Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/528

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
510
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

active body is as much their birthright and glory as it has always been the glory of their brothers, we shall find we have gone a long way toward reducing exaggerated emotions in women. And if our first antidote for this condition lies in physical activity and in the cultivation of a sound body, the second antidote will be found in the provision of constant, congenial employment for the mind.

When a young woman went to Henry Ward Beecher to ask him to prescribe for her disappointed affections, he promptly advised her to begin the study of the higher mathematics! There is no doubt but that among the less apparent, but no less real causes of undue emotional development among women we may count the lack of congenial and effective work. There is nothing sanitary in intellectual idleness. Physiology forbids that the inactive brain should be a healthy one. The overworked individual may suffer from undue strain, but the mind which is denied congenial employment suffers even a worse penalty in the disability of its best powers, and the waste of purposeless energy.

Women who are receiving the so-called higher education, find in its discipline and opportunity the best remedy for any tendency to excessive emotional disturbance. "The worst enemy of the emotions is the intellect." There is no stronger argument for opening to women new avenues for the acquisition of knowledge than these facts of her constitution offer, justified as the experiment has been by those who have found life a better and a broader thing to them because of these opportunities.

Undoubtedly the actual erudition that is gained in a collegiate training for women could be obtained under other conditions than in the four years of college life. But the inestimable value of our women's colleges lies not so much in their opportunities for actual learning, as in the atmosphere they offer. To live for four years under a régime where mental and physical energy are carefully utilized and disciplined, and where the tendency is toward the development of an objective type of mind and the cultivation of a broad intellectual outlook—these are incalculable benefits to woman.

Give to our children, our growing girls, and our young women occupation which, according to their age and capacity, shall develop every faculty of the mind and afford genuine scope for usefulness, and we shall find that the energy which might have been dissipated in unproductive emotions, has been diverted into channels of effective work, and conserved for high and healthful ends.

 


 
The most recent measurements of skeletons indicate that the ancients •were not superior to the moderns in stature, but may have been inferior. The average heights of two lots of Romano-British skeletons ranged from four feet ten inches for women to five feet two inches for the larger men; and the average height of twenty-five mummies in the British Museum is fifty-five inches for females and sixty-one inches for males.