Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

66

[ocr errors]

letter, but as a simple narrator of a scene After the history, which was garnished to me altogether new and surprising. Like with references to the “ Catholic Church," most quiet men, I can witness Ritualists' came a little digression explanatory of symperformances without either sympathizing bols. When your priest, children, stands with them or screaming with anger at them before yon sacred altar to celebrate the for the rest of the week. I, therefore, oc- Holy Eucharist, what does he put into the casionally go to these performances, which chalice ?”. A choir boy answered, “Wine are, we may say at this time of the year, and water." This, he told them, symbolthe more agreeable, inasmuch as there is at ized the blood and water from the side of most of the many services no sermon. On Christ. The striking of the rock by Moses Sunday afternoon, at half-past three, I went was also, it appeared, a symbol of the to St. Alban's. There was not, as I ex- piercing of the side of Christ — the Rock pected, an afternoon service; but about of Ages- the Rock on which the “ Catholic one-third of the church was filled with chil- Church” is built. After this, some good dren, and there were some thirty to fifty practical teaching on the subject of children's men and women sitting to listen. A young morals was given them. “You boys," said clergyman-I believe, Mr. Stanton was the clergyman, use bad words, and you behind the screen with a dozen choir chil-tell lies.

Sometimes when you

hare dren. After a hymn, he came to the front to go to confess to your priest, you have to of the screen, and began not to catechize tell him of half-a-dozen lies before he gives them, but to talk to them, occasionally ask- you absolution. This allusion to confession, ing them a question or two. When he did, not as a disputed point, not even as a volnobody answered, all being afraid to speak. untary act, but as one of the regular duties Then he blew them up, and they all an- of a Christian, struck me very much. swered together, after the manner of chil- Without being uncharitable, I could not dren. On his teaching, which was taken help thinking that the way in which he refrom the history of the Israelites' wander- turned again and again to the subject was ings in the desert, I have very little to say, more than accidental. It may be that his except that it was wonderfully fresh, vivid, mind was full of the necessity of confession, and plainly put. He knew what he wanted or it may be that he designedly dwelt on the to say, and said it, so far as I could discern, duty to familiarize the minds of the children in such a way that the children took it all with it. in. Very few faces were dull and uninter- Then he said, assuming a tone which beested, very few impatient heels were drum- tokened great relief, for the teaching was ming the ground. Some two or thrce, of really hard work, so energetic, so careful course, expressed the usual stupidity that is was he in his words and gestures, “Now, always found, and some the heaviness that children, I will tell you a story." spoke of the mid-day pudding; but, as a He did tell them a story. He tells 2 rule, all were interested.

story to children in simply the most impresAs a grown-up man, I beg to object to sive, the most vivid, the most eloquent manthe word “ meek." To be told - it may ner I ever heard. And such a story he told be the effect of Watts's Scripture History them! It was the story of the conversion - that Moses was the meekest man on rec- of Bruno. Your readers know it, - how ord is to me peculiarly exasperating. I be- the great Raymond died; how he was adlicve that Mr. Chuckster expressed the pop- jured to speak in the funeral service; how ular feeling about meekness to Mr. Dick The corpse rose, and with ghastly pallor and Swiveller some thirty years ago, when he sepulchral notes said, “I am summoned besaid that, though he had faults, yet - mark fore the judgment-scat of God.” How, on this — his worst enemies could not say that the second day, the Archbishop and all he was meek. Considering the unfortunate Paris being present, the corpse again rose, prejudice to meekness, - - or to the kind of and again uttered the dreadful words. How, incekness, which did not belong to Moses, on the third day, because Raymond had been which pertains to the word in the popular in the eyes of man a righteous and a good mind, would it not be well to speak of man, they adjured him again to speak, and Moses as a humble-minded many or a man how he, for the last time, in tones more who distrusted his own strength, or to get awful, more despairing than ever had fallen over the difficulty by some such peri- on human ears, spoke again, and said, “I phrasis ?

am condemned before the judgment-seat of However, the children were taught, be- God, by a just judgment.”

How side the fact that Moses was “meek,” the Bruno thereupon became a monk. way in which his meekness was manifested, a monk, boys, is one who marries Christ, which was all right.

and will not marry the world or anything

And

W, N.

in it: just as a nun, girls, is one who mar-; be dependent on a “priest;" to insist on ries Christ, and will not marry the world or a separation of the laity and the clergy, anything in it. And as a monk is the high- even to minds so young as those that were est earthly type of manhood, so is a nun the in the church, — all this appears to me, Sir, highest earthly type of womanhood.” a very sad thing; and, if one believed it to

At the end of the story, the little frames be anything but a passing phenomenon, a were quivering with excitement, a low thrill most gloomy subject of contemplation. - I ran down the benches, with a terrified catch-am, Sir, &c., ing of the breath, when the narrator's low distinct tones told how the dead man's jaws had opened to let out those direful words,

From The Examiner. “I am condemned before the judgment-seat

THE SEX OF MIND. of God."

Two things impressed me very forcibly: Is it unmanly, as some pretend, to obone, the great power over children that this ject that woman should be unwomanly! young clergyman showed; and the other, Miss Becker thinks, with Miss Mary Walkthe enormous difference as regards early, er, and the members of the broken-hearted and therefore, to some extent, lifelong no- club, that all the miseries of the female lot tions of religion, between the training of are referable to Judaism, Feudalism, and these children and that of myself and my other religious or social systems invented by contemporaries. The idea of sacerdotalism the selfish tyranny of man. The morals of five-and-twenty years ago hardly existed. the Old Testament and the Koran are, in The teaching of hell was, of course, there, their eyes, not only barbarous but blasphebut kept in the background, not realized, mous in their antagonism to nature ; and not put before children in this plain, dread- modern society, as founded upon the counful way; children's religious stories were of terpart theory of life, is simply a logical and the Dairyman's Daughter type, with a cer- economical mistake. The anti-sex theory tain prettiness and attraction of style about does not set up a mere claim for equal justhem. The general result of our teaching tice, equal consideration, equal dignity, and was to impress us with a sort of feeling that equal right; it insists on indistinguishability all our own people, except one's own self, in all that concerns the human mind, is dogwho was occasionally very wicked in the matic in favour of identity of avocations, and way of stealing goodies, telling fibs, and ridicules the belief of all whom instinct and calling names, were good, and perfectly reason teach to regard the human mind as sure to go to heaven; while in the world, wisely, and wonderfully adapted to the alsomewhere or other, there were wicked ternative form which it is daily and hourly people — nothing to do with us who were destined to animate. There is no differperfectly certain to go to hell; that, mean- ence, Miss Becker tells us, as far as she can time, God was very good.

perceive, in the sex of mind. We are sorry What sort of confused notions will these for it, — that is for Miss Becker's inability children get? Sooner or later, this sacer- to see. But, as Bacon passionately exdotalism will have to come in contact with claimed, “I'd sooner believe all the fables the world, when it will get a good deal of the Zend and Talmud than that this fair knocked about; what will be left, after a and migbty world was without a God," so few years, to the young man? At present we had rather conclude with certain anthe little boy believes the story of Bruno's thropologists that man was but an educated conversion, believes in absolution and all ape, than that the tantalising struggle of the rest of it, including the definition of a human grief and glory were no more than a monk. By and by, he will perceive that if mercantile speculation measurable by averthe story is true the priests are all wrong, ages of net gain and governable only on because evidently Raymond had received mechanical principles. If there be not alabsolution, and it was no good to him. He ways traceable or observable the difference will begin, too, to doubt about the merits of sex in mind, that is the shame and reof monkdom, and of many other things. proach of our bringing-up; but it no more

The Church of Christ, as the young touches the question whether the distinction priest told us, is built upon a Rock; but ought to be discernible, than the usefulness that Rock has nothing to do with priests or of nether garments or geometry is arguable, priesthood. The gospel of Christ is founded upon the ground that the Zulus are uncomon the love of God, not on the fear of God. monly fine men though they know nothing To teach little children to look on religion of either. Poverty, neglect, ignorancı, through the haze of these mediæval stories crime, obliterate all distinctions, as they efof terror and falsehood; to teach them to face the very image in which man was made; and on the other hand we know that it is ness of clipping the golden edges of sleep, possible so to pervert the faculties of either unconsciousness for a third or a fourth of body or mind, if persons can walk upon their our time is fortunately beyond their power hands instead of their feet, that a woman in to curtail. Activity and repose when fitly flesh tights can make a handsome income by intermarried breed, and their progeny are all exhibiting on the trapeze or the back of a that is glorious in the workmanship of horse, and that girls can be philosophied out man. Why ever lie down to rest? Why of the remnant of a blush into studying an- not always toil and doze unseparatedly? atomy. So in like manner man may be ef. Or why let appetite wait upon hunger and seminated by sloth or luxury or cowardice, have hours for fasting and for food ? And as into a condition where what remains of his for darkness, let there be a great joint-stock intellect is practically indistinguishable from gas association to put down darkness and asthat of_good-for-nothing women. What similate day and night. So far from seeing then? Does all this prove anything worth anything ennobling or elevating, merciful proving? Ought not the question and the or economical in the so-called philosophy of sole question to be — How shall we best un-sex, it seems to us an unnatural dream qualify, by the development of strength and without any purpose but a mischievous one. culture of tone, the mind of a man to inform That the education of women ought to be as the body of a man? and the mind of a much an object of profound thought, priwoman worthily and wisely, gracefully and vate care and public policy as the educagenuinely to inspire her every look and mo- tion of men, we cordially agree; but the tion, thought and word ?

best definition we can give of what that The assimilation of mental sex, were it twofold education ought to aim at is this, possible, would simply be detestable; and to train boyhood in the possession of all the attempt would be at once a crime and that is uneffeminate, and girlhood in the blunder. "All nature is bifold, not single; moral beauty of all that is unmasculine. and there is no joy or good in life, that is The greater difference, not the less, benot in harmony with nature's laws. What tween the two, the better in our opinion. sort of place a “ Bloomer" world would be, All the jangling we have heard of late had Miss Becker the making of it we can- about all avocations being alike fitted for not tell; but the very thought of it by con- both sexes and all functions, whether dotrast makes us sick. Ours is a sad and suf- mestic or public, of right belonging to both, fering world enough, and all of us are bound seems to us but a bad waste of time. If to try whether we cannot in one way or women are to vote at elections and serve on other help to make it somewhat better; but juries, they must, of course, be allowed to to take away that which for countless my- practise at the Bar, and to enter Parliariads of our race has formed the chief sol- ment; then why not make them soldiers ace of existence, the manly delight of win- and sailors, or at least enlist them in regining the love of a being who has that to ments of Marines, which would exactly corgive which man possesses not, that which respond with their epicene gender of mind ? the instinct of his nature in its perfection Miss Becker and her allies deny that supeforbids him to offer — the homage of affec- rior strength is a necessary attribute of tionate dependence, - while in return it af- man. We know that in Central Africa there fords to the weaker sex the pride and joy are battalions of Amazons with sinewy limbs of winning a protector and

defender through and brawny bosoms; and the existence of the storms of life, by the firm though silken * strong"-minded women is a fact which coil of feminine fascination — all this must most of us would give the world to be albe swept away to make room for the she- lowed even for a week to doubt. Then we man and he-woman of our materialist re- know that fillies sometimes beat the colts formers who tell us that softness and deli- in the Derby and St. Leger; and Rosa Boncacy, household and highway duties, the heur can paint a pony quite as well as Landsports of the field and the cares of the seer – all which in Miss Becker's logic goes nursery, all equally and indistinguishably be- to establish the non-existence of any natlong to women and men.

The world is ural law, and all of which in our mind serves made on the principle of dualism, and so to prove merely that to any great and funlong as it lasts we are assured that day and damental law of existence there are excepnight, summer and winter shall not cease. tions, and in every class and species, graThough the globe perpetually whirls on its dations of development blending into those axis from West to East, we are happily that most nearly approach them. But does spared the perpetual infliction of the East this suggest a motive or a reason for desirWind; and though the conceit of wiseacres ing the obliteration of all the great distincbids them perpetually preach the profitable- tions of Nature, the effacement in woman of that which kindles the desire of man, and riage and concubinage, which, in the large in man of all that inspires the upward look towns, is proved to be exceedingly common. of respect and reliance, all the unselfish Indeed, it is shown in the evidence that the pride in his success and uncompetitive sym- churches use their internal discipline to inpathy in his ambition?

sure public marriages in the face of the congregation, and, whatever the three Scotch

Assemblies approve may, we may be sure, From The Spectator.

be made law without much fear of popular

resistance. Very grave and able witnesses, LEGITIMACY AND ILLEGITIMACY.

however, — including Mr. Moncrieff, whose It seems evident that there is only one remarkable ability is not sufficiently recogserious difficulty in the way of establishing nized South of the Tweed, — are inclined to i single system of marriage throughout regret the destruction of the custom which Great Britain, if not throughout the United has hitherto obtained in Scotland, as in Kingdom. All parties may, we think, judg- every other country governed by the Roing from the evidence recently taken by the man law, of allowing subsequent marriage Royal Commissioners, be brought to agree to legitimize children born before it. Lord either that registration before an authorized Inglis, the Lord Chief Justice of Scotland, official is a sufficient marriage, or that such does not hesitate, in a formal protest, to registration is an allowable adjunct to the characterize the English rule on this point marriage ceremony. If every

Catholic as " unnatural and pernicious." Mr. Monpriest is declared ex officio a registrar there crieff is as strong in opinion, though not in will, we imagine, be no more difficulty in words; and many witnesses are inclined to Ireland than in France in declaring that the suggest that if the marriage laws are to be Courts will recognize only such registration made uniform, the practice of England on as the proof of marriage; while in Scotland this point should be given up, and not the the people seem not unwilling to surrender practice of Scotland. It is in Europe now every peculiarity in their system except one. confined to England alone. If we understand the grave lawyers who There is not, perhaps, in the whole range were the principal witnesses, they, although of social arrangements, one in which right generally anxious for one or two qualifying and expediency conflict so visibly as in this. clauses, are not indisposed to surrender Every people, Eastern as well as Western, marriage by consent, marriage by promise, has, we believe, been compelled to draw and marriage by repute, and all the rest of some distinction between legitimacy and their special and very informal forms. Some illegitimacy, even Mohammedans accepting of the clergy still adhere, we believe on some rules, which, however, they rarely religious grounds, to the principle that a obey, about the mother's faith; and yet promise followed by intercourse constitutes every such distinction is in itself, as far as inarriage, and one legal witness attempts to the child is concerned, a patent injustice. prove, and we think does prove, that this A direct penalty is inflicted by law upon an principle has great utility in checking se- innocent person, and by no conceivable sysduction, actions for seduction being almost tem of casuistry can such penalty be made unknown in Scotland. Still the infinite just. The common argument that the child majority of decent Scotch men and women suffers in order that women in general may are married by a minister, and there is ap- be deterred from unchastity by the influence parently no deeply rooted objection to ad- of maternal affection would justify us in mit that consent bad better be formally torturing the child of a murderess, in order intimated before a registrar or clergyman. that the next mother who purchased arsenic The Seotch are too reasonable a people, to kill an enemy, might be deterred from and too much alive to the claims at once of using it lest her child should be hurt. In property and pedigree, to be heartily anx- all probability she would be deterred, but ious to leave the conditions of legal mar- nobody would torture the child, for all that. riage in their present state of uncertainty Even in the worst cases, where the child is - an uncertainty so great that there are born of a double adultery, it is entirely incircumstances under which a man could not nocent, and ought not therefore to be puntell whether he was married or not. The ished, at all events by law. Were justice uncertainty has been hitherto supposed to the sole rule, every child would, under all protect women, but the Commissioners find circumstances, be held in law to be the leno evidence in support of this theory, ex- gitimate child of both its parents, with as cept in the absence of actions for seduction, much claim to inheritance and as much right and it has the effect among the ignorant of to maintenance as any other, a rule which, destroying the distinction between mar- by the way, would put a severe check upon

19

concubinage. On the other hand it would, tween marriage and concubinage, and to no doubt, introduce almost unendurable diminish the popular value of chastity. The anomalies into the family relations, and women consider that as subsequent marriage complications without end in the descent of is as good as previous marriage, previous property and dignities, evils which, with marriage is surplusage, may be postponed, British lawyers, have entirely overwhelmed for example, while the lover seeks his forthe natural sense of right. No jurists have tune, and public opinion ceases to punish, gone quite so far as they have in resisting content to hear, Oh, they will be married the claims of “natural ” children, have leg- by and by!” Those who best know the islated with so complete an indifference to country districts of England and Wales will the instinctive conscience of mankind. They know best how fatally such a provision will not even allow adoption in any legal would operate there. It is hard enough as form, or lighten the 10 per cent. fine to be it is, as the clergy in many districts Know paid when a total stranger inherits a legacy well, to induce labourers to marry until by will. We cannot but think they have their brides' shame is only too apparent, gone too far, and that the claim of illegiti- and till celibacy would be as expensive as mate children ought to be at all events par- marriage; and under this law they would tially recognized, even at the risk of remov- not marry at all, but leave their wives in ing one guarantee of morals, but the feudal service and their children to grow up how spirit is not yet sufficiently near its end in they would. Within ten years public opinEngland to render discussion useful. We ion would veer round to the point at which must be content for some time longer to it stands in Scotland; a misfortune affirm that right and expediency are in this would entail no shame ‘at all, and one of matter at hopeless variance.

the most necessary guarantees for chastity So they are in the matter of subsequent would gradually disappear. We have not legitimatization. The English law on the in England the checks which operate in subject, if judged by any known code of Scotland, either of tradition, or education, morals, must be pronounced, as Lord Inglis or far-reaching clerical discipline, and a describes it, “ unnatural and jernicious." habit of concubinage would grow up with Estimate the fault of the parents as we like, fatal rapidity among us. It is hard enough it is still a right thing that they should be as it is to keep it down in the factory towns, encouraged to repair it, and, indeed, all where children earn full wages at fourteen, Christian churches and Christian ministers and at sixteen set up for themselves without make such reparation matter of peremptory parental control. Any such habit is socially duty, while society, if it never quite pardons inconvenient, even if the couples intend to the woman, does allow that the man has remain faithful to each other to their lives' made atonement. The benefit of that atone- end; and morally dangerous as establishing ment is refused only to the child, who was a system not only of possible divorce, and guiltless of the sin and innocent of the not only of divorce at will, but divorce at breach of social order. Consider the fault the will of a single party to the contract, as we will, from the religious, the secular, a system condemned even by lax moralists, or the moral point of view, and still thc - and of divorce at the will of a single Scotch, or rather the Roman system is the party to the contract without provision for better of the two. Religion would in- the children, a system condemned by all culcate the repentance the subsequent statesmen without exception. Even if dimarriage expresses; it is a matter of secular vorce is in se right, it must at least be regcxpediency that there should be few bas-ulated by law, and the Scotch system tends tards in the community; and strict morality to establish the power in its fullest degree would probably declare that the offenders without any regulation at all. The couples were married already, and that the State in who “ intend to marry" have only to quar ignoring their union pronounces an unjust-rel, and their marriage is at an end. The fiable divorce. Yet it is not to be denied that change from the English system of legitithe humane and just law of Scotland tends macy to the Scotch would, we fear, produce even there to immorality, while in England unmitigated mischief; and yet no religious it. would probably produce a serious de- man, or moral man, or just man, can deny crease in marriage. The Commissioners that the Scotch system is right, and the say that in Scotland its effect is to abolish English system wrong. among the lowest class the distinction be

« VorigeDoorgaan »