Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 30.djvu/182

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ing into the open jaws of the Cerastes berus and the Clotho arietas, and, according to Burmeister, also of certain pythons. But more probably the superstition is nothing but a product of that myth making faculty that evolves a queer egg into a basilisk, and supplements a strange death by a still stranger resurrection. A correspondent of "Home and Farm" describes a number of brittle snakes and invertebrate snake-like worms "as easily broken as tallow-candles, and about as hard to mend." Lizards, too, break at the mere touch of a switch and scamper off, leaving a tail-end wriggling in the grass. In some phenomenon of that sort the wonder-mania of our miracle-fuddled ancestors may have seen a glorious chance for insulting common sense by the elaboration of the joint-snake myth.



ON all sides the woman question bristles with difficulties, and the higher education is one of them. The excess of women over men—reaching to not far from a million—makes it impossible for all to be married—Mormonism not being our way out of the wood. At the same time, this paucity of husbands necessitates the power of self-support for those women of the unendowed classes who are left penniless on the death of the bread-winner, and who must work if they would eat. This power of self-support, again, must be based on broad and honorable lines, and must include something that the world really wants and is content to pay for. It must not be a kind of well-masked charity if it is to serve the daughters of the professional class—women who are emphatically gentle, not only by birth, but by that refinement of habit and delicacy of sentiment which give the only true claim to the comprehensive term of lady. These women must be able to do something which shall not lower their social status and which shall give them a decent income. They must keep in line with their fathers and brothers, and be as well-considered as they. Certainly, they have always had the office of teachers; but all can not be schoolmistresses or governesses, and the continual addition made to the number of candidates for work demands, and has already opened, other avenues and fresh careers. And—but on this no one can help save women themselves—as teachers and governesses they are not generally treated as on an equality with their employers, and are made to feel that to gain money, even by their brains, lowers their social status and reduces them perilously near to the level of the servants. As authoresses or artists they may hold their own; the glamour of "fame" and "genius" gilding over the fact that they make their incomes and do not draw them, and have nothing capitalized—not even their own reputations.