazed the bark
And wore his clothes away;
Till, "What has this tree to do with thee?"
The Lover at last did say.
It was a poor dinner. Cold in the first place, because Isabel would
wait to thoroughly wash her long artistic hands; and put on another
dress. She hated the smell of cooking in her garments; hated it worse
on her white fingers; and now to look at the graceful erect figure, the
round throat with the silver necklace about it, the soft smooth hair,
silver-filletted, the negative beauty of the dove-colored gown,
specially designed for home evenings, one would never dream she had set
the table so well--and cooked the steak so abominably.
Isabel was never a cook. In the many servantless gaps of domestic life
in Orchardina, there was always a strained atmosphere in the Porne
"Dear," said Mr. Porne, "might I petition to have the steak less cooked?
I know you don't like to do it, so why not shorten the process?"
"I'm sorry," she answered, "I always forget about the steak from one
time to the next."
"Yet we've had it three times this week, my dear."
"I thought you liked it better than anything," she with marked
gentleness. "I'll get you other things--oftener."
"It's a shame you should have this to do, Isabel. I never meant you
should cook for me. Indeed I didn't dream you cared so little about
"And I never dreamed you cared so much about it," she replied, still
with repression. "I'm not complaining, am I? I'm only sorry you should
be disappointed in me."
"It's not _you,_ dear girl! You're all right! It's just this
everlasting bother. Can't you get _anybody_ that will stay?"
I can't seem to get anybody on any terms, so far. I'm going again,
to-morrow. Cheer up, dear--the baby keeps well--that's the main thing."
He sat on the rose-bowered porch and smoked while she cleared the table.
At first he had tried to help her on these occasions, but their methods
were dissimilar and she frankly told him she preferred to do it alone.
So she slipped off the silk and put on the gingham again, washed the
dishes with the labored accuracy of a trained mind doing unfamiliar
work, made the bread, redressed at last, and joined him about nine
"It's too late to go anywhere, I suppose?" he ventured.
"Yes--and I'm too tired. Besides--we can't leave Eddie alone."
"O yes--I forget. Of course we can't."
His hand stole out to take hers. "I _am_ sorry, dear. It's awfully
rough on you women out here. How do they all stand it?"
"Most of them stand it much better than I do, Ned. You see they don't
want to be doing anything else."
"Yes. That's the mischief of it!" he agreed; and she looked at him in
the clear moonlight, wondering exactly what he thought the mischief was.
"Shall we go in and read a bit?" he offered; but she thought not.
"I'm too tired, I'm afraid. And Eddie'll wake up as soon as we begin."
So they sat awhile enjoying the soft silence, and the rich flower scents
about them, till Eddie did wake presently, and Isabel went upstairs.
She slept little that night, lying quite still, listening to her
husband's regular breathing so near her, and the lighter sound from the
crib. "I am a very happy woman," she told herself resolutely; but there
was no outpouring sense of love and joy. She knew she was happy, but by
no means felt it. So she stared at the moon shadows and thought it
She had planned the little house herself, with such love, such hope,
such tender happy care! Not her first work, which won high praise in
the school in Paris, not the prize-winning plan for the library, now
gracing Orchardina's prettiest square, was as dear to her as this most
womanly task--the making of a home.
It was the library success which brought her here, fresh from her
foreign studies, and Orchardina accepted with western cordiality the
youth and beauty of the young architect, though a bit surprised at first
that "I. H. Wright" was an Isabel. In her further work of overseeing
the construction of that library, she had met Edgar Porne, one of the
numerous eager young real estate men of that region, who showed a
liberal enthusiasm for the general capacity of women in the professions,
and a much warmer feeling for the personal attractions of this one.
Together they chose the lot on pepper-shaded Inez Avenue; together they
watched the rising of the concrete walls and planned the garden walks
and seats, and the tiny precious pool in the far corner. He was so
sympathetic! so admiring! He took as much pride in the big "drawing
room" on the third floor as she did herself. "Architecture is such fine
work to do at home!" they had both agreed. "Here you have your north
light--your big table--plenty of room for work! You will grow famouser
and famouser," he had lovingly insisted. And she had answered, "I fear
I shall be too contented, dear, to want to be famous."
That was only some year and a-half ago,--but Isabel, lying there by her
sleeping husband and sleeping child, was stark awake and only by
assertion happy. She was thinking, persistently, of dust. She loved a
delicate cleanliness. Her art was a precise one, her studio a workshop
of white paper and fine pointed hard pencils, her painting the
mechanical perfection of an even wash of color. And she saw, through
the floors and walls and the darkness, the dust in the little shaded
parlor--two days' dust at least, and Orchardina is very dusty!--dust in
the dining-room gathered since yesterday--the dust in the kitchen--she
would not count time there, and the dust--here she counted it
inexorably--the dust of eight days in her great, light workroom
upstairs. Eight days since she had found time to go up there.
Lying there, wide-eyed and motionless, she stood outside in thought and
looked at the house--as she used to look at it with him, before they
were married. Then, it had roused every blessed hope and dream of
wedded joy--it seemed a casket of uncounted treasures. Now, in this
dreary mood, it seemed not only a mere workshop, but one of alien tasks,
continuous, impossible, like those set for the Imprisoned Princess by
bad fairies in the old tales. In thought she entered the
well-proportioned door--the Gate of Happiness--and a musty smell greeted
her--she had forgotten to throw out those flowers! She turned to the
parlor--no, the piano keys were gritty, one had to clean them twice a
day to keep that room as she liked it.
From room to room she flitted, in her mind, trying to recall the
exquisite things they meant to her when she had planned them; and each
one now opened glaring and blank, as a place to work in--and the work
"If I were an abler woman!" she breathed. And then her common sense and
common honesty made her reply to herself: "I am able enough--in my own
work! Nobody can do everything. I don't believe Edgar'd do it any
better than I do.--He don't have to!--and then such a wave of bitterness
rushed over her that she was afraid, and reached out one hand to touch
the crib--the other to her husband.
He awakened instantly. "What is it, Dear?" he asked. "Too tired to
sleep, you poor darling? But you do love me a little, don't you?"
"O _yes_!" she answered. "I do. Of _course_ I do! I'm just tired, I
guess. Goodnight, Sweetheart."
She was late in getting to sleep and late in waking.
When he finally sat down to the hurriedly spread breakfast-table, Mr.
Porne, long coffeeless, found it a bit difficult to keep his temper.
Isabel was a little stiff, bringing in dishes and cups, and paying no
attention to the sounds of wailing from above.
"Well if you won't I will!" burst forth the father at last, and ran
upstairs, returning presently with a fine boy of some eleven months, who
ceased to bawl in these familiar arms, and contented himself, for the
moment, with a teaspoon.
"Aren't you going to feed him?" asked Mr. Porne, with forced patience.
"It isn't time yet," she announced wearily. "He has to have his bath
"Well," with a patience evidently forced farther, "isn't it time to feed
"I'm very sorry," she said. "The oatmeal is burned again. You'll have
to eat cornflakes. And--the cream is sour--the ice didn't come--or at
least, perhaps I was out when it came--and then I forgot it. . . . . I
had to go to the employment agency in the morning! . . . . I'm sorry I'm
"So am I," he commented drily. "Are there any crackers for instance?
And how about coffee?"
She brought the coffee, such as it was, and a can of condensed milk.
Also crackers, and fruit. She took the baby and sat silent.
"Shall I come home to lunch?" he asked.
"Perhaps you'd better not," she replied coldly.
"Is there to be any dinner?"
"Dinner will be ready at six-thirty, if I have to get it myself."
"If you have to get it yourself I'll allow for seven-thirty," said he,
trying to be cheerful, though she seemed little pleased by it. "Now
don't take it so hard, Ellie. You are a first-class architect,
anyhow--one can't be everything. We'll get another girl in time. This
is just the common lot out here. All the women have the same trouble."
"Most women seem better able to meet it!" she burst forth. "It's not my
trade! I'm willing to work, I like to work, but I can't _bear_
housework! I can't seem to learn it at all! And the servants will not
do it properly!"
"Perhaps they know your limitations, and take advantage of them! But
cheer up, dear. It's no killing matter. Order by phone, don't forget
the ice, and I'll try to get home early and help. Don't cry, dear girl,
I love you, even if you aren't a good cook! And you love me, don't
He kissed her till she had to smile back at him and give him a loving
hug; but after he had gone, the gloom settled upon her spirits once
more. She bathed the baby, fed him, put him to sleep; and came back to
the table. The screen door had been left ajar and the house was buzzing
with flies, hot, with a week's accumulating disorder. The bread she
made last night in fear and trembling, was hanging fatly over the pans;
perhaps sour already. She clapped it into the oven and turned on the
Then she stood, undetermined, looking about that messy kitchen while the
big flies bumped and buzzed on the windows, settled on every dish, and
swung in giddy circles in the middle of the room. Turning swiftly she
shut the door on them. The dining-room was nearly as bad. She began to
put the cups and plates together for removal; but set her tray down
suddenly and went into the comparative coolness of the parlor, closing
the dining-room door behind her.
She was quite tired enough to cry after several nights of broken rest
and days of constant discomfort and irritation; but a sense of rising
anger kept the tears back.
"Of course I love him!" she said to herself aloud but softly,
remembering the baby, "And no doubt he loves me! I'm glad to be his
wife! I'm glad to be a mother to his child! I'm glad I married him!
But--_this_ is not what he offered! And it's not what I undertook! He
hasn't had to change his business!"
She marched up and down the scant space, and then stopped short and
laughed drily, continuing her smothered soliloquy.
"'Do you love me?' they ask, and, 'I will make you happy!' they say; and
you get married--and after that it's Housework!"
"They don't say, 'Will you be my Cook?' 'Will you be my Chamber maid?'
'Will you give up a good clean well-paid business that you love--that
has big hope and power and beauty in it--and come and keep house for
"Love him? I'd be in Paris this minute if I didn't! What has 'love' to
do with dust and grease and flies!"
Then she did drop on the small sofa and cry tempestuously for a little
while; but soon arose, fiercely ashamed of her weakness, and faced the
day; thinking of the old lady who had so much to do she couldn't think
what to first--so she sat down and made a pincushion.
Then--where to begin!
"Eddie will sleep till half-past ten--if I'm lucky. It's now nearly
half-past nine," she meditated aloud. "If I do the upstairs work I
might wake him. I mustn't forget the bread, the dishes, the parlor--O
those flies! Well--I'll clear the table first!"
Stepping softly, and handling the dishes with slow care, she cleaned the
breakfast table and darkened the dining-room, flapping out some of the
flies with a towel. Then she essayed the parlor, dusting and arranging
with undecided steps. "It _ought_ to be swept," she admitted to
herself; "I can't do it--there isn't time. I'll make it dark--"
"I'd rather plan a dozen houses!" she fiercely muttered, as she fussed
about. "Yes--I'd rather build 'em--than to keep one clean!"
Then were her hopes dashed by a rising wail from above. She sat quite
still awhile, hoping against hope that he would sleep again; but he
wouldn't. So she brought him down in full cry.
In her low chair by the window she held him and produced bright and
jingling objects from the tall workbasket that stood near by, sighing
again as she glanced at its accumulated mending.
Master Eddy grew calm and happy in her arms, but showed a growing
interest in the pleasing materials produced for his amusement, and a
desire for closer acquaintance. Then a penetrating odor filled the air,
and with a sudden "O dear!" she rose, put the baby on the sofa, and
started toward the kitchen.
At this moment the doorbell rang.
Mrs. Porne stopped in her tracks and looked at the door. It remained
opaque and immovable. She looked at the baby--who jiggled his spools
and crowed. Then she flew to the oven and dragged forth the bread, not
much burned after all. Then she opened the door.
A nice looking young woman stood before her, in a plain travelling suit,
holding a cheap dress-suit case in one hand and a denim "roll-bag" in
the other, who met her with a cheerful inquiring smile.
"Are you Mrs. Edgar Porne?" she asked.
"I am," answered that lady, somewhat shortly, her hand on the doorknob,
her ear on the baby, her nose still remorsefully in the kitchen, her
eyes fixed sternly on her visitor the while; as she wondered whether it
was literature, cosmetics, or medicine.
She was about to add that she didn't want anything, when the young lady
produced a card from the Rev. Benjamin A. Miner, Mrs. Porne's
particularly revered minister, and stated that she had heard there was a
vacancy in her kitchen and she would like the place.
"Introducing Mrs. D. Bell, well known to friends of mine."
"I don't know--" said Mrs. Porne, reading the card without in the least
grasping what it said. "I--"
Just then there was a dull falling sound followed by a sharp rising one,
and she rushed into the parlor without more words.
When she could hear and be heard again, she found Mrs. Bell seated in
the shadowy little hall, serene and cool. "I called on Mr. Miner
yesterday when I arrived," said she, "with letters of introduction from
my former minister, told him what I wanted to do, and asked him if he
could suggest anyone in immediate need of help in this line. He said he
had called here recently, and believed you were looking for someone.
Here is the letter I showed him," and she handed Mrs. Porne a most
friendly and appreciative recommendation of Miss D. Bell by a minister
in Jopalez, Inca Co., stating that the bearer was fully qualified to do
all kinds of housework, experienced, honest, kind, had worked seven
years in one place, and only left it hoping to do better in Southern
Backed by her own pastor's approval this seemed to Mrs. Porne fully
sufficient. The look of the girl pleased her, though suspiciously above
her station in manner; service of any sort was scarce and high in
Orchardina, and she had been an agelong week without any. "When can you
come?" she asked.
"I can stop now if you like," said the stranger. "This is my baggage.
But we must arrange terms first. If you like to try me I will come this
week from noon to-day to noon next Friday, for seven dollars, and then
if you are satisfied with my work we can make further arrangements. I
do not do laundry work, of course, and don't undertake to have any care
of the baby."
"I take care of my baby myself!" said Mrs. Porne, thinking the new girl
was presuming, though her manner was most gently respectful. But a week
was not long, she was well recommended, and the immediate pressure in
that kitchen where the harvest was so ripe and the laborers so
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