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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/105

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POLITICAL RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF WOMEN.

recuperation and supply. In the healthy normal society—such as man establishes wherever he can—the true order seems to be that "man must work and woman must weep"—unless a cheerful temperament shall convert her weeping into a song, while waiting on the weariness of her yoke-fellow with affection and the ministry of a lighter service.

How few men in all civilized countries are from youth to old age exempt from the absorbing, imperious, ever-recurring necessity of earning the daily sustenance of themselves, of their wives, of the children they have dared to summon into a world bristling with hard conditions—a responsibility that sobers so many lives, and issues so often in insanity, suicide, or crime! If a census-taker should visit any day the homes of the well-to-do people of this or any other Eastern or Western American city, how would he be likely to find the sexes—of course, with the exceptions of idle men and too hard-working women—respectively employed? The men rise in the morning—some it may be leisurely and late—and go to their shops, their stores, their offices, their out-of-doors employments, spending the whole day in absorbing labor, the fruit of which tells directly upon the family income. If this mode of life, which becomes habit and routine, is ever interrupted, it is by some errand of business to Washington, to some commercial city, to the West, and, for a favored few, a genuine vacation of relaxation for two weeks at the mountains or the seaside. The women, after the oversight of the female laborers who perform the tasks of cook and chambermaid, and needlework largely of an ornamental kind, pass the day in reading the magazines, the current novels, in the amateur practice of music or some other fine art, and in making and receiving social calls.

The understanding that custom has established in New England is, that when there are boys and girls in any well-conditioned family, the boys shall pass directly from school into some employment for wages, that shall occupy every working day of their lives; and that the girls shall be at liberty to cultivate their tastes and enjoy the pleasures of refined society, and be maintained by the labor past, present, and future of their fathers, their husbands, their brothers, or their sons. This is an arrangement that the modern man, following his controlling sentiments, has voluntarily made, and one that he insists shall be maintained. Accident, calamity, very often incapacity or vice, make men fail in the accomplishment of their generous purpose, and throw upon women unnaturally and abnormally the sterner cares and toils of earning the common livelihood. Men are defeated sometimes in realizing the careers that seemed open to their ambition; but these are exceptional cases, and social laws and tendencies are not