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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 56.djvu/421

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SOUTH SEA BUBBLES IN SCIENCE.

a test. It would seem as if the present choice of study by women students tended to intensify vagueness of thought rather than to correct it, to keep them in ignorance of business habits rather than to educate them in the balance of judgment on economic questions.

Women are born speculators, and are peculiarly prone to invest money and heart in bubbles. Being the power behind the throne, they can carry men into action, and it seems to me that especial attention should be paid in women's colleges to the studies that cultivate accurate thought and business methods. A certain amount of the study of scientific methods and a study of common law might take the place of the study of philosophy, psychology, and biology, certainly in the first years of a woman's college course, for psychology and biology are studies which demand long scientific training and maturity of thought. Recently I heard the following conversation at a bank in Cambridge. The cashier was speaking with a young lady: "Miss ——, your friend has overdrawn her account three hundred dollars, and you say she has left Cambridge." "Yes, the trouble with Jane is she is too much educated." A long residence in a university town makes one wary of educational theories, but the proneness of women to invest in women's banks and bogus trust companies certainly seems to need a corrective in a new college curriculum. Men can indulge in delusions and can recover mental balance, and perhaps their fortunes; but women are apt to become bankrupt permanently. Their experience in business delusions is similar to that in affairs of the heart. Washington Irving says of this feminine attribute:

"She sends forth her sympathies on adventure; she embarks her whole soul in the traffic of affection, and if shipwrecked her case is hopeless, for it is a bankruptcy of the heart."

More mathematics and science, and less philosophy and psychology, might correct that vagueness of thought which leads both men and women into delusion.

Now for our other remedies. Shall we have an academy which shall issue storm warnings of scientific bubbles? I fear that the influence of academies is waning, and that the conviction that there are as many good men outside of the academy as inside would militate against their dicta. We could have courts of scientific appeal, with judges appointed by the State to sit on scientific questions of perplexity, and to sift expert opinions. Such a constitution of scientific courts might be a good thing in several ways—a saving health to the public. The college professor would certainly be greatly relieved of endeavors of promoters to use the name and reputation of the professor's university, and incidentally the little his own name might add. This remedial solution is not in sight,