Box 13-080 A CORNER FOR WOMEN READERS CONDUCTED BY NINA VIVIAN, THE EVENING NEWS (WRITTEN BY [REV.] CALVIN MCQUESTEN)
Jan 29 1901
A CORNER FOR WOMEN READERS
CONDUCTED BY NINA VIVIAN
The Evening News, Toronto, Ontario
JANUARY 29, 1901
MOTIVES OR APPEARANCE
It is a thought, which often comes whether we are living for the sake of being something noble, or appearing to be something noble? And when one faces the question honestly--one is afraid almost to answer. Too often the outside criticism which we anticipate rules our motive, even suggests it, in some cases. And the principle is all wrong. Just as the beauty of a good action, a large donation of money subscribed, for instance, is robbed of anything but commercial value by too much advertisement, so in the kingdom of the mind. Don't take any credit to yourself for the extra hundred, or thousand, added to your contribution to some benevolent or philanthropic scheme, if it is added because of a sneaking desire to make as good a showing in the list as the man who gave an equivalent to your original sum. Because the credit you take will really be all you get. The Almighty Reader of motives won't give you any. The case of the "widow's mite" may be a trifle out of date, but fortunately its underlying truth is not yet obsolete. I do not mean that all consideration of the opinions of our fellow-beings should be ruled out of our minds, but surely the thought "what will he think of this or that" should not be allowed to bias in the slightest degree our motives--their rightness or wrongness.
When one is of an age to think for one's self, then one becomes responsible for one's actions, and the motives underlying those actions. This is a personal responsibility; only this is the place where every man and woman stands absolutely alone. As everyone must stand alone before the Bar of Judgment one day, so everyone should make preparation by standing alone at the bar of conscience now and working out one's own salvation. Kipling, in his quaint way, expresses that truth to a nicety in one of his poems:
"The sins that we do by two and two, We must pay for, one and one."
Of course he is speaking of finality, but it is true also of a present. If when we sin with or for a loved one, how easy, comparatively, would the inevitable reckoning be if we could suffer it with the other dear sinner? But very seldom is it so. We must each "dree 'oor ain weird" alone. Take for example, the story of David Corsen and the Quack's wife. It is fiction, but nearly all fiction has its parallel in life. They sinned together in loving, but they paid the bitter penalty to that exacting conscience of humanity--public opinion--separately. Only after a veritable purgatory--apart--were they allowed to pass into an earthly paradise together.
There are, of course, some things one must do with due regard for the great public--for instance, in the trivially important (paradoxically speaking) matter of clothing oneself, one must consider not to shock the eyes or opinions of others. But back of this the same thought should carry weight. It is the woman who, with due regard to prevailing custom, still clothes herself, as her good sense in regard to becomingness, comfort and health, proves herself to be the woman of sense and force. While the woman who frantically races through life at the tail of the Chariot of Madame fashion writes herself only--a slave--and a very ignoble variety of slave at that, because her serfdom is voluntary--not necessary.
When one comes to look within it is rather startling to remember how much of what one does is done for the approval of some one we love, or to show some one we don't love what we are capable. This is a truth seldom owned to ourselves and almost never to the world. But it is early instilled. Take the little child, and hear its mother or father say "Hush, now, stop crying, or so-and-so will think you are a cry baby." Not "stop crying, because it is useless and annoying to other people." Or "Now, you must be a little gentleman to-night, because we are to have company and I want them to see how nice you can be," instead of having so inculcated the principles of gentlemanliness and courtesy that it will be quite sufficient if the boy behaves with his ordinary home manners without any company veneer.
Extras in the way of behaviour and appearance for company always remind me of a little story told of a child. A friend was calling on the child's mother, and asked to see the little girl. The child was in the back of the house and was evidently not quite presentable, and before bringing her to the visitor, the mother took her into the library, separated from the reception room only by a curtain. A moment later a tearful little voice was heard protesting. "Company or no company I won't have my face washed wiv spit."
The habit of putting on motives and morals from the outside, instead of drawing them out from within, leads to much of the vanity and artificiality of mature life. Herbert Spencer speaks warmly on the subject. "We are none of us content with quietly unfolding our own individualities to the full in all directions but have a restless craving to impress our individualities upon others and in some way subordinate them. And thus it is which determines the character of our education. Not what knowledge is of most worth is the consideration, but what will bring the most applause, honor, respect--what will most conduce to social position and influence--what will be most imposing. As throughout life, not what we are, but what we appear to be, is the question, so in education the question is, not the intrinsic value of knowledge so much as its extrinsic effect on others.
The boyish expression "show-off" is one of contempt, and yet that is what most of us are--just "show-offs." In fancy I can hear many people saying, "What does it all matter--people presume to judge one's motives even!" Yes they do. But does it matter? If between God and your innermost self the motive is approved--why care? There are places where a sublime indifference to criticism should be cultivated-and this is one of them. It will not be selfishness to allow self first place in this. Take this pill in shape of old Polonius' advice to Laertes:
THE WAR CORRESPONDENT'S VIEW
"To thine own self be true,
And it must follow as the night the day,
Thou can'st not then be false to any man."
A Criticism of His Statements About Chinese Converts.
Which shall we believe, the word of a war correspondent or the word of our returned missionaries from China? The man who "doesn't believe in foreign missions" will probably swallow the war correspondent's statement whole, while the people who send him forth will believe the missionary. It has become an indisputable fact that most people will believe what it pleases them to believe, in spite of the authenticity of all other authority. It is "luminously evident" to Mr. George Lynch, an English war correspondent, "that for generations to come the progress of Christianity in China is absolutely killed." Mr. Lynch also states that "the faith was practically making no real progress, but what little progress it had made among the lower classes and the so-called converts, is now utterly wiped out" by the course pursued by the allies in China.
We would not for one moment venture to doubt the luminosity of Mr. Lynch's mind--it must have come like a revelation to the gentleman, but Mr. Lynch should remember the possibility of "reckoning without your host." In this matter Mr. Lynch, a clever and honest man, no doubt, according to his lights, appears to be reckoning without the Almighty God, to whom "all things are possible," but whose methods are not always perfectly apparent to the finite mind. If the state and court in England were purified by a hideous and bloody war; if the great city of London was cleansed from the plague by a devastating fire; if slavery was wiped out of the United States of America by brothers fighting against brothers; why cannot the same Hand bring order out of this chaos in China, and wash out this necessary bloodshed by a clear stream of Christianity and civilization to which China will soon be open? One does not condone any useless bloodshed, looting, or inhumanity, but these things are the carrion that feed on the battlefield. Some wounds must be cauterized before they will heal.
As to the statement made that the bulk of the converts are "the lower classes and destitute coolies," one is not surprised. It is the lowly, the simple, the miserable, the man who feels his need who touches hands first with the "Man of Sorrow," always--here, as in China. It is the fulfilling of the law, "He hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted...to set at liberty them that are bruised."
Of course one does not for a moment doubt the truthfulness of Mr.Lynch from his own point of view, but it is just as well to put a little screen between one's eyes and the "illumination" of his mind.
Mr. Henry Sutherland has recently written "A Plea for Pie." Well, pie is so good that it pleads eloquently for itself. And pie needs no plea in its proper place; but its proper place is not as the continued luncheon diet of girls and young women whose business hours require that they lunch down town. It has quite amazed me in looking around our various lunch rooms to observe the unanimity of opinion there seems to be in regard to the delights of pie. Sit down at the table and look around: "Pie to the right of you, pie to the left of you;" pie fore and aft--and one day this universality of pie induced me to order a piece of lemon pie. The crust was all right--the lemon filling even more palatable, but the decorations of the pie--O' ye gods! It was cocoa nut, not nice, finely ground cocoanut such as one used to love to steal out of the household stores in the days of one's naughty childhood--but strings--worms, shavings of cocoanut that choking, tangled itself up lovingly in the very roots of your tongue, and reminded you of all sorts of unmentionable horrors. Why is this horrible improvement on grated cocoanut tolerated by the housekeeper? Echo answers "Why?" But to return to the subject of pie luncheons. Pie as a "trimming," an "ornamentation" to one's luncheon is all very well; but when it comes to making pie in its various varieties of cream puns [sic], chick patties, etc., do duty for a square meal three or four days out of even [sic], it is positively an outrage on one's digestion, and incidentally on one's complexion and temper. It is a mild way of robbing your employer, for who can do five hours' work satisfactorily on a slice of pie?
CHICAGO'S LATEST--A MOUSE CLUB
Two Hundred Women Restore Mice to Favor and will Exhibit Rodents.
Chicago, Ill., January 29--Long banished from the realm of feminine affection, the mouse has returned to favor in Chicago, and will soon press his traditional enemy, the cat; for first place as the pet of women.
Hitherto cats have had everything their own way, and thousands of cat fanciers paid homage to the long haired, soft eyed Angoras and Persians in the show which has just closed at the Coliseum, but with the formation of a mouse club the rodents are in the ascendant and the feline aristocrats may soon be compelled to take second place in popular favor.
Miss E. C. Copeland is a lover of mice, and it is to her efforts that a club has been organized to further the interests of the mouse. Her Himalayan mice are marvels of their sort.
The Himalayan mice are unlike the ordinary brown mouse familiar to housekeepers. They are vari-colored, the tints running mostly to red, blue, black and white, with combinations of the different shades. The Himalayan mice are somewhat smaller than the ordinary house mouse, and they seem to lack all fear of human beings.
GEMS FROM "TOMMY AND GRIZEL."
"No," he answered, "I was thanking God for the brave wholesome woman she has grown into, and for letting me live to see it, Grizel."
"To do it," she said pressing his hand to her breast. She was a strange girl, and she had to speak her mind. " I don't think God has done it all...."
"I don't think even that He told you to do it. I think He just said to you, "There's a painted lady's child at your door; and you can save her if you like."
"No," she went on when he would have interposed. "I am sure He did not want to do it all; He even left a little bit for me to do myself. I love to think that I have done a tiny bit myself, I think it is the sweetest thing about God that He let's us do some of it ourselves."
AN HOTEL FOR WOMEN
New York: at last to have a women's hotel, where self-supporting women may have a place of residence, and also where transient women visitors to New York may go instead of to the great hotels which accommodate the general public. The prices are to be placed as low as will be consistent with the comfort supplied, so that the accommodation of the hotel may not be above the purses of the class of women who, it is hoped will be benefited. It is said that there are some forty thousand women in New York who are both able and willing to pay the rates proposed. In matters of comfort and convenience the new house will be A1. The building will be twelve stories high, will be fire proof, and will have ample parlors, reading rooms, music and sewing-rooms, restaurants, and baths. The company has been incorporated with a subscription list of over $300,000.
FORESTERS' MASQUERADE BALL
A bright event of the near future will be the masquerade ball to be given by the Prince of Wales Encampment, No. 86, Royal Foresters in Assembly Hall, Temple Building. The date has been fixed for February 5th, and no trouble is being spared to make it a thorough success.
This style of entertainment is not a common one in Toronto, and being something out of the ordinary, should be much appreciated by those fortunate enough to secure tickets. Only a limited number will be sold. Gentlemen's tickets will be $1.00, and ladies', 75c.
MAINLY ABOUT PEOPLE
The Executive of the Mendelssohn Choir announce that their postponed concert will take place on Saturday, February 16. It was only with much trouble and extra expense that they were enabled to secure the same artists for any one evening. The programme as planned for the original concert will be rendered with appropriate additions. Good seats may still be had at the Massey Hall.
Mrs. Egerton Ryerson of 27 Cecil Street will be glad to receive contributions towards the expense of the luncheon in connection with the missionary exhibition to be held in Confederation Life building next week.
Dr. Augusta Stowe-Gullen, whose long and trying illness is fortunately a thing of the past, has gone to Florida, with her mother, Dr. Emily Stowe where they will spend the rest of the winter.
Mrs. Gwynne of Dundas is staying in town with her mother, Mrs. Osler of Wellesley street.
Major Septimus Denison, A.D.C. to Earl Roberts and Mrs. Denison are expected to arrive in town shortly.
The Saint Cecilia Musical Club will meet on Wednesday morning, at half past ten, at the residence of Miss Henderson, 76 Gloucester Street.
Mrs. Grisdale; wife of the Bishop of Qu'Appelle has been unfortunate enough to break her arm in a fall on a slippery pavement.
About a year afterward, Corp, armed in his Sunday best pushed to Grizel's house. "Grizel,' he cried, "there's somebody comes to Thruces without a ticket. Then he remembered Gavinia's instructions; "Mrs. Corp's compliments," he said, ponderously "and it's a boy."
"If he's not vain," Maggy Ann retorted, "he's the first son o' Adam it be said o'."
Corp thought it a good opportunity for showing Gavinda her place once and for all. "in all small matters," he said, "I gie you your ain way; for though you may be wrong, thinks I to mysel' she's but a woman; but in important things, Gavinia, if I humoured you, I would spoil you; so let this be a telling to you that there's no diddling a determined man," to which she replied by informing the baby that he had a father to be proud of.
A baby's feet, like sea shells pink,
Might tempt, should heaven see meet,
An angel's lips to kiss, we think,
A baby's feet.
Like rose-hued sea-flowers to the heat
They stretch and spread and wink,
Their ten soft buds that part and meet,
A baby's feet.
No, flower-bells that expand and shrink
Gleam half so heavenly sweet,
As shine, on life's untrodden brink,
A baby's feet.
Until we meet again! That is the meaning
Of the familiar words that man repeat
At parting on the street.
Ay, yea! till then; but when death intervening
Rends us asunder with what ceaseless pain
We wait for the Again.
The friends who leave us do not feel the sorrow
Of parting, as we feel it who must stay,
Lamenting day by day
And knowing when we wake upon the morrow
We shall not find in its accustomed place,
The one beloved face.
Faith overleaps the confines of our reason
And if by faith, as in old times was said,
Women received their dead
Raised up to life then only for a season
Our partings are, nor shall we walk
Until we see again.