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That men should entertain those opinions of women which have been expressed so largely has been a painful revelation to many, and it has given a far keener point to the sense of injustice which exists more or less in every feminine bosom-injustice actual and practical, which may be eluded by all sorts of compromises and expedients, and in

ustice theoretical and sentimental, which it is more difficult to touch. When I say sentimental it is not in any ludicrous sense that I use the word. Any actual injury is trifling in comparison with an injurious sentiment, which pervades and runs through life. And I think the greatest grievances of women, those upon which all others depend and from which they spring, are of this kind. Most of us of a reasonable age prefer to keep our sense of injury, our consciousness of injustice, dormant, but it exists in all classes. It has been handed down to us from our mothers, it descends from us to our daughters. We know that we have a great many things to suffer, from which our partners in the work of life are exempt, and we know also that neither for these extra pangs do we receive sympathy, nor for our work do we receive the credit which is our due. But whenever such questions are brought under public discussion we are bewildered to find how little these inequalities in our lot are comprehended, and how doubly injurious is the estimate formed of us by our husbands, our brothers, and our sons.

This has been all stirred up and made apparent by recent discussions, and for this generation at least it is no longer possible to hush it up and keep the feeling it produces to ourselves.

In what I have to say on this subject I do not wish to touch upon any actual wrong or cruelty to which women are by law subjected. As men seem to think that the laws which bear hardly on women are the bulwarks of their own existence, it is very unlikely that they will ever be entirely amended. It is curious that they should be so anxious to confine and limit the privileges of the companion who is avowedly the weaker vessel. The Liliputians bound down Gulliver by a million of little ligatures--but that was a proceeding full of sense and judgment, since he could have demolished a whole army of them. But if it had been a Liliputian hero who had been bound down by a larger race, it would have been absurd ; and it is very inconceivable how it could be dangerous to men to liberate a smaller and weaker competitor, whom they coerce every day of their lives, and whose strength, weak as it is, is burdened by many drawbacks to which they are not subject. So it is, however, and so it is likely to be for a long time at least. But it is the general sentiment which affects my mind more than individual wrong. The wrongs of the law are righted in a great many--in perhaps most individual cases—by contracts and compromises, by affection, by the natural force of character, even by family pride, which does not desire its private affairs to be made the talk of the world. But sentiment is universal and tells upon all. I allow (as has been already said—though not without some contempt for those who stand upon it) the superiority of sex. I may also say that I decline to build any plea upon those citations of famous women, It does not seem to me of the slightest importance that there existed various feminine professors in Italy, in tbe Middle Ages, or even that Mrs. Somerville was a person of the highest scientific attainments. I allow, frankly, that there has been no woman Shakespeare (and very few men of that calibre: not another one in England, so that it is scarcely worth taking him into account in the averages of the human race). If such fanciful arguments were permitted, it might be as sound a plea to say that, with a few exceptions, Shakespeare embodied all that was noblest in his genius, not in men but in women, giving us a score of noble and beautiful human creatures, daughters of the gods, as against his one Hamlet. All this is however entirely beyond and beside the question. I do not want even to prove that women are equal to men, or to discuss the points in which they differ. I do not pretend to understand either Man or Woman, in capitals. I only know individuals, of no two of whom could I say that I think they are entirely equal. But there are two, visibly standing before the world (which is made up of them) to be judged according to their works, and upon these works I wish to ask the reader his and her opinion.

This is mine to start with—that when God put two creatures into the world (I hope that persons of advanced intelligence will forgive the old-fashioned phraseology, which perhaps is behind the age) it was not that one should be the servant to the other, but because there was for each a certain evident and sufficient work to do. It is needless to inquire which work was the highest. Judgment has been universally given in favour of the man's work, which is that of the protector and food-producer—though even here one cannot but feel that there is something to be said on the weaker side, and that it is possible that the rearing of children might seem in the eyes of the Maker, who is supposed to feel a special interest in the human race, as noble an occupation, in its way, as the other. To keep the world rolling on, as it has been doing for all these centuries, there have been needful two creatures, two types of creatures, the one an impossibility without the other. And it is a curious thought, when we come to consider it, that the man, who is such a fine fellow and thinks so much of himself, would after all be a complete nonentity without the woman whom he has hustled about and driven into a corner ever since she began to be. Now it seems to me that the first, and largest, and most fundamental of all the grievances of women, is this : that they never have, since the world began, got the credit of that share of the work of the world which has fallen naturally to them, and which they have, on the whole, faithfully performed through all vicissitudes. It will be seen that I am not referring to the professions, which are the trades of men, according to universal acknowledgment, but to that common and general women's work, which is, without any grudging, acknowledged to be their sphere.

And I think it is one of the most astonishing things in the world to see how entirely all the honour and credit of this, all the importance of it, all its real value, is taken from the doers of it. That her

and there are vague and general permissions of praise given to those who take the woman's part in the conflict. It is allowed to be said that she is a ministering angel, a consoler, an encouragement to the exertions of the man, and a rewarder of his toil. She is given within due limitations a good deal of praise ; but very rarely any justice. I scarcely remember any writer who has ever ventured to say that the half of the work of the world is actually accomplished by women; and very few husbands who would be otherwise than greatly startled and amazed, if not indignant, if not derisive, at the suggestion of such an idea as that the work of their wives was equal to their own. And yet for my part I think it is. So far as I can see, the working-man’s wife who has to cook and clean, and wash and mend, and do all the primitive services of life for her family, has harder and more constant work than her husband has; and rising upward in the ranks of life, I think the same balance goes on, at least until that level of wealth and leisure is reached, at which the favourites of fortune, like the lilies, toil not neither do they spin. But I am not concerned with those heights. What dukes and duchesses do, and which of them work the hardest, will scarcely tell upon the argument; nor am I deeply versed in the natural history of millionaires. But so far as I am acquainted with the facts of existence, the woman's hands are everywhere as full of natural occupation as are those of the man. To talk of the great mass of working women, the wives of the poorer and labouring classes, in a pretty and poetical way as the inspirers of toil, the consolers of care, by whose smiles a man is stimulated to industry, and rewarded for his exertions, would be too ridiculous for the most rigid theorist. Whatever powers of this passive kind may be possessed by the wife of the bricklayer or carpenter will stand her in little stead if she does not put her shoulder to the wheel. “A woman's work is never done,' is the much more genuine expression of sentiment on that level, which is by far the largest, of society. The man's work lasts a certain number of hours, after which he has his well-earned leisure, his evening to himself, his hours of recreation, or of lounging; but his wife has no such privileged amount of exemption from toil. Her work is never done.' She has the evening meal, whatever it may be, to prepare, and to clear away, and the children to get to bed, and the mending to do, in the hours when he is altogether free, and considers himself with justice to have a right to his freedom. In very few cases does it occur to the woman to grumble at this, or to wonder why her lot should be harder than his. It is natural; it is her share. The whole compact of their married life is based upon this, that she should do her work while he does his; and hers is the share which is never done.' I do not say a word against this law of Nature; but I object that while this is the case, the poor woman who works so hard is considered as a passive object of her husband's bounty, indebted to him for her living, and with no standing-ground or position of her own. She is so considered in the eye of the law; and though the foolishness of the sentiment is too in the general sweeping assertion which includes all married women. Men must work and women must weep,' says the ballad. I would like to know what the fisherwomen of our sea-coasts say to this lugubrious sentiment, or how much time they find to indulge in that luxury.

It is scarcely necessary to follow domestic history up through all its lines for the purpose of proving that everywhere this rule is the same. A poor woman with a house full of children has everywhere and in all circumstances her work cut out for her; and when the element of gentility comes in, and there are appearances to be kept up, that labour is indefinitely enlarged. Which of the two does the reader suppose has most to do: the merchant's clerk, for instance, who earns his salary by six or eight hours' work in his office, or his wife who has to pinch and scrape, and shape and sew, and sit late at nights and rise early in the mornings, in order to keep a neat and cheerful house and turn out the children in such a guise as to do no discredit to their father's black coat? If I had to choose between the two, I should choose the husband's share and not the wife's. The man is more exposed to outside risks and discomforts ; but the moment he enters his home he is privileged to rest and be waited on as much as if he were a Sultan. The same rule exists everywhere. Among shopkeepers of all but the highest class, the wife, in addition to her natural work, takes her share in the business, and such is the case in a great many other occupations. She keeps the books; she makes out the bills; in one way or another she overflows from her own share of the work into his. The poor clergyman's wife (I know one such with such hands of toil, scarred and honourable !-hands that have washed and scrubbed, and cooked and sewed, till all their lady softness is gone) is his curate as well. Where is there any class of life in which this is not the case ? When we come to the higher levels of society the circumstances are changed a little. Usually wealth means a cessation more or less of labour. But a great lawyer, or a great doctor for instance, may have reached the very height of success without having his actual toil diminished ; and his wife in that case may be carried high upon the tide of his success to a position of ease and luxury which bears little proportion to the labour with which he must still go on, keeping up the reputation and the career which he has made. Even in that case she will have a great establishment to manage, servants to rule, and social duties to perform, and always, the first and most sacred duty of all, the children to care for, which makes her life anything but an unoccupied one. But the wife of a professional man who is struggling into work and celebrity has as tough a task as her humbler neighbour. In the present constitution of society, people upon a certain level of position are supposed to live pretty much alike whether their income is counted by hundreds or by thousands. A smaller and less costly house, a parlourmaid instead of a butler, are the only concessions which custom makes ; but things must be as “ nice' in the small house as in the great, and neither in their table nor in their apparel can the poorer pair afford to show any

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and there are vague and general permissions of praise given to those who take the woman's part in the conflict. It is allowed to be said that she is a ministering angel, a consoler, an encouragement to the exertions of the man, and a rewarder of his toil. She is given within due limitations a good deal of praise; but very rarely any justice. I scarcely remember any writer who has ever ventured to say that the half of the work of the world is actually accomplished by women: and very few husbands who would be otherwise than greatly startled and amazed, if not indignant, if not derisive, at the suggestion of such an idea as that the work of their wives was equal to their own. And yet for my part I think it is. So far as I can see, the working-man's wife who has to cook and clean, and wash and mend, and do all the primitive services of life for her family, has harder and more constant work than her husband has; and rising upward in the ranks of life, I think the same balance goes on, at least until that level of wealth and leisure is reached, at which the favourites of fortune, like the lilies, toil not neither do they spin. But I am not concerned with those heights. What dukes and duchesses do, and which of them work the hardest, will scarcely tell upon the argument; nor am I deeply versed in the natural history of millionaires. But so far as I am acquainted with the facts of existence, the woman's hands are everywhere as full of natural occupation as are those of the man. To talk of the great mass of working women, the wives of the poorer and labouring classes, in a pretty and poetical way as the inspirers of toil. the consolers of care, by whose smiles a man is stimulated to industry, and rewarded for his exertions, would be too ridiculous for the most rigid theorist. Whatever powers of this passive kind may be possessed by the wife of the bricklayer or carpenter will stand her in little stead if she does not put her shoulder to the wheel. “A woman's work is never done,' is the much more genuine expression of sentiment on that level, which is by far the largest, of society. The man's work lasts a certain number of hours, after which he has his well-earned leisure, his evening to himself, his hours of recreation, or of lounging; but his wife has no such privileged amount of exemption from toil. Her work is never done.' She has the evening meal, whatever it may be, to prepare, and to clear away, and the children to get to bed, and the mending to do, in the hours when he is altogether free, and considers himself with justice to have a right to his freedom. In very few cases does it occur to the woman to grumble at this, or to wonder why her lot should be harder than his. It is natural; it is her share. The whole compact of their married life is based upon this, that she should do her work while he does his ; and hers is the share which is never done. I do not say a word against this law of Nature; but I object that while this is the case, the poor woman who works so hard is considered as a passive object of her husband's bounty, indebted to him for her living, and with no standing-ground or position of her own. She is so considered in the eye of the law; and though the foolishness of the sentiment is too

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