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one book he had derived most inspiration in preparing his history of the French Revolution. "There is but one book," he answered, "the 'Considerations' of Mme. de Staël. Read that, and you may dispense with all the rest." But genius has no sex. It is a curious fact that among all the professors consulted, it is the mathematicians who have paid the finest tribute to the female intellect. Never say again that women have an instinctive antipathy to abstractions. M. Felix Klein will tell you that their aptitude for the most abstract of all sciences, the higher mathematics, positively remarkable, and that six ladies, two Americans, one English woman and three Russians, have attended his lectures during the last semester, and done him great honor. M. Weyer enumerates twenty-one women who have distinguished themselves in mathematics, from Ptolémaïs of Cyrene, and the renowned Hypatia, down to Sophie Germain, who corresponded for a long time with Gauss, without his ever suspecting that she was a young girl; to Mary Somerville with her studies in celestial mechanics, and the justly celebrated Sophia Koralevski, who filled the chair of mathematics at Stockholm, and whose essay on the problem of the rotation of a solid body round a fixed point, was crowned by our Academie des Sciences in 1888, by the award of the Bordin prize, increased for the occasion from three thousand to five thousand francs.
"She had," says M. Weyer, "a powerful imagination, which she employed in making her discoveries. She employed it also in dreams about the fourth dimension. It was perhaps the part of her science where romance came in. She employed it oftener yet, in the self-tormenting effort to convince herself that scientific discoveries bring small joy to the discoverer, and that true happiness consists in being young and in being beloved. She used to maintain that there must be something good about the devil, and that without him there could be no har
mony either in the universe or in souls. Whenever she was able to divert her mind from speculation on the theory of elliptical functions, or curves defined by differential equations, she would brood sadly enough over that other problem, "Why am I not loved?" M. Weyer does not tell this anecdote for the purpose of disgusting women with the infinitesimal calculus. He is one of the very few German professors who wish well to souls tormented of the devil. He admits indeed that the Sophia Koralevskis are rare; but protests that a great many young girls have a taste and a gift for abstruse reasoning. He once gave some lessons in nautical astronomy to the captain of a merchant vessel who requested that his daughter might be present, on the ground that she understood these things so quickly and easily that she could always explain to him what he had failed to grasp.
The enemies of the "academic woman" are not concerned to deny her aptitudes, and some of them would kindly allow her to take her degrees. But what then? they say. Shall we open to her all the careers to which these degrees give access? Alas, those careers are already so crowded! How many graduates and doctors do no more than miserably vegetate, and die without ever having obtained the lucrative employment of their desire! The "middle-class proletariat" is one of the ulcers of our time. Its numbers will be indefinitely increased by the admission of women to the learned professions. We are already pining away. The women will take the bread out of our mouths. And then, are they actually fit for business, or for any and all professions? Let them practise medicine if they will. There may be services which are best rendered by women-doctors. But shelawyers! No doubt they have adroit minds, and a genius for chicanery; but then they are so passionate, and passion spoils all. Although Mlle. Chauvin maintained her thesis in the most brilliant manner, she was, in the interests of order, very wisely forbidden to
plead. At one time in ancient Rome, the Roman women did plead, but one of them forfeited her privilege by the insults she uttered, whereupon the pretor condemned them all to silence. Is it possible to fancy a woman on the bench, administering justice? A professor of law in the University of Strasburg undertakes to show that she would occupy herself less with the case and the provisions of the code than with the agreeable or disagreeable qualities of the accused, and that her conscience would always be amenable to an advocate with a fine face and figure.
patia knew more of the divine essence than did Cyril, Patriarch of Alexandria, who had her stoned and torn in pieces by his monks!"
M. Wüstenfeld, the venerable octogenarian of Göttingen, is one of those forcible souls who do not mince matters. The enemies of the "academic woman" seldom care to imitate his brutal frankness. There are artful beings among them who consider discretion the better part of valor, and who prefer to attain their end by stratagem. "Make no mistake!" they say to the sisterhood. "It is we who are your true friends! It is in your own interest-ever dear and sacred to usthat we conjure you to abate your pretensions and not force the doors of the universities! You are playing a desperate game. We admire, more than any one, your aptitude for science. What you lack is preparation,-preliminary study! Now this sort of thing is acquired in gymnasiums. And gymnasiums will never become bi-sexual establishments. It is contrary to our manners. We must establish feminine gymnasiums,-which you will have to enter at twelve or fourteen years of age. Will you be able to tell, at that age, whether you have a decided genius for study? The majority will become disheartened and renounce the course, and these will be the happier. The rest will permanently impair their health. The malady of the age is anæmia, consumption,-that fatal weakness of the nerves,-by which all the educated and governing classes are SO deeply tainted. When chlorosis is married to consumption what will the offspring be,-and what ever will become of our poor Germany?"
The woman's-rights professors are not daunted by such objections. course the liberal professions are encumbered; and the middle-class proletariat is an Egyptian plague; and the competition of women will aggravate the mischief. But injustice is a bad remedy; and the new competition will have excellent effects if only it discourages the incapable; if the lawyer without a case and the doctor without a patient, are led to renounce their ambitions, and resign nemselves to seeking a livelihood in one of those small trades which excite no jealousy, and can always be relied upon to support a certain number of lives. What harm would it do society, if a sluggard or a booby were to resign his public functions to an intelligent and industrious woman? The desirable thing, of course, is for the game to be quite fair. Let the state which favors nobody, and has never been suspected of gallantry, maintain a strict neutrality between the sexes, taking care that the two combatants have the same conditions of wind and sun; and then, let the best win, whether in short hair, or in long! Let us distrust our prejudices, and the alarm excited by novel objects. M. Karl Frenzel points out that we have long suffered women to act and to sing, to paint and to write. We are getting used to their appear ance on socialistic platforms; we shall presently accept the woman-pleader and the woman preacher. "Hold out against it if you will! But surely Hy
"And not only," they go on, will the bodily health of woman be destroyed by this fatal régime,-her soul also will lose its essential qualities. "Have a care, young ladies," is the warning of a private tutor in the university of Berlin. Living as they live now, women are altogether superior to us, and in spite of a seeming dependence, they are the rulers. We poor men,—
condemned to begin so far back the preparation for our profession, we get specialized at an early date,-whether we will or no. We are not men; we are sections of men. It is you, who, by virtue of your openness of mind and your universal sympathies, represent the integral human creature. You are fitted to comprehend all,-feel all,-gather the flower of everything. You are the charm and the consolation of our ennui. If you had the misfortune to resemble us, how dreary life would be! How empty! How grey!"
Another Berlin professor, M. Karl Stumpf, sets the same tune to differ ent words. "Reflect a moment," he says, "if we grant your prayer, it will doubtless become as easy for you as for us, to obtain fine appointments and fat places. But remember that pale cheeks, irritable nerves, and spectacled eyes, exercise but a feeble empire over the male sex. Remember, too, that a doctor's cap and the profoundest erudition can never make up for the loss of that freshness of thought and feeling, that instinctively just conception of life and of the world, that fine discernment of real and fictitious values; in a word, all those natural gifts which go to make up a woman's indefinable charm. You cannot drive two nails into the same hole; and if it is impossible, strictly speaking, to be both as wise as a serpent and as harmless as a dove, it is equally SO to possess two distinct orders of wisdom. Believe me, yours is the better kind; as truly as the least of your perceptions is worth more than all our reasoning from abstract principles." .. "Have it your own way then!" exclaims M. Steinthal in his turn, "Give us Raphaels, Mozarts, Leibnitzes! They will be but a poor substitute for the human race, which will disappear along with the true woman! The precious gifts now in your possession are a heritage that has been slowly accumulating during millions of years. Once lost, it will never be regained. We may some day see a Goethe in petticoats, but never
again a mother of Goethe, and I, for one, shall be inconsolable."
The "womanists" make answer, of course, to these gloomy prophets, that the woes they announce will never come to pass; that their terrors are imaginary; that young girls will not become anæmic in their gymnasiums; that study will not blanch their cheeks and impoverish their blood; that women are, as a matter of fact, more enduring than men; more patient of pain and labor and fatigue. Where is the man who could bear the life of a washerwoman or a nursery-governess? On the contrary their health will be confirmed by exercise, gymnastics, and sport. And who says they will lose their attractiveness? There are fools who are hideous to behold. There are doctoresses who are full of fascination. There are charming women at the present time and there are disagreeable women; and there always will be, whether they learn Greek and comparative anatomy or no. And after all, what is the use of arguing? You are undertaking to protect their happiness against their own imprudent desires; they want to be happy in their own way. They are not content with the lot you have assigned them; and a society where the women are discontented, is a house toppling to its fall. Make it your business to satisfy them, or they will go over to the revolutionary camp and a revolution which has enlisted the women can never be controlled.
To sum up: If the hundred and twenty professors consulted by M. Kirchoff were to meet in congress, and the question were to be decided by the majority of votes, the women should undoubtedly win their case. But let them make no mistake! The tale of their convinced and ardent partisans would very soon be told. The prevailing spirit of the assembly would be one of resignation to an experiment which must be made. Either it will succeed, and the unanimous cry of the professors will be "God help us!" or it will fail, and they will experience a mild gratification which they will do their
best to dissemble. For German fessors may boast, as they will, that they fear nothing. Women intimidate them. They dread the bee, and the bee's sting. A certain professor of theology at Berlin, Baron Goden, speaks for the whole company of the resigned when he says: "There are experiments which we must submit to see tried. If this one should fail" He who "made them male and female" will smile, and the men who understand women best, will smile also. Haughty refusals and the severity of the mandarin have had their day and have gone by. We entrench ourselves in irony.
In the train of the question discussed by the hundred-and-twenty professors comes another, on which a certain number of opinions have already been given. It is not enough to satisfy the small number of women who aspire to the doctorate. Ought not something to be done for those who, without any one definite ambition desire to increase their store of knowledge, and men of grudging them the bread of the spirit? They are sharp-set; they are pleading hunger; and they are offered only a half-ration.
On the 26th of September, 1896, Mlle. Nathalie de Milde spoke as follows before the Woman's Congress at Berlin: "What rank and what task do the men assign us? They would have it our sole occupation to admire them; love them; set our hopes upon them. Since we are not sufficient unto ourselves, they would have the days of our youth consumed in waiting for the apparition of the matchless being who will transform our languishing life into a true life. Owning no law but their own tyrannous egotism, they would have us remain always ignoramuses with empty heads, and hearts filled with the seductive image of themselves." Mlle. Milde went on to complain of the literature of the day, and the ideal of woman presented by the poets and novelists. She quoted with high scorn this verse, which Geibel puts into the mouth of a young girl. "The garden is white with hoar-frost. Let me sleep! Let me dream; My life is in suspense
until spring comes, and love." And does not Paul Heyse make another virgin say, "I would sleep long among the roses, till the man comes who can win my heart"? "Wretches!" cries Mlle. Milde. "We want work, and they condemn us to dreams. They would reduce us to the rôle of the beloved; while love means naught for them but the abject submission of one who has no mind to give. We will prove that we are no mere dolls; that we are of the race of Psyche; that we are resolved to see, and to know; and to learn, lamp in hand, whether the love on which they plume themselves is true love! We will prove that their dolls are worthy to work by their sides, at the great business of civilization!"
It would be curious to ascertain M. Wüstenfeld's real ideas about the education and destiny of young girls. That stern old man has the air of forbidding them to dream. What would he have them do? Would he consider it enough to teach them cooking and housekeeping? Is it his opinion
Que régler la dépense avec économie, Doit ètre leur étude, et leur philosophie? Would he approve the Hungarian proverb which affirms that the woman who knows how to keep out of the gutter on rainy days, knows enough? He has not spoken clearly upon this point, and I feel disturbed by his silence. I suspect him of a sovereign contempt for female-colleges. His brother-professors who have declared their views in this matter are, for the most part, no Chrysales. "The barbarian," says M. Möllendorf, "looks upon women as beasts of burden; the pasha merely requires them to be beautiful. Let us not forget that they have souls craving to be fed, nor stint them of their fare." One of the Berlin professors expresses himself in still more generous terms. He says the men would do well, in their own interests merely, to educate women carefully and regardless of expense. He maintains that they will get their money back; that an educated woman costs less to support than a
laces, gauds and frills; that the Henriettes are exacting; preoccupied with their clothes; determined to shine; while the man who marries Armande will have a good thing; because a dash of idealism is the surest means of lightening the household expenses.
fool; that she cares less for jewels, hypocrisies which are no longer his. American men frankly concede that American women are their superiors in all that does not concern banking, commerce, and huge and hazardous speculations. They immerse themselves in business with fervor, with rage; for this they were born; but they rejoice to feel that their women are unlike themselves, and spend their leisure in sharpening their wits, refining their taste and their reason, and in fitting themselves to appreciate those joys which have never brought in dollars. Whether or no idealism lightens the expenses of the household, it is undoubtedly necessary to the happiness and stability of society. Its last refuge will be in the heart of woman; but the heart is never healthy when the mind is not employed.
I am not quite so sure of it. I can well believe that Sophia Koralevski spent very little for the gowns and hats which she never bought herself. But it is to be remarked that she was descended from a Bohemian dame who occupied herself with something worse even than her toilet. My own idea is that a woman may love mathematics and yet not despise jewelry; their minds are so supple and versatile! They understand so well the art of reconciling contradictions! If I were so happy as to be a German professor, and if M. Kirchoff had sent me a list of his little questions, I would have answered, by return of courier, that, reserving the question of expense, I consider that we are the more bound to exert ourselves about the education of women, because we exert ourselves less and less about our own; and the things of the mind having become quite indifferent to us, there will be nobody to take them seriously in the twentieth century, unless the women do so.
In an age of utilitarian and materialistic civilization, when everything is sacrificed to comfort and well being, when science is prized for its industrial applications only, and democratic ideas are married to the fetichism of machinery and the increasing idolatry of wealth, would it not be a good thing, if there were to grow up a highly select society of women, of open, healthful, wide-awake minds, who should cultivate all sorts of disinterested curiosities, love truth in all its forms, and worship, precisely those arts and sciences which can be turned to no practical account? They will either prevent man from becoming thoroughly imbruted, or they will make him ashamed of his coarseness. A remnant of delicacy will lead them to cherish the refined tastes and the kindly
Let women be educated! No man. except a philologue, here and there, will object. The pity of it is, that they are prone to superstition; and it is a dangerous superstition to suppose that their salvation depends on their admission to the universities; and that their only means of acquiring a given science is to place themselves under the tutelage of ordinary, or extraordinary, professors. Just at present this is their hobby; I might say their mania. One of M. Kirchoff's correspondents, Edouard de Hartman, reproaches the German ladies with cherishing fatal illusions upon this point, and he gives them, in his curt way, a warning on which they would do well to meditate. "Lecture-rooms," he says, in substance, "appear of late to have exercised over you some mysterious and magical attraction. They seem to you a sort of intellectual paradise. It is a ridiculous mistake. They are a great deal more like barracks where the manual of arms is taught mechanically. I will tell you a great secret. The way to acquire knowledge is to read. Let those of you who do not care for degrees, and who really aspire to mental culture, stay at home and read. Get it clearly fixed in your minds, that those o your brothers and your future husbands who do not read after they leave