« AnteriorContinuar »
for see how frail I am. Rather let me stay in my appointed place, content if I can soothe even one tired soul by the sense of my delicate odour.”
“And we,” murmured a cluster of violets, peeping up from their dewy nest, “if we were to try and climb as high as that great purple passion-flower above, which looks to us like a glowing star, we should sicken and fade, our stems would grow thin and weak, our blossoms poor and colourless. We never have the least wish to be other than simple violets; and yet, humble as we are, are we not loved? Are we not worn on brave hearts and carried in fair bosoms? and sometimes are we not tenderly laid, as the last most appropriate gift, in the hands of the happy dead? Need we wish for more?”
And they rustled their leaves softly as though they smiled.
“And I,” said a blue Italian lily, “see how kind fate has been to me! I sought no home but the Italian fields, where my leaves drank in the colour of the sky, and my heart opened to catch the golden glory of the
I sought no honour, I craved no distinction, yet am I hailed by enthusiastic hearts as the emblem of Italy, and therefore the insignia of Art! Who could hold higher honours than I? And yet I sought them not.”
"Sweet," sang all the blossoms together; "sweet are
our lives and wonderful is the care bestowed upon us. Only fragile flowers are we, and yet how we are loved ! Even here, how beautiful a crystal house has been built for us, we are tended every day, and we live in the joy of knowing that our lives are pleasant to all who look upon us.
We asked for nothing, and yet all is ours!” And they rustled their petals whisperingly together, and their voices that I heard, or seemed to hear in my fancy, sank gently into silence.
And I thought then how sweet might be the lives of women, the flowers of the human race, if they would be content to be flowers only, and not try to be trees, which they never can be. How many violets and lilies. of womankind are spoiling their fragrance and destroying their natural grace, by the wild, senseless efforts they are making to become the equals of men. How is it possible to alter the decrees of Nature? And Nature has made woman's place in the world subordinate to that of man. I am told that the medical profession, for instance, is one that is very advisable for women to follow. It may be so. But I hope I. shall be pardoned for having my doubts upon the subject. A woman's sphere is unquestionably one of home duties, and I would infinitely rather see her train herself to be a first-rate house-and-parlour
maid, than watch her career as a practising physician. At the Social Science Congress the other day, a learned man, speaking of educą.
tion versus health, described in the most earnest language the sorrow and dismay he experienced after visiting the colleges of Newnham and Girton.
“Such women as I saw there,” he said gravely, “will never be the mothers of heroes.” The history of the coming generation may be foreshadowed in that brief sentence.
Is it impossible for women to remain in the place where Nature put them? Can they not be contented with their lot, which is surely intended to be one of love and peace? There are many brave, true-hearted men who are yet romantic enough in this so practical age, as to feel to their very hearts he truth of the lover's words in Tennyson's "Maud:”
- What care I,
But, then, she must be a “simple girl” indeed, not a would-be man in petticoats. No woman can ever hope to awaken this exquisite tenderness, this delicacy of emotion in the heart of any man, if she persists in aping his manners, his dress, his customs; if she dares and defies instead of softening and soothing him; if she attempts to measure her puny strength against his in questions of law and politics, with which she is by
Nature totally unfitted to deal, and if she will thrust herself into professions which will, in the long run, have the effect of totally unsexing her, and rendering her even at the best, only an object of kindly and halfpitying ridicule in the eyes of all sensible beings.
No; with all due deference to the promoters of the “Higher Education of Women," I would propose to them even a higher flight than they seem yet to have attempted-namely, that they should teach two great lessons of life, the worth of which can never be measured or valued too highly-Humility and Contentment. Roses are satisfied to be roses-why not women to be women?
The Hired Baby, etc.
The idea of childhood is generally associated in our minds with mirth, grace, and beauty. The fair-haired, blue-eyed treasures of proud and tender mothers, the plump, rosy little ones whose fresh young hearts know no sorrow save the sometimes ungratified longing for a new toy or new game—these are the fairy blossoms of our lives, for whom childhood really exists, and for whose dear sakes we think no sacrifice too great, no pain too wearisome, no work too heavy, so long as we can keep them in health, strength, and happiness, and ward off from their lives every shadow of suffering. And as we caress our own dimpled darlings, and listen to their merry Prattling voices and their delightful laughter, we find it difficult to realize that there are other children in the world, born of the same great Mother Nature, who live on without even knowing that they are children, and who have "begun life" in the bitterest manner at a time when they can scarcely toddle; children to whom toys are inexplicable mysteries, and for whom the bright regions of fairyland have never been unclosed.