Are Women People?/Section 4

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Are Women People? by Alice Duer Miller
A Masque of Teachers: The Ideal Candidates


The Ideal Candidates

(A by-law of the New York Board of Education says: "No married woman shall be appointed to any teaching or supervising position in the New York public schools unless her husband is mentally or physically incapacitated to earn a living or has deserted her for a period of not less than one year.")


Board of Education.
Three Would-Be Teachers.

Chorus by Board:
Now please don't waste
Your time and ours
By pleas all based
On mental powers.
She seems to us
The proper stuff
Who has a hus-
Band bad enough.
All other pleas appear to us
Excessively superfluous.

1st Teacher:
My husband is not really bad——

How very sad, how very sad!

1st Teacher:
He's good, but hear my one excuse——

Oh, what's the use, oh, what's the use?

1st Teacher:
Last winter in a railroad wreck
He lost an arm and broke his neck.
He's doomed, but lingers day by day.

Her husband's doomed! Hurray! hurray!

2nd Teacher:
My husband's kind and healthy, too——

Why, then, of course, you will not do.

2nd Teacher:
Just hear me out. You'll find you're wrong.
It's true his body's good and strong;
But, ah, his wits are all astray.

Her husband's mad. Hip, hip, hurray!

3rd Teacher:
My husband's wise and well—the creature!

Then you can never be a teacher.

3rd Teacher:
Wait. For I led him such a life
He could not stand me as a wife;
Last Michaelmas, he ran away.

Her husband hates her, Hip, hurray!

Chorus by Board:
Now we have found
Without a doubt,
By process sound
And well thought out,
Each candidate
Is fit in truth
To educate
The mind of youth.
No teacher need apply to us
Whose married life's harmonious.