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undeveloped. It seemed to have aborted. They graduated from college or school excellent scholars, but with .... only a portion of a breast or ovary, or none at all." It may be hoped that '. mischief of this gravity is not the normal result of educating women asjnen. On such a subject it is, of course, impossible to obtain statistics. But, so far as I can learn, the experience regarding it of our leading English physicians is at one with that of their American brethren. I am satisfied that the instances are rare in which the acquisition by woman of certain virile faculties, through participating in virile education, is not purchased by the impairment of her feminine attributes, physical as well as psychical.
I take leave, then, to hold that the things so loudly demanded as Woman's Rights would really be found to be Woman's Wrongs. The acquisition of them would tend seriously to injure her sexual character, would vastly harm distinctive womanhood. Dr. Maudsley has summed the matter up in a few weighty words. "While woman preserves her sex, she will necessarily be feebler than man, and having her special bodily and mental characteristics, will have, to a certain extent, her own sphere of activity. When she has become thoroughly masculine in nature, and hermaphrodite in mind—when, in fact, she has pretty well divested herself of her sex—then she may take his ground and do his work; but she will have lost vi.] "SHOPPING DOLLS." 183
her feminine attractions, and probably, also, her chief feminine functions."*
It appears that Mr. Karl Pearson,f in his walks about London, discovered, upon one occasion, a certain number of well-dressed women in a fashionable thoroughfare, looking into shop windows "at various bits of coloured ribbon." His spirit was stirred within him by the spectacle, and ho denounces the ladies so engaged as "shopping dolls," with no thought of "their political and social responsibilities." Well, well, but even the most dollish of them may safely be pronouncd a great deal pleasanter to look at, and to listen to, than any of the Eminent Women exhibited to us as types of future feminity; from the great Miss Wollstonecraft down to Elizabeth C. Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda J. Gage, the illustrious American authoresses who, in our own day, have favoured the world with A History of Womaris Suffrage in two vast volumes. Surely "a ribbon or a rose," or even a ringlet,! is a fitter'object to
* Mind and Body, p. 32. f Ethic of Free Thought, p. 391. J It is pleasure to turn away, if but for a moment, to the charming picture drawn in Lord Tennyson's beautiful lines:— "For now her father's chimney glows In expectation of a guest, And thinking this will please him best, She takes a ribbon or a rose,
"For he will see them on to-night,
And with the thought her colour burns;
occupy the mind of a young girl than Parliamentary eloquence or the position of the nonCi?'' ') child-bearing female in Mr. Karl Pearson's Utopia. The " shopping doll" may bo somewhat frivolous, nay, may even be "uncertain, coy, and hard to please." But, at all events, she is woman, which can hardly be said of the creature by whom it is proposed to replace her, well described by Count de Gasparin as " ce quelque chose de monstrucux, cet etre repugnant qui deja parait a notre horizon." Sex, and the grace of sex, are not the product of a day. It has taken countless ages to effect the difference which exists between primeval woman —the female Papuan still existing may serve to show faintly what she was—and those noble types of womanhood which adorn our civilization, such as Lord Tennyson has painted in Isabel, Margaret, Eleanore. To destroy this work of the specification of the sexes—a most marvellous work it is, at once the most poetical and the most practical outcome of human evolution—is the enterprise upon which, perhaps half unconsciously, the champions of the Woman's Rights movement are engaged.
That the enterprise will succeed is incredible. To obliterate " the distinctions, between male and female, whether these be physical or mental .... it would be necessary to have the evolution over
asrain, on a new basis.
What was decided among
the prehistoric Protozoa cannot be annulled by Act
vi.] "DAS EWIG WEIBLICHE." 185
of Parliament.1,' * Nature is stronger than the most strong-minded ladies. Molière was a true prophet when he wrote,
"La femme est toujours femme, et jamais ne sera
The day which Miss Wollstonecraft desired to see, when "the person of a woman is not, as it were, idolized," will never dawn for the human race. To the end it will be true, "Das ewig Weibliche zicht uns hinan;" and beauty will exercise its prerogative to melt "mutable minds of wise men as with fire." The clamour of the champions of Woman's Eights may succeed in confounding the thoughts and vulgarizing the ideals of a generation, or of several generations. The mischief may be not inconsiderable. But it will end there. Well does Michelet write, "Toute cette agitation est ù
la surface. La femme est ce qu'elle était
Partout où elle est solitaire,'où le monde ne la gâte pas, c'est un être bon et docile, se pliant do cœur à nos habitudes qui souvent lui sont très-contraires, adoucissant les rudes volontés de l'homme, lç_civilisant et l'ennoblissant."
Such, unquestionably, are the great majority of women, and such they are content to be. They have no desire to be other than they are. I feel sure that the proportion of women who want to be electors or public functionaries, who want to rival men in virile occupations, who want to substitute a looser sexual tie for matrimony, is very small. The strong minded have no sort of warrant for speaking in the name of their sex generally. Let us, however, content them if possible. And in order thereto, I will end this chapter with a proposal in the nature of an eirenicon, for which the statute-book supplies a hint. Some years ago a certain number of the clergy of the Established Church, who, for one reason or another, were tired of the clerical calling, desired to be relieved from the disabilities attending it. They wished to unclericalize themselves. The difficulty was that in the Anglican Communion, or, at all events, in an influential section of it, the Catholic belief as to the indelibility of the sacerdotal character prevails. In these circumstances, Parliament passed a very judiciously drawn Act for the relief of the discontented clerics, enabling them by the enrolment of a deed in Chancery to relinquish " all rights, privileges, advantages, and exemptions" of their sacred office. That done, they were at liberty to act in all respects as laymen. Let a similar course be open to such strongminded ladies as desire to take it. Let them be permitted to renounce the special privileges and prerogatives of womanhood. Let them formally
* The Evolution of Sex, by Professor Patrick Geddes and J. Arthur Thompson, p. 2G7. This admirably executed work, though "primarily addressing itself to the general reader or beginner," is far more accurate and complete than many more pretentious treatises on the subject with which it deals.