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Another fire has come into the harp, 

Fire from beyond the world, and wakens it: 

It has begun to cry out to the eagles ! 

W. B. Yeats, 
Second version oj '** Shadowy Waters." 


First published igio. All rights reserved 



Mr, Galsworthy's toy dog — Jewish religion — Em- 
i ology page 2 



Latent period before explosion — Refusal of the vote 
has given impetus to revolutionary enthusiasm — 
Thin end of the wedge — Ingenuity of women — 
A working woman and the hospital official's 
chivalry — Thirty-two million workers, half-million 
independent means, two million of idle spinsters 
in England and Wales — Our wants . . .15 


women's incomes 

Lucrative professions for women — Opera singing — 
Theatrical, Literature, Medical, Expert, and 
average incomes — Other work — Independent in- 
comes — Marriage for money — Courtesans, prosti- 
tutes, and riff-raff — Economic independence is a 
way of ennobling sex relations — Marriage often 
settles down into business partnership — The work- 
ing man's wife — Eugenic advantages of economic 
independence — Racial and social ideals are opposed 
to each other at present 25 



The difficulty of a lasting attachment — Enthusiasm 
of youth — English girls apt to mistake interest for 
love — The virtuous wife — The flow and ebb of the 
tide of love — Permanent relations often founded 
on mutual contempt — Jealousy of relations — Mr. 
Harold Gorst's Philosophy of Love — The marriage 



tie must persist because it suits one half of the 
population — Six million bachelors and seven 
million spinsters in England and Wales — The 
ostracism of the unfaithful is more often the cause 
of disease becoming serious than infidelity — The 
emotional degradation of a loveless marriage page 33 



Marriage laws to be reformed — Binding marriage in 
the Catholic Church — Bond of parenthood — The 
bond between the unattractive people — Heiresses 
— The childless — The extraordinarily attractive — 
Sordidness of English divorce — Restitution of con- 
jugal rights — Suggested reform — Agreement in 
wishing for divorce should be the first cause for it 
— Questions of fortune or wealth to be fought out 
on economic grounds — Boredom the chief reason 
that people part, but too insulting to be mentioned 
in public — French dot — Sale of beauty — Sale of 
helpmate — Fixed allowance for " bed " and fixed 
allowance for " board " — The birth of child should 
automatically make a bond as in remote country 
places — The Saturday orgy and prudence — 
Drugging and prudence — The police court and the 
wife's housekeeping money — A romance of the 
mining world . . . . . . . 41 



Edmond de Goncourt's account of courtesans in Tokio 
— Urgent danger of delay in reform — Fear of the 
spread of contagious disease — A trades union for 
prostitutes — The good of Public Health in this 
matter the good of future generations — Clean bill 
of health gives special susceptibility — Les A vane's 
— Anti-social rage — The various moral standards 
of women — Dangers of promiscuity not so great 
as the dangers of a cut finger or chapped lip — 
The sale of virginity — Intoxication leads to 
promiscuity, but it is not natural to the average 
woman — The ardour of a fresh lover her greatest 
temptation — Is charm of value as a racial factor? 
The attitude of marrying women . . -53 




The terror of motherhood — Women will specialize — 
Lovers of men and lovers of children — A woman 
has an instinct for the right father for her child ; 
but often chooses a bad lifelong companion for 
herself — Useless old ethical codes — Practical sug- 
gestion for race betterment — Sterilization of the 
unfit — Education in the laws of sexual health — 
— Motherly women with no chance of children — 
Unmotherly women attractive to men and very 
good helpmates — Surgical aid for the tuberculosis 
child-producer — Prejudices — Intellectual edu- 
cation ....... page 63 



Life Consciousness — The Man, the Insect, the Tree 
are representatives of Intellect, Instinct, and 
Torpid Consciousness — Henri Bergson and William 
James — The interplay of the three kinds of con- 
sciousness — Motherhood and the vegetative con- 
sciousness — Choosing the mate and the instinctive 
consciousness — The Matriarchal civilization — The 
surprises instinct prepares for intellect in dreams 
and inventions ...... 70 



Physical love, reproduction — Emotional love, a 
satisfaction or enjoyment — Scientific curiosity 
about love — Philosophic and sympathetic under- 
standing of all sorts of love — Imaginative love 
makes the consciousness elemental — The glory 
and danger of imagination — Vicarious imagina- 
tion in reading — The middle-aged suppress imagina- 
tion in the young — Saintly beauty — Philosophy, 
Criticism, Sensuousness, and commonplace life — 
Madness, Folly, Drink, Drugging — The imagina- 
tive man is womanly in these respects — Wein- 
inger's Sex and Character — Forel, Bloch — Mr. 
Austen Chamberlain ...... 78 




Solitude and family — The home — The gay societies 
of the past — Solemn experiments in love— Civiliza- 
tion a protection from, or concealment of, the 
animal necessities — Eating in public — Privacy — 
When truth is goodness — Useful conventions — 
Saint Teresa and her men friends — Lead the way 
if you want to make an experiment ; if you want 
to follow anyone, it is a sign you should follow the 
herd page 84 



The Spaniard, the Russian, the Parisian — Intellect, 
art, morals, religion, and women — Conspicuousness 
— The fight against the patriarchal goat — The 
passing love — The necessity of many friends — The 
real play of the life to come . . . . 91 


There is a great difficulty in writing of the 
women of the first ten years of the twentieth 
century. This is to be the Woman's Century. 
In it she is to awake from her long sleep and 
come into her kingdom ; but when I look 
about me I find myself surrounded by the 
most terribly contradictory facts. We know 
there is to be a revaluation of all values — we 
know that old rubbish is to be burnt up, that 
the social world is to be melted down and re- 
moulded " nearer to the heart's desire " ; but 
at the same time we have to recognize that in 
spite of the enthusiasm of the alchemists and 
the transmuters of base metal into gold, the 
main body of society is as yet hardly aware 
of the fire that is to burn it. 

In writing of this change I have to explain 
to one set of women, who will think me out- 
rageously advanced, my opinions of another 



set of women, who will think me absurdly 

I think I had better own up at once that 
as an artist I am prejudiced against the ex- 
hibition of the necessities of nature. I am 
like Mr. Galsworthy's little toy terrier, who 
disliked the strong odours of real life. Yet at 
the same time I have a passion for the dis- 
cussion of life ; the salt of wit makes me enjoy 
the strongest flavours. So I present myself 
and my limitations to my readers, hoping that 
my fervid faith in the delight of the com- 
munion of thoughts, emotions, and sympa- 
thies will make up for my lack of conviction 
in some other directions. 

Before we proceed any further I think I 
ought to point out that the degradation of 
women in the past originated in the region of 
the country round Mount Ararat. The lower- 
ing of their status occurred when the white 
races adopted the Assyrian Semite's Scrip- 
tures. The Christian religion brought us that 
curse cowering behind its gospel of glad 
tidings ; and it is most remarkable to trace 
the way in which the Jews' religion crept into 





Europe under the cloak of Christianity. In 
heaven, the Gospel says, there is love, but 
neither marriage or giving in marriage. Are 
we to wait for heaven or the millennium before 
the present * tern of marrying and selling in 
marriage shall be abolished ? Everyone who 
has read a modern encyclopaedia is familiar 
with the fact that the first chapters of Genesis 
are made up of two different narratives. One, 
called the Priestly narrative, from the begin- 
ning to the first part of the fourth verse of the 
second chapter of Genesis, and continued in 
the first five verses of the fifth chapter. There 
is nothing derogatory to women in this narra- 
tive. The unpleasant details about Adam 
and Eve a 3 in the Prophetic narrative, which 
is given from the second part of the fourth 
verse of the second chapter to the twenty- 
sixth verse of the fourth chapter. The Jews 
have taken advantage of the confusion of 
these two contradictory stories to fix the blame 
of all social evils on Eve, just as the Hesiod, 
influenced by Eastern legend, fixed it on 
Pandora. These myths come from the same 
region, a region in which women were kept 



entirely for the amusement and service of 
men, and were humbled by every kind of 
insult that the Semite mind could invent. 
Women have a very long score to settle with 
the Jews and the Mahommedans. Even 
Hindoo women were comparatively respected 
and free until the Mahommedans brought 
their ideas into Hindostan. And I am told 
that in nearly every city of ill-fame in the 
world the profits arising from the procuring 
of girls are collected by the Chosen Nation. 
The Semites founded their opinion of women 
on fabulous legends and false science. They 
assert that man gives the spirit and woman 
the matter to the child. Embryology has 
now taught us that the parents make exactly 
equal contributions of chromatin, or the active 
element, to the original cell from which a child 
develops. It has taught us that, originally, 
cells are capable of self-reproduction ; that 
sex is not always a vital necessity, but often 
a device for securing variety. It has taught 
us by experiment that boys come from their 
mother's right side, and girls from her left 
side, and in a healthy mother the rhythm of sex 





is regular. The symbolism of the Fall might 
indeed apply to the history of the cell which 
at first contains its own force of reproduction, 
but in the case of a female ovum deliberately 
parts with some of its original power in order 
that it may be replaced by the vital power of 
a male. The male cell also rends itself apart, 
and becomes quite unfit for reproductive pur- 
poses until it can find another cell with which 
to join. In the simple facts which have been 
observed through microscopes there is no 
place for the overweening pride of the Semite 
race in the virtue of maleness ; and I can 
only hope that it was ignorance and not malice 
that led the Jews and the Arabs to spread 
false doctrine* on the subject of sex. It is un- 
fortunate that the first patriarchs, from whom 
they proudly count their descent, had much 
in common with the primitive goat worship- 
pers, who were responsible for the one-sided 
arrangements for sexual contentment common 
in harems and the other patriarchal institu- 
tions I have mentioned. 

In the great mediaeval revival, the real age 

of chivalry and troubadours, the knights 



carried their ladies' colours to victory in vain. 
The old lies are in our blood — we still believe 
in Eve and her shame. White men have 
fought in the past, and it remains for white 
women to fight now, and at last rid their sex 
all over the world of the ignominy of this 
false doctrine. 






Modern Woman 
Her Intentions 



It is my conviction that all great changes 
come from a force that after many years of 
silence blazes with emot| nal, passionate en- 
thusiasm. That long period of torpid latent 
life, once it is liberated from prison, gives 
driving power. Without silence and darkness 
no new creature can be brought forth. With- 
out resistance no great desire can be felt. It is 
i the same with the woman's movement. 

When the vote was refused, the first artillery 
for the woman's army was forged. That little 
request for the vote might have been granted 
three years ago without making any more dif- 
ference than the borough council vote here, 
or the parliamentary vote in New Zealand, 
Australia, Norway, Finland, and so forth, 
has made already. That little request, that 
might have pa sed almost unnoticed had it 


Modern Woman : Her Intentions 

been granted, has raised up a powerful body 
of feeling on both sides, that will end in 
one of the greatest social revolutions of the 

Whether women are militant or anti-militant, 
whether they ask for the vote in order to fight 
the working man or to join hands with him, 
whether they content themselves with words 
of approval and donations, or whether they 
lose their tempers in denunciation of the un- 
feminine behaviour of certain brave enthusiasts 
— yet all the women of many opinions are 
alike rousing themselves from their former 
deadly attitude of quiescent acceptance. 

The most violent anti-suffragette is obliged 
to try to understand the questions of social 
reform in order to protest against them. The 
most downtrodden wife is hearing rumours 
that even now there are laws which might 
protect her from domestic tyranny. The 
county ladies who never read anything but 
The Queen, The Spectator, or Punch, protest 
against the struggle, but admit that it is time 
that women of property had a vote now that 
their butlers and coachmen have obtained 
that privilege. The " too old at thirty " 
brigade is carrying the campaign into the ball- 
room and skating-rink. All this is familiar to 
everyone that moves in English society to- 
day, and one word of terror used by men who 
oppose the vote is heard on all sides. They 


The Vote 

say the vote is " the thin end of the wedge," 
and I reply gladly from my side — not only as 
a suffragist, but as an onlooker at the loves 
and hatreds of the sexes — I reply that the 
) wedge is being driven every day. Every day 
of delay in giving women the vote gives them 
a power far more deadly, a hope more dan- 
gerous, an accomplishment far more vital. 
It gives them the power of standing up for 
themselves, freed from the belief in the pro- 
tection of men. It gives them hope in each 
other. It teaches them to speak for themselves, 
and discover the force of their eloquence and 
the ingenuity of their resources. It is im- 
possible to go to a meeting of the militant 
party without feeling amazement at the 
dexterity of all concerned. With wit, with 
banter, with beauty, with dignity, awkward 
questions are answered, coarse, jokes. 'are frus- 
trated, and swift as light the laugh is turned 
against the interrupter. 

The odd contrast between the scenes we 
personally witness and the same scenes serve'd 
up for breakfast by the daily press, is having 
some effect in breaking up the touching faith 
of our foremothers in the accuracy of news- 
paper reports. Women are awake to public 
affairs for the first time since the matriarchal 
period. They are weighing the evidence of 
the press, they are considering political facts. 
They are said to be losing the chivalrous 
b 17 

- - ■* 

Modern Woman : Her Intentions 

adoration of men. But in contrast to the 
politeness of men to well-dressed, good-looking 
women, I would call attention to the attitude 
of a respectable hospital official towards a 
poor woman who, in November, 1909, brought 
her little boy as an out-patient. 

She arrived very early in order to be able 
to go to her work with as little delay as possi- 
ble, and secured a seat before the men, who 
came in later. When the attendant entered, 
she was made to go back to the last seat of 
all and wait for her son to take his turn until 
all the elder males had been interviewed. 
" Men come first, your place is at the back," 
was all the answer she got to her protests. 
So much for chivalry when a woman is poor 
and worn with labour. It is pathetic to see 
the working woman, apologetic for her poverty, 
apologetic, for her womanhood, apologetic for 
her ill-health or^any temporary need of help. 
AriH T say that the working woman's heroic 
patience has been attained by centuries of 
ill-usage and lack of chivalry. Most women 
would not understand the idea of chivalry 
if it were explained to them, so little does 
it come within their range of experience. 
We have no conception of the size of the mass 
we are dealing with. In England and Wales 
there are about 17 million females. Of these 
females, 13 million are past childhood, roughly 
speaking 6 million of these are unmarried, 


\ ■ 

_ _ 

The Vote 

7 million are married or widows. About 
9 million married and unmarried women are 
unoccupied, or have retired from business ; 
about 4 million are engaged in occupations, 
and trying to make their own living. Of the 
16 million males, about 2 million are unoccu- 
pied or retired, io million are occupied, and 
the rest are children. Now we find from the 
last census that about 7 million women are 
in charge of a family, and 3 million of these 
are occupied in business ; 6 million women 
are unmarried, about 1 million of these are 
occupied in business, and nearly \ million 
have independent means. Making allowance 
for the very young, we have about 2§ million 
grown women in a dependent position without 
a husband or an occupation in England and 
Wales alone. 

If one spends an afternoon studying the 
census returns, one sees in all occupations the 
well-paid businesses are for men, and the ill- 
paid for women. In general and local govern- 
ment, defence of the country, and professional 
occupations, 326 thousand women only have 
subordinate posts, but there are nearly 2 
million in domestic service. Textile manufac- 
tures, 663 thousand; dress, 710 thousand; food 
and lodging, 300 thousand, but in commerce 
and finance only 60 thousand. 

Men can no longer support their daughters, 
and daughters cannot command good positions 


Modern Woman : Her Intentions 

in lucrative professions. There are only 
7 million families, and at least 4 million 
grown-up women, unmarried and superfluous 
as mothers. The working man tells these 
women to "go home and do the washing." 
" Well," a virgin replies, " one million of us 
are working at laundry and other work, under 
half a million of us are amusing ourselves on 
independent incomes, and the rest of us have 
to while away life somehow without money or 
occupation, so we are making a revolution." 

The struggle for the vote is putting heart 
into the superfluous woman, and it is putting 
the hope of reorganizing the market value of 
women's labour into her heart. We not only 
want work, but we want good wages. If we 
have children we want to be sure they will be 
cared for and fed. If we keep house we want 
our wages. The 12 million females that have 
no independent income cry out to the \ million 
that has an independent income, in their 
almost hopeless struggle to win fair wages. 
It is interesting to think that out of the total 
population of about 32! million in England 
and Wales, a very little over f million are 
living on independent incomes, and we find 
that there are less than 100,000 heirs, and 
more than 400,000 heiresses in this country. 
The rest, that is 32 million, have to work or 
starve so as to save enough for their old age. 
Each person that lives at ease is surrounded 


The Vote 

by sixty-five people that have to struggle. 
Each woman that has a husband knows that 
a widow or spinster stands portionless beside 
her. Figures are abstractions, but behind 
these figures are facts and problems that are 
driving us before them with such resistless 
cruelty that at last we are determined to cry 
halt and make a fight — vote or no vote ! 





women's incomes 

Let us say that certain prime donne can earn 
£25,000 a year for a few years, that the most 
successful London actress may receive a salary 
of £5000 a year, that a successful novelist may 
get a few thousands a year by her books, that 
a. lady doctor or dressmaker may make £1000 
a year, and you have admitted all that can 
be said in favour of the present means women 
have of making a large income on the same 
lines as men. I suppose the average successful 
singer is delighted with £1000 a year, the 
average successful actress with £10 a week or 
£500 a year, the average novelist with £300 
a year, and the average lady doctor with the 
same. In an institution which gives £1000 a 
year to its male principal, we find the lady 
superintendent receiving £200 a year, and 
the male secretary £350. Women find it hard 
to get any professional income out of the 
Government offices, the Church, or the law 
courts. In the Post Office and in all educational 
work the disparities between the salaries of 
men and women is well known. And I think 


Modern Woman : Her Intentions 

we may take it for granted that the average 
business income of an everyday sort of woman, 
working hard, is less than £100 a year. The 
income of a charwoman in London, we know, 
is 2s. 6d. a day, or a possible 15s. a week — 
that is, 3d. an hour, exactly half a man's 
minimum wage. 

These are a few well-known facts. The 
reason is that women are said to have " other 
means " of earning a livelihood. First among 
these comes the comfortable possibility of in- 
heriting money from relations. Many great 
heiresses and little heiresses are to be found 
among the conservative forces of the land, 
for these women have nothing to gain and 
everything to lose by changing the present 
state of things. They and the insurance 
offices alike prosper on the present foundations 
of English family life. 

Next comes the probably miserable alterna- 
tive of marrying a rich husband. It is a very 
curious thing that it is harder for a rich man 
to be naturally attractive to women than it is 
for the camel to pass through the needle's 
eye, and the consequence is that women gener- 
ally have a more or less unhappy domestic 
life when they definitely marry for a livelihood. 

Then we have the adventuress, who succeeds 
in making a handsome income by the un- 
scrupulous use of her intelligence and charm. 
After that come the various types of women 


Women's Incomes 

who hire themselves or are hired out for the 
relief of excitable gentlemen. And lastly the 
crowd of desolate diseased refuse who pick up a 
living any way they can, in ways too horrible to 
think of, by the practice of vulgar indecency. 

All these incomes which are earned by 
women, either by their tenderness and charm 
or by their bestiality, are, together with the 
family inheritances, the real reasons why 
women as a sex are not made economically 
independent on the same lines as men. The 
father of a family longs to save his daughters 
from the temptations of poverty, and if they 
do what he bids them he insures his life in 
their favour. The husband prefers to keep 
his wife dancing to the tune he pays for, so 
he makes her allowance dependent on his own 
mood of the moment. The infatuated boy 
considers he is seeing life when he spends his 
money recklessly on an adventuress. All 
these women can undersell other women in 
the labour market, because they have incomes 
which make them independent of what they 
may earn there. They are, in a kind of way, 
what the strike organizers would call " black- 
legs " : they make life more difficult for the 
women who must work to live or starve. 

Again, the magic of love is destroyed by 
the thought of money. And love is very apt 
to evaporate when such thoughts flame up in 
the mind. 


Modern Woman : Her Intentions 

The hope I see for the ennobling of sex 
relations is that women should, by some means 
never yet thought of, become independent of 
the caprice of individual man. 

The average middle-class Englishman, I 
believe, looks upon his married life as a kind 
of business partnership, in which he pays 
money in order that he may not be worried 
about the care of his clothes or his food or his 
affectional needs. These things once settled 
and put under the care of a sensible woman, 
he can devote his thoughts to business, to 
betting, to cards, to golf, or any other amuse- 
ment he may select to ensure that he may not 
become a " dull man." The average working 
man, of course, not only marries a housekeeper, 
a cook, a maid-of-all-work, but the mother 
and nurse of his continuous flow of offspring, 
and the butt of his temper when the world 
has used him ill. - s: 

If any hope of eventual economic freedom 
isto come for the whole sex, I stand aghast to 
think of all the antagonistic interests that 
will have to be reconciled. It will be worse 
than the Budget. The wives will have to 
stand out for fixed allowances. The mothers 
will have to make their bargain either with 
their husbands or the State, whichever wants 
their children most. The housekeepers will 
have to take their wages like the other servants. 

The women of the adventuress class are a 


Women's Incomes 

hopeless problem. They are worth a hundred 
a week at one moment, and nothing at all 
a few weeks later perhaps. Their trade is so 
dangerous. But we can cheer ourselves up 
with the statistics which tell us they are in 
England and Wales numbered by thousands 
only, whereas we are dealing at present with 
the problem of seventeen millions of women. 

We have, then, four classes of women — the 
heiresses, the portionless wives, the courtesans, 
and the prostitutes — who stand in the way 
of the economic independence of women 
because they appear to be better off under 
the present state of disorganization. The 
labour market for women is of course per- 
meated by their influence. The rich women 
who work for nothing, the wives who " get 
round ' their husbands, the courtesans who 
command the " flesh market," the prostitutes, 
who are ignored by the rest of their sex, but 
revenge themselves on the ignorant by spread- 
ing disease and sorrow among the happy and 

The record of the overwhelming advantages 
of the economic independence of women can 
hardly be compressed into the compass of 
this chapter. It would make love marriages 
possible. It is almost certain that a love 
marriage on the woman's side is one of the 
most important elements for good in the pro- 
duction of a fine race. If a girl were free to 


Modern Woman : Her Intentions 

choose according to her inclination, there is 
practically no doubt that she would choose 
the right father for her child, however badly 
she might choose a lifelong companion for 

This is, of course, true about both the sexes 
to a certain extent, although average men 
are much less dainty about these matters than 
the average woman. If we could remove the 
economic considerations from parenthood it 
would help towards the invigoration of the 

The sad part of this question is that accord- 
ing to all the great racial ideals women ought 
to be economically independent, but, accord- 
ing to all little social ideals, it seems inevitable 
that her independence will be resisted to the 






We cannot trust ourselves to make a real 
love-knot unless money or custom forces us 
to " bear and forbear." There is always the 
lurking fear that we shall not be able to keep 
faith unless we swear upon the Book. This is, 
of course, not true of young lovers. Every 
first love is born free of tradition ; indeed, 
not only is first love innocent and valiant, but 
it sweeps aside all the wise laws it has been 
taught, and burns away experience in its 
own light. The revelation is so extraordinary, 
so unlike anything told by the poets, so ab- 
sorbing, that it is impossible to believe that 
the feeling can die out. Sometimes one feels 
a great pity for the lovers in England, because 
young English girls are very apt to mistake 
a feeling of gratified vanity and the emotion 
of a new sensation for love of some special 
man who happens to make love to them at 
the propitious moment. Many faithful women 
go through life enduring the love of a man 
whom they care for very moderately, who, 
on his side, congratulates himself on having 
c 33 

Modern Woman : Her Intentions 

found a virtuous wife. It is lucky for these 
people that probably the wife, in her limited 
circle of acquaintances, will never meet the 
man who ought to have been her mate. 

I have often talked to the apparently con- 
tented mother of a family, when some little 
word reveals to me that it is possible to be 
the mother of a man's children merely by 
putting up with his caresses while one thinks 
about some other subject. Is it any wonder 
that the race becomes more and more anaemic 
and bored with existence as generation follows 
generation ? 

Other wives have loved their husbands with 
passion, and perhaps for two years their devo- 
tion has steadily increased, but the husband 
meanwhile has known many ecstasies and 
wearinesses. His love is like the waves, which 
follow each other as periods of dullness follow 
moments of rapture. Hers has been like the 
tide, increasing in devotion and tenderness ; 
but the tide turns at last, and the dancing of 
the waves can do very little to stay its ebbing. 
I think men are justified who say that women 
either love too much for their taste or not 
at all. 

Some women say they could love their 
husbands better if they did not see so much 
of the unromantic side of their lives. The 
holes in a man's socks are not the most en- 
dearing remembrances in the world. 


The Variations of Love 

The onty permanent relations are founded on 
mutual contempt. Brothers and sisters have 
no illusions about each other, and if they feel 
any affection at all it is a steadfast one. Alas ! 
the close knowledge of weaknesses very seldom 
permits the affection to show through the 
contempt. Married lovers have to pass from 
the state of love, which is so apt to be a state 
of delusion, to the state of clear-sighted affec- 
tion. The ordeal is one which very few survive. 

Another tragedy of love is jealousy. A man 
or woman is very often jealous of the part- 
ner's brothers and sisters, or other relations. 
Those who love wish to be all in all to each 
other, those who quarrel dislike to have others 
taking sides in their quarrels. This funda- 
mental jealousy of relations is ever apt to 
break into a flame, besides jealousy of the 
more usual kind. 

Mr. Harold Gorst has written a book on 
The Philosophy of Love, in which he points 
out that it is unwise of a bridegroom to take 
instant possession of his bride. He maintains 
that the usual programme, in which a wife 
shows all her modesty and a husband all his 
love on the wedding-night, is an absurd waste 
of the honeymoon, which ought to be spent in 
a gradual approach to the supreme surrender. 
Again, wives are too apt to give up the charm- 
ing resistances which are necessary to the 
satisfaction of a man's emotional nature. 


Modern Woman : Her Intentions 

Mr. Gorst cannot imagine that a husband 
would tire of his wife if she kept her right over 
her own body with a firm hand, and required 
wooing every time she yielded to the wedding 
of her husband. So much for the man of the 
world's point of view. 

The marriage tie is a way of keeping people 
together while they undergo the various dis- 
illusions and jealousies that are inevitable, 
unless one of them is prepared to give way 
in everything. Is there any better way ? In 
most cases, no. 

The marriage tie will always exist, because 
it is the natural impulse of the majority of 
young people to wish to love each other alone, 
and to remain with each other for ever. The 
honeymoon having elapsed, they very likely 
find they are about to become parents, and 
they spend the intervening months in making 
happy preparations. Then the baby is born, 
and has to be brought up until it is old enough 
to go to school. If there are three children, 
they have to be looked after for about fourteen 
years. The wife is now thirty-four, and the 
husband thirty-eight. The children are placed 
in various schools away from home. Is there 
any alternative to the rather boring life that 
has to be lived out until death parts the 
parents ? None. They are not rich enough 
to travel and amuse themselves, so the wife 
goes on housekeeping and calling on neigh- 


The Variations of Love 

bours, and changing her servants, and the 
husband goes to the City, plays golf, and reads 
trashy novels. The marriage tie must always 
persist while these people exist. 

But what are the six million bachelors and 
the seven million spinsters to do ? Some of 
them are very young ; thousands of them do 
not wish to marry, their sexual nature is 
hardly developed more than a child's ; others 
are invalids, openly or secretly ; and a good 
number are leading illegally arranged lives 
because the present marriage laws do not 
suit their constitutions. Among the grown- 
up population about half the number are 
married, and the other half unmarried. Many 
of these marriages are unhappy, and it is to 
be presumed that at least six million of each 
sex do not wish to marry enough to overcome 
the terrors of saying what they want for ever, 
and getting it. 

Now, having regard to the natural variations 
of love, I must suggest that the stigma might 
be removed from those who are not capable 
of lifelong fidelity. There seems good proof 
that a few millions of men and women are 
bringing misery upon the rest because they 
are treated as unworthy of social considera- 
tion. Medical men are saying that the disease 
which is undermining the health of the nation 
is dangerous only because it is shameful. It 
could be easily cured in its early stages if it 


Modern Woman : Her Intentions 

could be treated openly and without ruining 
the reputation of those whom it attacks. 
Even when health is retained, reputations 
are lost and careers are ruined in order to prop 
up the tottering institution of marriage by 
making it the only refuge for the respectable. 
But until it is acknowledged that it is not 
respectable to live together when the tempera- 
ments are incompatible, there will be no real 
virtue in the married state. Never to want 
the same thing at the same time is a more 
far-reaching cause of emotional degradation 
than one violent outbreak of temper under 
extreme provocation. It is more degrading 
to the finer feelings than a temporary aliena- 
tion of marital love. One would imagine that 
the men who refuse to alter the divorce laws 
really do believe in the sacrament of the 
marriage ceremony, instead of in the sacra- 
ment of the true love, which abides when 
there is a real compatibility of temperament. 





I mentioned in passing that marriage was an 
institution that should not be ended, but 
should be mended. In the first place, let us 
inquire whether the marriage ceremony is 
a sacrament, whether parenthood is a sacra- 
ment, and why marriage should be binding. 
The Catholic Church refuses divorce altogether 
on the ground that the blessing of the Church 
makes the contract binding till death. Parents 
with children are generally prepared to endure 
each other for the sake of their family. While 
women are economically dependent it would 
be pure folly for them to advocate marriage 
for a short term. Very few women sncceed in 
retaining their attraction for men for any con- 
siderable length of time. Ten years of attrac- 
tiveness is not to be thought of in the majority 
of cases. While a man holds the purse-strings 
he can always find someone to marry. A 
woman can offer nothing but her power of 
enchantment, and most of them have to rely 
on the universal enchantment of innocence 
which can only be offered once. 

But conditions are very variable even now. 


Modern Woman : Her Intentions 

Women hold the purse-strings when they are 
heiresses. They are as free as men when they 
are childless. Ninon de l'Enclos was irre- 
sistible until she was eighty, apparently be- 
cause she was amusing as well as fascinating. 
Under such circumstances as these it is some- 
times wise to seek divorce. In England this 
cannot be done without outraging every feeling 
of dignity and delicacy. 

Unless one of the married pair is faithless, 
impotent, cruel, or rich enough to leave the 
neighbourhood, the other cannot get a divorce. 
This involves discussing the secrets of the 
alcove with solicitors, and a final exposure of 
your domestic concerns in the law courts, for 
the press and the public to take or leave as 
they are more or less painful to you and amus- 
ing to them. 

A very frequent method of obtaining a 
divorce now is for a wife, who would not 
touch her husband with a besom if she could 
help it, to sue publicly for restitution of con- 
jugal rights. To a woman of any delicacy 
such a demand would be degrading, even if it 
were made in private. To be obliged to make 
it publicly as a matter of form is, to say the 
least, unpleasant to such a woman. The next 
proceeding is taken when a certain time has 
elapsed and the husband has not noticed the 
wife who has to pretend to be pining for his 
forced caresses. 


The Sordid Divorce 

I confess it is hard to realize the state of a 
woman who actually can desire the society 
of a man who is weary of her. I have not 
imagination for that, I am afraid. The law 
was made by men, and men are said to know 
women better than they know each other ; 
also, we have all heard of the charms of a cap- 
tured or unwilling bride, so perhaps it is an 
instance in which men have done for women 
what they would wish to have done for them- 

Whatever the reason is, the law is there, 
and when the husband has been faithless and 
refused his wife's embraces, he has done suffi- 
cient to justify the court in calling him guilty 
of desertion and adultery, and a decree nisi is 
pronounced. Then, if no evidence of collusion 
is forthcoming, and the court can make believe 
that one of the parties at least does not want 
to be divorced, the decree is made absolute in 
six months. Can anyone realize that the 
present divorce law is in such a hopelessly 
stupid state ? There seems no possibility of 
using common sense in a law court. To get 
a divorce you must not agree together that 
it is a desirable step. To get a divorce the 
innocent person must speak in public of sub- 
jects no innocent person would care to mention 
in private. To get a divorce from a woman 
you respect at all, you must refuse to live 
with her, and must openly commit adultery, 


Modern Woman : Her Intentions 

at the same time making no arrangement 
with her as to how she is to get rid of you. 
The old complaint of the inequality of the 
divorce laws for the sexes is perhaps of im- 
portance, but to me it seems a small thing in 
comparison to the general sordidness of the 
whole proceeding. 

Surely the one cause of causes for a divorce 
is that both the parties want it. Some simple 
form of procedure, such as separation on the 
first application, to be followed by divorce in 
six months if the parties had not made up 
their differences in the meantime, should be 

The difficulties would arise in cases in which 
the parties were not agreed, and I am afraid 
in those instances the question of money 
would nearly always be discovered to be the 
root of the trouble. Ladies would be found 
to be unaccountably attached to their hus- 
band's cheque-books ; and gentlemen unable 
to separate themselves from a share in their 
wives' dividends. But when the question of 
fortune or wealth enters into the marriage 
bargain, why not let it be fought out on that 
ground ? 

Divorce is always brought about because 
of the weariness and boredom one human 
being causes another. Cruelty, adultery, 
temporary desertion, every kind of outrage 
can be borne if excitement and interest 


The Sordid Divorce 

counterbalance suffering. But the devotion 
of the whipped dog would soon be exhausted 
if the dog could find something in the world 
which interested him more than his master. 
Curiosity once fully satisfied, tenderness 
balances on the edge of the precipice of bore- 
dom, and may topple over at any moment. 

Of course the insult of being considered a 
bore would be harder to bear in most instances 
than the accusation of wickedness, so on the 
whole it would seem advisable to keep to the 
good old formula of " incompatibility of 
temper," and fight out the money questions 
on their own merits. 

Now the merits of the money question in 
marriage have never been properly arranged. 
In France the wife has her own dot, as a 
matter of course ; but the French have so 
carefully adjusted their population to their 
pockets that we can only bow in silent ad- 
miration of their unparalleled foresight. 

In England a girl very often marries with- 
out any fortune of her own, on the understand- 
ing either that she is beautiful and that the 
husband is prepared to endow her with all 
his worldly goods, or that she is so useful that 
she will really save him a good deal of money. 
If she is very beautiful, her relations can gener- 
ally get a settlement made on her ; if she is 
only useful, she is lucky if she can induce her 
husband to insure his life in her favour. The 


Modern Woman : Her Intentions 

merely useful wife has very little hold on 
ready money. One week she may get a good 
sum of money, another week nothing, for her 
household expenses. If she is clever and 
managing, she will probably gain her husband's 
confidence, and if he is honest and has a regular 
income they may be very comfortable to- 
gether ; but under other conditions the affairs 
of the household go from bad to worse, and 
the wife is only a very inefficient servant, who 
may get her keep, but who will certainly not 
get her wages. 

I can only suggest that the position of wife 
and mother ought to legally entitle a woman 
to a fixed proportion of her husband's income, 
and the position of housekeeper to a further 
proportion. If, as is often the case in upper 
and middle-class modern marriage, the husband 
and wife do not live in the connubial state, 
the legal allowance as v/ife and mother would 
not be made, but the allowance as hostess 
and housekeeper could be enforced as long 
as they remained under the same roof. In 
the case of the poorer classes, where the wife 
does the whole work of keeping up the home 
and increasing the family, the proportion 
should be very much greater, so great, indeed, 
as to make both partners think twice before 
recklessly bringing children into the world. 
Among this class I think that the birth of a 
child might legalise the union of the parents. 

4 6 

The Sordid Divorce 

This appears to be an old custom in many 
parts of the world. 

The working man is the greatest enemy of 
women's equal value, I am afraid. Among 
the mining population, where his wages are 
high enough to make him independent, the 
woman he has married holds a very low 
position — very much what middle-class women 
held early in the nineteenth century. The 
working man of prudence and forethought is 
of course limiting his family with as much 
care as the rest of the world. But the others, 
who drive away drab intelligence by a Satur- 
day orgy, forget prudence, and the result is 
that their wives are always in the pangs of 
chirdbirth or miscarriage. The usual self- 
sacrifice of women comes dangerously near 
suicide in this matter. To save her husband 
from a few moments of self-control she goes 
through months of drugging, loses her beauty, 
undermines her health in the endeavour to 
exercise prudence and to avoid bringing 
children into the world for whom she has no 
hope of making provision. 

A romance of the mining world, in Sep- 
tember, 1909, is instructive reading. One 
Friday night, at 10 o'clock, the husband came 
home with two former lodgers, two old friends, 
and one stranger. They brought plenty of 
beer with them. The wife was upstairs in bed, 
but she called over the banisters to them to 


Modern Woman : Her Intentions 

make themselves at home, and returned to 
her sleep. Later on, when the men were nearly 
all dead drunk, one of the former lodgers 
heard screams upstairs. He found the stranger 
undressed and making an assault on the wife 
of his host. The lodger flung him downstairs, 
and to his horror found that he had killed him. 
He was terrified, and he and the woman left 
the house, calling to the others to fetch a 
doctor at once. Whatever the woman and he 
said to each other it was tragic, for she hurried 
to a pond and drowned herself, while he went 
to his sister's house and waited arrest. The 
husband was severely reprimanded for his 
" negligence." A woman counts for very 
little in the mining districts, she takes the 
German position of a kind of upper servant, 
in whose emotions, if she has any, none take 
any interest. In the manufacturing districts 
the working man's wife is generally a bread- 
winner herself, and she only needs a little 
enterprise to make her position much more 
favourable than it is at present. 

Nearly all the police court cases turn on 
the question of the wife's housekeeping allow- 
ance. It is an endless source of dispute, and 
if it could be regulated, irrespective of caprice, 
most of the miseries of married poverty would 
cease. The poor are simple, and in this truth 
about them we see the truth about ourselves. 
We all want a regular income, and very few 

4 8 

The Sordid Divorce 

of us gain from being dependent on the affec- 
tion of our family. Divorce, then, is sordid 
with regard to sentiment and with regard to 
money, and in these ways is greatly in need 
of change. 

d 49 




This chapter deals with the subject of prosti- 
tution from the point of view of public health, 
so that the nervous reader had better skip it. 
Edmond de Goncourt has written some 
charming chapters in his book about Outa- 
maro, the Japanese artist, on the courtesans 
who live within the walls of Yoshiwara. He 
describes the quarter as containing fifty green 
houses within the walls and a hundred with- 
out the walls. They were established by -the 
Emperor of Japan in the eighth century for 
the use of foreign princes, ambassadors, and 
wealthy merchants. The present walls were 
built in the seventeenth century. The girls, 
from all parts, are brought up like princesses, 
and taught writing, the arts, music, and the 
archaic language spoken by the court in the 
seventh and eighth centuries, which is now 
the language of the poets. The formalities of 
the suitors are three visits of ceremony, each 
with its ritual of good manners. A green 
house contains twenty first-class beauties and 
sixty second-class beauties. They sing, play, 


Modern Woman : Her Intentions 

and write verses. These are a few transla- 
tions which give some idea of their feelings : — 

"It is only when both of us are looking 
at it that the moon is beautiful ; when I am 
alone it makes me feel too sad." 

" This evening who will share the sweet- 
ness of life, this floating body in the passing 
world ? " 

"Oh, that the moonlight might shine 
brightly in the waters of this life [the cour- 
tesan's], but the autumn moon on the other 
side of the clouds makes me long for it" 

"Although I am nothing here, the moon 
lights up my heart with a ray of consolation." 

"How often do I part from one whose 
shadow I shall never see again under the 
moon of dawn ! " 

These little moon-women are not the only 
members of the sisterhood in Tokio. There 
are the geishas who dance and sing, and there 
are the old and abandoned ; but the horrible 
sordidness of the red blinds and the draggled 
torn lace curtains one sees in the streets 
Charles Booth has coloured red in his maps 
of London, is absent. 

This question is not a mere matter of senti- 
ment, it is one in urgent need of immediate 
attention. The pitiless contempt of married 
women for prostitution is bringing a terrible 
punishment, which is ruining the physique of 
nearly every civilized race. It is now certain 


The Green Houses of Japan 

that the diseases called contagious can be 
cured with the greatest certainty if they are 
taken in hand in the earliest stages, but if 
they are neglected they bring in their train 
every scourge that the flesh is capable of en- 
during. It cannot be repeated too often that 
if women do not wish to contract diseases 
themselves in the intercourse of ordinary life, 
they must bring themselves to protect those 
who in the intercourse of passional life are 
ignorantly or malignantly spreading the dis- 
eases. There might be a trade union for 
women on the streets. In the cause of public 
health, which is, in this matter, the cause of 
future generations, family cannot separate 
itself from family, innocent from guilty, moral 
from immoral. We can no longer say : Let 
those who practise promiscuity suffer for their 
incontinence, let them encounter the dangers 
they choose to face, " let their sin find them 
out." We know now that from this particular 
scourge of contagious disease the pure suffer 
far more severely than the impure ; and the 
races who have never known the disease are 
the first to die when, by accident, they finally 
come in contact with it. 

So the clean, healthy youth from some re- 
mote country place is in greater danger than 
the sophisticated townsman. And mothers 
do not realize the dangers they and their 
young children run every day when, in their 


Modern Woman : Her Intentions 

ignorance of danger, they entrust their house- 
holds to the care of women servants who may 
be carrying contagion without even know- 
ing it. 

The contempt that is shown towards pros- 
titutes makes it impossible for them to insist 
upon proper sanitation in the quarters where 
they congregate. They are hunted from street 
to street, and, as they get poorer and poorer, 
their condition becomes more and more of 
a danger to the rest of the town. 

I cannot make any suggestions as to the 
methods that should be used to make the 
danger less terribly imminent than it is at 
present, but I do suggest that the women who 
are uppermost should face the fact that they 
themselves are in danger because the lower 
prostitutes have no civil rights, no trade 
union, no means of redressing the wrongs they 
surfer from. 

M. Brieux has written a play called Les 
A varies, dealing with this important subject 
in all its aspects. One incident is that of a 
young girl on the streets who is infected by 
a man. She is furious and in despair, but 
before she goes into hospital she, in her turn, 
revenges herself on as many men as she can, 
for the wrong done to her by one. 

Can we wonder that a woman who is treated 
as street walkers are treated should feel this 
wild anti-social rage against the society that 


The Green Houses of Japan 

has first made use of her and then treated her 
as an outcast ? 

It is becoming more and more difficult to 
say anything definite about the moral stand- 
ards of women. Thirty years ago the chorus- 
girl drank champagne and " went to the bad," 
now she drinks milk and marries a peer. Girls 
with beauty are finding out that prudence 
pays exceedingly well. On the other hand, we 
have girls with brains deliberately resolving 
that they will not marry. They refuse to run 
the risk of living with a man whose love has 
become a mere habit. They boldly say that 
they do not care enough for love to perform 
its rites, unless they are animated with the 
ardour of love. Passion served up with cold 
sauce as in the Shaw-Barker school of sex 
revolts them. Enthusiastic love is the only 
excuse in their eyes for going through the 
rather ungraceful gestures of love. 

Bloch has asked the question if we can ever 
do away with the menace to public health 
which promiscuity entails ? He seems to 
think from the evidence of history and psy- 
chiatry that men certainly, and women pro- 
bably, are not naturally unitarian in their 
affections ; therefore the sooner we seriously 
wrestle with the realities and leave off hoping 
for the " something to change nature," the 
better. Above all, it is most important for 
women to realize at once that the most inno- 


Modern Woman : Her Intentions 

cent contact with the unmentioned diseases — 
the contact, say, of a cut finger or a chapped 
lip — is enough to endanger the health, unless 
it is attended to at once. 

As for the aspect of the prostitution ques- 
tion entailed in taking money, the sale of 
virginity and so forth, it comes under the 
general consideration whether it is right for 
any woman to become the property of a man 
in exchange for money. A woman who loves 
does naturally become the property of the 
man she loves for the time being. The wiser 
she is, the less she will let him know it. The 
money bargain I cannot help regarding as a 
device invented by unattractive men whom 
no woman would voluntarily look at. Again, 
as to women whose love affairs are numerous, 
I do not think they would care to practise 
promiscuity unless they were intoxicated. 
On the other hand, I think most women are 
capable of several love affairs. I said before 
that their love ebbed and flowed with the 
sweep of a tide, while men's love glittered and 
dulled like the shaken silver of the waves ; still, 
there are more tides than one in many women's 
experience. We cannot read the autobio- 
graphies of the seventeenth and eighteenth 
centuries without observing that. 

That love becomes very stale in time is a 
regrettable fact. Many women distract their 
thoughts with work or amusements. But 


The Green Houses of Japan 

the greatest amusement of all is flirtation. It 
is an amusement peculiarly fitted to the 
English. In the Latin countries flirtation is 
admittedly not only an amusement, but a 
vital part of women's lives. It cannot be 
denied that, after a time, a childless wife, or 
a wife who is not absorbed in her children, 
begins to feel like a withered rose tree, and 
a flirtation comes to her like springtime after 
winter. I do not think it is often her sensual 
nature, but her emotional nature, that makes 
a woman unfaithful to a husband of whom 
she has really been passionately fond. Un- 
fortunately there is a charm about the first 
steps of a love affair, in the half-admissions 
and the uncertainties, which it is almost im- 
possible to feel after a year of married life. 
The truth is that to feel a charm we must be 
in a state of emotional exultation which is 
above the average exultations of daily life. 
The great question for the race is what this 
feeling of charm means, and whether it is of 
value to the race, and to be encouraged ? Or 
even then whether the destruction of our 
present fixed social arrangements is too great 
a sacrifice to make for the vital improvement 
of mankind? In the meantime, until this 
question of changing charm versus habitual 
love can be settled, and the value of emotion 
as a factor in race improvement be proved by 
careful inquiry into the experiences of the 


Modern Woman : Her Intentions 

parents of conspicuous children, I reiterate 
what I have said. Marrying women owe it 
to themselves and to their children to do all 
they can to make the conditions of prostitutes 
sanitary. Above all, they should remember 
the green houses of Japan, and recognize that 
if women are degraded it is generally because 
they have been treated with contempt, and 
not because they are essentially any more 
contemptible than the rest of us. 





" Americanism " is the word sometimes used 
by scientific men to imply the terror of mother- 
hood that is coming upon women. The old 
days when Nelson said the two most beautiful 
things in the world were a ship in full sail 
and a woman with child, are passed. Pain 
and the loss of beauty mean something 
hauntingly horrible — something of a night- 
mare to the modern highly strung, nervous 
woman. In America the question is becoming 
one of national importance : as a matter of 
fact some women are beginning to refuse 
motherhood, both there and in other parts 
of the world. I do not see anj^thing alarming 
in this. To me it means that women will 
specialize in the future. When the unnatural 
economic reasons for marriage have been re- 
moved, the natural desires of women will be 
able to assert themselves. For centuries they 
have lied and schemed and flattered men in 
order to wheedle a living out of them, and it 
will take some time for the weaker sex to 
learn that it may really tell the truth ; to 


Modern Woman : Her Intentions 

learn, indeed, that it is necessary for the good 
of the race that it should tell the truth. When 
this is done it will be perceived that women 
are divided into two distinct classes — those 
that love men better than children, and those 
that love children better than men. This is 
natural enough. In ordinary life we can see 
some people prefer to associate with their 
inferiors, and some with their superiors. At 
present the comparatively free life led by men 
make them far better company, and therefore 
superior as a sex to women. They do not talk 
as well as clever women, but their views are 
wide, and as a rule they know something 
of the general facts of life. They are merrier, 
too, and I have often thought, " It is not so 
much that men must work and women must 
weep, but that men may laugh and women 
must look shocked." 

But, as I was saying, some people prefer to 
look up, and others prefer to look down on 
their companions. Some people, to put it 
more pleasantry, like to care for and watch 
over others, while others want to be cared for. 
So it comes about that some women do not 
really love children. They may feel such a 
passion for a man that they long to be the 
mother of his child, but that is a state of un- 
usual exultation, which in cold blood is re- 
pented later. On the other hand, the born 
mothers — the women who really long for chil- 

6 4 

Beauty and Motherhood 

dren, to whom it is a terrible deprivation to 
live without children — are undoubtedly the 
people who may best be entrusted with the 
future of the race. 

I do not think that we shall ever get man- 
kind to carry out the eugenic ideal of careful 
breeding, but I do think we might come to a 
time when the natural instinct of a woman 
for the fit father of her child will be a very 
important factor in the arrangements made 
for the existence and benefit of future genera- 

We have such a lumber of useless old ethical 
codes to get rid of, and such innumerable 
practical suggestions for race betterment, that 
we hardly know where to begin. In the 
Eugenic Review for October, 1909, there is an 
excellent paper by Mr. Havelock Ellis, which 
explains a newly discovered and harmless 
operation which can be performed without 
making the slightest difference to an indi- 
vidual's happiness. This operation would 
prevent him or her from ever becoming a 
parent. It is hoped that it may some day 
be used in cases where the heredity is hope- 
lessly bad. It would save a great deal of 
public expense in cases where the dangerous 
person would otherwise have to be kept under 
constant supervision. The great benefit of 
the discovery is that it has none of the un- 
fortunate effects which often follow from the 

E 65 

Modern Woman : Her Intentions 

practice of more Eastern methods of sterilizing 
the unfit. Contact with radium has also been 
found to lead to temporary sterility. But 
although stamping out the worst class of disease 
and imbecility in one generation would be a 
tremendous benefit, it is not the only remedy 
proposed. The encouragement and training 
of fit men and women — I mean the education 
in the laws of sexual health — would do a great 
deal to save the next generations from many 
ills that are brought upon it by the sheer 
ignorance of its parents. Here, again, we have 
to fight the silly conspiracy of silence which 
leaves schoolboys and schoolgirls to struggle 
through the early temptations of life without 
a word of warning from responsible people 
who have studied the subject of sex. 

There is no doubt that the world at present 
is full of motherly women who have no chance 
of becoming mothers, and of unmotherly 
women who have children that they do not 
want, or more children than they want. It 
would be a great advance if these arrangements 
could be readjusted by some slight change of 
public opinion, guided by the obvious facts 
of heredity. For instance, it is a fact that 
some women are very fit to be mothers, and 
are unattractive as wives. For others, attrac- 
tive to men as they often are, it is a sin to be- 
come mothers. A tuberculous woman is apt 
to have a much larger family than a nor- 


Beauty and Motherhood 

mally healthy woman, and that tendency 
ought to be modified by surgical aid. Even 
these few suggestions acted upon would help 
to make the world less full of pain and sorrow. 

But we are full of prejudices against these 
improvements. The old marriage laws, the 
old ideas of right and wrong remain ; religious 
prejudice lasts far longer than religion ; and 
the world moves on, and everyone hears of 
improvements that might be made quite easily. 
But nothing is done because of a public opinion 
which everyone supposes to exist, but is really 
a bugbear invented by the Press on the 
strength of a few letters from the sort of people 
who write letters of protest to the public 
libraries. A hundred letters impress an editor, 
because he forgets the millions of people who 
do not write letters, but pay all the same. 

One of the most serious facts which is 
alleged with regard to the " Americanism " 
I mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, 
is that the nervous sensitiveness from which 
the women of the United States suffer is 
caused by their education being too purely 
intellectual. Now this is probably true. I 
remember one of the cleverest men I have 
ever met, the late Professor York Powell, 
Regius Professor of Modern History at Oxford, 
who was an encyclopaedia of information, 
and could assimilate the contents of a book 
in a phenomenally short time, told me that 


Modern Woman : Her Intentions 

he meant to paint up the words " Damn 
Intellect " over his mantelpiece at Christ 
Church. Intellect has been said to be the 
result of man's struggle with material facts, 
very useful as far as material facts go, but 
absurdly misleading when applied to the all- 
important side of our natures which comes 
under the consideration of the psychologist. 
The stuffing of one's head with a lot of un- 
digested knowledge for purposes of examina- 
tion is not only useless in after life, but really 
damaging to the vital apparatus. I was 
myself educated in the colleges of Miss Doro- 
thea Beale and Miss Buss, and I know it took 
me quite six years to get out of the shell my 
education had hardened around me. I don't 
suppose I should ever have spread my own 
wings if the beak of my destiny had not been 
stronger than my overwhelming education, 
so that it succeeded in hammering through 
that shell at last. 

In the next chapter I hope to show in more 
detail how women might be educated to 
deliberately cultivate their instincts, and use 
them in conjunction with the practical in- 
tellect to increase the power of intuitively 
understanding the consciousness of groups 
and crowds of people. Above all, how they 
may learn by definitely guiding the vegetative 
consciousness to increase the health and 
beauty of their children. 





Intellect, then, is only a part of the life- 
consciousness. Henri Bergson and William 
James have both agreed that the other parts 
deserve our respect, and demand the attention 
of all practical people. They are Instinctive 
Consciousness and Torpid Consciousness. Berg- 
son, so well known on the Continent, gives in 
L' Evolution Crealrice a brilliant outline of the 
relations of the intellectual, instinctive, and 
torpid states. Briefly, he pictures vital con- 
sciousness as the centre from which the three 
diverge in different radiations. The intellect 
which covers an enormous field and can 
grapple successfully with the superficial ap- 
pearances we call facts, finds its present cul- 
mination in mankind. The instinct which 
dawns in the consciousness as vision, and 
deals only with one or two things, but knows 
therrr perfectly through and through to their 
deepest causes, finds its culmination in in- 
sects, especially in the elaborate societies of 
ants and bees. The torpid state which, with- 
out external motion, like deep sleep, is most 


The New Psychology 

creatively powerful, most enduring, and most 
in touch with the first beginnings of organic 
life, finds its culmination in the vegetable 
kingdom. The psychologists' idea, then, for 
the practical future of our race is that it 
should turn its attention to the cultivation of 
these two modes of consciousness which have 
hitherto been lamentably neglected in all 
schemes of education. 

Bergson says that there are many questions 
the intellect can ask but can never answer, 
which the instinct could answer, but, un- 
prompted by the intellect, would never ask. 

The practical turn psychology has taken 
lately has a very deep significance for women. 
For the adolescent girl and the woman with 
child are the very types of the power of mys- 
terious torpid consciousness which is so little 
understood by the most learned men. The 
ancients have believed that a mother's im- 
pressions stamp themselves on the child and 
determine its type. I mean, for instance, 
that a woman surrounded by Burne- Jones's 
pictures would be likely to have children re- 
sembling that type. The whole matter is one 
of the deepest interest, and one guiding prin- 
ciple stands out from all our uncertainties on 
the subject, which is, that a woman with child 
should not use up her vitality in other direc- 
tions, that she should for the time being live 
the life of a fruit tree, and nourish herself, 


Modern Woman : Her Intentions 

and sun herself without care and without in- 
tellectual distractions. 

It is said that in deep sleep the creations of 
our imagination are conceived; and that the 
state of impending motherhood should be 
one of rest, and the quiet enjoyment of beauty 
and peace if it is to have a good result. 

I am not saying all women should be mothers, 
nor am I saying that mothers should not have 
intellectual pleasures, but I do agree that 
they should not have intellectual tasks, and 
above all that they should be protected from 
worry, anxiety, and irritation. If the care of 
mothers became a national question, I believe 
the saving in the care of lunatics and unem- 
ployables and criminals would be incalculable. 

The torpid consciousness is one which women 
who are to be mothers should respect. I 
believe it is a state cultivated to a high degree 
by the Eastern mystics, who have given us 
glimpses of the psychic powers to which it 
can give birth. It is intimately connected 
with a control over the emotional storms which 
affect most people and govern their conduct. 
The Eastern sage does not starve his emotional 
nature, but learns to direct it, while he is in 
a state of apparent torpor. So I believe the 
wise mother might, if she gave Serself the 
opportunity, direct the future character of 
her child in the best sense of the word. 

At present the torpid consciousness is 


The New Psychology 

hardly understood at all, but the instinctive 
consciousness has been studied, although it is 
talked of with a contempt it is far from deserv- 
ing. I admit that to some extent instinct is 
the enemy of civilization, but at the same 
time civilization is the enemy of instinct. 

The old matriarchal village community 
seems to be the ideal state of an instinctive race 
of people. I do not say it is possible now, but it 
certainly seems a good way of conducting affairs 
on a dignified basis without the family unit. 

Temperance with an occasional orgy is a 
prescription ordered for a patient by a modern 
doctor, and that exactly describes the life of 
the old matriarchal village. In the first place, 
it was situated near the equator, and everyone 
could do without clothes. The village children 
grew up together under the care of the elder 
men and women, with no curiosity about the 
unseen. They worked in the fields and per- 
haps hunted a little, but they all lived like 
brothers and sisters. They had a central grove 
of sacred trees in their village, with a dancing 
ground ; the huts were round the grove, and 
then the belt of cultivated land was called the 
" guardian serpent." Beyond that was the 
jungle, with paths leading to other villages. 
In the spring the Saturnalia was celebrated, 
and the j^oung men left their homes and 
visited the other villages, scattered in the 
neighbourhood beyond the jungle-paths, to 


Modern Woman : Her Intentions 

celebrate the festival with song, wine, and 
dance. The orgy lasted a few weeks, during 
the blossom time, when there was no work 
required at home. It ended in a good deal of 
love-making, after which the young men re- 
turned to their homes sobered, and ready to 
work in their own villages for another year. 
Nine months later, when the weather made it 
well to remain indoors, the children were born, 
and were called the children of the sacred 
grove or the tree, and no one talked of fathers. 
The men of the tribe cheerfully undertook 
the education of the children, and maintained 
them on communal principles. It sounds 
almost as socially elaborate as a hive, and the 
whole business appears to have been carried 
out on purely instinctual lines. Perhaps I 
ought to add that all can read for them- 
selves about these matriarchal customs in a 
book called The Ruling Races of Prehistoric 
Times, by J. F. Hewitt, and in Tiele's Outline 
of the History of Ancient Religions, also in 
Risley's Tribes and Castes of Bengal. The life 
was perhaps too austerely virtuous for the ma- 
jority of mankind, but it had its advantages. 

Instinct is an animal faculty cultivated by 
an outdoor life, which we to a great extent 
have swamped in our all-pervading intellects. 
It is a power of the consciousness which appears 
to act without effort, and to increase its power 
as we decrease our mental struggles. Very 


The New Psychology 

often when after fussing over a lost object or 
forgotten name we cease to trouble ourselves, 
and employ our clamorous minds in some other 
direction, the consciousness of the name or 
place appears like the sky from which the 
clouds have cleared away. It is in the inter- 
play between intellect and instinct that the 
practical value of the new school of psychology 
will be found. Our instincts need to be stimu- 
lated by the curiosity of our intellects. We 
have an extraordinary and inexhaustible power 
of inventing surprises for our intellect, both 
in our dreams and in inventive states of 
meditation. Some people call these things 
manifestations of the subconsciousness. I 
prefer to think of them as manifestations of 
the long-neglected powers of the instinct. We 
know that many insects who have never met 
their parents in their lives, yet carry out their 
destinies as if they had received the most 
careful personal instruction. The truth about 
instinct appears to be that it is a race-con- 
sciousness — a kind of wireless telegraphy 
which can be set in motion between sympa- 
thetic centres without passing through the 
mental machinery at all. It almost seems 
as if our brains, our nervous plexuses, and 
our glands * each had a manifest conscious- 

* As to the study of the functions of the glands, many 
interesting discoveries have been mentioned in the medical 
journals during the last few years. 


Modern Woman : Her Intentions 

ness of their own, and it is not until we 
can set in motion an interplay of the three 
that we shall gain all we can, either from the 
intellect, the instinct, or the torpid creative 

When women come in for their share of 
control in affairs, there is no doubt we shall 
make further use of these more feminine aspects 
of vital consciousness. 





Now women can look at love from a great 
many points of view. If it were not so, Byron 
would hardly have been justified when he said : 

" Love is from men's lives a thing apart, 
'Tis woman's whole existence." 

Women can look upon love as a physical 
act which enables them to become mothers. 
They can look upon it as a sanctification 
or a means of enjoyment. They can look 
upon it as a subject of scientific curiosity, 
in which mood they logically compare facts 
and come to sage conclusions. They can 
consider their own temperaments and pecu- 
liarities, and take into account their per- 
sonal bias and characters, philosophically. Or 
they can use their imaginations to alter all 
the conditions which life has imposed upon 
them, to transcend all the limitations of in- 
carnation, and, having passed beyond philo- 
sophy, science, emotion, and experience, bathe 
in the love between the fixed stars and comets 
rushing from the spaces beyond. They can 


The Imaginative Woman 

take dim legends and embroider them with 
rich details. In a word, the imaginative 
woman from her childhood has known dreams 
of such rare beauty that nothing life shows her 
is good enough. She passes from disappoint- 
ment to disappointment. She never finds in 
one place or one person the wonder that de- 
scription had made her see in her mind's eye. 

Thousands of less imaginative women long 
for the impossible. They are fed on romantic 
stories and live in the more or less common- 
place imagination of the novelists or play- 
wrights they patronize. Thousands of tired 
men have this same love of vicarious sensa- 
tion — anything that lifts them out of the drab 
of their surroundings into a merry or senti- 
mental atmosphere is a relief. 

Life seems hopeless to the middle-aged. 
Most of them once thought they could put 
it right in a week if they had a free hand. 
They try, they fail, they marry and spend the 
evening of their lives trying to destroy the 
illusions of their children as quickly as possible, 
so that they also may "settle down" to hard 
facts. To excuse himself a thinker will say, " I 
know the dangers of cultivating the imagina- 
tion ; I know that unless it is nipped in the 
bud this wild flower of the mind will twine its 
tendrils round me, cover me with its shadows, 
intoxicate me~with its fragrance, and destroy 
reason and physical health." In answer, I 


Modern Woman : Her Intentions 

admit there are dangers, but on the other 
hand if the possibly evil weed is cultivated by 
wise gardeners, it may show itself at last as the 
most splendid flower of the soul. The cultivator 
of flowers that sterilizes the bud and diverts 
the life-force into creations of elaborate beauty 
has found the physical side of the religious 
mystery called the Coronation of the Virgin. 
The imaginative power that has reached this 
point transmutes human nature, whether philo- 
sophic, scientific, sensual, or physical, and it is 
then that the soul may be said to have attained 
the regenerate state which makes for the un- 
natural beauty we call perfection of culture. 

The imaginative woman may reach the degree 
of joyous saintly beauty, or she may stop short 
at the next stage in which she is enough of a 
philosopher to recognize the great variety of 
temperaments to be met with among her 
fellow-creatures, and to greet them all alike 
with sympathy and interest. She may not 
reach the philosophic or really sympathetic 
stage, she may remain in a third stage, where 
her mind can coldly classify her fellow- 
creatures with critical discretion, and laugh 
at them all cynically. Or she may not be 
able to perceive clearly, but may be carried 
away perpetually by her own feelings and 
sensations, in the fourth degree of unawakened 
ignorance. Lastly, she may abandon the four 
regions of beautiful image making, sympathy, 


The Imaginative Woman 

perception, and sensation, and deliberately 
devote herself with common-sense prudence 
to the patient task of getting her daily bread 
and reproducing her species until she dies of 
it. On the other hand, she may go mad, she 
may become silly, she may drown her disgust 
with life in alcohol or drugs, or she may irri- 
tate her feeble dream-power with novelettes. 
These states of degenerate imaginations are 
the worst curses of the woman's sphere as it is 
at present understood. Good hard work, 
rewarded by a decent income, varied by 
motherhood and love, is the best cure for 
these vapourings. 

The men who have a good deal of woman- 
hood in their natures suffer and enjoy through 
their imaginations in the same way, and it is 
interesting to observe that a really virile man 
has no trace of imaginative power in his com- 
position. He cares for nothing but tangible 
reality. When men of imagination talk to 
him he has not the smallest conception of 
what they mean. I think it was Goethe who 
said that he felt the universe in his arms when 
he embraced a woman. What I am obliged 
to call a virile man feels nothing of the kind, 
he is merely amusing himself like Don Juan, 
or any cat or dog. However, Don Juan is a 

It is very difficult to classify temperaments 
without alluding to Weiningen's Sex and 

Modern Woman : Her Intentions 

Character. That book has been followed by 
other classics on the subject by Forel and 
Bloch, but I only want to remind my readers 
that in Weiningen's book they will find, set 
out at length, the ingenious theory that virile 
men and feminine women are the rarest 
creatures on earth, and that the great majority 
of us are made up of various proportions of 
the two sexes. He further suggests that happy 
unions are those in which the proportions of 
sex in the two lovers together make up one 
virile man and one feminine woman. For 
instance, a man who was one-eighth feminine 
should marry a woman who was one-eighth 

I am told that Mr. Austen Chamberlain 
repeatedly made the very careless statement 
that " men are men, and women are women," 
in a speech delivered in 1909. He evidently 
has not acquainted himself with the elementary 
science of sex. Is it not time that the books 
alluded to above should be made generally 
accessible ? Then our younger statesmen, at 
least, might come to the platform with some 
less absurd refrain than that obsolete inaccu- 
racy. Let me assure Mr. Chamberlain that 
German science and research have proved 
that the contrary statement would be rather 
more exact. 





We are all speculating about the changes to 
be brought about in this century from which 
we women hope so much, and a great many 
people are making practical experiments. 
Myself, I am of that tranquil nature which 
willingly follows the advice of Punch when he 
says : " Never practise what you preach, to 
do so is to hold up your opinions to obvious 

I must confess to an altogether selfish con- 
cern for my own comfort. I dislike the home 
because it means that one has to live with 
people who are privileged to behave without 
politeness in each other's company. Most of 
us share the feeling, I think, that we like to be 
the worst-behaved person present. This can 
only be achieved satisfactorily to all when one 
lives by oneself. My own experiments have 
mostly been in the attempt to modify the 
solitary life with^an exactly pleasant propor- 
tion of social life. I was brought up in a large 
family until I was twenty-three, and I lived 
the orthodox married life for four years, so 

8 4 


that I have given home and the family as 
much trial as seemed necessary. 
t As a hermit with mitigating friends and 
enemies, and the various societies I have helped 
to run, my life has been unusually full of 
varied interests. I have no regrets, because 
my failures have been some of my most valu- 
able experiences, and my moments of bitter- 
ness have been the cause of my greatest con- 

At the same time, one is horribly afraid that 
one might induce courage in some other per- 
son whose heart is too tender to get through 
trouble. One is rather apt to dread the grey 
life of a patient woman without any kind of 
artistic talent, who makes a muddle of her 
affairs because she religiously practises in- 
stead of preaching. 

Some people say that example is better 
than precept ; but in the case of social reform 
and the need of a real change in public opinion, 
my experience shows me that precept is no 
good at all, if one is suspected of inventing it 
to serve one's own purposes of self-indulgence. 
I own I have indulged myself by leading a 
solitary life as described above, therefore I do 
not propose to try to destroy the home and 
family life. Those who are suffering from the 
home want to do away with it. With philo- 
sophic calm I can suggest improvements and 
ways of escape that would make it bearable, 


Modern Woman : Her Intentions 

but would not destroy it. As a matter of fact 
the home is in a very poor way just at present. 
Public-houses, clubs, restaurants, the servant 
difficulty are all devastating it. Still, it does 
not do to say we are glad, so I register the 
fact with as long a face as I can pull, and trust 
my readers will recognize the sad truth in the 
same serious spirit. 

But, to return to experiments, let us go 
back a little in time, and we find that all gay 
societies, such as that under Louis XIV and 
XV of France, The Empire and the Second 
Empire, practised every kind of experiment. 
Yet one looks upon Rousseau, Mary Wolstone- 
craft, Shelley, and Godwin as the real pioneers 
of experiment, because they made a kind of 
religion of their protests against convention. 
Of late years it has become the fashion to 
solemnly register a protest every time one 
omits to register one's marriage. 

It is partly my stupid objection to public 
indecency that makes me object to the ad- 
vertisement of marriage, legal or illegal. One 
has to clean one's teeth, some people have to 
marry, but for the life of me I cannot see the 
use of talking about either of these necessities. 
Surely the whole object of modern civilization 
is to conceal the fact that we are animals. It 
is true that we have begun to made a public 
art of eating, but although we permit ourselves 
to munch in public, we disguise the nature of 



our food, and we have sternly suppressed the 
more ancient freedoms of the dinner-table. 
We no longer think it polite to go about when 
we suffer from catarrh, and it is seldom that 
we encounter unpleasant expectorations, ex- 
cept in the immediate haunts of admittedly 
hooligan circles. 

They say that nowadays it is possible to 
talk of any subject as long as one does so with 
sufficient delicacy and avoids the words of 
the gutter and the club smoking-room. Still, 
I admit that it is difficult to explain that just 
as we feel that every other necessary function 
of nature should be performed without attract- 
ing attention to it, so I feel that I would rather 
not be informed every time the bold experi- 
menters in marriage see fit to take a partner. 

When outspokenness is for the public good, 
when a " hushed-up disease ' becomes dis- 
astrous simply because it is " hushed up," 
then there is some meaning in making a gospel 
and parade of the truth. But I really think 
it is time we accepted the convention that 
men and women seek each other's society in 
order to exchange ideas. 

Strangely enough it is often the case. A 
woman has only to talk and listen well, and 
she will find that the less she desires love the 
more friendliness she will receive from men. 
Saint Teresa of Spain was am excellent ex- 
ample of this. I suppose she had more warmly 


Modern Woman : Her Intentions 

affectionate friendships with men, without a 
shadow of scandal, than any other woman. 
A perfectly frank woman will generally keep 
men as her friends, they will not dare to be 
her lovers unless she deliberately ceases to be 

Unfortunately experimenters have to be 
original in order to be successful. The people 
for whom I am sorry are those who are led 
into making experiments which are unnatural 
to them by the hypnotic power of seductive 

Save us from our imitators is the cry of all 
great poets ; and the only valuable advice one 
can give is, if you must experiment be careful 
that you lead the way and are not seduced 
by the example of anyone else. If by nature 
you must follow, it is a sign that you are a 
gregarious animal, and had better remain 
with the main body of the herd. The real 
experimenters are quite ready for solitude, 
and when they have found fair country and 
good pasture the rest of the herd will come 
over in a body with one accord. It is no use 
perishing with cold on the way to the Pole, 
unless you have the capacity to find it. Much 
better stop at home by the fireside. 






The stately Spaniard, graceful as a tree sway- 
ing in its dance with the wind, savage and 

The Nihilist Russian, watching in her lair, 
instinctive and ready to kill. Her hatred of 
government marking her as the free barbarian. 

The Parisian, knowing the correct conven- 
tion of a funeral or an adultery, civilized and 
logical to her glove-tips. 

Of the three women the two first are simple, 
but civilization is complex, and it may mean 
to be cultivated with regard to intellect like 
the Jesuits, art like the Greeks, morals like 
the Irish, or religion like the Arab. 

In which way will the women of the future 
develop ? Will she strive like the frequenters 
of the salon of Madame de Rambouillet to 
excel in intellect, or like Saint Teresa of 
Spain as a religious mystic ? We have seen 
both these types, and I have no doubt that 
we shall see many shining examples of mor- 
ality, but at the moment I cannot think of 
any conspicuous woman of whom no one has 
whispered scandal. For in these days if 


Modern Woman : Her Intentions 

people do not trip in one direction, it is said 
it is because they prefer to trip in another ; 
and soon it will be taken as a sign of evil life 
that one should live in a desert on bread and 
water. I mention in passing that our late 
Queen is usually admitted to have been con- 
spicuously moral. In the arts we have seen, 
and hope to see again, great women novelists 
and actresses. In history we have an array 
of splendid uncivilized women immortalized 
from all time — Medea, Electra, the Roman 
empresses, Queen Maive of Connaught, the 
Russian heroines. Whether they excelled 
most as noble savages or as gloriously barbaric 
haters of ordered life, I cannot stay to consider. 
For I want the women who read this book 
not to dwell upon the past, but to look forward 
to the great century that is waiting for their 
alchemy, to transmute its life by giving it a 
more intent purpose. Are we going to be like 
the very badly dressed lady of title, whom we 
heard the other day imploring us to behave 
ourselves like other people, just as we dressed 
like other people, in order not to be conspicu- 
ous ! Or are we really going to make some- 
thing out of this brilliant opportunity given 
us by the " refusal of the vote," and the quickly 
spreading passion of enthusiasm which is 
moving the women of all nations to make a 
fight against the patriarchal faith of the goat- 


The Savage and the Civilized 

Mr. Gorst says that the object of life is 
making (moral) love. I think the object of 
our life is to make experiments, as gardeners 
make experiments in floriculture. I quarrel 
with absorption in the family because family 
jealousy is a bar to that kind of social inter- 
course which is the only education worth 
having, and the only experience which can 
lead to any result worth having. They say 
in France, " Love is a play in which the acts 
last five minutes, and the entr'actes for any 
time you like." If it filled the whole of life it 
would only mean that life would be as short 
as that of the ephemeral winged, creatures of 
the insect world. Family love cannot absorb 
us if we wish to survive. We are complicated, 
and our possibilities of social and political 
intercourse are a subject of endless interest 
and inquiry. Let us then start again on our 
voyages of discovery, this time with a little 
more purpose in our method and delight in 
our hearts. 

Women want the vote, it is true, but what 
they want more, and what they are getting, 
is strength to hammer through the prisons 
which have kept them for many centuries 
packed away conveniently for use on occasion. 
They are all coming out into the daylight for 
the first time within our memory, and now 
the real movement of life begins. 

We want to change public opinion about 


Modern Woman : Her Intentions 

divorce, contagious diseases, and forethought 
with regard to breeding. We want married 
women to recognize the various proportions 
of sexuality in each sex, to make allowance 
for the passionate, and to admit that we are 
greatly indebted for our culture to individuals 
who do not desire to be parents. 

In conclusion, all I can say is, " Talk ! 
talk ! talk ! " We are more moved by one 
conversation than by many eloquent dis- 
courses. After all, what is so permanently 
delightful as communion of ideas ? So once 
again I say, "Go on talking until the savage, 
the barbarian, and the civilized women have 
found out all they can learn from each other. 
Plenty of men will be glad to help them in their 


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University of Toronto