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discipline! but as you belong to the Dissenters, you will addle their poor brains over free will and predestination, and all the rough-shod trampings of Calvinism !"
"“ Bertha! you quite unsettle my life with your heresies. I will do away with the paupers' pew in Beech Glen at once! I am ashamed never to have thought of it before; but as for these doctrines—"
" " You will consider them, Ernest,” said Bertha, with perfect simplicity.
"Upon my word, Bertha begins to be very disagreeable. She talks to me as if I were a stupid boy. I have to remember that I have passed through collegiate and theological honours, and am regarded as fully competent to the office I fill. Somehow she sees behind all these considerations, and presents me a glass before wbich they all fade quite away, and I see a simple, majestic image of divine truth. But it is disagreeable to be made to feel this at the bidding of a woman.'-Ib. pp. 49, 50.
Considering their objection to theology, the yearning of these ladies for the preacher's office is something remarkable. The question is a good deal discussed between Bertha and Ernest. On her first settling, a wealthy and independent woman, in Beech Glen,' she abstains from going to church on the ground of the excessive dulness of sermons; but Ernest's voice and manner reconcile her to the practice, though she early asserts her right, in her argument with the Deacon,' to occupy the pulpit herself
. On her concluding with the Quaker plea, * There is neither male nor female, we find the following comment :
As Bertha uttered this, in her clear musical voice, with exquisite intonation, her serene face, radiant with her inward convictions, I felt that a woman thus inspired must be a more effective expounder of truth than a preacher of our sex is likely to present; but I confess to a repugnance also. I trust in God ency has no place in my mind-but I will look to it'-Ib. pp. 41, 42.
As his convictions strengthen, we are left to infer that he feels men have had their turn, and that his office was slipping from him:
• It is now Thursday night, and I have no sermon written, and feel very much as if I never should be able to write another. Everything has been said worth saying upon the doctrines I preach; and as for daily life, why, my people are savagely virtuous. I do not know where to catch them .tripping. I can't preach at them for the life of me. As I look down from the pulpit, the array of respectable, moral, dull faces is appalling to me. Every well-ironed cravat looks like a barricade; the stiff waistcoats, and long, tight silk boddices, are so many shields and cuirasses to ward off the sharp arrows of conviction. The people say good morning to me, piously, and speak of the weather with a sort of religious unction, and declare
things are better than we deserve.” My predecessor in Beech Glen has left nothing for me to do. He has so swathed, balsamed, and glued them into orthodoxy, that they are perfectly mummified therein; and now they need somebody to poke them, as I have seen, when a boy, the keepers in a menagerie stir up the lions with a long pole, whereat the beasts would fetch a great yawn and lie down again. I must get the deacon waked up for the sake of an example.'--1b, pp. 55, 56.
Bertha probably thought so too, but from her stand-point of calm superiority she would not willingly wound his self-love, and, like all great minds, desired rather the reality of power than the show of it. She therefore thus delicately seeks his cooperation, when, towards the close of the volume, her plans are matur d:
* Bertha now proposed that a small chapel, or whatever I might choose to call it, should be built near the junction, for the purpose of instruction.
•“ I could wish," said Bertha, * once a-week, or oftener, to meet our people here. I will prepare readings, or lectures, upon such themes as shall best provoke thought and culture. And you, Ernest, will you not aid me-aid our women to think, feel, and act as women should, when so much of the world's destiny lies at their mercy ?"
I winced after my old fashion. This looked like an eneroachment upon my prerogatives, and seemed to imply also that my people needed teachiag beyond what I was imparting to them. I think I reddened. I know I looked foolish; for the mean feeling in the soul, however disguised, will impart itself to the face. But Bertha went on with a serene sweetness.
« In the pulpit the clergyman is not altogether free. He is confined to a round of prayers and labours, that often have little effect in elevating or ennobling his people. I desire this little temple to be a spontaneous offering to God, where the form shall be more or less elaborate, as the spirit of true worship is realized within us. I would have it decorated with flowers. I would have it sacred to all that is pure and beautiful. No man or woman should enter it with foul feet, or desecrate it by a spit.”
• I smiled, and Bertha opened her eyes in her earnest way.
* “ You will make your little temple holier than our place of worship, I said.
• " Assuredly I would. It must be dedicated to the deepest sentiment of truth and beauty. The speaker must present the best example of taste. Ernest, I would not have even you enter this temple in the every-day suit of black, with a slight tinge of rust."
* I reddened again, but Bertha did not see it.
"" But I would have you wear a robe of lawn, for I am persuaded that in elevating a people, the dress of the teacher is of no mean import."
* And so, under the shadow of a mountaio, grew a lovely temple designed by Bertha--a sort of portico, consisting of colonnades surrounding a circular building, terminating in a dome, through which the light entered, softened by ground glass. Å delicate stand, like the unfolding of a white scroll, faced with crimson, composed the speaker's desk, leaving the person in full perspective, while vases filled with flowers ornamented the shafts and niches of the wall.
When all was completed, Bertha, at the close of the Sabbath exercises, with my permission, explained her plan to the people. There was much staring, some whispering, and attempted tossings of the head, amongst the feminine portion of the congregation; but the calm earnestness of Bertha at length allayed prejudice, and I had the mortification to see that her lectures were better attended than my own. Women had learned to understand somewhat of the pure, unselfish nobleness of her character, and sought her teachings from a genuine interest. She taught them botany, horticulture; she suggested new modes of industry, improvements in housekeeping, in dress; she gave them higher subjects for thought, and encouraged them to question her. Soon old and young, men and women, learned to prepare eagerly for Bertha's days in the pretty rotunda; indeed, nothing could be more picturesque than her andience, in their improved costume,
garlanded with flowers, and their faces wreathed with content.'—Ib, pp. 191-193.
Unwillingly is the Pastor forced to own woman's greater fitness for the teacher's office, but candour compels the admission :
· Bertha has done more in a few months than I have done in years of labour. She has seemed to pour oil upon the troubled waters of Beech Glen, and all has become not only peaceful but harmonious.
'All this is well for the people; but how for me, who should have done this lovely work myself! I am ill at ease.
· Bertha is the true genius of Beech Glen. She sees into the souls of others. She does not wait for others to move first; but, no matter how great the wrong, her clear voice and wise counsel are freely imparted, and the evil disappears.'—16. p. 194.
We must not dwell on this fond picture of what is to be, for we are not reviewing a romance, but discussing what may be regarded as a political movement. There is, however, a comparison between the ideal women of the piece, in the shape of two portraits from the fluent pen of the hero, which, with some abridgement, are worth extracting, as exhibiting the two con.' trasted types of woman as she should be; the first as she is supposed to be most pleasing to the vanity of man, the other as she harmonises with the aspirations of her own sex :• Julia is a full beautiful woman
“ Not too wise nor good
For human nature's daily food." She imparts a charm to the simplest thing. She breathes an atmosphere of poetry about her, a soft, lovely repose—and yet it is not repose. I would be the hero of some castle of Indolence, with her by my side, smiling and weaving melodies, and floating in curves never wearying to the senses. She multiplies my thoughts; she quickens my fancy; she gratifies my selflove. I am not sure but half the love, so called, arises from the gratification of this egotism. We love a woman, not because she is a noble or beautiful creation in herself, but because this self-love of ours receives no eheck through her.
'I am not miserable at the uncertainty of a return on the part of Julia, now that I stand in true relations with myself. I am sure that a nature so exquisitely sensuous as hers must cover a deep passionateness; but her character is so flexible, and her " variety" so infinite, that I grow glad in bebolding her,
While I thought these things, I tried to think wherein the beauty of Bertha consists, but I cannot do it. She is wondrously beautiful; but it is of a kind that recedes and shades into something so intangible to the senses, that I cannot tell how nor what it is. I would call her serene. I would say that she stands a queen in the soul of nature, not as part and parcel of her. I would say nothing could detract from her sublime self-hood, Time will but ennoble her. Sickness stands aloof and rebuked before her. Poverty cannot touch her. She is herself -she is sovereign to all that breaks down and mars the integrity of others. I recall the scene in the church, but Bertha outlives all that is burtful. Ab! so gloriously does she bear her cross upward, that it has become a crown and sceptre. The thorn precedes the cross-ihe cross
presages the crown. Let me but kiss the hem of thy garment, Bertha. Let me but know that I am not contemptible in thine eyes. I follow thee afar off.'-Ib. pp. 179—181.
No style ever betrayed more clearly the female hand than does every page of this story; yet it joins in the general aim of the movement-or we should
of the movement's female advocates—in asserting an absolute sameness of duties, and of moral and intellectual qualities in the two sexes. Bertha is a nondescript-neither man nor woman can properly claim her ; but she is designed to represent all manly excellences, and a great deal beside, and also to be without all strictly feminine qualities. She has no fellowship with those whom she designates as the household women, fair, limited, and submissive.' And from the mystic and ideal to the most matter-of-fact of the party, the same assumption and repudiation is evident. Whatever qualities have been fondly dwelt upon as the peculiar charm of woman's nature, these Amazons rudely disown for themselves, and discard for their sex.
Take, for example, the theological Grace of Faith. An inborn sentiment of devotion, an implicit uncavilling reception of divine truths, an aptness to believe, a readiness of trust, an awe and reverence of the unseen, an unquestioning surrender of the heart and affections, a spirit of self-sacrifice consequent on this realizing of things not seen as yet : these have hitherto been esteemed qualities of woman's religion, so far as she is religious. Her part has been not to argue, but to believe, and to show forth the fruits of a lively, undoubting faith, holy both in body and spirit.' And men, whom the necessities of controversy may force, not without risk to themselves, into an opposite course, leading them to exercise reason upon the deep things of God, and to pry into mysteries before which angels veil their faces, have thought themselves gainers by the presence among them of a simpler, intuitive, child-like faith, maintaining the calm sanctities of religion amidst those who might otherwise lose their awe of creeds and doctrines, and forget them as actuating principles in the business of investigation and defence.
But this is a position which has always been peculiarly offensive to the pretensions of this school of aspirants; and they parade the right of an independent exercise of the reason on all subjects, the most inscrutable and awful, with an audacity which is rarely found equalled in the rival sex, whom the inherited experience of many failures may teach a little reticence of expression. The foundress of this sect, in controverting the statement that woman was made for man, which she would not believe though an angel from heaven were to assure her of it, expresses herself thus :
-Having no fear of the devil before
my eyes, I venture to call this [her disbelief ] a suggestion of reason.' And in her chapter on Duty to Parents,' she equally disregards any obligation which reason does not enforce. absurd duty too often inculcated of obeying a parent only on account of his being a parent, shackles the mind, and prepares
it for a slavish submission to any power but reason.' Margaret Fuller, a more attractive specimen of the school, discusses all questions of faith with the same air of absolute trust in her own ụnderstanding, and of superiority to every revelation, though possessing belief in certain faots in such guarded formulas as
I believe in my own way,' in such and such truths. I will not * loathe sects, persuasions, systems,' she says, 'though I cannot abide in them one moment, for I see that by most men they are still needed.' But we need not go on to prove a point which will be obvious enough to all who have followed us so far, 1, Again, modesty, as it betrays any colouring from their sex, they carefully eschew. A purity that fears contamination from the contact, or mention, or bare knowledge of evil, is with them a very weak and cowardly virtue. If it may not be put to the proof of a little rough usage, they can see no use nor purpose in it. As the authoress of the Remarks' expresses it, If
women be as pure in nature as they are invariably represented, they will act on pollution like chloride of lime.' And again, Excessive timidity is not purity.'
• Children,' says Mary Wollstonecraft, "I grant, should be innocent, but when "the epithet is applied to men or women, it is but a civil ' term for weakness. Margaret Fuller we find commended for having no 'false shame;' and certainly she never confined the subjects of her conversation or speculation within feminine limits. Bashfulness and shamefacedness, those graces whose livery is a blush—the whole family of timid, shrinking instincts-are affirmed or implied on all hands to be the fruits of ignorance; they are weaknesses which keep women from exercising proper control or influence in the world. They can have no good in them, because they fade and lose their bloom if exposed continually to the rude touch of evil. Now, the modesty which alone they will acknowledge as part of the unshackled woman's nature, is a bolder, more actively aggressive quality, haling all evil and impurity before the light of day, and the scrutiny of impartial reason; that being analyzed, and its root fully investigated, it may then, if found guilty, be judicially condemned; a process which men, however enlightened, cannot yet desire to be carried on at their own hearthstones.
Again, constancy has hitherto been unanimously regarded as a virtue. The only question has been which sex may lay the greatest claim to it, and women have eagerly asserted their superiority,