Open main menu

Page:Woman and her possibilities.djvu/32

This page has been validated.

arises, educate individuals and endeavour to form a healthy public opinion as a preliminary to passing parliamentary and other measures. We must endeavour to do the utmost amount of good we can, having regard to present conditions and limitations, and recognizing the frailty of others while we ourselves gather strength.

Just at this point we may pause and take a Pisgah view of the Woman's Land of Promise that has to be conquered. I will describe it in a spiritual woman's words: "Woman will become the custodian of the race, and never more, under any pressure, will be able to give birth to a less than holy child. When this point shall have been reached obstacles will go down as straws before the wind, or before a great fire. Delicate women will work as servants, if need be—or starve—or die. But they will cease from prostitution, legal or illegal, and it will be the beginning of the dawn. And is this dawn not worth suffering for—pleading for—being patient for? Is anything quite so intolerable as a continuation of the present situation?*' "Ancient philosophy," says Dora Melegari, "had a dogmatic way of dividing men into good and bad, sages and fools, strong and weak, pure and impure, atheists and believers; it had too many shades or too few! Would it not be more practical and true henceforth to divide them into two categories, corresponding to the tendency to which the future points: makers of sorrow and makers of joy?"

Right and wrong can no longer be written down as absolute terms, but must be counted purely relative. Right and wrong change their significance, as all words do, with the growing intelligence of the race and with changed circumstances and changing sentiment. Every act must be judged in the light of its moral significance if it has any. Consider