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Full text of "Woman : her charm and power"

WOMAN 



HER CHARM AN Is) POWER 



ROBERT P. DOWNKS, LL.D. 

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**TM AUT wr mi*t.K t.WNtt* hit- Kl.. 



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THE KP WORT ft I'RKJiS 
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11 



First Edititm . . 


. . October /poo 


Second Edition 


. . January IQOI 


TJdrd Edition . . 


. October 1901 


Fowrik Edition . 


. . January i$4 


Fifth Editiem . . 


, . September iqob 


Sixth Edition . . 


. . November igu 


Seventh Edition . 


. . March 1915 


Eighth Edition , 


. . June iqso 



TO 

MY WIFE 

WHO, IN HRfc P1JRKNK88 AND HKR PAtTIiPltX.NIftft, HAft 

SKEN rOK O MANV YEARS THR OUAftDIAK ANGEL 
OF MV UFU, AND OF MY HOMft 



PREFACE 



T ET me say at the outset that this book will 

interest those who cherish low and unworthy 

views of woman, 

It Is written by one who thinks highly of woman, 
and with abundant cause. It may be objected by some 
that we place woman too high, -that we depict the ideal 
woman rather than the real, describing what she may be 
rather than what she is. We have spoken of both the 
Ideal and the real ; and we have spoken what we have 
conceived as possible, and known as fact, 

Readers will find that our pages abound with quota- 
tion! especially from the poets, They will not, how****** 
resent this, since we have used the words of others only 
because they have expressed that which we wished to 
say more clearly or more mcicxliougly than we could 
have done it ourselves* 



8 PREFACE 

Let us confess that in the publication of this volume 
we have cherished one great ambition, and it is this that 
the woman who reads it may be led to say : " It has 
helped me to a light. of which before I (fid not dream, 
and it has awakened within me a sense of privilege ^nd 
responsibility which will not suffer me to be complaining 
or selfish, or prayerless, or idle again, while I have a 
woman's life to live." 

ROBERT P. DOWNES. 

ST. CULRB, 
NORWOGO* 



CON Tit NTS 



I. VAKIRtt INTIMATES OF WOMAN . * * * * *3 

If, tlltt HISTORY OF WOMAN * 32* 

lit. NAUttNt* niAHArntfUSTICH OK WOMAN * * . * 57 

IV, WOMAN A** DAtTUHTKU AN** AH XlSTKK * # * B6 

v* WOMAN AS ittTtiMTiifu ,,,.. 105 

VI* WOMAN AS WffK . . . * . I a$ 

V1L W<'MAN AH l((VU{Ktl * lf)O 

i/ut* WOMAN A*i i(fftt*iK>MfV!iixf( . * * 191: 

IX* tON^ WriMXN . .** 2^7 

X. 1HU UttNtCKX ftNT MtNIMHV fK WOMAN * , 246 

3CI* WOM AH AS nKAt-\VINNICIt * * 374 

XII. THK SliVEWRItmtV Oi* WOMAN f * 29$ 

Xltt. IAWH WHU'tC WOMAN MtcU>t,n AVOID w 3^ 

X$V Till WUMAN THAI HMAU. HI * t * 347 



MY gentle reader if it be, 

That this same praise of you from me s 

In its good faith and chivalry, 

Should sound too high and sweet ; 
Rise then to woman's real height, 
And let my wonder and delight, 
In that which is so pure and bright 

Still keep me at your feet. 

R. P. a 



WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

CHAPTER I 

VARIED ESTIMATES OF WOMAN 

Tender, and sweet, and faithful, I have found her, 

Since heaven looked on me through my mother's eyes ; 

And still, methinks, heaven's light and grace surround her, 
To baffle scorn and silence enemies. 

R. P. D. 

In my soul I think God meant to teach the world the way to purity and 
nobility through women. And I believe, with old Martin Luther, that the 
noblest thing God ever made on earth is the heart of a right noble, loving 
woman. HENRY WARD BEECHER. 

WOMAN, thank God, is always with us. She 
brings us into being. We are cradled in her 
arms. She loves and guards us with fond devotion when 
as yet we have awakened no other interest. We may- 
be plain, but she sees beauty in us. We may be ill- 
tempered, but she bears with us. She will sacrifice ease, 
sleep, strength, yea life itself to serve us. She is Love's 
form. God first looks on us through her tender eyes. 
She interprets for us the love, the pity, and the grace 
of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is her^constant and 

13 



14 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

unwearied ministry which gives its music to the sweet word 
home. When She departs, that word loses its meaning, and 
we begin to thu?k of heaven as home because she is there. 
She bears with bur sins and carries our sorrows. She 
is wounded for our transgressions. She is our guardian 
angel, not unseen, but moving and breathing by our side* 
Our earliest tasks are encountered at her bidding. Our 
first ambitions are kindled by her smile. We aspire 
after nobleness because she expects it from us. We 
itand off from baseness that we may not bow her head 
in shame. If she approves us the whole world may hiss, 
and we shall not heed it If she condemns us the 
applause of nations cannot redeem us from self-contempt 
Her blessing is as the sun when he calls forth the 
morning. Her censure is as the stroke of an angel's 
sword If through loss of honour we have lost her love 
and trust, fate has emptied its quiver on us. It has no 
other arrow left. If we have blessed and sheltered her, 
all things combine to comfort us. If we have wronged 
and defiled her, our hell has begun already. A mother, 
a sister, a wife, a daughter, what magic dwells in 
those tender names. Blot them out and the world would 
Jjp for us only a heart-breaking wilderness, and life a 
bitter weed which we would gladly cast away. 

'Tis hers to curb the passions' maddening sway 
And wipe the mourner's bitter tear away: 
Tis hers to soothe when hope itself has fled, 
And cheej with angel smile the sufferer's bed ; 
To give to earth its charm, to life its zest, 
One,, only task to bless and to be blest 



VARIED ESTIMATES OF WOMAN 15 

Estimates of woman are as varied as the minds 
which cherish them. The beautiful . see^the beautiful, 
and the base, ttjp base. Men portray their own char- 
acters by the manner in which they portray the characters 
of otlfers, and this is specially true with regard to their 
judgment of women. If they have treated them as toys 
and playthings, they esteem them frivolous and empty. 
If they have used them lawlessly, they write them down 
as base. If, on the other hand, they have honoured and 
cherished them, as every true man should, guarding theif 
weakness and reverencing their purity, they will hold 
them as superior to themselves in all finer human 
qualities nearer, indeed, to the divine and the heavenly. 
" We pity the man," says Richter, " for whom his own 
mother has not made all other mothers venerable." 

The Chinese have perhaps the meanest recorded 
saying about women : " There are two good women ; 
one dead, the other unborn." Closely akin to this, are 
the silly lines of one who says 

Men have many faults, 

Women only two ; 
There's nothing wise they ever say, 

And nothing good they do. 

Most women will hold that Antiphanes was twice a 
heathen when he wote : " One thing only I believe in a 
woman, that she will not come to life again after she is 
dead; in everything else I mistrust her till she is dead," 
George Meredith fills us with amazement when he writes : 
" I expect that woman will be the last thing civilised by 



i6 WOMAJV: HER CHARM AND POWER 

man." Lord Chesterfield, agaiff, has said with bitter 
irony: "Wofcen re much more like each other than 
men. They hve, in truth, but two passions, vanity and 
love. These are their universal characteristics, and he 
who flatters them most pleases them best." Anfl what 
shall we say of Plato, where, alluding to the doctrine orf 
metempsychosis, or the possible sinking of men to lower 
and lower stages in another life, he says : " Foppish men 
will be degraded after death to the form of woman ; and 
if they do not make some effort to retrieve themselves, 
they will become birds." 

Woman, however, need not be discouraged by the 
unjust things which have been said of her by men, since 
it is certain that the good things said about her far out- 
number and outweigh the evil things. Furthermore, we 
have observed that as a man rises in nobleness, his 
estimate of woman rises with him, and it is also true 
that the wisest and noblest men have cherished the most 
exalted views of woman. 



Noble Views of Woman 

Let us now refer to some of those worthier estimates 
of woman, in her ideal character, which are more in 
harmony with truth and sanity. For example, Charles 
Lemesle has said : " Most of their faults women owe to 
us men, whilst we are indebted to them for most of our 
better qualities." 'From the pure soul of F. W. Robertson 
this tribute springs : " It is the prerogative and glory of 



VARIED ESTIMATES OF WOMAN 17 

womanhood to consecrate the meanest things by a 
ministry which is not for self." Malherbg- again writes : 
"The Creator may have repented the oreation of man, 
but He has no reason to repent havjng made woman/' 
Menu* the sage, remarks : " When women are respected 
the gods are content; but when they are dishonoured 
all acts of piety are barren/' The gentle and noble 
Jean Paul Richter writes : " Oh, if the loving, closed 
heart of a good woman should open before a man, how 
much controlled tenderness, how many veiled sacrifices^ 
and dumb virtues would be seen reposing therein/ 1 
F. Hargrave says : " Women are the poetry of the world, 
in the same sense as stars are the poetry of heaven; 
clear, light-giving, harmonious, they are the terrestrial 
planets that rule the destinies of mankind/ 1 The kindly 
and chivalrous James Ellis writes: "Woman is the 
beacon light of every man's ambition; his aspirations, 
energies, and courage are all drawn forth by the holy 
influence of her love." The great John Ruskin's innate 
reverence for woman is known to all his readers ; and that 
is a fine tribute to the power of her ministry where he 
says: "You cannot think that the buckling on of the 
knight's armour by his lady's hand was a mere caprice of 
romantic fashion. It is the type of an eternal truth 
that the soul's armour is never well set to the heart unless 
a woman's hand has braced it; and it is only when she 
braces it loosely that the honour of manhood fails/' 
Space fails us to add the noble tributes^ to woman in her 
ideal character which might be culled from such writers 



i8 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

as Walter Scott, Charles Dickens, William Makepeace 
Thackeray, K^ D. Blackmore, Robert Louis Stevenson, 
and a hundred others. Almost invariably with these 
great delineators of humanity, it is their heroines rather 
than their heroes who fascinate and enchain us, ad we 
are compelled to yield admiring homage to womanly 
grace, womanly fidelity, and womanly purity. 

The Poets and Women 

Yet, further, since on questions of deep interest we 
consult the best authorities, let us now turn for some 
adequate view of woman to " God's great truth-tellers," as 
Mrs. Browning designates them, the poets. Gifted with 
finer intuitions and deeper insight than ordinary men, 
the poets have penetrated more fully into the ideal char- 
acter of woman than any other class of writers, and it is 
essential that we should hear their testimony concern- 
ing her. 

Going back towards the dim twilight of recorded 
time, we find in the older Greek literature pictures of 
womanly excellence which neither the age of chivalry 
nor that of our modern civilisation has surpassed. Those 
Greek masters of song who first gave us the Epic and 
the Tragedy have given us visions of ideal womanhood 
which are amongst the most perfect in the literature of 
tiie world. The devotion of Andromache to Hector; the 
fidelity of Penelope gazing for long years over the 
glimmering sea for the return of her husband Ulysses ; 



VARIED ESTIMATES OP WOMAN 19 

the heroic love of Alccstis yielding herself to death with 
sacred joy that the life of her husband might be spared ; 
the filial piety of Antigone; the saintly resignation of 
Iphigcnia; the modesty > tenderness^ and playfulness of 
Nauftcaa, who moves through the Odyssey like a ray of 
sunshine all these are pictures of sweet and faithful 
womanhood, whose charm can never perish, 

Passing from Greece to Italy, and pausing before her 
greatest master, Dante, we note how a woman inspired 
and sustained his genius, not only making earth sacre4 
for him by her presence, but leading him also through the 
shadowy under- world the mystic Hades up to the 
Faradi.se in whose bright radiance angels circle the throne 
rejoicing* 

Chaucer wrote w A Legend of Good Women/* but no 
Legend of Good Men* Spenser portrays in the heavenly 
Una a vision of pure loveliness, which has taken captive 
the heart of the world. And what shall we say of 
Shakespeare's divine gallery of pure and noble woman- 
hood ! " Broadly speaking/' says John Ruskin, " Shake- 
speare has no heroes ;~*hc has only heroines, , . There 
is hardly a play that has not a perfect woman in it, stead- 
fast in grace, hope, and errorless purpose* , * , He repre- 
sents them as infallibly faithful and wise councillors, 
incorruptedly just and pure examples, strong always to 
sanctify, even when they cannot save. 11 Goethe, the 
Shakespeare of Germany, has given us in his Pair Saint, 
as Rwrattd in ffir Confessions^ perhaps the finest Ideal 
of womanhood the world has ever beheld. Some of 



20 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND PO WER 

Browning's women are lovely beyond words, as, foi 
example, Pompitiia, " the snow-white soul that angels fear 
to take untendeMy" and Pippa, in her sweet spring- 
rapture, singing as ske trips along 

God's in His Heaven, all's right with the world. 

Tennyson has his exquisite " Dream of Fair Women," 
from the charms of Enid and Elaine, to the noble 
strength of his Princess, who says to all the world, 
"JBetter not be at all, than not be noble," and who bids 
the women of her college drink deep of knowledge, that 
" the habits of the slave, the sins of emptiness, gossip, 
and spite and slander," may die within them. 

Such, according to the best authorities, is ideal 
woman. Not a puppet or a plaything. Not a kind of 
inferior being, through whom children are bora, and 
houses kept neat and clean. Not a creature destined 
to stand aloof from serious thoughts and lofty aims, 
but the teacher and guide of youth, the helpmeet 
of man, the conscience of society and of the world, the 
Eve of the Paradise of our joys, and our comforter 
when its gates are closed against us, and we face the 
wilderness. 

Let man reverence her, and she will justify his 
reverence. Let him treat her nobly, and she will requite 
his nobleness a hundredfold. Let him deal purely with 
her, and she will make his sanctity look stained and 
poor. Let him deiay himself only in some small degree 
to make her blest, and she will lay her all in magnificent 



VARIED ESTIMATES OP WOMAN ai 

self-surrender at his feet, only grieving that it is not 

more, f 

The ve^f first 



Of hutn%n life must JJpring from woman's breast, 
Your first small words arc taught y$u from her lips, 
Your first tears qttenchVl by her, and your last sighs 
Too nficn breathed out in a woman's hearing, 
\Vlsrn men have shrunk from the ignoble care 
Of watching the lust hour of him who led them, 

The Relation of Woman to Man 

He fore considering further the subject of the charjji 

and power of woman, it is needful to determine, in some 

satisfactory way, her relation to man* Some speak of 
the mission and the rights of woman as if she were 
intended to stand apart from man and to be Independent 
of him, while others assert so strongly the lordship of 
man as to convey the idea that woman Is his inferior, 
and Is intended to yield a weak and servile obedience 
to his stronger will Both conceptions, however, are 
false and misleading. The true relation between man 
and woman Is one of equality in difference* 

We urc formed iw nott** of twwlc ure 
Fur one ftnothrr, though 



There is no such thing as independence on either 
side, there is only inter-dependence* Each sex has its 
own distinctive place, and its own appointed ministry, 
Woman was not intended to be the rival or the slave, 
but the complement of man* The primitive record of 
God's creative act is, u Male and .female created He 
them.'* There are characteristic differences which make 



22 WOMAN : HER CHARM AND POWER 


the two sexes related to and dependent the one upon 

the other. Tltey are, as it were, two halves of humanity. 
Man is not complete in himself, or woman in herself. 
It needs "the two-celled heart beating with one full 
stroke" to constitute a full-orbed and perfect hmman 
life. 

Benjamin Franklin aptly said, that like the two 
halves of a pair of scissors man and woman completed 
each other. Pope erred when he affirmed that woman 
jyas merely " a softer man." On the contrary, there is 
sex in souls as well as in bodies, and for this reason 
there is an essential difference between woman and 
man. Plato also erred when he said that women are 
the same as men in faculty, only less in degree. Tenny- 
son has the truer insight where he sings 

For woman is not undevelopt man, 
But diverse: could we make her as the man, 
Sweet love were slain, whose dearest bond is this- 
Not like to like, but like in difference: 
Yet in the long years liker must they grow; 
The man be more of woman, she of man ; 
He gain in sweetness and in moral height, 
Nor lose the wrestling thews that throw the world: 
She mental breadth, not fail in childward care: 
More, as the double-natured poet, each: 
Till at the last she sets herself to man, 
Like perfect music unto noble words. 

The distinction which exists between man and woman 
is not, as some would argue, the mere result of education 
or of training, but is inherent in the physical and mental 
constitution of the, sexes. The constitutional qualities 
which result in motherhood, exercise so great an mflu- 



VARIED ESTIMATES OF WOMAN 23 

ence on the temperament and on the nervous system 
that they bring about, as a natural re^ilt, a marked 
difference between woman and man. /These qualities 
do not affect the higher moral *and intellectual nature, 
but they do affect the whole emotional nature, and fix 
that difference in the sexes which renders them mutually 
attractive and capable of blending and becoming one. 
Each is the other's needful counterpart, Man is 
woman's fulness and strength. Woman is his quicker 
insight and his more winsome grace. Man represents 
power, courage, will, labour. Woman represents del? 
cacy, beauty, tenderness, trust. Man is the prose of 
humanity ; woman the poetry. Man is roused into 
action by ambition ; woman by love. Woman carries 
her special strength in her heart; man in his head* 
We are greater when we love than when we think, for 
God is love* And woman stands nearer to God than 
man because of her capacity to love* She climbs the 
golden stair, while he lingers at the foot. He has the 
knowledge of outward things, and masters them for her. 
She confides in God, and pleads with God for him. The 
countcrpoi.se is beautiful, and attests the divine wisdom 
and the divine benevolence, " If I were suddenly 
asked/ 1 says Sir Arthur Helps, "to give a proof of 
the goodness of God to us, 1 think I should say that 
it is most manifest in the exquisite difference He has 
made between the souls of men and women, so as to 
create the possibility of the most comforting and charm- 
ing companionship that the mind of man can imagine/' 



24 WQMAM: HK CHARM AN 2} POWER 

It has been too generally assumed that won 

exists for mai\ and that her unique destiny is to please 
and serve him\ It is true that woman is intended to 
be the helpmeet of man, but this does*not imply that 
she must therefore be subservient to him, and that she 
exists chiefly for his sake. No, she exists chiefly for 
her own sake. 

Let her make herself her own 
To give or keep, to live and learn to be 
All that harms not distinctive womanhood. 

Tt has been said that the most important duty of woman 
is to perfect man. This is false. It is a remnant of 
barbaric prejudice, preserved from the ages of brute 
force, when woman was regarded as a mere appendage 
to man, or as his slave. The most important duty of 
woman, as of every other human being, is, through the 
perfecting of her own nature as a child of God, to fulfil 
her personal destiny in the universe. Woman's divinity 
is intended not to be man, but God. Her being and 
her strength are drawn not from man, but from that 
higher and diviner source whence every individual soul 
proceeds, and to which alone it is accountable. She 
is created first of all for God, next for herself, and lastly 
for her husband and her children. She may be a wife 
and a mother, and find her highest earthly happiness in 
these relations. But these relations are by no means 
an entire statement of her privileges and responsibilities. 
She may have neither lover, husband, nor children, yet 
her personal destiny may still be achieved. She may 



VARIED ESTIMATES OF WOMAN 25 

walk with God and do His will, and thus attain that 
self-perfection which will reach its glorious fruition in 
that diviner world, where there is " nattier marriage 
nor giving in marriage," but all are as the angels of 
God, * No man may call her to his side to be the 
jpartner of his joys and sorrows, no little ones may 
cluster round her knee for love and cherishing, but over 
the lonely sea of life she may hear a sweet voice calling 

Oh, child, conic forth ! for them #rwh dwell with Me 
About the immortal throne, where spirits joy 
In growing vision, and In growing love. 

The Masculine and Feminine Intellect 

It has always been assumed that woman, intellectu- 
ally, is essentially inferior to man, A careful study of 

the subject, however, leads us to the conclusion that she 
Is different rather than inferior. There is a masculine 
and a feminine in intellect as well as In physical con- 
formation. In comparing the intellectual powers of men 
and women, a proper distinction should be made be- 
tween receptive faculty and originative faculty, between 
fineness and essential strength. John Raskin wisely 
says: "We are foolish, and without excuse foolish, in 
speaking of the * superiority * of one sex to the other, 
as if they could be compared in similar things, Each 
has what the other has not, and is completed by the 
other ; they are in nothing alike, and the happiness and 
perfection of both depends on each asking and receiving 
from the other what the other can only give/' 



26 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

r 

If the quality of an instrument is to be tested t>y 
the intricacy* and delicacy of the work it can do, 
female mind And nervous system show a greater 
of fineness than those of man. But fhey do not equa.1 
man's in essential strength. Feminine and 
reign here as elsewhere. In the world of Art 
have had no woman master no compeer to Handol, 
Beethoven, Raphael, or Michael Angelo. In literature, 
with regard to energy, the same truth holds good- 
Balzac is greater than George Sand, and Victor Hug"O 
than Madame de Stae'L George Eliot does not equa.1 
Scott, Thackeray, or Dickens. Sappho cannot vie wit:!* 
Homer, or E. B. Browning with Wordsworth or Shelley. 
In philosophy we cannot compare Harriet Martinea.x* 
with Bishop Berkeley or Sir William Hamiltox* ; 
while in mathematics we cannot place Mary Somerville. 
side by side with Sir Isaac Newton or Sir William 
Thomson. Women are intelligent, but they are not: 
often creative. 

It is only fair, however, to remember that in tlies 
mental sphere woman has had to battle with immense: 
difficulties. She has not had half a chance. She h.a.s 
been shut out from almost every field of intellectual 
labour. " Long prejudice," remarks Mazzini, " an in- 
ferior education, and a perennial legal inequality anci 
injustice, have created that apparent intellectual inferi- 
ority which has been converted into an argument of 
continued oppression." After the same fashion, Lady- 
Psyche says in Tennyson's " Princess " 



VAJRIED ESTIMATES OF WOMAN 27 

Besides, the brain was Hke the hand, and grew 
With using ; thence the man's, if more was nt>re j 
He took advantage of his strength to be 
First in thq, field : some ages had been lost. 

Until women have been allowed for some generations to 
share Trecly in every educational advantage, and have 
keen given every opportunity In common with men, it 
is impossible to gauge their mental capacity. 

We know it is urged, in reply to this, that a woman's 
brain is smaller than a man's. But it must also be 
remembered that there arc two things in brain quality 
and quantity. The brain of a whale weighs double that 
of a man, yet it has never been asserted that it has the 
advantage over man in point of intellect 

Woman* s Swift> fntoith* Insight 
If it be admitted, however, that intellectually woman 
is inferior to man,~~~inferior, that is, in strength of mind f 

and in power of mental concentration, it is still true 

that in Intuitive sagacity woman is man's superior. 
Notwithstanding her want of opportunity she has always 
ihown a quickness of perception, a swift and accurate 
insight which man has regarded with a wonder some- 
times not far separated from positive awe* 

Writing of the Teutonic peoples, whose respect for 
woman was remarkable In those early times, Tacitus 
says : " The Germans suppose some divine and prophetic 
quality resident in their women, and are careful neither 
to disregard their admonitions nor * to neglect their 
answers/ 1 Thus was it In ancient times, and In the 



*8 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

present day all wise and thoughtful men are very 
cautious abfiut acting in direct opposition to the con- 
victions of tHfeir wives. 

By a flash, as it were, of inspired insight, woman 
often decides, with unerring accuracy, questions* which 
man has failed to solve by an elaborate process of 
reasoning. Her intuitive judgments are often more to 
be relied upon than the balanced conclusions of the 
logical intellect, and she sees at a glance that which 
man may have laboured hours to see. As a witty 
French writer says : " When a man has toiled step by 
step up a flight of stairs, he will be sure to find a woman 
at the top, though she will be unable to tell how she 
got there." How she got there is of little consequence ; 
it is enough for her that she is gifted, like many other 
beings in creation, with a self-protective instinct which 
guards heir from danger by revealing her enemies. She 
knows instinctively that one man is to be trusted, and 
another man is to be feared; and if those about her 
despise her intuitive convictions as to character, the final 
result attests their folly and her wisdom. It is this 
fact which has given rise to the saying, "The woman 
who deliberates is lost." Her first swift judgment, God- 
whispered as one might think, is always more accurate 
than her subsequent reflection. 

Varieties in Women 

Neither is it* true, as some have unworthily asserted, 
that women are destitute of character. "Accuracy of 



VARIED ESTIMATES OF WOMAN 29 

* 

thought," says W. R. Alger, "has seldom been more 
recklessly offered up to pungency of expression than in 
Pope's oft-citcrl aphorism * 

Nothing so true as what you once let fail, 
* Most women have no characters at all* 

There is an ample variety of tenacious womanly char- 
acter between the extremes marked by Miriam beating 
her timbrel and Cleopatra applying the asp, Cornelia 
showing her Roman jewels and Madame Guyon rapt 
in God, Lucrezia Borgia raging with bowl and dagger 
and Florence Nightingale sweetening the Crimean war 
with philanthropic deeds. What group of men, indeed, 
can be brought together, more distinct in individuality, 
more contrasted in diversity of traits and destiny, than 
such women as Kve in the Garden of Eden, Mary at 
the foot of the cross, Jael bending over the sleeping 
Sisera, Delilah betraying the swarthy Samson, Rebecca 
at the well, Scmiramis on her throne, Boadicea in her 
chariot, Ruth among f the alien corn,' Jezebel in her 
palace at Jezrcel, Lais at the banquet, Joan of Arc in 
her shining armour, Tomyris striding over the field with 
the head of Cyrus in her hand, Ferpetua smiling on the 
lions in the amphitheatre, Martha cumbered with much 
serving, Pocahontas under the shadow of the woods, 
Saint Theresa in the convent, Madame Roland on the 
scaffold. Mother Agnes at Port Royal, Catharine ot 
Sienna devoting her life to the poor, Grace Darling 
facing the wrath of the sea, exiled Madame de Stal 
wielding her pen as a sceptre, the Princess Alice of 



30 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

England drinking in death with a kiss, Aria handing 
the dripping dagger to Paetus, and Mrs. Fry lavishing 

her existence on outcasts?" 



Thus, it is not fair to clash women together as if 
they were all alike, for there are as many varieties of 
character among women as among men. 

Crime in Woman and Man 

Some of our modern sociologists have maintained 
that women were equal with men in the field of crimin- 
ality. From statistics carefully compiled, however, it 
can be proved that this is not so. On the contrary, 
It is established beyond dispute that, taking the whole 
of Europe into consideration, women are far less criminal 
than men. 

For example, in France, in the year 1880, there 
were but fourteen women delinquents to one hundred 
men. During the same year, in Italy, only nine women 
were convicted of crime, as compared with one hundred 
men. In the year 1871, Dr. Nicholson found in the 
prisons of England over eight thousand men, and less 
than thirteen hundred women. 

From Algeria and Bavaria, Germany and Russia, 
we have a like testimony, amply demonstrating that, 
as far as positive crime is concerned, the contrast with 
regard to man and woman is great. 

In our journey through life we have sometimes met 
with men who seemed utterly and hopelessly depraved 
But we hav % e never yet met a woman out of whose 



VARIED ESTIMATES OF WOMAN 31 

nature all which was divine had been crushed or flung 
away. With Longfellow 

We believe 

That wonfan, in her deepest degradation, 
Holds something sacred, something undefiled, 
Some pledge and keepsake of her higher nature, 
And, like the diamond in the dark, retains 
Some quenchless gleam of the celestial light I 

Honour, chastity, modesty, fidelity these divine 
and beautiful qualities seem natural to woman. It 
would, indeed, appear that only by the corrupting in- 
fluence of man is she dragged down to degradation. 
The records of the race attest that woman is very 
seldom the originator of crime, it is in following in 
the wake of man that she becomes soiled and polluted. 

It has been stated again and again that women have 
no sense of justice, but the statement is utterly untrue, 
The sense of justice in a woman is fully as keen as it 
is in the best men, but she will meekly bear acts of 
injustice toward herself, through her unwillingness to 
retaliate, while her sense of dependence frequently leads 
to silent acquiescence in acts of injustice toward others 
which, if she were independent, she would not tolerate. 

Let men, who have despised or forgotten the mother 
who bore them, labour to convict woman of baseness, 
for our part we would rather say, with Mrs. Browning 
in her " Aurora Leigh " 

My sister ! let the night be ne'er so dark, 
The moon is surely somewhere in the skyj 
So surely is your whiteness to be found 
Through all dark facts. 



CHAPTER II 

THE HISTORY OF WOMAN 

All that we dream of gracious or divine 

In women hath its type; each holy sprite, 

Poet or seer, or saintly eremite, 
Resembles woman ; all that doth refine 
The arts, the manners, to her sway benign 

Owes high allegiance; all things fair and right 

Her weakness champion in the world's despite ; 
Where women is, no home hut hath a shrine ; 
How oft, alas, profaned ! Men crucify 

Her gentle spirit, and to shame betray 
Her innocence with a kiss ; her agony 

And sweat of blood the winds that ever stray 
Forever witness ; and her bitter cry 

Goes up to heaven for vengeance, night and day. 

MARTIN SWIFT. 

The woman is not the servant of man, much less his slave. She is his 
companion, his assistant, bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh. In pro- 
portion as the moral sense becomes developed among a people, she increases 
in dignity and in liberty; hi that sort of liberty that is not exemption 
from duty and order, but enfranchisement from all servile dependence. 

LAMBNNAIS. 

THERE are few studies more interesting than that 
of the condition of woman at different periods of 
the world's history, together with the extremes of honour 
or dishonour in which she has been held in different 
climes and under varied social conditions. It is truly 

amazing to consider how for long ages woman was 

as 



THE HISTORY OF WOMAN 33 

regarded merely as the property of man, made only for 
him as her aim and end in life, as if she possessed neither 
soul, conscience, nor moral liberty. 

If we except the ancient Egyptians, and the primitive 
Iranians, who appear to have held woman in high esteem 
and to have granted her the privileges of education and 
self-government, the whole history of antiquity presents 
to the amazed student a scene in which we find women 
groaning under the hard hand of oppression, deprived of 
many of the rights of nature, and regarded as a mere 
appendage of man, the slave of his caprices, and the 
minister to his passions. 

Among savage nations where the habits of the people 
were nomadic, and war and the chase the sole pursuits, 
woman was naturally regarded as inferior to man, since 
she could not bend the bow or wield the club as effect- 
ually as he. Muscular superiority gave the right to rule, 
and woman, as "the weaker vessel," must needs obey. 
Her condition was one of extreme degradation, and her 
life a weary record of continual, abject, and unrequited 
toil. When she accompanied the hunter on his expedi- 
tions it was her duty to bring home the prey, and when 
at home it was her office to cook it for him and to 
stand behind him while he ate, receiving as her meed 
the wretched fragments of the meal, which were not 
seldom flung to her over his shoulder, as if she were a 
dog. The duty of restraining the sensual passions was 
confined to the female, while the male was restricted only 
by the prohibition of adultery. 



34 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

Woman in the East 

In the Oriental world, where polygamy flourished* 
and marriage was viewed only in its sensual aspects, 
woman was held as a creature without a soul, afld was 
regarded as a toy to play with, or as an inferior to be 
despised. The despots of the East might indeed praise 
her for her beauty, but, at the same time, she was con- 
sidered incapable of thought, and so frail in virtue that 
she must be hidden from the gaze of man, lest she should 
go astray. Neither did the rule of Mohammed improve 
her condition. He allowed the Moslem, under the law 
of the Koran, four wives, though he himself had nine, 
asserting that he had obtained a revelation from heaven 
to justify the transgression of his own law. He per- 
mitted his followers to beat their wives. Hence in the 
Koran we read : " Those women whose perverseness ye 
shall be apprehensive of, rebuke, and remove them into 
separate apartments, and chastise them." In another 
passage he says: "Men shall have the pre-eminence 
above women, because of those advantages wherein God 
hath caused the one of them to excel the other." 

Such was the condition assigned to woman by 
Mohammed, and such it remains among the Moslems 
to-day. In a record of travel in Morocco, Mrs. Haweis 
says: "The Moors say that women have no souls. 
They are right, they have no souls in Morocco. When 
I was present 'at the wedding festivities of the late 
Ch^rif at Tangier (who was very much married), and 



THE HISTORY OF WOMAN 35 

saw the handsome gaily-clad men galloping and enjoy- 
ing themselves on the long beach of that lovely bay, 
gyrating and popping their guns, and shouting in the 
futile Moorish way; when I saw the women who had 
brought those men into the world afar off, wrapt in 
white haiks like winding-sheets, crouching like honey- 
pots on the blue-grey slopes like dogs, and dogs tied 
up I realised on a sudden what is the subjection of 
women, carried to its logical conclusion. And when I 
visited the harem later and saw the dull animal faces' 
that hardly brightened at the novelty of our coming 
then I knew all. Women have no souls m Morocco. 
It has been educated out of her, for we can educate the 
soul out of people in time, as we can educate a soul into 
them" 

Woman in India 

Evidence is not wanting that the Zoroastrian people, 
who lived in the eastern territories of India more than 
three thousand years ago, thought nobly of their women. 
In primitive Iranian society the wife held a position not 
inferior to her husband, while the mother and the 
daughter were revered and cherished. There is no 
reference in the Avesta, the sacred book of the disciples 
of Zoroaster, to any disappointment at the birth of a 
daughter. On the contrary, she seems to have been 
regarded with special tenderness, and, in harmony with 
the lofty Monotheism of the Parsees, she was taught the 
value and necessity of pure thoughts,* pure words, and 
pure deeds. 



36 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND PO WER 

% 
The ancient Iranian marriage tie was not the result 

of capture or purchase, but of selection on the part of 
the lovers themselves. Marriage was regarded as 
honourable in all, and after marriage, while the husband 
was regarded as master of the house, the wife was 
recognised as Its mistress. The wife also attended the 
common religious services with her husband, was associ- 
ated with him as a fosterer of the holy law, and united 
with him in special prayer to God, and other acts of 
worship. 

The social state of woman under Brahminism in 
India was, and is, on the other hand, deeply deplorable. 
One of the very foremost of Hindoo religious teachers 
says : " A woman ought never to govern herself, accord- 
Ing to her own will. She is not fit for independence, 
and must be utterly subservient to her husband." In 
the Pundits we read : " Women have an inordinate 
desire for jewels and fine furniture, handsome clothes 
and nice victuals. Their prominent vices are violent 
anger; deep resentment, no person knowing the senti- 
ments concealed in their heart; another person's good 
appears evil in their eyes; and they commit bad 
actions." 

These views of woman are painfully reflected in the 
zenana life of India, where the existence of woman is 
one long martyrdom, and her finest instincts are merci- 
lessly crushed beneath the heel of domestic tyranny. 
The birth of a girl in the zenana is regarded as a 
calamity. She is nowhere welcomed. "Only a girll* 



THE HISTORY OF WOMAN 37 

* 

is the sorry exclamation which hails her birth* A pass- 
age from a book given not long ago as a prhe in a girls 1 
school in Bombay will illustrate, without further words, 
the condition of woman in India: " The wife who gives 

an ugly answer to her husband will become a village 
pariah dog; she will also become a female jackal, and 
live in an uninhabited desert. The woman who eats 
sweetmeats without sharing them with her husband will 

become a hen 0wl> living in a hollow tree. The woman 

who walks alone without her husband will become /' ' 

filth-eating sow* The woman who speaks disrespectfully 
to her husband will be dumb in the next incarnation. 
The woman who hates her husband's relations will be- 
come from birth to birth a musk rat, living in filth, 11 

Woman in Greece &nd Romi 
In the classic world of Greece and Rome women 

were always treated an far Inferior to men, and held up 

in literature in the most odious light* Euripides was 
surttarned the woman-hater from the scorn with which 

he depicts the cx t and the comedies of Aristophanes are 
mercilessly sarcastic in their portrayals of women. In 

general, the position of the virtuous Greek woman was a 
very low one. Married when very young* she was tinder 
perpetual tutelage ; first of all to her parents, who dis- 
posed of her hand ; then to her husband ; and in the 
days of her widowhood to her sons or her relatives. 
Women were strictly confined in their *own apartments, 
and they became $c* absolutely the property of their 



38 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

t 

husbands that, in dying, they could bequeath their wives 
to others by will. And in this regard the philosophers 
of the nation were as unjust as its grofligates. The 
position Aristotle gave to woman was an intermediate 
one between free men and slaves, while Plato tSught 
that " a woman's virtue was to order her house, to keep 
indoors, and to obey her husband." 

Not less unenviable was the lot of the Roman wife. 
She was regarded as a mere convenience for the peopling 
% of the Republic, while marriage was looked upon as a 
sacrifice of pleasure to public duty. Augustus legalised 
concubinage ; Seneca wrote with petulant scorn of the 
women of his time ; and Metrellus says, " If nature could 
have arranged that man could have existed without 
woman, he would have been spared a troublesome 
companion/' The Roman family was formed on the 
principle of the absolute authority of its head. He had 
the power of life and death, both over his wife and his 
children, and he could repudiate the former at will. 

Woman and Christianity 

It was reserved for Christianity to raise woman from 
the dust and to teach man that the measure of ampler 
strength should be the measure of willing service. If 
man owes much to Christ, woman owes still more. 
Christianity may be said to have conferred on woman a 
new soul and a new destiny. It has delivered her from 
the degradation of being man's slave and plaything, and 
raised her to be his friend and his equal before Heaven. 



THE HISTORY OF WOMAN 39 

In Christ, who is the representative, not of man only, 
but of humanity, there is neither Jew nor Greek, bond 
nor free, male nor female, for all are one in Him! 

All equal are within the Church's gate. 

The difference between the character of Christ and 
that of Mohammed, and the difference of the spirit 
which they showed in their personal relationships to 
women, may be illustrated by the following anecdote : 
After the battle of Bedr, a Jewess of Medina, named 
Asma, wrote some satirical couplets against Mohammed. 
Omeir, at dead of night, instigated by the prophet, crept 
into the apartment where Asma, surrounded by her 
children, lay asleep; Feeling stealthily with his hand, 
he removed her infant from her breast, and plunged his 
sword into her bosom with such force that it went 
through her back. The next morning, at prayers in the 
mosque, Mohammed said, " Hast thou slain the daughter 
of Marwan ? " " Yes ; but is there cause for fear for 
what I have done ? " The implacable prophet replied, 
" None whatever : two goats will not knock their heads 
together for it " 

Such was the cruelty and the treachery of the leader 
of Islam. How far removed from the tenderness and 
the pity of Christ in whom divine womanhood, as well 
as divine manhood, was manifested to the world. He 
found woman down-trodden and degraded, and lifting 
her from the earth He seemed to sajr : " Shake thyself 
from the dust, arise and sit down, O Jerusalem ; loose 



40 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 



thyself from the bands of thy neck, Q captive daughter 
of Zion." 

Under the benign Influence of Christianity, with its 
recognition of the passive virtues, such as gentleness, 
meekness, humility, tenderness, woman has been failed 
to her true dignity, and has shaken off the ashes of 
misery and oppression. The adoration of the Son 
of the Virgin Mother meant the permanent exaltation of 
womanhood, and the eternal sanctification of maternity. 
Christianity raised marriage into a sacrament, and thus 
redeemed society. With the pure light of Heaven on its 
brow, it stepped forth into a world reeking with sensuality, 
and proclaimed the glory of chastity. For the slave- 
woman, as well as for her patrician mistress there came 

Good Tidings of Great Joy. 

The slave-woman was no longer the property of her 
master, to be used and debased as the instrument of his 
passion, and the honour of womanhood was redeemed for 
ever. Glad multitudes of Roman slaves became subject 
to the sweet yoke of Christ, and large numbers of 
patrician women, conscious of a new exaltation, flocked 
like doves to the windows of the Christian sanctuary. 
The history of the early centuries is full of the names of 
women of noble birth and nobler soul who enriched the 
Church by their ministry, succoured her pastors, and 
began the unending apostolate among the sick and poor. 
Emancipated by tjie consecrating power of Christianity 
from that fatal emptiness of mind, and frivolity of heart, 



THE HISTORY OF WOMAN 41 

to which, as classic history shows, the women of that era 
were so prone, and dowered with a faith in God and in 
immortality whioJjj made them no mere empty abstrac- 
tions but living realities, woman rose to her true alti- 
tude 5s an heir of God, and a joint-heir with Jesus 
Christ, and as 



Ministering 1 Angd of the World. 

The recognition of elect and emancipated woman- 
hood, and of its ministry in the service of the new 
evangel, is one of the loveliest features of the early 

Church, Deacons and deaconesses are alike honoured 
and respected* Tryphcna and Tryphosa share with 
men of the Church at Rome in the salutations of the 
Apostle Paul* St John writes an epistle to an elect 
lady, charged with the finest features of respect; and 
trust, Phoebe, a deaconess of the church at Cenchrea, 
is described as a succourer of many, yea even of St. 
Paul himself, while Kuodias and Syntyche, noble workers 
in the church lit Philippi* are addressed by the great 
Apostle of the Gentiles with all the tenderness and 
fidelity of a brother. 

Neither did the bright succession of elect and 
ministrant women cease with the life of the first apostles 
of the Lord, On the contrary, their influence permeated 
the Pagan world, stanching its wounds and alleviating 

its sorrows. 

* 

Lo 1 in ihtt hoiitnj of mincry, 
A lady with a lump ! rc 



4 a WOMAN: HER CHARM AND PO WER 

Pass through the glimmering gloom, 
And flit from room to room ; 
And slow as in a dream of bliss, 
The speechless sufferer turns to kiss 
Her shadow, as it falls * 

Upon the darkening walls. 

Referring to the gracious intervention of ministrant 
womanhood amid the cruelty and vice of the decaying 
Roman world, Lecky says, in his History of European 
Morals : " The general superiority of women to men 
in the strength of their religious emotions, and their 
natural attraction to a religion which made personal 
attachment to its Founder its central duty, and which 
imparted an unprecedented dignity and afforded an un- 
precedented scope to their characteristic virtues, account 
for the very conspicuous position they assumed in the 
great work of the conversion of the Roman Empire. In no 
other important movement of thought was female influ- 
ence so powerful or so acknowledged. In the ages of 
persecution female figures occupy many of the foremost 
places in the ranks of martyrdom, and Pagan and 
Christian writers alike attest the alacrity with which 
women flocked to the Church, and the influence they 
exercised in its favour over the male members of their 
families. The mothers of St. Augustine, St. Chry- 
sostom, St. Basil, St. Gregory Nazianzen, and Theo- 
doret, had all a leading part in the conversion of their 
sons. St. Helena the mother of Constantine, Flacilla 
the wife of Thegdosius the Great, St. Pulcheria the 
sister of Theodosius the Younger, and Placidia the 



THE HISTORY OF WOMAN 43 

mother of Valentinian in., were among the most con- 
spicuous defenders of the faith. ... In the career of 
asceticism women took a part little if at all inferior 
^to men, while in the organisation of the great work 
of chctrity they were pre-eminent. For no other field of 
active labour are women so admirably suited as for 
this; and although we may trace from the earliest 
period, in many creeds and ages, individual instances 
of their influence in allaying the sufferings of the dis- 
tressed, it may be truly said that their instinct and 
genius of charity had never, before the dawn of Christi- 
anity, obtained full scope for action. Fabiola, Paula, 
Melania, and a host of other noble ladies devoted their 
time and fortunes mainly to founding and extending 
vast institutions of charity, some of them of a kind 
before unknown in the world. The Empress Flacilla 
was accustomed to tend with her own hands the sick in 
the hospitals, and a readiness to discharge such offices 
was deemed the first duty of a Christian wife." 

Such is the testimony of the Christian thinker, 
historian, and philosopher, to the influence of Christ and 
His evangel on women, and we have dealt thus exhaus- 
tively with this early phase of the subject, because out of 
the Christian exaltation of womanhood, and out of the 
generosity with which the newly acknowledged soul 
seized and avowed its privileges of faith, are evolved all 
the glory of women in succeeding ages and all their 
finest service to the world. As in one of those lovely 
visions, depicted by the artists of old on the fading 



44 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

frescoes of the sanctuary, we see them moving In meek 
and beautiful procession, with palm and crown and 
aureole, with Christ as their Leader, aqd we bless them 
as they pass. The gospel of Christ was at once their 
patent of nobility and their charter to labour, and what- 
ever influence they have possessed for the ennobling of 
humanity has been due to the honour granted them by 
* Christian truth, and to that response of ardent faith and 
characteristic generosity which in the beginning was 
fruitful of martyrdom, as in these days it is fruitful of 
sacrifice. Upraised, in the first instance, by the gentle 
hand of the Redeemer, woman has reached her present 
position as the helpmeet and the equal of man. 

And so these twain, upon the skirts of time, 
Sit side by side, full-summ'd in all their powers, 
Dispensing harvest, sowing the to-be, 
Self-reverent each and reverencing each, 
Distinct in individualities, 
But like each other ev'n as those who love. 

The Progress of Woman in Later Years 
Since the hour when she was first emancipated by the 
power of Christianity the history of woman has been one 
of steady progress. Much might be written concerning 
the advancement of woman in recent years, which could 
not fail to encourage and stimulate. 

Four centuries ago Martin Luther began a letter of 
condolence to a friend who had lost a daughter, with the 
words: " This is ahard world for girls." If the Lion of 
the Reformation could revisit us to-day he would alter 



THE HISTORY OF WOMAN 45 

his opinion, and conclude that the world is a very 
pleasant world for girls. 

During the last decade vast and fundamental changes 
have been made with regard to woman. The whole out- 
look rf her life and career has been altered. The old 
idea was that woman was most essentially woman when 
she merged her individuality in that of man. She was 
an echo, and not a voice ; a dependent creature unable 
to stand alone; a "weaker vessel" whose privilege It 
was to serve and to obey ; a graceful body with little 
physical strength, a faint infusion of soul, and a few star- 
like gleams of intelligence, well-nigh hidden and lost in a . 
mist of feeling this was the common estimate of woman. 

Body and soul, she was a mere appendage to man. 
Her great charm was that of beauty, conquered and 
enslaved by an unreasoning love. Her primal virtue 
was that of unquestioning obedience to her lord. We 
see her aptly depicted by Chaucer in his " Griselda," and 
by Tennyson in his " Enid " ; and she accepted her 
destiny without complaint. Catharine said to her hus- 
band, Henry VIII., "Your Majesty doth know right 
well, neither am I myself ignorant, what great imper- 
fection, by our first creation, is allotted to us women, to 
be appointed as inferior and subject unto man as our 
head ; and that, as God made man in His own likeness, 
even so He hath made woman of man, by whom she is 
to be governed." 

The "stern old king" in Tennyson's "Princess" 
correctly states the opinion of the past where he says, 



46 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

with an absoluteness which defies criticism and silences 
appeal 

This is fixt 

As are the posts of earth and base of all ; 
Man for the field, and woman for the hearth 5 *~ 

Man for the sword, and for the needle she ; ** 

Man with the head and woman with the heart \ 
Man to command and woman to obey. 
All else confusion, 

The Revolt of Woman 

Woman has now revolted from this arbitrary standard. 
Every step of social progress in later years has been 
marked by a softening of the tyranny of man and a 
lifting of the position of woman, an approximation 
towards an equal companionship. First the tool of his 
will, next the toy of his pleasure, then the minister of 
his vanity, she is at last to become the free sharer of his 
life, the friend of his mind and heart. 

This healthy and necessary change has been brought 
about chiefly through the realisation by woman of her 
own individual value. She has learnt the glory, the 
beauty, and the significance of her own existence. She 
has risen to the true conception of her position as the 
equal and the fitting complement of man. She claims 
an equal right with him to the use of every means of 
self-development in the fulfilment of her destiny. She 
rises to the possession of her own soul. 

Improved methods of education have also done much 
for the social and intellectual advancement of woman. 
The female education of fifty years ago was superficial, 



THE HISTORY OJF WOMAN 47 

trifling, and babyish. Girls were not half developed. 
Their minds did not exhibit one-half of their native 
strength and beauty. They were robbed of much of 
their natural vigour. Their education differed not only 
in d^jree, but in kind, from that of their brothers, being 
confined to a smattering of modern languages and a few 
elegant accomplishments. Neither were their natural 
aptitudes sufficiently considered. Girls were doomed to 
practise on the piano for an hour a day who had no 
idea of tune ; to whom, indeed, the whole exercise was 
a mere slavery. Others were condemned to draw and 
paint, who had no innate perception of form and colour. 
To study botany without seeing a flower, astronomy 
without looking at a star, geology without handling a 
clod or a stone ; write half a dozen compositions on 
friendship, love, or home ; cram into the brain a few dates 
of history and a few names of kings ; daub a little in oils 
or water-colours. This was female education without 
an object, without an ambition, without a definite pur- 
pose of any kind. In place of drawing out the mental 
fineness and tender glory of womanhood, this kind of 
education left her merely a prey to frivolous excitement, 
gave her a taste for no other form of literature than that 
of the novel, and doomed her to the life of an animated 
doll. 

Frances Power Cobbe wittily says that the attitude 
of many men in the last decade with regard to the ques- 
tion of the higher education of woman .might be summed 
up as follows : " Woman, beware ! beware ! ! You are 



48 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

on the brink of destruction. You have hitherto been 
engaged only in crushing your waists; now you are 
attempting to cultivate your minds ! You have been 
merely dancing all night in the foul air of ball-rooms ; 
now you are beginning to spend your mornings in ^tudy. 
You have been incessantly stimulating your emotions 
with concerts and operas, with French plays and French 
novels ; now you are exerting your understanding to 
learn Greek and solve propositions in Euclid ! Beware, 
oh, beware ! Science pronounces that the woman who 
studies -is lost." 

When a Chinese mandarin in California was told 
that the women of England and America were all taught 
to read and write, he shook his head thoughtfully, and, 
with a foreboding sigh, replied, " If he readee, writee, by'n- 
by he lickee all the men." 

But, regardless of these foolish objections, in these 
later years the decree has gone forth that our maidens 
should have a more vigorous, practical, and useful educa- 
tion, one that should develop strength of character, 
power of will, and efficiency of life. It has been de- 
manded that they should be trained with something of 
the same freedom as their brothers to know their own 
powers, to understand their own duties ; to mark out 
their own course in life ; and, if needful, to earn their own 
living. 

The results of this social change have been beneficial 
beyond expectati9n. One important result is, that with 
development of mind there has followed improvement of 



THE HISTORY OF WOMAN 49 

physique. " The health of woman generally," says Dr. 
Richardson, " is improving under the change ; there is 
amongst women generally less bloodlessness, less of what 
the old fiction-wrfters called swooning ; less of lassitude, 
TSss ^f nervousness, less of hysteria, and much less of 
that general debility to which, for want of a better term, 
the words ' malaise ' and c languor ' have been applied. 
Woman, in a word, is stronger than she was in the olden 
time. With this increase of strength woman has gained 
in development of body and of limb. She has become 
less distortioned. The curved back, the pigeon-shaped 
chest, the disproportioned limb, the narrow feeble trunk, 
the small and often distorted eyeball, the myopic eye, 
and puny ill-shaped external ear, all these parts are 
becoming of better and more natural contour. The 
muscles are also becoming more equally and more fully 
developed, and with these improvements there are grow- 
ing up amongst women models who may, in due time, 
vie with the best models that old Greek culture has left 
for us to study in its undying art." 

The old idea that helplessness is feminine and 
beautiful, and helpfulness is unwomanly and unbecom- 
ing is exploded. Knowledge, reason, strength, and 
thoroughness are no longer rated masculine ; while half- 
knowledge, unreasoning impulse, weakness, and super- 
ficiality are rated feminine. The frivolous, fickle, ignorant 
woman, incapable of all studious pursuits and of all 
consecutive attention, is being gradually supplanted by 
the intelligent, judicious woman, capable of sustained 

4 



50 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

thought, and well versed in everything which it is useful 
for her to know as a mother, as the mistress of a house- 
hold, or as a citizen of the world. 

Woman has cast aside her old timidities and gained 
a new freedom. She has achieved intellectual ejRancT* 
pation, and is well-nigh as conspicuous as man in every 
branch of intellectual achievement. The avenues of 
work open to her have broadened and multiplied. Her 
capacity for business has been amply attested. Her 
skill in organisation and in executive have been forced 
upon the notice of the world, while, at the same time, 
she has retained the virtues which have made her in all 
ages the creator and the guardian of society. 

It yet remains, 

Woman, for you to cast aside the chains 
Of false traditions, marring womanhood ; 
Men ! be it yours to help them on to good 1 
The race is in its manhood ! Leave behind 
The jealousies of childhood ; strive to find 
Each an ideal truer and more grand ; 
Fear not that women, gaming their demand, 
Will cast their dower gentleness away, 
Or love thee less because they understand, 
But rise and say, " Henceforth we woo perfection 
hand in htand." 

u Tke New Woman" 

While, however, we thoroughly approve of the eman- 
dpation of woman from the fetters which in the past 
checked her development, and while we have no 
whatever with those who extol her "lovely 
uselessness" aad her "fascinating frivolity," we are yet 



THE HISTORY OP WOMAN 51 

strongly opposed to that outcry about " the equality of 
the sexes," which is a foolish attempt to force woman 
into an unhealthy rivalry with man, 

Whatever education may do for woman, it should 
"neater- take away from her the qualities which constitute 
her charm and which invest her with her truest power. 
To educate is riot to change and to transform, but to 
lead out, Education should not interfere with the 
essential characteristics of woman, but give them the 
noblest possible expression. Lamentable, indeed, would 
be the condition of things if the words of Mrs. Devereux, 
in her clever book on The Ascent of Woman> should 
be really true where she says : w Woman has become an 
intelligence, but she has ceased to be a delight, and the 
cultivation of her intellect has been accomplished at the 
expense of every grace of person and charm of manner/' 
Our colleges for the higher education of woman, 
thronged by 

Swert giri'KrntltmtfH with their golden hnir, 

will be a curse and not a blessing if they only become 
nurseries of hybrids and turn out an inferior species ol 

man-woman. Equality of the sexes is not in the nature 
of things* Man and woman are made for, and not like, 

one another. Woman is not intended to be the rival, 
but the complement of man. We have no patience with 
the insane folly which, under the name of progress, 

attempts to change the relations between the sexes, to 
set woman free from what have hitherto been considered 



52 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

the limitations of her sex, and to make her the competitor, 
instead of the helpmate of man. 

It is teaching such as this with regard to claims of 
rivalry and equality which renders the so-called 

"Advanced Woman" 

of our era distasteful to us. A tew of this species have, 
indeed, risen to affright us, but we are thankful to know 
that their number is extremely limited. The " New " or 
"Advanced Woman," whose presence in our midst we 
deprecate, is the woman who to the wistful tenderness 
and clinging trust of ordinary womanhood has bidden a 
scornful farewell. She stands on her dignity as in every 
respect the equal, if not, indeed, the superior of man. 
She ordains that the word obey, as applied to her, shall 
be eliminated from the marriage service. She objects 
that her husband, like a god, should know her going out 
and her coming in, and claims to come and go as she 
herself chooses. She regards all domestic duties as a 
kind of slavery r and the care of children is so irksome 
to her that she wishes they could be sent out like the 
washing and brought in when they are clean. She 
is as familiar with her husband's friends as though 
they were her cousins calls them by their Christian 
names, and may, after dinner, even join them at a 
cigarette. 

Now this kind of "New Woman" is an offence to 
ras* She is too stxident She is too self-assertive. She 
neither gladdens, helps, nor ennobles us, We are content 



THE HISTORY OF WOMAN 53 

with women like Cordelia, and Juliet, and Desdemona, 
We are content with women such as our mother was. 
Woman need nq unsex herself that she may be a power 
y^^e world. She is most truly powerful when she is 
most truly woman. She queens it over us not by 
intrusive self-assertion, but by the potent mastery of 
gentleness. She rules us by the power of love and 
sympathy and tender comradeship. 

It is said that when the Archbishop of Canterbury 
asked the Queen, at her marriage with Prince Albert, 
whether, she being sovereign, he should omit the word 
** obey M from the marriage service, she sweetly answered, 
" No 1 I wish to be married not as a Queen but as a 
woman," She was never more a Queen than when she 
said those words. 

Dr. Pulsford says with deep truth : a When by loud 
and vulgar methods unwomanly women over-assert 
themselves, they afford proof enough that they have 
lost the knowledge of a very divine secret. They 
have already resigned their most potent influence* 
Instead of worshipping thorn, we begin to resist them* 
The more veiled and inward, in the retirement of her 
spirit, are woman's purity and sweetness, goodness and 
wisdom, the more will she be recognised by heaven and 
appreciated by men. When woman is adorned with the 
supreme virtues of her own kingdom, by the aroma oi 
her presence, and the meekness of her majesty, she 
conquers all men, She is Una. She is the strength, 
kingdom, power, and government of the 



54 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

Woman's True Function 

It should ever be remembered that alike in body and 
in mind, in feeling and in character, women are d< 
to play a different part to that of men. The tendency 
of civilisation has been to elevate woman, but elevation 
is a very different thing to assimilation to man. When 
men and women start as competitors in the same fierce 
race as rivals and opponents, instead of companions and 
helpmates, with the same habits, the same ambitions, the 
same engrossing toil, and the same public lives, woman- 
hood, which we hold to be the most heavenly thing next 
angelhood, will have disappeared, and the world will be 
disenchanted and desolated by its loss. 

The true strength of woman lies, after all, not in her 
intellect, but in her affections. Her highest sphere is 
not the Market, or the State, but the Family. To keep 
the Family true, refined, affectionate, faithful, pure, is a 
grander task than to govern the State, and needs the 
whole energies and the entire life of woman. Those are 
wise and pregnant words of Oliver Goldsmith, where he 
says: "Women famed for their valour, their skill, in 
politics, or their learning, leave the duties of their own 
sex, in order to invade the privileges of ours. I can no 
more pardon a fair one for endeavouring to wield the 
club of Hercules, than I could him for attempting to 
twirl her distaff. The modest virgin, the prudent wife, 
or the careful matron, are much more serviceable in life 
than petticoated philosophers, blustering heroines, or 



THE HISTORY OP WOMAN 55 

virago queens. She who makes her husband and her 
children happy, who reclaims the one from vice, and 
trains up the other to virtue, is a much greater character 
t.han ladies described in romance, whose whole occupation 

*^'* l *'*%^ fc 

is to murder mankind with shafts from the quiver of 
their eyes." 

A more recent writer says : " It is a lesson worth 
learning by those young creatures who seek to allure 
by their accomplishments, or dazzle with their wit, that 
though he may admire, no man ever hues a woman for 
these things* He loves her for what is essentially 
distinct from, though by no means Incompatible with, 
them- her woman's nature, and her woman's heart, 
guileless, simple, and unaffected* This is why we so 
often see a man of high intellectual power passing by 
the De Stalls and Corinnes to take into his bosom some 
wayside flower, who has nothing on earth to make her 
worthy of him, except that she is what so few of your 
1 female celebrities ' are a true woman/ 1 

Meanwhile, let those of the sterner sex be nobly 
patient with those new developments which mark the 
deliverance of woman from the fetters of the past and 
her advancement in the social scale. Mistakes will 
doubtless be made in the early stages of her progress, as 
she is not yet certain of her ground. A large measure 
of self-control will be needed before her real emancipa- 
tion is achieved. But she will neither transcend nor 
deny hernclf, God has done His work in the beginning 
too well for that, The laws of her legitimate progress 



56 WOMAN: HEX CHARM AND POWER 

are as fixed as those of the planets or the tides, She 
will still keep her appointed orbit. She will still obey 
her predominant attraction. Let her move upward as 
she will, guided by her own God-given instincts, andwq^ 
shall find her on her new eminence, not unsexed but woman 
still, retaining the sweetness, the tenderness, and the trust, 
which are her inalienable dower, while better fitted than 
before to be the companion and the counsellor of man. 

Thus Wordsworth's radiant vision will be that of the 
coming future ^here he sings 

I saw her upon nearer view, 

A spirit, yet a woman too 1 

Her household motions light and free, 

And steps of virgin liberty. 

A countenance in which did meet 

Sweet records, promises as sweet ; 

A creature not too bright or good 

For human nature's daily food, 

For transient sorrows, simple wiles, 

Praise, blame, love, kisses, tears, and smiles* 

And now I see with eye serene 
The very pulse of the machine ; 
A being breathing thoughtful breath, 
A traveller betwixt life and death ; 
The reason firm, the temperate will, 
Endurance, foresight, strength, and skill. 



CHAPTKTC III 

SALIKNT CUAKACTKKISTICS OF WOMAN 

Oh, woman ! lovely woman ! Nature made thce 
To temper man : we had Ixien brutes without you I 
Angela are painted fair, to look like you ! 
There's in you all llx&t we believe of henv'n t 
Amazing brightness, purity, and truth, 
Eternal jay, and everlasting IOVC.-OTWAY. 

***! from your minds every idem of superiority over woman, You have 
mUK>cvcr.~~MA7,r.iNl (On th& Dutm &f Man}. 

-IK special characteristics of woman as contradis- 
tinguished from man are suggested by the 
cy of the female form as compared with that of 
tale. She is more daintily fashioned than man, 

soft and delicate in outline. Her skin is of finer 
*c, her features more mobile, her voice gentler and 

musical, her step lighter and more elastic, her 
us system more sensitive* And these physical 
ies in woman arc the outward and visible signs 
ental and spiritual characteristics by which she 
tinguishcd from man, 

Cen are self-reliant and not seldom hard and exact- 
^hile tenderness, delicacy^ and gentleness are the 
>priate qualities of women. Men seldom conceal 



58 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

the sacrifices they make for others, or what it costs to 
make them, but with women this concealment is as 
natural as retiring modesty to the violet, and evidences 
a spiritual fineness which man cannot rival. Spring. m 
youth, and morning, seem the natural accompaniments 
of woman. Not seldom, when she speaks, it is as if a 
flower had grown musical and found fitting utterance for 
its beauty. When true to herself her greeting has a 
blessing in it She can 

Every morning with "Good day** 
Make each day good. 

Often we feel that our life is not worth the price we pay 
for it We sometimes even wonder that the Great 
Father did not consult us before He sent us into it. 
As it Is we need the presence and the ministry of 
woman to make it tolerable. Separated from her 
love and tenderness we move with halting feet as 
in a wilderness. But when she is by our side and 
her love is ours 

The earth and every common sight, 

To us doth seem 
Apparelled in celestial light; 

The glory and the freshness of a dream. 

But to return to the special and winsome characteristics 
of woman we should place first her power of 

Sympathy. 

Sympathy is* that fine faculty through which we 
enter into the concerns of others and are interested in 



SALIENT CHARACTERISTICS OF WOMAN 59 

what they do or suffer. It Is indeed, as Burke has said, 
a sort of substitution, by which we are put in the place 
of others, and affgcted as they are affected. And this 
expuisite grace of life is stronger in woman than in man, 
because of her keener sensibility. Her emotional nature 
is sensitive as the waters are to the changes of the sky, 
or the glances of the sun. She is quick to feel the 
suffering or the joy of others. Woman is more sensitive 
and acute than man, and has a strange facility for 
reading the language of the soul. Tones, gestures, 
bearing, a smile, a sigh, a shadow on the countenance, 
all these are avenues by which she enters into the 
hidden chamber where some unwonted joy sits radiant, 
or some dark sorrow stands amid its tears. She will 
look into your eyes and see you think. She will listen 
to your voice and hear you feel. When you return 
home after contact with the world, where you have 
toiled and striven for her dear sake, she will see at a 
glance whether things have gone well or ill with you, 
whether you have been pleased or fretted, known failure 
or success. The coy and subtle world of emotion is a 
domain in which she is ever at home. 

From earliest childhood it has been an instinct with 
us to nestle for shelter near a woman's heart, and that 
instinct has never died out of us. The rough school-boy, 
all aglow with passion, flings himself into her presence 
for consolation and the relief of tears, when he has failed 
in his task or been defeated in fight ; ami the grey -haired 
statesman, thwarted in purpose or worsted in debate. 



60 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

finds his burden lightened by her soft caress and beneath 
the benediction of her smile. 

It is this exquisite gift of sympathy which renders 
woman so invaluable in the chamber where sicknps 
droops and pines. The art of the physician is a coarse, 
remote method, compared with the charm of her sweet 
presence. Her footstep on the stair has healing in it, 
and when she enters the darkened room, her quiet move- 
ments, her gentle touch, and her words tremulous with 
tenderness and pity, distil as the dew on the parched 
and weary spirit. 

Writing in " The Princess " that lovely literary pre- 
sentation of the joys and aspirations of woman* Tenny- 
son says, of Psyche's ministry to the wounded Florian 

Here and there the small bright head, 

A light of healing glanced about the couch, 

Or thro' the parted silks the tender face 

Peep'd, shining in upon the wounded man 

With blush and smile, a medicine in themselves 

To wile the length from languorous hours, and draw 

The sting from pain. 

Kindness in Woman 

There is no doubt that love is the actuating impulse 
of woman's life, and out of love springs gentleness and 
kindness. 

Without her tender ministry our infancy would be 
without succour, our youth without gladness, and our 
age without consolation. Love for dumb animals, affec- 
tion for children, commiseration for the weak and help- 



SALIENT CHARACTERISTICS OF WOMAN 61 

less, regard for the aged and the suffering, pity for the 
oppressed, all these are natural to woman. They are 
found not only among the civilised, but in rude and 
savage lands. Mungo Park tells us how, on one occa- 
sionTwhen lonely, friendless, and famished, after being 
driven forth from an African village by the men, he was 
preparing to spend the night under a tree, exposed to 
the rain and the wild beasts which there abounded, a 
poor negro woman, returning from the labours of the 
field, took compassion on him, conducted him to her hut, 
and there gave him food, succour, and shelter. " Having 
conducted me into her hut," he writes, " she lighted up 
a lamp, spread a mat on the floor, and told me I might 
remain there for the night. Finding that I was very 
hungry, she said she would procure me something to 
eat She accordingly went out, and returned in a short 
time with a very fine fish, which, having caused to be 
half broiled upon some embers, she gave me for supper. 
The rites of hospitality being thus performed towards a 
stranger in distress, my worthy benefactress pointing 
to the mat, and telling me I might sleep there without 
apprehension called to the female part of her family, 
who had stood gazing on me all the while in fixed 
astonishment, to resume their task of spinning cotton, in 
which they continued to employ themselves a great part 
of the night They lightened their labour by songs, one 
of which was composed extempore, for I was myself the 
subject of it. It was sung by one of the young women, 
the rest joining in a sort of chorus. The air was sweet 



62 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

and plaintive, and the words, literally translated, were 
these : * The winds roared, and the rains fell. The poor 
white man faint and weary, came and sat under our tree. 
He has no mother to bring him milk no wife to grind 
his corn. Chorus Let us pity the white man no 
mother has he/ etc Trifling as the recital may appear 
to the reader, to a person in my situation the circum- 
stance was affecting in the highest degree. I was op- 
pressed by such unexpected kindness, and sleep fled from 
my eyes." Such, even in savage lands, is the tenderness 
of woman. The Bedouin cry, so beautifully voiced by 
Whittier, comes naturally from the lips of woman 

Whoever thou art, whose need is great, 
In the name of God, the compassionate 
And merciful One, for thee I wait. 

Among the salient characteristics of woman must 
also be noted the beautiful qualities of 

Heroic Devotion and Self -Sacrifice. 

Men have been accustomed to arrogate to themselves 
the virtues of courage and heroism, since they have 
stormed citadels amid a rain of bullets and fought like 
Titans with the infuriated tiger or with the raging sea. 
But they forget that the grandest of heroic deeds have 
been done within four walls. Heroism is really a thing 
of the heart, and it has been more finely demonstrated 
in the household than on the most memorable battle- 
fields of history.. Heroism is self-devotion, manifesting 
itself in action, and it is continually displayed where no 



SALIENT CHARACTERISTICS OF WOMAN 63 

trumpets are sounding and where there are none to 
chronicle its victories. The silent workers in humble 
places; the meek martyrs to principle, who are known 
only to God ; tfie uncomplaining household drudges, 
who sacrifice themselves for husbands, brothers, and 
children, and who do it, not in the face of an admiring 
audience, not to win the plaudits of the crowd, not to be 
chronicled in story, but simply and unostentatiously in 
the line of duty these are the true transfigured band of 
heroines, greater than any epic heroes who have faced 
without flinching the fury of the guns, or been dragged 
unappalled in the insolence of triumph to the chariot 
wheels of the foe. 

A gentleman said to a celebrated physician who had 
a woman under his care, " How great she was in that 
emergency." " Don't you know," said the physician, 
"that all women are great in emergencies?" 

Grandly true are the words of Ward Beecher 
" Society is full of heroes of love and domestic fidelity. 
Thousands of them are unknown on earth. They march 
in ranks and battalions, so that we speak of them in 
nouns of multitude, as drunkards* wives. All those that 
under such circumstances lift themselves up above the 
ordinary line of human conduct, are heroic. And God 
waits for them, and heaven is home-sick for them. Oh, 
how they will shine there 1 Perchance, as you see them 
going through the street, meek and patient, their dress 
growing more and more rusty, you smile pityingly and 
say, They arc poor drunkards* wives; they were 



64 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

promising once, but they have gone down, down, down, 

and now they are nowhere/ I beg your pardon, they 

have not gone down. They have been going up. And 

when you rise, with all your wealth and learning and 

genius, and stand in heaven, having escaped damnation so 

i as by fire, you may stand lowest, and see them as far 

} above you as the stars to-night are above your heads. For 

| the last shall be first, and the lowest shall be highest/ 1 

I * . 

I To him who deems her weak and vain 

1 And boasts his own exceeding might, 

*"* She clings, through darkest fortune fain; 

Still loyal though the ruffian smite, 
Still true though crime his hand distain. 
And is this weakness? Is it not 

' The strength of God, that loves and bears, 

Though He be slighted or forgot 

"In damning crimes, or driving cares, 
~ And closest clings in darkest lot ? 

j Woman does not withhold her devotion even from 

* the worthless. She will discern beauty and deserving, 

| where another will see only deformity and shame, and 

I for the sake of such an one she will wander without 

| mianmuring through scenes of trial and sorrow, if only 

| sfae may stand by the heart she loves. He knew her 

] writ!, and her unswerving devotion, as distinguished from 

I the caprice of man, who made a woman say 

I Man's love is of man's life a thing apart, 

I *Tis woman's whole existence ; man may range 

I The court, camp, church, the vessel and the mart, 
Swofd, gown, gain glory, often in excjiange; 

I , Hide, fame* ambition, to fiH up his heart, 

j. [ &Kt few there are whom these cannot estrange J 

1 Hem faawfr %E these resources, we but one 

| To Htm* gpi% and be again undone. 



SALIENT CHARACTERISTICS OF WOMAN 65 

" What a love," says Ian Maclaren, " is that which 
God has placed in the heart of woman so magnani- 
mous, so ungrudging, so forgiving, so steadfast Is 
there any man living who has ever fathomed that love, 
who has ever lived so as to deserve it ? Who shall ever 
be able to repay it ? ... Does a woman think less of 
her husband because he has been worsted in the battle, 
and has been sent out of the lists wounded ? She is so 
fashioned by God that she will claim her knight before 
the world, and glory in him. Why ? For a woman's 
reason : because he is not strong and successful ; because 
he has failed, and therefore has need of sympathy and 
comfort and confidence." 

How beautiful and winsome, nay how divine, is this 
quality of fidelity in woman. It has been reserved for 
her to manifest in the finest degree the splendid virtue 
of self-sacrifice. Her ability to throw self away and live 
entirely for another, is a thing which puts man to the 
blush. Self-abandonment appears to be her destiny. 
Called upon to forsake her home, her friends, her 
country, she devotes herself to another, at whose feet 
she breaks the alabaster box of her heart and pours out 
unstintingly its wealth of affection. This is the attri- 
bute of divinity in woman, placing her near the great 
Redeemer, " who made His agony the barrier to our 
else all-conquering foe." 

Concerning this beautiful quality in woman Thackeray 
says, with deep pathos : " Very likely female pelicans like 
so to bleed under the selfish little beaks of their young 

5 



66 WOMAN*: HER CHARM AND PO WER 

ones; it is certain that women do. There must be 
some sort of pleasure which men do not understand, 
which accompanies the pain of being scarified. . . . Do 
not let us men despise these instincts, because we cannot 
feel them. ... Be it for a reckless husband, a dissipated 
son, a darling scapegrace of a brother, how ready their 
hearts are to pour out their best treasures for the benefit 
of the cherished person ; and what a deal of this sort of 
enjoyment are we, on our side, ready to give the soft 
creatures ! There is scarce a man that reads this but has 
administered pleasure in that fashion to his womankind, 
and has treated them to the luxury of forgiving him." 

" To feel, to love, to suffer, to devote herself," says 
Balzac, * ( will always be the text of the life of woman." 
" Woman," says another, " reveals the heart of God in 
her noblest characteristic, self-sacrifice. Her whole life 
is one of self-offering on love's altar. She begins as a 
bride in tears, on the wedding morning, for when she 
enters into her new life of joy she cuts asunder all the 
ties that bound her to the old home and the old loves ; 
her very name she surrenders on that day when her life 
begins its mingling with her husband's life. Mother- 
hood brings her new joys; but these are the joys of a 
new self-sacrifice. She hazards her own life in giving 
birth to a new life; she gives up society, friends, litera- 
ture, art, music, everything that stands between herself 

and the highest, best, most perfect devotion to the dawn- 



ing life that is entrusted to her. When her child comes 
to an age in which he could begin to repay her service 



SALIENT CHARACTERISTICS OP WOMAN 67 

with service of his own, she sends him off, with a baptism 
of tears and an ordination of prayers and kisses, to 
school, or college, or business; and whether ever a 
loving letter, or a grateful word, or an unselfish service, 
or even a warm kiss, or a tender glance of the eye, 
shall serve to repay her for a service so simply and un- 
ostentatiously rendered, that the boy never comprehends 
either its value to himself or its cost to her, she knows 
not nay, hardly stops to ask. . . . Thanks be to God 
for a pure and noble womanhood ; for all its purity, its 
sympathy, its tenderness, its long-suffering, its joyful self- 
sacrifice ; but most of all for its pathetic interpretation of 
the incomparable and for ever incomprehensible Life." 

Warriors and statesmen have their meed of praise, 

And what they do or suffer, men record ; 
But the long sacrifice of women's days 

Passes without a thought, without a word; 
And many a lofty struggle for the sake 

Of duties sternly, faithfully fulfilled 
For which the anxious mind must watch and wake, 

And the strong feelings of the heart be stilled 
Goes by, unheeded as the summer wind 
And leaves no memory and no trace behind \ 

Yet it must be more holy courage dwells 
In one meek heart which braves an adverse state, 

Than his whose ardent soul indignant swells, 
Warmed by the fight, or cheered through high debate* 

Heroism in Woman 

But women have not only distinguished themselves 
by passive courage. When dominated by love and by 
anxiety for the safety of the person loved, they have 
done deeds which might make a brave man blush for 



68 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

his valour. When the band of conspirators, who sought 
the life of James II. of Scotland, burst into his lodgings 
at Perth, the king called to the ladies^ who were in the 
chamber outside his room, to keep the door as well as 
they could, and thus give him time to escape. It was 
found that the bar had been removed from the door of 
the room in which the ladies stood. But the brave 
Catherine Douglas, with the hereditary courage of her 
race, boldly thrust her arm across the door instead of 
the bar ; and held it there until, her arm being broken, 
the enemies of the king burst into the apartment 

The defence of Latham House by Charlotte de la 
Fr^mouille, in whose veins ran the blood of Coligny, 
affords another striking instance of heroic bravery on 
the part of a woman. When summoned by the Parlia- 
mentary forces to surrender, she declared that she had 
been entrusted by her husband with the defence of the 
house, and that she could not surrender it without her 
dear lord's orders. She held her house and home good 
against the enemy for a whole year, during three months 
of which the place was besieged and bombarded, until 
at length the siege was raised by the advance of the 
Royalist army. 

We have all read how Deborah slew the enemy of 
her people; how Boadicea faced in her rude chariot the 
veterans of Rome ; how Camilla, queen of the Volscians, 
was slain fighting at the head of her troops; how 
Telesilla, the poetess, discomfited the Spartans; how 
Theodora, by her valour, saved the Eastern Empire; 



SALIENT CHARACTERISTICS OF WOMAN 69 

how Artemisia, queen of Caria, won from Xerxes the 
praise that he had found in her 

His ablest, bravest councillor and chief; 

and how Joan of Arc drove the English from the shores 
of France. Modern historians have thrown grave doubts 
upon the story of Thermopylae. But no historian has 
thrown any doubt upon the story of the two hundred 
and eighty peasant women of Switzerland, who, during 
the French invasion of 1798, rushed to arms in response 
to the patriotic eloquence of the aged Martha Glaz, and 
defended their homes until one hundred and eighty of them 
had been killedj and all the rest more or less wounded. 
In the French Revolution of 1793, Mademoiselle Sen/an, 
a beautiful young woman of eighteen, was guillotined 
because she would not betray the retreat of her father, 
Fresh also In our memory is the instance of that glorious 
woman, the stewardess of the Sulla> who taking off her life- 
belt gave it to an affrighted passenger, and then, commend- 
ing her soul to God, bravely sank in the mighty waters, 
These and other stories of a like order show the 
heroism of woman when her heart is deeply stirred, 
or when that which she loves calls for defence or pro- 
tection. Rouse her affections, enkindle the fires of her 
heart, and how brave she isl In Browning's poem, 
11 Mary Wollstonecroft,' 1 the woman says* 



Oh> but It is not hard, 

Mine are the nerves to quake at a myuset 
If a spider drops, I shriek with few ; 

I sh*d die outright In haunted houie j 



7 o WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

While for you did the danger dared bring help 
From a lion's den I could steal his whelp. 
With a serpent round me, stand stock still ; 
Go sleep in a churchyard ! So w'd will 
Give me the power to dare and do * 
Valiantly JUST FOR YOU ! 



Examples of Womanly Demotion 

History records many illustrious examples ot 
womanly fidelity and devotion where her heart's love 
is set as an " ever-fixed mark." The instance of Monica, 
the mother of St. Augustine, is well known. Deeply 
concerned at the profligacy of her gifted son, who was 
wasting his splendid powers in riot and debauchery, she 
spent her widowed life in tears and prayers before God, 
for his conversion. Long years rolled away, and her 
"prayers were still unanswered, and her entreaties un- 
regarded, until at length, overwhelmed by her constancy 
and tenderness, and by the grace of the Holy Spirit, 
he shook off his vices like a nightmare, and became an 
eloquent preacher and witness for Christ* 

Thirty years after the death of Monica, St. Augus- 
tine, the great divine of Western Christendom, said in 
one of his sermons : " Ah 1 the dead do not come 
'back; for, had it been possible, there is not a night 
when I should not have seen my mothershe who 
could not live apart from me, and who, in all my 
wanderings, never forsook me," 

A pathetic story of a leper mother's supreme love 
for her children comes from India. The legend runs 



SALIENT CHARACTERISTICS OP WOMAN 71 

that if a woman stricken with leprosy suffers herself 
to be buried alive, the disease will not descend to her 
children. Now, there was in the North-west Provinces 
of India the wife of a gardener, on whom the loathsome 
malady had fallen. Children were born to her. The 
disease grew worse. She importuned her husband to 
bury her alive. He at last, yielding to her prayers, 
summoned his son* The two dug the grave, and four 
neighbours assisted at the sepulture. So the woman 
died, 

Augusta, the sister of Lord Byron, remained un- 
alterably attached to the poet, through the dreadful 
storm of obloquy which drove him out of England, 
Nothing could estrange her love, which clung to him 
as the ivy clings to the ruined shrine, With what 
convulsive gratitude he appreciated her fond fidelity,- 
we may learn from his poems, Four of the choicest 
of them were addressed to her. In one of them we 
find the touching and melodious lines 

Though the day of my dcstiny'it over, 

And the star of my fate hath declined, 
Thy flofi heart refused lo discover 

The fault* winch so many could find* 

From the wreck of the punt, which hath perished. 
Thus much I at !cwl may recall : 

It hath uught me that what X most cherished 
Deserved to be dourest of all* 

In the clcuert it fountain Is springing;, 

In the wide waste there ttill in a tree, 
And it bird in the solitude singing, 

Which spetks to my spirit of thcr. 



7* WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

When passing into the eternal world, the last in- 
telligible words of Byron were, "Augusta, Ada, my 
sister, my child." 

Very pathetic also, amid the terrible trials which 
smote them like a tempest, was the devotion of his 
sister Mary to Charles Lamb. He always wrote of her 
as his better self, his wiser self, a generous benefactress, 
of whom he was hardly worthy. " Of all the people I 
ever saw in the world, my poor sister is the most 
thoroughly devoid of the least tincture of selfishness." 
He was happy when she was well and with him. His 
great sorrow was to be obliged so often to part from 
her on the recurrences of her attacks. " To say all that 
I know of her would be more than I think anybody 
could believe or even understand. It would be sinning 
against her feelings to go about to praise her; for I 
can conceal nothing I do from her. All my wretched 
imperfections I cover to myself, by resolutely thinking 
on her goodness. She would share life and death, 
heaven and hell, with me. She lives but for me." 

Eponina and Julius Sabinus 

Maeterlinck has retold with tenderest pathos the 
story of Eponina and her husband Julius Sabinus. He 
headed a revolt against the Emperor Vespasian, and was 
defeated. Threatened with instant death, he might have 
sought refuge among the Germans, but only by leaving 
his young wife, Eponina, behind him, and he had not 
the heart to forsake her. He possessed a villa, beneath 



SALIENT CHARACTERISTICS OP WOMAN 73 

which there stretched vast subterranean caverns, known 
only to him and two freedmen. This villa he caused 
to be burned, and the rumour was spread that he had 
sought death by poison, and that his body was con- 
sumed by the flames. Eponina herself was deceived, 
and when Martialis the freed man told her of her hus- 
band's self-slaughter, she lay for three days and three 
nights on the ground, refusing all nourishment When 
Sabinus heard of her grief, he took pity and caused her 
to know that he lived, She none the less mourned and 
shed floods of tears, in the daytime, when people were 
near, but when night fell she sought him below in his 
cavern. For seven long months did she thus confront 
the shades, every night, to be with her husband; she 
even attempted to help him escape ; she shaved off his 
hair and his beard, wrapped his head round with fillets, 
disguised him, and then had him sent, in a bundle of 
clothes, to her own native city. But his stay there 
becoming unsafe, she soon brought him back to his 
cavern ; and herself divided her stay between town and 
the country, spending her nights with him, and from 
time to time going to town to be seen by her friends* 
She became pregnant, and, by means of an unguent 
wherewith she anointed her body, her condition remained 
unsuspected by even the women at the baths, which at 
that time were taken in common. And when her con- 
finement drew nigh she went down to her cavern, and 
there, with no midwife, alone, she gave birth to two 
sons, as a lioness throws off her cubs. She nourished 



74 WOMAN; HER CHARM AND POWER 

her twins with her milk, she nursed them through child- 
hood ; and for nine years she stood by her husband in 
the gloom and the darkness. But Sabinus at last was 
discovered and taken to Rome. He surely would seem 
to have merited Vespasian's pardon. Eponina led forth 
the two sons she had reared in the depths of the earth, 
and said to the emperor, "These have I brought into 
the world and fed on my milk, that we might one day 
be more to implore thy forgiveness." Tears filled the 
eyes of all who were there ; but Caesar stood firm, and 
the brave Gaul at last was reduced to demand per- 
mission to die with her husband. " I have known more 
happiness with him in the darkness," she cried, "than 
thou ever shalt know, O Caesar, in the full glare of the 
sunshine, or in all the splendour of thy mighty empire." 

Rama and S/td 

There is a Hindu poem, worthy of notice, that 
describes beautifully this noble trait of womanhood, 
showing also how universal it is, not confined to the 
cultured or enlightened, but native to the heart of 
woman, in whatsoever clime or time she may be found. 
It is an extract from an epic poem. Rama is to be 
banished, and S&d, his wife, says 

A wife must share her husband's fate : my duty is to follow thee 
Where'er tfcom goest. Apart from thee I would not dwell in heaven 

itself. 

Deserted by her lord, a wife is like a miserable corpse. 
Qose as thy shadow tfould I cleave to thee in this life and hereafter. 
art my king, my guide, my only refuge, my divinity. 



SALIENT CHARACTERISTICS OJ? WOMAN 7*5 

It is my fixed resolve to follow thee, 

If thou dost wander forth 

Through thorny trackless forests, 

I will go before thee, treading down 

The prickly bramble to make smooth thy path. Walking before thee 

I shall feel no weariness, the forests' thorns will seem like silken robes, 

A bed of leaves, a couch of down. 

To me the shelter of thy presence 

Is better far than stately palaces, and paradise itself. 

Protected by thine arm, gods, demons, men shall have no power to 

harm me. 

With thee I'll live contentedly on roots and fruits. Sweet, or not sweet, 
If given by thy hand they will be to me like the food of life. 
Roaming with thee in desert and in waste a thousand years will be a 

day? 
Dwelling with thee, e'en hell itself would be to me a heaven of bliss. 

How divme a thing is this quality of fidelity and 
devotion in woman, where her whole being has been 
led captive by an all-mastering affection. It is the 
quality which lights up her nature with sacred splen- 
dour, and which leads us to the world's holiest spot 
the Cross of Calvary. 

Purity in Woman 

As a general rule women are purer than men. 
Purity is natural to woman. The thought of woman is 
purer than the thought of man. It is contact with man 
that soils her. It is through man that she is stained 
and corrupted. If girls were as prone to sensuality as 
boys are, society would fester and rot But in woman 
there is a natural revulsion against impurity. She pre- 
serves for us in a fallen world the pure^ fragrance of the 
soul, and if man would rise to her height, in place ol 



7 6 



WOMAN": HER CHARM AND POWER 



dragging her down to his own level, we should see a 
nobler world. Men who are vile discountenance the 
purity of woman. It rebukes them, and they desire to 
soil, it lest haply they should be despised by it There 
are scoundrels who say that every woman has her price. 
We despise their secret, and join rather with the sage of 
whom Maeterlinck writes, who said : " I have never come 
across a single woman who did not bring to me some- 
thing that was great." The enormous majority of women 
regard with horror the loss of personal chastity. There 
are many of them, even in humblest life, who will starve 
rather than sin. Their peril arises not from unclean 
desire, but from perverted self-sacrifice. They wish to 
please men and are wrecked on that issue. The all- 
absorbing affection which should render them sacred and 
inviolable is the snare which draws them into ruin. 

How few degraded and repulsive women there are 
when compared with the number of degraded and 
repulsive men. In the depth of the soul of woman there 
lies a defence against evil which would always preserve 
her if she were true to its divine promptings. Through 
the sweet might of a power which God has inbreathed 
she may tread upon the lion and adder of lust, and rebuke 
unchastity, until it shrinks away defeated and ashamed. 
How often is the old, sweet legend of Una and the lion 
wrought out in lovely truth ! The bold and subtle beast 
is cowed by her chastity and innocence, and crouches at 
her feet a willing ^captive, or slinks back into the wilder- 
ness abashed and foiled. It was a woman, a nun with 



SALIENT CHARACTERISTICS OF WOMAN 77 

pure soul and " knees of adoration," who first saw the 
Holy Grail, and how often has a man been lifted out 
of debasing sins by the love of a pure sweet woman. 
Dante nobly witnessed of that love for Beatrice " which 
withdrew his thought from all vile things," and Michael 
Angelo acknowledged this power when he wrote to 
Vittoria Colonna : 

The might of one fair face sublimes my love, 
For it hath weaned my heart from low desires ; 
Nor death I heed, nor purgatorial fires. 

Thy beauty, antepast of joys above, 
Instructs me in the bliss that saints approve* 
For oh ! how good, how beautiful must be 
The God that made so good a thing as thec, 
So fear an image of the heavenly dove. 
Forgive me if I cannot turn away 
From those sweet eyes that are my earthly heaven, 
For they are guiding stars benignly given 
To tempt my footsteps to the upward way; 
And if I dwell too fondly in thy sight, 
I live and love in God's peculiar light. 

Religion in Woman 

From purity to religion there is but one step. The 
pure in heart see God. All receive the heaven which is 
around them according to the quality of the heaven 
which is within them, and, in virtue of her peculiar 
endowments of purity and love, woman stands near to 
God. Her sense of dependence also leads to the same 
result. Religion has been defined as "a feeling of 
dependence," and this feeling is native to woman. Man 
is self-assertive, independent, proud of -his strength and 
of his isolation but woman must cling. Her soul is the 



7 g WOMAN*: .HER CHARM AND POWER 

seat and the home of reverence, dependence, trust These 
qualities are as natural to her as stars to the sky, as 
beauty to the flowers, and as song to tl^e woods. Because 
of her feeling of dependence she leaps gladly into " the 
everlasting arms," and because of the energy of her 
affections she rejoices in the warm beat of the Infinite 
heart Thus it may be said that religion is more natural 
> to woman than to man. It is her native air. It is her 

desired haven. On her pure brow the dove of peace 
* delights to rest, and all the hues of heaven have set a 
radiance in her eyes. On the margin of the sea, where 
the eternal mysteries chant their weird melody, most men 
are but as stones on which the wavelets break, and from 
which they withdraw leaving no hoarded music; but 
woman, like the sea-shell, holds them in her heart, where 
they echo and reverberate for ever. 

" There is a deep," says Theodore Parker, " to which 
reason goes down with its flambeau in its hand ; there 
is a height to which imagination goes up, on wide wings 
borne; and that is the deep of philosophy, that is the 
height of eloquence and song. But there is a deeper 
\ depth, where reason goes not, a higher height, where 

| imagination never wanders; and that is the deep of 

justice, that is the height of love. It is the great wide 
heaven of religion. Conscience goes down there, affection 
goes up there, the soul lives up there. And that is the 
place of woman. Woman has gone deeper in justice and 
in love, and haS gone higher in trust, than man has 
gone." 



SALIENT CHARACTERISTICS OF WOMAN 79 

These words are true. Woman is superior to man in 
the strength of her religious emotions. In the heaven 
of religion she is^more at home than he. Man stands 
-dm! questions. Woman believes and worships. Ever 
and anon man arrests himself in the crowding rush of life 
and asks : Whence have I come ? What am I ? Why 
arn I here? Whither am I going? It is the cry of his 
soul for the Father of his spirit, and for the heaven from 
whence he came. But while he is crying out for God 
woman has found Him, and rests in His bosom as in 
her native home. Man seems to climb up into religion ; 
woman is already there, We should draw near to her 
with reverence, as to a mother's knee, for she is nearer to 
God than we* She knows the things we do not know 
She hears the voices we do not hear. She holds to her 
bosom the lamp which we have lost. Truths which we 
arc toiling all our lives to find, are for her intuitive and 
familiar. Consolations which we feel we must rend the 
heavens to gain, come to her as the dawn and drop as 
the clew. To her, who is true woman, we may address 
with confidence those lovely lines of Wordsworth to his 
sister 

If thou appear untouched by notcmn thought, 
Thy nature is not, therefore* less divine : 

Thou Jicst in Abraham ' bosom all the year, 
And wnrahipp'ftt at the Temple's inner shrine, 

God twing with thee when we know it not, 

Woman is essentially religious* She cannot break 
away irom the embrace of God* An irreligious woman 



So WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

appears a monstrosity. She cannot be an unbeliever or 
an atheist. She must trust. She must lean on another 
stronger than herself. She must worship. The relation 
between religion and conduct may not always be clear to 
her. She may have stumbled and fallen, but she must 
pray. She may have singed her wings, but she must 
hover round the light. Rob her of religion and you take 
away her womanhood. Her abiding place is at the 
feet of God, and the paths thereto are more visible 
to her than to men, and more easily trodden when 
revealed. 

The one all-sufficient word for religion is love, and 
this is woman's world. He that loveth not knoweth not 
God, but love tears away all the veils which hide Him 
from view. Milton has said of love that it 

Leads up to Heaven, is both the way and guide, 

In Plato's Banquet we read : " He whose teacher 

is Love, turns out scholar of repute and illustrious ; but 

he on whom Love does not lay his hands, remains in 

obscurity." Thus by her power to love, woman apprehends 

God and rejoices in Him. Through the permitted tyranny 

of love she takes the kingdom of heaven by violence, 

while man stands hesitating at its gates. Her hunger 

for some answering tenderness to her own love and trust 

renders it impossible for her to conceive of God merely 

as a great artificer, an empty abstraction, or an impersonal 

power. She claims a heart in the centre of things. 

She must have a God who loves and cares for her, and 



SALIENT CHARACTERISTICS OF WOMAN* 81 

who has given proof that he does so. It does not matter 
to her how great He is 

His greatness makes her strong, as children are, 
When those they love are near. 

She smiles at the majesty of God with the intimate 
grace of the child to whom its father suggests no cause 
for fear. For her it was hardly needful that God should 
reveal Himself as essential love. Her own deep heart 
had already taught her that sweet secret The baffling 
mystery of the Incarnation, before which man falters and 
is dumb, does not perplex the soul of woman. It is just 
what her heart had led her to expect of God, and all that 
is most truly woman in her welcomes Christ and rejoices 
in Him. 

Woman and Christ 

We cannot read the New Testament thoughtfully 
without realising that women rather than men were 
the most faithful and devoted followers of Christ. We 
instinctively feel that had they been present with Him in 
Gethsemane they would not have slept during His sore 
agony, but would have watched with Him, and wiped 
from His pale brow the precious blood which the unpity- 
ing earth received. Man too often stints his offering to 
the Master, calculating on the need of less or more. 
Woman, on the contrary, breaks at His sacred feet the 
alabaster box, and yields her all, only grieving that the 
offering is so poor. 

And having found Christ, how deep is woman's joy 

6 



82 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

in Him who was not only truly man, but also truly 
woman, who represented in His sacred person not merely 
man, but humanity, in all its manifold completeness, 
" Last at the cross, and first at the sepulchre," how faithful 
woman is to her redeeming Lord, and how lovingly she 
nestles at His feetl All that is purely and sweetly 
woman in her asks for Jesus, Her penitence beseeches 
Him who lifted her trampled sister from the dust, and 
who blesses the weariest and the most fallen by the 
mighty healing of His cross. Her household loue winds 
itself about Him, who took the little children in His 
arms, and blessed them, and who left Jerusalem at night- 
fall for the home in Bethany, where dwelt Mary, and 
Martha, and Lazarus. Her affections yearn toward Him 
who loved us and gave Himself for us. Her sympatkits 
supplicate Him who took our infirmities and bare our 
sicknesses, Her pain demands Him who through suffer- 
ing was made perfect, and who bore the nameless agonies 
of the Garden* Her loneliness confides in Him who 
lifted up in the great darkness the awful unfathomable 
cry, " My God 1 My God 1 why hast Thou forsaken Me ? lf 
Her hope of a dimner future rests on Him, who, having 
broken the bars of death and carried away the gates of 
the grave, said : " I go to My Father and to your Father, 
to My God and to your God," 

It is questionable, indeed, whether any true woman 
can have her hope fulfilled, and her whole being satisfied, 
apart from Jesus Christ, He, and He only, is great and 
pure and tender and sympathetic enough for a woman's 



SALIENT CHARACTERISTICS OF WOMAN 83 

heart. If she has not found Him, whom Mary found in 
the garden of the sepulchre, her nature is unsatisfied, and 
her finest love flows out on desert sands. It is for this 
reason that she throngs the churches where Christ is 
presented as a living breathing reality. We smile when 
she hangs a crucifix in her chamber, or when she kneels 
before a picture of her Lord, But in our shallow scorn we 
often smile at that, the significance of which is fathomless. 

Nothing has impressed some of us more in life than 
the essential loneliness of very many women. They have 
never married, or, being married, they have ventured 
their all upon some human affection, and found it alto- 
gether inadequate and disappointing. They are married, 
and yet they stand alone. They are married, but not 
mated. There is no real affinity between their higher 
selves and the man who walks by their side. He has 
never touched their loftier nature or satisfied their finer 
affections. It does not necessarily follow that the man 
is a sensualist or a clown he is simply hard, dry, 
shallow, and unsympathetic. Neither does it follow that 
he does not admire and venerate the woman at his side. 
On the contrary, he is not seldom filled with wonder, that 
such a creature ever stooped to link her life with his. 
Yet all the same she is alone. Ask such a woman what 
marriage means, and a smile so bitter rises on her lips 
that you turn away in pity and in pain. 

The preciousncss of Christ to the soul of a woman 
thus isolated Is beyond the reach of words. He is all 
and in all to her, In His divine beauty and His human 



&4 WOMAN": HER CHARM AND POWER 

sympathy He fills and satisfies the heart which otherwise 
would pine in unspeakable hunger. Before Him she 
kneels, and kneeling cries, with a dedicated spirit of her 
own sisterhood 

Speak low to me, my Saviour, low and sweet, 
From out the hallelujahs, sweet and low, 
Lest I should fear and fall, and miss Thee so, 
Who art not missed by any that entreat; 
Speak to me as to Mary at Thy feet 

Neither does He refuse to listen to her trembling prayer, 
for this would be to deny Himself. He folds her in His 
arms. He carries her in His bosom. He blends His 
own serene unfathomable life with hers. In temptation 
He shields her. In slippery places He upholds her. 
Henceforth she is alone, but not alone, because her Lord 
is with her. He is with her at night-fall when the house 
is still, and she listens for the step which is so long 
delayed. He is with her in the morning when the river 
of dawn flows into her silent chamber. He is with her 
when her children climb her knee, and smooth with tiny 
hands the furrows from her brow. He is with her on the 
twilight-shadowed way when the children are scattered, 
and she walks alone and is sad. And when the last solemn 
twilight falls, a voice will strike through the gathering 
gloom, saying, " The Master is come, and calleth for thee," 
and she will go forth to meet the Bridegroom. Then 
will dawn upon her emancipated and rejoicing spirit 

The Sabbaths of eternity, 

One Sabbath deep and wide, 
A tight upon the shining sea, 
The Bridegroom with His bride I 



SALIENT CHARACTERISTICS OF WOMAN 85 

Thus, religion is natural to woman, Man may forsake 
the temple and the altar, but woman will still worship. 
She preserves religion in the Home, in the Church, and 
in the Nation. If we treat her nobly she will continually 
minister to the divine in us. And when she goes forth 
from us into the unseen, she will still perform her finest 
office in making the future life real and near to us. 
Hume once said that when he thought of his mother he 
believed in immortality. There was that in her character 
and in her virtues which he could not reconcile with final 
dissolution, And there are many of us to whom nothing 
is so true in the world of thought as this, that our mother 
does not rest beneath the sod, but only the garment 
which she wore in her earthly pilgrimage, and flung off 
when God called her to Himself. 

She is folded, she is lying. 
In the light which is undying. 

Nay, more, she comes forth from God with the fragrance 
and beauty of heaven upon her, and gently lures us 
towards the light in which she dwells. We bury base- 
ness in her grave, and virtue rises from it to robe us as 
with celestial armour. And she cannot be forgotten. 
On the contrary, she rises to the sweet power attributed 
to one of his heroines by our greatest poet, where he 
says 

The idea of her life fehall sweetly creep 

Into his study of imagination ; 

And every lovely organ of her life 

Shnil come ftpparcH'd in more precious habit, 

More wooing delicate, and full of life 

Into the eye and prospect of hit soul. 



CHAPTER IV 

WOMAN AS DAUGHTER AND AS SISTER 

Of all the knots which nature ties. 

The secret, sacred sympathies. 

That, as with viewless chains of gold. 

The heart a happy prisoner hold ; 

None is more chaste, more blight, more pure, 

Stronger stern trials to endure ; 

None is more pure of earthly leaven, 

More like the love of highest Heaven, 

Than that which binds, in bonds how blest, 

A daughter to a father's breast 

J. W. CUNNINGHAM. 

Certain it is that there is no kind of affection 10 purely angelic, as that of 
a father to a daughter ; he beholds her both with and without regard to her 
sex. In love to our wives there is desire ; to our ions there is ambition ; but 
in that to our daughters, there is something which there are no wordf to 
express.- ADDISON. 

Woman as Daughter 

IT was a beautiful idea of Swedeflborg's, which he 
says was told him by the angels, that there are* it* 
every human being germs of a holier nature which has 
survived from Paradise, or come down from heaven* 
The same sweet truth is taught in Wordsworth's splendid 
11 Ode on the Intimations of Immortality from Recollec- 
tions of Early Childhood, 11 The poet tells us that because 

86 



WOMAN AS DAUGHTER AND AS SISTER 87 

the child Js fresh from heaven it is nearer to God than 
the man, and cherishes reminiscences of " that imperial 
Palace whence it came." It is more closely akin to 
God, more near to the immortal Life, more purely and 
brightly free, because it half shares in the pre-existent 
life and glory out of which it has been drawn into its 
earthly home, 

By nothing is this truth so deeply impressed upon 
us as by the vision and the presence of pure, sweet 
girlhood. The daughter in the house is frequently its 
richest ornament Whether she moves to and fro in 
tender ministry to her mother; welcomes the father 
after his day of toil ; helps a younger brother with his 
uncongenial tasks, or ministers in the sick-chamber with 
that noiseless grace, and swift unerring sympathy, which 
is woman's finest dower, she is equally winsome and 
lovely. Not seldom as we have marked the ministering 
sweetness of an unspoilt girlhood in the home, those 
words of Shakespeare have been recalled to us 

The uir of Paradise did fan the house, 
And angels offic'd all. 

Two of the greatest works in all literature draw 
their inspiration, in whole or in part, from this relation- 
ship of daughterhood the (Rdipus at Colonus of 
Sophocles, and Shakespeare's King Lear. In the Greek 
play there is a lovely description of the tender affection 
shown by Antigone to the blind and wandering king, 
her father, in his exile from the city, which had formerly 
honoured and adored him as a deliverer. As for 



88 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

Cordelia in King Lear, no introduction is needed to the 
lovely story. 

The relationship of daughterhood^ to father or to 
mother, is a relationship too precious, too exquisite, to 
be spoiled by the rough hand of selfishness, or jarred by 
the friction of daily life. 

Counsel to Daughters 

To our English girls than whom there are none so 
winsome or so lovely in the wide world we would say 
Be sympathetic; be unselfish. Seek the joy of 
service. Let the home be brighter and gladder because 
you are in it. 

One of the sweetest things a girl can do is to receive 
visitors graciously ; to walk over the room to meet 
them, give them her hand, and say a word or two in the 
way of hearty welcome. Oliver Wendell Homes says in 
one of his books: "Whether gifted with the accident 
of beauty or not, a woman should have been moulded 
in the rose-red clay of love. A woman who docs not 
carry a halo of good feeling, and desire to make every- 
body contented, about with her wherever she goes an 
atmosphere of grace, mercy, and peace, at least of six- 
foot radius, which wraps every human being upon whom 
she voluntarily bestows her presence, and flatters him 
with the comfortable thought that she is rather glad that 
he is alive isn't worth the trouble of talking to/ 1 

Woman has- often been called the civiliser, the 
softener, and the purifier of life; and it is love and 



WOMAN AS DAUGHTER AND AS SISTER 89 

gentleness which makes her so. Isocrates made an 
excellent application of the golden rule when he said : 
" Be such to your parents as you would wish your 
children to be to you." And, as the love of her parents 
is a daughter's joy and pride, it behoves her to love 
them fondly in return, and, as far as in her lies, to 
lighten their burdens and minister to their happiness, 
There is a Hindoo saying, to the effect that the pain 
and care which a mother and father undergo for their 
children cannot be compensated in a hundred years. 
But it need not for this reason be unconsidered. 

Among the many helpful ministries possible to a 
daughter one of the most valuable is that of reading aloud. 
A girl who has once been taught clearly and dis- 
tinctly to articulate, is capable of imparting a pleasure 
in the home, to which even music itself is secondary. 
There was a time when in most refined households the 
system of reading aloud for the general edification was 
cultivated. Partly from the increased hurry of modern 
life, and in part from the fevered appetite for reading 
much and fast, the habit has largely faded in these later 
years. It would be well, however, to revive and to 
make it, as far as possible, universal Much of the silly 
and corrupt literature of the present day would wither 
under this trying ordeal, while in the working class 
family circle no moro formidable rival to the tap-room 

could be imagined. And since 

* 

Evil is wrought by want of thought 
A well want of heart, 



90 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

we would tenderly appeal to our girls to remember how 
often a father's solitude or a mother's patient toil might 
be cheered and lightened by the reading, in their hearing, 
of some interesting book in the seclusion of the home. 

There are few of us, on whom the years have left 
their mark, who do not possess some painful memory of 
neglected privilege in this regard. If we could bring 
our loved ones back, how eagerly would we atone for the 
stinted affection and the cold neglect which we now so 
bitterly mourn ! Alas, that we should so often rob our 
parents of their profoundest happiness, that of pride 
* .i and joy in their children. 

For human hearts are harps divinely strung, 
And framed diversely : waiting for the power 
Of kindred soul, and on each chord is hung 

A wondrous dower 
Of song and glory J which, if touched aright, 

Would fill the world with light ! 

Yet, further, the reflex influence of this habit of 
reading aloud would also be most valuable to girlhood. 
No girl can be truly beautiful or permanently attractive 
if she is ignorant. She must call some mental quality 
to the aid of physical charms if she would hold her own. 
"Beauty is not an accident of things; it pertains to 
their essence," said Mr. Gladstone in one of his addresses. 
A woman cannot be really beautiful, however perfect the 
conformation of her' face and figure, unless she has 
character and intellect whereby a spirituality may be 
infused into a tfbdy which would otherwise be nought 
but a shell. On the other hand, it is difficult to make a 



WOMAN AS DAUGHTER AND AS SISTER 91 

clever, well-informed woman look really ugly. An 
Illumination from within transfigures her, while the finer 
features of her rival may be only " icily regular 
splendidly null." Akenside gives fine expression to this 
necessity where he says 

The shape alone let others prize, 

The features of the fair ; 
I look for spirit in her eyes, 

And meaning in her air. 

A damask cheek, an ivory arm, 

Shall ne'er my wishes win; 
Give me an animated form, 

That speaks a mind within. 

A face where awful honour shines, 

Where sense and sweetness move, 
And angel innocence refines 

The tenderness of love. 

These are the soul of beauty's frame, 

Without whose vital aid, 
Unfinished all her features seem, 

And all her roses dead. 

* Examples of Devotion among 1 Daughters 

The annals of the heart present many examples of 
the devotion of daughters to their parents. 

When Louis XVI. and his consort were in prison, 
their daughters, the princesses, cheerfully discharged all 
the duties of servants to the King and Queen. 

The first Earl of Marchmont was concealed in a 
church vault for a month, and had only for light a slit 
in the massive wall. His daughter carried him food at 
midnight every night, and remained with him until the 



9* WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

day began to break, cheering like an angel his loneliness 
and exile. 

Tullia, the daughter of Cicero, was most affection- 
ately devoted to her father, and was his companion and 
delight in sorrow and in the feebleness of declining 
years. It is deeply touching to read how, on his recall 
from exile, she hurried to Brundusium to welcome him, 
and when she died at the age of thirty-two he mourned 
her with an inconsolable sorrow. Writing to his friend 
Atticus, he said : " It is all over with me, Atticus ; I 
feel it more than ever, now that I have lost the only 
being who still bound me to life." 

Margaret Roper, the daughter of Sir Thomas More, 
\ was the pride and the darling of her father. When 

glory had passed him like a ship at sea it was by her 
brave duteousness that the body of the noble martyr 
was buried in the chancel of Chelsea Church. His head 
after being exposed upon a pike on London Bridge 
for fourteen days, was ordered to be thrown into the 
Thames. But Margaret rescued it, preserved it in a 
, leaden box, and directed that after her death it should 

be placed with her in the grave. 

Tennyson again writes, with a pen of gold, of 
Jephthah's daughter and her submission to a cruel 
destiny in the honouring of her father's reckless vow 

The daughter of the warrior Gileadite, 
A maiden gure; as when she went along 

From Mkpeh's tow } rd gate with, welcome light, 
With timbrel and with song. 



WOMAN AS DAUGHTER AND AS SISTER 93 

My words leapt forth : Heaven heads the count of crimes 
With that wild oathShe render'd answer high : 

Not so, nor once alone ; a thousand times 
I would be born and die. 

9 

My God, my land, my Father these did move 

Me from my bliss of life, that nature gave, 
Lower'd softly with a threefold cord of love 

Down to a silent grave. 

" There Is no one," said Dr. Ross, " so slow to note 
the follies and sins of a father as a daughter. The wife 
of his bosom may fly in horror from his embrace ; but 
his fair-haired child cleaves to him in boundless charity/' 
This sentiment was amply proved in the case of Aaron 
Burr and his daughter Theodosia. When his selfishness, 
sensuality, recklessness, and degradation, had made his 
name a hissing and a byword among his countrymen, 
the devotion of his child remained unchanged as the star 
amid the cloud-rack. In one of her letters to her father, 
she says: "I contemplate you with such a strange 
mixture of humility, admiration, reverence, love, and 
pride, that very little superstition would be necessary to 
make me worship you as a superior being." Thus did his 
daughter's trust and affection keep alive the last embers of 
nobleness within him, and when she died something broke 
in his heart which placed him beyond all healing, and 
he declared himself for ever severed from the human race. 

There are some natures in this world of ours 
That walk the earth with spirits wing'd for heaven, 
So meek, so wholly strange to evil thoughts, 
Whose Jove burns on as ever steadfast fire! 
Gentle and kind, and trusting souls like these 
Do move among us, and of such was she. 



94 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

In the case of the gifted Madame de Stael and her 
father, we have another example of the union of father 
and daughter merging into a fellowship of tried and 
trusted friends. Necker was but an ordinary man, but 
the love of his daughter transfigured him into a hero and 
a sage. She was to him an invaluable source of strength, 
counsel, and consolation. After his death the thought 
of him seemed constantly present with her. She often 
said, " My father is waiting for me on the other shore." 
Her last words to Chateaubriand, when her feet touched 
the stern river, were "I have loved God, my father, 
and liberty." 

Counsel to Parents 

Before dismissing this part of our subject, we feel 
constrained to say that girls frequently suffer from 
parental folly or parental neglect. They are not 
regarded sufficiently seriously. We do not make the 
best of them. We do not estimate at its proper value 
the pure affection which they breathe, or the service 
which they delight to render. Boys leave school and 
plunge into life. They have a hundred things which 
interest them and occupy their time. But how little 
girls are considered. Their education is finished, and 
they come home and stay at home. That Is enough. 
Nobody thinks it needful to waste a care upon them. 
The fether gives them all they need in the way of 
clotkcs and pocket-money. The mother takes every 
domestic care off their hands, and they are expected to 



WOMAN AS DAUGHTER AND AS SISTElt 95 

stumble without guidance into happiness or Into matri- 
mony. They are not trained in self-dependence or in 
self-respect A few superficial "accomplishments," so- 
called, are all they have mastered, and their outlook on 
life and its responsibilities is shallow and perilous in the 
extreme. Mind and heart alike are ready to perish with 
hunger, while, in most cases, their occupations and pur- 
suits are utterly worthless and unmeaning. Mrs. Browning 
touches these with keen irony when she writes 

The works of women are symbolical, 

We sew-sew, prick our fingers, dull our sight, 

Producing What ? A pair of slippers, sir, 

To put on when you're weary, or a stool, 

To stumble over and vex you ; " Curse that stool. * 

Or else at best a cushion, where you lean 

And sleep and dream of something we are not, 

But would we be for your sake. Alas, alas ! 

This hurts most, this ; that, after all, we are paid 

The worth of our work, perhaps. 

Now what nobleness can spring for our daughters 
from a life like this ? what preparation for the duties of 
wifehood and motherhood, or what resource and satisfac- 
tion if the lot of a wife and a mother be denied them ? 
Who can wonder that, under such conditions, many of 
our girls are unhappy and render their homes unhappy 
by their fretfulness and discontent? We have given 
them nothing to live for. Why, then, are we surprised 
when they grow up empty, frivolous, and ignorant? 
They have abundance of time, and nothing to do with it 
but to kill it. Meanwhile they kill in the process all 
that is truly noble and beautiful in themselves. 



96 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

If the question be asked " What then shall we do 
for our daughters?" we reply Give them something 
to do which will be helpful to themselves and thus 
interesting, and which, at the same time, will best enable 
them to serve the home in which they are so sweet a 
presence, and the strange, sad world into which you 
have brought them. If you are unable to provide them 
with a decent competence at your death, place them, 
however pretty or fascinating they may be, in some 
congenial employment, so that their only resource when 
you are gone will not be that of matrimony, or, failing 
this, a helpless dependence on others. Look after their 
health. Direct their reading. Discourage, though in 
kindly fashion, vanity and folly in their thoughts and 
conduct Encourage every pure and noble ambition. 
Keep a careful watch on their companionships. Do not 
fret them about trifles, but in matters of principle stand 
firm. Let love have full course, Never create a 
suspicion that their presence in the home is irksome, 
and that you wish them married and away. Infuse into 
their lives all the sweetness and sunshine you can, so 
that, if they do some day go forth into another nest, the 
memory of home may be the sweetest memory of their 
lives. 

Woman as Sister 

Scarcely less beautiful than a daughter's devotion 
is the tenderness and fidelity of a true sister. " What 
is so disinterested," asks Goethe, " as a sister's love ? " 



WOMAN AS DA VGHTER AND AS SISTER 97 

And, again, from Charles Dickens we have the touching 
utterance, " He who has never known a sister's kind 
ministration, nor felt his heart warming beneath her en- 
dearing smile and love-beaming eye, has been unfortunate 
indeed." 

For there is no friend like a sister, 
In calm or stormy weather, 
To cheer one on the tedious way, 
To fetch one if one goes astray, 
To lift one if one totters down, 
To strengthen while one stands. 

It has often been debated as to whether such a thing 
is possible between men and women as a pure, Platonic 
love, that is, a love in which the consciousness of sex 
is utterly absent, and the communion is purely one of 
soul with soul. We are inclined to believe that such 
a love is possible, but it is also perilous, It is liable 
to go too far and to work fatal mischiefs. It can be 
attempted without danger only by noble and select 
spirits. 

hi attachment to a sister, however, we may have 
all the advantages of Platonic love without its perils* 
Female friendship is Invaluable to mental culture. 
Without it a man's knowledge of books, however wide, 
will yet fail to give him knowledge of the world. It is 
also a school for delicacy, purity, and gentleness, The 
family is a divine thought, and the place of a sister in it 
is of the utmost importance,, To have a pure, devoted 
sister is to be imbued with a reverence For womanhood 
which no after experience of faithlessness or frivolity 

7 



9$ WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

in the sex can utterly destroy. A noble sister makes all 
other women sacred. He who has basked in that pure 
light would " scorn to treat a woman lawlessly." With 
deep wisdom, Mrs. Reaney says : " If sisters only knew 
what their lives meant to their brothers, they would 
surely be more jealously watchful over actions which 
would lower the standard of true womanhood in the 
hearts of those so dear to them." 

As an example of strong affection and attachment 
between sister and brother we may instance that of 
the two Korners. Karl Theodor Korner holds a distin- 
guished place among German lyrists. His life was 
cheered and his manhood refined and strengthened by 
the sympathy and devotion of an only sister, who shared 
his confidence and encouraged his genius. Their attach- 
ment, indeed, was an idyll of tenderness and beauty. 
The shock of his premature death was more than her 
gentle nature could endure. She only lived to complete 
his portrait, which she has drawn with the pencil of love, 
and then followed him to the grave. Undivided they 
sleep beneath the old oak tree, in a recess of which he 
had been accustomed to deposit the verses composed 
by him while campaigning In the vicinity. Mrs. Hemans 
thus commemorates their tragic story 

^T5fensitgst a hero's tomb: a lowlier bed 

Is hers^The. gentle girl beside thee lying, 
The gentle girl" that bowed her fair young head 
When* thou wert gone, in silent sorrow dying. 
Brother, true friend ! the tender and the brave 
She pined to share thy grave. 



WOMAN AS DAUGHTER AND AS SISTER 99 

Fame was thy gift from others 1 but for her r 
To whom the wide world held that only spot, 

She loved thee 1 -lovely in your lives ye were, 
And in^your early deaths divided not. 

Thou hast thy bays thy trophy: what has she? 
Her own best place by thee 1 

Scarcely less beautiful and tender was the attach- 
ment between Sir Philip Sidney and Mary, his sister, 
afterwards Countess of Pembroke, for whom he wrote 
his quaint and lovely prose poem, " The Arcadia." 
They grew together as twin souls in the sweet retire- 
ment of Penshurst, loving the same flowers, the same 
birds, and the same anointed poets. Four years after 
his death she raised a monument to her brother in his 
own "Arcadia," the fragments of which she carefully 
collected and prepared for publication. In the dedica- 
tion Sir Philip thus addresses her ; " Here now you 
have, most dear, and most worthy to be most dear, lady/ 
this idle work of mine, which, I fear, like the spider's 
web, will be thought fitter to be swept away than worn 
to any other purpose ... I could well find in my heart 
to cast out in some desert of forgetfulness this child 
which I am loth to father. But you desired me to do it ; 
and your desire to my heart is an absolute commandment, 11 
The book rapidly passed through eleven editions, and 
is still cherished by book-lovers as one of the choicest 
products of the Elizabethan age of literature. So much 
do we owe to this gentle sister of a noble Englishman 

For ahe was of that better clay, 
That treads not oft this earthly stage j 

Such charmed spirits lott their way, 
But once or twice into an age. 



too WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

Our English literature records also how much Words- 
worth owed to this influence as he and his pure, bright 
sister, Dorothy, went "stepping westward" hand in 
hand. It was chiefly through her companionship that 
he was restored to faith, when his trust in God and his 
belief in immortality were in grave peril. " She who 
lived from the heart," says Stopford Brooke, "moved 
ever by his side " ; she believed for him when he dis- 
believed ; she saw that his scepticism was more the flight 
of clouds across his mind than any vital change in the 
mind itself; she went with her own eager sympathy 
through all his trouble; 

Then it was 

Thanks to the bounteous Giver of all good 
That the beloved sister in whose sight 
Those days were passed, now speaking in a voice 
Of sudden admonition like a brook 
That did but cross a lonely road, and now 
Is seen, heard, felt, and caught at every turn, 
Companion never lost through many a league 
Maintained for me a saving intercourse 
With my true self- 
she " whispered still that brightness would return," and 
herself, loving nature intensely, as her delightful Diary 
proves, not only restored to him his ancient love of 
nature, but also opened his heart again to the fountains 
of human love, and bade him drink them and be whole ; 
brought him back to his real work 

Preserved him still 

A poet, made him seek beneath that name, 
And that alone, his office upon earth. 



WOMAN AS DAUGHTER AND AS SISTJSX 101 

From numerous tributes interwoven with his works 
we learn how sacred was her influence on his deep, 
rugged nature. Here him where he says 

Mine eyes did ne'er 
Fix on a lovely object, nor my mind 
Take pleasure in the midst of happy thoughts, 
But either she, so fondly loved, was there, 
Or not far off. Where'er my footsteps turned 
Her voice was like a hidden bird that sang. 
The thought of her was like a flash of light, 
Or an unseen companionship, a breath 
Of fragrance independent of the wind. 

And again in another place we read 

She gave me eyes, she gave me ears, 
And humble cares, and delicate fears, 
A heart, the fountain of sweet tears, 
And love, and thought, and joy. 

A French writer says : " A brother is a friend pro- 
vided by nature," And it is a mournful thing, when, 
through that familiarity which is the peculiar danger 
which besets all family relationships, such a friendship 
is lightly esteemed. Let us cherish those who dwell 
with us in the same home, who share the same 
memories, who own the same parentage, lest we should 
one day bow our heads in sorrow and remorse over their 
graves, feeling that we did not love them as we should 
have done* Alas for us, that what is familiar gets to 
seem commonplace -too commonplace to be worth 
tender and careful handling. Rough words, careless be- 
haviour, unattractive mien, inconsxderae actions: these 
are good enough for sister or brother; whereas for 



102 WOMAN: HER CHARM AJSTD POWER 

someone else's sister or brother, nothing can be too 
sweet or charming or agreeable. 

George Eliot, in one of her sonnets, a part of which 
we quote, has given fine expression to that chivalrous 
affection which should exist between brother and sister, 
but which is too often reserved for strangers 

We had the self-same world enlarged for each 

By loving difference of girl and boy ; 

The fruit that hung on high beyond my reach 

He plucked for me, and oft he must employ 

A measuring glance to guide my tiny shoe 

Where lay firm stepping stones. 

His years with others must the sweeter be 

For those brief years he spent in loving me, 

Sisters quicken honourable ambition in brothers. 
They long to realise that which is expected of them 
from those who cling to them in love and pride. We 
cannot bear that our sisters should think meanly of us. 
Their condemnation is like the rebuke of God, their 
sympathy as the effluence of His pity, and their approval 
as the radiance of His smile. In later years, when we 
have learnt to estimate the true value of the world's 
shifting homage and uncertain favour, our sisters still 
keep us at our task. They are among the guardian 
angels of our life. 

A gifted woman writes: "O blessed sympathy of 
sisterhood with brotherhood ! surpassing all other friend- 
ship, leavening with angel solicitude the purest love of 
earth. No lovership like that of the brother and the 
sister, however passionate their spirits, when they truly 
love." 



WOMAN AS DA UGHTER AND AS SISTER 103 

An Ideal Sister 

The writer himself has tested and approved the 
sweetness and tile value of this tender bond. Does it 
not behove him here and now to speak of the faithfulness 
and devotion of a sister, who, for him at least, has made 
all women venerable ? " no legend of fair women " but 
a record of fact and breathing certainty. Even while he 
writes her image is before him the ample forehead; 
the head nobly poised ; the large eyes soft with pity, or 
radiant with love ; the cordial mouth carved into beauty 
by its tender speech; the smile a sunbeam; the voice 
a benediction. A rare, sweet nature, utterly womanly; 
a soul brimming over with sympathy, eager and swift 
to discern the beautiful, to acknowledge the true, and to 
applaud the good. A mind too interested in others to 
do justice to itselfapparently unconscious of its own 
great gifts of thought and utterance. A heart large 
enough for a whole city to nestle in, and to find pity 
and consolation there, A life indeed, learned beyond 
measure in that celestial lore of love which " beareth all 
things, bclieveth all things, hopeth all things, endureth 
all things/ 1 Can we recall without emotion how, when 
left motherless in early childhood, her tenderness and 
counsel went far to fill the void created by the loss of 
that dear presence ? Can we remember, without thank- 
fulness and gratitude too deep for utterance, her words 
of stimulus in school-days, of warning m companionships, 
of encouragement In gloom, of comfort and of cheer in 



io 4 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POW&R 

failure, of joy in the dawnings of good, and of pity when 
the good lay prostrate before the momentary triumph of 

evil? It is to such souls we say, as to our sainted 



dead- 

Be near us when we climb or fall ; 
Ye watch, like God, the rolling hours 
With larger other eyes than ours 
To make allowance for ut alL 



CHAPTER V 

WOMAN AS BETROTHED 

A girl 

Held all his heart-strings in her small white handf 
His youth, and power, and majesty were hers, 
And not his own, ... In his young heart 
She reigned, with all the beauties that she had, 
And all the virtues that he rightly took 
For granted : and there he set her with her crown, 
And at her first enthronement he turned out 
Much that was best away ; for unaware 
His thoughts grew noble. She was always there 
And knew it not, and he grew like to her 
And like to what he thought her. 

JBAN INGKLOW. 

Must love be ever treated with profaneness as a mere illusion, or with 
coarseness as a mere impulse, or with fear as a mere disease, or with shame as 
a mere weakness, or with levity as a mere accident? Whereas it is a great 
mystery, and a great necessity lying at the foundation of human existence, 
morality, and happiness mysterious, universal, inevitable as death. 

HARRIET MARTI NEAU. 

WE have written of woman as a daughter and as a 
sister. There is yet another important relation 
in which we must consider her, and that is as a possible 
wife as betrothed with a view to marriage. While we 

repudiate the idea that marriage is a woman's only goal 
that it is the one prize in a woman 1 s life which, if 
missed, makes her life a failure, and her soul a derelict, 

106 



io6 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND PO WER 

cast out on a homeless sea It is still true that woman 
is made to love and be beloved. Marriage and maternity 
are her natural destiny. The hope of a home of her 
own, of a devoted husband, and the touch of baby hands 
stirs early in every maiden's breast. 

And all this is utterly natural, and is not, therefore, 
to be rebuked or ignored. The law of conjugality lies 
at the base of every force in nature, ordering its varied 
relations and preserving it from extinction. Between 
atom and atom there is a fixed and mutual attraction. 
The iron and the loadstone meet and cling. There are 
male and female veins even in mines Suns wed their 
stars and draw them through the deeps of heaven. 
Plants bring forth progeny after their kind. Bird links 
with bird and beast with beast. Sex, love, and marriage 
are not an accident in nature, but a universal law. 

The wild hawk to the wind-swept sky, 

The deer to the wholesome wold, 
And the heart of a man to the heart of a maid, 

As it was in the days of old. 

All women are either actually or potentially mothers, 
this preordered adaptation to the functions of maternity 
is the basis of their physical constitution. They must 
fain accept their destiny with the best grace they can, 
seeing, to quote the late Professor Huxley, that " unless 
the human species is to come to an end altogether 
a consummation which can hardly be desired by even 
the most ardent supporter of * Women's Rights ' some- 
body must be good enough to take the trouble and 



WOMAN AS BETROTHED 



107 



responsibility of annually adding to the world exactly as 
many people as die out of it." 

Shelley strikes a true note, and is gayer than his 
wont, where he writes, in a brief poem entitled " A 
Lover's Philosophy" 

The fountains mingle with the river, 

And the rivers with the ocean ; 
The winds of heaven mix for ever, 

With a sweet emotion; 
Nothing in the world is single; 

All things by a law divine 
In one another's being mingle 

Why not I with thine? 

See the mountains kiss high heaven, 

And the waves clasp one another; 
No sister flower would be forgiven 

If it disdain'd its brother ; 
And the sunlight clasps the earth, 

And the moonbeams kiss the sea; 
What are all these kissings worth, 

If thou kiss not me? 

A Maiden's Love 

In the heart of a maiden love is shy. It is silent. It 
hides itself like a fawn in the forest. It quivers and 
flutters like a bird in fear, There is awe, and hope, and 
shame in it There is wonder, and trembling, and 
desire, The secret it cherishes is unuttered, and because 
unuttered we foolishly imagine it is not there. But all 
the while It is ever present, surging through the inner 
consciousness like the sea through the frail raft which 
floats above Its unfathomcd abysses, " We may preach," 
gays Miss Sewell, ^with the wisdom of a philosopher 



io8 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

and the earnestness of a saint, against the folly of think- 
ing and dreaming of love ; and the children will listen 
to us with ill-concealed impatience, and run back to their 
story books and their fairy tales, and revel in visions of 
handsome young princes and beautiful princesses; act 
over again in their own minds all the scenes of romance 
and excitement ; and count the days till they themselves 
are to be emancipated, and permitted to share in similar 
delights. Nature is much too strong to be controlled by 
lectures and advice. As a general rule, men and women 
were intended to marry, and therefore young people will 
always think about it." 

It is the pure and saintly Christina Rossetti who 
unveils her secret soul in the lilting lyric of love, which 
runs 

My heart is like a singing bird, 

Whose nest is in a watered shoot, 

My heart is like an apple tree, 

Whose boughs are bent with thick-set fruit; 

My heart is like a rainbow-shell 

That paddles in a halcyon sea ; 

My heart is gladder than all these, 

Because my love is come to me. 

The Power of Love 

Love is the strongest power in life. We live to love 
it is the heart's true nourishment, the soul's divinest 
bliss. Why, then, should we avoid it as if it were a 
thing unhallowed and unclean? When the mighty 
influence of this o'er-mastering passion is considered, 
the joy or misery of which it is the, source, the hell or 



I 



WOMAN AS BETROTHED 109 

the heaven which is in it, the relations and responsi- 
bilities to which it gives rise, the levity or indifference 
with which we treat it is simply amazing. Is it not 
high time we admitted the fact, that except the love we 
pay to Heaven, there is none purer or holier than that 
which a virtuous woman feels for him who has called 
her forth to be the companion of his life, and the sharer 
of his destiny? Let us acknowledge the solemn and 
beautiful significance of that passion, which, however 
it may have been debased, is still divine. Let us admit 
the fact that to love nobly, profoundly, purely, is the 
finest function of a human being. How beautifully this 
is demonstrated in Mrs. Browning's " Sonnets from the 
Portuguese" the purest and most enchanting love- 
songs ever written. These sonnets are the screen behind 
which the most beloved of poets and of women pours 
out her full heart on the " gracious singer of high poems," 
whose joy and privilege it was to link his life with hers. 
Ofttimes I have thought that if a seraph desired to study 
human love at its highest, he would turn to the lines of 
this " half-angel and half-bird " who has consecrated by 
her presence and by her song the very air we breathe. 

The First Kisses of Betrothal 

First time he kissed me, he but only kissed 
The fingers of this hand wherewith I write ; 
And ever since, it grew more clean and white, 
Slow to world-greetings, quick with its "Oh, list," 
When the angels speak. A ring of amethyst 
I could not wear here, plainer to my sight, 
Than that first kiss. The second passed in height 



no WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

The first, and sought the forehead, and half missed, 

Half falling on the hair. O beyond meed ! 

That was the chrism of love, which love's own crown, 

With sanctifying sweetness, did precede. r 

The third upon my lips was folded down 

In perfect, purple state; since when, indeed, 

I have been proud and said, "My love, my own.** 

How she Loved Him 

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. 

I love thee to the depth, and breadth, and height 

My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight 

For the ends of Being and ideal Grace. 

I love thee to the level of every day's 

Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight. 

I love thee freely, as men strive for Right; 

I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise. 

I love thee with a passion put to use 

In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith. 

I love thee with a love I seemed to lose 

With my lost saints, I love thee with the breath, 

Smiles, tears, of all my life ! and, if God choose, 

I shall but love thee better after death. 

Here is a teacher of love to whom we may safely 
bring our maidens, showing how divine a thing love may 
be when cherished by the pure and noble. Though it is 
true, love is a passion in which soul and body hold a 
divided empire, Una may yet tame the lion, holding it in 
thrall by her heavenly purity. The offering may be 
earthly, but the fire which consumes it may be no flake 
from the pit, but a spark fallen from heaven's own altar. 
The passion of love is indeed the most sacred thing in 
the human soul We are here to love and be beloved. 
Nothimg on earth is so dear as this, nothing so sacred. 
It is the Divine Emanation which sanctifies the human 



WOMAN AS BETROTHED in 

heart. If we insult it, we sow seeds of bitterness which 
we shall reap in sorrow. If we sin against it, we wrong 
our own souls. J\nd there are few who have not at 
some time or other bowed before love's spell. 

A stern, hard man of business, who had piled a large 
fortune, but who dwelt alone, died one day. His exe- 
cutors had to search his strong safe for the settling of 
his affairs. There, in a secret drawer, they found a 
bunch of faded flowers, and a lock of a woman's hair. 
Thus have hundreds of whom we do not dream cherished 
through life the memory of a lost or hopeless love. 
Walter Savage Landor commemorates his early love, 
Rose Aylmer, who died at the early age of twenty, 
in one of the briefest and tenderest elegies in the 
language- 

Ah, what avails the sceptred race. 

Ah, what the form divine ! 
What every virtue, every grace ! 

Ro.se Aylmer, all were thine. 
Rose Aylmer, whom these wakeful eyes 

May weep, but never see, 
A flight of memories and of si&hs 

I consecrate to thee. 

The Meeting and the Choice 

" It will ever remain," says Ian Maclaren, ** a chief 
mystery of human experience, that at the sight of a face 
and the sound of a voice which yesterday were strange, 
or rather at the vision of a soul, and the sense of a pre- 
established harmony, a whole life will be turned upside 
down* A new-born passion* "joyful, masterful* inspiring 



ii2 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

seizes the nature, and in a day eclipses the affections of 
youth, and erases the plans of early manhood as if they 
had never been made, so that one could leave father and 
mother, could change even his country and his calling." 

So much for the youth who has met his predestined 
fate his " pre-established harmony." 

The case of the maiden is beautifully put by Long- 
fellow where, in " The Song of Hiawatha," he tells how 
Hiawatha calls the lovely Laughing Water from the 
home of her father the Arrow- maker, and she follows as 
if God had called her 

And the ancient Arrow-maker 
Turned again unto his labour, 
Sat down by his sunny doorway, 
Murmuring to himself, and saying, 
"Thus it is our daughters leave us, 
Those we love and those who love us ! 
Just when they have learned to help us, 
When we are old and lean upon them, 
Comes a youth with flaunting feathers, 
With his flute of reeds, a stranger 
Wanders piping through the village, 
Beckons to the fairest maiden, 
And she follows where he leads her, 
Leaving all things for the stranger ! " 

The meaning of this strange fascination, this tyranny 
of predestined love, has perplexed and baffled human 
thinkers from the beginning of years. Plato, in his 
Symposium, deals with it in playful fashion though 
the water is deep beneath the sparkle of the wave - 
attributing the following attempt at the solution of 
ihe mystery t<5 Aristophanes, the philosophic jester of 
Athens, 



WOMAN AS BETROTHED n 3 

According to the theory of Aristophanes, original 
primeval man was not formed as he now is. He was 
round, his back and sides forming a circle; and he 
had four hands and four feet, one head with two faces, 
looking opposite ways, set on a round neck and precisely 
alike. He could walk upright as men now do, back- 
wards or forwards as he pleased, and he could also 
roll over and over at a great rate, whirling round on 
his four hands and four feet, eight in all, like tumblers 
going over and over with their legs in the air; this was 
when he wanted to run fast. Terrible was their might 
and strength, and the thoughts of their hearts were great, 
and they made an attack upon the gods ; of them is 
told the tale of Otys and Ephialtes, who, as Homer 
says, dared to scale heaven, and would have laid hands 
upon the gods. Doubt again reigned in the celestial 
councils. Should they kill them and annihilate the 
race with thunderbolts, as they had done the giants, then 
there would be an end of the sacrifices and worship 
which men offered to them ; but, on the other hand, the 
gods could not suffer their insolence to be unrestrained. 
At last, after a good deal of reflection, Zeus discovered a 
way* lie said : u Mcthinks I have a plan which will 
humble their pride and mend their manners ; they shall 
continue to exist, but I wilt cut them in two, which will 
have a double advantage, for it will halve their strength 
and we shall have twice as many sacrifices. They shall 
walk upright on two legs, and if they continue insolent 
and will not he quiet I will split them again and they 



ii4 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

shall hop on a single leg." He spoke, and cut men in 
two, " as you may split an egg with a hair," .... After 
the division the two parts of man, each desiring his other 

half, came together So ancient is the desire of 

one another which is implanted in us, reuniting our 
original nature, making one of two, and healing the state 
of man. Each of us when separated is but the indenture 
of a man, having one side only, like a flat-fish, and he 
is always looking for his other half. 

" And when one of them finds his other half, the 
pair are lost in amazement of love and friendship and 
intimacy, and one will not be out of the other's sight, 
as I may say, even for a minute: they will pass their 
whole lives together ; yet they could not explain what 
they desire of one another. For the intense yearning 
which each of them has towards the other does not appear 
to be the desire of lovers' intercourse, but of something 
else, which the soul of either evidently desires and 
cannot tell, and of which she has only a dark and 
doubtful presentiment." 

Such is the strange solution of the infatuation of lovers, 
as expressed by Plato. Thus does he unravel the mystery 
of love at first sight. The twin souls encounter each other 
and unite. The lovers find their other half, and are united 
by a swift intuition which is nothing short of destiny. 

Blessing of a Pure Passion 

We cannot leave this subject without referring to the 
steadying, purifying, and elevating influence of a pure 



WOMAN AS BETROTHED n 5 

and noble passion. Those are beautiful words which 
Tennyson puts into the mouth of King Arthur, and as 
true as they are ^beautiful 



Indeed I know 

Of no more subtle master under heaven, 
Than is the maiden passion for a maid, 
Not only to keep down the base in man, 
But teach high thought and amiable words, 
And courtliness and the desire for fame, 
And love of truth, and all that makes a man. 



Such is the influence of a pure betrothal on the man, 
while for the woman it stirs and ripens, and enlarges her 
whole nature. 

A pathetic example of the elevating power of a 
worthy passion is afforded in the case of Burns and his 
" Highland Mary. 11 The pure stream of Mary Campbell's 
love flowed into the wayward poet's life, and unspeakably 
enriched and ennobled it. " He who would see Burns 
at his best," says Blackie, " must look on him under the 
influence of Mary Campbell," The " white rose " of his 
life, as Professor Nichol, called her, she brought into 
it odours from heaven. Under her sweet influence he 
flung off his grossness, and produced poems of finer and 
purer quality than any which he had hitherto given to 
the world, while after her death she still leaned, like 
Rossetti's blessed damozel, from the golden bars 
of heaven, shaping the spirit of the poet to finer 
issues. Men will cherish for ever the impassioned elegy 
written by the poet three years after " Death's untimely 



n6 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

frost" had nipped his flower, which opens with the 
lines 

Thou lingering star, with lessening ray, 

That lov'st to greet the early morn, 
Again thou usher'st in the day 

My Mary from my soul was torn. 
O Mary 1 dear departed shade ! 

Where is thy place of blissful rest? 
See'st thou thy lover lowly laid? 

Hear'st thou the groans that rend his breast? 

Counsel to Parents 

Now all this is very romantic and very pleasing, and 
it would indeed appear as if some marriages were made 
in heaven. Unfortunately, however, all betrothals are 
not realised in this way. On the contrary, the majority 
of them demand careful reflection and intelligent choice. 
A woman, and a keen observer of women, remarks that 
" if we carefully examine the first fancy of a young girl 
we usually find that of all the qualities which please her 
in a lover there is scarcely one which would be valuable 
in a husband." Captivated by the showy and the 
meretricious, the attributes of a true manhood are not 
really understood. They give themselves to the creature 
they admire, because he dresses well, or dances well, or 
is a facile and brilliant talker, with the result that life's 
great opportunity is flung away. The dream was beauti- 
ful, but the waking certainty is a dismal failure. Love 
has created an idol out of common clay, and wakes up 
to a bitter disappointment and a life-long sorrow. 

For this reason our daughters need guidance in this 



WOMAN AS BETROTHED 117 

great concern. Marriage is, to use a solemn phrase of 
Shakespeare's, " a-world-without-end-bargain," and there- 
fore " is not to be taken in hand unadvisedly, lightly, or 
wantonly, but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and 
in the fear of God." Considering the irrevocable nature 
of this bond the fact that nothing but death, or sin and 
sorrow, which are worse than death, can dissolve it 
what profound consideration it demands. 

Parents should seek to know something of the life 
and reputation of the men into whose society their girls 
are thrown. Furthermore, they should be brought early 
in life into contact with men of a superior order, that they 
may be able to discriminate between the real and the 
false, the noble and the base. Marriage calls for equal 
terms. A pure womanhood should be linked with a pure 
manhood. The same moral law applies alike to both. 
While, therefore, the mother should instruct her girls as 
to the meaning of marriage and maternity, the father 
should be bold to say to a suitor for his virgin daughter's 
hand, " Are you also pure ? " When we consider the 
tremendous significance of marriage, the heaven or the 
hell that is in it, we cannot but be startled by the 
careless indiscriminate way in which young people are 
thrown together in what is called "society," with results 
which are frequently appalling. We tremble as we see 
young and innocent girls being whirled through a heated 
ball-room in the embrace of men who are no better than 
moral lepers, loathsome serpents, leavin*g their slime on 
everything they touch. John Ruskin attacks in noble 



n8 WOMAN; HER CHARM AND POWER 

fashion this vulgar " mob courtship/' as he calls it, of the 
present day, " There are no words strong enough," he 
says, " to express the general danger apd degradation of 
the manners of mob courtship, which have become the 
fashion, almost the law, in modern times, when, in a 
miserable confusion of candlelight, moonlight, and lime- 
light and anything but daylight in indecently at- 
tractive and insanely expensive dresses, in snatched 
moments, in hidden corners, in accidental impulses and 
dismal ignorances, young people smirk and ogle and 
whisper and whimper and sneak and stumble and flutter 
and fumble and blunder into what they call love, expect 
to get whatever they like the moment they fancy it, and 
are continually in the danger of losing all the honour of 
life for a folly, and all the joy of it by an accident/' 

Further on the same great teacher speaks with 
pathetic power of " lost jewels," girls with little power 
of ruling, and every provocation of misruling, their fates, 
who have from their births much against them, few to 
help, and virtually none to guide them. If there be fire 
and genius in these neglected ones, and they chance to 
have beauty also, God save them and all of us ! What 
do these bright reverses of their best human treasures not 
cost the economical British race or the cheerful French- 
this casting away of things precious, the profanation of 
things pure, the pain of things capable of happiness, to 
what sum incalculable do these amount to ? " 

11 There is no compensation/ 1 says George Eliot, " for 
the woman who feels that the chief relation of her life 



WOMAN AS BETROTHED 



119 



had been no more than a mistake. She has lost her 
crown. The deepest secret of human blessedness has 
half whispered itself to her, and then for ever passed her 
by." Mothers ! fathers 1 guard this crown as you would 
the very life of the daughter whom you love. Let her 
go into the conflict awake to its perils, and withal armed 
with a virtue so sensitive, a purity so delicate that a 
single word which denies the modest and the beautiful 
shall poison to her soul the existence of the man who 
speaks it for ever, 

Counsel to Maidens 

Gentle thoughts and calm desires, 

Hearts with equal love combined, 
Kindle never-dying fires ; 
Where these are not, I despise 
Lovely cheeks or lips or eyes. 
But happy they, the happiest of their kind, 
Whom gentler stars unite, and in one fate 
Their hearts, their fortunes, and their beings bind. 

So sings Tennyson, and our maidens will do wisely 
to ponder the meaning of his song. Let them cultivate 
gentle thoughts and calm desires, and thus put on a 
loveliness which will not only make conquests, but hold , 
them. If they are betrothed to one who on a fuller 
knowledge they feel is not worthy, let them remember% 
that the period of betrothal Is properly considered a 
period of probation. Betrothal is not final, and should 
not be so considered ; and it is but fair that as a woman 
is denied the option to choose, she should possess and 
maintain the privilege to refuse. Further, let our 



i2o WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

maidens set it down as a fact not to be questioned 
that all wise, enduring love must be based on friendship 
and mutual esteem. It must not be mistaken for a 
passing fancy or a spasmodic passion. There can be 
no true marriage without friendship, a friendship which 
results in comradeship a relation strong, sane, satisfy- 
ing, enduring, and free from the mere caprice of passion. 
While we regard true love as practically sufficient in 
itself, and the true touch-stone by which marriage should 
be proved, we mean by love that mutual respect and 
sympathy, that unity of thought and aim, that blending 
of two in one, which makes each ready for any sacri- 
fice, even though they should be called to die for one 
another. Professor Mahaffy very properly says, that 
" it is only when mental refinement is added to physical 
beauty that love rises from an appetite to a sentiment" 
True love is a bond of intellect to intellect, of heart to 
heart, of soul to soul, of life to life, all springing from 
that which is greatest in our human constitution, a free 
intelligent will If this love be absent, carriages and 
jewels and uncounted gold will not make up for its loss. 
If it be present, the home may be lowly and the path 
.. somewhat difficult, but the odours of Paradise will per- 
vade the spot We have no language strong enough to 
brand the insane folly which chooses a man for what 
he has got, rather than for what he is. Without true 
Move marriage is nothing better than legalised lust, 
prostitution under the sanction of law, and always will 
be, let " society " call it by what pretty name it likes. 



WOMAN AS BETROTHED 121 

That was a perfect Ideal love which a poetess ex- 
pressed when she dedicated a volume of her poems to 

her husband in the lines- 

* 

The love within my heart for thee, 

Before the world was, had its birth; 
It is the part God gives to me 

Of the great wisdom of the earth. 

Furthermore, may we venture to suggest that- our 
maidens should cultivate their minds as well as adorn 
their persons, in order that they may retain the regard 
which they have been successful in winning? It has 
been said that girls are clever at making nets, but that 
it would be still better if they would learn to make 
cages. A lovely form has its attractions, but when it 
is accompanied by a vacant mind it is like a body 
without a soul. An ignorant, silly girl, however pretty 
she may be, will prove but a poor companion for a life- 
long pilgrimage. Beauty alone without good sense, and 
some degree of intelligence, is but a poor acquisition. 
That is a shallow and disappointing attraction which 
loses its charm whenever its .owner speaks. The smart 
language of the cynical poet well describes this pitiful 
condition where he says 

When Lesbia first I saw so heavenly fair, 

With eyes so bright and with that awful air, 

I thought my heart ne'er durst so high aspire, 

As bold as his who snatched celestial fire. 

But soon s e'er the beauteous idiot spoke, 

Forth from her coral lips such folly broke, 

Like balm the trickling nonsense healed my wound, 

And what her eyes enthralled her tongue unbound. 



122 WOMAN-: HER CHARM AND POWER 

My gentle reader! you hope to become a wife. You hope 
that somewhere there is one who is preparing himself to be 
your husband and companion whose life you have to 
share. Prepare yourself, then, for him. Make yourself worth 
having. Seek useful information. Cultivate your mind. 
And then when beauty wanes, as wane it must beneath 
the touch of time, you will possess an attractiveness which 
still 'endures, and on which the years can set no wrinkle. 

Finally, I would say to such of our sweet English 
maidens as may peruse these pages, seek as the flower 
and crown of all other excellences 

Affiance in God. 

Get your soul right with God, and you will be in the 
best attitude for whatever may await you in the viewless 
years. 'There are a thousand questions of your coming 
life which you cannot settle now, but there is one ques- 
tion you can settle, and it is this, That you will be 
God's child now and for ever, nestling under His shadow, 
and feeling the heat of the great heart whose compas- 
sions fail not, which is ever true to us, and which keeps 
the whole creation warm. " There comes a time/' says 
Ward Beecher, " when a maiden departs from her father's 
house. She is called ; she answers, and departs. Ah ! 
how many visions of angels have there been ; but they 
were not gods ! How many have gone out walking on 
flowers a little way, but soon have found the flowers 
changed to therms I How many have gone out from 
their father's house, borne on the seraphic experience of 



WOMAN AS BETROTHED 123 

love, scarcely touching the ground for joyfulness, to find, 
little by little, that love flowed away like a summer's 
brook, and left in its place but the bare channel and the 
gravel ! How many have gone out to pursue a fiction 
which perished faster than snow melts in the handling 1 
And yet every maiden must go forth in her appointed 
time. Blessed are they who, thus going, in the very 
first day behold, as it were, God's ladder between heaven 
and earth, and God's angels ascending and descending, 
and behind, and above all, God Himself! See to it, 
then, you that are going, and you that are gone see 
to it that your earliest plans in married life, your first 
hopes, include a true love to God, and a true purpose 
of serving Him. It is not enough that you love your 
husband. He is your head, in the Lord. He stands 
for the hour, as it were, interpreting to you God's love ; 
but he is not God. Otherwise your ladder will be upon 
the ground, too short to reach farther than the storm- 
cloud, and ere long the winds will blow it over. Of all 
the sad things in this world, I think the saddest is the 
leaf that tells us what love meant to be and the turning 
of the leaf to tell what love has been ; one all blossoms, 
the other all ashes; one all smiles and gladness, the 
other tears and sadness. Nothing is so beautiful as 
the temple that love builds ; nothing is so miserable 
as the service of that temple, if God be not in it," 

Maiden I with the meek brown 
In whose orbs a shadow lies, 
Like the dusk in evening skies. 



i2 4 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

Standing with reluctant feet, 
Where the brook and river meet, 
Womanhood and childhood fleet ! 

Gazing with a timid glance, 
On the brooklet's swift advance, 
On the river's broad expanse ! 



Oh, thou child of many prayers ! 
Life has quicksands Life hath snares! 
Care and age come unawares I 

Bear a lily in thy hand; 
Gates of brass cannot withstand 
One touch of that magic wand. 

Bear through sorrow, wrong, and rut&s 
In thy heart, the dew of youth, 
On thy lips the smile of truth. 

Oh, that dew, like balm, shall steal 
Into wounds that cannot heal, 
Even as sleep our eyes doth seal ; 

And that smile, like sunshine, dart 
Into many a sunless heart, 
For a child of God thou ait 



CHAPTER VI 

WOMAN AS WIFE 

Oh, let us walk the world, so that our love 
Burns like a blessed beacon beautiful 
Upon the walls of life's surrounding dark. 

GBRALD MASSRY. 

What greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they 
are joined together for life to strengthen each other in all labour, to rest on 
each other in all sorrow, to minister to each other hi all pain, to be one with 
each other in silent, unspeakable memories at the moment of the last parting. 

GEORGE ELIOT. 

WE have already shown that woman's natural 
destiny is marriage. It is one of her own 
sex who writes : " The first dawning of womanly feeling 
tends, vaguely or decidedly, to love and marriage ; every 
act of woman's subsequent life is more or less subservient 
to that end ; she may seem to enter other paths, to look 
forward to other objects, but her mind and heart ever 
point to the one end, the one road. It is her nature ; 
she feels it her right that one man's devoted love, one 
man's protecting home should be hers. Whatever hinders 
this destiny, whether persons or circumstances, is viewed 
as inimical, tenaciously struggled against, and if possible 
overcome. It is astonishing with what persistent con- 

1*6 



126 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

\ 

I sistency she clings to this hope and end, even up to the 

period of life when the thoughtless or malevolent assail 
her with irony and contempt for hei; aspirations, faith, 
imagination, perseverance. All of them so overflowing 
in woman are her sustaining auxiliaries, and she yields 
to neither expostulation nor derision from within or 
without; you might as well try to persuade her that 
because she is growing old and grey and wrinkled, she 
must yield her right to light and sunshine as to marriage." 
A good husband is the great prize which every woman 
hopes to draw in the lottery of life. If she wins this, 
she wins all. If she fails in this, whatever else she may 
have, the chief charm of earthly existence is lost to her. 
And it is well for men that this is so, or life for them 
also would lack its deepest and tenderest relation. 

It is only natural that a question so immediate and 
so absorbing as marriage, should have proved attractive 
to the cynic and the flippant witling, and that many a sly 
thrust should have been made at it. In the sixteenth 
century Sir John Davies wrote of matrimony 

Wedlock, indeed, hath all compared been 
To public feasts, where meet a public rout ; 
Where they that are without would fain go in, 
And they that are within would fain go out. 

It is said that when the Pope heard of the marriage 
of Father Hyacinth, he exclaimed : " The saints be 
praised ! the renegade has taken his punishment into his 
own hands. Truly, the ways of Providence are inscrut- 
able." In one of his treatises Cicero tells us that one 



WOMAN AS WIFE 127 

day Palentinus, calling his neighbours around him, burst 
into tears and exclaimed that he had now, growing in 
his garden, a tree ^on which three of his wives had in 
succession hanged themselves, and asked if he had not 
good reason to weep. Whereupon his neighbours all 
begged a sprout from the tree, and ever after it was the 
most sought-after of anything on his estate. Sir John 
More, father of the famous chancellor, compared matri- 
mony to a bag of snakes, in which there was one eel. 
If a man should put his hand into this bag he may 
chance upon the eel, but it is a hundred to one that 
he shall be stung by a snake. A certain Lord Grenville, 
wedded to a most amiable wife, was constantly inveighing 
against marriage; his favourite simile for a wife being 
that of a tin canister tied to a dog's taill Sheridan 
was present on one occasion when his lordship had the 
bad taste to introduce his hobby in the presence of the 
countess, who could not conceal her annoyance. Sheridan, 
perceiving this, pencilled the following lines, which he 
handed to his hostess, and which she ever afterwards treas- 
ured and used as a crushing argument against her lord : 

Lord Grenville presuming at woman to rail, 

Says a wife is a canister tied to one's tail; 

And fair Lady Anne, as the subject he carries on, 

Seems hurt at his lordship's degrading comparison ; 

But wherefore degrading 1 considered aright, 

A canister's useful, and polished, and bright; 

And if dirt its original purity hide, 

That's the fault of the puppy to whom it is tied, 

A contentious couple had one day been disputing, 
as was their wont, when the wife pointed to a cat and 



lag WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

dog lying on the hearth-rug side by side, and said: 
" Thou see'st, Jacob, even a cat and dog can live together 
happily." "Ay," growled the husband, "but tie them 
together and see what will happen." 

Such are some of the jests which have been flung 
at matrimony. But it still remains true, the jester not- 
withstanding, that the married state is the most natural, 
the most happy, and the most safe. This is amply 
proved by the helpless and comfortless position of the 
great majority among 

Bachelors. 

** A bachelor," says an American writer, * cuts him- 
self off from a great blessing for fear of some trifling 
annoyance. He rivals the wiseacre who secured himself 
against corns by amputating his leg/ 1 Franklin again 
observes: "A bachelor is a nondescript in human 
society, like the odd half of a pair of shears, of little use 
until joined to his mate." 

Eveiy thoughtful student of life will admit that the 
condition of the bachelor is one of great peril, while it is 
certain that many of the finest qualities of our nature 
are in his case starved and wronged by isolation from 
the gentle and refining influence of a pure, sweet woman. 
Not unfrequently his whole being is deteriorated through 
the lack of this intimate and tender bond. Indeed, the 
moral and social condition of most bachelors amply 
proves how dependent man is on woman for the culti- 
and development of his higher nature, 



WOMAN AS WIFE 129 

Meanwhile the Nemesis does not sleep, as Tennyson 
finely shows in that magnificent sermon against the 
selfish isolation of % man, "The Palace of Art." In this 
poem a man is placed before us of fine intellectual and 
aesthetic powers, who, with every luxury at command, 
sets before him one object to live for himself and by 
himself, and so living, to be happy, selfishly happy. He 
retires to dwell alone in a palace of wondrous beauty, 
built after his own design. Its summit gleams with 
gold. Its courts echo the cool music of fountains. In 
its towers are sweet bells moving of themselves with 
silver sound. Its windows glow with gorgeous colouring 
Its stately colonnades are hung with exquisite pictures. 
Everywhere the eye receives as it gazes round some 
answering hue of loveliness. Here the proud man will 
dwell alone in a bliss unshared by friend, or wife, or 
child. For three brief years his joy continues. Then 
suddenly all is changed. A cleaving curse falls on the 
pomp, a darkness on the glory. Deep loathing of its 
solitude falls on his soul. Weird, haunting fears turn 
the palace into a ghastly tomb. Loveless, comfortless, 
he who seated himself above sympathy perishes for lack 
of sympathy. Then comes repentance tearing away the 
splendid robes and crying 

Make me a cottage in the vale, 
Where I may mourn and pray. 

His soul has learnt its lesson. The lesson that no man 
can live happily who lives only by himself and for him- 
self. The lesson that the highest culture, though minis- 

9 



, 3 o tVOMAW: HER CHARM AND POWER 

tered to by the beauty and intelligence of the world, 
is not comparable with the lowly affections, the sweet 
restraints, and the tender sacrifices of Jhome life. 

Through the porch of marriage man enters into a new 
world of joy, and sympathy, and sweet human interest, 
He surrenders, it is true, some degree of liberty, but 
it is a liberty which otherwise might easily degenerate 
into licence, while the heart-sustenance he finds in a 
home of his own making richly compensates for all that 
he sacrifices. He may find trial and sorrow in his new 
environment, but this will prove only a discipline for the 
culture of his higher nature. " Family life," says Sainte- 
Beuve, " may be full of thorns and cares ; but they 
are fruitful. All others are dry thorns." The tender 
dependence of a wife is better than the insolent and 
exacting caprice of a mistress, and it is better to have a 
house full of children than a heart full of vices. How 
beautiful is that brief poem by Hood, which he entitles 
"Lines on seeing my Wife and Two Children sleeping in 
the same Chamber." 

And has the earth lost its so spacious round, 
The sky its blue circumference above, 
That in this little chamber there is found 
Both earth and heaven my universe of love I 
All that my God can give me, or remove, 
Here sleeping, save myself, in mimic death ! 
Sweet that in this small compass I behove 
To live their being and to breathe their breath ! 
Almost I wish that with one common sigh, 
We might resign all mundane care and strife, 
And seek together that transcendent sky, 
Where Father, Mother, Children, Husband, Wife, 
Together pant in everlasting life. 



WOMAN AS WIFE 131 

The poet was poor and stricken by decline when he 
wrote these lines. But he had a wealth in possession 
which selfish isolation, though it might handle uncounted 
gold, could not boast. His treasures were of the heart, 
and were eternal, unless, indeed, human pity be a diviner 
thing than God's great providence. The human creatures 
he loved were destined to enrich him, not only In the 
world in which he struggled bravely for their mainten- 
ance, but also in the land of everlasting health and song. 

Notle Wives 

We all know women whose hearts are an unfailing 
fountain of inspiration to the hard-pressed man, who, but 
for them, must be worsted in life's battle; whose pure 
loftiness of .spirit, caught from contact with the Highest, 
delivers from base and unworthy aims; whose sweet 
serenity purges the heart from care, as a cool hand 
soothes a fevered brow; whose sympathy is strength 
to the weary, and whose hope is light to the despairing ; 
women who send their husbands forth, morning by 
morning, with souls nerved for the conflict, and with 
a sword which will return unstained by cowardice or 
dishonour. Such could not have been rare in Chaucer's 
day, Shakespeare has portrayed a multitude of them, 
while Spenser beheld them in poetic vision, and they 
made the place of hin feet glorious. 

H What more beautiful embodiment/* says Horace 
Bushncll, " is there on earth, of true sentiment, than the 
young wife who has given herself to a man in his weak- 



132 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

ness, to make him strong, to enter Into the hard battle of 
his life, and bear the brunt of it with him ; to go down 
with him in disaster, if he fails, and^ cling to him for 
what he is ; to rise with him, if he rises, and share a 
twofold joy with him in the competence achieved ? " 

He little knows 

A woman's heart, who when the cold wind blows, 
Deems it will change ; no storms may rise, 
And grief may dim, and sorrow cloud her skies, 
And hopeless hours, and sunless days come on ; 
And years, when all that spoke of bliss is gone, 
And dark despair, the gloomy future fill, 
But, loving once, she loves through good and ilL 

Mistakes in Marriage 

That there have been, and are, mistakes in matrimony 
we admit, and nothing in life is more wretched than an 
ill-assorted marriage; but for these the hasty and im- 
prudent judgment of man is more largely responsible 
than the defects of woman. Too often, though the 
issues involved are so tremendous, the choice of a com- 
panion for life is not made by reason, which is the man 
himself, but by some sudden gust of feeling which carries 
the man away. As the proverb runs, " He marries in 
haste to repent at leisure." It would frequently appear, 
as one has said, that " in the matter of marriages Nature 
has a sneaking kindness for her scamps." We have 
often noticed that bad husbands have been blessed with 
excellent wives, and it sometimes happens that good men 
afe cursed and hindered by bad wives. Milton's wife 
left him for four years, adding insult to desertion. But 



WOMAN AS WIPE 133 

then, when a studious man of thirty-five, he married, 
after a courtship of less than a month in duration, a 
frivolous girl of seventeen. Hooker was frequently called 
from his profound and fruitful studies to rock the cradle, 
which causes his quaint biographer, Izaak Walton, to 
wonder why the blessing of a good wife "was denied 
to patient Job, to meek Moses, and to our as meek and 
patient Mr. Hooker." But there was little cause for 
wonder here, since the great theologian married Joan, 
the ignorant daughter of his scolding landlady. The 
story of Wesley's unfortunate married life is compressed 
in that curious entry in his Journal, made when his wife 
finally left him, " I did not leave her, I didn't send her 
away, and I shan't send for her back," But the founder 
of Methodism married a shrew, a mistake from which 
his wide knowledge of human nature should have 
saved him* Such instances as these recall the lines 
of Webster 

What do you think of marriage ? 
I tftkc't, as those that deny purgatory i 
h locally contains or heaven or hell; 
There's no third place in it, 

But how many more find a heaven rather than a hell in 
this dearest and most intimate of all earthly unions! 
Lcssing wrote 

CM shrewUh women in the world there's surely only one; 

A pity, though, that every man ys, ** She's the wife I own.* 1 

The Spanish have a variant: " There is but one bad 
wife In all of Spain, and each man thinks he has her." 



136 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

passage, read in her hearing from some great poet, she 
will interweave the prosaic question "What shall I 
warm up for supper to-night?" A*id he can never 
banish from his remembrance how once, when she 
seemed quite touched and solemnised by his early morn- 
Ing discourse on time and eternity, she looked thought- 
fully toward his feet and at length said, " Don't put on 
that left stocking to-day ; I must first darn it" 

How tragical, on the other hand, are those unions in 
which worldly advantages usurp the place of affection ; 
where maidens are sold in the marriage market to the 
highest bidder ; or where fast men marry, for no oftier 
reason than that they may live in luxury and vice on 
the income of their wives. 

Canon Liddon, preaching in St. Paul's Cathedral, only 
a short time before his death, said 

" The London season is approaching, and a bevy of 
mothers, like generals on a campaign, will complain of 
no fatigue if they can only marry their daughters, not 
to high-souled and generous men, but to those who have 
a fortune. There will also be a group of young men, 
who, having lived a life of dissipation, are thinking of 
settling down. They will look ,for a girl, not with 
graces of character, which will make her husband and 
children happy, but for one possessed of a dowry which 
will enable him to keep up a large establishment 
Thus the most sacred of all human relationships, both 
for time and eternity, is prostituted to the brutal level 
of an affair of cash, and is quickly followed by months 



WOMAN AS WIFE I37 

and years of misery, which, after seething in private, are 
paraded to the world amid the shame and degradation 

of the Divorce Court." 

* 

To quote the lines of Schiller, how contemptible are 
they who thus 

Hold a woman's favour 
And love's pure joys as ware to traffic for ! 
Love is the only treasure on the face 
Of this wide earth that knows no purchaser 
BcsideH itself. Love has no price hut love, 
It w the costly gem beyond all price 
Which I muBt freely give away, or bury 
For ever uueftjoycd. 

There must be laughter in hell when a fair, young 
gtrl is sacrificed to an old man for his money, or a young 
man with a title and a tendency to bankruptcy marries 

an elderly heiress while hired singers raise the strain 

O {xrrfcct love, all human thought transcending. 
In one of his cynical moods Byron wrote the lines 

Maidens, like moths, *rc ever caught by glare, 

And Mumtmm win* hii way where seraphs might despair. 

Woe to the maidens who are thus sacrificed on the 
altar of Mammon, and who barter body and soul for a 

place at a dinner-party, a house in a square, or a handful 
of yellow dust. Only the basely born, or the scandal- 
ously reared, can stoop to such ignoble prostitution. 
The attitude of the true woman is fitly portrayed in a 
letter of the days of Charles IL, where a winsome girl 
thus replies to a "decrepit, rich old gentleman," who 
seeks her hand 14 No, sir, gold, with a young man, Is 



ij8 WOMAN: ftRK CHARM AN I* POWER 

good, admirably good; but it is man that in the school 

of love passes for the principal verb. By this time, old 
man, you know my mind, Build hospitals and wed 
yourself to Heaven/* 

11 A woman's tot/ 1 nays George Elicit, " is made for her 
by the love which she accepts." A real, happy marriage 
of love and kindred sympathy, where human spirits 
blend for the perfecting of each other in all trust and 
nobleness, in a vision so beautiful that angels might 
pause in their flight heavenward to contemplate It 

Though frmU A|mrn HywrnS gmti? pintcr** 
Wr wh* Imf'fiWf! hit gttttirti liuri, 

Hy *wcrf cxfic'firnfc knnw 
That ttMiffriftge tightly ttntfcffttift*!, 
t*tve t thr tender &nd the ^mid 

A i*i*fm*iie brlnw, 



Tk* /Miss and Tm$t qf Wt*ittt<l St*ufs 

There is no earthly union so close and < intimate 
as that of marriage, A true marriage Is not merely a 
union, it if & blending of personalities, a fu.tion of souls 
which has no parallel among other human relation^ 

however intimate and tender they may tic* The mar- 
riage service of the Church of Kn^lanc! profoundly 

the position where it say, it Is an estate ** signifying unto 
us the mystical union that Is betwixt Christ and His 

Church* 1 * The union betwixt Christ and llh Church 
1$ not only a union of fellowship, but alsto of interpene- 
tration. Christ'* people dwell in Him and He In them* 
They arc, so to speak t intersphered. So with who 



WOMAN" AS WIFE r 39 

are truly married. They are united, not as when two 
leaves flutter together on the same branch, but as the 

branch is united t*> the tree. The union between them 



is not as that of two pebbles which touch each other in 
the brook, but as the waters of the brook which meet 
and mingle and flow onward together to the sea. 
Human friends cannot be blended with each other as 
man and wife are in a true marriage, A man at best 
leans on you, a child at best depends on you, but a true 
wife pours her being into yours, and becomes, as it were, 
a part of you. The love in marriage is a love which 
makes the outgoings of two lives one. No pleasure is 
separately enjoyed, no pain separately experienced, but 
husband and wife move on together in the sweet 
mystery of an indivisible life. It is a blending of heart 
and mind and spirit, "Thine own, for ever thine" 
is the language of the true husband and wife. We may 
have father, mother, brothers, sisters, friends all near 
and dear to us ; but the union in marriage transcends 
these sacred relations, and stands alone among the loves 
and fellowships of the soul This interprets that appar- 
ently hard saying of St. Paul, " For this cause shall a 
man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined 
unto his wife; and they two shall be one flesh/' 

The union involved in a true marriage is finely ex* 
pressed in Robert Browning's poem entitled " By the 
Fireside/ 1 a poem which is without doubt a confession of 
his love for his wife, and its influence on his own spiritual 
development, God had laid His best gift, possible in 



i 4 o WO MA NT: HER CHARM AND POWER 

this, world, at the poet'* feet, when He gave him his 

with the power of loving her as she deserved to be loved, 
The 



And the ijpifti itniiil hunt! pt"|'pin ^ 

present a picture which men may well pause to contem- 
plate, " The moment erne and infinite, 1 ' to which both 
their lives had tended, had wrought this happiness for 
him that it could never cea<sc to K:ar fruit! never cease 
to hallow and bless his spirit, The mountain stream 
had Hough! the take below, and had lost Itself on its 
btnftoin, Two liven were joined without a scar, M With 
whom rise,*' he his wife* ** dare he pursue the path 

grey heads abhor, the path which rnd* in the inevitable 
grave? 1 * Hut the n|xrnkcr dreads it not, for he has a 
soul-companion from whom not even death can nrparatc 
him t And with this nwect Assurance he can fucc the 
bounds cif life undaunted, 

It Ii questionable whether ft true, divine marriage 
can ever be rc{:at^L It was destiny, ttmy it is God, 
who spoke to us when we cho*c the woman we loved, 
Therefore! we cannot hive erred, neither can ihe have 
ermi cither. And It is not in the power of dintntice, 
time! or eternity to dissolve thin bond* The truly 
roarricd f ta Swcdcnborg teaches, become in heaven one 
angel. In another of his Browning places in the 

of a dying wife! addressing her husband! the liftest~ 

But OW| Ihe hour through 

Ottf DMl Hft 



WOMAN AS WIFE 14* 

Because thoa once hast loved me wilt thou dare 
Say to thy soul and Who may list beside, 
" Therefore she is immortally my bride ; 

Chance cannat change my love, nor time impair." 



The Wife in the Home 

Few will deny, even in this age of that strange 
portent, " the new woman," that a wife's true sphere is 
home. If she has assumed the tender name of wife, if 
she has linked herself with the man of her choice, " for 
better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in 
health," home is henceforth her kingdom, her state, her 
world where she reigns by affection, by gentleness, 
and by such gracious and tender ministries as a woman 
alone can exercise. 

All household industries and economies live for ever 
in the word " wife," which comes from web or woof ; and 
there is the subtle suggestiveness of a great truth in the 
meaning of the word " husband," the bond or band of 
the house. In these two sweet and tender words the 
sanctity of marriage and its foremost .duties are declared 
A Chinese proverb says, " A hundred men may 
make an encampment, but it takes a woman to make 
a home." It is she who builds and consecrates that 
most precious spot on this side heaven, which we express 
in the sweet word home. Not walls, or furniture, or 
windows, or curtains, but that nameless and ineffable 
charm which glorifies the lowliest hut, which fills with 
heaven's own radiance the humblest cottage, ard without 
which the palace floored with marble, and glowing with 



i 4 2 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

wealth and luxury, is but a decorated prison. "The 

Cares of your worship," says an American writer, " are ; 

there. The altar of your confidence is there ; the end of 

your worldly faith is there ; and, adorning it all, and I 

sending your blood in passionate flow, is the ecstasy of j 

the conviction that there, at least, you are beloved ; that \ 

there you are understood ; that there your errors will ever 

meet with gentlest forgiveness ; that there your troubles 

will be smoothed away ; that there you may unburden ; 

your soul, fearless of harsh, unsympathising ears and 

that there you may be entirely and joyfully yourself? \ 

And what ambition can be more sacred, what thought 
more sweet, to a true woman, than to be the ministering 
aijgel of this sacred spot ? And how * deep should be 
the joy and the fidelity of a husband cherished and \ 

guarded by the wife who has given herself, her all to him. 

There shelter'd from the world her gentle voice * 

Should be the sweetest music to his ear, 

Awaking all the chords of harmony ; 

Her eye should speak a language to his soul 

More eloquent than all that Greece or Rome 

Could boast of in their best and happiest days, 

Her smile should be his rich reward for toil; 

Her pure, transparent cheek pressed close to his 

Should calm the fever of his troubled thoughts, 

And woo his spirit to those fields Elysian, 

The Paradise which strong affection guards. 

Do not say that this is an ideal picture never 
realised in fact. It has been realised thousands of 
times, and its record shines on a thousand pages of 
human biography. What a happy man Edmund Burke 
must have been, when he could say of his home 



WOMAN AS WIFE 143 

" Every care vanishes the moment I enter under my own 
roof." How beautiful are the words of the large-hearted 
Luther when, speaking of his wife, he says : " I would 
not exchange my poverty, with her, for all the riches of 
Croesus without her." John Newton speaks of his wife 
as one whose only fault was her excess of love and 
ministrant devotion. Scott, the commentator, commends 
his wife as a woman on whose brow a cloud of temper 
was never seen to rest. According to the testimony 
of his daughter, the home of the genial and leonine 
Professor Wilson " was a place of pure sunshine, what- 
ever clouds darkened the sky without . , . Time 
brought with it only increase of happiness." " Our happi- 
ness in God and in each other," says Mliller, of the 
Orphan Home of Bristol, writing of his wife, "was in- 
describable. We had not some happy days every year, 
nor a month of happiness in the year, but we had twelve 
months of happiness in the year, and this year by year." 
A wife's perfect ministry is expressed in the words of 
Robert Browning, where he says 

Love, if you know the light 
That your soul casts in my sight; 

How I look to you, 

For the pure and true, 
And the beauteous and the right. 

And most of us remember the last line in his " Prospice," 
that swan song of the great poet, where he faces death 
alike as a hero and a lover, saying at the close 

O thou soul of my soul ! I shall clasp thee again, 
And with God be the rest. 



144 WOMAN 1 : HER CHARM AND POWER 

Quaintly beautiful is Richter's picture of wifely solici- 
tude " That when he went out she used to look after 
him as long as he was in sight, was nothing in com- 
parison to the way in which she used to run out after him 
with a brush, when she noticed from the window that there 
was such a quantity of street paving sticking to his 
coat-tails that nothing would do but she must have him 
back again into the house, and brush his back as clean 
as if the Kuhschnappel municipality would charge him 
paving-tax if any of the mud were found on him. He 
would take hold of the brush and stop it, and kiss her, 
and say, * There's a good deal inside as well ; but nobody 
sees it there ; when I come back we'll set to work and 
scrub some of that away.' " 

Yes ! this is also part of a true wife's ministry, " to 
purge the bosom of the perilous stuff" which otherwise 
might defile the life of her husband, and so to make him 
worthier of God's great love, of her own, and of the 
world's. . 

Wifely Influence 

A wife's influence over her husband for good or evil 
is a theme on which much might be written of the 
weightiest moment. There are few observers of human 
life who could not record instances in which, on the one 
hand, a husband has been refined and elevated by the 
purity, piety, and sweetness of the woman walking by 
his side, or, on the other hand, dragged down and debased 
by her narrowness, grossness, and vulgarity. 



WOMAN AS WIFE 145 

Perhaps this subject has been scarcely treated more 
beautifully in our literature than by Heber Newton. In 
one place he thus represents a husband appealing to his 
wife: "Wilt thou that I be merely a fond slave to 
minister to thy whims ; a toilful worker to buy thee the 
desire of thine heart ; a successful king to conquer for 
thee place and power, pelf and pleasure ? That, O soul 
of the woman whom I love, in thy littleness, shall be 
given to thee, and I shall be of the earth, earthy, as 
thou wiliest. 

" Wilt thou that I aspire after all that is noble and 
true and good ; that I win, not earthly riches, but the 
gold that rusteth not ; not worldly honour, but the crown 
that fadeth not ; that I aim gloriously and work strenu- 
ously ; that I rise out of the animal into the spirit ; above 
all selfish love into the love which is one with the worship 
of the true, the beautiful, and the good ? That, O queen, 
shall be even given thee, and I shall be as thou wiliest, 
By thy life shall the reach of my being be determined ; 
by thy aspiration my ambition be guided; by thy soul- 
form the ideals be fashioned which lead me on, upward 
or downward ! " 

Wifely Devotion 

The highest praise of a wife is concentrated in those 
simple words from the Book of Proverbs " The heart of 
her husband doth safely trust in her." 

" No man knows what the wife of his bosom is," says 
Washington Irving " no man knows what a ministering 



i4<5 IV OMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER : 

angel she is, until he has gone with her through the fiery 
trials of this world." How steadfast and unswerving is 
the love which a true wife cherishes for him with 
she has linked her life and her fortunes! Sisters 
from sisters, brothers from brothers, children from parents, 
but a true wife from the husband of her choice never ! 
When all other stars have faded from the sky, her love 
shines on. When all other daughters of music are silent, 
she pours like the nightingale her song through the gloom* 
What striking and beautiful examples of a wife's fidelity 
are found in the human world, from the poor battered. 
creature in our police-courts who will not witness against 
the brute who has assailed her, to the woman of rank and 
fortune who dares and suffers all things for the man to 
whom she has sworn allegiance. During the French 
Revolution many women watched for the hour when their 
husbands were to pass for execution, flung themselves 
upon the tumbril, locked them in their arms, and 
voluntarily suffered death by their side. 

Lady Rachel Russell is a conspicuous example of a 
wife's devotion. Her firm and noble conduct in attending 
her husband's trial to take notes of the evidence, her 
passionate appeals to the King for the release of Lord 
"Russell, and her brave farewell when she concealed from 
him her agony, that she might not add to his distress, are 
among the finest records of history. It was not wonder- 
ful that, after she left the chamber, Lord William said, 
" And now the bitterness of death is past" 

A. companion picture to this is found in the case of 



WOMAN AS WIFE 147 

Lady Hutchinson, the wife of the noble Puritan, who died 
in prison in the time of Charles 11. Denied the privilege of 
sharing her husband's captivity, she took lodgings in the 
neighbourhood of *the castle in which he was immured, 
visited him day by day to cheer his loneliness, and after 
his death wrote a record of him which stands among 
the classical biographies of great Englishmen. Colonel 
Hutchinson knew her temper well, when he left strict 
injunctions that his children should be guided in all things 
by their mother ; " and tell her," he added, " that, as she 
is above other women, so she must on this occasion show 
herself a good Christian, and above the pitch of ordinary 
minds." 

Another example of a wife's unflinching devotion is 
found in the case of Lady Ann Fanshawe, whose hus- 
band suffered in the service of the House of Stuart. Dur- 
ing his imprisonment, after the battle of Worcester, she 
never failed to go secretly, in spite of rain or tempest, at 
four o'clock in the morning, to the window of his cell, that 
she might comfort him in his loneliness and exile. 

Very touching also is the record of that angel of con- 
solation, the wife of Thomas Hood. In his sickness 
and his poverty she cheered and upheld him with a 
fidelity and tenderness too deep for tears. In one of his 
letters to her he says : " I never was anything, dearest, 
till I knew you ; and I have been a better, happier, and 
more prosperous man ever since. Lay by that truth in 
lavender, sweetest, and remind me of it when I fail/' 

In the roll of wives of struggling men of genius, the 



146 WOMAN; HER CHARM AND POWER 

angel she is, until he has gone with her through the fiery 
trials of this world." How steadfast and unswerving is 
the love which a true wife cherishes for him with whom 
she has linked her life and her fortunes ! Sisters part 
from sisters, brothers from brothers, children from parents, 
but a true wife from the husband of her choice never ! 
When all other stars have faded from the sky, her love 
shines on. When all other daughters of music are silent, 
she pours like the nightingale her song through the gloom. 
What striking and beautiful examples of a wife's fidelity 
are found in the human world, from the poor battered 
creature in our police-courts who will not witness against 
the brute who has assailed her, to the woman of rank and 
fortune who dares and suffers all things for the man to 
whom she has sworn allegiance. During the French 
Revolution many women watched for the hour when their 
husbands were to pass for execution, flung themselves 
upon the tumbril, locked them in their arms, and 
voluntarily suffered death by their side. 

Lady Rachel Russell is a conspicuous example of a 
wife's devotion. Her firm and noble conduct in attending 
her husband's trial to take notes of the evidence, her 
passionate appeals to the King for the release of Lord 
Russell, and her brave farewell when she concealed from 
him her agony, that she might not add to his distress, are 
among the finest records of history. It was not wonder- 
ful that, after she left the chamber, Lord William said, 
"And now the bitterness of death is past" 

A companion picture to this is found in the case of 



WOMAN AS WIFE 



149 



Then, during the ceremony of the knight's separation 
from mankind and from the Church, the wife creeps to 
his side, and when he prays " Lord, free me," she prays 
" Lord, free us" He struggles long against her resolve, 
but the last verse shows her to be triumphant 

There, there ; he buried you, the Priest ; the Priest is not to blame, 

He joins us once again, to his either office true : 
I thank him. I am happy, happy. Kiss me. In the name 

Of the everlasting God, I will live and die with yotu 

The same great poet finds a kindred subject in 
"Romney's Remorse." 

The poem was suggested by a few sentences in the 
biography of Edward Fitzgerald, stating that Romney, 
the painter, having married at nineteen, heard that Sir 
Joshua Reynolds and others had said that "marriage 
spoiled an artist" Thereupon, leaving his wife in the 
north, he scarcely saw her, until old, nearly mad, and 
utterly desolate, he returned to her, and was nursed by 
her to the end. 

The mind of the dying artist sometimes wanders, and 
sometimes is sane and clear. 

Nurse, were you hired? or come of your own will 
To wait on one so broken, so forlorn? 
Have I not met you somewhere long ago? 
I am all but sure I have in Kendal church 

yes ! I hired you for a season there, 
And then we parted; but you look so kind 
That you will not deny my sultry throat 
One draught of icy water. There you spill 

The drops upon my forehead. Your hand shakes. 

1 am ashamed. I am a trouble to you, 

Could kneel for your forgiveness. Are they tears 
For me they do me too much grace for me? 



i5o WOMAN-: HER CHARM AMD POWER 

O Mary, Mary ! 

Vexing you with words ! 
Words only, bom of fever, or the fumes 
Of that dark opiate dose you gave me^ words, 
Wild babble. I have stumbled back again 
Into the common day, the sounder self. 
God stay me there, if only for your sakcj 
The truest, kindliest, noblest-hearted wife 
That ever wore a Christian marriage-ring. 

Wives as Helpers 

Too little has been written about the influence of 
wives on the lives and fortunes of their husbands. Yet, 
if the private histories of the men who have moved the 
world were recorded we should be astonished to learn 
how much they owed to the ministry and the stimulus 
of home. 

The streams which shape and fertilise the continents 
flow from silent places. In some quiet nook the spring 
wells up, which, broadening into the river, quenches the 
thirst of great, dim cities, and makes the valleys laugh 
with plenty. So, in spots hidden from the crowd, those 
great lives are sustained and cherished which refresh 
and bless the human world. Few men have helped 
us purely and nobly who have not owed much to the 
woman who stood by their side. Their genius has been 
shaped, their impulses restrained, their errors corrected, 
and their whole life moulded by little white hands which 
the world never saw, and of which it did not dream. 
Virtue goes out from a noble wife to keep a husband 
strong and brave and pure. 



WOMAN* AS WIFE 15* 

When the Prince of Wales kissed the hand of Mrs, 
Gladstone as she stood trembling by the grave of her 
husband in Westminster Abbey, he not only evinced a 
sympathy which touched all hearts, but he also paid an 
unconscious tribute to the power which had made that 
great sleeper largely what he was. On all great occa- 
sions Mrs. Gladstone accompanied her husband to the 
place of assembly, and sat near him on the platform 
while he addressed the multitude in the splendour of 
that lofty and impassioned speech of which he was the 
greatest living master. The surging human crowd was 
there, to which no heaven-born orator can ever be in- 
different. But the presence of the wife he so fondly 
loved kindled within him a yet finer fire. Her tender 
eyes rained on him heavenly influence. He would acquit 
himself nobly, not only for the fact that the cause was 
great, but also for her dear sake. And when the torrent 
rush was over, and passion and pathos, scorn and pity, 
genius and culture, had done their work, her blessing 
and her smile were a richer reward to the spent speaker 
than the roar of human thunder, or the applause of 
wondering nations. 

Thus was it too with Earl Russell, Viscount Palmer- 
ston, and Lord Beaconsfield, for they also were blessed 
with noble and appreciative wives. Not seldom these 
devoted women would remain in the ladies 1 gallery of 
the House of Commons until the close of the night's 
sitting, and many a great cause was urged with more 
passionate insistence, many a stately period moulded 



iS2 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER | 

into richer music, and many a bold opponent unhorsed { 

with knightlier grace, through the inspiration of their \ 

presence, and the assurance of their love and pride. j 

Illustrious Examples of Wifely Devotion 

Neither are these the only instances in which wives 
have proved a stimulus and an inspiration to their 
husbands. On the contrary, the records of biography 
attest that the fires which have gladdened and illumined 
the nation have, with few exceptions, been kindled on 
the altar of the home. 

The renowned Hugh Grotius owed, not only his 
release from imprisonment when condemned for his 
political writings, but also his best achievements, to his 
faithful wife, who was his confidante and counsellor in 
all his pursuits, and who by her fortitude and per- 
severing affection sustained him in every reverse of 
fortune. 

The French thinker, De Tocqueville, was accustomed 
to speak of his marriage as the wisest action of his life. 
His literary effort was largely inspired by his wife, 
while her encouragement and enthusiasm kept him at 
the tasks which otherwise he would have abandoned 
in despair. In a letter written to a friend he says: 
"Of all the blessings which God has given me, the 
greatest of all, in my eyes, is to have lighted on Marie. 
You cannot imagine what she is in great trials. Usually 
so gentle, she then becomes strong and energetic. She 
watches me without my knowing it; she softens, calms, 



WOMAN" AS WIFE 



*53 



and strengthens me in difficulties which disturb me, but 
leave her serene and hopeful" 

The lofty and patriotic M. Guizot was sustained in 
his arduous tasks and under the bitter persecution of 
his enemies by a like ministry. He records in his 
Memoirs what he owed to the tender devotion of his 
wife. She was never discouraged or dismayed by the 
vicissitudes of his career. While she rejoiced in his 
triumphs, his defeats never cost her a single sigh, and 
when death took her from his side he felt that the light 
of his life had gone out. 

Richard Baxter owed more than he could express to 
the noble wife with whom, to use his own words, he 
" lived in inviolated love and mutual complacency, 
sensible of the benefit of mutual help, nearly nineteen 
years." When chafed by bitter persecution she stood 
by him in the pillory and amid the gloom of the prison, 
and when she died he gave to the world a literary 
portrait of the woman he loved, which the lapse of 
three centuries has not dimmed. 

The heroic David Livingstone bore grateful witness 
to the devoted wife who cheerfully shared his dangers 
and accompanied him on his wanderings. When she 
died, writing to his friend Sir Roderick Murchison, he 
said ; " I must confess that this heavy stroke quite 
takes the heart out of me. Everything else that has 
happened only made me more determined to overcome 
all difficulties ; but after this sad stroke, I feel crushed 
and void of strength, . . . I shall do my duty still, 



154 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

but it is with a darkened horizon that I again set 
about it." 

Sir Samuel Romilly left behind him, in his auto- 
biography, a touching picture of his wife, to whom he 
tells us he owed no small measure of the happiness 
and success which accompanied him through life. He 
records how, for fifteen years, his happiness had been 
her constant study. When she died sleep forsook his 
eyelids, reason reeled upon its throne, and in three years 
he followed her into the light unfading and eternal, 

Huber, the Swiss naturalist, was blind from his seven- 
teenth year, but his faithful wife lent him eyes with 
which to pursue the studies which have rendered him 
Illustrious. Before the marriage her friends said to his 
fianc/e, the beautiful and gifted Aimee "Do 'not marry 
Francis Huber, he has become blind." But she said, 
"He therefore needs me more than ever now." 

Niebuhr, the historian, recognised with the keenest 
gratitude the devotion of his ministrant wife as a fellow- 
worker with him. He was accustomed to discuss with 
her every historical discovery, every political event, every 
novelty in literature; and it was mainly for her pleasure, 
in the first instance, that he pursued the studies and 
produced the works which have enriched the reading 
world. 

Bunsen, Niebuhr's successor in the Embassy at Rome, 
also owed much to the chivalry and devotion of his 
gentle and gifted wife. His most important tasks were 
accomplished under her stimulus and inspiration, and 



WOMAN AS WIFE 155 

her ministry to him in his last illness was so tender 
and constant that, as she leaned over him in his last 
moments, he said, " In thy face have I seen the 
Eternal." 

Klopstock, the author of " The Messiah," found in his 
wife an overflowing fountain of tenderness, and of patient, 
unwearied service. Her criticisms on his poetry were 
full of wise discernment, and her literary assistance most 
valuable. She died in child-birth, and the poet has left 
behind him the following touching record of their last 
parting. After having prayed with her, he said, as he 
bent over her, " Be my guardian angel, if God permits." 
"You have ever been mine," she replied. And when, 
with choking voice he again repeated, " If God permits, 
be my guardian angel ! " she fixed her eyes upon him 
full of love, and said, " Ah, who would not be your 
guardian angel ! n Just before her pure spirit took flight 
she said, with the serene smile of a seraph, " My love, 
you will follow me." 

In words full of heart-break, John Stuart Mill thus 
dedicates to his deceased wife his celebrated treatise On 
Liberty: "To the beloved and deplored memory of 
her who was the inspirer, and in part the author, of 
all that is best in my writings the friend and wife, 
whose exalted sense of truth and right was my strongest 
incitement, and whose approbation was my chief reward, 
I dedicate this volume." 

Side by side with the distorted biography of Froude 
which must be numbered amongst the chiefest of the 



156 WOMAN*: HER CHARM AND POWER 

follies of the wise we do well to place Carlyle's inscrip- 
tion on the tomb of his wife in Haddington church- 
yard : " In her bright existence she had more sorrows 
than common, but also a soft amiability, a capacity of 
discernment, and a noble loyalty of heart, which was 
rare. For forty years she was the true and loving help- 
mate of her husband, and by act and word unweariedly 
forwarded him as none else could in all of worthy that 
he did or attempted." 

The tribute William Cobbett bears to a wife's de- 
votion and a husband's indebtedness is also very beauti- 
ful : " Love gave me for my leisure hours a companion 
who, though deprived of all opportunities of acquiring 
what is called learning, had so much good sense, so 
much useful knowledge, was so innocent, so just in all 
her ways, so pure in thought, word, and deed, so disin- 
terested, so generous, so devoted to me and her children, 
so free from all disguise, and withal so beautiful and so 
talkative, and with a voice so sweet and cheering, that I 
have always said, if my country feel any gratitude for my 
labours, that gratitude is due to her full as much as to me." 

Writing to his friend Jacobi, Herder said : " I have 
a wife that is the tree, the consolation, and the happiness 
of my life. Even in flying transient thoughts, which 
often surprise us, we are one." 

Heine describes the love of his wife, which he says 
" made him the happiest of mortals," as " the strongest, 
the truest, and the tenderest that ever inspired the heart 
of woman." 



WOMAN AS WIFE 157 

The wife of the sensitive and melancholy Zimmer- 
mann, who guarded him with the utmost tenderness 
from his own self-depreciation, and from the neglect 
of the world, addressed to him on her death-bed the 
touching words " My poor Zimmermann ! who will now 
understand thee ? " 

John Flaxman, the celebrated sculptor, was not less 
indebted to his wife than to his genius for the works 
which have placed him in the front rank of English 
artists. She cheered him in despondency, economised for 
him in poverty, managed his correspondence, arranged 
his drawings, nurtured his love of the beautiful, and was 
the good angel of all his toils and triumphs. They were, 
indeed 

Two souls, but with a single thought, 
Two hearts that beat as one. 

On the fiftieth anniversary of his ordination, the ladies 
of his congregation presented the Rev. William Jay of 
Bath with a purse containing 650. After a few ex- 
pressions of gratitude the preacher turned to Mrs. Jay 
and said : " I take this purse and present it to you, 
to you who have always kept my purse, and therefore 
it is that it has been so well kept. Consider it entirely 
sacred, for your pleasure, your use, your service, your 
comfort. I feel this to be unexpected by you ; but it is 
perfectly deserved. Mr. Chairman and Christian friends, 
I am sure that there is not one here but would acquiesce 
in this, if you knew the value of Mrs. Jay, as a wife, for 
more than fifty years. I must mention the obligation 



158 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

the public are under to her, if I have been enabled to 
serve my generation ; and how much she has raised her 
sex in my estimation ; how much my church and con- 
gregation owe to her watchings over tlieir pastor's health, 
whom she has cheered under all his trials, and reminded 
of his duties, while she animated him in their perform- 
ance. How often she has wiped the evening dews from 
his forehead, and freed him from interruptions and em- 
barrassments, that he might be free for his ministerial 
work. How much also do my family owe to her, and 
what reason have they to call her blessed I " 

Sir Henry Lawrence was equally indebted to his wife 
as a tender and sympathising helpmate. In his literary 
labours, in all his plans and endeavours for alleviating 
the condition of the people of India, he found a staunch 
supporter and most able coadjutor in his faithful wife, 
who cheerfully shared his toils, his dangers, and his 
hardships, helping him in all things, and becoming, in 
fact, one with her noble husband. 

Sir James Mackintosh, again, bears the following testi- 
mony to a wife's devotion : " By the tender management 
of my weaknesses she cured the worst of them. She 
became prudent through affection; and though of the 
most generous nature, she was taught economy and 
frugality by her love for me. She gently reclaimed me 
from dissipation; she propped my weak and irresolute 
nature ; she urged my indolence to all the exertions that 
have been useful and creditable to me; and she was 
perpetually at hand to admonish my heedlessness and 



WOMAN AS WIFE I59 

improvidence. To her I owe whatever I am ; to her 
whatever I shall be." 

Such are a few examples examples which might be 
indefinitely multiplied of wifely devotion, and of wifely 
service. Let man treat woman nobly, and she will 
transcend his nobleness. Let him love her devotedly, 
and she will out-match his love. There is no height of 
pure, self-sacrificing affection to which man may ascend 
where woman will not find a higher height. His out- 
look may be wider than hers, but what she lacks in 
breadth she will make up in intensity and in enduring 
faithfulness. 

Neither is it in this life only that a noble wife will 
serve the husband who has loved and cherished her. 
Her memory after her departure will be a precious 
possession, making the " Father's house on high " more 
near and real to him, while not seldom it will appear 
as though she revisited the heart which mourns her, 
and the home of which she was the guardian angel. 

With a slow and noiseless footstep 

Comes that messenger divine, 
Takes a vacant chair beside me, 

Lays her gentle hand in mine* 



CHAPTER VI! 

WOMAN AS MOTHER j 

The mothers of the human race 
A solemn beauty stamps each face; 

Unfathomed love is their embrace ; j 

They hold a high and holy place, { 

A place by God appointed ! I 

With altar fires their bosoms glow ; I 

A sacred halo stamps each brow ; I 

They are life's guardian angels now, | 

Life's hierophants anointed. | 

t 

A glorious work is yours to do, 
O, ye anointed ! Not the few 

Alone are called ! Be pure and true, * 

For the great future springs from you 

All coming generations I 
Yours is a destiny sublime, 
Yours is all virtue yours all crime; 
You have the forming of all time, 

The character of nations. 

MARY HOWITT. 

Who shall deny you the right of angel-hood, ye patient, self-denying, 
stoble women, who with strong hearts and prayerful hands work by the 
xxxight of gentleness, and instil into the blood of your children high thoughts 
Btiad pure aims ? MARIE CORELLI. 

"TV T OTHERHOOD is the crown of womanhood. This 
-L * A beautiful relation surrounds woman with a halo 
of glory and attests her worthiness to mate with angels, 
can possibly think meanly of a creature in whom 

160 



WOMAN AS MOTHER 



161 



there is the making of a mother ? " We pity the man," 
says Richter, " whose own mother has not made all 
other mothers venerable." What a history of gentle 
forbearance, of unwearied kindness, and of tender love, 
is contained in the word " Mother " ! What a long 
record does that word bring with it of truth and con- 
stancy, of tears and sighs, of devotion unfathomed and 
unrequited, and of cares unrecompensed on earth 1 Here 
is the love which never faileth " which beareth all 
things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth 
all things," Here is the love which covereth all the 
offences and imperfections of the beloved with the clasp 
and shelter as of golden wings. Truly is it said : " A 
child may come into the world perfect or blemished, 
pretty or plain ; it matters little or nothing to this all- 
indulgent heavenly passion of motherhood. She is there 
to be to it the love of Heaven incarnated ; the visible 
spirit of supreme and exquisite acceptance, which exists 
elsewhere invisibly behind all the troubles of the world, 
to make the best of our merits and the least of our faults 
and failings. It is her child that is enough. It will 
be lapped from its first breath in the royal purple of 
passionate affection ; it will be fed from a bosom which 
can lull it to slumber with sweeter music than kings 
could command it is actually, as Emerson said, a prince 
or princess of the royal blood, if blood be royal which 
runs rich with the oldest instinct of creation, and is 
descended, we may reverently say, from the Maker's 
own word, nay more, from the Maker's own infinite heart." 

XI 



162 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND PO WER 

There are degrees of sacredness in human relation* 
ships, and who among the sons and daughters of men 
will hesitate to give the foremost place to motherhood ? 
Even wedded love, however deep, is a thing of mutual 
agreement, dependent on mutual devotion and mutual 
trust. But a mother's love is instinctive and asks no 
conditions. Not because it is lovely does a mother love 
her child, but because it is a living part of herself, bone 
of her bone, and flesh of her flesh a fraction of her own 
nature. 

It is for this reason that the love of a mother 
transcends the devotion of a father. Mothers feel as 
if still connected with their offspring by the fibres that 
joined them in their prenatal life. And yet further, the 
long period of gestation and nursing leads to a closer 
and more persistent identification with them. The 
union between a mother and her child finds beautiful 
expression in these verses by Martin Peerson, which 
have come down to us from the early part of the seven- 
teenth century 

Upon my lap my sovereign sits 

And sucks upon my breast ; 
Meantime, his love maintains my life, 

And gives my sense her rest. 

When thou hast taken thy repast, 

Repose, my babe, on me ; 
So may thy mother and thy nurse 

Thy cradle also be. 

I grieve that duty doth not work 

All that my wishing would. 
Because I would not be to thee. 



WOMAN AS MOTHER 163 

Yet as I am, and as I may, 
I must and will be thine, 
Thou all too little for thyself, 
^Vouchsafing to be mine. 

Sing lullaby, my little boy, 
Sing lullaby, my only loy. 

The long-continued helplessness of human infancy, 
the fact that every other sentient creature can provide 
for itself and stand alone sooner than man, might 
suggest a difficulty as to the wisdom of the divine 
arrangements, were it not for the tenderness which 
awaits the human infant on its entrance into life. But 
as the sunshine greets the butterfly, and the soft June 
air the rose, and the downy nest the tiny fledgling, so 
the human infant finds on entering into life its fitting 
environment. There is a shelter for its helplessness, an 
ear attuned to its faintest cry, a heart moulded and 
fashioned to receive it, which attests the divine bene- 
volence in our human lot. From the moment when her 
agony is forgotten in the sacred joy of the new life 
which is given her, unto the last sad office which she 
performs for her darling, when her grey head leans over 
his couch and her gentle hand smooths the fever of his 
brow, a true mother's heart is the one thing on earth 
which is never known to change. She mends and darns 
for her children, crooning a song of sweet content as the 
swift needle flies. She goes to school again to help 
them with their tasks. As life broadens out before 
them she notes with pride each step of the onward 
march. Should they fail, her love goes out to heal the 



! 164 WOMAlf; HER CHARM AND PO WER 

\ 
| wounds of failure. Should they succeed, her praise is 

1 the crown of their success. No insult chafes them which 

i 

| does not sting her more. No commendation heartens 

! l them which does not make her glow with keener glad- 

ness. To her our footsteps turn when our feet are 
weary with wandering, and our hearts sick with dis- 
i, appointment. Indeed, if there be aught on earth 

'>, surpassing human thought, or human word, it is a 

mother's love. And from it we are never parted. 

We could not lose each other. World 

On world piled ever higher 
Would part like bank'd clouds lightning cleft, 

By our two souls 1 desire. 
Life ne'er divided us 1 Death tried 

But could not 

The Joy of Motherhood 

What a beautiful study is the joy of a mother in 
her children ! * Next to the joy of marriage with one 
whom she loves and reveres, maternity is the deepest 
well of gladness to every noble woman. God gives many 
secret delights to mothers. There is a song in their 
hearts as the little ones nestle there. They are amply 
compensated for the pains and toils of motherhood by the 
new love which has come for them into the world. " Nine- 
teen times out of twenty," says De Quincey, " I have 
remarked that the true paradise of a female life, in ranks 
not too elevated for constant intercourse with the chil- 
i dren, is by no means the years of courtship, nor the 

\ I earliest period of marriage, but that sequestered chamber 



WOMAN AS MOTHER 165 

of her experience in which a mother is left alone through 
the day, with servants perhaps in a distant part of the 
house, and (God be thanked) chiefly where there are no 
servants at all, she is attended by one sole companion, 
her little first-born angel, as yet clinging to her robe, 
imperfectly able to walk, still more imperfect in its 
prattling and innocent thoughts, clinging to her, haunt- 
ing her wherever she goes, as the shadow catching from 
her eye the total inspiration of its little palpitating heart, 
and sending to hers a thrill of secret pleasure as often as 
the little fingers fasten on her own. Left alone from 
morning till night, with this one companion, or even with 
three still wearing the graces of infancy, buds of the 
various stages upon the self-same tree, a woman, if she 
has the great blessing of approaching such a luxury of 
paradise, is moving too often not aware that she is 
moving through the divinest section of her life." 
Neither can we forget the reflex influence of all this on 
the mother herself. She is ennobled by service, made 
beautiful through contact with innocence and trust, 
purified through helping her children to be pure, and 
cast into the arms of God through her anxiety to lead 
her children there. Finely does Mrs. Browning say, in 
rebuke of one who had borne unworthily the sacred 
burden of motherhood 

I thought a child was given to sanctify 
A woman, set her in the sight of all 
The clear-eyed Heavens, a chosen minister 
To do their business and lead spirits up 
The difficult blue heights, A woman lives 



166 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

Not bettered, quickened toward the true and good 
Through being a mother? . . Then she's none ; although 
She damps her baby's cheeks by kissing them, 
As we kill roses. 



The mother who would have her children true, must 
herself be truthful The mother who would have her 
children holy, must herself be pure. The mother who 
would have her children forgiving, must herself forgive. 
The virtues she inculcates upon her children first keep 
school in her own heart, and exercise their gracious 
influence there, and thus, by service for her children, she 
herself is greatened and enriched. There is no sight in 
the world so lovely as that of little children who know 
nothing of the sordidness, the depravity, the covetous- 
ness, and the cunning of men. Such little ones are the 
centre of God's presence in the world, and as we ponder 
their sweet trustfulness, their unsullied innocence, their 
transparency of character, and heavenly uncaringness, 
we are not surprised the Master said, " Of such is the 
kingdom of heaven." Neither is it at all wonderful 
that true mothers prefer the presence of their children to 
parties and assemblies, balls and theatres, feeling that for 
them the nursery is the gate of heaven, and that God 
is never so near to them as when the little ones, who 
are so fresh from Him, look into their faces with a 
smile. 

It is true they are often wearied with the tasks, but 
that is a sacred weariness to a woman, in which she is 
wearied in the service of love. So felt Mrs. E. V 



WOMAN AS MOTHER 



167 



Wilson, when she wrote thus tenderly of " A Tired 
Mother" 

*' I am so weary of my home," she cried, 
"And of its endless tasks so mean and small; 

I long to mingle with the world outside, 
To drink from life's full cup. The drops that fall 

From beakers others clasp, though gladly quaffed, 

Slake not my thirst : my hand must hold the draught,** 

She feels a little hand slip into hers, 

And little fingers clinging to her gown ; 
And in her heart a tender memory stirs 

Of violet eyes with lids by death shut down ; 
And as she lifts the little hinderer up 
"I drink," she cries, "at least from love's full cup, 

** Forgive, dear Lord, forgive the foolish speech, 

For love is all; without it life is naught; 
Let me but have the blessings of my reach, 

And I will nevermore complain of aught ; 
Life's cup may hold for woman what it will, 
Without love's wine she will be thirsty still. 

** And knowing this ; how have I dared to call 
When love doth make the humblest toil divine 

My daily round of duties mean and small ? 
Oh, darling, press your warm soft lips to mine, 

While I thank God I safe at home abide, 

Nor envy dwellers in the world outside." 



How Mothers Mould Men 

In no relation of life does woman exercise so deep 
and abiding an influence as in that of motherhood. 
Even before her child sees the light the solemn law of 
heredity ordains that she must affect, not only Jts physical 



1 68 WOMAN; HER CHARM AND POWER 

constitution, but also its moral character by the trans- 
mission of the salient qualities of her own. It will take, 
in large measure, its tendencies, desires, and emotions 
from her. Mentally and morally she will shape it for 
good or evil, for blessing or for curse, ere as yet it has 
breathed the common air. While yet unborn it will be 
affected, not only by what the mother eats and drinks, 
but also by what she thinks and feels. It is well known 
that a sudden fright to a mother in pregnancy may result 
in idiocy to the child, that excessive indulgence in 
stimulants may generate a pithless body and a feeble 
brain, and that the sight of something hideous or deformed 
may result in deformity to the infant And are we so 
enchained by the physical aspects of this question as to 
be blind to its moral issues ? A healthy body, we admit, 
is needful that there may be healthy offspring but a 
sound and well-balanced mind, a serene and generous 
disposition, a peaceful conscience, habits of love and truth 
and self-control, and a soul responsive to the breath of 
God these, also, are needful that a child may start fitly 
equipped for the important business of living. How 
terrible are the words of the radical tailor in Alton 
Locke where, speaking of some of the children born in 
our slums, he characterises them as " drunkards from 
the breast, harlots from the cradle, damned before they 
are born." On the other hand, I have stood with a 
company of young men offering themselves for ordi- 
nation in the Christian Church, all of whom bore 
testimony to their indebtedness to a mother's piety 



WOMAN AS MOTHER 169 

and a mother's faith. From the lips of each there came, 
in substance at least, the confession 

If ought of goodness or of grace 

Be mine, hers be the glory ; 
She led me on in wisdom's path, 

And set the light before me. 

Fitly may every woman ponder the words of the wise 
and saintly Dr. Pulsford, " If woman is the Fountain of 
humanity, if we owe our existence to her, and call her 
Mother, can she form too high an estimate of the sacred- 
ness of her nature and function ? Should not her bosom 
be the nest of all heavenly virtues ? Should not the all- 
pure, creative Love, welFup in her spirit? Has not God 
taught all women that He specially works in the tender 
darkness of the womb ? Through the chastity and holi- 
ness of the expecting mother, He bruises the head of evil 
in the embryo ; and secretly weaves His own pure sub- 
stance into the soul and frame of the little one that is 
coming into the world. 'I formed thee in the belly; 
before thou earnest forth out of the womb I sanctified 
thee.' Isaac was the child and heir of promise from his 
conception. Samuel inherited from his birth the fervour 
of his mother's piety. * For this child I prayed ; therefore, 
also, I have given him to the Lord.' Elisabeth hid 
herself from common observation, feeling that she was 
called to walk closely with God, that the child, forming 
in her womb, might be filled with the Holy Spirit. And 
any woman who has asked herself what sort of mothers 
the little spirits of eternity, who are coming into time, 



170 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

should have, would, I think, yearn to be bathed in ;. 

heaven's vital purity, that the frame woven out of her 
body for the little spirit may be heaven-made. * We j 

beseech you/ expecting mothers, * by the mercies of God, * 

that you present your bodies a beautiful, living, sacrifice 
unto God'; that your nerves, your atoms, your blood 
may be impregnated by His Spirit." 

Mothers and Children \ 

If we pass from the prenatal period, to that of the 
child's actual existence in the human world, the power of 
motherhood is yet further accentuated. The mother is } 

the first teacher. It is her solemn and important office 
to hold the keys of the soul. Her smile calls into exer- 
cise the first affections of infancy. She cherishes and 
expands the earliest germs of thought, and it is from her i 

the child receives its first conceptions of worship. To ^ 

quote a passage from James Martineau : " When the 
mother calls her children to her knees to speak to them 
of God, she is herself the grandest object in their affec- 
tions. It is by her power over them that God becomes 
venerable; by the purity of her eye that He becomes 
holy ; by the silence of the hour that He becomes awful ; 
by the tenderness of her tones that He becomes dear." 
Who can fitly estimate the greatness of her office, the 
importance of her work, the weight of her responsibility ? 
To her trembling hands immortals cling. Around her 
knees spirits gather capable of God, and waiting to know 
Him from whom they come and to whom they must 



WOMAN AS MOTHER 171 

return. There is no mother bending over the cradle of 
her child who may not say in hushed and reverent 
wonder 

A silent awe is in my room, 

I tremble with delicious feax ; 
The future with its light and gloom, 

Time and eternity are here. 

In the pliant period of childhood mothers give the motive 
power that impels and guides the life. They bend the 
sapling toward the south, or toward the north. They 
direct the streamlet toward the reeking marsh, or toward 
the fresh and rejoicing sea. Truly is it said: "The 
cradle is the altar of the family. There the infant hears 
its first hymn of praise, dreams its first dream of paradise, 
and wakes to see an angel face beaming over it" In the 
matter of moral and spiritual oversight the mother is 
supreme and stands alone. She cannot relegate this 
office to priest or teacher. It is her own God-appointed 
ministry, and she cannot avoid it without wronging her 
own soul, as well as imperilling the destiny of her child. 
It is not a mere animal which has been placed in her care 
to be petted and fed, and carried hither and thither, but 
a moral being, great through those aptitudes and instincts 
which link it with God and with eternity. It is incum- 
bent, therefore, on the mother to teach her child, not only 
to walk, but also to soar; not only to conduct itself 
wisely in regard to earthly duties and relationships, but 
also to commerce with the skies. Tenderness everywhere 
else, and remissness here, is only a mockery of kindness 



172 WOMAN: HER CHARM ANI> POWER 

She must not feed the body and starve the soul. The high- 
est nature must have the promptest care. The divinest 
faculties must find their appropriate nourishment. The 
spirit must be led into the choice of those tastes, affinities, 
and habits, which are to be the character of its eternity. 
That mother fulfils her mission in the noblest fashion 
who, committing her child to the care of the great Father, 
can kneel and say 

That Thou hast given me, here, Lord, I bring to Thee, 

Odour and light and the magic of gold ; 
Feet that must follow Thee, lips that must sing to Thee, 

Limbs that must ache for Thee, ere they grow old. 

That Thou hast given me, here, Lord, I tender, 

Life of my own life, the love of my love ; 
Take him, yet leave him me, till I shall render 

Count of the precious charge, kneeling above, 

The Formation of Character 

The formation of character is the solemn and mighty 
trust which God has placed in the hands of woman, and 
the heart of a child is so sweetly responsive to love and 
truth that if we cannot say to every mother, " Great is thy 
faith,* 1 we can at least say, " Great is thy opportunity." 
In the period of infancy the mind is as wax to receive, 
and as marble to retain. It is in early youth that the 
truths which are most precious and helpful in life are 
most easily and most durably impressed upon the mind. 
* Give me a boy until he is eleven years old," said an 
astute Jesuit, " and I care not who has him afterwards/* 
At this period the things taught grow, as it were, into 



WOMAN" AS MOTHER 173 

the very tissue and fibre of the soul. They become a 
part of the mental and moral life, and though they may 
afterwards be questioned, or even despised, they can 
never be eradicated. God's colours last, and the instruc- 
tion given at a mother's knee can never be effaced. The 
soul is a palimpsest on which other things may be written, 
but the acid of some great sorrow, or some bitter dis- 
appointment, will destroy the later records, and leave the 
primitive impression clear. We cannot break utterly 
away from the pure principles, the noble ideals, the reli- 
gious impressions and teachings which were woven into 
our hearts in infancy and early youth by a mother's hand. 
Then, and from her, are given the thoughts which 

Uphold us, cherish, and have power to make 
Our noisy years seem moments in the being 
Of the eternal Silence : truths that wake 
To perish never: 

Which neither listlessness, nor mad endeavour, 

Nor Man, nor Boy, 
Nor all that is at enmity with joy, 
Can utterly abolish or destroy ! 

The spell of a pure, loving, noble, unselfish mother 
holds us for ever. A touching incident in illustration of 
this is told by a city missionary. A little London waif, 
orphaned and cast upon the streets, was selected, with 
a number of others, to be sent to a home in the country. 
His ragged clothes were taken away and a new suit 
provided. While the missionary was looking after the 
other boys the lad stole into the corner where the rags 
which had clothed him had been thrown, and, tearing 



174 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

the lining out of his old cap, thrust it in his pocket , 
"What are you doing with that cap?" said the mis- 
sionary ; " you do not want it now, do you ? " The lad 
replied, with tears welling up in his eyes, " Excuse me, 
sir, but this lining was a bit taken out of mother's dress, 
and, though she was so poor, she loved me very much, 
and I took it because it reminds me of her," 

And the spell which works so powerfully in youth 
works also in manhood. The German officer whose 
task It was to examine the knapsacks of the dead 
soldiers, after the slaughter at Sedan, said that there 
were few of them which did not contain a mother's 
letter, or a mother's portrait. The sailor in his voyag- 
ings, or in his sickness, cherishes as a priceless boon his 
mother's memory, and when the exile surrenders his soul 
to God in a distant land his last whisper breathes the 
tender name of her who was the guardian of his infancy. 

Deep down as the world's foundation, as pure as dream of the blest, 
Is the love the mother bestows upon the child she holds to her breast. 
She, who guided thy feet unsteady, raised thy little hands to pray; 
She, who pillowed the long, brown ringlets, at close of the golden day, 
And who gave thee thy first sweet blessing to light up this valley of 

tears; 

She, thy mother! who, now in heaven, first guarded thy iniant years, 
Her love is as the angel's whose wings are above thee spread, 
Thy guide and guard eternal, wherever thy feet may tread. 

A Sacred Trust 

How mighty and momentous is a mother's work when 
regarded in the light of the unmeasured possibilities of 
childhood As the mighty oak slumbers in the tiny 



WOMAN AS MOTHER 175 

acorn ; as the headlong torrent slumbers in the tinkling 
rill ; as music sleeps in the plain eggs of the nightingale ; 
as the statue sleeps in the marble block, waiting only 
for the chisel of the sculptor to set it free so untold 
possibilities of good or evil slumber in every little child. 
Lowly and insignificant as that infant form may appear, 
it yet enshrines an immortality of blessedness or sorrow. 
Feelings and passions are folded in that little bosom, 
which require infinity and eternity for their full develop- 
ment. That callow fledgling will yet stoop, like the 
hawk, to feed on carrion, or rise, like the lark, toward 
the sunrise with a song of worship. "Fragile beginnings 
of a mighty end," the life of each child is big with 
destiny. It was so when the infant Moses floated in 
his ark of bulrushes on the waters of the Nile. It was 
so when the boy Samuel heard, in the hush of the 
temple, the call of God. It was so when the world's 
Redeemer lay cradled in the manger at Bethlehem. And 
let it not be forgotten that each of these was dowered 
with the precious gift of a consecrated mother. Not 
without a divine purpose did the Egyptian princess say 
to the pure and faithful Jochebed, " Take this child away 
and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages." 
Sanctity and consecration dwelt in the heart of Hannah 
before they descended on her illustrious son. And, of 
the greatest of all, F. W. Robertson says, with deep 
wisdom: "Think we that there is no meaning hidden 
in the mystery that the Son of God was the Virgin's 
Son? To Him through life there remained the early 



176 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

recollections of a pure mother. Blessed beyond all 
common blessedness Is the man who can look back to 
that God has given to him a talisman which will 
carry him triumphant through many a temptation. To 
other men purity may be a name ; to him it has been 
once a reality. * Faith in all things high beats with his 
blood. 1 He may be tempted ; he may err ; but there 
will be a light from home shining for ever on his path 
inextinguishably. By the grace of God, degraded he 
cannot be/ 1 

Notable Men and their Mothers 

When we meet a man of remarkable gifts, consecrated 
to the service of God and of humanity, we instinctively 
ask, " Who was his mother ? " Fathers make money, but 
mothers make character. They mould their children in 
their own likeness, The arrogant mother sees her child 
puffed up with pride ; the gay, worldly mother sees her 
daughter develop into a flirt or a wanton* A Volumnia 
makes a Coriolanus; an Agrippina, a Nero. After a 
lengthened interview with the mother of Goethe, an 
enthusiast exclaimed, "Now I understand how Goethe 
has become the man he is." 

The annals of biography abound with examples 
illustrating the influence of mothers over their sons. 
Tiberius and Caius Gracchus, the Roman tribunes who 
achieved such fame and greatness, owed everything to 
the judicious training of their mother, Cornelia. She 
educated them in nobleness, and inspired them for glori- 



WOMAN" AS MOTHER 177 

ous deeds, while they often publicly spoke her praises. 
Alexander the Great was largely indebted to his mother, 
Queen Olympias. He omitted no occasion of showing 
his esteem and affection for her, and from her nothing 
was concealed. Many of the Fathers of the early 
Church owed their conversion, under God, to a mother's 
devotions and a mother's prayers. Basil the Great, and 
Gregory of Nyssa, were both children of St. Emmelia, 
and from her they received that pious training through 
which they laid the foundation of the Eastern Church. 

It was Anthusa, the mother of Chrysostom, who first 
taught him the golden words of Scripture. Gregory 
Nazianzen, the great Cappadocian, who moulded with 
such subtle mastery the Greek theology of Christianity, 
received from his mother, Nonna, his first impressions 
of Christian truth. Like the mother of Samuel, she 
devoted her son to the Lord before he was born. 

The gifted St. Augustine, who formulated the Latin 
theology of 'the Middle Ages, and thrilled the hearts of 
thousands by his impassioned eloquence, was drawn from 
the whirlpool of a dissipated and shameful life by the 
entreaties and prayers of his mother, Monica. 

Francis Lord Bacon owed the early part of his educa- 
tion to his accomplished mother, and was mainly in- 
debted to her for the qualities which rendered him 
illustrious. He venerated her memory through life, and 
when dying expressed his desire to be interred in the 
same grave with her. 

Winifride, the mother of Bishop Hall, was a woman 



1 78 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

of rare sanctity, "How often/' he writes, "have I 
blessed the memory of those divine passages of experi- 
mental divinity which I have heard from her mouth. 
What day did she pass without a large task of private 
devotion, whence she would still come forth with a 
countenance suffused with the light of God." 

Sir Isaac Newton, that beautiful combination of good- 
ness and greatness, was indebted to the tender solicitude 
of his mother for the development of the genius which 
has rendered him immortal. Sickly and diminutive at 
birth, his mother's care preserved him to the world, and 
the dawning powers of his intellect found in her their 
first instructress. 

The hand of Elizabeth Steward Cromwell was upon 
the shoulder of her son Oliver all through his eventful 
life. Her stern and lofty character was woven into the 
tissues of his own, and from her he inherited the prin- 
ciples on which he governed the kingdom of England. 

Dowered with a nature in which the practical and 
the ideal were finely blended, Susannah, the mother of 
the Wesleys, largely influenced their genius and their 
work. During their Infancy and youth they were edu- 
cated by herself, and the foundations laid of that piety, 
consecration, and sanctified common-sense which led to 
the great Methodist evangel. 

The eminent and eloquent Richard Hooker was 
deeply indebted to the early influence and teachings of 
a pious mother. One of his biographers tells us how 
he * often prayed that he might never live to occasion 



WOMAN AS MOTHER 179 

any sorrow to so good a mother, of whom he would often 
say, he loved her so dearly, that he would endeavour to 
be good, even as much for her as for his own sake." 

Dr. Doddridge pays eloquent tribute to the conse- 
crating influence of his mother. Before he could read 
she taught him a part of the history of the Old and New 
Testaments by means of some Dutch tiles in the chimney 
corner of his early home, while in after years she walked 
with him like an angel for counsel and for inspiration in 
his radiant and successful ministry. 

The burly and large-hearted Dr. Johnson was never 
weary of confessing his indebtedness to his wise and 
devoted mother. He tenderly guarded her until she 
died at the age of ninety, and his Rasselas was 
written to defray the expenses of her funeral. 

The mother of the Rev. John Newton died before he 
was seven years of age, yet with tearful earnestness she 
sowed " precious seed " in the heart of her wayward son 
which was found "after many days." For years he 
followed the avocation of a sailor, and was a blasphemer 
and an infidel, as well as a slave-dealer. But the 
memory of his pious mother was a spell from which he 
could not break away, and when nearly forty years of 
age he was brought to decision for Christ, ordained a 
clergyman by the Bishop of Lincoln, and consecrated to 
a life of Christian service, until, in his eighty-second 
year, he died, lamented and revered by hundreds whose 
lives had been transformed and ennobled by his faithful 
ministry. 



i8o WOMAN i HER CHARM AND POWER 

In the case of Colonel Gardiner we have another 
memorable example of the might of a mother's Influence 
and the efficacy of a mother's prayer. Brought up in 
youth by his saintly mother, in "the nurture and ad- 
monition of the Lord," he turned aside in early man- 
hood to vanity and licentiousness. But the sacred light 
which fell upon his heart in childhood never faded into 
utter darkness. He was secretly wretched when he 
seemed most gay, until at last he turned upon the great 
deceiver, the strong man armed, by whom, to use his 
own words, he had been " so wretchedly and scandal- 
ously befooled," hurled him in Christ's strength from 
the temple of his soul, and stood erect and free, 
with his feet on hell and his hand upon the gates 
of heaven. 

The mother of John Quincy Adams said, in a letter 
to him, written when he was only ten years old 

'* I would rather see you laid in your grave than 
grow up a profane and graceless boy/' 

Not long before the death of Mr. Adams a gentle- 
man said to him, " I have found out who made you." 

" What do you mean ? " asked Mr. Adams. 

The gentleman replied, " I have been reading the 
published letters of your mother." 

" If," this gentleman remarks, " I had spoken that 
dear name to some little boy who had been for weeks 
away from his mother, his eyes could not have flashed 
more brightly, nor his face glowed more quickly, than 
did the eyes of that venerable old man when I pro- 



WOMAN AS MOTHER 



181 



nounced the name of his mother. He stood up in his 
peculiar manner, and said 

" ' Yes, sir ; all that is good in me I owe to my mother.' " 

" First in peace, first in war, and first in the hearts of 
his countrymen," none will deny to General Washington 
the tribute of a deserved esteem and honour. And who 
can tell how much he owed to the singular prudence, piety, 
and strength of character, which show in the life of his 
devoted mother ? Left fatherless when not quite eleven 
years of age, her illustrious son was left entirely dependent 
on her care, and was led up by her to the full height of 
his greatness. " To the care of his excellent and pious 
mother," says one of his biographers, " he was indebted 
for that education, and those sentiments of heroism and 
principles of virtue and honour, which, acting on a happy 
disposition and a lofty genius, and aided by a favourable 
concurrence of circumstance, raised him to the summit of 
greatness and glory." 

And what shall we more say, for opportunity fails us 
to give adequate notice to the hundreds of remarkable 
men, from Alfred the Great to John Ruskin, and from 
Jonathan Edwards to C. H. Spurgeon, who in meek 
gratitude and profound thanksgiving would, if interro- 
gated, ascribe all that is best in them and in their work 
to the mother who bore them. 

Let every noble mother, then, take heart, for her 
prayers cannot remain unanswered, and her influence is 
not lost. A faithful witness for God, and Christ, and 
immortality, she has laid the foundations deep, and they 



i8s WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

cannot be removed. She has planted in the eternities, 
and her work will laugh at the assaults of time. Death 
may remove her from her children, but they will know 
that her heart is not changed, and her voice will still be 
heard softly falling from the sanctities of the eternal home. 
Writing of his mother's death, Werner says, with 
deep pathos, that, for him, the caresses of love and all 
roses of joy withered away, as the first shovelful of mould 
sounded on her coffin. And there are many others, over 
whom this dark wave of desolation has swept, leaving 
behind it a kindred sadness. Yet, ere long, the curse has 
been transmuted into a blessing. That grave has made 
death sacred, and heaven a golden certainty. It has 
proved a rallying point for every noble purpose. Baseness 
has been buried In it, and from it nobleness has sprung. 
We have visited it feeble in moral purpose, and have 
gone forth from it strong to resist the evil and to achieve 
the good. We have discovered that it was expedient that 
our mother should pass away, since now, no longer localised, 
she has become a universal presence. We do not need to 
wander to the old hearth to find her, since there is no place 
where we may not feel the wafture of her spirit wings. 

My Sainted Mother 

Although the subject is so sacred, that it seems almost 
a trespass to deal with it in writing, I will yet dare to 
speak in these pages, for the encouragement of those 
mothers who pray, and see not as yet the end which 
they desire of my own sweet mother one of the 



WOMAN AS MOTHER 183 

purest and loveliest spirits that ever tabernacled in a 
house of clay. To my boyish fancy she seemed little less 
than a wingless angel who had condescended, for a time, 
to consecrate, by her presence and her ministry, an 
earthly home. Delicate, lame, and tortured by frequent 
paroxysms of physical suffering, at a period when those 
merciful alleviations were as yet unknown which have 
dulled the edge of pain, her trust in God never faltered. 
To the dark suggestion of the tempter, " Curse God and 
die," she continually gave back the radiant answer, " Trust 
God and triumph." Sharp and keen was the chisel of 
the great Sculptor as He moulded her into beauty, but she 
could say, with Michael Angelo, " The more the marble 
wastes, the more the statue grows." 

Every phase of that patient, self-sacrificing tenderness 
which has crowned motherhood as a sacred thing was 
exemplified in her ministry for her children. Often have 
I kissed her worn fingers as she lay back in her chair 
asleep, exhausted with the effort of plying her needle; 
and there was no toil too arduous for her to render, and 
no sacrifice too great for her to make on behalf of her 
children. Among many other beautiful qualities which 
took captive the hearts of all who knew her was an 
exquisite gift of song. Her clear, sweet voice, refined 
and made tremulous by suffering, was indeed like the 
voice of a nightingale fluting at twilight in some leafy dell 
When she sang 

Sounds overflowed the listener's 
So sweet that joy was almost pain. 



i84 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

Many a time and oft, as I stood by her side in the wor- 
ship of the sanctuary, I noted that, as she sang, all around 
her kept silence, listening, as if entranced, to a melody 
which, in its sweet pulsations of tenderness and entreaty, 
seemed to soar above us like a messenger mediating 
between earth and heaven. I have heard many of the 
world-famed daughters of music, from Titiens with her 
rich, deep, organ notes, to Patti with her bird-like trills ; 
but I have heard no voice like that of my mother when, 
to the tune called "Simeon," she warbled that incom- 
parable hymn which expressed so perfectly the pathos 
of her suffering life and of her holy trust the hymn 
beginning 

God of my life, through all my days 
My grateful powers shall sound thy praise \ 
My song shall wake with opening light, 
And cheer the dark and silent night. 

How often, also, though but a child, I fastened eyes full 
of tears upon her sweet, worn face on which the seal of 
the destroyer was already set as she poured forth with 
a throb of tremulous triumph the immortal lines 

Soon shall I learn the exalted strains, 
Which echo through the heavenly plains; 
And emulate with joy unknown 
The glowing seraphs round the throne. 

It was easy to believe in heaven when my mother stood 
and sang, for its light shone through the alabaster lamp 
in which her spirit dwelt. And if no heaven has 
received her after her discipline of tears, then there is no 
God to whom it is worth our while to pray. 



WOMAN AS MOTHER 



185 



At My Mothers Knee 

Morning by morning, and evening by evening, she 
would gather her children at her knee and listen to their 
infant prayer, while every Sunday she kept school for us, 
and Christ was made a living reality to our thought by 
her tender teaching. We saw Him folded in the cradled 
sleep of infancy a King among the oxen. His large 
eyes, with their far-off look, as though thought had 
wandered into dim eternity, enchained us as He spoke to 
the doctors in the temple. Still did we listen to His 
Sermon on the Mount and to His Parable of the Prodigal 
Son. We beheld His luminous face moving through the 
corn-fields, or amid the tender shadows of the woods of 
Olivet, or in the market-place when He smiled upon the 
children at their play. We were present when He took 
the little ones in His arms and blessed them. We 
marked the wild sea spray smiting His human cheek as 
He slept in the hinder part of the ship, and a solemn 
awe fell on us as He cast off the chains of slumber 
and flung them upon the winds and the waves. The 
charmed home at Bethany was familiar ground to us, 
and we knew the sisters there, for they were interpreted 
to our thought by one who was 

A Maiy in the house of God, 
A Martha in her own. 

For us the light of the passover moon still cast the 
shadow of " the Man of Sorrows " on the sward of the 
garden where He agonised. We beheld Him as He 
hung like a broken lily on the torturing cross, while the 



186 WOMAN*: HER CHARM AND POWER 

anguish in His eyes did " overcome the sun, and make it 
sicken in the darkened skies as if to death 1 " Thus, at 
our mother's knee, were we made familiar with the Christ 
of the Gospels ; and who shall say how much we owed 
to this vivid presentment of "the fairest among ten 
thousand, and the altogether lovely " ? 

No fable old of mythic lore, 

No dream of bards and seers ; 
No dead fact stranded on the shore 

Of the oblivious years. 

But warm, sweet, tender, even yet, 

A present help is He ; 
And faith hath still its Olivet 

And love its Galilee. 

A Mothers Prayers 

And if the example and the teaching of our sainted 
mother were mighty, what shall we say of her prayers ? 
Many a time and oft in those dear old days when home 
was paradise, I have stood with a child's curiosity at 
the door of her chamber and heard her pleading for 
her children one by one placing each name in the 
order of birth in tender solicitude before God. 

Who can wonder that, short of laying violent hands 
upon our liberty and forcing us into goodness whether we 
would or not, every expedient of divine tenderness has been 
used to restore and save the souls for which she pleaded ? 

Oh, this permitted tyranny of prayer, by which frail 
women, in the interests of their loved ones, storm the 
gates of heaven : who shall declare its deep meaning 
or predicate the final measure of its power? 






WOMAN' AS MOTHER 187 

While I was yet a wayward boy of ten years old 
our mother died. For long months before the last 
summons came, her fragile, wasted body had been little 
more than a transparent tent for a celestial and im- 
mortal spirit, and at last her spirit was set free. Well 
do I remember how, denied entrance into her death- 
chamber, I crouched at the door in my night-dress 
until her last cry of mortal agony rang through the 
darkness, and I knew all was over. 

Heart and flesh failed me as I looked In boyish 
dread and awful wonder on her gentle face in death, 
and kissed, not without a shudder at their coldness, 
the pallid lips which were now for ever voiceless. The 
wail of the organ in the old Ripon Minster, and the 
plaintive voices of the choir as we bore her forth to 
burial, are with me still; and as, in response to the 
mournful words "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust," the 
verger flung a handful of soil upon the coffin-lid, it 
seemed as though the light of my life had gone out 
for ever. Sullen and despairing, I felt as if all nature 
ought to mourn with me the loss of one so dear. 
The seeming indifference of outward things wrought a 
petulant fury in my heart. If it had been possible I 
should have torn from the sky the intrusive sun, and 
shot the heedless lark as it quivered in the blue. 

The cathedral yard lay near the grammar school, 
which was my alma mater, and frequently after the 
daily tasks were over I stood weeping on my mother's 
grave until the glad shouts of my comrades died away 



i88 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

in the air, leaving me in silence and alone with my 
beloved dead. Time and the stern necessities of life 
removed me early from my native city, but in many 
a pilgrimage I have felt upon that sacred spot the 
wafture as of a spirit wing, and heard again the voice 
which ever thrilled me when it spoke. 

What baseness I have buried in that grave, and 
what strength for nobler battle has been given me at 
its side, is known to God alone! 

Not, however, on her grave alone was my mother's 
presence felt, but wherever I was doomed to wander 
in the maze of life she has stood near me, a " minister- 
ing spirit," with gentle violence restraining me from 
evil, with eloquent insistence claiming me for good. 
Imperilled and alone, when yet a youth, in awful 
London, I was yet not alone, because she was with 
me. In a letter to a dear friend of my boyhood 
written at this time, I said 

She is with me very often, 

In the bright day or sombre night; 
She is here my heart to soften, 

And tutor it aright 
And when the congregation sing 

Those hymns she loved the best, 
It seems her very form to bring 
Forth from its silent rest 
And I almost fancy by her hand 
My throbbing brow is prest ; 
And her voice, O it steals, 
'Mid the organ peals, 
Like the plaintive sigh 
Of a being nigh, 
From the regions of the blest 



WOMAN AS MOTHER 



189 



At the age of twenty, weary of "that wild unrest, 
which men miscall delight," and arrested by the grace 
of the pitying Spirit, in answer to her prayers, I was 
led to consecrate my life to Christ and to devote my 
energies to the preaching of His gospel. Thus, ten 
years after her prayers on earth were silenced by 
death though they were still heard in heaven they 
were answered on my behalf by a glad deliverance 
from the bondage of Satan into the glorious liberty of 
the children of God. 

Grey hairs are on me now, and the swift torrent 
of the hurrying years has borne much into oblivion 
which seemed at the time of weightiest moment. But, 
amid all changes, this sacred memory stands unshaken, 
and will retain its freshness 

Till once again that angel face shall smile, 
Which I have loved long since and lost a while, 

Words fail to express how much I owe to this precious 
memory. Thinking of my sainted mother, I cannot ask 
"if love can die, or lose its mortal sympathy," for I 
know her love to be unchanging. Remembering her, 
I cannot doubt that perfect sanctity may dwell with 
mortals, transfiguring life and duty, for in her I beheld it 
living and breathing before me. Mindful of her, I cannot 
question as to whether or not there be a future life in 
which pure spirits dwell, and from whence they visit us, 
for there is nothing more certain in all my thinking than 
that she is, and that she touches me. Recalling her 
meek endurance amid suffering's fiercest fires, I cannot 



igo WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

ask whether it be possible that in new Gethsemanes the ! 

words may fall from pallid lips ordained to drain the cup 
of anguish to the dregs " Nevertheless, not my will but 
Thine be done," for I have heard her utter them. 
Conscious of all I owe to her strenuous intercession, I '. 

cannot doubt the efficacy of prayer, for I have felt it in , 

pleadings of the unwearied Spirit of the Highest, and in , 

chains which bound me to the feet of God. I 

Often have I seen my mother * 

Steal into the shadowed room ,i 

Where her little ones were sleeping, f 

And amid the twilight gloom I 

Breathe a prayer that God would bless J 

And guard them with His tenderness. * 

All the children now are scattered, I 

Mother sleeps beneath the sod ; 1 

Her sweet eyes are closed for ever, f 

Her pure spirit is with God; * 

Yet methinks she still is pleading, 

For her darlings interceding. 

Whether this be so I know not, 

This, at least, I sweetly know: 
That she moves, a guardian angel, 

'Mid the shadows here below ; 
And doth still her vigil keep 
O'er us, when we wake or sleep. 



CHAPTER VIII 

WOMAN AS HOUSE-MOTHER 

She doeth little kindnesses 

Which most leave undone, or despise, 

For naught that sets one heart at ease 

And giveth happiness or peace, 

Is low-esteemed in her eyes. 

She hath no scorn of common things, 
And though she seem of other birth, 
Round us her heart entwines and clings, 
And patiently she folds her wings 
To tread the humble paths of earth* 

LOWELL. 

The ideal which the wife and mother makes for herself, tne manner in 
which she understands duty and life, contain the fate of the community. 
Her faith becomes the star of the conjugal ship, and her love and animating 
principle that fashions the future of all belonging to her. Woman is the 
salvation or destruction of the family. She carries its destinies in the folds 
of her mantle.- AMIKL. 

ALL the arguments with reference to the " advanced 
woman" notwithstanding, it is still clear that 
home is the fitting sphere for the wife and mother. Here 
she is queen in her own realm, and her sovereignty is 
undisputed. And there are few who will question that 
her sphere is adequate to her powers and is charged with 
the highest significance. 

Woman is the creator and cherisher of that family 
m 



1 92 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

life without which men degenerate and states decay 
She holds in her grasp, however unconsciously, the finer 
destinies of humanity. The family is the primary in- 
stitution of all social order and peace. It is the nursery 
of the heart, the guardian of purity, and the antidote 
to that hardness and selfishness which poison the springs 
of life, hush its music, and turn its sweetness into gall. 
An immense freight of happiness is therefore entrusted 
to the wife and the mother, which if it suffer wreck must 
leave the whole world poorer by its loss. 

Married love must be nourished by the maintenance 
of those winsome qualities which proved so attractive to 
the lover. It is related of one of the popes, that while a 
cardinal he always had his table covered with a net, to 
remind him of his lowly origin as a fisherman's son, but 
that, after his elevation to the papal chair, he removed 
the net, exclaiming, " It is no longer necessary, for I 
have caught my fish," Not thus, however, does the 
wise, true woman tamper with the sanctities of home. 
Rather does she endeavour to carve for herself and her 
loved ones a bit of paradise out of the wilderness of life. 
Home Is the true orbit of a wife, outside which all is 
confusion, cold, and darkness.. It is her ark, outside 
which there is nothing but a dreary waste of waters. 
When women's rights have been fully secured, the words 
of Milton will still be true, that 

Nothing lovelier can be found 

In woman, than to study household good. 

And good works in her husband to promote* 






WOMAN AS HOUSE-MOTHER 193 

When a woman has taken upon herself, of her own 
free will, the responsibilities of wife, mother, and mistress 
of a household, she has bound herself to interests which 
cannot take a second place, and with which no others 
must be allowed to interfere. For the house-mother 
the domestic relations precede all others, for they lie 
nearest her, and it is for them she is most immediately 
responsible, The beings who are most precious to her 
are given into her hands to be cared for, both in things 
great and small, and in this dear kingdom of the hearth 
she must reign wisely and well. George Eliot has said 
in one of her books, " Some women think walls are held 
together by honey." The wise woman knows, however, 
that something stronger is needed to hold the home 
together, and make it at once a help, and a delight, to 
those who dwell therein. 

Passing now from vague generalities to practical 
issues, the prudent house-mother, aided, of course, in all 
things worthy by the husband who shares her reign, will 
endeavour to secure within the precincts of home, 
Health Peace Brightness Beauty Thrift Con- 
tentment Considerate Kindness, and Piety. 

Health 

"Get health," says Emerson; "no labour, pains, 
temperance, poverty, nor exercise, that can jjain it, 
must be grudged. For sickness is a cannibal which 
eats up all the life and youth it can lay hold of, and 
absorbs its own sons and daughters. I figure it as a 

13 



1 194 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

pale, wailing, distracted phantom, absolutely selfish, 
; heedless of what is good and great, attentive to its 
j sensations, losing its soul, and afflicting other souls 
' with meanness and mopings, and with ministration to 

its voracity of trifles." For wailing children, peevish 
j girls, sullen sons, and discontented husbands, the great 

panacea is health. When the home becomes a hospital, 
} happiness spreads its wings and flies from the contagion. 

Joy shuns the languid pulse, the pallid cheeks, the blood- 
less lips, the heavy footfall, and the stooping gait, and 
dwells with the bright eyes, the elastic step, and the 
brave, sweet countenance. Now all which can contribute 
to these richer results of life is included in the ministry 
of the house-mother. She will have a keen scent for 
those insanitary conditions which may invite the dread 
spectre of fever. She will welcome the sweet fresh air 
into her chambers, and fling their windows wide open 
to the cheering and healing sun. She will see that the 
infants have, to give the valuable recipe of Dr. John 
Hunter, " plenty of milk, plenty of sleep, and plenty of 
flannel." She will protect the girls from over-pressure 
of study, and encourage those gymnastic exercises and 
that healthy movement in the open air which prevent 
the flat chest, the round shoulders, and all those physical 
defects which rob the maiden of her natural dower of 
grace and beauty. She will see that her boys are 
clothed in garments which make for complete freedom 
of movement, and will encourage, in their interest, all 
those manly and healthy games which have set the 



WOMAN AS HOUSE-MOTHER 195 

English race among the masters of the world. And, 
finally, since the cook is more potent in the home than 
the doctor, she will avoid those ill-prepared, ill-cooked, 
and unwholesome meals, which result in untold miseries 
of dyspepsia and depression, and which, to the mistress 
of a house, are a disgrace, if not indeed a crime. 

Next in order among the blessings of home we will 
place that of 

Peace. 

Beautiful exceedingly are the words of John Ruskin 
on this subject, where in his Sesame and .Lilies he 
says : " This is the true nature of home it is the place 
of peace ; the shelter, not only from injury, but from all 
terror, doubt, and division. In so far as it is not this, it 
is not home; so far as the anxieties of the outer life 
penetrate it, and the inconsistently-minded, unknown, 
unloved, or hostile society of the outer world is allowed 
by either husband or wife to cross the threshold, it 
ceases to be home; it is then only a part of that outer 
world which you have roofed over, and lighted fire in. 
But so far as it is a sacred place, a vestal temple, a 
temple of the hearth watched over by household gods, 
before whose faces none may come but those whom they 
can receive with love, so far as it is this, and roof and 
fire are types only of a nobler shade and light, shade 
as of a rock in a weary land, and light as of a Pharos in 
the stormy sea; so far, it vindicates the name, and 
fulfils the praise, of home." 



196 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

The true wife should possess such qualities as will 
tend to make home, as much as may be, a place of 
repose. No spirit, however gentle, can long endure an 
unrestful domestic environment. A man may be strong, 
but he is still only human, and having, in his rough 
work in the rush of business life, to face all peril and all 
battle, he wants the curtains drawn and the fretting care 
shut out when he enters the precincts of home. Here 
he must be delivered, as far as possible, from the troubles 
of family management; from the atmosphere of noise, 
confusion, and irregularity ; and more especially from all 
possibility of debt Here the restless or anxious spirit 
must nestle down, and, almost without volition, fall into 
its cheerful round, recovering tone and calm and strength. 
From hence he must go forth again to the daily battle 
with a tranquil mind and a whole heart. Lecky, the 
historian, passing from stately prose to pleasant poesy, 
has portrayed the true house -mother with dainty 
exactness 

Twas thine to shed a soothing balm 

On doubt, and grief, and strife, 
And make a bright and holy calm 

The atmosphere of life. 

Thy touch of sympathy could find 

j j To frozen hearts the key ; 

| The darkened and the arid mind 

I Gave light and fruit for thee. 

1 

f| Ah! many a flower unnoticed springs 

I On life's most trodden ways, 

"j And common lives and common things 

l| Grow nobler in thy praise 



WOMAN AS HOUSE-MOTHER 197 

In an old Scandinavian ballad a warrior calls his 
love, My Dearest Rest! "Three grateful words," says 
F. Greenwood, " and the most perfect crown of praise 
that ever woman wore." 

Another essential in the home to which the prudent 
house-mother will give due regard is 

Brightness. 

Home Is the shrine of the affections. It is the 
place where children love and smile and play. It is 
the place where husband and wife link hands and hearts 
to fill the cup of life with blessing. 

That these ends may be achieved, the wise house- 
mother will culture the habit of looking on the bright 
side of life, and of refusing to be worried by small 
things. She will retain her temper, and put a bridle 
on her tongue. Pope has well described her where 
he says 

She who ne'er answers till a husband cools, 
Or if she rules him, never shows she rules, 
Charms by accepting, by submitting sways, 
Yet has her humour most when she obeys. 

Dean Stanley has said with deep wisdom : " We may, 
if we choose, make the worst of one another. Every- 
one has his weak points; everyone has his faults: we 
may make the worst of these. But we may also make 
the best ol one another. By loving whatever is lovable 
in those around us, Love will flow back from them to 
us, and life will become a pleasure instead of a pain ; 
and earth will become like heaven ; and we shall become 



I 198 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

I not unworthy followers of Him Whose name is Love.* 

j? Blessed are the children who are daily baptized in the 

I tranquil waters of a happy home, and blessed is the 

I husband for whom home is the sweetest and gladdest 

*f place on earth. And if he be wise the husband will 

| link hands with his wife to make it so. He will realise 

i the truth, to which a keen observer of life has given 

| utterance, that " love amd happiness in a household is a 

J; thing to be worked for; not an over-ripe pear which 

; will drop into the mouth of the first gaping clown/' 

f Husbands are apt to look for perfection in their wives, 
; . but why should not the wives expect to find in them the 

i same quality? If he expects his wife to minister to 
his pleasure he should remember that it is his duty 
to minister to hers also. A woman's richest reward is 
found in the affection of those to whom she ministers so 

I constantly and so faithfully. Few men have the wit to 

I appraise at its real value a kiss, and a kindly word, when 

! they leave their wives in the morning, and when they 

y return at night. We strive after great things in life, 

I and see them in the tar distance when they really lie at 

\ -our feet Burns was not only a poet, but a philosopher 

| 1 when he wrote the simple lines 

f | To make a happy fireside clime 

*j To weans and wife, 

j | That's the true pathos and sublime 

, Of human life. 

$ Returning to the wise house-mother, we will further 

Si note that she will make home so attractive to her 



WOMAN AS HOttSE-MQTHER 199 

children that they will cherish the memory of their 
childhood, spent in the light of her smile, as the 
sweetest memory of their life. Life will lay its 
heavy burdens quite soon enough upon the shoulders 
of our children. While they are young let them sing 
with the birds, frolic with the lambs, and laugh with 
the brooklet. A gloomy girlhood or a sombre boy- 
hood are as improper as they are unnatural. This 
the wise mother will fully realise and labour to avoid. 
She will open her blinds by day to catch each glint 
of sunshine, and when winter howls outside she will 
have a blazing fire in the ingle nook mocking the 
idle tempest. She will hang pictures on the walls, 
and place books and magazines upon the table. Music, 
and entertaining games, and pleasant laughter will 
irradiate the hearth. Youth is exceedingly restless. It 
is disturbed by vain ambitions. It thirsts for action 
and longs for keen excitement. It loves life and 
revolts against monotony and death. It desires to 
touch existence in manifold ways to warm all its 
fingers at the fire. All this must be reckoned on in 
dealing with it. It must not be driven from home 
for the pleasure which home denies. It must not 
regard it merely as a place in which to eat and sleep. 
A monotonous, dismal home, where strictness frowns 
down happiness, and where the buoyant spirits of 
youth can find no sufficient vent, often results in sons 
frequenting the billiard and the bar room, and entering 
upon a course of recklessness and dissipation. 



200 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

The old Puritans put iron into our blood, and 
made us largely the strong, free people we are to-day. 
But their methods were not without their defects. 
They made life too sombre and too slow. They read 
too much of Sabbath into Sunday. They frowned on 
rational amusements, and with their rigorous code of 
all work and no play stole the brightness from young 
*' eyes, made young feet plod wearily along the highway, 

and taught us to take even our pleasures sadly. We 
1 have changed back again now to a brighter and 

I healthier view of life. All this is reflected in the 

| house of the wise home -mother, and it is well it 

should be so. 

l v Closer, closer let us knit 

Hearts and hands together, 

j ' Where our fireside comforts sit 

I In the wildest weather; 

Oh, they wander wide who roam 
? * For the joys of life from home. 

|j Another charm which will be present in the home 

^ of the wise house-mother is that of 

ii 

Beauty* 

Woman is God's last and most perfect utterance 
of beauty in the world. And the beauty which woman 
embodies she also commands. All things fair and 
sweet and radiant wait upon her steps and answer 
to her call. Where man summons them in vain, 
die dominates them like an enchantress. This is 



WOMAN" AS HOUSE-MOTHER aoi 

amply demonstrated in her home ministry. She is 
queen in the realm of the beautiful. Her deft 
fingers have a magic in them after which man 
strives in vain. They release the soul of things. They 
make them say what God intended they should say, 
when He lent them a portion of His own loveliness. 
She shakes out the folds of a curtain, which before 
was stiff and featureless, and it becomes fluent as a 
wave of the sea. She poises a flower in her fingers, 
and it assumes a new significance. It was dead before, 
but now lives, shaken by the breeze, and baptized by 
the dews of morning. 

Thus it is the office of woman to endow the home 
with that charm of beauty which, as Ruskin teaches, 
is one of the elements by which God has appointed 
that the human soul should continually be sustained. 

And by beauty we are not only sustained but also 
insensibly fashioned. Through admiration and sympathy 
it shapes us more or less after its own likeness. We 
become assimilated to that on which we look. It 
becomes a part of our being. Such is the exquisite 
teaching of Wordsworth with regard to Nature and the 
human soul, where he says of the boy who lived by 
Winander 

The visible scene 

Would enter unawares into his mind, 
With all its solemn imagery, its rocks, 
Its woods, and that uncertain heaven, received 
Into the bosom of the steady lake. 

The Venus of Milo is but dead and speechless 



202 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

marble, yet it has moulded human forms and human 
faces into finer grace and daintier motion. 

Thus beautiful things in the home, a picture or a 
flower, impress their beauty on those who live and 
breathe among them. Many an awkward girl receives 
some touch of grace through lovely surroundings, and 

the vulgarity of the poor owes much of its coarseness 
j to the sights and sounds with which they are familiar 
i in their squalid and unlovely homes. 

* And this charm of beauty can appear as easily 
*' in the cottage as in the mansion. It can enter the 

door in the perfume of the sweet-briar, and climb the 
"i walls and look into the windows with the roses. One 

f l of the daintiest rooms I ever entered was in a lowly 

i home in Wales, which the good taste of a woman had 

\ transfigured. A refined soul had found expression in 

; every detail, and the finished result was an ideal of 

pure and delicate loveliness. 

; And our dear old England boasts many such homes 

T as this, " I passed," says an American traveller, " on 

my road from Dover many cottages so tasteful and so 
embowered with roses, that I envied their occupants/ 1 
" I neither fancy houses like an upholsterer's shop," says 
Fanny Fern, "nor yet unpaid bills; but I would have 
every mother and father enquire whether money spent 
in dress and cigars would not be better expended in 
making home so bright for their children that other 
places would look dim by comparison. ... It needs not 
the wealth of Croesus to give them those few touches 



WOMAN AS HOUSE-MOTHER 203 

which so attract and satisfy young eyes." Yes, the 
home of the true house-mother will be the dwelling- 
place of beauty. 

Yet further, the home of the true house- mother will 
be characterised by 

Thrift. 

Looking after little things, that nothing be lost, is 
the main element in thrift. " The wise adaptation of little 
to little ; the making the little more, and the more most ; 
the habit of wise frugality; the knowing how to turn 
everything that one touches to some economic use ; the 
being willing to do it ; the waiting in the doing of it, 
until, by frugality and care, you are able to live more 
largely" all these things keep school in the heart of 
the wise house-mother. 

"Waste not, want not," is a good motto for the 
mantelpiece, and it is really surprising to find how 
independent of large means household happiness is, and 
how much of it can be condensed in the humblest home. 
The wise woman will avoid the domestic trouble caused 
by that excess in expenditure which arises from the 
desire to emulate her neighbours in their social enter- 
tainments, their equipages, their children's education, 
their luxuries, and their outward show. Instead of 
crying to her husband, " Give 1 give ! 1 " because of her 
love of luxury and display, she will urge him to seek 
wealth chiefly for beneficent uses, and thus the demon 
of greed which has crushed more human hearts than 



20 4 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

war or slavery will relax his hold on the patient 
millions who strive and toil for the privileged few. 

All the happiness of life is not with those who 
can spend most freely. The very care and forethought 
it requires to keep expenses within earnings give an 
agreeable occupation to the thoughts, unfelt by those 
whose resources are more than adequate for their needs. 
This Charles Lamb felt when, writing to his sister in 
their more prosperous days, he said: "A purchase is 
but a purchase now. We have money enough and to 
spare, Formerly it used to be a triumph. When we 
coveted a cheap luxury, we were used to have a debate 
for and against^ and think what we might spare it out 
of, and what saving we could hit that should be an 
equivalent. A thing was worth buying then when we 
felt the money that was paid for it." 

A wise economy preserves the happiness of many a 
household, for there are few things more galling and 
degrading than debt. How happy is he who can say, 
c< I have never been in debt " ! Debt puts a man under 
irksome obligations, interferes with his liberty, clothes 
him with shame, and makes him, to a certain extent, a 
slave. " It was debt," says one, " that caused Burns to 
write from bitter personal experience: 'Poverty, thou 
half-sister of death, thou cousin-gerrnan of hell, where 
shall I find force of execration equal to the amplitude 
of thy demerits ? ' It was debt that caused Lord Byron 
the humiliation of seeing his house more than once 
invaded by the bailiff, and, to use his own phrase, * his 



WOMAN AS HOUSE-MOTHER 205 

household gods shivered around him, 1 It was debt that 
tortured the feelings of the amiable Leigh Hunt, and 
caused many a domestic pang. Debt, too, embittered 
the career of Haydon, the painter, making his life one 
long, unsuccessful struggle. Debt also clouded many 
of the last days of Sir Walter Scott, and paralysed his 
noble intellect in his final effort to extricate himself 
from its meshes. Debt for a time brought down to 
earth the soaring wing of Robert Pollock, Debt wrung 
the proud spirit of William Pitt, and broke off his love- 
match with Miss Eden ; and, closing the catalogue of 
victims, debt crippled the career of Father Mathew in 
his temperance labours, and threatened his cause with 
a distressing collapse. Happy they who can sweep 
this enemy to happiness from their path. Well might 
honest John Evelyn write in his journal, * This day I 
paid all my debts to a farthing, O blessed day ! ' " It 
should also be remembered in this connection that, 
without thrift, a man cannot be generous. He cannot 
take part in the charitable work of the world. If he 
spends all he earns, he can help nobody. That was a 
noble prayer of Goethe's, where he said, " God grant 
that I may daily become more economical, that I may 
be able to do more for others," 

One of the three famous sentences inscribed in 
golden letters in the temple of Delphi was this : " Misery 
is the consequence of debt and discord" From these 
demons the wise house-mother is careful to guard her 
home. 



2o6 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

Another lovely habitant in her heart and home 
will be 

Contentment 

This is the spirit which regards with grateful 
appreciation all surrounding advantages, and which 
delivers the mind from the fever of desires which are 
impossible of attainment. It is the acquiescence of the 
soul in the portion of good which it possesses. 

The wise woman will not involve her home in 
constant disquiet because it is not quite so wealthy 
or so commodious as her ambition desires. She will 
not peak and pine because her dress is not so elegant 
or costly as that of some wealthier friend. She will 
not suffer the want of some little convenience, some 
personal gratification, some outward form or ornament, 
to ruffle her temper, or to blight her joy. Rather will 
she discern that circumstances are not half so essential 
to our happiness as some people imagine, and that 
there are many things which she can afford to do 
without. 

When Socrates, the wise man of Greece, was one 
day walking through the market of Athens, and looking 
at the various articles exhibited for sale, he exclaimed : 
" How many things there are which I do not want ! " 
The way to be truly rich is not so much to increase our 
fortunes as to moderate our desires. 

That is a profound saying which reads : " If we 
cannot realise the ideal> let us try to idealise the real.' 



WOMAN AS HOUSE-MOTHER 207 

Homes are not made up of material things. It is not 
a fine house, or rich furniture, or a luxurious table, that 
make a home. Home for a true woman is where love 
is where she loves and is beloved. Robe her in satins, 
let her flash with jewels, and handle uncounted gold, 
and if love be stricken from her life she is ready to 
perish with hutiger. 

Talk not of cares. 

A childless angel might well envy thee 
The pleasures of a mother. 

How often we undervalue the good we do possess. 
That mother thinks she is comparatively poor, but offer 
her ten thousand pounds for the little girl whose bright 
laughter rings through the house, or for the boy who 
nestles in her lap, and she will find that she is richer 
than she knew. Alas for us, that these common bless- 
ings, which are the most precious of all, like the sunlight, 
and the green earth, and the blue sky, and the darkness 
which closes weary eyes, and shuts out earth to open 
up the universe, are not valued because we are so 
familiar with them. No true mother needs to travel 
from home in search of enjoyment, and if she has to do 
so now and then in search of health, unrest and longing 
haunt her until she clasps her darlings to her heart 
again. 

It is true that the work of the house-mother is 
never finished, and that she is often weary. But she 
would rather be tired in ministering to her loved ones 
than have no loved ones dependent on her ministry. 



2o8 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

An unknown author has expressed this sentiment very 
beautifully in the following lines, which may be entitled - 

Tired Mothers 

A little elbow leans upon your knee, 

Your tired knee, that has so much to bearj 
A child's dear eyes are looking lovingly 

From underneath a thatch of tangled hair. 
Perhaps you do not heed the velvet touch 

Of warm, moist ringers, folding yours so tight \ 
You do not prize this blessing over much, 

You almost are too tired to pray to-night. 

But it is blessedness ! A year ago 

I did not see it as I do to-day; 
We are so dull and thankless, and too slow 

To eaten the sunshine, till it slips away. 
And now it seems surpassing strange to me, 

That while I wore the badge of motherhood, 
I did not kiss more oft and tenderly 

The little child that brought me only good. 

And if, some night, when you sit down to rest, 

You miss this elbow from your tired knee 
This restless, curly head from off your breast, 

This lisping tongue that chatters constantly 
If from your own the dimpled hands had slipped, 

And ne'er would nestle in your palm again; 
If the white feet into the grave had tripped, 

I could not blame you for your heartache then* 

I wonder so that mothers ever fret 

At little children clinging at their gown, 
Or that the footprints, when the days are wet, 

Are ever black enough to make them frown. 
If I could find a little muddy boot, 

Or cap, or jacket, on my chamber floor ; 
If I could kiss a rosy, restless foot, 

And hear it patter in my house once morel 



WOMAN AS HOUSE-MOTHER 209 

If I could mend a broken cart to-day, 

To-morrow make a kite to reach the sky 
There is no woman in God's world could say 

She was more blissfully content than I. 
But, ah I the dainty pillow next my own 

Is never rumpled by a shining head ; 
My singing birdling from its nest is flown: 

The little boy I used to kiss is dead ! 

Another quality which will shine and bless in the 
home of the wise house-mother is that of 

Considerate Kindness. 

This beautiful quality exhibits itself in the effort to 
contribute to the happiness of others, and to avoid, 
as far as possible, that which will fret or annoy them, 
It stands off from mere impulse or caprice. It is love 
based on a sense of justice and tempered with reflective 
wisdom. It is love which endeavours to put itself in 
the place of others, and standing there to realise how 
they feel, how they think, and what treatment they 
should receive at our hands. 

Let us consider this quality first, with regard to the 
house-mother's relation to the husband. 

The wise wife will take due heed to the lines of our 
greatest English poet 

Thy husband is thy lord, thy life, thy keeper, 
Thy head, thy sovereign, one that cares for thee. 
And for thy maintenance commits his body 
To painful labour, both by sea and land. 
To watch the night in storms, the day in cold 
While thou liest warm at home, secure and safe, 
And craves no other tribute at thy hands 
But love, fair looks, and true obedience. 

"4 



210 WOMAN': HER CHARM AND POWER 

That was an astute clergyman who, when he had 
tied the marriage knot binding two lives in one, was 
careful always to whisper to the bride as his parting 
counsel, " Be sure never to have the last word." With 
regard to the vexed question of wifely obedience, it must 
ever be remembered that the word "obey" is not yet 
eliminated from the marriage service, as a promise 
uttered by the bride, and the thoughtful wife will give 
it due consideration. Neither will she forget how it 
has passed into a proverb that the spouse who gives 
her husband his own way for the first year after 
marriage, will have her own ever afterwards. 

When mastery cometh, then sweet love anon 
Flappeth his nimble wings and soon away is gone. 

The golden rule of married life is, " Bear and forbear/' 
It has been said with truth that, " marriage, like 
government, is a series of compromises. One must give 
and take, refrain and restrain, endure and be patient." 

The wisest and the happiest pair 
Will every day they live, 
Find something which they must forbear, 
Something they must forgive. 

The considerate wife will not fail to remember that the 
husband has the public battle. He has many vexations 
in the struggle to find bread and shelter for his loved 
ones which she cannot adequately estimate. He has 
many anxieties which she cannot thoroughly under- 
stand. He has many annoyances which send him home 
worn and irritated. When such moods are upon him 



WOMAN AS HOUSE-MOTHER an 

she will not be morbidly sensitive to what may appear 
a lack of attention. Rather will the music of her voice 
and the warmth of her affection draw forth the dark 
thoughts which coil, serpent-like, in the chambers of his 
soul, and set him free again to smile and be himself. 
"She will treat his failings with levity," as one has 
said, " and learn to be, as occasion serves, blind, deaf, 
and dumb, especially dumb." The harsh and bitter 
words which leave stings behind will not be permitted 
to leap forth. Undue anger will be checked and 
conquered, however hard the battle. 

For to be wroth with one we love, 
Doth work like madness in the brain. 

And this is the kind of wife whose wedded years will 
ripen towards their close, the last wine being better than 
the first, as it was in the marriage on which Jesus 
smiled. The tender light of mutual love and fealty wil! 
not wane as the evening shadows fall, but will wax 
fuller, as the moon's young crescent grows with time 
into the rounded orb which fills the heavens with holy 
quietness. Her husband will desire her above all others, 
not only when the bloom of youth is on her, but also 
when the silver of declining years threads the gold upon 
her gentle brow 

And so 'twixt 

Love and tears, and whatsoever pain 
Each fitly shares with each, these two grow old ; 
And, if indeed blest thoroughly, they die 
In the same spot, and nigh the same good hourj 
And setting suns look heavenly on their grave. 



212 WOMAN": HER CHARM AND POWER 

Considerate kindness will also be exercised by the wise 
house-mother in 

The Treatment of Children. 

There is a weighty difference between a bad and a 
foolish mother. A really bad mother is a monstrosity 
a being so unnatural and so rare that we shall not dis- 
cuss her in these pages. The true mother is Heaven's 
own creation. God has made her and planted in her 
heart a portion of His own patient, enduring, self- 
sacrificing love. It is only needful that this love should 
be coupled with thoughtful consideration, to constitute 
a control which is most helpful and beneficent 

How wise are those lines of Coleridge 

Would'st thou o'er wayward childhood hold firm rule 
And sun thee in the light of happy faces ; 
Love, hope, and patience, these must be thy graces, 
And in thy own heart they must first keep schooL 

There are many more shining qualities in a mother, but 
there is none so useful as discretion. It is this, indeed, 
which gives a value to all the rest, setting them to work in 
their proper times and places, and turning them to con- 
tinual advantage in the management of the household. 

The wise house-mother will not expect from her 
children that thoughtfulness and discretion which belong 
to riper years. They have no experience gathered from 
the past. They cast no prophetic glance into the future. 
They cannot, therefore, be expected to take life as 
seriously as their elders. Furthermore, the wise house- 



WOMAN AS HOUSE-MOTHER 213 

mother will not be alarmed at every venial fault, and 
every wayward act, as if it were a vice. Girls in their 
earlier years may seem vain, indolent, dreamy, and 
discontented. Boys may appear unduly thoughtless, 
rude, boisterous, and impulsive. But every growth is 
not a cancer, and the folly and frowardness of children 
must be tried " by the law of kindness." Let love, 
hope, and patience have their perfect work, and the 
* anxious mother will not fail to reap as she has sown. 

Meanwhile she will endeavour to sow wisely. She will 
cultivate in her children love, reverence, obedience, self- 
forgetfulness, and self-control. She will teach them the 
value of work and the nobleness of service. She will 
avoid in her dealings with them anything approaching 
to injustice. She will show no favouritism and indulge 
no preferences. She will adapt herself to those 
differences of tendency and temperament which render 
the discipline suited to one child utterly unsuited to 
another* She will encourage her children to confide in 
her to come to her in their troubles, and even to tell 
her where they have erred, and how they have repented 
of the wrong. She will never talk of breaking the will 
of a child. A child's will can no more be too strong 
than a child's limbs, or a child's brain. The one great 
thing it will need in the battle of life will be the 
power to say " No," and to hold to it without flinching. 
The wise mother will quicken in her boys every 
honourable ambition, and will correct in her girls the 
erroneous impression that they are "finished" when 



314 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

the portals of school have closed behind them, while 
before them are the portals of life, with all its solemn 
and momentous issues. She will instruct them how to 
make the best of themselves, of their means, their 
position, and their natural capacities. She will rebuke 
that tendency to slang which is so painfully prevalent 
in the present time, showing that such terms as 
"Awfully jolly," "Beastly this," and "Blooming that," 
are but the counters of ignorance and vulgarity. She 
will discountenance vain and frivolous companionships, 
remembering the power of environment in the shaping 
of character and destiny. And, finally, she will guard 
their purity with the vigilance of a seraph, keenly scruti- 
nising the men who seek their acquaintance, and mindful 
of the monitory lines - 

Let this great maxim be my virtue's guide, 
In part she is to blame who has been tried ; 
He comes too near, who comes to be denied. 

The wise house-mother will also manifest considerate 
kindness in 

The Treatment of Domestic Servants. 

This is a subject which I desire to emphasize, for it 
is of no mean or secondary importance, but is vital in 
the management of the household. 

Napoleon, at St. Helena, was once walking with a 
lady when a man came up on the narrow platform with 
a load on his back. The lady kept her side of the path, 



WOMAN AS HOUSE-MOTHER 215 

and was ready to assert her precedence of sex. But 
Napoleon gently waved her on one side, saying, " Respect 
the burden, madam." This is a fruitful lesson which 
all should take to heart who have the control of servants. 
In our treatment of them we need to remember that 
they also are human, with troubles and joys, cares and 
hopes, a heart and a will like our own. 

When the Duke of Wellington was sick unto death, 
the last thing he took was a little tea. On his servant 
handing it to him in a saucer, and asking him if he 
would have it, the Duke replied, " Yes, if you please/ 5 
These were his last words, and it is beautiful to 
ponder the considerate kindness which was expressed 
by them. 

To suppose that it is derogatory to our position to be 
civil to a dependant or a menial is a vulgar error which 
we shall be wise to correct at once. We ought to feel 
deeply obliged to those who faithfully serve us, since it 
is a mere accident that we happen to be the employers 
and they the employed. 

The ancient tyranny exercised over servants is happily 
a thing of the past, We live in times when the law 
of servitude has been elevated and consecrated by 
Christianity in the person of Him who said : " He that 
is greatest among you, let him be your servant." 
Furthermore, we are quite as dependent on our servants 
as they are on us, and if the house-mother would 
avoid a daily and losing battle with disrespectful, 
discontented, and incompetent servants, she must 



216 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

exercise towards them sympathy, consideration, and 
self-control 

It is a painful thought that there should be women 
growing up around us and ministering to our needs 
women who are continually inmates of our homes, of 
whose lives, sorrows, affections, and hopes we are as 
ignorant as if they lived on some other planet. 

" Only a poor servant ! " says the author of John 
Halifax^ Gentleman. " Only a person whom a whole 
household is obliged to trust, more or less, with its 
comfort, order, property, respectability, peace, health 
I was going to add life ; who, in times of sickness or 
trouble, knows more of its secrets than nearest acquaint- 
ance ; who is aware of all its domestic weakness, faults, 
and vexations ; to whom the * skeleton ' said to be in 
every house must necessarily be a thing guessed at, 
if not only too familiar; on whom master, mistress, 
children, or friend must be daily dependent for numerous 
small comforts and attentions, scarcely known, perhaps, 
until they are missed. Only a poor servant ! Why, no 
living creature has more opportunity of doing good or 
evil, and becoming to others either a blessing or a curse, 
than a ' poor servant ! ' . . . What do I expect 
from a servant? Why, precisely what I exact from 
myself the same honesty of word and act, the same 
| chastity and decency of behaviour, self-government in 

temper and speech, and propriety of dress and manner, 
' according to our respective stations. Therefore, in any 
{ disputed point, I, as being probably the more educated, 



WOMAN AS HOUSE-MOTHER 217 

older, if not wiser of the two, feel bound as much as 
possible to put myself in her place, to try and understand 
her feelings and character, before I judge her, or legislate 
for her. I try in all things to set her an example to 
follow, rather than abuse her for faults and failings which 
she has sense enough to see I am just as liable to as 
she." 

Here speaks the wise house-mother, and when such 
mistresses are multiplied among us, the enormous 
difficulty now realised in finding capable servants will 
vanish, and we shall have more of such faithful helpers 
as Sir Walter Scott depicts in Caleb Balderstone, or 
as Dean Ramsay describes, where he tells of one who 
had been all her life in the house of one master, to 
whom she said, as he feebly hobbled into her room 
to bid her farewell : " Laird, will you tell them to bury 
me where I'll lie across at your feet ? " The sorrow of 
Charles Lamb when old Hetty died, the faithful servant 
who had ministered to him and his afflicted sister Mary, 
through long years of anxiety and gloom, is one of the 
most pathetic episodes in his history. It was then he 
uttered the piteous wail, " I am quite sick ; I don't know 
where to look for relief. ... I almost wish that 
Mary was dead." 

Scarcely less moving is the story of how Dr Johnson 
knelt by the bedside of his devoted servant, giving her a 
pious kiss, and then recording : " We parted firmly, hoping 
to meet again." 

How beautiful also was the spirit which prompted 



2i8 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

the child-like Robert Louis Stevenson thus to dedicate 
A Child $ Garden of Verses to his nurse. 

To ALISON CUNNINGHAM 

FROM HER BOY 

For the long nights you lay awake 
And watched for my unworthy sake ; 
For your most comfortable hand 
That led me through the uneven land ; 
For all the story-books you read ; 
For all the pains you comforted ; 
For all you pitied, all you bore, 
In sad and happy days of yore : 

From the sick child, now well and old, 
Take, Nurse, the little book you hold I 
And grant it, Heaven, that all who read 
May find as dear a nurse at need, 
And every child who lists my rhyme, 
In the bright, fireside, nursery clime, 
May hear in it as kind a voice 
As made my childish days rejoice I 

Another blessed presence in the home and heart of 
the wise house-mother will be that of 

Piety. 

She will fear to enter on her solemn tasks, save in the 
strength of God and under the smile and benediction of 
the Holiest 

Religion is the crowning grace of motherhood, and 
the loveliest ornament of home. No household can be 
upheld in happiness and honour where this sentiment is 
disregarded or unknown. It enhances all that is joyous 
in family life, adorns all that is beautiful, sanctifies all 
that is strong, and alleviates all that is sorrowful. It 



WOMAN AS HOUSE-MOTHER 219 

hangs the stars above the roof-tree, opens the windows 
on eternity, and makes the ingle glow with the 
splendours of heaven. The dwellings which are left 
without regret and remembered without reverence are 
those which no prayer has hallowed, no love of God 
enriched, and no faith in the invisible ennobled. Un- 
speakably blessed are the homes in which the mother's 
heart has found its true gravitation in God, and draws 
all the rest toward that great abiding Centre. Com- 
mitted to the arms of the compassionate Eternal, by a 
mother's prayers and by a mother's trust, the family 
never lose each other in whatever land they roam, or on 
whatever sea they sail. They may go forth at death's 
stern bidding, but they will be found at last in the 
heavenly home. 

In ancient times a text of Scripture above the door 
of the house used to tell the story of the inmates' trust 
in a Divine Protector. Though this custom is now 
abandoned, the devout house-mother will still desire the 
motto of her dwelling to be, " As for me and my house, 
we will serve the Lord." She will agree with the 
sentiment of the poet 

I cannot dwell where God is not, 

And wh'ere He vital breathes, there must be joy. 

Piety is the beauty of life everywhere. It is 
beautiful in the Court, in the workshop, in the Senate, 
and in the Church, but its fullest, sweetest light is shed 
on the Home. All the natural bonds of the household 
are strengthened by the great bond of religion. It is a 



220 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

mighty factor in the promotion of that order, which is 
Heaven's first law. Beautiful exceedingly, and a serene 
creator of the beautiful, it includes within itself, not only 
" the primal virtues which shine aloft like stars," but also 
"the charities which soothe and bless, and which are 
scattered at our feet like summer flowers." 

When all the powers of the house-mother are conse- 
crated by the heavenly hands of vital piety when 
it refines her beauty, rebukes her pride, pervades her 
ministry, glorifies her tenderness, and immortalises her 
affection how blessed is the result ! The alabaster 
box of her affections and desires has been broken at the 
Saviour's feet, and the house is filled with the odour of 
the ointment " Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentle- 
ness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance these are 
the odours which fill the place, and none can escape the 
benediction of their presence." 

The Lot of the Servant 

t 

will be sweetened by genuine religion in the heart of 
the house-mother. True religion is the etiquette of 
heaven, and will render unto all that which is their due. 
A housewife's character is not revealed, or even tried, 
until you follow her from the assembly, or the church, to 
watch her temper, her tones, her manners, with cook 
and seamstress and nursery-maid. Sometimes you are 
as rudely disenchanted by the transition as when you see 
the choir-boys, who look so angelic in the service, rush 
shouting from the side-door of the cathedral. But vital 



WOMAN AS HOUSE-MOTHER 221 

piety in the house-mother will restrain temper and 
rebuke arrogance in her relations towards her servants 
and dependants. It will engender in her respect for 
their human nature and their human needs. Their 
physical comfort will be studied, in the due provision of 
all that is essential for bodily health, such as light and 
air in their rooms and offices, due consideration in the 
arrangement of their work and hours, together with 
kindly expedients for saving their strength and securing 
them the necessary intervals for rest and refreshment, 
Their moral and religious necessities and aptitudes will 
also be considered. If there is an altar in the home, 
they will be invited to gather round it and share in the 
worship of Him who is the Maker of us all, and with 
whom there is no respect of persons. As far as possible 
the labour of Sunday will be lightened, and a breathing 
space afforded after the pressure of the week. And 
because they also have a personal relation to God and 
immortality, they will be offered fitting opportunities for 
public worship. In short, the noble house-mother will 
recognise the fact that her servants are of like passions 
and feelings with herself, capable of similar elevation or 
deterioration of character, and amenable to the same 
moral and spiritual laws. 

The piety of the house-mother will also influence 
for good 

The Life of Her Husband. 

A wife's condition is distinctly favourable to religion 
more favourable than that of her husband, She is 



222 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

not so goaded by the rush of life, or so distracted by the 
cares of the world. She is not so pressed with outward 
temptation. Material pursuits do not check, to the same 
extent, her spiritual progress. Her heart has fuller play. 
Her spirit breathes a more congenial air. Like a 
ministering angel, therefore, she will labour to strengthen 
her husband in all nobleness, and to shed on his path 
those finer influences which are born of fellowship with 
celestial things. Side by side she will stand with him, to 
guide and strengthen while she keeps clear of " the dust 
of his chariot wheels," that her eye may see and her 
tongue may counsel while his eye and spirit are dimmed 
in the strife. " The only love, worthy the name," says 
George Macdonald, "ever and always uplifts." This 
form of love the true wife will covet with a miser's care. 
She will stand, if need be, as a mediator between her 
husband and Heaven. She will so order her life in his 
presence that he will be constrained to say 

I, from the influence of thy looks, receive 

Access in every virtue ; in thy sight 

More wise, more watchful, stronger, if need were 

Of outward strength ; while shame, thou looking on, 

Shame to be overcome or overreached 

Would utmost vigour raise. 

Clovis is not the only husband who has been won for 
Christ by the ministry of his wife. And if the pious 
house-mother should fail in this high purpose, her 
virtues will still exercise a restraining power on him she 
loves, stirring the embers of the divine within him and 
preserving him from the taint of the grosser vices. " The 



WOMAN AS HOUSE-MOTHER 

lordship of love is good," says Dante, " in that it with- 
draws the inclination of his liegemen from all vile things." 
Mighty, also, is the influence of the pious mother on 

The Children in the House. 

There is a kind of nurture of young immortals which 
stops short of religion, which looks at the lower and 
merely ethical nature of the child, leaving its capacity for 
God untouched and its premonitions of eternity unin- 
structed. But the wise house-mother, who has herself 
entered into the great secret, and found affiance in God, 
will not thus starve the noblest faculty of the soul. 

Unspeakably sacred is the love of motherhood when 
sanctified by religion when the thought of the world to 
come deepens its solicitude, and the grace of the pitying 
Spirit directs its prayers. A mother on her knees is 
dowered with more than a seraph's strength, for she 
touches the heart and moves the arm of God. 

And beautiful as a mother is when she prays for her 
children, she is still more beautiful when she teaches them 
to pray. How often has the prayer learnt at a mother's 
knee put devils to flight! They cannot drift far from 
God and good, or lie down content in evil, who have 
lifted tiny hands in a mother's presence and learnt to love 
and revere a mother's Saviour. 

Neither will the godly mother find that the child is 
unsuited for religion, or that to speak to it of heavenly 
things is to usher it into a strange and uncongenial 
sphere. Every good possible to us finds something 



224 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

within us which may lay hold of it. Food finds a body, 
light finds eyes, beauty finds taste, friends find affection, 
and God finds a faith-faculty. We come into the world 
endowed with a capacity for God. We enter life 
dowered with the capability of discerning and receiving 
spiritual things. We are not born infidels, agnostics, or 
utilitarians, but believers. Religion is not the artificial 
product of mental instruction, it is the native sigh of the 
soul for the God who is its life. 

Children and Religion 

How fine are those lines of Wordsworth's where, 
dealing with the Platonic doctrine of the soul's pre- 
existence in God, before it enters the present world, he 
draws from it the conclusion that the child is nearer to 
God than the man, because it has come into the world 
fresh from God and from the ocean of eternity 

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting : 
The soul that rises with us, our life's star, 
Hath had elsewhere its setting, 

And cometh from afar; 
Not in entire forgetfulness, 
And not in utter nakedness, 
But trailing clouds of glory do we come 
From God, who is our home: 
Heaven lies about us in our infancy! 
Shades of the prison-house begin to close 

Upon the growing boy, 
But he beholds the light, and whence it flows* 

He sees it in his joy ; 
The youth, who daily farther from the east 
Must travel, still is Nature's priest, 
And by the vision splendid 
Is an his way attended; 






WOMAN 1 AS H USE-MO THER 225 

At length the man perceives it die away, 
And fade into the light of common day, 

Yes, men have wandered inland from the immortal 
sea which brought us hither, but the children are still 
upon the shore. 

The words and thoughts of God are not strange to 
them. They are the echoes of the music of the home 
they have recently left. Faith in religion is easy in 
childhood. " Of such is the kingdom of heaven." 

And the religion of Him who said, " Suffer the little 
children to come unto Me, and forbid them not," is 
beautifully adapted to childhood. The leviathan may 
toss and wallow in this boundless sea, but the children 
may also wade and paddle on the shore. Christianity 
reveals God as a Father, and thus connects Him with the 
earliest name which infancy is taught to lisp. It teaches 
the everlasting principles of duty ; and the sense of duty 
unfolds itself in the earliest stages of our being. It tells 
of a future world grandly peopled by angel and archangel, 
cherubim and seraphim ; and childhood welcomes the idea 
of the vast, the wonderful, and the unseen. It leads the 
child to the cradle of a Saviour, who Himself became a 
little Child for the redemption of little children, and thus 
the majesty of God stoops down to touch the infant heart. 

God gives Himself as Mary's babe 

To sinners' trembling arms, 
And veils His everlasting light 

In childhood's feeble charms. 
His sacred name a common word 

On earth He loves to hear ; 
There is no majesty in Him 

Which love may not come near. 



226 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

Thus the way of the mother with regard to the 
culture of religious life in her children is prepared before 
her, alike by the natural aptitudes of the child, and by 
the tender condescension of God. The latent capacity 
is there ever waiting to burst into consciousness and to 
spring forth at her touch. The shrine is lighted and 
vocal before the Deity is revealed, beneath the shadow of 
whose wings it is our privilege to rest, until the spirit 
which came from God returns to Him who gave it. 
Then, in the home of the Immortals, the children will rise 
up and call her blessed who taught them to bow before 
God in prayer, to look on Christ, and love and follow 
Him, to keep a conscience undefiled in the battle with 
the world, and to cast anchor within the eternal veil 



CHAPTER IX 

LONE WOMEN 

Oh, hearts that break and give no sign. 

Save whitening lip and fading tresses, 
Till death pours out his cordial wine, 

Slow dropped from Misery's crushing presses 
If singing breath or echoing chord 

To every hidden pang were given, 
What endless melodies were poured, 

As sad as earth, as sweet as heaven 1 

O W. HOLLAND. 

Lone women, members of that class some of wnom have the warmest 
hearts in the world, who are the chosen refuge of every needy unfortunate, 
from boys in scrapes and poor people in need to men and women with some 
secret sorrow to tell into a sympathetic ear. Their love has not been centred 
on one, so it embraces a hundred ; their interest has not been narrowed to a 
single home, so it ranges through a city ; no lover has monopolised their 
devotion ; so the alabaster box has been broken at the feet of Christ. 

Rev. JOHN WATSON, D.D. ("Ian Maclaren"). 

WE have written of the wife and of the mother, 
and of the sacred offices which they fulfil in 
life. Neither are we prepared to deny that these rela- 
tions are the most natural and desirable for a woman. 
A home of her own, a devoted husband, the thrilling 
touch of baby hands what true woman is there who 
does not desire these things ? But we must remember 

that there is a very large and increasing proportion of 

*ar 



228 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

women to whom these desirable things are denied. What, 
then, of their life and of their destiny ? Are they shut 
out from the meaning and the glory of womanly existence 
through no fault of their own ? Is their life to be regarded 
as a failure a maimed, broken, and imperfect thing, be- 
cause they have missed certain conditions which their own 
womanly dignity forbade them to labour to secure ? By 
no means. Such a conception can only be entertained 
by those shallow thinkers who regard woman merely 
as the property of man, made only for him, destined to 
find in him her aim and end, as if she had neither soul, 
conscience, nor moral liberty as if indeed God had 
nothing in her at all. This is a pagan and not a Chris- 
tian conception, and it is an act of mental baseness to 
cherish it, as well as an act of gross injustice to the 
sweetest of God's creatures. If the condition of wifehood 
and maternity are denied a woman, still her common 
human destiny remains unforfeited. This destiny is to 
develop in the noblest way her own individuality; to 
serve as far as in her lies the human family of which she 
is a part ; to glorify God the Father of her spirit ; and 
to prepare for that immortal life in which we are neither 
married nor given in marriage, but are as the angels of 
God. 

It is no more the exclusive vocation of a woman to 
be a wife and a mother, than it is the exclusive destiny 
of a man to become a husband and a father. The final 
aid of humanity is something higher than the propaga- 
tion of the race. This the coarsest animalism can 



LONE WOMEN 229 

accomplish, and we are often appalled at the result as 
we see helpless and neglected children spawned into our 
courts and alleys. Let us go back to the old, grand 
utterance, to the significance of which we have been 
blinded by our materialism and unbelief: " God made 
man in His own image, in the image of God created He 
him; male and female created He them." This image 
and likeness of God in us comes before our dominion over 
creation, or our capacity for replenishing the earth. The 
final cause of woman is not maternity, sacred or desirable as 
this may be, but virtue, service, God-likeness, immortality. 
Let us put 6rst, in this instance, that which is spiritual, 
and afterwards, that which is natural. Womanhood, 
true womanhood, is the essential thing. And woman- 
hood exists independently of outward attachments. To 
be a woman is to be something more and something 
higher than a sweetheart, a wife, or a mother. Apart 
altogether from these relations, to be a true woman is to 
be the highest and sweetest thing under these heavens. 

The Story of the Unmarried 

The causes why so many worthy women are unmar- 
ried are not far to seek. In point of numbers the sexes 
may be pronounced equal, but not more than two-thirds 
of the women of Great Britain are married. Social and 
economic conditions are largely accountable for this. 
There are many men so situated that they cannot hope 
to support a wife and children in decency and comfort. 
A great drain on our young men is made by India and 



230 WOMAN i HER CHARM AND POWER 

by our Colonies. Furthermore, the battle of life is keener 
and more destructive in the case of men than in that of 
women, as will appear if we instance occupations such as 
those of soldiers, sailors, miners, and railway servants. 

The selfishness of men is another cause of celibacy 
among women. Many men are not willing to take upon 
themselves the noble burdens of married life. There are 
luxuries and pleasures, and a dangerous liberty, which 
they will not surrender to live, as they call it, in fetters. 
They are not aware of the blessedness of being happily 
mated, neither have they properly considered the tender I 

love which a true union of souls elicits ; its sweetening 
and refining effect on character ; and the beautiful, hum- 
anising influences which follow in its train. 

When we think of the charming women less self- 
possessed and self-reliant than some of their sisters who 
are suffering from sheer heart-hunger, and who in their 
winsome tenderness would make a paradise of home, we 
feel inclined to denounce the selfishness of bachelorhood. 
There is a decree of the Zend Avesta which ordains that 
u any damsel who having reached the age of eighteen shall 
refuse to marry, must remain in hell till the resurrection." 
For our part we are more in sympathy with the action of 
the Greeks, who, at one of their ancient festivals, delivered 
up the bachelors to the women of the assembly, to be 
dragged round the altar by them and beaten, for the 
negkct of their sex. 

Sometimes this selfishness on the part of men takes 
the form of greed, so that, unless they are utterly be- 



LONE WOMEN * 3I 

witched by a beauty or a charm which they cannot resist, 
they refuse to marry without a substantial dowry. They 
would repudiate the idea of marrying for money, and 
yet they are careful to " go where money is." The 
American poet sums up the matter tersely, when he 
says 

O dimes and dollars dollars and dimes I 
An empty pocket's the worst of crimes J 

Self-respecting Independence 

is another reason for female celibacy. Many noble 
women are unmarried because they have not been mated. 
They would rather remain single than marry unworthily. 
They would rather stand alone than link with a sensualist 
or a clown. Thackeray, that tenderest of cynics and 
most serious of jesters, declared that any woman might 
marry any man, if she would. And it is certainly true 
that most old maids have declined to pay the price of 
marriage. The just cause and impediment which has 
withheld them from the holy estate of matrimony has 
been from within, not from without. They certainly do 
not consider themselves too good to marry. They are 
willing to concede that a true marriage is the ideal state. 
They would like a strong arm on which to lean, and little 
children to look trustfully and lovingly into their eyes. 
But it has not been their good fortune to find that other 
half and fulfilment of themselves whose coming could 
alone justify a step so important and so irrevocable. 
They are too honest, too brave, and too pure to marry 



*3* WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

unworthily or to marry merely for a home. They fully 
realise that to marry merely for a living, or for con- 
venience, or for vanity and display, would be nothing 
less than legal prostitution ; and the law of right in their 
soul repels it 

And it is plain that such women are to be regarded 
with reverence. Neither do they require the questionable 
favour of our pity, since they have acted wisely as well 
as nobly. We should be sorry to think that many of 
the gentler sex were like that Scotch lassie whose mother, 
when her late mistress, on going over the bride's com- 
fortable cottage and well-kept garden, remarked what a 
fortunate girl Mary was, replied, " Aweel, ma'am, maybe, 
maybe ; but there's joost ane little drawback she canna 
bide her man." Woe to the married woman, however 
favourable her surroundings, who " canna bide her man " ! 

We often hear it said that " marriage is a lottery." 
But the self-respecting woman regards the step too 
solemnly to accept the definition, and refuses to draw lots 
on an issue of such stupendous moment The instincts 
with which God has guarded the sacredness of marriage 
are strong and unerring, and the noble woman refuses to 
violate their sanctity, though the result may be that she 
must live alone. 

Such are some of the reasons why many of our human 
sisterhood remain unmarried ; and beside these there are 
others which, if fully known, would reveal in many an 
* old maid * a moral heroism which we could not choose 
but iKHioar, Self-respect; refined taste ; the love of an 



LONE WOMEN 233 

ideal never realised in the coarse materials with which 
circumstances brought her into contact; self-sacrifice to 
duty ; the claims of kindred, old or young, on her minis- 
trations ; ay, self-sacrifice by the true love * which seeketh 
not its own, 1 but the good and happiness of its beloved 
object, and which, accordingly, weighs carefully the whole 
circumstances of the case, making up the result of what 
is right and suitable for a woman to do, not only for her 
own sake, but chiefly for his. Oh, how many in the 
silence of their own heart, in their lonely chamber on 
their bended knees, or alone beneath the stars, with no 
eye upon them but that of God, have endured a long 
struggle and a crisis of great agony, while the knife 
pierced their 'heart as they offered up themselves as a 
sacrifice at the altar of duty, which is ever the sublimest 
sight on earth, in the eyes of pitying and admiring angels 1 
Such offerings as these are the more solemn and touching, 
because the more secret and unknown to the world, being 
made in the holy of holies of a pure and sensitive spirit, 
beyond whose veil no one can enter, save the one High 
Priest and Brother-man of the race 1 " 

In Praise of Lone Women 

Some men for whom the noble blush, and some 
matrons who have sold themselves in the marriage market, 
as truly as ever slaves were sold, have spoken contemptu- 
ously of " old maids," but, nevertheless, there are among 
them some of the sweetest and most unselfish of women. 
Neither do they lack voices which are loud in their praise, 



234 WOMAN : HER CHARM AND POWER 

or tributes to their unselfish devotion which must sound as 
music in their ears. " I speculate much," says Charlotte 
Bronte, " on the existence of unmarried and never-to-be- 
married women nowadays; and I have already got to 
the point of considering that there is no more respectable 
character on this earth than an unmarried woman, who 
makes her own way through life quietly, perseveringly, 
without support ot husband or brother; and who 
retains in her possession a well-regulated mind, a dis- 
position to enjoy simple pleasures, and fortitude to 
support inevitable pains, sympathy with the sufferings 
of others, and willingness to relieve want as far as her 
means extend." 

B^ranger caused to be placed on the tomb of his 
aunt this touching inscription 

She was never a mother, yet sons mourned for her. 

And Stranger's is not the only aunt for whom this in- 
scription would be appropriate. Unselfish, cheerful, and 
devoted, the maiden aunt is a personage well known in 
many a family, and numerous are they who call her 
blessed. For example, Ward Beecher writes : " There 
is many a woman who has consecrated her virginity to 
those that have no mother ; who seeks neither place nor 
praise; and who, by her example and instruction, is 
nourishing into refinement and excellence the children 
of others about her. She is one of those saints of the 
household that far surpass the saints of the Church 
calendar.** 



LONE WOMEN 235 

The testimony of Bishop Thorold is equally frank 
and beautiful where he says : " As for unmarried women, 
what a dreary wilderness this earth would be without 
them ! In thousands of homes the maiden sister or aunt 
is, the very angel of the family, the children's idol, the 
secret wonder and delight even of those who too un- 
scrupulously use her; by sick-beds and death-beds a 
divine consoler ; the depositary of the tender secrets of 
blushing hearts ; the unwearied friend of the old, and the 
poor, and the lonely. Old maids, indeed ! With certain 
obvious exceptions, they are the very salt of the earth, 
the calm and clear light of the household that is so 
blessed as to own them ; their distinction, to be wanted 
by everybody ; their reward, to be useful to everybody ; 
their home the snuggest, warmest place In the hearts 
that can love. And if they have a niche to fill on earth, 
as none can fill like them, many of them shall have a 
crown of surpassing brightness in heaven." 

In such cases as these the melodious lines of Long- 
fellow are appropriate 

So was her love diffused, but like some odorous spices, 
Suffered no waste nor loss, though filling the air with aroma. 
Other hope she had none, nor wish in life, hut to follow 
Meekly, with reverent steps, the sacred feet of her Saviour. 

Lost or Unrequited Love 

Though we tread on delicate and sacred ground, we yet 
feel that some reference should be made to the woman who 
is alone, either because she has lost the one nearer and 
dearer than all others, or who has loved and loved in vain. 



236 WOMAN; HER CHARM AND POWER 

Many a woman remains single all her life because 
death has taken from her the man she loved, and to 
whom she was so devoted that to wed another was 
impossible, or, if possible, seemed nothing less than 
sacrilege. He had her all of affection and of trust, and 
he has carried it with him into the grave. For her, " all 
sounds of life assumed one tone of love," and how dreary 
and full of heart-break is the silence which has fallen on 
that music. She realises fully that 

'Tis better to have loved and lost 
Than never to have loved at all. 

But this fact notwithstanding, it is nevertheless true that 
the June rose is withered, that the light of her life has 
gone out in darkness, and there is no Promethean torch 
which can re-kindle it One gifted woman who had felt 
this grief and could give it utterance, thus describes it : 
" Sometimes when I wake in the morning, and know that 
Solitude, Remembrance, and Longing are to be almost 
my sole companions all day through, that at night I 
shall go to bed with them, that they will long keep me 
sleepless, that next morning I shall wake to them again, 
I have a heavy heart of it." This sorrow often sets its 
seal upon the brow, and ploughs its furrows in the face, 
while it bears with it this additional bitterness, that 
it must be borne alone. 

Alone ! that worn-out word, 

So idly spoken, and so coldly heard; 

Yet all that poets sing, and grief hath known 

Of hope kid waste, knells in that word, Alone ! 



LONE WOMEN 237 

And if under the stern and constant pressure of such a 
sorrow the sufferer should sometimes appear soured and 
discontented, surely a very little charity will suffice to 
cover the offence. 

Sadder still than the lot of those who have loved and 
lost the object of their love, through the stern intervention 
of death, is the lot of those who have loved and lost 
through the fickleness and unworthiness of him at whose 
feet the treasure of their heart's affection has been laid. 
In such a case as this memory itself is poisoned, and the 
pillar of trust which sustains the house of life shaken to 
its base. Furthermore, a love lost through death will 
be restored in heaven ; but there is no restoration for the 
love which has been rudely flung away, as if it were not 
a priceless jewel to be held as a precious thing for ever, 
but only a toy, to be played with, broken, and cast aside. 

Scarcely less sad are the instances where a woman's 
love has been silently and secretly given without response 
from the person loved, where the arrow which has only 
glanced on the heart of the one, or left it utterly un- 
touched, has been buried deep in the heart of the other. 
In this case a longing has crept into the soul which, 
however pure, is yet associated with feelings of shame and 
disappointment, shame because the love was given 
unasked, and bitterness because, while given, it is unre- 
ciprocated. This is a sorrow which must needs be met 
with a smiling face and with a life unaltered in its aspect 
toward the world. It is vital to self-respect that neither 
mother, nor sister, nor familiar friend should know the 



238 WOMAN 1 ; HER CHARM AND POWER 

galling secret ; and least of all the man who has won, 
unsought, the affection to which his soul gives back no 
answering thrill. And thus " concealment like a worm in 
the bud " feeds not only on the " damask cheek," but 
eats away the joy and peace of life. 

If we may be permitted to offer a few words of 
counsel and encouragement to those of our human sister- 
hood who, for various reasons, stand alone in life, we 
would say first 

Find your Work in Life. 

Do not sit wailing by the fountains of the past, 
charging men with inconstancy, friends with unkindness, 
and the world with hollowness, but act in the living 
present. Much which might in your judgment have 
ministered to your happiness has been denied you, but it 
is still left to you to trust, to aspire, to toil. 

Never forget that the highest happiness, as well as 
the truest nobleness, springs from great love and much 
serving. Those who follow in the steps of Him who 
" came not to be ministered unto, but to minister," are 
never tormented by the question " Is life worth living ? " 
It is always worth living for those who are making it 
better worth living for others. Be swift, then, to love and 
serve. Make haste to be kind, and your night shall 
break into stars, and your wilderness into flowers. 

If you are doubtful as to what work you should under- 
take in life, do first the work which lies nearest you. 
That is a fruitful word of Holy Writ which says : " What- 



LONE WOMEM 239 

soever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might." 
Do the work you can touch from where you stand, the 
work which lies near you, the work which you need not 
iourney to some distant sphere to find. 

You may be the comfort and staff of your father in 
his declining years, yielding him that sweet service which 
is so precious because it is offered " all for love and 
nothing for reward." You may be the joy and stay of 
your mother, now that the silver hairs rest upon her brow 
and the hands have grown thin and tremulous, which in 
the old time were never tired of ministering to your needs. 
You may take the place of some lost mother in your 
brothers house, saving him from distraction and despair 
as he looks upon the little children whose needs are so 
constant and so various. You may step into the house- 
hold of your married sister, whose health has failed 
through the pressure of many duties and many cares ; and 
you may lighten her heavy burden by your hands, or by 
your brain, or by your purse ; and the patter of the little 
feet which follow you from room to room shall be as 
music in your ears. 

If a yet wider ministry should call you, do not hesitate 
to enter it, in God's strength, and with that sweet womanly 
pity which is balm to the wounded in life's stern battle, 
and oil to the tired wheels of labour. Go to the homes 
of the toiling and suffering poor and brighten them by 
your presence. Let the sick and the aged and the lonely 
be comforted by your voice as you address them in the 
accents of sympathy and tenderness, or read in their 



240 WOMAN': HER CHARM AND POWER 

hearing the Word of Life and the charter of the desolate. 
Let them learn that someone cares for them who is 
not paid for so caring. Be to them thought and hope 
and virtue. Be to them a messenger from the Man of 
Sorrows. "Let their timid aspirations find in you a 
friend ; let their trampled instincts be genially tempted 
out into your atmosphere ; let their doubts know that you 
have doubted ; let their sorrow know that you have wept. 
Discharge to them the priestly office, and present or 
absent you shall be followed by their love as by an 
angel." Let it be said of you 

Day unto day her dainty hands 

Make Life's soil'd temples clean, 
And there's a wake of glory 

Where her spirit pure hath been ; 
At midnight thro 3 that shadow land 

Her living face doth gleam ; 
The dying kiss her shadow, and 

The dead smile in their dream. 

Yet further we would say to the lone woman 

Fulfil your Personal Destiny. 

That part of your nature which wifehood and 

motherhood would have called into action may die un- 

"developed within you, but you are still yourself, a creature 

free, responsible, immortal, and you have your own 

destiny to guard and fulfil. Do not, in caring for the 

vineyard of others, neglect your own, for it also needs 

culture and husbandry, that it may lift a golden fruit 

into the air of heaven* 



LONE WOMEN 241 

Your individual perfection is a factor in your life-work 
which must not be disregarded. You are not a mere 
drop in an ocean, a mere sand grain on a shore, a 
mere unregarded leaf in an illimitable forest ; but you are 
individually precious to God, as a child is precious to a 
father. He does not feed the fowls of the air and mark 
the fall of the sparrow from the housetop, and neglect His 
children. He does not robe the fading lily in more than 
kingly splendour, and abandon in neglect the star-like 
flower of the human spirit, whose leaves may for ever 
pulsate to His breath and radiate the light which streams 
from His presence. Rather does He address to you that 
ideal counsel which His grace will help you to realise, 
" Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is 
in heaven is perfect." 

Neither do you know in how far the disappointments 
which have saddened and chastened you may be made 
ministrant to your higher destiny. Our human life is full 
of divinely balanced compensations, and there is no greater 
mistake in contemplating its issues than to suppose that 
shattered purposes and defeated hopes bear no fruit, 
because they do not bear that particular fruit which we 
have sought and sighed for. Have faith in God. Let 
Him choose your lot. Let Him mould and fashion you 
as He wills, Confide in the love of which human 
motherhood and human fatherhood are but the fleeting 
and uncertain shadows. He who created you and has 
redeemed you does not take you up to-day to drop you 
to-morrow. He is not sometimes for you and sometimes 

16 



242 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND PO WER 

against you. He has not framed the diverse harp of your 
complex nature to break its strings and fling it to the 
dust. He sees the end from the beginning, and loves you 
better than you know. Go then to Him in humble trust 
and say 

In the still air sweet music lies unheard, 

In the rough marble beauty lies unseen j 
To wake the music and the beauty needs 

The master's touch, the sculptor's chisel keen. 
Great Master ! touch me with Thy skilful hand, 

Let not the music that is in me die ; 
Great Sculptor I hew and polish me, nor let 

Hidden and lost Thy form within me lie. 
Spare not the stroke; do with me as Thou wilt; 

Let there be naught unfinished, broken, marred ; 
Complete Thy purpose that I may become 

Thy perfect image, O my God and Lord. 

Redress behind the Veil 

On souls alive and responsive to " the powers of 
the world to come" the conviction deepens with the 
lapse of years, that the present mode of our being is but 
a passing phase in our experience, and that our real 
end is a higher life and a perfect society, where. God will 
fulfil His whole plan concerning us, and where all the 
finer affections and instincts of our nature will be met 
and satisfied. 

It was this conviction which Oliver Wendell Holmes 
expressed when, writing of the unloved and unwedded, he 
said: "Somewhere somewhere love is in store for 
them ; the universe must not be allowed to fool them so 
cruelly ." No ! the universe will not fool them } because it 



LONE WOMEN 243 

is beneficent and our Father's. This is but the child- 
hood of our being, and beyond it, in eternity, there reigns 
that invisible goodness which never disappoints. Our 
nature is in God's hands, and we may trust Him. Life 
is a school under a Master who does not graduate His 
children into the grave. Life is a discipline, under 
divine control, which is not destined to end in death. 
" The Creator," says Emerson, " keeps His word with us. 
All that I have seen teaches me to trust Him for all I 
have not seen." For all whose lives, without any fault of 
their own, are embittered and disappointed here, there 
is " hope of answer and redress behind the veil." Much 
which we see here in human lot is broken and incomplete, 
a crescent moon nursing in its pale arms a globe of 
darkness : but there it will find completeness rolling full- 
orbed. 

Souls, almost afraid of our immortality, we know not 
yet how truly wonderful is the mere act of living. Fitly 
and with noble trust does the poet sing 

Grow old along with me I 

The best is yet to be, 
The last of life, for which the first was made : 

Our lives are in His hand 

Who saith, "A whole I planned, 
Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid." 

Is there no love which eternity can give us that we should 
expect it all in time ? Are the resources of God ex- 
hausted here, and is the future life all barren? Nay, 
verily, and so the lonely soul may face the unexplored 
issues of being with a smile. 



244 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

Very significant are the words of the authoress of 
John Halifax, Gentleman, where she says : " I would 
have every woman marry, not merely liking a man well 
enough to accept him as a husband, but loving him so 
wholly that, wedded or not, she feels she is at heart 
his wife, and none other's, to the end of her life. . , . 
If they never marry, as sometimes happens, God will 
cause them to meet in the next existence. They cannot 
be parted they belong to one another." 

Thus, there dwells in the finer feminine mind a clear 
presentiment of decrees which are resisted here, but which 
will find their fulfilment hereafter. A sensitive study of 
life generates the conviction that souls are often wedded 
where lips never touch, and that in the higher ranges 
of spiritual existence unions take place, which ordinary 
sexual relations would only degrade and profane. These 
swift, subtle, predestined, spiritual unions do not descend 
to kisses or embraces, but they are nevertheless irre- 
vocable and eternal. It is a process of wireless tele- 
graphy, wrought in a finer ether and accomplished by a 
more subtle lightning. That tender woman's soul may 
have looked only for an instant on the soul which .is its 
fellow the soul which is hers, her very own ; but it will 
return to her, though a thousand worlds may stand 
between. The door may be opened again in this life, or 
it may be closed for a century, but all is fixed, all is 
decided. A love has sprung into existence which may 
now seem futile and unavailing, but it will find its own 
one day, and can afford to wait. 



LOWE WOMEN * 245 

The profoundest poetic teacher of this century, a man 
who was not only poet but seer we allude to Robert 
Browning has expressed the lesson we desire to teach 
in that remarkable lyric which he entitles " Evelyn 
Hope." The poem is the lament of a man who loved a 
young girl who died before she was old enough to appre- 
ciate his love. The maiden was very much younger than 
he, but the life of the soul laughs at the accident of years. 
Contemplating her as she lies in the pure, pale beauty of 
death, he asks : " Is it too late, then ? " Not so, he 
reasons : God creates the love to reward the love, and he 
will claim her not in the next life alone, but, if need be, 
through many lives and worlds yet to come. He can 
wait, He will be more worthy of her in the future than 
he is now. There can never be one lost good. Science 
teaches that no atom of matter can perish, that every 
throb of energy is carefully conserved. And dumb, dead 
atoms, with their unsleeping and eternal vibrations, shall 
not mock the tenderness and the majesty of human affec- 
tions. Thus reasoning, he concludes it is not too late 

No, indeed 1 for God above 

Is great to grant, as mighty to make, 
And creates the love to reward the love ; 

I claim you still, for my own love's sake ! 
Delayed it may be for more lives yet, 

Through worlds I shall traverse, not a few : 
Much is to learn, much to forget 

Ere the time be come for taking you. 
So, hush I will give you this leaf to keep ; 

See, I shut it inside the sweet cold hand 1 
There, that is our secret : go to sleep 1 

You will wake, and remember, and understand. 



CHAPTER X 

THE BENEFICENT MINISTRY OF WOMAN 

Love seeketh not itself to please, 

Nor for itself hath any care, 
But for another gives its ease 

And builds a heaven hi hell's despair. 

W. BLAKE. 

To live for others, to suffer for others, is the inevitable condition 01 out 
being. To accept the condition gladly is to find it crowned with its own joy, 

WESTCOTT. 

ONE of the most fruitful results of the modern progress 
of woman is found in the fact that she is finding 
something to do. Fifty years ago the great canker at 
the root of woman's life was the want of occupation. 
" Idleness," says Miss Woodward, " was the hall-mark of 
good breeding. A woman would lose caste by work, 
and so, whatever abilities she might possess, her vocation 
was to be just that of a Dresden china shepherdess, no 
more ; to smile and look pretty, and be ready to har- 
monise with the drawing-room furniture of any man who 
could afford to give the high price requisite for such a 
possession." 

A finer equipment and a wider liberty, however, have 
in these later days made a blank and aimless existence 

54fi 



THE BENEFICENT MINISTRY OF WOMAN 247 

intolerable to woman. She longs to do some work and 
to be ol some use in the world. She desires not only to 
enjoy but to labour, not only to be ministered unto but 
to minister. No longer the blind, unthinking slave of 
fashion and of hollow conventionalities, she has learnt 
that work is not vulgar, but noble ; and the conviction 
grows upon her that it is not only noble, but obligatory 
on all, and that they who do not need to work for their 
daily bread should justify their existence by working for 
the well-being and happiness of others who are less 
fortunate than themselves. Frances Power Cobbe wittily 
says of woman : " She is like a collie dog, who may 
indeed be taught to live sleekly and behave himself 
admirably on the drawing-room rug, but who never shows 
himself for what he is worth, and is never so gleeful as 
when he is sent to gather all the stray lambs on the side 
of the mountain." 

Let us frankly admit that, in past years, we have not 
dealt fairly with the daughter in the house. Her brothers 
have been taught from the beginning that they were ex- 
pected to do something in life, to develop their faculties 
and justify their existence by some form of work. But 
the girls have been left to shift for themselves. It has 
been assumed that for them there was no fruitful employ- 
ment, and that they must go on in hopeless idleness until 
some man arrived to snatch them out of the dulness of 
their life, and give them something really to live for. 

And if the man did not arrive, what then? Why, 
in the majority of instances, bitterness, disappointment, 



HS WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

and the intolerable burden of a soured and wasted 
existence. 

Superfluous Daughters 

The condition of girls born of well-to-do parents 
under the old regime is well described by the author of 
John Halifax, Gentleman^ where, in her book entitled 
A Woman's Thoughts About Women, she says : " Tom, 
Dick, and Harry, aforesaid, leave school and plunge into 
life ; ( the girls ' likewise finish their education, come 
home, and stay at home. That is enough. Nobody 
thinks it needful to waste a care upon them. Bless them, 
pretty dears, how sweet they are ! papa's nosegay of 
beauty to adorn his drawing-room. He delights to give 
them all they can desire clothes, amusements, society ; 
he and mamma together take every domestic care off 
their hands ; they have abundance of time, and nothing 
to occupy it ; plenty of money, and little use for it ; 
pleasure without end, but not one definite object of 
interest or employment ; flattery and flummery enough, 
but no solid food whatever to satisfy mind or heart 
if they happen to possess either at the very emptiest 
. and most craving season for both. . . . And so their 
whole energies are devoted to the massacre of old Time. 
They pick him to death with crochet and embroidery 
needles ; strum him deaf with piano and harp playing 
not music cut him up with morning visitors, or leave 
his carcase in ten-minute parcels at every ' friend's ' house 
they can think of. Finally, they dance him defunct at 



THE BENEFICENT MINISTRY OF WOMAN 249 

all sorts of unnatural hours ; and then, rejoicing in the 
excellent excuse, smother him in sleep for a third of the 
following day. Thus he dies a slow, inoffensive, per- 
fectly natural death ; and they will never recognise his 
murder till, on the confines of this world, or from the 
unknown shores of the next, the question meets them : 
*What have you done with Time?' Time, the only 
mortal gift bestowed equally on every living soul, and, 
excepting the soul, the only mortal loss which is totally 
irretrievable." 

Self -respecting Daughters 

So much for the condition of things in the past ; but 
signs are not wanting that in the future this dreary, 
colourless, useless life will no longer be tolerated by self- 
respecting women. The soul, strung to fine issues, and 
touched by God, soon grows weary of amusement and 
sick of luxury. The one thing of which it never tires is 
the sense of usefulness. The result is, that on every side 
our human sisterhood are rising and asking for something 
to do. They can no longer endure the restlessness and 
discontent which arise from a want of occupation. They 
can no longer condescend to centre all their hopes and 
aims on matrimony. They feel that it is better for them 
to have some definite work in life, whether they are com- 
pelled to earn their living or not. Hence the large 
number of girls who are undergoing training for nursing, 
forming themselves into sisterhoods, offering themselves 
for medical service in China, or for zenana work in India, 



250 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

and in many other ways standing erect in the attitude of 
service and of sacrifice. 

This is as it should be, and there is golden promise 
in it, alike for the workers themselves and for the suffering, 
needy world in which they stand, Truly is it said that 
" there are thousands in our world to-day who are look- 
ing out of their loneliness, their poverty, or their crime, 
for the New Age, when women shall be truer to them- 
selves than men have ever been to women; the new 
age of a higher civilisation, when moral power shall 
take the place of brute force, and peace succeed to 
war." 

It must be apparent to all that it would be neither 
wise nor noble for the women who have ample means and 
comfortable homes to thrust themselves into the already 
over-crowded labour market and to compete with their 
toiling and needy sisters, who have already quite enough 
to do to keep upon their feet. Their duty is in the sphere 
of benevolence and unpaid service, and into this sphere 
they are thronging with an enthusiasm which is full of 
promise for needy and suffering humanity. It is one of 
the special glories of our time that thousands of winsome 
girls and noble women are working to-day for the afflicted, 
the distressed, the fallen, the orphans, and the helpless. 
They have caught the- spirit of the consecrated poet where 
he cries 

O Lord 1 that I could give my life for others, 

With no ends of my own ; 
That I could pour myself into my brothers, 

And live for them alone. 



THE BENEFICENT MINISTRY OP WOMAN 251 

Such was the life thou livedst ; self-abjuring, 

Thine own pains ne'er easing, 
Our burdens bearing, our just doom enduring, 

A life without self-pleasing, 

Ministering Women 

The question which Mrs. Browning pressed with such 
passionate insistence on the women of our time 

Does one of you 

Stand still from dancing, stop from stringing pearls, 
And pine and die because of the great sum 
Of universal anguish ? 

is being nobly answered in these later days. Women are 
feeling that it is as much a woman's duty as a man's, not 
to live merely for her immediate surroundings, but to 
make humanity at large the better and the happier for 
her existence. They are growing weary of the despotism 
of fashion and all which that entails, and are becoming 
doubtful of the right to make mere pleasure an object of 
life where work is not a necessity. The conviction is 
growing upon them that the mere gift of a subscription 
to a benevolent society, or an order for the distribution of 
coals and blankets, does not express the measure of their 
duty to the poor, but that personal visitation and personal 
help, kindly and delicately given on the spot, is the more 
excellent way. 

A new, and what may be termed a social, conscience 
seems to have been born in many of the nobler women 
of our time; a conscience which makes them as happy 
or as miserable, as cultured or as ignorant, as good or as 



252 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

bad, as society around them. They share in the beau- 
tiful longing which the saintly Dr. Payson felt when he 
cried as he lay at the gates of death : " O that I could 
pass the cup of happiness to every human lip ! " 

The joy of service has laid hold upon the soul of 
woman, and the world abounds with sweet womanly 

I ministrations, which constitute it, as one has said, " the 
* great hospital of minds and hearts." We honour and 
I revere the gracious women who have made their names 
} ' fragrant and their hearts a nest of lovely charities by 

j work among soldiers and sailors, by the establishment of 

i i 

, '* homes of rest for tired toilers, homes of shelter for cripple 

I ! children, leagues of pity for the desolate, holidays at the 
^ 1 seaside, and fortnights in the country for pallid city waifs, 
M cabmen's shelters, creches for the care of infant life, boys' 
f I and girls' clubs, and many other beneficent contrivances 
* 1 for lessening the burdens and brightening the monotony of 
if toil. What woman with a woman's heart is there who, 

I 1 when pondering such ministries, will not exclaim 

I 1 So might I, toiling morn till eve, 
j J Some purpose in my life fulfil ; 

And, ere I pass, some work achieve, 
To live and move when I am still. 

I ask not with that work combined 
My name shall down the ages move ; 

But that my toil some end shall find 
That man may bless and God approve. 

How blessed is woman when she speeds on errands 
of mercy to the suffering and the needy. How sweet are 
her words of tenderness and pity to the disconsolate. How 



THE BENEFICENT MINISTRY OP WOMAN 253 

consoling is her sympathy to those who mourn. How 
soft and gentle is her hand in the tending of the sick. She 
is ever loveliest when she appears as the follower of Him . 
who " went about doing good." Her service for others 
enriches and beautifies her own nature, according to the 
law that they who do the most are the most. If angels 
still linger with us in our shadowed world, they are surely 
found robed and embodied in the forms of women con- 
secrated to God and self-devoted to a life-long sacrifice 
for needy and suffering humanity. 

How beautiful they are as they visit and instruct their 
own sisterhood in many a squalid home. The burdens 
of intemperance and bad housing, which are among the 
most shameful scandals of the age, press far more heavily 
on the women than on the men. And who can deal 
with woman as her sister- woman can ? There are wives 
and mothers who would be ready to abandon their task 
in absolute despair were it not for the visit of some 
pitying sister, who, descending where they are, teaches 
them how to avoid insanitary conditions, how to cut out 
and make clothing for themselves and for their children, 
how to cook food palatably and thriftily, and how to 
cast their burden on the love which never dies. 

And the children, too, how much they owe to minis- 
trant women. Those who minister to them may be 
themselves childless; but the mother-heart is in them 
nevertheless, and they cannot look without pity on suffer- 
ing and neglected childhood. It is these who furnish in 
many of our crowded cities winter weekly dinners for 



I 



254 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

half-starved little ones ; who plan summer holidays for 
tiny waifs who have never seen a green landscape, or 
heard the murmur of a rippling brook ; and who collect 
homeless children into orphanages for shelter and for 
blessing. 

Mark, also, where pure and sensitive women fling 
themselves into that which has fitly been described as 
" God's hardest battle in the world, the battle to deliver 
a degraded and down-trodden womankind from the lusts 
of wicked men." No fame awaits the toiler in this stricken 
field. No music rings around her feet or creeps into her 
heart. Only the smile of Him who pardoned the despair- 
ing Magdalene in the Gospel story holds them to a task 
on which the hot breath of hell beats more fiercely than 
on any other. 

Behold in our hospitals, where delicately-nurtured 
women stoop to the most menial tasks and perform the 
most loathsome offices for the sick and suffering poor. 
See also where Sisters of Mercy and Sisters of the Poor 
wander in squalid streets, and filthy backs, and foetid 
alleys, devoted, as their dress signifies, to a living death, 
that they may bring life to the desolate and the despairing. 

Let the scoffer and the cynic bow with a reverence 
akin to worship in the presence of such women. It has 
indeed been said that " we shall judge angels." But not 

y et * 

Woman as Philanthropist 

The advance of philanthropy in the present day is 
chiefly in the hands of woman. There is not a forward 



THE BENEFICENT MINISTRY OF WOMAN 255 

movement existing which has for its object the care of 
the suffering, the uplifting of the degraded, the shelter of 
the orphaned, the relief of the despairing, where woman 
is not in the van. The tendency of our modern civilisa- 
tion is to thrust her further and yet further forward. 
And there is providence in this, for society needs her 
presence and her ministry. She will purify it. She will 
elevate it. She will become its finer conscience. She 
will become its gentler heart Let none despair of 
woman or of woman's work. If she has seemed un- 
faithful in the past, I wot that through ignorance she 
has erred If she has not gone forth for service or 
for sacrifice, as she might have done, it is because her 
masters have not led her forth, choosing rather to hold 
her in dependence and subjection. 

Only show her the noble and the beautiful, and she 
will rise to it as the flower to the light, or as the lark 
into the blue. Only lead her to her appointed task, and 
she will fulfil it with all gentleness and with all fidelity. 
The hosts of God march to victory through her. She 
shall tame the lion of lawless power, rebuke the tiger of 
vengeful hate, and tread upon the viper of degrading 
lust " The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's 
head." Cease to appeal to her vanity, or to betray her 
trust. Call forth the highest in her, and 

She shall be 

As is a flower so born in purity; 
And in her virtue, boundless as the air, 
Girt up with fear, fenced round with chastity, 
Bounded in wisdom, perfect as a star 



256 WOMAN 1 : HER CHARM AND POWER 

Reverence shall wait upon her steps, and Love 
Shall clothe her like a garment; on her brow 
Shall Truth sit smiling, like the watchful star 
That hangs upon the forehead of the eve. 

A great simplicity shall mark her ways 
And bend the linked actions of her time ; 
Tears shall be near the surface of her life ; 
Infinite Pity, like a living spring, 
Shall breathe within the silence of her heart ; 
Her soul shall hunger, with an awful wish, 
And all the pulses of her being yearn 
To mitigate the sorrows of her kind. 

Woman as Crusader 

Thus far we have referred only to the beneficent 
work of women as individuals, each in her own par- 
ticular sphere rendering such service as benevolence 
might prompt, or opportunity afford. But woman's 
power for service cannot be adequately measured by 
effort such as this. On the contrary, we look for a 
manifestation of organised action on the part of woman, 
which will go far to ameliorate the condition of her 
sisterhood, and to change the face of the world. 
Hitherto it has been one of the painful anomalies of 
the gentler sex that they have not combined as men 
combine for their own mutual advantage. They have 
fought either for their own hand, or in behalf of some 
man or woman whom they loved. It cannot be said 
that they have been deeply stirred with regard to their 
sex as a whole. 

There is just now, however, in all civilised lands, and 
especially on the great American continent, a wonderful 



THE BENEFICENT MINISTRY OF WOMAN 257 

awakening among women. They are beginning to 
realise more clearly both the extent of their power and 
the weight of their responsibility, and the day is not 
far distant when they will combine, as they have never 
yet done, for sacred and worthy ends. 

Pealing, the clock of Time, 
Has struck the Woman's hour: 
We hear it on our knees. 

Yes ! on our knees we hear it, blending the hope which 
it inspires with the prayer the Master taught us, " Thy 
kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth even as it is 
in heaven." 

We have a serene, unfaltering faith in a regenerated 
future for our race ; and the conviction grows upon us 
that a consecrated womanhood is the greatest agency 
through which that future is to be realised.- Her mission 
is not only to adorn and please, but also to purify and 
regenerate. The Lord and Master of Life is once more 
pressing at the gates of the world, and He would fain 
enter it again through a pure womanhood. Only let 
woman recognise this, and consent to be the channel 
of the divine approach, and all things will be made 
new. 

The power of woman is irresistible. All power lies in 
spirit, and the feminine is essentially the spiritual. The " 
silent unseen forces are ever the mightiest. Gravitation, 
heat, magnetism, electricity how silent they are, and yet 
how mighty ! They do not strive or cry, but they are 
nevertheless irresistible, for behind them is the Mighty 

17 



258 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

One, "whom no man hath seen, or can see." The 
founder of human society from the beginning and its 
mainspring through all ages, often hidden but steadily 
keeping time for the race, it is to womanhood that we 
look for the vital force which will make the human world 
pure, just, and merciful. Only let woman combine for 
these great ends, and she will stand at the gates of her 
kingdom. We have not yet even dimly apprehended 
what she can achieve, if she is only in earnest and prepared 
to stand forth as God made her, and not as the world would 
fashion her. Armies are strong, and laws are strong, and 
Parliaments are strong; but consecrated womanhood, 
standing side by side with God and working in harmony 
with His eternal purpose of beneficence and good- will, is 
stronger than them all, and can dominate them at will. 
Only let woman fix her steadfast, compassionate gaze on 
the wrongs of her own sisterhood, only let her kindle in 
the vision of them and, kindling, cry, " I will not rest 
until I see what can be done to stop this," and there is 
not an injustice which bears upon her sex which will not 
go down before her. " Not the warrior, Ambition," says 
W. R. Alger, " not the giant, Legislation, but the little 
child, Love, is to lead in the golden age. She is the 
best woman who does most to hasten the inauguration of 
that Divine Child." 

The Rights of Woman 

A large amount of cheap and shallow wit has been 
expended on the vexed subject of the rights of woman, 



THE BENEFICENT MINISTR Y OP WOMAN 259 

but the fact remains that she has rights which need to be 
conceded and defended. She has a right to respect, as a 
woman, as long as she respects herself. She has a right 
to special care and consideration, on the score of her 
physical organisation. She has a right to her own 
religious opinions and preferences. She has a right to 
the use and control of her own money, whether she 
inherits or earns it. She has a right to follow any 
trade or profession for which she is fitted by nature 
and endowment. She has a right to equal wages 
with man for equal work done. She has a right 
to careful protection by the law against brutality * 
and injustice. And, furthermore, that these rights 
may be won and maintained, she has a right to 
some voice in framing the laws by which she is 
governed. 

All kinds of foolish objections have been made, and 
foolish fears expressed, on the question of granting her 
the parliamentary franchise. It has been urged that she 
will fail in her duties as a wife and a mother if she has any 
other interest in life; or, on the other hand, that she 
will become "mannish" and unwomanly. But there 
is no appeal possible from the judgment of Charles 
Kingsley, where he affirms that "woman will never 
obtain moral equity until she has civil equality." 
She is entitled to the franchise alike as a sign of 
her emancipation, and as a means of securing its 
practical results. 

One of her own sisterhood, Mrs. Little, has stated 



260 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND JEOWER 

the rights of woman with great meekness and modesty in 
the following lines : 

The rights of women what are they? 

The right to labour and to pray; 

The right to watch whilst others sleep; 

The right o'er others* woes to weep ; 

The right to succour in reverse ; 

The right to bless whilst others curse; 

The right to love whom others scorn; 

The right to comfort all that mourn; 

The right to shed new joy on earth ; 

The right to feel the soul's high worth ; 

The right to lead the soul to God, 

Along the path her Saviour trod 

The path of meekness and of love, 

The path of faith that leads above* 

The path of patience and of wrong, 

The path in which the weak grow strong, 

Such's women's rights. And God will bless, 

And crown their champion, with success. 

But we are bold to say, that this catalogue of gentle and 
unselfish service does not go far enough as an expression 
of the rights of woman. On the contrary, there are forms 
of legal, commercial, and social injustice, prevalent in our 
time, which ought not to exist, and which demand from 
woman herself a united and organised protest. She 
needs to wage in the present hour a holy and righteous 
war against those wrongs and iniquities of our imperfect 
civilisation by which her sisterhood are oppressed and 
fettered. A larger measure of justice in our Courts 
of Law ; relief from oppressive and degrading toil ; 
adequate remuneration for her labour; protection from 
undue peril and temptation; and Christ-like pity and 
help where she has slipped or fallen, all these 



THE BENEFICENT MINISTRY OF WOMAN 261 

questions, which are so vital to womanhood, demand com- 
passionate and chivalrous consideration. We frequently 
hear of wrongs inflicted by women upon men, but we 
are bold to express our conviction that if all such wrongs 
were chronicled they would present but a pale and meagre 
showing, while if the wrongs which men have inflicted on 
women were recorded the very heavens would be too 
small a scroll on which to set them forth. 

Wrongs of Woman 

We need to claim for woman a larger measure of 
justice in our Law Courts. In the eyes of the English 
law, a wife seems to be regarded as the property of her 
husband, and it is assumed that short of absolute murder 
he is able to do with her what he wills. We have but to 
study the police news chronicled from day to day to see 
how inadequately woman is protected from cruelty and 
brutality. Now and then a special case arises which 
throws a startling light upon this question. For ex- 
ample, some time ago at the Yorkshire winter assizes 
J. T. Heffernon was charged with knocking his wife 
down with his fist and striking her with a poker until 
the blood flowed from her ears, because she had gone to 
some place of amusement without asking leave. Mr. 
Justice Day, in addressing the jury, said that our 
common law made provision for such chastisement, and 
it was waste of time to bring the case before the jury. 
The jury found, in consequence, that the prisoner acted 
within his rights, and he was discharged It was a 



262 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND PO WER 

burning shame, an intolerable wrong. A short time 
after this, at the City of London Sessions, Agnes Clarke, 
needlewoman, was sentenced to nine months 1 imprison- 
ment, with hard labour, for representing herself as a 
governess who had lost her purse, and thus obtaining her 
railway fare from London to Windsor. 

At Marlborough Street Police Court, a man, named 
Santiago Diaz, for knocking a woman down and stamping 
on her, was fined forty shillings ; while in the same year, 
at Norwich, a man was sentenced to two months 1 hard 
labour for sleeping on the premises of a timber merchant, 
with no visible means of subsistence. The pages of 
Truth have teemed for years with similar cases of 
injustice. Note also in how many cases the entire 
penalty of wrong-doing falls upon the woman, while the 
man goes free. The mother of a child born out of 
wedlock is left alone in the night of her agony, while the 
father lives in wealth and comfort utterly unscathed. In 
the year 1899 a girl who had been wronged and then 
abandoned, in her shame and her despair committed 
suicide by drowning. The heartless man who had 
ruined and then forsaken her had to appear before 
the coroner to witness in the case. But no penalty of 
the law could touch him, and he was merely denounced 
as a heartless scoundrel, and dismissed to entrap his next 
victim. Surely 



There is some deep unsoundness in the time, 
When it stares ever at the sins of women 
And leaves its men alone. 



THE BENEFICENT MINISTRY OF WOMAN 263 

The general assumption that a man is not bound by the 
same law of purity as a woman has been the cause of 
widespread evils, and lies at the root of some of the 
most unjust and shameful laws that disgrace the statute 
books of nations. 

Now in an age in which, despite these vile abuses, moral 
force is still the prevailing force, and legal action must 
obey and follow it, there is surely a loud call for a militant 
womanhood which shall sweep these iniquities away. 

Another wrong which demands redress in the case of 
women is that of oppressive and degrading- toil. How 
many women under the shadow of our vaunted civilisa- 
tion are subjected to labour utterly disproportioned to 
their strength, labour which seriously interferes with the 
divine function of motherhood 1 

In Germany three millions of women are doing 
scavenger work in the streets, winding up coals from the 
mines, mixing mortar for the building trade, and living 
under the most abject conditions; and in England itself 
we have only to consider the labours of the women who 
make chains at Cradley, toil in the white-lead works at 
Newcastle, or stagger under their heavy loads of clay in 
Oldbury, and other places in the Black Country, to blush 
for our boasted liberties and privileges as a nation. 

Let the wearer of the bridal veil who never earned a 
shilling, and never will, think of 

The girl whose fingers thin 
Wove the weary broidery in, 
Bending backward from her toil, 
Lest her tears the work should spoil. 



I 264 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

i Think again of our shop-girls, often ready to drop where 

! they stand from sheer weariness, and of domestic 

j servants who slave from six in the morning until 

1 midnight, under such conditions that their life is literally 

not worth living. 

Another iniquity against which a vigorous crusade 
needs to be waged, is that fertile incentive to degrada- 
tion the utterly inadequate remuneration for womaris 
labour. How monstrous, how insulting to Christ and 
His gospel, is the commercial economy which says : " Let 
us employ women and girls in these industries, because 
in so doing we can get the largest possible amount of 
labour at the smallest possible price." 

Such reasoning as this is unspeakably shameful. The 
reward due to a woman is equal to that due to a man 
for an equal amount of work. It is unfair to pay a 
woman less than a man when she has done as much as he. 
Yet this is practised daily in the realm of manufacture. 

What are we to say about women making shirts at 
one shilling and sixpence a dozen ? Cravats at one 
shilling and fourpence a dozen ? Match-boxes at two- 
pence halfpenny a gross? Women working in the fields 
from dawn to dark, scattering manure or cleaning turnips 
,, at a shilling a day? Women folding the leaves of the 

Revised Bible, six days a week, and twelve hours per 
\ >> day, for the sum of nine shillings a week? Had they 

'' \ a voice to thunder with as God thunders, every sentence 

of that divine-human-book would protest against the 
I** iniquity. 



THE BENEFICENT MINISTRY OF WOMAN 265 

Think again of a girl in the chain works at Cradley 
forging seven hundred heavy links in three days and receiv- 
ing two shillings for her work, of another forging a dog-chain 
with swivel and ring complete for one penny ; and of the 
white-lead women in Newcastle, carrying a dead-weight 
of seventy pounds of white lead to the stoves in which it 
is dried, for an average wage of eight shillings a week 1 
Nor is this all, since the character of the work in this 
industry exposes the worker to colic, vomiting, and 
blindness. 

Is not all this monstrous in an age when we have 
compelled the blind unfeeling forces of nature to do our 
will when fire, water, steam, and electricity have been 
tamed to do our work and to set our hands free ? Truly 
does the poet sing 

The mighty sinew powers that wait 

In earth and sea and air, 
Shall tireless early toil and late 

Our menial burdens bear; 
Their iron feet shall fleeter flee. 

Our errands speed apace, 
Till only art and science be 

The helots of the race. 

But women-power is cheaper than steam-power, and so 
these iniquities are perpetrated. Truly, that organised 
association of noble and indignant womanhood will be 
working in harmony with the eternal realities, which will 
rise, " like an angel trumpet-tongued," to denounce these 
things, and to put them away for ever. 

Furthermore, we need a strong protest, not only 
against the commercial wrongs inflicted upon women, but 



266 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

also against the social wrongs which expose her to shame 
and degradation. 

In a sermon preached at the Brompton Oratory not 
I \ long ago, Pere Ollivier, an eminent French preacher, said : 

" I have watched your London, and I think it more miser- 
able than Paris. In the old days they flung the Christian 
maiden to the lions in the arena; now we fling them 
to that yet fiercer beast, a civilisation from which God is 
excluded." To prove the truth of this scathing denun- 
ciation we have only to consider in our social system how 
much of sweet and beautiful girlhood and womanhood is 
sacrificed to human greed. 

Not only are our English maidens, who are compelled 
to work for their living, exposed to strong temptation 
especially if they possess what, indeed, in their case is a fatal 
gift of beauty by the inadequate remuneration granted for 
their labour, but they are also lured into occupations which 
place them hard by the very gates of hell Take, for 
instance, the case of our barmaids. Is it not time that 
we had, in so-called Christian England, what they already 
have in America, a law to the effect that no woman shall 
be allowed to stand behind any bar or counter, and sell 
intoxicating liquors? No observer of our city life can fail 
to recognise the peril and the shame of this occupation 
in its relation to women. Selected for their prepossessing 
appearance, that they may attract the lounger and the 
profligate to the place in which they serve, these girls earn 
their scanty pittance scarcely enough to keep them in 
dress alone under conditions which can only be described 



THE BENEFICENT MINISTRY OF WOMAN 267 

as appalling. First, there is the " leprous distilment " 
poured into their ears by rude and shameless men ; then 
the temptation, consequent on their frequent exhaustion 
through long hours in a heated and unhealthy atmosphere, 
to sustain their flagging energies with the strong drink 
which drowns the reason, enfeebles the will, and inflames 
the passions; and, last, there is the powerful inducement 
to turn, in their comparative poverty, to the only career 
in which the maximum income is paid to the newest 
apprentice, and a good-looking girl can get more money 
than she can earn by labour in any field of industry open 
to her sex- It is true that the penalty exacted afterwards 
is disease, degradation, and an early death; but these 
things are at first hidden from sight: and how often is 
the irrevocable step taken before the victim realises that 
it is irrevocable. 

Have we not here a plea for sleepless and passionate 
activity and protest on the part of woman, which it is 
absolute baseness in her to evade? Let her thunder at 
the gates of our legislature until this monstrous wrong is 
righted. She may not herself enter the parliamentary 
arena to denounce this iniquity, but only let her clamant 
voice be heard, and we cannot for a moment doubt that 
some worthy follower of Wilberforce or Plimsoll will leap 
to the great occasion and press it to a successful issue. 

National Perils 

Not only is there a service due from enlightened woman 
to society, but there is also a national service which 



268 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

she is called to render; and It is one of her choicest 
privileges, as well as one of her most solemn responsi- 
bilities, to make the life of the nation purer, nobler, and 
lovelier. 

The enlightened womanhood of the present day needs 
to wage strenuous war against the tide of irreligion and 
impurity which threatens the land we love so well. We are 
the Romans of the present age brave, masterful, imperial, 
conquering ; but the fate of ancient Rome should be an 
object-lesson for us. We should remember that, despite 
her military prowess, her world-wide dominion, and her 
respect for the majesty of imperial law, Rome declined 
and perished through the loss of God and virtue. Speak- 
ing of her in the last century of her power, Froude 
says : " The Romans ceased to believe, and in losing their 
faith they became what steel becomes when it is demag- 
netised. The spiritual quality was gone out of them, 
and the high society of Rome itself became a society 
of powerful animals with an enormous appetite for 
pleasure." 

And the decay of religion in the Roman State was 
followed by the growth of voluptuousness and animalism. 
To use a forcible utterance of St Paul, the Romans wen* 
"given. over to uncleanness," and passed from thence into 
decay and ruin. Religion and purity are the soul and 
the salt of a nation, divorced from which it becomes a 
mere carcase, and the eagles of destruction gather to 
devour it 

These, without question, are the great perils of England 



THE BENEFICENT MINISTR Y OF WOMAN 269 

to-day. None can doubt that, amid the high pressure 
of our business life, sanctities of religion are becoming 
imperilled. Covetousness Is the great sin of our modern 
civilisation. There is as much truth as irony in the 
words of Carlyle where he says that " the real God of an 
Englishman to-day is success, that is success in making 
money; and his real devil is failure, that is failure in 
making money." We note with sorrow, not unmingled 
with alarm, the growing indifference of our business men 
to Sabbath sanctities and Sabbath worship. How many 
of them 

With low-thoughted care 
ConfinM and pester'd in this pinfold here, 
Strive to keep up a frail and feverish being, 
Unmindful of the crown that Virtue gives. 
After this mortal change, to her true servants. 

The Sabbath, in place of being a day for God and 
for meditation on spiritual realities, is in danger of 
becoming a mere breathing time from the pressing 
duties of the week, if not, indeed, a day devoted to 
mere physical recreation on the cycle or in the golfing 
field. 

Now we look to woman, with her finer spiritual 
insight and her deeper spiritual thirst, for the correction 
of this growing evil. If she ceases to aspire and worship, 
no priesthood, however vigilant, will be able to maintain 
the fires on the altar of religion. She must maintain 
religion in the family and in the State. She must say, in 
all earnestness and in all sincerity, " As for me and my 
house, we will serve the Lord." She must discountenance, 



270 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

alike in her husband and In her children, the tendency to 
" make a nothing of eternity, and an eternity of nothing." 
She must claim for God the Infinite Father the hom- 
age, the service, the gratitude, and the love which are due 
to Him of right from His dependent creatures. She must 
set herself in organised opposition to all the influences 
which would separate man from his true centre, and cast 
him out from his appointed orbit into darkness, isolation, 
and ruin. 

Yet, further, woman must wage strenuous war against 
the growth of impurity in our national life. 

Here is another peril against which we need to guard. 
How shameful are the sights which confront us in many of 
our ball-rooms and popular assemblies. White arms are 
made public property, and not only are necks and bosoms as 
bare as were those of the courtesans of Charles IL, but even 
the back is exposed in a shameless and degrading fashion 
for the scrutiny of lewd and sensual men. What is the 
direct tendency of all this but to excite and to degrade ? 
Consider also how it lowers woman in the estimation of 
those who should reverence and respect her. 

How alarming also is the tendency of much of our 
current literature, and of many of our popular plays. 
We are threatened by a flood of influences in this direc- 
tion which are scandalous, morbid, and impure. 

Who can question that we need a deeper awakening 
on the part of woman with regard to her responsibility 
in these matters? Society is the acknowledged domain 
of woman. Here slae reigns as leader, lawgiver, and 



THE BENEFICENT MINISTRY OF WOMAN 271 

queen. On her, therefore, must rest the responsibility of 
Its follies and its dangers. Let her, therefore, rise in her 
native purity, and beat back the tides of sensuality which 
surge around us in our social life. Let her combine 
to cast out from her presence the profligate and the 
debauchee. Let her mete out to the tempters and the 
destroyers of her sisterhood the same penalties of social 
ostracism which men inflict on those who are detected 
cheating at cards, or who fail to pay their so-called debts 
of honour. And, furthermore, let her refuse to tolerate 
and sustain in fiction, or on the stage, that which debases 
and degrades. 

In these matters the women of England would do 
well to imitate their sisters in America. The women 
of the United States have been a most important factor 
in the prosperity of that great Republic. It is the 
recognition of this fact on the part of the men which 
has made woman more esteemed and honoured in that 
country than in any other country under heaven. 

Preserving their religious faith that principle of 
vitality imparted by the Pilgrim Fathers they have 
done much to purify and elevate the land of which they 
are so justly proud. Organised into those great institu- 
tions, which reduplicate human strength and intensify 
human sympathy, they have gone forth, to use the words 
of an American writer, as " sisters of the Misericordia, 
sworn and allied foes of the ignorance and shame which 
darken and degrade our boasted civilisation, gentle 
apostles of a new order, builders of a society for the 



<72 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

Son of God." They have dragged into the light 
scandalous abuses. They have closed whisky bars. 
They have driven from the stage impure plays and 
branded impure players. They have swept away houses 
of ill-fame. They have ostracised scoundrels and social 
lepers. They have protested against the barbarism of 
war. They have welcomed and guarded strangers of 
their own sex. They have established homes, which 
are not prisons, for women who have fallen. They 
have looked after city waifs. They have formed societies 
in every great city, for relief, for rescue, and for Christian 
temperance, and in a hundred ways they have laboured 
for the destruction of abuses and the uplifting of 
humanity. 

All this is as it should be, and we confidently 
anticipate the time when such unions and associations of 
consecrated and militant womanhood will be established 
throughout the length and breadth of the civilised world. 
Other wars are toward death, but this war is against 
death, and there is in it no such thing as failure. If a 
work is essentially good, and needed in God's world, it 
has a place in the divine economy, and all the resources 
of omnipotence are with it Stars in their courses fight 
for it, and there is nothing great or beautiful in the 
universe which is not on its side. 

A keen and holy joy sits lightly on our hearts as, 
with the eye of faith, we behold this phalanx of con- 
secrated heroines, marching multitudinous, radiant, 
beautiM through the files of coming time. Shod with 



THE BENEFICENT MINISTRY OF WOMAN 273 

righteousness and love and peace ; adorned with meek- 
ness, chastity, and mercy; attended by "the strong 
siding champion Conscience," by " pure-eyed Faith," and 
by "white-handed Hope"; keeping time to the high 
music of inspired prophecy; armed with the resistless 
power of pity and self-sacrifice, they must prevail ; and 
lust and hate and cruelty and wrong will melt before 
them as snow before the march of summer. 

God's at the organ ! 

We'll sing through our tears 

(For the sad wasted years with our fears are all gone). 

To the King, the All-Beautiful, 

God's at the organ ! 

God's at the organ 1 

Disheartened, distressed, turn away from the west 

Whence the glory has fled, and lift up thy head! 

If bitter the struggle, the sweeter the rest 

Beloved and blest, 

God's at the organ 1 

God's at the organ ! 

When He strikes the keys 

The shadows dissolve into light, 

Joy gathers strength, till at length 

E'en the notes of the tempest are tuned to tbe voice 

of the psalm. 
The singers grow calm, 
Life's discords must cease, 
God's at the organ I 

God's at the organ! 

And hell 

Dies out of my heart, while the pain and the smart 

Are lost in the swell of the chorus. 

All's well! 

God's at the organ ! 

18 



CHAPTER XI 

WOMAN AS BREAD-WINNER 

The honest, earnest man must stand and work ; 
The woman also, otherwise she drops 
At once below the dignity of man, 
Accepting serfdom. Free men freely work. 

E. B. BROWNING. 

I protest against the unfair distribution of the world's work, which can 
be only well done when every man and woman is fitted to work, left free 
to choose the field in which to work, and condemned by public opinion if 
they refuse to work. CELIA BURLEIGH. 

HE is a faulty and superficial observer of human 
nature who charges women as a class with in- 
dolence. Those who know them best find the majority 
of them are even too active and too aggressive. They 
will not allow their male kind to take life too easily. 
They will not suffer them to stagnate. They resent in 
them the absence of energy and ambition. There are 
numbers of men in our midst who ride in carriages 
and who sit in high places, because their wives have 
overcome their inertia and goaded them into action. 

And the tasks to which woman urges others she is 
equally willing to undertake herself, according to the 
measure of her power. 



WOMAN AS BREAD- WINNER 275 

Neither should it be forgotten that the work of 
woman is needed in our world as well as the work of 
man, if the cycle of human labour and of human service 
is to be complete. 

It may be taken for granted that every woman has a 
talent which, if properly cultivated, would enable her to 
do something well. Furthermore, what a woman can do 
efficiently in this work-a-day world, she ought to do in 
harmony with that important doctrine of mutual assist- 
ance which binds society together for mutual benefit 
Society is an orchestra in which every instrument must 
take part if the music is to be complete. It is the 
blending of varied forces, of sky and water, vapour 
and vegetation, light and shade, wind and tide, sun and 
moon and watching stars, which makes creation an 
everlasting anthem, with God at the organ. 

So in human society we are many members but 
one body. And each member has a definite and 
serviceable relation to the whole body. "The eye 
cannot say to the hand, I have no need of thee; or, 
again, the head to the feet, I have no need of you." 

Each one has some gift or opportunity which the 
others do not possess, but which is needed for the 
common weal. And we are strongly of opinion that 
society has suffered greatly in the past because woman 
has not been permitted to take her proper place in it, 
or to be led to the tasks for which she is specially fitted. 
The harmony has been incomplete because the finer and 
more delicate instruments have not been sufficiently 



276 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

heard. Of drum and clarion and clashing cymbal we 
have had enough, but not enough of the lute, the harp, 
and the viol. 

A Noble Army of Women Workers 

What an interesting study we have to-day in that 
patient, earnest multitude of the gentler sex, who in 
professional occupations, as well as in offices, shops, 
mills, work-rooms, and houses, small or great, are toil- 
ing for daily bread and honest independence. We are 
discovering year by year that women aie capable of 
far more crafts than was supposed, and there are in 
"YjGrreat Britain to-day not less than ten millions of 
women workers who are engaged in about three hundred 
different classes of employment.^ 

There are at least 150,000 women engaged in educa- 
tional work. More than 800,000 are occupied in one 
form or another on articles of dress. Domestic servants 
number nearly one million and a half. Then we have 
toymakers, needle-makers, artificial flower-makers, glove- 
makers, straw-plaiters, earthenware glass manufacturers, 
paper-makers, bookbinders, etc., while quite a million 
women are employed in the mills of the country as 
lace- workers, or weavers of wool, silk, or cotton. 

Nor are the mill-girls of to-day, in such centres as 
Manchester, Leeds, and Bradford, either an ignorant or 
a degraded class. On the contrary, we are bold to affirm, 
on the knowledge gained by a five years' residence in 
their midst, that there cannot be found in a greater 



WOMAN AS BREAD-WINNER 277 

degree, in the whole community, the noble impulses of 
heroism, self-sacrifice, patience, cheerfulness, and aspira- 
tion. We have visited in the course of our ministry 
numbers of girls whose health has been broken down 
by toil disproportioned to their strength, in their anxiety 
to maintain in comfort a widowed mother or an aged 
father; while the sacrifices they have made at the call 
of duty and affection have entitled hundreds of them 
to a foremost place in "the noble army of martyrs." 

The various day schools of these districts, assisted 
by grants from the State, have imparted to these lowly 
toilers a considerable amount of useful knowledge. By 
the Sunday schools of the district they have been 
permeated by the great beliefs which bring grandeur 
and elevation to the lowliest. Hundreds of them have 
faces so pure and sweet that they might sit to an artist 
for the Madonna. Thousands of them are so neatly 
and even elegantly dressed on Sundays and holidays, 
that only their spoken dialect would distinguish them 
from educated ladies ; while the writer has met with 
factory girls in Lancashire who took their holidays in 
Switzerland and other parts of the Continent of Europe. 

Thus are multitudes of our sisterhood answering for 
themselves the question, "Shall women work?" All 
that they ask is to be guided to their work and paid 
their wages, and it is a most favourable sign of the 
times that so many are able to earn an honest liveli- 
hood instead of looking to their fathers and brothers 
to support them in idleness. 



278 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

Work Suitable for Women 

If we are asked what work woman may do, we reply 
any work which does not waste or over-tax her strength, 
interfere with the divine function of motherhood, or stain 
the purity and mar the refinement of the feminine character. 
It will be seen at once that these necessary restric- 
tions condemn some of the avocations in which women are 
now engaged. Look on the subject, first on its physical 
side. It may be permissible that some women may work 
in the fields; but no woman should work in clay pits, 
or in stone quarries, or in coal mines, since such work 
involves an expenditure of labour disproportioned to their 
strength, while at the same time it interferes with the 
sacred functions and duties of motherhood. 

And there are not only physical, but also moral 
restrictions on woman's labour. For example, no 
woman should follow the occupation of a ballet-dancer, 
or sell intoxicants at any bar or counter, since such 
work makes for degradation, blunting the finer sensibilities 
and marring the grace and the purity of womanhood. 

On the other hand, no truly womanly occupation 
ought to be barred from self-dependent women. They 
should have a clear course and even a little favour in 
regard to their occupations, unless chivalry, indeed, be 
dead. It is only fair that such mechanical employments 
as involve the greatest physical exertion should be rele- 
gated to men, while the lighter, those which require most 
delicacy and finish, should be undertaken by women. 



WOMAN AS BREAD-WINNER 279 

Let men dig and delve, plough the fields, work the mines 
and quarries, navigate the seas, fight as soldiers or sailors 
the battles of the world, cut the railways, drive the engines, 
forge the anchors, tend the furnaces do, indeed, all that 
is dirty, difficult, and arduous, and let them stand nobly 
aside from the work which is specially adapted for women. 

It is a humiliating spectacle to see men with broad 
shoulders and strong muscles retailing over the counter 
ribbons and lace, and gloves and hose. They cut a 
poor figure when engaged in dressing ladies' hair, de- 
vising their costumes, measuring out their materials for 
clothing, fitting suits on children, selling pins and needles, 
cakes and sweetmeats. These are occupations which in 
common justice should be left to the sex who are 
physically weaker, but who are yet quite willing to bear 
their part of the common burthen and the common toil. 

Let us live and let live. Let each sex have a fair 
chance. Let women, and single women, above all, be 
taught to do all they can in the various fields of neces- 
sary labour, and be decently paid for doing it. Until 
Government is prepared to provide a pension for every 
unmarried woman, until men are prepared to pay an 
extra tax for their support, they have no right what- 
ever to put difficulties in the way of their earning an 
independent livelihood. 

Women in the Professions 

Fifty years ago there was no calling accessible to 
women of refinement except teaching. To-day it is 



a8o WOMAN: HEJt CHARM AND POWER 

marvellous to consider how many gates of opportunity 
are flung open for the benefit of women who prefer 
a life of labour to one of humiliating dependence on 
others. The meek and down-trodden governess, who, 
on a wretched pittance, lived in the school-room, and was 
not allowed to sit down with the family to dinner, is now 
getting quite a rare specimen. As we have already stated, 
a large army of the gentler sex, numbering at least 
150,000, are still engaged in educational work. Nursing 
has been raised by Florence Nightingale into a profession 
second only to medicine itself, and constitutes a congenial 
and appropriate occupation for thousands. Immense 
numbers of women are engaged as commercial clerks and 
typewriters, while thousands more find in the Post Office 
and in other departments of the Civil Service honour- 
able and remunerative employment. 

Besides these there are others of the gentler sex who 
aspire after higher things, finding in Art, in Authorship, 
in the practice of Medicine, or on platforms or in pulpits, 
a vocation suited to their powers. And why should this 
not be so? Why should we refuse to accept at the 
hands of woman any service which she has the power 
to render to the community ? Surely there is no possible 
appeal from the judgment of Elizabeth Barrett Browning 
where she says 

Whoso cures the plague, 

Though twice a woman, shall be called a leech ; 
Whoso rights a land's finances is excused 
For touching coffers, though her hands be white. 

It has been urged by certain critics of the manners 



WOMAN AS BREAD-WINNER 2 8i 

and customs of modern life,that this striving to keep abreast 
with the laborious occupations of a civilised society must 
leave its mark on woman's nature, and make her some- 
thing different from what she was. To this we fearlessly 
reply: "Yes! it will make her nobler, for work is a 
privilege and not a curse, and a life of Independent toil 
is infinitely superior to a life of idleness." 

Art Work 

The love of the beautiful is part of woman's nature. 
She is by election the civiliser, the softener, and the 
purifier of life. It is natural, therefore, that her gifts 
should gravitate in the direction of Art. Thanks to the 
schools of design which are now established all over 
the country, and which are liberally supported by the 
Government, education in the art of drawing, modelling, 
and painting in colours, is easy of attainment for all who 
have an eye for the beautiful. 

And there is much to be said in favour of this form 
of occupation for women of refinement, since it demands 
no sacrifice of modesty or reserve, it does not appeal to 
the hissing or applauding crowd, and it can be followed 
under the protecting shelter of home. In this realm of 
Art we find much in the Victorian age of which women 
may be justly proud. The splendid work of Rosa 
Bonheur, whose horses seem to breathe and plunge upon 
the canvas ; Miss Thomson's spirited and pathetic picture, 
"Calling the Roll"; the sculptures from the hand of 
royalty, in the person of the Princess Louise, all prove 



282 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND PO WER 

what woman may accomplish in the direction of Art 
when she gives herself with devotion to her task. 

Work such as this brings the worker into touch and 
fellowship with Nature, and none can watch the sunbeam 
strike, or the blossom fall, or the fruit ripen, or the 
cornfield wave, or the leaf change from green to gold, 
without receiving from the outwardly beautiful an inner 
beauty which refines the spirit and deepens its faith in 
the providence of God. Ror, as Norman Gale sweetly 

Sings- 
Here in the country's heart 

"Where the grass is green: 
Life is the same sweet life, 
As it e'er hath been. 

Trust in a God still lives. 

And the bell at morn 
Floats with a thought of God 

O'er the rising corn, ** 

God comes down in the rain, 

And the crops grow tall 
This is the country's faith, 

And the best of all. 

Music 

Another exquisite art in which woman, with her 
keenly sensitive and responsive soul, is peculiarly fitted to 
excel is that of music. Music is feminine rather than 
masculine. Hence the declaration of Wagner that 
"music was a woman." Deep, penetrating, spiritual, 
music is the living voice of the beautiful the subtle 
interpreter of the feeling which evades the power of 
words ; and in this realm woman is gloriously at home 



WOMAN AS BREAD- WINNER 283 

Her emotional nature yields to the breath of song a 
response as natural and as delicate as that of the 
JEolian harp to the winds of heaven. 

Ere woman, repressed and fettered, had attained pro- 
minence in any other sphere we find her recognised in 
this. In the twilight of the years we read of Miriam, 
the prophetess, singing to the timbrel her song of triumph 
over the enemies of her people ; of Sappho, the poetess, 
blending language with bewitching song; of Lamia, 
the Greek flautist, exercising a cliarm so mighty that 
a temple was dedicated to her honour; of the Druidic 
priestesses weaving in their sky-domed temples 

Antidotes 

Of medicated music, answering for 
Mankind's forlomest uses ; 

of Cecilia, the patron saint of the bewitching art, wedding 
her silver litanies to the words of Holy Writ; and of 
many other maids and women who had power with 
" tabret and with harp," or failing these " with dulcet 
and harmonious breath," to " take the prison'd soul, and 
lap it in Elysium." 

Cast out of the Church, as public artistes, in the 
sixteenth century, women found in operatic music a 
fitting outlet for their powers. Italian opera was 
established in Florence and other cities, and we have 
only to record such names as those of Bardi, Catalini, 
Pasta, Malibran, Grisi, Pleyel, Jenny Lind, Titiens, and 
Patti, to realise what we owe to woman in the realm of 
song. Meanwhile, women have also excelled as pianists, 



284 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

violinists, and harpists ; and the time seems close at hand 
when orchestral music will be considered imcomplete 
without the fine, spiritual interpretation given by woman's 
touch, and woman's soul, to the works of our great tone 
poets. It is a significant fact that at the Handel Festival 
of 1891 there were ten female violinists, while at that in 
1897 there were fifty. 

Here, then, we have another fitting arena for woman's 
activity and woman's genius. That this arena is being 
vigorously entered is apparent from the crowds of female 
executants who throng at the present time our schools of 
music and who win in its academies honours of which 
they are justly proud. It is worthy of note, that in 
the year 1899 the number of pianoforte licentiates of the 
Royal Academy of Music, certified to teach, consisted of 
six hundred and eighty women, and seventy-seven men. 

What has been achieved by women as instrumental 
executants may be gathered from the mention of 
such names as those of Arabella Goddard, Madame 
Schumann, Sophie Menter, Essipoff, Zimmerman, Norman 
Neruda, and Fanny Davies. 

Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales is not only 
a Doctor of Music, but a skilled musical performer, and 
she leads in her train thousands of her sex, who have not 
only won degrees in music, but who rank very highly in 
their mastery of the piano and the violin. The progress, 
during the last fifty years, in this direction has been 
marvellous, and we are persuaded that in this realm there 
are possibilities yet undreamed o 



WOMAN AS BREAD- WINNER 285 

A musical critic of recent times has said: "With 
men, the greatest names in literature and art belong to 
the past. . . . Probably the right estimate of women's 
genius belongs to the future." We regard these words 
alike as a stimulus and as a prophecy. Let woman 
press bravely on in a career so suited to her genius, 
while- 

Beauty bom of murmuring sound 

Doth pass into her face. 

* 

Thus shall she be herself refined and nourished by a 
ministry which, like that of mercy, "is twice bless'd, 
blessing him that gives and him that takes," and the tired 
workers of our fevered and restless age will bless her 
for the increase of a spell 

Not wanting power to mitigate and 'suage, 
With solemn touches troubled thoughts, and chase 
Anguish and doubt and fear and sorrow and pain, 
From mortal or immortal minds. 

Art on the Stage 

We wish we could say for Art on the stage what 
we can say for Art in sculpture, drawing, painting, and 
music. Few, however, will deny that the profession of 
an actress a profession so attractive to many women 
is one of extreme danger, while, if excellence is aimed 
at, no calling possible to women demands such careful 
study, and such unremitting labour. 

But it is the peril of it, and not the labour, which 
affrights us, forcing from us earnest words of prohibition 



286 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

and of warning. That of an actress is one of the very 
last callings to which the pure girl or the self-respecting 
woman should turn for a livelihood. There can be no 
question that we have in our midst actresses who are as 
chaste and as noble as any of their sisters, but, on the 
other hand, it is painfully true, that the glare of the foot- 
lights is one in which the wings of few women remain 
utterly unsinged. Lilies can with difficulty retain their 
pureness in this atmosphere, or violets their perfume, 
while even the refined gold is apt to become dimmed 
and darkened. 

It is essential for success in this calling that there 
should be passion, real passion, and not a mere painted 
fire. The actress must throw herself into her part with 
absolute abandon, if she is to succeed. She must feel 
that she is that which she impersonates, whether it be 
Juliet, Cleopatra, or Nell Gwynne. Hence, the greater the 
success, the greater the danger. " Here, then," to quote 
from a speech by an actress of note, " was an aspect in 
which the stage presented itself as full of dangerous 
possibilities. The greater the emotional powers of the 
actress on the stage, the greater was her success ; but the 
artistic sensibility being educated beyond a given point, 
confusion between the exact relations of the ideal and 
the actual was extremely likely to arise. She was more 
liable to respond to any appeal made to her through 
those over-wrought senses. She was more off her guard, 
she was less self-controlled, less well balanced, than were 
other women. The greater the facility with which she 



WOMAN AS BREAD-WINNER 287 

could introduce on the stage the varying passions and 
moods, the laughter and the tears of human life, the more 
responsive would be her disposition to influences from with- 
out which were often worthless if not positively injurious." 
Such are the words of a lady in the profession, which 
proves so fascinating to women. That we may still 
further warn our sisterhood from this perilous way we 
will quote the testimony of Clement Scott, the great 
dramatic critic. " If any one I loved," he says, " insisted 
in going on the stage, contrary to my advice, I should be 
terrified for her future, and hopeless for the endurance of 
our affection or even friendship. For stage life, accord- 
ing to my experience, has a tendency to deaden the finer 
feelings, to crush the inner nature of men and women, 
and to substitute artificiality and hollowness for sincerity 
and truth, and, mind you, I speak from an intimate 
experience of the stage, extending over thirty-seven years. 
Of course, I refer now to the inner life of the theatre, to 
that which goes on behind the scenes. I refer to that 
life of which the outside public knows but little, and a 
good thing for it that it does know so little. ... It is 
nearly impossible for a woman to remain pure who 
adopts the stage as a profession. Everything is against 
her. The freedom of life, of speech, of gesture, which is 
the rule behind the curtain, renders it almost impossible 
for a woman to preserve that simplicity of manner which 
is after all her greatest charm. The whole life is 
artificial and unnatural to the last degree, and therefore 
an unhealthy life to live. But there are far more serious 



288 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

evils to be encountered than these. These drawbacks 

are the things that render it impossible for a lady to 

remain a lady. But what is infinitely more to be 

deplored is that a woman who endeavours to keep her 

purity is almost of necessity foredoomed to failure in 

her career. It is an awful thing to say, and it is still 

more terrible that it is true, but no one who knows the 

life of the green-room will dare deny it. More I need 

not say ; I could give chapter and verse for my authority 

by the dozen, but it would avail no good purpose, and 

indeed it would not be very savoury reading. All I can 

say is, that I marvel at any mother who allows her 

daughter to take up the theatrical career, and still more 

am I astonished that any man should calmly endure that 

his wife should become an actress, unaccompanied by 

himself. He must be either a fool or a knave. Nor do 

I see how a woman is to escape contamination in one 

form or another. Temptation surrounds her in every 

shape and on every side; her prospects frequently 

depend upon the nature and extent of her compliance ; 

and, after all, human nature is very weak." After a 

witness such as this we are not astonished that one has 

said, with regard to the profession of an actress : " In 

this perilous road double honour be unto those who walk 

upright, double pity unto those who fall/' 

Literature 

To feel strongly with a certain quick and even 
passionate response to inward moods and outward 



WOMAN AS BREAD-WINNER 289 

solicitations, is one of the first attributes of genius, and 
to express feeling in such forms as may stir the souls 
of others is the aim of the artist whether in song or 
speech. And since the domain of woman is that of 
feeling, we are not astonished that in recent years, culture 
and opportunity being afforded her, she has made her 
mark in literature. 

For the first time since authorship began It is now 
possible to form a group of imperishable writers con- 
sisting of women alone. The world at large has recog- 
nised in the author of Adam Bede and Romola an 
artist who may rank with the immortals. The fame of 
Elizabeth Barrett Browning will live as long as the 
language in which the tender beauty of her Sonnets 
and the broad, sweet wisdom of her Aurora Leigh 
are embodied and expressed. Charlotte Bronte, out 
of her intense and eager soul, has created beings who 
are little less than a miracle of unconscious art. Mrs. 
Humphry Ward has astonished us by her profundity as 
a thinker, and by delineations of character and life not 
unworthy of Thackeray or of Balzac. And what shall 
we say of Mrs. Oliphant, Mrs. Gaskell, Marie Corelli, and 
hundreds of other women novelists who, with varying 
degrees of power, have stirred the heart and kindled 
the fancy of the present generation ? 

Although there have been some few exceptions, 
notably those of Mrs. Somerville and Miss Agnes Strick- 
land, women do not usually compare with men in the 
mastery of science or history or biography, but in 



2$o WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

poetry and fiction they have achieved much and are 
destined to achieve far more. 

If we inquire concerning the popular journals which 
are sold by thousands we shall find that though edited 
by men, the bulk of the tales, or poetry, in them is 
supplied by women. The pay for this kind of literature 
is generally fairly remunerative, and we cannot conceive 
of any occupation better adapted for ladies of culture 
and refinement 

Medicine 

With regard to the practice of Medicine as an 
occupation for women, the prejudice of the typical 
Englishman, who, to quote a clever remark of Lord 
Sherbrooke's, * shies at a new idea like a horse at a 
perambulator," kept this door closed against women 
for centuries. But it is now open, and it is only 
reasonable to infer that there are certain ailments 
from which women suffer that they would much prefer 
to be advised about by one of their own sex. 

We read in the Life of Peter the Great that when 
a doctor was called in to see the Tsaritsa the windows 
were darkened, and he was obliged to feel her pulse 
through a piece of gauze. Few will applaud such a 
strained example of extreme delicacy as this, yet it 
is without question that many a lovely life has been 
sacrificed to the natural shrinking which, in certain 
cases, has led women to refuse the services of a man. 
Yet further, there have been many instances in which 



WOMAN AS BREAD-WINNER 291 

the diagnosis of a physician has failed because maiden 
modesty has led to the withholding of facts in the case 
which the patient would have revealed to one of her 
own sisterhood; while in midwifery the employment of 
women doctors has many advantages. 

" The frost of custom," says an able female writer, 
" must have benumbed in a remarkable degree the finer 
sensibilities of woman, or she would not for so long have 
submitted to the positive indecency of a male midwife, 
if indeed the term is not a contradiction." 

Whatever may be the opinion entertained as to the 
want of medical women in this country, there can be no 
question with regard to the need for them in the vast 
continent of India. Here we have some fifty millions 
of native women who, debarred by national custom from 
medical aid because they cannot obtain it from those of 
their own sex, suffer miserably and often die in torture. 

As the result of this necessity, numbers of highly 
skilled English ladies are building up extensive medical 
practices in the zenanas and women's hospitals of the 
East 

At home also they are finding numerous public and 
semi -public appointments in institutions specially for 
women and children. A few years ago the General 
Post Office placed a lady with an assistant in medical 
charge of its female staff, while a long list of asylums 
and infirmaries could be given where ladies have been 
appointed as resident medical officers. 

This is as it should be, while the allied calling of 



292 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

the pharmaceutical and dispensing chemist is alsc 
attracting many refined and well-educated ladies. And 
it is not without reason that we use the term refined 
with respect to these women, since their work is not 
subversive of woman's best qualities, but they retain 
through it all those attributes of modesty and gentleness 
which have constituted women in all ages the ministrant 
angels of the suffering world. 

The Platform and the Pulpit 

When we come to the question of preaching and 
public speaking as an occupation for women we are 
again met by a mass of unreasoning prejudice from 
those who flout the natural ability of woman, and who 
prefer to find in her ignorance and unreasoning sub- 
mission rather than knowledge, self-reliance, and 
enlightened sympathy. A woman may, without protest, 
sing questionable songs in a music hall, dance half- 
clothed in the ballet for the amusement of vile men, 
sell flowers at the street corner in the wind and rain, 
serve as barmaid in a gin-palace. But it is deemed 
offensive to delicacy and modesty for her to plead on 
a public platform the sacred cause of Temperance, 
urge the claims of wronged and neglected children, 
protest against social impurity and the licensing of 
vice, or preach from the pulpit the gospel of the 
compassionate Redeemer. 

On this last point, forgetting that by taking the 
literal meaning of isolated passages in the Bible you 



WOMAN AS BREAD- WINNER * 93 

may prove almost anything, we are perpetually reminded 
of the words of St. Paul, " Let your women keep silence 
in the churches." Now, let us analyse for a moment 
the meaning of this prohibition. St. Paul was here 
addressing Christian believers resident in Corinth, one of 
the most corrupt and dissolute of the decaying cities 
of heathendom. Here, as in other parts of Greece, 
the only women who attracted public attention were 
the courtesans. They were the only real free women 
of the Greek State, and they often availed themselves 
of their freedom to consort with philosophers in public 
places and to address public assemblies. It would 
have been manifestly indiscreet, therefore, for women 
to speak in the churches of Corinth, as they would be 
classed with wantons like Phryne, Hyperides, Aspasia, 
and Diotima. 

On the other hand, if women were to be utterly 
debarred from speaking in the churches, how are we to 
interpret the Scripture, which reads, " your sons and your 
daughters shall prophesy," or understand that further 
instruction of St. Paul where he directs that when women 
taught in public they were to remain covered after the 
manner of the East? It is certain that there were 
deaconesses as well as deacons in the early Church, 
while ecclesiastical enactments of a later era show 
that in a period not far removed from the apostolic 
age there were women who preached, baptized, adminis- 
tered the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, and filled 
various offices in the Church. 



294 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

Personally, we are of opinion that there are features 
in the life and character of Christ, as the representative 
of humanity and not of man only, which may be better 
interpreted by women than by men. Furthermore, if 
it is the office of a Christian preacher to stand midway, 
as it were, between earth and heaven, to be a link 
between the spiritual and material worlds, the finer 
and more spirituelle nature of woman renders her 
eminently adapted for the task. 

Gentle and modest women among the Quakers, 
yielding themselves to the influence of the Holy Spirit, 
and preserving the pure fragrance of the soul, have 
ministered to edification in many a rapt religious 
assembly; women among the early Methodists were 
often grandly mitred with pentecostal fire; and there 
are hundreds of women in the present day who have 
attested their call to preach in that everlasting miracle 
of conversion wrought through their witness whereby 
souls have been transformed and re-created in the 
Divine likeness. Let woman then take heart and say 
to her willing sisterhood 

Come, ye beloved I we will haste and go 

To those pale faces of our fellow-men ! 

Our loving hearts, burning with summer fire, 

Will cast a glow upon their pallidness ; 

Our hands will help them, far as servants may; 

Hands are Apostles still to saviour-hearts, 

So we may share their blessedness with them ! 



CHAPTER XII 

THE SOVEREIGNTY OF WOMAN 

Nor reign such queens on thrones alone 

In cot and court the same, 
Wherever woman's smile is known, 

Victoria's still her name. 
For though she almost blush to reign, 
Though Love's own flow'rets wreath the chain, 
Disguise our bondage as we will, 
'Tis woman, woman, rules us still. 

THOMAS MOORE. 

Oh ! what a mercy it is that these women do not exercise their powei 
oftener I We can't resist them if they do. Let them show ever so little 
inclination and men go down on their knees at once ; old or ugly, it is all 
the same. And this I set down as a positive truth. A woman with fair 
opportunities, and without an absolute hump, may marry whom she likes. 
Only let us be thankful that the darlings, like the beasts of the field, don't 
know their own power. They would overcome us entirely if they did. 

THACKERAY. 

HOW wonderful and irresistible is the power of 
woman 1 Fluent and changeful as the wave, she 
is yet mighty as the sea. Gentle and yielding as the 
air, she is yet potent and prevailing as the hurricane. 
There are some who would fain invest her with political 
power, but the power which she lacks in this direction 
Is more than compensated by that which she exercises 
in private life, Jeremy Bentham said that man, even if 

296 



296 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

he would, could not keep power from woman, for she 
already governs the world " with the whole power of 
a despot" And Dr. Johnson deprecated the idea of 
granting the franchise to woman, on the ground that 
her power was well-nigh omnipotent already. It has 
long been a settled axiom that "she who rocks the 
cradle rules the world," and it is without question that 
to form the character of the whole human race implies 
a power far greater than that which is wielded by the 
voter or the law-maker. 

In all ages men have acknowledged the sovereignty 
of woman, and have bowed submissive to her sway. 
The knight has found his richest guerdon in her smile 
as he went forth to battle, or as in joust or tournament 
his challenge was her glove. Inspired by her presence, 
the minstrel and the bard have brought from the harp a 
finer music, quick with the energy of tremulous and o'er- 
mastering passion. The artist has been thrilled by a 
loftier ambition to excel as he flung her image on the 
canvas or wrought in the enduring marble the matchless 
outlines of her form. For her the mariner has dared 
the sea, lighting it up with the blaze of battle, or 
freighting it with treasures from afar. The broad- 
browed thinker, baffled by the mysteries of life, and 
time, and fate, has found his consolation in the magic 
of her smile, while her meek adoration and her holy 
trust have led captive the heart of priests as they 
ministered at the altars of religion, or expressed in 
chastened eloquence their visions of the truth. It is 



THE SOVEREIGNTY OF WOMAN 297 

indeed difficult to speak of the power of woman over 
man without laying ourselves open to the charge of 
extravagance. Yet how mighty, how constant, and how 
all-pervading it is. In the light of her smile we grow 
and flourish and excel. Under the blight of her scorn 
we pine and wither. Heaven's best aid is lost upon us 
unless furthered by her sympathy and help, and the 
devil may take holiday, leaving us alone, if he has first 
made her a conquest. If we have and deserve her 
confidence and trust we shall be safe even though we 
sleep; but if she despise us no vigil will save us from 
ultimate degradation. When she leans on us we are 
mighty for labour or for battle. When she stands away 
and apart from us we are as broken reeds. We may 
be wroth with the world of men, and our withers be still 
unwrung ; but to be wroth with her works madness in 
the brain. If she is true to us the song of life is full of 
rhythmic sweetness, and there are stars in its blackest 
night. If she is false to us the whole creation reels and 
staggers in a vortex of unfathomable darkness. Without 
our thought she dominates us, despite any effort of our 
will she is our master, and the breath of her approval 
gives spring-time to the forest of our gloom, and shakes 
laughter from the sea of our despair, 

Sources of Womarfs Power 

This power of woman over man, like every other 
force in Nature, has its fixed laws, which we may analyse 
at will. The primal source of it is undoubtedly found in 



298 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND PC WER 

the close relation which God has established between the 
sexes. 

Man and woman are a related pair. God has made 
them so, and they cannot alter His decree. As Dr. 
Maudsley says: "No one can break away from the 
tyranny of his organisation." Sex is of divine origin, 
and it takes hold on the very heart of life. It dominates 
us whether we will or not. It is altogether independent 
of the attributes of will or choice. How potent is the 
magnetism which draws together the lover and his 
beloved 1 The elective affinity of male and female, im- 
perious and irresistible, laughs at the dreams of monks 
and the ideas of system-mongers, and in spite of them 
peoples and gladdens the world. Love and companion- 
ship are the first needs of every healthy human being. 
As the moon draws the tide so are we drawn to the 
woman of our choice, we are fated to fall beneath her 
spell. " Love is such a simple thing," says one, " when 
we have only one-and-twenty summers, and a sweet girl 
of seventeen trembles under our glance as if she were a 
bud first opening her heart with wondering rapture to 
the morning. Such young unfurrowed souls roll to meet 
each other like two velvet peaches that touch softly and 
are at rest ; they mingle as easily as two brooklets that 
ask for nothing but to entwine themselves and ripple 
with ever-interlacing curves in the leafiest hiding-places." 

Our complex civilisation has not altered this law of 
attraction between the sexes; on the contrary, it is 
mightier in refined and cultured life than in primitive 



THE SOVEREIGNTY OF WOMAN 299 

existence. It has been robbed, for finer and heaven- 
touched souls, of its grosser elements. It has been lifted 
from the platform of lust into the ineffable poetry of 
love, but it is still there, fixed in the order and plan of 
Nature, and we cannot evade it. An earthly affection," 
says Heber Newton, " brooking no comparison, arrogates 
to itself the monopoly of the very name of Love, and 
entering into the innermost hold of man's being, rules 
thence his every power with imperious sway. Into the 
heart of young manhood there comes a woman form, 
visioning in tender light all grace and goodness, shadow- 
ing around her a beautiful ideal, which possesses the 
imagination, captivates the affections, enslaves the will. 
She makes him do what she. pleases : controlling his 
possessions, shaping his plans, moulding his very life by 
her subtle tyranny. There is no impossibility which he 
will not attempt at her bidding; no folly of which he 
will not be guilty, if she wills it ; no height of heroism 
he will not scale, if she leads him ; no depth of degrada- 
tion to which he will not sink beneath her downward- 
pressing weight. Her power over him is the subtle 
leash her soul throws around him. She spins that 
gossamer omnipotence out of the tissue of her being, 
and pulses through it her very life-throbs. If she be 
little and shallow, frivolous and vain, it will please her 
that he who loves and serves her shall do the things 
which minister to the delight of such a paltry nature, and 
all her charm over him will draw him down from noble 
aspiration, will lure him aside from strenuous endeavour. 



300 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

But if she be a true woman, pure and good, wise and 
strong, it will please her that he shall do those things in 
which such a soul rejoices." What depth of philosophy 
does George Eliot put in the mouth of one of her gossips 
where she says : " It's a strange thing to think of a 
man as can lift a chair with his teeth, and walk fifty 
miles on end, trembling and turning hot and cold at 
only a look from one woman out of all the rest i j the 
world. It's a mystery we can give no account of; but 
no more we can of the sprouting o 1 the seed, for that 
matter." 

The thrilling spell which blends in our two kindred 
human hearts, and the gladness and elation which result 
from such a union, is well expressed by the poet 

Since the sweet knowledge I possess, 

That she I love is mine, 
All nature throbs with happiness 

And wears a face divine. 
The woods seem greener than they were, 

The skies are brighter blue ; 
The stars shine clearer, and the air 

Lets finer sunlight through. 

The Power of Beauty 

Another secret of the power of woman over man lies 
in the spell exercised by her beauty. 

Woman was of later creation than man, and, as the 
last from the hand of God is always best, she is more 
beautiful than man. The order of creation is always 
from the lower to the higher, from the simple to the more 
complex, from the beautiful to the more beautiful, 



THE SOVEREIGNTY OF WOMAN 301 

The entrance of woman on the stage of creation is finely 
described by Milton, where he says 

Under His forming hands a creature grew, 
Man-like, but different sex; so lovely fair, 
That what seem'd fair in all the world, seem'd now 
Mean, or in her summ'd up, in her contain'd, 
And in her looks; which, from that time, infused 
Sweetness into my heart unfelt before. 

Adorn'd 

With all that earth or heaven could bestow 

To make her amiable: on she came, 

Led by her heavenly Maker, though unseen, 

And guided by His voice; nor uninformed 

Of nuptial sanctity and marriage rites : 

Grace was in all her steps, heaven in her eye, 

In every gesture dignity and love, 

By common consent we regard woman as the most 
perfect earthly type of beauty. 

Nature's last work, she has stolen the loveliness of 
all which went before. She is the embodiment of the 
beauty of the world. Man is as the tree. Woman is 
both tree and flower. Man is the oak, or the sycamore. 
Woman is the laburnum, or the lilac, or the magnolia. 
In her case a grace and a fairness are super-added to 
the ordinary human form, which constitute her a poem 
of the Creator, She shakes her golden tresses, and 
summer is in the air. She loosens her dusky locks, and 
the glory of night is on us, with her eyes for stars, 
She droops her lovely head, and it is twilight. She lifts 
her veiled lids, and it is dawn. Hence Tennyson's 
exquisite image 

And mom 

Has lifted the dark eye-lash of the night 
From off the rosy cheek of waking day. 



302 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

The exquisite delicacy and finished grace in move- 
ment or in repose of youthful womanhood takes the 
heart of man captive. It is a regal gift by which she 
holds us in subjection. We are enchanted by it ere yet 
a single effort has been made by its possessor to win our 
esteem and love. We may decry it as we will, arguing 
that it is only skin deep and that time will speedily 
waste it ; but it is still the power of powers by which 
woman holds us in subjection. In lines which none can 
contradict, Anacreon has sung 

To woman, what? so slender, slim s and slight, 
'Mid coarse-grained things of masterdom and might; 
She gave weak woman Beauty, with a power 
More strong than fire or iron, as her dower. 

Pascal uttered a profound truth when he said that 
if the nose of Cleopatra had only been a little shorter the 
whole face of the world would have been changed. 

Neither, if we may venture to say a word on the 
subject of dress, should we condemn or despise woman 
for making the best of her dower of beauty by suitable 
apparel and by fitting ornaments. God has intended 
her to look beautiful, and she does wisely to fulfil His 
intention to the utmost of her power. That is a cheap 
and shallow scorn which is for ever alluding to the 
vanity of woman as displayed in her love of dress. 
It is reasonable and natural for a woman to make the 
best of herself, nay, it is winsome and sweet of her to 
please and delight us by looking as beautiful as she 
possibly can. "Can a maid forget her ornaments?** 



THE SOVEREIGNTY OF WOMAN 303 

is an inspired question which has its root in the intrinsic 
reasonableness of some kind of care being given to them. 
The affected superiority which treats clothes and their 
accompaniments with a lofty negligence, if not with a 
supercilious scorn, would have made the daffodil brown 
instead of yellow, robbed the forget-me-not of its darling 
blue, stolen its heart of orange from the daisy, and 
dashed the crimson from the robin's breast 

Yet further, woman wears nothing which she does 
not adorn, and of which she does not increase the 
beauty and the value. The costliest jewels seem all 
but valueless until they glitter on her fingers, heave upon 
her bosom, or irradiate her brow. They need her touch 
and presence to invest them with their fullest charm, 
and it would appear as if for her alone they had been 
given by the Creator. 

The far-fetched diamond finds its home 

Flashing and smouldering in her hair? 
For her the seas their pearls reveal ; 

Art and strange lands her pomp supply 
With purple, chrome, and cochineal, 

Ochre and lapis lazuli. 
The worm its golden woof presents ; 

Whatever runs, flies, dives, or delves, 
All doff for her their ornaments, 

Which suit her better than themselves. 

It is true that beauty and vanity are often closely 
allied; true, also, as the critics say, that beauty and 
talent are seldom found in conjunction, yet it retains its 
fascination still. Men will pass by worth that they may 
wed with beauty. It is more attractive than health or 



I 

u 

I 304 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND PO WER 

<* wealth. Kings bow down to it. Philosophers are made 

|| ; fools by it, and age itself is led captive by its subtle 

i and pervasive charm. " Beauty," says Zimmerman, " is 

f i worse than wine, it intoxicates both the holder and the 

l : beholder." "What there is," says Sir Walter Scott, "in 

| : our partiality to female beauty that commands a species 

of temporary homage from the aged, as well as ecstatic 

Ny admiration from the young, I cannot conceive; but it is 

l j certain that a very large portion of some other amiable 

'! ' ' quality is too little to counterbalance the absolute want 

of this advantage. I, to whom beauty is, and shall 

henceforward be a picture, still look upon it with the 

quiet devotion of an old worshipper, who no longer 

f offers incense on the shrine, but peaceably presents his 

1 '! inch of taper, taking especial care in doing so not to 

; burn his own fingers." 

! So much for the wizard of Waverley, while an 

infatuated and foolish poet writes of one whose beauty 
had taken him captive 
, i 

. . Thou art so very sweet and fair, 

With such a heaven in thine eyes, 

't , It almost seems an over care 

, ,' j! To ask thee to be good and wise. 

/ ' { 

Neither can the lover of a woman who is beautiful 

escape the impression that such a lovely temple must 

1 1 ; : enshrine a lovely soul. Where beauty exists it is easy to 

J! create an ideal, and it has been truly said that the very 

j ! noblest natures are often the most blinded to the char- 

J } acter of the one woman's soul that beauty clothes. What 



THE SOVEREIGNTY OF WOMAN 305 

though its possessor does not understand ? What though 
she talks only of trinkets, trifles, and millinery ? To the 
lover her words seem floating from some fathomless sea 
of meaning too sublime and ethereal for his rude soul to 
penetrate. She moves by his side in the dance thinking 
only of the eyes which are fixed on her perfect face and 
her faultless figure, while her adorer repeats to himself 
the lines of the poet 

So fresh, and rosy, and dimpled, 

But oh ! what a soul there lies, 
Melting to liquid agate 

Those wumanly tender eyes \ 
How it quickens under the music 

As if at a breath divine, 
And the ripening lips disported 

Drink in the soundriike wine. 



And she in her virginal beauty, 

As pure as a pictured saint, 
How should this sinning and sorrow 

Have for her danger or taint? 
What guesses the rosebud, glowing 

In light, and odour, and dew, 
Of the rose of the wind's despoiling, 

Lamenting the summer through ? 

Thus are we led captive by the power of beauty \\\ 
woman. It has been said that wisdom and love are one 
that no one can love truly and deeply but his love must 
make him better and wiser. But beneath the fascination 
of beauty reason itself resigns its sceptre and wisdom 
abdicates her throne, the first sigh of desire frequently 
becomes the last of wisdom, and love is made a fever of 
the soul. 

20 



3o6 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

Another primal secret of the power of woman is found 
in 

Her Dependence and Her Trust. 

" The great charm of woman," says Balzac, " consists 
in a constant appeal to the generosity of man, in a 
graceful declaration of weakness, by which she at once 
elevates him and awakens the most magnificent senti- 
ments. The avowal of weakness carries with it a magic 
influence." Yes, there is a charm in the very helpless- 
ness of woman. Her very weakness is the charter of her 
power. The clinging trust in virtue of which she looks 
up to man for guidance and support, for defence and 
protection, is one of the^first secrets of her strength* He 
cannot refuse to cherish that which appeals to him so 
pathetically for cherishing. It was this conviction which 
crushed from the heart of Shakespeare the noble lines 

The man who bears an honourable mind 
Will scorn to treat a woman lawlessly. 

The strength of a true man is in his will. The strength 
of a true woman is in her affections. Reverse this order, 
and you have on the one hand the unmanly man, and on 
the other the unwomanly woman, whom we all despise. 
In love and gentleness lie woman's mastery. " Women 
are never stronger," says a clever French writer, " than 
when they arm themselves with their weakness." Rabelais 
again says : " The empire of woman is the empire of 
sweetness, address and complaisance ; her commands 



THE SOVEREIGNTY OF WOMAN 307 

are caresses, her menaces are tears." And Shakespeare 
writes 

When maidens sue, 

Men give like gods; but, when they weep and kneel, 
All their petitions are as freely theirs 
As they themselves would owe them. 

It is to be feared that American women are in danger 
on this point. They give too little and demand too 
much. They assume two positions at the same time, 
that of superiors and that of pensioners. They do not 
invite deference, but command it as a loyalty due to a 
sovereign. They do not allow the opposite sex to per- 
form an act of courtesy by their own free will, but they 
exact it from them as their right, rendering neither 
gratitude nor acknowledgment. Now there Is peril in 
this, and they will do well to remember that those who 
demand too much are sometimes spurned. This is the 
lesson of Browning in his poem entitled " The Glove." 
The story of the poem runs thus : King Francis I. was 
one day amusing himself by viewing the lions in his 
courtyard, in company with the lords and ladies of the 
palace. As the lions ramped round and round making 
a wind with their mighty paws, the king said, " Faith, 
gentlemen, we are better here than there." De Lorge's 
lady-love overheard this, and thought it a good oppor- 
tunity to test the courage of her lover. So she dropped 
her glove over the barrier amongst the lions, at the same 
time smiling to De Lorge the command to jump down 
and recover it This was speedily done, but the lover 
flung the recovered glove in the lady's face. The king 



3 oS WOMAN; HER CHARM AND POWER 

approved this course, and said, " Your heart's queen, 
you dethrone her ? So should I : 'twas mere vanity, not 
love, which set that task to humanity." If woman 
foolishly demands too much she will receive and deserve 
only scorn. The ivy and the oak may be an imperfect 
illustration of the relation of woman to man ; but there 
can be no question that her clinging dependence is one 
of the salient attributes of her charm. The hard, self- 
reliant woman who asserts her independence and elects 
to stand alone, without the love or the support of man, 
places herself in a position of antagonism which will 
leave her alone uncared for and unsought. She is not 
a true woman who returns no love and asks for no 
protection. Tenderness,* gentleness, dependence, self- 
renunciation, trust, these are the natural characteristics 
of woman, and in these will always consist her truest 
sovereignty* Armed with these she becomes well-nigh 
irresistible. So felt the " Ettrick Shepherd " when he 
voiced the sentiments of the immense majority of men 
in the comprehensive lines 

For me, I'm woman's slave confest 
Without her, hopeless and unblest ; 
And so are all, gainsay who can, 
For what would be the life of man 
If left in desert or in isle, 
Unlighted up by beauty's smile? 
Ev T n though he boasted monarch's name 
And o'er his own sex reigned supreme, 
With thousands bending to his sway, 
If lovely woman were away, 
What were his life ? what could it be ? 
A vapour on a shoreless sea; 



THE SOVEREIGNTY OF WOMAN 309 

A troubled cloud in darkness toss'd, 
Amongst the waste of waters lost ; 
A ship deserted in the gale, 
Without a steersman or a sail, 
A star or beacon light before, 
Or hope of haven evermore ; 
A thing without a human tie, 
Unloved to live, unwept to die. 

Testimonies to the fascination wielded by woman 
and to her power over man abound in history and in 
literature. 



in his History of the Antiquities of the Jews, records 
how Darius, King of Persia, at a great feast offered a 
costly present and certain special privileges to anyone 
who could best answer the question as to whether Wine, 
Kings, Women, or Truth were the strongest. The award 
was given to a discreet counsellor of the Empire named 
Zorobabel, and the following is a part of his reply. The 
wise man said : " Wine is strong, as is the king also, 
whom all men obey, but women are superior to them in 
power ; for it was a woman who brought the king into 
the world ; and for those that plant the vine and make 
the wine, they are women who bear them and bring them 
up. Nor, indeed, is there anything which we do not 
receive from them ; for these women weave garments for 
us, and our household affairs are by their means taken 
care of and preserved in safety. Nor can we live separate 
from women ; and when we have gotten a great deal of 
gold and silver, and any other thing that is of great value 
and deserving regard, and see a beautiful woman, we 



3 io WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

leave all these things, and with open mouth fix our eyes 
upon her countenance, and are willing to forsake what 
we have that we may enjoy her beauty and procure it 
to ourselves. We also leave father and mother and the 
earth that nourishes us, and frequently forget our dearest 
friends for the sake of women, nay, we are so hardy as 
to lay down our lives for them ; but what will chiefly 
make you take notice of the strength of women is this 
that follows : Do not we take pains, and endure a great 
deal of trouble, and that both by land and sea, arid when 
we have procured somewhat as the fruit of our labours, 
do we not bring them to the women as to our mistresses, 
and bestow them upon them ? Nay, I once saw the 
king, who is lord of so nfany people, smitten on the face 
by Apame, and his diadem taken from him and put upon 
her own head, while he bore it patiently ; and when she 
smiled he smiled, and when she was angry he was sad ; 
and, according to the change of her passions, he flattered 
his wife and drew her to reconciliation by the great 
humiliation of himself to her, if at any time he saw her 
displeased at him/ 1 

The subject was also humorously treated in the old 
Greek world by 

Aristophanes^ 

who deals with the woman's question for the most part 
on the lines of the old Greek comedian, who declares : 
" There is no living with them or without 'em." In one of 
his comedies the great cynic and satirist fills up an interval 



THE SOVEREIGNTY OF WOMAN 311 

by a song from the Chorus of Women, the first part of 
which is so thoroughly modern in its tone that it does 
not lose much in a free translation 

They're always abusing the women, 

As a terrible plague to men : 
They say we're the root of all evil, 

And repeat it again and again : 
Of war, and quarrels, and bloodshed, 

All mischief, be what it may : 
And pray, then, why do you marry us, 

If we're all the plagues you say ? 
And why do you take such care of us, 

And keep us so safe at home, 
And are never easy a moment 

If ever we chance to roam? 
When you ought to be thanking heaven 

That your plague is out of the way 
You all keep fussing and fretting 

"Where is my Plagift to-day?" 
If a Plague peeps out of the window, 

Up go the eyes of the men ; 
If she hides, then they all keep staring, 

Until she looks out again. 

Not without a touch of bitterness, 



Olive Schreiner % 

in her Story of an African Farm, puts the case still 
more powerfully in the following record of the interview 
of her heroine with Waldo. "But some women," said 
Waldp, speaking as though the words forced themselves 
from him at that moment, " some women have power." 
She lifted her beautiful eyes to his face. " Power ! Did 
you ever hear of men being asked whether other souls 
should have power or not? It is born in them. You 



3 i2 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 



tii 



may dam up the fountain of water, and make it a stagnant 
marsh, or you may let it run free and do its work ; but 
you cannot say whether it shall be there; it is there. 
And it will act, if not openly for good, then covertly for 
evil ; but it will act" . * . " Power 1 " she said, suddenly 
smiting her little hand upon the rail. " Yes ; we have 
power, and since we are not to expend it in tunnelling 
mountains, nor healing diseases, nor making laws, nor 
money, nor on any extraneous object, we expend it on you. 
You are our goods, our merchandise, our material for 
operating on ; we buy you, we sell you, we make fools of 
you, we act the wily old Jew with you, we keep six of you 
crawling to our little feet, and praying only for a touch of 
our little hand ; and thev^ say truly, there was never an 
ache or a pain or a broken heart but a woman was at the 
bottom of it. We are not to study law, nor science, nor 
art, so we study you. There is never a nerve or a fibre in 
your man's nature but we know it. We keep six of you 
dancing in the palm of one little hand,' 1 she said, balanc- 
ing her outstretched arm gracefully, as though tiny beings 
disported themselves in its palm. " There we throw 
you away, and you sink to the devil," she said, folding 
her arms composedly. " There never was a man who 
said one word for woman but he said two for man, and 
three for the whole human race.** 

Though urged with such petulant defiance, we cannot 
escape from the truth of these words. Our destiny in 
this world, for good or evil, Is in the hands of woman. 
She can blast or bless us ; raise us to eminence or 



THE SOVEREIGNTY OF WOMAN 513 

trample us in the mire. She may be to us an angel of 
redeeming mercy, or a siren luring us to perdition. She 
may empower our souls with strength, or paralyse them 
with weakness, There is nothing good or evil in the 
world but woman is at one end or the other of it. Her 
influence embraces the whole of life. She can make 
marriage a haven of refuge and a garden of delights, or 
what Milton has called it, " a drooping and disconsolate 
household captivity." She can mould her children into 
beauty, or cover them with shame. If she be small, 
slight-natured, miserable, how shall men grow? Lord 
Termyson was right when he allowed one of his heroes 
to declare 

" The Woman males Us most? 

She is the beacon light of our ambition ; our energies 
and aspirations are all drawn forth by the holy in- 
fluence of her love ; our well-being, social and domestic, 
is derived from her fostering care. From the cradle to 
the grave, whether we realise it or not, she is our master, 
moulding us for good or evil. If we wish to know the 
character of a home, we must discover what the wife and 
the mother is who rules it ; and if we desire to gauge 
the moral and political condition of a State, we must 
ask what rank women hold in it, and how they have been 
educated and trained. In proof of this, it is only neces- 
sary to cast our eyes over the globe, and remark the two 
great divisions of the human race, the East and the West. 
One half of the world steadily retrogrades, for there 



3 i4 



HER CHARM AND POWER 



women are playthings and slaves. The other half pro- 
gresses, slowly, it is true, but surely, towards truth, free- 
dom, and intellectual advancement, because woman is 
delivered from serfdom, and with the light of Christ's 
gospel on her face moves upward and heavenward. Not 
without deep meaning did Goethe, after the travail and 
the ripened thought of fourscore years, finish the second 
part of his Faust that profound attempt at the solu- 
tion of the riddle of the world with the words 

The ever-womanly leadeth us 
Upward and onward. 

From another of the sages we allude to the late John 
Ruskin we have the following wholesome and monitory 
words, which our women will do well to ponder until 
they have become a part of the fibre and tissue of their 
souls. " Mothers and maidens, believe me, the whole 
course and character of your lovers* lives is in your 
hands ; what you would have them be they shall be, if 
you not only desire to have them so, but deserve to have 
them so ; for they are but mirrors, in which you will see 
yourselves imaged. If you are frivolous, they will be so 
also ; if you have no understanding of the scope of their 
duty, they also will foget it ; they will listen they can 
listen to no other interpretation of it than that uttered 
from your lips. Bid them be brave, they will be brave 
for you ; bid them be cowards, and, how noble soever 
they be, they will quail for you. Bid them be wise, and 
they will be wise for you ; mock at their counsel, they 
will be fools for yon such and so absolute is your rule 



THE SOVEREIGNTY OF WOMAN 315 

over them. You fancy, perhaps, as you have been told so 
often, that a wife's rule should only be over her husband's 
house, not over his mind. Ah, no ! the true rule is just 
the reverse of that : a true wife in her husband's house 
is his servant; it is in his heart that she is queen. What- 
ever of best he can conceive it is her part to be ; what- 
ever of highest he can hope it is her's to promise ; all 
that is dark in him she must purge into purity ; all that 
is failing in him she must strengthen into truth : from 
her, through all the world's clamour, he must win his 
praise ; in her, through all the world's warfare, he must 
find his peace." 

All this is grandly true, and that woman herself is 
not unconscious of its truth v^e learn from the following 
appeal of a woman to her sex : " One great necessity," 
says Miss Nina Wright, " there is in every woman's life ; 
a necessity which, if not attended to, makes of that life a 
sadly incomplete feature in our working, sorrowing world. 
The widest space in a woman's heart is and must be 
occupied by love ; the greater, purer, and more unselfish 
the love, the happier, braver, and more beautiful the life. 
I think there is no doubt that love is born in us, but very 
often we women do not realise the necessity of developing 
that love. . . . Dear sisters, we must realise that our love 
is of God, that it is the one thing on this earth that is 
ours for eternity ; that being divine, in fact, belonging to 
heaven, as it undoubtedly does, our love must only be 
used in one direction, t.e. to the glory of God. We are 
not meant to hide our love, or to bestow it only on our 



3i6 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

nearest and dearest ; on the contrary, we must do our 
best to love everyone and all things. By our love we 
must brighten the lives of others ; by our love we can 
purify and strengthen man ; by its very greatness, faith, 
and fervour we may make his home more restful, his 
nature happier, simpler, and his whole life more earnest. 
We make man's ideal ; therefore, if so much is entrusted 
to us, ought we not to strive heart and soul to accomplish 
it ? Ought we not to place that ideal high, so that by 
his efforts to live up to it man may turn his face heaven- 
wards?" 

Yes, here arises 

Woman's Call to Nobleness. 



Never must she forget her responsibility for the well- 
being of the world. It is she who presides over the 
fountains of life> Impregnating humanity with the qualities 
of her own soul. Into the woof and warp of human 
existence she weaves the texture of her being. She is, 
in a very true and solemn sense, the maker of men and 
the moulder and fashioner of the human world ! As she 
goes up she bears everything human with her. She is 
the fountain, and above it the stream cannot rise. 

How profound and significant is the teaching of the 
great religious poet, Dante, where he shows that it was 
the deepening revelation and the clearer vision of the 
divine beauty of Beatrice which led him up through 
Purgatory to Paradise. He rises toward the celestial 
light not by any physical effort on his part, but by the 



THE SOVEREIGNTY OF WOMAN 317 

attraction of her pure, ineffable loveliness. To her he 
addresses the acknowledgment and the appeal 

O lady 1 thou in whom my hopes have rest ! 
Who for my safety hast not scornM in hell 
To leave the traces of thy footsteps work'd I 
For all mine eyes have seen, I to thy power 
And goodness, virtue owe and grace. Of slave 
Thou hast to freedom brought me; and no means 
For my deliverance apt hast left untried. 
Thy liberal bounty still toward me keep, 
That when my spirit, which thou madest whole, 
Is loosen'd from this body, it may find 
Favour with thee. 

Thus does he follow his beloved Beatrice beloved and 
beautiful as the ministrant angel who leads him up to 
God* 

We have here a great poetic symbol of the power of 
a consecrated womanhood. We grow noble as woman 
calls us up to nobleness, and by the law of assimilation 
we are fashioned after her likeness in the proportion in 
which we love and admire her, 

" That which we admire," writes Heber Newton, " we 
aspire after ; that which we joy in fills and fashions 
us ; that which we love possesses us. As she is whom 
we men admire, rejoice in, and love, so will we be. O 
woman, better, greater, more enduring than any semblance 
of queenly power over men, such as often allures you, is 
this reality of love's omnipotence. . . . c As a man 
thinketh in his heart so is he/ How he shall think in 
his heart what selfish, low, and evil dreams shall rise 
within the shadowy halls of the soul what visions of 



3i8 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

pure, true, noble life your presence, hallowed in the heart, 
shall lift before the worshipful love this it is yours to 
order, to order by the unconscious influence of your very 
selves the silent demand soul makes upon soul/' 

What true woman's heart is there which does not 
respond to such words as these, words which through her 
affections call her up to truth and sanctity ? And because 
of this influence of soul on soul, life creating life, purity 
engendering purity, we address to women the appeal of 
the poet, where he says to the wife who, walking by his 
side, had refined and uplifted him 

For God's sake, be as beautiful 
As the white form that dwelleth in my heart ! 
Yea, better still, as that ideal Pure 
That waketh in tl&e, when thou prayest God, 
Or helpest thy poor neighbour. For myself 
I pray ... Upon my knees 
I could implore thee -justify my faith 
In womanhood's white-handed nobleness, 
And thee, its revelation unto me! 



CHAPTER XIII 

DANGERS WHICH WOMAN SHOULD AVOIB 

Ah, wasteful woman ! she who may 
On her sweet self set her own price, 
Knowing he cannot choose but pay 
How has she cheapen'd Paradise ! 
How given for nought her priceless gift, 
How spoiled the bread and spill'd the wine, 
Which spent with due, i^spective thrift, 
Had made brutes men, and men divine. 

COVENTRY PATMOR*. 

WE have referred in our last chapter to the mighty 
influence wielded by woman, an influence 
largely determined by the relation which God has estab- 
lished between the sexes, by her native dower of beauty, 
and by the pathos of her dependence and trust The 
question now forces itself upon us as to whether there 
are no flaws in the marble, no discords in the music, no 
special dangers against which woman needs to guard, in 
order that she may rise to the full height of her nature 
and fulfil her destiny in the noblest possible way. Girl- 
hood, wifehood, motherhood are they all which the 
reflective spirit can desire ? 

To this we must frankly answer, No t 
$10 



320 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

And here we may remark that the bitterest things 
said about woman have been said by those of her own 
sex. For example, in that strange book from the pen 
of Marie Corelli entitled The Sorrows of Satan, Geoffrey, 
in one place, says to Lucio : " Why, Lucio, I thought you 
hated women." And Lucio replies : " So I do, but do not 
forget why I hate them ! It is because they have all 
the world's possibilities of good in their hands, and the 
majority of them deliberately turn their possibilities to 
evil. Men are influenced entirely by women, though few 
of them will own it through women they are lifted to 
heaven or driven to hell. The latter is the favourite 
course, and the one almost universally adopted." 

Now, while we utterly differ from this harsh judgment, 
it would be idle to deny that woman often works toward 
degradation when she should work toward nobleness, that 
by vanity and folly she often mars her influence, that, 
indeed, the element of imperfection which cleaves to all 
things human is present here also, and demands recogni- 
tion and correction on the part of woman herself, that her 
value in the social sphere may be enhanced, and her 
power consecrated to the noblest ends. 

Venturing, then, from the standpoint of the opposite 
sex, to point out some of the special defects against which 
woman needs to guard, the first we will particularise is 

Want of Thought. 

The average woman is unquestionably deficient in 
the matter of reflective thought Serious thinking is 



DANGERS WOMAN SHOULD A VOID 321 

regarded by the majority of women as unnecessary and a 
bore. It is one of her own sex who says : " No girl in 
her teens, unless she is so undeniably plain as to be absol- 
utely destitute of any attraction whatever, really thinks 
much about the cultivation of her mind, even in these 
days of the equality of the sexes/' 

How seldom does a woman arrest herself to ask, 
" Who, and what am I ? " " Whence came I ? " " Whither 
am I going ? " " Why am I placed here, and by whom ? " 
"What is my appointed destiny, and how can I best 
fulfil it?" 

There are few men who have not paused at some 
time or other to consider questions such as these, few who 
have not arrived, as the resulf of reflection, at some 
definite convictions concerning life and duty, by which 
they feel they ought to be guided In woman, on the 
other hand, we find a multitude of desires, prejudices, 
fancies, wishes, volitions, but no definite purpose. 

The Italians have a proverb, " Who thinks grows old 
by it," and it would appear as if this was a process dreaded 
by woman. Too often she floats on the stream of life 
like a cork, without any self-direction. Flighty in manner 
and hysterical in speech, she chatters like a bird, or 
babbles like a child, without the trouble of thinking. Nay, 
in some instances we have known her affect ignorance, 
as if it were winsome and charming, and mistake childish- 
ness for childlikeness. 

The things she sees and hears awaken in her no reflec- 
tive wonder. They glance on her mind as on a mirror, 

ax 



3 2* WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

and then pass. She wears silk, and wool, and linen, but 
never pauses to consider whence they have come, or how 
they are woven. The stars shine above her, but she 
never ponders the astronomic story of their magnificence. 
The rivers roll to the sea, symbols of her life hasting 
toward eternity, but she does not heed the lesson they 
might teach. The world beats out around her its great 
march of life and progress, but its record of human activ- 
ities and of Divine providence is unheeded. She is " fear- 
fully and wonderfully made" a breathing microcosm, a 
marvellous summary and epitome of the whole creation 
but the mystery of her complex being fails to arrest or to 
surprise her. The Key of Knowledge hangs at her girdle, 
but she is too indifferent or too preoccupied with trifles 
to open the door of its many-chambered treasure-house. 
Nay, knowledge itself is often useless to her, because of 
the absence of reflective thought She may have visited 
other lands, but they have told her nothing of their his- 
tory, She may have learnt French and German, but only 
to merit the reproof of Dr. Johnson to a young lady who 
boasted to him of knowing so many foreign languages: 
a Then, madam, you have so many more ways of express- 
ing your folly." Equally incapable of talking on busi- 
ness, art, politics, agriculture, or the sciences, she cannot 
converse for an hour with any man of serious mind. 

Indeed, if by any chance she enters a room where 
men are discussing the great events and the great issues 
which mould society, and shape the destiny of the race, 
they immediately relapse into silence, or begin to speak of 



DANGERS WOMAN SHOULD AVOID. 323 

the trifles in which alone she is supposed to be interested. 
And all this arises, not from her lack of capacity, for her 
powers of heart and mind are quite equal to those of the 
average man, but simply because she will not give herself 
the trouble to think. The result is that too often the 
husband, won by her beauty and her charm, finds her 
only a mere doll, insipid, characterless, and incapable of 
rational companionship. What we plead for is not a 
race of learned women, but intelligent, judicious women, 
capable of sustained attention, well versed in everything 
which it is useful for them to know as mothers, mistresses 
of households, and women of the world ; never despising 
any labour of the hands, but at the same time knowing 
how to occupy not only their, fingers, but their minds 
also, and to cultivate their souls and their whole being. 

Very beautiful is the counsel of Tennyson's " Princess," 
where, addressing the maidens who surround her, she 
says 

O Eft your natures up: 

Embrace our aims: work out your freedom. Girls, 
._ Knowledge is now no more a fountain seal'd: 
Drink deep, until the habits of the slave, 
The sins of emptiness, gossip and spite 
And slander, die. Better not be at all 
Than not be noble. 

Another weakness against which woman needs to 
guard is that of 

Exaggerated Attention to Trifles. 

A very large portion of the Spectator^ says Mr, Court- 
hope in his new Life of Addison^ is devoted to reflections 



3*4 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

on the manners of women. Addison saw clearly how 
Important a part the female sex was destined to play in 
the formation of English taste and manners. Removed 
from the pedestal of enthusiastic devotion on which they 
had been placed during the feudal ages, women were 
treated under the Restoration as mere playthings and 
luxuries. As manners became more decent they found 
themselves secured in their emancipated position, but 
destitute of serious and rational employment It was 
Addison's object, therefore, to enlist the aid of female 
genius in softening, refining, and moderating the gross 
and conflicting tastes of half-civilised society. " There 
are none," he says, " to whom this paper will be more 
useful than to the femalp world. I have often thought 
there has not been sufficient pains taken in finding out 
..proper employments and diversions for the fair ones. 
Their amusements seem contrived for them rather as 
they are women than as they are reasonable creatures ; 
and are more adapted to the sex than to the species, 
The toilet is their great scene of business, and the right 
adjustment of their hair the principal employment of their 
lives. The sorting of a suit of ribands is reckoned a 
good morning's work, and if they make an excursion to 
a mercer's or a toy shop, so great a fatigue makes them 
unfit for anything else all the day after. Their more 
serious occupations are sewing and embroidery, and their 
greatest drudgery the preparation of jellies and sweet- 
meats. This, I say, is the state of ordinary women; 
though I know there are multitudes of those of a more 



DANGERS WOMAN SHOULD AVOID 325 

elevated life and conversation, that move in an exalted 
sphere of knowledge and virtue, that join all the beauties 
of the mind to the ornaments of dress, and inspire a kind 
of awe and respect as well as of love, into their mate 
beholders. I hope to increase the number of these by 
publishing this paper, which I shall always endeavour to 
make an innocent, if not an improving entertainment, 
and by that means at least divert the minds of my female 
readers from greater trifles." 

There are few who will fail to acknowledge the 
wisdom of these words, or to applaud the purpose of 
Addison in his effort to battle with one of the most 
glaring defects of ordinary womanhood. 

Too many women live in a world peopled only by 
the merest trivialities, and we fail to understand them 
only because we look too deep, instead of confining our 
attention to the mere surfaces of things. They can see 
the minute and the trifling, but the most momentous 
interests of life often utterly evade them. A few yards 
comprehends the utmost limit of their vision. Distant 
possibilities they refuse to contemplate. They lament 
as much over an ill-made gown as others do over a lost 
fortune, and they are more concerned about the diminu- 
tion of their weekly allowance than about the prospect 
of absolute ruin which may impend over the business in 
which their husbands are engaged, and in which their 
whole living is involved. 

In the same way women often largely overrate a 
trifling service on their behalf, while they underrate a 



326 WOMAN: HER CH ARM" AND POWER , 

great sacrifice. Men who wait upon their whims and 
dance attendance on their caprices are greatly esteemed, 
. | while the strong, silent men of their acquaintance are 

often disregarded, if not snubbed. Many a foolish girl 
' | admires him more who hands her into a boat in dainty 

fashion, or who plies an oar with practised grace, than 
i the man who would readily plunge into a boiling whirl- 

i pool for her rescue. We know that this exaggerated 

1 attention to trifles on the part of women admits of a 

* possible apology. It may be urged, and rightly, that 

; her limited vision is adapted to her sphere, and that 

i I attention to the minor details which men ignore is essen- 

tial to the order and the comfort of home. It is natural 
that women, instead of looking abroad on public concerns, 
should merge their hearts and lives in the career of those 
dear to them. Tender and careful household ways are 
expected of them rather than enlarged views of politics, 
bold flights of fancy, or deep results of thought. Dex- 
terity of hands and fingers, winsome ways with children, 
skill in nursing, attention to the minutiae of food and 
dress, constant vigilance combined with swiftness of per- 
ception and action with regard to things which appear 
insignificant, but which in the home make all the differ- 
ence between chaos and comfort all this we expect from 
them, and this, it may be pleaded, should content us. 

But when all this is rendered we are still apt to feel 
that with it there may be the charm and the helpfulness 
of a wider vision. This wider vision should be cultivated 
by all self-respecting women. They should seek to pos- 



DANGERS WOMAN SHOULD AVOID 327 

sess better-ordered and better-stored minds, with larger, 
more varied, and more serious interests in life. This 
would deliver them from that tyranny of trifles which is 
the hectic and the bane of so many of the otherwise sweet 
and winsome members of the gentler sex. 

'Tis a vile life that like a garden pool 

Lies stagnant in the round of personal loves j 

That has no ear save for the tinkling lute 

Set to small measures deaf to all the beats 

Of that large music rolling o'er the world : 

A miserable, petty, low-roofed life, 

That knows the mighty orbits of the skies 

Though nought save light or dark in its own cabin. 

Another prominent danger against which woman 
needs to guard is that of undue 

Slavery to Fashion *and the World* 

There are few sights more distressing than that of 
the frivolous, fickle, pleasure - loving woman who has 
made a god of the world and sacrifices all things to 
that dwarfing and degrading idolatry. The world is 
a poor altar on which to lay health and happiness, 
character and life. It is a thing from which we cannot 
gain one kind smile we do not pay for, and which with 
all its power, splendour, caresses, promises, for all the 
love we waste upon it, cannot love us, for it is heartless. 
The despotism of fashion and all which it entails ; the 
importance given to pleasure as a legitimate object in 
life ; the admission of varying standards of morality, 
according to sex, and time, and circumstance, these, 
briefly stated, are the great perils of what is called 



328 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

society. And it is pitiful as well as humiliating to 
note how much of simplicity and beauty, how much 
of sweet girlhood and winsome womanhood is sacri- 
ficed at a shrine so mean and so debasing. 

Not only among the people born in luxury, and 
doomed to hopeless idleness, do we find this slavery to 
fashion and custom which is the essence of what we 
call worldliness, but it also filters down into the ranks 
of the middle classes, marring the simplicity of life and 
replacing godly seriousness by soul-destroying vanity. 
We are told that a woman might as well be out of 
the world as out of the fashion, and everything must 
bow to this shallow maxim. Dress must be fashion- 
able, everi though it outrages every law of modesty 
and transgresses every canon of health, putting bands 
round the lungs, engines of torture on "the feet, and 
skirts round the waist which make any yielding grace 
of movement a physical impossibility.. 

Food must be fashionable, though so highly seasoned 
and so unnatural that it results in pallid features, 
nervous debility, a dyspeptic habit, and a languid 
heart 

Friendship must be fashionable, though it selects for 
its associates the empty and the vain whose pet occupa- 
tion is the slandering of their neighbours, and who are 
incapable of a noble or inspiring thought. 

Love must be fashionable, though it reduces marriage 
to a lottery, and hands over innocent girlhood into the 
hands of men little better than beasts, because they have 



DANGERS WOMAN SHOULD AVOID 329 

a satisfactory income and move in what is called good 
society. 

Religion, too, must be fashionable, though it seeks 
a church in which no earnest, believing prayer is ever 
uttered, where no burdened soul ever found the grace 
of pardon, and no struggling soul was ever helped Into 
freedom and self-control. 

How hollow and degrading is all this, and how 
utterly it should be loathed and despised by all self- 
respecting women ! Is it not a fact that the fashionable 
woman, the worldly woman, is worthless for all the great 
ends of human life ? She is destitute alike of physical 
energy, of moral fibre, or of any redeeming force of 
character. She lives for no great purpose in life. She 
accomplishes no worthy ends. She dresses nobody, 
feeds nobody, instructs nobody, ennobles nobody. And 
since a woman descends into her children in her weak- 
ness or her strength, in her meanness or her majesty, as 
she has lived, what a poor and meagre inheritance does 
the woman of the world transmit to her offspring ! 

The great evil of an excessive devotion to society 
and fashion is the mechanical hollowness and insincerity 
which it breeds. The relish of existence is destroyed, 
the glory of the soul is darkened, the splendour of the 
universe with all its moral sanctions and godlike possi- 
bilities is dwarfed and hidden by the sordid treachery, 
the frivolous fickleness, the petty jealousies, and the 
shallow judgments of that empty and contemptible 
presence which Is called society. Masterful, lawless, 



330 WOMAN': HER CHARM AND POWER 

and intrusive, it is still destitute of every claim to 
honour and regard, and every woman who aspires after 
nobleness should shake its dust from her feet, and go 
forth beneath the stars to commune with God, and to 
lay hold of the sanctities of eternity. " Womanhood," as 
one has finely said, " should be the consecration of the 
earth." But how can that consecrate which is itself 
debased and unworthy? 

Another of the special dangers oi woman is an 
inordinate affection which not seldom culminates in 

Idolatry. 

Love is the very essence of woman's existence. But 
there are two kinds of love the love which receives, 
and the love which gives. The love which receives 
rejoices in the sentiment which it inspires, and in the 
sacrifice which it obtains. The love which gives delights 
in the sentiment which it experiences, and in the sacri- 
fices which it makes. This latter is the love of woman. 
She will live and toil for the beloved one, and be glad, 
often asking little in return. Her motto is that of 
Christ : " It is more blessed to give than to receive. 
With man it is otherwise. He seeks to receive more 
than he gives. The love of woman is more disinterested 
than that of man. Man loves woman more for his own 
sake than for hers. Woman loves man less for her own 
sake than for his. If solitude burdens a man, it is 
because he has no one to minister to him. If solitude 
proves irksome to a woman, it is because she has no one 



DANGERS WOMAN SHOULD AVOID 331 

to whom she may minister. Woman loves to surrender 
herself and to give. Man loves to possess himself and 
to receive. 

Now, it is truly pathetic to note how this beautiful 
quality in woman may be perverted. The divinest thing I 

in woman is her capacity to love, and to love unselfishly. 
But not seldom the love which is so devoted, so all- 
absorbing, and so beautiful, darkens into idolatry. The 
person loved is put before duty, before honour, before 
God. Thus it was with Rebekah, the mother of Jacob. 
She sacrificed truth and duty that she might serve her 
son. She desired nothing for herself, but everything for 
Jacob. She did wrong, not for her own advantage, but 
for the sake of him she lov^i. Such indeed was her 
idolatrous devotion that she was willing to bear the 
consequences of the deceitful act if only Jacob might 
profit by it, and cried, in the language of perverted 
nobleness : " Upon me be the curse, my son." 

For a true man love is subordinate to right, but in 
a woman right itself often gives place to the dominance 
of a great affection. The words of the Elizabethan poet 
are essentially manly where he says to his fiancfo^ who 
would fain hold him back from the perils of war 

I could not love thee, dear, so much, 
Loved I not honour more. 

"The great danger of woman," says F. W. Robertson, 
"is that of perverted self-sacrifice." "A youth's love,' 1 
says J. C. Hare, "is the more passionate; virgin love 
is the more idolatrous." Lest these statements should 



332 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

lack credit because they come from man, whose insight 
into the inner life of woman may be considered im- 
perfect, we will let woman herself speak. Madame de 
Genlis says : " Ah ! the spendthrift love ; it gives all 
and everything with the first sigh." Hannah More 
says: "Love never reasons, but profusely gives, like a 
thoughtless prodigal, its all ; and trembles then lest it 
has done too little." And from another writer of the 
gentler sex we have the utterance: "When a true 
woman loves, it enters into her whole being. Her love 
is divine, and casts a halo round the object of her 
affections. She trusts him entirely, confides fully in his 
faith, yields up her own will to his blindly, and believes 
his soul in unison with herown." Now here comes in the 
danger of that perverted self-sacrifice of which F. W. 
Robertson speaks. As Coventry Patmore has it 

Man must be pleased; but him to please 
Is woman's pleasure; down the gulf 
Of his condoled necessities 
She casts her best, she flings herself 
How often flings for nought. 

What histories of foul and shameful wrong inflicted on 
woman spring from this beautiful impulse in her. How 
often has baseness taken a vile advantage of it, and de- 
stroyed where it should have reverenced and cherished. 

Alas ! that the cup which holds the sweetest vintage 
of the vine of life should be thus poisoned. How un- 
utterably base is he who thus 

Takes off the rose 

From the fair forehead of an innocent love, 
And sets a blister there. 



DANGERS WOMAN SHOULD AVOID 333 

Such is the peril which clings to woman's fond idolatry, 
and she will do well to ponder the monitory words of 
Hall Caine where he says : " When a good woman 
falls from honour is it merely momentary intoxication, 
or stress of passion ? No ! it is that she is the victim 
of the tenderest, most spiritual and pathetic of all human 
fallacies. The fallacy that by giving herself to the man 
she loves she attaches him to herself for ever. Alas ! It 
is only the woman who clings the closer. The instinct 
of the man is to draw apart She must conquer or she 
is lost" 

Another special danger against which woman needs 
to guard is that of 

Wayward and Unreasoning Impulse. 

Woman is too often the slave of unreasoning impulse. 
Her waywardness has become a proverb in the world. 
In this regard 

The Coloners kdy and Judith O'Grady 
Are sisters under the skin. 

" Woman," it has been truly said, " plays the part of the 
sky in the landscape uplifted, remote, and changfeful, 
obscured by many inexplicable clouds, and brightened by 
many sweet and heavenly radiances but unfixed, un- 
certain, and a dream." To this criticism we may add the 
judgment of Jean Paul Richter, where he says : " It is 
here most essential tihiat I should communicate to all 
and sundry persons one of the most valuable of all my 
maxims; in dealing with even the very best woman in 



334 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

the world, it is of the utmost importance that we should 
make excessively certain and discriminate with the 
utmost accuracy what it is which she really wants 
(at the time being), and particularly whom (this is not 
always the person who is thus discriminating). There is 
in the female heart such a rapid coming and going and 
fluctuation of emotions of every kind, such an effusion 
of many-tinted bubbles which reflect everything, but most 
particularly whatever chances to be nearest, that a woman 
under the influence of emotion shall, while she sheds a 
tear for you out of her left eye, go on thinking and drop 
another for your predecessor or successor (as the case 
may be) out of her right." 

The swift transitions "/rom grave to gay, from lively 
to severe," of which a woman is capable are often very 
puzzling to the opposite sex. They cannot understand 
how at one moment she should be in tears and the next 
rippling over with laughter. They hardly know where 
to find her. 

Some women are painfully lacking in self-govern- 
ment and self-controL They are nervous, excitable, 
spasmodic. They have as many moods in a day as 
the wind, and of their impulses it may be said as of 
the wind, we know not whence they come or whither 
they go. Slaves of caprice and change, they keep 
themselves and their surroundings in a state of continual 
effervescence. They do not know their own minds, and 
so utterly fail to control the minds of others. It is this 
unreasoning impulse, this lack of self-control, which is 



DANGERS WOMAN SHOULD AVOID 335 

the cause of those bitter, hasty words which, uttered 
by women in a mood of ill-temper, work devastation in 
so many homes, and bring misery to so many lives. 
Woman should ever remember that she is loveliest in 
repose. A swan oaring its way across the lake with 
steady grace is beautiful. A swan in flight with pro- 
truding neck and clamant cry is not beautiful. On 
the best authority we have it, that 

A woman moved is like a fountain troubled, 
Muddy, ill-seeming, thick, bereft of beauty ; 
And while it is so, none so dry or thirsty 
Will deign to sip, or touch one drop of it 

With a bluntness not far removed from insult, a 
French woman writer has said, concerning her own sex : 
** Woman is a weak, ignorant^ timid, idle being who has 
violent passions with small ideas, a bundle of caprice and 
inconsecutiveness, knowing how to display every day of 
her life lovable imperfections; a precious combination 
of hopefulness and cruelty." And again she says : 
" Women are not made to share man's labours, but to 
be his amusement after they are over." While we resent 
this criticism as shallow and unjust, we should like to 
see it more frequently refuted in the life of woman. * It 
is unquestionable that the highest qualities of woman 
will ever be found in the realm of the affections, but it 
is also necessary that she should strengthen her character 
in the direction of self-reliance and self-control. 

What is needed is a fitting harmony between the 
heart and the intellect an equipoise of the soul. 

Tenderness, delicacy, and gentleness are the appro- 



336 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

priate qualities of woman, but these excellent gifts 
must not be allowed to degenerate into failings through 
the absence of intelligent self-direction. Tenderness is 
given her as the needful stimulus to kindly endeavour; 
delicacy is given her as a shield against coarseness and 
vulgarity; gentleness is given her as a protection from 
anxiety and undue pressure in the daily battle. But if 
her tenderness degenerate into helplessness, her delicacy 
into fastidiousness and caprice, and her gentleness into 
feebleness and indolence, then the qualities given for 
divinest uses become a curse rather than a blessing. 

Another of the special dangers against which woman 
needs to guard is the spirit of 

Discontent* 

Because of the strength of the emotional element 
in their nature women are very prone to discontent, a 
disposition which, if it is allowed to flourish, will render 
any state of life whatever gloomy and unhappy. No 
thoughtful observer can doubt that there is a large 
degree of unhappiness among women, not merely un- 
haffpiness of circumstances, but unhappiness of soul. 
It is sad to note how many of the gentler sex we meet 
with who display in their countenances and in the tones 
of their voices the gnawing and bitter discontent within 
them. Men are inconstant, life is colourless, they are 
not loved, they are not cherished, they are not rever- 
enced, and thus the music of existence has fallen into 
discord, if not f indeed, into wailing. 



DANGERS WOMAN SHOULD AVOID 337 

Yet when we look for the reasons of this dark 
despondency we often fail to find them, and become 
convinced of the truth of the assertion that "it is 
temper and not trouble which makes the misery of 
most men's and women's lives." 

In some cases it is true that some dark and grievous 
disappointment has embittered the fountains of existence, 
but as a rule we find that it is not the women who have 
suffered most who are really the most unhappy, On the 
contrary, we find to our amazement that most of them 
are those whom Providence has apparently loaded with 
benefits, love, home, ease, luxury, leisure, but who 
lack the fine, sweet faculty which enables them to 
appreciate and to enjoy the Benefits which cluster at 
their feet. The disease is in the mind rather than in 
the circumstances, and in most cases in which a settled, 
incurable discontent has fallen on the soul, the seat of the 
malady will be found in a thoroughly selfish disposition. 

Some murmur when their sky is clear, 

And wholly bright to view, 

If but one speck of dark appear 

In their clear heaven of blue : 

And some with grateful love are filled * 

If but one streak of light, 

One ray of God's good mercy gild 

The darkness of their night. 

In palaces are hearts that ask, 

In discontent and pride, 

Why life is such a dreary task, 

And all good things denied? 

And hearts in lowly huts admire 

How love has in their aid, 

Sweet love which never seems to tire, 

Such rich provision made. 

2* 



338 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND PO WER 

Only too often when the life of a woman is loaded with 
discontent, and her heart soured on account of every- 
body's supposed ill-usage of her, when she considers 
herself despised or unregarded, it is her own restless, 
dissatisfied, selfish heart which makes her at war with 
her surroundings and her lot in life. For such a con- 
dition as this we can suggest no remedy 

Herein the patient must minister to herself. 

But in other cases there are possible remedies which 
the wise woman will do well to ponder. 

One potent remedy for despondency and discontent 
is that of finding something to do. 

A story is told of an, eminent physician who, when 

consulted about the maladies of an unhappy woman, left 

her in an envelope the following remedy : " For heaven's 

sake do something for somebody." It has been said that 

" labour is worship." It is too often forgotten that labour 

is also happiness. In proof of this we have only to 

turn from the dreary, colourless lives of the women, old 

and young, who have nothing to do, to those of their 

sisters who are always busy doing something. Those 

are wise words of the gifted author of John Halifax^ 

GentLeman^ where she says : " Looking round among 

the middle classes, which form the staple stock of the 

community, it appears to me that the chief canker at the 

root of women's lives is the want of something to 'do. 

. . . My young-lady friends, of from seventeen upwards, 

your time, and the use of it, is as essential to you as to 



DANGERS WOMAN SHOULD AVOID $ m 

any father or brother of you all. You are accountable 
for it as much as he is. If you waste it, you waste not 
only your substance, but your very soul not that which 
is your own, but your Maker's. Ay, there the core of 
the matter lies. From the hour that honest Adam and 
Eve were put into the garden, not as I once heard some 
sensible preacher observe not to be idle In it, but to 
dress it and keep it,' the Father of all has never put one 
man or one woman into this world without giving each 
something to do there, in it and for it; some visible, 
tangible work to be left behind them when they die.** 

Better to weave in the web of life 

A bright and golden filling, 
And to do God's will with, a ready heart, 

And hands that are swift and willing, 
Than to snap the minute delicate threads 

Of our curious lives asunder ; 
And then blame heaven for the tangled ends, 

And sit and grieve and wonder. 

Another excellent remedy for discontent is the remem- 
brance that trial and suffering are the common lot, u Never 
morning wore to evening but some heart did break." The 
community of sorrow is as wide as the world. So Buddha 
taught a young mother who refused to be consoled on 
the death of her child. He told her that he would bring 
back her child again if she would provide him with a 
little mustard-seed brought from a house in whkh no 
husband, or son, or parent, or slave had died. She soon 
returned with tears shed for others as well as for herself, 
and entered the path of religion, Thus sorrow is tbe 



340 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

common lot. And what are we or what is our father's 
house that we should expect to be exempt from the 
common heritage ? Why in our special case should dis- 
appointment refuse to baffle and perplex, or sorrow lay 
its painful activities to sleep ? Let us rather be content to 
share the common burden. Furthermore, if we live by 
comparison, we shall find that the lot of the majority 
of human beings is sadder than our own. That which 
makes people discontented with their condition is often 
the mistaken ideas they cherish with regard to the happi- 
ness of others. It was Socrates, the master of the wise, 
who said that " if all the misfortunes of mankind were 
cast into a public stock, in order to be specially distributed 
among the whole species* those who now think them- 
selves the most unhappy would prefer the share they are 
possessed of before that which would fall to them by 
such a division." 

Another remedy for discontent will be found in the 
culture and preservation of physical health. 

There can be no question that the maladies of mind 

and temper, which are often described as " nerves " or 

" low spirits," are often the result of unhealthy conditions 

of body which may either be entirely removed or greatly 

alleviated by due obedience to fixed physical laws. In 

these cases the mind is darkened because the body is 

lowered in tone by insufficient clothing, by improper 

food, by ill-ventilated apartments, by the over-stimulation 

of the feelings, or by improper hours. Early retirement 

to bed, the morning bath, and a brisk walk up a hill at 



DANGERS WOMAN SHOULD AVOID 341 

sunrise would banish more mental maladies than ordinary 
people have paused to contemplate. 

It is too often forgotten that the mind and the body 
are wonderfully intersphered. The soul is wholly em- 
bodied, and the body is wholly ensouled. So felt the 
poet when, writing about a maiden in her pure, untainted 
beauty, he said 

Her pure and eloquent blood 
Spoke in her cheeks, and so distinctly wrought 
That one might almost say her body thought 

To neglect the body is to neglect the mind. To abuse 
the body is to abuse the mind. To enervate, irritate, or 
corrupt the body is to produce a like effect upon the 
mind. The body is the instriynent on which the mind 
makes the music of life, and if we would have that music 
harmonious and sweet we must take care of the instra- 
ment, and keep it in tune. Health is natural, disease 
is unnatural, and no proposition can be dearer than this, 
that we should nurture, cherish, and invigorate our bodies 
with the most watchful care and the most rigid and health- 
ful discipline. We violate the most sacred principles ot 
duty when we injure the dwelling-places of our souls. * 

Our young women, therefore, should study the laws 
of health, and scrupulously obey them. They should 
seek the fullest and most perfect physical development, 
and avoid, as they would a plague, the conditions whidb 
engender flaccid muscles, diseased lungs, a weak heart, 
and a feebly nurtured brain. 

Yet further, the spirit of discontent is frequently 



340 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

common lot. And what are we or what is our father's 
house that we should expect to be exempt from the 
common heritage ? Why in our special case should dis- 
appointment refuse to baffle and perplex, or sorrow lay 
its painful activities to sleep ? Let us rather be content to 
share the common burden. Furthermore, if we live by 
comparison, we shall find that the lot of the majority 
of human beings is sadder than our own. That which 
makes people discontented with their condition is often 
the mistaken ideas they cherish with regard to the happi- 
ness of others. It was Socrates, the master of the wise, 
who said that " if all the misfortunes of mankind were 
cast into a public stock, in order to be specially distributed 
among the whole species* those who now think them- 
selves the most unhappy would prefer the share they are 
possessed of before that which would fall to them by 
such a division." 

Another remedy for discontent will be found in the 
culture and preservation of physical health. 

There can be no question that the maladies of mind 
and temper, which are often described as "nerves" or 
" low spirits," are often the result of unhealthy conditions 
of body which may either be entirely removed or greatly 
alleviated by due obedience to fixed physical laws. In 
these cases the mind is darkened because the body is 
lowered in tone by insufficient clothing, by improper 
food, by ill-ventilated apartments, by the over-stimulation 
of the feelings, or by improper hours. Early retirement 
to bed* the morning bath, and a brisk walk up a hill at 



DANGERS WOMAN SHOULD AVOID 341 

sunrise would banish more mental maladies than ordinary 
people have paused to contemplate. 

It is too often forgotten that the mind and the body 
are wonderfully intersphered. The soul is wholly em- 
bodied, and the body is wholly ensouled. So felt the 
poet when, writing about a maiden in her pure, untainted 
beauty, he said 

Her pure and eloquent blood 
Spoke in her cheeks, and so distinctly wrought 
That one might almost say her body thought, 

To neglect the body is to neglect the mind. To abuse 
the body is to abuse the mind. To enervate, irritate, or 
corrupt the body is to produce a like effect upon the 
mind. The body is the instnyoaent on which the mind 
makes the music of life, and if we would have that music 
harmonious and sweet we must take care of the instru- 
ment, and keep it in tune. Health is natural, disease 
is unnatural, and no proposition can be clearer than this, 
that we should nurture, cherish, and invigorate our bodies 
with the most watchful care and the most rigid and health- 
ful discipline. We violate the most sacred principles 01 
duty when we injure the dwelling-places of our souls. * 

Our young women, therefore, should study the laws 
of health, and scrupulously obey them. They should 
seek the fullest and most perfect physical development, 
and avoid, as they would a plague, the conditions which 
engender flaccid muscles, diseased lungs, a weak heart, 
and a feebly nurtured brain. 

Yet further, the spirit of discontent is frequently 



34* WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

aggravated by the lack of a proper appreciation of the bless- 
ings which we actually possess. We pine for the distant 
and the unattainable, and miss the good things which lie 
at our feet That kingdom of the unpossessed after 
which we so foolishly thirst is not half so good as that 
which blooms and shines around us if we only had the 
wisdom to appreciate it. We are only poor by thinking 
ourselves so. It is, in fact, our perverse thinking that 
every day makes fools of us. 

Is there no joy and no solace in the sanctities of 
home? How lightly we value our wealth of human love. 
Is there no sweetness in our mother's welcome and in 
our father's kiss, in our brother's chivalry and in our 
sister's devotion; and hpw should we feel if we heard 
the sods rattle over baby's grave ? " Multitudes of us,' 1 
says one, " are fuming in a false sense of poverty when 
close at home are faithful hearts that, if taken from us, 
as they might be next week, would leave a void that not 
all the wealth of the Indies could fill." 

Does not nature also invite us to a continual feast ? 
As the quaint old poet says 

What more feticide can Ml to creature 

Than to enjoy delight with libertie, 
And to be lord of all the workes of nature? 

Our wealthy neighbour has not invited us into his 
mansion to see his pictures, but God paints for us pictures 
at dawn and sunset, and when the woodlands flame with 
autumnal pomp, which mock the poverty of human art. 
Vortices of glory and blue air may be seen from the 



*^$j> 



DANGERS WOMAN SHOULD AVOID 343 

cottar's window, and the meanest alley is visited all night 
by troops of stars. There may be only coppers in our 
purse as we traverse the shady lane, but the primroses 
run down to us from the woodland with their dainty cups 
of gold. We could not hear Patti to-night, for the seats 
were too costly for us, but just above our heads the black- 
bird is playing on his boxwood flute, and from yonder 
dell the rich melody of the nightingale wells forth, 
"smoothing the raven down of darkness till it smiles." 
How can we be poor when night and day, and spring 
and summer, wait on us ? Let us go out into the open 
fields and sing 

I care not fortune what you me "deny, 

You cannot rob me of sweet nature's grace ; 
You cannot shut the windows of the sky. 

What also about the wide and radiant kingdom of books 
in these gracious times, when a few shillings will suffice 
for a priceless library ? My Lord Tom Noddy did not 
notice us to-day, but we can talk with Dante, Shake- 
speare, Browning, Wordsworth, Tennyson, and Victor 
Hugo. No jealous guardian stands forbiddingly at the 
portals of these palaces, and there are no stern sentinels 
who bar the way. All who desire may enter 

These celestial gardens, 

Where angels walk, and seraphs are the wardens, 
And every flower which passes the bright portal 
Becomes immortal. 

" My library shelves," said an old thinker, " are the 
avenues of time, Ages have wrought, generations grown, 



344 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

and all their best blossoms are cast down here. It is 
the garden of immortal fruits, without dog or dragon." 
And if there be misfortunes in our lot, for which on earth 
we find no recompense, let us rob them of their sting by 
a meek and trustful resignation to the will of God. Thus 
Milton triumphed when he spoke of his blindness as " the 
shadow of heavenly wings falling over his footsteps." 
Thus also Galileo prevailed when, having lost his sight, 
he exclaimed, " It has pleased God it should be so, and 
it must please me also." The terrible thing about some 
women is that in their incurable discontent they have 
quarrelled with God. In their all-absorbing selfishness 
their chief idea of God was that He existed to look after 
their interests, and as they^conceive that He has not done 
well by them they have cast Him off for ever. To such 
we commend the following beautiful poem from the pen 
of James Pritchett Bigg, which may be entitled 

A WOMAN'S RESIGNATION 

To a quaint old-fashion'd homestead, 

With its ivied towers. 
Came a lady in the spring-time; 
r Came when April's sadden showers. 

Glancing through the fitful sunshine, 

Ran down rainbows into flowers; 
And she said: "I could not murmur, 

God's wiH must be done ; 
So I've brought my two twin daughters. 

And come here to feel the sunl" 

Living in that Quiet hamlet 

Through three chequered years, 
She was known in every cottage; 

And the poor tell, hi their tears, 



DANGERS WOMAN SHOULD AVOID 345 

How her presence made them happy, 

And her words dispelled their fears, 
When she said : " Oh, do not murmur t 

God's will must be done: 
Take my alms, and ask His blessing, 

And go out and feel the sun 1 '* 



Once a widow met her walking 

Near the churchyard stile, 
With a brow as free from sadness 

As her soul was free from guile ; 
And she whispered as she joined her, 

" Lady, teach me how to smile " ; 
And she answer'd : " Honest neighbour, 

God's will must be done ; 
And whene'er thy heart is drooping, 

Then come out and feel the sun ! 



" For I tell thee, I h*ave troubles, 

More than one," she saith ; 
"Have I seen the face of anguish, 

Heard its quick and catching breath? 
Yea, three pictures in my parlour 

Are now sanctified by death. 
Yet," she saith, "I do not murmur, 

God's will must be done ; 
But I take my two twin daughters, 

And go out and feel the sun ! " 



In the rain two graves are greening 

Greening day by day ; 
And young children, when they near them 

Playing, cease to play, 
Lose their smiles and merry glances. 

And in silence steal away. 
Yet she says : " I will not murmur, 

God's will must be done : 
But I love the streaming starlight 

Better than the alter'd sunl w 



346 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

Never weeps she now they've left her, 

Weeps not in her grief; 
But she talks of shining angels, 

With a wild, unchecked belief; 
When all earthly hopes have failed us, 

Hopes of heaven still give relief. 
And she says: "I will not murmur; 

God's will has been done ; 
And though I am left in darkness, 

They are somewhere in the sun I* 



CHAPTER XIV 

THE WOMAN THAT SHALL BE 

Be thy womanhood 

A baptism on thy brow; 
For something dimly understood 

And which thou art not now; 
But which within thee all the time, 

Maketh thee what thou art ; 
Maketh thee long and stride and climb 

The God-life in tly heart. 

GEORGE MACDONALD* 

Oh, If woman's beauty, and power, and witchery were oftener used foi 
a high and holy purpose, how many who now bend a careless knee at bet 
shrine would hush the light laugh and irreverent jest, and almost feel as she 
passed that an angel's wing had rushed by. FANNY FERN. 



1 HOUGH not blind to her imperfections, as our pre- 
vious chapter testifies, it will still be admitted that 
the sweetness and the charm of woman have, in these pages, 
received ample recognition. We are convinced, however, 
that there are possibilities in her yet unrealised, and that 
the woman who shall be will greatly transcend, alike in 
sweetness and in service, woman as she is. In only a 
very few instances has woman touched the heights of 
which she is really capable, Her true glory is yet hidden 
and unexpressed. The fair moon is veiled by a troilbk 

847 



348 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

of clouds. The gem is so encrusted that only half its 
lustre is revealed. The rose is but in the bud and does 
not rock a miracle of beauty in the golden air of June. 
But the beauty, and the glory, and the sweetness are 
there, and shall yet receive their full manifestation. 

The great need of woman, as of man, is a freer, 
deeper, richer inward life, that she may rightly fulfil 
her office and destiny in the world. 

What a paradise even the earth would become if 
the things which mar the life of woman her devotion 
to vanity, her meagre knowledge, her limited outlook, 
her changeful caprice, her aimless life were put away 
for ever and she stood forth queen of her own soul, 
and ministrant angel of the race. 

And the heart of woman is so finely fashioned, so 
responsive to good, so impatient of evil, so strong in 
pity and self-sacrifice, that we are convinced she only 
needs to see her duty to rise to it, and 

Show us how divine a thing 
A woman may be made. 

Only let her be so educated as to know her own powers, 
and Her responsibility for the right use of them, and we 
are persuaded that as naturally as the flower turns to the 
light she will aspire after, and attain, that sweetest and 
divinest thing beneath these heavens, a pure and lofty 
womanhood. 

This ideal womanhood will be marked by Self- 
reverence, Self-control, Chastity, Piety, and Benevolence. 

The woman that shall be will be strong in 



THE WOMAN THAT SHALL BE 349 

Self -reverence, 

Delivered from the misconceptions as to her nature 
and her destiny which have been too often urged to keep I 

her in subjection, she will apprehend the full measure 
of her powers and the full weight of her influence in the 
social sphere. 

She will learn more and more that while intellectually 
not inferior to man, though with differing gifts, yet, in 
the region of the affections she is superior to him, 
standing nearer to God than he in virtue of her powers 
of love and of self-sacrifice. She will understand that 
she has a great soul, a great duty, . great mission, and a 
great power. . 

She will claim the position which the chivalrous 
Mazzini awards her where, addressing men, he says: 
" Consider woman as the partner and companion, not 
merely of your joys and sorrows, but of your thoughts, 
your aspirations, your studies, and your endeavours after 
social amelioration. Consider her your equal in your 
civil and political life. Be ye the two human wings that 
lift the soul toward the Ideal we are destined to attain." 

The cultivation and development of her finer percep- 
tions will convince her of the inherent meanness of back- 
biting, slander, and poisonous gossip, and will deliver her 
also from the slavish conformity to what is called society, 
which dulls the fine edge of conscience and saps the 
foundations of honest self-respect. 

While solicitous to please, she will be careful as to how 



350 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

far she stoops In pleasing, and will avoid loudness, vul- 
garity, and all those arts and cajoleries which inevitably 
cheapen and lower her in the eyes of those whom she 
would feign delight. 

I She will plan out her life on a lofty scale, heedful of 

the fact that the great end of life is not success, or fame, 

; or even happiness, but character something that is built 

up in the very fibre and tissue of the soul, something 

\ which will last when the stars are old, something which 

will bear the light of eternity and the scrutiny of God, 

' Conscious that the great end of her existence is to fulfil 

| her own personal destiny as a free, responsible, immortal 

creature, it will no logger occur to her that her life is 

i doomed to failure because -no one has claimed her hand 

in marriage, for is not God still the Father of her spirit, 
and may she not be numbered among those who by 

Due steps aspire 

To ky their just hands on the golden Key, 
That opes the palace of Eternity? 

Sublimed by this conviction she will revere herself, and 
own no sovereignty save that of Him who has made her 

f , for Himself, and who desires to redeem and lift her up for 

ever. 

And this inner consecration will sanctify every 
relation of her life. If betrothed she will raise the 

' soul of the man she loves above trifles. She will throw 

all the weight of her influence upon his moral nature, 
resolutely demanding at his hands a pure and honourable 
life. She will gird him for the battle and magnetise his 



THE WOMAN THAT SHALL BE 351 

soul with strength. If wedded love is granted her, 
kindled by her example and compensated by her smile, 
the man who walks by her side will be refined and 
ennobled. If children climb her knee and nestle near 
her heart, virtue will go out from her to make them pure 
and strong. If destined to walk alone through life, those 
around her will not be able to escape the influence of 
a soul which has entreated God to make it beautiful. 
When old age steals on there will be light at eventide, 
and the sweet promise of eternal morning. And when at 
last the tender eyes are closed, and the sweet lips silent, 
and the worn hands folded on the breast, which heaves 
no more in pity or in sorrow, the watchers will look upon 
the gentle face and say , 

"God giveth His beloved sleep." 
Yet further, the coming woman will be lofty in 

Self-control. 

Because the heart of woman is warm, her nerves 
irritable, and her physical organism refined and delicate, 
rude strength has too often made her its prey, smiling 
at the tears which have been her only defence against 
oppression, and secretly rejoicing in the pitiful hysteria 
in which her attempted resistance has shrivelled and 
broken down. 

But the woman that shall be will be physically stronger 
than the woman of to-day, and will be mentally mistress 
of herself. She will resent the claim of man to be 
absolute lord of creation and supreme master of her 



352 WOMAN; HER CHARM AND POWER 

destiny, as though she had no soul, character, or conscience 
of her own. Nay, not infrequently she will rise, strong 
in virtue of a pure and noble womanhood, to rebuke and 
quell his selfishness, worldliness, and animalism, and to 
call him if indeed he would fain retain her reverence 
and regard into the service of " whatsoever things are 
true, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are 
pure, whatsoever things are lovely and of good report." 

Strong in will, in thought, in action, and in resolution, 
she will refuse to fritter away her life in trifles, or to 
abandon it to caprice, or chance, or indirection. She 
will be 

Carerol noblyrnot with care that wraps 
Self-loving hearts to stifle and make mad, 
But careful with tbt care that shuns a lapse 
Of Mth and duty. 

Vigorous, self-disciplined power, the power of holding 
firm the rudder of self-conquest ; not passive and yielding 
merely, but capable of resenting and resisting ; armed 
with an enduring as contrasted with a transient energy ; 
delivered from the folly of visionary day-dreams by the 
pole-star of a definite aim ; realising that 

Sorrow and silence are strong, 
And patient endurance is God-like, 

she will no longer be the weak wave which continually 
falls and is broken, but the rock which abides and is 
strong. 

Mistress of herself, she will act, and speak, and live 
not according to caprice, or fancy, or indolent self- 



THE WOMAN THAT SHALL BE 353 

indulgence, but from an enlightened conviction of duty 
that duty whose voice will be to her as the voice of God. 
Yet further, the woman who shall be will be beau- 
tiful in 

Chastity. 
She will emulate 

The noble sister of Publicola, 
The moon of Rome ; chaste as the icicle, 
That's curded by the frost from purest snow, 
And hangs on Dian's temple. 

She will join in that lofty petition of Socrates : " I pray 
thee, O God, that I may be beautiful within/' 

Chastity is the beauty of the soul, the mother of 
all the virtues. It is that inner grace which regulates 
and controls thoughts, word^ looks, dress, attitudes, 
together with all the issues and manifestations of daily 
life. A part and parcel of the soul, it cannot deny itself, 
but exhales in every atmosphere the perfume of heaven . 
Like the fair, white lily, which in its silent innocence 
springs from the slime of the pool, rejecting all in the 
soil which is alien from its being, and fashioning Its own 
campanile side by side with the weeds which draw from 
the ooze their coarser nutriment ; so, this exquisite grace 
transmutes foul things into the texture of its own loveli- 
ness, and springs up amid pollution like the thought of 
a seraph in a world of sin. 

And this precious quality is potent not only to 
beautify its possessor, but also to protect her. It moves 
before the soul as an advance-guard of all its percep- 
tions, a heavenly instinct warning it against all which is 

23 



354 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

forbidden, a divine discernment giving unerring indication 
of all which should be avoided or should remain unknown 

So dear to Heaven is saintly chastity 
That, when a soul is found sincerely so, 
A thousand liveried Angels lackey her, 
Driving far off each thing of sin and guilt j 
And in clear dream and solemn vision 
Tell her of things that no gross ear can hear ; 
Till, oft converse with heavenly habitants 
Begin to cast a beam on the outward shape, 
The unpolluted temple of the mind, 
And turn it by degrees to the soul's essence, 
Till all be made immortal. 

Furthermore, this lovely grace of chastity rebukes 
licentiousness in the vicious, causing them to despise 
their own image, wkile at the same time it acts as a 
divine stimulus on those who desire to be pure. Leprous 
and spotted souls are convicted and ashamed in its 
presence, while, in better spirits, the sleeping embers 
of good are stirred into a flame of heavenly desire. If 
she who thus walks in chastity is dowered with the gift 
of physical beauty, then that beauty, with all its wonder- 
ful fascination, will only be the outward sign of an inward 
and spiritual loveliness. And if that which men call 
beauty is denied, yet will she possess an inner light which 
will transfigure the outer tabernacle, shedding radiance 
through her countenance and planting heaven in her eyes. 
That is a lovely epitaph on a lady of a former age 
which reads 

Beneath this stone doth lie 
As much of virtue as could die, 
Which when alive did vigour give 
To as much beauty as could live. 



THE WOMAN THAT SHALL BE 355 

Further, the woman who shall be will be empowered 
and guarded by a living 

Piety. 

As we have before seen, the feminine is the spiritual. 
That is its essential character. A woman without religion 
is unnatural. Separate her from God and you take away 
her womanhood. The ideal woman, therefore, will have 
affiance in God. Thankful that " the greatest happiness 
of all is one which a cottar may possess," she will hide 
under the wings of God and feel the beat of the great 
heart which keeps creation warm. The tribute of the poet 
will be well deserved where he says .of our ideal woman 

Right from the hand of God her spirit came 
Unstained, and she hath ne'er forgotten whence 
It came, nor wandered far from thence, 
But laboured! to keep her still the same, 
Near to her place of birth that she may not 
Soil her white raiment with an earthly spot. 
For this I love her great soul more than all, 
That, being bound, like us, with earthly thrall, 
She walks so bright and heaven-like therein, 
Too wise, too meek, too womanly to sin. 

Not in her own strength will she hope to attain noblejiess, 
and sanctity, and self-control, but in the strength of God. 
Shorn of that strength, as the peaks of duty and of 
sanctity shone far off in the blue lift of heaven, she might 
well exclaim 

snows so pure, O peaks so high, 

1 shall not reach you till I die. 

But the inbreathed energy of the Divine Spirit dwelling 
in her as a soul within her soul renders that possible 



356 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

which else had meant despair. Thus empowered, all 
weakness ends, all doubt departs. She recognises the 
glory and the beauty of her existence, and faces its 
solemn issues with a brave and trustful heart. 

Freed from the fever of an empty, frivolous life, 
she blooms like 

An angel-watered lily, that near God 
Grows and is quiet. 

That pathetic hunger for love, and sympathy, and com- 
panionship which is inseparable from woman is met by 
a love which never mocks her yearning or evades her 
reach. It is stilled and satisfied by the love of the first 
good, first perfect, and first fair, the love of the Eternal 
. Father. To the ocean of His fulness she brings the tiny 
vase of her created life, and is filled and satisfied. She 
reposes on the love which cannot die, and on the tender- 
ness which abides for ever. She shelters in the pity 
which never falters, and in the patience which is not 
weary of her, even when she is weary of herself. Dwelling 
under the protection of the Holy One who has perfect 
benevolence to will, perfect wisdom to plan, and perfect 
power to achieve all that is best for those who love Him, 
she is assured that all things work together for her good. 
Light and dark ; rain and shine ; innocent laughter and 
the pity of tears ; the vision which enchants her with its 
loveliness, and the mystery which speaks to her of God : 
all are given that she may grow thereby, and every 
power of her being is consecrated by the laying-on 
of heavenly hands. 



THE WOMAN THAT SHALL BE 357 

And knowing God, she also knows her own immortal 
life. She is conscious that the life in her which flows 
from Him can never die, that it is eternal as its source, 
and will return thither. Thus for her the road from the 
seen to the unseen is ever open, and the riches of eternity 
transcend the poverty of time. "The fashion of the 
world," or, as the Apostle really expressed it, " The 
stage scenery of this world passeth away." All its gauds 
and shows are but as the glittering tinsel of a pantomime. 
She will detach herself, therefore, from that which must 
slip away and vanish, and bind herself to the Absolute 
and the Eternal. Safe anchored there, disappointment 
cannot wither, because she is rootfcd in God ; and loneli- 
ness cannot affright, because underneath her and around 
her are the everlasting arms. 

Lastly, the woman that shall be will be beautiful in 

Benevolence and Service. 

The first great commandment is : " Thou shalt love 
the Lord thy God with all thy heart." And the second 
is like unto it: "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as 
thyself." 

Jesus Christ embodied in His own person the thirst 
of humanity when He said to the woman of Samaria: 
" Woman, give me to drink ! " The thirsting world a 
world crying for knowledge, succour, freedom, happiness 
casts itself at the feet of woman, finding in her tender- 
ness and pity, the fulfilment of its fondest hopes. 

Mindful of this fact, the ideal woman will arrest 



35 WOMAN': HER CHARM AND POWER 

herself on the very threshold of her self-conscious life 
and ask not " What shall I do with my existence ? " but 
" What ought I to do with it? " 

She will realise that her mission, as woman, is 
supremely a mission of the heart that through her 
capacity for love and pity she is marked out for service. 
The song of Christina Rossetti, one of the gentlest of her 
sisterhood, will arrest her spirit in the lines which read 

O ye, who taste that love is sweet, 

Set waymarkj for all doubtful feet 

That stumble on in search of it. 

Sing notes of love : that some who heat 
l j Far off, inert, may lend an ear, 

Rise up an<l> wonder and draw near. 
i Lead life of love : that others who 

Behold your life may kindle too 
f ! With love, and cast their lot with you. 

Standing erect in the attitude of sacrifice, like the greatest 
I of all, she will seek "not to be ministered unto, but to 

/; minister." She will hold herself as recreant and dis- 

!; honoured if she sits with folded arms and empty heart 

l when there are so many around her to bless and to 

| befriend. Mindful of the ignorance which waits to be 

4 t enlightened, the error which needs to be discrowned, the 

1 sorrows which call for alleviation, and the wrongs which 

plead for redress, she will refuse to move through a 
' | suffering world without some effort to gladden and relieve 

it. Feeling that she cannot live unto herself alone, but 
that she must clasp hands with the race of which she is a 
part, she will be bowed down with every debasement of 
humanity, and ennobled with its every growth in nobleness. 



THE WOMAN THAT SHALL BE 359 

In the exercise of her ministry of gentleness she will 
remember the burdens which press upon the toiling poor 
the fatal heredity which has poisoned their blood, the 
evil environment which has cursed and fettered them, 
the fierce temptations which have devastated and 
1 destroyed, and will refuse to cast them off from her pity 
because of their hardness or ingratitude. Patient, pitiful, 
and gracious ; ruled by principle and not swayed by feel- 
ing, she will cultivate the charity which "beareth all 
things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all 
things." 

She will catch the lovely spirit of Him who, while 
treading the earth, turned with peculiar pity to those 
whose life-journey led through snares and darkness, 
and whose hearts were loaded with grief. 

And in her sacred, self-forgetting service she will 
find its ample and magnificent reward. The blessed 
spirit of self-forgetful tenderness will lead her through 
the darkest paths with ever-present light. The joy she 
flings like music round her path will thrill and satisfy 
her with its own gladness. Where her feet wander, 
flowers will spring to birth. Her face, transfigured by 
the light within, will shine as the face of an angel, while 
Christ-like sacrifice and loving service will make 

life, death, and the great forever 
One grand sweet song. 

To sympathise with the sorrowful, to succour the 
tempted, to relieve the indigent, to bear the burdens of 
the weak these things will be sweeter to her than to 



360 WOMAN: HER CHARM AND POWER 

shine in the places of fashion, or even to listen to the 
praises of her own beauty. That she has missed this joy 
or that, which she might have shared, will not distress her 
half so much as the knowledge that the sick and deserted 
child who lived hard by died without her ministry, and 
the bedridden old woman passed away without a word of ' 
help or comfort from her lips. A new conscience will be 
created within her with regard to her own sisterhood, 
That aloofness from her own sex over which philan- 
thropists have mourned in the past will be in this 
happier future a thing unknown. She will do her utter- 
most to shield the imperilled girl from degradation, and 
to lift her fallen sister from the mire. Pity deep, 
tender pity and not scorn or loathing, will move her 
as she contemplates the unspeakable calamity of a lost 
innocence, and, like Him who compassionated the con- 
victed woman who sobbed before her accusers on the 
temple floor, she will throw the shield of her stainless 
reputation over the poor creature who comes to her 
and cries: "I have sinned help me that I may sin 
no more/' 

Ministry in the Home, ministry in the Church, ministry 
in the World all these will bind the woman that shall be 
with a spell from which she cannot break away. She will 
not waste in empty gossip, or in frivolous pursuits, that 
precious commodity which we call time, but will gather 
up its tiniest fragments that nothing may be lost. She 
will seize the swift angels of opportunity and wrestle 
with them until they bless her. Clothed in the beauty 



THE WOMAN- THAT SHALL BE 



361 



which a lovely soul imparts, she will not be able to live 
without purifying something, neither can aught of loveli- 
ness which flows from her be lost or wasted. 

Her good deeds will not die, 
But like the sun and moon renew their light 
For ever, blessing those who look upon them. 

Her whole life and being will be placed upon the altar, 
and thus all that is lovely in spirit, graceful in action, 
tender in sympathy, pure in thought, delicate in sentiment, 
and lofty in self-denial will be consecrated to the service 
of fallen and suffering humanity. 

Then comes the statelier Eden back to men: 
Then reign the world's great bridals, chaste and calm . 
Then springs the crowning race of humankind. 
May these things be !