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Title: Woman and Womanhood - A Search for Principles
Author: Saleeby, C. W. (Caleb Williams), 1878-1940
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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M.D., F.R.S.E., Ch.B., F.Z.S.

Fellow of the Obstetrical Society of Edinburgh and formerly
Resident Physician Edinburgh Maternity Hospital;
Vice-President Divorce Law Reform Union; Member of the
Royal Institution and of Council of the Sociological Society.



Copyright 1911 by
Mitchell Kennerley

Press of J. J. Little & Ives Co.
East Twenty-fourth Street
New York



       I. FIRST PRINCIPLES                       1
      II. THE LIFE OF THE WORLD TO COME         34
     III. THE PURPOSE OF WOMANHOOD              52
      IV. THE LAW OF CONSERVATION               64
       V. THE DETERMINATION OF SEX              72
      VI. MENDELISM AND WOMANHOOD               81
     VII. BEFORE WOMANHOOD                      92
       X. THE PRICE OF PRUDERY                 132
      XI. EDUCATION FOR MOTHERHOOD             151
     XII. THE MATERNAL INSTINCT                163
     XIV. THE MARRIAGE AGE FOR GIRLS           197
      XV. THE FIRST NECESSITY                  219
     XVI. ON CHOOSING A HUSBAND                234
     XIX. THE RIGHTS OF MOTHERS                296
      XX. WOMEN AND ECONOMICS                  327
     XXI. THE CHIEF ENEMY OF WOMEN             348
    XXII. CONCLUSION                           386




We are often and rightly reminded that woman is half the human race. It
is truer even than it appears. Not only is woman half of the present
generation, but present woman is half of all the generations of men and
women to come. The argument of this book, which will be regarded as
reactionary by many women called "advanced"--presumably as doctors say
that a case of consumption is "advanced"--involves nothing other than
adequate recognition of the importance of woman in the most important of
all matters. It is true that my primary concern has been to furnish, for
the individual woman and for those in charge of girlhood, a guide of
life based upon the known physiology of sex. But it is a poor guide of
life which considers only the transient individual, and poorest of all
in this very case.

If it were true that woman is merely the vessel and custodian of the
future lives of men and women, entrusted to her ante-natal care by their
fathers, as many creeds have supposed, then indeed it would be a
question of relatively small moment how the mothers of the future were
chosen. Our ingenious devices for ensuring the supremacy of man lend
colour to this idea. We name children after their fathers, and the fact
that they are also to some extent of the maternal stock is obscured.

But when we ask to what extent they are also of maternal stock, we find
that there is a rigorous equality between the sexes in this matter. It
is a fact which has been ignored or inadequately recognized by every
feminist and by every eugenist from Plato until the present time.
Salient qualities, whether good or ill, are more commonly displayed by
men than by women. Great strength or physical courage or endurance,
great ability or genius, together with a variety of abnormalities, are
much more commonly found in men than in women, and the eugenic emphasis
has therefore always been laid upon the choice of fathers rather than of
mothers. Not so long ago, the scion of a noble race must marry, not at
all necessarily the daughter of another noble race, but rather any young
healthy woman who promised to be able to bear children easily and suckle
them long. But directly we observe, under the microscope, the facts of
development, we discover that each parent contributes an exactly equal
share to the making of the new individual, and all the ancient and
modern ideas of the superior value of well-selected fatherhood fall to
the ground. Woman is indeed half the race. In virtue of expectant
motherhood and her ante-natal nurture of us all, she might well claim
to be more, but she is half at least.

And thus it matters for the future at least as much how the mothers are
chosen as how the fathers are. This remains true, notwithstanding that
the differences between men, commending them for selection or rejection,
seem so much more conspicuous and important than in the case of women.

For, in the first place, the differences between women are much greater
than appear when, for instance, we read history as history is at present
understood, or when we observe and compare the world and his wife.
Uniformity or comparative uniformity of environment is a factor of
obvious importance in tending to repress the natural differences between
women. Reverse the occupations and surroundings of the sexes, and it
might be found that men were "much of a muchness," and women various and
individualized, to a surprising extent.

But, even allowing for this, it is difficult to question that men as
individuals do differ, for good and for evil, more than women as
individuals. Such a malady as hæmophilia, for instance, sharply
distinguishes a certain number of men from the rest of their sex,
whereas women, not subject to the disease, are not thus distinguished,
as individuals.

But the very case here cited serves to illustrate the fallacy of
studying the individual as an individual only, and teaches that there is
a second reason why the selection of women for motherhood is more
important than is so commonly supposed. In the matter of, for instance,
hæmophilia, men appear sharply contrasted among themselves and women all
similar. Yet the truth is that men and women differ equally in this very
respect. Women do not suffer from hæmophilia, but they convey it. Just
as definitely as one man is hæmophilic and another is not, so one woman
will convey hæmophilia and another will not. The abnormality is present
in her, but it is latent; or, as we shall see the Mendelians would say,
"recessive" instead of "dominant."

Now I am well assured that if we could study not only the patencies but
also the latencies of individuals of both sexes, we should find that
they vary equally. Women, as individuals, appear more similar than men,
but as individuals conveying latent or "recessive" characters which will
appear in their children, especially their male children, they are just
as various as men are. The instance of hæmophilia is conclusive, for two
women, each equally free from it, will respectively bear normal and
hæmophilic children; but this is probably only one among many far more
important cases. I incline to believe that certain nervous qualities,
many of great value to humanity, tend to be latent in women, just as
hæmophilia does. Two women may appear very similar in mind and capacity,
but one may come of a distinguished stock, and the other of an
undistinguished. In the first woman, herself unremarkable, high ability
may be latent, and her sons may demonstrate it. It is therefore every
whit as important that the daughters of able and distinguished stock
shall marry as that the sons shall. It remains true even though the
sons may themselves be obviously distinguished and the daughters may

The conclusion of this matter is that scientific inquiry completely
demonstrates the equal importance of the selection of fathers and of
mothers. If our modern knowledge of heredity is to be admitted at all,
it follows that the choice of women for motherhood is of the utmost
moment for the future of mankind. Woman is half the race; and the
leaders of the woman's movement must recognize the importance of their
sex in this fundamental question of eugenics. At present they do not do
so; indeed, no one does. But the fact remains. As before all things a
Eugenist, and responsible, indeed, for that name, I cannot ignore it in
the following pages. There is not only to-day to think of, but
to-morrow. The eugenics which ignores the natural differences between
women as individuals, and their still greater natural differences as
potential parents, is only half eugenics; the leading women who in any
way countenance such measures as deprive the blood of the future of its
due contribution from the best women of the present, are leading not
only one sex but the race as a whole to ruin.

If women were not so important as Nature has made them, none of this
would matter. To insist upon it is only to insist upon the importance of
the sex. The remarkable fact, which seems to me to make this protest and
the forthcoming pages so necessary, is that the leading feminists do not
recognize the all-importance of their sex in this regard. They must be
accused of neglecting it and of not knowing how important they are. They
consider the present only, and not the composition of the future. Like
the rest of the world, I read their papers and manifestoes, their
speeches and books, and have done so, and have subscribed to them, for
years; but no one can refer me to a single passage in any of these where
any feminist or suffragist, in Great Britain, at least, militant or
non-militant, has set forth the principle, beside which all others are
trivial, that _the best women must be the mothers of the future_.

Yet this which is thus ignored matters so much that other things matter
only in so far as they affect it. As I have elsewhere maintained, the
eugenic criterion is the first and last of every measure of reform or
reaction that can be proposed or imagined. Will it make a better race?
Will the consequence be that more of the better stocks, _of both sexes_,
contribute to the composition of future generations? In other words, the
very first thing that the feminist movement must prove is that it is
eugenic. If it be so, its claims are unchallengeable; if it be what may
contrariwise be called _dysgenic_, no arguments in its favour are of any
avail. Yet the present champions of the woman's cause are apparently
unaware that this question exists. They do not know how important their
sex is.

Thinkers in the past have known, and many critics in the present, though
unaware of the eugenic idea, do perceive, that woman can scarcely be
better employed than in the home. Herbert Spencer, notably, argued that
we must not include, in the estimate of a nation's assets, those
activities of woman the development of which is incompatible with
motherhood. To-day, the natural differences between individuals of both
sexes, and the importance of their right selection for the transmission
of their characters to the future, are clearly before the minds of those
who think at all on these subjects. On various occasions I have raised
this issue between Feminism and Eugenics, suggesting that there are
varieties of feminism, making various demands for women which are
utterly to be condemned because they not merely ignore eugenics, but are
opposed to it, and would, if successful, be therefore ruinous to the

Ignored though it be by the feminist leaders, this is the first of
questions; and in so far as any clear opinion on it is emerging from the
welter of prejudices, that opinion is hitherto inimical to the feminist
claims. Most notably is this the case in America, where the dysgenic
consequences of the _so-called_ higher education of women have been
clearly demonstrated.

The mark of the following pages is that they assume the principle of
what we may call Eugenic Feminism, and that they endeavour to formulate
its working-out. It is my business to acquaint myself with the
literature of both eugenics and feminism, and I know that hitherto the
eugenists have inclined to oppose the claims of feminism, Sir Francis
Galton, for instance, having lent his name to the anti-suffrage side;
whilst the feminists, one and all, so far as Anglo-Saxondom is
concerned--for Ellen Key must be excepted--are either unaware of the
meaning of eugenics at all, or are up in arms at once when the
eugenist--or at any rate this eugenist, who is a male person--mildly
inquires: But what about motherhood? and to what sort of women are you
relegating it by default?

I claim, therefore, that there is immediate need for the presentation of
a case which is, from first to last, and at whatever cost, eugenic; but
which also--or, rather, therefore--makes the highest claims on behalf of
woman and womanhood, so that indeed, in striving to demonstrate the vast
importance of the woman question for the composition of the coming race,
I may claim to be much more feminist than the feminists.

The problem is not easily to be solved; otherwise we should not have
paired off into insane parties, as on my view we have done. Nor will the
solution please the feminists without reserve, whilst it will grossly
offend that abnormal section of the feminists who are distinguished by
being so much less than feminine, and who little realize what a poor
substitute feminism is for feminity.

There is possible no Eugenic Feminism which shall satisfy those whose
simple argument is that woman must have what she wants, just as man
must. I do not for a moment admit that either men or women or children
of a smaller growth are entitled to everything they want. "The divine
right of kings," said Carlyle, "is the right to be kingly men"; and I
would add that the divine right of women is the right to be queenly
women. Until this present time, it was never yet alleged as a final
principle of justice that whatever people wanted they were entitled to,
yet that is the simple feminist demand in a very large number of cases.
It is a demand to be denied, whilst at the same time we grant the right
of every man and of every woman to opportunities for the best
development of the self; whatever that self may be--including even the
aberrant and epicene self of those imperfectly constituted women whose
adherence to the woman's cause so seriously handicaps it.

But it is one thing to say people should have what is best for them, and
another that whatever they want is best for them. If it is not best for
them it is not right, any more than if they were children asking for
more green apples. Women have great needs of which they are at present
unjustly deprived; and they are fully entitled to ask for everything
which is needed for the satisfaction of those needs; but nothing is more
certain than that, at present, many of them do not know what they should
ask for. Not to know what is good for us is a common human failing; to
have it pointed out is always tiresome, and to have this pointed out to
women by any man is intolerable. But the question is not whether a man
points it out, presuming to tell women what is good for them, but
whether in this matter he is right--in common with the overwhelming
multitude of the dead of both sexes.

As has been hinted, the issue is much more momentous than any could have
realized even so late as fifty years ago. It is only in our own time
that we are learning the measure of the natural differences between
individuals, it is only lately that we have come to see that races
cannot rise by the transmission of acquired characters from parents to
offspring, since such transmission does not occur, and it is only within
the last few years that the relative potency of heredity over education,
of nature over nurture, has been demonstrated. Not one in thousands
knows how cogent this demonstration is, nor how absolutely conclusive is
the case for the eugenic principle in the light of our modern knowledge.
At whatever cost, we see, who have ascertained the facts, that we must
be eugenic.

This argument was set forth in full in the predecessors of this book,
which in its turn is devoted to the interests of women as individuals.
But before we proceed, it is plainly necessary to answer the critic who
might urge that the separate questions of the individual and the race
cannot be discussed in this mixed fashion. The argument may be that if
we are to discuss the character and development and rights of women as
individuals, we must stick to our last. Any woman may question the
eugenic criterion or say that it has nothing to do with her case. She
claims certain rights and has certain needs; she is not so sure,
perhaps, about the facts of heredity, and in any case she is sure that
individuals--such as herself, for instance--are ends in themselves. She
neither desires to be sacrificed to the race, nor does she admit that
any individual should be so sacrificed. She is tired of hearing that
women must make sacrifices for the sake of the community and its
future; and the statement of this proposition in its new eugenic form,
which asserts that, at all costs, the finest women must be mothers, and
the mothers must be the finest women, is no more satisfactory to her
than the crude creed of the Kaiser that children, cooking and church are
the proper concerns of women. She claims to be an individual, as much as
any man is, as much as any individual of either sex whom we hope to
produce in the future by our eugenics, and she has the same personal
claim to be an end in and for herself as they will have whom we seek to
create. Her sex has always been sacrificed to the present or to the
immediate needs of the future as represented by infancy and childhood;
and there is no special attractiveness in the prospect of exchanging a
military tyranny for a eugenic tyranny: "_plus ça change, plus c'est la
même chose._"

One cannot say whether this will be accepted as a fair statement of the
woman's case at the present time, but I have endeavoured to state it
fairly and would reply to it that its claims are unquestionable and that
we must grant unreservedly the equal right of every woman to the same
consideration and recognition and opportunity as an individual, an end
in and for herself, whatever the future may ask for, as we grant to men.

But I seek to show in the following pages that, in reality, there is no
antagonism between the claims of the future and the present, the race
and the individual. On philosophic analysis we must see that, indeed, no
living race could come into being, much less endure, in which the
interests of individuals as individuals, and the interest of the race,
were opposed. If we imagine any such race we must imagine its
disappearance in one generation, or in a few generations if the clash of
interests were less than complete. Living Nature is not so fiendishly
contrived as has sometimes appeared to the casual eye. On the contrary,
the natural rule which we see illustrated in all species, animal or
vegetable, high or low, throughout the living world, is that the
individual is so constructed that his or her personal fulfilment of his
or her natural destiny as an individual, is precisely that which best
serves the race. Once we learn that individuals were all evolved by
Nature for the sake of the race, we shall understand why they have been
so evolved in their personal characteristics that in living their own
lives and fulfilling themselves they best fulfil Nature's remoter

To this universal and necessary law, without which life could not
persist anywhere in any of its forms, woman is no exception; and therein
is the reply to those who fear a statement in new terms of the old
proposition that women must give themselves up for the sake of the
community and its future. Here it is true that whosoever will give her
life shall save it. Women must indeed give themselves up for the
community and the future; and so must men. Since women differ from men,
their sacrifice takes a somewhat different form, but in their case, as
in men's, the right fulfilment of Nature's purpose is one with the right
fulfilment of their own destiny. There is no antinomy. On the contrary,
the following pages are written in the belief and the fear that women
are threatening to injure themselves as individuals--and therefore the
race, of course--just because they wrongly suppose that a monstrous
antinomy exists where none could possibly exist. "No," they say, "we
have endured this too long; henceforth we must be free to be ourselves
and live our own lives." And then, forsooth, they proceed to try to be
other than themselves and live other than the lives for which their real
selves, in nine cases out of ten, were constructed. It works for a time,
and even for life in the case of incomplete and aberrant women. For the
others, it often spells liberty and interest and heightened
consciousness of self for some years; but the time comes when outraged
Nature exacts her vengeance, when middle age abbreviates the youth that
was really misspent, and is itself as prematurely followed by a period
of decadence grateful neither to its victim nor to anyone else.
Meanwhile the women who have chosen to be and to remain women realize
the promise of Wordsworth to the girl who preferred walks in the country
to algebra and symbolic logic:--

  Thou, while thy babes around thee cling,
  Shalt show us how divine a thing
  A woman may be made.
  Thy thoughts and feelings shall not die,
  Nor leave thee, when grey hairs are nigh,
  A melancholy slave;
  But an old age serene and bright
  And lovely as a Lapland night,
  Shall lead thee to thy grave.

Where is the woman, recognizable as such, who will question that the
brother of Dorothy Wordsworth was right?

In the following pages, it is sought to show that, women being
constructed by Nature, as individuals, for her racial ends, they best
realize themselves, are happier and more beautiful, live longer and more
useful lives, when they follow, as mothers or foster-mothers in the wide
and scarcely metaphorical sense of that word, the career suggested in
Wordsworth's lovely lines.

It remains to state the most valuable end which this book might possibly
achieve--an end which, by one means or another, must be achieved. It is
that the best women, those favoured by Nature in physique and
intelligence, in character and their emotional nature, the women who are
increasingly to be found enlisted in the ranks of Feminism, and fighting
the great fight for the Women's Cause, shall be convinced by the
unchangeable and beneficent facts of biology, seen in the bodies and
minds of women, and shall direct their efforts accordingly; so that they
and those of their sisters who are of the same natural rank, instead of
increasingly deserting the ranks of motherhood and leaving the blood of
inferior women to constitute half of all future generations, shall on
the contrary furnish an ever-increasing proportion of our wives and
mothers, to the great gain of themselves, and of men, and of the future.

For in some of its forms to-day the Woman's Cause is _not_ man's, nor
the future's, nor even, as I shall try to show, woman's. But a Eugenic
Feminism, for which I try to show the warrant in the study of woman's
nature, would indeed be the cause of man, and should enlist the whole
heart and head of every man who has them to offer. For here is a
principle which benefits men to the whole immeasurable extent involved
in decreeing that the best women must be the wives. "The best women for
our wives!" is not a bad demand from men's point of view, and it is
assuredly the best possible for the sake of the future.

It is claimed, then, for the teaching of this book that, being based
upon the evident and unquestionable indications of Nature, it is
calculated to serve her end, which is the welfare of the race as a
whole, including both sexes. No one will question that the position and
happiness and self-realization of women in the modern world would be
vastly enhanced by the reforms for which I plead, though some men will
not think that game worth the candle. But I have argued that men also
will profit; nor can there be any question as to the advantage for
children. It is just because our scheme and our objects are natural that
they require no support from and lend no warrant to that accursed spirit
of sex-antagonism which many well-meaning women now display--doubtless
by a natural reflex, because it is the spirit of the worst men
everywhere. It is primarily men's desire for sex-dominance that
engenders a sex-resentment in women; but the spirit is lamentable,
whatever its origin and wherever it be found. It is most lamentable in
the bully, the drunkard, the cad, the Mammonist, the satyr, who are
everywhere to be found opposing woman and her claims. There is no
variety of male blackguardism and bestiality, of vileness and
selfishness, of lust and greed, whose representatives' names should not
be added to those of the illustrious pro-consuls and elegant peeresses
and their following who form Anti-Suffrage Societies. Before we
criticise sex-antagonism in women, let us be honest about it in men; and
before we sneer at the type of women who most display it, let us realize
fully the worthlessness of the types of men who display it. But if this
be granted--and I have never heard it granted by the men who deplore
sex-antagonism as if only women displayed it--we must none the less
recognize that this spirit injures both sexes, and that it is
necessarily false, since none can question that Nature devised the sexes
for mutual aid to her end. By this first principle sex-antagonism is
therefore condemned. This book, written by a man in behalf of
womanhood--and therefore in behalf of manhood and childhood--is
consistently opposed to all notions of sex-antagonism, or sex-dominance,
male or female, or of competing claims between the sexes. Man and woman
are complementary halves of the highest thing we know, and just as the
men who seek to maintain male dominance are the enemies of mankind, so
the women who preach enmity to men, and refusal of wise and humane
legislation in their interests because men have framed it, are the
enemies of womankind. At the beginning of the "Suffragette" movement in
England, I had the pleasure of taking luncheon with the brilliant young
lady whose name has been so prominent in this connection; and my
lifelong enthusiasm for the "Vote" has been chastened ever since by the
recollection of the resentment which she exhibited at every suggestion
of or allusion to any legislation in favour of women--notably with
reference to infant mortality and to alcoholism--whilst the suffrage was
withheld. Substitute "destroyed" or "reversed" for "chastened," and you
have a more typical result in quite well-meaning men of sex-antagonism
as many "advanced" women now display it.

Further, this book may be regarded as an appeal to those women who are
responsible for forming the ideals of girls. The idea of womanhood here
set forth on natural grounds is not always represented in the ideals
which are now set before the youthful aspirant for work in the woman's
cause. It is not argued that the principles of eugenics are to be
expounded to the beginner, nor that she is to be re-directed to the
nursery. It is not necessarily argued, by any means, that marriage and
motherhood are to be set forth as the goal at which _every_ girl is to
aim; such a woman as Miss Florence Nightingale was a Foster-Mother of
countless thousands, and was only the greatest exemplar in our time of a
function which is essentially womanly, but does not involve marriage. I
desire nothing less than that girls should be taught that they must
marry--any man better than none. I want no more men chosen for
fatherhood than are fit for it, and if the standard is to be raised,
selection must be more rigorous and exclusive, as it could not be if
every girl were taught that, unmarried, she fails of her destiny. The
higher the standard which, on eugenic principles, natural or acquired,
women exact of the men they marry, the more certainly will many women
remain unmarried.

But I believe that the principles here set forth are able to show us how
such women may remain feminine, and may discharge characteristically
feminine functions in society, even though physical motherhood be denied
them. The _racial_ importance of physical motherhood cannot be
exaggerated, because it determines, as we have seen, not less than half
the natural composition of future generations. But its _individual_
importance can easily be over-estimated, and that is an error which I
have specially sought to avoid in this book, which is certainly an
attempt to call or recall women to motherhood. It is not as if physical
motherhood were the whole of human motherhood. Racially, it is the
substantial whole; individually, it is but a part of the whole, and a
smaller fraction in our species than in any humbler form of life.
Everyone knows maiden aunts who are better, more valuable, completer
mothers in every non-physical way than the actual mothers of their
nephews and nieces. This is woman's wonderful prerogative, that, in
virtue of her _psyche_, she can realize herself, and serve others, on
feminine lines, and without a pang of regret or a hint anywhere of
failure, even though she forego physical motherhood. This book,
therefore, is a plea not only for Motherhood but for
Foster-Motherhood--that is, Motherhood all-but-physical. In time to come
the great professions of nursing and teaching will more and more engage
and satisfy the lives and the powers of Virgin-Mothers without number.
Let no woman prove herself so ignorant or contemptuous of great things
as to suggest that these are functions beneath the dignity of her
complete womanhood.

But many a young girl, passing from her finishing-school--which has
perhaps not quite succeeded, despite its best efforts, in finishing her
womanhood--and coming under the influence of some of our modern
champions of womanhood, might well be excused for throwing such a book
as this from her, scorning to admit the glorious conditions which
declare that woman is more for the Future than for the Present, and that
if the Future is to be safeguarded, or even to be, they must not be
transgressed. I have watched young girls, wearing the beautiful colours
which have been captured by one section of the suffrage movement, asking
their way to headquarters for instructions as to procedure, and I have
wondered whether, in twenty years, they will look back wholly with
content at the consequences. Some time ago the illustrated papers
provided us with photographs of a person, originally female, "born to be
love visible," as Ruskin says, who had mastered jiu-jitsu for
suffragette purposes, and was to be seen throwing various hapless men
about a room. And only the day before I write, the papers have given us
a realistic account of a demonstration by an ardent advocate of woman,
the chief item of which was that, on the approach of a burly policeman
to seize her, she--if the pronouns be not too definite in their
sex--fell upon her back and adroitly received the constabulary "wind"
upon her upraised foot, thereby working much havoc. No one would assert
that the woman's movement is responsible for the production of such
people; no reasonable person would assert that their adherence condemns
it; but we are rightly entitled to be concerned lest the rising
generation of womanhood be misled by such disgusting examples.

Nothing will be said which militates for a moment against the
possibility that a woman may be womanly and yet in her later years, when
so many women combine their best health and vigour with experience and
wisdom, might replace many hundredweight of male legislators upon the
benches of the House of Commons, to the immense advantage of the nation.
If our present purpose were medical in the ordinary sense, the reader
would come to a chapter on the climacteric, dealing with the nervous and
other risks and disabilities of that period, and notably including a
warning as to the importance of attending promptly to certain local
symptoms which may possibly herald grave disease. An abundance of books
on such subjects is to be had, and my purpose is not to add to their
number. Yet the climacteric has a special interest for us because the
special case of those women who have passed it is constantly ignored in
our discussions of the woman question--which is not exclusively
concerned with the destiny of girls and the claims of feminine
adolescence to the vote. The work of Lord Lister, and the advances of
obstetrics and gynecology, largely dependent thereon, are increasing the
naturally large number of women at these later ages--naturally large
because women live longer than men. At this stage the whole case is
changed. The eugenic criterion no longer applies. But though the woman
is past motherhood, she is still a woman, and by no means past
foster-motherhood. Though her psychological characters are somewhat
modified, it is recorded by my old friend and teacher, Dr. Clouston,
that never yet has he found the climacteric to damage a woman's natural
love for children: the maternal instinct will not be destroyed. See,
then, what a valuable being we have here; none the less so because, as
has been said, she now begins to enjoy, in many cases, the best health
of her life. Whatever activities she adopts, there is now no question of
depriving the race of her qualities: if they are good qualities, it is
to be hoped they are already represented in members of the rising
generation. The scope of womanhood is now extended. The principles to be
laid down later still apply, but they are entirely compatible with, for
instance, the discharge of legislative functions. The nation does not
yet value its old or elderly women aright. We use as a term of contempt
that which should be a term of respect. Savage peoples are wiser. We
need the wisdom of our older women. It would be well for us to have Mrs.
Fawcett and Mrs. Humphry Ward in Parliament. The distinguished lady who
approves of woman's vote in municipal affairs, and fights hard for her
son's candidature in Parliament, but objects to woman suffrage on the
ground that women should not interfere in politics, could doubtless find
a good reason why women should sit in Parliament; and though she would
scarcely be heeded on matters of political theory, her splendid
championship of Vacation Schools and Play Centres would be more
effective than ever in the House, and might instruct some of her male
_confrères_ as to what politics really is.

The prefatory point here made is, in a word, that the following
doctrines are perhaps less reactionary than the ardent suffragette might
suppose, compatible as they are with an earnest belief in the fitness
and the urgent desirability of women of later ages even as Members of
Parliament. It may be added that, on this very point, there is a
ridiculous argument against woman suffrage--that it is the precursor of
a demand to enter Parliament, which would mean (it is assumed), women
being numerically in the majority, that the House would be filled with
girls of twenty-two and three. Men of a sort would be likelier than
women, it could be argued, to vote for such girls; but the wise of both
sexes might well vote for the elderly women whose existence is somehow
forgotten in this connection.

No chapter will be found devoted to the question of the vote. The
omission is not due to reasons of space, nor to my ever having heard a
good argument against the vote--even the argument that women do not want
it. That women did not want the vote would only show--if it were the
case--how much they needed it. Nor is the omission due to any
lukewarmness in a cause for which I am constantly speaking and writing.
My faith in the justice and political expediency of woman suffrage has
survived the worst follies, in speech and deed, of its injudicious
advocates: I would as soon allow the vagaries of Mrs. Carrie Nation to
make me an advocate of free whiskey. Causes must be judged by their
merits, not by their worst advocates, or where are the chances of
religion or patriotism or decency?

The omission is due to the belief that votes for women or anybody else
are far less important than their advocates or their opponents assume.
The biologist cannot escape the habit of thinking of political matters
in vital terms; and if these lead him to regard such questions as the
vote with an interest which is only secondary and conditional, it is by
no means certain that the verdict of history would not justify him. The
present concentration of feminism in England upon the vote, sometimes
involving the refusal of a good end--such as wise legislation--because
it was not attained by the means they desire, and arousing all manner of
enmity between the sexes, may be an unhappy necessity so long as men
refuse to grant what they will assuredly grant before long. But now, and
then, the vital matters are the nature of womanhood; the extent of our
compliance with Nature's laws in the care of girlhood, whether or not
women share in making the transitory laws of man; and the extent to
which womanhood discharges its great functions of dedicating and
preparing its best for the mothers, and choosing and preparing the best
of men for the fathers, of the future. The vote, or any other thing, is
good or bad in so far as it serves or hurts these great and everlasting
needs. I believe in the vote because I believe it will be eugenic, will
reform the conditions of marriage and divorce in the eugenic sense, and
will serve the cause of what I have elsewhere called "preventive
eugenics," which strives to protect healthy stocks from the "racial
poisons," such as venereal disease, alcohol, and, in a relatively
infinitesimal degree, lead. These are ends good and necessary in
themselves, whether attained by a special dispensation from on high, or
by decree of an earthly autocrat or a democracy of either sex or both.
For these ends we must work, and for all the means whereby to attain
them; but never for the means in despite of the ends.

This first chapter is perhaps unduly long, but it is necessary to state
my eugenic faith, since there is neither room nor need for me to
reiterate the principles of eugenics in later chapters, and since it was
necessary to show that, though this book is written in the interests of
individual womanhood, it is consistent with the principles of the divine
cause of race-culture, to which, for me, all others are subordinate, and
by which, I know, all others will in the last resort be judged.

       *       *       *       *       *

The whole teaching of this book, from social generalizations to the
details of the wise management of girlhood, is based upon a single and
simple principle, often referred to and always assumed in former
writings from this pen, and in public speaking from many and various
platforms. If this principle be invalid, the whole of the practice which
is sought to be based upon it falls to the ground; but if it be valid,
it is of supreme importance as the sole foundation upon which can be
erected any structure of truth regarding woman and womanhood. Our first
concern, therefore, must be to state this principle, and the evidence
therefor. This will occupy not a small space: and the remainder will be
amply filled with the details of its application to woman as girl and
mother and grandmother, as wife and widow, as individual and citizen.

Woman is Nature's supreme organ of the future, and it is as such that
she will here be regarded. The purpose of adding yet another to the many
books on various aspects of womanhood is to propound and, if possible,
establish this conception of womanhood, and to find in it a
never-failing guide to the right living of the individual life, an
infallible criterion of right and wrong in all proposals for the future
of womanhood, whether economic, political, educational, whether
regarding marriage or divorce, or any other subject that concerns
womanhood. A principle for which so much is claimed demands clear
definition and inexpugnable foundation in the "solid ground of Nature."
Cogent in some measure though the argument would be, we must appeal in
the first place neither to the poets, nor to our own naturally implanted
preferences in womanhood, nor to any teaching that claims extra-natural
authority. Our first question must be--Do Nature and Life, the facts and
laws of the continuance and maintenance of living creatures, lend
countenance to this idea; can it be translated from general terms,
essentially poetic and therefore suspect by many, into precise, hard,
scientific language; is it a fact, like the atomic weight of oxygen or
the laws of motion, that woman is Nature's supreme instrument of the
future? If the answer to these questions be affirmative, the evidence of
the poets, of our own preferences, of religions ancient and modern, is
of merely secondary concern as corroborative, and as serving curiosity
to observe how far the teachings of passionless science have been
divined or denied by past ages and by other modes of perception and
inquiry. Therefore this is to be in its basis none other than a
biological treatise; for the laws of reproduction, the newly gained
knowledge regarding the nature of sex, and the facts of physiology,
afford the evidence of the essentially biological truth which has been
so often expressed by the present writer in the quasi-poetic terms
already set forth. Let us, then, first remind ourselves how the
individual, whether male or female, is to be looked upon in the light of
the work of Weismann in especial, and how this great truth, discovered
by modern biology and especially by the students of heredity, affects
our understanding of the difference between man and woman. Setting forth
these earlier pages in the year of the Darwin centenary, and the jubilee
of the "Origin of Species," a writer would have some courage who
proposed to discuss man and woman as if they were unique, rather than
the highest and latest examples of male and female: their nature to be
rightly understood only by due study of their ancestral forms, ancient
and modern. The biological problem of sex is our concern, and we may
have to traverse many past ages of "æonian evolution," and even to
consider certain quite humble organisms, before we rightly see woman as
an evolutionary product of the laws of life.

But, first, as to the individual, of whatever sex. Observing the
familiar facts of our own lives and of the higher forms of life, both
animal and vegetable, with which we are acquainted, we must naturally at
first incline to regard as worse than paradoxical the modern biological
concept of the individual as existing for the race, of the body as
merely a transient host or trustee of the immortal germ-plasm. Since
life has its worth and value only in individuals, and since, therefore,
the race exists for the production of individuals, in any sense that we
human beings, at any rate, can accept, we must be reasonable in
expressing the apparently contrary but not less true view that the
individual exists for the race. After all, that does not mean that
individuals exist and are worth Nature's while merely in order to see
the germ-plasm on its way. To say that the individual exists for the
race is to say that he, and, as we shall see, pre-eminently she, exist
for future individuals; and that is not a destiny to be despised of any.
Let us attempt to state simply but accurately what biologists mean in
regarding the individual as primarily the host and servant of something
called the germ-plasm.

When the processes of development and of reproduction are closely
scrutinized, we find evidence which, together with the conclusions based
thereon, was first effectively stated by August Weismann, of Freiburg,
in his famous little book, "The Germ-Plasm."[1] The marvellous cells
from which new individuals are formed must no longer be regarded, at any
rate in the higher animals and plants, as formerly parts of the parent
individuals. On the contrary, we have to accept, at least in general and
as substantially revealing to us the true nature of the individual, the
doctrine of the "continuity of the germ-plasm," which teaches that the
race proper is a potentially immortal sequence of living germ-cells,
from which at intervals there are developed bodies or individuals, the
business and _raison d'être_ of which, whatever such individuals as
ourselves may come to suppose, is primarily to provide a shelter for the
germ-plasm, and nourishment and air, until such time as it shall produce
another individual for itself, to serve the same function. This is
another way of saying what will often be said in the following
pages--that the individual is meant by Nature to be a parent.

We shall later see that this great truth by no means involves the
condemnation of spinsterhood, but since it determines not only the
physiology, but also the psychology, of the individual, and especially
of woman, it will guide us to a right appreciation of the dangers and
the right direction of spinsterhood, and the means whereby it may be
made a blessing to self and to others. This must be said lest the reader
should be deterred by the unquestionably true assertion that the
individual is meant by Nature to be a parent, and has no excuse for
existence in Nature's eyes except as a parent. If we are to regard the
body as a trustee of the germ-plasm, it is evident that the body which
carries the germ-plasm with itself to the grave--the "immortality of the
germ-plasm" being only conditional and at the mercy of the acts of
individuals--has stultified Nature's end; and it will be a serious
concern of ours in the present work to show how, amongst human beings,
at any rate, this stultification may be averted, many childless persons
of both sexes having served the race for evermore in the highest degree.
We must ask in what directions especially may woman, most profitably for
herself or for others, seek to express herself apart from motherhood. It
will appear, if our leading principle be valid, that it affords us a
sure guide in the welter of controversy and baseless assertion of every
kind, in which this vastly important question is at present involved.

This conception of the individual as something meant to be a parent will
not be questioned by anyone who will do himself or herself the justice
to look at it soberly and reverently, without a trace of that tendency
to levity or to something worse which here invariably betrays the vulgar
mind, whether in a princess or a prostitute. For it needs little
reflection to perceive that the most familiar facts of our experience
and observation never fail to confirm the doctrine based by Weismann
upon the revelations of the microscope when applied to the developmental
processes of certain simple animal and vegetable forms. The doctrine
that the individual body was evolved by the forces of life, acted on and
directed by natural selection, as guardian and transmitter of the
germ-plasm, assumes a less paradoxical character when we perceive with
what unfailing art Nature has constructed and devised the body and the
mind for their function. We flatter ourselves hugely if we suppose that
even our most enjoyable and apparently most personal attributes and
appetites were designed by Nature for us. Not at all. It is the race for
which she is concerned. It is not the individual as individual, but the
individual as potential parent, that is her concern, nor does she
hesitate to leave very much to the mercy of time and chance the
individual from whom the possibility of parenthood has passed away, or
the individual in whom it has never appeared. Our appetites for food and
drink, well devised by Nature to be pleasant in their satisfaction--lest
otherwise we should fail to satisfy them and a possible parent should be
lost to her purposes--are immediately rendered of no account when there
stirs within us, whether in its crude or transmuted forms, the appetite
for the exercise of which these others, and we ourselves, exist, since
in Nature's eyes and scheme we are but vessels of the future. In later
chapters we shall have much occasion, because of their great practical
importance in the conduct of woman's life from girlhood onwards, to
discuss the physiological and psychological facts which demonstrate
overwhelmingly the truth of the view that the individual was evolved by
Nature for the care of the germ-plasm, or, in other words, was and is
constructed primarily and ultimately for parenthood.

Nor is this argument, as I see it and will present it, invalidated in
any degree by the case of such individuals as the sterile worker-bee;
any more than the argument, rightly considered, is invalidated by any
instance of a worthy, valuable, happy life, eminently a success in the
highest and in the lower senses, lived amongst mankind by a non-parent
of either sex. On the contrary, it is in such cases as that of the
worker-bee that we find the warrant--in apparent contradiction--for our
notion of the meaning of the individual, and also the key to the problem
placed before us amongst ourselves by the case of inevitable
spinsterhood. Here, it must be granted, is an individual of a very high
and definite and individually complete type, no accident or sport, but,
in fact, essential for the type and continuance of the species to which
she belongs, and yet, though highly individualized and worthy to
represent individuality at its best and highest, the worker-bee, so far
from being designed for parenthood, is sterile, and her distinctive
characters and utilities are conditional upon her sterility. But when we
come to ask what are her distinctive characters and utilities we find
that they are all designed for the future of the race. She is, in fact,
the ideal foster-mother, made for that service, complete in her
incompleteness, satisfied with the vicarious fulfilment of the whole of
motherhood except its merely physical part. The doctrine, therefore,
that the individual is designed by Nature for parenthood, the
individual being primarily devised for the race, finds no exception,
but rather a striking and immensely significant illustration in the case
of the worker-bee, nor will it find itself in difficulties with the case
of any forms of individual, however sterile, that can be quoted from
either the animal or the vegetable world. Natural selection, of which
the continuance of the race is the first and never neglected concern,
invariably sees to it that no individuals are allowed to be produced by
any species unless they have survival-value, a phrase which always
means, in the upshot, value for the survival of the race--whether as
parents, or foster-parents, protectors of the parents, feeders or slaves
thereof. Our primary purpose throughout being practical, it is
impossible to devote unlimited time and space to proceeding formally
through the known forms of life in order to marshal all the proofs or a
tithe of them, that all individuals are invented and tolerated by Nature
for parenthood or its service.

We shall in due course consider the peculiar significance of this
proposition for the case of woman--a significance so radical for our
present argument, even to its _minutiæ_ of practical living, that it
cannot be too early or too thoroughly insisted upon. But before we
proceed to the special case of woman it is well that we should clearly
perceive as a general guiding truth, which will never fail us, either in
interpretation, prediction, or instruction, the unfailing gaze of
Nature, as manifested in the world of life, towards the future. There is
no truth more significant for our interpretation of the meaning of the
Universe, or at least of our planetary life: there is none more relevant
to the fate of empires, and therefore to the interests of the
enlightened patriot: there is none more worthy to be taken to heart by
the individual of either sex and of any age, adolescent or centenarian,
as the secret of life's happiness, endurance, and worth. It may be
permitted, then, briefly to survey the main truths, and, therefore, the
main teachings of the past, as they may be read by those who seek in the
facts of life the key to its meaning and its use.



When we survey the past of the earth as science has revealed it to us,
we gain some conceptions which will help us in our judgments as to what
this phenomenon of human life may signify in the future. We are
accustomed to look upon the earth as aged, but these terms are only
relative; and if we compare our own planet with its neighbours in the
solar system, we shall have good reason to suppose that, though the past
of the earth is very prolonged, its future will probably be far more so.
As for life--and we must think not only of human life, but of life as a
planetary phenomenon--that is necessarily much more recent than the
formation even of the earth's crust, the existence of water in the
liquid state being necessary for life in any of its forms. And human
life itself, though the extent of its past duration is seen to be
greater the more deeply we study the records, is yet a relatively recent
thing. The utmost, it appears, that we can assign to our past would be
perhaps six million years, taking our species back to mid-Miocene times.
Doubtless this is a mighty age as compared with the few thousand years
allotted to us in bygone chronologies; but, looked at _sub specie
æternitatis_, and with an eye which is prepared to look forward also,
and especially with relation to what we know and can predict regarding
the sun, these past six million years may reasonably be held to comprise
only the infantine period of man's life.

It is very true that on such estimates as those of Lord Kelvin, and
according to what astronomers and geologists believed not more than
twelve or even eight years ago, regarding the secular cooling of earth
and sun--that, according to these, the time is by no means "unending
long," and we may foresee, not so remotely, the end of the solar heat
and light of which we are the beneficiaries. But the discovery of radium
and the phenomena of radio-activity have profoundly modified these
estimates, justifying, indeed, the acumen of Lord Kelvin, who always
left the way open for reconsideration should a new source of heat and
energy in general be discovered. We know now that, to consider the earth
first, its crust is not self-cooling, or at any rate not self-cooling
only, for it is certainly self-heating. There is an almost embarrassing
amount of radium in the earth's crust, so far as we have examined it; a
quantity, that is to say, so great that if the same proportion were
maintained at deeper levels as at those which we can investigate, the
earth would have to be far hotter than it is. Similar reasoning applies
to the sun. Definite, immediate proof of the presence of radium there is
not forthcoming yet, but that presence is far more than probable,
especially since the existence of solar uranium, the known ancestor of
radium, has been demonstrated. The reckonings of Helmholtz and others,
based upon the supposition that the solar energy is entirely derived
from its gravitational contraction, must be superseded. It would require
but a very small proportion of radium in the solar constitution to
account for all the energy which the centre of our system produces; and,
as we have already seen, the earth is to no small extent its own
sun--its own source of heat. The prospect thus opened out by modern
physical inquiry supports more strongly than ever the conviction that
the life of this world to come will be very prolonged. It is true that
there is always the possibility of accident. Encountering another globe,
our sun would doubtless produce so much heat as to incinerate all
planetary life. But the excessive remoteness of the sun from the nearest
fixed star suggests that the constitution of the stellar universe is
such that an accident of this kind is extremely improbable. As for
comets, the earth's atmosphere has already encountered a comet, even
during the brief period of astronomical observation. This thick overcoat
of ours protects us from the danger of such chances.

What, then, is the record? We are told that the belief in progress is a
malady of youth, which experience and the riper mind will dissipate.
Some such argument from the lips of the disillusioned or the
disidealized has been possible, perhaps, with some measure of
probability, until within our own times. They must now forever hold
their peace. We know as surely as we know the elementary phenomena of
physics or chemistry, that the record of life upon our planet, though
not only a record of progress by any means, has nevertheless included
that to which the name of progress cannot be denied in any possible
definition of the word. For myself, I understand by progress _the
emergence of mind, and its increasing dominance over matter_. Such
categories are, no doubt, unphilosophical in the ultimate sense, but
they are proximately convenient and significant. Now, if progress be
thus defined, we can see for ourselves that life has truly advanced, not
merely in terms of anatomical or physiological--_i. e._ mechanical or
chemical--complexity, but in terms of mind. The facts of nutrition teach
us that the first life upon the earth was vegetable; and though the
vegetable world displays great complexity, and that which, on some
definitions, would be called progress, yet we cannot say that there is
any more mind, any greater differentiation or development of sentience,
in the oak than in the alga. When we turn, however, to the animal
world--which is parasitic, indeed, upon the vegetable world--we find
that in what we may call the main line of ascent there has been, along
with increasing anatomical complexity, the far greater emergence of
mind. In its earliest manifestations, sentience, consciousness, the
psychical in general, and the capacity for it, must be regarded merely
as phenomena of the physical organism; the capacity to feel, as no more
than a property of the living body; and such mind as there is exists for
the body. But, as we may see it, there has been a gradual but infinitely
real turning of the tables, so that, even in a dog, as the lover of that
dog would grant, the loss of limbs and tail, or, indeed, of any portion
of the body not necessary to life, does not mean the loss of the
essential dog--not the loss of that which the lover of the dog loves.
Already, that which is not to be seen or handled has become the more
real. In ourselves, it is a capital truth, which asceticism, old or new,
perverted or sane, has always recognized, that the mind is the man, and
must be master, and the body the servant. Yet, historically, this
creature, who by the self means not the body, but, as he thinks, its
inhabitant, is historically and lineally developed--is also, indeed,
developed as an individual--from an organism in which anything to be
called psychical is but an apparently accidental attribute, to be
discerned only on close examination. This emergence of mind is progress;
and this, notwithstanding the sneers of those who do not love the word
or the light, has occurred. Its history is written indelibly in the
rocks. And, as we shall argue, this is the supreme lesson of
evolution--that progress is possible, because progress has occurred.

Assuredly we should never use this word "progress" without reminding
ourselves of the cardinal distinction that exists between two forms that
it may manifest. There is a progress which consists in and depends upon
an advance in the constitution of the living individual; and, so far as
we are more mental and less physical than the men who have left us such
relics as the Neanderthal skull, in so far we exemplify this kind of
progress. But, on the other hand, we can claim progress as compared with
even the Greeks in some respects, though there is no evidence whatever
that, so far as the individual is concerned, there is any natural,
inherent, organic progress. But we know more. Our school-boys know more
than Aristotle. We stand upon Greek shoulders. This is traditional
progress--something outside the germ-plasm; a thing dependent upon our
great human faculty of speech.

That, surely, is why the word infantine was rightly used in our first
paragraph. For we may ask why, if man be millions of years old, any
record of progress should be a matter of only a few thousand
years--perhaps not more than fifteen or twenty. The answer, I believe,
is that traditional progress depends upon the possibility of tradition.
Now speech, apart from writing, involves the possibility of tradition
from generation to generation, and I am very sure that "Man before
speech" is a myth; the more we learn of the anthropoid apes the surer we
may be of that. But, after all, the possibilities of progress dependent
upon aural memory are sadly limited; not only because it is easy to
forget, but because it is also conspicuously easy to distort, as a
familiar round-game testifies. The greatest of all the epochs in human
history was that which saw the genesis of written speech. I believe that
hundreds of thousands, nay millions, of preceding years were
substantially sterile just because the educational acquirements of
individuals could be transmitted to their children neither in the
germ-plasm (for we know such transmission to be impossible), nor outside
the germ-plasm, by means of writing. The invention of written language
accounts, then, we may suppose, for the otherwise incomprehensible
disparity between the blank record of long ages, and the great
achievement of recent history--an achievement none the less striking if
we remember that the historical epoch includes a thousand years of
darkness. Thus, as was said at the Royal Institution in 1907, when
discussing the nature of progress, we may argue in a new sense that the
historians have made history: it is the possibility of recording that
has given us something to record.

Now, it is in terms of this latter kind of progress that our duty to the
past, as we conceive it, may be defined. And in its terms also must we
define the grounds of our veneration for the past. None of us invented
language, spoken or written; nor yet numbers, nor the wheel, nor much
else. We see further than our ancestors because we stand upon their
shoulders, and, as Coleridge hinted, this may be so even though we be
dwarfs and they were giants. Some of us see this. How can we fail to do
so? And the past becomes in our eyes a very real thing, to which we are
so greatly indebted that we should even live for it. But there is a
great danger, dependent upon a great error, here. Let us consider what
is our right attitude towards the past. We are its children and its
heirs. We are infinitely indebted to it. We must love and venerate that
which was lovable and venerable in it. But are we to live for it?

If we could imagine ourselves coming from afar and contemplating the
sequence of universal phenomena now for the first time, we should
realize that the past, though real, because it was once real, is yet a
fleeting aspect of change, and, in a very real sense also, _is_ not.
Nor, indeed, _is_ the future; but it will be. We cannot alter, we cannot
benefit, we cannot serve the past, because it is not and will not be.
Our besetting tendency as individuals is to live for our own pasts, more
especially as we grow old; to become retrospective, to cease to look
forward, even to dedicate what remains to us of life to the service of
what is not at all. In this respect, as in so many others, we are less
wise than children. We will not let the dead bury its dead. This is also
the tendency of all institutions. Even if there were founded an
Institute of the Future, dedicated to the life of this world to come,
after only one generation its administrators would be consulting the
interests of the past, turning to the service of the name and the memory
of their founder, though it was for the future that he lived. Throughout
all our social institutions we can perceive this same worship of what no
longer is at the cost of the most real of all real things, which is the
life of the generation that is and the generations that are to be.

Everywhere the price for this idolatry is exacted. The perpetual image
of it is Lot's wife, who, looking backwards upon that from which she had
escaped, was turned into a pillar of salt. Nature may or may not have a
purpose, and exhibit designs for that purpose; she may or may not, in
philosophical language, be teleological. Man is and must be
teleological. We must live for the morrow, for what will be, whether as
individuals or as a nation, or our ways are the ways of death. This is
looked upon as a human failing--that man never is, but always to be
blest; that man is never satisfied, that he will not rest content with
present achievement.

Well, it is stated of our first cousin, once removed, the orang-outang,
that in the adult state he is aroused only for the snatching of food,
and then "relapses into repose." His reach does not exceed his grasp,
and one need not preach contentment to him. But we, the latest and
highest products of the struggle for existence, we are strugglers by
constitution; and when we relapse into repose we degenerate. Only on
condition of living for the morrow can we remain human. Put a sound limb
on crutches and you paralyze it; wear smoked glasses and your eyes
become intolerant of light, or wear glasses that make the muscle of
accommodation superfluous and it atrophies; take pepsin and hydrochloric
acid and the stomach will become incapable of producing them; cease to
chew and your teeth decay; let the newspaper prepare your mental food as
the cook cuts up your physical food, and you will become incapable of
thought--that is, of mental mastication and digestion. It is above all
things imperative to strive, to have a goal, to seek it on our own legs,
to cry for the moon rather than for nothing at all. And Nature teaches
us unequivocally that our purpose is ever onward--

  To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
  Of all the western stars, until we die.

It is to go, and not to get, that is the glory. To be content is to have
no ideal beyond the real; we were better dead and nourishing grass. It
is part of the whole structure of life, as we can read it, whether in
the animal or in the vegetable world, but pre-eminently in ourselves,
that the very body of the individual is constructed as for purpose; nay
more, as for the purposes of the future. Every little baby girl that is
born into the world bears upon her soft surface signs and portents--not
merely promise, but the promise of provision--for the life of the world
to come. At her very birth she teaches us that she is not created for
self alone, but for what will be. Running through the whole body--and
this the more markedly the higher the type of life--we find organs,
tissues, functions, co-ordinations existing not for the present, but for
the life of the world to come. When, some day, the social organism is as
rightly constructed as the body of any woman, or even, in some measure,
of any man, when it is similarly dedicated to the real future, and as
resolutely turned away from any worship of what no longer is, then
heaven will be nearer to earth.

It is quite clear that the supreme choice for any individual or
institution or nation is between unborn to-morrow and dead yesterday. No
one who concerns himself in the current political controversies, as, for
instance, that thing of unspeakable shame which is called the "education
question," will doubt that the present and the future are constantly
being sacrificed to the past. It may be that the spirit of a trust is
being grossly violated; but, rather than infringe the letter of it, the
life of to-day and to-morrow must suffer: thus do the worshippers of
dead yesterday--the most lethal idol before which fond humanity ever
prostrated itself.

If it be our duty to do--not "as though to breathe were life"--and if
nature indicates the future as that which we are to serve, what evidence
have we, or what likelihood, that such service is worth our while? Of
course, such a question as this may be answered in some such terms as
those of the further question, What has posterity done for us? And it is
interesting, perhaps, to consider that, so far as we can judge the
attitude of our ancestors towards ourselves, their chief interest in us
seems to have been as to what we should think of them--"What will
posterity say?" They left their records, as we leave our records, for
posterity to discover. With singular lack of judgment, as I think, we
bury examples of our newspapers for posterity to discover: these are
amongst the things which I should rather not have posterity discover.
But this is no right outlook upon the future. It is not a question of
what posterity can do for us. Posterity is here within us. The life of
the world to come is in our keeping. We carry it about with us in all
our goings and comings. It is at the mercy of what we eat and drink, at
the mercy of the diseases we contract. Its fate is involved when we fall
in love with each other, or out of love with each other; it is we
ourselves. Just as the father who perhaps is losing his own hair may
like to see how pleasantly his children's hair is growing, and finds
consolation therein; just as, indeed, all the hopes of the parent
become gradually transferred from self to that further self, those
further selves, which his children are, so we are to look upon the
future as our continuing self. To ask, What has posterity done for us?
should be looked upon as if one should say, What have my children done
for me? The parallel is indeed a very close one: and it is pointed out
by the fine sentence from Herbert Spencer, which should be known to all
of us--"A transfigured sentiment of parenthood regards with solicitude
not child and grandchild only, but the generations to come
hereafter--fathers of the future, creating and providing for their
remote children."

We may grant that there is no money in posterity. The germ-plasm has
infinite possibilities; but, so long as it remains germ-plasm, it can
write no cheques in our favour. If you serve the present, the present
will pay; posterity does not pay. If you write a "Merry Widow," the
present will pay; if you write an "Unfinished Symphony," you will be
dust ere it is performed. If you create that which will last forever,
but which makes no appeal to the transient tastes of the moment, you may
starve and die and rot, because the future, for which you work, cannot
reward you. Life is so constructed that only in our own day, and not
always now, is the mother--even Nature's own supreme organ of the
future--rewarded for her maternal sacrifice. Nature does not trouble
about the fate of the present, because she is always pressing on and
pressing on towards something more, higher, better. The present, the
individual, are but the organs of her purpose. We are to look upon
ourselves as ends in ourselves; but we are also means towards ends which
we can only dimly conceive, but towards which we may rightly work, and
the service of which, though by no means freedom in the ordinary sense,
is yet of that higher kind, that perfect freedom, which consists in the
development of all the higher attributes of our nature. For it is in our
nature to work and to feel and to live for the life that will be. That,
as I say, is because living creatures are so constructed.

Huxley said that if the present level of human life were to show no
rising in the future, he should welcome the kindly comet that should
sweep the whole thing away. None of us is content with things as they
are. If we are, better were it for us to be nourishing the grass and
serving the things that will be in that way, if we cannot in any other.
What promise, then, have we that things as they will be are worth
working for? We live now in an age to which there has been revealed the
fact of organic evolution. From the fire-mist, from the mud, from the
merely brutal, there have been evolved--such is the worth of Nature's
womb--there have been evolved intelligence and love, sacrifice, ideals;
splendours which no splendour to come can utterly dim. These things are
in the power of Nature. This is what "dead matter" can mother. So much
the worse for our contemptible conceptions of matter, and That of which
matter is the manifestation. But if it be that from the slime, by
natural processes, there can grow a St. Francis, surely our dim notions
of the potencies of Nature must be exalted. The forces that have
erected us from the worm, are they necessarily exhausted or exhaustible?
Who will dare to set limits to the promise of Nature's womb? I mean, in
a word, that the history of evolution is a warrant for the idea that we
ourselves, even erected men and women, are but stages to what may be
higher. We look with contempt upon the apes, but time must have been
when "simian" would have been as proud an adjective as "human" is
to-day: and human may become superhuman.

Many passages might be quoted to show that our expectation of future
progress is well based, and I will content myself with a single excerpt
from the final page of the masterpiece of which all the civilized world
was lately celebrating the jubilee. Says Darwin: "Hence we may look with
some confidence to a secure future of great length. And as natural
selection works solely by and for the good of each being, all corporeal
and mental endowments will tend to progress towards perfection."

The quotation will suffice to remind us that, if we are to serve the
life of the world to come in the surest way, we must become Eugenists,
accepting and applying to human life Nature's great principle of the
selection of worth for parenthood and the rejection of unworth. We must
modify and adapt our conceptions of education thereto. We must make
parenthood the most responsible thing in life. We must teach the
girl--aye, and the boy too--that the body is holy, for it is the temple
of life to come. We must perceive in our most imperious instincts
Nature's care for the future, and must humanize and sanctify them by
conscious recognition of their purpose, and by provident co-operation
with Nature towards her supreme end. We could spare from education,
perhaps, those fictions concerning the past which are sometimes called
history, were they replaced by a knowledge of our own nature and
constitution as instruments of the future.

Let us grant even, for the argument, that nothing more is possible than
mankind has yet achieved. There remains the hope that that which human
nature at its best has been capable of may be realized by human nature
at large. In their great moments the great men have seen this. That last
sentence is, indeed, a paraphrase from a remark at the end of Herbert
Spencer's "Ethics." Ruskin--to choose the polar antithesis of the
Spencerian mind--declares that "there are no known limits to the
nobleness of person or mind which the human creature may attain if we
wisely attend to the laws of its birth and training." Wordsworth asks
whether Nature throws any bars across the hope that what one is millions
may be. Take it, then, that nothing more is conceivable in the way of
mathematics than a Newton, or of drama than an Æschylus or a
Shakespeare, or of sacrifice than a Christ. These, then, are types of
what will be. They demonstrate what human nature is capable of. What one
is, why may not millions be? Here is an ideal to work for. Here is
something real to worship, to dedicate a life to. It is not merely that
we can make smoother the paths of future generations--which George
Meredith declared to be the great purpose and duty of our lives--but
that, as Ruskin suggests in the foregoing quotation, we may raise the
inherent quality of those future generations, so that they can make
their own ways smooth and straight and high. It is our business, I
repeat, to conceive of parenthood as the most responsible and sacred
thing in life. True, it now follows, according to physiological law,
upon the satisfaction of certain tendencies of our nature, which in
themselves may be gratified, and even worthily gratified, without
reference to anything but the present; yet these tendencies, commonly
reviled and regarded with contempt--at least overt contempt--exist, like
most of our attributes, for the life of the world to come. And that in
which they may result, the bringing of new human life into the world, is
the most tremendous, as it is the most mysterious, of our possibilities.

The laws of life are such that at any given moment the entire future is
absolutely at the mercy of the present. The laws of life, indeed; one
might have said the law of universal causation. But so it is. There is
no conceivable limit to our responsibility. We act for the moment, we
act for self; but there will be no end to the consequences. When the
stuff of which our bodies are made has passed through a thousand cycles,
the consequences of our brief moments will still be felt. This
dependence of the future upon the present in the world of life is an
almost unrealizable thing. Life could not have persisted upon such
conditions had not Nature from the first, and increasingly up to our own
day (for it is the human infant that is the most helpless, and the
longest helpless), had not Nature, I say, persistently constructed the
individual, in all his or her attributes, as a being whose warrant and
purpose lay yet beyond. We are organs of the race, whether we will or
no. We are made for the future, whether we will, whether we care, or no.
We are only obeying Nature, and therefore in a position to command her,
in dedicating ourselves and our purposes, our customs, our social
structures, to the life of the world to come. We shall be there. Our
purposes and hopes, the flesh and blood of many of us, will be there.
Posterity will be what we make it, as we, alas! are what our ancestors
have made us.

To this increasing purpose there will come, I suppose, an end--an
inscrutable end. Yearly the evidence makes it more probable that in a
sister world we are gazing upon the splendid efforts of purposeful,
intelligent, co-ordinated life to battle against planetary conditions
which threaten it with death by thirst. How long intelligence has
existed upon Mars, if intelligence there be, no one can say; nor yet
what its future will be. It would seem probable that our own fate must
be similar, but it is far removed. And though the Whole may seem wanton,
purposeless, stupid, we are very little folk; we see very dimly; we see
only what we have the capacity to see; and there are more things in
heaven and earth than are dreamt of in the philosophy of the wisest of
us. So also there are many events in the womb of time which will be
delivered. We are the shapers, the creators, the parents of those
events. The still, small voice of the unborn declares our
responsibility. There may be no reward. What does reward mean? Who
rewards the sun, or the rain, or the oak, or the tigress? But there is
the doing of one's work in the world, the serving of the highest and
most real purpose that may be revealed to us. That is to be oneself, to
fulfil one's destiny, to be a part of the universe, and worthy to be
such a part. And though it be even unworthy for us to suggest that at
least posterity will be grateful to us, such a thought may perhaps
console us a little. At any rate, to those who worship and live for the
past, we may offer this alternative: let them work for what will be.
Perhaps the reward will be as real as any that the worship of what is
not can offer. And, reward or no reward, it is something to have an
ideal, something to believe that earth may become heavenly, and that, in
some real sense which we can dimly perceive, we may be part--must be
part, indeed--of that great day which is in our keeping, and which it is
our privilege to have some share in shaping. Thus we may repeat, and
thrill to repeat, with new meaning, the old but still living words,
_Expecto resurrectionem mortuorum, et vitam venturi sæculi_--"I look for
the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come."



In due course we shall have to discuss the little that is yet known and
to discuss the much that is asserted by both sides, for this or that
end, regarding the differences between men and women. By this we mean,
of course, the natural as distinguished from the nurtural
differences--to use the antithetic terms so usefully adapted by Sir
Francis Galton from Shakespeare. Our task, we shall soon discover, is
not an easy one: because it is rarely easy to disentangle the effects of
nature from those of nurture, all the phenomena, physical and psychical,
of all living creatures being not the sum but the product of these two
factors. The sharp allotment of this or that feature to nature or to
nurture alone is therefore always wholly wrong: and the nice estimation
of the relative importance of the natural as compared with the nurtural
factors must necessarily be difficult, especially for the case of
mankind, where critical observation, on a large scale, and with due
control, of the effects of environment upon natural potentialities is
still lacking.

But here, at least, we may unhesitatingly declare and insist upon, and
shall hereafter invariably argue from, _the_ one indisputable and
all-important distinction between man and woman. We must not commit the
error of regarding this distinction as qualitative so much as
quantitative: by which is meant that it really is neither more nor less
than a difference in the proportions of two kinds of vital expenditure.
Nor must we commit the still graver error of asserting, without
qualification, that such and such, and that only, is the ideal of
womanhood, and that all women who do not conform to this type are
morbid, or, at least, abnormal. It takes all sorts to make a world, we
must remember. Further, the more we learn, especially thanks to the
modern experimental study of heredity, regarding the constitution of the
individual of either sex, the more we perceive how immensely complex and
how infinitely variable that constitution is. Nay more, the evidence
regarding both the higher animals and the higher plants inclines us to
the view, not unsupported by the belief of ages, that woman is even more
complex in constitution than man, and therefore no less liable to vary
within wide limits. On what one may term organic analysis, comparable to
the chemist's analysis of a compound, woman may be found to be more
complex, composed of even more numerous and more various elementary
atoms, so to say, than man.

And if these new observations upon the nature of femaleness were not
enough to warn the writer who should rashly propose, after the fashion
of the unwise, who on every hand lay down the law on this matter, to
state once and for all exactly what, and what only, every woman should
be, we find that another long-held belief as to the relative variety of
men and women has lately been found baseless. It was long held, and is
still generally believed--in consequence of that universal confusion
between the effects of nature and of nurture to which we have already
referred--that women are less variable than men, that they vary within
much narrower limits, and that the bias towards the typical, or mean, or
average, is markedly greater in the case of women than of men. A vast
amount of idle evidence is quoted in favour of a proposition which seems
to have some _a priori_ plausibility. It is said--of course, without any
allusion to nurture, education, environment, opportunity--that such
extreme variations as we call genius are much commoner amongst men than
women: and then that the male sex also furnishes an undue proportion of
the insane--as if there were no unequal incidence of alcohol and
syphilis, the great factors of insanity, upon the two sexes.
Nevertheless, observant members of either sex will either contradict one
another on this point according to their particular opportunities, or
will, on further inquiry, agree that women vary surely no less generally
than men, at any rate within considerable limits, whatever may be the
facts of colossal genius. Indeed, we begin to perceive that differences
in external appearance, which no one supposes to be less general among
women than among men, merely reflect internal differences; and that, as
our faces differ, so do ourselves, every individual of either sex being,
in fact, not merely a peculiar variety, but the solitary example of that
variety--in short, unique. The analysis of the individual now being made
by experimental biology lends abundant support to this view of the
higher forms of life--the more abundant, the higher the form. So vast,
as yet quite incalculably vast, is the number of factors of the
individual, and such are the laws of their transmission in the
germ-cells, that the mere mathematical chances of a second identical
throw, so to speak, resulting in a second individual like any other, are
practically infinitely small. The greater physiological complexity of
woman, as compared with man, lends especial force to the argument in her
case. The remarkable phenomena of "identical twins," who alone of human
beings are substantially identical, lend great support to this
proposition of the uniqueness of every individual: for we find that this
unexampled identity depends upon the fact that the single cell from
which every individual is developed, having divided into two, was at
that stage actually separated into two independent cells, thus producing
two complete individuals of absolutely identical germinal constitution.
In no other case can this be asserted; and thus this unique identity
confirms the doctrine that otherwise all individuals are indeed unique.

It is necessary to state this point clearly in the forefront of our
argument, both lest the reader should suppose that some foolish ideal of
feminine uniformity is to be argued for, and also in the interests of
the argument as it proceeds, lest we should be ourselves tempted to
forget the inevitable necessity--and, as will appear, the eminent
desirability--of feminine, no less than of masculine, variety.

Nevertheless, there remains the fact that, in the variety which is
normally included within the female sex, there is yet a certain
character, or combination of characters, upon which, indeed, distinctive
femaleness depends. It may in due course be our business to discuss the
subordinate and relatively trivial differences between the sexes,
whether native or acquired; but we shall encounter nothing of any moment
compared with the distinction now to be insisted upon.

One may well suggest that insistence is necessary, for never, it may be
supposed, in the history of civilization was there so widespread or so
effective a tendency to declare that, in point of fact, there are no
differences between men and women except that, as Plato declared, woman
is in all respects simply a weaker and inferior kind of man. Great
writer though Plato was, what he did not know of biology was eminently
worth knowing, and his teaching regarding womanhood and the conditions
of motherhood in the ideal city is more fantastically and ludicrously
absurd than anything that can be quoted, I verily believe, from any
writer of equal eminence. If, indeed, the teaching of Plato were
correct, there would be no purpose in this book. If a girl is
practically a boy, we are right in bringing up our girls to be boys. If
a woman is only a weaker and inferior kind of man, those
women--themselves, as a rule, the nearest approach to any evidence for
this view--who deny the weakness and inferiority and insist upon the
identity, are justified. Their error and that of their supporters is

In the first place, they err because, being themselves, as we shall
afterwards have reason to see, of an aberrant type, they judge women and
womanhood by themselves, and especially by their abnormal psychological
tendencies--notably the tendency to look upon motherhood much as the
lower type of man looks upon fatherhood. It requires closer and more
intimate study of this type than we can spare space for--more, even,
than the state of our knowledge yet permits--in order to demonstrate how
absurd is the claim of women thus peculiarly constituted to speak for
their sex as a whole.

But, secondly, those women and men who assert the doctrine of the
identity of the sexes are led to err, not because it can really be
hidden from the most casual observer that there is a profound
distinction between the sexes, apart from the case of the defeminized
woman--but because, by a surprising fallacy, they confuse the doctrine
of sex-equality with that of sex-identity; or, rather, they believe that
only by demonstrating the doctrine that the sexes are substantially
identical, can they make good their plea that the sexes should be
regarded as equal. The fallacy is evident, and would not need to detain
us but for the fact that, as has been said, the whole tendency of the
time is towards accepting it--the recent biological proof of the
fundamental and absolute difference between the sexes being unknown as
yet to the laity. Yet surely, even were the facts less salient, or even
were they other than they are, it is a pitiable failure of logic to
suppose, as is daily supposed, that in order to prove woman man's equal
one must prove her to be really identical in all essentials, given, of
course, equal conditions. Controversialists on both sides, and even some
of the first rank, are content to accept this absurd position.

The one party seeks to prove that woman is man's equal because Rosa
Bonheur and Lady Butler have painted, Sappho and George Eliot have
written, and so forth; in other words, that woman is man's equal because
she can do what he can do: any capacities of hers which he does not
share being tacitly regarded as beside the point or insubstantial.

The other party has little difficulty in showing that, in point of fact,
men do things admittedly worth doing of which women are on the whole
incapable; and then triumphantly, but with logic of the order which this
party would probably call "feminine," it is assumed that woman is not
man's equal because she cannot do the things he does. That she does
things vastly better and infinitely more important which he cannot do at
all, is not a point to be considered; the baseless basis of the whole
silly controversy being the exquisite assumption, to which the women's
party have the folly to assent, that only the things which are common in
some degree to both sexes shall be taken into account, and those
peculiar to one shall be ignored.

It is my most solemn conviction that the cause of woman, which is the
cause of man, and the cause of the unborn, is by nothing more gravely
and unnecessarily prejudiced and delayed than by this doctrine of
sex-identity. It might serve some turn for a time, as many another
error has done, were it not so palpably and egregiously false. Advocated
as it is mainly by either masculine women or unmanly men, its advocates,
though in their own persons offering some sort of evidence for it, are
of a kind which is highly repugnant to less abnormal individuals of both
sexes. Hosts of women of the highest type, who are doing the silent work
of the world, which is nothing less than the creation of the life of the
world to come, are not merely dissuaded from any support of the women's
cause by the spectacle of these palpably aberrant and unfeminine women,
but are further dissuaded by the profound conviction arising out of
their woman's nature, that the doctrine of sex-identity is absurd. Many
of them would rather accept their existing status of social inferiority,
with its thousand disabilities and injustices, than have anything to do
with women who preach "Rouse yourselves, women, and be men!" and who
themselves illustrate only too fearsomely the consequences of this

Certainly not less disastrous, as a consequence of this most unfortunate
error of fact and of logic, is the alienation from the woman's cause of
not a few men whose support is exceptionally worth having. There are men
who desire nothing in the world so much as the exaltation of womanhood,
and who would devote their lives to this cause, but would vastly rather
have things as they are than aid the movement of "Woman in
Transition"--if it be transition from womanhood to something which is
certainly not womanhood and at best a very poor parody of manhood except
in cases almost infinitely rare. I have in my mind a case of a
well-known writer, a man of the highest type in every respect, well
worth enlisting in the army that fights for womanhood to-day, whose
organic repugnance to the defeminized woman is so intense, and whose
perception of the distinctive characters of real womanhood and of their
supreme excellence is so acute that, so far from aiding the cause of,
for instance, woman's suffrage, he is one of its most bitter and
unremitting enemies. There must be many such--to whom the doctrine of
sex-identity, involving the repudiation of the excellences, distinctive
and precious, of women, is an offence which they can never forgive.

One may be permitted a little longer to delay the discussion of the
distinctive purpose and character of womanhood, because the foregoing
has already stated in outline the teaching which biology and physiology
so abundantly warrant. For here we must briefly refer to the work of a
very remarkable woman, scarcely known at all to the reading public,
either in Great Britain or in America, and never alluded to by the
feminist leaders in those countries, though her works are very widely
known on the Continent of Europe, and, with the whole weight of
biological fact behind them, are bound to become more widely known and
more effective as the years go on. I refer to the Swedish writer, Ellen
Key, one of whose works, though by no means her best, has at last been
translated into English. All her books are translated into German from
the Swedish, and are very widely read and deeply influential in
determining the course of the woman's movement in Germany. At this
early stage in our argument I earnestly commend the reader of any age or
sex to study Ellen Key's "Century of the Child." It is necessary and
right to draw particular attention to the teaching of this woman since
it is urgently needed in Anglo-Saxon countries at this very time, and
almost wholly unknown, but for this minor work of hers and an occasional
allusion--as in an article contributed by Dr. Havelock Ellis to the
_Fortnightly Review_ some few years ago. Especial importance attaches to
such teaching as hers when it proceeds from a woman whose fidelity to
the highest interests, even to the unchallenged autonomy, of her sex
cannot be questioned, attested as it is by a lifetime of splendid work.
The present controversy in Great Britain would be profoundly modified in
its course and in its character if either party were aware of Ellen
Key's work. The most questionable doctrines of the English feminists
would be already abandoned by themselves if either the wisest among
them, or their opponents, were able to cite the evidence of this great
Swedish feminist, who is certainly at this moment the most powerful and
the wisest living protagonist of her sex. From a single chapter of the
book, to which it may be hoped that the reader will refer, there may be
quoted a few sentences which will suffice to indicate the reasons why
Ellen Key dissociated herself some ten years ago from the general
feminist movement, and will also serve as an introduction from the
practical and instinctive point of view to the scientific argument
regarding the nature and purpose of womanhood, which must next concern
us. Hear Ellen Key:--

     "Doing away with an unjust paragraph in a law which concerns woman,
     turning a hundred women into a field of work where only ten were
     occupied before, giving one woman work where formerly not one was
     employed--these are the mile-stones in the line of progress of the
     woman's rights movement. It is a line pursued without consideration
     of feminine capacities, nature and environment.

     "The exclamation of a woman's rights champion when another woman
     had become a butcher, 'Go thou and do likewise,' and an American
     young lady working as an executioner, are, in this connection,
     characteristic phenomena.

     "In our programme of civilization, we must start out with the
     conviction that motherhood is something essential to the nature of
     woman, and the way in which she carries out this profession is of
     value for society. On this basis we must alter the conditions which
     more and more are robbing woman of the happiness of motherhood and
     are robbing children of the care of a mother.

     "I am in favour of real freedom for woman; that is, I wish her to
     follow her own nature, whether she be an exceptional or an ordinary
     woman ... I recognize fully the right of the feminine individual to
     go her own way, to choose her own fortune or misfortune. I have
     always spoken of women collectively and of society collectively.

     "From this general, not from the individual, standpoint, I am
     trying to convince women that vengeance is being exacted on the
     individual, on the race, when woman gradually destroys the deepest
     vital source of her physical and psychical being, the power of

     "But present-day woman is not adapted to motherhood; she will only
     be fitted for it when she has trained herself for motherhood and
     man is trained for fatherhood. Then man and woman can begin
     together to bring up the new generation out of which some day
     society will be formed. In it the completed man--the superman--will
     be bathed in that sunshine whose distant rays but colour the
     horizon of to-day."



Students of the physical sciences discovered in the nineteenth century a
universal law of Nature, always believed by the wisest since the time of
Thales, but never before proven, which is now commonly known as the law
of the conservation of energy. When we say to a child, "You cannot eat
your cake and have it," we are expressing the law of the conservation of
matter, which is really a more or less accurate part-expression of the
law of the conservation of energy. The law that from nothing nothing is
made--and further, though here this concerns us less, that nothing is
ever destroyed--is the only firm foundation for any work or any theory
whether in science or philosophy. The chemist who otherwise bases his
account of a reaction is wrong; the sociologist who denies it Nature
will deny. It was the sure foundation upon which Herbert Spencer erected
the philosophy of evolution; and every page of this book depends upon
the certainty that this law applies to woman and to womanhood as it does
to the rest of the universe. Further, it may be shown that certain less
universal but most important generalizations made by two or three
biologists are indeed special cases of the universal law. There is,
first, the law of Herbert Spencer, which states that for every
individual there is an inevitable issue between the demands of
parenthood and the demands of self; and there is, secondly, the law of
Professors Geddes and Thomson, which asserts that this issue specially
concerns the female as compared with the male sex, the distinguishing
character of femaleness being that in it a higher proportion of the
vital energy is expended upon or conserved for the future and therefore,
necessarily, a smaller proportion for the purposes of the individual. It
is of service to one's thinking, perhaps, to regard Geddes and Thomson's
law as a special case of Spencer's, and Spencer's as a special case of
the law of the conservation of energy. First, then, somewhat of detail
regarding the law of balance between expenditure on the self and
expenditure upon the race; and then to the all-important application of
this to the case of womanhood--for upon this application the whole of
the subsequent argument depends.

When he set forth, with great daring, to write the "Principles of
Biology," Spencer was already at an advantage compared with the accepted
writers upon the subject, not merely because of his stupendous
intellectual endowment, but also because the idea of the conservation of
energy was a permanent guiding factor in all his thought. Thus it was,
one supposes, that this bold young amateur, for he was little more,
perceived in the light of the evolutionary idea of which he was one of
the original promulgators, a simple truth which had been unperceived by
all previous writers upon biology, from Aristotle onwards. It is in the
last section of his book that Spencer propounds his "law of
multiplication," depending upon what he calls the "antagonism between
individuation and genesis." As I have observed elsewhere, the word
antagonism is perhaps too harsh, and may certainly be misleading, for it
may induce us to suppose that there is no possible reconciliation of the
claims and demands of the race and the individual, the future and the
present. I believe most devoutly that there is such a reconciliation, as
indeed Spencer himself pointed out, and a central thesis of this book is
indeed that in the right expression of motherhood or foster-motherhood,
woman may and increasingly will achieve the highest, happiest, and
richest self-development. Thus one may be inclined to abandon the word
antagonism, and to say merely that there is a necessary inverse ratio
between "individuation" and "genesis," to use the original Spencerian
terms. This principle has immense consequences--most notably that as
life ascends the birth-rate falls, more of the vital energy being used
for the enrichment and development of the individual life, and less for
mere physical parenthood. We shall argue that, in the case of mankind,
and pre-eminently in the case of woman, this enrichment and development
of the individual life is best and most surely attained by parenthood or
foster-parenthood, made self-conscious and provident, and magnificently
transmuted by its extension and amplification upon the psychical plane
in the education of children and, indeed, the care and ennoblement of
human life in all its stages.

This law of Spencer's has been discussed at length by the present writer
in a previous volume,[2] and we may therefore now proceed to its notable
illustration in the case of womanhood and the female sex in general, as
made by Geddes and Thomson now more than twenty years ago. It is
surprising that the distinguished authors do not seem to have recognized
that their law is a special case of Spencer's; but one of them granted
this relation in a discussion upon the present writer's first eugenic
lecture to the Sociological Society.[3]

We must therefore now briefly but adequately consider the argument of
the remarkable book published by the Scottish biologists in 1889, and
presented in a new edition in 1900. The latter date is of interest,
because it coincides with the re-discovery of the work of Mendel,
published in 1865, to which we must afterwards more than once refer; and
the work of the Mendelians during the subsequent decade very
substantially modifies much of the authors' teaching upon the
determination of sex, and the intimate nature of the physiological
differences between the sexes. We have learnt more about the nature of
sex in the decade or so since the publication of the new edition of the
"Evolution of Sex" than in all preceding time. Such, at least, is the
well-grounded opinion of all who have acquainted themselves with the
work of the Mendelians, as we shall see: and therefore that book is by
no means commended to the reader's attention as the last word upon the
subject. The rather would one particularly direct him to the following
prophetic and admirable passage in the preface of 1900:--

     "Our hope is that the growing strength of the still young school of
     experimental evolutionists may before many years yield results
     which will involve not merely a revision, but a recasting of our

--a passage which may well content the authors to-day, when its
fulfilment is so signal.

Yet assuredly the main thesis of the volume stands, and profoundly
concerns every student of womanhood in any of its aspects. It will
continue to stand when the brilliant foolishness of such writers as poor
Weininger, the author of that evidently insane product "Sex and
Character," is rightly estimated as interesting to the student of mental
pathology alone. There has lately been a kind of epidemic citation from
Weininger, whose book is obviously rich in characters that make it
attractive to the ignorant and the many; and it is high time that we
should concern ourselves less with the product of a suicidal and
much-to-be-pitied boy, and more with the sober and scientific work for
which daily verification is always at hand.

We cannot do better than have before us at the outset the authors'
statement of their main proposition, in the preface to the new edition
of their work:--

     "In all living creatures there are two great lines of variation,
     primarily determined by the very nature of protoplasmic change
     (metabolism); for the ratio of the constructive (anabolic) changes
     to the disruptive (katabolic) ones, that is of income to outlay,
     of gains to losses, is a variable one. In one sex, the female, the
     balance of debtor and creditor is the more favourable one; the
     anabolic processes tend to preponderate, and this profit may be at
     first devoted to growth, but later towards offspring, of which she
     hence can afford to bear the larger share. To put it more
     precisely, the life-ratio of anabolic to katabolic changes, A/K, in
     the female is normally greater than the corresponding life-ratio,
     a/k, in the male. This for us, is the fundamental, the
     physiological, the constitutional difference between the sexes; and
     it becomes expressed from the very outset in the contrast between
     their essential reproductive elements, and may be traced on into
     the more superficial sexual characters."

A little further on (p. 17), the authors say:--

     "Without multiplying instances, a review of the animal kingdom, or
     a perusal of Darwin's pages, will amply confirm the conclusion that
     on an average the females incline to passivity, the males to
     activity. In higher animals, it is true that the contrast shows
     itself rather in many little ways than in any one striking
     difference of habit, but even in the human species the difference
     is recognized. Every one will admit that strenuous spasmodic bursts
     of activity characterize men, especially in youth, and among the
     less civilized races; while patient continuance, with less violent
     expenditure of energy, is as generally associated with the work of

We must shortly proceed to study the origin and determination of sex,
and more especially of femaleness, in the individual, and here we shall
be entirely concerned with the new knowledge commonly called Mendelism,
to which there is no allusion in our authors' pages. Meanwhile it must
be insisted that the reader who will either read their pages for a
survey of the evidence in detail, or who will for a moment consider the
evident necessities imposed by the facts of parenthood, cannot possibly
fail to satisfy himself that the main contention, as stated in the
foregoing quotations, is correct. A further point of the greatest
importance to us requires to be made.

It is that, owing to profound but intelligible causes, the contrast
which necessarily obtains between the sexes in respect of their vital
expenditure is most marked in the case of our own species. It is one of
the conditions of progress that the young of the higher species make
more demands upon their mothers than do the young of humbler forms. In
other words, progress in the world of life has always leant upon and
been conditioned by motherhood. Thus, as one has so frequently asserted
in reference to the modern campaign against infant mortality, the young
of the human species are nurtured within the sacred person--the
_therefore_ sacred person--of the mother for a longer period in
proportion to the body weight than in the case of any other species; and
the natural period of maternal feeding is also the longest known. On the
other hand, the physical demands made by parenthood upon the male sex
are no greater in our case than in that of lower forms; though upon the
psychical plane the great fact of increasing paternal care in the right
line of progress may never be forgotten. But thus it follows that the
law of conservation, asserting that what is spent for self cannot be
kept for the race, and that if the demands of the future are to be met
the present must be subordinated, not merely applies to woman, but
applies to her in unique degree. There are grounds, also, for believing
that what is demonstrably and obviously true on the physical plane has
its counterpart in the psychical plane; and that, if woman is to remain
distinctively woman in mind, character, and temperament, and if, just
because she remains or becomes what she was meant to be, she is to find
her greatest happiness, she must orient her life towards Life Orient,
towards the future and the life of this world to come. Some such
doctrines may help us at a later stage to decide whether it be better
that a woman should become a mother or a soldier, a nurse or an



We must regard life as essentially female, since there is no choice but
to look upon living forms which have no sex as female, and since we know
that in many of the lower forms of life there is possible what is called
parthenogenesis or virgin-birth. It has, indeed, been ingeniously argued
by a distinguished American writer, Professor Lester Ward,[4] that the
male sex is to be looked upon as an afterthought, an ancillary
contrivance, devised primarily for the advantages of having a second
sex--whatever those advantages may exactly be; and secondarily, one
would add, becoming useful in adding fatherhood to motherhood upon the
psychical plane of post-natal care and education as well.

But whatever was the historical or evolutionary origin of sex, we may
here be excused for attaching more importance--for it is of great
practical consequence--to the origin or determination of sex in the
individual. At what stage and under what influences did the child that
is born a girl become female? To what extent can we control the
determination of sex? Why are the numbers of the sexes approximately so
equal? What determines the curious disproportions observed in many
families, which may be composed only of girls or only of boys; and, as
is asserted, also observed after wars and epidemics or during sieges,
when an abnormally high proportion of boys is said to be born? These are
some of the deeply interesting questions which men have always attempted
to answer--with the beginnings of substantial success during the present
century at last.

In general it is true that, the more we learn of the characters and
histories of living beings, the more importance we attach to nature or
birth and the less to nurture or environment, vastly important though
the latter be. Thus to the student of heredity nothing could well seem
more improbable, at any rate amongst the higher animals, than that
characters so profound as those of sex should be determined by nurture.
He simply cannot but believe that the sex of the individual is as inborn
as his backbone, and as incapable of being created by varying conditions
of nurture. The causation of sex is therefore really a problem in
heredity; and we may most confidently assert, in the first place, that
the sex of every human being is already determined at the moment of
conception when, indeed, the new individual is created: determined then
by the nature and constitution of the living cells--or of one of
them--which combine to form the new being. Subsequent attempts to affect
the sex, as by means of the mother's diet and the like, are palpably
hopeless from the outset and always will be. This is by no means to say
that conditions affecting the mother--as, for instance, the
semi-starvation of a prolonged siege--may not affect the construction of
the germ-cells which she houses, and which are constantly being formed
within her from the mother germ-cells, as they are called. But any given
final germ-cell, such as will combine with another from an individual of
the opposite sex to form a new being, is already determined, once for
all, to be of one sex or the other. We naturally ask, then, how the two
parents are concerned in this matter; and the first remarkable answer
returned by the Mendelian workers during the last three or four years is
that it is the mother who determines the sex of her children in the case
of all the higher animals. Her contribution to the new being is called
the ovum, and it is believed that ova are of two kinds, or, we are quite
right in saying, of two sexes.

Those who are now working at these problems experimentally, actually
seeing what happens in given cases, and whom we may for convenience call
Mendelians after the master who gave them their method and their key,
have latterly obtained results the main tenour of which must be stated
here, as they indicate the lines of a portion of the succeeding
argument. The task was to attack experimentally the determination of
sex--a fascinating problem for which so many solutions that failed to
hold water have been found, but hitherto no others. In finding the
answer to it, as they appear certainly to have done so far as the higher
animals are concerned, the Mendelians are also beginning to ascertain,
as we shall see, certain basal facts as to the composition or
constitution of the individual; and to us, who wish to know exactly
what a woman is, and what she is as distinguished from a man, this
discovery is of the most vital importance. The experimental facts are
not yet numerous, and if they were not consonant with facts of other
orders, it would be rash to proceed; but it will be evident, in the
sequel, that common experience is well in accord with the experimental

It appears that, amongst at any rate the higher animals, the sex of
offspring is determined by the nature of the mother's contribution. The
cell derived from the father is always male--as goes without saying, we
might add, if we knew little of the subject. But the ovum, the cell
derived from the mother, may carry either femaleness or maleness. When
an ovum bearing maleness meets the invariably maleness-bearing sperm,
the resultant individual is a male, of course, and he is male all
through. But when an ovum bearing femaleness meets a sperm, the
resulting individual is female, femaleness being a Mendelian "dominant"
to maleness; if both be present, femaleness appears. The female,
however, is not female all through as the male is male all through. So
far as sex is concerned, he is made of maleness _plus_ maleness; but she
is made of femaleness _plus_ maleness. In Mendelian language the male is
homozygous, so-called "pure" as regards this character. But the female
is heterozygous, "impure" in the sense that her femaleness depends upon
the dominance of the factor for femaleness over the factor for maleness,
which also is present in her. In the Mendelian terminology, she is an
instance of impure dominance. The observed practical equality in the
numbers of the two sexes is in exact accord with this interpretation of
the facts, this proportion being the expected and observed one in many
other cases which doubtless depend upon parallel conditions of the
reproductive cells.

Surely there is great enlightenment here: for the discovery of the
factors determining sex is a very small affair compared with the
suggestive inference as to the constitution of womanhood. Let us compare
man and woman on the basis of this assumption.

In the man there is nothing but maleness. This is not to deny that he
may possess the protective instinct and the tender emotion which is its
correlate, even though these were undoubtedly feminine in origin. But it
is to deny that any injury to, or arrested development of, the male can
reveal in him characters distinctively female. He may fail to become a
man and may remain a boy; or, having been a man, he may perhaps return,
under certain conditions, to a more youthful state; but he will never,
can never, display anything distinctive of the woman.

Not such, however, must be the woman's case. If anything should
interfere with the development and dominance of the femaleness factor in
her, there is not another "dose" of femaleness, so to speak, to fall
back upon; but a dose of maleness. We may be right in thus seeking to
explain certain familiar phenomena, observed in women under various
conditions--as, for instance, the growth of hair upon the face in
elderly women, the assumption of a masculine voice and aspect, and so
forth. Such facts are frequently to be observed after the climacteric or
"change of life," which probably denotes the termination of the
dominance of the femaleness factor. They are also to be observed as a
consequence of operations much more commonly and irresponsibly performed
a few years ago than now, which abruptly deprived the organism of the
internal secretion through which, as we may surmise, the femaleness
factor in the germ makes its presence effective.

If these propositions are valid, they are certainly important. Our
attitude towards them will depend upon our estimates of the worth of
distinctive womanhood. We may regard it as a loss to society that what
might have been a woman should become only a sort of man of rather less
than average efficiency. Or we may hail with delight the possibility
that, after all, we may be able, by judicious education, to make men of
our daughters. But, whatever our estimates, certainly it is of great
interest to inquire how far and in what directions education may affect
the development of what was given in the germ. We cannot yet answer this
question. In a thousand matters it is all-important to know in what
degree education can control nature, but until we know what the nature
of the individual is we cannot decide. Professor Bateson has clearly
shown that we shall be able duly to estimate environment only when
Mendelian analysis has gone much further, and has instructed us in
detail as to the nature of the material upon which environment is to

For instance, there is the well-established fact that women who have
undergone "higher education" show a low marriage-rate, and produce very
few children. However considered, the fact is of great importance. But
the right interpretation of it is not certain. There are women of a type
approaching the masculine, who are evidently so by nature. Is it these
women, already predestined for something other than distinctive
womanhood, that offer themselves for "higher education"? In other words,
is there a selective process at work, the results of which in choosing a
certain type of woman we attribute to the education undergone? If we
answer this question wrongly, and act upon our erroneous interpretation,
we shall certainly do grave injury to individuals and society.

Thus, we might roundly condemn the higher education of women _in toto_,
and hold up the "domestic woman" as the sole type to which every woman
can and must be made to conform. Or, on the other hand, we may argue
that it is well to provide suitable opportunities of self-development
for those women whose nature practically unfits them for the ordinary
career of a woman.

I do not think that any one who has had opportunities of first-hand
observation will question the presence in university and college
class-rooms of girls of the anomalous type. Each generation produces a
certain number of such. Probably no education will alter their nature in
any radical or effective way. On every ground, personal and social, we
must be right in providing for them, as for their brothers, all the
opportunities they may desire. But I am convinced that their relative
number is not large.

The great majority of those girls who are nowadays subjected to what we
call "higher education" are of the normal type; and this is none the
less true because the proportion of the anomalous is doubtless higher
here than in the feminine community at large. The ordinary observation
of those teachers who year by year see young girls at the beginning of
their higher education will certainly confirm the statement that by far
the greater number of them are of the ordinary feminine type. If this be
so, the necessary inference is that education _has_ a potent influence,
and that it must be held accountable for the observed facts of later
years, whether those facts please or displease us.

The human being is the most adaptable--that is to say, educable--of all
living creatures. This is true of women as well as men. The response of
girls to ideas, ideals, suggestion, the spirit of the group, is an
unquestioned thing. Further, there are basal facts of physiology,
ultimately dependent on the law of the conservation of energy, and the
circumstance that you cannot eat your cake and have it, which work
hand-in-hand, on their own effective plane, with the psychological
influences already referred to. All physiology and psychology lead us to
expect those results of "higher education" upon its subjects or victims
which, in fact, we find, and which, in the main, are indeed its results
and not dependent upon the exceptional natures of those subjected to it.
The more general higher education becomes, and the less selection is
exercised upon the candidates for it, the more evident, I believe, will
it appear that woman responds in high degree to the total circumstances
of her life; and that if we do not like the fruits of our labour it is
we indeed that are to blame.



We are accustomed to think of Mendelism as simply a theory of heredity,
by which term we should properly understand the relation between living
generations. Now Mendelism is certainly this, but I believe that it is
vastly more. Already the claim has been made, though not, perhaps, in
adequate measure, by the Mendelians, and I am convinced that their title
to it will be upheld. Mendelism has already effected a really
epoch-making advance in our knowledge of heredity--the relations between
parents and offspring; but we shall learn ere long that it has yet more
to teach us regarding the very constitution of living beings. As modern
chemistry can analyse a highly complex molecule into its constituent
elementary atoms, so the Mendelians promise ere long to enable us to
effect an _organic analysis_ of living creatures. For many decades past
theory has perceived that, in the germ-cells whence we and the higher
animals and plants are developed, there must exist--somewhere
intermediate between the chemical molecule and the vital unit, the cell
itself--units which Herbert Spencer, the first and greatest of their
students, called physiological or constitutional units. Since his day
they have been re-discovered--or rather re-named--by a host of students,
including Haeckel, Weismann, and many of scarcely less distinction. The
Mendelian "factors," as I maintain must be clear to any student of the
idea, are Spencer's physiological units. Of course neither Spencer nor
any one else, until the re-discovery of Mendel's work, had any notion at
all of the remarkable fashion in which these units are treated in the
process whereby germ-cells are prepared for their great destiny. The
rule, as we now know, is that one germ-cell contains any given unit,
while another does not. The process of cell-division, whereby the
germ-cells or gametes[5] are made, is called gameto-genesis. Somewhere
in its course there occurs the capital fact discovered by Mendel and
called by him segregation. A cell divides into two--which are the final
gametes. One of these will definitely contain the Mendelian factor, and
the other will be as definitely without it. Definite consequences follow
in the constitution of the offspring; and such is the Mendelian
contribution to heredity. But we must see that these inquiries cannot be
far pursued without telling us vastly more than we ever knew before of
not only the relation between individuals of successive generations, but
the very structure of the individuals themselves. It is by the study of
heredity that we shall learn to understand the individual. For instance,
experimental breeding of the fowl reveals the existence of the brooding
instinct as a definite unit, which enters, or does not enter, into the
composition of the individual, and which is quite distinct from the
capacity to produce eggs. Here is a definite distinction suggested, for
the case of the fowl, between two really distinct things which, for
several years past, I have called respectively physical and psychical
motherhood. The analysis will doubtless go far further, but already the
facts of experiment help us to realize the composition of the individual
mother--for instance, the number of possible variants, and the
non-necessity of a connection between the capacity to produce children
and the parental instinct upon which the care of them depends, and
without which entire and perfect motherhood cannot be.

The Mendelians are teaching us, too, that their "factors," the units of
which we are made, are often intertangled or mutually repellent. If
such-and-such goes into the germ-cell, so must something else; or if the
one, then never the other. There may thus be naturally determined
conditions of entire womanhood; just as one may be externally a woman,
yet lack certain of the fractional constituents which are necessary for
the perfect being. Complete womanhood, like genius--rarer though not
more valuable--depends upon the co-existence of _many_ factors, some of
which may be coupled and segregated together in gameto-genesis, while
others may be quite independent, only chance determining the throw of
them. And the question of incompatibility or mutual repulsion of factors
is of the gravest concern; as, for instance, if it were the case--and
the illustration is perhaps none too far-fetched--that the factor for
the brooding instinct and the factor for intellect can scarcely be
allotted together to a single cell.

This question of compatibilities is illustrated very strikingly by the
case of the worker-bee. There is as yet no purely Mendelian
interpretation of this case, Mendel's own laborious work upon heredity
in bees having been entirely lost, and practically nothing having been
done since. Yet, as will be evident, the main argument of Geddes and
Thomson leads us to a similar interpretation of this case in terms of

The worker-bee is an individual of a most remarkable and admirable kind,
from whom mankind have yet a thousand truths to learn. She is
distinguished primarily by the rare and high development of her nervous
apparatus. In terms of brain and mind, using these words in a general
sense, the worker-bee is almost the paragon of animals. The ancients
supposed that the queen-bee was indeed the queen and ruler of the hive.
Here, they thought, was the organizing genius, the forethought, the
exquisite skill in little things and great, upon which the welfare of
the hive and the future of the race depend. But, in point of fact, the
queen-bee is a fool. Her brain and mind are of the humblest order. She
never organizes anything, and does not rule even herself, but does what
she is told. She is entirely specialized for motherhood; but the
thinking, and the determination of the conditions of her motherhood, are
in the hands of other females, also highly specialized, and certainly
the least selfish of living things--_yet themselves sterile, incapable
of motherhood_.

Observe, further, that these wonderful workers, so highly endowed in
terms of brain, are amongst the children of the queen, herself a fool;
and that it was the conditions of nourishment, the conditions of
environment or education, which determined whether the young creatures
should develop into queens or workers, fertile fools or sterile wits. We
have here an absolute demonstration that environment or nurture can
determine the production of these two antithetic and radically opposed
types of femaleness.

Now, amongst the bees, this high degree of specialization works very
well. How old bee-societies are we cannot say. We do know, at any rate,
that bees are invertebrate animals, and therefore of immeasurable
antiquity compared with man. No one can for a moment question the
eminent success of the bee-hive; and that success depends upon the
extreme specialization of the female, so as in effect to create a third
sex. Further, we know that nurture alone accounts for this remarkable
splitting of one sex into two contrasted varieties.

I have little doubt that a process which is, at the very least,
analogous, is possible amongst ourselves; nay more, that such a process
is already afoot. In Japan they have actually been talking of a
deliberate differentiation between workers and breeders; such
differentiation, though indeliberate, is to be seen to-day in all highly
civilized communities. Is it likely to be as good for us as for the
bee-hive? And, granted its value as a social structure, is it, even
then, to be worth while?

No one can answer these questions, though I venture to believe that it
is something to ask them. So far as the last is concerned, we must not
admit the smallest infringement of the supreme principles that every
human being is an end in himself or herself, and that the worth of a
society is to be found in the worth and happiness of the individuals who
compose it.

Can we, as human beings, regard a human society as admirable because it
is successful, stable, numerous?

The question is a fundamental one, for it matters at what we aim. As it
becomes increasingly possible for man to realize his ideals, it becomes
increasingly important that they shall be right ones; and there is a
risk to-day that the growth of knowledge shall be too rapid for wisdom
to keep pace with. We are reaching towards, and will soon attain in very
large and effective measure, nothing less than a _control of life_,
present and to come. It may well be that a remodelling of human society
upon the lines of the bee-hive is feasible. It was his study of bees
that made a Socialist of Professor Forel, certainly one of the greatest
of living thinkers; and his assumption is that in the bee-hive we have
an example largely worthy of imitation. But he would be the first to
admit that, as the ordinary Socialist has yet to learn, the nature of
the society is ultimately determined by the nature of the individuals
composing it. It follows that the bee-society can be completely, or, at
all events substantially, imitated only by remodelling human nature on
the lines of the individual bee. This is very far from impossible; there
is a plethora of human drones already, and we see the emergence of the
sterile female worker. But is such a change--or any change at all of
that kind--to be desired?

_The Terms of Specialization._--It surely cannot be denied that there
may be a grave antagonism between the interests of the society and those
of the individual. It is a question of the terms of specialization or
differentiation. In the study of the individual organism and its history
we discern specialization of the cell as a capital fact. Organic
evolution has largely depended upon what Milne-Edwards called the
"physiological division of labour." In so far as organic evolution has
been progressive, it has entirely coincided with this process of
cell-differentiation. That is the clear lesson which the student of
progress learns from the study of living Nature. Let him hold hard by
this truth, and by it let him judge that other specialization which
human society presents.

For this primary and physiological division of labour has its analogue
in a much later thing, the division of labour in human society, upon
which, indeed, the possibility of what we call human society depends.
And it is plain that the time has come when we must determine the price
that may rightly be paid for this specialization. Assuredly it is not to
be had for nothing. Dr. Minot considers that death, as a biological
fact, is the price paid for cell-differentiation. Now surely the death
of individuality is the price paid for such specialization as that of
the workman who spends his life supervising the machine which effects a
single process in the making of a pin, and has never even seen any
other but that stage in the process of making that one among all the
"number of things" of which the world is full. Here, as in a thousand
other cases, it has cost a man to make an expert.

How far we are entitled to go we shall determine only when we know what
it is that we want to attain.

If we desire an efficient, durable, numerous society, there are probably
no limits whatever that we need observe in the process of
specialization. Pins are cheaper for the sacrifice of the individual in
their making. In general, the professional must do better than the
amateur; the lover of chamber music knows that a Joachim or Brussels
Quartet is not to be found everywhere. Specialization we must have for
progress, or even for the maintenance of what the past has achieved for
us; but we shall pay the right price only by remembering the principle
that all progress in the world of life has depended on
cell-differentiation. If we prejudice that we are prejudicing progress.

Now nothing can be more evident than that, in some of our
specializations of the individual for the sake of society, we are
_opposing_ that specialization within the individual which, it has been
laid down, we must never sacrifice. And so we reach the basal principle
to which the preceding argument has been guiding us. It is that the
specialization of the individual for the sake of society may rightly
proceed to any point short of reversing or aborting the process of
differentiation within himself. Every individual is an end in himself;
there are no other ends for society; and that society is the best which
best provides for the most complete development and self-expression of
the individuals composing it.

But how, then, is the division of labour necessary for society to be
effected, the reader may ask? The answer is that the human species, like
all others, displays what biologists call variation--men and women
naturally differ within limits so wide that, when we consider the case
of genius, we must call them incalculable, illimitable. The difference
of our faces or our voices is a mere symbol of differences no less
universal but vastly more important. It is these differences, in
reality, that are the cause of the development of human society and of
that division of labour upon which it depends. In providing for the best
development of all these various individuals we at the same time provide
for the division of labour that we need; nor can we in any other fashion
provide so well. Thus we shall attain a society which, if less certainly
stable than that of the bees, is what that is not--progressive, and not
merely static; and a society which is worth while, justified by the
lives and minds of the individuals composing it.

We are not, then, to make a factitious differentiation of set purpose in
the interests of society and to the detriment of individuals. We are not
to take a being in whom Nature has differentiated a thousand parts, and,
in effect, reduce him, in the interests of others, to one or two
constituents and powers, thus nullifying the evolutionary course. But we
shall frame a society such as the past never witnessed, and we shall
achieve a rate of progress equally without parallel, by consistently
regarding society as existing for the individual, and not the individual
for society, and by thus realizing to the full his characteristic powers
_for himself and for society_.

In so far as all this is true it is true of woman. It has long been
asserted that woman is less variable than man; but the certainty of that
statement has lately lost its edge. It is probably untrue. There is no
real reason to suppose that woman is less complex or less variable than
man. She has the same title as he has to those conditions in which her
particular characters, whatever they be, shall find their most complete
and fruitful development. There is no more a single ideal type of woman
than there is a single ideal type of man. It takes all sorts even to
make a sex. It has been in the past, and always must be, a piece of
gross presumption on man's part to say to woman, "Thus shalt thou be,
and no other." Whom Nature has made different, man has no business to
make or even to desire similar. The world wants all the powers of all
the individuals of either sex. On the other hand, no good can come of
the attempt to distort the development of those powers or to seek
conformity to any type. Much of the evil of the past has arisen from the
limitation of woman to practically one profession. Even should it be
incomparably the best, in general, it is by no means necessarily the
best, or even good at all, for every individual. Men are to be heard
saying, "A woman ought to be a wife and mother." It is, perhaps, the
main argument of this book that, for most women, this is the sphere in
which their characteristic potencies will find best and most useful
expression both for self and others; but that is very different from
saying that every woman ought to be a mother, or that no woman ought to
be a surgeon. We may prefer the maternal to the surgical type, and there
may be good reason for our preference; but the surgeon may be very
useful, and, useful or not, the question is not one of ought. Thoughtful
people should know better than to make this constant confusion between
what ought to be and what is. Let us hold to our ideals, let us by all
means have our scale of values; but the first question in such a case as
this is as to what _is_. In point of fact all women are not of the same
type; and our expression of what ought to be is none other than the
passing of a censure upon Nature for her deeds. We may know better than
she, or, as has happened, we may know worse.



We have seen that the sex of the individual is already determined as
early as any other of his or her characters, though the realization of
the potentialities of that sex may be much modified by nurture, as in
the contrasted cases of the queen bee and the worker bee. Children,
then, are already of one sex or other, and though our business in the
present volume is not childhood of either sex, a few points are worth
noting before we take up the consideration of the individual at the
period when the distinctive characteristics of sex make their effective

Despite the abundance of the material and the opportunities for
observation, we are at present without decisive evidence as to the
distinctiveness of sex in any effective way during childhood. Here, as
elsewhere, we have to guard ourselves against the influences of nurture
in the widest sense of the word; as when, to take an extreme case, we
distinguish between the boy and the girl because the hair of the one is
cut and of the other is not. The natural, as distinguished from the
nurtural, distinctions at this period are probably much fewer than is
supposed. It is asserted--to take physical characters first--that the
girl of ten gives out in breathing considerably less carbonic acid than
her brother of the same age, thus foreshadowing the difference between
the sexes which is recognized in later years. If this fact be critically
established it is of very great interest, showing that the sex
distinction effectively makes its presence felt in the most essential
processes of the body. But we should require to be satisfied that the
observations were sufficiently numerous, and were made under absolutely
equal conditions, and with due allowance for difference in body-weight.
They would be the more credible if it were also shown that the number of
the red blood corpuscles were smaller in girls than in boys in parallel
with the difference between the sexes in later years.

Children of both sexes have fewer red blood corpuscles in a given
quantity of blood and a smaller proportion of the red colouring matter,
or hæmoglobin, than adults. Women have very definitely fewer red blood
corpuscles than men, and a smaller proportion of hæmoglobin, and their
blood is more watery. According to one authority this difference in the
hæmoglobin can be observed from the ages of eleven to fifty, but not
before. The specific gravity of the blood is found to be the same in
both sexes before the fifteenth year. Thereafter, that of the boy's
blood rises, and between seventeen and forty-five is definitely higher
than in women of the corresponding age. It thus seems quite clear that,
as we should expect, these differences in the blood, which are
certainly, as Dr. Havelock Ellis says, fundamental, make their
appearance definitely at puberty--a fact which supports the view that
fundamental differences of practical importance between the two sexes
before that age are not to be found. Careful comparative study of the
pulse of children is hitherto somewhat inconclusive, though it is well
known that the pulse is more rapid in women than in men.

On the other hand, it seems clear as regards respiration that as early
as the age of twelve there are definite differences between the sexes.
Several thousands of American school children were examined, and between
the ages of six and nineteen the boys were throughout superior in lung
capacity. The girls had almost reached their maximum capacity at the age
of twelve, and thereafter the difference, till then slight, rapidly
increased.[6] It appears that from eight to fifteen years of age a boy
burns more carbon than a girl, the difference, however, being not great.
But at puberty the boy proceeds to consume very nearly twice as much
carbon per hour as his sister.

Perhaps the matter need not be pursued further. It is sufficient for us
to recognize that puberty is really the critical time, and that in the
consideration of womanhood we may, on the whole, be justified in looking
upon the problem of the girl before that age as almost identical with
her brother's. Yet we must be reasonably cautious, since our knowledge
is small, and there is some by no means negligible evidence of
fundamental physiological differences between the sexes before puberty,
relatively slight though these may be. Therefore, though on the whole
we need make few distinctions between the girl and her brother, and
though we are doubtless wrong in the magnitude of the practical
distinctions which we have often made hitherto, yet we must remember
that these are going to be different beings, and that the main
principles which determine our nurture of womanhood may be recalled when
we are doubtful as to practice in the care of the girl child.

Physiological distinctions, we have seen, probably exist during these
early years, but are of less importance than we sometimes have attached
to them, and of no importance at all compared with what is to come.
Psychological distinctions, we may believe, are still more dubious. For
instance, it is generally believed that the parental instinct shows
itself much more markedly in girls than in boys, and the commonly
observed history of the liking for dolls is quoted in this connection.
As this instinct bears so profoundly upon the later life of the
individual, and as we may reasonably suppose the child to be the mother
of the woman as well as the father of the man, the matter is worth
looking at a little further.

But, in the first place, it has been asserted that the doll instinct has
really nothing whatever to do with the parental instinct in either sex.
Psychologists, whom one suspects of being bachelors, tell us that what
we really observe here is the instinct of acquisition: it really does
not matter what we give the child, though it so happens that we very
commonly present it with dolls; it is the lust of possession that we
satisfy, and in point of fact one thing will satisfy it as well as

The evidence against this view is quite overwhelming. We might quote the
universal distribution of dolls in place and in time as revealed by
anthropology. Wherever there is mankind there are dolls, whether in
Mayfair or in Whitechapel, Japan, the South Sea Islands, Ancient Egypt
or Mexico. Further, there is the observed behaviour of the child,
opportunities for which have presumably been denied to the psychologists
whose opinion has been quoted. The only objection to the theory that the
child will be content with the possession of anything else as well as of
a doll is the circumstance that the child is not so content, but asks
for a doll for choice, and will lavish upon any doll, however
diagrammatic, an amount of love and care which no other toy will ever
obtain. Further, if the child has opportunities for playing with a real
baby, it will be perfectly evident, even to the bachelor psychologist,
that the doll was the vicarious substitute for the real thing.

But now, what as to the comparative strength of this instinct in the two
sexes? Here we must not be deceived by the effects of nurture,
environment, or education. Though finding, as we do, that the little boy
enjoys playing with his dolls as his sister does, we refrain from buying
dolls for him, and may indeed, underestimating the importance of human
fatherhood, declare that dolls are beneath the dignity of a boy though
good enough for his sister. He, destined rather for the business of
destroying life, so much more glorious than saving it, must learn to
play with soldiers. In this fashion we at least deprive ourselves of
any opportunity of critically comparing the strength and the history of
the instinct in the two sexes.

There is good reason to suppose that the distinction between the
psychology of the boy and that of the girl in these early years is very
small. If boys are not discouraged they will play with dolls for choice,
just as their sisters do, and may be just as charming with younger
brothers or sisters. Nor is it by any means certain that this misleading
of ourselves is the worst consequence of the common practice. It is
possible that we lose opportunities for the inculcation of ideals which
are of the highest value to the individual and the race. I am reminded
of the true story of a small boy, well brought up, who, being jeered at
in the street by bigger boys because he was carrying a doll, turned upon
his critics with the admirable retort--slightly wanting in charity, let
us hope, but none the less pertinent--"None of you will ever be a good

Thus, on the whole, one is inclined to suppose that the general
resemblance in facial appearance, bodily contour, and interests which we
observe in children of the two sexes, indicates that deeper distinctions
are latent rather than active. This is much more than an academic
question, for if our subject in the present volume were the care of
childhood, it is plain that we should have to base upon our answer to
this question our treatment of boy and girl respectively. Probably we
are on the whole correct in instituting no deep distinction of any kind
in the nurture, either physical or mental, of children during their
early years. Nor can there be any doubt, at least so far, as to the
rightness of educating them together, and allowing them to compete, in
so far as we allow competition at all, freely both in work and in games.

However this may be, there comes at an age which varies somewhat in
different races and individuals, a period critical to both sexes, in
which the factors of sex differentiation, hitherto more or less latent,
begin conspicuously to assert themselves. Here, plainly, is the dawn of
womanhood, and here, in our consideration of woman the individual, we
must make a start. If we recall the tentative Mendelian analysis already
referred to, we may suppose that the "factor" for womanhood begins to
assert itself, at any rate in effective degree, at this period of
puberty, when a girl becomes a woman; and that its most effective reign
is over at the much later crisis which we call the change of life or
climacteric. In other words, though sex is determined from the first,
and though certain of its distinctive characters remain to the end, we
may say that our study of womanhood is practically concerned with the
years between twelve or thirteen, and forty-five or fifty. Before this
period, as we have suggested, the distinction between the sexes is of no
practical importance so far as _regimen_ and education are concerned.
After this period also it is probable that the difference between the
two sexes is diminished, and would be still more evidently diminished
were it not for the effects which different experience has permanently
wrought in the memory. We begin our practical study, then, of woman the
individual, with the young girl at the age of puberty; and we must
concern ourselves first with the care of her body.



We shall certainly not reach right conclusions about the physical
training of girls unless we rightly understand what physical training
does and does not effect, and what we desire it should effect. This
applies to all education--that our aim be defined, that we shall know
"what it is we are after," and it applies pre-eminently to the
education, both physical and mental, of girls.

Now it will be granted, in the first place, that by physical
training--whether in the form of gymnastics or games or what not--we
desire to produce a healthier and more perfectly developed body. Some
will add a stronger body, but as this term has two meanings constantly
confused, it really contains the crux of the question. Stronger may mean
stronger in the sense of resistance to disease or fatigue or strain of
any kind, or it may mean stronger in the sense of the capacity to
perform feats of strength. It being commonly assumed that vitality and
muscularity are identical, this distinction is, on that assumption,
merely academic and trivial. But as muscularity and vitality are not
identical, and have indeed very little to do with each other, and as
muscularity may even in certain conditions prejudice vitality, the
distinction is not academic but all-important. I freely assert that it
is substantially ignored by those who concern themselves with physical
training, whether of boys or girls or recruits, all the world over.

Though a woman is naturally less muscular than a man, her vitality is
higher. This seems to be a general truth of all female organisms. The
evidence is of many orders. Thus, to begin with, women live longer, on
the average, than men do. In the light of our modern knowledge of
alcohol, however, we cannot regard this fact by itself as conclusive,
since the average age attained by men is undoubtedly considerably
lowered by alcohol, and of course to a much greater extent than obtains
in the case of women. But women recover better from poisoning, such as
occurs in infectious disease, and they are far more tolerant of loss of
blood, as indeed they have to be. The same applies to loss of sleep or
food, and to injurious influences generally. These indisputable proofs
of superior vitality co-exist with much inferior muscularity, and are
conclusive on the point. If men would make observations among themselves
and think for a moment, they would soon perceive how foolish they are in
crediting the assumptions of the strong men who so successfully persuade
the public that the great thing is for a man to have big muscles. Men,
muscular by nature, and still more so by nurture, are often in point of
fact really weak compared with much less muscular men who, though they
cannot put forth so much mechanical energy at a given moment, can yet
endure fifty times the fatigue or stress or poisoning of any order.
From the point of view of any sound physiology there is no comparison at
all between the absurd strong man and the slight Marathon runner of
small muscles but splendid vitality. If we are to test vitality in
muscular terms at all--that in itself being a quite indefensible
assumption--we must do so in terms of endurance, and not in terms of
horse power or ass power, at any given moment.

If, then, vitality be our aim in physical training, and not muscularity
as such, nor in any degree except in so far as it serves vitality, it is
plain that we shall to some extent reconsider our methods.

Pre-eminently will this apply to the girl. Just because she is now
becoming a woman, her vital energies are in no small degree pledged for
special purposes of the highest importance, from which we cannot
possibly divert them if we desire that she shall indeed become a woman.
Thus, though muscular exercise of any kind is certainly not to be
condemned, we must be cautious; for, in the first place, muscular
exercise is no end in itself; in the second, the production of big
muscles by exercise is no end in itself; and in the third place, all
muscular exercise is expenditure of energy in those outward directions
which are not characteristic of womanhood, and which must always be
subordinated to those interests that are.

At this period of which we are speaking there are constructions of the
most important kind going on in the girl's body, compared with which the
construction of additional muscular tissue is of much less than no
importance. These building-up processes are, we know, characteristic of
the woman. Their right inception is a matter of the greatest importance.
They involve the actual accumulation of food material and the building
up of it into gland cells and other highly organized tissues upon which
complete womanhood depends. These all-important concerns are prejudiced
by excessive external expenditure, and thus the care necessary for the
boy at puberty is a thousandfold more necessary for the girl, though the
obvious changes in her appearance and her voice may be much less marked.
Greater and more costly constructions are afoot in her case than her
brother's, grossly though these facts are at present ignored in what we
are pleased to call education, both physical and mental.

If we are to decide what kinds of physical exercise will be most
desirable, we must come to some conclusion as to what is the object of
our labours, it being granted that muscular activity and the making of
big muscles are not ends in themselves. The answer to this question is
to be found in what I have elsewhere called the new asceticism.

In tracing the history of animal progress, we find that it coincides
with and has consisted in the emergence of the psychical and its
predominance over the physical. The history of progress is the history
of the evolving nervous system. Muscles are the servants of the nervous
system. In man progress has reached its highest phase in that the
nervous system, which at first was merely a servant of the body, has
become the essential thing, so that the brain is the man. The old
asceticism was at least right in regarding the soul as all-important,
though it was utterly wrong in considering the interests of soul and
body to be entirely antagonistic, and in teaching that for the elevation
of the soul we must outrage, mutilate, and deny the body. The new
asceticism accepts the first principle of the old, but bases its
practice on a truer conception of the relations between mind and body.
The greater part of the body is composed of muscles, and it is with
muscles that physical training is concerned. On our principles, then,
any system of physical training worth a straw must have primary
reference to the brain, since the body, including the muscles, is only
the servant of the ego or self which resides in the brain. For this
reason, if for no other, the development of muscle as an end in itself
is beneath human dignity; the value of a muscle lies not in its size or
strength, but in its capacity to be a useful and skilful agent of the

The exceptions to this rule are furnished by precisely those muscles
which the usual forms of physical training and gymnastics ignore and
subordinate to the development of the muscles of the limbs. It does
matter very much that man or woman shall have the heart, which is the
most important muscle in the body, and the muscles of respiration in
good order. These muscles are directly necessary for life, and are
therefore servants of the brain, even though they are not in any
appreciable degree the direct agents of its purposes. Any kind of
physical exercise then which, while developing the muscles of the arm,
for instance, throws undue strain upon the heart or involves the
fixation of the chest for a considerable period--as occurs in various
feats of strength, whether with weights or upon bars or the like--is
_ipso facto_ to be condemned. It is now recognized that in the training
of soldiers much harm is often done in this way to the essential
muscles, while others, more conspicuous but of relatively no importance,
are being developed.

But before we consider in detail what kinds of exercise and with what
accompaniment may be permitted for the muscles of the limbs, it is well
that we should agree upon some method of deciding as to the quantity of
such exercise. We cannot go by such measures as hours per week, for
individuals vary. We must find some criterion which will guide us for
each individual. The pendulum has swung in this regard from one extreme
to another. Both extremes were adopted and permitted because in our
guidance of girlhood we ignored facts of physiology, and, notably,
because educators had not a clear conception of what it was that they
desired to attain. By the consent of all who have given any attention to
the subject, the great educational reformer of the nineteenth century
was Herbert Spencer, and not the least of his services was his
liberation of girls from the extraordinary _regimen_ of fifty years ago.
There needs no excuse for a long quotation from the volume in which,
just short of half a century ago, Herbert Spencer discussed this matter.
Thereafter we may observe how the pendulum has swung to the other

     "To the importance of bodily exercise most people are in some
     degree awake. Perhaps less needs saying on this requisite of
     physical education than on most others; at any rate, in so far as
     boys are concerned. Public schools and private schools alike
     furnish tolerably adequate play-grounds; and there is usually a
     fair share of time for out-door games, and a recognition of them as
     needful. In this, if in no other direction, it seems admitted that
     the promptings of boyish instinct may advantageously be followed;
     and, indeed, in the modern practice of breaking the prolonged
     morning's and afternoon's lessons by a few minutes' open-air
     recreation, we see an increasing tendency to conform
     school-regulations to the bodily sensations of the pupils. Here,
     then, little need be said in the way of expostulation or

     "But we have been obliged to qualify this admission by inserting
     the clause in so far as boys are concerned. Unfortunately, the fact
     is quite otherwise with girls. It chances, somewhat strangely, that
     we have daily opportunity of drawing a comparison. We have both a
     boys' school and a girls' school within view; and the contrast
     between them is remarkable. In the one case nearly the whole of a
     large garden is turned into an open, gravelled space, affording
     ample scope for games, and supplied with poles and horizontal bars
     for gymnastic exercises. Every day before breakfast, again towards
     eleven o'clock, again at mid-day, again in the afternoon, and once
     more after school is over, the neighbourhood is awakened by a
     chorus of shouts and laughter as the boys rush out to play; and for
     as long as they remain, both eyes and ears give proof that they are
     absorbed in that enjoyable activity which makes the pulse bound and
     ensures the healthful activity of every organ. How unlike is the
     picture offered by the Establishment for Young Ladies! Until the
     fact was pointed out, we actually did not know that we had a girls'
     school as close to us as the school for boys. The garden, equally
     large with the other, affords no sign whatever of any provision for
     juvenile recreation; but is entirely laid out with prim
     grass-plots, gravel-walks, shrubs, and flowers, after the usual
     suburban style. During five months we have not once had our
     attention drawn to the premises by a shout or a laugh. Occasionally
     girls may be observed sauntering along the paths with their
     lesson-books in their hands, or else walking arm-in-arm. Once,
     indeed, we saw one chase another round the garden; but, with this
     exception, nothing like vigorous exertion has been visible.

     "Why this astonishing difference? Is it that the constitution of a
     girl differs so entirely from that of a boy as not to need these
     active exercises? Is it that a girl has none of the promptings to
     vociferous play by which boys are impelled? Or is it that, while in
     boys these promptings are to be regarded as stimuli to a bodily
     activity without which there cannot be adequate development, to
     their sisters Nature has given them for no purpose whatever--unless
     it be for the vexation of schoolmistresses? Perhaps, however, we
     mistake the aim of those who train the gentler sex. We have a vague
     suspicion that to produce a robust physique is thought undesirable;
     that rude health and abundant vigour are considered somewhat
     plebeian; that a certain delicacy, a strength not competent to more
     than a mile or two's walk, an appetite fastidious and easily
     satisfied, joined with that timidity which commonly accompanies
     feebleness, are held more lady-like. We do not expect that any
     would distinctly avow this; but we fancy the governess-mind is
     haunted by an ideal young lady bearing not a little resemblance to
     this type. If so, it must be admitted that the established system
     is admirably calculated to realize this ideal. But to suppose that
     such is the ideal of the opposite sex is a profound mistake. That
     men are not commonly drawn towards masculine women is doubtless
     true. That such relative weakness as asks the protection of
     superior strength is an element of attraction we quite admit. But
     the difference thus responded to by the feelings of men is the
     natural, pre-established difference, which will assert itself
     without artificial appliances. And when, by artificial appliances,
     the degree of this difference is increased, it becomes an element
     of repulsion rather than of attraction.

     "'Then girls should be allowed to run wild--to become as rude as
     boys, and grow up into romps and hoydens!' exclaims some defender
     of the proprieties. This, we presume, is the ever-present dread of
     schoolmistresses. It appears, on inquiry, that at Establishments
     for Young Ladies noisy play like that daily indulged in by boys is
     a punishable offence; and we infer that it is forbidden, lest
     unladylike habits should be formed. The fear is quite groundless,
     however. For if the sportive activity allowed to boys does not
     prevent them from growing up into gentlemen, why should a like
     sportive activity prevent girls from growing up into ladies? Rough
     as may have been their play-ground frolics, youths who have left
     school do not indulge in leap-frog in the street, or marbles in the
     drawing-room. Abandoning their jackets, they abandon at the same
     time boyish games, and display an anxiety--often a ludicrous
     anxiety--to avoid whatever is not manly. If now, on arriving at the
     due age, this feeling of masculine dignity puts so efficient a
     restraint on the sports of boyhood, will not the feeling of
     feminine modesty, gradually strengthening as maturity is
     approached, put an efficient restraint on the like sports of
     girlhood? Have not women even a greater regard for appearances than
     men? and will there not consequently arise in them even a stronger
     check to whatever is rough or boisterous? How absurd is the
     supposition that the womanly instincts would not assert themselves
     but for the rigorous discipline of schoolmistresses!

     "In this, as in other cases, to remedy the evils of one
     artificiality, another artificiality has been introduced. The
     natural, spontaneous exercise having been forbidden, and the bad
     consequences of no exercise having become conspicuous, there has
     been adopted a system of factitious exercise--gymnastics. That this
     is better than nothing we admit, but that it is an adequate
     substitute for play we deny."

The pendulum has indeed swung across from those days to these of the
hockey-girl, not to mention the girl who throws a cricket-ball and bowls
very creditably overhand. There can be no doubt that this state of
things is vastly better than that was, yet, as one has endeavoured to
insist, this also has its risks. Apart from the question as to the
particular game or form of exercise, we must be guided in each case by
the first signs of anything approaching undue strain. We must look out
for lack of energy, for a lessening of joy in the exercise and of
spontaneous desire therefor. Fatigue that interferes with appetite,
digestion, or sleep is utterly to be condemned.

_The Specific Criterion._--Such criteria apply, of course, equally to
either sex, though it is more important to be on the look-out for them
in the case of the developing girl. But in her case there is another
criterion, which is of special importance, because it concerns not only
her development as an individual, but her development as a woman. That
criterion is furnished us by the menstrual function. It may safely be
said that that exercise is excessive and must be immediately curtailed
which leads to the diminution of this function, much more to its
disappearance. I would, indeed, urge this as a test of the highest
importance, always applicable to whatever circumstances. Defect in this
respect should never be looked upon lightly; it may, indeed, be a
conservative process, as in cases of anæmia, but the cause which
produces such an effect is always to be combated.

_The Kinds of Exercise._--Given, then, this most important test as to
the quantity of exercise of whatever kind--a test which indeed applies
no less to mental exercise--we may pass on to consider the kinds of
exercise best suited for the girl, it being premised that any one of
them, however good in itself and in moderation, is capable of being
pursued to excess, and that the danger of this is specially noticeable
in the case of the girl, because, as we have seen, the effects of excess
are more serious in her case, and also because girls are very apt to
take things up with immense keenness, and sometimes, in even greater
degree than their brothers, to devote themselves too much to the
competitive aspect of things. The girl should certainly be content to
play a game for the joy of it, and be scarcely less happy to lose than
to win if her side has played the game and made a good fight of it. The
competitive element is excessive in almost all sports to-day, and it is
especially to be deplored in the games of girls, who are so liable to
overstrain and so apt to take trifles to heart.

In what has been already said and in the end of our quotation from
Herbert Spencer, it will be evident that purposeful games rather than
exercises are to be commended. There is indeed no comparison for a
moment possible between Nature's method of exercise, which is obtained
through play, and the ridiculous and empty parodies of it which men
invent. The truth is that Nature is aiming at one thing, and man at
another. Man's aim, for reasons already exploded, is the acquirement of
strength; Nature's is the acquirement of skill. It is really nervous
development that Nature is interested in when she appears to be
persuading the young thing to exercise its muscles. Man notices only the
muscular contractions involved, thinks he can improve upon Nature, and
invents absurdities like dumb-bells.

It is the nervous system by which we human beings live. Our voluntary
muscles are agents of the will, agents of purpose; and while strength is
a trifle, skill is always everything. We know now that it is impossible
to carry out any human purpose by the contraction of one muscle or even
one group of muscles. Even when we merely bend the arm we are doing
things with the muscles which extend it, and when we raise it sideways
we are modifying the whole trunk in order to preserve the balance. We
have only to watch the clumsiness of an infant or a small child to
realize how much skill the nervous system has to acquire. This skill may
be mainly expressed as co-ordination, the balanced use of many muscles
for a purpose and, as a rule, their co-ordinated use with one of the
senses, more especially vision, but also touch and hearing.

This is the first of the physiological reasons why games and play of all
sorts are so incomparably superior to the use of dumb-bells and
developers, where movement and increase of muscular strength are made
ends in themselves; whereas in play we are making relations with the
outside world, responding to stimuli, educating our nerve muscular
apparatus as an instrument of human purpose.

It is in part true to suppose that the play of children expresses an
overflow of superfluous energy, but a still deeper and much more
important conception of play is that which recognizes in it Nature's
method of nervous development, the attainment of control and
co-ordination, the capacity of quick and accurate response to
circumstances and obedience to the will. Compare, for instance, the girl
who has played games, avoiding danger as she crosses the road, with
another whose youth has been made dreary by dumb-bells. It may freely be
laid down, then, that systems of physical training are good in
proportion as they approximate to play, and bad in proportion as they
depart from it; and, further, that the very best of them ever devised is
worthless in comparison with a good game. This evidently does not refer
to, say, special exercises for a curved back.

However, systems of physical training we shall still have with us for a
long time to come, and perhaps the mere difficulty of finding room for
games makes them necessary, though it may be noted in passing that the
last touch of absurdity is accorded to our frequent preference for
exercises over games when we conduct the exercises in foul air and
prefer them to games in the open air. If exercises we are to have, then
they must at least be modelled so as to come as near as possible to play
in the two essentials. The first of these has already been
mentioned--the preference of skill to strength as an object.

The second, though less obvious, is no less important. What is the most
palpable fact of the child's play? It is enjoyment. We have done for
ever with the elegant morality which grown-up people, very particular
about their own meals, used to impose upon children, and which was based
upon the idea that everything which a child enjoys is therefore bad for
it. We are learning the elements of the physiology of joy. We find that
pleasure and boredom have distinct effects upon the body and the mind,
notably in the matter of fatigue. Careful study of fatigue in school
children has shown that the hour devoted to physical exercise of the
dreary kind under a strict disciplinarian may, instead of being a
recreation, actually induce more fatigue than an hour of mathematics.
If, then, we cannot allow the girl to play, but must give her some kind
of formal exercise, we must at least make it as enjoyable as possible.
There are Continental systems of gymnastics which do not believe in the
use of music because, forsooth, they find that the music diminishes the
disciplinary effect! Such an argument dismisses those who adduce it from
the category of those entitled to have anything to do with young people.
They should devote themselves to training the rhinoceros, these
martinets; the human spirit is not for their mauling. In point of fact
one of the redeeming features of physical training is the use of music,
which goes far to supply the pleasure that accrues from the natural
exercise of games, and greatly reduces the fatigue of which the risk is
otherwise by no means inconsiderable. We leave this subject, then, for
the nonce, having arrived at the conclusion that the objects of
physical training are skill and pleasure rather than strength and
discipline; that the system is best which is nearest to play; and that
the use of music is specially to be commended.

But, as we have said, artificial physical training at its best is not to
be compared with the real thing; more especially if, as is usually the
case, the real thing has the advantage of being practised in pure air.
We must ask ourselves, then, what sort of games are suitable for girls,
and to what extent, if at all, mixed games are desirable. We must first
remind ourselves of the proviso that any game may be played to excess,
whether physical excess or mental excess, the risk of both of these
being involved when the competitive element is made too conspicuous. If
this risk be avoided there is no objection, perhaps, to even such a
vigorous game as hockey in moderation for girls. The present writer has
observed mixed hockey for many years, and finds it impossible to believe
that the game should be condemned for girls, but he has always seen it
under conditions where the game was simply played for the fun of the
thing, and that makes a great difference.

It is certainly open to argument whether, in such a game as hockey, it
is not better, on the whole, that girls shall play by themselves, but,
as has been urged elsewhere, there is a good deal to be said for the
meeting of the sexes elsewhere than in the artificial conditions of the
ball-room, since these mixed games widen the field of choice for
marriage and provide far more natural and desirable conditions under
which the choice may be made. There can be no question that an epoch has
been created by the freedom of the modern girl to play games, and to
enjoy the movements of a ball, as her brother does. The very fact of her
pleasure in games indicates, to those who do not believe that the body
is constructed on essentially vicious principles, that they must be good
for her. The mere exercise is the least of the good they do. The open
air counts for more, as does the development of skill, and the girl's
opportunity of sharing in that moral education which all good games
involve and which there is no need to insist upon here. Amongst the many
things alleged against woman as natural defects by those who have never
for a moment troubled to distinguish between nature and nurture, are an
incapacity to combine with her sisters, petty dishonour in small things,
a blindness to the meaning of "playing the game." It is similarly
alleged by such persons against the lower classes that they also do not
know how to "play the game," and do not understand the spirit of true
sportsmanship, preferring to win anyhow rather than not at all. But
those who conduct the Children's Vacation Schools in London--that
remarkable arrangement by which children are damaged in school time and
educated in holidays--are aware that in a short time children of any
class can be taught to "play the game," if only they can be made to see
it from that point of view. So also women can learn to combine, to be
unselfish, to avoid petty deceits even in games, to obey a captain and
to accept the umpire's decision, when they are taught, as we all have
to be taught, that that is playing the game.

These immense virtues of the new departure must by no means be forgotten
in the course of the reaction which is bound to occur, and is indeed
necessary, against the contemporary practice of trying to demonstrate
that boys and girls are substantially identical. He who pleads for the
golden mean is always abused by extremists of both parties, but is
always justified in the long run, and this is a case where the golden
mean is eminently desirable, being indeed vital, which is much more than
golden. Safety is to be found in our recognition of elementary
physiological principles, assuming from the first that though it is not
difficult to turn a girl into something like a boy, it is not desirable;
and especially in attending carefully, in the case of each individual,
to the indications furnished by that characteristic physiological
function, interference with which necessarily imperils womanhood.

The organism is a whole; it reacts not only to physical strain but to
mental strain. There are parts of the world, including a country no less
distinguished as a pioneer of education than Scotland, where serious
mental strain is now being imposed upon girls at this very period of the
dawn of womanhood, when strain of any kind is especially to be deplored.
Utterly ignoring the facts of physiology, the laws and approximate dates
of human development, official regulations demand that at just such ages
as thirteen, fourteen, and fifteen large numbers of girls--and picked
girls--shall devote themselves to the strain of preparing for various
examinations, upon which much depends. Worry combines to work its
effects with those of excessive mental application, excessive use of the
eyes at short distances, and defective open-air amusement. The whole
examination system is of course to be condemned, but most especially
when its details are so devised as to press thus hardly upon girlhood at
this critical and most to be protected period. Many years ago Herbert
Spencer protested that we must acquaint ourselves with the laws of life,
since these underlie all the activities of living beings. The time is
now at hand when we shall discover that education is a problem in
applied biology, and that the so-called educator, whether he works
destruction from some Board of Education or elsewhere, who knows and
cares nothing about the laws of the life of the being with whom he
deals, is simply an ignorant and dangerous quack.

What has been said about the reaction against excess in the physical
education of girls applies very forcibly to excess in their mental
education. We are undoubtedly coming upon a period when more and more
will be heard of the injurious consequences of such ill-timed
preparation for stupid examinations as has been referred to; and there
will be not a few to sigh for the return to the bad old days which a
certain type of mind always calls good. Here, again, we must find the
golden mean, recognizing that the danger lies in excess, and especially
in ill-timed excess. We shall further discover that if we desire a girl
to become a woman, and not an indescribable, we must provide for her a
kind of higher education which shall take into account the object at
which we aim. It will be found that there are womanly concerns, of
profound importance to a girl and therefore to an empire, which demand
no less of the highest mental and moral qualities than any of the
subjects in a man's curriculum, and the pursuit of which in reason does
not compromise womanhood, but only ratifies and empowers it.

_Muscles worth Developing._--When men and women are carefully compared,
it is found that women, muscularly weaker as a whole, are most notably
so as regards the arms, the muscles of respiration, and the muscles of
the back. The muscles of the legs, and especially of the thighs, are
relatively stronger. In these facts we can find some practical guidance.
The muscles of all the limbs may be left comparatively out of account;
whether naturally weak or naturally strong they are of subordinate
importance. On the other hand, it is always worth while to cultivate the
muscles of respiration, as it is always worth while to keep the heart in
good order. Again, the weakness of the muscles of the back, and more
especially in the case of the growing girl, is not a thing to be
accepted as readily as the weakness of the biceps and the forearm
muscles. Various observers find a proportion of between 85 per cent. and
90 per cent. of those suffering from lateral curvature of the spine to
be girls, the great majority of these cases occurring between the ages
of ten and fifteen. Everywhere it is our duty to prevent such cases, and
everywhere physical training will find only too abundant opportunities
for endeavouring to correct them. It may be doubted perhaps whether we
may rightly follow Havelock Ellis in attributing woman's liability to
backache to the relative weakness of the muscles of the back, for we
know how often this symptom depends upon not muscular but internal
causes peculiar to woman. On the other hand, we may certainly follow
Havelock Ellis when he says, regarding this lateral curvature of the
spine, from which so many girls and women suffer: "There can be no doubt
that defective muscular development of the back, occurring at the age of
maximum development, and due to the conventional restraints on exercises
involving the body, and also to the use of stays, which hamper the
freedom of such movements, is here a factor of very great importance."
We shall not here concern ourselves with the details of practice, but
the principle is to be laid down that perhaps second only in importance
to the right development of the heart and the muscles of respiration is
that of the muscles of the back.

Always, however, we are apt to judge by the obvious and to value it
unduly. Nature makes the biceps and the muscles of the forearm naturally
the weakest in woman compared with man, but it is just the bending of
the elbow that makes a good show on a horizontal bar or rope; and so we
devote too much time to the training of these muscles in our girls, with
the results which make such creditable exhibitions at the end of the
session, while we forget the muscles of the back, the right development
of which is far more valuable, but does not lend itself to display.

In this connection it is to be added last, but not least, that special
importance attaches in woman to those muscles which one may perhaps call
the muscles of motherhood. It is common experience amongst physicians to
find the appropriate muscularity defective at childbirth in women the
muscles of whose limbs may have been very highly developed. Thus Dr.
Havelock Ellis, amongst other evidence, quotes that of a physician, who
says: "In regard to this interesting and suggestive question, it does
seem a fact that women who exercise all their muscles persistently meet
with increased difficulties in parturition. It would certainly seem that
excessive development of the muscular system is unfavourable to
maternity. I hear from instructors in physical training, both in the
United States and in England, of excessively tedious and painful
confinements among their fellows--two or three cases in each instance
only, but this within the knowledge of a single individual among his
friends. I have also several such reports from the circus--perhaps
exceptions. I look upon this as a not impossible result of muscular
exertion in women, the development of muscle, muscular attachments, and
bony frame leading to approximation to the male."

In his lectures ten years ago, the distinguished obstetrician, Sir
Halliday Croom, now professor of Midwifery in the University of
Edinburgh, used to criticise cycling on this score, not as regards its
development of the muscles of the lower limbs, but as tending towards
local rigidity unfavourable to childbirth. It may be doubted, perhaps,
whether longer and wider experience of cycling by women warrants this
criticism, but it is probably worth noting.

On the other hand, while exercise of certain muscles may interfere
obscurely or mechanically with motherhood, we are to remember that the
muscles of the abdomen are indeed the accessory muscles of motherhood,
and therefore specially to be considered. According to Mosso of Turin,
it is only in modern times that civilized woman shows the comparative
weakness of these muscles which is indeed commonly to be found. There is
verily no sign of it in the Venus of Milo, as any one can see. That
statue represents very highly developed abdominal muscles in a woman
less notably muscular elsewhere. The muscles lie near the skin, the
disposition of fat being very small, yet the woman is distinctively
maternal in type, and every kind of æsthetic praise that may be showered
upon the statue may be supplemented by the encomiums of the physiologist
and the worshipper of motherhood. It is highly desirable that, in
physical training to-day, attention should be paid to the development of
the abdominal muscles. Holding the abdomen together by means of a corset
may serve its own purpose, but does less than nothing in the crisis of
motherhood. The corset indeed conduces to the atrophy of the most
important of all the voluntary muscles for the most important crisis of
a woman's life. "Some of the slower Spanish dances" are commended for
the development of the abdominal muscles, but one would rather recommend
swimming, the abandonment of the corset, and, if the gymnasium is to be
used, some of the various exercises which serve these muscles, however
little they may serve to exploit the apparatus of the gymnasium when
visitors are invited.

There is no occasion in the present volume to discuss in detail any such
thing as a course of physical exercises, but it is a pleasure, and, for
the English reader, a convenience to direct attention to the Syllabus of
Physical Exercises for Public Elementary Schools, issued by the English
Board of Education in 1909.[7] After nearly forty years of folly, the
dawn is breaking in our schools. It is evident that the Board of
Education has followed the best medical advice. Indeed, now that medical
knowledge is actually represented upon the Board, and represented as it
is, there is no need to go far. The principles which have been laid down
in previous pages are abundantly recognized in this admirable syllabus.
The exercises recommended for the nation's children are based upon the
Swedish system of educational gymnastics. But it is fortunately
recognized that that system requires modification, since "freedom of
movement and a certain degree of exhilaration are essentials of all true
physical education. Hence it has been thought well not only to modify
some of the usual Swedish combinations in order to make the work less
exacting, but to introduce games and dancing steps into many of the
lessons." "The Board desire that all lessons in physical exercises in
public elementary schools should be thoroughly enjoyed by the children."
"Enjoyment is one of the most necessary factors in nearly everything
which concerns the welfare of the body, and if exercise is distasteful
and wearisome, its physical as well as its mental value is greatly
diminished." An interesting paragraph on music recognizes its value in
avoiding fatigue, but underestimates, perhaps, the desirability of
including music for use at later years as well as for infant classes.

The syllabus contains admirably illustrated exercises in detail. They
are earnestly to be commended to the reader who is responsible for
girlhood, and notably to those who are interested in the formation and
conducting of girls' clubs. The syllabus is excellent in the attention
paid to games, in the commendation of skipping and of dancing. The
following quotation well illustrates the spirit of wisdom which is at
last beginning to illuminate our national education:--"The value of
introducing dancing steps into any scheme of physical training as an
additional exercise especially for girls, or even in some cases for
boys, is becoming widely recognized. Dancing, if properly taught, is one
of the most useful means of promoting a graceful carriage, with free,
easy movements, and is far more suited to girls than many of the
exercises and games borrowed from boys. As in other balance exercises,
the nervous system acquires a more perfect control of the muscles, and
in this way a further development of various brain centres is brought
about.... Dancing steps add very greatly to the interest and recreative
effect of the lesson, the movements are less methodical and exact, and
are more natural; if suitably chosen they appeal strongly to the
imagination, and act as a decided mental and physical stimulus, and
exhilarate in a wholesome manner both body and mind."

Plainly, our educators have begun to be educated since 1870.

Of course, there is dancing and dancing. The real thing bears the same
relation to dancing as it is understood in Mayfair, as the music of
Schubert does to that of Sousa. The ideal dancing for girls is such as
that illustrated by the children trained by Miss Isadora Duncan. Some of
these girls were seen for a short time at the Duke of York's Theatre in
London not long ago, and the American reader, rightly proud of Miss
Duncan, should not require to be told what she has achieved. Just as we
are learning the importance of games and play, so that a syllabus issued
by the Board of Education instructs one how to stand when "giving a
back" at leap-frog, so also we shall learn again from Nature that
dancing of the natural and exquisite kind, never to be forgotten or
confused with imitations by any one who has seen Miss Duncan's children,
must be recognized as a great educative measure--educative alike of
mind, body, ear, and eye, and better worth while for any girl of any
rank than volumes of fictitious history concocted by fools concerning

_Girls' Clubs._--Allusion has been made to girls' clubs, and one may be
fortunate enough to have some readers who may feel inclined to partake
in the splendid work which may be done by this means. It requires high
qualities and a certain amount of expert knowledge. Much of the latter
can be obtained from the little book recommended above. For the rest, it
is worth while briefly to point out what the girls' club may effect, and
why it is so much needed.

It has been insisted that puberty is a critical age because it means the
dawn of womanhood. It is critical in both sexes, not only for the body
but also for the mind. It is now that the intellect awakes; it is now
that the real formation of character begins. We often talk about spoilt
children at three or four, but any kind of making or marring of
character at such ages can be undone in a few weeks or less--that is, in
so far as it is an effect of training and not of nature that we are
dealing with. The real spoiling or making is at that birth of the adult
which we call puberty. During adolescence the adult is being made, and
everything matters for ever. This is true of physique, of mind, and of
character. The importance of this period is recognized by modern
churches in their rite of Confirmation, and it was recognized by ancient
religions, by Greeks and by Romans. Our national appreciation of it is
expressed by our devotion of vast amounts of money and labour to the
child, until the all-important epoch is reached, when we wash our hands
of it. We educate away, for all we are worth, when what is mainly
required is plenty of good food and open air; and we have done with the
matter when the age for real education arrives. In time to come our
neglect of adolescence in both sexes, more especially in girls, will be
marvelled at, and many of the evils from which we suffer will cease to
exist because the fatal and costly economy of the practical man is
dismissed as a delusion and a sham, and it is perceived that whether for
the saving of life or for the saving of money, adolescence must be cared

Meanwhile, it behoves private people who care about these things to do
what they can. If they rightly influence but ten girls, it was well
worth doing. The girls' club is a very inexpensive mode of social
activity. Practically the only substantial item of expenditure is the
hire of a gymnasium, say for two evenings in a week. The girls' dresses
can be made at home at quite a trivial cost. The primary attraction
would be the gymnasium. It must, of course, contain a piano, not
necessarily one on which Pachmann would play, but a piano nevertheless.
There is also required a pianist, not necessarily a Pachmann. Two girls
are better than one to run such a club. They will not find it difficult
to obtain material to work upon. They must acquire at a Polytechnic, or
perhaps they have acquired themselves at school, some knowledge of how
to conduct the work and play of the gymnasium. It will depend upon the
conductors of the club how far its virtues extend. Much elementary
hygiene may be taught as well as practised, and if it confine itself
only to matters of ventilation, clothing, care of the teeth and feet, it
is abundantly worth while. It is often possible to get medical men or
women to come and talk to the girls, and in the best of these clubs
there will be some more or less conscious and overt preparation in one
way and another for matters no less momentous alike for the individual
and the race than marriage and motherhood.

_Girls' Clothing._--There is little good to be said about much of the
clothing of girls and women. All clothing should of course be loose, on
grounds which have been fully gone into in the previous volume on
personal hygiene. A woman's headgear is perhaps too often the only
article of her dress which conforms to this rule. It is good that the
stimulant effect of air, and air in motion, upon the skin should be as
widely extended as is compatible with sufficient warmth and decency.
Thus most women wear far too many clothes, apart from the question of
tightness. A woman handicaps herself seriously as compared with a man,
in that, while she is much less muscular, her clothes are often so much
heavier. All this applies with great force to girls. The following
quotation from the syllabus referred to above is worth making:--

     "_A Suitable Dress for Girls._--A simple dress for girls suitable
     for taking physical exercises or games consists of a tunic, a
     jersey or blouse, and knickers. The tunic and knickers may be made
     of blue serge, and, if a blouse is worn, it should be made of some
     washing material.

     The tunic, which requires two widths of serge, may be gathered or,
     preferably, pleated into a small yoke with straps passing over the
     shoulders. The dress easily slips on over the head, and the
     shoulder straps are then fastened. It should be worn with a loose
     belt or girdle. In no case should any form of stiff corset be used.

     The knickers, with their detachable washing linen, should replace
     all petticoats. They should not be too ample, and should not be
     visible below the tunic. They are warmer than petticoats and allow
     greater freedom of movement.

     Any plain blouse may be worn with the tunic, or a woollen jersey
     may be substituted in cold weather.

     With regard to the cost of such a dress, serge may be procured for
     1s. 6d. to 2s. per yard. For the tunic some 2 to 2-1/2 yards are
     usually required, and for the knickers about 1-1/2 to 2 yards. It
     may be found possible in some schools to provide patterns, or to
     show girls how to make such articles for themselves. Such a dress,
     though primarily designed for physical exercises, is entirely
     suitable for ordinary school use.

     Though it is, of course, not practicable to introduce this dress
     into all Public Elementary Schools, or in the case of all girls,
     yet in many schools there are children whose parents are both
     willing and able to provide them with appropriate clothing. The
     adoption of a dress of this kind, which is at the same time useful
     and becoming, tends to encourage that love of neatness and
     simplicity which every teacher should endeavour to cultivate among
     the girls. And as it allows free scope for all movements of the
     body and limbs, it cannot fail to promote healthy physical



In the last chapter brief reference was made to the effects of ill-timed
mental strain. Our principles have already led us to the conclusion that
there are special risks for girls involved in educational strain, and
that is, of course, equally true whatever the curriculum. But that being
granted, it is necessary to draw very special attention to a new
movement in the higher education of women which is based upon the
principle that a woman is not the same as a man; that she has special
interests and duties which require no less knowledge and skill than
those with which men are concerned. A tentative experiment in this
direction has already, we are assured, altered the whole attitude
towards life of those girls who partook in it, and there is no question
that we now see the beginning of a new epoch in the higher education of
women upon properly differentiated lines such as have been utterly
ignored in the past. I refer to the "Special Courses for the Higher
Education of Women in Home Science and Household Economics," which now
form part of the activities of the University of London at King's
College. "The main object of these courses," we are told, "is to
provide a thoroughly scientific education in the principles underlying
the whole organization of 'Home Life,' the conduct of Institutions, and
other spheres of civic and social work in which these principles are
applicable." The lecturers are mainly highly qualified women, and the
courses are extremely thorough and comprehensive. The following are the
subjects which are dealt with: economics and ethics, psychology,
biology, business matters, physiology, bacteriology, chemistry, domestic
arts, sanitary science and hygiene, applied chemistry and physics.[8]

It will be seen that there is no underrating here of the capacities of
women. The courses are not limited merely to cooking and washing, though
these are most carefully gone into. It is a far cry from them to
psychology and ethics or "A Sketch of the Historical Development of the
Household in England." One can imagine the joy with which girls, largely
nourished on the husks which constitute most of the educational
curricula of boys, will turn to a series of lectures on Child
Psychology, that deal with the general course of mental development in
the child, with interest and attention, the processes of learning,
mental fatigue and adolescence. The highest capacities of the mind in
women are not ignored when we find included a course of which the
special text-book is Spencer's "Data of Ethics." One can imagine also
that the course on the elements of general economics, with its study of
wealth and value and price, the laws of production and distribution,
may bring into being a kind of housewife who, whether or not eligible
for Parliament, would certainly be a much more desirable member thereof
than nine-tenths of the prosperous gentlemen who daily record their
opinions there upon matters they know not of. All who care at all for
womanhood or for England must rejoice in the beginnings of this revised
version of higher education for women which, for once in a way, finds
London a pioneer. We must have such courses all over the country. Every
father who can afford it must give his girls the incalculable benefit of
such opportunities. The girl thus educated will glory in her womanhood,
and will help to gain for it its right estimation and position in the

But it is to be pointed out that such courses as these, admirable though
they be, are yet not everything. The influence of our great national
deity, which is Mrs. Grundy, is apparent still. It is not specifically
recognized that the highest destiny of a woman is motherhood, though in
such courses as this motherhood will doubtless be served directly and
indirectly in many ways. There is, nevertheless, required something
more--something indeed no less than conscious, purposeful education for
parenthood. The chief obstacle in the way of this ideal is Anglo-Saxon
prudery, and, perhaps, the reader will not be persuaded that education
for parenthood is our greatest educational need to-day, more especially
for girls, until he or she has been persuaded of the magnitude of the
preventable evils which flow from our present neglect of this matter. In
the following chapter, therefore, one may point out what prudery costs
us at present, and indeed, the reader may then be persuaded that
education for parenthood, or, as it may be called, eugenic education,
is, perhaps, the most important subject that can be discussed to-day in
any book on womanhood.



Just after we had succeeded in getting the Notification of Births Act
put upon the Statute Book, the present writer occupied himself in
various parts of the country in the efforts which were necessary to
persuade local authorities to adopt the provisions of that Act.
Addressing a meeting of the clergy of Islington, he endeavoured to trace
back to the beginning the main cause of infant mortality, and
endeavoured to show that that lay in the natural ignorance of the human
mother, about which more must later be said. In the discussion which
followed, an elderly clergyman insisted that the causes had not been
traced far enough back, maternal ignorance being itself permitted in
consequence of our national prudery.

Ever since that day one has come to see more and more clearly that the
criticism was just. Maternal ignorance, as we shall see later, is a
natural fact of human kind, and destroys infant life everywhere, though
prudery be or be not a local phenomenon. But where vast organizations
exist for the remedying of ignorance, prudery indeed is responsible for
the neglect of ignorance on the most important of all subjects. Let it
not be supposed for a moment that in this protest one desires, even for
the highest ends, to impart such knowledge as would involve sullying the
bloom of girlhood. It is not necessary to destroy the charm of innocence
in order to remedy certain kinds of ignorance; nor are prudery and
modesty identical. Whatever prudery may be when analyzed, it seems
perfectly fair to charge it as the substantial cause of the ignorance in
which the young generation grows up, as to matters which vitally concern
its health and that of future generations. Let us now observe in brief
the price of prudery thus arraigned.

There is, first, that large proportion of infant mortality which is due
to maternal ignorance, as we shall see in a subsequent chapter. At
present we may briefly remind ourselves that the nation has had the
young mother at school for many years; much devotion and money have been
spent upon her. Yet it is necessary to pass an Act insuring, if
possible, that when she is confronted with the great business of her
life--which is the care of a baby--within thirty-six hours the fact
shall be made known to some one who, racing for life against time, may
haply reach her soon enough to remedy the ignorance which would
otherwise very likely bury her baby. Prudery has decreed that while at
school she should learn nothing of such matters. For the matter of that
she may even have attended a three-year course in science or technology,
and be a miracle of information on the keeping of accounts, the testing
of drains, and the principles of child psychology, but it has not been
thought suitable to discuss with her the care of a baby. How could any
nice-minded teacher care to put such ideas into a girl's head? Never
having noticed a child with a doll, we have somehow failed to realize
that Nature, her Ancient Mother and ours, is not above putting into her
head, when she can scarcely toddle, the ideas at which we pretend to
blush. Prudery on this topic, and with such consequences, is not much
less than blasphemy against life and the most splendid purposes towards
which the individual, "but a wave of the wild sea," can be consecrated.

This question of the care of babies offers us much less excuse for its
neglect than do questions concerned with the circumstances antecedent to
the babies' appearance. Yet we are blameworthy, and disastrously so,
here also. Prudery here insists that boys and girls shall be left to
learn anyhow. That is not what it says, but that is what it does. It
feebly supposes not merely that ignorance and innocence are identical,
but that, failing the parent, the doctor, the teacher, and the
clergyman--and probably all these do fail--ignorance will remain
ignorant. There are others, however, who always lie in wait, whether by
word of mouth or the printed word, and since youth will in any case
learn--except in the case of a few rare and pure souls--we have to ask
ourselves whether we prefer that these matters shall be associated in
its mind with the cad round the corner or the groom or the chauffeur who
instructs the boy, the domestic servant who instructs the girl, and with
all those notions of guilty secrecy and of misplaced levity which are
entailed; or with the idea that it is right and wise to understand
these matters in due measure because their concerns are the greatest in
human life.

After puberty, and during early adolescence, when a certain amount of
knowledge has been acquired, we leave youth free to learn lies from
advertisements, carefully calculated to foster the tendency to
hypochondria, which is often associated with such matters. Of this,
however, no more need now be said, since it scarcely concerns the girl.

It is the ignorance conditioned by prudery that is responsible later on
for many criminal marriages; contracted, it may be, with the blind
blessing of Church and State, which, however, the laws of heredity and
infection rudely ignore. Parents cannot bring themselves to inquire into
matters which profoundly concern the welfare of the daughter for whom
they propose to make what appears to be a good marriage. They desire, of
course, that her children shall be healthy and whole-minded; they do not
desire that marriage should be for her the beginning of disease, from
the disastrous effects of which she may never recover. But these are
delicate matters, and prudery forbids that they should be inquired into;
yet every father who permits his daughter to marry without having
satisfied himself on these points is guilty, at the least, of grave
delinquency of duty, and may, in effect, be conniving at disasters and
desolations of which he will not live to see the end.

Young people often grow fond of each other and become engaged, and then,
if the engagement be prolonged--as all engagements ought to be, as a
general rule--they may find that, after all, they do not wish to marry.
Yet the girl's mother, an imprudent prude, may often in this and other
cases do her utmost to bring the marriage about, not because she is
convinced that it means her daughter's highest welfare and happiness,
but because prudery dictates that her daughter must marry the man with
whom she has been so frequently seen; hence very likely lifelong
unhappiness, and worse.

Society, from the highest to the lowest of its strata, is afflicted with
certain forms of understood and eminently preventable disease, about
which not a word has been spoken in Parliament for twenty years, and any
public mention of which by mouth or pen involves serious risk of various
kinds. Here it is perhaps not necessary for us to consider the case of
the outcast, and of the diseases with which, poor creature, she is first
infected, and which she then distributes into our homes. Our present
concern is simply to point out that prudery, again, is largely
responsible for the continuance of these evils at a time when we have so
much precise knowledge regarding their nature and the possibility of
their prevention. Medical science cannot make distinctions between one
disease and another, nor between one sin and another, as prudery does.
Prudery says that such and such is vice, that its consequences in the
form of disease are the penalties imposed by its abominable god upon the
guilty and the innocent, the living and the unborn alike, and that
therefore our ordinary attitude towards disease cannot here be
maintained. Physiological science, however, knowing what it knows
regarding food and alcohol, and air and exercise and diet, can readily
demonstrate that the gout from which Mrs. Grundy suffers is also a
penalty for sin; none the less because it is not so hideously
disproportionate, in its measure and in its incidence, to the gravity of
the offence. These moral distinctions between one disease and another
have little or no meaning for medical science, and are more often than
not immoral.

It would be none too easy to show that the medical profession in any
country has yet used its tremendous power in this direction.
Professions, of course, do not move as a whole, and we must not expect
the universal laws of institutions to find an exception here. But though
they do not move, they can be moved. It is when the public has been
educated in the elements of these matters, and has been taught to see
what the consequences of prudery are, that the necessary forces will be
brought into action. Meanwhile, what we call the social evil is almost
entirely left to the efforts made in Rescue Homes and the like. Despite
the judgment of a popular novelist and playwright, it is much more than
doubtful whether Rescue Homes--the only method which Mrs. Grundy will
tolerate--are the best way of dealing with this matter, even if the
people who worked in them had the right kind of outlook upon the matter,
and even if their numbers were indefinitely multiplied. Every one who
has devoted a moment's thought to the matter knows perfectly well that
this is merely beginning at the end, and therefore all but futile. I
mention the matter here to make the point that the one measure which
prudery permits--so that indeed it may even be mentioned upon our highly
moral stage, and passed by the censor, who would probably be hurried
into eternity if M. Brieux's _Les Avariés_ were submitted to him, and
who found "Mrs. Warren's Profession" intolerable--is just the most
useless, ill-devised, and literally preposterous with which this
tremendous problem can be mocked.

This leads us to another point. It is that the means of our education,
other than the schools, are also prejudiced by prudery. Upon the stage
there is permitted almost any indecency of word, or innuendo, or
gesture, or situation, provided only that the treatment be not serious.
Almost anything is tolerable if it be frivolously dealt with, but so
soon as these intensely serious matters are dealt with seriously,
prudery protests. The consequence is that a great educative influence,
like the theatre, where a few playwrights like M. Brieux, and Mr.
Bernard Shaw, and Mr. Granville Barker, and Mr. John Galsworthy, might
effect the greatest things, is relegated by Mrs. Grundy to the plays
produced by Mr. George Edwardes and other earnest upholders of the

Publishers also, while accepting novels which would have staggered the
Restoration Dramatists, can scarcely be found, even with great labour,
for the publication of books dealing with the sex question from the most
responsible medical or social standpoints.

It is just because public opinion is so potent, and, like all other
powers, so potent either for good or for evil, that its present
disastrous workings are the more deplorable. It is not unimaginable
that prudery might undergo a sort of transmutation. As I have said
before, we might make a eugenist of Mrs. Grundy, so that she might be as
much affronted by a criminal marriage as she is now by the spectacle of
a healthy and well-developed baby appearing unduly soon after its
parents' marriage. The power is there, and it means well, though it does
disastrously ill. Public opinion ought to be decided upon these matters;
it ought to be powerful and effective. We shall never come out into the
daylight until it is; we shall not be saved by laws, nor by medical
knowledge, nor by the admonitions of the Churches. Our salvation lies
only in a healthy public opinion, not less effective and not more
well-meaning than public opinion is at present, but informed where it is
now ignorant, and profoundly impressed with the importance of realities
as it now is with the importance of appearances.

So much having been said, what can one suggest in the direction of
remedy? First, surely it is something that we merely recognize the price
of prudery. Personally, I find that it has made all the difference to my
calculations to have had the thing pointed out by the clerical critic
whose eye these words may possibly meet. It is something to recognize in
prudery an enemy that must be attacked, and to realize the measure of
its enmity. In the light of some little experience, perhaps a few
suggestions may be made to those who would in any way join in the
campaign for the education and transmutation of public opinion on these

First, we must compose ourselves with fundamental seriousness--with
that absolute gravity which imperils the publication of a book and
entirely prohibits the production of a play on such matters. There is
something in human nature beyond my explaining which leads towards
jesting in these directions. An instinct, I know, is an instinct; of
which a main character is that its exercise shall be independent of any
knowledge as to its purpose. We eat because we like eating, rather than
because we have reckoned that so many calories are required for a body
of such and such a weight, in such and such conditions of temperature
and pressure. It is not natural, so to say, just because man is in a
sense rather more than natural, that we should be provident and serious,
self-conscious, and philosophic, in dealing with our fundamental
instincts. But it is necessary, if we are to be human: and only in so
far as, "looking before and after," we transcend the usual conditions of
instinct, are we human at all.

The special risk run by those who would deal with these matters
seriously--or rather one of the risks--is that they will be suspected,
and may indeed be guilty, of a tendency to priggishness and cant. Youth
is very likely not far wrong in suspecting those who would discuss these
matters, for youth has too often been told that they are of the earth
earthy, that these are the low parts of our nature which we must learn
to despise and trample on, and youth knows in its heart that whatever
else may or may not be cant, this certainly is. So any one who proposes
to speak gravely on the subject is a suspect.

Meetings confined to persons of one sex offer excellent opportunities.
Much can be done, if the suspicion of cant be avoided, by men addressing
the meetings of men only which gather in many churches on Sunday
afternoons, and which have a healthy interest in the life of this world
and of this world to come, as well as in matters less immediate. It
seems to me that women doctors ought to be able to do excellent work in
addressing meetings of girls and women, provided always that the speaker
be genuinely a woman, rightly aware of the supremacy of motherhood.

Most of us know that it is possible to read a medical work on sex, say
in French, without any offence to the æsthetic sense, though a
translation into one's native tongue is scarcely tolerable. This
contrasted influence of different names for the same thing is another of
those problems in the psychology of prudery which I do not undertake to
analyze, but which must be recognized by the practical enemy of prudery.
It is unquestionably possible to address a mixed audience, large or
small, of any social status, on these matters without offence and to
good purpose. But certain terms must be avoided and synonyms used
instead. There are at least three special cases, the recognition of
which may make the practical difference between shocking an audience and
producing the effect one desires.

Reproduction is a good word from every point of view, but its
associations are purely physiological, and it is better to employ a word
which renders the use of the other superfluous and which has a special
virtue of its own. This is the term parenthood, a hybrid no doubt, but
not perhaps much the worse for that. One may notice a teacher of
zoology, say, accustomed to address medical students, offend an audience
by the use of the word reproduction, where parenthood would have served
his turn. It has a more human sound--though there is some sub-human
parenthood which puts much of ours to shame--and the fact that it is
less obviously physiological is a virtue, for human parenthood is only
half physiological, being made of two complementary and equally
essential factors for its perfection--the one physical and the other
psychical. Thus it is possible to speak of physical parenthood and of
psychical parenthood, and thus not only to avoid the term reproduction,
but to get better value out of its substitutes. One may be able to show,
perhaps, that in the case of other synonyms also a hunt for a term that
shall save the face of prudery may be more than justified by the
recovery of one which has a richer content. Terms are really very good
servants, if they are good terms and we retain our mastery of them. Let
any one without any previous practice start to write or speak on "human
reproduction," and on "human parenthood, physical and psychical," and he
will find that, though naming often saves a lot of thinking, as George
Meredith said, wise naming may be of great service to thought.

In these matters there is to be faced the fact of pregnancy. Here,
again, is a good word, as every one knows who has felt its force or that
of the corresponding adjective when judiciously used in the
metaphorical sense. The present writer's rule, when speaking, is to use
these terms only in their metaphorical sense, and to employ another term
for the literal sense. I should be personally indebted to any reader who
can inform me as to the first employment of the admirable phrase, "the
expectant mother." The name of its inventor should be remembered. In any
audience whatever--perhaps almost including an audience of children, but
certainly in any adult audience, whether mixed or not, medical or
fashionable, serious or sham serious--it is possible to speak with
perfect freedom on many aspects of pregnancy, as for instance the use of
alcohol, exposure to lead poisoning, the due protection at such a
period, by simply using the phrase "the expectant mother," with all its
pregnancy of beautiful suggestion. Here, again, our success depends upon
recognizing the psychical factor in that which to the vulgar eye is
purely physiological--not that there is anything vulgar about physiology
except to the vulgar eye.

For myself, the phrase "the expectant mother" is much more than useful,
though in speaking it has made all the difference scores of times. It is
beautiful because it suggests the ideal of every pregnancy--that the
expectant mother shall indeed _expect_, look forward to the life which
is to be. Her motto in the ideal world or even in the world at the
foundations of which we are painfully working, will be those words of
the Nicene creed which the very term must recall to the mind--_Expecto
resurrectionem mortuorum et vitam venturi sæculi_.

Let any one who fancies that these pre-occupations with mere language
are trivial or misplaced here take the opportunity of addressing two
drawing-rooms under similar conditions, on some such subject as the care
of pregnancy from the national point of view. Let him in the one case
speak of the pregnant woman, and so forth, and in the other of the
expectant mother. He will be singularly insensitive to his audience if
he does not discover that sometimes a rose by any other name is somehow
the less a rose. The more fools we perhaps, but there it is, and in the
most important of all contemporary propaganda, which is that of the
re-establishment of parenthood in that place of supreme honour which is
its due, even such "literary" debates as these are not out of place.

Sex is a great and wonderful thing. The further down we go in the scale
of life, whether animal or vegetable, the more do we perceive the
importance of the evolution of sex. The correctly formed adjective from
this word is sexual, but the term is practically taboo with Mrs. Grundy.
Only with caution and anxiety, indeed, may one venture before a lay
audience to use Darwin's phrase, "sexual selection." The fact is utterly
absurd, but there it is. One of the devices for avoiding its
consequences is the use of sex itself as an adjective, as when we speak
of sex problems; but the special importance of this case is in regard to
the sexual instinct, or, if the term offends the reader, let us say the
sex instinct. Here prudery is greatly concerned, and our silence here
involves much of the price of prudery. Now since the word sexual has
become sinister, we cannot speak to the growing boy or girl about the
sexual instinct, but we may do much better.

For what is this sexual instinct? True, it manifests itself in
connection with the fact of sex, but essentially that is only because
sex is a condition of human reproduction or parenthood. It is this with
which the sexual instinct is really concerned, and perhaps we shall
never learn to look upon it rightly or deal with it rightly until we
indeed perceive what the business of this instinct is, and regard as
somewhat less than worthy of mankind any other attitude towards it. Of
course there are men who live to eat, yet the instincts concerned with
eating exist not for the titillation of the palate but for the
sustenance of life; and, likewise, though there are those who live to
gratify this instinct, it exists not for sensory gratification, but for
the life of this world to come. Can we not find a term which shall
express this truth, shall be inoffensive and so doubly suitable for the
purposes of our cause?

The term reproductive instinct is often employed. It is vastly superior
to sexual instinct, because it does refer to that for which the instinct
exists; but it hints at reproduction, and though Mrs. Grundy can
tolerate the idea of parenthood, reproduction she cannot away with. We
cannot speak of it as the parental instinct, because that term is
already in employment to express the best thing and the source of all
other good things in us. Further, the sexual instinct and the parental
instinct are quite distinct, and it would be disastrous to run the
possibility of confusing them--one the source of all the good, and the
other the source of much of the evil, though the necessary condition of
all the good and evil, in the world.

For some years past, in writing and speaking, I have employed and
counselled the employment of the term "the racial instinct." This seems
to meet all the needs. It avoids the tabooed adjective, and if it fails
to allude at all to the fact of sex, who needs reminding thereof? It is
formed from the term race, which prudery permits, and it expresses once
and for all that for which the instinct exists--not the individual at
all, but the race which is to come after him. Doubtless its satisfaction
may be satisfactory for him or her, but that does not testify to
Nature's interest in individuals, but rather to her skill in insuring
that her supreme concern shall not be ignored, even by those who least
consciously concern themselves with it.

These are perhaps the three most important instances of the verbal, or
perhaps more than verbal, issues that arise in the fight with prudery.
One has tried to show that they are not really in the nature of
concessions to Mrs. Grundy, but that the terms commended are in point of
fact of more intrinsic worth than those to which she objects. Other
instances will occur to the reader, especially if he or she becomes in
any way a soldier in this war, whether publicly or as a parent
instructing children, or on any other of the many fields where the fight

It is not the purpose of the present chapter to deal with that which
must be said, notwithstanding prudery, and in order that the price of
prudery shall no longer be paid. But one final principle may be laid
down which is indeed perhaps merely an expression of the spirit
underlying the foregoing remarks upon our terminology. It is that we are
to fly our flag high. We may consult Mrs. Grundy's prejudices if we find
that in doing so we may directly serve our own thinking, and therefore
our cause. This is very different from any kind of apologizing to her.
All such I utterly deplore. We must not begin by granting Mrs. Grundy's
case in any degree. Somewhere in that chaos of prejudices which she
calls her mind, she nourishes the notion, common to all the false forms
of religion, ancient or modern, that there is something about sex and
parenthood which is inherently base and unclean. The origin of this
notion is of interest, and the anthropologists have devoted much
attention to it. It is to be found intermingled with a by no means
contemptible hygiene in the Mosaic legislation, is to be traced in the
beliefs and customs of extant primitive peoples, and has formed and
forms an element in most religions. But it is not really pertinent to
our present discussion to weigh the good and evil consequences of this
belief. Without following the modern fashion, prevalent in some
surprising quarters, of ecstatically exaggerating the practical value of
false beliefs in past and present times, we may admit that the cause of
morality in the humblest sense of that term may sometimes have been
served by the religious condemnation of all these matters as unclean,
and of parenthood as, at the best, a second best.

But for our own day and days yet unborn this notion of sex and its
consequences as unclean or the worser part is to be condemned as not
merely a lie and a palpably blasphemous one, grossly irreligious on the
face of it, but as a pernicious lie, and to be so recognized even by
those who most joyfully cherish evidence of the practical value of lies.
Whatever may have been the case in the past or among present peoples in
other states of culture than our own, no impartial person can question
that during the Christian Era what may be called the Pauline or ascetic
attitude on this matter has been disastrous; and that if the present
forms of religion are not completely to outlive their usefulness, it is
high time to restore mother and child worship to the honour which it
held in the religion of Ancient Egypt and in many another. If the mother
and child worship which is to be found in the more modern religions,
such as Christianity, is to be worth anything to the coming world it
must cease to have reference to one mother and one child only; it must
hail every mother everywhere as a Madonna, and every child as in some
measure deity incarnate. By no Church will such teaching be questioned
to-day; but if it be granted the Churches must cease to uphold those
conceptions of the superiority of celibacy and virginity which, besides
involving grossly materialistic conceptions of those states, are
palpably incompatible with that worship of parenthood to which the
Churches must and shall now be made to return.

All this will involve many a shock to prudery; to take only the instance
of what we call illegitimate motherhood, our eyes askance must learn
that there are other legitimacies and illegitimacies than those which
depend upon the little laws of men, and that if our doctrine of the
worth of parenthood be a right one it is our business in every such case
to say, "Here also, then, in so far as it lies in our power, we must
make motherhood as good and perfect as may be."

These principles also will lead us to understand how differently, were
we wise, we should look upon the outward appearances of expectant
motherhood. In his masterpiece, Forel--of all living thinkers the most
valuable--has a passage with which Mrs. Grundy may here be challenged.
It is too simple to need translating from the author's own French:[9]--

     "La fausse honte qu'out les femmes de laisser voir leur grossesse
     et tout ce qui a rapport à l'accouchement, les plaisanteries dont
     on use souvent à l'égard des femmes enceintes, sont un triste signe
     de la dégénérescence et même de la corruption de notre civilization
     raffinée. Les femmes enceintes ne devraient pas ce cacher, ni
     jamais avoir honte de porter un enfant dans leur ventre; elles
     devraient au contraire en être fières. Pareille fierté serait
     certes bien plus justifiée que celle des beaux officiers paradant
     sous leur uniforme. Les signes extérieurs de la formation de
     l'humanité font plus d'honneur à leurs porteurs que les symboles de
     sa destruction. Que les femmes s'imprègnent de plus en plus de
     cette profonde vérité! Elles cesseront alors de cacher leur
     grossesse et d'en avoir honte. Conscientes de la grandeur de leur
     tâche sexuelle et sociale, elles tiendront haut l'étendard de notre
     descendance, qui est celui de la véritable vie à venir de l'homme,
     tout en combattant pour l'émancipation de leur sexe."

This passage recalls one of Ruskin's, which is to be found in "Unto This

     "Nearly all labour may be shortly divided into positive and
     negative labour--positive, that which produces life; negative, that
     which produces death; the most directly negative labour being
     murder, and the most directly positive the bearing and rearing of
     children; so that in the precise degree in which murder is hateful
     on the negative side of idleness, in that exact degree
     child-rearing is admirable, on the positive side of idleness."

Here is the right comment upon the swaggering display of the means of
death and the hiding as if shameful of the signs of life to come. What
has Mrs. Grundy to say to this? Will she consider the propriety of
urging in future that it is murder and the means of murder, and the
organized forces of capital and politics making for murder, that must
not be mentioned before children, and must be hidden as shameful from
the eyes of men; and while a woman may still glory in her hair,
according to that spiritual precept of St. Paul: "But if a woman have
long hair it is a glory to her; for her hair is given her for a
covering," perhaps she may be permitted even to glory in her motherhood,
contemptible as such a notion would doubtless have seemed to the Apostle
of the Gentiles.



It is our first principle in this discussion that the individual exists
for parenthood, being a natural invention for that purpose and no other.
It has been shown further that this is more pre-eminently true of woman
than of man, she being the more essential--if such a phrase can be
used--for the continuance of the race. If these principles are valid
they must indeed determine our course in the education of girls. Some
incidental reference has already been made to this subject, but the
matter must be more carefully gone into here. We have seen that there
are right and wrong ways of conducting the physical training of girls,
according as whether we are aiming at muscularity or motherhood. We have
seen also that there is a thing called the higher education of women,
apparently laudable and desirable in itself, which may yet have
disastrous consequences for the individual and the race.

In a book devoted to womanhood, and written at the end of the first
decade of the twentieth century, the reader might well expect that what
we call the higher education of women would be a subject treated at
great length and with great respect. Such a reader, turning to the
chapter that professedly deals with the subject, might well be offended
by its brevity. It might be asked whether the writer was really aware of
the importance of the subject--of its remarkable history, its extremely
rapid growth, and its conspicuous success (in proving that women can be
men if they please--but this is my comment, not the reader's). Nor can
any one question that the so-called higher education of women is a very
large and increasingly large fact in the history of womanhood during the
last half century in the countries which lead the world--whither it were
perhaps not too curious to consider. Further, this kind of education
does in fact achieve what it aims at. Women are capable of profiting by
the opportunities which it offers, as we say. This is itself a deeply
interesting fact in natural history, refuting as it does the assertions
of those who declared and still declare that women are incapable of
"higher education," except in rare instances. It is important to know
that women can become very good equivalents of men, if they please.

Further, this higher education of women--and we may be content to accept
the adjective without qualification, since it is after all only a
comparative, and leaves us free to employ the superlative--may be and
often is of very real value in certain cases and because of certain
local conditions, such as the great numerical inequality of the sexes in
nearly all civilized countries. It is valuable for that proportion of
women, whatever it be, who, through some throw of the physiological
dice, seem to be without the distinctive factor for psychical
womanhood, the existence of which one has tentatively ventured to
assume. These individuals, like all others, are entitled to the fullest
and freest development of their lives, and it is well that there shall
be open to them, as to the brothers they so closely resemble,
opportunities for intellectual satisfaction and self-development.
Therefore, surely, by far the most satisfactory function of higher
education for women is that which it discharges in reference to these
women. Their destiny being determined by their nature, and irrevocable
by nurture, it is well that, though we cannot regard it as the highest,
we should make the utmost of it by means of the appropriate education.

Only because sometimes we must put up with second bests can we approve
of higher education for women other than those of the anomalous
semi-feminine type to which we have referred. At present we must accept
it as an unfortunate necessity imposed upon us by economic conditions.
So long as society is based economically, or rather uneconomically, upon
the disastrous principles which so constantly mean the sacrifice of the
future to the present, so long, I suppose, will it be impossible that
every fully feminine woman shall find a livelihood without some
sacrifice of her womanhood. This is a subject to which we must return in
a later chapter. Meanwhile it is referred to only because its
consideration shows us some sort of excuse, if not warrant, for the
higher education of woman, even though in the process of thus endowing
her with economic independence, we disendow her of her distinctive
womanhood, or at the very least imperil it; even though, more serious
still, we deprive the race of her services as physical and psychical

We have seen that there is just afoot a new tendency in the higher
education of women, and it is indeed a privilege to be able to do
anything in the way of directing public attention to this new trend. In
reference thereto, it was hinted that though this newer form of higher
education for woman is a great advance upon the old, and is so just
because it implies some recognition of woman's place in the world, yet
for one reason or another it falls short of what this present student of
womanhood, at any rate, demands. As has been hinted further, probably
those responsible for the new trend are by no means unaware that, though
their line is nearer to the right one, the direct line to the "happy
isles" has not quite been taken. But great is Mrs. Grundy of the
English, and those who devised the new scheme--one is willing to hazard
the guess--had to be content with an approximation to what they knew to
be the ideal. That is why we devoted the last chapter to the question of
prudery, inserting that between a discussion of the "higher education"
of women and the present discussion, which is concerned with the
_highest education_ of women.

Words are only symbols, but, like other symbols, they are capable of
assuming much empire over the mind. Man, indeed, as Stevenson said,
lives principally by catchwords, and though woman, beside a cot, is less
likely to be caught blowing bubbles and clutching at them, she also is
in some degree at the mercy of words. The higher education of women is
a good phrase. It appeals, just because of the fine word higher, to
those who wish women well, and to those who are not satisfied that woman
should remain for ever a domestic drudge. The phrase has had a long run,
so to say, but I propose that henceforth we should set it to compete
with another--the highest education of women. Whether this phrase will
ever gain the vogue of the other even a biased and admiring father may
well question. But if there is anything certain, having the whole weight
of Nature behind it, and only the transient aberrations of men opposed
thereto, it is that what I call the highest education of women will be
and will remain the most central and capital of society's functions,
when what is now called the higher education of women has gone its
appointed way with nine-tenths of all present-day education, and exists
only in the memory of historians who seek to interpret the fantastic
vagaries of the bad old days.

Perhaps it is well that we should begin by freeing the word education
from the incrustations of mortal nonsense that have very nearly obscured
its vitality altogether. Before we can educate for motherhood, we must
know what education is, and what it is not. We must have a definition of
it and its object; in general as well as in this particular case,
otherwise we shall certainly go wrong. Perhaps it may here be permitted
to quote a paragraph from a lecture on "The Child and the State," in
which some few years ago I attempted to express the first principles of
this matter:--

"Now, as a student of biology, I will venture to propose a definition
of education which is new, so far as I know, and which I hope and
believe to be true and important. Comprehensively, so as to include
everything that must be included, and yet without undue vagueness, I
would define education as _the provision of an environment_. We may
amplify this proposition, and say that it is the provision of a fit
environment for the young and foolish by the elderly and wise. It has
really scarcely anything in the world to do with my trying to make you
pay for the teaching to my children of dogmas which I believe, and you
deny. It neither begins nor ends with the three R's; and it does not
isolate, from that whole which we call a human being, the one attribute
which may be defined as the intellectual faculty. It is the provision of
an environment, physical, mental, and moral, for the whole child,
physical, mental, and moral. That is my _definition_ of education. Now,
what are we to say of the _object_ of education? In providing the
environment--from its mother's milk to moral maxims--for our child, what
do we seek? Some may say, to make him a worthy citizen, to make him able
to support himself; some may say, to make him fit to bear arms for his
king and country; but I will give you the object of education as defined
by the author of the most profound and wisest treatise which has ever
been written upon the subject--Plato, Locke, and Milton not forgotten.
'To prepare us for complete living,' says Herbert Spencer, 'is the
function which education has to discharge.' The great thing needed for
us to learn is how to live, how rightly to rule conduct in all
directions under all circumstances; and it is to that end that we must
direct ourselves in providing an environment for the child. _Education
is the provision of an environment, the function of which is to prepare
for complete living._"

Perhaps the only necessary qualification of the foregoing is that,
though it refers specially to the child, yet the need of education does
not end with childhood, becoming indeed pre-eminent when childhood ends.
So we may apply what has been said in the case of the girl, and we shall
find it a sure guide to the highest education of women.

First, education being the provision of an environment in the widest
sense of that very wide word, always misused when it is used less
widely, we must be sure that in our scheme we avoid the errors of past
or passing schemes which concern themselves only with some aspect of the
environment, and so in effect prepare for something much less than
complete living. It is not sufficient to provide an environment which
regards the girl as simply a muscular machine, as is the tendency, if
not actually the case, in some of the "best" girls' schools to-day; it
is not sufficient to provide an environment which looks upon the girl as
merely an intellectual machine, as in the higher education of women; it
is not sufficient to provide an environment which looks upon the girl as
a sideboard ornament, in Ruskin's phrase, such as was provided in the
earlier Victorian days. In all these cases we are providing only part of
the environment, and providing it in excess. None of them, therefore,
satisfies our definition of education, which conceives of environment
as the sum-total of all the influences to which the whole organism is
subjected--influences dietetic, dogmatic, material, maternal, and all

Who will question that, according to this conception of education, such
a thing as the higher education of women must be condemned as
inadequate? No more than a man is woman a mere intellect incarnate. Her
emotional nature is all-important; it is indeed the highest thing in the
Universe so far as we know. The scheme of education which ignores its
existence, and much more than fails to provide the best environment for
it, is condemnable. But the scheme of education which derides and
despises the emotional nature of woman, looking upon it as a weakness
and seeking to suppress it, is damnable, and has led to the
damnation--or loss, if the reader prefers the English term--of this most
precious of all precious things in countless cases.

The only right education of women must be that which rightly provides
the whole environment. The simpler our conception of woman, the more we
underrate her complexity and the manifoldness of her needs, the more
certainly shall we repeat in one form or another the errors of our

Complete living is a great phrase; perhaps not for a lizard or a
mushroom, but assuredly for men and women. Perhaps it involves more for
women even than for men; indeed it must do so if we are to adhere to our
conception of women as more complex than men, having all the
possibilities of men in less or greater measure, and also certain
supreme possibilities of their own. Whatever complete living may mean
for men, it cannot mean for women anything less than all that is implied
in Wordsworth's great line--

  "Wisdom doth live with children round her knees."

That line was written in reference to the unwisdom of a man, Napoleon,
the greatest murderer in recorded time, and I believe it to be true of
men, but it is pre-eminently true of women. There needs no excuse for
quoting from Herbert Spencer, since we have already accepted his
definition of the subject of education, a notable passage which is
perhaps at the present time the most needed of all the wisdom with which
that great thinker's book on education is filled:--

     "The greatest defect in our programmes of education is entirely
     overlooked. While much is being done in the detailed improvement of
     our systems in respect both of matter and manner, the most pressing
     desideratum, to prepare the young for the duties of life, is
     tacitly admitted to be the end which parents and schoolmasters
     should have in view; and, happily, the value of the things taught,
     and the goodness of the methods followed in teaching them, are now
     ostensibly judged by their fitness to this end. The propriety of
     substituting for an exclusively classical training, a training in
     which the modern languages shall have a share, is argued on this
     ground. The necessity of increasing the amount of science is urged
     for like reasons. But though some care is taken to fit youth of
     both sexes for society and citizenship, no care whatever is taken
     to fit them for the position of parents. While it is seen that, for
     the purpose of gaining a livelihood, an elaborate preparation is
     needed, it appears to be thought that for the bringing up of
     children no preparation whatever is needed. While many years are
     spent by a boy in gaining knowledge of which the chief value is
     that it constitutes the education of a gentleman; and while many
     years are spent by a girl in those decorative acquirements which
     fit her for evening parties, not an hour is spent by either in
     preparation for that gravest of all responsibilities--the
     management of a family. Is it that the discharge of it is but a
     remote contingency? On the contrary, it is sure to devolve on nine
     out of ten. Is it that the discharge of it is easy? Certainly not;
     of all functions which the adult has to fulfil, this is the most
     difficult. Is it that each may be trusted by self-instruction to
     fit himself, or herself, for the office of parent? No; not only is
     the need for such self-instruction unrecognized, but the complexity
     of the subject renders it the one of all others in which
     self-instruction is least likely to succeed."

If we were wise enough, therefore, we should recognize all education, in
the great sense of that word, to be _as for parenthood_. That ideal will
yet be recognized and followed for both sexes, as it has for long been
followed, consciously as well as unconsciously, by that astonishing race
which has survived all its oppressors, and is in the van of civilization
to-day as it was when it produced the Mosaic legislation. The time is
not yet when one could accept with a light heart an invitation to
lecture on fatherhood to the boys at Eton. Boys to-day are taught by
each other, and by those who give them what they call "smut jaws," that
what exists for fatherhood, and thus for the whole destiny of mankind,
is "smut." When such blasphemies pass for the best pedagogic wisdom, to
preach parenthood as the goal of all worthy education is to run the risk
of being looked upon as ridiculous. But the time will come when the
hideous Empire-wrecking Imperialisms of the present are forgotten, and
when we have a new Patriotism--which suggests, first and foremost, as
that word well may, the duty of fatherhood; and then, perhaps, "smut
jaws" will not be the phrase at Eton for discussion of those instincts
which determine the future of mankind.

But girls are our present concern, and we may indeed hope that, though
the day is still far when the motto of Eton will be education as for
fatherhood, yet the ideal of education as for motherhood may yet triumph
wherever girls are taught within even a few years to come. On all sides
to-day we see the aberrations of womanhood in a hundred forms, and the
consequences thereof. Wrong education is partly, beyond a doubt, to be
indicted for this state of things, and the right direction is so clearly
indicated by nature and by the deepest intuitions of both sexes that we
cannot much longer delay to take it.

Perhaps the reader will have patience whilst for a little we discuss the
facts upon which right education for motherhood must be based. Some may
suppose that by education for womanhood is meant simply one form or
other of instruction; say, for instance, in the certainly important
matter of infant feeding. At present, however, I am not thinking of
instruction at all, but of education--the leading forth, that is to say,
in right proportion and in right direction of the natural constituents
of the girl. If we are to be right in our methods we must have some
clear understanding of what those constituents are, and we must
therefore address ourselves now to getting, if possible, clear and
accurate notions of the material with which we have to deal; in other
words, we must discuss the psychology of parenthood. We shall perhaps
realize then that though the instruction of mothers in being is very
necessary and very important, that comes in at the end of our duty, and
that we shall never achieve what we might achieve unless we begin at the



The deeds of men and women proceed from certain radical elements of
their nature, some evidently noble, others, when looked at askew,
apparently ignoble. These elements are classed as instinctive. We are
less intelligent than we think. Reason may occupy the throne, but the
foundations upon which that throne is based are not of her making. To
change the image, reason is the pilot, not the gale or the engine. She
does not determine the goal, but only the course to that goal. We are
what our nature makes us; our likes and our dislikes determine our acts,
and we are guided to our self-determined ends by means of our
intelligence. More often, indeed, we use our intelligence merely to
justify to ourselves the likes and dislikes, the action and the
inaction, which our instinctive tendencies have determined.

Many of our natural instincts, impulses, and emotions bear only remotely
upon our present inquiry; as, for instance, the instinct of flight and
the emotion of fear, the instinct of curiosity and the emotion of
wonder, the instinct of pugnacity and the emotion of anger. Certain
others, however, are not merely radical and permanent parts of our
nature, but determine human existence, the greater part of its failures
and successes, its folly and wisdom, its history and its destiny. Two of
these--the parental and racial instincts--we must carefully consider
here, and also, very briefly, a supposed third, the filial instinct. I
am inclined to question whether such a specific entity as the filial
instinct exists at all; it is rather, I believe, a product, by
transmutation, of the parental instinct which, in its various forms and
potencies and through the tender emotion which is its counterpart in the
affective realm of our natures, is the noblest, finest, and most
promising ingredient of our constitution.

_Instinct and Emotion._--We must be sure, in the first place, that we
have a sound idea of what we mean by the word "instinct." It is absurd,
for instance, to speak of "acquiring a political instinct"--or any
other. That is the most erroneous possible use of the word. An instinct
is eminently something which cannot be "acquired"; it is native if
anything is native; as native as the nose or the backbone. Instincts may
be developed or repressed; it is the great mark of man that in him they
may even be transmuted--but _acquired_ never.

When we come to examine the laws of activity we find that, on the
application of certain kinds of stimulus, there are certain very
definite responses, and these we call instinctive. If the arm or the leg
of a sleeper be stroked or touched, or a cold breath of air blows
thereon, it will be withdrawn, and such withdrawal is what we call a
reflex action. Now, an instinctive action, as Herbert Spencer saw long
ago, is a "complex reflex action." It differs from a simple reflex, a
mere twitch, such as winking, but it is a complicated, and possibly
prolonged, action, which is, at bottom, of the nature of a reflex. One
may instance the instinct of flight, which is correlated with fear. In
crossing the street we hear "toot, toot," and we run. We do not
ratiocinate, we run. All the primary instincts of mankind act similarly.
Take, for contrast, the instinct of curiosity. Consider a child watching
a mechanical toy; the impulse of this instinct of curiosity is such that
he goes to the thing and examines it. By means of the transmutation,
which it is the prerogative of man to effect, this instinct may work out
into a lifetime devoted to the study of Nature. There is an unbroken
sequence from the interest in the unknown which we see in a kitten or a
child up to that which triumphs in a Newton or a Darwin.

Thus we begin to learn that human nature is largely a collection of
instincts, more or less correlated, and that at bottom we act on our
instincts--in accordance with certain innate predilections, likings, and
dislikings with which we were born, and which we have inherited from our
ancestors. Indissolubly associated therewith is what we call emotion.
For instance, in the exercise of the instinct of curiosity we feel a
certain emotion, which we call wonder. There is an ignoble wonder and
there is a noble wonder; but whether it be an astronomer watching the
stars, or the crowd at a cinematograph show, there exists an association
between the emotion of wonder and the instinct of curiosity. Dr.
McDougall, of Oxford, elaborated some few years ago, and has now
established, an extremely important theory of the relation between
instinct and emotion. He has shown that our emotions are correlated with
our instincts; that the emotion is the inward or subjective side of the
working of the instinct. Thus an instinct is more than a "complex reflex
action"; it is more than merely that, on hearing something, or seeing
something, certain muscles are thrown into action, because along with
the action there is emotion, and this is a natural and necessary
correlation. We should do well to carry about with us, as part of our
mental furniture, this idea of the correlation between instinct and

Now, if it be true that man is not primarily a rational animal, if he be
rather, _au fond_, a bundle, an assemblage, _an organism of instincts_,
it behoves us to recognize in ourselves and in others the primary
instincts, because from them flows all that goes to make up human
nature, whether it be good or evil. Amongst these, certainly, is the
parental instinct.

Let us first consider its development in the individual, for this bears
on the question when to begin education for motherhood. We find it very
early indeed. It is commonly asserted that the doll instinct is the
precursor, the infantile and childish form, of the parental instinct.
Some psychologists, as we have already noted, assure us that this is
wrong, that a small child will be just as content to play with anything
else as with a doll; that the child gets fond of its possession, and
that what we are really witnessing is the instinct of acquisitiveness.
The rest may reason and welcome, but those who are fathers know. We
have only to watch a child to learn that it very soon differentiates its
doll, or rather, the shapeless mass it calls its doll, from other
things. Try with your own children and see if you can get them to like
anything else as well as they like a doll. They will not. There are few
settled questions as yet in psychology, but we may certainly be sure
that the parental instinct and its associated emotion may be
unmistakably displayed as the master-passion in a child who is not yet
two years old. In a case where the possibility of imitation was excluded
I have seen a little girl adore a small baby, stroke its hands, whisper
quasi-maternal sweet nothings to it--"mother it," in short--as plainly
as I have seen the sun at noon; and there is no reason to suppose that
this deeply impressive spectacle was exceptional.

The parental instinct is connected subtly with the racial instinct; and
it is undisputed that, except in utterly degraded persons, the object of
the feelings which are associated with the racial instinct becomes the
object of the feelings which are associated with the parental instinct.
The object of the emotion of sex becomes also the object of tender
emotion. Thus "love," in its lower sense, becomes exalted by Love in the
noble sense.

There is also in us an instinct of pugnacity, which especially appears
when the working of any other instinct is thwarted. We know that the
parental instinct when thwarted, as in the tigress robbed of her whelps,
shows itself in pugnacity--even in the female, which commonly has no
pugnacity; and in the emotion of anger. It is a reasonable supposition
that the fine anger, the passion for justice, the passion against, say,
slavery or cruelty to children--that these indignations which move the
world are at bottom traceable to the workings of the outraged parental
instinct. When we have tender emotion towards a child, or towards an
animal, whatever it be, this is really the subjective side of the
working of the parental instinct. Now, tender emotion is what has made
and makes everything that is good in the individual, and in human
society. It is the basis of all morality--all morality that is real
morality--everything that permits us to hold up our heads at all, or to
hope for the future of the race. That is why the study of the parental
instinct, its correlate or source, is as important and serious as any
that can be imagined.

Let us begin by a quotation from Dr. McDougall, author of the best and
most searching account of this instinct yet written:--

     "The maternal instinct, which impels the mother to protect and
     cherish her young, is common to almost all the higher species of
     animals. Among the lower animals the perpetuation of the species is
     generally provided for by the production of an immense number of
     eggs or young (in some species of fish a single adult produces more
     than a million eggs), which are left entirely unprotected, and are
     so preyed upon by other creatures that on the average but one or
     two attain maturity. As we pass higher up the animal scale, we find
     the number of eggs or young more and more reduced, and the
     diminution of their number compensated for by parental protection.
     At the lowest stage this protection may consist in the provision of
     some merely physical shelter, as in the case of those animals that
     carry their eggs attached in some way to their bodies. But, except
     at this lowest stage, the protection afforded to the young always
     involves some instinctive adaptation of the parent's behaviour. We
     may see this even among the fishes, some of which deposit their
     eggs in rude nests and watch over them, driving away creatures that
     might prey upon them. From this stage onwards protection of
     offspring becomes increasingly psychical in character, involves
     more profound modification of the parent's behaviour, and a more
     prolonged period of more effective guardianship. The highest stage
     is reached by those species in which each female produces at a
     birth but one or two young, and protects them so efficiently that
     most of the young born reach maturity; the maintenance of the
     species thus becomes in the main the work of the parental instinct.
     In such species the protection and cherishing of the young is the
     constant and all-absorbing occupation of the mother, to which she
     devotes all her energies, and in the course of which she will at
     any time undergo privation, pain, and death. The instinct becomes
     more powerful than any other, and can override any other, even fear
     itself; for it works directly in the service of the species, while
     the other instincts work primarily in the service of the individual
     life, for which Nature cares little.... When we follow up the
     evolution of this instinct to the highest animal level, we find
     among the apes the most remarkable examples of its operation. Thus
     in one species the mother is said to carry her young one clasped in
     one arm uninterruptedly for several months, never letting go of it
     in all her wanderings. This instinct is no less strong in many
     human mothers, in whom, of course, it becomes more or less
     intellectualized and organized as the most essential constituent of
     the sentiment of parental love. Like other species, the human
     species is dependent upon this instinct for its continual
     existence and welfare. It is true that reason, working in the
     service of the egotistic impulses and sentiments, often circumvents
     the ends of this instinct and sets up habits which are incompatible
     with it. But when that occurs on a large scale in any society, that
     society is doomed to rapid decay. But the instinct itself can never
     die out save with the disappearance of the human species itself; it
     is kept strong and effective just because those families and races
     and nations in which it weakens become rapidly supplanted by those
     in which it is strong.

     "It is impossible to believe that the operation of this, the most
     powerful of the instincts, is not accompanied by a strong and
     definite emotion; one may see the emotion expressed unmistakably by
     almost any mother among the higher animals, especially the birds
     and the mammals--by the cat, for example, and by most of the
     domestic animals; and it is impossible to doubt that this emotion
     has in all cases the peculiar quality of the tender emotion
     provoked in the human parent by the spectacle of her helpless
     offspring. This primary emotion has been very generally ignored by
     the philosophers and psychologists; that is, perhaps, to be
     explained by the fact that this instinct and its emotion are in the
     main decidedly weaker in men than women, and in some men, perhaps,
     altogether lacking. We may even surmise that the philosophers as a
     class are men among whom this defect of native endowment is
     relatively common."

Dr. McDougall goes on to show how from this emotion and its impulse to
cherish and protect spring generosity, gratitude, love, true
benevolence, and altruistic conduct of every kind; in it they have their
main and absolutely essential root without which they would not be. He
argues that the intimate alliance between tender emotion and anger is
of great importance for the social life of man, for "the anger invoked
in this way is the germ of all moral indignation, and on moral
indignation justice and the greater part of public law are in the main

The reader may be earnestly counselled to acquaint himself with Dr.
McDougall's book, which, in the judgment of those best qualified,
definitely advances the science of psychology in its deepest and most
important aspects.

_The Transmutation of Instinct._--The last thing here meant by the
transmutation of instinct is that by any political alchemy it is
possible--to quote Herbert Spencer's celebrated aphorism--to get golden
conduct out of leaden instincts. But it is the mark of man, the
intelligent being, that in him the instincts are plastic, and even
capable of amazing transmutations. In the lower animals there is
instinct, but that instinct is an almost completely fixed, rigid, and
final thing. In ourselves there is a limitless capacity for the
development, the humanization of instinct along many lines, as when the
primitive infantile curiosity works out into the speculations of a
thinker. In other words, _we_ are educable, the lower animals are not,
or only within very narrow limits.

Yet in one respect the lower animals have the advantage over us. Their
instincts are often perfect. We cannot teach a cat anything about how to
look after a kitten; but parallel instincts amongst ourselves, though
not less numerous or potent, are not perfected, not sharp-cut. In the
cat there is no need for education; in woman there is eminent need for
it. Indeed it is the lack of education that is largely responsible for
our large infant mortality; not that woman is inferior to the cat, but
that, being not instinctive but intelligent, she requires education in

Human instincts in general are capable of modification; sometimes they
may take bizarre forms, and so we find that there are people without
children of their own--more commonly women--who will have twenty cats in
the house and look after them, or who will devote their whole lives to
the cause of the rat or the rabbit, or whatever it may be, while the
children of men are dying around them. These things are indications of
the parental instinct centred on unworthy objects. It is a common thing
to laugh at these aberrations--thoughtlessly, may we not say? While
orphans are to be found, we should do better if we try to bring together
the woman who needs to "mother" and the child who needs to be

Conduct is at least three-fourths of life, and the great business of
education is the direction of conduct. We have seen how modern
psychology illuminates what has been so long dark, by directing us to
our instincts as the sources of our needs, and by showing us that it is
the possibility of the education of instinct which essentially
distinguishes us from the lower animals.

We must therefore distinguish between education for motherhood and
education or instruction in motherhood. It is very important that a
woman should know the elements of infant feeding, but it is more
important that, in the first place, her whole life before she becomes a
mother--nay, even before she chooses her child's father--shall centre in
the education of her instincts for motherhood. Finding good evidence, as
we do, of the maternal instinct at a very early age, and recognizing its
importance in conduct and in the formation of ideals long before the
marriage age, we are justified in discussing the maternal instinct here
instead of postponing it, as some might argue, until after we have
discussed marriage. There is nothing which I wish to assert more
strongly than that we are radically wrong in this postponement, which is
indeed our customary practice. Partly because we are blind, partly
because of our most imprudent prudery, we ignore and pervert the due
sequence of development, but here I deliberately prefer to follow the
indications of nature, and to discuss the maternal instinct now because,
in the matter of the education of girls, this is precisely the most
important subject that can be named.

Let us now note some popular misconceptions which cumber our minds and
often interfere with the work of the reformer.

To begin with what is perhaps the oldest of these, though indeed
scarcely entitled to the appellation of popular, let us assure ourselves
once and for all that we are talking about a fact natural, innate, not
acquired. The modern criticism of ancient notions of human nature, such
as those expressed in the theologians' conception of "conscience," has
inclined some to the view that our best feelings are indeed not at all
innate. No one can for a moment analyze conscience without observing the
immense disparity between the facts and the theologians' theory. And
thus we are apt to fall into the opposite error of supposing that our
impulses towards good action are entirely the products of education,
training, public opinion, and so forth. Let the reader refer, for
instance, to such a celebrated work as John Stuart Mill's
"Utilitarianism," and it will be seen how wide of the mark it was
possible for even a great thinker to go, when his ideas of mind were
unguided by the light of evolution. Even in the greatest writer of that
time not a syllable do we find as to the parental instinct. "As is my
own belief," says Mill, "the moral feelings are not innate but
acquired." Yet we have seen convincing evidence which teaches us that
the moral feelings spring essentially from the root of the parental
instinct, without which mankind could not continue for another
generation, and than which there is nothing more fundamental and
essential in any type of human nature that can persist.

The importance of noting this can be clearly stated. We are here dealing
with something which is not for us to implant, but which is already part
of the plant, so to speak, and which it is for us to tend. Like other
innate features of mankind, its transmission from generation to
generation is notably independent of the effects of education, the
effects of use and disuse. This is a difficult thing of which to
persuade people, but it is the fact. Education, environment, training,
opportunity, habit, public opinion, social prejudice--all these and
such other influences may and do affect the maternal instinct in the
individual for good or for evil. No fact is more certain or important,
and that is precisely why we must study this instinct. But the effect
upon the individual does not involve any effect upon the native
constitution of the individual's children. From age to age the general
facts and features of the human backbone persist. We do not expect to
find notable differences between the generations in such a radical
feature of our constitution, no matter what particular habits of
posture, play, and the like we adopt. The maternal instinct is scarcely
less fundamental; it is certainly no whit less essential for the
species. It is the very backbone of our psychological constitution. Thus
it is nonsense to assert that, for instance, women are becoming less
motherly, if by this is meant that the maternal instinct is failing.
That bad education may affect it for evil no one can question, but we
must distinguish between nature and nurture. We may be perfectly
confident that so far as the _natural_ material of girl-childhood and
girlhood is concerned, there is no falling off; there will not, for
there cannot, be any falling off either in the quality or in the
quantity of the maternal instinct. On the contrary, it can, and will
later be shown that through the action of heredity this instinct will be
strengthened in the future, just in so far as motherhood becomes more
and more a special privilege of those women in whom this instinct is
strong, and who become mothers for the _only good reason_--that they
love to have children of their own.

I protest, then, against many critics, especially those who used to
raise their now silent voices in opposition to the beginnings of the
infant mortality campaign a few years ago, that we who criticize modern
motherhood and find in its defects the causes of many and great evils,
as we do, are asserting nothing whatever against the women of this day
as compared with the women of former days, so far as their natural
constitution is concerned; and if we criticize the results of bad
education, that is mainly criticism of the blindness, the stupidity, and
the carelessness of men, who are responsible for the parodies of
education and the misdirection of ideals which have so grossly
afflicted, and still afflict, childhood and girlhood in all civilized

Yet, again, there is another misconception of the maternal instinct as
it exists in our own species, which is still more serious in its
results. The argument is that, not only does the maternal instinct
exist, but it is a sure guide to its possessor, who therefore requires
no instruction--least of all at the hands of men. A woman being a woman
knows all about babies, a man being a man knows nothing. Against this
error the present writer has endeavoured to inveigh for many years past,
and it is always retorted that insistence upon the ignorance of mothers
is a very unwarrantable piece of discourtesy. It is nothing of the sort.
Native ignorance is the mark of intelligence. It is just because
instinct in us has not the perfection of detail which it has in, say,
the insects, that it is capable of that limitless modification which
shows itself in educated intelligence, and all that educated
intelligence has achieved and will yet achieve. It may be permitted to
quote from a former statement of this point:--[12]

"The mother has only the maternal instinct in its essence. That could
not be permitted to lapse by natural selection, since humanity could
never have been evolved at all if women did not love babies. But of all
details she is bereft. She has instead an immeasurably greater thing,
intelligence, but whilst intelligence can learn everything it has
everything to learn. Subhuman instinct can learn nothing, but is perfect
from the first within its impassable limits. It is this lapse of
instinctive aptitude that constitutes the cardinal difficulty against
which we are assembled. The mother cat not merely has a far less
helpless young creature to succour, but she has a far superior inherent
or instinctive equipment; she knows the best food for her kitten, she
does not give it 'the same as we had ourselves'--as the human mother
tells the coroner--but her own breast invariably. None of us can teach
her anything as to washing her kitten, or keeping it warm. She can even
play with it and so educate it, in so far as it needs education. There
are mothers in all classes of the community who should be ashamed to
look a tabby cat in the face."

The human mother has instinctive love and the uninstructed intelligence
which is the form, at once weak and incalculably strong, that instinct
so largely assumes in mankind. This cardinal distinction between the
human and all sub-human mothers is habitually ignored, it being assumed
that the mother, as a mother, knows what is best for her child. But
experience concurs with comparative psychology in showing that the human
mother, just because she is human, intelligent, which means more than
instinctive, does not know. This is the theory upon which all our
practice is to be based, and upon which the need for it mainly depends.
We must never forget the cardinal peculiarity of human motherhood, its
absolute dependence upon education, needless for the cat, needed by the
human mother in every particular, small and great, since she relies upon
intelligence alone, which is only a potentiality and a possibility until
it be educated. Educate it, and the product transcends the cat, and not
only the cat, but all other living things. As Coleridge said--

  "A mother is a mother still,
  The holiest thing alive."

Perhaps the foregoing will make it clear that to insist upon the natural
ignorance of the human mother and upon the necessity for adding
instruction to the maternal instinct, and even to make comparisons with
the cat (which are, in point of fact, quite worth making, even though
some women resent them) is in no way to depreciate or decry womanhood,
but simply to demonstrate that it is human and not animal, suffering
from the disabilities or necessities which are involved in the
possession of the limitless possibilities of mankind.

What, then, is it in our power to do; and how are we to do it? It may be
argued that if the maternal instinct is a thing which cannot be made or
acquired, our study of it has little relation to practice. But indeed it
is eminently practical.

For, in the first place, this priceless possession, this parental
instinct and tenderness, is inheritable. We know by observation amongst
ourselves that hardness and tenderness are to be found running through
families--are things which are transmissible. Let us, then, make
parenthood the most responsible, the most deliberate, the most
self-conscious thing in life, so that there shall be children born to
those who love children, and only to those who love children, to those
who have the parental instinct naturally strong, and who will, on the
average, transmit a high measure of it to their offspring. In a
generation bred on these principles--a generation consisting only of
babies who were loved before they were born--there would be a proportion
of sympathy, of tender feeling, and of all those great, abstract,
world-creating passions which are evolved from the tender emotion, such
as no age hitherto has seen.

It was necessary to insert this eugenic paragraph because it expresses
the central principle of all real reform, as fundamental and
all-important as it is unknown to all political parties, and I fear to
nearly all philanthropists as well. But, for the present, our immediate
concern is the application, if such be possible, of our knowledge of the
parental instinct to the education of girls. Being indeed an instinct it
can be neither made nor acquired, but, like every other factor of
humanity that is given by inheritance, it depends upon the conditions in
which it finds itself. Education being the provision of an environment,
there is no higher task for the educator than to provide the right
environment for the maternal instinct in adolescence. We are to look
upon it as at once delicate and ineradicable. These are adjectives which
may seem incompatible, yet they may both be verified. Any one will
testify that, in a given environment, say that of high school or
university or that of the worst types of what is called society, the
maternal instinct may then and there, and for that period, become a
nonentity in many a girl. Hence we are entitled to say that it is
delicate; much more delicate, for instance, than what we have agreed to
call the racial instinct, which is far more imperious and by no means so
easily to be suppressed.

But, on the other hand, just because this is an instinct, part of the
fundamental constitution, and not a something planted from without, it
is ineradicable. I doubt whether even in the most abandoned female
drunkard it would not be possible to find, when the right environment
was provided, that the maternal instinct was still undestroyed. One is,
of course, not speaking of that rare and aberrant variety of women in
whom the instinct is naturally weak--naturally weak as distinguished
from the atrophy induced by improper nurture.

Our business, then, having recognized, so to speak, the natural history
of this instinct, and further, having come to realize its stupendous
importance for the individual and the race, is to tend it assiduously
as the very highest and most precious thing in the girls for whom we
care. As educators we must seek to provide the environment in which this
instinct can flourish. It is a good thing to be an elder sister, not
merely because the girl has opportunities of learning the ways of babies
and the details of their needs, but for a far deeper reason. Babies do
have very detailed and urgent needs, but these can be learnt without
much difficulty, and, if necessary, at very short notice. More important
is it for the whole development of the character and for the making of
the worthiest womanhood that an elder sister is provided with an
environment in which her maternal instinct can grow and grow in grace.

Much might be said on this head as to some of our present educational
practices. The kind of educationist with whom no one would trust a
poodle for half an hour may and does constantly assume, on a scale
involving millions of children, from year to year, that all is well if
the girl be taken from home and put into a school and made to learn by
heart, or at any rate by rote, the rubbish with which our youth is fed
even yet in the great name of education: though perchance whilst she is
thus being injured in body and mind and character, she might at home be
playing the little mother, helping to make the home a home, serving the
highest interests of her parents, her younger brothers and sisters and
herself at the same time--not to mention the unborn. Such a protest as
this, however, will be little heeded. There is no political party which
cares about education or even wants to know in what it consists. The
most persistent and clever and resourceful of those parties--of which, I
fear, the Fabian Society is far too good to be representative--only half
believes in the family, and is daily, and ever with more lamentable
success, seeking to substitute for the home some collective device or
other precisely as rational as that scheme of Plato's whereby the babies
were to be shuffled so that no mother should recognize her own baby,
while the fathers, need it be said, were to be as gloriously
irresponsible as under the schemes for the endowment of motherhood.
"Socialism intervenes between the children and the parents.... Socialism
in fact is the State family. The old family of the private individual
must vanish before it, just as the old waterworks of private enterprise,
or the old gas company. They are incompatible with it." Thus Mr. H. G.

Whilst this sort of thing passes for thinking, it is a task that has
little promise in it to demand a return to the study of human nature,
and insist that only by obeying it can we command it, as Bacon said of
Nature at large. Meanwhile the madness proceeds apace; nursery-schools,
wretched parody of the nursery, are advocated at length in even Fabian
tracts, and the writer who suggests that an elder sister may be
receiving the highest kind of education in staying at home and helping
her mother, would sound almost to himself like an echo from the dead
past did he not know that neither a Plato nor a million tons of moderns
can walk through human nature or any other fact as if it were not

Whatever be our duty to the girl of the working-classes, no man can deny
the importance of performing it aright. She will become the wife of the
working-man. From her thus flows most of the birth-rate. If our
education of her is wrong, it is a very great wrong for millions of
individuals and for the whole of society. But let us look at the case of
her more fortunate sister.

The girl of the more fortunate classes is certain to be well cared for
in the matter of air and food and light and exercise. We have already
seen how this matter of exercise requires to be qualified and determined
as for motherhood--that is, unless we desire most suicidally to educate
all the most promising stocks of the nation out of existence. But now
what do we owe to her in the matter of providing the right kind of
intellectual, moral, spiritual, psychical environment? It is a pity to
flounder with so many adjectives, but nearly all the available ones are
forsworn and fail to express my meaning. Let us, however, speak of the
spiritual environment, seeking to free that word from all its lamentable
associations of superstition and cant, and to associate it rather with a
humanized kind of religion that deals with humanity as made by, living
upon, and destined for, this earth, whatever unseen worlds there may or
may not be to conquer.

It is our business, then, to provide the spiritual environment in which
the maternal instinct is favoured and seen to be supremely honourable.
If in the "best" girls' schools ideas of marriage and babies are
ridiculed, the sooner these schools be rubbed down again into the soil,
the better. There is no need to substitute one form of cant for
another, but it is possible--possible even though the head-mistress
should be a spinster, for whom physical motherhood has not been and
never will be--to incorporate in the very spirit of the school, as part
of its public opinion, no less potent though its power be not
consciously felt, the ideals of real and complete womanhood, which mean
nothing less than the consecration of the individual to the future, and
the belief that such consecration serves not only the future but also
the highest satisfaction of her best self.

If it were our present task to define and specify the details of a
school in which girls should be educated for womanhood, for motherhood,
and the future, it would not be difficult, I think, to show how the
services of painting and sculpture, of poetry and prose, should be
enlisted. A word or two of outline may be permitted.

There is, for instance, a noble Madonna of Botticelli which is supremely
great, not because of the skill of the painter's hand, nor yet the
delicacy of his eye, but because of the spirit which they express.
Botticelli speaks across the centuries, and is none other than an
earlier voice uttering the words of Coleridge, teaching that a mother is
the holiest thing alive. The master may or may not have perceived that
the Madonna was a symbol; that what he believed of one holy mother was
worth believing just in so far as it serves to make all motherhood holy
and all men servants thereof. The painter can scarcely have looked at
his model and appreciated her fitness for his purpose without realizing
that he was concerned with depicting a truth not local and unique, but
universal and commonplace. Whether or not the painter saw this, we have
no excuse for not seeing it. Copies of such a painting as this should be
found in every girls' school throughout the world.

Girls learn drawing and painting at school, and these are amongst the
numerous subjects on which the present writer is entitled to no
technical or critical opinion. But he sometimes supposes that a painting
is not necessarily the worse because it represents a noble thing, and
that it may even be a worthier human occupation to portray the visage of
a living man or woman than the play of light upon a dead wall or a dead
partridge. It might even be argued by the wholly inexpert that if the
business of art is with beauty, the art is higher, other things being
equal, in proportion as the beauty it portrays is of a higher order.
Thus in the painting of women, the ignorant commentator sometimes asks
himself in what supreme sense it was worth while for an artist to expend
his powers upon the portrait of some society fool who could pay him
twelve hundred pounds therefor; or in what supreme sense a painter can
be called an artist who prefers such a task, and the flesh-pots, to the
portrayal of womanhood at its highest. There are attributes of womanhood
which directly serve human life, present and to come--attributes of
vitality and faithfulness, attributes of body and bosom, of mind and of
feeling, which it is within the power of the great artist to portray;
and it is in worthily portraying the greatest things, and in this
alone, that he transcends the status of the decorator.

It is worth while also to refer here to sculpture; something can be
taught by its means. The Venus of Milo is not only a great work of art;
it is also a representation of the physiological ideal. Its model was a
woman eminently capable of motherhood. The corset is beyond question
undesirable from every point of view, and it may be of service by means
of such a statue as this to teach the girl's eye what are the right
proportions of the body. She is constantly being faced with gross and
preposterous perversions of the female figure as they are to be seen in
the fashion plates of every feminine journal. It is as well that she
should have opportunities of occasionally seeing something better.

A note upon the corset may not be out of place here. We know that its
use is of no small antiquity. We have lately come to learn that
civilization stepped across to Europe from Asia, using Crete as a
stepping-stone; and in frescoes found in the palace of Minos, at
Knossos, by Dr. Arthur Evans, we find that the corset was employed to
distort the female figure nearly four thousand years ago, as it is
to-day. There must be some clue deep in human nature to the persistence
of a custom which is in itself so absurd. Those who have studied the
work of such writers as Westermarck, and who cannot but agree that on
the whole he is right in the contention that each sex desires to
accentuate the features of its sex, will be prepared to accept Dr.
Havelock Ellis's interpretation of the corset. By constricting the
waist it accentuates the salience of the bosom and hips. This may simply
be an expression of the desire to emphasize sex, but it may with still
more insight be looked upon, as the latter writer has suggested, as the
insertion of a claim to capacity for motherhood. This claim is of course
unconscious, but Nature does not always make us aware of the purposes
which she exercises through us. Now, though the corset serves to draw
attention to certain factors of motherhood, in point of fact it is
injurious to that end, and is on that highest of all grounds to be
condemned. I return to the point that possibly the direct and formal
condemnation of the corset may be in some cases less effective than the
method, which must have some value for every girl, of placing before her
eyes representations of the female figure, showing beauty and capacity
for motherhood as completely fused because they are indeed one.
Constrain the girl to admit that that is as beautiful as can be, and
then ask her what she thinks the corset applied to such a figure could
possibly accomplish.

Surely the same principle applies to what the girl reads. Some of us
become more and more convinced that youth, being naturally more
intelligent than maturity, prefers and requires more subtlety in its
teaching. In addressing a meeting of men, say upon politics, a speaker's
first business is to be crude. He has no chance whatever unless he is
direct, unqualified, allowing nothing at all for any kind of
intelligence or self-constructive faculty in the minds of his hearers.
Let any one recall the catchwords, styled watchwords, of politics
during the last ten or twenty years, and he will see how men are to be

But it is all very well to treat men as fools, provided that you do not
say so--the case is different with young people, and certainly not less
with girls than with boys. Mr. Kipling, in one of those earlier moments
of insight that sometimes almost persuade us to pardon the brutality
which year by year becomes more than ever the dominant note of his
teaching, once told us of the discomfiture of a member of Parliament, or
person of that kind, who went to a boys' school to lecture about
Patriotism, and who unfurled a Union Jack amid the dead silence of the
disgusted boys. He forgot that, for once, he was speaking to an
intelligent audience, which demands something a little less crude than
the kind of thing which wins elections and makes and unmakes governments
and policies.

There is certainly a lesson here for those who are entrusted with the
supreme responsibility, so immeasurably more political than politics, of
forming the girl's mind for her future destiny. Suggestion is one of the
most powerful things in the world, but we must not forget that inverted
form of it which has been called contra-suggestion. We all know how the
first shoots of religion are destroyed on all sides in young minds by
contra-suggestion. Crude, ill-timed, unsympathetic, excessive, religious
teaching and religious exercises achieve, as scarcely anything else
could, exactly the opposite of that which they seek to attain. Thus it
is not here proposed that we should take any course at home or at
school which should have the result of making motherhood as nauseous to
the girl's mind through contra-suggestion, as it easily could be made if
we did not set to work upon judicious lines.

If we are in any measure to gain, by means of books, our end of forming
right ideals in the girl's mind, I am certain that we must not expect to
accomplish much with the help of any but very great writers. We may very
well doubt the substantial value for the purpose of anything written for
the purpose. Such books may be of value for the teacher; they may
possibly be of value in disposing of curiosity that has become
overweening or even morbid, but their value as preachments I much
question. The kind of writing upon which the young girl's mind will be
nourished in years to come is best represented by the lecture on
"Queens' Gardens" in Ruskin's "Sesame and Lilies," though in that
magnificent and immortal piece of literature there is nowhere any direct
allusion to motherhood as the natural ideal for girlhood. Yet if only
one girl in a hundred who read that lecture can be persuaded, in the
beautiful phrase to be found there, that she was "born to be love
visible," how excellent is the work that we shall have accomplished! A
chapter might well be devoted entirely to the teaching of Wordsworth
regarding womanhood. We need scarcely remind ourselves that this great
poet owed an immeasurable debt to his sister, and in lesser, though very
substantial, degree to his wife and daughters. He has left an abundance
of poetry which testifies directly and indirectly to these influences.
This poetry is not only utterly lovely as poetry; at once sane and
passionate, steadying and thrilling, but it is also not to be surpassed,
I cannot but believe, as a means for rightly forming the ideals of
girlhood. Every year sees an inundation of new collections of poetry.
The anthologist might do worse than collect from Wordsworth a small, but
precious and quintessential volume under some such title as "Wordsworth
and Womanhood." One would do it oneself but that literary people of a
certain school regard it as an impertinence that any one who believes in
knowledge should intrude into their sphere. Wordsworth, it is true, said
that "poetry is the breath and finer spirit of all knowledge; it is the
impassioned expression which is in the countenance of all Science." But
most literary people are so busy writing that they have no time to read,
and they forget these sayings of the immortal dead. Yet that is just a
saying which directly bears upon the present contention. We must be very
careful lest we insult and outrage girlhood with our physiology, not
that physiology is either insolent or outrageous, but that girlhood is
girlhood. It is the "breath and finer spirit" of our knowledge of sex
and parenthood that we must seek to impart to her. Poetry is its
vehicle, and the time will come when we shall consciously use it for
that great purpose.

But we cannot expect the adolescent girl to be content even with Ruskin
and Wordsworth. She must, of course, have fiction, and under this
heading there is more or less accessible to her every possibility in the
gamut of morality, from the teaching of such a book as "Richard
Feverel" down to the excrement and sewage that defile the railway
book-stalls to-day under the guise of "bold, reverent, and fearless
handling of the great sex problems." The present writer is one of those
old-fashioned enough to believe that it matters a great deal what young
people read. We are all hygienists nowadays, and very particular as to
what enters our children's mouths. But what is the value of these
precautions if we relax our care as to what enters their minds?

It is my misfortune to be scarcely acquainted at all with fiction, and I
can presume to offer no detailed guidance in this matter. The name of
Mr. Eden Phillpotts must certainly be mentioned as foremost among those
living writers who care for these things. In the Eugenics Education
Society it was at one time hoped to see the formation of a branch of
fiction in the library which might form the nucleus of a catalogue, well
worth disseminating if only it could be compiled, of fiction worthy the
consumption of girlhood. Perhaps it would hardly be necessary for the
present writer to protest that the didactic, the unnaturally good, the
well-meaning, the entirely amateur types of fiction, including those
which ignore the facts of human nature, and, above all, those which
decry instead of seeking to deify the natural, would find no place in
this catalogue. It is possible, though I much doubt it, that there may
be many books unknown to me of the order and quality of "Richard
Feverel." At any rate, that represents in its perfection--save, perhaps,
for the unnecessary tragedy of its close, which the illustrious author
himself in conversation did not find it quite possible to defend--the
type of novel whose teaching the Eugenist and the Maternalist must
recommend for the nourishment of youth of both sexes.

As has been already hinted, discourses on how to wash a baby are less in
place here; and in the following chapter the argument will be set forth
in detail that the sequence of the common schemes for the education of
girlhood and womanhood is, in one essential respect, logically and
practically erroneous.



We live in a social chaos of which the evolution into anything like a
cosmos is scarcely more than incipient. In such a case the reformer has
to do the best he may; in the only possible sense in which that phrase
can be defended, he has to take the world as he finds it. Heartless
heads will of course be found to comment upon the logical error of his
ways, to which his only reply is that, while they stand and comment,
what can be done he now will do.

In this whole matter of the care and culture of motherhood--which is,
verily, the prime condition, too often forgotten, of the care and
culture of childhood--we have to do what we can, when and as we can. We
live in a society where mankind, held individually responsible for all
other acts whatsoever, is held entirely irresponsible for the act of
parenthood which, being more momentous than any other, ought to be held
more responsible than any other. Marriage, the precedent condition of
most parenthood, is thus regarded as the concern of the individuals and
the present. Individuals and the present therefore decide what marriages
shall occur; but by some obscure fatality which no one had thought of,
the future appears upon the scene: and when it is actually present, or
rather not only present but visible, the responsibility for it is
recognized. We have not yet gone so far as to see that a girl may be a
good mother, in the highest sense, in her choice of a mate. But as
things are, it is agreed that we are to act like blind automata, as
improvident and irresponsible as the lower fishes, until the actual
birth of the future. The philosophic truth that the future is nascent in
the present--a truth so genuinely philosophic that it is also
practical--is still hidden from us, and thus we are faced, in town and
country alike, with ignorant motherhood, set to the most difficult,
responsible, and expert of tasks--the right nurture of babyhood;
babyhood, a ridiculous subject for grown men, yet somehow the condition
of them and all their doings.

In this state of affairs, those who began the modern campaign against
infant mortality, or rather that small section of them who were not to
be beguiled by secondaries, such as poverty, alcoholism, and the like,
set to work to remedy maternal ignorance. Having been engaged in this
campaign for many years, one is not likely to decry it now, nor is there
any occasion to do so. The movement for the instruction of motherhood
and for the instruction even of girls in the duties of actual
motherhood, is now not only started but making real progress, and will
assuredly prosper.

But here our business is to think a little in front of action done and
doing, and we shall very soon discover that there is more for public
opinion yet to learn, while we may be very certain that this last lesson
will be less easily learnt than the former was, for it is based upon
evidence much less obvious. I have long maintained that the movement
against infant mortality must precede in logic and in practice movements
for the physical training of boys and girls, for the medical inspection
and treatment of school children, and so forth. Relatively to these I
have always asserted that the right care of babies has the immense
superiority that it means beginning at the beginning, but I have always
denied that it means beginning at the absolute beginning, if such a
phrase be permitted.

Given the world as it is, the conditions of marriage as they are, the
economic position of woman, the power of prudery, and the conventional
supposition that babies occur by providential dispensation, we must act
as if we really made the assumption that human parenthood, until the
moment of birth, is as irresponsible as any sequence of events in the
atmosphere or the world of electrons. But we who are thinking in front
for humanity must make no such assumption. We must look forward to and
hasten the time when we can act upon the _true_ assumption, which is
that the more the knowledge the greater the responsibility, and more
especially that our knowledge of heredity, so far from abolishing human
responsibility--as the enemies of knowledge declare--immeasurably
extends and deepens it. In the present volume we are proceeding upon the
true assumption, and therefore in the study of womanhood we must now
proceed, in defiance of conventional assumptions, to study the
responsibility and duties of motherhood _as they exist for maidenhood_.
To this end, it will be necessary that we remind ourselves of certain
great biological facts which are of immense significance for mankind,
and are doubtless indeed more important in their bearing upon ourselves
than upon any other living species.

The first of these is the fact of heredity; the second the fact that
hereditary endowment, whether for good or for evil, or, as is the rule,
both for good and for evil, goes vastly further than any one has until
lately realized, in determining individual destiny. These are amongst
the first principles of Eugenics or race culture, and as they have been
discussed at length elsewhere, one may here take them for granted.
Scarcely less important is the fact that the conditions of mating in the
sub-human world--conditions which beyond dispute make for the
continuance, the vigour, the efficiency, and therefore the happiness of
the species--are largely modified amongst ourselves in consequence of
certain human facts which have no sub-human parallel. The parallels and
the divergences between the two cases are both alike of the utmost
significance, and cannot be too carefully studied. It will here be
possible, of course, merely to look at them as briefly as is compatible
with the making of a right approach to the subject now before us, which
is the girl's choice of a husband.

But in right priority to the question of choice, we may for convenience
discuss first the marriage age. The choice at one age may not be the
choice at another, and in any case the question of the marriage age is
so important for the individual woman, and so immensely effective in
determining the composition of any society, that we cannot study it too



Let us clearly understand, in the first place, that in this chapter we
discuss principles and averages, and that, supposing our conclusions be
accepted as true, they cannot for a moment be quoted as decisive in
their bearing upon special cases. The impartial reader will not suppose
that such folly is contemplated, but those who discuss and advocate new
views very soon learn that many readers are not impartial, and that for
one cause or another they do not fail of misrepresentation. This is not
a case, then, of "science laying down the law," and ordering this
individual to marry at this age, and that not to marry at another; and
yet though this rigorous individual application of our principles is
absurd, they are none the less worth formulating, if it be possible.

The question before us is very far from simple: it is not in the nature
of human problems to be simple, the individual and society being so
immeasurably complex. We have to consider far more points than occur on
first inspection. We have to ascertain when the average woman becomes
fit for marriage. But we must remember that we are dealing with marriage
under the conditions imposed by law and public opinion. Therefore, fit
for mating and fit for marriage are not synonymous, and to ascertain the
age of physiological fitness for mating, though an important
contribution to our problem, is not the solution of it. We have further
to consider how the taste and inclination of the individual vary in the
course of her development. We have to ask ourselves at what age in
general she is likely to make that choice which her maturity and middle
age will ratify rather than for ever regret. We have to consider the
relations of different ages to motherhood, both as regards the quality
of the children born, and as regards their probable number under natural
conditions. These are questions which certainly affect the individual's
happiness profoundly, and yet that is the least of their significance.
Again, we have to observe how the constitution of society varies as
regards the age of its members, according as marriage be early or late.
In the former case more generations are alive at the same time, and in
the latter case fewer. The increasing age at marriage would have more
conspicuous results in this respect if it were not for the great
increase in longevity; so that, though the generations are becoming more
spread out, we may have as many representatives of different generations
alive at the same time as there used to be; but of course there is the
great difference that society is older as a whole. This is a fact which
in itself must affect the doings and the prospects of civilization. An
assemblage of people in the twenties will not behave in the same way as
those in the forties. The probable effect must be towards conservatism,
and increasing rigidity. It is a question to be asked by the historian
of civilization how far these considerations bear upon the history of
past empires.

Another and most notable result of the modified relation between the
generations which ensues from increasing the age at marriage, is that
the parents, under the newer conditions, must necessarily be, on the
average, psychologically further from their children. The man who first
becomes a father at twenty-five, shall we say, may well expect still to
have something of the boy in him at thirty, especially as children keep
us young. He is thus a companion for his child and his child for him.
The same is true of women. It is good that a woman who still has
something of girlhood in her should become a mother. When the marriage
age is much delayed, people of both sexes tend to grow old more quickly
than if they had children to keep them young, and then when the children
come the psychological disparity is greater than it ought to be--greater
than is best either for parents or children.

Before we consider the question of individual development, let us note
the general trend of the marriage age. There is no doubt that this is
progressively towards a delay in marriage. We have only to study the
facts amongst primitive races, and in low forms of civilization, to see
that increase in civilization involves, amongst other things, increasing
age at marriage. In his book, "The Nature of Man," Professor Metchnikoff
quotes some statistics, now very nearly fifty years old, showing the age
at first marriage in various European countries. The figure for England
was nearly 26 for males and 24.6 for females; in France, Norway,
Holland, and Belgium the figures for both sexes were considerably
higher, the average age in Belgium being very nearly 30 for men and more
than 28 for women. In England the age has been rising for many years
past, and probably stands now at about 28 for men and 26 for women. It
need hardly be pointed out that this increase in the age of marriage is
one of the factors in the fall of the birth-rate, which is general
throughout the leading countries of the world, proceeding now with great
rapidity even in Germany.

On the whole, it is further true that the marriage age rises as we
ascend from lower to higher classes within a given civilization, though
a very select class among the wealthy offer an exception to this.

Now nothing is more familiar to us all than that there is a disharmony,
as Professor Metchnikoff puts it, between these ages for marriage and
the age at which the development of the racial instinct is unmistakable
and parenthood is indeed possible. The tendency of civilization is to
increase this disharmony, and it is impossible to believe that this
tendency can be healthy either for the civilization or for the

Still concerning ourselves with the more general aspects of the
question, let it be observed that, as regards men, this unnatural delay
of marriage very frequently brings consequences which, bearing hardly on
themselves, later bear not less hardly on hapless womanhood. The later
the age to which marriage is delayed, the more are men handicapped in
their constant struggle to control the racial instinct under the
unnatural conditions in which they find themselves. The great majority
of men fail in this unequal fight, and of those who fail an enormous
number become infected by disease, with which, when they marry, they
infect their wives, sometimes killing them, often causing them lifelong
illness, often destroying for ever their chances of motherhood, or
making motherhood a horror by the production of children that are an
offence against the sun. These are facts known to all who have looked
into the matter, but there is no such thing as decent public opinion on
the subject, and the author or speaker who dares to allude to them takes
his means of living, if not his life, into his hands.

No doubt men are largely responsible themselves for the rising marriage
age, but women are also responsible in some measure. This must mean on
the whole an injury to themselves as individuals, to their sex, and to
society. Both sexes demand a higher standard of living; the man spends
enough in alcohol and tobacco, as a rule, to support one or two
children, and then says he is too poor to marry. There is everything to
be said for the doctrine that people should be provident, and should
bring no more children into the world than they are able to support; but
before we accept this plea in any particular case, we should first
inquire how the available income is being spent. At present, every
indication goes to show that we are following in the track of all our
predecessors, spending upon individual indulgence that which ought to be
dedicated to the future, and thereby compromising the worth or the
possibility of any future at all.

In the light of these considerations and many more, some of which we
shall later consider, I deplore and protest against with all my heart,
as blind, ignorant, and destructive, the counsel of those women, some of
them conspicuous advocates of the cause of woman's suffrage--in which I
nevertheless believe--who advise women to delay in marriage, or who
publish opinions throwing contempt upon marriage altogether. Later, we
must deal in detail with marriage; here we are only concerned with the
marriage age. It will then be argued that the conditions of marriage
must sooner or later be modified in so far as they are at present
inacceptable to a certain number of women of the highest type. This may
be granted without in any degree accepting the deplorable teaching of
such writers as Miss Cicely Hamilton, in her book entitled "Marriage as
a Trade." Every individual case requires individual consideration, and
no less than any individual case ever yet received. But in general those
women who counsel the delay of the marriage age are opposing the facts
of feminine development and psychology. They are indirectly encouraging
male immorality and female prostitution, with their appalling
consequences for those directly concerned, for hosts of absolutely
innocent women, and for the unborn. Further, those who suppose that the
granting of the vote is going to effect radical and fundamental changes
in the facts of biology, the development of instinct, and its
significance in human action, are fools of the very blindest kind. Some
of us find that it needs constant self-chastening and bracing up of the
judgment to retain our belief in the cause of woman's suffrage, of the
justice and desirability of which we are convinced, assaulted as we
almost daily are by the unnatural, unfeminine, almost inhuman blindness
of many of its advocates.

We have constantly to remind ourselves that our immediate concern and
duty are not with the world as it might be, or ought to be, or will be,
but with the world as it is. There are many good arguments, admirably
adapted to an imaginary world, why the marriage age should be increased.
But these forget the possible, nay the inevitable, consequences, if such
an increase show itself in one nation and not in another, in one class
of society and not in another. It is a good thing, and it is the ideal
of the eugenist, as I ventured to formulate some years ago, that every
child who comes into the world should be desired, designed, and loved in
anticipation. But if in France, shall we say, such a tendency begins to
obtain a generation earlier than it does in Germany, there will come to
be a disparity of population which, continuing, must inevitably mean
sooner or later the disappearance of France.

Or again, difference in the marriage age in different classes within a
given community has very notable consequences, as Sir Francis Galton
showed in his book, "Hereditary Genius," and later, in more detail, in
his "Inquiries into Human Faculty." He shows that, other things being
equal, the earlier marrying class or group will in a few generations
breed down the others and completely supplant them. If the natural
quality of the one class differ from that of the other, the ultimate
consequences will be tremendous. It has been proved up to the hilt that
in Great Britain these differences in marriage in different classes
exist, and that, on the whole, the marriage age varies directly as the
means of support for the children, to say nothing of natural and
transmissible differences in different classes. One can only, therefore,
repeat what was said some time ago in contribution to a public
discussion on this subject that, "considering the present distribution
of the birth-rate, nothing strikes a more direct blow at the future of
England than that which tends to increase the marriage age of the
responsible, careful, and provident amongst us whilst the improvident
and careless multiply as they do."

Let us now consider another possible factor in this question, and then
we must proceed to look at the individual woman as the question of the
marriage age affects her.

_The Marriage Age and the Quality of the Children._--Both from the point
of view of the race and from that of the individual who desires happy
parenthood it is necessary to learn, if possible, how the age of the
parents affects the quality of their offspring. If motherhood is to be a
joy and a blessing, the children must be such as bring joy and blessing.
My provisional judgment on this matter is that we are at present without
anything like conclusive evidence proving that the age of the parents
affects the quality of their children.

Let us look at some of the arguments which have been advanced. The
school of biometricians, represented most conspicuously in latter years
by Professor Karl Pearson, have desired us to accept certain conclusions
which are singularly incompatible with the opinion of their illustrious
founder, Sir Francis Galton, in favour of early marriages among those of
sound stock. By their special procedure, as rigorously critical in the
statistical treatment of _data_ as it is sweetly simple in its innocent
assumption that all _data_ are of equal value, they have proposed to
show that the elder members of a family are further removed from the
normal, average, or mean type than the younger members. This, according
to them, may sometimes work out in the production of great ability or
genius in the eldest or elder members, but oftener still shows itself in
highly undesirable characters, whether of mind or of body, the latter
often leading to premature decease. There is hence inferred a powerful
argument against the limitation of families, which means a
disproportionate increase amongst the aberrant members of the

This argument really offers as good an example as can be desired of the
almost unimaginable ease with which these skilful mathematicians allow
themselves to be confused. Their inquiry has ignored the age of the
parents at marriage--or, better still, at the births of their respective
children--and has assumed that the number of the family was the
all-important point: a good example of that idolatry of number as number
which is the "freak religion" of the biometrician. Supposing that the
conclusion reached by this method be a true one--which it would need
more credulity than I possess to assert--we must conclude that, somehow,
primogeniture, as such, affects the quality of the offspring, and, on
the other hand, that to be born fifth or tenth or fifteenth involves
certain personal consequences of a special kind. Evidently we here
approach less sophisticated forms of number-worship, as that which
attached a superstitious meaning to the seventh son of a seventh son.

It seems, therefore, necessary to point out--surprising though the
necessity be--that, if the biometrical conclusion be valid, what it
demonstrates must surely be not the occult working of certain changes in
the germ-plasm, for instance, of a father, because a certain number of
his germ-cells, after separation from his body, have gone to form new
individuals (changes which would not have occurred if those germ-cells
had perished!), but rather a correlation between the _age_ of the
parents and the quality of their offspring. How cleverly the
biometricians have involved one muddle within another will be evident
not only from considering the evident absurdity of supposing--as their
argument, analyzed, necessarily supposes--that a man's body can be
affected by the diverse fates of germ-cells that have left it, but also
when we observe that one of the commonest and most obvious causes of the
reduction in the size of families is the increasing age at marriage of
both sexes. Two persons may thus marry and become parents at the age of
say thirty, their child ranking as first-born, of course, in the
biometricians' tables; but had they married ten years sooner, a child
born when the parents were thirty might rank as the tenth child, and
would be so reckoned by the biometricians. One does not need to be a
biologist to perceive that conclusions based upon assumptions so
uncritical are worth nothing at all, and it is tempting to suggest that
the biometricians are so called, on a principle long famous, because
they measure everything but life.

It is plainly unnecessary, therefore, for us to trouble about collecting
the innumerable instances where children late in the family sequence
have turned out to be illustrious, or have proved to be idiots. It is
unnecessary because the most obvious criticism of the contention before
us disposes of the proof upon which it is sought to be based.
Nevertheless, of course, though the particular contention about the size
of the family must necessarily be meaningless, unless, as is so very
improbable, it should be shown some day that the bearing of children
affects the maternal organism in some way so as to cause subsequent
children to approximate ever nearer to the type of the race; yet it is
quite conceivable, though quite unproved, that the age of the parents
involves changes in the body which affect, for good or for evil, either
the construction or the general vigour of the germ-cells. As to this
nothing is known, but a great weight of evidence suggests that little
importance, if any, can be attached to this question. Women marrying at
forty or more may give birth to splendid specimens of humanity or to
indifferent ones, and the same may be said of the girl of seventeen,
though as to this more must be said. Similarly, also, it is impossible
to make any general contrasts between the offspring of fathers of
eighteen or fathers of eighty. Correlations may exist, but we know
nothing of them yet.

Our conclusion then is that, with regard to the quality of the children
of any given mother, we cannot say that she should marry at any
particular age, within limits, rather than another. On the other hand,
it is evident that if she be highly worthy of motherhood we shall desire
her to have a large family, and therefore must encourage her early
marriage, as the late Sir Francis Galton so long maintained.

_Physical Fitness for Marriage._--We must carefully distinguish between
the question we have just been discussing and that of the marriage age
from the mother's point of view. We shall find that the best age for
marriage, so far as this question is concerned, is neither puberty, on
the one hand, nor the average marriage age amongst civilized women, on
the other hand.

If things were as we should like them to be, there would be a harmony
between the occurrence of puberty and fitness for marriage. But there
can be no question that the goal of evolution, which is perfect
adaptation, has not yet been attained by mankind, and indeed reason can
be given to show that the goal recedes as we advance towards it. The
practice of lower races, amongst whom the girls often marry at puberty
or before it, is much less injurious to the individual and the race than
we might suppose; but the harmony between the maternal body and the
maternal function is much less imperfect in lower races of mankind than
it is among ourselves. Just as we find that, among the lower animals,
the phenomena of motherhood are simple, easy, and almost painless, so we
find that, though owing to the erect attitude, as much cannot be said
for human beings anywhere, yet these phenomena are far less severe among
the lower races of mankind than among ourselves. The reason is to be
found in the astonishing progressive increase in the size of the human
head in the higher races. The large size of the head in adult life is
foreshadowed in its size at birth, and this it is which constitutes the
_crux_ of motherhood among the higher races. It is undoubtedly true that
the maternal body, by a process of natural selection, has been evolved
in the direction of better correspondence with, and capacity for, that
enlarged head of which civilization is the product. But at the present
stage in evolution the great function of giving birth to a human being
of high race--more especially to a boy of such a race--is graver, more
prolonged, and more hazardous than the maternal function has ever been
before. The gravity of the process has increased proportionately with
the worth of the product.

There are yet further consequences of the development which will
convince us how important it is that we should come to right conclusions
regarding the physical fitness of girls for marriage. Even to-day, when
the work of Lord Lister has been done, and when maternity hospitals--far
more dangerous than a battlefield less than two generations ago--can
show records from year to year without the loss of a single mother, the
fact remains that several thousands of women in Great Britain alone lose
their lives every year in the discharge of their supreme duty. It is
also the case that large numbers of infants lose their lives during, or
shortly after, birth, owing to causes inherent in the conditions of
birth, and practically beyond any but the most expert control. In many
cases no skill will save the child. A considerable preponderance of the
victims are of the male sex, so that there is thus early begun that
process of higher male mortality, which is the chief cause of the female
preponderance that is so injurious to womanhood and to society. There
are thus many and weighty reasons, individual and social--reasons in the
present generation and in the next--which conduce to the importance of
discovering the best age for marriage from the physical point of view.

We may probably accept the long-standing figures of Dr. Matthews Duncan,
one of Edinburgh's many famous obstetricians, who found that the
mortality rate in childbirth, or as a consequence of it, was lowest
among women from twenty to twenty-four years of age. Therefore it may
safely be said that, on the average, and looking at the question, for
the present, solely from this point of view, a girl of twenty-one to
twenty-two is by no means too young to marry. Of course it would be
monstrously absurd to take such a statement as this and regard it as
conclusive, even had it been communicated from on high, for any
particular case; but as an average statement it may be confidently put
forward. At this age, the all-important bones of the pelvis have reached
all the development of which they are capable. This may be accepted,
notwithstanding the fact that, especially in men, the growth of the long
bones of the limbs continues to a considerably later age. Women reach
maturity sooner than men, and the pelvis reaches its full capacity at
the age stated. Obstetricians know further that if motherhood be begun
at a considerably later date, there is less local adaptability than when
the bones and ligaments are younger. The point lies in the date of the
beginning of motherhood, for this is in general a conspicuous instance
of the adage that the first step is the most costly.[13]

_Psychical Fitness for Marriage._--At the beginning of this chapter it
was insisted that we must carefully distinguish between physical or
physiological fitness for mating and complete fitness for
marriage--which, though it includes mating, is vastly more. Few will
question the proposition that physical fitness for marriage is reached
only some years after puberty; so complete psychical fitness for
marriage may well be later still. We should thus have a second
disharmony superposed upon the first. But, instead, when we look round
us, we may often be inclined to ask whether, for many girls and women,
the age of psychical fitness for marriage is ever reached at all; and we
have to ask ourselves how far this delay or indefinite postponement of
such fitness is due to natural conditions, or how far it is due to the
fact that we bring up our girls to be, for instance, sideboard
ornaments, as Ruskin said a generation ago.

I believe that this disparity between the age of physical fitness for
marriage and the attainment of that outlook upon life and its duties,
without which marriage must be so perilous, is one of the most important
practical problems of our time, and that its solution is to be found in
the principle of education for parenthood, which we have already
considered at such length. It is a most serious matter that marriage
should be delayed as it is beyond the best age for the commencement of
motherhood; it is injurious to the individual and her motherhood, and
whether delay occurs, as it does, disproportionately in different cases,
or disproportionately within a nation, in the different classes of which
it is composed, the consequences, as we have seen, are of the most
stupendous possible kind.

Yet observe what a difficulty we are faced with. Perceiving the
injurious consequences of delay in marriage--consequences which, as we
have seen, if considered only as they show themselves in the most
horrible department of pathology, would be sufficient to demand the most
urgent consideration--we may almost feel inclined to agree with the
utterly blind and deplorable doctrine too common amongst parents and
schoolmistresses, who should know so much better, that it is good to see
the young things falling in love, and that the sooner they are married
the better. Every one whose eyes are open knows how often the
consequences of such teaching and practice are disastrous; and if there
is anything which we should discourage in our present study, it is that
marriage in haste and repentance at leisure to which these blind guides
so often lead their blind victims.

Very different, however, will the case be when the victims are no longer
blind. The condemnation of their blind guides at the present time is not
that they regard it as right and healthy that young people should mate
in their early twenties, but it is that by every means in their power,
positive and negative, these blind guides have striven to prevent the
light from reaching their victim's eyes. The day is coming, however,
when the principles of education for parenthood--for which, if for
anything, this book is a plea--will be accepted and practised, and then
the case will be very different.

Convinced though I certainly am of the vast importance of nature or
heredity in the human constitution, I am not one of those eugenists who,
to the grave injury of their cause, declare that there are no such
things as nurture and education, in that they effect nothing; nor do I
believe it in any way inherently necessary that perhaps ten years after
puberty a girl should still be irresponsible in those matters which,
incomparably beyond all others, demand responsibility; or incapable,
with wise help or even without it, of guiding her course aright. It is
we, as I repeat for the thousandth time, who are to blame, for our
deliberate, systematic, and disastrous folly in scrupulously excluding
from her education that for which the whole of education, of any other
kind, should be regarded as the preparation.

No one can attach more than its due importance to woman's function of
choosing the fathers of the future; rejecting the unworthy and selecting
the worthy for this greatest of human duties. It would be a most serious
difficulty for those who hold such a creed if it were that a girl's
taste and judgment could be trusted, if at all, only some years after
she had reached physical maturity for motherhood. It may be that in the
present conditions of girls' education, such right direction of this
choice as occurs, is just as likely to occur at the earlier age as at
any later one, when indeed it may happen that considerations more
worldly and prudential, less generally natural and eugenic, may come to
have greater weight. One can, therefore, only leave it to the reader's
consideration whether it is not high time that we should so seek to
prepare the girl's mind, that when her body Is ready for marriage her
mind may, if possible, be ready also to guide her towards a worthy
choice which the whole of her future life may ratify, and the life of
her descendants thereafter.

It must be insisted again that this question has many ramifications, and
that not the least important of them are those which concern themselves
with the kinds of disease already referred to. Some enemy of God and man
once invented a phrase about the desirability of young men sowing their
wild oats, and subsequent enemies of life and the good and progress, or
perhaps mere fools, animated gramophones of a cheap pattern, have
repeated and still propagate that doctrine. It is poisonous to its core;
it never did any one any good, and has done incalculable harm. It has
blinded the eyes of hundreds of thousands of babies; it has brought
hundreds of thousands more rotten into the world. Hosts of dead men,
women, and children are its victims. It is indeed good that a man should
be a man, and not a worm on stilts; it is indeed good that women should
prefer men to be men, and that as soon as possible they should cease to
accept in marriage the feeble, the cowardly, the echoers, and the sheep.
But this is a very different thing from asserting that it is good for
young men, before marriage, to adopt a standard of morality which would
be thought shameful beyond words in their sisters, and which has all the
horrible consequences that have been alluded to, and many more. Now,
vicious though the wild oats doctrine be in itself and in its
consequences, we have to grant that there is little need of it, for
young manhood needs the insertion of no doctrines from without to
encourage it towards the satisfaction of what are in themselves natural
and healthy tendencies. Our right procedure therefore should
be--notwithstanding the unhealthy tendency of high civilization in this
respect, and notwithstanding the terrible folly, traitorous to their
sex, of those women who decry marriage, and seek to delay it--to prepare
girlhood and public opinion, and even to modify, so far as may be
necessary, economic conditions, in order that the girls who are worthy
to marry at all shall do so at the right age, and shall join themselves
for life with rightly chosen men.

One more point may be conveniently considered here, though it is not
strictly a matter of the marriage age for girls. The point is as to the
most generally desirable age relation between husband and wife. Here,
again, we must remind ourselves that it is impossible to lay down the
law for any case, and that that is not what we are now attempting to do.

As every one knows, there is an average disparity of some few years in
the ages of husband and wife. This may be referred probably to economic
conditions in part, and also to the fact that girlhood becomes womanhood
at a somewhat earlier age than boyhood becomes manhood. The girl is more
precocious. Thus though she be twenty and her husband twenty-three, she
is as mature.

It is probable that the economic tendencies of the day are in the
direction of increasing this disparity, since more is demanded of the
man in the material sense, and he therefore must delay. Some authorities
consider that seniority of six or eight years on the part of the husband
constitutes the desirable average. But there are considerations commonly
ignored that should qualify this opinion in my judgment.

It is not that science has any information regarding the consequence
upon the sex or quality of offspring of any one age ratio in marriage
rather than another. On subjects like this wild statements are
incessantly being made, and we are often told that certain consequences
in offspring follow when the husband is older than the wife, and others
when he is younger, and so forth. As to this, nothing is known, and it
is improbable that there is anything to know. But it has usually been
forgotten, so far as I am aware, that the disparity of age has a very
marked and real consequence, which is, in its turn, the cause of many
more consequences.

We have seen that the male death-rate is higher than the female
death-rate. At all ages, whether before birth or after it, the male
expectation of life is less than the female. This is more conspicuously
true than ever now that the work of Lord Lister, based upon that of
Pasteur, has so enormously lowered the mortality in childbirth. Even
now that mortality is falling, and will rapidly fall for some time to
come, still further increasing the female advantage in expectation of
life; the more especially this applies to married women. If now, this
being the natural fact, we have most husbands older than their wives,
it follows that in a great preponderance of cases the husband will die
first; and so we have produced the phenomenon of widowhood. The greater
the seniority of the husband, the more widowhood will there be in a
society. Every economic tendency, every demand for a higher standard of
life, every aggravation for the struggle for existence, every increment
of the burden of the defective-minded, tending to increase the man's age
at marriage, which, on the whole, involves also increasing his
seniority--contributes to the amount of widowhood in a nation.

We therefore see that, as might have been expected, this question of the
age ratio in marriage, though first to be considered from the average
point of view of the girl, has a far wider social significance. First,
for herself, the greater her husband's seniority, the greater are her
chances of widowhood, which is in any case the destiny of an enormous
preponderance of married women. But further, the existence of widowhood
is a fact of great social importance because it so often means unaided
motherhood, and because, even when it does not, the abominable economic
position of woman in modern society bears hardly upon her. It is not
necessary to pursue this subject further at the present time. But it is
well to insist that this seniority of the husband has remoter
consequences far too important to be so commonly overlooked.



At this stage in our discussion it is necessary to consider a subject
which ought rightly to come foremost in the provident study of the facts
that precede marriage--a subject which craven fear and ignorance combine
to keep out of sight, yet which must now see the light of day. For the
writer would be false to his task, and guilty of a mere amateur trifling
with the subject, who should spend page after page in discussing the
choice of marriage, the best age for marriage, and so forth, without
declaring that as an absolutely essential preliminary it is necessary
that the girl who mates shall at least, whatever else be or be not
possible, mate with a man who is free from gross and foul disease.

The two forms of disease to which we must refer are appalling in their
consequences, both for the individual and the future. In technical
language they are called contagious; meaning that the infection is
conveyed not through the air as, say, in the case of measles or
small-pox, but by means of contact with some infected surface--it may be
a lip in the act of kissing, a cup in drinking, a towel in washing, and
so forth. Of both these terrible diseases this is true. They therefore
rank, like leprosy, as amongst the most eminently preventable diseases.
Leprosy has in consequence been completely exterminated in England, but
though venereal disease--the name of the two contagions considered
together--diminishes, it is still abundant everywhere and in all classes
of society. Here regarding it only from the point of view of the girl
who is about to mate, I declare with all the force of which I am capable
that, many and daily as are the abominations for which posterity will
hold us up to execration, there is none more abominable in its immediate
and remote consequences, none less capable of apology than the daily
destruction of healthy and happy womanhood, whether in marriage or
outside it, by means of these diseases. At all times this is horrible,
and it is more especially horrible when the helpless victim is destroyed
with the blessing of the Church and the State, parents and friends;
everyone of whom should ever after go in sackcloth and ashes for being
privy to such a deed.

The present writer, for one, being a private individual, the servant of
the public, and responsible to no body smaller than the public, has long
declined and will continue to decline to join the hateful conspiracy of
silence, in virtue of which these daily horrors lie at the door of the
most honoured and respected individuals and professions in the
community. More especially at the doors of the Church and the medical
profession there lies the burden of shame that, as great organized
bodies having vast power, they should concern themselves, as they daily
do, with their own interests and honour, without realizing that where
things like these are permitted by their silence, their honour is
smirched beyond repair in whatever Eyes there be that regard.

I propose therefore to say in this chapter that which at the least
cannot but have the effect of saving at any rate a few girls somewhere
throughout the English-speaking world from one or other or both of these
diseases, and their consequences. Let those only who have ever saved a
single human being from either syphilis or gonorrh[oe]a dare to utter a
word against the plain speaking which may save one woman now.

The task may be much lightened by referring the reader to a play by the
bravest and wisest of modern dramatists, M. Brieux, more especially
because the reader of "Les Avariés" will be enabled to see the sequence
of causation in its entirety. When first our attention is called to
these evils, we are apt to blame the individuals concerned. The parents
of youths, finding their sons infected, will blame neither their guilty
selves nor their sons, but those who tempted them. It is constantly
forgotten that the unfortunate woman who infected the boy was herself
first infected by a man. Either she was betrayed by an individual
blackguard, or our appalling carelessness regarding girlhood, and the
economic conditions which, for the glory of God and man, simultaneously
maintain Park Lane and prostitution, forced her into the circumstances
which brought infection. But she was once as harmless and innocent as
the girl child of any reader of this book; and it was man who first
destroyed her and made her the instrument of further destruction.

Ask how this came to be so, and the answer is that he in his turn was
infected by some woman.

It is time, then, that we ceased to blame youth of either sex, and laid
the onus where it lies--upon the shoulders of older people, and more
especially upon those who by education and profession, or by the
functions they have undertaken, such as parenthood, ought to know the
facts and ought to act upon their knowledge. It is necessary to proceed,
therefore: though perfectly aware that in many ways this chapter will
have to be paid for by the writer: that he has yet to meet the eye of
his publisher; that there will be abundance of abuse from those "whose
sails were never to the tempest given": but aware also that in time to
come those few who dared speak and take their chance in this matter,
whether remembered or not, will have been the pioneers in reforming an
abuse which daily makes daylight hideous. He who does betray the future
for fear of the present should tread timidly upon his Mother Earth lest
he awake her to gape and bury her treacherous son.

Something is known by the general public of the individual consequences
of syphilis. It is known by many, also, that there is such a thing as
hereditary syphilis--babies being born alive but rotted through for
life. Further, it is not at all generally known, though the fact is
established, that of the comparatively few survivors to adult life from
amongst such babies, some may transmit the disease even to the third
generation. There is a school of so-called moralists who regard all this
as the legitimate and providential punishment for vice, even though ten
innocent be destroyed for one guilty. Such moralists, more loathsome
than syphilis itself, may be left in the gathering gloom to the company
of their ghastly creed. Love and man and woman are going forward to the
dawn, and if they inherit from the past no God that is fit to be their
companion, they and the Divine within them will not lose heart.

The public knowledge of syphilis, though far short of the truth, is not
merely so inadequate as that of gonorrh[oe]a.

"No worse than a bad cold" is the kind of lie with which youth is
fooled. The disease may sometimes be little worse than a bad cold in
men, though very often it is far more serious; it may kill, may cause
lasting damage to the coverings of the heart and to the joints, and
often may prevent all possibility of future fatherhood.

These evils sink almost into insignificance when compared with the far
graver consequences of gonorrh[oe]a in woman. Our knowledge of this
subject is comparatively recent, being necessarily based upon the
discovery of the microbe that causes the disease. Now that it can be
identified, we learn that a vast proportion of the illnesses and
disorders peculiar to women have this cause, and it constantly leads to
the operations, now daily carried out in all parts of the world, which
involve opening the body, and all that that may entail. Curable in its
early stages in men, gonorrh[oe]a is scarcely curable in women except
by means of a grave abdominal operation, involving much risk to life and
only to be undertaken after much suffering has failed to be met by less
drastic means. The various consequences of gonorrh[oe]a in other parts
of the body may and do occur in women as in men. Perhaps the most
characteristic consequence of the disease in both sexes is sterility;
this being much more conspicuously the case in women, and being the more
cruel in their case.

Of course large numbers of women are infected with these diseases before
marriage and apart from it, but one or both of them constitute the most
important of the bridegroom's wedding presents, in countless cases every
year, all over the world. The unfortunate bride falls ill after
marriage; she may be speedily cured; very often she is ill for life,
though major surgery may relieve her; and in a large number of cases she
goes forever without children. One need scarcely refer to the remoter
consequences of syphilis to the nervous system, including such diseases
as locomotor ataxia, and general paralysis of the insane; the latter of
which is known to be increasing amongst women. Even in these few words,
which convey to the layman no idea whatever of the pains and horrors,
the shocking erosion of beauty, the deformities, the insanities,
incurable blindness of infants, and so forth, that follow these
diseases, enough will yet have been said to indicate the importance of
what is to follow. Medical works abound in every civilized language
which, especially as illustrated either by large masses of figures or by
photographs of cases, will far more than justify to the reader
everything that has been said.

And now for the whole point of this chapter. We are not here concerned
to deal with prostitution or its possible control. We are dealing with
girlhood before marriage and in relation to marriage, and the plea is
Goethe's--for _more light_. There is no need to horrify or scandalize or
disgust young womanhood, but it is perfectly possible in the right way
and at the right time to give instruction as to certain facts, and
whilst quite admitting that there are hosts of other things which we
must desire to teach, I maintain that this also must we do and not leave
the others undone. It is untrue that it is necessary to excite morbid
curiosity, that there is the slightest occasion to give nauseous or
suggestive details, or that the most scrupulous reticence in handling
the matter is incompatible with complete efficiency. Such assertions
will certainly be made by those who have done nothing, never will do
anything, and desire that nothing shall be done; they are nothing, let
them be treated as nothing.

It is supposed by some that instruction in these matters must be useless
because, in point of fact, imperious instincts will have their way. It
is nonsense. Here, as in so many other cases, the words of Burke are
true--Fear is the mother of safety. It is always the tempter's business
to suggest to his victim that there is no danger. Often and often, if
convinced there is danger, and danger of another kind than any he refers
to, she will be saved. This may be less true of young men. In them the
racial instinct is stronger, and perhaps a smaller number will be
protected by fear, but no one can seriously doubt that the fear born of
knowledge would certainly protect many young women.

There is also the possible criticism, made by a school of moralists for
whom I have nothing but contempt so entire that I will not attempt to
disguise it, who maintain that these are unworthy motives to which to
appeal, and that the good act or the refraining from an evil one,
effected by means of fear, is of no value to God. In the same breath,
however, these moralists will preach the doctrine of hell. We reply that
we merely substitute for their doctrine of hell--which used to be
somewhere under the earth, but is now who knows where--the doctrine of a
hell upon the earth, which we wish youth of both sexes to fear; and that
if the life of this world, both present and to come, be thereby served,
we bow the knee to no deity whom that service does not please.

How then should we proceed?

It seems to me that instruction in this matter may well be delayed until
the danger is near at hand. This is not really education for parenthood
in the more general sense. That, on the principles of this book, can
scarcely begin too soon; it is, further, something vastly more than mere
instruction, though instruction is one of its instruments. But here what
we require is simply definite instruction to a definite end and in
relation to a definite danger. At some stage or other, before emerging
into danger, youth of both sexes must learn the elements of the
physiology of sex, and must be made acquainted with the existence and
the possible results of venereal disease. A father or a teacher may
very likely find it almost impossible to speak to a boy; even though he
has screwed his courage up almost to the sticking place, the boy's
bright and innocent eyes disarm him. Unfortunately boys are often less
innocent than they look. There exists far more information among youth
of both sexes than we suppose; only it is all coloured by pernicious and
dangerous elements, the fruit of our cowardice and neglect. Let us
confine ourselves to the case of the girl.

Before a girl of the more fortunate classes goes out into society, she
must be protected in some way or another. If she be, for instance,
convent bred, or if she come from an ideal home, it may very well be and
often is that she needs no instruction whatever, because she is in fact
already made unapproachable by the tempter. Fortunate indeed is such a
girl. But those forming this well-guarded class are few, and parents and
guardians may often be deceived and assume more than they are entitled
to. At any rate, for the vast majority of girls some positive
instruction is necessary. It is the mother who must undertake this
responsible and difficult task before she admits the girl to the perils
of the world. Further, by some means or other, instruction must be
afforded for the ever-increasing army of girls who go out to business.
It is to me a never ceasing marvel that loving parents, devoted to their
daughters' welfare, should fail in this cardinal and critical point of
duty, so constantly as they do.

Many employers of female labour nowadays show a genuine and effective
interest in the welfare of their employees. As one might expect, this
is notably the case with the Quaker manufacturers of chocolate and
cocoa. I have visited the works of one of these firms, and can testify
to the splendidly intelligent and scrupulous care which is taken of the
girls' general health, their eye-sight, their reading, and many aspects
of their moral welfare. Yet there still remains something to be done in
regard to protection from venereal disease, and surely the suggestion
that conscientious employers should have instruction given in these
matters is one which is well worthy of consideration.

It is known by all observers--but it is a very meagre "all"--of the
realities of politics that in Great Britain, at any rate, there is an
increase of drinking amongst women and girls. This is doubtless in
considerable measure due to the increase of work in factories, and the
greater liberty enjoyed by adolescence--liberty too often to become
enslaved. This bears directly upon our present subject. In a very large
number of cases, the first lapse from self-restraint in young people of
both sexes occurs under the influence of alcohol, the most pre-eminent
character of whose action upon the nervous system is the paralysis of
inhibition or control. Not only is alcohol responsible in this way, but
also in any given case it renders infection more probable for more
reasons than one. This abominable thing--in itself the immediate cause
of many evils and, except as a fuel for lifeless machines and for
industrial purposes, of no good--is thus the direct ally of the venereal
diseases as of consumption and many more. We must return to this
important subject later: meanwhile let it be noted that the influence
of alcohol upon youth of both sexes greatly favours not only immorality
but also venereal disease. The girl, therefore, who would protect
herself directly will avoid this thing, and the girl who desires that
neither she nor her children shall be destroyed after marriage, will
exact from the man she chooses the highest possible standard of conduct
in this matter. A friendly critic has told me that my books would be all
very well, but that I have alcohol on the brain, and I am inclined to
reply, Better on the brain than in the brain. But a subject so serious
demands more serious treatment, and the due reply is that there is no
human prospect for which I care, no public advantage to be advocated, no
good I know, of which alcohol is not the enemy; no abomination,
physical, mental or moral, individual or social, of which it is not the
friend. Further, words like these will stand on record, and may be
remembered when there has been achieved that slow but irresistible
education of public opinion, to which some few have devoted themselves,
and of which the triumph is as certain as the triumph of all truth was
in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. To the many charges against
alcohol made by the champions of life in the past, let there be added
that on which all students of venereal diseases are agreed--that it is
the most potent ally of the most loathsome evils that afflict mankind.

This chapter is not yet complete. In many cases it may be read not by
the girl who is contemplating marriage, but by one or both of her
parents. If the reader be such an one I here charge him or her with the
solemn responsibility which is theirs whether they realize it or not.
You desire your daughter's welfare; you wish her to be healthy and happy
in her married life; perhaps your heart rejoices at the thought of
grand-children; you concern yourself with your prospective son-in-law's
character, with his income and prospects; you wish him to be steady and
sober; you would rather that he came of a family not conspicuous for
morbid tendencies. All this is well and as it should be; yet there is
that to be considered which, whilst it is only negative, and should not
have to be considered at all, yet takes precedence of all these other
questions. If the man in question is tainted with either or both of
these diseases, he is to be _summarily rejected_ at any rate until
responsible and, one may suggest, at least duplicated medical opinion
has pronounced him cured. Microscopic examination of the blood or
otherwise can now pronounce on this matter with much more definiteness
than used to be possible. But even so, there are possibilities of error,
for experts are more and more coming to recognize the existence and the
importance of latent gonorrh[oe]a, devoid of characteristic symptoms but
yet liable to wake in the individual and always dangerous from the point
of view of infection. No combination of advantages is worth the dust in
the balance when weighed against either of these diseases in a
prospective son-in-law: infection is not a matter of chance but of
certainty or little short of it. Everything may seem fair and full of
promise, yet there may be that in the case which will wreck all in the
present; not to mention destroying the chance of motherhood or bringing
rotten or permanently blinded children into the world.

It follows, therefore, that parents or guardians are guilty of a grave
dereliction of duty if they neglect to satisfy themselves in time on
this point. Doubtless, in the great majority of cases no harm will be
done. But in the rest irreparable harm is often done, and the innocent,
ignorant girl who has been betrayed by father and mother and husband
alike, may turn upon you all, perhaps on her death-bed, perhaps with the
blasted future in her arms, and say "This is _your_ doing: behold your

     "_But if ye could and would not_, oh, what plea,
     Think ye, shall stead you at your trial, when
     The thunder-cloud of witnesses shall loom,
     With Ravished Childhood on the seat of doom
     At the Assizes of Eternity?"

These pages may disgust or offend nine hundred and ninety-nine readers
out of a thousand. They may yet save one girl, and will have justified

One final word may be added on the relation of this subject to Eugenics,
to which this pen and voice have been for many years devoted. The
subject of venereal disease is one of which we Eugenists, like the rest
of the world, fight shy; yet just because the rest of the world does so,
we should not. Nevertheless I mean to see to it that this subject
becomes part of the Eugenic campaign which will yet dominate and mould
the future. For surely the present spectacle has elements in it which
would be utterly farcical if they were not so tragic. Here we have life
present and life to come being destroyed for lack of knowledge. These
horrible diseases, ravaging the guilty and the innocent, equally and
indifferently, are at present allowed to do so with scarcely a voice
raised against them. Every day husbands infect their wives, who have no
kind of protection or remedy, and the wicked, grinning face of the law
looks on, and says "She is his wife; all is well." If we had courage
instead of cowardice--the capital mark of an age that has no organ voice
but many steam whistles--we could accelerate incalculably the gradual
decrease of these diseases. The body of eugenic opinion which is being
made and multiplied might succeed in allying the Church and Medicine and
the Law, with splendid and lasting effect. But we spend thousands of
pounds in estimating correlations between hair colour and
conscientiousness, fertility and longevity, stature and the number of
domestic servants, and so forth, meanwhile protesting against too hasty
attempts to guide public opinion on these refined matters; and this
tremendous eugenic reform, which awaits the emergence of some courage
somewhere, is left altogether out of account. There was no allusion to
the existence of venereal disease, far and away the most appalling of
what I have called dysgenic forces, in any official eugenic publication
until April, 1909, when in the Eugenics Review we dared to make a
cautious and half-ashamed beginning; half-ashamed to stand up against
syphilis and gonorrh[oe]a. When one thinks of the things that we are not
ashamed to do, as individuals or as nations, it is to reflect that
perhaps we have "let the tiger die" too utterly, and that just as woman
is ceasing to be a mammal, man is perhaps ceasing to be even a
vertebrate. Is there no Archbishop or Principal of a University or Chief
Justice or popular novelist or preacher or omnipotent editor, boasting a
backbone still, who will serve not only his day and generation but all
future days and generations, by devoting himself and his powers to this
long-delayed campaign wherein, if it be but undertaken, success is
certain, and reward so glorious?[14]



Brief reference was made in a previous chapter to woman's great function
of choosing the fathers of the future. Here we must discuss, at due
length, her choice of a companion for life. It is repeatedly argued, by
critics of any new idea, that the eugenist, in his concern for the race,
is blind to the natural interests and needs of the individual; that "we
are all to be married to each other by the police," as an irresponsible
jester has declared; that the sanctities of love are to be profaned or
its imperatives defied. Even serious and responsible persons assume that
there is here a necessary antagonism between the interests of the race
and those of the individual,--that the girl would, presumably, choose
one man to be her love and companion and partner for life, but another
man as the father of her children. There are those whom it always
rejoices to discover what they regard as antinomies and contradictions
in Nature, and they verily prefer to suppose that there is in things
this inherent viciousness, which sets eternal war between one set of
obligations, one set of ideals, and another. But Nature is not made
according to the pattern of our misunderstandings.

We have seen that all individuals are constructed by Nature for the
future. We are certainly right to regard them as also ends in
themselves, but Nature conceived and fashioned them with reference to
the future. In so far as marriage has a natural sanction and
foundation--than which nothing is more certain--we may therefore expect
to discover that the interests of the individual and of the race are
indeed one. In a word, the man who is most worthy to be chosen as a
father of the future is always the most worthy and, in the overwhelming
majority of cases, is also the most individually suitable, to be chosen
as a partner and companion for life. Let the girl choose wisely and well
for her own sake and in her own interests. If, indeed, she does so, the
future will be almost invariably safeguarded.

Of course it is to be understood that we are here discussing general
principles. Everyone knows that cases exist, and must continue to exist,
where an opposition between the interests of the race and those of the
individual cannot be denied. Some utterly unsuspected hereditary strain
of insanity, for instance, may show itself or be discovered in the
ancestry of an individual to whom a member of the opposite sex has
already become devoted. I fully admit the existence of such exceptions,
but it must be insisted that they are exceptions, and that they do not
at all invalidate the general truth that if a girl really chooses the
best man, she is choosing the best father for her children.

It is when the girl chooses for something other than natural quality
that the future is liable to be betrayed. But the point to be insisted
upon is that it is far more worth her while to choose for natural
quality than for any other considerations. The argument of this chapter
is that it will not in the long run be worth the girl's while to be
beguiled by a man's money, his position or his prospects, since all of
these, without the one thing needful, will ultimately fail her.

The truth is that very few girls realize how intimate and urgent and
inevitable and unintermittent are the conditions of married life. It
requires imagination, of course, to understand these things without
experience. A girl observes a friend who has made what is called "a good
marriage"; she goes to the friend's house, and sees her the triumphant
mistress of a large establishment; she sees her friend at the theatre,
meets her escorted by her husband at this place and that; hears of her
holidays abroad, covets her jewelry, and she thinks how delightful it
must be. She knows nothing at all of the realities; she sees only
externals, and she is misled. Whenever thus misled she is beguiled into
marrying a man for any other reason than that his personal qualities
compel her love, it is her seniors who are to blame for not having
enlightened her. Such a girl shall be enlightened if her eyes fall on
these pages.

Happiness does not consist in external things at all. This is not to
deny that external things may largely contribute to happiness if its
primal conditions be first satisfied. Failing those primal conditions,
externals are a mockery and a burden. In the case of the vast majority
of married people we see only what they choose that we shall see.
Almost everyone is concerned with keeping up appearances. Things may be
and very often are what they appear, but very often they are not. Any
woman of nice feeling is very much concerned to keep up appearances in
the matter of her marriage. A few or none may guess her secret, but
whatever we see, it is what we do not see--no matter how close our
friendship may be--that determines the success or failure of marriage.
The moments that really count are just those which we do not witness,
and such moments are many in married life, or should be. If the marriage
is what it ought to be, there is a vital communion, grave and gay, which
occupies every available part of life. Only the persons immediately
concerned really know how much of this they have or, if they have it
not, what they have in its place. But we may be well assured that, as
every married person knows, it is the personal qualities that matter
everything in this most intimate sphere of life, and naught else matters
at all. When the girl marries so as to become possessed of any and every
kind of external advantage, but there is that in the man which is
unlovely or which she, at any rate, cannot love, her marriage will
assuredly be a failure. As we have occasion to observe every day, she
will be glad to jump at any chance of sacrificing all externals, where
essentials thus fail her.

This is only to preach once again the simple doctrine that a girl is to
marry a man not for what he has but for what he is. If, as a eugenist, I
am thinking at this time as much of the future as of the present, the
advice is none the less trustworthy. It is certain that this advice is
no less necessary than it ever was. Everyone knows how the standard of
luxury has risen during the last few decades, both in England and in the
United States. All history lies if this be not an evil omen for any
civilization. It means, among other things, that more effectively than
ever the forces of suggestion and imitation and social pressure are
being brought to bear, to vitiate the young girl's natural judgment,
deceiving her into the supposition that these things which seem to make
other people so happy are the first that must be sought by her. If only
she had the merest inkling of what the doctor and the lawyer and the
priest could tell her about the inner life of many of the owners of
these well-groomed and massaged faces! We hear much of the failure of
marriage, but surely the amazing thing is its measure of success under
our careless and irresponsible methods. For happily married people do
not require intrigues nor divorces, nor do they furnish subject matter
for scandal. It is because people do not marry for their personal
qualities, but for things which, personal qualities failing, will soon
turn to dust and ashes in their mouths, that their disappointed lives
seek satisfaction in all these unsatisfactory and imperfect ways. As we
all know, social practice differs in say, France and England, in such
matters as this; and there are those who tell us that the method whereby
natural inclinations are ignored is highly successful, and has just as
much to be said for it as has the more specially Anglo-Saxon method of
allowing the young people to choose each other. It is incomprehensible
how any observer of contemporary France, its divorce rate and its
birth-rate, can uphold such a contention. On the contrary, we may be
more and more convinced that Nature knows her business, and that
marriage, which is a natural institution, should be based, in each case,
upon her indications.

There is need here for a reform which is more radical and fundamental
than any that can be named, just because it deals with our central
social institution, and concerns the natural composition and qualities
of the next generation. I mean that reform in education which will
direct itself towards rightly moulding and favouring the worthy choice
of each other by young people, and especially the worthy choice of men
by women. It will further come to be seen that everything which vitiates
this choice--as, for instance, the economic dependence of women, great
excess of women in a community, the inheritance of large fortunes--is
ultimately to be condemned on that final ground, if on no other.

But whilst these sociological propositions may be laid down, let us see
what can be said in the present state of things by way of advice to the
girl into whose hands this book may fall. Perhaps it may be permitted to
use the more direct form of address.

You may have been told that where poverty comes in at the door, love
flies out at the window.[15] You may have heard it said that so and so
has made a good marriage because her husband has a large income. You may
be inclined to judge the success of marriage by what you see. I warn you
solemnly that the worth or unworth of your marriage, the success or
failure of your life will depend, far more than upon all other things
put together, upon the personal qualities of the man you choose.

If these be not good in themselves, your marriage will fail, certainly;
even if they be good in themselves your marriage will fail, probably,
unless they also be nicely adapted to your own character and tastes and
temperament and needs. There are thus two distinct requirements; the
first absolutely cardinal, the second very nearly so. You are utterly
wrong if you suppose that the first of these can be ignored: if your
husband is not a worthy man, you are doomed. And you are almost
certainly wrong if you suppose that lack of community in tastes and in
interests, in objects of admiration and adoration does not matter. But
let us consider what are the factors of the man for which a girl _does_

For what, if it comes to that, does a man choose? Here is Herbert
Spencer's reply to that question:--"The truth is that out of the many
elements uniting in various proportions, to produce in a man's breast
the complex emotion we call love, the strongest are those produced by
physical attractions; the next in order of strength are those produced
by moral attractions; the weakest are those produced by intellectual
attractions; and even these are dependent less on acquired knowledge
than on natural faculty--quickness, wit, insight." It will probably be
agreed that, on the whole, this analysis, which is certainly true in the
direction it refers to, is also true in the converse direction. The girl
admires a man for physical qualities, including what may be called the
physical virtues, like energy and courage. She rates highly certain
moral attractions, such as unselfishness and chivalry, but perhaps she
attaches far more value to intellectual attractions than the man does in
her case, doubtless because they are more distinctively masculine.

No doubt, in this order of importance both sexes are consulting the
eugenic end if they knew it, as Spencer, indeed, pointed out nearly half
a century ago. The passage from which we have quoted he thus

     "If any think the assertion a derogatory one, and inveigh against
     the masculine character for being thus swayed, we reply that they
     little know what they say when they thus call in question the
     Divine ordinations. Even were there no obvious meaning in the
     arrangement, we may be sure that some important end was subserved.
     But the meaning is quite obvious to those who examine. When we
     remember that one of Nature's ends, or rather her supreme end, is
     the welfare of posterity; further that, in so far as posterity are
     concerned, a cultivated intelligence based on a bad physique is of
     little worth, since its descendants will die out in a generation or
     two: and conversely that a good _physique_, however poor the
     accompanying mental endowments, is worth preserving, because,
     throughout future generations, the mental endowments may be
     indefinitely developed; we perceive how important is the balance of
     instincts above described."

But here it will be well to consider and meet a possible criticism. This
is none the less necessary because there is a very common type of mind
which listens to the enunciation of principles not in order to grasp
them, but in order to point out exceptions. Such people forget that
before one can profitably observe exceptions to a principle or a natural
law it is necessary first of all to know rightly and wholly what the
principle is. Now in this particular case our principle is that the
cause of the future must not be betrayed, and the essential argument of
this chapter is that faithfulness to the cause of the future does not
involve, as is commonly supposed, any denial of the interests of the
present, since, as I maintain, he who is best worth choosing as a
partner for life is in general best worth choosing as a father of the

Now what one must here reckon with is the existence of individual
cases,--much commoner doubtless in the imagination of critics than in
reality, but nevertheless worthy of study--where a man may gain a
woman's love of the real kind and may return it, and yet may be unfit
for parenthood. The converse case is equally likely, but here we are
concerned especially with the interests of the woman. She is, shall we
say, a nurse in a sanatorium for consumptives or, to suppose a case more
critical and complicated still, she may herself be a patient in such a
sanatorium. There she meets another patient with whom she falls in love.
Now these two may be well fitted to make each other happy for so long as
fate permits, but if the interests of the future are to be considered
they should not become parents. I must not be taken as here assenting
to the old view, dating from a time when nothing was known of the
disease, which regards consumption as hereditary. It is evident that
quite apart from that question the couple of whom we are thinking should
not become parents. It is possible that the disease may be completely
cured, and the situation will then be altered. But only too often the
patient's life will be much shortened and children will be left
fatherless; they also in certain circumstances will run a grave risk of
being infected by living with consumptive parents. If in the case we are
supposing the woman be also consumptive, it is extremely probable that
motherhood on her part would aggravate and hasten the course of the
disease, it being well-known that pregnancy has an extremely
unfavourable influence on consumption in the majority of cases.

Many other parallel cases may be imagined. Woman's love, based perhaps
mainly upon the maternal instinct of tenderness, may be called forth by
a man who suffers from, shall we say, hæmophilia or the bleeding
disease. He may be in every way the best of men, worthy to make any
woman happy; but if he becomes the father of a son, it will probably be
to inflict great cruelty upon his child.

What, in a word, are we to say of such cases as these? There is here a
real opposition, as it would appear, between the interests of the
present and the interests of the future. But the answer is that, just
because, and just in so far as, human beings are provident and
responsible and worthy of the name of human beings, the opposition can
be practically solved. Not for anything must we betray the cause of the
unborn, but marriage does not necessarily involve parenthood, and the
right course--the profoundly right and deeply moral course--in such
cases as these, is marriage without parenthood.

On every hand in the civilized world we now see childless marriages, the
number of which incessantly increases; they are an ominous symptom of
excessive luxury and other factors of decadence, if history is to be
trusted. But it is not permissible for us, without special knowledge, to
condemn individuals, whatever we may think of the phenomenon as a whole.
Yet convention and prejudice are curious things, and people who are
themselves married and deliberately childless, others of both sexes who
are unmarried, people who have never raised their voices against
themselves or their friends who, though married, are childless, because
they have little courage or because they permit compliance with
fashion's demands to stifle the best parts of their nature--such people,
I say, will actually be found to protest, with the sort of canting
righteousness which does its best to smirch the Right, against this
doctrine, _Marry, but do not have children_, as the rule of life in the
cases under discussion. Nevertheless, this is the moral doctrine; this
is the right fruit of knowledge, and knowledge will more and more be
applied to this high end, the service alike of the present and the
future. We must not allow our minds to be bullied out of just reasoning
because the possibility of marriage without parenthood is often abused.
All forms of knowledge, like all other forms of power, may be used or
may be abused. Knowledge has no moral sign attached to it, but neither
has it any immoral sign attached to it. The power to control parenthood
is neither good nor evil, but like any other power may serve either good
or evil. Dynamite may cause an explosion which buries a hundred men in a
living grave, or it may blast the rock which buries them and set them
free. The man of science is false to his creed and his cause if he
declares that there is any order of knowledge or any kind of power which
were better unknown or unavailable. For many years past we have been
told that the power to control parenthood is wicked, flying in the face
of providence, interfering with the order of Nature--as if every act
worthy of the human name were not an interference with the order of
Nature, as Nature is conceived by fools; and even to-day the churches,
violently differing from each other in the region of incomprehensibles,
are at least agreed in anathematizing the knowledge and the power to
control parenthood. The reply to them is the demonstration, here made,
of the fact that this knowledge may be used for no less splendid a
purpose than to make possible the happiness and mutual ennoblement of
individual lives in cases where otherwise such a consummation would have
been impossible without betrayal of the life of this world to come.

There is another class of cases to which convenient reference may here
be made. The solution to be found in childless marriage, for many cases,
does not apply to those in which there is present disease due to living
organisms, microbes or protozoa which, by the mere act of drinking from
an infected cup, by kissing and so forth, may be passed from the sick to
the sound. So far as these modes of infection are concerned, such a
supposed case as that of the nurse and the consumptive patient who fall
in love with each other comes into this category. But infection of that
kind is preventable. In the case, however, of the terrible diseases to
which reference has been made in a previous chapter, we must clearly
understand that it is not only the future which is in danger, and that
therefore the solution of childless marriage does not apply. Here the
danger is irremovable from the physical _essentia_ of the marriage
itself, and in such a case, no matter how high the personal qualities of
the man who may, for instance, have been infected by accident in the
course of his duty as a doctor, even childless marriage other than the
_mariage blanc_ must be, at any rate, postponed until the disease has
been cured.

It is to be hoped that the reader will not regard these last two points,
which have had to be dealt with at some length, as irrelevant. They are
not strictly part of the general proposition that a girl should marry a
man for his personal qualities, but they are surely necessary as
practical comments upon that proposition as it will work out in real
life. We may now return to our main contention.

In our quotation from Herbert Spencer we may notice the significant
assertion that amongst intellectual attractions it is natural faculty,
quickness, wit and insight, rather than acquired knowledge, that a man
admires in a woman. In considering that point the somewhat hazardous
assertion was ventured upon that the woman rates intellectual
attractions in the man higher than he does in her. One has indeed heard
it stated that a man marries for beauty and a woman for brains. A
statement so brief cannot be accurate in such a case. But we may insist
upon the contrast between acquired knowledge and natural faculty.
Spencer was no doubt right in believing that man values the natural
faculty rather than the acquired knowledge. A woman no doubt does so
too. If she admires a man for being an encyclopædia, it is only, one
hopes, because she admires the natural qualities of studiousness,
perseverance and memory which his knowledge involves. Nor would she be
long in finding out whether his knowledge is digested, and the capacity
to digest it, remember, is a natural faculty.

The reader who remembers our principle that the individual exists for
the future will not fail to see what we are driving at. Directly we
study in any critical way the causes of attraction among the sexes, we
see that under healthy conditions, unvitiated by convention or money, it
is always the inborn rather than the acquired that counts. If Spencer
had cared to pursue his point half a century ago, he had the key to it
in his hands. Youth prefers the natural to the acquired qualities.

Nature, greatest of match-makers, has so constructed youth because she
is a Eugenist, and because she knows that it is the natural qualities
and not the acquired ones which are transmitted to offspring.

And now it may be shown that this fact wholly consorts with our
contention that there is no antinomy between the happiness of the
individual and the happiness of the race in the marriage choice. For the
race it is only the natural qualities of its future parents that matter,
for only these are transmissible. From the strictly eugenic point of
view, therefore, the girl should be counselled to choose her mate, not
merely on the ground of his personal qualities but, more strictly still,
on the ground of those personal qualities which are natural and not
acquired. And my last point is that these qualities, which are alone of
lasting consequence to the race, alone will be of lasting consequence to
her during her married life. Veneers, acquirements, technical
facilities, knowledge of languages, encyclopædic information, elegance
of speech and even of conventional manners--all the things which, in our
rough classification, we may call acquired, may attract or please or
impress her for a time, but when the ultimate reckoning is made she will
find that they are less than the dust in the balance. I do not know how
and where to find for my words the emphasis with which it would be so
easy to endow them if, instead of addressing an unseen and strange
audience, one were counselling one's own daughter. I should say to her,
for instance, "My dear, be not deceived. He dresses elegantly, I know,
and makes himself quite nice to look at. Yet it is not his clothes that
you will have to live with, but himself; and the question is what do his
clothes mean? It is his nature that you will have to live with. What
fact of his nature do they stand for? Is it that he is vain and
selfish, preferring to spend his money upon himself and upon the
exterior of his person rather than upon others and upon the adornment of
his mind; or is it that he has fine natural taste, a sense of beauty and
harmony and quiet dignity in external things?" The answer to these
questions involves his wife's happiness. How strange that though no girl
will marry a man because she is attracted by the elegance of his false
teeth, yet she will often be deceived into admiring other things which
are just as much acquired and just as little likely to afford her
permanent satisfaction as the products of his dentist's work-room! If
only she realized that these other things, though nice to look at, are
no more himself than a well-fitting dental plate.

Or again: "You like his talk; he strikes you as well versed in human
affairs; his knowledge of men and things impresses you; he has travelled
and can talk easily of what he has seen, and his voice is elegant and
can be heard in many tongues. But if he is going to say bitter things to
you, will the facility of his diction make them less bitter? If he is a
fool in his heart--and indeed the heart alone is the residence of folly
or wisdom--do you think that he will be a fool the less for venting his
folly in seven languages rather than in one? I quite understand your
admiring his cleverness; people who study the subject tell us, you know,
that a woman admires in a man things which are more characteristic of
men than of women, and that men's admiration of women is based upon the
same good principle. But in this bargain men have the best of it because
the most characteristic thing in woman is tenderness, and the most
characteristic thing in man is cleverness; and which do you think is the
better to live with? What is the virtue in cleverness coupled with, for
instance, a malicious tongue? What is the virtue in clever things if he
says them at your expense? The vital thing for you is, what are the uses
to which he puts his knowledge and capacities? That he knows the ways of
the world may impress you, but does he know them to admire them? And if
so, where does he stand compared with another, who is less versed and
versatile, but who, as your heart tells you, would hate the ways of the
world if he did know them?" ...

Indeed, I seem to see that one cannot adequately write a book on
Womanhood without including in it somewhere a statement of what manhood
is and ought to be. Surely one of our duties to girlhood is to teach it
the elemental truths of manhood. Such teaching must recognize the facts
which modern psychology perceives more clearly every day, and it must
combine that knowledge with the eternal truths of morality, which are so
intensely real and practical in the great issues of life, such as this.
The great fact which modern psychology has discovered is that intellect
is less important, and emotion more important than we used to suppose;
that knowledge, as we lately observed, is non-moral, and may be for good
or for evil; that cleverness is merely cleverness, and may serve God or
mammon; that it is the nature of the man or the woman which determines
the influence and the uses of education. A girl should know something of
what I have elsewhere called the transmutation of sex as it shows itself
in the higher as distinguished from the lower types of manhood: she
should know that it is good for a youth to spend his energy in visible
ways and in the light of day; there is the less likelihood that it is
being spent otherwise. She should prefer the man who is visibly active
and who keeps his mind and body moving; she should know, as the school
boy should know, that the capacity to smoke and drink really proves
nothing as regards manhood. Doubtless there is some courage required in
learning to smoke, and so much, but it is not much, is to the smoker's
credit; but for the rest, smoking and drinking are simply forms of
self-indulgence, and though they are doubtless very excusable and are
often practised by splendid men, they are of no virtue in themselves.
Further, they are open to the fundamental objection that they lessen the
measure of a man's self-mastery. Women should set a high standard in
such matters as these.

To take the case of smoking, very few smokers realize, in the first
place, how much money they expend. It is money which, if not spent,
would appreciably contribute to the cost of house-keeping in not a few
cases. Many a man who says he cannot afford to marry spends on tobacco
and alcohol a sum quite sufficient to turn the scale. It will be argued
that the smoking brings rest and peace, that it soothes, aids digestion,
and so forth. But the non-smoker is not in need of these assistances:
it is only the smoker who requires to smoke for these purposes. On this
point I have said, in the volume of personal hygiene which this present
work is meant to succeed, all that really requires to be said. It was
there pointed out that nicotine doubtless produces secondary products in
the blood which require a further dose of the nicotine as an antidote to
them. Thus there is initiated a vicious circle, the details of which
have been fully worked out in the case of opium, or rather, morphia. All
the good results which are obtained from smoking are essentially of the
nature of neutralizing the secondary effects of previous smoking. Here,
then, is the scientific argument for the girl's hand if she proposes to
deal with her lover on this point.

It may be added that the writer can now quote personal experience in
favour of his advice. He smoked incessantly for fourteen years--from
seventeen to thirty-one--his quantum being five ounces in all per
week--of the strongest Egyptian cigarettes and the strongest pipe
tobacco procurable. The practice did him no observable harm whatever.
When he wrote the paragraph on "How to control one's smoking," in the
book referred to, he was only wishing that he could control his own. At
last he got disgusted with himself and stopped altogether. Personally he
is neither better nor worse, but he is buying books in proportion to the
money formerly wasted on tobacco, and perhaps the change is worth while.
The girl who reads this book may tell her lover with confidence that it
is quite possible to stop smoking, and that after a little while the
craving wholly disappears. If he has been a really confirmed, systematic
smoker, he may have a very uncomfortable three weeks after he stops, but
soon after that the time will come when he can stay in a room where
others are smoking and not even desire to join them, which he could
never have done before. He will have the advantage that he is definitely
less likely to die of cancer of the mouth, more especially cancer of the
tongue. That is a point which will affect his wife as well as himself.
He will save a quite remarkable sum of money, and since object lessons
are very valuable, he may follow the suggestion to lay it out in the
form of books, as time goes on, though perhaps my reader can give him
better advice from the point of view of the future housekeeper.

Of course there is the point of view expressed in a poem of Mr.

  "A woman is only a woman,
  But a good cigar is a smoke."

If a man takes that point of view he is not good enough for a woman, I
think; she may remember Dogberry, Take no note of him but let him go ...
and thank God she is rid of a ---- fool.

Certainly, I am not saying anything which will be grateful to all ears,
but while we are at it, and since this book is written in the interests
of women, I must say what I believe. I counsel the girl to stop her
lover's smoking; a thousandfold more strongly would I counsel her to
stop his drinking. In a former volume on eugenics, some of the effects
of parental drinking have been dealt with at length, and that subject
need not be returned to here. But also from the point of view of the
individual, a girl may be counselled to stop her lover's drinking. An
excellent eugenic motto for a girl, as my friend Canon Horsley pointed
out in discussing my paper on this subject read before the Society for
the Study of Inebriety in 1909, is "the lips that touch liquor shall
never touch mine."

There are always plenty of people to sneer at the teetotaler; people who
make money out of drink naturally do so; people who drink themselves
naturally do so; the unmarried girl may do so, thinking that the
teetotaler is a prig and not quite a man. _But there is one great class
of the community, the most important of all, which does not sneer at
teetotalers, and that is the wives._ They know better, nay, they know
best, and their verdict stands and will remain against that of all
others. I am now addressing the girl who may become a wife, and I tell
her most solemnly that from her point of view she cannot afford to laugh
at the teetotaler; and if she can stop her lover's drinking, whether he
drinks much or little, she will do well for him and herself. She should
know what the effect of alcohol is upon a man, and she should have
imagination enough to realize that his hot breath, coming unwelcome,
will not be more palatable in the future for its flavouring of whisky.
It may be admitted that in saying all this the interests of the future
are perhaps paramount in my mind. I am trying to do a service to the
principle, "Protect parenthood from alcohol," which I advocate as the
first and most urgent motto for the real temperance reformer. Yet the
question of parenthood may be entirely left out of consideration, and
even so the advice here given to the girl about to choose a
husband--alas, that only a small proportion of maidenhood can be in that
fortunate state, which is yet the right and natural one!--is warranted
and more than warranted. We may go so far as to declare that it is a
great duty, laid upon the young womanhood of civilization, to protect
itself and the future, and to serve its own contemporary manhood, by
taking up this attitude towards alcohol. Would that this great
missionary enterprise were now unanimously undertaken by these most
effective and cogent of missionaries, whose own happiness so largely
depends upon its success!

Of course it should not be necessary for any man to set forth, for the
instruction of girlhood, the qualities which it should value in men. All
who train and teach girlhood and form its ideals should devote
themselves scarcely less to this than to the inculcation of high ideals
for girlhood itself; yet it is not done. We do not yet recognize the
supreme importance of the marriage choice for the present and for the

Fortunately, if Nature alone gets a fair chance, she teaches the girl
that a man should "play the game," and should not be afraid of "having a
go," that of the two classes into which, as one used to tell a little
girl, people are divided--those who "stick to it," and those who do
not--the former are the worthy for her. But Nature is specially
handicapped by stupid convention, not least in Anglo-Saxon countries, as
regards a woman's estimation of _tenderness_ in a man. The parental
instinct with its correlate emotion of tenderness, is the highest of
existing things, and though it is less characteristic of men than of
women, it is none the less supreme when men exhibit it. In days to come,
when women can choose, as they should be able to choose to-day, they may
well be counselled to use as a touchstone of their suitor's quality that
line of Wordsworth, "Wisdom doth live with children round her knees." A
man who thinks that "rot" _is_ rot, or soon will be.

But in the minds of men and women there is a half implicit assumption
that tenderness is incompatible with manliness. "Let not women's
weapons, water-drops, stain my man's cheeks," says Lear. But it is quite
possible for a man to be manly and yet tender, and to the highest type
of women it is the combination of strength and tenderness in a man that
appeals beyond aught else.

It has always seemed to the present writer that the followers of Christ
have done him far less than justice in insisting upon one aspect of his
character disproportionately with another. They speak of him as the
"Gentle Jesus, meek and mild "; they tend to describe him as almost or
wholly effeminate; and the representations of him in art, with small,
feminine and conspicuously un-Jewish features, with long feminine hair
and the hands of a consumptive woman, join with sacred poetry in
furthering this impression. Nothing can be truer than that he was
tender, and that he had a passion for childhood and realized, as we may
dare to say, its divinity, as only the very few in any age have done.
But this "Gentle Jesus, meek and mild," was also he whose blazing words
against established iniquity and hypocrisy constitute him the supreme
exemplar not only of love but of moral indignation, and of a sublime
invective which has been equalled not even by Dante at his highest. We
forget, perhaps, when we use such a phrase as "whited sepulchre," that
we are quoting the untamable fierceness, the courage, fatal and vital,
of the "Gentle Jesus, meek and mild," who was murdered not for loving
children, but for hating established wickedness. Why have Christians not
recognized that it is this perhaps unexampled combination of strength
and tenderness which makes their Founder worthy for all time to be
regarded as the Highest of Mankind?

One more counsel to the girl who can choose. It is contained in the
saying of Marcus Aurelius that the worth of a man may be measured by the
worth of the things to which he devotes his life.

We must now pass to consider the sociological fact that, under present
conditions, the sole use of this chapter for a very large proportion of
women can merely consist in suggesting to them that they are better
unmarried than married without love. It is not possible for them to
exercise the great function of choice which is theirs by natural right.
Evil and ominous of more evil are whatever facts deprive woman of this
her birthright.



In my volume introductory to Eugenics I have dealt at length with
marriage from that point of view. Here our concern is with the
individual woman, and though neither in theory nor in practice can we
entirely dissociate the question of the future from that of the
individual's needs, it is necessary here to discuss the present
conditions of marriage in the civilized world, from the woman's point of
view. We have to ask ourselves how these conditions act in selecting
women from the ranks of the unmarried; whether the transition proceeds
from random chance, or whether there is a selection in certain definite
directions, and if so, what directions? We have to ask whether different
women would pass into the ranks of the married if the conditions of
marriage were other than they are; and we shall assuredly arrive at the
principle that whatever changes are necessary in the conditions of
marriage, so that the best women shall become the mothers of the future,
must be and will be effected.

One has elsewhere argued at length that monogamy is the marriage form
which has prevailed and will be maintained because of its superior
survival-value--in other words, because it best serves the interests of
the future. But what of the individual in a country where there are
thirteen hundred thousand adult women in excess of men, which is the
case of Great Britain? Plainly, there is need for very serious criticism
of such an institution in such circumstances. Let the reader briefly be
reminded, then, that, as I have previously argued, Nature makes no
arrangement for such a disproportion between the sexes. More boys than
girls are indeed born, but from our infantile mortality, which is
largely a male infanticide, onwards, morbid influences are at work which
result in the disproportion already named.

Two excellent reasons may be adduced why any disproportion in the
numbers of the sexes should be the opposite of that which now obtains.
The ideal condition, no doubt, is that of numerical equality. Failing
that, the evils of a male preponderance, though very real, are
comparatively small. For one thing, celibacy affects a woman more than a
man: men, on the whole, suffer less from being unmarried. It is a more
serious deprivation for the woman than for the man, in general, to be
debarred from parenthood. This is a proposition which we need not labour
here, for no reader will dispute its importance and its relevance.

No less important is the economic question. Specially consecrated as she
is to the future, woman as distinctive woman is necessarily handicapped
in relation to the present. She is at an economic disadvantage. One's
blood boils at the cruel effrontery of men who protest against women's
efforts to gain an honest living, but who have never a word or a deed
against prostitution or against the causes which produce the numerical
preponderance of women. But here again our proposition, though
unfamiliar, and indeed so far as I know never yet stated, needs no
labouring--that owing to the economic opportunities of the sexes, it is,
at any rate, on that ground, of no significance that men shall be in
excess in a community, but it is of very grave significance that women
shall be in excess. It is pitiable, and indeed revolting, in this
country where the excess of women is so marked, to hear from year to
year the comments of men upon the supposed degeneration of women, upon
their unnatural selfishness, their desire to invade spheres which do not
belong to them, and so forth and so forth _ad nauseam_; whilst these
commentators are themselves hand in hand with drink, with war and with
Mammon, destroying male children of all ages in disproportionate excess,
sending our manhood to be slain in war, and sending it also in the cause
of industry--that is to say, in the cause of gold--to our colonies, as
if the culture of the racial life were not the vital industry of any

A third very important reason why a numerical preponderance of women is
more injurious to a country than a numerical preponderance of men is
that, though the duty and responsibility of selection for parenthood
devolves upon both sexes, it is normally discharged with greater
efficiency by women than by men; and a numerical preponderance of women
gravely interferes with their performance of this great function. It may
obviously be argued that such a preponderance leaves a greater choice
to the men. But I believe that men do not exercise their choice so well.
In a word, women are more fastidious; the racial instinct is weaker in
them, less rampant and less roving. In the exercise of this function
women are therefore, on the whole, naturally more capable, more
responsible, less liable to be turned aside by the demands of the
moment. In his "Pure Sociology," Professor Lester Ward has very clearly
and forcibly discussed the comparative behaviour of the two sexes in
this matter, and he shows how the great feminine sentiment, not confined
merely to the human species, is to choose the best. The principle is
also a factor in masculine action, but much less markedly so. What we
call, then, the greater fastidiousness of the female sex is a definite
sex character, and has a definite racial value, raising the standard of
fatherhood where it is allowed free play. But in a nation which contains
a great excess of women, under economic conditions which are greatly to
their disadvantage, the value of this natural fastidiousness is
practically lost. Such are the conditions in Great Britain at present
that practically any man, of however low a type, however diseased,
however unworthy for parenthood, may become a father, if he pleases.

The natural condition suitable to monogamy being a numerical equality of
the sexes, the suggestion may obviously be made that where there is a
great excess of women, monogamy should yield to polygamy; and indeed
where there is such excess monogamy is more apparent than real--an ideal
rather than a practice. Thus we have one or two modern authors who have
installed themselves in sociology by the royal road of romance--though
even to this branch of learning, as to mathematics, there is no short
cut whatsoever, even for those whose pens are naturally skilful--authors
who tell us that, given this numerical preponderance of women, some kind
of polygamous modification of the present marriage system should
certainly be adopted. To one aspect of this contention we shall later
return. Meanwhile, the answer is that, rather than abolish monogamy, we
should strive to alter the conditions which produce such an excess of
women. If such an aim were necessarily impracticable, we might well feel
inclined to vote for polygamy rather than the present state of things.
It is a very decent alternative to prostitution. But in point of fact
our aim of equalizing the numbers of the sexes, which I assert as a
canon of fundamental politics, is eminently practicable; and here we may
briefly outline, as very relevant to the problems of womanhood, the
methods by which that aim is to be realized for the good of both sexes
in the present and the future.

Nature gives us more than a fair start, almost as if she knew that the
wastage of male life is apt to be higher at all ages even under the best
conditions. She sends more male children into the world, as if to
secure, on the whole, an equality of the sexes in adult life. That ideal
is realizable, even allowing for a considerable excess of male deaths.
One of our duties, then, is to control that part of the male death-rate,
if any, which is controllable. To begin at the beginning, we find that
infant mortality claims our attention at once. For years past in the
campaign against infant mortality I have urged this as an apparently
somewhat remote, yet very real and important issue. Infant mortality
bears heaviest upon male babies. It is largely, as I have so often said,
a male infanticide, notably contrasting with the practice of deliberate
female infanticide which is known in so many times and places. In
lowering the infant mortality we shall reduce this disproportion of male
deaths, and shall make for the survival of a larger number of men. Bring
down the infant mortality to proper limits and we shall have in adult
life possible male partners for a large number of women who are now
without such because of the male infanticide of twenty and thirty years

It is characteristic of the fashion in which the surface gains our
attention while the substance evades it, that the question of the
disproportion of the sexes should have been brought to the public notice
in regard to a subject which, though not unimportant, is quite secondary
compared with those which we are now discussing. Only three or four
years ago people were startled and incredulous when one told them by the
pen or in lectures that there was a very great excess of women in these
islands. Nowadays everybody knows it. This is not because people have
suddenly come to realize the fundamental importance for the State of
such matters, but simply because the fact provides an argument regarding
Woman Suffrage. This immensely important fact of female preponderance,
with its gigantic consequences, which affect every aspect of the
national life, was totally ignored by the public until, forsooth, it
became an argument against Woman Suffrage; and then the foolish people
whose voices are allowed to be heard on these complicated matters, but
who would be laughed out of court if they expressed their opinions on
other subjects equally outside their competence, told us that woman's
suffrage would mean government by women, they being in the majority. For
all other consequences of this gigantic fact they have no concern; not
even the mental capacity to grasp that it must have consequences. But
this, which happens not to be a consequence of it, they are loud to
insist upon. At any rate, they have done this service until the public
at last is acquainted with the demographic fact; and one of the
suffragist leaders some time ago publicly expressed an old argument of
the present writer's that in point of fact this grave supposed
consequence of woman's suffrage need not be feared if only for the
reason that Woman Suffrage would certainly mean increased attention to
infant mortality, and therefore increased control of the morbid causes
which at present account for female preponderance.

It might indeed be added also that, in so far as Woman Suffrage operated
against war, it would contribute in another way to the correction of
this numerical disparity. Not the least of the many evils which have
flowed from the last hideous war in which Great Britain engaged--evils
which glass-eyed politicians have since been exploiting in the interests
of their own charlatanry--is the loss to scores of thousands of women in
this country of the complemental manhood which was destroyed by wounds
and more especially by disease in South Africa. The wickedness with
which that war was entered upon, and the criminal ignorance with which
it was mismanaged, and the elementary principles of hygiene defied, have
their consequences to-day in much of the unmated and handicapped
womanhood of Great Britain. It may be noted that polygamy as a
historical phenomenon has commonly and necessarily been associated with
militarism. Large destruction of manhood by war leads to a numerical
excess of women, and polygamy is a consequence. If the consequences in
our modern civilization are less decent than polygamy, which would
affront the beautiful minds that are unconcerned for Regent Street,
surely our duty is more strenuously than ever to combat the causes
which, as we see, are quite definitely traceable and controllable.

The increased attention paid to the conditions of child life is of
direct service to the nation, and to womanhood in especial, by tending
to interfere with the excessive and unnecessary mortality of boys. As we
have elsewhere observed, the male organism has less vitality than the
female organism. When both sexes at any age are subjected to the same
injurious influences, more males than females die. Thus all our work
with such a measure as the Children Act, keeping children out of
public-houses, and so forth, directly serves the womanhood of the not
distant future by preserving a certain amount of manhood to keep it
company. Accepting the truth of the dictum that it is not good for man
to be alone, we have to learn the still more general and profound truth
that it is not good for woman to be alone, and, as we now learn, the
modern movement for the care of childhood has this notable consequence,
which I have been pointing out for many years and now insist upon once
again, that it makes for the greater numerical equality of the sexes in
adult life, and therefore for the relief of the many evils near and
remote which flow from the numerical excess of women. Answering the
question, "Whither are we tending?" in Christmas, 1909, Mr. G. K.
Chesterton referred to our liability to "float feebly towards every
sociological fad or novelty until we believe in some plain, cold, crude
insanity, such as keeping children out of public-houses."[16]
Considering the authority, I think this is fairly good testimony toward
the wisdom of the achievement to which some of us devoted the greater
part of three strenuous years; and if the question is to be asked
"whither are we tending," part of the answer will be that by such
measures as this for the care of child life, which means in practice
especially for the keeping alive of boys, we are tending toward the
correction of one of the gravest, though least recognized, evils of the
present day.

Our business in the present volume is not with childhood. It is not
possible to go fully into the statistical details of the comparative
death-rate of the sexes, but the data can readily be obtained by any
interested reader.[17]

It may be argued that the questions now under consideration are foreign
to a chapter entitled "The Conditions of Marriage," but the excess of
women in a community is one of the most fundamental conditions of
marriage therein, and the question is not the less necessary to be dealt
with because, so far as one can ascertain, its consequences have escaped
the notice of previous students.

Having dealt with the waste of male life in infancy, in childhood and in
war, we must pass on to a totally different factor of our problem, and
that is the emigration to our colonies and elsewhere of a greatly
disproportionate number of men. One does not assert for a moment that
the men should not go, but merely that if they do, so should women also.
As everyone knows they go for many reasons and purposes. These are
largely industrial and imperial. The Civil Service claims a large
number. These bachelors go in the cause of Empire, whether as actual
servants of the State or in the interests of commerce. They are largely
picked men, capable of discipline and initiative and of withstanding
hardships; and also in large degree intellectually able. It is certainly
not good for them to be alone, and it is worse for the women whom they
leave behind. All this may seem right and the only practicable thing for
the day, but it is fundamentally wrong because it is wrong for the

If other needs were not so pressing, one might well devote an entire
volume, not inappropriately in these days of fiscal controversy, to the
question of vital imports and exports. Year after year passes, and
politicians in Great Britain grow more and more voracious and, if
possible, less and less veracious on the subject of what they
misunderstand by imports and exports. The subject is really one for
knowledge, not for politicians. With great ceremony at intervals, they
go through the highly superfluous performance of calling each other
liars, as who should say that Queen Anne is dead: and while this
tragical farce continues the question of vital imports and exports is
ignored. Within it there lies the key to the Irish question, for
instance, since no nation can be saved which persistently exports the
best of its life. And in this question also lies the key to a great part
of the woman question and to a great part of the colonial question.
Politicians who have not even discovered yet that trade is a process of
exchange, and who assume that in every bargain someone is being worsted,
pay no heed to the questions what sort of people leave our shores, and
what sort of people enter them. Or rather, as if in order to emphasize
their blindness to fundamentals, they make a point about passing an act
against alien immigration, which merely serves to throw into prominence
our national neglect of this great issue. This is not the time and the
place in which I can deal with it in its entirety, but it must be
referred to in so far as it bears on the proportion of the sexes. Toward
the end of 1909 there was a long correspondence in the _Times_ on the
subject of "Unmarried Daughters." One may print in the text the
admirable letter in which a finger is put upon the heart of the
question. We are told about the incompetence of women to deal with
national affairs, but here we find a woman writing to the _Times_ on a
fundamental matter for the Imperialist, though no member of our Houses
of Parliament has yet given any attention to it.

     SIR: Only two of your numerous correspondents on this subject have
     really reached the root of the matter.

     For more than thirty years the young men of the British Isles have
     found it increasingly difficult to make a living in their native
     land. Therefore there has been--and still is--a steady exodus of
     our male population to our Colonies, where they are unhampered by
     the many disadvantages prevailing here. Unfortunately they are
     obliged to leave the corresponding proportion of women behind. The
     result is a surplus of 1,000,000 women in Great Britain; but let me
     hasten to add (lest the mistake be laid upon Nature when it is not
     hers) that there is a proportionate shortage of 1,000,000 women in
     our colonies. I have recently been on a tour throughout Canada and
     the States, and was most struck by the scarcity of women in Western
     Canada--there are about eight men to one woman. And in America the
     saddest sight of all is the appalling number of half-castes, a blot
     on the civilization of the States, but a blot for which Europeans
     are responsible. The absence of white women is answerable for the
     worst type of population, so that in reality this is a very
     pressing Imperial question; and all those interested in the growth
     and future of Canada should turn their attention to it. For, unless
     we can induce the right sort of British women to emigrate we shall
     not have the Colonies peopled with our own race or speaking our own
     mother tongue.

     Canada wants unmarried women, her cry is for our marriageable
     daughters, and each one would find her vocation out there.

     Canadian men are one of the finest types of manhood possible, but
     they are too hard working to be able to return here in search of a
     wife. How gladly they would welcome the possibility of sharing
     their homes with a sister or a wife can only be guessed by those
     who have been there.

     I am so greatly impressed with the advisability of encouraging
     English women to go out there that I strongly urge every suitable,
     healthy, and useful woman between the age of twenty-five and
     thirty-five to depart (if she has nothing to prevent her), and,
     through the British Emigration Society, Imperial Institute, I shall
     hope to do all that I can to assist them financially.

                                                        I am, sir,
                                                        Yours faithfully,
                                                        SOPHIE K. BEVAN.

     (_Times_, Dec. 24, 1909.)

It was of interest for the student of opinion and practice to compare
this letter with another which appeared in the _Times_ within a few days
of it. This was an official letter from another Emigration Society and
advocated the object, worthy in itself, of sending boys to Australasia.
The letter ended with the following assertion regarding such boys: "They
are the pioneers of Empire, they will be the founders of nations to

But the point exactly is that at present the nations to come in our
Colonies are not coming: much more likely as nations to come in
Australasia, as things go at present, are the Chinese and Japanese.
Before nations can be founded, the co-operation of women is
indispensable. We complain of the birth-rate in our Colonies, or at
least those few persons do who know that parenthood is the key to
national destiny. But we should complain of our own folly in so
interfering with the natural balance of the sexes as to create pressing
problems, wholly insoluble, alike at home and in our Colonies. At all
times "England wants men," but wherever it wants men it wants
women,--even in war we are now beginning to realize the importance of
the trained nurse. There can be no future for our Colonies if they are
to be inhabited by a bachelor generation, and the excess of women at
home prejudices the stability of the heart of empire. Either we must
cease exporting our boys and young manhood--which I certainly do not
advocate--or our girlhood must go also--which I certainly do advocate.
This is only one aspect of the question of vital imports and exports,
upon which a book of vital importance for any nation, and above all, for
England, might well be written.

Once again let us remind ourselves how cogently this question concerns
the conditions of marriage. It means that the conditions are now such
that in our Colonies a woman can exercise her rightful function of
choosing the best man to be her husband and a father of the future,
while at home this is possible only for the very few, and for vast
numbers marriage is wholly impossible. I return, then, to the original
proposition: are we to follow the advice of our gay, irresponsible
sociologists so-called, who advise us to abolish monogamy in the
circumstances, or are we to alter the alterable conditions which so
disastrously prejudice and complicate that great institution in the
heart of our empire to-day? Surely there can be but one answer to this
question when we realize that all the causes of the present
disproportion between the sexes at home--causes such as infant
mortality, child mortality, war, and the exportation of one sex in great
excess to the Colonies--are evil in themselves quite apart from their
influence upon the practice of monogamy. Unfortunately, it is a modern
custom in this age of transition for clever people to criticize on
abstract, patriotic, sociological, quasi-ethical, and such like grounds,
institutions and practices which irk them personally. Unfortunately,
also, sociology is in the position, at present and yet for a little
while inevitable, of shall we say medicine in its earliest stages, when
anyone may be accepted as qualified who simply asserts that he is.
Lastly, sociology is the most complicated of all the sciences because
the chain of causation is longer; and very few of those who write or
read about it have the patience to go back through psychology to biology
and the laws of life in their analyses. An institution like marriage is
criticized by those who think that it is an ecclesiastical invention of
yesterday, and that what hands have made, hands can destroy, though
marriage is æons older even than the mammalian order. They take
transient, artificial conditions, lasting not for a second in the
history of mankind seen as a whole, and simply accepting these
conditions as part of the order of nature, they ask us to overthrow an
institution which is immeasurable ages older than man himself. The odds
are somewhat against them, one may surmise, but they may do considerable
injury to their own age notwithstanding.

After having dealt with this fundamental biological condition of
marriage, we must next turn to a psychological question which is
scarcely less important. The human being is immensely complex both in
composition and in needs, and the institution of monogamy does not
become easier of maintenance as human complexity increases. Amongst the
lower animals or even amongst the lower races of mankind, the relations
between the sexes are mostly confined to one sphere, but amongst
ourselves the problem is to mate for life complex individuals whose
needs are many, ranging from the purely physical to the purely
psychical. Thus it is a matter of common experience that whilst one
woman meets one part of a man's needs, another meets another, and this
of course with grave prejudice to monogamy. Some of the modern writers
to whom allusion has been made suggest that these different needs want
sorting out; that one woman is to be the intellectual companion of a
man, and another the mother of his children. But though men and women
are multiple and complex, they are in the last resort unities. These
absolute distinctions between one need and another do not work out in
practice. Anything which tends toward splitting up the human personality
must be a disservice to it. Nor do we desire that women of the higher
type, best fitted to be the intellectual companions of men, shall be
those who do not contribute to the future of the race. From the eugenic
point of view the mother is every whit as important as the father. I do
not believe for a moment that these more or less definite proposals of
Mr. Shaw and Mr. Wells are soundly based, and perhaps indeed it is not
necessary to argue against them at greater length. Of more value is it
to ask ourselves whether feminine nature may not prove itself quite
equal to the task of meeting all the needs of masculine nature.

It seems to me that the right answer, in many cases at any rate, to the
wife's question, how is she to retain the whole of her husband's
interest, is hinted at in Mr. Somerset Maugham's recent play
"Penelope"--she must be many women to him herself. And this the wise and
happy woman is, though I do not think the phrase "many women" at all
covers the variety of feeling to which the ideal woman can appeal.

The ideal love is that in which the whole nature is joined, in all its
parts, upon one object which appeals alike to every fundamental instinct
in our composition. The ideal woman does not require to be "many women"
to a man of the right kind in the sense suggested in Mr. Maugham's play.
She requires rather to be in herself at one and the same time or at
different times, mother, wife and daughter. This condition satisfied,
behold the ideal marriage.

It is probably fair to say that the three strongest and most important
needs of a man's nature are those which are satisfied by mother, wife,
and daughter. Primarily, perhaps, his wife must be to him his wife, his
contemporary and partner, and there must be a physical bond between
them. (Doubtless there are many happy marriages where this primary
condition is not satisfied, this primitive form of affection being
substantially absent, and its presence being proved non-essential: but
such must be a state of unstable equilibrium at best, though the
concession must be made.) Now the problem for the wife is to unite in
her person and in her personality those other feelings which are part of
normal human nature. Every man likes to be mothered at times, and it is
for his wife to see that she performs that function better than any
other; better even than his own mother. Where he finds merely physical
satisfaction, he also finds, happy man, sympathy and comfort, protection
and solace, balm for wounded self-esteem--everything that the hurt or
slighted child knows he will find in his mother's arms.

Yet again, a man likes not only to be mothered but he likes to play the
father. Let his wife be a daughter to him; let her be capable of
shrinking, so to say, into small space, becoming little and confident
and appealing and calling forth every protective impulse of her
husband's nature.

To one who knew nothing of human nature it might sound as if we were
asking more of womanhood than is within its capacity. But many a man and
many a woman will know better. The right kind of woman can be and is
mother, wife and daughter to her husband; and in every one of these
capacities she strengthens her hold in the other two. Let the happily
married examine their happiness, and they will discover that the
Preacher was right when he said: "and a threefold cord is not quickly

What has here been said is perhaps far more fundamental, just because it
is based upon the primary instincts of humanity, than much of the
ordinary talk about intellectual companionship and the like. What a man
wants is sympathy, not intellectual companionship as such; what a man
wants from another man, indeed, is sympathy, and not merely intellectual
parity as such. The man who annoys us is not he who is incapable of
appreciating our arguments, or he who does not share our knowledge, but
he who is out of sympathy with us, and we find far more happiness with
the rawest youth who, though entirely ignorant, is at least on our
side--caring for the things for which we care. Capacity to share the
same intellectual work may be a very pleasant addition to marriage, but
it is no essential. What a man wants is that his wife shall be on his
side in his pursuits. A boy does not require that his mother shall be
able to play football with him, but he does require that she shall care
whether his side wins or loses. The wife who is a true mother to her
husband, in this sense, need not be concerned because she cannot, let us
say, follow his working out of a geometrical proposition. Let her be on
his side whether he fails or succeeds, thus playing the mother; and for
the rest, if she asks him what those funny marks mean, she can play the
daughter too, and hold his heart with both hands at once.

It is to be hoped that such arguments as these will persuade the reader
to assent to our rejection of the psychological grounds on which it is
proposed to abolish monogamy. We extend all the sympathy in the world to
those whose fortune has been unfortunate, and we admit that the ideal
does not always coincide with the real, but we deny that the supposed
argument against monogamy is based upon a sound understanding of human
nature, its needs and its unity in multiplicity.

If we are to stand by monogamy it behoves us to examine very carefully
certain of its present conditions which militate against the full
realization of its value for the individual and for the race. The
disproportion of the sexes we have already discussed, and it may here be
assumed that that grave obstacle to the success of monogamy is removed.
There remains the fact, probably on the whole a quite new fact of our
day, that under modern conditions a large proportion of women, whose
quality we must consider, are declining monogamy as at present

Let it be granted that a certain number of these women are cranks,
aberrant in various directions, unfitted for any kind of marriage,
undesirable from the eugenic standpoint, and perhaps less often
declining to be married than failing of the opportunity. There remains
the fact that a large and probably increasing number of women are
nowadays being educated up to such a standard of ideals that, even
though their decision involves the sacrifice of motherhood, they cannot
consent to marriage under present conditions. It is not that they are
without opportunity, for many of them during ten or fifteen years of
their lives may refuse one proposal after another, and spend the
intervals in avoiding the onset of such attentions. It is not
necessarily that the men who propose are of an inferior type. Such women
may refuse many men who come well up to or far surpass the modern male
standard. It is not that they are by any means without capacity for
affection; nor can one be at all certain that in many cases they would
not do better to marry, after all, heavy though the price may be.

What we have to recognize is that this is a phenomenon in every way
evil. There must be something wrong with any institution which does not
appeal to many members of the highest types of womanhood. Perhaps in
certain of its details this institution must be an anachronism, a
survival from times to which it may have been well suited when the
development of womanhood was habitually stunted, but inadequate to
satisfy the demands of fully developed womanhood in our own days. Now
from the eugenic point of view it is of course the finest kind of women
that we desire to be the mothers of the future--the more and not the
less fastidious, those who are capable of the highest development, those
who hold themselves in the highest honour, those who are least willing
to renounce their possession of themselves.

Men are to be heard who say that this is all nonsense; that it is
natural for women to surrender themselves, that motherhood is a splendid
reward, and that they are handsomely paid as well in material things.
But how many men would be willing to marry on the conditions with which
marriage is offered to a woman? How many men would be willing to
surrender their possession of themselves to an owner for life, so that
at no future hour can they have the right to privacy? Of course if the
conditions for marriage were for a man what they are for a woman,
scarcely any men would marry, and men would very soon see to it that
these conditions were utterly altered. They are conditions imposed in a
past age by the stronger sex upon the weaker, and no moral defence of
them is possible. It may be argued, and might long have been argued,
that a practical defence of them is possible, but that is undermined in
our own time when we find that under these conditions marriage is
declined by a large number of the best women. The practical argument is
now the other way. In the interests of elementary justice, of marriage,
of the individual and of the race, the conditions of marriage must be so
modified that they shall be equal for both sexes, and that the best
members of both sexes shall find them acceptable. This last is of course
the fundamental eugenic requirement.

The initial criticism of some will be, no doubt, that many men who now
marry will decline the bargain. But surely we need not care at all--if
the right kind of men accept it. As for the others, in the coming time,
when we take more care of our womanhood, and when they are deprived of
the economic weapon, they may go whither they will, their
non-representation in the future of the race being precisely what we

Women, then, are entitled to demand that the conditions of marriage be
so modified as, above all things, to allow them the possession of
themselves as the married man has possession of himself. The imposition
of motherhood upon a married woman in absolute despite of her health and
of the interests of the children is none the less an iniquity because it
has at present the approval of Church and State. It is woman who bears
the great burden of parenthood, and with her the decision must rest. It
is idle to reply that this is impossible, for it is possible, as there
are not a few happy wives throughout the civilized world to bear
testimony. Every new life that comes into being is to be regarded as
sacred from the first. The accident of birth at a particular stage in
its development does not in the slightest degree affect this ethical
principle, as even the law, for a wonder, recognizes. The full
acceptance of the principle that woman must decide is, I am convinced,
the only right and effective way in which to abolish altogether the
dangers at present run by the life which is at once unborn and unwanted.
The decision must be made once and for all _before_ the new life is
called into initial being, and the last word must lie with her who is to
bear it. I am strengthened in the enunciation of this principle by the
reflection that it would be ridiculed and condemned by the vote of every
public-house and music-hall throughout the civilized world.

Let it be observed that in thus allowing the wife the possession of her
own person, we are giving her only what her husband possesses, and that
her possession of herself is of vastly more moment to her than his own
liberty to him. Nothing more than sheer equality is being claimed for
her, and the claim in her case has a double strength, since it is made
valid not only by her own interests but by those of the future. The
future must be protected, and therefore she who is its vessel must be
protected. This is no more than the sub-human mother everywhere has as
her birthright, and however much this teaching may offend the common
male assumption that a wife is a form of property, the future certainly
holds within itself the establishment of this principle.

The question of divorce is so important that we must defer it to the
next chapter.

We have briefly alluded to the question of the wife's possession of
herself. We must now refer to the question, scarcely less important, of
her possession of her own property and her claims upon her husband's. It
is difficult for the present generation to realize that very few decades
have passed since the time when everything which a woman possessed
became, when she married, the property of her husband. That is now a
question which there is no need to discuss, but there remains a very
great issue, lately become prominent, and suggested by the popular
phrase, the endowment of motherhood.

We should obviously be false to our first principles if we did not
assent with all our hearts to the _fundamental_ principle expressed by
this phrase. If it is necessary that the wife be protected as a wife, it
is even more necessary that she be protected as a mother. There are
twelve hundred thousand widows in this country at the present time, and
of these a large number stand in unaided parental relation to a great
multitude of children. I showed some years ago that, as we shall see in
more detail in a later chapter, alcohol makes not less than forty-five
thousand widows and orphans every year in England and Wales. Nothing
can be more certain than that, in the interests of all except the
worthless type of man, the economic protection of motherhood is an
urgent need, less open to criticism perhaps than any other economic
reconstruction proposed by the reformer. Some will argue, of course,
that the State is to look after children directly, but I, for one, as a
biologist, have no choice but to believe that the way to save children
is to safeguard parenthood, and I cannot question that our duty is to
provide the mother with the necessary means for performing her supreme
function, whether she has a living husband or is a widow or is

The question remains, how is this to be done, and whence is the money to
be obtained?

Here we join issue with those Socialist writers who advocate the
endowment of motherhood and give it their own meaning; and that is why
in a preceding paragraph the word fundamental has been emphasized, since
in the endowment of motherhood as understood by socialists there are two
principles, one which I call fundamental, and a second--that the
endowment shall be by the State--which now falls to be considered. I do
not see how any one can challenge the following sentences from Mr. H. G.

     "So the monstrous injustice of the present time which makes a
     mother dependent upon the economic accidents of her man, which
     plunges the best of wives and the most admirable of children into
     abject poverty if he happens to die, which visits his sins of waste
     and carelessness upon them far more than upon himself, will
     disappear. So too the still more monstrous absurdity of women
     discharging their supreme social function, bearing and rearing
     children in their spare time, as it were, while they earn their
     living by contributing some half mechanical element to some trivial
     industrial product, will disappear."[18]

But the remarkable circumstance is that Mr. Wells proposes to remedy
these consequences of, for instance, "sins of waste and carelessness,"
not by dealing with those sins but by the simple method that "a woman
with healthy and successful offspring will draw a wage for each one of
them from the State so long as they go on well. It will be her wage.
Under the State she will control her child's upbringing. How far her
husband will share in the power of direction is a matter of detail upon
which opinion may vary--and does vary widely amongst Socialists." How
far a father is to share in directing his children's upbringing is "a
matter of detail," we are told. The phrase suffices to show that
whatever we are dealing with here is either sheer fantasy or else
thinking of so crude a kind as to be unworthy of the name. Since early
in the history of the fishes paternal responsibility has been a factor
of ascending evolution. It has ever been a more and more responsible
thing to be a father. It is now proposed to reduce fatherhood to the
purely physiological act--as amongst, shall we say, the simpler worms;
and the proposal is only "a matter of detail."

Probably we had better go our own way, and waste no more time upon this
kind of thing. There remains to answer our question, how is motherhood
to be endowed; and the answer I propose is _by fatherhood_. Motherhood
is already so endowed in many a happy case. There are quite a number of
men to be found who take such a remarkable pride and interest in their
own children that their "share in the power of direction" is a real one,
and would never occur to them to be "a matter of detail." They regard
their earnings, these unprogressive fathers, as in large measure a trust
for their wives and children, and expend them accordingly. They are not
guilty of "sins and waste and carelessness"; and some of them are even
inclined to question whether they should pay for the results of such
sins on the part of other men: and since those who believe in the
"fetish of parental responsibility," to quote the favourite Socialist
_cliché_, can show that this is not a fetish but a tutelary deity of
Society, whose power has been increasing since backbones were invented,
they may be well assured that the last word will be with them.

What we require is the application of the principle of insurance; we
must compel a husband and father to do his duty, as many husbands and
fathers do their duty now without compulsion. We must regard him as
responsible in this supremely important sphere, as we do in every other.
Doubtless, this will often mean some interference with his "sins of
waste and carelessness"; and so much the better for everybody. Those who
prefer to be wasteful and careless had best remain in the ranks of
bachelorhood. We have no desire for any representation of their moral
characteristics in future generations, but if they do marry they must
be controlled. Meanwhile our champions of paternal irresponsibility are
having things all their own way. Every year more children are being fed
at the expense of the State, and there is no one to challenge the father
who smokes and drinks away any proportion of his income that he pleases.

       *       *       *       *       *

Perhaps we may now attempt to sum up the suggestion of this chapter. It
is based upon a belief in the principle of monogamy--without, as some
would assert, a credulous acceptance of all the present conditions of
that institution. The principle underlying it may be right and
impossible of improvement, but our practice may be hampered by any
number of superstitions, traditions, injustices, economic and other
difficulties, which nevertheless do not invalidate our ideal.

Therefore, instead of proposing to abolish monogamy or that great
principle of common parental care of children, the support of motherhood
by fatherhood, which is perfectly expressed in monogamy alone, let us
seek rather, in the interests of the future--which will mean proximately
in the interests of woman, the great organ of the future--to make the
conditions of marriage such that it best serves the highest interests.
We need not cavil at those who look upon marriage as a symbol of the
union between Christ and His Church, but we must look upon it also as a
human institution which exists to serve mankind and must be treated
accordingly. We are quite prepared to accept in its place any other
institution which will serve mankind better, and we adhere to monogamy
only because such an alternative cannot be named.

We are to regard any disproportion in the number of the sexes as
inimical to monogamy. We know that in the past, when there has been a
great excess of women, as owing to chronic militarism, polygamy has been
the natural consequence; and we must recognize that such an excess of
women at the present day is a predisposing cause, if not of polygamy, of
something immeasurably worse. The causes of that excess of women have
therefore been examined in some degree, and our duty of opposing them is
laid down as a fundamental political proposition.

We then discussed and criticized a second argument for polygamy, based
upon the assumption that a man requires more from women than one woman
can afford him. The answer to that argument is that many women exist who
meet all their husbands' needs and satisfy all their instincts, and that
for this end the intensive education of woman's intellect is not a
necessary condition. It may be added that if the race is to rise, the
highest type of women as well as the highest type of men must be its
parents, the mothers being exactly as important as the fathers on the
score of heredity. Any attempt, therefore, to split up womanhood, so
that the lower types shall become the mothers, and the higher the
companions of men, is a directly dysgenic proposal, opposing the great
eugenic principle that the best of both sexes must be the parents of the

When we find, therefore, that marriage under present conditions does
not satisfy many of the highest kinds of women, we must ask whether
their dissatisfaction is warranted, and if, as we do, we find it based
upon the fact that the present conditions are grossly unjust to women,
we must modify those conditions so that, at the very least, the wife and
mother shall not have the worst of them.

Finally, whatever we may fail to achieve because, for instance, of some
fundamental facts of human nature against which it is vain to legislate,
at least we have economic conditions under our control, and control them
we must, so that, whoever shall be in a position of economic insecurity,
at least it shall not be the mothers of the future. Our first concern
must be to safeguard them, whosoever else is inconvenienced. In deciding
how this is effected we are to be guided by that great fact of
increasing paternal responsibility which is demonstrated by the history
of animal evolution since the appearance of the earliest vertebrates,
and of which marriage, in all its forms, is at bottom the human and
social expression. We are to recognize that if sub-human fathers are in
any degree held by nature responsible with their mates for the care of
their offspring, much more should this be true of man, "made with such
large discourse, looking before and after," who is to be held
responsible for all his acts, and most of all for those most charged
with consequence. The man who brings children into the world is
responsible to their mother and through her to society at large, which
must see to it that that responsibility is not evaded. At present in
England the working man spends on the average not less than one-sixth
of his entire income on alcoholic drinks, whilst society yearly pays for
the feeding of more of his children. But it is not good enough that the
father shall swallow the interests of the future in this fashion. As the
State in Germany takes a percentage of his earnings in order to protect
him against the risks of the future, so we must see to it that the
necessary proportion of his earnings is devoted towards discharging the
responsibilities which he has incurred.

A notable consequence must follow from many such reforms as this chapter
suggests. The marriage rate must fall, and the birth-rate, already
falling, must fall much further; and so assuredly in any case they will;
nor need anyone be alarmed at such a prospect. Even from the point of
view of quantity, the future supply of "food for powder," and so forth,
the question is not how many babies are born, as people persist in
thinking, but how many babies survive. For seven years past I have been
preaching, in season and out of season, that our Bishops and popular
vaticinators in general are utterly wrong in bewailing the falling
birth-rate, whilst the unnecessary slaughter of babies and children
stares them in the face. How dare they ask for more babies to be
similarly slain! It may be permitted to quote a passage written several
years ago. "My own opinion regarding the birth-rate is that so long as
we continue to slay, during the first year of life alone, one in six or
seven of all children born (the unspeakably beneficent law of the
non-transmission of acquired characters permitting these children to be
born amazingly fit and well, city life notwithstanding), the fall in the
birth-rate should be a matter of humanitarian satisfaction. Let us learn
how to take care of the fine babies that are born, and when we have
shown that we can succeed in this, as we have hitherto most horribly
failed, we may begin to suggest that perhaps, if the number were
increased, we might reasonably expect to take care of that number also.
Babies are the national wealth, and in reality the only national wealth;
and just as a sensible father will satisfy himself that his son can take
care of his pocket-money, before he listens to a demand for its
augmentation, so, as a people, we are surely responsible to the Higher
Powers, or our own ideals, for the production of proof that we can take
care of the young helpless lives which are daily entrusted to us, before
we cry for more. It would be easy to quote episcopal denouncements
regarding the birth-rate, but I am at a loss for references to similarly
influential opinions about the slaughter of the babies that are born--a
matter which surely should take precedence. May I, in all deference,
commend for consideration a parable which always comes to my mind when I
read clerical comments on the birth-rate, without reference to the
infant-mortality? It was figured by the Supreme Lover of Children that a
wicked servant, entrusted with a portion of his master's wealth to turn
to good account, went and hid it in the earth. He was not rewarded by
the charge of more such wealth. We, as a people, are entrusted with
living wealth, and, whilst we demand more, we go and bury much of it in
the earth--whence, alas! it cannot be recovered. Not an increase of
opportunity, thus wasted, was the reward of the unprofitable servant,
but to be cast into outer darkness. Is there no moral here?"

Very distinguished recent authority may be quoted in favour of this
principle. At the Annual Public Meeting of the Academy of Sciences, held
in Paris in December, 1909, Professor Bouchard discussed the question of
the population of France, and came to the conclusion that the birth-rate
"depended upon social conditions which it was difficult if not
altogether impossible to modify, and in these circumstances the
alternative remedy was to reduce the number of deaths."

It must surely be plain that those reforms in the conditions of marriage
which have been advocated in this chapter will meet this need, and are
not necessarily to be feared even by those who, in this matter, devote
their solicitude entirely to the question of numbers, quality apart. For
the eugenist who is primarily concerned with quality these reforms are
surely unchallengeable.



A brief chapter must be devoted to the question of the conditions of
divorce, which are really part of the conditions of marriage. Here, as
in every other case, we must apply the universal and unchallengeable
eugenic criterion: the conditions of divorce, like the conditions of
marriage itself, must be such as best serve the future of the race. This
will mean that, in the first place, in entering upon marriage--which of
necessity means so much more to a woman than it does to a man--the woman
must have the assurance that when the conditions of the contract are
broken she will be liberated. The law must bear equally upon the two
sexes. This condition of safety, once established, may determine toward
marriage a certain number of women at present deterred by what they know
of the manner in which our unjust laws now work.

Secondly, Divorce Law Reform in the right interests of women and the
future must involve the complete protection of both from, for instance,
the drunken husband. The male inebriate is on all grounds unfitted to be
a father, and the laws of divorce must ensure that if he be married, his
wife and therefore the future shall be protected from him. Those of us
who believe in the movement for Women Suffrage will be grievously
disappointed if, when that movement at last succeeds, such fundamental
and urgent reforms as these are not promptly effected.

A Royal Commission is now sitting in England upon this subject of
Divorce Law Reform, and I wish to repeat here with all the emphasis
possible what has been already said in indirect contribution to the
evidence laid before that Commission. It is that the first principle of
judgment in all such matters is the Eugenic one. Primarily marriage is
an invention for serving the future by buttressing motherhood with
fatherhood. The judgment of all our methods of marriage and divorce lies
with their products. "By their fruits ye shall know them." If there were
any antagonism between the interests of the individual and those of the
race we should indeed be in a quandary, but as I have shown a hundred
times there is no such antagonism. The man or woman from whom a divorce
ought to be obtained is _ipso facto_ the man or woman who ought not to
be a parent.

When it is a question of life or gold, we in England are consistent
Mammon worshippers. Woe to the poacher, but the wife beater has only
strained a right and may be leniently dealt with; woe to the destroyer
of pheasants, but the destruction of peasants is a detail. Thus it is
that the great fundamental questions which, because they determine the
destiny of peoples, are the great Imperial questions, are unknown even
by repute to our professed Imperialists. Every kind of industry except
the culture of the racial life interests them profoundly--if there is
money in it. The whole nation can go wild over a budget or the proposal
to revive protection, but the conditions under which the race is
recruited are the concern of but a few, who are looked upon as cranks.
In the case of such a question as our Divorce Laws the public is
substantially unaware that we are hundreds of years behind the rest of
the civilized world; that our practice is utterly unthought out, and
that the supposed compromise of Separation Orders is insane in principle
and hideous in result. The present law bears very hardly upon both sexes
in a thousand cases, but more especially upon women, toward whom it is
grossly unjust. All honour is due to the Divorce Law Reform Union,[19]
which for many years has devoted itself to this important subject, and
has at last succeeded in obtaining the formation of a Royal Commission,
the upshot of which, we may hope, will be to reform our law on moral,
humane, and eugenic lines. The following is a striking quotation from a
pamphlet written on behalf of this Union by Mr. E. S. P. Haynes, a
distinguished expert.

     "But our law of divorce is only one example among many of our
     hide-bound attachment to ancient abuses. It is of the utmost
     importance to realize that Divorce Law Reform will merely bring our
     jurisprudence up to the level of the modern enlightened State. It
     involves no revolutionary disturbance of anything but our crusted
     ignorance of how modern civilization works outside England. It sets
     out to place the family on a firmer basis, to regulate the marriage
     contract on equitable lines, and to improve the chances of the
     future generation in a country where deserted wives fill the
     work-houses and forty thousand illegitimate children are born every

In Germany, which we are always being asked to imitate in non-essentials
by the more stupid kind of Imperialist--the kind which only very strong
empires can survive--the law of divorce is vastly superior to ours.
There is no such thing as judicial separation, which "is rightly
condemned as being contrary to public policy." Further, as Mr. Haynes
points out, "In Germany a male cannot marry under twenty-one or a female
under eighteen, whether parental consent is available or not. In England
a man may and not infrequently does cut his wife and family out of his
will; in Germany the rights of wife and children are properly
safeguarded by limiting this liberty of disposition. In England a father
need not do more for his children than keep them out of the work-house
unless he has brought himself under Divorce Jurisdiction; in Germany he
is obliged to maintain them in a suitable manner. In England a
spendthrift or dipsomaniac can only be controlled when he has spent all
his money. In Germany such persons are protected from themselves by the
family council. In England an illegitimate child can never be
legitimated by the subsequent marriage of the parents. In Germany this
humane and reasonable opportunity of making reparation to the child
exists as a matter of course."

Here in England we have one law for the rich and another for the poor,
for the average cost of a decree is about £100; and a case was recently
reported in which a woman had saved up for twenty years in order to
obtain a divorce. What an absolutely abominable scandal; how hideously
beneath the level of practice amongst what we are pleased to call savage
peoples. As everyone knows, the present law directly encourages
immorality, pronouncing separation _without_ the power of
re-marriage--that is to say, the greater punishment, for lesser
offences, and divorce _with_ the power of re-marriage, that is to say,
the lesser punishment, for greater offences.

Further, the law totally ignores the interests of the future in
conspicuous cases where one or other possible parent is hopelessly unfit
for such a function. In the interests not only of the individual but the
future it would be advisable to grant divorce to a person whose partner
had been confined in a lunatic asylum for, say five years, and who could
be certified as likely to remain insane permanently, or whose partner
had been confined in an Inebriates' Home for, say, two terms of one
year, or who could be proved and certified to be an incurable drunkard.

We must abolish these atrocious Separation Orders, with their direct
promotion of every kind of immorality, illegitimacy and cruelty to
women. But perhaps this chapter may be brought to a close since in
England the matter is now before a Royal Commission, and since our
stupidities are of no direct interest to the American reader. It was
necessary, however, to deal with the subject because of its immediate
and urgent bearing upon many of the problems of Womanhood.



We reach here a central question which must be approached from the right
point of view or we shall certainly fail to solve it. That point of view
is the child's. There is a school of thought which approaches the
question otherwise--on abstract principles of justice and individual
independence. The only objection to them is that, if upheld on modern
conditions, these principles would soon leave us without anyone to
uphold them. The relation of the mother to the State is central and
fundamental, however considered, and the principles on which it must be
settled must, above all, be principles which are compatible with the
fundamental conditions on which States can endure.

Those principles, surely, are two. The first is that in a State we are
members one of another, and that those who need help must be helped.
This will be indignantly repudiated by a stern school of thought, but
what if it applies, everywhere, always and above all, to children? They
are members of the community who need help and they must be helped. The
second principle is indeed only a special case of the first. It is that
if the State is to continue, it must rear children.

We take it then, first, that the moral and social law is perfectly final
as to the right of every child to existence. There are no principles of
national welfare which can divorce us from the simple truth that we must
regard every human individual as sacred from the moment of its coming
into existence--and that is a long time before birth. A familiar medical
dogma is, "Keep everything alive." There may be exceptions to it, but it
is dangerous to discuss them with the unprepared. The only safe
principle is to maintain, as long as possible, the life of all--the
centenarian or the embryo conceived since the sun set. At times the
State deliberately takes life on behalf of life. The sentence of
execution passed upon the murderer may be warrantably passed by the
State of the future or its officers upon a monstrous birth, a baby
riddled with congenital syphilis or some such horrible fruit of our
present carelessness and wickedness in such matters. The State may
regard such children or their survival as illegitimate, since the laws
of nature as we see them at work throughout the living world do not
approve the survival of such. Apart from these cases, all children are
legitimate, and all children are natural. Whatever the history of the
reader's parents, he or she was assuredly both a legitimate child and a
natural child--a paradox which may be left to the solution of the
curious. Directly a new human being has been conceived, its right to
existence and survival may be conceded. Vast numbers of human beings are
conceived every year whose conception is a sin against themselves and
the State. That is a question on which the present writer has written
and spoken incessantly for years, and which no one can accuse him of
neglecting. But here we have to deal with the facts of the world as they
are and as they will be for some time to come.

All children are to be cared for. No child should die; there should be
no infant mortality; the children that are not fit to live should not be
conceived, and those that are fit to live should be allowed to live; all
children are legitimate. If the State has any kind of business at all,
this is its business.

Our subject here, the reader may say, is not children, but woman and
womanhood. The reply is that unless we have our principles rightly
formulated, we cannot solve this question of the rights of women as
mothers. Failing our principles, we shall be reduced to the prejudices
which serve as principles for our political parties. We shall have
individualist and socialist at loggerheads, the friends of marriage and
its enemies, and many other opposing parties who cannot solve the
question for us because they have not waited first to discover its
fundamentals. The rights of mothers can be approached only from the
point of view of the rights of children. We may happen to believe, as
the present writer certainly does, that parents should be responsible
for their children. He once lectured for, and published the lectures in
association with, a body called the British Constitution Association,
which holds the same belief, but when he found as he did that protests
were raised against any suggestion to help children whose parents do not
do their duty, it became plain that principles which were right in a
merely secondary and conditional way were being made absolute and
fundamental. The fundamental is that the child shall be cared for; the
conditional and secondary principle is that this is best effected
through the parents. To say that if the parents will not do it, the
child must be left to starve, is immoral and indecent. Worse words than
those, if such exist, would be required to describe our neglect of
illegitimate infancy; our cruelty toward widows and orphans; our utterly
careless maintenance of the conditions which produce these hapless
beings in such vast numbers.

If every child is sacred, every mother is sacred. If every child is to
be cared for, every mother must be cared for. It is true that we may
make experiment with devices for superseding the mother. Man has
impudent assurance enough for anything, and if Nature has been working
at the perfection of an instrument for her purpose during a few score
million years--an instrument such as the mammalian mother, for
instance--man is quite prepared to invent social devices, such as the
incubator, the _crèche_, the infant milk _dépôt_, and so forth; not
merely to make the best of a bad case when the mother fails, but to
supersede the mother altogether directly the baby is born. Such cases,
except in the last resort, are more foolish than words can say. We have
to save our children; we can only do so effectively through the
naturally appointed means for saving children, which is motherhood. The
rights of mothers follow as a necessary consequence from our first
principle, which was the rights of children. Because every child must
be protected, every mother must be protected, if not in one way, in

The State may not be able to afford this. The necessities of existence
may be so difficult to obtain, not to mention for a moment such luxuries
as alcohol and motor-cars and warships and fine clothes and art, and so
forth, that no arrangements for the support of motherhood can be made.
If we lay down the proposition that no mother should work because she is
already doing the supreme work, it may be replied that this is
economically impossible; the thing cannot be done. The only reply to
this is that the State which cannot afford to provide rightly for the
means of its continuance had better discontinue, and must in any case
soon do so. Motherhood is rapidly declining as a numerical fact in
civilized communities generally. Not merely does the birth-rate fall
persistently and without the slightest regard to the commentators
thereon, but it will continue to do so for many years to come. In the
light of this fact the great argument of presidents and bishops,
politicians and journalists, moralists and social censors generally is
that somehow or other this decline must be arrested. To all of which one
replies, for the thousand and first time, that, whatever it ought to be,
it will not be arrested; that the really moral policy, the really human
one, and the only possible one, is to take care of the children that are
born. Then when we have abolished our infant and child mortality and
have solved the substantial problem of finding room for all new-comers,
having ceased to far more than decimate them, we may begin cautiously
to suggest that perhaps if the birth-rate were slightly to rise we might
be able to cope with the product. At present the disgraceful fact is not
the birth-rate, but what we do with the birth-rate; though more
disgraceful perhaps are the blindness and ignorance and assurance of the
host of commentators in high places who waste their time and ours in
animadverting upon a fact--the falling birth-rate--which is a necessary
condition and consequence of organic progress, whilst the motherhood we
have is so urgently in need of protection and idealization in the minds
of the people.

We have reached the conclusion that all motherhood is to be protected.
This means that from some source or other the money shall be forthcoming
for the maintenance of the mother and her children. For, in the first
place, the children are not to work because, if they do, they will not
be able to work as they should in the future. The State cannot afford to
let them work. Further, the proper care of childhood is so continuous
and exacting a task, and of such supreme moment, that it is the highest
and foremost work that can be named; and therefore, in the second place,
she whose business it is must not be hampered by having to do anything
else. If any labourer is worthy of his hire, she is. Her economic
security must be absolute. She must be as safe as the Bank of England,
because England and its banks stand or fall with her. In the rightly
constituted State, if there be any one at all whose provision and
maintenance are absolutely secure, it will be the mothers. Whoever else
has financial anxiety, they shall have none. Any State that can afford
to exist can afford to see to this. No economist can inform me what
proportion of the labour and resources of England are at this moment
devoted to the means of life, and what proportion to superfluities,
luxuries and the means of death. But it is a very simple matter with
which the reader, who is doubtless a better arithmetician than I am, may
amuse himself, to estimate the number of married women of reproductive
age in the community, and allowing anything in reason for illegitimate
motherhood and nothing at all for infertile wives, to satisfy himself
that the total cost which would be involved in the adequate care of
motherhood, is a mere fraction of the national expenditure. Few of us
realize how extraordinary and how unprecedented is the margin of
security for existence which modern civilization affords. A savage
community may have scarcely any margin at all. The same may be true of
many primitive communities which cannot be called savage. They maintain
life under such conditions, whether in Greenland or in a thousand other
parts of the world, that they cannot afford to labour for anything which
is not bread. The primary necessities of existence take all their
getting. Some transient accident of weather or the balance of Nature in
the sea or in the fields imperils the existence of the whole community.
They, at any rate, are wise enough to take good care of their women and
children. But in civilization we have an enormous margin of security.
Not only are we dependent on no local crop or harvest, but the getting
of necessities has become so effective and secure that we are able to
spend a vast amount of our time and energy on the production of luxuries
and evils. How little, then, is our excuse if we fail to provide the
first conditions for continuance and progress!

Our first principles of the value of the child and therefore of
motherhood are unchallengeable, nor will anyone nowadays be found to
question that neither children nor mothers should work in the ordinary
sense of that word, since the proper work of children who are to work
well when they grow up is play, and since the mother's natural work is
the most important that she can perform. It remains, then, for us to
determine by whom mothers and children in the modern and future State
are to be provided for.

The conditions of mothers are various, and we shall best approach the
problem by the consideration of different cases.

The simplest is that of the widowed mother who is without means. It is
only too common a case, and we have already seen certain causes which
contribute to the enormous number of widows in the community. Men do not
live as long as women, and men are older when they marry. These natural
causes of widowhood, as they may be called, are greatly aggravated by
the destructive influence of alcohol upon fatherhood, as will be shown
in the chapter dealing with alcohol and womanhood.

On the individualistic theory of the State, a theory so brutal and so
impracticable that no one consistently upholds it, the widow's
misfortune is her private affair, but does not really concern us. Her
husband should have provided for her. Indeed she should, and indeed we
should have seen that he did. But if he and we failed in our duty to
her, the consequences must be met. The hour is at hand when the State
will discover that children are its most precious possessions, more
precious as they grow scarcer, and efficient support will then be
forthcoming, as a matter of course, for the widowed mother and her
children. The feature which will distinguish this support from any past
or present provision will be that it recognizes the natural sanctity and
the natural economy of the relation between mother and children. It will
be agreed not merely that the children must be provided for, but that
they must be provided for through her. The current device is to divorce
mother and children. "Whom God hath joined together, let no man put
asunder," is quoted by many against the divorce of a married pair whom,
as is plain, not God but the devil has joined together; but the
principle of that quotation verily applies to the natural and divine
association of mother and children.

If, then, the State is to provide in future for all widowed mothers and
their children, husbands need no longer trouble to insure or make
provision for them. Such is the proper criticism. The reply to it is
that the State will have to see to it that, in future, husbands _do_
take this trouble. To this we shall return.

Next we may consider the case of the unmarried mother and her
"illegitimate" child or children. Here, again, the child must be cared
for, and the care of the child is the work which has been imposed upon
the mother. We must enable her to do it, nor must we countenance the
monstrous and unnatural folly, injurious to both and therefore to us, of
separating them. Napoleon, desirous of food for powder, forbade the
search for the father in such a case, though the French are now seeking
to abrogate that abominable decree. Our law recognizes that the father
is responsible, and under it he may be made to pay toward the upkeep of
the child. Some contemporary writers on the endowment of motherhood are
advocating changes which would make this law absurd, for they are
seeking to free the married father from any responsibility for his
children, and could scarcely impose it upon the unmarried father. Such
proposals, however, are palpable reversions to something much lower and
æons older in the history of life than mere barbarism, and I have no
fear of their success. Assuredly the unmarried father must be held
responsible; and no less certainly must we see to it that, with or
without his help, the unmarried mother and her children are adequately
provided for. The present death-rate amongst illegitimate children is a
scandal of the first order and must be ended. If we are wise, our
provision will involve protecting ourselves against the need for new
provision, especially where the mother is feeble-minded or otherwise
defective, as is so often the case: but provision there must be.

Finally, we come to the central problem of the mother who has a living
husband in employment. It is the case of the working classes that really
concerns us, not least because the greater part of the birth-rate comes
therefrom. It is the contemporary settling-down of the birth-rate in
this class, combined with the novel consequences of modern
industrialism, especially in the form of married women's labour, that
makes the question so important. Before we go any further, the
proposition may be laid down that married women's labour, as it commonly
exists, is an intolerable evil, condemned already by our first
principles. It need scarcely be said that one is not here referring to
the labours of the married woman who writes novels or designs
fashion-plates. There is no condemnation of any kind of labour, in the
home or outside it, if the condition be complied with, that it does not
prejudice the inalienable first charge upon the mother's time and
energy. Her children are that first charge. It may perfectly well be,
and often is, chiefly though not exclusively in the more fortunate
classes, that the mother may earn money by other work without prejudice
to her motherhood. Such cases do not concern us, but we are urgently
concerned with married women's labour in the ordinary sense of the term,
which means that the mother goes out to tend some lifeless machine,
whilst her children are left at home to be cared far anyhow or not at
all. No student of infant mortality or the conditions of child life and
child survival in general has any choice but to condemn this whole
practice as evil, root and branch. And from the national and economic
point of view it may be said that whatever the mother makes in the
factory is of less value than the children who consequently die at home.
The culture of the racial life is the vital industry of any people, and
any industry that involves its destruction and needs the conditions
which make up that destruction, is one which the country cannot afford,
whatever its merely monetary balance-sheet. A complete balance-sheet,
with its record of children slain, would only too readily demonstrate

Our right attitude toward married women's labour must depend upon a
right understanding of the social meaning of marriage. This was a
question which had to be dealt with at length in a previous volume and I
can only state here in a word, what was the conclusion come to. It was
that marriage is a device for supporting and buttressing motherhood by
fatherhood. Its mark is that it provides for _common parental care of
offspring_. A more prosaic way of stating the case would be that
marriage is a device for making the father responsible. If we go far
back in the history of the animal world, we find mating but not
marriage. The father's function is purely physiological, transient and
wholly irresponsible. The whole burden of caring for offspring, when
first there comes to be need for that care, in the history of organic
progress, falls upon the mother. But even amongst the fishes we find
that sometimes, as in the case of the stickleback, the father helps the
mother to build a sort of nest, and does "sentry-go" outside it to keep
off marauders. In this common care of the young we see what is in all
essentials marriage, though some may prefer to dignify the word by
confining it to those human associations which have been blessed by
Church and State, even though the father throws the baby at the mother,
or sends her into the streets to earn her bread and his beer.

If some of our modern reformers knew any biology, or even happened to
visit a music-hall where the biograph was showing scenes of bird-life,
they would learn that the human arrangement whereby the father goes out
and forages for mother and children has roots in hoary antiquity. The
pity is that there is no one to point the moral to the crowd when the
father-bird is seen returning with delicacies for the mother, who tends
her nest and its occupants.

The reader will already have anticipated the conclusion, to which, as I
see it, the study of the fundamental laws of life must lead the
sociologist in this case. It is that the duty of the father is to
support the mother and children, and that the duty of the State is to
see that he does this.

Thus, if asked whether I believe in the endowment of motherhood, I
reply, yes, indeed, I believe in the endowment of motherhood by the
corresponding fatherhood. If our first principles are sound, we must
believe that the mother must be endowed or provided for; there can be no
difference of opinion so far. Often, as we have seen, there is no
corresponding fatherhood, for the mother may be a widow, or unmarried
and unable to find the father. But where the corresponding fatherhood
exists, we fly directly in the face of Nature, we deny the consistent
teaching of evolution as the study of sub-human life reveals it to us,
if we do not turn to the father and say, this is your act, for which you
are responsible.

At all times the community has been entitled to say this to the father.
It is even more entitled to say so now, when, as everyone knows,
parenthood has come so entirely under the sway of human volition. The
more knowledge and power the more responsibility. The more important the
deed, the more responsible must we hold the doer. The time has come when
fatherhood, whether within marriage or without it, must be reckoned a
deliberate, provident, foreseen, all-important, responsible act, for
which the father must always be held to account.

On a recent public occasion, having endeavoured to show that the history
of animal evolution teaches us the increasing importance and dignity of
fatherhood, I was asked whether I had any argument in favour of parental
responsibility. To this the fitting reply seemed to be that, primarily,
I believe in parental responsibility because I believe in human
responsibility. It need hardly be said that the questioner belonged to
that important political party which loathes the idea of paternal
responsibility and styles it a "fetish." Without it none of us would be
here. Yet the Socialists are less likely than any other party to abandon
the idea of human responsibility. They propose to hold men responsible
for the remoter effects of their acts--upon the present--as no other
party does. The maker of money is held to account for his deeds and
their effect upon the life around him. I agree with the principle: but I
maintain that the maker of men is also to be held to account for his
deeds and their effect upon the future and the life of this world to
come. No Socialist can afford to question the practical political
principle that men are to be held responsible for their deeds: and no
Socialist can explain the sudden and unexplained abandonment of this
principle when we come to the most important of all a man's deeds. To be
consistent, the Socialist should uphold the doctrine of a man's
responsibility for the remoter consequences of his acts in this supreme
sphere, more earnestly and thoughtfully and providently than any of his

The position of those who would free the father from responsibility is
even less defensible when, as we commonly find, they are prepared to
make the mother's responsibility more extensive and less avoidable than
ever. Why this distinction? And if parental responsibility is a "fetish"
when it refers to a father, why is it not the same when it refers to a
mother? In the schemes of Mr. H. G. Wells, kaleidoscopic in their
glitter and inconsistency, there remains from year to year this one
permanent element, that while the mother must attend to her business, it
is no business of the father. This is the essential feature, the one
novelty of his scheme. Already the married mother--he proposes nothing
for the unmarried mother--is legally entitled to some measure of
support. His endowment of motherhood is essentially a _discharge of
fatherhood_, and should be so called. There can be no compromise,
nothing but a fight to the finish, between the principle of endowing
motherhood by making fatherhood less responsible, and the principle here
fought for, of endowing motherhood by making fatherhood more
responsible. As Nature has been doing so, in the main line of progress
for many millions of years,--a statement not of interpretation or theory
but of observed fact--I have no fear of the ultimate issue. But it
might well be that any portion of mankind, perhaps a portion ill to be
spared, should destroy itself by an attempt to run counter to the great
principle of progress here stated. There is an abundance of men who will
be very happy to side with Mr. Wells. Men have never been wanting, in
any time or place, who were happy to gratify their instincts without
having to answer for the consequences; and it has always been the first
issue of any society that was to endure, to see that they did not have
their way: hence human marriage. The "endowment of motherhood" sounds as
if it were a scheme greatly for the benefit of women. Let them beware.
Let them begin to think of, not the remoter, but the immediate and
obvious consequences of any such schemes as are proffered by the overt
or covert enemies of marriage, and they will quickly perceive that _the
last way in which to secure the rights of women is to abrogate the
duties of men_. The support allotted to such schemes as these is not
feminine but masculine. That is the impression I derive from discussions
following lectures on the subject; and that is what I should expect,
judging from the natural tendencies of men, and the profound intuition
of women in such matters. And, conversely, the opposition to such
principles as are expressed here, and embodied in the "Women's Charter,"
will be masculine. But woman has been civilizing man from the beginning,
and she will have her way here also--for, in the last resort, not merely
youth, but the Unborn must be served.

Before we consider the alternative suggestions that some are making,
and proceed to indicate how the paternal endowment of motherhood can be
enforced in every class, as public opinion practically enforces it in
the upper and middle classes, let us meet the objection that, if
fatherhood is to be made so serious an act, and if so much
self-sacrifice is to be exacted from those who undertake it, the
marriage-rate and the birth-rate will fall more rapidly. And as regards
the marriage-rate, the answer is that marriage and parenthood are not
inseparable, a proposition which might be much amplified if a writer who
wishes to be heard could afford to have the courage of everybody's
convictions. But already, in the middle classes, men limit their
families to the number they can support. They simply practise
responsible fatherhood, and the mothers and children are protected. On
what moral grounds this is to be condemned, no one has yet told us.

And as regards the effect of more stringent responsibility for
fatherhood upon the birth-rate, it must be replied, for the thousandth
time in this connection, that the question for a nation is not how many
babies are born, but how many survive. The idea of a baby is that it
shall grow up and become a citizen; if babies remained babies people
would soon cease to complain about the fall in the birth-rate. But, in
point of fact, a vast number of babies and children are unnecessarily
slain, and if we could suddenly arrest the whole of this slaughter, the
increase of population would become so formidable that everyone would
deplore the unmanageable height of the birth-rate. Its present fall is
quite incapable of arrest, and is perfectly compatible with as rapid an
increase of population as any one could desire. We must arrest the
destruction of so much of the present birth-rate, so that it means
nought for the future. By nothing else will this arrest be so
accelerated as by those very measures for making fatherhood more
responsible for the care of motherhood, which are here advocated. Let it
be freely granted that these measures will lower the birth-rate. Much
more will they lower the infant mortality and child death-rate, and
diminish the permanent damaging of vast multitudes of children who
escape actual destruction.

And now we can turn to those proposals which have lately been revived by
one or two popular writers in England, for the endowment of motherhood
by the State, leaving the fathers in peace to spend their earnings as
they please, whilst others support their children. Detailed criticism is
not needed, for the details to criticize are not forthcoming, and the
opinions on principles and on details of these imaginative writers are
never twice the same. It suffices that proposals such as these, apart
from their vagueness and their obvious impracticability in any form, are
directly condemned by the fundamental principle that a man shall be
responsible for his acts. The endowment of motherhood, as Mr. Wells
means it, is simply a phrase for making men responsible for their
neighbours' acts and for striking hard and true at the root principle of
all marriage, human or sub-human, which is the common parental care of
offspring. Reference is made to this proposal here, not that it really
needs criticism, but in order that one may be clearly excluded from any
participation in such proposals.

The difference between such schemes for the endowment of motherhood and
the proposal here advocated is that those seek to endow the mother by
making the father less responsible--or, rather, wholly
irresponsible--while this seeks to endow her by making the father more
responsible. The whole verdict of the ages is, as we have seen, on the
side of this principle. It has been practised for æons, and it is the
aim of sound legislation and practice everywhere to-day.

As has been admitted, the more we express this principle, the lower will
fall, not necessarily the marriage-rate, but the parent-rate; fewer men
will become fathers, _but they will be fitter_. There will be fewer
children born, but they will be children planned, desired and loved in
anticipation, as every child should be, and will be in the golden
future. These children will not die, but survive; nor will their
development be injured by early malnutrition and neglect. The believer
in births as births will not be gratified, but there will be abundance
of gratification for the believer in births as means to ends.

The practical working-out of our principle is no more difficult than
might be expected if it be remembered that we are counselling nothing
revolutionary nor even novel. The demand simply is that the practice
which obtains among the more fortunate classes shall be made universal,
and that the State shall see that all fathers who can, do their duty.
The State will be quite busy and well employed in this task, which may
legitimately be allotted to it even on the strictly individualist and
Spencerian principles, that the maintenance of justice is alone the
State's province. We allot a great function to the State, but deny that
it can rightly or safely set the father aside and perform his duty for

The kind of means whereby the rights of mothers may be granted them is
indicated in the Women's Charter which has lately been formulated and
advocated by Lady Maclaren. The principle there recognized is that the
husband's wages are not solely his own earnings, but are in part handed
to him to be passed on to his wife. Directly children are concerned, the
State should be.

Whatever the answer to the crudely-stated question, "Should Wives have
Wages?" it is certain that mothers should and must have wages or their

To many of the well-wishers of women it is disappointing that the
Women's Charter is not more keenly supported by women themselves.
Unfortunately the suffrage has become a fetish, the mere means has
become an end, preferred even to the offer of the real ends, such as
would be attained in very large measure by this Charter. We see here, it
is to be feared, the same spirit which protests against the wisest and
most humane legislation in the interests of women and children because
"men have no business to lay down the law for women."

In general terms, one would argue that the principle of insurance must
be applied to this case, as it is now voluntarily applied by thousands
of provident fathers. Here the State may guarantee and help, even by
the expenditure of money. It should help those who help themselves. This
is a principle which may apply to many forms of insurance or provision,
whether for old age or against invalidity; just as non-contributory
old-age provisions are fundamentally wrong in principle, and have never
been defended on any but party-political grounds of expedience, even by
their advocates, so the "endowment of motherhood" which meant the
complete liberation of fatherhood from its responsibilities would be
wrong in principle. But in both of these cases the State might rightly
undertake to help those who help themselves.

Fatherhood of the new order will not be so wholly irksome and unrewarded
as might at first appear to the critic who does not reckon children as
rewards themselves. It may involve some momentary sacrifices, but it
needs very little critical study of the ordinary man's expenditure to
discover that, on the whole, these sacrifices will be more apparent than
real. It is, for instance, a very great sacrifice indeed for the smoker
to give up tobacco; but once he has done so, he is as happy as he was,
and suffers nothing at all for the gain of his pocket. Both as regards
alcohol and tobacco, the common expenditure which would so amply provide
milk and the rest for children, is necessitated by an acquired habit
which, like all acquired habits, can be discarded. The non-smoker and
non-drinker does _not_ suffer the discomfort of the smoker and drinker
who is deprived of his need. These things cease to be needs at all, soon
after they are dispensed with, or if the habit of taking them is never
begun. They are luxuries only to those who use them. To those who do not
they are nothing, and the lack of them is nothing. The sheer waste they
entail is gigantic, and the expenditure on them in such a country as
England would endow all its motherhood and provide good conditions for
all its children. The father who, in the future, is compelled to yield
the rights of mothers and children, may sometimes be compelled to
practise what at first looks like great self-restraint in these
respects. The point I wish to make is that the sacrifice and the need
for restraint are transient, and that thereafter there is simply more
liberty and the promise of longer life for the wise.

The working-out will be that the legislation of the future will benefit
the right kind of husband and father, but will restrain and irk the
wrong kind. But that is precisely what good legislation should do. Thus
the right kind of father, who in any case will do his best to care for
his wife and children, will be helped in the future by the State. It
will insist that he does the duty which in any case he means to do, but
it will make the doing easier. We see admirably working parallels to
this in the German insurance laws and their provision for death, disease
and old age. They benefit those whom they appear to harass. Insurance
against fatherhood will work in the same way. The State will not be
antagonistic to the father, but will be his best friend, knowing that
_its_ best friends are good fathers and mothers. There will be far less
worry and anxiety for well-meaning parents, especially for mothers, but
also for fathers. Nor do I, for one, much mind how substantial may be
the State's contribution to the father's efforts, provided only that
those efforts are demanded and obtained.

Nothing is more certain than that we are about to free ourselves from
the crass blindness of the nineteenth century in its great delusion that
the wealth of a nation consists in the number of things it makes and
possesses. Parenthood and childhood will shortly come to be recognized
as the first concern of the State that is to continue, and whilst the
birth-rate continues to fall, the honour paid to fathers and mothers
will continue to rise. We shall become as wise in time as the Jews have
been ever since we have record of them. We shall estimate the relative
value of these things as well as if we were the kinds of people we call
"Savages." Fatherhood will not be such an uncompensated sacrifice in
those days, even apart from its inherent rewards.

The point I am trying to make is that the legislation and the social
changes here advocated as necessary in the interests of women, and
indeed asserted to be their rights, do not involve any injury to men.
This common delusion is a mere instance of the poisonous principle of
politicians, notably fiscal politicians, and of many business men. Their
belief is that what benefits Germany must hurt England, that what hurts
Germany must benefit England, that all trade is a question of somebody
scoring off another or being scored off. The idea that there are great
games in which both sides stand to win, if they "play the game," is
meaningless to them. That German prosperity can favour English
prosperity, that true commerce is a mutual exchange for mutual
benefit--these are notions obviously absurd to people who think on this
horrible assumption which reigns unchallenged in a thousand columns of
fiscal controversy every morning. And when these people turn to the
question of legislation as between the sexes, they naturally assume that
anything which promises to benefit women will injure men. The vote is
thus regarded as a means of injuring men--necessarily, because it
advantages women--and assuredly such people will suppose that any
measures in the direction of granting what I here prefer to call the
"rights of mothers" (leaving to one side the "rights of women"),
necessarily involve a proportionate disadvantage to men. I deny it

  The woman's cause is man's: they rise or sink
  Together, dwarfed or God-like, bond or free.

The rights of mothers, we have seen, are fundamental for any society,
and to satisfy them is to meet the most clearly primary of social needs.
But there will be some readers of this book, perhaps, who miss any
discussion of the "rights of women." I do not care for the phrase,
because I do not think that we often see it usefully employed. For me
the propositions are self-evident that men and women, being human
beings, have the rights of human beings. Each of us has the right to the
conditions of the most complete self-development and expression that is
compatible with the granting of the same right to others. It is true
that women have been largely debarred from these conditions as a sex,
and in so far there is some meaning in the phrase "Women's rights." But
otherwise we all agree that men and women alike have the right which has
just been stated in terms that are a paraphrase of Herbert Spencer's
definition of liberty. Men's rights and women's rights are the rights to
"life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." If any one disputes the
application of this principle to women as unreservedly as to men, I will
not argue with him. I write for decent people.

At this stage in the development of civilization, our business is to
see, first, that our social proceedings and reconstructions of
enterprises are compatible with the nature of the human individual, male
and female. It is always necessary for us to be reminded of the facts of
the individual, for in the last resort they will determine the failure
or the success of all our schemes. And then we must see where our
existing social structure fails to satisfy the needs of individual
development and of individual duty. In seeking to rectify what may here
be wrong, of course we must take first things first--we must set the
case right for the most important people before we go on to the others.

Now it is the simple, obvious truth,--so obvious and unchallengeable
that somehow it has never been stated--that in any human society the
parents are the most important people. The division is not between
education and the lack of it, or wealth and the lack of it, or breeding
and the lack of it. It is not the aristocracy that matters supremely;
nor the "great middle-class"; nor the masses; nor the teachers; nor the
doctors; nor the servants of modern industrialism. The classification is
a biological one--into parents and non-parents. The non-parents may be
invaluable in their way, if only they beget something that is valuable.
Heaven forbid that I should undervalue the children of the mind. But if
we are to classify any nation, the first and last classification of any
moment is none of those in which we always indulge and which all our
customs and traditions and prejudices are ever seeking to perpetuate;
but the classification into those who will die childless and those who
create the future race. That is why, for me at any rate, the subject of
women's rights is jejune and sterile compared with the subject of this
chapter. First let us ascertain the rights of mothers and grant them, to
the very uttermost; then let us do the same for the fathers. Let us
exact of each the corresponding duties; and the next generation, brought
into being under such conditions, will solve all our problems. But
whilst we neglect the first things we shall permanently solve no problem
at all. We may seem to do so, but if we dishonour parenthood, if we
leave the inferior women to mother the future, the degenerate race that
must ensue will find itself in difficulties compared with which ours are
trivial, and our solutions of them impotent.

That is why I seek to draw attention to the rights not of women as
women,--for neither men nor women have any peculiar rights as men or
women--nor yet to the rights of wives as wives, but to the rights of
mothers as mothers, whether married or unmarried, whether husbanded or
widowed. The rights of women are the rights of human beings, and no
special concern of a writer on woman and womanhood, paradoxical as the
assertion may be. The rights of wives are often discussed, but I
question whether the discussion ever helped a wife yet, except solely in
the matter of her monetary claims upon her husband. Discussion and
public opinion and consequent legislation can effect, and have effected,
something for wives as wives in this matter. In other matters, much more
vital to their happiness, each case is unique because all individuals
are unique; and the discussion of the questions can amount to no more
than futile and obvious platitude.

But when motherhood is concerned the monetary question becomes worthy of
the adjective economic, so often prostituted, for the making of future
life depends upon the provision of adequate means. The whole essence of
motherhood is that it is a dedication of the present to the future.
Every mother is in the position of the inventor or the poet or the
musician for whose work the present makes no demand and no payment. The
future is being served, but the future is not there to pay. The rights
of mothers are the rights of the future, and its claims upon the

It can be abundantly shown that increasing prevision or provision marks
the ascent of organic Nature; that as life ascends the present is more
and more dedicated to the future. The completeness of this dedication is
the most exemplary fact of the many which the bee-hive provides for our
instruction and following. Consider the dedication of the hive to the
queen. Realize that she is not in any way the ruler of the hive, but she
is _the only mother in it_. She is the parent, and, on our principles,
she is therefore the most important person in the hive. No one else has
any rights but to serve her, for the future absolutely depends upon her.
So does the future of our society depend upon its mothers. In our
species there are many and not one, as in the bee-hive. If there were
just one individual who was to be the mother of the next generation,
even our politicians would perceive that she was the most important
person in the community, and that her rights were supreme. But the
principle stands, though, as it happens, human mothers are not one in
each generation, but many. They are in our society what the queen bee is
in the hive, and the future will transcend the present and the past just
in so far as they are well-chosen, and well cared for.

To the best of my belief this principle has not yet been recognized by
any one. The rights of women and the rights of wives are often
discussed, but the rights of mothers is a term expressing a principle
which is not to be called new, only because in the bee-hive, for
instance, we see it expressed and inerrably served.

Perhaps it may be permitted to close with a personal reminiscence which,
at any rate, bears on the genesis of this chapter. Some nine years ago
when I was resident-surgeon to the Edinburgh Maternity Hospital, I
proposed to get up a concert for the patients on Boxing Day, and on
asking permission of the distinguished obstetrician who was in supreme
charge, was met with the question, "Do they deserve it?" After several
seconds there slowly dawned the fact which I knew but had long
forgotten, that the mothers in the large ward where the music was
proposed, were all unmarried, and finally I answered, "I don't know."
Nor do I know to this day, and though the answer was given in weakness
and in a disconcerted voice, I doubt whether any wiser one could be
framed. We all know what desert means, and merit and credit, until we
begin to think and study: and we end by discovering that we do not know
what, in the last analysis, these terms mean. But, at any rate, these
women,--one of them, I remember, was a child of fourteen--were mothers,
and whatever favoured their convalescence unquestionably made for the
survival of their babies. It might have been argued that if the patients
did not deserve music, they did not deserve the air and light and food
and skill and kindness with which they were being restored to health.
But it is not a question of deserts. These women were mothers. If they
should not have been, they should not have been, and if the blame was
theirs, they were blameworthy. But mothers they were, with the duties
of mothers to perform, and therefore with the rights of mothers. They
got their concert and were all the better for the remarkably indifferent
music of which it consisted, as such concerts commonly do; and I am only
very sorry if any of them argued therefrom that she had nothing in the
past to regret.

But the spiritual attitude revealed in the question, "Do they deserve
it?" is one which must speedily go to its own place. Let us strive to
dignify marriage, to educate the young of both sexes for parenthood, to
reduce illegitimacy, to reward virtue. But where there is motherhood in
being, whether expectant or achieved, we have a duty which is the
highest and most sacred of all because it is the Future that we are
called upon to serve, and upon us it wholly depends.

As Mr. John Burns said to our first Infant Mortality Conference in Great
Britain in 1907, "Let us dignify, purify and glorify motherhood by every
means in our power." Evidently this can only be done through marriage,
which is in its very essence an institution for the dignifying of
motherhood. But a biological writer cannot distinguish as a theologian
can between legal and extra-legal motherhood. He may declare that
motherhood is hideously illegitimate when it is forced upon a wife
married to an inebriate degenerate. He may accept marriage with all his
heart as an institution which for him has natural sanctions millions of
years older than any Church or State or mankind itself. But for him as a
student of life all motherhood must be guarded as such--even if it be
guarded in such a fashion that it can never recur, which is our duty to
the feeble-minded mother.

If there be any reader who is unacquainted with M. Maeterlinck's "Life
of the Bee," let him or her study that instructive book. Let him ask why
the queen is the End of the hive, why all is for her. Let him ask
whether the natural law upon which this depends--the law that all
individuals are mortal--does not apply to all races, even our own, and
perhaps he will come to agree that the rights of mothers are the oldest
and deepest and most necessary of any rights that can be named.

And the recognition and granting of them--as they must necessarily be
recognized and granted in every living race that depends upon
motherhood--is even more imperative in our case than in any other, since
human motherhood makes more demands upon the individual than any other.
By our constitution we human beings must devote more of our energies to
the Future than any other race. But it is a Future better worth working
for than any of theirs.



It will be evident that the writer of the foregoing chapter must have
something to say on the question of women and economics, but though what
must be said seems to me to be very important, it can be stated at no
great length.

If we turn to the most widely-read and applauded of the feminist books
on this subject, _Women and Economics_, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, we
are by no means encouraged to find it stated in the first chapter that
woman's present economic inferiority to man is not due to "any inherent
disability of sex." Wherever Mrs. Gilman may be right, here the
biologist knows that she is wrong. The argument has been fully stated in
earlier pages, and need not here be restated. But we shall not be
surprised if a premise which denies any natural economic disadvantage of
women leads to more than dubious conclusions.

Only a few pages later, Mrs. Gilman refers to the argument that the
economic dependence of women upon their husbands is defensible on the
ground that they perform the duties of motherhood, and the following is
her comment thereon:

     "The claim of motherhood as a factor in economic exchange is false
     to-day. But suppose it were true. Are we willing to hold this
     ground, even in theory? Are we willing to consider motherhood as a
     business, a form of commercial exchange? Are the cares and duties
     of the mother, her travail and her love, commodities to be
     exchanged for bread?

     "It is revolting so to consider them; and if we dare face our own
     thoughts, and force them to their logical conclusion, we shall see
     that nothing could be more repugnant to human feeling, or more
     socially and individually injurious, than to make motherhood a

Surely this is special pleading and not very plausible at that. It may
be replied, "Is not the labourer worthy of his hire?"--however noble the
labour. If we choose to call society's or a husband's support of
motherhood "a form of commercial exchange," it is indeed "revolting" so
to see it; let us then look at the case as it is. We applaud the "cares
and duties of the mother, her travail and her love"; but the more
assiduous her maternity, and the more admirable, the more certainly will
she require to be fed. If she cannot simultaneously feed her child and
forage for herself, somebody must forage for her; and to say that
therefore the cares and duties of the mother, her travail and her love,
become commodities to be exchanged for bread, is simply to cloud a clear
case with question-begging epithets. Always, everywhere, if motherhood
is to be performed at its highest, the mother must be supported. It is
not a question of commercial exchange, but of obvious natural necessity.
The foregoing chapter with its argument for the rights of mothers as a
great and neglected social principle, may be unsound throughout, but it
will certainly not be refuted by sentences such as these.

Briefly, Mrs. Gilman proposes to "do away with the family kitchen and
dining-room, to transform all domestic service from the incapable,
hand-to-mouth standard of untrained amateurs to that of professional
experts, to raise the work of child nursing and rearing to a scientific
and skilled basis, to secure the self-support of the wife and mother
through skilled labour, so that she may be economically independent of
her husband."

But if her child nursing and rearing are to be scientific and skilled,
and she is simultaneously to support herself through skilled labour, she
clearly requires to be two women or one woman in two places at the same
time. This, in effect, is what Mrs. Gilman expects. We have seen that
Mr. H. G. Wells's proposed help for motherhood consists in discharging
fatherhood from its duties: Mrs. Gilman's idea is to double the mother's
work. Both come to much the same thing.

All women, mothers or other, are to become economically independent,
instead of being "parasitic on the male," our author's unpleasing way of
recognizing that fatherhood has reached high and responsible estate
amongst mankind. Now if Mrs. Gilman's solution be feasible, we must
return to our fundamentals and see whether they are compatible with it.
She has no doubt of it. Thus:--

     "If it could be shown that the women of to-day were growing beards,
     were changing as to pelvic bones, were developing bass voices, or
     that in their new activities they were manifesting the destructive
     energy, the brutal combative instinct, or the intense sex-vanity of
     the male, then there would be cause for alarm. But the one thing
     that has been shown in what study we have been able to make of
     women in industry is that they are women still, and this seems to
     be a surprise to many worthy souls ... 'the new woman' will be no
     less female than the 'old' woman ... she will be, with it all, more

     "The more freely the human mother mingles in the natural industries
     of a human creature, as in the case of the savage woman, the
     peasant woman, the working-woman everywhere who is not overworked,
     the more rightly she fulfils these functions."[20]

We may not be so sure that there is not some evidence for "growing
beards," "developing bass voices," and "manifesting the destructive
energy, the brutal combative instinct, or the intense sex-vanity of the
male"; and in our brief attempt to make a first study of womanhood in
the light of Mendelism, we have seen good reason to understand why
masculine characters may come to the surface in the female whose
femininity has worn thin. Several of the lower animals definitely show
us the possibilities.

But we need not accept the issue on the grounds of such superficial
manifestations as these, for there are others, more subtle and vastly
more important, on which must be fought the question whether women in
industry are women still, and whether the "new woman" is more feminine
than the old. Let us dismiss the extremes in both directions. We need
not adduce the members of the Pioneer Club, who show their increasing
femininity by donning male attire; nor need we question that large
numbers of women in industry continue to remain feminine still. The
practical question which we must determine, if possible, is the average
effect of industrial conditions and the assumption of the functions
commonly supposed to be more suitably masculine, upon women in general.
Here we definitely join issue with Mrs. Gilman.

It is impossible to discuss, as we might well do, the available evidence
as to the effect of external activities upon that wonderful function of
womanhood which, in its correspondence with the rhythm of the tides,
hints, like many other of our attributes, at our distant origin in the
Sea--the mother of all living. Reference was made in an earlier chapter
to this function, and its use as, in most cases at any rate, a criterion
of womanhood and a gauge of the effect of physical exercise or mental
exercise thereupon. The writer of "Women and Economics" has nothing to
say on this subject--less, if possible, than on the subject of
lactation. The menstrual function would admirably and fundamentally
illustrate the present contention, but it will be better to take the
great maternal and mammalian function of nursing as a criterion of
womanhood, and as a test of the contention that the more freely the
mother works as do the savage woman and the peasant woman, the more
rightly she fulfils the "primal physical functions of maternity."

Before we consider the actual evidence (and Mrs. Gilman does not deal at
all in evidence on these fundamentals to her argument) let us meet the
argument about the "savage woman," who works as hard as men do,--though
much less hard than early observers of savage life supposed--and who is
nevertheless a successful mother. It is completely forgotten that, just
as parenthood, both fatherhood and motherhood, demands more of the
individual as we rise in the scale of animal evolution, so, within our
own species, the same holds good. In general, the mothers of civilized
races are the mothers of babies whose heads are larger at birth (as they
will be in adult life), than those of savage babies. It is true that the
civilized woman has, on the average, a considerably larger pelvis than
that of, for instance, the negress. There must be a feasible,
practicable ratio between the two sets of measurements if babies are to
enter the world at all. But the increasing size of the human head is a
great practical problem for women. No one can say how many millions have
perished in the past because their pelves were too narrow for the
increasing demands thus made upon them, and doubtless the greater
capacity of the female pelvis in higher races is mainly due to this
terrible but racially beneficent process of selection, by which women
with pelves nearer (e. g.) to negro type, have been rejected, and women
with wider pelves have survived, to transmit their breadth of pelvis to
their daughters and carry on the larger-headed races. But even now
obstetricians are well aware that the practical mechanical problem for
the civilized woman is much more serious than for her savage sister; and
the argument that civilized women would discharge maternal functions as
well as savage women if they worked as hard is therefore worthless.

Let us return now to the question of nursing capacity. "Bass voices"
and "beards" are doubtless unlovely in woman, but their extensive
appearance would be of no consequence at all compared with the
disappearance or weakening of the mammalian function which, as everyone
knows or should know, is the dominating factor in the survival or death
of infancy. Now it may be briefly asserted that civilized woman, and
more especially industrial woman, threatens to cease to be a mammal. If
this assertion can be substantiated, and if the "economic independence
of women" necessarily involves it, no biologist, no medical man, no
first-hand student of life, will hesitate to condemn finally the ideal
toward which Mrs. Gilman and those who think with her would have us go.
Things may be bad, things _are_ very bad: the lot of woman must be
raised immensely, because the race must be raised, and cannot be raised
otherwise; but progress is going forward and not backward, Mr.
Chesterton notwithstanding. Woman will not become more than a mammal by
becoming less, and going back on that great achievement of ascending
life. Individuals may do so, and are doing so, lamentably misdirected as
many of them now are; but that is the end of them and their kind. It is
quite easy to stamp out motherhood and its inevitable economic
dependence, but with it you stamp out the future.

It is generally admitted that our women nurse their babies less than
they used to do. It is as generally admitted that this is often
deliberate choice, and we all know that it is often economic necessity:
the human mother "mingles in the natural industries of a human
creature," such as the factory affords, and cannot simultaneously stay
at home to nurse her baby, making men--for which, as a "natural
industry" of women, even as against making, say, lead-glaze for china,
there may be something to be said.

But whilst popular preachers and castigators of the sins of society
fulminate against the fine lady who asks for belladonna and refuses to
do her duty, we must enquire to what extent, if any, women no longer
nurse their babies because they cannot, try they never so patiently and
strenuously. It is the general belief amongst those whose daily work
qualifies them for an opinion, that women are tending to lose the power
of nursing. Professor von Bunge, whose name is honoured by all students
of the action of drugs, has satisfied himself that alcoholism in the
father is a great cause of incapacity to nurse in daughters. However
that interpretation may be, the fact seems clear; and the change in this
direction is evidently much more rapid than might be accounted for by
the improvement in artificial feeding of infants leading to the survival
of daughters of mothers unable to nurse, and transmitting their
inability to their children. Mrs. Gilman--having ignored menstruation
altogether--makes only one allusion to this vastly important subject,
and we shall see to what extent her sanguine assumption is justified.
According to her, "A healthy, happy, rightly occupied motherhood should
be able to keep up this function (of nursing) longer than is now
customary--to the child's great gain." There can be no question about
the child's great gain; but what is the evidence for supposing that a
mother earning her own living in free competition with men--which is
what a "healthy, happy, rightly occupied motherhood" means in this
connection--can thus spend her energies twice over, unlike any other
source of energy known?

According to official statistics, maternal lactation is steadily
decreasing in several German cities, notably in Berlin, where only 56.2
per cent. of infants under one month were suckled by their mothers in
1905, as against 65.6 per cent. in 1895, and 74.3 per cent. in 1885. At
nine months of age 22.4 per cent. were suckled in 1905, 34.6 per cent.
in 1895, 49 per cent. in 1885. Other towns show more favourable results;
a general decrease, however, is marked. These facts cannot be ascribed,
according to the author,[21] to a growing disinclination to
breast-feeding, nor to the employment of mothers (in Prussia only 5 per
cent. of the married women are employed in manufacture). The question
whether the decrease in breast-feeding is due to the industrial
employment of women before marriage, or to (inherited) degeneration,
remains to be determined.

According to a recent statement by Professor von Bunge, the conditions
are very similar now in Switzerland, where only about one mother in five
can nurse her children.

Similar evidence could be cited from other sources, and the fact being
admitted must evidently be reckoned with.

That the modern development of infant feeding will serve to replace
natural lactation, must be denied, and this without prejudice to the
magnificent work of the late Professor Budin of Paris and Professor
Morgan Rotch of Harvard. These pioneers and their followers have devised
some admirable second bests--admirable, that is, relatively to some of
the pitiable methods which they have superseded, but relatively to the
mother's breast not admirable at all. At the beginning of the campaign
against infant mortality, the crèche and the sterilized milk dépôt and
the fractional analysis of cow's milk and its recomposition in suitable
proportions of proteid, fat, etc., as devised by Rotch, were rightly
acclaimed and admitted to save vast numbers of infant lives. All this is
mere stop-gap, wonderfully effective, no doubt, but only stop-gap
nevertheless. In France they are going ahead, and public opinion in
London is being slowly persuaded to follow along the more recent French
lines. The modern principle upon which we should act is Nature's
principle--saving the children through their mothers. Expectant
motherhood must be taken care of; we must feed, not the child, but the
nursing mother, and the child through her. If we rightly take care of
her, she will construct a perfect food for the child. There is no other
path of racial safety. It is not our present concern to deal with the
problems of infancy and childhood as they require, and surely we need
not wait to prove that nursing motherhood cannot safely be superseded,
but must be retained and safeguarded.

If this postulate be granted, we have to determine how it comes about
that the German figures, for instance, are showing this extraordinarily
rapid decline in maternal lactation. As has already been noted in
passing, we must reject the suggestion that the natural type of women is
changing. Such a change of natural type in any living race can occur
only through selection for parenthood, and such selection in the case in
question can scarcely be imagined to occur in the direction of choosing
women who are naturally less capable of nursing. On the contrary, the
tendency of the selective principle must always be toward the greater
survival of infants whose mothers can nurse them, and who in their turn,
if they are to be women, will be more likely to be able to nurse their
children. Further, the action of selection cannot demonstrate itself
more quickly than is permitted by the length of human generations. It
must therefore be rejected as any interpretation of this case. If women
are ceasing to be able to nurse their babies, and if this change is
occurring with such extraordinary rapidity as the German figures
indicate, plainly the explanation must be found in the action of some
recent and novel condition or conditions upon womanhood.

Perhaps it need scarcely be insisted that the distinction here sought to
be made is of the utmost importance. If the natural type of womanhood
were actually changing, we could scarcely do more than observe and
despair, but if it be merely that the capacities of this generation of
women are being modified by the particular conditions to which they are
subjected, plainly we who have made those conditions can modify
them--"What man has made, man can destroy."

If we come to ask ourselves what these recent and novel conditions are,
the answer is only too ready at hand. The principles which will guide us
toward discovering it have been set forth at length in the earlier
chapters of this book. Let us recur to our Geddes and Thomson, and at
once we have the key. The production of milk is an act of anabolism or
building-up, such as we have seen to be characteristic of the female
sex, involving the accumulation and storage of quantities of energy so
large that if they were stated in the units of the physicist they would
astonish us. If we consider what the child achieves in the way of
movement and development and growth, and if we realize that at the most
rapid period of development and growth, all the energy therefor has been
gathered, prepared, and is dispensed by the nursing mother, we shall
begin to realize what an astonishing feat that is which she performs. It
is in reality, of course, the same feat which is performed by the
expectant mother, only that it is slightly less arduous, since after
birth the child can breathe and digest for itself.

Perhaps the reader will begin to realize what Mrs. Gilman and those who
think with her are asking us to believe when they say that the primal
physical functions of maternity will be best fulfilled by the mother who
"mingles in the natural industries of a human creature." This statement
is either ridiculously false or can be rendered true by rendering it as
a truism. The primal physical functions of maternity _are_ the natural
industries of the particular human creature we call a mother; and the
better she fulfils them, the better she fulfils them, certainly. But the
so-called natural industries in which the modern mother is desired to
be engaged whilst she is bearing or nursing her children are as
unnatural as anything can be. As at present practised, they are morbid
products of civilization which it will require to cast off if it is to

It is the student of life and its laws who must have the last word in
these matters. If he utters it wrongly or is unheeded, Nature is not
mocked, but will be avenged. The writer who can lay down a new principle
on which our life is to be based, without paying any more attention to
lactation than is to be found in the argument we have been considering,
has left out the beginning, has omitted the foundations. No measure of
earnestness or literary skill can save her case.

Of course the reply will be that the biological criticism is simply the
ancient and oriental idea of woman as a helpless dependent, reasserted
for male advantage in our own day. One cannot believe that it is
necessary to rebut that accusation. It is necessary, however, to examine
somewhat the words "economic dependence" and "economic independence"
which are employed with such naïve antithesis in this controversy.

When we examine Mrs. Gilman's proposal for the salvation of woman, we
find it to mean that in future mothers are to do double work. The
glorious consummation is to be that woman is no longer "parasitic on the
male," which is Mrs. Gilman's way of expressing the great truth that the
mother for whom the father works, represents the future supported by the

But the future is always supported by the present. Woman, we began by
saying, is Nature's supreme organ of the future, and the present must
live for her and die for her. When we say the future, we mean childhood.
If childhood is to appear and to survive, womanhood must be dedicated to
it, and manhood, which stands for the present, must supply its own link
in the chain. The following paragraph from an unsigned article which
appeared some years ago in the _Morning Post_ states the case in a form
which may convince the reader. It was headed "Repairs and Renewals of
the People," and ran as follows:--

     "It is, indeed, seldom sufficiently realized how much a nation, so
     to speak, lives always in and for the future. Broadly speaking, of
     every ten persons living in the United Kingdom now, four are less
     than twenty years of age, while three of the rest are women (two of
     them married women)--that is to say, people also mainly concerned,
     through the care of children, with the future rather than with the
     present. Upon the remaining three men, one of whom be it noted is
     over fifty-five, falls the bulk of the work of providing for
     immediate needs and so releasing the others to provide for the
     continuance of the race. A definite large share of all the present
     activities of a people is required and, as it were, pledged to
     provide for its renewal. If it fails to allow sufficient, it may,
     just like a company or a municipal concern with an inadequate
     depreciation fund, show large profits and great prosperity for a
     time; it cannot be regarded as a sound concern."

The reader must decide whether there is more light and leading in the
interpretation that upon men falls the bulk of the work of providing for
immediate needs, and so enabling women to provide for the continuance
of the race, or, in Mrs. Gilman's version that woman is parasitic upon
the male. The future, if she likes to state it in that way, is parasitic
upon the present, always has been and always will be. The case which she
imagines to be unique and morbid, peculiar to civilized mankind, is
precisely the case of the hen bird who sits upon her eggs, incubating
the future, whilst the male goes and forages for her. She is parasitic
upon the male, as Mrs. Gilman would put it.

The truth is that, like many other women dominated by sex
antagonism--which glares ferociously from such paragraphs as that which
was quoted regarding "the brutal combative instinct or the intense
sex-vanity of the male"--Mrs. Gilman, in seeking to further the
interests of her sex, proposes to dispense with the help of its best
friend, which is the other sex. It is not easy to speak with patience of
those who thus seek to set the house of mankind against itself, to the
injury of men, women and children alike.

No doubt it is true that Mrs. Gilman's attitude is engendered by sex
antagonism as we see it everywhere in men--though for some obscure
reason it is only so labelled when displayed by women. No doubt, also, a
much better case can be made out for Mrs. Gilman's proposals, up to a
point, than could be made out for corresponding proposals on the other
side. No one who thinks for a moment can question that all proposals
whatsoever to make either sex independent of the other are stark
madness; yet there is a certain short-lived plausibility in the argument
that women are to be independent of men, and this depends upon the fact
which we have already attempted to demonstrate and interpret by means of
Mendelism, that women are more than men, and that womanhood includes
latent manhood. If, therefore, we are careful with the argument and
boldly rush past the really crucial places, such as the conditions and
needs of expectant and nursing motherhood, we can make out what looks
like a case for the economic dependence of women. Each sex is to work
for itself, and then there need be no more quarrelling.

But we could not go even so far with any theory for making men
independent of women without seeing that we were no less wrong on that
side than Mrs. Gilman is on the other. Man's apparent economic
independence of women is as complete a myth as women's projected
economic independence of men. In the last resort, when we come down to
realities, and remember that both men and women are mortal, and that
unless they are replaced, everything ends, we see that the introduction
of the word economic into this question simply serves to confuse
thought, just as the older political economy confused thought and laid
itself open to the mercilessly magnificent attacks of Ruskin. Economy is
literally the law of the house or the home--where life begins. Of all
economies, life is the last judge, because there is no wealth but life.
_In the last resort the economic dependence of the sexes means nothing
because the sexes cannot independently reproduce themselves._

If Mrs. Gilman is to be arraigned for her error let us see to it most
carefully that we do not fail to arraign the men who, with not
one-thousandth part of her excuse and with no iota of her ability, fall
into the corresponding error on their side. When Women's Suffrage is
being debated, there never fails a supply of men who write to the papers
to say that men must vote and not women because men and not women "made
the State." How much simpler our problems would be if there were some
means of distinguishing children who will grow up into men of this type,
and carefully refraining from teaching them to read or write! Make the
State, indeed!--they can make nothing but fools of themselves, and
without women's assistance could not even reproduce their folly. Of
course the retort to all this nonsense is that neither sex ever yet
created anything without the other. Every human act and achievement is
the product of both sexes. When some friend of the past assures us that
women should not vote because they cannot bear arms, he is of course
reminded that women bear the soldiers. It is true and it is
unanswerable. In just the same way, when Mrs. Gilman wishes women to be
economically independent of men, whom she considers as animals
distinguished by their destructive energy, brutality and intense sex
vanity, she is simply ignoring half the truth. Let either sex try to run
the earth alone till Halley's comet returns, and what would be left for
it to see? Of all follies uttered on this subject, and they are many,
the cry, each sex for itself, is the wickedest and worst.

The reader may well declare that such criticism is easy, but of little
worth unless it be accompanied by some kind of constructive proposals
for the amelioration of present conditions. Nothing is destroyed until
it is replaced. If the present economic conditions of women involve the
most hideous wickedness and cruelty and injure the entire progress of
mankind, as they assuredly do, and if they therefore must be destroyed,
we must have something to replace them with; and if Mrs. Gilman's
proposals would simply make the difficulty a thousand times worse by
depriving women of men's help, what proposals are there to offer

The reply is that we must go back to first principles. We must drop all
our phrases about economic independence or dependence. They have urgent
and real meanings for each one of us at any given time, but when applied
to the problems of the reconstruction of society as a whole, they mean
nothing because they are based upon no vital truths whatever. A man may
be economically secure when he is producing absinthe or whisky, or he
may die of starvation because he is producing the songs of Schubert.
Economic independence and dependence mean very much to the prosperous
distiller whom men pay for poison, and to the immortal composer whom men
do not pay at all, but who yet produces that which nourishes the life of
all the future. The maker of death may live, and the maker of life may
die; we see it every day and history is the continuous record of it.
These economic dependences and independences consist only in the
relations of one man or woman to the others. They have nothing to do
with the real issue, which is the relation of mankind as a whole to
Nature. These economic questions are simply concerned with money--the
means whereby one man has more or less claim upon another: society may
have to be reconstructed in such a fashion that economic independence
and dependence, as at present understood, would have no meaning
whatever. Yet all the real economic questions would remain, even though
money or private property were abolished. The real economy is the making
and preserving of life and the means of life. We live in a chaos where
the elementary conditions of human existence are constantly forgotten.
The real politics, the real economy, the real political economy, are the
questions of the birth-rate and the wheat supply--the relations not
between man and man, or class and class, or sex and sex, but mankind,
living and dying and being born, and the world in which he has to live.
The time is near at hand when the first conditions of national life will
be recognized as they have never been since the dawn of modern
industrialism. The products of men's labour and women's labour will be
appraised and paid for in proportion to their _real_ value, their
strength or availableness for life.

In "Unto This Last" and "Munera Pulveris," Ruskin has laid down, on what
are really unchallengeable biological grounds, the foundations of the
political economy of the future. We are going to have done with the
industries which eat up men. We cannot much longer afford to grow whisky
where we might grow wheat, for there are ever more mouths to be fed, and
wheat is running short. Cheap and dear mean nothing when we get down to
realities. Is a thing vital or is it mortal?--that is the only
question. It may be vital and costless, like air, or mortal and dear,
like alcohol. The question is not how much money can you get from
another man for your product, but how much life can mankind get from
Nature for it. Thus we shall return to a sane appreciation of the
primary importance of agriculture as against manufacture, of food as
against anything else,--for unless one is fed, of what use is anything
else? And as nations gradually begin to discover that the means of life
are the really valuable things, they will go on to learn, what primitive
races, hard-pressed races, races making their way in the world against
heavy odds, have always known--that at all costs the insatiable
destructiveness of Death must be compensated for by Birth. If the means
of life are the real wealth, the life itself is more real still, and
unless we abolish death, the makers and bearers and nourishers of life
are at all times and everywhere the producers, the manufacturers, the
workers of the community above and beyond all others. And these are the
women in their great functions as mothers and foster-mothers, nurses,

The economics of the future will be based upon these elemental and
perdurable truths. No writer in his senses will then be guilty of such
immeasurable folly as to place the "natural industries of a human
creature" _in antithesis_ to "the primal physical functions of
maternity." The sex which came first and remains first in the immediacy
and indispensableness of its relations to the coming life will base its
economic claims--in the vulgar and narrow sense of that term--upon the
worth of those relations. The society which cannot afford to pay
for--that is, to sustain--the characteristic functions of womanhood,
cannot continue; and societies have continued and will continue in
proportion as they hold hard by these first conditions of their lives.
The case of Jewish womanhood is the supreme illustration of a thesis
which requires no experimental demonstration, but is necessarily true.

Here, then, is the solution, as the future will prove, of the problem of
the economic status of woman. At present, though Ellen Key is the only
feminist writer who recognizes it, women can compete successfully with
men only at the cost of complete womanhood,--and that is a price which
society as a whole cannot afford to pay, if it wishes to continue.
Therefore we must, in effect, pay women in advance for their work, the
actual realization of the value of which is always necessarily deferred.
The case is parallel to that of expenditure upon forestry. In the
planting of trees or the nurture of babies the State will get value for
its money in the long run, but it must be prepared to wait. States are
slowly becoming more provident, and already we are coming to see this
about trees. Soon we shall see it about babies, and the problem of the
economic status of woman will then be solved in practice as it is
assuredly soluble in principle.

Mankind must first learn to renounce Mammon and set up Life as its God;
but to that also we shall come--or perish, for Life is a jealous God and
visits the sins of the fathers upon the third and fourth generation.



If we believe that the sexes are mutually dependent and, in the long
run, can neither be injured nor befriended apart, we shall be prepared
to expect that the chief enemy of civilized mankind is no less inimical
to women than to men. So long as it was supposed that drinking merely
injured the drinker, and so long as the drinkers were almost entirely
men, it could be argued by persons sufficiently foolish that indulgence
in alcohol was a male vice or delight which really did not concern women
at all--if men choose to drink or to smoke or to bet or to play games,
what business is that of women? It is an argument which would not appeal
to the mind of the primitive law-giver, and can be accepted by no one who
thinks to-day.

For the least effects of drink are those which are seen in the drinker.
The question of alcoholism is not one of the abuse of a good thing, here
and there injuring those who take it to excess, but is a national
question which affects the entire community, abstainers, and drinkers,
men, women and children, present and to come. No one who has seriously
studied the action of alcohol on civilization can question that it is
our chief external enemy. We must use the word external for the best of
good reasons, since we know that always and everywhere man's chief foes
are those of his own household--his own proneness to injure himself and
others. And alcohol, indeed, would not be our chief external enemy were
it not for the very fact that its malign power is chiefly exerted by a
degradation of the man within. It is a material thing and no part of our
psychological nature. So long as it is kept outside us it has the most
admirable uses, which are yearly becoming more various and important;
but, taken within, it alters the human constitution, and hereby achieves
its title as our worst enemy.

People who estimate the influence of alcohol by means of the alcoholic
death-rate or by the rate of convictions for drunkenness will not
readily accept the doctrine that alcohol is a greater enemy of women
than of men. Yet assuredly this is true. It is an axiomatic and first
principle that whatever injures one sex injures the other, and whilst
drinking on the part of women at present injures men as a whole in
comparatively small degree, the consumption of alcohol by men works
enormous injury upon women indirectly, in addition to that direct injury
which civilized women are yearly inflicting more gravely upon
themselves, at any rate in Great Britain.

Woman, we have argued, is Nature's supreme organ of the future, and just
as she is mediate between men and the future, so men are mediate between
her and the present. For the individual woman and the present, the
quality of the manhood which constitutes her human environment is more
important than anything else. If the manhood is withdrawn and she is
thrown upon her own resources, there is disaster; if the manhood be
damaged or degenerate, so much the worse for the woman; if the manhood
be of the best, there and only there are the best conditions provided
for the highest womanhood.

First, then, let us observe how alcohol injures women by its
contribution to the male death-rate. Allusion has already been made to a
simple statistical enquiry which I made a few years ago in regard to the
influence of alcohol as a maker of widows and orphans. The results of
that enquiry may here be quoted, having only appeared in the daily press
hitherto. They will suffice to show that alcohol on this ground alone is
a great enemy of women, and especially of wives. The following is the
conclusion published in several papers in England in November, 1908:--

     "Some time ago we heard a good deal, both in and out of Parliament,
     about the debenture widow whose little all is invested in brewery
     securities. There is, on the other hand, the widow so made by
     alcohol. I am not aware that anyone has attempted to estimate the
     approximate number of each of these two classes. The following is
     merely a rude approximation.

     It has been stated that there are half a million persons who have
     invested money in the licensed trade. Let us allow that half of
     these are men. The death-rate of all males, above fifteen years of
     age, is slightly over sixteen per 1,000. At the census of 1901, 536
     in each 1,000 males aged fifteen years and upwards were found to be
     married. Ignoring the differential death-rate of the married as
     compared with bachelors and widows, it follows that about 4,100
     male investors in the licensed trade die each year, of whom some
     2,197 will be married men, leaving behind them the same number of
     widows entirely or partly dependent on these investments.

     The widows made by drink are nearly six times as many.

     Numerous inquiries at home and abroad agree somewhat closely in
     stating _14 per cent_. of the entire death-rate to be due to
     alcohol. The proportion of one in seven is accepted by Dr. Archdall
     Eeid, who considers that all efforts to restrain drinking increase
     drunkenness. I do not think the justness of this figure can be
     disputed at all, except as an under-estimate. We are here dealing
     with male deaths only, and I will do my contention the obvious
     injustice of supposing that the proportion of deaths due wholly or
     in part to alcohol is no higher amongst men than amongst women. If
     one could allow for the existing difference, the result would be
     even more terrible.

     Taking the figures for 1906 for England and Wales alone, we have
     167,307 deaths of males over fifteen; 23,422 of these wholly or
     partly due to alcohol, and of this number 12,554 were married men
     (i. e., 536 per 1,000). The average size of a family in England and
     Wales is 4.62, according to Whitaker. If we multiply the number of
     widows, 12,554, by 3.62, we shall have an approximation to the
     number of widows and orphans made by alcohol in 1906. There were
     45,445, or over 124 widows and orphans made by alcohol every day in
     the year.

     We may now note some further data helping us to compare the 12,554
     alcohol-made widows with the 2,197 whose husbands' fortunes were
     wholly or in part bound up with the welfare of the licensed trade.
     (Of these latter, also, of course, a large proportion would be

     Dr. Tatham's recently published letter on occupational mortality in
     the three years, 1900, 1901, 1902, informs us as to twenty-one
     occupations in which the alcoholic death-rate is grossly excessive.
     In these twenty-one occupations selected by Dr. Tatham as having an
     alcohol mortality which exceeds the standard by at least 50 per
     cent., we can work out the alcohol factor and find that it amounts
     to 24.5 per cent. The table would take up too much space for me to
     ask you to print it, but it is ready on demand, public or private.
     The figures work out to show that 5,092 married men in these
     twenty-one trades died in each year from alcohol. (I have taken
     24.5 per cent, of the whole number of deaths in the three years,
     and reckoned the married proportion of these.)

     The calculation shows that in these twenty-one occupations the
     comparative alcohol mortality is 24.5 per cent., as against only 12
     per cent. in all other occupations.

     Amongst the occupations in Dr. Tatham's table may be noted
     coalheaver, coach, cab, etc., service, groom, butcher, messenger,
     tobacconist, general labourer, general shopkeeper, brewer, chimney
     sweep, dock labourer, hawker, publican, inn and hotel servants. A
     glance at the table will show that in most cases the men who are
     dying are "industrial drinkers," who frequent public-houses in the
     districts where the reduction in the number of the licenses under
     the present Bill will occur. Often nowadays the widows are heavy
     drinkers, and the lives of their children centre round the

     If the only wealth of a nation is its life, and history teaches no
     more certain truth--and if, since individuals are mortal, the
     quantity and quality of parenthood--or of childhood, according to
     the point of view--are the supreme factors in the destiny of
     nations, do not the foregoing figures warrant the contention that
     he who at this date is for alcohol is against England?"

It has been shown that the effect of alcohol upon the brain persists for
not less than thirty hours after the last dose. But more than two years
have now passed since the foregoing was printed, leaving ample time for
any member of the alcoholic party to "pull himself together" and
demolish it. One is therefore entitled to assume that it cannot be
demolished; on the contrary, it could easily be shown that the foregoing
figures very considerably underrate the actual number of widows and
orphans who must be made by alcohol in this country every year.

All students of modern life, however greatly they differ in their
methods and objects, are agreed that the question of the economic
position of women is one of the gravest of our time. While this is so,
it may be added that only the Eugenist can adequately realize the
importance of this question, since he knows that with it is involved the
all-important matter of the selection amongst present women for the
motherhood of the future. Unfortunately, as we have seen, the modern
trend is quite definitely in the direction of those of our guides, whom
most of us follow, knowingly or unknowingly, because they have the
brains and we have not, in favouring the economic position of women at
the expense of male responsibility. Meanwhile we have the economic basis
of society as it is, and there is no more serious indictment against
alcohol than this which I have attempted to formulate against it on the
ground of its destruction of fatherhood. Whatever the rest of the
community may incline to, it assuredly seems that the wives, from palace
to hovel, ought to be enemies of this great enemy of theirs. The time
will certainly come when the woman who is bringing up children will be
placed in a position of economic security, and when indeed all other
persons will be less secure than she because the sane State of the
future will guarantee, and regard as the first charge upon itself, the
maintenance of the conditions necessary for the production of the next
generation. But in the chaos in which we welter, widows and orphans have
to take their chance. Who will say a good word for the substance which
makes them by tens of thousands in England and Wales alone every year?

At least one economic aspect of this question may, however, be dealt
with here. In a rightly constituted society people are held responsible
for their deeds. Parenthood is a deed; in a very true sense it is a more
deliberate, a more active, more self-determined deed, on the part of the
father than on the part of the mother. At present the only act for which
men are held irresponsible--for our practice amounts to that--is the act
for which, above all others, they should be held responsible. A large
amount of the money now spent by men on alcohol and tobacco, and other
things which shorten their lives, and are needed only because they
create a need for themselves, is really required for the interests of
the race. Such is the double destruction worked by the alcoholic form of
this waste that if the average sum, say six shillings a week, expended
in the working-class family on alcohol, were invested on behalf of the
possible widows and orphans, not only would they be provided for, but
the fathers would be saved, and they would not become widows and
orphans. In days to come it will be discovered that such matters as
these are the real political economy, the absence or presence of
tariffs, the incidence of taxation and the like, being matters of no
consequence or significance whatever compared with the question,
fundamental in all times and places for every nation and for every
individual: For what are you spending: for bread or a stone, for life or
for death?

The foregoing has been chosen for the forefront of this chapter because
of its bearing on a central economic problem of the time, and also
because, for some reason or other, this alcoholic destruction of
fatherhood, though it is of the utmost importance, has hitherto escaped
the attention of sociological students. We pass now to a second point,
of a wholly different character, which particularly well illustrates
certain of the general principles with which we began. The supreme
importance of alcohol or of anything else for human happiness is
attained only through its influence on the selves of men and women. It
is upon these that our happiness depends--upon the nature and the
nurture, from hour to hour, of our selves and the selves with which we
have to deal. Above all, do women as individuals depend for their
happiness upon the selves of men, as we have suggested.

Now if there be anything certain about the action of alcohol upon the
brain, it is that it degrades the quality of the self. Much of the
cruder pathology of alcohol is open to doubt. A great many of the
supposed degenerative changes in nerve-cells, which were attributed to
it and thought to be irrevocable, are now interpreted otherwise. Chronic
alcoholism is looked upon by such foremost students as Dr. F. W. Mott,
less as a disease due to organic changes produced in the brain than as a
chronic functional derangement due to the continued action of a poison.
This newer interpretation of chronic alcoholism has the very important
practical corollary of encouraging us to the belief, which is frequently
justifiable, that if the chronic intoxication ceases, the individual may
completely or all but completely recover, as would not be the case if
the fine structure of his brain had been actually destroyed. The recent
modification of our views on this subject has, however, only served to
render clearer our understanding of the mental symptoms of alcoholism.
Here is a drug which poisons the organ of the mind. The action of a
single dose persists for a far longer period than used to be supposed,
and thus we now know that in the great majority of civilized men
everywhere, the nervous system, which is the home of the self, is
continuously under the influence of alcohol.

That influence, as we have said, consistently shows itself in a
degradation of the quality of the self. The poison deranges first the
latest and highest products of evolution; it beheads a man, as we may
say, in thin slices from above downwards. Beginning as it does with the
most human, and only at the very last attacking the most animal part of
our nervous constitution, it is essentially the bestializer, save only
that the alcoholized human being is much lower than the beast, on the
general principle, _Corruptio optimi pessima_--the corruption of the
best is the worst.

Now wherever alcohol is consumed women have to pay the penalty for its
daily deterioration in the human scale of the men with whom they live;
nor need any reader of even the smallest experience require any writer's
assurance that in vast numbers of such cases the woman suffers more than
the man. He has its moments of compensation, inadequate though they be;
she has none.

Whilst women suffer in every respect from the influence of alcohol as a
degrader of their men, most of all do they and the race suffer through
the action of alcohol upon the racial instinct. In my book on personal
hygiene was sought an interpretation of the difference between low and
high types of mankind largely in terms of their success or failure in
achieving what may be called the "transmutation" of the racial instinct.
In less metaphorical language this transmutation depends upon the
measure of self-control and deference of present desire to future
purpose. These are supremely human characteristics, and there are none
which alcohol more surely and early attacks. Men are not so constituted
that they are at all likely to profit by any substance which keeps their
racial instinct on its original and less than human plane, and certainly
women suffer in many ways, and with them necessarily the future suffers,
just because of this action of alcohol upon men.

The argument need not be elaborated, but it may be added that the
disastrous action upon young womanhood of the consumption of alcohol by
young manhood is greatly increased when we find, as we do, that the
young women start drinking too. In these modern days, when the
controlling influence of religion and especially of religious fear is
steadily relaxing, the young woman's best protection is to be found in
her own judgment and self-control and prevision of the future. But these
are the very defences which alcohol in her nervous system saps. Every
social worker is familiar with the daily truth that young womanhood
connives at its own ruin under the influence of alcohol, where otherwise
it need not have fallen.

This last consideration leads us to the study of a phenomenon which in
many respects is new and unprecedented, while none could be of worse

It has for long been alleged that the amount of drinking amongst women
is increasing. When writing an academic thesis on the consequences of
city life, I attempted to discover definite evidence on this point.
Nothing that could be called precise was forthcoming, though the
evidence was abundant that the general assertion is correct. Drinking
amongst women means, of course, drinking amongst mothers. It means
drinking by unborn children. No one concerned with the fundamentals of
national well-being can ignore anything so minatory. Within the last few
years, much attention has been directed to the subject, and the Church
of England Temperance Society, for instance, sent out a form of inquiry
to the medical profession as to their experience in this matter. It may
now be stated, without any fear of contradiction, that drinking has
greatly increased amongst women of all classes during the last twenty
years, and especially, it seems probable, during the latter half of that
period. Along with it has gone an increase in the amount of
drug-taking; some, at any rate, of the drugs being not dissimilar to
alcohol in their action upon mind and body.

It is here necessary not so much to discuss the causes of this fact as
to insist upon its consequences and indicate some possible remedies. So
far as one can judge there seem to be three principal causes for this
increase of drinking amongst women, and quite briefly they may be named
in order to guide the subsequent discussion, though it is not necessary
to occupy space here in discussing all the evidence for this diagnosis.

A cause of some importance at work amongst women of the middle and upper
classes would seem to be the general tendency to revolt against sex
restrictions and limitations. In order to prove themselves the equals of
men, women proceed to demonstrate that they are capable of imitating
men's vices and indulgences. The trainer of chimpanzees for the
music-hall acts on the same principle. Directly the animals can smoke
and drink, they are such good imitations of men, in his judgment and
that of his patrons, as to be worthy of exhibition. Any ape, any boy,
any man, can learn to smoke and drink. It may be taken for granted that
any woman can do likewise, but the actual demonstration is worse than

Much more important as a cause of the increased drinking amongst women
of the lower classes are the modern conditions of factory and industrial
life which so largely take women out of the home; the making of life
being neglected in order to serve some industry or other which, if it
costs the loss of the coming life, is a national cancer, however
grateful its expansion may appear to the capitalist or the Chancellor of
the Exchequer. As the nation cares nothing for its girlhood nor for
directing employment and education for the supreme business of
motherhood, upon which the national existence is always staked, vast
numbers of women in early adolescence are now exposed to the very
conditions of temptation outside the home to which so many of their
brothers have succumbed. The factory girl learns to drink, and when she
marries she takes her drinking habits with her into her home. Modern
industrialism, therefore, is to be cited as one of the causes for the
increase in drinking amongst women. It may be noted that, in Italy, the
temperate race which, according to one elegant but baseless theory, has
been evolved through ages of past drinking, is proving itself
intemperate when its members are exposed in towns to the industrial
conditions which look like national success and the continuance of which
would mean national ruin.

A third cause of this increase is to be found in the greatly enhanced
facility with which alcoholic drinks can now be obtained by women, not
merely outside the home, but within it. So far as Great Britain is
concerned we must trace disastrous consequences to the "heaven-born
finance" of a former illustrious Chancellor of the Exchequer, who made a
little money for the State by selling to grocers permission to sell
alcoholic liquors. That was a great blow at womanhood and especially
motherhood; not to mention its lamentable effect in raising the
death-rate amongst grocers in that intensely obvious and inevitable
manner, the increase of temptation, which nothing can persuade the
enemies of temperance reform to understand.

It is bad enough that women should be able to obtain alcohol as they do
by means of devices which may often prevent their habits from being
discovered at all until irreparable mischief has been done. Here the
cunning and the greed of commercialism have set to work to fool the
public and poison it by a systematic practice which is injurious to all
sections of the community, but especially to women, and which cannot be
too widely reprobated and exposed. All honour is due to the _British
Medical Journal_, the official organ of the British Medical Association,
for its recent attention to this subject. No one can challenge it when
it makes the following assertion regarding meat-wines and other
specifics containing alcohol, which are now so widely advertised and
consumed:--"It may be pointed out that by the use of these meat-wines
the alcoholic habit may be encouraged and established, and that it is a
mistake to suppose that they possess any high nutritive qualities." The
following are analyses to which everyone ought to be able to have
reference, and further information regarding which may be found in the
_British Medical Journal_ for March 27 and May 29, 1909. Let the reader
first note what proportions of alcohol are contained in the accepted
wines, the danger of which is admitted by all, and then let him compare
those figures with the figures which follow:--


  Port        20    per cent. or 3-1/4}
  Sherry      20     "   "    "  3-1/4}Fluid drachms
  Champagne   10/15  "   "    "  1-3/4}in a wineglassful.
  Hock        10     "   "    "  1-1/2}
  Claret      9      "   "    "  1-1/2}


  Bendle's      20.3 per cent. or 3-1/4}
  Bivo          19.2  "   "    "  3    }
  Bovril        20.15 "   "    "  3-1/4}Fluid drachms
  Glendenning's 20.8  "   "    "  3-1/3}in a wineglassful.
  Lemco         17.26 "   "    "  2-3/4}
  Vin Regno     16.05 "   "    "  2-1/2}
  Wincarnis     19.6  "   "    "  3    }


  Armbrecht's Coca Wine       15.05%
  Bugeaud's Wine              14.80%
  Baudon's Wine               12.75%
  Busart's Wine               16.85%
  Christy's Kola Wine         18.85%
  Hall's Wine                 17.85%
  Mariani's Coca Wine         16.40%
  Marza Wine                  17.48%
  Nourry's Iodinated Wine     11.50%
  Quina Laroche               16.90%
  St. Raphael Quinquina Wine  16.89%
  St. Raphael Tannin Wine     14.65%
  Savar's Coca Wine           23.40%
  Serravallo's Bark and Iron  17.26%
  Vana                        19.20%
  Vibrona                     19.30%

In order to complete our reference to this subject, the following may be
quoted from an excellent little pamphlet which is published by the
National Temperance League. The United States Government Laboratory
affords striking evidence of the large percentages of alcohol contained
in specifics which are stated to be largely used by persons who profess
to be total abstainers. Of these the following are given as examples:--

  Paine's Celery Compound      21.00%
  Peruna                       23.00%
  Brown's Blood Purifier       23.00%
  Brown's Vervain Restorer     25.75%
  Hostetter's Bitters          44.30%

But indeed we are far from having covered the ground in Great Britain
alone. There are many well-known preparations which consist almost
entirely of alcohol and water, together with small quantities of
flavouring matter nominally medicinal. Thus we find, for instance, the
following proportions of alcohol in--

  Powell's Balsam of Aniseed   40.0%
  Dill's Diabetic Mixture      35.0%
  Congreve's Balsamic Elixir   25.5%
  Steven's Consumption Cure    21.3%
  Hood's Sarsaparilla          19.6%

There are also other compounds such as Crosby's Balsamic Cough Elixir,
Townsend's American Sarsaparilla, and Warner's Safe Cure, which contain
from 8 to 10-1/2 per cent. of alcohol. As the _British Medical Journal_
justly points out, in a mixture of which a table-spoonful is to be taken
five or six times a day a proportion of 10 per cent. of alcohol is by no
means negligible.

Let it be noted further that though most malt extracts are free from
alcohol, that which is called "bynin" contains 8.3 per cent, and
"standard liquid" 5 per cent. The _British Medical Journal_ has also
shown that there is at least one "inebriety cure" in Great Britain which
consists of a liquid containing just under 30 per cent. of alcohol.

On this whole subject it is impossible to speak too strongly, more
especially when one is concerned with the interests of woman and
womanhood. It is true that in consequence of the labours of those few
keen workers whom the impotent and the meaningless and the selfish call
fanatics, we are making a beginning in the matter of education on
Temperance. But apart from that, which amounts only to very little as
yet, it is the lamentable truth that the State does absolutely nothing
whatever to protect the community and especially its women from the
manifold evils which are involved in such figures as those here quoted.
The State wants money, and life is a trifle. Anything that can pay toll
to the State may therefore go without further question. A tax has been
paid on all the alcohol in these things. In many cases, also, a further
tax has been paid for the government stamp on patent medicines. That the
medicine may be dangerous, that it may be a cruel swindle, that it may
take from consumptives and others money which is sorely needed for air
and food, and give them in return what is worse than nothing--all these
things are nothing to the State if the tax is paid.

Preparations such as those which have been mentioned above have no place
or status whatever in scientific medicine. Their constituents are known
and their action is known. The public pays for sarsaparilla, for
instance, and simply gets a 20 per cent. solution of flavoured alcohol,
and there is no one to inform it that sarsaparilla has been exhaustively
studied by pharmacologists, employing every means of observation and
experiment in their power, and that none of them have yet been able to
detect its capacity to modify the body or any function of the body in
any degree at all whether in health or disease. This is only one of many
instances that might be named; every preparation of which the
composition is not stated is suspect. Men are paying for these things at
this moment under the impression that they are buying valuable tonics
which will save their wives from the consequences of the drink craving
and help to avert it. Large numbers of women are ruining themselves in
purse and in body quite secretly under cover of these scandalous abuses
which are allowed to go on from year to year, and which are undoubtedly
doing more injury to the feminine--that is to say, to the more
important--half of the community in each succeeding year. At least let
the facts be known. Let liberty be believed in and encouraged; but if
these things are to be made and sold and bought, let their composition
be stated on the bottles. The composition of milk is supervised by the
State; margarine, which is harmless and an excellent food, may not be
sold as butter; alcohol, which is noxious, may be sold under any lying
name, but so long as the State gets its percentage, it is well pleased.
The official organ of the medical profession in this country has done
well to draw renewed attention to this subject. Surely it ought to be
possible for the profession and the advocates of temperance to join
hands for the promotion of legislation in a direction where reform
cannot otherwise be obtained. Something, one hopes and believes, can be
done by merely writing on the subject. A certain number of women who
read this book will be deterred from buying these things on finding that
they are simply "masked alcohol" and that their medicinal virtues are
less than _nil_. But though all that is to the good, only legislation
can meet the real need. These preparations offer insidious means of
teaching women to drink, and when the habit is established, nothing can
be accomplished by revealing to the victim the history of its origin.
The minimum demand for legislation should be, at the very least, that
all preparations of this kind should have their composition stated with
every portion of them that is vended to the public. Assuredly the
champions of womanhood will have to take this matter up soon, and the
sooner the better. There is no need to be a fanatic, there is no need
even to be a teetotaler, in order to satisfy oneself that here is a
crying abuse which is ruining the unwarned and the unprotected up and
down the land, and which is quite definitely and obviously within the
capacity of legislation to control effectively and finally.

Let us turn now to the general question of the organic or physiological
relations between womanhood and alcohol. Both sexes of human beings are
identical in a vast majority of their characters, and the various
reactions to alcohol come within this number. There is no need to repeat
here any of the facts and conclusions which have been set forth at
length elsewhere. What was said there applies to women as to men. That
is true so far as the individual is concerned and it is also true that,
so far as the race is concerned, the germ-plasm or germ-cells in both
sexes alike may be injured by the continued consumption of large
quantities of alcohol.

There remains the important fact, which it is the present writer's
constant effort to bring to the notice of Eugenists, that alcohol has
special relations to motherhood, to which there can necessarily be no
correspondence in the case of the other sex, and though motherhood, as
such, is not the subject of this book, yet it would be most pedantically
to limit the usefulness which one hopes it may possess if we were to
omit the discussion, as brief as possible, of the effect of alcohol upon
womanhood at the time when womanhood is expressing itself in its supreme

In my book on Eugenics there is merely the briefest allusion in a
foot-note to this subject, and I confess myself now ashamed of having
dealt with it in that utterly inadequate fashion. In practical
eugenics,--though sooth to say when eugenics begins to become practical
many professing eugenists seem to think that it is wandering from the
point--the great fact of expectant motherhood must be reckoned with. To
decline to do so is in effect to declare that we are greatly concerned
with bringing the right germ-cells together, but have nothing to do with
what may or may not happen to the product of their union. We desire,
however, not merely conjugated germ-cells, but worthy men and women, and
expectant motherhood is therefore part of the eugenic province.
Unfortunately it is easier to invent terms and categories and get people
to accept them than to control their use of one's terms thereafter.
Otherwise, I should forbid the use of the term Eugenist at all by anyone
who is unprepared to move a finger or utter a word on behalf of the care
and the protection of expectant motherhood.

It is quite true that the question of expectant motherhood has nothing
to do with heredity in the proper sense of that term. We are dealing now
with "nurture," not with "nature," but we are dealing with a department
of nurture which can only be understood when we realize that human
beings begin their lives nine months or so before they are born, and
that the first stage of their nurture is coincident with what we call
expectant motherhood, whilst the second stage of their nurture, normally
and properly, ought to be coincident with what we may call nursing

Let us then acquaint ourselves with the fact, fully established by
experimental and chemical observation, that alcohol given to the
expectant mother finds its way into the organism of the child. Thus, as
we should expect, alcohol can readily be demonstrated in a newborn child
when the drug has been given to the mother just before its birth.

It must be understood that the circulation of the mother and of her
child are each complete and self-contained. They come into relation in
the double organ called the placenta, and it has been exhaustively
proved that this organ is so constituted as in large measure to protect
the child from injurious influences acting upon and in the mother. We
may therefore speak of the placenta as a filter. Its protective action
explains the facts, so familiar to medical men and philanthropic
workers, that healthy and undamaged children are often born to mothers
who are stricken with mortal disease--most notably, perhaps, in the case
of consumption. It becomes a most important matter to ascertain the
limits of the placental power, and by observation upon human beings and
experiment upon the lower animals this matter has been very thoroughly
elucidated of late years. There are many kinds of poison, and many
varieties of those living poisons that we call microbes, which the
placenta does not allow to pass through from the mother's blood-vessels
into those of the child, and which are unable, fortunately for the
child, to break down the placental resistance. On the other hand, there
are certain microbes and certain poisons which readily pass through the
placenta. Conspicuous amongst these are alcohol, lead and arsenic, and
it is especially important to realize that alcohol injures the child not
merely by its own passage through the placenta, but by injuring that
organ, so that its efficiency as a filter is impaired. On the whole
subject of expectant motherhood and the morbid influences which may act
upon it, the greatest living authority is my friend and teacher, Dr. J.
W. Ballantyne of Edinburgh. He contributed an important paper on this
subject to our first National Conference on Infantile Mortality held in
1906.[22] I only wish it were possible to reproduce in full here Dr.
Ballantyne's paper on the Ante-Natal Causes of Infantile Mortality. The
unread critic who is so ready with the word fanatic whenever alcohol is
attacked might begin to derive from it some faint idea of the quality
and massiveness of the evidence upon which our case is based. Here it
must suffice merely to quote the verdict at which Dr. Ballantyne arrives
after surveying all the evidence on the subject that had been obtained
up to the year 1906. He summarizes as follows:--

     "It must then be concluded that parental and especially maternal
     alcoholism of the kind to which the name of chronic drunkenness or
     persistent soaking is applied, is the source of both ante-natal and
     post-natal mortality. It acts in all the three ways in which I
     indicated that ante-natal causes can be shown to act in relation to
     the increase of infantile mortality, viz.,.by causing abortions.,
     by predisposing to premature labours, and by weakening the infant
     by disease or deformity so that it more readily succumbs to
     ordinary morbid influences at and after birth. By causing diseases
     of the kidneys and of the placenta it also leads to that failure of
     the filter to which I have already referred; the placenta being
     damaged, not only does the alcohol more readily pass through it
     itself, but it is also possible for other poisons, germs, and
     toxins to cross over into the fatal economy. So it comes about that
     the most disastrous consequences are entailed upon the unborn
     infant in connection with syphilis, lead-poisoning, fevers, and
     the like in the intemperate mother."

The foregoing was written as long ago as 1906, and various workers have
helped to confirm it since that date.

We must further learn that alcohol taken by the mother who nurses her
child has an organic relation to the child after birth. It is true,
indeed, that according to a celebrated observer, Professor von Bunge,
the influence of alcoholism in preceding generations is such that the
daughters of such a stock are mostly unable to nurse their children. It
is not quite certain that Professor von Bunge has proved his case, but
it is definitely proved that even if alcoholism in the maternal
grandparent has not altogether prevented a child from being fed in the
natural fashion, it may yet suffer gravely in consequence of receiving
alcohol in its mother's milk. In the case of the nursing mother, there
is one fresh avenue of excretion which the organism can employ for
ridding itself of the poison, and to the efforts of the lungs and the
kidneys are added those of the breasts. Alcohol can be readily traced in
the mother's milk within twenty minutes of its entry into her stomach,
and may be detected in it for as long as eight hours after a large dose.
Many cases are on record where infants at the breast have thus become
the subjects of both acute and chronic alcoholic poisoning. We have
numerous reports of convulsions and other disorders occurring in infants
when the nurse has taken liquor, and ceasing when she has been put on a
non-alcoholic diet. A most distinguished lady, Dr. Mary Scharlieb, may
be quoted in this connection, or the reader may indeed refer to the
chapter, "Alcoholism in Relation to Women and Children," contributed by
her to the volume "The Drink Problem" in my New Library of Medicine. She
says, "The child, then, absolutely receives alcohol as part of his diet
with the worst effect upon his organs, for alcohol has a greater effect
upon cells in proportion to their immaturity." Further, as she points
out, "the milk of the alcoholic mother not only contains alcohol, but it
is otherwise unsuitable for the infant's nourishment; it does not
contain the proper proportions of proteid, sugar, fat, etc., and it is
therefore not suited for the building up of a healthy body."

It is plain that here we cannot avoid criticism of an almost universal
medical practice. Our concern in the present volume is not with children
but women; and in dealing with the effects of maternal alcoholism upon
childhood, the main intention is being kept in view. As regards the
giving of alcohol to the nursing mother, there is no doubt that the
child is more seriously in danger than she is. There is no doubt also
that, as one has often pointed out, the Children Act which forbids the
giving of alcohol to children under five years old is being broken when
the nursing mother takes alcohol. I refer to this subject here because
only thus can we come to a decision on the question whether the nursing
mother owes the taking of alcohol as a duty to her child. She may be a
teetotaler; she may fear to take alcohol; and she may be authoritatively
told that it is her duty to do so because the quality of her milk will
be improved. In such a case she may yield, though often with a wry face;
and thus we have the frequent beginning of disasters to which there is
no end.

The truth is that the medical profession has long erred in this respect.
Judgment has gone by superficials. Undoubtedly there is a greater bulk
of milk when stout and porter are taken. But everyone knows that
ordinary household milk may come from the cow or from the pump. The
question is not how much bulk is there, but what does the bulk consist
of? Definite chemical evidence, which may be repeated a thousand times,
and which is allowed to go unchallenged by the vast host of doctors who
are prescribing alcohol for nursing mothers all over the world, shows us
that its influence is to increase the bulk of the milk while reducing
the amount of its nutritive constituents, and adding to them one which
is poisonous. The increase of bulk is easy to explain. Alcohol is
exceedingly avid of water. Thus the common experience that alcoholic
liquors tend to increase the desire for liquid can readily be explained.
Alcohol, leaving the blood, tends to withdraw with itself, if it can, a
quantity of water. These two, in the milk, between them maintain the
added bulk on account of which alcoholic liquors are so widely ordered
for and drunk by nursing mothers throughout the civilized world. The
infant mortality is thus contributed to, and many women are urged and
deceived by their love for their children into a practice which achieves
their own ruin. Doctors look back a hundred years or so and observe the
amazing practices of their predecessors. They have record of
prescriptions and treatments which were ridiculous or disgusting or
trivial or painful; they have abundant record of practices which were
deadly, and for which any medical man at the present day might be called
upon to pay heavy damages or indicted for manslaughter. Yet in the
matter of the indiscriminate and ignorant employment of alcohol, in
defiance of overwhelmingly proved facts which will not be challenged by
any of those whom this criticism hits and who will virulently resent it
and decry its author, doctors of the present day are assuredly earning
the astonished contempt of their successors in times by no means remote.
A certain number of women who nurse or will nurse will read this book.
Of these not a few will be ordered various alcoholic beverages by their
medical attendant in order to aid this function. Let them obey his
orders when he has satisfactorily answered the following questions: Are
you aware that part of the alcohol will pass unchanged through my breast
into my baby's body? Are you aware that if my milk is analyzed it will
be found to contain less food for the baby with more bulk than if I were
to do without the alcohol? Are you aware that careful enquiry and
observation have shown that the best foods for the making of milk are
those which contain the constituents of milk--as seems not
unreasonable--like milk itself and bread and butter and meat? Can you
begin to explain any imaginable process by which either the animal or
the vegetable body could build up a molecule composed as the molecule of
alcohol is into any of the nutritive ingredients in milk? That catechism
is quite short, but it will suffice.

A serious error which has long been made by temperance workers consists
in supposing that the problem of alcoholism is the problem of
drunkenness. They speak of "the sin of intemperance," and by that term
they mean only such intemperance as produces what should properly be
called acute alcoholic intoxication. The friends of alcohol eagerly
accept an error which suits their case so admirably. Nothing can suit
them better than to assume that alcohol does no ill apart from causing
drunkenness. Better still, they are able to quote the case of the
incurable drunkard, suffering from an uncontrollable craving, and to
point out quite truly that he will get drunk in any case no matter how
many public-houses, for instance, we close.

It was always a gross error to suppose that drunkenness was the whole of
the evil done by alcohol; if, indeed, it be one per cent. of it, which
we may doubt. This is not a point which one need trouble to argue here,
except in so far as our right understanding of it is necessary if we are
to see the meaning of current changes in the drinking habits of the
people. That women are drinking more, everyone grants. That this is evil
not merely for the women of the present but for both sexes in the
future, I am constantly asserting. But it will not do at all to use mere
drunkenness as our measure of what is happening amongst women. We know
that in either sex a single bout of drinking, say once a week on
Saturday night, may leave the individual little worse, may injure health
quite inappreciably, if at all; it may not interfere with his work, and
may even be of small economic importance. In such a coal-mining county
as Durham, for instance, where alcohol cannot be drunk in association
with work because the workman and his fellows know that the safety of
their lives will not permit it, we find a huge proportion of arrests for
drunkenness, and it might be supposed that in this most drunken county
in England we should find the highest proportion of permanent
consequences of alcoholism. On the contrary, as Dr. Sullivan says,
"owing to their relative freedom from industrial drinking coal-miners
show a remarkably low rate of alcoholic mortality, ranking in fact with
the agriculturists and below all the other industrial groups." Here is a
simple statistical fact which continues true year by year, and the
significance of which must be insisted upon.

In the case of women, the very obvious and natural tendency is for the
proportion of drunkenness to the alcohol consumed to be much lower than
in the case of men. Drunkenness is commonly the result of convivial
drinking. A company of men get together, and they help each other to get
drunk. Women are not subjected to so many temptations in this respect.
Their drinking is industrial drinking,--above all, at the supreme
industry, which is the culture of the racial life. Like other industrial
drinking, it is less conspicuous than convivial drinking; it leads to
few arrests for drunkenness, but it has far graver effects on the
individual, and it shows its consequences in the industrial product with
which in this case no other industrial product can compare. Now unless
we disabuse ourselves once and for all of the notion that the drink
question is merely the drunkenness question, we shall never succeed in
rightly approaching and dealing with this most ominous development of
modern civilization, to which I have done such imperfect justice in the
present chapter.

Dr. Sullivan[23] has some important remarks on this subject from which
one cannot do better than freely quote. As a distinguished and
experienced Medical Officer in H. M. Prison Service, notably at
Holloway, where so many women have been under his care, Dr. Sullivan has
very special credentials, even if the internal evidence of his book did
not convince us. He says that:--

     "The domestic occupations which are the chief field of women's
     activities obviously allow ample opportunity for the continuance of
     alcoholic habits formed prior to marriage. This is a matter of much
     importance. For the ordinary existence of the working man's wife,
     with its succession of pregnancies and sucklings, and the
     management of a brood of children in cramped surroundings, will of
     itself be very likely to promote tippling; and if a knowledge of
     the effect of alcohol as an industrial excitant has been acquired
     by the factory girl, it is pretty sure of further development in
     the married woman. Instances of this sort, in which the discomforts
     of the first pregnancy stimulate the growth of a rudimentary habit
     of industrial drinking to confirmed intemperance, are tolerably
     common in any wide experience of the alcoholic."

The following paragraph must also be quoted for its clear indication of
a matter which is of prime importance, which no one denies, and yet of
which no statesman or politician has begun to take cognizance:--

     "The employment of women in the ordinary industrial occupations not
     only involves a disorganization of their domestic duties if they
     are married, but it also interferes with the acquisition of
     housewifely knowledge during girlhood. The result is that appalling
     ignorance of everything connected with cookery, with cleanliness,
     with the management of children, which make the average wife and
     mother in the lower working class in this country one of the most
     helpless and thriftless of beings, and which therefore impels the
     workman, whose comfort depends on her, not only to spend his free
     time in the public-house, but also tends to make him look to
     alcohol as a necessary condiment with his tasteless and
     indigestible diet. Both directly and indirectly, therefore, the
     employments that withdraw women from domestic pursuits are likely
     to increase alcoholism, and, it may be added, to increase its
     greatest potency for evil, namely its influence on the health of
     the stock."

Elsewhere I have endeavoured to deal with the general physiology of
alcohol and its relations to race-culture. Here our special concern has
been woman, and not woman as mother, but rather woman as individual. We
have had specially to refer, however, to expectant and nursing
motherhood because each of these offers special temptations and
opportunities for the beginning of the alcoholic habit or strengthening
its hold in a deadly fashion, and it is certainly necessary for us to
know that the supposed advantages to the child, which constitute a new
argument for alcohol at these times, are not advantages but injuries
which may be grave and often fatal. The utterly incomprehensible thing
is how anyone can suppose or ever could suppose otherwise.

It is necessary to add a few words to the foregoing since there has
recently appeared what purports to be a contribution to some of the
problems that have concerned us. Part of the foregoing argument has
rested upon the fact, only too definitely, variously and frequently
proved, that alcoholism in women prejudices the performance of their
supreme functions. Complicated as the maternal relation to the future
is, the relations of alcohol to the problem are correspondingly so, and
in any discussion that is to be of value we must draw the necessary
distinctions. In many scientific contributions to the subject this has
already been done. We have identified certain degenerate stocks who
display the symptoms of alcoholism. The alcohol may aggravate their
degeneracy but it is not the prime cause of it in them, though it may
have been so in their ancestors. The children of such persons are
degenerate also, and as the class is numerous and fertile there is here
a social problem which is not primarily a problem in alcohol, but is
accidentally connected therewith simply because the proneness to
alcoholism is a symptom of the degeneracy.

Quite distinct from the foregoing there is the influence of alcohol upon
mothers and motherhood that would otherwise have been healthy. Alcohol,
like lead, as has been shown elsewhere, may injure the racial elements
in the mother before even expectant motherhood occurs. Later, it may
prejudice both expectant motherhood and nursing motherhood; further it
is often the primary cause of over-laying and of chronic cruelty and
neglect. Until quite lately there was also the action of the
public-house upon the children to be reckoned with, where the mother
visited it and was allowed to take them with her. That, however, has
been at last put a stop to in England, following the example of
civilization elsewhere.

But it will be clear that the problem is a complicated one. It has been
confidently attacked by Professor Karl Pearson in a Report upon "the
influence of parental alcoholism upon the offspring," and the
conclusions of that Report have been widely circulated and are being
circulated almost wherever the monetary interest of alcohol has power.
Briefly, Professor Pearson came to the conclusion that the children of
drunken parents are, on the average, superior to those of sober parents
in physique and in intelligence, in sight and in freedom from epilepsy
and other diseases. This, of course, as everybody knows, is obvious
nonsense, and the only problem remaining is how to account for its
assertion. I have dealt with that question at length elsewhere,[24] and
here need only note in a word that Professor Pearson's Report includes
no comparison between the children of abstainers and drinkers, since the
number of abstainers was too few to be treated separately; that
Professor Pearson attaches no strict meaning to the term alcoholism, by
which he means anything from what the word really means down to a
general suspicion that the parents were drinking more than was good for
themselves or their home; and finally that in studying the influence of
alcohol upon offspring Professor Pearson has omitted to enquire in a
single case whether the alcoholism or the offspring came first. The
Report has no scientific basis whatever and has been riddled with
criticism by expert students of every kind, including not merely
students of alcoholism but also Professor Alfred Marshall of Cambridge,
the greatest English-speaking economist of the time, who has shown that
there are no grounds for the assumptions made by Professor Pearson in
that part of his argument which is based upon the economic efficiency of
drinking and non-drinking parents. The publication of this Report merely
hastens the rapid decadence of "biometry," the foundations of which have
already been sapped by the re-discovery of Mendelism in 1900; but it was
necessary to refer to the matter here, since in the advertisements and
the other printed matter paid for by the alcoholic party, the public is
being informed that the children of alcoholic parents have been proved
to be, on the whole, superior to those of non-alcoholic parents. This
question has been exhaustively studied, yet again, in London by Dr.
Sullivan, in Helsingfors by Professor Laitinen, and also in New York in
an enquiry which actually embraced no less than fifty-five thousand
school children. The elementary fallacies entertained by Professor
Pearson were of course avoided and the uniform result in these and in a
host of other enquiries that might be named is the only result which
could be imagined in a universe where causes have effects.

The particular causes under consideration have been having their effects
for a very long time. It begins to be more and more clear that they have
played a great part in the history of mankind. As the "history" we
learnt at school is more and more discredited, there is slowly coming
into being a real kind of history which deals with the essentials of
national life and death, and is based upon the principles of organic
evolution. This is a thesis which one has attempted to justify in a
previous book, but one aspect of it must be recurred to here. Our modern
study of various diseases and poisons is throwing a light on the life of
nations. Take for instance the modern theories as to the influence of
malarial poison upon Greece. In the case of alcohol, we now have
evidence which is real and unchallengeable. The properties which it
displays when we study it to-day have always been and always will be its
properties. We find that it has certain actions on living protoplasm in
the twentieth century; we know enough of the uniformity of nature to
realize that it had those actions in the tenth century, and will have
them in the thirtieth. As we study under the microscope the influence of
alcohol upon the racial tissues in the individual,[25] and therein find
confirmation of experimental study and observation by all the other
means available to science, we begin to see that the greatest facts of
history are those of which historians have no word, and not least
amongst these has ever been the influence of alcohol upon parenthood. It
is possible to adduce arguments in favour of the view that the
practically complete immunity of their parenthood from alcohol is one of
the great factors that explain the all but unexampled persistence of
the Jews and their present status in the van of the world's thought and
work. For history it is the parents that matter as against the
non-parents, and of the parents it is the mothers even more than the
fathers. The freedom of the Jews as a whole from alcoholism is more
marked than ever in the case of their women; that is to say, in the case
of their mothers.

We see the part-results of this in our own time when we compare the
infant mortality amongst the Jews with that of their Gentile neighbours
in a great city such as London or Leeds. As everyone should know, there
is a huge disparity between the figures in the two cases, and in some
records it has been found that under equal conditions two Gentile babies
will die for each Jewish baby. The conditions are of course not equal,
because the Jewish babies have Jewish motherhood, splendidly backed up
as it usually is by Jewish fatherhood; whereas the Gentile babies have a
very inferior parental care. Now if it were that infant mortality, as
most people suppose, simply meant the death of a certain number of
babies, the foregoing facts would have no particular bearing upon the
questions of racial survival, except in so far as those questions depend
upon mere numbers. But the advocates of the great campaign against
infant mortality have always maintained that the actual mortality is
only one effect of the causes which produce it. When people have said
that the loss of a certain number of babies mattered little, we have
always replied that for every baby killed many were damaged. This
contention has now been proved up to the hilt in the remarkable
official enquiry, the first of its kind, made by Dr. Newsholme, now
Chief Medical Officer of the Local Government Board.[26] He studied
infant mortality in relation to the mortality of children and young
people at all subsequent ages, and he proved, once and for all, that
infant mortality is what we have always maintained it to be, not merely
a disaster in itself but an evidence of causes which injure the health
and vigour of the survivors at all ages. Wherever infant mortality is
highest, there child mortality is highest, and the mortality of boys and
girls at puberty and during the early years of adolescence when the body
is preparing for and becoming capable of parenthood. The evil conditions
that cause infant mortality are thus proved to be far-reaching and much
wider in their effects than any but the students of the subject have yet

This chapter must be brought to a close, but it may be added that the
emergence of sober nations, such as Japan and Turkey, into contemporary
history, and the possibilities latent in China,--to mention none other
of the "dying nations," so very much alive, at whom glass-eyed
politicians used to sneer--constitutes one of the major facts of
contemporary history. No one can yet say whether these nations will have
the wisdom to retain their ancient habits or whether they will accept
our whisky along with our parliamentary institutions and motor-cars.
Much future history rests upon this issue.

But I have little doubt that whatever happens in the case of Japan and
Turkey, Jewish parenthood will retain the quality which has long ago
become fixed as a racial characteristic, and that the race which has
survived so much oppression and so many of its oppressors will survive
contemporary abuse and the abusers. Its women nurse their own babies and
have retained the power to do so. Neither before birth nor after do they
feed the life that is to be on alcohol; they lay rightly the foundations
of the future, where alone those foundations can be durably laid. The
reader is not necessarily asked to admire them or to like them or to
speak well of them, but if he desires the strength and continuance of
whatever race or nation he belongs to, he will do well to imitate them.

It seems necessary to believe in the yellow peril, though not, of
course, in its absurd form of a military nightmare. The pressure of
population is the irresistible force of history. It depends, of course,
upon parenthood, and more especially upon motherhood and therefore upon
womanhood. At present the motherhood of the yellow races is sober. If it
remains so, and if the motherhood of Western races takes the course
which motherhood has taken for many years past in England, it is very
sure that in the Armageddon of the future, those ancient races, Semitic
and Mongol, which had achieved civilization when Europe was in the Stone
Age, will be in a position of immense advantage as against our own race,
which is threatening, at any rate in England, to follow the example of
many races of which little record, or none, now remains, and drink
itself to death.



The plan of this book has now been satisfied. The reader may be very far
from satisfied, but not, it is to be hoped, on the ground that many
subjects have been omitted which might quite well have been included
under the title of Woman and Womanhood. It was better to confine our
search to principles.

For it seems evident that civilization is at the parting of the ways in
these fundamental matters. The invention of aeroplanes and submarine and
wireless telegraphy and the like is of no more moment than the fly on
the chariot wheel, compared with the vital reconstructions which are now
proceeding or imminent. The business of the thoughtful at this juncture
is to determine principles, for principles there are in these matters,
if they can be discovered, as certain, as all-important as those on
which any other kind of science proceeds. Just as the physicist must
hold hard by his principles of motion and thermodynamics and radiation
and the like, so the sociologist must hold hard by the organic
principles which determine the life and continuance of living things.
Unless we base our projects for mankind upon the laws of life, they will
come to naught, as such projects have come to naught not once but a
thousand times in the past.

None will dare dispute these assertions, yet what do we see at the
present time? On what grounds is the woman question fought, and by what
kind of disputants? It is fought, as everyone knows, on the grounds of
what women want, or rather, what a particular section of half-instructed
women, in some particular time and place, think they want,--or do not
want--under the influence of suggestion, imitation and the other
influences which determine public opinion. It is fought on the grounds
of precedent: women are not to have votes in England because women have
never had votes in England, or they are to have votes in England because
they have them in New Zealand. It is fought on party political grounds,
none the less potent because they are not honestly acknowledged: the
Liberal and the Conservative parties favour or disfavour this or that
Suffrage Bill, or whatever it may be, according to what they expect to
be its effect upon their voting strength. It is fought upon financial
grounds, as when we see the entire force of the alcoholic party arrayed
against the claims of women, as in the nature of things it always has
been and always will be. It is fought on theological grounds by clerics
who quote the first chapter of Genesis; and on anti-theological grounds
by half-instructed rationalists who attack marriage because they suppose
it was invented by the Church.

And whose voices never fail among the disputants? Loudest of all are
those of youth of both sexes, who know nothing and want to know nothing
and who have no idea that there is anything to know in attempting to
decide such questions as this. It is argued in the House of Gramophones
and such places, by common politicians of the type the many-headed
choose, who would do better to confine themselves to the soiled
questions of tariffs and the like, in which they find a native joy. It
is argued by vast numbers of men who hate or fear women, and women who
hate or fear men, as if any imaginable wisdom on this question or any
other could possibly be born of such emotions.

Yet all the while we are dealing with a problem in biology, with living
beings, obeying and determined by the laws of life, and with a species
exhibiting those fundamental facts of heredity, variation, bi-parental
reproduction, sexual selection, instinct and the like, which are mere
meaningless names to nine out of ten of the disputants, and yet which
determine them and their disputes and the issues thereof.

If these contentions be correct, there is plainly much need for an
attempt, however imperfect, to set forth the first principles of woman
and womanhood. Evidently the time for discussion of detailed questions
has not yet come, since, to take a single instance, there is not yet to
be heard on either side of the controversy a single voice asserting the
fundamental eugenic necessity that, at whatever cost, the best women
must be selected for motherhood, and the contribution of their
superiority to the future stock.

Let us briefly sum up the substance of the foregoing pages.

First, we have stated the eugenic postulate, failing to grant which we
and our schemes, our votes and our hopes, will assuredly disappear or
decay, as must all living races which are not recruited from their
best, Secondly, we have proceeded to analyze the nature of womanhood,
its capacities and conditions, assuming that we can scarcely discover
whither it should go unless we know what it is. To the party politician,
hungry for the prizes that suit his soul or stomach, such an assumption
is mere foolish pedantry; and the ardent suffragist will have little
more to say to it. That, however, cannot be helped. It is to be hoped
that all parties, _as parties_, will unite in banning the views herein
expressed, and then one may take heart of grace and dare to hope that
there is something in them.

They may be crystallized in the dictum that woman is Nature's supreme
organ of the future. This is not a theory, but a statement of evident
truth. It is an essential canon of what one might call the philosophy of
biology, and applies to the female sex throughout living nature. Birth
is of the female alone. No sub-human male, nor even man himself, can
directly achieve the future; the greatest statesman or law-giver or
founder of nations can only work, if he knew it, through womanhood. The
greatest of these, and their name is very far from legion, was evidently
Moses, as history shows, and he acted on this principle. On the other
hand, those who have sought to achieve the future, as Napoleon did,
failed because they defiled and flouted womanhood. The best men died on
the battlefield and the worst were left to aid the women in that supreme
work of parenthood by which alone, and only through the co-operation of
men and women, the future is made.

Thirdly, we have seen it to follow from this dedication of the greater
and vastly more valuable part of woman's energies to the future that,
just in proportion as she serves it and devotes herself thereto, she
needs present support. Biology teaches us that the male sex was invented
for this purpose; doubtless one should say for this "increasing
purpose," since it is scarcely more than foreshadowed at first in the
history of the male sex. The study of life has clearly proved that the
male sex is secondary and adjuvant, and that its essentially auxiliary
functions for the race have been increasing from the beginning until we
find them in perfection wherever two parents join in common consecration
and devotion to their supreme task, upon which all else depends and
without which nothing else could be.

And just as woman is mediate between man and the future, so man is
mediate between woman and the present. Woman is the more immediate
environment, the special providence, so to say, of childhood; and man,
in a rightly constituted society, is the special providence, the more
immediate environment of woman, standing between her and inanimate
Nature, guarding her, taking thought for her, feeding her, using his
special masculine qualities for her--that is to say, in the long run,
for the future of the race; this indeed being the purpose for which
Nature has contrived all individuals of both sexes. If we prefer such
phrases, we may say that the future or the children are parasitic upon
woman, and that woman is "parasitic upon the male," which is one woman's
way of putting it. Or we may say that these are the natural and
therefore divine relations of the various forms in which human life is
cast, and that our business is to make them more effective, more
provident and freer from the factors which in all ages have tended to
injure them.

Fourthly, we have everywhere seen cause to condemn sex-antagonism, and
it is my hope that no page or line or word of this book can be accused
of illustrating or justifying or inciting to or even attempting to
palliate either form of this wholly abominable spirit of the pit. If
such places there be, there assuredly is misdirection and falsity. This
spirit is one of the great enemies of mankind. As aroused in women
against men, it has done and is doing no little harm; as exhibited by
men against the righteous claims of women, it is one of the supremely
malign forces of history. Wherever and however displayed, it is false to
the first and most essential facts of life, from the moment of the
evolution of sex, hundreds of millions of years ago, until our own time.
All who display it, however excellent their intentions, are enemies of
mankind; all who work upon it for their own ends, political and
personal, without feeling it, are beneath disgust. These are things true
and necessary to be said, though they should not deter us from
sympathizing with the unhappy individuals, not a few, whose lives have
been blasted by individuals of the other sex, and who show the natural
but tragic tendency to make their private injury cause for resentment
against one-half of mankind. Surveying the pages that are past, I am
almost inclined to regret that, the plan of the book notwithstanding, a
special chapter was not devoted to Sex-Antagonism and to a demonstration
on biological grounds of its wickedness and pestilence wherever it be
found, and whatever plausible case for it may anywhere be made.

If the sound of hope is not heard as the ground-tone of these chapters,
let it ring through all else at the end. I am an optimist because I am
an evolutionist, and because I believe, as every one of those whom I
call Eugenists must, that the best is yet to be. The dawn is breaking
for womanhood, and therefore for all mankind. If we are asked to express
in one phrase the reason why this hope is justified, it is because the
long struggle between two antithetic conceptions of human society is
reaching a definite issue.

These radically opposed ideas may for convenience be called the
_organic_ and the _internecine_. The internecine conception of society
forever sets nation against nation, race against race, class against
class, sex against sex, individual against individual, on the ground
that the interest of one must be the injury of the other. It is false.
Nay, more, for man living his life on this earth as he must and will, it
is the Great Lie.

And it is being found out. Even international trade and commerce, from
which such a service could scarcely have been expected, are here
contributing to philosophy. Our fathers talked of the comity of nations;
we are beginning to discover their interdependence. The coming of that
discovery is one of the few really new things under the sun. Not so very
long ago, when mankind was far less numerous, such interdependence of
nations did not exist; they were self-sufficient, just as the
patriarchal family was self-sufficient still further ago.

But the interdependence of the sexes is so far from being a new fact
that it is as old as the evolution of sex, and the decadence and
disappearance of parthenogenesis or reproduction from the female sex
alone. Once bi-parental reproduction becomes necessary for the
continuance of the race, both sexes sink with either, and neither can
swim but with both. Yet so far are we from realizing this most ancient
of facts to-day that, on both sides of the woman question, wonderful to
relate, are to be found controversialists who are seeking to deny this
continuous lesson of so many million ages. The reader may take his
choice of folly between them. On the one hand, there are the feminists
who seek to do without man,--except for the minimum physiological
purpose. The women are to sustain the present and create the future
simultaneously, and man is to be reduced, apparently, to the function of
the drone. Thus Mrs. Gilman in "Women and Economics." Over against her
and those who think with her are to be set the men, and women too, who
tell us that "men made the State,"--a sufficiently shameful
admission--and that women have no business with these things. Do not
their mothers blush for such; to have travailed so much, and to have
achieved so little?

Fortunately, however, the greater number of those who think and
determine the deeds of the mass are beginning, though the dawn is yet
very faint, to perceive that this truth of the interdependence of the
sexes, which is part of the greater truth that mankind is an organic
whole, is not only much truer than ever to-day, but is vital to our
salvation; and save us it will. In so far as we are keeping women
inferior to men, we must raise them; in so far as we are keeping men, in
other and certainly no less important respects, inferior to women, we
must raise them. The future needs and will obtain the utmost of the
highest of both sexes. Thus and thus only "springs the crowning race of
human kind": wherein, as we hasten to the dust, living for a day, yet
for ever, our eyes prophetic may behold the sure and certain hope of a
glorious resurrection.



Adolescence, 124
  ---- and advertisements, 135
  ---- and alcohol, 228

Alcohol, 54, 100
  ---- accessibility of, 360
  ---- and expectant motherhood, 367
  ---- and breast-feeding, 371
  ---- and industrialism, 360, 377
  ---- and tobacco _versus_ children, 201, 251, 354
  ---- widows and orphans, 350
  ---- and womanhood, 348 _et seq._

Alcoholism and lead poisoning, 379
  ---- and offspring, 380
  ---- and Jewish survival, 382 _et seq._

Anti-Suffrage societies, 16

Asceticism, old and new, 102

Bees, arguments from, 31, 84, 322

Birth-rate, fall of, 288 _et seq._
  ---- and infant mortality, 301
  ---- and marriage-rate, 312

Board of Education Syllabus, 121

Breast feeding, 333 _et seq._
  ---- and alcohol, 371

"British Medical Journal" on meat, wines, etc., 361 _et seq._

Brooding instinct in fowls, 82

Canada's need of women, 269

Childless marriage, 244

Children Act, 265, 372

Climacteric, 21, 77, 98

Confirmation and adolescence, 124

Conservation of energy, 64
  ---- and higher education, 79

Contagious diseases, 219

Corset, 120, 186 _et seq._

Cycling for women, 119

Dancing, 120, 122

Degeneracy and inaction, 42

Determination of sex, 72 _et seq._

Divorce, conditions of, 291 _et seq._
  ---- _versus_ separation, 293
  ---- in Germany, 293
  ---- Law Reform Union, 293

Dolls and their significance, 95, 166

Education, definition of, 156
  ---- and instruction, 161, 172
  ---- for motherhood, 151, 158 _et seq._

Educational question, 43

Endowment of motherhood, 282 _et seq._, 308

Engagements, length of, 135

Eugenic feminism, 7

Eugenics, _passim_.

"Evolution of Sex," 67

Exercise in girls' schools, Herbert Spencer on, 104 _et seq._

Expectant mother, 143, 367

Fabian Society, 182

Femaleness, constitution of, 76

Games _versus_ dumb-bells, 110
  ---- mixed, 113

Gameto-genesis, 82

Germ cells and germ plasm, 27, 28, 81, 206, 367
  ---- its immortality, 29
  ---- and sex inheritance, 74

Girls' clubs, 123
  ---- clothing, 125

Gonorrh[oe]a, 223 _et seq._

Gymnastics _versus_ play, 109

Hæmophilia, 3

Happiness in marriage, 236

Heredity and responsibility, 195

Heredity of sex, 73

Higher education, 151
  ----  in London, 128
  ----  and marriage rate, 78
  ---- and conservation of energy, 79

Highest education, 154

Identical twins, 55

Illegitimacy, 148, 304, 336, 384

Infant mortality, 70, 172, 177, 194, 259, 325

Infant mortality and alcohol, 370

Insanity, 54, 225

Instinct and emotion, 164

Instinct, Spencer's definition of, 164

Insurance for motherhood, 315

Joy, physiological value of, 112

Kaiser's creed, 11

Knossos, 186

Law of multiplication, 66

Leprosy, 220

Maleness, constitution of, 76

"Man before speech," 39

Marriage age, 196
  ---- Metchnikoff on, 199
  ---- and quality of children, 204
  ---- conditions of, 258
  ---- and the "superfluous woman," 259 _et seq._

"Marriage as a Trade," 202

Marriage, social function of, 307

Married women's labour, 306

Mars, the parallel from, 50

Maternal instinct, 163 _et seq._
  ---- McDougall on, 168 _et seq._
  ---- in the cat, 171, 177
  ---- alleged decadence of, 174 _et seq._

Mendelism, 4, 67, 74, 75, 81 _et seq._, 330

Menstrual function, 108

Monogamy and its critics, 272

Monogamy and polygamy, 261

"Morning Post," quotation from, 340

Mortality in childbirth, 217

Mosaic legislation, 147

Mother and child worship, 148

Motherhood, endowment of, 282
  ---- physical and psychical, 83

Motherhood insurance, 315

"Mrs. Warren's Profession," 138

Muscles, relative value of, for women, 117

Muscularity and vitality, 99

Natural selection, 32

Nature and nurture, 52, 214

Neanderthal skull, 38

Notification of Births Act, 132

Organic analysis by Mendelism, 81

Parental instinct, 95

Parthenogenesis, 72

Patent medicines and alcohol, 361 _et seq._

Physical fitness for marriage, 208

Physical training of girls, 99

Physiological division of labour, 87

Play centres, 22

Preventive eugenics, 24

Progress and the nervous system, 102
  ---- definition of, 37
  ---- the two kinds of, 38

Prudery, 130, 132 _et seq._

Psychical fitness for marriage, 211

Puberty, 98, 124

Racial instinct, 167, 180, 225

Racial poisons, 24, 382

Radium, 35

"Reproduction" and "parenthood," 141

Rescue homes, 137

"Richard Feverel," 191

Rights of mothers, 293 _et seq._
  ---- of women, 319

Scotland, educational strain at puberty, 115

Separation _versus_ divorce, 293

"Sex and Character," 68

Sex equality and sex identity, 56 _et seq._

Sex and breathing, 93, 94

Sex and the blood, 93

Sex in childhood, 92

Sex antagonism, 391

"Sexual instinct" and "racial instinct," 144 _et seq._

Sexual attraction, Spencer on, 240 _et seq._

Sexual selection, 144

Skipping, 122

Socialism, 182
  ---- and motherhood, 282

Socialism and responsibility, 309

Swedish gymnastics, 121

Swimming, 120

Syphilis, 54, 222 _et seq._

Terms of specialization, 87

Transmutation of instinct, 171
  ---- of sex, 251

Vacation schools, 22, 114

Variation within a sex, 89
  ---- amongst women, 90

Venereal diseases, 219 _et seq._

Venus of Milo, 120, 186

Vital imports and exports, 267

Vitality superior in women, 99

Widowhood, causes of, 217
  ---- and motherhood, 303

Women and colonization, 268 _et seq._

"Women's Charter," 311, 315

Women and economics, 327 _et seq._



Aristotle, 39

Aurelius, Marcus, 257

Bacon, 182

Ballantyne, Dr. J. W., 370

Bateson, 77

Bonheur, Rosa, 58

Botticelli, 184

Bouchard, 290

Brieux, 138, 221

Budin, Prof., 336

Bunge, Prof. von, 334, 371

Burke, 225

Burns, John, 325

Butler, Lady, 58

Carlyle, 8

Chesterton, G. K., 266, 333

Clouston, 21

Coleridge, 40, 178, 184

Croom, Sir Halliday, 119

Darwin, 26, 47

Duncan, Miss Isadora, 123

Duncan, Dr. Matthews, 210

Ehrlich, 233

Eliot, George, 58

Ellis, Dr. Havelock, 61, 93, 118, 119, 186

Evans, Dr. Arthur, 186

Fawcett, Mrs., 21

Forel, 86, 149

Galton, 7, 52, 203, 205, 208, 211

Geddes and Thomson, 65, 84

Gilman, Mrs. C. P., 327, 393

Goethe, 225

Haeckel, 82

Hamilton, Miss Cicely, 202

Haynes, E. S. P., 293

Helmholtz, 36

Horsley, 254

Huxley, 46

Kelvin, 35

Key, Ellen, 8, 59, 347

Kipling, 188

Laitinen, Prof. Taav, 381

Lamarck, 158

Lister, 20, 209

Maclaren, Lady, 315

Maeterlinck, Maurice, 325

Marshall, Prof. Alfred, 381

McDougall, Dr. W., 165

Meredith, 48, 142

Metchnikoff, 199

Mill, J. S., 174

Milne-Edwards, 87

Minot, 87

Mosso, 120

Mott, Dr. F. W., 356

Napoleon, 305

Nation, Carrie, 23

Newman, Sir George, 121

Newsholme, Dr. A., 384

Nightingale, Florence, 17

Pasteur, 217

Pearson, Karl, 205, 380

Phillpotts, Eden, 191

Plato, 2, 56, 182

Rotch, Prof. Morgan, 336

Ruskin, 19, 48, 150, 157, 189, 345

Sappho, 58

Scharlieb, Dr. Mary, 371

Shakespeare, 52

Spencer, Herbert, 6, 45, 48, 64, 81, 104, 129, 156, 159, 171, 240, 320

St. Francis, 46

St. Paul, 150

Stevenson, 154

Sullivan, Dr. W. C., 376, 381

Thales, 64

Ward, Mrs. Humphry, 21

Ward, Lester, 72, 261

Weininger, 68

Weismann, 26, 28, 82

Wells, H. G., 182, 282, 310, 313

Westermarck, 186

Wordsworth, Dorothy, 14

Wordsworth, 13, 48, 159, 189, 256



[1] "The Germ-Plasm." English translation in Contemporary Science
Series, London: New York.

[2] "Parenthood and Race-Culture: An Outline of Eugenics."

[3] "The Obstacles to Eugenics," published in the _Sociological Review_,
July 1909.

[4] See his "Pure Sociology."

[5] _I. e._ marrying cells.

[6] Here, as in many other cases, I am indebted to that invaluable
repertory of facts, Dr. Havelock Ellis's "Man and Woman."

[7] This may be obtained from any bookseller at the price of 9d.

[8] Further particulars may be obtained from the Vice-Principal, King's
College (Women's Department), 13 Kensington Square, London, W.

[9] From _La Question Sexuelle_, French edition, p. 62. The author wrote
the book first in German and then in French.

[10] The modern use of the word environment really dates from Lamarck's
original phrase. In his discussion of the characters of living beings,
he spoke of the _milieu environnant_. The higher the type of organism
the more comprehensive must the term become, not only quantitatively but

[11] "An Introduction to Social Psychology," by William McDougall, M.A.,
M.B., M.Sc., Wilde Reader in Mental Philosophy in the University of

[12] From the writer's paper, "The Human Mother," in the Report of the
Proceedings of the National Conference on Infantile Mortality, 1908, p.

[13] It it well to quote here the most recent comment of the late Sir
Francis Galton upon this subject. It is to be found in his celebrated
Huxley lecture, now published by the Eugenics Education Society,
together with much of the illustrious author's other work, under the
title, "Essays in Eugenics." The passage relevant to our discussion runs
as follows:--

"There appears to be a considerable difference between the earliest age
at which it is physiologically desirable that a woman should marry and
that at which the ablest, or at least the most cultured, women usually
do. Acceleration in the time of marriage, often amounting to seven
years, as from twenty-eight or twenty-nine to twenty-one or twenty-two,
under influences such as those mentioned above, is by no means
improbable. What would be its effect on productivity? It might be
expected to act in two ways:--

"(1) By shortening each generation by an amount equally proportionate to
the diminution in age at which marriage occurs. Suppose the span of each
generation to be shortened by one-sixth, so that six take the place of
five, and that the productivity of each marriage is unaltered, it
follows that one-sixth more children will be brought into the world
during the same time, which is roughly equivalent to increasing the
productivity of an unshortened generation by that amount.

"(2) By saving from certain barrenness the earlier part of the
child-bearing period of the woman. Authorities differ so much as to the
direct gain of fertility due to early marriage that it is dangerous to
express an opinion. The large and thriving families that I have known
were the offspring of mothers who married very young."

[14] An unavoidable delay in the publication of this book makes possible
reference to Professor Ehrlich's synthetic compound of arsenic, known as
"606," the anti-syphilitic potency of which will render even less
excusable the cowardice and neglect against which the foregoing is a

[15] This is a libel upon poor people everywhere. There has been some
confusion between drink and poverty.

[16] "T. P.'s Weekly," Christmas Number, 1909.

[17] The first treatise on Infant Mortality in English, written by Sir
George Newman at the present writer's request, and published in his New
Library of Medicine in 1906, gives abundant and trustworthy information
as to the initial incidence of this disproportionate mortality.

[18] "Socialism and the Family," Sixpenny Edition, p. 59.

[19] The address of this Union is 20, Copthall Avenue, London, E. C.

[20] "The primal physical functions of maternity."

[21] W. Claassen in the Archiv für Rassen-und-Gesellschafts-Biologie,
Nov.--Dec., 1909. See the Eugenics Review, July, 1910, p. 154.

[22] We decided to reprint the Report of that Conference, and a few
copies of the reprint are still obtainable.

[23] In his "Alcoholism." 1906.

[24] In the articles, "Racial Poisons: Alcohol," Eugenics Review, April,
1910, and "Professor Karl Pearson on Alcoholism and Offspring," British
Journal of Inebriety, Oct., 1910.

[25] This study has only just begun, but remarkable results have already
been obtained. The interested reader should refer to the Proceedings of
the Twelfth International Congress on Alcoholism held in London in 1909.

[26] This Report, published in 1910, can readily be obtained through any
bookseller. Its number is Cd. 5263, and the price only 1s. 3d.


Transcriber's Notes:

1. Original chapter titles were inconsistently named. For example
   "CHAPTER VI" was followed by simply "VII" without the "CHAPTER"
   designation. The original printing has been retained.

2. p. 269: word omitted in original ("on") has been added:
   "I have recently been on a tour throughout Canada...."

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