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About Hesperian student / (Lincoln [Neb.]) 1872-1885 | View Entire Issue (Dec. 1, 1874)
TliE HESPERIAN STUDENT.
ihg persona: Hon. J. M., McKcnzlo, Dr.
Freeman', Hon. B. E. B. Kennedy
i . by Pro.
Church ol the University.
The exercise? both evenings wore amply
supplied with good music, and well appro
clated'by a large audience.
The "Board of Education'' visited the
school Thursday, and expressed thorn
bcIvcs as highly pleased with its condition'
THKlll SAYINGS, ROTH WISH AND FOOLISH.
With an Epilogue by the Chorus.
"Would to God that my thoughts, my
spirit, had never taken their Might beyond
the narrow round in which it is my lot to
live! In spite of all people ""say to the
contrary I feel I. cannot go beyond my
needlework and'spinning without going
loo" far; I feel it, 1 believe it; well, then,
I will keep within my proper sphere;
however much I am tempted, my spirit
shall not be allowed to occupy itself with
great matters until it occupies itself with
them in Heaven."
Israel stops reading and glances over
towards me. I sit perfectly unmoved
with my 03-03 steadily bent upon my sew
jng. I am determined not to provoke a
discussion. I have an idea that there arc
some things, and pertinent ones too, to be
said upon that subject, that one cannot say
to everybody. Hut Israel is not to be re
buffed by any silence on my part if he
lias something to say. He is the most per
tinacious questioner I ever knew and
there is no way of getting rid of him if
he wishes to talk. By and IJ3' he crosses
the room and throws himself down on
the lounge near by. Israel is like myself
Iskaei.. Now Sis, I see very well you
don't want to talk but I am going to sec
if I cannot compel you.
Myself. Oh, if you are vcrj' anxious
to hear mo I am ready for exhibition.
What question shall hc'scttlcd first? Pre
destination, First Cause, or who wrote
Betsey and I arc Out?
Israel. Don't try to be sarcastic, Eu
phrosync. It's not your forte. But do
toll me if those sentiments agree with
yours and what you think of them.
My&elf. There 5b one expreion, the
ver' last one at that, which is the language
of nature. All the rest is the language of
grace and, I imagine, n vast amount of
grace was needed in order to say it. You
know very "well 1 have no sympathy with
such sentiments as arc expressed in that
Israel. Yes, I know you progressive
women profess to scorn all such ideas and
affect contempt for women who know
their real place and duty. But surely the
honest words of such a cultivated, relig
ious woman as Eugenie Do Gucrin ought
to have some weight In few women has
such true genius and deep religious pow-
cr been united. For she had genius of a
high order higher perhaps than that of
her young brother to whom she so nobly
devoted her life and no one could be
more thoroughly penetrated by the power
of religion. She was not, could not be a
Myself. She had too much force of
character for thai.
iBKAEii. but she brought every
thought, every hope every aspiration into
harmony with the teachings of -religion.
The sincere confession of such a noble
self-sacrificing woman demands, at least,
your careful consideration and ought not
to be thrown aside with a sneer.
Myself, (meditatively.) Seems to me I
have read in her diary something like this
"It is the instinct of my life to wrllo as
f a fountain to How".
Israel, (sublimely iudifferont.) If her
religion taught her tho bounds of her
sphere it ought to teach you tho same.
Myself. That I deny. If Eugenie Do
Gucrin's religion taught her to say those
words, I honor her for obeying it but
she was not right and I am sorry for It
Such a character as hers would have ex
crted more influence for good (and that I
suppose is what wo live for), if it had
had n wider sphere of usefulness. And
when she restrained her inclination for
literary life or for ft life outside of homo,
when she repressed the instincts of hoi
nature and sacrificed her setf for hor
brother, she committed ft sin against hu
manity. Religion docs not demand such
a sacrifice. Perhaps it may have done so
then. I doubt it. It certainly does not
Ishael. What authority have 3011 foi
such n statement? Christianity and the
Bible will not uphold you and you surely
do not think to do away with them. Seems
to mo the position of women is vcr3 clear
ly defined there.
Myself. No more clcarby than ninny
other things, slavery for instance, that
time and custom have altered. You can
find as good authority for our total sub
jection as slaves and concubines as for
our partial subjection in the present divy.
The "argument from Scripture" to which
so many of 3011 cling proves quite as much
for us as for 3011. Christianit3 is like a
vast kaleidoscope. The same central
truths are alwa38 within, but the revolv
ing 3'cars bring new positions, new com
bi nations and new views. What ma3 have
been true yestenhy 111113 nol.be, it not true
to-day and to argue that because certain
things wore right and proper for women
centuries ago thc3 are right and proper
for us now is the weakest of fallacies.
The religion which lirt3 3ears ago taught
Eugenic Do Guerin repression and merg
ing of self in another, teaches us the indi
viduality of ever3' human soul. "This da3
shall thy soul be required of thee." Thy
soul, not unothcrs nor another for thee.
"Thou wiist alone at the time of thy
birth, thou wilt be alone at the momeulof
death; alone thou must answer at the bar
of the inexorable Judge." In the Bible
or the Yedos, the truth is the same.
Isuael. And cannot you have this "in
dividualil3" if 3ou do not go be3ond
3our needlework and spinning just as
well as if 3'ou occupied yourself with
great matters? When a woman leaves
the sacred precincts of her home, when
she relinquishes the duties of the domes
tie, circle, when she steps over the bounds
of her proper sphere, she loses her dis
tinctive being and becomes an nnomah
neither woman nor man. Then is the time
when she loses her individuality.
Myself. Evcr3 woman cannot find her
happiness in needlework or.spinniug au3
more than every man can find his in car
pentering or blaiksmithing. And (his is
what we claim liberty and the right to
follow tho career we choose, to do us we
think best and to live the life best nulled
to us, be it in the home circle or in public
life. This is the individual we claim
and the only one. It is no more than you
allow to every man the right to choose
Lrael. But the majorit3f of 3ou are
not competent to choose for yourselves.
You need some one to guide and protect
you. The feminine mind is completely
ponotratcd wlMi tho desire of dependence
upon a stronger power. It is your very
nature to need support and assistance, so
that 3ou cannot succeed without it. Not
one woman in ten is strong enough to
I withstand tho temptations of public life
of any kind.
Myself. And not one man in twenty
J does. But if the feminine brain is so
deeply penetrated with this desire you
speak of, it is n glorious fact thnt wo lire
fast outgrowing such a humiliating pus
sivencss. It is not a sexual characteristic,
as you would have us believe, but it is the
result of centuries of repression, not 01113
by positive physical force, but by that
more potent power public opinion.
I do not claim that wo are yet compe
tent to wisel3 chose. That would be in
opposition to the laws of developcmcnt.
We cannot and do not expect to reform in
twenty years an abuse it has taken more
than twent3 centuries to effect. "My
wife is 1113 shoe," has beer, a proverb for
too long a time to lose its inllueucc in a
Irael. You ask for more liberty, but
when there is much liberty there is also
much error. The path of duly is narrow
but it is safest.
Myself. I do not deny that. But who
Ms to decide what the path of dul3 is?
Dare 3011 arrogate to 3ourself the right
I to point out 1113 dut3? Dare I dictate to
l3ou? You certainl3 will admit that no
one individual has that power over anoth
er. Yet you, us a class, have given the
law to us for main ages. Custom does
not make right, though it may give a
specious uuthori'3. Suppose we, in turn,
should undertake to determine your
"highest dut3," to bound 3our "sphere,"
to rcrict 3'our rights and to mark out
3our course in regard to your education,
your wish aud your life? How would
you like that? I imagine llieie would be
a greater hue and cry than we have ever
raised. Yet all this is only what you
have done for us till we have well nigh
lost all power to judge or reason for our
selves, and noT 3ou cast it in our teeth,
that we are not capable of choosing for
Israel. What are 3011 going to do
about it? If you will not permit us to de
cide uud can not yourselves what other
alternative is there?
Myself. Just this to accept things,
(with a mental protest always), us we find
them in the hope of gradual changing
them, of straightening the crooked paths,
brightening the dark places, making
smooth the rugged ways, doing a little
here and a little there, helping, tolerating,
pitying, loving, cherishing all possible
hopes, nil possible patience, and working
together though letting each go on in
her own wa3 and doing her own part in
he best manner she can. Sluwly educat
ing 3ou up to a higher manhood; a
manhood which will compel you to ac
cept us as co-workers in every field, and to
accept us as we are, neither your super
iors in one direction, nor your inferiors
in another. But above all, building up
for ourselves a purer, nobler womanhood
than we now possess, that shall fit us lor
the equality 30U will then heartily and
loyally grant us. When we have earned
a throne you will recognize the signet of
royalty and there will be no need of ask
ing on one hand or of giving on the oth
er. For a king will make a queen or a
queen a king, be it a King of Worlds or a
Queen of Hearts.
Israel. But at what are 3ou aiming?
Whnt higher plnno could 3011 wish than
mon hftvo nlways nssigncd to'womcn ?
Myself. Yes, there it Is ngain. "Men
hnvo assigned to women" why have they
not been allowed to mnkc nnd to take
their own plnno ?
Israel. Mtmi, .every man stamps his
value upon himself. Tho price wo de
mand for ourselves is given us. Tho
place we hnvo "assigned" you is the plnco
you have mndo for yourselves.
Myself. You hnvo been tho stro ger.
So far we have tried in vain to set our
value and mnke it recoived. Will is
powerful, who knows the mysteries of its
vigor which conquers death itself, but
there are things worse than death nnd
thc3 can crush even its strength.
Israel. I nlllrni again you have ever
held tho highest possible place. In all
ages, all nations hnvo exalted you as the
sihnmit of humniiity. We have worship
ped you with the most solemn Mysteries
as the Great Mother us Isis, as Dcmeter,
Myself. And as Astorte, as Venus, as
Israel. Beneath the mystic tree Eve,
the living, stood in the calm vales of
Eden. On the plain of Palestine Sarah
walked a princess. By the Red Sea Mir
iam the prophetess sang as the waves en
gulfed the foes of her people. Ruth the
lowl3 one trembled not, even
"When eick for home
She stood In tcara araitl tltc alien com."
Esther tho beautiful Queen knelt at the
feet ot her lord but knelt in confidence,
and each and all prevailed. What they
asked they received. These are represen
tative women. What thc3 accomplished
by their silent ard peculiar power you
should aim to do by the exercise of the
same force. Natural, unconscious, true
nnd sweet, taking in ever3 good element
nnd giving out, from your nbuudnure, all
there is pure to give. lou should be
content that within the four walls of
home you can exert n mighty iullucuco
that bliall bo felt while
"Time like a pulse flinkcs flerco
Through all the world."
We have looked to yoa for all that is
good; have made you our ideal of purity;
have deemed you jilie embodiment of
truth ; have canonized you as the incarna
tion of virtue. We have instinctively felt
that your nature was something higher
and nobler than our own that you stood
a step above us in the scale of morality
und as we have toiled slowly and painful
ly upwards 3ou have reached down a help
ing hand with tender words ofhopc. Wo
have sought 3our counsel, 3our advice,
your encouragement in ever3 matter from
the ruling of a world to the ruling of a
home. A woman's word has turned the
fate of nations. A woman's hand has
held the helm of stale. A woman's deed
has cheered the heart of despairing mill
ions. You have been flattered in the
wildest hyperbole of poetr3. As Helen
ofTro3, ns kurn, us Beatrice, 3011 have
been the theme or the poets. As Philo
mel, us St. Cecelia a the Nighlingalo of
Sweden 3011 have been the vestnlsofsong.
As Aphrodite, as Helen Fourmct, as the
Fornurina ynu have been the adoration
ot artists. Chivalry has yielded tJ Row
enu, to Ermengarde, to Guinevere, as
your representatives, the homage of love
and honor. As Zcnobla, is Cntherine, as
Eliznbeih 3ou have been crowned queens
in your own right. You have had love,
caresses, adoration, worship, power and
influence, what more can 3ou nsk?
Myself. One thing more, my friend
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