Thy heart at last hath opened to Love's key; Remembered Aprils, glorious blooms have sown, And now there comes the questing honey bee. Good-night, Sweetheart; the winged hours have flown.
My singing soul makes music in thine own, Thy hand upon my harp makes melody; So close the theme and harmony have grown I have forsaken all the world for thee.
Before thy whiteness do I bend the knee; Thou art a queen upon a stainless throne, Like Dian making royal jubilee, Across the vaulted dark where stars are blown.
Within my heart thy face shines out alone, Ah, dearest! Say for once thou lovest me! A whisper, even, like the undertone The surge sings slowly from the rhythmic sea.
Thy downcast eyes make answer to my plea; A crimson mantle o'er thy cheek is thrown Assurance more than this, there need not be, For thus, within the silence, love is known. Good-night, Sweetheart.
The Ideal Woman
The trend of modern thought in art and literature is toward the real, but fortunately the cherishing of the ideal has not vanished.
All of us, though we may profess to be realists, are at heart idealists, for every woman in the innermost sanctuary of her thoughts cherishes an ideal man. And every man, practical and commonplace though he be, has before him in his quiet moments a living picture of grace and beauty, which, consciously or not, is his ideal woman.
Every man instinctively admires a beautiful woman. But when he seeks a wife, he demands other qualities besides that wonderful one which is, as the proverb tells us, "only skin deep."
If men were not such strangely inconsistent beings, the world would lose half its charm. Each sex rails at the other for its inconsistency, when the real truth is that nowhere exists much of that beautiful quality which is aptly termed a "jewel."
But humanity must learn with Emerson to seek other things than consistency, and to look upon the lightning play of thought and feeling as an index of mental and moral growth.
For those who possess the happy faculty of "making the best of things," men are really the most amusing people in existence. To hear a man dilate upon the virtues and accomplishments of the ideal woman he would make his wife is a most interesting diversion, besides being a source of what may be called decorative instruction.
She must, first of all, be beautiful. No man, even in his wildest moments, ever dreamed of marrying any but a beautiful woman, yet, in nine cases out of ten when he does go to the altar, he is leading there one who is lovely only in his own eyes.
He has read Swinburne and Tennyson and is very sure he won't have anything but "a daughter of the gods, divinely tall, and most divinely fair." Then, of course, there is the "classic profile," the "deep, unfathomable eyes," the "lily-white skin," and "hair like the raven's wing," not to mention the "swan-like neck" and "tapering, shapely fingers."
Mr. Ideal is really a man of refined taste, and the women who hear this impassioned outburst are supremely conscious of their own imperfections.
But beauty is not the only demand of this fastidious gentleman; the fortunate woman whom he deigns to honour must be a paragon of sweetness and docility. No "woman's rights" or "suffrage rant" for him, and none of those high-stepping professional women need apply either—oh, no! And then all of her interests must be his, for of all things on earth, he "does despise a woman with a hobby!" None of these "broad-minded women" were ever intended for Mr. Ideal. He is very certain of that, because away down in his secret heart he was sure he had found the right woman once, but when he did, he learned also that she was somewhat particular about the man she wanted to marry, and the applicant then present did not fill the bill! He is therefore very sure that "a man does not want an intellectual instructor: he wants a wife."
Just like the most of them after all, isn't he?
The year goes round and Mr. Ideal goes away on a summer vacation. There are some pleasant people in the little town to which he goes, and there is a girl in the party with her mother and brother. Mr. Ideal looks her over disapprovingly. She isn't pretty—no, she isn't even good-looking. Her hair is almost red, her eyes are a pale blue, and she wears glasses. Her nose isn't even straight, and it turns up too much besides. Her skin is covered with tiny golden-brown blotches. "Freckles!" exclaims Mr. Ideal, sotto voce. Her mouth isn't bad, the lips are red and full and her teeth are white and even. She wears a blue boating suit with an Eton jacket. "So common!" and Mr. Ideal goes away from his secluded point of observation.
A merry laugh reaches his ear, and he turns around. The tall brother is chasing her through the bushes, and she waves a letter tantalisingly at him as she goes, and finally bounds over a low fence and runs across the field, with her big brother in close pursuit. "Hoydenish!" and Mr. Ideal hums softly to himself and goes off to find Smith. Smith is a good fellow and asks Mr. Ideal to go fishing. They go, but don't have a bite, and come home rather cross. Does Smith know the little red-headed girl who was on the piazza this morning?
Yes, he has met her. She has been here about a week. "Rather nice, but not especially attractive, you know." No, she isn't, but he will introduce Mr. Ideal.
Days pass, and Mr. Ideal and Miss Practical are much together. He finds her the jolliest girl he ever knew. She is an enthusiastic advocate of "woman" in every available sphere.
She herself is going to be a trained nurse after she learns to "keep house." "For you know that every woman should be a good housekeeper," she says demurely.
He doesn't exactly like "that trained nurse business," but he admits to himself that, if he were ill, he should like to have Miss Practical smooth his pillow and take care of him.
And so the time goes on, and he is often the companion of the girl. At times, she fairly scintillates with merriment, but she is so dignified, and so womanly—so very careful to keep him at his proper distance—that, well, "she is a type!"
In due course of time, he plans to return to the city, and to the theatres and parties he used to find so pleasant. All his friends are there. No, Miss Practical is not in the city; she is right here. Like a flash a revelation comes over him, and he paces the veranda angrily. Well, there's only one thing to be done—he must tell her about it. Perhaps—and he sees a flash of blue through the shrubbery, which he seeks with the air of a man who has an object in view.
* * * * *
His circle of friends are very much surprised when he introduces Mrs. Ideal, for she is surely different from the ideal woman about whom they have heard so much. They naturally think he is inconsistent, but he isn't, for some subtle alchemy has transfigured the homely little girl into the dearest, best, and altogether most beautiful woman Mr. Ideal has ever seen.
She is domestic in her tastes now, and has abandoned the professional nurse idea. She knows a great deal about Greek and Latin, and still more about Shakespeare and Browning and other authors.
But she neglects neither her books nor her housekeeping, and her husband spends his evenings at home, not because Mrs. Ideal would cry and make a fuss if he didn't, but because his heart is in her keeping, and because his own fireside, with its sweet-faced guardian angel, is to him the most beautiful place on earth, and he has sense enough to appreciate what a noble wife is to him.
* * * * *
The plain truth is, when "any whatsoever" Mr. Ideal loves a woman, he immediately finds her perfect, and transfers to her the attributes which only exist in his imagination. His heart and happiness are there—not with the creatures of his dreams, but the warm, living, loving human being beside him, and to him, henceforth, the ideal is the real.
For "the ideal woman is as gentle as she is strong." She wins her way among her friends and fellow human beings, even though they may be strangers, by doing many a kindness which the most of us are too apt to overlook or ignore.
No heights of thought or feeling are beyond her eager reach, and no human creature has sunk too low for her sympathy and her helping hand. Even the forlorn and friendless dog in the alley looks instinctively into her face for help.
She is in every man's thoughts and always will be, as she always has been—the ideal who shall lead him step by step, and star by star, to the heights which he cannot reach alone.
Ruskin says: "No man ever lived a right life who has not been chastened by a woman's love, strengthened by her courage and guided by her discretion."
The steady flow of the twentieth-century progress has not swept away woman's influence, nor has it crushed out her womanliness. She lives in the hearts of men, a queen as royal as in the days of chivalry, and men shall do and dare for her dear sake as long as time shall last.
The sweet, lovable, loyal woman of the past is not lost; she is only intensified in the brave wifehood and motherhood of our own times. The modern ideal, like that of olden times, is and ever will be, above all things—womanly.
She Is Not Fair
She is not fair to other eyes— No poet's dream is she, Nor artist's inspiration, yet I would not have her be. She wanders not through princely halls, A crown upon her hair; Her heart awaits a single king Because she is not fair.
Dear lips, your half-shy tenderness Seems far too much to win! Yet, has your heart a tiny door Where I may peep within? That voiceless chamber, dim and sweet, I pray may be my own. Dear little Love, may I come in And make you mine alone?
She is not fair to other eyes— I would not have it so; She needs no further charm or grace Or aught wealth may bestow; For when the love light shines and makes Her dear face glorified— Ah Sweetheart! queens may come and go And all the world beside.
The Fin-de-Siecle Woman
The world has fought step by step the elevation of woman from inferiority to equality, but at last she is being recognised as a potent factor in our civilisation.
The most marked change which has been made in woman's position during the last half century or more has been effected by higher education, and since the universities have thrown open their doors to her, she has been allowed, in many cases, to take the same courses that her brother does.
Still, the way has not been entirely smooth for educated and literary women, for the public press has too often frowned upon their efforts to obtain anything like equal recognition for equal ability. The literary woman has, for years, been the target of criticism, and if we are to believe her critics, she has been entirely shunned by the gentlemen of her acquaintance; but the fact that so many of them are wives and mothers, and, moreover, good wives and mothers, proves conclusively that these statements are not trustworthy.
It is true that some prefer the society of women who know just enough to appreciate their compliments—women who deprecate their "strong-minded" sisters, and are ready to agree implicitly with every statement that the lords of creation may make; but this readiness is due to sheer inability to produce a thought of their own.
It is true that some men are afraid of educated women, but a man who is afraid of a woman because she knows something is not the kind of a man she wants to marry. He is not the kind of a man she would choose for either husband or friend; she wants an intellectual companion, and the chances are that she will find him, or rather that he will find her. A woman need not be unwomanly in order to write books that will help the world.
She may be a good housekeeper, even if she does write for the magazines, and the husbands of literary women are not, as some folks would have us believe, neglected and forlorn-looking beings. On the contrary, they carry brave hearts and cheerful faces with them always, since their strength is reinforced by the quiet happiness of their own firesides.
The fin-de-siecle woman is literary in one sense, if not in another, for if she may not wield her pen, she can keep in touch with the leading thinkers of the day, and she will prove as pleasant a companion during the long winter evenings as the woman whose husband chose her for beauty and taste in dress.
The literary woman is not slipshod in her apparel, and she may, if she chooses, be a society and club woman as well. Surely there is nothing in literary culture which shall prevent neatness and propriety in dress as well as in conduct.
The devoted admirer of Browning is not liable to quote him in a promiscuous company and though a lady may be familiar with Shakespeare, it does not follow that she will discuss Hamlet in social gatherings.
If she reads Greek as readily as she does her mother tongue, you may rest assured she will not mention Homer in ordinary conversation, for a cultivated woman readily recognises the fitness of things, and accords a due deference to the tastes of others. She has her club and her friends, as do the gentlemen of her acquaintance, but her children are not neglected from the fact that she sometimes thinks of other things. She is a helpmeet to her husband, and not a plaything, or a slave. If duty calls her to the kitchen, she goes cheerfully, and, moreover, the cook will not dread to see her coming; or if that important person be absent, the table will be supplied with just as good bread, and just as delicate pastry, as if the lady of the house did not understand the chemicals of their composition.
If trouble comes, she bears it bravely, for the cultured woman has a philosophy which is equal to any emergency, and she does the best she can on all occasions.
If her husband leaves her penniless, she will, if possible, clothe her children with her pen, but if her literary wares are a drug on the market, she will turn bravely to other fields, and find her daily bread made sweet by thankfulness. She does not hesitate to hold out her hands to help a fellow-creature, either man or woman, for she is in all things womanly—a wife to her husband and a mother to her children in the truest sense of the words.
Her knowledge of the classics does not interfere with the making of dainty draperies for her home, and though she may be appointed to read a paper before her club on some scholarly theme, she will listen just as patiently to tales of trouble from childish lips, and will tie up little cut fingers just as sympathetically as her neighbour who folds her arms and who broadly hints that "wimmen's spear is to hum!"
Whether the literary woman be robed in silk and sealskin, or whether she rejoices in the possession of only one best gown, she may, nevertheless, be contented and happy.
Whether she lives in a modest cottage, or in a fashionable home, she may be the same sweet woman, with cheerful face and pleasant voice—with a broad human sympathy which makes her whole life glad.
Be she princess, or Cinderella, she may be still her husband's confidant and cherished friend, to whom he may confide his business troubles and perplexities, certain always of her tender consolation and ready sympathy. She may be quick and versatile, doing well whatever she does at all, for her creed declares that "whatever is honest is honourable."
She glories in her womanhood and has no sympathy with anything which tends to degrade it.
All hail to the woman of the twentieth century; let fin de siecle stand for all that is best and noblest in womanhood: for liberty, equality, and fraternity; for right, truth, and justice.
All hail the widespread movement for the higher education of woman, for in intellectual development is the future of posterity, in study is happiness, through the open door of the college is the key of a truer womanhood, a broader humanity, and a brighter hope. In education along the lines of the broadest and wisest culture is to be found the emancipation of the race.
The Moon Maiden
There's a wondrous land of misty gold Beyond the sunset's bars. There's a silver boat on a sea of blue, And the tips of its waves are stars.
And idly rocking to and fro, Her cloud robes floating by, There's a maiden fair, with sunny hair, The queen of the dreamy sky.
Her Son's Wife
The venerable mother-in-law joke appears in the comic papers with astonishing regularity. For a time, perhaps, it may seem to be lost in the mists of oblivion, but even while one is rejoicing at its absence it returns to claim its original position at the head of the procession.
There are two sides to everything, even to an old joke, and the artist always pictures the man's dismay when his wife's mother comes for a visit. Nobody ever sees a drawing of a woman's mother-in-law, and yet, the bitterness and sadness lie mainly there—between the mother and the woman his son has chosen for his wife.
It is a pleasure to believe that the average man is a gentleman, and his inborn respect for his own mother, if nothing else, will usually compel an outward show of politeness to every woman, even though she may be a constant source of irritation. Grey hair has its own claims upon a young man's deference, and, in the business world, he is obliged to learn to hold his tongue, hide his temper, and "assume a virtue though he has it not."
The mother's welcome from her daughter's husband depends much upon herself. Her long years of marriage have been in vain if they have not taught her to watch a man's moods and tenses; when to speak and when to be silent, and how to avoid useless discussion of subjects on which there is a pronounced difference of opinion. Leaving out the personal equation, the older and more experienced woman is better fitted to get along peaceably with a man than the young girl who has her wisdom yet to acquire.
Moreover, it is to the daughter's interest to cement a friendship between her mother and her husband, and so she stands as a shield between the two she holds dearest, to exercise whatever tact she may possess toward an harmonious end.
"A son's a son till he gets him a wife, But a daughter's a daughter all the days of her life."
Thus the old saying runs, and there is a measure of truth in it, more's the pity. Marriage and a home of her own interfere but little with a daughter's devotion to her mother, even though the daily companionship be materially lessened. The feeling is there and remains unchanged, unless it grows stronger through the new interests on both sides.
If a man has won his wife in spite of her mother's opposition, he can well afford to be gracious and forget the ancient grudge. It is his part, too, to prove to the mother how far she was mistaken, by making the girl who trusted him the happiest wife in the world. The woman who sees her daughter happy will have little against her son-in-law, except that primitive, tribal instinct which survives in most of us, and jealously guards those of our own blood from the aggression of another family or individual.
One may as well admit that a good husband is a very scarce article, and that the mother's anxiety for her daughter is well-founded. No man can escape the sensation of being forever on trial in the eyes of his wife's mother, and woe to him if he makes a mistake or falters in his duty! Things which a woman would gladly condone in her husband are unpardonable sins in the man who has married her daughter, and taken her from a mother's loving care.
A good husband and a good man are not necessarily the same thing. Many a scapegrace has been dearly loved by his wife, and many a highly respected man has been secretly despised by his wife and children. When the prison doors open to discharge the sinners who have served long sentences, the wives of those who have been good husbands are waiting for them with open arms. The others have long since taken advantage of the divorce laws.
Since women know women so well, perhaps it is only natural for a mother to feel that no girl who is good enough for her son ever has been born. All the small deceits, the little schemes and frailties, are as an open book in the eyes of other women.
"If you were a man," said one girl to another, "and knew women as well as you do now, whom would you marry?"
The other girl thought for a moment, and then answered unhesitatingly: "I'd stay single."
Women are always suspicious of each other, and the one who can deceive another woman is entitled to her laurels for cleverness. With the keen insight and quick intuition of the woman on either side of him, when these women are violently opposed to each other, no man need look for peace.
In spite of their discernment, women are sadly deficient in analysis when it comes to a question of self. Neither wife nor mother can clearly see her relation to the man they both love. Blinded by passionate devotion and eager for power, both women lose sight of the truth, and torment themselves and each other with unfounded jealousy and distrust.
In no sense are wife and mother rivals, nor can they ever be so. Neither could take the place of the other for a single instant, and the wife foolishly guards the point where there is no danger, for, of all the women in the world, his mother and sisters are the only ones who could never by any possibility usurp her place.
A woman need only ask herself if she would like to be the mother of her husband—to exchange the love which she now has for filial affection—for a temporary clearness of her troubled skies. The mother need only ask herself if she would surrender her position for the privilege of being her son's wife, if she seeks for light on her dark path.
Yet, in spite of this, the two are often open and acknowledged rivals. A woman recently wrote to the "etiquette department" of a daily paper to know whether she or her son's fiancee should make the first call. In answering the question, the head of the department, who, by the way, has something of a reputation for good sense, wrote as follows: "It is your place to make the first call, and you have my sympathy in your difficult task. You must be brave, for you are going to look into the eyes of a woman whom your son loves better than he does you!" "Better than he does you!" That is where all the trouble lies, for each wishes to be first in a relation where no comparison is possible.
When an American yacht first won the cup, Queen Victoria was watching the race. When she was told that the America was in the lead, she asked what boat was second. "Your Majesty," replied the naval officer sadly, "there is no second!"
So, between wife and mother there is no second place, and it is possible for each to own the whole of the loved one's heart, without infringing or even touching upon the rights of the other.
Few of the passengers on a lake steamer, during a trip in northern waters a few years since, will ever forget a certain striking group. Mother and son, and the son's fiancee, were off for a week's vacation. The mother was tall and stately, with snow-white hair and a hard face deeply seamed with wrinkles, and with the fire of southern countries burning in her faded blue eyes. The son was merely a nice boy, with a pleasant face, and the girl, though not pretty, had a fresh look about her which was very attractive.
She wore an engagement ring, so he must have cared for her, but otherwise no one would have suspected it. From beginning to end, his attention was centred upon his mother. He carried his mother's wraps, but the girl carried her own. He talked to the mother, and the girl could speak or not, just as she chose. Never for an instant were the two alone together. They sat on the deck until late at night, with the mother between them. When they changed, the son took his own chair and his mother's, while the girl dragged hers behind them. At the end of their table in the cabin, the mother sat between them at the head. Once, purely by accident, the girl slipped into the nearest chair, which happened to be the mother's, and the deadly silence could be felt even two tables away. The girl turned pale, then the son said: "You'll take the head of the table, won't you, mother?"
The steely tone of her voice could be heard by every one as she said, "No!"
The girl ate little, and soon excused herself to go to her stateroom, but the next day things were as before, and the foolish old mother had her place next to her son.
Discussion was rife among the passengers, till an irreverent youth ended it by saying: "Mamma's got the rocks; that's the why of it!"
Perhaps it was, but one wonders why a man should slight his promised wife so publicly, even to please a mother with "rocks!"
To the mother who adores her son, every girl who smiles at him has matrimonial designs. When he falls in love, it is because he has been entrapped—she seldom considers him as being the aggressive one of the two. The mother of the girl feels the same way, and, in the lower circles, there is occasionally an illuminating time when the two mothers meet.
Each is made aware how the other's offspring has given the entrapped one no peace, and how the affair has been the scandal of two separate neighbourhoods, more eligible partners having been lost by both sides.
In the Declaration of Independence there is no classification of the rights of the married, but the clause regarding "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" has been held pointedly to refer to the matrimonial state. If the mother would accord to her daughter-in-law the same rights she claimed at the outset of her own married life, the relation would be perceptibly smoother in many instances.
When a woman marries, she has a right to expect the love of her husband, material support, a home of her own, even though it be only two tiny rooms, and absolute freedom from outside interference. It is her life, and she must live it in her own way, and a girl of spirit will live it in her own way, without taking heed of the consequences, if she is pushed too far.
On the other hand, the mother who bore him still has proprietary rights. She may reasonably claim a share of his society, a part of his earnings, if she needs financial assistance, and his interest in all that nearly concerns her. If she expects to be at the head of his house, with the wife as a sort of a boarder, she need not be surprised if there is trouble.
Marriage brings to a girl certain freedom, but it gives her no superiority to her husband's family. A chain is as strong as its weakest link, and the members of a family do not rise above the general level. Every one of them is as good as the man she has married, and she is not above any of them, unless her own personality commands a higher position.
She treasonably violates the confidence placed in her if she makes a discreditable use of any information coming to her through her association with her husband's family. There are skeletons in every closet, and she may not tell even her own mother of what she has seen in the other house. A single word breathed against her husband's family to an outsider stamps her as a traitor, who deserves a traitor's punishment.
The girl who tells her most intimate friend that the mother of her fiance "is an old cat," by that act has lowered herself far below the level of any self-respecting cat. Even if outward and visible disgrace comes to the family of her husband, she is unworthy if she does not hold her head high and let the world see her loyalty.
Marriage gives her no right to criticise any member of her husband's family; their faults are out of her reach except by the force of tactful example. Her concern is with herself and him, not his family, and a wise girl, at the beginning of her married life, will draw a sharp line between her affairs and those of others, and will stay on her own side of the line.
When a man falls in love with a thoughtless butterfly, his womenfolk may be pardoned if they stand aghast a moment before they regain their self-command. In a way it is like a guest who is given the freedom of the house, and who, when her visit is over, tells her friends that the parlour carpet was turned, and the stairs left undusted.
Another household is intimately opened to the woman whom the son has married, and the members of it can make no defence. She can betray them if she chooses; there is nothing to shield them except her love for her husband, and too often that is insufficient.
A girl seldom stops to think what she owes to her husband's mother. Twenty-five or thirty years ago, the man she loves was born. Since then there has been no time, sleeping or waking, when he has not been in the thoughts of the mother who has sought to do her best by him. She gave her life wholly to the demands of her child, without a moment's hesitation.
She has sacrificed herself in countless ways, all through those years, in order that he might have his education, his pleasures, and his strong body. With every day he has grown nearer and dearer to her; every day his loss would have been that much harder to bear.
In quiet talks in the twilight, she teaches him to be gentle and considerate, to be courteous to every woman because a woman gave him life; to be brave, noble, and tender; to be strong and fine; to choose honour with a crust, rather than shame with plenty.
Then comes the pretty butterfly, with whom her son is in love. Is it strange that the heart of the mother tightens with sudden pain?
With never a thought, the girl takes it all as her due. She would write a gracious note of thanks to the friend who sent her a pretty handkerchief, but for the woman who is the means of satisfying her heart's desire she has not even toleration. All the sweetness and beauty of his adoring love are a gift to her, unwilling too often, perhaps, but a gift nevertheless, from his mother.
Long years of life have taught the mother what it may mean and what, alas, it does too often mean. Memories only are her portion; she need expect nothing now. He may not come to see his mother for an old familiar talk, because his wife either comes with him, or expects him to be at home. He has no time for his mother's interests or his mother's friends; there is scant welcome in his home for her, because between them has come an alien presence which never yields or softens.
Strangely, and without any definite idea of the change, he comes to see his mother as she is. Once, she was the most beautiful woman in the world, and her roughened hands were lovely because they had toiled for him. Once, her counsel was wise, her judgment good, and the gift of feeling which her motherhood brought her was seen as generous sympathy.
Now, by comparison with a bright, well-dressed wife, he sees what an "old frump" his mother is. She is shabby and old-fashioned, clinging to obsolete forms of speech, hysterical and emotional. When the mists of love have cleared from her boy's eyes, she may just as well give up, because there is no return, save in that other mist which comes too late, when mother is at rest.
The wife who tries to keep alive her husband's love for his family, not only in his heart, but in outward observance as well, serves her own interests even better than theirs. The love of the many comes with the love of the one, and just as truly as he loves his sweetheart better because of his mother and sisters, he may love them better because of her.
The poor heart-hungry mother, who stands by with brimming eyes, fearful that the joy of her life may be taken from her, will be content with but little if she may but keep it for her own. It is only a little while at the longest, for the end of the journey is soon, but sunset and afterglow would have some of the rapture of dawn, if her son's wife opened the door of her young heart and said with true sincerity and wells of tenderness: "Mother—Come!"
Sleep, baby, sleep, The twilight breezes blow, The flower bells are ringing, The birds are twittering low, Sleep, baby, sleep.
Sleep, baby, sleep, The whippoorwill is calling, The stars are twinkling faintly, The dew is softly falling, Sleep, baby, sleep.
Sleep, baby, sleep, Upon your pillow lying, The rushes whisper to the stream, The summer day is dying, Sleep, baby, sleep.
The Dressing-Sack Habit
Someone has said that a dressing-sack is only a Mother Hubbard with a college education. Accepting this statement as a great truth, one is inclined to wonder whether education has improved the Mother Hubbard, since another clever person has characterised a college as "a place where pebbles are polished and diamonds are dimmed!"
The bond of relationship between the two is not at first apparent, yet there are subtle ties of kinship between the two. If we take a Hubbard and cut it off at the hips, we have only a dressing-sack with a yoke. The dressing-sack, however, cannot be walked on, even when the wearer is stooping, and in this respect it has the advantage of the other; it is also supposed to fit in the back, but it never does.
Doubtless in the wise economy of the universe, where every weed has its function, even this garment has its place—else it would not be.
Possibly one may take a nap, or arrange one's crown of glory to better advantage in a "boudoir negligee," or an invalid may be thus tempted to think of breakfast. Indeed, the habit is apt to begin during illness, when a friend presents the ailing lady with a dainty affair of silk and lace which inclines the suffering soul to frivolities. Presently she sits up, takes notice, and plans more garments of the sort, so that after she fully recovers all the world may see these becoming things!
The worst of the habit is that all the world does see. Fancy runs riot with one pattern, a sewing-machine, and all the remnants a single purse can compass. The lady with a kindly feeling for colour browses along the bargain counter and speedily acquires a rainbow for her own. Each morning she assumes a different phase, and, at the end of the week, one's recollection of her is lost in a kaleidoscopic whirl.
Red, now—is anything prettier than red? And how the men admire it! Does not the dark lady build wisely who dons a red dressing-sack on a cold morning, that her husband may carry a bright bit of colour to the office in his fond memories of home?
A book with a red cover, a red cushion, crimson draperies, and scarlet ribbons, are all notoriously pleasing to monsieur—why not a red dressing-sack?
If questioned, monsieur does not know why, yet gradually his passion for red will wane, then fail. Later in the game, he will be affronted by the colour, even as the gentleman cow in the pasture. It is not the colour, dear madame, but the shiftless garment, which has wrought this change.
There are few who dare to assume pink, for one must have a complexion of peaches and cream, delicately powdered at that, before the rosy hues are becoming. Yet, the sallow lady, with streaks of grey in her hair, crow's feet around her eyes, and little time tracks registered all over her face, will put on a pink dressing-sack when she gets ready for breakfast. She would scream with horror at the thought of a pink and white organdie gown, made over rosy taffeta, but the kimono is another story.
Green dressing-sacks are not often seen, but more's the pity, for in the grand array of colour nothing should be lacking, and the wearers of these garments never seem to stop to think whether or not they are becoming. What could be more cheerful on a cloudy morning than a flannel negligee of the blessed shade of green consecrated to the observance of the seventeenth of March?
It looks as well as many things which are commonly welded into dressing-sacks; then why this invidious distinction?
When we approach blue in our dressing-sack rainbow, speech becomes pitifully weak. Ancient maidens and matrons, with olive skins, proudly assume a turquoise negligee. Blue flannel, with cascades of white lace—could anything be more attractive? It has only one rival—the garment of lavender eiderdown flannel, the button-holes stitched with black yarn, which the elderly widow too often puts on when the tide of her grief has turned.
The combination of black with any shade of purple is well fitted to produce grief, even as the cutting of an onion will bring tears. Could the dear departed see his relict in the morning, with lavender eiderdown environment, he would appreciate his mercies as never before.
The speaking shades of yellow and orange are much affected by German ladies for dressing-sacks, and also for the knitted tippets which our Teutonic friends wear, in and out of the house, from October to July. Canary yellow is delicate and becoming to most, but it is German taste to wear orange.
At first, perhaps, with a sense of the fitness of things, the negligee is worn only in one's own room. She says: "It's so comfortable!" There are degrees in comfort, varying from the easy, perfect fit of one's own skin to a party gown which dazzles envious observers, and why is the adjective reserved for the educated but abbreviated Mother Hubbard?
"The apparel oft proclaims the man," and even more is woman dependent upon her clothes for physical, moral, and intellectual support. An uncorseted body will soon make its influence felt upon the mind. The steel-and-whalebone spine which properly reinforces all feminine vertebra is literally the backbone of a woman's self-respect.
Would the iceman or the janitor hesitate to "talk back" to the uncorseted lady in a pink dressing-sack?—Hardly!
But confront the erring man with a quiet, dignified woman in a crisp shirt-waist and a clean collar—verily he will think twice before he ventures an excuse for his failings.
The iceman and the grocery boy see more dressing-sacks than most others, for they are privileged to approach the back doors of residences, and to hold conversations with the lady of the house, after the departure of him whose duty and pleasure it is to pay for the remnants. And in the lower strata they are known by their clothes.
"Fifty pounds for the red dressing-sack," says the iceman to his helper, "and a hundred for the blue. Step lively now!"
And how should madame know that her order for a steak, a peck of potatoes, and two lemons, is registered in the grocery boy's book under the laconic title, "Pink"?
* * * * *
After breakfast, when she sits down to read the paper and make her plans for the day, the insidious dressing-sack gets in its deadly work.
"I won't dress," she thinks, "until I get ready to go out." After luncheon, she is too tired to go out, and too nearly dead to dress.
Friends come in, perhaps, and say: "Oh, how comfortable you look! Isn't that a dear kimono?" Madame plumes herself with conscious pride, for indeed it is a dear kimono, and already she sees herself with a reputation for "exquisite negligee."
The clock strikes six, and presently the lord of the manor comes home to be fed. "I'm dreadfully sorry, dear, you should find me looking so," says the lady of his heart, "but I just haven't felt well enough to dress. You don't mind, do you?"
The dear, good, subdued soul says he is far from minding, and dinner is like breakfast as far as dressing-sacks go.
Perhaps, in the far depths of his nature, the man wonders why it was that, in the halcyon days of courtship, he never beheld his beloved in the midst of a gunny—no, a dressing-sack. Of course, then, she didn't have to keep house, and didn't have so many cares to tire her. Poor little thing! Perhaps she isn't well!
Isn't she? Let another woman telephone that she has tickets for the matinee, and behold the transformation! Within certain limits and barring severe headaches, a woman is always well enough to do what she wants to do—and no more.
As the habit creeps upon its victim, she loses sight of the fact that there are other clothes. If she has a golf cape, she may venture to go to the letter-box or even to market in her favourite garment. After a while, when the habit is firmly fixed, a woman will wear a dressing-sack all the time—that is, some women will, except on rare and festive occasions. Sometimes in self-defence, she will say that her husband loves soft, fluffy feminine things, and can't bear to see her in a tailor-made outfit. This is why she wears the "soft fluffy things," which, with her, always mean dressing-sacks, all the time he is away from home, as well as when he is there.
It is a mooted question whether shiftlessness causes dressing-sacks, or dressing-sacks cause shiftlessness, but there is no doubt about the loving association of the two. The woman who has nothing to do, and not even a shadow of a purpose in life, will enshrine her helpless back in a dressing-sack. She can't wear corsets, because, forsooth, they "hurt" her. She can't sit at the piano, because it's hard on her back. She can't walk, because she "isn't strong enough." She can't sew, because it makes a pain between her shoulders, and indeed why should she sew when she has plenty of dressing-sacks?
This type of woman always boards, if she can, or has plenty of servants at her command, and, in either case, her mind is free to dwell upon her troubles.
First, there is her own weak physical condition. Just wait until she tells you about the last pain she had. She doesn't feel like dressing for dinner, but she will try to wash her face, if you will excuse her! When she returns, she has plucked up enough energy to change her dressing-sack!
The only cure for the habit is a violent measure which few indeed are brave enough to adopt. Make a bonfire of the offensive garments, dear lady; then stay away from the remnant counters, and after a while you will become immune.
Nothing is done in a negligee of this sort which cannot be done equally well in a shirt-waist, crisp and clean, with a collar and belt.
There is a popular delusion to the effect that household tasks require slipshod garments and unkempt hair, but let the frowsy ones contemplate the trained nurse in her spotless uniform, with her snowy cap and apron and her shining hair. Let the doubtful ones go to a cooking school, and see a neat young woman, in a blue gingham gown and a white apron, prepare an eight-course dinner and emerge spotless from the ordeal. We get from life, in most cases, exactly what we put into it. The world is a mirror which gives us smiles or frowns, as we ourselves may choose. The woman who faces the world in a shirt-waist will get shirt-waist appreciation, while for the dressing-sack there is only a slipshod reward.
In the Meadow
The flowers bow their dainty heads, And see in the shining stream A vision of sky and silver clouds, As bright as a fairy's dream.
The great trees nod their sleepy boughs, The song birds come and go, And all day long, to the waving ferns The south wind whispers low.
All day among the blossoms sweet, The laughing sunbeams play, And down the stream, in rose-leaf boats The fairies sail away.
One Woman's Solution of the Servant Problem
Being a professional woman, my requirements in the way of a housemaid were rather special. While at times I can superintend my small household, and direct my domestic affairs, there are long periods during which I must have absolute quiet, untroubled by door bell, telephone, or the remnants of roast beef.
There are two of us, in a modern six room apartment, in a city where the servant problem has forced a large and ever-increasing percentage of the population into small flats. We have late breakfasts, late dinners, a great deal of company, and an amount of washing, both house and personal, which is best described as "unholy."
Five or six people often drop in informally, and unexpectedly, for the evening, which means, of course, a midnight "spread," and an enormous pile of dishes to be washed in the morning. There are, however, some advantages connected with the situation. We have a laundress besides the maid; we have a twelve-o'clock breakfast on Sunday instead of a dinner, getting the cold lunch ourselves in the evening, thus giving the girl a long afternoon and evening; and we are away from home a great deal, often staying weeks at a time.
The eternal "good wages to right party" of the advertisements was our inducement also, but, apparently, there were no "right parties!"
The previous incumbent, having departed in a fit of temper at half an hour's notice, and left me, so to speak, "in the air," with dinner guests on the horizon a day ahead, I betook myself to an intelligence office, where, strangely enough, there seems to be no intelligence, and grasped the first chance of relief.
Nothing more unpromising could possibly be imagined. The new maid was sad, ugly of countenance, far from strong physically, and in every way hopeless and depressing. She listened, unemotionally, to my glowing description of the situation. Finally she said, "Ay tank Ay try it."
She came, looked us over, worked a part of a week, and announced that she couldn't stay. "Ay can't feel like home here," she said. "Ay am not satisfied."
She had been in her last place for three years, and left because "my's lady, she go to Europe." I persuaded her to try it for a while longer, and gave her an extra afternoon or two off, realising that she must be homesick.
After keeping us on tenter-hooks for two weeks, she sent for her trunk. I discovered that she was a fine laundress, carefully washing and ironing the things which were too fine to go into the regular wash; a most excellent cook, her kitchen and pantry were at all times immaculate; she had no followers, and few friends; meals were ready on the stroke of the hour, and she had the gift of management.
Offset to this was a furious temper, an atmosphere of gloom and depression which permeated the house and made us feel funereal, impertinence of a quality difficult to endure, and the callous, unfeeling, almost inhuman characteristics which often belong in a high degree to the Swedes.
For weeks I debated with myself whether or not I could stand it to have her in the house. I have spent an hour on my own back porch, when I should have been at work, because I was afraid to pass through the room which she happened to be cleaning. Times without number, a crisp muffin, or a pot of perfect coffee, has made me postpone speaking the fateful words which would have separated us. She sighed and groaned and wept at her work, worried about it, and was a fiend incarnate if either of us was five minutes late for dinner. We often hurried through the evening meal so as to leave her free for her evening out, even though I had long since told her not to wash the dishes after dinner, but to pile them neatly in the sink and leave them until morning.
Before long, however, the strictly human side of the problem began to interest me. I had cherished lifelong theories in regard to the brotherhood of man and the uplifting power of personal influence. I had at times been tempted to try settlement work, and here I had a settlement subject in my own kitchen.
There was not a suggestion of fault with the girl's work. She kept her part of the contract, and did it well; but across the wall between us, she glared at—and hated—me.
But, deliberately, I set to work in defence of my theory. I ignored the impertinence, and seemingly did not hear the crash of dishes and the banging of doors. When it came to an issue, I said calmly, though my soul quaked within me: "You are not here to tell me what you will do and what you won't. You are here to carry out my orders, and when you cannot, it is time for you to go."
If she asked me a question about her work which I could not answer offhand, I secretly consulted a standard cook-book, and later gave her the desired information airily. I taught her to cook many of the things which I could cook well, and imbued her with a sort of sneaking respect for my knowledge. Throughout, I treated her with the perfect courtesy which one lady accords to another, ignoring the impertinence. I took pains to say "please" and "thank you." Many a time I bit my lips tightly against my own rising rage, and afterward in calmness recognised a superior opportunity for self-discipline.
For three or four months, while the beautiful theory wavered in the balance, we fought—not outwardly, but beneath the surface. Daily, I meditated a summary discharge, dissuaded only by an immaculate house and perfectly cooked breakfasts and dinners. I still cherished a lingering belief in personal influence, in spite of the wall which reared itself between us.
A small grey kitten, with wobbly legs and an infantile mew, made the first breach in the wall. She took care of it, loved it, petted it, and began to smile semi-occasionally. She, too, said "please" and "thank you." My husband suggested that we order ten kittens, but I let the good work go on with one, for the time being. Gradually, I learned that the immovable exterior was the natural protection against an abnormal sensitiveness both to praise and blame. Besides the cat, she had two other "weak spots"—an unswerving devotion to a widowed sister with two children, whom she partially supported, and a love for flowers almost pathetic.
As I could, without seeming to make a point of it, I sent things to the sister and the children—partially worn curtains, bits of ribbons, little toys, and the like. I made her room as pretty and dainty as my own, though the furnishings were not so expensive, and gave her a potted plant in a brass jar. When flowers were sent to me, I gave her a few for the vase in her room. She began to say "we" instead of "you." She spoke of "our" spoons, or "our" table linen. She asked, what shall "we" do about this or that? what shall "we" have for dinner? instead of "what do you want?" She began to laugh when she played with the kitten, and even to sing at her work.
When she did well, I praised her, as I had all along, but instead of saying, "Iss dat so?" when I remarked that the muffins were delicious or the dessert a great success, her face began to light up, and a smile take the place of the impersonal comment. The furious temper began to wane, or, at least, to be under better control. Guests occasionally inquired, "What have you done to that maid of yours?"
Five times we have left her, for one or two months at a time, on full salary, with unlimited credit at the grocery, and with from fifty to one hundred dollars in cash. During the intervals we heard nothing from her. We have returned each time to an immaculate house, a smiling maid, a perfectly cooked and nicely served meal, and an account correct to a penny, with vouchers to show for it, of the sum with which she had been intrusted.
I noticed each time a vast pride in the fact that she had been so trusted, and from this developed a gratifying loyalty to the establishment. I had told her once to ask her sister and children to spend the day with her while we were gone. It seems that the children were noisy, and the lady in the apartment below us came up to object.
An altercation ensued, ending with a threat from the lady downstairs to "tell Mrs. M. when she came home." Annie told me herself, with flashing eyes and shaking hands. I said, calmly: "The children must have been noisy, or she would not have complained. You are used to them, and besides it would sound worse downstairs than up here. But it doesn't amount to anything, for I had told you you could have the children here, and if I hadn't been able to trust you I wouldn't have left you." Thus the troubled waters were calmed.
The crucial test of her qualities came when I entered upon a long period of exhaustive effort. The first day, we both had a hard time, as her highly specialised Baptist conscience would not permit her to say I was "not at home," when I was merely writing a book. After she thoroughly understood that I was not to be disturbed unless the house took fire, further quiet being insured by disconnecting the doorbell and muffling the telephone, things went swimmingly.
"Annie," I said, "I want you to run this house until I get through with my book. Here is a hundred dollars to start with. Don't let anybody disturb me." She took it with a smile, and a cheerful "all right."
From that moment to the end, I had even less care than I should have had in a well-equipped hotel. Not a sound penetrated my solitude. If I went out for a drink of water, she did not speak to me. We had delicious dinners and dainty breakfasts which might have waited for us, but we never waited a moment for them. She paid herself regularly every Monday morning, kept all receipts, sent out my husband's laundry, kept a strict list of it, mended our clothes, managed our household as economically as I myself could have done it, and, best of all, insured me from any sort of interruption with a sort of fierce loyalty which is beyond any money value.
Once I overheard a colloquy at my front door, which was briefly and decisively terminated thus: "Ay already tell you dat you not see her! She says to me, 'Annie, you keep dose peoples off from me,' and Ay keep dem off!" I never have known what dear friend was thus turned away from my inhospitable door.
Fully appreciating my blessings, the night I finished my work I went into the kitchen with a crisp, new, five-dollar bill. "Annie," I said, "here is a little extra money for you. You've been so nice about the house while I've been busy."
She opened her eyes wide, and stared. "You don't have to do dat," she said.
"I know I don't," I laughed, "but I like to do it."
"You don't have to do dat," she repeated. "Ay like to do de housekeeping."
"I know," I said again, "and I like to do this. You've done lots of things for me you didn't have to do. Why shouldn't I do something for you?"
At that she took it, offering me a rough wet hand, which I took gravely. "Tank you," she said, and the tears rolled down her cheeks.
"You've earned it," I assured her, "and you deserve it, and I'm very glad I can give it to you."
From that hour she has been welded to me in a bond which I fondly hope is indestructible. She laughs and sings at her work, pets her beloved kitten, and diffuses through my six rooms the atmosphere of good cheer. She "looks after me," anticipates my wishes, and dedicates to me a continual loyal service which has no equivalent in dollars and cents. She asked me, hesitatingly, if she might not get some one to fill her place for three months while she went back to Sweden. I didn't like the idea, but I recognised her well-defined right.
"Ay not go," she said, "if you not want me to. Ay tell my sister dat I want to stay wid Mrs. M. until she send me away."
I knew she would have to go some time before she settled down to perpetual residence in an alien land, so I bade her God-speed. She secured the substitute and instructed her, arranged the matter of wages, and vouched for her honesty, but not for her work.
Before she left the city, I found that the substitute was hopelessly incompetent and stupid. When Annie came to say "good-bye" to me, I told her about the new girl. She broke down and wept. "Ay sorry Ay try to go," she sobbed. "Ay tell my sister dere iss nobody what can take care of Mrs. M. lak Ay do!"
I was quite willing to agree with her, but I managed to dry her tears. Discovering that she expected to spend two nights in a day coach, and remembering one dreadful night when I could get no berth, I gave her the money for a sleeping-car ticket both ways, as a farewell gift. The tears broke forth afresh. "You been so good to me and to my sister," she sobbed. "Ay can't never forget dat!"
"Cheer up," I answered, wiping the mist from my own eyes. "Go on, and have the best time you ever had in your life, and don't worry about me—I'll get along somehow. And if you need money while you are away, write to me, and I'll send you whatever you need. We'll fix it up afterward."
Once again she looked at me, with the strangest look I have ever seen on the human face.
"Tank you," she said slowly. "Dere iss not many ladies would say dat."
"Perhaps not," I replied, "but, remember, Annie, I can trust you."
"Yes," she cried, her face illumined as by some great inward light, "you can trust me!"
I do not think she loves us yet, but I believe in time she will.
The day the new girl came, I happened to overhear a much valued reference to myself: "Honestly," she said, "Ay been here more dan one year, and Ay never hear a wrong word between her and him, nor between her and me. It's shust wonderful. Ay isn't been see anyting like it since Ay been in diss country."
"Is it so wonderful?" I asked myself, as I stole away, my own heart aglow with the consciousness of a moral victory, "and is the lack of self-control and human kindness at the bottom of the American servant problem? Are we women such children that we cannot deal wisely with our intellectual inferiors?" And more than all I had given her, as I realised then for the first time, was the power of self-discipline and self-control which she, all unknowingly, had developed in me.
I have not ceased the "treatment," even though the patient is nearly well. It costs me nothing to praise her when she deserves it, to take an occasional friend into her immaculate kitchen, and to show the shining white pantry shelves (without papers), while she blushes and smiles with pleasure. It costs me nothing to see that she overhears me while I tell a friend over the telephone how capable she has been during the stress of my work, or how clean the house is when we come home after a long absence. It costs me nothing to send her out for a walk, or a visit to a nearby friend, on the afternoons when her work is finished and I am to be at home—nothing to call her attention to a beautiful sunset or a perfect day, or to tell her some amusing story that her simple mind can appreciate. It costs me nothing to tell her how well she looks in her cap and apron (only I call the cap a "hair-bow"), nor that one of the guests said she made the best cake she had ever eaten in her life.
It costs me little to give her a pretty hatpin, or some other girlish trifle at Easter, to bring her some souvenir of our travels, to give her a fresh ribbon for her belt from my bolt, or some little toy "for de children."
It means only a thought to say when she goes out, "Good-bye! Have a good time!" or to say when I go out, "Good-bye! Be good!" It means little to me to tell her how much my husband or our guests have enjoyed the dinner, or to have him go into the kitchen sometimes, while she is surrounded by a mountain of dishes, with a cheery word and a fifty-cent piece.
It isn't much out of my way to do a bit of shopping for her when I am shopping for myself, and no trouble at all to plan for her new gowns, or to tell her that her new hat is very pretty and becoming.
When her temper gets the better of her these days, I can laugh her out of it. "To think," I said once, "of a fine, capable girl like you flying into a rage because some one has borrowed your clothesline without asking for it!"
The clouds vanished with a smile. "Dat iss funny of me," she said.
When her work goes wrong, as of course it sometimes does, though rarely, and she is worrying for fear I shall be displeased, I say: "Never mind, Annie; things don't always go right for any of us. Don't worry about it, but be careful next time."
It has cost me time and effort and money, and an infinite amount of patience and tact, not to mention steady warfare with myself, but in return, what have I? A housemaid, as nearly perfect, perhaps, as they can ever be on this faulty earth, permanently in my service, as I hope and believe.
If any one offers her higher wages, I shall meet the "bid," for she is worth as much to me as she can be to any one else. Besides giving me superior service, she has done me a vast amount of good in furnishing me the needed material for the development of my character.
On her own ground, she respects my superior knowledge. Once or twice I have heard her say of some friend, "Her's lady, she know nodding at all about de housekeeping—no, nodding at all!"
The airy contempt of the tone is quite impossible to describe.
A neighbour whom she assisted in a time of domestic stress, during my absence, told me amusedly of her reception in her own kitchen. "You don't have to come all de time to de kitchen to tell me," remarked Annie.
"Doesn't Mrs. M. do that?" queried my neighbour, lightly.
"Ay should say not," returned the capable one, indignantly. "She nefer come in de kitchen, and she know, too!"
While that was not literally true, because I do go into my kitchen if I want to, and cook there if I like, I make a point of not intruding. She knows what she is to do, and I leave her to do it, in peace and comfort.
Briefly summarised, the solution from my point of view is this. Know her work yourself, down to the last detail; pay the wages which other people would be glad to pay for the same service; keep your temper, and, in the face of everything, be kind! Remember that housework is hard work—that it never stays done—that a meal which it takes half a day to prepare is disposed of in half an hour. Remember, too, that it requires much intelligence and good judgment to be a good cook, and that the daily tasks lack inspiration. The hardest part of housework must be done at a time when many other people are free for rest and enjoyment, and it carries with it a social bar sinister when it is done for money. The woman who does it for her board and clothes, in her own kitchen, does not necessarily lose caste, but doing it for a higher wage, in another's kitchen, makes one almost an outcast. Strange and unreasonable, but true.
It was at my own suggestion that she began to leave the dishes piled up in the sink until morning. When the room is otherwise immaculate, a tray of neatly piled plates, even if unwashed, does not disturb my aesthetic sense.
Ordinarily, she is free for the evening at half-past seven or a quarter of eight—always by eight. Her evenings are hers, not mine,—unless I pay her extra, as I always do. A dollar or so counts for nothing in the expense of an entertainment, and she both earns and deserves the extra wage.
If I am to entertain twenty or thirty people—the house will hold no more, and I cannot ask more than ten to dinner—I consult with her, decide upon the menu, tell her that she can have all the help she needs, and go my ways in peace. I can order the flowers, decorate the table, put on my best gown, and receive my guests, unwearied, with an easy mind.
When I am not expecting guests, I can leave the house immediately after breakfast, without a word about dinner, and return to the right sort of a meal at seven o'clock, bringing a guest or two with me, if I telephone first.
I can work for six weeks or two months in a seclusion as perfect as I could have in the Sahara Desert, and my household, meanwhile, will move as if on greased skids. I can go away for two months and hear nothing from her, and yet know that everything is all right at home. I think no more about it, so far as responsibility is concerned, when I am travelling, than as if I had no home at all. When we leave the apartment alone in the evening, we turn on the most of the lights, being assured by the police that burglars will never molest a brilliantly illuminated house.
The morose countenance of my ugly maid has subtly changed. It radiates, in its own way, beauty and good cheer. Her harsh voice is gentle, her manner is kind, her tastes are becoming refined, her ways are those of a lady.
My friends and neighbours continually allude to the transformation as "a miracle." The janitor remarked, in a burst of confidence, that he "never saw anybody change so." He "reckoned," too, that "it must be the folks she lives with!" Annie herself, conscious of a change, recently said complacently: "Ay guess Ay wass one awful crank when Ay first come here."
And so it happens that the highest satisfaction is connected with the beautiful theory, triumphantly proven now, against heavy odds. Whatever else I may have done, I have taught one woman the workman's pride in her work, shown her where true happiness lies, and set her feet firmly on the path of right and joyous living.
To a Violin
(Antonius Stradivarius, 1685.)
What flights of years have gone to fashion thee, My violin! What centuries have wrought Thy sounding fibres! What dead fingers taught Thy music to awake in ecstasy Beyond our human dreams? Thy melody Is resurrection. Every buried thought Of singing bird, or stream, or south wind, fraught With tender message, or of sobbing sea, Lives once again. The tempest's solemn roll Is in thy passion sleeping, till the king Whose touch is mastery shall sound thy soul. The organ tones of ocean shalt thou bring, The crashing chords of thunder, and the whole Vast harmony of God. Ah, Spirit, sing!
The Old Maid
One of the best things the last century has done for woman is to make single-blessedness appear very tolerable indeed, even if it be not actually desirable.
The woman who didn't marry used to be looked down upon as a sort of a "leftover" without a thought, apparently, that she may have refused many a chance to change her attitude toward the world. But now, the "bachelor maid" is welcomed everywhere, and is not considered eccentric on account of her oneness.
With the long records of the divorce courts before their eyes, it is not very unusual for the younger generation of women nowadays deliberately to choose spinsterhood as their independent lot in life.
A girl said the other day: "It's no use to say that a woman can't marry if she wants to. Look around you, and see the women who have married, and then ask yourself if there is anybody who can't!"
This is a great truth very concisely stated. It is safe to say that no woman ever reached twenty-five years of age, and very few have passed twenty, without having an opportunity to become somebody's mate.
A very small maiden with very bright eyes once came to her mother with the question: "Mamma, do you think I shall ever have a chance to get married?"
And the mother answered: "Surely you will, my child; the woods are full of offers of marriage—no woman can avoid them."
And ere many years had passed the maiden had learned that the wisdom of her mother's prophecy was fully vindicated.
Every one knows that a woman needs neither beauty, talent, nor money to win the deepest and sincerest love that man is capable of giving.
Single life is, with rare exceptions, a matter of choice and not of necessity; and while it is true that a happy married life is the happiest position for either man or woman, there are many things which are infinitely worse than being an old maid, and chiefest among these is marrying the wrong man!
The modern woman looks her future squarely in the face and decides according to her best light whether her happiness depends upon spinsterhood or matrimony. This decision is of course influenced very largely by the quality of her chances in either direction, but if the one whom she fully believes to be the right man comes along, he is likely to be able to overcome strong objections to the married state. If love comes to her from the right source, she takes it gladly; otherwise she bravely goes her way alone, often showing the world that some of the most mother-hearted women are not really mothers. Think of the magnificent solitude of such women as Florence Nightingale and our own splendid Frances Willard! Who shall say that these, and thousands of others of earth's grandest souls, were not better for their single-heartedness in the service of humanity?
A writer in a leading journal recently said: "The fact that a woman remains single is a tribute to her perception. She gains an added dignity from being hard to suit."
This, from the pen of a man, is somewhat of a revelation, in the light of various masculine criticisms concerning superfluous women. No woman is superfluous. God made her, and put her into this world to help her fellow-beings. There is a little niche somewhere which she, and she alone, can fill. She finds her own completeness in rounding out the lives of others.
It has been said that the average man may be piloted through life by one woman, but it must be admitted that several of him need somewhere near a dozen of the fair sex to wait upon him at the same time. His wife and mother are kept "hustling," while his "sisters and his aunts" are likely to be "on the keen jump" from the time his lordship enters the house until he leaves it!
But to return to the "superfluous woman,"—although we cannot literally return to her because she does not exist. Of the "old maid" of to-day, it is safe to say that she has her allotted plane of usefulness. She isn't the type our newspaper brethren delight to caricature. She doesn't dwell altogether upon the subject of "woman's sphere," which, by the way, comes very near being the plane of the earth's sphere, and she need not, for her position is now well recognised.
She doesn't wear corkscrew curls and hideous reform garments. She is a dainty, feminine, broad-minded woman, and a charming companion. Men are her friends, and often her lovers, in her old age as well as in her youth.
Every old maid has her love story, a little romance that makes her heart young again as she dreams it over in the firelight, and it calls a happy smile to the faded face.
Or, perhaps, it is the old, sad story of a faithless lover, or a happiness spoiled by gossips—or it may be the scarcely less sad story of love and death.
Ibsen makes two of his characters, a young man and woman who love each other, part voluntarily on the top of a high mountain in order that they may be enabled to keep their high ideals and uplifting love for each other.
So the old maid keeps her ideals, not through fulfilment, but through memory, and she is far happier than many a woman who finds her ideal surprisingly and disagreeably real.
The bachelor girl and the bachelor man are much on the increase. Marriage is not in itself a failure, but the people who enter unwisely into this solemn covenant too often are not only failures, but bitter disappointments to those who love them best.
Life for men and women means the highest usefulness and happiness, for the terms are synonymous, neither being able to exist without the other.
The model spinster of to-day is philanthropic. She is connected, not with innumerable charities, but with a few well-chosen ones. She gives freely of her time and money in many ways, where her left hand scarcely knoweth what her right doeth, and the record of her good works is not found in the chronicles of the world.
She is literary, musical, or artistic. She is a devoted and loyal club member, and is well informed on the leading topics of the day, while the resources of her well-balanced mind are always at the service of her friends.
And when all is said and done, the highest and truest life is within the reach of us all. Doing well whatever is given us to do will keep us all busy, and married or single, no woman has a right to be idle. The old maid may be womanly and mother-hearted as well as the wife and mother.
The Spinster's Rubaiyat
Wake! For the hour of hope will soon take flight And on your form and features leave a blight; Since Time, who heals full many an open wound, More oft than not is impolite.
Before my relatives began to chide, Methought the voice of conscience said inside: "Why should you want a husband, when you have A cat who seldom will at home abide?"
And, when the evening breeze comes in the door, The lamp smokes like a chimney, only more; And yet the deacon of the church Is telling every one my parrot swore.
Behold, my aunt into my years inquires, Then swiftly with my parents she conspires, And in the family record changes dates— In that same book that says all men are liars.
Come, fill the cup and let the kettle sing! What though upon my finger gleams no ring, Save that cheap turquoise that I bought myself? The coming years a gladsome change may bring.
Here, minion, fill the steaming cup that clears The skin I will not have exposed to jeers, And rub this wrinkle vigorously until The maddening crow's-foot wholly disappears.
And let me don some artificial bloom, And turn the lamps down low, and make a gloom That spreads from library to hall and stair; Thus do I look my best—but ah, for whom?
The Rights of Dogs
We hear a great deal about the "rights of men" and still more, perhaps, about the "rights of women," but few stop to consider those which properly belong to the friend and companion of both—the dog.
According to our municipal code, a dog must be muzzled from June 1st to September 30th. The wise men who framed this measure either did not know, or did not stop to consider, that a dog perspires and "cools off" only at his mouth.
Man and the horse have tiny pores distributed all over the body, but in the dog they are found only in the tongue.
Any one who has had a fever need not be told what happened when these pores ceased to act; what, then, must be the sufferings of a dog on a hot day, when, securely muzzled, he takes his daily exercise?
Even on the coolest days, the barbarous muzzle will fret a thoroughbred almost to insanity, unless, indeed, he has brains to free himself, as did a brilliant Irish setter which we once knew. This wise dog would run far ahead of his human guardian, and with the help of his forepaws slip the strap over his slender head, then hide the offending muzzle in the gutter, and race onward again. When the loss was discovered, it was far too late to remedy it by any search that could be instituted.
And still, without this uncomfortable encumbrance, it is unsafe for any valuable dog to be seen, even on his own doorsteps, for the "dog-catcher" is ever on the look-out for blue-blooded victims.
The homeless mongrel, to whom a painless death would be a blessing, is left to get a precarious living as best he may from the garbage boxes, and spread pestilence from house to house, but the setter, the collie, and the St. Bernard are choked into insensibility with a wire noose, hurled into a stuffy cage, and with the thermometer at ninety in the shade, are dragged through the blistering city, as a sop to that Cerberus of the law which demands for its citizens safety from dogs, and pays no attention to the lawlessness of men.
The dog tax which is paid every year is sufficient to guarantee the interest of the owner in his dog. Howells has pitied "the dogless man," and Thomas Nelson Page has said somewhere that "some of us know what it is to be loved by a dog."
Countless writers have paid tribute to his fidelity and devotion, and to the constant forgiveness of blows and neglect which spring from the heart of the commonest cur.
The trained hunter, who is as truly a sportsman as the man who brings down the birds he finds, can be easily fretted into madness by the injudicious application of the muzzle.
The average dog is a gentleman and does not attack people for the pleasure of it, and it is lamentably true that people who live in cities often find it necessary to keep some sort of a dog as a guardian to life and property. In spite of his loyalty, which every one admits, the dog is an absolute slave. Men with less sense, and less morality, constitute a court from which he has no appeal.
Four or five years of devotion to his master's interests, and four or five years of peaceful, friendly conduct, count for absolutely nothing beside the perjured statement of some man, or even woman, who, from spite against the owner, is willing to assert, "the dog is vicious."
"He is very imprudent, a dog is," said Jerome K. Jerome. "He never makes it his business to inquire whether you are in the right or wrong—never bothers as to whether you are going up or down life's ladder—never asks whether you are rich or poor, silly or wise, saint or sinner. You are his pal. That is enough for him, and come luck or misfortune, good repute or bad, honour or shame, he is going to stick to you, to comfort you, guard you, and give his life for you, if need be—foolish, brainless, soulless dog!
"Ah! staunch old friend, with your deep, clear eyes, and bright quick glances that take in all one has to say, before one has time to speak it, do you know you are only an animal and have no mind?
"Do you know that dull-eyed, gin-sodden lout leaning against the post out there is immeasurably your intellectual superior? Do you know that every little-minded selfish scoundrel, who never had a thought that was not mean and base—whose every action is a fraud and whose every utterance is a lie; do you know that these are as much superior to you as the sun is to the rush-light, you honourable, brave-hearted, unselfish brute?
"They are men, you know, and men are the greatest, noblest, wisest, and best beings in the universe. Any man will tell you that."
Are the men whom we elect to public office our masters or our servants? If the former, let us change our form of government; if the latter, let us hope that from somewhere a little light may penetrate their craniums and that they may be induced to give the dog a chance.
The birds were hushed into silence, The clouds had sunk from sight, And the great trees bowed to the summer breeze That kissed the flowers good-night.
The stars came out in the cool still air, From the mansions of the blest, And softly, over the dim blue hills, Night came to the world with rest.
Women's Clothes in Men's Books
When asked why women wrote better novels than men, Mr. Richard Le Gallienne is said to have replied, more or less conclusively, "They don't"; thus recalling Punch's famous advice to those about to marry.
Happily there is no segregation in literature, and masculine and feminine hands alike may dabble in fiction, as long as the publishers are willing.
If we accept Zola's dictum to the effect that art is nature seen through the medium of a temperament, the thing is possible to many, though the achievement may differ both in manner and degree. For women have temperament—too much of it—as the hysterical novelists daily testify.
The gentleman novelist, however, prances in boldly, where feminine feet well may fear to tread, and consequently has a wider scope for his writing. It is not for a woman to mingle in a barroom brawl and write of the thing as she sees it. The prize-ring, the interior of a cattle-ship, Broadway at four in the morning—these and countless other places are forbidden by her innate refinement as well as by the Ladies' Own, and all the other aunties who have taken upon themselves the guardianship of the Home with a big H.
Fancy the outpouring of scorn upon the luckless offender's head if one should write to the Manners and Morals Department of the Ladies' Own as follows: "Would it be proper for a lady novelist, in search of local colour and new experiences, to accept the escort of a strange man at midnight if he was too drunk to recognise her afterward?" Yet a man in the same circumstances would not hesitate to put an intoxicated woman into a sea-going cab, and would plume himself for a year and a day upon his virtuous performance.
All things are considered proper for a man who is about to write a book. Like the disciple of Mary McLane who stole a horse in order to get the emotions of a police court, he may delve deeply not only into life, but into that under-stratum which is not spoken of, where respectable journals circulate.
Everything is fish that comes into his net. If conscientious, he may even undertake marriage in order to study the feminine personal equations at close range. Woman's emotions, singly and collectively, are pilloried before his scientific gaze. He cowers before one problem, and one only—woman's clothes!
Carlyle, after long and painful thought, arrives at the conclusion that "cut betokens intellect and talent; colour reveals temper and heart."
This reminds one of the language of flowers, and the directions given for postage-stamp flirtation. If that massive mind had penetrated further into the mysteries of the subject, we might have been told that a turnover collar indicated that the woman was a High Church Episcopalian who had embroidered two altar cloths, and that suede gloves show a yielding but contradictory nature.
Clothes are, undoubtedly, indices of character and taste, as well as a sop to conventionality, but this only when one has the wherewithal to browse at will in the department store. Many a woman with ermine tastes has only a rabbit-fur pocket-book, and thus her clothes wrong her in the sight of gods and women, though men know nothing about it.
Once upon a time there was a notion to the effect that women dressed to please men, but that idea has long since been relegated to the limbo of forgotten things.
Not one man in a thousand can tell the difference between Brussels point at thirty dollars a yard, and imitation Valenciennes at ten or fifteen cents a yard which was one of the "famous Friday features in the busy bargain basement."
But across the room, yea, even from across the street, the eagle eye of another woman can unerringly locate the Brussels point and the mock Valenciennes.
A man knows silk by the sound of it and diamonds by the shine. He will say that his heroine "was richly dressed in silk." Little does he wot of the difference between taffeta at eighty-five cents a yard and broadcloth at four dollars. Still less does he know that a white cotton shirt-waist represents financial ease, and a silk waist of festive colouring represents poverty, since it takes but two days to "do up" a white shirt-waist in one sense, and thirty or forty cents to do it up in the other!
One listens with wicked delight to men's discourse upon woman's clothes. Now and then a man will express his preference for a tailored gown, as being eminently simple and satisfactory. Unless he is married and has seen the bills for tailored gowns, he also thinks they are inexpensive.
It is the benedict, wise with the acquired knowledge of the serpent, who begs his wife to get a new party gown and let the tailor-made go until next season. He also knows that when the material is bought, the expense has scarcely begun, whereas the ignorant bachelor thinks that the worst is happily over.
In A Little Journey through the World Mr. Warner philosophised thus: "How a woman in a crisis hesitates before her wardrobe, and at last chooses just what will express her innermost feelings!"
If all a woman's feelings were to be expressed by her clothes, the benedicts would immediately encounter financial shipwreck. On account of the lamentable scarcity of money and closets, one is eternally adjusting the emotion to the gown.
Some gown, seen at the exact psychological moment, fixes forever in a man's mind his ideal garment. Thus we read of blue calico, of pink-and-white print, and more often still, of white lawn. Mad colour combinations run riot in the masculine fancy, as in the case of a man who boldly described his favourite costume as "red, with black ruffles down the front!"
Of a hat, a man may be a surpassingly fine critic, since he recks not of style. Guileful is the woman who leads her liege to the millinery and lets him choose, taking no heed of the price and the attendant shock until later.
A normal man is anxious that his wife shall be well dressed because it shows the critical observer that his business is a great success. After futile explorations in the labyrinth, he concerns himself simply with the fit, preferring always that the clothes of his heart's dearest shall cling to her as lovingly as a kid glove, regardless of the pouches and fulnesses prescribed by Dame Fashion.
In the writing of books, men are at their wits' end when it comes to women's clothes. They are hampered by no restrictions—no thought of style or period enters into their calculations, and unless they have a wholesome fear of the unknown theme, they produce results which further international gaiety.
Many an outrageous garment has been embalmed in a man's book, simply because an attractive woman once wore something like it when she fed the novelist. Unbalanced by the joy of the situation, he did not accurately observe the garb of the ministering angel, and hence we read of "a clinging white gown" in the days of stiff silks and rampant crinoline; of "the curve of the upper arm" when it took five yards for a pair of sleeves, and of "short walking skirts" during the reign of bustles and trains!
In The Blazed Trail, Mr. White observes that his heroine was clad in brown which fitted her slender figure perfectly. As Hilda had yellow hair, "like corn silk," this was all right, and if the brown was of the proper golden shade, she was doubtless stunning when Thorpe first saw her in the forest. But the gown could not have fitted her as the sheath encases the dagger, for before the straight-front corsets there were the big sleeves, and still further back were bustles and bouffant draperies. One does not get the impression that The Blazed Trail was placed in the days of crinolines, but doubtless Hilda's clothes did not fit as Mr. White seems to think they did.
That strenuous follower of millinery, Mr. Gibson, might give lessons to his friend, Mr. Davis, with advantage to the writer, if not to the artist. In Captain Macklin, the young man's cousin makes her first appearance in a thin gown, and a white hat trimmed with roses, reminding the adventurous captain of a Dresden statuette, in spite of the fact that she wore heavy gauntlet gloves and carried a trowel. The lady had been doing a hard day's work in the garden. No woman outside the asylum ever did gardening in such a costume, and Mr. Davis evidently has the hat and gown sadly mixed with some other pleasant impression.
The feminine reader immediately hides Mr. Davis' mistake with the broad mantle of charity, and in her own mind clothes Beatrice properly in a short walking skirt, heavy shoes, shirt-waist, old hat tied down over the ears with a rumpled ribbon, and a pair of ancient masculine gloves, long since discarded by their rightful owner. Thus does lovely woman garden, except on the stage and in men's books.
In The Story of Eva, Mr. Payne announces that Eva climbed out of a cab in "a fawn-coloured jacket," conspicuous by reason of its newness, and a hat "with an owl's head upon it!"
The jacket was possibly a coat of tan covert cloth with strapped seams, but it is the startling climax which claims attention. An owl! Surely not, Mr. Payne! It may have been a parrot, for once upon a time, before the Audubon Society met with widespread recognition, women wore such things, and at afternoon teas where many fair ones were gathered together the parrot garniture was not without significance. But an owl's face, with its glaring glassy eyes, is too much like a pussy cat's to be appropriate, and one could no wear it at the back without conveying an unpleasant impression of two-facedness, if the coined word be permissible.
Still the owl is no worse than the trimming suggested by a funny paper. The tears of mirth come yet at the picture of a hat of rough straw, shaped like a nest, on which sat a full-fledged Plymouth Rock hen, with her neck proudly, yet graciously curved. Perhaps Mr. Payne saw the picture and forthwith decided to do something in the same line, but there is a singular inappropriateness in placing the bird of Minerva upon the head of poor Eva, who made the old, old bargain in which she had everything to lose, and nothing save the bitterest experience to gain. A stuffed kitten, so young and innocent that its eyes were still blue and bleary, would have been more appropriate on Eva's bonnet, and just as pretty.
In The Fortunes of Oliver Horn, Margaret Grant wears a particularly striking costume:
"The cloth skirt came to her ankles, which were covered with yarn stockings, and her feet were encased in shoes that gave him the shivers, the soles being as thick as his own and the leather as tough.
"Her blouse was of grey flannel, belted to the waist by a cotton saddle-girth, white and red, and as broad as her hand. The tam-o-shanter was coarse and rough, evidently home-made, and not at all like McFudd's, which was as soft as the back of a kitten and without a seam."
With all due respect to Mr. Smith, one must insist that Margaret's shoes were all right as regards material and build. She would have been more comfortable if they had been "high-necked" shoes, and, in that case, the yarn hosiery would not have troubled him, but that is a minor detail. The quibble comes at the belt, and knowing that Margaret was an artist, we must be sure that Mr. Smith was mistaken. It may have been one of the woven cotton belts, not more than two inches wide, which, for a dizzy moment, were at the height of fashion, and then tottered and fell, but a "saddle-girth"—never!
In that charming morceau, The Inn of the Silver Moon, Mr. Viele puts his heroine into plaid stockings and green knickerbockers—an outrageous costume truly, even for wheeling.
As if recognising his error, and, with veritable masculine stubbornness, refusing to admit it, Mr. Viele goes on to say that the knickerbockers were "tailor-made!" And thereby he makes a bad matter very much worse.
In The Wings of the Morning, Iris, in spite of the storm through which the Sirdar vainly attempts to make its way, appears throughout in a "lawn dress"—white, undoubtedly, since all sorts and conditions of men profess to admire white lawn!
How cold the poor girl must have been! And even if she could have been so inappropriately gowned on shipboard, she had plenty of time to put on a warm and suitable tailor-made gown before she was shipwrecked. This is sheer fatuity, for any one with Mr. Tracy's abundant ingenuity could easily have contrived ruin for the tailored gown in time for Iris to assume masculine garb and participate bravely in that fearful fight on the ledge.
Whence, oh whence, comes this fondness for lawn? Are not organdies, dimities, and embroidered muslins fully as becoming to the women who trip daintily through the pages of men's books? Lawn has been a back number for many a weary moon, and still we read of it!
"When in doubt, lead trumps," might well be paraphrased thus: "When in doubt, put her into white lawn!" Even "J. P. M.," that gentle spirit to whom so many hidden things were revealed, sent his shrewish "Kate" off for a canter through the woods in a white gown, and, if memory serves, it was lawn!
In The Master, Mr. Zangwill describes Eleanor Wyndwood as "the radiant apparition of a beautiful woman in a shimmering amber gown, from which her shoulders rose dazzling."
So far so good. But a page or two farther on, that delightful minx, Olive Regan, wears "a dress of soft green-blue cut high, with yellow roses at the throat." One wonders whether Mr. Zangwill ever really saw a woman in any kind of a gown "with yellow roses at the throat," or whether it is but the slip of an overstrained fancy. The fact that he has married since writing this gives a goodly assurance that by this time he knows considerably more about gowns.
Still there is always a chance that the charm may not work, for Mr. Arthur Stringer, who has been reported as being married to a very lovely woman, takes astonishing liberties in The Silver Poppy:
"She floated in before Reppellier, buoyant, smiling, like a breath of open morning itself, a confusion of mellow autumnal colours in her wine-coloured gown, and a hat of roses and mottled leaves.
"Before she had as much as drawn off her gloves—and they were always the most spotless of white gloves—she glanced about in mock dismay, and saw that the last of the righting up had already been done."
Later, we read that the artist pinned an American Beauty upon her gown, then shook his head over the colour combination and took it off. If the American Beauty jarred enough for a man to notice it, the dress must have been the colour of claret, or Burgundy, rather than the clear soft gold of sauterne.
This brings us up with a short turn before the hat. What colour were the roses? Surely they were not American Beauties, and they could not have been pink. Yellow roses would have been a fright, so they must have been white ones, and a hat covered with white roses is altogether too festive to wear in the morning. The white gloves also would have been sadly out of place.
What a comfort it would be to all concerned if the feminine reader could take poor Cordelia one side and fix her up a bit! One could pat the artistic disorder out of her beautiful yellow hair, help her out of her hideous clothes into a grey tailor-made, with a shirt-waist of mercerised white cheviot, put on a stock of the same material, give her a "ready-to-wear" hat of the same trig-tailored quality, and, as she passed out, hand her a pair of grey suede gloves which exactly matched her gown.
Though grey would be more becoming, she might wear tan as a concession to Mr. Stringer, who evidently likes yellow.
In the same book, we find a woman who gathers up her "yellow skirts" and goes down a ladder. It might have been only a yellow taffeta drop-skirt under tan etamine, but we must take his word for it, as we did not see it and he did.
As the Chinese keep the rat tails for the end of the feast, the worst clothes to be found in any book must come last by way of climax. Mr. Dixon, in The Leopard's Spots, has easily outdone every other knight of the pen who has entered the lists to portray women's clothes. Listen to the inspired description of Miss Sallie's gown!
"She was dressed in a morning gown of a soft red material, trimmed with old cream lace. The material of a woman's dress had never interested him before. He knew calico from silk, but beyond that he never ventured an opinion. To colour alone he was responsive. This combination of red and creamy white, with the bodice cut low, showing the lines of her beautiful white shoulders, and the great mass of dark hair rising in graceful curves from her full round neck, heightened her beauty to an extraordinary degree.
"As she walked, the clinging folds of her dress, outlining her queenly figure, seemed part of her very being, and to be imbued with her soul. He was dazzled with the new revelation of her power over him."
The fact that she goes for a ride later on, "dressed in pure white," sinks into insignificance beside this new and original creation of Mr. Dixon's. A red morning gown, trimmed with cream lace, cut low enough to show the "beautiful white shoulders"—ye gods and little fishes! Where were the authorities, and why was not "Miss Sallie" taken to the detention hospital, pending an inquiry into her sanity?