Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 65.djvu/283

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
279
SHORTER ARTICLES AND DISCUSSION.

SHORTER ARTICLES AND DISCUSSION.

ALUMNA'S CHILDREN AGAIN.

An article in the May number of the Popular Science Monthly, entitled 'Alumna's Children,' was recently called to my attention by a woman who, though not a college graduate, is 'decidedly a schooled woman' and the mother of five girls. "I had planned," she said, "to let all my girls go to college, but I do want to be a grandmother some time."

For answer I heaped the anxious lady's lap with photographs, photographs of babies, babies large and small, babies masculine and feminine, asleep and awake, clean and dirty, elegantly dressed and not dressed at all, but every one a baby to exult over and all the children of my college friends.

Far be it from me to dispute the Massachusetts vital statistics, and farther yet to dissent from 'Alumna's' conclusion that girls in the 'larva stage' need an intelligent care which too few of them receive. But it is not that admirably sane and practical conclusion, nor yet the irrefutable official statistics forming the author's premise that strikes dismay to the mother of five and produces even in those less directly interested an uncomfortable impression of things being dreadfully wrong somewhere. No, it is that dismal array of tragic incidents drawn from the author's personal knowledge, and her consequent theory of causes for the officially vouched for 1.8. It seems only fair, then, to admit to consideration the personal experience of another alumna, an alumna of slightly later date, who may, from that very fact, be able to bring to the matter a slightly different point of view.

I, too, have known of just such brave struggles against physical odds as 'Alumna' reports. I, too, have known of heartrending defeat and dearly bought victory. But the women who have suffered them are not college women. Possibly my experience in this line with my college frends has been an exceptionally happy one, but in granting that possibility we must grant likewise that 'Alumna's' may have been exceptional as well. It is fair, therefore, to balance one against the other. I do not wonder that the mother of five was troubled by Alumna's article. It is obviously deeply sincere and genuinely thoughtful. But when I had read it I glanced up at the photograph of one of the sweetest, sanest mothers who ever presided wisely over the destinies of children, which shows her sitting on one end of a sea-saw with her baby in her lap, smiling up at four little redheads ranged in ascending scale at the other end of the board. Certainly neither college nor preparation for it has robbed of their dues her ten years of married life.

Naturally at this date I can tell of few such families, for most of the college women I know are younger than this one. It is only a few years since my graduation, and three quarters of the class are still unmarried. But all except a few predestined spinsters are still well on the youthful side of thirty, and the percentage of married members is likely to be considerably raised in the next ten years. And of those who are married not only in my own class, but, with a single exception, among my other college friends as well, not one has failed to bear a healthy child within two years of her marriage.

Naturally it is of my own class that I think first, the class whose average scholarship is the highest on the rec-