Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 36.djvu/620

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ence, as well as the future to which they point, offer a unique temptation to the theorist. The appearance of the article already alluded to gave me a long-desired opportunity, and I at once laid it before my friends, asking for it their serious consideration. Nowhere in America, I am sure, could the opportunity be more complete, or the response more telling; and I trust that what these women have to say for themselves will not be without interest, to those at least who have read Mr. Allen's frank and, on the whole, liberal article.

In a charming cottage, occupied by two of this misguided sisterhood, to whose ménage the most critical eye could find nothing lacking, there was gathered, a week or two since, an unmistakably striking assemblage of single women, well looking, well dressed, ranging from twenty to fifty years of age, every one of whom could have, in the past, married, or could still marry, were it her desire to do so.

There was not a fanatic among them; they were sensible, earnest, in some cases brilliant women, who had, with more or less intention, turned their backs upon marriage, and chosen instead lives of self-supporting independence. Why have they done this? Undoubtedly it is to more than one cause that we must look for this result; but, at the outset of the discussion, it was universally admitted that Mr. Allen is right in considering the "higher education," to which he objects, to be the most potent factor in the situation. Furthermore, the knowledge of life in all its phases, which these women have gained, both from their intellectual training and their practical experience as bread-winners for themselves and others, makes them ready to accept most of his other premises.

They admit, that is, the physical necessity for maternity, and no man can appreciate its sacredness as they do.

They admit, again, the necessity for that tremendous over-loading of the sexual instinct, whose meaning Emerson interprets when he says: "The lover seeks in marriage his private felicitation and perfection, with no prospective end; and Nature hides in his happiness her own end, namely, progeny, or the perpetuity of the race."

They admit, too, the value of the institution of marriage, and, as in the case of the ideal motherhood, put its beauty and its possibilities of happiness far beyond the usual masculine conception.

As to the continuance of the race, they are far too keen to blink any facts, even when they count against themselves. The race, at all costs, must go on, and women must be wives and mothers, or, to keep exactly to the lines laid down by Mr. Allen, must at least be mothers, to the end of time. And, following