Readings for Rural Life

From Moore’s Rural New-Yorker in Rochester, NY

December 3rd, 1864

What the Ladies Ask

Women are very haughty creatures – very resentful of any supposed slight – very aggressive, besides, if they imagine the time for attack favorable. Will they sit down patiently as makers of pill-boxes and artificial flowers? Will they be satisfied with their small gains and smaller consideration? Will there not be ambitious spirits amongst them who will ask, What do you mean to offer us? We are of a class who neither care to bind books nor draw patterns. We are our equals – if we were not distinctively modest, we might say something more that our equals – in acquirement and information. We have our smattering of physical-science humbug, as you have; we are read up in theological disputation, and are as ready as you to stand by Moses against Colenso; in modern languages we are more than your match.

What have you to offer us if we are too proud, or too poor, or too anything else, to stand waiting for a buyer in the marriage-market of Belgravia? You will not suffer us to enter the learned professions nor the services; you will not encourage us to be architects, attorneys, land agents, or engineers. We know and we feel that there is not one of these callings either above our capacity or unsuited to our habits, but you deny us admittance; and now we ask, What is your scheme for our employment? What project have you that may point out to us a future of independence and a station of respect? Have you such a plan? or, failing it, have you the courage to proclaim to the world that all your boasted civilization can offer us is to become governess to the children of our luckier sisters? But there are many of us totally unsuited to this, brought up with many ways and habits that would make such an existence something very like penal servitude – what will you do with us? – Blackwood.


Published in: on November 21, 2014 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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