Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 65.djvu/50

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46 POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

women as among a hundred women selected from any class, and does the state lose by the elimination of all others?

Alumna 's marriage, then, means that a mature, independent, trained woman deliberately chooses to give the direction of her life to a man, because she loves him well enough to find in so doing her greatest happiness. Of such a mating are alumna's children born — of a 'selected' father, of a mother who has at least had an opportunity for knowledge — born to a heritage of intelligent love and care. So they ought to be a power for good, even though they are few. But just because they are of such a quality, society wants more of them; and it behooves the state to determine why their numbers are so few.

Yesterday I received some evidence on this question which seemed to me pertinent. I spent the day with a member of this group ' having a lower birth rate than any other.' She had recently buried her only child, hardly a month old. As I was on my way to her, my mind went over her past year; her hope that she might at last be strong enough to bear a well child, the months of illness, the forty-eight hours of agony, the supreme joy so soon followed by anxiety, and the awful loss. And when I saw her face I could not speak. But she spoke, and with a smile : ' Don 't pity me so. It paid ! it pays ! ' During the hours I spent with her she showed me two books of letters, mostly from col- lege friends of ours. One collection was received when her baby came, the other when he went. 'I am so happy to know that your life has been made complete' — this thought was expressed over and over again in the letters of congratulation. Mothers or childless, all these women seemed to know that any woman's life is incomplete until she has known motherhood. Of those notes that came at the little one's death from childless women, married or single, all said, in one phrase or another, 'how much sadder than yourself am I, who have no child to die.' These letters inevitably suggest the question, why are so few of these women mothers, when all of them speak of motherhood as life's greatest good? It seemed to me a very solemn question, and I went over the list of those whom I know best and found what seems to me a suggestive unanimity.

There is A, the brightest girl in our class, kept from the really brilliant literary career of which she is capable by her physical weak- ness. She loves a man who is her ideal mate and he returns her love, but they live their lives apart. A short time ago I said something to her about her being married. ' ' Be married I ' ' she said. ' ' What right have I to be married? My physician tells me that I am no more a woman physically than is a twelve-year-old girl. What right have I to give to any man an invalid wife and take away from him his hope of children ? I shall never be married ! ' '

B has just adopted a baby, 'because I may never hope to have one

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