« ZurückWeiter »
all stand and sing for teacher, blow out tendent says that the only part anylights with their breath, and step up one else has in the system is to help and down the scale and choose songs; teacher. But the stout dark primary and the bead lady tells them how nicely teacher and the tall fair grammar teachthey sing, and talks a minute to teacher, er and the green Miss Shannon, who no and goes out briskly.
longer care for words, and the young Sometimes, after teacher takes out all Miss O’Callahan and Miss Polonski, the drawings they have done, strings who never will care for words, reflect many along the blackboards, and puts that they who would help should ask, many in a pile on her desk, the lady not always tell, the doers what to do,
, with the gray hair comes in slowly and and they question why teacher's must looks at the drawings, and Carmilla, always be the lowest place. Carmilla who is a monitor, and Marian, who is a does not know that the green Miss monitor, and Antonio and Peter pass Shannon, and the blessed ones like her, papers and crayons, and the children
are growing rarer and rarer. She is draw for teacher, and the lady with the conscious in her small soul, as are the gray hair tells teacher that the drawings simple foreign folk about her, that the are good, and goes out slowly.
one who knows her, and who is her light Sometimes the young lady in the and hope, is her teacher - Carmilla's gym suit looks in, for whom they go to teacher. the gym; and the young lady in the On the way home with teacher, across gym suit sits and plays at the piano, the strip of asphalt drive, along the and for teacher they march and skip cement walk toward the tulip-bed, and swing on the big swings and rings, Carmilla opens her little grimy fist, as they have practised with teacher for disclosing the two bright glass marbles the gym lady; and then with teacher traded by Jaspar for the pendant that and the gym lady they play the games. makes rainbows. Wriggly coils of col
Yes, all of these come sometimes ors inside the crystal spheres, tiny and go sometimes. But teacher always rainbows imprisoned, the marbles wink stays. But what Carmilla does not
up at Carmilla. Almost does the little know is that these folk, every one, and fist close again on their shimmer. the teacher above in the domestic- 'Here, teacher. Here's two marbles science kitchen, and the teacher below in the manual-training shop, and the 'O Carmilla — for me! Thank you, teachers three blocks off in the Mann dear. Um, two such nice marbles.' Technical High School, are all much The little jokes are in teacher's eyes. more important and dignified figures ‘But you know Miss Shannon cannot than her teacher, with much more im- have any marbles except those that go portant and dignified salaries.
thump, thump, thump -'Now the It is true that, in the meetings of little jokes are in Carmilla's eyes, too. teachers, where Carmilla does not go, 'You keep them, Carmilla. Mind you there is talk — admirable talk — of hold tight.' She bends down and closes teacher's service and devotion and self- the little fist over the gleaming bits. sacrifice and indispensability; and the There is a sweet and tender light in the big, prim, sad man who is the superin- eyes of Carmilla's teacher.
BY RALPH BARTON PERRY
SUPERSTITIONS are perpetuated main- larly with the pure benevolence, exemly in the church and the home, because plary rectitude, and perfect manners of whatever is said out loud in either place the parents. This idealized, fictitious is intended to edify those who hear it. parent may vary to any degree from Parents and other adult members of the the real parent. His activities off the family belong to the priestly caste. It stage, the friends with whom he assois their business to preach the doctrine ciates there, and even his past history, and to be ostentatiously on their good are constructed and recast to fit the behavior. Like their colleagues of the rôle of paragon which he assumes in the church, they feel the strain and find it domestic drama. necessary to enjoy stolen hours of un
Despite the weakness of his position frocked relaxation, which they spend otherwise, the adult member of the with others of the profession who are home enjoys this great advantage, that pledged not to betray them. There are he fixes its superstitions in the form
many whom circumstance has which they finally assume. He utilizes placed in this position, but who feel un- the experiences, deeds, and shrewd equal to its duties, that there is a wide
comments of the children, but puts his spread tendency to centralize the work own interpretation on them. It is the of edification in the boarding-school, adult who tells the story - sometimes, where it can be done by paid experts. from motives of pride or retaliation, to As yet, however, this relief is too ex- other adults of rival domestic establishpensive to be generally enjoyed, and it ments; sometimes, for purposes of edifistill falls to the common lot of the cation, to one of the children. In either adult to work, to pay taxes, and to offi- case the moral that adorns the tale beciate in the home.
comes its dominant feature, and it is Edification breeds superstition sim- the adult saga-maker who points the ply because fictions having sentimental moral. He enjoys this advantage at his value have to be preferred to facts. In peril, however. For he is the most dethe home this begins with the myths of fenseless victim of his own eloquence. Santa Claus and fairyland, and ends His rivals do not believe him because with the myth of the Perfect Gentle- they possess prior domestic superstitions man and the Perfect Lady. In the of their own. The children are prohome, as in the church, there are ecclesi- tected by their inattention, levity, and astical as well as doctrinal superstitions worldly wisdom. But he himself hears
that is, superstitions having the himself so often, and takes himself so function of protecting the prestige of the seriously, that he is like to become the authorities. In the case of the home only thoroughly orthodox adherent of these superstitions have to do particu- his own teaching. It is in the hope of opening the eyes of the domestic adult, content earlier in the day, and now it is and enabling him to resist this insidi- his turn to be indulged. It is underous process of auto-suggestion, that stood that he, and he alone, is tired. these words are written.
Any attentions or amiability on his There is, for example, a widespread part are gratefully appreciated, but belief that the mother, or wife, or resi- they are not demanded, or even exdent aunt, or other domestic adult fe pected, of him. After dinner, there is a male, is the lover and champion of the certain comfortable chair waiting for home. Man is supposed to be a natural him in an accustomed spot near a readvagrant, only with great difficulty pre- ing-lamp. The contour of the upholvented from spending his idle time wan- stery is his perfect complement. He dering from club to club, or from hole fits himself to the chair, reaches for the to hole on the golf-links. Woman, on evening paper, and then experiences the other hand, is supposed to be by the purest rapture of domestic bliss. It nature the nostic or homing animal. consists in a sense of being ‘let alone,' Domestic dynamics, in short, are com- of snugness, relaxation, and a hovering monly explained as a resultant of the protection. But, like all ecstasies, it is centrifugal force of the male and the essentially indescribable. centripetal force of the female. This is This is man's sustaining vision. It is doubtless the more edifying view of the only a vision, but, like all visions, it matter, because it idealizes what cir- shows where the heart lies. cumstance has decreed to be necessary. Now, why is it only a vision? Because Since livelihood falls to the lot of the it leaves out approximately seventymale and homekeeping to the lot of the five per cent of the facts. All the other female, it is prettier to suppose that the members of the household are tired, also, deepest passion of the one is the love of and are as conscious of having acquired outdoors, and of the other the love of in- merit and earned indulgence as is the doors; just as it would be prettier to male wage-earner. Each, like the adult suppose that a man compelled to earn male, forms his own conception of the his living as a night-watchman was by end of a perfect day by the simple nature a nocturnal animal.
method of opposition. The children, The facts, however, do not agree having spent most of the day in a rewith this edifying view of the matter. strained posture on a school-bench, inThe greatest day in the history of a cline to riot. The woman, having spent privileged woman is the day of her Com- the day indoors, desires to go out; and ing Out. From that day forth she wages having seen no one during the day exa more or less ineffectual struggle to cept the postman, the milkman, and the stay out. On the other hand, the great iceman, desires to associate more extenest hour in a man's day is the hour when sively with her kind. She, too, has been he sets his face toward home. Every sustained during the day by a vision day, through hours of work, he is sus- children tucked in bed, her hustained by the same bright vision, which band fired with social zeal, best clothes, he derives from romantic fiction, or a taxicab, a meal prepared by somebody from his own creative imagination. He else, and then a dance or the theatre, sees himself joyfully greeted by a house friends, gayety, and late to bed! Hence, hold, no member of which has anything while for the man the symbol of home else to do, or any other wish, save to is the armchair, for the woman it is the make him comfortable. They have all dressing-table. When the inward-bound indulged themselves to their hearts' man and the outward-bound woman meet on the threshold at the end of the away from home. Quite the contrary. day, then indeed is the ligature of mat- He goes to his club because his club is rimony strained!
the nearest approximation to his ideal What might or will be the case under of home that is available. It is more a different social organization it is im- homelike than home. A man's club does possible to predict. The present domes- not exist for the promotion of social tic motivation is doubtless a more or life, but for the purpose of avoiding it. less artificial pressure-effect of circum- It is essentially a place where the upstance. Men work all day in order to holstery is deep, where one can read be able to go home; women, in order to newspapers and eat, and where one is be able to leave home. Men are stand- safe from intrusion. In other words, a ing outside, looking in; women, inside, man goes out to his club only from fear looking out. In both cases the force of of having to go farther out. inclination is equal and opposite to the Or, consider the popular view that force of circumstance. Thus the day of women are more religious than men. the man and the day of the woman and The real point seems to be that women the day of the children culminate dis- are more inclined than men to go to cordantly; and at the only hour when church; which is a very different thing. the family is united in the flesh it is Sunday is related to the week as the divided in spirit. Somebody must spend evening to the day. For a man, therethe 'free' evening virtuously and pa- fore, it is a day at home; and for a tiently doing something that he does woman, a day out. A man's idea of not want, or else everybody must spend Sunday is to surround his house with it in a joint debate that nobody wants. barbed-wire, lock and barricade the Possibly, in some future time, men and doors and windows, disconnect the telewomen will both work at home and go phone, put on his slippers and an old out to play; or will both go out to work suit, and then devote the day to readand spend the evening in adjoining ing the paper and ‘puttering. A
' armchairs. Even then one does not see woman's idea of Sunday is to have one's way clear about the children. everything cleaned and polished up, As it stands, then, man is the lover including the children; everybody in
, and champion of the home. To him it best clothes; and then have half of her is a haven, a place of refuge, and an op- friends in in the afternoon, and visit the portunity of leisure. Woman is the cus- other half in the evening. Now it is not todian and curator of the home. It is difficult to see which programme and her place of business. 'Woman's place mood most easily accommodates itself is in the home' is not a description of to public worship. If you are all dressed female human nature, but a theory re- up and socially inclined, what can be garding the division of labor, or a pre- more natural and agreeable than going cept, coined and circulated by men who to church? And if you are down cellar, want homes and need women to create in old clothes, building bookshelves out them.
of a packing-box, what can be more This corrected view of the home-sen- impossible? timents throws a new light on certain According to the orthodox superhabits of life which might be supposed stition, woman, as inwardly bent on at first to contradict it. There is, for religion and the home, is the natural example, man's well-known addiction conservative. She is regarded as the into clubs. It is popularly supposed that stinctive exponent of established things he resorts to these places in order to get of convention, authority, and the moral code. As a matter of fact, being irritability — the latter depending on more or less rigidly subjected to these conditions of age, digestion, fatigue, things, her heart is set against them. temperamental irascibility, and personOnly men are really shocked; women al idiosyncrasy. pretend to be, because men would be Why should scolding be peculiar to still more shocked if they did n't. the home? Not because the home is Men, who have had the making of dedicated to benevolent admonition, laws, have a real respect for them; but because the family circle provides women publicly observe them, but se- perpetual, inescapable, intimate, and cretly regard them as little better than unseasonable human contacts. India nuisance. It is the same opposite play viduals of the same species are brought of inclination and circumstance that together in every permutation and comhas been observed in the narrower bination of conflicting interests and insphere of the home. Men, being placed compatible moods. There is no other by circumstance in positions of hazard grouping of human beings which proand exposure, long for security; women, vides so many stimuli for the combative being accustomed to security, long for instinct. When this instinct is aroused freedom and adventure.
among the children, it is called quarrelsomeness, and is greatly deprecated by
adults. When it is aroused in the adult II
himself, it assumes the more or less But to return to our domestic super- sublimated form of scolding. It flourstitions. The most distinctive and high- ishes in the home because it is both ly developed domestic art is scolding. aroused and protected there. ScoldThe orthodox belief is that scolding is ing provides a reputable method of a sort of judicial censure administered venting spleen when other outlets are from motives of the purest benevolence. stopped by law and convention. In the If there is a tone of anger in it, that is home, scolding can be indulged in with supposed to be righteous indignation, impunity so long as it does not arouse or the voice of offended justice, the the neighbors. Its victims are defensescolder being for the moment the less; and the corporate pride of the fammouth-piece of the categorical impera- ily seals the mouths of its members, so tive. Scolding is conceived to be a duty that a decent repute may be preserved peculiar to the home because of the before the world. It is this conspiracy relation of guardianship in which one
of silence and regard for appearances member of the family stands to another. that has created the fiction of the hapThus one is one's child's keeper, or one's py fireside choir, where all voices carol wife's, or one's husband's, but not one's in perpetual unison. neighbor's.
There would be no merit in this exNow, what are the facts? Among posure, did it not serve to bring to light animals, where motives are more un- the real disciplinary value of home life, ashamed, scolding is a mode of threat or which consists, not in the eloquence and attack. It is a manifestation of enmity. light of admonition, but rather in the
a There is no reason for supposing it other- aggravation of social experience. An inwise in the case of the domestic life dividual who learns how to live cheerof man. Statistics would undoubtedly fully, or even how to live at all, in a reveal an almost perfect correlation be home, finds little difficulty in living tween the frequency and intensity of with his fellows anywhere else. The scolding and the parent's threshold of scolding of children teaches them not so