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check, which after the workmen's dinner-hour would be more than retrieved. By two o'clock, however, it appeared that a sufficient number of Conservative working men had resisted the attractions of the marine fête at Washymouth to keep Dibbs in the second place. And though Jem was rushing about in all directions, and almost ubiquitous in his presence at all the polling booths, his eloquent appeals to the wives and daughters of independent husbands whom no domestic intimidation could bring to the point of voting, were unhappily unavailing. At four o'clock p.M. a placard posted at the Central Liberal Committee rooms announced the numbers as follows: Barker 1,009 Maxwell
742 Didn't I tell you it would be one and one?' ejaculated a wiry old gentleman who was standing near the door of the Maxwell Arms, as a small square handbill announcing the above figures was thrust into his hands. I knew they'd have the two chaps with the long pusses atop, and all right too. It's them as pays the piper that orders the tune, ain't it?'
• Very like, grunted out a veteran ostler of forty years' standing who had been doing duty all day for the Buffs, but I'm sorry for the young genman all the same. I've fed 'is father's 'osses and 'is granfather's afore 'im when they put up at the “Arms," and 'eld their stirrup straps as long as I can mind—blest if I don't wish ’e’ed been at the top instead o' that wulgar old wagabond from Hostraly.'
At this moment an excited knot of Dibbsites who had been parading the streets all the afternoon, poured in a salute of rotten eggs and other soft missiles intermixed with a few pebbles on the windows of the · Maxwell Arms. One of the last named projectiles knocked off the ostler's hat, and inflicted a slight wound on his bald head.
*Well, if I don't give 'em change for that my name ain't Tom Tuppeny; nor I'm not worth the money neither,' roared out the old ostler, and suiting the action to the words, burled an empty sodawater bottle picked out of a crate standing handy at the back-door promiscuously among the crowd. The random shot took effect on the temples of a young gentleman who happened at the moment to be struggling through the throng to the front entrance of the hotel. He instantly fell, and it was not until two or three bystanders had picked him up, that the victim of old Tuppeny's artillery was discovered to be no less distinguished a personage than the junior Liberal candidate for Shamboro'. Faint from the loss of blood, which was streaming profusely from the wound, poor Jem was carried apparently lifeless to his room, and thus ended for him the memorable day which he had looked forward to as that which was to be the commencement of his Parliamentary career.
THE GRIEVANCES OF WOMEN.
NUMBER of invitations have been sent out lately to ladies of
all classes to attend a meeting of women in St. James's Hall (I think) in the beginning of this month. It is intended to press upon the notice of the new Government the claims of women to the suffrage. It will, no doubt, be largely attended, but not by the present writer or many others of her way of thinking, and that for the weakest of all possible reasons; but the occasion furnishes a not inappropriate opportunity of expressing some of the opinions of quiet and otherwise voiceless women, with as much dislike to platforms as their grandmothers would have had, upon the subject of feminine grievances, sentimental and otherwise.
Our reason for not going to this meeting or any like it is simple. We are so weak as to be offended deeply and wounded by the ridicule which has not yet ceased to be poured upon every such manifestation. We shrink from the laugh of rude friends, the smile of the gentler ones. The criticisms which are applied, not to one question or another, but to the general qualities of women, affect our temper unpleasantly. We would rather, for our parts, put up even with a personal wrong in silence more or less indignant than hear ourselves laughed at in all the tones of the gamut and held up to coarse ridicule. This is a confession of poverty of spirit and timidity of mind which I am entirely aware of, and somewhat ashamed to utter; but it belongs to my generation. In this way, I am sorry to say, a great many of the newspapers and public speakers of the coarser sort have us in their power, and are able to quash the honest opinion of a great many women whose views on the subject might be worth knowing perhaps, being the outcome of experience and average good sense, if no more. It is a disagreeable effort even to write on the subject for this very reason. Fair and honourable criticism is a thing which no accustomed writer will shrink from. Some of us have had a good deal of it in our day, and have not complain even criticism which the subject of it may feel to be unfair, sometimes is not unbeneficial; but to be met with an insolent laugh, a storm of ridiculous epithets, and that coarse superiority of sex which a great many men think it not unbecoming to exhibit to women is a mode of treatment which affects our temper, and those nerves which the harshest critic is condescendingly willing to allow as a female property. I admit for my part the superiority of sex. It is not a pretty subject, nor one for my handling. Yet it is a fact. As belonging to the physical part of our nature, which is universal whereas the mental and moral part is not so--that superiority must always tell. It will keep women in subjection as long as the race endures. We may say and do what we will, but the fact will remain culture or progress will largely affect it. But this is not an argument which it might be supposed fine minds would care to appeal to. It is the argument of the coalheaver, and unanswerable in his hands. As a matter of fact, however, it is not only the coalheaver who employs it, but a great many accomplished persons in other walks of life who might be supposed very capable of meeting and overcoming feminine reasoning without recourse to that great weapon. The one good result which has come of the many recent agitations on the subject is, I think, that the strong abuse poured upon those women who have not shrunk from exposing themselves to ridicule on these questions has a little turned the stomachs (it seems impossible to speak otherwise than coarsely upon such a subject) of the more generous order of men. This is a result, limited as it is, which never could have been attained had all women been as cowardly as I confess to being. The dash in our faces of such an epithet as that of the shrieking sisterhood, for example, more effectual than any dead cat or rotten egg, would have driven us back, whatever our wrongs had been, into indiguant and ashamed silence. But it is well that there are some bolder spirits who have encountered the storm, and made it apparent not only that rotten eggs are no arguments, but that the throwing of them is not a noble office. I am glad to forget the particulars of that famous speech of Mr. Smollett's some years ago which had so great an effect at the time, but it was very advantageous to the object against which it was directed. Notwithstanding this practical improvement, however, men still laugh with loud triumphant derision, and women, cowards like myself, laugh, too, somewhat hysterically, lest they should be thought to entertain sentiments which evoke so much abusive mirth,-laugh on the wrong side of their mouths, to use a vulgar but graphic expression, and shrink from appearing to take any interest in a question which it is impossible to believe could fail to interest them but for this coercion. I am almost sure that we, women in general, would have preferred that the subject should never have been mooted at all, even when we felt it of the profoundest personal importance, rather than subject ourselves and our position, rights and wrongs and supposed weaknesses, and our character altogether, to discussion before our children and our dependants. It is not pleasant for a woman who has sons, for instance, to feel that they who owe her obedience and respect, are turned into a laughing tribunal, before which her supposed pranks are to be exhibited and her fundamental imperfections set forth. But this has now been done for good or evil, and as it has produced, I believe, some good results, and is likely, I hope, to produce more, we can scarcely avoid being grateful, even if with very mixed feelings, to those who have received the first storm of nasty missiles, and borne all the opprobrious names, and have had all the vile motives imputed to them that experts can imagine. While these bold pioneers—let us hope, not without some enjoyment of the fight, such as conflict naturally brings with it—have been bearing the brunt 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 injustice 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 the 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