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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/720

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

her leisure for the elevation of the race. Furthermore, anything that teaches men and women to live independently of each other lessens the respect that belongs to the family as an institution, and robs parenthood of the honor that it deserves.

Before reading thus far, our critics will be demanding what alternative remedy we have to offer for the ills whose existence we admitted at the outset. We would strike at the root of the difficulty, and remove the disturbing cause instead of accepting it as inevitable. Earlier and more numerous marriages should be the rule, and women can bring this about if they choose. Mothers should so rear their daughters that young men can afford to marry them. A young woman properly brought up would be healthy and strong enough to need few or no servants and little doctoring; she would be competent to manage a household; and would not have a fondness for extravagance that is like a second nature. "Women should discountenance the men who remain bachelors without good reason, and especially should shut out of good society those dissipated youths and wealthy rakes who are the deadliest enemies of the marriage relation. By these and similar means women can secure for most of their sex the most natural mode of support—that which belongs to a wife. For those women who do not lack means, but only an object on which to employ their energies, there is worthier occupation than acquiring culture for its own or rather their own sake. There are social and ethical questions, and other problems, whose solutions are demanded, and which can be best solved by women. There are affairs to be administered and abuses to be corrected for which woman's nature especially fits her; and there are other fields of labor, not hers exclusively, but which are imperfectly worked because left to man alone. As a shining example of women who have already seized upon such a chance for usefulness may be mentioned the Ladies' Health Protective Association in New York city, which is engaged in abating nuisances prejudicial to the public health. There might remain some women who could not be provided for in the ways just suggested, but they would be exceptions, and their wants could properly be met by exceptional methods.

There is a class of women to whom the counsel in this article will be very distasteful. The career of a wife and mother has little appreciation in their eyes. It is not enough appreciated by a large share of both sexes. But the remedy for this is in the women's own hands. If they would have an honorable profession, they have only to do a quality of work that is worthy of honor. Surgery was once a branch of the barber's trade, and certainly no more honored than house-work is to-day; but men have made a study of it, have given it a broad, scientific basis, invented instruments and processes to increase its efficiency, and arranged a systematic mode of learning its practice, with the result that the surgeon of to-day has one of the most honorable of professions. In a similar way dressmaking—which is a trade in the hands of women—has been made a profession in the hands of one man. The ordinary dressmaker gets little respect; Mr. Worth is held in high esteem, and the difference is that ho does work which compels esteem. The ordinary housewife and mother takes little pains to learn her business; she follows rule-of-thumb methods handed down from her great-grandmother, introducing no improved processes or appliances, and feeling no shame if her home is ill managed or her children ill trained. If women doubt that competent administration in the home would win the same esteem that is paid to the competent surgeon, or lawyer, or merchant, or college professor, they should recall the Roman matron, Cornelia, whose fame has already lasted for nearly a