VOU ask me, my dears, to give you I They tell us that woman was first a

I my opinion of your aunts and slave,' then a 'toy or an idol,' and some other women-very few, not one lastly-s0 late indeed as 1863—could in fifty, that is one comfort-agitating be taken to market and sold by a for the right, as they call it, of voting “brutal husband,” like a sheep or a for members, and of sitting as mem cow.' I see a parcel of meek men bers themselves, of the township coun standing around with their lips popcil. I think I am competent to give ping open in stupid wonder to find an opinion. I was little more than themselves lords of the creation, when seventeen when I first came to New they had no more idea of it than of fangle, which was then an unbroken, being lords spiritual or temporal. I uninhabited wilderness. It is now notice that some of them begin to one of the finest townships in the Pro plume themselves, hold themselves vince, supporting in great comfort and very erect, and throw their chests open. plenty-luxuries not wanting-a popu But I see, too, and it makes me creep, lation of more than two thousand souls. an expression breaking out on the face The whole process of the transforma of some brutal husband,' when the tion has passed under my own eye. I selling in the market is spoken of, am now seventy-seven. I know how which shows that he is saying to himit bas been done, and by whom it has self By George, what a chance lost ! been done. I know, therefore, in what Bless my milky stars, if I had but consists the right to any part or voice known it in time!' in its government.

Whose slave, I wonder, was the These ladies are so solemnly serious, Queen of Sheba? Whose Boadicea ? and seem so honestly sincere, they are Can it be that Elizabeth was ever any so earnest, in what they say—it is body's toy, or Anne anybody's idol ? very hard to understand it, but so it is Catherine, one of the examples of great -that one would not wish to throw women brought forward by these ladies ridicule on them, if it could be helped. (there is no accounting for choice), But it is certainly extremely difficult was, to be sure, the toy of a good to listen with gravity to some things many, and rather a dangerous one too, that they say. I can hardly keep my I should imagine. And I do not know countenance when they get up on the where you would find idols much more table in the town hall and harangue cruel and bloodthirsty than Mary and, the people. They expatiate patheti I fear we must add, Isabella of Cascally on the shocking wrongs that have tile, gorging themselves with sacrifices been inflicted by man upon woman. It of flames and blood. Did it ever enis always 'man' and 'woman' with ter into the head of George IV., we them. They give us an imaginative | may wonder, to put a halter round his history of our sad sufferings since the wife's neck (she was a sad thorn in his creation, only that I notice they never side) and lead her to Smithfield and sell go quite so far back as Eve and the her for a shilling—that, I believe, was apple.

the ruling figure-to some drover ? He could have done it, you see. The | lege in Christendom? "George Eliot,' law allows it and the court awards it,' with whose name the world would at least it did, as late as 1863, so these have rung, robbed of her five thousand Portias tell us.

pounds for her second novel! The The names of these Queens are countless gains of Madame Patti is no brought forward to show that women more than what might have been ! are capable of ruling men. Shall we And then, oh, thou tyrant man, what alter the phrase, and say that men are dost thou not thyself lose by all this ! capable of being ruled by them? But, | What unheard of fatuity! my dears, could the bitterest opponents This, my dears, is the sort of thing of these ladies desire anything better? which is offered to your young intelliThe very fact that men have made gence from the platforms of Newfangle. queens of women -and of even such This is by way of improvement in the women as most of them were to be education of women. But this is not ruled by them and have their royal all. One of these ladies once told the heels placed upon their necks--the men to their faces, with some other royal axe at times and the royal fag compliments of the same kind, that got-disposes at once of all such in they were the lower and coarser half ventions as slaves, toys—not idols, of humanity.' At least, it was said in perhaps, as we have seen-and cows some way or other interrogatively, I and sheep. . You cannot eat your ap believe, but it comes to the same thing. ple and have it. Will you keep your It is affirmed, they were told, that slaves or your queens? Which? men are less pure and noble in their

The same fatal exposure awaits the moral instincts,' whatever that may production of the names of other great mean, than women. But, my dears, I women to show how great women can would contrast those speeches with be. The fact that there have been the purity and nobility of the men, great women, and that they have who, under such gross provocation as shown themselves to be great, proves that, refrained from any rude or indepositively that the opportunity to be cent retort. Perhaps you might hear come great was not denied them. We them muttering, Come, that is rather shall be told, no doubt, that they be strong,' or 'coarse yourself, what do eame great in spite of their trammels you call that for coarse?' or 'how will and chains. To be sure. That is how you set about to prove that, my lady, genius forces its way, whether in men, it is not quite so clear as that two and or women. Let us mention one or two make four; you may say that nine two of each at random. Faraday and is a greater number than ten, if you Charlotte Brontë and Dickens the like, but that will not make it so.' blacking-boy. Beat those instances if Such things as these, but nothing in you can. Or George Stephenson, or the way of retaliation. Madame Albani, one of our own Cana We have taken a long flight out into dian girls. Oh, sad, sad ! Downtrod the great world and we shall have to den, enslaved woman! Your wings cru: do so again, no doubt, in our examinelly clipped; access to your kind denied ation of this subject in all its bearyou, a fair tield for your genius closed ings, but, for the present, let us come with iron doors against you! The pas back to Newfangle. Ithink you can all sionate Charlotte chained to a rock on understand this simple principle—that a bleak Yorkshire moor! Shocking! the ownership, and the right and caAnd done, too, of set purpose and with pacity to the management, of anything malice aforethought by the men of belongs to him who has made it, so Yorkshire! And Jane Eyre 'lost to long as he does not put it out of his the world! For how long may we own possession. Upon this simple look for its like from any Girton Col- ! principle hangs the whole question of the right and the capacity to govern, My dears, you look astonished, as if Newfangle. Who has made New- you were told for the first time, and I fangle ? Men or women ? When I dare say you are, facts so plain and first set eyes on this township, it was evident that those who run may read. an untouched mass of huge trees, which Well then, tell me, if men have done must be destroyed off the face of the all this, who but men can have either earth before men and women could the capacity or the right to keep all live on it. The amount of herculean these things going safely and surely? labour which you saw staring you in Who can govern Newfangle 1—but the face was absolutely appalling. the men. Who have made NewThere were no liouses, no fields, no fangle but the men. Set women fences, no barns, no roads, no bridges, to navigate a steamboat, to work a no stock, no implements, no household railway. What happens ! A blowgoods, no schools, no churches, no up, a wreck, a smash. Set women to mills, no money ; in short, there was govern Newfangle. What bappens ? no anything but the ground and the A blow-up, a wreck, a smash. : trees which grew on it. The estate was "Ah, grandmamma,' you say 'you there indeed, but it was most heavily, need not tell us all that. We have one might almost have said most never heard it put so plainly before, hopelessly, encumbered. Look around but the youngest of us can see at once you to-day. What do you see ? Every that it is all true. But then women, thing that man or woman could rea do you not think, have done their full sonably desire. Comfort, wealth, share. They have done all the houseluxury, refinement, books and pic hold work.' tures, fine clothes, fine houses, fine I expected that, my dears, I am stores, fine carriages, orchards, gardens, ready for you there. The question fruit. You see it all. It is plain en is, what is the value of household ough to be seen. You see men, wo work, and what does it produce ? men and children enjoying it in com Could it ever have produced the townmon. More than two thousand of ship of Newfangle? Over what housethem, where perhaps a score of wretch hold work produces let women hold ed savages picked up a half-starved absolute sway. Over what men's existence. How has this wonderful work produces let men hold absolute transformation been brought about? | sway. Women cook the meals, but Whose brains have thought it, whose men provide them. Women keep the hands have done it? Whose money houses clean, neat, and tidy, but men has paid for it? Who have wrought build them. Women live in and enthe monstrous labour, enough, we joy the township of Newfangle, but would really think, to have daunted men have created it. Without men any but heroes? Who have been the there would be no meals, no houses, choppers, the clearers, the labourers, no Newfangle. No, no, my dears, I the mechanics, the masons, the brick know as much about household work layers, the carpenters, the painters, as any woman breathing ; I should the tinsmiths, the founders ? Who think I ought to. I know all about have made the implements, who have it; where it begins and ends; and what built the waggons, and the carriages, it accomplishes. I should be the last and the sleighs, who have shod the to undervalue it. It has all its own horses and cast the stoves ? Who value in its own place and degree. have dug the canals, built the railways, But I have also seen and known what the steamboats, the wharves, the light men's work accomplishes, and what is houses? Whose heads and whose the enormous disproportion between hands have done all these mighty its results and the results of women's things ? Men's or women's ?

work. It seems to me scarcely generous or grateful in us women not to i ginia' it was to have been. What acknowledge the immense benefits that could come of it? They were found, we derive from men's work, and I by mere accident, perishing, by inches, cannot, for my own part, imagine a by starvation from cold and hunger, more delicious feeling than the ample one of their number already dead and acknowledgment of benefits received, lying unburied. Some of our men, on let them come whence they may. It a distant hunting expedition, came is next to being able to repay them. upon them, huddled together in a That we can never do, but let us do wretched hovel, squalid, unclean, halfwhat we can. I am simply amazed clothed, starving, shivering, and shudwhen I hear these women talk as they dering. The men had enough to do to do. I wonder where all we women supply their wants as well as their own of Newfangle would have been now, ! and it was not without difficulty or if it had rested with women to have danger that they were brought into built up Newfangle, if the men and our settlement. Never, my dears, women had changed works. No, there can I forget the appearance of that is no wonder or doubt about it, I can mournful procession, as it filed slowly tell you. In the township of Nowhere in among us, the men walking in front Women might as well have attempted and carrying the frozen corpse, on a to bring down the sun to boil their sort of litter, for Christian burial, and kettles, or to build the railway with some of them, cold as it was, stripped knitting needles as to have made New of their coats to cover the poor creafangle. There would have been no ture's nakedness; the crestfallen wotownships, no husbands, no children, men tottering behind, ashamed to be

no nothing.' Take away, to-morrow, seen. Righteously ashamed of having the work of men, and Newfangle re ever applied the word tyrant to such lapses into the barbarism from which men as had rescued them, with every men brought it out. No, no, my dear kindness, consideration, and delicacygirls, and thrice no, never let me hear they said so often enough while their one of you say a word about the rights hearts were full ; righteously ashamed of women in Newfangle. Deserve all of ever having thought that the sex to you can, show what capacity you may, which those men belonged was less but, till you have brought yourselves pure or noble than their own. And up even with men, demand nothing. now came the turn of their own sex, Have too much spirit to do it.

of the women of the settlement. They One word more. You will tell me received the poor outcasts with a holy that men could not have done what charity. They tended them, fed them, they have done without the help of clothed them, nor slackened until the women, so that it comes to the same blood was once more seen in their thing. My dears, that is as great a cheeks. fallacy as all the rest of it. Men can do without women under conditions

•When pain and anguish wring the brow,

A ministering angel thou !' which make it necessary or desirable. Without men women perish. Re We will omit the preceding lines, markable proofs of both were afforded my dears, for this once at least. by our township. A lot of foolish On the other hand, there is the vilyoung women, who thought nature a lage of Manly. Some men who first very poor contrivance, and they could settled thereabouts and gave it the amend it, attempted a settlement by name, as foolish as the New Virginia themselves, into which no tyrant man women, only not so helpless, chose, should ever enter, and where they like Colonel Talbot, whom you have would make their own institutions and all heard of, not to allow a woman laws and obey no others. New Vir- | within their doors. They got on, to all appearance, just as well as Colonel | women generally make to the change. Talbot did. But, if you want that As for the obeying, as only those who proved among a hundred instances, choose to do so perform their vow, take a man of war. There are some we need not much complain, perhaps, five hundred souls on board, but no but the indignity is the same, for all woman. I have read minute descrip that. There is, however, something tions of them. They are the very per much worse than either of these fection of method, order, cleanliness; affronts, and I marvel that these wonot an inch of the decks but you might men should not notice it. I mean eat off; not a bit of metal but you with all my worldly goods I thee enmight do your hair by. Captain's dow. I greatly marvel that they do table first-rate ; wardroom table little not see the degradation of that. Eninferior; men's table all that they re dowed indeed! Not a bit of it ! quire. The men are very handy with Dollar for dollar on both sides, and no the needle.

more about it. Why, my dears, do Well, my dears, if all this that I l you not see what an enormous disprohave been telling you is true of New portion is inflicted upon us poor wofangle, a little out of the way bit of men here? Take, this township of the world, it is a great deal more true Newfangle. It contains about 40,000 -if there are any degrees in truth acres, worth at, say, forty dollars an in the great world beyond. If it acre, $1,600,000. Add personal prowould have been impossible for women perty, say $400,000, together $2,000,to have built up such a community as 000. The interest of this at 6 per ours, it would have been much more cent. is $120,000. I am bad at reckimpossible—if there are any degrees oning, like most women, but I believe in impossibility—for them to have that is right. See, then, my dears, built up such communities as exist out what dreadful tales figures tell, and in the great world. A fortiori-I these figures are moderate, within the have heard men say that, and I know mark. Now this is Newfangle, and what it means—a fortiori, women Newfangle, as I have already shown have less right to interfere in the pub you, belongs to the men who have lic affairs of the great world than here made it, so that we poor insulted wives in Newfangle. Just as the work of of Newfangle are endowed to the tune men there is greater and grander, by of $120,000 a year. Unbearable ! 80 much greater is the disproportion strike it out! Let us bring our own between their work, and its results, $2,000,000 and make it even, or, if we and that of women. My dears, I be cannot do that, let us give up all the seech you, let us hear no more of fine things we enjoy, and go back to

rights ;' as much indulgence as men log-shanties, blue flannel dresses, of our . choose, but no rights, unless the dic own spinning and dyeing, and ox-sleds tionary is to be turned topsy-turvy. for carriages—I know all about that,

I have sometimes heard these la- and be under no such degrading oblidies declaim very bitterly against cer gation. Come, that would be sometain phrases in the marriage ceremony. thing like a cry! Something like equal They cannot abide the idea of being rights! Bella, my love, Jack will be 'given away,' nor of having to pro here, this evening. Tell him there are mise to obey.' It is to be sure, my insuperable objections to him. He has dears, generally their own father who a fine farm, a fine house handsomely does it; still, it is a great indignity to furnished, a fine carriage, I do not know be given away even by him out of his what all. Why, he must be worth own protection and support into the altogether some $8,000 or $9,000, at protection and support of another man. least, not a cent less. It is out of the It is extraordinary how little objection question. You can never consent to

« VorigeDoorgaan »