The Domestic Monthly: An Illustrated Magazine of Fashion …, Volume 23 (Google Books)

NOVELTIES.

The fashionable real flowers of the day are lilies of the valley nestling in their own leaves, the red petals of the poinsettia half veiled in maidenhair, and white Roman hyacinths, mixed with a few violets, backed by tinted ivy. The last is used by itself in sprays, and attached to the dress by jewelled pins or brooches. Elongated initial letters, with a long pin thrust through slantwise, composed of garnets, are novel, and look warm and rich among lace and jabots, bows, bonnets, or for fastening a floral buttonhole. There is the old English initial letter without the pin and also the modern capital one, withit, and the latter is about two inches long, and the favorite. Garnets are coming into vogue very much, and go well with the rich ruby and brown shades that find such favor at present.

Boxes containing six to twelve of the imitation tortoiseshell hairpins are now sold. They are in the light and dark shade, between three and four inches in length, and are more for the loosely coiled and turned-up hair than the ordinary wire hair-pins. Longer ones are used for running through the hair and supporting the bonnet, and some of these are ornamented with steel or paste. If double pins are used, one is put in higher than the other, and if there is a chain attached it rests on the hair.

For mourning, jet beads of good size, mounted on hair-pins, are dotted about the curls or plaits at the back of the head.

Very long, thin gilt pins, with small onyx heads, are also run

through the bonnet or hat. Among the many new designs for decorative use brought out by ingenious minds, is the poodle. As this sagacious, companionable dog is still the pet of fashion, to be seen walking out in crowded thoroughfares with its master or mistress, often decorated with a gold or single bangle on one front paw, or a bow of ribbon, corresponding with the coior of its mistress’s costume, tied among its locks; so its reproduction in gold and paste is worn among lace and ribbon as a fashion of the day. As the letter weight the poodle also figures in carved ebony, and is to be seen painted on fans and the covers of blotting books. Garnet beads, strung on wire in the form of a comb, are to be seen on some of the new ruby bonnets, where they fit into the curved back, cut up to admit of the present style of hairdressing. They also edge bonnets, and are lightly strung and secured to the stems of aigrettes. With a bonnet ornamented thus, it is needless to say that the earrings and bonnet pins or brooch are en suite. Some pretty little menu-holders are of glass, backed like a mirror, about the size of a large locket, with the crest or monogram of the owner engraved in the centre. Other menu-holders have embossed silver edges, resembling cartede-visite frames; and some have handles, while others stand upright. These have recently been given as wedding gifts. Afternoon teacloths are frequently trimmed with coarse lace, worked roughly over in colored silks. Some novel ones are of cream oatmeal cloth, braided in gold. Creamy-white embossed leather enjoys the same favor as it did last winter. Unfortunately it is very costly, or all fashionable women would have their prayer-books, albums, and card-cases covered with it, especially as it wears extremely well, a little rubbing only giving it the mellow

tinge of old parchment, and tending rather to throw up the .

design. Cream leather embossed with cherubims, a little color introduced here and there, is a novelty of the season applied to the same purposes. Less costly knick-knacks for the pocket, writing, and library table are covered with smooth, deep-green leather, gilt on the edges. This year the black poodle standing sentry over our loose papers holds a hat in his teeth; is it a skit on the impecunious condition of the

summer finances? His companion is a black bear with silver paws. The wren, promoted to a stump of tree speckled with snow, has a formidable rival in the red squirrel, either on his haunches, with tail curled up over his back, or in the act of leaping from one branch of a leafless tree to another. The newest menu cards in Paris are red—a substance like ivorine in texture—and the lettering is carved out in gold. They look cheerful on a dinner-table, and the guest card matches. When white menu cards are used, they are much emblazoned in gold, red and blue. A new idea for menu cards has recently made its appearence in London in the form of simple cards, bearing a suitably-chosen quotation. Care should be taken to choose appropriate lines for the guests. The name and the written menu are inscribed on a piece of paper, and put into the two little slits provided for them on the ornamental card. Each guest should have his or her suggestive text. Young ladies do not affect much jewelry at balls; bracelets, except perhaps bangles, a half hoop of brilliants or pearls, are hardly, if ever, worn. A single row of pearls with solitaire diamond clasp is all that is worn round the throat. We speak, of course, of young unmarried girls. But fancy jeweled brooches and clasps without number are worn on the low-cut corsage, and buckles of brilliants, square, oval or round, drape the folds of the flowing tulle skirts. The tortoise-shell pins which are placed in the hair are studded with small glistening stones. There is a novel feature for decorating a dinner table, in the shape of a strip of some rich-colored velvet down the centre of the white damask cloth, which is cut out in large scallops at the edge and neatly finished. Along this bunches of red berries and white yew, or any similar berries, according to the color of the velvet, are placed, and at each corner a large spray of arbutus. The undulations of the velvet edge prevent any appearance of stiffness. The bunches can be kept in place by being slightly tacked to the velvet. Fans are of feathers, lace, straw and fine gauze; all shapes and all sizes are seen, from the smallest lace round to the huge awkward “screen” which can hardly be held in the hand. The Portia fan is as much used as ever; it still has its feather-framed, tale-telling glass, which gives it a style quite its own; this glass is now veiled by a large ostrich tip curved gracefully over its surface, and the handle is covered with satin ribbon tied in small bows at the top. The gilded palm fans are exceedingly pretty when trimmed with real flowers and lace; they are young-looking also, and usefull to boot, as the fan can be endlessly used. Moorish, Egyptian and Oriental designs are used for the popular dog-collars. Crescents of filigree gold connected by chains of cut garnet beads are comparatively cheap in price, and look especially pretty drawn tightly around a high collar of dark velvet.

The Unmarried Woman (Google Books)

XV.
CHARACTER.

N spelling out our answer to the question put to every one of us, “What is life?” we find to our surprise that though we want life to go deep, we shrink from the process. Is not the end of life character? Now, “so generous is fate” that character may be formed in many ways. Here the married and the unmarried have an equal chance and an equal responsibility.

And yet character is not altogether independent of circumstances; that is to say, certain circumstances favour one set of virtues or faults more than another. It is popularly believed that an unmarried life produces crotchets ; and a skilful novelist, whose individuals need not stand for a class, may have a right to present the crotchets of a single woman, so as to make her a very amusing creature; but can the writer who has an unvarnished tale to tell truthfully say that her crotchets are any more amusing than those of married women? How it would enliven my picture, which is painted in rather sombre colours, if I could think so! As beauty

and taste in dress no doubt attract, probably an undue

proportion of plain, ill-dressed women are left to be old maids. Such women are often laughed at by the thoughtless, but that is not on account of their crotchets. The reason that the crotchets of married women are less noticed is because they live in a home which they plan themselves, while maiden ladies have to be fitted into odd corners in other people’s homes. Perhaps there are as many married women, for example, devoted to a parrot or a poodle as there are old maids, of like tastes; but with the old maids the animal is made the centre round which life revolves just because there is no human being on whom its owner is free to lavish as many caresses as she would like. Crotchets are either funny or exasperating to everybody but the person they characterize; but when their genesis is traced, they often become pathetic.

Nevertheless, it is hard for a single woman to avoid oddity. She is often chained to conventionality by timidity. She is not sure that any one really cares about her bright ideas. Enforced conventionality with inward rebellion produces an odd result. It is a trite remark that “ we‘ ” can accomplish everything, while “ I ” can do nothing; and single women have great temptations to discouragement, sometimes even to envy. A maiden lady can hardly advocate a needed reform without hearing it called a chimera fit for old maids. She can hardly praise a great man without hearing him decried

because old maids admire him. If she is quick-witted enough to perceive such judgments and therefore to suppress her opinions, she always appears odd, because her real self is at variance with her exterior, and the moment she is aware she is odd, she becomes odder than ever. A woman must have confidence not only in her opinions but in her power to please, even to speak with authority. One who stands completely alone in the world cannot always have that confidence. A friend says that a woman who has to buffet the world alone always shows marks of it. She either becomes too self-assertive, or morbidly sensitive and timid. We all know both the masculine and the ultra-feminine type. Perhaps we do not like either of them very well. We wonder not only at their want of grace, but at their want of common-sense. Yet perhaps both are accounted for by the fact that such women so often have to do a man’s work with a woman’s limitations. The most perfectly rounded character is moulded only from a full life. Growth comes from living, not from stagnation. Luckily, we live from within, and not from without; when we have the germ of life within us, there are no circumstances from which it does not draw nourishment. I have never found it possible to believe that the right idea of life does not include happiness, and so I find myself obliged to agree to the paradox that though happiness is not the chief end to seek, it is

an end we are sure to find sooner or later according to “our faithfulness to our aspirations.

The philosophy of character, and probably incidentally of happiness, is in keeping our true relations to the life above us, to that on our own level, and to that below us. Wilhelm Meister defines the three .kinds of religion as reverence for that which ‘is over us, for that which is like us, and for that which is beneath us.

Now marriage inevitably affords training in the two latter relations. The more ardently we love our equals, the more quickly we learn the lessons of justice, forbearance, and mutual help. The happy married women, in whose case the close companionship of a lifetime only exalts every pleasure, learn their lessons unawares. But the unhappy wives, to whom their relation is irksome in the highest degree, can hardly escape learning part of the lessons. They must be just, they must be forbearing, they must help, and they must share both pleasure and pain with another whether they will or no, unless they are willing to sit down tamely and see their lives go to wreck. Few are so indolent as to do this; and most are urged on by something more potent than the spur of necessity. A married woman, once in her life at least, chooses her own environment. It is easier to conform to our own choice than to adapt ourselves to the unavoidable. The husband may turn out to be a scamp ; but there is a time, however short,

when he is transfigured by the light of the ideal, and in the attempt to fit herself to him, the wife must gain something in character. She cannot possibly shut herself up alone in utter selfishness, as a single woman who finds her natural companions uncongenial may sometimes do. Indeed, she does not wish to do so, or why should she have married at all? She will sometimes try, however feebly and waveringly, to go out of herself.

A thoroughly selfish girl is at first attracted by a man who loves her, because of what she receives from him; but gradually she begins to wish to please her lover by doing him some service in return, and from this weak germ real love begins to grow. If a woman is selfish, and her husband is a tyrant, her bitter lessons will be learned by force; but it will be impossible for her to shirk them ; and for a while, at least, she will probably justify her marriage to herself by making some attempt to learn them.

A single woman, even when she misses the highest happiness, has no such abyss of suffering to fear. Some maiden ladies, accordingly, metaphorically cross themselves whenever they hear of a divorce case, and thank Heaven that they have never been ensnared in the matrimonial web. Still they have a temptation of their own which must not be ignored. They may not learn their true relations to their equals at all. As they are so happy as to be exempt from force, they can learn them only from love. Can we actively choose to be large-hearted, if such a temperament is denied us? Most of us, alas ! are incapable of this ; but we all have opportunities to put ourselves into those close relationships which develop our powers. We can welcome even severe discipline which forces us out of ourselves. Such a bud may be very hard, but it will open at last into a flower.

Single women seldom fail to observe the letter of the law of love which says we are to give to others ; but when they are so unhappy as to have no one near and dear with a claim upon them, their interpretation of the law tends to grow narrower and narrower. Their own little tastes are magnified in importance; they must sit in their own special easy-chair, and drink from their own special cup. If they are studious, their studies are of more importance than all the world around them. If they are fond of music, they will not miss a symphony concert, even if they know that a lonely friend needs

them. Their nerves gain more and more sway over.

them, and everybody must conform to their fancies. There are those who are tempted to feel themselves illused when one of their kindred becomes dependent upon them, and sometimes this does befall through injustice; but even then there have been cases where the necessity of caring for others has so awakened the dormant love of the worker that she has joyfully acknowledged the burden as a precious trust.

Yet who but an ascetic values discipline simply as discipline ? A sweet and lively girl, having been brought under the influence of a prominent evangelist, became “converted,” and sincerely wishing to lead a life which should have meaning in it, she told a friend that she thought she should like to marry a minister. She thought it would steady her to live with one whose whole attention was given to religion. Yet when, in the course of time, a young divine offered himself to her, his profession caused her such dismay that she would have refused him if she had not loved him dearly. She proved a model minister’s wife in the end ; but it is clear that if she had married simply for discipline, without the love, she would have been in full revolt in three months. Her early wish was rather sentimental. ‘ It was like another wish of hers, caused by noticing how much a friend’s nature had been deepened by sorrow. “I have never had any trouble in my life,” she said enviously. “If I could only lose a friend, I am sure it would improve my character!” Those of us who have come to years of discretion know that we need not seek discipline. There is always enough trouble to develop all of us. Our part is the making the most of every opportunity, both of joy and pain.

Self-inflicted discipline is seldom a blessing. The joyous giving of ourselves because we love to give is quite another thing. “To love,” says the author of

“ Gravenhurst,” “is the great glory, the last culture, the highest happiness ; to be loved is little in comparison.”

We dream that it is the wife who enters into this great glory of love. So it is sometimes, but not always. The unmarried woman looks about with a sinking heart, as she sees how few marriages meet her own tests. If she is large-hearted, she often has a far better chance to pour out an unstinted love on worthy objects than her married sister has.

The love of our equals teaches us justice in the largest sense. It teaches us sympathy too. No woman can do without dear friends of her own age, position, and tastes. The wife has one friend; the single woman must not rest content till she has found at least one.

But the most completely self-forgetful love is that of the mother for her child. Even where the marriage is far from ideal, the sweetness and helplessness of children make an appeal to the mother which is not to be withstood. It must be hard, indeed, for a married woman to be entirely selfish. The claims of a child are bontinual. Even its reasonable claims are made by night as by day, and whether the mother herself is well or ill. They cannot be put aside, however bad-tempered the mother may be. It is true the rich often delegate their duties to others, but the duties must be done by some one. Such incessant care, which would be almost unendurable without the love that goes with it, with the love is a delight. The mother’s love is without thought of reward; and though children give back love in return, they never do it from a sense of duty. The mother’s love teaches perfect sympathy with those below her. It teaches generosity and ready helpfulness towards the helpless. All mothers do not learn the lesson perfectly. Many unmarried women learn it in a greater measure; but the mothers learn it oftener. A childless woman, who has a clear vision, will see that she must be alive to every opportunity to fulfil a real claim made by any helpless creature upon her, if she wishes to approach the beautiful self-forgetfulness she sees in so many mothers. But it will not be an easy task. It takes an overwhelming love to carry us over all the drudgery before us. How can we love everybody? We may love all in a general, lukewarm way, wishing them well and doing them little favours which do not cost us much trouble. We may be above hurting a fly, or even an enemy who has hurt us; but that is not the love which takes us up out of ourselves, and gives a peculiar delight and zest to pain and weariness, and makes suffering for one we love better than any kind of happiness for ourselves alone. What shall we do?

Will not all thoughtful observers hear me out in this, —that if we open our hearts fully to the love of the child, or the dependant who is already near and dear to us,

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the love grows into almost as splendid a plant as the love of a mother for her child; while if we are contented with simply doing our duty, the love dwindles and the obligation becomes irksome? So with our equals, if we use our friend for our own pleasure, instead of spending ourselves for her, the friendship dies out,——that is, on our own part.

It may seem to some one that I am calling on unmarried women to lift themselves above themselves, if they would have even the chance of the higher life which opens naturally to the married ; as if I were quoting the Oriental dogma that “ Marriage is promotion,” and requiring the unmarried to reach an unnaturally high level by their own unaided exertions. And yet this is not true.

The relation on which all other relations depend is the relation to the Power above us. We call it God, or we call it Goodness, but it is the same for every one of us. The power is inexhaustible; the spring refreshes all comers.

All peculiar circumstances make a special demand on character, and furnish opportunities for special virtues. The married have their temptations, and the unmarried theirs. Serenity, for example, is easier to the single than to the married; for, as Mrs. Browning a /1‘2/ing serenity is harder for the unmarried, for that must always be quickened by love, and love is not always at hand. Yet a living serenity is e.s’.rentz‘aZ to us. None of us can know beforehand where our weaknesses lie. Neither men nor women can measure their own strength, and say how they can bear either a

says, “Who at once can love and rest?” and yet

‘married or a single life. But if the relation of any

human being to God is the true one, it involves sooner or later true relations to all other creatures. We do not lift ourselves up ; but we allow ourselves to be lifted by an unfailing power. Miss Susan Blow, in her wonderful Dante lectures in St. Louis, said: “All duties grow out of essential relationships, and all sins are greater or less violations of more or less essential relationships. All secondary relationships are of course grounded in the primary relationship; hence the germ of all good or evil to man lies in his relationship to God.”

We climb, like Dante, to the top of the mountain, but we rise higher still by the wings which are not ours. Better still, when we lose ourselves in the love of God, the light of that love so illumines and warms us that all the waste and desert places around and below us glow with it, and we no longer find it hard to be what we wish we could be to those who stand beside us or to those who look up to us from below.

It is common in these days to begin with love of

man, and struggle upward to the love of God. George Eliot said she had no faith in any religion which did not begin with love of our fellow-creatures. No doubt love of God and man are inextricably connected, as in the two commandments of Christ; but some will always begin their conscious life with love of God, while others as surely begin with love of man.

, When the higher love is most perfect, we realize that it cannot of itself be enough. We must love human beings, and that not merely in a general way. Hearty personal love is indispensable,——and to both men and women. Has a thoroughly beautiful life ever been lived by any one whose ideal was not true to both “the kindred points of. heaven and home”?

For those who have none of the great loves which are the foundation of the home, there are two dangers: there is sometimes a feverish longing to accomplish some conspicuous and definite work which shall establish our right to live in the world that is usually so indifferent to us; and sometimes, on the other hand, there is a lassitude and hopelessness which make us feel that we can do nothing of the slightest importance

to any human being. Then

“ Higher far Thou must mount for love.”

That is the hope we get from Emerson. The doctrine sometimes seems too hard, as if the high air were too

Folly as it Flies (Google Books)

SOME VARIETIES OF WOMEN.
j«|lIIEP of all sublunary abominations is the
slatternly woman. I blame no man for
longing to rusb from a house, the mistress of
which, habitually, and from choice, pays him the
poor compliment of pouring out his coffee in curl
papers, or tumbled hair, or dingy, collarless morning
gown, and slip-shod feet If there is a time when
a pretty woman looks prettier than at any hour in
the twenty-four, it is in a neat breakfast toilette, with
her shining bands of hair, and nice breakfast robe,
(calico, if you like, provided it fit well, and the color
be well chosen) ; and if there is a time, when a plain
woman comes the nearest to being handsome, it is in
this same lovable, domestic dress.
I will maintain that the coffee and eggs taste
better, and that the husband goes more smilingly
and hopefully to his day’s task, after helping such a
wife to bread and butter. I could never compre
hend the female slattern—thank heaven there are
few of them—or understand how a woman, though
she had no eye to please but her own, should not be
scrupulously neat in all the different strata of her
apparel.
I repeat it, I blame no man from rushing in dis
gust from a house whose mistress is a slattern ; who
Some Varieties of Women. 281
never pays her husband the compliment to look
decent in her person or in her house, unless company
is expected ; who reserves her yawns and old dresses
for her husband, and strikes an attitude for his male
friends ; whose pretty carpets are defaced with spots ;
whose chairs are half dusted ; whose domestic din
ners are uneatable ; whose table-cloth, castors, and
salt-cellars are seldom regenerated ; and whose
muslins look as if they had been dipped in safron.
Not to speak of the wastefulness of this crying
fault: bonnets, shawls and cloaks will not long
retain their beauty if left on chairs or tables over
night, instead of being carefully put away ; bracelets
and brooches are not improved by being trodden
upon, or ribbons and laces by being hastily wisped
into a corner. To such an extreme do I carry my
horror of an untidy woman, that I would almost
refuse to believe in the virtue of such an one. Not
that I admire the woman who is always at her hus
band’s heels with a brush and a dust-pan ; “who puts
him under the harrow if he does not place his boots
under the scraper before entering the parlor ; who
has fits if his coat is not hung up on the left side of
the door instead of the right ; who when he has but
ten minutes to spare after breakfast to enjoy the
morning paper, drives him out of his comfortable
corner by the fire, to brush up a spoonful of ashes
on the hearth; who is always “righting,” as she
calls it, his own particular den, which T am con
282 Folly as it Flies.
vinced all husbands must be allowed to enjoy, neck
deep in confusion unmolested, if their wives wish
the roof to stay on.
I once had the misfortune to live in the house
with such a female, whose husband roosted half his
in-door time on the top of the table. to keep clear of
the mop. How her cap-strings flew through the
doors ; what galvanized broomsticks she wielded :
how remorselessly she ferreted out closets, and disem
bowelled cupboards ; how horribly she scraped glass
and paint ; and how anxious she looked to begin
again when it was all done. How I slunk behind
doors, and dodged behind screens, and jumped out
of windows, to get out of the vixen’s way ; and how
I sat swinging in the elm tree in the orchard at a
safe distance till the whirlwind was past
Heavens; how that india-rubber woman would
go to baking after she had done cleaning, and to
ironing after she had done baking, and to sewing
after she had done both ; how vindictively she
twitched her needle through, as if she wished it were
some live thing, that she might make it feel weari
ness and pain. How like whipped spaniels her
children looked ; and what a reverence they had for
washing and ironing days ; how remorselessly she
scrubbed their noses up and down of a Sunday
morning, and shoved them into ther “meetin
clothes,” turning the pockets carefully inside out, to
see that no stray bit of string, or carnal marble, or
fish-hook remained, to alleviate the torture of the
Some Varieties of Women. 283
long-drawn seventeenthlies of the parson’s impracti
cable discourse.
Still this female gave her husband light bread to
eat ; his coffee and tea were always strong and hot ;
he might have shaved himself by the polish of the
parlor table ; his buttons were on his shirts, and his
stockings always mended; but the man—and he
was human—might as well have laid his night-cap
beside a sewing-machine. And oh, the weary details
of roasting, baking and broiling to which he was
compelled to listen and approve between the pauses.
The messes, which in any other female hands but
hers, would inevitably have stewed over or burnt up
or evaporated. The treasure he had in her, culinarily and pecuniarily, though he didn’t know it !
What I want to know is this :
Must a model housekeeper always have thin lips,
thick ankles, a bolster-figure, and a fist like an over
grown beet? Need she take hold of her children as
if total depravity were bristling out of every hair of
their heads ? Need the unhappy cat always take its
tail under its arm and creep into the ash-hole when
ever she looks at it? is a sweet temper fore
ordained to be incompatible with sweet cupboards ?
Would it be unchristian to strangle such women
with their own garters?
I pause for a reply.
284 Folly as it Flies.
I don’t like to admit it, but there are two things
a woman can’t do. First, she can’t sharpen a lead
pencil Give her one and see. Mark how jaggedly
she hacks away every particle of wood from the
lead, leaving a spike of the latter, which breaks
as soon as you try to use it You can almost
forgive the male creature his compassionate con
tempt, as chucking her under the chin, he twitches
it from her awkward little paw, and rounds, and
tapers it off in the most ravishing manner, for durable
imp ^ ^*
Last week a philanthropist (need I say a male
philanthropist) knowing my weakness, presented
me with a two-cent-sharp-pointed-lead-penciL My
dreams that night were peaceful. I awoke like a
strong-minded woman to run a race. I sat down to
my desk. I might have known it ; “I never loved
a tree or flower,” etc. Some fiend had “borrowed”
it Oh the misery that may be contained in that
word “borrowed.” When you are in a hurry;
when the ” devil ” is waiting in the basement, stamp
ing his feet to get back to the printing-office ; when
you’ve nothing but a miserable little ” chunky “-oldworn-out-stub of an inch long lead pencil to make
your ” stet “-s and ” d “-s. Shade of Ben Franklin !
shall I, before I “shuffle off this mortal coil”—
though I don’t know what that is,—ever own another
two-cent sharp-pointed-lead-pencil ?
I have said that there are two things a woman
Some Varieties of Women. 285
can’t do. I have mentioned one. I wish to hear no
argument on that paint, because when I once make up
my mind ” all the king’s men ” can’t change it Well,
then—Secondly: A woman can’t do up a bundle.
She takes a whole newspaper to wrap up a paper of
pins, and a coil of rope to tie it, and then it comes
unfastened. When I go shopping, which it is some
times my hard lot to do, I look with the fascinat
ed gaze of a bird in the neighborhood of a magnetic
serpent, to watch clerks doing up bundles. How the
paper falls into just the right creases ! how deftly
they turn it over, and tuck it under, and tie it up,
and then throw it down on the counter, as if they
had done the most common-place thing in the world,
instead of a deed which might—and, faith,’ does—
task the ingenuity of ” angels !” It is perfectly as
tonishing ! It repays me for all my botheration in
matching this color and deciding on that, in hearing
them call a piece of tape ” a chaste article,” and for
sitting on those revolving stools fastened down so
near the counter, that it takes a peculiarly construct
ed shopper to stay on one of them.
Thirdly—I might allude to the fact that women
cannot carry an umbrella ; or rather to the very pe
culiar manner in which they perform that duty ; but
I won’t I scorn to turn traitor to a sex who, what
ever may be their faults,—are always loyal to each
other. —So I shall not say, as I might otherwise
have said, that when they, unfurl the parachute allud
ed to, they put it right down over their noses,—take
286 Folly as it Flies.
the middle of the sidewalk, raking off men’s hats
and woman’s bonnets, as they go, and walking right
into the breakfast of some unfortunate wight, with
that total disregard of the consequent gasp, which
to be understood must be felt, as the offender
cocks up one corner of the parachute, and looks de
fiantly at the victim who has had the effrontery to
come into the world and hazard the whalebone and
handle of her ” umberil !” No, I won’t speak of any
thing of the kind ; besides, has not a celebrated writ
er remarked, that when dear ” woman is cross, it is
only because she is sick ? ” Let us hope he is right
We all know that is not the cause of a man’s cross
ness. Give him his favorite dish, and you may dine
off him afterward—if you want to.
Amiable creatures are the majority of women—to
each other ; charitable—above all things charitable !
Always ready to acknowledge each other’s beauty,
or grace, or talent Never sneer down a sister
woman, or pay her a patronizing compliment with
the finale of the inevitable—”but” Never run the
cool, impertinent eye of calculation over her dress,
noting the cost of each article, and summing up the
amount in a contemptuous toss, whether it amounts
to fifty cents or five hundred dollars, more likely
when it is the latter ! Never say to a gentleman
who praises a lady, what a pity she squints ! Never
say of an authoress, oh yes—she has talent, but 1
prefer the domestic virtues ; as if a combination of
the two were necessarily impossible, or as if the
Some Varieties of Women. 287
speaker had the personal knowledge which qualified
her to pronounce on that individual case.
Well-bred, too, are women to sister woman.—
Never discuss the color of her hair, or the style of
its arrangement, her smile, her gait, so that she can
liear every word of it Never take it for granted
that she is making a dead-set at a man, to whom she
is only replying—”Very well, I thank you, sir.”
Never sit in church and stare her out of counten
ance, while mentally taking her measure, or nudge
some one to look at her, while recapitulating within
ear-shot all the contemptible gossip which weakminded, empty-headed women are so fond of retail
ingNow just let a dear woman visit you. Don’t you
know that her eyes are peering into every corner and
crevice of your house all the while she is ” dear “-ing
and “swee<“-ing you? Don’t you know that her
lynx eyes are on the carpet for possible spots, or
mismatched roses? Don’t she touch her fingers to
the furniture for stray particles of dust ? Don’t she
hold her tumblers up to the light, and examine
microscopically the quality of your table-cloths and
napkins, and improvise an errand into your kitchen
to inspect your culinary arrangements, to the infinite
disgust of Bridget ? Don’t she follow you like a
spectre all over the house, till you are as nervous as
a cat in a cupboard ? Don’t she sit down opposite you
for dreary hours, with folded hands, and that horse
leech—” now-talk-to-me ” air—which quenches all
288 Folly as it Flies.
your vitality—and sets you gaping, as inevitably as
a minister’s ” seventeenthly.”
Ah, the children ! How could I forget the little
children ? / clasp the hand of universal womvn on
that ; Heaven knows I don’t want to misrepresent
them. And after all, do I ever allow anybody to
abuse them but me ? Never !
There are many kinds of women. Of course I
adore them all ; but there is one who excites my un
feigned astonishment I allude to the rabbit woman.
She has four chins and twelve babies. She has two
dresses—a loose calico wrapper for home wear, and
a black silk for ” meetin ‘.” She eats tremendously,
and never goes out; she calls her husband “Pa.”
She is quite content to roll leisurely from her rock
ing-chair in the nursery to the dining-room table,
and thence back again, year in and year out She
knows nothing that is passing in the outside world,
nor cares. She never touches a book or a newspa
per, not even when she is rocking her baby to sleep,
and might She never troubles herself about Pa, so
long as he don’t get in her way, or sit on the twelve
babies. She has a particular fondness for the child
who cries the most, and won’t go to sleep without a
stick of candy in each fist She has a voice like an
auctioneer, and prefers cabbage to any vegetable ex
tant
” Pa ” is devoted to her, i e., he calls her My dear,
and as soon as he enters the house, before hanging
Some Varieties of Women, 289
up his hat, kisses all the twelve children immedi
ately, whether dirty or clean, and inquires tenderly
after her health : keeps her stupid on a full diet, and
flirts desperately, at a safe distance, behind her back.
Secondy, there is the prim womany with her mouth
always in a prepared state to whistle ; who crosses
over if she sees a man coming, and tosses up the end
of her shawl when she sits down, lest she should
crease it ; who keeps her parasol in several layers of
tissue-paper when not on duty: puts her two shoes
on the window-sill “to air” every night, and sug
gests more indelicacy by constantly running away
from it, then she could ever find by the most zealous
search.
Thirdly, there is your butterfly woman, who, pro
vided her wings are gay and gauzy, is not particular
where she alights. “Who cannot exist out of the
sunbeams, and dreads a rainy day like an old gown.
Who values her male acquaintance according to therr
capabilities for trotting her to balls, operas and par
ties, and giving her rings and bouquets. Who spoils
all the good looks she has, trying to make herself
“look better,” and turns into a very ordinary cater
pillar after marriage.
Fourthly, there is your library woman, steeped in
folios ; steeped in languages, both living and dead ;
steeped in ologies, steeped in politics; who walks
round a baby as if it were a rattle-snake, and if she
was born with a heart, never has found it out
Fifthly, there is your female viper—your cat—
your hyena. All claws, nails and tongue. Wiry,
13
290 Folly as it Flies.
bloodless, snappy, narrow, vindictive ; lapping up
your life-blood with her slanders, and clawing out
your warm, palpitating heart Out on her !
Sixthly, there is your woman—pretty or plain, it
matters not ; lady-like by nature ; intelligent, but
not pedantic; modest, yet not prudish; stronghearted, but not ” strong-minded ” (as that term is at
present perverted) ; no ” scholar,” and yet well read ;
no butterfly, and yet bright and gay. Merry with
out noise, silent without stupidity, religious without
fanaticism, capable of an opinion, and yet able to
hold her tongue. If married, not of necessity sink
ing into a mere machine; if unmarried, occupying
herself with other things than husband-hunting.
Liking books, yet not despising needles and brooms ;
genial, unaffected, good-natured; with an active
brain, and a live heart under lock and key. God
bless her ! wherever she is, for she redeems all the
rest
p- Do you suppose that the woman ever lived who
would -prefer single to married life had she ever met
with a man whom she could really love? I have
seen cold, intellectual women, apparently self-poised
and self-sustained, gliding like the moon on their
solitary path alone, diffusing light, perhaps, but no
warmth ; to the superficial observer looking as care
lessly down upon joy as upon sorrow; but no power
on earth could persuade me, that beneath that smooth
ice there smouldered no volcano ; no reasoning per
Some Varieties of Women. 291
snade me that those fingers would not rather have
been twisting a baby’s soft curls, than turning the
leaves of musty folios ; no negative shake of the head,
or forced laugh, prevent my eyes from following with
sorrowful looks the woman who was trying to make
herself believe such a lie. Let her pile her books
shelf upon shelf, and scribble till her pen, ink, paper,
thoughts, eyes and candle give out;—and then let
her turn round and face her woman’s heart if shej
dare ! I defy her to stop long enough to listen one
half hour to its pleadings. I defy her to sit down in
the still moonlight and look on, while old memories
in mournful procession defile before her soul’s mir
ror, without a smothered cry of anguish. I defy her
to listen to the brook’s ripple, the whispered leaf-mu
sic, or to look at the soft clouds, the quiet stars, the
blossoming flowers, the little pairing birds as they
build their nests—and above all, upon a mother with
her babe’s arms about her neck—without turnings
soul-sick away. She is not a woman if she can do I
otherwise. She is not a woman if she can be satis
fied with clasping her own arms over a waist which
belongs to nobody but herself I declare her to be
a machine—a stick—and carved in straight instead
of undulating lines ; she’s an icicle—an ossification—
a petrifaction—an abortion—a monster—let her keep
her stony eyes and cold fingers off me ; she has no
place in this living, breathing, panting, loving world.
Out upon her for a walking mummy—leave her to
her hieroglyphics, which are beyond my understand- –
ing.
292 Folly as it Flies.
Pshaw—there are no such women ; they are only
making the best of what they can’t help; they
are eating their own hearts and make no sign
dying. They ought all to be wives and mothers.
.Cats, poodle-dogs, parrots—plants, canaries and ves
try meetings—are nothing to it No woman ever
has the faintest glimpse into heaven till she has
nursed her own baby; in fact, I half doubt if she
has earned a right to go there till she has legitimately
had one.
Now were I an old maid—had no man endowed
me with the names of wife and mother, I would not
go round the world Whining about it, either in prose
or verse, any more than I would affect a stoicism,
transparent to every beholder; I would just adopt
the first fat baby I could find, though I had to work
my fingers to the bone to keep its little mouth filled.
I would have some motive to live—something to
work for—something, in flesh and blood, which I
could call my own :—some little five, warm thing to
put my cheek against when my heart ached. Un
protected!—” A little child ” with its pure presence,
should be my protection. I wouldn’t dry up and
blow off like a useless leaf, with the warm, fragrant
sunshine and blue sky about me, and my heart beat
ing against my breast like a trip-hammer. My lit
tle room shouldn’t be cheerless and voiceless. I
wouldn’t die till some little voice had called me
” mother,” though my blood did not flow in its rosy
veins. I would have something to make sunshine
in my heart and home ; my nature shouldn’t be like
Some Varieties of Women. 293
a tree growing close to a stone wall, only one half of
which had a chance to develop, only one half of which
caught the air and light and sunshine—no, I would
tear myself up by the roots, and turn round and re
plant myself Some bird should come, make its
home with me, and sing for me ; else what use were
my sheltering leaves? Better the lightning should
strike me, or the woodman’s axe cut me down.
Men who have any physical defect, are apt to im
agine that it will forever be a barrier between them
and woman’s love. There never was a greater mis
take than this, as has been proved again and again
in love’s history. Not a hundred years since, nor a
hundred miles distant, we heard of a young girl who
had become strongly attached to a young man who
was blind in one eye ; and for that very reason ! He
was sensitive about his infirmity to that degree, that
he shrank from general society, particularly that of
ladies, whose presence seemed to make him morbidly
miserable ; so much had he exaggerated what he was
quite unaware would call forth sympathy, instead
of ridicule, from any true woman. The young girl,
of whom we speak, knowing what we have related
about him, though personally a stranger to the young
man, had insensibly, through her pity, begun to love,
and was then earnestly seeking some way in which,
without compromising her modesty, she could encour
age his notice of her. One thing you may always
be sure of No woman is in love with a man whom
294- Folly as it Flies.
she freely praises, and of whom she oftenest speaks ;
but if there is one whom she never names, if she start
and blush when others name him, if she can find no
voice to answer the most common-place question he
addresses her, if she avoid him, and will have none
of him, if she pettishly find fault with him when he
is commended to her notice by others, look sharp,
for that is the man.

The Physical Life of Woman (Google Books)

THE SINGLE LIFE.

FEW words, ere we pass to another branch of
our subject, on the physical relations of her
who by choice or other reasons never marries. It is
a common observation among physicians who have
devoted themselves to the study of woman’s phy
sical nature, that, in spite of those perils of mater
nity which we have taken no pains to conceal, the
health of single women during the child-bearing
period is, as a general rule, not better, not even so
good, as that of their married sisters. Those insu
rance companies who take female risks, do not ask
any higher premium for the married than the un
married.
Various suggestions have been made to account
for this unexpected fact. Some writers have pointed
out that in many diseases marriage excrts a
decidedly curative influence, especially in chronic
nervous ailments. Chorea, for instance, or St.
Vitus’s dance, as it is popularly termed, has been
repeatedly cured by marriage. As a rule, painful
menstruation, which always arises from some defect
or disease of the ovaries or adjacent organs, is im
proved, and often completely removed, by the same
act. There are, as is well known, a whole series of .
emotional disorders, hysteria, and various kinds of
2″HE SA”GZAZ LZFE. 387
mania and hallucination,–which are almost exclu
sively confined to single persons, and only occur in
the married under exceptional circumstances. An
instance has lately been detailed in the medical
journals by a Prussian physician, of a case of un
doubted hereditary insanity which was greatly
benefited—indeed temporarily cured—by a fortu
nate nuptial relation. Few who have watched a
large circle of lady acquaintances but will have ob
served that many of them increased in flesh and
improved in health when they had been married
some months. An English writer of distinction
accounts for these favourable results in a peculiar
manner. Success, he says, is always a tonic, and
the best of tonics. Now, to women, marriage is a
success. It is their aim in Social life; and this ac
complished, health and strength follow. We are
not quite ready to subscribe to such a sweeping
assertion, but no doubt it is applicable in a limited
number of cases. Our own opinion is, that nature
gave to each sex certain functions, and that the
whole system is in better health when all parts and
powers fulfil their destiny. Common proverbs portray the character of the
spinster as peevish, selfish, given to queer fancies, and unpleasant eccentricities. In many a case we
are glad to say this is untrue. Instances of noble
devotion, broad and generous sympathy, and distin
guished self-sacrifice, are by no means rare in single women But take the whole class, the popular
opinion, as it often is, must be granted to be correct.
Deprived of the natural objects of interest, the sen timents are apt to fix themselves on parrots and
33 B B 2.
388 THE SYWGZAZ Z/FE.
poodles, or to be confined within the breast, and
wither for want of nourishment. Too often the
history of those sisterhoods who assume vows of
singleness in the interest of religion, presents to
the physician the sad spectacle of prolonged ner
vous maladies, and to the Christian that of a sickly
sensibility.
In this connection we may answer a question
not unfrequently put to the medical attendant.
Are those women who marry late in their sexual
life more apt to bear living children than the
married of the same age; and are they more
likely to prolong their child-bearing period by their
deferred nuptials 2 To both these inquiries we
answer No. On the contrary, the woman who
marries a few years only before her change of life,
is almost sure to have no children who will survive,
She is decidedly less apt to have any than the
woman of the same age who married young. If,
therefore, love of children and a desire for offspring
form, as they rightly should, one of the induce
ments to marry, let not the act be postponed too
long, or it will probably fail of any such result.

The National Review (Google Books)

IT has long been the fashion to regard the position of all women in America as immeasurably superior to that of women in any other quarter of the globe. From a legal point of view this is perhaps true, and even in social matters it might well be admitted with regard to the unmarried girl; but on behalf of married women I venture to make an Englishwoman’s emphatic protest to the contrary. This is probably a proceeding of extreme audacity, and, in order as far as possible to disarm criticism, I wish to say that the following remarks are not intended to apply to the United States at large, of which I know little, but only to the Southern town where I spent two or three years. Furthermore, they are proffered not as universal truths, but as resulting from the observation and experience of one individual. They may (and probably do) apply in large measure to all American society, but their truth is vouched for as regards one town only. To disprove the universal affirmative alluded to in my first sentence it is by every law of logic sufficient to prove one particular negative, and this is the aim of the present article. “No man,” said an inhabitant of this town of L to me, “cares to play tennis with a woman except for purposes of flirtation.” For the special game mentioned he might have substituted the game of conversation or of social relations as a whole, and his axiom would have been broadly true. No man in L— cares for a woman’s society unless he is actually or potentially in love with her. It may even be allowable for a married man to “pay attention” to a girl, because this also is a semi-flirtation, with limits clearly understood beforehand; but let a man of any kind try to make friends with a married woman, and he will soon find himself and her in the unenviable position of the heathen man and the publican. Friendship between the sexes after marriage is a thing simply not understood; among Americans it falls under one of two heads, formality or flirtation. Of course, it is, and always will be, a moot question whether friendship between the sexes is ever more than a temporary illusion, and whether, as the old song says, one at least of the parties does not invariably “come but for friendship and take away love.” But to the English mind it would seem almost a self-evident proposition that such a friendship is more within the bounds of possibility when one or both of the parties is deterred from going farther, not only by honour but by the sense of previous acquisition, a repletion of soul, so to speak, that might presumably quench the thirst for conquest. That this is not the opinion of Americans is clearly indicated by the following points of their practice:— A girl in L- may ride, drive, or bicycle with a man to an unlimited extent; she may see him tete-à-tête in her own house at any time; she may write to him freely; she may, and even expects to, receive from him flowers and candy with a frequency appalling to a frugal English mind. And yet with all this she neither marries him nor has any intention of so doing; indeed, unless polyandry were permitted, she could not. But once she is married all this abruptly ceases. For a man to indulge in any real intimacy with a married woman, whether it take the form of rides, correspondence, or even frequent five o’clock teas at her own home, is to expose himself and her first to surprised comment and then to ill-natured gossip. The average American man, indeed, takes this so much for granted that he cannot understand why his wife should want anything more. Feminine society she may have all day long if she likes—ladies’ luncheons and ladies’ teas seem to him part of the natural order of the universe; but as far as male companionship goes, he, in his own eyes, and presumably in hers, is all-sufficing. Her neighbours at dinners (a form of entertainment by-the-bye much rarer than in England), the few men her husband may bring to the house to dine, the still fewer “tame cats” whom she may meet at teas, and, fewest of all, the men who at a ball will spare to a married woman some moments ordinarily consecrated to a succession of immature debutantes—this is all she is allowed to see of the superior sex. And the most remarkable feature of the whole is the fact that not only is she unable to make new men friends, but she loses all her old ones. The very same woman who has been a “tearing belle” one year is absolutely shelved the next by the mere fact of marriage. American men have been heard pathetically to complain that from the moment of their engagement girls looked coldly on them. Much more is this true of women, who in becoming everything to one man becomes less than nothing to all the rest, even to the “beaux” or potential “beaux” of a few weeks before. It might perhaps be inferred from this that the American wife enjoyed an unusual portion of her husband’s society, and that other men were excluded simply on the principle of “two’s company.” If it were so, she would doubtless be a fit object of envy,

or at least would have no right to complain; but, as a matter of fact, the women of L see far less of their husbands than the average Englishwoman. Business hours are longer, and on the remaining hours the clubs are far more apt to encroach; men’s dinners are more common; and finally, in the summer almost every couple is forcibly separated by the heat for three or four months. Companionship in outdoor amusements is rare, though latterly on the increase. Hitherto it has been considered almost a point of etiquette for a woman when she marries to retire-from the world of “sport,” and one hears women say with conscious virtue: “I have never danced” (or “ridden” or “played tennis,” as the case may be) “since I married.” The consequence naturally is that even the man’s hours of exercise are passed away from his wife, and he is more likely to spend his summer holiday fishing with a male friend than rocking beside his wife on a hotel piazza. This, indeed, is one principal cause of the social phenomenon here treated of. The American woman is not only less robust than her English sister, but also less active, and after marriage this difference is intensified. She has always played but a feeble game of golf or tennis, and whereas before marriage there were plenty of men ready to play with her “for purposes of flirtation,” after marriage that incentive is gone, and she is accepted, or rather refused, solely on her merits as a player. And so she stops playing, or, indeed, using her muscles at all, so that if her husband wishes to take any form of exercise he has to do so without her, and so a fortiori do her old men friends, who are presumably less tolerant because less interested. It is, however, fair to say that every year the American woman seems to realize more clearly the value of exercise, so that this cause is probably transitory. Another cause of separation between the men and women in L may indisputably be traced to that old and hackneyed source, the “servant problem.” The unmarried girl is (fortunately for her) not responsible for the vagaries of the cook or the housemaid, but when she marries she has in America, thanks to the inferiority of the servants, to devote to household duties an amount of time and care unheard of in England. Especially is this true where there are children, for obviously when it is necessary for a woman, or she at least thinks so, to wash and dress her own baby, prepare its food, and generally perform the offices first of a nurse and then of a governess, she cannot have time for much besides. Sport, work, and even companionship, whether with her own husband or with other men, have all to go to the wall. Let us hope that the course of years and changed social conditions will do away with this cause also. But there are weightier reasons than servants or habits of exercise for the total difference in mental attitude on this subject between the English and the Americans. It is not merely that marriage by tradition or necessity diverts a woman from her old interests to a greater degree in L than in London; there is far more than this. Marriage for a woman is regarded in England as the hall-mark of merit; in L it has, so far as the opposite sex is concerned, almost the painful consequences of the mark of Cain. And here we touch on a curious double inconsistency. Men in England do not, as a rule, want to marry; in fact, a recent writer has told us that they view the coming on of love with horror; yet a married woman is ipso facto more desirable as a companion in their eyes, and it has become a commonplace of modern English literature that “girls are no good,” or that “nobody cares to talk to girls.” Men in America regard marriage as a goal, and prolonged bachelorhood as a disgrace; yet their friend’s wife seems to them either a nuisance or a negligible quantity. Possibly this is not really an inconsistency, but points to the fact that to every man an unmarried girl is a possibility, to the American delightful, to the Englishman terrifying. So to the Englishman a married woman is a haven of refuge; to the American she is as salt that has lost its savour. The greatness of this difference in attitude no one will deny. The comments on it will be various according to the race or personal idiosyncrasies of the thinker. To the English mind it may appear ridiculous, to say the least of it, for a man to see in every woman a potential wife, and to take no interest in those outside this category. The American, on the other hand, regards the Englishman’s dread of marriage and preference for a friendship where this is manifestly impossible, as something selfish and unnatural, and he claims for himself the championship of the married state. To this there is the English rejoinder: No wonder that men desire the married state, when bachelor lodgings are as bad and bachelor comforts as few as in most parts of the United States, so that a wife is the cheapest and best form of housekeeper; but where is your boasted admiration for marriage in the abstract, when you discard your girl friends immediately on their attaining that state? Being an Englishwoman, I will not attempt to frame an American reply, but will content myself with mentioning a few more points which have come under my own observation. A good deal of what we have been considering may I think be accounted for by three lacunae in American society: the want of common topics of conversation, the absence of what has been called “country-house life,” and the practical elimination of the chaperon. The women in L— are, as a rule, better educated than the men, who have little time or inclination for anything besides the newspaper; books, therefore, are almost an impossible subject. Politics, that great bond in England between all ages and classes, as a recent critic has pointed out, are in America, broadly speaking, neither a gentleman’s profession nor a suitable society topic. On the interests of the men themselves few women are competent to talk, for the “society men” of L consist entirely, so far as my experience goes, of business men, lawyers, and doctors. Conversation on business cannot be expected, and should indeed not be encouraged in social intercourse, and the wearisome discussions on stocks and “real estate” may advantageously be confined to the smoking room; while for men to discourse on law or medicine to the lay woman simply ends in an egotistical monologue on the one side, and polite inattention on the other. And so talk in L— becomes at home an intermittent exchange of domestic items, and in society a mere fire of banter, “chaffing ” compliments from the man, and “bright” repartees from the woman, all of which is obviously easier and more amusing between the unmarried, who consider themselves privileged to go to all or almost all conversational lengths. To an Englishwoman accustomed to have her “want of sense of humour” daily and hourly impressed upon her, the marvel is that Americans should make so little humour of their own go such a long and weary way. But this is no doubt mere jealousy on our part, the jealousy which a foxhound must feel on watching the surprising antics of a French poodle. At any rate, just as the course of years makes the poodle old and stiff, so do age and matrimony dry up the fount of American conversation, and the married woman is emphatically “not in it.” So much for town society. When we come to country life with its Saturday-to-Monday parties, its shooting weeks and so forth, we find that all this is in America as the snakes in Iceland. If any Englishman will call to mind his many pleasant talks to women, married or single (preferably the former), whether in a punt or on horseback, or merely in the course of a Sunday afternoon walk, all owed to the hospitality of friends on the river or elsewhere, he will forcibly realize what a large avenue of pleasure for the man and of social importance for the woman is closed by the non-existence of “country-house life” in America. The American married woman spends at least nine months of the year by her own fireside, the remaining three probably at a summer hotel with her children. In neither circumstances has she the freedom from domestic responsibility and the opportunity for casual unsought acquaintanceship that form a part of the ordinary existence of an English wife, accustomed from her earliest girlhood to “pay visits,” first with her parents and afterwards with her husband.

Again, chaperonage, whether in town or country, plays a far smaller part in the society of L— than it does with us, and the married woman is still further shorn of importance. When men and girls can freely ride, drive, bicycle, and sail together, what need is there for the young and fascinating chaperon, in England herself often half the attraction? She has no place in the young American’s scheme of creation, and, therefore, in spite of all her charms he leaves her to languish where in his opinion is her proper sphere, at home.

This question admits of infinite discussion leading to no particular issue. But enough has, I hope, been said to establish the proposition: That however transcendent may be the privileges of the American girl, the American wife has in comparison with the English wife a less free position, a less full social life, in short, as she herself would say, far less of a “lovely time.” We are perhaps rather tired of that same American girl, of hearing and even echoing her praises and observing with wonder or envy her perfect liberty. It is therefore only right to note that the natural outcome of her pre-matrimonial freedom seems in the land of her birth to be an almost Turkish seclusion after marriage. If the English girl wishes to copy her Transatlantic sister, a wish which of late years she has steadily been carrying into effect, she ought in fairness to make her imitation thorough. She must not expect, in nursery parlance, to eat her cake and have it too, but must be content to sink gracefully into the background as soon as the Wedding March is over. She can have fun and plenty of it before marriage; afterwards the “way to glory,” by a reversal of English processes, will be found to have turned suddenly and uncompromisingly into the “path of duty.” Whether the consciousness of glorious triumphs in the past and unbounded domestic usefulness in the present will fully compensate her, I for my part cannot pretend to say.

MARYLAND.

VOL. XXXI. 60

Selections from Tales of the Borders and of Scotland (Google Books)

The Literary Companion to Dogs: From Homer to Hockney – Page 660
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Christopher Hawtree – 1993 – ‎Snippet view – ‎More editions
Like all spinsters she watches eagerly for the foreign mails and keeps carefully under lock and key a casket full of depressing agricultural intelligence; like all spinsters she is accompanied everywhere by an ageing lap-dog. From Work …

The Modern Review – Volume 104 – Page 63
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Ramananda Chatterjee – 1958 – ‎Snippet view – ‎More editions
This liking for the dog in humans reaches its climax in old bachelors and spinsters. Psychologists will perhaps say that not being … Not long ago a spinster proudly paraded her lap dog to me. It was her late – cor’s pet. With its hair coming off at …

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Encounters: Essays for Exploration and Inquiry – Page 301
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Pat C. Hoy, ‎Robert DiYanni – 1999 – ‎Snippet view – ‎More editions
She has been studying painting in France and owns the smallest Pekingese dog in the world. … She typifies one kind of independent American spinster who keeps reappearing in our history in forms as various as Margaret Fuller and …
Cue: The Weekly Magazine of New York Life
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1966 – ‎Snippet view – ‎More editions
… Horseback” A FAMILY AFFAIR TAary Cassatt is honored in “Knoedler show An extraordinary Philadelphia-bred spinster, who died k in 1926 after … She has been studying painting in Paris, and owns the smallest Pekingese dog in the world.
The Quill Reader – Page 515
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Jocelyn Siler, ‎Kate Gadbow, ‎Mark Medvetz – 1999 – ‎Snippet view – ‎More editions
She has been studying painting in France and owns the smallest Pekingese dog in the world. … She typifies one kind of independent American spinster who keeps reappearing in our history in forms as various as Margaret Fuller and …
Prentice Hall Literature: Platinum – Page 499
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1996 – ‎Snippet view – ‎More editions
She has been studying painting in France and owns the smallest Pekingese dog in the world. … She typifies one kind of independent American spinster who keeps reappearing in our history in forms as various as Margaret Fuller and …
Country Life – Volume 52 – Page 114
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1927 – ‎Snippet view – ‎More editions
2 : Oct o B E R, 1927 “Show Dog” Beauty and Health for Your Dog FOREMOST kennels are now agreed that if the … 1281 St. George “Blue Ribbon Winners” 1st prize New York Beautiful Pekingese Puppies B’ue ribbon stock. … ST, MARGARET’S MISTIT: KENDUSKEAG WALLEY SPINSTER, BEST SEALYHAM PUPPY AMERICAN SEALYHAM TERRIER CLUB SPECIALTY SHOW, NEW YORK, 1926.
The Royal Cat of Siam: The Complete Book of the Siamese Cat
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May Eustace – 1968 – ‎Snippet view
The traditional spinster, of course, and that strange class of hard-jawed, intensely competitive female who breeds for show purposes cats that look like squirrels, monkeys, Pekingese dogs – like most anything except a Cat-Cat. The freak cats …
John O’London’s Weekly – Issues 1184-1196 – Page 3
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1942 – ‎Snippet view – ‎More editions
… technique with his friend ” Plum ” Wodehouse, he played with his Pekingese dogs, his budgerigars and his goldfish. … But he, is certain that first 100,000 words or so, declared Poland and Mr. Skimpole wanting family; widows, spinsters and …
Hounds of Spring, and Other Stories – Page 94
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Julian Fane – 1976 – ‎Snippet view
Mary was a spinster in her late thirties. … She did a little interior decorating for people, advising on colour schemes and that sort of thing, helped to organise village activities, looked after her garden and her Pekingese dogs, Ming and Tang, …

LEAVES

FEOM THE DIARY OF AN AGED SPINSTER.

THE poet of The Elegy par excellence, hath written two lines which runs thus—

“Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.”

Now, I never can think of these lines but they remind mo of the tender, delicate, living, breathing, and neglected flowers that bud, blossom, shed their leaves, and die, in cold, unsunned obscurity—flowers that were formed to shed their fragrance around a man’s heart, and to charm his eye—but which, though wandering melancholy and alone in the wilderness where they grow, he passeth by with neglect, making a companion of his loneliness. But, to drop all metaphor—where will you find a flower more interesting than a spinster of threescore and ten, of sixty, of fifty, or of forty? They have, indeed, ” wasted their sweetness on the desert air.” Some call them “old maids;” but it is a malicious appellation, unless it can be proved that they have refused to be wives. I would always take the part of a spinster: they are a peculiar people, far more “sinned against than sinning.” Every blockhead thinks himself at liberty to crack a joke upon them; and when he says something that he conceives to be wondrous smart about Miss Such-an-one and her cat and poodle dog, he conceives himself a marvellous clever fellow; yea, even those of her own sex who are below what is called a ” certain age,” (what that age is I cannot tell,) think themselves privileged to giggle at the expense of their elder sister. Now, though there may be a degree of peevishness (and it is not to be wondered at)

amongst the sisterhood, yet with them you will find the most sensitive tenderness of heart, a delicacy that quivers like the aspen leaf at a breath, and a kindliness of soul that a mother might envy—or rather, for envy, shall I not write imitate? But, ah! if their history were told, what a thronicle would it exhibit of blighted affections, withered learts, secret tears, and midnight sighs.

The first spinster of whom I have a particular remembrance, as belonging to her castle, was Diana Darling. It is now six-and-twenty years since Diana paid the debt of nature, up to which period, and for a few years before, she rented a room in Chirnside. It was only a year or two before her death that I became acquainted with her; and I was then very young. But I never shall forget her kindness towards me. She treated me as though I had been her own child, or rather her grandchild, for she was then very little under seventy years of age. She had always an air of gentility about her; people called her “a betterish sort o’ body.” And, although Miss and Mistress are becoming general appellations now, twenty or thirty years ago, upon the Borders, those titles were only applied to particular persons, or on particular occasions; and whether their more frequent use now is to be attributed to the schoolmaster being abroad, or the dancing master being abroad, I cannot tell, but Diana Darling, although acknowledged to be a “betterish sort o’ body,” never was spoken of by any other term but “auld Diana,” or “auld Die.” Well do I remember her flowing chintz gown, with short sleeves, her snow-white apron, her whiter cap, and old kid gloves reaching to her elbows; and as well do I remember how she took one of the common blue cakes which washerwomen use, and tying it up in a piece of woollen cloth, dipped it in water, and daubed it round and round the walls of her room, to give them the appearance of being papered. I have often heard of and seen stenciling since; but, rude as the attempt was, I am almost persuaded that Diana was the first who put it in practice. To keep up gentility putteth people to strange shifts, and often to ridiculous ones—and to both of these extremities she was driven. But I have hinted that she was a kind-hearted creature; and above all do I remember her for the fine old ballads which she sang to me. But there was one that was an especial favourite with her, and a verse of which, if I remember correctly, ran thus—

“Fie, Lizzy Lindsay I
Sae lang in the morning ye lie,
Mair fit ye was helping yer minny
To milk a’ the ewes and the kye.”

Diana, however, was a woman of some education, and to a relative she left a sort of history of her life, from which the following is an extract:—

“My father died before I was eighteen (so began Diana’a narrative), and he left five of ns—that is my mother, two sisters, a brother, and myself—five hundred pounds a piece. My sisters were both younger than me; but, within six years after onr father’s death, they both got married; and my brother, who was only a year older than myself, left the house also, and took a wife, so that there was nobody but me and my mother left. Everybody thought there was something very singular in this: for it was not natural that the youngest should be taken and the auldest left; and, besides, it was acknowledged that I was the best-faured and the best-tempered in the family; and there could be no dispute but that my siller was as good as theirs.

I must confess, however, that when I was but a lassie o’ sixteen I had drawn up wi’ one James Laidlaw—but I should score out the word one, and just say that I had drawn up wi’ James Laidlaw. He was a year, or maybe three, aulder than me, and I kenned him when he was just a laddie at Mr. Wh—’s school in Dunse; but I took no notice o’ him then in particular, and, indeed, I never did, until one day that I was an errand down by Kimmerghame, and I met James just coming out frae the gardens. It was the summer season, and he had a posie in his hand, and a very bonny posie it was. ‘Here’s a fine day, Diana,’ says he. ‘Yes, it is,’ says I.

So we said nae mair for some time; but he keepit walking by my side, and at last he said—’ What do you think o’ this posie?’ ‘It is very- bonny, James,’ said I. ‘I think sae,’ quoth he; ‘and if ye will accept it, there should naebody be mair welcome to it.’ ‘Ou, I thank ye,’ said I, and I blushed in a way—’ why should ye gie me it?’ ‘Never mind,’ says he, ‘tak it for old aquaintance sake—we were at the school together.’ .

So I took the flowers, and James keepit by my side, and cracked to me a’ the way to my mother’s door, and I cracked to him—and I really wondered that the road between Kimmerghame and Dunse had turned sae short. It wasna half the length that it used to be, or what I thought it ought to be.

But I often saw James Laidlaw after this; and somehow or other I aye met him just as I was coming out o’ the kirk, and weel do I recollect that, one Sabbath in particular, he said to me—’ Diana, will ye no come out and tak a walk after ye get your dinner?’ ‘I dinna ken, James,’ says I; ‘I doubt I daurna, for our folk are very particular, and baith my faither and my mother are terribly against ony thing like gaun about stravaigin’ on the Sundays.’ ‘Oh, they need never ken where ye’re gaun,’ says he. ‘Weel, I’ll try,’ says I, for by this time I had a sort o’ liking for James. ‘Then,’ said he, * I’ll be at the Penny Stane at four o’clock.’ ‘Very weel,’ quoth I.

And, although baith my faither and mother said to me, as I was gaun out—’ Where are ye gaun, lassie ?’—’ Oh, no very far,’ said I; and, at four o’clock, I met James at the Penny Stane. I shall never forget the grip that he gied my hand when he took it in his, and said—

‘Ye hae been as good as your word, Diana.’

We wandered awa doun by Wedderburn dyke till we came to the Blackadder, and then we sauntered down by the river side till we were opposite Kelloe—and, oh! it was a pleasant afternoon. Everything round about us, aboon us, and among out feet, seemed to ken it was Sunday—everything but James and me. The laverock was singing in the blue lift—the blackbirds were whistling in the hedges—the mavis chaunted its loud sang frae the bushes on the braes— the lennerts were singing and chirming among the whins— and the shelfa absolutely seemed to follow ye wi’ its three notes over again, in order that ye might learn them.

It was the happiest afternoon I ever spent. James grat, and I grat. I got a scolding frae my faither and my mother when I gaed hame, and they demanded to ken where I had been; but the words that James had spoken to me bore me up against their reproaches.

Weel, it was very shortly (I dare say not six months after my faither’s death) that James called at my mother’s, and aa he said, to bid us fareweel! He took my mother’s hand—I mind I saw him raise it to his lips, while the tears were on his cheeks; and he was also greatly put about to part wi’ my sisters; but to me he said—

‘Ye’ll set me down a bit, Diana.’

He was to take the coach for Liverpool—or, at least, a coach to take him on the road to that town, the next day; and from there he was to proceed to the West Indies, to meet an uncle who was to make him his heir.

I went out wi’ him, and we wandered away down by our auld walks; but, oh! he said little, and he sighed often, and his heart was sad. But mine was as sad as his, and I could say as little as him. I winna, 1 canna write a’ the words and the vows that passed. He took the chain frae his watch, and it was o’ the best gold, and he also took a pair o’ Bibles frae his pocket, and he put the watch-chain and the Bibles into my hand, and—’ Diana,’ said he, ‘take these, dear—keep them for the sake o’ your poor James, and, as often as ye see them, think on him.’ I took them, and wi’ the tears running down my cheeks—’ O James,’ cried I, ‘this is hard !—hard!’

Twice, ay thrice, we bade each other ‘fareweel,’ and thrice after he had parted frae me he cam running back again, and throwing his arms around my neck, cried—

‘Diana! I canna leave ye !—promise me that ye will never marry onybody else!’

And thrice I promised him that I wouldna.

But he gaed awa, and my only consolation was looking at the Bibles, on one o’ the white leaves o’ the first volume o’ which I found written, by his own hand, ‘James Laidlaw and Diana Darling vowed that, if they were spared, they would become man and wife; and that neither time, distance, nor circumstances should absolve their plighted troth. Dated, May 25th, 17—.’

These were cheering words to me; and I lived on them for years, even after my younger sisters were married, and I had ceased to hear from him. And, during that time, for his sake, I had declined offers which my friends said I was waur than foolish to reject. At least half a dozen good matches I let slip through my hands, and a’ for the love o’ James Laidlaw, who was far awa, and the vows he had plighted to me by the side o’ the Blackadder. And, although he hadna written to me for some years, I couldna think that ony man could be so wicked as to write words o’ falsehood and bind them np in the volume o’ everlasting truth.

But about ten years after he had gane awa James Laidlaw came back to our neighbourhood; but he wasna the same lad he left—for he was now a dark-complexioned man, and he had wi’ him a mulatto woman and three bairns that called him faither! He was no longer my James!

My mother was by this time dead, and I expected naething but that the knowledge o’ his faithfulness would kill me too —for I had clung to hope till the last straw was broken.

I met him once during his stay in the country, and, strange to tell, it was within a hundred yards o’ the very spot where I first foregathered wi’ him, when he offered me the posie.

‘Ha! Die!’ said he, ‘my old girl, are you still alive? I’m glad to see you. Is the old woman, your mother, living yet?’ I was ready to faint, my heart throbbed as though it would have burst. A’ the trials I had ever had were naething to this; and he continued—’ Why, if I remember right, there was once something like an old flame between you and me.’ ‘0 James! James!’ said I, ‘do ye remember

the words ye wrote in the Bible, and the vows that ye made me by the side of the Blackadder?’ ‘Ha! ha!’ said he, and he laughed, ‘you are there, are you? I do mind something of it. But, Die, I did not think that a girl like you would have been such a fool as to remember what a boy said to her.’

I would have spoken to him again; but I remembered he was the husband of another woman—though she was a mulatto—an’ I hurried away as fast as my fainting heart would permit. I had but one consolation, and that was, that, though he had married another, naebody could compare her face wi’ mine..

But it was lang before I got the better o’ this sair slight —ay, I may say it was ten years and mair; and I had to try to pingle and find a living upon the interest o’ my five hundred pounds, wi’ ony other thing that I could turn my hand to in a genteel sort o’ way.

I was now getting on the wrang side o’ eight-and-thirty; and that is an age when it isna prudent in a spinster to be throwing the pouty side o’ her lip to any decent lad that hands out his hand, and says—’Jenny, will ye tak me?’ Often and often, baith by day and by night, did I think o’ the good bargains I had lost, for the sake o’ my fause James Laidlaw; and often, when I saw some o’ them that had come praying to me pass me on a Sunday, wi’ their wives wi’ their bands half round their waist on the horse behint them— ‘O, James! fause James!’ I have said, ‘but for trusting to you, and it would hae been me that would this day been riding behint Mr.’

But I had still five hundred pounds, and sic fend as I could make, to help what they brought to me. And, about this time, there was one that had the character of being a very respectable sort o’ lad, one Walter Sanderson; he was a farmer, very near about my own age, and altogether a most prepossessing and intelligent young man. I first met wi’ him at my youngest sister’s goodman’s kirn, and I must say a better or a more gracefu’ dancer I never saw upon a floor. He had neither the jumping o’ a mountebank nor the sliding o’ a play-actor, but there was an ease in his carriage which I never saw equalled. I was particularly struck wi’ him, and especially his dancing; and it so happened that he was no less struck wi’ me. I thought he looked even better than James Laidlaw used to do—but at times I had doubts about it. However, he had stopped all the night at my brother-in-law’s as weel as mysel’; and when I got up to gang hame the next day he said he would bear me company. I thanked him, said I was obliged to him, never thinking that he would attempt such a thing. But, just as the powny was brought for me to ride on (and the callant was to come up to Dunse for it at night), Mr. Walter Sanderson mounted his horse, and says he—

‘Now, wi’ your permission, Miss Darling, I will see you hame.’

It would have been very rude o’ me to hae said—’ No, I thank you, sir,’ and especially at my time o’ life, wi’ twa younger sisters married that had families; so I blushed, as it were, and giein my powny a twitch, he sprang on to his saddle, and came trotting on by my side. He was very agreeable company; and when he said, ‘I shall be most happy to pay you a visit, Miss Darling,’ I didna think o’ what I had said until after that I had answered him, ‘I shall be very happy to see you, sir.’ And when I thought o’ it, my very cheek-bones burned wi’ shame.

But, howsoever, Mr. Sanderson was not long in calling again—and often he did call, and my sisters and their guidmen began to jeer me about him. “Weel, he called and called, for I dare say as good as three-quarters of a year; and he was sae backward and modest a’ the time that I thought him a very remarkable man; indeed, I began to think him. every way superior to James Laidlaw.

But at last he made proposals—I consented—the weddingday was set, and we had been cried in the kirk. It was the fair-day, just two days before we were to be married, and he came into the house, and, after he had been seated a while, and cracked in his usual kind way—

‘Oh,’ says he, ‘what a bargain I hae missed the day! There are four lots o’ cattle in the market, and I might hae cleared four hundred pounds cent, per cent, by them,’

‘Losh me! “Walter, then,’ says I, ‘why dinna ye do it? How did ye let sic a bargain slip through your fingers?’

‘Woman,’ said he, ‘I dinna ken; but a man that is to be married within eight-and-forty hours is excusable. I came to the fair without any thought o’ either buying or selling -—but just to see you, Diaua—and I kenned there wasna meikle siller necessary for that.’

‘Losh, Walter, man,’ said I, ‘but that is a pity—and ye say ye could mak cent, per cent, by the beasts?’

”Deed could I,’ quoth he—’ I am sure o’ that.’

‘Then, Walter,’ says I, ‘what is mine the day is to be yours the morn, I may say; and it would be a pity to lose sic a bargain.’

Therefore I put into his hands an order on a branch bank that had been established in Dunse for every farthing that I was worth in the world, and Walter kissed me, and went out to get the money frae the bank, and buy the cattle.

But he hadna been out an hour when one o’ my brothersin-law called, and I thought he looked unco dowie. So I began to tell him about the excellent bargain that Walter had made, and what I had done. But the man started frae his seat as if he were crazed, and without asking me ony questions, he only cried—’ Gracious! Diana! hae ye been sic an idiot?’ and, rushing out o’ the house, ran to the bank.

He left me in a state that I canna describe: I neithei kenned what to do nor what to think. But within half an hour he returned, and he cried out as he entered—’ Diana, ye are ruined! He has taken in you and everybody else. The villain broke yesterday! He is off! Ye may bid fareweel to your siller.’ ‘Wha is off?’ cried I, and I was in sic a state I was hardly able to speak. ‘Walter Sanderson!’ answered my brother-in-law.

I believe I went into hysterics; for the first thing I mind o’ after his saying so was a dozen people standing round about me—some slapping at the palms o’ my hands, and others laving water on my breast and temples, until they had me as wet as if they had douked me in Bollock’s Well.

I canna tell tow I stood up against this clap o’ misery.

It was near getting the better o’ me. For a time I really

hated the very name and the sight o’ man, and I said, as the

song says, that

“Men are a’ deceivers.”

But this was not the worst o’ it—I had lost my all, and I was now forced into the acquaintanceship of poverty and dependence. I first went to live under the roof o’ my youngest sister, who had always been my favourite; but, before six months went round, I found that she began to treat me just as though I had been a servant, ordering me to do this and do the other; and sometimes my dinner was sent ben to me into the kitchen; and the servant lassies, seeing Low their mistress treated me, considered that they should be justified in doing the same—and they did the same. Many a weary time have I lain upon my bed and wished never to rise again, for my spirit was weary o’ this world. But I put up wi’ insult after insult, until flesh and blood could endure it no longer. Then did I go to my other sister, and she hardly opened her mouth to me as I entered her house. I saw that I might gang where I liked—I wasna welcome there. Before I had been a week under her roof I found that the herd’s dog led a lady’s life to mine. I was forced to leave her too.

And, as a sort o’ last alternative, just to keep me in existence, I began a bit shop in a neighbouring town, and took in sewing and washing; and after I had tried them awhile, and found that they would hardly do, I commenced a bit school, at the advice of the minister’s wife, and learned bairns their letters and the catechism, and knitting and sewing. I also taught them (for they were a’ girls) how to work their samplers, and to write and to cast accounts. But what vexed and humbled me more than all I had suffered was, that one night, just after I had let my scholars away, an auld hedger and ditcher body, almost sixty years o’ age, came into the house, and ‘How’s a’ wi’ ye the nicht.?’ says he, though I never spoke to the man before. But he took off his bonnet, and pulling in a chair, drew a seat to the fire. I was thunderstruck! But I was yet mair astonished and ashamed when the auld body, sleeking down his hair and his chin, had the assurance to make love to me!

‘There is the door, sir !’ cried I. And when he didna seem willing to understand me, I gripped him by the shoulders, and showed him what I meant.

Yet quite composedly he turned round to me and said, ‘I dinna see what is the use o’ the like o’ this—it is true I am aulder than you, but you are at a time o’ life now that ye canna expect ony young man to look at ye. Therefore, ye had better think twice before ye turn me to the door. Ye will find it just as easy a life being the wife o’ a hedger as keeping a school—rather mair sae, I apprehend, and mair profitable too.’ I had nae patience wi’ the man. I thought my sisters had insulted me; but this offer o’ the hedger’s wounded me mair than a’ that they had done.

‘O, James Laidlaw!’ cried I, when I was left to mysel’, ‘what hae ye brought me to!’ My sisters dinna look after me. My parting wi’ them has gien them an excuse to forget that I exist. My brother is far frae me, and he is ruled by a wife; and I hae been robbed by another o’ the little that I had. I am like a withered tree in a wilderness, standing by its lane—I will fa’ and naebody will miss me. I am sick, and there are none to haud my head. My throat is parched, and my lips dry, and there are none to bring me a cup o’ water. There is nae living thing that I can ca’ mine. And some day I shall be found a stiffened corpse in my bed, with no one near me to close my eyes in death, or perform the last office of humanity! For I am alone—I am by myself— I am forgotten in the world; and my latter years, if I have a long life, will be a burden to strangers.'”

But Diana Darling did not so die. Her gentleness, her kindness, caused her to be beloved by many who knew not her history; and when the last stern messenger came to call her hence many watched with tears around her bed of death, and many more in sorrow followed her to the grave. So ran the few leaves in the diary of a spinster—and the reader will forgive our interpolations.

The Works of Oliver Wendell Holmes: The poet at the breakfast-table (Google Books)

■— Six hours kill ’em all, according to this experiment, — said the Master. — Good as far as it goes. One more negative result. Do you know what would have happened if that liquid had been clouded, and we had found life in the sealed flask? Sir, if that liquid had held lif e in it the Vatican would have trembled to hear it, and there would have been anxious questionings and ominous whisperings in the halls of Lambeth palace! The accepted cosmogonies on trial, sir! Traditions, sanctities, creeds, ecclesiastical establishments, all shaking to know whether my little sixpenny flask of fluid looks muddy or not! I don’t know whether to laugh or shudder. The thought of an oecumenical council having its leading feature dislocated by my trifling experiment! The thought, again, of the mighty revolution in human beliefs and affairs that might grow out of the same insignificant little phenomenon. A wineglassful of clear liquid growing muddy. If we had found a wriggle, or a zigzag, or a shoot from one side to the other, in this last flask, what a scare there would have been, to be sure, in the schools of the prophets! Talk about your megatherium and your megalosaurus, — what are these to the bacterium and the vibrio? These are the dreadful monsters of to-day. If they show themselves where they have no business, the little rascals frighten honest folks worse than ever people were frightened by the Dragon of Rhodes!

The Master gets going sometimes, there is no denying it, until his imagination runs away with him. He had been trying, as the reader sees, one of those curious experiments in spontaneous generation, as it is called, which have been so often instituted of late years, and by none more thoroughly than by that eminent American student of nature1 whose process he had imitated with a result like his.

We got talking over these matters among us the next morning at the breakfast-table.

We must agree they couldn’t stand six hours’ boiling, — I said.

— Good for the Pope of Rome! — exclaimed the Master.

— The Landlady drew back with a certain expression of dismay in her countenance. She hoped he did n’t want the Pope to make any more converts in this country. She had heard a sermon only last Sabbath, and the minister had made it out, she thought, as plain as could be, that the Pope was the Man of Sin and that the Church of Rome was — Well, there was very strong names applied to her in Scripture.

What was good for the Pope was good for your minister, too, my dear madam, — said the Master. — Good for everybody that is afraid of what people call “science.” If it should prove that dead things come to life of themselves, it would be awkward, you know, because then somebody will get up and say if one dead thing made itself alive another might, and so perhaps the earth peopled itself without any help. Possibly the difficulty would n’t be so great as many people suppose. We might perhaps find room for a Creator after all, as we do now, though we see a little brown seed grow till it sucks up the juices of half an 1 Professor Jeffries Wyman.

acre of ground, apparently all by its own inherent power. That does not stagger us; I am not sure that it would if Mr. Crosse’s or Mr. Weekes’s acarus should show himself all of a sudden, as they said he did, in certain mineral mixtures acted on by electricity.

The Landlady was off soundings, and looking vacant enough by this time.

The Master turned to me. — Don’t think too much of the result of our one experiment. It means something, because it confirms those other experiments of which it was a copy; but we must remember that a hundred negatives don’t settle such a question. Life does get into the world somehow. You don’t suppose Adam had the cutaneous unpleasantness politely called psora, do you?

— Hardly, — I answered. — He must have been a walking hospital if he carried all the maladies about him which have plagued his descendants.

— Well, then, how did the little beast which is peculiar to that special complaint intrude himself into the Order of Things? You don’t suppose there was a special act of creation for the express purpose of bestowing that little wretch on humanity, do you?

I thought, on the whole, I would n’t answer that question.

— You and I are at work on the same problem, — said the Young Astronomer to the Master. — I have looked into a microscope now and then, and I have seen that perpetual dancing about of minute atoms in a fluid, which you call molecular motion. Just so, when I look through my telescope I see the star-dust whirling about in the infinite expanse of ether; or if I do not see its motion, I know that it is only on account of its immeasurable distance. Matter and motion everywhere; void and rest nowhere. You ask why your restless microscopic atoms may not come together and become self-conscious and self-moving organisms. I ask why my telescopic star-dust may not come together and grow and organize into habitable worlds, — the ripened fruit on the branches of the tree Yggdrasil, if I may borrow from our friend the Poet’s province. It frightens people, though, to hear the suggestion that worlds shape themselves from starmist. It does not trouble them at all to see the watery spheres that round themselves into being out of the vapors floating over us; they are nothing but raindrops. But if a planet can grow as a rain-drop grows, why then — It was a great comfort to these timid folk when Lord Rosse’s telescope resolved certain nebulae into star-clusters. Sir John Herschel would have told them that this made little difference in accounting for the formation of worlds by aggregation, but at any rate it was a comfort to them.

— These people have always been afraid of the astronomers, — said the Master. —They were shy, you know, of the Copernican system, for a long while; well they might be with an oubliette waiting for them if they ventured to think that the earth moved round the sun. Science settled that point finally for them, at length, and then it was all right, — when there was no use in disputing the fact any longer. By and by geology began turning up fossils that told extraordinary stories about the duration of life upon our planet. What subterfuges were not used to get rid of their evidence! Think of a man seeing the fossilized skeleton of an animal split out of a quarry, his teeth worn down by mastication, and the remains of food still visible in his interior, and, in order to get rid of a piece of evidence contrary to the traditions he holds to, seriously maintaining that this skeleton never belonged to a living creature, but was created with just these appearances; a make-believe, a sham, a Barnum’smermaid contrivance to amuse its Creator and impose upon his intelligent children! And now people talk about geological epochs and hundreds of millions of years in the planet’s history as calmly as if they were discussing the age of their deceased great-grandmothers. Ten or a dozen years ago people said Sh! Sh! if you ventured to meddle with any question supposed to involve a doubt of the generally accepted Hebrew traditions. To-day such questions are recognized as perfectly fair subjects for general conversation; not in the basement story, perhaps, or among the rank and file of the curbstone congregations, but among intelligent and educated persons. You may preach about them in your pulpit, you may lecture about them, you may talk about them with the first sensible-looking person you happen to meet, you may write magazine articles about them, and the editor need not expect to receive remonstrances from angry subscribers and withdrawals of subscriptions, as he would have been sure to not a great many years ago. Why, you may go to a tea-party where the clergyman’s wife shows her best cap and his daughters display their shining ringlets, and you will hear the company discussing the Darwinian theory of the origin of the human race as if it were as harmless a question as that of the lineage of a spinster’s lapdog. You may see a fine lady who is as particular in her genuflections as any Buddhist or Mahometan saint in his manifestations of reverence, who will talk over the anthropoid ape, the supposed founder

of the family to which we belong, and even go hack with you to the acephalous mollusk, first cousin to the clams and mussels, whose rudimental spine was the hinted prophecy of humanity; all this time never dreaming, apparently, that what she takes for a matter of curious speculation involves the whole future of human progress and destiny.

I can’t help thinking that if we had talked as freely as we can and do now in the days of the first boarder at this table, — I mean the one who introduced it to the public, — it would have sounded a good deal more aggressively than it does now. — The old Master got rather warm in talking; perhaps the consciousness of having a number of listeners had something to do with it.

— This whole business is an open question, — he said,—and there is no use in saying, “Hush! don’t talk about such things!” People do talk about ’em everywhere; and if they don’t talk about ’em they think about ’em, and that is worse, — if there is anything bad about such questions, that is. If for the Fall of man, science comes to substitute the RISE of man, sir, it means the utter disintegration of all the spiritual pessimisms which have been like a spasm in the heart and a cramp in the intellect of men for so many centuries. And yet who dares *o say that it is not a perfectly legitimate and proper question to be discussed, without the slightest regard to the fears or the threats of Pope or prelate?

Sir, I believe, — the Master rose from his chair as he spoke, and said in a deep and solemn tone, but without any declamatory vehemence, — sir, I believe that we are at this moment in what will be recognized not many centuries hence as one of the late watches in the night of the dark ages. There is a twilight ray, beyond question. We know something of the universe, a very little, and, strangely enough, we know most of what is farthest from us. We have weighed the planets and analyzed the flames of the sun and stars. We predict their movements as if they were machines we ourselves had made and regulated. We know a good deal about the earth on which we live. But the study of man has been so completely subjected to our preconceived opinions, that we have got to begin all over again. We have studied anthropology through theology; we have now to begin the study of theology through anthropology. Until we have exhausted the human element in every form of belief, and that can only be done by what we may call comparative spiritual anatomy, we cannot begin to deal with the alleged extra-human elements without blundering into all imaginable puerilities. If you think for one moment that there is not a single religion in the world which does not come to us through the medium of a preexisting language; and if you remember that this language embodies absolutely nothing but human conceptions and human passions, you will see at once that every religion presupposes its own elements as already existing in those to whom it is addressed. I once went to a church in London and heard the famous Edward Irving preach, and heard some of his congregation speak in the strange words characteristic of their miraculous gift of tongues. I had a respect for the logical basis of this singular phenomenon. I have always thought it was natural that any celestial message should demand a language of its own, only to be understood by divine illumina

tion. All human words tend, of course, to stop short in human meaning. And the more I hear the most sacred terms employed, the more I am satisfied that they have entirely and radically different meanings in the minds of those who use them. Yet they deal with them as if they were as definite as mathematical quantities or geometrical figures. What would become of arithmetic if the figure 2 meant three for one man and five for another and twenty for a third, and all the other numerals were in the same way variable quantities? Mighty intelligent correspondence business men would have with each other! But how is this any worse than the difference of opinion which led a famous clergyman to say to a brother theologian, “Oh, I see, my dear sir, your God is my Devil.”

Man has been studied proudly, contemptuously, rather, from the point of view supposed to be authoritatively settled. The self-sufficiency of egotistic natures was never more fully shown than in the expositions of the worthlessness and wretchedness of their fellow-creatures given by the dogmatists who have “gone back,” as the vulgar phrase is, on their race, their own flesh and blood. Did you ever read what Mr. Bancroft says about Calvin in his article on Jonathan Edwards? — and mighty well said it is too, in my judgment. Let me remind you of it, whether you have read it or not. “Setting himself up over against the privileged classes, he, with a loftier pride than theirs, revealed the power of a yet higher order of nobility, not of a registered ancestry of fifteen generations, but one absolutely spotless in its escutcheon, preordained in the council chamber of eternity.” I think you ‘ll find I have got that sentence right, word for word, and there’s a great deal more in it than many good folks who call themselves after the reformer seem to be aware of. The Pope put his foot on the neck of kings, but Calvin and his cohort crushed the whole human race under their heels in the name of the Lord of Hosts. Now, you see, the point that people don’t understand is the absolute and utter humility of science, in opposition to this doctrinal self-sufficiency. I don’t doubt this may sound a little paradoxical at first, but I think you will find it is all right. You remember the courtier and the monarch, —Louis the Fourteenth, wasn’t it? — never mind, give the poor fellows that live by setting you right a chance. “What o’clock is it?” says the king. “Just whatever o’clock your Majesty pleases,” says the courtier. I venture to say the monarch was a great deal more humble than the follower, who pretended that his master was superior to such trifling facts as the revolution of the planet. It was the same thing, you remember, with King Canute and the tide on the sea-shore. The king accepted the scientific fact of the tide’s rising. The loyal hangers-on, who believed in divine right, were too proud of the company they found themselves in to make any such humiliating admission. But there are people, and plenty of them, to-day, who will dispute facts just as clear to those who have taken the pains to learn what ia known about them, as that of the tide’s rising. They don’t like to admit these facts, because they throw doubt upon some of their cherished opinions. We are getting on towards the last part of this nineteenth century. What we have gained is not so much in positive knowledge, though that is a good deal, as it is in the freedom of discussion of every subject that comes within the range of observation and inference. How long is it since Mrs. Piozzi wrote, — “Let me hope that you will not pursue geology till it leads you into doubts destructive of all comfort in this world and all happiness in the next”?