Infomotions, Inc.A Woman of the World Her Counsel to Other People's Sons and Daughters / Wilcox, Ella Wheeler, 1855-1919



Author: Wilcox, Ella Wheeler, 1855-1919
Title: A Woman of the World Her Counsel to Other People's Sons and Daughters
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): children; life; people; woman; ella; wilcox; man; bright; mynors; wife; daughters; wheeler; counsel; sons
Contributor(s): Bright, Mynors, 1818-1883 [Translator]
Versions: original; local mirror; HTML (this file); printable
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Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 51,277 words (really short) Grade range: 11-13 (high school) Readability score: 56 (average)
Identifier: etext12020
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Title: A Woman of the World
       Her Counsel to Other People's Sons and Daughters

Author: Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Release Date: April 14, 2004 [EBook #12020]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII

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[Illustration]

A Woman of the World

HER COUNSEL TO OTHER PEOPLE'S SONS AND DAUGHTERS

By

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

1904

Fourth Impression, April, 1910




Contents

TO MR. RAY GILBERT, _Law Student, Aged Twenty-three_

TO MISS WINIFRED CLAYBORNE, _At Vassar College_

TO EDNA GORDON, _During Her Honeymoon_

TO MISS GLADYS WESTON, _Who Faces the Necessity to Earn a Living_

TO CLARENCE ST. CLAIRE, _Regarding His Sister's Betrothal_

TO MISS MARGARET RILEY, _Shop Girl, Concerning Her Oppressors_

TO MISS GLADYS WESTON, _After Three Years as a Teacher_

TO A YOUNG FRIEND, _Who Has Become Interested in the Metaphysical
Thoughts of the Day_

TO WILFRED CLAYBORN, _Concerning His Education and His Profession_

TO MISS ELSIE DEAN, _Regarding the Habit of Exaggeration_

TO SYBYL MARCHMONT, _Who Has Learned Her Origin_

TO MISS DIANA RIVERS, _A Young Lady Contemplating a Career as a
Journalist_

TO NANETTE, _A Former Maid_

TO THE REV. WILTON MARSH, _Regarding His Son and Daughter_

TO MRS. CHARLES MCALLISTER, _Formerly Miss Winifred Clayborne_

TO MRS. CHARLES GORDON, _Concerning Maternity_

TO MR. ALFRED DUNCAN, _Concerning the Ministry_

TO MR. CHARLES GRAY, _Concerning Polygamy_

TO WALTER SMEED, _Concerning Creeds and Marriage_

TO SYBYL MARCHMONT, _Concerning Her Determination to Remain Single_

TO MRS. CHARLES GORDON, _Concerning Her Sister and Her Children_

TO MRS. CHARLES GORDON, _Concerning Her Children_

TO Miss ZOE CLAYBORN, ARTIST, _Concerning the Attentions of Married Men_

TO MR. CHARLES GORDON, _Concerning the Jealousy of His Wife After Seven
Years of Married Life_

TO MRS. CLARENCE ST. CLAIRE, _Concerning Her Husband_

TO YOUNG MRS. DUNCAN, _Regarding Mothers-in-Law._

TO A YOUNG MAN, _Ambitious for Literary Honours_

TO MRS. MCALLISTER, _Concerning Her Little Girl_

TO MR. RAY GILBERT, _Attorney at Law, Aged Thirty_

TO THE SISTER OF A GREAT BEAUTY

TO MRS. WHITE PEAK, _One of the Pillars of Respectable Society_

TO MARIA OWENS, _A New Woman Contemplating Marriage_

TO MRS. ST. CLAIRE, _The Young Divorcee_

TO MISS JESSIE HARCOURT, _Regarding Her Marriage with a Poor Young Man_

TO MISS JANE CARTER, _Of the W.C.T.U_




To Mr. Ray Gilbert

_Late Student, Aged Twenty-three_


Were you an older man, my dear Ray, your letter would be consigned to
the flames unanswered, and our friendship would become constrained and
formal, if it did not end utterly. But knowing you to be so many years
my junior, and so slightly acquainted with yourself or womankind, I am
going to be the friend you need, instead of the misfortune you invite.

I will not say that your letter was a complete surprise to me. It is
seldom a woman is so unsophisticated in the ways of men that she is not
aware when friendship passes the borderline and trespasses on the domain
of passion.

I realized on the last two occasions we met that you were not quite
normal. The first was at Mrs. Hanover's dinner; and I attributed some
indiscreet words and actions on your part to the very old Burgundy
served to a very young man.

Since the memory of mortal, Bacchus has been a confederate of Cupid, and
the victims of the former have a period (though brief indeed) of
believing themselves slaves to the latter.

As I chanced to be your right-hand neighbour at that very merry board,
where wit, wisdom, and beauty combined to condense hours into minutes, I
considered it a mere accident that you gave yourself to me with somewhat
marked devotion. Had I been any other one of the ladies present, it
would have been the same, I thought. Our next and last encounter,
however, set me thinking.

It was fully a week later, and that most unromantic portion of the day,
between breakfast and luncheon.

It was a Bagby recital, and you sought me out as I was listening to the
music, and caused me to leave before the programme was half done. You
were no longer under the dominion of Bacchus, though Euterpe may have
taken his task upon herself, as she often does, and your manner and
expression of countenance troubled me.

I happen to be a woman whose heart life is absolutely complete. I have
realized my dreams, and have no least desire to turn them into
nightmares. I like original roles, too, and that of the really happy
wife is less hackneyed than the part of the "misunderstood woman." And I
find greater enjoyment in the steady flame of one lamp than in the
flaring light of many candles.

I have taken a good deal of pride in keeping my lamp well trimmed and
brightly burning, and I was startled and offended at the idea of any man
coming so near he imagined he might blow out the light.

Your letter, however, makes me more sorry than angry.

You are passing through a phase of experience which comes to almost
every youth, between sixteen and twenty-four.

Your affectional and romantic nature is blossoming out, and you are in
that transition period where an older woman appeals to you.

Being crude and unformed yourself, the mature and ripened mind and body
attract you.

A very young man is fascinated by an older woman's charms, just as a
very old man is drawn to a girl in her teens.

This is according to the law of completion, each entity seeking for what
it does not possess.

Ask any middle-aged man of your acquaintance to tell you the years of
the first woman he imagined he loved, and you will find you are
following a beaten path.

Because you are a worth while young man, with a bright future before
you, I am, as I think of the matter, glad you selected me rather than
some other less happy or considerate woman, as the object of your
regard.

An unhappy wife or an ambitious adventuress might mar your future, and
leave you with lowered ideals and blasted prospects.

You tell me in your letter that for "a day of life and love with me you
would willingly give up the world and snap your fingers in the face of
conventional society, and even face death with a laugh." It is easy for
a passionate, romantic nature to work itself into a mood where those
words are felt when written, and sometimes the mood carries a man and a
woman through the fulfilment of such assertions. But invariably
afterward comes regret, remorse, and disillusion.

No man enjoys having the world take him at his word, when he says he is
ready to give it up for the woman he loves.

He wants the woman and the world, too.

In the long run, he finds the world's respect more necessary to his
continued happiness than the woman's society.

Just recall the history of all such cases you have known, and you will
find my assertions true.

Thank your stars that I am not a reckless woman ready to take you at
your word, and thank your stars, too, that I am not a free woman who
would be foolish enough and selfish enough to harness a young husband to
a mature wife. I know you resent this reference to the difference in our
years, which may not be so marked to the observer to-day, but how would
it be ten, fifteen years from now? There are few disasters greater for
husband or wife than the marriage of a boy of twenty to a woman a dozen
years his senior. For when he reaches thirty-five, despair and misery
must almost inevitably face them both.

You must forgive me when I tell you that one sentence in your letter
caused a broad smile.

That sentence was, "Would to God I had met you when you were free to be
wooed and loved, as never man loved woman before."

Now I have been married ten years, and you are twenty-three years old!
You must blame my imagination (not my heart, which has no intention of
being cruel) for the picture presented to my mind's eye by your wish.

I saw myself in the full flower of young ladyhood, carrying at my side
an awkward lad of a dozen years, attired in knickerbockers, and
probably chewing a taffy stick, yet "wooing and loving as never man
loved before."

I suppose, however, the idea in your mind was that you wished Fate had
made me of your own age, and left me free for you.

But few boys of twenty-three are capable of knowing what they want in a
life companion. Ten years from now your ideal will have changed.

You are in love with love, life, and all womankind, my dear boy, not
with me, your friend.

Put away all such ideas, and settle down to hard study and serious
ambitions, and seal this letter of yours, which I am returning with my
reply, and lay it carefully away in some safe place. Mark it to be
destroyed unopened in case of your death. But if you live, I want you to
open, re-read and burn it on the evening before your marriage to some
lovely girl, who is probably rolling a hoop to-day; and if I am living,
I want you to write and thank me for what I have said to you here. I
hardly expect you will feel like doing it now, but I can wait.

Do not write me again until that time, and when we meet, be my good
sensible friend--one I can introduce to my husband, for only such
friends do I care to know.




To Miss Winifred Clayborne

_At Vassar College_


My dear niece:--It was a pleasure to receive so long a letter from you
after almost two years of silence. It hardly seems possible that you are
eighteen years old. To have graduated from high school with such honours
that you are able to enter Vassar at so early an age is much to your
credit.

I indulged in a good-natured laugh over your request for my advice
regarding a college course. You say, "I remember that I once heard you
state that you did not believe in higher education for women, and,
therefore, I am anxious to have your opinion of this undertaking of
mine."

Now of course, my dear child, what you wish me to say is, that I am
charmed with your resolution to graduate from Vassar. You have entered
the college fully determined to take a complete course, and you surely
would not like a discouraging or disapproving letter from your auntie.

"Please give me your opinion of my course of action" always means,
"Please approve of what I am doing."

Well I _do_ approve. I always approve when a human being is carrying out
a determination, even if I am confident it is the wrong determination.

The really useful knowledge of life must come through strong
convictions. Strong convictions are usually obtained only on the pathway
of personal experience.

To argue a man out of a certain course of action rarely argues away his
own beliefs and desires in the matter. We may save him some bitter
experience in the contemplated project, but he is almost certain to find
that same bitter experience later, because he has been coerced, not
enlightened.

Had he gained his knowledge in the first instance, he would have escaped
the later disaster.

A college education does not seem to me the most desirable thing for a
woman, unless she intends to enter into educational pursuits as a means
of livelihood. I understand it is your intention to become a teacher,
and, therefore, you are wise to prepare yourself by a thorough
education. _Be the very best_, in whatever line of employment you enter.

Scorn any half-way achievements. Make yourself a brilliantly educated
woman, but look to it that in the effort you do not forget two other
important matters--health and sympathy. My objection to higher education
for women, which you once heard me express, is founded on the fact that
I have met many college women who were anaemic and utterly devoid of
emotion. One beautiful young girl I recall who at fourteen years of age
seemed to embody all the physical and temperamental charms possible for
womankind. Softly rounded features, vivid colouring, voluptuous curves
of form, yet delicacy and refinement in every portion of her anatomy,
she breathed love and radiated sympathy. I thought of her as the ideal
woman in embryo; and the brightness of her intellect was the finishing
touch to a perfect girlhood. I saw her again at twenty-four. She had
graduated from an American college and had taken two years in a foreign
institution of learning. She had carried away all the honours--but,
alas, the higher education had carried away all her charms of person and
of temperament. Attenuated, pallid, sharp-featured, she appeared much
older than her years, and the lovely, confiding and tender qualities of
mind, which made her so attractive to older people, had given place to
cold austerity and hypercriticism.

Men were only objects of amusement, indifference, or ridicule to her.
Sentiment she regarded as an indication of crudity, emotion as an
insignia of vulgarity. The heart was a purely physical organ, she knew
from her studies in anatomy. It was no more the seat of emotion than
the liver or lungs. The brain was the only portion of the human being
which appealed to her, and "educated" people were the only ones who
interested her, because they were capable of argument and discussion of
intellectual problems--her one source of entertainment.

Half an hour in the society of this over-trained young person left one
exhausted and disillusioned with brainy women. I beg you to pay no such
price for an education as this young girl paid. I remember you as a
robust, rosy girl, with charming manners. Your mother was concerned, on
my last visit, because I called you a pretty girl in your hearing. She
said the one effort of her life was to rear a sensible Christian
daughter with no vanity. She could not understand my point of view when
I said I should regret it if a daughter of mine was without vanity, and
that I should strive to awaken it in her. Cultivate enough vanity to
care about your personal appearance and your deportment. No amount of
education can recompense a woman for the loss of complexion, figure,
or charm. And do not let your emotional and affectional nature grow
atrophied.

Control your emotions, but do not crucify them.

Do not mistake frigidity for serenity, nor austerity for self-control.
Be affable, amiable, and sweet, no matter how much you know. And listen
more than you talk.

The woman who knows how to show interest is tenfold more attractive than
the woman who is for ever anxious to instruct. Learn how to call out the
best in other people, and lead them to talk of whatever most interests
them. In this way you will gain a wide knowledge of human nature, which
is the best education possible. Try and keep a little originality of
thought, which is the most difficult of all undertakings while in
college; and, if possible, be as lovable a woman when you go forth into
the world "finished" as when you entered the doors of your Alma Mater:
for to be unlovable is a far greater disaster than to be uneducated.




To Edna Gordon

_During Her Honeymoon_


I am very much flattered that you should write your first letter as Mrs.
Gordon to me. Its receipt was a surprise, as I have known you so
slightly--only when we were both guests under a friend's roof for one
week.

I had no idea that you were noticing me particularly at that time, there
was such a merry crowd of younger people about you. How careful we
matrons should be, when in the presence of debutantes, for it seems they
are taking notes for future reference!

I am glad that my behaviour and conversation were such that you feel you
can ask me for instructions at this important period of your life. Here
is the text you have given me:

"_I want you to tell me, dear Mrs. West, how to be as happy, and loved,
and loving, after fifteen years of married life, as you are. I so dread
the waning of my honeymoon_."

And now you want me to preach you a little sermon on this text. Well, my
dear girl, I am at a disadvantage in not knowing you better, and not
knowing your husband at all.

Husbands are like invalids, each needs a special prescription, according
to his ailment.

But as all invalids can be benefited by certain sensible suggestions,
like taking simple food, and breathing and exercising properly, and
sleeping with open windows or out-of-doors, so all husbands can be aided
toward perpetual affection by the observance of some general laws, on
the part of the wife.

I am, of course, to take it for granted that you have married a man with
principles and ideals, a man who loves you and desires to make a good
husband. I know you were not so unfortunate as to possess a large amount
of property for any man to seek, and so I can rely upon the natural
supposition that you were married for love.

It might be worth your while, right now, while your husband's memory is
fresh upon the subject, to ask him what particular characteristics first
won his attention, and what caused him to select you for a life
companion.

Up to the present moment, perhaps, he has never told you any more
substantial reason for loving you than the usual lovers'
explanation--"Just because." But if you ask him to think it over, I am
sure he can give you a more explicit answer.

After you have found what qualities, habits, actions, or accomplishments
attracted him, write them down in a little book and refer to them two or
three times a year. On these occasions ask yourself if you are keeping
these attractions fresh and bright as they were in the days of
courtship. Women easily drop the things which won a man's heart, and are
unconscious that the change they bemoan began in themselves. But do not
imagine you can rest at ease after marriage with only the qualities,
and charms, and virtues, which won you a lover. To keep a husband in
love is a more serious consideration than to win a lover.

You must add year by year to your attractions.

As the deep bloom of first youth passes, you must cultivate mental and
spiritual traits which will give your face a lustre from within.

And as the mirth and fun of life drifts farther from you, and you find
the merry jest, which of old turned care into laughter, less ready on
your lip, you must cultivate a wholesome optimistic view of life, to
sustain your husband through the trials and disasters besetting most
mortal paths.

Make one solemn resolve now, and never forget it. Say to yourself, "On
no other spot, in no other house on earth, shall my husband find a more
cheerful face, a more loving welcome, or a more restful atmosphere, than
he finds at home."

No matter what vicissitudes arise, and what complications occur, keep
that resolve. It will at least help to sustain you with a sense of
self-respect, if unhappiness from any outside source should shadow your
life. An attractive home has become a sort of platitude in speech, but
it remains a thing of vital importance, all the same, in actual life and
in marriage.

Think often and speak frequently to your husband of his good qualities
and of the things you most admire in him.

Sincere and judicious praise is to noble nature like spring rain and sun
to the earth. Ignore or make light of his small failings, and when you
must criticize a serious fault, do not dwell upon it. A husband and wife
should endeavour to be such good friends that kindly criticism is
accepted as an evidence of mutual love which desires the highest
attainments for its object.

But no man likes to think his wife has set about the task of making him
over, and if you have any such intention I beg you to conceal it, and go
about it slowly and with caution.

A woman who knows how to praise more readily than she knows how to
criticize, and who has the tact and skill to adapt herself to a man's
moods and to find amusement and entertainment in his whims, can lead him
away from their indulgence without his knowledge.

Such women are the real reformers of men, though they scorn the word,
and disclaim the effort.

It is well to keep a man conscious that you are a refined and
delicate-minded woman, yet do not insist upon being worshipped on a
pedestal. It tires a man's neck to be for ever gazing upward, and
statues are less agreeable companions than human beings.

If you wish to be thought spotless marble, instead of warm flesh and
blood, you should have gone into a museum, and refused marriage.
Remember God knew what He was about, when He fashioned woman to be man's
companion, mate, and mother of his children.

Respect yourself in all those capacities, and regard the fulfilment of
each duty as sacred and beautiful.

Do not thrust upon the man's mind continually the idea that you are a
vastly higher order of being than he is.

He will reach your standard much sooner if you come half-way and meet
him on the plane of common sense and human understanding. Meantime let
him never doubt your abhorrence of vulgarity, and your distaste for the
familiarity which breeds contempt.

It is a great art, when a wife knows how to attract a husband year after
year, with the allurements of the boudoir, and never to disillusion him
with the familiarities of the dressing-room.

Such women there are, who have lived with their lovers in poverty's
close quarters, and through sickness and trouble, and yet have never
brushed the bloom from the fruit of romance. But she who needs to be
told in what this art consists, would never understand, and she who
understands, need not be told.

Keep your husband certain of the fact that his attention and society is
more agreeable to you than that of any other man. But never beg for his
attentions, and do not permit him to think you are incapable of enjoying
yourself without his playing the devoted cavalier.

The moment a man feels such an attitude is compulsory, it becomes
irksome. Learn how to entertain yourself. Cling to your accomplishments
and add others. A man admires a progressive woman who keeps step with
the age. Study, and think, and read, and cultivate the art of listening.
This will make you interesting to men and women alike, and your husband
will hear you praised as an agreeable and charming woman, and that
always pleases a man, as it indicates his good taste and good luck.

Avoid giving your husband the impression that you expect a detailed
account of every moment spent away from you. Convince him that you
believe in his honour and loyalty, and that you have no desire to
control or influence his actions in any matters which do not conflict
with his self-respect or your pride.

Cultivate the society of the women he admires. There is both wisdom and
tact in such a course.

Wisdom in making an ideal a reality, and tact in avoiding any semblance
of that most unbecoming fault--jealousy.

Let him see that you have absolute faith in your own powers to hold him,
and that you respect him too much to mistake a frank admiration for an
unworthy sentiment. Do not hesitate to speak with equal frankness of the
qualities you admire in other men. Educate him in liberality and
generosity, by example.

Allow no one to criticize him in your presence, and do not discuss his
weaknesses with others. I have known wives to meet in conclaves, and
dissect husbands for an entire afternoon. And each wife seemed anxious
to pose as the most neglected and unappreciated woman of the lot. With
all the faults of the sterner sex, I never heard of such a caucus of
husbands.

Take an interest in your husband's business affairs, and sympathize with
the cares and anxieties which beset him. Distract his mind with pleasant
or amusing conversation, when you find him nervous and fagged in brain
and body.

Yet do not feel that you must never indicate any trouble of your own,
for it is conducive to selfishness when a wife hides all her worries and
indispositions to listen to those of her husband. But since the
work-a-day world, outside the home, is usually filled with irritations
for a busy man, it should be a wife's desire to make his home-coming a
season of anticipation and joy.

Do not expect a husband to be happy and contented with a continuous diet
of love and sentiment and romance. He needs also much that is practical
and commonplace mingled with his mental food.

I have known an adoring young wife to irritate Cupid so he went out and
sat on the door-step, contemplating flight, by continual neglect of
small duties.

There were never any matches in the receivers; when the husband wanted
one he was obliged to search the house. The newspaper he had folded and
left ready to read at leisure was used to light the fire, although an
overfilled waste-basket stood near. The towel-rack was empty just when
he wanted his bath, and his bedroom slippers were always kicked so far
under the bed that he was obliged to crawl on all fours to reach them.

Then his loving spouse was sure to want to be "cuddled" when he was
smoking his cigar and reading,--a triple occupation only possible to a
human freak, with three arms, four eyes, and two mouths.

Therefore I would urge you, my dear Edna, to mingle the practical with
the ideal, and common sense with sentiment, and tact with affection, in
your domestic life.

These general rules are all I can give to guide your barque into the
smooth, sea of marital happiness.

It is a wide sea, with many harbours and ports, and no two ships start
from exactly the same point or take exactly the same course. You will
encounter rocks and reefs, perhaps, which my boat escaped, and I have no
chart to guide you away from those rocks.

If I knew you better, and knew your husband at all, I might steer you a
little farther out of Honeymoon Bay into calm waters, and tell you how
to reef your sails, and how to tack at certain junctures of the voyage,
and with the wind in certain directions.

But if you keep your heart full of love, your mind clear of distrust,
and your lips free from faultfinding, and if you pray for guidance and
light upon your way, I am sure you cannot miss the course.




To Miss Gladys Weston

_Who Faces the Necessity to Earn a Living_


It is indeed a problem, my dear Gladys, to face stern-visaged Necessity
after walking with laughing-lipped Pleasure for twenty-two years.

What an unforeseen event that your father should sink his fortune in a
rash venture and die of remorse and discouragement scarcely six months
after you were travelling through Europe with me, and laughing at my
vain attempts to make you economize.

You have acted the noble and womanly part, in using the last dollar of
your father's property to pay his debts, and I could imagine you doing
no other way.

But now comes the need of earning a livelihood for yourself, and your
delicate mother.

I know you have gone over the list of your accomplishments and taken
stock of all your inherited and acquired qualities. You play the piano
well, but in these days of Paderewskies and pianolas, no one wants to
employ a young girl music-teacher. You do not sing, and if you did, that
would not afford you a means of support. The best of natural voices need
a fortune spent before half a fortune can be earned.

You dance like a fairy, and swim like a mermaid, and ride like an Indian
princess, but these accomplishments are not lucrative, save in a Midway
Plaisance or a Wild West show. You are well educated and your memory is
remarkable. You have a facility in mathematics, and your knowledge of
grammar and rhetoric will, as you say, enable you to pass the
examination for a teacher in the public schools after a little brushing
up and study. Then, with the political influence of your father's old
friends, you will no doubt be able to obtain a position.

I recollect you as surpassingly skilful with the needle. I know you
once saw a charming morning gown in Paris which I persuaded you not to
buy at the absurd price asked for it, after the merchant understood we
were Americans. And I remember how you passed to another department,
purchased materials, went home to our hotel, and cut and made a
surprising imitation of the gown at one-tenth the cost.

Why have you not considered turning this talent to account? Though the
world goes to war and ruin, yet women will dress, and the need of good
seamstresses ever exists.

Go to some enterprising half-grown Western or interior Eastern town,
announce yourself in possession of all the Paris styles (as you are),
and launch out. Increase your prices gradually, and go abroad on your
savings at the end of a year, then come back with new ideas, a larger
stock, and higher prices.

You will be on the road to fortune, and can retire with a competence
before you are middle-aged. A little skill with the scissors and
needle, lots of courage and audacity, and original methods will make a
woman succeed in this line of endeavour.

But why do I not approve of the profession upon which you have almost
decided--that of teaching--you ask.

I will tell you why.

Next to motherhood, the profession of teacher in public or private
schools is the most important one on earth.

It is, in a certain sense, more responsible than that of motherhood,
since the work of poor and bad mothers must be undone by the teacher,
and where the mother has three or four children for a period of years to
influence, the teacher has hundreds continually. There are very few
perfect teachers. There are too few excellent ones. There are too many
poor ones. I do not believe you possess the requisites for the calling.

A teacher should first of all love children as a class. Their
dependence, their ignorance, their helplessness, and their unformed
characters should appeal to a woman's mind, and make her forget their
many and varied faults and irritating qualities. You like lovable,
well-bred, and interesting children, but you are utterly indifferent to
all others. You adore beauty, and an ugly child offends your taste. A
stupid child irritates you.

You have a wonderful power of acquiring and remembering information, but
you do not possess the knack of readily imparting it. You expect others
to grasp ideas in the same way you do. This will make you unsympathetic
and impatient as a teacher. You have no conception of the influence a
teacher exerts upon children in public schools. You were educated in
private schools and at home, I know. I attended the country public
school, and to this day I can recall the benefits and misfortunes which
resulted to me from association with different teachers. Children are
keenly alive to the moods of teachers and are often adepts in
mind-reading.

A teacher should be able to enter into the hearts and souls of the
children under her charge, and she should find as great pleasure in
watching their minds develop as the musical genius in watching a
composition grow under his touch.

An infinite number of things not included in the school routine should
be taught by teachers. Courtesy, kindness to dependents and weaker
creatures, a horror of cruelty in all forms, a love of nature,
politeness to associates, low speaking and light walking, cleanliness
and refinement of manner,--all these may be imparted by a teacher who
loves to teach, without extra time or fatigue. I fear a proud disdain,
and a scarcely hidden disgust, would be plainly visible in your
demeanour toward the majority of the untrained little savages given to
your charge in a public school. You have not the love of humanity at
large in your heart, nor the patience and perseverance to make you take
an optimistic view in the colossal work of developing the minds of
children. Therefore it seems to me almost a sin for you to undertake
the profession merely because you need to earn a living. There are other
things to be considered besides your necessities. Fond as I am of you, I
have the betterment of humanity at my heart, too, and cannot feel it is
right for you to place yourself in a position where you will not be
doing the best for those dependent upon you that could be done.

I have given up hope of seeing mothers made to realize their
responsibilities. But I still have hope of the teachers. On them and
their full understanding of all it is in their power to do, lies the
hope of the world.

Therefore, my dear girl, I urge you to take up dressmaking or millinery
instead of school-teaching.

If you ruin a piece of goods in the making, you can replace it and
profit by your error. But if you mar a child's nature in your attempt to
teach him, you have done an irreparable injury not only to him but to
humanity.

If you saw a design started by a lace-maker, you would not think of
taking the work and attempting to complete it until you had learned the
art of lace-making.

Just so you ought not to think of developing the wonderful intricacies
of a child's mind until you have learned how.

It is all right to deliberately choose a vocation which gives us contact
only with inanimate things, but we have no right to take the handling of
human souls unless we are specially fitted for the task.




To Clarence St. Claire

_Regarding His Sister's Betrothal_


Your request, my dear Clarence, that I try to influence your sister to
change her determination in this matter, calls for some very plain
statements from me.

I have known you and Elise since you were playing with marbles and
rattles, and your mother and I have been very good acquaintances
(scarcely intimate enough to be called friends) for more than a score of
years. You are very much like your mother, both in exterior appearance
and in mind. Elise is the image of her father at the time he captured
your mother's romantic fancy, and as I recollect him when he died.

You were five years old, Elise three, at that time. Your mother lived
with your father six years in months, an eternity in experience. You
know that she was unhappy, and that he disillusioned her with love, and
almost with life. He married your mother solely for her fortune. She was
a sweet and beautiful girl, of excellent family, but your father had no
qualities of mind or soul which enabled him to appreciate or care for
any woman, save as she could be of use to him, socially and financially.

In six years he managed to dispose of all but a mere pittance of her
fortune, and humiliated her in a thousand ways besides. His only decent
act was to die and leave her undisturbed for the remainder of her life.
Your uncle assisted in her support and saved the remnant of her
property, so that she has, by careful and rigorous economy, been able to
educate you and Elise, and keep up a respectable appearance in a quiet
way.

Of course it was impossible to retain her place among the associates of
her better days, and you know how bitter this fact has always made
Elise. Your sister has the physical beauty and the overwhelming love of
money and power which characterized your father. She has a modicum of
your mother's sense of honour, but has been reared in a way not
calculated to develop much strength of character. Your mother has been a
slave to your sister. Elise is incapable of a deep, intense love for any
man, and your mother's pessimistic ideas of love and marriage have still
further acted upon her brain cells and atrophied whatever impulses may
have been latent in her nature, to love and be loved. These qualities
might have been developed had Elise been under the tutelage of some one
versed in the science of brain building, but your mother, like most
mothers, was not aware of the tremendous possibilities within her grasp,
or of the effect of the ideas she expressed in the hearing of her
children. Neither did she seem to recognize the father's traits in
Elise, and undertake the work of eliminating them, as she might have
done. She has been an unselfish and devoted mother, and has made too
many sacrifices for Elise. At the same time, she has awakened the mind
of your sister to ideals of principle and honour which will help her to
be a better woman than her inheritance from your father would otherwise
permit. But now, at the age of twenty-one, it is impossible to hope that
she will develop into a self-sacrificing, loving, womanly woman, whose
happiness can be found in a peaceful domestic life. She has seen your
mother sad and despondent, under the yoke of genteel poverty, and heard
her bemoan her lost privileges of wealth and station. This, added to her
natural craving for money and place, renders a wealthy marriage her only
hope of happiness on earth.

Mr. Volney has an enormous fortune. He is, as you say, a senile old man
in his dotage. As you say again, such a marriage is a travesty. But
Elise is incapable of feeling the love which alone renders marriage a
holy institution. She has undesirable qualities which ought not to be
transmitted to children, and she is absolutely devoid of maternal
instincts.

I have heard her say she would consider motherhood the greatest
disaster which could befall her. But she is unfitted for a
self-supporting career, and she wants a home and position.

She has beauty, kind and generous impulses, and a love of playing Lady
Bountiful. It is not so much that she wants to benefit the needy, as
that she likes to place people under obligations and to have them look
up to her as a superior being.

Old Mr. Volney is a miser, and his money is doing no one good. He has
only distant relatives, and by taking Elise for a wife (according to
law) he will wrong no one, and she will make much better use of his
fortune than his heirs would make.

Your mother will be relieved of worry and care. Many worthy poor people
and charities will receive help, and Elise will have her heart's
desire--fine apparel, jewels, a social position, and no one to bother
her. The valet and nurse will look after Mr. Volney, and his simple old
heart will bask in the pride of an old man--the possession of a pretty
young wife.

Had he full use of his mental faculties, and did he long for love and
devotion, I would try and dissuade Elise from the marriage, but solely
on _his_ account, not on hers.

The young man you mention, as your choice of a suitor for the hand of
your sister, might better go up in a balloon to seek for Eutopia than to
expect happiness as her husband. He has a sweet, gentle, loving nature,
a taste for quiet home joys, fondness for children, and he has two
thousand a year, with small prospects of more in the near future.

He should marry a modest, domestic girl, with tastes similar to his own,
and with no overweening ambitions. Elise would simply drive him mad in a
year's time, with her restless discontent, her extravagance, and her
desire for the expensive pleasures of earth. It is useless to reason
with her, or to expect her to model her ideas to suit her circumstances.
Inheritance and twenty-one years of wrong education must be taken into
consideration. What would mean happiness for many women would mean
misery for her. I can imagine no more dreadful destiny than to be tied
to a senile old man by a legal ceremony, even were I given his millions
in payment. But that will mean happiness to Elise.

I think we should let people seek their own ideals of happiness, when
they break no law, and injure no other life by it.

I shall congratulate Elise by this post on having made so fortunate an
alliance. I could not congratulate her were she to marry her young
suitor. I shall congratulate your mother on having nothing to worry
about, regarding the future of Elise.

And I advise you to take a philosophical view of the situation, and to
remember that, in judging the actions of our fellow beings, we must take
their temperaments, characteristics, and environment into consideration,
not our own.

You have made the very common error of thinking, because Elise is a
handsome young girl, that love, and home, and children would mean
happiness to her.

Women vary as greatly as do plants and flowers in their needs. The
horticulturist knows that he cannot treat them all alike, and he studies
their different requirements.

To some he gives moisture and sun, to some shade, and to some dry, sandy
soil. The thistle pushes forth a gorgeous bloom from an arid bed. It
would die in the pond where the lily thrives.

Too much sentiment is wasted in this world and too much effort expended
in trying to make all people happy in some one way.

When I was a little girl, a Sunday-school superintendent presented every
girl in the class with a doll, and each doll was exactly the same. Most
little girls like dolls, but I never played with one, as they were
always so hopelessly inanimate. If the good man had given me a sled, or
a book, or a picture, I would have been happy. As it was, his gift was a
failure. You want to present your sister with a devoted young husband,
a cottage, and several children, because you think every woman should
possess these things. Your sister happens to be one who prefers a
wealthy old invalid.

Let her have what she wants, my dear Clarence, and let her work out her
destiny in her own way. She will do less harm in the world than if you
forced her into your way. Now you must remember that you asked me to
help you in this matter, and I could only write you the absolute facts
of the situation, as I knew it to be. I feel fairly confident that you
will accept my point of view, and act as best man at your sister's
wedding.




To Miss Margaret Riley

_Shop Girl, Concerning Her Oppressors_


Your letter has been destroyed, as you requested, and you need not fear
my betraying your confidence.

Your mother was so long in my employ that I feel almost like a
foster-mother to you, having seen you grow up from the cradle to
self-supporting young womanhood.

The troubles and evils which you mention as existing about you, I know
to be quite universal in all large shops, factories, and department
stores, indeed in all houses where the two sexes are employed.

I know that a certain order of men in power use that power to lower the
ideals and standards of womanhood when they can.

A pretty young girl once in my service related to me the cold-blooded
suggestions made to her by her employer to increase the miserable wage
paid her in a sweat-shop.

The sacrifice of her virtue seemed no more to this man than the sale of
an old garment.

The girl did not make the sacrifice, however, and she did not starve,
freeze, or die. She managed to exist and to better her condition by
doing domestic work and saving her money to fit herself for more
congenial employment. When I last saw her she was planning to become a
trained nurse, and had paid for a course of instruction in massage. I
tell you this merely to illustrate a fact I fully believe, that any girl
who is determined to live an honourable life and retain her self-respect
can make her way in the world and rise from lesser to higher positions,
if she is patient and willing to do what is termed menial work as a
stepping-stone. You tell me that scores of girls are kept in poorly
paying, inferior positions when capable of filling better places,
simply because they will not accept the dishonourable attentions of some
of the men in authority.

You beg me to arouse the good women of America to a crusade against what
you say is a growing evil and to boycott such shops and stores.

But you ask me to do what is an impracticable thing.

You would not like to be called as a witness were this matter brought
before the courts. Were all the good women of America to begin such a
crusade, where would they obtain the proofs of their accusations?

And even if the witnesses were ready, there is not a newspaper in the
land that would dare champion the reform. And no great reform can be
made without the aid of the press. The daily papers, as you say, give
columns to protests against lesser evils, but you must know that these
newspapers are largely supported by the profitable advertisements of
manufactories and dry-goods houses. Glance over the columns of any of
our large dailies and see how much space such advertising occupies.

Imagine what it would mean to lose all this high-priced patronage.
Therefore, even if the most moral of editors knew that these
establishments were undermining our social conditions and invading our
homes, I doubt if he could be induced to make a protest. It is a curious
thing to see how many are the kinds of victims caught and held in the
clutches of the money-devil-fish in our wonderful land of freedom.

Even clergymen who are preaching morality and brotherly love are
compelled to keep their mouths shut on certain evils and abuses, lest
they offend the pillars of the church and deprive the treasury of its
income.

In a certain New England town famous for its educational institution, a
clergyman denounced a corporation which had swindled the poor and
deceived scores of citizens. He was requested to discontinue further
references to the matter, as the church treasury was supplied by the
money which accrued from this monopoly.

The most powerful members of the church were officers in the
corporation.

The young clergyman sent in his resignation and gave up an assured
salary to follow the light of his own conscience. But there are few with
his bravery and, therefore, the strongholds of selfishness and
self-indulgence remain impregnable. While we admire the splendid
character which makes a man capable of refusing a salary which means
hush-money, we can at the same time understand the difficult position of
a clergyman with a hungry brood of children to support, who hesitates at
such a move. We can understand how he argues with himself, that by
taking the money of the monopolists, he is able to do more good for
humanity than by refusing it, and losing both influence and income. It
is a false argument, yet the worn and weary mind of the average orthodox
minister will accept it as the advisable course to pursue. So you will
see how difficult is the task you suggest my undertaking. You tell me
that it is useless for you to leave one shop and go to another, as all
are more or less conducted on the same lines; and that it is mere chance
if a girl finds herself in a position where she can advance on her
merits. Even then a sudden change in heads of departments some day may
destroy all her hopes.

You say I have no idea how many girls go wrong just through the
persecution and tyranny of these men--forced to fall in order to keep
herself fed and clothed. I repeat what I said already in this
connection,--that I am certain any girl determined to keep herself above
reproach and ambitious to rise in the world can do so. She may have to
endure many privations and sorrows for a time, and that time may seem
long and weary, _but a change will come for the better as surely as
spring follows winter, if she does not waver_.

If you will look carefully into the facts of the cases which fall under
your observation, I am confident you will see that it is vanity and
indolence, not hunger and oppression, which cause the majority of the
girls you mention to go astray. They desire to make as good an
appearance, and to be given the same privileges of leisure, as the
favourite who has been promoted through unworthy methods.

You tell me you would rather jump from Brooklyn Bridge and end the
struggle at once than lose your self-respect, but that you are weary of
seeing the girls with less conscience, and lesser capabilities, pushed
ahead of you and your worthy associates. Yet I am certain from the tone
of your letter that you will never forget your self-respect, and I have
faith that you can make your way in the world in spite of all the
designing masculine oppressors in existence.

So will any woman, who sets her mark high, and believes in the
invincible power of her own spirit to conquer all the demons of earth.

Do not imagine your position is one of unusual trial and temptation. A
young actress of my acquaintance has been obliged to fight her way
slowly to partial recognition because she would not accept the
conditions offered, with leading roles and fine wardrobe, by two
polygamous-minded managers.

She is making her way, however, and the very battle she is fighting with
life has strengthened her powers as an artist. A young stenographer has
been compelled to give up two positions because she would not allow the
loverlike attentions of married employers. She was called a silly prude
and discharged. Yet she is occupying an excellent position with a clean
high-class business house to-day.

Domestics are sometimes driven from private homes by the same pursuit of
the employer. Men are only in a state of evolution, and the animal
instincts are still strong in them. The world has allowed them so much
license, and society has been so lenient with their misdeeds, that it
has been difficult for them to practise self-control and aspire to a
higher standard. You must be sorry for them and do what you can to help
them understand the worth and value of true womanhood. Never for one
instant believe that you can be hindered by the machinations of a few
unworthy men, from reaching any goal you set.

One good, intelligently virtuous woman, determined to make the most of
her capabilities by fair methods, can overcome a whole army of
self-indulgent, sensual men, and compel them to doff their hats to her.
I am always deeply sympathetic toward the girl who is tempted through
her emotions, or her affections, to forget herself. But I have no great
pity for the woman who sells herself. There are always charitable
societies, and there are always menial labours to do, and either door of
escape from the sale of honour would be sought by the girl of right
ideals. It is a bitter experience to see the woman who _has_ stepped
down into the soil of life flaunting her finery and her power in the
face of virtue. But look about you and see how soon the finery becomes
tatters--how soon the power is transferred to another.

Woman's position in the world is growing better, brighter, and more
independent with each year. There are more avenues open to her--larger
opportunities waiting for the employment of her abilities. She has tried
a thorny path for centuries, but she has small reason to despair of her
outlook to-day.

Each woman must fight her battle alone, and walk by the light from
within.

The world gives her only a superficial protection, either through its
courts or its society.

Men demand virtue from woman and endeavour in every way to lead her away
from its path.

But the divinity within her can carry her to the heights, if she will
not be lured by the voice of the senses, or frightened by the demands of
the appetite, or debased by the mercenary spirit of the age.

Go on in your brave determination to lead a sensible and moral life, my
dear girl, and let your example be a guide to others, and prove that
woman may succeed on the right basis if she will, in spite of
temptations and oppressions.




To Miss Gladys Weston

_After Three Years as a Teacher_


The way you took my frank criticisms and doubts of your ability to make
a good school-teacher, proves you to be a girl of much character. Your
success proves, too, that given the general qualifications of a fairly
capable and educated human being, add concentration and will, and we can
achieve wonders in any line of work we undertake. I am still of the
opinion that no woman of my acquaintance was more wholly unfit to teach
young children, as they should be taught, than your fair self as I last
knew you.

I take pride in believing that my heroic methods were what brought out
the undeveloped qualities you needed to ensure such success.

There are certain natures that need to be antagonized before they do
their best. Others are prostrated and robbed of all strength by a
criticism or a doubt.

You have realized this, I am sure, in your experiences with pupils.
"_You cannot do it_" is a more stimulating war-cry to some people than
"_You can_." And to such the sneer of the foe does more good, than the
smile of the friend. A phrenologist would tell us that strongly
developed organs of self-esteem and love of approbation accompanied this
trait of character.

I am sure it proves to be the case with you.

Brought up as you were, the only child of indulgent parents, and given
admiration and praise by all your associates, you could hardly reach the
age of twenty-two without having developed self-esteem and love of
praise. You were naturally brighter than most of your companions. (They
were also children of fortune, as the term goes, but to my idea the
children reared in wealth, are usually children of misfortune. For the
real fortune of life is to encounter the discipline which brings out
our strongest qualities.)

Your father was a poor boy, who fought his way up to wealth and power
before you were born; but he unfortunately wanted the earth beside, and
so died in poverty after staking all he had, which was enough, to make
more, which he did not need.

You inherit much of his force of character, and that is what gave you
the reputation of extreme cleverness among your more commonplace
companions. Compared with the really brilliant and talented people of
earth, you are not clever. That is why I found you so companionable and
charming, no doubt; for the brilliant people--especially women--are
rarely companionable for more than a few hours at a time. I gave you
that supreme test of friendship--the companionship of travel for a
period of months. And I loved you better at the end of the time than at
the beginning.

I have often thought how much less occupation there would be for the
divorce courts and how many more "indefinitely postponed" announcements
of engagements would result from an established custom of a
pre-betrothal trip!

If a young man and woman who were enamoured could travel for two or
three months, with a chaperon (in the shape of a mother-in-law or two),
the lawyers would lose much profit; but I fear race suicide might ensue.
Nothing, unless it is the sick-room or the card-table, brings out the
real characteristics of human beings like travel.

The irritating delays of boats and trains, and the still more irritating
unresponsiveness of officials, when asked the cause, will test the
temper and the patience of even a pair of lovers. It is not surprising
if the traveller does lose both at times, but it is admirable if he does
not. I remember how adorable you were, while I was a bundle of dynamite,
ready to explode and send the stolid, uncommunicative conductor and
brakemen into a journey through space, when we suffered that long delay
coming from California. It is due the travelling public to explain such
delays, but the railroads of America have grown to feel that they owe no
explanation to any one, even to God, for what they do or do not. While I
lost vitality and composure by such idle reflections, you were amusing
the nervous travellers by your bright bits of narrative and ready
repartee. That fortunate fellow you have promised to marry at the end of
two years has no idea what a charming companion he will find in you for
travel.

It is interesting to have you say you feel that you need two more years
as a teacher, before you are fully developed enough to take up the
responsibilities of marriage. You will be twenty-seven then:--that is
the age at which the average American girl begins to be most
interesting, and the age when she is first physically mature.

And your children will be more fully endowed mentally than if you had
become a mother in your teens.

As a rule the brainy people of the world are not born of very youthful
parents; you will find youth gives physique, maturity gives brains to
offspring.

I did not quite finish my train of reasoning about your self-esteem.

It was because you had always believed yourself to be capable of doing
anything you undertook to do, that you were roused by my assertion that
you could not make a good school-teacher, to attempt it. I hurt your
pride a bit, and you were determined to prove me wrong. Had you been
self-depreciating and oversensitive, what I said would have turned you
from that field of effort. And that would have been a desirable result,
since one who can be turned from any undertaking _ought to be_.

I still think the world has lost a wonderful artist by your not entering
the lists of designers and dressmakers. But since my recital of the
faults which would prevent your success as a teacher led you to overcome
them, I am proud and glad, that you have gone on in the work you
contemplated. Good teachers are more needed than good dressmakers.

And you are sweet and charming as usual, to tell me that your
popularity with children and parents, is greatly due to that letter of
mine.

What you write me of the young girl who is making you so much trouble by
her jealousy of all other pupils, interests and saddens me. Her devotion
to you is of that morbid type, so unwholesome and so dangerous to her
peace, and the peace of all her associates. It is a misfortune that
mothers do not take such traits in early babyhood, and eradicate them by
patient, practical methods. Instead, this mother, like many others,
seems to think her little girl should be favoured and flattered because
of her morbid tendency.

She mistakes selfishness, envy, greediness, and hysteria for a loving
nature.

I can imagine your feelings when this mother told you with a proud
smile, "Allie always wants the whole attention of any one she loves, and
cannot stand sharing her friends. She was always that way at home. We
never could pet her little brother without her going into a spasm. And
you must be careful about showing the other children attention before
her. It just breaks her heart--she is so sensitive."

Oh, mothers, mothers, what are you thinking about, to be so blind to the
work put in your hands to do?

You have little time comparatively to work upon this perverted young
mind: but under no conditions favour her, and, no matter what scenes she
makes, continue to give praise and affection to the other children when
it is their due. The prominence of her parents in the neighbourhood, and
the power her father wields in the school board, need not worry you. Go
ahead and do what is best for the child and for the school at large.
Never deviate one inch from your convictions. Take Allie some day to a
garden where there are many flowers, and talk to her about them. Speak
of all their different charms, and gather a bouquet. Then say to her,
"Now, Allie, you and I love each of these pretty flowers, and see how
sweetly they nestle together in your hand. Not one is jealous of the
other. Each has its place, and would be missed were it not there. The
bouquet needs them all. Just so I need all the dear children in my
school, and just so I would miss any one. It makes me ashamed to think
any little girl is more selfish and unreasonable than a plant, for
little girls are a higher order of creation, and we expect more of them
than we expect of plants or of animals. All are parts of God, but the
human kingdom is the highest expression of the Creator.

"When you show such jealousy of other children I lose respect for you,
and cannot love you as much as I love them. When you are gentle and
good, and take your share of my love and attention, and let others have
their share, then I am proud of you and fond of you. Suppose one plant
said to the sunlight that it must have all the sun, would not that be
ridiculous and selfish?"

I would make frequent references to this idea when alone with her, and
indeed it would serve as an excellent subject for a talk to all your
pupils some day. Then try and make Allie understand how unbecoming and
unlovable jealousy is, and how it renders a man or woman an object of
pity and ridicule to others.

Praise the people you know who are liberal and broad, and absolutely
ignore her moods when in school.

Perhaps in time you can do a little toward awakening her mind to a more
wholesome outlook.

What you tell me of her hysterical devotion to one of her classmates,
makes me realize that the girl needs careful guidance.

You should talk to her mother, and warn her against encouraging such
conditions of mind in her child.

Urge her to keep the girl occupied, and to give her much out-door life,
and to teach her that pronounced demonstrations of affection are not
good form between young girls. The mother should be careful what books
she reads, and should see that she makes no long visits to other homes
and receives no guests for a continued time. The child needs to
cultivate universal love, not individual devotion.

Ideals, principles, ambitions, should be given the girl, not close
companions, for her nature is like a rank, weedy flower that needs
refining and cultivating into a perfected blossom.

All this needs a mother's constant care and tact and watchfulness. It is
work she should have begun when her little girl first indicated her
unfortunate tendencies.

It is late for you to undertake a reconstruction of the misshapen
character, but you may be able to begin an improvement, and if you can
obtain the mother's cooperation the full formation may be accomplished.

And do not fail to use mental suggestion constantly, and to help the
child by your assertions to be what you want her to become. Dwell in
conversation with her and in her presence, upon the lovableness and
charm of generosity of spirit in general, rather than on the selfishness
you observe in herself.

At her least indication of an improvement, give her warm praise. Be
careful about bestowing caresses upon her, as she needs to be guarded
against hysteria, I should judge from your description. To some children
they are the sunlight, to others miasma.

Think of yourself as God's agent, given charge of his unfinished work,
and recognize the unseen influences ready to aid you with suggestion and
courage when you appeal to them.




To a Young Friend

_Who Has Become Interested in the Metaphysical Thoughts of the Day_

Your letter bubbled with enthusiasm, and steamed with optimism. I am
rejoiced that you have come into so healthful a line of thought, for I
know of no one who was in more immediate need of it than you, when we
last met.

As your hostess, I could not tell you how wearing to the nerves your
continual reverting to your physical ills became: and I hope I did not
seem wholly unsympathetic to you when I so frequently made the effort to
change the conversation to more cheerful topics.

And now you tell me that you are astounded to find how universal is this
topic with all classes, and on all occasions when one or two human
beings gather together even in "His name." Your recital of the church
sewing-bee, where all the good Christian women described their diseases
and the different operations they and their friends had undergone, is as
amusing as it is distressingly realistic.

What a pity that the old theology fostered the idea that God especially
loved the people he afflicted with illness and poverty and trouble! It
has filled the world with egotistical and selfish invalids and idlers,
who have believed they were "God's chosen ones," instead of realizing
that they were the natural results of broken laws, which might be mended
by the aid of the God-power in themselves, once they understood it.

How Christians have reconciled the idea of a God of love with a God who
wanted his chosen ones to be sick and poor, is a problem I cannot solve.

Of course you are well, and growing stronger daily, now that you realize
the fact that God made only health, wealth, and love, and that he
intended all his children to share his opulence.

As soon as the mind is filled with a dominating idea, no lesser ones can
find lodgment therein.

A woman of my acquaintance suffered agonies from seasickness.

She crossed the ocean twice each year, yet seemed unable to accustom
herself to the experience.

On her last voyage her child fell dangerously sick with typhoid fever on
the second day out at sea.

So wrought up was the mother, and so filled with the thought of her
child, that she never felt one moment's seasickness. Her mind was
otherwise occupied.

Now you have filled your mind with a consciousness of your divine right
to health and happiness, and the thought of sickness and disease has no
room.

Yet do not be discouraged if you feel the old ailments and
indispositions returning at times. A complete change in mental habits,
is difficult to obtain in a moment.

Be satisfied to grow slowly. A wise philosopher has said, "It is not in
never falling that we show our strength, but in our ability to rise
after repeated falls, and to continue our journey in triumph."

Avoid talking your belief to every individual you meet. It will be
breaking your string of pearls for the feet of swine to tread upon.
Those who are ready for these truths will indicate the fact to you, and
then will be your time for speech. And when you do speak, say little,
and say it briefly and to the point.

Leave some things for other minds to study out alone. The people who are
not ready for higher ideals of religion and life, will only ridicule or
combat your theories and beliefs, if you force them to listen.

Wait until you have fully illustrated by your own conduct of life, that
you have something beside vague theories to prove your statements of the
power of the mind to conquer circumstance. The world is full to-day of
bedraggled and haggard men and women, who are talking loudly of the
power of mind to restore youth and health, and bestow riches and
success.

Do not add yourself to the unlovely and tiresome army of talkers, until
you prove yourself a doer.

And even after you have shown a record of health and prosperity and
usefulness, let your silent influence speak louder than your uttered
words.

The moment a philosopher becomes a bore, he ceases to be a philosopher.




To Wilfred Clayborn

_Concerning His Education and His Profession_


My Dear Nephew:--I have considered your request from all sides, and have
resolved to disappoint you. This seems to me the kindest thing I can do
under the circumstances.

You have gone through two years of college life, and I am sure you are
not an ignoramus. Most of the great men of the world's history have
enjoyed no fuller educational advantages. To lend you money to finish
the college course, would be to help you to start life at the age of
twenty-two under the burden of debt. If you are determined to finish a
college course, and feel that only by so doing will you equip yourself
for the duties of life, I would advise you to drop out for a year and
teach, or go into any kind of work which will enable you to earn enough
to proceed with your studies. However hard and however disappointing
this advice seems to you, I know it suggests a course which will do more
for your character than all the money I could lend you.

Aside from the fact that you would begin life with a debt, is the
possibility of your contracting the debt habit.

One man in a thousand who borrows money to help himself along in early
life is benefited by it.

The other 999 are harmed.

To do anything on another's money is to lean on the shoulder of another
instead of walking upright. It is not good calisthenic exercise.

A few years ago I would have acceded to your request.

But each year I live I realize more and more that lending money is the
last method to be used in helping people to better themselves. In almost
every case where I have lent money, I have lived to regret it. Not
because I lost my money (which has usually been the fact), but because
I lost respect for my friends.

I remember the case of a young newspaper man and author, who came to me
for the loan of five dollars. I had never seen him before, but I knew
his brother, a brilliant playwright, in a social way.

The young man told me he had met with a series of disasters on the
voyage to New York, and was stranded there absolutely penniless,
although money would come at almost any hour from his brother.

Besides this, he showed me letters from editors who had taken work which
would be paid for on publication.

"I do not know any one here," the young man said, "and to-day, when I
used my last twenty-five cents, I thought of you in desperation.

"Your acquaintance with my brother would serve as an introduction, I
felt, and I was confident you would realize my straits when I told you
my errand."

Of course I lent the young man five dollars. "I am sure it must be a
great humiliation for you to ask for this," I said, "and I am certain
you will repay it, though many former experiences have made me question
the memory of friends and strangers to whom I have been of similar
assistance."

One week later the young man called to tell me he had not been able to
do more than keep himself sustained at lunch-counters since he called,
but hoped soon to obtain a position on a daily newspaper.

That was ten years ago. The young man sat in an orchestra chair the
other night at the theatre directly in front of me, and his attire was
faultlessly up to date. From the costume of his companion, I should
judge their carriage waited outside.

The young man did not seem to recognize me, and no doubt the incident I
mention has escaped his memory.

In all probability I was but one of a score of people who helped him
with small loans. Had the young man had been forced to appeal to the
society organized in every city for aiding the deserving poor, by being
sent disappointed from my door, the ordeal would have so hurt his pride,
that he might not have become the professional borrower he undoubtedly
is.

I could relate innumerable cases of a similar nature. One man, who was a
fashionable teacher of French among the millionaires of New York for
several seasons, appealed to me at a time of year when all his patrons
were out of the city for a loan to enable him to give his wife medical
treatment.

He was to repay it in the autumn. Instead, he came to me then with a
much more distressing story of immediate need and seeming proof of money
coming to him in a few months. To my chagrin, the loan I advanced was
employed in giving a feast to friends at his daughter's wedding, after
which he obliterated himself from my vision.

Financial aid lent a woman who soon afterward circled Europe, brought no
reimbursement. Her handsomely engraved card, with the "Russell Square
Hotel, London," as address, reached me instead of the interest money
which perhaps paid the engraver.

Money lent a young man to start a small business, was used for his
wedding expenses, and an interval of five years brings no word from him.
Poor and despicable beings indeed, become the victims of the borrowing
habit. It is the shattered faith in humanity, and the heart hurts that I
regret, rather than the loss of what can be replaced. I tell you these
incidents that you may realize how I have come to regard money-lending,
as a species of unkindness to a friend or relative.

It is only one step removed from giving a sick or overtaxed man or woman
a morphine powder.

Sleep and rest ensue, but ten to one the habit is formed for life.

The happy experiences of my life in money-lending, have been two
instances where I offered loans which were not asked, and which proved
to be bridges over the chasm of temporary misfortune, to the success
awaiting a worthy woman and man. The really deserving rarely ask for
loans.

I can imagine with what pleasure you would take a cheque from this
letter, for the amount which would carry you through college.

Yet when you had finished your course, you would find so many things you
wanted to do, and must do, the debt would become too heavy to lift, save
by borrowing from some one else.

If not that, then you would impose upon the fact of our relationship,
and on your belief that I had plenty of means without the amount you
owed me: and so you would join the great army of good-for-nothings in
the world.

There is one thing you must always remember:

No matter how close the blood tie between two beings, even twins, each
soul comes into the world alone, and with a separate life destiny to
work out.

If I have worked out my destiny to financial independence, that does
not entitle you to a share of it. If it seems best for me to aid you, it
is not because a blood tie makes it a duty. I grow to believe there is a
sort of curse on money which is not earned, even when it is bestowed by
father, on son or daughter.

It cripples individual development. Only when money is earned is it
blest.

Regarding your future profession, I cannot agree with your idea that
because you feel no particular love for any one calling, and have a
halfway tendency toward several, that you will never be a success. Great
geniuses are often consumed with a passion for some one line of study or
employment, but there have been many great men who did not know what
they were fitted to do until accident or necessity gave them an
opportunity.

Success means simply concentration and perseverance.

Whether you decide to be a mechanic, a lawyer, a doctor, or a merchant,
the one thing to do is to fix all your mental powers upon the goal you
select, and then call all the forces from within and from without, to
aid you to reach it.

It would, of course, be folly for you to select a profession which
requires special talent. No matter how you might concentrate and apply
yourself, you could never be a great poet, a great artist, or a great
musician.

You have not the creative genius.

But law, medicine, mechanics, or mercantile matters, with your good
brain and fair education, you could conquer.

You say you vacillate from one to another, like the wind which goes to
the four points of the compass in twenty-four hours.

But you are very young, and this should not discourage you.

It would be well to think the four vocations over quietly, when alone,
and sit down by yourself early in the morning asking for guidance. Then,
when you feel you have made a decision, let nothing turn you from it.

Direct all your studies and thoughts to further that decision.

Think of yourself as achieving the very highest success in your chosen
field, and work for that end.

You cannot fail.

If you desire light from without upon the best path to pursue, I would
advise you to find a good phrenologist, and have a careful reading made
of your head. Its formation and the development of its organs would
indicate in what direction lay your greatest strength, and where you
needed to be especially watchful.

But remember if your phrenologist tells you that you have a weak will,
it does not mean that you must necessarily _always_ have a weak will. It
means that you are to strengthen it, by concentration. There is a great
truth underlying phrenology, palmistry, and astrology; but it is
ridiculous to accept their verdicts as final and unchangeable, and it is
unwise to ignore the good they may do, rightly applied and understood.

I recall the fact that you were born in early June. I know enough about
the influence of the planets upon a child born at that period to assert
that you are particularly inclined to a Gemini nature--the twin nature,
which wants to do two things at one time. You want to stay in and go
out, to read a book and play tennis, to swim and sit on the sand. Later
in life, you will want to remain single and marry, and travel and remain
at home, unless you begin _now_ to select one course of the two which
are for ever presenting themselves to you, in small and large matters.

Whenever you feel yourself vacillating between two impulses, take
yourself at once in hand, decide upon the preferable course, and go
ahead. Dominate your astrological tendencies, do not be dominated by
them. Dominate your weaknesses as exhibited by your phrenological chart,
and build up the brain cells which need strengthening, and lessen the
power of the undesirable qualities by giving them no food or indulgence.

It is a great thing to understand yourself as you are, and then to go
ahead and make yourself what you desire to be.

When a carpenter starts to build a house, he knows just what tools and
what materials to work with are his. If there is a broken implement, he
replaces it with another, and if he is short of material he supplies it.
But young men set forth to make futures and fortunes, with no knowledge
of their own equipment.

They do not know their own strongest or weakest traits, and are
unprepared for the temptations and obstacles that await them.

I would advise you to call in the aid of all the occult sciences, to
help you in forming an estimate of your own higher and lower tendencies,
and in deciding for what line of occupation you were best fitted. Then,
after you have compared the statistics so gathered with your own idea of
yourself, you should proceed to make your character what you wish it to
be.

This work will be ten thousand times more profitable to you than a mere
routine of college studies, gained by running in debt.

To know yourself is far better knowledge than to know Virgil. And to
make yourself is a million times better than to have any one else make
you.




To Miss Elsie Dean

_Regarding the Habit of Exaggeration_


During your visit here with my niece, I became much interested in you.

Zoe had often written me of her affection for you, and I can readily
understand her feeling, now that I have your personal acquaintance.

You have no mother, and your father, you say, absorbed in business, like
so many American fathers, seems almost a stranger. Even the most devoted
fathers, rarely understand their daughters.

Now, I want to take the part of a mother and write you to-day, as I
would write my own daughter, had one been bestowed upon me with the many
other blessings which are mine.

I could not ask for a fairer, more amiable, or brighter daughter than
you, nor one possessed of a kinder or more unselfish nature.

You are lovable, entertaining, industrious, and refined.

But you possess one fault which needs eradicating, or at least a
propensity which needs directing.

_It is the habit of exaggeration in conversation_.

I noticed that small happenings, amusing or exciting, became events of
colossal importance when related by you.

I noticed that brief remarks were amplified and grew into something like
orations when you repeated them.

I confess that you made small incidents more interesting, and
insignificant words acquired poetic meaning under your tongue.

And I confess also that you never once wronged or injured any one by
your exaggerations--save yourself.

Zoe often said to me, "Isn't it wonderful how Elsie's imagination lends
a halo to the commonest event," and all your friends know that you have
this habit of hyperbole in conversation.

Now, in your early girlhood, it is lightly regarded as "Elsie's way."
Later, in your maturity, I fear it will be called a harsher name.

When you come to the time of life that larger subjects than girlish
pranks and badinage engage your mind, it will be necessary for you to be
more exact in your descriptions of occurrences and conversations.
Besides this, there is the heritage of your unborn children to consider.
I once knew a little girl who possessed the same vivid imagination, and
allowed it to continue unchecked through life. She married, and her son,
to-day, is utterly devoid of fine moral senses. He is a mental
monstrosity--incapable of telling the truth. His falsehoods are many and
varied, and his name is a synonym of untruth. He relates, as truth, the
most marvellous exploits in which he really never took part, and
describes scenes and places he has never visited, save through the
pages of some novel.

His lack of moral sense has blighted his mother's life, and she is
wholly unconscious that he is only an exaggerated edition of herself.

I think, as a rule, such imaginations as you possess belong to the
literary mind. I would advise you to turn your attention to
story-writing, and in that occupation you will find vent for your
romantic tendencies.

Meanwhile watch yourself and control your speech.

Learn to be exact.

Tell the truth in small matters, and do not allow yourself to indulge in
seemingly harmless white lies of exaggeration.

There are times when we should refrain from speaking all the truth, but
we should refrain by silence or an adroit change of subject. We should
not feel called upon to relate all the unpleasant truths we know of
people.

When asked what we know of some acquaintance, we are justified in
telling the worthy and commendable traits, and saying nothing of the
faults.

Therefore, while to suppress a portion of the truth is at times wise and
kind, to distort it, or misstate facts, is never needed and never
excusable.

When you and Zoe came from your drive one day you were full of
excitement over an adventure with a Greek road merchant.

As you told the story, the handsome peddler had accosted you at the exit
of the post-office and asked you to look at his wares.

When you declined he became familiar, paid a compliment to Zoe's beauty,
and assured her that a certain lace shawl in his possession would be
irresistible draped about her face.

Then he had pursued the carriage on his wheel and continued to "make
eyes" and pay compliments to the very gate of my home, where he
abandoned the chase.

The facts were, according to further investigation, that the man paid a
simple trade compliment in reference to the shawl and its becomingness
to a pretty face, mounted his wheel and rode away, as it happened, in
the same direction you and Zoe were taking.

Again, you related a bit of repartee between Zoe and a caller, which I
had chanced to over-hear, and out of two short sentences you made a
small brochure, most amusing, but most untrue.

It was complimentary to both Zoe and her caller, yet it was not the
conversation which took place, and therefore was not truthful.

These are trifling incidents, yet they are the straws, telling that the
wind blows from the marsh-lands of inexactness--not from the mountain
tops of truth.

Once a woman loses a sense of the great value of absolute truthfulness,
she has blurred the clear mirror of her soul.

Put yourself upon a diet of _facts_, my sweet young friend, and cure
this propensity, harmless enough now, but dangerous for your future.

Watch your tongue that it does not say _five or six_ when it should say
_two_, or _yards_ when it should say _inches_.

Even in the smallest matters, practise the habit of being exact.

You will thank me for this advice sometime, even if it seems
unreasonable to you to-day, and remember, I would not take the liberty
or the trouble to so advise you, did I not love you and feel anxious for
your welfare.




To Sybyl Marchmont

_Who Has Learned Her Origin_


Your despairing letter lies before me. I wish you were here, my dear
child, that I might talk from my heart, instead of writing from it. I am
sorry that the secret, so long hidden, has been revealed to you, and in
such a despicable manner.

An anonymous letter always carries with it the venom of a serpent. I
have long known your history, though the world generally believed you to
be the actual daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Marchmont, who adopted you when
you were scarcely one week old.

No daughter ever received more affection or better care than these good
people gave you. Mrs. Marchmont lived always with a fear in her heart
that you might learn your history from some idle or malicious lip, and
before she died begged me to be your comforting friend, if that hour
ever came, which has now arrived.

As your mother's nearest friend, it is natural you should turn to me in
your crucial hour of pain. And in reply to your questions regarding the
truth of this anonymous assertion, I will tell you all I know.

Your own mother was well born, and a girl of great beauty and charm. She
was of foreign blood, and her parents, after the foreign custom,
selected for her, at the age of seventeen, a man of mature years and
unattractive personality, but some fortune. The family lived in a
seaport town, and your mother attracted the eye of a young seafaring
man, holding a government position. An intense and uncontrollable love
sprang up between them. Your mother had been kept in ignorance of God's
great law of sex attraction, its purpose and its results, and she was
like a new-born babe towed on the sea of her own suddenly awakened
emotion.

It was arranged that your mother was to elope with her lover on his next
arrival in port. All plans were to be made by him during the voyage on
which he went forth, after a stolen interview with your mother. He was
lost at sea, and all on board the ship perished with him. Mr. and Mrs.
Marchmont chanced to be sojourning in the place at the time of your
birth. Mr. Marchmont had longed for a child, and the tragic story came
to his ears through the physician of your mother's family, and he and
his wife decided to adopt you and take you to America.

I was the one friend who shared with Mrs. Marchmont the story of your
birth. Other friends knew she had adopted a child, and of course all
sorts of rumours were afloat for a time. Mr. Marchmont's nephew was
particularly unfriendly, I remember, as he had believed himself heir to
his uncle's estate until your adoption.

Some three years ago I chanced to be in the seaport town where you were
born, and I made quiet inquiries about your mother. I learned that she
had recently died, leaving a husband and three children. I hunted up the
children, and found them to be most uninteresting and ordinary. The
oldest daughter I met and studied. She was plain and commonplace in
appearance, and the other children were dull and unattractive.

The husband was the elderly man selected by your grandparents. Just how
he had been led to accept the second place in your mother's life, and
whether he had known of the tragedy, I could not learn without asking
more questions than I deemed wise.

But what I want to impress upon your mind by this recital is, _your own
divine inheritance of love,_ the inheritance which has bestowed upon you
physical beauty, mental power, and rare qualities of heart and soul. I
know few women so endowed by the Creator as you. I know of few young
girls--in fact, not one--I would so gladly and proudly claim as a
daughter, or wish a daughter to be like, as your lovely self.

When I read your letter, with its wild expressions of self-abasement and
despair and regret that you were in the world, where, you seemed to
believe, you had no right to be, I could not help picturing to myself
the dull face and disagreeable personality of your half-sister, the
child whom you no doubt believe has a greater right than yourself on
earth. Now whatever society has decided is legal and right for human
beings, you must not forget that God also has made rules, and that those
rules must first be obeyed, before the rules of man can be regarded as
perfect.

God's first law, regarding the propagation of the human species, is that
the _mother must be dominated by a supreme and ruling emotion to give to
the world the highest type of a child_.

Your mother loved your father with all her heart and soul. She was a
young girl, ignorant of the world. She thought of her lover as her
rightful mate, and lived but for the hour when he should rescue her
from the unhappy fate arranged by unwise and sordid-minded parents.

Your father loved her, and they were in God's sight more truly husband
and wife than the soulless and loveless ceremony of the law made her and
her legal husband afterward.

It is a great misfortune that your parents lacked the self-control which
is necessary to every well-balanced human being who seeks for the
fullest development. It is a sad thing that over your life this shadow
of unlegalized birth must rest.

But were I given the choice to-day to be what you are, or what your
sister is, and what thousands of children born of loveless marriages
are, I would not for one second hesitate in my choice.

The world needs marriage laws to keep any order in society.

The wisely reared and well-balanced woman will keep herself in womanly
reserve for her legal husband.

Your mother, by a moment's weakness and loss of self-control, left a
blight upon her life for ever, and a shadow upon yours.

But do not for one instant think of yourself as anything but _a child of
God_, endowed with all the wealth of the spiritual kingdom, whatever the
law may withhold from you here.

You are legitimized by love, your sister is legitimate by law. She is
illegitimate in the sight of heaven, you in sight of earth.

Be glad of your beautiful nature and beautiful qualities, and do not
spoil them by despondency or pessimism.

Think of yourself as if you were a child of Adam and Eve, born before
the serpent appeared, when there was no law but the law of love to
govern two souls, drawn together by irresistible attraction.

The best and highest qualities of two human beings meet and mingle in
your nature. Do you suppose the great Creator of all things regards you
as base born, when he has so endowed you with all that makes woman
lovable and charming.

Live up to your divine inheritance, my dear girl. Make the world better
for your presence in it, and bear your sorrow with that resignation and
philosophy which all human beings must cultivate if they do not wish to
become weak repiners when they face the sorrows of life.

Look the world squarely in the eyes, and feel no shame.

Your mother's marriage to the man she detested, and the birth of
children conceived in loathing, were acts which in my mind called for
more shame on her part than your own birth. Both were misfortunes for
her, since only by living an orderly, controlled, and lawful life can
any human being find happiness or self-respect in the world.

But when we come to the close analysis of motives and impulses, many an
act the world condemns is far less reprehensible than other acts which
meet its loud acclaim.

You have received from the vast spiritual realms about us your rarely
beautiful qualities. Go forth and give them to humanity.

Be strong, be good, be brave, be happy.

No one and nothing can harm you but your own mind.

The world, as we encounter it, is but an echo of our own strong
convictions. Respect yourself absolutely, believe in yourself
absolutely, and the world will respect you and believe in you.

Say to yourself every hour, "I am God's divine creature," and no one
will dare look you in the eyes and say you are anything less than that.

The arms of infinite love enfold you--have no fear.




To Miss Diana Rivers

_Young Lady Contemplating a Career as a Journalist_


Your interesting letter regarding your future plans has been food for my
thoughts ever since its receipt this morning.

I remember when you were my guest a year ago that you told me you felt
like a big bird in a small cage. Every time you tried to spread your
wings you were bruised by bars. Your home environment with its few
duties and small responsibilities, your church and your charities,
failed to give you full opportunity for the exercise of all your vital
forces.

I knew then that you were longing for a career, and I felt confident
that some word would come from you before long, announcing a change in
your life.

I was prepared to hear one of two things--that you were soon to be
married, or that you had decided to enter the dramatic profession. When
a young and attractive woman grows restless and eager for change, she
is, unconsciously to herself, sending out a challenge to Fate to create
new conditions in her life. Despite the fact that no male member in the
"Fate" family has ever attained prominence in the eyes of the world, and
that the three sisters have claimed so much power over the destinies of
the human family, a little investigation will prove that they never make
any pronounced move without calling in the aid of Cupid.

Cupid is their prime minister, and we all know that prime ministers are
the power behind the throne of rulers.

When you sent out your eager thoughts for "something to happen," to
change the monotony of your existence, I knew the Fate sisters were
quite likely telegraphing Cupid that his assistance was needed to quiet
a small riot in the human family.

Once they set Cupid busy with a human heart, the Fates need give it no
further attention. When Cupid reports that his work with the heart is
finished, then the Angel of Resignation or the Angel of Death must
finish the task.

Knowing you to be particularly fond of the theatre as a distraction, I
had thought you might essay the role of society actress, confounding
appreciation for talent, as so many women do; and when your letter
opened with the announcement that you were about to give me a great
surprise, I was prepared to hear that you were billed to appear in a
walking role, with a road company, next season, with promises of greater
things "soon afterward."

But I confess to absolute surprise, as I read on, and learned that your
career was to lead you, not through Lovers' Lane, not before the
footlights, but along the hurly-burly byways and highways of American
newspaper work, beginning with interviews and reporting. Allow me to
quote from your letter before me.

"I do not imagine I have talent save the talent for work. I am, as you
know, well educated, as that expression goes to-day. I have always found
expression with the pen an easy mode of communicating my impressions and
ideas.

"I am observing, and I have a keen sense of humour, and I have (so
people tell me) an agreeable personality. I know the value of correct
dressing, and I am not oversensitive. That is, I am not one who will go
down at the first rebuff. I have the real American spirit, which makes
me believe myself as good as anybody, and you know my family name is one
to buoy up that impression. Therefore, it seems to me I cannot fail to
attain some degree of success. I am sure to obtain entree to people and
functions, and I can describe what I see and hear in attractive form. I
shall shrink at no task, however difficult, and stop at no obstacle.

"I am determined to make a success as a reporter and a correspondent,
and after I have achieved something in that line I may look to an
editorial position; and who knows but my fertile imagination, coupled
with the experiences sure to come to me, may develop the great American
novelist the world is waiting?"

This is all interesting and admirable reasoning.

But, having seen much of the world, and known much of the various types
of young women writers and reporters and correspondents, I feel like
discussing the subject of your profession with you. At the instigation,
perhaps, of some editor who makes the mistake of thinking success must
be reached through sensationalism, you may be tempted to make your pen,
not _mightier_, but more _cruel_ than the sword.

I remember once upon a time meeting a young woman who had come, unbidden
by the hostess, to "write up" a social function where a number of
celebrated people were congregated.

Her employer had sent her to the house, telling her to obtain an entree
by fair means or foul; and as she was well dressed and quiet in manner,
she was not repulsed by an amiable hostess. This lady realized that the
reporter has his or her living to make, and must be either helped or
hindered by the willingness or unwillingness of people to furnish
material for copy. Being informed that the young woman was "literary,"
and chancing to stand near her for a few moments, I asked her the nature
of her work.

The young woman looked a trifle embarrassed, as she answered: "Well, to
tell you the truth, I write a good many disagreeable and nasty things
about people, especially people in public life. The editors who take my
work will have that kind. I have essayed better things, and they would
not touch them. So I am compelled to write the stuff they do want. I
must make a living." When I read the "stuff" in question, I was inclined
to doubt the assertion of the writer that "she must make a living." The
world would be the better should she and all her kind cease to exist.
Ridicule, falsehood, and insinuation were the leading traits of the
young woman's literary style. Costumes and personalities were
caricatured, and conversations and actions misstated. The entire article
would have been libelous, had it not been too cowardly to deserve so
bold a word.

It is useless for any man or woman to assert that such reportorial work
is done from necessity. The blackmailer and the pickpocket have as much
right to the plea, as the newspaper masked-assassin, with the concealed
weapon of a pen.

If you are ever asked by any editor to do this reportorial stiletto
work, let me urge you to take to professional burglary, rather than
consent to write what such an employer demands.

It is far less despicable to rob houses of things of mercantile value,
than to rob characters and reputations and personalities. Again, when
you are sent out upon a commission to obtain an interview with any
person, obtain what you seek and take nothing else away with you.

Just as you would scorn to pawn the watch of the famous actress which
you may find lying on the table as you pass out, so scorn to sell any
personal speech she may have carelessly dropped in your hearing which
you know was not intended for publication. Petty larceny is not a noble
feature of interviewing. Even though a facility for selling such
dishonestly gained property to advantage be yours, do not convince
yourself or be convinced that larceny should be included in your
reportorial duties.

I recollect speaking with you once upon the difficulties young women
encountered who attempted to win honours in a dramatic career. You felt
that the necessity to cater to the ideas and wishes of inferior minds,
in representing a character on the stage, would be one of the hardest
phases of stage life to meet.

"To be loud and spectacular where I wanted to be refined and subtle,"
you said, "just to catch some rough audience and fill the house, would
be insupportable. And yet I know actresses ofttimes must do that very
thing, to keep a foothold in the profession."

I am wondering how you will meet what seems to me a more humiliating
role, when you are sent out by an editor to gain an entree to some
person who does not wish to be interviewed.

Will you, when refused entrance at the front door, go in at the rear and
hobnob with the servants? will you spy, and watch and wait on street
corners, and hide yourself in hallways, and intercept and surprise, and
congratulate yourself when you have trapped your prey? That is the
shameful pathway which nowadays leads to what is called "successful
newspaper work."

You need to realize the facts before you enter the profession. Were you
my daughter, I am certain I should feel much less concern were you to
enter the theatrical field.

And yet if you choose to stand by your ideals, and retain your
self-respect, you can do so, and succeed in journalism.

If you have, as you say, observation, expression, humour, and ambition,
you can create a style of your own: which will not necessitate the loss
of all womanly sense of decency and pride in dealing with your fellow
beings. It might be well for you to cultivate and add to the list of
your qualities appreciation of all that is best in human nature and
worthiest of respect. If you understand the law of concentration and
demand, you can obtain an entrance to the people you wish to see,
through the front hall and a properly engraved card.

If that fails, a polite and frank note, stating your purpose and
intimating your self-respecting ideas of your profession, may prove
effective. Once establish your reputation as an interviewer who is not a
highwayman in disguise, and you will achieve tenfold the success your
less reputable confreres gain in the long run. Try and remember always
that fame, glory, or even crime, do not destroy all human sensibilities,
or render the possessor invulnerable to the thrust of a pen.

The greatest warrior who ever conquered armies has still the power to
feel hurt when he sees some personal blemish or misfortune described in
print.

You would never be guilty of saying to any man's face, "How hideous
your harelip renders you"--and why should you go from his presence and
make such a statement to the whole world concerning him? One of the most
gifted men America ever claimed was driven from his native land by the
cruel, bald, and heartless personalities of newspaper critics, who
seemed to consider it necessary to comment on his physical infirmities
whenever his genius was mentioned.

During the lifetime of one of England's great literary women, an
American correspondent who had been given an interview in her home
described her as possessing the "face of a horse." Surely this was
agreeable reading for a gifted woman whose genius had delighted
thousands!

It has sometimes seemed to me that theatrical road life with a
one-night-stand company would be less brutalizing to the finer
sensibilities, and less lowering to the ideals of a young girl, than the
method of work required of many newspaper reporters in America to-day.
The editor who scores the actress for lax morals seems often to ignore
the fact that there is a mental as well as a physical prostitution.

Look to it that you do not trail your banner of noble womanhood in the
dust, at the demand of any editor or syndicate. Keep your purity of pen,
as well as your chastity of body, and believe no man who tells you that
you will get on better in the world by selling either. There is room
higher up.




To Nanette

_A Former Maid_


Curiously enough, my dear little Nanette, I was thinking about you, and
wishing to know something of you, the very day your letter came.

Of many who have been helpers in my employ, you were one of the few who
seemed to care more for me than for the wages I paid.

There was between us that ideal condition which I wish might exist
between all employers and employees. You wanted the work you were fitted
to do, and I wanted such work done. You were glad of the money it
brought you, and I was glad to recompense you. You wanted appreciation
and sympathy and consideration aside from your earnings, and I wanted a
personal interest in my affairs, and a friendly wish to please me,
aside from the mere work well done. You never seemed to me less womanly
or less refined because you were a wage-earner, and I did not represent
to you oppression or monopoly merely because I paid the money and you
received it. I took you into my confidence in many ways, and you made me
feel I was your friend as well as your employer. We enjoyed cosy chats,
and yet you no more desired or wished to be present at my social
functions than you desired me to enter into all your merrymakings and
pleasures. You were, in fact, one of the most agreeable and sensible
women I have ever known in any station in life. And now you write me
that you are engaged to be married, and ask me to give you counsel in a
very serious matter.

Together with your other excellent qualities, you have possessed economy
and prudence.

At the age of twenty-five you have a tidy bank-account, the savings of
eleven years. This money is increasing, year by year, and drawing a
small interest.

Now comes your lover, a hard-working and sober young man, so you say,
but earning only a small salary as a clerk.

He has met with some reverses, and is temporarily embarrassed. He wants
you to lend him a few hundred dollars, and he will pay you the same
interest you are now receiving, but you fear it would be unwomanly on
your part to take this interest money. At the same time you feel a
reluctance to break in upon your savings, which you had planned to use
in helping establish a home. You want to befriend your lover, and you
want to be wise and careful, and so you write to me, your old-time
adviser, for counsel. I fear I may hurt your feelings in what I am about
to say.

I have seen much of the world, and have studied humanity in many phases
and in many classes.

There is one type of man I have never yet known to be strong, reliable,
and trustworthy,--a man for a woman to lean upon in times of trouble and
sorrow,--a man I would like to see any friend take for a life
companion,--_and that is the young man who asks a loan of money from a
woman he loves, or one who loves him_. Believe me, there is some lack of
real moral fibre in such a man.

A husband and wife many years married, and united by common interests,
may become so one in purpose and thought that a common purse would be as
natural to them as a common dinner-table.

With mutual interests, planning for their future and the future of their
children, there could be no talk of "My money" and "Your money" between
them.

But before marriage, or immediately after, the man who begins to ask a
woman for the use of her purse, should be distrusted by her. He could
not broach such a subject unless he lacked a certain refined strength
which makes a manly man a woman's protector by nature. Even where no
sentiment exists between a man and a woman, the really strong men of the
world never become borrowers from women. If through friendly interest
and affection some woman compelled such a man to take a loan, he would
know no rest or peace of mind until he had liquidated the debt.

When a man is a woman's lover, and asks her to advance money to him for
any reason, she may as well realize at once the reed on which she will
lean if she accepts him for a life companion. To deceive herself for a
moment with the idea that he will be a staff of strength, is but to
delay disillusion. A vital quality is left out of his character.

He is but one step removed from the man who _seeks_ a woman because she
has money. And he is the most despicable of the human race.

I have known three women of different social positions to lend money to
their lovers.

One man invested it and lost it, and never made an effort to reimburse
the lady, who broke her engagement in consequence, after two unhappy
years. Another went away owing the money, and was never again heard
from. The third married the unwise woman who had loaned him her
competence, and continued to look to her for support.

Therefore, my dear Nanette, I would urge you to think twice, and yet a
third time, before you lend your fiance your savings.

Tell him frankly that you will feel more respect for him if he is
willing to sacrifice comfort and save from his own income enough to lift
the debt he has incurred, and that you are sure he will feel less
humiliated as time goes by if he is not financially in debt to you. If
he were to fall ill tell him it would be your first impulse to devote
your money to his care; but while he is able-bodied and well, you do not
like to have him lean on you for aid.

You can judge something of the man's character by the way he receives
this statement from you.

And whatever may result, even if it is the end of your engagement, do
not grieve your heart away over it. Better far to have the end come now
than to marry a dependent and shiftless man, who will humiliate your
pride by a thousand and one mean traits. The moment a young wife becomes
the financial head of a household, and the man depends upon her to keep
the family free from debt, sentiment and romance fly from the windows of
the heart, and poor Cupid goes away with his head under his wing. This
situation might befall people long married, as I said before, without
causing disaster, because the wife would have years of other experiences
stored up in memory, to maintain her respect for her husband.

The natural instinct of a manly man is to be the protector and the
breadwinner. He loves to shield and support the woman of his choice. If
she has any talent or profession which gives her satisfaction to pursue,
and which yields her an income, he will, if broad-minded and
sympathetic, place no obstacle in her path so long as this vocation is
no barrier to their domestic happiness. But he is sensitive to her
assuming any of the financial burdens of life.

If circumstances render it necessary for her to do so, he suffers
keenly, and the utmost delicacy and consideration on her part alone can
save him from utter humiliation.

This is the attitude of the manly man, my dear Nanette, the man who
makes the good husband and father.

The unselfish, broad-minded and considerate wife will lead a husband to
think of her right to aid in the establishment and maintenance of a home
when she is able to do her part. But the man who makes a good husband
never suggests it as her duty, or asks her to advance money.

It is commendable in you to wish to aid in making a home. It is unmanly
in your lover to ask you to help him pay his debts. Beware of the lover
who asks for or accepts a loan.




To The Rev. Wilton Marsh

_Regarding His Son and Daughter_


My dear Cousin Wilton:--You have no idea how your letter took me back to
my merry girlhood, when you and I resided in the same neighbourhood, and
I was the concern of your precociously serious mind. Yes, indeed, I do
realize what a mistake you made in living the repressed life you did all
those early boyhood years. What a pity your parents reared one of your
sensitive and imaginative nature in the gloomy old doctrines of a
depressing religion, which so misrepresented the God of love: and how
odd that your father and mine should have been born of the same parents,
educated in the same schools, and yet be no more alike in beliefs or
methods of life than two people of a different race and era.

And again it is not strange, when we realize that hundreds of
generations lie back of both parents, and innumerable ancestors of both
father and mother contribute their different mentalities to the children
in a family. Back of that is the great philosophy of reincarnation--the
truth of which impresses me more and more each year I live.

Do you recall your horror the first time I told you I had read a book on
reincarnation, and confessed that it had made me anxious to study the
theory?

You said I was a pagan and a heathen, and that I would surely be damned
forever unless I turned to the way of salvation.

And do you recall your misery when I seized you one evening at your
birthday party (you were twenty), and dragged you about the room in a
waltz? That is, I waltzed, while you hobbled about like a lame calf,
much to the amusement of most of the company.

There were more who sympathized with my views of life than with yours.
You were such a wet blanket on our youthful spirits. Your ever-blazing
lake of brimstone did not even serve to warm the blanket.

I have been gratified to watch your growth the last ten years.

You have so changed your point of view, which indicates your real worth
and progressive good sense. And when you tell me that you have for years
regretted your lost opportunities for natural and moral pleasure, and
that you suffered beyond your power to describe in those old days in
conquering your desire to dance and play games, it brings the tears of
mingled rage and pity to my eyes. Rage at the old theology, and pity for
the poor children whose lives were shadowed by it.

And now what you tell me of your son and daughter proves another of my
theories true, and shows me how nature revenges its wrongs.

Children, my dear Wilton, especially the offspring of strong characters,
_inherit the suppressed tendencies of their parents_. They bring into
action the unexhausted impulses and the ungratified desires of those
parents.

The greatest singers are almost invariably the offspring of mothers or
fathers who _were music hungry_, and who were given no complete
gratification of this craving.

The poet, you will find, is the voice of an artistic-natured parent, who
was forced to be emotionally dumb.

And the proverbial clergyman's son is merely the natural result of the
same cause. He is charged with the tendencies and impulses which his
father crucified.

That your son loathes study, and hates church-going, and adores a brass
band and a circus, and runs away to the races, does not in the least
surprise me. Nor that your sixteen-year-old daughter grows hysterical at
the sound of dance music, and prefers a theatrical show in your village
hall to a Sunday-school picnic, and is mad to become an actress.

_They are your own wronged and starved emotions personified, and crying
out to you for justice._

The very best thing for you to do with the boy is to put him into a
gymnasium and a football team as soon as possible. Offer no opposition
when he wants to see a good horse-race. Urge him to go, and ask him to
tell you all about it when he returns. Begin right now to get close to
the heart of your children.

Once you do that, once you convince them you are near enough to their
lives to understand their needs and to try and gratify their natural
longings, all your worries will take wing and fly away; for your
children will cease to hide and cloak their actions and natures, and
they will no longer wish to deceive or attempt to defy you.

Send your daughter where she can learn dancing, in company with other
refined and well-bred young people. You have so far emancipated yourself
from your old superstitions and beliefs that this action on your part
will not antagonize the desirable members of your congregation.

Only a remnant of the old bigots and intolerants are to be found in any
congregation of intelligent people of to-day.

If that remnant is shaken out of its winding-sheet by being antagonized,
you may galvanize it into life.

At all events, do not endanger the peace of your home and the happiness
of your children, for fear of antagonizing a few parishioners of
arrested spiritual development.

Give your son and daughter an outlet for the youthful vitality which is
like steam: a moving power when used, dangerous and destructive when
pent up.

Take young Wilton and Rebecca into a room, and talk the whole matter
over.

Tell them how deeply you love them, and how you have just come to
realize the mistake you have made in trying to eradicate from them the
natural desire for wholesome pleasure instead of giving it proper
avenues of expression.

Say frankly that you see your error, and that you intend to rectify it.

Ask their cooeperation, and appeal to their good taste and affection not
to mortify or humiliate you in your position of clergyman, by
overstepping the bounds of decorum or discretion.

Lead them to talk of their ambitions and desires, and, as consistently
as you can, gratify them.

Let your daughter come to me for a season. I will help to reshape and
modify her ideals of enjoyment to some degree.

I am sure if she sees a few of our best spectacular plays, and hears
good music, and enjoys beautiful rhythmic dancing, she will not be so
carried away with the travelling show.

I will acquaint her with some of the commonplace facts concerning the
lives of theatrical people, and show her the frayed tinsel and worn
faces by daylight. This will do more for her than all your sermons on
the dangers of a theatrical career.

The young heart is fascinated with the thought of danger and temptation.

It is repelled by the commonplace and the ugly.

When you talk to a young mind in a whisper and behind locked doors about
a temptation to be avoided, you but give edge to appetite and curiosity.

When you bring the temptation out into the glare of sunlight, and speak
of it in presence of the whole world, you dispel the illusion.

I will gather together some data concerning the sporting men of America,
and send your son. I will also mail him the sporting papers regularly.
Let him talk and read openly about the subject, and it will lose half
its weird charm.

He, too, should learn to dance, swim, fence, and ride. His bounding
vitality needs directing in wholesome channels. I have never understood
the prejudice against dancing.

To me, it is a form of religious praise of the Creator of youth, health,
vitality, and grace. I have always loved dancing, and the exercise,
besides being eminently beneficial to the health and wonderfully
conducive to grace is, to my thinking, highly moral in its effect. Its
only danger lies in wrong associations, and these seem to threaten young
people who are restricted from the enjoyment in their homes and among
their rightful companions.

I cannot help thinking that Loie Fuller should have a niche in the hall
of fame, among the "Immortals," for having given the last century her
exquisitely beautiful creations in dancing.

No woman has given us a great epic, or a great painting, or a great
musical composition, but she has given us a great dance-poem, which is
at the same time a painting and a song. Oh, you poor starved, blind
soul, to be deprived of such beautiful spectacles. How I pity you, and
how I pray you to give your children the privileges you have missed
through a belittling idea of your Creator.

Do you fancy God would punish beautiful young Rebecca for dancing, any
sooner than he would blight the willow-tree for waving its graceful arms
to the tune the wind-harps play?

Come up out of the jungles of ignorance and bigotry, my dear cousin,
and live on the hilltops and bring your children with you. For there you
will all find yourself nearer to God and to humanity.




To Mrs. Charles McAllister

_Formerly Miss Winifred Clayborne_


I am glad that for once you have written and asked my advice before you
began your course of action.

You wrote me after you entered Vassar and asked me what I thought of
your doing so.

You wrote me after you married Doctor McAllister, and asked me what I
thought of that. My reply was a wedding gift and a telegram of good
wishes. Now, after three years of married life, you write again and ask
me to decide a question which has caused some discussion between you and
the doctor.

"He did not take my view of the matter at first," you say, "but he does
now. Still, I feel that I would like another unprejudiced opinion
before I take the contemplated step. You knew I left college before
finishing my course. I was in love and the doctor urged me not to make
him wait another year. He said I knew enough to make him happy, and so I
consented."

Then you proceed to tell me that you have never regretted this step, and
that you have the best husband in the world. But you have decided
musical gifts, and before meeting the doctor you intended going abroad
to cultivate them after you finished at Vassar. This old ambition has
taken hold of you again, and you want to join a friend, one of your
classmates, who sails in June to study art in Europe. You desire to take
a two or three years' course, and then you will be equipped with an
accomplishment which could be made a profession if necessity demanded.

"One never knows what the future holds," you say, "and it is the duty of
every woman to make the most of herself." Both remarks are as true as
they are trite. An almost graduate of Vassar should be more original in
expressing herself.

But there is another duty a woman should not forget--the duty to stand
by her marriage vows and to make her husband a good wife. It seems the
doctor did not eagerly approve your idea at the beginning. I am glad he
did not. Unless a wife is in a precarious state of health or has an
ailing child, I always suspect the honesty of a husband who cheerfully
seconds her suggestion of a protracted absence from home.

When a man shows no regret at having his wife away for an entire season,
there is something wrong with his heart.

Love does not find its home there, or he could not speed her going so
far, and for so long a time, at the bidding of ambition or pleasure. You
evidently have won the doctor over by argument, and made him feel that
he is selfish to tie you down or clip the wings of your ambition. The
American husband is so fearful of seeming a tyrant. "He realizes now,"
you say, "that a woman has the right to develop the talents God gave
her just as a man does, and that it is a wrong against her 'higher self'
to crush down these ambitions. He realizes, too, that this separation
means greater powers of usefulness for me in the future, and greater
opportunities for pleasure. It will be a long and lonely time for both
of us, as I shall only come home once or twice and the doctor may not be
able to go over at all, though I hope he will. But the expense of my
studies will of course be great, and we shall both need to economize. It
is my intention to start a little conservatory after I return and take a
few high-priced pupils. In that way I can reimburse our expenditure."

But can you, my dear Winifred, _reimburse your mutual losses in other
ways_? You do not seem to realize what such a separation may mean. You
are both young and both attractive. I know now that you are beginning to
be angry at my suggestion, but, fortunately, you cannot interrupt me,
and you must hear what I have to say.

Of course you are not a frivolous flirt, or a silly-headed creature
with no ideals or principles. You have nothing of the adventuress in
your composition, but you are a young woman, with personal charms and
talents, and life will be unutterably desolate for you if you make a
recluse of yourself. You will be surrounded by people of artistic
temperaments and tastes, and I know, if you do not, that many of these
people do lack ideals, and some of them lack principles and take pride
in the fact. "Art for art's sake, life for pleasure's sake," is their
motto. The entire situation will be full of danger for you. But far more
danger will surround your husband. A man's temptations are always
greater than a woman's. That is, there are _more_ temptations in his
pathway, from the fact that he is by nature and environment less guarded
and protected, and the penalties for folly are less severe. And of all
men, unless it is a clergyman, a physician is most exposed to
temptation. He is the confidant of hysterical women and the sharer of
domestic secrets. Many a woman believes she is ill only because she
desires the sympathy of her doctor, just as many a woman fancies herself
disturbed with religious agitation only because she wants the society of
her minister.

Of course a doctor of any character or principle does not compromise his
reputation or disgrace his calling readily. I hear Doctor McAllister
spoken of as a man of high standing, and his picture shows a
well-balanced head and an honest, manly face. But "A man's a man for a'
that," my dear Winifred.

We must accept facts as they exist all about us, and we must not demand
of half-evolved human beings what we would expect of wholly divine
creatures. It is an unnatural position for a man to be separated from
the wife he loves for months and years.

Unless he is sustained by intense religious beliefs, extreme sympathy or
sorrow for her (as he might be were she compelled by some great trouble
or duty to be absent), it is impossible for him not to grow in a measure
forgetful of his ideals of constancy, and to drift into bachelor habits
of distraction. Men do a thousand and one things for amusement which no
woman could or would. Gilded and glittering halls of vice are inviting
the inspection and patronage of men who are left at home by journeying
and pleasure-seeking wives.

I know this terrible statement to be absolutely true--_gambling-houses
and dens of infamy speak of their "best season" when wives leave town
for summer outings, just as a farmer speaks of his harvest season when
crops are ripe._ I do not suppose your husband will seek the
companionship of gamblers or depraved souls during your absence. Men as
seemingly high and strong as he have fallen so low, but I do not believe
he will. Yet, so long as we know such conditions exist, and so long as
men as a class take the liberties they do when left to find distraction
and entertainment, it seems to me little less than criminal when a young
wife like yourself deliberately leaves her home and husband for the sake
of any possible attainment.

You have no right to marry a man and then to make his happiness and his
comfort secondary to your ambitions.

If he had neglected you, if he failed to support you, if he was not
loyal to you, it would be different.

But you say he is "the best of men," and that you never have regretted
marrying him.

Then let me beg of you to stand by him, as a wife should, and to make
what progress in your music you can at home, and wait until your husband
can accompany you before you go abroad to study.

The highway of divorce is crowded with the student wives who have been
"abroad to study," leaving their husbands at home to earn the money. Do
not be one of them.

There are greater things than a satisfied ambition, and a clean, happy,
united married life is one.




To Mrs. Charles Gordon

_Concerning Maternity_


I have tried to imagine myself in your place, as you requested, before
answering your letter.

To be the mother of two children, and to know that a third may be added
before the fifth anniversary of your wedding, is for the most maternal
of women a situation requiring rare patience and much philosophy.

I know that your strength is depleted, that you are nervously unstrung,
and I can understand your despondent state of mind.

It seems to you that all romance and sentiment in life is being
sacrificed to breeding the species. You feel that you have some personal
privileges as a wife and a woman, not less than a mother.

Like yourself, I do not believe woman's only mission in life to be the
production of offspring, yet I consider motherhood the highest privilege
accorded her who has for it the right physical and moral qualities.

Only strong, sensible, and healthy women should become mothers, and it
is a mistake for even such as they to be kept constantly in that
occupation.

You possess all the requisites, and you ought to bring fine children
into the world, since you married the man you loved, and have been happy
with him.

But I can understand your reluctance to pass through the ordeal which
modern motherhood in civilized races means, for a third time, in so
short a period. But try and take another view of the situation.

Benjamin Franklin was the fifteenth child of a poor tallow chandler. It
is altogether probable that his coming seemed a misfortune to his
mother, taxed with the care of such a brood. Think what the world would
have missed had he not come to earth.

Then think of this unborn child as something wonderful and divine, given
to you to perfect. Believe it is to be the greatest blessing to you and
to the whole world.

Cultivate love and protection in your heart for it.

Tell yourself every hour of the day that the God of love will not desert
you or deprive you of strength and courage for your ordeal. That he will
be ever near, and sustain and comfort you.

Desire all beautiful and good qualities to be given your child, and
resolutely turn away from the contemplation of anything that is hideous,
or unwholesome, or depressing.

Look for pleasing objects, read cheerful and uplifting books, and from
infinite space call to you all ministering influences.

Consider how short a time, when compared to the span of human life,
expectant motherhood occupies, and realize the vastness of its
influence upon the nature of the child, and through that nature upon all
humanity.

Once you grasp that consciousness, you will feel your closeness to the
Creator of all things.

Indeed, there is no other being on earth so nearly Godlike in power as
the mother who realizes what her influence over her unborn child may be.

The hard and painful path for you to walk is but a short one compared to
the long roadway to eternity for your child.

Perhaps some great statesman, or some great artist, or some great
scientist or philosopher is lying under your heart, and it is in your
power to make or mar his development. Perhaps a Joan of Arc, or a Rosa
Bonheur, or a Martha Washington will crown you with pride.

Such genius and influence for good as the world has never before known,
from mortal sources, may be given to it through your unborn child. How
wonderful your privilege, how vast your power!

Only a few short months, and then the growing wonder of a child's
unfolding mind, to beautify your days.

Think of it in this way, dear little tired and nervous woman, and God
and all his angels will hover over you, I know, and all will be well
with you.

My prayers are with you.




To Mr. Alfred Duncan

_Concerning the Ministry_


And so you have changed your plan of life and, instead of becoming an
experimenter with the flesh, are going to be a healer of souls.

And what do I think about it? I am glad you are not to be an M.D. There
is an era coming when the doctor will be a prehistoric creature. Oh, it
is far, far away, but already the most progressive minds have ceased to
regard the family physician as an infallible being.

Medicine has made the least progress of any of the sciences in the last
few centuries.

Credulity has cured more people than pills.

Were you to study medicine, I should advise you to take up surgery,
osteopathy, electricity, the Kneippe Cure, milk diet, and all the
various methods of stimulating circulation; for the people who
patronize these treatments are increasing, as the powder and pill
patrons are on the decrease.

Then, too, I should urge you to make a careful study of mental and
spiritual methods of cure, that you might be wholly equipped for the
dawn of the new age. You are a young man, and you will probably live to
see a wonderful change in the treatment of disease, and to find the
physician of the old school relegated to the historian.

But just as carefully you should now survey the religious horizon,
before beginning your studies for the ministry.

It is utterly useless to stand with lifted eyes and say, "The faith of
my parents is good enough for me--good enough for all mankind."

Had the children of ancient Salem said that, and their children repeated
it, you would probably be lighting faggots at this moment to roast a
"witch," instead of a brother of the opposite creed.

The narrow, intolerant old dogmas have been forced into elasticity by
the later generations, and the broadening work still goes on.

It makes no difference how satisfied you may be with a prospective lake
of fire for your enemies, the congregations you are to address will not
listen to that style of sermon as did your grandparents.

Only the ignorant minds to-day harbour ideas of cruelty and revenge in
connection with a Creator.

Thinkers find such theories inconsistent with religious belief.
Individual thought is leading to individual faith.

Where once I believed in a universal church for all the world, I now
believe in a separate creed for each soul, one fashioned to suit his own
particular need, with the underlying basis of love for all created
things as its foundation.

Let each man worship in his own way, and follow his own ideal of duty to
God and humanity.

If it is the pleasure of one to give up all his worldly goods, and to
go and live and labour among the poor, wish him Godspeed; but if another
keeps his place among men of affairs, makes money honestly, and uses it
unselfishly, let him, too, have your blessing, since he is setting a
good example for the worldly-minded. If one man finds himself nearer to
God on Sunday by going out and peacefully enjoying the beauties of
nature and the association of his kind, do not try to convince him that
he is on the highway to perdition because he does not sit in a pew and
listen to depressing sermons.

The day is over for that type of clergyman to succeed.

Make a study of the needs of men _to-day_, and suit your sermons to
those needs.

Men need to know more of the wonders of God's universe. Talk to them in
a brief, concise, interesting manner of the recent discoveries of
science, and their frequent remarkable corroboration of the old
religious theories. Thousands of years ago, in Egypt and India, wise men
said that metals and all created things possessed life, and were a part
of one great immortal whole, of which man was the highest expression.

Science is "discovering" and proving the truth of many statements made
by those old seers and savants. Call the attention of the men of to-day
to this fact, and set them thinking on the wonders of the immortal soul.

The man of to-day is an egotist regarding his scientific achievements.
He has grown to think of himself as a giant before whose material
success all other things must give way. He believes that he has
discovered, invented, photographed and made profitable all the "facts"
of the universe, and is inclined to regard with intolerance any idea
beyond his own mechanical domain.

Tell him how much was divined thousands of years ago, and lead him to
realize the mighty depths of the unsounded ocean of his own being.

To know your own triple self, body, mind, and spirit, and to make
yourself a complete man, with the body beautiful, the mind clear, the
spirit radiant, is better than to have all the Bibles of the ages, in
all their ancient languages, at your tongue's tip.

Help men to the building of character, which shall enable them to be
honest in street and mart, unselfish in home and society, and
sympathetic to their fellow pilgrims.

Salvation is gained as a house is built, brick by brick, day after day,
not by spasmodic efforts one day in the week, and the destruction of
that effort in the remaining six.

And each man must be his own mason, and select and lay his own bricks.
All the clergyman can do is to act the part of overseer.

The man who goes to another, and expects his prayers to save him, is
like the mason who expects the "boss" to do his work, while he draws the
pay. Do no man's task--physical, mental, or spiritual. That is not
friendship or religion. Your work is to stimulate others to do their own
work, think their own thoughts, and live their own lives.

The world to-day demands facts to sustain faith.

_Spiritual facts are to be obtained_.

Find them: for once convinced of the continuation of life beyond the
grave, and of the necessity to earn its privileges, by self-conquest and
character-building, humanity will rise "from the lowly earth to the
vaulted skies," and will realize that this earth is but the anteroom to
larger spheres of usefulness.

Go forth and find--go forth and find, and do not be afraid to strike out
of beaten paths and avoid ruts. Cultivate spiritual courage. It is what
few clergymen possess, and it will give you individuality at least.

Preach the religion of happy harmonious homes. Make men and women
realize that heaven must begin here, in order to continue farther on,
and that the angelic qualities, of love, sympathy, goodness,
appreciation, must be rehearsed in the body, before they can be
successfully enacted in full-dress angel costume with wings.

God will not care for the eternal praises sung about his throne by a man
who swears at his wife on earth, or a wife who nags her husband and
children. It is no use expecting a role in a continuous performance of
happiness in heaven, if you do not learn one line of the part on earth.

Make your congregations think of the necessity to _live_ their religion
in earth's commonplace daily situations.

That is the religion the world needs.




To Mr. Charles Gray

_Concerning Polygamy_


All that you say, regarding the excitement over the seating of your Salt
Lake Senator, is quite true.

I have visited your city, and have made the acquaintance of many of your
people, and I know the private life of the gentleman you sent to
represent you in Washington is beyond reproach.

He is a good husband, a good father, a good citizen. He was born of a
polygamous father and mother, and his childhood's home was a happy one.
He was educated in the belief that it was wrong for a man to cohabit
with any woman not his wife, but right for him to marry many wives.

He has not married many wives, however, and does not intend to. His
private life, his domestic life and his financial record are all clean
and clear of stain.

So much cannot be said of many other Senators and Representatives at our
capitol.

Good women are horrified when seeking government positions to find how
the sacrifice of virtue is demanded as payment for influence.

These statements cannot be evaded or denied. Let one who questions them
investigate the conditions existing in Washington in the past and
to-day.

What a record it would be were every girl and woman who had been led
into the path of folly by married Senators and Representatives to come
forth and tell her story!

There are clean, decent, high-minded men in both houses. There are good
citizens, good patriots, good men there.

But so long as one married seducer and misleader of women retains a seat
in either house unmolested, so long as one man stays who is unfaithful
to his marriage vows, the opposers of the Senator from Utah should base
their objections on other than moral grounds.

But despite the facts you bring to bear on your argument, that polygamy
leads to more morality in the homes of the land than our present
conditions illustrate, I must disagree with you.

I am opposed to polygamy. Any social arrangement which licenses men to
possess several women, to give full rein to their desires, is a block to
the wheels of progress.

Not until man learns the lesson of self-control, as woman has learned
it, will humanity reach its highest development.

Not until man ceases to place himself on a par with the unreasoning male
animal, when he argues on the subject of the sexual relations, will he
become the master of circumstance he is meant to be.

One man and one woman living sexually true to each other is the ideal
domestic life. Better strive toward that ideal, and fail and strive
again, than to lower it and accept license and self-indulgence as the
standard, under some religious name.

Polyandry and polygamy are both evidences of a crude and half-evolved
humanity.

They belong to a society which has not learned the law of self-control
as a part of its religious creed and the march of progress. The light of
science makes havoc of all such primitive conditions.

You tell me that your father was the husband of three wives, and that
all lived under one roof in sisterly love, and that you never heard an
unkind word spoken in your home, and that all three wives loved you as a
son. You tell me your father held high ideals of womankind, and that the
existence of a fallen woman was impossible in your community.

Now I contend that any woman who accepts less than the full loyalty of
the man to whom she gives herself for life _has fallen from woman's
highest estate_. She lowers not only herself, but the whole sex.

To take a third of a man's love, and to share his physical and mental
and spiritual comradeship with two other wives, is far more immoral, to
my thinking, than to take the whole of a man without legal authority.

It drags down and belittles woman in the eyes of man. It is useless to
contend that such conditions lead to respect.

There is too much of the big male I, and the little female you, in the
arrangement. There is too much of the old idea that God made man, and
accident made woman, for man's use. There is too much of self-indulgence
for the man, and repression for the woman,--a condition which has
blocked the highest development of the race for centuries.

Meanwhile, I think it a great pity that society does not hold the
expectant mother in the same reverence as in your community. That is
certainly a lesson we can learn from the Mormons. And that explains why
your children, born of polygamous mothers, are stronger physically, and
more universally endowed mentally, than the average children in the
world at large.

Mothers were guarded and protected and revered, and children were made
welcome, and no such crime as darkens our own social world--the crime of
destroying embryo life--was known in your midst.

It is a glorious heritage to give a child this parental love and
welcome. It lasts through eternity.

But it does not seem to me that it is necessary to have polygamy prevail
in order to produce right conditions for the propagation of offspring.
In time the world will realize the importance of teaching men and women
how to become good parents.

It will learn, too, the magnificent results to be obtained from one
moral code for both sexes, and this result could never be obtained in a
polygamous community.




To Walter Smeed

_Concerning Creeds and Marriage_


Before you left us, I realized that you and my pretty secretary were
finding matters of mutual interest.

Therefore, I am not surprised that you are thinking seriously of her as
a future companion.

Rosalie is a charming, intelligent, warm-hearted, excellent girl, and
there is no reason why she would not make you a good wife, save the one
you mention--the difference in your creeds.

You are a Roman Catholic, Rosalie is a devout Protestant.

Were the cases reversed, and were you the Protestant and Rosalie the
Catholic, I should say the chances of happiness were greater than as
conditions now stand.

As a rule, the most religious man is more liberal than the religious
woman. And when marriage between a Roman Catholic and a Protestant is
the question, there is need of greater liberality on the part of the
Protestant than on that of the Catholic.

Why? Because with the Protestant there is no consideration to be thought
of outside of his or her own convictions and feelings.

With the Catholic, the power of the Church and the law regarding the
rearing of the children in its faith walks beside the contracting party,
sits at the table, and sleeps on the marital couch.

There is no happiness for the husband or wife who has entered into such
a marriage, after the arrival of children, unless the laws of the Church
are obeyed.

When the wife is a Catholic, the fact that she is a good woman and true
wife satisfies the Protestant husband, as a rule, and he makes no
objection to her carrying out the contract with her Church regarding the
education of the children.

If they are as moral and good as their mother, he does not care what
faith occupies their hearts or in what way they worship God.

But to the mother this is a matter of vital importance.

Woman is by nature more devout than man.

Woman is by nature more tyrannical than man.

Take those two characteristics, and add to them the tendency of many
women to bigotry and intolerance, and it makes the matter of creeds
vital in marriage.

Rosalie is broader-minded than many women, yet she is devoted to the
Congregational Church, and rarely misses attendance.

It will be an easy matter for her to accept your faith for yourself and
to allow you to attend your own church, and she is, I am sure, broad
enough to go with you occasionally, if you request it.

But when she becomes a mother, and the children's minds are unfolding, I
doubt her willingness to have them brought up in any faith save her own.

To an unwedded girl in love, a child is a very indistinct creature.

To a mother, it is a very real being.

I have seen men as deeply in love as you are, with women as
liberal-minded as Rosalie, become very unhappy after marriage through
the opposite ideas of the wife regarding the education of children.

You must remember how much more closely a mother's life is entwined
about her children, and how much more of their association usually falls
to her than to the father.

This is especially true of daughters, and is true of sons up to a
certain age.

You can understand, I am sure, how much more companionship a mother
would find in children who accepted her faith and attended her church
than in those whose spiritual paths led in another direction.

I know Rosalie realizes that a good life, not a certain creed, leads to
the goal she seeks, after this phase of existence closes, and she does
not ask you to change your faith. But while she would also believe her
children were on the road to that goal, she would want them to walk
through her path and by her side.

It will be hard to relinquish the woman you love, to-day, for the
children who might not come to-morrow.

Yet I can give you the counsel you asked on this matter only from my
personal observation of similar unions.

I should advise you to try an absence of some duration, and to forget
Rosalie if you can, since you have not yet declared yourself.

Better a little temporary sorrow than a life of discord.

As you grow older your religion will, in all probability, gain a
stronger ascendency over your nature, and the church to which you belong
is very tenacious in its hold upon its members.

Rosalie is not of a yielding nature, and as I said before, she is more
devoted to her church than most young women of the day.

The physical phases of your love blind you now. But these phases are
only a part of the tie which must bind husband and wife to make love
enduring through all of life's vicissitudes.

There must be mental companionship, and to be a complete union there
must be sympathy in spiritual ideas.

The very young do not realize this fact, but it is forced upon the
mature.

Marital love is like a tree. It first roots in the soil of earth, and
then lifts its branches to the heavens. Unless it does so lift its
branches it is stunted and deformed, and is not a tree. Unless it roots
in earth it is not a tree, but an air-plant or a cobweb.

You want to be sure the tree you are thinking to make a shelter for your
whole life, will have far-reaching and uplifting branches, and will not
be merely an earth-bound twig.

Since your church permits no second marriage save by the door of death,
do not make a mistake in your first.

Take a year, at least, of absence and separation, and think the matter
over.




To Sybyl Marchmont

_Concerning Her Determination to Remain Single_


It is with genuine regret that I learn of your determination to send my
nephew out of your life. Wilfred is a royal fellow, as that term is
employed by us. He is what a man of royal descent in monarchies rarely
proves to be,--self-reliant, enterprising, industrious, clean, and with
high ideals of woman.

Eight years ago I declined a request of his for a loan, and told him my
reasons--that I believed loans were an injury to our friends or
relatives. My letter seemed to arouse all the strength latent in his
nature, and he has made a remarkable record for himself since that time.
I have known that he was deeply in love with you for the last two years,
and I had hoped you would listen to his plea. He tells me that you
imparted your history to him, and that you say it is your intention to
remain single, as you would not like to bring children into the world to
suffer from the stigma upon your name. He has shown me your letter
wherein you say, "I am not in fault for having to blush for the sins of
my parents; but I would be in fault if my children had to blush for the
blemish upon the name of their grandparents. I do not feel I could meet
their questioning eyes when they asked me about my parents. I can better
bear the loss of the personal happiness of a home and a husband's love."

Wilfred is just the man to protect you and to keep the world at a
distance, where it could not affect your life by its comments. He
regards your birth in the same light that I do, and would rather
transmit your lovely qualities of soul and mind to his descendants than
the traits of many proudly born girls who are ready to take him at the
first asking: for you must know how popular he is with our sex.

I can not believe you are insensible to his magnetic and lovable
qualities, but, as you say, you have been so saddened by the sudden
knowledge of your history that it has blunted your emotions in other
directions. I can only hope this will wear away and that you will
reconsider your resolve and consent to make Wilfred the happy and proud
man you could, by becoming his wife.

_Never forget that God created love and man created marriage_.

And to be born of a loveless union is a darker blight than to be born in
love without union.

But what I want to talk about now, is your determination to live a
single life and to devote yourself to reclaiming weak and erring women.
You are young to enter this field of work, yet at twenty-four you are
older than many women of thirty-five, because you have had the
prematurely ripening rain of sorrow on your life. I know you will go
into the work you mention with the sympathy and understanding which
alone can make any reformatory work successful. Yet you are going to
encounter experiences which will shock and pain you, in ways you do not
imagine now.

You are starting out with the idea of most sympathetic good women, that
all erring souls of their own sex fall through betrayed trust, and
broken promises, and misplaced love. Such cases you will encounter, and
they will most readily respond to your efforts for their reformation.
But many of those you seek to aid will have gone on the road to folly
through mercenary motives, and this will prove a vast obstacle.

When a woman sells to Mammon, under any stress of circumstance, that
which belongs to Cupid, there is something left out of her nature and
character which renders the efforts of the reformers almost useless. You
know all real, lasting reform must come from within. The woman who has
once decided that fine apparel, and comfort, and leisure, are of more
value to her than her virtue usually reaches old age or disease before
the reformer can even gain her attention. You will find many such among
your protegees, and you may as well leave them to work out their own
reformation, and turn your energies to those who long for a better life.

It is that longing which means real reformation. To paraphrase an old
couplet--

  The soul reformed against its will
  Clings to the same old vices still.

I do not believe in a forced morality, save as a protection to a
community. I believe in it as a legal fence, but it possesses no value
as a religious motive. It helps to save society some annoyance, but it
does not materially improve the condition of humanity. Such improvements
must come from the desire of men and women to reach higher standards.
So, after you have planted a little seed in the mind of the mercenary
Magdalene which may in time sprout and grow, pass on, and find those who
have gone wrong from other causes, and who are longing for a hand to
lead them right.

And of all things do not expect a girl who has lived in the glare of red
lights, and listened to the blare of bands, and worn the ofttimes
becoming garb of folly, and stimulated her spirits with intoxicants--do
not expect her, I say, to suddenly be contented with quiet and solitude,
and drudgery, and cheap, unlovely garments, and goodness. Give her
something to entertain her and to occupy her mind, give her something to
live for and hope for and to be pleased over, besides the mere fact of
reformation. The opium victim, you must remember, can not at once
partake of wholesome food and be well and happy in the thought that he
has given up his drug. Neither can the folly victim. The standards of
happiness and contentment which the moral woman has always found
satisfactory, she too often considers sufficient for the sister who has
wandered from the path. But they are standards which, once lost, must be
gained step by step, painfully and slowly. They are not reached by a
bound. As much as possible keep your reformed sister's mind from
dwelling on the past, or from talking of her mistakes and sins. Blot
them from her memory by new and interesting plans and occupations. The
way to live a new life is to live it.

And our thoughts and conversation are important parts of living. Instead
of praying aloud to God to forgive her sins, show the God spirit in
yourself by forgiving and forgetting and helping her to forget.

And now a word about yourself.

You are twenty-four, lovely, sympathetic, fond of children and animals,
wholesome and normal in your habits, without crankiness, and popular
with both sexes. While there are many wives and widows possessed of
these qualities, there seems to be some handicap to the spinster in the
race of life who undertakes to arrive at middle age with all the womanly
attributes. Almost invariably she drops some of them by the wayside. She
becomes overorderly and fussy--so that association with her for any
length of time is insupportable--or careless and indifferent. Or she may
grow inordinately devoted to animal pets, and bitter and critical toward
children and married people.

She may develop mannish traits, and dress and appear more like a man
than a feminine woman.

She may ride a hobby, to the discomfort of all other equestrians or
pedestrians on the earth's highway. She may grow so argumentative and
positive that she is intolerant and intolerable. And whichever of these
peculiarities are hers, she is quite sure to be wholly unconscious of
it, while she is quick to see that of another. Now watch yourself, my
dear Sybyl, as you walk alone toward middle life; do not allow yourself
to grow queer or impossible. It was God's intent that every plant should
blossom and bear fruit, and that every human being should mate and
produce offspring. The plant that fails in any of its functions is
usually blighted in some way, and the woman who fails of life's full
experiences seems to show some repellent peculiarity. But she need not,
once she sets a watch upon herself; she has a conscious soul and mind,
and can control such tendencies if she will.

It is unnatural for a woman to live without the daily companionship of
man. The superior single woman must make tenfold the effort of the
inferior wife, to maintain her balance into maturity, because of her
enforced solitude. As the wife-mother grows older she is kept in touch
with youth, and with the world, while the opportunities for close
companionship with the young lessen as a single woman passes forty,
unless she makes herself especially adaptable, agreeable, and
sympathetic.

And this is what I want you to do. At twenty-four it is none too soon to
begin planning for a charming maturity.

If you are determined upon a life of celibacy, determine also to be the
most wholesome, and normal, and all around liberal, womanly spinster the
world has ever seen.

Peace and happiness to you in your chosen lot.




To Mrs. Charles Gordon

_Concerning Her Sister and Her Children_


No, my dear Edna, I do not think it strange that you should seek advice
on this subject from a woman who has no living children.

It seems to me no one is fitted to give such unbiased counsel regarding
the training of children as the woman of observation, sympathy, and
feeling, who has none of her own.

Had I offspring, I would be influenced by my own successes, and
prejudiced by my own failures, and unable to put myself in your place,
as I now do.

A mother rarely observes other people's children, save to compare them
unfavourably with her own. I regret to say that motherhood with the
average woman seems to be a narrowing experience, and renders her less
capable of taking a large, unselfish view of humanity.

The soldier in the thick of battle is able to tell only of what he
personally experienced and saw, just in the spot where he was engaged in
action.

The general who sits outside the fray and watches the contest can form a
much clearer idea of where the mistakes occurred, and where the greatest
skill was displayed.

I am that general, my dear friend, standing outside the field of
motherhood, and viewing the efforts of my battling sisters to rear
desirable men and women. And I am glad you have appealed to me while
your two children are yet babies to give you counsel, for I can tell you
where thousands have failed.

And I thank you and your husband for reposing so much confidence in my
ideas.

I think, perhaps, we had better speak of the postscript of your letter
first. You ask my opinion regarding the chaperon for your
sixteen-year-old sister, who is going abroad to study for a period of
years. Mrs. Walton will take her and keep her in her home in Paris, and
Miss Brown also stands ready to make her one of three young girls she
desires to chaperon and guide through a foreign course of study in
France and Germany.

You like the idea of having your sister in a home without the
association of other American girls, until she perfects herself in
French, but you are worried about Mrs. Walton's being a divorced woman.
Miss Brown, the spotless spinster, seems the safer guide to your
friends, you tell me.

I know the majority of women would feel that a single woman of good
standing and ungossiped reputation was a safe and desirable protector
for a young girl.

The same majority would hesitate to send their girls away with a
divorced woman.

But as I remarked in the beginning, I have stood outside the fray and
watched similar ventures, and I have grown to realize that it is not
mere respectability and chastity in a woman which make her a safe
chaperon for a young girl,--it is a deep, full, broad understanding of
temperaments and temptations.

Had I a daughter or a sister like your sweet Millie, I would not allow
her to live one year under the dominion of such a woman as Miss Brown
for any consideration. Why? because Miss Brown is all brain and bigotry.
She is narrow and high, not deep and broad.

She is so orthodox that she incites heresy in the rebellious mind of
independent youth. She is so moral she makes one long for adventure. She
would not listen to any questioning of old traditions, or any
speculative philosophizing of a curious young mind, and she would be
intolerant with any girl who showed an inclination to flirt or be
indiscreet.

Your sister Millie is as coquettish as the rose that lifts its fair face
to the sun, and the breeze, and the bee, and expects to be admired. She
is as innocent as the rose, too, but that fact Miss Brown would never
associate with coquetry.

She would class it with vulgarity and degeneracy. Miss Brown is a
handsome woman, but she has no sex instincts. She does not believe with
the scientist, "that in the process of evolution it is only with the
coming of the sex relation that life is enabled to rise to higher
forms."

She believes in brain and spirit, and is utterly devoid of that feminine
impulse to make herself attractive to men, and wholly incapable of
understanding the fascination that Folly holds out to youth. She has
never experienced any temptation, and she would be shocked at any girl
who fell below her standard.

She would carefully protect Millie from danger by high walls, but she
would never eradicate the danger impulse from her nature by sympathetic
counsel, as a more human woman could.

Mrs. Walton is a much better guide for your sister.

She ran away from boarding-school at seventeen, and married the reckless
son of a rich man. She had a stepmother of the traditional type, and
had never known a happy home life. She was of a loving and trusting and
at the same time a coquettish nature, and she attracted young Walton's
eye while out for a walk with a "Miss Brown" order of duenna. The
duenna saw the little embryo flirtation, and became very much horrified,
and preached the girl a long sermon, and set a close watch upon her
actions.

There was no wise, loving guidance of a young girl's life barque from
the reefs of adventure. It was homily and force. The result was, that
the girl escaped from school before six weeks passed, and married her
admirer.

He was fifteen years her senior, a reckless man of the world, even older
in experience than in years. He proved a very bad husband, but his young
wife remained with him until his own father urged her to leave him. She
was quietly divorced, and has lived abroad almost ever since, and holds
an excellent position in the French capital, as well as in other
European centres, and she is most exemplary in her life. Mr. Walton is
now an inmate of a sanitarium, a victim of paresis.

I can imagine no one so well fitted to exert the wisest influence upon
Millie's life as Mrs. Walton.

There is a woman who has run the whole gamut of girlish folly, and who
knows all the phases of temptation. She knows what it is to possess
physical attractions, and to be flattered by the admiration of men, and
she has passed through the dark waters of disillusion and sorrow. She
would be the one to help Millie out of dangerous places by sympathy and
understanding, instead of using sermons and keys.

She would mould her young, wax-like character by the warmth of love,
instead of freezing it by austere axioms.

Miss Brown would make an indiscreet young girl feel hopelessly vulgar
and immodest; Mrs. Walton that she understood all about her foolish
pranks, and was able to lead her in the better paths.

Miss Brown prides herself upon never having lost her head with any man.

Mrs. Walton is like some other women I have known, who have made
mistakes of judgment. She lost her head, but in the losing and the
sorrow that ensued she found a heart for all humanity.

There are women in this world whose cold-white chastity freezes the poor
wayfarer who tries to find in their vicinity rest and comfort and
courage.

Other women cast a cooling shadow, in which the sun-scorched pilgrim
finds peace--the shadow of a past error, from which spring fragrant
ferns and sweet grasses, where tired and bleeding feet may softly tread.

Mrs. Walton's life casts the shadow of divorce on her pathway, but it is
only the warm, restful shadow of a ripening and mellowing sorrow. Do not
fear to have Millie walk in it.

It will be better for her than the steady glare from a glacier.

I find I have said so much about your sister that I must reserve my
counsel about your children for another letter.

Your postscript was brief, but pregnant with suggestion, and called for
this long reply.

I shall write you again in a few days.




To Mrs. Charles Gordon

_Concerning Her Children_


Your wish to have your son, who is now four years old, begin to develop
the manly qualities, and your oldest daughter, who has reached the
mature age of three, start wisely on the path to lovely womanhood, is
far from being premature.

"The tree inclines as the twig is bent," we are told.

Most mothers wait until the tree is in blossom before they begin to
train its inclination.

Your boy is quite old enough to be taught manly pride, in being useful
to you and his sisters.

Such things are not successfully taught by preaching or scolding or
punishing; but are more easily inculcated by tact and praise,
object-lesson and play.

A four-year-old boy is all ears when his father's praises and
achievements are recounted. Any father, save a brute, is a hero in the
eyes of his four-year-old son. I am sure Mr. Gordon has many admirable
traits you can use as interesting topics.

Tell little Charlie how proud you are to have a son who will be like his
father, and attend to the needs of and look after the interests of his
mother and sisters.

Make him think that to be of service to you or his sisters is one of the
first steps toward manhood, as indeed it is.

When he performs any small kindness, praise his manliness.

Teach him to open doors, and to make way for women and elders, as a part
of manly courtesy.

Speak with gentle disapproval of the unfortunately common type of
American boy who pushes women and older people aside to scramble into
public conveyances and secure a seat before them.

Say how proud you are that your son could not be guilty of such unmanly
conduct.

When you are walking with him, call his attention to any woman or child
or poor man in trouble, and if his services can be of use, urge him to
offer them.

I saw one day a small boy spring to the aid of an old coloured woman who
had dropped a lot of parcels in the street, and I thought it was a
certain evidence that his mother was a rare and sweet woman. For the
manners of little boys are almost invariably what their mothers make
them.

Awake early in his heart a sympathy for the deformed, the crippled, and
otherwise unfortunate beings.

There is no other country where such vulgar and heartless curiosity, and
even ridicule, is bestowed upon grotesque or unsightly types of
humanity, as in America.

A little dwarfed girl in New York City committed suicide a few years
ago because she was so weary of being laughed at and ridiculed by her
associates in the street and at school.

Think of that, in this Christian age, and in the metropolis of America!

An old street peddler was set upon by school-children and so annoyed and
misused that he became insane.

Another was injured by street children--the children of the public
schools--and died from the effects of their abuse.

This is the fault of mothers who have never deemed it their duty and
privilege to awaken the tender and protective qualities in the character
of their children.

Speak often to your boy of the pathos of dumb animals dependent upon
human thoughtfulness for food, drink, and decent usage.

Say what a privilege it seems to you to be able to befriend them, and to
be a voice for them in making others realize their duty to our dumb
brothers.

Obtain interesting books on natural history and read stories of animal
life to your boy. Instruct him in the habits of beast, bird, and insect,
and talk to him of the wonderful domestic instincts and affections in
many of our speechless associates. The exhilaration of the wild bird,
and the happiness of the deer and the hare in the woods and fields, call
to his mind day by day. It will be more gratifying to you when he is man
grown to feel he is the loving friend and protector, rather than the
skilled hunter of bird and beast.

The higher order of man does not seek slaughter for amusement. He
realizes that he has no right to take, save for self-protection, that
which he cannot give.

Make your son a higher order of man by developing those brain cells and
leaving the destructive and cruel portions of the brain to shrink from
lack of use.

Even in his play with his inanimate toys, you can be arousing the best
or the worst part of your boy's nature.

The child who whips and screams at his hobby-horse usually, when a man,
whips and bellows at his flesh and blood steed.

Tell him the play-horse is more easily managed by coaxing and petting,
and that loud voices make it nervous and frightened.

Suggest water and feed at suitable times, and express sorrow for the
horses with no kind boys to look out for them.

Start a humane society in the nursery and make your boy president and
your little girl honorary member, and act as treasurer and secretary
yourself.

Give him a medal when he offers food to a hungry street animal or speaks
to a driver cruel to his horse, or performs any other kind act. This
will be interesting play to your children, and it will be sowing seed in
fallow ground.

Your baby girl is already old enough to take pride in picking up the
toys she scatters, and putting her chair where it belongs. Make it a
part of your hour of sport with her to help her do these things. She
will not know she is being taught order.

I learned this lesson from a famous author whose baby son was anxious
to play about the library where his father was at work.

The first act of the toddler was to toss all the books in sight upon the
floor and to sit down and turn the leaves, hunting for pictures. This
performance interested him for half an hour, when he proceeded to seek
new fields of action.

"But now let us have great fun putting all the books back just where we
found them," cried the tactful father, with a wink and a laugh, which
made the child believe he was to enjoy the sport of his life. And it
_was_ made sport by the foolish pranks of the father who knew how little
it took to interest a child.

The next day, and the next, the same fall and rise in the book market
took place, but on the fourth day the father was too deeply engrossed in
work to assist in the replacing of the books: when, lo! the small lad,
after a wistful waiting and unanswered call, proceeded to put the books
all back alone.

_The first important brick in the foundation wall of order was laid_.

So you can teach your little girl all the womanly habits of method, and
order, and neatness, and system, if you have the patience to act the
part of playmate with her a few moments daily.

As she grows in understanding and years, keep yourself at her side, her
nearest friend. Let her feel that she can express her every thought to
you, and that every question which presents itself to her developing
mind, you will seek to answer to the best of your ability.

Be her confidant, her adviser, her friend, and let her find pride and
happiness in doing things for you.

Never act as maid or domestic to your daughter.

Be the queen and make her your first lady-in-waiting, and show her the
courtesy and appreciation her position demands from royalty. She will be
a better daughter, and a better wife and mother, later in life, if you
do not make the mistake of the average American mother of waiting upon
her from the cradle to the altar. Let her grow up with the quiet
understanding that you are to be first considered, in matters social and
financial. Your wardrobe must be as well looked after as her own, and if
there is to be economy for one, let her practise it.

The daughter who has a whole household sacrificing and toiling for her
pleasures is spoiled for a wife and woman. The most admirable young
women I have known--and I have known many--are those who were taught to
take it as a matter of course that the mother was first to be
considered, and lovingly served.

Do not be afraid of making your daughter vain by telling her the
attractive features she may possess.

Some one else will if you do not, and it is well for her to hear it from
lips which may more successfully offer counsel afterward. A certain
confidence in her own charms gives a sensibly reared young woman a poise
and self-possession which is to be desired. A touch of feminine vanity
renders a woman more anxious to please, and more alert to keep always at
her best.

But beware of having her acquire egotism. Silly conceit is the
death-blow to higher attainments and to all charm.

Teach your daughter early the accomplishment of listening well. She will
be certain to please if she understands its value.

A woman who looks the converser in the eyes, and does not allow her
glance to wander and become distrait, and who does not interrupt before
the recital is finished, can be sure of popularity with both men and
women.

Give both your son and daughter confidence in themselves and belief in
their power to achieve. There is tremendous power in the early
inoculation by the home influence of self-confidence, when it is
tempered by modesty and consideration for others.

Remember whatever in your own bringing up seems to-day unfortunate, and
avoid it in the training of your children.

Remember whatever was good and helpful, and emulate it.




To Miss Zoe Clayborn Artist

_Concerning the Attentions of Married Men_


I am sure, my dear niece, that you are a good and pure-minded girl, and
that you mean to live a life above reproach, and I fully understand your
rebellion against many of the conventional forms which are incompatible
with the career of a "girl bachelor," as you like to call yourself. But
let us look at the subject from all sides, while you are on the
threshold of life, in the morning of your career, and before you have
made any more serious mistakes than the one you mention.

For it was a mistake when you accepted Mr. Gordon's telephone message to
lunch alone with him at a restaurant, even though you knew his wife
might not object.

Mr. and Mrs. Gordon are happily married, parents of several children.
They are broader and more liberal and more unselfish than most parents,
and they went out of their path to extend courtesies to you, a young
country girl--at first because you were my niece, then because they
liked you personally.

When I first wrote Mrs. Gordon that you were to open a studio in Chicago
after your course of study in the East, she expressed deep interest in
you, and seemed anxious to have you consider her as a friend--always
ready to act as a chaperon or adviser when you felt the need of wiser
guidance than your own impulses.

Mrs. Gordon knew that your experience of the world was limited to a
country village in the West, and two years' study at the Pratt
Institute. While there she knew you boarded with a cousin of your
mother's, and enjoyed the association and privileges of the daughters of
the home.

To start alone in Chicago, and live in your studio, and dine from a
chafing-dish, and sleep in an unfolded combination bureau and
refrigerator--has more fascinations to your mind than to Mrs. Gordon's.
She was reared in comfort, bordering on luxury, and while her early home
life was not happy, she enjoyed all the refinements and all the
privileges of protected girlhood.

She knows city life as you cannot know it, and, although she discards
many of the burden-some conventions of society, she realizes the
necessity of observing some of its laws.

She wanted you to feel that you had the background of a wholesome home,
and the protection of clean, well-behaved married friends in your
exposed situation; her attitude to you is just what she would want
another woman to hold toward her daughter, were she grown up and alone
in a large city.

You have been her guest, and she has been your good friend. Mr. Gordon
admired you from the first, and that was a new incentive for this most
tactful and liberal of wives to befriend you. She always cultivates the
women he likes.

This is excellent policy on the part of a wife. If the husband has any
really noble qualities or possesses a sterling character, he will
appreciate and respect his wife's confidence, and never violate it; and
added to this, he will usually become disillusioned with the women he
has admired from a distance, when he sees them frequently at too close
range.

A wife can make no greater mistake than trying to fence her husband
about and obtruding high walls between him and the women he admires. Far
better bring them near and turn on the calcium light.

Mr. Gordon is a born lover of the fair sex, a born gallant. He is, at
the same time, a clean, self-respecting man. But he has grown a trifle
selfish and a bit vain of late years.

He does not fully realize what the interesting family of children he
shows with such pride to his friends has meant to their mother.

It has not occurred to him that to be the mother of three children, the
youngest one year old, after six years of married life, has required a
greater outlay of all the mental, moral, and physical forces than has
been demanded of their father.

He is a good husband,--yet he is not the absolutely unselfish and
liberal and thoughtful husband that Mrs. Gordon is wife.

If she seemed to you at all nervous, or less adaptable to your moods
than he, you should stop and consider the many causes which might have
led to this condition.

You are young, handsome, gifted, and unconventional, and all these
things appeal to men. You can attract all the admirers you want, and
more than you need, to enlarge your ideas of life, and extend your
knowledge of human nature.

You say your ambition is to know the world thoroughly,--that it will aid
your art.

I think that is true, if you do not pass the border-line and lose your
ideals and sacrifice your principles. Once you do that, your art will
lose what it can never regain.

And remember this, my dear girl, no human being ever lived or ever will
live who gained anything worth having _by sacrificing the golden rule._
In your search for knowledge of the world, and acquaintance with human
nature, _keep that motto ever before your soul's sight,_ "Do unto
others as you would have them do unto you."

You say Mr. Gordon said or did nothing in that tete-a-tete luncheon his
wife might not have heard or seen, but the fact that he talked entirely
about you and art, and other universal subjects, and seemingly avoided
any reference to his wife and children, surprised you.

And now you are wondering if you did wrong to accept this invitation.
Never accept invitations of any kind from married men, unless the wife
or some member of the family is included.

No matter how willing the wife may be to have you enjoy her husband's
company, avoid tete-a-tete situations with benedicts.

You say you are not egotistical enough to imagine Mr. Gordon had any
hidden motive for wanting to be alone with you, or for seemingly
forgetting in his conversation that he was a husband and father. Yet I
can see that in a measure it disillusioned you.

You do not ask a man to fling his wife and children at the head of each
woman he meets, but you like him to recognize their existence.

You are a young, romantic girl seeking the ideal.

You want to find happy wives and husbands,--men and women who have
sailed away from the Strands of Imagination to the more beautiful land
of the Real, from whose shores they beckon you, saying: "Here is
happiness and great joy. Come and join us, and feel no fear in flinging
the illusions of youth behind you."

If married men only knew that is what young women are seeking,--if
married women only knew that is what young men are seeking, what
reconstruction would take place in the deportment of husbands and wives!

Never yet did a married woman indulge in flirtatious or sentimental
converse with a bachelor without lowering herself and all women in his
heart of hearts.

Never yet did a married man seem to forget his domestic ties in the
presence of single women without losing a portion of their respect,
however they may have been flattered by his attentions.

In every man's heart, in every woman's, is this longing to find husbands
and wives who are satisfied and happy and proud, above all other things,
of their loyalty.

It would be well for you to keep this fact before the minds of the men
you meet. You can, in a small way, do your little toward educating on
this subject the married men you encounter. And you can save yourself
some embarrassing experiences.

It is no compliment to you if the husband of your friend, or a stranger,
falls in love with you.

It is an easy matter for a young, attractive woman to infatuate
irresponsible men.

It is a far greater compliment to you when women respect and trust you,
and when you help elevate the ideals of weak men regarding your sex.

You can study the whole Encyclopedia of Manhood without breaking through
the glass doors of your friend's bookcases. And you can live a free,
unconventional life without sacrificing one principle, though you may
ignore some customs. It is not the custom in conventional society for
young women to go to theatres or dinners alone with young men. Yet I am
perfectly willing you should join the large army of self-supporting,
self-respecting, and well educated girls who do these things. You have
been reared with that American idea of independence, and with that
confidence in your ability to protect your virtue and good name, which
carries the vast majority of our young women safely through all the
vicissitudes of youth, and sends them chaste wives to the altar. Our
American men understand this attitude of our girls, and half of them
respect it, without being forced to, as the other half can be, if woman
so wills.

There is no reason, to my thinking, why you should not enjoy the
companionship of interesting bachelors and widowers, and take the
courtesies they offer, with no chaperon but your own pride, taste, and
will. So long as you know, and these men know, that you are doing
nothing and going nowhere you need remember with shame or regret, the
next day, just so long you are on no dangerous path.

But you must draw the line at married men, happy or unhappy. Any
confidential, tete-a-tete companionship of a single woman with a married
man cheapens her in the eyes of all other men and women.

It is a simpler matter to drift into free and easy manners and call them
"bohemian" than to cleanse your reputation of their stain, or lift your
mind from the mire to which they inevitably lead.

Once a woman begins to excuse her lawless conduct on the ground of her
"artistic temperament," there are no depths to which she may not sink.

Take pride in being at once independent yet discreet; artistic, yet
sensible; a student of men, yet an example of high-minded womanhood; an
open foe to needless conventions, yet a staunch friend of principles;
daring in methods, yet irreproachable in conduct; and however adored by
men, worthy of trust by all women.

Do not take the admiration of men too seriously. Waste no vitality in a
rage over their weaknesses and vices. Regard them with patience and
inspire them to strive for a better goal than self-indulgence.

You can safely take it for granted that many who approach you with
compliments for your charms, and pleas for your favours, would make the
same advances to any other attractive girl they chanced to encounter.

Too many young women mistake a habit for a grand passion. And they
forget, while they are studying man, that he is studying woman, and
testing her susceptibility to flattery and her readiness to believe in
his simulated infatuation.

Do not fall into the error of so many young country girls in a large
city, and imagine you can establish new laws, create a new order of
things, and teach men new lessons.

A great city is like an ever-burning fire,--the newcomers who thrust in
their fingers will be scorched and scarred, but the fire will not be
changed or extinguished.

_Keep out of the fire_.

There is no reason why you should scar yourself or smoke your garments
while keeping comfortably warm.




To Mr. Charles Gordon

_Concerning the Jealousy of His Wife After Seven Years of Married Life_


I have read your letter with care. I can readily understand that you
would not appeal to your wife's mother in this matter upon which you
write me, as she has been the typical mother-in-law,--the woman who
never gets along well with her children, and who never wants others to
succeed where she fails. I recollect your telling me how she marred the
wedding ceremony, by weeping and fainting, after having nagged her poor
daughter during twenty years of life, and interfered with her
friendships, through that peculiar jealousy which she misnamed "devoted
love."

And now you are afraid that your wife is developing the same
propensity, and you ask me to use my influence to cure her of it in its
incipiency. You think I stand closer to Edna than any other friend.

"It is only during the last two or three years that Edna has shown this
tendency," you say. "Until then she seemed to me the most sensible and
liberal-minded of women, always admiring the people I liked, and even
going out of her way to be courteous and cordial to a woman I praised.
Of late she has seemed so different, and has often been sarcastic, or
sulky, or hysterical, when I showed the common gallantries of a man fond
of the society of ladies."

You think it is her inherited tendency cropping out, and that she is
unconscious of it herself.

Well now permit me, my dear Mr. Gordon, to be very frank with you.

I met your wife only once before she married you.

She was a merry-hearted, healthy girl, with superb colour, and the
figure of a young Venus. She was a belle, and much admired by many
worth-while men.

During her honeymoon, she wrote me a most charming letter speaking of
her happiness, and of her desire to make you an ideal wife.

You and Edna were my guests for a few days when your first child was a
year old. She seemed more beautiful than ever, with an added spiritual
charm, and you were the soul of devotion.

You are the type of man who pays a compliment as naturally as he
breathes, and whose vision is a sensitive plate which retains an
impression of every feminine grace. This impression is developed in the
memory-room afterward, and framed in your conversation.

The ordinary mind calls such a man a flirt, or, in common parlance, "a
jollier;" but I know you to be merely appreciative of womankind in
general, while your heart is beautifully loyal to its ideal. You are a
clean, wholesome man, who could not descend to intrigue. You are
fine-looking, and you possess a gift in conversing.

Of course women are attracted to you. Edna was proud of this fact, and
seemed to genuinely enjoy your popularity.

That was five years ago.

One year ago I visited your home. Edna was the mother of three children,
born during the first five years of marriage.

She had sacrificed her bloom to her babies, and was pallid and anaemic.
Her form had lost its exquisites curves, and she seemed years older than
her age--older indeed than you, although she is four years your junior.
It is a mere incident to be a father of three children. It is a lifetime
experience to be their mother. She had developed nerves, and tears came
as readily as laughter came of old.

She was devoted to her children, and felt a deep earnestness regarding
her responsibility as a mother. But she was still the intensely loving
wife, while you had sunk your role of lover-husband in that of adoring
father.

You did not seem to think of Edna's delicate state of health, or notice
her fading beauty. You regarded her as a faithful nurse for your
children, and whenever you spoke of her it was as the mother, not as the
sweetheart and wife.

When I mentioned the drain upon a woman's vitality to bring three robust
children into life in five years, you said it was only a "natural
function," and referred to the old-time families of ten and twelve
children. Your grandmother had fourteen, you said, and was the picture
of health at seventy-five.

My own grandmother gave ten children to the world. But we must recollect
how different was the environment in those days.

Our grandmothers lived in the country, and knew none of the strain and
excitement of these modern times. The high pressure of social and
financial conditions, as we know them, the effort to live up to the
modern standards, the congested city life and the expensive country
life, all these things make motherhood a different ordeal for our women
than our grandmothers. Where our grandfathers took their share of the
care and guidance of children, and the children came up in a wholesome
country fashion, our men to-day are so driven by the money gadfly that
they can only whirl around and around and attend "to business," and all
the care of the children falls upon the mother, or else upon the nurses
and governesses, who in turn are a care and a worry to the wife.

You assured me Edna had all the assistants in caring for her children
she wanted, but you did not realize that every paid employe in a
household is, as a rule, just so much more care to the mistress, not
less than a tax on the husband's purse and, consequently, on his time.

What Edna craves is _your_ love, _your_ attention, _your_ sympathy, not
the service of paid domestics. She wants you to notice her fading bloom,
and to take her in your arms and say, tenderly, "Little girl, we must
get those old roses back. And we must go away for a new honeymoon, all
alone, and forget every care, even if we forget the babies for a few
days."

One little speech like that, one little outing like that, would do more
toward driving away the demon of jealousy than all I could by a thousand
sermons and homilies.

I remember at your own board you made me uncomfortable talking about my
complexion, which you chose to say was "remarkable for a woman of my
age." And then you proceeded to describe some wonderful beauty you had
seen at the Country Club the day previous, and all the time I saw the
tears hidden back under the lids of Edna's tired eyes, and a hurt look
on her pale face. Do you imagine she was _jealous_ of your compliment to
me? or of your praise of the girl's beauty at the Country Club?

No, no, my dear Mr. Gordon, I know Edna too well to accuse her of such
petty feelings. She was only hurt at your lack of taste in accenting her
own lost bloom by needlessly emphasizing another's possession of what
had once been hers.

Yet she called upon the young lady that very day and invited her to
luncheon, and even then you indulged in pronounced admiration of the
guest's cheeks, gallantly requesting your wife to have the bouquet of
carnation pinks removed from the table, as they were so shamed by the
complexions of the ladies.

Of course it was gracefully worded in the plural, but your pallid wife
could not claim her share of it, and you should have realized the fact.
And the reason she could not was that she had sacrificed her health in
your service, in giving your children to you, and in losing her lover.

She adores her splendid babies, but she is still a woman and a
wife,--though you seem to ignore that she is anything but a mother.

Right about face, Mr. Gordon, and become the lover you were, and
jealousy will be driven from your threshold.

It is your own lack of thoughtfulness, your own tactless and tasteless
methods with your wife, which have caused the change in her manner. She
is not jealous, she is only lonely, heart-hungry, disillusioned.

You are less noble, less considerate, less tender, less sympathetic
than she believed. For the man to whom these adjectives can be applied
will guard, love, and cherish the wife of his youth, and the mother of
his children, before all other considerations; and he will understand
how sensitive a fading wife may be, and not confound that sensitiveness
with ignoble jealousy.

It is you, Charles Gordon, who must cure your wife of nerves, hysteria,
and incipient jealousy, not I.




To Mrs. Clarence St. Claire

_Concerning Her Husband_


I am sorry that your matrimonial barque meets so many rough winds while
hardly out of Honeymoon Bay.

Clarence and you seemed so deeply in love when I last saw you, six
months after your wedding, that I had hoped all might go well with you.

I knew the disposition of Clarence to be tainted with jealousy, but
hoped you would be able to eradicate it from his nature.

You know his poor mother suffered agonies from the infidelities of his
father before Clarence was born. She had married a handsome foreigner
with whom she was desperately enamoured, while he cared only for the
fortune she brought him.

While still in the full light of the honeymoon he began to indulge in
flirtations and amours, and poor Clarence, during the important prenatal
period of life, received the mark of suspicion and the tendency to
hypersensitiveness which then dominated the mother.

By the time Elise was born she had passed through the whole process, and
was passive and indifferent.

I cannot help a sensation of amusement, even in face of the condition
you describe (which is little short of tragic), as I recall the letter
Clarence wrote begging me to try and prevent, by fair means or foul, his
sister's marriage to old Mr. Volney.

That was two years before you and Clarence were married.

Elise, we all know, wedded for the money and position Mr. Volney gave,
in return for her young beauty.

Clarence and you were ideal lovers, seeing nothing in the world outside
of your own selves.

Yet Elise is quite contented, and Mr. Volney uses what little brain he
has left to exult over his possession of such a beautiful young wife.

Elise upholds his dignity and flatters him into a belief that he is a
great philanthropist and a social power, and in this way she has the
handling of his millions, which is her idea of happiness. She travels,
entertains, and poses for photographs and paintings in imported gowns,
and there is no rumour of discontent or divorce.

Meanwhile, Clarence, who was so opposed to her marriage because it was
loveless, is making a mess of his own love-match, through his jealousy.

You, who knew him to be insanely jealous as a lover, and who seemed to
be flattered with what you thought a proof of his devotion, appeal to me
now to know what to do with the husband who is destroying your love and
your happiness! Surely, if Elise knew of this she might well say, "He
laughs best who laughs last."

I know that you were absorbed in Clarence for the first year of your
married life, and that you gave no least cause for any jealousy, and I
know, as you say, that even then he was often morbid and unhappy over
nothing at all.

He was jealous even of girl friends and relatives, and if you attended a
matinee with one of them, he sulked the whole evening.

This was little more than he did as a lover, and you should have begun
in those days to reason him out of such moods.

You imagined then it was his mad love for you which caused his
unreasonable jealousy.

But jealousy is self-love, and selfishness lies at the root of such
conditions of mind as his.

A woman should say to a man who sulks or goes into tantrums when she
pays courteous attentions to relatives or acquaintances, "You are
lowering my ideal of you--I cannot love a man who will indulge such
unworthy moods. You insult my womanhood and doubt my principles by your
suspicions; you intimate that I have neither truth, or judgment, or
pride. You must conquer yourself, and learn to trust me and to believe
in me, or I must decide I am no woman for you to take as a life
companion." A man should take the same course toward a jealous
sweetheart or wife.

A few quiet but firm assertions of this nature, when you were being
wooed, would have given Clarence an idea that he could lose you, and
that he was making himself ridiculous in your eyes. Instead, you boasted
to your friends how wildly infatuated he was, and Clarence took new
pride in his own blemish of character.

Now that you have to live day, and night, and week, and month, and year,
with this trait, it seems a less romantic phase of devotion, I fancy.
But you are not wise to grow reckless and ignore the wishes of your
husband in all ways, because he is unreasonable. "Since he is so
absolutely impossible to please," you say, "I may as well please myself.
I have decided to take some of the liberties so many of my acquaintances
do, and enjoy life outside my home if I cannot enjoy it within."

Then you proceed to tell me how more than half your associates drive,
lunch, and dine with men acquaintances, and how old-fashioned they
consider your scruples. And you tell me that, despite your rectitude,
Clarence insults you almost daily by his unreasoning jealousy of men,
women, and even children.

"I have about made up my mind to be less prudish and enjoy myself, as I
am sure Clarence cannot be any more jealous than he is," you say.

Now since you have asked my advice in the matter, I can only urge you to
reconsider this last determination.

So long as you are, according to law and in the eyes of the world, the
wife of a man, you cannot escape comment if you are frequently seen in
public places alone with another.

Were you to look into the hearts of other men who ask you to dine,
drive, or lunch alone with them, you would find a feeling of increased
respect when you decline, although they may show only disappointment on
the surface. I know that many wives of unblemished reputation accept
courtesies of this kind from masculine friends, and I of course
understand that circumstances may arise which make an occasional
acceptance proper.

But the fewer such occasions, the better and the safer for the married
woman. The man who is perfectly willing his wife should appear
frequently in public with other men does not fully appreciate the
dignity of her position or his own, or else he has lost his love for
her.

The fact that your husband is jealous without reason is no excuse for
giving him reason. The moment men know that a husband is inclined to
jealousy, he falls in their estimation, and they are seized with a
desire to aggravate him, while they sympathize with the wife.

The sympathetic friend of the abused wife is a dangerous companion for
her. He may mean to be platonic and kind, but almost invariably he
becomes sentimental and unsafe.

Once in a thousand times the absolutely happy wife of a husband she
respects as well as loves can enjoy a platonic friendship with a man who
respects her, and himself, and her husband. But even that situation is
liable to prove insecure, if they are much together, owing to the
selfishness and weakness of human nature when the barriers of convention
are removed.

But the unhappy wife must take no chances with Fate.

She must either decide to accept her lot and bear it with philosophy, or
escape from it and begin life over, after the courts have given her the
right to reconstruct her destiny.

You know all that entails. It is not a pleasant process.

If your love for your husband is entirely dead, and you feel that he has
forfeited all right to your sympathy, pity, or patience, then break the
fetters and go free. But if you feel that you are not ready for that
ordeal, and that you must still remain living under the same roof with
him, and continue to bear his name, then do not join the great army of
wives who are to be seen in public restaurants and hotels dining
tete-a-tete with "platonic friends" over emptied glasses.

You can but make trouble for yourself and add to the misery of your
husband by such a course. In your particular case, I feel that your
knowledge of the jealous disposition of the man you married renders it
your duty to bear and forbear, and to try every method of reformation
before you resort to the very common highway of divorce as an exit from
your unhappiness.

A woman has no right to complain of the fault in a husband which she
condoned in a lover. And a man has no right to complain of the fault in
a wife he condoned in a sweetheart. Yet both may strive to correct that
fault.

Insist upon having women and men friends who can be received at your
home in presence of your husband. Make Clarence realize how he belittles
himself in your estimation by unreasoning jealousy. Give him to
understand that you want to love him and respect him, and that you have
no intention of lowering your standard of behaviour, because he is
constantly expecting you to. Tell him it mortifies you to find greater
pleasure away from him than in his presence, yet when he insults you
with his suspicions, and destroys your comfort with his moods, you can
no longer think of him as your girlhood's ideal.

Ask him to try, for your sake, to use more common sense and self-control
in this matter, and to help you to restore the happiness which seems
flying from your wedded lives.

Do nothing to aggravate or irritate him, but do not give up your friends
of either sex; this is but to increase his inclination to petty tyranny,
while it will in no sense lessen his jealousy.

And when you are alone, endeavour to think of him always as sensible,
reasonable, and kind.

By your mental picture you can help to cure him of the blight he
received before his birth. It is the task set many a wife, to counteract
the errors and neglect of mothers.

Look to the Divine source for help in your work, and remember the lovely
qualities Clarence possesses when he is not under the ban of this
prenatal mark.

Love him out into the light if you can--and I believe you can if you are
not too soon discouraged.

It is a nobler effort to try and create in your husband the ideal you
have in your mind, than to go seeking him elsewhere.

Be patient and wait awhile. Such love as you and Clarence felt in your
courtship and early marriage cannot so soon have died. It is only
sleeping, and suffering from a nightmare. Awaken it to life and reality
and happiness.




To Young Mrs. Duncan

_Regarding Mothers-in-Law_


And so the serpent has appeared in your Eden, attired in widow's weeds,
and talking the usual jargon of "devoted mother love." I do not like to
say I told you so, but you must remember our rather spirited discussion
of this very serpent, when you announced your engagement and said Mr.
Duncan's mother was to make her home with you after your return from
abroad.

I had met Mrs. Duncan, and I knew her type all too well. Alfred is her
only child, and she adores him, naturally, but it is adoration so
mingled with selfishness and tyranny that it is incapable of considering
the welfare of its object.

Mrs. Duncan was always jealous of any happiness which came to her son
through another source than herself. That type of mother love is to be
encountered every day, and that type of mother believes herself to be
the most devoted creature on earth; while the fact is, she sits for ever
in the boudoir of her mentality, gazing at her own reflection. She loves
her children because they also reflect herself, and is incapable of
unselfish pleasure in their happiness apart from her.

You will remember I urged you to wait until you could have a home,
however humble, alone with your husband, and even at the cost of that
most undesirable condition, a long engagement.

But you assured me with much spirit that you had every confidence in
your power to win Mrs. Duncan's heart, and to crown her declining years
with peace and happiness.

As well talk of decking a porcupine with wreaths of flowers, and making
it a household pet, to coddle and caress.

When I congratulated Mrs. Duncan on her son's engagement to such a
sweet, bright girl as my cousin, she assumed a martyr expression and
said, "She hoped he would be happy, even if her own heart must suffer
the pain of losing an only son."

"But," I urged, "he really adds to your life by bringing you the
companionship of a lovely daughter. My cousin will, I am sure, prove
such to you."

"I have no doubt your cousin is a most estimable girl," Madame Duncan
answered, with dignity, "but I have never yet felt the need of any close
companion save my son. You, having no children, are excusable for not
understanding my feelings, now when another claims his thoughts."

"Yet the world is maintained by such occurrences," I replied. "You took
some mother's son, or you would not have had your own."

With austere self-righteousness Mrs. Duncan corrected me.

"I married an orphan," she said.

"How thoughtful of you," I responded. "But you see it is not lack of
thought, only an accident of fate, which has prevented my cousin from
marrying an orphan. There are not enough desirable orphans to keep our
young women supplied with husbands, you know."

I think Mrs. Duncan suspected me of covert sarcasm, for she changed the
topic of conversation. But I heard her afterward talking to a bevy of
women on the sorrow of giving up a child after having reared him to
manhood's estate, and her listeners all seemed duly sympathetic.

Of course, my dear Ruth, there is an element of sadness in the happiest
of marriages for the parents of children. I think it is particularly sad
when a mother gives up a daughter, whose every thought she has shared,
and whose every pleasure she has planned, and sees her embark upon the
uncertain ocean of marriage, with a strange pilot at the helm.

The really good and loving mother endears herself to that pilot, and
loves him and seeks his affection for her daughter's sake. She hides
her own sorrow in her heart, and does not shadow her daughter's voyage
by her repining.

The man who is worthy of a good girl's love will understand what it must
mean to a mother to give her daughter to him, and he will in every way
seek to recompense her for her loss, by bestowing upon her sympathy,
courteous attentions, and a son's devotion.

Just so will the girl, who is worthy of being a good man's wife, seek to
make his mother love her.

I know how you have tried to win Mrs. Duncan's heart. I know your
amiable, sweet disposition, and your unselfishness and tact, and I know
how you failed.

I can imagine your feelings when you overheard Mrs. Duncan say to a
caller that she was going to leave your house and take rooms elsewhere,
as she could not endure your "billing and cooing."

Do you know, Ruth, that nearly all the trouble between mothers-and
daughters-in-law is due to vanity and jealousy.

Fifty mothers are friends to their daughters' husbands where one is a
friend to her son's wife. That is because, wholly unconsciously to
herself, the mother resents another woman sharing the attention of a man
she loves. The fact that he is her son, and that the love he gives his
wife is a wholly different sentiment, does not prevent blind,
unreasoning jealousy from dominating her nature.

Mrs. Duncan wants to stand always in the centre of the stage, with every
other woman in the play in the background.

It is a most pathetic situation for a man,--this position between a wife
and a jealous mother. My heart always aches for the man in the case even
more than for the woman who is misused.

All young men are reared to think mother-love the most unselfish and
wonderful devotion on earth, even in the face of facts which so often
prove it otherwise; and when a son sees his mother unhappy he is
inclined to make every possible excuse for her, because he feels that to
take issue against her will put him in a false light before the whole
established order of society, and that he will beat his head against
traditions wherever he turns.

So, he ofttimes tries to conciliate the wife he has promised to cherish,
and to convince her that she may exaggerate matters, and that she may
even be the aggressor, and then he finds himself standing between two
raging fires, with no escape save through flames, and over hot fagots,
which will leave him scarred for life.

Sometimes the wife _is_ in the wrong. Sometimes a man marries a woman
who is so narrow and so selfish and so jealous that she begrudges the
husband's mother her son's affection. But I must affirm that, in my
observation of humanity, I have seen but one such wife, where I have
seen ten jealous and unreasonable mothers.

And with what pleasure and admiration I recall the few beautiful and
noble mothers-in-law I have known! I can count them on the fingers of
one hand without including the thumb. I mean mothers of sons.

There are just four whom I can recall. They really loved their sons, and
loved whatever and whoever gave those sons happiness.

One mother objected to her son's choice before marriage, and tried
vainly to convince him that he had made a mistake. But after his
marriage she took the girl into her heart, made her a companion and
friend, and when the son began to discover her glaring faults, she told
him to be patient and wait, and that all would be well. Instead of
saying, "I told you so," she said, "Your wife is young, and has had no
wise hand to guide her. You married her for love, and if you exercise
the love-spirit, and are patient and self-controlled in your treatment
of her, she will overcome these faults which annoy you."

And day by day she called his attention to the pleasing qualities the
girl possessed, and by praise, tact, love, and sympathy bridged over
the threatened chasm.

The couple live happily together to-day, thanks to the mother-in-law.
Oh, that there were more such mothers of sons!

Be as patient and sweet as you can, dear Ruth, toward Mrs. Duncan; think
how difficult the situation is for your husband, and say or do nothing
to make it harder for him. But allow Mrs. Duncan to live by herself,
and, if need be, bear many privations cheerfully that she may do so, and
that you may have your own home in peace. Every wife is entitled to
that, and if she has made every possible effort which love and tact can
make to cast the seven devils of jealousy out of her mother-in-law, and
they still remain, it is for the general welfare that two separate
households exist.

When a son has done all he can in reason to make his mother happy, save
to turn against the wife he has promised to cherish, he is a cad and a
weakling if he does the latter. He must learn that it is a larger duty
to be a just man than to be an obedient son.

I am sure Mr. Duncan will have the character and judgment to do what is
right in this matter.




To a Young Man

_Ambitious for Literary Honours_


Your achievements in college, where you distinguished yourself in
rhetoric and literature, would justify you in thinking seriously of a
career as an author.

And the fact that your father wishes you to take charge of his brokerage
business, and to relinquish your literary aspirations, should not deter
you from carrying out your ambitions.

Prom your mother you inherit a mind and temperament which wholly unfit
you for the pursuits your father follows and enjoys. You are no more
suited to make a successful broker than he is fitted to write an Iliad.

Try and make him understand this, and try and convince him that to
yield to his wishes in this matter, means the sacrifice of your tastes,
the waste of your talents, and the destruction of your happiness.

If he cannot be convinced by your consistent and respectful arguments,
then you must quietly, but firmly, refuse to accept a career distasteful
to you.

No parent has a right to drive a child into so undesirable a path for
life as this would prove to one of your nature.

Your father would think the horticulturist insane, who took a delicate
fern and planted it in arid soil, on a hilltop, far from shade, and
expected it to thrive and bear blossoms like the cactus.

Yet this would be no more unreasonable, than to expect a son of your
temperament and inclinations to be happy and successful in Wall Street.

It is a curious study to watch parents, and to observe their utter lack
of knowledge regarding a child's nature and capabilities; and to find
them not only ignorant in those important matters, but unwilling to be
enlightened.

You say it makes your father angry to have any one refer to your
literary talents.

I remember when your father bred race-horses, and how proud he was that
a two-year-old colt showed traits and points noticeably like its
high-priced dam.

He chose for your mother, a woman of rare mind, and of poetic taste, and
why should he not be proud and glad that his son resembles her? When
will fathers learn that sons are more frequently like their mothers, and
daughters like their fathers, than otherwise?

The temporary dissatisfaction of your father is not so sad to
contemplate as your own lifelong disappointment if you accede to his
wishes in this matter.

Each individual has a right to choose his own career in life, so long as
that career is respectable and bodes no evil to humanity.

If, as your father threatens, he refuses to give you support while you
are exploring the field of literature, you should feel grateful to him
for this unintentional incentive to success.

I do not agree with those who consider the necessity to earn money a
misfortune to genius.

I believe the greatest works of art given to the world have been brought
to light through necessity.

The artistic temperament is almost invariably combined with a propensity
to dream, and to float upon the clouds of imagination.

The ranks of wealth and comfort are full of talented and accomplished
people who "never are, but always to be" great.

One great man in a score may have been reared in affluence, but I doubt
if the statistics would show so large a percentage.

There are many hills which contain valuable ore, but if the owner sits
in ease upon these elevations, and gazes at the sunsets, he does not
find the ore. If he is a poor man, and takes his pick and _digs_, he
finds his fortune.

At first he may cast out only loose earth and stones, but by this very
necessity to find valuables, he continues to search until the ore is
reached.

Were you to remain at home and enjoy all the benefits of your father's
wealth, I doubt if you would have the persistence to dig down into the
mine you possess within you.

You would sit on the hilltop and dream.

If you are forced to write to live, you may cast up some rubbish from
the surface; yet by the continual digging you will reveal all that lies
below.

Regarding the style you speak of adopting, let your feeling come
_first_, your style of expressing that feeling _second_. Say nothing
merely to exhibit your style--and hold back some strong feelings until
you can give them the best expression.

As to the methods of getting your work before the public and the
"influence" you need, I can only assure you that unless you write with
purpose, and power, and passionate enjoyment of your art, forgetful of
all things save your desire to express yourself, no influence on earth
can do more than give you a page in a magazine, or a column in a
newspaper for an occasion or two. And if you do write under those
conditions, you will need no influence: for it is just such writing the
world wants; and the editors and publishers will be forced to read you,
whether they are inclined to or not.

Christopher Columbus found his continent because he was so determined,
so persistent, so certain that unknown lands awaited him.

It made no difference who told him that all the earth had been
discovered, and that he would never be able to succeed in his wild
venture. His purpose was too strong to be influenced by the doubts of
others.

It has always seemed to me that God would have made a continent to
reward such a search, had it not already existed.

Unless you set forth on the sea of literature, with the spirit of a
Columbus in your soul, you may as well give up the idea of finding the
Port of Glory. If you do set forth with that spirit, you need ask no
mortal influence.

God is the only influence genius needs.

Perseverance the only method.

To find the way to success alone, is the test of talent.

Some influential author might give you the entree once to a magazine.
But editors and publishers are men of purely business instincts, and
they will not accept work on the recommendation of any third party,
which they think their public will not like. Their constant effort is to
find what that public _does like_, and the unknown author has an equal
advantage with the genius, if he sends such material.

An author once told me that he "trapped" twenty manuscripts and sent
them out to editors, and all came back unread, as his "trap" proved.

Since he sent them forth with such doubts in his mind, it is no wonder
his trap succeeded and his manuscripts failed.

No great literary fire of purpose could be in the mind of a man who
spent thought and time on such a plot to trick an editor. And because
there was no great flame, the inanimate manuscripts were returned
unread. For even a package of paper sends out its "aura," and invites or
repels attention.

If you are discouraged by the people who tell you that "everything has
been written," and that you can only be a faint echo of greater souls,
then you do not deserve success. I have no doubt the croakers of that
day told Shakespeare the same.

It seems that Shakespeare did take many old themes and other people's
plots and ideas to re-create in his own way. And what a way! Surely he
who best uses an idea is most entitled to the credit.

There is nothing new under the sun, but there is always the new
audience. For the majestic old poem of Spring, bound over in new covers
of green, God creates fresh, eager young eyes and hearts each year. And
not yet has he said to the year, "Do not attempt another spring--there
have been so many before, you can but repeat their beauties." Then why
should any mortal say to the poet or the author, "Do not try to
write--it has all been said before."

Proceed, my young friend, and write what is in your heart. Nothing quite
the same was ever in any heart before, and yet the greater part of it
has been in all hearts, and will be in all hearts, so long as the world
lasts.

Remember that when you write from the heart, it will go to the hearts of
your readers: and when you write from your head it will go no lower than
the head.

And if the critics score or ridicule you, consider yourself on the path
to success.

If you have a message for the world, nothing and nobody can prevent you
from delivering it.

He only fails who has nothing to say.




To Mrs. McAllister

_Concerning Her Little Girl_


How strange it seems that your daughter is ten years old.

It is such a brief hour since you wrote me you were eighteen and had
entered Vassar. Having no children of my own to stand as milestones on
life's highway, and keeping a very young heart in my breast all these
years, it seems at times little less than impertinent in the children I
have known to develop so rapidly into matrons and fathers.

I am glad for you that the doctor has reached the desirable goal where
he can rest from his laborious profession for two years, and take that
journey abroad you have so long contemplated. And I am glad that you
feel the satisfaction you say you do, in never having left him alone
for a whole season as you once thought of doing.

A satisfied conscience is a better comrade to journey along beside, than
a remembered pleasure.

But now about Genevieve.

You tell me she is to be left with your sister, and that she will, for
the first time, attend the public school.

You are right in thinking this will make her more American in spirit
than an education gained through home teaching or private schools.

The girl who attends private schools only, is almost invariably
inoculated with the serum of aristocracy.

She believes herself a little higher order of being than the children
who attend public schools, and it requires continual association with
people of broad common sense to counteract this influence. I know you
and the doctor have exerted this influence, but your sister might not
realize the necessity of making a special effort in that direction.

Then, too, since the fathers or grandfathers of our most conspicuous
social leaders were self-made and self-taught, and since our American
society is composed of so many varied types of humanity, it is well for
a young girl to come in contact with all classes while she is yet a
child, that she may understand humanity as she is sure to encounter it
later. Yet, as you say, it is indeed a serious thought to know your
little rosebud of a child is to be tossed into the dust of the public
schoolroom.

"I do not want the delicate leaves forced into premature blossom or
blight," you say, and I feel for you, as I read the words.

You remember your own experience as a school-child in the country, and
you tell me you would fain guard your daughter from hearing or seeing
much that came to your ears and eyes as a school-child.

But now, my dear Winifred, listen.

It is utterly and absolutely impossible for you to keep Genevieve
ignorant of _life_, or of the great fundamental principles of life. It
is utterly useless to undertake to ignore the set impulse in all nature.
Since God did not ignore it in constructing the universe, parents cannot
afford to in educating children. The one thing to do is to teach your
child early to respect and revere the subject, and to regard all things
pertaining to birth as sacred, never to be lightly discussed. Wherever
the eyes of an observing child turn, they see something to arouse
curiosity upon this subject.

All literature (the Bible particularly) contains some reference to sex
and birth. Unless you stuff the ears of children with cotton, they must
hear expressions, suggestions, and references, which necessitate
explanations of the same vital subject. From insects to man, through all
the various kingdoms, sex laws are the foundation of life.

Why parents have chosen to taboo this important subject, and why they
surround it with falsehood and subterfuge, and suggest that it is
unclean or vulgar, has always puzzled me.

Inconceivable harm, lifelong disaster, has befallen many a girl and many
a boy through this mistaken attitude of parents to God's basic law of
the universe.

Genevieve is only ten. But she is a child with a most inquiring mind,
and she already indicates a tendency to coquetry. She prefers boys to
dolls, and evidently finds them more interesting than girls.

The things you would guard her from knowing, she is sure to learn in
some undesirable and unfortunate manner, unless you prepare her for them
with loving delicacy and refinement.

My suggestion is that you take a plant, and talk to her about its
growth. Tell her how it springs from a seed, and hides in the bosom of
the earth, expanding until it bursts through, and becomes the baby of
mother earth.

Tell her, too, of the bird life in the egg, and make her realize the
mother-impulse in all nature. Then say to her that she is a part of it
all and that she came into life by the same divine law, and that when
she is older you will explain whatever puzzles her young mind.

Tell her that she was carried under your heart, as the sprout was
carried in the bosom of mother earth, and that it is a very holy and
beautiful thing; so holy and so beautiful that the refined and sweet
people of the world do not talk freely of the subject, but keep it like
a religion, for those very near to them.

Then say, You will hear other children, who have not been told this by
their mothers, speak rudely and even jest on this subject. They are to
be pitied, for not knowing such jests are vulgar, but you must walk away
from them, and refuse to listen, after telling them your mother has
explained all you need to know. Impress upon her that she is never to
discuss the topic with any one else, unless you advise her to do so.

I have known only two mothers who took this method with their children,
but both succeeded in rearing beautiful and remarkable daughters and
sons. For the sons were included in the talk by one mother, and they
were ideal boys and gentlemen--popular with, and respected by their
comrades, in spite of their delicacy and reserve on subjects jested over
by other boys.

I am sure that you can protect Genevieve from the soil and shock you
fear for her, by making her your confidante at this early age, and by
convincing her of your loving companionship in the future. Under no
other conditions would I for one day allow a little girl (or a little
boy for that matter) to attend a public school. Not one parent in a
thousand realizes the moral dangers surrounding small children who go to
and from school in country or city places.

Many remember their own precocious education on forbidden topics, yet
seem to imagine their children will be immune from such experiences.

But until the Creator produces life by some new process, children will
never be exempt from curiosity regarding the present method, and parents
may as well realize the fact and become their children's reverent
instructors, instead of leaving them to be taught God's holiest truths
by vulgar chance or dreadful design.

Do not imagine that innocence necessitates ignorance.

Your child will be far more innocent minded, if you give her the
instruction I suggest, than if you leave her to ungoverned imagination
and unenlightened observation.

Deep in each human entity the sex impulse is planted, and will assert
itself sooner or later.

Ignorance and curiosity lead often to precocious development of the
impulse. By proper care on your part, your child's mind may be kept
normal, innocent, and wholesome.

See to it that you give this important care before you leave.




To Mr. Ray Gilbert

_Attorney at Law, Aged Thirty_


My dear Mr. Gilbert:--Your letter followed me across the ocean, and
chanced to be the first one opened and read in my weighty home mail
to-day. I have lost all trace of you during the last six years, in that
wonderful way people can lose sight of one another in a large city. Once
or twice I heard you had just left some social function as I arrived, or
was expected just as I was leaving, and once, recently, I saw you across
the house at a first night, with a very pretty girl at your side. I
fancy this is the "one woman in the world for you," of whom you speak in
the letter before me--the letter written the evening before your
marriage. How good you are to carry out my request made seven years
ago, and to write me this beautiful letter, after reading over and
burning your former boyish epistle, returning to me my reply.

It is every man's duty to himself, his bride, and the other woman, to
destroy all evidences of past infatuations and affections, before he
enters the new life. It is every woman's duty to do the same--_with a
reservation_. Since men demand so much more of a wife than a wife
demands of a husband, a woman is wise to retain any proof in her
possession that some man has been an honourable suitor for her hand. She
should make no use of such evidence, unless the unaccepted lover
indulges in disrespectful comments or revengeful libels, as some men are
inclined to when the fruit for which they reached is picked by another
hand.

And it is when the grapes are called sour that the evidence may prove
effective of their having been thought sweet and desirable.

It is a curious fact that no woman thinks less of a man for his having
had his vain infatuations, and that all men think less of a woman if she
has loved without response.

Therefore, it behoves her to destroy no evidence that the other man, not
herself, was the discarded party.

But woe unto the man who retains old love-letters, or other tokens of
dead loves and perished desires.

Few men could be guilty of showing or repeating the contents of another
man's love-letters. Women who are models of virtue and goodness have
been known to make public the letters written a man in earlier years by
another object of his affections. I have to my personal knowledge known
a woman to place before the eyes of a third person, lines written
evidently in the very heart's blood of a former sweetheart of her
husband--words the man believed he had destroyed with other letters,
more than a score of years before. Imagine what the feelings of that
early sweetheart, now a happy and beloved wife, would be, did she know
the words written so long ago were spread before cold and critical
eyes, and discussed by two people who could have no comprehension of the
conditions and circumstances which led to their expression.

Because I know otherwise tender-hearted and good women are capable of
such acts, I am glad you have obeyed my wish of seven years ago, and
that all proofs of your boyish infatuation for an older woman are
destroyed. You say you have told the girl you love that you once were
foolishly fond of me, and that I helped you to higher ideals of
womanhood and life.

That is wise and well, since you found her to be broad and sensible
enough to share such a confidence. But had she seen your written words
to me and my reply, it would have been less agreeable to her than to
hear your own calm recital of the now dead passion.

Words written in a state of high-wrought intensity retain a sort of
phosphoric luminosity, like certain decaying substances, and even after
the passage of years, and when the emotions which gave them expression
are dead and for-gotten, they seem to emit life and feeling.

_Burn your bridges as you walk along the highways of romance to St.
Benedict's land_.

Since you compliment me by saying I have helped you to higher ideals of
life, will you allow me to give you a little advice regarding your
treatment of your wife?

You have every reason to know that I have been a happy and well-loved
wife of the man of my choice. You know that I have neither sought nor
accepted the attentions of other men when they crossed the danger-line
lying between friendship and love.

Therefore it may astonish you when I confess that, at the time you
temporarily lost your head, I was conscious of an undercurrent of
feminine vanity at the thought that I was capable of inspiring a young
and talented man with so sincere a feeling.

A similar experience with an older man would have suggested an insult,
since older men understand human nature, and realize what a flirtation
with a married woman means. But your ingenuousness, and your romantic,
boyish temperament, were, in a measure, an excuse for your folly, and
made me lenient toward you.

My happy life, my principles and ideals, submerged this sentiment of
feminine vanity to which I confess, but I knew it was there, and it led
me to much meditation, then and ever since, upon the matter of woman's
weakness and folly.

As never before, I was able to understand how a neglected or misused
wife might mistake this very sentiment of flattered vanity for the
recognition of an affinity.

Had I been suffering from coldness and indifference at home, how
acceptable your boyish devotion might have proved to me.

And how easily I would have been persuaded by your blind reasoning that
we were intended by an all-wise Providence for life companions.

There is no sin a woman so readily forgives as a man's unruly love for
her, and hundreds of noble-hearted women have been led to regard a
lawless infatuation as a divine emotion, because they were lonely, and
neglected, and hungry for affection.

See to it, my dear friend, as the years go by, that your wife needs no
romance from the outside world to embellish her life with sentiment.

Do not drop into the humdrum ways of many contented husbands, and forget
to pay the compliment, and cease to act the lover.

Notice the gowns and hats your wife wears, and share her pleasures and
interests when it is possible.

Not that you should always be together, for separate enjoyments and
occupations sometimes lend an added zest to life for husband and wife,
but do not drift apart in all your ideas and interests, as have so many
married people.

You are the husband of a bright and lovely girl, and if you forget this
fact after a time, remember there are other Ray Gilberts who may realize
it, and seek to awaken such an interest in her heart as you sought to
arouse in mine.

You found the room occupied by its rightful host.

See it that no man finds the room vacant in your wife's heart.

Study the art of keeping your wife interested and interesting.

A woman thrives on love and appreciation. I know a beautiful bride of
eighty years, who has been the daily adoration of her husband for more
than half a century.

She has been "infinite in her variety," and he has never failed to
appreciate and admire.

Devote a portion of each day to talking to your wife about herself.

Then she will not find it a novelty when other men attempt the same
method of entertainment.

Whatever other matters engross your time and attention, let your wife
realize that she stands first and foremost in your thoughts and in your
heart.

Do not forget the delicacies of life, manner, speech, and deportment in
the intimacy of daily companionship.

Never descend to the vulgar or the commonplace.

One characteristic of men has always puzzled me. No matter how wide has
been a bachelor's experience with the wives and daughters of other men,
when he marries it never occurs to him that his wife or daughters could
meet temptation or know human weakness.

It must be the egotism of the sex.

Each man excuses the susceptibility of the women with whom he has had
romantic episodes, on the ground of his especial power or charm. And
when he marries, he believes his society renders all the women of his
family immune from other attractions.

Do not rely upon the fact that your wife is legally bound to you, and
therefore need not be wooed by you hereafter.

There are women who are born anew with each dawn, and who must be won
anew with each day, or the lover loses some precious quality than can
never be regained.

It will pay you to study your wife as the years pass.

Do not take for granted that you know her to-day, because you knew her
thoroughly last year.

This is a long letter, but when one writes only once in seven years,
brevity is not to be expected.

My greeting to you, and may the years be weaver's hands, which shall
interlace and bind two lives into one complete pattern.




To the Sister of a Great Beauty


I am far from laughing, my dear girl, at your assertion that your
position is little short of tragic.

To be the ordinary sister of an extraordinary beauty, is a position
which calls for the exercise of all the great virtues in order to be
borne with dignity, good taste, and serenity.

I remember seeing you and Pansy when you were ten and she twelve years
of age. I foresaw what lay before you then, and have often wondered how
you would meet the occasion when you were both "finished," and at home
under the same roof, and socially launched. It was wise for your mother
to separate you so early in life, and place you under different
teachers, and in different schools.

It is difficult for a girl in her late childhood and early teens to use
philosophy and religion to support her, when she is made a Cinderella by
unthinking associates and friends, and forgotten and neglected while a
more attractive sister is lionized.

Had you always walked in the shadow of your handsome sister until
to-day, I fancy your disposition would have become warped with
resentment and envy.

And perhaps your feelings for Pansy would have been less affectionate
than now.

I am glad to have you tell me that Pansy is so modest and unassuming and
so genuinely solicitous for your happiness.

She must have been particularly fortunate in her environment while at
school to possess such qualities after knowing as she has known for
twenty-two years that her beauty is dazzling to the eye of even the
chance beholder.

There is no greater obstacle to the development of the best qualities
in a young woman than the possession of such unusual beauty. From her
cradle she is made to realize its power, and men and women teach her in
a thousand unconscious ways to be selfish and self-centred. She receives
attentions, and her acquaintance is sought, with no effort on her part,
while more gifted and deserving companions are unnoticed. She is made to
realize that she is one to be served, where less attractive girls are
taught to "stand and wait."

The love nature of each human being is either developed or stunted by
neglect during the early years of life, and, as a rule, the beautiful
woman is incapable of a deep, absorbing, and unselfish love, because she
has grown up the receiver instead of the giver.

Were you, my dear Sallie, to know the number of great beauties who have
failed to find happiness in marriage, you would be amazed. But the
explanation is simple; for man is a being who, however he may worship
beauty before marriage, worships his own comfort more deeply afterward.
And it is rare indeed when a famous beauty troubles herself to plan for
the comfort or happiness of the man she marries. It is the natural
result of her education to think man made to adore and serve her.

I hope Pansy may keep her loving and lovable qualities, and that she may
marry before the adoration and admiration of many men become necessary
to her life. For the beauties' matrimonial barque most often founders on
the reef of plural lovers.

As for yourself, I can only suggest that you acquire many
accomplishments, and perfect yourself in music and languages, and that
you seek for the attainment of all the subtle graces, which are, in the
long run, more lasting as sources of happiness for a woman than mere
beauty. It is a peculiarly significant fact that the great passions of
history have not been inspired by very young or startlingly beautiful
women, but by those of maturity and mental charms.

Cleopatra, Helen of Troy, Aspasia, Petrarch's Laura, had all crossed
the line between youth and middle life, and there are no authentic
proofs that any one of the number was a dazzling beauty. Some of the
world's most alluring women have been absolutely plain.

You are not plain. It is only by comparison that you so regard yourself.

There is much you can do to make yourself more attractive personally.
You know what Rochefoucauld said: "No woman is in fault for not being
beautiful at sixteen; any woman is in fault if she is not beautiful at
forty."

However much it may sound like a platitude, it is a great and eternal
truth that your mental activities are chiselling your features. By
keeping yourself concerned with good, gracious, and great thoughts, you
are shaping your face into a noble beauty minute by minute, and hour by
hour.

Avoid as much as possible looking at repulsive and ugly objects.

Look at whatever is beautiful and seek for it.

Search for whatever is admirable in nature and human nature, and muse
upon those things in your moments of solitude.

Cultivate love-thoughts for humanity at large.

Avoid severe criticisms, and develop sympathy and pity in your soul.
Study the comfort and pleasure of strangers in public places, and
friends and associates in nearer relations.

Remember always how brief a thing, and ofttimes sad, life is to many,
and seek to brighten and better it as you pass along.

Meanwhile, take care of your person, study your lines and your features,
and learn how to dress and how to carry yourself; how to obtain
"presence," that indescribable charm in woman.

Take daily care of your complexion, which to a woman is of prime
importance.

Call in the skill of the specialist to help you preserve and beautify
your skin and hair, just as the dentist and the oculist are to be
consulted to help you preserve teeth and eyes. Think beauty for mind,
soul, and body; live it, and believe it is your right.

And just as surely as you pursue this line of conduct for ten years,
just so surely will you find yourself at thirty far more attractive than
at twenty, and at forty more lovely than at thirty. Learn to be a
linguist, and acquire skill upon some one instrument, that you may
entertain those who care to converse, and give pleasure to those who
wish to be silent.

You are young, and life with its splendid possibilities is before you.
There is nothing a woman with youth, will-power, and _love_ may not
accomplish--even to the convincing of the world that she is beautiful,
when her mirror may say otherwise.

For enduring and all-encompassing beauty is a composite thing, and
unless a woman possesses the spiritual and mental portions, the physical
phase soon loses its attractions for the cultivated eye; while with the
development of the first two, the third is certain to come.

Begin to-day, my dear girl, to _grow beauty_ which shall make you a
power and an influence in the world where you move, and which shall
invite, rather than fear, the approach of time.




To Mrs. White Peak

_One of the Pillars of Respectable Society_


Ever since your call and our conversation regarding Sybyl Marchmont, I
have felt a rising tide of indignation. It has reached the perigee mark
and must overflow. If it reaches you and gives you a thorough soaking, I
shall feel satisfied.

I have always known you were only half-developed. There are many such
people in the world. They serve their purpose and often do much good.
They miss a great deal of life, but as they rarely know that they miss
anything, it is a waste of sentiment to pity them.

I have pitied you, nevertheless. I have often wished I could give you
the vital qualities you lack.

My pity turned to indignation when I heard you express yourself in such
unqualified terms of condemnation regarding other women who happened to
be unlike you in temperament.

You say there is a certain line which no well-born and womanly woman can
pass in thought or feeling or action.

You regard the true women of earth as a higher and rarer order of
creation than the best of men, and any woman who by action or word
confesses herself to be quite human in her temperament, you feel is, to
a certain extent, "unclean and unsexed." You believe the really good
women of earth are always on a plane above and beyond the physical. When
any woman falls from her pedestal you despise her.

How dare you, madam, sitting in your cold, white chastity, lay down laws
of what you consider purity, morality, and cleanliness, for other human
souls?

How dare you condemn those who do not reach your standard?

What do you know of life, great, palpitating, throbbing, vital life,
terrible and beautiful life, terrible while passing through the valleys
of temptation, beautiful upon the heights of self-control?

How dare you assume greater virtue, greater respectability, greater
fineness of sentiment, than the tempest-tossed, passion-beaten souls,
about you?

What do you know of real virtue, real strength?

You have been poor, you tell me, in worldly riches, and you have been
lonely, yet you have never once degraded your womanhood by an "unworthy
" impulse. Never known a temptation of the senses. Those things
disgusted you.

You have preferred toil to taking favours from inferiors, and you have
kept yourself clean in thought, word, and deed, and now you have the
reward of such virtues--a good home, a husband, and children.

You are a more devoted mother than wife, as you have always dwelt upon a
lofty white peak of chaste womanhood, from which any descent into the
earthly realms of life and love was repugnant--so rarely "pure" and high
your nature.

Yet you have been a dutiful, loyal wife, and you are a devoted mother.

You despise all carnal-minded women, and cannot understand how women
fall--save that they lack good birth and breeding.

You will aid in a benefit for their reformation, but you do not want to
see them or to come near them. It makes you ill.

You are to be congratulated on never having added to the evil in the
world.

But permit me, madam, to tell you some truths about yourself--and the
large army of "respectable women" you represent.

However "well born" you may be, you are only half-born. The complete
human being has three sides to his nature--spiritual, mental, physical.

The men and women who are evenly developed on the three sides are few.
This is sometimes their fault--sometimes their misfortune.

We all pity the human being who is mentally dwarfed. We are sorry for
the one whose spiritual nature is undeveloped.

But why should the many women who are devoid of the physical qualities
of human nature presume to lay claim to perfection and to regard the
normal woman as a suspicious character?

You have a fine, active mind, a highly spiritual nature, but you are
stunted in strong, physical emotion. You are incapable of it, and pride
yourself upon the fact.

If that pleases you, well and good.

But how dare you criticize God's _complete human_ beings, who feel the
great vibrations of the universe, who glow and thrill with that divine
creative force, who live a thousand lives and die a thousand deaths
before they learn the glory of self-conquest.

How dare you shrink even from those who fall by the wayside, and call
your shrinking "purity"!

Let me ask you another question:

How dare you turn away from that girl who went through the door of the
Magdalene Home you helped establish, with her fatherless child in her
arms?

She fell from woman's holy estate!

Yes, through mad love for a man--she loved him with her soul, her mind,
her body. She lacked knowledge, balance, and wisdom; she had only love
and passion.

And you, madam, how about _your_ children?

They were born of a "dutiful" wife. You descended from your lofty
altitude unwillingly--only at duty's call. You are so "refined," yet you
are a loving mother and pose as the highest type of woman.

_God never made in his whole universe of worlds such a "duty" as
unwilling motherhood_. Motherhood without the call of sex for sex is
indecent--criminal. You, too, madam, _fell_.

That girl in yonder "home" your "charity" helped establish, who loved
unwisely, fell. Her fall was through love--yours through a legal
ceremony.

All the churches, all the religions and the laws of earth, cannot make
motherhood holy and right without the mutual mental, spiritual, and
physical union of two beings.

Heaven and earth _both_ must sanction a child's conception to produce a
"well-born" soul.

There is no greater sin on earth than the creation of a human life
without complete accord of the creators.

No wonder the world is full of miserable half-born beings, when mothers
like _you_ claim to be the Madonnas of earth.

No wonder natural, complete, striving souls hide their true natures
under a false exterior, when women like _you_ rule church and society.

What shame or degradation is there, pray, in being animate with the
all-pervading impulse which underlies the entire universe? Every planet,
every tree, every flower, every insect, is the result of sex seeking
sex, atom calling atom.

The universe _is_ because of the law of sex attraction.

And you, poor, puny, pallid woman, dare decry and despise that law, and
dare insult God's animate creature!

Know this, madam, there is no strength worth boasting that has not
conquered weakness. No virtue worth the name that has not conquered
temptation. No greatness of character that has not overcome unworthy
impulses.

Enjoy your negative goodness and be glad you are "good."

Morality is acceptable to the world, however it conies; but dare not sit
in judgment on other human beings fighting battles whose smoke never
reaches your nostrils, striving for heights of which you never even
dream, and who meanwhile have missed certain degradations which you seem
to consider creditable achievements.

Madam, I bid you adieu. That word means "I commend you to God," the God
who made the two sexes, and intended love to unite them.

May He enlighten you in other lives, if not in this.




To Maria Owens

_A New Woman Contemplating Marriage_


Surprise, I am free to confess, was my dominant emotion on reading your
letter. Marriage and Maria had never associated themselves in my mind,
fond as I am of alliteration.

Never in the ten years I have known you have I heard you devote ten
minutes to the subject of any man's good qualities. You always have
discoursed upon men's faults and vices, and upon their tendency, since
the beginning of time, to tyrannize over woman. I was unable to
disprove many of your statements, for I know the weight of argument is
upon your side, even while I boldly confess my admiration and regard for
men, as a class, is greater than that for women.

The fact that the world has allowed men such latitude, and such
license, and made them pay such very small penalties, comparatively
speaking, for very large offences, causes me to admire their wonderful
achievements in noble living all the more: and to place the man of
unblemished reputation and unquestioned probity on a pedestal higher
than any I could yet ask builded for woman.

It is more difficult to be great before the extended tentacles of the
self-indulgence octopus than in the face of oppression and danger. When
the laws of the land and the sentiment of the people permit a man to be
selfish, licentious, tyrannical, and yet call him great if he
accomplishes heroic deeds, it proves what intrinsic worth must lie in
the nature of those who attain the heights of unselfishness and
benevolence, and martyrdom, asking no reward and often receiving none
until posterity bestows it.

Those who can take the broad road of selfishness unmolested, and choose
the narrow path of high endeavour instead, seem to me greater than those
who overcome mere externals.

Many such men have existed, and the steady, slow, but certain progress
of the world from barbarism to civilization, from accepted cannibalism
and slavery to ideals of brotherhood, we owe to them. All new
discoveries, all greatest achievements are due to men. Woman, I know,
has been handicapped and oppressed for centuries by superstitions, and
traditions, and unjust laws; but it is unfair to ignore the bright, and
see only the dark side of the picture, which the centuries have painted
for us, on the background of time.

This letter is only a resume of many conversations between you and me,
and it leads up to the explanation of why I am somewhat dazed and
stunned by your announcement that marriage is a possible event in your
near future.

My self-conceit in regard to my knowledge of human nature every now and
then receives a blow. So soon as I have arrived at a positive conviction
that I understand any human being thoroughly, and feel that I can safely
predict what that person will or will not do, I usually meet some such
bewildering experience as this.

I would have laughed at any one who suggested the possibility of your
considering a proposition of marriage.

You tell me you are thirty-five years old, and say you have never before
met the man to whom your thoughts reverted, no matter how you
endeavoured to occupy yourself with other subjects. You also tell me "he
is not like other men." These two statements are wonderfully familiar to
me, indeed they have been confided to me in precisely the same words by
at least a score of women, young and not so young, who met the
compelling man. _Maria, I believe you are in love_. Your heart is
awakened from its stupor, caused by an overdose of intellect. For too
much intellect is often a drug which deadens the consciousness of a
woman's heart. But you have been drugged so long that you are still
under a hazy spell, to judge from that portion of your letter which took
the form of an inquiry.

You ask my opinion in regard to the point of disagreement between you
and your semi-fiance. To much that you say I agree. You have carved a
name and a place for yourself in the world. Your lectures, and your
books, have made your name familiar to many people. Your lover is
unknown to the public, a man in the private walks of life. Therefore you
think if he loves you as he should to become your husband, he ought to
give up his own name and take yours, or at least add yours to his own.
You assure me it is merely a matter of habit, that women have
obliterated themselves on the altar of marriage, and that it is time a
new order was instituted. You think the hour calls for pioneers to
establish new boundaries, in a new world where woman will be allowed to
keep her individuality after marriage. Meantime your lover does not feel
that you really love him, when you ask him to take this somewhat radical
step for your sake, or for the sake of all women, as you put it.

And there you both stand, with only this ridiculous barrier between you
and happiness.

You are still influenced by the intellectual drug, and it hinders your
heart from following out its best impulses. You have not yet learned
more than the A B C of love, or you would know that the greatest
happiness in loving lies in sacrifice. To take and not give, to gain
something and give up nothing, is not loving. Now I think I hear you
saying, "But why should not my lover give this proof of devotion as well
as I? Why should not he be ready to sacrifice a tradition, and a name,
to please me? Why am I more unloving, or selfish, than he, to refuse to
give up my name?"

My answer follows.

Any woman who asks a man to give up his name and take hers (unless some
great legal matter which involves the property rights of others hangs on
so doing) asks him to make himself ridiculous in the eyes of the world.
She indicates, also, that her family name and her own achievements are
dearer to her than his. No woman loves a man enough to be happy as his
wife, if he is not dearer to her than any mere personal success, however
great.

The man who asks a woman to take his name obeys a tradition and a
custom, to be sure, and the woman who accepts it does not display any
especially heroic trait. Therefore, what you demand of your lover is a
far greater proof of devotion than what he asks of you. No woman who
fully understood the meaning of love could ask this of her future
husband. If he occupied the place in her life which a husband should, no
matter what were her personal attainments, she would glory in adding his
name to her own, and in having its shelter to hide under at times from
the glare of publicity.

Should you choose to keep your name Maria Owens with no addition, for
your lectures and your books, it is quite probable your husband would
not object. And again, if your achievements are worth the thought you
give them in this matter, they are great enough to endure even should
you add the name of Chester to that of Owens. But certainly, if you love
the man you think of marrying, you will be happy in the thought of
wearing his name legally and socially in every-day life, and the sight
of a card engraved, "Mrs. Rupert Chester," will give your heart a
sweeter thrill than it has ever known in connection with the newspaper
notices of Maria Owens.

Unless you can arouse your heart to such an understanding of love, you
are not yet acquainted with the little god. If your lover consents to
the sacrifice you have demanded, he will indicate a weakness of
character which augurs ill for the future: and if you insist upon the
sacrifice, you will establish a selfish precedent which can only make
you a tyrant in your own domain, and at the same time belittle your
husband in the public eye.

However proud and happy you may be in the thought of noble achievements
of your own, you must realize that there are many brutal and painful
phases to a public career for a woman. These phases do not exist to any
such degree for a man. I do not believe it is the result of tradition or
habit, but of sex and temperament, that this difference exists, and that
the shelter of a man's name means more to woman than any shelter to be
found in her own, and that the sacrifice of her own name means less to
her than the sacrifice of his means to him. Unless you can reach this
same conclusion, do not marry--for you do not love.




To Mrs. St. Claire

_The Young Divorcee_


And so you have joined the increasing army of the divorcees.

It is worse than useless to discuss again the causes which led to this
situation, and now that the law of the land has made you a free woman,
the one thing for you to consider is your future, and to formulate to
some degree a code of conduct for your guidance.

You are in the prime of beautiful womanhood, pleasing to the eye, and
agreeable to the mind. Women will regard you with more or less mental
reservation, and men will seek you at every opportunity.

Some witty creature has said, "A little widow is a dangerous thing."

It might be added, "A grass widow whets the appetites of bovines".

You will find yourself at a loss to choose when an escort is needed, so
many and persistent will be the applicants for the position.

After having passed through the black waters of an unhappy marriage,
this sudden freedom and return to the privileges of girlhood will be
liable to affect you like the glare of sunlight after confinement in a
dark room.

You will be blinded for a time. It would be well for you to walk slowly,
and to use a cane of common sense, and even to feel your way with the
outstretched hands of discretion, until you become accustomed to the
light.

To fall and scar yourself now, would be a disaster.

It is a curious fact that a woman who has been unhappy with one man
usually finds many others ready to give her the opportunity for a
repetition of her experience. And it is equally curious that one unhappy
marriage frequently leads to another.

A disastrous rencontre with Hymen seems to destroy a woman's finer
intuitions. If you feel that you must marry again, go slowly, and wait
until the bruised tendrils of your heart have healed and are rooted in
healthy soil. Do not let them twine about any sort of a dead tree or
frail reed. Run no chance of a second sorrow.

One divorce always contains elements of tragedy. A second becomes a
farce.

You tell me that you and your former husband entertain the kindest
feeling for each other. You have seen him and talked with him on several
occasions, and you regard him as a friend. You say all love and
sentiment perished long before your separation, and that to continue as
his wife was to die a thousand deaths daily.

You tell me that your own higher development demanded this separation. I
know such situations do exist in the world of men and women, and that to
submit to them is a crime. Yet I also know that this idea of
"development" is used often as a cloak for all sorts of selfish impulses
and moods.

Many men and women to-day seem to forget that certain other objects
besides happiness enter into self-development.

It is not only the pilot who deserts the ship and swims ashore who saves
his life. The one who keeps his hand on the wheel, and his eye on the
lighthouse, he, too, sometimes saves his own life, as well as saves the
ship.

But since to jump overboard was the only way to save your own life, now
that you are ashore, and dry, and comfortable, your first consideration
should be to avoid falling into mires and pits as you go along.

Though romance died out of your marriage, do not let it die out of your
heart. It is commendable that you feel no bitterness or resentment
toward your husband. But do not carry your kindly feelings toward him to
the extent of frequent association and comradeship.

Outside of criminal situations, life offers no more ghastly and
unpleasant picture than that of dead passion galvanized into a semblance
of friendship, and going about the world devoid of the strong elements
of either sentiment.

There is something radically wrong with a woman's ideals when she does
not feel an instinctive unwillingness to be thrown with the man from
whom she has been divorced.

There is something akin to degeneracy in the man or woman who can
contemplate without shrinking the intimate encounter of legally parted
husbands or wives.

The softening of the human brain is a terrible malady.

Quite as terrible is the hardening of the human heart.

The loss of happiness is deemed a tragedy. But far greater is the
tragedy when the illusive charm of romance departs, and love and
marriage are reduced to the commonplace. Unless you find the man who
carries your whole nature by storm, and who makes you feel that life
without him will be insupportable, do not be led again to the altar of
marriage.

Life has many avenues for a bright and charming woman which lead to
satisfaction and peace, if not to happiness.

If you desire to be a picturesque figure in the world, remember that the
divorced woman who never marries again is far more so than she who has
taken the names of two living men.

And remember how much there is in life to do for other people, how much
there is to achieve, and how much there is to enjoy, for the woman who
has eyes wherewith to see, and ears with which to hear.

Life is a privilege, even to the unhappy. It allows them the opportunity
to display the great qualities which God implanted in every soul, and to
give the world higher examples of character.

He who leaves such an example to the world earns happiness for eternity.




To Miss Jessie Harcourt

_Regarding Her Marriage with a Poor Young Man_


And so there is trouble in the house of Harcourt, my dear Jessie. You
want to marry your intellectual young lover, who has only his pen
between him and poverty, and your cruel father, who owns the town, says
it is an act of madness on your part, and of presumption on his.

And you are thinking of going to the nearest clergyman and defying
parental authority.

You have even looked at rooms where you believe you and Ernest could be
ideally happy. And you want me to act as matron-of-honour at that very
informal little wedding.

Now, my dear girl, before you take this important step, give the matter
careful study.

Your impulses are beautiful, and your ideal natural and lovely. God
intended men and women to choose their mates in this very way, with no
consideration of a worldly nature to mar their happiness.

But civilized young ladies are a far call from God's primitive woman.
You have lived for twenty-three years in the lap of modern luxury. Your
father prides himself upon the fact that, although your mother died when
you were very young, he has carefully shielded you from everything which
could cast a shadow upon your name or nature. Your lover is fascinated
with your absolute purity and innocence. Yet he does not realize that a
young woman who has so long "sat in the lap of Luxury," is unfit to be a
poor man's wife.

Some girl who might know much more than you of the dark and vulgar side
of life, would make him a better companion if he could love her enough
to ask her hand in marriage.

The girl who has received the addresses of this fascinating old fellow
"Luxury," never quite forgets him, or ceases to bemoan him if she
throws him over for a poor man.

To _look_ at two rooms and a bath is one thing, to _live_ in them
another, after having all your life occupied a suite which a queen might
envy, with retinues of servitors at call.

You tell me you could die for your lover.

But can you bathe from a wash-bowl and pitcher, and can you take your
meals at cheap restaurants, and make coffee and toast on an oil-stove or
a chafing-dish?

Can you wear cheap clothing and ride in trolleys, and economize on
laundry bills to prove your love for this man?

You never have known one single hardship in your life; you never have
faced poverty, or even experienced the ordinary economies of well-to-do
people.

You are an only daughter of wealth--_American wealth_. That sentence
conveys a world of meaning. _It means that you are spoiled for anything
but comfort in this life_.

For a few weeks you might believe yourself in a fairy-land of romance
if you married your lover and went to live in the two rooms. But at the
end of that period you would begin to realize that you were in a very
actual land of poverty and discomfort.

Discomfort is relative. Those rooms to the shop-girl who had toiled for
years, and lived in a fourth-flight-back tenement, would represent
luxury. To you, after a few months, they would mean absolute penury.

You would begin to miss your beautiful home, and your maids, and your
carriages. Your husband would know you were missing them, and he would
be miserable. Unless your father came to your rescue, your dream of
romantic love would end in a nightmare of regret and sorrow.

Your father knows you,--the creature of refined tastes and luxurious
habits that he has made you,--and your lover does not. Neither do you
know yourself.

It requires a woman in ten thousand, one possessed of absolute heroism,
like the old martyrs who sang at the stake while dying, to do what you
contemplate, and to be happy in the doing.

Nothing like a life of self-indulgence disintegrates great qualities.
You are romantically and feverishly in love with a handsome and gifted
young man. But do not rush into a marriage with him until you can bring
your father to settle a competence upon you, or until your lover has
spanned the abyss of poverty with a bridge of comfort. You have had no
training in self-denial or self-dependence. The altar is a bad place to
begin your first lesson.

Wait awhile. I know my advice seems worldly and cold, but it is the
result of wide observation.

If you cannot sit in your gold and white boudoir, and be true to Ernest
while he battles a few more years with destiny, then you could not
remain loyal in thought while you held your numb fingers over a chilly
radiator in an uncomfortable flat, or omitted dessert from your dinner
menu to cut down expenses.

Your brain-cells have been developed in opulence.

You could not train your mind to inexorable economy, even at the command
of Cupid.

Take the advice of a woman of the world, my dear girl, and do not
attempt the impossible and so spoil two lives.

Again I say, wait awhile.

There are girls who could be perfectly happy in the position you picture
for yourself with Ernest, but not you.

Better hide your ideal in your heart than shatter it on the unswept
hearthstone of the commonplace.

Better be in your lover's life the unattained joy, than ruin his
happiness by discontent.

It is less of a tragedy for a man to hear a woman say "I cannot go with
you," than to hear her say "I cannot stay with you."




To Miss Jane Carter

_Of the W.C.T.U._


And so, my dear Jane, I have fallen from my pedestal, in your
estimation. Yet, having carefully regarded myself in the mirror, and
finding no discolorations, and feeling no wounds or contusions, I think
my pedestal must have been very near the earth, else I would be
conscious of some bruises.

And now, Jane, to be frank, I am very glad to be off my perch.

I do not want to dwell upon a pedestal.

It necessitates a monotonous life, and it is an unsocial position.

I prefer to walk on the earth, among my fellow creatures.

You were greatly shocked, I saw, when I told my little Russian guest
that she might light her cigarette in my boudoir. Your sudden departure
told its own story, and your letter was no surprise. But I am glad you
wrote me so frankly, as it gives me the opportunity to be equally frank.

There is nothing more beneficial, in true friendship, than a free
exchange of honest criticisms.

You tell me that I lowered my standard by lending countenance to a
pernicious and unladylike habit. You felt I owed it to myself, as a good
woman, and to my home, as a respectable house, to show my unswerving
principles in this matter, and to indicate my disapproval of a
disgusting vice, which is growing in our midst.

Life is too short, my dear Jane, in which to achieve all our ideals, and
to arrive at all our goals.

I have learned the futility of attempting to reform the whole world in
one day. And I have also learned that there are more roads than one, to
all destinations.

Miss Ordosky is the daughter of a dear old friend of my youth, who
married a Russian nobleman with more titles than dollars.

Her parents are dead, and Wanda has come to her mother's native land, to
teach her father's language. She has come with all her Russian habits
and ideas accented by her mother's American indifference to public
opinion. The girl is young, lovely, and wholly dependent upon herself
for a livelihood. I invited her to be my guest for two months, before
establishing herself in her business, with the hope of helping her to
adapt herself somewhat to American ideas and customs.

I could never hope for such a result, had I antagonized her the first
day under my roof by an austere attitude toward a habit which I knew she
had been reared to think proper.

I do not like to see a woman smoke, and I regret as much as you do the
increasing prevalence of the vice in America.

Like almost every schoolgirl, I had my day of thinking a surreptitious,
cigarette was wonderfully cunning.

That day passed, like the measles and the whooping-cough, and left me
immune. I have never seen a woman so beautiful and alluring that she was
not less charming when she put a cigarette to her lips. I am confident
the habit vitiates the blood, injures the digestion, and renders the
breath offensive. I have known many American men who taught their wives
to smoke; and I do not know _one_ who has not lived to regret it, when
the cigarette he fancied would be an occasional luxury became a
necessity.

A woman who expects ever to bring children into the world, is little
better than a criminal to form such a habit: for, argue as we may for
one moral code for both sexes, we cannot change nature's law, which
imposes the greater responsibility upon the mother of the unborn child;
the child she carries so many months beneath her heart, giving it hour
by hour the impression of her mental and physical conditions.

Fathers ought not to smoke or indulge in other bad habits.

_Mothers must not_.

I hope in time to discuss these topics with Wanda, and to make an
impression upon her mind by my arguments.

But your methods and mine, dear Jane, differ widely. And, begging your
pardon, I believe mine accomplish more good for a larger number of human
beings than yours.

And, added to that fact, I get more happiness for myself out of life.

Miss Ordosky would have managed to smoke her cigarette, however rigid
had I been in expressing my principles. And she would have found some
excuse to shorten her visit under my roof, and then where would be my
opportunity to influence her?

As it is, she puffs her cigarette in my company, listens to my opinions,
seems to respect my ideas, and is interested in my views of life. We are
becoming excellent comrades, and this is far more gratifying to me than
to know that I had antagonized her into a formal acquaintance by my
aggressive morality. I have an idea that, before my pretty guest
reaches the time when she will consider wifehood and motherhood as life
professions, I may convince her from a scientific standpoint that she
better abandon her cigarettes. And to convince one's mind is far better
than to drive one to submission.

And now, Jane, has it never occurred to you that you have made some
mistakes in life by the very methods you are so sorry I did not pursue
with Miss Ordosky?

Years ago, I recall your surrounding a certain young man with an aureole
of idealism. Then you were obliged to dethrone him from his pedestal
because he, too, forsooth, smoked a cigar.

That young man married a woman quite as worthy and good as yourself, and
he has made the best of husbands and citizens. I know of no man who does
more good in the world in a quiet way than this same unpedestaled old
admirer of yours. Whether he still smokes his cigar or not I could not
say. But as a man, it seems to me, he is quite as worthy and noble a
citizen, as you are a woman.

I know that you are doing all you can, to spread the gospel of clean
living abroad in the land, and that your influence is all for a higher
standard of morality.

But if you live on too high an altitude, in this world, and refuse to
associate with any one who will not climb up to your plane, you are
destined to a lonely life, and your sphere of influence is limited. You
will do far more good by taking your place with other human beings, and
by gradual, sane efforts leading the thoughts of your associates to turn
to your wholesome ideas of life. You are making morality unpopular by
your present aggressive methods. And you are missing many sweet
friendships and experiences by your insistence that all your friends
must follow the narrow path you have decided is the only road to good
behaviour.

Come down from your pedestal, my dear Jane--come and dwell on the earth.

THE END.






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