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The same magnanimity runs through all the affairs of life. A husband "allows” his wife very handsome pin-money, or he "gives” her a sufficient sum to manage the housekeeping with, and he thinks he is very liberal
, if not very generous, to do this. The assumption is that he is the bread-winner, and that all the family income is earned by him; but even then by her labours in housekeeping, looking after his wardrobe, nursing and educating the children, and providing the household with food, she has done her full share towards the family prosperity; if she has not earned money she has saved it; if she has not been paid wages she has obviated the necessity of his paying wages to another person to do her work. Take the condition of the normal household, where the husband spends the whole of the day in earning their substance, and the wife the whole of the day, and sometimes half the night, in these housewifely duties. Is not she a producer as well as the husband, and has not she a fair claim to the half of their income? And yet how few men think of consulting their wives on the use that shall be made of their income, or if they do, it is with a sense of being very condescending and generous, not of doing justice In many cases the injustice is still more flagrant, for the wife, like the poor bear and fox, has contributed her direct share to the hunting, and then must take thankfully and with a sense of obligation the share, little or much which the lion assigns her.
The oft-repeated term of “woman's sphere" belongs to this doctrine of magnanimity. Woman's sphere was confined to the gynæceum in Pericles' Athens, to a few dark rooms of the Zenana in India, to the housekeeping circle and the round of domestic duties in modern Europe. She is “allowed” a little more freedom in England, that is to say the radius of her circle is a little more extended; but the circle is still defined by man. What is right and suitable for a woman to do, is, not what she thinks suitable for herself, but what he thinks she ought to do. Nobody ever thinks of defining a man's sphere, for the simple reason that no superior, or more powerful order of beings has interfered with him His "sphere" is to do whatever he is able to do. Her sphere” is to do what he wishes her to do,
] Food Production and Distribution. 149 April 15th, 1882. To a certain extent this monopoly of rights was intelligible though not excusable, in savage times. The lion, if he did kill the bear, and half starved the fox, would probably have defended them against the attacks of any other beast; and while man was the absolute defender of woman there was some pretence of justice in his being absolute tyrant as well : but the whole worth of the present organisation of society is to abolish the monopoly of physical force and establish the right of the weaker individual to fair play. In some countries men still dictate to men what certain castes or families shall work at; in England they only dictate to women. In the East despots still tax their subjects without their consent, and magnanimously give alms to the impoverished beggars: in England they only confiscate a woman's money for a government in which she has no share, and magnanimously concede such small portions of protection or immunities as they think will be good for her.
One day the late Mr. Edwin Hill, brother of Sir Rowland, and of Matthew Davenport Hill, the Recorder of Birmingham, overheard two school boys quarrelling about a toad they had found. "He's mine, and he shall hop here,” said one. “No, he's mine, he shall go there,” was the reply. “Gently, boys,” said Mr. Hill, "he is neither your toad, nor yours; he's his own toad." This bit of practical justice and fair dealing often comes into
mind when Î hear men discussing what women shall be allowed to do, or whether they are fit for this or would not be injured by the other. Women "are their own toads,” and have a moral claim to use their own judgment about their actions, and to enjoy fair-play without preconception, “protection," or monopoly.
ART. II.-FOOD PRODUCTION AND
DISTRIBUTION. It seems possible that the new Parcels Post which Mr. Fawcett proposes to introduce may be the means of
helping a good many ladies to a modest source of livelihood, which is at present out of their reach. We have often spoken of the small and unobtrusive efforts of the Society to promote the menus cultures, or production of small quantities of food, as an industry that promised well for ladies. The excellent lectures that Mr. Tegetmaier has been delivering at South Kensington on the management of poultry, to be followed by those on the dairy, and bee-keeping, have also been to the purpose in turning ladies' attention to this subject. The really great difficulty has been hitherto not so much in the production of food as in its distribution. A lady could not herself carry her fowls to market, still less go round among her customers, and if she sent them to a salesman or middle dealer, his profits necessarily came out of hers; perhaps, even, there were two or three profits to be made between the producer and the customer, so the customer continues to pay very highly in all towns for luxuries which are produced cheaply enough, but cannot be got to him cheaply. Mr. Fawcett proposes that the parcel post shall take parcels up to the weight of seven pounds at the maximum cost of a shilling. Here will be a very good opportunity. A lady rears and fattens her fowls in the country, and is able to supply two or three a week by post to families in any part of the kingdom, with whom she can make an arrangement; or she grows cucumbers and fruit, and can distribute them in the same manner, and the cost of postage will not be nearly so much as the profit of the middle dealer. Or she may have flowers, and enter into a contract to supply them at country prices to people in London and other towns not so well provided as London is by the florists. Even honey might be sent out in some of those pretty boxes of comb which were exhibited last year. Light, inexpensive cases for carrying these things, of pasteboard or very light wood, will soon be manufactured, and will cost less than the hampers at present necessary to bear the rougher usage of the goods vans. The government will not make it a monopoly, and therefore other carriers of goods will also Iessen their charges, and provide quicker and easier means of transit. So the distribution of country pro
April 15th, 1882.
duce may be made very much more general; and this will be to the direct advantage of the small producers, often women, who have not much capital to put into their business, but wish to dispose easily of their surplus.
ART. III.-THE PRACTICAL ISSUES OF
TEMPERANCE. It is almost a truism to say that one reform necessarily leads to another. No good work can be final in itself; it must either be renewed again and again in the same or in modified forms according to the need of each generation, or it must initiate a new kind of reform, leading up to it by sure degrees, and shewing the stability of the conquests it has already made by its willingnesss to enter on a new field. Any reformer who has his or her heart really in the work, finds, somewhat perhaps to his surprise how the need for his exertions expands and that unexpected issues arise growing out of his previous work, and if he refuses to accept the new responsibility he does much to neutralise the good he has already accomplished.
Women are as yet so new to public work that they are rather slow to accept these fresh issues. It often happens that a lady who has made up her mind to undertake some special, social or public duty, and who is ready to go through great sacrifices for it, draws back horrified if you point out some other branch of work which yet may have a direct connection with the first. “We cannot take up so many things,” or “we should not like to be mixed up with that other matter," is the ordinary plea. The believer in higher education for boys or girls is slow to perceive that higher education is only a means to an end: the placing of a better tool in the hands of the workman, forgetting that if the workman is to fold his hands and sit idle, there is no need to give him the tool. Some people who advocate women devoting their time and energies to helping the poor and
sick, are yet afraid to give their help to getting those same women elected as poor law guardians; they do not see that if the poor are to be helped in a general and effective way, it should be by organised means, and they shrink from this development of the question. People who agree that it is fair women should have parliamentary representation are sometimes nervous as to the results; they would like the reform to end there, but that is just what it cannot do; the vote is only the means to the end—the best and most effectual way by which women
can bring their influence to bear on society in carrying out the other reforms which they see to be just and necessary.
The discussions which have taken place at the annual meeting of the Belfast Ladies' Temperance Association, afford an instance of the manner in which one reform paves
to another for those who have the courage to carry out the line of action. Too frequently temperance workers, like the workers in many another good cause, make temperance their be-all and end-all. They aro indefatigable in their propaganda, they found branch societies, they increase their number of members, and then they say the work is finished, they have done all they can do, they do not see their
to They forget that temperance itself is a means to an end --that if a man lives a sober, he must also live an honest and righteous life if bis sobriety is to be of real sterling value. A drunken man is no longer master of his own reason or his own actions; therefore he must first be made sober; but the work is far from finished then, for he must also be helped to be honest, moral and industrious. The Belfast Ladies' Temperance Association have, more than others with whom we are acquainted, seen that the attainment of total abstinence is not the limitation of their work. They have not neglected the ordirary methods of action, they have their branch societies, bands of hope, registration of new members who have taken the pledge, &c. &c., and then they have gone further. One of the first things done by them was to institute a Prison Mission for women. The woman criminal at the expiration of her sentence, is, humanly speaking, certain to fall back into her ways