Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

a

would have done at once if she had been "Which you also own and control. We a man. She had climbed steadily until are not even good or bad according to our she came to the clump of laurels before the own will, but according to the whim of mouth of the cave. She knew the cave was

your protection. We do not choose our there. But she was unaccountably over- virtues. You thrust them upon us, the come by a diffidence, the maiden in her ones that praise you within the gates. Solodrew back abashed, and she had seated her- mon's perfect woman was only a good self upon the ledge of rock where Logan servant, an excellent forewoman of a weavdiscovered her.

ing factory! All these things we have “Then why didn't you come in?” he done for love--and then you forget us there insisted.

in the house, at the loom, upon our knees “I concluded that it was not worth while. praying. You forget us, and our children,' I wanted to—” she did not finish.

she said, with a sob. “You wanted to give me a curtain-lecture He listened gravely, watching her face about the rights of women and about still- change from wisdom to pain. But when ing liquor, I reckon.”

she wept, he drew her to him. He laughed “Yes,” she agreed.

as he folded her in his arms. “And to "Well, I'll do as I please. You've been think I did not know how dear and sweet destroying the peace of this valley. I

you are,” he cried. don't want to be tied to any wife's

apron- “I'm not," she moaned, against his breast. strings!”

“You love me, my darling!” “You have no wife.”

“I do not want to love you,” she pro“But I might have one."

tested. What would you want her to do?” “But you do,” he laughed. “To be just a woman! Keep house, sew, Mary felt her convictions concerning the have flowers-er-take care of the children, rights of women dying down in her like a and

pain which is suddenly and miraculously “Sit

up
and
cry

and wait for you when eased. She made an effort to recover heryou were up here at night!” she finished for self, the missionary suffragist from Silver him.

City. She laid her hands upon his breast “No, she shouldn't do that!” be ex- and thrust him from her. claimed.

“I cannot marry you, you are wicked," "But she would! She couldn't help it she cried. -being ‘just a woman,'” she put in.

"I know it, darling! And to think that Could he believe his ears? Was there a you love me in spite of that!” He almost deeper, softer note in her voice? “Do shouted his triumphant laughter; he reyou think she'd care that much for me?” joiced in her defeat; and when she lay he asked quickly.

once more upon his breast, shamed and “If she loved you, yes. That is, I sup- happy, he was ready to consider a certain pose so from what I have seen of wives," matter. she added, looking away from him.

“I'm going to make you a present of the Suddenly he flung himself upon the grass still, Mary. It isn't much, but it's all beside her, leaned forward to gaze at her the visible property I have!' averted face. “Mary, give it up,

this “You will give it up, Logan?” she foolish notion about women leading reforms breathed. and voting.”

“I'm giving it to you; you can do what "No," she answered listlessly.

you please with it,” he answered. “I've "Mary, I hate you, but God, how I love hated it every hour since that night you you! Give it up!” he cried, seizing her rode behind me through the storm.” hands and attempting to draw her to him. “And I've loved you ever since," she

Instantly both were upon their feet, admitted. gazing sorrowfully and accusingly into each “You are too nearly right-handed when other's faces.

it comes to reforming men,” he suggested “That's what we have been doing for slyly. “A woman has to be left-handed ages," she said, "we have given up every”

and helpless to do that.” thing for love."

She did not believe it, but it was indica"But virtue and honor," he answered, in tive of her present state of submission that stern defense.

she made no attempt to defend heiself.

[ocr errors]
[graphic]

Education-a warning to every woman teacher in the biggest school system in the world. The mother's reinstatement by the courts did

that will be made of woman's economic status in an effort to keep her from reaping the benefit of the equality for which she is struggling

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

“The policy of our law favors marriage and the birth of children, and I know of no provision of our statutory law or principle of the common law which justifies the inference that public policy, which concededly sanctions the employment of women as teachers, treats as a ground for expulsion the act of a married woman in giving birth to a child.”Extract from the decision of Justice Seabury of the New York Supreme Court. “This woman is the representative of a new order. She claims the right to hold her place in the public service when she is obviously unfit to perform the duties attached to it. ... The action of the Board of Education in the case was in the public interest, and the present law should be so amended as to render any interference of the courts with the just conduct of the business and enforcement of the discipline of the schools by the Board of Education impossible.”-From an editorial in the New York Times.

was

I

T has been just a year since a woman in social terms. The woman a highthese United States of America carried school teacher, the officials were the mema vital matter-literally a matter of bers of the Board of Education of the City

life--to some public officials, and by of New York, and the question was: so doing forced the hand of the civil powers “May I have a year's leave of absence in as fastidious a question as can agitate from my desk in the schoolroom for the nations. Her relation to the officials was purpose of bearing and rearing a child?” that of employee. Their relation to their The new and crucial element in the situacommunity was that of trustee; so that her tion was candor. Married women teachers question was really put to the people as a had had leaves of absence before, and, it is body politic. It served to center attention, said, had borne children during those abin the most critical way, upon the interas- sences; but if so, they had evaded and consociation of the economic and the social ser- cealed and lied, and never, so far as anyone vice of women, and the extent to which the seemed able to recall, had the New York state may, with the best of intentions, be- Board been asked frankly and fairly to come entangled between the two. More come out into the open and pass on this than that, it showed in a sharp new light the question. It was as if the woman had involvement of the state in the biologic said: function of women; and it brought out the “There is much elaborate language about grandest jumble between civic guardianship the ‘yeoman service' that women render to and domestic relations ever translated into the state through motherhood. Music is

66

made, stories are written, songs are sung to fashioned mother who considers it her priglorify the state's immeasurable debt to mary function to rear (sic!) and maintain women who produce citizens for it. Do you a pure and proper home”--you can raze a mean it? Is it actually worth something to house but can you rear a home?—“is doing the state? Stop the music, the songs, and yeoman service to the state. The home the stories long enough to let me get from can never fulfil its true function when its the state an authoritative answer to this: head is an absent mother ... the child Is the social service of motherhood actually in the early stages of its development needs worth a year's social service as teacher?” the constant and watchful care and atten

Confining itself strictly to traditions that tion of a conscientious mother. Artificial motive certain of its by-laws and policies, feeding can never replace what nature rethe Board dismissed the poser, or tried to quires.” by denying the request. Meantime the Next it did a curious thing; it set teacher had taken the limited leave of ab- “lessons of truth, high conceptions of life, sence allowed for illness under the by-laws, the relationship of the home to the school, summer had come on, adding vacation time of the child to the mother, high ideals of to her prerogatives of absence, and when marriage and motherhood" over on one school reopened last autumn there she side, as desirable theoretical teaching for was, back at her desk, with no offense girls; and on the other, the presence of a charged against her. And the baby which prospective mother in the schoolroom as the Board had not seen its way clear to ac- an inimical influence to the preservation of commodate was at home crowing trium- “a girl's greatest charm, natural reserve.” phantly.

Hosts of people eager to agree that it Perhaps the incident would have passed would be a beneficent social dispensation quietly into school history under the chap- that allowed any mother of young children ter heading, “The Baby That Got the Best to be with them, to her and their content, of the Board,” had not a supplementary case gasped at this. Perhaps the criticism inin the elementary schools intensified the sit- voked was partly from shock, partly for the uation. In February of 1913 an elementary forensic fun involved in tearing to tatters so teacher of eighteen years' standing advised artless an argument, and partly from rethe authorities that owing to a disease of sentment that reasoning so loose and phrasthe ears she was compelled to absent her- ing so careless should have been adopted by self from school. A doctor's certificate a civic body in whose advantages of intellivouched for the truth of this. In April she gence and culture a susceptible public gave birth to a child.

longs to believe. It was the committee on elementary The committee also got sorry for the schools that had the case in charge, and in single women waiting on the eligible lists and its majority report, submitted in June, this contrasted their incomeless condition with committee tried to make a clean sweep of the condition of the married women with the whole question for the teacher-mother, two incomes. The money the single women both in the classroom and in the nursery. might earn "is necessary for the support of

“ To begin with it said, "It must be conceded parents, brothers, and sisters. They have that our main and primary function is the spent many years qualifying for the posieducation of the child”; and to end with it tions and are now confronted with the consaid, "The only subject of this controversy dition that those who are in possession of is the teaching efficiency of the teacher two incomes debar them from alleviating under the existing circumstances.” But the sad effects of poverty and distress.” in the middle it said, “In considering this Which raises the question, What has the question we must not lose sight of the economic situation of the woman applying home.” Then, knotting up a posy of pri- for the position to do with it? Elsewhere vate predilections for the “old-fashioned the Board lays down its right to the best for home," it presented them to the teacher- the classroom. Is it to jeopard that best mother with its hand on its heart, pro- because of a kindly disposition to make jecting for her the while the home routine room in the wage-earning world for some that it considered most conducive to the struggling female? No woman of ability welfare of herself and her child, not even will use her misfortunes as a plea for econforgetting the diet.

omic recognition. She will not allow them “We still believe,” it said, “that the old- to be so used. Particularly is the time

a

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[graphic]

school founded by Mrs. John Franklin Johnston. Mrs. Johnston's methods, though they depart radically from most schoolroom procedures, by their

proval of great numbers of educators. She takes counsel of the mother in her and teaches other children as she

would her

[ocr errors]

coming when the

You might teacher, of all

think that a others, will be

committee that most upright

accepts reand forthright

sponsibility about this,

for the home because the

welfare of time is com

the teachers ing when she

child would will be re

not draw the cruited wholly

line at refrom among

sponsibility the highest

for the teachgrade women,

er's morals. both in native

But one ability and in

member of the culture. With

committee her heart and her mind

found himself filled with an exalted con

in a minority ception of her calling and

when he called its demands, it will be im- It was a mother-teacher who began to attention to the fact that possible for her to urge link the lessons of the classroom with to penalize motherhood her own recognition for

the lessons of the great outdoors and marriage by removany other reason than that

ing teachers for childof her ability to do well by the classroom. bearing would be to encourage abnormal There are many teachers who take that and immoral restrictions. They told him stand today. More and more women re- he was a sentimentalist. Then they passed sent any false reasoning that pretends to a resolution finding the elementary teacher favor them economically. Economic favor “guilty"-guilty of motherhood. is a paradox. The law of economics is, be Twist, turn, and argue as it might, the as good as the best or be doomed. It was Board could not escape the coils in which not equal pay for poorer work, but equal custom, precedent, and assumption had pay for equal work that the women teachers entangled it. Absent for some physical of New York fought for and won.

incapacitation other than childbearing, the

a

have gone.

teacher would not even have been tried. tendent of schools of Washington, who diWhatever its effect on the classroom, the rects a working force of eight thousand Board's by-laws give her a right to certain through an elaborate program of school protracted absences. Had she wanted to development and improvement-but there go abroad for a year's study, she might are too many to enumerate.

Had she needed a year for In its opposition to the married woman the “restoration of her health,” she might teacher, the Board of Education of the City have had it. But absence to bear a child of New York has been not unlike other was construed as “neglect of duty,” and school boards. The situation that has deon the committee's recommendation, the veloped in New York may develop at almost Board of Education dismissed her from any time in almost any state in the Union. the service.

School boards everywhere have been inIn order to understand the situation bet- vested with or have assumed discretionary ter, it is well to have in mind the by-laws powers with regard to the appointment, which guide the Board through such crises retention, and dismissal of married women as those invoked by these two cases. One teachers. Everywhere discrimination against subdivision of these by-laws has a direct the mother-teacher has been based on the bearing. It interdicts the appointment of a assumption that she neglects her classroom married teacher, unless her husband be in- duties more than the childless teacher does. capacitated from physical or mental disease Everywhere there is the assumption that the to earn a livelihood, or has continuously teacher-mother's classroom efficiency is imabandoned her for not less than one year paired through more absences, and more prior to the date of the appointment. The prolonged, than the childless teacher has to Board once went even farther and made a have. Everywhere there is the assumption by-law to the effect that any teacher who that, because she leaves her wits at home married was, by the act, automatically with her own child, the teacher-mother's dropped from the teaching lists.

It was a

efficiency, even when she is present, is imbeautiful by-law from the viewpoint of the paired to a point below the childless teachBoard, but the civil courts upset it. er's efficiency.

It is interesting to note that under the On assumption alone, the New York interdiction of appointments of married Board of Education was for settling this women, the availability of a Mme. Mon- problem that involves the earning power, tessori or an Ella Flagg Young for the the professional career, and the life-happiNew York schools would depend, not on the ness of nearly twenty thousand women in philosophy of teaching she might have New York City alone, not to mention the evolved, not on the executive ability she thousands upon thousands more indirectly might have displayed, not on the teaching involved through the establishment of record she might have made, but on whether precedent. The only person who seemed to her husband was sick, or dead, or absent. wish to have some facts was the minority And it is also interesting to note in this con- member who had taken a stand for the nection how much of the original work done mother-teacher in the committee on elemenin experimental pedagogics has been done tary schools. Struck early with the adby married women. One wonders why- vantage of concluding from premises instead and wondering remembers, besides Dr. of premising from conclusions, he had been Montessori and Mrs. Young, women in asking questions of the educational authorthis country like Mrs. Cora Wilson Stewart, ities in forty-two states. From his lists of who, with her "moonlight schools” for answers one discovers that the categorical grown-ups, has struck the hardest blow

answer to the question, “In your

observaagainst illiteracy that the Kentucky moun- tion, has the married woman teacher proved tains have had to withstand; Mrs. John less efficient than the unmarried?” is “No!” Franklin Johnston, who has worked out a Seventeen states go on record unqualitheory of organic education” and is apply- fiedly in her favor. One, Kentucky, may be ing it in her “do-as-you-please schools" counted both ways, because it says "she is down on Mobile Bay; Mrs. Marie Turner not less efficient,” but that experience with Harvey, whose enthusiasm for the model her has "not been altogether satisfactory” rural school has carried her into a practical -it does not say why. Montana sends in demonstration on a lonely Missouri prairie; a personal opinion, “I do not see how a marMrs. Josephine Preston, state superin- ried woman can attend to the duties of her

66

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »