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Title: In Times Like These
Author: McClung, Nellie L., 1873-1951
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "In Times Like These" ***

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IN TIMES

LIKE THESE


BY

NELLIE L. McCLUNG


  Author of "Sowing Seeds In Danny," "The Second Chance,"
  and "The Black Creek Stopping-house."



TORONTO

McLEOD & ALLEN

1915



COPYRIGHT, 1915,

BY D. APPLETON AND COMPANY


Printed in the United States of America



_DEDICATION_

I

TO THE SUPERIOR PERSONS

Who would not come to hear a woman speak being firmly convinced that it
is not "natural."

Who takes the rather unassailable ground that "men are men and women
are women."

Who answers all arguments by saying, "Woman's place is the home" and,
"The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world," and even sometimes
flashes out with the brilliant retort, "It would suit those women
better to stay at home and darn their children's stockings."

To all these Superior Persons, men and women, who are inhospitable to
new ideas, and even suspicious of them, this book is respectfully
dedicated by

THE AUTHOR.


Upon further deliberation I am beset with the fear that the above
dedication may not "take."  The Superior Person may not appreciate the
kind and neighborly spirit I have tried to show.  So I will dedicate
this book again.



_DEDICATION_

II

Believing that the woman's claim to a common humanity is not an
unreasonable one, and that the successful issue of such claim rests
primarily upon the sense of fair play which people have or have not
according to how they were born, and

Believing that the man or woman born with a sense of fair play, no
matter how obscured it has become by training, prejudice, or unhappy
experience, will ultimately see the light and do the square thing and--

Believing that the man or woman who has not been so endowed by nature,
no matter what advantages of education or association, will always
suffer from the affliction known as mental strabismus, over which no
feeble human ward has any power, and which can only be cast out by the
transforming power of God's grace.

Therefore to men and women everywhere who love a fair deal, and are
willing to give it to everyone, even women, this book is respectfully
dedicated by the author.

NELLIE L. McCLUNG.



CONTENTS


CHAPTER

    I. THE WAR THAT NEVER ENDS
   II. THE WAR THAT ENDS IN EXHAUSTION SOMETIMES MISTAKEN FOR PEACE
  III. WHAT DO WOMEN THINK OF WAR? (NOT THAT IT MATTERS)
   IV. SHOULD WOMEN THINK?
    V. THE NEW CHIVALRY
   VI. HARDY PERENNIALS!
  VII. GENTLE LADY
 VIII. WOMEN AND THE CHURCH
   IX. THE SORE THOUGHT
    X. THE LAND OF THE FAIR DEAL
   XI. AS A MAN THINKETH
  XII. THE WAR AGAINST GLOOM



IN TIMES LIKE THESE


CHAPTER I

THE WAR THAT NEVER ENDS

  If, at last the sword is sheathed,
    And men, exhausted, call it peace,
  Old Nature wears no olive wreath,
    The weapons change--war does not cease.

  The little struggling blades of grass
    That lift their heads and will not die,
  The vines that climb where sunbeams pass,
    And fight their way toward the sky!

  And every soul that God has made,
    Who from despair their lives defend
  And struggling upward through the shade,
    Break every bond that will not bend,
  These are the soldiers, unafraid
    In the great war that has no end.


We will begin peaceably by contemplating the world of nature, trees and
plants and flowers, common green things against which there is no
law--for surely there is no corruption in carrots, no tricks in
turnips, no mixed motive in marigolds.

To look abroad upon a peaceful field drowsing in the sunshine, lazily
touched by a wandering breeze, no one would suspect that any struggle
was going on in the tiny hearts of the flowers and grasses.  The lilies
of the field have long ago been said to toil not, neither spin, and the
inference has been that they in common with all other flowers and
plants lead a "lady's life," untroubled by any thought of ambition or
activity.  The whole world of nature seems to present a perfect picture
of obedience and peaceful meditation.

But for all their quiet innocent ways, every plant has one ambition and
will attain it by any means.  Plants have one ambition, and therein
they have the advantage of us, who sometimes have too many, and
sometimes none at all!  Their ambition is to grow--to spread--to
travel--to get away from home.  Home is their enemy, for if a plant
falls at its mother's knee it is doomed to death, or a miserable
stunted life.

Every seed has its own little plan of escape.  Some of them are pitiful
enough and stamped with failure, like the tiny screw of the Lucerne,
which might be of some use if the seed were started on its flight from
a considerable elevation, but as it is, it has hardly turned over
before it hits the ground.  But the next seed tries the same
plan--always hoping for a happier result.  With better success, the
maple seed uses its little spreading wings to conquer space, and if the
wind does its part the plan succeeds, and that the wind generally can
be depended upon to blow is shown by the wide dissemination of maple
trees.

More subtle still are the little tricks that seeds have of getting
animals and people to give them a lift on their way.  Many a bird has
picked a bright red berry from a bush, with a feeling of gratitude, no
doubt, that his temporal needs are thus graciously supplied.  He
swallows the sweet husk, and incidentally the seed, paying no attention
to the latter, and flies on his way.  The seed remains unchanged and
undigested, and is thus carried far from home, and gets its chance.
So, too, many seeds are provided with burrs and spikes, which stick in
sheep's wool, dog's hair, or the clothing of people, and so travel
abroad, to the far country--the land of growth, the land of promise.

There is something pathetically human in the struggle plants make to
reach the light; tiny rootlets have been known to pierce rocks in their
stern determination to reach the light that their soul craves.  They
refuse to be resigned to darkness and despair!  Who has not marveled at
the intelligence shown by the canary vine, the wild cucumber plant, or
the morning glory, in the way their tendrils reach out and find the
rusty nail or sliver on the fence--anything on which they can rise into
the higher air; even as you and I reach out the trembling tendrils of
our souls for something solid to rest upon?

There is no resignation in Nature, no quiet folding of the hands, no
hypocritical saying, "Thy will be done!" and giving in without a
struggle.  Countless millions of seeds and plants are doomed each year
to death and failure, but all honor to them--they put up a fight to the
very end!  Resignation is a cheap and indolent human virtue, which has
served as an excuse for much spiritual slothfulness.  It is still
highly revered and commended.  It is so much easier sometimes to sit
down and be resigned than to rise up and be indignant.

Years ago people broke every law of sanitation and when plagues came
they were resigned and piously looked heavenward, and blamed God for
the whole thing.  "Thy will be done," they said, and now we know it was
not God's will at all.  It is never God's will that any should perish!
People were resigned when they should have been cleaning up!  "Thy will
be done!" should ever be the prayer of our hearts, but it does not let
us out of any responsibility.  It is not a weak acceptance of
misfortune, or sickness, or injustice or wrong, for these things are
not God's will.

"Thy will be done" is a call to fight--to fight for better conditions,
for moral and physical health, for sweeter manners, cleaner laws, for a
fair chance for everyone, even women!

The man or woman who tries to serve their generation need not cry out
as did the hymn writer of the last century against the danger of being
carried to the skies on flowery beds of ease, for we know that flowery
beds of ease have never been a mode of locomotion to the skies.
Flowery beds of ease lead in an entirely opposite direction, which has
had the effect of discouraging celestial emigration, for humanity is
very partial to the easy way of traveling.  People like not only to
travel the easy way, but to think along the beaten path, which is so
safe and comfortable, where the thoughts have been worked over so often
that the very words are ready made, and come easily.  There is a good
deal of the cat in the human family.  We like comfort and ease--a warm
cushion by a cosy fire, and then sweet sleep--and don't disturb me!
Disturbers are never popular--nobody ever really loved an alarm clock
in action--no matter how grateful they may have been afterwards for its
kind services!

It was the people who did not like to be disturbed who crucified
Christ--the worst fault they had to find with Him was that He annoyed
them--He rebuked the carnal mind--He aroused the cat-spirit, and so
they crucified Him--and went back to sleep.  Even yet new ideas blow
across some souls like a cold draught, and they naturally get up and
shut the door!  They have even been known to slam it!

The sin of the world has ever been indifference and slothfulness, more
than real active wickedness.  Life, the real abundant life of one who
has a vision of what a human soul may aspire to be, becomes a great
struggle against conditions.  Life is warfare--not one set of human
beings warring upon other human beings--that is murder, no matter by
what euphonious name it may be called; but war waged against ignorance,
selfishness, darkness, prejudice and cruelty, beginning always with the
roots of evil which we find in our own hearts.  What a glorious thing
it would be if nations would organize and train for this warfare, whose
end is life, and peace, and joy everlasting, as they now train and
organize for the wholesale murder and burning and pillaging whose mark
of victory is the blackened trail of smoking piles of ruins, dead and
maimed human beings, interrupted trade and paralyzed industries!

Once a man paid for his passage across the ocean in one of the great
Atlantic liners.  He brought his provisions with him to save expenses,
but as the days went on he grew tired of cheese, and his biscuits began
to taste mousy, and the savory odors of the kitchen and dining-room
were more than he could resist.  There was only one day more, but he
grew so ravenously hungry, he felt he must have one good meal, if it
took his last cent.  He made his way to the dining-room, and asked the
man at the desk the price of a meal.  In answer to his inquiry the man
asked to see his ticket.  "It will not cost you anything," he said.
"Your ticket includes meals."

That's the way it is in life--we have been traveling below our
privileges.  There is enough for everyone, if we could get at it.
There is food and raiment, a chance to live, and love and labor--for
everyone; these things are included in our ticket, only some of us have
not known it, and some others have reached out and taken more than
their share, and try to excuse their "hoggishness" by declaring that
God did not intend all to travel on the same terms, but you and I know
God better than that.

To bring this about--the even chance for everyone--is the plain and
simple meaning of life.  This is the War that never ends.  It has been
waged all down the centuries by brave men and women whose hearts God
has touched.  It is a quiet war with no blare of trumpets to keep the
soldiers on the job, no flourish of flags or clinking of swords to
stimulate flagging courage.  It may not be as romantic a warfare, from
the standpoint of our medieval ideas of romance, as the old way of
sharpening up a battle axe, and spreading our enemy to the evening
breeze, but the reward of victory is not seeing our brother man dead at
our feet; but rather seeing him alive and well, working by our side.

To this end let us declare war on all meanness, snobbishness, petty or
great jealousies, all forms of injustice, all forms of special
privilege, all selfishness and all greed.  Let us drop bombs on our
prejudices!  Let us send submarines to blow up all our poor little
petty vanities, subterfuges and conceits, with which we have endeavored
to veil the face of Truth.  Let us make a frontal attack on ignorance,
laziness, doubt, despondence, despair, and unbelief!

The banner over us is "Love," and our watchword "A Fair Deal."



CHAPTER II

THE WAR THAT ENDS IN EXHAUSTION SOMETIMES MISTAKEN FOR PEACE

  When a skirl of pipes came down the street,
  And the blare of bands, and the march of feet,
  I could not keep from marching, too;
  For the pipes cried "Come!" and the bands said "Do,"
  And when I heard the pealing fife,
  I cared no more for human life!


Away back in the cave-dwelling days, there was a simple and definite
distribution of labor.  Men fought and women worked.  Men fought
because they liked it; and women worked because it had to be done.  Of
course the fighting had to be done too, there was always a warring
tribe out looking for trouble, while their womenfolk stayed at home and
worked.  They were never threatened with a long peace.  Somebody was
always willing to go "It."  The young bloods could always be sure of
good fighting somewhere, and no questions asked.  The masculine
attitude toward life was: "I feel good today; I'll go out and kill
something."  Tribes fought for their existence, and so the work of the
warrior was held to be the most glorious of all; indeed, it was the
only work that counted.  The woman's part consisted of tilling the
soil, gathering the food, tanning the skins and fashioning garments,
brewing the herbs, raising the children, dressing the warrior's wounds,
looking after the herds, and any other light and airy trifle which
might come to her notice.  But all this was in the background.  Plain
useful work has always been considered dull and drab.

Everything depended on the warrior.  When "the boys" came home there
was much festivity, music, and feasting, and tales of the chase and
fight.  The women provided the feast and washed the dishes.  The
soldier has always been the hero of our civilization, and yet almost
any man makes a good soldier.  Nearly every man makes a good soldier,
but not every man, or nearly every man makes a good citizen: the tests
of war are not so searching as the tests of peace, but still the
soldier is the hero.

Very early in the lives of our children we begin to inculcate the love
of battle and sieges and invasions, for we put the miniature weapons of
warfare into their little hands.  We buy them boxes of tin soldiers at
Christmas, and help them to build forts and blow them up.  We have
military training in our schools; and little fellows are taught to
shoot at targets, seeing in each an imaginary foe, who must be
destroyed because he is "not on our side."  There is a song which runs
like this:

  If a lad a maid would marry
  He must learn a gun to carry.

thereby putting love and love-making on a military basis--but it goes!
Military music is in our ears, and even in our churches.  "Onward
Christian soldiers, marching as to war" is a Sunday-school favorite.
We pray to the God of Battles, never by any chance to the God of
Workshops!

Once a year, of course, we hold a Peace Sunday and on that day we pray
mightily that God will give us peace in our time and that war shall be
no more, and the spear shall be beaten into the pruning hook.  But the
next day we show God that he need not take us too literally, for we go
on with the military training, and the building of the battleships, and
our orators say that in time of peace we must prepare for war.

War is the antithesis of all our teaching.  It breaks all the
commandments; it makes rich men poor, and strong men weak.  It makes
well men sick, and by it living men are changed to dead men.  Why,
then, does war continue?  Why do men go so easily to war--for we may as
well admit that they do go easily?  There is one explanation.  They
like it!

When the first contingent of soldiers went to the war from Manitoba,
there stood on the station platform a woman crying bitterly.  (She was
not the only one.)  She had in her arms an infant, and three small
children stood beside her wondering.

"'E would go!" she sobbed in reply to the sympathy expressed by the
people who stood near her, "'E loves a fight--'e went through the South
African War, and 'e's never been 'appy since--when 'e 'ears war is on
he says I'll go--'e loves it--'e does!"

'"E loves it!"

That explains many things.

"Father sent me out," said a little Irish girl, "to see if there's a
fight going on any place, because if there is, please, father would
like to be in it!"  Unfortunately "father's" predilection to fight is
not wholly confined to the Irish!

But although men like to fight, war is not inevitable.  War is not of
God's making.  War is a crime committed by men and, therefore, when
enough people say it shall not be, it cannot be.  This will not happen
until women are allowed to say what they think of war.  Up to the
present time women have had nothing to say about war, except pay the
price of war--this privilege has been theirs always.

History, romance, legend and tradition having been written by men, have
shown the masculine aspect of war and have surrounded it with a false
glory and have sought to throw the veil of glamour over its hideous
face.  Our histories have followed the wars.  Invasions, conquests,
battles, sieges make up the subject-matter of our histories.

Some glorious soul, looking out upon his neighbors, saw some country
that he thought he could use and so he levied a heavy tax on the
people, and with the money fitted out a splendid army.  Men were called
from their honest work to go out and fight other honest men who had
never done them any harm; harvest fields were trampled by their horses'
feet, villages burned, women and children fled in terror, and perished
of starvation, streets ran blood and the Glorious Soul came home
victorious with captives chained to his chariot wheel.  When he drove
through the streets of his own home town, all the people cheered, that
is, all who had not been killed, of course.

What the people thought of all this, the historians do not say.  The
people were not asked or expected to think.  Thinking was the most
unpopular thing they could do.  There were dark damp dungeons where
hungry rats prowled ceaselessly; there were headsmen's axes and other
things prepared for people who were disposed to think and specially
designed to allay restlessness among the people.

The "people" were dealt with in one short paragraph at the end of the
chapter: "The People were very poor" (you wouldn't think they would
need to say that, and certainly there was no need to rub it in), and
they "ate black bread," and they were "very ignorant and
superstitious."  Superstitious?  Well, I should say they would
be--small wonder if they did see black cats and have rabbits cross
their paths, and hear death warnings, for there was always going to be
a death in the family, and they were always about to lose money!  The
People were a great abstraction, infinite in number, inarticulate in
suffering--the people who fought and paid for their own killing.  The
man who could get the people to do this on the largest scale was the
greatest hero of all and the historian told us much about him, his
dogs, his horses, the magnificence of his attire.

Some day, please God, there will be new histories written, and they
will tell the story of the years from the standpoint of the people, and
the hero will not be any red-handed assassin who goes through peaceful
country places leaving behind him dead men looking sightlessly up to
the sky.  The hero will be the man or woman who knows and loves and
serves.  In the new histories we will be shown the tragedy, the
heartbreaking tragedy of war, which like some dreadful curse has
followed the human family, beaten down their plans, their hopes, wasted
their savings, destroyed their homes, and in every way turned back the
clock of progress.

We have all wondered what would happen if the people some day decided
that they would no longer be the tools of the man higher up, what would
happen if the men who make the quarrel had to fight it out.  How
glorious it would have been if this war could have been settled by
somebody taking the Kaiser out behind the barn!  There would seem to be
some show of justice in a hand-to-hand encounter, where the best man
wins, but modern warfare has not even the faintest glimmering of fair
play.  The exploding shell blows to pieces the strong, the brave, the
daring, just as readily as it does the cowardly, weak, or base.

War proves nothing.  To kill a man does not prove that he was in the
wrong.  Bloodletting cannot change men's spirits, neither can the evil
of men's thoughts be driven out by blows.  If I go to my neighbor's
house, and break her furniture, and smash her pictures, and bind her
children captive, it does not prove that I am fitter to live than
she--yet according to the ethics of nations it does.  I have conquered
her and she must pay me for my trouble; and her house and all that is
left in it belongs to my heirs and successors forever.  That is war!

War twists our whole moral fabric.  The object of all our teaching has
been to inculcate respect for the individual, respect for human life,
honor and purity.  War sweeps that all aside.  The human conscience in
these long years of peace, and its resultant opportunities for
education, has grown tender to the cry of agony--the pallid face of a
hungry child finds a quick response to its mute appeal; but when we
know that hundreds are rendered homeless every day, and countless
thousands are killed and wounded, men and boys mowed down like a field
of grain, and with as little compunction, we grow a little bit numb to
human misery.  What does it matter if there is a family north of the
track living on soda biscuits and turnips?  War hardens us to human
grief and misery.

War takes the fit and leaves the unfit.  The epileptic, the
consumptive, the inebriate, are left behind.  They are not good enough
to go out to fight.  So they stay at home, and perpetuate the race!
Statistics prove that the war is costing fifty millions a day, which is
a prodigious sum, but we would be getting off easy if that were all it
costs.  The bitterest cost of war is not paid by us at all.  It will be
paid by the unborn generations, in a lowered vitality, the loss of a
strong fatherhood, which they have never known.  Napoleon lowered the
stature of the French by two inches, it is said.  That is one way to
set your mark on your generation.

But the greatest evil wrought by war is not the wanton destruction of
life and property, sinful though it is; it is not even the lowered
vitality of succeeding generations, though that is attended by
appalling injury to the moral nature--the real iniquity of war is that
it sets aside the arbitrament of right and justice, and looks to brute
force for its verdict!

In the first days of panic, pessimism broke out among us, and we cried
in our despair that our civilization had failed, that Christianity had
broken down, and that God had forgotten the world.  It seemed like it
at first.  But now a wiser and better vision has come to us, and we
know that Christianity has not failed, for it is not fair to impute
failure to something which has never been tried.  Civilization has
failed.  Art, music, and culture have failed, and we know now that
underneath the thin veneer of civilization, unregenerate man is still a
savage; and we see now, what some have never seen before, that unless a
civilization is built upon love, and mutual trust, it must always end
in disaster, such as this.  Up to August fourth, we often said that war
was impossible between Christian nations.  We still say so, but we know
more now than we did then.  We know now that there are no Christian
nations.

Oh, yes.  I know the story.  It was a beautiful story and a beautiful
picture.  The black prince of Abyssinia asked the young Queen of
England what was the secret of England's glory and she pointed to the
"open Bible."

The dear Queen of sainted memory was wrong.  She judged her nation by
the standard of her own pure heart.  England did not draw her policy
from the open Bible when in 1840 she forced the opium traffic on the
Chinese.  England does not draw her policy from the open Bible when she
takes revenues from the liquor traffic, which works such irreparable
ruin to countless thousands of her people.  England does not draw her
policy from the open Bible when she denies her women the rights of
citizens, when women are refused degrees after passing examinations,
when lower pay is given women for the same work than if it were done by
men.  Would this be tolerated if it were really so that we were a
Christian nation?  God abominates a false balance, and delights in a
just weight.

No, the principles of Christ have not yet been applied to nations.  We
have only Christian people.  You will see that in a second, if you look
at the disparity that there is between our conceptions of individual
duty and national duty.  Take the case of the heathen--the people whom
we in our large-handed, superior way call the heathen.  Individually we
believe it is our duty to send missionaries to them to convert them
into Christians.  Nationally we send armies upon them (if necessary)
and convert them into customers!  Individually we say: "We will send
you our religion."  Nationally: "We will send you goods, and we'll make
you take them--we need the money!"  Think of the bitter irony of a boat
leaving a Christian port loaded with missionaries upstairs and rum
below, both bound for the same place and for the same people--both for
the heathen "with our comp'ts."

Individually we know it is wrong to rob anyone.  Yet the state robs
freely, openly, and unashamed, by unjust taxation, by the legalized
liquor traffic, by imposing unjust laws upon at least one half of the
people.  We wonder at the disparity between our individual ideals and
the national ideal, but when you remember that the national ideals have
been formed by one half of the world--and not the more spiritual
half--it is not so surprising.  Our national policy is the result of
male statecraft.

There is a curative power in human life just as there is in nature.
When the pot boils--it boils over.  Evils cure themselves eventually.
But it is a long hard way.  Yet it is the way humanity has always had
to learn.  Christ realized that when he looked down at Jerusalem, and
wept over it: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often I would have gathered
you, as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, but you would
not."  That was the trouble then, and it has been the trouble ever
since.  Humanity has to travel a hard road to wisdom, and it has to
travel it with bleeding feet.

But it is getting its lessons now--and paying double first-class rates
for its tuition!



CHAPTER III

WHAT DO WOMEN THINK OF WAR? (NOT THAT IT MATTERS)

  Bands in the street, and resounding cheers,
  And honor to him whom the army led!
  But his mother moans thro' her blinding tears--
  "My boy is dead--is dead!"


"Madam," said Charles XI of Sweden to his wife when she appealed to him
for mercy to some prisoner, "I married you to give me children, not to
give me advice."  That was said a long time ago, and the haughty old
Emperor put it rather crudely, but he put it straight.  This is still
the attitude of the world towards women.  That men are human beings,
but women are women, with one reason for their existence, has long been
the dictum of the world.

More recent philosophers have been more adroit--they have sought to
soften the blow, and so they palaver the women by telling them what a
tremendous power they are for good.  They quote the men who have said:
"All that I am my mother made me."  They also quote that old iniquitous
lie, about the hand that rocks the cradle ruling the world.

For a long time men have been able to hush women up by these means; and
many women have gladly allowed themselves to be deceived.  Sometimes
when a little child goes driving with his father he is allowed to hold
the ends of the reins, and encouraged to believe that he is driving,
and it works quite well with a very small child.  Women have been
deceived in the same way into believing that they are the controlling
factor in the world.  Here and there, there have been doubters among
women who have said: "If it be true that the hand that rocks the cradle
rules the world, how comes the liquor traffic and the white slave
traffic to prevail among us unchecked?  Do women wish for these things?
Do the gentle mothers whose hands rule the world declare in favor of
these things?"  Every day the number of doubters has increased, and now
women everywhere realize that a bad old lie has been put over on them
for years.  The hand that rocks the cradle does not rule the world.  If
it did, human life would be held dearer and the world would be a
sweeter, cleaner, safer place than it is now!

Women are naturally the guardians of the race, and every normal woman
desires children.  Children are not a handicap in the race of life
either, they are an inspiration.  We hear too much about the burden of
motherhood and too little of its benefits.  The average child does well
for his parents, and teaches them many things.  Bless his little soft
hands--he broadens our outlook, quickens our sympathies, and leads us,
if we will but let him, into all truth.  A child pays well for his
board and keep.

Deeply rooted in every woman's heart is the love and care of children.
A little girl's first toy is a doll, and so, too, her first great
sorrow is when her doll has its eyes poked out by her little brother.
Dolls have suffered many things at the hands of their maternal uncles.

  There, little girl, don't cry,
  They have broken your doll, I know,

contains in it the universal note of woman's woe!

But just as the woman's greatest sorrow has come through her children,
so has her greatest development.  Women learned to cook, so that their
children might be fed; they learned to sew that their children might be
clothed, and women are learning to think so that their children may be
guided.

Since the war broke out women have done a great deal of knitting.
Looking at this great army of women struggling with rib and back seam,
some have seen nothing in it but a "fad" which has supplanted for the
time tatting and bridge.  But it is more than that.  It is the desire
to help, to care for, to minister; it is the same spirit which inspires
our nurses to go out and bind up the wounded and care for the dying.
The woman's outlook on life is to save, to care for, to help.  Men make
wounds and women bind them up, and so the women, with their hearts
filled with love and sorrow, sit in their quiet homes and knit.


  Comforter--they call it--yes--
  So it is for my distress,
  For it gives my restless hands
  Blessed work.  God understands
  How we women yearn to be
  Doing something ceaselessly.


Women have not only been knitting--they have been thinking.  Among
other things they have thought about the German women, those faithful,
patient, home-loving, obedient women, who never interfere in public
affairs, nor question man's ruling.  The Kaiser says women have only
two concerns in life, cooking and children, and the German women have
accepted his dictum.  They are good cooks and faithful nurses to their
children.

According to the theories of the world, the sons of such women should
be the gentlest men on earth.  Their home has been so sacred, and
well-kept; their mother has been so gentle, patient and unworldly--she
has never lowered the standard of her womanhood by asking to vote, or
to mingle in the "hurly burly" of politics.  She has been humble, and
loving, and always hoped for the best.

According to the theories of the world, the gentle sons of gentle
mothers will respect and reverence all womankind everywhere.  Yet, we
know that in the invasion of Belgium, the German soldiers made a shield
of Belgian women and children in front of their army; no child was too
young, no woman too old, to escape their cruelty; no mother's prayers,
no child's appeal could stay their fury!  These chivalrous sons of
gentle, loving mothers marched through the land of Belgium, their
nearest neighbor, leaving behind them smoking trails of ruin, black as
their own hard hearts!

What, then, is the matter with the theory?  Nothing, except that there
is nothing in it--it will not work.  Women who set a low value on
themselves make life hard for all women.  The German woman's ways have
been ways of pleasantness, but her paths have not been paths of peace;
and now, women everywhere are thinking of her, rather bitterly.  Her
peaceful, humble, patient ways have suddenly ceased to appear virtuous
in our eyes and we see now, it is not so much a woman's duty to bring
children into the world, as to see what sort of a world she is bringing
them into, and what their contribution will be to it.  Bertha Krupp has
made good guns and the German women have raised good soldiers--if guns
and soldiers can be called "good"--and between them they have manned
the most terrible and destructive war machine that the world has ever
known.  We are not grateful to either of them.

The nimble fingers of the knitting women are transforming balls of wool
into socks and comforters, but even a greater change is being wrought
in their own hearts.  Into their gentle souls have come bitter thoughts
of rebellion.  They realize now how little human life is valued, as
opposed to the greed and ambition of nations.  They think bitterly of
Napoleon's utterance on the subject of women--that the greatest woman
in the world is the one who brings into the world the greatest number
of sons; they also remember that he said that a boy could stop a bullet
as well as a man, and that God is on the side of the heaviest
artillery.  From these three statements they get the military idea of
women, children, and God, and the heart of the knitting woman recoils
in horror from the cold brutality of it all.  They realize now
something of what is back of all the opposition to the woman's
advancement into all lines of activity and a share in government.

Women are intended for two things, to bring children into the world and
to make men comfortable, and then they must keep quiet and if their
hearts break with grief, let them break quietly--that's all.  No woman
is so unpopular as the noisy woman who protests against these things.

The knitting women know now why the militant suffragettes broke windows
and destroyed property, and went to jail for it joyously, and without a
murmur--it was the protest of brave women against the world's estimate
of woman's position.  It was the world-old struggle for liberty.  The
knitting women remember now with shame and sorrow that they have said
hard things about the suffragettes, and thought they were unwomanly and
hysterical.  Now they know that womanliness, and peaceful gentle ways,
prayers, petitions and tears have long been tried but are found
wanting; and now they know that these brave women in England, maligned,
ridiculed, persecuted, as they were, have been fighting every woman's
battle, fighting for the recognition of human life, and the mother's
point of view.  Many of the knitting women have seen a light shine
around their pathway, as they have passed down the road from the heel
to the toe, and they know now that the explanation cannot be accepted
any longer that the English women are "crazy."  That has been offered
so often and been accepted.

Crazy!  That's such an easy way to explain actions which we do not
understand.  Crazy! and it gives such a delightful thrill of sanity to
the one who says it--such a pleasurable flash of superiority!

Oh, no, they have not been crazy, unless acts of heroism and suffering
for the sake of others can be described as crazy!  The knitting women
wish now that there had been "crazy" women in Germany to direct the
thought of the nation to the brutality of the military system, to have
aroused the women to struggle for a human civilization, instead of a
masculine civilization such as they have now.  They would have fared
badly of course, even worse than the women in England, but they are
faring badly now, and to what purpose?  The women of Belgium have fared
badly.  After all, the greatest thing in life is not to live
comfortably--it is to live honorably, and when that becomes impossible,
to die honorably!

The woman who knits is thinking sadly of the glad days of peace, now
unhappily gone by, when she was so sure it was her duty to bring
children into the world.  She thinks of the glad rapture with which she
looked into the sweet face of her first-born twenty years ago--the
brave lad who went with the first contingent, and is now at the front.
She was so sure then that she had done a noble thing in giving this
young life to the world.  He was to have been a great doctor, a great
healer, one who bound up wounds, and make weak men strong--and now--in
the trenches, he stands, this lad of hers, with the weapons of death in
his hands, with bitter hatred in his heart, not binding wounds, but
making them, sending poor human beings out in the dark to meet their
Maker, unprepared, surrounded by sights and sounds that must harden his
heart or break it.  Oh! her sunny-hearted lad!  So full of love and
tenderness and pity, so full of ambition and high resolves and noble
impulses, he is dead--dead already--and in his place there stands
"private 355" a man of hate, a man of blood!  Many a time the knitting
has to be laid aside, for the bitter tears blur the stitches.

The woman who knits thinks of all this and now she feels that she who
brought this boy into the world, who is responsible for his existence,
has some way been to blame.  Is life really such a boon that any should
crave it?  Do we really confer a favor on the innocent little souls we
bring into the world, or do we owe them an apology?

She thinks now of Abraham's sacrifice, when he was willing at God's
command to offer his dearly beloved son on the altar; and now she knows
it was not so hard for Abraham, for he knew it was God who asked it,
and he had God's voice to guide him!  Abraham was sure, but about
this--who knows?

Then she thinks of the little one who dropped out of the race before it
was well begun, and of the inexplicable smile of peace which lay on his
small white face, that day, so many years ago now, when they laid him
away with such sorrow, and such agony of loss.  She understands now why
the little one smiled, while all around him wept.

And she thinks enviously of her neighbor across the way, who had no son
to give, the childless woman for whom in the old days she felt so
sorry, but whom now she envies.  She is the happiest woman of all--so
thinks the knitting woman, as she sits alone in her quiet house; for
thoughts can grow very bitter when the house is still and the boyish
voice is heard no more shouting, "Mother" in the hall.


  There, little girl, don't cry!
  They have broken your heart, I know.



CHAPTER IV

SHOULD WOMEN THINK?

  A woman, a spaniel, a walnut tree,
  The more you beat 'em, the better they be.
        --_From "Proverbs of All Nations._"

A woman is not a person in matters of rights and privileges, but she is
a person in matters of pains and penalties.--_From the Common Law of
England_.

No woman, idiot, lunatic, or criminal shall vote.--_From the Election
Act of the Dominion of Canada_.


Mary and Martha were sisters, and one day they had a quarrel, which
goes to show that sisters in Bible times were much the same as now.
Mary and Martha had a different attitude toward life.  Martha was a
housekeeper--she reveled in housecleaning--she had a perfect mania for
sweeping and dusting.  Mary was a thinker.  She looked beyond the work,
and saw something better and more important, something more abiding and
satisfying.

When Jesus came to their home to visit, Mary sat at his feet and
listened.  She fed her soul, and in her sheer joy she forgot that there
were dirty dishes in all the world; she forgot that ever people grew
hungry, or floors became dusty; she forgot everything only the joy of
his presence.  Martha never forgot.  All days were alike to Martha,
only of course Monday was washday.  The visit of the Master to Martha
meant another place at the table, and another plate to be washed.
Truly feminine was Martha, much commended in certain circles today.
She looked well to the needs of her family, physical needs, that is,
for she recognized no other.  Martha not only liked to work herself,
but she liked to see other people work; so when Mary went and sat at
the Master's feet, while the dishes were yet unwashed, Martha
complained about it.

"Lord, make Mary come and help me!" she said.  The story says Martha
was wearied with much serving.  Martha had cooked and served an
elaborate meal, and elaborate meals usually do make people cross either
before or after.  Christ gently reproved her.  "Mary hath chosen the
better part."

Just here let us say something in Mary's favor.  Martha by her protest
against Mary's behavior on this particular occasion, exonerates Mary
from the general charge of laziness which is often made against her.
If Mary had been habitually lazy, Martha would have long since ceased
to expect any help from her, but it seems pretty certain that Mary was
generally on the job.  Trivial little incident, is it not?  Strange
that it should find a place in the sacred record.  But if Christ's
mission on earth had any meaning at all, it was to teach this very
lesson that the things which are not seen are greater than the things
which are seen--that the spiritual is greater than the temporal.  The
life is more than meat and the body is more than raiment.

Martha has a long line of weary, backaching, footsore successors.
Indeed there is a strain of Martha in all of us; we worry more over a
stain in the carpet than a stain on the soul; we bestow more thought on
the choice of hats than on the choice of friends; we tidy up bureau
drawers, sometimes, when we should be tidying up the inner recesses of
our mind and soul; we clean up the attic and burn up the rubbish which
has accumulated there, every spring, whether it needs it or not.  But
when do we appoint a housecleaning day for the soul, when do we destroy
all the worn-out prejudices and beliefs which belong to a day gone by?

Mary did take the better part, for she laid hold on the things which
are spiritual.  Mary had learned the great truth that it is not the
house you live in or the food you eat, or the clothes you wear that
make you rich, but it is the thoughts you think.  Christ put it well
when he said, "Mary hath chosen the better part."  Life is a choice
every day.  Every day we choose between the best and the second best,
if we are choosing wisely.  It is not generally a choice between good
and bad--that is too easy.  The choice in life is more subtle than
that, and not so easily decided.  The good is the greatest rival of the
best.

Sometimes we would like to take both the best and the second best, but
that is not according to the rules of the game.  You take your choice
and leave the rest.  Every gain in life means a corresponding loss;
development in one part means a shrinkage in some other.  Wild wheat is
small and hard, quite capable of looking after itself, but its heads
contain only a few small kernels.  Cultivated wheat has lost its
hardiness and its self-reliance, but its heads are filled with large
kernels which feed the nation.  There has been a great gain in
usefulness, by cultivation, with a corresponding loss in hardiness.
When riches are increased, so also are anxieties and cares.  Life is
full of compensation.

So we ask, in all seriousness, and in no spirit of flippancy: "Should
women think?"  They gain in power perhaps, but do they not lose in
happiness by thinking?  If women must always labor under unjust
economic conditions, receiving less pay for the same work than men, if
women must always submit to the unjust social laws, based on the
barbaric mosaic decree that the woman is to be stoned, and the man
allowed to go free; if women must always see the children they have
brought into the world with infinite pain and weariness, taken away
from them to fight man-made battles over which no woman has any power;
if women must always see their sons degraded by man-made legislation
and man-protected evils--then I ask, Is it not a great mistake for
women to think?

The Martha women, who fill their hands with labor and find their
highest delights in the day's work, are the happiest.  That is, if
these things must always be, if we must always beat upon the bars of
the cage--we are foolish to beat; it is hard on the hands!  Far better
for us to stop looking out and sit down and say: "Good old cage--I
always did like a cage, anyway!"

But the question of whether or not women should think was settled long
ago.  We must think because we were given something to think with, ages
ago, at the time of our creation.  If God had not intended us to think,
he would not have given us our intelligence.  It would be a shabby
trick, too, to give women brains to think, with no hope of results, for
thinking is just an aggravation if nothing comes of it.  It is a law of
life that people will use what they have.  That is one theory of what
caused the war.  The nations were "so good and ready," they just
naturally fought.  Mental activity is just as natural for the woman
peeling potatoes as it is for the man behind the plow, and a little
thinking will not hurt the quality of the work in either case.  There
is in western Canada, one woman at least, who combines thinking and
working to great advantage.  Her kitchen walls are hung with mottoes
and poems, which she commits to memory as she works, and so while her
hands are busy, she feeds her soul with the bread of life.

The world has never been partial to the thinking woman--the wise ones
have always foreseen danger.  Long years ago, when women asked for an
education, the world cried out that it would never do.  If women
learned to read it would distract them from the real business of life
which was to make home happy for some good man.  If women learned to
read there seemed to be a possibility that some day some good man might
come home and find his wife reading, and the dinner not ready--and
nothing could be imagined more horrible than that!  That seems to be
the haunting fear of mankind--that the advancement of women will
sometime, someway, someplace, interfere with some man's comfort.  There
are many people who believe that the physical needs of her family are a
woman's only care; and that strict attention to her husband's wardrobe
and meals will insure a happy marriage.  Hand-embroidered slippers
warmed and carefully set out have ever been highly recommended as a
potent charm to hold masculine affection.  They forget that men and
children are not only food-eating and clothes-wearing animals--they are
human beings with other and even greater needs than food and raiment.

Any person who believes that the average man marries the woman of his
choice just because he wants a housekeeper and a cook, appraises
mankind lower than I do.  Intelligence on the wife's part does not
destroy connubial bliss, neither does ignorance nor apathy ever make
for it.  Ideas do not break up homes, but lack of ideas.  The light and
airy silly fairy may get along beautifully in the days of courtship,
but she palls a bit in the steady wear and tear of married life.

There was a picture in one of the popular woman's papers sometime ago,
which taught a significant lesson.  It was a breakfast scene.  The
young wife, daintily frilled in pink, sat at her end of the table in
very apparent ill-humor--the young husband, quite unconscious of her,
read the morning paper with evident interest.  Below the picture there
was a sharp criticism of the young man's neglect of his pretty wife and
her dainty gown.  Personally I sympathize with the young man and
believe it would be a happier home if she were as interested in the
paper as he and were reading the other half of it instead of sitting
around feeling hurt.

But you see it is hard on the woman, just the same.  All our
civilization has taught her that pink frills were the thing.  When they
fail--she feels the bottom has dropped out of the world--he does not
love her any more and she will go back to mother!  You see the woman
suffers every time.

Sometime we will teach our daughters that marriage is a divine
partnership based on mutual love and community of interest, that sex
attraction augmented by pink frills is only one part of it and not the
most important; that the pleasant glowing embers of comradeship and
loving friendship give out a warmer, more lasting, and more comfortable
heat than the leaping flames of passion, and the happiest marriage is
the one where the husband and wife come to regard each other as the
dearest friend, the most congenial companion.

Women must think if they are going to make good in life; and success in
marriage depends not alone on being good, but on making good!  Men by
their occupation are brought in contact with the world of ideas and
affairs.  They have been encouraged to be intelligent.  Women have been
encouraged to be foolish, and later on punished for the same
foolishness, which is hardly fair.

But women are beginning to learn.  Women are helping each other to see.
They are coming together in clubs and societies and by this intercourse
they are gaining a philosophy of life, which is helping them over the
rough places of life.  Most of us can get along very well on bright
days, and when the going is easy, but we need something to keep us
steady when the pathway is rough, and our wandering feet are in danger
of losing their way.  The most deadly uninteresting person, and the one
who has the greatest temptation not to think at all, is the comfortable
and happily married woman--the woman who has a good man between her and
the world, who has not the saving privilege of having to work.  A sort
of fatty degeneration of the conscience sets in that is disastrous to
the development of thought.

If women could be made to think, they would not wear immodest clothes,
which suggest evil thoughts and awaken unlawful desires.  If women
could be made to think, they would see that it is woman's place to lift
high the standard of morality.  If women would only think, they would
not wear aigrets and bird plumage which has caused the death of God's
innocent and beautiful creatures.  If women could be made to think,
they would be merciful.  If women would only think, they would not
serve liquor to their guests, in the name of hospitality, and thus
contribute to the degradation of mankind, and perhaps start some young
man on the slippery way to ruin.  If women would think about it, they
would see that some mother, old and heartbroken, sitting up waiting for
the staggering footsteps of her boy, might in her loneliness and grief
and trouble curse the white hands that gave her lad his first drink.
Women make life hard for other women because they do not think.  And
thinking seems to come hardest to the comfortable woman.  A woman told
me candidly and honestly not long ago that she was too comfortable to
be interested in other people, and I have admired her for her
truthfulness; she had diagnosed her own case accurately, and she did
not babble of woman's sphere being her own home--she frankly admitted
that she was selfish, and her comfort had caused it.  I believe God
intended us all to be happy and comfortable, clothed, fed, and housed,
and there is no sin in comfort, unless we let it atrophy our souls, and
settle down upon us like a stupor.  Then it becomes a sin which
destroys us.  Let us pray!


  From plague, pestilence and famine,
  from battle, murder, sudden death,
  and all forms of cowlike contentment,
      Good Lord, deliver us!



CHAPTER V

THE NEW CHIVALRY

Brave women and fair men!


This seems to be a good time for us to jar ourselves loose from some of
the prejudices and beliefs which we have outgrown.  It is time for
readjustment surely, a time for spiritual and mental house-cleaning,
when we are justified in looking things over very carefully and
deciding whether or not we shall ever need them again.

Some of us have suspected for a long time that a good deal of the
teaching of the world regarding women has come under the general
heading of "dope."  Now "dope" is not a slang word, as you may be
thinking, gentle reader.  It is a good Anglo-Saxon word (or will be),
for it fills a real need, and there is none other to take its place.
"Dope" means anything that is calculated to soothe, or hush, or put to
sleep.  "Sedative" is a synonym, but it lacks the oily softness of
"dope."

One of the commonest forms of dope given to women to keep them quiet is
the one referred to in a previous chapter: "The hand that rocks the
cradle rules the World."  It is a great favorite with politicians and
not being original with them it does contain a small element of truth.
They use it in their pre-election speeches, which they begin with the
honeyed words: "We are glad to see we have with us this evening so many
members of the fair sex; we are delighted to see that so many have come
to grace our gathering on this occasion; we realize that a woman's
intuition is ofttimes truer than a man's reasoning, and although women
have no actual voice in politics, they have something far more strong
and potent--they have the wonder power of indirect influence."  Just
about here comes in "the hand that rocks!"

Having thus administered the dope, in this pleasing mixture of molasses
and soft soap, which is supposed to keep the "fair sex" quiet and happy
for the balance of the evening, the aspirant for public honors passes
on to the serious business of the hour, and discusses the affairs of
state with the electorate.  Right here, let us sound a small note of
warning.  Keep your eye on the man who refers to women as the "fair
sex"--he is a dealer in dope!

One of the oldest and falsest of our beliefs regarding women is that
they are protected--that some way in the battle of life they get the
best of it.  People talk of men's chivalry, that vague, indefinite
quality which is supposed to transmute the common clay of life into
gold.

Chivalry is a magic word.  It seems to breathe of foreign strands and
moonlight groves and silver sands and knights and earls and kings; it
seems to tell of glorious deeds and waving plumes and prancing steeds
and belted earls--and things!

People tell us of the good old days of chivalry when womanhood was
really respected and reverenced--when brave knight rode gaily forth to
die for his lady love.  But in order to be really loved and respected
there was one hard and fast condition laid down, to which all women
must conform--they must be beautiful, no getting out of that.  They
simply had to have starry eyes and golden hair, or else black as a
raven's wing; they had to have pale, white, and haughty brow, and a
laugh like a ripple of magic.  Then they were all right and armored
knights would die for them quick as wink!

The homely women were all witches, dreadful witches, and they drowned
them, on public holidays, in the mill pond!

People tell us now that chivalry is dead, and women have killed it,
bold women who instead of staying at home, broidering pearls on a red
velvet sleeve, have gone out to work--have gone to college side by side
with men and have been so unwomanly sometimes as to take the prizes
away from men.  Chivalry cannot live in such an atmosphere.  Certainly
not!

Of course women can hardly be blamed for going out and working when one
remembers that they must either work or starve.  Broidering pearls will
not boil the kettle worth a cent!  There are now thirty per cent of the
women of the U. S. A. and Canada, who are wage-earners, and we will
readily grant that necessity has driven most of them out of their
homes.  Similarly, in England alone, there are a million and a half
more women than men.  It would seem that all women cannot have homes of
their own--there does not seem to be enough men to go around.  But
still there are people who tell us these women should all have homes of
their own--it is their own fault if they haven't; and once I heard of a
woman saying the hardest thing about men I ever heard--and she was an
ardent anti-suffragist too.  She said that what was wrong with the
women in England was that they were too particular--that's why they
were not married, "and," she went on, "any person can tell, when they
look around at men in general, that God never intended women to be very
particular."  I am glad I never said anything as hard as that about men.

There are still with us some of the conventions of the old days of
chivalry.  The pretty woman still has the advantage over her plainer
sister--and the opinion of the world is that women must be beautiful at
all costs.  When a newspaper wishes to disprove a woman's contention,
or demolish her theories, it draws ugly pictures of her.  If it can
show that she has big feet or red hands, or wears unbecoming clothes,
that certainly settles the case--and puts her where she belongs.

This cruel convention that women must be beautiful accounts for the
popularity of face-washes, and beauty parlors, and the languor of
university extension lectures.  Women cannot be blamed for this.  All
our civilization has been to the end that women make themselves
attractive to men.  The attractive woman has hitherto been the
successful woman.  The pretty girl marries a millionaire, travels in
Europe, and is presented at court; her plainer sister, equally
intelligent, marries a boy from home, and does her own washing.  I am
not comparing the two destinies as to which offers the greater
opportunities for happiness or usefulness, but rather to show how
widely divergent two lives may be.  What caused the difference was a
wavy strand of hair, a rounder curve on a cheek.  Is it any wonder that
women capitalize their good looks, even at the expense of their
intelligence?  The economic dependence of women is perhaps the greatest
injustice that has been done to us, and has worked the greatest injury
to the race.

Men are not entirely blameless in respect to the frivolity of women.
It is easy to blame women for dressing foolishly, extravagantly, but to
what end do they do it?  To be attractive to men; and the reason they
continue to do it is that it is successful.  Many a woman has found
that it pays to be foolish.  Men like frivolity--before marriage; but
they demand all the sterner virtues afterwards.  The little dainty,
fuzzy-haired, simpering dolly who chatters and wears toe-slippers has a
better chance in the matrimonial market than the clear-headed, plainer
girl, who dresses sensibly.  A little boy once gave his mother
directions as to his birthday present--he said he wanted "something
foolish" and therein he expressed a purely masculine wish.


  A man's ideal at seventeen
    Must be a sprite--
  A dainty, fairy, elfish queen
    Of pure delight;
  But later on he sort of feels
  He'd like a girl who could cook meals.

Life is full of anomalies, and in the mating and pairing of men and
women there are many.

Why is the careless, easy-going, irresponsible way of the young girl so
attractive to men?  It does not make for domestic happiness; and why,
Oh why, do some of our best men marry such odd little sticks of
pin-head women, with a brain similar in caliber to a second-rate
butterfly, while the most intelligent, unselfish, and womanly women are
left unmated?  I am going to ask about this the first morning I am in
heaven, if so be we are allowed to ask about the things which troubled
us while on our mortal journey.  I have never been able to find out
about it here.

Now this old belief that women are protected is of sturdy growth and
returns to life with great persistence.  Theoretically women are
protected--on paper--traditionally--just like Belgium was, and with
just as disastrous results.

A member of the English Parliament declared with great emphasis that
the women now have everything the heart could desire--they reign like
queens and can have their smallest wish gratified.  ("Smallest" is
right.)  And we very readily grant that there are many women living in
idleness and luxury on the bounty of their male relatives, and we say
it with sorrow and shame that these are estimated the successful women
in the opinion of the world.  But while some feast in idleness, many
others slave in poverty.  The great army of women workers are ill-paid,
badly housed, and their work is not honored or respected or paid for.
What share have they in man's chivalry?  Chivalry is like a line of
credit.  You can get plenty of it when you do not need it.  When you
are prospering financially and your bank account is growing and you are
rated A1, you can get plenty of credit--it is offered to you; but when
the dark days of financial depression overtake you, and the people you
are depending upon do not "come through," and you must have
credit--must have it!--the very people who once urged it upon you will
now tell you that "money is tight!"

The young and pretty woman, well dressed and attractive, can get all
the chivalry she wants.  She will have seats offered her on street
cars, men will hasten to carry her parcels, or open doors for her; but
the poor old woman, beaten in the battle of life, sick of life's
struggles, and grown gray and weather-beaten facing life's storms--what
chivalry is shown her?  She can go her weary way uncomforted and
unattended.  People who need it do not get it.

Anyway, chivalry is a poor substitute for justice, if one cannot have
both.  Chivalry is something like the icing on the cake, sweet but not
nourishing.  It is like the paper lace around the bonbon box--we could
get along without it.

There are countless thousands of truly chivalrous men, who have the
true chivalry whose foundation is justice--who would protect all women
from injury or insult or injustice, but who know that they cannot do
it--who know that in spite of all they can do, women are often
outraged, insulted, ill-treated.  The truly chivalrous man, who does
reverence all womankind, realizing this, says: "Let us give women every
weapon whereby they can defend themselves; let us remove the stigma of
political nonentity under which women have been placed.  Let us give
women a fair deal!"

This is the new chivalry--and on it we build our hope.



CHAPTER VI

HARDY PERENNIALS!

  I hold it true--I will not change,
    For changes are a dreadful bore--
  That nothing must be done on earth
    Unless it has been done before.
          --_Anti-Suffrage Creed_.


If prejudices belonged to the vegetable world they would be described
under the general heading of: "Hardy Perennials; will grow in any soil,
and bloom without ceasing; requiring no cultivation; will do better
when left alone."

In regard to tenacity of life, no old yellow cat has anything on a
prejudice.  You may kill it with your own hands, bury it deep, and sit
on the grave, and behold! the next day, it will walk in at the back
door, purring.

Take some of the prejudices regarding women that have been exploded and
blown to pieces many, many times and yet walk among us today in the
fulness of life and vigor.  There is a belief that housekeeping is the
only occupation for women; that all women must be housekeepers, whether
they like it or not.  Men may do as they like, and indulge their
individuality, but every true and womanly woman must take to the nutmeg
grater and the O-Cedar Mop.  It is also believed that in the good old
days before woman suffrage was discussed, and when woman's clubs were
unheard of, that all women adored housework, and simply pined for
Monday morning to come to get at the weekly wash; that women cleaned
house with rapture and cooked joyously.  Yet there is a story told of
one of the women of the old days, who arose at four o'clock in the
morning, and aroused all her family at an indecently early hour for
breakfast, her reason being that she wanted to get "one of these horrid
old meals over."  This woman had never been at a suffrage meeting--so
where did she get the germ of discontent?

At the present time there is much discontent among women, and many
people are seriously alarmed about it.  They say women are no longer
contented with woman's sphere and woman's work--that the washboard has
lost its charm, and the days of the hair-wreath are ended.  We may as
well admit that there is discontent among women.  We cannot drive them
back to the spinning wheel and the mathook, for they will not go.  But
there is really no cause for alarm, for discontent is not necessarily
wicked.  There is such a thing as divine discontent just as there is
criminal contentment.  Discontent may mean the stirring of ambition,
the desire to spread out, to improve and grow.  Discontent is a sign of
life, corresponding to growing pains in a healthy child.  The poor
woman who is making a brave struggle for existence is not saying much,
though she is thinking all the time.  In the old days when a woman's
hours were from 5 A.M. to 5 A.M., we did not hear much of discontent
among women, because they had not time to even talk, and certainly
could not get together.  The horse on the treadmill may be very
discontented, but he is not disposed to tell his troubles, for he
cannot stop to talk.

It is the women, who now have leisure, who are doing the talking.  For
generations women have been thinking and thought without expression is
dynamic, and gathers volume by repression.  Evolution when blocked and
suppressed becomes revolution.  The introduction of machinery and the
factory-made articles has given women more leisure than they had
formerly, and now the question arises, what are they going to do with
it?

Custom and conventionality recommend many and varied occupations for
women, social functions intermixed with kindly deeds of charity,
embroidering altar cloths, making strong and durable garments for the
poor, visiting the sick, comforting the sad, all of which women have
faithfully done, but while they have been doing these things, they have
been wondering about the underlying causes of poverty, sadness and sin.
They notice that when the unemployed are fed on Christmas day, they are
just as hungry as ever on December the twenty-sixth, or at least on
December the twenty-seventh; they have been led to inquire into the
causes for little children being left in the care of the state, and
they find that in over half of the cases, the liquor traffic has
contributed to the poverty and unworthiness of the parents.  The state
which licenses the traffic steps in and takes care, or tries to, of the
victims; the rich brewer whose business it is to encourage drinking, is
usually the largest giver to the work of the Children's Aid Society,
and is often extolled for his lavish generosity: and sometimes when
women think about these things they are struck by the absurdity of a
system which allows one man or a body of men to rob a child of his
father's love and care all year, and then gives him a stuffed dog and a
little red sleigh at Christmas and calls it charity!

Women have always done their share of the charity work of the world.
The lady of the manor, in the old feudal days, made warm mittens and
woolen mufflers with her own white hands and carried them to the
cottages at Christmas, along with blankets and coals.  And it was a
splendid arrangement all through, for it furnished the lady with mild
and pleasant occupation, and it helped to soothe the conscience of the
lord, and if the cottagers (who were often "low worthless fellows, much
given up to riotous thinking and disputing") were disposed to wonder
why they had to work all year and get nothing, while the lord of the
manor did nothing all year and got everything, the gift of blanket and
coals, the warm mufflers, and "a shawl for granny" showed them what
ungrateful souls they were.

Women have dispensed charity for many, many years, but gradually it has
dawned upon them that the most of our charity is very ineffectual, and
merely smoothes things over, without ever reaching the root.  A great
deal of our charity is like the kindly deed of the benevolent old
gentleman, who found a sick dog by the wayside, lying in the full glare
of a scorching sun.  The tender-hearted old man climbed down from his
carriage, and, lifting the dog tenderly in his arms, carried him around
into the small patch of shade cast by his carriage.

"Lie there, my poor fellow!" he said.  "Lie there, in the cool shade,
where the sun's rays may not smite you!"

Then he got into his carriage and drove away.

Women have been led, through their charitable institutions and
philanthropic endeavors, to do some thinking about causes.

Mrs. B. set out to be a "family friend" to the family of her washwoman.
Mrs. B. was a thoroughly charitable, kindly disposed woman, who had
never favored woman's suffrage and regarded the new movement among
women with suspicion.  Her washwoman's family consisted of four
children, and a husband who blew in gaily once in a while when in need
of funds, or when recovering from a protracted spree, which made a few
days' nursing very welcome.  His wife, a Polish woman, had the
old-world reverence for men, and obeyed him implicitly; she still felt
it was very sweet of him to come home at all.  Mrs. B. had often
declared that Polly's devotion to her husband was a beautiful thing to
see.  The two eldest boys had newspaper routes and turned in their
earnings regularly, and, although the husband did not contribute
anything but his occasional company, Polly was able to make the
payments on their little four-roomed cottage.  In another year, it
would be all paid for.

But one day Polly's husband began to look into the law--as all men
should--and he saw that he had been living far below his privileges.
The cottage was his--not that he had ever paid a cent on it, of course,
but his wife had, and she was his; and the cottage was in his name.

So he sold it; naturally he did not consult Polly, for he was a quiet,
peaceful man, and not fond of scenes.  So he sold it quietly, and with
equal quietness he withdrew from the Province, and took the money with
him.  He did not even say good-by to Polly or the children, which was
rather ungrateful, for they had given him many a meal and night's
lodging.  When Polly came crying one Monday morning and told her story,
Mrs. B. could not believe it, and assured Polly she must be mistaken,
but Polly declared that a man had come and asked her did she wish to
rent the house for he had bought it.  Mrs. B. went at once to the
lawyers who had completed the deal.  They were a reputable firm and
Mrs. B. knew one of the partners quite well.  She was sure Polly's
husband could not sell the cottage.  But the lawyers assured her it was
quite true.  They were very gentle and patient with Mrs. B. and
listened courteously to her explanation, and did not dispute her word
at all when she explained that Polly and her two boys had paid every
cent on the house.  It seemed that a trifling little thing like that
did not matter.  It did not really matter who paid for the house; the
husband was the owner, for was he not the head of the house? and the
property was in his name.

Polly was graciously allowed to rent her own cottage for $12.50 a
month, with an option of buying, and the two little boys are still on a
morning route delivering one of the city dailies.

Mrs. B. has joined a suffrage society and makes speeches on the
injustice of the laws; and yet she began innocently enough, by making
strong and durable garments for her washwoman's children--and see what
has come of it!  If women would only be content to snip away at the
symptoms of poverty and distress, feeding the hungry and clothing the
naked, all would be well and they would be much commended for their
kindness of heart; but when they begin to inquire into causes, they
find themselves in the sacred realm of politics where prejudice says no
women must enter.

A woman may take an interest in factory girls, and hold meetings for
them, and encourage them to walk in virtue's ways all she likes, but if
she begins to advocate more sanitary surroundings for them, with some
respect for the common decencies of life, she will find herself again
in that sacred realm of politics---confronted by a factory act, on
which no profane female hand must be laid.

Now politics simply means public affairs--yours and mine,
everybody's--and to say that politics are too corrupt for women is a
weak and foolish statement for any man to make.  Any man who is
actively engaged in politics, and declares that politics are too
corrupt for women, admits one of two things, either that he is a party
to this corruption, or that he is unable to prevent it--and in either
case something should be done.  Politics are not inherently vicious.
The office of lawmaker should be the highest in the land, equaled in
honor only by that of the minister of the gospel.  In the old days, the
two were combined with very good effect; but they seem to have drifted
apart in more recent years.

If politics are too corrupt for women, they are too corrupt for men;
for men and women are one--indissolubly joined together for good or
ill.  Many men have tried to put all their religion and virtue in their
wife's name, but it does not work very well.  When social conditions
are corrupt women cannot escape by shutting their eyes, and taking no
interest.  It would be far better to give them a chance to clean them
up.

What would you think of a man who would say to his wife: "This house to
which I am bringing you to live is very dirty and unsanitary, but I
will not allow you--the dear wife whom I have sworn to protect--to
touch it.  It is too dirty for your precious little white hands!  You
must stay upstairs, dear.  Of course the odor from below may come up to
you, but use your smelling salts and think no evil.  I do not hope to
ever be able to clean it up, but certainly you must never think of
trying."

Do you think any woman would stand for that?  She would say: "John, you
are all right in your way, but there are some places where your brain
skids.  Perhaps you had better stay downtown today for lunch.  But on
your way down please call at the grocer's, and send me a scrubbing
brush and a package of Dutch Cleanser, and some chloride of lime, and
now hurry."  Women have cleaned up things since time began; and if
women ever get into politics there will be a cleaning-out of
pigeon-holes and forgotten corners, on which the dust of years has
fallen, and the sound of the political carpet-beater will be heard in
the land.

There is another hardy perennial that constantly lifts its head above
the earth, persistently refusing to be ploughed under, and that is that
if women were ever given a chance to participate in outside affairs,
that family quarrels would result; that men and their wives who have
traveled the way of life together, side by side, for years, and come
safely through religious discussions, and discussions relating to "his"
people and "her" people, would angrily rend each other over politics,
and great damage to the furniture would be the result.  Father and son
have been known to live under the same roof and vote differently, and
yet live!  Not only live, but live peaceably!  If a husband and wife
are going to quarrel they will find a cause for dispute easily enough,
and will not be compelled to wait for election day.  And supposing that
they have never, never had a single dispute, and not a ripple has ever
marred the placid surface of their matrimonial sea, I believe that a
small family jar--or at least a real lively argument--will do them
good.  It is in order to keep the white-winged angel of peace hovering
over the home that married women are not allowed to vote in many
places.  Spinsters and widows are counted worthy of voice in the
selection of school trustee, and alderman, and mayor, but not the woman
who has taken to herself a husband and still has him.

What a strange commentary on marriage that it should disqualify a woman
from voting.  Why should marriage disqualify a woman?  Men have been
known to vote for years after they were dead!

Quite different from the "family jar" theory, another reason is
advanced against married women voting--it is said that they would all
vote with their husbands, and that the married man's vote would thereby
be doubled.  We believe it is eminently right and proper that husband
and wife should vote the same way, and in that case no one would be
able to tell whether the wife was voting with the husband or the
husband voting with the wife.  Neither would it matter.  If giving the
franchise to women did nothing more than double the married man's vote
it would do a splendid thing for the country, for the married man is
the best voter we have; generally speaking, he is a man of family and
property--surely if we can depend on anyone we can depend upon him, and
if by giving his wife a vote we can double his--we have done something
to offset the irresponsible transient vote of the man who has no
interest in the community.

There is another sturdy prejudice that blooms everywhere in all
climates, and that is that women would not vote if they had the
privilege; and this is many times used as a crushing argument against
woman suffrage.  But why worry?  If women do not use it, then surely
there is no harm done; but those who use the argument seem to imply
that a vote unused is a very dangerous thing to leave lying around, and
will probably spoil and blow up.  In support of this statement
instances are cited of women letting their vote lie idle and unimproved
in elections for school trustee and alderman.  Of course, the
percentage of men voting in these contests was quite small, too, but no
person finds fault with that.

Women may have been careless about their franchise in elections where
no great issue is at stake, but when moral matters are being decided
women have not shown any lack of interest.  As a result of the first
vote cast by the women of Illinois over one thousand saloons went out
of business.  Ask the liquor dealers if they think women will use the
ballot.  They do not object to woman suffrage on the ground that women
will not vote, but because they will.

"Why, Uncle Henry!" exclaimed one man to another on election day.  "I
never saw you out to vote before.  What struck you?"

"Hadn't voted for fifteen years," declared Uncle Henry, "but you bet I
came out today to vote against givin' these fool women a vote; what's
the good of givin' them a vote? they wouldn't use it!"

Then, of course, on the other hand there are those who claim that women
would vote too much--that they would vote not wisely but too well; that
they would take up voting as a life work to the exclusion of husband,
home and children.  There seems to be considerable misapprehension on
the subject of voting.  It is really a simple and perfectly innocent
performance, quickly over, and with no bad after-effects.

It is usually done in a vacant room in a school or the vestry of a
church, or a town hall.  No drunken men stare at you.  You are not
jostled or pushed--you wait your turn in an orderly line, much as you
have waited to buy a ticket at a railway station.  Two tame and
quiet-looking men sit at a table, and when your turn comes, they ask
you your name, which is perhaps slightly embarrassing, but it is not as
bad as it might be, for they do not ask your age, or of what disease
did your grandmother die.  You go behind the screen with your ballot
paper in your hand, and there you find a seal-brown pencil tied with a
chaste white string.  Even the temptation of annexing the pencil is
removed from your frail humanity.  You mark your ballot, and drop it in
the box, and come out into the sunlight again.  If you had never heard
that you had done an unladylike thing you would not know it.  It all
felt solemn, and serious, and very respectable to you, something like a
Sunday-school convention.  Then, too, you are surprised at what a short
time you have been away from home.  You put the potatoes on when you
left home, and now you are back in time to strain them.

In spite of the testimony of many reputable women that they have been
able to vote and get the dinner on one and the same day, there still
exists a strong belief that the whole household machinery goes out of
order when a woman goes to vote.  No person denies a woman the right to
go to church, and yet the church service takes a great deal more time
than voting.  People even concede to women the right to go shopping, or
visiting a friend, or an occasional concert.  But the wife and mother,
with her God-given, sacred trust of molding the young life of our land,
must never dream of going round the corner to vote.  "Who will mind the
baby?" cried one of our public men, in great agony of spirit, "when the
mother goes to vote?"

One woman replied that she thought she could get the person that minded
it when she went to pay her taxes--which seemed to be a fairly
reasonable proposition.  Yet the hardy plant of prejudice flourishes,
and the funny pictures still bring a laugh.

Father comes home, tired, weary, footsore, toe-nails ingrowing, caused
by undarned stockings, and finds the fire out, house cold and empty,
save for his half-dozen children, all crying.

"Where is your mother?" the poor man asks in broken tones.  For a
moment the sobs are hushed while little Ellie replies: "Out voting!"

Father bursts into tears.

Of course, people tell us, it is not the mere act of voting which
demoralizes women--if they would only vote and be done with it; but
women are creatures of habit, and habits once formed are hard to break;
and although the polls are only open every three or four years, if
women once get into the way of going to them, they will hang around
there all the rest of the time.  It is in woman's impressionable nature
that the real danger lies.

Another shoot of this hardy shrub of prejudice is that women are too
good to mingle in everyday life--they are too sweet and too frail--that
women are angels.  If women are angels we should try to get them into
public life as soon as possible, for there is a great shortage of
angels there just at present, if all we hear is true.

Then there is the pedestal theory--that women are away up on a
pedestal, and down below, looking up at them with deep adoration, are
men, their willing slaves.  Sitting up on a pedestal does not appeal
very strongly to a healthy woman--and, besides, if a woman has been on
a pedestal for any length of time, it must be very hard to have to come
down and cut the wood.

These tender-hearted and chivalrous gentlemen who tell you of their
adoration for women, cannot bear to think of women occupying public
positions.  Their tender hearts shrink from the idea of women lawyers
or women policemen, or even women preachers; these positions would "rub
the bloom off the peach," to use their own eloquent words.  They cannot
bear, they say, to see women leaving the sacred precincts of home--and
yet their offices are scrubbed by women who do their work while other
people sleep--poor women who leave the sacred precincts of home to earn
enough to keep the breath of life in them, who carry their scrub-pails
home, through the deserted streets, long after the cars have stopped
running.  They are exposed to cold, to hunger, to insult--poor
souls--is there any pity felt for them?  Not that we have heard of.
The tender-hearted ones can bear this with equanimity.  It is the
thought of women getting into comfortable and well-paid positions which
wrings their manly hearts.

Another aspect of the case is that women can do more with their
indirect influence than by the ballot; though just why they cannot do
better still with both does not appear to be very plain.  The ballot is
a straight-forward dignified way of making your desire or choice felt.
There are some things which are not pleasant to talk about, but would
be delightful to vote against.  Instead of having to beg, and coax, and
entreat, and beseech, and denounce as women have had to do all down the
centuries, in regard to the evil things which threaten to destroy their
homes and those whom they love, what a glorious thing it would be if
women could go out and vote against these things.  It seems like a
straightforward and easy way of expressing one's opinion.

But, of course, popular opinion says it is not "womanly."  The "womanly
way" is to nag and tease.  Women have often been told that if they go
about it right they can get anything.  They are encouraged to plot and
scheme, and deceive, and wheedle, and coax for things.  This is womanly
and sweet.  Of course, if this fails, they still have tears--they can
always cry and have hysterics, and raise hob generally, but they must
do it in a womanly way.  Will the time ever come when the word
"feminine" will have in it no trace of trickery?

Women are too sentimental to vote, say the politicians sometimes.
Sentiment is nothing to be ashamed of, and perhaps an infusion of
sentiment in politics is what we need.  Honor and honesty, love and
loyalty, are only sentiments, and yet they make the fabric out of which
our finest traditions are woven.  The United States has sent carloads
of flour to starving Belgium because of a sentiment.  Belgium refused
to let Germany march over her land because of a sentiment, and Canada
has responded to the SOS call of the Empire because of a sentiment.  It
seems that it is sentiment which redeems our lives from sordidness and
selfishness, and occasionally gives us a glimpse of the upper country.

For too long people have regarded politics as a scheme whereby easy
money might be obtained.  Politics has meant favors, pulls, easy jobs
for friends, new telephone lines, ditches.  The question has not been:
"What can I do for my country?" but: "What can I get?  What is there in
this for me?"  The test of a member of Parliament as voiced by his
constituents has been: "What has he got for us?"  The good member who
will be elected the next time is the one who did not forget his
friends, who got us a Normal School, or a Court House, or an
Institution for the Blind, something that we could see or touch, eat or
drink.  Surely a touch of sentiment in politics would do no harm.

Then there is the problem of the foreign woman's vote.  Many people
fear that the granting of woman suffrage would greatly increase the
unintelligent vote, because the foreign women would then have the
franchise, and in our blind egotism we class our foreign people as
ignorant people, if they do not know our ways and our language.  They
may know many other languages, but if they have not yet mastered ours
they are poor, ignorant foreigners.  We Anglo-Saxon people have a
decided sense of our own superiority, and we feel sure that our skin is
exactly the right color, and we people from Huron and Bruce feel sure
that we were born in the right place, too.  So we naturally look down
upon those who happen to be of a different race and tongue than our own.

It is a sad feature of humanity that we are disposed to hate what we do
not understand; we naturally suspect and distrust where we do not know.
Hens are like that, too!  When a strange fowl comes into a farmyard all
the hens take a pick at it--not that it has done anything wrong, but
they just naturally do not like the look of its face because it is
strange.  Now that may be very good ethics for hens, but it is hardly
good enough for human beings.  Our attitude toward the foreign people
was well exemplified in one of the missions, where a little Italian
boy, who had been out two years, refused to sit beside a newly arrived
Italian boy, who, of course, could not speak a word of English.  The
teacher asked him to sit with his lately arrived compatriot, so that he
might interpret for him.  The older boy flatly refused, and told the
teacher he "had no use for them young dagos."

"You see," said the teacher sadly, when telling the story, "he had
caught the Canadian spirit."

People say hard things about the corruptible foreign vote, but they
place the emphasis in the wrong place.  Instead of using our harsh
adjectives for the poor fellow who sells his vote, let us save them all
for the corrupt politician who buys it, for he cannot plead
ignorance--he knows what he is doing.  The foreign people who come to
Canada, come with burning enthusiasm for the new land, this land of
liberty--land of freedom.  Some have been seen kissing the ground in an
ecstacy of gladness when they arrive.  It is the land of their dreams,
where they hope to find home and happiness.  They come to us with
ideals of citizenship that shame our narrow, mercenary standards.
These men are of a race which has gladly shed its blood for freedom and
is doing it today.  But what happens?  They go out to work on
construction gangs for the summer, they earn money for several months,
and when the work closes down they drift back into the cities.  They
have done the work we wanted them to do, and no further thought is
given to them.  They may get off the earth so far as we are concerned.
One door stands invitingly open to them.  There is one place they are
welcome--so long as their money lasts--and around the bar they get
their ideals of citizenship.

When an election is held, all at once this new land of their adoption
begins to take an interest in them, and political heelers, well paid
for the job, well armed with whiskey, cigars and money, go among them,
and, in their own language, tell them which way they must vote--and
they do.  Many an election, has been swung by this means.  One new
arrival, just learning our language, expressed his contempt for us by
exclaiming: "Bah!  Canada is not a country--it's just a place to make
money."  That was all he had seen.  He spoke correctly from his point
of view.

Then when the elections are over, and the Government is sustained, the
men who have climbed back to power by these means speak eloquently of
our "foreign people who have come to our shores to find freedom under
the sheltering folds of our grand old flag (cheers), on which the sun
never sets, and under whose protection all men are free and equal--with
an equal chance of molding the destiny of the great Empire of which we
make a part."  (Cheers and prolonged applause.)

If we really understood how, with our low political ideals and
iniquitous election methods, we have corrupted the souls of these men
who have come to live among us, we would no longer cheer, when we hear
this old drivel of the "folds of the flag."  We would think with shame
of how we have driven the patriotism out of these men and replaced it
by the greed of gain, and instead of cheers and applause we would cry:
"Lord, have mercy upon us!"

The foreign women, whom politicians and others look upon as such a
menace, are differently dealt with than the men.  They do not go out to
work, en masse, as the men do.  They work one by one, and are brought
in close contact with their employers.  The women who go out washing
and cleaning spend probably five days a week in the homes of other
women.  Surely one of her five employers will take an interest in her,
and endeavor to instruct her in the duties of citizenship.  Then, too,
the mission work is nearly all done for women and girls.  The foreign
women generally speak English before the men, for the reason that they
are brought in closer contact with English-speaking people.  When I
hear people speaking of the ignorant foreign women I think of "Mary,"
and "Annie," and others I have known.  I see their broad foreheads and
intelligent kindly faces, and think of the heroic struggle they are
making to bring their families up in thrift and decency.  Would Mary
vote against liquor if she had the chance?  She would.  So would you if
your eyes had been blackened as often by a drunken husband.  There is
no need to instruct these women on the evils of liquor drinking--they
are able to give you a few aspects of the case which perhaps you had
not thought of.  We have no reason to be afraid of the foreign woman's
vote.  I wish we were as sure of the ladies who live on the Avenue.

There are people who tell us that the reason women must never be
allowed to vote is because they do not want to vote, the inference
being that women are never given anything that they do not want.  It
sounds so chivalrous and protective and high-minded.  But women have
always got things that they did not want.  Women do not want the liquor
business, but they have it; women do not want less pay for the same
work as men, but they get it.  Women did not want the present war, but
they have it.  The fact of women's preference has never been taken very
seriously, but it serves here just as well as anything else.  Even the
opponents of woman suffrage will admit that some women want to vote,
but they say they are a very small minority, and "not our best women."
That is a classification which is rather difficult of proof and of no
importance anyway.  It does not matter whether it is the best, or
second best, or the worst who are asking for a share in citizenship;
voting is not based on morality, but on humanity.  No man votes because
he is one of our best men.  He votes because he is of the male sex, and
over twenty-one years of age.  The fact that many women are indifferent
on the subject does not alter the situation.  People are indifferent
about many things that they should be interested in.  The indifference
of people on the subject of ventilation and hygiene does not change the
laws of health.  The indifference of many parents on the subject of an
education for their children does not alter the value of education.  If
one woman wants to vote, she should have that opportunity just as if
one woman desires a college education, she should not be held back
because of the indifferent careless ones who do not desire it.  Why
should the mentally inert, careless, uninterested woman, who cares
nothing for humanity but is contented to patter along her own little
narrow way, set the pace for the others of us?  Voting will not be
compulsory; the shrinking violets will not be torn from their shady
fence-corner; the "home bodies" will be able to still sit in rapt
contemplation of their own fireside.  We will not force the vote upon
them, but why should they force their votelessness upon us?

"My wife does not want to vote," declared one of our Canadian premiers
in reply to a delegation of women who asked for the vote.  "My wife
would not vote if she had the chance," he further stated.  No person
had asked about his wife, either.

"I will not have my wife sit in Parliament," another man cried in
alarm, when he was asked to sign a petition giving women full right of
franchise.  We tried to soothe his fears.  We delicately and tactfully
declared that his wife was safe.  She would not be asked to go to
Parliament by any of us--we gave him our word that she was immune from
public duties of that nature, for we knew the lady and her limitations,
and we knew she was safe--safe as a glass of milk at an old-fashioned
logging-bee; safe as a dish of cold bread pudding at a strawberry
festival.  She would not have to leave home to serve her country at
"the earnest solicitation of friends" or otherwise.  But he would not
sign.  He saw his "Minnie" climbing the slippery ladder of political
fame.  It would be his Minnie who would be chosen--he felt it coming,
the sacrifice would fall on his one little ewe-lamb.

After one has listened to all these arguments and has contracted
clergyman's sore throat talking back, it is real relief to meet the
people who say flatly and without reason: "You can't have it--no--I
won't argue--but inasmuch as I can prevent it--you will never vote!  So
there!"  The men who meet the question like this are so easy to
classify.

I remember when I was a little girl back on the farm in the Souris
Valley, I used to water the cattle on Saturday mornings, drawing the
water in an icy bucket with a windlass from a fairly deep well.  We had
one old white ox, called Mike, a patriarchal-looking old sinner, who
never had enough, and who always had to be watered first.  Usually I
gave him what I thought he should have and then took him back to the
stable and watered the others.  But one day I was feeling real strong,
and I resolved to give Mike all he could drink, even if it took every
drop of water in the well.  I must admit that I cherished a secret hope
that he would kill himself drinking.  I will not set down here in cold
figures how many pails of water Mike drank--but I remember.  At last he
could not drink another drop, and stood shivering beside the trough,
blowing the last mouthful out of his mouth like a bad child.  I waited
to see if he would die, or at least turn away and give the others a
chance.  The thirsty cattle came crowding around him, but old Mike, so
full I am sure he felt he would never drink another drop of water again
as long as he lived, deliberately and with difficulty put his two front
feet over the trough and kept all the other cattle away....  Years
afterwards I had the pleasure of being present when a delegation waited
upon the Government of one of the provinces of Canada, and presented
many reasons for extending the franchise to women.  One member of the
Government arose and spoke for all his colleagues.  He said in
substance: "You can't have it--so long as I have anything to do with
the affairs of this province--you shall not have it!"...

Did your brain ever give a queer little twist, and suddenly you were
conscious that the present mental process had taken place before.  If
you have ever had it, you will know what I mean, and if you haven't I
cannot make you understand.  I had that feeling then....  I said to
myself:  "Where have I seen that face before?" ...  Then, suddenly, I
remembered, and in my heart I cried out: "Mike!--old friend, Mike!
Dead these many years!  Your bones lie buried under the fertile soil of
the Souris Valley, but your soul goes marching on!  Mike, old friend, I
see you again--both feet in the trough!"



CHAPTER VII

GENTLE LADY

  The soul that idleth will surely die.


I am sorry to have to say so, but there are some women who love to be
miserable, who have a perfect genius for martyrdom, who take a delight
in seeing how badly they can be treated, who seek out hard ways for
their feet, who court tears rather than laughter.  Such a one is hard
to live with, for they glory in their cross, and simply revel in their
burdens, and they so contrive that all who come in contact with them
become a party to their martyrdom, and thus even innocent people, who
never intended to oppress the weak or harass the innocent, are led into
these heinous sins.

Mrs. M. was one of these.  She prided herself on never telling anyone
to do what she could do herself.  Her own poetic words were: "I'd crawl
on my hands and knees before I would ask anyone to do things for me.
If they can't see what's to be done, I'll not tell them."  This was her
declaration of independence.  Needless to say, Mrs. M. had a large
domestic help problem.  Her domestic helpers were continually going and
coming.  The inefficient ones she would not keep, and the efficient
ones would not stay with her.  So the burden of the home fell heavily
on her, and, pulling her martyr's crown close down on her head, she
worked feverishly.  When she was not working she was bemoaning her sad
lot, and indulging in large drafts of self-pity.  The holidays she
spent were in sanatoriums and hospitals, but she gloried in her
illnesses.

She would make the journey upstairs for the scissors rather than ask
anyone to bring them down for her, and then cherish a hurt feeling for
the next hour because nobody noticed that she was needing scissors.
She expected all her family, and the maids especially, to be mind
readers, and because they were not she was bitterly grieved.  There is
not much hope for people when they make a virtue of their sins.

She often told the story of what happened when her Tommy was two days
old.  She told it to illustrate her independence of character, but most
people thought it showed something quite different.  Mr. M. was
displeased with his dinner on this particular day, and, in his
blundering man's way, complained to his wife about the cooking and left
the house without finishing his meal.  Mrs. M. forthwith decided that
she would wear the martyr's crown, again and some more!  She got up and
cooked the next meal, in spite of the wild protests of the frightened
maid and nurse, who foresaw disaster.  Mrs. M. took violently ill as a
result of her exertions just as she hoped she would, and now, after a
lapse of twenty years, proudly tells that her subsequent illness lasted
six weeks and cost six hundred dollars, and she is proud of it!

A wiser woman would have handled the situation with tact.  When Mr. M.
came storming upstairs, waving his table-napkin and feeling much
abused, she would have calmed him down by telling him not to wake the
baby, thereby directing his attention to the small pink traveler who
had so recently joined the company.  She would have explained to him
that even if his dinner had not been quite satisfactory, he was lucky
to get anything in troublous times like these; she would have told him
that if, having to eat poor meals was all the discomfiture that came
his way, he was getting off light and easy.  She might even go so far
as to remind him that the one who asks the guests must always pay the
piper.

There need not have been any heartburnings or regrets or perturbation
of spirit.  Mr. M. would have felt ashamed of his outbreak and
apologized to her and to the untroubled Tommy, and gone downstairs, and
eaten his stewed prunes with an humble and thankful heart.

This love of martyrdom is deeply ingrained in the heart of womankind,
and comes from long bitter years of repression and tyranny.  An old
handbook on etiquette earnestly enjoins all young ladies who desire to
be pleasing in the eyes of men to "avoid a light rollicking manner, and
to cultivate a sweet plaintiveness, as of hidden sorrow bravely borne."
It also declares that if any young lady has a robust frame, she must be
careful to dissemble it, for it is in her frailty that woman can make
her greatest appeal to man.  No man wishes to marry an Amazon.  It also
earnestly commends a piece of sewing to be ever in the hand of the
young lady who would attract the opposite sex!  The use of large words
or any show of learning or of unseemly intelligence is to be carefully
avoided.

People have all down the centuries blocked out for women a weeping
part.  "Man must work and women must weep."  So the habit of martyrdom
has sort of settled down on us.

I will admit there has been some reason for it.  Women do suffer more
than men.  They are physically smaller and weaker, more highly
sensitive and therefore have a greater capacity for suffering.  They
have all the ordinary ills of humanity, and then some!  They have above
all been the victims of wrong thinking--they have been steeped in tears
and false sentiments.  People still speak of womanhood as if it were a
disease.

Society has had its lash raised for women everywhere, and some have
taken advantage of this to serve their own ends.  An orphan girl,
ignorant of the world's ways and terribly frightened of them, was told
by her mistress that if she were to leave the roof which sheltered her
she would get "talked about," and lose her good name.  So she was able
to keep the orphan working for five dollars a month.  She used the lash
to her own advantage.

Fear of "talk" has kept many a woman quiet.  Woman's virtue has been
heavy responsibility not to be forgotten for an instant.

"Remember, Judge," cried out a woman about to be sentenced for
stealing, "that I am an honest woman."

"I believe you are," replied the judge, "and I will be lenient with
you."

The word "honest" as applied to women means "virtuous."  It has
overshadowed all other virtues, and in a way appeared to make them of
no account.

The physical disabilities of women which have been augmented and
exaggerated by our insane way of dressing has had much to do with
shaping women's thought.  The absurdly tight skirts which prevented the
wearer from walking like a human being, made a pitiful cry to the
world.  They were no doubt worn as a protest against the new movement
among women, which has for its object the larger liberty, the larger
humanity of women.  The hideous mincing gait of the tightly-skirted
women seems to speak.  It said: "I am not a useful human being--see!  I
cannot walk--I dare not run, but I am a woman--I still have my sex to
commend me.  I am not of use, I am made to be supported.  My sex is my
only appeal."

Rather an indelicate and unpleasant thought, too, for an "honest" woman
to advertise so brazenly.  The tight skirts and diaphanous garments
were plainly a return to "sex."  The ultra feminine felt they were
going to lose something in this agitation for equality.  They do not
want rights--they want privileges--like the servants who prefer tips to
wages.  This is not surprising.  Keepers of wild animals tell us that
when an animal has been a long time in captivity it prefers captivity
to freedom, and even when the door of the cage is opened it will not
come out--but that is no argument against freedom.

The anti-suffrage attitude of mind is not so much a belief as a
disease.  I read a series of anti-suffrage articles not long ago in the
_New York Times_.  They all were written in the same strain: "We are
gentle ladies.  Protect us.  We are weak, very weak, but very loving."
There was not one strong nourishing sentence that would inspire anyone
to fight the good fight.  It was all anemic and bloodless, and
beseeching, and had the indefinable sick-headache, kimona,
breakfast-in-bed quality in it, that repels the strong and healthy.
They talked a great deal of the care and burden of motherhood.  They
had no gleam of humor--not one.  The anti-suffragists dwell much on
what a care children are.  Their picture of a mother is a tired, faded,
bedraggled woman, with a babe in her arms, two other small children
holding to her skirts, all crying.  According to them, children never
grow up, and no person can ever attend to them but the mother.  Of
course, the anti-suffragists are not this kind themselves.  Not at all.
They talk of potential motherhood--but that is usually about as far as
they go.  Potential motherhood sounds well and hurts nobody.

The Gentle Lady still believes in the masculine terror of tears, and
the judicious use of fainting.  The Jane Austin heroine always did it
and it worked well.  She burst into tears on one page and fainted dead
away on the next.  That just showed what a gentle lady she was, and
what a tender heart she had, and it usually did the trick.  Lord
Algernon was there to catch her in his arms.  She would not faint if he
wasn't.

The Gentle Lady does not like to hear distressing things.  Said a very
gentle lady not long ago: "Now, please do not tell me about how these
ready-to-wear garments are made, because I do not wish to know.  The
last time I heard a woman talk about the temptation of factory girls,
my head ached all evening and I could not sleep."  (When the Gentle
Lady has a headache it is no small affair--everyone knows it!)  Then
the Gentle Lady will tell you how ungrateful her washwoman was when she
gave her a perfectly good, but, of course, a little bit soiled party
dress, or a pair of skates for her lame boy, or some such suitable gift
at Christmas.  She did not act a bit nicely about it!

The Gentle Lady has a very personal and local point of view.  She
looks, at the whole world as related to herself--it all revolves around
her, and therefore what she says, or what "husband" says, is final.
She is particularly bitter against the militant suffragette, and
excitedly declares they should all be deported.

"I cannot understand them!" she cries.

Therein the Gentle Lady speaks truly.  She cannot understand them, for
she has nothing to understand them with.  It takes nobility of heart to
understand nobility of heart.  It takes an unselfishness of purpose to
understand unselfishness of purpose.

"What do they want?" cries the Gentle Lady.  "Why some of them are rich
women--some of them are titled women.  Why don't they mind their own
business and attend to their own children?"

"But maybe they have no children, or maybe their children, like Mrs.
Pankhurst's, are grown up!"

The Gentle Lady will not hear you--will not debate it--she turns to the
personal aspect again.

"Well, I am sure _I_ have enough to do with my own affairs, and I
really have no patience with that sort of thing!"

That settles it!

She does not see, of course, that the new movement among women is a
spiritual movement--that women, whose work has been taken away from
them, are now beating at new doors, crying to be let in that they may
take part in new labors, and thus save womanhood from the enervation
which is threatening it.  Women were intended to guide and sustain
life, to care for the race; not feed on it.

Wherever women have become parasites on the race, it has heralded the
decay of that race.  History has proven this over and over again.  In
ancient Greece, in the days of its strength and glory, the women bore
their full share of the labor, both manual and mental; not only the
women of the poorer classes, but queens and princesses carried water
from the well; washed their linen in the stream; doctored and nursed
their households; manufactured the clothing for their families; and, in
addition to these labors, performed a share of the highest social
functions as priestesses and prophetesses.

These were the women who became the mothers of the heroes, thinkers and
artists, who laid the foundation of the Greek nation.

In the day of toil and struggle, the race prospered and grew, but when
the days of ease and idleness came upon Greece, when the accumulated
wealth of subjugated nations, the cheap service of slaves and subject
people, made physical labor no longer a necessity; the women grew fat,
lazy and unconcerned, and the whole race degenerated, for the race can
rise no higher than its women.  For a while the men absorbed and
reflected the intellectual life, for there still ran in their veins the
good red blood of their sturdy grandmothers.  But the race was doomed
by the indolent, self-indulgent and parasitic females.  The women did
not all degenerate.  Here and there were found women on whom wealth had
no power.  There was a Sappho, and an Aspasia, who broke out into
activity and stood beside their men-folk in intellectual attainment,
but the other women did not follow; they were too comfortable, too well
fed, too well housed, to be bothered.  They had everything--jewels,
dresses, slaves.  Why worry?  They went back to their cushions and rang
for tea--or the Grecian equivalent; and so it happened that in the
fourth century Greece fell like a rotten tree.  Her conqueror was the
indomitable Alexander, son of the strong and virile Olympia.

The mighty Roman nation followed in the same path.  In the days of her
strength, and national health, the women took their full share of the
domestic burden, and as well fulfilled important social functions.
Then came slave labor, and the Roman woman no longer worked at
honorable employment.  She did not have to.  She painted her face, wore
patches on her cheeks, drove in her chariot, and adopted a mincing
foolish gait that has come down to us even in this day.  Her children
were reared by someone else--the nursery governess idea began to take
hold.  She took no interest in the government of the state, and soon
was not fit to take any.  Even then, there were writers who saw the
danger, and cried out against it, and were not a bit more beloved than
the people who proclaim these things now.  The writers who told of
these things and the dangers to which they were leading unfortunately
suggested no remedy.  They thought they could drive women back to the
water pitcher and the loom, but that was impossible.  The clock of time
will not turn back.  Neither is it by a return to hand-sewing, or a
resurrection of quilt-patching that women of the present day will save
the race.  The old avenues of labor are closed.  It is no longer
necessary for women to spin and weave, cure meats, and make household
remedies, or even fashion the garments for their household.  All these
things are done in factories.  But there are new avenues for women's
activities, if we could only clear away the rubbish of prejudice which
blocks the entrance.  Some women, indeed many women, are busy clearing
away the prejudice; many more are eagerly watching from their boudoir
windows; many, many more--the "gentle ladies," reclining on their
couches, fed, housed, clothed by other hands than their own--say: "What
fools these women be!"

There are many women who are already bitten by the poisonous fly of
parasitism; there are many women in whose hearts all sense of duty to
the race has died, and these belong to many classes.  A woman may
become a parasite on a very limited amount of money, for the corroding
and enervating effect of wealth and comfort sets in just as soon as the
individuality becomes clogged, and causes one to rest content from
further efforts, on the strength of the labor of someone else.  Queen
Victoria, in her palace of marble and gold, was able to retain her
virility of thought and independence of action as clearly as any
pioneer woman who ever battled with conditions, while many a
tradesman's wife whose husband gets a raise sufficient for her to keep
one maid, immediately goes on the retired list, and lets her brain and
muscles atrophy.

The woman movement, which has been scoffed and jeered at and
misunderstood most of all by the people whom it is destined to help, is
a spiritual revival of the best instincts of womanhood--the instinct to
serve and save the race.

Too long have the gentle ladies sat in their boudoirs looking at life
in a mirror like the Lady of Shallot, while down below, in the street,
the fight rages, and other women, and defenseless children, are getting
the worst of it.  But the cry is going up to the boudoir ladies to come
down and help us, for the battle goes sorely; and many there are who
are throwing aside the mirror and coming out where the real things are.
The world needs the work and help of the women, and the women must
work, if the race will survive.



CHAPTER VIII

WOMEN AND THE CHURCH

  HEART TO HEART TALK WITH THE WOMEN OF THE
  CHURCH BY THE GOVERNING BODIES

  Go, labor on, good sister Anne,
    Abundant may thy labors be;
  To magnify thy brother man
    Is all the Lord requires of thee!

  Go, raise the mortgage, year by year,
    And joyously thy way pursue,
  And when you get the title clear,
    We'll move a vote of thanks to you!

  Go, labor on, the night draws nigh;
    Go, build us churches--as you can.
  The times are hard, but chicken-pie
    Will do the trick.  Oh, rustle, Anne!

  Go, labor on, good sister Sue,
    To home and church your life devote;
  But never, never ask to vote,
    Or we'll be very cross with you!

  May no rebellion cloud your mind,
    But joyous let your race be run.
  The conference is good and kind
    And knows God's will for every one!


In dealing with the relation of women to the church, let me begin
properly with a text in Genesis which says: "God created man in his
_own _image ... male and female created he _them_."  That is to say, He
created male man and female man.  Further on in the story of the
creation it says: "He gave _them_ dominion, etc."

It would seem from this, that men and women got away to a fair start.
There was no inequality to begin with.  God gave _them_ dominion over
everything; there were no favors, no special privileges.  Whatever
inequality has crept in since, has come without God's sanction.  It is
well to exonerate God from all blame in the matter, for He has been
often accused of starting women off with a handicap.  The inequality
has arisen from men's superior physical strength, which became more
pronounced as civilization advanced, and which is only noticeable in
the human family.  Among all animals, with the possible exception of
cattle, the female is quite as large and as well endowed as the male.
It is easy for bigger and stronger people to arrogate to themselves a
general superiority.  Christ came to rebuke the belief that brute
strength is the dominant force in life.

It is no wonder that the teachings of Christ make a special appeal to
women, for Christ was a true democrat.  He made no discrimination
between men and women.  They were all human beings to Him, with souls
to save and lives to live, and He applied to men and women the same
rule of conduct.

When the Pharisees brought the woman to Him, accused of a serious
crime, insistent that she be stoned at once, Christ turned his
attention to them.  "Let him that is without sin among you throw the
first stone," he said.  Up to this moment they had been feeling
deliciously good, and the contemplation of the woman's sinfulness had
given them positive thrills of virtue.  But now suddenly each man felt
the spotlight on himself, and he winced painfully.  Ordinarily they
would have bluffed it off, and laughingly declared they were no worse
than other men.  But the eyes of the Master were on them--kind eyes,
patient always, but keen and sharp as a surgeon's knife; and measuring
themselves up with the sinless Son of God, their pitiful little pile of
respectability fell into irreparable ruin.  They forgot all about the
woman and her sin as they saw their own miserable sin-eaten, souls, and
they slid out noiselessly.  When they were gone Christ asked the woman
where were her accusers.

"No man hath condemned me, Lord," she answered truthfully.

"Neither do I condemn you," He said.  "Go in peace--sin no more!"

I believe that woman did go in peace, and I also believe that she
sinned no more, for she had a new vision of manhood, and purity, and
love.  All at once, life had changed for her.

The Christian Church has departed in some places from Christ's
teaching--noticeably in its treatment of women.  Christ taught the
nobility of loving service freely given; but such a tame uninteresting
belief as that did not appeal to the military masculine mind.  It
declared Christianity was fit only for women and slaves, whose duty and
privilege it was lovingly to serve men.  The men of Christ's time held
His doctrines in contempt.  They wanted gratification, praise, glory,
applause, action--red blood and raw meat, and this man, this carpenter,
nothing but a working man from an obscure village, dared to tell them
they should love their neighbor as themselves, that they should bless
and curse not.

There was no fun in that!  No wonder they began to seek how they could
destroy him!  Such doctrine was fit for only women and slaves!

It is sometimes stated as a reason for excluding women from the highest
courts of the church, that Christ chose men for all of his
disciples--that it was to men, and men only, that he gave the command:
"Go ye into the world and preach the gospel to every creature," but
that is a very debatable matter.  Christ's scribes were all men, and in
writing down the sacred story, they would naturally ignore the woman's
part of it.  It is not more than twenty years ago that in a well-known
church paper appeared this sentence, speaking of a series of revival
meetings: "The converted numbered over a hundred souls, exclusive of
women and children."  If after nineteen centuries of Christian
civilization the scribe ignores women, even in the matter of
conversion, we have every reason to believe that Matthew, Mark, Luke or
John might easily fail to give women a place "among those present" or
the "also rans."

Superior physical force is an insidious thing, and has biased the
judgment of even good men.  St. Augustine declared woman to be "a
household menace; a daily peril; a necessary evil."  St. Paul, too,
added his contribution and advised all men who wished to serve God
faithfully to refrain from marriage "even as I."  "However," he said,
"if you feel you must marry, go ahead--only don't say I did not warn
you!"  Saint Paul is very careful to say that he is giving this advice
quite on his own authority, but that has in no way dimmed the faith of
those who have quoted it.

Later writers like Sir Almoth Wright declare there are no good women,
though there are some who have come under the influence of good men.
Many men have felt perfectly qualified to sum up all women in a few
crisp sentences, and they do not shrink from declaring in their modest
way that they understand women far better than women understand
themselves.  They love to talk of women in bulk, all women--and quite
cheerfully tell us women are illogical, frivolous, jealous, vindictive,
forgiving, affectionate, not any too honest, patient, frail,
delightful, inconstant, faithful.  Let us all take heart of grace for
it seems we are the whole thing!

Almost all the books written about women have been written by men.
Women have until the last fifty years been the inarticulate sex; but
although they have had little to say about themselves they have heard
much.  It is a very poor preacher or lecturer who has not a lengthy
discourse on "Woman's True Place."  It is a very poor platform
performer who cannot take the stand and show women exactly wherein they
err.  "This way, ladies, for the straight and narrow path!"  If women
have gone aside from the straight and narrow path it is not because
they have not been advised to pursue it.  Man long ago decided that
woman's sphere was anything he did not wish to do himself, and as he
did not particularly care for the straight and narrow way, he felt free
to recommend it to women in general.  He did not wish to tie himself
too closely to home either and still he knew somebody should stay on
the job, so he decided that home was woman's sphere.

The church has been dominated by men and so religion has been given a
masculine interpretation, and I believe the Protestant religion has
lost much when it lost the idea of the motherhood of God.  There come
times when human beings do not crave the calm, even-handed justice of a
father nearly so much as the soft-hearted, loving touch of a mother,
and to many a man or woman whose home life has not been happy, "like as
a father pitieth his children" sounds like a very cheap and cruel
sarcasm.

It has been contended by those high in authority in church life, that
the admission of women into all the departments of the church will have
the tendency to drive men out.  Indeed some declare that the small
attendance of men at church services is accounted for by the
"feminization of the church," which is, in other words, an admission of
a very ugly fact that even in the sacred precincts of the church, women
are held in mild contempt.  Many men will resent this statement hotly,
but a brief glance at some of the conditions which prevail in our
social life will prove that there is a great amount of truth in it.
Look at the fine scorn with which small boys regard girls!  You cannot
insult a boy more deeply than to tell him he looks like a girl--and the
bitterest insult one boy can hand out to another is to call him a
"sissy."  This has been carefully taught to our small boys, for if they
were left to their own observations and deductions they would hold
girls in as high esteem as boys.  I remember once seeing a fond mother
buying a coat for her only son, aged seven years.  The salesman had put
on a pretty little blue reefer, and the mother was quite pleased with
it, and a sale was apparently in sight.  Then the salesman was guilty
of a serious mistake, for as he pulled down the little coat and patted
the shoulders he said: "This is a standard cut, madam, which is always
popular, and we sell a great many of them for both boys and girls."

Girls!

Reggie's mother stiffened, and with withering scorn declared that she
did not wish Reggie to wear a girl's coat.  She would look at something
else.  Reggie pulled off the coat, as if it burned him, and felt he had
been perilously near to something very compromising and indelicate.
Thus did young Reggie receive a lesson in sex contempt at the hands of
his mother!

Let us lay the blame where it belongs.  If any man holds women in
contempt--and many do--their mothers are to blame for it in the first
place, it began in the nursery but was fostered on the street, and
nourished in the school where sitting with a girl has been handed out
as a punishment, containing the very dregs of humiliation; where boys
are encouraged to play games and have a good time, but where until a
few years ago girls were expected to "sit around and act ladylike" in
the playtime of the others.

The church has contributed a share, too, in the subjection of women, in
spite of the plain teaching of our Lord, and many a sermon has been
based on the words of Saint Paul about women remaining silent in the
churches, and if any question arose to trouble her soul, she must ask
her husband quietly at home.

But it is at the marriage altar, where women receive the crowning
insult.  "Who gives this woman away?" asks the minister.  "I do," says
her father or brother, or some male relative, without a blush.
Perfectly satisfactory.  One man hands her over to another man, the
inference being that the woman has nothing to do with it.  In this most
vital decision of her whole life, she has had to get a man to do the
thinking for her.  It goes back to the old days, of course, when a
woman was a man's chattel, to do with as he saw fit.  The word "obey"
has gone from some of the marriage ceremonies.  Bishops even have seen
the absurdity of it and taken it out.

Women have held a place all their own in the church.  "I am willing
that the sisters should labor," cried an eminent doctor of the largest
Protestant church in Canada, when the question of allowing women to sit
in the highest courts of the church was discussed.  "I am willing that
the sisters should labor," he said, "and that they should labor more
abundantly, but we cannot let them rule."  And it was so decreed.

Women have certainly been allowed to labor in the church.  There is no
doubt of that.  There are many things they may do with impunity, nay,
even hilarity.  They may make strong and useful garments for the poor;
they may teach in Sunday-school and attend prayer-meeting; they may
finance the new parsonage, and augment the missionary funds by bazaars,
birthday socials, autograph quilts and fowl suppers--where the
masculine portion of the congregation are given a dollar meal for fifty
cents, which they take gladly and generously declare they do not mind
the expense for "it is all for a good cause."  The women may lift
mortgages, or build churches, or any other light work, but the real
heavy work of the church, such as moving resolutions in the general
conference or assemblies, must be done by strong, hardy men!

It is quite noticeable that each of the church dignitaries who have
opposed woman's entry into the church courts has prefaced his remarks
by elaborate apologies, and never failed to declare his great love for
womankind.  Each one has bared his manly breast and called the world to
witness the fact that he loves his mother and is not ashamed to say
so--which declaration is all the more remarkable because no person was
asking, or particularly interested in his private affairs.  (Query--Why
shouldn't he love his mother?  Most people do.)  After having delivered
his soul of these mighty, epoch-making declarations, he has proceeded
to explain that letting women into the church would be the thin edge of
the wedge, and he is afraid women will "lose their femininity."

Women are not discouraged or cast down.  Neither have they any
intention of going on strike, or withdrawing their support from the
church.  They will still go on patiently, and earnestly and hopefully.
Sex prejudice is a hard thing to break down, and the smaller the man,
and the narrower his soul, the more tenaciously will he hold on to his
pitiful little belief in his own superiority.  The best and ablest men
in all the churches are fighting the woman's battles now, and the
brotherly companionship, the real chivalry, and fairmindedness of these
men, are enough to keep the women's hearts cheered and encouraged.
Toward their opponents the women are very tolerant and hopeful.  Many
of them have changed their beliefs in the last few years.  They are
changing every day.  Those who will not change will die!  We always
have this assurance, and in this battle for independence, many a woman
has found comfort in poor Swinburne's pagan hymn of thanksgiving:

  From too much love of living,
  From fear of death set free,
  We thank thee with brief thanksgiving,
  Whatever gods there be!
  That no life lives forever,
  That dead men rise up never,
  That even the weariest river
  Leads somehow safe to sea!


But when all is over, the battle fought and won, and women are regarded
everywhere as human beings and citizens, many women will remember with
bitterness that in the day of our struggle, the church stood off, aloof
and dignified, and let us fight alone.

One of the arguments advanced by the men who oppose women's entry into
the full fellowship of the church is that women would ultimately seek
to preach, and the standard of preaching would be lowered.  There is a
gentle compelling note of modesty about this that is not lost on
us--and we frankly admit that we would not like to see the standard of
preaching lowered; and we assure the timorous brethren that women are
not clamoring to preach; but if a woman should feel that she is
divinely called of God to deliver a message, I wonder how the church
can be so sure that she isn't.  Wouldn't it be perfectly safe to let
her have her fling?  There was a rule given long ago which might be
used yet to solve such a problem:

"And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone,
for if this council, or this work, be of men, it will come to naught,
but if it be of God you cannot overthrow it, lest haply ye be found
even to fight against God."

That seems to be a pretty fair way of looking at the matter of
preaching; but the churches have decreed otherwise, and in order to
save trouble they have decided themselves and not left it to God.  It
must be great to feel that you are on the private wire from heaven and
qualified to settle a matter which concerns the spiritual destiny of
other people.

Many theories have been propounded as to the decadence of the church,
which has become painfully apparent when great moral issues have been
at stake.  That the church could stamp out the liquor traffic has often
been said, and yet although general conferences and assemblies have met
year after year, and passed resolutions declaring that "the sale of
liquor could not be licensed without sin," the liquor traffic goes
blithely on its way and gets itself licensed all right, "with sin,"
perhaps, but licensed anyway.  Where are all these stalwart sons of the
church who love their mothers so ostentatiously and reverence womanhood
so deeply?

There is one of Aesop's fables which tells about a man who purchased
for himself a beautiful dog, but being a timid man, he was beset with
the fear that some day the dog might turn on him and bite him, and to
prevent this, he drew all the dog's teeth.  One day a wolf attacked the
man.  He called on his beautiful dog to protect him, but the poor dog
had no teeth, and so the wolf ate them both.  The church fails to be
effective because it has not the use of one wing of its army, and it
has no one to blame but itself.  The church has deliberately set its
face against the emancipation of women, and in that respect it has been
a perfect joy to the liquor traffic, who recognize their deadliest foe
to be the woman with a ballot in her hand.  The liquor traffic rather
enjoys temperance sermons, and conventions and resolutions.  They
furnish an outlet for a great deal of hot talk which hurts nobody.

Of course, various religious bodies in convention assembled have from
time to time passed resolutions favoring woman suffrage, and
recommending it to the state, but the state has not been greatly
impressed.  The state might well reply to the church by saying: "If it
is such a desirable thing why do you not try it yourself?"

The antagonism of the church to receiving women preachers has its basis
in sex jealousy.  I make this statement with deliberation.  The smaller
the man, the more disposed he is to be jealous.  A gentleman of the old
school, who believes women should all be housekeepers whether they want
to be or not, once went to hear a woman speak; and when asked how he
liked it he grudgingly admitted that it was clever enough.  He said it
seemed to him like a pony walking on its hind legs--it was clever but
not natural.

Woman has long been regarded by the churches as helpmate for man, with
no life of her own, but a very valuable assistant nevertheless to some
male relative.  Woman's place they have long been told is to help some
man to achieve success and great reward may be hers.  Some day when she
is faded and old and battered and bent, her son may be pleased to
recall her many sacrifices and declare when making his inaugural
address: "All that I am my mother made me!"  There are one or two
things to be considered in this charming scene.  Her son may never
arrive at this proud achievement, or even if he does, he may forget his
mother and her sacrifices, and again she may not have a son.  But these
are minor matters.

Children do not need their mother's care always, and the mother who has
given up every hope and ambition in the care of her children will find
herself left all alone, when her children no longer need her--a woman
without a job.  But, dear me, how the church has exalted the
self-sacrificing mother, who never had a thought apart from her
children, and who became a willing slave to her family.  Never a word
about the injury she is doing to her family in letting them be a
slave-owner, never a word of the injury she is doing to herself, never
a whisper of the time when the children may be ashamed of their
worked-out mother who did not keep up with the times.

The preaching of the church, having been done by men, has given us the
strictly masculine viewpoint.  The tragedy of the "willing slave, the
living sacrifice," naturally does not strike a man as it does a woman.
A man loves to come home and find his wife or his mother darning his
socks.  He likes to believe that she does it joyously.  It is
traditionally correct, and home would not be home without it.  No man
wants to stay at home too long, but he likes to find his women folks
sitting around when he comes home.  The stationary female and the
wide-ranging male is the world's accepted arrangement, but the belief
that a woman must cherish no hope or ambition of her own is both cruel
and unjust.

Men have had the control of affairs for a long time, long enough
perhaps to test their ability as the arbiters of human destiny.  The
world, as made by man, is cruelly unjust to women, and cruelly beset
with dangers for the innocent young girl.  Praying and weeping have
been the only weapons that the church has sanctioned for women.  The
weeping, of course, must be done quietly and in becoming manner.  Loud
weeping becomes hysteria, and decidedly bad form.  Women have prayed
and wept for a long time, and yet the liquor traffic and the white
slave traffic continue to make their inroads on the human family.  The
liquor traffic and the white slave traffic are kept up by men for
man--women pay the price--the long price in suffering and shame.  The
pleasure and profit--if there be any--belong to men.  Women are the
sufferers--and yet the law decrees that women shall not have any voice
in regulating these matters.

In California, where women have had the vote for three years, there has
been recently enacted a bill dealing with white slavery.  It is called
the Quick Abatement Act, and provides for an immediate trial to be
given, when it is believed that prostitution is being carried on in any
house.  Our system, under which the trial is set for a date several
weeks ahead, furnishes a splendid chance for the witnesses to
disappear, and the evidence quite often falls through.  This bill also
provides a suitable punishment which falls not on the occupants of the
house but on the owner of the property, thereby striking at the profit.
If prostitution is proven against a house, that house is closed for one
year, the owner losing the rent for that time.  This puts the
responsibility on property owners, and makes people careful as to their
tenants.  Every owner forthwith becomes a morality officer.  This is
the greatest and most effective blow ever struck at white slavery, for
it strikes directly at the money side of it.  It is a fact worth
recalling that just before women were permitted to vote in California,
this bill was defeated overwhelmingly, but the first time it was
submitted after women were enfranchised it passed easily, although
there was not one woman in the house of representatives; the men
members had a different attitude toward moral matters when they
remembered that they had women constituents as well as men.

When Christian women ask to vote, it is in the hope that they may be
able with their ballots to protect the weak and innocent, and make the
world a safer place for the young feet.  As it is now, weakness and
innocence are punished more than wickedness.

One of our social workers, going on her rounds, one day met a young
Scotch girl, aged nineteen, who belonged to that class of people whom
we in our superior way call "fallen women."  She was a beautiful girl,
with curling auburn hair and deep violet eyes.  The visitor asked her
about herself, but the girl was not disposed to talk.  Finally the
visitor asked her if she might pray with her.  The girl politely
refused.

"Lady," she said wearily, "what is the use of praying--there is no God.
I know that you think there is a God, Lady," she went on, with a voice
of settled sadness.  "I did, too--once--but I know now that there is no
God anywhere."

Then she told her story.  When her mother died in Scotland, she came
out to Canada to live with her brother who had a position in a bank.
She traveled in the care of a Scotch family to her destination.  At the
station, an elderly gentlemen in a clerical coat met her and told her
that her brother was ill, but had sent him to meet her.  She went with
him unsuspectingly.  That was six years ago.  She was then thirteen
years old.

"So you see, Lady," she said, "I know there is no God, or He would
never have let them do to me what they did.  Every night I had prayed
to God, and if there were a God anywhere, He would surely have heard my
mother's prayer--when she was dying--she asked God to protect her poor
little motherless girl.  It is a sad world, Lady."  The girl's eyes
were dry and her voice unbroken.  There is a limit even to tears and
her eyes were cried dry.

According to the laws of the Dominion of Canada, the man who stole this
sweet child from the railway station, would be liable to five years'
imprisonment, if the case could be proven against him, which is
doubtful, for he could surely get someone to prove that she was over
fourteen years of age, or not of previously chaste character, or that
he was somewhere else at the time, or that the girl's evidence was
contradictory; but if he had stolen any article from any building
belonging to or adjacent to a railway station, or any article belonging
to a railway company, he would have been liable to a term of fourteen
years.  This is the law, and the church folds its plump hands over its
broadcloth waistcoat and makes no protest!  The church has not yet even
touched the outer fringe of the white slave evil and yet those high in
authority dare to say that women must not be given the right to protect
themselves.  The demand for votes is a spiritual movement and the
bitter cry of that little Scotch girl and of the many like her who have
no reason to believe in God, sounds a challenge to every woman who ever
names the name of God in prayer.  We know there is a God of love and
justice, who hears the cry of the smallest child in agony, and will in
His own good time bind up every broken heart, and wipe away every tear.
But how can we demonstrate God to the world!

Inasmuch as we have sat in our comfortable respectable pews enjoying
our own little narrow-gauge religion, unmoved by the call of the larger
citizenship, and making no effort to reach out and save those who are
in temptation, and making no effort to better the conditions under
which other women must live--inasmuch as we have left undone the things
we might have done--in God's sight--we are fallen women!  And to the
church officials, ministers and laymen who have dared to deny to women
the means whereby they might have done better for the women of the
world, I would like to say that I wonder what they will say to that
Scotch mother, who lay down happily on her death-bed believing that God
would care for her motherless child left to battle with the world.  I
wonder how they will explain it to her when they meet her up there!  I
wonder will they be able to get away with that old fable about their
being afraid of women "losing their femininity."  I wonder!

There is a story recorded in that book, whose popularity never wanes,
about a certain poor man who took his journey down from Jerusalem to
Jericho, and who fell among thieves who robbed him and left him for
dead.  A priest and a Levite came along and were full of sympathy, and
said: "Dear me!  I wonder what this road is coming to!"  But they had
meetings to attend and they passed on.  A good Samaritan came along,
and he was a real good Samaritan, and when he saw the man lying by the
road he jumped down from his horse, and picking him up, took him to the
inn, and gave directions for his care and comfort, even paid out money
for the poor battered stranger.  The next day, the Samaritan again
passed down the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, and about the same
place found another man, beaten and robbed, undoubtedly the work of the
same thieves.  Again he played the part of the kind friend, but it set
him thinking, and when the next day he found two men robbed and beaten,
the good Samaritan was properly aroused.  He took them to the inn, and
again he paid out his money, but that night he called a meeting of all
the other good Samaritans "out his way" and they hunted up their old
muskets and set out to clean up the road.

The road from Jerusalem to Jericho is here, and now.  Women have played
the good Samaritan for a long time, and they have found many a one
beaten and robbed on the road of life.  They are still doing it, but
the conviction is growing on them that it would be much better to go
out and clean up the road!

In a certain asylum, the management have a unique test for sanity.
When any of the inmates exhibit evidence of returning reason, they
submit them to the following tests.  Out in the courtyard there are a
number of water taps for filling troughs, and to each of the candidates
for liberty a small pail is given, and they are told to drain out the
troughs, the taps running full force.  Some of the poor fellows bail
away and bail away, but of course the trough remains full in spite of
them.  The wise ones turn off the taps.

The women of the churches and many other organizations for many long
weary years have been bailing out the troughs of human misery with
their little pails; their children's shelters, day nurseries, homes for
friendless girls, relief boards, and innumerable public and private
charities; but the big taps of intemperance and ignorance and greed are
running night and day.  It is weary, discouraging, heart-breaking work.

Let us have a chance at the taps!



CHAPTER IX

THE SORE THOUGHT

  The toad beneath the harrow knows
  Everywhere the tooth mark goes;
  The butterfly upon the road
  Preaches contentment to the toad.


Women have had to do a lot of waiting--long, weary waiting.  The
well-brought-up young lady diligently prepares for marriage; makes
doilies, and hemstitches linen; gets her blue trunk ready and--waits.
She must not appear anxious or concerned--not at all; she must
just--wait.  When a young man comes along and shows her any attention,
she may accept it, but if after two or three years of it he suddenly
leaves her, and devotes himself to some other girl, she must not feel
hurt or grieved but must go back and sit down beside the blue trunk
again and--wait!  He has merely exercised the man's right of choosing,
and when he decides that he does not want her, she has no grounds for
complaint.  She must consider herself declined, "not from any lack of
merit, but simply because she is unavailable."  If her heart breaks, it
must break quietly, and in secret.

She may see a young man to whom she feels attracted, but she must not
show it by even so much as the flicker of an eyelash.  Hers is the
waiting part, and although marriage and homemaking are her highest
destiny, or at least so she has been told often enough--she must not
raise a hand to help the cause along.  No more crushing criticism can
be made of a woman, than that she is anxious to get married.  It is all
right for her to be passively willing, but she must not be anxious.

At dances she must _wait_ until someone asks her to dance; _wait_ until
someone asks her to go to supper.  She must not ever make the move--she
must not ever try to start something.  Her place is to wait!

At last her waiting is rewarded and a young man comes by who declares
he would like to marry her, but is not in a position to marry just yet.
Then begins another period of waiting.  She must not hurry him--that is
very indelicate--she must wait.  Sometimes, in this long period of
waiting, the young man changes his mind, but she must not complain.  A
man cannot help it if he grows tired.  It must have been her fault--she
did not make herself sufficiently attractive--that's all!  She waits
again.

At last perhaps she gets married.  But her periods of waiting are not
over.  Her husband wanders free while she stays at home.  We know the
picture of the waiting wife listening for footsteps while the clock
ticks loudly in the silent house.  The world has decreed that the woman
and home must stay together, while the man goes about his business or
his pleasures--the tied-up woman and the foot-loose man.

Her boys grow up, and when war breaks out, they are called away from
her, and again the woman waits.  Every telegraph boy who comes up the
street may bring the dreaded message; every time the door bell rings
her heart stops beating.  But she cannot do anything but wait! wait!
wait!

Did you ever visit an old folks' home and notice the different spirit
shown by the men and women there?  The old men are restless and
irritable; impatient of their inaction; rebellious against fate.  The
old women patiently wait, looking out with their dimmed eyes like
marooned sailors waiting for a breeze.  Poor old patient waiters! you
learned the art of waiting in a long hard school, and now you have come
to the last lap of the journey.

So they wait--and by and by their waiting will be over, for the kindly
tide will rise and bear them safely out on its strong bosom to some
place--where they will find not more rest but blessed activity!  We
know there is another world, because we need it so badly to set this
one right!

Women have not always been "waiters."  There was a day long past, when
women chose their mates, when men fought for the hand of the woman they
loved, and the women chose.  The female bird selects her mate today,
goes out and makes her choice, and, it is not considered unbirdly
either.

Why should not women have the same privilege as men to choose their
mate?  Marriage means more to a woman than to a man; she brings in a
larger contribution than he; often it happens that she gives all--he
gives nothing.  The care and upbringing of the children depend upon her
faithfulness, not on his.  Why should she not have the privilege of
choosing?

Too long has the whole process of love-making and marriage been wrapped
in mystery.  "Part of it has been considered too holy to be spoken of
and part of it too unholy," says Charlotte Perkins Gilman.  Innocence
has been esteemed a young girl's greatest charm, but what good has her
innocence done her?  No good at all!  It is not calculated to do her
good--her good is not the prime consideration.  It makes her more
charming in the eyes of men; but it may bring her great unhappiness.
Lady Evelyn's trusting heart has usually been broken.  When the story
begins about the farmer's pretty daughter with limpid blue eyes, sweet
as bluebells washed in dew, all innocent of the world ways, the
experienced reader knows at once what is coming.  Innocence is hard on
the woman, however charming it may be to men.  The women who go a step
beyond innocence and are so trusting as to be described as
simple-minded, no matter how gentle, patient, and sweet they are, are
absolutely unsafe in this world of man's chivalry and protection.  If
you want to know what fate overtakes them, ask the matron of the Refuge
for Unfortunate Women, ask any person who has worked among this class
of women, and they will tell you how much good innocence and the
trusting heart does any woman.  This is a sore thought!

It would be perfectly delightful if our daughters might remain
innocent.  They should have that privilege.  Innocence belongs to
childhood and girlhood, but under present conditions, it is as
dangerous and foolish as level and unguarded railway crossings, or open
and unguarded trap doors.  It is no pleasant task to have to tell a
joyous, sunny-hearted girl of fourteen or fifteen about the evils that
are in the world, but if you love her, you will do it!  I would like to
see this work done by trained motherly and tactful women, in the
department of social welfare, paid by the school board.  I know the
mothers should do it, but many mothers are ignorant, foolish, lax, and
certainly untrained.  The mother's kindly counsel is the best, I know,
but you cannot always rely upon its being there.  This is coming, too,
for public sentiment is being awakened to the evils of innocence.

I remember, twenty years ago, when Dr. Amelia Yeomans, of sainted
memory, published at her own expense, a little leaflet called "Warning
to Girls" and circulated it among girls who were working in public
places, what a storm of abuse arose.  I have a copy of the little
tract, and it could be safely read in any mixed gathering today.
Ministers raged against it in the pulpit.  I remember one brother who
was very emphatic in his denunciations who afterwards was put out of
the church for indecent conduct.  Of course he wanted girls to remain
innocent--it suited his purpose.

If any person doubts that the society of the present day has been made
by men, and for men's advantage, let them look for a minute at the laws
which govern society.  Society allows a man all privilege, all license,
all liberty, where women are concerned.  He may lie to women, deceive
them--"all's fair in love and war"--he may break many a heart, and
blast many a fair name; that merely throws a glamour around him.  "He's
a devil with women," they say, and it is no disadvantage in the
business or political world--where man dominates.  But if a man is
dishonest in business or neglects to pay his gambling bills, he is down
and out.  These are crimes against men--and therefore serious.  This is
also a sore thought!

Then when men speak of these things, they throw the blame on women
themselves, showing thereby that the Garden of Eden story of Adam and
Eve and the apple, whether it be historically true or not, is true to
life.  Quite Adam-like, they throw the blame on women, and say: "Women
like the man with a past.  Women like to be lied to.  Women do not
expect any man to be absolutely faithful to them, if he is pleasant.
The man who has the reputation of having been wild has a better chance
with women than the less attractive but absolutely moral man."  What a
glorious thing it will be when men cease to speak for us, and cease to
tell us what we think, and let us speak for ourselves!

Since women's sphere of manual labor has so narrowed by economic
conditions and has not widened correspondingly in other directions,
many women have become parasites on the earnings of their male
relatives.  Marriage has become a straight "clothes and board"
proposition to the detriment of marriage and the race.  Her economic
dependence has so influenced the attitude of some women toward men,
that it is the old man with the money who can support her in idleness
who appeals to her far more than the handsome, clean-limbed young man
who is poor, and with whom she would have to work.  The softening,
paralyzing effects of ease and comfort are showing themselves on our
women.  You cannot expect the woman who has had her meals always bought
for her, and her clothes always paid for by some man, to retain a sense
of independence.  "What did I marry you for?" cried a woman
indignantly, when her husband grumbled about the size of her millinery
bill.  No wonder men have come to regard marriage as an expensive
adventure.

The time will come, we hope, when women will be economically free, and
mentally and spiritually independent enough to refuse to have their
food paid for by men; when women will receive equal pay for equal work,
and have all avenues of activity open to them; and will be free to
choose their own mates, without shame, or indelicacy; when men will not
be afraid of marriage because of the financial burden, but free men and
free women will marry for love, and together work for the sustenance of
their families.  It is not too ideal a thought.  It is coming, and the
new movement among women who are crying out for a larger humanity, is
going to bring it about.

But there are many good men who view this with alarm.  They are afraid
that if women were economically independent they would never marry.
But they would.  Deeply rooted in almost every woman's heart is the
love of home and children; but independence is sweet and when marriage
means the loss of independence, there are women brave enough and strong
enough to turn away from it.  "I will not marry for a living," many a
brave woman has said.

The world has taunted women into marrying.  So odious has the term "old
maid" been in the past that many a woman has married rather than have
to bear it.  That the term "old maid" has lost its odium is due to the
fact that unmarried women have made a place for themselves in the world
of business.  They have become real people apart from their sex.  The
"old maid" of the past was a sad, anemic creature, without any means of
support except the bounty of some relative.  She had not married, so
she had failed utterly, and the world did not fail to rub it in.  The
unmarried woman of today is the head saleslady in some big house,
drawing as big a salary as most men, and the world kowtows to her.  The
world is beginning to see that a woman may achieve success in other
departments of life as well as marriage.

It speaks well for women that, even before this era, when "old maids"
were open to all kinds of insult, there were women brave enough to
refuse to barter their souls for the animal comforts of food and
shelter.  Speaking about "old maids," by which term we mean now a prim,
fussy person, it is well to remember that there are male "old maids" as
well as female who remain so all through life; also that many "old
maids" marry, and are still old maids.

When women are free to marry or not as they will, and the financial
burden of making a home is equally shared by husband and wife, the
world will enter upon an era of happiness undreamed of now.  As it is
now, the whole matter of marrying and homemaking is left to chance.
Every department of life, every profession in which men and women
engage, has certain qualifications which must be complied with, except
the profession of homemaking.  A young man and a young woman say: "I
believe we'll get married" and forthwith they do.  The state sanctions
it, and the church blesses it.  They may be consumptive, epileptic,
shiftless, immoral, or with a tendency to insanity.  No matter.  They
may go on and reproduce their kind.  They are perfectly free to bring
children into the world, who are a burden and a menace to society.
Society has to bear it--that is all!  "Be fruitful and multiply!"
declares the church, as it deplores the evils of race suicide.  Many
male moralists have cried out for large families.  "Let us have better
and healthier babies if we can," cried out one of England's bishops,
not long ago, "but let us have more babies!"

Heroic and noble sentiment and so perfectly safe!  It reminds one of
the dentist's advertisement: "Teeth extracted without pain"--and his
subsequent explanation: "It does not hurt me a bit!"

Martin Luther is said to have stood by the death-bed of a woman, who
had given birth to sixteen children in seventeen years, and piously
exclaimed: "She could not have died better!"

"By all means let us have more babies," says the Bishop.  Even if they
are anemic and rickety, ill-nourished and deformed, and even if the
mothers, already overburdened and underfed, die in giving them birth?
To the average thinking woman, this wail for large families, coming as
it always does from men, is rather nauseating.

When the cry has been so persistently raised for more children, the
women naturally wonder why more care is not exerted for the protection
of the children who are already here.  The reason is often given for
not allowing women to have the free grants of land in Canada on the
same conditions as men, that it would make them too independent of
marriage, and, as one commissioner of emigration phrased it: "It is not
independent women we want; it is population."

Granting that population is very desirable, would it not be well to
save what we have?  Six or seven thousand of our population in Canada
drop out of the race every year as a direct result of the liquor
traffic, and a higher percentage than this perish from the same cause
in some other countries.  Would it not be well to save them?  Thousands
of babies die every year from preventable causes.  Free milk
depositories and district nurses and free dispensaries would save many
of them.  In the Far West, on the border of civilization, where women
are beyond the reach of nurses and doctors, many mothers and babies die
every year.  How would it be to try to save them?  Delegations of
public-spirited women have waited upon august bodies of men, and
pleaded the cause of these brave women who are paying the toll of
colonization, and have asked that Government nurses be sent to them in
their hour of need.  But up to date not one dollar of Government money
has been spent on them notwithstanding the fact that when a duke or a
prince comes to visit our country, we can pour out money like water!

It does not seem to the thoughtful observer that we need more children
nearly so much as we need better children, and a higher value set upon
all human life.  In this day of war, when men are counted of less value
than cattle, it is a doubtful favor to the child to bring it into life
under any circumstances, but to bring children into the world,
suffering from the handicaps caused by the ignorance, poverty, or
criminality of the parents, is an appalling crime against the innocent
and helpless, and yet one about which practically nothing is said.
Marriage, homemaking, and the rearing of children are left entirely to
chance, and so it is no wonder that humanity produces so many specimens
who, if they were silk stockings or boots, would be marked "Seconds."
The Bishop's cry has found many an echo: "Let us have more."

Women in several of the states have instituted campaigns for "Better
Babies," and by offering prizes and disseminating information, they
have given a better chance to many a little traveler on life's highway.
But all who have endeavored in any way to secure legislation or
government grants for the protection of children, have found that
legislators are more willing to pass laws for the protection of cattle
than for the protection of children, for cattle have a real value and
children have only a sentimental value.

If children die--what of it?  "The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken
away."  Let us have more.  This is the sore thought with women.  It is
not that the bringing of children into the world is attended with pain
and worry and weariness--it is not that: it is that they are held of
such small value in the eyes of this man-made world.  This is the
sorest thought of all!

Even as I write these words, I hear the bugle calling, and down the
street our brave boys in khaki are marching.  Today I passed on the
street a mother and her only son, who is now a soldier and going away
with the next contingent.  The lad was trying to cheer her as they
walked along.  She held him by the hand:--he was just a little boy to
her.

"It was not for this that I raised him," she said to me bitterly.  "It
was not for this!  The whole thing is wrong, and it is just as hard on
the German women as on us!"

Even in her sorrow she had the universal outlook--the very thing that
so many philosophers declare that women have not got!

I could not help but think that if there had been women in the German
Reichstag, women with authority behind them, when the Kaiser began to
lay his plans for the war, the results might have been very different.
I do not believe women with boys of their own would ever sit down and
wilfully plan slaughter, and if there had been women there when the
Kaiser and his brutal war-lords discussed the way in which they would
plunge all Europe into bloodshed, I believe one of those deep-bosomed,
motherly, blue-eyed German women would have stood upon her feet and
said: "William--forget it!"  But the German women were not there--they
were at home, raising children!  So the preparations for war went on
unchecked, and the resolutions passed without a dissenting voice.  In
German rule, we have a glorious example of male statecraft,
uncontaminated by any feminine foolishness.

No doubt, it is because all our statecraft has been one-sided, that we
find that human welfare has lagged far behind material welfare.  We
have made wonderful strides in convenience and comfort, but have not
yet solved the problems of poverty, crime or insanity.  Perhaps they,
too, will yield to treatment when they are better understood, and men
and women are both on the job.  As it is now, criminals have only man's
treatment, which is the hurry-up method--"hang him, and be done with
him," or "chuck him into jail, and be quick about it, and let me forget
him."  Mothers would have more patience, more understanding, for they
have been dealing with bad little boys all their lives.

The little family jars which arise in every home, are settled nine out
of ten times by the mother, unless she is the sort of spineless, anemic
woman, who lies down on the job, and says, "I'll tell your father,"
which acts as a threat, and sometimes is effective, though it solves no
difficulty.

To hang the man who commits a crime is a cheap way to get out of a
difficulty; a real masculine way.  It is so much quicker and easier
than trying to reform him, and what is one man less after all?  Human
life is cheap--to men--and of course there is always the Bishop crying:
"Let us have more."

The conditions which prevail at the present time are atrocious and help
to make criminals.  The worst crimes have not even a name yet, much
less a punishment.  What about the crime of working little children and
cheating them out of an education and a happy childhood?  There is no
name for it!  What about misrepresenting land values and selling lots
to people who have never seen them and who simply rely upon the owner's
word; taking the hard-earned money from guileless people and giving
them swamp land, miles out of the city limits, in return!  They tell a
story about a real-estate man who sold Edmonton lots to some people in
the East, assuring them that the lots were "close in," but when the
owner of the lots went to register them, he found they could not be
registered in Alberta--they belonged in British Columbia, the next
province!

This sort of thing is considered good business, if you can "get away
with it."  According to our masculine code of morals--it's "rather
clever"--they say.  "You cannot help but admire his nerve!"  But not
long since a hungry man stole a banana from a fruit stand and was sent
to jail for it, for the dignity of the law has to be upheld, and the
small thief is the easiest one to deal with and make an example of.
Similarly Chinamen are always severely dealt with.  Give it to him!  He
has no friends!

What about the crime of holding up the market, so that the price of
bread goes up, causing poor men's children to go hungry?  There is no
name for it!

What about allowing speculators to hold great tracts of land
uncultivated, waiting for higher prices, while unemployed men walk the
streets, hungry and discouraged, cursing the day they were born: big
strong fellows many of them, willing to work, craving work, but with
work denied them.  Yesterday one of them jumped from the High Level
Bridge into the icy waters of the Saskatchewan, leaving a note behind
him saying simply he was tired of it all, and could stand no more--he
"would take a chance on another world."  The idle land is calling to
the idle man, and the world is calling for food; and yet these great
tracts of wheat lands lie just outside our cities, untouched by plow or
harrow, and hungry men walk our streets.  The crime which the state
commits in allowing such a condition to prevail is as yet unnamed.

Women have carried many a sore thought in their hearts, feeling that
they have been harshly dealt with by their men folk, and have laid the
blame on the individual man, when in reality the individual has not
been to blame.  The whole race is suffering from masculinity; and men
and women are alike to blame for tolerating it.

The baby girl in her cradle gets the first cold blast of it.  "A girl?"
says the kind neighbor, "Oh, too bad--I am sure it was quite a
disappointment!"

Then there is the old-country reverence for men, of which many a mother
has been guilty, which exalts the boys of the family far above the
girls, and brings home to the latter, in many, many ways, the grave
mistake of having been born a woman.  Many little girls have carried
the sore thought in their hearts from their earliest recollection.

They find out, later, that women's work is taken for granted.  A farmer
will allow his daughter to work many weary unpaid years, and when she
gets married he will give her "a feather bed and a cow," and feel that
her claim upon him has been handsomely met.  The gift of a feather bed
is rather interesting, too, when you consider that it is the daughter
who has raised the geese, plucked them, and made the bed-tick.  But
"father" gives it to her just the same.  The son, for a corresponding
term of service, gets a farm.

There was a rich farmer once, who died possessed of three very fine
farms of three hundred and twenty acres each.  He left a farm to each
of his three sons.  To his daughter Martha, a woman of forty years of
age, the eldest of the family, who had always stayed at home, and
worked for the whole family--he left a cow and one hundred dollars.
The wording of the will ran: "To my dear daughter, Martha, I leave the
sum of one hundred dollars, and one cow named 'Bella.'"

How would you like to be left at forty years of age, with no training
and very little education, facing the world with one hundred dollars
and one cow, even if she were named "Bella"?

To the poor old mother, sixty-five years of age, who had worked far
harder than her husband, who had made butter, and baked bread, and
sewed carpet rags, and was now bent and broken, and with impaired
sight, he left: "her keep" with one of the boys!

How would you like to be left with "your keep" even with one of your
own children?  Keep!  It is exactly what the humane master leaves to an
old horse.  When the old lady heard the will read which so generously
provided for her "keep," she slipped away without a word.  People
thought it was her great grief at losing such a kind husband which made
her pine and droop.  But it wasn't.  It was the loss of her
independence.  Her son and his family thought it strange that "Grandma"
did not care to go to church any more.  Of course her son never thought
of giving her collection or money to give to the funds of the church,
and Grandma did not ask.  She sat in her corner, and knit stockings for
her son's children; another pitiful little broken bit of human wreckage
cast up by the waves of the world.  In two months Grandma had gone to
the house of many mansions, where she was no longer beholden to anyone
for "keep"--for God is more merciful than man!

The man who made his will this way was not a bad man, but he was the
victim of wrong thinking; he did not realize that his wife had any
independence of soul; he thought that all "mother" cared about was a
chance to serve; she had been a quiet, unassertive woman, who worked
along patiently, and made no complaint.  What could she need of money?
The "boys" would never see her want.

A man who heard this story said in comment: "Well, I don't see what the
old lady felt so badly about, for what does a woman of sixty-five need
of money anyway?"

He was not a cruel man, either, and so his remark is illuminative, for
it shows a certain attitude of mind, and it shows women where they have
made their mistake.  They have been too patient and unassertive--they
have not set a high enough value on themselves, and it is pathetically
true that the world values you at the value you place on yourself.  And
so the poor old lady, who worked all her life for her family, looking
for no recompense, nor recognition, was taken at the value she set upon
herself, which was nothing at all.

That does not relieve the state of its responsibility in letting such a
thing happen.  It is a hard matter, I know, to protect people from
themselves; and there can be no law made to prevent women from making
slaves of themselves to their husbands and families.  That would be
interfering with the sanctity of the home!  But the law can step in, as
it has in some provinces, and prevent a man from leaving his wife with
only "her keep."  The law is a reflection of public sentiment, and when
people begin to realize that women are human and have human needs and
ambitions and desires, the law will protect a woman's interest.  Too
long we have had this condition of affairs: "Ma" has been willing to
work without any recompense, and "Pa and the boys" have been willing to
let her.

Of course, I know, sentimental people will cry out, that very few men
would leave their wives in poverty--I know that; men are infinitely
better than the law, but we must remember that laws are not made to
govern the conduct of good men.  Good men will do what is right, if
there were never a law; but, unfortunately, there are some men who are
not good, and many more who are thoughtless and unintentionally cruel.
The law is a schoolmaster to such.

There are some places, where a law can protect the weak, but there are
many situations which require more than a law.  Take the case of a man
who habitually abuses and frightens his family, and makes their lives a
periodic hell of fear.  The law cannot touch him unless he actually
kills some of them, and it seems a great pity that there cannot be some
corrective measure.  In the states of Kansas and Washington (where
women vote) the people have enacted what is known as the "Lazy
Husband's Act," which provides for such cases as this.  If a man is
abusive or disagreeable, or fails to provide for his family, he is
taken away for a time, and put to work in a state institution, and his
money is sent home to his family.  He is treated kindly, and good
influences thrown around him.  When he shows signs of repentance--he is
allowed to go home.  Home, very often, looks better to him, and he
behaves himself quite decently.

Women outlined this legislation and it is in the states where women
vote that it is in operation.  There will be more such legislation,
too, when women are given a chance to speak out!

A New Zealander once wrote home to a friend in England advising him to
fight hard against woman suffrage.  "Don't ever let the wimmin vote,
Bill," he wrote.  "They are good servants, but bad masters.  Over there
you can knock your wife about for five shillings, but here we does jail
for it!"

The man who "knocks his wife about" or feels that he might some day
want to knock her about, is opposed to further liberties for women, of
course.

But that is the class of man from whom we never expected anything.  He
has his prototype, too, in every walk of life.  Don't make the mistake
of thinking that only ignorant members of the great unwashed masses
talk and feel this way.  Silk-hatted "noblemen" have answered women's
appeals for common justice by hiring the Whitechapel toughs to "bash
their heads," and this is another sore thought that women will carry
with them for many a day after the suffrage has been granted.  I wish
we could forget the way our English sisters have been treated in that
sweet land of liberty!

The problems of discovery have been solved; the problems of
colonization are being solved, and when the war is over the problem of
world government will be solved; and then the problem will be just the
problem of living together.  That problem cannot be solved without the
help of women.  The world has suffered long from too much masculinity
and not enough humanity, but when the war is over, and the beautiful
things have been destroyed, and the lands laid desolate, and all the
blood has been shed, the poor old bruised and broken heart of the world
will cry out for its mother and nurse, who will dry her own eyes, and
bind up its wounds and nurse it back to life once more.  Perhaps the
old earth will be a bit kinder than it has ever been to women, who
knows?  Men have been known to grow very fond of their nurse, and
bleeding has been known to cure mental disorders!



CHAPTER X

THE LAND OF THE FAIR DEAL

  Lord, take us up to the heights, and show us the glory,
  Show us a vision of Empire!  Tell us its story!
  Tell it out plain, for our eyes and our ears have grown holden;
  We have forgotten that anything other than money is golden.
  Grubbing away in the valley, somehow has darkened our eyes;
  Watching the ground and the crops--we've forgotten the skies.
  But Lord, if Thou wilt Thou canst take us today
        To the Mount of Decision
  And show us the land that we live in
        With glorified Vision!


Every nation has its characteristic quality of mind; we recognize
Scotch thrift, English persistency and Irish quickwittedness wherever
we see it; we know something, too, of the emotional, vivacious nature
of the French, and the resourcefulness of the American; but what about
the Canadian--what will be our distinguishing feature in the years to
come?  The cartoons are kind to us--thus far--and in representing
Canada, draw a sturdy young fellow, strong and well set, full of muscle
and vim, and we like to think that the representation is a good one,
for we are a young nation, coming into our vigor, and with our future
in our own hands.  We have an area of one-third of the whole British
Empire, and one-fifth of that of Asia.  Canada is as large as thirty
United Kingdoms and eighteen Germanys.  Canada is almost as large as
Europe.  It is bounded by three oceans and has thirteen thousand miles
of coast line, that is, half the circumference of the earth.

Canada's land area, exclusive of forest and swamp lands, is
1,401,000,000 acres; 440,000,000 acres of this is fit for cultivation,
but only 36,000,000 acres, or 2.6 per cent of the whole, is cultivated,
so it would seem that there are still a few acres left for anyone who
may happen to want it.  We need not be afraid of crowding.  We have a
great big blank book here with leather binding and gold edges, and now
our care should be that we write in it worthily.  We have no precedents
to guide us, and that is a glorious thing, for precedents, like other
guides, are disposed to grow tyrannical, and refuse to let us do
anything on our own initiative.  Life grows wearisome in the countries
where precedents and conventionalities rule, and nothing can happen
unless it has happened before.  Here we do not worry about
precedents--we make our own!

Main Street, in Winnipeg, now one of the finest business streets in the
world, followed the trail made by the Red River carts, and, no doubt,
if the driver of the first cart knew that in his footsteps would follow
electric cars and asphalt paving, he would have driven straighter.  But
he did not know, and we do not blame him for that.  But we know, for in
our short day we have seen the prairies blossom into cities, and we
know that on the paths which we are marking out many feet will follow,
and the responsibility is laid on us to lay them broad and straight and
safe so that many feet may be saved from falling.

We are too young a nation yet to have any distinguishing characteristic
and, of course, it would not be exactly modest for us to attribute
virtues to ourselves, but there can be harm in saying what we would
like our character to be.  Among the people of the world in the years
to come, we will ask no greater heritage for our country than to be
known as the land of the Fair Deal, where every race, color and creed
will be given exactly the same chance; where no person can "exert
influence" to bring about his personal ends; where no man or woman's
past can ever rise up to defeat them; where no crime goes unpunished;
where every debt is paid; where no prejudice is allowed to masquerade
as a reason; where honest toil will insure an honest living; where the
man who works receives the reward of his labor.

It would seem reasonable, too, that such a condition might be brought
about in a new country, and in a country as big as ours, where there is
room for everyone and to spare.  Look out upon our rolling prairies,
carpeted with wild flowers, and clotted over with poplar groves, where
wild birds sing and chatter, and it does not seem too ideal or
visionary that these broad sunlit spaces may be the homes of countless
thousands of happy and contented people.  The great wide uncultivated
prairie seems to open its welcoming arms to the land-hungry, homeless
dwellers of the cities, saying: "Come and try me.  Forget the past, if
it makes you sad.  Come to me, for I am the Land of the Second Chance.
I am the Land of Beginning Again.  I will not ask who your ancestors
were.  I want you--nothing matters now but just you and me, and we will
make good together."  This is the invitation of the prairie to the
discouraged and weary ones of the older lands, whose dreams have
failed, whose plans have gone wrong, and who are ready to fall out of
the race.  The blue skies and green slopes beckon to them to come out
and begin again.  The prairie, with its peace and silence, calls to the
troubled nations of Middle Europe, whose people are caught in the cruel
tangle of war.  When it is all over and the smoke has cleared away, and
they who are left look around at the blackened ruins and desolated
farms and the shallow graves of their beloved dead, they will come away
from the scenes of such bitter memories.  Then it is that this far
country will make its appeal to them, and they will come to us in large
numbers, come with their sad hearts and their sad traditions.  What
will we have for them?  We have the fertility of soil; we have the
natural resources; we have coal; we have gas; we have wheat land and
pasture land and fruit land.  Nature has done her share with a
prodigality that shames our little human narrowness.  Now if we had men
to match our mountains, if we had men to match our plains, if our
thoughts were as clear as our sunlight, we would be able to stand up
high enough to see over the rim of things.  In the light of what has
happened, our little grabbing ways, our insane desires to grow rich and
stop work, have some way lost their glamour.  Belgium has set a pace
for us, has shown us a glimpse of heroic sacrifice which makes us feel
very humble and very small, and we have suddenly stumbled on the great
truth that it is not all of life to live, that is, draw your breath or
even draw your salary; that to get money and dress your family up like
Christmas trees, and own three cars, may not be adding a very heavy
contribution to human welfare; that houses and lands and stocks and
shares may be very poor things to tie up to after all.

An Englishman who visited Western Canada a few years ago, when
everybody had money, wrote letters to one of the London papers about
us.  Commenting on our worldliness, he said: "The people of Western
Canada have only one idea of hell, and that is buying the wrong lots!"

But already there has come a change in the complexion of our mind.  The
last eight months have taught us many things.  We, too, have had our
share in the sacrifice, as the casualty lists in every paper show.  We
have seen our brave lads go out from us in health and hope, amid music
and cheers, and already we know that some of them will not come back.
"Killed in action," "died of wounds," "missing," say the brief
despatches, which tell us that we have made our investment of blood.
The investment thus made has paid a dividend already, in an altered
thought, a chastened spirit, a recast of our table of values.  "Without
the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin" always seemed a
harsh and terrible utterance, but we know now its truth; and already we
know the part of our sin of worldliness has been remitted, for we have
turned away from it.  We acknowledge in sorrow that we have followed
strange gods, and worshiped at the worldly altar of wealth and
cleverness, and believed that these things were success in life.  Now
we have had before our eyes the spectacle of clever men using their
cleverness to kill, maim and destroy innocent women and children; we
have seen the wealth of one nation poured out like water to bring
poverty and starvation to another nation, and so, through our tears, we
have learned the lesson that it is not wealth or cleverness or skill or
power which makes a nation or an individual great.  It is goodness,
gentleness, kindliness, the sense of brotherhood, which alone maketh
rich and addeth no sorrow.  When we are face to face with the elemental
things of life, death and sorrow and loss, the air grows very still and
clear, and we see things in bold outlines.

The Kaiser has done a few things for us.  He has made us hate all forms
of tyranny and oppression and autocracy; he has made us hate all forms
of hypocrisy and deceit.  There have been some forms of kaiserism
dwelling among us for many years, so veneered with respectability and
custom that some were deceived by them; but the lid is off now--the
veneer has cracked--the veil is torn, and we see things as they are.

When we find ourselves wondering at the German people for having
tolerated the military system for so long, paying taxes for its
maintenance and giving their sons to it, we suddenly remember that we
have paid taxes and given our children, too, to keep up the liquor
traffic, which has less reasons for its existence than the military
system of Germany.  Any nation which sets out to give a fair deal to
everyone must divorce itself from the liquor traffic, which deals its
hardest blows on the non-combatants.  Right here let us again thank the
Germans for bringing this so clearly to our notice.  We despise the
army of the Kaiser for dropping bombs on defenseless people, and
shooting down women and children--we say it violates all laws of
civilized warfare.  The liquor traffic has waged war on women and
children all down the centuries.  Three thousand women were killed in
the United States in one year by their own husbands who were under the
influence of liquor.  Non-combatants!  Its attacks on the
non-combatants are not so spectacular in their methods as the tactics
pursued by the Kaiser's men, who line up the defenseless ones in the
public square and turn machine-guns on them.  The methods of the liquor
traffic are not so direct or merciful.  We shudder with horror as we
read of the terrible outrages committed by the brutal German soldiers.
We rage in our helpless fury that such things should be--and yet we
have known and read of just such happenings in our own country.  The
newspapers, in telling of such happenings, usually have one short
illuminative sentence which explains all: "The man had been drinking."
The liquor traffic has outraged and insulted womanhood right here in
our own country in much the same manner as is alleged of the German
soldiers in France and Belgium!  Another thing we have to thank the
Kaiser for is that we have something now whereby we can express what
women owe to the liquor traffic.  We know now that women owe to the
liquor traffic the same sort of a debt that Belgium owes to Germany.
Women have never chosen the liquor business, have never been consulted
about it in any way, any more than Belgium was consulted.  It has been
wished on them.  They have had nothing to do with it, but to put up
with it, endure it, suffer its degradation, bear its losses, pay its
abominable price in tears and heartbreak.  Apart from that they have
had nothing to do with it.  If there is any pleasure in it--that has
belonged to men; if there has been any gain in it, men have had that,
too.

And yet there are people who tell us women must not invade the realm of
politics, where matters relating to the liquor traffic are dealt with.
Women have not been the invaders.  The liquor traffic has invaded
woman's place in life.  The shells have been dropped on unfortified
homes.  There is no fair dealing in that.

A woman stooped over her stove in her own kitchen one winter evening,
making food for her eight-months-old baby, whom she held in her arms.
Her husband and her brother-in-law, with a bottle of whiskey, carried
on a lively dispute in another part of the kitchen.  She did not enter
into the dispute, but went on with her work.  Surely this woman was
protected; here was the sacred precincts of home, her husband, sworn to
protect her, her child in her arms--a beautiful domesticated Madonna
scene.  But when the revolver was fired accidentally it blew off the
whole top of her protected head; and the mother and babe fell to the
floor!  Who was the invader? and, tell me, would you call that a fair
deal?

The people who oppose democratic principles tell us that there is no
such thing as equality--that, if you made every person exactly equal
today, there would be inequality tomorrow.  We know there is no such
thing as equality of achievement, but what we plead for is equality of
chance, equality of opportunity.

We know that absolute equality of opportunity is hardly possible, but
we can make it more nearly possible by the removal of all movable
handicaps from the human race.  The liquor traffic, with its resultant
poverty, hits the child in the cradle, whose innocence and helplessness
makes its appeal all the stronger.  The liquor traffic is a tangible,
definite thing that we can locate without difficulty.  Many of the
causes of poverty and sin are illusive, indefinite qualities such as
bad management, carelessness, laziness, extravagance, ignorance and bad
judgment, which are exceedingly hard to remedy, but the liquor traffic
is one of the things we can speak of definitely, and in removing it we
are taking a step in the direction of giving everybody a fair start.

When the Boer War was on, the British War Office had to lower the
standard for the army because not enough men could be found to measure
up to the previous standard, and an investigation was made into the
causes which had led to the physical deterioration of the race.  Ten
families whose parents were both drinkers were compared with ten
families whose parents were both abstainers, and it was found that the
drinking parents had out of their fifty-seven children only ten that
were normal, while the non-drinking parents, out of their sixty-one
children, had fifty-four normal children and only seven that were
abnormal in any way.  They chose families in as nearly as possible the
same condition of life and the same scale of intelligence.  It would
seem from this that no country which legalizes the liquor traffic is
giving a fair deal to its children!

Humanity is disposed to sit weakly down before anything that has been
with us for a long time, and say it is impossible to do away with it.
"We have always had liquor drinking," say some, "and we always will.
It is deeply rooted in our civilization and in our social customs, and
can never be outlawed entirely."  Social customs may change.  They have
changed.  They will change when enough people want them to change.
There is nothing sacred about a social custom, anyway, that it should
be preserved when we have decided it is of no use to us.  Social
customs make an interesting psychological study, even among the lower
animals, who show an almost human respect for the customs of their kind.

Have you ever seen lizards walk into a campfire?  Up from the lake they
will come, attracted by the gleam of the fire.  It looks so warm and
inviting, and, of course, there is a social custom among lizards to
walk right in, and so they do.  The first one goes boldly in, gives a
start of surprise, and then shrivels, but the next one is a real good
sport, and won't desert a friend, so he walks in and shrivels, and the
next one is no piker, so walks in, too.  Who would be a stiff?  They
stop coming when there are no more lizards in the lake or the fire is
full.  There does not seem to be much reason for their action, but, of
course, it is a social custom.  You may have been disposed to despise
the humble lizard with his open countenance and foolish smile, but you
see there is something quite human and heroic about him, too, in his
respect for a social custom.

Moths have a social custom, too, which impels them to fly into the
flame of the candle, and bees will drown themselves in boiling syrup.
No matter how many of their friends and cousins they see lying dead in
the syrup, they will march boldly in, for they each feel that they are
strong enough to get out when they want to.  Bees all believe that they
"can drink or leave it alone."

But moralists tell us that prohibition of any evil is not the right
method to pursue; far better to leave the evil and train mankind to
shun it.  If the evil be removed entirely mankind will be forced to
abstain and therefore will not grow in strength.  In other words, the
life of virtue will be made too easy.  We would gently remind the
moralists who reason in this way that there will still be a few hundred
ways left, whereby a man may make shipwreck of his life.  They must not
worry about that--there will still be plenty of opportunities to go
wrong!

The object of all laws should be to make the path of virtue as easy as
possible, to build fences in front of all precipices, to cover the
wells and put the poison out of reach.  The theory of teaching children
to leave the poison alone sounds well, but most of us feel we haven't
any children to experiment on, and so we will lock the medicine-chest
and carry the key.

A great deal is said about personal liberty in connection with this
matter of the prohibition of the liquor traffic, though the old cry
that every man has a perfect right to do as he likes is not so popular
as it once was, for we have before us a perfect example of a man who is
exercising personal liberty to the full; we have one man who is a
living exponent of the right to do exactly as he likes, no matter who
is hurt by it.  The perfect example of a man who believes in personal
liberty for himself is a man by the name of William Hohenzollern.

If there were only one man on the earth, he might have personal liberty
to do just as he liked, but the advent of the second man would end it.
Life is full of prohibitions to which we must submit for the good of
others.  Our streets are full of prohibitory signs, every one of which
infringes on our so-called personal liberty: "Keep off the grass," "Go
slow," "No smoking," "Do not feed the animals," "Post no bills,"
"Kindly refrain from conversation."

Those who profess to understand the human heart in all its workings,
notably beer-drinking bishops and brewers, declare that a prohibitory
measure rouses opposition in mankind.  When the law says, "Thou shalt
not," the individual replies, "I certainly shall!"  This is rather an
unkind cut at the ten commandments, which were given by divine
authority, and which make a lavish use of "Thou shalt not!"  These
brave souls, who feel such a desire to break every prohibition, must
have a hard time keeping out of jail.  No doubt it is with difficulty
that they restrain themselves from climbing over the railway gates
which are closed when the train comes in and which block the street for
a few minutes several times a day.

The Archbishop of York, speaking at the York Convention recently,
declared against prohibition on the ground that when the prohibition
was removed there might be "real and regrettable intemperance"--the
inference being that any little drinking that is going on now is of an
imaginary and trifling nature--and yet the Chancellor of the Exchequer
declares that the liquor traffic is a worse enemy than the Germans, and
Earl Kitchener has added his testimony to the same sentiment.

The Dean of Canterbury declared that he did not believe in prohibition,
for he once tried total abstinence and he found it impaired his health.
Of course the Dean's health must be kept up whether the warships are
built or not.  England may be suffering from loss of men, money and
efficiency, but why worry?  The Dean's health is excellent!  When we
pray for the erring, the careless and indifferent who never darken a
church door, let us not forget the selfish people who do darken the
church doors, and darken her altars as well!

But prohibition will not prohibit, say some.  For that matter, neither
does any prohibitory law; the laws against stealing do not entirely
prevent stealing; notwithstanding the laws prohibiting murder as set
down in the Decalogue, and also in the statute books of our country,
there are murders committed.  Prohibition will make liquor less
accessible.  Men may get it still, but it will give them some trouble.
In the year 1909 the saloons in the United States were closed at the
rate of forty-one a day, and $412,000,000 was the sum that the drink
bill decreased.  It would seem that prohibition had taken some effect.
But, in spite of the mass of evidence, there is still the argument
that, under prohibition, there will be much illicit selling of liquor.
It will be sold in livery stables and up back lanes, and be carried in
coal-oil cans, and labeled "gopher-poison."  Even so, that will not
make it any more deadly in its effects; the effect of liquor-drinking
is much the same whether it is drunk in "the gilded saloon," where
everything is exceedingly legal and regular, or up the back lane,
absolutely without authority.  Both are bad!

Under prohibition, a drunken man is a marked man--he is branded at once
as a law-breaker, and the attitude of the public is that of
indignation.  Under license, a drunken man is part of the system--and
passes without comment.  For this reason a small amount of drunkenness
in a prohibition territory is so noticeable that many people are
deceived into believing that there is more drunkenness under
prohibition than under license.  Prohibition does not produce
drunkenness, but it reveals it, underlines it.  Drunkenness in
prohibition territory is like a black mark on a white page, a dirty
spot on a clean dress; the same spot on a dirty dress would not be
noticed.

There was a licensed house in one of the small prairie towns, which
complied with all the regulations; it had the required number of
bedrooms; its windows were unscreened; the license fee was paid; the
bartender was a total abstainer, and a member of the union; also said
to be a man of good moral character; the proprietor regularly gave
twenty-five dollars a year to the Children's Aid, and put up a cup to
be competed for by the district hockey clubs.  Nothing could be more
regular or respectable, and yet, when men drank the liquor there it had
appalling results.  There was one Irishman who came frequently to the
bar and drank like a gentleman, treating every person and never looking
for change from his dollar bill.  One Christmas Eve, the drinking went
on all night and well into Christmas Day.  Then the Irishman, who was
the life of the party, went home, remembering what day it was.  It all
came out in the evidence that he had taken home with him presents for
his wife and children, so that his intention toward them was the
kindest.  His wife's intention was kind, too.  She waited dinner for
him, and the parcels she had prepared for Christmas presents were
beside the plates on the table.  For him she had knitted a pair of gray
stockings with green rings around them.  They were also shown as
evidence at the inquest!

It is often claimed that prohibition will produce a lot of sneaking
drunkards, but, of course, this man had done his drinking under
license, and was of the open and above-board type of drinker.  There
was nothing underhand or sneaking about him.  He drank openly, and when
he went home, and his wife asked him why he had stayed away so long, he
killed her--not in any underhand or sneaking way.  Not at all.  Right
in the presence of the four little children who had been watching for
him all morning at the window, he killed her.  When he came to himself,
he remembered nothing about it, he said, and those who knew him
believed him.  A blind pig could not have done much worse for that
family!  Now, could it?

Years after, when the eldest girl had grown to be a woman, she took
sick with typhoid fever and the doctor told her she would die, and she
turned her face to the wall and said: "I am glad."  A friend who stood
beside her bed spoke of heaven and the blessed rest that there remains,
and the joy of the life everlasting.  The girl roused herself and said,
bitterly: "I ask only one thing of heaven and that is, that I may
forget the look in my mother's face when she saw he intended to kill
her.  I do not want to live again.  I only want to forget!"  The
respectability of the house and the legality of the sale did not seem
to be any help to her.

But there are people who cry out against prohibition that you cannot
make men moral, or sober, by law.  But that is exactly what you can do.
The greatest value a law has is its moral value.  It is the silent
pressure of the law on public opinion which gives it its greatest
value.  The punishment for the infringement of the law is not its only
way of impressing itself on the people.  It is the moral impact of a
law that changes public sentiment, and to say that you cannot make men
sober by law is as foolish as to say you cannot keep cattle from
destroying the wheat by building a fence between them and it, or to
claim you cannot make a crooked twig grow straight by tying it
straight.  Humanity can do anything it wants to do.  There is no limit
to human achievement.  Whoever declares that things cannot be done
which are for the betterment of the race, insults the Creator of us
all, who is not willing that any should perish, but that all should
live and live abundantly.



CHAPTER XI

AS A MAN THINKETH

  When the valley is brimming with sunshine,
    And the Souris, limpid and clear,
  Slips over its shining pebbles
    And the harvest time draws near,
  The heart of the honest plowman
    Is filled with content and cheer!

  It is only the poor, rich farmer
    Whose heart is heavy with dread,
  When over the smiling valley
    The mantle of harvest is spread;
  "For the season," he says, "is backward
    And the grain is only in head!"

  The hired man loves the twilight
    When the purple hills grow dim,
  And he smiles at the glittering blackbirds
    Which round him circle and skim;
  His road is embroidered with sunflowers
    That lazily nod at him!

  But the rich man's heart is heavy,
    With gloom and fear opprest;
  For he knows the red-winged blackbird
    As an evil-minded pest,
  And the golden brown-eyed sunflower
    Is only a weed, at best!

  When the purple rain-clouds gather
    And a mist comes over the hills,
  A peace beyond all telling
    The hired man's bosom fills,
  And the long, long sleep in the morning
    His heart with rapture fills.

  But the rich man's heart is heavy
    With gloom and fear of loss,
  When the purple clouds drop moisture
    On field and flower and moss;
  It's all very well for the plowman,
    But it's not well at all for the "Boss."

  When the moonlight lies on the valley
    And into the hayloft streams,
  Where the humble laborer snoreth
    And dreameth his peaceful dreams;
  It silvers his slumbering fancies
    With the witchery of its beams.

  But the poor rich man is restless,
    For his heart is on his sheaves;
  And the moonlight, cold and cloudless,
    For him no fancy weaves,
  For the glass is falling, falling,
    And the grain will surely freeze!

  So the poor rich farmer misses
    What makes this old world sweet;
  And the weather grieves the heart of him
    With too much rain or heat;
  For there's nothing gold that can't be sold,
    And there's nothing good but wheat!


There is no class of people who have suffered so much from wrong
thinking as the farmer; vicarious wrong thinking, I mean; other people
have done the wrong thinking, and the farmer has suffered.  Like many
another bromide, the thought has grown on people that farmers are slow,
uncouth, guileless, easily imposed on, ready to sign a promissory note
for any smooth-tongued stranger who comes in for dinner.  The stage and
the colored supplements have spread this impression of the farmer, and
the farmer has not cared.  He felt he could stand it!  Perhaps the
women on the farm feel it more than the men, for women are more
sensitive about such things.  "Poor girl!" say the kind friends.  "She
went West and married a farmer"--and forthwith a picture of the
farmer's wife rises up before their eyes; the poor, faded woman, in a
rusty black luster skirt sagging in the back and puckering in the
seams; coat that belonged to a suit in other days; a black sailor hat,
gray with years and dust, with a sad cluster of faded violets, and torn
tulle trimming, sitting crooked on her head; hair the color of last
year's grass, and teeth gone in front.

There is no reason for the belief that farmers' wives as a class look
and dress like this, only that people love to generalize; to fit cases
to their theory, they love to find ministers' sons wild; mothers-in-law
disagreeable; women who believe in suffrage neglecting their children,
and farmers' wives shabby, discouraged and sad.

I do not believe that farmers' wives are a down-trodden class of women.
They have their troubles like other people.  It rains in threshing
time, and the threshers' visit is prolonged until long after their
welcome has been worn to a frazzle!  Father won't dress up even when
company is coming.  Father also has a mania for buying land instead of
building a new house; and sometimes works the driving horse.  Cows
break out of pastures; hawks get the chickens; hens lay away;
clothes-lines break.

They have their troubles, but there are compensations.  Their houses
may be small, but there is plenty of room outside; they may not have
much spending money, but the rent is always paid; they are saved from
the many disagreeable things that are incident to city life, and they
have great opportunity for developing their resources.

When the city woman wants a shelf put up she 'phones to the City
Relief, and gets a man to do it for her; the farmer's wife hunts up the
hammer and a soap box and puts up her own shelf, and gains the
independence of character which only come from achievement.  Similarly
the children of the country neighborhoods have had to make their own
fun, which they do with great enthusiasm, for, under any circumstances,
children will play.  The city children pay for their amusement.  They
pay their nickel, and sit back, apparently saying: "Now, amuse me if
you can!  What are you paid for?"  The blasé city child who comes
sighing out of picture shows is a sad sight.  They know everything, and
their little souls are a-weary of this world.  It is a cold day for any
child who has nothing left to wonder at.

The desire to play is surely a great stroke of Providence, and one of
which the world has only recently begun to learn.  Take the matter of
picnics.  I have seen people hold a picnic on the bare prairie, where
the nearest tree was miles away, and the only shade was that of a
barbed-wire fence, but everybody was happy.  The success of a picnic
depends upon the mental attitude, not on cool shade or purling streams.

I remember seeing from the train window a party of young people
carrying a boat and picnic baskets, one hot day in July.  A little
farther on we passed a tiny lake set in a thick growth of tall grass.
It was a very small lake, indeed.  I ran to the rear platform of the
train and watched it as long as I could; I was so afraid some cow would
come along and drink it dry before they got there.

Not long ago I made some investigations as to why boys and girls leave
the farm, and I found in over half the cases the reason given was that
life on the farm was "too slow, too lonely, and no fun."  In country
neighborhoods family life means more than it does in the city.  The
members of a family are at each other's mercy; and so, if the "father"
always has a grouch, and the "mother" is worried, and tired, and cross,
small wonder that the children try to get away.  In the city there is
always the "movie" to go to, and congenial companionship down the
street, and so we mourn the depopulation of our rural neighborhoods.

We all know that the country is the best place in which to bring up
children; that the freckle-faced boy, with bare feet, who hunts up the
cows after school, and has to keep the woodbox full, and has to
remember to shut the henhouse door, is getting a far better education
than the carefree city boy who has everything done for him.

It is a good thing that boys leave the farm and go to the city--I mean
it is a good thing for the city--but it is hard on the farm.  Of late
years this question has become very serious and has caused alarm.
Settlements which, ten or fifteen years ago, had many young people and
a well-filled school and well-attended church, with the real owners
living on the farms, have now become depopulated by farmers retiring to
a nearby town and "renters" taking the place.  "Renters" are very often
very poor, and sometimes shiftless--no money to spend on anything but
the real necessities; sometimes even too poor to send their children to
school.

One cause for this is that our whole attitude toward labor is wrong.
We look upon labor as an uncomfortable experience, which, if we endure
with patience, we may hope to outgrow and be able to get away from.  We
practically say: "Let us work now, so that by and by we may be able to
live without working!"  Many a farmer and his wife have denied
themselves everything for years, comforting themselves with the thought
that when they have enough money they will "retire."  They will not
take the time or the money to go to a concert, or a lecture, or a
picnic, but tell themselves that when they retire they will just go to
everything.  So just when they have everything in fine shape on the
farm, when the lilacs are beginning to bloom and the raspberry bushes
are bearing, they "retire."  Father's rheumatism is bad, and mother
can't get help, so they rent the farm and retire.

The people to whom the farm is rented do not care anything about the
lilac or raspberry bushes--there is no money in them.  All they care
about is wheat--they have to pay the rent and they want to make money.
They have the wheat lust, so the lilacs bloom or not as they feel
disposed, and the cattle trample down the raspberry bushes and the gate
falls off the top hinge.  Meanwhile the farmer and his wife move into
town and buy a house.  They get just a small house, for the wife says
she's tired of working.  Every morning at 4.30 o'clock they waken.
They often thought about how nice it would be not to have to get up;
but now, someway it isn't nice.  They can't sleep, everything is so
quiet.  Not a rooster crowing.  Nor a hen cackling!  They get up and
look out.  All down the street the blinds are drawn.  Everybody is
asleep--and it all looks so blamed lazy.

They get up.  But there is nothing to do.  The woman is not so badly
off--a woman can always tease out linen and sew it up again, and she
can always crochet.  Give her a crochet needle, and a spool of
"sil-cotton," and she will keep out of mischief.  But the man is not so
easy to account for.  He tries hard to get busy.  He spades the garden
as if he were looking for diamonds.  He cleans the horse until the poor
brute hates the sight of him.  He piles his wood so carefully that the
neighbors passing call out and ask him if he "intends to varnish it."
He mends everything that needs it, and is glad when he finds a picket
off the fence.  He tries to read the _Farmers' Advocate_.  They brought
in a year's number of them that they had never got time to read on the
farm.  Someway, they have lost their charm.  It seems so lazy in broad
daylight for a grown man to sit down and read.  He takes a walk
downtown, and meets up with some idle men like himself.  They sit on
the sidewalk and settle the government and the church and various
things.

"Well, I must be gittin'!" at last he declares; then suddenly he
remembers that he has nothing to do at home--everything is done to a
finish--and a queer, detached feeling comes over him.  He is no longer
needed anywhere.

Somebody is asking him to come in for a drink, and he goes!  Why
shouldn't he have a drink or anything else that he wants, he asks
himself.  He has worked hard.  He'll take two.  He'll go even further,
he'll treat the crowd.  When he finally goes home and sleeps it off, he
finds he has spent $1.05, and he is repentant.

That night a young lady calls, selling tickets for a concert, and his
wife would have bought them, but he says: "Go slow, Minnie, you can't
buy everything.  It's awful the way money goes in town.  We'll see
about this concert--maybe we'll go, but we won't buy tickets--it might
rain!"

They do not buy the tickets--neither do they go.  Minnie does not care
much about going out.  She has stayed in too long.  But he continues to
sit on the sidewalk, and he hears many things.

Sometimes people have attributed to women the habit of gossiping, but
the idle men, who sit on the sidewalks of the small towns or tilt back
in the yellow round-back chairs on the hotel verandas, can blacken more
characters to the hour than any other class of human beings.  He hears
all the putrid stories of the little town; they are turned over and
discussed in all their obnoxious details.  At first, he is repelled by
them, for he is a decent fellow, this man who put in the lilacs and the
raspberry bushes back there on the farm.  He objects to the remarks
that are passed about the women who go by, and he says so, and he and
one of the other men have "words."

The bartender hears it and comes out and settles it by inviting
everyone in to have "one on the house."

That brings back good-fellowship, and everyone treats.  He sees then
that nobody meant any harm--it was all just in fun.  A few glasses of
"White Horse" will keep a man from being too sensitive about things.
So he laughs with the others at the indecent joke.  This is life--town
life.  Now he is out in the world!

So begins the degeneration of a man, and it is all based on the false
attitude we have toward labor.  His idea of labor was wrong while he
was on the farm.  He worked and did nothing else, until he forgot how
to do everything else.  Then he stopped working, and he was lost.

Why any rational human being wants to "retire" to the city, goes beyond
me!  I can understand the city man, worn with the noise, choked by the
dust, frazzled with cares, retiring to the country, where he can heal
his tired soul, pottering around his own garden, and watching green
things grow.  That seems reasonable and logical!  But for a man who has
known the delight of planting and reaping to retire to a city or a
small town, and "hang around," doing nothing, is surely a retrograde
step.

The retired farmer is seldom interested in community matters--they
usually vote against any by-law for improvement.  Coal-oil lamps were
good enough on the farm--why should a town have electric light?  Why
should a town spend money on cement sidewalks when they already have
good dirt roads?  He will not subscribe funds for the support of a
gymnasium, hockey club or public baths.  He does not understand about
the need of exercise, he always got too much; and he doesn't see any
reason why the boys should not go to the river and swim.

It is not that the farmer is selfish or mean above or below other men.
It is because he has not learned team play or the community spirit.
But it is coming.  The farmer has been an independent fellow, able to
get along without much help from anyone.  He could always hire plenty
of men, and there are machines for every need.  So far as the farmer
has been concerned, he could get along very well.

It has not been so with the farmer's wife.  More than any other woman
she has needed help, and less than any other woman has she got it.  She
has been left alone, to live or die, sink or swim.

Machines for helping the man on the farm are on the market in great
numbers, and are bought eagerly, for the farmer reasons out the matter
quite logically, and arrives at the conclusion that anything which will
add to the productiveness of his farm is good buying.  He can see the
financial value of a seeder, or a roller, or a feed chopper.  Now, with
a washing-machine it is different.  A washing-machine can only wash
clothes, and his wife has always been able to get the clothes washed
some way.  The farmer does not see any return for his ten dollars and a
half, and so he passes up the machine.  Besides this, his mother never
used one, and always managed to keep the clothes clean, too, and that
settles it!

The outside farm work has progressed wonderfully, but the indoor farm
work is done in exactly the same way as it was twenty-five years ago,
with the possible exception of the cream-separator.

Many a farmyard, with its binders, rakes, drills, rollers, gasoline
engine, fanning-mill, and steam-plow looks as if someone had been
giving a machinery shower; but in the kitchen you will find the old
washboard and dasher churn, which belonged to the same era as the
reaping hook and tallow candle.  The women still carry the water in a
pail from a pump outside, wash the dishes on the kitchen table, and
carry the water out again in a pail; although out in the barn the water
is pumped by a windmill, or a gasoline engine.  The outside work on the
farm is done by horse, steam, or gasoline, but the indoor work is all
done by woman-power.

And then, when the woman-power gives out, as it does many times, under
the strain of hard work and childbearing, the whole neighborhood mourns
and says: "God's ways are past finding out."

I remember once attending the funeral of a woman who had been doing the
work for a family of six children and three hired men, and she had not
even a baby carriage to make her work lighter.  When the last baby was
three days old, just in threshing time, she died.  Suddenly, and
without warning, the power went off, and she quit without notice.  The
bereaved husband was the most astonished man in the world.  He had
never known Jane to do a thing like that before, and he could not get
over it.  In threshing time, too!

"I don't know what could have happened to Jane--a strong young woman
like her," he said over and over again.

We all gathered at the house that afternoon and paid our respects to
the deceased sister, and we were all very sorry for poor Ed.  We said
it was a terrible way for a poor man to be left.

The chickens came close to the dining-room door, and looked in,
inquisitively.  They could not understand why she did not come out and
feed them, and when they were driven away they retreated in evident bad
humor, gossiping openly of the shiftless, lazy ways of folks they could
mention, if they wished to name names.

The six little children, whom the neighbor women had dressed in their
best clothes, sat dazed and silent, fascinated by the draped black
coffin; but the baby, the tiny one who had just entered the race,
gathered up the feeling of the meeting, and cried incessantly in a room
upstairs.  It was a hard rebellious cry, too, as if the little one
realized that an injustice had been done.

Just above the coffin hung an enlarged picture of "Jane" in her wedding
dress, and it was a bright face that looked out at the world from the
heavy gold frame, a sweet girlish face, which seemed to ask a question
with its eager eyes.  And there below, in the black draped coffin, was
the answer--the same face, only a few years older, but tired, so
inexpressibly tired, cold and silent; its light gone out--the power
gone off.  Jane had been given her answer.  And upstairs Jane's baby
cried its bitter, insistent cry.

Just then the minister began to read the words of the funeral service:

"Inasmuch as it hath _pleased_ the Lord...."

This happened in the fall of the year, and the next spring, just before
the busy time came on, the bereaved husband dried his eyes, painted his
buggy, and went out and married one of the neighbor's daughters, a good
strong one--and so his house is still running on woman-power.

If men had to bear the pain and weariness of child-bearing, in addition
to the unending labors of housework and caring for children, for one
year, at the end of that time there would be a perfect system of
coöperation and labor-saving devices in operation, for men have not the
genius for martyrdom that women have; and they know the value of
coöperative labor.  No man tries to do everything the way women do.  No
man aspires to making his own clothes, cleaning his own office,
pressing his own suits, or even cleaning his own shoes.  All these
things he is quite willing to let people do for him, while he goes
ahead and does his own work.  Man's work is systematized well and
leaves a man free to work in his own way.  His days are not broken up
by details.

On the other hand the home is the most haphazard institution we have.
Everything is done there.  (I am speaking now of the homes in the
country.)  In each of the homes there is a little bit of washing done,
a little dressmaking, a little butter-making, a little baking, a little
ironing going on, and it is all by hand-power, which is the most
expensive power known.  It is also being done largely by amateurs, and
that adds to the amount of labor expended.  Women have worked away at
these endless tasks for generations, lovingly, unselfishly, doing their
level best to do everything, with no thought of themselves at all.
When things get too many for them, and the burdens overpower them, they
die quietly, and some other woman, young, strong and fresh, takes their
place, and the modest white slab in the graveyard says, "Thy will be
done," and everybody is apparently satisfied.  The Lord is blamed for
the whole thing.

Now, if men, with their good organizing ability and their love of
comfort and their sense of their own importance, were set down to do
the work that women have done all down the centuries, they would evolve
a scheme something like this in each of the country neighborhoods.
There would be a central station, municipally owned and operated, one
large building fitted out with machinery that would be run by gasoline,
electricity, or natural gas.  This building would contain in addition
to the school-rooms, a laundry room, a bake-shop, a creamery, a
dressmaking establishment, and perhaps a butcher shop.

The consolidated school and the "Beef-rings" in the country district
are already established facts, and have opened the way for this larger
scheme of coöperation.  In this manner the work would be done by
experts, and in the cheapest way, leaving the women in the farm homes
with time and strength to raise their children.

This plan would solve the problem, too, of young people leaving the
farm.  Many of the young people would find occupation in the central
station and become proficient in some branch of the work carried on
there.  They would find not only employment, but the companionship of
people of their own age.  The central station would become a social
gathering place in the evenings for all the people of the district, and
it is not too visionary to see in it a lecture hall, a moving-picture
machine, and a music room.  Then the young people would be kept on the
farms because their homes would be pleasanter places.  No woman can
bake, wash, scrub, cook meals and raise children and still be happy.
To do all these things would make an archangel irritable, and no home
can be happy when the poor mother is too tired to smile!  The children
feel an atmosphere of gloom, and naturally get away from it as soon as
they can.  The overworked mother cannot make the home attractive; the
things that can be left undone are left undone, and so the cushions on
the lounge are dirty and torn, the pictures hang crooked on the walls,
and the hall lamp has had no oil in it for months.  That does not
matter, though, for the family live in the kitchen, and, during the
winter, the other part of the house is of the same temperature as a
well.  Knowing that she is not keeping her house as it should be kept
has taken the heart out of many a woman on the farm.  But what can she
do?  The meals have to be cooked; the butter must be made!

There are certain burdens which could be removed from the women on the
farm; there is part of their work that could be done cheaper and better
elsewhere, and the whole farm and all its people would reap the benefit.

But right about here I think I hear from Brother Bones of Bonesville:

"Do you mean to say that we should pay for the washing, ironing,
bread-making, sewing?" he cries out.  "We never could afford it, and,
besides, what would the women put in their time at if all that work was
done for them?"

Brother Bones, we can always afford to pay for things in money rather
than in human flesh and blood.  That is the most exorbitant price the
race can pay for anything, and we have been paying for farm work that
way for a long time.  If you doubt this statement, I can show you the
receipts which have been chiseled in stone and marble in every
graveyard.

      SACRED TO THE MEMORY
               OF
              JANE

  BELOVED WIFE OF EDWARD JAMES.
   AGED 32 YEARS AND 6 MONTHS.


Who can estimate the worth of a mother to her family and the community?

An old widower, who was reproved for marrying a very young girl for his
third wife, exonerated himself from blame by saying: "It would ruin any
man to be always buryin', and buryin'."

But Brother Bones is not yet satisfied, and he is sure the women will
have nothing to do if such a scheme would be followed out, and he tells
us that his mother always did these things herself and raised her
family, too.

"I can tell you," says Brother Bones, "my mother knew something about
rearing children; she raised seven and buried seven, and she never lay
in bed for more than three days with any of them.  Poor mother, she was
a very smart woman--at least so I have been told--I don't remember her."

That's just the point, Brother Bones.  It is a great thing to have the
memory of such a self-sacrificing mother, but it would be a greater
thing to have your mother live out her days; and then, too, we are
thinking of the "seven" she buried.  That seems like a wicked and
unnecessary waste of young life, of which we should feel profoundly
ashamed.  Poor little people, who came into life, tired and weak,
fretfully complaining, burdened already with the cares of the world and
its unending labor--

  Your old earth, they say, is very weary;
  Our young feet, they say, are very weak,

and when the measles or whooping-cough assails them they have no
strength to battle with it, and so they pass out, and again the Lord is
blamed!

It is very desirable for the world that people should be born and
brought up in the country with its honest, wholesome ways learned in
the open; its habits of meditation, which have grown on the people as
they have gone about their work in the quiet places.  Thought currents
in the country are strong and virile, and flow freely.  There is an
honesty of purpose in the man who strikes out the long furrow, and
turns over every inch of the sod, painstakingly and without pretense;
for he knows that he cannot cheat nature; he will get back what he puts
in; he will reap what he sows--for Nature has no favorites, and no
short-cuts, nor can she be deceived, fooled, cajoled or flattered.

We need the unaffected honesty and sterling qualities which the country
teaches her children in the hard, but successful, school of experience,
to offset the flashy supercilious lessons which the city teaches hers;
for the city is a careless nurse and teacher, who thinks more of the
cut of a coat than of the habit of mind; who feeds her children on
colored candy and popcorn, despising the more wholesome porridge and
milk; a slatternly nurse, who would rather buy perfume than soap; who
allows her children to powder their necks instead of washing them; who
decks them out in imitation lace collars, and cheap jewelry, with bows
on their hair, but holes in their stockings; who dazzles their eyes
with bright lights and commercial signs, and fills their ears with
blatant music, until their eyes are too dull to see the pastel beauty
of common things, and their ears are holden to the still small voices
of God; who lures her children on with many glittering promises of ease
and wealth, which she never intends to keep, and all the time whispers
to them that this is life.

The good old country nurse is stern but kind, and gives her children
hard lessons, which tax body and brain, but never fail to bring a great
reward.  She sends them on long journeys, facing the piercing winter
winds, but rewards them when the journey is over with rosy cheeks and
contented mind, and an appetite that is worth going miles to see; and
although she makes her children work long hours, until their muscles
ache, she gives them, for reward, sweet sleep and pleasant dreams; and
sometimes there are the sweet surprises along life's highway; the
sudden song of birds or burst of sunshine; the glory of the sunrise,
and sunset, and the flash of bluebirds' wings across the road, and the
smell of the good green earth.

Happy is the child who learns earth's wisdom from the good old country
nurse, who does better than she promises, and always "makes her
children mind"!



CHAPTER XII

THE WAR AGAINST GLOOM

  Not for all sunshine, dear Lord, do we pray--
    We know such a prayer would be vain;
  But that strength may be ours to keep right on our way,
    Never minding the rain!


It is a great thing to be young, when every vein throbs with energy and
life, when the rhythm of life beats its measures into our hearts and
calls upon us to keep step with Joy and Gladness, as we march
confidently down the white road which leads to the Land of our Desire.
God made every young thing to be happy.  He put joy and harmony into
every little creature's heart.  Who ever saw a kitten with a grouch?
Or a little puppy who was a pessimist?  But you have seen sad children
a-plenty, and we are not blaming the Almighty for that either.  God's
plans have been all right, but they have been badly interfered with by
human beings.

When a young colt gallops around the corral, kicking and capering and
making a good bit of a nuisance of himself, the old horses watch him
sympathetically, and very tolerantly.  They never say; "It is well for
you that you can be so happy--you'll have your troubles soon enough.
Childhood is your happiest time--you do well to enjoy it, for there's
plenty of trouble ahead of you!"

Horses never talk this way.  This is a distinctively human way of
depressing the young.  People do it from a morbid sense of duty.  They
feel that mirth and laughter are foreign to our nature, and should be
curbed as something almost wicked.

"It's a fine day, today!" we admit grudgingly, "but, look out!  We'll
pay up for it!"

"I have been very well all winter, but I must not boast.  Touch wood!"

The inference here is that when we are healthy or happy or enjoying a
fine day, we are in an abnormal condition.  We are getting away with a
bit of happiness that is not intended for us.  God is not noticing, and
we had better go slow and keep dark about it, or He will waken up with
a start, and send us back to our aches and pains and our dull leaden
skies!  Thus have we sought to sow the seeds of despondency and
unbelief in the world around us.

In the South African War, there was a man who sowed the seeds of
despondency among the British soldiers; he simply talked defeat and
disaster, and so greatly did he damage the morale of the troops that an
investigation had to be made, and as a result the man was sent to jail
for a year.  People have been a long time learning that thoughts are
things to heal, upbuild, strengthen; or to wound, impair, or blight.
After all we cannot do very much for many people, no matter how hard we
try, but we can contribute to their usefulness and happiness by holding
for them a kind thought if we will.

There are people who depress you so utterly that if you had to remain
under their influence they would rob you of all your ambition and
initiative, while others inspire you to do better, to achieve, to
launch out.  Life is made up of currents of thought as real as are the
currents of air, and if we could but see them, there are currents of
thought we would avoid as we would smallpox germs.

Sadness is not our normal mental condition, nor is weakness our normal
physical condition.  God intended us to laugh and play and work, come
to our beds at night weary and ready to sleep--and wake refreshed.

"As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he!"  No truer words were ever
spoken, and yet men try to define themselves by houses and lands and
manners and social position, but all to no avail.  The old rule holds.
It is your thought which determines what manner of man you are.  The
respectable man who keeps within the law and does no outward harm, but
who thinks sordidly, meanly, or impurely, is the man of all others who
is farthest from the kingdom of God, because he does not feel his need,
nor can anyone help him.  Thoughts are harder to change than ways.

"Let the wicked man forsake his ways, and the unrighteous man his
thoughts," declared Isaiah long ago, and there is no doubt the
unrighteous man has the hardest and biggest proposition put up to him.

When the power of thought is understood, there will be a change in our
newspapers.  Now the tendency is to ignore the good in life and
underline the evil in red ink.  If a man commits a theft, it will make
a newspaper story, bought and paid for at regular rates.  If it is a
very big steal, you may wire it in and get telegraphic rates.  If the
thief shoots a man, too, send along his picture and you may make the
story two columns.  If he shoots two or three people, you may give him
the whole front page, and somebody will write a book about him.  It
will sell, too.  How much more wholesome would our newspapers be, if
they published the good deeds of men and women rather than their
misdoings.  Why should not as much space be given to the man who saves
a life, as is given to the man who takes a life?  Why not let us hear
more of the boy who went right, rather than of the one who went wrong?
I remember once reading an obscure little paragraph about a man who
every year a few days before Christmas sent twenty-five dollars to the
Postal Department at Ottawa, to pay the deficit on Christmas parcels
which were held up for insufficient postage.  Such a thoughtful act of
Christian charity should have been given a place on the front page, for
in the words of Jennie Allen: "Life ain't any too full of nice little
surprises like that."  Why should people enjoy the contemplation of
evil rather than good?  Is it because it makes their own little
contribution of respectability seem larger by comparison?

We have missed a great deal of the joy of life by taking ourselves too
seriously.  We exaggerate our own importance, and so if the honor or
distinction or the vote of thanks does not come our way, we are hurt!
Then, too, we live in an atmosphere of dread and fear--we fear poverty
and hard work--we fear the newspapers and the neighbors, and fear is
hell!

When you begin to feel all fussed up, worried, and cross, frayed at the
edges, and down at the heel--go out and look up at the stars.  They are
so serene, detached, and uncaring!  Calmly shining down upon us they
rebuke the fussiness of our little souls, and tell us to cheer up, for
our little affairs do not much matter anyway.

  The earthly hope men set their hearts upon
  Turns ashes, or it prospers--and anon
  Like snow upon the desert's arid face,
  Cooling a little hour or two--is gone!


It is a great mistake for us to mistake ourselves for the President of
the company.  Let us do our little bit with cheerfulness and not take
the responsibility that belongs to God.  None of us can turn the earth
around; all we can ever hope to do is to hit it a few whacks on the
right side.  We belong to a great system; a system which can convince
even the dullest of us of its greatness.  Think of the miracle of night
and day enacted before our eyes every twenty-four hours.  Right on the
dot comes the sun up over the saucer-like rim of the earth, never a
minute late.  Think of the journey the earth makes around the sun every
year--a matter of 360,000,000 miles more or less--and it makes the
journey in an exact time and arrives on the stroke of the clock, no
washout on the line; no hot box; no spread rail; no taking on of coal
or water; no employees' strike.  It never drops a stick; it never slips
a cog; and whirls in through space always on the minute.  And that
without any help from either you or me!  Some system, isn't it?

I believe we may safely trust God even with our affairs.  When the war
broke out we all experienced a bad attack of gloom.  We were afraid God
had forgotten us and gone off the job.  And yet, even now, we begin to
see light through the dark clouds of sorrow and confusion.  If the war
brings about the abolition of the liquor traffic, it will be justified.
Incidentally the war has already brought many by-products which are
wholly good, and it would almost seem as if there is a plan in it after
all.

Life is a great struggle against gloom, and we could fight it better if
we always remembered that happiness is a condition of heart and is not
dependent on outward conditions.  The kingdom of heaven is within you.
Everything depends on the point of view.

  Two prisoners looked out once through the bars,
  One saw the mud, the other saw the stars.


Looking into the sky one sees the dark clouds and foretells rain, and
the picnic spoiled; another sees the rift of blue and foretells fine
weather.  Looking out on life, one sees only its sad grayness; another
sees the thread of gold, "which sometimes in the patterns shows most
sweet where there are somber colors"!  Happiness is a condition, and if
you are not happy now, you had better be alarmed about yourself, for
you may never be.

There was a woman who came with her family to the prairie country
thirty-five years ago.  They built a house, which in those days of sod
roofs and Red-River frames seemed quite palatial, for had it not a
"parlor" and a pantry and three bedrooms?  The lady grieved and mourned
incessantly because it had no back-stairs.  In ten years they built
another house, and it had everything, back-stairs, dumb-waiter, and
laundry shoot, and all the neighbors wondered if the lady would be
happy then.  She wasn't.  She wanted to live in the city.  She had the
good house now and that part of her discontent was closed down, so it
broke out in another place.  She hated the country.  By diligently
keeping at it, she induced her husband to go to the city where the poor
man was about as much at home as a sailor at a dry-farming congress.
He made no complaint, however.  The complaint department was always
busy!  She suddenly discovered that a Western city was not what she
wanted.  It was "down East."  So they went.  They bought a beautiful
home in the orchard country in Ontario, and her old neighbors watched
development.  Surely she had found peace at last--but she hadn't.  She
did not like the people--she missed the friendliness of the new
country; also she objected to the winters, and her dining-room was
dark, and the linen closet was small.  Soon after moving to Ontario she
died, and we presume went to heaven.  It does not matter where she
went--she won't like it, anyway.  She had the habit of discontent.

There's no use looking ahead for happiness--look around!  If it is
anywhere, it is here.

"I am going out to bring in some apples to eat," said a farmer to his
wife.

"Mind you bring in the spotted ones," said she who had a frugal mind.

"What'll I do if there are no spotted ones?" he asked.

"Don't bring any--just wait until they do spot!"

Too many people do not eat their apples until they are spotted.

But we know that life has its tragedies, its heartaches, its gloom, in
spite of all our philosophy.  We may as well admit it.  We have no
reason to believe that we shall escape, but we have reason to hope that
when these things come to us we will be able to bear them.

"Thou shalt not be _afraid_ of the terror by day, nor of the arrow that
flieth by night, nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness, nor
for the destruction that wasteth at noonday."

You will notice here that the promise is that you will not be afraid of
these things.  They may come to you, but they will not overpower you,
or destroy you utterly, for you will not be afraid of them.  It is fear
that kills.  It is better to have misfortunes come, and be brave to
meet them, than to be afraid of them all your life, even if they never
come.

Gloom and doubt and fear paralyze the soul and sow it thick with the
seeds of defeat.  No man is a failure until he admits it himself.

Tramps have a way of marking gateposts so that their companions who may
come along afterwards may know exactly what sort of people live inside,
and whether it is worth while to ask them for a meal.  A certain sign
means "Easy people--no questions"; another sign means "Nothing
stirring--don't go in"; another means "Beat it or they'll give you a
job with lots of advice!" and still another means "Dog."  Every doubt
and fear that enters your heart, or tries to enter, leaves its mark
upon the gatepost of your soul, and it serves as a guide for every
other doubt and fear which may come along, and if they once mark you
"Easy," that signal will act as an invitation for their twin brother
"Defeat," who will, without warning, slip into your heart and make
himself at home.

Doubts and fears are disloyalty to God--they are expressions of a want
of confidence in Him, but, of course, that's what is wrong with our
religion.  We have not got enough of it.  Too many of us have just
enough religion to make ourselves miserable--just enough to spoil our
taste for worldly pleasures and not enough to give us a taste for the
real things of life.  There are many good qualities which are only an
aggravation if we have not enough of them.  "Every good and perfect
gift cometh from above."  You see it is not enough for the gift to be
"good"--it must be "perfect," and that means abundant.  Too long we
have thought of religion as something in the nature of straight life
insurance--we would have to die to get the good of it.  But it isn't.
The good of it is here, and now we can "lift" it every day if we will.
No person can claim wages for half time; that's where so much
dissatisfaction has come in, and people have found fault with the
company.  People have taken up the service of God as a polite little
side-line and worked at it when they felt like it--Sunday afternoons
perhaps or rainy days, when there was nothing else going on; and then
when no reward came--no peace of soul--they were disposed to grumble.
They were like plenty of policy-holders and did not read the contract,
or perhaps some agent had in the excess of his zeal made it too easy
for them.  The reward comes only when you put your whole strength on
all the time.  Out in the Middle West they have a way of making the
cattle pump their own water by a sort of platform, which the weight of
an animal will press down, and the water is forced up into a trough.
Sometimes a blasé old ox who sees the younger and lighter steers doing
this, feels that he with his superior experience and weight will only
have to put one foot on to bring up the water, but he finds that one
foot won't do, or even two.  He has to get right on, and give to it his
full weight.  It takes the whole ox, horns, hoofs and tail.  That's the
way it is in religion--by which we mean the service of God and man.  It
takes you--all the time; and the reward is work, and peace, and a
satisfaction in your work that passeth all understanding.  No more
grinding fear, no more "bad days," no more wishing to die, no more
nervous prostration.  Just work and peace!

Did you ever have to keep house when your mother went away, when you
did not know very well how to do things, and every meal sat like a
weight on your young heart, and the fear was ever present with you that
the bread would go sour or the house burn down, or burglars would come,
or someone would take sick?  The days were like years as they slowly
crawled around the face of the old clock on the kitchen shelf, and even
at night you could not forget the awful burden of responsibility.

But one day, one glorious day she came home, and the very minute you
heard her step on the floor, the burden was lifted.  Your work was very
much the same, but the responsibility was gone, and cheerfulness came
back to your eyes, and smiles to your face.

That is what it feels like when you "get religion."  The worry and
burden of life is gone.  Somebody else has the responsibility and you
work with a light heart.  It is the responsibility of life that kills
us, the worry, fear, uncertainty, and anxiety.  How we envy the man who
works by the day, just does his little bit, and has no care!  This
immunity from care may be ours if we link ourselves with God.

Think of Moses' mother!  There she was hired to take care of her own
son.  Doing the very thing she loved to do all week and getting her pay
envelope every Saturday night.  So may we.  God hires us to do our work
for Him, and pays us as we go along--the only stipulation being that we
do our best.

"I have shown thee, O man, what is good!" declared Micah long ago.
"What doth now the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, to love
mercy and walk humbly with thy God!"  In "walking humbly, doing justly,
and loving mercy," there is no place for worry and gloom; there is
great possibility of love and much serving, and God in His goodness
breaks up our reward into a thousand little things which attend us
every step of the way, just as the white ray of light by the drop of
water is broken into the dazzling beauty of the rainbow.  The burning
bush which Moses saw is not the only bush which flames with God, and
seeks to show to us a sign.  Nature spares no pains to make things
beautiful; trees have serrated leaves; birds and flowers have color;
the butterflies' wings are splashed with gold; moss grows over the
fallen tree, and grass covers the scar on the landscape.  Nature hides
her wounds in beauty.  Nature spares no pains to make things beautiful,
for beauty is nourishing.  Beauty is thrift, ugliness is waste,
ugliness is sin which scatters, destroys, integrates.  But beauty
heals, nourishes, sustains.  There is a reason for sending flowers to
the sick.

Nature has no place for sadness and repining.  The last leaf on the
tree dances in the breezes as merrily as when it had all its lovely
companions by its side, and when its hold is loosened on the branch
which bares it, it joins its brothers on the ground without regret.
When the seed falls into the ground and dies, it does it without a
murmur, for it knows that it will rise again in new beauty.  Happy
indeed is the traveler on life's highway, who will read the messages
God sends us every day, for they are many and their meaning is clear:
the sudden flood of warm sunshine in your room on a dark and dreary
afternoon; the billowy softness of the smoke plume which rises into the
frosty air, and is touched into exquisite rose and gold by the morning
sun; the frosted leaves which turn to crimson and gold--God's silent
witnesses that sorrow, disappointment and loss may bring out the deeper
beauties of the soul; the flash of a bluebird's wing as he rides gaily
down the wind into the sunlit valley.  All these are messages to you
and me that all is well--letters from home, good comrade, letters from
home!

  God knew that some would never look
      Inside a book
      To know His will,
  And so He threw a varied hue
      On dale and hill.
  He knew that some would read words wrong,
  And so He gave the birds their song.
      He put the gold in the sunset sky
      To show us that a day may die
      With greater glory than it's born,
          And so may we
      Move calmly forward to our West,
          Serene and blest!





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