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I am very far from limiting this glorious part of maternity in woman to the breeding and nurture of infants; nor do I mean to concentrate civilization on the propagation of the human species. I have taken the mother's care for the infant as the most conspicuous and fundamental part of the whole. But this is simply a type of the affection which in all its forms woman is perpetually offering to man and to woman-to the weak, the suffering, the careworn, the vicious, the dull, and the overburdened, as inother, as wife, as sister, as daughter, as friend, as nurse, as teacher, as servant, as counsellor, as purifier, as example, in a word— -as woman. The true function of woman is to educate, not children only, but men, to train to a higher civilization, not the rising generation, but the actual society. And to do this by diffusing the spirit of affection, of selfrestraint, self-sacrifice, fidelity, and purity. And this is to be effected, not by writing books about these things in the closet, nor by preaching sermons about them in the congregation, but by manifesting them hour by hour in each home by the magic of the voice, look, word, and all the incommunicable graces of woman's tenderness.
All this has become so completely a commonplace that the very repeating it sounds almost like a jest. But it has to be repeated now that coarse sophistry has begun, not only to forget it, but to deny
it. And we will repeat it; for we have nothing to add to all that has been said on this cardinal fact of buman nature by poets, from Homer to Tennyson, by moralists and preachers, by common sense and pure minds, since the world began. We have nothing to add to it save thiswhich, perhaps, is really important-that this function of woman, the purifying, spiritualizing, bumanizing of society, by humanizing each family and by influencing every husband, father, son, or brother, in daily contact and in unspoken language, is itself the highest of all human functions, and is nobler than anything which art, philosophy, genius, or statesmanship can produce.
The spontaneous and inexhaustible fountain of love, the secret springs whereof are the mystery of womanbood, this is indeed the grand and central difference between the sexes. But the difference of function is quite as real, if less in degree,
when we regard the intellect and the character. Plainly, the intellect of woman on the whole is more early mature, more rapid, more delicate, more agile than that of men ; more imaginative, more in touch with emotion, more sensitive, more individual, more teachable, while it is less capable of prolonged tension, of intense abstraction, of wide range, and of extraordinary complication. It may be that this is resolvable into the obvious fact of smaller cerebral masses and less nervous energy, rather than any inferiority of quality. The fact remains that no woman has ever approach d Aristotle and Archimedes, Shakespeare and Descartes, Raphael and Mozart, or has ever shown even a kindred sum of powers. On the other hand, not one man in ten can compare with the average woman in tact, subtlety of observation, in refinement of mental habit, in rapidity, agility, and sympathetic touch. To ask whether the occasional outbursts of genius in the male sex are higher than the almost universal quickness and fineness of mind in the female sex, is to ask an idle question. To destroy either out of human nature would be to arrest civilization and to plunge us into barbarism. And the earliest steps out of barbarism would have to begin again in each wigwam with the quick observation. and the flexible mind, and not with the profound genius.
As with the intellect-so with the powers of action. The character or energy of women is very different from that of men; though here again it is impossible to say which is the superior, and far less easy to make the contrast. tainly the world has never seen a female Alexander, Julius Caesar, Charlemagne, or Cromwell. And in mass, endurance, intensity, variety, and majesty of will no women ever approach the greatest men, and no doubt, from the same reason, smaller cerebral mass and slighter nervous organization. Yet in qualities of constant movement, in perseverance, in passive endurance, in rapidity of change, in keenness of pursuit (up to a certain range and within a given time), in adaptability, agility, and elasticity of nature, in indus triousness, in love of creating rather than destroying, of being busy rather than idle, of dealing with the minutest surroundings of comfort, grace, and convenience, it is a commonplace to acknowledge women to
be our superiors. And if a million housewives do not equal one Cromwell, they no doubt add more to the happiness of their own generation.
We come back to this that in body, in mind, in feeling, in character, women are by Nature designed to play a different part from men. And all these differences combine to point to a part personal not general, domestic not public, working by direct contact not by remote suggestion, through the imagination more than through the reason, by the heart more than by the head. There is in women a like intelligence, activity, passion; like and co-ordinate, but not identical; equally valuable, but not equal by measure; and this all works best in the Home. That is to say, the sphere in which women act at their highest is the Family, and the side where they are strongest is Affection. The sphere where men act at their highest is in public, in industry, in the service of the State; and the side where men are the strongest, is Activity. Intelligence is common to both, capable in men of more sustained strain, apt in women for more Idelicate and mobile service. That is to say, the normal and natural work of women is by personal influence within the Home.
All this is so obvious, it has been so completely the universal and instinctive practice of mankind since civilization began, that to repeat it would be wearisome if the modern spirit of social anarchy were not now eager to throw it all aside. And we Positivists have only to repeat the old saws on the matter, together with this that such a part is the noblest which civilization can confer, and was more urgently needed than it is to-day. In accepting it graciously and in filling it worthily, women are placing themselves as a true spiritual force in the vanguard of human evolution, and are performing the holiest and most beautiful of all the duties which Humanity has reserved for her bestbeloved children. The source of the outcry we hear for the Emancipation of Women-their emancipation from their noblest duty is that in this materialist age men are prone to despise what is pure, lofty, and tender, and to exalt what is coarse, vulgar, and vainglorious.
When we say that we would see the typical work of women centred in her personal influence in the Home, we are not
asking for arbitrary and rigid limitations. We are not calling out for any new legis lation or urging public opinion to close any womanly employment for women. There are a thousand ways in which the activity of women may be of peculiar value to the community, and many of these necessarily carry women outside their own houses and into more or less public institutions. The practice of the ladies connected with this Hall alone would satisfy us how great is the part which women have to play in teaching, in directing moral and social institutions, in organizing the higher standard of opinion, in inspiring enthusiasm in young and old. We are heartily with such invaluable work; and we find that modern civilization offers to women as many careers as it offers to men.
All that we ask is that such work and such careers shall be founded on womanly ideals, and shall recognize the essential difference in the social functions of men and of women. We know that in a disorganized condition of society there are terrible accumulations of exceptional and distressing personal hardship. Of course millions of women have, and can have, no husbands; hundreds of thousands have no parents, no brother, no true family. No one pretends that society is without abundant room for unmarried women, and has not a mass of work for women who by circumstances have been deprived of their natural family and are without any normal home. Many of such women we know to be among the noblest of their sex, the very salt of the earth. But their activity still retains its home-like beauty, and is still womanly and not mannish. All that we ask is that women, whether married or unmarried, whether with families of their own or not, shall never cease to feel like women, to work as women should, to make us all feel that they are true women among us and not imitation men.
We are not now discussing any practical remedy for a temporary difficulty; we are only seeking to assert a paramount law of human nature. We are defending the principle of the womanliness of woman against the anarchic assertors of the manliness of woman. There is a passionate party of so-called reformers, both men and women, who are crying out for absolute assimilation as a principle; and such is the weakness of politicians and leaders
that this coarse and ignorant sophism is becoming a sort of badge of Radical energy and freedom from prejudice. With all practical remedies for admitted social diseases we are ever ready to sympathize, and I venture to claim for this body which meets here, that not a public question of importance ever finds us dull to listen or slow to act. In the name of mercy let us all do our best with the practical dilemmas which society throws up. But let us not attempt to cure them by pulling society down from its foundations and uprooting the very first ideas of social order. Exceptions and painful cases we have by the thousand. Let us struggle to help or to mend them, as exceptions, and not commit the folly of asserting that the exception is the rule.
We all know that there are more women in these kingdoms than men, and not a little perplexity arises therefrom. But since more males are born than females, the inequality is the result of abnormal causes the emigration, wandering habits, dangerous trades, overwork and intemperance of men. It is the first and most urgent duty of society to remedy this social disease, and not to turn society upside down in order to palliate a temporary want. Certainly not, when the so-called remedy can only increase the disease by "debasing the moral currency" and desecrating the noblest duties of woman. Certainly, no reformers whatever can be more eager than we are to do our best to help in any reasonable remedy for our social maladies, be they what they may. But the extent and acuteness of social maladies makes us only more anxious to defend the first principles of human society -and to us none is so sacred as the inherent and inalienable womanliness of all women's work.
The prevalent sophistry calls out for complete freedom to every individual, male or female, and the abolition of all restraints, legal, conventional, or customary, which prevent any adult from living his or her own life at his and her private will. It is specious; but, except in an age of nihilism, such anarchic cries would never be heard. It involves the destruction of every social institution together. The Family, the State, the Church, the Nation, Industry, social organization, law, all rest on fixed rules, which are the stand
ing contradiction of this claim of universal personal liberty from restraint. Society implies the control of absolute individual license; and this is the claim for absolute individual license. It is perfectly easy to find objections and personal hardship in every example of social institution. Begin with marriage. Many married people would be happier and, perhaps, more useful, if they could separate at will. Therefore (the cry is) let all men and women be always free to live together or apart, when they choose, and as long as they choose, without priests, registrars, lawcourts, or scandal. Many parents are unworthy to bring up their children. Therefore, let no parent have any control over his child. Many women would be more at ease and perhaps more able to work in their own way, if they wore men's clothes. And some men, especially the old and the delicate, might be more comfortable in skirts. Therefore, abolish the foolish restrictions about Male and Female dress. And this our reformers, it seems, are preparing to do. Many men and more women are, at 20, better fitted to "come of age" than soine men at 30. Therefore, let every one "come of age" when he or she thinks fit. Many a man who, through hunger, steals a turnip is an angel of light compared with a millionaire who speculates. Therefore, abolish all laws against stealing. Many a foreigner living in England knows far more of politics than most native electors. Therefore, abolish all restrictions applying to "aliens" as such. Many a laynian can preach a better sermon than most priests, can cure disease better than some doctors, can argue a case better than certain barristers, could keep deposits better than some bankers, find a thief quicker than most policemen, and drive a hansom" better than some cabmen. Therefore it is argued-let every man, woman, and child live with whomsoever he or she like, wear breeches or petticoats as he or she prefer, put their vote in a ballot-box whenever they see one at hand, conduct divine service, treat the sick, plead causes, coin money, carry letters, drive cabs, and arrest their neighbors, as they like, and as long as they like, and so far as they can get others to consent. And thus we shall get rid of all personal hardships, all restrictions as to age, sex, and competence, and all public
registration; we shall abolish monopolies, male tyranny, and social oppression generally.
The claim for the complete "emancipation" of women stands or falls along with these other examples of emancipation. And the answer to it is the same. The restriction, which in a few cases is needless, hard, even unjust, is of infinite social usefulness in the vast majority of cases, and "to free" the few would be to inflict permanent injury on the mass. To make marriage a mere arrangement of two persons at will would be to introduce a subtle source of misery into every home. To leave women free to go about in men's clothes and men free to adopt women's clothes, would be to introduce unimaginable coarseness, vice, and brutalization. To leave every one free to fill any public office, with or without public guarantee or professional training, would open the door to continual fraud, imposture, disputes, uncertainty, and confusion. It is to prevent all these evils that monopolies, laws, conventions, registers and other restrictions on personal license exist. And the first and most fundamental of all these restrictions are those which distinguish the life of women from that of men.
Not very many reformers consciously intend the " emancipation" of women to go as far as this. There is a great deal of playing with the question, more or less honest, more or less serious, as there is much playing with Socialism, Agnosticism, and so forth, by people who perhaps, in their hearts, merely wish to see women more active and better taught, or some of the worst hardships of workmen redressed, or the dogmas of Orthodoxy somewhat relaxed. But when a great social institution is seriously threatened we must deal with the real evolutionists who have a consistent aim and mean what they say. And the real revolutionists aim at the total emancipation" of women, and by this they mean that law, custom, convention, and public opinion shall leave every adult woman free to do whatever any adult man is free to do, and without let or reproach, to live in any way, adopt any, habit, follow any pursuit, and undertake any duty, public or private, which is open to or reserved to men.
Now I deliberately say that this result would be the most disastrous to human civilization of any which could afflict it
worse than to return to slavery and Polytheism. If only a small minority of women availed themselves of their "freedom," the beauty of womanliness would be darkened in every home. Just as if but a few married people accepted the legalized liberty of parting by consent, every husband and every wife would feel their married life sensibly precarious and unsettled. There is nothing that I know of but law and convention to hinder a fair percentage of women from becoming active members of Parliament and useful ministers of the Crown, learned professors of Hebrew and anatomy, very fair priests, advocates, surgeons, nay, tailors, joiners, cab-drivers, or soldiers, if they gave their minds to it. The shouting which takes place when a woman passes a good examination, makes a clever speech, manages well an institution, or climbs up a mountain, or makes a perilous journey of discovery, always struck me as very foolish and most inconsistent. I have so high an opinion of the brains and energy, the courage and resource of women, that I should be indeed surprised if a fair percentage of women could not achieve all in these lines which is expected of the average man. My estimate of women's powers is so real and so great that, if all occupations were entirely open to women, I believe that a great many women would distinguish themselves in all but the highest range, and that, in a corrupted state of public opinion, a very large number of women would waste their lives in struggling after distinction.
Would waste their lives, I say. For they would be striving, with pain and toil and the sacrifice of all true womanly joys, to obtain a lower prize for which they are not best fitted, in lieu of a loftier prize for which they are pre-eminently fit. Α lower prize, although possibly one richer in money, in fame, or in power, but essentially a coarser and more material aim. And in an age like this there is too much reason to fear that ambition, and the thirst for gain and supremacy, would tempt into the unnatural competition many a fine and womanly nature. Our daughters would be continually longing to see their names in newspapers, to display the cheap glories of academic or professional honors, to contemplate their bankers' passbooks in private, and to advertise in public their athletic record.
Let us teach them that this specious
agitation must ultimately degrade them, sterilize them, unsex them. The glory of woman is to be tender, loving, pure, inspiring in her home; it is to raise the moral tone of every household, to refine every man with whom, as wife, daughter, sister, or friend she has intimate converse; to form the young, to stimulate society, to mitigate the harshness and cruelty and vulgarity of life everywhere. And it is no glory to woman to forsake all this and to read for honors with towelled head in a college study, to fight with her own brother for a good practice," to spend the day in offices and the night in the "House.” These things have to be done—and men have to do them; it is their nature. But the other, the higher duties of love, beauty, patience, and compassion, can only be performed by women, and by women only so long as it is recognized to be their true
and essential field.
It is impossible to do both together. Women must choose to be either women or abortive men. They cannot be both women and men. When men and women are once started as competitors in the same fierce race, as rivals and opponents, instead of companions and helpmates, with the same habits, the same ambiticns, the same engrossing toil and the same public lives, Woman will have disappeared, society will consist of individuals distinguished physiologically, as are horses or dogs, into male and female specimens. Family will mean groups of men and women who live in common, and Home will mean the place where the group collects for shelter.
The Family is the real social unit, and what society has to do is to promote the good of the Family. And in the Family woman is as completely supreme as is man in the State. And for all moral purposes the Family is more vital, more beautiful, more universal than the State. keep the Family true, refined, affectionate, faithful, is a grander task than to govern the State; it is a task which needs the whole energies, the entire life of Woman. To mix up her sacred duty with the coarser occupations of politics and trade is to unfit her for it as completely as if a priest were to embark in the business of a moneylender. That such primary social truths were ever forgotten at all is one of the portents of this age of scepticism, mammon-worship, and false glory. Whilst the embers of the older Chivalry and Religion retained their warmth, no decent man, much less woman, could be found to throw ridicule on the chivalrous and saintly ideal of woman as man's guardian angel and queen of the home. But the ideals of Religion of old are grown faint and out of fashion, and the priest of today is too often willing to go with the times. times. Is it to be left to the Religion of Humanity to defend the primeval institutions of society? Let us then honor the old-world image of Woman as being relieved by man from the harder tasks of industry, from the defence and management of the State, in order that she may set herself to train up each generation to be worthier than the last, and may make each home in some sense a heaven of peace on earth.-Fortnightly Review.
TWO BROTHERS AND THEIR FRIENDS. THE DE GONCOURTS.
BY MARIE ADELAIDE DE BELLOC.
SOME shrewd observer of French nature once observed" In France all is allowed to die and pass away, save the dead," and > rarely was truer word spoken. Yet there has not often been, even in France, such fidelity shown to a vanished personality, fidelity in thought, word, and deed, as that of Edmond de Goncourt to his younger brother and fellow-worker, Jules, the gifted, wayward cadet before whom
the elder was, and is, ever ready to efface himself, even to belittling his own power and literary genius by the oft-repeated declaration, only applicable, alas! to the earlier volumes bearing his name, that anything worthy in form and expression was due to his collaborateur, and anything unacceptable to himself.
Though this is far from being the truth, it cannot be denied that since Jules's