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pression upon the face of a graven image. Offhand one would have agreed with Mrs. Putnam when in her analysis of "The Lady" she says: "Sentimentally the lady has established herself as the criterion of a community's civilization. Very dear to her is the observance that hedges her about. In some subtle way it is so bound up with her self-respect and with her respect for the man who maintains it, that life would hardly be sweet to her without it. When it is flatly put to her that she cannot become a human being and yet retain her privileges as a non-combatant, she often enough decides for etiquette.'
There is a student of women speaking about women, and yet her generalization has been proved an error only seven years after her book was written. The ladies of America haven't decided in "favor of etiquette"-with one accord they have chosen to become human beings.
While it is true, as Mrs. Putnam says, that "a lady may become a nun in the strictest and poorest order without altering her view of life, without the moral convulsion, the destruction of false ideas, the truth of character that would be the preliminary steps toward becoming an efficient stenographer," nevertheless that convulsion has occurred and all over the country women of every class are rallying to the call of "Service." The millionaire's wife is working side by side with the grocer's daughter, the music-teacher, and the
seamstress, at the Red Cross building, the "rest huts," and "hostess houses" of the Y. M. and Y. W. C. A., the canning-kitchens, the canteens, in the Food Administration's house-to-house canvas, and in the thousand and one other activities which they can carry on so much better than men. The woman power of the United States is being mobilized with extraordinary rapidity. Already the women of New York have demonstrated their effectiveness in the State military census which was carried on by a volunteer body of five thousand women workers. There are in the United States probably ten million women who could take the places of men with the colors or engaged in war work. Another ten million are able to help. It would not take long, if it were necessary, for this great reserve army of twenty million women to become almost as efficient as the women of England are to-day. It should mean that the United States can send as many men as will be needed to insure the defeat of the Central Powers without a vital reduction in producing power, however large that number may be. But better than beating Germany is the democratizing effect which this common service is having upon the women who are sharing in it.
It is teaching the women of leisure that there is no play which is half as much fun as real work and that the people who are doing something are vastly more interesting than those who aren't. It is teaching the
worker that the society woman has her good points, and that the main trouble with her is that, never having had any contact with the edges of life, she doesn't know how to act along with real folks. It is teaching all of them that when it comes to service the only thing that counts is delivering the goods, and it is bringing into the limelight a lot of extraordinarily able women of all classes.
The striking feature of this wholesale transmogrification is the ease and rapidity with which women, like Helen, have sloughed off the skin of their conventionality, shed all their pretenses and affectations, and plunged in medias res as if they had never done anything else all their lives. They remind me somehow of chickens who have felt the tingle of life and suddenly cracked through their shells-they are just as keen to get busy. Helen had no sooner put her house in order than she became passionately interested in everything that other women were doing. A year ago she would have retired from the world in shame rather than have a "Votes for Women" poster exhibited in our front window. It is there now, however, along with the sign manual of the Food Administration and a "Service" placard showing the American woman as a modern Joan of Arc against a background of the Stars and Stripes. I'm proud of all those cards and posters. I'm proud of what Helen is doing and of the spirit that makes her want to make public declaration
of her principles. But it is so sudden! Yet everything is sudden these days. I suppose the earthquake has simply shaken the frosting off the façade, leaving exposed the solid stone and cement of American womanhood.
There's a new community spirit abroad. It's great sport, when it comes to putting up cherry jam, for Mrs. Angelo, whose husband runs the barber-shop at the summer resort on Long Island, to put it all over Mrs. Robinson, whose husband controls fifty-one per cent of the independent steel companies of America. But Mrs. Angelo has an unfair advantage she learned how as a girl in Palermo. Her forty cans make poor Mrs. Robinson's thirteen look like thirty cents. Just so that Mrs. Robinson won't feel badly about it she gives her a friendly pat on the arm and an encouraging smile.
Then there is Aunt Silena Pratt who walks in to town from down the road three miles twice every week-a vigorous old lady whose taciturn disposition has given her rather a lonely time of it heretofore. You should see Aunt Silena and Mrs. Trust Company Thompson hit it off together. When Mrs. T. was Miss Althea Onderdonk up in Athens, New York, she had an Aunt Sally who was a "dead ringer" for Aunt Silena. It makes. no difference to Althea now that Silena doesn't wear corsets and says "You was" and "She ain't." If any grocer held out the sugar on them
they would all-as a bunch—with hearts beating as one, march in a committee of the whole to the offending store and—well, you remember what happened to old Floyd Ireson at the hands of the women of Marblehead!
And the significant thing is that they are keeping up. It was inspiring to see them go to it, but it is astounding to see them still at it. They have got their teeth in it and don't intend to let go until the struggle is over and won. The war is bringing out a lot of women whom the world had forgotten, even if they had not "the world forgot"-which a good many of them had. There is my cousin Minnie, for instance. Minnie is fifty-three years old and lives by herself in a boarding-house on Madison Avenue. She is a welleducated, intelligent, and capable woman, but she never married, and since she belongs to the generation that believed it wasn't the thing for women to have occupations, has never done anything except to take trips abroad with spinster friends and make herself generally useful to her relatives. If any one of the family is sick we are apt to ask Minnie up to help us; if Helen and I want to go out West we send for Minnie to come and stay with the children; if the house needs to be cleaned while we are away in the summer we get Minnie to keep an eye on it. We are always sending for Minnie, or, rather, we were always sending for her. Not a very enviable position for a woman